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Author Topic: Modern Church Fathers  (Read 39237 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 »

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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.

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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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« Reply #45 on: June 08, 2005, 12:18:45 AM »

"Not many believed in the witness of previous fathers; and this not because the testimony is false but because faith entails ascetic living."

Elder Sophrony
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« Reply #46 on: June 09, 2005, 02:38:36 AM »

"We must live in fear of that fire being quenched which impelled us to forsake the world and love the Lord."ÂÂ  

Saint Silouan the Athonite
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« Reply #47 on: June 11, 2005, 10:55:44 PM »

"Dogmatic differences, reduced to an issue of faith, leave the matter of love free and unchallenged; dogma does not set itself against love.... Christian love is constant, and for this reason the deformed faith of the heterodox cannot change our feelings of love towards them.... Issues of faith must in no way diminish the feeling of love."
St. Nectarios of Pentapolis
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« Reply #48 on: July 12, 2005, 10:13:04 AM »

For a list of modern Church fathers, I would suggest :

Vladimir Lossky for his "Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church"

and

Tito Colliander for his "Way of the Ascetics."


By the way, have these men been declared saints by the Orthodox Church?  If not, is there a move to do so?
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« Reply #49 on: July 12, 2005, 10:31:53 AM »

Vladimir Lossky, from "The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church," the chapter on "The Economy of the Holy Spirit":

"Now it is the divine life which is opened up within us in the Holy Spirit.  For He mysteriously identifies Himself with human persons whilst remaining incommunicable.  He substitues Himself, so to speak, for ourselves; for it is He who cries in our hearts Abba, Father! as St. Paul puts it.  We should say, rather, that the Holy Spirit effaces Himself, as Person, before the created persons to whom He appropriates grace.  In Him the will of God is no longer external to ourselves:  it confers grace inwardly, manifesting itself within our very person in so far as our human will remains in accord with the divine will and co-operates with it in acquiring grace, in making it ours.  This is the way of deification leading to the Kingdom of God which is introduced into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, even in this present life.  For the Holy Spirit is the sovereign unction resting upon the Christ and upon all Christians called to reign with Him in the age to come.  It is then that this divine Person, now unknown, not having His image in another Hypostatis, will manifest Himself in deified persons: for the multitude of saints will be His image. "

 
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« Reply #50 on: July 12, 2005, 10:36:18 AM »

Vladimir Lossky, from "The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church," from the introduction :

"The eastern tradition has never made a sharp distinction between mysticism and theology; between personal experience of the divine mysteries and the dogma affirmed by the Church."
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« Reply #51 on: July 12, 2005, 10:52:12 AM »

Tito Colliander, from "Way of the Ascetics," chapter 1:


"If you wish to save your soul and win eternal life, arise from your lethargy, make the sign of the Cross and say:  "In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen."

"Faith comes not through pondering but through action.  Not words and speculation but experience teaches us what God is.  To let in fresh air, we have to open a window; to get tanned, we must go out into the sunshine.  Achieving faith is no different; we never reach a goal by just sitting in comfort and waiting, say the holy Fathers.  Let the Prodigal Son be our example.  He arose and came (Luke 15:20)

"However weighted down and entangled in earthly fetters you may be, it can never be too late.  Not without reason is it written that Abraham was seventy-five when he set forth, and the laborer who comes in the eleventh hour gets the same wages as the one who comes in the first.

"Nor can it be too early.  A forest fire cannot be put out too soon; would you see your soul ravaged and charred?

"In baptism, you received the command to wage the invisibnle warefare against the enemies of your soul; take it up now.  Long have you dallied; sunk in indifference and laziness, you have let much valuable time go to waste.  Therefore, you must begin again from the beginning: for you have let the purity you received in baptism to be sullied in dire fashion.

"Arise, then; but do so at once, without delay.  Do not defer your purpose till "tonight" or "tomorrow" or "later, when I have finished what I have to do just now."  The interval may be fatal.

"No, this moment, the instant you make you resolution, you will show by your action that you have taken leave of your old self and have now begun a new life, with a new destination and a new way of living.  Arise, therefore, without fear and say:  "Lord, let me begin now.  Help me !"  For what we need above all is God's help.
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« Reply #52 on: July 23, 2005, 05:19:02 PM »

    “Now that conveniences have exceeded all bounds, they have become inconveniences. Machines have multiplied; distractions have also multiplied and man has been made into a machine. Machines and iron order men around, which is why their hearts have become as hard as steel.”

—Elder Paisios, from “The Return to God from Earth to Heaven”
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« Reply #53 on: August 19, 2005, 06:55:18 PM »

"Orthodox Christians must not rely on anything of this world. We cannot rely on the idea that we can create a paradise on earth by wise politics, strong armies, and economic welfare. It is all transient and temporary. We must not seek the peace of this world but the peace which can only be given to us by Christ."

-Abbot Teodosije of Dečani, taken from this interview http://www.kosovo.com/theodos.html
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« Reply #54 on: August 20, 2005, 06:48:52 AM »

"When our theology is not tied to the so-called hesychastic life, when it is not ascetic, then it is secular, it is scholastic theology, it is varlaamist theology -- even if we seem to be fighting western theology and struggle to be orthodox."

Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpatkos quoted from http://www.pelagia.org/htm/ar01.en.secularism_in_church.htm#s2b
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« Reply #55 on: August 29, 2005, 11:42:33 PM »

"Religion without power and mystery is not religion but philosophy.  It is simply secularism with sacred rituals.   For the person who has become infected with secularism, their understanding of mystery or of the supernatural tends to be psychological rather than spiritual.  It is heavily dependent on their rational perception.
While the intellect is a necessary partner in our quest for the truth, it has its limitations.  Even in this finite universe, our reason cannot penetrate the mystery of infinity or the natural laws that govern the microscopic world of the atom.  Who can understand the origin of life?" - Hieromartyr Valentin Sventsitsky  in "Living Theology" Pokrov Press.
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« Reply #56 on: October 23, 2005, 12:22:34 AM »

Thank you all so much for these quotes!
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« Reply #57 on: November 18, 2005, 09:39:22 AM »

This is a wonderful wonderful thread! Thanks so much!

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« Reply #58 on: December 08, 2006, 03:02:27 PM »

"What is a more beautiful example [of obedience] than that of the Lord Jesus?  Didn't obedience towards His Father lead Him to the Cross and death?  Couldn't He, being of one essence with the Father, have opposed this?  But no, He walked with sweat; He fell to His knees with pain beneath the weight of cutting off His will as He ascended Golgotha.  But He had to ascend it, reach the top, be lifted up on the glorious-- and to the demons, dreadful-- Cross, and there on it show perfect and absolute obedience and receive the unfading crown of eternal glory.  This is how the resurrection of our soul is gained, and not be vascillating between obedience and disobedience with self-will.  The crown is not acquired like that, but by a willingness to sacrifice.  All obstacles are surmounted by the strong thought of preferring to die rather than betray the obedience of doing one's duty."
-- Elder Ephraim, Counsels from the Holy Mountain
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« Reply #59 on: December 08, 2006, 03:07:47 PM »

"Always remember death; meditating on it should become a rule of life for you.  What a struggle the soul has when it separates from the body, when the books are opened and people's hidden deeds revealed!  How much it sighs then, how much it weeps, but it has no help except from good deeds it has done... Weep bitterly if you want to find consolation in the distressing hour of death.  Bear in mind the dreadful tribunal... Even the saints feared this hour; how much more so should we?"
-- Elder Ephraim, Counsels from the Holy Mountain
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« Reply #60 on: December 08, 2006, 03:19:26 PM »

"You can give people a penance to give alms, but do not give anyone wealthy such a penance, since someone who has full pockets may feel as if he can throw a wad of bills down on the table and say, 'OK! I'm set for salvation!'  These people who are wealthy have to know that the Kingdom of God is not purchased with money.  Instead of giving them a penance that involves almsgiving, tell them to fast more, make prostrations, or keep vigil.  They will have to labor and strive in these things, and these efforts are rewarded by God.  Those who are struggling financially are the ones that need to give alms; they need to work very long and hard in order to earn enough to meet their most basic needs, and thus their sacrifice of giving alms receives a greater blessing from God."
-- Elder Cleopa of Sihastria, quoted in Elder Cleopa of Sihastria: In the Tradition of St. Paisius Velichkovsky
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« Reply #61 on: May 14, 2007, 06:20:18 PM »

"Christianity brings together three fundamental truths. First of all, the Bible and the Church both proclaim the truth of, what I would call, "the experience of Creation." Oh, I am not speaking now about how creation was revealed through seven days, through proteins, or exactly how old Adam was when he was created, things like that. Those things are absolutely not important. What is important — when we say "Creation," is revealed every evening when we sing Psalm 104, "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless His holy name..." This is the affirmation of the essential goodness of the world — the Divine Image in it. "The heavens proclaim Thy glory!" Maybe the authors of Bible had no traumatic experiences? Maybe they had never gone through psychological nervous breakdowns? Of course people in this world have always suffered. How then did that Book appear, which is one endless hymn of Doxology, of glorification?

This is the first affirmation: Everything is good. The Greek fathers say, "Don’t you ever dare to say the devil is bad. He is bad by behavior, but he is good by nature." Or else, you go back to the dualism of the extreme "good god/bad god." The devil is the most perfect creation of God. That is why he became so powerful and so bad, ontologically speaking.

Now, the second affirmation: This world is fallen. Not because of one little transgression — that famous apple. (Why apple? I don’t know who decided that the forbidden fruit was an apple. I have tried to find out, but I never could.) The world has rejected goodness, has rejected first of all, God, who is goodness. And, therefore, the whole world is fallen — not just some things in the world. Not, for instance, extramarital love as opposed to marital love, or cognac as opposed to tomato juice: the whole world is fallen. Marriage is fallen. And tomato juice is fallen, not only bourbon. Everything has become fallen. The best religion is first among the most fallen things of all! Because religion replaces joy about God with calculations: how many candles, how many dollars, how many rules, how many commandments, how many Fathers, how many sacraments, how many?... — "Numerical theology." So, everything is fallen. Everything has become darkened. And here the Orthodox Christian would immediately say: "Yes, the world is sick, mutilated, fundamentally mutilated by sin. But, it still sings the divine glory! It is still capable of God!"

And finally, the third affirmation: The world is redeemed. But it is redeemed not in order to guarantee success, even of the excellent fiscal policy of Dr. Stockman. It is redeemed not in order to assure that we will have "tomorrows that sing." The redemption occurs now, right now. This is Christian eschatology. It is not only an eschatology of the future. Yes, every day, many times a day, we say: "Thy Kingdom come." And it comes now. That famous French formula, Metro, boulot, dodo, is exactly what is being redeemed. Redemption does not mean the replacement of all those inevitable mundane things with meaningful jobs. What job is meaningful, by the way? Every job, which has had three Mondays in its history, already becomes meaningless, or at least to some extent oppressive. Redemption means exactly that of which St. John writes in his epistle: "That which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life — the eternal life which was made manifest to us." And this is the paradox, the antinomy, the message, which Christians could not endure because it was too much for them. It is much easier to have a little religion of the past, present and future, of commandments and prescriptions. Of saying that God did not love the world; He loved the good things in the world. He loved people who did go to church. He loved people who contributed (although it is tax-deductible, but still it is good that they contribute), and so on and so forth. Redemption means that the Kingdom which is to come has already come, it is in the midst of us.

The great drama of redemption takes place all the time. And this point of view, this eschatology, this doctrine, this faith in the ultimate is what the early church held together. The church was persecuted. She was denied. The Roman Empire said to Christians: "You cannot exist." But read the early Christian prayers, and you will see that they are cosmic, they are historic. Nero! My goodness, what a horrible guy he was! And at that time Paul writes to Timothy and says, "Pray first of all . . . for kings and for all that are in authority." (1 Tim. 2:2) He does not say, "Picket!" He does not say, "Go to—!" He says, "Pray for them." Why? Because the church is not a little forum for social reforms. It introduces, it reiterates the single fact that the history of the world’s redemption, for which we are responsible, takes place in our hearts, and that Kingdom, that light, which comes to us, is the only power left with us — the realized, inaugurated eschatology of the Kingdom and, at the same time, the real knowledge of the Kingdom. The knowledge that nothing is solved by recipes and therapies, but, when a man decides to know the truth of all things, he, like Saint Anthony of the Desert, the great father of monasticism, turns to God. Anthony went to the desert and asked God for the ability to see the devil always. Because the devil always takes the form of an angel of light. The devil is always one who says something sentimental, nice, good. And finally God gave Anthony the ability to see the devil. And then, while still within the dimensions of human existence, for the saint this world became the Kingdom.

This ultimate experience of the Kingdom holds together that, which I call the "triune intuition"— created, fallen, redeemed. Created: it means good. It means that the foundation of everything, which we question in our utopianism and our escapism, is good. However, everything can also be bad. Systems? Metro, boulot, dodo? But perhaps all systems are merely caricatures of that which truly is the fate of man? Someone would come to me and say: "I can’t take a meaningless life. The subways, the beds, the breakfasts, the venison, and so on and so forth..." And I would reply: Christ couldn’t take it either. He died on the cross. And Paul said: "Whether you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Cor. 10:31) The other day, I was preaching in Montreal, and one man came up to me and said: "Thank you for teaching me that I can read even the Wall Street Journal to the glory of God." Yes, of course you can. The glory of God is not only in Mr. Ralph Nader's office, believe me. It is wherever a man wants it to be.

There is this intuition of the created, and then — of the fallen world. Let’s be realistic. Let us not subscribe to the idea that just one more institute, one more think tank, one more discovery, one more therapy and finally evil will be taken care of. Evil is here, all around us. But, we don’t have to panic. We do not have to immediately go overboard and escape, no! I recall that little 16-year-old French boy who was playing ball, and some Jesuit came up and said: "You are playing ball! Suppose Christ were to come back today. What would you do?" And the boy answered: "Play ball." He did not think there was anything wrong with playing ball.

Sometimes, I feel like I joined a kind of metaphysical Peace Corps made out of Christianity. Very often in Geneva, when I used to go to ecumenical meetings, I heard the expression "churches, synagogues, and other agencies." I was not baptized into an agency. And I think that everyone is free not to be part of an agency. Keep me out of it.

