In Father I saw a person who lived for God…. In all life’s situations, Fr Ilarion maintained a grace-imbued state of spirit, the fruits of which were love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and the other virtues that made it impossible to be near him and not feel glad just to be alive.
Many lovers of literature are familiar, through Dostoyevsky’s works, with the concept of the Russian "Staretz," or spiritual elder. This biography offers a vivid portrayal of an authentic Staretz of our own day, Father Ilarion—a monk of the renowned Glinsk hermitage in modern-day Ukraine, who spent much of his life as a parish priest in a village in the Novgorod region of Russia. His life offers a vision of a simple Christian life in the contemporary world that will captivate the reader and awaken or rekindle a desire to live a life centered on the love of God and neighbour rather than on the pursuit of material wealth.
It also presents unique insights into the Orthodox Church in Russia under communism and in the immediate post-communist period, demonstrating how the Faith was kept alive after the closure of so many churches and monasteries and the exile or execution of clergy and believers. The account of the life of the Glinsk hermitage is particularly detailed. With many first hand contributions from Father Ilarion’s spiritual children, this history also provides a glimpse into contemporary Russian culture and religious perspectives.
The book includes an eight page glossy photo insert.
Preface to the English Language Edition
From the Preface to the Russian Language Edition
Part I: LIFE
1. From Infancy to Monastic Rebirth
2. At the Glinsk Hermitage: “A Monastery in the World”
3. After the Glinsk Hermitage: The Elder and the Elders in the World
4. The Glinsk Hermitage Today: The Canonization of Its Elders
5. His Spiritual Father, Ioann (Krestyankin), and Other Mentors
6. The Leningrad Years
7. At the Church of the Holy Apostle Philip in Novgorod
8. Bronnitsa: The Birthing of Paradise
9. Asleep in the Body, but Alive in God
10. The Beauty of Immortality
Part II: REMINISCENCES
11. Alive in Death – A Lofty Spiritual Image
12. Worship, Prayer, and Fasting
13. A Shepherd and Minister to His Flock
14. Sorrows and Consolation
15. A Confessor of Souls
16. The Patriarch and the Pilgrims
18. In the Holy Land: The Garden of Gethsemane
Appendix 1: Chronology
Appendix 2: Liturgical Texts for the Glinsk Icon of the Most-Holy Mother of God
Appendix 3: Memorial Verses