The Royal Path

    “On December 30, 1976, reposed an outstanding churchman and statesman, doctor of psychiatry, pedagogue, lecturer, publicist and author of a series of theological textbooks,” states the introductory line in the Memoriam published in Orthodox Life, about Professor Ivan M. Andreyevsky. He is mentioned often as one of the shining lights of Orthodox theology. His name is often heard together with Archbishop Averky Taushev, Archbishop Vitaly Maximenko, the philosopher Archimandrite Constantine Zaitsev Professor I.M Kontzevitch, Nicholas Talberg, and the theologian Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky.[1]

    Ivan Mikhailovich Andreyevsky was born on March 14, 1894 in St. Petersburg. His father was of Russian descent and his mother, German.[2] He was one of five children, the oldest being his sister, the poetess Maria Shkapskaya. He was raised in a pious family who were poor but seemed to live in relative comfort. Ivan’s mother suffered from paralysis and his father retired early due to mental illness.[3] Ivan entered into a period of “rebellion” during his years of secondary schooling which began in St. Petersburg. It is said that in 1912 in the Wideman Gymnasia, which Ivan attended, a revolutionary group had been discovered and after this Ivan stopped attending that school. The participants of this group were taken under the protection of a millionaire and sent to study in Switzerland.[4] Later, his sister Maria was caught distributing illegal Socialist revolutionary literature when she was in medical school and was imprisoned. Fr. Seraphim (Rose) notes, “The beginning of [Andreyevsky’s] intellectual and spiritual path… is clear: he was an unchurchly, deadly-serious, revolutionary-minded youth…”[5]

    Ivan finished secondary schooling in Switzerland and then went on to study at the Sorbonne in Paris from 1912 – 1914 where he completed his studies in the Department of Philosophy. Of this period he says, “In 1914 I was a young student of the Philosophy Department of the Sorbonne, and I had the right of attending lectures at the College-de-France. There I listened to Lalande and Bergson… Bergson lectured with inspiration, improvised,

Henri-Luois Bergson, 1927

thought out loud, created on the lecture platform, and ruled the minds of the young generation, especially of Russians. I was among the latter.”[6]

    At this stage of Ivan’s intellectual development the editors of The Orthodox Word note that, “the philosophy of Bergson did not leave a deep trace on the mature world-view of Andreyevsky; it was, rather, an important stage in his assimilation of the best of modern ‘wisdom,’ which enabled him later to be a brilliant apologist for the higher wisdom of Orthodoxy.”[7] Andreyevsky admits that Bergson was responsible for drawing his attention to an even more mature philosopher. He says, “Once, after one of his inspired lectures, brilliant in form, Bergson asked those who surrounded him in the corridor: who, in their opinion, was the most remarkable thinker in the world at the present time? Seeing the perplexity of his listeners, he clearly and distinctly said: ‘It is a modest Russian philosopher, Askoldov by name.’ It was extremely flattering for me, a Russian student, to hear such an opinion about a Russian philosopher; but to my shame I had to acknowledge that I heard the name Askoldov then for the first time and knew absolutely nothing about him.”[8]

    After finishing his studies in Paris, Ivan returned to St. Petersburg to study psychiatry at the Psikhonevropatologicheskii Institute, now called the St. Petersburg V.M. Bekhterev Psychoneurological Research Institute, where he graduated in 1918. He had decided to study psychiatry after being “aroused by the depth of the human soul” through his reading of the works of Fyodor Dostoyevsky.[9]  He then went on to enroll at the University of St. Petersburg where he would study Literature and Philology and at the same time work as a doctor at the Nikolaevsky Military Hospital during the civil war.

Sergei Alexeev Askoldov

    It was at the University of St. Petersburg was, it has been said, that Ivan had “the most important event in his intellectual life.”[10] Here he met up with S. A. Askoldov. Fr. Seraphim explains this influence and resulting impressions, saying, “The nature of the influence of Askoldov upon [Andreyevsky] cannot be understood by reference to the pitiable academic world of today, which is oriented to the passing down of fragmented knowledge and opinions and not a wholeness of world-view. ‘For the first time after Bergson,’ writes [Andreyevsky], ‘I experienced the spiritual awe of contact with a man of genius. I felt that I had found, at last, a real teacher.’ ‘I learned from him true philosophizing.’ Askoldov taught him much about philosophy and introduced him to his own philosopher friends… but more importantly, [Andreyevsky] absorbed from his teacher a whole attitude of mind and soul which was just what he needed for his own further intellectual and spiritual growth. ‘Everything I came to know of what Askoldov had written produced on me an exceptionally powerful impression, because it directly and clearly answered to the deepest questions of my spirit.’

