Lives of all saints commemorated on November 19


Prophet Obadiah (Abdias)

The Holy Prophet Obadiah [or Abdia] is the fourth of the Twelve Minor Prophets, and he lived during the ninth century B.C. He was from the village of Betharam, near Sichem, and he served as steward of the impious Israelite King Ahab. In those days the whole of Israel had turned away from the true God and had begun to offer sacrifice to Baal, but Obadiah faithfully served the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in secret.

When Ahab’s wife, the impious and dissolute Jezebel, hunted down all the prophets of the Lord (because of her quarrel with the Prophet Elias), Obadiah gave them shelter and food (3/1 Kgs 18:3 ff). Ahab’s successor King Okhoziah [Ahaziah] sent three detachments of soldiers to arrest the holy Prophet Elias (July 20). One of these detachments was headed by St Obadiah. Through the prayer of St Elias, two of the detachments were consumed by heavenly fire, but St Obadiah and his detachment were spared by the Lord 4/2 Kgs 1).

From that moment St Obadiah resigned from military service and became a follower of the Prophet Elias. Afterwards, he himself received the gift of prophecy. The God-inspired work of St Obadiah is the fourth of the Books of the Twelve Minor Prophets in the Bible, and contains predictions about the New Testament Church. The holy Prophet Obadiah was buried in Samaria.


Martyr Barlaam of Caesarea, in Cappadocia

The Holy Martyr Barlaam lived in Antioch of Syria. During Diocletian’s persecution against Christians, the aged St Barlaam was arrested and brought to trial, where he confessed himself a Christian.

The judge, wanting to compel the saint to renounce Christ, ordered that St Barlaam be brought to the pagan altar. His right hand was placed over it, and a red-hot censer burning with incense was put into his hand. The torturer thought that a physically weak old man could not endure the pain and would drop it on the altar. In this way he would involuntarily be offering sacrifice to the idol. However, the saint held on to the censer until his hand fell off. After this, the holy Martyr Barlaam surrendered his soul to the Lord.


Venerable Barlaam

The Monks Barlaam the Wilderness-Dweller, Joasaph the son of the Emperor of India, and his Father Abenner:

The emperor Abenner ruled in India, which had once received the Christian Faith through the evangelization of the holy Apostle Thomas. He was an idol-worshipper and fierce persecutor of Christians. For a long time he did not have any children. Finally, a son was born to the emperor, and named Joasaph. At the birth of this son the wisest of the emperor’s astrologers predicted that the emperor’s son would accept the Christian Faith which was persecuted by his father. The emperor, in an effort to prevent the prediction from being fulfilled, commanded that a separate palace be built for his son. He also arranged matters so that his son should never hear a single word about Christ and His teachings.

When he was a young man, Joasaph asked his father’s permission to go out of the palace, and he saw such things as suffering, sickness, old age and death. This led him to ponder the vanity and absurdity of life, and to engage in some serious thinking.

At that time a wise hermit, St Barlaam, lived in a remote wilderness. Through divine revelation he learned about the youth agonizing in search of truth. Forsaking his wilderness, St Barlaam went to India disguised as a merchant. After he arrived in the city where Joasaph’s palace was, he said that he had brought with him a precious stone, endowed with wondrous powers to heal sickness. Brought before Joasaph, he began to teach him the Christian Faith in the form of parables, and then from the Holy Gospel and the Epistles. From the instructions of St Barlaam the youth reasoned that the precious stone is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and he believed in Him and desired to accept holy Baptism. Having made the Sign of the Cross over the youth, St Barlaam told him to fast and pray, and he went off into the wilderness.

The emperor, learning that his son had become a Christian, fell into rage and grief. On the advice of one of his counsellors, the emperor arranged for a religious debate between the Christians and the pagans, at which the magician Nakhor appeared in the guise of Barlaam. In the debate Nakhor was supposed to acknowledge himself beaten and thereby turn the imperial youth away from Christianity.

