St. Marterius (Martyrius), abbot of Zelenets (Zelenetz) (Tikhvin), Feast 1 March

St. Martyrius (Marterius), abbot of Zelenets (Zelenetz) (Tikhvin), Feast 1 March

St. Martyrius was from Velikiy Luk. At the age of 10 he was orphaned, and was raised by the priest Bogolep. After entering monastic life, he spent seven years under the direction of his spiritual father, in the St. Sergius Monastery in Velikiy Luk. Yearning for solitary struggle, he departed to a desert place about 40 miles from Velikiy Luk, and subsequently even farther, to Zeleniy Island, some 38 miles from New Ladoga. There Martyrius established his cell.

Learning of the ascetic hermit who was engaged in spiritual struggle on the island, other monastics began to come to St. Martyrius. The pious Novgorod boyar Fyodor Syrkov, builder of twelve monasteries, erected a church dedicated to the Annunciation in St. Martyriusís wilderness. Around 1570, Martyrius was ordained a priest, and became abbot of the monastery. In the same year Fyodor Syrkov received a martyrís crown, martyred at the hands of Ivan the Terrible. Commemorating him in prayer, Venerable St. Martyrius patiently endured the deprivations and sorrows of the time.

Once he was made worthy of a vision, about which he wrote: ďI was sleeping in the storeroom of my cell, and in a dream I saw the Most Pure Theotokos as a young maiden . . . The human intellect is incapable of comprehending her beauty, or expressing it in words . . . Her eyes were filled with tears . . . Suddenly, she disappeared . . . With a candle, I approached the Most Pure image of the Hodigitria [Our Lady of the Sign], and understood that the Most Pure Theotokos had truly appeared to me as she is depicted on my cell icon."

St. Martyrius was glorified with the gift of healing. In 1595, in the city of Tver, he healed the son of Tsar Symeon Bekbulatovich, putting on the breast of the dying one the Tikhvin Icon of the Mother of God. One and one-half years before his death, St. Martyrius gave himself over to complete silence. He selected a gravesite, made a coffin for himself, and before it prayed with tears. On March 1, 1603, the venerable one communed of Christís Holy Gifts and presented himself before the Lord. The relics of St. Martyrius rest hidden away in the lower church dedicated to St. John the Theologian in the Holy Trinity Cathedral of the Zelenets Monastery. In the years 1612 and 1613, the monastery was looted and put to the torch by the Swedes. The crypt of the Venerable Saint was re-established by Metropolitan Cornelius, former abbot of the monastery. In retirement there, he wrote the life of the saint and composed a service to this holy worthy one.