Τρίτη, 13 Οκτωβρίου 2009

SAINTS OF THE RUSSIAN CHURCH
March

Compilled by Antonios Markou

This text is under constraction.

March 1
St. Martyrius of Zelenets (+ 1603)
In the world Menas, he was born in the city of Veliki Luki in the 16th c. His parents, Cosmas and Stephanida, died when he was just ten years old. He was raised by his spiritual Father, a Priest of the city's Annunciation Church, and the child's soul cleaved to God.
Having become a widower, the Priest Boris became a monk with the name Bogolep at the Trinity-Sergius Monastery in Veliki Luki. Menas often visited him at the monastery, and later on he himself received monastic tonsure there taking the name Martyrius. For seven years both teacher and disciple toiled for the Lord unrelentingly in a single cell, encouraging each other in deeds of work and prayer. St. Martyrius had the obediences of cellarer, treasurer, and altar server.
It was at this time that the Mother of God first showed Her special solicitude for St. Martyrius. At mid-day he dozed off in the bell tower and beheld the Tikhvin Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos in a fiery column. The monk venerated it, and it was still hot from the fiery column. When he awoke, he still felt this heat on his forehead.
On the spiritual advice of St. Martyrius, the grievously ill monk Abramius went to venerate the wonderworking Tikhvin Icon of the Mother of God, and he received healing. St. Martyrius was filled with intense faith in the intercession of the Mother of God. He began to pray that the Heavenly Queen would show him where he might go for the ascetic feat of complete silence, for which his soul yearned.
The monk secretly withdrew into a desolate place situated 60 versts from Veliki Luki. As the Saint himself writes, "in this wilderness I received fearful visitations from demons, but I prayed to God, and the demons were put to shame."
In a letter to Elder Bogolep, St. Martyrius asked his blessing to dwell in the wilderness, but the spiritual father advised him to return to the cenobitic life where he would be of use to the brethren. Not daring to disobey his experienced Elder, and not knowing how to proceed, St. Martyrius went to Smolensk to venerate the Wonderworking Icon of the Mother of God and the Relics of Sts. Abramius and Ephraim. These Saints appeared to St. Martyrius in a dream, and they reassured him that he would be permitted to live in the wilderness, "wherever God will bless and the Most Holy Theotokos will guide you."
The monk then went to the Tikhvin Monastery, hoping that the Mother of God would resolve his dilemma. The monk Abramius, who remained at this monastery in gratitude to the Mother of God for his healing, told St. Martyrius about a secret place, over which he saw a radiant Cross of stars. This time he received the blessing of the Elder. St. Martyrius took with him two small Icons: one of the Life-Creating Trinity, and the other of the Tikhvin Mother of God. He then settled in Zelents, which was a beautiful green island in a forested swamp.
Harsh and painful was the life of the monk in the wilderness, but neither cold, nor deprivation, nor wild beasts, nor the wiles of the Enemy were able to shake his resolve. He built a small Chapel for the glorification of, and in gratitude to, the Lord and the Most Holy Theotokos. He was again deemed worthy to see in a dream an Icon of the Mother of God. This time it was floating on the sea. To the right of the Icon he saw the Archangel Gabriel who summoned the monk to venerate the Icon. St. Martyrius went into the water, and the Icon began to sink in the sea. The Saint then cried out, and a wave carried him to shore. With that, the Icon vanished.
The wilderness was sanctified by the life of the hermit, and many began to arrive, not only to be instructed by the word and example of the monk, but also to settle there with him. The increased number of disciples prompted the monk to build a Church dedicated to the Life-Creating Trinity, where he placed his own icons of the Trinity and of the Tikhvin Mother of God. As a sign of the grace of God resting upon the Monastery of St. Martyrius, his disciple St. Gurias was permitted to see a Cross in the heavens, shining over the cross on top of the Church.
This was the beginning of the Trinity Zelenets Monastery. The Lord blessed the labor of the monk, and the grace of God shone visibly upon him. The fame of his discernment and gift of healing became known to many. Many eminent people of Novgorod began to send gifts to the monastery. With funds provided by the pious Boyar Theodore Syrkov, a heated Church was built and consecrated in honor of the Annunciation of the Most Holy Theotokos, in memory of the first Church at Veliki Luki, from which the Saint had begun his path to God.
St. Martyrius continued to receive help from the Mother of God. She appeared to him on a bench in the corner where the Icons stood. The Saint recalled: "I looked upon Her without lowering my eyes... I gazed upon Her holy face, at Her eyes filled with tears, ready to trickle down Her all-pure face. I awoke from the dream and was afraid. I lit a candle from the lampada, in order to see whether or not the Most Pure Virgin sat at the place where I saw Her in the dream. I went up to the Icon of the Hodigitria and was convinced that in truth the Mother of God had appeared to me as She is depicted on my Icon."
Soon after this (about the year 1570) St. Martyrius was ordained Priest at Novgorod by the Archbishop (Alexander or Leonid). He was already an Abbot in 1582.
Later, the Lord granted the Zelenets wilderness Monastery an even wealthier benefactor. In 1595 at Tver St. Martyrius resurrected the son of the former Kasimov ruler Symeon Bekbulatovich, praying in front of his own Icons of the Life-Creating Trinity and the Tikhvin Mother of God. He placed both Icons upon the chest of the dead child, and he awoke as if from sleep. In gratitude Symeon built a Church in honor of the Tikhvin Icon of the Mother of God and of St. John Chrysostom, the Heavenly patron Saint of the ruler's son John.
In 1595 Tsar Theodore endowed the monastery with a sufficient quantity of land for its support.
Having reached a great old age and preparing for death, St. Martyrius dug a grave for himself, and near it he placed a coffin fashioned by his own hands. He often came there to weep. Sensing his imminent departure, the monk assembled the brethren and told his children in the Lord to have steadfast hope in the Most Holy Trinity and to trust the Mother of God, as he himself had always trusted in Her. After receiving the Holy Mysteries of Christ, he gave the brethren his blessing with the words: "Peace to all the Orthodox."
He was buried in the grave he dug near the Church of the Mother of God. Later, his Holy Relics rested beneath a crypt in the Church of the Most Holy Trinity, beneath the lower Church in honor of St. John the Theologian. Cornelius, a former monk of the Zelenets Monastery, and later Metropolitan of Kazan and Novgorod (+ 1698), compiled a service and wrote the Life of St. Martyrius, making use of personal notes and the Saint's testament.
His memory is celebrated also on November 11.

March 2
St. Arsenius Bishop of Tver (+ 1409)
St. Arsenius Bishop of Tver, according to tradition, was born in Tver. The exact year of his birth and his parents' names are unknown. He was brought up in piety and the fear of God. He lost his parents early on, and being the only heir to their rich estate, made his house a shelter for strangers and the poor, and because of this his relatives reviled him. In despair as to how to overcome "this animosity and great struggle" the youth decided to leave the world and prayed to God to show him the way. Hearing a voice in a dream that called him to go to Kiev, he secretly left Tver and set out for the Kiev Caves Monastery, where he became a monk.
This virtuous and industrious monk, who conducted himself as Christ taught from his very youth, and was experienced in the rules of the Church, attracted the attention of St. Cyprian, the future Metropolitan of Moscow (+ 1406; comm. Septe-mber 16), who was living in Kiev at the time. He grew fond of monk Arsenius, drew him nearer and ordained him to the rank of Hierodeacon.
When St. Cyprian became Metropolitan of Moscow, he took St. Arsenius with him. St. Arsenius was his Archdeacon; he also took care of his correspondence and everything that referred to the internal organization of the Metropolitan's Diocese.
At that time, Michael Alexandrovich, the Prince of Tver, and Euphemius, the slandered Bishop of Tver, were at hard variance with each other. Bishop Euphemius unjustly lost his Cathedra and was exiled to the Chudov Monastery in Moscow, where he died soon after (1392). Metropolitan Cyprian appointed his Archdeacon Arsenius (according to the Nikon's Chronicle he was a Protodeacon), "a manly looking, famous and virtuous man", to replace Bishop Euphemius. St. Arsenius had not agreed for a long time, but he could not oppose the will of Grand Prince Michael Alexandrovich. St. Stephen of Perm (comm. on April 26) was one of the Bishops, who took part in the consecration of St. Arsenius (on August 15, 1391), at the Cathedral of the Transfiguration, in Tver.
After having become Bishop, St. Arsenius sought to put an end to the Prince's discords, and to bring peace and harmony to his native town. In 1403 he succeeded in reconciling Ioann Mikhailovich, the Prince of Tver, with his brother Vasily Mikhailovich, the Prince of Kashin. St. Arsenius preached God's word zealously and served as an example of a worthy archpastor in all that he did.
Feeling his time on earth coming to an end, Michael Alexandrovich, the Prince of Tver (+ 1399) came to St. Arsenius to ask to be tonsured. St. Arsenius, thanking God, made him a monk with the name of Matthew.
During the many years of his ministry as a Bishop St. Arsenius built and consecrated Cathedrals in honor of the Archangel Michael in Staritsa and Mikulino; St. Nicholas in Staritsa; renovated the stone Cathedral of the Transfiguration in Tver, and laid the foundation of its new belfry. In 1397 within 20 miles of Tver on the river Tma he founded the St. Savva Monastery in honor of the Meeting of the Lord, where Sts. Savva and Barsanuphius were first monks (comm. is on March 2), after having been tonsured on Mt. Athos.
St. Arsenius did not forget about the Kiev Caves Monastery, where he began his monastic labors. In 1394 on the river Tmak, within 4 miles of Tver, in the village of Zheltikovo he founded a monastery, where a wooden Chapel in honor of Sts. Anthony and Theodosius of the Kiev Caves was built. On August 30,1405 in the Zheltikov Monastery St. Arsenius consecrated the stone Church in honor of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos.
In 1406 the construction of the Zheltikov Monastery was finished and according to the will of St. Arsenius the monks made a copy of the Kiev Caves Patericon (the first collection of the lives of Russian Saints). It is the earliest edition of this priceless memorial to the Russian written language that has reached our times and is best known under the name of Arsenievskaya. Two manuscripts of "The Ladder" of St. John of the Ladder (of 1402 and 1404) are among the books that have been recopied according to St. Arsenius's will and preserved up to this very day.
St. Arsenius reposed in the Lord in 1409 during Great Lent. The clergy arrived in Tver as usual in time for the so-called "Synod" Sunday (the first Sunday of Great Lent, the Sunday of Orthodoxy; on that day the Priests would come to their Bishop to make up a Diocesan Council). On Tuesday St. Arsenius appealed to the pastors, blessed them and dismissed the Council. He reposed in the Lord on March 2.
St. Arsenius was buried in Zheltikov Monastery, in the vestibule of the right side-altar, which was dedicated to the Icon of the Saviour Made-Without-Hands, in the Dormition Church, in the coffin that he had made himself. According to the Chronicle, many of the sick who came there with faith were healed.
"The icon-painting original" contains the following description of St. Arsenius: "He looks like an old man with a long, grey beard, like as that of Sergius, dressed as a schemamonk, in his mantia, with his omophorion flung over his shoulders, his right hand blessing and the left one holding the Gospel".
The Relics of St. Arsenius were found incorrupt in Zheltikov Monastery in 1483. Since that year his commemoration was established in Tver according to the blessing of Bishop Vassian of Tver. Seven miracles, which St. Arsenius had performed, were depicted on his silver shrine: 1) bringing the fisherman Terentius back to life; 2) giving a son to Ioann Kartash; 3) the healing of archpriest Alexy, who suffered greatly from his legs; 4) healing a maiden, Ustinia Golovlenkova, 5) saving a man from strangulation; 6) with the shroud of the saint (when in 1606 the Poles burst into Zheltikov monastery one horseman tore off the shroud that was over the shrine of st. Arsenius and put it on his horse. It reared up and fell down together with the man and both were found dead); and 7) healing Gregory and his wife, who were both formerly insane.
St. Arsenius was canonized by the Moscow Council of 1547.
He is also commemorated on the first Sunday after June 29, the commemoration date of the Synaxis of the Saints of Tver.

St. Sabbatius of Tver (+ 1434)
He pursued asceticism with the blessing of St. Arsenius, Bishop of Tver, at a distance 15 versts from Tver. He established a monastery there, known for the strictness and holiness of its rule. Such ascetics as St. Joseph of Volokolamsk (comm. September 9) and St. Cornelius of Komel (comm. May 19) went there to be instructed in monasticism. The chains found in the cave where St. Sabbatius practiced silence testify to his ascetic deeds. He reposed in peace not later than the year 1434.

St. Euphrosynus of Tver (+ 1460)
He was a disciple and the successor of the former St. Sabbatius in governing the Sabbas wilderness Monastery. During his time as Abbot St. Joseph of Volokolamsk (comm.September 9, October 18, February 13) came to the monastery. He described his visit as follows:
"I beheld in the Sabbas wilderness a Holy Hermit by the name of Euphrosynus. He was born of the Princes of Teprinsk. He dwelt precariously in the wilderness for 60 years.Many monks came to him for advice, as well as Princes and Boyars, disrupting his silence. He then fled human conversation to Great Novgorod, to Lake Nevo (Ladozhskoe or Ladoga), found an island and dwelt there for several years. The surrounding inhabitants, hearing about the ascetic, began to throng to him with their wives and children, and he was again obliged to hide himself, just as he had done at the Sabbas wilderness.
The ruler of this land, Prince Boris Aleksandrovich, sent his own daughter to him, then betrothed to marry Great Prince Ivan Vasilievich. With her came Archi-mandrites, Abbots and Boyars, and they asked St. Euphrosynus to help the maiden. She was very sickly, and they carried her to him in the wilderness. He refused them, calling himself a sinner and unworthy. They entreated the Saint with tears, saying, 'If she remains alive through your prayers, Father, then you will bring peace to two Principalities.'"
Seeing that the maiden had fallen into a serious illness, St. Euphrosynus gave orders for her to be taken to Church, and he began to pray with tears and sobbing before the Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos. Then he commanded a Molieben to be sung to the Mother of God and to the Holy Wonderworker Nicholas. When the Molieben was finished, the maiden opened her eyes and sat up; those carrying her raised her up healthy and that very day notified her father, who praised God "for having bestowed grace through His servants."
St. Euphrosynus reposed peacefully in about the year 1460.

