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Saint Theophan the Recluse

Saint Theophan (1815-1894) was the son of an Orthodox Christian priest. He grew up in an ecclesiastical environment, about which he wrote later that it is the most beneficial factor for the proper upbringing of children. While studying theology in Kiev, he was attracted by the monastic life and was tonsured a monk a few months before the end of his studies. He became a teacher of philosophy, psychology, ethics, logic, and Latin at several schools. He also visited Mount Athos and studied Greek Orthodox Monasticism for seven years. After twenty-five years of fruitful service to the Church, he retreated in a poor monastery cell in the Vishensk desert to live there the remaining twenty-eight years of his life. St. Theophan was a prolific writer. A comment by Leo Tolstoi’s sister is in fact indicative: “Two of our contemporaries wrote much: my brother Leo and bishop Theophan. The difference being that the former wrote unto perdition of souls, whereas the latter unto salvation.” St. Theophan’s works are divided into ethics, hermeneutics, and translations. He translated the famous text of the Philokalia from Greek into Russian. In addition, thousands of letters on various issues came to his cell from all over Russia, and he tried to reply to all of them. His cell became a beacon of Orthodox spirituality. Though the fervent sermons of the brilliant bishop had ceased, his letters and writings flooded the vast Russian land. [Source, edited]

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Further Reading

Preaching Another Christ

Preaching Another Christ: An Orthodox View of Evangelicalism

Kindling the Divine Spark: Teachings on How to Preserve Spiritual Zeal

The Spiritual Life and How To Be Attuned to It

The Spiritual Life and How To Be Attuned to It