St Feofil of the Kiev Caves

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St Feofil of the Kiev Caves

Postby Barbara » Sat 12 November 2016 6:19 pm

St Feofil of the Kiev Caves, whose Feast Day was ALSO November 10 :

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Re: St Feofil of the Kiev Caves

Postby Barbara » Sun 1 January 2017 1:03 am

There is an Icon of this Saint looking quite different but with a nice message on his scroll by TOC Priest Father Photios Cooper at this link [ it would not copy over here ]

https://www.flickr.com/photos/32367061@N02/15918633185

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Re: St Feofil of the Kiev Caves

Postby Barbara » Sun 1 January 2017 1:12 am

Another style, also one for sale - by the Rocor-MP Damascene Gallery, adjacent to Hermitage of the Holy Cross in W. Virginia.
Originally done by Hegumen Andrei [ Erastov ] earlier at Jordanville....

http://damascenegallery.com/shop/icon/c ... st-of-kiev

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Re: St Feofil of the Kiev Caves

Postby Barbara » Wed 11 January 2017 3:02 am

St Feofil was not entirely unique in having a Tsar of All the Russias specially seek him out to gain his counsel. This did happen occasionally with Tsar Alexander I. However, the latter ALSO visited Catholic priests, Protestants and any other group that struck his fancy.

His younger brother, the conservative Nicholas I, was much more Orthodox in orientation. He swept out as much as he could of the Masonic infiltration into the Russian Church and society as well. All these Freemasons had become active since the time of Tsar Paul I. I personally can NOT see any reason for that monarch's glorification, though of course his demise was sad. Paul I was believed to be a Freemason himself. [ Not a candidate for Orthodox sanctity as some have made him into. ]

Let's trace the history of Tsar Nicholas I's interactions with our wonderful Starets, St Feofil of the Kiev Caves.

[ Pictures found by me from the internet with the exception of the black and white one of St Feofil which is printed in the book of his life by Vladimir Znosko, Holy Trinity Publications, Jordanville ]

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"At 7 P.M. on September 13, 1851, His Majesty, Emperor Nikolai Pavlovich, together with the Grand Dukes Nikolai Nikolaevich and Mikhail Nikolaevich, entered Kiev. Since it was already dark, and because His Majesty was travelling on the Zhitomir road from Lusk, and the Lavra did not lie on his route, he was unable to visit it that evening. Instead, he went directly to his apartment at the home of the military governor. On the following day, September 14, which was the Feast of the Elevation of the Cross, the imperial travellers attended the Lavra liturgy which was served by Metropolitan Filaret....

At noon, on September 19, Nikolai Pavlovich returned to Kiev.... At 2:30 P.M., accompanied by the Governor-General and military engineers, he examined the fortification works and walked from the new (Nikolsky) gates to the yard of the engineers' command and past the Lavra stables which were situated near the Nikolsky Monastery (often called "Little Nikolai") to the military cathedral (the "Great Nikolai"). Having examined the cathedral, His Majesty said to the dean who had greeted him... the Tsar pointed out some icons which were hung along the walls in such a way that the people were required to stand with their backs to them and he ordered that they be moved nearer to the iconostas or placed in the sanctuary.

From the military cathedral, His Majesty .... continued to inspect the fortress and citadel

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until 3:30 at which time the Sovereign entered his carriage and, accompanied by his suite, engineers, and city authorities, set out for his quarters. Then a most unusual and significant event took place.

The Tsar meets Feofil

As the carriage was driving through Pechersk, and about to turn a corner, His Imperial Majesty met with Feofil who came plodding around the corner on his bullock. No sooner did the Tsar's horses come even with Feofil's cart than they stopped as if they had suddenly become frozen to the ground. All the efforts of the coachman to make the horses proceed were in vain. The horses strained to the right and to the left but they could not move the carriage from its spot.

Seeing the monk in a ragged cloak near him, the Sovereign became interested in finding out who he was. The Tsar's suite and the city authorities quickly rushed to Feofil and brought him to the Sovereign's carriage.

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Hieroschemamonk Feofil

"What kind of person are you?" Nikolai Pavlovich sternly asked Feofil, taking him in with a penetrating glance.

