Euthymius the Great

Euthymius the Great

Our great and venerable father Euthymius (sometimes spelled Euthymios or Efthymios) was a monastic who lived in the latter fourth and the fifth centuries. The Church celebrates his feastday January 20.


Euthymius was born during the reign of king Gratian in 377 A.D. He came from Melitine in Armenia (now Makatya, Turkey), and was the son of pious and faithful parents called Paul and Dionysia. Though Euthymius' mother was barren, his parents prayed fervently to God to grant them a child. Then they had a vision: they heard the voice of an angel who told them to be cheerful because with the child's birth every heresy was going to be abolished and universal peace was going to be granted to the Church of God. For this reason this saint was called Euthymius (meaning good cheer). When the saint's father died, his mother offered him to Eutrojos, bishop of Melitine, by whom he was counted with the order of clerics. Because he was intelligent in his studies and surpassed all men in virtue and asceticism, he was forced to be ordained a priest and to look after the holy hermitages and monasteries. When he was twenty-nine years old, he went to Jerusalem and lived with St. Theoktistos in a cave on the mountain. While he was there, St. Euthymius liberated many men from the terrible chains of disease.

They also say that this saint fed four hundred men, who had come to the monastery, with very few loaves of bread. Moreover, not only did he break his mother's sterility through his birth, but also through prayer he made other childless women to be fruitful. He also opened the gates of Heaven, as great Elijah had done, bringing rain during a period of drought. Once a column of light, seen descending from Heaven by the by-standers while the saint was celebrating the bloodless sacrifice, made the internal brightness of divine Euthymius' soul known. This light shone over the saint until he completed the Liturgy. A further sign of the purity and chastity of the saint was that he could spiritually see the mood and the condition of those souls when they approached to receive the Eucharist. Another story about St. Euthymius' clairvoyance involves a monk who was about to die. This monk outwardly appeared to be a prudent and moderate saint, but in his heart he was lecherous and intemperate because he allowed his labors to be sweetened with shameful thoughts. So, when this monk at the point of death, blessed Euthymius saw an angel taking the soul of that miserable monk by force, using a three-pronged spear. Immediately the saint also heard a voice revealing all the hidden and shameful thoughts of that dying monk. When Euthymius was ninety-six years old (in A.D. 473), he departed to the Lord. He had established religious communities throughout Palestine.

20 january: * Martyrs Inna, Pinna, and Rimma, disciples of Apostle Andrew in Scythia (1st-2nd c.); Martyr Eusebius (298); Venerable Euthymius the Great (473); Martyrs Bassus, Eusebius, Eutychius, and Basilides, at Nicomedia (303); Martyrs Thyrsus and Agnes (5th c.); Saint Leo the Great (Leo Marcellus), Confessor, Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire (474); Blessed Peter the Customs Inspector of Constantinople (Peter of Constantinople) (c. 527-565); Martyr Anna at Rome; Saint Fabian, Pope of Rome (250); Saint Sebastian, one of the most renowned of all the martyrs of Rome (c. 288); Saint Molagga (Laicin), disciple of St David in Wales, founded a monastery in Fulachmhin (Fermoy), Ireland (655); Saint Féchín of Fore, Abbot of Cong Abbey (665); Saint Agatho, Pope of Rome (681); Saint Maurus, monk and Abbot of Classe in Ravenna (Basilica of Sant'Apollinare in Classe), later Bishop of Cesena (946); Saint Euthymius, Bishop of Pereyaslav (1149); Venerable Laurence the Recluse of the Kiev Caves (13th-14th c.); Venerable Euthymius the Silent, Schemamonk, of the Kiev Caves (14th c.); Saint Neophytus of Vatopedi monastery, Mt. Athos (14th c.); Saint Euthymius, Patriarch of Turnovo and Bulgaria (1402); Saint Euthymius of Syanzhema (Vologda) (1470); Venerable Euthymius of Arkhangelsk (1523); New-Martyr Zachariah of Patrai in Morea (1782); Venerable Theodore Kuzmich of Tomsk (Alexander I of Russia) (1864); New Hieromartyr Ioan Pettai, Estonian Presbyter-Martyr; New Hieromartyr Paul Dobromyslov, Archpriest, of Ryazan (1940); Venerable Ekvtime (Kereselidze) the Confessor, of Georgia (1944); Other Commemorations: Repose of Elder Gerasim, founder of Ascension Monastery, Irkutsk (1676).