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Athanasius of Brest-Litovsk

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For other uses, see Athanasius (disambiguation)

The holy hieromartyr Athanasius of Brest-Litovsk (d. 1649) is a saint and martyr of the Russian Orthodox Church.


Athanasius Filipovich was born in the province of Minsk in 1596. Although his father was a Lithuanian nobleman of modest means, Athanasius acquired an exceptional breadth and depth of learning, including modern and ancient languages, the writings of the Church Fathers, and the works of Western philosophers and theologians. He worked for several years as a private tutor before entering the Monastery of Khutyn near Orsha in Little Russia in 1627. This monastery was deeply committed to the preservation of Orthodoxy in the face of Uniatism. Athanasius was soon ordained a priest. The Metropolitan of Kiev, Peter Moghila, gave him the task of restoring the Monastery of Kupyatitsk. Later, Athanasius was appointed Abbot of the Monastery of St Symeon the Stylite in Brest-Litovsk. From then on, he was to be a tireless fighter against Roman proselytism. Over the next eight years, by prayer, preaching and through his writings, St. Athanasius devoted all his strength to the cause of holy Orthodoxy and the plight of the Orthodox faithful, who were suffering great hardship and persecution. During a particularly brutal persecution in 1648, he was arrested along with other Orthodox leaders, and was tortured and killed by the authorities of the Polish-Lithuanian government. According to the Synaxarion of Ormylia Monastery, "They threw his decapitated corpse into a pit, where it was found some time later incorrupt. In the years that followed, the relics of the holy Martyr worked many miracles."

Saint Athanasius is commemorated on September 5.

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