    “Askoldov had a constant ‘will for righteousness and truth… Intellectual dishonesty always evoked in him an explosion of dissatisfaction.’ [Andreyevsky] himself inherited from his teacher this intellectual uprightness that could not tolerate the slightest dishonesty or fakery, whether in philosophy or church life.”[11] However, their relationship was not purely intellectual.Andreyevsky notes a very impressionable moment of their lives together during World War II when, “the two were together in a small wooden house and had nowhere to flee during a fierce bombardment. Andreyev was astonished when Askoldov, in the absence of a priest, asked permission to confess his sins to him in the face of death. ‘I will never forget this confession: a more sincere repentance would be difficult to imagine.’”[12]

    In 1922 Andreyevsky accepted a professorial position at the Petersburg University but was dismissed due to his conflict with the university’s Communist ideology. He then obtained a position as a teacher of literature at a

Ivan and Elena in Jordanville

local high school. In 1924, he was working as a psychiatrist at the Nikolaevsky Military Hospital and during this time he began to take pastoral theology courses that were offered in Petrograd under the tutelage of Father Theodore Andreyev. “After the martyric death of Fr. Theodore Andreyev, Ivan… took care of his wife and daughter Zoya, eventually marrying his best friend’s wife [Elena Sosnovskaya] and even taking his last name as a pseudonym… Thus he was able to help the widow and become a loving father to his stepdaughter [Maria Ivanovna, b. Dec. 19, 1936 d. June 25, 1985], who later in America became a scholar, [poet and writer] in her own right.”[13]

    He studied in Petrograd from 1924 to 1928. In 1926, from the professors that he engaged with, as well as the students, the “Brotherhood of St. Seraphim” was formed. At this time his intellect was maturing. Where before he would write papers as requirements for his course work, now he was in a tight-knit group who had the same vision as he. Together they would now write and speak on those issue of the most pressing importance to the group. He notes: “Bergson, Lossky, Askoldov: these are the three stages of my philosophical development – philosophical, but not religious. On the latter path I had entirely different teachers: Bishop Theophan the Recluse, Bishop Ignatius Brianchaninov, the Optina Elders, and the ever-memorable Father John of Kronstadt – and then the Philocalia, and, in general, Orthodox patristic literature. With Optina elder Nectarius I engaged in a long correspondence, and with Elder Dositheus I was in personal contact. Twice I had had personal contact with Father John of Kronstadt also. Being taught by them the strictly Orthodox spiritual method (if one can thus express oneself), I made it secure by means of unforgettable impressions of visits to remarkable Russian monasteries (Valaam, Solovki, the Kiev Caves Lavra, Sarov, Diveyevo, Optina Monastery, and others). As a result, the choice became clear to me between the conservative Orthodoxy of Father John of Kronstadt and the ‘modernized’ Orthodoxy of V. Soloviev and his school. Without wavering, I chose the former path.”[14]

St. Seraphim digging the canal around the Diveyevo Convent

    The benefits of this “securing” of Orthodoxy he speaks of later on in life in an article entitled The Psychology and Psychopathology of Old Age saying, “A great consolation in all sorrows of life in mature years, and especially in old age, is the religious feeling that has been preserved. This consolation can give a quiet, calm old age and help one to calmly accept death as a sleep in the hope that eternal life exists in another better world.”[15]

    To what he had been learning Ivan began to “secure” this by making his first pilgrimage: to Diveyevo. There was a “rule” at the Diveyevo Convent, given by St. Seraphim himself, which was to be performed by the pilgrims who visited. The canal around the Convent was to be walked around, with prayer rope in hand, and the prayers to be said were “Virgin Theotokos” one hundred and fifty times, the “Our Father” one hundred and fifty times, then one was to pray for all of one’s relatives and acquaintances, both living and dead. After this, one was to state one’s most heartfelt, most necessary desire which would then be fulfilled without fail.[16]

    With prayer rope in hand, Ivan walked around the canal, performing the St. Seraphim “rule.” He recalls, “I intended to ask for many things, both material and spiritual, but when, at the end of the third circuit of the ditch, I had performed the entire rule and wanted to express my heartfelt desires, something miraculous took place, obviously through the great mercy of St. Seraphim. I was suddenly seized by a very special, spiritual, quiet, warm and fragrant joy; an undoubting conviction of my whole being of God’s existence, and of an absolutely real, prayerful communion with Him. It became completely obvious and clear to me that a petition for anything earthly would be tantamount to the prayer: ‘Lord, leave me and deprive me of Thy wondrous gift…’

    “And within me, I fervently said to the Lord, ‘Lord, do not give me anything; take away from me all my earthly prosperity, only do not deprive me of the joy of communion with Thee, or, if it is possible to preserve it forever in one’s life, then give me a heartfelt memory, give me the means of preserving till death the memory of this present blessed moment of awareness of thy Holy Spirit.’”[17]

