The Sobor (Assemblage) of Monastic Fathers, venerated in the Nearer Caves (of the Monk Antonii)

Commemorated on September 28

      The Sobor (Assemblage) of Monastic Fathers, venerated in the Nearer Caves (of the Monk Antonii), is celebrated now on 28 September. This general commemoration previously was on the first Saturday after the Leave-taking of the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, i.e. after 21 September. The establishing of the celebration of the general commemoration of the Monastics, venerated in the Antoniev Cave, – on the Saturday after the Leave-taking of the feast of the Exaltation of the Venerable Cross, – dates to the year 1670. During the restoration of the Caves, damaged by an earthquake, some of the relics of the ancient ascetics were uncovered and a temple built in honour of the Exaltation of the Venerable Cross.
      In 1760 a stone church in honour of the Exaltation of the Venerable Cross was built over the Caves. In 1886 under the Kiev metropolitan Platon, the celebration of the memory of the Sobor (Assemblage) of the Nearer Caves was moved to 28 September, in conjunction with the celebrating on 28 August of the memory of the Assemblage (Sobor) of the Saints of the Farther Caves. Two canons to the Monastic Fathers, venerated in the Nearer Caves, are known: the first, compiled by the priest-monk Meletii the Orphan (inscribed in the Kiev Akathistnik of 1764). The second, found in the services to the Pechersk monastics, was compiled by Sainted Dimitrii of Rostov.
      The Sobor (Assemblage) of the Monastic Fathers of the Nearer Caves includes (in parenthesis is given the day of individual memory, wherein also is located an account about the life of the saint):
      The Monk Antonii (Anthony) the First-Founder (Comm. 10 July);  the Monk Prokhor the Wonderworker, named the Weed-eater (Comm. 10 February);  the Monk John the Faster (Comm. 7 December);  the Monastic Juliania the Maiden, Princess of Ol'shansk (Comm. 6 July);  the MonkMartyrs Vasilii (Basil) and Feodor (Theodore) (Comm. 11 August);  the Monk Polykarp, Archmandrite of Pechersk (Comm. 24 July);  the Monk Varlaam, Hegumen of Perchersk (Comm. 19 November);  the Monk Damian the Presbyter and Healer (Comm. 5 October);  the Monk Nikodom the Prosphora-maker (Comm. 31 October);  the Monk Lavrentii (Lawrence) the Hermit, Bishop of Turov (Comm. 29 January);  the Monk Afanasii (Athanasii) the Hermit (Comm. 2 December);  the Monk Erasm the Black-Garbed (Comm. 24 February);  the Monk Luke, Steward of Pechersk (Comm. 6 November);  the Monk Agapit, Gratuitous Physician (Comm. 1 June);  Monks Theophil the Exact-Sighted and John the God-pleasing, within a single Coffin (Comm. 29 December);  the Monk Nektarii the Obedient (Comm. 29 November); the Monk Grigorii (Gregory) the Iconographer (Comm. 8 August);  the PriestMartyr Kuksha, Enlightener of the Vyati (Comm. 27 August);  Monk Aleksii (Alexei) the Hermit (Comm. 24 April);  Monk Savva the God-pleasing (Comm. 24 April);  Monk Sergei the Obedient (Comm. 7 October);  the Monk Mekurii, Bishop of Smolensk (Comm. 7 August);  the Monk Pimen the MuchSick (Comm. 7 August);  the Monk Nestor the Chronicler (Comm. 27 October);  the MonkMartyr Evstratii (Comm. 28 March); Monk Elladii the Hermit (Comm. 4 October);  Monk Jeremiah the Perspicacious (Comm. 5 October);  MonkMartyr Moisei (Moses) the Ugrian (Hungarian) (Comm. 26 July);  Monk John the MuchSuffering (Comm. 18 July);  Monk Mark the Grave-digger (Comm. 29 December);  the Monk Nikola Svyatosha, Prince of Chernigov (Comm. 14 October);  Martyr Grigorii (Gregory) the Wonderworker (Comm. 8 January);  Monk Onysim the Hermit (Comm. 4 October and 21 July);  Monk Matfei (Matthew) the Perspicacious (Comm. 5 October);  Monk Isaiah the Wonderworker (Comm. 15 May);  Monk Avramii (Abraham) the WorkLover (Comm. 21 August);  Monk Nyphont, Bishop of Novgorod (Comm. 8 April);  Monk Syl'vester the Wonderworker (Comm. 2 January);  Monk Pimen the Faster (Comm. 27 August);  the Monk Onuphrii the Silent (Comm. 21 