Elder Leonid puts a stop to cohabitation: 1830s !

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Elder Leonid puts a stop to cohabitation: 1830s !

Post by Barbara »

Elder Leonid [Nagolkin], 1st of the Optina Elders, sterling examples of TRUE Elders - as opposed to Matrona of Moscow and Luke of Simferopol - did not take no for an answer. Nor was he intimidated by the prevailing opinion surprisingly even of that long gone era of the early 1800s.


If only Elder Leonid and those Elders like him were around today !

"There was a landowner who made donations to [Optina] Monastery but did not visit very frequently He lived openly with one of his peasant women in his old age, even though his children by his 1st and lawful wife had grown up and married. After hearing about the famous Elder, Fr. Leonid, and that he received many people for confession, this landowner made overtures to Fr. Leonid through the Abbot [ St Moses ] and Fr Macarius to be his intercessors before Fr. Leonid. After repeated requests, the Elder against his will agreed, but stated that he would not be responsible for what might happen.

The landowner made his confession ; Fr. Leonid did not allow him to receive the Holy Mysteries. You can imagine the shame and humiliation of this gentleman, who looked down on everyone and who now had to humble himself before the entire Monastery like a catechumen. To his even greater shame, his married daughter who was accompanying him was preparing to thank the great Elder for his decision...

Once again the gentleman asked the Abbot and Fr Macarius [Ivanov : the subsequent Elder] to intercede. They refused out of conscience and because they knew how immovable Fr. Leonid was in such matters.

What happened ? The landowner returned home and after less than a month broke off his years-long relationship with his mistress to the mutual joy of his entire family.

[This incident] indicates to us with exceptional clarity the great significance of a true "elder" in moral education. What strength and faith he had to have, what independence and integrity of spirit, what firm conviction, so as to break up and melt like wax the thick and hard crust of pride and sensuality which shackled the hearts of such people as the aforementioned landowner !

From the people surrounding [the landowner in this instructive narrative], from the married clergy, of course, no one would have dared even pronounce those words which the Elder boldly expressed. And if they had pronounced them, they would have made an entirely different impression. From the lips of the Elder they evoked contrition of heart, compelled [supplicants] to weep, brought forth moral renewal, and awakened a deep moral conversion."

This is the hallmark of a TRUE Elder or Eldress. Did Matronushka tell her followers such unwelcome words, either during her life or after her repose ? What about the surgeon Abp Luke - did he ever accomplish any moral conversions like this ?
Unlikely in both cases.
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Re: Elder Leonid puts a stop to cohabitation: 1830s !

Post by Orthodox in Michigan »

Thank you Barbra for sharing that !
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