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“The pages of this volume offer useful spiritual precepts and counsels that can help us attain the virtues and keep the divine commandments. For this reason, whether or not we are spiritual children of the Elder, all of us are called to keep his godly and holy companionship before our eyes. Throughout his life he was an imitator and most fervent friend of the Lord and His saints. Likewise let us also imitate our saintly Father Philotheos in his unshakeable faith, sure hope, pure love, deep humility, everlasting abstinence, unceasing prayer, study of the Law of God, love towards every person, meekness, long-suffering, remembrance of death, as well as the wealth of other virtues with which he was adorned.”
|Author||Elder Philotheos Zervakos|
|Translator||Father Nicholas Palis|
|Publisher||St. Nikodemos Publications|
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- St. Antony the Great
The Creator saw that their wound was grown great, and needed the care of a physician - and Jesus Himself is their Creator, and Himself heals them – and He sent forerunners before His face. … and being clothed with the Spirit, they saw that none among the creatures were able to heal the great wound, but only the bounty of God, that is to say His Only Begotten, whom He sent to be the Savior of the world; for He is the great physician, who is able to heal the great wound.
St. Antony the Great, Letter 3
- Elder Paisios of Mt. Athos
We can't limp along in the spiritual life; we can't just stay in the hallway. If you stay in the hallway, you'll never get to God's living room - that is paradise.
- Metropolitan Kallistos Ware
A person is far more than the conscious mind; besides the brain and reasoning faculties there are emotions and affections, the aesthetic sensitivity, together with the deep instinctive layers of the personality. All these have a function to perform in prayer, for the whole person is called to share in the total act of worship.
Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, The Power of the Name
- St. John Climacus
We ought to be on our guard, in case our conscience has stopped troubling us, not so much because of its being clear, but because of its being immersed in sin. ... A 'good' conscience is one that stands ready to convict oneself immediately with shame. There IS a difference between a 'good' conscience and a 'clear' conscience. The clear one can be dead or deceived.
St. John Climacus, Ladder of Divine Ascent
- St. Isaac the Syrian
If you believe that God makes provisions for you, why be anxious and concerned about temporal affairs and the needs of your flesh? But if you do not believe that God makes provision for you, and for this reason you take pains to provide for your need separately from Him, then you are of all men most miserable. Why even be alive or go living in such a case? ‘Cast thy care upon the Lord, and He will nourish thee,’ and you shall never be dismayed at any terror that overtakes you.
St. Isaac the Syrian, Ascetical Homilies
- St. Isaac the Syrian
It is not always in our power to oppose the thoughts fighting against us so as to stop them, but we often receive wounds that do not heal for quite some time... [Arguing with the demons] allows them to arm themselves against you; they will be able to wound you beyond what your wisdom and feeling will set against them. But even if you were to vanquish them, the filth of the thoughts would sully your contemplation, and you would still smell their foul odor for quite some time.
St. Isaac the Syrian, Therapy of Spiritual Illnesses
- Elder Porphyrious
When I sense the harmony of nature, I am brought to tears. Why should we be bored with life? Let us live life with the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Truth. The person who has the Spirit of God, who has Divine Wisdom, sees all things with love of God and notices all things. The wisdom of God makes him grasp all things and delight in all things.
Elder Porphyrious, Wounded by Love
- Canon of St. Andrew
"Where shall I begin to weep for the actions of my wretched life? What first-fruit shall I offer, O Christ, in this my lamentation? But in Thy compassion grant me forgiveness of sins. Come wretched soul, with thy flesh to the Creator of all. Make confession to Him, and abstain henceforth from thy past brutishness; and offer to God tears of repentance."
