The Monk Michael of Klopsk
Commemorated on January 11
The Monk Michael of Klopsk was descended of boyar (noble) lineage, and he was a kinsman of GreatPrince Dimitrii Donskoi (1363-1389). He took upon himself the exploit of Fool-for-Christ: he left Moscow and in rags he arrived at the Klopsk monastery, near Novgorod. No one knew, how he got into the locked cell of the priest-monk Makarii, who then was making a censing at the 9th Ode of the Canon and was going round the cell censing. But there sat a man in monastic garb and beneathe a candle he wrote copying from the Acts of the holy Apostles. After the finish of matins the hegumen with brethren came and started to ask the stranger: who is he and of what name? But he answered only by a repeating of the questions and did not reveal his origin. In church the saint sang in the choir and read the Epistle, and at meals he read the Saint-Lives. All who listened were moved by the beauty and spirituality of his reading. On the feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord, the Klopsk monastery was visited by prince Konstantin Dimitrievich (son of GreatPrince Dimitrii Donskoi). After Communion he together with the princess was at the refectory, during the time of which the unknown stranger read from the Book of Job. Hearing the reading, the prince approached the reader and, having looked him over, he bowed down to him, calling him by name his kinsman Mikhail Maksimovich. The fool remarked: "The One Only Creator knoweth of me, who I be", but confirmed that his name was Michael. The Monk Michael soon set example for the brethren in all the monastic efforts. He lived at the Klopsk monastery for 44 years, exhausting his body in work, vigils and various deprivations, and he received from the Lord the gift of perspicacity. He denounced the vices of people, not fearing the powerful of this world. He predicted the birth on 22 January 1440 of GreatPrince Ivan III (1462-1505), and the taking of Novgorod by him. He denounced prince Dimitrii Shemyaka for blinding his brother the GreatPrince Vasilii the Dark (1425-1462).
On a sandy spot the Monk Michael summoned forth a spring of water, having written upon the earth: "I shalt take up the cup of salvation (Ps. 115 : 13), let shew forth on this spot the well-spring". And during a time of famine, the supplies of bread at the monastery granary did not diminish, though they distributed grain abundantly to the hungry.
Having directed beforehand the place of his burial, the monk died on 11 January (+ c. 1453-1456).
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.