Pendant. Saint Sergiy Radonezhsky
|Dimensions||3.3 × 4 cm|
Pendant. Saint Sergiy Radonezhsky in silver oklad
Venerable Sergius of Radonezh (Russian: Се́ргий Ра́донежский, Sergii Radonezhsky; 14 May 1314 – 25 September 1392), also transliterated as Sergey Radonezhsky or Serge of Radonezh, was a spiritual leader and monastic reformer of medieval Russia.
Together with Venerable Seraphim of Sarov, he is one of the Russian Orthodox Church’s most highly venerated saints. His medieval biography states that he was born to Kiril and Maria, a boyar family, near Rostov the Great, where Varnitsy Monastery now stands.
Although an intelligent boy, Bartholomew had great difficulty learning to read. His biography states that a starets (spiritual elder) met him one day and gave him a piece of prosphora (holy bread) to eat, and from that day forward he was able to read. Orthodox Christians interpret the incident as being an angelic visitation.
Upon his parents’ death, Bartholomew went to Khotkovo near Moscow, where his older brother Stefan was a monk. He persuaded Stefan to find a more secluded place to live the ascetic life. In the deep forest at Makovets Hill they decided to build a small cell and a church dedicated in honor of the Trinity. Thus started the history of the great Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra.
Bartholomew took monastic vows, taking the name Sergius, and spent more than a year in the forest alone as a hermit. Soon, however, other monks started coming to him and building their own cells. After some time, they persuaded him to become their hegumen, or father superior, and he was ordained to the priesthood. Following his example, all the monks had to live by their own labor. Over time, more and more monks and donations came to this place. Nearby, there appeared a posad, which grew into the town of Sergiev Posad, and other villages.
Sergius died on September 25, 1392, and was glorified (canonized) in 1452. His incorrupt relics were found in 1422 and placed in the new Trinity Cathedral of the lavra which he founded. The church commemorates him on September 25, the day of his death, and on July 5, the day his relics were uncovered.