Hieroconfessor Theodosius Of Minvody

Schema-Igumen Theodosius (Kakshin) was born on May 3/16, 1841 in Perm province, in a poor peasant family.

He wrote about his early years: "In studying Sacred History and catechism, I learned that there are Angels, who guard us, and demons, who

want our destruction. I don't know how or why, but the thought came to meto test whether this was true. So, sitting on the porch of our house, while my parents were resting after lunch, it occurred to me to put this thought of mine into action. I got up from the porch and headed for the backyard.

"'Listen, devil,' I cried aloud, 'if you can do anything, then convince me. Bring a good thin rope to the barn for me. If you do this, then I'll go into the cowshed and hang myself there on that rope. Won't my friends be surprised when they see me hanging from the crossbeam! Well, devil, do you hear me? Do as I say!'

"At this time, there was no one in the entire yard. The day was hot and clear. Clouds floated across the horizon. Having said these words, I walked towards the barn, the door of which was shut. On the way to the barn, another thought entered my mind: to hang myself, I thought, is very unpleasant; it would be better to jump into the well in the backyard. This well was very

deep, and the water in it was clear and cool. It belonged to a neighbour,an archpriest, and whoever wanted drew water from it. It had been dug between the two yards by one of the walls

"And so, I went to the barn. Opening the door, I saw to my amazementan almost full coil of new, slender hemp rope. I took it and, passing by thecow shed, I went to the well. I bent over and looked down. Deep, deep down I saw a sparkle of its cold water. Then another thought came to me, as if someone were speaking to me: when I jump in there and drown, then my friends and many others too will be puzzled: how and why did I drown in the well? I involuntarily smiled in answer to these thoughts and said:

"'No, devil, it's better if I hang myself. Then my friends will comeand be amazed to see me hanging in a noose!' Yes, that was much better.

"Undoing the coil of new hemp rope, I made a noose and tied up the other end All that remained was to stick my neck in the noose, and my life would have ended Suddenly I quailed and burst out laughing loudly and gleefully: 'you put it on yourself, accursed one,' I exclaimed, and 'and I'll pull you up myself.'

"At that very moment a blinding bolt of lightning flashed from the clouds in the sky and there was a thunderclap the like of which I never heard again in my entired life. I was petrified, and with all my strength I bolted out of the cowshed and ran home. After the thunderclap, the rain poured down in buckets

"My father was standing on the porch when I ran up. There were others with him, and they were all marvelling at the unprecedented thunderclap and the unusual brightness of the blinding lightning, saying over and over: 'Well, that was some bang! We've never heard one like that before.' Some hours later, news arrived that a woman in a nearby village had been killed by that lightning bolt.

"I never told anyone about what I had done, but from then on I was convinced that there are evil spirits, and I began to pray more diligently to God and to my Guardian Angel.

"Studying did not come easily to my older brother. He would sit up late at night with a candle, working on his lessons, but, even with all his diligence, he often could not recite the lesson by heart, for which he caught it from the teachers. He sat once until midnight, memorizing his lesson for the next day, but in the morning he could not answer two or three lines in front of the teacher and the priest, with whom we lived. The priest called him a dummy and told him in a threatening tone of voice:

"'You are lucky that I am going to serve the Liturgy, or I would thrash you with birch switches. But just you wait: when I come back from the church, if you have not learned the lesson like you should, then I will order youto be thrashed, you lazy boy!'

"Sitting there at another desk, I saw how my brother's tears began to drip onto the desk, and I felt sorry for my brother. 'Why whip him,' I thought, 'when he did not sleep almost all night because of his lessons? I will go to church and pray for my brother to the Heavenly Queen. She already heard me once. God grant that she not abandon us this time, either.'

