The Monk Alypii of Pechersk

Commemorated on August 17

      The Monk Alypii of Pechersk, one of the first and finest of Russian iconographers, was a monastic novice of the Monk Nikon (Comm. 23 March), and from his youthful years pursued asceticism at the Kievo-Pechersk monastery. He studied the iconography of the Greek masters, and from the year 1083 beautifying the Pechersk church of the Uspenie (Dormition) of the MostHoly Mother of God. The Monk Alypii wrote icons gratis. If he learned that in some church the icons had become worn, he took them with him and unmercenarily restored them. If it so happened that they paid him for his work, the monk disbursed one part for the obtaining of iconographic materials, the second part he distributed to the poor, and only the third did he keep for himself. The Monk Alypii was never famous, and he did the iconography only so as to serve God. He was raised to the dignity of priestmonk and was known for a gift of wonderworking while still alive: the Monk Alypii healed a Kievan man suffering from leprosy and decay of the body by anointing the wounds of the sick man with paints, prepared for the writing of icons. Many icons done by the monk were glorified by wonderworking. A particular instance is known, when Angels of God helped him in the holy task of writing icons. A certain Kievan man, having built a church, entrusted two Pechersk monks to commission the icons for it. The monks concealed the money and said nothing to the Monk Alypii. Having waited a long time for the carrying out of the commission, the Kievan man turned to the hegumen with a complaint against the monk, and here only did they discover that he had not heard of the commission. When they brought the boards given by the customer, it turned out that on them already were done beautiful images. And when the church built for the icons was consumed by fire, all of the icons remained unharmed. One of these icons ( the Uspenie of the MostHoly Mother of God) having received the title Vladimir-Rostovsk (celebrated 15 August), was taken by GreatPrince Vladimir Monomakh (1113‑1125) to a Rostov church built by him.
      Another time, an Angel wrote an icon in honour of the Uspenie (Dormition) of the MostHoly Mother of God, when the Monk Alypii lay in a pre-death illness. And in this the Angel accepted the soul of the Monk Alypii (he died on 17 August not earlier than the year 1114). He was buried in the Nearer Caves (Comm. Sobor 28 September). Of the right hand of the Monk Alypii the first three fingers were folded perfectly alike, and the last two were bent to the palm in such prayerful manner of signing himself with the sign of the cross did the monk die. One of the icons of the Monk Alypii the MostHoly Mother of God with the Infant-Saviour, surviving from the time of the Monks Antonii and Feodosii of Pechersk is now preserved in the State Tretyakov Gallery (named the Svensk, and celebrated 3 May and 17 August).

1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

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