— Fyodor Dostoyevsky Russian author 1821 - 1881
Book VI, chapter 3: "Conversations and Exhortations of Father Zossima; The Russian Monk and his possible Significance" (translated by Constance Garnett)
The Brothers Karamazov (1879–1880)
Kontext: Fathers and teachers, what is the monk? In the cultivated world the word is nowadays pronounced by some people with a jeer, and by others it is used as a term of abuse, and this contempt for the monk is growing. It is true, alas, it is true, that there are many sluggards, gluttons, profligates and insolent beggars among monks. Educated people point to these: “You are idlers, useless members of society, you live on the labor of others, you are shameless beggars.” And yet how many meek and humble monks there are, yearning for solitude and fervent prayer in peace! These are less noticed, or passed over in silence. And how surprised men would be if I were to say that from these meek monks, who yearn for solitary prayer, the salvation of Russia will come perhaps once more! For they are in truth made ready in peace and quiet “for the day and the hour, the month and the year.” Meanwhile, in their solitude, they keep the image of Christ fair and undefiled, in the purity of God's truth, from the times of the Fathers of old, the Apostles and the martyrs. And when the time comes they will show it to the tottering creeds of the world. That is a great thought. That star will rise out of the East.