Yandex Metrika
Three stories on the beauty of creative solutions to problems

Different ways to walk a path of goodness

A monk who posed as a bunny rabbit

A monk who posed as a bunny rabbit

It happened more than two decades ago at the Chruch of the Entry of the Theotokos into the Temple at the Optina Pustyn monastery in Russia. A little girl had put her hand between the bars of a radiator and could not pull it back. She was crying with fear. A crowd of people gathered around her. They tried to pull her hand out, but with each attempt, her hand grew more swollen. The girl was terrified and cried even more.

A monk at the altar heard the cry, prayed before an icon and went to help the girl. Unlike all the rest, he began to play with her. First, he posed as a cat washing himself, then as a bunny rabbit biting at a carrot. The people started to grumble. They could not understand his playfulness in this grave situation. But when the little girl stopped crying and relaxed her hand, he pulled it out effortlessly. The monk was father Trophim Tatarinov. He was killed several months later in a bell tower on the eve of the Pascha.

Go for it

Go for it!

In their mindless anti-church campaign, the Soviet authorities sought to disrupt the repair of old churches, expecting that their poor state of repair would give them the grounds to shut them down. A parishioner offered Elder John Krestyankin a gift: some roofing iron to repair the church roof. The offer came at a time of great need: the old roof of the parish church had so many holes that rainwater poured down to the floor when it rained. Father John's predicament did not know what to do. What if the offer was a provocation? The KGB would come looking for him immediately. Yet, even if it were sincere, it was still a challenge to repair the roof without anyone knowing.

Father John decided to go for it. He had the iron delivered late at night. He asked his old-time friend Father Alexey Kozin, an expert in many skills, to come and help him from Moscow. They worked at night, without rest or sleep. A month later, several officers arrived with a copy of a report alleging the illegal acquisition of roofing iron.

“Confess. Show us where you are hiding it,” they demanded.

“Go find it first,” replied Father John. They searched but found nothing. They looked at the warehouse and even on the roof but left with nothing. The secret to their feat was simple: fathers John and Alexey put new iron sheets underneath, and the old ones on top. As a result, they kept the parish church open. The authorities could not close it down citing its poor condition.

Shyness and shame

Shyness and shame

The enemies of Saint Ephraim the Syrian once used their cunning to bring him into sin. They convinced a harlot to seduce Saint Ephraim. Failing that, they instructed her to provoke his wrath, as nobody had ever seen Father Ephraim angry.

The woman went to Saint Ephraim and made the indecent proposal. He listened and replied,


Rubbing her hands in sweet anticipation, the harlot followed the saint to a lively square in the middle of the city, bustling with people.

“Let us do it here,” suggested Ephraim.

The harlot did not know what to say.

“Do you want to do it in front of all these people?” she said, in disbelief.

To this, the saint replied,

"If you are ashamed to do it in front of these people, how can you not be ashamed of yourself before God, Who not only knows our actions but also reads our motives?"


July 22, 2022
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