by I. M. Kontzevitch
“And still the voice of the Northern Thebaid calls us,” Father Seraphim (Rose) wrote in his book of lives of the saints of Northern Russia, “-not, it may be, to go to the desert (although some fortunate few may be able to do even that, for the forests are still on God’s earth)-but at least to keep alive the fragrance of the desert in our hearts: to dwell in mind and heart with these angelic men and women and have them as our truest friends, conversing with them in prayer; to be always aloof from the attachments and passions of this life, even when they center about some institution or leader of the church organization; to be first of all a citizen of the Heavenly Jerusalem, the City on high towards which all our Christian labors are directed, and only secondary a member of this world below which perishes. He who has once sensed this fragrance of the desert, with its exhilarating freedom in Christ and its sober constancy in Struggle, will never be satisfied with anything in this world, but can only cry out with the Apostle and Theologian: Come, Lord Jesus. Even so, Surely I come quickly (Apocalypse 22:20).”
”The Northern Thebaid: Monastic Saints of the Russian North” Compiled and Translated by Fr. Seraphim (Rose) and Fr. Herman (Podmoshensky) with an Introduction by I. M. Kontzevitch [St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood; Third edition, 2004]
There is only one God of my heart, my Lord and my God, and He is everything to me, as He is also everything to the whole world, visible and invisible, which was created by Him from nothing. Therefore, I ought not to cling to anything but to my God; I ought to part from everything that I have without regret, as from the dust which we trample under feet, and ought only to have in my heart love for God, and my brethren who are received in Christ into union with the Divine nature. “Ye might be partakers of the Divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (2 Peter 1:4) “Now are we the sons of God.” (1 Cor. 10:17) Whilst malice is the child of the Devil, may it never, neither pride, nor self-exaltation, and envy, touch our heart, even for a single moment!
+ St. John of Kronstadt
“Northern Thebaid (Russian: Северная Фиваида), is the poetic name of the northern Russian lands surrounding Vologda and Belozersk, appeared as a comparison with the Egyptian area Thebaid – well-known settling place of early Christian monks and hermits.
Historically Thebaid (Greek: Θηβαΐδα) is the region of Upper Egypt, the term derives from the Greek name of its capital Thebes.
The term was coined by an orthodox writer Andrei Muravyov in his book of reflections about a pilgrimage to holy places of Vologda and Belozersk, which he named “Russian Thebaid in the North” (1855).