Varlaam, Founder of the John the Baptist Monastery, on the Border with Chinese Mongolia, in the Chikoy Mountains Beyond Baikal. Episode from the History of Russian Orthodox Missionaries in Siberia


The hagiographical work presented here recounts the life of Varlaam (born Vasiliy Fedorovich Nadezhin, 1774‒1846), a monk who lived on the Russian border with Mongolia and ministered to the local population in that region. Varlaam was born into a peasant family in the region of Nizhniy Novgorod in European Russia. In 1811, he went on a pilgrimage to the Monastery of the Caves in Kiev (also called Kiev-Pechersk Lavra). Traveling without any documents, he was arrested and exiled to Siberia. Upon arriving at his place of exile, he began to do odd jobs for the local church. A respected priest suggested that he go into the mountains and live an ascetic life, which he proceeded to do. After several years, he gained a reputation as a holy man and had won a number of followers. He built a small monastery on the site of his hermitage, which became a place of pilgrimage. Monks from the monastery also did missionary work among the Kyakhta people. In 1984 the Russian Orthodox Church glorified Varlaam as one of the Siberian saints. The book was written by Meletii (born Mikhail Kuzmich Yakimov, 1835–1900), himself a noted missionary to the native people along Russia’s borders with China and Mongolia. The book is preserved in the collections of the National Library of Russia in Saint Petersburg. It was digitized for the Meeting of Frontiers digital library project in the early 2000s.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

St. Petersburg


Title in Original Language

Пустынник Варлаам, основатель Иоанно-Предтеченскаго скита на границах Китайской Монголии, в Чикойских горах за Байкалом. Эпизод из истории русскаго православнаго миссионерства в Сибири

Type of Item

Physical Description

60 pages : portrait ; 24 x 15 centimeters

Last updated: January 10, 2018