July 21, 2014

The Miraculous Grave of St. Theoktistos Discovered in Novgorod

Archaeologists in the city of Novgorod, during excavations at Yuriev Monastery, discovered the grave of St. Theoktistos (otherwise known as Theoktist or Feoktist), who was Archbishop of Novgorod from 1299 to 1308 and is commemorated on December 23 (repose) and January 23 (translation of relics).

This took place when the archaeologists were digging beneath the floors of the cathedral church. Extensive repairs and restoration work are being carried out in the cathedral church for the first time since 1930. They are expected to be completed in 2015.

According to the museum, the question remains whether the grave of the Saint will be open for research. "Scientists have been prepared for the opening of the grave, but to open it, you must have the blessing of the Russian Orthodox Church. Whilst such a blessing researchers have not taken yet", said a representative.

Archbishop Theoktistos was glorified a Saint in 1664 owing to many miraculous healings worked by his relics. In 1786 the relics of the Saint were transferred to Yuriev Monastery, where Archimandrite Photius constructed at the local cathedral a chapel in his honor.

However, for two centuries the place of burial of the Saint remained unknown and disputed. According to the Wikipedia page for Yuriev Monastery, "Archbishop Feoktist was, according to some sources, buried at the Yuriev Monastery (explaining the large fresco of him and a smaller icon in the Church of the Exaltation of the Cross), but other sources give another monastery, the Monastery of the Annunciation, as his place of burial."

"The monastery was ravaged during the Soviet rule. Five of its six churches were destroyed by 1928; the monastery was closed in 1929. During the World War II, the buildings were occupied by the German and Spanish armed forces, and were seriously damaged. In 1991 the monastery was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church, and parts of it have been renovated since then. However the western part, including a church there, are still in ruins."

Sources record that at the tomb of St. Theoktistos the blind, paralyzed and those who issued blood were healed, among others.