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Asteriktos

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Most studies on conciliarity presume that a synod must be a “success,” in terms of achieving unity and vanishing heresies. Yet, if we identify synodality with “success”—with the final results in verbal and practical agreement—then we will need to admit that many Councils were not so “successful.” We must understand here that a dogmatic “gigantomachia” does not simply end in the agreement of words and formulas, but in the reality of the Mystery, recognized (sacramentally, liturgically) in the Image of the Crucified and Resurrected Christ. It is indicative that Polycarp, the famous Bishop of Smyrna, in about the year 155 visited his Roman fellow brother Anicetus to discuss with him the disputed issue of the date of Pascha. Although they did not agree in all things, imagine, they nonetheless served the Liturgy together, after which Polycarp returned to Smyrna—to his martyrdom.

-- Bishop Maxim Vasiljević (b. 1968), Conciliarity in the Church History and Today
 

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Our body lives by means of those elements of which it  is itself formed, constantly absorbing into itself air, water,  and other organic bodies ; our soul lives by means of the  Divine Spirit, from Which it has its origin, and constantly absorbs into itself, for supporting its life, the life of God the Trinity, through the light of the intellect, through good inclinations and desires of the heart and will, and constancy in goodness. As the body, when it is not nourished by the elements natural to it, cannot live, and dies, so our soul, when not nourished by prayer or good thoughts, feelings, and works, also dies. As in our bodily nature the nourishment and growth of the body are satisfactorily accomplished for a time, but if accidentally, through Jood or drink or breathing, any poison or contagion enters the body, then suffering is at once occasioned, and even death, should not help be given in time ; so in our spiritual nature everything goes on satisfactorily for a time, but if it is corrupted by the Devil, then it suffers grievously, becoming as if benumbed, and it requires the speedy help of the heavenly Physician, the God of spirits, which can only be received through the prayer of faith.

-- St. John of Kronstadt (d. 1909), Source
 

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The Church is holy by its calling, or its purpose. It is holy also by its fruits: “Ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life” (Rom. 6:22), as the Apostle Paul instructs us. The Church is holy likewise through its pure, infallible teaching of faith: The Church of the living God is, according to the word of God, “the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15). The Patriarchs of the Eastern Churches, concerning the infallibility of the Church in its teaching, express themselves thus: “In saying that the teaching of the Church is infallible, we do not affirm anything else than this, that it is unchanging, that it is the same as was given to it in the beginning as the teaching of God” (Encyclical of the Eastern Patriarch, 1848, par. 12).

The sanctity of the Church is not darkened by the intrusion of the world into the Church, or by the sinfulness of men. Everything sinful and worldly which intrudes into the Church’s sphere remains foreign to it and is destined to be sifted out and destroyed, like weed seeds at sowing time. The opinion that the Church consists only of righteous and holy people without sin does not agree with the direct teaching of Christ and His Apostles. The Saviour compares His Church with a field on which the wheat grows together with the tares, and again, with a net which draws out of the water both good fish and bad In the Church there are both good servants and bad ones (Matt 18:23-35), wise virgins and foolish (Matt. 25:1-13). “We believe,” states the Encyclical of the Eastern Patriarchs, “that the members of the Catholic Church are all the faithful, and only the faithful, that is, those who undoubtingly confess the pure faith in the Saviour Christ (the faith which we have received from Christ Himself, from the Apostles, and from the Holy Ecumenical Councils), even though certain of them might have submitted to various sins . . . The Church judges them, calls them to repentance, and leads them on the path of the saving commandments. And therefore despite the fact that they are subject to sins, they remain and are acknowledged as members of the Catholic Church as long as they do not become apostates and as long as they hold to the Catholic and Orthodox Faith.”

-- Fr. Michael Pomazansky (d. 1988), Source
 

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Following Christ's resurrection, when he appeared to the frightened and confused disciples, according to the words of the Gospel, they thought that they had seen an apparition. He said to them: "Do not be afraid... it is I, touch me, and be convinced that a ghost does not have a body, as I do." And after this he took food, fish and bread, "and ate before them" (Lk. 24:36-43)  The apostles went out from Jerusalem with the message of the resurrection, and they preached the resurrection of the dead to the ends of the earth. And this faith, this joyful news, this proclamation became the joy and the life of those who made the words of the apostles their own.

