Graham Speake, Kallistos Ware
NICHOLAS FENNELL. The Russians on Mount Athos
In October 2006 the Moscow Patriarchate hosted a conference entitled ‘Moscow-Athos: A Millennium of Spiritual Unity’. Greek scholars and clerics participated, and Archimandrite Ephraim of Vatopedi was a guest of honour. The late Patriarch Alexis II chaired the opening plenary session, at which keynote speeches were made by Archimandrite Ephraim, a metropolitan representing the Ecumenical Patriarch, and two Russian politicians, including the Foreign Minister. Orthodox unity was being showcased.
Some one hundred papers were delivered, three-quarters of which were published two years later.360 As would be expected, the publication speaks positively of the link between Russia and Athos. Discreetly placed half-way through the papers, however, is a short article by Metropolitan Iuvenaly of Krutitsk and Kolomna entitled ‘The Mutual Relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and Athos in the Twentieth Century’.361 The metropolitan delivered this text as his keynote speech at the opening ceremony, but the editorial board thought it best not to give it such prominence. With the minimum of preamble, he writes:
The Greek government … contrary to the guarantees of the League of Nations, kept introducing with impunity a series of legal and administrative measures in contravention of the Treaty of Lausanne. The Greek authorities took every step to stem the flow of Russian monks to St Panteleimon monastery … Athos started to turn into an association of exclusively Greek monasteries.
The paper continues in this bellicose vein. Repeated pleas on behalf of the Moscow Patriarchate, explains the metropolitan, were ignored. Today, he concludes, there are sixty brethren in St Panteleimon. Thus, ‘the sacred authority of the Russian Orthodox Church, by dint of dogged efforts lasting many years, managed at the most critical moment in the history of Russian Athos to stave off its physical demise.’
Metropolitan Iuvenaly’s address caused a stir and a number of the Greek delegates were offended.362 Of course, the overwhelming message from the conference was of the strength of ties between Russia and Athos. For all their careless slips, the Moscow hosts were generous and warm, especially towards their Greeks guests. No fewer than four papers were delivered on the Greek Elder Joseph the Hesychast.363 They extolled the virtues of Greek Athos and had no direct link with the conference’s central theme. Archimandrite Ephraim, who delivered two of these papers as well as his keynote speech, was greeted with genuine interest and enthusiasm. Many young Russians flocked to hear him and to catch their first glimpse of a real Athonite elder.
For their part, the Greeks spoke positively about the Russian contribution to the unity. Priest-Monk Athanasios Simonopetritis spoke with gratitude about the material and moral support Simonopetra monastery has been receiving from Russia since the time of Ivan IV. In striking contrast with Metropolitan Iuvenaly, he observes that ties with Russia are stronger than ever, especially since Perestroika. ‘May Almighty God’, concludes Fr Athanasios, ‘rest the souls of all our departed Russian brethren, who in one way or another have helped to prolong to this day the existence of the habitation of [our holy monastery].’364
Much was also said at the conference about the Russian Elder Sophrony (Sakharov), the disciple of St Silouan the Athonite, a monk of the Russian monastery of St Panteleimon.365 Fr Sophrony founded the monastery of St John the Baptist in the English county of Essex. One of the delegates described it in Fr Sophrony’s time as a model of pan-Orthodoxy:
The monastery was multinational: the representatives of fifteen nationalities coexisted side by side; services and communication were mainly carried out in various languages; and the elder strictly saw to it that life did not veer towards any kind of Hellenization or Russification, both of which he considered to be a deviation from and corruption of the true spirit of Orthodoxy.366
Russia’s relationship with Athos has never been straightforward. It has been a mixture of conflict, contradiction, envy, and rivalry on the one hand; and inspiration, mutual support, and spiritual regeneration on the other. Over the last 300 years the Holy Mountain did indeed veer towards both Hellenization and Russification.
