Sainted Pitirim, Bishop of Velikoperm (GreatPerm)

Commemorated on August 19

      Sainted Pitirim, Bishop of Velikoperm (GreatPerm), was chosen and consecrated to the Perm cathedra-seat after the suffering and death of Sainted Gerasim of Perm (+ post 1441, Comm. 24 January). Before becoming bishop, Saint Pitirim in the dignity of archimandrite was head of the Chudov monastery. He later became known as compiler of the Canon to Sainted Alexei, Metropolitan of Moscow (Comm. 12 February), and he gathered the account of his vita-life. As bishop, Saint Pitirim first of all occupied himself with establishing friendly relations between the Zyryani and Voguli peoples. He circulated admonitory letters and messages, seeking to defend the Zyryani from pillage. The Voguli leader Asyka however, taking advantage of princely dissentions and the remoteness of the bishop from the capital, plundered Christian settlements and killed defenseless people. Novgorod landowners held lands at the Rivers Vyg and Dvina, suffering death with the constant pillaging, and in the year 1445 they marched out against the Voguli and took Asyka captive. The crafty pagan swore friendship in relation to Perm and vowed to harass Christians no longer. Set free, Asyka waited for a convenient moment to attack Ust'-Vym with the aim of killing Saint Pitirim, to whom he attributed his defeat by the Novgorodians. During this time Saint Pitirim was twice in Moscow: in 1447 for the compiling of a circular missive to prince Dimitrii Shemyaka, having broken a treaty oath (they presuppose, that the compiler of the grammota was Saint Pitirim), and again in the year 1448 for the consecration of Saint Jona, Metropolitan of Moscow (Comm. 31 March). Taking advantage of Saint Pitirim's absence, Asyka again made an attack on a Zyryani settlement near the Pechora, robbing and killing the inhabitants. Not only the Zyryani, but also the Voguli living their nomadic life near the Pechora tributary, had become convinced of the truth of the preachings of Saint Pitirim, and they had begun to accept Baptism. Embittered by this, Asyka committed a new crime. On 19 August 1456 he murdered Saint Pitirim, when he was out blessing the waters at the point of land formed by the confluence of the Rivers Vaga and Vychegda. The body of the saint remained for 40 days in a grave at the place of death (since they awaited an answer to the sad news of his death), and in spite of it being an hot period, decay did not touch him. The saint was buried in the Ust'-Vym cathedral church of the Annunciation next to his predecessor Saint Gerasim. The memory of his repose was entered into an ustav already in the year 1522. And in the year 1607 there was established the memory in common (29 January) of the three GreatPerm Sainted-Hierarchs: Gerasim, Pitirim and Jona, having succeeded one another at the Ust'-Vym cathedral.

1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

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