September 28, 2020

Synaxis of the Saints of the Kiev Caves, Whose Relics Repose in the Near Caves of Venerable Anthony

The Synaxis of Venerable Fathers who are venerated in the Near Caves of Saint Anthony, is now celebrated on September 28. This general commemoration was originally on the first Saturday after the Leave-taking of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross (i.e. after September 21).
The general commemoration of the Venerable Fathers of the Near Caves of Saint Anthony on the Saturday after the Leave-taking of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Honorable Cross dates to the year 1670. During the restoration of the Caves, which had been damaged by an earthquake, some of the relics of the ancient ascetics were uncovered and a church was built in honor of the Exaltation of the Venerable Cross.
In 1760 a stone church in honor of the Exaltation of the Honorable Cross was built over the Caves. In 1886, under Metropolitan Platon of Kiev, the Synaxis of the Fathers of the Near Caves was moved to September 28 because of the celebration of the Synaxis of the Saints of the Far Caves on August 28.
There are two Canons to the Venerable Fathers of the Near Caves. The first was compiled by the hieromonk Meletius the Orphan (inscribed in the Kiev Akathistnik of 1764). The second, found in the services in honor of the Fathers of the Kiev Caves, was compiled by Saint Demetrius of Rostov.
Among the Monastic Fathers of the Near Caves are:       

Venerable Abramius the Lover of Labor (August 21)

Venerable Abramius the Recluse (October 29)

Venerable Agapitus, Unmercenary Physician (June 1)

Venerable Alexis the Recluse (April 24)

Venerable Alypius the Iconographer (August 17)

Venerable Martyr Anastasius the Deacon (January 22)

Venerable Anatolius the Recluse (July 3)

Venerable Arethas the Recluse (October 24)

Venerable Athanasius the Recluse (December 2)

Venerable Barlaam (November 19)

Venerable Martyrs Basil and Theodore (August 11)

Venerable Chariton of Senyazemsk (no information)

Hieromonk Damian the Healer (October 5)

Venerable Elias of Murom (December 19)

Bishop Ephraim of Pereyaslavl (January 28)

Venerable Erasmus the Black-Robed (February 24)

Martyr Eustratius (March 28)

Venerable Gregory the Iconographer (August 8)

Venerable Martyr Gregory the Wonderworker (January 8)

Venerable Helladius the Recluse (October 4)

Venerable Isaac the Recluse (February 14)

Venerable Isaiah the Wonderworker (May 15)

Venerable Jeremiah the Clairvoyant (October 5)

Venerable John the Faster (December 7)

Venerable John the God-pleasing (December 29)

Venerable Martyr John the Infant (December 29) (commemorated with the 14,000 Infants killed at Bethlehem by Herod)

Venerable John the Long-Suffering (July 18)

Venerable Juliana, Princess of Olshansk (July 6)

Hieromartyr Kuksha, Enlightener of the Vyati (August 27)

Bishop Laurence the Recluse of Turov (January 29)

          Hieromartyr Lucian the Presbyter (October 15)

Venerable Luke the Steward (November 6)

Venerable Macarius (January 19)

Venerable Mark the Grave-digger (December 29)

Venerable Matthew the Clairvoyant (October 5)

Venerable Menignus the Steward of the Caves (no information)

Bishop Mercurius of Smolensk (August 7)

Venerable Martyr Moses the Hungarian (July 26)

Venerable Nectarius the Obedient (November 29)

Venerable Nestor the Chronicler (October 27)

Venerable Nicholas Svyatosha, Prince of Chernigov (October 14)

Venerable Nikodemos the Prosphora-baker (October 31)

Venerable Nikon (March 23)

Venerable Nikon the Shriveled (December 11)

Bishop Niphon of Novgorod (April 8)

Venerable Onesimus the Recluse (October 4 and July 21)

Venerable Onesiphorus the Confessor (November 9)

Venerable Onuphrius the Silent (July 21)

Venerable Pimen the Faster (August 27)

Venerable Pimen the Much-Ailing (August 7)

Venerable Polycarp (July 24)

Venerable Prochorus the Orach-eater (February 10)

Venerable Sava the God-pleasing (April 24)

Venerable Sergius the Obedient (October 7)

Venerable Simon, Bishop of Suzdal (May 10)

Venerable Sisoes the Recluse (October 24)

Venerable Spyridon the Prosphora-baker (October 31)

Venerable Sylvester the Wonderworker (January 2)

Venerable Theophanes the Faster (October 11)

Venerable Theophilus the Mourner (December 29)

Venerable Theophilus the Recluse (October 24)

Hieromonk Titus (February 27)

Twelve Master Architects of Constantinople who painted the monastery church of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos (February 14)

Besides these Saints, there are thirty other Saints among the monks of the Kiev Caves, whose myrrh-gushing heads were preserved. In the Service to the Venerable Fathers of the Near Caves on September 28 Saint Ephraim the Priest is mentioned (Ode 9). The hieromonk Athanasius Kalpophyisky wrote in 1638, that his incorrupt body, clothed in priestly vestments, lay opposite the relics of Saint Elias of Murom. Hieromonk Athanasius also mentions Saint Eustathius, (Ode 8), who was a goldsmith before he came to the monastery.
In the Canon of Meletius the Orphan, Saint Dionysius, Archbishop of Suzdal (June 26 and also October 15) is also mentioned. The holy hierarch was detained by the Lithuanian prince at Kiev after his consecration as Metropolitan of Moscow by the Patriarch of Constantinople. He died on October 15, 1384 and was buried in the Antoniev Cave.
Besides the monks mentioned in the Services, the hieromonk Athanasius Kalpophyisky in his Manuscript of 1638 indicated even more Saints, whose uncovered relics they venerated: Saint Hieronymos, Recluse and Wonderworker; Saint Meladius, holy Elder and Wonderworker; Saint Pergius, holy Elder; Saint Paul, a monk of remarkable obedience.
The names of the priests Saint Meletius, Saint Serapion, Saint Philaretos, Saint Peter are preserved in the old manuscript Calendars.
On May 24,1853, in one of the branches of the Near Caves, an inscription was discovered on an eleventh century crypt: “Lord, preserve Thy servants Theodosius and Theophilus. Many Years.” “The Grave of the Cave-Dweller John. Here John the sinner lived and is now.” On an oak board: “John the Cave-Dweller.” Thus the names of the new Kiev Caves Fathers: Theophilus, Theodosius and John were revealed. 

There is also a general commemoration of the Monks of the Near Caves together with the Monks of the Far Caves on the second Sunday of Great Lent, when the Synaxis of all the Venerable Fathers of Kiev Caves is celebrated. The Canon of the Hieromonk Meletius the Orphan enters into the Service of that feastday (the Service to the Kiev Caves Monastic Fathers, and to all the Saints who shone forth in Little Russia, inscribed from Akathists with a Canon). The service was printed by the Kiev Caves Dormition Lavra in 1866.
Without doubt, not all the names of the Fathers of the Kiev Caves are known. In the Synaxis, all the Fathers illumined by ascetic deeds in the Caves are glorified. In the Oikos of the Service of September 28 we sing: “Who can praise Your Saints, O Good One? I try to count their number, but they are multiplied more than the sands of the sea. O Master Christ, Who have numbered the stars and named them all, grant their petitions for us...”