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July 20, 2018

Saint Abraham of Galich (+ 1375)

St. Abraham of Galich (Feast Day -July 20)

Saint Abraham (or Abramius) of Galich pursued asceticism at the Monastery of Saint Sergius of Radonezh during the fourteenth century, where he was a disciple of Saint Sergius. After many years as a novice, he was deemed worthy of the priesthood. Yearning after the perfection of silence, he asked for the blessing of Saint Sergius, and in the year 1350 settled in the Galich countryside, inhabited by foreign tribes of people.

Having settled in a remote place, Saint Abraham had a revelation to go up a mountain, where he found an icon of the Mother of God shining with an indescribable light. The appearance of the holy icon became known to Prince Demetrius of Galich, who entreated the monk to bring it to the city. Saint Abraham came with the icon to Galich, where he was met by the Prince and a throng of clergy. Numerous healings were worked through the icon of the Mother of God.

Prince Demetrius gave the monk the means to build a church and monastery near Chukhloma Lake, at the place of the appearance of the icon of the Mother of God. The church was built and dedicated in honor of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos. The newly built monastery of Saint Abraham became a source of spiritual enlightenment for the local foreign peoples. When the monastery was built up, he established in his place as head his disciple Porphyrius, and he himself withdrew 30 versts away in search of a solitary place, but there also disciples found him.

Still another monastery was established with a temple in honor of the Placing of the Robe of the Mother of God, called the Great Abraham Wilderness Monastery or Abrahamiev Novozaozersky. Saint Abraham twice withdrew to a quiet place, after which there gathered about him anew the disquieters. Thus two more monasteries were founded. One was named in honor of the Synaxis of the Most Holy Theotokos, of which Saint Abraham made Porphyrius the abbot. The other was dedicated to the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos, where Saint Abraham finished his earthly life. He died in 1375. A year before his death, he appointed his disciple Innocent to govern the monastery.

Saint Abraham was an enlightener of the Galich land, having founded four monasteries dedicated to the Mother of God, who granted him her icon at the beginning of his ascetical exploits. The stone Cathedral of the Intercession of the Theotokos was built over the relics of the Saint in 1608-1631. After this monastery was ruined, in 1857-1867 over the relics of the Saint the cathedral was built in honor of the Tenderness Icon of the Mother of God.