Nikolay Guryanov
Nikolay Guryanov, Nicholas Guryanov, (also Nikolai Alekseievich Gurianov, , May 26, 1909, Gdov
Gdov is a town and the administrative center of Gdovsky District of Pskov Oblast, Russia, situated on the Gdovka River, just from its outflow into Lake Peipus. Population:...

 district, St. Petersburg gubernia – August 24, 2002, Pskov region) was a Russian Orthodox Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

Myrrh is the aromatic oleoresin of a number of small, thorny tree species of the genus Commiphora, which grow in dry, stony soil. An oleoresin is a natural blend of an essential oil and a resin. Myrrh resin is a natural gum....

-bearing starets
A starets is an elder of a Russian Orthodox monastery who functions as venerated adviser and teacher. Elders or spiritual fathers are charismatic spiritual leaders whose wisdom stems from God as obtained from ascetic experience...

 and priest
A priest is a person authorized to perform the sacred rites of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and deities. They also have the authority or power to administer religious rites; in particular, rites of sacrifice to, and propitiation of, a deity or deities...

, a highly respected spiritual figure within the Orthodox church of recent times. Numerous miracle
A miracle often denotes an event attributed to divine intervention. Alternatively, it may be an event attributed to a miracle worker, saint, or religious leader. A miracle is sometimes thought of as a perceptible interruption of the laws of nature. Others suggest that a god may work with the laws...

s and healing
Physiological healing is the restoration of damaged living tissue, organs and biological system to normal function. It is the process by which the cells in the body regenerate and repair to reduce the size of a damaged or necrotic area....

s are ascribed to him.


Nikolay Guryanov was born May 26, 1909 to the family of a private landwoner and merchant in the locality (pogost) of Samolva, village Chudskiye Zahody, Gdov district, Saint Petersburg gubernia. Since childhood he helped at the altar
An altar is any structure upon which offerings such as sacrifices are made for religious purposes. Altars are usually found at shrines, and they can be located in temples, churches and other places of worship...

. In 1926 he finished Gatchina
Gatchina is a town and the administrative center of Gatchinsky District of Leningrad Oblast, Russia, located south of St. Petersburg by the road leading to Pskov...

 Pedagogical College and in 1929 he received an incomplete pedagogical education at the Leningrad Institute, from which he was excluded for having stood up at a meeting against the closure of one of the nearby churches. In 1931, Guryanov was unjustly arrested, and sent to the prison "Kresty" (Crosses) in Leningrad, to a concentration camp near Kiev
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

 in Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

 and spent 7 years in Syktyvkar
-Twin towns/sister cities:Syktyvkar is twinned with the following sister cities: Cullera, Spain Debrecen, Hungary Los Altos, United States Lovech, Bulgaria Taiyuan, China-External links:* * * *...

 (Republic of Komi) in imprisonment. Freed, Nikolay worked as teacher of mathematics
Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

 in the schools of Tosnensky District
Tosnensky District
Tosnensky District is an administrative and municipal district of Leningrad Oblast, Russia. Area: . Population: The district was established in 1930 on the territory of abolished Lubansky District and parts of Detskoselsky and Kolpinsky Districts....

 since Leningrad
Leningrad is the former name of Saint Petersburg, Russia.Leningrad may also refer to:- Places :* Leningrad Oblast, a federal subject of Russia, around Saint Petersburg* Leningrad, Tajikistan, capital of Muminobod district in Khatlon Province...

 residence was denied him. Meanwhile he also served as a psalm reader at the church in Tosno
Tosno is a town and the administrative center of Tosnensky District of Leningrad Oblast, Russia, located on the Tosna River, southeast of St. Petersburg. Population:...


During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 he was not mobilised due to the weakness of his feet which had been caused by work at the concentration camps. When Gdov district was occupied by German troops, Nikolay together with other residents was exiled to the Baltic
Baltic states
The term Baltic states refers to the Baltic territories which gained independence from the Russian Empire in the wake of World War I: primarily the contiguous trio of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania ; Finland also fell within the scope of the term after initially gaining independence in the 1920s.The...

