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#321 Kusanagi


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Posted 30 August 2016 - 07:20 PM



Kiev, August 29, 2016




On August 28, 2016, the tenth Sunday after Pentecost and the feast of the Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God, Metropolitan Ioanniky (Rudnev) of Kiev and Galicia (+1900) and Schema-Hieromonk Vassian the Blind (Balashevich; +1827) were canonized during the Divine Liturgy on Sobornaya Square at the Kiev Caves Lavra, reports the information and educational department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC-MP).

At the service which was headed by His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine the last litia for the repose of Metropolitan Ioanniky and Schema-Hieromonk Vassian was served. After that, the decisions of the UOC-MP’s Holy Synod of April 19 and July 20, 2016 (minutes no. twenty-one and no. twenty-nine respectively) on their canonizations were announced. The lives of these two newly-canonized saints were also read out. The Synod decreed that the feast day of Venerable Vassian the Blind (Balashevich) should be celebrated on April 25/May 8, on the day of his repose, and the feast day of Holy Hierarch Ioanniky (Rudnev), Metropolitan of Kiev and Galicia, should be celebrated on June 7/20, on the day of his repose.




Both saints are buried in the Kiev Caves Lavra. The grave of St. Ioanniky is situated at the Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, and the grave of Venerable Vassian can be found near the Church of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos.

It was earlier reported that on July 28 this year Venerable John (Vyshinsky) the Athonite, a famous ascetic on Holy Mount Athos and a zealous champion of the Orthodox faith, had been canonized by the UOC-MP as well.

#322 Kusanagi


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Posted 30 August 2016 - 07:21 PM



Kiev, August 29, 2016




On August 28, 2016, the tenth Sunday after Pentecost and the feast of the Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God, Metropolitan Ioanniky (Rudnev) of Kiev and Galicia (+1900) and Schema-Hieromonk Vassian the Blind (Balashevich; +1827) were canonized during the Divine Liturgy on Sobornaya Square at the Kiev Caves Lavra, reports the information and educational department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC-MP).

At the service which was headed by His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine the last litia for the repose of Metropolitan Ioanniky and Schema-Hieromonk Vassian was served. After that, the decisions of the UOC-MP’s Holy Synod of April 19 and July 20, 2016 (minutes no. twenty-one and no. twenty-nine respectively) on their canonizations were announced. The lives of these two newly-canonized saints were also read out. The Synod decreed that the feast day of Venerable Vassian the Blind (Balashevich) should be celebrated on April 25/May 8, on the day of his repose, and the feast day of Holy Hierarch Ioanniky (Rudnev), Metropolitan of Kiev and Galicia, should be celebrated on June 7/20, on the day of his repose. 


Both saints are buried in the Kiev Caves Lavra. The grave of St. Ioanniky is situated at the Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, and the grave of Venerable Vassian can be found near the Church of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos.

It was earlier reported that on July 28 this year Venerable John (Vyshinsky) the Athonite, a famous ascetic on Holy Mount Athos and a zealous champion of the Orthodox faith, had been canonized by the UOC-MP as well.

#323 Kusanagi


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Posted 30 August 2016 - 07:57 PM

Joyous bells have been ringing today in Palairos of Aitoloakarnania at the news of the canonization of Saint Vlasios by the decision of the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. From noontime the faithful began to flock to the Church of Saint Vlasios in Sklavaina, where the Saint was martyred and his tomb can be found, as well as to the Church of Saint Paraskevi in Palairos, where his sacred relics are kept.
The inhabitants of Palairos and the surrounding areas are not hiding their emotions over the fact that it is their patron saint in their conscience, and they see today's decision by the Ecumenical Patriarchate as a great blessing for their homeland. And many are those who express the wish that the Patriarch himself will visit the place where the Saint's holy relics are kept to celebrate a festive Divine Liturgy, at which time the decision of the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate will be read regarding the canonization of Saint Vlasios of Akarnania.

#324 Kusanagi


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Posted 05 October 2016 - 09:27 PM

Let us give praise to Blessed Agafia, for “praise is comely for the upright” (Ps. 33:1)
Рейтинг@Mail.ru Rambler's Top100 Православие.Ru, 5 октября 2016 г.
Source: Metropolis of Chisinau and All Moldova
October 5, 2016

Saturday, September 24 the Holy Dormition of the Theotokos Monastery of Cuselauca village, Soldanesti region, hosted a historical event for our Church and Motherland – the beatification service of Blessed Agafia (Maranciuc).

Numerous church-goers from all corners of the country and from abroad came to the Monastery of Cuselauca, to give glory to the Lord and to pray and give due praise to Blessed Agafia.

The Divine Liturgy was officiated by the Archpastor of the Orthodox Church of Moldova, His Eminence Metropolitan Vladimir, assisted by HE Sava, Archbishop of Tiraspol and Dubasari, HE Alexei Archbishop of Balta and Ananiev (Ukraine), HG Petru, Bishop of Ungheni and Nisporeni, HG Anatolie, Bishop of Cahul and Comrat, HG Marchel, Bishop of Balti and Falesti, HG Nicodim, Bishop of Edinet and Briceni, and HG Ioan, Bishop of Soroca and Vicar of the Metropolis of Moldova.

During the divine service the last memorial service was celebrated for Blessed Agafia, after which the beatification Tomos and brief life of Holy and Blessed Agafia were read out.
Following the Divine Liturgy, a thanksgiving Te Deum service was celebrated, giving glory to the Lord in thankfulness for His utmost mercy to our Church and its people.
“The beatification of Blessed Agafia is a very important event in our spiritual life, who has become a great intercessor for our right-believing people before the All-Good God," noted the archpastor of the Orthodox Church of Moldova in his pastoral message.

