Friday, April 3, 2020

Saint Nektarios of Bezhetsk (+ 1492)

St. Nektarios of Bezhetsk (Feast Day - April 3)

Venerable Nektarios of Bezhetsk was a monastic of the Trinity-Sergiev Monastery. In the mid-fifteenth century he settled in a dense forest in the upper part of the Bezhetsk region, where he built himself a cell. With the strictest asceticism and ardent love of prayer, he attracted the favor of God and acquired the gift of discernment, which brought those who came to him spiritual benefit. The deeds and the spiritual wisdom of the monk attracted many to him also that wanted to live under his guidance.


In a short while the monks built a church in honor of the Entrance into the Temple of the Most Holy Mother of God, and they enclosed it about with a fence. A church dedicated to Saint Sergius of Radonezh was also built. The new monastery was one of the poorest, and which in the expression of the chronicler, was built "with tears, fasting and vigils". By common accord of all the brethren of the monastery, its founder the Venerable Nektarios was chosen as abbot. Venerable Nektarios reposed in the Lord on 3 April 1492.


During the reforms of Empress Catherine II, directed against monasticism, the Bezhetsk Monastery was among the 600 closed and the parish church was rebuilt in 1764.

The holy relics of Nektarios of Bezhetsk rest under the floor of the main altar of the Entrance Church between the Altar and the Throne. There is a legend that in ancient times a tomb with the relics of the Saint was openly placed in the church; but during the Lithuanian raid, the tomb was lowered by the monks under the floor of the church and thereby saved them.


In the Tver Paterikon there is an image of the Saint explained by the painter who painted it based on a vision he had in a dream. “I walked,” says the painter Yakovlev, “into the Church of the Entrance of the Most Holy Mother of God and at the entrance to the nave I saw Saint Nektarios praying on his knees before the icon of the Mother of God "Fadeless Color." Before him was opened a book lying on the table. I felt fear and soon woke up. This moment was reproduced by me in the picture."


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