ΑΝ ΠΕΘΑΝΕΙΣ ΠΡΙΝ ΠΕΘΑΝΕΙΣ, ΔΕ ΘΑ ΠΕΘΑΝΕΙΣ ΟΤΑΝ ΠΕΘΑΝΕΙΣ

(ΠΑΡΟΙΜΙΑ ΟΡΘΟΔΟΞΩΝ ΜΟΝΑΧΩΝ)

Πέμπτη, 10 Ιανουαρίου 2013

St Theophan the Recluse - Άγιος Θεοφάνης ο Έγκλειστος, ένας Διδάσκαλος της Ρωσίας

From here
Ελληνικά, αμέσως μετά το αγγλικό
  
Commemorated January 6.
St Theophan the Recluse was born on January 10, 1815, in the heart of Russia. His father was a Priest and thus, from the first impressions of his youth, he lived with the Church. The difficult and even severe conditions of the Orel Seminary, where he studied, developed in him a strong mental temper. He continued his education in the Kiev Theological Academy. 

One may surmise that during this time the young student often went to the justly renowned Kiev Caves Monastery, where there could have been formed in him the resolution to leave the world. Even be fore finishing the seminary course, he was tonsured a monk. On this occasion, he went to the monastery to the well-known Elder, Hieromonk Partheny, who told him, "Remember that one thing is most necessary of all, to pray and to pray unceasingly in your mind and heart to God". This counsel made a lasting impression on the newly tonsured monk and he spent the rest of his life striving to attain this "one thing needful".

Having finished the course with a Master's Degree, Hieromonk Theophan was assigned as temporary rector of the Kiev-Sofia Theo logical School. In the years that followed, he held various administrative and teaching positions in different seminaries and academies, but such scholarly work did not satisfy him and he petitioned to be discharged from academic service.

In 1859, he was consecrated Bishop for Tambov, where he established a Diocesan school for girls. During his stay in the Tambov, St Theophan came to love the isolated Vysha Hermitage. In the summer of 1863, he was transferred to Vladimir, where he served for three years. Here too, he opened a Diocesan school for girls. He often served in church, travelled much throughout the Diocese, preached constantly, restored churches, and wholeheartedly lived with his flock, sharing with them both joy and sorrow.

In 1866, Bishop Theophan petitioned to be relieved as Bishop of Vladimir and was appointed head of the Vysha Hermitage, and soon, at a new petition of his, he was freed even from this duty. It was difficult for Bishop Theophan in the midst of the world and those demands to which one must yield because of human corruption. This was one reason that induced him to leave his Diocese and retire into solitude. In addition, his unlimited goodness of heart, meekness as a dove's, his trust of people and indulgence of them-all this indicated that it was not for him to live amidst the irreconcilable quarrels of vain worldly life. It was very difficult for him to be a leader, especially in such an important position as that of Bishop. His trust could be abused; he could never give necessary reprimands. Besides this, he felt the call to devote all his energies to spiritual writing. As for himself personally, he wished to give up all his thoughts to God alone, Whom he loved absolutely. He desired that nothing might disturb the complete communion with God that was so dear to him, and so he left the world to be alone with God.

Icon from here
In reclusion, invisible to people, he became a public figure of enormous magnitude. He sought only the Kingdom of God, and his great significance for the world was added to him. The first six years the Bishop went to all services and to the early Liturgy. In church, he stood without moving, without leaning, with eyes closed to stop being distracted, and on feast days, he usually officiated.

Beginning in 1872 AD, however, he discontinued all intercourse with people except for the chief priest and his confessor. He went no longer to the monastery church, but built with his own hands in his chambers a small church dedicated to the Baptism of the Lord. For the first ten years, he served the Liturgy in this church every Sunday and feast day, and for the next eleven years everyday. He served completely alone, sometimes in silence, but sometimes singing.

