On January 22, in his seventy-ninth year of life, after a serious illness, the abbot of the Entrance of the Theotokos Optina Pustyn Monastery, Archimandrite Benedict (Penkov) departed to the Lord. He was the creator and guardian of the monastic life there, and also a keen spiritual father. Here is what several archpastors and pastors who knew the newly-departed Archimandrite Benedict have to say about him.
The elder, who just celebrated his 85th birthday in 2017, almost never speaks about himself, but he made an exception for the sake of the feast. This is a story about Nativity in a long and arduous, but joyful life, through which shines the 2,000-year history of this truly central event in human life…
His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, talks about the recent Council of Bishops in Moscow, the preaching Christ in today’s world, on the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and about Orthodox Christians in the United States.
Schema-Archimandrite Iliy (Nozdrin), spiritual father of His Holiness, ascetically struggled on Mt. Athos for more than ten years in one of the sketes of St. Panteleimon Monastery—the Old Russikon. Namely there, at the mill just a few decades earlier Venerable Silouan the Athonite carried out his obedience. In 1967 the book of his life and teachings became a spiritual guide for the now-revered elder, then novice Alexei of the Pskov Caves Monastery
His Eminence Archbishop Mark (Arndt) on spiritual unity with the Holy Fathers and ordinary contemporaries, about how priests come to be priests in our time, can monks today exceed the ancient hermits, on women’s calling, unusual beauty and the genuine freedom of Orthodox Christianity.
Our guides say that very many people even change outwardly after visiting our monastery. They straighten their shoulders. Even their appearance changes! Attitudes to their own lives also change along with their perception of Russian history.