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Sergius of Radonezh

Sergius of Radonezh

Sergius of Radonezh (before taking monasticism - Bartholomew Kirillovich) (about 1321, near Rostov the Great, - 09/25/1391, Trinity-Sergius Monastery, now Zagorsk, Moscow Region) - Russian church and political figure. Born into a boyar's family. The family of Sergius of Radonezh, suffering from Tatar extortions and princely strife, moved to the Moscow principality and received land near the city of Radonezh.

Sergius of Radonezh, together with his older brother Stephen, around 1330-40 founded the Trinity Monastery (see Trinity-Sergius Lavra) and became its second abbot (about 1353-91). Sergius of Radonezh introduced a dormitory charter in the monastery, destroying the previously existing separate residence of monks.

The adoption of the hostel charter and its subsequent dissemination, with the support of the Grand Duke, the Russian Metropolitan and the Patriarch of Constantinople, to other monasteries in North-Eastern Russia was an important church reform that contributed to the transformation of monasteries into large feudal corporations.

The moral authority of Sergius of Radonezh, close ties with the family of Grand Duke Dmitry Ivanovich Donskoy (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 preparing the Battle of Kulikovo, and in 1385 he settled his conflict with the Ryazan prince Oleg. Sergius of Radonezh is buried in the monastery he founded; canonized by the Russian Church. The oldest "Life" of Sergius of Radonezh was written by Epiphanius the Wise.

Sergius of Radonezh from infancy was drawn to God. The Reverend Father Sergius was born into a noble boyar family to pious parents named Cyril and Maria. The exact year of birth of Father Sergius is not known, but according to the testimony of his disciple Epiphanius the Wise, it is 1314th. It is believed that even before the birth of Sergius of Radonezh, God had already chosen the baby for his service and gave a sign to the believers: when Mary, shortly before giving birth, came, as usual, to the church for the liturgy, the baby in her womb three times (in the most significant places worship) cried out so that everyone present in the church heard it. The baby, then Bartholomew, also had such a feature - he did not touch the mother's breast on those days when she ate meat, and completely refused milk on Wednesdays and Fridays (known fast days among the Orthodox).

Sergius of Radonezh was not given a literacy in childhood. At the age of seven, the boy, instead of with his older brother Stephen and the younger one, Peter, was sent to study, however, unlike the brothers who studied well, Bartholomew could not remember anything. The Orthodox are inclined to view this episode from the saint's life 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 most likely did not think about anything like that, but fervently prayed to the Lord to give him a bookish understanding. Once, at the request of his father, the boy went for horses, and met an angel on the road in the form of a monk. Bartholomew asked the divine elder for intercession before God, and after the latter's prayers, he began to read the psalms quite harmoniously, which he could not learn before.

Sergius of Radonezh led a monastic life from childhood. Bartholomew did not miss a single church service, did not play noisy games with other children, devoted all his time to the knowledge of divine wisdom, ate only bread and water, and on Wednesdays and Fridays he did not eat anything at all.

Sergiy of Radonezh at the beginning of his life asceticised in a deep forest. Due to the devastation of the south of Russia by the Tatars and the exorbitant extortions of the Moscow prince Ivan Kalita, the parents of Sergius (the boy at that time was 15 years old) fled to Radonezh, the place of reign of Kalita's youngest son, Andrei, who promised all the settlers his help and tax relief. At the age of 20, Bartholomew decides to have a haircut into monasticism, but his parents, referring to his senile weakness in the absence of brothers who had already acquired their own families, persuaded him to take care of them for some time. Sergius gives the poor inheritance left after their death to the poor, gives part to his younger brother Peter and, together with the elder Stephen, who was widowed by that time, leaves for the "desert" - dense and dense forests. On a place called "Makovets" the brothers erect a hut, and then a small church in the name of the Holy Trinity. Later, the famous Holy Trinity Sergius Lavra will be erected on this site. Unable to withstand the desert life, Stefan leaves Bartholomew after a short time, and the future Sergius of Radonezh remains alone in the dense forests. Having gone through the hardships of monastic life, realizing that he is able to take on such a fate, 23-year-old Bartholomew summons hegumen Mitrofan to him, he 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, the demons constantly tested the monk - they embarrassed him, seduced him and, angry with his failures, threatened him with death. By prayer and the cross, Father Sergius drove them away from him. And this continued until the humble monk became the abbot of his growing monastery.

At first, Sergius of Radonezh had 12 students. Over time, the rumor about the Monk Sergius spread throughout the district; God-fearing monks began to flock to him and ask to join the brethren. There were 12 such people, and this number remained for quite a long time. In the event that one of the brothers died, another person would come to his place as if from nowhere, wishing to asceticate in the monastery.

Sergius of Radonezh himself worked at the monastery. Desiring to serve everyone, as the Lord served, the Monk Sergius himself built cells, carried water for the brothers, chopped wood, baked bread, sewed clothes, prepared food and performed other household and household work. Fr. Sergius especially loved to bake prosphora, he did not hesitate to boil kutya, as well as to roll candles for worship.

Sergius of Radonezh did not want to be hegumen. For a long time he refused this position, but in the end the brethren, desperate to blackmail the monk by their departure from the monastery, asked him for him from the substitute Metropolitan Hegumen Athanasius, whom the monk simply could not refuse.

Sergius of Radonezh worked miracles during his lifetime. For example, when the monastery began to lack water due to the lack of water in the spring, Father Sergius descended into a nearby thicket, prayed there over rain water and prayed from God not only a plentiful, but also a healing spring, the water of which was enough not only for the monastery, but also for those living in the area. peasants. Sergius of Radonezh is also known as a saint who cured many people, both from bodily and mental illnesses. There are known cases of curing 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, on another occasion they witnessed a fiery flame that surrounded the monk. Of these cases, Sergius of Radonezh, out of modesty, asked the witnesses to be silent and tell about everything only after his death, which, by the way, he also learned about and told the brethren in advance.

Sergius of Radonezh received signs that his monastery was not scarce. Since one night at night the Monk Sergius saw the light and heard a voice from heaven, pointing out to him the suddenly appeared birds, symbolizing monks. The most famous case is considered the appearance of the Mother of God to Father Sergius, together with the apostles Peter and John, who promised never to leave the monastery with her mercies.

Sergius of Radonezh founded not only the Trinity-Sergius Lavra. He is also considered the founder of the Borisoglebsk Monastery near Rostov, the Annunciation Monastery on Kirzhach, the Spaso-Androniev Monastery in Moscow, the Staro-Golutvin Monastery near Kolomna. In addition, more than 40 monasteries were founded by his disciples.

Sergius of Radonezh predicted a victory over Mamai to Dmitry Donskoy. Before the decisive battle, Father Sergius overshadowed the prince with a cross and gave him the help of the former boyars, the present monks Alexander Peresvet and Andrey Oslyablya, who played an important role in the liberation of Rus from the Tatar invasion. On the battlefield, the Monk Sergius sent an icon of 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 the perishing, and prayed for them.


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