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“Censorship reflects a society's lack of confidence in itself.” — Potter Stewart
 
“Censorship is telling a man he can't have a steak just because a baby can't chew it.” —Mark Twain
“Where they burn books, so too will they in the end burn human beings.” —Heinrich Heine
“He who strikes terror in others is himself continually in fear.” —Claudius Claudianus
 
“Ignorance is the cause of fear.” —Lucius Annaeus Seneca
“Who feareth to suffer suffereth already, because he feareth.” —Michel de Montaigne
“Political correctness is tyranny with manners.” —Charlton Heston
 
“All tyrannies rule through fraud and force, but once the fraud is exposed they must rely exclusively on force.” —George Orwell
“In the time of heroes and tyrants, the true heroes are the small men.” —unknown
“Here is the test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you're alive, it isn't.” —unknown
 
“Don't try to do two things at once and expect to do justice to both.” —Traditional Proverb
“And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years.” —Abraham Lincoln
“And she [Athens] has brought it about that the name "Hellenes" suggests no longer a race but an intelligence, and that the title "Hellenes" is applied rather to those who share our culture then to those who share a common blood.” —Isocrates
 
“Those who are able to see beyond the shadows and lies of their culture will never be understood, let alone believed by the masses.” —Plato
“He who has a thousand friends has not a friend to spare; and he who has one enemy will meet him everywhere.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Faithful copies of a counterfeit original yield only more counterfeits.” —unknown
 
“Seeing, contrary to popular wisdom, isn't believing. It's where belief stops, because it isn't needed any more.” —Terry Pratchett
“To trust God in the light is nothing, but to trust Him in the dark – that is faith.” —Charles Spurgeon
“That only the canonical Scriptures have infallibility is testified by Blessed Augustine in the words which he writes to Jerome: ‘It is fitting to bestow such honour and veneration only to the books of Scripture which are called 'canonical,' for I absolutely believe that none of the authors who wrote them erred in anything. … As for other writings, no matter how great was the excellence of their authors in sanctity and learning, in reading them I do not accept their teaching as true solely on the basis that they thus wrote and thought.’ Then, in a letter to Fortunatus [St. Mark continues in his citations of Augustine] he writes the following: ‘We should not hold the judgment of a man, even though this man might have been orthodox and had an high reputation, as the same kind of authority as the canonical Scriptures, to the extent of considering it inadmissible for us, out of the reverence we owe such men, to disapprove and reject something in their writing if we should happen to discover that they taught other than the truth which, with God's help, has been attained by others or by ourselves. This is how I am with regard to the writings of other men; and I desire that the reader will act thus with regard to my writings also.’” —St. Mark of Ephesus, Second Homily on Purgatorial Fire, chs. 15-16; Pogodin, pp. 127-132
“The Ecumenism is a huge lie; they speak in the name of a love outside of Christ, which excludes you from the Truth. If the Ecumenists really loved the world, they would not disown the truth of the value and the spiritual richness of Church Tradition and of the Holy Fathers. They disown Christianity from the gracious beauty. God has left from them, what remains is only their ego. No, we don’t need You. We lead the world, we rule the world, we give the bread, we give the happiness on this earth. Jesus must be arrested again not to disturb our march. Eliminating God from the world and of the soul in any way – this is the goal of the Ecumenism also repelled by Saint Justin Popovich. The Ecumenism and the globalization are at the forefront of the apocalyptic times. They want to accustom the eye and the spirit of the Orthodox with the habit to serve together with these heretics, until they get to have Communion from the same chalice. Because this could give them the right to build their own churches. But no, they want strategically to compromise the shrines and the faint hearted priests who are quick to “obedience”‘obedience’. The Ecumenists have the false impression that they will bring something new in the Church of Christ. Let us not forget that the Church is the body whose head is Christ. You can not break it from Christ Who is the Path, the Truth and the Life. The Ecumenists will not fulfill anything. You can not change the reality according to the human interests. The divine reality remains the same in every age. The Holy Spirit speaks through the mouths of the bearers of God, not of the bearers of human interests. The Christian Church has never gone after the crowd; not the many lead or hold the truth, but the few, chosen, as the carriers of the Holy Spirit. We do work only under this Father’s truth, the Gospel of our Lord and the Orthodox Church Tradition. All this falsehood which has appeared in our world has no other purpose than to embarrass and undermine the whole tradition and the beliefs of a nation. Questions are not posed and answers are not given, and people take for granted everything that has been written at the official level. But, by not solving these dogmatic problems the untruth slowly settles in our Orthodox Christian Church. All the Ecumenical attempts of unifying the other Christian communities found in heresy, the dialogues which have developed in our Orthodox Christian Church, since I know, haven’t got any result because they have false basis, they are untrue and do nothing but disturb the authentic Christian life.” —Elder Justin (Pârvu) of Romania, Din învățăturile și minunile Părintelui Justin “We must prepare for martyrdom and beyond this, I would not have to speak if people were not powerless in spirit and mind to understand. It's not easy to live these days. But if the Lord has so pleased that we should suffer these times, then we must obey and receive with joy all that comes upon us, as from the hand of God, and not from the enemy… Therefore, please stop looking for solutions. Human solutions are not existent, my dears! The solution is to die for Christ. Fathers will give up their sons, mothers, their daughters, unto death. Behold, we witness the fulfillment of this prophecy. If the mother will let the child be vaccinated, it's as if giving him over to die… Therefore I say to you, trust that the Lord will give you power to confess Him. We live in an anarchic world, the entire political class is an enemy of Christ and a servant of evil, that is why even living our simple life without abdicating our Christian principles is a daily confession and martyrdom. So: do not receive this vaccine or anything that the new political powers bring you today. The Zionists rule the world and the Americans work for them and they think they have come to own it because they have no shyness. Everything is in sight and they are aware that they have no opponent to fear and they fight to depopulate the world, with the few who will remain to worship them. Now they're studying and sorting, and the way they're going to distinguish people from each other is the chips. Do you or do you not have a chip? For what is the chip after all? A weapon against Man. And we have no weapons; our youth is weary, that even if they want to rise from the spell in which they live, they have no power. Our only weapons are spiritual ones: prayer, humility, love, but also confession [of Faith]. You can't love without confession [of Faith]. Love is sacrificial, and if we fear to confess the truth, what sacrifice do we have? Or if we do not care about our neighbor who is unaware and we do not inform him and we let him fall prey to this system, what love do we have? Those who still struggle today to awaken their brother, who have not remained indifferent to the future of a nation and a church, those are the children of the love of God, who lay their lives down for their brethren… It is important to oppose all antichrists and die with dignity; not to have a cowardly position.” —Elder Justin (Pârvu) of Romania
“Let not us, who would be Christians, expect anything else from it than to be crucified. For to be Christian is to be crucified, in this time and in any time since Christ came for the first time. His life is the example – and warning – to us all. We must be crucified personally, mystically; for through crucifixion is the only path to resurrection. If we would rise with Christ, we must first be humbled with Him – even to the ultimate humiliation, being devoured and spit forth by the uncomprehending world. And we must be crucified outwardly, in the eyes of the world; for Christ’s Kingdom is not of this world, and the world cannot bear it, even a single representative of it, even for a single moment. The world can only accept Antichrist, now or at any time. No wonder then, that it is hard to be a Christian – it is not hard, it is impossible. No one can knowingly accept a way of life which, the more truly it is lived, lead the more surely to one’s own destruction. And that is why we constantly rebel, try to make life easier, try to be half-Christian, try to make the best of both worlds. We must ultimately choose – our felicity lies in one world or the other, not in both. God give us the strength to pursue the path to crucifixion; there is no other way to be Christian.” —Fr. Seraphim Rose of Platina, from his journal as printed in the biography Father Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works by Hieromonk Damascene
Εveryone today seeks happiness on earth, and they think this is ‘Christianity’; true Orthodox Christians know that the age of persecutions, which began again under the Bolsheviks, is still with us, and that only by much sorrow and tribulation are we made fit to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” —Fr. Seraphim Rose of Platina
“It may be, brethren, that soon you will again experience a time of turmoil, and some of you will be called to take the path of denying those sacred laws and to submit to laws established by mere human authority. Beware of such a path! Beware of the path taken by the thief on the left, for by the weight of blasphemy, by the weight of reviling Christ he went to his eternal perdition. Those who revile the laws of the Church revile Christ Himself, Who is the Head of the Church, for the laws of the Church were given by the Holy Spirit through the Apostles. And the laws of local Churches are based on those same laws and canons of the Church. Let us not consider ourselves wiser than those saints and hierarchs who established the rules of the Church; let us not imagine ourselves to be great sages. Rather, let us humbly call out together with the wise thief: Remember me, O Lord, in Thy kingdom!” —St. John (Maximovitch) of Shanghai and San Francisco, Sermon Homily on the Sunday of Orthodoxy
“Brothers and sisters! Let us aspire towards ascetic labor, in which is expressed precisely the essence of our Orthodox Christian faith, which is the labor of imitating Christ in bearing the cross and self-crucifixion – a faith of labor and, laboring lawfully as the Word of God teaches, let us suffer all things for the Truth, not moving away from it, as do many because of their poverty of spirit or self-interest. And let us remember well: where there is no labor, where there is no steadfastness in the faith – there is neither Orthodoxy nor true faith in God and in His Christ. Amen.” —Archbishop Averky (Taushev) of Syracuse
“We do not change the boundaries marked out by our Fathers. We keep the Tradition we have received. If we begin to lay down the Law of the Church even in the smallest things, the whole edifice will fall to the ground in no short time.” —St. John of Damascus
 
“At this dawn of modern history, the thirteenth century, all the seeds of modern mentality are present. And modern history follows logically from these seeds. Essentially, it is one thing – the search for a new Christianity which is better than Orthodoxy, better than the Christianity of the Holy Fathers, which Christ gave to us.
 
