Tuesday, February 23

from Chekhov

"Did Nikolai publish his akathists?" I asked Ieronym.

"Where would he publish them?" he sighed. "And it would be strange to publish them. What for? In our monastery nobody's interested in them. They don't like it. They knew Nikolai wrote them, but they paid no attention. Nowadays, sir, nobody respects new writings."

"Are they prejudiced against them?"

"Exactly so. If Nikolai had been an elder, the brothers might have been curious, but he wasn't even forty years old. There were some who laughed and even considered his writings a sin."

"Then why did he write?"

"More for his own delight. Of all the brothers, I was the only one who read his akathists. I used to come to him on the quiet, so that the others wouldn't see, and he was glad I was interested. He embraced me, stroked my head, called me tender words as if I were a little child. He would close the door, sit me down next to him, and start reading . . ."

fr. "Easter Night"
in Stories by Anton Chekhov
tr. Richard Pevear & Larissa Volokhonsky
[New York: Bantam Books, 2000]

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