January 29, 2019

Saint Laurence the Recluse of the Kiev Caves, Bishop of Turov (+ 1194)

St. Laurence of the Kiev Caves, Bishop of Turov (Feast Day - January 29)

Saint Laurence at first lived as a monk at the Kiev Caves Lavra, but desiring to retire into solitude, he was forbidden to do so by the holy fathers. For this reason Laurence went to the Monastery of the Great Martyr Demetrios, built by Great Prince Izyaslav at Kiev near the Kiev Caves Lavra, where he lived as a recluse. Because of his austere life, the Lord granted him the gift of healing.

In the Kiev Caves Patericon we read of an incident in which a demon possessed man was brought to the Saint from Kiev in order to be healed, but the Saint was unable to cast out the demon. The possessed man showed tremendous strength, hardly allowing even ten men to handle him, but Laurence was able to take hold of him and bind him all by himself. The possessed man lived there with Laurence for a long time, until the Saint finally decided to have him brought to the Kiev Caves Lavra for healing. Though the possessed man raged all along the journey, he had revealed the names of thirty monks of the one hundred and eighty who could heal him there with a mere word, despite the fact that he had never before been to the monastery. Before he arrived at the monastery he had a vision of the thirty monks from the monastery and the Theotokos who came to him and healed him.

Laurence soon after returned to the Kiev Caves Lavra, and then was elevated to the See of Turov in 1182 (Turov is a city in the Minsk region), and was a successor of Saint Cyril of Turov (Apr. 28). He died in 1194, and was buried in the Near Caves.