Dormition of the Theotokos Greek Orthodox Church in Oakmont, PA

Wisdom of the Church Fathers and the Monastic Life

Every week, we will feature a saying from the "Church Fathers and the Monastic Life" which is located on home page on the bottom left-hand side next of the Orthodox Tidbit. This page is the compilation of all the sayings thus far or better known as the "archive".

St. John ClimacusSt. John Climacus
St. John Climacus
Do not be surprised that you fall every day; do not give up, but stand your ground courageously. And assuredly, the angel who guards you will honour your patience.

Let us charge into the good fight with joy and love without being afraid of our enemies. Though unseen themselves, they can look at the face of our soul, and if they see it altered by fear, they take up arms against us all the more fiercely. For the cunning creatures have observed that we are scared. So let us take up arms against them courageously. No one will fight with a resolute fighter.

Fire and water do not mix, neither can you mix judgment of others with the desire to repent. If a man commits a sin before you at the very moment of his death, pass no judgment, because the judgment of God is hidden from men. It has happened that men have sinned greatly in the open but have done greater deeds in secret, so that those who would disparage them have been fooled, with smoke instead of sunlight in their eyes.

Repentance is the renewal of baptism. Repentance is a contract with God for a second life. A penitent is a buyer of humility. Repentance is constant distrust of bodily comfort. Repentance is self-condemning reflection, and carefree self-care. Repentance is the daughter of hope and the renunciation of despair. A penitent is an undisgraced convict. Repentance is reconciliation with the Lord by the practice of good deeds contrary to the sins. Repentance is purification of conscience. Repentance is the voluntary endurance of all afflictions. A penitent is the inflicter of his own punishments. Repentance is a mighty persecution of the stomach, and a striking of the soul into vigorous awareness.

I consider those fallen mourners more blessed than those who have not fallen and are not mourning over themselves; because as a result of their fall, they have risen by a sure resurrection.

When our praisers, or rather our seducers, begin to praise us, let us briefly call to mind the multitude of our sins, and we shall find ourselves unworthy of what is said or done in our honor.

St. John of KarpathosSt. John of Karpathos
John of Karpathos

Do all in your power not to fall, for the strong athlete should not fall. But if you do fall, get up again at once and continue the contest. Even if you fall a thousand times because of the withdrawal of God's grace, rise up again each time, and keep on doing this until the day of your death. For it is written, 'If a righteous man falls down seven times' — that is, repeatedly throughout his life — 'seven times shall he rise again' [Prov. 24:16].

St. Gregory PalamasSt. Gregory Palamas
St. Gregory Palamas

Having put your hope in Christ who provides for all creation and nurtures it, keep away from all unjust gains, and do not be too attached even to honest income. Put it to good use and let the poor share in it as much as possible.

St. Symeon the New TheologianSt. Symeon the New Theologian
St. Symeon
the New Theologian
The roof of any house stands upon the foundations and the rest of the structure. The foundations themselves are laid in order to carry the roof. This is both useful and necessary, for the roof cannot stand without the foundations and the foundations are absolutely useless without the roof — no help to any living creature. In the same way the grace of God is preserved by the practice of the commandments, and the observance of these commandments is laid down like foundations through the gift of God. The grace of the Spirit cannot remain with us without the practice of the commandments, but the practice of the commandments is of no help or advantage to us without the grace of God.

Our holy fathers have renounced all other spiritual work and concentrated wholly on this one doing, that is, on guarding the heart, convinced that, through this practice, they would easily attain every other virtue, whereas without it not a single virtue can be firmly established.

When a man walks in the fear of God he knows no fear, even if he were to be surrounded by wicked men. He has the fear of God within him and wears the invincible armor of faith. This makes him strong and able to take on anything, even things which seem difficult or impossible to most people. Such a man is like a giant surrounded by monkeys, or a roaring lion among dogs and foxes. He goes forward trusting in the Lord and the constancy of his will to strike and paralyze his foes. He wields the blazing club of the Word in wisdom. — The Practical and Theological Chapters

For those who believe in Him, Christ will become all this and even more, beyond enumeration, not only in the age to come but first in this life, and then in the world to come. Thou in an obscure way here below and in a perfect manner in the Kingdom, those who believe see clearly nonetheless and receive as of now the first-fruits of everything they will have in the future life. Indeed, if they do not receive on earth everything that was promised to them, they do not have any part of foretaste of the blessings to come, their higher hope being set on the hereafter.

