The image shows St Amvrosy Optinskiy (Ambrose of Optina), one of the most beloved Russian Orthodox elders who lived from 1812-1891. Dostoevsky visited him several times, including after the death of his young son Alyosha, and it is believed that the author’s encounters with the revered Elder Amvrosy formed a major inspiration for his character Fr. Zosima in Brothers Karamazov. Here is a link to more information on the life and legacy of the saint: http://orthodoxwiki.org/Ambrose_of_Optina
A footnote to this passage in Brothers Karamazov describes it as “probably the master key to the philosophic interpretation, as well as the structure,” of the novel.
For more information on this topic, please link to this interesting blog article: http://payingattentiontothesky.com/2012/12/05/the-orthodox-understanding-of-the-relational-reality-of-personhood-ii-don-sheehan/
“The fool hath said in his heart: There is no God. They are corrupt, and are become abominable in their ways: there is none that doth good, no not one. The Lord hath looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there be any that did understand and seek God.”
– Psalm 14:1-2 (Douay-Rheims Bible).
“The Lord loves us so dearly that it passes all description. Through the Holy Spirit alone can the soul know His love, of which she is inexpressibly aware. The Lord is all goodness and mercy. He is meek and gentle, and we have no words to tell of His goodness; but the soul without words feels this love and would remain wrapped in its quiet tranquility forever.”
– St Silouan the Athonite (1866-1938).
St. Theophan the Recluse, also known as Theophanes or Feofan Zatvornik (Russian: Феофан Затворник), (January 10, 1815 – January 6, 1894) is a well-known saint in the Russian Orthodox Church. He was born as Giorgiy Vasilievich Govorov in the village of Chernavsk. His father was a Russian Orthodox priest. He was educated in the Orthodox seminaries at Livny, Orel and Kiev. In 1841 he was tonsured as a monk and ordained as a priest, and adopted the name Theophan from the Greek θεοφάνεια, denoting a theophany (an appearance or manifestation of God). Theophan later became the Bishop of Tambov.
The Saint is well-known today in Russia through the many books he wrote concerning the inner spiritual life, especially on the subjects of the Christian life and the training of youth in the faith. He also played a leading role in translating the Philokalia from Church Slavonic into Russian. The Philokalia, a classic of Eastern Orthodox spirituality, is composed of the collected edited works of a number of Church Fathers which were placed in a four volume set beginning in the 17th century. A persistent theme is developing an interior life of continuous prayer, learning to cultivate a profound awareness of God’s presence and to “pray without ceasing” as St. Paul teaches in 1 Thessalonians.