Arsenius of Tver

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Our father among the saints Arsenius, Bishop of Tver was able to end the discord that had enveloped the principality of Tver. During his episcopacy he was able to restore and build a number of cathedrals.

Life

Arsenius was born at Tver, and in his early years received monastic tonsure in the Kiev Caves monastery. Even among the monks of this ancient monastery, distinguished for their piety, Arsenius was noted for his saintly life as well as for his strictness in keeping his monastic vows, his knowledge of the Church typikon, his study of Holy Scripture, and his love for work. Under Metropolitan Cyprian of Kiev (1380-1382) he served as archdeacon, and when the Metropolitan was absent, he governed the administration of the Kiev metropolitanate.

On July 3, 1390 he went with Metropolitan Cyprian to Tver, where at the request of Prince Micjae of Tver, a Council of Russian and Greek hierarchs had been convened to pass judgment upon Bishop Euthymius of Tver. The prince and the bishop were involved in a lengthy dispute, and many of the people of Tver made serious accusations against the bishop. After unsuccessful attempts to restore peace to the Tver church, Metropolitan Cyprian deposed Euthymius as bishop and sent him off to Moscow to the Chudov Monastery. Arsenius was appointed to the Tver cathedra, but he was both troubled and afraid to accept this position, in view of the great enmity and spite in that place. Upon the return of Metropolitan Cyprian and archdeacon Arsenius to Moscow, the Prince sent his nobles to the Metropolitan with a petition to consecrate Arsenius as Bishop of Tver. This time Arsenius also refused. In the words of the chronicle for the year 1390 "even at the Metropolitan's entreaty, Archdeacon Arsenius would not go to Tver." After threatening Arsenius with suspension, the Metropolitan and the Prince finally got him to agree to accept episcopal consecration, which took place on August 15, 1390. Among the bishops taking part in the laying on of hands was St Stephen, Bishop of Perm.

Bishop Arsenius, as a man of great prayer and peacemaker, was able to end much of the discord in the Tver principality. During his episcopacy, from 1390 to 1409, cathedrals were built and consecrated in honor of the Archangel Michael at Staritsa and Mikulina, and the Savior-Transfiguration cathedral was restored with the construction of a cathedral belltower. The saint founded the Zheltikov monastery on the river Tmaka near Tver, where a church was built in honor of Ss Anthony and Theodosius of the Kiev Caves, and a stone Dormition cathedral. Desiring that the monks of this new monastery would always be edified by the asceticism of the Fathers of the Caves, St Arsenius gave orders to compile a list from the Kiev Caves Paterikon, using the most ancient manuscripts of this precious memorial of Russian literature. This compilation was known as the Arseniev Redaction. The saint died on March 2, 1409 and was buried in the Zheltikov monastery of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos, which he founded. In 1483 his relics were found incorrupt and were placed in the monastery cathedral. In the same year hieromonk Theodosius composed a Life and a Canon in honor of the holy bishop.

At a Council of 1547 St Arsenius' commemoration was established throughout all the Church. He is commemorated by the church on March 2.


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