He seemed to be no longer a man, but an angel with a childlike meekness and gentle ness. When people came to him on business, he said what was necessary and returned to prayer. He ate only enough so as not to ruin his health. Everything that he received he sent by mail to the poor, leaving himself only enough to buy necessary books. From his publications, which were quickly distributed, he received nothing, hoping only that they might be sold as cheaply as possible.

In the rare moments when he was free from prayer, reading, or writing, he occupied himself with manual labour. He painted excellent icons and was skilled in woodcarving and the locksmith's trade. Every day Bishop Theophan received between 20 and 40 letters, and he answered them all. With extraordinary sensitivity he penetrated to the spiritual situation of the writer and warmly, clearly, and in detail replied to this confession of a distressed soul. In addition to this enormous flow of correspondence, the years of reclusion also produced a wealth of books. These include works on moral theology, such as "The Path to Salvation", "What the Spiritual Life is and How to Attune Oneself to it", commentaries on Holy Scripture, and translations, among which is to be found the spiritual classic "Unseen Warfare".

The life of Bishop Theophan passed unseen by the world, and death too came to him in solitude. Beginning January 1, 1891, there were several irregularities in his schedule. On the afternoon of January 6, his cell-attendant noticed that the Bishop was weak and looking into his room, he found the Bishop lying on the bed lifeless. His left arm rested on his breast and his right arm was folded as if for a Bishop's blessing. He had died on the very day of his most beloved Feast, to which his chapel was dedicated. The Saint's body remained in the small church in his cell for three days, and for three days it was in the Cathedral-and there was no corruption. When he was clothed in his Bishop's vestments, the face of the dead man was brightened by a joyful smile.

Everything was extremely simple in Bishop Theophan's cell. The walls were bare, the furniture old. There was a trunk with instruments for lathe-work, carpentry, bookbinding; photographic equipment, a bench for sawing, a joiner's bench, and numerous books written in Russian, Slavonic, Greek, French, German, and English. Among them were: a complete collection of the Holy Fathers; a theological encyclopaedia in French in 150 volumes, the works of the philosophers Hegel, Fichte, Jacobi, and others; works on natural history by Humboldt, Darwin, Fichte, and others. One calls to mind his words, "It is good to understand the structure of plants, of animals, especially of man, and the laws of life; in them is revealed the wisdom of God, which is great in everything".

The great Hierarch is hidden from us in body, but his spirit lives in the divinely wise printed works that he left. Archbishop Nicander of Vilna described Bishop Theophan as a universal Christian teacher, even though he did not speak; a public figure, though in reclusion; a preacher of the Church who was heard everywhere, even though in his last years he appeared in no Church See. A bright lamp of Christ's teaching for Orthodox people, even though he concealed himself from the people's gaze; possessing scarcely a sufficiency of earthly goods, yet enriching all with the spiritual wealth of his teaching. He sought after no temporal, earthly glory, yet glorified now by all those who have been inspired by his writings to follow this holy recluse on the path to salvation, a path that leads to constant prayer and the state of being alone in one's heart with God.

From Orthodox Word, July-August, 1966

'A Genuine Continuer of Patristic Tradition' — St Theophan the Recluse 


Today, 10 January on the Church’s calendar, we celebrate the memory of the Holy Hierarch Theophan the Recluse (1815-1894). Fr Georges Florovsky introduces him as a ‘genuine and typical continuer of patristic tradition in asceticism and theology’. [1] Fr Placide (Deseille) writes that he was ‘[g]ifted with great pastoral zeal and deep discernment’. [2] Along with St Ignatius (Brianchaninov), St Theophan was one of ‘two key figures’ whom Fr Seraphim (Rose) ‘especially stressed’ as ‘Holy Fathers of our own and recent times’ from whom contemporary Christians ought particularly ‘to take guidance and inspiration’. [3] As I do not possess a good, brief hagiography of St Theophan in print, I offer here the account of his life from the Holy Trinity calendar page:
This modern-day Church Father was born in Chernavsk in central Russia. The son of a priest, he entered seminary at a young age, then completed the four-year course in theology at the Academy of Kiev. Though he distinguished himself as a student, his heart turned increasingly toward the monastic life, and he was tonsured a monk and ordained a priest upon completion of his studies. During his time at the Academy he often visited the Lavra of the Caves, and there became a spiritual child of Father Parthenius (March 25).

