Lives of all saints commemorated on October 27


Martyr Nestor of Thessalonica

The Holy Martyr Nestor of Thessalonica suffered in the year 306 in the city of Thessalonica together with the Great Martyr Demetrius of Thessalonica (October 26).


Venerable Nestor the Chronicler of the Kiev Caves

Saint Nestor the Chronicler, of the Kiev Caves, Near Caves was born at Kiev in 1050. He came to St Theodosius (May 3) as a young man, and became a novice. St Nestor took monastic tonsure under the successor to St Theodosius, the igumen Stephen, and under him was ordained a hierodeacon.

Concerning his lofty spiritual life it says that, with a number of other monastic Fathers he participated in the casting out of a devil from Nikita the Hermit (January 31), who had become fascinated by the Hebrew wisdom of the Old Testament. St Nestor deeply appreciated true knowledge, along with humility and penitence. “Great is the benefit of book learning,” he said, “for books point out and teach us the way to repentance, since from the words of books we discover wisdom and temperance. This is the stream, watering the universe, from which springs wisdom. In books is a boundless depth, by them we are comforted in sorrows, and they are a bridle for moderation. If you enter diligently into the books of wisdom, then you shall discover great benefit for your soul. Therefore, the one who reads books converses with God or the saints.”

In the monastery St Nestor had the obedience of being the chronicler. In the 1080s he wrote the “Account about the Life and Martyrdom of the Blessed Passion Bearers Boris and Gleb” in connection with the transfer of the relics of the saints to Vyshgorod in the year 1072 (May 2). In the 1080s St Nestor also compiled the Life of the Monk Theodosius of the Kiev Caves. And in 1091, on the eve of the patronal Feast of the Kiev Caves Monastery, he was entrusted by Igumen John to dig up the holy relics of St Theodosius (August 14) for transfer to the church.

The chief work in the life of St Nestor was compiling in the years 1112-1113 The Russian Primary Chronicle. “Here is the account of years past, how the Russian land came to be, who was the first prince at Kiev and how the Russian land is arrayed.” The very first line written by St Nestor set forth his purpose. St Nestor used an extraordinarily wide circle of sources: prior Russian chronicles and sayings, monastery records, the Byzantine Chronicles of John Malalos and George Amartolos, various historical collections, the accounts of the boyar-Elder Ivan Vyshatich and of tradesmen and soldiers, of journeymen and of those who knew. He drew them together with a unified and strict ecclesiastical point of view. This permitted him to write his history of Russia as an inclusive part of world history, the history of the salvation of the human race.

The monk-patriot describes the history of the Russian Church in its significant moments. He speaks about the first mention of the Russian nation in historical sources in the year 866, in the time of St Photius, Patriarch of Constantinople. He tells of the creation of the Slavonic alphabet and writing by Sts Cyril and Methodius; and of the Baptism of St Olga at Constantinople. The Chronicle of St Nestor has preserved for us an account of the first Orthodox church in Kiev (under the year 945), and of the holy Varangian Martyrs (under the year 983), of the “testing of the faiths” by St Vladimir (in 986) and the Baptism of Rus (in 988).

We are indebted to the first Russian Church historian for details about the first Metropolitans of the Russian Church, about the emergence of the Kiev Caves monastery, and about its founders and ascetics. The times in which St Nestor lived were not easy for the Russian land and the Russian Church. Rus lay torn asunder by princely feuds; the Polovetsian nomads of the steppes lay waste to both city and village with plundering raids. They led many Russian people into slavery, and burned churches and monasteries. St Nestor was an eyewitness to the devastation of the Kiev Caves monastery in the year 1096. In the Chronicle a theologically thought out patriotic history is presented. The spiritual depth, historical fidelity and patriotism of the The Russian Primary Chronicle establish it in the ranks of the significant creations of world literature.

St Nestor died around the year 1114, having left to the other monastic chroniclers of the Kiev Caves the continuation of his great work. His successors in the writing of the Chronicles were: Igumen Sylvester, who added contemporary accounts to the The Russian Primary Chronicle; Igumen Moses Vydubitsky brought it up to the year 1200; and finally, Igumen Laurence, who in the year 1377 wrote the most ancient of the surviving manuscripts that preserve the Chronicle of St Nestor (this copy is known as the “Lavrentian Chronicle”). The hagiographic tradition of the Kiev Caves ascetics was continued by St Simon, Bishop of Vladimir (May 10), the compiler of the Kiev Caves Paterikon. Narrating the events connected with the lives of the holy saints of God, St Simon often quotes, among other sources, from the Chronicle of St Nestor.

St Nestor was buried in the Near Caves of St Anthony. The Church also honors his memory in the Synaxis of the holy Fathers of the Near Caves commemorated September 28 and on the second Sunday of Great Lent when is celebrated the Synaxis of all the Fathers of the Kiev Caves. His works have been published many times, including in English as “The Russian Primary Chronicle”.


Uncovering of the relics of St Andrew the Prince of Smolensk

The Uncovering of the relics of Saint Andrew, Prince of Smolensk at Pereslavl occurred in the year 1539 through the involvement of St Daniel of Pereslavl (April 7).