However, it is through death and the resurrection that God in His foresight has given us the Kingdom, incorruptibility, the totality of life eternal. Given these conditions, we unquestionably become partakers of the good things to come, that is, incorruptible, immortal, sons of God, sons of the light and of the day, inheritors of the Kingdom of Heaven, since we carry the Kingdom within.

What we have to say about the judgement is difficult to explain because it is not about present and visible things but about future and invisible ones.

St. Tikhon of VoronezhSt. Tikhon of Voronezh
St. Tikhon of Voronezh/Zadonsk
Wonderworker of All Russia

God descends to the humble as waters flow down from the hills into the valleys.

My poor soul! Sigh, pray and strive to take upon you the blessed yoke of Christ, and you will live on earth in a heavenly manner. Lord, grant that I may carry the light and goodly yoke, and I shall be always at rest, peaceful, glad and joyous; and I shall taste on earth of crumbs which fall from the celestial feast, like a dog that feeds upon the crumbs which fall from the master's table.

My soul, seek the Only One . . . My soul, you have no part with the earth; for you are from heaven. You are the image of God: seek your First Image. For like strives after like. Each object finds its rest in its center and element — fish in water, fire in its upward movement everything strives to its center. My soul, you are an immaterial spirit, immortal. . . In Him alone you will find your rest.

We see the water of a river flowing uninterruptedly and passing away, and all that floats on its surface, rubbish or beams of trees, all pass by. Christian! So does our life. . . I was an infant, and that time has gone. I was an adolescent, and that too has passed. I was a young man, and that too is far behind me. The strong and mature man that I was is no more. My hair turns white, I succumb to age, but that too passes; I approach the end and will go the way of all flesh. I was born in order to die. I die that I may live. Remember me, O Lord, in Thy Kingdom!

Do we forgive our neighbors their trespasses? God also forgives us in His mercy. Do we refuse to forgive? God, too, will refuse to forgive us. As we treat our neighbors, so also does God treat us. The forgiveness, then, of your sins or unforgiveness, and hence also your salvation or destruction, depend on you yourself, man. For without forgiveness of sins there is no salvation. You can see for yourself how terrible it is. — Journey to Heaven

St. Cyril of JerusalemSt. Cyril of Jerusalem
St. Cyril of Jerusalem
O strange and inconceivable thing! We did not really die, we were not really buried, we were not really crucified and raised again, but our imitation was but a figure, while our salvation is in reality. Christ was actually crucified, and actually buried, and truly rose again; and all these things have been vouchsafed to us, that we, by imitation communicating in His sufferings, might gain salvation in reality. O surpassing loving-kindness! Christ received the nails in His undefiled hands and feet, and endured anguish; while to me without suffering or toil, by the fellowship of His pain He vouchsafed salvation. — On the Christian Sacraments

Do not, therefore, regard the bread and wine as simply that, for they are, according to the Master's declaration, the Body and Blood of Christ. Even though the senses suggest to you the other, let faith make you firm.

Let us then, my brethren, endure in hope. Let us devote ourselves, side-by-side with our hoping, so that the God of all the universe, as he beholds our intention, may cleanse us from all sins, fill us with high hopes from what we have in hand, and grant us the change of heart that saves. God has called you, and you have your calling.

St. John ChrysostomSt. John Chrysostom
St. John Chrysostom
In the matter of piety, poverty serves us better than wealth, and work better than idleness, especially since wealth becomes an obstacle even for those who do not devote themselves to it. Yet, when we must put aside our wrath, quench our envy, soften our anger, offer our prayers, and show a disposition which is reasonable, mild, kindly, and loving, how could poverty stand in our way? For we accomplish these things not by spending money but by making the correct choice. Almsgiving above all else requires money, but even this shines with a brighter luster when the alms are given from our poverty. The widow who paid in the two mites was poorer than any human, but she outdid them all.

