Russian Orthodox christian Presbyter and a member of the synod of the Russian Orthodox Church
"If I do not feel a sense of joy in God’s creation, if I forget to offer the world back to God with thankfulness, I have advanced very little upon the Way. I have not yet learned to be truly human. For it is only through thanksgiving that I can become myself."
"A man who is wrathful with us is a sick man; we must apply a plaster to his heart - love; we must treat him kindly, speak to him gently, lovingly. And if there is not deeply-rooted malice against us within him, but only a temporary fit of anger, you will see how his heart, or his malice, will melt away through your kindness and love - how good will conquer evil."
"A Priest, like an angel of the Almighty Lord, ought to be above all passions and spiritual disturbances, above all worldly or vain attachments and fears, occasioned by demons; he ought to be entirely in God, to love and fear Him alone. The fear of man means that he does not yet entirely cleave to God."
"An impure heart – that is a heart occupied with earthly passions – feeds itself on the carnal desires of the eyes and worldly pride; it cannot see any of the things we have indicated."
"Do not be despondent when fighting against the incorporeal enemy, but even in the midst of your afflictions and oppression praise the Lord, Who has found you worthy to suffer for Him, by struggling against the subtlety of the serpent, and to be wounded for Him at every hour; for had you not lived piously, and endeavored to become united to God, the enemy would not have attacked and tormented you."
"Do not be irritated with those who sin; do not develop a habit of noticing every sin in others, and judging them, as we are so inclined to do. Everyone shall give an answer to God for himself. Correct your own sins; and amend your own heart."
"Do not fear the conflict, and do not flee from it; where there is no struggle, there is no virtue. Our faith, trust, and love are proved and revealed in adversities, that is, in difficult and grievous outward and inward circumstances, during sickness, sorrow, and privations."
"Evil is corrected by good; faults by love, kindness, meekness, humility and patience. Acknowledge yourself as the greatest of sinners. Of those who appear to you to be sinners, or are sinners in fact, consider yourself worse and lower than all. Be rid of all pride and malice against your neighbor, all impatience and bad-temper, and only then - with love and long-suffering towards them - try to cure others. Until then, cover the sins of others with your indulgent love."
"God is nearer to us than any man at every time. He is nearer to me than my raiment, nearer than the air or light, nearer than my wife, father, mother, daughter, son, or friend. I live in Him, soul and body. I breathe in Him, think in Him, feel, consider, intend, speak, undertake, work in Him."
"He who does any evil, who gratifies any passion, is punished enough by the evil he has committed, by the vice he has served, and above all by the fact that he withdraws himself from God, and God withdraws himself from him - it would therefore be insane, and inhuman, to nourish anger against such a man; one might as well drown a man who is already sinking, or push into the fire one who is already burning. To such a man, as to one in danger of perishing, we must show more love than ever, and pray fervently for him, not judging him, nor rejoicing at his misfortune."
"Oh, what great happiness and bliss, what exaltation it is to address oneself to the Eternal Father. Always, without fail, value this joy which has been accorded to you by God's infinite grace and do not forget it during your prayers; God, the angels and God's holy men listen to you."
"Our faith, trust, and love are proved and revealed in adversities, that is, in difficult and grievous outward and inward circumstances, during sickness, sorrow, and privations."
"Prayer for others is very beneficial to the man himself who prays; it purifies the heart, strengthens faith and hope in God, and arouses love for God and our neighbor."
"The enemy of our salvation especially strives to draw our heart and mind away from God when we are about to serve Him, and endeavors to adulterously attach our heart to something irrelevant. Be always, every moment, with God, especially when you pray to Him. If you are inconstant, you will fall away from life, and will cast yourself into sorrow and straitness."
"There is nothing impossible unto those who believe; lively and unshaken faith can accomplish great miracles in the twinkling of an eye. Besides, even without our sincere and firm faith, miracles are accomplished, such as the miracles of the sacraments; for God's Mystery is always accomplished, even though we were incredulous or unbelieving at the time of its celebration... Our wickedness shall not overpower the unspeakable goodness and mercy of God."
