July 24, 2023

Miracles of the Holy Martyrs Boris and Gleb, in Baptism Known as Roman and David

Miracles of the Holy Martyrs Boris and Gleb, 
in Baptism Known as Roman and David
“All things are full of weariness; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing,” (Ecclesiastes 1:8) said the Preacher. Thus, our understanding is unable to state, nor can the tongue express, nor words relate, the miracles of the holy martyrs, inasmuch as they received a reward for their labors directly from the Lord as sons and companions of God. And as John the Theologian said: “But as many of them as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God” (John 1:12). And David said: “To the saints that are in His earth, the Lord manifests all His will among them”; and again, “God is wondrous among His saints; He alone does wonders”. And the venerable John of Damascus wrote as follows about such men in his book called Faith:

“Men such as these are alive even after death, and stand before the Lord. The Lord Christ will give to us through their relics the wellsprings to our salvation, drawing fragrant myrrh from their martyred bodies.” And also: “Those who believe in God and in the hope of the resurrection we call not dead, for dead flesh, O Lord, can work miracles.” For demons are exorcised by them, diseases are driven out, infirmities expelled, the blind given sight, lepers cleansed, and injury and sorrow ended. Every good thing given by the Father of Light through them shall come to those who ask with faith and without doubt. How much labor will it cost you to find a defender to come before a mortal emperor and to speak on your behalf, or other kinds of protectors who would also render prayers to God for us!

Therefore, is it not fitting for us who pay homage to honor the names of all those who bore fruit for the Church and for God, to revere their memories and to rejoice spiritually? We celebrate those whom God glorified with abundant grace and miracles, like these two martyrs in this country, the land of Rus'. And as many did not know that in Vyšegorod lay the holy martyrs Roman and David, Christ’s holy martyrs, the Lord did not allow such a treasure to be concealed in the earth. For in the place where they lay a standing pillar of fire was sometimes seen, and sometimes the singing of angels was heard. And upon hearing and seeing this, the faithful marveled and glorified God, and came to worship in that place. And many foreigners came from other lands, and some hearing these things believed, while others did not believe but thought it a lie. Verily, it is as the Apostle said of the Cross: “To them that perish by disbelief it is foolishness, but unto us which are saved by faith it is the power of God” (I Corinthians 1:18). And the Lord said in the holy Gospels: “Whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder” (Matthew 21:44) (Luke 20:18). And, “whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed” (Romans 10:11).

Once Varangians came close to the place where the saints lay buried beneath the ground. And as one of them passed by, at that instant fire issued from the grave and set his legs afire. Leaping up he began to scream, showing his burned and scorched legs to his retinue. And thenceforth they dared not approach closely, but bowed down in fear. A few days after this the Church of Saint Basil, near which the saints lay, caught fire. People flocked to the sight and, as the church was burning from the top down, they carried out all the icons and chalices, and nothing was consumed save the church itself. Jaroslav was told of this. And he summoned the Metropolitan John and told him everything concerning the holy martyrs, his brothers. And he was in great fear, and in doubt, and then filled with courage and joy in God. And upon departing from the Prince, he gathered the clergy and the entire priesthood and commanded them to go to Vyšegorod with crosses. And they came to the place where the saints lay. Prince Jaroslav was also with them. And they erected a small cell in the place where the church had burned down. The Archbishop arrived with crosses and arranged the evening service in that cell.

On the Disinterment of the Saints
The day arrived when the Archbishop came with crosses to the place where the venerable bodies of the saints lay. Upon offering a prayer, he ordered that the earth over the grave of the saints be removed. Then those digging noticed a fragrant aroma issuing from the grave of the holy ones. After removing the earth, they took them out of the ground. And the Metropolitan John came forward with presbyters, and with fear and love he opened the coffins of the saints. They saw a most glorious miracle: the bodies of the saints were not corrupted but were entirely whole; and their faces were as radiant as those of angels. So the Archbishop was greatly amazed, and an abundant fragrance filled all the people. And they carried them into the shelter which had been placed on the site of the burned-out church, and placed them above the ground, on the right side of the place.

The First Miracle: About the Lame Boy

There was a man, Mironegby name, who was a townsman of Vyšegorod. He had a boy whose leg was withered and bent, and he could not walk on it or feel it in the least. But, having attached a wooden peg beneath it, he could walk after a fashion. And he came to the saints, fell at their coffins and prayed to God, begging for healing from the saints. And he remained day and night, praying in tears. And one night the holy martyrs Roman and David appeared to him and said: “Why do you cry out to us?” Then he showed his leg and begged for healing. And they took the withered leg and made the sign of the cross over it three times. When he awoke from his sleep, he found himself healthy and he jumped up, praising God and the saints, and explaining to the people how they had healed him. And he said that with them he had seen George, Saint Boris’ servant, walking with them and carrying a candle. And upon seeing this miracle, the people praised God for that which had come to pass and for the son of the townsman Mironeg.