Metropolitan Vladimir thanked all those who participated for several years in the research of the beatification portfolio of novice Agafia (Maranciuc), especially Hegumena Vera (Spinei), Mother-Superior of Cuselauca Monastery, the members of the Moldovan Saints Beatification Commission and its Chairman Bishop Petru of Ungheni and Nisporeni.
In the end, the Metropolitan, the hierarchs, priests and lay Christians came up solemnly to the shrine with the holy relics of Blessed Agafia, giving her due veneration.
Holy Blessed Agafia is celebrated on the day of her passing into eternity, June 9/22.
Let us rejoice together for our Lord made us worthy of one more intercessor who prays for us. Let us give praise to Blessed Agafia, for “praise is comely for the upright” (Ps. 33:1)
Blessed Agafia, pray to the Lord for us!

#325 Kusanagi


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Posted 10 October 2016 - 09:13 PM

Holy Monastery of Capriana hosted the service of canonization of Metropolitan Gavriil Banulescu Bodoni

Source: Metropolis of Chisinau and All Moldova

October 10, 2016

It is worthy of all veneration before God, and it is an act of reverence, to celebrate, in divine services and church singing, the memory of saints who were glorified in God.




Taking into consideration the pious life of the ever-memorable hierarch Gavriil Banulescu Bodoni, Metropolitan of Chisinau and Hotin, his pastoral and missionary service for the illumination of the clergy and right-believing people between Prut and Dniester, and following the report of His Eminence Metropolitan Vladimir of Chisinau and All Moldova and of the Synod of the Orthodox Church of Moldova, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, held on July 15, 2016, in its art. No. 68, decided for the beatification of the God-pleasing hierarch, for the local veneration of the Orthodox Church of Moldova.

Thus, on Saturday, September 3, 2016, the Holy Monastery of Capriana hosted the canonization service of Metropolitan Gavriil Banulescu Bodoni, to which, according to the decision of the Synod of the Orthodox Church of Moldova, were invited hierarchs from all dioceses where this ever-memorable archpastor had served during his earthly life.

Numerous Christians from all corners of the country were present today in the heart of the woods of Moldova, at the Holy Monastery of Capriana, to bring veneration and prayers to Gavriil Banulescu Bodoni, Metropolitan of Chisinau and Hotin.

During the event, the last commemoration service of Metropolitan Gavriil was officiated, after which the Canonization Tomos and brief life description of Hierarch Gavriil were read out.

Following the Divine Liturgy, all clergy participated in a thanksgiving Te Deum service, giving glory to God for the blessing cast on our Church and the faithful nation.

“Let us give glory and worship to God, wonderful in His saints, for this holy fulfillment of our Church – the canonization of Holy Hierarch Gavriil Banulescu Bodoni”, mentioned the archpastor of the Orthodox Church of Moldova, His Eminence Metropolitan Vladimir in his sermon. His Eminence Vladimir thanked all those who had participated for many years in the research of the canonization portfolio of Metropolitan Gavriile Banulescu Bodoni, especially to the members of the Commission of Canonization of saints of the Republic of Moldova and its Chairman, His Grace Petru, Bishop of Ungheni and Nisporeni.

Finally, the metropolitan, hierarchs, priests and laity, replenished spiritually, in silence and good order, bent in reverence before the relics of Holy Hierarch Gavriil that had been placed in a shrine near the voyevodal crypt, the place where the saint had been buried before.

The commemoration day of Holy Hierarch Gavriil Banulescu Bodoni was set for the day of his exit to eternity, March 30/April 12.

Holy Hierarch Gavriil, pray to God for us!

#326 Kusanagi


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Posted 15 November 2016 - 08:44 PM

Uryupinsk diocese hosts festive celebration in honor of canonization of Abbess Arsenia (Sebryakova)


is the sole state of the soul through which all the spiritual gifts
come to a man. It is a door which opens the heart and makes it
capable of spiritual feelings. Humility brings to the heart an
unflappable tranquility, to the mind—peace, to the
thoughts—attentiveness. Humility is a strength enveloping the
heart, alienating it from all earthly things, granting it
comprehension of the feeling of eternal life, which cannot sprout in
the heart of the fleshly man. Humility gives the mind its original
purity. It begins to clearly see the difference between good and evil
in everything, and knows the name of every state and movement of the
soul within itself, as the first-created Adam named the animals
according to the characteristics which he saw in them. Humility
relies on the seal of silence in all that is human, and the spirit of
man stands before the Lord in prayer in this silence, heeding His
words… Without the feeling of humility in the heart, there can be
no pure, spiritual prayer. St.
Arsenia (Sebryakova)


celebration in honor of the inclusion of Venerable Arsenia into the
ranks of locally-venerated saints was held in the Ust-Medveditsky
Holy Transfiguration Monastery. Around 5,000 people took part on
November 12 and 13, reports the site of
the Volgograd diocese.


were practically continuous in the monastery’s main church, with
some parallel services in the lower church of St. Arsenios the Great,
that as many faithful as possible could pray and commune during the
festive days.


midnight the All-Night Vigil flowed into the Liturgy, several of
which were served in the festive schedule: at 4:00 in the Kazan
Cathedral, and at 7:00 in the lower church.


hierarchical Liturgy began at 10:00 in the Kazan Cathedral with the
rite of glorification of St. Arsenia of Ust-Medveditsky, celebrated
by Metropolitan Herman of Volgograd and Kamyshin along with Bishop
Elisha of Novoanninsk and Uryupinsk, Bishop John of Kalachev and
Pallosovsk, Archbishop Justinian of Elista and Kalmykia, Bishop
Tarasia of Balashov and Rtischevskiy, and Bishop Sergius of
Borisoglebsk and Buturlinovka.


all, about eighty clerical representatives of the Volgograd Diocese
and other dioceses of Russia, Georgia, Greece, and Ukraine
participated in the festive Divine services. The Liturgy was attended
by the governor of the Volgograd region Andrei Bocharov.


icon of Venerable Arsenia was painted for the festival in a Moscow
workshop by order of the monastery. A troparion, kontakion, and
magnification were composed for St. Arsenia of Ust-Medveditsky’s
glorification, which were performed by the men’s choir of the Kiev
Caves Lavra. The choir of the Sion Cathedral in Tbilisi also
participated in the services.


