Pios Pimen, the hieromonk who dug his own grave forty days before his death

This Venerable Father had an end as wonderful as his life had been. According to the testimony of Holy Hierarch Calinic, the death of Reverend Pimen was as follows:

In the year 1831, on the feast day of the Prophet Ezekiel, he served the Liturgy and, being very tired, sat on a chair to rest and dozed off for a while. And he had a vision that he was in a beautiful field, and there, in that field, was an empress shining like the sun, sitting on a chair. Beside her, next to her, were two very luminous elders who seemed to be St. Nicholas and Starets George, both sitting on two chairs. So the starets got up and said to him:

Son Pimen, come close to me!

And as he approached, she placed a cross on his chest and, giving him a paper in his hand, she said:

– Within 40 days, you will come to us, together with those who are written here on this paper. Unfolding the paper, he read it and, at the end of it all, he saw that Starets Calinic was also mentioned.

When he saw him and understood that he was going to die, Reverend Pimen knelt before the Empress and said:

– Empress of the Angels and the world, I pray that he may remain now, for he has something good to do, and instead, take another one!

And so, another person was written, namely Nectarie the schimonk.

After this, he woke up and understanding that all those who were written on that paper were going to die, Reverend Pimen immediately took his disciple Damaschin, went near the church, and began to dig his own grave. Then, every night, he went and recited his prayers near the grave.

When the 40 days were completed, on the evening of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist, during the service of the canons, he felt a sudden heat, and upon returning to his cell, he sent Father Damaschin to call Father Starets Calinic. When the starets arrived, he found him sitting on a chair and said to him:

– Son Calinic, now do not be saddened because I am going to Jerusalem, and the prayers of our Starets George will be with you. Even though I will depart with my body, I will be with you in spirit, and the prayers of Starets George will strengthen you in the sorrows that you will encounter. I beg you, beloved son, after my departure from here, place my body in the grave that I dug, and find salvation in the Lord.

As they were speaking, he was seen bowing his head on the chair he was sitting on and gave up his spirit. It was the year 1831, August 29. Therefore, the fathers gathered, made preparations for burial, and placed him in the grave that he had dug.

The next day, after the repose of Reverend Pimen, St. Calinic wrote these lines in the register of Cernica Monastery:

“1831, August 30. Father Pimen, hieromonk, spiritual father, devout man, passed away at the age of around 55 or 60, having spent forty years in the monastery. He was of earthly lineage, of average height, slightly dark-haired, with a pointed beard, mostly white and short.

His end was truly remarkable, as after digging his own grave 40 days prior, without being sick in any way, he served the Holy Liturgy on Saturday, August 29. On Sunday, the 30th (of August), he began the service of the vesting and, upon leaving the church, he sent his disciple to call me. Coming to His Holiness, he shared some spiritual insights with me and told me that his end had come. I did not believe him, and while we were still talking, both sitting on a bed leaning against the wall of the cell, he said these final words to me: ‘Do not be disheartened!’ and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

May God grant him rest, forgive and have mercy on us as well.” (Calinic, Archimandrite, Starets – Cernica)

Excerpt from the Romanian Patericon – Archimandrite Ioanichie Bălan, Sihăstria Monastery Publishing House.

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