The Second Miracle: About the Blind Man

A certain man was blind. And he came, fell down at the graves of the saints, kissed them lovingly, touching his eyes to them, and begged for healing. And immediately he received his sight. And all the people praised God and the holy martyrs. Then Mironegby told the Prince about the miracles. Upon hearing this, Prince Jaroslav praised God and the holy martyrs; he then summoned the Metropolitan and joyfully told him. Hearing this, the Archbishop lifted his praise to the Lord, and gave the Prince good and pious counsel, that he should build a church of surpassing beauty and holiness. The advice pleased the Prince, and he erected a great church with five cupolas, decorated throughout with frescos, and he adorned it with all manner of finery. And the Metropolitan John and Prince Jaroslav, and the entire clergy and the people came with crosses, and they translated the saints and consecrated the church. And they established the twenty-fourth of the month of July as a feast day for celebration. It is the day on which the most blessed Boris was slain; and on that very day the church was consecrated and the saints were translated.

The Third Miracle: About the Lame Man

While the Prince and the Metropolitan were still in the church for the holy liturgy, there was a lame man there. He had come, dragging himself with great difficulty. And he came into the church and prayed to God and the saints. And immediately his legs were strengthened by the grace of God and the prayers of the saints, and he arose and walked in the presence of all. Now pious Prince Jaroslav himself saw the miracle, as did the Metropolitan and all the people; and they lifted their praise to God and the holy martyrs. After the liturgy, the Prince hosted everyone at dinner, the Metropolitan as well as the presbyters. And they celebrated the holiday and, as was fitting, he distributed many of his possessions to the poor, to orphans, and to widows. After these events Jaroslav passed away, having lived a good thirty-eight years after the death of his father. He left the heirs of his father and the successors to the throne, his sons Izjaslav, Svjatoslav, and Vsevolod, having established them as was proper: Izjaslav the eldest in Kiev, but Syjatoslav in Černigov, Vsevolod in Perejaslavl’, and the others in different districts. And after twenty years had passed, the church became dilapidated, and Izjaslav made plans to erect a new church to the holy martyrs with a single cupola.

On the Translation of the Holy Martyrs

This came to pass at the time of the translation of the holy martyrs Roman and David. And when all the brothers had gathered, Izjaslav, Svjatoslav, and Vsevolod, the Metropolitan George of Kiev and another, Neofit of Černigov, and the bishops Peter of Perejaslavl’, Nikita of Belogorod, and Michael of Gurgev, and the hegumens Theodosius of the Cave Monastery, Sofonia of Saint Michael’s, and German of the Holy Savior, and all the other hegumens arranged a solemn holiday. And having first raised Saint Boris in his wooden coffin, the princes raised the coffin to their shoulders, and preceded by venerable monks with candles, and after them deacons, and then presbyters, and after them the metropolitans and bishops, they followed after them with the coffin. They carried it into the church and set it down. Upon opening the coffin, the church was filled with a fragrance and an aroma most wonderful, and all who saw this praised God. But terror overcame the Metropolitan, for he did not firmly believe in the saints, and he prostrated himself to beg forgiveness. Kissing the relics, they put them in a stone coffin. Afterwards, having raised Gleb in a stone coffin and placing him on a sledge, they began in this way to move him. And when they were in the doorway, the coffin would not move from that spot; and they commanded the people to cry out, “Lord, have mercy!” And they prayed to the Lord and the saints, and immediately they moved him. And they kissed the head of Saint Boris and the hand of Saint Gleb. Taking his hand, the Metropolitan George blessed the princes Izjaslav and Vsevolod. And again Svjatoslav took the hand of the Metropolitan and, while holding the hand of the saint, pressed it to his injury, for he had pain in his neck, and to his eyes, and to his forehead, and then placed the hand back into the coffin. Then they began to celebrate the holy liturgy. Now Svjatoslav said to B’rn, “Something is piercing my head.” And B’rn removed the Prince’s cap and saw the saint’s fingernail. He removed it from his head and gave it to Svjatoslav. And he praised God for the good gift from the saints. After the liturgy, all the brothers and everyone else dined together and celebrated the solemn holiday. And they arranged much in the way of alms for the poor, kissed one another, and parted peacefully, each to his own. And from then on this holiday was established on the twentieth day of the month of May, to the glory and honor of the holy martyrs, through the grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