And so, there is this vision of the created, fallen, and redeemed world. Until this triune vision broke apart, there was no way for our culture, which is rooted in the Gospel, to either go all the way into utopianism or all the way into escapism. And today, the real intellectual and spiritual work that we, Christians, face is not simply to choose either Utopia or Escape. It is not to sell religion as a little Valium, a holy Valium pill. Our real challenge is to recover that, which I call the fundamental Christian eschatology. Whatever the Other World is (and we know nothing about it) this Other World is first of all revealed to us here and now. Nowhere else, but here. If we do not know it today, we will never discover it. If we cannot find the Kingdom of God, I repeat again, in Chicago, Wilmington, Times square, and so on, we will never find it anywhere else. If you think we can find it somewhere in Transvaal, and you are rich enough, go there. And you will find that it is no different there from what it is here.

When my friend, the sociologist Peter Berger, recently criticized the modern idea that Paradise is always somewhere very far from Manhattan, from factories, but somehow it is always found in a commune in northern Vermont, where we bake our own bread and have children in common, — he said: "Sorry, ladies and gentlemen, when God speaks of the symbol for His Kingdom, that Kingdom is a city, not a little farm in Vermont." And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, descending from heaven. (Rev.21:2) And Jerusalem is of course a city.

The fundamental Christian eschatology has been destroyed by either the optimism leading to the Utopia, or by the pessimism leading to the Escape. If there are two heretical words in the Christian vocabulary, they would be "optimism" and "pessimism." These two things are utterly anti-biblical and anti-Christian.

It is for us, Christians, to reconstruct this unique faith, in which there are no illusions, no illusions at all, about the evil. We simply cannot afford a cheap faith that just requires from us to give up smoking and drinking, a small religion that promises that you just quit drinking coffee and tomorrow will start singing. Our faith is not based on anything except on these two fundamental revelations: God so loved the world, and: The fallen world has been secretly, mysteriously redeemed.

We are people of a certain tradition, of a certain culture. I do not speak about a specific religious heritage of our culture, the cathedrals of Chartres, of Notre Dame, or about great religious poetry. I am speaking about the unique culture, about the reality, and about the faith that produced people like Dante and Shakespeare and Dostoevsky, the faith in which all that I am trying to say is perfectly expressed: there is real evil, and there is real good. There is the world, which is loveable, and there is the world, which is hateful. There are vertical and horizontal dimensions of human life. Nothing is betrayed. Nothing is mutilated. When there is joy, that joy is full. When there is sadness, that sadness if full. Life cannot be reduced to those psychological gravies and all kinds of similar things. I really feel that the only true kind of religion is the religion, which is cosmic, religion, which does not deny the Fall. Religion, which bears witness to not only the belief in, but also the experience of the redemption that takes place here and now. And this belief and experience will condemn, as two heresies, both utopianism and escapism.

"When the Son of Man comes back, will He find faith on earth?"(Lk. 18:Cool Maybe we are headed for a catastrophe. It is not for the Christian church to guarantee that everything will be bigger and better. This is utopianism. On the other hand, we have to also exclude escapism as a betrayal of God, who so loved the world. These two realities — the fallen world that was created good — must be kept together, antinomically. This is the conditio sine qua non, which the Christians always were able to find in the very acts by which the Church was defined. One was the proclamation of the Good News — evangelion. And the other one was the Sacrament of Thanksgiving. That great eucharistia, thanksgiving, which teaches us: You want to understand what something is? Of course, you can buy a dictionary, or you can buy an encyclopedia. You want to know what the human body is? Buy, of course, a book of anatomy, etc. But if you really want to know what anything in this world is, start by thanking God for it. Then you will not fall into the heresy of reducing: man — to economy and to sex, nature — to determinism. Then you will know that man became man, not because he invented the wheel, — important as it may have been. Not because he is the Homo Sapiens, or because he discovered the logic of Aristotle. But, he became man when he became Homo Adoratus, the man who gives thanks. The man who is not saying to God, I am entitled to it, it is my constitutional right to always have this or that. It is the man who, by thanking God, all of a sudden, exclaims: "Heaven and earth are full of Thy Glory." If only we will return — from our lapse, from our confession, from our morbidity, or from our cheap optimism — to the spiritual oxygen of that cosmical thanksgiving, which provides for us the terms of reference, the context of our existence, which transforms that famous Metro, boulot, dodo! If only we could recover that — and, my goodness, no resources are missing, — we would be not passive followers of that growing polarization: either Utopia or Escape (and by "we" I mean believers, for whom God is still a Reality). We would be active participants in the constant process of saving the world, the world, which God has created, the world, which has fallen, the world, which is being redeemed — by those who believe in redemption."

Protopresbyter Fr. Alexander Schmemann, "Between Utopia and Escape"
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« Reply #62 on: September 23, 2007, 08:35:32 AM »

God bless!+

"If strict perseverance in Tradition does not entail the deadening of the Church, but on the contrary is absolutely necessary for the preservation and fruitfulness of the life of the Church, as much again the disregard for and even partial abandonment of Tradition entails the slackening of her life and her gradual decomposition."

 Dr. Constantine Cavarnos, Orthodox Tradition and Modernism

"The followers of unenlightened custom are themselves innocent; they merely accept what has been 'handed down' to them. But not seeing the meaning and not knowing the sources of what has been handed down, they are easily led into error, accepting customs which the Church has allowed only out of her condescension or economy as if they were the best of Orthodoxy, and also improper customs of recent heterodox origin and inspiration, together with the pure and meaningful Orthodox customs handed down from the Holy Fathers. Under strict yet prudent pastors, such people can be guided in the true path of Orthodoxy; but in our own time of such widespread irresponsible Church leadership, these people are more often guided gradually into a path of ever greater and more senseless innovation and reform, the clearest example of which is perhaps the Greek Archdiocese of America, where pews, organs, and Uniat spirituality and theology have become the new 'customs' of an unfortunate people whose Orthodoxy has been stolen from it....

"Today the situation of Orthodoxy is rather different, and much worse, than it was in the time of the Elder Paisius. In place of the veneer of paganism and Latinism which never actually touched the heart of Orthodoxy, we have today a prevailing atmosphere of modernist heterodoxy and senseless "keeping up with the times" which has pierced the very heart of some Orthodox Churches so deeply that they will doubtless never recover, and their children are deprived of Orthodoxy without even knowing what they have lost."

 Father Seraphim Rose in his Introduction to Blessed Paisius Velichkovsky.

"The Sunday evening lecture on Victories of the Orthodox Church over Innovations and Heresies had a mixed reaction from the faithful. Many of the Greek Orthodox and Antiochean Orthodox who were in attendance thought this Homily (Lecture) was too long or too theological, and beyond their understanding. A deeper investigation revealed that those who complained about the Lecture truly did not agree with the message and were even offended that Dr. Cavarnos criticized some of the Orthodox hierarchy. Also, they had never heard of these Innovations and Heresies that they have grown to accept and love. No priest or Bishop had ever made them aware of these Innovations."

Dr. Constantine Cavarnos
 
In CHRIST
 
 
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« Reply #63 on: October 17, 2007, 10:22:55 PM »

"There is an entire world full of people who are continually doing things, questioning, amusing themselves, and scrounging about, whose every way in all of this has led to a system, placed everyone under it's laws, made these laws a necessity for everyone who belongs to this sphere.  In this common alliance, they inevitably come into contact, rub up against each other, and in this rubbing succeed in elevating inquisitiveness, self-interest, and self-pleasure to the tenth, hundredth and thousandth degree, thereby placing all happiness, joy and life in this frenzy.  This is the world of vanity, in which occupations, ways, rule, connections, language, diversions, amusements, concepts--everything, from the smallest to the greatest thing--are permeated by the spirit of these three fiends of many cares and trouble mentioned above.  It is what constitutes the dreary going around in circles by the spirits of worldly people.  Being in living communion with this entire world, each sinner is caught up in its thousandfold net, and is so deeply entangled in it that it is invisible to him."

St. Theophan the Recluse  1802 - 1894 +Memory Eternal
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« Reply #64 on: October 17, 2007, 10:31:08 PM »

"If we truly believe that which is written in the Holy Scripture, we must honor and respect the Mother of the Lord, for Scripture tells us that all generations of nations will bless her for the glory with which God adorned her."

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« Reply #65 on: October 20, 2007, 11:33:14 PM »

The evil one cannot comprehend the joy we receive from the spiritual life; for this reason he is jealous of us, he envies us and sets traps for us, and we become grieved and fall. We must struggle, because without struggles we do not obtain virtues.

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« Reply #66 on: October 27, 2007, 07:21:04 PM »

Really great thread.  I enjoyed reading the quotes. 
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« Reply #67 on: October 28, 2007, 06:22:30 AM »

Welcome to OC.net, Perspacitos.
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« Reply #68 on: March 02, 2008, 11:04:37 PM »




Link broken pending administrator approval to comply with forum policies regarding blog links in posts:  http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,13455.msg186146.html#msg186146

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« Reply #69 on: March 03, 2008, 02:24:34 PM »

"Those of you who earn your bread by means of your toil and sweat should rejoice, because that bread is blessed; and if you give a little of it as alms it is reckoned as much. But those who live by means of injustice and grasping should mourn, for what you thus acquire is cursed; and if you give alms out of these they do not benefit you at all, being fire that consumes you. "-St. Kosmas the Aitolan
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« Reply #70 on: November 02, 2008, 05:45:48 AM »

"The Orthodox Church teaches the doctrine of transubstantiation without going into any scientific or Roman Catholic explanation. The technical word which She uses for the sublime act of the priest by Christ's authority to consecrate is 'transmuting' (Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom). She, as I have said, offers no explanation, but She believes and confesses that Christ, the Son of the living God Who came into the world to save sinners, is of a truth in His 'all-pure Body' and 'precious Blood' (Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom) objectively present, and to be worshiped in that Sacrament as He was on earth and is now in risen and glorified majesty in Heaven; and that 'the precious and holy and life-giving Body and Blood of Our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ are imparted' (to each soul that comes to that blessed Sacrament) 'Unto the remission of sins, and unto life everlasting' (Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom)." - St. Raphael of Brooklyn
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« Reply #71 on: November 05, 2008, 11:09:53 PM »

"In the same way a Christian in the strict sense is he only who confesses the true doctrine of Christ and lives in accordance with it. The designation of a Christian consists in glorifying the Heavenly Father by one's life. 'Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven' (Matt. 5:16). But true glorification of God is possible only if one rightly believes and expresses his right belief in words and deeds. Therefore true Christianity and it alone may be named "right-glorifying" (Ortho-doxy). By the word 'Orthodoxy' we confess our firm conviction that it is precisely our Faith that is the true doctrine of Christ. When we call anyone or anything Orthodox, we by this very fact indicate his or its non-counterfeit and uncorrupted Christianity, rejecting at the same time that which falsely appropriates the name of Christ." - Saint John of Shanghai and San Francisco
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« Reply #72 on: October 29, 2009, 04:20:05 AM »

A monk must be extremely cautious of carnal and animal zeal, which outwardly appears pious but in reality is foolish and harmful to the soul. Worldly people and many living the monastic life, through ignorance and inexperience, often praise such zeal without understanding that it springs from conceit and pride.  They extol this zeal as zeal for the faith, for piety, for the Church, for God.  It consists in a more or less harsh condemnation and criticism of one's neighbours in their moral faults, and in faults against good order in  church and in the performance of the church services.  Deceived by a wrong conception of zeal, these imprudent zealots think that by yielding themselves to it they are imitating the holy fathers and holy martyrs, forgetting that they--the zealots--are not saints, but sinners.

If the saints accused or convicted those who were living in sin or irreligion, they did so at the command of God as their duty, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, not at the instigation of their passions and demons.  Whoever decides of his own self-will to convict his brother or make some reprimand, clearly betrays and proves that he considers himself more prudent and virtuous than the person he blames, and that he is acting at the instigation of passion and deception and diabolic thoughts.  We need to remember the Saviour's injunction: "Why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye', when there is a log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye. (Matt 7:3-5)

--St. Ignatius (Brianchaninov), The Arena: An Offering to Contemporary Monasticism, (Holy Trinity Monastery, 1997), p. 140
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« Reply #73 on: November 21, 2009, 03:37:41 AM »

A pilgrim once asked the Elder [Paisios] the following:
“ Elder, I am confused because some members of the Church state obedience is the most important virtue whilst others say prayer. Some Fathers of the Church state that it is love. As a result I am confused as to what Christ requires of us.
The Elder responded as follows:
"A pre-condition for acquiring any virtue is not to have your own will but rather to totally, unconditionally and voluntarily submit it to God and your fellow man. It is then that Divine Inspiration guides one in life and simultaneously also acquires virtues. The situation is like a rocket that is ready for a mission into space. The countdown begins so that when zero is reached the rocket blasts off. In a likewise manner, when our own will reaches zero, then we take off spiritually."
Thus, the Elder was trying to emphasise humility as the mother of all virtues. That is, from humility one can acquire all the other virtues, with God’s help.
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« Reply #74 on: November 21, 2009, 03:39:39 AM »

St. Theophan the Recluse
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« Reply #75 on: November 21, 2009, 04:00:56 AM »

St. Theophan the Recluse

This is typically a thread for actual quotes....did you have any quotes from Ven. Theophan to share??
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« Reply #76 on: November 21, 2009, 04:33:30 AM »


This is typically a thread for actual quotes....did you have any quotes from Ven. Theophan to share??

Oops...apologies!  Embarrassed

How about this:
 
"The prince of this world has an entire horde of servile spirits of malice that are subordinate to him. At each instant they scurry along every boundary of the inhabited world to sow various things in different places, deepen entanglement in the net of sins, repair traps that have become weak and broken, and especially to guard against anyone who might take it into his mind to rid himself of his bonds and escape to freedom. In the latter case, they hurriedly gather around the self-willed person. First they come one by one, then by detachments and legions until finally, the entire horde is there. This happens in various ways and forms so as to block all exits and mend the strands and nets, and using the other analogy, to push back into the abyss any person who has begun to crawl out along its steep slopes."

