Silouan the Athonite

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Saint Silouan the Athonite
Silouanicon.jpg
Icon of St. Silouan the Athonite
Venerable and God-bearing Father
Born 1866
Shovsk village, Tambov Governorate, Russian Empire
Died September 24, 1938
Mount Athos, Greece
Honored in Eastern Orthodox Church
Canonized 1987 by Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople
Feast September 24

Saint Silouan the Athonite (also sometimes referred to as Saint Silvanus the Athonite or Staretz Silouan; 1866–1938), was an Eastern Orthodox monk of Russian origin. He was born Simeon Ivanovich Antonov, of Russian Orthodox parents who came from the village of Sovsk in Imperial Russia's Tambov Governorate. At the age of twenty-seven, after a period of military service, he left his native Russia and came to the monastic state of Mt. Athos (an autonomous peninsula in Greece) where he became a monk at the Monastery of St Panteleimon, known as "Rossikon", an Orthodox monastery that houses Russian monks yet is, as all the Athonite monasteries, under the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Constantinople, and was given the name Silouan (the Russian version of the Biblical name Silvanus.)

An ardent ascetic, he received the grace of unceasing prayer and saw Christ in a vision. After long years of spiritual trial, he acquired great humility and inner stillness. He prayed and wept for the whole world as for himself, and he put the highest value on love for enemies. He became widely known as an elder. The writer and mystic Thomas Merton has described Silouan as “the most authentic monk of the twentieth century.” St Silouan reposed on September 24, 1938. His memory is celebrated on September 24.

Though barely literate, he was sought out by pilgrims for his wise counsel. His writings were edited by his disciple and pupil, Archimandrite Sophrony. Father Sophrony has written the life of the saint along with a record of St. Silouan's teachings in the book Saint Silouan the Athonite.

Starets Silouan was canonized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in 1987.

Quotations[edit]

  • Those who dislike and reject their fellow-man are impoverished in their being. They do not know the true God, who is all-embracing love.
  • Keep your mind in hell and do not despair, said to be a teaching God gave him through a voice from above.
  • The soul that is in all things devoted to the will of God rests quiet in Him, for she knows of experience and from the Holy Scriptures that the Lord loves us much and watches over our souls, quickening all things by His grace in peace and love. Nothing troubles the man who is given over to the will of God, be it illness, poverty or persecution. He knows that the Lord in His mercy is solicitous for us. The Holy Spirit, whom the soul knows, is witness therefore. But the proud and the self-willed do not want to surrender to God's will because they like their own way, and that is harmful for the soul. (From the Life and Teachings of Elder Siluan by Bishop Alexander and Natalia Bufius translated by Anatoly Shmelev)

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