Abraham of Smolensk

Abraham of SmolenskAbraham of Smolensk was a monk of Smolensk, his birthplace, where he became a monk of the Bogoroditzkaja monastery. He is historically regarded as a miracle worker. As a monk, he engaged in extensive preaching and biblical study. He is considered to be a notable figure in pre-Mongol Russia.

He is described as being a man of stern and militant character, who kept the idea of the Last Judgement in the minds of himself and others. He was very popular among the laity, as he worked for the sick and troubled. He was less popular with the other local clergy, who came to view him with enmity and jealousy.

This animosity led ultimately to several moral and theological charges being brought against him. Based on these charges, the local bishop of Smolensk took disciplinary measures against Abraham, which cast a cloud over his character for five years. He was said to have been later justified by a miracle. At that time, the bishop reopened the case against Abraham, acquitted him against the charges leveled against him, and made him the abbot of the smaller Holy Cross monastery in the area. Abraham would spend the rest of his life peacefully following his calling there, dying there peacefully in 1221. A biography by his disciple Ephraem has survived.

Biblical scholar and monk who endured many trials in his lifetime. Born to a wealthy family in Smolensk, Russia, Abraham was orphaned while young and gave away his inheritance to become a monk. He entered the Bogoroditskaya Monastery and developed a genuine apostolate for the sick and poor of the region. A biblical scholar who lived austerely and preached on the Last Judgement, Abraham made many enemies in his religious community, and he eventually withdrew from his monastery and joined the monks of the Holy Cross. He was not well received there either, and charges of heresy, immorality, and pride were leveled against him. After separate trials cleared him of these charges, Abraham was ordered back to Bogoroditskaya Monastery and was denied his priestly functions by Ignatius, bishop of Smolensk. However, when the city faced a terrible drought, the citizens of Smolensk demanded that Abraham be restored. This clamor for reinstatement led to a second investigation, one that cleared his name. Bishop Ignatius apologized to the saint for his treatment. Abraham became the abbot of the Mother of God Monastery where he received people and was revered for his courage and humility. He remained in the Mother of God Monastery until his death.



2 thoughts on “Abraham of Smolensk

  1. Thank you for this informative and interesting read about an amazing person I’d never heard of before. I am fascinated with priests, scholars, and Christian mystics of old, especially Meister Eckhart and Saint Teresa of Avila. But this previously unknown to me monk and abbot sounds like he was incredibly loving and wise. Sadly often the type that were ostracized in their time. Gladly he had peace in his later years. Thanks again for introducing Abraham of Smolensk.

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