Дорога домой. Выпуск ДД-14(09)а
История Русской Церкви|
9 -- SOME SAINTS
Contents: Introduction; (1) Saints of Petersburg Period; (1.1) Святитель Dimitry Rostovsky; (1.2) Святитель Tikhon Zadonsky; (1.3) Преподобный Serafim Sarovsky; (1.4) Holy Праведный John of Kronshtadt; (1.5) Holy Блаженная Xenia Peterburgskaya; (1.6) Старец Amvrosy Optinsky.
Verse "God is wonderful in His saints" (Psalm 67:36) one can meet in Orthodox Divine Services (Panihida, Canons etc). Really, the best human qualities, qualities of the Lord himself, are visible in the saints. The saints, here on earth, give us an example how to live. They are our guides, they are our leaders, to a holy and pure life.
[* Psalm 67:36 in Church-Slavic and English Douay-Rheims Version.]
The names of the saints are recorded in Orthodox calendars. Orthodox Christians remember their saints, study their life, take their names for themselves and for their children, honor the days dedicated to them, are inspired by their examples and in all ways try to imitate them, and also pray to them so that they will pray for them to the Lord our God.
Famous Serbian Bishop Nikolay (Velimirovich) called his Catechism of Orthodox Faith "The Faith of the Saints". This is a very true definition of the Orthodox Faith, since it is the faith of holy people. This is how the best of the best people, the saints, believed.
Праведные [Righteous] are those holy people who lived a life that was righteous and pleasing to God, who had families and who lived in the world [not in a monastery] [Slobodskoy Page 44].
Преподобные [Holy Monks] are those holy righteous people who left the worldly life and pleased God by being chaste (not marrying), fasting and praying, and living in deserts and monasteries.
Святители [Hierarchs] are those holy bishops and archbishops who pleased the Lord God by their righteous life.
Исповедники [Confessors] are those holy Christians who endured tortures during their life, but died peacefully.
Мученики [Martyrs] are those holy Christians who were tortured because of their faith and even died. Holy martyrs are represented on icons with a cross in their hands.
Священномученики [Hieromartyrs] are Святители [Hierarchs] who suffered martyrdom for Christ.
Persecutions of the Church in ancient times, did not destroy her, but on the contrary helped her to grow. The same is true today, no persecutions can ever destroy her, because the Lord Jesus Christ said: "Upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18 KJV).
From the many saints in the Russian Church, the following are especially outstanding: St. Dimitry Rostovsky [of Rostov], Святитель [Hierarch] Tikhon Zadonsky, Преподобный [Holy Monk] Serafim Sarovsky, St. John of Kronstadt чудотворец [miracle-worker], Блаженная [Blessed] Xenia and Старец [Elder] Amvrosy Optinsky.
1 - Saints of Petersburg period
1.1 - Святитель Dimitry Rostovsky (+1709)
Святитель [Hierarch] Dimitry Rostovsky was born in Malorossia [today's Ukraine] in 1651. He studied in the Kiev Academy but, due to war anxieties, he had to leave it and finished his education by himself. He became a monk in Chernigov and assisted archbishop Lazar Baranovich. He became famous as a проповедник [preacher] and a подвижник [ascetic].
When he was 33 years old Святитель Dimitry started his monumental and immortal work; the writing of the Четья Минея (the lives of saints for every day of the month for reading in church and at home). He was engaged in this effort for 20 years (1684-1704). This work consists of 12 books - one book for each month. In each book the lives of the saints are written for one particular month.
In addition to the Жития святых [Lives of Saints], he also wrote the "Research about the Briansk faith", against dissenters Old Believers and and also many other talks and homilies. The works of Святитель Dimitry are filled with warm and heart-filled enlightenment. Today, in many parishes, one can find his leaflet called "Short Confession before a Spiritual Father" (See Appendix).
The last seven years of his life he was the Metropolitan of Rostov. All this time he continuously labored and took care of his flock. He continuously toured his diocese and taught and preached everywhere. Grieving over the insufficient просвещении [enlightenment, education] of the laity and priests he opened in Rostov a school, financed by his own money, and was, like a father, close to his воспитанникам [pupils].
In 1709, the great devotee of science and piety, died in his monastery cell during prayers. He was found kneeling, before an icon of the Savior. After 43 years, in 1752, his нетленные мощи [incorrupt remains] were found and he was canonized.
The memory of Святитель Dimitry Ростовский [of Rostov] is observed on the day his нетленные мощи [incorrupt remains] were found on September 21st/October 4th.
1. Who was Святитель Dimitry "Ростовский"?
1.2 - Святитель Tikhon Zadonsky (+1783)
Святитель Tikhon Zadonsky (in the world Timofey) was born in 1724 to the family of a poor psalm-reader. Soon after his birth he lost his father and his childhood and adolescence was spent in great poverty.