But for the world of that time, this was an unheard-of and absurd preaching. That the world could reluctantly accept the notion of the immortality of souls, but considered the resurrection of the body to be totally ludicrous. When the apostle Paul preached this in Athens, at the very center of Greek wisdom and enlightenment, the philosophers who listened to him laughed, saying to Paul: "We will hear you again about this" (Acts 17:32). But I am convinced that even now, two thousand years after the founding of Christianity, it is difficult, if not impossible, for humanity to understand this preaching, to understand why Christianity itself stands or falls precisely on this teaching. Indeed, we celebrate Easter, it is indisputable that something happens to us when each year the evening silence is broken with the proclamation, "Christ is risen!" and with its unique response, "Indeed he is risen!"

-- Fr. Alexander Schmemann (d. 1983), Source
 

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"There are no grave and tiny sins. Grave sin is the one that captured you. The little sin is the one you captured."

Serbian patriarch Pavle
 

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It is necessary to take precaution and not identify the infirmity of fallen nature with the inherent imperfection of all created nature. There is nothing morbid or sinister in the "natural imperfection" of created nature except what is penetrated "'from above" after the consummated fall. In pre-fallen nature, one can perhaps speak of lack and flaws. But in the fallen world there is something more - perversion, revolt, vertiginous blasphemy, violence.

-- Fr. Georges Florovsky (d. 1979), Source
 

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It is an astounding thing that when people repent they do not, as a rule, repent for that which they needed to repent... Christian people desire not so much a real change and transformation of their nature as absolution for their sins... Behind all the darkness of the world and human life a light is hidden, and there are other moments when this light is so strong that it blinds us. Man ought to look evil straight in the face, to allow himself no illusions about it, but never to be overwhelmed by it. Truth lies beyond optimism and pessimism. The absurdity of the world is not a denial of the existence of meaning.

-- Nicholas Berdyaev (d. 1948), The Divine and the Human
 

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You add that "most serious people in England think only of union with Rome." This conclusion seems to me very natural. Union cannot be understood by any Orthodox Christian other than as the consequence of a complete harmony, or of a perfect Unity of Doctrine. (I do not speak of rites, excepting in the case when they are symbols of a dogma.) The Church in her structure, is not a state, and can admit of nothing like a conditional Union. It is quite a different case with the community of Rome. She is a state. She admits easily of the possibility of an alliance even with a deep discordance of doctrine. Great is the difference between the logical slavery of Ultramontanism and the illogical half-liberty of Gallicanism, and yet they stand both under the same banner and head. [ed.--This was written before the suppression of Gallicanism by Pope Pius IX.] The union of the Nicene Symbol and Roman obedience in the Uniates of Poland was a thing most absurd, and yet those Uniates were admitted by Rome very naturally, because the community of Rome is a state, and has a right to act as a state. The Union with Rome seems to me the more natural for England, [since] England in truth has never rejected the authority of the Latin doctrine. Why should those who admit the validity of the Pope's decree in the most vital part of Faith — in the Symbol — reject it in secondary questions or in matters of discipline? Union is possible with Rome. Unity alone is possible with Orthodoxy.

-- Alexei Khomiakov (d. 1860), Source
 

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Ascetic catharsis certainly purifies the way in which we look at the outside world, but we still learn nothing of God by looking at his works except by his power. Only by the inward experience of entasy and the divine indwelling can the soul transcend all purely intellectual knowing (the 'theology of symbols') and attain to God, as he offers himself in his grace; this is the very concrete experience of direct, not conceptual, awareness, the 'spiritual feeling' of the divine nearness, the presence of God in the soul.  The East distinguishes between, on the one hand, 'intelligence' concerned with the coexistence of opposites and their reconciliation in 'unity and identity by grace,' and on the other, 'reason,' discursive thought based on the logic of contradiction and formal identity, directed towards the multiple, and hence tending to exclude God. Now 'intelligence resides in the heart, though in the brain.' This explains why the Orthodox faith is never defined in terms of intellectual assent, but is a matter of living proof, a 'sense of the transcendent': 'Lord, the woman who had fallen into a great number of sins, when she perceived thy divinity...' 

