Saint Philip of Moscow

[drawing of Saint Philip]
Also known as
Theodore Kolyshov
Memorial
9 January
3 July
5 October
Profile
Born to a wealthy, noble family. His father held a post in the court of Basil III, and was the guardian of Grand Duke Yuri. His pious mother founded a convent, and became a nun when she was widowed. Theodore served briefly as a soldier in his youth, but had no interest in the family tradition of civil service. Hiding his noble connections, he became a monk at Solovetsk in 1537, taking the name Philip.

Wood cutter for his house, and a baker's apprentice. He tooks his final vows in 1538, and then withdrew to live several years as a hermit in the woods nearby, spending his days in solitary study and prayer. Recalled to his house, he was unanimously chosen as abbot in 1547. He rebuilt parts of the monastery, it that had burned, replacing wooden structures with brick from the brickworks he constructed. He became an agricultural engineer, devising a new system of irrigation for his monastic house. He set up windmills for power, built a wharf, hospital, and housing for pilgrims. He introduced herds of reindeer to the monastery lands, and the monks were trained to use the hides to make better clothing and shoes. He even built two great cathedrals on their property, all the while making his monastery a renowned center for learning and piety. He saw to the proper treatment for the laity who worked on the property, and insured the right of grievance for the peasants of the region, a largesse nearly unheard in the aristocratic society. Attended a Council in Moscow in 1550 that strengthened clerical discipline.

Metropolitan of Moscow and primate of the Russian Church on 25 July 1566. When Tsar Ivan IV, who considered Philip's treatment of the peasants to be "meddling" in domestic policy, massacred political opponents, and anyone who happened to be nearby at the time, Philip privately explained the horror and error of the act; Ivan did not appreciate it. A few months later, when the tsar attended Mass at the Moscow cathedral while the slaughter continued, Philip spoke out openly against his acts. Soon after, Ivan had Philip removed from office on the ridiculous charges of sorcery and corruption. Philip was arrested, bound in chains, and shuttled from one prison to another for months before finally being murdered by an agent of the tsar.
Born
1507 in Moscow, Russia as Theodore Kolyshov
Died
smothered with a cushion on 23 December 1569 at the Otrosh monastery, Tver, Russia; incorrupt relics translated to Solovki in 1590; relics transferred to the Dormition cathedral in the Kremlin, Moscow in 1652 by order of Tsar Alexis Michailovich
Name Meaning
lover of horses (Philip)
Canonized
1636 by the Russian Orthodox Church
Additional Information
Holy Protection Russian Orthodox Church
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Readings
At this altar we are offering a pure and bloodless sacrifice for men's salvation. Outside this holy temple the blood of innocent Christians is being shed. God rejects him who does not love his neighbor. I have to tell you this though I die for it.

-Saint Philip during Tsar Ivan's persecution of political opponents
If I do not bear witness to the truth, I render myself unworthy of my office as a bishop. If I bow to menís will, what shall I find to answer Christ on the day of the Judgment?

- Saint Philip to Tsar Ivan IV

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