Orthodox Church of Mother of God Derzavnaya
Marian movement in Russia
Father Iliya, Dr.
Father Iliya received his degree in technical sciences from the Moscow State Technological University. During his studies, he became profoundly interested in literature, Western and Oriental philosophy, and Russian history. A search for genuine values brought fr. Iliya to the Christian faith. Meeting with Veniamin Bereslavsky, (now Blessed John), ascetic of the Catacomb Church and a prominent spiritual writer and mystic, was a major turning point in life. They became close friends and during their meetings and pilgrimages to the holy sites of Russia they shared their spiritual experience and innermost thoughts.
At the onset of his spiritual journey, father Iliya met with mystics and ascetics, and acquainted himself with patristic literature and readings in church history. He was also engaged with disseminating religious books in samizdat, the underground literature of the Soviet dissidents. The revelation of the Blessed Virgin in Smolensk, in November 1984, became another major event in life, as it ultimately determined his future.
As part of his ministry in the True Orthodox Catacomb Church led by the Most Pure Virgin, fr. Iliya took part in editing Archbishop John's books. He also met frequently with the hierarchs and priests of the Catacomb Church, with whom he discussed the future spiritual paths of the Church, including the mystic and elder Evfrosinia, and the Schema-Metropolitan Theodosius (Gumennikov) (of the True Orthodox Church). The bishop of the Catacomb Church Adrian and Metropolitan John (Bodnarchuk) of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church blessed his missionary activities.
In the name of the Blessed Virgin, father Iliya also took part in preaching and spreading the Light of New Holy Russia in the Russian society. Thus, in 1991-93, he was a member of a commission for prison inspection, crime prevention and rehabilitation of convicts of the Moscow municipal council.
In May 1992, together with other fathers and priests of the Church, father Iliya joined the UN-affiliated international ecumenical organization, The Order of the Transfiguration. In the same year, he received the blessing from Archbishop John to deliver lectures on the liturgical theology, history of the Catacomb Church and patristics at the Theological Academy of the Church.
Father Iliya edited Archbichop John’s books ‘The White Light of Russia’, ‘The Catacomb Church-Martyr’, ‘Is it Possible for the Church to be Holy?’, and many others. In 1997, the council of the Church awarded him the honorary degree of the Doctor of Theology.Nowadays, father Iliya is a chief editor of the Moscow Church community, he maintains close contacts with the ascetics of the Catacomb Church, and performs pastoral duties at
the Church of the Mother of God.
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