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.