Sarov Monastery, 1910

Summarizing his pilgrimage to Sarov, Ivan says, “My whole life changed after my pilgrimage to Sarov Monastery. The Lord took from me, in accordance with my prayer at the [canal], all earthly goods, but preserved forever within me, the memory of that moment when, by His limitless mercy, by the mercy of the Most Holy Mother of God and by the prayers of St. Seraphim, I, a sinner, had the completely undeserved honor to experience within me the quiet, joyful, good, and fragrant breathing of the Lord’s Holy Spirit.’[18] And so, in 1926, we see Ivan at the height of his intellectual as well as spiritual maturity and in the following year the trials began. He even noted this development of himself, in describing his life to his students, saying, “these years of his intellectual and spiritual formation as his full growth from “body” (science, medicine) to “soul” (literature, philosophy) to “spirit” (theology, true Orthodoxy), using the three-fold division of the human personality discussed by St. Seraphim, Bishop Theophan the Recluse and many other Father’s, on the basis of St. Paul (I Cor. 2:14-15, etc.)[19]

    In 1927 Metropolitan Sergius issued his infamous “Declaration.” Andreyev was one of many to be chosen to be part of a delegation in order to persuade Metropolitan Sergius to abandon the Declaration. He noted, “The Metropolitan received us out of order. Finding the reason why we had come, he reaffirmed everything written in the Declaration, and in answer to our convictions called us ‘counter-revolutionaries’ and ‘schismatics.’ Not taking his blessing, we left without obtaining anything.”[20] Soon after, those who did not accept the Declaration saw their churches closed and were imprisoned. Andreyev too was imprisoned, and spent three of his five years of imprisonment at Solovki, from 1929-1931. There is much written about his work at Solovki as a doctor for the inmates treating epidemics of typhoid and scurvy. Many are the stories of the priests and bishops he met and with whom he participated in the Divine services secretly. He writes about the “churches” that were established in the prison camp by the inmates who knew that if they were caught that would be tortured and shot.

Solovki Monastery

    “At Solovki we had several secret Catacomb ‘churches,’ but our ‘favorites’ were two: the ‘Cathedral Church’ of the Holy Trinity, and the church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker. The first was a small clearing in the midst of a dense forest in the direction of the ‘Savvaty’ Assignment area. The dome of this church was the sky. The walls were the birch forest. The church of St. Nicholas was located in the deep forest towards the ‘Muksolm’ Assignment area. It was a thicket naturally formed by seven large spruces. Most frequently the secret services were conducted here, in the church of St. Nicholas. In the ‘Holy Trinity Cathedral’ services were conducted only in the summer, on great feasts and, with special solemnity, on the Day of Pentecost. But sometimes, depending on circumstances, doubly secret services were also celebrated in other places. Thus, for example, on Great Thursday of 1929, the service of the reading of the Twelve Gospels was celebrated in our physicians’ cell in the 10th company. Vladika Victor and Fr. Nicholas came to us, as if for disinfection. Then, catacomb-style, they served the church service with the door bolted.”[21]

    Of his work at Solovki, he writes, “In the year 1929, in the frightful concentration camp of Solovki, beginning with the end of winter there was a great increase of scurvy, and towards spring out of 18,000 prisoners of the fourth division of the camp (the division that occupied the island of Solovki itself), the number of those afflicted reached 5000. I, as an imprisoned physician, was offered, apart from my usual work, to take upon myself the supervision of one of the new scurvy barracks for 300 prisoners.

    “When I came to this barracks I was met by a young Jewish orderly with a very handsome, lively face. He turned out to be a 4th-year medical student. To have such a qualified helper was a great rarity and an immense help.

New Martyr Alexander Jacobson (+1930) commemorated on September 8

Alexander Yakovlevich Jacobson (such was his name) went around the whole barracks with me and showed me all the patients. Concerning each one, he told me in detail his diagnosis and the characteristic traits of the disease. The patients were all in a very serious condition. Rotting and pussing gums afflicted with the sores of scurvy gangrene, an immense swelling of the joints, bleeding from scurvy in the form of blue spots in the extremities – were what came first to the eyes at a hasty examination. At a more thorough examination many of them turned out to have serious complications in the inner organs: hemorrhagic nephritis, pleuritis and pericarditis, serious afflictions of the eyes, and so forth. From the explanations of the orderly I understood that he knew precisely what was what in the symptomatology of diseases, and he made correct diagnoses and prognoses.”[22]

    After serving his time Ivan was deprived of the right to work and had to find employment in various psychiatric clinics in small cities which lasted until the beginning of World War II. During this time he was also a member of the Catacomb Church whose members and hierarchy he had met while at Solovki. In 1944, after the War he moved to Germany where he made contact with the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad and regarded Metropolitan Anastassy as a friend and instructor.