. Here he becomes the student at Vilnius Theological Seminary in Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

 which opened in 1942. After two semesters of seminary studies Guryanov was consecrated to the priesthood by the exarch
In the Byzantine Empire, an exarch was governor with extended authority of a province at some remove from the capital Constantinople. The prevailing situation frequently involved him in military operations....

Metropolitan bishop
In Christian churches with episcopal polity, the rank of metropolitan bishop, or simply metropolitan, pertains to the diocesan bishop or archbishop of a metropolis; that is, the chief city of a historical Roman province, ecclesiastical province, or regional capital.Before the establishment of...

 Sergius (Voskresenkiy) at Riga
Riga is the capital and largest city of Latvia. With 702,891 inhabitants Riga is the largest city of the Baltic states, one of the largest cities in Northern Europe and home to more than one third of Latvia's population. The city is an important seaport and a major industrial, commercial,...

 Orthodox Cathedral of Christ
Christ is the English term for the Greek meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew , usually transliterated into English as Messiah or Mashiach...

's Nativity
Nativity of Jesus
The Nativity of Jesus, or simply The Nativity, refers to the accounts of the birth of Jesus in two of the Canonical gospels and in various apocryphal texts....

 in Latvia
Latvia , officially the Republic of Latvia , is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by Estonia , to the south by Lithuania , to the east by the Russian Federation , to the southeast by Belarus and shares maritime borders to the west with Sweden...

. Later, he served as priest at different parishes in the Baltic states
Baltic states
The term Baltic states refers to the Baltic territories which gained independence from the Russian Empire in the wake of World War I: primarily the contiguous trio of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania ; Finland also fell within the scope of the term after initially gaining independence in the 1920s.The...

. During 1949–1951 Nikolai studied part time at the Leningrad Theological Seminary and in 1951 was admitted for the first year to the Academy but having completed one year of part time studies he did not continue further.

In 1958 he was transferred to the Pskov bishopric as parish priest of Saint Nicholas
Saint Nicholas
Saint Nicholas , also called Nikolaos of Myra, was a historic 4th-century saint and Greek Bishop of Myra . Because of the many miracles attributed to his intercession, he is also known as Nikolaos the Wonderworker...

' church on the island of Talabsk (Zalit) in Pskov (Chudskoye) lake
Lake Peipus
Lake Peipus, ) is the biggest transboundary lake in Europe on the border between Estonia and Russia.The lake is the fifth largest in Europe after Lake Ladoga and Lake Onega in Russia north of St...

 where he spent the remaining 42 years of his life, 40 as a priest, retiring at a very old age and settling at a humble wooden house nearby afterwards.

Among many of those who were allowed to visit him in recent times were pop stars Andrey Makarevich and Valentina Tolkunova
Valentina Tolkunova
Valentina Tolkunova was a Soviet and Russian singer and was bestowed the title of Honored Artist of RSFSR and People's Artist of RSFSR . Her performances exhibited a kindhearted mood and sincerity, and her voice was noted for its clarity....

. From the middle of 1999 the starets did not meet anyone, which provoked pilgrim
A pilgrim is a traveler who is on a journey to a holy place. Typically, this is a physical journeying to some place of special significance to the adherent of a particular religious belief system...

s to such a point that complaints were written to the administration of the Russian president.

In his final year, before his blessed end, Nikolay, despite his illness nevertheless found the strength to receive pilgrims, to strengthen them and instruct them in faith. The thoughts of the starets spoken during these earthly conversation became a sort of spiritual testament
Will (law)
A will or testament is a legal declaration by which a person, the testator, names one or more persons to manage his/her estate and provides for the transfer of his/her property at death...

 for many Russian Orthodox.

