LITTLE RUSSIAN PHILOKALIA: VOL II &NDASH; ABBOT NAZARIUS OF VALAAM
We all have the desire to follow a higher calling, to that place where from of old an eternal dwelling has been prepared for us, filled with unspeakable joy — ‘for our life is in heaven, from whence also we look for the Savior (Phil. 3:20).’”
— Abbot Nazarius
“Philokalia” means “love of the beautiful and good”. It was the name given to a celebrated 18th-century collection of Greek mystical texts on the Christian spiritual life, teaching the path to true sobriety and the fullness of union with God.
One of the most beloved Orthodox saints of recent times—St. Seraphim of Sarov (1759–1833)—was a priest, hermit and spiritual guide who, in early 19th-century Russia, led many souls along the path of apostolic Christianity.
This “Little Russian Philokalia” is a new collection of ascetic texts drawn from Russian sources, chiefly of the 18th through the 20th centuries.
The second volume is devoted to Blessed Elder Nazarius of Valaam (1735-1809), who influenced St. Seraphim of Sarov and was the direct progenitor of a whole century of great ascetics of Valaam Monastery in northern Russia. His “Philokalic” spirituality reached the New World through the first Orthodox missionaries to America, who had been his monks in Valaam. Among these missionaries was America’s first canonized saint, St. Herman of Alaska.
Here are contained the otherworldly yet practical counsels of our spiritual forefather, showing us the way of repentance, inward purification, and salvation in Christ.
Like St. Anthony the Great, Abbot Nazarius possessed experience and knowledge of the spiritual life in practice, and spoke of how to practice Christianity in order to attain genuine sobriety of soul. He allowed no leeway for idle fantasizing.
Abbot Nazarius burned with an unquenchable love of truth. His watchful eye was keen; his words carried great power, softening hearts and leading them to a spirit of love and humility.
The Little Russian Philokalia Series, Volume II also contains a short spiritual ladder by Abbot Nazarius’ disciple, Hilarion of Valaam and Sarov Monasteries, and contains several hymns composed by Fr. Seraphim Rose in honor of Blessed Nazarius.