Commemorated on March 4
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).
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
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.