The Optina Elders Series brings to light the lives and teachings of the great Elders of Optina for the English-speaking world. A long-standing monastery that was renovated at the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as a center for Russian staretz (venerated elders and teachers), the monastery attracted crowds of Russian seekers including Fyodor Dostoevsky, Nikolai Gogol, Ivan Turgenev and Leo Tolstoy. Saint Paisius Velichkovsky was instrumental in bringing the virtually lost hesychastic tradition of Orthodox spirituality to Russia in the eighteenth century, and the Optina Monastery acted as nerve center for its spread throughout the Russian land. The volumes in this Series are compiled from personal memoirs of each elder or his disciples, journals, notes and correspondence.
In this short space, we offer only a tantalizing bit of the hard-won teaching which Volume 2 contains. On suffering: ''No matter what kind of bitterness befalls you, no matter what unpleasantness happens to you, say, 'I will endure this for Jesus Christ!' Just say this and it will be easier for you. For the name of Jesus Christ is powerful -- in His presence all unpleasant events are quelled, demons vanish, your annoyance will abate and your faintheartedness will be set at ease when you repeat his sweetest name.''
An Eighth Day View:
Elder Anthony of Optina, one of the first Elders of the Optina monastery in 19th century Russia, was a humble soul on a determined path to acquire the Kingdom of Heaven. This book offers a unique view of his formative years in silence and prayer in a remote forest, his years of co-struggling with his older brother, Elder Moses, and his last years as Abbot of the Optina hermitage. Though his life included terrible hardship, Elder Anthony acquired perfect spiritual freedom through the careful guarding of his soul and the humble acceptance of God's providence.