Antony and his successor, Theodosius, are credited with being the founders of Russian monasticism. The monastery they founded in Kiev was not the first monastery in Russia, but it was the first established by Russians for Russians.
Saint Antony, born in the Ukraine, was a hermit at Mount Athos around 1028 when his abbot sent him back to Russia where he built a hermitage at Kiev on the Dnieper River. His wisdom and holiness attracted followers and eventually the Caves of Kiev were built on land granted by Prince Syaslav. Antony established another monastery at Chernigov but returned to his cave at Kiev and lived there for the rest of his life.
Antony’s work was continued by Theodosius, the son of well-to-do parents, who had become a monk at the Caves of Kiev in 1032. When he became abbot, he replaced Antony’s austere way of monastic life with a more moderate approach and stressed the need for corporal works of mercy as well as prayer and mortification. He expanded the monastery, adding a hospital and hostel, and the Caves of Kiev eventually developed into a great monastery.
Other Saints We Remember Today
The 7 Holy Brothers (2nd Century) and Saints Rufina and Secunda (257), Martyrs
St. Ulric (973), Bishop of Augsburg
photo via Wikimedia Commons