His desire for monastic life was not fulfilled immediately, for the Church felt need of his intellectual gifts. He served as a professor at the Theological Academy in St Petersburg, then worked for seven years in the Russian Mission to the Near East, mostly in Palestine. During this time he gained a perfect mastery of Greek and studied the works of the Church Fathers in the original languages. [4] Returning to Russia, he was soon consecrated a bishop; but after seven years of episcopal service, he at last achieved his heart’s desire, resigning as bishop and retiring to a small monastery at Vyschen [Vysha], where he spent the rest of his days.

After taking full part in the liturgical and communal life of the monastery for several years, he took up the life of a recluse in 1872. He lived in two small rooms, subsisting almost entirely on bread and tea, visited only by his confessor and the abbot of the monastery. He celebrated the Divine Liturgy every day in his cell. All of his time not taken up by inner prayer was devoted to translating the works of the Fathers into Russian and, increasingly, to writings of his own. Most importantly, he prepared a Russian-language edition of the Philokalia which had a deep impact upon Russian spiritual life.

Though he received no visitors, St Theophan entered into correspondence with many earnest Christians who sought his counsel, and so in time became the spiritual father of many believers throughout Russia. He reposed in peace in 1894.

To the details of his death, an article from The Orthodox Word has this to add: ‘The Saint’s body remained in the small church in his cell for three days, and for three days it was in the Cathedral—and there was no corruption. When he was clothed in his Bishop’s vestments, the face of the dead man was brightened by a joyful smile.’ [5]


Concerning St Theophan’s life as a recluse, the same article comments, ‘In reclusion, invisible to people, he became a public figure of enormous magnitude. . . . He seemed to be no longer a man, but an angel with a childlike meekness and gentleness.’ The article also describes his cell:


