Elder Leonid of Optina: If you would be simple-hearted like the Apostles . . .
“If you would be simple-hearted like the Apostles, would not conceal your human shortcomings, would not pretend to be especially pious, if you would walk free from hypocrisy, then that is the path. While it is easy, not everyone can find it or understan ... read more
Fr. Seraphim Rose: Why do men learn through pain and suffering, and not through pleasure and happiness? . . .
“Why do men learn through pain and suffering, and not through pleasure and happiness? Very simply, because pleasure and happiness accustom one to satisfaction with the things given in this world, whereas pain and suffering drive one to seek a more profo ... read more
From Unseen Warfare: You must never be afraid . . . that the enemy is too strong against you, that his attacks are never ending . . .
You must never be afraid, if you are troubled by a flood of thoughts, that the enemy is too strong against you, that his attacks are never ending, that the war will last for your lifetime, and that you cannot avoid incessant downfalls of all kinds. Know t ... read more
St. Basil the Great: On Giving Thanks to the Creator
As thou takest thy seat at table, pray. As thou liftest the loaf, offer thanks to the Giver. When thou sustainest thy bodily weakness with wine, remember Him Who supplies thee with this gift, to make thy heart glad and to comfort thy infirmity. Has thy ne ... read more
St. Bede: Whilst Sigebert still governed the kingdom, there came out of Ireland a holy man called Fursey . . .
Whilst Sigebert still governed the kingdom, there came out of Ireland a holy man called Fursey renowned both for his words and actions, and remarkable for singular virtues, being desirous to live a stranger for our Lord, wherever an opportunity should off ... read more
St. Clement of Rome: Ye have searched the Scriptures, which are true . . .
“Ye have searched the scriptures, which are true, which were given
through the Holy Ghost; and ye know that nothing unrighteous or counterfeit is written in them”
— St. Clement of Rome, 1 Clement 45:2-3 ... read more
St. Cyril of Alexandra: If the poison of pride is swelling up in you, turn to the Eucharist . . .
“If the poison of pride is swelling up in you, turn to the Eucharist; and that Bread, Which is your God humbling and disguising Himself, will teach you humility. If the fever of selfish greed rages in you, feed on this Bread; and you will learn generosi ... read more
St. Cyril of Jerusalem: . . . A fiery sword barred of old the gates of Paradise: a fiery tongue which brought salvation restored the gift.
“‘And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit’ (Acts 2:3-4). They partook of fire, not of burning but of saving fire; of fire which consumes the thorns of s ... read more
St. Cyril of Jerusalem: [L]et us consider whether is harder, for a man . . . to rise again from the earth, or for a man in the belly of a whale . . .
“[L]et us consider whether is harder, for a man after having been buried to rise again from the earth, or for a man in the belly of a whale, having come into the great heat of a living creature, to escape corruption. For what man knows not, that the hea ... read more
St. Czar Nicholas II: The higher a person’s position in society . . .
“The higher a person’s position in society the more he should help others without ever reminding them of his position.”
— St. Czar Nicholas II ... read more
St. Dionysius: On Speech About Teachings
Do not imagine this a victory, holy Sopatros, to have denounced [Tit. 3:9] a devotion, or an opinion, which apparently is not good. For neither—even if you should have convicted it accurately—are the (teachings) of Sopatros consequently good. For it i ... read more
St. Dorotheos: A man can know nothing about the judgments of God. . . .
“A man can know nothing about the judgments of God. He alone is the one who takes account of all and is able to judge the hearts of each one of us, as He alone is our Master. Truly it happens that a man may do a certain thing which seems to be wrong out ... read more
St. Dorotheos: A man obtains the fear of God if he has . . .
“A man obtains the fear of God if he has the remembrance of his unavoidable death and of the eternal torments that await sinners; If he tests himself every evening as to how he has spent the day, and every morning as to how he has spent the night, and ... read more
St. Ephraim the Syrian: According to thy mercy, pour out .
According to thy mercy, pour out upon me, who am miserable, at least one small drop of grace to make me understand and be converted, that I might make at least some small effort to correct myself. For if thy grace does not illumine my soul, I will not be ... read more
St. Euthymius the Great: . . . I have recounted this to make us at all times ready for combat and prepared for the departure of the soul from the body . . .
Listen to an edifying and true story that some Egyptian elders I met told me about a man thought holy by all but who in secret stirrings of his heart angered God because, I think, of assent to impure thoughts. Their story went as follows. A man with secon ... read more
St. Firmilian: On baptism by heretics
“Just as a heretic may not lawfully ordain or lay on hands, so neither may he baptize….What kind of thing is it that when we see that Paul, after John’s baptism, baptize those disciples again, we are hesitating to baptize those who come to the churc ... read more
St. Gennadios Scholarios: Keep an eye on your bishops . . .