"I am a man of God," the Blessed One replied with childlike simplicity.

"I know you are God's, but where do you come from and where are you going?"

"Where I am from — I am there no longer. Where I am now — everyone can see. Where I will be later — God alone knows."

Nikolai Pavlovich gave a questioning look to his suite and they, extremely embarrassed by Feofil's reply, hastened to explain that this simple person was the monk Feofil, a fool-for-Christ's-sake, of the Kievo-Pecherskaya Lavra.

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Emperor Nikolai Pavlovich of Russia

"A God's fool-monk?" asked Nikolal Pavlovich with amazement. "Strange."

But wishing to end the embarrassment of those accompanying him, he kindly turned to Feofil and said:

"Well, go with God and wish me a happy journey."

"No, Your Majesty. You have to go through thorns ," the Blessed One answered to this, peacefully climbing into his cart.

At that very moment the horses strained to one side and the Tsar's carriage sped ahead. The Sovereign heard these prophetically significant words of Starets Feofil and looked back intently at the strange monk.

The Tsar visits the Lavra

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On the morning of September 20, the Tsar unexpectedly visited the Lavra and without any welcoming, he entered the cathedral church where the liturgy was taking place and "It is meet to praise Thee" was being sung. After the usual parting prayers, the Sovereign.... accepted the Metropolitan's blessing and set out for St. Petersburg.

In 1852, Emperor Nikolai Pavlovich visited, for the last time the city which was dear to his heart, not long before the beginning of the war with Turkey .... The Tsar arrived in Kiev at 11 A.M. on Sunday, October 5, accompanied by the Grand Dukes Nikolai Nikolaevich and Mikhail Nikolaevich.

The Tsar is distressed

At 1 P.M. the Sovereign went to the Lavra where he visited the Metropolitan [ still Met Philaret ( Amphiteatrov ) ] and conversed with him in his private chambers. The Tsar was extremely sullen and unhappy. His brow furrowed and his gaze clouded with constant thought.... At the end of the conversation, the Sovereign, as if hinting to Vladika about the alarming state of the political affairs, expressed that a menacing cloud was spreading over the fatherland, but that he was doing aIl in his power.... to deal with the enemies [ Turkey, France and England on the eve of the Crimean war ] in dignity.

"I do not want to shed the blood of the faithful sons of my fatherland needlessly, but our vainglorious enemies are forcing me to bare my sword; My plans are not yet made — no! But my heart feels that the time is nearing and they will soon be brought to fulfilment."

After these words, the Sovereign sadly lowered his head and fell into deep thought. "Oh, how I would like to know what awaits Russia in the future," he continued after some silence.

"But no-one knows this except God alone," the Metropolitan remarked with a sigh.

"Yes, I know that it is so," replied the Sovereign. "But I also know that the Holy Kiev-Pecherskaya Lavra, which has from time immemorial served as a seed-bed of faith and piety, was always rich with pious monks who have carried within themselves the spirit of truly ascetic life. Do you not have any elders who are filled with spiritual grace and whom I might ask for advice on my forthcoming political projects?"

"There is, Your Majesty," the Metropolitan replied. "There is such a one. And although his mode of life in no way resembles the model of life of the other monks of the monastery, I can assure Your Imperial Majesty with confidence, that under the cover of his simplicity and foolishness there is hidden the grace of the Holy Spirit and an undoubted gift of forevision."

"Is it that tall monk whom I met once in the city ? As nearly as I can remember, he was riding on a cart pulled by a bullock."

"That is correct, Your Majesty," answered the Vladika Metropolitan. "That is he, Schemamonk Feofil. If it would be pleasing to Your Imperial Majesty, I will not hesitate to present him before you. He lives in the Kitayevskaya Hermitage and within an hour my carriage could have him here."

"No, it is not necessary. We will go there ourselves. That would be much better." [ said the Tsar, who must have impatient to find out what lay ahead for his realm from Blessed Feofil, despite the previous ambiguous encounter recounted above. This shows that Tsar Nikolai Pavlovich was so eager to get some answers from Heaven that he wouldn't even wait for the ascetic to be brought to him in the Lavra from the outlying skete ! ]

It was settled that they would leave for the Kitayevskaya Hermitage immediately after dinner. At the agreed time, the Tsar and Vladika set out in the Metropolitan's carriage to visit Feofil.

