Optina Pustyn (Optina Hermitage) is a male monastery near Kozelsk which used to be the most important spritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church in the 19th century. Optina used to be celebrated for its starsty: Schema-Archimandrite Moses, Schema-Hegumen Anthony, Hieroschemamonk Leonid, Hieroschemamonk Macarius, Hieroschemamonk Hilarion, Hieroschemamonk Ambrose, Hieroschemamonk Anatole (Zertsalov). Such writers as Nikolai Gogol, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Konstantin Leontiev and Leo Tolstoy sought advice from the elders of this monastery. Leo Tolstoy visited Optina many times: in 1877, 1879, 1880, 1881, 1910 year, but he didin't approve of the staretsdom. He visited Optina to meet his sister Maria, who lived in a Shamorodino Convent situated 20 kilometeres from Optina.
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