Theophan the Recluse was born in 1815 in Chernavsk, Russia. After completing a theological education, Theophan took monastic vows and was ordained to the priesthood. In 1859, he was consecrated as a bishop, serving first in Tambov, then later in the diocese of Vladimir. Although a kindly bishop and a good administrator, Bishop Theophan grew increasingly weary of public office, and he longed to lead a life of prayer and seclusion. In 1866 he resigned from his active work of diocesan administration and retired to a remote monastery hidden in the great forests at Vyshen. Here he was to remain in seclusion until his death twenty-eight years later. After six years as abbot of the monastery and being an active part of the monastic services, in 1872 Theophan became a recluse. He remained strictly secluded, never going outside his cell, seeing no one but his confessor and the superior of his monastery. As a recluse for the rest of his life, Theophan devoted himself to prayer and asceticism, to correspondence, and to literary work.