Wednesday, August 17, 2022

The iconographer who healed with paint

(OCA) - Venerable Alypios of the Caves was one of the first and best Russian iconographers. He was tonsured by Igoumen Nikon († March 23, 1088). Later, he was ordained as a Hieromonk. From a young age he labored in the Kiev Caves Monastery and studied iconography with the Greek masters who painted the church of the Caves in 1083. Saint Alypios was an eyewitness to a wondrous miracle: when the iconographers adorned the altar with paintings: an Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos imprinted itself on the wall. At the same time, the Icon shone brighter than the sun.

Saint Alypios always painted icons without asking for payment. If he learned that in some church the icons had become damaged, he took them with him and restored them without charge. If people paid him for his work, he set aside one third to purchase supplies for painting icons, one third as alms for the poor, and the remainder for his own needs. He also painted the Sven-Caves Icon of the Mother of God (May 3 & August 17). The Saint was never idle, and interrupted his iconography only to attend the Divine Services.

Saint Alypios was known for his gift of working miracles during his lifetime. He healed a man from Kiev who suffered from leprosy, anointing the patient's wounds with paints. Many of the icons painted by Saint Alypios were also miraculous. There were some instances when the Angels of God helped him to paint icons.

A certain man of Kiev built a church, and instructed two monks to have some icons painted for it. The monks hid the money and said nothing to Saint Alypios about it. After waiting a long time for the work to be completed, the man went to the Igoumen to complain about Saint Alypios. Only then did they discover that he had not been told of the commission. When they brought the boards provided by the customer, they found that beautiful icons had already been painted on them. When the church burned down, the icons remained intact. One of these icons (the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos), known as the Vladimir-Rostov Icon (August 15), was taken by Great Prince Vladimir Monomakh (1113-1125) to a church he had built at Rostov.

On another occasion, when the Saint was sick and near death, an Angel painted an icon depicting the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos. That same Angel received the soul of Saint Alypios, who reposed in 1114 and was buried in the Near Caves.

A twentieth century icon in the church of the Pskov Caves Monastery of the Dormition depicts Saint Alypios holding a copy of the “Assuage My Sorrows” Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos (January 25 and October 9).

Saint Alypios is also commemorated on the second Sunday of Great Lent, the Synaxis of All Saints of the Kiev Caves (movable Feast); and on September 28, the Synaxis of all the Venerable Fathers of the Near Caves of Saint Anthony.

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