And what the the Blessed One do? In spite of the fact that a messenger had arrived at Kitayev from the Metropolitan with orders to keep Starets Feofil at the monastery all day, the elder managed to slip through the gate and into the woods. Seeing in spirit the nearing of the Tsar's carriage, he went out to meet it in Goloseyevo. Running through the bushes and scratching his hands and face into bloodiness, he found a large anthill some distance from the road. He dug into it with his hands and lay down in the middle of it on his back.

The weather that day was sunny and warm and the drive was very pleasant, but all the while the Tsar was silent and in deep thought, looking about the surrounding countryside, pointing to an object which had caught his eye. "A dead body, or what?"

Vladika looked in the direction in which the Tsar was pointing, but his aging eyes could not see what was lying there.

"Gavril!" he turned to his valet who was sitting in the coach-box. "Have a look brother."

"There is a man lying there, Your Eminence," Gavrilka answered, turning around. "But he is not dead, he's alive. See there, his feet are moving."

"What is he lying on?" the Sovereign asked.

"It would seem that he is lying on an ant-hill, Your lmperial Majesty," answered Gavrilka.

"Strange," said the Tsar to this and ordered the coachman to turn off to the side.

When the travellers got out of the carriage and approached the ant-hill, Feofil was lying there, not moving. His arms were folded on his chest crosswise, as in death, and his eyes were completely closed. Ants swarmed in masses all over his body and face, but he, as if feeling nothing, pretended to be dead.

"This is Schemamonk Feofil," the Metropolitan quietly whispered to the Sovereign and walked up closer. "This is that very starets whom we are going to visit."

"Why is he lying here?' Nikolai Pavlovich asked in amazement. "Find out, won't you?"

"Feofil !" Vladika bent towards the Blessed One. "Why are you lying here ?”

Silence.

"Get up, I tell you, you culprit! The Sovereign wants to talk to you."

Neither sound nor movement.

"Strange!" said the Sovereign with annoyance and, angrily waving his hand, he turned back to the carriage.

"No! This is not to be forgotten without reflection, Your Imperial Majesty," noted the Metropolitan to the Monarch when they sat down in the carriage. "My heart knows that this prank of his has a very deep significance." [ By this time, Metropolitan Philaret had seen enough examples of Starets Feofil's clairvoyance that the hierarch took the ascetic's warnings very seriously. ]

But no matter how hard Vladika tried to reason out the meaning of the Starets' behaviour for the Sovereign, he could not give a clear, positive answer.

[ Later, after the war went badly for the Russian side ] Emperor Nikolai Pavlovich, depressed with sorrow, became noticeably thin. His health began to break up from worries and troubles. Finally, he caught a severe cold and took to his bed.

And then, at the beginning of the Battle of Sinope, the news arrived from the battle front of the unbelievable losses of Russian forces and even of such heroes as Nakhimov and Kornilov - all this completely broke the heart of the Sovereign. On Feb. 18, 1855, Tsar Nikolai Pavlovich peacefully demised, having been tormented with worries and worn with sorrow.

The venerable Archpastor wept openly when he received the staggering news of the death of the beloved Monarch, for no-one felt more affection and love for the deceased Sovereign than did Metropolitan Filaret.

....the Metropolitan called his valet, Gavrila Feodorovich Golushka, and said: "Do you remember, Gavril, our trip with the Sovereign to Kitayev? And do you remember the ant-hill and Feofil on it?"

"How could I forget, holy Vladika, even though that was three years ago."

"Take note, then, that up to now I could not understand his strange behaviour. Now, the prophecy of the Starets is as clear as God's day. The ants were the malicious enemies of our fatherland, trying to torment the great body of Russia. The arms folded on his chest and the closed eyes of Feofil were the sudden, untimely death of our beloved Batiushka-Tsar."

http://livingorthodoxfaith.blogspot.com ... rt-10.html

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I believe that St Feofil's acting-out of the scene warned of a far greater catastrophe looming in the future -- the menace of Communism -- rather than having much connection with the short-lived Crimean War [ finished in March 1856 ]. Though surely Feofil's lying still on the ground --- without even the flicker of an eyelash to answer the anxious questions of Tsar of All the Russias --- might have presaged the latter's own unexpected repose.

