Arsenius of Tver

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See also disambiguation of the name Arsenios

Our father among the saints Arsenius, Bishop of Tver was a monk of the Kiev Caves monastery, noted for his piety and saintly life, who was called upon in the late fourteenth century to become the bishop of the troubled city of Tver, Russia. Through example of his saintly and prayerful life and his efforts as a peacemaker, he was able to bring peace to the city. He is commemorated by the church on March 2.


Arsenius was born at Tver, and in his early years received monastic tonsure in the Kiev Caves monastery. Even among the monks of this ancient monastery, distinguished for their piety, Arsenius was noted for his saintly life as well as for his strictness in keeping his monastic vows, his knowledge of the Church typikon, his study of Holy Scripture, and his love for work. Under Metropolitan Cyprian of Kiev he served as archdeacon, and when the Metropolitan was absent, he governed the administration of the Kiev metropolitanate.

On July 3, 1390 he traveled with Metropolitan Cyprian, who had become Metropolitan of Moscow in 1381, to Tver, where at the request of Prince Micjae of Tver, a Council of Russian and Greek hierarchs had convened to pass judgment upon Bishop Euthymius of Tver. The prince and the bishop had been involved in a lengthy dispute. Many of the people of Tver also made serious accusations against the bishop. After unsuccessful attempts to restore peace to the Tver church, Metr. Cyprian deposed Euthymius as bishop and sent him to the Chudov Monastery in Moscow. Arsenius was appointed to the Tver cathedra, but he was both troubled and afraid to accept this position, in view of the great enmity and ill feelings in Tver. After the return of Metr. Cyprian and archdeacon Arsenius to Moscow, the Prince sent his nobles to the Metropolitan with a petition to consecrate Arsenius as Bishop of Tver. Again Arsenius refused. In the words of the chronicle for the year 1390 "even at the Metropolitan's entreaty, Archdeacon Arsenius would not go to Tver." After threatening Arsenius with suspension, the Metr. Cyprian and the Prince finally got him to agree to accept episcopal consecration. This took place on August 15, 1390. Among the bishops taking part in the laying on of hands was St Stephen, Bishop of Perm.

Bishop Arsenius, as a man of great prayer and peacemaker, was able to end much of the discord in the Tver principality. During his episcopacy, from 1390 to 1409, cathedrals were built and consecrated in honor of the Archangel Michael at Staritsa and Mikulina, and the Savior-Transfiguration cathedral was restored with the construction of a cathedral belltower. The saint founded the Zheltikov monastery on the river Tmaka near Tver, where a church was built in honor of Ss Anthony and Theodosius of the Kiev Caves, as well as the stone Dormition cathedral. Desiring that the monks of this new monastery would continue to be edified by the asceticism of the Fathers of the Caves, St Arsenius directed that a list be compiled from the Kiev Caves Paterikon, using the most ancient manuscripts of this precious memorial of Russian literature. This compilation became known as the Arseniev Redaction. The saint died on March 2, 1409 and was buried in the Zheltikov monastery of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos, which he founded. In 1483 his relics were found incorrupt and were placed in the monastery cathedral. In the same year hieromonk Theodosius composed a Life and a Canon in honor of the holy bishop.

At a Council of 1547, St Arsenius was recognized as a saint, to be commemorated on March 2.

Succession box:
Arsenius of Tver
Preceded by:
Bishop of Tver
Succeeded by:
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