St Joasaph learned about the deception in a dream, and he threatened Nakhor with a fiercesome execution if he were beaten in the debate. Nakhor not only defeated the pagans, but he himself came to believe in Christ, and he repented and accepted holy Baptism and went off into the wilderness.

The emperor also tried to turn his son away from Christianity by other methods, but the youth conquered all the temptations. Then on the advice of his counsellors, Abenner bestowed on his son half the realm. When St Joasaph became emperor, he restored Christianity in his lands, rebuilt the churches, and finally, converted his own father Abenner to Christianity.

The emperor Abenner died soon after Baptism, and St Joasaph abdicated his throne and went off into the wilderness in search of his teacher, Elder Barlaam. For two years he wandered about through the wilderness, suffering dangers and temptations, until he found the cave of St Barlaam, laboring in silence. The Elder and the youth began to struggle together.

When St Barlaam’s death approached, he served the Divine Liturgy, partook of the Holy Mysteries and communed St Joasaph, then he departed to the Lord. He lived in the wilderness for seventy of his one hundred years. After he buried the Elder, St Joasaph remained in the cave and continued his ascetic efforts. He dwelt in the wilderness for thirty-five years, and fell asleep in the Lord at the age of sixty.

Barachias, St Joasaph’s successor as emperor, with the help of a certain hermit, found the incorrupt and fragrant relics of both ascetics in the cave, and he brought them back to his fatherland and buried them in a church built by the holy Emperor Joasaph.


Venerable Joasaph the Prince of India

The Monks Barlaam the Wilderness-Dweller, Joasaph the son of the Emperor of India, and his Father Abenner:

The emperor Abenner ruled in India, which had once received the Christian Faith through the evangelization of the holy Apostle Thomas. He was an idol-worshipper and fierce persecutor of Christians. For a long time he did not have any children. Finally, a son was born to the emperor, and named Joasaph. At the birth of this son the wisest of the emperor’s astrologers predicted that the emperor’s son would accept the Christian Faith which was persecuted by his father. The emperor, in an effort to prevent the prediction from being fulfilled, commanded that a separate palace be built for his son. He also arranged matters so that his son should never hear a single word about Christ and His teachings.

When he was a young man, Joasaph asked his father’s permission to go out of the palace, and he saw such things as suffering, sickness, old age and death. This led him to ponder the vanity and absurdity of life, and to engage in some serious thinking.

At that time a wise hermit, St Barlaam, lived in a remote wilderness. Through divine revelation he learned about the youth agonizing in search of truth. Forsaking his wilderness, St Barlaam went to India disguised as a merchant. After he arrived in the city where Joasaph’s palace was, he said that he had brought with him a precious stone, endowed with wondrous powers to heal sickness. Brought before Joasaph, he began to teach him the Christian Faith in the form of parables, and then from the Holy Gospel and the Epistles. From the instructions of St Barlaam the youth reasoned that the precious stone is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and he believed in Him and desired to accept holy Baptism. Having made the Sign of the Cross over the youth, St Barlaam told him to fast and pray, and he went off into the wilderness.

The emperor, learning that his son had become a Christian, fell into rage and grief. On the advice of one of his counselors, the emperor arranged for a religious debate between the Christians and the pagans, at which the magician Nakhor appeared in the guise of Barlaam. In the debate Nakhor was supposed to acknowledge himself beaten and thereby turn the imperial youth away from Christianity.

St Joasaph learned about the deception in a dream, and he threatened Nakhor with a fearsome execution if he were beaten in the debate. Nakhor not only defeated the pagans, but he himself came to believe in Christ, and he repented and accepted holy Baptism and went off into the wilderness.

The emperor also tried to turn his son away from Christianity by other methods, but the youth conquered all the temptations. Then on the advice of his counselors, Abenner bestowed on his son half the realm. When St Joasaph became emperor, he restored Christianity in his lands, rebuilt the churches, and finally, converted his own father Abenner to Christianity.