Later on, this will take forms which go through atheism and all kinds of wild beliefs, but essentially the search remains the same, and in the end the world will be Christian, because it's Antichrist who gives them a new religion, which is not something foreign to Christianity. It will not be some kind of paganism. It will be something which everyone will accept as Christianity, but will be anti-christian. A substitute for Christianity which denies the very essence of Christianity.
 
And that is why the main history of the rebellion against Christ is no less than the apostasy which St. Paul talks about. It is not by means of persecution as it was in the beginning, but by means of taking Christianity and changing it so that it will no longer be Christian. And this is what we can call the Unfolding of the Mystery of Iniquity in preparation for Antichrist.” —Fr. Seraphim Rose of Platina, excerpt from Orthodox Survival Course
 
“Regarding the affairs of the Church, in the words of the Saviour, one of the most awesome phenomena of the last days is that at that time ‘the stars shall fall from heaven’ (Matt. 24.29). According to the Saviour’s own explanation, these ‘stars’ are the Angels of the Churches, in other words, the Bishops (Rev. 1.20). The religious and moral fall of the Bishops is, therefore, one of the most characteristic signs of the last days. The fall of the Bishops is particularly horrifying when they deviate from the doctrines of the faith, or, as the Apostle put it, when they ‘would pervert the Gospel of Christ’ (Gal. 1.7). The Apostle orders that such people be pronounced ‘anathema’. He said, ‘If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that which ye have received, let him be accursed (anathema)’ (Gal. 1.9). And one must not be slow about this, for he continues, ‘A man that is an heretic, after the first and second admonition reject, knowing that he that is such is subverted, being condemned of himself’ (Titus 3.10-11). Moreover, you may be subject to God’s judgement if you are indifferent to deviation from the truth: ‘So them because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold not hot, I will spew thee out of My mouth’ (Rev. 3.6).” —Archbishop Theophan of Poltava
 
“We ourselves have a feeling–based on nothing very definite as yet–that the best hope for preserving true Orthodoxy in the years ahead will lie in such small gatherings of believers, as much as possible ‘one in mind and soul.’ The history of the twentieth century has already shown us that we cannot expect too much from the ‘Church organization’; there, even apart from heresies, the spirit of the world has become very strong. Archbishop Averky, and our own Bishop Nektary also, have warned us to prepare for catacomb times ahead, when the grace of God may even be taken away from the ‘Church organization’ and only isolated groups of believers will remain. Soviet Russia already gives us an example of what we may expect–only worse, for the times do not get better.” —Fr. Seraphim Rose of Platina, Hope, His Life and Works
 
“In those days the remnant of the faithful are to experience in themselves something like that which was experienced once by the Lord Himself when He, hanging on a cross, felt Himself so forsaken by His Divinity, that He cried out ‘My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?’ The last Christians will experience in themselves a similar abandonment of humanity by the Grace of God, but only for a short time.” —St. Seraphim of Sarov
“Finally, in the twilight of history, the dictator of the world will come, the son of perdition… whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth (2 Thess. 2:8). And in all that time of peace, happiness and prosperity, there ‘will be great tribulation such as was not from the beginning of the world, nor will ever be after’ (Mat. 24:21). Because of these troubles, many will repent and turn to God the Saviour. And in them the Lord will have His last harvest.
It will be found, but not in public. It will be found, but not in magnificent temples, such as are present, but in the caves and deserts. It will be found, but not as approved and protected, but as something tossed to and fro. It will be found, but not in lavish liturgies and psalmody but in the temples of the human heart and in whispered speakings. For the Church began in Martyrdom, and in the end there She will find Martyrdom, O holy brethren.” —St. Nikolai Velimirovich, The Orthodox Church in the "twilight of history"
 
“During the days of Antichrist, the strongest temptation will be the anticipation of salvation coming from the cosmos, from humanoids–that is from extraterrestrials, who are actually demons. One should rarely look up to search the skies with the naked eye, since the signs might be deceptive and one might be deceived.” —St. Gabriel Urgebadze, Confessor and Fool for Christ
“So mine is a little flock? But it is not being carried over a precipice. So mine is a narrow fold? But it is unapproachable by wolves; it cannot be entered by a robber, nor overcome by thieves and strangers. I shall yet see it, I know well, grow wider… I fear not for the little flock; for it is seen at a glance. I know my sheep and am known of mine. Such are they that know God and are known of God. My sheep hear from my voice that which I have heard from the oracles of God, which I have been taught by the Holy Fathers, which I have taught in like manner on all occasions, not conforming myself to fashion, and which I will never cease to teach; in which I was born, and in which I will depart.” —St. Gregory the Theologian
"True Christianity is glorifying God with our own lives. To glorify God with our own life is possible only when we have true faith and when that faith indeed exists, we express it in words and in deeds.” —St. John (Maximovitch) of Shanghai and San Francisco
 
“When I, while still in Australia, began to receive information from America already post factum that here [in New York City] there had been protests, demonstrations, and even molebens in front of the Soviet consulate, I became quite alarmed and regretted that I was not here, since I would have decisively opposed much of what took place. In particular, holding a moleben in such a place. Did they not sing the Lord's song in a strange land? What cause was there to display the holy things of the Church's services before the gaze of the frenzied servants of Antichrist? Was it really not possible to pray in church?
 
I must say frankly that I am always seized by dismay when I hear of protests, demonstrations, and the like. In the USSR, life is governed by him (the one with horns) who fears only Christ and His Cross; and who fears nothing else in the world. And he merely chortles over protests and demonstrations. Public opinion? Why, the antichrist regime has nothing but the uttermost contempt for it! They wanted to seize Czechoslovakia and they seized it, paying no heed to the commotion that was raised. They wanted to invade Afghanistan and they invaded it, again paying no attention to the protests and threats of the various Carters & Co. All attempts to shape public opinion in the so-called Free World in favor of those suffering from Communism are powerless and fruitless, since the Free World stubbornly closes its eyes and imitates the ostrich, which hides its head under its wing and imagines that it cannot be seen…” —Metropolitan Philaret of New York, A letter from Metropolitan Philaret (Voznesensky) to ROCOR Priest Victor Potapov concerning Father Dimitry Dudko and the Moscow Patriarchate
“I will tell you my opinion briefly and without reserve. We ought to remain in that Church which was founded by the Apostles and continues to this day. If ever you hear of any that are called Christians taking their name not from the Lord Jesus Christ, but from some other, for instance, Marcionites, Valentinians, Men of the mountain or the plain, you may be sure that you have there not the Church of Christ, but the synagogue of Antichrist. For the fact that they took their rise after the foundation of the Church is proof that they are those whose coming the Apostle foretold.
“[Heretics] should not be admitted to any discussion of the Scriptures…
The Lord Jesus sent the apostles to preach. … Now what they actually preached can, as I must here likewise prescribe, be proved only by those very same churches which the apostles themselves founded by preaching to them both viva voce, as they say, and later by letters. Such being the case, it is consequently certain that any doctrine which agrees with [what is held by] these apostolic churches, moulds and original sources of the faith, must be considered the truth, undoubtedly containing that which these churches received from the apostles, the apostles from Christ, and Christ from God; but any other doctrine must be presumed false, since it smacks of opposition to the truth of the churches, of the apostles, of Christ, of God."
Come now! Would they all have fallen into error? Would the steward of God, the Vicar of Christ [the Holy Spirit] have neglected His duty by allowing the churches to understand and believe otherwise than what He Himself taught the apostles? Is it likely that so many and such outstanding churches would all have strayed into the one [false] faith? No chance happening ever has the same outcome in the case of many different individuals. A doctrinal error in so many different churches would of necessity have taken different forms. But when unity exists amid diversity, this can be the result, not of error, but only of Tradition.
“Men are converted to God not because someone was able to give brilliant explanations, but because they saw in him that light, joy, depth, seriousness, and love which alone reveal the presence and power of God in the world.” —Fr. Alexander Schmemann
 
