Synaxis of the Venerable Fathers of the Kiev Near Caves

The Synaxis of Monastic Fathers who are venerated in the Near Caves of St Anthony, is now celebrated on September 28. This general commemoration was originally on the first Saturday after the Leave-taking of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross (i.e. after September 21).

The general commemoration of the monastic Fathers of the Near Caves of St Anthony on the Saturday after the Leave-taking of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Venerable Cross dates to the year 1670. During the restoration of the Caves, which had been damaged by an earthquake, some of the relics of the ancient ascetics were uncovered and a church was built in honor of the Exaltation of the Venerable Cross.

In 1760 a stone church in honor of the Exaltation of the Venerable Cross was built over the Caves. In 1886, under Metropolitan Platon of Kiev, the Synaxis of the Fathers of the Near Caves was moved to September 28 because of the celebration of the Synaxis of the Saints of the Far Caves on August 28 .

There are two Canons to the Monastic Fathers of the Near Caves. The first was compiled by the hieromonk Meletius the Orphan (inscribed in the Kiev Akathistnik of 1764). The second, found in the services in honor of the Fathers of the Kiev Caves, was compiled by St Demetrius of Rostov.

Among the Monastic Fathers of the Near Caves are:

Monk Anthony the First-Founder (July 10)

Monk Abramius the Lover of Labor (August 21)

Monk Abramius the Recluse (October 29)

Monk Agapitus, Unmercenary Physician (June 1)

Monk Alexis the Recluse (April 24)

Monk Alypius the Iconographer (August 17)

Martyr Anastasius the Deacon (January 22)

Monk Anatolius the Recluse (July 3)

Monk Arethas the Recluse (October 24)

Monk Athanasius the Recluse (December 2)

Igumen Barlaam (November 19)

Hosiomartyrs Basil and Theodore (August 11)

Hieromonk Damian the Healer (October 5)

Monk Elias of Murom (December 19)

Bishop Ephraim of Pereyaslavl (January 28)

Monk Erasmus the Black-Robed (February 24)

Martyr Eustratius (March 28)

Monk Gregory the Iconographer (August 8)

Martyr Gregory the Wonderworker (January 8)

Monk Helladius the Recluse (October 4)

Monk Isaac the Recluse (February 14)

Monk Isaiah the Wonderworker (May 15)

Monk Jeremiah the Clairvoyant (October 5)

Monk John the Faster (December 7)

John the God-pleasing (December 29)

Martyr John the Infant (December 29)

(commemorated with the 14,000 Infants killed at Bethlehem by Herod)

Monk John the Long-Suffering (July 18)

Nun Juliana, Princess of Olshansk (July 6)

Hieromartyr Kuksha, Enlightener of the Vyati (August 27)

Bishop Laurence the Recluse of Turov (January 29)

Monk Luke the Steward (November 6)

Monk Macarius (January 19)

Monk Mark the Grave-digger (December 29)

Monk Matthew the Clairvoyant (October 5)

Bishop Mercurius of Smolensk (August 7)

Martyr Moses the Hungarian (July 26)

Monk Nectarius the Obedient (November 29)

Monk Nestor the Chronicler (October 27)

Monk Nicholas Svyatosha, Prince of Chernigov (October 14)

Monk Nicodemus the Prosphora-baker (October 31)

Igumen Nikon (March 23)

Monk Nikon the Shriveled (December 11)

Bishop Niphon of Novgorod (April 8)

Monk Onesimus the Recluse (October 4 and July 21)

Monk Onesiphorus the Confessor (November 9)

Monk Onuphrius the Silent (July 21)

Monk Pimen the Faster (August 27)

Monk Pimen the Much-Ailing (August 7)

Archmandrite Polycarp (July 24)

Monk Prochorus the Orach-eater (February 10)

Monk Sava the God-pleasing (April 24)

Monk Sergius the Obedient (October 7)

Monk Simon, Bishop of Suzdal (May 10)

Monk Sisoes the Recluse (October 24)

Monk Spyridon the Prosphora-baker (October 31)

Monk Sylvester the Wonderworker (January 2)

Monk Theophanes the Faster (October 11)

Monks Theophilus the Mourner (December 29)

Monk Theophilus the Recluse (October 24)

Hieromonk Titus (February 27)

Twelve Master Architects of Constantinople who painted the monastery church of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos (February 14)

Besides these Saints, there are thirty other Saints among the monks of the Kiev Caves, whose myrrh-producing heads were preserved. In the Service to the Monastic Fathers of the Near Caves on September 28 St Ephraim the Priest is mentioned (Ode 9). The hieromonk Athanasius Kalpophyisky wrote in 1638, that his incorrupt body, clothed in priestly vestments, lay opposite the relics of St Elias of Murom. Hieromonk Athanasius also mentions St Eustathius, (Ode 8), who was a goldsmith before he came to the monastery.

In the Canon of Meletius the Orphan, St Dionysius, Archbishop of Suzdal (June 26 and also October 15) is also mentioned. The holy hierarch was detained by the Lithuanian prince at Kiev after his consecration as Metropolitan of Moscow by the Patriarch of Constantinople. He died on October 15, 1384 and was buried in the Antoniev Cave.

Besides the monks mentioned in the Services, the hieromonk Athanasius Kalpophyisky in his Manuscript of 1638 indicated even more Saints, whose uncovered relics they venerated: St Hieronymos, Recluse and Wonderworker; St Meladius, holy Elder and Wonderworker; St Pergius, holy Elder; St Paul, a monk of remarkable obedience.

The names of the priests St Meletius, St Serapion, St Philaretos, St Peter are preserved in the old manuscript Calendars.

On May 24,1853, in one of the branches of the Near Caves, an inscription was discovered on an eleventh century crypt: “Lord, preserve Thy servants Theodosius and Theophilus. Many Years.” “The Grave of the Cave-Dweller John. Here John the sinner lived and is now.” On an oak board: “John the Cave-Dweller.” Thus the names of the new Kiev Caves Fathers: Theophilus, Theodosius and John were revealed.

There is also a general commemoration of the Monks of the Near Caves together with the Monks of the Far Caves on the second Sunday of Great Lent, when the Synaxis of all the Monastic Fathers of Kiev Caves is celebrated. The Canon of the Hieromonk Meletius the Orphan enters into the Service of that feastday (the Service to the Kiev Caves Monastic Fathers, and to all the Saints who shone forth in Little Russia, inscribed from Akathists with a Canon). The service was printed by the Kiev Caves Dormition Lavra in 1866.

Without doubt, not all the names of the Fathers of the Kiev Caves are known. In the Synaxis, all the Fathers illumined by ascetic deeds in the Caves are glorified. In the Oikos of the Service of September 28 we sing: “Who can praise Your Saints, O Good One? I try to count their number, but they are multiplied more than the sands of the sea. O Master Christ, Who have numbered the stars and named them all, grant their petitions for us...”