Commemorated on December 6
Sainted Maksim, successor of the Kievan Metropolitan Kirill III (1243-1280), was by birth a Greek, and he arrived in Rus’, which then suffered under the Mongol (Tatar) Yoke, in the year 1283 in the dignity of Metropolitan. The saint decided to remain at Kiev, but the city was completely devastated by the plundering incursions of the Tatars. Metropolitan Maksim withdrew to Bryansk, and from there to Suzdal’. During the time of his visit from Southern Rus’ to Volynia the saint met with the hegumen of the Ratsk monastery, Sainted Peter (Comm. 21 December), who would succeed him in future as metropolitan.
In 1295 the saint deposed Jakov from the bishop’s cathedra at Vladimir and put there Simon. During these terrible times the Great-princely throne was situated first at Vladimir, then at Pereslavl’, then at Tver’.
Apprehensive lest he insult the South Russian princes by his removal to the north, the saint turned in heated prayers to the Mother of God and was granted inspiration by the MostHoly Mother of God, Who pointed to Vladimir as the place of his residence. In the year 1299 Metropolitan Maksim resettled at Vladimir, and in the following year at Novgorod he established as bishop Sainted Theoktist (Comm. 23 December). In 1301 Metropolitan Maksim arrived at Constantinople for a Patriarchal Council, where at the urging of the bishop of Saraisk Sainted Theognost he set forth for resolution questions about the needs of the Russian Church. Concerned about rebuilding the strength of subjugated Rus’, the saint urged the Moscow prince Yuri Danilovich to make peace with the Tver’ prince Mikhail Yaroslavich, and he advised Yuri journeying to the Horde for receiving the Great-princely throne. In 1304 the saint installed upon the Great-princely throne at Vladimir the holy Nobleborn Prince of Tver’, Mikhail Yaroslavich (Comm. 22 November). Giving everyone example of intense spiritual life, Metropolitan Maksim was constantly concerned about the spiritual growth of his proverbial flock. Thus, the saint established rules about fasting, besides Great Lent specifying it for the Apostles’, Dormition and Nativity lenten periods, and he defined when the fast on Wednesdays and Fridays is allowed (until the XIV Century in Russia they did not observe fast on the Mid‑Feast and Leave-taking of Pascha). The holy metropolitan was particularly concerned with an affirmation of lawful marriage: “I write therefore about all this, so that ye my children, born in baptismal font and newly-sanctified, will take for your wife from the Holy, Catholic (Soborni) and Apostolic Church, – for the woman is unto the salvation of the man. If ye cleave to them in profligacy without marriage: what doth it benefit thee? No, but rather beseech ye and implore them whether young or old to be married in the Church”. The saint reposed on 6 December 1305, and his body was buried in the Vladimir Uspenie cathedral. Over the place of the saint’s grave was built a gilded covering, on which was written in gold lettering: “Maksim the Greek ordained in the year 6791 in the existence of the world and having come to Kiev in the year 1283 after the Birth of Christ, because of his sharing in the Tatar onslaught he resettled from Kiev to the Great-Russian city of Vladimir; Maksim shepherded the Church of Christ for 23 years, and he reposed in the year 6813”. On the wall over the grave of the saint was put the Maksimovsk Icon of the Mother of God, written in the year 1299 in a vision to Metropolitan Maksim. An inscription about this vision was embellished on the left side of the crypt.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos. with permission
Orthodox Calendar. HOLY TRINITY RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH, a parish of the Patriarchate of Moscow. 2016. Orthodox Calendar. HOLY TRINITY RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH, a parish of the Patriarchate of Moscow. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.holytrinityorthodox.com/calendar/. [Accessed 19 December 2016].