Sts. Sabbas (+ 1467) and Barsanouphius (15th c.) of Tver
They were brothers in flesh and Abbots of the St. Sabbas-Meeting Monastery. (This monastery was organized in 1397, not far from Tver; it was known as "Sabbas" from the name of its founder, or for the church dedicated to St. Sabbas the Sanctified and "Meeting" of its main Church dedicated to the Meeting of the Lord).
St. Barsanouphius, the older brother of St. Sabbas, was at first Abbot of the monastery. After five years of monastic rule he set off into the wilderness, entrusting the monastery to his brother St. Sabbas, who commanded him to accept the Priestly office, since "he was as pure as from his mother's womb and worthy of such grace."
St. Barsanouphius dwelt for 40 years in solitude and "during all these years," testifies St. Joseph of Volokolamsk, "he did nothing but pray, chant, and read books. He took books about the love of Christ, and after reading them he returned them or took them to another place. The saint had nothing, not even copper coins, since he loved poverty and non-covetousness. After long attentiveness to himself, and by silence, prayer, and the reading, he was given such grace that he memorized the whole Bible and freely communicated it upon request. Many monks and worldly people of noble birth came to him from everywhere, some for the good of their soul, others seeking an explanation of something in Scripture. Even Metropolitan Photius at times sent him a request to furnish an explanation of some misunderstood saying of Holy Scripture, about which there was some dispute."
It happened that when one of the brethren was seduced by the devil he decided to steal books from the Saint's cell, and he fell down dead on the pathway with the books on his bosom. Only by the grace of the prayers of St. Barsanouphius was the unfortunate one resuscitated, and afterwards he worthily pursued asceticism in the monastery until the end of his days.
Having attained to a great old age, St. Barsanouphius returned to the mona-stery and to his brother St. Sabbas. St. Joseph of Volokolamsk bears witnesse to the spiritual strictness of St. Sabbas: "We have seen the blessed Sabbas, who headed the Sabbas Monastery in the vicinity of Tver for more than 50 years. He was so concerned for his flock that he stood always at the Church doors with staff in hand. If one of the brethren did not come to Church for the beginning of the service, or left before the dismissal, or chatted during the singing, or flitted about from his own place to another, St. Sabbas would not remain silent about it, but rather prohibited it, so that he did not let the matter drop without showing concern for even the smallest shortcomings... When necessary, he could be strict, and when there was need, he would be kind."
During a terrible epidemic in these years, it happened that all the other Priests of the monastery died. St. Sabbas made visits, heard confessions, communed the sick and buried the dead. There the great strength and grace of the Holy Ascetic was manifest. In the words of St. Joseph, "when the blessed Sabbas was visiting the sick and hearing confession, one of the brethren came and said that someone was dying and needed to confess, the Saint answered, 'Go, brother, and tell the dying one not to die, but rather to wait for my visit.' And just as the brother told this to the dying man, he stood up all better. After St. Sabbas gave him the Holy Mysteries of Christ, then the brother died. And this happened not once or twice, but a number of times."
"When St. Sabbas and St. Barsanouphius were alive," relates St. Joseph, "in the monastery under their guidance all was seemly, quiet and peaceful. If someone showed himself to be stubborn or ill-tempered, they would not permit him to have his way."
When St. Sabbas reposed, St. Barsanouphius and the other monks, zealous to preserve the traditions of the Fathers, elected an Abbot from another monastery, but he began to depart from the Rule of this monastery and from the tradition of these Holy Elders. Their tradition was that no one either ate or drank anything except from the common trapeza, that no one would leave the monastery without a blessing, that young boys would not live in cells or in the courtyard, and that women would not enter the monastery. In general, this was observed throughout the place according to the Rule. But the new Abbot, having come from elsewhere, deviated from all this and ignored it without concern.
Some time later St. Sabbas appeared to him in a dream and said, 'You wretch! Why do you not have the least concern for the monastery's welfare and piety, but instead you neglect and disregard these things?' The Saint touched the Abbot with his staff, so that he was not able to rise up from his bed. When he recovered and set things in order, then he no longer wished to govern the monastery. Soon he returned to the place from which he had come. Thus even after his death, St. Sabbas watched over his monastery.
St. Sabbas reposed in about the year 1467, somewhat earlier than his holy brother St. Barsanouphius.

March 4
St. Gerasimus of Vologda (+ 1178)
In the first half of the 12th c., there was a Monastery near Kiev, known as Gniletsy Hermitage of the Dormition of Our Lady. The Monastery came into being on the very place of the caves where Theodosius, the celebrated Abbot of the Kievan Monastery of the Caves (+ 1074, comm. May 3), used to spend Lenten time of each year in solitude, praying to God. After the peaceful repose of the Saint, many monks of the Caves Monastery began moving to this quiet location, gradually expanding and arranging the caves of Gniletsy according to the pattern of the original ones.
This was the place where St. Gerasimus once came to from Kiev, asking the brethren to admit him to the Hermitage. Startsy (Elders) made him a novice and later professed him with the name of Gerasimus, in honor of St. Gerasimus of Jordan (+ 475, comm. March 4) whose memory was celebrated on the day he took the habit.
At that time one could still find monks among the brethren of Gniletsy Hermitage who personally knew the founders of the Caves Monastery. With their help St. Gerasimus started to ascend the spiritual ladder. St. Gerasimus spent days in absolute obedience, unceasing labor and inner prayer. In this way St. Gerasimus strived to make Saints' precepts a reality of his own life.
Having reached the age that allowed him to be ordained to the Priesthood, he declined the honor and was doing so for a long time because of his humbleness; yet for the sake of obedience to the brethren he finally agreed to be ordained as a Hieromonk
During this new stage of his spiritual exploit, St. Gerasimus never missed a single day to celebrate Divine Liturgy. At night he prayed in the cave of St. Theo-dosius, which was sanctified by the prayers of the Kievan abbot whom he revered so much.
Like many of the followers of St. Anthony and St. Theodosius, who set out to preach God's teachings upon achieving spiritual maturity, St. Gerasimus betook himself from Gniletsy Hermitage to the north. The reason that prompted him to leave his native locality and his beloved hermitage, the time he left Kiev, and the details of his journey to Vologda are unclear. Supposedly, wide-spreading rumors of his monastic deeds became troublesome to St. Gerasimus. It may also be the case that he made such a decision partly due to the political strife that broke out in Kiev, leading to the murder of Holy and Right-believing Grand Duke Igor (c. 1146-1147, comm. September 19 and June 5).
However, it goes without saying that St. Gerasimus came to Vologda region led by Divine Providence. Outlying areas of Northern Russia -- known as Zavoloch'e -- were populated by indigenous people called chud' beloglazaya (a Finnish tribe characterized by light-colored eyes). Having learnt about Christianity from Novgorod dwellers in the 11th c. at the latest, local people were in need of more knowledge about the Christian faith.
On March 19, 1147, St. Gerasimus reached Vologda after a difficult and dangerous journey through swamps and forests. Taking into account that the traveler had not seen a single Church after crossing the Volga, one can imagine his joy when he saw a Church in a trading quarter, dedicated to the Resurrection of Christ. Just beyond the trading quarter there was a thick forest. Here, under the branches of centennial trees, this monk, unfamiliar to the locals, built a hut. St. Gerasimus spent days and nights in reciting psalms and praying. Local people got to know the forest hermit soon. Recognizing him as a wise preacher of the word of God, they began to visit St. Gerasimus for advice and instruction.
Partaking in Divine Liturgy in the local Church, he gradually got in close contact with the local people. The Saint decided to build a Church for them in honor of the Holy Trinity and to establish a Monastery in the vicinity. At that time one could hardly find a monastery in Northern Russia; this explains why Vologda dwellers took St. Gerasimus' initiative with a measure of perplexity at first, considering it senseless and unnecessary. Far from lending a helping hand, they sometimes put obstacles in the Saint's way.
St. Gerasimus endured such attitude to his project by Vologda dwellers with patience and deep trust in God's Providence. He worked alone diligently in the forest, clearing the site for the Church and the Monastery, which were to be built by the Kaysarov brook on the banks of the Vologda River. Receiving local dwellers, he humbly explained to them that he worked for their good and told them about distant Kiev, the Caves Monastery and its spiritual significance.
Stories told by this humble monk, his advice, wisdom and patience attracted more and more people to him. Some of them wished not only to help St. Gerasimus in his work but also to embrace a monastic life under his guidance.
After a while the construction work was completed and the first cloister in the history of Vologda province was set up. The latter was known later as Kaysarov Monastery of the Holy Trinity.
St. Gerasimus reposed on March 4, 1178, on his monastic name day. Thirty years had passed since the Monastery was started till the death of the Saint, yet the information about his life and deeds during that period is scarce. According to Church tradition and people's recollections, St. Gerasimus educated the people of Vologda province in the spirit of the Gospel during all these years, converting some people from paganism into Orthodoxy while upholding the faith of others and encouraging them to observe the Commandments of Christ and follow the way of truth.
In the Service devoted to the Saint, his apostolic activity is recounted in the following terms: "You enlightened by the Faith those who came to you." Moreover, his Hagiography describes cases of miraculous healing over his grave.
Kaysarov Monastery of the Holy Trinity thrived, attracting crowds of pilgrims, for more than 400 years until September 1612, when a devastating enemy attack destroyed both the town and the cloister. Not only historical landmarks and artifacts were lost, but also the very burial place of St. Gerasimus was difficult to identify.
At that time the Saint performed a miracle in order to revive the Holy Trinity Monastery in people's memory.
St. Gerasimus appeared in a dream to an old Vologda woman who had been blind for 12 years. He instructed her to celebrate a panikhida in the former monastery over his grave, which was supposed to be on the spot where she would find her kerchief. Next day early in the morning the blind woman asked to take her to the devastated monastery. The kerchief was found to the north of the building, and the woman recovered her sight immediately after the panikhida.
This miracle made the burial place of the Saint popular again. Thomas, a Vologda dweller who recounted the posthumous miracles of the saint, testified that "many people came there to rid themselves from their illnesses, and for lack of time they built a small Chapel over the Relics of the Saint, making a shrine and painting a small-sized (pyadnitsa) icon of the Saint."
Not only people who came with faith to the Saint's Relics were beneficially healed, but also those who knew nothing about him and had visions of St. Gerasimus, who instructed them to go to his shrine. The apparitions of the Saint usually relieved their sufferings; however, if the sick calmed down or were slow to follow his instructions, their condition became worse and kept worsening until the moment when the person whom the saint appeared to came to the shrine. In this way the Saint encouraged the sick to resort to the help of Merciful God and get healed through the saint's prayers.
In 1649 Vologda dwellers rebuilt the Church of the Holy Trinity near the above-mentioned Chapel. Archbishop Marcellus of Vologda and Great Perm (1645-1663) made arrangements to keep record of miracles that happened over the Saint's shrine, witnessing one of the healings himself.
In 1717 a stone Church of the Holy Trinity was built to replace the wooden one under the supervision of Archbishop Paul of Vologda and Belozersk (Vasil'ev; 1716-1725). The Holy Relics of St. Gerasimus of Vologda were translated to the newly built Church, and now they are kept below the floor level.

St. Basil Prince of Rostov (+ 1238)
He belonged in lineage to the Suzdal Monomashichi, famed in Russian History. The Saint's great-grandfather was Great Prince George (Yuri) Dolgoruky, and his grandfather was Great Prince Vsevolod III (+ 1212), brother to St. Andrew Bogoliubsky (comm. July 4), who had been heir to and continuer of St. Andrew Bogoliubsky's work. From Vladimir-on-Klyazma, which became the capital of the old Rostovo-Suzdal Principality, Vsevolod single-handedly set the course of affairs of the whole of Great Rus. The "Lay of Igor's Campaign" says that he could "splash the Volga with oars, and bail out the Don with helmets."
The oldest grandson of Vsevolod from his oldest son Constantine, St. Basil was born on December 7, 1208 in Rostov, where his father ruled as Prince. He spent his childhood there, and in 1216, when Constantine Vsevolodovich became Great Prince of Vladimir, Rostov was apportioned to Basil (he was then eight years old) as his princely appanage to rule himself.
Military valor, sacred duty of service to country, the sense of justice and the heeding of one's elders, all these are traditional features of a Russian Princely defender of the land, and all were present in Basil. The Saint's father, Great Prince Constantine, died on February 2, 1218, when Basil was not yet ten years of age. The guide of the young Rostov Prince then became his uncle, the Great Prince St. George of Vladimir (comm. February 4).
For twenty years Prince George ruled Vladimir, and for all these years Basil was his closest friend and confidant. The Chronicles take note of the vibrantly handsome figure of Basil, his bright and majestic glance, his daring in trapping wild game, his beneficence, his mind and deep studiousness, together with his mildness and good-nature in relations with the nobles: "Whoever served him, whoever ate his bread and drank the cup with him, could never be the servant of another Prince."
In the year 1219 Basil participated in a campaign of the Vladimir-Suzdal forces against the Volga Bulgars, and in 1221 in a campaign to the mouth of the River Oka. St. George was then held hostage at Nizhni Novgorod.
In 1223 the first Tatars appeared on the southern steppes, "an unknown people", coming out of Asia. Their first victims were the Polovetsians allied with Rus. The Russian Princes, with the Polovetsian Khans (many of whom had accepted Holy Baptism), decided to resist the plunderers of the steppes before they reached the Russian Land. St. Basil headed an auxiliary detachment, sent by Great Prince George to participate in the Russian steppe campaign.
The enemy showed up sooner than they expected. And the centuries-old division of appenage Principalities proved incapable of effective action in a large scale war. The detachment of Basil was not in time for the decisive battle, and from Chernigov came the sad news of the destruction of the Russian forces at the River Kalka on June 16, 1223. This was a bad omen, and the storm loomed on the east. Basil and his company returned to Rostov.
In 1227 (or 1228) Basil married, taking Maria, daughter of St. Michael of Chernigov (comm. September 20) as his wife. Basil's uncle, St. George, had previously married St. Michael's sister [i.e. Basil's uncle George had married Maria's aunt]. In 1231 Basil's oldest son Boris was born.
The storm clouds thickened over Russia. On May 3, 1230, "the earth shook during Liturgy", and famine and pestilence came upon Rus that year. In 1232 the Tatars made winter camp, having barely reached the capital of the Volga Bulgars. Life took its course, and Prince George in 1236 married off his sons Vladimir and Mstislav, and Basil rejoiced at their weddings. All of them, however, had little more than a year to live, for the Tatars had already taken the Volga-Bulgarian land.
In 1237 the Tatar whirlwind broke upon Rus. In December Ryazan fell under Khan Batu. Prince George had decided not to send his forces over to provide assistance, since he was faced with the difficult defense of Vladimir. The Tatars offered him peace, and he was prepared to negotiate. But the conditions of the peace, tribute and vassal servitude under the Khan, were unacceptable. "A glorious fight," said the Prince, "is better than a shameful peace." The first battle with the Tatars was at Kolomna, and Vsevolod Yurievich commanded the troops, but they were cut to pieces. The enemy turned then towards Moscow, which they captured and burned. George's other son, Vladimir, was captured while leading the defense of Moscow.
St. George and his faithful companion St. Basil were determined to fight "for the Orthodox Christian Faith" against the "godlessly vile Tatars." Having organized his defenses and leaving his sons Vsevolod and Mstislav at Vladimir, Prince George went beyond the Volga to gather new troops to replace those annihilated by Batu.
With him were his nephews, St. Basil of Rostov and his company, and his brothers, Vsevolod and Vladimir. The Great Prince awaited the arrival of his brothers Yaroslav and Svyatoslav and their forces. On Meatfare Saturday, February 3, 1238, quickly and without hindrance upon the wintry roads, the Tatar army approached Vladimir. Despite heroic defense, the fate of the city was sealed. Bishop Metrophanes for spiritual strength tonsured all the Princes and Princesses remaining in the city into the Angelic Schema. The city fell on February 7.
The final outpost of the Vladimirites was the Dormition Cathedral, repository of the most holy object in Russia: the Wonderworking Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God. The Tatars piled wood and kindling around the Cathedral and made a tremendous fire. Bishop Metrophanes died in the fire and smoke, together with a thousand defenseless women and children, and Prince George's entire family: his wife Agathia, daughter Theodora, daughters-in-law Maria and Christina, and the infant grandson Dimitrios. His sons Vsevolod and Mstislav, together with the previously captured Vladimir, were subjected to tortures and then slaughtered "before the eyes of the Khan".
St. George had been with his forces near Yaroslavl. Learning of the destruction of the capital and the death of those near and dear to him, "he lamented in a loud voice with tears." He said it would be better for him to die rather than continue to live in this world, since he alone survived. St. Basil, arriving with the Rostov company, encouraged him to continue with the military effort.
On March 4, 1238 the decisive battle took place at the River Sita. The Tatars unexpectedly managed to encircle the Russian army, and a slaughter ensued. Few Russian warriors remained alive after this terrible battle, but the enemy paid an expensive price for its victory. St. George was cut down in distinguished combat, and the wounded Basil was brought to Batu's headquarters.
The Tatars demanded that he "follow their vile customs, be subject to their will and fight for them." The Holy Prince angrily refused to betray his homeland or Holy Orthodoxy. "You cannot take the Christian Faith from me" he said, like one of the ancient Christian confessors. They tortured him a great deal, and then killed him in the Shernsk woods. Thus did Holy Prince Basil commit his soul to God, resembling in death the Holy Passion-Bearer Boris (comm. July 24), the first of the Rostov Princes, whom he had imitated in life. Like St. Boris, St. Basil was not even thirty years of age.
Bishop Cyril of Rostov, going out on the field of carnage, buried the fallen Orthodox warriors, and he sought the body of Holy Prince George (they did not find his cut-off head in the mass of broken bodies). He brought his Holy Relics to Rostov, to the Dormition Cathedral. The body of St. Basil was found in the Shernsk woods by a Priest's son and was taken to Rostov. There the Prince's wife, his children, Bishop Cyril and all the inhabitants of Rostov met the body of their beloved Prince with bitter wailing, and they buried him beneath the arches of the Cathedral Church.
Describing the burial of Prince Basil, the Chronicler said: "The multitude of Orthodox people wept bitterly, when they saw the departed father and nourisher of orphans, the great comforter of the sorrowful, and... the setting of a luminous star.... By his martyr's blood his transgressions and those of his brethren were washed away."
The people regarded it as a sign of God's mercy that the two princely comrades-in-arms were buried side by side in the Rostov Cathedral Church: "Behold the wonder, in death God has placed their bodies together." (Later on, the Relics of Holy Prince George were transferred to the restored Vladimir Dormition Cathedral).
The Russian Orthodox Church venerates Sts. Basil and George as Passion-Bearers, and heroic defenders of the Russian Land and Orthodox Faith. Their holy example has inspired Russian soldiers in the fight against hostile invaders. The most detailed account of the life and deeds of Holy Princes Basil and George is preserved in the Lavrentiev Chronicle, written by the monk Lawrence with the blessing of St. Dionysius, Archbishop of Suzdal, in the year 1377, three years before the Battle of Kulikovo Pole (1340).

