She wasn’t afraid to talk about themselves, and it’s okay and to tell her about yourself in response

Our Dating mother Silanol was connected with Jerusalem. Although met and we spoke and Bussy (France), where her intercession convent, where she lived for two months for 25 years, and in Paris (in the Cathedral on Rue Daru), and in Moscow. Remained unexecuted plans for the joint field visit of Essex (England) in the monastery of father Sofrony (Sakharov), the elder mother Siluana.

From Minsk to Paris

Deacon Alexander Zanemonets. Photo:

The mother of Silvanus was born in the year of Stalin’s death in Moscow, where was her Russian mother. Her father, of Jewish origin, a war veteran, then a Soviet engineer, was from Minsk. In Minsk and was the first 25 years of life of the future the nuns up to his departure to Israel with his parents in 1979. 70 years Soviet Jews were released under “family reunification”, although to the denial of exit visas, to become a “conscientious objector” meant the loss of jobs and opportunities of any career in the Soviet society. Apparently, the future nun and her parents were released fairly quickly and have not gone in the US, namely Israel. If she remained in Israel for only three years, her parents lived in Jerusalem until the end of his days. First her mother died, and after many years the father, buried in the ancient cemetery of Jerusalem on the slopes of the mount of olives. Shortly before his death he was baptized by his daughter, constantly visiting him (and later his widow) in Jerusalem.

In Israel, Tatiana married (Gulyaeva — the husband’s name), but the marriage was not long. Probably, the end of family life was one of the reasons of departure abroad. However, once M. Silvanus said, “Israel is Now interesting. You can not imagine how this was in the late 70’s”.

As I understand it, baptized she was still in Russia, but already in adulthood. So arrived in Israel, she is Orthodox. It has brought us closer, with our first meeting in the monastery of Bussy: I’m told there’s a nun from Jerusalem, and she arrived a deacon from Jerusalem. In France, the mother of Silvanus continued to live under Israeli passport. Other she was not. How she lived the Church life in their years in Jerusalem, where he went to the temple and to whom is unknown. At least, then never even being in Jerusalem — she hadn’t brought it up.

However, in Europe Tatiana was in the monastery. Perhaps she even drove it to the monastery. September 1, 1982, the future nun Silouan came to the Holy protection monastery in Bussy, France, and stayed there forever. The vows she took only eight years later, 24 August 1990.

“He’s in every human being saw Christ”

The Elder Sofrony (Sakharov)

We don’t know where she began her interest in monasticism. It would be easy to say — from a bad marriage, but bad marriages are not all lead to the monastery. One Abbot told me that the man usually tries to become such a monk, what was the one who inspired him along the way. Already in the course of his life in the monastery, the main example for M. Silwani and its true spiritual father was Archimandrite. Sophronii (Sakharov, 1896-1993), Athonite monk, a disciple of starets Silouan (hence her name during the vows), the founder of the monastery in Essex (England). They met when the mother siluana first came to Essex in 1988, a few years after admission to the Pokrovsky monastery as a novice: “it is two minutes after our conversation, father Sophronios was in my life the number one man,” wrote the mother of Silvanus in his short article about an old man (In every man he saw Christ / Elder Sophronios, the disciple of St. Silouan. SPb, 2011. S. 220). In Essex, the mother of Silvanus, and took monastic vows in 1990. Father Sofroniy was her “godfather” in the vows.

On the question of why it happened in the monastery of father Sofrony (where there are both male and female community), the mother of Silvanus replied – “Well, there is such a virtue as loyalty.”

Until the death of father Sofrony in 1993, the mother of Silvanus kept constant communication with his old man. She visited him in England. They were copied. “Father Sofroniy was a great man, wrote the mother of Silvanus, and a reflection of his personality extended to all the people around him. When you got to the monastery, it seemed that it consists of all spiritual giants, it seemed that the people who constantly live with the father Sophronios, all equal to him… He’s in every human being saw Christ and had an incredible respect for another human being. The elder lifted people on their level, when people spoke with him, and everything was done great, was away all pettiness. He really is in every human being saw Christ” (ibid., SS. 220-221).

According to the mother Siluana, “Central to the theology of the elder was a statement which had a practical application: even if you are overwhelmed by passion, move as a part of universal grief. Do not turn on this passion. Say – o Lord, You see what condition we (not I, but we) all, help me!” (p. 221).

“It is better to fall into error than to reject the Holy spirit”

Probably in other people we see what we already have — or Matures — in ourselves. And description of the elder sophronia mother Silanol in some reports and her own spiritual portrait. “I saw a lot of enclosed monks, who are afraid to open your path,” she writes, ” and the father of sophronia, it was not. This does not mean that he fully revealed himself. He warned that closeness stems from the fact that we are constantly afraid to fall into error, and so we reject the Holy spirit (“what if I do it wrong”). So, it is better for us to fall into error than to reject the Holy spirit.”

Yes, she is the mother of Silvanus was remarkably open, sincere and loving person. She wasn’t afraid to talk about themselves, and – as if in answer – it was scary and to tell her about himself, does not conceal its difficulties and infirmities.