The Fourth Miracle: About the Lame and Mute Man

There was a certain man who was lame and mute, and whose leg had been cut off at the knee. Making a wooden peg, he walked on it out of necessity. And he remained at the saints’ church with other beggars, receiving from Christians according to his need, as someone would always give him something: this one clothes, and that one whatever he wanted. And there was a man in Vyšegorod, the town elder, whose secular name was Z’dan but who was called Nicholas in Baptism. Throughout the entire year he observed the holiday of Saint Nicholas. On one of those days the following happened to him. The beggars went there, and the lame man also went, hoping to recieve something. And having entered the yard, he was sitting in front of the house. However, it happened that they gave him neither to eat nor to drink, and he remained hungry and thirsty. And all of a sudden he was in a trance and saw a vision. And it seemed to him, sitting in mind by the church of the saints, that he saw the holy martyrs Boris and Gleb apparently emerging from the altar and coming toward him. He was terrified and prostrated himself. And the saints took him by the hand, and it was as though they had seated him and begun speaking about his healing. And then they made the sign of the cross over his mouth, and took his lame leg, and seemingly anointing it with ointment, they stretched out his knee. And the ailing one saw all this as though in a dream, for he had prostrated himself in that yard. The people who saw him prostrated so turned him this way and that. But he lay as if dead, unable to move either his mouth or his eyes; but his soul was within him, and his heart was clamoring. And everyone thought that he was possessed of a demon. Lifting him up and carrying him, they laid him before the doors of the church of the saints. And many people stood near him, watching and marveling. And a glorious miracle was to be seen, as a small leg, like a young child’s, appeared from his knee and began to grow until it was like his other one, not over a long time but in a single hour. Upon seeing this, those who were there praised God and His virtuous men and martyrs Roman and David. And together with the prophet they cried out, saying: “Who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord, and shew forth all His praises?” (Psalm 106:2) And again: “God is wondrous among His saints; He alone does wonders.”

The Fifth Miracle: About the Woman with the Withered Hand

There was a woman in the city of Dorogobuž, a servant, who knowingly did something on Saint Nicholas day at the command of her mistress. And suddenly the holy martyrs appeared to her, stopped her, and said to her: “Why are you doing such a thing on Saint Nicholas day? Now we shall have to punish you.” And having said this, they destroyed that house and caused the woman to be as one dead. She lay for a month, unable to do anything; and when she rose she was weak and her hand was withered. She remained that way, unable to work or to serve her mistress. Upon seeing her that way, her mistress drove her away, but enslaved her boy who was freeborn. However, those sitting in judgment did not permit the boy to be enslaved, and ordered her mistress stripped of mat payment. And they deemed them worthy of freedom, because she had received punishment after being forced to do something. And after three years had passed, the woman with the withered hand heard about a man whose arms and legs were bent, and how he had received forgiveness at the church of the holy martyrs, Roman and David. And she arose and went to Vyšegorod. She arrived on the Sabbath day -it was also the Vigil of the Holy Mother of God— and notified Lazor, who was the Presbyter of the clerics of that church. He commanded her to remain at the church overnight. And the following morning, the woman with the withered hand came up to those who were walking with crosses toward the icon of the Holy Mother of God, [97] and related her dream to Lazor in this way. “Last night, while I was sitting in the church, two handsome youths came and said to me: ‘Who seated you here?’ And I answered: ‘The priest Lazor commanded me.’ He said, ‘Sit down here, perhaps God and the prayers of the holy martyrs will heal you.’ When I said this, the elder of the two immediately took a ring from his hand, gave it to me, and said: ‘Place this on your hand and cross yourself, and you hand will be healed.’” Upon hearing this, Lazor commanded her to stand by the church doors for the liturgy so that when they finished, they would make a prayer for her and anoint her hand with wood oil. And they began to celebrate the liturgy; and when they had finished chanting, “O Holy God,” and after the chanter had performed the chant to the Mother of God and the prokymen, “My soul shall be joyful in the Lord,” the woman with the withered hand suddenly ran toward the altar, her hand trembling and shaking. And all the people and clerics who saw this thought her possessed, and drew her to the graves of the saints. Lazor saw her and, upon recognizing her, was frightened. And immediately her hand was whole. And all those who saw that praised God for this miracle, and marveled at God’s rapid ministration, and at the power of Christ’s holy martyrs.

The Sixth Miracle of the Holy Martyrs Roman and David and Saint George: About the Blind Man

Once there was a blind man somewhere in the city. And having gone to the Church of Saint George, he prayed to Saint George and begged that he might see. And the following happened to him. One night, while he was sleeping, the holy martyr George appeared to him, saying: “Man, why do you cry out to me so? If you need your sight returned, I say to you, go to the holy martyrs Boris and Gleb, and they, if they wish, will be able to give you the sight which you need. Grace has been given them by God to forgive and heal all suffering and infirmity in this country, the land of Rus’.” And after he had seen and heard this, and had awakened from his sleep, he set off, as he had been commanded. Upon arriving, he remained in the church of the holy martyrs several days, worshiping and praying to the saints until he was shown mercy: and he gained his sight. And he was able to see and praised God and the holy martyrs, for he had received health. And he announced before all that he had seen them as the holy martyrs had come to him, made the sign of the cross over his eyes three times, and immediately his eyes opened. And everyone thanked and praised God for all those glorious and most wondrous and ineffable miracles, which were wrought by the saints. For it is written: “He will fulfill the desire of them that fear Him; and He also will hear their cry.” And again: “He shall give all their desires” (Psalm 145:19). And after these things, the miracles of the saints continued spreading and blessings were multiplied; as it is written in the Holy Gospels: “The entire world cannot contain that which should be written.”


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