January 18, 2019

Saint Athanasius of Navolotsk the Wonderworker

St. Athanasius of Navolotsk (Feast Day - January 18)

Nothing is known of the birth and upbringing of Venerable Athanasius of Navolotsk. At the end of the sixteenth century he left from the Kargopol region to the Olonets land, where he founded a monastery 78 versts from what later became the city of Petrozavodsk. The Saint soon after this fell ill and died at a Verkholedsk suburb not far from Shenkursk.

After forty days, the Saint appeared at the same time to four people who were sick and who lived in different places. After healing them he ordered them to bury his body in the ground in the place where it lay. Those who were healed not only buried the holy relic, which they found to be incorrupt and emitting a beautiful fragrance, but also set up a chapel over it, which marked the beginning of the veneration of the Saint. People came from afar and those who approached him with faith received healing.

In 1647 many priests and peasants gathered at the grave of the Saint to uncover the relics, having witnessed many miracles performed there. However, as they began the excavation, everyone became sick, and after praying they abandoned their intention. Another attempt was made in 1725 by order of the Holy Synod, and the relics were discovered to be still incorrupt and emitting a beautiful fragrance, despite being buried in the ground and not in a tomb. The relics were then placed in clean sheets and in a coffin to be venerated by the faithful. After this he was again buried in the chapel with a shrine erected over it.