"Saint Isaak The Syrian and Dostoevsky"
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"Saint Isaak Syrian and Dostoevsky", acrylic on canvas, by Bishop Maxim, 2022
St. Isaac the Syrian, a seventh-century monk mentioned by name several times in "The Brothers Karamazov"; to whose "Ascetical Discourses" Dostoevsky is said to have returned repeatedly; and who likely inspired many of the ideas expressed by Dostoevsky’s figure of Zosima. St. Isaac of Syria had a substantial and decisive influence on Dostoevsky’s thought, especially regarding the relationship between God and nature and its meaning for humanity. Dostoevsky’s heroes revere the earth, kiss it and water it with their tears, and admit to it its darkness, mystery, and holy integrity.