St. Damian the Healer


SEPTEMBER 28  (Synaxis of the Venerable Fathers of the Kiev Near Caves)
2nd SUNDAY OF GREAT LENT  (Synaxis of all the Monastic Fathers of the Kiev Caves)

The most worthy monk Damian (+1071), who remembered the Baptism of Rus (in 988), lived in the holy Caves Monastery during the abbotship of St. Theodosius.  In everything, he imitated the angelic life of his instructor, and struggled in all virtues, excelling in humility and obedience, St. Damian amazed everyone by his meekness and submission.  The saint was diligent in vigilance, the reading of the Holy Scriptures and in all asceticism.  It was said that he was a man of great restraint, and up to the day of his repose ate nothing but bread and water.

For all this, the Lord God made Damian worthy of the gift of healing and wonderworking, for whenever any ill person was brought or came to the monastery and appealed for help to Saint Theodosius, the abbot ordered the righteous Damian to pray over the ill person.  With humility and submissiveness, he said the unction prayers over the sick person, anointing him with holy oil and, by God’s Grace, everyone received healing and went away healthy.

The righteous Damian lived for many years, struggling in God-pleasing monastic toils.  When he fell into illness and felt the approach of the end of his temporary life, he prayed to God with tears, asking that he might be made worthy to be a partaker of the glory of the saints.  He begged God that, in His Kingdom, he would not be separated from his teacher, St. Theodosius, but would be numbered with him.

As he was praying, suddenly, there appeared near his bed, an angel in the form of St. Theodosius, bending over Saint Damian and saying: “My child, your prayer has been heard by the Lord. He has sent me to assure you of the fulfillment of your request.   I will not be separated from you in that world which has been prepared.”

Having said this, the angel became invisible.  St. Damian understood that he had had a vision from God, for he did not see the one who spoke to him enter or leave through the door, but rather he became invisible on the very spot where he had become visible.  After this, he called for St. Theodosius, beseeching him to come.  When the saint arrived, St. Damian joyfully said to him, “Father! Will it be as you promised when you appeared to me today?”

The saint, knowing nothing about this replied, “I do not know, child, what promise you are speaking about.”

Then Damian informed the abbot about his prayer and the wondrous appearance.  When he heard this, the God-inspired Theodosius praised God and, weeping, said to the blessed one, “Oh, child! It will be as it was promised to you, for God’s angel appeared to you in my form.  I am sinful and how can I promise you the glory which is prepared by God for the righteous?”

When St. Damian heard this, he was rejoiced in spirit and affirmed in hope.  He called for all the brethren, kissed everyone and, in good confession, peacefully gave up his soul into the hands of the Lord.  St. Damian’s face lighted up, showing a joyful separation of his soul from its body.  At this, St. Theodosius ordered the semandron (toaca) to be sounded so that the whole brotherhood would be gathered.  His relics were carried to the caves with honor and chanting.

The relic was given as a gift to the parish by His Grace, Bishop Irineu on Sunday, January 15, 2006.

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