EVERY virtue is a good thing, but most of all gentleness and meekness. This showeth us men; this maketh us to differ from wild beasts; this fitteth us to vie with Angels. Wherefore Christ continually expendeth many words about this virtue, bidding us be meek and gentle. Nor doth He merely expend words about it, but also teacheth it by His actions; at one time buffeted and bearing it, at another reproached and plotted against; yet again coming to those who plotted against Him. For those men who had called Him a demoniac, and a Samaritan and who had often desired to kill Him, and had cast stones at Him, the same surrounded and asked Him, "Art thou the Christ?" Yet not even in this case did He reject them after so many and so great plots against Him, but answered them with great gentleness."

For though they had done ten thousand things, the munificence were of grace, that in return for services so small and cheap, such a heaven, and a kingdom, and so great honor, should be given them.

When an archer desires to shoot his arrows successfully, he first takes great pains over his posture and aligns himself accurately with his mark. It should be the same for you who are about to shoot the head of the wicked devil. Let us be concerned first for the good order of sensations and then for the good posture of inner thoughts.

If you don't find Christ in the beggar at the church door, neither will you find Him in the chalice.

The rich exist for the sake of the poor. The poor exist for the salvation of the rich.

God has surrounded the tongue with a double wall — with the barrier of the teeth and fence of the lips — in order that it may not easily and heedlessly utter words it should not speak.

For Christians above all men are forbidden to correct the stumblings of sinners by force — it is necessary to make a man better not by force but by persuasion. We neither have autority granted us by law to restrain sinners, nor, if it were, should we know how to use it, since God gives the crown to those who are kept from evil, not by force, but by choice.

And though every day a man lives may rightly be a day of repentance, yet is it in these days more becoming, more appropriate, to confess our sins, to fast, and to give alms to the poor; since in these days you may wash clean the sins of the whole year.

Lift up and stretch out your hands, not to heaven but to the poor; for if you stretch out your hands to the poor, you have reached the summit of heaven. But if you lift up your hands in prayer without sharing with the poor, it is worth nothing.

"The Holy Scriptures were not given to us that we should enclose them in books, but that we should engrave them upon our hearts." — St. John Chrysostom on Scripture

St. Gregory of NyssaSt. Gregory of Nyssa.jpg
St. Gregory of Nyssa
When we lay bare the hidden meaning of the history, scripture is seen to teach that the birth which distresses the tyrant is the beginning of the virtuous life. I am speaking of the kind of birth in which free will serves as the midwife, delivering the child amid great pain. For no one causes grief to his antagonist unless he exhibits in himself those marks which give proof of his victory over the other. — The Life of Moses

For though He appeared as man yet He was not in all things subject to the laws of humanity; that He was born of woman, savored of lowliness; the virginity however that attended His birth shows that He transcended mankind. His carrying in the womb was joyful. His birth immaculate, His coming forth without pain, His nativity free of blemish, neither taking rise from the will of the flesh, nor brought forth in sorrow; for since she who by her fault had brought death to our nature was condemned to bring forth in sorrow, it was fitting that the Mother of Life should bring forth in joy. And in that hour, in which the shadows begin to retire, and the immense gloom of night was forced back by the splendour of this Light, Christ, through this virginal incorruption, comes to share the life of mortal men. For death had reached the boundary of the domination of sin, and now it moves towards nothingness, because of the presence of the True Light, which by its evangelical rays has given light to the whole world. — Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers Vol. 1

Panayia Appearing to St. RomanosPanayia Appearing to St. Romanos
Kontakia of St. Romanos

The wicked one, on the watch, carried me off as booty as I lazily slept.
He led my mind into error; he plundered my spirit and snatched away.
The wealth of Thy grace, this arch robber.
So raise me up, as I am fallen, and summon me, Saviour,
Thou who dost will that all men be saved. — A Prayer

