The MonkMartyrs Feodor (Theodore) and Vasilii (Basil) of Pechersk

Commemorated on August 11

      The MonkMartyrs Feodor (Theodore) and Vasilii (Basil) of Pechersk pursued asceticism in the XI Century in the Nearer Caves of Kiev. Saint Feodor distributed his riches to the poor, set off to the monastery and settled into the Varangian Cave, adjoining the Caves of the Monk Feodosii (Theodosii). He dwelt here many years in strict temperance. When the enemy sowed sorrow in him about the giving away of his possessions, Saint Vasilii comforted him: "I implore thee, brother Feodor, forget not the reward; if thou wish possessions, take everything that is mine". The Monk Feodor repented himself and dearly loved as a friend the Monk Vasilii, with whom he lived in the cell. One time the Monk Vasilii during the course of three months was on a monastic errand outside the monastery. The devil, having assumed his form, appeared to the Monk Feodor and indicated that there was a treasure, hidden somewhere in the cave by robbers. The monk wanted still to leave the monastery to buy possessions to live in the world. But when the Monk Vasilii returned, the demonic illusion disappeared. From that time the Monk Feodor started to be more attentive to himself. In order not to be distracted by idle thoughts during moments of inactivity, he set up for himself a millstone and by night he ground grain. Thus by long and zealous ascetic action he freed himself from the passion of avarice.
      A report reached prince Mstislav Svyatopolkovich, that the Monk Feodor had found much treasure in the cave. He summoned the monk to him and commanded him to show the spot, where the valuables were hidden. Saint Feodor answered the prince, that indeed he had seen in the cave much gold and vessels, but from temptation he together with the Monk Vasilii had buried them, and God took from him the memory, where it was hidden. Not believing the saint, the prince gave orders to torture him to death. They beat Saint Feodor so much, that his hair-shirt was wet with blood, and then they hung him head-downwards, having put beneathe him a bon-fire. In a drunken condition the prince commanded to torture also Saint Vasilii, and then to kill him with an arrow. Dying, the MonkMartyr Vasilii threw the arrow at the feet of prince Mstislav and predicted that he himself would soon be mortally wounded by it. The prophecy was fulfilled: on 15 July 1099 on the wall of the Vladimir fortress prince Mstislav¬† during the time of an internecine war with David Igorevich was suddenly struck in the chest by an arrow through an opening in the timbers, and on the following night he died. Recognising his own arrow, the prince said: "I die because of the monkmartyrs Vasilii and Feodor".

© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.