Hermit Father Guri (Demidov)

Father Edward has kindly provided a photograph of the portrait of the Hermit Father Guri (Demidov)(1894-1992) from the (Russian Orthodox) Convent of Our Lady of Kazan Convent at Kentlyn (an outer suburb of Sydney). A previous post described a pilgrimage that Father Edward and I made to Father Guri’s cave in the forest near the Convent.
Father Guri
“Father Guri’s small cave, scene of his many hidden vigils and spiritual struggles, has been cleaned of the dirt and rubbish accumulated since his departure. A floor has been laid, overhanging rock walls strengthened, and icons and a burning lampada installed. Sanctified by Father Guri’s prayers and tears, this sandstone cleft, the Skete’s first ‘church’, has become a place of pilgrimage and quiet prayer for growing numbers of visitors to the Skete.” http://orthodoxwiki.org/St._John_the_Baptist_Skete_%28Kentlyn,_New_South_Wales%29
Guri Cave
A photograph from a visit to the cave by Abbess Maria (and the magnificent Convent dog) and a visiting Priest.

“Born in 1894, Fr Guri was a monastic in Harbin, China. Due to the cultural revolution, however, he moved to Australia, arriving on October 5, 1960, as a refugee. On arrival, he took up residence at St John the Baptist Skete, having been vacated the previous year. Living in a small, one room tin hut surrounded by thick bush he became its first, and only, monastic inhabitant. Fr Guri was devoted to prayer and craved solitude, and found both in the 18 hectare grounds of the skete, often attending daily services at the nearby Convent of Our Lady of Kazan.
In his search for silence, and in imitation of the monastic hermits of the Egyptian and Judean deserts, Mount Athos and the vast forests of Russia, Father Guri cleared out a natural cleft in a nearby sandstone rock face, making a small, cramped cave in which he would spend many hours reading prayers and using his prayer rope. This was his favourite retreat after communing at the Divine Liturgy. Only God and the holy Angels were witnesses to his prayerful vigils and struggles.
Father Guri was reputed to have had an extensive library on the ascetic life and hesychastic prayer (the use of the Jesus Prayer – the foundation of Orthodox Christian ascetic prayer). He would often laboriously copy excerpts from the writings of the Holy Fathers on the ascetic and spiritual life in small school exercise books. These anthologies, the fruit of his prayerful reading and spiritual struggles, he would give away as a blessing to those whom he felt would benefit from the wisdom of the Holy Fathers.”
http://orthodoxwiki.org/Guri_%28Demidov%29

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