Sergius of Radonezh

Sergius of Radonezh

(before the adoption of monasticism – Bartholomew Kirillovich) (circa 1321, near Rostov the Great, September 25, 1941, Trinity-Sergius Monastery, now Zagorsk, Moscow Region) is a Russian church and political figure. He was born into a boyar’s family. The family of Sergius of Radonezh, who suffered from Tatar extortions and princely wars, moved to the Moscow principality and received land near the city of Radonezh.

Sergius of Radonezh together with his elder brother Stefan around 1330-40 founded the Trinity Monastery (see Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra) and became his second hegumen (ca. 1353-91). Sergius of Radonezh introduced a hostel charter in the monastery, destroying the previously existed separate residence of the monks.

The adoption of the hostel statute and its subsequent distribution, with the support of the Grand Duke’s power, the Russian Metropolitan and the Patriarch of Constantinople, to other monasteries of Northeast Russia was an important church reform that facilitated the conversion of monasteries into large feudal corporations.

The moral authority of Sergius of Radonezh, close ties with the family of Grand Duke Dmitri Ivanovich Donskoi (Sergius of Radonezh was the godfather of his sons Yuri and Peter), the most prominent boyars and the highest church hierarchs allowed him to actively influence the church and political affairs of his time.

In 1380 he helped Dmitry in the preparation of the Kulikov battle, and in 1385 settled his conflict with the Ryazan prince Oleg. Sergius of Radonezh is buried in the monastery founded by him; canonized by the Russian church. The most ancient “Life” of Sergius of Radonezh is written by Epiphanius the Wise.

Sergius of Radonezh from infancy reached out to God.

Reverend Father Sergius was born in a noble boyar family with pious parents named Cyril and Maria. The exact year of the birth of Father Sergius is not known, but according to the testimony of his disciple Epiphanius the Wise, this is the 1314th. It is believed that even before the birth of Sergius of Radonezh, God had already chosen the baby for himself at the service and gave a sign to the believers: when Mary came to the church for the liturgy shortly before the birth, the baby is three times in her womb (in the most significant places worship) screamed so that everyone in the church heard it. The baby, then Bartholomew, also had this feature – he did not touch his mother’s breast during the days when she ate meat, and completely refused milk on Wednesdays and Fridays (known fasting days for Orthodox Christians).

Sergius of Radonezh did not give a letter in his childhood.

At the age of seven, the boy, instead of his older brother Stefan and the younger, Peter, was given up for teaching, however, unlike the brothers who studied well, Bartholomew could not remember anything. The Orthodox tend to view this episode from the life of the saint as a symbol of the fact that the wisdom of St. Sergius was given to him by God and not by people. However, as a child, Bartholomew probably did not think about anything like that, but prayed fervently for the Lord to give him a book insight. Once, the boy went at the request of his father for the horses, and met on the road an angel in the image of a monk. Bartholomew asked the divine elder for intercession before God, and after the latter’s prayers he began to read harmoniously psalms, which he had never been able to learn before.

Sergius of Radonezh has led a monastic life since childhood.

Bartholomew did not miss a single church service, did not play noisy games with other children, devoting all his time to the knowledge of divine wisdom, ate only bread and water, and on Wednesdays and Fridays did not eat anything at all.

Sergius of Radonezh, at the beginning of his life, struggled in a dense forest.

Due to the devastation of the south of Russia by the Tatars and the exorbitant extortions of the Moscow prince Ivan Kalita, Sergius’s parents (the boy at the time was 15 years old) fled to Radonezh, the seat of the younger son of Kalita, Andrei, who promised all his settlers his help and tax relief.At the age of 20, Bartholomew decides to get cut to monasticism, but parents, referring to senile infirmity in the absence of brothers who have already acquired their own families, persuaded him to take care for a while about them. The legacy that remains after their death, Sergius distributes to the poor, part of it is given to his younger brother Peter and together with the elder Stefan, who is now widowed, goes to the “desert” – dense and dense forests. In a place called “Makovets” the brothers erect a hut, and then a small church in the name of the Blessed Trinity. Later on this place will be erected the famous Holy Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius. Unable to withstand the desert life, Stephen leaves Bartholomew for a short time, and the future Sergius of Radonezh remains alone in the woods. After going through the burdens of monastic life, realizing that he is able to take on such a fate, 23-year-old Bartholomew calls on the hegumen Mitrofan, who cuts him into monasticism and gives him a new name – Sergius.

Sergius of Radonezh had power over demons.

During his lonely asceticism in the forest, demons constantly experienced the monk – they embarrassed him, seduced him and, angry with failures, threatened with death. Prayer and a cross drove them away from himself Father Sergius. And this went on until the humble monk became the hegumen of his expanding monastery.

At first, Sergius of Radonezh had 12 disciples.

Over time, the rumor about St. Sergius went around the district, the God-fearing monks began to flock to him and asked for brotherhood. There were 12 such people, and this number persisted for quite a long time. In the event that one of the brothers was dying, another person came to take his place, as if from nowhere, wishing to fight in the monastery.

Sergius of Radonezh himself worked in the monastery.

Wishing to serve everyone as the Lord served, the Monk Sergius, he built cells, carried water for his brothers, chopped wood, sipped bread, sewed clothes, cooked food and performed other household and household work. Particularly Father Sergius liked to bake the prosphora, did not shun both the boiling of kutya, and also the riding of candles for worship.

Sergius of Radonezh did not want to be abbot.

He refused this office for a long time, but as a result, the brothers, desperate to zashantzhirivat the monk by his departure from the monastery, asked him to replace the Metropolitan hegumen Athanasius, whom the monk simply could not refuse.

Sergius of Radonezh during his lifetime worked wonders.

For example, when the monastery began to lack water because of the low water source, Father Sergius descended into the nearby thicket, prayed there over the rain water and begged God not only for a plentiful but also healing spring, the waters of which lacked not only the monastery, but also those living in district to the peasants. Sergius of Radonezh is also known as a saint who cured many people, both from physical and mental illnesses. There are cases of curing him of people with deadly diseases and possessed by demons. The brothers once saw, next to Father Sergius, who served in the altar, a divine husband with a face whiter than snow, another time – they were witnesses of the fiery flame surrounding the monk. About these cases, Sergius of Radonezh out of modesty asked the witnesses to remain silent and tell about everything only after his death, which, incidentally, he also learned and said about this to the brethren in advance.

Sergius of Radonezh had signs about the untrace of his abode.

So one night, St. Sergius saw the light and heard a voice from the sky, pointing out to him the suddenly appeared birds, symbolizing the monks. The most famous case is the phenomenon of Father Sergius of the Mother of God, along with the apostles Peter and John, who promised to never leave the abode by their favors.

Sergius of Radonezh founded not only the Trinity-Sergius Lavra.

He is also considered the founder of the Borisoglebsky monastery near Rostov, the Annunciation Monastery on Kirzhach, the Spaso-Andronievsky Monastery in Moscow, the Old Golutvin Monastery near Kolomna.In addition, more than 40 monasteries were founded by his disciples.

Sergius of Radonezh predicted to Dmitry Donskoy victory over Mamai.

Before the decisive battle, Father Sergii took the prince in the cross and gave him the help of former boyars, the current monks Alexander Peresvet and Andrei Oslyablu, who played an important role in liberating Rus from the Tatar invasion. On the battlefield the Monk Sergius sent an icon to the Lord Almighty, and on the day of the battle – prosphora and his blessing. During the battle with the Tatars, Sergius of Radonezh prayed and foresaw the battle, as well as all those who perished, and prayed for them.

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