A Prospective Nun [2:34]
In the 1920s, Valentina Puzik entered the Department of Natural Science of the Physics and Mathematics Department at Moscow State University. Later she continued her studies at the Department of Biology, as soon as it was introduced in 1923.
While studying at the university a providential change occurred in her life. In February 1924, she came to the Vysoko-Petrovsky Monastery and by mere chance met Archimandrite Agaphone. Before that she barely had an idea of spiritual life. She started visiting the Vysoko-Petrovsky Monastery regularly, and Archimandrite Agaphone (Ignatiy in Schema) became her spiritual counselor.
In 1928, Valentina Puzik was secretly tonsured to become a Rassophor nun. She was given the new name Varsonophia after Saint Varsonophy of Kazan.
Valentina Puzik’s Interview
Interviewer: Were there a lot of young people then who took the monastic vows in secret?
Puzik: Well, it all depends what you mean by a lot? I can only tell you about our spiritual family.
Of course there weren't many. Father selected people who were capable of it. They were absolutely diverse: he had young people, intellectuals, people from various professions. And the girls were also incredibly varied, simple workers and those from intellectua...
The tonsure in the monastic tradition
By the word “tonsure,” from the Latin tondere, that is “to shear,” we usually mean a sacred rite instituted by the Christian Churches by which a baptized and confirmed Christian is received into the clerical order by the shearing of his/her hair and the investment with the vestment prepared for the reception of orders. The tonsure itself is not an ordination in the proper sense, nor a true order; it is rather a simple ascription of a person to...