from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A spiritual adviser, often a monk or religious hermit, in the Eastern Orthodox Church.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a religious adviser (not necessarily a priest) in the Eastern Orthodox Church


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Russian, elder, starets, from Old Church Slavonic starĭtsĭ, elder, from starŭ, old; see stā- in Indo-European roots.]


  • The Abbot of that monastery was a gentleman by birth, a learned writer and a starets, that is, he belonged to that succession of monks originating in Walachia who each choose a director and teacher whom they implicitly obey.

    Father Sergius

  • Well, the starets tells him about the Jesus Prayer first of all.

    j.d. salinger | 1919 – 2010 « poetry dispatch & other notes from the underground

  • In choosing a starets you renounce your own will and surrender it to him in perfect submission, absolute self-abnegation. '

    The Black Sheep of Pokrovskoe

  • Dostoevsky insists that the institution of the starets in imperial Russia came from the East, 'the practice of a thousand years.'

    The Black Sheep of Pokrovskoe

  • Dostoevsky in The Brothers Karamazov is writing about that familiar figure of the old Russia, the starets, or holy man: 'A starets takes your soul, your will, into his soul and will.

    The Black Sheep of Pokrovskoe

  • He wished to refuse but the starets ordered him to accept the appointment.

    Father Sergius

  • This was the result of his consciousness of humility, and the certainty that whatever he had to do, being fixed by the starets, was right.

    Father Sergius

  • He did so, and took leave of the starets and moved to the other monastery.

    Father Sergius

  • This Superior had been a disciple of the starets Ambrose, who was a disciple of Makarius, who was a disciple of the starets Leonid, who was a disciple of Paussy Velichkovsky.

    Father Sergius

  • Sergius obeyed the starets, showed his letter to the Abbot, and having obtained his permission, gave up his cell, handed all his possessions over to the monastery, and set out for the Tambov hermitage.

    Father Sergius


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  • Plural is startsy.

    June 12, 2010