Lawrence of Chernigov (in the world of Luka Evseevich Proskur): biography. Ukrainian Orthodox Church
The name of St. Lawrence of Chernigov is highly revered among Orthodox believers. During his lifetime, he earned national love and trust. Huge lines of people lined up to him, wanting spiritual advice and blessings. Confessing the parishioners, Father Lawrence never imposed penance. “We need to love everyone, pity and forgive,” he said.
The future Holy Elder Lawrence, named Luke at birth, was born in 1868 into a large peasant family, where he was the sixth child. The birthplace of Luka Evseevich Proskura is the village of Karilskoye, which is located in the Chernihiv region near the small town of Korop. In early childhood, playing in the yard, the boy fell down unsuccessfully and injured his leg, remaining lame for the rest of his life.
Luke's father died early, children from an early age were accustomed to peasant labor.Luka, despite his injury, helped his mother with the housework and took care of the domestic cattle. In the village school, he was known as the best student, the teachers trusted him to teach the sciences to the younger ones.
Even in childhood, Luke's musical abilities also appeared. The parishioners of the local church fell in love with his clear, clear voice, which echoed the church chants. As a teenager, Luka learned to play the violin. From the age of twelve he had already led a small student choir, arranging rehearsals at home. The fourteen-year-old boy, who had studied the church system and charters well, was appointed regent.
Avoiding worldly life
The limp did not allow Luke to do the work in the field. To earn his living, he learned shoemaking and tailoring, spent his free time in prayers. Since childhood, he loved to visit the Rykhlovsky Pustynno-Nikolaevsky Monastery, which was located near his native village.
Luka Yevseevich Proskur did not imagine his future as a monastic vow. He was able to fulfill the youthful dream only after the death of his mother. At twenty-three, Luke, abandoning the parental inheritance, becomes a novice in the Rykhlov monastery as a regent for the local choir.
The Nicholas monastery in the desert, founded in 1666 at the place where the icon of Nicholas the Wonderworker was found, despite the presence of four internal churches, was a rather secluded and quiet place. Luka liked the measured order of a modest abode, lost among forests and ravines. He hoped to spend the rest of his days here, but he lived only fifteen years.
Transfer to the Trinity Monastery
Vladyka Anthony, the then archbishop of Chernigov cathedra, heard about the abilities of the rykhlov regent and in 1905 requested him to the Holy Trinity Monastery. This news very upset Luka, he did not want to leave the Nicholas Monastery, which had become native. He wept and prayed a lot, but in a dream the Most Holy Virgin appeared to him, blessing him for godly devotion.
Vladyka Anthony was looking forward to the arrival of Luke Yevseyevich in Chernigov, his name did not descend from the mouth of the graceful elder who observed the vow of non-possession The abbot and novices of the Trinity Monastery were very surprised at the attention of the sovereign to the fate of the provincial regent. But Reverend Anthony, apparently, already then discerned in him God's saint, therefore he answered the brethren: “This will be the kind of Luke to whom the whole world will come to you for advice”.
Upon the arrival of Luke Evseevich in the Trinity-Ilinsky Monastery, he is determined by a new obedience - to be a mentor to the students of the seminary. In the miraculous icon in the main cathedral, Luke is surprised to recognize the image of the Blessed Virgin, which he saw in a dream before setting off.
The adoption of monasticism and the feat of cave life
Luka Evseevich's monastic vows happened in 1912, seven years after arriving in Chernigov. In the fulfillment of this sacrament, he received a new name - Lawrence. Two years later he became a hierodeacon, and in 1916 he was ordained to the rank of hieromonk.
In 1917, when persecution of the church began in post-revolutionary Russia, Father Lawrence took the feat of cave living and spent eight years digging underground cells on Boldinaya Mountain. The caves, which were excavated by the venerable old man near the Trinity Monastery, were called the Lavrentievs. In 1923, the hieromonk secretly takes a vow of schismaticism, and after another five years he is ordained to the rank of archimandrite.
From 1930 to 1941, Father Lawrence had to live in the house of one of his parishioners, in fact, being in an illegal situation.The Trinity Monastery was closed by the decision of the Soviet authorities, but the Archimandrite conducts services in the Elias Church. Bypassing all prohibitions, he takes spiritual children at home, performs the sacraments of confession and communion, inspires believers with the word of God.
Miracles of healing and providence
Lawrence of Chernigov, whose life was recognized to be pleasing to God by many of his contemporaries, was loved and respected by the parishioners. Both in tsarist and soviet times people followed him for the blessing, believing that the elder would help heal not only mental but also physical illnesses. So it happened. And Lavrenty of Chernigov granted the suffering to recovery, not performing any special rites. It was enough for one old man to say that the sick were on the mend.
