Spiritual brothers

Daily Reading for January 29 • Andrei Rublev, Monk and Iconographer, 1430

But the most venerable [Nikon] was overcome with a great wish, with faith, and remaining continuously in this state, desired to see with his own eyes the church completed and decorated; so he quickly gathered painters, very great men, superior to all others, and perfect in virtue, Danil by name and Andrei his spiritual brother, and some others with them; and they did the job quickly, as they foresaw in their spirit the end of the lives of these spiritual fathers, which would occur soon upon the completion of the job. But since God was helping to complete the most venerable one’s job, they devoted themselves to it assiduously and beautified the church with the most various paintings, which to this day are capable of astounding viewers.

Leaving their final handiwork and memory, the venerable ones remained a short while before the humble Andrei departed this life and went to the Lord first, and then his spiritual brother Danil the most pious, who had lived well thanks to God and who piously accepted a good end in old age. When Danil was preparing to separate himself from his bodily union, he saw his beloved Andrei, who had preceded him in death, and called out to him in joy. When Danil saw Andrei, whom he loved, he filled with great joy and confessed the visitation of his spiritual brother to the monks who stood before him, and thus in joy he gave over his spirit to the Lord.

From the “Life of Nikon” in the Second Sophia Chronicle (c. 1450).

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