However, the REAL threat facing Russia and the Russian Empire was yet some 6 decades away. Feofil's refusal to brush off the swarms of evil ants might possibly evoke the saintly behavior of many New Martyrs of the Church toward their Soviet captors in the first several decades of the next century.

Or it might have predicted the tragic death of this Tsar's namesake, Nicholas II, which brought down the Romanov Dynasty, an event of far greater impact on Russian and world history than Nicholas I's death from complications from a cold.

We must also recall that Hieroschemamonk Feofil had himself reposed by the time that the Tsar met his sudden end. Perhaps the seeming lifeless personage, if it did connote Nicholas I, could have meant BOTH this Monarch and the Monastic -- arranged by destiny to meet twice. Once on a Pechersk street and once on the road out of Kiev : both events orchestrated by a clairvoyant Elder Feofil to convey a message to the Russian Sovereign, perhaps for a later epoch as well as the immediate future.

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Re: St Feofil of the Kiev Caves

Postby Barbara » Thu 12 January 2017 5:01 am

A wonderful anecdote comes to us from a footnote listing Tsar Nicholas I's visits to Kiev and the Pechersk Lavra in the same book linked to above :

Tsar Nikolai Pavlovich "arrived for the ninth time on May 21, 1845 ... the following day of the Ascension, he was at the Sofia Cathedral for the liturgy. Later, he visited the Lavra.

"Since His Majesty's arrival was unannounced, it threw the brotherhood into a great bustle. The monks were in the refectory at the time and when His Majesty's arrival became known, all began to rush about. Some spread rugs, others put on robes, while still others lighted candles.

"But His Majesty had gone into the church. He looked around and saw no-one but an old man lighting the chandelier. His Majesty touched the old man on the elbow and said, "Leave it; it is not necessary." The monk did not turn around, assuming that one of the postulants, who did not know of the Tsar's arrival, was speaking to him. He pushed the Sovereign with his elbow and angrily retorted, "No-one is asking you. Go away! I know myself what is necessary."

"His Majesty smiled and went on his way. The old man was horrified when he was later told that his sharp reply had been made to the Tsar. Having venerated the holy cons and relics, His Majesty received the Metropolitan's blessing and left for St. Petersburg."

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Certainly as useful for a chuckle 172 years later as it was at the time.

It is interesting to observe the protocol whereby the Tsar would ask for the blessing of the reigning Metropolitan - in this case Metropolitan Philaret [ Amphiteatrov ] before departing the city. Also to note how much time this particular Tsar spent at services, attending the Liturgy for Ascension as soon as he arrived to Kiev.

Though Nicholas I has a reputation in Western history as a humorless autocrat, this vignette shows a different side to him. It takes a certain meekness and lack of ego to merely smile and not snap at a cranky old monastic who had dared to dig his elbow into the Imperial ribcage.

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Re: St Feofil of the Kiev Caves

Postby Barbara » Mon 16 January 2017 1:42 am

The original book by Vladimir Znosko. This author, by the way, also wrote about another Fool-for-Christ of the Kiev Caves Lavra. I wonder if that book has ever been translated into English ? If not, it would be a great project based on the widespread success of this one :

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Re: St Feofil of the Kiev Caves

Postby Barbara » Tue 31 January 2017 3:08 am

The above-mentioned other Kiev Caves Lavra Fool for Christ was Paisiy [Yarotzsky], who lived from 1821 - 1893.

Notice, however, that Metropolitan Philaret of Kiev did not suggest that Fool for Christ for Tsar Nicholas I to consult about the fate that lay ahead for Russia. Only Starets Feofil.

The biography of Elder Paisiy [Yarotzsky] was published in Kiev in 1911 by the same author. It seems to be just waiting for translation into English ! If it is even half as good as the Life of Hieroschemamonk Feofil, which one can read 1,000 times without ever getting tired of hearing the stories, surely that endeavor is worth tackling !


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