Venerable Bassian of Tikhsnen, Vologda

St Bassian of Tiksnensk [Totemsk] (in the world Basil) was a peasant from the village of Strelitsa (by other accounts, from the village of Burtsevo), near the city of Totma, and he was by trade a tailor. Leaving his family, he became a monk under St Theodosius of Totemsk in the Sumorinsk monastery at the River Sukhona, where he spent several years in works and obediences.

In 1594, the monk resettled not far from Totma, at the River Tiksna, near a church named for St Nicholas the Wonderworker. At first he lived at the church portico, but then he made himself a cell near the church. The monk visited at each divine service. For thirty years he wore chains on his body: on his shoulders a heavy chain, on his loins an iron belt, and on his head beneath his head covering an iron cap.

Yearning for solitude, the monk admitted no one to his cell, except his spiritual Father. He lived by the alms which they put by his small window. St Bassian died on September 12, 1624. Only at burial was it discovered how much he had humbled his flesh.

At the place of St Bassian’s ascetic struggles a monastery was established in honor of the Icon of the Savior Not-Made-by-Hands. Veneration of St Bassian began in the year 1647, when during a deadly plague, many received healing at his tomb. The Life of the monk was written in the year 1745 by the igumen Joseph.