Paisius Velichovsky 1722-1794

Elder Paisius Velichkovsky

Among the ascetics of Russia, one of the first places, according to the spiritual influence that he had upon his contemporaries, belongs to the Elder Paisius Velichkovsky. Though his work took place mostly beyond the borders of his native Russia, the light of his labors and teaching penetrated all of the corners of the Russian land and everywhere bore good fruit. His first achievement was that he was a reviver and defender of the ancient teaching on the Jesus Prayer—a teaching almost forgotten in Russia; and his second achievement, that he became one of the foremost laborers in the work of reviving Russian monasteries, which had fallen apart to a great extent, as a result of the reforms of Peter I and Catherine II. He was able, in a truly marvelous way, to form a monastic spiritual center within Moldavia—the perfection of which in no way differed from the ancient coenobia of Egypt described by St. John Cassian and St. John of the Ladder.

His disciples included the great monastic fathers and saints of Optina Monastery, and indeed his teachings caused a revival of true spiritual zeal throughout all of Russian.  This zeal and inspiration has spread even to the present day.  His translation of the Philokalia into Slavonic while on Holy Mount Athos brought further awakening and spiritual truth to us all.

It is for St. Paisius’s part in restoring zeal for living in a traditional Orthodox way of life, fighting unseen warfare, causing many to awaken to the otherworldly reality that is Orthodox Christianity, that he became the patron for our conferences and labors. By his prayers, may these labors bear fruit.