Venerable Anthony the Abbot of Leokhnov, Novgorod

Saint Anthony of Leokhnov, Novgorod, was from the Tver lineage of the Veniaminov nobles. The monk lived as a hermit not far from Novgorod, in the Rublev wilderness at the River Perekhoda. In about the year 1556 he resettled with the wilderness-dweller Tarasius, who lived beyond Lake Ilmen at Leokhnov, near Stara Rus, and received monastic tonsure from him. Thus began the wilderness monastery in honor of the Transfiguration of the Lord, afterwards called the Leokhnov or Ivetsk-Antoniev monastery. St Anthony lived to old age, having acquired the gift of clairvoyance.

In the year 1611, when the Swedes had laid waste the area around Novgorod, the monk on the invitation of Metropolitan Isidore moved to Novgorod. He died on September 14, 1611 at age 85 and was buried near the church of the holy Evangelist Luke, on the side towards the church of Holy Wisdom (Hagia Sophia). Before his death, and in the presence of many of the monks, he said that his body would rest in his wilderness-monastery. A disciple of the monk, named Gregory, returned to the site of the monastery that had been laid waste and burned by the Swedes, built a cell and a chapel, and remained there to live.

St Anthony appeared to him three times in a dream and said, “Brother Gregory, go to Novgorod, tell Metropolitan Cyprian and the elders of the city that they should put me in the place of my monastery.” After Gregory’s report, the Metropolitan led a church procession to the grave of St Anthony. The incorrupt relics were transferred to the Leokhnov monastery on July 13, 1620. At the uncovering of the relics, a blind man named Joseph gained his sight, and many other miracles occurred.

There is a special order of commemorations, celebrated by the churches in the name of St Anthony of Leokhnov, both in the village of Leokhnov and in the Rublev wilderness-monastery. On the second Friday after the Feast of the Foremost Apostles Peter and Paul (June 29), we celebrate the Uncovering and Transfer of the Relics of St Anthony from Novgorod to the Leokhnov monastery. On the Ascension of the Lord, the coming of St Anthony from the Rublev wilderness to Leokhnovo is remembered. On October 17 the Repose of the saint, who died on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, in the ninth hour of the evening, is commemorated. At the Rublev wilderness monastery the memory of the Consecration of the church in the name of the venerable Anthony on August 30 (1873) is also celebrated.