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Author Topic: Modern Church Fathers  (Read 38389 times) Average Rating: 0
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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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Justin Kissel
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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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Justin Kissel
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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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Justin Kissel
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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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Justin Kissel
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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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Justin Kissel
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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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Justin Kissel
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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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Justin Kissel
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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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Justin Kissel
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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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Justin Kissel
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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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Justin Kissel
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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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Justin Kissel
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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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Justin Kissel
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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
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