Its remoteness and otherworldliness make its askesis an intense one. Physical and spiritual trials often invite discord: a monk undergoing the hardships of self-denial and vigilance is likely to find the presence of certain of his brethren a temptation. Tensions between the Russian and the Greek Athonite communities have in the past been exacerbated by their sharply contrasting ethnic characteristics. The Holy Mountain has always been at the heart of the Hellenic world. From the beginning, the Greeks have been in the majority on Athos. Serbs, Romanians, and Bulgarians have blended in with relative ease to the Athonite world because they are close neighbours of the Greeks; they have a common background of the mainly rural Mediterranean peoples. The Russians, on the other hand, come from the remote north, beyond the Black Sea. Russian Athonite architecture, food, church singing, nineteenth-century iconography, vestments, and even liturgical tradition differ from those of the Greeks and of their Balkan neighbours.
A more striking difference setting the Russians apart from the Greeks, Bulgarians, Serbs, and Romanians is political. The Russian empire repeatedly defeated the Ottomans and, until 1829, the Russians alone on Athos represented an independent Orthodox nation. The Greeks had been under the Turkish yoke since the fall of Constantinople and without the Russians they would not have been granted their own sovereign nation. Especially in the nineteenth century, the Russians were seen to enjoy special privileges from the Athonite Turkish civil authorities, who seemed to respect them more than anyone else. For instance, only the Russians were allowed to ring bells and a special customs shed was set up in the latter half of the nineteenth century on the quayside of the Russian monastery of St Panteleimon to cope with the increasing numbers of Russian visitors.
The greater the influx of pilgrims, the wealthier the Russian community became. Russian Athonite architecture was not merely outlandishly different; it was a display of wealth. The central church of the St Andrew skete was the largest in the Christian Orthodox Near East. By the 1860s over sixty kellia (hermitages) had been converted into thriving cenobitic houses, several of which were as wealthy and populous as some of the ruling monasteries themselves. These kellia had been bought from the non-Russian ruling monasteries mostly by rich Russian merchants. The Greeks by comparison were poor. From the 1860s even the wealthier Greek monasteries, such as Vatopedi, were feeling the pinch, owing to the requisition of dedicated monastic property in Romania and Bessarabia. Little wonder that the Greeks looked with disapproval tinged with envy at the burgeoning Russian houses with their imposing stone buildings, gold ornamentation, and coloured cupolas.
Both ethnic and political differences were exacerbated by overcrowding on the Holy Mountain. When the Russian community was at its height it represented half of the total Athonite population of some 10,000 monks. Mount Athos was rapidly ceasing to be a haven of peace and contemplation. Before the latter half of the nineteenth century the Russians had coexisted more easily with the Greeks, and perhaps as well as any other ethnic group on Athos: there had never been many Russians present (their numbers probably did not significantly exceed 200 at any one time) and the Greeks had been in the majority. When the Russian Athonite population dramatically increased from the end of the Crimean War (1856), the Greeks for the first time in centuries found themselves faced with the prospect of being in the minority. They have not forgotten that the Russians threatened to outnumber them, even now that Russian numbers have shrunk to their previous levels, a process that began in the wake of the October Revolution when ties between Russia and Athos were temporarily severed. Until 1917 the Greeks so resented being challenged in an area they considered theirs by right that they thought the Russians were attempting to oust them from the Holy Mountain. After the formation of their independent state in 1829 the Greeks were anxious to annex Macedonia, in the east of which is Mount Athos. Part of Macedonia was wrested from the Turks in 1912 and Mount Athos was liberated by the Greeks on St Demetrios’s day after the Bulgarians had been beaten in the race for Thesssaloniki. Thus the overwhelming Russian presence on Athos was seen as a threat to a proud fledgling nation that had been contending with its Balkan Slav rivals for the prize of Macedonia. Moreover, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople has always been Greek; and the Greeks are considered to be, like the Ecumenical Patriarch, primi inter pares on Mount Athos.