Be strong in Me; and you, too, Andrew; just as you were the first to find Me, you were found by me; so find the one who has wandered; Do not forget your first skill; from it I shall educate you for this new art. Formerly, naked into the deep sea, now naked into life; Formerly, hunting with a fishing-rod, now taught to fish with the cross; Formerly, you used a worm as bait; now I order you to hunt with My flesh. I alone know what is in the heart. — Kontakia: On the Mission of the Apostles

Christ is Risen! O the marvel! the forbearance! the immeasurable meekness! The Untouched is felt; the Master is held by a servant, And He reveals His wounds to one of His inner circle. Seeing these wounds, the whole Creation was shaken at the time. Thomas, when he was considered worthy of such gifts, Lifted up a prayer to the One Who deemed him worthy, Saying, "Bear my rashness with patience, Have pity on my unworthiness and lighten the burden Of my lack of faith, so that I may sing and cry, 'Thou art our Lord and God.'"
— Kontakia of Romanos: On Doubting Thomas

St. Anthony The Great (courtesy of Holy Transfiguration Monastery)St. Anthony The Great (courtesy of Holy Transfiguration Monastery)
St. Anthony the Great

I saw the snares that the enemy spreads out over the world and I said groaning, "What can get through from such snares?" Then I heard a voice saying to me, "Humility."

Die daily, that you might live eternally, for the one who fears God will live forever.

St. Seraphim of SarovSt. Seraphim of Sarov
St. Seraphim of Sarov
God is a fire that warms and kindles the heart and inward parts. Hence, if we feel in our hearts the cold which comes from the devil — for the devil is cold — let us call on the Lord. He will come to warm our hearts with perfect love, not only for Him but also for our neighbor, and the cold of him who hates the good will flee before the heat of His countenance.

The body is a slave, the soul a sovereign, and therefore it is due to Divine mercy when the body is worn out by illness: for thereby the passions are weakened, and a man comes to himself; indeed, bodily illness itself is sometimes caused by the passions. — Spiritual Instructions

Acquire the spirit of peace and a thousand souls around you will be saved.

Excessive care about worldly matters is characteristic of an unbelieving and fainthearted person.

Those who have truly decided to serve the Lord God should practice the remembrance of God and uninterrupted prayer to Jesus Christ, mentally saying: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Where there is God, there is no evil. Everything coming from God is peaceful, healthy and leads a person to the judgment of his own imperfections and humility.

Elder Ieronymos of AeginaElder Ieronymos of Aegina
Elder Ieronymos
of Aegina

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.

St. Gregory the GreatSt. Gregory the Great
St. Gregory The Great
He, therefore, who sets himself to act evilly and yet wishes others to be silent, is a witness against himself, for he wishes himself to be loved more than the truth, which he does not wish to be defended against himself. There is, of course, no man who so lives as not sometimes to sin, but he wishes truth to be loved more than himself, who wills to be spared by no one against the truth. Wherefore, Peter willingly accepted the rebuke of Paul; David willingly hearkened to the reproof of a subject. For good rulers who pay no regard to self-love, take as a homage to their humility the free and sincere words of subjects. But in this regard the office of ruling must be tempered with such great art of moderation, that the minds of subjects, when demonstrating themselves capable of taking right views in some matters, are given freedom of expression, but freedom that does not issue into pride, otherwise, when liberty of speech is granted too generously, the humility of their own lives will be lost. — Pastoral Care

For to despise the present age, not to love transitory things, unreservedly to stretch out the mind in humility to God and our neighbor, to preserve patience against offered insults and, with patience guarded, to repel the pain of malice from the heart, to give one's property to the poor, not to covet that of others, to esteem the friend in God, on God's account to love even those who are hostile, to mourn at the affliction of a neighbor, not to exult in the death of one who is an enemy, this is the new creature whom the Master of the nations seeks with watchful eye amid the other disciples, saying:"If, then, any be in Christ a new creature, the old things are passed away. Behold all things are made new" (2 Cor. 5:17).

Every day you provide your bodies with good to keep them from failing. In the same way your good works should be the daily nourishment of your hearts. Your bodies are fed with food and your spirits with good works. You aren't to deny your soul, which is going to live forever, what you grant to your body, which is going to die.

