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Elder Anthony of Optina
|St. Herman Press (1996)|
|1 copy available|
Elder Anthony, born Alexander Ivanovich Putilov in 1795, came from a pious family of the Yaroslav Province, raised in the fear of God. Of Alexander and his four brothers, three became righteous abbots of renowned monasteries. From early youth Alexander dedicated himself with great zeal to the labors of desert dwelling.
The difficulties of the narrow and sorrowful path of the monastic life became joyful to Alexander through the rewards of spiritual consolations full of grace. To the 20-year-old Alexander, who had striven so long and so zealously toward monastic life, the short, dyed robe, covered with stains and patches, seemed, as he himself later expressed it, "more precious than royal purple."
ELDER ANTHONY OF OPTINA, the prima vita of 1869, is compiled not only from the information of his own personal notes, journals, and letters, but also from memoirs of his spiritual children, particularly the disciple of St. Herman of Alaska--the saintly Sergius Yanovsky--who became a disciple of Elder Anthony after returning from America.
Excerpt. ® Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
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.
One of the books you sent me greatly impressed me, and I want to follow a rule from it, which is: To hold the world in contempt and to seek the Heavenly Kingdom is the highest wisdom; by stillness and silence the pious soul is greatly strengthened and understands the mysteries of the Scripture. I wish and desire to be as you are; even though I don't yet know what to do, I still desire to be like you. --From a letter of Elder Anthony to his brother, Elder Moses.