Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Probing Russian Orthodoxy Spirituality

A key figure in the Russian Orthodox spir­itual experience is the staretz, a grace-filled in­dividual, usually a monk, who possesses the special charism of starchestvo, or spiritual direc­tion. The staretz acquires this charism through heroic ascetical labors which culminate in a total dying to self followed by a rebirth in Christ. For his disciples, the staretz is like a dear mirror in which each disciple can see his true face. And as a living icon, as it were, of Christ, the staretz radiates divine grace and wisdom.

Sincere Orthodox men and women have yearned to live lives more fully touched by fel­lowship with God. Whenever they began their first feeble steps on the path to God, the Fathers of the Orthodox Church advised them, "Find the Map." This "Map" is the precious accumulated Tradition of spirituality left be­hind by the Fathers of the Orthodox Church through their writings, oral teachings, and liv­ing disciples. The staretz, as someone with extraordinary insight into the human heart, helps inexperienced pilgrims correctly interpret the Map, in order for them to journey in the direction God has individually planned for them.  (more...)

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