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Venerable Confessor George (Lavrov): a life of asceticism

Venerable Confessor George (Lavrov): a life of asceticism

Venerable Confessor George

From Lavra to Optina

The future saint was born on 28 February 1868 into a peasant family residing in the village of Kasimovka, Lamskaya Volost, Yelets Uyezd, Oryol Governorate, and was baptised with the name Gerasim. Today, this area is part of the Voronezh-Lipetsk Diocese. In this modest household, two other boys, Alexei and Peter, were also growing up. For their education, the local village school was the only one they could attend, offering only three grades of schooling.

To their parents, growing up in the faith was as crucial as academic learning. The Lavrov family regularly attended services at nearby churches, visited holy sites and monasteries, and even made pilgrimages to the Trinity-Sergius Lavra. Their mother, Thekla Arkhipovna, hoped that at least one of her three sons would become a monk and intercede before the Lord for their entire family and lineage. During a pilgrimage to the Trinity-Sergius Lavra, Gerasim prayed at the relics of St. Sergius and heard the words: "Go to Optina."

Reliquary with the relics of St. Sergius of Radonezh

Reliquary with the relics of St. Sergius of Radonezh

The words he heard at the relics of St. Sergius of Radonezh stayed with him. The boy felt an immense significance in them and knew he must heed this guidance. He implored his parents to take him to Optina Monastery. And so it happened: at the age of eleven, Gerasim arrived at the monastery and, together with his mother, approached Elder Ambrose to receive his blessing. The elder not only blessed him but also hinted that the boy was destined to become a monk. From that moment on, Gerasim's thoughts often returned to Optina. Following Elder Ambrose's counsel, in 1890, he left his home for good. His mother blessed him with an icon of the Most Holy Theotokos. Like many peasants of that era, 22-year-old Gerasim travelled on foot, fortunate that it was summer.

After a fortnight, he reached Moscow, where he spent the night at a merchant's house near Danilovsky Market. The next morning, he resumed his journey but took a wrong turn upon leaving Moscow. For two weeks, Gerasim wandered, adding many extra miles to his trek before finally arriving at the Vvedensky Optina Monastery.

As a young novice, he laboured in the kitchen, bakery, candle factory, fields, and even fished. By his fourth year, he was entrusted with assisting the treasurer and later the sacristan.

Having undertaken numerous obediences over eight years, on 10 October 1898, Gerasim was accepted into the monastic brotherhood. Less than a year later, on 23 June 1899, he took monastic vows and received the name George. At 34 years old, on 24 October 1902, he was ordained as a hierodeacon. Father George's duties involved travelling to Moscow, St Petersburg, and Kaluga for monastery affairs.

Hierodeacon George (Lavrov), Optina Monastery

Hierodeacon George (Lavrov), Optina Monastery

At St. George Monastery in Meshchovsk

Father George spent 24 years at Optina before being ordained as a hieromonk on 2 January 1914 and appointed abbot of Meshchovsk St George Monastery.

The war and revolutionary years were challenging for everyone. The abbot grappled with formidable challenges as he led the monastery through troubled times. Daily survival in those years of hunger and turmoil was arduous. However, his life experience, resilience, and skills in managing resources learned at Optina Monastery proved invaluable. Above all, his kindness and wisdom in dealing with people were essential.

The blessed elder from the village of Mamonovo, often visited the monastery, travelling for forty Versts each time. Known affectionately as Nikiforushka (Nikifor Terentyevich Malanichev), he was a beloved figure. Frequently, he could be seen conversing with the abbot in parables and hints, a language only they seemed to understand. The clairvoyant Nikiforushka predicted many sombre events and multiple sorrows.

View of St George's Monastery, Meshchovsk

View of St George's Monastery, Meshchovsk

And indeed, they did not take long to come. The Revolution, persecution, and famine were fast approaching. The monastic brethren sometimes went weeks without seeing bread. Father George cared not only for his monks but also for the starving peasants of the nearby villages. Sacks of flour, sewn by the novices, were delivered by horse to the poor farmers; these were left in their courtyards without expecting any gratitude. The people knew who was sustaining them during these difficult times: the kind and compassionate abbot. Everybody in the area held Father George in great affection.

