The Child SchemaMonk Bogolep

Commemorated on July 24

      The Child SchemaMonk Bogolep was the son of a Moscow nobleman Yakov Lukich Umakov and his wife Ekatarina. He was born in 1660 at Moscow. During Baptism they gave the new-born the name Boris, in honour of the holy nobleborn Prince PassionBearer ("Strastoterpets") Boris (Comm. 24 July).
      Umakov was appointed voevoda (military-commander) in the city of Chernyi Yar, situated 250 versts from Astrakhan. He was known for his integrity. Boris from infancy displayed unusual traits. On Wednesdays and Fridays he would not suckle the milk from his mother's breasts; when the bells pealed at the church, he began to cry and at once became quiet, when they brought him into the church. When they did not take the infant to church, he cried all day and ate nothing.
      In 1662 a deadly pestilence spread about in Russia. The child fell ill – the pestilence afflicted him in the legs. He became lame, but continued to walk to church. The parents prayed about the health of their son and they tried everything in their power, that he would be healed. But no sooner had the one illness gone, than upon his face there appeared another, called scales.
      One time during his illness the child saw a wandering monk, who visited at their home. The angelic garb so impressed the child, that he began to implore his parents to dew him suchlike garb and permit him to take monastic tonsure. Amidst this the holy lad proclaimed: "Lo, ye wilt see for yourselves, when ye tonsure and grant me the angelic garb, I shall be well". The parents consented. The child was invested in the schema with the name Bogolep (the Russian version of the Greek name Theoprepios, meaning – "in the semblance of God"). On the next day the holy schema-monk was completely healthy, his face was clear and there remained not a trace of the illness. But on the third day there was a new illness, he was feverish, and it mortally struck down the lad. He died on 1 August 1667 and was buried at the left wall of the wooden Chernoyarsk church in honour of the Resurrection of Christ. (This church was erected, following a great conflagration in Chernyi Yar, in the year 1652 on 24 July, the day of memory of Saint Boris). Over the grave of the lad was built a chapel.
      Numerous miracles of healing through the prayers of the holy SchemaMonk Bogolep appear to be the basis of establishing the feastday to him on his name-day in common ("tezoimenitstvo") with the holy nobleborn Prince Boris – 24 July.
      The life of the holy SchemaMonk Bogolep was compiled under a vow by the Chernoyarsk merchant Savva Tatarinov during the years 1731-1732.
      Icons of the saint, with the tropar and kondak to him, were widely dispersed throughout the Astrakhan region.
      In 1750 on the place of the wooden church was built a stone church with a side‑altar in honour of the holy Martyr John the Warrior. The grave of the holy schema‑monk was enclosed in this side-altar. The bank of the river, at which the church of the Resurrection of Christ was situated, was constantly eroding. By the mid XIX Century the structure of the church was threatened, and they removed all the holy things from it. But for a long time the Chernoyarsk people did not remove the chief holy thing – the grave of the holy schema-monk. Finally, in 1851 when the water had already approached 2 arshin [4 ft. 8 in.], the people recoursed to the MostHoly Synod with a request to transfer the holy remains of the Schema-Monk Bogolep, and they received permission for this. The small child's coffin was laid bare, but just when the city head took it into his hands, it slid out from his hands and together with the crumbled earth it disappeared into the waters of the Volga.
      This disappearance just at the opening of the grave was accepted as happening at the Will of God, since the holy lad had repeatedly appeared to many either in sleep, or awake while walking along the river bank or coming down the hill. Amidst this he gave the consolation, that spiritually he would be present with believers.
      The simple life, but full of the mysteries of God, of the holy Schema-Monk Bogolep manifests the power of the words of the Saviour concerning children: "Let the children come unto Me and hinder them not, for of such is the Kingdom of God. Truly I tell ye: whoso cometh not to the Kingdom of God as a little child, shalt not enter therein. And, having hugged them, He raised His hands over them and He blessed them" (Mk. 10: 14‑16).

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