Book review: Elder Leonid of Optina

Elder Leonid

Elder Leonid of Optina
by Fr. Clement Sederholm
Translated from the Russian
Saint Herman Press
Published in November 1990
272 pages


Somehow, it feels like the Optina Fathers have been with me in the background for a while. I can’t remember how, but I discovered their morning prayer decades ago. Even though I was a Trappistine (Roman Catholic) nun, I had pasted their prayer on the door of my cell, and I would say it each morning when I left my cell for the first time of the day.

Last year, a parishioner lent me volume 6 in the series, about Fr Sebastian,  because it was set in the area where her family had lived.

I really enjoyed it and thought time had come for me to read the whole series. This was confirmed at my visit of the amazing ROCOR monastery in West Virginia, the Hermitage of the Holy Cross, where they have a collection of relics of all the Optina Fathers.

So I just finished reading volume 1, on Elder Leonid.

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Thoughts for Great Saturday: the Holy Fire

Holy FireToday is Great Saturday for Orthodox Christians.
NB: my apology, I scheduled this post many months ahead, and made a mistake: this year, Great Saturday is on April 27 for us Orthodox Christians.
However, the content is still relevant.

A good opportunity to revisit the book by Skarlakidi
on the topic of the Holy Fire in Jerusalem,
on that day for thirteen centuries

Book review: Letters to Saint Olympia, by Saint John Chrysostom

Letters to Saint Olympia

Letters to Saint Olympia,
by Saint John Chrysostom
Written between 404-407
Translated by David C. Ford
Published on 2/1/2017
by St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press
172 pages


Saint John Chrysostom wrote these 17 letters during his very last exile. They are addressed to Olympia, a widow who embraced a life of asceticism and was ordained a deaconess.  She was very instrumental in her local church, but having to face many pressures, and feeling the pain of John’s exile, she suffered from a disease which we often think to be proper to our modern times.

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