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Author Topic: Modern Church Fathers  (Read 39204 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: February 11, 2005, 03:32:34 PM »

I think it would be useful and beneficial to all to compile a thread that is quotes from some of the great luminaries of Orthodoxy in our times.  I especially like our modern fathers because they are the same as the ancient ones and clearly illustrate how grace filled Orthodoxy has remained unchanged from its foundation by Christ even to our day. 

To start off from Elder Amphilochios of Patmos directed toward Orthodox Christians of the diaspora:

"Do not be afraid because of your Orthodoxy, do not be afraid because , as an Orthodox in the west, you will be often isolated and always in a small minority.  Do not make compromises but do not attack other Christians; do not be either offensive or aggresive; simply be yourself."
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« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2005, 04:25:25 PM »

"For what does it mean for someone to profess to be Orthodox? It means this: to be part of the continuous struggle that leads from man to God-man, that is, to be involved in the unending improvement of oneself through the theanthropic mysteries, struggles, and virtues. Here the Orthodox Christian is never alone. Every feeling, act, and thought is both individual and universal, not merely personal and catholic but theanthropic." - St. Justin Popovich (GÇá1979), Orthodox Faith and Life in Christ, p. 86

"For all these reasons, there can be no salvation, deification, or christification, no Paradise, no Kingdom of Heaven, without the holy virtues. The holy mysteries are, without doubt, the holy dogmas of our faith, our salvation. But so also are the holy virtues. Without Holy Baptism, there is no salvation. This is the unalterable dogma of salvation in the Saviour's theanthropic Church. But neither is their salvation without faith and love, and they are therefore also unalterable dogmas of salvation. Every holy mystery is a dogma, as is every evangelical virtue. Together, they holy mysteries and virtues constitute an organic and indivisible ascesis of salvation, the theanthropic ascesis of salvation." - St. Justin Popovich (GÇá1979), The Orthodox Church and Ecumenism, p. 72
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« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2005, 01:59:25 PM »

Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain:

"Let us not expect the spiritual spring if we don't first pass through the spiritual winter during which the spiritual vermin die.  We mustn't expect the divine to blossom within us if the human hasn't first died."
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« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2005, 12:25:03 AM »

"You are an experienced gardener, and you know how much work is required to grow even one vegetable. You wouldn't leave even one plant without some attention. How, then, can we not labor on our soul, our unique treasure, which the grave itself cannot destroy? You have acquired a garden in Jerusalem. This was not one of God's commandments, and yet you undertook this labor out of love for God and for the sake of your soul's salvation. How, then, can we disdain even one of our Saviour's commandments as something inconsequential?" -  St. Nikolai of Serbia, Answers to Questions, 3
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« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2005, 03:58:50 AM »

"It is more difficult to make a genuine monk than it is to make a cathedral!" - Elder Cleopas of Romania
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« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2005, 01:42:15 PM »

"Therefore, do come frequently to the Pure Mysteries and recieve the Holy Communion.  `But take care that you do so with the appropriate preperation, namely, after confession, after fasting in accordance with your powers, with temperance, prayers, attention, contrition of the heart and a clear conscience, examining yourself as the Apostle counsels, so that recieving the Holy Communion may not turn to your damnation.  And in accordance with the preperations you make, you shall be given the grace of Communion."  - Saint Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain
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« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2005, 08:07:08 PM »

"The study of any of the Patristic books helps to warm your soul and increase your struggle to imitate the Saints.  At the same time, they will leave you with great humility, provided that you compare yourself with the Saints. This will, without a doubt, drive out every previously created illusion, such as considering yourself a saint in comparison to hippies. For, whereas we judge "according to appearance," God alone knows the hearts of men." Elder Paisios the Athonite
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« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2005, 09:41:46 PM »

These quotes and the account listed below are from
Hieroscemamonk Michael the last Elder of Valaam
http://www.roca.org/OA/29/29d.htm

"Everything needs a certain preparation.' Pay no attention to all these methods and breathing techniques you’ve been reading about; they can only harm the soul-and there have been such cases. The Jesus Prayer must come as a cry from the depths of the heart-then it is true prayer."

