The Monk Stefan of Makhrisch

Commemorated on July 14

      The Monk Stefan of Makhrisch was a native of Kiev. He accepted monasticism at the Pechersk monastery, where he spent several years in deeds of obedience and prayer. The oppressions by the Papists compelled him to journey on to Moscow, where GreatPrince Ivan II (1353-1359) graciously received him, permitting him to settle in the locale of Makhrisch not far from Gorodisch, 35 versts from the Sergeev wilderness-monastery.
      Having built himself a cell and spending his life at ascetic labours, and esteeming silence, he did not accept those wishing to join him. But then he yielded to the requests, and by such manner, in 1358 he founded a monastery, in which he was established as hegumen.
      Living near his monastery were the Yurkov brothers, fearing that the land which they ruled might be given over to the monastery, and they threatened to kill the holy ascetic. The admonitions of the monk did not help. Saint Stefan then moved to a different place. Sixty versts north of Vologda, at the River Avnezha, he founded with his disciple Grigory a wilderness-monastery in the Name of the Holy Trinity. GreatPrince Dimitrii Ioannovich sent books and other liturgical items to the Avnezhsk wilderness, but the Monk Stefan sent them in turn to the Makhrisch monastery. Having returned to his monastery, Saint Stefan ordered life in it according to a "life in common" ustav (rule).
      When the Monk Sergei of radonezh moved form his monastery, in order to find a place for his ascetic deeds, the Monk Stefan then received him, and gave the great ascetic Sergei his own disciple Simon, who knew the surrounding area quite well. The Monk Sergei settled together with Simon on the island of Kirzhach, where he founded a monastery.
      Saint Stefan was strict with himself and indulgent towards others, he it was that worked for the monastery the hardest of all, he zealously guided the brethren to the ways of salvation with gentle and quiet talks, and he wore clothing very old and coarse.
      The monk lived to extreme old age, became a schema-monk and died in 1406 on 14 July. In 1550 during the construction of a new stone church in the Name of the Holy Trinity, his holy remains were uncovered undecayed. They were glorified by blessings of help in various sicknesses and misfortunes for all calling on the name of the saint.

1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

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The Monk Stefan of

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