A final exhortation

Nicola Roerik- St Sergi of Radonezh (no date)Nicola Roerich- St Sergi of Radonezh (no date)

The saint lived a number of years, continually chastening himself with fasting, and working unceasingly. He performed many unfathomable miracles, and reached an advanced age, never failing from his place at divine services; the older his body grew, the stronger grew his fervor, in no way weakened by age. He became aware of his approaching end six months before, and assembling the brotherhood, he appointed his dearest disciple to take his place, one perfect in virtue, following his master in all things, small of stature, but in mind a continual blossoming, whose name was Nikon. The saint exhorted him to guide Christ’s flock with patient care and justice. The great ascetic soon began to loose strength and in September was taken seriously ill. Seeing his end, he again assembled his flock and delivered a final exhortation. He made them promise to be steadfast in Orthodoxy and to preserve amity among men; to keep pure in body and soul; to love truth; to avoid all evil and carnal lusts; to be moderate in food and drink; and above all, to be clothed with humility; not to forget to love of their neighbor; to avoid controversy, and on no account to set value on honor and praise in this life, but rather to await reward from God for the joys of heaven and eternal blessings. Having instructed them in many things, he concluded, “I am, by God’s will, about to leave you, and I commit you to Almighty God and the Immaculate Virgin, Mother of God, that they may be to you a Refuge and a Rock of Defense against the snares of your enemies.” As his soul was about to leave his body, he partook of the Sacred Body and Blood, supported in the arms of his disciples and raising his hands to heaven, with a prayer on his lips, he surrendered his holy soul to the Lord, in the year 6900 (1393), September 25, probably at the age of seventy-eight. After his death an ineffable odor flowed from the saint’s body.

The entire brotherhood gathered around him and weeping and sobbing, laid it on the bier the body of him, who in life had been so noble and unresting, and accompanied him with Psalms and funeral orations. The saint’s face, unlike that of other dead, glowed with the life of the living, or as one of God’s’ angles, witnessing to the purity of his soul, and God’s reward for all his labors. His body was laid to rest within the monastery of his own creation. Many were the miracles that took place at his death and after, and are still taking place, giving strength to the weaker members of the community, deliverance from the crafts and wiles of evil spirits, and sight to the blind. The saint had not wish during his life for renown, neither in death, but by God’s Almighty Power he was glorified. Angels were present at his passing into the heavens, opening for him the gates of paradise and leading him towards the longed-for blessings, into the peace of the righteous, the ever-looked-for glory of the Blessed Trinity.

~St Sergius of Radonezh pray unto God for us!