 "When the devil tries to irritate you over trifles, or stir you to anger, to destroy your peace of soul, just say, 'Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen!' He fears these words above all. They scorch him like fire and he will flee from you."

His astonishing eyes, bright and clear, looked at me. I realized at once that Fr. Michael read my thoughts and knew my past.

"Father", I asked him, "what do you think of death?"

"There is no death," he answered, "there is merely a passing from one state to another. To me personally, the life of another world is much more real than my life here."

"I know one Archimandrite, " I said, " who thinks likewise."

" Blessed is he," the Starets answered. "He is on the right road and perhaps nearing that other life. The more the Christian lives the interior life, the more he is detached from this world, and imperceptibly he approaches the other world. When the end comes it is easy: the thin curtain simply dissolves."

"Can you feel a living contact with the dead, Father?"

"Certainly. The prayers for the dead maintain this contact. Those who omit that prayer break off contact, with deplorable results. Prayers for the dead are needful not only to them, but to us as well."
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« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2005, 01:42:34 PM »

A true Christian is made by faith and love of Christ. Our sins do not in the least hinder our Christianity, according to the word of the Savior Himself. He said: I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance; there is more joy in heaven over one who repents than over ninety and nine just ones. Likewise concerning the sinful woman who touched His feet, He said to the Pharisee Simon: to one who has love, a great debt is forgiven, but from one who has no love, even a small debt will be demanded. From these judgements a Christian should bring himself to hope and joy, and not in the least accept the torment of despair. Here one needs the shield of faith.

Sin, to one who loves God, is nothing other than an arrow from the enemy in battle. The true Christian is a warrior fighting his way through the regiments of the unseen enemy to his heavenly homeland. According to the word of the Apostle, our homeland is in heaven; and about the warrior he says: we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph.6: 12)].

The vain desires of this world separate us from our homeland; love of them and habit clothe our soul as if in a hideous garment. This is called by the Apostles the outward man. We, traveling on the journey of this life and calling on God to help us, ought to be divesting ourselves of this hideous garment and clothing ourselves in new desires, in a new love of the age to come, and thereby to receive knowledge of how near or how far we are from our heavenly homeland. But it is not possible to do this quickly; rather one must follow the example of sick people, who, wishing the desired health, do not leave off seeking means to cure themselves.
-St.Herman of Alaska

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Where is cutoff line for Modern? Would a good point be after St.Gregory Palamas? The Fall of Constantinople? Tsar Peter I? Originally I wasn't sure if I should go as far back as St.John of Kronstadt
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« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2005, 04:51:04 PM »

Sabbas, I am not really sure what I would classify as modern.  I posted a quote from Saint Nikodemos.... I think he really represents the birth of the "school" of a lot of the modern Fathers.  But 20th century is probably a good definition.  We could always start a thread of ancient church fathers to compliment this one.  Actually I think that would be a very good idea, as it would show the complete oneness of the fathers, regardless of time period. 
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« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2005, 01:55:55 AM »

"We know many converts who grasp at 'correctness' like a baby's bottle, and I think they could save their souls better by being a little 'incorrect' but humbler." - Father Seraphim of Platina

"Strictness will not save us if we don't have any more the feeling and taste of Orthodoxy." - Father Seraphim of Platina

"Fanaticism hinders a man's understanding but true faith gives it freedom." Elder Macarius of Optina
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« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2005, 03:37:42 AM »

"Wherever Orthodox monasicism is absent, the Church does not exist... the monastics guard the boundries of our Church and protect Her from Her enemies, who, in our contemporary materialistic age rush to mangle Her like wolves." 
-Elder Amphilochios of Patmos
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« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2005, 03:50:24 AM »

