The Stranniki (Russian for Runaways or Wanderers) are the strong Pomorsky Old Believers who rejected prayers for Tsar Peter and all government papers (identification, passports, money, etc). They would not wear clothing contrary to Old Orthodox Russia, nor eat with those of contrary Faith and Practice. Keeping themselves separate from the antichrist society they went far into the Siberian wilderness. This blog is about these people and my effort to conform my life to theirs.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Do Not Stay In A Town At All

Philokalia Vol. 1

Evangrios the Solitary
On Asceticism and Stillness (p. 34-35)

Indeed, I urge you to welcome exile. It frees you from all the entanglements of your own locality, and allows you to enjoy the blessings of stillness undistracted. Do not stay in a town, but persevere in the wilderness. ‘Lo,’ says the Psalm, ‘then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness’ (Ps. 55:7). If possible do not visit a town at all. For you will find there nothing of benefit, nothing useful, nothing profitable for your way of life. To quote the Psalm again, ‘I have seen violence and strife in the city’ (Ps. 55:9). So seek out places that are free from distraction, and solitary. Do not be afraid of the noises you may hear. Even if you should see some demonic fantasy, do not be terrified or flee from the training ground so apt for your progress. Endure fearlessly, and you will see the great things of God, His help, His care, and all the other assurances of salvation. For the Psalm says, ‘I waited for Him who delivers me from distress of spirit and the tempest’ (Ps. 55:8 LXX).

Do not let restless desire overcome your resolution, for ‘restlessness of desire perverts the guileless intellect’ (Wisd. 4:12)...

Avoid association with crafty or aggressive people, and do not live with anyone of that kind but shun their evil purposes; for they do not dwell close to God or abide with Him… Do not pass your time with people engaged in worldly affairs or share their table, in case they involve you in their illusions and draw you away from the silence of stillness... Let the labor and longing of your heart be for the faithful of the earth, to become like them in mourning...

Do not hanker after fine foods and deceitful pleasures… Do not have relationships with too many people, lest your intellect become distracted and so disturb the way of stillness...

When buying or selling you can hardly avoid sin. So, in either case, be sure you lose a little in the transaction. Do not haggle about the price from love of gain, and so indulge in actions harmful to the soul - quarreling, lying, shifting your ground and so on - thus bringing our way of life to disrepute... If possible it is best to place such business in the hands of someone you trust, so that, being thus relieved of the worry, you can pursue your calling with joy and hope.