The emperor Abenner died soon after Baptism, and St Joasaph abdicated his throne and went off into the wilderness in search of his teacher, Elder Barlaam. For two years he wandered about through the wilderness, suffering dangers and temptations, until he found the cave of St Barlaam, laboring in silence. The Elder and the youth began to struggle together.

When St Barlaam’s death approached, he served the Divine Liturgy, partook of the Holy Mysteries and communed St Joasaph, then he departed to the Lord. He lived in the wilderness for seventy of his one hundred years. After he buried the Elder, St Joasaph remained in the cave and continued his ascetic efforts. He dwelt in the wilderness for thirty-five years, and fell asleep in the Lord at the age of sixty.

Barachias, St Joasaph’s successor as emperor, with the help of a certain hermit, found the incorrupt and fragrant relics of both ascetics in the cave, and he brought them back to his fatherland and buried them in a church built by the holy Emperor Joasaph.


Venerable King Abennar the father of the Venerable Joasaph

The Monks Barlaam the Wilderness-Dweller, Joasaph the son of the Emperor of India, and his Father Abenner:

The emperor Abenner ruled in India, which had once received the Christian Faith through the evangelization of the holy Apostle Thomas. He was an idol-worshipper and fierce persecutor of Christians. For a long time he did not have any children. Finally, a son was born to the emperor, and named Joasaph. At the birth of this son the wisest of the emperor’s astrologers predicted that the emperor’s son would accept the Christian Faith which was persecuted by his father. The emperor, in an effort to prevent the prediction from being fulfilled, commanded that a separate palace be built for his son. He also arranged matters so that his son should never hear a single word about Christ and His teachings.

When he was a young man, Joasaph asked his father’s permission to go out the palace, and he saw such things as suffering, sickness, old age and death. This led him to ponder the vanity and absurdity of life, and to engage in some serious thinking.

At that time a wise hermit, St Barlaam, lived in a remote wilderness. Through divine revelation he learned about the youth agonizing in search of truth. Forsaking his wilderness, St Barlaam went to India disguised as a merchant. After he arrived in the city where Joasaph’s palace was, he said that he had brought with him a precious stone, endowed with wondrous powers to heal sickness. Brought before Joasaph, he began to teach him the Christian Faith in the form of parables, and then from the Holy Gospel and the Epistles. From the instructions of St Barlaam the youth reasoned that the precious stone is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and he believed in Him and desired to accept holy Baptism. Having made the Sign of the Cross over the youth, St Barlaam told him to fast and pray, and he went off into the wilderness.

The emperor, learning that his son had become a Christian, fell into rage and grief. On the advice of one of his counselors, the emperor arranged for a religious debate between the Christians and the pagans, at which the magician Nakhor appeared in the guise of Barlaam. In the debate Nakhor was supposed to acknowledge himself beaten and thereby turn the imperial youth away from Christianity.

St Joasaph learned about the deception in a dream, and he threatened Nakhor with a fearsome execution if he were beaten in the debate. Nakhor not only defeated the pagans, but he himself came to believe in Christ, and he repented and accepted holy Baptism and went off into the wilderness.

The emperor also tried to turn his son away from Christianity by other methods, but the youth conquered all the temptations. Then on the advice of his counselors, Abenner bestowed on his son half the realm. When St Joasaph became emperor, he restored Christianity in his lands, rebuilt the churches, and finally, converted his own father Abenner to Christianity.

The emperor Abenner died soon after Baptism.


Venerable Barlaam the Abbot of the Kiev Near Caves

Saint Barlaam, Igumen of the Kiev Caves, lived during the eleventh century at Kiev, and was the son of an illustrious noble. From his youth, he yearned for the monastic life and he went to St Anthony of the Caves (July 10), who accepted the pious youth so firmly determined to become a monk, and he bade St Nikon (March 23) to tonsure him.