(Icons courtesy of used with permission)

St. Ephraim the SyrianSt. Ephraim the Syrian
St. Ephraim the Syrian
The Seraph could not touch the fire's coal with his fingers, but just brought it close to Isaiah's mouth: the Seraph did not hold it, Isaiah did not consume it, but us our Lord has allowed to do both.

When you begin to read or listen to the Holy Scriptures, pray to God thus: "Lord Jesus Christ, open the ears and eyes of my heart so that I may hear Thy words and understand them, and may fulfill Thy will." Always pray to God like this, that He might illumine your mind and open to you the power of His words. Many, having trusted in their own reason, have turned away into deception.

(Icons courtesy of used with permission)

St. Isaac the SyrianSt. Isaac the Syrian
St. Isaac of Syria
The Lord's Day is a mystery of the knowledge of the truth that is not received by flesh and blood, and it transcends speculations. In this age there is no eighth day, nor is there a true Sabbath. For he who said that 'God rested on the seventh day,' signified the rest [of our nature] from the course of this life, since the grave is also of a bodily nature and belongs to this world. Six days are accomplished in the husbandry of life by means of keeping the commandments; the seventh is spent entirely in the grave; and the eighth is the departure from it. — The Ascetical Homilies I

Why do you trouble yourself in a house that is not your own? Let the sight of a dead man be a teacher for you concerning your departure from hence.

When someone has become aware of the coming of divine help, and that it is this which aids and assists him, then at once his heart is filled with faith, and from this he understands that prayer is: the haven of help, the fountainhead of salvation, a treasury of assurance, a saving anchor in time of storm, an illumination to those in darkness, a staff for the weak, a shelter in time of trials, a source of recovery at the time of sickness, a shield of deliverance in war, an arrow sharpened in face of enemies, once aware of this, he has acquired prayer in his soul, like a treasure. Out of the joy he experiences he will change the direction of his prayer, turning it into utterance of thanksgiving. — The Ascetical Homilies of St Isaac the Syrian

Do not call God just, for His justice is not manifest in the things concerning you. And if David calls Him just and upright, His Son revealed to us that He is good and kind. 'He is good', He says 'to the evil and to the impious.' How can you call God just when you come across the Scriptural passage on the wage given to the workers? How can a man call God just when he comes across the passage on the prodigal son who wasted his wealth with riotous living, how for the compunction alone which he showed, the father ran and fell upon his neck and gave him authority over all his wealth? Where, then, is God's justice, for while we are sinners Christ died for us!

St. Nikephoros of ChiosSt. Nikephoros of Chios
St. Nikephoros of Chios
(Kallistos Xanthopoulos)

Fortunate is the man who has come to have God as his helper and to have his hopes in Him alone. Let the Devil bear malice towards him, let all men persecute him and plot against him, let all his adversaries fight against him — he never fears anyone, because his has God as his helper. He remains always a victor, always glorified, always happy, always rich, always cheerful and joyful, even if he happens to fall into extreme poverty and into a great many adverse and grievous circumstances of this present life. For inasmuch as he hopes in Almighty God, he does not despair, he is not sorry, is not anxious, but expects help from Above. Fortunate, then, is such a man and worthy to be deemed happy, just as the Prophet-king David regards such a man as happy, saying: "Blessed is he whose helper is the God of Jacob, whose hoe is in the Lord his God." Such were all the Prophets, the Apostles, the Martyrs, the Holy Ascetics and all the Saints from the beginning of time.

Prove your love and zeal for wisdom in actual deeds.

St. Paisius VelichkovskySt. Paisius Velichkovsky
St. Paisius Velichkovsky

Remember, O my soul, the terrible and frightful wonder: that your Creator for your sake became Man, and deigned to suffer for the sake of your salvation. His angels tremble, the Cherubim are terrified, the Seraphim are in fear, and all the heavenly powers ceaselessly give praise; and you, unfortunate soul, remain in laziness. At least from this time forth arise and do not put off, my beloved soul, holy repentence, contrition of heart and penance for your sins.