“Keep an eye on your bishops as far as their Orthodoxy is concerned lest they go so far as to teach doctrines against the true faith or celebrate with heretics and schismatics. As far as other things, they act out of ignorance or because the days are ... read more
St. Gennadius of Constantinople: To judge sins is the business of one who is sinless . . .
“To judge sins is the business of one who is sinless, but who is sinless except God? Who ever thinks about the multitude of his own sins in his heart never wants to make the sins of others a topic of conversation. To judge a man who has gone astray is a ... read more
St. Gennadius: Always have the fear of God . . .
“Always have the fear of God in your heart, and remember that God is always with you, everywhere, whether you are walking or sitting.”
+ St. Gennadius of Constantinople, The Golden Chain, 14 ... read more
St. Germanus . . . it is there in this holy sanctuary of grace that Mary is offered to stay there indefinitely.
“There where only the High Priest may enter, and then rarely: only once a year, it is there in this holy sanctuary of grace that Mary is offered to stay there indefinitely. Who has ever heard anything similar? Who has ever seen or heard, now or formerly ... read more
St. Germanus: Today she who will receive the Holy of Holies . . .
“Today she who will receive the Holy of Holies, that is the Christ, through the sanctification of the Holy Spirit is, through an even greater sanctification, placed in the Holy of Holies with holiness and majesty.”
— St. Germanus of Constantinopl ... read more
St. Gregory Dialogos: My friends, consider the greatness of this solemn feast that commemorates God’s coming as a guest into our hearts! . . .
“‘And my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him’ [John 14.23]. My friends, consider the greatness of this solemn feast that commemorates God’s coming as a guest into our hearts! If some rich and influential friend ... read more
St. Gregory Nazianzen: But as the old Confusion of tongues was laudable, when men who were of one language in wickedness and impiety . . .
“But as the old Confusion of tongues was laudable, when men who were of one language in wickedness and impiety, even as some now venture to be, were building the Tower; for by the confusion of their language the unity of their intention was broken up, a ... read more
St. Gregory of Nazianzus: Human beings have accumulated in their coffers gold and silver . . .
“Human beings have accumulated in their coffers gold and silver, clothes more sumptuous than useful, diamonds and other objects that are evidence of war and tyranny; then a foolish arrogance hardens their hearts; for their brothers in distress, no pity. ... read more
St. Gregory of Nyssa: . . . so as to accord in the faith set forth by the Lord of the whole Scripture . . .
” …and that we might receive the teaching concerning the transcendent nature of the Deity which is given to us, as it were, ‘through a glass darkly’ from the older Scriptures,—from the Law, and the Prophets, and the Sapiential Books, as an evide ... read more
St. Gregory of Nyssa: When God became known to us in the flesh . . .
“When God became known to us in the flesh, He neither received the passions of human nature, nor did the Virgin Mary suffer pain, nor was the Holy Spirit diminished in any way, nor was the power of the Most High set aside in any manner, and all this was ... read more
St. Gregory of Palamas: On the Prayer of the Pharisee
Faith and contrition make prayer and supplication for the remission of sins effective, once evil deeds have been renounced, but despair and hardness of heart make it ineffectual. Thanksgiving for the benefits received from God is made acceptable by humili ... read more
St. Gregory of Tours: On the Dormition
“Finally when blessed Mary having completed the course of this life, and was to be called from the world, all the Apostles gathered to her house from their different regions. And when they had heard that she was to be taken from the world, together they ... read more
St. Gregory Palamas: Why did [the Prodigal Son] not set off at once instead of a few days after?
“And not many days after,” it says, “the younger son gather all together, and took his journey into a far country” (Luke 15:13). Why did [the Prodigal Son] not set off at once instead of a few days after? The evil prompter, the devil, does not sim ... read more
St. Gregory the Great: . . .The disbelief of Thomas has done more for our faith than the faith of the other disciples. . . .
Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. He was the only disciple absent; on his return he heard what had happened but refused to believe it. The Lord came a second time; He offered His side for the disbelieving disci ... read more
St. Herman of Alasaka: And I, a sinner, have been trying to love God for more than forty years . . .
“And I, a sinner, have been trying to love God for more than forty years, and cannot say that I perfectly love Him. If we love someone we always remember him and try to please him; day and night our heart is occupied with that object.
Is that how you ... read more
St. Herman of Alaska: A terrible accident has a power to awaken us . . .
“A terrible accident has a power to awaken us to the realization of the existence of various calamities and dangers surrounding us, from which the Providence of God preserves us. At the same time it convincingly persuades us to acknowledge our own infir ... read more
St. Hierotheos: Extract from the Ecomium at the Dormition of the Theotokos
When was such a wonder of wonders ever seen by men? How does the Queen of all lie breathless? How has the Mother of Jesus reposed? Thou, O Virgin, wast the preaching of the prophets; thou art heralded by us. All the people venerate thee; the angels glorif ... read more
St. Hilarion of Optina: We cannot live in such a way that no one grieves or offends us . . .