"The church was not far from the school; it was just across the prince's garden; you had only to climb over a low fence and you were there. No sooner said than done! I walked out of the school, having asked to go outside, and then - over the fence and straight to the church. Fearing that the priest

would see me, I opened the door and carefully looked in. In the church there were only three old women, who had ordered a liturgy for the reposed. The

priest and the deacon were in the altar, and the reader was singing on the cliros, 'We praise Thee, we bless Thee, we give thanks unto Thee, O Lord'

"I quickly slipped into the church and went straight to the right side of the side chapel. Standing behind a column, I looked at the iconostasis My eyes fell on an Italian-style icon of the Mother of God with the Pre-eternal Child in her arms. They were looking at me as if they were alive. I fell onto my knees in tears before the holy icon and began to pray fervently to the


"'Most Blessed Mother of God! I have come to make a request of you for my brother Theodore. The priest promised to thrash him with birch switches for laziness, but he didn't sleep all night, memorizing his lessons. Mother of God, show mercy and soften the heart of the teacher. I feel so sorry for my brother. Dear Mother, give my brother a little more memory, so that hecan study like any other smart pupil. Mother of God! If you hear my prayer, I

will always come to you. No, I will not ask anything. I don't want that. I want always to come to you with prayer.'

"With these words, I made a prostration to the ground before the icon, kissed the Theotokos' feet on it and repeated:

"'Help, if you can; and I know that you can! Or else I will not ask you for anything any more.'

"At this time they had begun to sing 'It is truly meet to bless thee', and I ran out of the church. At the school the older pupils asked me where I had run and where I had been for so long. I told them I had a stomach ache.

"Soon after me arrived the priest, Father John, from the church. I awaited with trembling what he would say to my brother. Father John went up to him and, in a very kindly way, said to him:

"'Here, as a blessing of the Mother of God, is a holy prosphora for you.' He blessed my brother and gave it to him with the words:

"'This prosphora from the Mother of God is for the blessing and improvement of your studies. Pray to her: she will help you, and you will

learn well!'

"You can imagine how these words stunned me! I burst into tears and bolted from the classroom. Outside I fell down on the ground and thanked the Mother of God for her great and manifest mercy.

"From that time my brother began to learn much better and even surpassed many of his classmates"

Fr. Theodosius himself excelled at studies - he knew fourteen languages. However, when he was still young, but already an orphan, he went to Mount

Athos and asked to be received into the community of the deposition of the sash of the Mother of God. The abbot accepted him, and in 1859 he was tonsured into the mantia. His work as a monk included guarding the vineyards (he never ate a single grape). Then he was sent to Constantinople, to the

podvorye, "The Russian Guest-House of the Deposition of the Sash of the Mother of God". After serving for five years there, Fr. Theodosius received permission to live in Jerusalem. In 1879 he returned to his community on Mount Athos, where he was ordained to the priesthood on December 14, 1897. In 1901, after the death of Abbot Joannichius, Fr. Theodosius took over the administration of the community, but he soon secured release from this responsibility and returned to Jerusalem, where he received the schema and served as a hieromonk at the Holy Sepulchre.. He often used to say that when he lived in Jerusalem and stood by the Tomb of the Lord, the unbelieving Jews, moved by a false zeal for their faith, beat up the guards, himself among them, and defiled the holy places.

In 1908, he returned to Russia and settled, first in Chelyabinsk, and then at Kavkazkaya station. Here he received a certificate dated December16, 1915 witnessing that he was a member of the Dubrovinsky Union of the Russian People and had the right to open sections of the Union within the bounds of the Kuban district.

Later, just before the revolution, Fr. Theodosius founded a desert in a ravine near the Gornenskaya monastery, "Tyomnye Buki", 27 kilometres fromthe town of Krymsk, Stavropol region. Here, while living in isolation, he didnot lose touch with the local population, helping them to open refuges and Sunday schools, and accepting novices of both sexes. He also became the spiritual father of a women's skete. With him were two old nuns, one blind and the other lame, and two young novices, Lyuba and Anna. He would say:

"The light of Christianity has gone out everywhere. Only with us, in

Russia, does this light still shine very faintly."

When the revolution came, many people thirsting for salvation came to the desert.

In Rostov the wife of the city's ruler heard about the batyushka from Jerusalem and wanted to see him out of curiosity. She said to her companions:

"If your pope is good, let him perform a miracle, and I will understand that God exists."