St. Anatoly of OptinaSt. Anatoly of Optina
St. Anatoly of Optina

You cannot destroy the passions on your own, but ask God, and He will destroy them, if this is profitable for you.

St. Justin PopovichSt. Justin Popovich
St. Justin Popovich

In Christianity truth is not a philosophical concept nor is it a theory, a teaching, or a system, but rather, it is the living theanthropic hypostasis — the historical Jesus Christ (John 14:6). Before Christ men could only conjecture about the Truth since they did not possess it. With Christ as the incarnate divine Logos the eternally complete divine Truth enters into the world. For this reason the Gospel says: "Truth came by Jesus Christ" (John 1:17).

St. Macarius The GreatSt. Macarius The Great
St. Macarius
the Great

This is the mark of Christianity -- however much a man toils, and however many righteousnesses he performs, to feel that he has done nothing, and in fasting to say, "This is not fasting," and in praying, "This is not prayer," and in perseverance at prayer, "I have shown no perseverance; I am only just beginning to practice and to take pains"; and even if he is righteous before God, he should say, "I am not righteous, not I; I do not take pains, but only make a beginning every day."

The soul that really loves God and Christ, though it may do ten thousand righteousnesses, esteems itself as having wrought nothing, by reason of its insatiable aspiration after God. Though it should exhaust the body with fastings, with watchings, its attitude towards the virtues is as if it had not yet even begun to labour for them.

Souls that love truth and God, that long with much hope and faith to put on Christ completely, do not need so much to be put in remembrance by others, nor do they endure, even for a while, to be deprived of the heavenly desire and of passionate affection to the Lord; but being wholly and entirely nailed to the cross of Christ, they perceive in themselves day by day a sense of spiritual advance towards the spiritual Bridegroom.

St. Peter of DamascusSt. Peter of Damascus
St. Peter of Damascus

The demons are sleepless and immaterial, death is at hand, and I am weak. Lord, help me; do not let Thy creature perish, for Thou carest for me in my misery.

St. Mark the AsceticSt. Mark the Ascetic
St. Mark the Ascetic

Do not seek the perfection of the law in human virtues, for it is not found perfect in them.

(Icons courtesy of used with permission)

Elder Paisios of the Holy MountainElder Paisios of the Holy Mountain
Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain

Live in constant glorification of and thanksgiving towards God, for the greatest sin is ingratitude and the worst sinner is the ungrateful person.

When we do good, do it only because we love it and prefer it to evil, and not because we seek reward. This way we will become children of God and not His hired workers.

Elder Joseph the HesychastElder Joseph the Hesychast
Elder Joseph the Hesychast

Acts of charity, almsgiving and all the external good works do not suppress the arrogance of the heart; but noetic meditation, the labor of repentance, contrition and humility — these humble the proud mind.

St. Innocent Of IrkutskSt. Innocent Of Irkutsk
St. Innocent of Irkutsk

Faith and love which are gifts of the Holy Spirit are such great and powerful means that a person who has them can easily, and with joy and consolation, go the way Jesus Christ went. Besides this, the Holy Spirit gives man the power to resist the delusions of the world so that although he makes use of earthly good, yet he uses them as a temporary visitor, without attaching his heart to them. But a man who has not got the Holy Spirit, despite all his learning and prudence, is always more or less a slave and worshipper of the world. — Indication of the Way into the Kingdom of Heaven

St. Gregory of SinaiSt. Gregory of Sinai
St. Gregory of Sinai

The degree of negligence or diligence with which a man tries to attain to Christ's stature reveals what stage he has reached — whether he is in his spiritual infancy or has achieved maturity.

Those who seek humility should bear in mind the three following things: that they are the worst of sinners, that they are the most despicable of all creatures since their state is an unnatural one, and that they are even more pitiable than the demons, since they are slaves to the demons. You will also profit if you say this to yourself: how do I know what or how many other people's sins are, or whether they are greater than or equal to my own? In our ignorance you and I, my soul, are worse than all men, we are dust and ashes under their feet. How can I not regard myself as more despicable than all other creatures, for they act in accordance with the nature they have been given, while I, owing to my innumerable sins, am in a state contrary to nature. — Philokalia, Vol. IV.

