December 18, 2019

Saint Sebastian of Sokhota, Abbot of Poshekhonye Monastery (+ 1492)

St. Sebastian of Sokhota (Feast Day - December 18)

There is practically no information about his childhood and life, as biographical information about him is very scarce and fragmentary. It is only known that Sebastian lived in the 15th century, and according to popular legend, even as a young man he felt a disposition for ascetic life and entered one of the many monasteries then, where he served various obediences, was tonsured a monk, and was ordained a hierodeacon and hieromonk.

Not content with “monastic feats” within the walls of the monastery, Father Sebastian retired to the dense Poshekhonye forests along the Sokhota River and built a chapel there in the name of the Transfiguration of the Lord. Soon the monk’s solitude was discovered, other monks began to come to him and settled, and a monastery was formed under his guidance. The monks of the monastery themselves cultivated the soil and ate through the work of their own hands. The founder of the monastery taught the ascetics this by his own example and guidance.

Living in a shabby and cramped cell, Sebastian spent all his time in prayer, fasting and labors: he carried water, chopped wood, cultivated the ground, baked bread and weaved ropes, among other things. Venerable Sebastian lived here until his death in 1492. The relics of the Saint were laid to rest in a hiding place in the monastery founded by him, which was abolished in 1764. In the mid-nineteenth century a stone church was built over the relics of Saint Sebastian, and in 1885 the Poshekhonye Saint Sebastian Convent was established.