She was well-dressed, but batyushka made her support poles which he cut down. Once she carelessly stuck her hand under his axe, and batyushka cutoff a finger of her right hand. The finger fell onto the ground.

"There's your miracle," he said, lifting it up, " - your finger."

Then he wrapped it in a piece of paper and put it in his pocket. The

poor woman looked with horror at her bloody hand, but batyushka began to pray:

"O Lord, heal Thy servant Vassa."

Then he laid the finger next to the hand, wrapped it in grass, tied it round with a little wick from the lampada in his cell and blessed her to dig the earth as an obedience. The next day the finger was attached to the hand like the others. Only a pink scar in the shape of a ring remained at the placeof the join.

Three days later Vassa went home. It was impossible to recognize the

former dolled-up lady: following the words of batyushka, she abandoned her rich clothing and put on rags. And in her hair batyushka had put a cock's

feather. Her husband, who was a communist, was appalled and decided that she had gone mad. He tried to cure her, but then his attitude changed and he began to insult her. But Vassa only prayed and read the akathist to the Mother of God which she had received from Fr. Theodosius. After a while, the husband fell seriously ill, but before his death he received Holy Unction, repented and died as a Christian. Vassa continued to lead a pious life.

A girl asked Fr. Theodosius to make her a novice. But he did not accept her, saying:

"You will go to God as a martyr."

Soon this girl went to the monastery "Tyomnye Buki", and there they arrested some nuns and a priest, beat them, humiliated them, and then imprisoned them in Novorossiysk. But the girl did not reach the city: they tortured her to death on the road. In this way she went to the Lord as a martyr.

He told everyone that the forerunner of the Antichrist had already come and was doing the abominable works of the mad enemy of Christ. When the "Living Church" and the renovationists appeared, he said:

"These are the works of the Antichrist!"

In 1925, on the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, when batyushka was

sanctifying the water, everyone saw many fish in the water. But batyushka

wept and said:

"How many fish there are here, but they'll all wander off, and only four little fish will be left."

Before Holy Week he told the sister to bake pascha and boil eggs. They were puzzled. Then he ordered them to go to Mineralniye Vody and live there, waiting for him in the case of his arrest.

On Good Friday, just as he had foretold, three soldiers came to arrest him. First they sent him to prison in Novorossiysk, and then to exile in Solovki. All those living in the desert went off in different directions,

only four remained: two nuns, Lyuba and Anna. Lyuba went to look for batyushka in exile and served him until the end of his term of imprisonment.

In 1931 Fr. Theodosius was freed. They settled in the town of Minvody and acquired a little house. Anna and Lyuba were ancillary workers, whilethe old nuns lay at home.

In 1927 Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky) had issued his notorious

"Declaration", which placed the Church into more or less unconditional submission to the militant atheists. Elder Theodosius recognized neither this apostate declaration nor the Synod organized by Metropolitan Sergius. And

when he was asked whether it was possible to pray in the open churches, he asked:

"And who do they commemorate during the litanies?"

"Why, Metropolitan Sergius!"

"But can that be a church?! One can go into a church only if only the locum tenens, Metropolitan Peter of Krutitsa, is commemorated there. But if Metropolitan Peter is commemorated together with Metropolitan Sergius, don't go there!"

Not being able to make contact with the Josephites, but also not wanting to come into communion with the sergianists, batyushka took upon himself the ascetic exploit of being a fool-for-Christ. He dressed in a ridiculous way and played with children. He was called "Daddy Kuzka", and was constantly

mocked and laughed at. Meanwhile, he was conducting secret services, giving communion to his spiritual children, baptizing and tonsuring.

A few houses away from them, there lived a woman who had recently returned from imprisonment together with her adolescent daughter. They were very poor, even starving, and then it occurred to this woman to give her daughter to the soldiers, so that she could earn them some food by prostitution. Late one evening, this woman was drawing water from the well when she saw "Daddy Kuzka" throwing some kind of bundle through her door.She went up, took the bundle, and found that it contained a lot of money. She

thought that the old man must have gone out of his mind (after all, he did play the fool); he must have confused her house with his and thrown the money into hers by mistake. In the morning she went to him with this bundle, but batyushka said to her:

"Take this money, the Lord has sent you help, so that your daughter should not be subjected to evil. Pray to God and raise your daughter in piety."

