Archive for the ‘St. Theodosius of Kiev’ Tag

Feast of Sts. Antony, Theodosius, Barlaam, and Stephen of Kiev (April 27)   Leave a comment

Above:  Caves of Kiev

SAINT ANTONY (A.K.A. ANTHONY) OF KIEV (OR PECHERSKY) (983-1073)

Russian Orthodox Hermit

His feast transferred from July 10

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SAINT BARLAAM OF KIEV (OR PECHERSKY) (DIED 1065)

Russian Orthodox Abbot

His feast transferred from November 19

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SAINT THEODOSIUS OF KIEV (OR PECHERSKY) (DIED 1074)

Russian Orthodox Abbot

His feast transferred from July 10

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SAINT STEPHEN OF KIEV (OR PECHERSKY) (DIED 1094)

Russian Orthodox Abbot and Bishop

His feast = April 27

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This post covers the origins of Russian Orthodox monasticism.

St. Antony (or Anthony of Kiev) (983-1073) was born at Lubech, in the Ukraine, then part of Russia.  He chose to become a hermit.  The saint realized, however, that he needed to learn more about that lifestyle, so he spent several years at Espigmenou Monastery, Mount Athos, Greece.  Then the saint returned to his homeland, where he founded a hermitage at Kiev, then the Russian capital city.  He attracted many followers, who became the first monks of the Pecherskaya Laura, a.k.a. the Caves of Kiev.  St. Antony also founded a monastery at Chernigov yet returned to Kiev, where he spent the rest of his life in a cave.  He and St. Theodosius of Kiev founded Russian Orthodox monasticism.

St. Theodosius of Kiev (died 1074) came from a wealthy family.  His decisions to work in the fields with serfs and to apprentice himself to a baker (the latter to learn how to make Eucharistic bread) displeased his family.  So did the saint’s decision to become a monk at Kiev in 1032.  He succeeded St. Barlaam as abbot.

St. Barlaam of Kiev (died 1065) also came from a wealthy family.  The son of a boyar, he left behind wealth and a fiancee.  Other than some overwritten hagiographies, little information about this saint survives.

As abbot St. Theodosius modified the discipline, making it less austere, balancing prayer and physical mortification with physical work, emphasizing harmony between active and contemplative work, encouraging his monks to become active in politics on behalf of the poor, and engaging his monks as evangelists.  He also expanded the monastery, adding a hospital and a hostel.  Abbot for four decades, his tenure marked the real beginning of Russian monasticism.

St. Stephen of Kiev (died 1094), originally a monk at Kiev, succeeded St. Theodosius as abbot.  The saint’s tenure was brief–just four years.  Some sources indicate that his removal resulted from dirty politics at the laura.  Anyhow, after Kiev the saint founded a monastery at Blakhernae, serving as its abbot until 1091, when he became Bishop of of Vladimir, in Volhynia.  Skilled in singing and well-informed in corporate worship, St. Stephen of Kiev earned a reputation for holiness.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 1, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MAXIMILLIAN OF TREVESTE, ROMAN CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT DAVID OF WALES, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF MENEVIA

THE FEAST OF GIROLAMO FRESCOBALDI, COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF SAINT THEOPHANES THE CHRONICLER, DEFENDER OF ICONS

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O God, whose blessed Son became poor that we through his poverty might be rich:

Deliver us from an inordinate love of this world,

that we, inspired b the devotion of your servants

Saint Antony of Kiev,

Saint Barlaam of Kiev,

Saint Theodosius of Kiev,

and Saint Stephen of Kiev,

may serve you with singleness of heart, and attain to the riches of the age to come;

through Jesus Christ our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Song of Songs 8:6-7

Psalm 34

Philippians 3:7-15

Luke 12:33-37 or Luke 9:57-62

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 722