who could not fit into the Kazan and Arseny churches watched the
services on large plasma screens set up on the territory and outside
the fence of the monastery.


for receiving guests to the monastery began immediately after
receiving the news of the Holy Synod’s decision on October 21 to
canonize the fifth and most famous saint in the history of the
Ust-Medveditsky Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Abbess Arsenia


Arsenia (1833-1905) came from the notable family of the
Lieutenant-Captain and treasurer of the Don Cossacks Michael
Vasilievich Sebryakov. At the age of seventeen Anna Michailova
entered the Ust-Medveditsky Monastery of her own accord. The
monastery reached its highest peak in the years of her abbacy, from
1864 until her repose.


her educational and charitable activities, the main fruits of
Venerable Arsenia’s labors were the Kazan Cathedral, which was
erected from 1785 to 1885, and the famous caves, dug in the image of
the Kiev Caves. Today the monastery’s main shrine is there—the
miraculous stone slab with hand and knee imprints of people kneeling
in prayer.


of St. Arsenia:


is impossible to acquire pure, undivided prayer if it’s not
preceded by selfless acts. But we must daily believe or affirm in our
heart the dispensation to reject every act, word, feeling, or thought
that is unpleasing to the Lord, to direct every deed according to the
commandments of God, to educate every feeling with His word, and
direct every though by His truth. In such activity, or at least in
the purpose of such activity every alien feeling or thought entering
into the soul should be examined and prayerfully rejected from the
soul. With such inclination of soul the Name of Jesus autocratically
acts in it and severs every thought contrary to Itself, removes every
feeling not pleasing to It, and illumines the soul with knowledge of
His will, settling in it peace of heart and stillness of thoughts.


the commandments of God, we sin before God and before men and before
our own conscience, and we come not only under the judgment of God,
but under human judgment. Offending the Lord, dishonoring His glory
in ourselves and by ourselves, we constantly harm our loved ones,
tempting them, luring them into sin, giving them an example of a
sinful life, not giving them their due for our common welfare on the
path to salvation, and in all truth, we hand people over to judgment.
This judgment, expressing itself in condemnation, slander,
defamation, hatred and all deeds coming from such an attitude within
us, is a kind of persecution, torture, and death—we must receive
this as a worthy recompense and always feel ourselves debtors before


unrelenting path of salvation is brutal sometimes and the word
expressed about it is a two-edged sword, cutting our passions, our
sensuality, and together with that it causes pain in our very heart,
from which they are excised. And will there be a time when this sword
has no more work in our heart? No, it will always have work, there is
no end to spiritual purification, and in every heart there is a
particle of impurity which must be cleansed. I recognize in myself a
clear sign of negligence, when my heart ceases to ache and fight—it’s
a sign of serious obscuration. When this darkness is dispersed by the
word of God, then the heart aches, but without pain the soul cannot
be illumined—it would be dreaming.

Edited by Kusanagi, 15 November 2016 - 08:44 PM.

#327 Kusanagi


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Posted 25 December 2016 - 08:43 PM

Georgian Church canonizes two kings, two abbesses, and a Catholicos who ruled 1932-1955



Source: Blagovest

December 23, 2016




The Holy Synod of the Georgian Orthodox Church, at a December 21 meeting, has numbered among the ranks of the saints two kings—Bargrat III and Solomon I, two abbesses—Nina (Amilakhvari) and Tamar (Mardzhanishvili), and Catholics-Patriarch Kallistrat (Tsintsadze) who lead the Church in the difficult years of 30s-50s of the previous century, reports Interpressnews.

Bagrat III (960-1014) was glorified as a king-unifier. He managed to unite under his authority almost all of Georgia, except Tbilisi which remained under the authority of the Arabs.

Solomon I (1753-1784) was the king of Imereti (western Georgia) in the second half of the eighteenth century. He successfully battled the Turks, including in an alliance with the Russians, writes Wikipedia.

Catholicos-Patriarch Kallistrat was born in 1866 into a priest’s family in an Imereti village. According to Wikipedia, he graduated from Tiflis Seminary and the Kievan Spiritual Academy. He was ordained as a priest in 1892. In 1925 he became a bishop, and in 1932 was chosen Catholicos. Coming into control of the Church, he strove to halt the process of closure, destruction and looting of churches and monasteries, while maintaining a loyal attitude towards the Soviet authorities.

Abbess Nina (Nino) Amilakhvari lived in the second half of the nineteenth century. She labored to revive monastic life in the Monastery of St. Nina in Samtavro (Mtskheta).


Schema-igumena Tamar (Tamara Alexandrovna Mardzhanishvili, 1869-1936) accepted monasticism in the Bodve Monastery, where the holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Nina ended her life’s journey. In 1902 she became the abbess of the monastery. In 1905, after an attempt on her life during the revolution, she was transferred to Moscow where she guided the Pokrov community, writes the site of the Church of the Annunciation in Taininskoe. Later she founded the Seraphimo-Znamenskii Skete near Moscow. After the Bolsheviks closed the skete she lived in suburban Perkhushkove, and in 1931 was arrested and exiled to Siberia. Three years later Mother Tamar, already terminally ill, was allowed to return to the Moscow area, where she reposed in 1936.

#328 Kusanagi


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Posted 07 January 2017 - 12:30 AM

Schemamonks Nikita and Theophan ranked among locally-venerated saints Source: Patriarchia.ru  

December 27, 2016


Synaxis of Smolensk saints. Photo: http://foma.ru/k-lik...oslavlskih.html


During the December 27, 2016 meeting of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church a report was heard from the chairman of the Synodal Commission for the Canonization of Saints, Bishop Pankraty of Troitsk, regarding the petition received from Metropolitan Isidore of Smolensk and Roslavl about the local canonization of Schemamonks Nikita and Theophan, desert dwellers of the Roslavl Forest (Journal no. 126).

The future Schemamonk Nikita was born in Orel in 1695. When and by whom he was tonsured into monasticism is unknown. As a young man he departed from his family’s home and relocated to one and a half miles from the Beloberezhsk Hermitage (now the Bryansk Diocese), attending services at the monastery. There he remained into old age.