"We have icons in our houses, and venerate them, in order to show, amongst other things, that the eyes of God and of all the heavenly dwellers are constantly fixes upon us, and see not, only all our acts, but also our words, thoughts and desires."
"When entering the temple of God to pray, we should know and remember that we are the children of the Heavenly Father, and have come into His house; therefore we must stand there with son-like feelings of sincere love and gratitude in fervent prayer. Our spirit should cry, ‘Abba, Father!’"
"When some inward disturbance or weakness of the heart prevents your pronouncing the words of the prayers during Divine service, then consider such disturbance and weakness as an illusion of the enemy, of the demon; throw aside the despondency, the faint-heartedness, and timidity, and speak concerning the name of the Lord without hurrying, calmly and intentionally louder; you will thus overcome your disturbance and weakness, and will obtain courage and strength. Everything is possible unto those who believe and trust. We must struggle and conquer."
"When you are in the temple, remember that you are in the living presence of the Lord God, that you stand before His face, before His eyes, in the living presence of the Mother of God, of the holy angels, and of the first-born of the Church that is, our forefathers, the prophets, Apostles, hierarchs, martyrs, reverend Fathers, the righteous, and all the saints. Always have the remembrance and consciousness of this when you are in the temple, and stand with devotion, taking part willingly and with all your heart in the Divine service."
"When you are praying alone, and your spirit is dejected, and you are wearied and oppressed by your loneliness, remember then, as always, that God the Trinity looks upon you with eyes brighter than the sun; also all the angels, your own Guardian Angel, and all the Saints of God. Truly they do; for they are all one in God, and where God is, there are they also. Where the sun is, thither also are directed all its rays. Try to understand what this means."
"When you go to visit any of your relations or friends, do not go to their houses in order to eat and drink well, but go there in order to take part in friendly and sincere conversation with them, to refresh your soul from worldly vanities by friendly and loving interaction, to be mutually comforted by your common faith. For ‘I see not yours, but you,’ says the Apostle."
"When you see a beautiful girl or woman or a handsome youth, immediately lift your thoughts to the supreme, most holy Beauty, the Author of every earthly and heavenly beauty, that is, to God; glorify Him for having created such beauty out of mere earth; marvel at the beauty of God’s image in man, which shines forth even in our perverted state; imagine what our image will be when we shall shine forth in the kingdom of our Father, if we become worthy of it; picture to yourself what must be the beauty of God’s saints, of the holy angels, of the Mother of God Herself, adorned with the Divine glory; imagine the unspeakable goodness of God’s countenance, which we shall behold, Carnal desire is sweet, but it is sinful, corruptive, and repugnant to God. Do not attach yourself with your heart to any girlish or female beauty, but to the Lord God alone, Who has created every beauty for His own sake, and say: ‘It is good for me to hold me fast by God,’ to God alone, and not to fleeting carnal beauty."
"When your heart is touched by thoughts of fornication, or impurity, evil, or blasphemy, or when thoughts of malice, envy, avarice, covetousness, gluttony, darken, wound, and oppress you, then say to yourself, with firm, heartfelt conviction, that all this is an imagination of the Devil, and all such ideas and thoughts shall immediately vanish. Blessed is he that ‘speaketh the truth from his heart’. Tortured will be he who imagines or thinks of evil and sin in his heart! ‘Tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that doeth evil.’ Despise the carnal delight of sin, for it is a provocation of the perishable flesh. When a thought of doubt in the truth comes to you, say, that this thought is an illusion, whilst the truth remains-eternal truth."
"With death all will be taken from us, all earthly goods, riches, beauty of body and raiment, spacious dwellings, etc., but the virtue of the soul, that incorruptible raiment, shall remain with us eternally."
