The venerable Euphimios of Suzdal (the early 14th century – 1404 - 05) was the founder of the cenobitic monastery of the Transfiguration of Christ in Suzdal. He became famous for his austere righteous life and many posthumous miracles.
Life accounts of Euphimius of Suzdal are found in the saint’s hagiography. The earliest known account of his life is a redaction dating from the late 15th to the early 16th century. Rare mentions of his life are also found in chronicles and Joseph Volotsky’s correspondence.
According to the hagiography, the venerable Euphimios of Suzdal was a native of Nizhny Novgorod. He took the tonsure at the Pechersky cenobitic Annunciation Monastery. In the monastery Euphimious lead an ascetic life constantly praying and keeping a strict diet eating as much food as it takes to keep oneself alive. At the request of Grand Prince Boris Konstantinovich of Nizhny Novgorod and Suzdal who wanted to found a cenobitic monastery in Suzdal, the holy hierarch Dyonisius blessed Euphimius to be abbot of the new monastery. The venerable Euphimious obeyed this order against his will as he did not want to part with Dyonisius and set off. During his journey he built a church dedicated to St. Basil the Great and founded the Myachkovski cenobitic monastery of St. Basil.
In Suzdal, the venerable Euphimius in company with Prince Boris Konstantinovch and the bishop of Suzdal went out of town to choose the site for a new monastery. The bishop of Suzdal put a cross on the high bank of the river Kamenka at the city gates. The grand prince dug a pit for the foundation of the church while Euphimius squared three stones and made a stone tomb for himself at the north entrance into the future church. The grand prince donated money on the construction of the stone cathedral church of the Transfiguration of Our Lord, the Church of John the Ladderer with a frater, brethren cells, cellar and bakery and the wooden Church of St. Nicholas with a big frater. The venerable Euphimius was first ordained deacon, later a priest and finally archimandrite. St. Euphimius gave asylum and fed strangers, and secretly gave alms.
According to chronicles, the venerable Euphimius died on April 1, 1404 / 05 (O.S.). The saint was buried near the Cathedral of the Transfiguration of Our Lord. In 1514, during a construction of a new church, St. Euphimius’s relics were discovered and placed in the shrine at the church. The saint was canonized by the Zemsky Sobor in 1549.
In iconography icons the venerable Euphimios of Suzdal is depicted as a middle-aged man with dark grizzy hair or as an old man with gray hair dressed in monastic clothes. One of the earliest surviving images of the saint is the icon of the Mother of God Hodegetria with Selected Saints dating from the last quarter of the 15th century by Dyonisius or a master from his circle from the St. Sergius Trinity Lavra (now located in the State Tretyakov Gallery). The saint was depicted both individually and collectively, among the Suzdal and Nizhny Novgorod saints and wonderworkers such as on the 1792 icon of The Suzdal Wonderworkers Sts. John and Feodor, venerable Euphimius and Euphrosinia praying to the Vladimir icon of the Mother of God from the Vladimir-Suzdal Museum collections. On his individual images from the Spaso-Evfimiev Monastery and, in particular, on the 16th century icon of The Venerable Euphimios of Suzdal from the Vladimir-Suzdal Museum on either side of the saint are medallions depicting the Savior and the Mother of God seated on the heaven, like in the icons of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, which represents a special veneration of the two saints in this monastery.
The venerable Euphimios of Suzdal is commemorated on April 14 (April 1, O.S.), July 17 (July 4, O.S.), July 6 (June 23, O.S.) in the Synaxis of the Vladimir Saints and on July 19 (July 6, O.S.) in the Synaxis of the Radonezh saints.
Zhanna G. Belik,
Ph.D. in Art history, senior research fellow at the Andrei Rublyov Museum, custodian of the tempera painting collection.
Olga E. Savchenko,
research fellow at the Andrei Rublyov Museum.
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