Ivan in the seminary classroom, 1950’s

    In 1950 he moved to Jordanville where he accepted a professorial position at Holy Trinity Seminary where he was to teach for the next twenty-one years. While there he not only lectured, but wrote several books including: A Short Survey of the History of the Russian Church from the Revolution to the Present Times (1952), A Short Conspectus for a Course of Lectures in Psychology (1960), Orthodox Christian Apologetics (1965), Orthodox-Christian Moral Theology (1966), and A Survey of the History of Russian Literature of the 19th Century (1968).[23] Apart from these books he also authored numerous articles.

    Ivan was also active outside of the church in scholarly and scientific societies. He was director and lecturer on medical subjects at the Pirogov Society which was an organization for Russian physician in the United States. He also gave lectures at the Pushkin literary society. But his most beloved work was with the St. Vladimir Society which aimed at building St. Vladimir’s Memorial Church in Cassville, New Jersey. He was also editor for the St. Vladimir calendar which printed many philosophical and theological articles in defense of true Orthodoxy and documented the origin and history of the Catacomb Church in Russia.[24]

    The end of his life was to come from a cruel blow from the modern world. As he was riding in an elevator in New York City, he was attacked. The injuries he suffered during the attack proved fatal and he remained mostly unconscious for a month before reposing on December 30, 1976.

    Recalling the value of the life and work of Ivan Andreyev, Fr. Seraphim (Rose) notes, we must “strive to understand these giants who have now all but departed, leaving all would-be defenders of Orthodoxy in a very precarious position against the increasingly subtle temptations of an anti-Christian age. Without a broadening and deepening of our Orthodox world-view, without absorbing at least something of the genuine Orthodox teaching of the great men who have handed down Orthodoxy to us – we will scarcely survive.”[25]

[1] See Hieromonk Damascene, Father Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works (Platina: St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 2003), 181, 252 and 855.

[2] Neil Cornwell, Reference Guide to Russian Literature (London: Fritz Dearborn Publishers, 1998), 730.

[3] Ibid.

[4] I.M. Andreyev, 57.

[5] Ibid.

[6] “The Path of Prof. S. A. Askoldov,” Orthodox Way (1955) as translated in I.M. Andreyev, 57.

[7] I.M. Andreyev, 58.

[8] “The Path of Askoldov,” 58.

[9] I.M. Andreyev, 59.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] “The Path of Askoldov,” 61.

[13] I.M. Andreyev, Orthodox Apologetic Theology (Platina: St. herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 1995), 25n. For a short biography on Maria Ivanovna see

[14] Ibid., 62.

[15] I.M. Andreyev, 103.

[16] Ivan M. Andreyev, “A Journey to Sarov and Diveyevo,” trans. Seraphim F. Englehardt, Orthodox Life (March-April, 1982): 30-31.

[17] Ibid., 31.

[18] Ibid., 34.

[19] I.M. Andreyev, 63. Fr. Seraphim clarifies this expression of Ivan’s saying, “By ‘spirit,’ of course, is not meant a separate component of man’s nature, as some heretics have taught, but only the higher part of the soul, where contact with God and the spiritual world is opened up, as opposed to the lower part of the soul, which is occupied with the normal human pursuits of art and science, philosophy and culture. The awareness – in first-hand experience – of this critical distinction between soul and spirit was later to give to his teaching a depth and preciseness which few philosophers and thinkers attain. Ibid., 63-64.

[20] Ivan Anderyev, Russia’s Catacomb Saints: Lives of the New Martyrs (Platina, Saint Herman of Alaska Press, 1982).48.

[21] Ibid., 65.

[22] Ibid., 69.

[23] R. Polchaninov, “In Memoriam: Prof. Ivan M. Andreyevsky,” Orthodox Life (March-April, 1977): 49.

[24] I.M. Andreyev, 97.

[25] I.M. Andreyev, 67.

Ivan and Fr. Adrian (Rymarenko) Spring, 1960

Articles by Ivan Andreyev

“On the Principles of Orthodox Monarchy.” Orthodox Way (1951) in Russian.

“Christianity and Bolshevism.” St. Vladimir Calendar (1955) in Russian.

“The Path of Prof. A.S. Askoldov.” Orthodox Way (1955) in Russian.

“On the Character of Scientific-Athiestic Propaganda in Soviet Russia.” Orthodox Way (1956) in Russian.

“On St. John of Kronstadt.” Orthodox Way (1958) in Russian.

“On the Orthodox Christian Moral Upbringing of Pre-school Children.” Orthodox Way (1959) in Russian.

