Our Patron Saint
We are the only church in the United States named after Saint Silouan the Athonite.
Traditional Orthodox Christian Icon of All Saints
Why have a Patron?
The Scriptures show us that God's promises to those who are faithful to him do not just entail salvation, but also involve participation in His ruling authority.
In Revelation, Jesus proclaims, "He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne" (3:21). Likewise, in the Old Testament Daniel prophesies, "But the saints of the Highest One will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, for all ages to come" (7:18).
In the Gospels, we read, "And Jesus called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction" (Matt 10:1) and he also tells them, "Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" (18:18). We recognize that these promises were not limited to just the twelve disciples but to all faithful believers when we read, "The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, 'Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!'" (Lk 10:17).
In recognition of the authority and gifts God has given his holy ones, Orthodox churches like ours are named after people whom the Holy Spirit has shown to have lived a blessed life and received the promises of God. Through signs and wonders, we know that God has appointed these people to play a special role in His Kingdom.
Just as God guides and supports us in our walk towards salvation through friends and leaders, may he do so through our glorified patron as well.
Who is Saint Silouan?
St. Silouan was born Simeon Ivanovich Antonov on January 17, 1866, to Russian Orthodox parents in the village of Sovsk in Russia's Tambov region.
At the age of twenty-seven he left his native Russia and travelled to Mount Athos, where he became a monk at the Monastery of St. Panteleimon and was given the name Silouan, the Russian version of the Biblical name Silvanus (Silas).
An ardent ascetic, St. Silouan received the grace of unceasing prayer and acquired great humility and inner stillness. His greatest teaching was on the importance of the love of enemies, and he strove to realize it so deeply that he constantly prayed and wept for the whole world as for himself.
St. Silouan in his later years
Slavonic Icon of Christ's appearance to St. Silouan
As shown in the traditional iconographic depiction of St. Silouan, the most notable gift the saint received in his life was a vision of Christ. The first vision took place during an evening service in a chapel at the monastery. In the midst of St. Silouan's prayers, Christ's person shone forth from an icon in a bright light akin to that of Saint Paul's vision on the road to Damascus (Acts 9).
Fifteen years later, Saint Silouan was struggling immensely with demonic temptations. He sat down again on his stool, and, head hung low, with heavy heart prayed, "Lord, you see that I wish to pray to you with a clear mind, but the demons won’t let me. Teach me what I must do so that they cannot distract me."
The answer to Silouan's prayers came from within his soul, "The proud always suffer like this from demons."
Saint Silouan responded, "Lord, teach me what I must do to humble my soul." It was then that the Lord gave Silouan a word that he would pass on to all those around him:
"Keep your mind in hell and do not despair."
Because of St. Silouan's great faithfulness and his deep relationship with Christ he was sought out by pilgrims and other monastics for his wise counsel.
Though barely literate, Silouan became so widely known for the grace he had received from the Holy Spirit that Thomas Merton, a twentieth-century Catholic monk, described Silouan as “the most authentic monk of the twentieth century.”
St. Silouan fell asleep in the Lord on September 24, 1938. He was glorified by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in 1987.
The greatest of St. Silouan's disciples is St. Sophrony of Essex (standing behind St. Silouan in the neighboring photo). After the saint's repose, Sophrony compiled and edited the saint's teachings and composed a comprehensive biography of St. Silouan's life.
St. Silouan and his disciple, St. Sophrony
To learn more about St. Silouan, we recommend reading St. Sophrony's comprehensive collection of the saint's life and teachings.
Apolytikion of St. Silouan the Athonite
(celebrated September 24th)
By prayer thou didst receive Christ for thy teacher in the way of humility, and the Spirit bore witness to salvation in thy heart; wherefore all peoples called unto hope rejoice in this day of thy memorial, O sacred father Silouan. Pray unto Christ our God for the salvation of our souls.