Venerable Nicon Sukhoi [“The Desiccated”] of the Caves

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11/24 December

Venerable Nicon Sukhoi of the Caves was born in Kiev, and was tonsured in the Kiev Caves Monastery. His parents were of renowned ancestry and wealth. When in 1096 the Polovetsian Khan Bonyak attacked the Province of Kiev, Nicon and Venerable Eustratius and other monastics were taken prisoner and taken to the Polovetsian land. The barbarians did not treat their prisoners kindly. The venerable one, who was enslaved for three years, patiently endured famine and a variety of tortures. Fearing that Nikon, who had foretold that he would escape, would flee, his master cut the tendons below his knees. However, according to the Caves patericon, the prisoner’s guards saw him disappear; he was miraculously returned to the Kiev Caves Monastery. After a peace treaty with the Polovetsians was concluded, Nikon’s former master was moved by curiosity to come to the Caves Monastery, and learned of his prisoner, who was emaciated by wounds, but was cheerful in spirit. He told the monks a corroborating account of Nikon’s miraculous rescue from slavery. Astonished by what had transpired, he was Baptized and tonsured, and to the end of his life served his former prisoner. Nicon was called “Sukhoi,” i.e. “desiccated,” because the loss of blood from his wounds made him emaciated. He reposed on December 11 in the 12th century. His relics are in the St. Antony Caves.

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