About Father Arseny
Although his identity and historicity have been disputed (click here), there is considerable evidence that Father Arseny existed. In a January 2010 podcast the translator's son said that his mother personally met people who knew Father Arseny (click here). Perhaps the book Father Arseny combines stories of several anonymous Russian saints - people whose identities were blurred under the treacherous persecution of Soviet communism. Perhaps narrative details were embellished in the interest of coherent storytelling. However, it's likely that most of the stories in the book are based on actual events in the life of a real historical figure named Father Arseny.
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:
- Father Arseny, 1893-1973: Priest, Prisoner, Spiritual Father : Being the Narratives Compiled by the Servant of God Alexander Concerning His Spiritual Father. St. Vladimirs Seminary Press (1998).
- Father Arseny: A Cloud of Witnesses. St. Vladimirs Seminary Press (2001).
- Father Arseny: Fact or Fiction? (Podcast by Dr. Peter Bouteneff, son of the English translator)
- "Where Two or Three Are Gathered in My Name." (Excerpt from Father Arseny: Priest, Prisoner, Spiritual Father)
- "Surviving Siberia's Frost - on Faith" (Excerpt from Father Arseny: Priest, Prisoner, Spiritual Father)
- "Father Arseny: Stop This!" (Excerpt from the book)
- "Father Arseny (1894-1975): The Testimony of a Russian Confessor" (Excerpt from the book)
- Father Arseny (by Frederica Mathewes-Green)