One of the elder's nuns was pasturing some goats. One day the elder came out of his hut at the moment they were driving the goats out to pasture. He looked at the goats and said:

"That one will be taken away by a wolf today."

When the sister heard this, she watched her little flock very attentively. She didn't let them wander in different directions, but kept them all together. And suddenly, towards evening, a wolf jumped out. The flock panicked and scattered in various directions, and the wolf took the very goat that the elder had pointed out and took into the wood.

The sister kept weeping, considering herself to be responsible. The elder noticed that she had tears in her eyes and asked:

"Why are you crying?"

"It's my fault that the wolf took away the goat."

"There's no need to cry. The Lord told the wolf to take the goat which I pointed to in the morning. Why should you cry when the Lord commanded it?

Calm down and rejoice that we have served for the fulfilment of the Almighty's will. We won't perish because of this wolf, but if the poor wolf had not taken the goat, he would have been threatened with starvation. And not only the wolf would have perished, but the whole family. For, you know, she has small children. Don't pay attention to the fact that it is a beast, but know that we have helped a mother!"

When the sister heard this instruction, she calmed down and understood that we have to take pity on the animals and beasts.

A nun who was tonsured by him tells the following story about him:-"At that time I was quite a young girl. I had heard about the elder in Minvody and I burned with desire to go to him. But at that time it was difficult to travel. But I made up my mind and went. the ticket was only up to the junction, to Armavir... 'But, God willing, I will get there!' I thought. I arrived in Armavir. But the station there was crowded with people. For a week and more, people had not been able to leave. 'Well, that's it,' I thought, 'I'll sit here for a month, and still I won't be able to leave.' Several people came twenty-four hours early so as to get a seat on a passing train. 'I'm stuck,' I thought. I went into the station and since I had no thingsI found a place. I sat down and burst into tears. I didn't know what to do.The people next to me had been sitting there for many days, waiting in queues... I began to pray, beseeching the elder to help me. For I was going to him... Suddenly a boy came up who was reselling a ticket to Minvody.

"'Who wants a ticket to Minvody?'

"I was absolutely amazed.

"'Here, here, give it to me!' I shouted.

I grabbed the ticket and was on the platform. A train came up, I sat

down and in three hours I was in Minvody. You know, it was a Divine miracle through the prayers of the elder... But I was very hungry! I arrived at the elder's. He was small and thin, but so welcoming:

"'Quick, quick, prepare the table, we're so hungry!' he said to the landlady.

"They laid the table. There was much of everything. But in my house we had nothing. As I looked at the table I thought: 'I'd like to eat everything!'

"The elder sat me down and treated me to everything: 'Eat, eat...'

"I refused. But he said: 'Didn't you want to eat everything?'

"I was so ashamed that the elder knew all my thoughts. We began to talk and I saw that he read all my thoughts. I was so struck by this that I thought: 'When I come home, I'll tell mama about this.'

"But the elder asked: 'You want to tell mama about me?'

"Now I didn't know what to say to him. He knew everything... Not in vain did they tell me about one woman who had been with him and knew by experience that he knew the most secret thoughts. And she said about him:

" 'Yes, he's a wizard!'

"When she came to him another time, he went up to her and gently tapped her on the head, saying:

"'Wizard, wizard, wizard!'

"I remember that he told me that everywhere and at all times one must strive to say the Jesus prayer mentally. And he used a phrase which I, being young, did not understand:

"'Climb into the "well" and do the prayer there, so that you hear and see nothing...'

And I thought: 'Suppose someone comes to draw water, and I'm sittingin the well. He'll ask me: "What are you doing there?" But the elder smiled and answered my thought:

"'Not there, not there... One must understand this as a parable... One should leave everything worldly in the mind and attention, having no thoughts except the words of the prayer: "Lord Jesus, Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!" Pray in this way, as if you were in a well! Do you understand now?'"