(St. Theophan the Recluse, "Path to Salvation" pg. 98 )
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« Reply #77 on: February 16, 2010, 03:35:16 AM »

"The soul can't find rest through worldy considerations, that is, in luxury, relaxation, welfare. The soul can't find rest in there, which is why we see people who have all those yet they have no rest nor joy. So in order to find joy and rest, our soul must love God. In order to love God -for a man to love God- he must believe His Gospel; the whole Gospel, not a part of the Gospel, not some chapters of the Gospel, but the whole Gospel. And in order for a man to believe the whole Gospel of God, he must be released from material things. And in order for a man to be released from material things, he mustn't love those. The man who is acquisitive is a slave of passions. In order to bridle our passions, we must be merciful. The merciful person gives from what he has earned by his hard work, by his sweat, not by iniquities. Every merciful man must be righteous, because if he is not righteous, then he is blind, he can't see, because it is not possible to steal and injure other people in order to give alms."

Elder Paisios.
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« Reply #78 on: April 24, 2010, 01:18:00 AM »

"Only in the Lord Christ, the Theanthropos, has man for the first time felt himself to be a completely unified, triune being. He has found, in this godlike triunity, the unity of his being, along with godlike immortality and eternal life. This is why eternal life consists in the knowledge of the Triune God (cf. Jn. 17:3). Conforming to the Triune Godhead, being filled with all the fullness of God (Col. 2:9-10; Eph. 3:19), becoming perfect even as God is perfect (Matt. 5:48); this is our calling, the hope of our calling, a holy calling (2 Tim 1:9), a heavenly calling (Heb. 3:1), the calling of God (Phil. 3:14; Eph. 1:18; Rom. 11:29)." - St. Justin Popovich, The Orthodox Church and Ecumenism, p. 11
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« Reply #79 on: April 26, 2010, 10:12:04 PM »

I pulled these quotes from various books by Saint Justin Popovich tonight, and figured I'd post them here as well...

"All the truths of Orthodoxy emerge from one truth and converge in one truth, infinite and eternal. That truth is the God-man Christ. If you experience any truth of Orthodoxy to its limit, you will inevitably discover that its kernel is the God-man Christ. In fact, all the truths of Orthodoxy are nothing other than different aspects of the one Truth--the God-man Christ. Orthodoxy is Orthodoxy by reason of the God-man, and not be reason of anything else or anyone else. Hence another name for Orthodoxy is God-manhood." ( Man and the God-Man, p. 13)

"If truth were anything but Christ the Theanthropos, it would be puny, deficient, transient and mortal. It would be such if it were a concept, or an idea, a theory, a scheme, reason, science, philosophy, culture, man or humanity, the world or all the worlds, or anyone or anything, or all these together. But the Truth is the Person of Christ the Theanthropos, and is therefore perfect, everlasting, and eternal. In the Lord Christ, Truth and Life are of the same essence; eternal Truth and eternal Life (cf. Jn. 14:6; 1:4, 17). He who believes in the Lord Christ continually grows by His Truth into its divine infinity; grows with all his being, his mind, heart and soul. Thus he lives constantly by Christ's Truth, as it constitutes life itself in Christ. Life in Christ is life in truth (Eph. 4:15), a constant abiding with all our being in the truth of Christ." (The Orthodox Church and Ecumenism, p. 27)

"The ever-living personality of God-human Christ is precisely the Church. The Church is always personality, God-human body and spirit. The definition of Church, her life, her purpose, her spirit, her plan, her ways, all tehse are given in the wondrous Person of God-human Christ. Hence, the mission of the Church is to make every one of her faithful, organically and in person, one with the Person of Christ; to turn their sense of self into a sense of Christ, and their self-knowledge (self-awareness) into Christ-knowledge (Christ-awareness); for their life to become the life in Christ and for Christ; their personality to become personlity in Christ and for Christ; that within them might live not they themselves but Christ in them (Gal. 2:20). The mission of the Church is still to bring about in her members the conviction that the proper state of human personhood is composed of immortality and eternity and not of the realm of time and mortality... and the conviction that man is a wayfarer who is wending his way in the sway of time and mortality towards immortality and all eternity." (Orthodox Faith and Life in Christ, p. 23)

"'Ye are God's building' (1 Cor. 3:9). A Christian builds the Church by every gift that he is given by grace, every virtue, every ascetic endeavor (cf 1 Cor. 14:4-5, 12, 26). We all grow heavenwards through the Church and each of us grows through all, and all through each. Each and every one of us is therefore directed towards these good tidings and this command: to make 'the increase of the body [the Church] unto the edifying of [itself] in love' (Eph. 4:16). The edifying, upbuilding force is provided by all the holy mysteries and virtues. With love in the first place: love builds, 'charity edifies' (1 Cor. 8:1)". (The Orthodox Church and Ecumenism, pp. 19-20)
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« Reply #80 on: December 23, 2010, 03:03:07 PM »

The information which you have given for modern fathers are nice also beneficial for me and also for others who wants to know this. I liked and very much impressed by this. I like only the thing that there living changes not their behaviour changes.
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« Reply #81 on: December 23, 2010, 08:56:22 PM »

The information which you have given for modern fathers are nice also beneficial for me and also for others who wants to know this. I liked and very much impressed by this. I like only the thing that there living changes not their behaviour changes.

We're always happy to encourage you in the fdgbdf faith.
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« Reply #82 on: January 13, 2011, 05:23:34 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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Why should we not include elders who are women? Mother Maria Skobtsova was one of the wisest of the modern age, to name but one.
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« Reply #83 on: January 13, 2011, 06:23:16 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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Why should we not include elders who are women? Mother Maria Skobtsova was one of the wisest of the modern age, to name but one.
Because we already have a separate thread for Church mothers.
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« Reply #84 on: January 13, 2011, 08:23:36 PM »

"the part that makees me afraid is that people are supposed to see christ when they look back at me...." Fr Ivan mackillop
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« Reply #85 on: January 14, 2011, 02:20:33 AM »

I ask a sensual man: "Who are you? And he replies: "I am I".- and is thinking of his body.
I ask a thinking man: "Who are you?" And he replies: "I see two sides in myself, and I make my way between them, associating first with one and then with the other." And he is thinking of his instinctive and conscious soul.
I ask a spiritual man: "Who are you?" And he replies: "There is someone in the depths of my soul. I stretch out my hand to grasp him, but see that, so do so, I would need arms longer than the universe. Ask Him who I am."

                                                                                – St. Nikolai Velimirovic
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« Reply #86 on: February 13, 2011, 11:35:41 PM »

Τι ειρωνία αδελφοι μου. Ακομα και ο διαβολος ο πατερας της αμαρτιας, δεν εχει ποτε βλασφημίσει το ονομα Του Κυριου μας. ΠΟΤΕ!
Αντίθετα τον προσκυνεί και φρίττει προστα Του. Εμεις συχνότατα και με την σκεψη και με τα λογια και με τις πράξεις μας !
Ημαρτον Κυριε . Ημαρτον!

"What irony my Brethren! Even the devil, the father of sin, has never blasphemed the Name of Our Lord. NEVER! Instead he falls down and trembles before Him. We, however, frequently and thoughtlessly do so both with our words and our deeds!
I have sinned Lord! I have sinned!"


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« Reply #87 on: March 10, 2011, 04:19:13 PM »

"Living in the Theanthropic body of the Church, 'with all the saints,' man gradually becomes theanthropised through the holy mysteries and the holy virtues. He is carried by the joy of the holy proclamation and precept of Saint Basil the Great: 'Man is a being who has been ordered to become God.' ...By theanthropising himself through and in the Church, man returns to the likeness to God that he had before he sinned, spledidly bringing it to completion with the divine beauty of likeness to Christ (Gal. 4:19; 3:27; Rom. 8:29)." - St. Justin Popovich, The Orthodox Church and Ecumenism, p. 141
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« Reply #88 on: April 02, 2011, 01:42:41 AM »

"Seek God daily. But seek Him in your heart, not outside it. And when you find Him, stand with fear and trembling, like the Cherubim and the Seraphim, for your heart has become a throne of God. But in order to find God, become humble as dust before the Lord, for the Lord abhors the proud, whereas He visits those that are humble in heart, wherefore He says: 'To whom will I look, but to him that is meek and humble in heart?'" - St. Nectarios of Aegina
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« Reply #89 on: May 03, 2011, 12:20:07 AM »

"I agree with much of what you say," said Father Arseny, "but I want to add that spiritual illness is frightening because under the influence of dark powers it is contagious and can spread like an epidemic... Demonic evil spreads like an epidemic with the help of books, newspapers, magazines, radio programs, but mostly with the rapidly spreading influence of television. All this enters the home of people and poisons the soul of a child, a youngster or an adult."

--Father Arseny: A Cloud of Witnesses, p. 40
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« Reply #90 on: May 06, 2011, 08:31:06 PM »

"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, O 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!'"

--St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco
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« Reply #91 on: May 06, 2011, 11:45:24 PM »

"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, O 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!'"

--St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco

Beautiful quote, yes coming closer to God does make sin much more clearer.
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« Reply #92 on: June 08, 2011, 02:28:57 AM »

"Have you ever seen burial shrouds with pockets? All remains here."
Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain.
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« Reply #93 on: July 28, 2011, 03:24:47 AM »

"We can never see the state of our soul in all its nakedness or vividly realize its danger without the special grace and help of God, because the interior of our soul is always hidden from us by our self-love, prejudices, passions, worldly cares, delusions. And if it sometimes seems to us that we see the state of our soul ourselves, yet we see it only superficially and no more than our own reason and conscience can show us." - St. Innocent of Alaska, Indication of the Way into the Kingdom of Heaven
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« Reply #94 on: July 31, 2011, 11:00:29 PM »

"Prayer is truly a heavenly armor, and is alone can keep safe those who have dedicated themselves to God. Prayer is the common medicine for purifying ourselves from the passions, for hindering sin and curing our faults. Prayer is an inexhaustible treasure, an unruffled harbor, the foundation of serenity,the root and mother of myriads of blessings." - St. Nektarios of Aegina
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« Reply #95 on: August 04, 2011, 05:44:48 PM »

We faithful have a great weapon – this is the power of the Life-Giving Cross. Thank how terrifying it become for unbelievers; they are completely helpless. It is as if a person set out completely unarmed into the thick forest at night. Yes, the first beast he came across would tear him up, and he would have nothing to defend himself with. But we will not be afraid of the demons! The power of the Sign of the Cross and name of Jesus is terrifying to the enemies of Christ, and saves us from the evil nets of the demons.
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« Reply #96 on: August 04, 2011, 05:52:37 PM »

Just fyi, there's a separate thread for modern Church Fathers. Perhaps an unnecessary distinction, but what's the point in nit picking? Smiley
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« Reply #97 on: August 04, 2011, 05:56:50 PM »

Just fyi, there's a separate thread for modern Church Fathers. Perhaps an unnecessary distinction, but what's the point in nit picking? Smiley

This is that thread. Tongue Smiley
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« Reply #98 on: August 04, 2011, 05:59:39 PM »

Just fyi, there's a separate thread for modern Church Fathers. Perhaps an unnecessary distinction, but what's the point in nit picking? Smiley

This is that thread. Tongue Smiley

ROFL. Excuse me while I grab a towel...

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« Reply #99 on: August 04, 2011, 06:13:47 PM »

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

-+ô+¦-ü-î++-ä+¦-é +á+¦-è-â+¦++-é

Wise words, that.
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« Reply #100 on: September 01, 2011, 02:51:13 PM »

The demonic hosts tremble when they see the Cross, for by the Cross the kingdom of hell was destroyed. They do not dare to draw near to anyone who is guarded by the Cross. The whole human race, by the death of Christ on the Cross, received deliverance from the authority of the devil, and everyone who makes use of this saving weapon is inaccessible to the demons. When legions of demons appeared to St. Anthony the Great and other desert-dwellers, they guarded themselves with the Sign of the Cross, and the demons vanished. When they appeared to Saint Symeon the Stylite, who was standing on his pillar, what seemed to be a chariot to carry him to heaven, the Saint, before mounting it, crossed himself; it disappeared and the enemy, who had hoped to cast down the ascetic from the height of his pillar, was put to shame. One cannot enumerate all the separate examples of the manifestation of the power of the Cross in various incidents. Invisibly and unceasingly there gushes from it the Divine grace that saves the world.

-- St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco, The Cross Preserves the Universe
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« Reply #101 on: September 03, 2011, 03:48:38 PM »

After this perception [ie. using the eyes to see the world] the mind, by exercising its rational thought, can wonder at the order, the size, the beauty, the light, and all the other attributes of the sky. And in all of these, the contemplative man can see the wisdom, the creativity, the power, and the beauty of him who created it. He can thus reason and so: If the sky which is created is so beautiful, so full of light, how much more beautiful and more luminous is the Creator of the sky? On this point St. Dionysius said: "For essentially the effects are present, standing clearly before their causes." And so the mind climbs as high as it possibly can to the knowledge of the Creator, and with this knowledge the mind excites the heart and the will to love this Creator.

St. Basil encourages us to think such thoughts and through them to rise from the visible to the invisible and from the ephemeral to the eternal. He wrote: "If these ephemeral things are so wonderful, how much more are the eternal? And if the visible are so good, how much more good are the invisible? If the magnitude of heaven goes beyond the ability of human reason to measure, which mind  can discern the nature of the divine things? If the physical sun that is subject to corruption is so beneficial, so great, so quick to move and establish the oderly seasons, and if one does not tire of looking upon it, how much more beautiful is the Sun of Righteousness? And if it is a loss even for a blind man not to see the sun, how much greater is the loss for the sinner who is deprived of the true light?"

