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Father Theodosius, Abbot of Kiev Caves Lavra

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May 3

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Our righteous Father Theodosius was born in 1009, not far from Kiev, and brought up in Kursk. From early childhood he showed the wisdom of an elder, avoiding childish games and refusing to wear anything but the poorest of clothing. When he was about thirteen years old, and his father died, he began to humble himself even more, going out to work with the serfs in the field. His mother went so far as to beat him in her attempts to make him behave more respectably. Hearing of the labours of Saint Anthony of Kiev, he fled to him secretly and was accepted by him as his disciple. He was tonsured at the age of twenty-four by Saint Anthony's disciple Nicon, and was elected Abbot of the Caves Monastery in 1057, since Saint Anthony refused this out of humility, and lived his whole life as a hermit. It was Saint Theodosius who introduced in Russia the cenobitic rule of the Monastery of Studium in Constantinople, and under his guidance many monks attained to great holiness, and the monastic life spread. When Prince Svyatoslav drove out his elder brother the pious Prince Isyaslav, and ascended to the throne of Chernigov in his place, Saint Theodosius courageously rebuked him, and continued reproving him even when threatened with exile. At the request of Prince Shimon, the son of a Varangian (Viking) prince, the Saint wrote a prayer for the nobleman's forgiveness of sins, and, at his behest, had it placed in his coffin, whence arose this custom in Russia. He reposed on May 3, 1074, being sixty-five years of age.

Apolytikion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone

Raising thyself aloft upon virtue and having loved the monastic life from thy youth, thou didst valiantly attain to thy desire. Thou didst settle in a cave, and while adorning thy life with fasting and purity, thou didst persevere in prayers like one of the bodiless. And since thou hast shone forth in the Russian land as a brilliant lamp, O Father Theodosius, pray Christ God that our souls be saved.

Kontakion in the Third Tone

Today we venerate the star of Russia, the blessed Theodosius, who hath shone forth from the east and come unto the west; for he hath enriched both this whole land with miracles and blessings, and us with the establishment and grace of the monastic rule.