Vices

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A Vice is a particular type of sin. The eastern Fathers usually spoke of eight principle vices. This list is very similar to the "Seven Deadly Sins". The idea of there being eight principle vices comes from the golden age of Egyptian Monasticism, and is first found in the writings of Evagrius of Pontus.[1] This is also discussed at great length in St. John Cassian's "Conferences".

The Eight Principle Vices

1. Gluttony.

2. Fornication (lust).

3. Avarice (greed, covetousness).

4. Anger.

5. Sadness.

6. Despondency (sloth, acedia).

7. Vainglory (boastfulness, cenodoxia).

8. Pride.

St. John Cassian says that the first six are connected to one another, like a chain:

"Of these eight vices then, although they are different in their origin and in their way of affecting us, yet the first six -- namely, gluttony, fornication, avarice, anger, dejection, and despondency, have a sort of connection with each other, and are, so to speak, linked together in a chain, so that any excess of the one forms a starting point for the next. For from an excess of gluttony, fornication is sure to spring, and from fornication avarice, from avarice, anger, from anger, sadness, and from sadness, despondency" (Conferences 5:10:1).

And of the two remaining vices, he says:

"But the two remaining vices, -- namely, vainglory and pride, are connected together in a somewhat similar way as the others of which we have spoken, so that the growth of the one makes a starting point for the other (for an excess of vainglory produces an incentive to pride); but they are altogether different from the six former faults, and are not joined in the same category with them, since not only is there no opportunity given for them to spring up from these, but they are actually aroused in an entirely different way and manner. For when these others have been eradicated these latter flourish the more vigorously, and from the death of the others they shoot forth and grow up all the stronger: and therefore we are attacked by these two faults in quite a different way" (Conferences 5:10:3.

The Seven Deadly Sins

1. Pride.

2. Anger.

3. Lust.

4. Envy.

5. Gluttony.

6. Avarice (Greed).

7. Sloth (Despondency).

See Also

Notes

  1. Fr. Joseph Huneycutt, Defeating Sin: Overcoming Our Passions and Changing Forever, (Salisbury, MA: Regina Orthodox Press, 2007), p.8f, note 10.