The Monk Ephrem of Perekomsk, Novgorod

Commemorated on September 26 and May 16

      The Monk Ephrem of Perekomsk, Novgorod, was born on 20 September 1412 in the city of Kashin. In Holy Baptism he was named Evstaphii. His parents, Stefan and Anna, lived not far from the Kashinsk women's monastery named in honour of the Uspenie (Dormition of the MostHoly Mother of God. Drawn towards the solitary life, Evstaphii while still in his early years left his parental home and settled in the Kalyazinsk monastery in the Name of the MostHoly Trinity. His parents wanted their son to return home, but he himself in turn persuaded them to leave the world and accept monasticism. They also afterwards finished their earthly paths living as hermits. Having been at his monastery for three years, Evstaphii through a miraculous revelation transferred over to the monastery of the Monk Savva of Vishersk (Comm. 1 October), and it was there in 1437 that he accepted tonsure with the name Ephrem. While in the monastery, the Monk Ephrem received a revelation from the Lord, commanding him to withdraw to a desolate place. Having received the blessing of the Monk Savva, in 1450 he went over to Lake Il'men, at the mouth of the River Verenda, and on the banks of the River Cherna he built a cell. After a certain while to the Monk Ephrem there came the elder Foma (Thomas) with two monks, and they settled not far from his cell. And from that time also there began to gather other hermits to the new monastery. At their request the Monk Ephrem received the dignity of priest at Novgorod from Sainted Evphymii (+ 1458, Comm. 11 March).
      Returning from Novgorod, the Monk Ephrem built a church in honour of the Theophany (Bogoyavlenie) of the Lord on an island, situated at the mouth of the River Verenda. To secure a ready supply of water for the monastery, the monk dug out a canal to Lake Il'men, from which the monastery received its name "Perekopsk" or "Perekomsk" (from "pere-kopat'" meaning "to dig through"). Later on the Monk Ephrem built a stone church in the name of Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker. Unable to find sufficient skilled builders, he dispatched several monks to Great-prince Vasilii Ioannovich with a request for sending stone-workers, after which in 1466 the construction of the temple was completed.
      The Monk Ephrem reposed on 26 September 1492 and was buried at the church of Saint Nicholas. In 1509 because of frequent floodings that threatened the monastery with ruin, it was transferred to another location at the shore of Lake Il'men. The Monk Ephrem appeared to the hegumen Roman and pointed to the site of Klinkovo for situating anew the monastery. On the place of the burial of the monk was built a chapel, since all the monastery churches were in ruins. On 16 May 1545 the relics of the Monk Ephrem were transferred over to the new monastery site. On this day at the monastery is an annual celebration of the memory of the Monk Ephrem of Perekomsk, confirmed ultimately after the glorification of the holy ascetic at the Sobor (Council) of 1549. (The Commemoration of the Transfer of Relics of the Monk Ephrem of Perekomsk is celebrated 16 May).

1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

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