In 1780 Schemamonk Nikita moved to a cell he built in the Roslavl forests, on the south side of “Monk’s Ditch,” near the village of Akimovka. There the elder spent no less than ten years in monastic podvigs known only to him. Then he again moved to the Beloberezshk Hermitage, but before death, in 1792, he wanted to return again to his desert. His disciple Dositheus, receiving the blessing of the Beloberezshk Hermitage, took Nikita to the Roslavl forests. There Nikita died on March 29, 1793.

The body of the reposed Schemamonk Nikita was buried in the ditch near his cell. Because there was constant water in the ditch, within a few years Dositheus dug up Nikita’s coffin to move him to another place. The coffin was intact and Nikita’s body and clothes were incorrupt. They moved his body into a new coffin and, having served a Panikhida, buried him on a hill on the northern edge of the ditch. One sick monk attended the burial, suffering from a stomach sickness. Drinking some water from the coffin, he was healed from his sickness. Fifteen years after Fr. Nikita’s death his grave was again opened: as before his body remained incorrupt.

From the time of his death the faithful have honored the memory of Fr. Nikita. As many as 5,000 people gather at his grave on his name’s day. The grave of the elder is revered to this day and has witnessed many instances of healing.


The grave of St. Nikita. Photo: http://konstant-zab....l.com/6690.html


Not far from the burial of Fr. Nikita is the grave of another ascetic—Schemamonk Theophan. Little information has been preserved about his life—it is mainly the following recollections of Archimandrite Moses, the venerable Optina elder.

“Fr. Theophan, a native of Vladimir, served in the Black Sea Cossack army; before his tonsure he was called “Cossack Theodore Talunin.” At first he lived in the Sophroniev Hermitage, then he left for Moldavia, where he stayed with Elder Paisius [Velichkovksy—trans.]. Upon his death he returned to Russia and entered the brotherhood of Optina Pustyn in 1800. He labored in extreme non-acquisitiveness, in meekness of spirit, in the active virtue of fasting, prayer and prostrations with fervent zeal. < … > The Elder departed to the Lord on June 15, 1819. A few minutes before his death I asked him: ‘Is your soul calm? Don’t you fear anything in the hour of death?’ He replied: ‘I joyfully desire to be delivered from this life.’ And his end began immediately: he raised his hand to make the Sign of the Cross and gave his soul into the hands of God. He was buried in the wilderness.”

The venerable Optina elder Anthony, in the arms of whom Elder Theophan died in the Roslavl forests said that he forgot to beseech his prayers before his death. On the fortieth day the reposed appeared to him in a dream and promised to pray for him. Fr. Anthony said the following about Fr. Theophan: “In life this elder had such a face shining with grace that I lacked the spirit to look him straight in the eyes, but only secretly looked at him from the side.”

The grave of Schemamonk Theophan is revered by pilgrims in modern times.

The Holy Synod decided to canonize Schemamonks Nikita and Theophan, desert dwellers of the Roslavl forests, for local veneration in the Smolensk Diocese. The memory of Venerable Nikita is to be kept on March 29/April 11, the day of his departure to the Lord. The memory of Venerable Theophan—June 15/28, the day of his departure to the Lord.

The true remains of Sts. Nikita and Theophan, in the case of their discovery, are proposed as holy relics and are to be rendered worthy veneration. Icons of the newly-glorified saints are to be painted for veneration according to the definitions of the Seventh Ecumenical Council.

#329 Kusanagi


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Posted 24 April 2017 - 07:43 PM


New Romanian saints to be officially proclaimed in May

Moscow, April 24, 2017


Photo: Basilica.ro


The Romanian Orthodox Church has announced that the official proclamation of four new saints will take place on May 14 at Putna Monastery in Suceava County.

The Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church announced last year on June 6 that Metropolitan Jacob Putneanul of Moldova, and the Venerable Fathers Silas, Nathan, and Paisios of Sihăstria Putnei Monastery were to be added to the calendar of the Romanian Church’s saints. Their canonization was earlier proposed by the Archdiocese of Suceava and Rădăuțiits and approved by a session of the Synod of Moldova and Bukovina on May 20 at Neamţ Monastery.

Metropolitan Jacob (1719-1778) was the most distinguished bishop and pastor of the Moldovan Church of the eighteenth century. In 1731 he entered into the monastic ranks at Putna Monastery, being elected abbot in 1744. He served as Bishop of Radauti from 1745 to 1750, and of Moldova from 1750 to 1760, during which time he labored tirelessly to increase the spiritual level of his flock, printing spiritual literature for all ages and establishing spiritual schools. In 1760 he retired again into monastic simplicity for the remaining eighteen years of his life

The holy fathers of Sihăstria lived in the eighteenth century and labored at Sihăstria Putnei during a time of great spiritual flowering. Burning with love for God and silent prayerful contemplation, St. Silas served as abbot from 1753 to 1781 and oversaw the founding of the Church of the Annunciation; St. Nathan served from 1781 to 1784 during a time when many monasteries of the region were being abolished; and St. Paisios, a spiritual child of St. Nathan, labored as a fervent defender of Orthodoxy and clairvoyant guide for countless souls, falling asleep on December 16, 1784.

Their fragrant relics were discovered in 1990 during restoration work at Sihăstriei Putna, two hundred years after the monastery had been abolished. Until today they prayerfully protect the inhabitants and pilgrims of their monastery through the grace of their relics, and have long been considered saints of God.


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Posted 07 May 2017 - 03:58 PM

Two new saints added to Synaxis of Russian New Martyrs and Confessors


At its May 4 session at Moscow’s Danilov Monastery, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church decided to include two new saints into the Synaxis of the New Martyrs and Confessors of the Russian Orthodox. After hearing a report from Bishop Pankraty of Troitsk, the chairman of the Synodal Commission for the Canonization of Saints, it was resolved to count Fr. Mikhail Lisitsin (1862-1918) and Fr. Alexander Fleginsky (1861-1918) among the glorious ranks of the saints, reports the press service of the Moscow Patriarchate.

