One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
nounRussian Orthodox Church
A man, typically a monk, who is regarded as having spiritual authority, and is hence often sought out as a counsellor or guide, despite his holding no formal position in the ecclesiastical hierarchy.
Early 18th century. From Russian starec (plural starcy) venerable old man, elder, monk, spiritual leader from the base of Russian staryj old + -ec, suffix forming nouns.
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