Peter was born in 1211 in the village of Unjimir between the city of
Pech and the Field of Kosovo. As a child, he was meek and humble, and
seldom participated in children's games. At an early age, he and his
younger sister Helena devoted themselves to prayer and fasting. When he
was ten years old, the future saint told his parents that he wished to
serve God by becoming a monk.
St Peter's father died when the boy was fourteen, so he put off his
plans to enter the monastery in order to care for his mother and sister.
At the same time, he increased his ascetical efforts. When St Peter was
sixteen, his beloved mother reposed. Determined to enter a monastery,
he asked his sister whether she intended to be married, for his
conscience would not allow him to abandon her unless he had provided for
her. Helena said that it was her wish to preserve her virginity and
become a nun. She said she would share his life of prayer and asceticism
if only he would take her with him. Peter rejoiced and replied, "May
the Lord's will be done."
They sold their family possessions and distributed the money to the
poor. Traveling to Pec, they reached the Monastery of Sts Peter and
Paul. Peter remained here, while Helena entered a nearby women's
monastery. After several years, both were granted permission to live in
Peter built two cells, one for himself and one for his sister, near the
monastery. They spent their time in continual prayer and fasting,
freeing themselves from worldly attachments, subduing the flesh, and
struggling on the path of salvation.
These two spiritual lamps could not remain hidden for very long. People
started coming to them for spiritual counsel and healing. St Peter and
his sister agreed to avoid the snare of vainglory by moving to a more
remote area. They went to Crna Reka (the town of Black River) on the
St Peter wished to move even farther into the woods for a life of even
greater asceticism, but was reluctant to leave his sister. On the other
hand, he was concerned that she might risk her physical and spiritual
health if she were to come with him, so he decided to slip away and
leave her in order to live alone on a mountain. He did not get very far
before she noticed he was gone. She caught up to him and they traveled
together to a mountain near the town of Prizren. On top of the mountain
was a town called Korisha (modern Kabash), where they stopped to rest.
Helena went to sleep there in the grass. St Peter wept and made the Sign
of the Cross over her, then went off into the forest. When she awoke
and found him gone, she wept and called his name. Finally, she went down
from the mountain and lived in Prizren for the rest of her life. St
Helena is also commemorated on June 5 with her brother, St Peter.
The holy ascetic lived in a cave near Korisha, where he continued his
spiritual struggles in the heat of summer and in the cold of winter. He
withstood the temptations and attacks of the demons which assailed him.
When this happened, he sang Psalms and hymns all night until the sun
came up in the morning. He fervently prayed for God to help and comfort
him in his struggles. The Archangel Michael appeared to him and drove
away the demons, promising St Peter that they would never enter his cell
again. The Archangel warned him to be vigilant and to persevere, for
the Devil wished to destroy him. After advising the saint to call upon
the name of the Lord whenever he was attacked by the forces of evil, the
holy Archangel vanished.
St Peter still endured temptations, but was victorious against all of
them. Realizing his own weakness, he turned to Christ, Who strengthened
him and sustained him. After these victories, the Lord consoled him with
a vision of the Uncreated Light which lasted several days. From that
time forward, St Peter was illumined by the grace of God, so no demon
ever dared to approach him again.
Before St Peter's death, many monks were sent to him by God, and he
guided all of them. He blessed them and tonsured them, and permitted
them to live in the caves below his cave. Forseeing the approach of
death, he dug out a tomb for himself in the wall of his cell.
Acceding to the wish of his disciples, he told them the story of his
life. Then he and his disciples received the Life-Giving Mysteries of
Christ. After bidding each brother farewell, he surrendered his soul to
God on June 5, 1275.
On the night of his blessed repose, a heavenly light was seen in his
cave, and the singing of angels was heard by the other monks. In the
morning, St Peter's face shone with radiance, and a sweet fragrance came
from his body. After the saint's burial, many of those who came to his
tomb were healed of their physical and spiritual infirmities. Seventy
years later, King Dushan built a church at Korisha over St Peter's
relics, and dedicated it to the God-bearing ascetic.
The holy relics of St Peter were later transferred to the Black River
monastery, then to the church of the Archangel Michael in the city of
Many of the icons of St Peter proved to be miracle working. The
inscription reads: "St Peter of Korisha, desert-dweller and