-- St. Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain, A Handbook of Spiritual Counsel
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« Reply #102 on: September 03, 2011, 03:58:16 PM »

In addition to its own efforts to nourish itself spiritually, the mind also attempts as much as possible to bring back the senses toward the mind so that they too may enjoy with it spiritual pleasures and thus become accustomed gradually to prefer them. This is how it happened before with the mind when it became accustomed through the senses to prefer physical pleasures. At first, generally speaking, the body attempted through the senses and the physical pleasures to make the mind and the spirit of man into flesh. On the contrary now, the mind seeks purposely through the enjoyment of the immaterial and spiritual realities to uplift the body also from its physical heaviness, and in a sense to make it into spirit, as St. Maximos has witnessed in many of his writings. Here is one example:

"When desire is added to the sense perception, it becomes a passion of pleasure procuring for itself a specific image. When the sense is moved by desire it again makes the perception it receives into a passion of pleasure. When the soul is attracted against its very nature toward matter through the body, it insinuates upon itself the earthly form. Knowing this, the saints seek to move toward God through the natural tendency of the soul, while at the same time they try appropriately to familiarize the body with God through the practice of the virtues, hoping thus to beautify the body with divine outward appearances."

St. Gregory the Theologian too spoke about this important point, saying that this is the reason why the soul was joined to the body: to be for the body what God is for the soul, that is, to instruct and guide the body and to bring it home to God.

-- St. Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain, A Handbook of Spiritual Counsel
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« Reply #103 on: September 03, 2011, 04:36:42 PM »

Just to give an idea of the variety of quotes in the thread, here is a listing of the number of times each person has been quoted so far:

13 Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain
10 St. Justin Popovich
8 Father Seraphim of Platina
5 St. Nectarios of Aegina
4 St. John of Shanghai & San Francisco
3 St. Nikolai of Serbia
3 Met. Hierotheos
3 St. Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain
3 Elder Cleopa of Romania
2 St. Theophan the Recluse
2 Elder Amphilochios of Patmos
2 Vladimir Lossky
2 St. John of Kronstadt
2 Dr. Constantine Cavarnos
1 Elder Sophrony of Essex
1 Elder Sophrony
1 Hieroscemamonk Michael of Valaam
1 Elder Cleopas of Romania
1 Elder Epiphianos
1 Mother Gavrielia
1 St. Innocent of Alaska
1 St. Ignatius Brianchaninov
1 Abbot Teodosije of Visoki Decani Monastery
1 Hieromartyr Valentin Sventsitsky
1 Elder Ephraim
1 Fr. Arseny
1 Fr. Ivan mackillop
1 Elder Ieronymos of Aegina
1 St. Kosmas the Aitolan
1 St. Raphael of Brooklyn
1 St. Barsanuphius of Optina
1 Elder Joseph the Hesychast
1 Fr. Alexander Schmemann
1 Tito Colliander
1 Elder Epiphanios of Athens
1 Archimandrite Nikodim of Krka
1 Elder Macarius of Optina
1 Elder George of Drama
1 Fr. Panteleimon Giannikouris

(There have been roughly 87 quotes in total)
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« Reply #104 on: September 13, 2011, 04:26:27 PM »

Just fyi, there's a separate thread for modern Church Fathers. Perhaps an unnecessary distinction, but what's the point in nit picking? Smiley

This is that thread. Tongue Smiley

Well, I believe the point was that many of these blessed fathers died more than 100 years ago. As wonderful and healing as their counsel may be, they aren't recent. St. Nicodemus the Hagiorite's book on confession is wonderful, as are all his works, but he died more than 200 years ago. St. Nektarios of Aegina died in 1920; St. Theophan the Recluse in 1894. If the thread is open to citations from fathers of the further past, there's quite a lot we might explore...
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« Reply #105 on: October 01, 2011, 12:42:52 PM »

I would call Fr. Tadros Yacoub Malaty as a "modern Church Father". Would my OO brethren agree?
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« Reply #106 on: December 07, 2011, 11:22:59 PM »

Alexis Khomiakov
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« Reply #107 on: December 07, 2011, 11:40:03 PM »

Fr. Thomas Hopko.  police
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« Reply #108 on: December 31, 2011, 09:49:58 PM »

It is necessary always to be patient and to accept everything that happens, no matter what, with gratitude for God’s sake. Our life — is a minute compared to eternity. And for this reason "the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us" (Rom. 8:18).

--St. Seraphim of Sarov, Source
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« Reply #109 on: January 02, 2012, 10:14:58 PM »

In order that you should have steadfast assurance during prayer, of receiving every spiritual blessing from the Lord, believe that by uniting yourself unto the Lord during your prayer you become one spirit with Him, (1 Cor. 6:17) and that God is most gracious, almighty, and most wise. He is all-perfect perfection, therefore you, too, according to your receptivity, according to your faith and love, will become a partaker of His Divine perfections. In the union of your soul with God, do not consider anything impossible or difficult of fulfilment, "for with God all things are possible" (Mark 10:27)--not only the things which you can think of, or are thinking of, but also those which you cannot think of, or which you think of as impossible, for God is an infinite Being, and all His perfections are infinite. If you doubt of obtaining the blessings you ask of God, then remember at least that even you, being evil and avaricious, and not rich, not almighty, give to those in want who ask of you, and sometimes even before they ask you, when you only know of their need. "How much more shall your Father Which is in heaven," who is most gracious, most rich, most wise and almighty, " give good things to them that ask Him." (Matt 8:11)

--St. John of Kronstadt, Source
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« Reply #110 on: January 04, 2012, 09:52:45 PM »

The principal Tradition, the transcendent Tradition, of the Orthodox Church is the living God-man Christ, entire in the theanthropic Body of the Church of which He is the immortal, eternal Head. This is not merely the message, but the transcendent message of the holy apostles and the holy fathers. They know Christ crucified, Christ resurrected, Christ ascended. They all, by their integral lives and teachings, with a single soul and a single voice, confess that Christ the God-man is wholly in His Church, as in His Body. Each of the holy fathers could rightly repeat with St. Maximus the Confessor: "In no wise am I expounding my own opinion, but that which I have been taught by the fathers, without changing aught in their teaching."

--St. Justin Popovich, Source
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« Reply #111 on: January 04, 2012, 11:09:14 PM »

The gift of apostleship is bestowed upon each member of the Church on the day of his Baptism and Chrismation. If we call our Church "apostolic" it is because She is sent, "apostle" meaning "sent by God." It is because She is sent in Her totality, and this means in all Her members, into the world to preach the Gospel of Christ, to manifest His presence, to fulfill the salvation which He accomplished. In this sense, we all are apostolic and apostles. We all carry the responsibility for the apostolicity of the Church.

Father Alexander Schmemann, Apostleship and America
http://www.schmemann.org/byhim/apostleshipandamerica.html
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« Reply #112 on: January 05, 2012, 12:47:53 AM »

I have a request/suggestion. Could we keep the references to people who have been dead no more than 75 years? Would that make sense, given the thread's title?
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« Reply #113 on: January 05, 2012, 12:55:52 AM »

I have a request/suggestion. Could we keep the references to people who have been dead no more than 75 years? Would that make sense, given the thread's title?

I would have no problem with that, though if we did I think we should make another thread for Fathers that fit in between the early and modern periods.
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« Reply #114 on: January 05, 2012, 01:07:10 AM »

I have a request/suggestion. Could we keep the references to people who have been dead no more than 75 years? Would that make sense, given the thread's title?

I would have no problem with that, though if we did I think we should make another thread for Fathers that fit in between the early and modern periods.

I'm just cranky because I'm disappointed. I was hoping to find some new names here.
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« Reply #115 on: January 05, 2012, 01:24:14 AM »

I have a request/suggestion. Could we keep the references to people who have been dead no more than 75 years? Would that make sense, given the thread's title?

I would have no problem with that, though if we did I think we should make another thread for Fathers that fit in between the early and modern periods.

I'm just cranky because I'm disappointed. I was hoping to find some new names here.
LOL. You want "new" in Orthodoxy?
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« Reply #116 on: January 05, 2012, 01:27:45 AM »

I have a request/suggestion. Could we keep the references to people who have been dead no more than 75 years? Would that make sense, given the thread's title?

I would have no problem with that, though if we did I think we should make another thread for Fathers that fit in between the early and modern periods.

I'm just cranky because I'm disappointed. I was hoping to find some new names here.
LOL. You want "new" in Orthodoxy?

Next thing you know, I'll be expecting it to be organized!
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« Reply #117 on: January 05, 2012, 04:36:20 PM »

I have a request/suggestion. Could we keep the references to people who have been dead no more than 75 years? Would that make sense, given the thread's title?

I would have no problem with that, though if we did I think we should make another thread for Fathers that fit in between the early and modern periods.

I'm just cranky because I'm disappointed. I was hoping to find some new names here.
LOL. You want "new" in Orthodoxy?

Next thing you know, I'll be expecting it to be organized!

From there, it's but a small step to jumbo TV sets and dancing girls.
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« Reply #118 on: January 05, 2012, 11:47:42 PM »

I'm just cranky because I'm disappointed. I was hoping to find some new names here.

I could try to dig up some quotes by authors who are less known, but then they probably wouldn't qualify as "Modern Church Fathers".  Wink

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« Reply #119 on: January 05, 2012, 11:52:14 PM »

Only for my own plans, my own wishes-to study, to work, to rest, eat, or do a service to my fellowman--can some external circumstance "get in the way," and then I am grieved. But for the person who has found the narrow way that leads to life, that is to God, there is only one conceivable hindrance, and that is his own, sinful will. If he now wishes to do something but is not permitted to carry it out, how can he grieve? For the rest he is not making any plans (James 4:13-16).

-- Tito Colliander, Way of the Ascetics
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« Reply #120 on: January 06, 2012, 02:32:50 PM »

He who does not know himself does not know God, either. And he who does not know God does not know the truth and the nature of things in general... He who does not know himself continually sins against God and continually moves farther away from Him. He who does not know the nature of things and what they truly are in themselves is powerless to evaluate them according to their worth and to discriminate between the mean and the precious, the worthless and the valuable. Wherefore, such a person wears himself out in the pursuit of vain and trivial things, and is unconcerned about and indifferent to the things that are eternal and most precious.

-- St. Nektarios of Aegina, Source
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« Reply #121 on: January 07, 2012, 08:28:08 PM »

It is good, very good, to memorize several psalms and recite them while you are working or between tasks, doing this instead of short prayers sometimes, with concentration. This is one of the most ancient Christian customs, mentioned by and included in the rules of St. Pachomius and St. Anthony. After spending the day in this manner, you must pray more diligently and with more concentration in the evening. Increase your prostrations and petitions to God, and after you have placed yourself in Divine hands once again, go to bed with a short prayer on your lips and fall asleep with it or recite some psalm.

--St. Theophan the Recluse, Source
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« Reply #122 on: January 08, 2012, 08:08:08 AM »

It is good, very good, to memorize several psalms and recite them while you are working or between tasks, doing this instead of short prayers sometimes, with concentration. This is one of the most ancient Christian customs, mentioned by and included in the rules of St. Pachomius and St. Anthony. After spending the day in this manner, you must pray more diligently and with more concentration in the evening. Increase your prostrations and petitions to God, and after you have placed yourself in Divine hands once again, go to bed with a short prayer on your lips and fall asleep with it or recite some psalm.

--St. Theophan the Recluse, Source

From the book "The Spiritual Life and How to Be Attuned to It"; altogether a wonderful book.
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« Reply #123 on: January 09, 2012, 02:05:15 AM »

Truth is not so much liberation and salvation in this world, as it is liberation and salvation from this world. Full acceptance of the truth of the Gospel, consent to its actual realization, would lead to the destruction of the states, civilizations, societies organized according to the laws of this world - to the end of this world which in every way is opposite to the Gospel Truth: therefore men and nations have corrected the Gospel, filled it with 'truths' of this world which were really pragmatic, because they were false and adapted to falsehood. The recognition and the confession of truth is connected, not with usefulness and profit, but with risk and danger.

-- Nikolai Berdyaev, The Beginning and the End

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« Reply #124 on: January 10, 2012, 04:37:13 PM »

Man's freedom is indissolubly linked with his obligations. Man's freedom is not a claim, but a duty, not so much what he demands as what is demanded of him. Man must be free. God demands and expects this of him.

-- Nikolai Berdyaev, Christianity and Class War
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« Reply #125 on: January 11, 2012, 01:04:36 PM »

But such a one as believes in his resurrection from the dead, the same prepares here for the future life; attempts to live in accordance with the commandments of the Lord; honours the feasts of the Lord; and takes care not to offend against their sanctity through deeds of carnal impurity. And what was done among us, us Orthodox Christians, on this radiant Feast? It is shameful even to speak of it; but it is necessary to do so. Christians, to the great grief of Holy Mother the Church, turned the bright days of Pascha Week into dark days, days deserving of tears and lamentation. So very many celebrated not the feast of Christ's Resurrection, and our own resurrection from dead works, but a feast of demonic resurrection in their souls. The Great Fast was a defeat of, was death for, the devil; because he fled from many souls and died to them, as it were, after their sincere repentance and communion of the Holy Mysteries; but on the feast of Pascha he rose again in not a few souls. How did he arise? Through gluttony, drunkenness, outrage and other vices that drunkenness gives rise to, and to which many Christians gave themselves over.

-- St. John of Kronstadt, What has the Feast of Pascha Left in our Souls?
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« Reply #126 on: January 12, 2012, 07:25:16 AM »

In only one place is there to be found the fount of true teaching, coming from God Himself, not diminished over the centuries but ever fresh, being one and the same in all those who truly teach it, leading those who follow it to eternal salvation. This place is the Orthodox Church of Christ, the fount is the grace of the All-Holy Spirit, and the true teachers of the Divine doctrine that issues forth from this fount are the Holy Fathers of the Orthodox Church.

-- Fr. Seraphim Rose, Source
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« Reply #127 on: January 13, 2012, 11:41:55 AM »

First of all I must clarify what I said earlier, that Orthodox theology is, first and foremost, experience, Revelation. God reveals Himself to those worthy of this revelation. And those who have other gifts as well become theologians in the Church. St. Gregory the Theologian has said epigrammatically that the Fathers of the Church do not theologize in the manner of Aristotle but in that of the Apostles. This means that they do not theologize rationally, but in the manner the holy Apostles, who were fishermen, theologized. Yet, when they received the Holy Spirit they were proved to be the real theologians of the Church. Theology, therefore, is experience.

