Torzhok, Russia, July 22, 2019
St. Ephraim (right) and St. Arkady (left) of Novy Torg. Photo: dmdonskoy.ru A great spiritual event occurred this weekend as the relics of an ancient Russian St. were returned to the Church after being discovered in a museum in the Tver Province.
The governor of the Tver Province, Igor Rudenya, gave the relics of St. Arkady of Novy Torg, an 11th-century ascetic, to the Church on Sunday during the visit of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia to the town of Torzhok. The relics will be housed in the local Monastery of Sts. Boris and Gleb—the oldest monastery in Russia, reports TASS.
St. Arkady founded Sts. Boris and Gleb together with his spiritual father St. Ephraim of Novy Torg. He is considered one of the patron saints of the town, first mentioned under the name of Novy Torg in a 12th-century chronicle.
Pat. Kirill celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the monastery on Sunday. The service was attended by a number of clergy and several thousand believers, including Rudenya.
“These relics were found in a reliquary in the museum, when, unfortunately, everything ecclesiastical was seized and given to museums of atheism in the 1930s. But thanks to the efforts of the museum workers, they were found, and today, with your blessing, we would like to transfer these sacred relics,” said Gov. Rudenya, noting that the relics are invaluable not only for the Torzhok, but for the entire Tver Province.
“Today we, the secular authorities, are making every effort not only to develop the Tver Province, but also to preserve its spiritual roots,” the Governor also said during his meeting with the Patriarch.
St. Arkady of Vyazma and Novy Torg was from the city of Vyazma of pious parents, who from childhood taught him prayer and obedience. The gentle, perceptive, prudent and good youth chose for his ascetic feat of being a fool-for-Christ. He lived by alms, and slept wherever he found himself, whether in the forest, or on the church portico.
His blessed serenity and closeness to nature imparted to the figure of young Arkady a peculiar spiritual aspect and aloofness from worldly vanity. In church, when absorbed in prayer, St. Arkady often wept tears of tenderness and spiritual joy. Though he seldom spoke, his advice was always good, and his predictions were fulfilled.
An experienced guide, St. Ephraim the Wonderworker of Novy Torg (January 28), helped the young ascetic to avoid spiritual dangers while passing through the difficult and unusual exploit of foolishness. After this the people of Vyazma witnessed several miracles, worked through the prayers of Blessed Arkady, but the saint fled human fame and traveled along the upper Tvertsa River. Here St. Arkady shared the work with his spiritual guide St. Ephraim, and with him founded a church and monastery in honor of the holy Passion-Bearers Boris and Gleb (May 2).
Entering into the newly-built monastery, St. Arkady became a monk and took upon himself the exploit of full obedience to his spiritual Father, St. Ephraim. St. Arkady never missed Liturgy and he was always the first to appear for Matins together with his spiritual guide. After St. Ephraim’s repose (January 28, 1053), St. Arkady continued to pursue asceticism in accord with the last wishes of his Elder, dwelling in prayer, fasting and silence. After several years, he also fell asleep in the Lord (December 13, 1077).
In 1594, a chapel dedicated to St. Arkady was built in one of the churches of Vyazma. A combined celebration of Sts. Arkady and Ephraim was established by Metropolitan Dionysius in the years 1584-1587. The relics of St. Arkady, glorified by miracles of healing, were uncovered on June 11, 1572, and on July 11, 1677, they were placed in a stone crypt of Sts. Boris and Gleb cathedral in the city of Novy Torg (New Market). In 1841, the left side chapel of Sts. Boris and Gleb cathedral church was dedicated in honor of St. Arkady. The solemn celebration of the 300th anniversary of the uncovering of the holy relics of St. Arkady took place in the city of Novy Torg in July of 1977. He is also commemorated on August 14 and June 11 (Transfer of his relics).
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