The Monk Nikon
Commemorated on March 23
The Monk Nikon was the first disciple and fellow-ascetic of the Monk Antonii (Comm. 10 July), the founder of the Kievo-Pechersk monastery, to which he came being already a priest. At the monastery he vowed all the newly-arrived monks, and amongst their number was the Monk Theodosii (Feodosii) of Pechersk (Comm. 3 May and 14 August). For giving monastic vows to the favourites of the Great-prince Izyaslav – the Monks Varlaam (Comm. 19 November) and Ephrem (Comm. 28 January), Saint Nikon brought down upon himself the wrath of the prince, and he boldly refused to force them to leave the monastery. When many brethren had been gathered up into the monastery, the monk Nikon desired to go into solitude and keep silence. He withdrew onto the Tmutarakan' peninsula (on the eastern banks of the Kerchensk straits) and settled in an unpopulated spot. When news about his life spread throughout the region, there gathered about him those wishing to lead a monastic life. A monastery thus was founded together with a church in the name of the Most Holy Mother of God. When he returned to the Kievo-Pechersk monastery, the monk Theodosii rendered to him his own respectful love as his spiritual father. According to the words of the Monk Nestor the Chronicler (Comm. 27 October), the monk Theodosii, – having absented himself somewhere, entrusted all the brethren to the care of the monk Nikon. Sometimes he entrusted to the monk Nikon to offer instruction to the brethren in place of himself. Often, when the monk Nikon bound books, the monk Theodosii sat near him and spun the thread needed for the binding. When prince Svyatoslav drove out his brother Izyaslav from Kiev, the monk Nikon again went off to the monastery founded by him. He returned under the hegumen Stephan. Upon the withdrawal of Hegumen Stephan (Comm. 27 April) from the Kievo-Pechersk monastery, Saint Nikon was chosen hegumen of the monastery. He toiled much to adorn his monastery with monastic writings and mosaic. The monk died in extreme old age (+ 1088) and was buried in the Nearer Caves of the Monk Antonii.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.