Commemorated on February 10, September 28 and on the 2nd Sunday of the Great Lent
The Monk Prokhor
of Pechersk was a native of Smolensk and took vows in the Kievo-Pechersk
monastery under the hegumen John (1089-1103). He was a great ascetic of strict
temperance, – in place of bread he used pigweed, from which he received the
title "pigweed-eater". No one saw him regretful about this.
During the saint's
life a famine befell Russia. Prokhor began yet more zealously to gather the
pigweed and to prepare from it his "bread". Certain people followed
his example, but they were not able to eat this food because of its bitterness.
Prokhor distributed his bread from pigweed to the needy, and its taste was like
of fine wheat. From this they noted the peculiarity – the bread was tasty only
when they gathered it with the blessing of the monk. This became known to the
hegumen and the brethren, and the talk about Prokhor spread far and wide.
After a certain while
there was no salt at Kiev, from which the people suffered greatly. Then the
monk, having gathered ashes from all the cells, began to distribute it to the
needy, and through his prayer the ashes became pure salt. At the promptings of
the salt merchants, who reckoned on a profit, prince Svyatopolk confiscated
from Prokhor his "stockpile". When they transported it to the
princely court, everyone became convinced, that this was – just regular ashes.
But after three days, when Svyatopolk gave orders to discard it, and the monk
blessed the people to take from the heap, the ashes were again changed to salt.
This miracle reformed the fierce prince: he began to pray zealously, made peace
with the hegumen of the Pechersk monastery and highly esteemed the monk
Prokhor. When the last hour of the saint approached, the prince hastened to him
leaving behind his retinue, although he had gone to war. He received his
blessing and by his own hand took the body of the saint to the cave. Having
returned, Svyatopolk easily gained victory over the Polvetsians, turning them
to flight and capturing their supply carts. Such was the great power of the
prayer of Saint Prokhor.
The monk died in the
year 1107, and was buries in the Nearer Caves. His commemoration is also 28
September and on the 2nd Sunday of Great Lent.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.