Even before Russian numbers started dramatically increasing, there were occasional spectacular clashes with the Greeks. On his first visit to the Holy Mountain in 1726, Monk Vasily Grigorovich-Barsky spent some time in the Russian monastery of St Panteleimon, where he saw several Russian brethren, and heard Russian singing and reading. He begins his chapter on St Panteleimon, written after his second visit (1744–7), with the oddly emphatic assertion that ‘this monastery is universally called Russian by everyone – by the Greeks, Serbs, and Bulgarians.’ In other words, Russian ownership of the monastery was in doubt: it was Russian only in name.367
Barsky goes on to explain that the Russians had lived there from the beginning, and in great numbers, until 1735. Thereafter their numbers dwindled until the monastery was abandoned and taken over by the Greeks, who refused to allow any Slavs to live in it, ‘for fear that they might rightfully repossess it as their own ancient habitation’.
Barsky’s account now becomes disturbing.
There I heard from the Serbs and Bulgarians, and from Russians who had lived there many years, a terrible tale. The Greeks do not wish to hear about it, for they say it is lies. Once, many years ago, but already during Turkish rule, the monastery belonged to the Russians … and initially the Greeks cohabited with them. The Russians accused the Greeks of some misdeed – which I have no time to specify. The latter, being in the majority and unable to bear the indignity [of the] accusation, were goaded by demons into a rage, and a great fight broke out between them both. [The Greeks] fell on [the Russians]; they caught them unawares, slaying every one of them and losing many of their own numbers. Those who survived fled nobody knows whither, out of fear of punishment.368
This incident, Barsky explains, happened a century before the monastery became deserted in 1735. More violence was to follow. On Easter Day 1765, after Barsky had left, there was a scandalous fracas between Greek and Slav monks which ended in bloodshed and the destruction of the already dilapidated buildings by arson. They had to move out of the monastery buildings and settled in to a new site by the sea.369
It should be emphasized that these clashes which took place in the eighteenth century were exceptional. Until the 1850s the story of Russian Athos had mainly been one of asceticism and spiritual achievement. The greatest and most influential Russian Athonites have been saintly examples of humility, poverty, and prayer. The foremost of these were St Antony Pechersky, who came to Athos shortly after 1051, and St Paisy Velichkovsky, who was there from 1746 to 1762. Both made their way via Kiev to the Holy Mountain on foot. They were tonsured after they had arrived; they lived there in extreme self-denial, and then they left to continue the Athonite tradition in monastic communities at home.
St Antony, the founder of the great Kievan monastery of the Caves, is considered the father of Russian monasticism. In the seventeen short years St Paisy spent on Mount Athos he became spiritual father to monks of many nationalities, one of whom was Patriarch Seraphim I. St Paisy’s personal qualities transcended ethnic barriers. He knew that the ability to maintain harmonious inter-ethnic relations was a gift others did not have. He was in charge of ethnically mixed brotherhoods: in the Prophet Elijah skete of Athos,370 and, once he had left for the Danubian principalities, in the monasteries of Neamţ and Secul. In all three houses his brethren were Slav and Romanian; divine office was read and sung in both languages. St Paisy knew that maintaining harmony in an ethnically diverse community was possible only with great cenobitic discipline, and that only leaders with exceptional gifts could enforce it.371
On Athos, St Paisy was at the forefront of spiritual revival: he espoused the traditionalists’ side in the Kollyvades debate and resurrected ancient patristic texts hidden away on dusty shelves of Athonite libraries. A little over a decade after his departure, Sts Nikodimos of the Holy Mountain and Makarios of Corinth were instrumental in reviving Greek Orthodox patristic traditions, the Philokalia, and cenobitic monasticism on the Holy Mountain. All three saints were crucially influential in the latter half of the eighteenth century when feelings of revolutionary independence were stirring in all Greeks. Turkish oppression seemed at its worst; but, just as in the Peloponnese, church schools were opening and the Athoniada was founded. It is remarkable that St Paisy, a Slav, should be associated in this way with the resurgence of the Greek national Church.