He studied in the Novgorod Seminary in which, afterward, he was a teacher, and later became a monk. Once during the service the archbishop, by mistake, called him a bishop and at the same time in St. Petersburg, during the selection of candidates for bishops, his name was called out three times in succession. For two years (1761-1763) he was the викарий [vicar, assistant bishop] in Novgorod, and later for four years (1763-1767) the ruling bishop in Voronezh.
He zealously preached in his diocese, looked after the education of the clergy and all aspects of the faith. One nobleman, arguing with him about the faith, struck him across the face, and Святитель himself asked for forgiveness because he led the nobleman into the heavy sin of "insulting God's bishop". The embarrassed nobleman repented and asked the Святитель for forgiveness.
The hard work undermined his health and he retired to the Zadonsk monastery where he toiled for 16 years. He wrote many instructive books, was engaged in prayer and подвиги [ascetic feats], giving away his pension to the poor, visiting prisons and helping the prisoners. Святитель especially liked to talk to ordinary people, consoled them and helped the needy.
From the works of Святитель Tikhon the following are particularly outstanding: "About True Christianity", "The Spiritual Treasure, collected from the world", "Christian Instructions" and others. He wrote simply and it accessibly for every person. His books are among the most liked books of God-loving Russian people.
Here is a quotation from the works of Святитель Tikhon Zadonsky, it is his reasoning about selfishness [self-love]: "Discourse on selfishness. Selfishness here is understood as immense love for oneself. Because of selfishness a man opposes all God's Law; all God's Law and the prophets are contained in these two commandments, as Christ said: "Love your Lord God with all your heart" and so on, "and your neighbor as yourself".
The fruits of selfishness. First -- any sin and lawlessness; and the more the self-love, the greater and more numerous are the sins. The Second -- in the next world, eternal grief and suffering:" (The writing of our father Tikhon of Zadonsk, The Flesh and Spirit, Book 1-2, page 60).
Святитель Tikhon Zadonsky reposed on August 13th, 1783. After 63 years his incorrupt remains were opened, and 78 years after his death, in 1861, he was canonized.
The memory of Святитель Tikhon Zadonsky, Bishop of Voronezh, is observed on the day of his repose on August 13/26th.
1. Who was Святитель Tikhon Zadonsky?
1.3 - Преподобный Serafim Sarovsky (+1831)
Преподобный [Holy Monk] Serafim of Sarov (born Prokhor) was born in Kursk in 1758, to a pious merchant family -- the Moshninykh. When he was three years old he lost the father and was brought up by his mother; a women of high moral values.
In childhood several miraculous events happened to him. He fell from the belltower that was under construction and was not hurt. Once he was very sick, and at that time the Kursk icon of the Mother of God was carried near by. Prokhor's mother brought him to the чудотворная [wonder-working] icon and he recovered from his illness.
When he was 17 years old, with the blessing of a старец [elder], he went to the Саровская Пустынь [Sarovski Monastery] and started to подвизаться [follow monastic life]. They named him Serafim (fiery, of fire). Here he becomes a иеродиакон [Hierodeacon], and then иеромонах [Hieromonk]. Once on Great Thursday, during the liturgy, he saw Jesus Christ walking through the air. Later he had visions of Божией Матери [Mother of God].
Two years after he became a priest, he decided, with the blessing of the настоятель [prior or abbot] of a monastery, to live an ascetic life as a hermit. He goes into the wilderness, that is into a dense forest, where he labors by fasting and praying. He named the adjacent hills and rivers with names from the Gospels: Елеон [Mt. of Olives], Фавор [Mt. Thabor], Сион [Zion], Иордан [Jordan], etc. and when he prayed in those places he recollected events from the Savior's life, which were connected with these places.
Quite often he was overcome by strong temptations which he conquered by praying and endurance. To resist one such temptation, Преподобный Serafim spent one thousand nights, kneeling on a big rock, with his hands lifted to the sky in prayer.
Later he undertook a подвиг [ascetic labor of battling his "demons"] of the life of a hermit and a vow of silence, teaching himself to be a "new person". At last he opened the door of his келья [cell] and thousands of pilgrims came to him for enlightenment and this is how he became a старец [elder, an Orthodox counselor] - the peoples teacher. He always greeted everybody with a smile and with the words "Christ has Risen, my joy!" For the nuns he organized a women's monastery in Diveyevo, 12 верст[*] [app. kilometers] from Sarov, where he instructed the nuns in the religious [spiritual] life. He died kneeling before the icon of the Mother of God.
[* 1 верста=1.06 километр].
Преподобный Serafim Sarovsky is one of the most beloved Russian saints. He lived not so long ago and his canonization was during the reign of the last tsar, Tsar-Martyr Nikolai the Second, on July 19th/August 1, 1903. This was one of last canonizations in Orthodox Russia.
The memory of Преподобный [Holy Monk] Serafim Sarovsky, the miracle worker, is observed on January 2/15 and on the day of the finding of his мощи [incorrupt relics] on July 19th/August 1st.
