Saint Isaac (+ 1090), in the world Chern’, was prior to monasticism a rich merchant in the city of Toropets in the Pskov lands. Having distributed all his substance to the poor, he went to Kiev and took monastic vows under the Monk Antonii (Anthony). He led a very strict life in seclusion, eating only a prosphora, and then only at the end of the day. After seven years as an hermit he was subjected to a fierce temptation by the devil. Having mistaken the spirit of evil for Christ, he worshipped him, – after which he fell down terribly crippled. The Monks Antonii and Feodosii (Theodosii) took care of him and nursed him. Only in the third year did he begin to walk and to speak, and be present in church. Upon his return to health he took upon himself the exploit of holy fool, enduring beatings, nakedness and cold. Before death he again went into seclusion, where again he was subjected to an onslaught of demons, from which he was delivered by the sign of the cross and by prayer. After his healing he spent about 20 years in ascetic deeds. He died in about the year 1090. His relics are in the Caves of the Monk Antonii, and part of them were transferred to Toropets by the hegumen of the Kudin monastery in the year 1711. The Vita of the Monk Isaakii was recorded by the Monk Nestor in the chronicles (under the year 1074). The account in the Kievo-Pechersk Paterikon differs somewhat from that of Nestor. In the Great Cheti-Minei under 27 April is the “Account about the Monk Isaakii, and his deceiving by the devil”.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.