Venerable Michael of Maleinus

Saint Michael Maleinus was born about the year 894 in the Charsian region (Cappadocia) and at Baptism he received the name Manuel. He was related to the Byzantine emperor Leo VI the Wise (886-911). At age 18 Manuel went off to Bithynia, to the Kyminas monastery under the guidance of the Elder, John Heladites, who tonsured him into monasticism with the name Michael. Fulfilling a very difficult obedience in spite of his illustrious lineage, he demonstrated an example of great humility.

After the passage of a certain time, he was found worthy of the grace of the priesthood. Constantly studying the Holy Scripture, Saint Michael showed how the priesthood ought to be properly conjoined with monasticism, he attained to a high degree of dispassion and acquired the gift of perspicacity. He was very compassionate and kindly towards people, he could not let remain without help and consolation those who were in need and in sorrow, and by his ardent prayer he accomplished many miracles.

After much monastic effort under the guidance of the Elder John, Saint Michael asked his blessing to live in a cave as a hermit. Five days of the week he spent at prayerful concentration, and only on Saturday and Sunday did he come to the monastery for participation in the divine services and to partake of the Holy Mysteries.

By his example of sublime spiritual life the holy hermit attracted many seeking salvation. In a desolate place called Dry Lake, the venerable Michael founded a monastery for the brethren gathering around him, and gave it a strict monastic rule. When the monastery was secure, Saint Michael went to a still more remote place and built there a new monastery. By the efforts of the holy abba, the whole mountain of Kyminas was covered with monastic communities, where constantly prayers were raised up for all the world to the Throne of the Most-High.

About the year 953, the youth Abraham entered the brotherhood, flourishing under the guidance of Saint Michael, who gave him the name Athanasius. Later, Saint Athanasius (July 5) founded the renowned Great Lavra, the first cenobitic monastery on Mount Athos. In the building of the Lavra great help was given to Saint Athanasius by Saint Michael’s nephew, the future Byzantine emperor Nicephoros Phocas (963-969), who met Athanasius while visiting his uncle. After fifty years of ceaseless monastic struggle, Saint Michael Maleinos went peacefully to the Lord in the year 962.