In a.d. 1313 a devout couple near Rostov Velikiy, Kyril and Maria, had a son named Bartholomew. He grew up in piety, and moved with his family to the town of Rostov. Bartholomew had great difficulty learning how to read, but when a holy elder monk met him one day, this staretz gave him some prosfora, or holy bread, to eat, and his confusion and inability was cured.
When his parents died, Bartholomew moved to a monastery near Moscow by his brother Stefan, already a monk. Bartholomew was tonsured and named Sergius. Later, they both moved to the secluded forest area at Makovetz Hill, and built simple cells and a small church in honor of the Holy Trinity. This grew in time to become the great St. Sergius Holy Trinity Lavra. St. Sergius’ life was filled with the miraculous: healings, prophecies, reading the hearts of men, and numerous visions, especially of the Theotokos. This icon shows the earliest portrait of the saint and is from part of an embroidered shroud of St. Sergius that was worked in a.d. 1424. St. Sergius went to Christ in a.d. 1392, drawing many to the heights of piety and holiness during and after his life.