An essential aspect of faith is the experience of love and knowledge inseparably united in the heart-spirit, working together to transcend the intellectual and the sentimental, bringing about metanoia, the complete turning round of the whole human person. St. Simeon the New Theologian goes so far as to deny the presence of the Holy Spirit in anyone who is not himself aware of it and who thinks that to be reclothed in Christ it is enough to be baptized. Diadochus speaks of 'feeling,' and Macarius of 'spiritual feeling'--awareness of the presence is a spiritual gift. The term has nothing to do with the sensuality or psychological emotion, but emphasizes the concreteness of real-life experience of the spirit. It means the sensitivity of the nous whose intellectual character is formed by mystical experience. St. Gregory of Nyssa calls this grasping of the presence of God in the soul the 'consciousness of the Parousia,' and, also following Origen, he speaks of the 'consciousness of God' and of the 'sense of God' ('the soul possesses a certain power of touching, by which it touches the Word'); St Maximus names it 'higher sensation' and says 'I call the experience of true knowing in action, which goes beyond any concept... participation in the object, which reveals itself beyond any thought'...

-- Paul Evdokimov (d. 1970), Source
 

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The Savior Himself all of His life did not have a place to lay His head, and He finished his life on the cross — why should his followers have a better lot? The Spirit of Christ is the spirit of preparedness to suffer and bear good-naturedly all that is sorrowful. Comfort, arro­gance, splendor, and ease are all foreign to its searching and tastes. Its path lies in the fruitless, dreary desert. The model is the forty-year wandering of the Israelites in the desert. Who follows this path? Ev­eryone who sees Canaan beyond the desert, boiling over with milk and honey. During his wandering he too receives manna, however not from the earth, but from heav­en; not bodily, but spiritually.

-- St. Theophan the Recluse (d. 1894), Source
 

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Fixing a typo:

Asteriktos said:
Now 'intelligence resides in the heart, though thought in the brain.'
 

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"As he reigned in heaven so the Word of God reigns on earth... and holds sway, too, over the things which are under the earth, having become 'the first-born from the dead' (Col. 1:18), so that, as we have said, all things might behold their King, so that the fatherly light might meet and rest upon the flesh of our Lord, and then, from that resplendent flesh, come upon us, and finally so that the human, girded with the fatherly light, might attain to incorruption." (St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies 4.20.2)

The divine light comes ultimately from God the Father and is fully present in the Son. So when the Son becomes incarnate as Jesus Christ, Irenaeus says, we can known him and thus receive him because this same light shines forth from his flesh. It comes easily from there to us, since we are also embodied. The result is that in Christ we are clothed in the divine light, which will bring us incorruption, that is, freedom from decay and from death. We saw how Gregory of Nyssa describes the fall as breaking the link by which light reaches from God through the human mind and body to the created world. In this text, Irenaeus shows how Christ, through the incarnation, has restored the connection between the divine light and his body. From there it radiates to our bodies and, ultimately, to the whole created world, as Paul says in Romans 8.

-- Sister Nonna Harrison, Source
 

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Beware of self-satisfaction: in one mouthful it can devour the fruit of much toil.

-- Tito Colliander (d. 1989), Way of the Ascetics
 

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Byzantine theology ignores the Western distinction between "sacraments" and "sacramentals," and never formally committed itself to any strict limitation of the number of sacraments. In the patristic period there was no technical term to designate "sacraments" as a specific category of church acts: the term mysterion was used primarily in the wider and general sense of "mystery of salvation," [2] and only in a subsidiary manner to designate the particular actions which bestow salvation. In this second sense, it was used concurrently with such terms as "rites" or "sanctifications." [3] Theodore the Studite in the ninth century gives a list of six sacraments: the holy "illumination" (baptism), the "synaxis" (Eucharist), the holy chrism, ordination, monastic tonsure, and the service of burial. [4] The doctrine of the "seven sacraments" appears for the first time--very charateristically--in the Profession of Faith required from Emperor Michael Paleologus by Pope Clement IV in 1267. [5] The Profession had been prepared, of course, by Latin theologians.