St Paisy was also the reviver in Russia of starchestvo, the tradition of the spiritual elder to whom disciples would subject themselves in total obedience. His spiritual descendants were the great elders of the Optina Pustyn.372 In the nineteenth century there lived on the Holy Mountain another spiritual descendant of St Paisy’s, the great Russian starets, Elder Arseny. He was on Athos from 1821 until his death in 1846. Few knew of him outside Russian Athos, but he had immense influence. He was the spiritual father of the entire Russian community. The first great and successful leader and organizer of the Russians in the nineteenth century, Priest Schema-Monk Ieronim, came to the Russian monastery and became the Russians’ father-confessor because the elder had instructed him to do so. Fr Ieronim initially resisted, for he wished to spend his days in eremitical seclusion and tried at all costs to avoid being ordained a priest. The elder insisted, prophesying: ‘You must care for everyone; it behoves you to set up the Russian monastery, and through you it will be glorified … The blessing of the Lord will be with you.’373 Once Fr Ieronim was installed, the formerly destitute monastery of St Panteleimon, whose brethren were by now Greek, became the largest and wealthiest of Athonite houses, and home to almost 2,000 Russians.
Elder Arseny, meanwhile, continued to live the ascetic life Fr Ieronim had longed for. Like Sts Antony and Paisy, Elder Arseny came to the Holy Mountain on foot and was tonsured there. He travelled first via Kiev, where he was joined by Nikita (later Nikolai of the Great Schema). Then they continued on their journey, stopping in Moldavia, where, like St Paisy, they were tonsured into the Small Schema. Once on Athos, they settled down to an eremitical life, speaking to each other as little as possible and reciting the Jesus prayer. By day they carved wooden spoons which they hoped to sell. They emulated the first years on the Holy Mountain of St Paisy, who lived four years in great poverty and hesychastic silence, carving spoons by day for a living. Both Arseny and Nikolai, like St Paisy and his brother in Christ Vissarion, were tonsured into the Great Schema after a similar number of years on the Holy Mountain; and Arseny was also reluctantly ordained to the priesthood.
Arseny fasted as strictly as St Paisy. The life of Arseny and his companion was so harshly ascetic that he discouraged others later on from joining them in their hermitage. The writer and missionary, Schema-Monk Parfeny Aggeev, who had chosen Fr Arseny as his own elder and knew him personally, gives a detailed description. Unlike the eleventh-century Chronicle account of St Antony or the Lives of St Paisy, it is sufficiently personal and immediate to be convincingly realistic.
[The Elder explained:] ‘Nobody can live with us. We have barely managed to attain this level of existence after thirty years, yet we are still prey to temptation and exhaustion ….’ Since their arrival on the Holy Mountain they tasted neither fish nor cheese nor wine nor oil. Their food was rusks dipped in water.
These they supplemented with pickled or raw vegetables.
And they always ate once a day, in the third hour of the afternoon; but on Wednesdays and Fridays they had no food. Their daily rule was as follows: after eating until vespers they read spiritual works in their cells. Then they served vespers according to the Typikon; they always read attentively and with weeping, not hurriedly, but quietly and humbly. Then followed compline with a canon to the Mother of God. The whole night was spent in vigil, prayer, and prostrations. If they were weighed down with sleep, they would allow it to take hold while they sat, but not for more than an hour and hardly perceptibly, for they mostly forced themselves to keep awake – often by pacing up and down. They had no clock, but they always knew the time, for at the foot of the mountain the clock strikes on the belfry of Iviron monastery and they always heard it. At midnight itself they would meet in the [kellion] church, where they would read the midnight office followed by matins according to the Typikon. After matins they always read the canon with the Akathist Hymn to the Mother of God. [Next] they would devote themselves to hesychastic prayer until dawn. Then they would do handicraft and work to a schedule producing ten spoons each, but each sitting in a separate place. They never held any conversations with each other, but spoke only about essentials when it was unavoidable, for they always kept quiet. They preserved their hearts from distraction and kept up a ceaseless internal prayer. The spoons they made were of the simplest kind.374
The elder Arseny would weep copiously during the divine office. As we have seen, the elder could foretell the future and was able to reveal the innermost secrets of those who consulted him. He knew on which day he was to die and was able to prepare for it. He was also reputed to have the power of telekinesis. As a spiritual father he insisted on obedience to his instructions, for he received them directly from God. Monk Parfeny found the elder’s commands hard to follow, as did Fr Ieronim, but such was their power that disobedience was impossible.
