The Monk Dimitrii of Prilutsk, Wonderworker

Commemorated on February 11 and June 3

      The Monk Dimitrii of Prilutsk, Wonderworker, was born into a rich merchant's family in Pereyaslavl'-Zalessk. From the time of his youth the monk was uncommonly handsome. Having accepted monastic tonsure at one of the Pereyaslavl' monasteries, the saint later founded the Nikol'sk (Saint Nicholas) life-in-common monastery on the Borisoglebsk Hill at the shore of Lake Plescheevo near the city, and became its hegumen.
      In 1534 Saint Dimitrii first met with the Monk Sergei Radonezh, who had come to Pereyaslavl' to bishop Athanasii. From that time he repeatedly conversed with the Monk Sergei and became close with him. The fame of the Pereyaslavl' hegumen so spread about, that he became godfather to the children of Greatprince Dimitrii Ioannovich. Under the influence of the Radonezh wonderworker, the Monk Dimitrii decided to withdraw off to a desolate place, and together with his disciple Pakhomii he set off North. In the Vologda forests, at the River Velika, in the Avnezhsk surroundings, they built a church of the Resurrection of Christ and they made ready to lay the foundations for a monastery. But the local inhabitants were fearful of losing out, and the wilderness-dwellers in their wish to be a burden to no one, set off further.
      Not far from Vologda, at the bend of a river in an isolated spot, the Monk Dimitrii decided to form the first of the life-in-common monasteries of the Russian North. The people of Vologda and the surrounding gladly consented to help the saint. The owners of the land intended for the monastery, Il'ya and Isidor, even trampled down a grain field, so that a temple might be built immediately. In 1371 the wooden Saviour cathedral was erected, and brethren began to gather. Many a disciple of the monk came thither from Pereyaslavl'. The deep prayer and quite strict asceticism was combined in the Prilutsk hegumen with kindliness: he fed the poor and hungry, he took in strangers, he conversed with those in need of consolation, and he gave counsel. The monk loved to pray in private. His Lenten food was but prosphora with warm water, and even on feastdays he would not partake of the wine and fish permitted by the ustav-rule. Both Winter and Summer he wore only his old sheepskin coat, and into old age he went off with the brethren on common tasks. Contributions to the monastery the saint accepted cautiously, so that the welfare of the monastery be not to the impairment of those living nearby. The Lord vouchsafed His servant the gift of perspicacity. The Monk Dimitrii died at an advanced age on 11 February 1392. The brethren approaching found him as though asleep, and his cell was filled with a wondrous fragrance. Miracles from the relics of Saint Dimitrii began in the year 1409, and during the XV Century his veneration spread throughout all Rus'. And not later than the year 1440, based on the narratives of Saint Dimitrii's disciple the hegumen Pakhomii, the Prilutsk monk Makarii recorded his life (Great Reading-Menaion, 11 February).

1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

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The Monk Dimitrii
of Prilutsk, Wonderworker

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