One night, the blessed Nikiforushka was staying at the monastery. He woke up at dawn, spread carpets everywhere, entered the sacristy, and caused a commotion there. Then he donned vestments and, girded with a festive orarion, wandered through the abbot's chambers. Father George was astonished by such behaviour and asked, "Nikiforushka, what have you been up to?" The blessed one merely laughed in response. Soon, his prophecy came to pass.

Nikiforushka's prophecy fulfilled: arrest

On 9 December 1918, calamity struck St George's Monastery in Meshchovsk. The Bolsheviks orchestrated a raid under the guise of a search, desecrating holy objects and humiliating the monks. On that tragic day, Hieromonk George, the abbot, was arrested.

Hieromonk George was detained for six months in Meshchovsk and Kaluga prisons. He was accused of participating in a secret conspiracy and possessing weapons. On 4 June 1919, a trial was held in Meshchovsk where Father George was sentenced to execution. False witnesses came forward, accusing the suffering priest of crimes he had never committed. In the courtroom, Andrew, a blessed local, smoked and blew smoke out of the window. Father George interpreted this as a sign that the dreadful sentence would dissipate like smoke and that he would survive.

Archimandrite George (Lavrov)

Archimandrite George (Lavrov)

The Orthodox residents of Meshchovsk were deeply troubled and sent a telegram to the head of the Soviet government. In it, the parishioners, disagreeing with the harsh sentence, requested a review of the case. The documents were summoned to Moscow, but the verdict remained unchanged.

Thus, Father George found himself in a death row cell with thirty-six other prisoners. Each night, people were taken away to be executed. Finally, only seven condemned men remained. Father George prayed fervently. His cellmates fell into despair, but he endeavoured to support them, always finding kind and encouraging words for each one. Among them was a deacon who was particularly frightened. To him, Hieromonk George said, "Why are you sorrowful? We will walk out of this prison together; we will cook porridge together and live well!" To the young lawyer handling his case and lamenting that he could do nothing to help, Father George explained that his life was in God's hands and urged him not to worry so much about his fate.

The time came when Father George was secretly warned by a prison guard: "Father, prepare yourself. Today, I received the list with all your names. Tonight, they will take you away."

Later, the elder recounted what he experienced at that moment: "What can I say about the turmoil that arose in each of our souls? Although we knew we were condemned to death, it had always stood just beyond the threshold. Now, it was about to cross over... Unable to remain in the cell, I put on my epitrachelion and stepped into the dark, windowless corridor to pray. I prayed and wept as I had never done before. My tears flowed so abundantly that they soaked through the silk embroidery of my epitrachelion, causing the colours to bleed and run in streams. Suddenly, I saw a stranger standing beside me. He looked at me with compassion and then said, 'Do not weep, Father; you will not be executed.' 'Who are you?' I asked in astonishment. 'Father, you have forgotten me, but here, good deeds are not forgotten. I am the merchant whom you blessed before his death in Kaluga.' As soon as this merchant vanished from my sight, I noticed a breach in the stone wall of the corridor. Through it, I saw the edge of a forest and above it, in the air, my late mother. She nodded to me and said, 'Yes, my son, you will not be executed. In ten years, we shall meet again.' The vision ended, and I found myself once more facing the solid wall. It was Pascha for me! I hurried back to the cell and announced, 'My dear ones, thank God! We will not be executed; believe the word of a priest.' I understood that both the merchant and my mother spoke of all of us. The great sorrow in our cell was replaced by uncontrollable joy. They believed me, and some kissed my hands, others my shoulders, and some even my boots. We knew we would live."