"Most of use, whether we are experienced or not, have abandoned the Holy Gospel, and are rushing to grasp the Rudder, which, is why the sacred vessel, our Church, is tossed by the waves."
-Elder Paisios the Athonite
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« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2005, 03:56:47 AM »

<<+Æ’ +º-ü+¦-â-ä-î-é -ç-ä-Ã -Ç+¼+¦+¦ -â-ä++ +¦+¦-ü+¦+¦ +¦+¦+¦ ++  +¦+¦+¦+¦++++-é -â-ä++++ +¦+¦+¦+¡-Ã¥+¦++++.>>

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« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2005, 05:30:31 AM »

I'm reading The Soul After Death, by Fr. Seraphim Rose what strucked me as odd is near-death experiences show that your soul will cling on to your body even after seperated. The soul from one Near Death Experience can be apart of the conformed world to vision a dream-like setting then the soul goes back to the body. The one account was a woman who "did not see the face of God, but death was God's interest for me to come back with preparation of heart and spirit. I had an ugly image that was not prepared and next time my life will be taken."

Of course, one can always act "wrong" even on a clear conscience! But even that is not a fatal mistake as long as one's mind and heart remain open and one keeps first things first. -  Fr. Seraphim Rose
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« Reply #15 on: February 26, 2005, 05:37:25 PM »

"The Orthodox Church is deeply ascetic and those who don't love asceticism and are friends of luxury and comfort don't have a place within her."

-Elder Epiphanios of Athens
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« Reply #16 on: February 26, 2005, 07:32:08 PM »

"I am alone, exhausted and I feel quite sick. I care about our monastery more than I do about my own life..." 

-Archimandrite Nikodim from Krka in Kosovo who wrote at the end of his life.
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« Reply #17 on: February 28, 2005, 02:58:17 PM »

"Our Felecity lies in one world or the other, not in both."
-Father Seraphim of Platina

"One can't be a half-hearted Christian, but only entirely, or not at all."
-Father Seraphim of Platina
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« Reply #18 on: February 28, 2005, 04:22:29 PM »

"Saints are people who live on earth by holy, eternal Divine truths. That is why the Lives of the Saints are actually applied dogmatics, for in them all the holy eternal dogmatic truths are experienced in all their life-creating and creative energies. In The Lives of the Saints it is most evidently shown that dogmas are not only ontological truths in themselves and for themselves, but that each one of them is a wellspring of eternal life and a source of holy spirituality." - St. Justin Popovich, Introduction to the Lives of the Saints

"All the Divine moral laws have their source in the holy mysteries and are realized in the holy virtues. For this reason the Lives of the Saints are indeed experiential ethics, applied ethics. Actually, the Lives of the Saints prove irrefutably that Ethics is nothing other than Applied Dogmatics." - St. Justin Popovich, Introduction to the Lives of the Saints

Interestingly, according to Hieromonk Damascene, "Fr. Seraphim Rose once counseled a budding Orthodox writer to make use of the Lives of the Saints as 'applied dogmatic theology' and as 'applied ethics.'" (The Orthodox Word, No. 221 [Nov-Dec. 2001], p. 266)
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« Reply #19 on: February 28, 2005, 04:58:44 PM »

"The Orthodox Church is deeply ascetic and those who don't love asceticism and are friends of luxury and comfort don't have a place within her."

-Elder Epiphanios of Athens

That's a line drawn in the sand if I ever saw one.  (A good one, I mean.  Smiley)  Lord, have mercy.
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« Reply #20 on: February 28, 2005, 06:37:25 PM »

What is the position of the modern fathers on the creation vs. evolution issue?
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« Reply #21 on: February 28, 2005, 07:25:15 PM »

Saint Nektarios, Elder Joseph the Hesychast, Saint Justin Popovich and Father Seraphim Rose all wrote and or spoke against evolution.  I don't know of any that spoke in favor evolution. 
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« Reply #22 on: March 01, 2005, 12:15:52 AM »

"No sacrifice is more fragrant in the sight of God than purity of body, which is realized through blood and great struggles."

