October 22, 2020

Saints Theodore and Paul of Rostov

Sts. Theodore and Paul of Rostov (Feast Day - October 22)

Our Venerable Fathers Theodore and Paul founded a monastery at the River Ust, not far from Rostov, in honor of the Holy Passion-Bearers Boris and Gleb. Saint Theodore first came to the site of the future monastery from the Novgorod region. Having set up a hut of tree branches in the forest, he settled in that place alone. On the road on a tree he hung a basket made of bark, and passers-by, guessing that a hermit lived there, began to put bread, vegetables and other alms in it. The hermit secretly took out the alms and shared it with the beggars. Having found out about this, many from the villages began to come to the hermit for alms, and he shared everything that he found in the hung basket. Saint Paul came three years later for ascetic struggles, and settled with Saint Theodore.
Saint Sergius of Radonezh came to Rostov, his native region, to worship in the Cathedral of the Rostov Wonderworkers, in 1363. Learning of this, Saints Theodore and Paul went to the great ascetic for spiritual counsel. Saint Sergius visited their wilderness monastery and blessed them to build a church there named for the Holy Passion-Bearers Boris and Gleb. He also predicted a glorious future for the monastery that would be built there. Already during the construction of this first church, monks began gathering around the ascetics. The abbot, Saint Theodore, joyfully accepted all who came. Soon a second temple was built in honor of the Annunciation of the Theotokos. 

As the two hermits were clearing the ground of the place, Saints Boris and Gleb themselves appeared, like two soldiers resplendent in light, and said to them: "Toil in this place! God and the All-Holy Mother of God will not abandon you, and we will be there to assist those who come after you." And, indeed, the protection of the two Saints was evident, and they appeared on several occasions to help the monks in the work of the building.
Setting the Borisoglebsk Monastery in order, Saint Theodore entrusted its direction to Saint Paul. Then he himself took several disciples and withdrew into the Vologda forest. Here at White Lake, near to the confluence of the River Kouzha into it, he founded a monastery and lived an ascetic life for several years. He built a church dedicated to Saint Nicholas, set the monastery in order, and appointed an abbot for it.
After receiving a revelation about his impending death, he returned to the Boris and Gleb Monastery, where he died on October 22, 1409. Saint Paul directed the two monasteries for a certain time, then he also died at the Monastery of Saints Boris and Gleb.