St Barlaam’s father tried to return him home by force, but finally became convinced that his son would never return to the world, so he gave up. When the number of monks at the Caves began to increase, St Anthony made St Barlaam igumen, while he himself moved to another cave and again began to live in solitude.

St Barlaam became the first igumen of the Kiev Caves monastery. In the year 1058, after asking St Anthony’s blessing, St Barlaam built a wooden church in honor of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos. Afterwards, St Barlaam became igumen of the newly-formed monastery in honor of the Great Martyr Demetrius.

St Barlaam twice went on pilgrimage to the holy places in Jerusalem and Constantinople. After he returned from his second journey, he died in the Vladimir Holy Mountain monastery at Volhynia in 1065 and was buried, in accord with his final wishes, at the Caves monastery in the Near Caves. His memory is celebrated September 28 and on the second Sunday of Great Lent.


Finding of the relics of Monkmartyr Adrian of Poshekhonsk, Yaroslavl

The Uncovering of the Relics of the Hieromartyr Adrian of Peshekhon and Yaroslav took place on November 19, 1625. On December 17, 1625, under Patriarch Philaret, his incorrupt relics were transferred to the monastery he founded. The account of the hosiomartyr Adrian is located on the day of his death, March 5.


Martyr Azes of Isauria

The Holy Martyr Azes and with him 150 Soldiers suffered at Isauria, in Asia Minor, under the emperor Diocletian (284-305). For his confession of the Christian Faith, the saint was arrested and brought to trial before the eparch, Aquilinus.

One hundred and fifty soldiers had been sent to arrest the saint, but they were converted to the path of salvation and they accepted holy Baptism with water that sprang forth through the prayer of St Azes. The martyr persuaded them to fulfill the commandment to obey those in authority, and therefore to bring him before the eparch.

The soldiers and the saint confessed their Christian faith before Aquilinus, and for this they were all beheaded. With them the eparch executed his own wife and daughter, who had come to believe in Christ, seeing the steadfastness of St Azes under torture.


Martyred 150 Soldiers with Martyr Azes of Isauria

The Holy Martyr Azes and with him 150 Soldiers suffered at Isauria, in Asia Minor, under the emperor Diocletian (284-305). For his confession of the Christian Faith, the saint was arrested and brought to trial before the eparch, Aquilinus.

One hundred and fifty soldiers had been sent to arrest the saint, but they were converted to the path of salvation and they accepted holy Baptism with water that sprang forth through the prayer of St Azes. The martyr persuaded them to fulfill the commandment to obey those in authority, and therefore to bring him before the eparch.

The soldiers and the saint confessed their Christian faith before Aquilinus, and for this they were all beheaded. With them the eparch executed his own wife and daughter, who had come to believe in Christ, seeing the steadfastness of St Azes under torture.


Martyr Heliodorus in Pamphylia

The Holy Martyr Heliodorus lived during the reign of the emperor Aurelian (270-275) in the city of Magidum (Pamphylia). The ruler of the city, Aetius, subjected the saint to fierce tortures for his faith in Christ and had him beheaded.


Venerable Hilarion the Monk and Wonderworker of Thessalonica, Georgian

Saint Hilarion the Georgian was the son of a Kakheti aristocrat. There were other children in the family, but only Hilarion was dedicated to God from his very birth. Hilarion’s father built a monastery on his own land, and there the boy was raised.

At the age of fourteen Hilarion left the monastery and his father’s guardianship and settled in a small cave in the Davit-Gareji Wilderness. There he remained for ten years.

Soon report spread through all of eastern Georgia of the angelic faster and tireless intercessor in prayer. Crowds flocked to his cave to receive instruction, blessings, and counsel. When the bishop of Rustavi came to visit Hilarion, he ordained him a priest. Soon he was made abbot of St. Davit of Gareji Lavra.