“Men are often called intelligent wrongly. Intelligent men are not those who are erudite in the sayings and books of the wise men of old, but those who have an intelligent soul and can discriminate between good and evil. They avoid what is sinful and harms the soul; and with deep gratitude to God they resolutely adhere by dint of practice to what is good and benefits the soul. These men alone should truly be called intelligent.” —St. Anthony the Great, On the Character of Men and on the Virtuous Life: One Hundred and Seventy Texts, Text 1, The Philokalia: The Complete Text, Vol. 1
“Only the Religion of Christ unites and all of us must pray that they come to this. Thus union will occur, not by believing that all of us are the same thing and that all religions are the same. They are not the same… our Orthodoxy is not related to other religions.” —St. Porphyrios the Kapsokalyvite
“Creating man according to his image, God diffused into man's very being the longing for the divine infinitude of life, of knowledge, and of perfection. It is precisely for this reason that the immeasurable longing and thirst of humanity is not able to be completely satisfied by anything or anyone except God. Declaring divine perfection as the main purpose for humanity's existence in the world – ‘Be ye therefore perfect, even as your father who is in heaven is perfect.’ (Matth. 5: 48) – Christ, the Savior, answered the most elemental demand and need of our God-like and God-longing humanity.” —St. Justin Popovich, Orthodox Faith and Life in Christ, Highest Value and Last Criterion in Orthodoxy
 
“He who refuses to give in to his passions does the same as he who refuses to bow down and worship idols.” —St. Theophan the Recluse
“Concerning the charge of idolatry: Icons are not idols but symbols. Therefore, when an Orthodox venerates an icon, he is not guilty of idolatry. He is not worshiping the symbol, but merely venerating it. Such veneration is not directed toward wood, or paint or stone, but towards the person depicted. Therefore relative honor is shown to material objects, but worship is due to God alone.” —St. John of Damascus
“Our afflictions are well known without my telling; the sound of them has now gone forth over all Christendom. The doctrines of the fathers are despised; apostolical traditions are set at nought; the speculations of innovators hold sway in the churches. Men have learned to be theorists instead of theologians. The wisdom of the world has the place of honour, having dispossessed the boasting of the cross. The pastors are driven away, grievous wolves are brought in instead, and plunder the flock of Christ, Houses of prayer are destitute of preachers; the deserts are full of mourners: the old bewail, comparing what is with what was; more pitiable are the young, as not knowing what they are deprived of. What has been said is sufficient to kindle the sympathy of those who are taught in the love of Christ, yet compared with the facts, it is far from reaching their seriousness.” —St. Basil the Great, ep. 90
“I urge you not to faint in your afflictions, but to be risen by the love of God and to increase every day to your zeal, knowing that it is necessary to preserve in you this relic of the true religion that the Lord will find when he He comes to the earth. Even if the bishops are trained out of their churches, don't be dismayed. If traitors have appeared among the clergy, do not betray your trust in God. We are saved not by names, but by our mind and by our purpose, and by a true love to our creatorCreator. Think that in the attack of our Lord, the great priests and the scribes and the elders have designed the conspiracy, and that few people have been found getting the wordWord. Remember that it is not the multitude that is being saved, but the elected ones of God. So don't be scared by the multitude of people who are swept away by the winds like the waters of the sea. If one is saved, as a lot Lot in Sodom, he must remain in a fair judgment, keeping his hope in Christ steadfast, for the Lord will not abandon his His saints. Say hello to all the brothers in Christ from me. Pray with fervor for my miserable soul.” —St. Basil the Great
“So, to the question, ‘Do we believe in conspiracy theories?’, the answer is, ‘We don't believe in them, we have long experience of them.’” —Fr. Peter Heers, On Demonic Methodology, Part II: Q & A, May 6, 2020
“When a man abandons his sins and returns to God, his repentance regenerates him and renews him entirely.” —St. Isaiah the Solitary
 
“Through repentance the filth of our foul actions is washed away. After this, we participate in the Holy Spirit, not automatically, but according to the faith, humility and inner disposition of the repentance in which our soul is engaged. For this reason it is good to repent each day as the act of repentance is unending.” —St. Symeon the New Theologian, The Philokalia
“And so it is incumbent upon us to strive, rather, to correct our faults and to improve our behavior.” —St. John Cassian
A sign of spiritual life is the immersion of a person within himself and the hidden workings within his heart.” —St. Seraphim of Sarov
 
“There is nothing better than peace in Christ, for it brings victory over all the evil spirits on earth and in the air. When peace dwells in a man's heart it enables him to contemplate the grace of the Holy Spirit from within. He who dwells in peace collects spiritual gifts as it were with a scoop, and he sheds the light of knowledge on others. All our thoughts, all our desires, all our efforts, and all our actions should make us say constantly with the Church: ‘O Lord, give us peace!’ When a man lives in peace, God reveals mysteries to him.” —St. Seraphim of Sarov
“The Spirit offers its own light to every mind, to help it in its search for truth.” —St. Basil the Great
“Don't be anxious about what you have, but about what you are.” —St. Gregory the Great
 
“If a man really sets his heart upon the will of God, God will enlighten a little child to tell that man what is His will. But if a man does not truly desire the will of God, even if he goes in search of a prophet, God will put into the heart of the prophet a reply like the deception in his own heart.” —Abba Dorotheos of Gaza
“The soul that is in all things devoted to the will of God rests quiet in Him, for she knows of experience and from the Holy Scriptures that the Lord loves us much and watches over our souls, quickening all things by His grace in peace and love. Nothing troubles the man who is given over to the will of God, be it illness, poverty or persecution. He knows that the Lord in His mercy is solicitous for us. The Holy Spirit, whom the soul knows, is witness therefore. But the proud and the self-willed do not want to surrender to God's will because they like their own way, and that is harmful for the soul.” —St. Silouan the Athonite (From the Life and Teachings of Elder Siluan by Bishop Alexander and Natalia Bufius translated by Anatoly Shmelev)
“Our faith then must be different from the faith of devils. For our faith purifies the heart; but their faith makes them guilty. For they do wickedly, and therefore say they to the Lord, ‘What have we to do with You?’ When you hear the devils say this, do you think that they do not acknowledge Him? ‘We know,’ they say, ‘who You are: You are the Son of God.’ This Peter says, and is commended; the devil says it, and is condemned. Whence comes this, but that though the words be the same, the heart is different? Let us then make a distinction in our faith, and not be content to believe. This is no such faith as purifies the heart. ‘Purifying their hearts,’ it is said, ‘by faith.’ But by what, and what kind of faith, save that which the Apostle Paul defines when he says, ‘Faith which works by love.’ That faith distinguishes us from the faith of devils, and from the infamous and abandoned conduct of men. ‘Faith,’ he says. What faith? ‘That which works by love,’ and which hopes for what God does promise. Nothing is more exact or perfect than this definition. There are then in faith these three things. He in whom that faith is which works by love, must necessarily hope for that which God does promise. Hope therefore is the associate of faith. For hope is necessary as long as we see not what we believe, lest perhaps through not seeing, and by despairing to see, we fail. That we see not, does make us sad; but that we hope we shall see, comforts us. Hope then is here, and she is the associate of faith. And then charity also, by which we long, and strive to attain, and glow with desire, and hunger and thirst. This then is taken in also; and so there will be faith, hope, and charity. For how shall there not be charity there, since charity is nothing else but love? And this faith is itself defined as that ‘which works by love.’ Take away faith, and all you believe perishes; take away charity, and all that you do perishes. For it is the province of faith to believe, of charity to do. For if you believe without love, you do not apply yourself to good works; or if you do, it is as a servant, not as a son, through fear of punishment, not through love of righteousness. Therefore I say, that faith purifies the heart, which works by love.” —St. Augustine of Hippo, Sermon III on the New Testament, Section XI
 
“Human life is but of brief duration. ‘All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God shall stand forever’ (Isa. 40:6). Let us hold fast to the commandment that abides, and despise the unreality that passes away.” —St. Basil the Great
“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. 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!” —St. Tikhon of Voronezh
“You should look downward. Remember: you are earth and you will return to the earth.” —St. Ambrose of Optina
 
