It was he, Nicholai Andreyevich, who once said to his wife, “Let’s make an agreement that if you die before me, then I will build a men’s monastery; that is, I’ll die to the world, but if it’s my fate to die before you, then you will build a convent. That way we will always be together and never part.”
“Every time the Divine Liturgy is celebrated, it is celebrated for all the world” says Father Arsenios, “It is a global event. An elder from Mount Athos has said that the Second Coming will take place when the Liturgy ceases to be offered up on earth…” Even when their numbers are few, Saint Catherine’s monks do not cease to liturgize every day of the week—not only in their great basilica at the foot of Mount Sinai, but in the surrounding desert chapels; on the Holy Summit where Moses received the Ten Commandments, and at the cave where Saint John Climacus spent 40 years in ascetic solitude—never omitting to pray for the peace of a world in travail, and all those in it, that hope never cease...
Seminarians Gleb and Paul of the St. Petersburg's Orthodox Spiritual Academy took the angelic oath and became monks of the Orthodox Church, giving up their worldly possessions, passions and will, and embracing every obedience to the Mother Church.
There are many copies of the Athonite Portaitissa the world over, including many which are also miraculous. Word of the Iveron Icon spread throughout Russia through pilgrims, and the future Patriarch Nikon ordered a copy. From here begins the history of the Lake Valdai Iveron Mother of God Monastery.
During the 19th century the hermitage became widely known for its sages who achieved the designation starets, or "elder". Although the concept of starchestvo was brought to the monastery by the Church hierarchy in the 1820s, the starets designation came primarily through popular respect for certain monks who led an ascetic existence at the hermitage and in whom charisma merged with deep spiritual wisdom. The Church venerates all 14 monks known as "starets" at Optina Pustyn.
During the Soviet years, numerous architectural monuments of the Moscow Kremlin were lost. Churches, monasteries, and other monuments were destroyed because they were reminders of the tsarist past, and to make way for architectural monuments which would reflect the new regime headed by Lenin and later Stalin.
"I was standing in these amazing night services and thinking that women can’t go to Mt. Athos, so visiting the Monastery of St. Anthony the Great and the others founded by Elder Ephraim is a unique opportunity for women to feel the spirit of Athos. You’re touched by the prayers of the holy Athonite elder Joseph the Hesychast, through the prayers of his spiritual children who have themselves become great elders. This prayer and love can be felt anywhere on earth, even at a distance of a thousand miles. You pray in your mother tongue, and in some miraculous manner, by the grace of the Holy Spirit Who gave the apostles the gift of speaking in other tongues, the elder, having acquired this grace, understands you."