The memory of Fr. Mikhail Lisitsin will be celebrated on February 26/March 11, and that of Fr. Alexander Fleginsky on March 24/April 6. Their names will be reported to the primates of the brother Orthodox Churches for inclusion in their liturgical calendars.


Fr. Mikhail Mikhailovich Lisitsin was born on October 19, 1862 into a priest’s family in the village of Ekshur in the Ryazan Province. After graduating from the Ryazan Seminary in 1883 he became a rural school teacher. He was ordained as a deacon and then priest in 1885, appointed to serve in the Trinity Church in the Ryazan village of Katino.

In 1895 he was transferred to the Vladikavkaz Diocese. His activities were noted by the Holy Synod, who awarded him a Bible on May 11, 1902 “for zealous work and care for the education of children.” He moved to the Stavropol Diocese in 1907, and in 1912 was appointed to St. Nicholas’ Church in the village of Ust-Labinsk in the Kuban Region in southern Russia.

He was arrested on February 22, 1918 when Bolshevik troops entered the village, and was tortured for three days before being killed already on February 26. His body was discovered covered in wounds, with his head cut into pieces. The soldiers forbade his body to be buried, but his widow was able to gather enough money to buy his body for burial.

A special list of those suffering for the faith was read out at the All-Russian Church Council on September 20, 1918, including Fr. Mikhail among the Kuban confessors and martyrs.


Fr. Alexander Kosmich Fleginsky was born on February 19, 1861, also into a priest’s family. He graduated from the Stavropol Seminary in 1883, becoming a priest in the same year, and was assigned to serve in the Church of St. Longinus the Centurion in the Kuban Region, before being transferred to Krasnogorsk in 1885, where he served as a missionary and spiritual father for the local deanery.

In 1908 he was transferred to the village of Georgie-Afipsky and appointed as the local dean. A wave of violence and murder swept through the village after it was captured by Bolsheviks in March 1918. Fr. Alexander was captured by the Red Army and cut into pieces. His body was found outside the village only seven months later. His son was able to take his remains to the city of Ekaterinodar where he was buried at the St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral on September 18. It was established that he had been killed on March 24.

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 08:58 PM

On the Life, Glorification, and Incorrupt Relics of St. Mardarije of Libertyville



264375.p.jpg?mtime=1494587920St. Mardarije, being led by the hand by St. Sava to offer the monastery in Libertyville to the Lord. Photo: miloje.org


At the May 29, 2015 session of the Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church, the names of Archimandrite Sebastian (Dabovich) and Bishop Mardarije (Uskokovic), clergymen and preachers of the Gospel, God-pleasing servants of holy life, and inspirers of many missionaries, were added to the calendar of saints of the Orthodox Church.

The annual commemorations of St. Mardarije of Libertyville, Bishop of America and Canada, and St. Sebastian of San Francisco and Jackson are observed on November 29/December 12 and November 17/30 respectively.

The glorification celebration of St. Sebastian occurred on Saturday, September 5, 2015 at St. Stephen's Serbian Orthodox Cathedral, Alhambra, California. Now the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of New Gracanica and Midwestern America invites all to participate in the Pan-Orthodox glorification of St. Mardarije of Libertyville and All-America, to be celebrated at St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Monastery in Libertyville, IL, from Friday July 14-Sunday July 16, by His Holiness Patriarch Irinej of Serbia.

In preparation for his glorification ceremony, St. Mardarije’s relics were recently opened and found to be incorrupt from the knees up, with skin and hair still intact, bearing witness to the sanctity of this holy God-pleaser, already confirmed by his inclusion among the ranks of the saints. St. Mardarije joins the ranks of St. John Maximovitch and St. Alexis Toth, whose incorrupt relics are already treasures for Orthodox Christians in America.

Life of St. Mardarije


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St. Mardarije was born Ivan Uskokovic in Podgoritsa, Montenegro, in 1889. In 1907, he embraced monasticism at the Studenitsa Monastery and then relocated to Russia to study at the St. Petersburg Theological Academy. After graduation, he was ordained by the Russian Orthodox Church and sent as a missionary to America. In 1919, he was one of five Serbian Orthodox priests who participated in the Second All-American Sobor, held in Cleveland, Ohio in February 1919, at which time it was recommended that the Serbian Church in Belgrade advance him to the episcopacy to organize a Serbian Orthodox Diocese in America. Unfortunately, at this most chaotic time in the history of the Russian Orthodox Church, it was impossible to secure the written blessing of Patriarch (now Saint) Tikhon of Moscow. Later in 1919, Archimandrite Mardarije returned to Belgrade, where he was assigned as head of the Rakovitsa Monastery and principal of its monastic school. Subsequently, Bishop (now Saint) Nikolai (Velimirovic) of Ohrid was sent by Patriarch Dimitriye to administer the fledgling diocese. Having likewise returned to America, Archimandrite Mardarije served as St. Nikolai’s deputy for two years, and continued to administer the diocese after the latter’s return to Belgrade.

On April 26, 1926, Archimandrite Mardarije was consecrated to the episcopacy in Belgrade. Prior to his episcopal consecration, he had carried out most of the actual work of organizing the Serbian diocese. He also served as parish priest in Chicago and purchased with his personal funds the land for St. Sava Monastery in suburban Libertyville.

From the moment of his return to America, Bishop Mardarije undertook a wide range of ministries. He did not spare himself, nor did he fear work, although he knew that he was gravely ill with an advancing case of tuberculosis. In 1927, he convened the first National Church Assembly of the Serbian Orthodox American-Canadian Diocese to address a variety of organizational issues. At a clergy conference held in Youngstown, OH in 1931, he renewed his appeal for all to work for the unity and good of the diocese. His kindness, patience and reluctance to use punitive measures resulted in a great measure of unity within the diocese by the time of his repose on December 12, 1935 at the age of 46 years. He was interred at Libertyville’s St. Sava Monastery.

