Commemorated on December 14
Ilarion, Metropolitan of Suzdal' and Yur'ev (in the world John), was born
13 November 1631 into the family of the lower-city priest Ananii. His father,
famed for his piety and reading, was one of three candidates for the
Patriarchal throne, put forth together in choice with the future Patriarch
took vows at a monastery in 1653. In 1655 he became founder and builder of the
Phlorischev wilderness monastery not far from the city of Gorokhovetsa. In the
doings of a monk, the saint underwent an harsh struggle with fleshly passions.
When he fell down in exhaustion before the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God
and with tears besought Her for help, the Mother of God shielded him with
gracious power and pacified his spirit. One time, when Saint Ilarion was
serving evening song together with a monk-deacon, robbers burst into the
church. They killed the monk-deacon and started to set Saint Ilarion on fire,
interrogating him as to where the monastery treasure was hid. They did not
believe that in the monastery there was no gold. Overcome by the pain, Saint
Ilarion turned to the wonderworking icon and said: "O All-Pure Virgin
Mary, Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ! If they injure me with the fire, I shall
no more have the ability to always glorify Thy Son and Thee". Suddenly the
robbers heard the shouts of people searching for them, and in fear they fled.
time, Saint Ilarion in passing by the church heard a voice: "I shalt
glorify thee through all the land". He trembled, and having gone into the
vestibule, he found there no people; in the portico was only the Vladimir Icon
of the Mother of God. The ascetic with tears fell down before the image and
confessed his unworthiness.
on, when the saint had set about construction of a stone church, he greatly
sorrowed, that concerns about the construction and disagreements among the
workers were distracting him from prayer. While making services in church with
the brethren, he was preoccupied by these thoughts and began to regret
beginning the work. With tears he besought the Mother of God not to abandon him
and to deliver him from these worries. At the finish of the prayer Saint
Ilarion remained alone in church and began again to think about the
construction. And so he fell asleep. In a dream the Mother of God appeared to him
and said: "Transfer My image, named the Vladimir, from this hot church and
put it in the newly-made stone church, and I shalt be thine Helper there".
Saint Ilarion awoke and gave the command to ring the large bell. The monks
immediately assembled. All set off to the hot church and, having prayed before
the icon, solemnly transferred it from the portico into the temple. After
making the all-night vigil, Divine Liturgy and a molieben, the saint told the
brethren about his vision. Then in procession they transferred the icon to the
church under construction, where they set it amidst the woods. From that time
the construction went successfully and soon was finished. The saint wanted to
dedicate the temple in honour of the icon. But he had a vision in which he was
made to understand, that the temple was to be consecrated in honour of the
Dormition (Uspenie) of the MostHoly Mother of God.
the wilderness monastery he maintained a very strict community rule. In the
year 1694 the saint sent a directive to the Phlorischev monastery talking of
monastic rule, in which he reminisced about his own monastery rule at this
monastery: "Under me, a sinner, no one possessed anything of his own, but
all was put in common. And at present many of you remember about that former
community in common. And they remember also that I consigned to the fire those
belongings which, under me a sinner, would destroy that common-community".
11 December 1681 the saint was consecrated to the dignity of Archbishop of
Suzdal' and Yur'ev, and in 1682 he was elevated to the dignity of Metropolitan
and remained on the Suzdal' cathedra until February 1705. The saint died
peacefully on 14 December 1707 and was buried in the Suzdal' cathedral in
honour of the Nativity of the MostHoly Mother of God. The saint was known for
his unceasing concern for the poor. After his death they found all of three
farthings of money.
wonderworking Icon of the Mother of God of Vladimir-Phlorischev (Comm. 26
August) was written by the reknown iconographer Ivan Andreevich Chirov in 1464
at Nizhni Novgorod under a vow of Ivan Yakovlevich Vetoshnikov.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.