There is a simply marvelous story about the last days in the life of the
famous Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky by his faithful and loving
wife Anna Grigorievna. On the night of January 25th 1881, Dostoyevsky
experienced pulmonary bleeding. Around 5 p.m. that day the bleeding
started over again. Anna Grigorievna anxiously sent for the doctor.
When the doctor began to listen to and tap the sick mans chest, the
bleeding began again and this time so strongly that Dostoyevsky
"When they brought him to again", - writes Anna Grigorievna in her
"Memoirs" - "his first words to me were: Anya, I beg you, invite a
priest here immediately, I want to make a confession and receive
"Although the doctor at first believed that there was no particular
threat to his life, in order to calm the sick man, I complied with
his wish. We lived near the Vladimir church and within a half hour
its priest, Fr. Megorsky, was already at our house.
Fyodor Mikhailovich greeted the priest calmly and
good-naturedly, had a long confession and then received Holy
Communion. When the priest left, the children and I went into the
room to congratulate Fyodor Mikhailovich on receiving Holy Communion. He
then blessed both me and the children, and asked them to live in peace,
to love each other, and to love and care for me. Having sent the
children out of the room, Fyodor Mikhailovich thanked me for the
happiness I gave him and asked me to forgive him if he offended me in
any way... The doctor entered the room and laid him down on the couch,
forbade him to make even the slightest movement or to talk, and at the
same time asked that we send for two other doctors, A.A. Pfeiffer and
Prof. D.I. Koshchlakov - whom my husband had sometimes
consulted... The night passed peacefully.
I awoke at about 7 the next morning and saw that my husband was looking
in my direction. "So how do you feel, my dear?" - I asked, leaning over
him. "You know, Anya" - whispered Fyodor Mikahilovich - "for the past
three hours Ive been lying here thinking, and only now am I clearly
aware that today I will die..."
"My dear, why do you think that," I said, terribly disturbed, - "since
you already feel better and theres no longer any bleeding... For
Gods sake, dont torture yourself with
doubts, I assure you: youre going to continue living..."
"No, I know that I must die today. Light a candle, Anya, and hand me
the Gospel." He opened the Gospel himself to Matthew 3:14-15
and asked that it be read to him: "But John forbade him, saying, I
have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus
answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us
to fulfill all righteousness...".
"Do you hear that - Suffer it to be so... dont forbid me, - this means
I will die" - said my husband, and he closed the Bible..."
At about 7:00 p.m. the bleeding began again and at 8:30 p.m.
Dostoyevsky passed away (28 January 1881).
From "Studies in the history of 19th century Russian literature" by I.M.
Andreyev, Jordanville, New York, 1968, pp. 207-208 (in
This Christian end of Dostoyevsky is very common for Orthodox
Christians. I myself have been witness to many such ends and am sure
that the same can be said for all our clergy. May the Lord grant us all
a Christian end.