“We cannot live in such a way that no one grieves or offends us, for the Apostle Luke writes: we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22), and bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ (Gal. 6:2). ... read more
St. Hippolytus: . . . the Creater of all things incorporated within Himself a rational soul . . .
“But the pious confession of the believer is that, with a view to our salvation, . . . the Creator of all things incorporated with Himself a rational soul and a sensible body from the all-holy Mary, ever-virgin, by an undefiled conception, without conve ... read more
St. Ignatius Brianchaninov: Speak will of those who speak evil of you. . . .
Speak well of those who speak evil of you.
Pay good for evil.
Pray for those who cause you various offenses, wrongs, temptations, persecutions.
Whatever you do, on no account condemn anyone; do not even try to judge whether a person is good or ba ... read more
St. Ignatius Brianchaninov: You receive the Cup which seemingly comes . . .
You receive the Cup which seemingly comes from the hands of man. What is it to you whether the bearer of the Cup acts righteously or unrighteously? As a follower of Jesus, your concern is to act righteously; to receive the Cup with thanksgiving to God and ... read more
St. Ignatius of Antioch: The Christian is not the result of persuasion, but of power. When he is hated by the world, he is beloved of God. . . .
“Only request in my behalf both inward and outward strength, that I may not only speak, but [truly] will, so that I may not merely be called a Christian, but really found to be one. For if I be truly found [a Christian], I may also be called one, and be ... read more
St. Innocent of Alaska: As the book of Genesis states . . .
“As the book of Genesis states, Adam lived in the most beautiful garden (named Eden or Paradise), planted by God, and there he enjoyed all the blessings of life. He knew no sickness nor suffering. He feared nothing, and all beasts submitted to him as th ... read more
St. Innocent of Alaska: To deny oneself means . . .
To deny oneself means to give up one’s bad habits; to root out of the heart all that ties us to the world; not to cherish bad thoughts or desires; to suppress every evil thought; not to desire to do anything out of self love, but to do everything out of ... read more
St. Irenaeus of Lyons: One should not seek among others the truth that can be easily gotten from the Church. . . .
“One should not seek among others the truth that can be easily gotten from the Church. For in her, as in a rich treasury, the apostles have placed all that pertains to truth, so that everyone can drink this beverage of life. She is the door of life.”
... read more
St. Irenaeus: He who shall preserve the life bestowed upon him, and give thanks to Him Who imparted it . . .
“He who shall preserve the life bestowed upon him, and give thanks to Him Who imparted it, shall receive also length of days forever and ever. But he who shall reject it, and prove himself ungrateful to his Maker, inasmuch as he has been created, and ha ... read more
St. Isaac the Syrian: A humble man is . . .
A humble man is never rash, hasty or perturbed, never has any hot and volatile thoughts, but at all times remains calm. Even if heaven were to fall and cleave to the earth, the humble man would not be dismayed. Not every quiet man is humble, but every hum ... read more
St. Isaac the Syrian: He who is a master of possessions, is the slave . . .
He who is master of possessions, is the slave of passions. Do not estimate gold and silver only as possessions, but all things thou possess for the sake of the desire of thy will.
+ St. Isaac the Syrian, âSix Treatise on the Behavior of Excellence,â ... read more
St. Isaac the Syrian: I also maintain that those who are punished in Gehenna are scourged by the scourge of love. . . .
I also maintain that those who are punished in Gehenna are scourged by the scourge of love.
Nay, what is so bitter and vehement as the torment of love?
I mean that those who have become conscious that they have sinned against love suffer greater tor ... read more
St. Jerome: Dwell not in the temple of idols . . .
”Dwell not in the temple of idols . . . Do you not hear the great St. Paul, who says in other words, ‘Do not read either the pagan philosophers, or the orators, or the poets; do not repose in the study of their works.’ Let us not be too confident th ... read more
St. Jerome: You may see many women widows before wedded . . .
“You may see many women widows before wedded, who try to conceal their miserable fall by a lying garb. Unless they are betrayed by swelling wombs or by the crying of their infants, they walk abroad with tripping feet and heads in the air. Some go so far ... read more
St. John Cassian: . . . For there is nothing in your preaching to offend them.
“Tell me then, you heretic, you enemy of all men, but of yourself above all— to whom the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ is an offense as with the Jews, and foolishness as with the Gentiles, you who reject the mysteries of true salvation, with the stum ... read more
St. John Cassian: When we have attained some degree of holiness we should always repeat . . .
âWhen we have attained some degree of holiness we should always repeat to ourselves the words of the Apostle: âYet not I, but the grace of God which was with meâ (1 Cor. 15:10), as well as what was said by the Lord: âWithout Me you can do nothingâ ... read more
St. John Chrysostom: After the sin comes the shame; courage follows repentance.
Pay attention carefully. After the sin comes the shame; courage follows repentance. Did you pay attention to what I said? Satan upsets the order; he gives the courage to sin and the shame to repentance.
+ St. John Chrystotom, Homily 8, On Repentance an ... read more