Venerable Serapion of Kozhe Lake

Saint Serapion of Kozhe Lake was brought to Moscow among the Kazan Tatar captives in the year 1551. They called him Murza (Tatar-prince) Turtas Gravirovich. He was baptized with the name Sergius and lived in the home of the Moscow boyar Zachariah Plescheev. Sergius accepted the Christian Faith so sincerely, that he decided to devote himself entirely to God. In 1560, on a desolate island of Kozhe Lake, he encountered the hermit Niphon and stayed to live with him. At the fervent request of Sergius, Niphon tonsured him into monasticism with the name Serapion. In 1584, after the death of the monk Niphon, St Serapion set off for Moscow and asked Tsar Theodore Ioannovich (1584-1598) for a land deed for a monastery. After his return to the monastery, St Serapion and the brethren made a clearing in the forest and built two churches; one in honor of the Holy Theophany, and the other in honor of St Nicholas. Patriarch Job (+ 1607) provided St Serapion with antimensia for the altars. In 1608, when St Serapion had become old, he made his disciple Abramius the igumen in place of himself. St Serapion died in 1611 and was buried at a church of the Kozhe Lake monastery. In 1613 the monk Bogolep of Kozhe Lake wrote an account of the founding of the monastery and about its initial construction under St Serapion. He compiled also a Life of St Serapion.