Sainted Gurii, Archbishop of Kazan

Commemorated on December 5, June 20

      Sainted Gurii, Archbishop of Kazan, (in the world named Grigorii Grigor'evich Rugotin), was the first archbishop of the Kazan diocese, established in 1555. He was born in the town of Radonezh outside Moscow into the family of a courtier. His parents were not wealthy, and so from his early years he had to serve prince Ivan Pen'kov as steward of his estates. From the time of his youth, Grigorii was pious, humble and gentle. He did not wish to enter into marriage. But slandered before the prince of improprieties with his wife, Grigorii was locked up in an underground dungeon. This undermined his health, but it also intensified and deepened his religious sensitivity. In prison, the prisoner wrote a small booklet for teaching children to read and write. The proceeds from his alphabet-book he gave off to the needy.
      Released from prison, Grigorii accepted tonsure with the name Gurii at the Iosifo-Volokolamsk monastery, known for its strict monastic rule. In 1543 he was chosen by the brethren as hegumen of this monastery and he administered it for almost 9 years, and then he resigned as hegumen and lived for two years as a simple monk. Before becoming bishop, Saint Gurii for one year directed the Trinity Selizharov monastery in Tver diocese. He was chosen by lot to the Kazan cathedra-seat. Assisted by Saint Varsonophii (+ 1576, Comm. 11 April)Saint Gurii collaborated much in missionary activity. In his eight years as bishop there, four monasteries were organised, and the Blagoveschensk-Annunciation cathedral church and ten more city churches were built.
      In 1561 the saint fell grievously ill. On feastdays they carried him into the church, and here he either sat or lay, not having the strength to walk or even stand. Shortly before his death (+ 5 December 1563)he accepted the great schema under Saint Varsonophii, and he was buried in the Spaso-Preobrazhensk (Saviour Transfiguration) monastery. On 4 October 1595, the incorrupt relics of Sainted-hierarchs Gurii and Varsonophii were uncovered. The Kazan metropolitan, Sainted Ermogen (the future Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus', + 1613, Comm 12 May), was present at this uncovering of relics, and he described this event in the lives of these saints. On 20 June 1613, the relics of Sainted Gurii were transferred from the Saviour-Transfiguration monastery to the Annunciation cathedral church. At present the relics rest at a cemetery church named for the holy Nobleborn Princes Theodore (Feodor) of Muromsk and his sons David and Konstantin, situated in the city of Kazan.

1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

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Sainted Gurii,
Archbishop of Kazan

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