Hieromartyrs Basil of Mirozh and Joasaph of Snetnogorsk (+ 1299)
They suffered under the Germans at two of the most ancient of the Pskov monasteries during the 13th c. St. Basil directed the Savior-Transfiguration Mirozh Monastery, founded in 1156 by St. Niphon, Bishop of Novgorod (comm. April 8), and by St. Abraham of Mirozh (comm. September 24). St. Joasaph was Abbot (and according also to some Pskov Saints' Lives, the founder) of the Monastery of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos on Mount Snatna.
The ascetics devoted much labor and concern to both the outer and inner welfare of the monasteries. In accord with the strict rule of cenobitic monastic life, introduced into his monastery by St. Joasaph, the life of the monks was filled with prayer, abstinence and work. (Almost 90 years after the death of St. Joasaph, his monastic Rule was reintroduced in the new monastic Rule of the Snetnogorsk Monastery by Archbishop Dionysius of Suzdal). The Snetnogorsk Monastery traced its origins from the efforts of St. Euphrosynus of Pskov (comm. May 15) and St. Sabbas of Krypetsk (comm. August 28).
Both these monasteries were outside the city walls and did not have any defenses. On March 4, 1299, the Germans fell upon Pskov and burned the Mirozh and Snetnogorsk Monasteries. During the burning of the Churches, Sts. Basil and Joasaph and the other monks endured an agonizing death. There was at that time much suffering in the city, and for the monks of other monasteries, and also for the women and children, but "through the prayers of the Holy Monk Martyrs, the Lord preserved the fighting men." Under the lead of the Pskov Prince, St. Dovmont-Timothy (comm. May 20), they came out against the enemy and near the Church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, they defeated the invaders at the banks of the Pskova River.
Sts. Basil and Joasaph were buried with their fellow ascetics beneath crypts at the Churches of their Monasteries. The venerable Head and part of the Relics of St. Joasaph were preserved in a special reliquary in the Church of the Snetnogorsk Monastery. Holy Prince Dovmont "out of his rightful inheritance" built a stone Church at the Snetnogorsk Monastery in place of the one that had burned, and he facilitated the restoration of monastic life at the ruined Monasteries.
Soon after the martyric death of Sts. Basil and Joasaph their churchly glorifi-cation took place at Pskov. On the manuscript Pskov Prologue of the 14th - 15th c., they are listed on March 5. But in the Pskov Chronicle and old Pskov Synodikons, the day of the blessed death of the Holy Monk Martyrs is given as March 4, and at present, this is the day of their commemoration. The Chronicle mentions the Presbyter Joseph, and the Prologue mentions the Presbyter Constantine as their fellow sufferers.

St. Daniel Prince of Moscow (+ 1303)
He was the youngest son of St. Alexander Nevsky (+ 1263; comm. November 23 and August 30) and the first-born of his second wife, righteous Grand Princhess Vassa. He was born in 1261 in Vladimir-on-Klyazma and at baptism was given the name Daniel, in honour of St. Daniel the Stylite of Constantinople (comm. December 11). Later this fact took on a peculiar symbolic interpretation. The point is that December 11th is the day with the shortest period of light in Moscow (7 hours 1 minute) and after that the nights get shorter and the days get longer. This circumstance was perceived as an omen of the beginning rise of Moscow and Rus from the days of Holy Prince Daniel's rule.
The chronicles don't provide much information about the years spent by Daniel in his father's home. It is known only that he was raised in piety and the fear of God. When St. Daniel was two years old his father died and being only ten years old he began to rule: after casting lots between St. Alexander Nevsky's sons he inherited the Moscow principality, which was small and insignificant at the time.
As Prince he restored the wooden fortification wall around the Borovitsky hill, which had been destroyed by Khan Batu, thus continuing the formation of the Moscow Kremlin. Here, on the spot where hermit Vukolus had used to live, St. Daniel erected a wooden Church in honour of the Transfiguration of our Lord - it was called the Saviour-on-Bor (the word "bor" meaning pine forest) and in 1330 it was replaced by a stone Church.
On the sloping banks of the Moskva River, about 5 km from the Kremlin, St. Daniel founded (not later than 1282) the first men's Monastery in Moscow with a wooden Church in honor of his heavenly protector St. Daniel the Stylite. The chronicles say that St. Daniel paid all the maintenance costs of the Monastery from his own means. To provide assistance for the Monastery's activities he placed several peasant houses around it, which gave rise to one of the oldest Moscow districts-Daniel's settlement.
In 1300, at St. Daniel's order, on a steep bank of the Moskva River (on Kruticy) also at a distance of 5 km from the Kremlin, another Church was erected in honor of the Apostles Peter and Paul and was consecrated by the Greek Bishop Varlaam who was wandering then in Russia with Holy Relics. He settled in the Bishop's house which had been built by the Prince near the Church and that is why he was called Bishop Kruticky (not after the Diocese which he didn't have, but after the name of the district ).
All these remarkable initiatives are testimonies to the special role of St. Daniel in the rise of Moscow. From 1147 to 1272 six Russian Princes in succession had ruled the Moscow Principality, but only with the beginning of St. Daniel's rule did the rise of Moscow really begin.
Among the testimony that has reached our time concerning the fundamental role of St. Daniel as initiator of the expansion and fortification of the capital city, the words of Metropolitan Platon, the author of St. Daniel's "Life" particularly stand out:
“This first founder gave rise to the present grandeur (of Moscow) having paved by quiet steps a small path. For as any building being constructed without extreme hurry but with great skill and care acquires special solidity and stays indestructible for a long time; as a tree which grows for many centuries having started with a small twig gets thicker and thicker and its branches reach far beyond it, - so this city had to grow from a small but solid base, so that its first radiance didn't darken the eyes of envious people and so that it didn't stagger and fall down before it reached its greatness. In this way this great city was prepared by its founder and was given its small, yet uninterrupted radiance. Thus he left the greater glory of the city's rise to his son - Grand Prince Ioann Danilovich, called Kalita, who was a true imitator of the virtues of his meek and honorable father and raised this city to the highest stage of glory and power."
During St. Daniel's rule by God's Providence Russia was compelled to admit the Golden Hordes' power. Many Russian Princes engaged in the internecine fights resorted to the help of the Hordes' Khans. St. Daniel, however, restrained from taking part in the internecine clashes during the entire thirty-year period of his rule. His righteousness, peacefulness, humbleness and mercy, his taking care of his subjects won him the respect not only of his neighbours, including his elder brothers, but of the Hordes' Khans as well.
If, however, Prince Daniel had to take up arms it was only for the pacification of enmity and the establishment of peace. When Prince Constantine of Ryazan called on one of the Tatar Khans for help and was about to attack Moscow lands, Prince Daniel started a campaign against Ryazan.
After defeating the Tatar forces (it was the first victory over Tatars ) he restrained from seizing the Ryazan Principality, though it was the usual practice at the time. Prince Constantine of Ryazan was taken prisoner to Moscow and was kept by St. Daniel, with the due honour proper to his position, until his repentance led to the concluding of peace.
During the terrible Tatar raid of Moscow, St. Daniel, remembering his obliging rank, didn't abandon his city, though he had an opportunity to find shelter with his favourite nephew - Prince Ioann of Pereyaslavl.
St. Daniel was able to impose peace upon the hearts of his bellicose brothers not with the help of weapons but by being fair, kind- hearted, calling for peace and for abandoning enmity. By his deeds he fulfilled the Gospel's teaching:" Love your enemies. Do good to those people that hate you " (Luke, 6, 27).
These high personal qualities impelled the General Council of Princes of Russia in 1296 to hand over to St. Daniel the power and title of Grand Prince of all of Russia and the symbols of this title (the cross containing the particle of the Life-Giving Tree, the mitre, the scepter, the orb, the golden chain, the purple).
In 1302 Prince Ioann of Pereyaslavl-Zalessky, being childless, bequeathed his Principality to Prince Daniel of Moscow, whom he loved very much for his kind-heartedness. St. Daniel's ambitious brother Prince Andrew, being the eldest in the clan, laid claim to Pereyaslavl and sent there his deputies. Having been met by furious citizens of Pereyaslavl they were compelled to withdraw.
Annexation of Pereyaslavl, Kolomna and Mozhaisk promoted further consolidation of the Moscow principality.
On 4 March 1303 St. Prince Daniel passed away at the age of about 42. Before that he had taken vows of Schema. According to his will he was buried by his sons in Daniel's Monastery, in the Church graveyard where the monks of the Monastery had been buried.
He left 5 sons after his death. In 1330 , 27 years after his repose, his younger son Prince Ioann Kalita (1325-1340), who inherited Moscow, moved Daniel's Monastery to the Kremlin. It was named the Monastery of the Saviour after the Church of the Saviour on the Kremlin territory. Later in 1490 the Monastery was moved to another place and called the New Monastery of the Saviour. Meanwhile the ancient buildings of the Danilov Monastery gradually fell into decay but St. Daniel invisibly guided his Monastery.
There are three testimonies of St. Daniel's ever-active intercession. During Ioann III's rule, St. Daniel came to one of the young courtiers, who was passing by the Monastery and said to him: "Ask Grand Prince Ioann why he is only taking care of himself and has assigned me to oblivion." From that time Prince Ioann established special services for his dead relatives.
During the rule of another of Prince Daniel's descendants, a certain Boyar Shuysky was passing by the Monastery graveyard. When he was about to straddle his horse from a tombstone some man warned him that under that stone was lying Grand Prince Daniel. Shuysky, however, seeing that the place was miserable and dilapidated, he answered: "So what of it? There were plenty of Princes." Suddenly the horse under him reared up and the Boyar fell down more dead than alive. He regretted his impertinence and ordered that a service be held for honorable Prince Daniel.
During Ivan the Terrible's rule a certain merchant's dying son was miraculously cured near St. Prince Daniel's tomb. Surprised by this miracle, the Tsar restored the ancient Daniel's Monastery, gathered the monks and in 1550-1560 built a stone Church in honour of the Holy Fathers of the Seven Ecumenical Councils.
On August 30, 1652 Tsar Alexy Mikhailovich, having received a revelation from St. Daniel, arrived at the Monastery, together with Patriarch Nikon and the Holy Council. The Relics of St. Daniel found by them proved to be whole and incorrupt. They were placed in a silver shrine and later on were the source of many healings. At the same time honorable Prince Daniel was canonized and ranked among the Saints honoured by the Russian Orthodox Church.