St. Basil the GreatSt. Basil the Great
St. Basil the Great

Our Injustices:

"The bread you do not use is the bread of the hungry.

The garment hanging in your wardrobe is the garment of the person who is naked.

The shoes you do not wear are the shoes of the one who is barefoot.

The money you keep locked away is the money of the poor.

The acts of charity you do not perform are the injustices you commit."

Justifications for us to not do charity are an easy cause for greed.

I have learnt to know one who proves that even in a soldier's life it is possible to preserve the perfection of love to God, and that we must mark a Christian not by the style of his dress, but by the disposition of his soul.

St. John of KronstadtSt. John of Kronstadt
St. John of Kronstadt

When you are praying alone, and your spirit is dejected, and you are wearied and oppressed by your loneliness, remember then, as always, that God the Trinity looks upon you with eyes brighter than the sun; also all the angels, your own Guardian Angel, and all the Saints of God. Truly they do; for they are all one in God, and where God is, there are they also. Where the sun is, thither also are directed all its rays. Try to understand what this means.

Abba Isidore of SketeAbba Isidore of Skete
Abba Isidore of Skete

It is more important to teach by a life of doing good than to preach in eloquent terms.

For now is the time to labour for the Lord, for salvation is found in the day of affliction; for it is written: "In your patience gain ye your souls" (Luke 21:19).

Mother Maria SkobtsovaMother Maria Skobtsova
Mother Maria Skobtsova of Paris
At the Last Judgment, I will not be asked whether I satisfactorily practiced asceticism, or how many bows I have made before the divine altar. I will be asked whether I fed the hungry, clothed the naked, visited the sick, and the prisoner in his jail. That is all I will be asked.

We must not allow Christ to be overshadowed by any regulations, any customs, any traditions, any aesthetic considerations, or even any piety.

Mother SyncletikiMother Syncletiki
Mother Syncletiki

Imitate the Publican and you will not be condemned with the Pharisee. Choose the meekness of Moses and you will find your heart which is a rock changed into a spring of water.

Just as a treasure that is exposed loses its value, so a virtue which is known vanishes; just as wax melts when it is near fire, so the soul is destroyed by praise and loses all the results of its labour.

Evagrios The SolitaryEvagrios The Solitary
Evagrios The Solitary

Pray gently and calmly, sing with understanding and rhythm; then you will soar like a young eagle high in the heavens.

St. Theophan the RecluseSt. Theophan the Recluse
St. Theophan the Recluse

Nothing comes without effort. The help of God is always ready and near, but is given only to those who seek and work, and only to those seekers who, after putting all their powers to the test, then cry out with their whole heart: "Lord, help us."

The feelings which seek expression in words are mostly egotistical, since they seek to express what flatters our self-love and can show us, as we imagine, in the best light.

Holy Prophet HabakkukHoly Prophet Habakkuk
Holy Prophet Habakkuk

Woe to him that increaseth that which is not his! Woe to him that coveteth an evil covetousness to his house, that he may set his nest on high. Woe to him that buildeth a town with blood, and stablisheth a city by iniquity! Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also. Woe unto him that saith to the wood, Awake; to the dumb stone, Arise, it shall teach!

St. John CassianSt. John Cassian
St. John Cassian
Learn from your own experience to sympathize with those in trouble, and never to terrify with destructive despair those who are in danger, nor harden them with severe speeches, but rather restore them with gentle and kindly consolations. — The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. XI

"When we say 'hallowed be Your name' to God what we are really saying is 'Father, make us such as deserve knowledge and understanding of how holy You are, or at least let Your holiness shine forth in the spiritual lives we lead.' And this surely happens as men see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven (cf. Mt. 5:16)."

St. Cyprian of CarthageSt. Cyprian of Carthage
St. Cyprian of Carthage
For when one has pity on the poor, he lends to God; and he who gives to the least gives to God — sacrifices spiritually to God an odour of a sweet smell.

Whence comes this tradition? Does it descend from the Lord's authority, or from the commands and epistles of the apostles? For those things are to be done which are there written ... If it be commanded in the gospels or the epistles and Acts of the Apostles, then let this holy tradition be observed.

