Staretz, or “elder”, is a title given to Orthodox monks of particular spiritual development. Staretz Silouan was a Russian peasant whose only formal education consisted of two winters at the village school. But on Mt Athos, rooted in a tradition reaching back to the very beginnings of Christian monasticism, he was taught of God and attained wisdom and spiritual maturity akin to that of the Desert Fathers.
Wisdom from Mount Athos is a collection of the notes which Staretz Silouan penciled on odd scraps of paper. Included is his prose-poem “Adam’s Lament”, which echoes the haunting lyrical urgency of the Psalms. On the whole, Silouan’s writing recalls the splendor of the great liturgical texts of the Orthodox Church.
A companion volume, The Monk of Mount Athos, gives an account of Silouan’s life.
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