March 14, 2019

Saint Theognostos the Greek, Metropolitan of Kiev and All Russia (+ 1353)

St. Theognostos the Greek (Feast Day - March 14)

Saint Theognostos was born in Constantinople, which is why he was called "the Greek". He succeeded Saint Peter as Metropolitan of Kiev and All Russia, with the blessing of Patriarch Isaiah of Constantinople, holding this office from 1327 until 1353. He settled in Moscow instead of Kiev.

It was his lot to reconcile Novgorod with the prince of Moscow in times of their mutual animosity. Theognostos managed to save all of the church's valuables and gave up all his personal property after he had refused to collect tribute from the churches to give to the Mongols. He was tortured by the Tatars for his audacity but never gave in. It was the khan who finally gave up and confirmed the existing privileges of the Church. After a fire swept through Moscow, Theognostos started to restore the churches despite the fact that he had had nothing left in his possession.

It was through his influence that the Grand Prince Simeon sent money to the Roman Emperor John Cantacuzene for repairs to the Great Church of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople.

At the end of his life, when there was a need to indicate a successor, Metropolitan Theognostos insisted that this post can be occupied only by one who passed a long time as a monastic. In 1353, feeling that his days were numbered, having suffered from the plague, Theognostos appointed Alexis, who was Bishop of Vladimir, his successor. He reposed on March 11th.

Theognostos was buried in the Cathedral of the Dormition in Moscow. In 1471, his relics were found incorruptible. He was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church in the 19th century.