July);  Monk Anatolii the Hermit (Comm. 3 July);  the Monk Alypii the Iconographer (Comm. 17 August);  Monk Sisoi the Hermit (Comm. 24 October);  Monk Theophil the Hermit (Comm. 24 October);  Monk Aretha the Hermit (Comm. 24 October);  Monk Spiridon the Prosphora-maker (Comm. 31 October);  the Monk Onysiphor the Confessor (Comm. 9 November);  Monk Simon, Bishop of Suzdal' (Comm. 10 May);  the Monk Nikon, Hegumen of Pechersk (Comm. 23 March);  Monk Theophan the Faster (Comm. 11 October);  the Monk Makarii (Comm. 19 January);  MonkMartyr Anastasii the Deacon (Comm. 22 January);  Twelve Greek Master Architects of the Kievo-Pechersk Great Church in honour of the Uspenie (Dormition) of the MostHoly Mother of God (Comm. 14 February);  Monk Avramii (Abraham) the Hermit (Comm. 29 October);  Monk Isaakii (Isaac) the Hermit (Comm. 14 February);  Martyr John the Infant (Comm. in common with the 14,000 Infants killed at Bethlehem by Herod – 29 December);  Monk Ilya of Murom (Comm. 19 December);  Monk Nikon the Lean (Comm. 11 December);  Monk Ephrem, Bishop of Pereyaslavl' (Comm. 28 January);  Monk Tito the PriestMonk (Comm. 27 February).
      Besides these enumerated Saints, amidst the Pechersk Monastics are known 30 Saints of God, of whom were preserved myrh-bearing heads. In the Service to the Monastic Fathers of the Nearer Caves on 28 September are mentioned also: the Monk Ephrem the Priest (ode 9), – about whom the priestmonk Afanasii Kal'pophyisky wrote in 1638, that his undecayed body, dressing in priestly vestments, lay opposite the relics of the Monk Ilya of Murom; and about the Monk Evstathii, formerly in the world a goldsmith (ode 8).
      In the Canon of Meletii the Orphan also is mentioned: Sainted Dionisii, Archbishop of Suzdal' (Comm. 26 June and also 15 October). The sainted-hierarch was detained by the Lithuanian prince at Kiev upon his elevation by Constantinople to the dignity of Metropolitan of Moscow. He died on 15 October 1384 and was placed in the Antoniev Cave.
      Besides the Monks mentioned in the Services, the priestmonk Afanasii Kal'pophyisky in his Manuscript of 1638 indicated yet more Saints, whose uncovered relics they venerated:  the Monk Ieronym, Hermit and Wonderworker;  the Monk Meladii, holy Elder and Wonderworker;  the Monk Pergii, holy Elder;  the Monk Pavel (Paul), – a monk of Wondrous Obedience.
      In the old hand-written Kalendars are preserved the names of priests:  the Monk Meletii, the Monk Serapion, the Monk Philaret, the Monk Peter.
      In one of the branches of the Nearer Caves was discovered on 24 May 1853 an inscription on the crypts from the XI Century: "Lord, preserve as Thy servants Theodosii and Theophil, many years"; "Grave of the Cave-Dweller Ivan – here lived and is now Ivan the sinner"; on an oak-board: "Ivan the Cave-Dweller". Thus were revealed names of the new Pechersk Fathers: Theophil, Theodosii and John.
      There is also a commemoration in common of the Monastics of the Nearer Caves together with the Monastics of the Farther Caves – on the 2nd Sunday of Great Lent, when there is celebrated the Sobor (Assemblage) of all the Monastic Fathers of Kievo-Pechersk. The Canon of the Priestmonk Meletii the Orphan enters into the Service of that feastday (the Service to the Pechersk Monastic Fathers and to all the Saints, illumined in Little Russia, inscribed from Akathists with a Canon. Kiev, in the typography of the Kievo-Pechersk Uspenie Lavra, 1866).
      Without doubt, far from all the names of the Kievo-Pechersk Monastic Fathers are known. In the in-common Commemoration of the Sobor (Assemblage) are glorified all the Fathers, illumined by ascetic deeds in the Caves. In the ikos of the Service of 28 September it speaks thus about this: "The praises to all those, whomever do be Thy Saints, O Blessed One, do reckon them multiplied more than the very sands. But Thyself, O Master Christ, having counted out the stars and named all named, grant them our prayers..."

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