“The Excommunication of Leo Tolstoy from the Orthodox Church.” Orthodox Life (May-June, 1961): 17-32.

“Concerning the Revelation of the Ikon of the Reigning Mother of God.” Orthodox Life (July-August, 1962): 4-8.

“Documents of the Catacomb Church: The Catacomb Church.” The Orthodox Word (May-June, 1970): 144-149.

“Martyrology of the Communist Yoke: Bishop Maxim of Serpukhov.” The Orthodox Word (May-June, 1970): 150-164.

“The Psychology and Psychopathology of Old Age.” St. Vladimir’s Calendar (1970). in Russian.

“On the Imperial Martyrs and the need for the Russian People to Repent for their Regicide and Apostasy.” St. Vladimir Calendar (1972) in Russian.

“A Jewish Confessor of the Orthodox Christian Faith.” Orthodox Life (January-February, 1977): 13-18.

“The Cross of Christ, 3rd Sunday in Lent” @

“St. Seraphim of Sarov: Teacher of Compunction and Joy.” Orthodox Life (March-April, 1982): 7-16.

“A Journey to Sarov and Diveyevo in 1926.” Orthodox Life (March-April): 25-34.

“Christian Truth and Scientific Knowledge.” Orthodox Way (1961) in Russian.

“Weep!” Orthodox Life (March-April, 1993): 38-42.

Prof. Andreyev and Archimandrite Constantine (Zaitsev), 1959


Books by Ivan Andreyev

Catacomb Church in Soviet Russia. 1947.

Icon of All Saints Who Shone Forth in the Russian Land. Munich, 1948.

The Position of the Church in Soviet Russia. New York, 1951 (publishing house unknown).

A Brief Review of the History of the Russian Church from the Revolution to the Present Day. New York, 1952 (publishing house unknown).

A Brief Summary of Lectures on Psychology. Jordanville: Holy Trinity Monastery, 1960.

Psychiatric Expertism in Soviet Russia. Jordanville: Holy Trinity Monastery, 1960.

Orthodox Christian Moral Theology. Jordanville: Holy Trinity Monastery, 1966.

Outlines of the History of Russian Literature in the 19th Century. Jordanville: Holy Trinity Monastery, 1968.

Russia’s Catacomb Saints. Platina: St. Herman of Alaska Press, 1982. (Prof. Andreyev did not write the whole book but only the first 104 pages [six chapters]. Much of the rest he contributed with his own personal records or verifying others’ accounts).

Orthodox Apologetic Theology. Platina: St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 1995.

Is the Grace of God Present in the Soviet Church? Wildwood: Monastery Press, 2000.


Ivan Andreyev

Articles about Ivan Andreyev

Polchaninov, R. “In Memoriam: Prof. Ivan M. Andreyevsky.” Orthodox Life (March-April, 1977): 48-50.

Editors. “I.M. Andreyev, 1894 – December 17-30, 1976: True Orthodox Convert from the Russian Intelligentsia.” The Orthodox Word (March-April, 1977): 55-67 97-103. (This article is the same one that was used to introduce the author in “Russia’s Catacomb Saints” and “Orthodox Apologetic Theology,” with minor changes.)


Born Adrian Rymarenko, on March 15/28, 1893, he was raised in a wealthy and pious family in the town of Romny, Poltava province, Ukraine. He recollects,

“I grew up in a pious family… I was surrounded by that Orthodox way of life which for generations had been created by Holy Russia. In our family, life proceeded according to the church calendar, according to the yearly church cycle. Feast days were as it were the signposts of life. At home there were constant Divine services, and not only molebens, but all-night vigils also.

“… When I remember those years there inevitably rises before me an unforgettable picture: early morning, it’s still dark. I have only just woken up and I see in front of the icons, half-illumined by a lampada, my mother. She prays for a long time. But a still stronger impression was made on me by the early-morning Divine services, to which our mother often took us and to which we went no matter what the weather, autumn or winter! After these Divine services one always felt a kind of extraordinary inspiration, a kind of quiet joy.”[1]

He recalls that this way of life was not only characteristic of his family but of all society around him. Following the Revolution of 1905 all this changed. He says that peoples’ joy was now replaced with “disillusionment and desolation.” During this time he attended the St. Petersburg Polytechnical Institute and studied engineering where those all-pervading feelings of despair started to affect him. During this time he found his soul to cry out: “I cannot.” He says,

“I felt that I could not live as people around me were living. I felt that I was lacking that life, the Orthodox way of life, which had surrounded me in my childhood and youth, that lightness of heart which I felt. I had the impression that I had been deprived of the air which I had breathed.”[2] From this moment on he started to seek out ways to revive this in his life.