The elder was completely unattached to material possessions and generous to a fault. He always quoted Matthew 6: 26 and 33,375 for he knew that God would provide for their material needs. When Monk Parfeny arrived on Athos penniless, the elder advised him to carve spoons for a living, but the young man had no carving knife. A new instrument cost 50 leva, so the elder gave him 30 leva, then ‘went into the church, brought a book from there and gave it to me saying “Go and pawn it with the Korenev brothers, and take as much money as you need. I’ll buy it back later.”’ Monk Parfeny was moved to tears by this generosity and observed of the elder: ‘His first question of everyone was “Well, have you enough? Is there anything you need?”’376
Elder Arseny as depicted by Monk Parfeny strikingly resembles Elder Joseph the Hesychast. Both underwent extreme abstinence and poverty, and devoted themselves to hesychastic prayer, but the same is true of many Athonite ascetics. Few Athonites, however, possessed powers of telekinesis, or foresight bordering on prophecy, as they both did. Following the tradition of the Fathers of the Church, Joseph the Hesychast wept copiously during prayer, like the Elder Arseny:
Like a true hesychast and imitator of Sts Arsenios the Great and Isaac the Syrian, Elder Joseph shed copious tears during vigils and prayers. For he supposed that, should tears not flow whenever God is remembered, then ignorance, pride, and stony indifference will be locked away in the heart.377
As we can see, the great Athonite ascetics were all alike and followed in the footsteps of their illustrious Fathers of the Church. Priest Schema-Monk Ieronim would have liked to emulate his elder’s eremitical life. He endured great physical hardship, but of a worldly kind: he manfully put up with an untreated double hernia so painful that in his last years he could hardly sit or sleep. He was so busy that he had little time for himself, let alone for sleep. However, as the leader of a vast and burgeoning cenobitic community, his life was by comparison full of worldly cares. Unlike the elder, he was a high-profile figure, constantly in the gaze of the Athonite community. Coming from a wealthy family of merchants, he knew the value of money and would probably not have been able to subject himself to complete poverty and abstinence. When on the command of the elder he left his kellion to move in to St Panteleimon monastery, he gave away to the poor most of his possessions:
It was like a feast for two weeks in our kellion. Two men cooked food; everyone was fed and offered wine, for we had plenty of everything: there were sufficient supplies for a year of flour, fish, oil, and wine. And by God’s grace we gave all away and exhausted everything, leaving only what was needed for the monastery – the essential books and costly vestments and essential clothing for ourselves. Then we sold the kellion.378
Once he was installed in St Panteleimon he devoted himself wholly to the task of securing the Russians’ place there. A St Panteleimon monk recently characterized Fr Ieronim’s mission thus: ‘He gathered Russian monks in the Russian House, which was “their own habitation of old”; he defended their right to an independent existence on Athos.’379 Fr Ieronim achieved his aims by attracting generous donations from wealthy benefactors, many of whom he knew from the time when he worked in his father’s tannery business before he came to Athos. He also chose as his helper and deputy the young Mikhail Sushkin, the son of a millionaire merchant from Tula. Sushkin was tonsured to the Great Schema with the name of Makary and was installed as the first Russian abbot of St Panteleimon in modern times, in 1875.