From here
Everything was extremely simple in Bishop Theophan’s cell. The walls were bare, the furniture old. There was a trunk with instruments for lathe-work, carpentry, bookbinding; photographic equipment, a bench for sawing, a joiner’s bench, and numerous books written in Russian, Slavonic, Greek, French, German, and English. Among them were: a complete collection of the Holy Fathers; a theological encyclopaedia in French in 150 volumes, the works of the philosophers Hegel, Fichte, Jacobi, and others; works on natural history by Humboldt, Darwin, Fichte, and others. One calls to mind his words, ‘It is good to understand the structure of plants, of animals, especially of man, and the laws of life; in them is revealed the wisdom of God, which is great in everything’.
Fr Florovsky, taking St Theophan’s own words about himself at face value, plays down the significance of his withdrawal:
He led a strict life at the hermitage, and after several years there he confined himself to nearly total isolation, refusing to receive anyone. Hence he is usually regarded as a recluse [zatvornik]. However, Feofan himself very much disliked it when people spoke of his ‘seclusion’. ‘They have made my cloister into a place of seclusion. There is nothing of the solitary hermit about it. I have locked myself away so that I would not be bothered—not with a view to the strictest asceticism, but in order to ceaselessly concern myself with books.’ He always insisted that he refused to receive others ‘because of a preoccupation with books.’ ‘Hence it comes out that I am discovered to be a bookworm and nothing more.’ Characteristically, in his petition to be tonsured, written while still at the academy, he made reference to theological studies: ‘Possessing an unflagging zeal for studying theological subjects and for the solitary life, I have taken a vow to dedicate my life to the monastic calling so that in my future service to the Church I can combine the one and the other.’ [6]
Finally, Fr Florovsky quotes one of St Theophan’s letters:
When your prayer is so strong that everything will give you sustenance in the heart before God, then you will have seclusion without the solitary’s life. . . . Seek this seclusion, but do not make a fuss over it. Behind the doors of solitude one can range over the whole world, or admit the whole world into one’s room. [7]
But it hardly seems wise to trust entirely that a Saint’s humility will not attempt to mask his ascesis. The OW article offers some fairly plausible reasons of a more spiritual nature for his withdrawal:
It was difficult for Bishop Theophan in the midst of the world and those demands to which one must yield because of human corruption. This was one reason that induced him to leave his Diocese and retire into solitude. In addition, his unlimited goodness of heart, meekness as a dove’s, his trust of people and indulgence of them—all this indicated that it was not for him to live amidst the irreconcilable quarrels of vain worldly life. It was very difficult for him to be a leader, especially in such an important position as that of Bishop. His trust could be abused; he could never give necessary reprimands. Besides this, he felt the call to devote all his energies to spiritual writing. As for himself personally, he wished to give up all his thoughts to God alone, Whom he loved absolutely. He desired that nothing might disturb the complete communion with God that was so dear to him, and so he left the world to be alone with God.
Concerning St Theophan’s writings, H.A. Hodges has noted, ‘[I]t is in the field of ascetic theology that his chief eminence lies, by virtue both of his personal wisdom and also of his spiritual writings and translations.’ [8] The HT account lists several of his works:
In addition to the Philokalia, St Theophan produced (among other works): a Spiritual Psalter of selections from St Ephraim the Syrian; The Path to Salvation, an exposition of Orthodox Spirituality written in clear, plain language for those living in the world; collections of his letters to spiritual children; and Unseen Warfare, a treatise on prayer and the ascetical life. . . . They are almost unique in presenting the undiluted hesychastic spirituality of the Orthodox Church in plain, straightforward language accessible to most people.
Fr Florovsky summarises the significance of these writings thusly:
He only wished to outline the contours of the Christian life and point the way along the spiritual path, and in this lies his incomparable historical significance. He continued and completed starets Paisii [Velichkovsky]’s spiritual exploit by bringing the Russian Philokalia to realization and by constructing his living worldview in a fully patristic style and spirit. [9]
In the spirit, then, of this last comment, I offer a passage from St Theophan’s great spiritual work, The Path to Salvation, on the subject of education and the Orthodox worldview:
It should be placed as an unfailing law that every kind of learning which is taught to a Christian should be permeated with Christian principles and, more precisely, Orthodox ones. Every branch of learning is capable of this approach, and it will be a true kind of learning only when this condition is fulfilled. Christian principles are true beyond doubt. Therefore, without any doubting, make them the general measuring stick of truth. It is a most dangerous error among us that subjects of learning are taught without any attention to the true faith; one allows oneself freethinking and even lying under the supposition that faith and learning are two spheres which are quite distinct.

On the contrary, we have a single spirit. It receives learning and is imbued with its principles just as it receives faith is penetrated by it. How is it then possible that these two spheres should not come into contact here, whether favorable or unfavorable? At the same time, the sphere of truth is one. Therefore, why pound into the head that which is not from this sphere? [10]
In conclusion, here is the conclusion of the excellent Orthodox Word article on this great Hierarch and Teacher:
The great Hierarch is hidden from us in body, but his spirit lives in the divinely wise printed works that he left. Archbishop Nicander of Vilna described Bishop Theophan as a universal Christian teacher, even though he did not speak; a public figure, though in reclusion; a preacher of the Church who was heard everywhere, even though in his last years he appeared in no Church See. A bright lamp of Christ’s teaching for Orthodox people, even though he concealed himself from the people’s gaze; possessing scarcely a sufficiency of earthly goods, yet enriching all with the spiritual wealth of his teaching. He sought after no temporal, earthly glory, yet glorified now by all those who have been inspired by his writings to follow this holy recluse on the path to salvation, a path that leads to constant prayer and the state of being alone in one’s heart with God.
Be sure to see last year’s post, where I also made brief mention of St Gregory of Nyssa & St Paul of Obnora, whom we also commemorate today. Finally, I wish many years on his nameday to Mr Spruance.