"You are angry with your neighbor, and say of him that he has done this or that, and so on. What business of yours is it? He sins against God, not against you. God is his judge, not you, and to God he shall give an account, not to you. Know how sinful you are yourself, how difficult it is for you to master your own sins, and to get the better of them, how afflicted you are by them, how they have ensnared you, how you wish indulgence from others. Your brother is a man like unto you; therefore you must be indulgent to him, as to a sinful man similar in all things to you, as infirm as you. Love him, then, as yourself: These things I command you, that ye love one another."
"A man becomes spiritual insofar as he lives a spiritual life. He begins to see God in all things, to see His power and might in every manifestation. Always and everywhere he sees himself abiding in God and dependent on God for all things. But insofar as a man lives a bodily life, so much he does he do bodily things; He doesn't see God in anything, even in the the most wondrous manifestations of His Divine power. In all things he sees body, material, everywhere and always - "God is not before his eyes.""
"A man feels the oppression of sin in his heart the weariness and anguish of sin: if he has not Christian hope in his heart, what does he do? He has recourse to artificial means to drive away the oppression and weariness, to culpable distractions, and not to Christ, Whose 'yoke is easy' for our heart and Whose 'burden is light' (Mt. 11:30), not to prayer, not to repentance for his sins, not to the Word of God, which 'is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, comfort' (II Tim. 3:16; Rom. 15:4). So it happens in most cases. Hence the necessity for worldly people to have theatres and a multitude of other amusements. Some have recourse to suicide. The experience of obtaining that which we pray for greatly strengthens Christian hope in our heart. And he who is attentive to himself will easily observe this experience."
"All thoughts, feelings, every disposition of the heart tending to destroy love and create enmity, proceed from the Devil."
"All you who draw near to serve God in prayer, learn to be like Him, meek, humble, and true of heart; do not let there be any deceitfulness or duplicity nor coldness in your soul."
"Almsgiving is good and salutary when to it is united the amendment of the heart from pride, malice, envy, slothfulness, indolence, gluttony, fornication, falsehood, deceitfulness, and other sins. But if the man is not careful to amend his heart, trusting only to his alms, then he will obtain but little benefit from them, for he builds with one hand and destroys with the other."
"As our God is indivisible, we also must be indivisible, as though we were one man, one mind, one will, one heart, one goodness, without the smallest admixture of malice - in a word, one pure love, as God is Love."
"As the word of the man reveals what is in his mind and heart (reveals the mind unseen, dominating, creating), and as the breath proceeds from the man through the word, revealing the mind or the thought, so, somewhat similarly, the Word of God reveals to us the Father ? that great all-creating Mind and, through the Word, the Holy Spirit, the life-giving Spirit, Who is the power of the Highest, eternally proceeds from the Father and is revealed to men."
"As you are aware, man, in his words, does not die; he is immortal in them, and they will speak after his death."
"Bear any illness bravely, and do not merely not become despondent, but on the contrary, rejoice, if you can, in your illness. You would ask me what there is for you to rejoice at when you are racked all over with pain? Rejoice that the Lord has sent you this temporary chastisement in order to cleanse your soul from sins. 'For whom the Lord loves He chastens' (Heb. 12:6). Rejoice in the fact that now you are not gratifying those passions which you would have gratified had you been in good health; rejoice that you are bearing the cross of sickness, and that therefore you are treading the narrow and sorrowful way leading to the kingdom of heaven. Maladies in our eyes only appear painful, unpleasant and terrible. It is seldom that any one of us during the time of sickness represents to himself the profit which his illness brings to his soul; but in God's all wise and most merciful Providence, not a single malady remains without some profit to our soul. Sicknesses in the hands of Providence are the same as bitter medicines for our soul, curing its passions, its bad habits and inclinations. Not a single malady sent to us shall return void. Therefore, we must keep in view the utility of sicknesses, in order that we may bear them more easily and more calmly."
"Both learned and unlearned young men seldom go to church, and in general do not attend to their spiritual education, looking upon it as unnecessary and giving themselves up to worldly vanity. Attention must be paid to this. It is the fruit of pride... They consider attendance at church and Divine service as the business of the common people and women, forgetting that, in the temple, Angels officiate with trembling, together with men, and regard this as their highest bliss."
