November 9, 2018

Venerable Fathers Euthymios and Neophytos, Founders of Docheiariou Monastery

Sts. Euthymios and Neophytos of Docheiariou (Feast Day - November 9)


Euthymios together with Neophytos,
I honor having built the Monastery of the Archangels.

Our Venerable and God-bearing Fathers Euthymios and Neophytos, founders of the Docheiariou Monastery on Mount Athos, were uncle and nephew, and belonged to the highest Roman aristocracy. Euthymios was from Constantinople, and while still in the world, was the friend of Saint Athanasios the Athonite (July 5), and he later became a novice and disciple of the great ascetic. For his sincere love of the brethren, gentleness and his particular zeal in the ascetic life, Saint Athanasios granted the monk the duty of cellarer of the storehouse, which Euthymios fulfilled as though entrusted to him by God Himself.

Saint Euthymios settled with several of the monks in the locale of Daphne, where he founded a monastery dedicated to Saint Nicholas, which he called Docheiariou in memory of his obedience (docheiares = cellarer). Guiding his own younger brethren, Saint Euthymios taught the necessity of attention towards self, to all the stirrings of the soul, explaining that the struggle of Christians, according to the Apostle Paul, is not “against flesh and blood, but against principalities, and against powers, and against the rulers of the darkness of this world” (Eph. 6:12).

The peaceful ascetic life of the monks was disturbed by the Saracens. The monk led all the brethren into the forest to escape the raid and death. Returning, they found the monastery razed to its very foundations. Saint Euthymios did not lose heart, and the monastery was rebuilt in a less perilous location, northwest of Daphne. Having bought and cleared the land, the monks built the monastery and again dedicated the church to Saint Nicholas.

Saint Neophytos, in the world named Nicholas, was a patrician and secretary of the emperor Nikephoros Phokas (963-969). Upon the death of his parents he came to Mount Athos, where he distributed his wealth and was tonsured with the name Neophytos in the monastery of his uncle Saint Euthymios. Before his death, Saint Euthymios handed over the administration of the monastery to his nephew, and he retired to live the remainder of his live in solitude and quiet, where he reposed at over a hundred years old in peace.

Under the spiritual guidance and financial expense of Saint Neophytos, the small monastery grew into a large one. Asking the emperor Nikephoros to become a benefactor of the monastery, Neophytos enlarged the monastery to its present size. Saint Neophytos was deigned to be chosen “Protos” (first or head of the governing Council of Elders of the Holy Mountain) and for many years he labored there. After taking leave of the Council in his declining years, he returned to the Docheiariou Monastery, where peacefully he fell asleep in the Lord. Due to visions and miracles of the Archangels Michael and Gabriel at Docheiariou, the monastery dedication was changed from that of Saint Nicholas to that of the Holy Archangels.