After his ordination, the holy father was praised even more among his people, and he decided to leave his motherland. Hilarion chose one of the brothers to replace him as abbot of the monastery and set off on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

On the way Venerable Hilarion was attacked by a band of vicious thieves. They sought to kill the holy father, but their hands suddenly withered. When the terrified thieves realized that God had punished them for raising their hands to kill the saint, they fell to their knees before St. Hilarion and begged his forgiveness. The venerable father blessed them with the sign of the Cross, healed them and let them depart in peace.

St. Hilarion venerated the holy places in Jerusalem, then settled in a cave in the Jordan wilderness (according to tradition, the holy prophet Elijah had dwelt in that same cave).

One night St. Hilarion saw a vision: He was standing before the Most Holy Theotokos, in the midst of twelve men, on the Mount of Olives, the place of our Lord’s Ascension. The Holy Virgin said to him, “Hilarion! Return to your home and prepare a meal for the Lord, my Son!”

Upon waking, Hilarion understood this vision with both his heart and mind and immediately set off for his motherland.

When he returned to Georgia, St. Hilarion learned of the repose of his father and brothers. His mother gave her only living son the family inheritance.

Blessed Hilarion founded a convent with the resources he had inherited, donated lands to the monastic community, and established its rules. Then he gathered seventy-six worthy monk-ascetics and founded a monastery for men. He distributed his remaining property to the poor

and disabled.

As before, the news of St. Hilarion’s virtuous deeds spread quickly through all of Georgia. Again many desired to receive his blessing and counsel, but when the clergy announced their intention to consecrate him a bishop, he abandoned Georgia for the second time. He took two companions and journeyed to Constantinople.

After the long journey, Hilarion and his companions finally reached Mt. Olympus in Asia Minor and settled in a small, forsaken church. During the evening services on Cheese-fare Saturday, the lamplighter from the Monastery of St. Ioannicius the Great came to the church to light an icon lamp, and seeing that several people had settled there, he brought them some food.

The next Saturday, the feast of St. Theodore the Tyro, the same monk returned to the church and saw that the brothers had gone the whole week eating nothing but a few lentils. They had not touched the food he had brought them. So the monk asked St. Hilarion what they needed, and Hilarion requested prosphora and wine for the Bloodless Sacrifice. Then St. Hilarion celebrated the Liturgy at the appropriate time, received Holy Communion, and served the Holy Gifts to the brothers.

When the abbot of the Great Lavra heard that a service had been celebrated by an unknown priest in a language other than Greek, he was infuriated and ordered his steward and several of the monks to chase the strangers off the monastery property. But St. Hilarion responded to the steward in Greek and asked for permission to spend the night in the church, promising to depart in the morning.

That night the Theotokos appeared to the abbot of the lavra in a vision. She stood at the foot of his bed and rebuked him, saying, “Foolish one! What has moved you to cast out these strangers, who left their own country for the love of my Son and God? Why have you broken the commandment to receive and show mercy to strangers and the poor? Do you not know that there are many living on this mountain that speak the same language as they? They are also praising God here. He who fails to receive them is my enemy, for my Son entrusted me to protect them and to ensure that their Orthodox Faith is not shaken. They believe in my Son and have been baptized in His name!”

The next day the elder fell to his knees before St. Hilarion, begged forgiveness for his impertinence, and requested that he remain at the monastery. St. Hilarion consoled the elder and agreed to stay.

St. Hilarion spent five years on Mt. Olympus, then journeyed again to Constantinople, to venerate the Life-giving Cross of our Lord. From there he traveled to Rome to venerate the graves of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul. On the way to Rome his prayers healed a paralyzed man. After spending two years in Rome, St. Hilarion set off again for Constantinople. On the way, in the city of Thessalonica, the blessed Hilarion stopped for a rest at the home of the prefect. When he arrived, a servant woman was carrying a paralyzed fourteen-year-old boy out of the house, and she laid him in the sun. The saint asked the woman for water, and when she had gone to bring it, he blessed the child with the sign of the Cross and healed him. Immediately the boy ran to his mother, and St. Hilarion quickly departed from that place.

