July 26, 2018

Saint Moses the Hungarian of the Kiev Caves (+ 1043)

St. Moses the Hungarian (Feast Day - July 26)

Although the Hungarians were mostly pagan when Saint Moses was born, and later they became Orthodox Christian, the Hungarian chieftain of Transylvania, the Gyula, was baptized in Constantinople in 952, and it is because of this that the Hungarian-born Moses was raised an Orthodox Christian and was able to travel to Kiev.

Venerable Moses the Hungarian of the Kiev Caves was a brother of Saint Ephraim of Novy Torg (Jan. 28), and of Saint George. Together with them he entered into the service of the holy Prince Boris (July 24) of Kiev. After the murder of Saint Boris in 1015 at the River Alta (Saint George also perished with him), Saint Moses fled and hid himself at Kiev with Predislava, daughter of Vladimir I of Kiev and sister of the future Prince Yaroslav I the Wise. In 1018, when the Polish king Boleslav seized Kiev, Moses and his companions wound up in Poland as captives.

Tall and handsome, Moses attracted the attention of a certain rich Polish widow, who burned with a passionate desire for him and wanted to ransom him from captivity and make him her husband. Moses resolutely refused to exchange captivity for slavery to a wife. Despite his refusal, the Polish woman bought the captive.

She did everything in her power to seduce the youth, but he preferred hunger pains to banquets of food. Then the Polish woman began to convey Moses through her lands, thinking to captivate him by power and riches. Moses told her that he would not trade spiritual riches for the perishable things of this world, and that he wished to become a monk.

Passing through the area, an Athonite hieromonk tonsured Moses a monk. The Polish woman gave orders to stretch Moses on the ground and to beat him with iron rods, so that the ground became soaked with his blood. She sought permission of Boleslav to do with the captive all that she pleased. The shameless woman once gave orders to put Moses in a bed with her. She kissed and embraced him, but she accomplished nothing by this.

Moses said, “From the fear of God I loathe you as impure.” Hearing this, the Polish woman gave orders to give the Saint each day a hundred lashes, and then to emasculate him by having his private parts severed. For five years Moses suffered torture at her hands. Boleslav soon began a persecution against all the monks in the land, but sudden death overtook him. A revolt arose in Poland, in which the widow also was killed.

Having recovered from his wounds, Moses arrived at the Kiev Caves Monastery, bearing on himself a martyr’s wounds and a crown of a confessor as courageous warrior of Christ. The Lord provided him strength in his sufferings. A certain monastic brother, oppressed by impure passion, went to Moses and sought his help, saying, “I promise to keep until death everything you tell me to do.” Moses said: “As long as you live, do not speak a word to any woman.” The brother promised to obey the advice of the monk. Saint Moses had in his hand a staff, without which he was not able to walk because of the wounds which he had received. With this staff Moses struck the chest of the brother who had approached him, and immediately he was delivered from temptation.

Saint Moses pursued asceticism at Kiev for ten years; he died in about the year 1043 and was buried in the Near Caves. After venerating the Saint’s holy relics and fervent prayer to him, monks are relieved of the temptations of the flesh, Saint John the Much-Suffering among them.


By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

Purity before God, Moses vowed,

Free in the spirit, in spite of being shackled,

Replied to the rich and loathsome woman,

Shackled by passion, slave to debauchery:

What man until now, listening to a woman

Saved his soul conquered by passions?

Because of a woman, Adam had been expelled from Paradise

Because of Delilah, Samson was destroyed without splendor,

Solomon the all-wise, by a woman was seduced,

To idolatrous stupidity was lowered

Herod's head, by a woman was charmed,

The honorable head of the Forerunner John, beheaded.

God's servant I am O woman, leave me alone,

And for yourself, seek a companion throughout the world.

To your will, I will not submit,

With you in a bond, I see no happiness.

To be pure in body, this is a necessity O woman,

Before the Lord, that is my holy obligation.

Neither flattery, nor gold, nor your authority all

Neither mind nor body will lead me astray.

The Lord is Almighty, help me, He will

That my vows I will be able to honorably keep:

God is the God of purity, pure He created us

He wants us to be pure and, as pure, He saves us,

To a Christian O woman, purity is glory.

A Reflection on the Life of Saint Moses of Ugrin

By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

Not one passion is conquered without a great struggle. The Holy Fathers have referred to adulterous passion as death. When the adulterer is saved from an adulterous passion it is as though he resurrected from the dead. For those who live in the world the passion of adultery is inflamed principally by seeing and for those who live a life of asceticism in the wilderness that passion is inflamed by thoughts and by imagination. Saint Sarah, a great female ascetic, was tortured by the insane passion of adultery for thirty years. She always defeated it by prayer and drove it away from her. At one time, the foul insanity of adultery came to her in bodily form and said to her: "Sarah, you have defeated me!" Sarah humbly answered: "I have not defeated you but the Lord Christ has defeated you." From that time on, the thought of adultery left her forever. When Saint Pimen was asked how can a man struggle against the adulterous insanity, he replied: "If man surpresses his stomach and tongue then he will be able to rule over himself." St. Anthony said that there exists three kinds of movements in the body: "First, the natural movement, second, unrestrained in food, and third, from the demons." Again, others have said that the vice of adultery is strengthened by anger and pride. However, all agree that along with man's sobriety and effort the help of God is necessary in order that this repulsive passion be uprooted completely. And that it is possible for man to preserve himself in purity, witness, among many others, St. Moses of Urgin, who lived fifty years in the world and ten years in the monastery, altogether a total of sixty years in completely virginal purity.