-- Met. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos, The Illness and Cure of the Soul
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« Reply #128 on: January 13, 2012, 10:35:48 PM »

Sources for the quotes on this page:

Met. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos, The Illness and Cure of the Soul
St. John of Kronstadt, What has the Feast of Pascha Left in our Souls?
Nikolai Berdyaev, Christianity and Class War
Nikolai Berdyaev, The Beginning and the End
Tito Colliander, Way of the Ascetics
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« Reply #129 on: January 14, 2012, 06:50:56 PM »

It will, perhaps, be objected that the dogmatic dissension between East and West only arose by chance, that it has not been of decisive importance, that it was rather a question of two different historical spheres which must sooner or later have separated in order that each might follow its own path; and, finally, that the dogmatic dispute was no more than a pretext for the breaking asunder once and for all of an ecclesiastical unity which had in fact long ceased to be a reality. Such assertions, which are heard very frequently in the East as in the West, are the outcome of a purely secular mentality and of the widespread habit of treating Church history according to methods which exclude the religious nature of the Church.

--Vladimir Lossky, Theology and Mysticism in the Tradition of the Eastern Church
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« Reply #130 on: January 15, 2012, 04:20:46 AM »

Through the Incarnation both the love and the humility of God are made known. And man is to love God and fellow mankind because love contains absolute, positive value, a value derived because love is the very nature of God. And man is to experience humility, to become inflamed by humility precisely because humility belongs also to God and hence its value is derived from God. But to become filled innerly with love and humility is not easy. It demands not a mere acknowledgement of the fact that God is love and humility is Divine. Rather, it demands the complete purification of our inner nature by God. And this is the struggle, the spiritual warfare that must be waged to enter and maintain the reality of love and humility.

--Fr. Georges Florovsky, Source
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« Reply #131 on: January 16, 2012, 12:37:16 PM »

Limitless and without consolation would have been our sorrow for close ones who are dying, if the Lord had not given us eternal life. Our life would be pointless if it ended with death. What benefit would there then be from virtue and good deed? Then they would be correct who say: "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!" But man was created for immortality, and by His resurrection Christ opened the gates of the Heavenly Kingdom, of eternal blessedness for those who have believed in Him and have lived righteously. Our earthly life is a preparation for the future life, and this preparation ends with our death. "It is appointed unto man once to die, but after this the judgment" (Heb 9:27). Then a man leaves all his earthly cares; the body disintegrates, in order to rise anew at the General Resurrection.

-- St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco, Life After Death
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« Reply #132 on: January 17, 2012, 02:54:14 AM »

In fact, man, having been created 'in the image' of the infinite God, is called by his own nature--and this is precisely the sense of 'in the image' from this point of view--to transcend the limited boundaries of creation and to become infinite.

-- Panagiotis Nellas, Source
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« Reply #133 on: January 18, 2012, 06:18:44 PM »

Miracles are not impossible from a logical standpoint, and right reason does not deny them. Natural laws do not have the claim to be the only ones, nor are they threatened with being overturned by the appearance of other laws, supernatural ones, which also are conducive to the development and furtherance of creation... Miracles are consequence of the Creator's love for his creatures.

-- St. Nektarios of Aegina, Source
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« Reply #134 on: January 19, 2012, 06:43:25 PM »

Throughout his Orations and poetry Gregory is very enthusiastic about the language describing the soul’s ‘kinship’ or ‘affinity’ with the divine nature. He regularly describes the soul as a ‘breath of God’  or a ‘spirit emanating from the invisible deity’, or an ‘offshoot of the divine.’ Adam was deified, he says, by his inborn propensity towards God and it is that natural kinship which is at the root of our return to God and the deified life; but understood as a gift of God the creator, not the reassertion of any divine element innate within creaturely nature. To live the life of the true philosopher is, par excellence, the life lived in God. Already on this earth it is a deification, but for Gregory this transformation begun is only a harbinger of a greater glory to come when we are transfigured after this life.

-- Fr. John Anthony McGuckin, Source

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« Reply #135 on: January 20, 2012, 11:45:55 AM »

We should be with God at all times! Listen to what Psalm 33 says: 'I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall continually be in my mouth' For prayer is the life of our soul. We must pray to God at all times!

-- Elder Cleopa of Romania, Source
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« Reply #136 on: January 21, 2012, 03:31:13 AM »

Gregory's doctrine on the ways of attaining a knowledge of God is one of the most important aspects of his system of theology. This doctrine is not merely an introduction to his thought. For Gregory man's basic task in life is to know God, and through this man can achieve salvation and "deification." The created mind recognizes God and through intellectual contemplation is united, or reunited, with Him. In this way God is united with man when He assumes human nature through the human intellect, which is similar to His own. In his writings against Apollinarius Gregory states that "mind is united with mind, since this is what is closest to it."

-- Fr. Georges Florovsky, Source
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« Reply #137 on: January 22, 2012, 04:53:30 AM »

It is the mystery of the Church as new creation in its two dimensions – the cosmic and eschatological – that reveals to us the meaning and structure of the Church as institution. The nature of the institution can be termed sacramental, and this means not only a given or static inter-dependence between the visible and the invisible, nature and grace, the material and the spiritual, but also, and primarily, the dynamic essence of the Church as passage from the old into the new, from this world into the world to come, from the kingdom of nature into the Kingdom of Grace. The Church, as visible society and organization, belongs to this world; it is truly a part of it. And she must belong to it because she is "instituted" to represent and to stand for the world, to assume the whole creation.

-- Fr. Alexander Schmemann, Source
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« Reply #138 on: January 22, 2012, 06:29:30 AM »

A key element in hesychasm is frequent repetition: continual prayer as a means to uninterrupted and ever deeper communion with God. The psalmist declared, "I keep the Lord always before me; /because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved" (Ps. 15/16:Cool. The apostle Paul exhorts his followers to "pray without ceasing" (... 1 Thes. 5:17), urging them to persevere, seeking constancy in prayer (... Rom. 12:12). [The same idea is expressed in Col. 4:2, "Be constant in prayer"; and he adds, "being watchful in it with thanksgiving."]

-- Fr. John Breck, Source
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« Reply #139 on: January 28, 2012, 11:22:00 PM »

Everything that man is, and everything that is of man perfectly lives, works, thinks, feels, is human, immortal, divine, and eternal only and solely in the God-man and through the God-man. Only through the God-man Christ is man divine majesty and the highest value next to God in all worlds. For this reason God became man, and has remained the God-man for all eternity. With the God-man Christ, all that is God's has become man's, human, ours, so that each of us individually and all of us assembled together in the Divine-human body of Christ, the Church, might become god-men, having at­tained "to the perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Eph. 4:12-13).

-- St. Justin Popovich, Perfect God and Perfect Man
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« Reply #140 on: March 27, 2012, 08:49:46 PM »

The path of our life is like unto a voyage across a broad sea. It is sometimes calm on that sea, and sometimes a favorable wind blows; but most often there are storms on it. Seeing the approach of a storm, seeing the storm itself, we must not become disturbed, or fall into despondency or despair; we must fight against the waves and the opposing winds. Otherwise the ship of our soul might undergo shipwreck, and might even sink. If during a storm something breaks or is damaged in the ship of our soul—again, we must not despond, we must not be troubled. We must spy out a dependable harbor, enter into it, fix and repair that which was damaged, and then continue our voyage with hope in Almighty God.

And Almighty God will not abandon one who hopes in Him! The storms themselves serve for the benefit of the true servant of Christ: they make him an experienced sailor. The harbor in which the ship of the soul is repaired is prayer in a contrite spirit, the reading of the Holy Scriptures and Patristic books, and the counsel of one’s neighbor, if that neighbor is capable of giving counsel in the Lord. Calm down—blessed is the man, says the Scriptures, who endures temptations. Contrary to this, he who is untried is unskilled. May the storm that has passed serve for you as a preparation in advance, as a learning experience for the endurance of future storms. Consider in advance what your conduct should be during them—prepare in advance, study it. Storms will follow without fail.

-- St. Ignatius Brianchaninov, On the Necessity of Temptations for Salvation (PDF)
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« Reply #141 on: March 28, 2012, 03:12:00 PM »

The Christian must unremittingly care for his spiritual education for which he was born anew in the holy font through the Holy Spirit, received spiritual regeneration, was sealed with chrism, or the seal of the Holy Spirit, and was made worthy of the right to communicate in the Most immaculate Blood of Christ. According to God's intent, the holy Church is the first and most lawful educator of Christian souls. There is no more important work than that of Christian education. Judge and understand for yourselves how dear are these rational, immortal souls unto God, which were redeemed by the Blood of the Son of God Himself, which were called out of the darkness of ignorance into the light of the knowledge of God by the Lord Himself, which were betrothed and united to the Lord as pure virgins to a most pure Bridegroom! How dear is the salvation of these souls, to whom He offers His most immaculate Body and most pure Blood as food and drink, whom He Himself undertook to educate spiritually through these wonderful, dreadful, life-creating and deifying Mysteries! Devote yourselves, all of you, to your spiritual education with all attention and diligence; devote yourselves to thoughts concerning God, to prayer, self-investigation, self-condemnation, with self-amendment in every way; exercise yourselves in the virtues of meekness, humility, obedience, patience, compassion, chastity, simplicity, and guilelessness; and cut off all sinful thoughts, lusts, habits, and passions.

-- St. John of Kronstadt, Source
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« Reply #142 on: March 29, 2012, 09:34:49 PM »

Peace is a heaveny gift which is not lost by the passions themselves, but rather by their nature which they receive at the time of defeat or struggle. If in fighting them, you win, the fact that you have risen above them will become an opportunity for you to find new happiness and peace. If you lose, which I hope does not happen, then sorrow and sadness will be born... Yet, if after a powerful struggle a human suffering comes, and for a moment sin prevails, then go in again and fight. With perseverance, the fighter will win and peace will return.

-- St. Netkarios

Source: Sotos Chondropoulos, ed. and trans. by Peter and Aliki Los, Saint Nektarios: The Saint of our Century, pp. 194-195
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« Reply #143 on: April 29, 2012, 01:55:37 AM »

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, Source
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« Reply #144 on: May 17, 2012, 08:18:48 PM »

Zealous Christians have a certain technique that they apply to secure the continual remembrance of God more firmly. It is the constant repetition of a short prayer, ordinarily either, "Lord, have mercy," or "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner." If you haven't heard this, then listen now. If you have never done this, begin now.

-- St. Theophan the Recluse, Source
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« Reply #145 on: May 20, 2012, 12:58:39 AM »

The natural and essential attribute of the mind, because it is mind, is to be always preoccupied with the spiritual matters related to it: because it is immaterial with the immaterial; because it is immortal with the immortal. In one word, the mind is to be preoccupied with what is truly good and to have only these good things for nourishment, growth, and pleasure. By contrast, the natural attribute of the body, because it is the body, is to be inclined always to the bodily things: because it is physical to the physical; because it is material to the material.

-- St. Nikodemus of the Holy Mountain, A Handbook of Spiritual Counsel, p. 69
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« Reply #146 on: May 24, 2012, 07:32:11 AM »

When man seriously contemplates the mysteries of his life and the world around him in the light of the Gospel, he is forced to conlude that his ultimate need is to renounce all needs and resolutely follow the Lord Christ, being united to Him by the practice of evangelical ascesis. If he does not do so, he remains spiritually sterile, insensate and lifeless; his soul withers, dissipates and decays, and he dies gradually until he is completely lifeless and nothing remains.

-- St. Justin Popovich,  Humanistic and Theanthropic Culture (Man and God-man, p. 52)
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« Reply #147 on: May 24, 2012, 03:05:11 PM »

I would like to make a suggestion here...and I really hope I'm not offending anyone, but  I have noticed some of the quotes are from theologians who may or may not be saints.    I find the words of elders  who have been blessed by God with charisms and heroic virtue; such as the Elder Porphyrios and Paisios,  as being more edifying to ones soul.     

Here is an excerpt from the book by the Elder Porphyrios:  Wounded by Love.

"Man has such powers that he can transmit good or evil to his environment. These matters are very delicate. Great care is needed. We need to see everything in a positive frame of mind. We mustn’t think anything evil about others. Even a simple glance or a sigh influences those around us. And even the slightest anger or indignation does harm. We need to have goodness and love in our soul and to transmit these things.

We need to be careful not to harbour any resentment against those who harm us, but rather to pray for them with love. Whatever any of our fellow men does, we should never think evil of him. We need always to have thoughts of love and always to think good of others. Look at Saint Stephen the first martyr. He prayed, Lord, do not hold this sin against them.  We need to do the same.

When we speak evil about someone, an evil power proceeds from within us and is transmitted to the other person, just as the voice is transmitted on sound waves, and in point of fact the other person suffers evil. It is something like the bewitchment of the evil eye, when someone has evil thoughts about others. This occurs through our own indignation.

We transmit our evil in a mystical way. It is not God who provokes evil, but rather people’s wickedness. God does not punish, but our own evil disposition is transmitted to the soul of the other in a mysterious way and does evil. Christ never wishes evil. On the contrary, He commands, Bless those who curse you...

http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/elderporphyrios_dispositions.aspx   
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« Reply #148 on: May 24, 2012, 03:19:33 PM »

I have noticed some of the quotes are from theologians who may or may not be saints.    I find the words of elders  who have been blessed by God with charisms and heroic virtue
My false dichotomy meter is going off.

Especially as all the quotes from the past four months have been from glorified saints.

Has either Elder Porphyrios or Elder Paisios been glorified?
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« Reply #149 on: May 25, 2012, 08:55:40 PM »

I have noticed some of the quotes are from theologians who may or may not be saints.    I find the words of elders  who have been blessed by God with charisms and heroic virtue
My false dichotomy meter is going off.

Especially as all the quotes from the past four months have been from glorified saints.

Has either Elder Porphyrios or Elder Paisios been glorified?

Some of the posts are by Fathers such as Schmemann and Flavosky as well as others.  Neither Elder Porphyrios nor Elder Paisios have been glorified but they have the perquisite virtues and charisms customary with saints, such as the ability to read the souls and minds of others and perform miraculous cures.  I don't know if the Elder Porphyrios had the additional charism of bi location, but he  was able to find underground water and  I believe  also able to see through mountains so his future glorification is almost assured.

