St Philip the Abbot of Irap Near Novgorod

Saint Philip, Abbot of Irap near Novgorod, in the world Theophilus, was the founder of the Irap wilderness-monastery. As an orphan and not remembering his parents, the twelve-year-old Theophilus wandered about and eventually settled near the Komel monastery and lived on charity.

St Cornelius (May 19) accepted the pious youth into the monastery and after three years tonsured him a monk with the name Philip. Meek, humble and hard-working, at the request of the brethren he was ordained to the priesthood. His striving for greater efforts led him to withdraw to the outskirts of White Lake.

Here, having the patronage of Prince Andrew Sheleshpansky, who had allotted him land near the River Irapa, 45 versts from Cherepovets, the monk built a chapel in the Name of the Most Holy Trinity and a cell for himself. News about the holy wilderness-dweller spread throughout all the surrounding area, and monks began to flock to him. The laity also went to him for spiritual counsel, and St Philip would instruct them in the virtues which those living in the world ought to possess.

Soon at the place of the chapel a church was built in the Name of the Holy Life-Creating Trinity. St Philip dwelt in the wilderness for fifteen years and died in 1537 at age 45. His relics were placed beneath a crypt in the Trinity temple. Over his grave was an icon, painted by the monk Theodosius. Soon after the death of St Philip, the Krasnoborsk Philippov monastery arose on the place of his struggles.

The celebration of St Philip was established at the end of the sixteenth century. The manuscript service to him dates from the end of the sixteenth century.