Moscow, March 17, 2017
Confessor to Patriarch Kirill and Optina Pustyn Monastery Schema-Archimandrite Iliy (Nozdrin), who turned 85 on March 8, was awarded the Church order of St. Seraphim of Sarov, first degree.
The primate bestowed the award upon the priest on Friday after the Presanctified Liturgy in Moscow’s Danilov Monastery “in recognition of many years of pastoral labors and in connection with his eighty-fifth birthday.”
“I thank you for your prayers and your labors,” the patriarch said to his spiritual father.
Fr. Iliy was born on March 8, 1932 in the village of Stanovoy Kolodez in the Orel Region, 250 miles southwest of Moscow. He served in the army and studied in Serpukhov’s engineering college. After studying in the Leningrad Seminary and Academy and his monastic tonsure he labored in various parishes in the Leningrad Diocese. He also bore obedience in Pskov Caves Monastery for ten years.
In 1976 he was sent to the Russian St. Panteleimon’s Monastery on Mt. Athos, where, along with other brothers, he managed to preserve its monastic life and uphold its connection with Russian Orthodoxy and to prevent the monastery’s closure. He bore obedience in the monastery, hiding in the mountain gorges, and was entrusted with the spiritual fatherhood of the monastery.
At the end of the 1980s he was sent to the then-reviving Optina Pustyn Monastery to be its spiritual father, after sixty-give years of desolation. There he received the tonsure into the great schema. Over the course of twenty years he helped to revive the spiritual eldership which the monastery had always been famous for.
In 2009, he resettled in the patriarchal podvoriye of the Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra in the Peredelkino suburb of Moscow.