Blessed Athanasia Logacheva (1809 – 1875)
Love of Creation
Despite severe rheumatism in her later years, Mother Athanasia would pray steadily through much of the night plus every morning and afternoon. On one particularly difficult and sore morning, she declared:
I love everything — the sun and the world — and I, the sinful one, fear that it might be idleness on my part to look on the beauty of the fields covered with wild flowers. No. This is acceptable… because the beauty was created by the Lord. … I want to go into the field where the golden corn is growing and where, from the forest, comes an aromatic smell….
Even from childhood, I loved the smell of sweet, blossoming wild cherry trees, the babbling brooks, the dawns and sunsets. What inexplicable contrition of heart I used to feel, then as now, when the sun is meeting the early spring morning as its first rays of light are sprinkled upon the earth. What joy is born then in the heart of man…. In the east there is Paradise; otherwise the hearts of people would not tremble with exaltation at the sight of the morning light and the rays of sunlight. Otherwise, the eyes would not look with joy at the clearing of the dawn; and the birds of heaven would not glorify the Lord during spring mornings, those mornings which I would still like to see in this life.
~ Quoted in Blessed Athanasia and the Desert Ideal, by Fr. Alexander Priklonsky, Introduction by the nuns of St. Xenia Skete, St. Herman of Alaska Orthodox Brotherhood, Platina, CA, 1993, pp. 104-106.
Athanasia Logacheva was born in Nizhnegorod in Russia. She was orphaned at an early age and lived with relatives until she was 23, when she sought a blessing from St. Seraphim of Sarov to live a life wholly dedicated to God. Seventeen more years passed, years filled with traveling, service, pilgrimage and prayerful searching for the appropriate place. At the age of 41 she moved into the forest wilderness of Northern Russian and led the life of a solitary nun. She became a renowned and holy ascetic as well as friend to bears and wolves who became tame in her presence. She was always possessed of an undisturbed cheerfulness and a bright spiritual radiance. Blessed Athanasia displays the love of creation and wonder at its beauty and depth that characterizes those who wholly dedicate their lives to God and live prayerfully and selflessly in the wilderness.