Saint Silouan the Athonite (also sometimes referred to as Saint Silvanus the Athonite or Staretz Silouan; 1866–1938), was an Eastern Orthodox monk of Russian origin. He was born Simeon Ivanovich Antonov, of Russian Orthodox parents who came from the village of Sovsk in Imperial Russia‘s Tambov Governorate. At the age of twenty-seven, after a period of military service, he left his native Russia and came to the monastic state of Mt. Athos (an autonomous peninsula in Greece) where he became a monk at the Monastery of St Panteleimon, known as “Rossikon”, an Orthodox monastery that houses Russian monks yet is, as all the Athonite monasteries, under the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Constantinople, and was given the name Silouan (the Russian version of the Biblical name Silvanus.)
St. Silouan The Athonite
An ardent ascetic, he received the grace of unceasing prayer and saw Christ in a vision. After long years of spiritual trial, he acquired great humility and inner stillness. He prayed and wept for the whole world as for himself, and he put the highest value on love for enemies. He became widely known as an elder. Thomas Merton has described Silouan as “the most authentic monk of the twentieth century.” St Silouan reposed on September 24, 1938. His memory is celebrated on September 24.
Though barely literate, he was sought out by pilgrims for his wise counsel. His writings were edited by hisdisciple and pupil, Archimandrite Sophrony. Father Sophrony has written the life of the saint along with a record of St. Silouan’s teachings in the book Saint Silouan the Athonite.