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January 22, 1908: “.. .You have to hold onto the spirit. The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life (II Cor. 3:6). If in monasticism one sees only the form, then it’s not just hard to live, but horrible. Hold fast to the spirit. Look at what unbelief, nihilism, and carrion there is in the seminaries and theological academies. And this is all because it’s all just cramming, without feeling or meaning. The revolution in Russia proceeded from the seminaries.* To a seminarian it’s strange and incomprehensible to go to church alone, stand off to the side, weep and come to a state of compunction — to him this is wild. For a high school student such a thing is possible, but not with a seminarian. The letter kills.”

—St. Barsanuphios of Optina,  THE JOURNAL OF ELDER NIKON OF OPTINA


* Referring to the revolution of 1905