August 7, 2020

Saint Mercurius of the Kiev Caves, Bishop of Smolensk (+ 1239)

St. Mercurius of Smolensk (Feast Day - August 7)

Saint Mercurius of Kiev Caves Lavra pursued asceticism in the Near Caves in the thirteenth century. He was chosen to be the Bishop of Smolensk and experienced with his flock the horrors of Batu's invasion, during which he died. According to legend, the relics of the Saint miraculously sailed along the Dnieper to Kiev and were laid in the Near (Anthony) Caves. A holy mantle hangs over his tombstone.

The Danish ambassador Yust Juhl, who visited the Lavra in 1711, testified: “In the caves there are also the remains of one saint, a former Bishop of Smolensk. Dying, this bishop bequeathed that the coffin with his body be sent down the Dnieper and carried away by the river, wherever it happens to go. And his coffin was brought here, to the graves of these saints, located near the Dnieper, as a result of which the deceased was accepted and placed in the caves."