But the prefect, the boy’s father, had witnessed the miracle, and he ordered that the wonderworker be found. When he had been brought before him, the prefect begged St. Hilarion to remain in Thessalonica and choose for himself a place to continue his miraculous works.

Recognizing the prefect to be a true lover of God, the saint heeded his entreaty and agreed to remain. The prefect built a church in the place that Hilarion had chosen, and before long the entire city had heard about St. Hilarion and his miracles.

St. Hilarion spent the remainder of his days in Thessalonica. When the Lord made known to him the day of his repose, he called for the prefect, thanked him, and instructed him to love the monks and all the suffering and to be just and merciful.

The saint reposed on November 19, 875, and the sorrowful prefect prepared a marble shrine for him. Those who were sick and who approached St. Hilarion’s grave with faith were healed of their infirmities.

The prefect and the archbishop of Thessalonica informed the Byzantine emperor Basil the Macedonian (867-886) about the miracles that had occurred at the holy father’s grave. The emperor in turn informed the monks who came to him from Mt. Olympus, among whom was the elder who once had tried to chase St. Hilarion out of the church. Emperor Basil became intrigued with St. Hilarion’s disciples and fellow countrymen through the stories of Hilarion’s miracles. St. Hilarion’s three disciples were presented to him, and the emperor was so struck by their holiness that he sent them to the patriarch of Constantinople to receive his blessing. Recognizing immediately that the three elders were filled with divine favor, the patriarch advised the emperor to confer great honors upon them.

In response, Emperor Basil invited the elders to choose for themselves and their countrymen one of the monasteries in Constantinople and make it their own. The fathers graciously declined since they did not wish to live in the populous city. Instead the monks asked the emperor to build cells for them outside the capital. So Emperor Basil built a large church dedicated to the Holy Apostles in a place that the Georgian fathers had chosen in a certain ravine, where a spring of cold water flowed from beneath a little hill, and he carved a cell for himself as well. The monastery was called “Romana,” after the nearby brook.

Later the emperor sent his own two sons, Leo1 and Alexander, to be raised by the holy fathers.

Emperor Basil sought to bury St. Hilarion’s holy relics in the capital, but the people of Thessalonica would not allow the relics to be taken away. In the end, it was necessary for the emperor’s envoys to conceal the sacred shrine and carry it back to Constantinople in secret.

The emperor, the patriarch, and all the people met the arrival of St. Hilarion’s relics with glorious hymns and prayers. Before the special burial vault had been built, the emperor kept St. Hilarion’s holy relics in his own chamber. Three nights after the relics had arrived, Basil awoke to an unusual fragrance. No one in the court could discover its source.

When the emperor dozed off again, St. Hilarion appeared to him in his vestments and said, “You have done a good deed by preparing a shelter for my remains. But the sweet fragrance you smell was acquired in the wilderness, not in the city. Therefore, if you desire to receive the divine blessings in full, take me away to the wilderness!”

The emperor reported this wondrous turn of events to the patriarch and the prefect, and with their consent he brought the holy relics of St. Hilarion to the Monastery of Romana.


Repose of St Philaret (Drozdov) the Metropolitan of Moscow

Saint Philaret (Drozdov) was born on December 26, 1782 in Kolomna, a suburb of Moscow, and was named Basil in Baptism. His father was a deacon (who later became a priest).

The young Basil studied at the Kolomna seminary, where courses were taught in Latin. He was small in stature, and far from robust, but his talents set him apart from his classmates.

In 1808, while he was a student at the Moscow Theological Academy at Holy Trinity Lavra, Basil received monastic tonsure and was named Philaret after St Philaret the Merciful (December 1). Not long after this, he was ordained a deacon.