******
[1] Protopresbyter Georges Florovsky, Ways of Russian Theology, Part 2, trans. Robert L. Nichols, Vol. 6 in The Collected Works of Georges Florovsky (Vaduz: Büchervertriebsanstalt, 1987), p. 169.

[2] Archimandrite Placide (Deseille), Orthodox Spirituality & the Philokalia, trans. Anthony P. Gythiel (Wichita: Eighth Day, 2008), p. 167.

[3] Hieromonk Damascene (Christensen), Father Seraphim (Rose): His Life & Works (Platina, CA: St Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 2003), p. 467.

[4] Concerning this period of his life, Fr Florovsky offers the interesting observation, ‘The journey to the East proved to be a major event in Feofan’s life, extending his ecclesiastical horizons and endowing his worldview with an ecumenical courage, a great spiritual freedom and suppleness, a freedom from cultural context’ (Fr Florovsky, p. 170).

[5] The Orthodox Word, July-August, 1966 (here). Concerning the last observation, we have seen a very similar phenomenon quite recently (here).

[6] Fr Florovsky, p. 169.

[7] Ibid., p. 169. The insight contained in the last statement here may well be the reason for the inclusion of St Theophan's troparion in the clever 'Prayers at the Use of the Internet' here.

[8] H.A. Hodges, Introduction, Unseen Warfare, ed. St Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain, rev. St Theophan the Recluse, trans. E. Kadloubovsky & G.E.H. Palmer (Crestwood, NY: SVS, 2000), p. 59.

[9] Fr Florovsky, p. 174.

[10] St Theophan the Recluse, The Path to Salvation: A Manual of Spiritual Transformation, trans. Fr Seraphim (Rose) & the St Herman Brotherhood (Platina, CA: St Herman of Alaska Monastery, 1998), p. 64.

 Άγιος Θεοφάνης ο Έγκλειστος, ένας από τους μεγάλους νεότερους Πατέρες της Ρωσικής Εκκλησίας

ΠΗΓΗ ΖΩΗΣ (όπου και το κείμενο του αγίου "Η αντιμετώπιση ενός αιρετικού", που μιλάει για τη διείσδυση του προτεσταντισμού στις ορθόδοξες κοινόττηες - ιδιαίτερα επίκαιρο για μας) 


Ο όσιος Θεοφάνης ο Έγκλειστος, κατά κόσμον Γεώργιος Βασίλιεβιτς Γοβόρωφ, υπήρξε γιος ιερέως. Γεννήθηκε στις 10 Ιανουαρίου 1815 στο χωριό Τσερνάφσκα της επαρχίας Ορλώφ.

Από μικρός δέχθηκε την ευεργετική επίδρασι που εξασκεί στην ψυχή το εκκλησιαστικό περιβάλλον με τις εικόνες, τις ψαλμωδίες, τις ακολουθίες, τις τελετές. Ο ίδιος έγραφε ότι το περιβάλλον αυτό αποτελεί τον ισχυρότερο παράγοντα για τη σωστή αγωγή της παιδικής ψυχής.

Μετά από τα πρώτα γράμματα μπήκε στο Σεμινάριο του Ορλώφ (1831-37) και αργότερα ολοκλήρωσε τις σπουδές του στη Θεολογική Ακαδημία του Κιέβου (1837-41).

Καθώς σπούδαζε στο Κίεβο επισκεπτόταν συχνά τα σπήλαιά του, που υπήρξαν η κοιτίδα του ρωσικού μοναχισμού. Η Κιεβοπετσέρσκαγια Λαύρα, γεμάτη άφθορα και μυροβλύζοντα λείψανα οσίων, ακτινοβολούσε τη δόξα του λαμπρού της παρελθόντος.

