13–14 September: Conference on “The Optina Elders and Russian Culture”

From 13–14 September a conference, dedicated to the 200th anniversary of the birth of St Ambrose of Optina, will be held in Shamordino and Kozelsk. It will bring together prominent scholars who study the inheritance of the Optina Elders in the context of Russian history and culture in the 19th and 20th centuries.

By the end of the 19th century Optina Pustin’ had become the “spiritual heart” of Orthodox Russia, and one of the beloved nerves that made that heart beat was Starets Ambrose (Amvrosiy), who was the most outstanding figure among the elders of Optina.

The fact that Elder Ambrose and his brothers at Optina worked hard to translate into Russian and publish works of ascetical writers of the ancient Church is almost unknown in Russia, though it was a huge step in the spiritual enlightenment of society. The spirit of the Optina elders, because of its openness to people, in particular its humility, spiritual wisdom and love, brought forth vivid and wonderful fruit in the lives of many people. Through communication with the elders, whose doors were open to anyone, the lives and work of Gogol and Dostoevsky, Kireevsky and Konstantin Leontiev, Nilus and Poselyanin, Durylin and Strakhov were changed. To Optina Monastery came the writers Turgenev, Apukhtin, Leo Tolstoy, Vladimir Solovyov, Duke Konstantin Romanov, Akhmatova and many others.

Readings will take place on September 13 at 12.00 in Kazan Amvrosievskoy women’s monastery (Shamordino), and will continue on September 14 from 9 am at the House of Culture of the Russian army in Kozelsk.

During the reading a concert of Russian classical and folk music will take place.

Free admission

Preliminary list of participants and topics of presentations:

Aminov G.U., Ph.D., Professor at the Moscow Conservatory. "Ways of philosophical interpretation of Russian music";

Afanasyev N.E., teacher at the Moscow Theological Academy and Seminary. "The ambiguity of the image in the Slavic-Russian hymnography";

Vladimir Kutikin, Fr (Church of the Nativity in Izmailovo): "Optina elders as a phenomenon of social thought of the XIX century in Russia";

Nikolaev V.A., PhD, Professor at Moscow State University: "Gogol and Optina";

Gladkov L.V., Senior Fellow Institute of World Literature of the RAS: "Leo Tolstoy and Optina";

Diomid (Kuzmin), Hieromonk of the Ploschanskoy desert, Department of Hagiology of Bryansk Diocese: "Desert-dwellers of the Roslavsky woods Optina Pustin’";

Zapalsky G.M. "Optina monk Leontius (Zhelyaev). Pages from an autobiography."

Zelenin Y.E., PhD, Andrei Rublev Museum of Ancient Culture: "Portrait Gallery of the Optina Elders";

Kashirina V.V., PhD: "Towards a history of the publication of ‘Three essays by St Ambrose against the Lutherans and Catholics’";

Komarova T.V., leading researcher at the Museum-Reserve "Yasnaya Polyana": "Pages from the history of Shamordino monastery";

Mozharova M.A., PhD, Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences: "Elder Ambrose of Optina in the letters of Leontiev";

Nikeshichev M., PhD., Professor at the Moscow Conservatory: "Revival of the Russian national style in Russian culture and the Optina Elders";

Pak N., PhD., Professor of Kaluga State Pedagogical University: "The image of Optina in Russian literature";

A. Spiridonov, honored cultural activist, Professor at the Moscow Conservatory: "Favourite fables of St Ambrose and their musical variations";

Tolmachev A.V., candidate of physical and mathematical sciences: "The fate of the sisters of Shamordino after the Revolution."

Cherkasova G.P., GIM: "Memories of St Ambrose of Optina";



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