本論文旨在對於聖尼歐．索爾斯基的宗教思想與宗教活動做概括性研究，闡述其所處時代，俄羅斯的特殊宗教思想與宗教活動。對於西方心靈文化的價值，漸漸被道德淪喪所侵噬，俄羅斯神秘苦行者以內悟、自省提升心靈的方式，成為與西方不同的俄國傳統宗教的精神特色。 St. Nil Sorski(1433-1508) was a distinguished reformer of Russian Orthodox Christianity who renewed ascetic monasticism in northern Russia. He is especially known for promoting a mystical practice of Hesychasm which has reached maturity in Byzantium Empire in the previous centuries. Nil Sorski adhered to this tradition of monastic practice with exceptional vigor. His religious teaching affected greatly the traditional Christian Church of Russia.
Nil Sorski advocated renouncing the world and communicating with the Kingdom of Heaven through mystical contemplation. Because of this conviction, he was thought by many later thinkers to be an advocate of escapism who did not value secular authority. He is often considered the first exponent of Russian liberalism. Yet Nil Sorski’s principles of personal salvation, his tough monastic reforms and strict discipline demonstrate his devotion to the Orthodoxy and willingness for self-sacrifice. His motto “the more severely you penance, the happier you are.” is also the religious philosophy of Russian mysticism. He thought people can discover the uncreated God’s light and to attain redemption through this approach.
This thesis aims at explicating the unique religious thought and activities of Nil Sorski as well as their social background through the study of Nil Sorski’s writings and life. Compared with the fate of spiritual culture in the West, which has been declining gradually Russian ascetic tradition has shaped a unique and quite solid pattern of religious mentality which keeps on influencing contemporary Russian thought and culture.