It is said that once a young woman turned to an old man with a request to help heal her brother, who was dying. Father Lawrence advised: "Pray to Theodosius the Wonderworker." “I don’t know how to pray,” the girl was upset. Reverend Father smiled with his eyes and suggested the words to be spoken. In less than a day, the brother of that girl woke up from oblivion and began to recover.
Schiarchimandrite Lawrence always forgive sins to people if he saw that their repentance is sincere.“How can you not let go,” he said, “when there is so much pain and sorrow around.” He had the Holy Elder and the gift to predict the future. He never drew the attention of the interlocutor on his words, pronouncing them quietly, as if by chance, as only he could do - Holy Lawrence of Chernigov. His prophecies, however, always came true.
Reflections on the fate of the country and Orthodoxy
Long before the start of World War II, Father Lawrence foretold terrible disasters, fire, blood and destruction. Later he visited the wounded in hospitals, healed the wounds with prayers, told the soldiers that they would return home as victors.
The elder was thinking a lot about the future of the country and the world. The holy elder always believed that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was inseparable from the Russian patriarchate, called this division unnatural and undesirable to God. The great schema stressed that it was the baptism of Russia, and not of Ukraine, and instructed: “Kiev without a great Russia and separately from Russia is unthinkable. As it is impossible to divide the Holy Trinity of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit - this is the One Lord God, so Russia, Ukraine and Belarus cannot be divided - this is Holy Russia ”.
Predictions about the latest times
He foresaw the Holy Father and the events of the present day. He said that in the future they would start restoring closed and abandoned churches, decorating them from inside and outside with gold. But there will be no room for the word of God there, since the clergy will be mired in greed, will not care about their flock, but about material wealth.
Even the appearance of televisions was able to predict Lawrence of Chernigov. The prophecies of the elder concerned the establishment in recent times before the second coming of Christ of world power under the authority of a single king, who would turn out to be Satan. “In the houses, in the place where the holy icons are now located, demonic priladas will stand, by which the Antichrist will deceive the people,” said Rev. Laurent of Chernigov. Speaking with the nun in the monastery, the Holy Father let slip, pointing to the young novices: "You and I, mother, will not live until the coming of Satan, but they will be caught."
Charitable activities during the war
In 1941, when Chernigov was in the German occupation, the venerable old man managed to create a male and female monastic community. Seventy spiritual daughters of Father Lavrentiy are located on the territory of the Trinity Monastery, and they are building new cells on their own.In the spring of 1942, for the first time after a long break, Lavrenty of Chernigov performed Easter service from the cathedral church department.
During the terrible war years, the Trinity nuns felt protected by the venerable elder. By some miracle, none of them died from the Nazi shells, was not hijacked to work in Germany.
It also happened that Father Lawrence rejected his spiritual daughters from among the laity in monastic tonsure. To one girl, he directly said that her mission in marriage: “If everyone takes the vow of celibacy, who will give birth to bishops and bishops?”
A woman who came to the elder with tears asked to be taken to the monastery. “How will your husband return from the front, what will we do then?” Asked Father Laurenty. "He will not return," she answered, "I received the funeral." “Still, you have to wait,” the old man said in a low voice. Indeed, the husband of the woman soon came home safe and sound.
In those years, Lawrence of Chernigov prayed intensely, holding his hands to the sky, calling for God's protection on the Russian land engulfed in flames of war.
Prediction of your own demise
The holy old man already knew about the exact date of his death in the summer of 1949. In preparation for the departure into another world, he kept a strict fast, refused even to eat bread.On the eve of the feast of St. Nicholas, Father Lawrence felt unwell, but still asked to take himself to vigil service. From December 19, the elder did not get out of bed. “Now, before Baptism, we will either get better or go,” he joked sadly. Exactly one month later, on the day of the Baptism of Christ, his soul departed to the Lord. The nuns said that from the cell, where the body of the deceased lay, the blessed sounds of a many-voiced choir were heard.
For several days the coffin stood open so that everyone could say goodbye to the holy father. Thousands of people from surrounding towns and villages came to pay homage to the venerable old man. Attaching to his hand, believers were surprised to note that it was soft and warm, as if it were alive. The last refuge of Lawrence Chernigov found in the cathedral church of the monastery, where he served most of his righteous life.
Canonization and transfer of relics
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church highly appreciates the merits of the venerable elder. The memory of him and the people does not fade. At the Bishops' Council, held in 1993, Lawrence of Chernigov was canonized. Today, the incorruptible relics of the saint of God rest in the Holy Trinity Cathedral of the city of Chernigov, where they were transferred on August 22, 1993, with a large gathering of believers.By decision of the Bishops' Council of the Russian Orthodox Church of February 3, 2016, the name of Shekriarchimandrita Lavrentiy is canonized for universal worship.