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January 24, 2020

Saint Gerasim, Bishop of Great Perm (+ 1447)

St. Gerasim of Perm (Feast Days - January 24 and 29)

Saint Gerasim, Bishop of Great Perm (Ust-Vymsky), was the third bishop of the newly-enlightened Zyryani people, and he was a worthy successor to Saint Stephen, the Enlightener of Perm (Apr. 26), and Bishop Isaac his direct predecessor. He was elevated to the See of Perm sometime after 1416, and participated in many Church synods in Moscow: one in 1438 to condemn the Unia and Metropolitan Isidore, and one in 1441, which defined the selection of the Metropolitan of All Rus by a Synod of Russian pastors.

The Saint assiduously cared for his newly-established flock, which suffered raids from Novgorodians, particularly from the pagan Vogulians. He went to their camps urging them to cease the pillaging of villages of the defenseless Christians of Perm. He was murdered by a Vogul servant he raised since a child and intended to make a preacher during one of his journeys through Perm on January 24, 1447 (or 1441). According to tradition, he was strangled with his omophorion. He was buried in the cathedral church of the first bishops of Perm, which later became the Annunciation Church in the village of Ust’Vyma, northeast of the city of Yarenga, at the River Vychegda. At his relics many miraculous healings took place.

The celebration of his memory was established in 1607. On January 29 there is a general commemoration of the three Perm Hierarchs: Gerasim, Pitirim, and Jonah. In 1649, a church was erected in Vologda in their honor. A side chapel was consecrated in the Annunciation Church, consecrated on January 29, 1764 in the name of All Saints, and it turned out to be the common tomb of the three Saints.

In the summer of 1936, the Annunciation Church, along with the Chapel of All Saints, was blown up, and since then for half a century the holy place remained in desolation. In the summer of 1995 - the year of preparation for the celebration of the 600th anniversary of the death of Saint Stephen of Perm - in Ust-Vymsky, at the place where the Annunciation Cathedral stood, archaeological excavations were carried out and restored the chapel, which now belongs to the Mikhailo-Arkhangelsk Monastery in Ust-Vymsky.