A man relates another incident:-

"I did business in a 'travelling shop'. I arrived in Archangelsk and

there, in one house, I entered into a conversation on the sign of the Cross. I had only just become a believer myself. First I had joined the Baptists, and from there I converted to the Orthodox. I showed everyone how one should make the sign of the Cross. But I tried to do it in such a way that I touched, not my shoulders, but behind my shoulders, almost on my back... From Archangelsk I came to the elder in Minvody. But immediately I stepped over the threshold he asked me:

"'Well, just let me see how you make the sign of the Cross.'

"It was as if he had scalded me with boiling water, but all the sameI showed him in the same way I had shown people in Archangelsk. he shook his head to show me that it was not like that... And he began to show me himself...

"As I was going home, I counted out 34 roubles, 40 kopecks for my ticket, and I wanted to leave him the rest. But he said:

"'But will that be enough for you? Take it, you won't have enough toget there.'

"But I refused point-blank:

"'It's enough for me. What do I need the rest for?'

"But he again said to me:

"'But will it be enough for you?'

However, I was convinced that it would be enough. While the elder continued to suggest that I take more...

"I arrived in Armavir. Our train was late - it was wartime, and the train was not there. And we had to pay extra. But I didn't have a kopeck.

Only then did I understand why the elder had said: 'Take it, you won't have enough to get there.'

"And I understood another thing, that you must never quarrel with an

elder, you will always be wrong..."

The elder foretold the first, 1941 war... He went out to get firewood in a grove with a nun. He had a hatchet in his belt. But in the grove he began to hew down the young saplings at the root. Matushka held him back:

"Batyushka! It's a pity to hew down such a young one!"

But he made his choice and hewed it down. Again she held him back. But he looked at her and said:

"In this way will the Lord soon, very soon, hew down all this is young, strong and atheist to the very root... God will not have pity because they rise up and war against the Lord God..."

And a month later the war broke out... But the elder was talking about another, future war, in comparison with which the past war would not appear to have been a war:

"Do you really think that that was the war (1941-45)?! The war is still to come. It will begin from the east. And then from all sides, like locusts, the enemies will spread over Russia... That will be the war!"

"During that memorable conversation," wrote Schema-Archimandrite Seraphim (Tyapochkin), "a woman from a Siberian town was present. The elder said to her: 'You will receive a martyr's crown from the hands of the Chinese in your town's stadium, where they will drive the Christians who live there and those who do not agree with their rule. This was the reply to her doubts with regard to the words of the elder that practically the whole of Siberia will be captured by the Chinese. The elder told what had been revealed tohim about the future of Russia, he did not name dates, he only emphasized that the time for the accomplishment of his words was in the hands of God, and

much depended on how the spiritual life of the Russian Church would develop, insofar as the strength of faith in God among the Russian people would correspond to the believers' struggles in prayer The elder said that the collapse of Russia, in spite of her apparent strength and the cruelty of the authorities, would take place very quickly. At first the Slavic peoples will be split off, then the Union republics will fall away: the Baltic, Central Asia and Caucasian republics and Moldavia. After this central power in Russia will weaken still more, so that autonomous republics and regions will begin to separate themselves. Then a great collapse will take place: the power of the Centre will cease to be recognized de facto by the autonomous regions, which will try to live independently and will no longer pay any attentionto orders from Moscow. The greatest tragedy will be the seizure of Siberia by China. This will not take place through military means: in consequence ofthe weakening of the authorities and the open frontiers, masses of Chinese will move into Siberia, will snap up property, enterprises and flats. By meansof bribery, intimidation and agreements with the authorities, they will gradually take control of the economic life of the towns. Everything will

take place in such a way that one morning the Russians living in Siberia will wake up in a Chinese state. The destiny of those who remain there will be tragic, but not hopeless. The Chinese will deal cruelly with every attempt at resistance. (That was why the elder prophesied a martyric end in the stadium of the Siberian town for many Orthodox and patriots of the Homeland.) The West will assist this creeping conquest of our land and in every way support the military and economic might of China out of hatred for Russia. But then they will see the danger for themselves, and when the Chinese try to conquer the Urals, this time by military might, and go even further, they