March 5
Sts. Adrian (+ 1550) and Leonid (+ 1549) of Poshekhonsk
St. Adrian was born in the 16th c. into a pious family from Rostov; his parents' names were Gregory and Irene. He became a monk at the Monastery of St. Cornelius of Komel, in Vologda. Since the monastic community of St. Cornelius included many builders and icon-painters, the Churches of the Monastery were constructed and decorated by the monks themselves. A gifted painter of Icons, St. Adrian, too, contributed to the decoration of the Monastery. During the last years of life of St. Cornelius, the Kazan Tatars made a plundering raid on the area where the Monastery was located. The Abbot took all the brethren away to the Ukhtoma River. However, the Tatars, frightened by the sight of a multitude of warriors protecting the Monastery, did no harm to it, and soon they left the Vologda region. St. Cornelius with the monks returned to the Monastery, where he passed away, on 19 May 1537.
Three years after the death of St. Cornelius, St. Adrian, who was a Hierodeacon at that time, craved to go to a deserted place in order to establish a Monastery, in honor of the Most Holy Theotokos. The Lord helped the Saint to carry out his plan. Once a saintlike elder monk, strange to everyone, came to St. Cornelius Monastery. Adrian met him at the Church and asked for his name, yet received no answer. He invited the Elder to his cell and asked to tell something for the good of the soul. The Elder said that he could show Adrian a place where the latter could build a Church and a Monastery dedicated to the Most Holy Theotokos.
St. Adrian immediately went to St. Laurence, the Abbot (+ 1548; comm. 16 May), to be blessed for life in desolate silence. Mindful of the precept of St. Cornelius, who instructed to grant the requests of those monks who decided to retire to the desert, the Abbot did not try to dissuade Adrian and gave him his blessing. St. Laurence also allowed Elder Leonid, Adrian's disciple, to go with him.
After the prayer over the shrine of St. Cornelius, St. Adrian and Elder Leonid set off, led by the mysterious monk. St. Adrian took along the Icon of the Dormition of the Mother of God of his own painting. On 13 September 1540, the day before the Feast of the Exaltation, St. Adrian and Elder Leonid entered the wild Poshekhonsky forest, a wooded area between the villages Belty, Patrabolshee, Shelshedolskoye and Ukhorskoye, and stopped on the bank of the Votkha River. There the Elder who led them suddenly became invisible. The amazed travelers began to sing the festal Canon and the service to the Exaltation, praising God with tears. At that moment the Church bells resounded through the surrounding villages as if presaging the future glory of the monastery as a place of God's worship.
St. Adrian and Elder Leonid lived three years in deserted solitude, lacking daily necessities, enduring temptations from the devil and slander from evil people. Then they began to carry out their cherished plan. Having chosen the appropriate time, the ascetics went to Moscow to obtain Metropolitan Macarius' blessing for the foundation of a Monastery in honor of the Dormition of the Mother of God on the Votkha River in the Poshekhonian land. The Metropolitan blessed the hermits to set a Monastery five miles away from the town of Poshekhonye, in the Yaroslavl Region. He also ordained Hierodeacon Adrian to the Priesthood and appointed him Abbot.
In the charter of privileges handed over to St. Adrian, Macarius stated the following: "Hieromonks, Deacons, monks and laymen must take the advice of this man as a teacher and pastor and obey all his orders." In Moscow, the Poshekhonian hermits were able to find generous benefactors, who saw the zeal of the Elders and made important contributions in support of their plan.
On 31 May 1543, the day of his return to the desert, Abbot Adrian laid the foundation of the Church of the Dormition with a refectory. Having decorated and consecrated the new Church, St. Adrian proceeded to setting up a Monastery.
The strict rule of St. Cornelius was introduced in the monastery. The monks, being undemanding and having no possessions whatsoever, spent most of their time praying in the Church and in their cells. Significant time was devoted to the reading of the Holy Scripture as well. This reading was "neither loud nor solemn, but rather quiet and lowly; while one of them read the Scriptures, the other analyzed the verses just read." They also practiced reading in solitude. Besides performing his duties as an abbot, St. Adrian used to paint Icons. Time and again, when his holy soul craved for complete silence, he would retire for prayer to his makeshift cell with a Chapel in the heart of the forest, a mile away from the Monastery.
In 1549, six years after the foundation of the Monastery, Elder Leonid reposed peacefully in the Lord, and St. Adrian with the brethren buried him with due honors. By that time the brethren had grown in number significantly. The monks built three cells to live in and a cell for cooking and baking bread. St. Adrian conceived a plan to build a big stone Cathedral and raised a large sum of money for that purpose. But in 1550, a year after the death of Elder Leonid, during Great Lent, on the night of 6 March (memory of the 42 Martyrs of Ammoria), armed robbers broke into the Monastery. Having tortured St. Adrian, they strangled him and left his body on the bank of the Ushloma River. Priest Isidore buried the martyred Saint in the Church.
Soon miracles began to occur over the grave of the Saint. The Holy Relics of the Monk-Martyr were uncovered incorrupt, on 19 November 1625; on 17 December they were translated solemnly to the Monastery Church and put into an open shrine, opposite the right choir.
Their memory is also celebrated on 19 November.

March 6
St. Job of Anzersk, Solovki (+ 1720)
In the world John, hewas born at Moscow in the year 1635. He began his pastoral service in one of the parish Churches. He lived strictly, like a monk, fasting and constantly praying. His love for people was amazing, and he always sought the opportunity to do good for his neighbor. With total commitment, Father he helped all who were in need, he concerned himself with those who were wronged and suffered innocently, he encouraged the spiritually weak, he gently and wisely brought the profligate to their senses, and he consoled and guided others. His house was always open to the needy. He fed them, and spoke to them in a fatherly way. He would send them off cheered up, giving them clothes for the road, as much as he could. If he himself unexpectedly offended anyone, he regretted it and immediately asked forgiveness.
News of the good pastor reached even Tsar Peter I, and the Saint was summoned to serve in the Imperial Chapel, and was chosen as Confessor of the Tsar and the Imperial Family. Using his influence at Court, the Saint strove to be of even more help to the poor. Visiting captives in the prisons, he had a good influence on criminals through the Word of God, while he encouraged those who were innocently condemned to be patient, and he helped those in debtors' prison to pay off their debt. With his advance of years devoting himself to contemplation of God, emerged from his house only for Church services, though not ceasing his benevolent work through persons of authority.
In 1701, falsely denounced before the Tsar (he had learned about some evil intent, but "he as a Priest would not reveal the source"), the Saint was banished to the Solovki Monastery and tonsured into monasticism with the name Job. After many tribulations, he was released from his obediences and lived in silence in his cell as a hermit. Learning of the ascetic's holy life, and discovering that he had been slandered, Tsar Peter I wanted the Priest to return to him, but St. Job refused. In 1702 he went to the Anzersk Skete of the Holy Trinity for greater silence. Soon after the death of Anzersk's founder St. Eleazar (comm. January 13), he was appointed its head.
Calling to mind the Lord's words: "To whom much is given, of him will much be required" (Lk. 12:48), he exerted much toil and effort in his new responsibilities. As a wise teacher he taught everyone in humble obedience to God and extolled it as the first virtue, without which no one can be saved. He also instructed them regarding constant work, and concern for one's neighbor. He himself visited the sick, washed and bandaged their wounds, and often healed them of their infirmities through his prayers. In all of this he never ignored church services nor his cell Rule of prayer.
In 1710 St. Job accepted the Great Angelic Schema with the name Joshua (for the Old Testament leader Joshua, son of Navi]. The Mother of God Herself soon indicated his ultimate path to him. She appeared to him in a dream with the Skete's first head and patron St. Eleazar of Anzersk, and She said that on a hill on Anzersk Island, henceforth called a second Golgotha, a Church of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ should be built, and a Monastery established. Accepting this wondrous dream as a sign of God's blessing, the Elder Joshua went to Mount Golgotha in 1714, and with the help of his disciples, the Schemamonk Matthew and the Monk Makarius, he founded the Golgotha-Crucifixion Skete, where he continued with his efforts. In 1715 a wooden Church in honor of the Crucifixion of the Lord was built.
The aged builder, an example for the brethren, often chopped wood himself, carried water up the hill, and kneaded dough in the bakery. In his cell the Elder constantly busied himself with handicrafts, and he divided the money which he obtained from this into three parts: for Church needs, for the needs of the brethren, and alms for the poor. He kept nothing for himself, having only some religious books of his own.
For his God-pleasing life the monk was granted a special revelation. Through his fervent prayers, the Most Holy Theotokos Herself appeared to him in his cell and showed a place on the hill, where he was to dig a well and get enough water for the needs of the Monastery. When the wondrous water-spring was uncovered, the Saint said to the brethren, "Never grieve nor despair, but always trust in God. Remember His promise: 'Even if a woman should forget her child, I would not forget you'" (Isaiah 49:15).
With the help of God the Saint was able to foresee the wicked intent of some strangers who once came to him, and by his prayer: "Lord, send sleep upon Your servants, beset with vain pleasing of the enemy," the malevolent strangers slept for five days and nights. Thus, he led them to sincere repentance. Another time he lectured robbers, commanding them to stand motionless under their heavy load of loot for two days, although these did not ask for forgiveness.
God revealed to St. Joshua the time of his approaching end. Some while before his death the Saint notified the brethren that he would die on a Sunday at the rising of the sun. Having devoted his whole life to the service of God and neighbor, and having prepared himself for the appointed hour, the humble ascetic repented, so that it took very little for him to please the Lord.
He reposed in peace, as he foretold, on a Sunday, on the Sunday of Orthodoxy, in the morning at the rising of the sun, on March 6, 1720.
In the moments before the Saint's death, his cell shone with an extraordinary light. There was a fragrance and the Psalm was heard: "I will go to the place of thy wondrous tabernacle, even to the house of God, with a voice of exultation and thanks-giving, and the sound of those who keep festival" (Ps. 41/42:4).

March 8
Sts. Lazarus (+ 1391) and Athanasius (15th c.) of Murom
St. Lazarus, a Greek by origin, was born at Constantinople. In his native city he became a monk at the High-Mount Monastery under the Elder Athanasius Diskotes, builder of many monasteries. Eight years later, he was under the guidance of Bishop Basil of Caesarea. In the year 1343 Bishop Basil, wanting to encourage the Russian Church, sent him as a noted iconographer together with monks and gifts to St. Basil, Arch-bishop of Novgorod (comm. February 10, October 4, June 3).
St. Lazarus made a copy of Novgorod's Icon of Sophia, the Wisdom of God (comm. August 15) for the Caesarea Diocese, and compiled an account of Novgorod Churches and Monasteries. Meeting the monk, the Novgorod Hierarch bowed to the ground to his guest and blessed him to remain in a monastery he built. For ten years St. Lazarus faithfully served St. Basil, and in 1352 upon the death of the Holy Archpastor, he "dressed the holy body in the prepared clothing and shed many tears."
Grieved that he had been deprived of both his guides (previously, the Saint had received letters informing him of the death of Bishop Basil), St. Lazarus considered returning to his native land. However, in a dream the Novgorod Hierarch appeared to him and directed him "to go northward towards the sea, to Mucha Island in Lake Onega" (Murom Island in Lake Onega). In a short time his first guide, Bishop Basil of Caesarea, commanded him in a dream to go to that same place and found a monastery. The Chronicles say that at this time the Novgorodians were making their first attempts to convert the peoples of the White Sea coastal region to Christianity.
But St. Lazarus was not able to get to this island at once. For a long time, he owner of the island, the Novgorod merchant Ivan, would not permit him. The monk prayed fervently to the Most Holy Theotokos and to St. John the Forerunner, and he wept at the grave of St. Basil. And the owner's resistance was removed. St. Basil once appeared to him in a dream and ordered him to bestow the island "to our friend Lazarus", so that the Mother of God might be honored there.
St. Lazarus arrived alone at the blessed spot. He set up a cross, a hut, and a Chapel. Soon the Lopari and Chud natives living on the island heard about him, and he endured much suffering from them. They burned down his hut and did what damage they could. They beat him, chased him from the island, and pursued him in order to kill him. But God and the Queen of Heaven guarded the Saint.
At the site of the burned hut the Icon of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos again appeared to St. Lazarus, miraculously undamaged by the fire. It was with this Icon that they had blessed him when he became a monk, and from it was heard a commanding Voice: "The faithless people shall become faithful, and there will be one Church and one flock of Christ. Establish upon this place a Church of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos."
Another time the Saint saw how this place was blessed by "a Woman of majesty, radiant with golden hue, and resplendant men who made reverence to Her." Soon the eldest of the Lopari came to the monk and begged him to heal a child born blind: "... then we shall depart from the island, as your servants have been command-ed." St. Lazarus perceived that this was an Angel, and he gave thanks unto the Lord. He healed the blind child after praying and sprinkling him with holy water. Then, the "bad people" quit the island, and the father of the healed child later became a monk, and all his sons were baptized.
From that time, people started coming to the Saint from faraway places. He baptized them, and tonsured them into monasticism. Even his fellow countrymen came to him from Constantinople, the Holy Monks Eleazar, Eumenius and Nazarius (comm. June 4), future founders of the Monastery of the Forerunner in the Olonetsk region.
Visiting Novgorod, St. Lazarus received from Bishop Moses (1352-1360) his blessing for the construction of a Monastery, together with an antimension and some Church vessels. A Church was built in honor of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos, the first in all the coastal region; also a Church of the Resurrection of Lazarus, and even a wooden Church of St. John the Forerunner together with a trapeza. The Murom Dormition Monastery was built up and strengthened by its zealous head St. Lazarus until his old age.
The time of his death was revealed to him in a vision by his faithful protector, St. Basil of Novgorod. Having chosen a worthy successor, the Athonite Elder Theodosius, and after receiving the Holy Life-Creating Mysteries and blessing everyone, St. Lazarus departed to the Lord on March 8, 1391 at the age of 105 years. They buried him in a Chapel beside the Church of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos.
The Life of St. Lazarusus was written by the Elder Theodosius from the words of the monk himself.
St. Athanasius was Abbot of the Monastery of St. Lazarus during the mid-15th c. After his death, the ascetic's body was buried in a separate Chapel, where the chains of the Saint were preserved as evidence of his exploits. His veneration goes back a long time.
In the second half of the 17th c. they called St. Athanasios "a wonderworking monk."

March 11
St. Sophronius the Hermit of the Kiev Caves (13th c.)
He was an ascetic of the Far Kiev Caves, during the 13th c. The Saint wore a hairshirt and a heavy iron belt, and read through the entire Psalter every day.

