ELDER SEBASTIAN OF OPTINA BY TATIANA V. TORSTENSEN THE OPTINA ELDERS SERIES (VOL VI)
The spiritual image of Elder Sebastian (1884–1966) is that of a longsuffering, quiet bearer of the vision of the Optina monastic tradition—destined to preserve Optina eldership through decades of communist persecution of the Church. After the closure of Optina Monastery in 1923, Fr. Sebastian—a disciple of both Elder Joseph and Elder Nektary—matured rapidly into a truly compassionate pastor. He suffered arrest and imprisonment by the communists in 1933, and was sentenced to ten years in the Karaganda concentration camps of Kazakhstan.
I demand one thing—love one another, so that there will always be peace among you. Peace and love! If you will obey me in this—and I implore you to do this—then you will be my children. I am unworthy and sinful, but the Lord has much love and mercy. I place my hope in Him. And if the Lord will vouchsafe me His radiant abode, I’ll pray for you unceasingly. I’ll say, ‘Lord, Lord! I’m not alone; all my children are with me. I can’t enter in without them; I can’t be alone in Thy radiant habitations. They were entrusted to me by Thee.’”