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.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Harsh Life of Renouncing the World

Excerpted from The Philokalia, Vol. 1, page 202

St. Nilus Ascetic

The Apostles received this way of life from Christ and made it their own, renouncing the world in response to His call, disregarding fatherland, relatives and possessions. At once they adapted a harsh and strenuous way of life, facing every kind of adversity, afflicted, tormented, harassed, naked, lacking even necessities; and finally they met death boldly, imitating their Teacher faithfully in all things. Thus through their actions they left behind a true image of the highest way of life.

Although all Christians should have modeled their own life from this image, most of them either lacked the will to do so or made only feeble efforts. There were, however, a few who had the strength to rise above the turmoil of the world and to flee from the agitations of cities. Having escaped from this turbulence, they embraced the monastic life and reproduce in themselves the pattern of apostolic virtue.

They preferred voluntary poverty to possessions, because this freed them from distractions. So as to control the passions, they satisfied their bodily needs with food that was readily available and simply prepared, rather than with richly dressed dishes. Soft and unnecessary clothing they rejected as an invention of human luxury, and they wore only such plain garments as are required for the body. It seemed to them a betrayal of philosophy to turn their attention from heavenly things to earthly concern more appropriate to animals. They ignored the world, being above human passion.

They did not seek excessive gain by exploiting each other; nor did they bring lawsuits to one another, for each had his own conscience as an impartial judge.