St. Andrew of Crete
- Protopresbyter Stephanos K. Anagnostopoulos
"The Church's sermon which is based on peace is perceived differently by people who live in sin and corruption and therefore ask an external kind of peace without fear, danger, famine, misfortune, disturbances, revolution, and wart protestin g with media chants such as: 'Make love not war.' They wish to live without God, without the Church and its Mysteries, without the Gospel, without God's Laws. They want peace without any rules and prohibitions. They want peace without any ethical barriers. They want the peace of a consumer society as well as that of material and sensual pleasures. They want a kind of peace that does not have the pain of virtue. However, this kind of peace first and foremost is not acceptable to God, furthermore, it is not the one that the faithful Christian asks for during the Divine Liturgy, when the priest says 'for the peace from above... let us pray to the Lord.' Those who honestly believe and repent and also present all the guilt and sin before Christ's feet on the Cross, before the spiritual father's stole, depart confession in peace. In peace which 'passeth all understanding,' a peace that is incomprehensible. It can neither be measured nor described."
Protopresbyter Stephanos K. Anagnostopoulos, Experiences During the Divine Liturgy
- St. John Chrysostom
"The priest is standing before the Holy Gate and exclaims: ‘Let us attend ...’, many times in fact. However, this entreaty is the voice of the Church but most people do not pay attention to it...‘Let us attend...’, ‘let us attend...’, and no one attends. Many say: We will hear the same things again... again and again. Others again say: We do not understand anything they say... How dare you say that whatever it is they read it is always the same, for you know neither the names of the Prophets, nor the names of the Apostles, nor the names of the Evangelists? And again, how do you dare say that you do not understand the sacred texts of the Readings during the Diving Liturgy, when you do not study them at home at all? . . . In order for us not to be ‘judged’, let us attend! Let us attend! Let us be attentive!"
St. John Chrysostom
- Mystery of MarriageI always smile as I remember a priest saying: "Marriage is a Mystery. Some days are more mysterious than others."
Anonymous, Orthodox Christian Parenting, pg. 51
- St. Irenaeus
He became the Son of Man to accustom man to receive God and God to dwell in man.
St. Irenaeus, Scandal of the Incarnation
- From the Desert Fathers
It was said of a brother that his thought suggested to him, 'Relax today and repent tomorrow.' But he retorted, 'No, I am going to repent today and may the will of God be done tomorrow.'
Daily Readings with the Desert Fathers
- Archimandrite Vassilios PapavassiliouWhen we are humble, we judge ourselves and not our neighbor. The spiritual fathers of the church teach us that we need to be hard on ourselves and easy on others. This is true humility; this is true repentance. We are invited to master this humility and repentance during Lent.
Archimandrite Vassilios Papavassiliou, Meditations for Great Lent, , pg. 24
- St. Ephraim the Syrian
Like the apple of Thine eye preserve me, O Lord God; defend and beneath Thy wings shelter me from temptations.
Be the guardian of the eye, that it might not look about in the manner of a thief; be the guardian of the ear, that it might notperceive falsehood.
Be the guardian of the lips, that slander, judgement, criticism and idle words might not come forth from them.
Be the guardian of the heart, that it might not be inclined to evil and might not work iniquity.
Grant us O Lord, knowledge, both of what we should do and of how to set about it.
Grant us, O our Lord, that we may be sweeter to Thee than fragrances and perfumes.
Grant us, O our Lord, that we may love Thee and hate the world. Gran us, O Lord, to acquire Only Three rather than all transient possessions.
Grant us, O our Lord, to bring Thee three choice gifts. Grant us, O our Lord, to burn three aromatic censers before Thee.
Grant us, O our Lord, to light for Thee three brightly burning lamps: the spirit, the soul and the body, these three gifts from the One Trinity.
Let us dedicate the spirit to the Father, the soul to the Son and the body to the Holy Spirit, the Spirit which will raise it again from dust.
O Father, consecrate our spirit to Thyself! O so, consecrate our soul to Thyself! O Holy Spirit, consecrate to Thyself our body which is afflicted by sores.
Grant us, O our Lord, to rejoice in Thee, and mayest thou rejoice in us in the last day. To Thee is praise, from the spirit, soul and body. And unto us be Thy mercies.
St. Ephraim the Syrian, A Spiritual Psalter or Reflections On God, Reflection 5
- Lenten Triodion
The Kingdom of God is not food and drink, but righteousness and abstinence with holiness.
