Elder Placide Deseille

Abbot of the Holy Monastery of Saint Anthony the Great

Archimandrite Père Placide Deseille was an outstanding and inspiring French cleric and theologian who was renowned for his intelligence, his consistency and his modesty.

He was born on 16 April 1926 in Issy-les-Moulineaux, France. At the age of 16 he became a monk at the Roman Catholic Cistercian monastery of Bellefontaine. In 1966 he founded a Byzantine-rite monastery in Aubazine en Corrèze, together with some monastic friends. Because of his broad education, he directed the publication «Sources Chretiennes», publishing the Holy Fathers of the Church.

After a long and taxing spiritual quest he and the monks decided to become Orthodox. They were received into the Orthodox Church on 19 June 1977, and in February 1978 became monks of the Mt Athos Holy Monastery of Simonos Petras.

Père Placide was then sent by Abbot Aimilianos to establish a dependency of the Monastery in France. On 14 September 1978 Fathers Placide and Séraphin inaugurated the Monastery of Saint Anthony the Great, in a dilapidated building in Saint Laurent en Royans, in a wild valley in Vercors. A monastery for nuns, the Protection of the Mother of God, was formed and later became known as the Monastery of Solan.

Abbot Père Placide dedicated his life to transplanting the monastic and hesychast tradition of the Holy Mountain to the soil of France. He taught Patristics at the Saint-Serge Institute of Orthodox Theology in Paris. He also founded the collection ‘Oriental Spirituality’, published by the Abbey of Bellefontaine. He was the author of many works on the history of monasticism and Orthodox spirituality. He produced excellent texts on the relationship of the human soul and God, as this is described in the Song of Songs.

At one o’clock, midday, on 7 January 2018, on the Synaxis of the Honourable Forerunner, Archimandrite Placide Deseille fell asleep in the Lord at the age of 91.

Source: Lychnos August/September 2019 edition