Shortly after, a warden arrived and announced that they were all being transferred to Kaluga with their belongings. The reason: a document had arrived prohibiting execution on the spot. Their carriage at Tikhonova Pustyn was supposed to be attached to a train heading from Moscow to Kaluga. However, while the train from Moscow arrived on time, their carriage was delayed. The convoy, having no instructions for such an occurrence, attached their carriage to a train bound for Moscow instead. The prisoners arrived in the capital and were placed in Taganka Prison. While their circumstances were being clarified, an amnesty was declared. All survived. Six of those previously sentenced to death became spiritual children of Hieromonk George.

Courtyard of Taganka Prison 1918-1919

Courtyard of Taganka Prison 1918-1919

In Taganka Prison

In Moscow, Father George fell gravely ill and underwent surgery. Realising that serving his sentence with such health would be tantamount to death, he wrote a petition requesting his case be taken up for defence by the cassation department. This petition was written in the surgical ward of the prison hospital and submitted on 30 September 1919. On 5 November 1919, thanks to an amnesty, his execution was commuted to five years' imprisonment. Hieromonk George served his undeserved sentence in Butyrka and Taganka prisons.

The cells of Taganka Prison mostly held criminals. However, there were also many prisoners convicted on political charges, among them clergy. At that time, Metropolitan Kirill (Smirnov) of Kazan and Sviyazhsk and Bishop Feodor (Pozdeyevsky), abbot of Danilov Monastery in Moscow, were also there. And they influenced the future of Father George. Metropolitan Kirill blessed him for eldership, and in 1922, after his release, Archbishop Feodor took him under his wing and welcomed him into Danilov Monastery.

Photo 1: Hieromartyr Kirill (Smirnov) Photo 2: Hieromartyr Feodor (Pozdeyevsky)

Photo 1: Hieromartyr Kirill (Smirnov) Photo 2: Hieromartyr Feodor (Pozdeyevsky)

Another significant figure in Father George's life was the chief physician of Taganka Prison, Mikhail A. Zhizhilenko. This doctor secretly took monastic vows under the name Maxim and was consecrated as Bishop of Ovruch in 1924. Mikhail Alexandrovich took it upon himself to teach Father George basic medical skills and appointed him as a prison orderly. During this time, Father George began to gather spiritual children among the inmates of Taganka.

The future confessor laboured physically, never shunning the dirtiest tasks. He tended to both physical and spiritual wounds, alleviating the suffering of the prisoners: hearing confessions, administering Holy Communion, offering comfort, and healing. One former inmate described his service: "A small, clean cell in Taganka Prison. In the middle stands a hieromonk serving as an orderly. A line of sick prisoners files through the room. Most suffer from eczema and leg ulcers. Father George, like a compassionate Samaritan, washes their festering wounds. He tries to console each one with cheerful words and light-hearted jokes. 'Don't despair, my dear, we'll all be free,' 'Always believe in God's mercy,' he often told the inmates."

Desperate and downtrodden people sought his counsel. Those condemned to death, gripped by profound pre-death anguish, came for solace. Some requested confession and Holy Communion. The elder did everything in his power to support these crushed and humiliated souls, awaiting their imminent departure from this life. Sometimes even the prison guards would bring a condemned man to the infirmary where Father George worked. Having experienced the anticipation of execution himself, he understood what such a person felt. He spoke of God's mercy to those who couldn't find it among people.

There were other occurrences, too. Father George recounted how he pitied the criminals: "Prisoners would pass by my cell, always cursing and reviling me... I called one of them over. 'What do you want?' he asked. 'My dear, take some tobacco from me; I don't smoke, but you need it. Just please don't use foul language.' The young man was taken aback, accepted the tobacco, and left. Another time, his friend came along, covered in scratches and itching, with lice crawling all over him. I said to him, 'Take off your shirt; I'll wash your wounds and apply some ointment.' I tore my clean shirt to bandage him. After giving him some tobacco, I let him go with the same request — not to swear. Soon, I was allowed to move between cells and help any prisoner in need. Bandages, iodine, petroleum jelly, and other supplies were brought to me... This is where I never wanted to leave; this is where I would have gladly ended my life; this is where I was needed! Out here in freedom, anyone can find solace — go to church, receive Communion — but in there, it's not like that. There are only sorrows, only sorrows..."

