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Review of the French Edition of “Everyday Saints ”

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  • Christophe Levalois
    http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/60844.htm Review of the French Edition of “Everyday Saints” *On April 3, Archimandrite Tikhon (Shevkunov) presented the
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 15, 2013
      Review of the French Edition of �Everyday Saints�

      *On April 3, Archimandrite Tikhon (Shevkunov) presented the French edition
      of his best-selling book, Everyday Saints and other Stories in Paris, at
      the libairie La Procure. This edition, entitled, P�re Rafa�l et autres
      saints de tous les jours was translated by Maria Luisa Bonaque.*

      *The well-known French Orthodox theologian, Jean-Claude Larchet, wrote a
      Fr. Tikhon�s book, which has been translated into English for us.

      Archimandrite Tikhon (Shevkunov), born in 1958, is an important and
      influential figure in the Russian Orthodox Church not only because he is
      reputed to be the confessor of Vladimir Putin (who needs a confessor like
      everyone else) and Executive Secretary of the Patriarchal Council for
      Culture, but also because of his activity as abbot. Commissioned in 1994 by
      the Pskov-Caves Monastery, where he became a monk, to create a metochion in
      Moscow, he turned the previously abandoned Sretensky Monastery (on
      Lubyanka, not far from the infamous KGB building) into one of the most
      dynamic and radiant monasteries in the capital. This monastery, in the
      years since its inception (it became stravopegial in 1995), has managed to
      attract numerous people of all stripes and especially many young people,
      who today still make up the bulk of the crowd that gathers to attend
      liturgical services. Abbot Tikhon has founded a choir of high quality whose
      style is particularly characterized by its dynamic tempos. He has opened a
      seminary (of which he is rector) on the premises. He has created an
      Internet site, www.pravoslavie.ru, which remains the most important of the
      Russian Church, constituting a reference source on all areas of the life of
      the Orthodox Church (it contains, notably, the texts of the daily
      liturgical services along with iconographic illustrations and ad hoc
      musical arrangements). It is well anchored in Orthodox tradition, unlike
      the competing website Bogoslov.ru, which is heavily affected by Western
      influences. He has created a publishing house that is today the most
      important in Russia. He has also opened the best religious bookstore in
      Russia and the finest store for icons and religious art in Moscow.

      His book, which has just been published in French under the title *P�re
      Rafa�l et autres saints de tous les jours* [�Father Raphael and Other
      Everyday Saints�]*,* has been a publishing event in Russia: not only did
      its presentation at the capital�s library attract more than 1,000 people,
      but it sold 1.2 million copies that day; it sat atop the best-seller lists
      of books in all categories for many months, and has received several
      awards, including best book of 2012. It has already been translated into
      English (Fr. Tikhon presented it at the Library of Congress), Greek, and
      Serbian, and for several months before its publication in French was the
      object of promotional campaigns on several Orthodox websites in
      French-speaking countries, including the excellent

      [image: Archimandrite Tikhon presenting the French edition of Everyday
      Saints at the libairie La Procure, Paris.] Archimandrite Tikhon presenting
      the French edition of Everyday Saints at the libairie La Procure, Paris. This
      book represents a sort of spiritual autobiography of Archimandrite Tikhon.
      It begins when the author, while studying at the State Institute of
      Cinematography in Moscow, discovers Orthodoxy with a small group of
      friends, receives baptism, and discovers his monastic vocation during a
      short pilgrimage to the Pskov-Caves Monastery (also called Pechory). The
      book is essentially made up of his memories from the period when he was a
      novice and monk of this monastery (between 1982 and 1992).

      In fact, Fr. Tikhon holds himself back in this book: he uses his story as
      a pretext for letting other figures he met take center stage, especially in
      the Pechory monastery. This includes the great figure of the Elder John
      (Krestiankin), who became his spiritual father at the monastery, but also
      many unknown monks who nevertheless have a very distinctive and often
      picturesque personality. The original title of the book is *Nesviatye
      sviatye*, which can be translated as �saints who are not (officially)
      saints� or �saints who have not been canonized.� These figures sometimes
      have conspicuous faults, unconventional behavior, or a banal appearance,
      but Fr. Tikhon knows how to discover and manifest, beyond these
      appearances, their profound and hidden spiritual wealth, often
      characterized by unwavering faith, a deeply penitential spirit, and great
      fervor in prayer. These stories, while making no claim to achieve the level
      of the lives of saints or the Apophthemata of the Desert Fathers,
      nevertheless constitute apothegms of our times that convey precious
      teachings. They are all the more touching and useful in that the persons
      described are not represented as perfect beings perched on unattainable
      heights, but as beings having their frailties, flaws, irregularities, and
      contradictions, who nonetheless overcome them by their deep faith in
      Christ. These stories are also a precious testimony to the spiritual
      wealth, human qualities, and joys of the monastic life, of which the author
      gives a vision that is positive, open, and even enthusiastic.

      Fr. Tikhon has a particular spiritual aptitude for perceiving and valuing,
      with indulgence and love, the positive side of beings and situations. He
      also has a particular talent for doing so in a lively manner, with
      enthusiasm, humor and simplicity, which also accounts for the book�s
      success among the general public.
      *Jean-Claude Larchet <http://www.pravoslavie.ru/authors/225.htm>*

      *15 / 04 / 2013*

      *Video (russian and french):


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