Category Archives: Wisdom of the Church Fathers

The Holy Transfiguration of our Lord Jesus Christ

“Why did the Lord take only three disciples on Tabor and not all? Because Judas was not worthy to behold the divine glory of the Teacher, Whom he will betray and the Lord did not want to leave him [Judas] alone at the foot of the mountain so that the betrayer would not, by that, justify his betrayal. Continue reading

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The Teachings of St. Paisios

Divine Energies are Omnipotent
God never abandons us; we are the ones who forget and abandon Him. When man does not live spiritually, he is no entitled to divine help. But when he does live spiritually and is near God, he is entitled to it. Then if something happens and he dies, he is ready for the other life, in which case he gains both in this life and in the next. Continue reading

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On the grace of God

~ Words of the Church Fathers ~

‘My grace is sufficient for thee’ (II Cor. 12:9)

Christ did not spare even His holy apostles from temptation, and He therefore gave them grace. When Satan himself began to wreak his malice on the Apostle Paul, Paul prayed that Satan be removed from him. But the Lord replied: ‘My grace is sufficient for thee.’ In other words: if you have to suffer at Satan’s hands, My grace is sufficient for your suffering. If you have to struggle with Satan, again My grace is sufficient for you. If you desire to overcome Satan, again My grace is sufficient. Grace is a weapon that can be used for everything. Grace is stronger than all adversities, all assaults, all the powers of darkness. Grace is both unconquerable and conquering. Continue reading

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Having God, fear nothing

~ Words of the Church Fathers ~

A man went into the forest to choose a tree from which to make roof-beams. And he saw two trees, one beside the other. One was smooth and tall, but had rotted away inside, and the other was rough on the outside and ugly, but its core was healthy. The man sighed, and said to himself: “What use is this tree to me if it is rotten inside and useless for beams? The other it is rough and ugly, is at least healthy on the inside and so, if I put a bit more effort into it, I can use it for roof-beams for my house.” And, without thinking any more about it, he chose that tree. Continue reading

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The Action of God the Holy Spirit…

St Nikolai Velimirovic asks us to ponder on:


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Holy Tradition

~ Words of the Church Fathers ~

If someone wants to be protected from tricks and remain healthy in the faith, he must confine his faith first to the authority of the Holy Scriptures, and secondly to the Tradition of the Church. But someone may ask, is not the canon of Scripture sufficient for everything, and why should we add thereto the authority of Tradition? This is because not everyone understands the Scriptures in the same way, but one explains them this way and another that way, so that it is possible to get there from as many thoughts as there are heads. Therefore it is necessary to be guided by the understanding of the Church. What is tradition? It is that which has been understood by everyone, everywhere and at all times…that which you have received, and not that which you have thought up…So then, our job is not to lead religion where we wish it to go, but to follow it where it leads, and not to give that which is our own to our heirs, but to guard that which has been given to us.

St Vincent of Lerina, Notes of a Pilgrim

“Our religion is perfectly and profoundly conceived. What is simple is also what is most precious. Accordingly, in your spiritual life engage in your daily contest simply, easily, and without force. The soul is sanctified and purified through the study of the Fathers, through the memorization of the psalms and of portions of Scripture, through the singing of hymns and through the repetition of the Jesus Prayer. Devote your efforts, therefore, to these spiritual things and ignore all the other things.”

St Porphyrios,Wounded by Love

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Prayers for the Dead

Why do we pay for the dead? It is true that the dead are judged by how they lived. Generally, the Church teaches our future in eternity is based on our faith, life, deeds, virtues, love, compassion and goodness (or their absence) in this life, before our death. Yet, since we are never fully sure of the place of each soul before God, and because God Himself is merciful and loving, we pray for any help which might come to the soul of the deceased.

The Church teaches that our prayers help the deceased in some way. We do not know how or how much. There is an interesting passage in 2 Maccabees which addresses this question. Some soldiers of Judus Maccabees, the Jewish leader, fell in battle and were found to have idols on their persons, a grave sin. Their death was blamed on their sin (12:42), A collection was taken for funds to be sent to the temple “to provide for a sin offering” (12:43). The book comments on this by connecting this act with the resurrection. “For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead. But if he was looking to the splendid reward that is laid up for those who fall asleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Therefore, he made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin” (2 Maccabees 12:44-45). These words were written about 50 years before the birth of Christ.

The Orthodox Church: 455 Questions & Answers, S. Harakas

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When you are praying alone…

~ Words of the Church Fathers ~

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.

St John of Kronstadt

Humility is the only thing we need; one can still fall having virtues other than humility – but with humility one does not fall.

Elder Herman of Mt Athos

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On Christ in the hearts of the faithful

~ Words of the Church Fathers ~

‘That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith’ (Eph. 3:17).

He has not Christ who only has Him on his tongue. Nor does he have Christ who only has Him on paper. Nor he who only has Him on the wall. Nor, indeed, he who has Him in a museum. He has Him in truth who has Him in his heart. For Christ is love, and the throne of love is the heart. If Christ is in your heart, then He is your God. If He is only on your tongue, or on paper, on the wall or in a museum, then, even if you call Him God, He is a plaything for you. Beware then, O man, for none can play with God with impunity!

The heart is apparently a small organ, but God can abide in it. And when God abides in it, it is filled to overflowing and nothing else can stand in it. If, however, the whole world were to dwell in it, without God, it would remain empty.

My brethren, let Christ the risen and living Lord dwell in your hearts by faith, and your hearts will be filled to overflowing. For He can in no other way abide in your hearts than by your faith. If you have no faith, Christ will remain only on your tongue or on paper, or on the wall or in the museum. What use is that to you? What use is it to you to have life on your tongue but death in your heart? For if you have the world in your heart and Christ on your lips, you have death in your heart and life on your lips. Water on the tongue is of no help to the thirsty. Let the living Christ into your heart, and your thirst will be truly quenched, and you will know unspeakable sweetness.

O risen Lord, cleanse our hearts from the deadly guests in them, and do Thou Thyself abide in them, that they may live and glorify Thee. To Thee be glory and praise for ever. Amen.

St Nikolai Velimirovic

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True freedom in the light of God’s truth

~ Words of the Church Fathers ~

Some people by the word freedom understand the ability to do whatever one wants. People who have the more allowed themselves to come into slavery to sins, passions, and defilements more often than others appear as zealots of external freedom, wanting to broaden the laws as much as possible. But such a man uses external freedom only to more severely burden himself with inner slavery. True freedom is the active ability of a man who is not enslaved to sin, who is not pricked by a condemning conscience, to choose the better in the light of God’s truth, and to bring it into actuality with the help of the gracious power of God. This is the freedom of which neither heaven nor earth are restrict.”
+ St. Philaret of Moscow

Until a man’s earthly life finishes its course, up to the very departure of the soul from the body, the struggle between sin and righteousness continues within him. However, high a spiritual and moral state one might achieve, a gradual or even headlong and deep fall into the abyss of sin is always possible. Therefore, communion of the holy Body and Blood of Christ, which strengthens our contact with Him and refreshes us with the living streams of the grace of the Holy Spirit flowing through the Body of the Church, is necessary for everyone.
+ St. John the Wonderworker of Shanghai and San Francisco, “The Church as the Body of Christ”

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