"The powers of darkness are not fought with sweets and Turkish delight, but with conduits of tears, with pain of soul until death, with extreme humility and great patience, with unceasing painful prayer."

"Whatever we don't give to God for Him to use, the other will use. For this reason our Lord gave us the commandment to love with all our heart and soul so that the evil one won't be able to find a place of rest within us."

-Elder Joseph the Hesychast
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« Reply #23 on: March 01, 2005, 01:20:35 PM »

"The greatest sickness of our age is the vain thoughts of secular people, which bring stress.  Only Christ can provide a cure with spiritual serenity, along with eternity, provided you repent and turn to Him."
-Elder Pa-èsios the Athonite
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« Reply #24 on: March 02, 2005, 11:18:48 AM »

Suffering is an indication of another Kingdom which we look to. If being Christian meant being “happy” in this life, we wouldn’t need the Kingdom of Heaven.

Orthodoxy can’t be comfortable unless it is fake.

-Father Seraphim of Platina
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« Reply #25 on: March 03, 2005, 09:58:55 AM »

"The powers of darkness are not fought with sweets and Turkish delight, but with conduits of tears, with pain of soul until death, with extreme humility and great patience, with unceasing painful prayer."

I'm sure I'm not the only one who thought of Edmund from the Chronicles of Narnia when I read this!

These quotes are all great.

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« Reply #26 on: March 05, 2005, 11:57:39 PM »

"Love all your fellow men, even your enemies. This is the most basic thing. Always love not only those who love us, but also those who hate us. Let us forgive them and love them all even if they have done us the greatest evil; then we are truly children of God. Then our own sins are also forgiven...Always preach love. This is the most basic law of God: love and love alone."

Elder George of Drama
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« Reply #27 on: March 06, 2005, 12:11:31 AM »

Elder George of Drama

What part of Greece does he live in?
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« Reply #28 on: March 08, 2005, 12:50:33 PM »

The Elder reposed in 1959.
He lived in the village of Sipsa (now Taxiarches) near Drama in Northern Greece.
He established a small monastery there.

Michael
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« Reply #29 on: March 08, 2005, 01:56:28 PM »

"We mustn't despair when we struggle and continuously see nothing but the slightest progress. We all do nearly nothing, some a little more, some a little less. When Christ sees our little effort He gives us an analogous token and so our nearly nothing becomes valuable and we can see a little progress. For this reason we mustn't despair, but hope in God."

Elder Paisios the Athonite
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« Reply #30 on: March 08, 2005, 02:12:38 PM »

What is the position of the modern fathers on the creation vs. evolution issue?

I think that you probably wanted quotes so here goes:
"Those who deny the immortality of the soul undermine both the moral law and the foundations of societies, which they want to see collapsing into ruins, in order that they might prove that man is an ape, from which they boast that they are descended." Study Concerning the Immortality of the Soul Athens 1901 -St.+¥+¦+¦-ä+¼-ü+¦++-é
also
"The two volumes of the work Philosophie zoologique are in their entirety intended to uphold the degrading evolutionary theory regarding man. The first volume seeks to prove that the human organism evolved from that of an ape, as a result fo chance circumstances. And the second volume seeks to prove that the distinctive excellences of the human mind are nothing but an extension of a power which the animals have, differing only in degree. Having weak and badly set foundations . . . Lamarck claims to prove that in earlier times nature produced through marvelous evolution one species from another, earlier one. He seeks to establish a a gradual chain having successive (not contemporaneous) links and thuos to produce finally the human species through a metamorphosis that is the reverse of the truth, and not less marvelous than the transformations one reads about in myth! . . .
"The Darwinian theories imagined that they arrived at the solution of the anthropological qustion by accepting the mode of evolution. These theories, not being based on sound foundations, instead of solving the problem rendered it more enigmatic, because they denied the validity of revealed truth, viewed man as belonging to the same order as the irrational animals, denied his spiritual origin and attributed to him a very lowly origin, Their failure had as its chief reason the negation of his lofty origin and of his spiritual nature, which is altogether alien to matter and to the physical world. iI general, without the acceptance of revealed truth, man will remain an insoluble problem. The acceptance of it is the firm and safe foundation upon which every inquirer about man must base himself. It is from this that he must begin in order to rightly solve the various parts of the question and learn the truth by means of true science."
Sketch concerning Man Athens 1893 -St.+¥+¦+¦-ä+¼-ü+¦++-é

