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PECHERSKI, FEODOSI:

Russian saint of the eleventh century (1057-74). According to the so-called Nestorian chronicles, while superior of the Kiev monastery he was in the habit of visiting at night some learned Jews, with whom he indulged in argument, and whom he upbraided for their faith. As the biographer expresses it, Feodosi longed to attain martyrdom by being killed by the Jews in these heated disputes. Feodosi's acquaintance with the Jews and with their religious teaching is also proved by his letters to the grand duke Izyaslav. Thus, to the duke's query whether it was permissible to kill an ox, a sheep, or poultry on Sunday, and to eat the meat, Feodosi replied: "The Jews, when God led them from Egypt, were commanded to observe the Sabbath by abstaining from work, by building no fire, and cooking their food on Friday; and the Judeans observe the command to this day. But since Jesus came down to the earth everything of Judean origin has been disregarded. We are not Abraham's children, we are of the children of Jesus." It should be remembered, however, says Harkavy, that notwithstanding his heated arguments with the Jews on matters of religion, Feodosi preached that they should not be denied Christian charity. The importance of the letter quoted above lies in the fact that it contains further proof of the existence of a considerable Jewish community in Kiev at the time of its author.

Bibliography:
  • A. Harkavy, Rus i Russkoe v. Srednevyekovoi Yevreiskoi Literaturye, in Voskhod, 1881, i. 75.
H. R. J. G. L.
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