No human being can take God as his Father unless he takes the Church as his mother.

St. DionysiusSt. Dionysius
St. Dionysius

Those who do not know must be taught, not punished. We do not hit the blind. We lead them by the hand.

The Holy and Righteous Job the Much-sufferingThe Holy and Righteous Job the Much-suffering
Righteous Job
The Much-Suffering

I know — said Righteous Job, afflicted with the leprous boils — I know, that my Redeemer liveth and He wilt raise up from the dust on the last day my decayed skin, and I in my flesh shalt see God. I shalt see Him myself with mine own eyes, and not through the eyes of some other see Him. In expectation of this, my heart doth jump within my bosom! (Job 19: 25-27).

St. John The RussianSt. John The Russian
St. John the Russian

You cannot turn me from my holy Faith by threats, nor with promises of riches and pleasures. I will obey your orders willingly, if you will leave me free to follow my religion. I would rather surrender my head to you than to change my faith. I was born a Christian, and I shall die a Christian.

St. Innocent of AlaskaSt. Innocent of Alaska
St. Innocent of Alaska

Do not be careless. Pray as much as you can — more frequently and more fervantly. Prod yourself — force yourself to do so, for the Kingdom of God is taken by force. You will never attain it without forcing yourself.

Saints Cosmas and Damian: Holy UnmercenariesSaints Cosmas and Damian: Holy Unmercenaries
Saints Cosmas & Damian
Holy Unmercenaries

It is not by our own power that we treat you, but by the power of Christ, the true God. Believe in Him and be healed.

St. Vladimir, Great Prince of KievSt. Vladimir, Great Prince of Kiev
St. Vladimir
Great Prince of Kiev

Knowledge is light, while ignorance is darkness.

St. Andrew StratelatesSt. Andrew Stratelates
St. Andrew Stratelates
(The Commander)

"This is the right time for you to come to a full knowledge of God in heaven. For you will immediately recognise that the gods of the pagans are really demons. My God, the one who made heaven and earth, is the true God. Accordingly, since he is all-powerful, he helps those who call upon him."

St. NataliaSt. Natalia
St. Natalia

Everything worldly is dust and ashes. Only faith and good deeds are pleasing to God.

Great Martyr EuphemiaGreat Martyr Euphemia
St. Euphemia

We are people endowed with reason, for whom it would be the greatest disgrace to abandon the one true God, the Maker of heaven and earth, in order to worship dumb, senseless idols. We are not afraid of torments you threaten us with. They will be easy for us to bear and will show the power of our God.

Holy Martyrs Sergius and BacchusHoly Martyrs Sergius and Bacchus
Sts. Sergius & Bacchus

Both honor and dishonor, both life and death — all are the same to him who seeks the Heavenly Kingdom.

Holy Martyr PlatoHoly Martyr Plato
Martyr Plato

There are two deaths, the one temporal and the other eternal; so also are there two lives, one of short duration and the other without end.

St. Gregory the TheologianSt. Gregory the Theologian
St. Gregory the Theologian

O clap your hands together all you people (cf. Ps. 47:1), because to us a Child is born, and a Son given to us, Whose Government is upon His shoulder (for with it the Cross is raised up), and His Name is called The Angel of the Great Counsel of the Father (cf. Isa. 9:6).

St. Euthymius The GreatSt. Euthymius The Great
St. Euthymius the Great

A tree frequently transplanted does not bear fruit. Whoever desires to do good, can do it from the place where he is.

St. Symeon The God-ReceiverSt. Symeon The God-Receiver
St. Symeon
The God-Receiver

Now, Master, You may let Your servant go in peace, according to Your word, for my eyes have seen Your salvation.

St. Theodore the TyroSt. Theodore the Tyro
St. Theodore the Tyro

I do not know your gods. Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, is my God. If you take my answer as an offense, cut off my tongue. Every part of my body is ready to suffer when God calls for this sacrifice.

Apostle ThomasApostle Thomas
Apostle Thomas

"My Lord and my God!"

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