• 10 Oct 21

Oct 10 - “St. Nikolai Gusev” © icon by Br. Robert Lentz, OFM.

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Nicolai was born during the Russian civil war and lost both of his parents as a baby.  He lived with his grandmother until she died in 1926.  An aunt occasionally sheltered him after that, but he was left to fend for himself much of his youth in the violent streets of Communist Moscow.  In the 1930’s he went out into the forests east of the city to become a hermit and a holy fool, making himself a primitive hermitage of branches and mud near a spring.  He lived there in poverty with a few icons and oil lamps.  Local people came to him to ask for his prayers and advice.  They gave him food and clothing from time to time.

On September 19, 1937, Communist soldiers arrested him and imprisoned him in the Butyrka Prison in Moscow.  20 days later guards shot him after a perfunctory trial. They threw his body in a common grave at Butovo, outside Moscow.  The Russian Orthodox Church canonized him as a martyr on May 7, 2003. 

His feast day is October 9.

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