will by all means hinder this and will even be able to help Russia in deflecting the invasion from the East. Russia must stand her ground in this battle; after sufferings and complete impoverishment she will find in herself the strength to recover. And the coming regeneration will begin in the lands conquered by the enemies, in the midst of Russians left in the former republics of the Union. There Russian people will realize what they have lost, will recognize themselves to be citizens of that Fatherland which is still alive, and will want to help her rise from the ashes. Many Russians

living abroad will begin to help the re-establishment of life in Russia Many of those who are able to flee from persecutions will return to the immemorial Russian lands so as to fill up the abandoned villages, till the neglected

fields and use the mineral resources that remain untapped. The Lord will send help, and, in spite of the fact that the country will have lost its main seams of raw materials, they will find the oil and gas without which a contemporary economy cannot work, in Russia. The elder said that the Lord

would permit the loss of huge territories given to Russia because we ourselves were not able to use them worthily, but only spoiled and polluted them But the Lord will leave in Russia's possession those lands which became the cradle of the Russian people and were the base of the Great Russian state. This is the territory of the Great Muscovite Principality of the 16th century with outlets to the Black, Caspian and North seas. Russia will not be rich, but still she will be able to feed herself and force others to reckon with her. To the question: "What will happen to Ukraine and Belorussia?" the elder replied that everything is in the hands of God. Those among those people who are against union with Russia - even if they consider themselves to be believers - will become servants of the devil. The Slavic peoples have one destiny, and the monastic Fathers of the Kiev Caves [Lavra] will yet

utter their weighty word - they together with the choir of the new martyrs of Russia will by their prayers obtain a new Union of the three brother peoples. The posed one more question to him - on the possibility of the restoration of a monarchy in Russia. The elder replied that this restoration must be earned. It exists as a possibility, but not as something pre-determined. If we are worthy, the Russian people will elect a Tsar, but this will become possible before the very enthronement of the Antichrist or even after it - for a very short time."

During the war, the Germans came close to Minvody. Once Fr. Theodosius ran up to the kindergarten and said to the children:

"I'm going to play... Run after me, children!"

The children decided that the old man was going to play with them and ran after him, while their governesses ran to bring them back. But at that moment a shell fell straight into the building of the kindergarten and destroyed. But noone was killed because every had run out after the elder.

A 35-year-old man came to batyushka. He had a fistula in his side, and his rectum had atrophied. Batyushka did not want to receive him, but the man fell weeping and groaning at his feet and begged for help. Then batyushkasat him down at the table, brought him a glass of water with some tadpoles init, put it in front of him and said:

"Make the sign of the cross correctly and drink this. These are your sins."

The man drank everything, and batyushka went into his cell. Having prayed for a long time, he came out with a cross in his hand, made the sign of the cross over the man and gave him the cross to kiss. Immediately the man sat down again, he fell asleep, and when he woke up he pulled up his shirt and sawthat the fistula had gone and there was no sign of any illness. Weeping from joy, he thanked batyushka and gave him some money. But batyushka did not take the money, but said:

"Thank God."

Babushka Euphemia had such violent migraines that she could not workand even had difficulty in walking. Once she was shuffling along the street and the migraine was so painful that even seeing was painful. At that moment an old man came up to her and said:

"What, is your little head hurting?" he asked.

Then, squeezing her head in a crosswise motion, he said:

"Go home, say "Virgin Mother of God, rejoice" three times, make three prostrations, and your head will never hurt again till you die."

She did as he said, and her head stopped hurting. She cheered up, started

moving around, and did her housework.

Once, during the last year of his life, the sergianist priests beganto pressurize Fr. Theodosius. If only he would just go to the Pokrov church and see how everything with them was "in the old style"! And the elder set off, dragging a little sledge behind him. It was winter. He got there with difficulty. And when he was near the church, he slipped, fell and hurt himself badly. They took him covered in blood. In this way the Lord showed this righteous man that even to visit the church of those who recognize Soviet power as being "from God" is not allowed.

