Biographies / Saints Lives

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  1. Elder Ambrose of Optina

    Elder Ambrose of Optina

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    Elder Ambrose (1812–1891) is considered the pinnacle of Eldership in Optina. He embodied the virtues of all the elders in the highest degree—divine humility, purity of mind and heart, overflowing love, and total self-sacrifice for the salvation of his fellow man. Because he had attained the depths of humility, the Lord blessed him with spiritual gifts by which to heal suffering souls. He read human hearts, was granted to know the past, present and future of people, and spoke to them the direct, revealed word of God. So great were his gifts that hundreds of people flocked daily to his humble cabin in central Russia. Among these were the writers Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Leontiev and Solovyev. Dostoyevsky was so moved by his pilgrimage to Optina and Elder Ambrose that he wrote his last and greatest novel, The Brothers Karamazov, with the specific intention of depicting the spiritual image of Optina Monastery and the Elder. The fictional character of Elder Zosima in his book was modelled after Elder Ambrose, whose words of counsel Dostoyevsky put directly into the mouth of his unforgettable character. Learn More
  2. Elder Anthony of Optina

    Elder Anthony of Optina

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    “What can I say about those long-awaited days when the Superior of the Skete, Fr. Anthony, would serve? His every move, every word and exclamation reflected purity, meekness and reverence, and at the same time a holy feeling of majesty. I have never seen anywhere else such church services, although I have visited many monasteries and churches.” Learn More
  3. Elder Barsanuphius Of Optina

    Elder Barsanuphius Of Optina

    $39.95

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    Elder Barsanuphius (1845–1913), a disciple of Elder Anatole (Zertsalov) and Elder Nektary, was a highly cultured man and a successful colonel before entering the monastic life at a relatively late age. Due to his purity of heart and spiritual sobriety, he was transformed by God into a grace-filled Elder virtually overnight. The period before the first World War and the Russian Revolution was a complex one. The world was seething in unprecedented passions, and one could clearly sense the approach of darkness. With a sympathetic soul Elder Barsanuphius attended to the world, and the Lord parted a curtain before him, showing him the horrors of the future. Learn More
  4. Elder Macarius of Optina

    Elder Macarius of Optina

    $24.95

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    A disciple and co-laborer of Elder Leonid, Elder Macarius (1788–1860) was instrumental in the publication of patristic literature by Optina Monastery. He was himself an embodiment of patristic wisdom—an ancient Church Father come forth in modern times. Meek, gentle, loving and noble, he was imbued with the power of humility that strengthens the infirm, chastens the proud-minded and exorcises evil spirits. In him were the words of Christ fulfilled: Be ye therefore perfect (Matt. 5:48). As one contemporary wrote after meeting Elder Macarius: “How difficult it is to see perfection. I had thought that a man is not capable of attaining perfection.… It was shock to see a living example of such a man.” Learn More
  5. Elder Nektary of Optina

    Elder Nektary of Optina

    $33.95

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    Elder Nektary (1853–1928) was the last Elder to function as such at Optina. He was in Optina when it was forcibly closed by the communists in 1923, and spent his remaining years in exile from his spiritual home. He lived through a time of persecution worse than any other in the thousand-year history of the Russian Orthodox Church. At this time of immeasurable sorrow for Christian believers, God gave Elder Nektary to Russia as both a consoler of souls and a voice of prophecy. Learn More
  6. Elder Sebastian of Optina

    Elder Sebastian of Optina

    $26.95

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    The spiritual image of Elder Sebastian (1884–1966) is that of a longsuffering, quiet bearer of the vision of the Optina monastic tradition—destined to preserve Optina eldership through decades of communist persecution of the Church. After the closure of Optina Monastery in 1923, Fr. Sebastian—a disciple of both Elder Joseph and Elder Nektary—matured rapidly into a truly compassionate pastor. He suffered arrest and imprisonment by the communists in 1933, and was sentenced to ten years in the Karaganda concentration camps of Kazakhstan. Learn More
  7. Salt of the Earth : Elder Isidore

    Salt of the Earth : Elder Isidore

    $15.95

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    SALT OF THE EARTH is the heartwarming biography of Hieromonk Isidore (1814–1908), the great Elder of Gethsemane Hermitage in Russia. Learn More
  8. Shepherd of Souls: Elder Cleopa

    Shepherd of Souls: Elder Cleopa

    $21.95

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    The life and teachings of Elder Cleopa, Master of Inner Prayer and Spiritual Father of Romania ( 1912 - 1998 ) At Sihastria Monastery in the mountains of northern Romania, Fr. Cleopa tended the sheep for many years, spending his days in prayer and spiritual contemplation. Then, at the age of twenty-nine, he was unexpectedly chosen to be the new Superior of the monastery. Learn More
  9. St Seraphim, Wonderworker of Sarov and his Spiritual Inheritance

    St Seraphim, Wonderworker of Sarov and his Spiritual Inheritance

    $29.95

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    The entire Orthodox world venerates the humble Russian monk, St. Seraphim of Sarov (1759 - 1833). First a meek and labor-loving monk, later an ascetic recluse, and finally a spiritual guide to thousands of the faithful in 19th-century Russia, St. Seraphim remains one of the most beloved saints in his own land , and is known universally as a miracle-worker and a glorious bearer of God's grace. Learn More
  10. Father Arseny, 1893-1973 : Priest, Prisoner, Spiritual Father

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