The Monks Euphymios and Neophytes of Dokhiareia

Commemorated on November 9

      The Monks Euphymios and Neophytes of Dokhiareia, an uncle and his nephew, belonged to the highest Byzantine aristocracy. The Monk Euphymios, while still in the world, merited honour to be the friend of the Monk Athanasias of Athos (Comm. 5 July), and he afterwards became a novice and disciple of the great ascetic. For his sincere love of the brethren, gentleness and his particular zeal in the ascetic life, Saint Athanasias granted the monk the duty of steward (dokhiar or economos), which the Monk Euphymios fulfilled as though entrusted on him by God Himself.
      Saint Euphymios settled with several of the monks in the locale of Daphnos, where he founded a monastery in the name of Saint Nicholas, and called by him Dokhiareia in memory of his obedience. Guiding his own younger brethren, the Monk Euphymios taught the necessity of attention towards self, to all the stirrings of the soul, explaining that the struggle of Christians – according to the Apostle Paul, is not "against flesh and blood, but against principalities, and against powers, and against the world-rulers of darkness of this age" (Eph. 6: 12). The peaceful ascetic life of the monks was disturbed by the Saracens. The monk led all the brethren into the forest. Returning, they found the monastery wrecked to its very foundations. The Monk Euphymios did not lose heart, and the monastery was rebuilt again. The Monk Neophytes in the world was a companion of the emperor Nicephoros Phocas (963-969). Upon the death of his parents he came to Athos, where he took vows in the monastery of his uncle the Monk Euphymios. Before his death, the Monk Euphymios transferred the running of the monastery to his nephew. Under the spiritual guidance of the Monk Neophytes the small monastery grew into a Laura. Having proposed to the emperor Nicephoros to become an endower (contributor) of the monastery, the Monk Neophytes enlarged the monastery to the present Dokhiareia dimensions. The Monk Neophytes was deigned to be chosen "proton" (heading the "protatum" – the council of elders of the Holy Mountain) and for many years he laboured there. After taking leave of the protatum in his declining years, the monk returned to the Dokhiareia monastery, where peacefully he expired to the Lord (X).

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