In the 19th century Optina Pustyn, a male monastery located by the right bank of the Zhizdra River, near Kozelsk, was a very important spiritual center of the Russian Orthodox Church. There is no documentation as to when the Optina Pustyn monastery was established but legend has it that a former outlaw by the name of Opta, founded the monastery in the 15th century. It was here that he took the monastic vows, changing his name to Makarii, and asked forgiveness for his sins. The Russian words Optina Pustyn means, â€śliving togetherâ€ť because before 1504 nuns were allowed residence in the cloister. The first piece of evidence was found in the 17th century during Tsar Mikhail Feodorovichâ€™s reign. At this point it was a small wooden structure a few monastic cells, one church and less then twenty monks.