Don't you like what he said? I find it very edifying.  Huh

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« Reply #150 on: May 26, 2012, 06:36:56 PM »

I have noticed some of the quotes are from theologians who may or may not be saints.    I find the words of elders  who have been blessed by God with charisms and heroic virtue
My false dichotomy meter is going off.

Especially as all the quotes from the past four months have been from glorified saints.

Has either Elder Porphyrios or Elder Paisios been glorified?


Some of the posts are by Fathers such as Schmemann and Flavosky as well as others.  Neither Elder Porphyrios nor Elder Paisios have been glorified but they have the perquisite virtues and charisms customary with saints, such as the ability to read the souls and minds of others and perform miraculous cures.  I don't know if the Elder Porphyrios had the additional charism of bi location, but he  was able to find underground water and  I believe  also able to see through mountains so his future glorification is almost assured.

Don't you like what he said? I find it very edifying.  Huh


This does not mean that what the Fathers said are not edifying, since they are quoting saints.  But as usual one tiny little thing annoyed me and I jumped to a conclusion.   Sorry 'bout that. Embarrassed
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« Reply #151 on: May 26, 2012, 06:59:35 PM »

Bukharev is one excellent theologian, Soloviev was too liberal for my taste and Bolgakav is a good moderate theologian-philosopher.
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« Reply #152 on: July 16, 2012, 12:26:51 AM »

Therefore, the ecumenical councils always had a Christological, soteriological, ecclesiological character, which means that their sole and central topic - their Good News - was always the God-Man Jesus Christ and our salvation in Him, our deification in Him. Yes, He - the Son of God, only-begotten and consubstantial, incarnate; He - the eternal Head of the Body of the Church for the salvation and deification of man; He - wholly in the Church by the grace of the Holy Spirit, by true faith in Him, by the Orthodox Faith. This is the truly Orthodox, apostolic and patristic theme, the immortal theme of the Church of the God-Man, for all times, past, present and future.

-- St. Justin Popovich, On a Summoning of the Great Council of the Orthodox Church
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« Reply #153 on: July 18, 2012, 11:01:36 PM »

Since there is need of much work in the mystical Vineyard of the Lord, since the harvest is great while the workers few, since financial obligations and family reasons exist, it is more pleasing to God for you to remain in the world working and struggling, and later on with the permission and opinion of your spiritual father, and if it is God's will, then you can go to the wilderness to worship and serve God there also. Now remain in that in which you were called...

-- St. Philotheos Zervakos, Excerpts from Paternal Counsels, Vol. I and II
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« Reply #154 on: July 19, 2012, 08:55:43 PM »

A Monk is he, who mourns and cries for his sins and does not judge the sins of others, nor does he become angry, but he suffers with patience everything and all contempt of men in order to stand worthy before the Lord of all.

-- Saint Savvas the New (d. 1947), St. Savvas' Rules Concerning the Unexceptionable Monastic Way of Life (Source--PDF)
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« Reply #155 on: July 20, 2012, 03:52:43 PM »

It will remain as the greatest wonder in history how a poor Man, who preached in Palestine for about two years, who scarcely had a hundred followers at the end of His mission, who was crucified and died a shameful death, whose cause seemed a quite desperate episode, scornfully rejected or fearfully abandoned by all those who knew it—how this poor Man replaced successively the mightiest gods the human imagination ever invented: Zeus in Olympus, Jupiter in the Capitol, Wothan in the North, and at last also Perun in Kieff. The secret lies, I think, in the reality of His human life, in the mystery of His resurrection, and in the amazing enthusiasm with which thousands of His followers afterwards suffered death for Him and His cause.

-- St. Nicholas Velimirovic (d. 1956), The Religious Spirit of the Slavs, Lecture 1: Slav Orthodoxy
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« Reply #156 on: July 21, 2012, 04:40:30 PM »

At the present time, we have a proliferation of nihilists, spiritists and other pernicious clever ones who are carried away with the false teachers of the West. Do you really think that our holy Church would keep silence and not raise her voice to condemn and anathematize them, if their destructive teachings were something new? By no means. A council would be held, and in council all of them with their teachings would be given over to anathema, and to the current Rite of Orthodoxy there would be appended an additional item: To Feyerbach, Buchner, and Renan, to the spiritists, and to all their followers -- to the nihilists - - be anathema. But there is no need for such a council, and there is no need either for such an addition. Their false teachings have already all been anathematized in advance in those points where anathema is pronounced to those who deny the existence of God, the spirituality and immortality of the soul, the teachings concerning the all-holy Trinity and concerning the divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ. Do you not see with what wisdom and foresight the holy Church acts when she makes us perform the present proclamation and listen to it?

-- St. Theophan the Recluse (d. 1894), What is an Anathema?
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« Reply #157 on: July 22, 2012, 12:28:39 PM »

People say that if you do not feel inclined to pray it is better not to pray; but this is crafty carnal sophistry. If you pray only when you are inclined to, you will cease praying altogether; this is what the flesh desires. The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence. You will not be able to work out your salvation without forcing yourself.

-- St. John of Kronstadt (d. 1908), Perseverance in Prayer (Source)
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« Reply #158 on: July 22, 2012, 02:36:30 PM »

People say that if you do not feel inclined to pray it is better not to pray; but this is crafty carnal sophistry. If you pray only when you are inclined to, you will cease praying altogether; this is what the flesh desires. The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence. You will not be able to work out your salvation without forcing yourself.

-- St. John of Kronstadt (d. 1908), Perseverance in Prayer (Source)
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« Reply #159 on: July 23, 2012, 12:08:52 PM »

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. 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 (d. 1837), Source
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« Reply #160 on: July 24, 2012, 02:08:08 PM »

The phrases "to pray in secret, alone and in silence" need, I feel, a little expanding. "Secret" should be understood as it is used in the Bible: for instance, Jesus tells us to do our charity secretly--not letting the left hand know what the right one does. We should not parade our devotions, nor boast about them. "Alone" means to separate ourselves from our immediate surroundings and disturbing influences. As a matter of fact, never are we in so much company as when we pray ". . . seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses . . ." (Heb. 12:1). The witnesses are all those who pray: Angels, Archangels, saints and sinners, the living and the dead. It is in prayer, especially the Jesus Prayer, that we become keenly aware of belonging to the living body of Christ. In "silence" implies that we do not speak our prayer audibly. We do not even meditate on the words; we use them only to reach beyond them to the essence itself.

-- Mother Alexandra (d. 1991), Introduction to the Jesus Prayer (Source)
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« Reply #161 on: July 25, 2012, 09:13:42 PM »

From Apostolic times and to our days all who truly love Christ give veneration to Her Who gave birth to Him, raised Him and protected Him in the days of His youth. If God the Father chose Her, God the Holy Spirit descended upon Her, and God the Son dwelt in Her, submitted to Her in the days of His youth, was concerned for Her when hanging on the Crossthen should not everyone who confesses the Holy Trinity venerate Her?

-- St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco (d. 1966), The Orthodox Veneration of Mary the Birthgiver of God (Source)
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« Reply #162 on: July 26, 2012, 01:27:11 PM »

It is necessary always to be patient and to accept everything that happens, no matter what, with gratitude for God’s sake. Our life — is a minute compared to eternity. And for this reason "the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us" (Rom. 8:18). Bear the insults of your enemy in silence, and open your heart only to the Lord. Try in any way possible to forgive those who humiliate you or take away your honor, by the words of the Gospel: "Of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again" (Lk. 6:30). When people curse us, we must consider ourselves unworthy of praise, imagining that if we were worthy, everyone would be bowing down to us. We must always, and before everyone, humble ourselves, according to the teachings of St. Isaac the Syrian: "Humble yourself and you will see the glory of God within yourself."

-- St. Seraphim of Sarov (d. 1833), Patience and Humility (Source)
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« Reply #163 on: July 28, 2012, 08:43:33 AM »

Christian religion is not a certain philosophic system, about which learned men, trained in metaphysical studies, argue and then either espouse or reject, according to the opinion each one has formed. It is faith, established in the souls of men, which ought to be spread to the many and be maintained in their consciousnesses.

-- St. Nektarios of Aegina (d. 1920), On Christianity (Source)
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« Reply #164 on: July 29, 2012, 12:19:24 PM »

This theanthropic apostolicity is integrally continued in the earthly successors of the Christ-bearing apostles: in the holy fathers. Among them, in essence, there is no difference: the same God-man Christ lives, acts, enlivens and makes them all eternal in equal measure, He Who is the same yesterday, and today, and forever (Heb. 13:8). Through the holy fathers, the holy apostles live on with all their theanthropic riches, theanthropic worlds, theanthropic holy things, theanthropic mysteries, and theanthropic virtues. The holy fathers in fact are continuously apostolizing, whether as distinct godlike personalities, or as bishops of the local churches, or as members of the holy ecumenical and holy local councils. For all of them there is but one Truth, one Transcendent Truth: the God-man, the Lord Jesus Christ. Behold, the holy ecumenical councils, from the first to the last, confess, defend, believe, announce, and vigilantly preserve but a single supreme value: the God-man, the Lord Jesus Christ.

-- St. Justin Popovich (d. 1979), The Attributes of the Church (Source)
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« Reply #165 on: July 30, 2012, 04:31:11 PM »

The road into the Kingdom of Heaven was made by the Lord Jesus Christ, and He was the first one who travelled it. The Bible teaches that only he who follows Jesus can reach His Kingdom. But how can one follow Him? Hear what our Savior says about this: 'Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me' (Mark 8:34). The words 'whoever desires' mean that Christ does not compel anyone to follow Him. He has no need of the unwilling ones, but He desires that each person freely follow Him. Consequently, only those who willingly choose the Savior's path reach the Kingdom of Heaven. Christian! Your salvation or perdition is entirely in your own hands. In His unspeakable wisdom and love, the Lord has given you freedom to chose what you wish, and He does not force you to do anything against your will. Therefore, if you truly wish to follow Jesus Christ, He will show you the way into the Kingdom of Heaven and will help you along each step. If you do not wish to follow Him, it is your decision.

-- St. Innocent of Alaska (d. 1879), The Way Into the Kingdom of Heaven, (Source)
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« Reply #166 on: July 31, 2012, 11:26:24 PM »

A Christian intellectual development occurs when all the truths of the Faith are impressed so deeply into the intellect that the intellect's whole existence is made up of these truths alone. When it begins to reason over something, it reasons according to what it knows of the Christian truths, and would never make the slightest move without them. The Apostle calls this keeping the image of a sound mind (II Tim. 1:7). Exercises or work related to this are: reading and hearing the Word of God, patristic literature, Lives of the Holy Fathers, mutual discourse and asking questions of those more experienced. It is good to read or listen, better to have a mutual discourse, and even better to ask questions of those more experienced. The most fruit-bearing is the Word of God, then patristic literature and the Lives of saints. Incidentally, it is needful to know that the Lives of saints are better for beginners, patristic literature for the intermediate, and the Word of God for the perfect. All of these are the sources of Truth as well as the means for drawing from them; obviously, impressing them in the mind along with preserving the spirit of zeal also help.

-- Theophan the Recluse (d. 1894), The Three Powers of the Soul and Their Curative Exercises (Source)
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« Reply #167 on: August 01, 2012, 11:11:09 PM »

Reverence with all the powers of your soul all the sacraments, and say to yourself in respect of every sacrament before the celebration or communion of it, "This is God's mystery--I myself am only the unworthy witness or partaker of it". Otherwise our proud intellect even wishes to search out the mystery of God, and if unable to penetrate it, rejects it as not coming under its own small measure.

-- St. John of Kronstadt (d. 1908), Sacraments and Sacramentals (Source)
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« Reply #168 on: August 02, 2012, 05:49:03 PM »

People, like animals, do not pay attention to what exists in excessive abundance, but only open their eyes before what is rare or exceptional. There is too much of You, O Lord, my breath, therefore people do not see You. You are too obvious, O Lord, my sighing, therefore the attention of people is diverted from You and directed toward polar bears, toward rarities in the distance.

-- St. Nicholas Velimirovic (d. 1956), Prayers By the Lake, 7 (Source)
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« Reply #169 on: August 03, 2012, 05:44:25 PM »

The empty years of these desires separate us from our heavenly homeland, and our Love for these desires and our habits clothe us, as it were, in an odious dress; it is called by the Apostle 'the external (earthy) man.' (I Cor. 15:47). We who are wanderers in the journey of this life call to God for aid. We must divest ourselves of this repulsiveness, and put on new desires, and a new love for the coming age. Thus, through this we will know either an attraction or a repulsion for the heavenly homeland. It is possible to do this quickly, but we must follow the example of the sick, who wishing for desired health, do not stop searching for means of curing themselves.

-- St. Herman of Alaska (d. 1837), Source
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« Reply #170 on: August 04, 2012, 01:38:34 PM »

The false approach at the opposite extreme is one that one might call false spirituality. As translations of Orthodox books on the spiritual life become more widely available, an the Orthodox vocabulary of spiritual struggle is placed more and more in the air, one finds an increasing number of people talking about hesychasm, the Jesus Prayer, the ascetic life, exalted states of prayer, and the most exalted Holy Fathers like St. Symeon the New Theologian, St. Gregory Palamas, and St. Gregory the Sianite. It is all very well to be aware of this truly exalted side of Orthodox spiritual life and to have reverence for the great saints who have actually lived it; but unless we have a very realistic and very humble awareness of how far away all of us today are from the life of hesychasm and how little prepared we are even to approach it, our interest in it will be only one more expression of our self-centered, plastic universe. "The me-generation goes hesychast!"—that is what some are trying to do today; but in actuality they are only adding a new game called "hesychasm" to the attractions of Disneyland.

-- Fr. Seraphim Rose (d. 1982), The Orthodox World-View (Source)
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« Reply #171 on: August 05, 2012, 07:39:12 PM »

Many men, however, after asking God to give them opportunities to practice the virtues, grumble when they are faced with a certain difficulty. For example, sometimes the Good God, in His boundless love, and in order to provide practice in humility and patience, will take away his Grace from the wife, and she will begin acting outlandishly and treating the husband inconsiderately. Then the husband should not complain, but rather rejoice and thank God for the opportunity to struggle which He has given him. Or, a mother asks God to grant her patience. Her little child then comes in, and as soon as she has the table set for dinner, he pulls on the table cloth and everything spills on the floor. At such times it’s as if the child is saying to his mother: “Mama, be patient!” In general, the difficulties which exist today in the world force those who desire to live a little spiritual life to be watchful. Just as, may God protect us, in a war the people are in a watchful state, I see the same thing happening now with whomever strives to live spiritually.