Both of these quotes are on page 451 of Fr.Seraphim of Platina's Genesis, Creation and Early Man:The Orthodox Christian Vision

"The English philogsopher Darwin created an entire system according to which life is a struggle for existence, a struggle o fthe strong against the weak, where thsoe that are conqered are doomed to destruction. . . This is already the beginning of a bestial philosophy , and those who come to believe in it wouldn't think twice about killing a man, assaulting a woman, or robbing their closest friend - and they would do all this calmly, with full recognition of their right to commit these crimes." -St.Barsanuphius of Optina http://www.stherman.com/catalog/chapter_six/barsanuphius_book.htm
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« Reply #31 on: March 08, 2005, 05:41:17 PM »

"Our human attempts to repent are often zeros; but God sees all the zeros. Sometimes, He waits until we have accumulated many of them, and then He adds, through His Spirit, the number one in front of them."

Elder Paisios the Athonite
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« Reply #32 on: March 19, 2005, 09:27:47 PM »

"True love is like the flame of a candle. However many candles you light from the flame, the initial flame remains unaffected. It doesn't lessen at all. And every freshly lit candle has as much flame as the others do."

Elder Epiphianos
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« Reply #33 on: April 10, 2005, 07:36:52 PM »

Not a knowledge that you learn, but a knowledge that you suffer. That is Orthodox spirituality. - Mother Gavrielia (http://sgpm.goarch.org/Monastery/index.php?p=14)

Oups I did it again, she is not a father... she is a mother Wink

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« Reply #34 on: April 26, 2005, 11:52:34 AM »

A Word on Repentance
Saint John of Shanghai & San Francisco
 

Open to me the doors of repentance,
0 Giver of Life!


Repentance is expressed by the Greek word, metanoia. In the literal sense, this means a change of mind. In other words, repentance is a change of one's disposition, one's way of thinking; a change of one's inner self. Repentance is a reconsideration of one's views, an alteration of one's life.

How can this come about? In the same way that a dark room into which a man enters is illumined by the rays of the sun. Looking around the room in the dark, he can make out certain things, but there is a great deal he does not see and does not even suspect is there. Many things are perceived quite different from what they actually are. He has to move carefully, not knowing what obstacles he might encounter. When, however, the room becomes bright, he can see things clearly and move about freely.

The same thing happens in spiritual life.

When we are immersed in sins, and our mind is occupied solely with worldly cares, we do not notice the state of our soul. We are indifferent to who we are inwardly, and we persist along false path without being aware of it.

But then a ray of God's Light penetrates our soul. And what filth we see in ourselves! How much untruth, how much falsehood! How hideous many of our actions prove to be, which we fancied to be so wonderful. And it becomes clear to us which true path.

If we then recognize our spiritual nothingness, our sin and earnestly desire our amendment -- we are near to salvation. From the depths of our soul we shall cry out to God: Have mercy on me, 0 God, have mercy according to Thy Mercy!" "Forgive me and save me!" "Grant me to see my own faults and not to judge my brother!"
 
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« Reply #35 on: May 11, 2005, 08:40:49 PM »

"Through baptism we are enrolled as members of the Church.  However if we do not activate the grace of Baptism by the whole ascetic life which the Church has then we are not really members of it."

