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starets. A spiritual counselor in the Russian Church in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Not surprisingly in view of the traditional aridity of church establishments, they were not professional appointees in the accepted sense. Originally those in this category were usually monks ministering to their fellow-monks, but gradually there was developed also a ministry to the laity, and the startsy were frequently the object of pilgrimages. Many heard of them for the first time in Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov.

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