Here, I wish to offer three more as promised in that post. As always, for us Catholics, we should approach their writings with a certain level of prudence, as some have written some fairly nasty invectives against Catholicism in their writings. Just so, for Eastern Orthodox Christians, I would think they exercise the same prudence when reading and studying our saints, if any do at all.
But let us lay aside these sadnesses of division - allow me to introduce you to three more Eastern Orthodox saints, all from the late 19th - to 20th centuries, worth studying:
"Many believe that I took up a cross too great for me. That I will either regret it later and throw it away, or fall under its weight... Of course I am unworthy of that immeasurable happiness, that the Lord has given me, - to go this way. I will not even try, and He Who is love itself, shall forgive me all my misdoings, for He sees how I wish to serve Him..."1
I happened upon this relatively modern saint by chance one day, while I was looking up every saintly figure I could find on the internet. Her story is one that seems right out of Dostoevsky or Tolstoy (or maybe a mix of both?). In her secular life as a duchess, she was reknowned for her charity and love of the poor. When her husband was murdered by a revolutionary, she publicly forgave him and sought for his pardon. When this failed, she decided to become a nun. She sold all she had, founding a convent, orphanage, and other sites to serve the poor, as well as wounded soldiers. Her life as a religious ended as tragically as it had begun - she was buried alive along with others in a mineshaft by the Bolsheviks, after two failed attempts at killing them all with hand grenades. A sad story, but an inspiring one that is well worth studying.
2. Maria Skobtsova
"Christ did not know measure in His love for people, -- and in this love He lowered Himself in His Divinity to the point of being incarnated as Man and took upon Himself the sufferings of all. In this sense He teaches us by His example not of a measured limit in love, but rather an absolute and immeasurable surrendering away of oneself, by definition a laying down of one's soul for others."2
In the story of Maria Skobtsova, we find very much in common with the lives of St. Maximilian Kolbe and St. Edith Stein. Like St. Edith, she had embraced atheism for a time, before she returned to her Christian roots. She became a nun, using a rented house in Paris to house refugees and the poor during World War II, and helping Jews to escape persecution. Eventually she was arrested along with others, and sent to the concentration camps. In Ravensbruck, she gave her life in exchange for another prison sentenced to die.
3. Silouan the Athonite
"This is a strange life, incomprehensible to the secular world; everything in it is paradox, everything is in a form opposite to the order of the secular world, and it is impossible to explain it in words. The only way to understand it is to perform the will of God, that is, to follow the commandments of Christ; the path, indicated by Him."3
Allegedly, Thomas Merton himself described Silouan as "the most authentic monk of the twentieth century" (though I cannot find the exact source of this quote) - for some Catholics, this might turn them right off of this Eastern saint from the get-go, and for others, it might make him all the more intriguing to study.
Silouan the Athonite, as his name implies, was a monk of Mt. Athos, one of the most holy sites in Eastern Christendom. Though some of the stories I have read about him are quite similar to saints we share with the Orthodox such as St. Symeon the New Theologian, what is so amazing about Silouan is that he carried out a similar life saints from long-forgotten centuries ago in the twentieth century. His spirituality so dominated by weeping for a fallen world reminds me of St. Symeon. And like many saints of both East and West, I have read of his having a vision of Christ Himself.
These three modern Orthodox saints should suffice for a good search and study for a time. I will be posting more however, as I post on our own in the West. Again, I would urge Catholics to be prudent in reading and studying these saints, but would also state that their lives and teachings are often so inspiring that how could one not want to read them?
1 - From http://life.orthomed.ru/st-elizabeth/pics/efs_e.htm
2 - "The Poor in Spirit"
3 - Bishop Alexander and Natalia Bufius, The Life and Teachings of Elder Siluan