Enjoy this new edition of the classic story of Father Arseny, with freshly edited text, a new cover, and a new foreword by Peter Bouteneff.
It is one of the great mysteries of life that in atmospheres of the harshest cruelty, a certain few not only survive but emerge as beacons of light and life. Father Arseny, former scholar of church art, became Prisoner No. 18736 in the brutal "special sector" of the Soviet prison camp system. In the darkness of systematic degradation of body and soul, he shone with the light of Christ's peace and compassion. His sights set on God and his life grounded in the Church, Father Arseny lived by injunction to "bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ" (Galatians 6:2).
This narrative, compiled from accounts of Father Arseny's spiritual children and others whom he brought to God, gives stirring glimpses of his life in prison camp and after his release. It also tells the stories of people whose lives, often during times of almost unimaginable crisis, were touched and transfigured through their connection with Father Arseny.
Emerging from the context of the particular tragedies of Soviet Russia, this book carries a universal impact certain to be felt by readers in the West today.
Soon after baptism, I was hungry to know not just "the rules" and the theology, but what does Orthodoxy "look like" when lived out in the modern world? I've read this book at least 6 times, most recently about six months ago. Some Russian monastics have prophesied something to the effect that "today in Russia, tomorrow in America" we too will experience a socialist takeover. Russia survived its Marxist revolution. The U.S. appears to be in the midst of one right now. Fr. Arseny, pray to God for us in America, and help us follow your path if we find ourselves in the same conditions.
One of the most remarkable and heartfelt tales of survival against the odds, Father Arseny not only survives but thrives amid the harsh and degrading conditions of a Soviet labor camp.
He reaches out to those around him, transfiguring their lives through the incredible God-given grace of his life. These short stories, told mostly by his spiritual children, are vivid, real and in the Russian tradition of excellent story-telling.