1. Who was Преподобный Serafim Sarovsky [Saint Serafim of Sarov]?
1.4 - Holy Праведный John Kronshtadtsky (+1909)
Holy Праведный John Kronstadtsky [St. John of Kronstadt] (last name-Sergiev) is a great saint of our time. Saint John was born in the village of Sura in the Arkhangelsk region, received a full theological education and became a priest (archpriest) in the city of Кронштадт [Kronstadt], on an island near Saint Petersburg. It was an important military port.
In Kronstadt he was shocked by the poverty and vice of this important military port and gave all his strength to fight for the poor and those who were addicted to sins. He built Дом Трудолюбия [House of Love of Labor], a huge house where the poor could do manual labor and for a small fee have a clean bed and good food.
Soon Father John of Kronstadt became well known, and thousands of people from all over Russia came to him. They confessed their sins and received guidance and healing. He received hundreds of thousands in donations and gave all the money to the poor.
The book by Father John of Kronstadt Моя жизнь во Христе [My life in Christ] contains notes from his diary and is one of the most beloved books of God-loving Russian people. It was translated into different languages and is still being read abroad.
Here is a quote from the works of Holy Праведный John of Kronstadt; this is his reasoning of the type of person Christianity strives to воспитать [create, form].
"A true Christian should have everything different in spirit, in body and in life: different thoughts - spiritual[*], holy; different desires - heavenly, spiritual; different will - proper, holy, humble, kind; different imagination - pure, holy; different memory, different look - pure, simple, holy, not devious; different words - wise, pure, steady, modest; - in other words, a Christian should be a different person, heavenly, new, holy, living with God, thinking, feeling, speaking and acting with the Holy Spirit. These were the qualities of holy people. Read their lives, listen, learn, imitate".
(From "Christian Philosophy", Saint Petersburg, 1902, page 79. In Russian).
[* "Spiritual" in Orthodox Faith means relating to morality and to God].
The memory of Holy Праведный John of Kronstadt, чудотворца [the wonder worker], is observed on the day of his canonization October 19th/November 1st and on the day of his repose on December 20th/January 2nd.
1. Who was Holy Праведный John of Kronshtad?
1.5 - Blessed Saint Xenia Peterburgskaya
Once emperor Alexander III was ill with typhus and was dying. Императрица [Empress] Maria Fedorovna prayed to God about his recovery and in a light dream a poor woman came to her and said: "Serve a панихида [requiem] for the servant of God Xenia and your spouse will recover". The государыня [tsarina] did so and the император [Emperor] began to recover. Then they began to inquire, who was this Xenia. At last in a cemetery they found the grave of Блаженная [Blessed] Xenia who healed many during her lifetime. Alexander III then ordered, in gratitude for his recovery, that a beautiful chapel be constructed, where many began to serve панихида [requiems] for blessed Xenia and were healed of their illnesses. The oldest daughter of Emperor Alexander III was named Xenia.
The memory of Holy Blessed Xenia of Petersburg is observed on January 24th/February 6th on the day of her saint, Преподобная [Holy Nun] Xenia Римлянина [the Roman] and on the day of her canonization on September 11/24th [in 1978 by the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (ROCOR)].
1. Who was Blessed Holy Xenia of Peteresburg?
1.6 - Старец Amvrosy Optinsky
Старец Amvrosy Optinsky lived in the 19th century. In his youth he gave a vow to enter a monastery and being already a teacher in a seminary, one day, he secretly left his city and went to Оптину пустынь [ the Optina Hermitage].
[* Старец - elder, Orthodox counsellor.
After years of study with старцы Lev and Makary he become a старец himself, and thousands of people came to him from all over Russia for spiritual guidance and prayer and he taught and instructed them. Many times he showed the gift of prophecy, which strengthened the Orthodox faith in the people.
Старец Amvrosy looked after the women's monastery of Shamordino, near the Optina Monastery, which he established and sometimes visited. He died at a very old age on one of these trips. But he was buried in Оптиной пустыни [the Optina Monastery].
For an example of the spiritual work of Оптинских старцев [the elders of Optina] see in the Appendix - "Prayer of the last elders of Optina".
The memory of Старец Amvrosy from Optina is celebrated together with the other elders of Optina, a total of 14 of them (holy Праведные Nikon, Nektary, Anatoly, Varsonofy, Moisey [Moses], Antony, Amvrosy [Ambrose], Anatoly, Issaky [Isaac], Iosif [Joseph], Isaaky [Isaac], Lev [Leo], Makary and Ilarion). The Оптинские старцы were canonized in the summer of 1990, in Montreal, by the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad.
1. Who was Старец Amvrosy Optinsky?
[П1] Notes in square brackets were not part of the original Russian text. They are various translations, notes in Cyrillic and others.
[П2] Russian Alphabet (SE-03)
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