The Orthodox Church in America

The Opening of the Relics of Our Father Among the Saints Mardarije
First Serbian Bishop of America and Canada
April 22/May 5, 2017


With the blessing of His Grace, Bishop Longin of New Gracanica and Midwestern America, the relics of St. Mardarije, which have laid in the Church of St. Sava Monastery in Libertyville, Illinois, since his internment in December 1935, were uncovered. The opening revealed St. Mardarije’s holy relics to be incorrupt.


On Thursday, May 4, 2017, His Grace Bishop Longin served Divine Liturgy at St. Sava Monastery with Sindjel Serafim (Milojkovic), Priest Nikolaj Kostur and Hierodeacon Nektarije (Tesanovic), in preparation for uncovering the relics. Following the Divine Liturgy, Bishop Longin and the other clergy served a Moleban with the Akathist written to St. Mardarije. Upon completion, the crew organized to remove the tombstone and flooring in order to exhume the relics arrived, under the guidance of Mr. Dusan Djordjevic of Sveta Gora Funeral Home in Chicago. After removal of the stone, it was revealed that the casket of St. Mardarije was in a cement vault. This caused the opening to be delayed one additional day in order to organize a team to open the vault.

On Friday morning, May 5, 2017, the workers broke the seal of the vault, while Priest Nikolaj Kostur and Heirodeacon Nektarije (Tesanovic) served a Moleban to St. Mardarije at the tomb in the presence of Bishop Longin and Hieromonk Serafim (Milojkovic). Throughout the entire process of exhumation, “Christ is Risen” and other Paschal hymns were sung, both in Serbian and Russian tones, knowing St. Mardarije’s deep love and dedication to both Slavic traditions.

Once the seal of the vault was broken, every effort was taken to lift the cover. During this process, the cover of the vault shifted and fell on the casket, breaking its cover. At this moment, a sweet smelling fragrance arose from the tomb, quickly dissipating. However, it became evident that the Saint was buried facing the west instead of east. This in and of itself is miraculous. It manifested the Providence of God. Had St. Mardarije been buried in the proper direction, the vault cover would have fallen on the side of the casket where his holy head rested. It was visible that his feet had decayed and were bones.

Frs. Serafim and Nikolaj lifted the relics out of the tomb during the singing of “Christ is Risen.” The relics were light in weight and easily placed in a temporary metal coffin. Hereupon the feet were examined, which at this point were the only visible part of the remains. The bones of the feet were goldish-yellow in color. Then, Fr. Nikolaj Kostur proceeded to examine the mid-section of the body. St. Mardarije's Holy hands were holding the cross which was firmly in place and immovable. As Fr. Nikolaj pulled back the sleeve of the saccos, it was revealed that the hands of St. Mardarije were completely intact. Clearly visible were his skin, fingernails and hair. At this point, it was evident that the relics were more than just bones.


The holy relics of St. Mardarije were lifted out of the metal coffin and placed on two tables which were prepared for the examination and washing of the holy relics. All of the vestments and clothing were carefully removed, cutting that which could not easily be taken off in order to not disturb the holy relics.   Most reverent and diligent care and utmost attention were given to the work that was being done; the clergy continuously sang the troparion to St. Mardarije and other Paschal hymns.


After all the vestments were removed, it was revealed that the holy relics, from the knee upward, were intact, although very fragile. The Saint’s anatomy was intact with his skin and hair visible. When the mitre was removed, his long, dark hair flowed out, confirming his continued monastic struggle until the end of his days. The hair on his head and beard looked as though he had just reposed; it was very soft. The eyebrows and eyelashes of his closed eyes were visible. Also, his ears were still intact. The body was easily lifted and moved. There was a great deal of dust which had accumulated in the grave from the nearly eighty-two years since the burial. Upon the removal of the dust from the entire body, the holy relics were washed with warm water and white wine. Hereupon spikenard oil was was used to anoint the body, according to the instructions received from the Holy Monastery of Hilandar. After the anoninting, the color of the skin changed from tan to a dark brown.

After the washing and anointing, the legs, hands and torso were all wrapped in cotton and linen, making the holy relics more easily movable. Following this process, the holy relics were temporarily vested in a stiharion until his vesting takes place before his Glorification in July 2017. His face was covered with linen, and he was returned to the temporary metal coffin and covered.

Truly, God is wondrous in His Saints, showing us all His Divine power and that nature is subject to God’s grace. All of those that partook in this experience, from the clergy to the workers, were moved with the joy and spiritual peace that filled the church during the uncovering of the holy relics. St. Mardarije lives on, not only in his legacy, but now through his incorrupt relics which will be a renewed rudder for the Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America, guiding us to move into the future, being directed by the past. May we follow St. Mardarije on the path of St. Sava, which led him to sanctity.

Our Holy Hierarch, Father Mardarije, pray unto God for us! Christ is risen!

Priest Nikolaj Kostur
Chairman of the Liturgical Sub-Committee for the Glorification of St. Mardarije

The Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America

St. Sava Monastery in Libertyville, Illinois


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St. Mardarije’s incorrupt relics are kept in the church at St. Sava’s Monastery in Libertyville, IL, which was built with great contribution from the saint himself, and consecrated on September 6, 1931.

The erection of the monastery had the support of many early leaders of Orthodoxy in America. In a 1910 letter to Serbian patriarch Lukian, St. Karamata the Serb, who had lived in America, suggested purchasing land for a Serbian center in America for a monastery and diocesan center. St. Nikolai Velimirovic also suggested to the Holy Synod to build a monastery to serve as a religious center, summer camp, and refuge for the sick and the elderly. On September 14, 1922, Hieromonk Pavle (Markovich) petitioned Russian Metropolitan Platon to bless the establishment of a Serbian Monastery.

