Bishop Theodosius, in the world Theodore Andreyevich Bakhmetev, was born in 1894 In Chernigov province (according to other sources, in 1901 or 1902 in Kiev province). After the death of his mother, his father, who was a priest, went into a monastery and he was taken by his elder brother into the Kiev-Caves Lavra. There he learned about the monastic life. His brother later became an archimandrite of the Lavra, while of his other brothers, one became a deacon and the other a married priest. Theodosius was the youngest.
Fr. Theodosius joined the Kiev Caves Lavra in 1915 (according to another source, 1916, and according to a third - when he was six years old) Until
1917 (1918, according to another source) he was supervisor of the Near Caves. He became successively a sacristan, candle-bearer, subdeacon, hierodeacon, hieromonk (in 1920) and guardian of the relics of St. Theodosius of the Kiev Caves.
In 1920 (according to another source, 1922), the Soviet authorities demanded that the wonderworking icon of the Dormition of the Mother of God be handed over. But Fr. Theodosius hid it. So they arrested him on the charge of "appropriating state property". He was given a sentence of 10 years and sent off to Solovki.
But in those days those who over-fulfilled their norms were given reductions in their sentences. So Fr. Theodosius was released before the end of his sentence. He returned to find his Lavra unrecognizable and the declaration of Metropolitan Sergius in force.
Fr. Theodosius arrived at the Lavra in the evening. He spent the night in the guest-house, and in the morning, even before he had had a chance to visit the church and the cells, he was asked to sign the declaration. But
since he refused, he was immediately arrested and given a new sentence of10 years.
After serving his sentence, Fr. Theodosius did not return to the Kiev-Caves Lavra, but went round the holy places in the guise of a wanderer. Once he came to Sarov monastery, and went into the functioning church, which was sergianist. A service was in progress, a few people were present, andhe stood at the back of the church. But he could not hide the meekness of his face, the face of a priest. Moreover, he did not bow at the censer or at the blessing. This made him an object of suspicion. The priest immediately alerted the authorities to the presence of an unusual person.
One parishioner got to know about this and took pity on Fr. Theodosius. She went up to him and said:
"Forgive me, if you have no documents you should leave. Our batyushka has already made a phone call, and they could pick you up."
Fr. Theodosius quickly left. But he had not gone far, only as far asthe station square, when he was arrested and convicted as a wandering priest who was stirring up the people against Soviet power. He was again given a full 10 years, and condemned to work on the building of the White Sea Canal.
In those concentration camps the clergy became weak as a result of the hard labour, and those who weakened were killed. The prisoners used to write about their sufferings on the inside of the cork of logs, which were tied
together and thrust out into the sea for foreign destinations.
However, Fr. Theodosius survived, and when the war broke out he found himself in occupied territory. He settled in one of the monasteries of Belorussia and was raised to the rank of igumen in the Autonomous Belorussian Church. Then he was made abbot of the Belchansk monastery with the rank of archimandrite.
According to one source, in 1942 or 1943, because of the lack of firmness of Alexander (Inozemtsev) in the see of Pinsk, Archimandrite Theodosius was consecrated bishop of Pinsk in his place, the consecration
taking place in the Kiev Caves Lavra at the hands of the following bishops of the Ukrainian Autonomous Church: Schema-Archbishop Anthony (Abashidze), Bishop Pantaleimon (Rudik), the Georgian Catacomb Bishop Elijah and Bishop Macarius. He was arrested in 1946, released in 1951 (?) and arrested again in 1952, when he was given a sentence of eight years in a labour camp.
However, there is another story concerning his consecration: - When the Germans started to retreat, all the monks and clergy fled westwards. And at a meeting of the senior clergy in the Belchansk monastery, Metropolitan Panteleimon (Rozhnevsky) of Minsk and Belorussia, first hierarch of the Autonomous Church of Belorussia, proposed that Archimandrite Theodosius also flee abroad. But Fr. Theodosius refused, saying:
"I have served three sentences and now I will die here in my own land."
Then Metropolitan Panteleimon and Bishops Anthony (Romanovsky) of Bakinsk and Stavropol and Theophilus (Narko) (the future bishop of Hamburg in the Russian Church Abroad) decided that since Archimandrite Theodosius was going to stay in Russia, he should be a secret pastor and overseer working in the catacombs.
And so on December 4/17, 1944, the last hierarchical Liturgy was celebrated at which Archimandrite Theodosius was consecrated a bishop by the three hierarchs Panteleimon, Anthony and Theophilus. And that night these
hierarchs and all the clergy and monks fled abroad. When the bishops were
parting, Metropolitan Panteleimon fell on the shoulder of Vladyka Theodosius and wept... And through his sobs he said:
"O Vladyka! You will have a difficult path staying here."
Then both wept, and all the clergy wept...
