St. Ignatius Brianchaninov was born Dimitri Alexandrovich Brianchaninov, on the [[February 15]], 1807, in the province of Vologda, the son of an aristocratic landowner. Intellectually gifted, peaceful and reflective by character, from early childhood he was drawn to a life of [[prayer]] and stillness. However, his father planned a military career for Dimitri, and so, when Dimitri was 15 years of age, his father enrolled him in the Imperial School of Military Engineers in St. Petersburg. There Dimitri excelled, even attracting the attention of Grand Duke Nicholas Pavlovich, the future Tsar Nicholas I. Nonetheless, Dimtri felt called to the monastic life (uncommon for a Russian aristocrat at that time), and he became deeply depressed at the seemingly inevitable prospect of a career as a military officer.
In 1826, Dimitri fell gravely ill, but nonetheless graduated first among all candidates at the School of Engineers and received his commission. Immediately, Dimitri attempted to resign this commission, but his resignation was refused on orders of Tsar Nicholas. However, in 1827, Dimtri became critically ill once more, and this time his resignation was accepted by the imperial authorities.
*[http://www.thechristianactivist.com/Vol%205/V5loveofgod.htm On the Love of God] from ''The Christian Activist''
*[http://www.st-george-church.org/English/Jesus_Prayer_St_IB.htm On Practicing the Jesus Prayer] translated by Stephen Karganovic from ''The Alphabet of Orthodox Life'', Belgrade, 1974. This appeared in ''Orthodox Life'', vol. 28, no. 5, Sept.-Oct. 1978, pp. 9-14.
*[http://www.geocities.com/umaximov/ignat.htm Statement on Islam and Muslims] (selected from the saint's letters) translated by J. Hargrave