After the establishment of the Serbian diocese, St. Nikolai asked St. Mardarije to buy property near Chicago for a monastery, seminary, and printing shop, to serve as the center of Serbian religious life. He began a fundraising campaign which was met with approval by the Serbian patriarch and Holy Synod, and also contributed physical labor once building of the monastery commenced. One prominent Serb stated, “When we arrived to the property we were all surprised. Instead of finding the bishop resting we saw him in the midst of twelve to fifteen workers supervising and helping the workers to speed and beautify this new church structure. He wanted to see every stone laid in the wall with the explanation, This is built for eternity for my people.” He was also often seen carrying and placing large stones himself, to save expenses.

Construction on the monastery stalled in 1927 due to a lack of funds and internal strife within the diocese which was lacking a bishop. The Holy Synod of the Serbian Church elected Archimandrite Mardarije and consecrated him as bishop on April 15, 1926. The new bishop arrived in New York on April 25, 1926. The following year he transferred the Libertyville property from his name to the Serbian Orthodox Church and the local diocese, but the financial situation remained grim until the great Serbian scientist and professor of Columbia University Mihaila Pupin donated $30,000, thus bringing an end to the financial crisis.

The monastery was built in the typical Russian Novgorod architectural style, with twelve small domes and a large one in the center. More than five thousand people attended the September 6, 1931 consecration of the monastery, which St. Mardarije termed a moral success.

After having labored for several years to found the monastery and stabilize the Serbian diocese, St. Mardarije reposed in the Lord from illness on December 12, 1935, and was interred at the monastery he built through his own labors and prayers.

St. Mardarije wrote in his last will and testament:

I bequeath to my dear Serbian people this holy monastery as a gathering place of Serbs in America and a common house of prayer, to be forever the house of God, that, after my death, they may preserve and cherish it, and hand it down as a splendid memorial of their ethnic and religious spirit to their Serbian offspring in this new world in order that they know forever that there were Serbs on this side of the Atlantic, far from the homeland…

I recommend and leave as my last will that this holy St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Monastery in Libertyville be the see of my successor. Also that he loves the monastery as I did, nourishes it as I nourished it and with my own hands every tree planted …

Having premonition of my departure from this world I entrust my dear faithful, my dear Serbian people in America to the protection of the Almighty God. All I ask from my people when in the monastery, is to light a candle at my graveside and to say a prayer for the repose of my soul. I will pray for all of you even after my death. Good bye.

The monastery church was later renovated in 1941, and again in 1979. A children’s camp was established in 1946, and the St. Sava Seminary in 1945. The monastery’s famous cemetery dates to the 1930s.

Monastery history compiled from information on the site of St. Sava Orthodox Monastery

Troparion of Sts. Mardarije and Sebastian, Tone 8:
O God of our Fathers,
Always act with kindness towards us;
Take not Your mercy from us,
But through the prayers of Saints Mardarije
and Sebastian
Guide our lives in peace.

Kontakion to St. Mardarije of Libertyville, Tone 8:
Tireless preacher of Christ the Lord,
Leader on the path of St. Sava for your people in diaspora,
Labor-loving practitioner and teacher of repentance,
Holy Mardarije of Libertyville and America,
Together with all the Enlighteners of the
American lands,
Entreat the only Lover of Mankind,
To grant all Orthodox Christians peace and unity!

#332 Kusanagi


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Posted 23 May 2017 - 09:52 PM


Romanian Orthodox Church to canonize 17th-18th century iconographer Monk Paphnutius; adds St. Porphyrios to its calendar Moscow, May 23, 2017


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A meeting of the Synod of the Metropolis of Muntenia and Dobrudja, under the chairmanship of His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel (in his capacity as the first hierarch of Muntenia and Dobrudja), was recently held at the patriarchal residence in Bucharest, at which a number of documents were adopted for the future glorification of Monk Paphnutius (Parnu) the iconographer, reports Sedmitsa with reference to Romfea.

The iconophgaer Parnu Mutu (1657-1735) was a representative of the so-called Brâncovenesc style which prevailed in Romanian iconography in the end of the seventeenth and first half of the eighteenth centuries. He was the sixth son of an Orthodox priest, Jan Parvesku. He began working as an artist-iconographer from the age of twelve. After the death of his wife he was tonsured as a monk, taking the name Paphnutius.


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“His designation as ‘Mute’ does not mean that he was truly quiet by character, but that his life was always adorned with prayer and silence,” said Patriarch Daniel, emphasizing the particularity of St. Paphnutius’ monastic labors.


The members of the Metropolitan Synod adopted the proposal to canonize the venerable Paphnutius the Iconographer in view of the fact that the Romanian Orthodox Church is especially honoring holy icons, iconographers, and artists of the Church this year.

During the meeting the bishops also approved an icon of the notable twentieth-century Athonite elder St. Porphyrios of Kavsokalyvia (1906-1991) before formally including him in the calendar of the Romanian Orthodox Church.

St. Porphyrios was canonized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate on December 1, 2013. He was added to the calendar of the Russian Orthodox Church on December 25, 2014.

#333 Kusanagi


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Posted 29 May 2017 - 08:55 PM

Serbian Holy Synod canonizes several new saints



The Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church recently finished a session at the Patriarchate of Peć and Belgrade, held on May 14 to 24 under the chairmanship of Patriarch Irinej. The bishops discussed many issues concerning, first of all, the Church’s mission in modern society, and the problems of the spiritual revival of the nation, reports Sedmitza.

The most important of the Synod’s decisions was to canonize several saints and add five new dates to the liturgical calendar:

1. Patriarch Paisy (Yanevts) of Peć, who will be celebrated on October 2/15;

2. Archimandrite Stefan Jovanovic, who will be added to the calendar as Venerable Stefan Tronoshsky and celebrated on September 4/17;

3. The martyrs Metropolitan Vikenty of Skopje (Krdzhicha) and Igumen Vladimir (Protich), killed at the hands of Bulgarian occupants in Surdulica, who will be celebrated on May 16/25;

4. The brutally murdered martyrs of Piva, who will be celebrated on May 25/June 7, and the martyrs of Velić and Gornepolima, who will be celebrated on July 15/28;

5. The monk Jacob (Dr. Radoe Arsović in the world), who will be added to the calendar as Venerable Jacob of New Tumansk, who will be celebrated on August 8/21.