Η καρδιά του νεαρού ιεροσπουδαστού δονήθηκε από τον πόθο της μοναχικής ζωής και λίγους μήνες πριν τελειώση τις σπουδές του έγινε μοναχός.
O φημισμένος στάρετς Παρθένιος, που ήταν πνευματικός του Μητροπολίτου και της Λαύρας, έδωσε στον νεόκουρο και στους συντρόφους του τις εξής συμβουλές:

«Εσείς οι μορφωμένοι μοναχοί να μην ξεχνάτε ότι το πιο απαραίτητο είναι ένα: Η αδιάλειπτη προσευχή με τον νου συγκεντρωμένο στην καρδιά. Αυτό κι εγώ επεδίωκα από τα νεανικά μου χρόνια και φρόντιζα να μη με διακόπτη κανείς από τη συνεχή επικοινωνία μου με τον Θεό».

Τον ίδιο χρόνο (1841) χειροτονείται διάκονος και σε λίγους μήνες ιερεύς.

Τελειώνοντας την Ακαδημία διορίζεται καθηγητής της Ηθικής, της Φιλοσοφίας, της Ψυχολογίας, της Λογικής και των Λατινικών σε διάφορες σχολές και ακαδημίες.

Το 1847 έρχεται στα Βαλκάνια και για επτά χρόνια μελετά τον ελληνορθόδοξο μοναχισμό.

Το 1857 γίνεται πρύτανης της Θεολογικής Ακαδημίας της Πετρουπόλεως και επιθεωρητής των θρησκευτικών μαθημάτων σ' όλες τις σχολές της πρωτευούσης και των περιχώρων της.

Το 1859 χειροτονείται επίσκοπος της επαρχίας Ταμπώφ και αργότερα αναλαμβάνει την έδρα της επαρχίας Βλαδιμίρ. Σαν επίσκοπος εργάσθηκε μ' όλες του τις δυνάμεις. Έμεινε κοντά στο ποίμνιο που του εμπιστεύθηκε ο Θεός και δοκίμασε μαζί του πολλές δυσκολίες.

Το 1861 αξιώνεται να παρευρεθή στην ανακομιδή των λειψάνων του αγίου Τύχωνος του Ζαντόνσκ (1724 - 1783 μ.Χ.), τον οποίο από τα παιδικά του χρόνια υπεραγαπούσε και προσπαθούσε να μιμηθή.

Εικ. από εδώ
Το 1866, μετά από εικοσιπέντε χρόνια πολύπλευρης και καρποφόρου εκκλησιαστικής διακονίας, αφήνει την επαρχία του και κλείνεται σ' ένα φτωχικό κελί στην έρημο Βισένσκ. Εκεί θα ζήση έγκλειστος τα υπόλοιπα εικοσιοκτώ χρόνια της ζωής του.

Ο αποχαιρετιστήριος λόγος προς το ποίμνιό του είναι συγκινητικός:

«Μη με παρεξηγήτε που σας αποχωρίζομαι. Η αγάπη σας δεν θα με άφηνε να φύγω, αν δεν υπήρχε μέσα μου ένας ακατανίκητος πόθος για μια υψηλότερη ζωή... Πάντοτε θα προσεύχομαι να σας χαρίζη ο Κύριος κάθε καλό, να σας γλιτώνη από κάθε συμφορά και να εξασφαλίζη τη σωτηρία σας... Έχετε μάθει τον δρόμο της σωτηρίας, καθώς και όλα τα μέσα που οδηγούν σ' αυτή. Είναι λοιπόν αρκετό να σας υπενθυμίσω τη συμβουλή του αποστόλου Παύλου προς τον Τιμόθεο: "Τ η ν  π α ρ α κ α τ α θ ή κ η ν  φ ύ λ α τ τ ε". Να φυλάγεσθε από τους ψευδοδιδασκάλους. Όσους δεν συμφωνούν μ' αυτά που διδάσκει η Εκκλησία να τους απομακρύνετε, οποιαδήποτε θέσι και οποιουσδήποτε τίτλους κι αν κατέχουν... Πίσω από τη γνησιότητα της πίστεως έρχεται η επίσκεψις της θείας χάριτος. Με τη βοήθειά της οι καθαροί στην ψυχή βλέπουν τον Θεό από την παρούσα ζωή και προγεύονται τη μακαριότητα της αιωνίας».