Having contracted typhus, Father George spent a month in the prison infirmary. Next to him lay a man. He was delirious and nearing death, yet still bitterly cursing the Soviet regime. Father George offered to hear his confession: "My dear, why not confess to me? You are very ill and might die. Do you really want to leave this life like this?" The man retorted, "What use are you to me? I don't want to." "At least tell me your name, so I can pray for you," Father George pleaded. "I don't need you! Those scoundrels took everything from me!" the man spat back. "Who are 'they'? Was it 'they' who gave you everything? It was the Lord who gave it and He Who took it away. Whom are you really cursing? Please, humble yourself and confess," Father George implored, praying silently, "Lord, preserve his life! How can he come to You with such anger and bitterness?" After some time, the man calmed down and began to confess. "I listened to him," Father George later recounted, "absolved him, and he fell asleep. By morning, he had risen healthy. From that moment, he became my closest spiritual son. He was released from prison and now lives and works. Truly, they are all good people; they've just become hardened and estranged from God."

The spiritual father of Danilov Monastery

Finally, through the intercession of Bishop Feodor (Pozdeyevsky), Hieromonk George was released in 1922. He became a resident of Moscow's Danilov Monastery. As a child, his parents had brought him here many times. He often reminisced to his spiritual children about how he once wept in the monastery for no apparent reason, overwhelmed by emotion. He also recalled childhood games, like jumping down the steps of the church.

Danilov Monastery in Moscow

Danilov Monastery in Moscow

In the monastery, Bishop Feodor provided Father George with a cell in the basement of the ancient church dedicated to the Holy Fathers of the Seven Ecumenical Councils. Opposite stood a small chapel honouring Saints Zachariah and Elizabeth. On weekdays, Archimandrite George would hear confessions there, offering spiritual and practical advice to those who came.

Archimandrite George guided people through the tumultuous times of schisms and numerous self-proclaimed preachers. He condemned free-thinking within the Church and never supported schismatics or so-called 'fighters for truth.' He explained that the Church's stance towards state authority was established in the early years of Christianity and had remained unchanged since. He emphasised that it was proper to commemorate those in power during church services, especially Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky), who led the Church during a period of severe persecution.

At times, people would renounce their faith out of cowardice but later return to the Church with repentance. The elder never rejected such people; he allowed them to experience their fall and fulfil their penance. However, he did not approve of boasting about one's piety.

He taught his spiritual children steadfastness in their devotion to the Church and God, achieved through daily prayer, participation in church services, and understanding of the liturgies. He placed great importance on reading the Holy Fathers, saying it warmed the soul. Above all, he considered daily reading of the Holy Gospel essential.

The spiritual children faithfully adhered to the instructions and blessings of their kind yet demanding spiritual father. However, there were instances of disobedience that sometimes ended in dire consequences. One particular novice in church life struggled to follow Father George's blessing — he procrastinated with receiving Holy Communion, always finding an excuse to avoid going to church. Suddenly, he was struck by an illness that covered his face with festering sores, preventing him from attending church for a different reason. Fortunately, he was communed, and his affliction subsided. There was another instance where someone ignored a blessing to take monastic vows, which tragically resulted in that person’s untimely death.

Every significant word and even the smallest action, advice, or blessing from the elder was preceded by prayer. He had a gift of foresight. He once spoke of his small house in Krasyukovka, Sergiev Posad, given by kind-hearted people, becoming a refuge for those with nowhere else to turn. Father George would occasionally rest there for a few days, and after his passing, it became a sanctuary for his spiritual children — those who were rejected and persecuted.

In those times, many found themselves homeless and without sustenance. Having endured persecution himself, the elder helped many navigate their difficult lives. He assisted 14-year-old Andrei Uteshev, whom he met in exile. Initially, Father George saved Andrei’s parents from being dispossessed and sent to Siberia by relocating them to a small house in Zagorsk. He then arranged for the young man to stay with his spiritual children in Moscow, who welcomed him as family, providing food and support. Despite his own exile and hardships, the righteous elder tirelessly cared for people he barely knew.

