Sts. Antony and Theodosius (Feast: July 10)
This is the story of two men who collaborated with Divine Providence to found monasteries, and who exerted a great influence in medieval Ukraine.
Antony was born in 983 in Lubech near Chernigov and at first tried to be a hermit after the Egyptian model.
He soon realized that he needed training in this life as in anything else and went to the famous monastery in Mt. Athos. Later, leaving Mt. Athos he ultimately set up his abode in a cave on a wooded cliff near the river Dnieper in Kiev.
There he was joined by many who began a community in nearby caves. Given land by Prince Syaslav, the monks built a wooden monastery and church dedicated to the Dormition of Mary. Handing over the direction of the community to one Barlaam, Antony went on to found another monastery in Chernigov.
One of Antony’s early disciples was Theodosius Pechersky of an influential and wealthy family. In his youth he had maddened his kinsmen by choosing to work in the fields; he later joined the religious community of St. Antony.
Succeeding Barlaam as abbot, Theodosius was the real organizer of the community. Finding the original cave monastery “narrow and depressing” he proceeded to enlarge the buildings. Feeling called not only to maintain a rule of monasticism but also to reach out to society, he founded a hospital for the sick, a hostel for travelers, and every Saturday sent a cartload of food to the city jails. Theodore’s emphasis was prayer, mortification, but also the works of mercy.
Theodosius sought to balance the contemplative and the active ways of perfection, seeking to harmonize the needs of men as they are with the call to bring about the Kingdom of God on earth.
Ultimately, through their monasteries, Sts. Anthony and Theodosius greatly influenced the life of the Ukraine.
Both St. Antony the founder and St. Theodosius the developer, St. Antony the inspirer and St. Theodosius the promoter, seem to have died close in time to each other, the first in 1073 and the second in 1074.
DAILY QUOTE for April 8, 2020
SAINT OF THE DAY
St. Julie Billiart
He hung on a cross that day, writhing in pain and discomfort, the infamous highwayman.