Evfimy II (Vyazhitsky) of Novgorod

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Our father among the saints Evfimy II (Vyazhitsky) of Novgorod, also Euthymius II of Novgorod, was the Archbishop of Novgorod of the Church of Russia from 1429 to 1458. He was noted for his cultural improvement of Novgorod by encouraging the reconstruction of many old churches as well as building new structures. His feast day is March 11.


According to his saint's lives, Evfimy was baptized John (Ioann or Ivan). He came from the family of a priest whose name was Theodore {Fedor), although some lives give his name as Mikheia and note he was a priest at the Church of St. Fedor the Great Martyr in Novgorod. His mother's name was Anna.[1]

John was tonsured a monk at the Listitsa Hill Monastery with the name Evfimy. He later moved to the Vyazhishchsky Monastery northwest of Novgorod where he was hegumen. In 1429, he was elected archbishop by the veche after the death of his predecessor Evfimy I (Brodaty), but was not consecrated until 1434 when Abp. Evfimy was consecrated in Smolensk by Metropolitan Geronty of Lithuania.[2] This situation occurred because there was no metropolitan of Moscow at the time; Metr. Fotii died in 1431 and his successor Metr. Isidor was not installed until 1437.

During his tenure as archbishop of Novgorod, Abp. Evfimy established himself as one of the greatest patrons of culture in Novgorod. According to the chronicles, he built or rebuilt more than a dozen churches that restored and maintained aspects of Novgorod's history. Among these were the Church of John the Forerunner at Opoky (originally built by Prince Vsevolod Mstislavich in 1127), the Church of the Assumption (also originally built by Vsevolod Mstislavich, and the Church of St. George at the Market (another church, originally built by Vsevolod Mstislavich). His building activities also included secular buildings: the Palace of Facets, built in 1433, the belfry to the east of the cathedral, and a clocktower west of it that collapsed and was rebuilt in 1673.

Abp. Evfimy was active memorializing many of his predecessors and encouraging the veneration of saints of Novgorod. In 1439, he discovered the relics of Abp. John (Ilya) and commemorated him as well as eight other bishops and archbishops who appeared to him in a vision earlier that year.

His cultural activities included the recording of the legends of the city as well as of the hierarchs who had served there. He invited Pachomius the Serb to write a number of hagiographic pieces about several Novgorodian saints, many of them Evfimy's predecessors as archbishop. Pachomius arrived in Novgorod about 1440 and composed the Life of Varlaam of Khutyn, the founder of the Khutyn Monastery, as well as the "Tale of the Journey of Ioann (Il'ia, Archbishop of Novgorod 1165-1186) on a Devil to Jerusalem." [3] Later, under the patronage of Evfimy's successor, Archbishop Jonah, Pachomius returned to Novgorod and wrote the Life of Evfimy as well. Thus, Abp. Evfimy, who did so much to patronize culture, became himself a cultural icon.

By mid fifteenth century tensions over succession between Novgorod and Moscow reached their peak. In 1456, Novgorod suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of Grand Prince Basil II of Moscow and signed a peace treaty at Yazhelbitsy that limited the ability of Novgorod to conduct foreign policy (it required the approval of Grand Prince and Novgorod could not ally with his enemies). While Abp. Evfimy had blessed the Novgorod negotiating party, the records of the treaty held by Moscow did not included his name among the negotiators.

After the signing of the treaty in 1456, all activities, including church building, by Abp. Evfimy stopped as he appeared to have taken the defeat personally. On March 11, 1458, Abp. Evfimy reposed and was buried in the Viazhishchsky Monastery where he had been a monk before his election as archbishop and where he is known as St. Evfimy of Vyazhishche).


  1. Taisiia, Zhitiia sviatykh: 1000 let russkoi sviatosti. 2 Vols. (Jordansville, NY: Holy Trinity Monastery, 1983), vol. 1, p 151.
  2. Michael C. Paul, "Episcopal Election in Novgorod Russia 1156-1478," Church History (June 2003).
  3. G. M. Prokhorov, “Pakhomii Serb,” in D. S. Likhachev, Slovar’ knizhnikov i knizhnosti Drevnei Rusi, vol. 2, Pervaia polovina XIV-XVI v., pt. 2, p. 167.
Succession box:
Evfimy II (Vyazhitsky) of Novgorod
Preceded by:
Evfimy I (Brodaty)/Euthymius I
Archbishop of Novgorod
Succeeded by:
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