Archimandrite George (Lavrov)

Archimandrite George (Lavrov)

"The path of a person is shaped early on and is difficult to change later," the elder would say, showing particular concern for the youth. "I beg you, protect my little flowers from this Babylon," he wrote from exile to one of his spiritual children. Father George was gentle and affectionate with the children, discussing their schoolwork, household chores, and games. He always had sweets and gingerbread to share with them. "Everyone comes to me with their sorrows, but you are like little birds — light-hearted and carefree — and I find rest with you," he would say, genuinely loving the children.

Both young men and women sought the elder's guidance as they chose their life paths. He advised young people to be loyal to their homeland and to serve in the Red Army. He taught that if one had to die for their native land, it would be the death of a righteous person.

Many young people desired to enter monastic life. However, Father George often advised them to pursue education first, believing that those who had been tested by the world and had gained life and prayer experience were better suited for monasticism. Nonetheless, if someone bore the cross of illness, they received the elder's blessing for monastic vows at any age. Some of his spiritual children took secret monastic vows with his blessing.

Father George's teachings were easy to remember; his speech was vivid and beautiful. Some of the sayings he crafted sounded like poetry or pearls of folk wisdom: "Value your precious, golden time, hurry to attain inner peace"; "Our life is not about playing with charming toys, but about giving as much light and warmth to those around us as possible. And light and warmth are love for God and our neighbours"; "Kindness comes from an Angel, but harshness from a spirit of malice"; "After the storm comes calm after sorrow comes joy"; "Do not be touchy, lest you become like a sore that cannot be touched." He also spoke in parables: "No, my dear, now, in your youth, you must pave your life correctly, for in old age, you cannot reclaim lost time. A wise man was once asked: 'What is most valuable?' — 'Time,' answered the sage, 'because with time you can acquire everything, but time itself cannot be bought for anything.'" To those who loved to sleep in, he would gently chide: "You'll sleep through the Kingdom of Heaven." "Oh, my dear, who has defiled it?" he would say to the "zealous" fasters who, while meticulously scrutinising their food during fasts, forgot the true purpose for which the fasts were established.

Arrested again

On 19 May 1928, Archimandrite George was arrested once more. Thus were fulfilled the words of Blessed Nikiforushka, spoken ten years prior, proving that prophecy knows no expiration date. "Not in finery, not in order, everything scattered around... Remember how he was called. There the grass is tall, plenty of hay to cut... Boredom-pain... The birches sway..." Every word came true in its own time: when they searched Father George's cell, they scattered everything. Afterwards, he was exiled to distant steppes. "Boredom-pain" aptly described both the life of the prisoner and the enforced orphanhood of his spiritual children. The birches swayed in the final years of the elder’s life.

Archimandrite George (Lavrov) in confinement

Archimandrite George (Lavrov) in confinement

Before Archimandrite George was arrested, he dreamt that he was travelling through unfamiliar terrain surrounded by numerous haystacks. This dream repeated itself. The elder understood: it was time to prepare for a long journey. He gave his spiritual children blessings and counsel, forbade them from gathering in groups, and exhorted them not to fight for their faith but to bear witness to it throughout their lives.

At dawn, they came for him with an arrest warrant and began a search. His cell attendant wept. But Father George, serene and composed, said: "Marusechka, let us pray together." They stood for prayer, and Father turned to those who had come to arrest him and calmly asked: "Tell me your names." — "Why do you need to know?" — "So I can pray for you; after all, you are doing this difficult work not of your own will."

He was taken to Butyrka prison on charges of "anti-Soviet purposes" in his preaching and service. He was placed in solitary confinement where he remained in constant prayer, conducted himself with dignity during interrogations, and did not succumb to questions about other people.

