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Saint Simeon of Verkhotursk.

On September 25th (the 12th according to the old calendar) the Church commemorates the righteous Saint Simeon of Verkhotursk.

St. Simeon came from a noble family, but in order to escape worldly vanity he left his native parts in the beginning of the 17th century and went off beyond the Ural Mountains to far-away Siberia, to a region newly-converted to Christianity, in which only in 1620 was the Tobolsk diocese established. Humbly concealing his noble parentage, he led the life of a pauper who did not have a permanent shelter. He was a good tailor and so, going from village to village, he sewed clothes. He ate at the homes of his customers, being content with very little. Having finished a job, Simeon would leave his hosts while they slept, in order to avoid payment and worldly praise.

His favorite place for prayer was the village of Merkushino in the environs of the city of Verkhoturye in the Perm province, but above all he loved to spend time in solitude among centuries-old cedars and leafy trees. He also engaged in another innocent pastime he fished in the turbulent waters of the Tura River, following the example of the fishermen of Galilee.

St. Simeon of Verkhotursk
St. Simeon of Verkhotursk

Simeon conscientiously attended church services in Merkushino, showing extraordinary obedience, love, and generosity to his neighbors. He always tried to feed other paupers from the fruits of his labors and spoke with many people about divine truths, guiding the various local peoples onto the path of Christian righteousness.

St. Simeon reposed in the Lord peacefully and in anonymity in 1642. He was buried near the church of St. Archangel Michael in which he used to pray. St. Simeons brief but pure life served as a model in the wild region that had just been enlightened by Christianity.

The righteous Simeon was one of those saints of God whose posthumous actions were better known that the events of their temporal life, which were known only to God. The saints relics were found incorruptible and produced a multitude of miracles. St. Simeon not only healed diverse illnesses, but appeared in dreams with stern injunctions to drunkards on sobriety, powerful denunciations to users of offensive language, promised Gods wrath in the form of plague and famine to those who lived uncleanly, and also expelled schismatics.

In 1704 the saints relics were transferred from the village of Merkushino to the Verkhotursk monastery of St. Nicholas, while in Merkushino a stone chapel was erected in 1808 on the site where the honorable relics of the saint had been discovered. At the site of the righteous saints former grave there is now a spring which the faithful come to visit. Pious pilgrims take water from this spring for the blessing of their homes.

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