On the morning of December 5/18, Vladyka Theodosius was celebrating the Divine Liturgy in an already deserted monastery. The church was filled with laypeople, mainly women. At the end of the Liturgy Vladyka blessed the people and wanted to say something in the form of a sermon. But at that moment the Red Army burst in, and Vladyka Theodosius was taken from the amvon and arrested on the spot. At his trial he was sentenced as follows: "For stirring up the people against Soviet power and blessing the weapons of the German
armies against the Soviet Red Army - 10 years in prison and 8 years exile."
In 1961 (1960, according to another source) Vladyka Theodosius was exiled to the city of Yeniseisk in Krasnoyarsk province. According to another source, however, it was in 1958 that he arrived at Kazachensk in Krasnoyarsk province.
Word about him spread throughout Catacomb Russia, and many of the remaining Catacomb priests came one by one to see him. Among them were: Fr. Timothy from Maikop, Fr. Ignatius (Uglyansky) from Voronezh province, Fr.
Cosmas (Trusov) (who had been ordained by Hieromartyr Archbishop Nectarius of Yaransk), Fr. Nicetas (Ignatiev) of Vyatka province, Fr. Nicholas from Novosibirsk, Fr. Sergius from Anzherka in Kemerovo province, Hieromonk Arcadius from Lipetsk, Fr. Elijah from the mountains of the Caucasus, Fr.
Bissarion from Tambov and Fr. Nicetas from Kharkov. He received them in the following way: the priest would say who he was and where he was from withhis hand on the Gospel and standing in front of the holy Cross... Not all the
priests could bear this method of reception. And when Vladyka Theodosius saw that the priest was lying to him in front of the holy Cross and the Gospel, he would have no more communion with him. Many such priests then went and
Those priests who were accepted by Vladyka Theodosius would commemorate at the Liturgy: first Metropolitan Philaret of the Russian Church Abroad,and then Vladyka Theodosius.
They say that when he celebrated the Liturgy he would become taller than his usual height as he strove for the heights. He was very meek, patient and abstinent in food and dress. He prepared very carefully for the Divine services and checked every detail himself. He healed sick people, and there are living witnesses of his healings. He did not visit official Soviet doctors, and he did not bless people to go to them.
In 1976 a Hieromonk Paisius came to see him. He asked him to complete his ordination to the priesthood, explaining that he had begun to be ordained by Archbishop Anthony (Galynsky-Mikhailovsky), but that the authorities had prevented his ordination from being completed. Bishop Theodosius looked attentively at Fr. Paisius and said:
"Let him who began to ordain you ordain you."
After this refusal, Fr. Paisius began to spread the slander that Bishop Theodosius was a KGB agent.
Vladyka Theodosius was very strict in selecting people for ordination, and in fact ordained only one person, Fr. Alexander Shabelnik. It was with Fr. Alexander and his wife that Vladyka went to live.
In 1982, when both Fr. Alexander and his wife were in prison, Bishop
Theodosius was taken to the house of Reader Gregory Mukhortov in Yeniseisk. There he lived for two years. When Vera Georgievna Kalyuzhnaya was released from prison, she came and took the bishop and set him up in the house of a woman in Shakhnya, Nizhegorod district.
According to Reader Gregory Mukhortov, during the last years of his life Vladyka lived like a bird in a cage - they locked him up, forgot about him, and forgot even to bring him food and water. Once the demon-possessed sonof the house locked the door of the outdoor toilet when Vladyka Theodosius was in it. Vladyka stayed there for more than six hours in the severe frost. As a result of this he fell ill with pneumonia. They say that not long before his death he was severely beaten, so severely that, according to the witness of the chief doctor of the regional hospital, lumps of flesh literally came off his bones in the places where he had been beaten.
Vladyka Theodosius reposed in the village of Toshnayevo, Yeniseisk province, Siberia, on March 28 / April 10, 1986.
(Sources: Reader Gregory Mukhortov; Igumen G.; E.A. Petrova "Perestroika Vavilonskoj Bashni" (MS), Moscow samizdat, 1991, pp. 10-13; Bishop Ambrose (von Sievers), "Istoki i svyazi Katakombnoj Tserkvi v Leningrade i obl. (1922-1992)", report read at the conference "The Historical Path of Orthodoxy in Russia after 1917", Saint Petersburg, 1-3 June, 1993; Episkopat Istinno-Pravoslavnoj Katakombnoj Tserkvi 1922-1997gg.", Russkoye Pravoslaviye, N 4 (9), 1997, pp. 16-17; "Katakombnaya Tserkov': Tainiye Sobory 1961-81gg.", Russkoye Pravoslaviye, N 1 (10), 1998, p. 30; "Protoierej Aleksandr Shabelnik", Pravoslavnaya Rus', no. 4 (1577), February 15/28, 1997, p. 12; I.I. Osipova, "Skvoz' Ogn' Muchenij i Vody Slyoz", Moscow: Serebryanniye Niti, 1998, p. 252)
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