Abbot Nazarius (1735-1809)
A very austere Sarov Monastery ascetic from the age of 17, and a counselor during the publication of the first Philokalia in Russia. Nazarius revived ancient Valaam, after almost two centuries of desolation, by installing the Sarov monastic rule there. Living such a refined spiritual life he inspired a whole army of holy monks for a century, including such saint-disciples as Herman of Alaska and later, Seraphim of Sarov. After sending off the first Orthodox Mission to America, he left Valaam to retire to Sarov, where in the bosom of nature he wandered the forest in a state of ecstasy, truly a monk not of this world. Abbot Nazarius was formed by great luminaries of his time: St. Tikhon of Zadonsk, Elder Theodore of Sanaxar and St. Paisius Velichkovsky. Even during his lifetime the holy foundress of diveyevo Convent, Alexandra, would pray before his portrait when in trouble, and he would always hear from afar. Abbot Nazarius possessed a poetic gift of speech, which can be seen from his "Counsels" to monks on daily life. These basic "rules" are the inheritance of American monastics, upon which they strive to build Holy America.
Text from Valaam Patericon Book of Days