Saints of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Dr. Alexander Roman (email)
Saint Paisius Velichkovsky and the Hesychast Tradition
The Choir of Saints of the Jesus Prayer
The disciples of St Paisius Velichkovsky were of different nationalities and became missionaries in their countries and a number of them have been glorified as Saints such as St. Callinicus of Cernica and St. Theodore of Sanaxar. Ukrainian disciples of St Paisius, who have yet to be glorified, include: Blessed Cleopas and Blessed Theophane of Solovki, Blessed Paul of Simoniv Monastery, Blessed Martha Protasieva, Blessed Cleopas of Valaam, Blessed George of Cernica, and Blessed Athanasius of Ploshchansk Monastery. Another is the Righteous Melchizedek of the Roslavl forests who lived to be 125 years of age! The Optina Hermitage is the off-spring of the Paisian tradition and among the 14 Optina Fathers who have been glorified as Saints is St. Joseph Litovkin of Optina. Blessed John the Fingerless was so humble that he refused to become a Priest. When obliged by obedience to accept ordination, he cut off a finger from his hand and so was prevented from being ordained.
One of the most famous and widely-read books on the Jesus Prayer is the "Way of the Pilgrim." This book, mentioned in J.D. Salinger's "Franny and Zooey," is the story of the spiritual experiences of an unidentified pilgrim who wanders from place to place in Ukraine and Russia in the nineteenth century, praying the Prayer of Jesus Christ many times.
A recent study on this work by Moscow Theological Academy professor Aleksey Pentkovsky revealed the identity of this hitherto unknown pilgrim. Arseny Troyepolsky, a Ukrainian priest-monk who moved around various Ukrainian and then Russian monasteries, actually wrote the "Way of the Pilgrim," which is a record of his spiritual experiences with the Prayer of Jesus. In this book, and a number of others, none of which carry the author's name, Arseny writes extensively about St Paisius Velichkovsky and Ukrainian Saints.
Arseny's book on the Jesus Prayer has reached, and continues to reach, millions of people of all faiths and he continues to teach the saving practice of the Jesus Prayer to this day. He definitely belongs to the Choir of as yet unglorified persons belonging to the Paisian tradition.
A recently published book on St. Paisius discusses his disciples, all of whom enjoy a local cult, and there is no reason why this entire Choir of Saints of St. Paisius should not be included in the calendar of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.