Nifont of Novgorod

XII pageKyivan RusPrincely times

Nifont of Novgorod (Nifont the Saint, baptized as Nicetas; date of birth unknown, Kyiv – 08.04.1156, Kyiv) – Bishop of Novgorod, author of answers to questions by the Novgorodian scholar and writer Kirik (The Questions of Kirik).

Blessed Nifont was born into the family of pious, decent, and well-to-do parents. After the death of his parents he distributed all their property among the poor and became a novice at the Kyiv-Pechersk Monastery, where took the monastic vows. In 1130 (1131) he was installed as bishop of the Novgorod cathedra, the episcopal ordination took place in Kyiv. One of the first concerns of Bishop Nifont in Novgorod was the immediate cessation of internecine feud of Kyiv, Chernihiv, and Novgorod princes, which at that time took on critical dimensions. In 1135 he practically put an end to the hostilities among Kyiv and Chernihiv Princes.

Nifont did not recognize Klymenty (Clement) Smoliatych appointed in 1147 the Metropolitan of Kyiv on the initiative of Grand Prince Iziaslav II Mstyslavych without the blessing of the Constantinople Patriarch. For that, Klymenty was deposed from the Metropolitan cathedra and appointed the Bishop of Vladimir. For the devotion to Constantinople Nifont got from Patriarch Nicholas IV a letter in which he was compared to the ancient Apostolic Fathers who defended the interests of Orthodoxy. In Pskov Nifont founded the Mirozh Monastery, in Novgorod decorated St. Sophia Cathedral, and in Staraya Ladoga built the Church of St. Clement.

In 1156 he went to Kyiv to meet the legitimate Metropolitan Constantine of Kyiv and All Rus, he stayed at the Kyiv-Pechersk Monastery, where after a short illness died. Buried in St. Theodosios Caves; later his relics were transferred to the Near, St. Anthony Caves.

Canonized at the Second Metropolitan Makary’s Council in 1549. Commemorated on September 28 (October 11) and October 10 (23).