- Avraamii of Smolensk
Born wealthy and orphaned young. When he was old enough to choose for himself, he gave away his fortune, and became a monk at the Bogoroditskaya monastery. Bible scholar, priest, and noted preacher. A stern and forceful man, his sermons concerned the Day of Judgement, and he lived his life as though he were about to be judged. He was very popular among the laity, gentle and ever concerned with the sick, the abused, and the troubled. However, it was a different matter among the clergy, many of whom were openly jealous or hostile toward him, and with the wealthy laity who opposed his teaching on poverty, an austere life, and the emptiness of worldly wealth. His abbot was pressured by local authorities, and he ordered Abraham to stop preaching.
To escape the disturbance, Abraham withdrew from the monastery, and joined the monks of the Holy Cross. He made no friends there, either, and in order to silence him some of his critics brought charges of moral and theological errors, heresy and immorality against him. He was acquitted in his first trial, so he was tried again. When he was acquitted again, he was ordered back to the Bogoroditskaya monastery, stripped of his priestly functions, and for five years he lived under a cloud of suspicion and disciplinary orders.
During a time of drought, the people demanded that he be reinstated as the hard times made them crave the intervention of an obviously holy man; the bishop re-opened his investigation, and this time Abraham was cleared of all charges. Legend says that Abraham then prayed for the city, and had not even returned to his cell in the monastery before it started to rain.
Appointed abbot of the small, impoverished Mother of God monastery in Smolensk, he lived the rest of his life in quiet prayer, supervising his house and receiving visitors, but declining to preach for fear of causing dissension in the faithful. His biography was written by one of his brother monks, and has survived to today.
- Book of Saints, by the Monks of Ramsgate
- Dictionary of Saints, by John Delaney
- Our Sunday Visitor’s Encyclopedia of Saints