The Last Words of St. Nil Sorsky

“In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, I leave the following will to be executed by my words and brethren who are of the same spirit as myself. I pray you, cast away my body in the desert, to be devoured by the beasts and birds, for that body has greatly sinned before God and is unworthy of burial. If you will not do this, then dig a pit on the grounds where we live and bury me in it with every kind of dishonor. Take heed of the words with which the great Arsenius charged his disciples: ‘I will prosecute you if you give up my body to anyone; I have done all I could not to be granted fame and honor either in life or in death.’ I ask everyone to pray for my sinful soul, and I beg everyone to forgive me, as I myself forgive; may God forgive everyone.”

– From “St. Nilus’ Last Will”, qtd. in G.P. Fedotov, A Treasury of Russian Spirituality, 133


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