“Everything in this life passes away – only God remains, only He is worth struggling towards. We have a choice: to follow the way of this world, of the society that surrounds us, and thereby find ourselves outside of God; or to choose the way of life, to choose God Who calls us and for Whom our heart is searching.” —Fr. Seraphim Rose of Platina
“Just as a pauper, seeing the royal treasures, all the more acknowledges his own poverty; so also the spirit, reading the accounts of the great deeds of the Holy Fathers, involuntarily is all the more humbled in its way of thought.” —St. John Climacus
“It is a great error to think that you must undertake important and great labors, whether for heaven, or, as the 'progressives' think, in order to make one's contribution to humanity. That is not necessary at all. It is necessary only to do everything in accordance with the Lord's commandments.” —St. Theophan the Recluse
“When we are immersed in sins, and our mind is occupied solely with worldly cares, we do not notice the state of our soul. We are indifferent to who we are inwardly, and we persist along a false path without being aware of it.” —St. John (Maximovitch) of Shanghai and San Francisco
“We have to be aware that what is being pounded in upon us is all of one piece; it has a certain rhythm, a certain message to give us, this message of self-worship, of relaxing, of letting go, of enjoying yourself, of giving up any thought of the other world … It is actually an education in atheism. We have to fight back by knowing just what the world is trying to do to us…” —Fr. Seraphim Rose of Platina
For, a psalm is the work of angels, a heavenly institution, the spiritual incense.” —St. Basil the Great
“Through the Holy Spirit comes our restoration to paradise, our ascension into the kingdom of heaven, our return to the adoption of sons, our liberty to call God our Father, our being made partakers of the grace of Christ, our being called children of light, our sharing in eternal glory, and, in a word, our being brought into a state of all "fulness ‘fullness of blessing," both in this world and in the world to come, of all the good gifts that are in store for us, by promise hereof, through faith, beholding the reflection of their grace as though they were already present, we await the full enjoyment.” —St. Basil the Great
“Humility consists, not in condemning our conscience, but in recognizing God's grace and compassion.” —St. Mark the Ascetic
“In advising against being carried away by artificial practices such as Transcendental Meditation I am but repeating the age-old message of the Church … The way of the Fathers requires firm faith and long patience, whereas our contemporaries want to seize every spiritual gift, including even direct contemplation of the Absolute God, by force and speedily, and will often draw a parallel between prayer in the Name of Jesus and yoga or Transcendental Meditation and the like. I must stress the danger of such errors … He is deluded who endeavors to divest himself mentally of all that is transitory and relative in order to cross some invisible threshold, to realize his eternal origin, his identity with the Source of all that exists, in order to return and merge with him, the nameless transpersonal Absolute. Such exercises have enabled many to rise to suprarational contemplation of being, to experience a certain mystical trepidation, to know the state of silence of mind, when mind goes beyond the boundaries of time and space. In such like states man may feel the peacefulness of being withdrawn from the continually changing phenomena of the visible world, may even have a certain experience of eternity. But the God of Truth, the Living God, is not in all this.
It is man’s man's own beauty, created in the image of God, that is contemplated and seen as divinity, whereas he himself still continues within the confines of his creatureliness. This is a vastly important concern. The tragedy of the matter lies in the fact that man sees a mirage which, in his longing for eternal life, he mistakes for a genuine oasis. This impersonal form of ascetics leads finally to an assertion of the divine principle in the very nature of man. Man is then drawn to the idea of self-deification—the cause of the original Fall. The man who is blinded by the imaginary majesty of what he contemplates has in fact set his foot on the path to self-destruction. He has discarded the revelation of a personal God … The movement into the depths of his own being is nothing else but attraction towards the non-being from which we were called by the will of the Creator.” —Archimandrite Sophrony of Mt. Athos, His Life is Mine, 115-116
“Christ said, 'I came not to send peace, but a sword' and 'division'. Christ summoned us to war on the plane of the spirit, and our weapon is 'the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.' Our battle is waged in extraordinarily unequal conditions. We are tied hand and foot. We dare not strike with fire or sword: our sole armament is love, even for enemies. This unique war in which we are engaged is indeed a holy war. We wrestle with the last and only enemy of mankind death. Our fight is the fight for universal resurrection.” —Archimandrite Sophrony of Mt. Athos, His Life is Mine
“I ask you to try something. If someone grieves you, or dishonors you, or takes something of yours, then pray like this: ‘Lord, we are all your creatures. Pity your servants, and turn them to repentance,’ and then you will perceptibly bear grace in your soul. Induce your heart to love your enemies, and the Lord, seeing your good will, shall help you in all things, and will Himself show you experience. But whoever thinks evil of his enemies does not have love for God and has not known God.” —St. Silouan the Athonite, Writing, IX.21
“When I, while still in Australia, began to receive information from America already post factum that here [in New York City] “Where there is pride there had been protests, demonstrationscannot be grace, and even molebens in front if we lose grace we also lose both love of the Soviet consulate, I became quite alarmed God and regretted that I was not here, since I would have decisively opposed much of what took place. In particular, holding a moleben assurance in such a placeprayer. Did they The soul is then tormented by evil thoughts and does not sing the Lord's song in a strange land? What cause was understand that she must humble herself and love her enemies, for there is no other way to display please God.” —St. Silouan the holy things of the Church's services before the gaze of the frenzied servants of Antichrist? Was it really not possible to pray in church?Athonite
I must say frankly that I am always seized by dismay when I hear “The whole therapeutic method of protests, demonstrations, and the like. In the USSR, life Orthodox Church is governed by him (the one with horns) who fears only Christ not aimed simply at making human beings morally and His Cross; and who fears nothing else in the world. And he merely chortles over protests and demonstrations. Public opinion? Whysocially balanced, the antichrist regime has nothing but the uttermost contempt for it! They wanted to seize Czechoslovakia at re-establishing their relationship with God and they seized it, paying no heed to the commotion that was raisedone another. They wanted to invade Afghanistan and they invaded it, again paying no attention to This comes about through the protests and threats healing of the various Carters & Co. All attempts to shape public opinion in soul's wounds and the so-called Free World in favor cure of those suffering from Communism are powerless and fruitless, since the Free World stubbornly closes its eyes passions through the Sacraments and imitates the ostrichChurch's ascetic practice.” —Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos, which hides its head under its wing and imagines that it cannot be seen…” —Metropolitan Philaret The Science of New York, A letter from Metropolitan Philaret (Voznesensky) to ROCOR Priest Victor Potapov concerning Father Dimitry Dudko and the Moscow PatriarchateSpiritual Medicine: Orthodox Psychotherapy in Action
“The whole therapeutic method of the Orthodox Church is not aimed simply at making human beings morally and socially balanced, but at re-establishing their relationship with God and one another. This comes about through the healing of the soul's wounds and the cure of the “Many passions through the Sacraments and are hidden in our souls; they can be brought to light only when the Church's ascetic practiceobjects that rouse them are present.” —Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos—St. Maximus the Confessor, The Science of Spiritual Medicine: Orthodox Psychotherapy in ActionFour Hundred Texts on Love
“What is holiness? Freedom from every sin and the fullness of every virtue. This freedom from sin and this virtuous life are only attained by a few zealous persons, and that not suddenly, but gradually, by prolonged and manifold sorrows, sicknesses, and labors, by fasting, vigilance, prayer, and that not by their own strength, but by the grace of Christ…” —St. John of Kronstadt
“Fiery lust, the desire for marriage, sexual union … and all the other things that, as most people think, the body seeks for - it is not the body as such … but the soul, which through the body seeks pleasure by their means… Let no one think he is being driven towards these things and compelled by his own body… the body cannot be moved to anything apart from the soul.” —St. Symeon the New Theologian
 
“Pornography is the devil's iconography.” —Fr. Seraphim Rose of Platina
“Just as the virtues are begotten in the soul, so are the passions. But the virtues are begotten in accordance with nature, the passions in a mode contrary to nature. For what produces good or evil in the soul is the will's bias… For our inner disposition is capable of operating in one way or another, since it bears within itself both virtue and vice, the first as its natural birthright, the second as the result of the self-incurred proclivity of our moral will.” —St. Gregory of Sinai
The Lord knows our weaknesses. He is ready to forgive us everything, as long as we repent and seek forgiveness. The essential thing is that our hearts not become petrified, that is to stop hesitating to think of our committed sin, to immediately repent, and to leave ourselves to the mercy of God.” —St. John of Kronstadt
 