Ο όσιος Θεοφάνης υπήρξε πολυγραφώτατος. Η αδελφή του Λέοντος Τολστόι έλεγε: «Δύο σύγχρονοί μας έγραψαν πολλά. Ο αδελφός μου Λέων και ο επίσκοπος Θεοφάνης. Με τη διαφορά ότι ο ένας έγραψε προς απώλεια της ψυχής, ενώ ο άλλος προς σωτηρία της».

Τα συγγράμματά του είναι κλασσικά και διαιρούνται σε ηθικά, ερμηνευτικά και μεταφραστικά. Μετέφρασε στα ρωσικά τη «Φιλοκαλία» και παρουσίασε σ' ένα μεγάλο σύγγραμμα πολλούς κανόνες των αγίων Παχωμίου, Μεγάλου Βασιλείου, Βενεδίκτου και Κασσιανού. Από σκέψεις και βιώματα δικά του αποτελείται και το μεγαλύτερο μέρος του περίφημου φιλοκαλικού έργου της μονής του Βάλαμο «Η νοερά άθλησις».

Καθημερινά έφθαναν στο ερημικό κελί του πολυάριθμες επιστολές, απ' όλα τα μέρη της Ρωσίας, με διάφορα ερωτήματα. Προσπαθούσε ν' απαντά σε όλες. Έτσι στο διάστημα των εικοσιοκτώ ετών της έγκλειστης ζωής του, έγραψε πολλές χιλιάδες γράμματα που αποτελούν έναν ανεκτίμητο πνευματικό θησαυρό.

Στην έρημο Βισένσκ ο όσιος Θεοφάνης δεν άλλαξε μόνο τη λαμπρή αρχιερατική στολή με το ταπεινό ένδυμα του ασκητού, αλλά προσπάθησε να θάψει και ότι κοσμικό είχε: τη σοφία του, τα αξιώματά του, τον ίδιο τον εαυτό του!

Αλλά όπως ο ήλιος δεν μπορεί να κρυφτή, έτσι και η έρημος δεν μπόρεσε να κρύψει τον μεγάλο φωστήρα. Η έρημος Βισένσκ έγινε φάρος υψηλής πνευματικής ακτινοβολίας. Ενώ σταμάτησαν τα φλογερά κηρύγματα του λαμπρού επισκόπου, τα συγγράμματα και οι επιστολές του κατέκλυζαν ολόκληρη την απέραντη Ρωσία. Ενσάρκωναν τη γνησιότητα και την αυθεντικότητα της Ορθοδοξίας, γι' αυτό είχαν και έχουν απήχηση σε κάθε ορθόδοξο χριστιανό.

Η μακαριά ψυχή του ανήλθε στα ουράνια σκηνώματα το 1894.

