July 17, 2020

Saint Timothy of Sviatogorsk the Fool for Christ (+ 1563)

St. Timothy the Fool for Christ (Feast Day - July 17)

In 1563, during the reign of Ivan the Terrible, in the suburbs of the Pskov region of Voronich, there lived a fifteen-year-old shepherd named Timothy, whom everyone considered a holy fool. Once he grazed his flock near the Lugovitsa River and suddenly in the air he saw the Eleousa Icon of the Mother of God, which was in the Voronich parish church of Saint George. This vision of Timothy was repeated a second time in another place, on Mount Sinica, and this time he also heard a voice foretelling that in six years the grace of God would shine on this mountain. Timothy did not tell anyone about his wonderful vision.

Remembering the voice he heard, Timothy six years after his vision, in 1659, again came to Mount Sinica and found here an Hodegetria Icon of the Mother of God, standing on the bough of a pine tree. He did not take down the icon that appeared to him from there and only arranged for himself near this place a small hut, digging up a cave, and spent forty days there in continuous fasting and prayer. After this time, he was honored to hear the voice emanating from the icon of the Mother of God, who commanded him to go to the suburbs of Voronich and announce there that the clergy and people on Friday, following the week of All Saints, would come to Mount Sinica for the icon. Timothy exactly fulfilled the command of the Mother of God. On the appointed day, the Voronich clergy with a religious procession and many people went to Mount Sinica. While on the way, when the procession reached the Lugovitsa River, where the shepherd Timothy had the first vision, the healing of the sick began to take place.

When everyone climbed the mountain, prayers began, during which a miraculous sign was revealed: when reading the Gospel, the mountain suddenly lit up with an unusually bright light, and the air was filled with an unspeakable fragrance. At this moment, all those present here saw the Eleousa icon standing on the bough of a pine tree. Some, full of religious enthusiasm, rushed to remove it from the tree, but the icon immediately rose by an invisible force into the air and descended only into the hands of Timothy, and he, at the urgent request of the people, proceeded to take it. After that, the procession returned. The newly appeared icon of the Hodegetria (Sviatogorsk Icon of the Mother of God) was placed with the icon of the Eleousa in the Saint George Church of Voronich.