At Sihastria Monastery in the mountains of northern Romania, Fr. Cleopa tended the sheep for many years, spending his days in prayer and spiritual contemplation. Then, at the age of twenty-nine, he was unexpectedly chosen to be the new Superior of the monastery.
Now that he was a shepherd of souls, Elder Cleopa quickly revealed his skill in directing people in the spiritual life. He instructed both monastics and lay people in the practice of the Jesus Prayer, and in the cultivation of hesychia (interior silence).
After being arrested and threatened by the communist secret police, Elder Cleopa departed to the wilderness, where he spent a total of ten years in unceasing prayer. Eventually he returned for good to Sihastria Monastery.
“After he finished Confession, Fr. Cleopa would withdraw to stillness, especially at night, to the edge of the forest or to the cemetery, where he would pray alone. Then he would quietly say the Jesus Prayer, which had become part of his heart after so many years. Stillness would give rest to his soul and fill him with spiritual peace. And when God would visit him with the gift of tears, he would also withdraw to a secret place until God calmed down his soul.”
“After he had tasted of the joy of stillness in the years of his exile, Fr. Cleopa longed to remain continually in the life of solitude, since stillness is the mother of prayer, tears, and spiritual joy. But the commandment of obedience would induce him to again return to his community.”
—excerpts from SHEPHERD OF SOULS
Each day for the next thirty years, hundreds of people flocked to him for guidance. Endowed by God with spiritual insight, he would mystically apprehend the problems and needs of each, leading them into closer communion with their Creator. At the time of his death in 1998, he was the spiritual father of all Romania.
This inspiring and popular book by the Elder’s close disciple contains both his life and counsels.
232 pages, 65 illustrations, full-color cover, paperback
Copyright St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood
Author: Protopresbyter Valery Lukianov
In the early years of his life, Protopresbyter Valery Lukianov, the author of this memorable book, was under the spiritual guidance of St. John (Maximovitch) of Shanghai, who subsequently ordained him to the diaconate. After Archbishop John’s canonization on June 19/July 2, 1994, Father Valery set as his goal to share the miraculous events of the glorification with a wide audience of believers through the publication of his book, Lantern of Grace – in Russian (1999), followed by the English translation (2004). The book was reissued as an enlarged Russian edition (2010), that embraced our younger generation, including stories and reminiscences of students, altar boys, orphans, and numerous other people from various walks of life, whom St. John helped in time of need. The present extended English edition (2017) incorporates additional material on Vladyka’s life, his repose and the funeral, the uncovering and re-vesting of his relics, preceding the canonization, and the ever memorable and joyous glorification. This book contains a collection of precious photographs of Vladyka John, a saint who was our contemporary.
As readers make their way through the pages of this book, we hope they will feel the blessing bestowed by the hand of this wondrous miracle-worker. We trust that, guided by the ever-present Hand of God, they will discover a fresh, new source of faith and hope.
From the Author
Very little is generally said in the church media regarding the priesthood and priests themselves. What is written typically has to do with the participation of priests in clerical or diocesan conferences, which begs the question: Is it even useful to publish anything about the priesthood in publications intended for the laity? We believe that it is not only useful, but also necessary to bring to light the mutually beneficial relationships between the pastor and his flock (with all good intentions, of course), and thus to promote a much desired harmony and mutual support—all the more, if the positions put forth with regard to the priesthood are frank and upright. Here the Apostle Paul serves as an example of one who was not afraid to show his weaknesses: “For I am the least of the Apostles, that am not meet to be called an Apostle, because I persecuted the Church of God” (1 Cor. 15: 9).
The Church of Christ is currently living in the most distressing time of its historical existence— a time of militant apostasy. And on whose shoulders does the duty of standing for the Truth principally fall, if not on the shoulders of priests? Priests take upon themselves all the evil, all the vilification of the secularized, apostatizing, and morally fallen modern world. It is for this reason alone that one should write more frequently in support of these zealots for the Faith and for Christ’s Church, raising awareness of a modern-day priest’s spiritual make-up, so that the laity might understand all the difficulties of the pastor’s challenge and join with him in a working partnership, as the Apostle Paul calls us to do: “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2).
These are the honest thoughts and blessed intentions that we set forth as the basis for our narrative on the priesthood and on priests, those stalwart spiritual warriors marching forth along the difficult paths of our apostatizing time.
The Russian Orthodox Youth Committee has published its revised pocket size soft-cover Prayer Book.
The Prayer Book is an excellent aid for those, to whom the faith and the Church are dear, but who find it difficult to read Church Slavonic. This paperback prayer book is written in Russian (with accent marks) and with parallel English text.
Dimensions: 5" x 6.5" x 0.6"
Includes Canons, Akathists, Troparia, Daily Prayers, the Divine Liturgy and more. Beautifully bound in maroon color and gold embossed. Follows the Russian usage. Traditional English. Has Morning Prayers and Evening Prayers rather than Compline. This book is frequently referred to as "The Jordanville Prayer Book" because Holy Trinity Monastery and the Printshop of St Job of Pochaev are located in the town of Jordanville.
Copyright Holy Trinity Publications