A geronta (Greek, pronounced yeronda) or staretz (Russian) (both literally meaning elder) is a holy person gifted with the charism of spiritual direction, often a monk or hermit (not necessarily a priest), in the Church. The plural of the Russian form is startsy.
Russian, elder, starets, from Old Church Slavonic starĭtsĭ, elder, from starŭ, old. Other forms: stareţ; starĭtsa or gerontissa for women.
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