Lives of Saints - Hierarch Mithrophanus of Voronezh Christianity - Books
You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery;'                but I tell you that everyone who gazes at a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.                If your right eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it away from you. For it is more profitable for you that one of your members should perish, than for your whole body to be cast into Gehenna.                If your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off, and throw it away from you. For it is more profitable for you that one of your members should perish, than for your whole body to be cast into Gehenna.                'It was also said, 'Whoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorce,'                but I tell you that whoever puts away his wife, except for the cause of sexual immorality, makes her an adulteress; and whoever marries her when she is put away commits adultery.                'Again you have heard that it was said to them of old time, 'You shall not make false vows, but shall perform to the Lord your vows,'                but I tell you, don't swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is the throne of God;                nor by the earth, for it is the footstool of his feet; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.                Neither shall you swear by your head, for you can't make one hair white or black.                But let your 'Yes' be 'Yes' and your 'No' be 'No.' Whatever is more than these is of the evil one.                'You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.'*                But I tell you, don't resist him who is evil; but whoever strikes you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also.                If anyone sues you to take away your coat, let him have your cloak also.                Whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.                Give to him who asks you, and don't turn away him who desires to borrow from you.                'You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor,* and hate your enemy.*'                But I tell you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who mistreat you and persecute you,                that you may be children of your Father who is in heaven.               
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Hierarch Mithrophanus of Voronezh

Hierarch Mithrophanus (Michael in the world) was born in 1623 near the city of Vladimir into a clerical family. His righteous parents brought him up properly in the spirit of Christian faith. Widowed at the age of 40, Michael became a monk at the Zolotnikovsk monastery of Dormition of the Mother of God, not far from the town of Suzdal. A devoted ascetic, he was ordained by laying on of hands to become a hieromonk in 1663 and in 3 years he was appointed Father Superior of the Kosmino-Yakhromski monastery.

In this capacity, Saint Mithrophanus was respected both by the clerical and the society people. Patriarch Joachim trusted Saint Mithrophanus completely and relied on him to give out salaries to army people from the monastery treasury. After a new eparchial cathedra was opened in Voronezh, Father Superior Mithrophanus was ordained a bishop in 1682. When Emperor Peter was succeeding the throne, Saint Mithrophanus was a witness to large-scale schism riots, which left a deep and most traumatic impression on him. He saw how much evil could be brought about by schisms, so for the rest of his life he was an active fighter against schisms.

Despite occupying a high priestly rank of an archbishop in the Church, Prelate Mithrophanus was approachable to everyone. His ministerial house harbored the sorrowful, hosted the travelers and was the place to cure the ailing. The prelate often toured the city visiting the sick and consoling the sufferers with hope for God’s mercy. He frequently visited prisons too. Emperor Peter singled him out from among other bishops and loved him very much. During his frequent visits to Voronezh where a shipyard and the fleet were under construction, Peter the Great supplied Prelate Mithrophanus with money and land lots for the needy. The prelate was the first person the emperor would visit on arrival to Voronezh. After a conversation with him the emperor would always leave in a bright and invigorated disposition.

In the 20 years of his episcopate services Prelate Mithrophanus contributed greatly to the benefit of the Church. In 1705 he fell seriously ill. Emperor Peter, who arrived to Voronezh at the time, came to see the dying prelate, clung to his deathbed and stayed with him all the time until the prelate died. During the funeral the emperor was among those carrying the coffin. Prelate Mithrophanus was buried in the Voronezh cathedral.

The citizens of Voronezh cherished good memories of the righteousness and virtues of Prelate Mithrophanus. When his imperishable relics were opened in 1718 and people received healing from them, no one doubted his sacredness anymore. Later, in 1833 Saint Mithrophanus’ relics were brought with due ceremonies to the Voronezh cathedral of the Annunciation of Holy Virgin Mary.

A paragon of faith and a model of modesty, thou hast been a wise and humble father in word and deed to thy parish: like the sun thou didst shine in the bright holiness with the crown of immortality and glory. Intercede before Christ our God for the Orthodox Christians to be saved in this world.


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