Tryphon of Pechenga


St. Tryphon of Pechenga.
(Photo © Pyykkönen)

Saint Tryphon of Pechenga (and Kola) struggled in the 1500s on the Kola peninsula and Lapland. He is honored as the founder of Pechenga Monastery.

Tryphon (civilian name: Metrophanes) was born into a priest family in the town of Torzhok in central Russia in 1495. Already at an early age he felt the desire to serve God and to lead a hermit life. Under God’s direction he, as a layman, left for the northern Pechenga River area to preach the gospel to the pagan Sami (indigenous people of Lapland).

After many difficulties and hostility, even violence, Mitrophan solidified his position in the north, especially after he got the company of Monk St.Theodoretos from Solovetsky Monastery who knew the Sami language. After he asked and received permission from the Archbishop Macarius of Novgorod he founded the Church of the Holy Trinity in the north.

In 1533 Hieromonk Ilya came to the north and consecrated the church and at the same time Mitrophan was tonsured a monk with the name of Tryphon and he became the leader of Holy Trinity Monastery by the Pechenga River and at the same time was widely spreading the Christian faith to the inhabitants in the north. After visiting Moscow Tryphon received assistance from the son of Tsar Ivan the Terrible, Feodor, and this allowed the monastery to continue to function. In addition to this it also allowed the Church to the Memory of Saints Boris and Gleb to be built at the mouth of Paatsjoki (Paats River).

Tryphon died at the age of 88 after spending approximately 60 years as Enlightener of the Sami in 1583. His memory is honored on December 15th as well as on the day of memory of All Enlighteners of Karelia which is celebrated on the Saturday between the last day of October and November 6th.

-> (in Finnish)

Translation: Jennie McElroy

Additional sources (in Finnish')

  • Kirkkovuoden pyhät I
    • Pyhittäjä Trifon Petsamolainen, pages 318 - 320
  • Monk Serafim (edit.): Synaksarion, joulukuu
    • Pyhittäjä Trifon Petsamolainen, pages 209 - 214
  • Erkki Piiroinen: Karjalan pyhät kilvoittelijat
    • Pyhittäjä Tryfon Petsamolainen, pages 16-20