St. Euthymius Archbishop of Novgorod (+ 1458)
In Baptism John, he was born in answer to the fervent prayers of the Priest Micah and his wife Anna. For many years they had been childless, and they vowed that if they had a son, they would dedicate him to God. The boy read priestly books and frequently attended Church services, often helping his father in the small Church of St. Theodore. All this sanctified young John's soul. In the year 1411, he left his parental home for a monastery at the age of 15.
Twelve versts from Novgorod, in a wilderness spot named Vyazhisch, three monks, Euphrosynus, Ignatius and Galaktion, settled in the forests and the swamps. They were soon joined by the Priest Pimen, who was tonsured with the name Pachomius. Here they lived in complete solitude at a wooden Chapel they built in honor of St. Nicholas. They lived in unceasing prayer and struggled with the severe conditions of nature in the northern regions.
The young John also came to these ascetics seeking salvation. The Abbot Pachomius accepted him fondly and tonsured him into monasticism with the name Euthymius. His tonsure at such a young age is an indication of the young ascetic's outstanding spiritual traits.
During this time the See of Novgorod was occupied by Archbishop Symeon, a simple monk who became a Hierarch. The virtuous life of St. Euthymius became known to the Archbishop. He was summoned to Novgorod and after a long talk with Archbishop, he was appointed as the Archbishop's steward.
At that time the Archbishops of Novgorod occupied a unique position. Independent of Princely authority, they were elected directly by the assembly and they assumed a large role in secular matters. Moreover, they administered vast landhold-ings. Under these conditions, an Archbishop's steward had to combine administrative talent with the utmost non-covetousness and deep Christian humility. St. Euthymius fervently entreated the Archpastor to send him back to Vyazhisch, but then he agreed to stay.
St. Euthymius evoked general astonishment and esteem, occupying such an important position, and being at the center of business life in a large city. As a monk he devoted himself to asceticism as fervently as he would have done in the deep forest.
Archbishop Symeon died in 1421. Under the new Hierarch, Euthymius I, St. Euthymius again withdrew to his monastery. Soon, however, the monks of a monastery on Lisich Hill chose the Saint as their Abbot. With the death of Archbishop Euthymius I (in 1429), St. Euthymios was then elected as Archbishop. On November 29, he entered into the Church of St. Sophia. For four years the Saint administered the Novgorod Diocese, while putting off being installed as Archbishop. Only on May 24, 1434 was he consecrated at Smolensk by Metropolitan Gerasimus.
He wisely governed his diocese for twenty-nine years, zealous in fulfilling his Archpastoral duty. St. Euthymius labored in constructing and restoraing Churches, especially after the devastating fires of the years 1431 and 1442.
The Sophia Cathedral was richly embellished by the Saint, and several new Churches were built in the Novgorod Kremlin. "If you wish to see a few of his great works," writes Pachomius the Logothete, "go to the Church of St. Sophia. There you will see the Churches he built, standing like hillocks. They speak of their varied charm, not with words, but in deed. 'This was given me by Archbishop Euthymius,' proclaims one Church. Another says, 'He has adorned me so magnificently.' A third exclaims, 'He built me up from the very foundations.'
The Church of St. John Chrysostom, tall and beautiful, blesses with the hand of Chrysostom, and proclaims: "Since you have built me a temple, I in turn shall entreat the Creator to prepare a habitation in Heaven for you." The Cathedral of the Wisdom of God, speaking across the years of its restoration by him, proclaims: "He has restored me to my original grandeur, he has adorned me with holy icons. He is my praise and beauty."
St. Euthymius built also a Church in honor of his Guardian Angel [i.e. Russian idiom for "patron Saint"], and in 1438 he built a stone Church at Vyazhitsk Monastery in honor of St. Nicholas. The following year he built a stone Church in honor of St. John the Theologian with a trapeza and consistory.
Zealous for the glory of God, St. Euthymius had more spiritual books printed. Many service books survive from this period, transcribed "under the authority of Archbishop Euthymius." Despite his abundant works, the Saint always promptly fulfilled the monastic Rule. Whatever he could not do by day he accomplished by night. An hour before Matins the Saint rose up for his cell rule. He often spent the whole night without sleep, and he wore chains, but no one knew about them until his death. The Saint spent the first week of Great Lent at Vyazhitsk Monastery in silent prayer, eating nothing.
In 1446 the Great-Princely Throne was usurped by Shemyaka, who established relations with Novgorod. The political situation in Novgorod was often quite strained. In 1451, St. Jonah Metropolitan of Russia (comm. March 31) in a special letter urged the people of Novgorod to cease their rowdiness and to heed their Archpastor. "Heed our son and brother, your father and teacher, the God-beloved Archbishop Euthymius, in all things."
St. Euthymius, advanced in age, was troubled in soul that the actions of Shemyaka might cast a pall over his relations with the revered primate, and he sent a letter to St. Jonah. Sensing the nearness of his death, St. Euthymius asked his prayers and pardon.
In his reply, a letter of pardon, St. Jonah wrote: "We remind you, my son, that you comported yourself too simply: you accepted one who was excommunicated for his transgressions by Our Humility, and found him worthy of your blessing. My son, offer repentance to God for this."
St. Jonah ordered that if the letter of pardon should arrive after the blessed end of Novgorod's Archpastor, then it should be read over his grave. St. Euthymius reposed on March 10, 1458. The Priest Eumenius, sent by St. Jonah with the grammota of pardon, arrived in Novgorod sixteen days after the death of St. Euthymius, whose grave was at the Church of the Vyazhitsk Monastery.
When they opened the grave in order to read the letter of pardon, they then saw that the body of the Saint showed no sign of decay. St. Euthymius lay there as though asleep, and his fingers were positioned for a blessing. "God preserve Novgorod, for which St. Euthymius prays," exclaimed Eumenius. Reading the letter of St. Jonah, he placed it into the hand of the deceased Hierarch.
Soon after the death of the Saint, the Lord glorified him by working miracles for those who sought his prayerful intercession. Greatly revering the Saint, the monks of the Vyazhitsk Monastery erected a Church in honor of St. Euthymios, which was noted in the census of 1500.
The commemoration of St. Euthymius was established at the Moscow Council of 1549. The Life of St. Euthymius was written by Pachomius the Logothete, having been commissioned by St. Jonah, Archbishop of Novgorod (comm. November 5).

March 14
St. Rostislav - Michael, Great Prince of Kiev (+ 1167)
He was the son of the Kievan Great Prince St. Mstislav the Great (comm. June 14), and the brother of Holy Prince Vsevolod - Gabriel (comm. February 11, April 22, and November 27). He was one of the great civil and churchly figures of the mid-12th c. His name is connected with the fortification and rise of Smolensk, and both the Smolensk Principality and the Smolensk Diocese.
Up until the 12th c. the Smolensk land was part of the Kievan realm. The beginning of its political separation took place in 1125, when Holy Prince Mstislav the Great, gave Smolensk to his son Rostislav (in Baptism Michael) as an inheritance from his father, the Kievan Great Prince Vladimir Monomakh. Thanks to the work and efforts of St. Rostislav, the Smolensk Principality, which he ruled for more than forty years, expanded and was built up with cities and villages, adorned with Churches and Monasteries, and became influential in Russian affairs.
St. Rostislav founded the cities of Rostislavl, Mstislavl, Krichev, Propoisk, and Vasiliev among others. He was the forefather of the Smolensk Princely Dynasty. In 1136 he succeeded in establishing a separate Smolensk Diocese. Its first Bishop was Manuel, installed between March-May of 1136 by Metropolitan Michael of Kiev. Prince Rostislav issued an edict in the city of Smolensk assuring Bishop Manuel that he would provide him with whatever he needed. On September 30, 1150 St. Rostislav also ceded Cathedral Hill at Smolensk to the Smolensk Diocese, where the Dormition Cathedral and other diocesan buildings stood.
Contemporaries thought highly of the Church construction of Prince Rostislav. Even the sources that are inclined to report nothing more about it note that "this Prince built the Church of the Theotokos at Smolensk." The Dormition Cathedral, originally built by his grandfather, Vladimir Monomakh, in the year 1101 was rebuilt and expanded under Prince Rostislav. The rebuilt Cathedral was consecrated by Bishop Manuel on the Feast of the Dormition, August 15, 1150. Prince Rostislav was a "builder of the Church" in a far wider sense: he endowed the Smolensk Dormition Church of the Mother of God, and transformed it from a city Cathedral into the ecclesiastical center of the vast Smolensk Diocese.
Holy Prince Rostislav was the builder of the Smolensk Kremlin, and of the Savior Cathedral at the Smyadynsk Sts.Boris and Gleb Monastery, founded on the place of the murder of Holy Prince Gleb. Later his son David, possibly fulfilling the wishes of his father, transferred the old wooden coffins of Sts. Boris and Gleb from Kievan Vyshgorod to Smyadyn.
In the decade of the fifties of the 12th c., St. Rostislav was drawn into a prolonged struggle for Kiev, which involved representatives of the two strongest princely lines: the Olgovichi and the Monomakhovichi. On the Monomakhovichi side the major contender to be Great Prince was Rostislav's uncle, Yurii Dolgoruky. Rostislav, as Prince of Smolensk, was one of the most powerful rulers of the Russian land and had a decisive voice in military and diplomatic negotiations.
For everyone involved in the dispute, St. Rostislav was both a dangerous opponent and a desired ally, and he was at the center of events. This had a providen-tial significance, since St. Rostislav distinguished himself by his wisdom regarding the civil realm, by his strict sense of justice and unconditional obedience to elders, and by his deep respect for the Church and its Hierarchy. For several generations he was the bearer of the "Russkaya Pravda" ("Russian Truth") and of Russian propriety.
After the death of his brother Izyaslav (November 13, 1154), St. Rostislav became Great Prince of Kiev, but he ruled Kiev at the same time with his uncle Vyacheslav Vladimirovich. After the latter's death, Rostislav returned to Smolensk, ceding the Kiev Princedom to his other uncle, Yurii Dolgoruky, and he removed himself from the bloodshed of the princely disputes. He occupied Kiev a second time on April 12, 1159 and he then remained Great Prince until his death (+ 1167). More than once, he had to defend his paternal inheritance with sword in hand.
The years of St. Rostislav's rule occurred during one of the most complicated periods in the History of the Russian Church. The elder brother of Rostislav, Izyaslav Mstislavich, a proponent of the Autocephaly of the Russian Church, favored the erudite Russian monk Clement Smolyatich for Metropolitan, and wanted him to be made Metropolitan by a Council of Russian Bishops, without seeking the usual approval from the Patriarch of Constantinople. This occurred in the year 1147.
The Russian Hierarchy basically supported Metropolitan Clement and Prince Izyaslav in their struggle for ecclesiastical independence from Constantinople, but several Bishops headed by St. Niphon of Novgorod, did not recognize the Autocephaly of the Russian Metropolitanate and shunned communion with it, having transformed their Dioceses into independent ecclesial districts, pending the resolution of this question. Bishop Manuel of Smolensk also followed this course. St. Rostislav understood the danger which lay hidden beneath the idea of Russian Autocephaly for these times, which threatened the break-up of Rus. The constant fighting over Kiev among the Princes might also lead to a similar fight over the Kievan See among numerous contenders, put forth by one princely group or another.
The premonitions of St. Rostislav were fully justified. Yurii Dolgoruky, who remained loyal to Constantinople, occupied Kiev in the year 1154. He immediately banished Metropolitan Clement and petitioned Constantinople for a new Metropo-litan. This was to be St. Constantine (comm. June 5), but he arrived in Russia only in the year 1156, six months before the death of Yurii Dolgoruky (+ May 15, 1157). Six months later, when St. Rostislav's nephew Mstislav Izyaslavich entered the city on December 22, 1157, St. Constanine was obliged to flee Kiev, while the deposed Clement Smolyatich returned as Metropolitan. Then a time of disorder began in Russia, for there were two Metropolitans.
All the Hierarchy and the clergy came under interdict: the Greek Metropolitan suspended the Russian supporters of Clement, and Clement suspended all the supporters of Constantine. To halt the scandal, St. Rostislav and Mstislav decided to remove both Metropolitans and petition the Patriarch of Constantinople to appoint a new Archpastor for the Russian Metropolitan See.
But this compromise did not end the matter. Arriving in Kiev in the autumn of 1161, Metropolitan Theodore died in spring of the following year. Following the example of St. Andrew Bogoliubsky, who supported his own fellow ascetic Bishop Theodore to be Metropolitan, St. Rostislav put forth his own candidate, who turned out to be the much-suffering Clement Smolyatich.
The fact that the Great Prince had changed his attitude toward Metropolitan Clement, shows the influence of the Kiev Caves Monastery, and in particular of Archimandrite Polycarp. Archimandrite Polycarp, who followed the traditions of the Caves (in 1165 he became Abbot of the monastery), was personally very close to St. Rostislav.
St. Rostislav had the pious custom of inviting the Abbot and twelve monks to his own table on the Saturdays and Sundays of Great Lent, and he served them himself. The Prince more than once expressed the wish to be tonsured a monk at the Monastery of Sts. Anthony and Theodosius, and he even gave orders to build a cell for him.
The monks of the Caves, a tremendous spiritual influence in ancient Russia, encouraged the Prince to think about the independence of the Russian Church. Moreover, during those years in Russia, there was suspicion regarding the Orthodoxy of the Bishops which came from among the Greeks, because of the notorious "Dispute about the Fasts" (the "Leontian Heresy"). St. Rostislav's pious intent to obtain the blessing of the Patriarch of Constantinople for Metropolitan Clement came to naught. The Greeks believed that appointing a Metropolitan to the Kiev Cathedra was one of their most important prerogatives. This served not only the ecclesiastical, but also the political interests of the Byzantine Empire.
In 1165 a new Greek Metropolitan arrived at Kiev, John IV, and St. Rostislav accepted him out of humility and churchly obedience. The new Metropolitan, like his predecessor, governed the Russian Church for less than a year (+ 1166). The See of Kiev was again left vacant, and the Great Prince was deprived of the fatherly counsel and spiritual wisdom of a Metropolitan. His sole spiritual solace was the Abbot Polycarp and the Holy Elders of the Kiev Caves Monastery and the Theodorov Monastery at Kiev, which had been founded under his father.
Returning from a campaign against Novgorod in the spring of 1167, St. Rostislav fell ill. When he reached Smolensk, where his son Roman was Prince, relatives urged him to remain at Smolensk. But the Great Prince gave orders to take him to Kiev. "If I die along the way," he declared, "put me in my father's Monastery of St. Theodore. If God should heal me, through the prayers of His All-Pure Mother and St. Theodosius, I shall take vows at the Monastery of the Caves."
God did not fulfill St. Rostislav's last wish to end his life as a monk of the Holy Monastery. The Holy Prince reposed on the way to Kiev on March 14, 1167. (In other historical sources the year is given as 1168). His body, in accord with his last wishes, was brought to the Kiev Theodosiev Monastery.

March 15
St. Nikandrus of Gorodnoezersk (17th c.)
St. Nikandrus founded a wilderness monastery at the beginning of the 17th c. on the shore of Lake Gorodna (47 versts from the city of Borovich, 4 versts from the Church at Sherokhovich). Earlier, the Resurrection Monastery was at this place. When it was founded is unknown, but the monastery records say that only three Elders lived in the ten cells in 1581.
St. Nikandrus was buried in the monastery he restored. In a Church of the monastery vacated in 1764 was a Chapel dedicated to his memory.