Metr. Hierotheos Vlachos
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« Reply #36 on: May 12, 2005, 12:26:43 PM »

In order to live a Christian life and sustain the spirit within us, private and communal prayers are essential. Just as it is necessary to add oil to an image-lamp so that it does not go out, so is it essential to attend church services and pray there with faith, understanding and fervor. Because through self-restraint a prayer becomes more sincere and fervent, it is necessary to live in moderation and to fast. Nothing extinguishes the spirit within us as quickly as immoderation, overindulgence and a dissipated way of life.
-St.John of Kronstadt
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« Reply #37 on: May 12, 2005, 02:10:25 PM »

"The life of the Church does away with every nationalistic tendency.  Of course we cannot do away with nations and the native lands but we can do away with nationalism, which is a heresy, a great danger to the Church of Christ."

Metr. Hierotheos Vlachos
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« Reply #38 on: May 12, 2005, 03:02:35 PM »

"Let us not expect the spiritual spring if we don't first pass through the spiritual winter durring which the spiritual vermin die.We mustn't expect the divine to blossom within us if the human hasn't first died."

Elder Paisios the Athonite
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« Reply #39 on: May 12, 2005, 03:17:50 PM »

Perhaps we should consider C.S. Lewis an honorary modern church father.  Afro
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« Reply #40 on: May 12, 2005, 05:02:44 PM »

The word of God is food for the soul. The word of God is both power and light for the soul. He who reads the word of God gives food, power and light to his soul. He who can, should read read the word of God in Holy Scripture, and he who cannot shold listen to him who reads Holy Scripture. All the saints emphasized the benefit of reading Holy Scripture. St Seraphim of Sarov says: "The soul should be provided with the word of God. For the word of God, as Gregory the Theologian says, is the bread of angels, which feeds the soul that is hungry for God. But, above all, one should read the New Testament and the Psalter. From this proceeds the illumination of the mind.... It is very beneficial to read the word of God in solitude and to read the entire Bible with understanding. The Lord gives His mercy to a man for endeavoring to do this, more than for other good deeds, and fill him with the gift of understanding. When a man provides his soul with the word of God, then he is filled with the understanding of good and evil."

Saint Nikolai Velimirovich
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« Reply #41 on: June 05, 2005, 03:01:50 AM »

"The Staretz began to understand the commandment , "Love thy neighbor as thyself' as something more than an ethical imperative.  In the word as he saw an indication, not of a required degree of love but of an ontological community of being."

Elder Sophrony of Essex concerning his Elder Saint Silouan
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« Reply #42 on: June 05, 2005, 04:57:39 AM »

"Do not read rebellious books or pamphlets that mention Church matters if you wish to be calm, since you are not responsible for such serious affairs.  You have need of books that will assist in your repentance.  If you want to help the Church, correct yourself, and immediately amendment is made to a small part of the Church.  Naturally, if everyone did this, then the Church would be put in order."

Elder Paisios the Athonite, Epistles page 42
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« Reply #43 on: June 06, 2005, 06:29:44 AM »

"True Christianity does not mean just having the right opinions about Christianity—this is not enough to save one’s soul. St. Tikhon (of Zadonsk) says: ‘If someone should say that true faith is the correct holding and confession of correct dogmas, he would be telling the truth, for a believer absolutely needs the Orthodox holding and confession of dogmas. But this knowledge and confession by itself does not make a man a faithful and true Christian. The keeping and confession of Orthodox dogmas is always to be found in true faith in Christ, but the true faith of Christ is not always to be found in the confession of OrthodoxyGǪ. The knowledge of correct dogmas is in the mind, and it is often fruitless, arrogant, and proudGǪ. The true faith in Christ is in the heart, and it is fruitful, humble, patient, loving, merciful, compassionate, hungering and thirsting for righteousness; it withdraws from worldly lusts and clings to God alone, strives and seeks always for what is heavenly and eternal, struggles against every sin, and constantly seeks and begs help from God for this."

Father Seraphim of Platina
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« Reply #44 on: June 07, 2005, 11:28:04 PM »

Thank you for posting these sayings, they warm the heart and teach the mind.
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