Another Story of St. Silouan and his Father

This is another wonderful story told by St. Silouan of Mt. Athos about his peasant father.  His father was clearly a man of great faith. St. Silouan thought his father to be wiser than many so-called spiritual fathers. The following story is an interesting account of how a father dealt with anger in correcting his son.

This excerpt is from the Elder Sophrony’s St. Silouan the Athonite.

Young, strong, handsome, and by this time prosperous, too, Simeon [later to become the monk Silouan] revelled in life. He was popular in the village, being good-natured, peaceable and jolly, and the village girls looked on him as a man they would like to marry. He himself was attracted to one of them and, before the question of marriage had been put, what so often happens befell late one summer evening.

Next morning, as they were working together, his father said to him quietly,

‘Where were you last night, son? My heart was troubled for you?’

The mild words sank into Simeon’s soul, and in later life when he recalled his father the Staretz [elder] would say,

‘I have never reached my father’s stature. He was absolutely illiterate – he even used to make mistakes in the Lord’s Prayer which he had learned by listening in church; but he was a man who was gentle and wise.’

They were a large family – father, mother, five sons and two daughters – all living in affection together. The elder boys worked with their father. One Friday they were out harvesting and it was Simeon’s turn to cook the midday meal. Forgetting that it was Friday, he prepared a dish of pork for their lunch, and they all ate of it. Six months later, on a feast-day in winter, Simeon’s father turned to him with a gentle smile and said,

‘Son, do you remember how you gave us pork to eat that day in the fields? It was a Friday. I ate it but, you know, it tasted like carrion.’

‘Whyever didn’t you tell me at the time?’

‘I didn’t want to upset you, son.’

Recalling such incidents from his life at home, the Staretz would add,

‘That is the sort of staretz I would like to have. He never got angry, was always even-tempered and humble. Just think – he waited six months for the right moment to correct me without upsetting me!’

About Fr. Stephen Freeman

Fr. Stephen is a priest of the Orthodox Church in America, Pastor Emeritus of St. Anne Orthodox Church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He is also author of Everywhere Present and the Glory to God podcast series.



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6 responses to “Another Story of St. Silouan and his Father”

  1. Ibn Battenti Avatar
    Ibn Battenti

    Another icon, thank you Father Stephen…

  2. Margaret Avatar
    Margaret

    Thank you, Fr. Stephen, I have read this story before, but never tire of it. All the articles about praying and parenting have been so needed by my heart at this time. Thank you for taking the time and making the effort. God bless you! Glory to God for All Things!

  3. Prudence True Avatar

    Perhaps if we look closer at our own lives we will see similar models of faith surrounding us, which go unnoticed in the flurry of everyday life.

    I suspect St. Silouan did not grasp the wisdom his father offered him at the time, but only years later.

  4. Lina Avatar
    Lina

    I keep returning to this picture and wondering. It looks so idyllic in a superficial sense. We who are used to indoor plumbing, running water, heat on demand, washing machines, supermarkets nearby and etc. would have a very difficult time living here. And if one adds two feet of snow in the winter and the winds are howling and everyone is crammed inside. I think most of us would have a most difficult time surviving.

  5. Andrew Avatar

    Clearly a Saint also..

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