"I was placed in a separate room," he wrote with irony from exile to his spiritual children, having endured the arduous and sorrowful paths of a prisoner. "So that no one would disturb me... There was ample time for prayer, but there were moments when I was overwhelmed, wishing to pray but lacking the strength, desiring to sleep yet unable to because of my longing and sorrow for you. I would stand in prayer and entreat the Most Holy Theotokos: 'O Lady, grant me strength, not for my sake, a sinner, but for the sake of the holy prayers of my spiritual children' — and then I would feel relief, gaining the strength and vigour to continue praying and enduring my stay here. Yes, even now and in the future, I firmly believe and hope in your holy prayers and Christian love..."

On 15 June 1928, a Special Meeting of the Secret Police Collegium decreed that Archimandrite George be exiled to Uralsk in Kazakhstan for three years. Thanks to the intercession of his spiritual children, Father George received some leniency: he was allowed to travel at his own expense rather than being transported under guard. In Uralsk, he was sent to the settlement of Kara-Tyube, located nearly 100 kilometres from the district centre of Dzhambeita.

Tatiana Borisovna Melnikova, a devoted spiritual daughter, followed Archimandrite George and remained with him until his final hour. Occasionally, other spiritual children also visited the elder.

Initially, Father George and his disciples lived in a well-kept house near the centre of Kara-Tyube. However, they later had to move to a dilapidated cottage on the outskirts, beyond which lay an arid desert-steppe. Winter brought blizzards and snowdrifts; summer brought unbearable heat and sandstorms. Father George was required to report to the town at specified intervals.

Confessor Saint George (Lavrov) in exile

Confessor Saint George (Lavrov) in exile

They owned a cow, which helped them survive, and they were also supported by parcels sent by spiritual children from Moscow. At times they went hungry, especially during Great Lent when spring thaw delayed communications, causing parcels to take a long time to arrive.

Life became more organised, but they had to do everything themselves. Father George constantly laboured, even cleaning the cowshed himself.

Prayer was the cornerstone of their home. It never ceased. The church calendar and liturgical cycle dictated the rhythm of life for this small community-family. They set up a house chapel in the main room where they held services on feast days. Father George lived in this room-chapel.

Archimandrite George (Lavrov) in exile. Drawing by Zina Oskolkova.

Archimandrite George (Lavrov) in exile. Drawing by Zina Oskolkova

Archimandrite George's (Lavrov) room in Kara-Tyube. Drawing by E.V. Checherina

Archimandrite George's (Lavrov) room in Kara-Tyube. Drawing by E.V. Checherina

At times, the Lord consoled His ascetics. One evening on the Feast of the Transfiguration, the elder and his disciples went outside for some fresh air and saw an unusual star in the sky. It moved slowly and steadily grew brighter as if it were igniting. The elder joyfully observed this miracle and said: "This is the Light of Tabor. Lord, send us Your Everlasting Light!" The next day, a disciple asked their neighbours if anyone else had seen the star. No one else had been granted this vision.

The long journey to Nizhny Novgorod

Archimandrite George fell gravely and irreparably ill. A female doctor was summoned from Dzhambeita, diagnosing him with throat cancer. Clinical treatment and an urgent operation were urgently needed. A return to Russia was essential. Shortly before his release date, Archimandrite George sent a telegram to Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky) in Moscow:

"Blessed Archpastor, Father. I am severely ill with a throat condition. I can barely swallow a teaspoon of food. I cannot lie down or sleep for even a minute without suffocating. Continuing in this state means a slow death by starvation. I once again beseech your intercession for permission to return. My term ends on 19 May 1931."

However, telegrams from such places of exile rarely reached their destinations. The elder, tormented by illness, remained in Kazakhstan for an additional year due to bureaucratic delays in his release.

That year in Kara-Tyube was arduous: preparations for winter had to start in autumn. Father George, hopeful for early release, had given away all possessions not intended for the journey back to Russia. When supplies ran out, the dire situation further deteriorated his health.

Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky)

Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky)

It was only in the spring of 1932 that the necessary documents arrived, finally granting Archimandrite George his freedom, albeit with restrictions barring him from residing in Moscow and twelve other major cities. For three years, he was required to live in a designated location. Tatiana Melnikova once again petitioned Metropolitan Sergius for permission for the elder to enter Moscow, if only for surgery and treatment. The request was denied. Among the permissible cities, Father George chose Nizhny Novgorod.

Mortally ill, the elder accepted his sufferings as a visitation from God, often repeating his own saying: "Cancer is no fool; it grabs you with its claws and takes you straight to the Kingdom of Heaven." With great difficulty, Archimandrite George embarked on the journey back to Russia from exile.

No one met Father George upon his arrival in Nizhny Novgorod, forcing him to search for accommodation as people were afraid to shelter a persecuted confessor. He moved between three different residences. Initially, he stayed in a damp stone room beneath a church where several nuns had settled. Then, a kind and compassionate elderly woman offered them a small room next to another church. Finally, in the suburban area of Kunavino, they found a spacious, bright room in an unusual house that stood among white-barked birch trees. Seeing the swaying green branches outside his window, Father George remarked, "So here they are, Nikiforushka's birches..."

Farewell and glorification

The final day of the elder's confessional and ascetic life was drawing near. His closest spiritual children travelled from Moscow to be by his side. Father George awaited them eagerly, rejoicing at their arrival and even mustering the strength to speak with each one individually.

On 4 July, the venerable elder engaged in a conversation with his spiritual son, Archimandrite Sergius (Voskresensky). Exhausted, he soon drifted into a light slumber. Tatiana Melnikova remained by his side, vigilant. Noticing a change in his breathing, she summoned Father Sergius, who promptly brought the Holy Gifts. The elder, with his last reserve of strength, took the Chalice from Father Sergius' hands, received the Holy Communion, and holding the sacred vessel, departed to meet the Lord.

Archimandrite Sergius (Voskresensky)

Archimandrite Sergius (Voskresensky)

The sorrowful news was immediately relayed to Moscow. Metropolitan Sergius, upon hearing it, inquired about the day of his passing. When told it occurred on a Monday, he pondered for a moment and remarked, "The day of angels."

Archimandrite George was laid to rest on 6 July, the feast day of the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God, which he held in special reverence. It soon came to light that a week before his death, he had confided to one of his spiritual children that he had entrusted his fate to the Queen of Heaven. The elder was interred at Bugrovskoye Cemetery.

Archimandrite George (Lavrov) on his deathbed in Nizhny Novgorod, 1932

Archimandrite George (Lavrov) on his deathbed in Nizhny Novgorod, 1932

The grave of Archimandrite George (Lavrov) at Bugrovskoye Cemetery in Nizhny Novgorod

The grave of Archimandrite George (Lavrov) at Bugrovskoye Cemetery in Nizhny Novgorod

The elder's spiritual children diligently preserved his memory. They meticulously recorded details of his life and their recollections of him. They safeguarded everything associated with him: personal belongings, portraits, and drawings depicting him and his life's journey. His life became a model of fidelity to Christ, trust in God's will, and reliance on His Providence and boundless mercy.

At the Jubilee Bishops' Council in 2000, Venerable Confessor George was glorified among the saints. On 11 October of the same year, his holy relics were uncovered. They now rest in the Church of the Protection in St. Daniel's Monastery.\

Reliquary with the relics of Venerable Confessor George (Lavrov) in St. Daniel's Monastery

Reliquary with the relics of Venerable Confessor George (Lavrov) in St. Daniel's Monastery

The devoted servant of God, Venerable Confessor George, like a loving father, intercedes at the Throne of God for all who turn to him with fervent prayers of faith.

July 03, 2024
Views: 1150
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Votes: 12

Per Johansson

Such amazing story! Venerable Confessor George, pray for me...

Patrick Doran

Greatly Beloved Venerable Confessor George. Thank You for your faithful witness to Christ and your love for his people. Please pray for me, a sinner.