Wednesday, June 29, 2011

St. Moses of Optina

Joyous feast! С праздником! St. Moses was one of the famed elders of the Optina Hermitage, in the early 1800s beginning his pursuit of the monastic life first at the Sarov Monastery, then home to St. Seraphim, and then with the hermits of the Roslavl forests. There in the forests St. Moses became a spiritual son of one of the disciples of St. Paisius (Velichkovskiy) of Neamts and was tonsured a monk with the name Moses. (The Saint was originally named Timothy.)

In 1822 St. Moses and several of his brother monks moved at the suggestion of the Bishop of Kaluga to settle in a skete of the Optina Hermitage, located not far from Kaluga to the southwest of Moscow. There the monks built a church and skete and St. Moses was ordained to the priesthood, consequently being appointed confessor for the whole of the Optina Hermitage. Four years later the Saint was appointed superior of Optina.

During St. Moses' abbacy the Optina Hermitage saw significant changes, with the Hermitage growing both in the number of monks resident there as well as structurally and territorially. It also became a spiritual center for much of the Russian Empire as Elders Sts. Leonid and Macarius joined Optina's brotherhood during St. Moses' abbacy, though St. Moses was himself an elder.

As his death approached St. Moses began to bless Optina's monks one final time. After they had all received his blessing St. Moses continued to bless the empty room. It was later discovered that at that same time he had been seen in a vision in St. Petersburg blessing faithful there known to him. Several years after the Saint's repose his relics were found to be incorrupt. He was glorified locally in the Eparchy of Kaluga in 1996 and glorified by the whole of the Russian Orthodox Church in 2000 some 138 years after his repose.

More on St. Moses' life can be found here. May his blessing and prayers be with us all!

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