Έναν αιώνα αργότερα η Ιερά Σύνοδος της Εκκλησίας της Ρωσίας διακήρυξε επίσημα την αγιότητα του ηρωικού ιεράρχου — αγιότητα ανέκαθεν ωμολογημένη από τον ευσεβή ρωσικό λαό - για τη συμβολή του στην πνευματική αναγέννησι της συγχρόνου του ρωσικής κοινωνίας, για τα οικοδομητικά και ερμηνευτικά του συγγράμματα και κατ' εξοχήν βέβαια για την αγία ζωή του΄ ζωή που δεν ήταν παρά η συνέπεια της βαθειάς θεολογικής και εμπειρικής βιώσεως της Ορθοδοξίας. Όλ' αυτά «μας επιτρέπουν να βλέπουμε τις διδαχές και τις συγγραφές του σαν ανάπτυξι της αγιοπατερικής διδασκαλίας, με την οποία διατηρούν την ίδια ορθόδοξη καθαρότητα και την ίδια διάφανη θεοπνευστία» (Πράξις Ιεράς Τοπικής Συνόδου της Ρωσικής Εκκλησίας, 6-9 Ιουνίου 1988).

(Πηγή: «Απάνθισμα Επιστολών» Οσίου Θεοφάνους του Εγκλείστου, Εκδόσεις Ιεράς Μονής Παρακλήτου, Ωρωπός Αττικής, Μετάφραση από τα Ρωσικά)
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Συμπλήρωμα, από Ορθόδοξο Συναξαριστή
 
Για το έργο του, γράφει ένας βιογράφος του: «Ο Επίσκοπος Θεοφάνης υπήρξε ένας αληθινός ποιμένας, στο μέσον ενός λαού ειδωλολατρικού, που δεν γνώριζε καλά - καλά τον Θεό. Όντας ο ίδιος υπόδειγμα για τους κληρικούς του, αφιερώθηκε με όλη του την ψυχή στην αποστολή του και ιδιαίτερα στο κήρυγμα. Ζώντας πολύ απλά, απασχολείτο εναλλακτικά με την μελέτη και την προσευχή. Στη ζωή του ως Επίσκοπος φρόντιζε να κάνει πιο στενές και πιο εγκάρδιες τις σχέσεις του με τους πιστούς. Ήθελε να μην υπάρχει κάτι που να εμποδίζει τον λαό να έρχεται κοντά του. Του άρεσε να βρίσκεται ανάμεσα στους πιστούς, που τους αγαπούσε με μια ολοκληρωτική και πατρική αφοσίωση».

Το 1866 μ.Χ. παραιτείται από τη θέση του Επισκόπου, αφήνει την επαρχία του και κλείνεται για είκοσι οκτώ ολόκληρα χρόνια σε ένα πτωχό κελί στην έρημο του Βισένσκ και ζει την ζωή του εγκλείστου. Αποκόπηκε από τον κόσμο με πλήρη αφοσίωση στον Θεό και τη θεωρία του Προσώπου Αυτού. Προσευχόταν όλη μέρα χωρίς διακοπή. Το φαγητό του ήταν πολύ απλό. Και όταν ήθελε να ξεκουραστεί, πάλι εργαζόταν χειρονακτικά. Πολύ χρόνο της έγκλειστης ζωής του ο Όσιος τον αφιέρωσε στην αλληλογραφία. Έτσι στο διάστημα των είκοσι οκτώ ετών του εγκλεισμού του έγραψε χιλιάδες επιστολές, οι οποίες αποτελούν ένα ανεκτίμητο πνευματικό θησαυρό ορθοδόξου πίστεως και θεογνωσίας.

Εκτός από την προσευχή ο Άγιος Θεοφάνης, δίδει πολύ σημασία στη Μυστηριακή ζωή. Η Εξομολόγηση και η Θεία Μετάληψη, είναι για τον Άγιο Θεοφάνη τα δύο βασικά μέσα για την επιτυχία της τελειότητας. Για την μετάνοια γράφει, ότι είναι αστείρευτη πηγή της αληθινής χριστιανικής ζωής.

Ο Άγιος Θεοφάνης κοιμήθηκε, οσίως, με ειρήνη, στις 6 Ιανουαρίου του 1894 μ.Χ., σε ηλικία 79 ετών. [Γιορτάζεται 6 Ιανουαρίου].

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