October 29, 2019

Saint Abramius of Rostov (+ 1077)

St. Abramius of Rostov (Feast Day - October 29)

Venerable Abramius, in the world Averky, was born in Chuhloma, which is in Kostroma region and near the railway node Galich, in the tenth century. He was very ill as a child and suffering from an unknown disease. When he was eighteen he overheard some merchants from Novgorod talking about Christ, whom he had never heard of before. Being a pagan he prayed to the Christian God for his healing and recovered from his illness. Thus he decided to be baptized and to become a monk in Valaam, where he was tonsured with the new name Abramius (Abraham). Having assumed the monastic schema, Abramius settled at Rostov on the shore of Lake Nero. In the Rostov lands there were many pagans, and the Saint worked intensely at spreading the true faith.

Not far from the cell of the Saint was a pagan temple, where the local pagan Finno-Ugric tribes worshipped a stone idol of Veles (Volos), which caused fright among the inhabitants of Rostov. In a miraculous vision the Apostle John the Theologian stood before Abramius, and gave him a staff with a cross on top, with which the venerable one destroyed the idol. At the place of the pagan temple, Saint Abramius founded a monastery in honor of the Theophany and became its head.

In memory of the miraculous appearance, the holy monk built a church named for Saint John the Theologian. Many of the pagans were persuaded and baptized by Saint Abramius. Particularly great was his influence with the children to whom he taught the ability to read and write, instructing them in the law of God, and tonsuring monastics from among them.

Everyone who came to the monastery was accepted with love. The Saint’s life was a constant work of prayer and toil for the benefit of the brethren: he chopped firewood for the oven, he laundered the monks’ clothing and carried water for the kitchen. Saint Abramius reposed in old age around 1077 and was buried in the Church of the Theophany.

His holy relics were uncovered in the time of Great Prince Vsevolod (1176-1212). In the year 1551, Tsar Ivan the Terrible, before his campaign against Kazan, made the rounds of holy places. At the Theophany-Abramiev Monastery the monks showed him the staff with which Saint Abramius had destroyed the idol of Veles. The Tsar took the staff with him on the campaign, but the cross remained at the monastery. And returning again after the subjugation of the Khan, Ivan the Terrible gave orders to build a new stone church at the Abramiev Monastery in honor of the Theophany, with four chapels, and he also supplied it with books and icons.

Apolytikion in the First Tone
You abandoned all earthly comforts, O Father Abramius, living righteously in hope of things to come and receiving a sacred anointing. Initiated into divine mysteries, you enlighten those who cry: Glory to him who has strengthened you! Glory to him who has granted you a crown! Glory to him who through you works healing for all!

Kontakion in the Third Tone
You lived on earth as an angel in the flesh, and flourished as a well-planted tree, watered by abstinence and tears, O Abramius, vessel of the Holy Spirit.