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Παρασκευή, 8 Αυγούστου 2014

THE KIEV CAVES A short history of this monastic enclave





\THE KIEV CAVES
A short history of this monastic enclave


            According to the Primary Chronicle, in the early 11th century, Anthony, an Orthodox monk from Esphigmenon Monastery on Mount Athos, Greece, originally from Liubec of the Principality of Chernihiv, returned to Rus’  and settled in Kiev as a missionary of monastic tradition to Kievan Rus’.  He chose a cave at the Berestov Mount that overlooked the Dnieper River and a community of disciples soon grew.  Prince Iziaslav I of Kiev ceded the whole mount to the Atonite monks who founded a Monastery built by architects from Constantinople.

THE CAVES—The Kiev Pechersk Lavra caverns are a very complex system of narrow underground corridors along with numerous living quarters and underground chapels.  In 1051, the monk Anthony had settled in an old cave in one of the hills surrounding the Kiev Perchersk Lavra.  This cave apparently grew, with numerous additions including corridors and a Church, and is now what we know as the Far Caves.  In 1057, Anthony moved to a cave near the Upper Lavra, now called the Near Caves.  Foreign travelers in the 16th and 17th centuries had written that the catacombs of the Lavra stretched for hundreds of kilometers reaching as far as Moscow and Novgorod.  One of the Elders who lived and is buried in the Kiev Caves is Elder Pimen.  The miraculous ending to his life follows.  I have translated it from the Greek which was taken from a book entitled “Blessed Repose.”  It is a fascinating story of how holy men and women prepared themselves for their passage from this life to the life of eternity that has been prepared for all of us who believe in Jesus Christ.
THOSE WHO TONSURED ME A MONK HAVE COME TO TAKE
ME WITH THEM
by The Holy Elder Pimen of the Kiev Caves

            The Elder Pimen was bedridden from the day that he was tonsured an Orthodox monk.  From that day on, instead of being angry with God he constantly glorified the name of the Savior, his Lord.  When the time had arrived for his departure from this world, God sent an apocalyptic sign to him: the night before his departure, there appeared on the roof of the dining room three bright, fiery pillars of light which shown their light upon the Church.  The monks who saw these lights were startled.  The Lord of life and death had sent His Angels to receive the soul of the suffering monk.  When the light of day had arrived, the Elder discovered that he had been completely healed.  In fact, all signs of his long illness had completely disappeared from his body.  He felt himself to be strong and resilient and he got up from his bed.  Even after experiencing this, he realized that his time had come for his departure from the world.  In great joy, he proceeded to visit all his brother monks. He bowed before them and asked for their forgiveness.

            He said to startled monks: “I am leaving and I have come to bid you all farewell.”  They could not believe their eyes that this man who had been bedridden for all those years was now well and was greeting them.  He then returned to the infirmary and said to the patients there:  “My dear brothers, get up from your beds and follow me in the name of the Lord!” As soon as he said these words to them, they all were instantly healed and got up from their beds.  They all followed the Elder glorifying the name of God.  The Elder Pimen then went to the Church and requested to receive Holy Communion for the last time.  After receiving Holy Communion he picked up his funeral bier and walked directly to his burial cave.  He knew exactly where to go even though he had never been there before. 

            As soon as he entered his burial cave, he proceeded to reverence the grave of the Elder Anthony.  He then showed his brother monks the place where he would be buried.  Finally, the Elder was quiet for awhile and then waited.  A moment deathly silence followed when suddenly the silence was broken by a triumphant outburst of the Elder.  He said: “They have come, my brothers.”  “Those who tonsured me a monk have come to take me with them.”  Upon saying these words the Elder Pimen lay down upon his funeral bier, closed his eyes and surrendered his soul to the Lord.

Translated from the Greek by:
+Fr. Constantine (Charles) J. Simones, August 6, 2014, Waterford, CT, USA, 


ΔΟΞΑ ΤΩ ΘΕΩ ΕΝ ΤΟΙΣ ΑΓΙΟΙΣ ΑΥΤΟΥ

GLORIFIED IS THE NAME OF GOD IN HIS HOLY SAINTS

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