The MonkMartyr Evstratii of Pechersk

Commemorated on March 28

      The MonkMartyr Evstratii of Pechersk was born in the XI Century at Kiev into a wealthy family. At maturity he accepted monastic tonsure at the Kievo-Pechersk monastery, having given away all his substance to the poor. The Monk Evstratii humbly underwent obediences at the monastery, strictly fulfilling the rule of prayer and passing his days in fasting and vigilance.
      In 1096 the Polovetsians fell upon Kiev and ravaged the Pechersk monastery, doing away with many of the monks, but the Monk Evstratii was taken into captivity, and with thirty monastic labourers and twenty Kievan people he was sold into slavery to a certain Jew, living in the city of Korsun. The impious Jew began to urge the captives to renounce Christ, threatening to kill those that refused by starving them in their very shackles. But the brave Monk Evstratii prayerfully encouraged and exhorted his brother Christians with spiritual guidance: "Brothers! Whoso of us that is baptised and believeth in Christ, let him not betray the vow, given during Baptism. Christ hath made us reborn by water and the Spirit, He hath freed us from the curse of the law by His Blood, and He hath made us heirs of His Kingdom. If we live we shalt live for the Lord; if we die we die in the Lord and at the time of death we shall find eternal life". Inspired by the words of the monk, the captives preferred rather to perish from lack of food and drink, than to renounce Christ, Who is the food and drink of Life Eternal. Exhausted by hunger and thirst, all fifty captives after some days perished. Only the Monk Evstratii remained alive, since from his youthful years he was accustomed to fasting. Languishing with hunger, he still during the course of fourteen days did not touch food nor water. The impious Jew, seeing that because of the black-garbed monk his money paid out for the captives had been lost, decided to take revenge on the holy monk.
      The Radiant Resurrection of Christ drew nigh, and the Jewish slave-owner at the time of celebrating the Jewish Passover and having gathered together his companions, then crucified the Monk Evstratii on a cross. The cruel tormentors gathered around the crucified saint, and mocking the passion-bearer offered him to taste of their Passover. To this the MonkMartyr answered: "The Lord hath now bestown upon me a great grace. He hath granted me the mercy to suffer for His Name on a cross after the manner of His Suffering...".
      Hearing this, the enraged Jew grabbed a spear and struck with it at the MonkMartyr Evstratii nailed to the cross. The holy body of the sufferer, having been taken down from the cross, was thrown into the sea. Christian believers long searched for the holy relics of the martyr, but were not able to find them. But through the Providence of God the incorrupt relics were found in a cave and worked many miracles. Later on they were transferred to the Nearer Caves of the Kievo-Pechersk monastery.
      The prediction of the holy Martyr Evstratii, that his blood would be avenged, was fulfilled immediately after his death. On that day was promulgated a decree of the Greek emperor to expel from Korsun all the Jews, depriving them of their property, and to put to death their elders for the torture of Christians. The Jew, who crucified the MonkMartyr Evstratii, was hung on a tree, having received just recompense for his wickedness.

1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

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The MonkMartyr
Evstratii of Pechersk

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