Our righteous Father Sergius was born in Rostov, north of Moscow, about the year 1314. Named Bartholomew in Baptism, he was brought up in Radonezh, and at the death of his parents he withdrew to the wilderness to become a monk. It is notable that without having been trained in a monastery, he was of such a spiritual stature as to be able to take up the perilous eremitical life from the beginning, without falling into delusion or despondency. When he had endured with courage the deprivations of the solitary life, other monks began to come to him, for whom he was made abbot against his will. On the counsel of Philotheus, Patriarch of Constantinople, he organized his monks according to the cenobitic life, appointing duties to each. While Anthony and Theodosius of Kiev, and the other righteous Fathers before Sergius, had established their monasteries near to cities, Sergius was the leader and light of those who went far into the wilderness, and after his example the untrodden forests of northern Russia were settled with monks. When Grand Duke Demetrius Donskoy was about to go to battle against the invading Tartars, he first sought the blessing of Saint Sergius, through whose prayers he was triumphant. Saint Sergius was adorned with the highest virtues of Christ-like humility and burning love for God and neighbour, and received the gift of working wonders, of casting out demons, and of discretion for leading souls to salvation. When he served the Divine Liturgy, an Angel served with him visibly; he was also vouchsafed the visitation of the most holy Theotokos with the Apostles Peter and John. He was gathered to his Fathers on September 25, 1392. At the recovery of his holy relics on July 5, 1422, his body and garments were found fragrant and incorrupt. His life was written by the monks of Epiphanius, who knew him.
Thou didst receive Christ in thy soul from thy youth, O Saint, and above all didst desire to be quit of the turmoil of the world. Thou didst courageously settle in the wilds, and there thou didst raise children of obedience, fruits of humility. Thus, as an abode of the Trinity, thou didst enlighten with thy miracles all who came to thee with faith, and didst grant healings abundantly to all. O our Father Sergius, pray to Christ our God that He save our souls.
Having risen from the earth, thou didst shine today like the sun; for thy precious and incorrupt relics were found like a fragrant flower, shining with a multitude of miracles, and pouring various healings on all the faithful, and gladdening thy chosen flock, which thou didst gather so wisely and tend so well. And now as thou standest in the presence of the Trinity, pray for them and for all Orthodox Christians to be granted victory over their enemies, that we all may cry to thee: Rejoice, O divinely wise Sergius.
Reading courtesy of Holy Transfiguration Monastery
Apolytikion courtesy of Holy Transfiguration Monastery
Kontakion courtesy of Holy Transfiguration Monastery