March 17
St. Macarius of Kolyazin (+ 1483)
St. Macarius, the Abbot of the Kolyazin Monastery (called Matthew in the world), was born in 1400 into the Boyar family of Vasily Kozha, in the village of Gribkovo (Kozhino) near the city of Kashin. Since his earliest childhood he longed for monasticism, but following his parents' will, he had to get married. A year later his parents died and three years after that his wife Elena died.
Having no secular interests, Matthew was tonsured a monk in the Nikolaevsk - Klobukovsk Monastery in Kashin (it was founded about the year 1413). Out of love for seclusion he left the town's skete and with seven other monks discovered a clearing within 18 miles from Kashin, between two lakes near the river Volga. Here St. Macarius founded a secluded hermitage.
Boyar Ivan Koljaga, the owner of the neighboring lands, became afraid that a new Monastery would begin to work the barren grounds that belonged to him. The enemy of our salvation inspired him with the intention to kill the Saint, but suddenly the Boyar fell seriously ill. The fear of imminent death awoke a great repentance in him. He told the Saint about his evil intentions, on his knees asked for his pardon and was forgiven. And then Ivan Koljaga gave his lands to a new Monastery, desiring to expiate his sin. The monks built a Church in the Skete and dedicated it to the Holy Trinity.
Word spread about the repentance of the cruel Boyar Koljaga and led a lot of people who thirsted for salvation to St. Macarius. Yielding to the common desire, Bishop Moses of Tver (1458-1461) appointed the Saint Abbot of the Monastery. Being the head of the community St. Macarius prayed and fasted together with the rest of the monks.
Despite his noble origin and high rank, he lived a simple life, wore poor, patched clothes. Prince-monk Vassian haughtily named him "a Kolyazin peasant (muzhik)". But St. Macarius was not offended, preferring mockery to praise. He often secluded himself in the forests, giving way to the prayerful contemplation of nature. Feeling his humility and kindness, the animals and birds received food from his hands.
By God's grace St. Macarius was honored with the gift of wonder-working even during his lifetime. He often healed the weak, banished evil spirits from the possessed. Up to a ripe old age he did not change his strict prayer rule.
St. Macarius reposed in the Lord on March 17,1483. After his death the brethren found the heavy chains on his body, which no one had been aware of before.
One of the Kolyazin merchants, a certain Michael Voronkov, decided to build a new stone Cathedral in the local Monastery. Prince Jury Ivanovich of Dmitrov, whose land Kolyazin belonged to, supported him in this charitable deed. The Relics of the founder of the Kolyazin Cathedral, St. Macarius, were found when building the base of the Trinity Cathedral on May 26, 1521. When Metropolitan Daniel of Moscow (1522-1539) learnt about this he called the Council in Moscow that established the date of the local commemoration of this new Saint.
After the construction of the Trinity Cathedral was finished, on October 9,1523 a solemn ceremony of the translation of the Relics of St. Macarius took place. At the Moscow Council in 1547, in the presence of Metropolitan Macarious of Moscow and all Russia (1543-1564), it was decided to commemorate St. Macarius of Kolyazin throughout our country.
His memory is also commemorated on May 26.

March 18
St. Cyril of Astrakhan (+ 1576)
He was Archimandrite of the Trinity Monastery in Astrakhan. He had been sent as Abbot to the newly-built monastery in the year 1568. He constructed at the monastery Churchs in honour of the Most Holy Trinity, the Entry of the Most Holy Mother of God into the Temple, and St. Nicholas. He zealously concerned himself with the enlightening of the Astrakhan region, and by his meekness and piety he gained the respect of even the Mahometans, who called him the Kara-Daud (the Black David) in distinction from the Holy Prophet King David.
He reposed in about the year 1576. His was written in 1676 through a vow of Emel'yan Paphent'ev, whom he had saved when he was drowning in the Volga. His Life was compiled in the year 1790, and a tropar and kondak to him is known. The Russian Church established the feastday in his memory under 18 March [probably on the basis of his name-in-common with St. Cyril of Jerusalem].

March 19
St. Innocent of Komel (16th c.)
St. Innocent of Komel is one of those Saints whose life and efforts are connected with the Vologotsk region. The exact date and place of his birth are unknown. St. Innocent of Komel came from the Okhlyabin Boyar family and was a remote relation of the Khvorostin Princes. He took his monastic vows at the St. Cyril of the White Lake Monastery, but tradition is silent as to just how old he was at the time. One of the most educated monks of those times, St. Nilus of Sora, (+ 1508, comm. May 7), who belonged to the Maikov noble Boyar Family, became St. Innocent's spiritual teacher. He was not very well known when he met St. Innocent, but he had already given the example of an ascetic, who was spiritually gifted and successful in the constant utterance of the Jesus prayer.
St. Innocent, who endeavored to imitate his teacher, became his beloved disciple, friend and a like-minded person. Together they set out on a pilgrimage to various holy places. They spent a few years on Mt. Athos and in Constantinople, studying the writings of the Holy Fathers, learning about the life of different mona-steries of the Orthodox East.
Having become enriched with spiritual wisdom and inspired by the asceticism of the great desert-dwellers, the pilgrims returned to their native places. By this time St. Cyril of the White Lake Monastery had grown quite a bit in the number of monks living there. Finding it hard, Sts. Nilus and Innocent settled in a secluded cell outside the monastery wall, near the coffin of the first Abbot of White Lake, who had become famous for his miracleworking. Later they left the monastery.
The ascetics went to the virgin forests and dwelt on the swampy river Sorka, where they erected a cross and built two cells, which were such a distance from one another that would permit the two ascetics to hear each other's voice. Living in this Hermitage they continued studying the Holy Scriptures and the writings of the Holy Fathers, collating their spiritual life with them. Later the other monks joined them and a new monastery was founded. It consisted of a Hieromonk, a Hierodeacon and twelve Elders. Everyone worked and prayed in his own cell. On Sundays and feast days the brethren gathered in a Church that they had built. The monastic rule of the Hermitage was very strict. Vigils really lasted all night, the monks read the extracts from the writings of the Holy Fathers after every kathisma and every Saturday they served panikhidas, the service for the repose of the souls of the dead.
After generalizing the centuries-old experience of the great ascetics in the constant utterance of the Jesus prayer, St. Nilus wrote: "The regulations of life in a hermitage" ("The legend of life in a hermitage") to give the brethren the right guidance in their cell life and, most importantly, in the struggle with the slightest thoughts. St. Innocent, following zealously the precepts of his wise teacher, reached such a level of spiritual maturity that, according to St. Nilus' will, he had to become a teacher for the others. Blessing his spiritual brother the clairvoyant Elder said, "Go to the river Nurma: God will glorify you there and your monastery will be a community". St. Innocent had never supposed that some day he would have to leave this hermitage. But he humbly followed his teacher's words as God's Providence.
St. Innocent dwelt in the Komel forests about 1491. At those times all the southern part of the Vologodsk region was covered with impenetrable forests, cleaving by the rivers Komela, Nurma, Eda and many other nameless small rivers and brooks, which made these places very swampy. But Russian ascetics began to settle precisely here ever since the 14th c. The first who went to the Komel forests was St. Dimitry of Prilutsk, then came St. Sylvester of Obnorsk, St. Sergius of Nuromsk, and St. Paul of Obnorsk. And St. Innocent occupied a worthy place among these northern Saints.
On the river Eda (70 miles from Vologda and 10 miles from the river Nurma) he built a secluded cell. But very soon people, who sought their salvation by taking the narrow path, began to come to the hermit. St. Innocent received them with great love.
St. Nilus sent his beloved disciple an epistle, which we have this very day, in which he instructed St. Innocent to follow the Lord's Commandments, pray tirelessly, imitate the lives of the Saints, keep their traditions and teach the brethren the same. Firstly St. Innocent introduced the same rule as that at St. Nilus of Sora Monastery, but as the number of people coming to him had grown, he introduced a coenobitic rule that was very strict. Under the guidance of St. Innocent the brethren built a Church, which they dedicated to St. John the Baptist. Being guided by the lessons of his teacher, St. Innocent liked to edify the monks with words from the writings of the Holy Fathers, especially of St. John Chrysostom, St. Simeon the New Theologian, and St. Anthony the Great.
Being indifferent to worldly goods and the needs of the body, and always being grateful for small favors and never asking for donations, even for building their Church, St. Innocent had been the superior of the monastery for thirty years.
Feeling his death approaching, St. Innocent wrote a spiritual will, which must serve as a guide for the brethren even after his death. "It is I, poor monk Innocent, who has written this precept, to whomever God commands to live in our hermitage. First of all I pray you for God's sake to mention me, a sinner, in your holy prayers. I bow to you greatly, our fathers and brothers. I leave this, that there should not be any discord between you, but love in Christ and spiritual peace among you… And for prayer to be in our hermitage forever and how to eat and when it becomes everyone to go to labor in blessed time and about other things, all the essence is in the writings of my teacher, Father Nilus, and in this book. For this sake I came soon and so you will find there everything that is pleasing to God".
The exact year of St. Innocent of Komel's repose is unknown. According to some sources the most probable date is March 19,1511; according to others it is March 19,1522. In 1538 the Kazan Tatars suddenly attacked St. Innocent's Hermitage, burnt down the Church and the cells, killed the Elders and captured many people. Nevertheless the Monastery was soon renewed and existed until the 18th c., after which time it was turned into a parish Church, where the Relics of St. Innocent repose.

March 20
Monk Martyr Euphrosynus of the Blue - Lake (+ 1612)
In the world Ephrem, he was born in Karelia near Lake Ladoga. In his youthful years he lived near the Valaam Monastery, and later he resettled to Novgorod the Great. Having there spent some length of time, he then withdrew to one of the Novgorod outskirts.
He became helper at Church-services in the village of Dolossk, 20 versts from the city of Zhelezopol'sk Ustiug. He accepted tonsure at the Tikhvinsk Dormition Monastery. In 1600 he began his wilderness life in the wild marshlands at the shore of Blue-Lake. Having set up a cross and dug out a cave, the monk dwelt here for two years, eating only wild vegetation. Unexpectedly, surrounding inhabitants came upon him, and they began coming to him for guidance, and several remained to live with him.
In 1612, when Polish military detachments were laying waste to Russia, many a person was saved from pillage at his wilderness place. One time, he predicted that the Polish would come into this wilderness, and he advised everyone to flee. Many did not believe him. "Why then dost thou not withdraw from this sacred spot?" -- they asked. The Elder replied: "I came hither to die for Christ".
Those that obeyed the Saint and left the monastery remained safe, but all those who stayed died an horrible death. Among the inhabitants of the monastery had also been the Monk Jona. Terrified at the prediction of St. Euphrosynus, he wanted to flee together with the others. But the Saint held him back, firing up within the monk fervour for the house of God and a readiness to dwell in the monastery to his very end. "Brother Jona - he said - why this cowardly fear in thine soul? When starteth the battle, then mustneeds be shown courage. We gave a vow to live and die in the wilderness. We mustneeds be faithful to our word, given before the Lord. In such instance death results in peace. It is another matter for the layfolk: they are not bound in this by their word, and they mustneeds spare themselves for the sake of their children".
After this St. Euphrosynus invested himself in the Schema and spent the whole night in prayer. On the following day, 20 March, the Polish forces fell upon the monastery. The monk attired as schema-monk emerged from his cell and stood with upraised cross. The enemy flung themselves at him: "Old man, give us the monastery valuables". "All the valuables both mine and of this monastery, are in the Church of the All-Pure Mother of God", - answered the monk, meaning by this the unstealable riches, which for believers are hidden within God.
Not understanding this, the thugs rushed to the Church, and one of them drew out a sword and struck St. Euphrosynus on the neck. His neck was cut half way through, and the Holy Elder fell to the ground dead. When the Polish, angered that they had found nothing in the Church, returned -- the murderer of the monk, not satisfied that the Saint was already breathless, struck him on the head with a war-axe.
The Monk Jona also perished. At the monastery also with the monks had stayed a certain pious Christian, Ioann Suma. When the enemy had burst onto the scene, he was in the cell of the monk. Despite his grievous wounds received from the foreign ruffians, Ioann remained alive. With the departure of the Polish, he regained his senses and reported to his returning son the things that had transpired. The surrounding inhabitants learned from them about the destruction of the monastery and the cruel end of St. Euphrosynus.
The body of the Saint was reverently buried on 28 March. On this same day they buried also the Monk Jona and all the others who had perished under the sword. And 34 years after the death of the Saint, at his monastery was erected by a builder named Moisei a new Church in the Name of the Most Holy Trinity and a belltower with a passageway. With the blessing of the Novgorod Metropolitan Makarius, on 25 March 1655 his Relics were transferred by the builder Jona beneathe the belltower.

March 21
St. Pachomius of Nerekhta (+ 1384)
St. Pachomius of Nerekhta (called Jacob in the world) was born into the family of Priest Ignatius, who served in St. Nicholas Church in Vladimir-on-the Klyazma. From childhood his father taught him to obey, and he also taught his son reading and writing, and God's Law. His father's lessons impressed the child: he became a well-behaved boy, and he visited God's Church diligently. Especially he loved to visit the monastery of the Nativity of the Theotokos where the Relics of St. Prince Alexander Nevsky were located.
With his mother's blessing, after his father's death, Jacob came to the Monastery of the Nativity at the age of 12 to become a monk and took the name Pachomius. The Abbot of the monastery appointed an experienced Elder as his spiritual supervisor. Soon he was given difficult obedience - to bake bread and cook in the monastery kitchen. He spent many years fulfilling this difficult task - he worked in the bakery in the daytime, and at night he prayed.
Pachomius' meekness and mildness drew the attention of the Abbot, and he asked St. Alexy, Bishop of Vladimir (later on the Metropolitan of Moscow), to ordain the young monk into the Deaconate. St. Pachomius served as Deacon at the Monastery of the Nativity of the Theotokos till 1360.
That year St. Alexy, who became the Metropolitan of Moscow and All Russia, built a monastery in honour of Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Emperor Constantine and his mother Helen, 15 km away from the town of Vladimir, and he arrived at the monastery to consecrate it. St. Alexy appointed St. Pachomius as Abbot of the newly constructed monastery.
But soon St. Pachomius, who wished to seclude himself from the world, left the monastery. When he wondered over the Vladimir land, he came across the mouth of the Gridevka river that flew together with the Solonitseya river two versts away from the town of Nerekhta. Sypanovo - as the area had been called since the ancient times - was covered with a thick forest, and Pachomius loved it.
Wishing to stay here, he went to Nerekhta to ask the inhabitants to let him settle on their land. The town people gave him a hearty welcome, and assisted him in establishing a new monastery. The Saint collected enough money to build a Church, and then he and one of his monks went to Moscow to ask St. Alexy for his blessing to erect a Church in honor of the Life-Giving Trinity. When he had received a blessing, he started happily to complete the holy work. He was usually the first to arrive at work and the last to leave. Later St. Pachomius built several cells for the brothers. To the east of Sypanovo, he built a guest-house for wandering pilgrims. By these means the Saint enlarged the monastery and introduced there a strict common prayer rule.
Having lived to a venerable old age, St. Pachomius felt his own death was not far off. For the last time in his life he called his followers together and gave them his fatherly edification. " My brothers, - he said, - suffer misfortunes and sorrows, and you'll receive God's grace in this place". When the Saint said that he would soon die and they would need to elect a new Abbot, they began to ask him to appoint his own successor. St. Pachomius elected Theodore who was made a monk together with him in the Monastery of the Nativity and later lived with him in the Monastery of Emperor Constantine. "Oh Lord, I commend my spirit into your hands", - these words were the last words that St. Pachomius pronounced.
His blessed repose came on March 21, 1384, when Prince Dimitry Ioanovich Donskoy was in power. His pupils, along with a great concourse of people, buried the Saint in his monastery near the alter on the right side of the Church of the Holy Trinity. The following year they placed a tomb over his coffin, and one of his pupils, Irinarkh, painted an icon that was also placed in the Church.

March 22
St. Basil of Mangazea (+ 1602)
St. Basil reposed on 4 April 1602. His feastday of 22 March celebrates his name in common with the Hiero Martyr Basil, Presbyter of Ancyra. The account about St. Basil of Mangazea is located under 10 May, on the day of transfer of his Holy Relics from Mangazea to Turukhan.

