Commemorated on October 24
The Monks Aretha,
Sisoi and Theophil, Hermits of Pechersk (XII-XIII), pursued asceticism at
the Kievo-Pechersk monastery and were buried in the Nearer Caves.
The Monk Aretha was
from Polotsk. While living at the monastery, he kept in his cell much wealth.
One time robbers made off with it. Grieving over his lost riches, the Monk
Aretha began to murmur against God, for which he was stricken with a serious
illness. Being at the very brink of death, he saw, how both Angels and devils
had come for him and were arguing between them. The devils asserted, that for
his avarice and complaints against God he ought to be given over to them, while
the Angels in turning to him bewailed: "Thou hapless man, if thou had
given thanks to God for the pilfered riches, this would have been accounted in
charity for thee". After this vision the Monk Aretha was restored to life.
His final days he spent as an hermit, in distress and repentance over his sins,
having renounced everything earthly. Saint Aretha died not later than the
year 1190. In the Iconographic Originals, the monk is described thus:
"In appearance stooped over, beard in length of some Kozmina, monastic
The Monk Sisoi, an
hermit, in the general service to the Monks of the Antoniev Caves is called
"radiant in fasting".
The Monk Theophil in
the same service is called "in miracles resplendid".
The commemoration of
all the monks is also on 28 September and on the 2nd Sunday of Great Lent.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.