#334 Kusanagi


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Posted 13 June 2017 - 10:04 PM

Rite of glorification of Serbian New Martyrs of Piva celebrated

Moscow, June 13, 2017


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On June 7, the feast of the Third Finding of the Head of St. John the Baptist, His Grace Bishop Joanikije of Budimlja and Nikšić celebrated the rite of glorification of the holy New Martyrs of Piva, reports the site of the Serbian Orthodox Church, with reference to the Budimlja and Nikšić diocesan site.

As previously reported, the Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church resolved to canonize the Piva Martyrs at its session on May 14-24, establishing May 25/June 7 as the day of their commemoration. The Piva Martyrs includes 1,290 innocent people from various villages of the Piva region massacred from June 6 to 12, 1943 by the Nazi “Prinz Eugen Division.” 549 of those slaughtered were children and young people under 20 years old. In the village of Dola alone, 522 innocent people, including 109 children under the age of 15, were shot on June 7.


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As the largest site of execution in the area, the village of Dola has become a place of universal remembrance for the Piva Martyrs.


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The Divine Liturgy in the memorial church in the village of Dola, in the Piva region of Montenegro, was concelebrated by a great number of the clergy and hieromonks from the diocese, during which the Rite of Canonization of the Holy New Martyrs of Piva was celebrated. Descendants and relatives of the Piva Martyrs were in attendance to honor their beloved ones.


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Bishop Joanikije addressed those gathered, referring to the site as the “Serbian Golgotha,” recalling the Lord’s words to the holy prophet Moses on Mt. Sinai to remove his sandals, for he stood on holy ground. The Church has lifted up the example of the Piva Martyrs, His Grace stated, because it has already felt the power of their intercession before the throne of God. Having shed their blood for their faith, for the Cross of Christ, they are “clothed in the grace of the Holy Spirit,” blessed to enter “eternal life in the arms of God, thus becoming our protectors,” the archpastor proclaimed.


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The bishop expressed his pleasure that Dola has become a place of veneration and worship, and the desire that it become an ever more flourishing place of pilgrimage.

“God has received their sacrifices into His eternal memory,” Bishop Joanikije joyously proclaimed to the faithful gathered in honor of the New Martyrs of Piva.

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Posted 16 June 2017 - 10:32 PM

Metropolis of Moldavia and Bukovina makes two proposals for canonization



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Metropolitan Iosif Naniescu and Gheorghe Lazar the Ascetic were proposed for canonization at the meeting of the Metropolitan Synod of the Church of Moldavia and Bukovina yesterday, held at the metropolitan residence in Iaşi, under the chairmanship of Metropolitan Teofan of Moldavia and Bukovina, reports the Basilica News Agency.

At the same time, a proposal was made to include St. Neophytos the Recluse of Cyprus in the Romanian Orthodox calendar.

Metropolitan Iosif Naniescu has been proposed for canonization under the name of the Holy Hierarch Joseph the Merciful, the Metropolitan of Moldova, to be celebrated on January 26 (new style), and Gheorghe Lazar the Ascetic under the name of St. George the Pilgrim, to be celebrated on August 17 (new style).


Metropolitan Joseph was born in 1820 into the family of the priest Ananias Mihalache, receiving the name of John at Baptism. Left fatherless at the age of 1, he was raised by his mother, Theodosia, until at the age of 10 he was entrusted to the care of a relative, Hierodeacon Theophylact of the Frumoasa Monastery in Bessarabia.

Accompanied by him, in 1831 he went to Iaşi to live in the Monastery of St. Spyridon, which was then under the leadership of the bishop Varlaam Cuza Sardeo

Joining him on this, in the year 1831 he came to Iasi, living in the Monastery ‘St. Spiridon’, which is then under the leadership of Archbishop Varlaam Cuza Sardeon. He then followed Hierodeacon Theophylact to the Monastery of the Holy Prophet Samuel in Focşani, where, on November 23, 1835 he was tonsured into monasticism by Bishop Chesarie, and the next day he was ordained a hierodeacon.

He attended the courses of the newly-established seminary in Buzău from 1836 to 1840, then those of St. Sava’s in Bucharest from 1840 to 1847. He fulfilled the obediences of the rector of Şerbăneşti-Morunglavu Monastery from 1849 to 1857, and Găiseni Monastery from 1857 to 1863, was ordained a hieromonk on August 29, 1850, and elevated to the rank of archimandrite in 1860.

For a short period (1863-1864) he was the abbot at Sărindar Monastery in Bucharest. He also worked as a professor of religion at the Gh. Lazarus School (1864-1866), the “Matei Basarab” Lyceum (1866-1873) and at the “Carol I” School (1867-1873).

On April 23, 1872, he was consecrated as a bishop, and on January 18, 1873 he was appointed bishop of Arges, where he pastored for a short time, until his election, on June 10, 1875, as metropolitan of Moldavia. He was installed in Iaşi on July 6, 1875, where he shepherded until his death on January 26, 1902.


Gheorghe Lazar was born in the village of Șugag, in Alba county, in 1846. He married at the age of 24 and was blessed by God with five children. He led an honest Christian life of work, prayer, fasting, and alms.

He went to worship at the Tomb of the Lord in 1884, and remained at the monasteries of the Jordan and Sinai wilderness for over a year. Then, after a year and a half on Mount Athos, he returned to his country. He lived with his family for a few years, and having put his children’s affairs in order, he retired as a pilgrim to the monasteries of Moldavia in 1890.

He established himself permanently in the city of Piatra Neamţ, living in asceticism like a true hermit in the bell tower of Stephen the Great in the middle of the city for 26 years, until his death. There he labored alone in fasting and prayer, summer and winter, without fire, without bed, without a coat, and without shoes on his feet, living in God's grace.

He reposed on August 15, 1916 and was buried in the town cemetery. In the summer of 1934 his remains were placed in Văratec Monastery, in northeastern Romania. He is known as “Grandpa Gheorge” among the pious faithful. His relics, kept beneath the main church in the monastery, are fragrant.

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