From the fourth century A.D., the desert Thebaid of Egypt was the home of thousands of monks and nuns who made the desert a city peopled with Christians striving toward heaven in the angelic way of life. A thousand years later, no fewer thousands of monks and nuns, likewise seeking union with God, went to live in the forests of northern Russia, creating what has become known as the “Northern Thebaid.”
Just as the sultry African nature with its clear blue sky, lush colors, its burning sun, and its incomparable moonlit nights, is distinct from the aquarelle soft tones of Russia’s northern nature with the blue surface of its lakes and the soft shades of its leafy forests—in the same way the sanctity of the Saints of the Egyptian desert, elemental and mighty, is distinct from the sanctity of Russia, which is quiet, lofty, and as crystal-clear as the radiant and quiet evening of the Russian spring. But both in Russia and in Egypt there is the same noetic prayer, the same interior silence.
Illustrated with rare pictures from old Russian books and magazines, The Northern Thebaid chronicles the lives of a number of holy men and women of the Russian forests, presenting the Orthodox monastic tradition which inspired them and which is still alive today for those who would follow in their footsteps.
This latest edition is a facsimile of the original edition, which was hand-printed by Fr. Seraphim Rose and his monastic brothers in the mountain forests of northern California. It includes a new preface and a new appendix on the recently rediscovered, incorrupt relics of St. Alexander of Svir, a sixteenth-century luminary of the Russian North.
302 pp., 193 illustrations, paperback
The Elders of Optina Monastery have had a tremendous impact on Russian society, calling forth a nationwide blossoming of sanctity. During the course of a century, their prophecy and God-illumined...
St. Ignatius Brianchaninov (1807-1867) is renowned as a writer on the spiritual life in general. What is less well known is that throughout most of his adult life he struggled...
A Child's Guide to Prayer is a beautifully illustrated prayer book for Orthodox Christian children aged 5-10 who are just developing a habit of prayer. The selection includes morning and evening...
New Men chronicles one year in the life of Holy Cross Monastery. Over the course of the Church year, a picture of life at Holy Cross unfolds over a backdrop of rolling...