Elder Ambrose (1812–1891) is considered the pinnacle of Eldership in Optina. He embodied the virtues of all the elders in the highest degree–divine humility, purity of mind and heart, overflowing love, and total self-sacrifice for thesalvation of his fellow man. So great were his gifts that hundreds of people flocked daily to his humble cabin at Optina, including the writers Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, and Leontiev.
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