This new life was given to him in the person of Archpriest John Egorov who was the leader of a student group. He spent five years under the tutelage of this Archpriest and found opened up to him the “elemental reality of the life of Christ’s Church by which Holy Russia lived.”[3] Of this “elemental reality” which was imparted to him, he says, “I understood that the Divine services are not merely a ritual, but in them are revealed the dogmas of the faith. They are the foundations of man’s reception of Divinity. Then, the examination and study of the works of the Fathers of the Church and the Patrisitic writings revealed to me the paths of life. When I had gone through the whole course taught by Fr. John, I had literall come back to life. I sensed the elemental power of Orthodoxy, I sensed the breath of life which it gave. I understood in what this life consisted.”[4]

After this time he went to Optina where he met the Elder, Anatoly the Younger in 1921. At this time Eugenia Grigorievna was now in his life and she had gone to Optina before him to resolve questions about their marriage
and his priesthood. Fr. Anatoly blessed both of these decisions and later in the summer Adrian came to ask more questions about the same subjects.

Matushka Eugenia Rymarenko was the daughter of prominent landowners in the province of Poltava. She studied in St. Petersburg and later transferred to Moscow. She had slowly moved away from the Church but after the death of her parents and her experiences connected with the Revolution she returned to the city of Romny, in the province of Poltava. There she met her future husband who had given her several religious books and inspired her to go to Optina. In recalling her first visit to Optina Monastery, she said: “Why I went to Fr. Anatoly at that time, I do not know. I had almost no understanding of eldership. I had only read Lodyzensky’s Trilogy: Higher Consciousness, Light Invisible and Dark Forces and Sergei Nilus’ book On the Bank of God’s River. Actually I wanted to visit the elder in order to get a look at him and hear from him some prediction of the future… Instead of a prediction of the future, I experienced joyful moments of repentance, and an unusual, peaceful state of mind and submission to the will of God. I was so won over by Batyushka that later, it was enough just to think of him in order to acquire a peaceful, bright state of mind.”[5]He describes his first meeting with the Elder thusly: “I arrived at Optina on the day of SS. Peter and Paul at 6 o’clock in the morning, and stayed at the guest-house with the wonderful Monk Theodulus. He told Fr. Eustignius, Fr. Anatolius’ cell-attendant, that I had come. Batyushka immediately sent for me and blessed me to come to him after the Liturgy. Vladyka Micah celebrated the Liturgy. The service in the church of the Entrance was triumphant, and after the service I immediately went to Batyushka. There was a whole crowd of people around Batyushka’s house. They were mainly nuns. I was immediately let through and went to the Elder… He was friendly and affectionate. In one moment I completely forgot about what I had only just seen: through his questions the whole of my life was handed over to him. The conversation was mainly about my inner life. We talked about my pastorship. Feeling my unworthiness, I asked the Elder to forbid me to think of the priesthood, to which he, just like Elder Nectarius later, said to me: ‘Accept the priesthood without fail, otherwise you will suffer.’ When Batyushka asked me about my life, he suddenly said to me: ‘Go to the holy things in the holy corner.’ There he began to read the prayers of confession, and I thought that I would do confession, but Batyushka summarized everything that I had said, I confirmed my sinfulness, and he read the prayer of absolution. This was for me an unexpected prayer, I felt that I was reborn.”[6]In 1921, Fr. Adrian began his pastoral duties in his native Romny at the Church of Alexander Nevsky. One of his parishioners describes this time of being surrounded by social unrest and the closing of churches. He says that Fr. Adrian served with feeling and that his sermons ignited the hearts of their listeners. Even though churches and monasteries were being closed this church was being filled with people. In no other church was there found such a spiritual life and devotion.[7]In 1926 the church in Romney was closed and Fr. Adrian was sent to Kiev where he was “under surveillance.” He says that at the beginning of this time there was very difficult but then he became close to a group of “pastor-ascetics” whom he described as his instructors and friends. In them he found the same preservation of that which he had longed for from back in his childhood. “All of them gave up their lives for what was already in my heart.”[8] And they literally did. “With these clergy there went to prison, exile and death thousands of their flocks, who wanted to live in God and with God. On my shoulders lay the heavy responsibility of continuing the work of the martyred ascetics…”[9]After the repose of Elder Anatoly of Optina Matushka Eugenia and Fr. Adrian became the spiritual daughter of Elder Nektary of Optina. They came often to visit and stay for weeks with the Elder. The Elder would often tell Matushka, “[Fr. Adrian] is full of Orthodoxy… I rejoice that [Fr. Adrian] is fully Orthodox,” and often spoke of him “with such affection.” Matushka had more time to stay due to Fr. Adrian’s responsibilities in the parish. She would often read to the Elder as well as write correspondence for him and copy various passages from books.

