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Преподобный Сергий, игумен Радонежский, чудотворец
St Sergius (1314-1392), Sept. 25. Sergius has been revered for centuries in the Eastern Orthodox Church as a national hero and as the patron saint of Russia. He was born near Moscow in 1314 at a time of great civil unrest. At the age of 20 he and his brother took up a secluded life in the forest, where they founded the Monastery of the Holy Trinity. This soon be came known throughout the land as a centre of spirituality and Christian revival. Sergius remained there in a contemplative life for 58 years, refusing many honours including becoming bishop of Moscow. He was a strong supporter of Prince Dimitri Donskoj in his struggle against the Tatar conquerors. He became a rallying symbol to the point that the people of all classes arose under Dimitri and defeated and routed the Tatars in 1378. This was the first major defeat the Tatars had known. It was a short-lived victory, for the Tatars returned and conquered Muscovy in 1380, to rule for many more years. Dimitri and Sergius remained powerful symbols, however: the people saw Dimitri as proof that the Tatars were not invincible, and Sergius as proof that God was on their side. They became the rallying symbols of the unification of the Slavic tribes into the Russian Empire. In 1340 Sergius founded a monastery at Sergeev Posad (Zagorsk), where there is a shrine to him that is still visited by pilgrims today.

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