Lenten Triodion, Eothinon, Matins of Fifth Sunday of Lent
- Fr. Alexander Men
The Church has specifically provided the time of Great Lent so we can gather our thoughts, so we can focus, and so we can prepare ourselves to greet the day of Pascha (Easter). By way of Great lent, we must try to grow in what is lacking and to fill in the blanks within our spiritual lives, which have suffered so much due to life's messes, distractions, and laziness.
Fr. Alexander Men, An Inner Step Toward God
- Archimandrite Vassilios PapavassiliouHoly Week, or Great Week, is the heart of the Christian Faith and the center of the yearly cycle of Orthodox feasts. Every year our churches are packed at Holy Week, and come the last three days, they are bursting at the seams with both those that go to church every Sunday and those who attend only on special occasions. Holy Week brings the pious and the not-so-pious together in a way the most ambition missionaries can only dream of. But Holy Week does not stand alone: It follows on from Great Lent, and the themes of the latter half of Great Lent are continued in the first half of Holy Week.
Archimandrite Vassilios Papavassiliou, Meditations for Holy Week, Introduction
- Abba Theodotos
Abba Theodotos said, 'If you live contently, do not judge one who who lusts, for like him you disobey the law. For the one who said, "Do not lust" also said, "Do not judge"'.
Abba Theodotos, The World of the Desert Fathers
- Fr. John KrestiankinThis sin produced blindness in your mind. The consequence of this was the perversion of your will, which in turn distorted your conscience. Finally came the inevitable end to the chain — the corruption of your body. Analyze this all deeply, and start uprooting the deadly thorns from your life which have cast you down. Begin with the end — restore purity to your body. Again, this will take time and work, and patience in pain and afflictions. The pains and afflictions will not come from people, but through people from God.
From the Letters of Fr. John Krestiankin
- Elder Philotheos Zervakos
Whatever illness is in relation to a man's body, this is what sins are in relation to the soul. When one who has bodily sickness takes refuge in the doctor of bodies, he reveals his bodily ailments, and receives the necessary and appropriate medicines for a cure. In the same way, one who has sins, i.e. sickness of the soul, ought to go to the doctor of the soul, the spiritual father, and reveal his sins, i.e. the illnesses of his soul. And he will receive from him medicines that are appropriate, necessary and capable of curing illnesses of the soul.
Elder Philotheos Zervakos, Paternal Counsels, Volume 1
- Fr. Matthew the Poor
Peace is an inner state of the heart and of the mind. But Christian peace is not a mere psychological condition; rather it is a relationship. Christian peace flows from the believer's relationship with God and with other people. It's impossible for a person to have a good, peaceful relationship with God and not enjoy peace with others. So if our relationship with God or other's suffers, our peace will flee from us
Fr. Matthew the Poor, Words for Our Time
- The Brothers KaramazovI was a scoundrel, and yet, I loved God… Good and evil are in a monstrous coexistence within man. - Dmitri Karamazov
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
- Macarius the Great
And again, as a man that sees a bird flying may desire also to fly himself, but not having wings, it is impossible he should fly; just so a man may be willing to be pure, and without blame, and without spot, and to be always with God; but he has not wherewithal to compass it. He is willing to fly up into the divine air, and into the liberty of the Holy Spirit; but, unless he receive wings for his purpose, he can never do it.
Let us therefore beseech GOD that he would give us "the wings of the dove", his Holy Spirit, that so "we may fly to him and be at rest"; and that he would separate the evil wind, and cause it to cease from us both in soul and body: for he only is able to bring it to pass. It is only " he Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world." He alone it is that showed this mercy to them that believe in him, that they are redeemed from sin. And for those that wait for him, and hope in him, and seek after him, will he work this unspeakable salvation.
Macarius of Egypt, Spiritual Homily 2
- John MaximovichWhen the Church tells us in her hymns and icons that the Apostles were miraculously gathered from the ends of the earth in order to be present at the repose and burial of the Mother of God, we as Orthodox Christians are not free to deny this or reinterpret it, but must believe as the Church hands it down to us, with simplicity of heart.
