Venerable Gerasimus of Vologda

Saint Gerasimus, First Vologda Wonderworker, accepted monastic tonsure on March 4 (at that time it was customary to give a new monk the name of the saint commemorated on the day of his tonsure) at the Kiev Gniloe Dormition monastery, having been attracted to the Caves where St Theodosius (May 3) secluded himself during Great Lent.

Out of obedience to the brethren, St Gerasimus accepted the rank of hieromonk. In imitation of the exploits of the Fathers of old, the monk felt drawn to Northern Rus and he arrived at the River Vologda (August 19, 1147). He blessed the emerging settlement on the right bank, “foretelling that here would be a great city.”

The saint chose the dense virgin forest for his dwelling place, separated from the settlement by the Kaisarova creek. There the monk built a hut, and in the tranquil solitude he devoted himself to the contemplation of God, unceasing prayer and work. He built a church in honor of the Most Holy Trinity, and so the first monastery in the north named for the Most Holy Trinity came into being. The monastery served for the spiritual enlightenment of the surrounding peoples.

The monk peacefully fell asleep in the Lord on March 4, 1178, the day of his monastic tonsure, and the Feast of his namesake St Gerasimus of the Jordan.