Being in charge of a vast and growing brotherhood meant that Fr Ieronim and Archimandrite Makary had constantly to work. They were wholly dedicated to their cause and operated as a team: Makary was relatively young and inexperienced; he was initially impulsive and prone to make rash decisions. Ieronim was the old head on young shoulders; he was always calm and focused. His steely resolve and clear-headedness impressed all who knew him. The Russian consul in Macedonia, K. N. Leontyev, characterized him thus:
Firm, unwavering, fearless, and enterprising; bold and cautious at the same time; a profound idealist and thoroughly practical; as strong in body as in spirit … – Fr Ieronim effortlessly imposed his will on people.380
Fathers Ieronim and Makary were good men. St Panteleimon monastery enjoyed a golden age from 1875 until the death of the latter in 1889, four years after that of Fr Ieronim. They were perhaps the principal reason why so many Russians flocked to the Holy Mountain: all knew that they would be welcomed in an edenic monastic world in which a 2,000-strong community of monks lived a life of order, decorum, and prayer. Yet neither Ieronim nor Makary was truly ascetic; they cannot be compared with those saintly men who all followed a remarkably similar path of self-denial and prayer. At the height of the struggle between Greeks and Russians for supremacy in the monastery preceding Archimandrite Makary’s enthronement as abbot, Fr Ieronim knew he had the upper hand. He famously said: ‘I hold the purse strings, so I can do as I please – koshelek v moikh rukakh – takzhe i volya.’381
Money and power belong to the world. If asceticism and prayer alone were striven for on the Holy Mountain, there would be no phyletic bias, envy, or quarrels. Then Mount Athos would be a truly pan-Orthodox Eden. The Russians and Greeks frequently clashed. Only the true ascetics were able to overcome or were simply not prone to ethnic differences. On the Holy Mountain askesis alone is proof against ethnic divisions.
Dmitrievsky, A. A., Russkie na Afone: ocherk zhizni i deyatel’nosti igumena russkago Panteleymonovskago monastyrya svyaschenno-arkhimandrita Makariya (Sushkina) (St Petersburg, 1895).
Fennell, Nicholas, The Russians on Athos (Oxford, 2001).
Grigorovich-Barsky, Monk Vasily, Vtoroe paseschenie svyatoy Afonskoy gory vasiliya Grigorovicha-Barskogo im samim opisannoe (Moscow, 2004).
Ioakim (Sabel’nikov), Priest-Monk, Velikaya Strazha (Moscow, 2001).
Leontyev, K. N., Polnoe sobraniye sochineniy i pisem v dvadtsati tomakh, Vol. 6 (1), ‘Vospominanie ob arkhimandrite Makarii, igumene russkogo monastyrya sv. Panteleymona na gore Afonskoy’ (St Petersburg, 2003).
Parfeny Aggeev, Schema-Monk, Skazanie o stranstvii i puteshestvii po Rossii, Moldavii, Turtsii i Svyatoy zemle (Moscow, 2008).
Rossiya-Afon: tysyacheletie dukhovnogo edinstva (Moscow, 2008). Athanasios Simenopetritis, Monk, ‘Svyazi monastyrya Simonopetra s Rossiyey’. Ephraim (Kutsu), Archimandrite, ‘Lichnost’ i trudy startsa Iosifa Isikhasta’. Serafim (Pokrovsky), Abbot of the Great Schema, ‘Molitvenny i literaturny opyt startsa Sofroniya (Sakharova) v svete russkoy i afonskoy traditsiy’. Yuvenaly, Metropolitan of Kolomna and Krutitsk, ‘Vzaimnootnosheniya Russkoy Pravoslavnoy Tserkvii i Afona v XX veke’.
Smyrnakis, Abbot Gerasimos, To Aghion Oros (Mount Athos, repr. 1988).
* * *
Rossiya-Afon: tysyacheletie dukhovnogo edinstva (Moscow, 2008).
