Author: Archimandrite John (Krestiankin)
Born in 1910 in the ancient Russian town of Orel, to a traditional Orthodox family, Archimandrite John Krestiankin of the Pskov-Caves Monastery in Russia, chose the path of service to the Church from early childhood. He lived through all the horrors of the communist revolution, Stalinist repressions, and continual persecutions against the Church. Having spent nearly five years in prisons and concentration camps, he was subjected to harsh tortures and mocking but was never broken. Instead, he thanked God for everything, praying to the end of his days for the interrogator who had broken every finger on his hands. It is difficult to describe what Fr. John meant to those who came to him for advice and help. Some were immersed in a sea of Divine love and forgiveness; others were compelled by only a few words to re-evaluate their entire lives; while others reverently understood that they were in the presence of a man whose gaze penetrated the most secret corners of their souls, who saw the future just as clearly as the present. All knew without a doubt that Fr. John was a man of God, entirely devoted to His holy will, who said, "The main thing in spiritual life is faith in God's Providence and discernment with counsel." Fr. John witnessed by his life to the truth of Christ's promise: I will build my Church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (Matt. 16:18). These letters provide an opportunity to partake of his wise counsel, strengthen one's faith, and examine one's own position on conditions and events in ecclesiastical and secular life. They contain sound spiritual counsel on many different questions about the Church, society, and family life, touching upon the most pressing, essential problems of man in. the modern world.