Saint Cornelius of Pereyaslavl, in the world Konon, was the son of a Ryazan merchant. In his youth he left his parental home and lived for five years as a novice of the Elder Paul in the Lukianov wilderness near Pereyaslavl. Afterwards the young ascetic transferred to the Pereyaslavl monastery of Sts Boris and Gleb on the Sands [Peskakh]. Konon eagerly went to church and unquestioningly did everything that they commanded him.
The holy novice did not sit down to eat in the trapeza with the brethren, but contented himself with whatever remained, accepting food only three times a week. After five years, he received monastic tonsure with the name Cornelius. From that time no one saw the monk sleeping on a bed. Several of the brethren scoffed at St Cornelius as foolish, but he quietly endured the insults and intensified his efforts. Having asked permission of the igumen to live as a hermit, he secluded himself into his own separately constructed cell and constantly practiced asceticism in fasting and prayer.
Once the brethren found him barely alive, and the cell was locked from within. Three months St Cornelius lay ill, and he could take only water and juice. The monk, having recovered and being persuaded by the igumen, stayed to live with the brethren. St Cornelius was the sacristan in church, he served in the trapeza, and also toiled in the garden. As if to bless the saint’s labors, excellent apples grew in the monastery garden, which he lovingly distributed to visitors.
The body of St Cornelius was withered up from strict fasting, but he did not cease to toil. With his own hands he built a well for the brethren. For thirty years St Cornelius lived in complete silence, being considered by the brethren as deaf and dumb. Before his death on July 22, 1693, St Cornelius made his confession to the monastery priest Father Barlaam, received the Holy Mysteries and took the schema.
He was buried in the chapel. Nine years later, during the construction of a new church, his relics were found incorrupt. In the year 1705, St Demetrius, Metropolitan of Rostov (October 28), saw the relics of St Cornelius, and they were in the new church in a secluded place. The holy bishop composed a Troparion and Kontakion to the saint.