That story happened during Great Lent. It was connected with the event, after which not only my life changed, but even my own name became different.
I was studying in the Theological Academy and was preparing for the monastic tonsuring, which the students of the academy usually have during Great Lent. At that time I was lucky to visit Holy Mount Athos. It is hard to express with words the impression, which that place made on me. The examples of Athonite elders and brothers, patient obedience of the brethren and beautiful services full of prayer, the beauty of the local nature and a completely different perception of life without any false interests – all those things fed my soul spiritually.
The Lord gave me an opportunity to visit one beautiful monastery on the rocky breakages of Athos. In the gates of the monastery, we were met by schemahierodeacon Silouan. He was a Serbian by his origin, but he told us that he was tonsured in honor of a Russian ascetic, whose spiritual feat is rather revered among the brethren of the monastery. Together with Fr. Silouan we visited a small cemetery, climbed the highest tower of the monastery and venerated the sacred items gathered in the monastery. In the evening, when I got acquainted with some brothers of the monastery, I heard a strange dress to me from one old monk. “Silouanos”, he said. I would not even pay attention to that, if the brothers did not tell me that the monk addressed to me. But my name was Nikita!
“Just an accident”, I thought and forgot about that episode the very next day. I had to leave soon , and Fr. Silouan said asked me about one thing: to send him the name with which I would be tonsured a monk. He promised to commemorate me in his prayers.
In a few weeks, I had a tonsuring in the Academy. According to the tradition of our academy, the monks receive the names of the saint graduates. That is why everyone anticipated that there would appear Fr. Cyrion, Fr. Paisios or may be Fr. Anatoly in the academy. Accordin to another tradition, we drew the papers with names. Then was the sacrament. The hierarch raised the scissors above my head and proclaimed cutting my hair: “Our brother Silouan is tonsured by the cutting of the hairs of his head…”
So far, Great Lent for me is the time when you are waiting for a miracle that will inevitably happen to you.