September 25, 2023

A Letter of Saint Silouan the Athonite to Two Women

When Saint Sophrony Sakharov set about collecting the letters of his spiritual father, Saint Silouan, he asked all the Saint's correspondents to entrust him with the originals of the letters and to keep copies for themselves.

Therefore almost all the letters of Saint Silouan are found in the library of the Monastery of Saint John the Baptist in Essex.
Archimandrite Serge Chévitch (1903–1987) kept in his archive many of the copies given to him by the correspondents, among which was the letter below.

We must remember that in the Podvorije of the Three Hierarchs and in the parishes or communities which canonically depended on it, many correspondents of Saint Silouan lived.

Thus was found a copy of a letter sent by Saint Silouan to Vera Alekseeva Lavrova, who was tonsured as a nun with the name Genevieve by Saint Sophrony at Sainte Geneviève des Bois, but also to a second correspondent whose name was also Vera, Vera Vasilievna Kiparisova, the later nun Anna.
She was probably tonsured by Father Serge and lived in Vanves, impasse Alexandre.

The letters of Saint Silouan are always very interesting, both from a historical and a spiritual point of view.

Nun Anna (Kiparisova) and Vera Lavrova (in 1957)

Letter I received from Father Silouan in response to my letter asking him to pray for Vera Vasilievna Kiparisova and for me.

May 1937

Christ is Risen!

Vera and Vera! May God grant you through the Holy Spirit that you understand that the human soul is the bride of Christ, and Christ is the Bridegroom of the soul.

Meditate day and night on His love and the gentleness of Christ and never think of earthly transactions - even if they are necessary - to buy or sell something, but let your soul be so fixed on the Bridegroom that you think of Him day and night.

This is how our Lord is. He wants to dwell in our souls, but we can, because of our inexperience, lose Him. Our soul, however, tends to Him so strongly, day and night. Where did you hide? O, my ...* far from my soul?

Behold Lord, my soul tends to You, how could I not seek You?! Your peace and gentleness attracted my soul and my heart and my soul loved You and I lost Your Divine Grace and I have been looking for Her for 44 years and I do not find Her, but my soul seeks Her day and night and longs to have it find Her.

Do you remember the words of Christ? "I am with you always, until the end of the age." Whoever loves the Lord, he prays day and night without being satisfied, that is why my soul remembers the Lord and wants to live with Him. The Lord does not remember our sins but forgives them with His mercy and love. Ah, if men had known what Lord we have, then how all men on earth would have returned to Him.
Holy Mountain of Athos


* This word is not clear.
Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.


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