May 9 - St. Ioannicus Devichensky

Fleeing from the praise of men, he went away to the Devichensky forest . . .

The Venerable Ioannicus Devichensky

The venerable Ioannicus was born on the Montenegro seaside. While still in his youth, he chose the path of monastic asceticism. He left his father's house early, and settled in a forested area near the Black River.

He built himself a small cell, and lived in solitude, dedicated to prayer and a contemplative life. He continued in the tradition of the venerable Peter Korishsky, a Serbian ascetic who spent many years here, in prayer and in struggles with demons.

In time, monks heard about the pious hermit. They came to the venerable Ioannicus, and with his blessing, they settled near him, emulating his strict and God-pleasing life. 

But when there came to be many monks, attracted by his great asceticism and holiness, and his fame spread ever farther, the saint became weighed down by all this attention to himself. Fleeing from the praise of men, he went away to the Devichensky forest, and there continued his beloved asceticism of silence. For this, the Lord gave him the 
gift of tearful, unceasing prayer, and the gift of casting out demons.

When news of the holy ascetic reached the royal palace, Despot George Brankovich brought his sick daughter to him. In gratitude for his daughter's healing, the ruler built the Devichensky monastery, with a church dedicated to The Entry of the Theotokos into the Temple.

The venerable Ioannicus peacefully went to rest in the Lord in the year 1430. His holy relics rest in the Devichensky monastery, and are famous for their miracle-working. The Serbs especially honor St. Ioannicus as a healer of spiritual illnesses.

The ninth of May is the feast day of the Venerable Ioannicus Devichensky, the Wonderworker.

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