Nikolai di Chernigov
Nikolai of Černigov (... - Kiev Caves Monastery, 1142) was the first prince of Rus' to take monastic vows. He is venerated as a saint by the Russian Orthodox Church which celebrates his memory on 14 October.
His hagiography is told to us, like that of many other monks of the Pečerska Lavra who lived a few years after its foundation, by the Pateriki of the Kiev Caves Monastery, composed between the 11th and 13th centuries.
Great-grandson of Prince Jaroslav I of Kiev and son of Prince David Sviatoslavich of Černigov, Nikolai had received the city of Luc'k as his prerogative when, seized by a mystical crisis, he left his wife and son to take vows in the Monastery of the Caves of Kiev on February 17, 1106.
Despite the indignation of his family, already bewildered by a choice of life that had no equal in the Kievian nobility, Nikolaj spent the first three years of his new life fulfilling the humble duties of kitchen scullery and, in the following three years, of steward. with the task of serving at the common table. Of an energetic nature, he forced the hegumen never to leave him idle, not even in his cell. Later he worked in the monastery garden and in the production and mending of the clothes of the other monks, often accompanying his occupations with prayers and liturgical songs. His hagiographies narrate that his lineage and his wisdom led him to act as peacemaker between the Prince of Černigov and the Grand Prince Vsevolod.
It is said that following his death, his brother Izjaslav fell ill and was healed by Nikolai's headdress, delivered to him by the monastery. Grateful for this intercession he was later used to use the saint's sackcloth in battle.
Georgij Fedotov, The Saints of Ancient Russia, edited by Maria Pia Pagani, Aquilegia Edizioni, Milan, 2000, ISBN 88-87692-04-1
(EN) Nikolaj on www.oca.org, on ocafs.oca.org.