October 20, 2022

Father Ilarion such a perfect example of what you could imagine to be a strong, spiritual and wise father

Father Ilarion such a perfect example of what you could imagine to be a strong, spiritual and wise father.


Sincere memories of Father Ilarion by his spiritual child Philip.


I am an American Orthodox Christian, who was raised in Terryville, Connecticut. Since 1994, I have served in Russia on a number of expatriate assignments. In 1996 I took a job which brought my family and me to Veliky Novgorod, and it wasn’t long before I received a very nice letter asking to help with the Bronnitsa church school. My wife Nadia and I went to check out the school, and this is where we met Father Ilarion.



It did not take much time to realize that this was the spiritual father we both had been looking for. Not only was Father Ilarion such a perfect example of what you could imagine to be a strong, spiritual and wise father, but he was very easy to approach and ask advice on any subject. We immediately became his “spiritual kids,” and visited him on a regular basis. His advice, and sometimes cryptic predictions about our life, my career, and people we knew, all came true, one by one.


Shortly after we became acquainted with Father Ilarion, his health began to deteriorate. But then he made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, which was his life long dream. The spiritual inspiration he received from this trip seemed to have added another 10 years to his life, and for that, we are very grateful. It was another 10 years of advice, wisdom, and most importantly his prayers, that guided us through all the trials and tribulations which life sometimes presents.



In January 2000, I took a new job which brought my family and me back to St. Petersburg, which was approximately 180 kilometers away. But we always made time to visit him at least once per quarter, and always celebrated Pascha with him, both in church and at his dinner table in his humble house after the midnight service was completed. Even when his health was failing, and he himself had trouble eating, he still insisted that we sit at his table. As you would expect, we had many questions for him about life, the future, and always some new problem or issue we were dealing with. Father Ilarion smiled and patiently took these problems on his back…and through his prayers, one by one, the problems were solved, and the future revealed just as he predicted.



Father Ilarion was a perfect example of how to live like a Christian in a modern world which seems so devoid of good Christian examples. He could talk about the Bible to simple village people on one hand, and be the designated confessor for all priests in the Novgorod Diocese on the other hand. He was strict and loving at the same time. If he knew you were upset with something he said (even if we deserved it), it bothered him tremendously, and he would immediately ask your forgiveness until it was given. In reality it was us, and our pride which caused the problem, and it should have been us asking his forgiveness!


Many of the Glinsk Monastery elders who lived with Father Ilarion during his early monastic years, have now been canonized by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate), and I have no doubt that Father Ilarion will soon join their ranks.


Yours in Christ,

Philip Wegh


We thank Philip for this penetrating and sincere letter about Father Ilarion. One of the last elders of the Glinska Wilderness Stavropegic of the Nativity of Holy Mother of God men`s monastery, (also known as Glinskaya Pustyn), which supports our foundation in these difficult times for all. We want Father Ilarion's life and sermons to become accessible, to help, support and inspire Orthodox Christians all over the world. By making a donation on our website, we will send you a book about the life of Father Ilarion (A Champion of Good) or a book with his heartfelt and wise sermons (A Beacon of Hope) in English. All funds raised will go to help the Stavropegic monastery of the Glinskaya Pustyn. The book will be a wonderful gift for you or your friend. Save you God!


We will be able to send the book if the donation is not less than the amount of sending the book. Therefore, we invite you to make a donation of at least $30 so that we can send you the book. All funds raised will go to help the Glinskaya Pustyn.


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