Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Mes Missions En Sibérie, Suivi De Confession D'un Prêtre Devant L'église

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Mes Missions En Sibérie, Suivi De Confession D'un Prêtre Devant L'église

Article excerpt

Mes missions en Sibérie, suivi de Confession d'un prêtre devant l'Église. By Archimandrite Spiridon. Translated by Pierre Pascal and Michel Evdokimov with an introduction by Michel Evdokimov. [L'histoire à vif.] (Paris: Les Éditions du Cerf. 2010. Pp. 255. euro20,00 paperback. ISBN 978-2204-09373-6.)

The first of these two memoirs by Archimandrite Spiridon, a Russian monastic priest of the early-twentieth century, was first translated from the Russian by Pierre Pascal and published in 1950. Michel Evdokimov, an Orthodox priest of the Western European Archdiocese based in Paris and an emeritus professor of comparative literature at the University of Poitiers, has translated the second part - a confessional open letter about Spiridon's service as a military chaplain and a statement he sent to the 1917-18 Moscow Council that was charged with reform of the Russian church.

This is a wonderful, first-person account of a life of dedication to pastoral ministry by a monastic priest who was born in 1875 and died in 1930. The first memoirs are colorful, recounting deprivations and adventures of the most inspiring sort as a missionary in Siberia. Spiridon comes across quite strongly as a pastor with a compassionate and discerning heart. He recognizes the hard life of people in this desolate, harsh region and the goodness of the Buddhists - even envisioning Christ and the Buddha as brothers, leading people to salvation/enlightenment. When he became a military chaplain, he was troubled by the act of communing soldiers who would then kill other human beings in battle.

Perhaps the most passionate expression of Spiridon's soul comes toward the end in his open letter to the Moscow Council and the epilogue. Although St.Tikon (Bellavin), the newly restored patriarch of Moscow and head of the council, received the letter, Spiridon never received a reply. …

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