Metropolitan Yuvenaly of Kolomna and Krutitsk, ibid., pp. 236–40: ‘Vzaimnootnosheniya Russkoy Pravoslavnoy Tserkvii i Afona v XX veke’.
The metropolitan representing the Ecumenical Patriarch spoke next in the opening ceremony. He prefaced his speech with the acerbic observation that according to protocol he should have been asked to speak before any Russian metropolitan. To make matters worse, about half-way through Metropolitan Iuvenaly’s speech the simultaneous translation into Greek inexplicably ground to a halt. Many of the Greek delegates were shocked by what they considered as hostility on his part. After dinner on the same day in the Daniilov Monastery Hotel they discussed whether to boycott the rest of the conference, but it was decided that the metropolitan’s inhospitality was due to characteristically Russian bluntness and tactlessness, which were unfortunate but would have to be put up with. Greek displeasure was firmly but discreetly voiced more publicly subsequently, although this is not evident in the published articles.
Ibid., pp. 25–55. Two of the papers were delivered by Abbot Ephraim; the others by Protopresbyter Vasilios Kalliamanis and G. Manzaridis.
Monk Athanasios Simenopetritis, ibid., pp. 240–5: ‘Svyazi monastyrya Simonopetra s Rossiyey’.
Abbot of the Great Schema Serafim (Pokrovsky), ibid., pp. 55–66: ‘Molitvenny i literaturny opyt startsa Sofroniya (Sakharova) v svete russkoy i afonskoy traditsiy’.
Ibid., p. 57.
This is a view commonly held by some Greeks since the nineteenth century; they claim that the monastery had never originally belonged to the Russians. See Nicholas Fennell, The Russians on Athos (Oxford, 2001), pp. 52–5.
Vasily Grigorovich-Barsky, Vtoroe paseschenie svyatoy Afonskoy gory vasiliya Grigorovicha-Barskogo im samim opisannoe (Moscow, 2004), pp. 296–8.
Gerasimos Smyrnakis, To Aghion Oros (Mount Athos, repr. 1988), p. 662.
And possibly in Simonopetra monastery, where he arrived in 1762 and stayed for only a year before leaving for Moldavia.
When he gave the rule to Abbot George of Chernica, Moldavia, he told him to accept only Romanians into the brotherhood in order to avoid misunderstandings and conflicts.
In Kozel’sk, south of Moscow. The Optina elders were a source of inspiration and religious renewal for Dostoyevsky, Solovyev, and many other Russians, especially members of the Russian intelligentsia.
Schema-Monk Parfeny Aggeev, Skazanie o stranstvii i puteshestvii po Rossii, Moldavii, Turtsii i Svyatoy zemle (Moscow, 2008), Vol. I, Pt. II, p. 373.
Ibid., Vol. II, Part IV, pp. 208–9.
‘Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them’; and ‘But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well’.
Ibid., Vol. II, Part IV, pp. 210–11.
Archimandrite Ephraim (Kutsu), ‘Lichnost’ i trudy startsa Iosifa Isikhasta’, Rossiya-Afon, p. 34.
Monk Parfeny Aggeev, op. cit., Vol. I, Book II, p. 374.
Priest-Monk Ioakim (Sabel’nikov), Velikaya Strazha (Moscow, 2001), p. 62.
K. N. Leontyev, Polnoe sobraniye sochineniy i pisem v dvadtsati tomakh, Vol. 6 (1), ‘Vospominanie ob arkhimandrite Makarii, igumene russkogo monastyrya sv. Panteleymona na gore Afonskoy’ (St Petersburg, n.d. ), p. 760.
A. A. Dmitrievsky, Russkie na Afone: ocherk zhizni i deyatel’nosti igumena russkago Panteleymonovskago monastyrya svyaschenno-arkhimandrita Makariya (Sushkina) (St Petersburg, 1895), p. 142.