So she wrote about the elder: “Father Sofroniy was an amazingly loving person. I knew that whatever I did, I went — this man will love me, and it could not be changed. With him may not be so: were fascinated — I was disappointed in the mood — not in the mood, he has always loved. I believe that anyone who knew the old man, thought it was for him to father Sofroniy relates solely, special. Such was the measure of his love – “for all I become all things” (p. 223).

In addition to the spiritual component, to communicate important, perhaps, human understanding, human unity. So, for mother Siluana was important that “moreover, the father Sophronius was an old man and a monk, he certainly was a representative of the Russian intelligentsia beginning of XX century. Even his gestures as he walked, he tilted his head, his tone, speech patterns…” (p. 223). Probably the more humanly shared, the easier it is to establish and maintain contact with the other person.

Orthodox monastery in Essex (England). Photo:

But, of course, are not only important human and cultural closeness. “The main thing for monks, wrote the mother of Silvanus, is the attitude of the elder to the Liturgy. As he served — for him, it was the center of the Universe. And nowhere else, and I never had such a Liturgy, as in Essex. The impression is that in heaven you are, all present participate in the Liturgy and shared a silent praying full of some of the universal silence. Such a feeling, feelings I never had” (p. 224).

From biographies of father Sofrony, the mother of Silvanus, the most prized book of Metropolitan. Navarrskogo of Europea (Vlahos) “I Know a man in Christ… the Life and Ministry of elder Sophronius, the Hesychast and theologian”. Russian translation of this book appeared in the Trinity-Sergius Lavra in 2013.

She was always smiling

Pokrovsky monastery in Bussy (Paris)

Over 35 years of monastic life, the mother of Silvanus carrying a variety of obedience. She was in the kitchen – she is a wonderful cook. I have repeatedly been at her Desk when she attended in Jerusalem, his stepmother, and ate her soup on Rue Daru, when there, in the Cathedral, as the days passed, devoted to the Pokrovsky monastery. Possessing a wonderful singing voice, she was a long time choir Director at the (then in the Russian monastery on the mount of Olives she was fixing their singing traditions). In the last years of his life, the mother of Silvanus was in charge of the monastery’s archive. From working in the archives there have been several books devoted to the sisters and abbess of the convent in Bussy. History of Russian women’s monasticism in the twentieth century became one of the main themes of her intellectual interests and research.

Books mother Siluana about women’s monasticism is very interesting. First and foremost this is a book about the nun Taisia (Caraway, 1896-1995), the hagiographer and the novice of the Pokrovsky monastery, and the abbess Eudoxia (Courtin, 1895-1977), the first abbess of the Pokrovsky monastery. Shortly before the death of my mother, Silwani her book about the abbess Eudoxia, was released in a French translation. If the nun Taisia’s mother siluana still found and talked to her much, the abbess Eudoxia she “knew” only by memories of other sisters, and according to monastic archive.

Initially M. Eudocia tried to create a monastic community together with M. Maria (Skobtsova), but the vision of monasticism it has been different. This intimacy with the Martyr mother Mary, celebrated in 2004 by the Patriarchate of Constantinople canonized, and some distance from her experience of active service in the world, has become important for the more “classic” of the monastic community, hosted by M. Eudoxia, Muisne, near Paris, and then moved to Bussy in 1946 Abbess Olga (Slezkin, 1915-2013), abbess of the monastery Pokrovskogo in 1992-2013, recalled his mother Mary: “everyone has their own way. Mother Maria — a Saint, she gave her life for others. She is a real Holy Martyr. But it’s just not my type of person, and I don’t think she was a nun in the sense in which we understand it. She said, “Here they are bowing, and who needs it? Do you think the Lord needs these bows? I don’t need them.” And so on. You know, each person may have their own idea of… Such a free monk she recognized, and she firmly believed that it’s the only monk that can be. But everyone has their own way. It this way, and others another.” (Alexander Zanemonets, deacon. “The history of pilgrimages to the Holy Land of the Russian Diaspora in the 50-70s of the XX century”. Moscow, 2009. SS. 59-60).

Nun Of Silvanus

Mother siluana said that, if the Church today was the rank of deaconesses, then mother Mary would have taken no vows, and dedication to the form of Deaconess. Not just Elizabeth Feodorovna in the early centuries petitioned for the return of the rank of deaconesses. But, in the absence of it, all is called monasticism. So, for mother Siluana, for all its openness, the monk was not directed at “social activity”.

Mother siluana his entire monastic life in the monastery and went everywhere in the robes, including the Paris metro and the tel Aviv airport. But not even the communal monastic life the monastic centre: “God and soul”…

The last years of his life (at least five years), the mother of Silvanus was sick with cancer — myeloma of the spinal cord. This was the third cancer that she had in life: the first two were cured. At the beginning of his third illness, she still came to Jerusalem to visit my stepmother and to be at the mount of Olives convent. Then it was chemotherapy, with regular departures from monastery to hospital, and cruel side effects of the disease. However, almost to the end she was brought to the temple for the Liturgy on Sundays and holidays. The last time I saw her about a year before his death, departing from the cloister to the hospital for regular therapy. As always — smiling. How then told the sisters of the monastery: “Mother siluana — never complained”.

Reposed nun of Silwan 29 June 2017 in his monastery.

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