The famous Anthony and Theodosius of the Caves

Nika Kravchuk
14.09.2016

What made Antony and Theodosius Pechersk famous?

September 15 The Orthodox Church honors the memory of St. Anthony and Theodosius of Pechersk. They are considered the founders of the modern Kiev-Pechersk Lavra and one of the first monks in Russia. How did the saints work? For what our contemporaries thank them? Read more about the lives of the righteous. 

Anthony and Theodosius of Pechersk

From Athos - to Kiev land

The history of the Kiev-Pechersk monastery originates from the VenerableAnthony of Pechersk. He was born in 983, five years before the baptism of Rus, and was named Antipas. From an early age, his true faith manifested itself. When Christianity was only established in Russia, the first temples were born, Antipas made a pilgrimage to Palestine to see the places of the earthly life of the Savior. On the way back, he visited Athos, where he soon took monastic vows, and under the new name Anthony fought on the Holy Mountain.

Anthony of Pechersk with the brethren

But after a few years, the abbot of the monastery recognized God's will about the monk Antonia — by his example, to affirm the Christian faith in Russia.So the future saint returned to his native land. In the center of Rus, Kiev, he visited all the newly-formed monasteries, but he did not find a place for himself. Therefore, he settled then far away from the city, on the Kiev mountains, in a lonely cave. Previously, Priest Hilarion, the future Metropolitan of Kiev, lived in it.

The history of the Kiev-Pechersk monastery actually began from this cave. It is believed that the monastery was founded by Anthony and Theodosius of the Caves. But in fact, the founder was precisely St. Anthony, Theodosius came after and became the abbot of the monastery. But more about that later.

Inspired by the example of Anthony

Monk Anthony was a truly great ascetic. He ate only black bread, which he consumed every other day, and a moderate amount of water. Days and nights he spent in prayer and work.

Venerable Anthony and Theodosius of Pechersk

This way of life of the monk attracted those who wanted to devote themselves to God. Some simply considered him a holy man, while others wanted to imitate him and also serve the Lord.

The first came Nikon, and the second -Theodosius of Pechersk. When 12 monks gathered around Anthony, he blessed to dig a large cave. It was a place for the temple, refectory and cells.The look of these buildings can be seen today in the Far Caves of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra.

Since Anthony was always looking for solitude, he set as the abbot of the monastery of Barlaam, while he himself moved away higher and dug a new cave. But the closure of Anthony of Pechersk was short-lived: he was again surrounded by monks who wanted to devote themselves to God. Thus arose the Near and Far Caves, in which today the relics of the Pechersk fathers rest.

As Anthony was in Chernigov

The story of another caves is connected with the life of the monk, not in Kiev anymore, but in Chernihiv, onBoldina Mountain. Why did the saint leave his monastery and move to a completely different city?

Anthony Cave

Monks repeatedly face slander. It happened with the founder of the Pechersk monastery. Someone told the ruling Kiev prince Izyaslav that Anthony secretly supported the Polotsk prince Vseslav, who seized power in Kiev, even gives him advice. In addition, Izyaslav took offense at the monk because he had cut the monks of his former warriors.

Chernigov Prince Svyatoslav decided to secretly bring Anthony of the Caves to his city. Thus, a monastery appeared on Boldina Mountain, like the Kiev cloister dedicated to the Most Holy Theotokos.

The monk lived until the age of 90, in recent years he has completely eliminated himself from managerial affairs, devoting himself entirely to prayer.

The young monk Theodosius

After the Monk Varlaam, the management of the monastery for a long time passed to Theodosius of Pechersk, who, along with Anthony, is considered the founder of the monastery. But what exactly Theodosius became famous for?

The coffin of Theodosius of Pechersk

He was about 25 years younger than Antony and was considered his student. Theodosius came to the monastery somewhere in the year 1032, at the age of about 24 years. Prior to that, he generally lived in Kursk, served in the temple and dreamed of monasticism. Leaving his home and his mother moved the words of Christ:

He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. ()

When Theodosius was in Kiev, he went around all the monasteries. But no one wanted to cut him a monk because of his young age. According to God's providence, only Anthony agreed.

The merits of the new hegumen

In 1057, Theodosius of the Caves became the abbot of the monastery. He was not only the greatest prayer book, but also an excellent leader. With his blessing, the wooden building of the monastery was built, the construction of the main church, Ouspensky, began, the monastery library was founded, which was rare at that time.

But the main merit of the hegumen is the adoption of the first charter of the monastery. The basis for it servedstudio hostel charter. What it meant:

  • the property of the monks was common;
  • the brethren spent time in prayer and work;
  • it all began with prayer and blessing;
  • all the monks confessed to the hegumen, revealing to him their thoughts.

In addition, Anthony and Theodosius of Pechersk paid special attention not only to prayer and the life of the brethren, but also to help those in need. It is known that Saint Theodosius even arranged a special dwelling for beggars and people with special needs, which was covered by the tithe from the income of the monastery. He also took care of the prisoners, sending bread to them every Saturday.

Metropolitan Vladimir (Sabodan) in the caves

But the problems of the brotherhood and the needs of other people did not distract him from prayer. As a student of Anthony, Theodosius was an ascetic, went to the gate on the whole of Great Lent. In the cave, he took only a little bread. Pital was his prayer. So that nothing distracts from communication with God, he asked the brethren to cover the entrance to the cave. Means for poor communication with the monks served as a small window. Only on Saturday and Sunday could the monks approach him and address the hegumen with important questions.

The monk died after a short illness at the age of just over 65 years.

The relics of the monks

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Anthony and Theodosius of the Caves are respected throughout the Orthodox world, but they are especially honored in Ukraine, Russia and Belarus. Thanks to these saints, genuine monastic traditions were spread in Russia, the first libraries and schools also arose, books were rewritten and chronicles were developed.

Thanks to them, the Kiev-Pechersk Monastery arose, which gave the Christian world the most famous bishops and intercessors before God. Today, more than 120 saints are buried in the monastery, most of which belong to the Pechersk monks.

The remains of Anthony and Theodosius of Pechersk also rest in this holy place, but they areunder a bushel- that is, hidden from the human eye and are in the deafly sealed coffins. Every day many people come to the caves to pray to the Monk Pechersk and especially to Anthony and Theodosius.

What tells the "Tale of Bygone Years" about the founders of the Pechersk monastery, you will learn from this video:


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  • The famous Anthony and Theodosius of the Caves

    The famous Anthony and Theodosius of the Caves

    The famous Anthony and Theodosius of the Caves

    The famous Anthony and Theodosius of the Caves

    The famous Anthony and Theodosius of the Caves

    The famous Anthony and Theodosius of the Caves

    The famous Anthony and Theodosius of the Caves

    The famous Anthony and Theodosius of the Caves

    The famous Anthony and Theodosius of the Caves

    The famous Anthony and Theodosius of the Caves

    The famous Anthony and Theodosius of the Caves

    The famous Anthony and Theodosius of the Caves

    The famous Anthony and Theodosius of the Caves

    The famous Anthony and Theodosius of the Caves

    The famous Anthony and Theodosius of the Caves

    The famous Anthony and Theodosius of the Caves

    The famous Anthony and Theodosius of the Caves

    The famous Anthony and Theodosius of the Caves

    The famous Anthony and Theodosius of the Caves

    The famous Anthony and Theodosius of the Caves

    The famous Anthony and Theodosius of the Caves