The Holy Martyr Silouan of the Lavra of Saint Sergius

25 July 2022

The Holy Martyr Silouan, the disciple and biographer of Saint Maximos the Confessor, known as ‘the Greek’, of the Holy Monastery of Vatopaidi, was a saintly monk of the Lavra of Saint Sergius. He was imbued with the same spirit as his Elder and teacher and proved to be his rival in spiritual knowledge.

Silvan IN

Lavra of Saint Sergius, the place where the Holy Martyr Silouan was killed

He himself considered his spiritual contact with Saint Maximos to be a godsend. In admiration of the Elder’s abilities, Saint Silouan rightly called him a treasury of wisdom, for his knowledge of three languages (Greek, Latin and Russian) and as the author of heroic, elegiac poems and because he stood out amongst his contemporaries for his intelligence and perspicacity. This tribute is mentioned in the introduction of the translation of Saint John Chrysostom’s interpretation of the Gospel according to Saint Matthew, a book he wrote with the assistance of Saint Maximos in 1524. He mentions this help in a very self-effacing fashion, and attributes the translation to his Elder, even though he expended a great deal of effort over it. His disclaimer doesn’t bear scrutiny, however, since Saint Maximos the Greek didn’t, at that time, have sufficient command of Church Slavonic.

Saint Silouan fell asleep in the Lord before Saint Maximos the Confessor, and through a martyr’s death. They locked him in a chamber with poison fumes which came from the incomplete combustion of logs and he died of asphyxia. Prince Kurbskij, a contemporary of Saint Maximos, reports that Metropolitan Daniil, shortly before he was deposed, was directly responsible for the death of Saint Silouan in the metropolis in 1539. On his death Silouan received two crowns: those of saint and martyr.

Through his holy intercession, Christ our God, have mercy upon us and save us. Amen.