The Holy MonkMartyrs Vasilii of Mirozhsk and Joasaph of Snetnogorsk

Commemorated on March 4

      The Holy MonkMartyrs Vasilii of Mirozhsk and Joasaph of Snetnogorsk suffered under the Germans at two of the most ancient of the Pskov monasteries, during the XIII Century. The Monk Vasilii directed the Saviour-Transfiguration Mirozhsk monastery, co-founded in about the year 1156 by Sainted Nyphontii, Bishop of Novgorod (Comm. 8 April), and by the Monk Avraamii (Abraham) of Mirozhsk (Comm. 24 September). The Monk Joasaph was hegumen (and according also to some Pskov Saint-accounts, the founder) of the monastery in honour of the Nativity of the MostHoly Mother of God on Mount Snatna. Much work and worry had been exerted by the ascetics for both the outer and inner welfare of the monasteries. In accord with the strict rule of monastic common-life, introduced into his monastery by the Monk Joasaph, the life of the monks was filled with prayer, abstinence and work. (Almost 90 years after the death of the Monk Joasaph, his monastic rule was re-introduced in the new monastic ustav (rule) of the Snetnogorsk monastery by the Suzdal' archbishop Dionysii). The Snetnogorsk monastery traced its origins from the efforts of the Monk Evphrosyn of Pskovsk (Comm. 15 May) and the Monk Savva of Krypetsk (Comm. 28 August).
      Both these monasteries were situated outside the city walls and did not have any defenses. On 4 March 1299, the Germans fell upon Pskov and burned the Mirozhsk and Snetnogorsk monasteries. During the time of the conflagration of the churches, the Monks Vasilii and Joasaph accepted an agonising death together with the other monks. There was then at that time much suffering in the city and for the monks of other monasteries, and also for the women and children, remarks the chronicler, but "through the prayers of the holy monk-martyrs, the Lord preserved the fighting-men". Under the lead of the Pskov prince, Saint Dovmont-Timothei (Comm. 20 May), they came out against the enemy and at the banks of the Pskova River, near the church of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, they defeated the invaders.
      The Monks Vasilii and Joasaph were buried with their co-ascetics beneathe crypts at the churches of their monasteries. The venerable head and part of the relics of the Monk Joasaph were preserved in the open in a special reliquary in the temple of the Snetnogorsk monastery. Holy Prince Dovmont "from his rightful inheritance" built at the Snetnogorsk monastery a stone church in place of the one that had burned, and he much facilitated the restoration of monastic life at the ruined monasteries.
      Soon after the martyrs end of the Monks Vasilii and Joasaph followed their churchly glorification at Pskov. On the parchment Pskov Prologue of the XIV-XV Centuries, their memory is set under 5 March. But in the Pskov Chronicle and old Pskov synodikons (Saint-lists), the day of the blessed death of the holy monk-martyrs is indicated as 4 March, and on this day is made their memory at present. Suffering together with them, the chronicle names also the presbyter Joseph, and the Prologue the presbyter Konstantin.

1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

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