-- Elder Paisios of Athos (d. 1994), Family Life (Source)
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« Reply #172 on: August 07, 2012, 02:00:11 PM »

No one on this earth can avoid affliction; and although the afflictions which the Lord sends are not great men imagine them beyond their strength and are crushed by them. This is because they will not humble their souls and commit themselves to the will of God. But the Lord Himself guides with His grace those who are given over to God's will, and they bear all things with fortitude for the sake of God Whom they have so loved and with Whom they are glorified for ever. It is impossible to escape tribulation in this world but the man who is given over to the will of God bears tribulation easily, seeing it but putting his trust in the Lord, and so his tribulations pass.

-- Elder Sophrony (d. 1993), Source
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« Reply #173 on: August 08, 2012, 04:56:27 AM »

Faith comes not through pondering but through action. Not words and speculation but experience teaches us what God is. To let in fresh air we have to open a window; to get tanned we must go out into the sunshine. Achieving faith is no different; we never reach a goal by just sitting in comfort and waiting, say the holy Fathers. Let the Prodigal Son be our example. He arose and came (Luke 15:20)... Arise, then; but do so at once, without delay. Do not defer your purpose till "tonight" or "tomorrow" or "later, when I have finished what I have to do just now." The interval may be fatal. No, this moment, the instant you make your resolution, you will show by your action that you have taken leave of your old self and have now begun a new life, with a new destination and a new way of living.

Tito Colliander (d. 1989), Way of the Ascetics (Source)
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« Reply #174 on: August 08, 2012, 11:45:41 PM »

The Orthodox Church has ever taught that there are seven Sacraments. She plainly points out the fact that each of the seven has an outward and visible sign and an inward and spiritual Grace, and that they are of gospel and apostolic origin. Again, the Orthodox Church has certain rites and practices associated and necessary in the administration of the Sacraments which neither time nor circumstances must set aside where churches are organized.

-- St. Raphael of Brooklyn (d. 1915), Pastoral Letter Source
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« Reply #175 on: August 09, 2012, 09:28:24 PM »

'Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us' ... He reveals with these words that He wants and love of us to have bowels of compassion and mercy towards each other, because in no other respect is man more likened to God than in compassion. Therefore, we must behave towards our brothers in a way similar to God's way towards us. No one should say that such and such a person has done to me so many evils that I cannot forgive him. Because if we consider how many times each day and each hour we are blameworthy towards God who, nevertheless, forgives us, we would find that they are so many and so incomprably greater than the trespasses of our brothers that we would stand no chance of vindication before the righteousness of God.

-- St. Makarios of Corinth (d. 1804), The Lord's Prayer According to St. Makarios of Corinth (Source)
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« Reply #176 on: August 10, 2012, 04:46:25 PM »

Father Arseny prayed constantly. Whether he was thinking about something, or walking, or going somewhere you could perceive the slight movement of his lips pronouncing the Jesus prayer, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner." He lived to help people in any possible way. Even in camp, where he himself was undernourished and exhasted, he helped others, did their work for them, and cared for the sick, sharing with them his meager ration.

-- Father Arseny, 1893-1973: Priest, Prisoner, Spiritual Father, p. 137 (Source)
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« Reply #177 on: August 11, 2012, 07:19:21 PM »

The gift [of Prayer of the Heart] is given to those who humble and abase themselves before the greatness of the gift. The gift is given to those who renounce their own will and surrender themselves to the will of God. The gift is given to those who subdue and mortify their flesh and blood, who subdue and mortify the mind of the flesh by the commandments of the Gospel. Life dawns and rises according to the degree of our mortification. It comes unexpectedly, entirely at its own good pleasure, and then it completes and perfects the mortification begun voluntarily.

Careless, especially self-willed, pround, and sle-fdirected seekers of a high state of prayer are always sealed with the seal of rejection, with the precision of spiritual law (Matt. 22:12-14). The removal of that seal is very difficult, mostly impossible. Why? Because pride and self-confidence, which lead to self-deception, to fellowship with demons, and enslavement of them, do not allow us to see the wrongness and peril of our positions, do not allow us to see our woeful fellowship with the dmons, nor our disastrous, fatal enslavement to them. "Clothe yourself first with leaves, and then when God commands bring the fruits," said the Fathers. First acquire attentive prayer, trained and qualified by the commandments of the Gospel and grounded on them, God--the all-merciful God--will give in His time the prayer of grace.

-- St. Ignatius Brianchaninov (d. 1867), On the Prayer of Jesus, pp. 65-66 (Source)
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« Reply #178 on: August 12, 2012, 08:48:41 AM »

Some want to go to the Resurrection without passing by way of Golgotha.

We desire our freedom. Why? In order to be slaves to our passions.

When you have thought of critcism... judging others, ask God to take hold of you at that hour so that you can love that person as He loves. Then God will help you see your condition. If Christ were visible, could you criticize?

-- Mother Gabrielia (d. 1992), (Source)
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« Reply #179 on: August 12, 2012, 10:36:09 AM »

Wow, this a wonderful collection of quotes and teachings. Thanks for sharing, Asteriktos!
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"The kingdom of heaven is virtuous life, just as the torment of hell is passionate habits." - St. Gregory of Sinai

"Our idea of God tells us more about ourselves than about Him." - Thomas Merton
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« Reply #180 on: August 13, 2012, 12:21:19 PM »

Again, the Annunciation is "the beginning of our salvation and the revelation of the mystery which is from eternity: the Son of God becometh the Son of the Virgin, and Gabriel proclaimeth good tidings of grace" (Troparion of the Feast of the Annunciation). The divine will has been declared and proclaimed by the archangel. But the Virgin was not silent. She responded to the divine call, responded in humility and faith. "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word." Divine will is accepted and responded to. And this human response is highly relevant at this point. The obedience of Mary counterbalances the disobedience of Eve. In this sense the Virgin Mary is the Second Eve, as her Son is the Second Adam.

-- Fr. Georges Florovsky, The Ever-Virgin Mother of God (Source)
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« Reply #181 on: August 13, 2012, 11:34:07 PM »

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« Reply #182 on: August 14, 2012, 02:27:32 PM »

Starets Ambrose further instructed his students on humility: "Once, a visitor called on Father Superior Moses, and not finding him home, went to see his brother Abbot Anthony. During their conversation, the visitor posed the question: "Tell me batushka, what type of precepts do you maintain?" Fr.Anthony answered: "I had many precepts: I lived in the desert and monasteries and they all had different rules. Now there remains only one endeavour left: ‘God have mercy on me.’"

-- St. Ambrose of Optina (d. 1891), On Humility (Source)
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« Reply #183 on: August 15, 2012, 05:04:13 PM »

The notion of holiness has an upper pole and a lower pole, and in our consciousness it always moves between the two poles, going up and coming down … And this ladder, leading from the bottom up, is considered to be the path of denying the world … However, it also can be considered as leading in the opposite direction. In this case, it will be considered as the way of affirming of world reality through consecration of the latter.

Thus, according to the Apostle Paul, holiness is, first of all, alienation in relation to the world of sin, denial of it. Secondly, it is specific positive content, because the nature of holiness is Divine, it is ontologically established in God. At the same time, holiness, he underlines, is not moral perfection, though it is inseparably connected with it, but is "co-eternity with unworldly energies." Finally, holiness is not only the denial, the absence of any evil, and not only a phenomenon of another, Divine world, but is also a firm assertion of "world reality through consecration of the latter."

This third side of holiness says that it is a power, transfiguring not only a man, but also the world overall, so that "God may be all in all" (1 Cor. 15:28). In the final analysis, all creation must change ("And I saw a new heaven and a new earth" — Rev. 21:1) and reveal God. However, only man can play an active role on the part of creation in this process, and that is why he is given full responsibility for creatures (Rom. 8:19-21). And here the importance of saints is revealed with particular force, who became the rudiments (Rom. 11:16) of future universal and complete consecration under the conditions of earthly existence.

Saints are, first of all, different people, differing from those living "after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ" (Col. 2:8). Different, because they struggle and with God’s help overcome "the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life" (1 John 2:16), everything that enslaves the people of this world. In this weaning of saints away from the world of threefold lust, from the atmosphere of sin, can be seen one of the fundamental characteristics of sanctity and unity of the initial apostolic and Church-traditional understanding of it.

-- A. I. Osipov, The Path of Reason in Search of the Truth (Source)
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« Reply #184 on: August 15, 2012, 05:07:03 PM »

I would like to make a suggestion here...and I really hope I'm not offending anyone, but  I have noticed some of the quotes are from theologians who may or may not be saints.    I find the words of elders  who have been blessed by God with charisms and heroic virtue; such as the Elder Porphyrios and Paisios,  as being more edifying to ones soul.     

Fwiw, if I felt like I had enough quotes to quote only just saints, like we have with the early Church, I would quote just those. Unfortunately we are dealing with a more condensed period of time, and many of the saints have not yet been translated into English... so I'm just trying to make due with what I have available to me. The only other option is to quote the same dozen people over and over. Instead I try to find things of value among all sorts of writers, whether they are glorified or not (or even if we have no expectation of them being glorified). By all means though, if you have a helpful quote, then please post it.
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« Reply #185 on: August 16, 2012, 12:34:12 PM »

When we begin to pray, we do not immediately break off from our daily tasks and just start praying, but we must prepare ourselves. As the Prayerbook says: "Stand in silence for a few moments until all your senses are calmed." Furthermore, as Holy Scripture tells us: Before offering a prayer, prepare yourself; and do not be like a man who tempts the Lord (Sirach 18:23). In addition to this, before entering into prayer, one must prepare himself not only inwardly, but also outwardly.

During prayer one should stand straight with ones eyes fixed on the icon or lowered to the ground, while, at the same time, the eyes of the soul, together with one's soulful aspirations, should be lifted up to God. This outward attitude of piety in prayer is both necessary and beneficial, for the disposition of the soul is in conformity with the disposition of the body.

One must also prepare himself for prayer in the soul, the essence of which consists of purging all vengeful thoughts from one's heart (Mark 11:25-26), in an awareness of one's own sinfulness and with the contrition and humility of soul that such awareness brings. For the only sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise (Ps. 50:17). As the Holy Fathers teach us, "whosoever does not avow himself a sinner, his prayer shall not be pleasing to the Lord."

In his daily devotions, the Christian must adhere to a strict home rule of prayer. All the great ascetics had such a rule and kept to it diligently. The extent of our home rule of prayer is determined for each of us in accordance with our manner of life and the state of our spiritual and physical strength. It is better that we offer up a few prayers, made, however, in proper devotion, than that we say many prayers in haste, a danger difficult to avoid if we take upon ourselves too heavy a burden.

-- Saint Tikhon's Monastery, These Truths We Hold (Source)
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« Reply #186 on: August 17, 2012, 11:22:18 AM »

When you know and are certain that our Orthodox faith is based on Sacred Scripture and not on fictions or speculations, and that Holy Scripture really is the Word of God revealed to us by the Holy Spirit through the Prophets and Apostles, then do not pry into what is hidden from us. Believe implicitly, without doubt or reservation, all that Holy Scripture teaches. Do not listen to any natural explanations and interpretations of what is beyond the human mind.

-- St. Innocent of Alaska (d. 1879), Indication of the Way into the Kingdom of Heaven (Source pdf)
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« Reply #187 on: August 18, 2012, 07:38:40 PM »

Q. Which is the more ancient, holy tradition or holy Scripture?

The most ancient and original instrument for spreading divine revelation is holy tradition. From Adam to Moses there were no sacred books. Our Lord Jesus Christ himself delivered his divine doctrine and ordinances to his Disciples by word and example, but not by writing. The same method was followed by the Apostles also at first, when they spread abroad the faith and established the Church of Christ. The necessity of tradition is further evident from this, that books can be available only to a small part of mankind, but tradition to all.

Q. Why, then, was holy Scripture given?

To this end, that divine revelation might be preserved more exactly and unchangeably. In holy Scripture we read the words of the Prophets and Apostles precisely as if we were living with them and listening to them, although the latest of the sacred books were written a thousand and some hundred years before our time.

Q. Must we follow holy tradition, even when we possess holy Scripture?

We must follow that tradition which agrees with the divine revelation and with holy Scripture, as is taught us by holy Scripture itself. The Apostle Paul writes: Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word or our epistle. (2 Thes. 2:15)

-- St. Philaret of Moscow (d. 1867), The Longer Catechism (Source)
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« Reply #188 on: August 20, 2012, 01:50:23 AM »

Every action of the Church, directed by the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of life and truth, sets forth the full completeness of all His gifts of faith, hope, and love: or in Scripture not faith only, but also the hope of the Church, is made manifest, and the love of God; and in works well pleasing to God there is made manifest not only love, but likewise faith and hope and grace; and in the living tradition of the Church which awaits from God her crown and consummation in Christ, not hope only, but also faith and love are manifested. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are inseparably united in one holy and living unity; but as works well pleasing to God belong more especially to love, and prayer well pleasing to God belongs more especially to hope, so a Creed well pleasing to God belongs more especially to faith, and the Church's creed is rightly called the Confession or Symbol of the Faith.

-- Alexei Khomiakov (d. 1860), The Church Is One (Source)
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« Reply #189 on: August 22, 2012, 10:11:37 PM »

Be patient and endure all the suffering brought on by maliciousness, the full weight of labor, reproach, and slander, but most of all be afraid to despair, which is the most grievous sin.  

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.

-- Elder Michael of Valaam (d. 1962), On Patience (Source) (Source 2)
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« Reply #190 on: August 23, 2012, 05:00:55 PM »

Acquire the grace of the Holy Spirit also by practicing all the other virtues for Christ's sake. Trade spiritually with them; trade with those which give you the greatest profit. Accumulate capital from the superabundance of God's grace, deposit it in God's eternal bank which will bring you immaterial interest, not four or six per cent, but one hundred per cent for one spiritual ruble, and even infinitely more than that. For example, if prayer and watching gives you more of God's grace, watch and pray; if fasting gives you much of the spirit of God, fast; if almsgiving gives you more, give alms. Weigh every virtue done for Christ's sake in this manner.