The obviously Western origin of this strict numbering of the sacraments did not prevent it from being widely accepted among Eastern Christians after the thirteenth century, even among those who fiercely rejected union with Rome. It seems that this acceptance resulted not so much from the influence of Latin theology as from the peculiarly medieval and Byzantine fascination with symbolic numbers: the number seven, in particular, evokaed an association with the seven gifts of the Spirit in Isaiah 11:2-4. But among Byzantine authors who accept the “seven sacraments,” we find different competing lists.

The monk Job (thirteenth century), author of a dissertation on the sacraments, includes monastic tonsure in the list, as did Theodore the Studite, but combines as one sacrament penance and the anointing of the sick. [6] Symeon of Thessalonica (fifteenth century) also admit’s the sacramental character of the monastic tonsure, but classifies it together with penance, [7] considering the anointing as a separate sacrament. Meanwhile, Joasaph, Metropolitan of Ephesus, a contemporary of Symeon’s, declares: “I believe that the sacraments of the Church are not seven, but more,” and he gives a list of ten, which includes the consecration of a church, the funeral service, and the monastic tonsure. [8]

Obviously, the Byzantine Church never committed itself formally to any specific list; many authors accept the standard series of seven sacraments--baptism, confirmation, Eucharist, holy orders, matrimony, penance, and the anointing of the sick--while others give a long list, and still others emphasize the exclusive and prominent importance of baptism and the Eucharist, the basic Christian initiation into “new life.” Thus Gregory Palamas proclaims that “in these two [sacraments], our whole salvation is rooted, sice the entire economy of the God-man is recapitulated in them.” [9] And Nicholas Cabasilas composes his famous book on The Life in Christ as a commentary on baptism, Chrismation, and the Eucharist.

Notes
[2] See, for example, Chrysostom, Hom. 7, 1 in 1 Cor.; PG 61:55.
[3] Chrysostom, Catecheses baptism ales, ed. A Wenger, Sources Chretiennes 50 (Paris: Cerf, 1957, II, 17, p. 143.
[4] Ep. II, 165; PG 99:1524B.
[5] G.M. Jugie, Theologia dogmatica Christianorum orientalium, III, (Paris, 1930), p. 16.
[6] Quoted by M. Jugie, ibid., pp. 17-18.
[7] De sacramentis, 52; PG 155:197A.
[8] Responsa canonica, ed. A.I. Almazov (Odessa, 1903), p. 38
[9] Hom. 60, ed. So Oikonomos (Athens, 1860), p. 250


--Fr. John Meyendorff, Byzantine Theology: Historical Trends and Doctrinal Themes, (Fordham University Press, 1979), pp. 191-192
 

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Asteriktos said:
The obviously Western origin of this strict numbering of the sacraments did not prevent it from being widely accepted among Eastern Christians after the thirteenth century, even among those who fiercely rejected union with Rome. It seems that this acceptance resulted not so much from the influence of Latin theology as from the peculiarly medieval and Byzantine fascination with symbolic numbers: the number seven, in particular, evokaed an association with the seven gifts of the Spirit in Isaiah 11:2-4.
I wonder about that though. It was perhaps during the same time period when other changes in Byzantine theology and practice took place, such as the switch from rejecting to accepting the deuterocanonicals as sacred Scripture. There seemed to be an inferiority complex among some in the period, and later things like the Confession of Dositheus also show clear influence by Latin theology.
 

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And the truth of the Lord ells us that the heavens cannot contain it, but it is contained in the manger in Bethlehem; that it creates and upholds the world, and falls under the weight of the cross o the way to Golgotha; that is is more than the universe, and at the same time does not scorn a cup of water offered by a compassionate hand. The truth of the Lord abolishes the difference between the immense and insignificant. Let us try to build our small, our insignificant life in the same way as the Great Architect builds the planetary system of the immense universe. People make a choice between the sorrowful face of Christ and the joy of life. He who rejects the sorrowful face of Christ in the name of the joys of life believes in those joys, but tragedy is born at the moment when he discovers that those joys are not joyful. Forced, mechanized labor gives us no joy; entertainment, more or less monotonous, differing only in the degree to which it exhausts our nerves, gives us no joy; the whole of this bitter life gives us no joy. Without Christ the world attains the maximum of bitterness, because it attains the maximum of meaninglessness.

