About Father Arseny

Although his identity and historicity have been questioned, there is evidence that Father Arseny's story is essentially true, although probably not tied to a single person. In the foreword to the second edition of Father Arseny: Pries, Prisoner, Spiritual Father, Peter Bouteneff outlines findings of a research team from St Tikhon's University in Moscow (2017): "We have to conclude that 'Father Arseny' is a collective name for the heroes of the stories in the book - wonderful elder-pastors who went through the crucible of persecution for the faith of Christ. It would not be entirely correct to consider Father Arseny as an artistic creation because the book describes real events and real people, and not fiction inspired by these events. It would be more correct to call the name 'Father Arseny' a shared pseudonym for the ascetics depicted in the book." The research team at St Tikhon's University; "have found five or more persons known by name, some already glorified as saints, who are the personal subjects of the stories."

Regardless of specific details, two things seem clear. First, Father Arseny's story reflects the reality of Orthodox Christian piety under Soviet communism. This reality demonstrates a robust, life-giving stream of Christ-centered, love-saturated, and peace-filled spirituality. Second, many readers of Father Arseny's story testify that the accounts ring true and reflect the heart of true Christianity. The story of Father Arseny illustrates the fruits of a life of prayer. There is no genuine life in this world without prayer. It is in the spirit of Father Arseny's story that this website is created. 

Many people today feel the emptiness of secularism or the superficiality of contemporary, consumer-driven Christianity. Many have also appreciated the deep (and thoroughly Scriptural) form of ancient Christianity still preserved in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Despite the imperfect expressions of Orthodoxy existing in many parishes, the truth and experience of Christ's Church continues to shine. Within this Church is a vast treasure of prayers and meditations. Although some people think "written prayers" have no place in a fresh, spontaneous spiritual life, the testimony of the Church suggests otherwise. The earliest Christians were devoted to "the prayers" (Acts 2:42 - translation from original Greek NT manuscripts). May all who visit this site be blessed by meditations, sayings, and prayers in the historic Orthodox Christian tradition.  - The Servant of God, Andrew

Here is a list of resources about Father Arseny: