Icon of St. Theophan the Recluse – S330


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Egg Tempera


20th c. (Late)


The great feast of Theophany means “a showing forth of God,” for when the Lord came to the Jordan to be baptized by St. John, God the Father spoke, the Holy Spirit appeared in the form of a dove, and the incarnate Second Person of the Trinity bowed His Head and went into the waters to sanctify all of Creation.  This was a revelation of the Holy Trinity.  Aptly, the life of St. Theophan is also a showing forth of God, and wonderful, too.

St. Theophan (a.d. 1815-1894) was born in Russia, the son of a priest.  He studied in seminary and was made a monk in Kiev before he finished his theological studies at the Kiev Theological Academy.  Because of his talents he was made a teacher and administrator in the Kiev-Sophia Theological School, and in 1859 was made the Bishop of Tambov.  He was a great teacher and practicer of the Hesychast Jesus Prayer.  After six years of service as a bishop, he asked to retire to the Vysha Hermitage, where he spent the next 29 years in seclusion, finally as a hermit.  His extensive writing of books and letters affected the lives of thousands.  St. Theophan speaks most directly to us in our modern times.