Elder Nektary of Optina

During his time in Kiev, Fr Adrian says that God had mercy on him and spared him from prison but this was only at the present time. In 1929 he was imprisoned for a short term then released and continued his priestly duties, though much more cautiously due to being closely monitored by the government.

As the Revolution in Russia progressed and Optina was slowly being liquidated Fr. Nektary was evicted from the monastery and came to live in a home in the village of Holmische in Briansky Province with a widower and his two boys. Here Matushka and Fr. Adrian would visit often until the Elder’s repose. For this Matushka would not be there but the Elder told her that Fr. Adrian would be and he was. Fr. Adrian left at two o’clock in the morning and, after much difficulty, arrived at four in the afternoon on April 29, 1928 on the day of the Elder’s repose. After his arrival, Fr. Adrian was present to read the Psalter for the Elder while he lay on his bed. As others were helping in assisting to turn the Elder in his bed icons of the Great-martyr Panteleimon and Saint Seraphim were brought from the reception room. One young lady said to the Elder, “Batyushka, bless Father Adrian with this.” With difficulty Batyushka reached out his hand, took the icon and put it on Father Adrian’s head. Then Father Adrian asked Batyushka to bless his whole family with the icon of Saint Seraphim. Shortly thereafter the Elder became unconscious. In her recollections of Elder Nektary, Matushka Eugenia says that when the Elder’s condition changed, “Father Adrian saw that Batiuhka indeed was dying. He read the Canon for the Departure of the Soul; Batyushka was still alive. Falling on his knees, Father Adrian pressed himself to him, to his back under his mantle. Batyushka was still breathing for a little while, but his breaths became fewer and fewer. Seeing that Batyushka was dying, Father Adrian rose from his knees and covered him with the epitrachalion. After a few minutes Batyushka passed away. It was 8:30 on the evening of April 29, 1928.”[10]

While serving the flock in Kiev the Soviets were soon to invade and Fr. Adrian and those who were close to him fled to Germany where he was made Rector of the Resurrection Cathedral in Berlin. Here they faced constant bombings but nonetheless the Divine services were held every day in the cathedral. From here the small group was evacuated to the south of Germany in Würtemberg. Here, as in Berlin, a small group of people would gather, under Fr. Adrian’s guidance and a church was built and they immediately began to perform the Divine services, in each place building the Orthodox way of life which was surrounded by the confusion of a foreign land. About these communities that would grow up in Kiev, in Berlin and now in Würtemberg Fr. Adrian says, “Many at first looked on us as naïve people who did not live in accordance with the times. But we lived, we lived in God. Little by little attitudes towards us changed. Pilgrimages began. People who had come to the depths of despair acquired amongst us peace of soul and a quiet joy, and went away enlightened and in peace.”[11]

The next move was now to be to America. In 1949, Fr Adrian came with a small group of Russia immigrants and settled one hour north of New York City in Nayack in Rockland County. In the Fall of the same year, Archbishop Vitaly of Jordanville and Archbishop Nikon asked that Fr. Adrian establish a women’s monastery to gather together nuns that had been scattered throughout the Diaspora and to establish the Orthodox way of life in this remote area. Fr. Adrian says that not only nuns but a significant number of the thousand displaced persons from Europe, came to settle around the monastery and became a large Orthodox family.[12]

Ivan Andreyev and Fr. Adrian (Rymarenko) in front of Novo-Diveevo cemetery. Spring, 1960

Regarding this new settlement, Fr Adrian said, “It is not yet enough to establish a monastic life; one must preserve it. For there is always the danger that life can be converted into a hothouse, a greenhouse, where it will be supported by artificial warmth, and as soon as the source of warmth ceases to operate, life will perish.

“Therefore there must be a constant source of life. Just as the earth and its vital juices constantly nourish vegetation, so our life also must be ceaselessly nourished by that elemental power which the Church of Christ gives, which is incarnated in the Orthodox way of life, in the Divine services, in fasting, in prayer, in vigils, in all that which embodies our Holy Russia. This is the elemental power which places in the mouth of the man who is leaving his earthly existence the last words, ‘Into Thy hands I commend my spirit’, and gives him the possibility to depart into eternal existence with the name of Christ.”[13]

Eugenia Grigorievna Rymarenko(1963)

In 1968, Matushka Eugenia reposed in the Lord and in 1973, Fr. Adrian was elevated to the dignity of Archbishop. As an Archbishop, Vladyka Andrew continued to live in Novo Diveyevo. He was the spiritual father of Metropolitan Philaret, and counseled many other members of the Church, both Russian and English-speaking.[14]

“The last day in the life of Vladyka Andrew was the feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul. The weather was hot. He received Communion reverently, as he did on all Sundays and feastdays. He was very weak, and lay down surrounded by the people most devoted to him, waiting for the long-awaited hour.

