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When in 1984, upon embracing the Faith, he started going to church regularly, one pilgrim, casting a glance in his direction, said: "A monk is praying." At the time, Igor never even dreamt of monkhood. He could always be seen in one and the same spot at the Epiphany Cathedral, in one of Moscow's central districts. A long time ago, a village by the name of Yelohovo used to be situated here — the home place of Moscow's great saint — St.Basil the Blessed.
When inside the church, Igor invariably stood near the icon of St.Basil the Blessed. If you stand in exactly this spot, then you will find yourself facing, in the iconostasis, the large icon of Archangel Michael and above it — the icon of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin…
Hegumen Melkhisedek recalls how he was once christening one Irina, and lay-brother Igor Roslyakov was helping him:
"I conducted the christening itself, while Igor was holding Irina by the hand, just in case, since the christening was done in a deep holy natural spring. After the third submersion, Igor saw that rays of light were emanating from Irina's eyes."
Indeed, the simile was not without grounds: he was blue-eyed and blond, with powerful arms and legs, which carried him with firm, steady tread. His was the strength that could enable him to tie a poker into knots, or, just for the fun of it, twist a thick nail, held nonchalantly between his fingers, into a spiral…
Trofim had mastered many a trade. After finishing secondary school studies in his native village, he served in the army, after which spent five years on fishing trawlers in the Russian Far East. As a rule, the fishermen would go off for half a year at a time. While, upon coming ashore, as was the sailors' custom, they'd make a bee line for the restaurant. Trofim was the heart and soul of the company, clever at keeping up his end of the conversation, and when he set his mind to dancing — nobody could keep still. As a rule, everyone quite forgot about the drinking, returning home sober, yet light-hearted. For this remarkable ability to ignite revelry without undue intoxication, Trofim was heartily invited to diverse sailors' company and weddings. Everyone could be certain of a grand old time, without drunken debauchery. Trofim was a quick hand at carpentry; a tractor-driver; baker, and many other trades… This is why other people were constantly approaching him for help and guidance. He, in turn, never turned anyone down. His help was always gratis and sincere.
"When my other brother, Sanya, and I came to Optina Pustyn to visit our brother Trofim, we began by asking him why on earth he'd decided to be a monk?! Trofim told us that not long before his leaving for the Monastery he'd had sign — a radiance had been emanating from one of the icons, and he heard a voice, that said something to him, two or three times. Alas, at the time Sanya and I didn't have much faith in such miracles, so we didn't remember what it was exactly that had been said by the ‘voice’. What could we possibly know at the time if all we were capable of was pleading with our brother to come back home with us. “How can I leave,” Trofim said at the time, “if every time I enter the church each one of the icons speaks to me.”
Pilgrim Victor Prokuronov recalls:
"What is there to say? He would be praying assiduously the whole time in his corner, behind the curtain. He prayed and he prayed, that's all there is to tell."
When details were required for the newspaper obituary, it transpired there were but two papers in Monk Ferapont's personal file: an autobiography, written by him upon entering the Monastery, and his death certificate. Let's look at his biography:
It turned out that Vladimir first felt summoned by God when he was working in the Buryat Forestry on Lake Baikal. Those gathering details of his biography came across a curious incident. It's a story, recounted by pilgrims from the region of Lake Baikal. If this story is to be believed, Vladimir once had an encounter with an old magician, there in the taiga woods, who offered him books on magic. The old fellow told him to study the magic books carefully and to come and meet him at the same spot in a year’s time. Vladimir did not like magicians, and he didn't show up for the meeting. However, he'd apparently read the books. Since he didn't treat magic seriously, he made use of what he'd learned to amuse the local village girls. He would send them off to a neighboring cottage, instructing them to write notes, which he then proceeded to mind-read. Gifted from birth, yet knowing nothing of God, Vladimir had no notion of the dangerous forces he was playing games with.
However, the game almost ended in tragedy. According to his friend Sergey, Vladimir experienced his own death. His soul had separated from his body and found itself in the Kingdom of terror. He was dying. Then the Lord's Angel came to him and said he would return him to Earth if he would go to church after that. Immediately after this Vladimir left the forestry office and moved to Rostov-on-the-Don, where he was christened and took on the job of sweeper at the Cathedral there. Why did he not stay on in his native places? Why, simply because one could reach the nearest church only by plane, flying a distance of hundreds of kilometers. While sects and magicians there were in abundance! Already from Rostov-on-the-Don he wrote to his relatives in Siberia: "Where there is no Church, there is no life", and called on them to come and join him in Rostov. His sister Natalia was to grieve afterwards, and lament this decision of theirs against the move."