December 22, 2022

Church of the Holy Martyr Anastasia in Novgorod, Built in One Day To Protect the People From the Deadly Plague of 1417

A.D. 1417. A.M. 6925. The same summer and winter there was a fearful plague among the people in Novgorod, and in Ladoga, in Russa, Porkhov, Pskov, Tver, Dmitrov, and in Torzhok, and throughout their districts and villages. And how can I relate the fearful and terrible misery that there was during the whole plague? What grief the living had for the dead, for the deaths increased so in towns and villages that the living had barely time to make the dead tidy for burial; so many died every day, that they had not time to bury them; and many houses were closed unoccupied. First of all it would hit one as if with a lance, choking, and then a swelling would appear, or spitting of blood with shivering, and fire would burn one in all the joints of the body; and then the illness would overwhelm one; and many after lying in that illness died. But to many Christians God was merciful: they left this life entering the angelic order after receiving holy unction from the Vladyka. And two Posadniks died in the same order: Ivan Olexandrovich and Boris Vasilievich.

And Vladyka Simeon with all the seven congregations, with the Christians and with crosses went round the whole of Great Novgorod, praying God and His Immaculate Mother to withhold the wrath of God; and the Christians on horseback and afoot drew logs from the forest and built a church to St. Anastasia which was consecrated the same day by the Vladyka Simeon who performed a holy liturgy; with the remainder of the logs, they erected a church to St. Ilya in Prussian Street. And the people of Novi-torg put up a church to St. Afanasi likewise in a single day, and performed a liturgy.

A.D. 1418. A.M. 6926. There was a sign in the Church of the Holy Martyr Anastasia: blood seemed to come from both sides of the robe of the image of the Holy Mother of God, on April 19.

From The Chronicle of Novgorod, 1016-1471.