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Perhaps someone is going to revert my recent changes, but I don't think what I cut was appropriate. "Starets" is a Russian word, and plainly not natively Romanian. Eldership is indeed a longstanding tradition throughout Orthodoxy, and you can find them on the Holy Mountain and elsewhere, but this article seems to be intended to discuss specifically the Russian tradition as expressed by St. Sergius of Radonezh through the Optina Elders and others. Perhaps a more general article is called for, but I see no reason to single out the Romanian tradition for inclusion if the Greeks are omitted -- and the Serbians, Georgians, Bulgarians etc. as well. There was in fact no actual discussion here of Romanian eldership, just mentions thrown in here and there. I'd be interested in learning more about it myself, but if it's worth a discussion then it's worth its own article and shouldn't just piggyback here. Unless this present article is to become far more comprehensive, but in that case it needs a new title and a lot more material. TCC(talk)(contribs) 04:53, 1 December 2005 (UTC)
Csernica, I indiicated in the text that starets is a Russian translation of the Greek term "geron". Encyclopedia Britannica 2004, however, has the article on "starets" and doesn't have that on "geron". You may also want to check my article on Paisius Velichkovsky. --Ghirlandajo 07:55, 1 December 2005 (UTC)
You did -- but the title of the article is "Starets", not "Geron", and it talks exclusively about Russians when it mentions any specific examples at all even though Greek examples are not wanting even in recent times. One must conclude that it's mainly about the Russian "version". I was aware of St. Paisius' history, but he's not normally thought of as a Romanian outside Romania even though he did much work in Moldova. (I wonder if the fact that the Romanians use the Russian word for the geron has anything to do with him?) TCC(talk)(contribs) 10:06, 1 December 2005 (UTC)
Although I'm supposed to be on wikiholiday, I'd like to make a suggestion. The wiki has an article for Elder (religious). Add a brief section there under Orthodox Christianity that briefly describes the role of a monastic spiritual father and that links to this article. Redirect this article to Elder (Orthodox Christianity). We can then have separate sections for the institution of elders and spiritual fathers in general, the history of eldership and discipleship (a mention of the Desert Fathers would be good here), Greek Γερωντες (both ancient and modern — perhaps a description of eldership on Mount Athos), Russian startsi (with subsections for real elders — especially the elders of Optina — and those in fiction — Zosima and Bishop Tikhon in The Possessed), etc.
The essential character of an Orthodox elder or spiritual father is the same regardless of time, place, or ethnicity. While Russia certainly has a distinct and notable tradition of startsi, this tradition still rests within the overall Orthodox tradition as a particular local expression, not as an exclusive distinction.
Best, JHCC [[User talk:JHCC|(talk)]] 15:02, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
This is essentially what I had in mind, but you've laid it out much more clearly and sensibly. TCC(talk)(contribs) 19:26, 2 December 2005 (UTC)