Venerable Stephen the Abbot of the Kiev Far Caves, and Bishop of Vladimir, in Volhynia

Saint Stephen, Igumen of the Caves, Bishop of Vladimir in Volhynia, pursued asceticism at the Kiev Caves monastery under the guidance of Saint Theodosius (May 3). Saint Theodosius sometimes entrusted him to exhort the brethren with edifying words.

Before the death of Saint Theodosius the monks asked him to appoint Saint Stephen as Igumen, who was the domesticus (chief arranger for the choir). “He grew up under your instruction,” they said, “and he served you. Give him to us.” So Saint Theodosius transferred the guidance of the monastery to Saint Stephen.

During his tenure as Superior, he laid the foundations of a spacious church in honor of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos, begun under Saint Theodosius. The cells of the brethren were moved near the new church. At the front of the place there were several cells for monks who were entrusted with burying the dead. They served the Divine Liturgy each day, and also commemorated the dead.

In 1078 Saint Stephen was removed from office and driven from the monastery through the malice of an evil monk. He endured this meekly and without bitterness, and continued to pray for those who had turned against him.

Saint Stephen learned that master builders had come from Greece with an icon of the Theotokos, and they told him of the appearance of the Heavenly Queen at Blachernae. Because of this, Saint Stephen also built a church at Klovo in honor of the Theotokos (in memory of the Placing of Her Robe at Blachernae). The monastery was founded in thanksgiving for solicitude of the Most Holy Theotokos for the Caves monastery.

In 1091 Saint Stephen was made Bishop of Vladimir in Volhynia, and he participated in the transfer of the relics of Saint Theodosius from the cave to the monastery (August 14). He also labored to convert the inhabitants of Volhynia to Christianity.

Saint Stephen died on April 27, 1094 during the sixth hour of the night.