October 4, 2018

Uncovering of the Relics of Saints Gurias the Archbishop of Kazan and Barsanuphius the Bishop of Tver

Uncovering of the Relics of Sts. Gurias and Barsanuphius (Feast Day - October 4)

The uncovering of the relics of Saint Gurias, first Archbishop of Kazan, and Saint Barsanuphius, Bishop of Tver, occurred at Kazan in the year 1595. During the construction of a new stone church in honor of the Transfiguration of the Lord at the Savior-Transfiguration Monastery, which had been founded by Saint Barsanuphius, graves with the bodies of the holy hierarchs in the altar-wall were uncovered beneath the former wooden church. The unusual aspect of incorrupt graves filled Saint Hermogenes (Feb. 17) with a pious desire to open the graves before a large crowd of the people.

Saint Hermogenes described this event, “We beheld a marvel we had not hoped for. The coffin of the saint was full of fragrant myrrh, like pure water, and the relics of Saint Gurias were above the myrrh, like a sponge. God gave his venerable and hard-working body incorruption, as is now seen by all. Decay touched only very little of the upper lip, his other limbs were whole, and nothing has disappeared. We touched his burial robe and it held up very firm. Then we opened up the coffin of Saint Barsanuphius and we looked upon the relics of Saint Barsanuphius which were blessed by God with little corruption. Decay had touched the feet of the monk, however the bones were not destroyed, and held up quite well. There was no other sign of corruption in the condition of the rest of his relics, the same was for the relics of Saint Gurias. The burial robe of both saints was strong and like new.”

Many sick were healed, having been anointed with the holy myrrh flowing from the relics of Saint Gurias.

There is a description of the Saints in the Iconographer’s Manual under October 4: “In appearance Gurias is grey and bearded, like Basil of Caesarea, with a mitre, omophorion, holding a Gospel in his hands, and dressed in the robes of a hierarch. Barsanuphius is grey and bearded like Gurias, but his is parted at the end. He wears a mitre, the robes of a hierarch, an omophorion and carries the Gospel.”

The Life Saint Gurias is found on December 5; and the Life of Saint Barsanuphius on April 11.

In the correspondence from a report of the Archbishop of Cheboksarsk and Chuvash Benjamin (Novitsky), + 14 October 1976, His Holiness Pimen, Patriarch of Moscow gave a blessing to commemorate the Synaxis of all the Kazan Hierarchs on the first Sunday after October 4th.