“Suffering is an indication of another Kingdom which we look to. If being a Christian meant being ‘happy’ in this life, we wouldn't need the Kingdom of Heaven.” —Fr. Seraphim Rose of Platina
“Suffering reminds the wise man of God, but crushes those who forget Him.” —St. Mark the Ascetic
“God permits tribulations and adversities to befall people – even the saintly – so that they may persist in humility. But if we harden our hearts against adversities and tribulations, he He also hardens these tribulations against us. On the other hand if we accept them in humility and with a contrite heart, God will mingle tribulation with mercy.” —St. Isaac the Syrian
“But do not be troubled or sad. The Lord sometimes allows people who are devoted to Him to fall into such dreadful vices; and this is in order to prevent them from falling into a still greater sin – pride. Your temptation will pass and you will spend the remaining days of your life in humility. Only do not forget your sin.” —St. Seraphim of Sarov
“Are you angry? Be angry at your sins, beat your soul, afflict your conscience, be strict in judgement and a terrible punisher of your own sins. This is the benefit of anger, wherefore God placed it in us.” —St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on Ephesians 2
“Firmly purpose in your soul to hate every sin of thought, word, and deed, and when you are tempted to sin resist it valiantly and with a feeling of hatred for it; only beware lest your hatred should turn against the person of your brother who gave occasion for the sin. Hate the sin with all your heart, but pity your brother; instruct him, and pray for him to the Almighty, Who sees all of us and tries our hearts and innermost parts.” —St. John of Kronstadt “These eight passions should be destroyed as follows: gluttony by self-control; unchastity by desire for God and longing for the blessings held in store; avarice by compassion for the poor; anger by goodwill and love for all men; worldly dejection by spiritual joy; listlessness by patience, perseverance and offering thanks to God; self-esteem by doing good in secret and by praying constantly with a contrite heart; and pride by not judging or despising anyone in the manner of the boastful Pharisee (cf. Luke 18 : 11–12), and by considering oneself the least of all men. When the intellect has been freed in this way from the passions we have described and been raised up to God, it will henceforth live the life of blessedness, receiving the pledge of the Holy Spirit (cf. 2 Cor. 1 : 22). And when it departs this life, dispassionate and full of true knowledge, it will stand before the light of the Holy Trinity and with the divine angels will shine in glory through all eternity.” —St. John of Damascus, On the Virtues and the Vices, from The Philokalia: The Complete Text (, Vol. 2)
“We must consider all evil things, even the passions which war against us, to be not our own, but of our enemy the devil. This is very important. You can only conquer a passion when you do not consider it as part of you.” —St. Nikon of Optina
“See how many and great the evils it has brought on us – this self-justification, this holding fast to our own will, this obstinacy in being our own guide. All this was the product of that hateful arrogance towards God. Whereas the products of humility are self-accusation, distrust in our own sentiments, hatred of our own will. By these one is made worthy of being redeemed, of having his human nature restored to its proper state, through the cleansing operation of Christ's holy precepts. Without humility it is impossible to obey the Commandments or at any time to go towards anything good. As Abba Mark says: without a contrite heart it is impossible to be free from wickedness or to acquire virtue.” —St. Dorotheos of Gaza, Discourses and Sayings
 
“Begin gradually, do not trust yourself. Do not depend on your own understanding, reject your will, and the Lord will give you true understanding.” —St. Macarius of Optina, Living Without Hypocrisy
“If you deny yourself and constantly renounce your own opinions, your own will, your own righteousness-or what amounts to the same thing: the knowledge, understanding, will, and righteousness of fallen nature-in order to plant within you the knowledge of God, the will of God, and the righteousness of God taught us in the holy Gospel by God Himself, then fallen nature will open fire within you and declare a savage war against the Gospel and against God. Fallen spirits will come to the help of fallen nature.
“You wish to be great, begin from the least. You are thinking to construct some mighty fabric in height; first think of the foundation of humility. And how great soever a mass of building one may wish and design to place above it, the greater the building is to be, the deeper does he dig his foundation.” —St. Augustine
 
“A humble person lives on earth as if in the Kingdom of Heaven - always happy, peaceful and satisfied with everything.” —St. Anthony of Optina
“In them [the Lives of the Saints] it is clearly and obviously demonstrated: There is no spiritual death from which one cannot be resurrected by the Divine power of the risen and ascended Lord Christ; there is no torment, there is no misfortune, there is no misery, there is no suffering which the Lord will not change either gradually or all at once into quite, compunctionate joy because of faith in Him.” —St. Justin Popovich
“Our prayer reflects our attitude towards God. He who is careless of salvation has a different attitude toward God from him who has abandoned sin and is zealous for virtue but has not yet entered within himself and works for the Lord only outwardly. Finally, he who has entered within and carries the Lord within himself, standing before Him, has yet another attitude. The first man is negligent in prayer, just as he is negligent in life, and he prays in church and at home merely according to the established custom, without attention or feeling. The second man reads many prayers and goes often to church, trying at the same time to keep his attention from wandering and to experience feelings in accordance with the prayers which are read, although he is seldom successful. The third man, wholly concentrated within, stands with his mind before God, and prays to Him in his heart without distraction, without long verbal prayers, even when standing for a long time at prayer in his home or in church. … Every prayer must come from the heart and any other prayer is no prayer at all. Prayer-book prayers, your own prayers and very short prayers, all must issue forth from the heart to God, seen before you.” —St. Theophan the Recluse
 
“It is very important to know how to pray. Many times even we, the monks in the monasteries, pray, but we only think we pray. It is not enough to attend the church services and just be there like that would be enough. We have to work the prayer from the inside out. No matter how many prayers we say with our mouth, it is nothing if the prayer is not coming from the heart and if we don't apply the teachings of Orthodoxy in our everyday life. Now more than ever, lay people have to pray from the heart, because this will be our only salvation. In the heart is the root of all passions and that is where we need to direct our struggles. If in the later years Christianity became lukewarm and superficial, we have to end all that now, this is not going to be enough anymore. If we will not pray from the heart, we will not be able to sustain the psychological attacks, because the evil one has hidden brainwashing methods that are unknown to us. The greatest sin today is carelessness. We pray carelessly, we repent carelessly, even if we do it. Times will come when only the ones that have the Spirit of God will be able to know good from evil. The human mind itself on its own will not be able to tell the difference. There will be great deceptions and only the Holy Spirit will give us the discernment we need so we can save ourselves. Pray that you will not be deceived! Only through prayer can we receive the Holy Spirit. If we don't pray and just persevere in our laziness and unrepentant ways, we will completely lose the Holy Spirit and His guidance. May it not be that we lose the guidance of the Holy Spirit!” —Elder Justin (Pârvu) of Romania, The truth about the times–Spirituality of the end of times, 2010
“It is sometimes well during prayer to say a few words of your own, breathing fervent faith and love to the Lord. Yes, let us not always converse with God in the words of others, not always remain children in faith and hope; we must also show our own mind, indite a good matter from our own heart also. Moreover, we grow too accustomed to the words of others and grow cold in prayer. And how pleasing this lipsing of our own is, coming from a believing, loving, and thankful heart. It is impossible to explain this; it is only needful to say that when you are praying to God with your own words the soul trembles with joy, it becomes wholly inflamed, vivified, and beatified. You will utter few words, but you will experience such blessedness as you would not have obtained saying the longest most touching prayers of others, pronounced out of habit and insincerely.” —St. John of Kronstadt
“Chastisement through the trials imposed on us is a spiritual rod, teaching us humility when in our foolishness we think too much of ourselves.” —St. Thalassios the Libyan
“Goodness is not confirmed without trial. Every Christian is tested by something: one by poverty, another by illness, a third by various thoughts, a forth fourth by some calamity or humiliation, while another by various doubts. And, through this, firmness of faith, hope and love of God are tested.” —St. Ambrose of Optina
“Sometimes men are tested by pleasure, sometimes by distress or by physical suffering. By means of His prescriptions the Physician of souls administers the remedy according to the cause of the passions lying hidden in the soul.” —St. Maximus the Confessor, Philokalia
“Among all God's actions there is none which is not entirely a matter of mercy, love and compassion: this constitutes the beginning and end of His dealings with us.” —St. Isaac the Syrian
 
“We must hate avarice, self-esteem and sensual pleasure, as mothers of the vices and stepmothers of the virtues. Because of them we are commanded not to love ‘the world’ and ‘the things that are in the world’ (1 John 2:15); not so that we should hate God's creation through lack of discernment, but so that we should eliminate the occasions for these three passions.” —St. Mark the Ascetic
“‘The world’ is the general name for all the passions. When we wish to call the passions by a common name, we call them the world. But when we wish to distinguish them by their special names, we call them the passions. The passions are the following: love of riches, desire for possessions, bodily pleasure from which comes sexual passion, love of honour which gives rise to envy, lust for power, arrogance and pride of position, the craving to adorn oneself with luxurious clothes and vain ornaments, the itch for human glory which is a source of rancour and resentment, and physical fear. Where these passions cease to be active, there the world is dead; for though living in the flesh, they did not live for the flesh. See for which of these passions you are alive. Then you will know how far you are alive to the world and how far you are dead to it.” —St. Isaac the Syrian
“‘Exile is separation from everything in order to keep the mind inseparable from God. An exile loves and produces continual weeping.’ From Paradise, we must become exiled from the world if we hope to return.” —Fr. Seraphim Rose of Platina
 
“Prayer is superior to all good works. It begets tears of repentance, greatly contributes to peace in one’s thoughts, leads one to think only of God Who is the ultimate Peace, and brings forth the love of God. Prayer alone purifies the rational part of the soul through the vision of God, Who causes the purification of the angels; it also preserves the desiring part of the soul in purity before God.” —St. Kallistos Telikoudes, On the Practice of Hesychasm, The Philokalia, Vol. 5
“Day and night I pray the Lord for love, and the Lord gives me tears to weep for the whole world. But if I find fault with any man, or look on him with an unkind eye, my tears will dry up, and my soul sink into despondency. Yet do I begin again to entreat forgiveness of the Lord, and the Lord in His mercy forgives me, a sinner.
“… One must clean the royal house from every impurity and adorn it with every beauty, then the king may enter into it. In a similar way one must first cleanse the earth of the heart and uproot the weeds of sin and the passionate deeds and soften it with sorrows and the narrow way of life, sow in it the seed of virtue, water it with lamentation and tears, and only then does the fruit of dispassion and eternal life grow. For the Holy Spirit does not dwell in a man until he has been cleansed from passions of the soul and body.” —St. Paisius Velichkovsky, ‘Field Flowers’
 
