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 6 contains. A prayer to the Holy Spirit: ''O Holy Spirit, receive us like a mother in Thine embrace. Come and abide in us, and make an abode in our hearts. We will cleanse our minds, hearts, and souls from impure thoughts, feelings, and desires -- from all that defiles us. Help us, O Lord, by Thy grace, for without it we cannot be saved on our own and be preserved. O Most Holy Trinity, our God, glory to Thee! Strengthen my struggling heart on the rock of Thy commandments.'' 490 pp.