March 23
St. Nikon Abbot of the Kiev Caves (+ 1088)
He was the first disciple and fellow-ascetic of St. Anthony of the Kiev Caves, to which he came being already a Priest. At the monastery he vowed all the newly-arrived monks, and amongst their number was St. Theodosius. For giving monastic vows to the favourites of the Great Prince Izyaslav -- the Monks Varlaam (comm. 19 November) and Ephrem (comm. 28 January), he brought down upon himself the wrath of the Prince, and he boldly refused to force them to leave the monastery. When many brethren had been gathered up into the monastery, he desired to go into solitude and keep silence. He withdrew onto the Tmutarakan' peninsula (on the eastern banks of the Kerchensk straits) and settled in an unpopulated spot.
When news about his life spread throughout the region, there gathered about him those wishing to lead a monastic life. A monastery thus was founded together with a Church in the name of the Most Holy Mother of God. When he returned to the Kiev Caves, St. Theodosius rendered to him his own respectful love as his spiritual father.
According to the words of the St. Nestor the Chronicler, St. Theodosius, having absented himself somewhere, entrusted all the brethren to the care of St. Nikon. Sometimes he entrusted him to offer instruction to the brethren in place of himself. Often, when St. Nikon bound books, St. Theodosius sat near him and spun the thread needed for the binding. When Prince Svyatoslav drove out his brother Izyaslav from Kiev, St. Nikon again went off to the monastery founded by him. He returned under the Abbot Stephen.
Upon the withdrawal of Abbot St. Stephen (comm. 27 April) from the Kiev Caves Monastery, St. Nikon was elected Abbot. He toiled much to adorn his monastery with monastic writings and mosaic. He reposed in extreme old age in 1088 and was buried in the Nearer Caves of St. Anthony.

St. Vassian I, Archbishop of Rostov (+ 1481)
He was a kinsman of Saint Joseph of Volotsk (+1515; commemorated 9 September and 18 October). He was also a beloved disciple of the Monk Paphnutii of Borovsk (+1477; commorated 1 May), from whom he accepted monastic vows. In the year 1455 he became head of the Trinity-Sergiev monastery; in 1466, archimandrite of the Novospassky; and, in 1467, archbishop of Rostov. In 1479 the saint participated in the transfer of the relics of Saints Kiprian, Photii and Jona -- Sainted-hierarchs of Moscow and Wonderworkers of All Russia (commemorated 27 May). Sainted Vassian was known for his gift of edifying words of wisdom, and he often came forward as mediator in princely quarrels. At Rostov he built and beautified churches. In 1480 the saint wrote a famous missive to Great-prince Ivan III at Ugra, calling on him for decisive action against the Tatars -- as an high form of Christian patriotism. Saint Vassian also wrote a Life of Saint Paphnutii of Borovsk.
The saint died in extreme old age on 23 March 1481 and was buried in the Rostov Uspenie/Dormition cathedral.

March 24
Martyrs Stephen and Peter of Kazan (16th c.)
Martyrs Stephen and Peter of Kazan were Tatars. They came to believe in God and were baptized in 1552, when Tsar Ivan the Terrible conquered Kazan.
After St. Stephen had been paralyzed for 20 years he recovered and was baptized by Archpriest Timothy, who was in Kazan as he brought a message to the army of Tsar Ivan the Terrible from Metropolitan Macarius of Moscow. Among the Tatars baptized during that period was also St. Peter.
After the army of Tsar Ivan the Terrible had left Kazan, the Russian deputy Khan Shich-Aleb had to escape. Tatars put many Orthodox believers, who couldn't manage to leave Kazan, to death.
St. Stephen was executed too: for loyalty to Christianity he was quartered; the parts of his body were spread about, and his house ransacked.
When the Russians had left Kazan, St. Peter came back to the house of his relatives. They tried to get him to reject Christianity. They called him by his old Moslem name, but he continued to profess Christianity and answered his relatives: "I have been baptized and my name is Peter, not the name you call me." When his family had made sure of his loyalty to the Orthodox Church, they handed him over.
St. Peter was cruelly tortured and executed, but remained loyal to Christianity to his last breath. He died with the words "I am a Christian". He was buried in Kazan, at the place where earlier stood an ancient Church in honor of Christ's Resurrection.
Some time later after their death, the Saints began to be venerated in Kazan. In 1592 their names were included in a list of Holy Martyrs.
Later the holy martyrs Sts. Stephen and Peter were canonized and the day of their memory is celebrated on the 24th of March.

St. Zachariah the Faster, of Kiev Caves
He pursued asceticism in the Farther Caves in the XIII-XIV Cent. The strictness of his fasting reached such an extent, that he ate nothing baked nor boiled, and he consumed only greens (grasses) -- and this only once a day at the setting of the sun. Demons trembled at the mere mention of the name Zachariah. Often the monk saw Angels, with which he merited life in Heaven. The identification of the monk Zachariah, Faster of Pechersk, with the son of the Kievan inhabitant John -- Zachariah, who had given all his inheritance for the adornment of the Pechersk temple and become a monk at the monastery -- is unfounded. John before death had transferred his property for maintaining to his friend Sergei. This was during the time when the hegumen was the Monk Nikon (+1088, commemorated 23 March). Zachariah at the time was 5 years old. At age 15, i.e., not later than the year 1098, he obtained his inheritance from Sergei, in order to give it to the monastery. However, the monk Zachariah -- Faster of Pechersk -- lived approximately 200 years later.

March 27
St. Ephrem, Archbishop of Rostov (+ 1454)
He was ordained and installed upon the Rostov See on 13 April 1427 by the holy Metropolitan of Moscow Photii (Comm. 2 July). In 1449 he was elevated to the dignity of archbishop by Sainted Jona, Metropolitan of Moscow (Comm. 31 March). Over the course of 27 years Saint Ephrem guided the Rostov flock, and reposed on 27 March 1454. They buried the body of the holy archpastor in the Rostov Uspensky cathedral. The commemoration of Sainted Ephrem is made also on 23 May, in the Sobor-Assemblage of the Rostovo-Yaroslavsk Saints.

St. Alexander of Vocha and Galich
He pursued asceticism during the XV-XVI Centuries. He founded a monastery in honour of the Transfiguration (Preobrazhenie) of the Lord on the banks of the River Vocha 50 versts distant from Galich. The Monk Alexander reposed at the beginning of the XVI Century and was buried in the church of the Transfiguration monastery founded by him. Soon after the death of the holy ascetic there began the veneration of him, his image was written and set up over the relics, buried beneathe a crypt.

March 28
St. Ilarion of Gdovsk and Pskovoezersk ["Pskov-Lake"] (+ 1476)
He was a disciple of the Monk Evphrosyn of Pskov (commemorated 15 May). In 1460 on the banks of the River Zhelcha, not far from Gdov, he founded the Ozersk [Lake] Pokrov (Protection of the Mother of God) monastery. T he monastery was situated on the boundary with the Livonian Knights order, and the monks constantly suffered the incursions of the military order. Despite the harsh conditions and insufficiency of means, the Monk Ilarion maintained an high degree of reverence at the monastery, and made great efforts to adorn and build up the monastery.
The Monk Ilarion reposed on 28 March 1476 and was buried at the north doors of the iconostas in the church of the Protection of the MostHoly Mother of God, in the monastery founded by him. Afterwards at the monastery was built a temple in honour of the Nativity of Christ, the left chapel of which was dedicated in the name of the founder of the Gdovsk monastery. The commemoration of the Monk Ilarion of Gdov is made also on 21 October, on the day of saint-name in common.

March 28
Monk - Martyr Evstratii of Kiev Caves
He was born in the XI Century at Kiev into a wealthy family. At maturity he accepted monastic tonsure at the Kievo-Pechersk monastery, having given away all his substance to the poor. The Monk Evstratii humbly underwent obediences at the monastery, strictly fulfilling the rule of prayer and passing his days in fasting and vigilance.
In 1096 evstratiithe Polovetsians fell upon Kiev and ravaged the Pechersk monastery, doing away with many of the monks, but the Monk Evstratii was taken into captivity, and with thirty monastic labourers and twenty Kievan people he was sold into slavery to a certain Jew, living in the city of Korsun. The impious Jew began to urge the captives to renounce Christ, threatening to kill those that refused by starving them in their very shackles. But the brave Monk Evstratii prayerfully encouraged and exhorted his brother Christians with spiritual guidance: "Brothers! Whoso of us that is baptised and believeth in Christ, let him not betray the vow, given during Baptism. Christ hath made us reborn by water and the Spirit, He hath freed us from the curse of the law by His Blood, and He hath made us heirs of His Kingdom. If we live -- we shalt live for the Lord; if we die -- we die in the Lord and at the time of death we shall find eternal life." Inspired by the words of the monk, the captives preferred rather to perish from lack of food and drink, than to renounce Christ, Who is the food and drink of Life Eternal. Exhausted by hunger and thirst, all fifty captives after some days perished. Only the Monk Evstratii remained alive, since from his youthful years he was accustomed to fasting. Languishing with hunger, he still during the course of fourteen days did not touch food nor water. The impious Jew, seeing that because of the black-garbed monk his money paid out for the captives had been lost, decided to take revenge on the holy monk.
The Radiant Resurrection of Christ drew nigh, and the Jewish slave-owner at the time of celebrating the Jewish Passover and having gathered together his companions, then crucified the Monk Evstratii on a cross. The cruel tormentors gathered around the crucified saint, and mocking the passion-bearer offered him to taste of their Passover. To this the MonkMartyr answered: "The Lord hath now bestown upon me a great grace. He hath granted me the mercy to suffer for His Name on a cross after the manner of His Suffering. ..."
Hearing this, the enraged Jew grabbed a spear and struck with it at the MonkMartyr Evstratii nailed to the cross. The holy body of the sufferer, having been taken down from the cross, was thrown into the sea. Christian believers long searched for the holy relics of the martyr, but were not able to find them. But through the Providence of God the incorrupt relics were found in a cave and worked many miracles. Later on they were transferred to the Nearer Caves of the Kievo-Pechersk monastery.
The prediction of the holy Martyr Evstratii, that his blood would be avenged, was fulfilled immediately after his death. On that day was promulgated a decree of the Greek emperor to expel from Korsun all the Jews, depriving them of their property, and to put to death their elders for the torture of Christians. The Jew, who crucified the MonkMartyr Evstratii, was hung on a tree, having received just recompense for his wickedness.

March 29
Sts. Mark, Jona and Vassa of Pskov
They are venerated as among the originating fathers of the Pskovo-Pechersk monastery.
It is unknown precisely, when the first hermit monks settled by the Kamenets stream in the natural caves of the hill, which the local inhabitants called "the holy hill." The monastery chronicle presents an account of eye-witnesses, hunter-trappers from Izborsk by the nickname of Selishi: "Once by chance we came with our father to the outlying hill, where now is the church of the Mother of God, and heard what seemed church singing; they sang harmoniously and reverently, but the singers could not be seen, and the air was filled with the fragrance of incense."
Of the first elders of the Pskovo-Pechersk monastery only Mark alone is known by name. About him it testifies: "First at the beginning a certain elder was living at the Kamenets floodage by the cave, of whom certain fishermen caught sight of at the three rocks, lying over the cave of the MostHoly Mother of God church; but we were not able to discover anything known about this one -- who the elder was nor his lineage, nor how and from whence he came to this place, nor how long he dwelt there nor how he died." The second hegumen of the Pechersk monastery bore the name of Starets [elder] Mark in the monastery Synodikon. The Monk Kornilii (commemorated 20 February) as hegumen doubted the veracity of this inscription and he ordered that the name be erased from the Synodikon. Suddenly he became grievously ill and had a revelation, that this was in punishment for ordering to strike out the name of the Monk Mark from the monastery diptych. Begging forgiveness with tearful prayer at the grave of the Starets Mark, Hegumen Kornilii put back his holy name. When the cave church of the Uspenie [Dormition] of the MostHoly Mother of God was dug out and the burial caves expanded, the Hegumen Dorophei found the grave of the Monk Mark in decay, but his relics and clothing undecayed.
In the year 1472 the peasant Ivan Dement'ev cut down the forest on the steep hill. One of the felled trees rolled downhill, tearing out of the ground by its roots nother tree. The slide opened up the entrance to a cave, over which was the i nscription: "A cave built by God." (There is a tradition about this, that a certain fool-for-Christ the Monk Varlaam frequently came to the cave and wiped away this inscription, but that it every time miraculously re-appeared.)
To this holy spot, prayed in by the first ascetics, there came from elsewhere the priest John nicknamed "Shestnik." He was a native of "the Moscow lands" and served as priest at Iur'ev (now Tartu) in "a right-believing church, established by Pskov people" and named for Saint Nicholas and the GreatMartyr George, and he together with the Priest Isidor spiritually nourished the Russians living there. In 1470 Father John was compelled to flee with his family to Pskov under persecution from the German-Catholics. Having learned of the martyr's end of his comrade (the commemoration of PriestMartyr Isidor is 8 January), John decided to withdraw into the newly-appeared "cave built by God," so that there, on the very boundary with the Livonians, he might found a monastery as an outpost of Orthodoxy.
Soon his wife fell ill and, having taken monastic vows with the name Vassa, she died. Her righteousness was evidenced immediately after her death. Her husband and her spiritual father buried the Nun Vassa in the wall of "the cave built by God," but by night her coffin was "removed from the ground by an invisible power of God." Father John and the other priest confessor of the Nun Vassa were upset, thinking that this had occurred, because they had not made in full the order of farewell-song, and a second time they sang the funeral service and again they buried the body, but in the morning it again was "atop the ground." Then it became clear, that this -- was a sign from God. They made the grave of the Nun Vassa in the cave on the left side. Shaken by the miracle, John took monastic vows with the name Jona and began to asceticise even more fervently.
Having dug out by hand the cave church and two cells on pillars, he began to petition the clergy of the Pskovsk Trinity cathedral to consecrate it, but these decided not to do so at the moment "because of the unusual location." Then the Monk Jona besought the blessing of the Novgorod Archbishop Theophil.
On 15 August 1473 the cave church was consecrated in honour of the Uspenie [Dormition] of the MostHoly Mother of God. During the consecration there occurred a miracle from an icon of the Uspenie of the MostHoly Mother of God -- a blind woman received her sight -- "sent by the merciful God beginning His great gifts to His All-Pure Mother." (This icon, which they call the "old" -- in distinction from another wonderworking icon of the Uspenie of the MostHoly Mother of God bordered with Her life -- was written about the year 1421 by the Pskov iconographer Aleksei Maly, and is preserved at present in the altar of the Uspensk temple in the hill locale. The icon bordered with the life -- is the temple patron-icon of the cave church.) The date of consecration of the cave church is reckoned as the official date of the founding of the Pskovo-Pechersk monastery. The Monk Jona asceticised at the cave monastery until 1480 and peacefully expired to the Lord. Upon his death they discovered on his body a chainmail coat of armour, which was hung over his grave in testimony of the secret ascetic deeds of the monk, but during an incursion of the Germans it was stolen.
The relics of the Monk Jona rest in the caves alongside the relics of the monastic elder Mark and the Nun Vassa. Once during an invasion of the monastery the Livonian knights, jeering over the holy relics, wanted to open with a sword the cover of the coffin of the Nun Vassa, but a flame from the holy ascetic flashed out from the coffin. Traces of this punishing fire are seen to the present day on the coffin of the Nun Vassa.

