by Fr. George Florovsky
“The great Russian bishop of the last century, Theophanes “The Recluse” (d. 1894), in one of his pastoral letters makes a startling statement. What the Russian Church most needed, he said, was “a band of firebrands,” which would set the world on fire. The incendiaries must be themselves burning and go around to inflame human minds and hearts.
Theophanes did not trust a “residual Christianity.” Customs could be perpetuated by inertia, he said, but convictions and beliefs could be kept only by spiritual vigilance and continuous effort by the spirit. Theophanes felt that there was too much routine and convention in the life of Russian Christians.
He anticipated a crisis and even a collapse.
He resigned his diocese and retired to a monastery, because he felt that he could do much more service to the Church by writing books than by administering a bishopric.”
HT to Kevin Allen for this