The elder knew the day of his death, and he told some people some incomprehensible things. To one of his spiritual daughters he said in astonishment:

"How did you succeed? You've succeeded, you've succeeded!"

And he clasped his hands. And these words remained for the time being a riddle. But after his sudden death, it became clear that he had been speaking about his approaching death, that she would succeed in finding him alive.

Before his death another incomprehensible thing happened. They brought to the door an empty coffin for some corpse. The mistress of the house refused to receive it, because they had no dead person. But on hearing the sound at the door the elder came out of his little two-room dwelling. He saw the coffin and lay in it. It seemed exactly right for him and took it for himself.

And then, on July 21 / August 3, 1948 (according to another source, August 8/21), he suddenly died, at the age, of 108.

He went to the Lord during the night. And no one knew about it. He generally prayed during the night and went to bed towards morning. And for that reason no one paid any attention to the fact that the elder was no longer with them. However, from the morning the cock began to be very disturbed. He jumped on its perch, looked at the elder, and crowed and crowed. What was the matter? They went to the elder. He was dead... But the cat was also disturbed. She mewed mournfully. And when they let her in, she lay down as if dead. And she lay down in the coffin until they took her out. God's creation honoured the memory of the elder as it was able. And the elder loved every creature. He always fed both his own and others' pets and birds of passage.

When asked who would serve his funeral, the elder had replied that the Lord would send someone. And indeed, at the time of his death a wanderer with an angelic countenance appeared. He buried the elder and departed, as mysteriously as he had come.

No Soviet priest was invited to the elder's funeral, and his spiritual children remained faithful members of the Catacomb Church, gathering around Schema-Nun Barbara, who became as it were the superior of the community. In the icon corner there hung a photograph of batyushka, and they used to sing the troparion to St. Theodosius of Chernigov in front of it. When the authorities would inquire what the meeting was for, they would reply: "We're visiting a sick person" After the death of Mother Barbara, they began to meet in the little house of Mother Mariamne.

Even after his death the elder continued to heal the sick, save the perishing and console the sorrowful. People came to his grave to thank him for miraculous help, to take some of the healing earth from his grave, and to read an akathist. They often saw a candle placed on the grave by an unseen hand, and heard the wonderful chanting of the angels.

People would go to the spring which batyushka had dug out with his own hands and lined with stones. A large, many-branched tree had grown next to the spring, covering it as if with outstretched hands. It was so easy and

joyful to go there, pray, remember batyushka and take some of the water, which, through batyushka's prayers, had the property of healing people from all kinds of illnesses.

On April 25, 1995, the Moscow Patriarchate moved the relics of the elder into the church of St. Michael in the village of Krasnij Uzel, and on August 8, 1998 they were transferred to the Pokrov church in Minvody. The MP now

considers Elder Theodosius to have been a saint, hiding the fact that he remained out of communion with it to the day of his death. Much, much more of great interest about this saint is contained in the first of the sources listed below. However, since this is a MP publication, it has been used with caution: greater reliance has made on Catacomb Church sources.

(Sources: Anna Ilyinskaya, Tajna Startsa Feodosiya, Moscow: Pravoslavnij Palomnik, 1997; Fr. Victor Pivovarov, "Ukrali Svyatogo i yego Moshchi", Vertograd-Inform, #6 (51), June, 1999, pp. 37-38; Schemamonk Epiphany (Chernov), Tserkov' Katakombnaya na Zemlye Rossijskoj, and another manuscript; Reader Gregory Mukhortov; Pravoslavnaya Rus', N 11 (1536), June 1/14, 1995, pp. 10-11, 15; "Igumen Feodosy: Memories of Childhood", Orthodox America, vol. XVI, Nos. 7-8 (147-148), March-June, 1997, pp. 18-19; "A Catacomb Elder", Orthodox America, vol. XVII, No. 1 (149), July, 1997, p.13; Fomin, S. & Fomin, T. Rossiya pered Vtorym Prishestviyem, Sergiev Posad, 1998, third edition, pp. 473-474)

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