"Cleanse your heart during all your life, so that it, or your soul, may be capable of seeing God afterwards; only care for your body and its requirements as much as is necessary for maintaining its health, power, and decency. It will all die; the earth will bear it all away."
"Concerning honoring and invoking the saints in prayer...What is it founded upon? They are in God; they are rich in spiritual gifts; they are in the land of the living, and in the land of abundance; whilst we are in the land of death and of spiritual hunger. God has taken them unto Himself to preserve our life. " God did send me before you to preserve life," said Joseph to his brethren. Abraham - Noah: the rich man in hell begged Abraham to send Lazarus. Noah, the deliverer from the deluge. " Blessed is he whose race is in Sion, and who hath kinsmen in Jerusalem."
"Correct your own sins. Do not lose your temper with those who sin. Do not have a passion for noticing every sin in your neighbor and judging it, as we usually do. Everyone will give an answer for himself before God. Especially, do not look with evil intention on the sins of those older than you, with whom you have no business. But correct your own sins, your own heart."
"Do not be vexed with those who show pride, or malice, effeminacy, and impatience in their intercourse with you, or others, but , remembering that you yourself are subject to the same and greater sins and passions, pray for them and be meek with them."
"Do not forget yourself in looking upon the bodily face ? look more attentively with your inward vision upon the face of your soul, what aspect it wears: is it not disfigured by the passions? And if so, destroy this disfigurement by prayer and tearful repentance. Do not forget yourself in looking upon beautiful raiment: it is corruption; but consider the incorruptible raiment of your soul, in what state it is: is it not hideous and impure, owing to frequent transgressions, both secret and evident; and strive to clothe your soul in the imperishable beauty of meekness, humility, chastity and purity, mercy, and righteousness."
"Do not neglect to uproot from the hearts of children the tares of sins, impure, evil and blasphemous thoughts, sinful habits, inclinations and passions; the enemy and the sinful flesh do not spare even children; the seeds of all sins are to be found in children too; show them the danger of sin on the path of life; do not hide sins from them lest through ignorance and want of comprehension they should be confirmed in sinful habits and attachments, which grow stronger and stronger and bring forth corresponding fruits when the children grow up."
"Every lying thought bears in itself a proof of its falsehood. This proof is its deadly effect upon the heart."
"Every man on earth is sick with the fever of sin, with the blindness of sin and is overcome with its fury. As sins consist mostly of malice and pride, it is necessary to treat everyone who suffers from the malady of sin with kindness and love. This is an important truth, which we often forget. Very often we act in the opposite manner: we add malice to malice by our anger, we oppose pride with pride. Thus, evil grows within us and does not decrease; it is not cured ? rather it spreads"
"Every man possesses that which is according to the image of God, "for the gifts of God are irrevocable" (Rom. 11:29). But only a few ? those who are virtuous and holy, and have imitated the goodness of God to the limit of human powers ? Possess that which is according to the likeness of God."
"Every sin is a war against God. But - O infinite gift of God's love to men! - When we had fallen so low by having sinned against the Creator, when we had fallen from life into death, by turning away from God, our Life; when we had corrupted ourselves by sins, and when everlasting death threatened us ? God sent upon earth the Redeemer of the World, His own Only-begotten Son, in flesh like ours, to suffer for our offenses and thus cleanse us from sins, through repentance and faith in Him, and bring us again to His Father, from Whom we had fallen away. Let us value this, God's greatest benefit to us, and let us not 'neglect so great a salvation' (Heb. 2:3)! Let us constantly remember our sinful corruption, and the means of grace offered by the Church for our regeneration."
"For we are inclined to forget the only thing we need. With death all will be taken from us, all earthly goods, riches, beauty of body and raiment, spacious dwellings, etc., but the virtue of the soul, that incorruptible raiment, shall remain with us eternally."
"For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them (Mt. 18:20). I reverence even two or three praying together, for in accordance with the Lord's promise He Himself is in the midst of them."