Anatolius II of Optina

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Hieroconfessor Anatolius the Younger of Optina, also Anatolius II (Potapov) of Optina or Anatole II of Optina, was a schema archimandrite among the group of monastics of Optina Monastery in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries who were known as the Optina Elders. The Elder Anatolius is venerated on July 30 and with all the Optina Elders on October 11.

Life

Alexander Potapov, as a youth, wanted to be a monk, but his mother would not give her consent. Thus, he entered Optina Monastery only after her death. At the monastery, he became the cell-attendant of Elder Ambrose, and after Ambrose's death he functioned as an elder, even though he was still a deacon. With his tonsure as a monk, he was given the name Anatolius.

Anatolius gave himself over completely to the Jesus Prayer. He would hardly sleep at all, only dozing off a little during the reading of the Psalms during Matins. Through this inward activity he preserved an unshakeable calm even though thousands of people from all over Russia came to visit him.

On February 27,1917, as Emperor Nicholas prepared to abdicate, Fr. Anatolius prophesied that the organizational unity of the Russian Church would break up into a number of branches or splinters. But, he continued that these splinters and wreckage can save the people as through a great miracle of God they are gathered together and united and canonical unity would be restored.

Under the Bolsheviks in the early 1920s, Fr. Anatolius was mocked and tormented by soldiers of the Red Army. He endured much suffering, but continued to receive visitors. During the evening of July 29, 1922, soldiers came to arrest him. But putting them off, he asked for time to prepare himself. The next morning, soldiers returned and asked the Elder's cell attendant if he was ready. Fr. Barnabas invited them to come in. There they found Fr. Anatolius in the middle of his cell, all "prepared", lying dead in his coffin. The Lord had taken him during the night to spare him further suffering.

The body of Elder Anatolius was buried next to that of Elder Macarius, whose relics were then found to be incorrupt.

Glorification

Elder Anatolius II of Optina was glorified with all the Elders of Optina by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia in 1990. The feast day for St. Anatolius II of Optina is July 30.

The local veneration of the Elders of Optina was authorized by the Patriarchate of Moscow on June 13, 1996. Glorification of the Elders of Optina for universal veneration occurred on August 7, 2000.

Sources

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