He was born, in the year 1507, Theodore
Stephen Kolychev into one of the noblest boyar families of Muscovy, in the city of Galich (in present-day Kostroma Oblast). The Moscow Great Prince Basil III, the father of Ivan the Terrible, brought young Theodore into the court, but he was not attracted to court life. Conscious of its vanity and sinfulness, Theodore all the more deeply immersed himself in the reading of books and visiting the [[church]]es of God.
It is said that since childhood he was on friendly terms with Ivan IV of Russia, but the young prince's sincere devotion to him, promising him a great future in government service, could not deter Theodore from seeking the Heavenly City. Theodore felt intensely in his soul the words of the Savior: "No man can serve two masters" ([[Gospel of Matthew|Mt.]] 6:24). Praying fervently to the Moscow wonderworkers, and without bidding farewell to his relatives, he secretly left Moscow, and for a while he hid himself away from the world in the village of Khizna, near Lake Onega, earning his livelihood as a shepherd.
(According to other accounts, he was involved in the conspiracy of Prince Andrey of Staritsa against Elena Glinskaya and, when their plans were discovered, escaped to a [[monastery]]).
His thirst for ascetic deeds led him to the renowned Solovetsky Monastery on the White Sea. There he fulfilled very difficult obediences: he chopped firewood, dug the ground, and worked in the mill. After a year and a half of testing, the [[igumen]] Alexis tonsured him, giving him the monastic name Philip and entrusting him in obedience to the Elder Jonah Shamina, a converser with St Alexander of Svir ([[August 30]]).
Eleven years later, Philip himself was made [[igumen]] of the monastery. During his term in office, they constructed two [[cathedral]]s, a brick-yard, many water mills and storehouses, and a network of canals connecting 72 lakes. It is said that Philip took part in all these toils together with other [[monk]]s. Most of Philip's projects in Solovetsky survive to this day. The monastery experienced a spiritual revival. A new monastic rule was adopted to regulate life at the monastery.