January 15, 2015

Saint Prohor of Pcinja Monastery

St. Prohor of Pcinja (Feast Day - October 19 (Serbian) and January 15)

The venerable Prohor (or Prochorus) of Pcinja (Pshina) lived in the eleventh century. He lived a life of asceticism in the wilderness of Vranje on the Pcinja River in Serbia.

The Saint lived as a recluse in a cave for 32 years, never seeing a human being in this time, eating cabbage and grass roots once a week. He suffered much from evil spirits, but overcame them by the grace of God.

One day, as the Saint was praying outside his cave, a deer came to him to hide from being hunted by Romanos Diogenes (1068–1071). When Romanos followed the deer to the cave, the Saint met him outside, and urged him to not kill the deer. Romanos fled frightened to see the deer at the feet of Prohor taking refuge. Prohor called Romanos by name and blessed him, foretelling that he would be emperor in Constantinople. In return Prohor asked Romanos to not forget him. Soon after Prohor fled deeper into the wilderness.

Romanos eventually became emperor and the Saint reposed in peace in his cave in the deep wilderness. As his body remained incorrupt in his cave, he appeared to the now Emperor Romanos to remind him to not forget him. As the prophecy given to Romanos came true, the thankful Emperor came back to express his gratitude to the ascetic but then found out that the old man could not be found. Contemplating returning to Constantinople, the Saint appeared to him in a dream and indicated the location of his body deep in the wilderness. Hence in the 11th century in the area of Saint Prohor's Cave the Emperor placed the relic of the Saint in a golden casket, and intending to move it to a more convenient place it would not move. The Saint once again appeared to the Emperor and told him to allow his relic to remain there. The Emperor built the Monastery dedicated to the Saint on that spot. This Monastery is the second largest Serbian Orthodox Monastery complex after Hilandari in Mount Athos. The relics of Saint Prohor are located in his Monastery and since his death it has been the source of many miracles.

According to the Serbian Chronicles, the pious King Miliutin (1276-1320) built a church in honor of Saint Prochorus.

Pcinja Monastery

The Cave of St. Prohor