-- St. Seraphim of Sarov (d. 1833), On the Acquisition of the Holy Spirit Source)
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« Reply #191 on: August 24, 2012, 07:32:12 PM »

So the world is a creation of God, an ornament, a jewel. God created the world with His uncreated energy, for God is creator by energy and not by substance. It is characteristic that at the end of creation, the Bible notes "and God saw that it was good". God not only created the world, He also maintains it with His uncreated providential energies. Christ saying which demonstrates God's love for the world is significant: "for God so loved the world so that He gave His only begotten Son in order that whoever believes in Him is not lost but lives eternally" (John 3:6). God's love for the world wsa expressed mainly through Christ's incarnation and man's salvation. After all, man is the microcosm within the macrocosm and is the summation of all creation.

-- Met. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos, Secularism in Church, Theology and Pastoral Care (Source)
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« Reply #192 on: August 25, 2012, 06:53:12 PM »

Love of God is founded on love of one's neighbor. When the remembrance of wrongs is obliterated in you: then you are close to love. When your heart is overshadowed by holy, grace-given peace towards all humanity: then you are at the very doors of love. But these doors are opened by the Holy Spirit alone. Love of God is a gift from God in a person who has prepared himself to receive this gift by purity of heart, mind, and body. The degree of the gift is according to the degree of preparation: because God, even in His mercy, is just.

-- St. Ignatius Brianchaninov (d. 1867), Love of God (Source)
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« Reply #193 on: August 26, 2012, 03:43:22 PM »

The church prays for all who have died in the faith, and asks forgiveness for their sins, for there is no man without sin, “if he have lived even a single day upon earth” (Job 14:5 LXX). “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). Therefore, no matter how righteous a man might be, when he departs from this world, the Church accompanies his departure with prayer for him to the Lord. “Brethren, pray for us,” the holy Apostle Paul asks his spiritual children (1 Thes. 5:25). At the same time, when the common voice of the Church testifies to the righteousness of the reposed person, Christians, apart from prayer for him, are taught by the good example of his life and place him as an example to be imitated.

-- Fr. Michael Pomazansky (d. 1988), Orthodox Dogmatic Theology (Source)
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« Reply #194 on: August 27, 2012, 05:15:34 PM »

When the soul is full of God's love, it is from immeasurable joy that it grieves and tearfully prays that the whole world would come to know its master and heavenly Father, neither knowing peace, nor wanting it, until all enjoy the grace of His love.

Elder Silouan of Athos (d. 1938), Source
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« Reply #195 on: August 28, 2012, 12:31:06 PM »

There is a constant communion of prayer between the visible, earthly part of the Church, and the invisible, heavenly part, and indeed each day of the year is dedicated to the memory of some saints whose names are known. The stories of their struggles are told in hymns dedicated to them and they are asked to make intercession. Thus we follow the Apostle's exhortation: "Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God; consider the outcome of their life, and imitate their faith." (Heb. 13:7)  In glorifying the saints' spiritual struggle and victory the Church is in fact glorifying God's work of salvation, the work of the Holy Spirit; it experiences the salvation already accomplished in them, the goal towards which the members of the Church militant are still pressing on. (Phil. 3:12, 14)

Archbp. Paul of Karelia, The Faith We Hold, (St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1980), pp. 27-28
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« Reply #196 on: August 30, 2012, 11:04:49 AM »

The complete and correct prayer is one in which the words of the prayer are accepted by both thought and emotion; attentiveness is therefore needful. Do not let your thoughts wander; imprison them again and again, and always begin anew from the point where you left off praying. You may read from the Psalter, in the same way, especially if you do not have a prayer book. Thus you learn patience and watchfulness.

A person standing at an open window hears the sounds from outside; it is impossible not to do so. But he can give the voices his attention or not, as he himself wishes. The praying person is continually beset by a stream of inappropriate thoughts, feelings and mental impressions. To stop this tiresome stream is as impracticable as to stop the air from circulating in an open room. But one can notice them or not. This, say the saints, one learns only through practice.

-- Tito Colliander (d. 1989), Way of the Ascetics (Source)
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« Reply #197 on: August 31, 2012, 02:05:40 PM »

How is one who wishes to preserve oneself pure and chaste to struggle with the temptation of this sin? The answer is simple: first of all by purity of thought and imagination. It is often claimed that sexual need acts with such insurmountable strength that man is powerless to withstand it. This is a falsehood! This is not a matter of "need" but of depravity and lechery and results from a person's unrestrained provoking of himself with thoughts and desires. Of course such a person builds upon the natural sexual inclination to an excessive degree and this brings him to sin. An Orthodox Christian, however, who is God-loving and strict with himself will never allow, never permit that bad desires and thoughts possess his mind and heart.

In order to accomplish this, he will call upon God's help in prayer and by the sign of the Cross and struggle against such thoughts the instant they appear. By effort of the will one will bring one's thoughts over to prayer or at least to other more edifying subjects. If one allows oneself to be inflamed by impure imagination, it means that one has depraved and ruined oneself. In order to struggle with bad thoughts, an Orthodox person must firmly turn away from and quickly depart from all that can elicit these bad thoughts. Our Savior was not speaking in vain when He so strictly warns us of the impure, lecherous gaze - and the gaze Christ warned us about went no further than looking. So dangerous is mental temptation.

-- Met. Philaret of New York (d. 1985), On the Law of God (Source)
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« Reply #198 on: September 05, 2012, 06:05:00 AM »

Many people pray hypocritically, and their hypocritical prayer becomes a habit with them; they do not even observe themselves, and do not wish to observe, that they pray hypocritically, and not in spirit and truth, so that if anybody were to accuse them of praying hypocritically, they would be angry with those who dared to say, in their opinion, such an absurdity. Men do not suddenly become hypocritical, but gradually. At first, perhaps, they prayed with their whole hearts, but afterwards—for always to pray with the whole heart is a difficult work, to which we must force ourselves, and "the kingdom of heaven" (it is said) "suffereth violence" (Matt. 11:12)—they begin to pray more with their lips superficially, not from the depths of the soul, which is much easier, and finally at the increased assaults of the flesh and Devil, they only pray with their lips, without the power of the words of the prayer reaching the heart.

-- St. John of Kronstadt (d. 1908), My Life in Christ (Source)
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« Reply #199 on: December 03, 2012, 09:09:26 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

I wonder what he means.
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“God has no religion.”
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« Reply #200 on: December 28, 2012, 12:25:33 AM »

The virgin Mary, having given herself entirely up to God, even though she repulsed from herself every impulse to sin, still felt the weakness of human nature more powerfully than others and ardently desired the coming of the Saviour. In her humility she considered herself unworthy to be even the servant-girl of the virgin who was to give Him birth. So that nothing might distract her from prayer and heedfulness to herself, Mary gave to God a vow not to become married, in order to please only Him Her whole life long.

-- St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco (d. 1966), The Orthodox Veneration of Mary the Birthgiver of God
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« Reply #201 on: December 28, 2012, 09:34:38 PM »

There are three things I cannot take in: nondogmatic faith, nonecclesiological Christianity and nonascetic Christianity. These three--the church, dogma, and asceticism--constitute one single life for me.

-- Elder Sophrony (d. 1993) -- (Source)
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« Reply #202 on: December 29, 2012, 02:20:15 PM »

It is evident that unbelief is an evil offspring of an evil heart; for the guileless and pure heart everywhere discovers God, everywhere discerns Him, and always unhesitatingly believes in His existence. When the man of pure heart looks at the World of Nature, that is, at the sky, the earth, and the sea and at all things in them, and observes the systems constituting them, the infinite multitude of stars of heaven, the innumerable multitudes of birds and quadrupeds and every kind of animal of the earth, the variety of plants on it, the abundance of fish in the sea, he is immediately amazed and exclaims with the Prophet David: "How great are Thy works, O Lord! In wisdom Thou made them all."

-- St. Nektarios of Aegina (d. 1920), Discovering God
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« Reply #203 on: December 30, 2012, 06:11:50 PM »

Fr. Justin Popovic has pointed that Europe is dominated by the desire for power, lust, and knowledge. The entire Europe "is the desire for power and lust and knowledge. Both are human: human desire and human knowledge." All of Europe is personified in the Pope and in Luther. "The european pope is the human desire for power. The european Luther is man's stubborn insistence to explain everything with his mind. The pope as the ruler of the world and the scientists as the commander of the world." This is the whole Europe.

-- Met. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos (b. 1945), Orthodox and Western Traditions in Our Life
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« Reply #204 on: January 01, 2013, 05:55:51 AM »

Elder Cleopa: For how many hours do you pray in the morning? And how many in the evening? Saint John Chrysostom says: we should pray 3 hours both in the morning and the evening, and for at least one hour at midnight. How many hours do you pray to God, in the morning when you awaken?

Person #2: Hours, no...

Elder Cleopa: We should, but we don't pray for hours. You see? And death comes tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow. Our Savior said: "Be alert and pray, since you know neither the day nor the hour..."  We leave tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. We all leave!

-- Elder Cleopa of Romania (d. 1998), Source
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« Reply #205 on: January 02, 2013, 04:39:35 PM »

You must set about rooting out the very desire to have things pleasant, to get on well, to be contented. You must learn to like sadness, poverty, pain, hardship. You must learn to follow privately the Lord's bidding: not to speak empty words, not to adorn yourself, always to obey authority, not to look at a woman with desire, not to be angry and much else. For all these biddings are given us not in order for us to act as if they did not exist, but for us to follow: otherwise the Lord of mercy would not have burdened us with them. If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, He said (Matt. 16:24), thereby leaving it to each person's own will-if any man will-and to each person's endeavour: let him deny himself.

-- Tito Colliander (d. 1989), Way of the Ascetics (Source)
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« Reply #206 on: January 03, 2013, 02:09:18 PM »

Ephraem's most outstanding characteristic as a teacher is his close adherence to the Bible. His attitude to Scripture is reverent, for the Divine books have been given to us from God through the Holy Spirit. They are the means of our salvation. The mysteries of the holy books and their wonderful harmony are accessible only to those who approach them with faith. On the twenty-two streams a tree grows forth which bears many fruits, and its branches extend beyond the bounds of the earth. Ephraem uses the Old Testament text of the Peshitta and only rarely cites the Septuagint, probably referring to a Syriac translation or relying on a glossary. Occasionally he mentions the Hebrew text or Hebrew commentary, but he never quotes these directly.

-- Fr. Georges Florovsky (d. 1979), Source
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« Reply #207 on: January 05, 2013, 04:38:25 AM »

To recover the missionary dimension of the Church is today’s greatest imperative. We have to recover a very basic truth: that the Church is essentially Mission, that the very roots of her life are in the commandment of Christ: "Go Ye therefore and teach all nations" (Matt. 28:19). A Christian community that would lose this missionary zeal and purpose, that would become selfish and self-centered, that would limit itself to "satisfying the spiritual needs of its members", that would identify itself completely with a nation, a society, a social or ethnic group – is on its way to spiritual decadence and death, because the essential spiritual need of a Christian is precisely that of sharing the life and the Truth with as many men as possible and ultimately with the whole world. Mission thus is the organic need and task of the Church in the world, the real meaning of Church’s presence in history between the first and the second advents of her Lord, or, in other terms, the meaning of Christian history. Obviously not all members of the Church can go and preach in the literal sense of the word. But all can have a concern for the missionary function of the Church, feel responsible for it, help and support it. In this respect each diocese, each parish and each member of the Church are involved in the missionary ministry.

-- Fr. Alexander Schmemann (d. 1983), Orthodoxy and Mission
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« Reply #208 on: January 06, 2013, 03:44:13 PM »

Flee imagination, fantasy, analysis, figuring things out
Flee carnal, sexual things at their first appearance

-- Fr. Thomas Hopko (b. 1939), 55 Maxims, 37-38
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« Reply #209 on: January 07, 2013, 02:38:04 PM »

The deepest sadness and the greatest joy in Christian life are caused by an innate longing for God, a passionate quest for intimate and eternal communion with the Persons of the Holy Trinity. Such longing brings sadness, because in this life it goes largely unfulfilled. Yet rather than lead to frustration, it can produce ineffable joy, nourished by the certitude that ultimately nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, that our desire for union with him will ultimately be answered beyond our most fervent hope.

-- Fr. John Breck (b. 1939), Source
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« Reply #210 on: January 09, 2013, 03:29:09 AM »

Stand at prayer before the invisible God as if you saw Him, and with the conviction that He sees you and is looking at you attentively. Stand before the invisible God just as a guilty criminal convicted of countless crimes and condemned to death stands before a. stem, impartial judge. Exactly! You are standing before your sovereign Lord and Judge; you are standing before the Judge in Whose sight no living soul will be justified. Who always wins when He is judged, Who does not condemn only when, in His unspeakable love for men, He forgives a man his sin and enters not into judgment with His servant. Feeling the fear of God, and feeling from the action of this fear the presence of God when you pray, you will see without seeing, spiritually, Him Who is invisible, and you will realize that prayer is a standing by anticipation at the awful judgment of God.


-- St. Ignatius Brianchaninov (d. 1867), The Arena (Source)
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« Reply #211 on: January 10, 2013, 08:16:54 AM »

Of all the ancients
You I think I could live with,
(some of the time)
comfortable in you
like an old coat
sagged and fraying at the back,
(its pockets drooping with unimportant nothings
like string, and manuscripts of poems)
perfect for watching you off your guard,
rambling around your country garden,
planting roses, not turnips,
contrary to the manual
for a sensible monk;
master of the maybe;
anxious they might take you up all wrong;
shaking your fist at an Emperor,
(once he had turned the corner
out of sight); every foray into speech
a costed regret

Your heart was like a spider's silk
swinging wildly at the slightest breeze
too tender for this tumbling world
of mountebanks and quacks and gobs
but tuned to hear the distant voices
of the singing stars
and marvel at the mercy of it all.

-- Fr. John Anthony McGuckin (b. 1952), St Gregory Nazianzen
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