The holy Prince Andrew was the son of the Smolensk prince Theodore Fominsky. While still in his youth, he was grieved by the disputes of his brothers, and he left his native city going as a simple wanderer to Pereslavl Zalessk. In humility and meekness he spent thirty years as church warden at the church of St Nicholas, near which he is buried. After his death they discovered a princely ring, a gold chain and an inscription with the words, “I am Andrew, one of the Smolensk princes.”


Martyr Capitolina of Cappadocia

No information available at this time.


Martyr Erotheis of Cappadocia

No information available at this time.


Martyr Mark on the Isle of Thasos

No information available at this time.


Martyrs with the St Mark on the isle of Thasos

No information available at this time.


Icon of the Mother of God of “the Sign”

The main commemoration of the Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos “Of the Sign” is November 27.


St Demetrius of Basarabov

Saint Demetrius of Basarabov in Bulgaria lived in the wilderness as an ascetic near the city of Ruschuk, Bulgaria. He died in 1685.

On July 8, 1779 his relics were transferred to Bucharest.


St Nestor (not the Chronicler) of the Far Kiev Caves

Saint Nestor (not the Chronicler) of the Kiev Caves, is to be distinguished from St Nestor the Chronicler, who lived as an ascetic in the Far Caves. His memory is celebrated October 27 it seems, because he was named for the St Nestor of Thessalonica.

The name of St Nestor (not the Chronicler) is mentioned in the General Service to the Monastics of the Far Caves: “The Word of God, understood by man, instructed you not by written wisdom, O holy Nestor, but from on high; you beheld it through the prayers of the angel, and you foresaw your death. May we also be made partakers with you, we pray, in honoring your memory.” His memory is celebrated also on August 28 and on the second Sunday of Great Lent.


Hierarch Alexander, Bishop of Guria and Samegrelo

The holy hierarch Alexander (Alexi Okropiridze in the world) was born in 1824, in the village of Disevi in the Gori district, to the family of the village priest. Growing up around the church, he received his primary education at Gori Theological School and later continued his education at Tbilisi Seminary.

Having completed his course of study at the seminary in 1845, he was tonsured a monk at the Tbilisi Monastery of the Transfiguration and given the new name Alexander. From Tbilisi the young monk Alexander traveled to the theological academy in Kazan to continue his studies. He graduated with honors and returned to his homeland. Hieromonk Alexander taught the Holy Scriptures, Latin, moral theology, and archaeology at Tbilisi Seminary until July 27, 1851.

Then, at the order of the Holy Synod, he was appointed dean of the theological school in Abkhazeti on September 21, 1851. He was also entrusted with overseeing monastic life in the Abkhazeti diocese and with supervising the instruction at Kutaisi Theological School.

Alexander considered a broadening of the network of theological institutions most essential to the strengthening of the Christian Faith in his country. From the very beginning of his labors in Abkhazeti, he exerted an enormous amount of effort to improve the Ilori Theological School in Ochamchire. At first Alexander was active as a pedagogue, then from February 29, 1856, as an archimandrite, and from March 4, 1862, as a bishop. He was as beloved throughout all of Georgian society as he was by the local population, and many called him the “Second Apostle to Abkhazeti.”

Alexander’s pastoral activity coincided with a difficult period in Georgian history. The divine services were no longer being celebrated in the Georgian language, and as a result many of the people began to drift away from the Church. Many Georgian churches and monasteries, considered cultural and academic centers from ancient times, were deserted. (By this time Georgia had been incorporated into the Russian Empire, and the tsarist government had initiated a policy of forced Russification.) The Georgian language was no longer being taught in schools, and the poorest families could not afford to educate their children.

The learned and erudite Bishop Alexander considered the revival of spiritual life and learning, firmly rooted in the national consciousness, the principle means by which to reinvigorate the national spirit and encourage cultural advance.

Alexander’s efforts on behalf of the revival of the churches and monasteries in Abkhazeti are, among his many labors, most worthy of note. Through his efforts alone two churches were restored in Sokhumi. Outside of Abkhazeti, Alexander renewed the magnificent monasteries of Shio-Mgvime, Zedazeni, Davit-Gareji, and Shemokmedi. He restored Jvari Church, Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, Disevi Church, and many other churches in Guria-Samegrelo, Atchara, and Imereti. He devoted special attention to the Shio-Mgvime Monastery and the surrounding area, which had been devastated by that time.

Owing to St. Alexander’s generous financial contributions, a diocesan school for women was founded in Tbilisi in 1878.

By his initiative and personal contributions, a great number of spiritual and historical books, textbooks and collections of sacred hymns were published. Not a single God-pleasing project was undertaken without Alexander’s support.

St. Alexander spent the remainder of his days at the Shio-Mgvime Monastery, which he himself had restored. Only once—on September 9, 1907, the day his spiritual son St. Ilia the Righteous was buried— did he step outside the monastery walls. The eighty-three year-old Alexander outlived the great son of Georgia by two months and fell asleep in the Lord on October 27 of the same year. St. Alexander is buried at Shio-Mgvime Monastery.