In 1809, he went to teach at the Theological Academy in Petersburg, which had been reopened only a short time before. Hierodeacon Philaret felt ill at ease in Petersburg, but he was a very good teacher who tried to make theology intelligible to all. Therefore, he worked to have classes taught in Russian rather than in Latin.

Philaret was consecrated as bishop in 1817, and was appointed to serve as a vicar in the diocese of Petersburg. He soon rose to the rank of archbishop, serving in Tver, Yaroslavl, and Moscow. In 1826, he was made Metropolitan of Moscow, and remained in that position until his death.

The Metropolitan believed that it was his duty to educate and enlighten his flock about the Church’s teachings and traditions. Therefore, he preached and wrote about how to live a Christian life, basing his words on the wisdom of the Holy Fathers. His 1823 CATECHISM has been an influential book in Russia and in other countries for nearly two hundred years.

The reforms of Tsar Peter the Great had abolished the patriarchate and severely restricted the Church, placing many aspects of its life under governmental control. Metropolitan Philaret tried to regain some of the Church’s freedom to administer its own affairs, regarding Church and State as two separate entities working in harmony. Not everyone shared his views, and he certainly made his share of enemies. Still, he did achieve some degree of success in effecting changes.

One day, Archimandrite Anthony (Medvedev), a disciple of St Seraphim of Sarov (January 2), paid a call on his diocesan hierarch. During their conversation, Fr Anthony spoke of the patristic teaching on unceasing prayer, and he may have told the Metropolitan something of St Seraphim. St Philaret felt a deep spiritual kinship with Fr Anthony, who soon became his Elder. He made no important decision concerning diocesan affairs, or his own spiritual life, without consulting Fr Anthony. St Seraphim once told Fr Anthony that he would become the igumen of a great monastery, and gave him advice on how to conduct himself. It was St Philaret who appointed him as igumen of Holy Trinity Lavra.

Metropolitan Philaret wanted to have the Holy Scriptures translated into modern Russian, so that people could read and understand them. Fr Anthony, however, criticized the unorthodox ethos of the Russian Bible Society, which was popular during the reign of Alexander I. In his eagerness to have the Bible translated into modern Russian, St Philaret at first supported the Bible Society without realizing how dangerous some of its ideas were. The first Russian translation of the Bible was printed during the reign of Tsar Alexander II.

Under the direction of his Elder, Metropolitan Philaret made great progress in the spiritual life. He also received the gifts of unceasing prayer, clairvoyance, and healing. It is no exaggeration to suggest that St Philaret himself was one of the forces behind the spiritual revival in nineteenth century Russia. He defended the Elders of Optina Monastery when they were misunderstood and attacked by many. He protected the nuns of St Seraphim’s Diveyevo Convent, and supported the publication of patristic texts by Optina Monastery.

Metropolitan Philaret was asked to dedicate the new Triumphal Gate in Moscow, and Tsar Nicholas I was also present. Seeing statues of pagan gods on the Gate, the Metropolitan refused to bless it. The Tsar became angry, and many people criticized the saint’s refusal to participate. He felt that he had followed his conscience in this matter, but still felt disturbed by it, and so he prayed until he finally dropped off to sleep. He was awakened around 5 A.M. by the sound of someone opening the door which he usually kept locked. The Metropolitan sat up and saw St Sergius of Radonezh (September 25) leaning over his bed. “Don’t worry,” he said, “it will all pass.” Then he disappeared.

Two months before his death, St Philaret saw his father in a dream, warning him about the 19th day of the month. On November 19, 1867, he served the Divine Liturgy for the last time. At two in the afternoon, they went to his cell and found his body. He was buried at Holy Trinity Lavra.

St Philaret was glorified by the Russian Orthodox Church in 1995.


Icon of the Mother of God “the Joy of All who Sorrow”

Icons of this type depict the Mother of God standing full-length, with a scepter in Her right hand. In some variants of this icon, She is also holding Christ in Her left arm. See July 23 and October 24.