Alexey Mechev of Moscow
Father Alexey Mechev of Moscow (1859-1923) was the rector of St. Nicholas' church at Maroseyka street in Moscow. Just before the revolution of 1917, he became known as an elder possessing many spiritual gifts and receiving many people every day.
Alexey Mechev was born on March 17, 1859 in a pious family of the choir director of the Chudov cathedral choir. As a child, he did not like quarrels, liked to cheer, comfort. In the midst of games in the children's rooms, Alexey could suddenly became serious, quickly went out and hid, withdrawing into himself from the revelry. Other people called him for this "blessed Alexey".
Together with many classmates Alexey had the desire to go to university and become a doctor. But his mother strongly opposed this, wishing to have him the person of prayer. "You're so small, how can you be a doctor, be better a priest," - she said with firmness.
In 1884, Alexey Mechev married 18-year old daughter of a church reader Anna Petrovna Molchanova. They had 5 children. On of them, Sergey Mechev (1892-1942) was later glorified as a hieromartyr. On November 18, 1884, Alexey was ordained a deacon. On March 19, 1893 he was ordained a priest for a small church of St. Nicholas at Maroseyka street.
Father Alexey established everyday service in his church. That was unusual for Moscow where in such small churches the services were only 2-3 times a week. "For 8 years I served Liturgy every day with empty church" – Fr. Alexey told later. Gradually it became known that in this church the confession in every day while in other churches people confessed and took Communion once a year, during the Great Lent.
On august 29, 1902, the wife of Fr. Alexey reposed due to heart illness. At that time Fr. Alexey met St. John of Kronstadt. "You come to share my grief with me?" - asked father Alexey when Father John went in. - "Not your grief, but joy" - said father John. – "The Lord visits you. Leave your cell and go out to the people; only now you begin to live. You rejoice at your grief and think that there is no grief more than yours... And you be with the people, share someone else's grief, and take it for yourself, and then you will see that your misfortune is insignificant in comparison with the general grief, and it will feel easier".
Fr. Alexey accepted these words as obedience. He was prepared for the grace of eldership by many years of truly ascetic life.
Fr. Alexey received the gift of clairvoyance from God. He could see all the lives of the ones who came to him, both external events and their spiritual aspirations, thoughts. But he revealed himself to people in different degrees. Due to his deep humility, he always sought not to show the fullness of this gift. He used to say about any unknown yet details not straight, and was supposedly talking about a similar case that recently had taken place. Specifying what to do in a particular case, the father expressed it only once. If the visitor objected, father Alexey eliminated himself from further conversation, he did not explained, what will be as a result of the foolish desire, even without repeating what was said originally. He even could sometimes give the required blessing. But for the persons who came with a sense of repentance and full of confidence, he provided prayer support, praying for them before the Lord for deliverance from the difficulties and troubles.
Father Alexis became known as a good pastor. People contacted him in difficult times for the family. He did not expose, dismantle someone's evil deeds. He knew how to talk about the moral aspects of family situations without affecting the painful vanity. When coming to a family ready to fall apart, Fr. Alexey brought in peace, love and forgiving understanding of everyone. People started to feel guilty for their actions. Proper understanding often did not occur immediately, but later, when the person, remembering the words of Fr. Alexey and looking deeper into his soul could finally see that his stories had a direct relation to it, and to understand what the new path he outlined for him.
Hieroschemamonk Anatoly (Potapov) and abbot Theodosius from Optina monastery were true spiritual friends with Fr. Alexey. Father Anatoly sent muscovites that came to him to father Alexey. The elder Nectarios told someone: "Why do you come to us? You have father Alexey".
There were numerous cases when the prayers of the elder helped people to find their lost relatives. In 1922, the a woman came to the church who cried a lot and told that she is from Siberia, from the city of Tobolsk. During the Civil War she lost a son; she did not know whether he is alive or dead. Once, after long prayer to St. Seraphim of Sarov, she saw in a dream St Seraphim chopping firewood with a hatchet. He turned and said, "And you are crying? Go to Moscow to Maroseyka street to Father Alexey Mechev. Your son will be found". God knows how did she get to Moscow from Siberia. When found Maroseyka, the church and priest, the tears of joy and emotion were streaming down her face. Yet after the death of the elder it became known that the woman then found her son.
The elder reposed on June 9/22, 1923 in his country house in Vereya of the Moscow region. In 1933 the body was transferred to another cemetery and was found imperishable.
There is plenty of evidence of gracious help in various needs through the prayers of the elder. Many such cases have been noted in the restoration of the church on Maroseyka street. It is known that when people address him in trouble: "Father Alexey, help me" – the help comes in very soon, father Alexey acquired great grace from the Lord to pray for those who addressed to him.
In 2000, elder Alexey Mechev was glorified and his relics were translated from the cemetery to his home church at Maroseyka street.