Born in Poltava in 1722, Paisij Velyckovs’kyj attended the Kievan Mohyla Academy. After four years, he renounced secular studies to become a monk. He lived in various monasteries in the Ukraine (including the Kievan Caves Monastery), on Mt. Athos, and in Moldavia and Wallachia, where he died in 1794. In or about 1748 a Moldavo-Slavic brotherhood began to gather about Velyckovs’kyj and to revive the Hesychast traditions of the “cult of the elder” (starecestvo) and the Jesus prayer.
Throughout his life Velyckovs’kyj avidly collected and translated Byzantine texts into Church Slavonic, especially works pertaining to Hesychasm. This volume contains the first English translation of Velyckovs’kyj’s unfinished autobiography, as well as a biography of the elder by his disciple Mytrofan. Anthony-Emil Tachiaos’s introduction discusses both works against their historical and generic background. Included are a map, an annotated index, and an index of Biblical citations.