Nazarius of Valaam

Abbot Nazarius of Valaam (1735-1809) was born in Russia, in the village of Anosov. In his youth he was noted for his piety, and when he was seventeen years old he entered Sarov Hermitage. In 1760 he was tonsured a monk and in 1776 he was ordained. Late in 1774 he became a recluse living in a cabin in the Sarov woods. In 1782, Fr. Nazarius was called by the Metropolitan Gabriel to become Abbot of Valaam Monastery which, at that time was in decline. Fr. Nazarius traveled to St. Petersburg and, much against his own desire, was confirmed as Abbot of Valaam. During his 20 years as abbot, the monastery was rebuilt and flourished. Valaam became such a citadel of Orthodox spirituality that it was named the “Athos of the North.” Some monks from Mt. Athos visited Valaam and marveled at the life there, preferring it even to that of the Holy Mountain.

Pride settles into a man when he does not yet know himself perfectly.