July 22, 2019

Saint Cornelius of Pereyaslavl (+ 1693)

St. Cornelius of Pereyaslavl (Feast Day - July 22)

Venerable Cornelius of Pereyaslavl, in the world Conon, was the son of a wealthy Ryazan merchant family, whose parents were named Gordiy and Theodora. In his youth he left his parental home and lived for five years as a novice of the Elder Paul in the Lukianov wilderness near Pereyaslavl. Afterwards the young ascetic transferred to the Pereyaslavl Monastery of Saints Boris and Gleb on the Sands [Peskakh]. However, because he was a beardless youth, and he refused to speak, the abbot Sergius would not take him in.

Despite the refusals, the lad did not depart from the monastery. Instead, he lived outside the monastery walls and spent the night at the gates, never ceasing to beg to be taken into the monastery. Finally, seeing the patience of Conon, Sergius accepted him as a novice, declaring him deaf and dumb.

The novice Conon did not sit down to eat in the trapeza with the brethren, considering himself unworthy, but contented himself with whatever remained, accepting food only three times a week. After five years, he received monastic tonsure with the name Cornelius by the Abbot Barlaam. From that time no one saw the monk sleeping on a bed. Several of the brethren scoffed at Saint Cornelius as foolish, but he quietly endured the insults and intensified his efforts. Having asked permission of the abbot to live as a hermit, he secluded himself into his own separately constructed cell in the gate and constantly practiced very strict asceticism with fasting and prayer.

Once the brethren found him barely alive, and the cell was locked from within. Three months Cornelius lay ill, and he could take only water and juice. The monk, having recovered and being persuaded by the abbot, stayed to live with the brethren. Saint Cornelius was the sacristan in church, he served in the trapeza, and also toiled in the garden. As if to bless the Saint’s labors, excellent apples grew in the monastery garden, which he lovingly distributed to visitors.

According to the testimony of the brethren, he predicted the future for many people and let them know with signs about their demise. Keeping silent, when he predicted the future, he shook his hand like a writing stick.

The body of Saint Cornelius was withered up from strict fasting, but he did not cease to toil. With his own hands, despite the exhaustion, he built a well for the brethren. For thirty years Saint Cornelius lived in complete silence, being considered by the brethren as deaf and dumb. Before his death on July 22, 1693, Saint Cornelius made his confession to Abbot Barlaam, received the Holy Mysteries and took the Great Angelic Schema.

He was buried in the chapel. Nine years later, during the construction of a new church, his relics were found incorrupt. In the year 1705, Saint Dimitri, Metropolitan of Rostov (Oct. 28), saw the relics of Saint Cornelius, and they were in the new church in a secluded place. The holy bishop composed an Apolytikion and Kontakion to the Saint.