“Every day he listened to three akathists: the first, to the Vladimir icon of the Mother of God, was read by Mother Nonna, the second, to St. Nicholas, was read at midday, and the third, to St. Seraphim, was read in the evening. He listened to all the services through a microphone that was connected to the church.

“In the evening, towards the end of Matins, Vladyka was praying with particular fervor to the Mother of God. He took out an icon that had been given to him by his mother and which he always carried. On this day he prayed before it with special intensity, with all his might. This was felt by everybody.

“Blood started to flow. His son and Fr. Alexander were worried. Brother Michael began to read the akathist to the Vladimir icon. Then Vladyka called everyone to say goodbye to them and to give them his last blessing. He said that he was dying and asked everyone to pray for him. And then he began fervently to cry out: ‘Most Holy Mother of God, save me!’ with other prayers. When a cold sweat came out on his face, he cried: ‘I am dead!’ and became white as snow.

“Fr. Alexander ran into the neighboring room to get hold of his epitrachelion – the same under which Elder Nectarius had died fifty years before. But Vladyka Andrew had already left this world.

“It was 11 p.m. on the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, the same day on which Vladyka had entered Optina for the first time.”[15]


The authors of The Orthodox Word wrote an article about Archbishop Andrew in 1975 describing him as a “living link with the Holy Fathers”[16] a term used to describe that tradition which is the teaching of the Church throughout history that is embodied by certain grace-filled individuals. This article describes Archbishop Andrew’s contribution to the larger Orthodox world as a guide to “how to survive as an Orthodox Christian in the anti-Christian 20th century.”[17] Interesting to note is that it is not his homilies, or of books written but is instead his whole life. It is noted that he suffered much, in various countries, during war times, in prisons and exile. Others have gone through the same, especially during this period of time but their results have been fruitless. With Archbishop Andrew wherever he was a “close-knit Orthodox community” always formed around him. These authors attribute it to the presence of a “conscious Orthodox philosophy of life.”[18] This philosophy, not being an abstract systematization but instead a life lived by Archbishop Andrew is summarized in five points.

1) Orthodoxy is not merely a ritual, belief or pattern of behavior. Instead it is an “elemental power or reality which transforms a man and gives him the strength to live in the most difficult and tormenting conditions, and prepares him to depart with peace into eternal life.”[19]

2) The essence of the Orthodox life is “godliness” (piety) which is deeper then merely right doctrine. It is the entrance of God into every aspect of life.

3) This attitude produces the “Orthodox way of life” which is not so much outward customs or behaviors but the whole of the “conscious spiritual struggle of the man for whom the Church and its laws are the center of everything he does and thinks. The shared, conscious experience of this way of life, centered on the daily Divine services, produces the genuine Orthodox community, with its feelings of lightness, joy and inward quietness.”[20]

4) “Without a constant and conscious spiritual struggle even the best Orthodox life or community can become a ‘hothouse,’ an artificial Orthodox atmosphere in which the manifestations of Orthodox life are merely ‘enjoyed’ or taken for granted while the soul remains unchanged, being relaxed and comfortable instead of tense in the struggle for salvation.”[21]

[1] Vladimir Moss: Orthodox Christianity Author, s.v. “The Golden Chain: The Lives of Archbishop Theophan of Poltava, Archbishop John of San Francisco, Archbishop Joasaph of Canada, Archbishop Andrew of Rockland and Metropolitan Philaret of New York” (by Vladimir Moss),

[2] Archbishop Andrew of Nove-Diveevo, The One Thing Needful. (Liberty, TN: St. John of Krondstat Press, 1991), 6.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid., 6-7.

[5] Matushka Eugenia Rymarenko, Reminiscences: Recollections about Elder Nektary of Optina. Mary Crockwell trans. (Jordanville, NY: Printshop of St. Job of Pochaev, 1993), 5.

[6] The Golden Chain.

[7] Википедии — свободной энциклопедии s.v. “Андрей (Рымаренко

[8] The One Thing Needful, 7.

[9] The Golden Chain.

[10] Matushka Eugenia Rymarenko, Reminiscences: Recollections about Elder Nektary of Optina. Mary Crockwell trans. (Jordanville, NY: Printshop of St. Job of Pochaev, 1993), 40.

[11] The Golden Chain.

[12] The One Thing Needful, 9.

[13] Ibid., 9-10.

[14] The Golden Chain.

[15] Ibid.

[16] The Brotherhood of St. Herman of Alaska, “Our Living Links with the Holy Fathers: Archbishop Andrew of New Diveyevo,” The Orthodox Word July-August (1975): 135.

[17] Ibid.

[18] Ibid., 136.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Ibid., 136-137.

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