Saint Basil was born in 1587 in the very old town of Yaroslavl. Yaroslavl was an important port on the Volga River. Basil's father Theodore was a poor merchant and his family often had very little food.
Even when he was a very small boy, Saint Basil used to go to the church every time he could. He loved God's house and wanted to be there more than any place else.
In those days, when a boy was twelve years old, he could become an apprentice. An apprentice is someone who works for a company without pay just to learn the business. The boss pays the boy's father a certain ammount and then gives the boy food and a place to live.
Because Basil's family was very poor, he agreed to become an apprentice too. The saint became an apprentice for a merchant in the Siberian town of Mangazeya.
Sibera was a very dangerous place, full of wild animals, war-like native tribes and lawless men. The journey to Mangazeya was long, difficult and full of danger. When Saint Basil arrived there safely, he hurried to the church to give thanks to God for protection on the road. Then he went to the merchant's office where he was given the job of clerk. Saint Basil was a very good and careful worker. Soon he was given a more responsible job in the company.
Unfortunately, at that time Siberia was a frontier area, and there were almost no women there. Because of this, some men who had beastial passions used to commit homosexual acts with young men and boys. Saint Basil's boss was one of these perverse men. Soon after Saint Basil had arrived in Mangazeya, the boss tried to entice the youth into homosexual relations. He tried flattery, he offered Basil money and finally, he tried threats and punishments.
Saint Basil only continued to fast and pray and ask God to help him remain pure.
The boss began to hate Basil. He was angry that he would not submit to his evil lust, and he hated Basil's prayerful, religious life. He especially hated Basil for his meek and humble personality. But no matter how much he persecuted and mistreated the innocent lad, Saint Basil continued to faithfully and honestly perform all his duties and responsibilities.
Finally, the persecutions and slanders reached a terrible point. During the Paschal Matins, theives robbed the merchandise house in which Basil worked. The boss, discovering the theft, went to the governor and reported the theft. But then a terrible deed occured: the merchant hated Basil so much and the evil in him was so strong that he formally accused the innocent of being the robber.
Thus, on the day of Christ's Bright Pascha, when the Holy Church calls all people to peace and love, this inocent, God-fearing boy was betrayed by a false witness, just as Christ had been betrayed by false witnesses. The governor did not even investigate the charges. He sent officers to arrest Saint Basil and drag him right out of the church. The governor and Basils boss began to torture the boy in order to force a confession out of him. In spite of all the fierce tortures, the blessed one would only reply meekly: "I am innocent."
The pain of the torture became so unbearable that the youth fainted, but when he came to, he again quietly repeated, "I am innocent."
The meek, humble, Christ-like endurance and peaceful reply of the young saint enraged the evil merchant even more. Finally, he flew into a demonic rage and struck the innocent virgin on the head with a heavy chain of keys. Saint Basil fell to the floor, sighed heavily and gave up his pure soul into the hands of the Lord, on the day of Christ's Radiant Pascha, 1600.
In order to hide this foul crime, the Governor, Mr. Pushkin, and the passion-crazed merchant, placed the body of the holy martyr into a rough coffin and lowered it into a nearby marsh, weighed down with stones.
Rumors of the brutal murder circulated around the town of Mangazeya almost immediately after the incident, but God chose to conceal the sacred relics of His saint for fifty-two years.
In 1652, during the tenure of the military governor Ignaty Stepanovich Korsakov, God willed to reveal the glory of His Virgin Martyr. In that year, many wonderous events began to occur in the area around Mangazeya. Many pious people had dreams in which a beardless youth appeared to them and many ill people were healed by this holy boy. A strange light was seen over the marsh and unseen voices were heard chanting nearby.
Then, the coffin of the saint rose slowly to the top of the mud. A pious archer, Steven Shiryaev, noticed the coffin, but did nothing about it. Saint Basil appeared to him in a dream and told him to open the the coffin. The whole story of Saint Basil's martyrdom became known.
The coffin was brought out of the swamp and opened. Inside they found the sacred relics of the saint, whole and incorrupt. A chapel was built over the relics and many people received healing through the prayers of the young martyr.
[A chapel was built over his grave, and in 1670 the relics were placed in the church of Holy Trinity Monastery near Turakhanov.
In 1719 the holy Metropolitan Philotheus of Siberia (May 31) sent a carved reliquary to the monastery. Many miracles took place there, and St Basil helped Metropolitan Philotheus on many occasions
A new stone church was built at Holy Trinity Monastery in 1787, and the relics were transferred there.
In iconography, St Basil is portrayed as a young man with light brown hair, bare-footed and wearing only a shirt. He is also depicted on the Abaletsk Icon "Of the Sign" (July 20, November 27). (http://ocafs.oca.org/FeastSaintsViewer.asp?SID=4&ID=1&FSID=100874)]
Holy Virgin Martyr Basil of Mangazeya, pray to God for us!
Apolytikion in the First Tone
Thou O Basil didst witness unto death to the glory of virginity, and having been cast into the darkness of a swamp by thy cruel tormentors, thou didst ascend to the heights and shine forth with the glory of the Eternal Light, wherefore we cry to thee rejoicing, glory to Christ Who has glorified thee, glory to Him Who has made thee wondrous, glory to Him Who worketh healings for all through thee.
Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Chosen Martyr of Christ, patron of missionaries, protector of those who struggle for chastity, we see thee as a radiant lamp in the darkness of a wicked and perverse generation. And since thou hast been thrice-crowned by our Saviour, free us from passions, who cry to thee: Rejoice Holy Martyr Basil, radiant light of virginity.
Selected hymns to St. Basil of Mangazeya (in Russian)
Тропа́́рь, глас 8:
Бога́тство ви́дев чи́стыя души́ твоея́, Васи́лие, / укра́сти тща́шеся пра́ведных враг, / подусти́ господи́на твоего́, / и́же покра́денного ра́ди бога́тства своего́ преда́в тя судии́, / и от того́ непови́нне мно́гия претерпе́л еси́ му́ки, / непобеди́м пребы́в до сме́рти. / Тем, я́ко прие́мый вене́ц страда́ния от всех Влады́ки, / моли́ всем от напа́стей свобо́дным бы́ти, / чту́щим любо́вию святу́ю па́мять твою́.
Наста́ всечестны́й день пра́зднества / пренесе́ния моще́й твои́х, прехва́льне му́чениче Васи́лие, / от Тазу́ реки́ в Туруха́нск, в оби́тель Святы́я Тро́ицы. / Ра́дуются сердца́ ве́рных, красу́ется Це́рковь с вопию́щими: / его́же уби́сте и вмени́сте безче́стна, / сей ны́не на тве́рди Небе́сней изоби́лует сла́вою благода́ти, / в сы́нех Бо́жиих яви́ся. / Ди́вен еси́, Го́споди, не зри́ши лица́, но изволе́ния душе́вного. / Сла́ва венча́вшему Ти в ко́емждо ро́де му́ченики Твоя́, / сла́ва де́йствующему Ти си́лою во святы́х Твои́х.