March 30
St. Sophronii, Bishop of Irkutsk and Wonderworker of all Siberia
He is known under the family-name Kristalevsky, was born in Malorussia in the Chernigov region in 1704. His father, Nazarii Fedorovich, was "a common man in his affairs, and Sophronii they named Stefan", in honour of the first-martyr archdeacon Stephen. He had two brothers and a sister Pelagia. The name of one brother was Paul. The name of the other older brother is unknown, but there is an account, that he was afterwards head of the Krasnogorsk Zolotonoshsk monastery.
The childhood years of Stefan were spent in the settlement of Berezan' in the Pereyaslavl' district of the Poltava governance, where the family settled after the father's discharge from service. When he came of age, Stefan entered the Kiev Theological Academy, where at the time studied two other future sainted-hierarchs -- Joasaph, future bishop of Belgorod (commemorated 4 September and 10 December), and Paul, future metropolitan of Tobol'sk.
Having received a religious education, Stefan entered the Krasnogorsk Transfiguration monastery (afterwards changed to Pokrov / Protection monastery, and in 1789 transformed into a women's monastery), where his elder brother already pursued ascetic life. On 23 April 1730 he took monastic vows with the name of Sophronii -- in honour of Saint Sophronios, Patriarch of Jerusalem (commemorated 11 March).
On the night after his taking of monastic vows, the monk Sophronii heard a Voice in the Pokrov church: "When thou shalt become bishop, raise up a church in the name of All Saints" -- predicting of his future service. After two years, in 1732, they summoned him to Kiev, in the Sophia cathedral of which they ordained him to the dignity of monkdeacon, and then to priestmonk. Concerning the following period of the life of Saint Sophronii, it says the following in his service-form: "After having taken vows he was treasurer at that Zolotonoshsk monastery for two years, and then he was taken by decree of His Grace Arsenii Berlov of the Pereyaslavl' diocese into the house of his archbishop, in which he was steward for 8 years subject to the Alexander Nevsky monastery, from which during the course of those years he was sent to Saint-Peterburg on hierarchical business, for which in advocacy he spent two years".
These facts testify readily enough to the connections of the saint with his original Pokrovsk monastery. During his obedience under the presiding hierarch at Pereyaslavl', he often visited at his monastery, spending the day in quiet contemplation and work, giving example in the making of a monastic brother.
During the time of priestmonk Sophronii's sojourn on hierarchical business to the Synod, they showed particular attention to him. And when it became necessary to increase the brethren at the Alexander Nevsky monastery in Saint Peterburg, 29 monks then in number having been summoned from various monasteries in Russia, in January 1742 was summoned also the future saint. A year later they appointed him treasurer of the monastery, and in 1746 he was appointed to the office of head of the monastery, which he fulfilled for seven years more.
For helping him he summoned his fellow countryman, a native of the city of Priluk -- the priestmonk Synesii, and made him the organiser of the Novo-Sergiev monastery, which was associated with the Alexander Nevsky monastery. From this period of time the friendship of the two ascetics -- priestmonk Sophronii and priestmonk Synesii -- was strengthened into a single pastoral effort, and they were inseparable until their end in the Siberian land. During these years Saint Sophronii laboured much at the managing of the monastery and improvement of teaching at the seminary located near it. Together with Archbishop Theodosii he concerned himself with the needs of adding to the monastic library.
A two-level church was built by him: the top -- in the name of Saint Theodore Yaroslavich, older brother of Saint Alexander Nevsky -- and the lower -- in the name of Saint John Chrysostom.
In 1747 the bishop of Irkutsk, Innokentii II (Nerunovich) died. For six years afterwards the territory of the Irkutsk diocese remained without a spiritual head.
Finally, the empress Elizaveta Petrovichna (1741-1761) by decree on 23 February 1753 recommended to the Holy Synod the pious head of the Alexander Nevsky monastery Sophronii, as "a person, not only worthy of bishop's dignity, but also quite entirely able to fulfill the wishes and the hopes of the state and the Synod -- to take up the burden of episcopal service on the far frontier and satisfy the needs of his flock in that harsh land, amidst wild primitives and lawless people".
On 18 April 1753, Thomas Sunday, priestmonk Sophronii was ordained bishop of Irkutsk and Nerchinsk in the Great Uspensky cathedral.
Foreseeing difficult service on the distant Siberian frontier, the newly-established bishop did not immediately set off to the Irkutsk eparchy, but rather began to gather up educated and spiritually experienced co-workers. During this period Saint Sophronii visited at his original Krasnogorsk monastery. Also at the holy places of Kiev, he sought the blessings of the Kievo-Perchersk Saints for his service. The constant companion of the saint, just as before, was the priestmonk Synesii, ardently sharing in the life's work of his friend.
At Moscow, the Archbishop of Moscow and Sevsk Platon -- who participated in the ordination of then priestmonk Sophronii -- provided him further assistance. He taught him fatherly precepts for his impending task, since he was quite familiar with the peculiarities of the Siberian religious manner of life, he forewarned him about the self-willed local authorities, and advised him to gather together trustworthy helpers.
On 20 March 1754 the saint arrived at Irkutsk. He went at first to the Ascension monastery -- the place of residence of his predecessor, and prayed at the grave of bishop Innokentii (Kul'chitz), imploring his blessing on his impending task.
Having familiarised himself with the state of affairs in the diocese, the saint set about the re-organisation of the Spiritual consistory, monasteries and parishes, and turned to the Holy Synod with an appeal to dispatch worthy people for priestly service to the Irkutsk eparchy.
Before the arrival of Sainted Sophronii, the Irkutsk monasteries had already a century-old history. The founders of these monasteries were motivated by a fervent desire for ascetic monastic life. The sagacious sainted-bishop appointed as heads of the monastic communities people of piety, wisdom, virtue, and with great experience both of life and things spiritual. In 1754 His Grace Sophronii raised up his friend and companion priestmonk Synesii to be archimandrite of Ascension monastery. This memorable monastic head served the monastery for thirty-three years until his blessed end. In September 1754 the sainted-bishop issued an ukaz [decree], in which concern was noted for the education and upbringing of the children of clergy. By his ukaz to the clergy he considered as a duty the education of their children in the Chasoslov, the Psalter, singing and letters, and this instruction "ought to happen with all industriousness and extremest diligence, so that the children might be able to accomplish the responsibilities of sacristan and deacon according to their due ability".
Studying closely both people and circumstances, the sainted-bishop in his sermons and conversations incessantly exhorted all to an higher moral ideal. He devoted particular attention to the reverent and correct doing of Divine-services and priestly Sacraments, and he also watched after the moral purity of laymen; he was concerned about the position of women in the family, and defended them against their unjust inequality. The sainted-bishop attempted everywhere to set straight the ustav (rule) of Divine-services, for which purpose he summoned to himself priests, deacons, sub-deacons and sacristans, who during the time of hierarchical Divine-services participated in the choir or sub-deacons.
Journeying about the diocese, the saint noted that not everywhere was the proper attention given to the ringing of bells and incensing, and therefore by means of ukaz he restored the proper censing and ringing of bells.
Called to apostolic service in this frontier region, Sainted Sophronii realised, that in addition to the enlightening of believing christians, it availed him to bring to the faith idol-worshippers, who were very numerous in Siberia.
To bring pagans to the Church of Christ was difficult, especially since from time to time there was no one to serve in churches, and to borrow for missionary activity made matters all the worse. Knowing how that the hierarchical Divine-services would have a salutary effect on non-Russians, the saint not only himself served with reverence, but also required it of all his clergy.
Sainted Sophronii concerned himself over the manner of life of the lesser nations and he contributed to the developement of a stable culture among the local people. He offered them monastic lands for settlements and in every way he endeavoured to isolate them from the influence of paganism. A throng of visitors constantly arrived and came from faraway places for a blessing.
But amidst his many cares, he did not forget about his inner spiritual life and eternity -- he also led an ascetic life. There is preserved an account about this from the cell-attendant of Sainted Sophronii, which relates, that the saint "used food simple and in small quantity, he served quite often, spent the greater part of the night at prayer, slept on the floor under a sheepskin or if fur -- a deerskin or bear hide, and a small simple pillow -- this was all his bedding for a sleep of short duration".
The spirit of his ascetic life fit in with the general uplift of the Christian spirit in Russia following the glorification of Sainted Dimitrii of Rostov (commemorated 21 September), Theodosii of Chernigov (commemorated 9 September), and in particular the uncovering of the undecayed relics of his predecessor -- Sainted Innokentii of Irkutsk (commemorated 9 February). This event inspired Sainted Sophronii with greater strength and encouraged his hope for the help of Sainted Innokentii in his task of building up the diocese.
Until the end of his days Sainted Sophronii kept his love for the Krasnogorsk Zolotonoshsk monastery, which had nurtured him in the days of his youth. He constantly contributed support for its upkeep, sending off the necessary means for this.
Having sensed a deterioration in his health, Sainted Sophronii made a petition to the Synod to discharge him for rest. But they tarried with an answer from Peterburg, since it was difficult to immediately choose a worthy successor.
The final days in the life of Sainted Sophronii were spent in prayerful asceticism.
The light, which shone on the good deeds of Sainted Sophronii, continues to the present to testify to the glory of the Heavenly Father, "mercifully having strengthened His saints". And now not only in Siberia at the place of his final deeds, but also at the place of his first deeds, there is reverently preserved the holy memory of Sainted Sophronii.
A second commemoration of Sainted Sophronii is made on 30 June (glorification, 1918).

March 31
St. Jona, Metropolitan of Moscow and Wonderworker of All Russia
He was born in the city of Galich into a pious Christian family. The father of the future saint was named Feodor. At twelve years of age the youth took monastic vows in one of the Galich monasteries, from which he transferred to the Moscow Simonov monastery, where for many years he fulfilled various obediences. One time Sainted Photii, Metropolitan of Moscow (commemorated 27 May and 2 July), visited at the Simonov monastery and after the molieben, having blessed the archimandrite and brethren, wanted also to bless the monks fulfilling obedience at the monastery tasks. When he came to the bakery, he saw then the monk Jona asleep from much work, and the right hand of the fatigued monk was bent in a gesture of blessing. Sainted Photii asked not to wake him; he blessed the sleeping monk and prophetically predicted to those present, that this monk would be a great hierarch of the Russian Church and would guide many on the way to salvation.
The prediction of the Saint was fulfilled. After several years Saint Jona was made bishop of Ryazan and Murom.
In 1431 Saint Photii died. Five years after his death, Saint Jona was chosen Metropolitan of All Russia for his virtuous and holy life. When the newly chosen metropolitan journeyed to Patriarch Joseph II (1416-1439) in Constantinople, in order to accept confirmation as metropolitan, it turned out then, that shortly before this the nefarious Isidor, a Bulgarian by descent, was already established as Russian metropolitan. Spending a short while at Kiev and Moscow, Isidor journeyed to the Council of Florence (1438) -- where he accepted Uniatism. A Sobor [Council] of Russian hierarchs and clergy deposed metropolitan Isidor, and he was compelled to flee secretly to Rome (where he died in 1462). Saint Jona was unanimously chosen Metropolitan of All Russia. His consecration by the blessing of the Constantinople Patriarch Gregory III (1445-1450) -- was the first time that it was done by Russian hierarchs in Moscow. On 15 December 1448 Saint Jona became Metropolitan and with arch-pastoral zeal he began to assert piety among the flock, encouraging the Orthodox faith in the land by word and by deed. And beneathe his exalted dignity he continued as before with his personal monastic efforts.
In 1451 the Tatars unexpectedly advanced on Moscow; they burned the surroundings and prepared for an assault on the city. Metropolitan Jona with clergy made procession along the walls of the city, with tears beseeching God for the salvation of city and people. Beholding the dying monk Antonii of the Chudov monastery, who was noted for his virtuous life, Saint Jona said: "My son and brother Antonii! Pray to the Merciful God and the All-Pure Mother of God for the deliverance of the city and all Orthodox Christians." The humble Antonii replied: "Great hierarch! We give thanks to God and His All-Pure Mother, -- She hath heard thy prayer and hath besought Her Son, -- the city and all Orthodox Christians wilt be saved through thine prayers. The enemy will soon take flight. Only I alone am destined by the Lord to be killed by the enemies." Just as the elder said this, an enemy arrow struck him.
The prediction of Starets Antonii occurred: on 2 July, on the feast of the Placing of the Robe of the MostHoly Mother of God, confusion broke out in the ranks of the Tatars, and in unexplained fear and terror they turned to flight. Saint Jona built in his courtyard a temple in honour of the Placing of the Robe of the MostHoly Mother of God -- in memory of the deliverance of Moscow from the enemies.
The blessed end of Saint Jona followed in the year 1461. By the grave of the Saint began to occur numerous healings.
In 1472 the relics of holy Metropolitan Jona were opened undecayed and placed in the Uspensky Sobor [Cathedral] of the Kremlin (the feast of Transfer of the holy Relics is celebrated 27 May). A Sobor [Council] of the Russian Church in 1547 established the individual day of memory to Sainted Jona, Metropolitan of Moscow. In 1596 Patriarch Job established the celebration to Sainted Jona in the Sobor [Assemblage] of other Moscow Hierarchs, on 5 October.

St. Innocent (Veniaminov), Metropolitan of Moscow and Kolomensk
(26 August 1797 - 31 March 1879), he was glorified in canonisation by the Russian Orthodox Church on 6 October 1977. He was born in the village of Anginsk in the Irkutsk diocese. The Apostle of America and Siberia bespoke his good-news "even to the ends of the earth": in the Aleutian islands (from 1823), in the six dialects of the local tribes on the island of Sitka (from 1834), amongst the Kolosh (Tlingit); in the remotest settlements of the extensive Kamchatka diocese (from 1853); amidst the Koryak, Chukchei, Tungus in the Yakutsk region (from 1853) and North America (in 1857); in the Amur and the Usuriisk region (from 1860).
Having spent a large part of his life in journeys, Saint Innocent translated into the Aleutian language a Catechism and the Gospel, and in 1833 he wrote in this language one of the finest works of Orthodox missionary activity -- A Directive of the Way to the Kingdom of Heaven. In 1859 the Yakut first heard the Word of God and Divine-services in their own native language. Twice (in 1860 and 1861) Sainted Innocent met with the Apostle to Japan -- Sainted Nikolai (commemorated 3 February), sharing with him his spiritual experience.
A remarkable preacher, Sainted Innocent said: "Exactly that, whosoever aboundeth in faith and love, can have mouth and wisdom, and the heart cannot resist their serving it."
Having begun apostolic work as a parish priest, Saint Innocent closed with it upon the cathedra of Moscow First-Hierarchs (5 January 1868 - 31 March 1879). He was devoted to the Will of god during all the course of his life, and he left behind a testimonial of faith to his successors decreed in the words of the prophet: "From the Lord are the footsteps of man directed" (Ps 36:23). The memory of Saint Innocent is celebrated twice during the year: on 6 October and on 31 March.



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