Oct 28 - “St. Feofil of Kiev” © icon by Br. Robert Lentz, OFM. Happy Feast Day St. Feofil!
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When he was 24 years old, Feofil entered a monastery in Kiev. He lived quietly as a novice and was a model of humility and obedience. After he was ordained a priest he was given the prestigious position of steward of his monastery. His work as steward involved meeting people on a regular basis, however, something contrary to what he felt was his calling. He asked to be relieved from his position so that he could live in solitude in the monastery caves. When his request was denied, he adopted the penance of living as a Fool for Christ. For the rest of his life he feigned eccentricity in order to find the solitude he sought.
While lay people flocked to him for guidance, the other monks and his superiors disliked him intensely. He covered his monastic habit with ragged patches. He gave whatever money he received to the poor and shared most of his food with them as well. His cell was unkempt and filled with rubbish, “So that everything surrounding me will constantly remind me of the disorder of my soul.”
One day he encountered a wild young bull that no one else could approach. When he approached the bull it immediately calmed down and followed him. For years afterwards the bull pulled him in his little cart wherever he needed to go, never needing guidance, but knowing instinctively his master’s intentions.
He always prayed in secret and hated receiving attention. He went to great lengths to avoid people, hiding in the woods, atop trees, or behind bushes. He particularly disliked meeting intellectuals or wealthy people. He patiently and even joyfully bore the constant abuses heaped on him by the other monks and his superiors.
In his old age, a superior who loved him and understood his holiness moved him to more comfortable lodgings, but Feofil did not give up his austere ways. The last months of his life, he met more freely with people, guiding them and admonishing them with regards to their own lives and asking them to pray for “smelly” Feofil.
His feast day is October 28.