October 1, 2020

Saint Sava of Vishera (+ 1461)

St. Sava of Vishera (Feast Day - October 1)
Venerable Sava of Vishera was the son of the noble, John Borozda, of Kashin. From childhood, he was noted for his piety. He initially lived the ascetic life at the Tver Savvino Wilderness Monastery, where the brethren chose him to be the abbot.
Shunning honors, Saint Sava went to Mount Athos in 1411, where he worked on copying service books. Upon his return from Athos, he selected a solitary place seven versts from Novgorod on the banks of the River Vishera for his ascetic efforts.
Here, with the blessing of Archbishop Simon of Novgorod, the monk organized a small monastery in honor of the Ascension of the Lord in 1418. Saint Sava set up a pillar nearby the monastery and lived as a stylite. He spent the whole week on the pillar, going down only on Saturdays in order to be with the brethren at Sunday Divine Liturgy and receive the Divine Mysteries. 
The Saint died on October 1, 1461 at the age of 80, and was buried between the church he built and the pillar, with a chapel later erected over the grave. Subsequently, a fire destroyed these buildings, but according to legend, the Saint's coffin was not damaged and this marked the beginning of his veneration. He had appointed as his successor his disciple Andrew, who was known for his strict and ascetic life.
The local commemoration was established under Archbishop Jonah of Novgorod (+ 1470), in connection with the healing of the abbot of the Sava-Vishera Monastery. Archbishop Jonah ordered an icon of the monk be painted and a Canon composed. The general Church glorification of Saint Sava took place at the Moscow Council of 1549. The service to him was composed by Hieromonk Pachomius of Serbia.