The Monk Kozma, Hermit of Zographia,

Commemorated on September 22

      The Monk Kozma, Hermit of Zographia, was a Bulgarian. In his youth he avoided entering into marriage, and left secretly from his parents for Holy Mount Athos. Then already on his way to the Holy Mountain, the devil tried to rattle the yearning of the youth, vexing him with an apparition of the infinite abyss of the sea, surrounding the Holy Mountain. The fervent prayer of the youth dispelled the demonic temptation. On Athos Saint Kozma was accepted in the Zographia monastery. There he was for a long time a novice, and then he took monastic vows and was appointed ecclesiarch [ie. kliuchar' or church-doorman]. Saint Kozma received a special mercy to be a secret-seer of the Heavenly Hegumeness Herself of Mount Athos, Who on the feast of the Annunciation at the Batopedeia monastery deigned to reveal to him a glimpse of Her care for Her earthly appanage: he saw a Woman of royal majesty and grandeur, Who attended to both in church for services, and in refectory, and all the monks were Her obedients and servers. Soon the saint was ordained to deacon, and then to presbyter, which moved him to new exploits. Zealous for salvation, the saint through fervent prayer to the MostHoly Mother of God was granted a particular sign of Her especial patronage: he heard the voice of the Mother of God, issuing from Her holy icon and asking Her Son: "How wilt Kozma be saved?" The answer of the Lord was suchlike: "Let him withdraw from the monastery into silence". Having besought the blessing of the monastic head, Saint Kozma withdrew into the wilderness, and there in a cave, cut into a cliff, he began his new deed of silent seclusion. God did not forsake the faithful man of prayer: the saint was granted the gift of perspicacity.
      Just as at the start of his ascetic life, the enemy of the race of mankind again tried to dissuade the saint from his intended path, and so also the final days before the death of the righteous one were for him a grievous trial. Not long before the death of God's chosen one, he was granted a vision of Christ Himself, Who informed the saint that before his soul would expire to the heavenly Kingdom, satan himself with his hosts would beat and gnash at him. Prepared for the suffering by the Divine solace, the saint bravely underwent the permitted by God terrible demonic assault and on the third day after furious beatings, having communed the All-Pure Mysteries, and with words of praise on his lips, he peacefully expired to the Lord. God, "glorifying those that do glorify Him", miraculously at death also glorified the Monk Kozma: at the time of the burial of the saint there flocked to his cave a multitude of beasts and birds, as though sensing the common loss of the Holy Mountain, and when they put the body in the grave and began to cover it over with ground, each of the speechless creatures let out a mournful cry, bestowing final respect to the saint of God. When, by custom, 40 days afterwards after the all-night vigil the brethren opened the holy remains of the saint, so as to transfer them with honour to the monastery, in miraculous manner they were not to be found the Lord hid them. This occurred in the year 1323.

1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

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