“God, Who is by nature good and dispassionate, loves all men equally as His handiwork. But He glorifies the virtuous man because in his will he is united to God. At the same time, in His goodness he is merciful to the sinner and by chastising him in this life brings him back to the path of virtue. Similarly, a man of good and dispassionate judgment also loves all men equally. He loves the virtuous man because of his nature and the probity of his intention; and he loves the sinner, too, because of his nature and because in his compassion he pities him for foolishly stumbling in darkness.” —St. Maximus the Confessor
“I do not know how I came into the world; Nor what the things here in it are. What my sight is, O my God, And what the objects that I see, I cannot tell. How all we men are vain, And have no proper judgement of reality! Yesterday at least I came and tomorrow I shall go, And I think to be immortal yonder. That Thee are my God I confess to everyone, and yet deny Thee daily in my deeds. I teach that Thee have made each living thing; And yet without Thee struggle to have all. Thy rule extends above, below And yet I am not feared to strive against Thee. Let me the needy one, me most miserable; Disburden all the sickness of my soul Crushed, alas and broken into bits. By vanity, by foolish arrogance. Grant me to be humble, grant me a hand of help; And cleanse my soul’s pollution. And give me tears of repentance; Love’s tears, tears of liberty; Tears cleansing my mind’s darkness. And filling me with heavenly radiance! For Thee it is, the world’s Light; The Light of my poor eyes, I wish to see – I who fill my heart with life’s evils, Suffering much of affliction and of envy. From those who have worked my exiles: From those, rather, who are my benefactors; Who are my masters, my true friends: To whom, O Christ, instead of ill give blessing: Eternal, rich, divine; Prepared by Thee for all the ages; For those who deeply long for Thee, love Thee.” —St. Symeon the New Theologian, On the right attitude to Life
“If you rebuke yourself, accuse yourself, and judge yourself before God for your sins, with a sensitive conscience, even for this you will be justified.
If you are sorrowful for your sins, or you weep, or sigh, your sigh will not be hidden from Him and, as St. John Chrysostom says, ‘If you only lament for your sins, then He will receive this for your salvation.’” —St. Moses of Optina
 
“Where there is pride there cannot be grace, and if we lose grace we also lose both love of God and assurance in prayer. The soul is then tormented by evil thoughts and does not understand that she must humble herself and love her enemies, for there is no other way to please God.” —St. Silouan the Athonite
“A good heart produces good thoughts: its thoughts correspond to what it stores up in itself.” —St. Thalassios the Libyan
“Fasting is the mother of health; the friend of chastity; the partner of humility.” —St. Symeon the New theologian
 
“Many fast with body, but do not fast with soul: many fast from food and drink, but do not fast from evil thoughts, actions and words, and what is the benefit of it?! Many fast a day and two more, but from anger, resentment and vengeance will not fast; many refrain from wine, meat and fish, but with their tongue they eat people similar to themselves, and what is the benefit of it?! There are those who do not reach for food with their hands, but provide them for bribery, embezzlement and robbery, and what is the benefit of it?! True and true fasting is abstaining from every evil. If you want, Christian, to benefit from your fasting, fast carnally, fast mentally, and fast always!
 
When you instruct fasting to your stomach, impose it on your evil thoughts and lusts. Let your mind fast from vain thoughts and memory from resentment, and your will from evil wanting, and your eyes from evil looking. Turn away your eyes from beholding vanity, let your ears fast from shameful songs and whispers of slander, let your tongue fast from defamation, condemnation, blasphemy, lies, flattery, filth and every empty and rotten word. Let your hands fast from the robbery of another's goods, and your feet from the clothing of evil work. Repent and, abstaining from every evil word, deed and thought, learn every virtue and you will always fast before God.” —St. Tikhon of Zadonsk
“As salt is needed for all kinds of food, so humility is needed for all kinds of virtues.” —St. Isaac the Syrian
“A rich man is not one who has much, but one who gives much. For what he gives away remains his forever.” —St. John Chrysostom
 
“A poor man when he reaches out to you does not beg, but offers you the kingdom of God.” —Elder Arsenie (Papacioc) of Romania
“No one in creation is rich but he that fears God; no one is truly poor but he that lacks the truth.” —St. Ephrem the Syrian
“Do not be surprised that when you draw near to virtue, grievous and intense tribulations come to you on all sides: for virtue is not considered virtue, if it does not involve hard work.” —St. Isaac the Syrian, Directions on Spiritual Training, The Philokalia
 
“A certain brother had succumbed to the sin of lust, repeating this sin every day, but every day he would also beseech the Lord's mercy, with tears and prayers. By acting this way, his bad habit always fooled him and he would repeat the sin again; but again, after sinning, he would go to the Church and, upon seeing the holy and venerable icon of our Lord Jesus Christ, would fall to his knees and with bitter tears would say: ‘Spare me, Lord, and rid of me this tortuous temptation, because it plagues me terribly and harms me with its bitter pleasures. My face is not worthy to look upon Your holy icon, so that my heart might be consoled.’
 
That was the sort of thing he would say, but whenever he left the Church, he would again fall in the mire. Yet he never lost his hopes for salvation, and immediately after sinning, he would again return to the Church and say the same things, praying to the benevolent Lord God: ‘Lord, be my warrantor that from now on I won't sin again; but please, Lord, forgive all of my sins, from the beginning, up to now.’ And after making these grandiose promises, he would again return to the same, terrible sin. And one could discern the sweet benevolence and infinite goodness of the Lord, in tolerating and enduring this incorrigible and grave violation and the ingratitude of this man, and how, in His great compassion, the Lord desired the repentance of this man and his definitive return; because this sin was being repeated, not for one, two or three years, but for ten and more.
 
Brothers, can you see the immeasurable tolerance and infinite benevolence of the Lord? How He shows forbearance and kindness every time, by enduring our gross iniquities and sins? What is more staggering and provokes our wonder with regard to God's wealth of compassion, is that although our brother kept promising and would agree to desist from that sin, he proved himself a liar.
 
One day, after our brother had fallen into that sin again, he went running to the Church, mourning and moaning and in tears, beseeching the compassion of the merciful God to spare him and save him from the mire of incontinence. While this brother was begging the benevolent God, the wicked devil, the destruction of our souls, realized that he had achieved nothing, because while he was sewing with sin, the man was fraying it with his repentance. So the devil impudently appeared before him visibly, and, turning his face towards the venerable icon of our Lord Jesus Christ, started to cry out, saying: ‘What ‘s it going to be with us two, Jesus Christ? Your infinite sympathy defeats me and degrades me, whenever you accept this lecher, this wanton, who lies to you every day and disregards your authority. Why then don't you burn him? Why are You so forbearing and tolerant towards him? You are supposed to be the one who will judge the adulterous and the licentious and will eliminate all sinners. In fact, You are not a fair judge, because, wherever Your authority considers it befitting, You judge unfairly and You overlook things. With me, because of the small infraction of pride, you cast me down from heaven, whereas with him, who is a liar, a lecher and a prodigal, because he merely knelt before You, You imperturbably grant him Your favor. So, why do they call You a fair judge? From what I can see, You simply give Yourself to people out of Your great goodness, and You overlook justice.’ As the devil was saying these, all choked up by his bitterness, flames and smoke came out of his nostrils.
 
After the devil had finished speaking, he became silent, and immediately, a voice was heard coming out of the altar saying: ‘You wicked and pestilent dragon, your wickedness wasn't satiated by swallowing the whole world, and now you are trying to grab and swallow this man who found refuge in the infinite mercy of My compassion? Can you present any sins that are heavier than the precious blood which I shed for this man, on the Cross? Mark well, that My crucifixion and My death forgave his sins. Besides, you didn't send him away when he headed towards sin, but you accepted him with joy and you neither abhorred him nor hindered him, because you hoped to win him. Well then, I, Who am so merciful and benevolent, who had instructed my high Apostle Peter to forgive any man who sins daily up to seventy times seven, will I not forgive and spare this man? Yes, I say to you, and because he sought refuge in Me, I will not turn away from him, until I have made him mine. Because I was crucified for the sinners and it was for them that I extended my immaculate arms, so that everyone who wants to be saved, will seek refuge in me and be saved. I do not avoid anyone, nor do I send anyone away, not even if someone sins a thousand times in one day and then comes to Me a thousand times; he won't leave dismayed. Because I did not come to call the righteous to repent, but the sinners.’
 
