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Nikolay Guryanov (also Nicholas Guryanov and Nikolai Alekseievich Gurianov, Russian: Николай Алексеевич Гурьянов, May 26, 1909, Gdov district, St. Petersburg gubernia – August 24, 2002, Pskov region) was a Russian Orthodox Christian and reputed myrrh-bearing starets and priest, a highly respected spiritual figure within the Orthodox Church of recent times. Numerous miracles and healings are ascribed to him.
Nikolay Guryanov was born May 26, 1909, to the family of a private landowner and merchant in the locality (pogost) of Samolva, village Chudskiye Zahody, Gdov district, Saint Petersburg gubernia. From his childhood he helped at the altar of the local church. In 1926 he finished Gatchina Pedagogical College and in 1929 he failed to complete his pedagogical education at the Leningrad Institute, for having objected at a meeting against the closure of one of the nearby churches. In 1931, Guryanov was unjustly arrested, and sent to the prison "Kresty" (Crosses) in Leningrad, then to a concentration camp near Kiev in Ukraine and spent 7 years of imprisonment in Syktyvkar (Republic of Komi). Upon gaining his freedom, Nikolay worked as a teacher of mathematics in the schools of Tosnensky District since residence in Leningrad was denied him. Meanwhile he also served as a psalm reader at the church in Tosno.
During World War II he was not mobilised due to the weakness of his feet which had been caused by work at the concentration camps. When Gdov district was occupied by German troops, Nikolay together with other residents was exiled to the Baltic. There he became a student at Vilnius Theological Seminary in Lithuania which opened in 1942. After two semesters of seminary studies Guryanov was consecrated to the priesthood by the exarch metropolitan Sergius (Voskresenkiy) at Riga Orthodox Cathedral of Christ's Nativity in Latvia. Later, he served as priest at different parishes in the Baltic states. During 1949–1951 Nikolai studied part time at the Leningrad Theological Seminary and in 1951 was admitted for the first year to the Academy but having completed one year of part time studies he did not continue further.
In 1958 he was transferred to the Pskov bishopric as parish priest of Saint Nicholas' church on the island of Talabsk (Zalit) in Pskov (Chudskoye) lake where he spent the remaining 44 years of his life, 40 as a priest, retiring at a very old age and settling at a humble wooden house nearby afterwards.
Among many of those who were allowed to visit him in recent times were pop stars Andrey Makarevich and Valentina Tolkunova. From the middle of 1999 the starets did not meet anyone, which provoked pilgrims to such a point that complaints were written to the administration of the Russian president.
In his final year, before his death, Nikolay, despite his illness nevertheless found the strength to receive pilgrims, to strengthen them and instruct them in faith. The thoughts of the starets spoken during these earthly conversation became a sort of spiritual testament for many Russian Orthodox.
In June 2002, a group of Orthodox priests and laity visited Nikolai for his blessing. He was asked: "Will we see an Orthodox Tsar?" Nikolay having traced the sign of the cross, prayed and firmly said "A Tsar is coming!"
Guryanov died on the night of August 24, 2002, at the age of 92. He was buried on August 26 on the island of Talabsk.
It is written[who?] of him that he used to find lost people and freed hostages from bandit captivity. He became particularly famous after a surviving sailor came to him and recognised in him the starets who appeared to him during an accident. But the sailor came to the island to a respected man and only after "recognised" him.
In September 1997, a group of 10 pilgrims visited Nikolay in his wooden hut. He came out to bless people and anoint them with holy oil. One woman asked: "Father Nikolai, who will be after Yeltsin? " He replied: "Afterwards there will be the military one...His power will be short. But his age is little as he is himself. There will be persecutions, upon the monks and the church. His power will be as it was during the communists...." She asked again: "And what will be after? After will there be an Orthodox Tsar. Will we live to see that?" "You, yes." After those words he blessed the woman.
Guryanov was endowed with a special musical gift. Starets loved church singing, and composed many spiritual songs and hymns which he performed himself. Many of his songs such as "Appraisal to the Mother of God", "To the Guardian Angel", "Saviour, warm my soul", "Brotherly hymn" and others became truly national indicating in the prophetic songs the way to true repentance.
"I came to father being torn with doubts about my life, with an empty, insignificant question and he in answer sang all my life in song and in the end said a few guiding words. And everything became clear to me, I said farewells in tears and left in peace and consoled - now I knew how should I live and what to do." - such stories were often heard from pilgrims, for many of whom the meeting with the starets became the beginning of new life - life in Christ.
Once he was asked what he considered to be the most dangerous sin in the souls of people? Father Nikolai answered: "Unbelief! This is frightening." - Even with Christians? - "Yes, even, with Orthodox Christians".
The piligrims then asked: "Batiushka (Russian for father), what would you say to all Orthodox Christians about salvation? " - "Listen here the believing man, he must... with abundance of love relate to everything that surrounds him. Understood? With abundance of love."
Devotion to Tsar and his veneration of Nicholas II
Th room of father Guryanov was filled with photos and images of Nicholas II and first family. He kept albums, films, documentaries telling about the last Russia tsar. Guryanov also honoured tsar Ivan Grozny and Rasputin.
Translated from Russian sources
- Elder Nikolay Guryanov's tastement for Russia (in Russian)
- Film depicting a live conversation with Guryanov at his home (wmv file, 18.8 mb, from Russtv.ru - Russian Orthodox TV)
- Guryanov reads akafistus "For the most sweet Jesus" (audio file, 13.6 mb)