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Optina Pustin Monastery (Оптина Пустынь)

Image of Optina Monastery

According to a legend Optina Pustin Hermitage was found in the late 14th century by a former robber Opta or Optia who took up the name Macarius then he became a monk. "Pustin" is a Russian word for a "desert" after deserts of the Middle East where first Christians constructed early monasteries to isolate themselves from the World.



Location: 2 km (1 mi) East of Kozelsk  Map

Tel. (08442) 2-24-32

Aumrosius of Optina

Image of Aumrosius of Optina



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Description of Optina Pustin Monastery

Little evidence survived from the early days of the monastery that later became known as Optina Pustin Monastery. Most of the structures date back to the 18th and 19th centuries. Optina Monastery was also known as a Vvedensky Optina (Entrance Optina) after the largest and oldest cathedral in the abbey (dates back to the 18th century) that was dedicated to the Presentation of Mary who entered the temple to serve God. Additionally Optina Pustin Monastery complex has several other smaller churches and chapels dedicated to Holy Virgin of Kazan, Holy Virgin of Vladimir, church of the Transfiguration of the Lord, Church of John the Baptist, Saint Hilarion, Saint Mary of Egypt, Saint Leo Katansky and famous Bulgarian saint Saint John of Rila. A church of All Saints stands on the cemetery just outside of the monastery walls. A small chapel here also honors the burial place of the Optina Monks Trophime and Ferapont killed in 1993 by a crazy Satan worshipper. Their brutal murder made national headlines and to this day you can met numerous pilgrims at the site of their death.


Optina Pustin Monastery holds a special place in the spiritual lives of Russia. From 14th century to the 1820's it was a fairly small monastery, but several prominent spiritual leaders who lived here elevated the status of the abbey to a national wide fame. Several notable historical figures made a pilgrimage here including members of the Imperial family, Tolstoy, Turgenev, Dostoyevsky and many others. In fact many figures in the "Karamazov Brothers: have historic prototypes that once lived here including Aumrosius of Optina who became Zosima in the book.


Like many Russian Orthodox Monasteries in Russia, Optina Pustin Monastery was closed after the Russian Revolution of 1917. However it wasn't the first time it was briefly closed. The first time happened in 1724 during reign of Peter I the Great, however two years later after his death it was reopened by the order of his surviving wife and empress Catherine I. Under the Soviet rule closure was more lengthily. It was used a Workers' Holiday Home, filtration camp of the NKVD (Stalin's Secret Police) and a camp for the Polish prisoners of war who were captured during brief intrusion into Poland in 1939.


Optina Pustin Monastery was returned to he Russian Orthodox Church after the Collapse of Communist regime. Today it is a Stauropegial monastery with an active religious life.


Skeet of Optina Pustin Monastery

Skeet is part of the Russian Orthodox Monastery with its unique schedule, lifestyle and prayer traditions. Monks who live here isolate themselves from the World and pray for all of humanity and their own souls. While other parts of Optina Pustin Monastery is open to tourists who often roam aimlessly on vast stretched of land, this part of the Optina Pustin Monastery complex is strictly closed to the public. No one can come in and no one leaves unless they want to cancel their service here.


Prayer of the Optina Elders

Grant unto me, O Lord, that with peace of mind I may face all that this new day is to bring.

Grant unto me to dedicate myself completely to Thy Holy Will.

For every hour of this day, instruct and support me in all things.

Whatsoever tidings I may receive during the day, do Thou teach me to accept tranquilly, in the firm conviction that all eventualities fulfill Thy Holy Will.

Govern Thou my thoughts and feelings in all I do and say.

When things unforeseen occur, let me not forget that all cometh down from Thee.

Teach me to behave sincerely and rationally toward every member of my family, that I may bring confusion and sorrow to none.

Bestow upon me, my Lord, strength to endure the fatigue of the day, and to bear my part in all its passing events.

Guide Thou my will and teach me to pray, to believe, to hope, to endure, to forgive, and to love.


Молитва Оптинских Старцев

Господи, дай мне с душевным спокойствием встретить все, что принесет мне наступающий день.
Дай мне всецело предаться воле Твоей Святой.
Во всякий час сего дня во всем наставь и поддержи меня.
Какие бы я не получал известия в течение дня, научи меня принять их со спокойной душою и твердым убеждением, что на все Твоя Святая воля.
Во всех словах и делах моих - руководи моими мыслями и чувствами.
Во всех непредвиденных случаях не дай мне забыть, что все ниспослано Тобою.
Научи меня прямо и разумно действовать с каждым членом семьи моей, никого не смущая и не огорчая.
Господи, дай мне силу перенести утомление наступающего дня и всех событий его.
Руководи моею волею и научи меня молиться, верить, надеяться, терпеть, прощать и любить.




Shamordino Convent

Shamordino Convent is located 12 km (7.5 miles) from Optina Pustin. However it is a convent for nuns and monks almost never come here unless their help is specifically asked for. Sister of Leo Tolstoy was the head of the monastery for several years.





Hotels, motels and where to sleep



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