As soon as these words were heard, the devil stood fixed in place, trembling, unable to escape. And the voice spoke again: ‘Listen, impostor, with regard to what you said about me being unfair : because I am fair to everyone, and in whichever condition I might find them, I will judge them accordingly. Look at this man, I found him in repentance and returning back, fallen on his knees in front of Me, and your conqueror. I will therefore accept him and save his soul, because he did not despair about his salvation. And you, when seeing the honor that I grant him, will impale yourself out of envy and be put to shame.’
 
And just as the brother lay there, prone and weeping, he gave up his soul; instantly, a fury as great as a fire fell upon the devil, and it consumed him. Therefore my brothers let us learn from this incident of God's immeasurable compassion and philanthropy, what a kind God we have, and that we must never despair or not tend to our salvation.” ​—St. Amphilochios, On Masturbation and the Futility of Despair
“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 honor your patience. While a wound is still fresh and warm it is easy to heal, but old, neglected and festering ones are hard to cure, and require for their care much treatment, cutting, plastering and cauterization. Many from long neglect become incurable. But with God all things are possible.” —St. John Climacus, The Ladder of Divine Ascent, Step 5, Section 30
“…should we fall, we should not despair and so estrange ourselves from the Lord's love. For if He so chooses, He can deal mercifully with our weakness. Only we should not cut ourselves off from Him or feel oppressed when constrained by His commandments, nor should we lose heart when we fall short of our goal…let us always be ready to make a new start. If you fall, rise up. If you fall again, rise up again. Only do not abandon your Physician, lest you be condemned as worse than a suicide because of your despair. Wait on Him, and He will be merciful, either reforming you, or sending you trials, or through some other provision of which you are ignorant.” —St. Peter of Damascus
“Faintness of heart is a sign of despondency, and negligence is the mother of both. A cowardly man shows that he suffers from two diseases: love of his flesh and lack of faith; for love of one’s one's flesh is a sign of unbelief. But he who despises the love of the flesh proves that he believes in God with his whole heart and awaits the age to come … A courageous heart and scorn of perils comes from one of two causes: either from hardness of heart or from great faith in God. Pride accompanies hardness of heart, but humility accompanies faith. A man cannot acquire hope in God unless he first does His will with exactness. For hope in God and manliness of heart are born of the testimony of the conscience, and by the truthful testimony of the mind we possess confidence towards God.” —St. Isaac the Syrian, Homily 40
“Within the heart are unfathomable depths. The heart is a small vessel, and yet dragons and lions are there. And there also are poisonous creatures and all the treasures of wickedness; rough and uneven paths are there and gaping chasms. Likewise, God is there; there are angels, there is life and the Kingdom, there is light and the apostles and the heavenly cities and the treasures of grace. All things lie within that little space.” —St. Macarius the Great
“The knowledge of the Cross is concealed in the sufferings of the Cross.” —St. Isaac the Syrian
 
“It is impossible to believe that Christ is Risen, while we are afraid of death…” —St. Gregory Palamas
“God had one son on earth without sin, but never one without suffering.” —St. Augustine
“Let the crowds of wild beasts; let tearings, breakings, and dislocations of bones; let cutting off of members; let shatterings of the whole body; and let all the dreadful torments of the devil come upon me: only let me attain to Jesus Christ.” —St. Ignatius of Antioch
 
“Everything will happen suddenly. It may even happen tonight. Maybe it has begun already? Today you are deprived of one thing, tomorrow of another. God is giving it to us a little at a time, and we stupid people don’t understand.
 
I say this to you and I counsel you, even if the sky were to fall down, even if the earth would rise up, even if the whole world were destroyed, as it is due to do so, today, tomorrow, don’t be concerned with what God is going to do. Let them burn your body, let them fry it, let them take your possessions – don’t concern yourself. Give them away – they are not yours.
 
You need your soul and Christ. Even if the whole world were to fall apart, no one can take these two things away from you against your will. Guard these two, and don’t loose them.” —St. Kosmas Aitolos
 
“Certainly in times of tranquility the cross should give you joy. But maintain the same faith in times of persecution. Otherwise you will be a friend of Jesus in times of peace and his enemy during war.” —St. Cyril of Jerusalem
“Only struggle a little more. Carry your cross without complaining. Don't think you are anything special. Don't justify your sins and weaknesses, but see yourself as you really are. And, especially, love one another.” —Fr. Seraphim Rose of Platina
“Never confuse the person, formed in the image of God, with the evil that is in him: because evil is but a chance misfortune, an illness, a devilish reverie. But the very essence of the person is the image of God, and this remains in him despite every disfigurement.” —St. John of Kronstadt
 
“Firmly purpose in your soul to hate every sin of thought, word, and deed, and when you are tempted to sin resist it valiantly and with a feeling of hatred for it; only beware lest your hatred should turn against the person of your brother who gave occasion for the sin. Hate the sin with all your heart, but pity your brother; instruct him, and pray for him to the Almighty, Who sees all of us and tries our hearts and innermost parts.” —St. John of Kronstadt
“For this reason, the man who lives by God's standards and not by man's, must needs be a lover of the good, and it follows that he must hate what is evil. Further, since no one is evil by nature, but anyone who is evil is evil because of a perversion of nature, the man who lives by God's standards has a duty of ‘perfect hatred’ (Psalm 139:22) towards those who are evil; that is to say, he should not hate the person because of the fault, nor should he love the fault because of the person. He should hate the fault, but love the man. And when the fault has been cured there will remain only what he ought to love, nothing that he should hate.” —St. Augustine of Hippo, The City of God, 14:6, Penguin ed., transl. Bettenson
“In hell there is democracy and in Heaven there is a Kingdom.” —St. John of Kronstadt
“We shall not care what people think of us, or how they treat us. We shall cease to be afraid of falling out of favour. We shall love our fellow men without thought of whether they love us. Christ gave us the commandment to love others but did not make it a condition of salvation that they should love us. Indeed, we may positively be disliked for independence of spirit. It is essential in these days to be able to protect ourselves from the influence of those with whom we come in contact. Otherwise we risk losing both faith and prayer. Let the whole world dismiss us as unworthy of attention, trust or respect – it will not matter provided that the Lord accept us. And vice versa: it will profit us nothing if the whole world thinks well of us and sings our praises, if the Lord declines to abide with us. This is only a fragment of the freedom Christ meant when Hial practices such as Transcendental Meditation I am but repeating the age-old message of the Church … The way of the Fathers requires firm faith and long patience, whereas our contemporaries want to seize every spiritual gift, including even direct contemplation of the Absolute God, by force and speedily, and will often draw a parallel between prayer in the Name of Jesus and yoga or Transcendental Meditation ande He said, ‘Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free’ (John 8.32). Our sole care will be to continue in the word of Christ, to become His disciples and cease to be servants of sin.” —Archimandrite Sophrony of Essex, His Life is Mine, Chapter 6; pg. 55
“The Church is a hospital, and not a courtroom, for souls. She does not condemn on behalf of sins, but grants remission of sins. Nothing is so joyous in our life as the thanksgiving that we experience in the Church. In the Church, the joyful sustain their joy. In the Church, those worried acquire merriment, and those saddened, joy. In the Church, the troubled find relief, and the heavy-laden, rest. ‘Come,’ says the Lord, ‘near me, all of you who labor and are heavy-laden (with trials and sins), and I will give you rest’ (Matthew 11:28). What could be more desirable than to meet this voice? What is sweeter than this invitation? The Lord is calling you to the Church for a rich banquet. He transfers you from struggles to rest, and from tortures to relief. He relieves you from the burden of your sins. He heals worries with thanksgiving, and sadness with joy. No one is truly free or joyful besides he who lives for Christ. Such a person overcomes all evil and does not fear anything!” —St. John Chrysostom, Homily XV, II Cor. VII VIII, paragraph 6, Themes of Life II, Life Issues II, Holy Monastery of the Paraclete
“When you are depressed, bear in mind the Lord’s command to Peter to forgive a sinner seventy times seven. And you may be sure that He Who gave this command to another will Himself do very much more.” —St. John Climacus
 
