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Born in northeastern France in 1949 of a Roman Catholic family, Larchet earned doctorates in philosophy (1987) and theology (1994) from the University of Strasbourg. It was during his studies in philosophy that his reading of the Greek Fathers and their Orthodox commentators (especially [[Vladimir Lossky]]) led him to the Orthodox Church, where he was received in 1971 by the man who would be his spiritual father, the elder Serge Chévitch (1904-1987), which was also the spiritual father of the theologian Vladimir Lossky , the philosopher [[Nikolai Berdyaev]], and the monk iconographer [[Gregory (Krug)]].
From 1973 to 1979 he met, to receive their advice, some of the best-known spiritual leaders of that era: [[Archimandrite]] (now Saint) [[Justin Popovich]], Archimandrite [[Sophrony (Sakharov)]] and, in two long stays at Mount Athos, the followers of Elder [[Joseph the Hesychast]] - the Elder Ephrem of [[Katounakia Fathers (Athos)|Katounakia]], the Elder [[Ephraim (Moraitis) of Philotheou]], the Elder Charalampos - especially the Elder [[Paisios (Eznepidis)]] with whom he had long talks and whose support remains of great importance to Larchet.
He is one of the very few contemporary authors who is able seamlessly to combine rigorous scholarship with a vibrant sense of the inner life of the Church. His prolific writings on the spirituality of the [[Church Fathers|Fathers of the Church]] and on orthodox theology ([http://www.editionsducerf.fr/html/fiche/ficheauteur.asp?n_aut=553 twenty-two books], over one hundred and fifty articles) have been translated into no less than 15 languages.<ref>[[Apostoliki Diakonia]]. ''[http://www.apostoliki-diakonia.gr/diakonia/15-7-2008/diakonia.htm New Publications: The Healing of Spiritual Disorders: An Introduction in the Ascetic Tradition of the Orthodox Church, Vol. A'].'' By Jean Claude Larchet. Transl. into Greek by Christos Koulas. 2009.</ref>