Commemorated on December 29, September 28 and on the 2nd Sunday of the Great Lent
Monks Mark the Grave-Digger, Theophil the Weeping and John (XI‑XII)
are narrated about in the Kievo-Pechersk Paterikon. Two brothers being
monastics, the Monks Theophil and John, so loved each other, that they
prevailed upon the Monk Mark to prepare them a common grave.
years later, the elder of these two brothers was away on monastery business.
During this while his brother John fell ill and died. Several days later the
Monk Theophil returned and went together with the brethren to view where his
dead brother was placed. Seeing that he lay within their common grave at the
head place, he became indignant with Blessed Mark and said: "Why is he put
here in my place? I am older than he". The cave-dweller Mark, bowing
humbly to the Monk Theophil, asked that he forgive him. Then, turning to the dead
man, he said: "Brother, arise and give this place to the older, and do
thou lie down in the other place". And the dead man moved in the grave.
Seeing this, the monk Theophil fell down at the knees of the Monk Mark begging
his forgiveness. The cave-dweller Mark remarked to him, that he ought to be
concerned about his own salvation, because after a certain while he also would
be brought hither. Hearing this, the Monk Theophil became terrified and decided
that he would soon die. Having given away everything that he possessed, and
keeping only his mantle, he every day awaited the hour of death. No one was
able to distract him from weeping nor bring him to eat sweet-tasting food. The
Monk Theophil lost his eyesight from weeping. The Monk Mark before his own
death – at the supplication of Theophil to die together with him, said:
"Desire not death, it shalt come, though even thou wishest it not. Herein
is what shalt serve thee as a sign of thine impending end: three days before
death thine eyesight wilt recover". The words of the saint were fulfilled.
The body of the Monk Theophil was placed in the Antoniev Cave in the grave
together with his brother the Monk John, near the remains of the Monk Mark.
Their memory is celebrated also on 28 September and on the 2nd Sunday of Great
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.