“A person who suffers bitterly when slighted or insulted should recognize from this that he still harbours the ancient serpent in his breast. If he quietly endures the insult or responds with great humility, he weakens the serpent and lessens its hold. But if he replies acrimoniously or brazenly, he gives it strength to pour its venom into his heart and to feed mercilessly on his guts. In this way the serpent becomes increasingly powerful; it destroys his soul's strength and his attempts to set himself right, compelling him to live for sin and to be completely dead to righteousness.” —St. Symeon the New Theologian
“The time of this present life is a time for harvesting, and each person gathers spiritual food - as pure as possible - and stores it up for the other life. It is not the clever, the noble, the polished speakers, or the rich who win, but whoever is insulted and forbears, whoever is wronged and forgives, whoever is slandered and endures, whoever becomes a sponge and mops up whatever they might say to him. Such a person is cleansed and polished even more. He reaches great heights. He delights in the theoria of mysteries. And finally, it is he who is already inside paradise, while still in this life.” —Elder Joseph the Hesychast and Cave-dweller
“Forgiveness is better than revenge.” —St. Tikhon of Zadonsk
“When God forgave you, it means He forgave you for eternity.” —Elder Arsenios Arsenie (Papacioc) of Romania
“Love alone harmoniously joins all created things with God and with each other.” —St. Thalassios the Libyan
“The mold in the womb may not be destroyed.” —Tertullian
“There is no question about that which is bread bred in the uterus, both growing, and moving from place to place. It remains, therefore, that we must think that the point of commencement of existence is one and the same for body and soul.” —St. Gregory of Nyssa
“We acknowledge, therefore, that life begins with conception, because we contend that the soul begins at conception. Life begins when the soul begins.
“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”
“Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.”
—Blessed Mother Teresa —Teresa of Calcutta
“No one heals himself by wounding another.” —St. Ambrose of Milan
“Abortion is the anti-Christ's demonic parody of the Eucharist. That's why it uses the same holy words ‘This is my body’ with the blasphemous opposite meaning.” —Dr. Peter Kreeft
“An Irish pro-abortion leader described their vote as a decision to enter the "modern" ‘modern’ world. That was extremely well-said. Modernity suggests to us that we are the masters of history, the arbiters of life and death. Our compassion for the suffering is always expressed, ultimately, in our willingness to kill them, without remorse.
For many, abortion has become the sacrament of modernity, in which we learn to say in blasphemous irony: ‘This is my body.’” —Fr. Stephen Freeman
 
“Each child with special needs such as this does not come into the world in order to make our lives difficult and make us suffer. They each come into this world for a reason and have their secret inner voice. It remains to us to offer love; to ‘bear one another's burdens’; to experience a collective humbling – to realize, that is, that we are not as powerful and important as we think; and to try to lighten that person's burden and understand their language… These children are better at speaking the language of God.” —Metropolitan Nikolaos of Mesogaia and Labreotiki, When God is Not There, pg. 48
“O God, grant us a deeper sense of fellowship with all living things, our little brothers and sisters to whom in common with us you have given this earth as home. We recall with regret that in the past we have acted high-handedly and cruelly in exercising our domain over them. Thus, the voice of the earth which should have risen to you in song has turned into a groan of travail. May we realize that all these creatures also live for themselves and for you - not for us alone. They too love the goodness of life, as we do, and serve you better in their way than we do in ours. Amen.” —St. Basil the Great
“We follow the ways of wolves, the habits of tigers: or, rather we are worse than they. To them nature has assigned that they should be thus fed, while God has honoured us with rational speech and a sense of equity. And yet we are become worse than the wild beast.” —St. John Chrysostom
 
“Drink water from the spring where horses drink. The horse will never drink bad water. Lay your bed where the cat sleeps. Eat the fruit that has been touched by a worm. Boldly pick the mushroom on which the insects sit. Plant the tree where the mole digs. Build your house where the snake sits to warm itself. Dig your fountain where the birds hide from the heat. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time with the birds – you will reap all of the days' golden grains. Eat more green – you will have strong legs and a resistant heart, like the beings of the forest. Swim often and you will feel on earth like the fish in the water. Look at the sky as often as possible and your thoughts will become light and clear. Be quiet a lot, speak little – and silence will come in your heart, and your spirit will be calm and full of peace.” —St. Seraphim of Sarov (Nature is talking to you, are you listening?)
“Nothing is without order and purpose in the animal kingdom; each animal bears the wisdom of the Creator and testifies of Him. God granted man and animals many natural attributes, such as compassion, love, feelings… for even animals bewail the loss of one of their own.” —St. John Climacus
“The devil does not hunt after those who are lost; he hunts after those who are aware, those who are close to God. He takes from them trust in God and begins to afflict them with self-assurance, logic, thinking, criticism. Therefore we should not trust our logical minds.” —Elder Paisios of Mt. Athos
 
“Christ is the only exit from this world; all other exits – sexual rapture, political utopia, economic independence – are but blind alleys in which rot the corpses of the many that have tried them.” —Fr. Seraphim Rose of Platina
“Only He is worth struggling towards. We have a choice: to follow the way of this world, of the society that surrounds us, and thereby find ourselves outside of God; or to choose the way of life, to choose God Who calls us and for Whom our heart is searching.” —Fr. Seraphim Rose of Platina
“The end of each discovery becomes the starting point for the discovery of something higher, and the ascent continues. Thus our ascent is unending. We go from beginning to beginning by way of beginnings without end.” —St. Gregory of Nyssa
 
“He who forsakes all worldly desires sets himself above all worldly distress.” —St. Maximus the Confessor
“He is with me, He who left the world behind. He is present in me, He who left His nature. He dwells in me, He who denied Himself. He is wholly for me, He who lost His life for me.” —St. Ambrose of Milan
“Brethren, He is near each one of us, even if unseen. That is why He said to the apostles when He ascended, ‘Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world’ (Matt 28:20). Every day we should stand in awe of Him, as He is with us, and do what is pleasing before Him. If we are unable now to perceive Him with our physical eyes, we can, if we are watchful, see Him continuously with the eyes of our understanding, and not just see Him, but reap great benefits from Him. This vision destroys all sin, demolishes all evil, and drives away everything bad. It yields every virtue, gives birth to purity and dispassion, and bestows eternal life and the kingdom without end. As we attend to this joyful sight, gazing with our mind's eye on Christ as though He were present, each of us will say with David, ‘Though a host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident’ (Ps. 27:3).” —St. Gregory of Palamas, Homily 23, The Appearance of Jesus
 
“Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them.
Enemies have driven me into your embrace more than friends have.
Friends have bound me to earth, enemies have loosed me from earth and have demolished all my aspirations in the world.
Enemies have made me a stranger in worldly realms and an extraneous inhabitant of the world. Just as a hunted animal finds safer shelter than an unhunted animal does, so have I, persecuted by enemies, found the safest sanctuary, having ensconced myself beneath your tabernacle, where neither friends nor enemies can slay my soul.
Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them.
They, rather than I, have confessed my sins before the world.
They have punished me, whenever I have hesitated to punish myself.
They have tormented me, whenever I have tried to flee torments.
They have scolded me, whenever I have flattered myself.
They have spat upon me, whenever I have filled myself with arrogance.
Bless my enemies, O Lord, Even I bless them and do not curse them.
Whenever I have made myself wise, they have called me foolish.
Whenever I have made myself mighty, they have mocked me as though I were a dwarf.
Whenever I have wanted to lead people, they have shoved me into the background.
Whenever I have rushed to enrich myself, they have prevented me with an iron hand.
Whenever I thought that I would sleep peacefully, they have wakened me from sleep.
Whenever I have tried to build a home for a long and tranquil life, they have demolished it and driven me out.
Truly, enemies have cut me loose from the world and have stretched out my hands to the hem of your garment.
Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them.
Bless them and multiply them; multiply them and make them even more bitterly against me:
so that my fleeing to You may have no return;
so that all hope in men may be scattered like cobwebs;
so that absolute serenity may begin to reign in my soul;
so that my heart may become the grave of my two evil twins, arrogance and anger;
so that I might amass all my treasure in heaven;
ah, so that I may for once be freed from self-deception, which has entangled me in the dreadful web of illusory life.
Enemies have taught me to know what hardly anyone knows, that a person has no enemies in the world except himself.
One hates his enemies only when he fails to realize that they are not enemies, but cruel friends.
It is truly difficult for me to say who has done me more good and who has done me more evil in the world: friends or enemies.
Therefore bless, O Lord, both my friends and enemies.
A slave curses enemies, for he does not understand. But a son blesses them, for he understands.
For a son knows that his enemies cannot touch his life.
Therefore he freely steps among them and prays to God for them.” —St. Nikolai Velimirovich, Prayers by the Lake
“O Lord,
Pray Thou Thyself in me.
Amen.” —St. Philaret (Drozdov), Metropolitan of Moscow, The Morning Prayer of Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow
 
“In that anxious and dreadful hour when the heavenly powers are roused, when all the angels, archangels, seraphim and cherubim will stand with fear and trembling before Thy glory, when the foundations of the earth will be shaken, and when all that breathes will be terrified by the incomparable greatness of Thy glory – in that hour mayest Thou take me under Thy wing and may my soul be delivered from the terrible fire and from the gnashing of teeth, from outer darkness and eternal lamentation, that I may bless Thee and say: Glory to Him Who has desired to save a sinner according to the great compassion of His mercy!” —St. Ephrem the Syrian
“If there is any rest for us in this world, then it consists only in purity of the conscience and patience. This is a harbor for us who sail upon the sea of life…” —St. Tikhon of Zadonsk
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