In June 2002, a group of Orthodox priests and laity visited Nikolai for his blessing. He was asked: "Will we see an Orthodox Tsar
Tsar is a title used to designate certain European Slavic monarchs or supreme rulers. As a system of government in the Tsardom of Russia and Russian Empire, it is known as Tsarist autocracy, or Tsarism...

?" Nikolay having traced the sign of the cross
Sign of the cross
The Sign of the Cross , or crossing oneself, is a ritual hand motion made by members of many branches of Christianity, often accompanied by spoken or mental recitation of a trinitarian formula....

, prayed and firmly said "A Tsar is coming!"

Guryanov died on the night of August 24, 2002, at the age of 92. He was buried on August 26 on the island of Talabsk.

Attested wonders

It is written of him that he used to find lost people and freed hostages from bandit captivity. He became particularly famous after a surviving sailor came to him and recognised in him the starets, who appeared to him during an accident. But the sailor came to the island to a respected man and only after "recognised" him.

In September 1997, a group of 10 piligrims visited Nikolay in his wooden hut. He came out to bless people and anoint them with holy oil. One woman asked: "Father Nikolai, who will be after Yeltsin
Boris Yeltsin
Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin was the first President of the Russian Federation, serving from 1991 to 1999.Originally a supporter of Mikhail Gorbachev, Yeltsin emerged under the perestroika reforms as one of Gorbachev's most powerful political opponents. On 29 May 1990 he was elected the chairman of...

? " He replied: "Afterwards there will be the military one...His power will be short. But his age is little as he is himself. There will be persecutions, upon the monk
A monk is a person who practices religious asceticism, living either alone or with any number of monks, while always maintaining some degree of physical separation from those not sharing the same purpose...

s and the church. His power will be as it was during the communists...." She asked again: "And what will be after? After will there be an Orthodox Tsar. Will we live to see that?" "You, yes." After those words he blessed the woman.

Poetic gifts

Guryanov was endowed with a special musical gift. Starets loved church singing, and composed many spiritual songs and hymn
A hymn is a type of song, usually religious, specifically written for the purpose of praise, adoration or prayer, and typically addressed to a deity or deities, or to a prominent figure or personification...

s which he performed himself. Many of his songs such as "Appraisal to the Mother of God", "To the Guardian Angel
Guardian angel
A guardian angel is an angel assigned to protect and guide a particular person or group. Belief in guardian angels can be traced throughout all antiquity...

", "Saviour, warm my soul", "Brotherly hymn" and others became truly national indicating in the prophetic songs the way to true repentance
Repentance is a change of thought to correct a wrong and gain forgiveness from a person who is wronged. In religious contexts it usually refers to confession to God, ceasing sin against God, and resolving to live according to religious law...


"I came to father being torn with doubts about my life, with an empty, insignificant question and he in answer sang all my life in song and in the end said a few guiding words. And everything became clear to me, I said farewells in tears and left in peace and consoled - now I knew how should I live and what to do." - such stories were often heard from pilgrims, for many of whom the meeting with the starets became the beginning of new life - life in Christ
Christ is the English term for the Greek meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew , usually transliterated into English as Messiah or Mashiach...



Once he was asked what he considered to be the most dangerous sin in the souls of people? Father Nikolai answered: "Unbelief! This is frightening." - Even with Christians? - "Yes, even, with Orthodox Christians".

The piligrims then asked: "Batiushka (Russian for father), what would you say to all Orthodox Christians about salvation? " - "Listen here the believing man, he must... with abundance of love relate to everything that surrounds him. Understood? With abundance of love."

Devotion to tsar and his veneration of Nicholas II

Th room of father Guryanov was filled with photos and images of Nicholas II and first family. He kept albums, films, documentaries telling about the last Russia tsar. Guryanov also honoured tsar Ivan Grozny and Rasputin.

Translated from Russian sources

External links

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