10 Facts of Saint Kuksha of Odessa’s Life

1. The saint’s mother, Kharitina, dreamed of becoming a nun since childhood, but her parents blessed her for marriage; four children were born in that marriage. The mother prayed that one of her children would devote himself to God, which in Russia was considered as a special God’s blessing for a family.

2. Cosma received a blessing for the Athos feat from the famous Kiev elder Jonah, to whom the Virgin Mary appeared twice on the Kiev cave bank.

3. During the pilgrimage to the Holy Land, after which saint Kuksha decided to become a monk, wonderful events happened to him. In Bethlehem, a vigil lamp with oil turned over him, which signified that people would receive divine grace from the saint.

4. Cosma was tonsured a monk with name Xenophon, and was in obedience to the elder Melchizedek on Mount Athos. Later, the saint recalled: “Until midnight in obedience, and at 1 A.M. I run to the desert to elder Melchizedek to learn to pray.” Despite the fact that Xenophon barely knew how to read and write, he knew the Gospel and the Psalter, performed the church service by heart, without any mistakes.

5. After returning from the holy mountain, Fr. Xenophon bore obedience in the Kiev Pechersk Lavra. “I really wanted to accept the schema,” he explained, “but they refused my desire as I was too young (40 years old).” At 56, he suddenly fell gravely ill, with no chance of recovering, as they thought. It was decided to tonsure the dying man in the schema On April 8, 1931, when he was tonsured, they named him after holy martyr Kuksha, whose relics are in the Near Caves of the Lavra. After tonsuring Fr. Kuksha started to get better and soon recovered completely.

6. Once, Metropolitan Seraphim arrived in Kiev Pechersk Lavra to visit his beloved monastery and say goodbye to it before his death. After spending several days in the lavra, he was about to leave. All the brothers started to go up to vladyka saying goodbye. The saint, exhausted from old age, blessed everyone sitting in the church. Following others, Fr. Kuksha went up as well. When they kissed each other, foresighted Metropolitan Seraphim exclaimed: “Oh, elder, a place for you in these caves has been prepared a while ago!”

7. In 1938, the saint was sentenced to five years in prison, and then to five years of exile and work in a logging area. During his stay there, 100 particles of the Holy Gifts were given to him under the guise of crackers, but Saint Kuksha could not partake of alone: many priests and monks were imprisoned and deprived of Holy Communion for years. On the appointed day, the imprisoned priests, wearing epitrachelions made of towels, absolved sins of the imprisoned monks, telling to them where the particles of the Holy Gifts were hidden. This happened on the way to work, by prior agreement. So, one morning, thanks to saint Kuksha, 100 people partook of the Holy Communion in the camp. For many, this Communion was the last one.

8. One day, the father was Later he recalled: “It was on Easter. I was so weak and hungry, – a stiff breeze would blow me over. While the sun was shining, the birds were singing, and the snow started to melt. I was walking along the prison camp’s barbed wire, I was starving, and behind the wire the cooks were carrying baking pans with pies on their heads from the kitchen to the dining room for security guards. Ravens were flying over them. I prayed: “Raven, raven, you fed the prophet Elijah in the wilderness, bring me a piece of pie too.” Suddenly I hear over my head: “Karrrr!” – and a pie fell at my feet, – it was a raven who pulled it from a baking pan of a cook. I picked the pie up off the snow, thanked God with tears and satisfied my hunger”.

9. According to Athos’s custom, the elder wore only boots his whole life. He had deep venous ulcers on his feet. Once, when father Kuksha stood by the miraculous icon of the Mother of God of Pochaev, a vein burst on his foot and his boot was filled with blood. He was taken away and put to bed. Abbot Joseph, future saint Amphilochius of Pochaev, came to him, examined his foot and said: “Get ready, father, to go home” (that is, to die), and left. All the monks and laity prayed fervently with tears to the Mother of God for giving health to the dear and beloved elder. A week later, Abbot Joseph came again to Fr. Kuksha, examined his almost healed foot and exclaimed in amazement: “Your spiritual children have prayed away your infirmity!”

10. The blessed ascetic fell asleep in the Lord on December 11 (24), 1964. The elder’s spiritual daughter recalled: “Father sometimes said: “90 years – Kuksha has left. You know how they will bury him: very quickly, they’ll take shovels and ground him”. And indeed, his words were fulfilled exactly. He died at two o’clock in the morning, and at two o’clock in the afternoon of the same day a cross already towered above his grave mound. He died when he was about 90 years old. “

Daria Chechko

About the author

A philologist; an author and designer of St. Elisabeth Convent's website; a sister of mercy and a member of the Catalog of Good Deeds team.

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