John Maximovich, The Orthodox Veneration of Mary the Birthgiver of God
- Elder Thaddeus
The Most Holy Mother of God prays for us ceaselessly. She is always visiting us. Whenever we turn to her in our heart, she is there. After the Lord, she is the greatest protection for mankind. How many churches there are in the world that are dedicated to the Most Holy Mother of God! How many healing springs where people are cured of their ailments have sprung up in places where the Most Holy Theotokos appeared and blessed those springs to heal both the sick and the healthy! She is constantly, by our side, and all too often we forget her.
Elder Thaddeus, Homily on the Dormition of the Theotokos
- Ignatius Brianchaninov
Do not consider it sufficient for yourself to read the Gospel alone, without the reading of the Holy Fathers! This is a proud, dangerous thought. Better, let the Holy Fathers lead you to the Gospel, as their beloved child who has received his preparatory upbringing and education by means of their writings.
Ignatius Brianchaninov, The Arena
- Archimandrite Zacharias
If we are to cultivate the soil of our hearts we will first need a plough, and our plough must be the Cross of Christ. This will lead us into obedience to His word and we will take up our own cross. No one can carry the Cross of Christ. […] We bear our small personal cross in obedience to Christ’s commandment. This cross is the pain and sacrifice involved in freeing the heart from dispassionate attachments and secret deceits, that it may run freely after its beloved God and call upon Him. It will have room for nothing but a yearning for God by which to invoke His Name. The one desire of the heart is to be one with Him Who joined Himself to our nature, bringing into it all His divine virtues so that we might become ‘partakers of the divine nature.’ Thus, by taking up our small cross, we inherit the life hidden in His great Cross.
Archimandrite Zacharias, Remember Thy First Love
- Fr. Joachim of St. Anne's Skete
I once used a knife to cut a lemon, but didn't put it back in its place. Just then Fr. Joachim happened to pass by.
"Did you use the knife?"
"Yes" I answered.
"Why did you leave it there. Pick it up immediately. Wash it well, dry it, and tell it 'Thank you' for its help. Then put it in its place. There should be a place for everything you use." he said.
Fr. Joachim of St. Anne's Skete, pg. 83
Archimandrite Cherubim, Contemporary Ascetics of Mount Athos, Volume 1
The word GOOD-BYE comes from something very nice which people used to say when they left each other. God be with you! So, when you say GOOD-BYE, remember that you are actually saying a little prayer that God will bless and protect your friend.
Fr. Artemy Vladimirov, Bless, O Lord
- Canon of St. Andrew
O Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of all, take from me the heavy yoke of sin, and in Thy compassion grant me tears of compunction. It is time for repentance. I draw near to Thee, my Creator. Take from me the heavy yoke of sin, and in Thy compassion grant me tears of compunction.
St. Andrew of Crete
- Elder PorphyriousAt one time, I took a sick person to him who was diagnosed with AIDS. Some of my friends who knew that I was friendly with the Elder asked me to help this sick person who was extremely depressed. The AIDS victim was in really bad shape and he wanted to commit suicide. When I heard that he wanted to commit suicide, I sent him to another priest who was also a doctor. His name is Fr. Stamatis. The sick person went to this priest but the priest advised him to go and see Elder Porphyrios.I took him to the Elder. He was a person who did not appear to look like a Christian. He had a very worldly look about him. I left him in the cell with the Elder. The Elder kept him there for a long time. When he finished, he came out of the cell crying but he was very serene with a prayer rope in his hand that the Elder had given him. He was crying but not in a way that made him appear helpless. His eyes were filled with light. The Elder called me into his cell. “Come in here so that I can speak to you. What was that soul that you brought to me? What a marvelous soul that was!”The person from that encounter repented and he truly lives in a spirit of penance. I have seen him many times since then as a doctor. I see that he has been reborn. He visits monasteries. He goes to confession. He receives Holy Communion and he thanks Christ for AIDS because this has become for him the reason for his true salvation.
Elder Porphyrious, Miraculous Occurrences and Counsels of Elder Porphyrios