The Most Holy Alexis, christened Elevpheri, the son of a Chernigov nobleman, Feodor Biakont, was born in Moscow and was received from the holy cupola (church) by count John Kalit. At 13 years of age, he was graced by a special calling from God. Once, as he strung his nets to catch birds he heard a voice: “Why do you catch birds Alexis? You should be a catcher of men!” The lad Elevphery decided to dedicate himself to the service of God and entered into monkhood in the Moscow monastery of the Epiphany with the name of Alexis.
He lived in this monastery for 20 years and became known to the count and the metropolitan by his wisdom and spiritual deeds. He learned the Greek language to understand better the works of the Holy Church Fathers. Metropolitan Theognost, a Greek by birth, understood the need of a Russian helper in the administration of Metropolitan affairs, and his choice fell on Alexis.
For 12 years Alexis lived in the prelate’s house as the Metropolitan’s vicar. During the demise in health of Metropolitan Theognost, he was elevated in 1353 to the cathedra of the Bishop Vladimir. After the death of Theognost he was elected as its recipient.
Metropolitan Alexis superintended the Church at a precarious time for Russian rule. The authority of the Grand Duke of Moscow, John the Red, was weak. After his death in 1359, it was especially weak, for his heir was the eight year old Dmitri (who subsequently became a hero of the Don region) and the Duke of Suzdal became the Grand Duke. Disregarding the conviction of the new Grand Duke, the Most Holy Alexis did not leave Moscow and tried by all means to confer the dignity of the Grand Duchy to the young Dmitri. He often advised Dmitri and pacified participating dukes, for whom he often had to make strict pastoral decisions. Besides which Metropolitan Alexis used the help and cooperation of his contemporary, the great God-pleaser, the Venerable Sergios, abbot of Radonezh, who, at the instruction of the Holy One, went to Nizhny Novgorod and Piazan in order to pacify the resident mutinous dukes.
Being concerned about the Church and the fatherland, the Most Holy Alexis traveled three times to Ord. The first time by custom at the beginning of his sanctification; and the second time at the summons of Khan Chanibek.
Troparion, Tone 4:
We glorify God with fitting praises/ as we celebrate the memory of the guardian of apostolic dogmas,/ the shepherd and teacher, the blessed and holy Hierarch Alexis:/ for God has given us His servant who pours forth healings like a gushing spring/ and is the praise and support of Moscow.
Kontakion, Tone 8
All you people who faithfully sing to Christ’s divine, most holy Hierarch and new wonderworker Alexis,/ let us greet him with love as a great shepherd and minister, as a most wise teacher of Russia./ Let us who are gathered today in his memory joyously cry out in song:/ In thy boldness before God deliver us from affliction,/ that we may cry to thee: Rejoice, support of Moscow.