The Monk Erasm of Pechersk

Commemorated on February 24, September 28 and on the 2nd Sunday of the Great Lent

      The Monk Erasm of Pechersk Sainted Simon, bishop of Vladimir (+ 1226, Comm. 10 May), wrote about him to his friend the Monk Polykarp (+ 1182, Comm. 24 July): "There was at Pechersk the black-robed (chernorizets) Erasm. He acquired a legacy of fame in that everything he possessed he used for the adornment of the Pechersk church: he mounted many an icon, which even now are over the altar. But with him there occurred suchlike a temptation, that when he came to be impoverished, he then came to be disdainful. The spirit of evil then began to suggest to him: "It gaineth thee naught, that thou squandered possessions upon the church, yea better were it that thou used it on the poor". Not having made proper sense about such thoughts, Erasm went into despondency and began to live carelessly. Because of his virtue the Gracious and Merciful God saved him. He brought upon him a grievous illness. In this sickness Erasm lay numb with closed eyes for seven days, hardly breathing. On the eighth day the brethren came to him and, seeing his terrible gasping, said: "Woe, woe to the soul of this brother, squandered in idleness. It beholds thee something and rebels, not leaving the body". And here Erasm suddenly stood up, as though healthy, and said: "Fathers and brethren! I am exactly a sinner, and a sinner not having repented, as ye said, but here not have appeared to me our monastic fathers Antonii and Theodosii, and said: "We have prayed for thee, and the Lord hath given thee time for repentance. Then beheld I the All-Pure Mother of God with Christ Son of God on Her arms, and She saith to me: "Erasm, since thou did adorn My Church with icons, I likewise adorn thee in the Kingdom of my Son! Arise, repent, put on the angelic form, and on the third day I shalt take thee to Myself as one having loved the magnificence of My home". Having said this, Erasm began to confess his sins before all without shame, then went to church and was envested in the schema, and on the third day he died" (+ c. 1160). The Monk Erasm was buried in the Nearer Caves. His memory is also 28 September and on the 2nd Sunday of Great Lent.

1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

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