Christianity is Paschal joy, Christianity is collaboration with God, Christianity is an obligation newly undertaken by mankind to cultivate the Lord's paradise, once rejected in the fall; and in the thicket of this paradise, overgrown with the weeds of many centuries of sin and the thorns of our dry and loveless life, Christianity commands us to root up, plow, sow, weed, and harvest. Authentic, God-manly, integral, sobornoe Christianity calls us in Paschal song: "Let us embrace one another." In the liturgy we say, "Let us love one another, that with one mind we may confess..." Let us love--meaning not only one mind, but also one activity, meaning a common life. It is necessary to build our relations to man and to the world not on human and worldly laws, but within the revelation of the divine commandment. To see in man the image of God and in the world God's creation. It is necessary to understand that Christianity demands of us not only the mysticism of communion with God, but also the mysticism of communion with man.

-- St. Maria of Paris (d. 1945), Mother Maria Skobtsova: Selected Writings, pp. 82-83
 

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[Christ] foresaw our rationalistic and proud lack of faith when He prophesied that, to his accusation, people would ask in perplexity: "Lord, when did we not visit you in the hospital or in prison, when did we refuse you a cup of water?" If they could believe that in every beggar and in every criminal Christ Himself addresses us, they would not treat people differently...

During a service, the priest does not only cense the icons of the Savior, the Mother of God, and the saints. He also censes the icon-people, the image of God in the people who are present. And as they leave the church precincts, these people remain as much the images of God, worthy of being censed and venerated. Our relations with people should be an authentic and profound veneration.

-- St. Maria of Paris (d. 1945), Mother Maria Skobtsova: Selected Writings, pp. 80
 

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Asteriktos said:
[Christ] foresaw our rationalistic and proud lack of faith when He prophesied that, to his accusation, people would ask in perplexity: "Lord, when did we not visit you in the hospital or in prison, when did we refuse you a cup of water?" If they could believe that in every beggar and in every criminal Christ Himself addresses us, they would not treat people differently...

During a service, the priest does not only cense the icons of the Savior, the Mother of God, and the saints. He also censes the icon-people, the image of God in the people who are present. And as they leave the church precincts, these people remain as much the images of God, worthy of being censed and venerated. Our relations with people should be an authentic and profound veneration.

-- St. Maria of Paris (d. 1945), Mother Maria Skobtsova: Selected Writings, pp. 80

"Turn down for WHAT?!"
 

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Volnutt said:
Asteriktos said:
[Christ] foresaw our rationalistic and proud lack of faith when He prophesied that, to his accusation, people would ask in perplexity: "Lord, when did we not visit you in the hospital or in prison, when did we refuse you a cup of water?" If they could believe that in every beggar and in every criminal Christ Himself addresses us, they would not treat people differently...

During a service, the priest does not only cense the icons of the Savior, the Mother of God, and the saints. He also censes the icon-people, the image of God in the people who are present. And as they leave the church precincts, these people remain as much the images of God, worthy of being censed and venerated. Our relations with people should be an authentic and profound veneration.

-- St. Maria of Paris (d. 1945), Mother Maria Skobtsova: Selected Writings, pp. 80

"Turn down for WHAT?!"
Hmm? ???
 

Volnutt

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Asteriktos said:
Volnutt said:
Asteriktos said:
[Christ] foresaw our rationalistic and proud lack of faith when He prophesied that, to his accusation, people would ask in perplexity: "Lord, when did we not visit you in the hospital or in prison, when did we refuse you a cup of water?" If they could believe that in every beggar and in every criminal Christ Himself addresses us, they would not treat people differently...

During a service, the priest does not only cense the icons of the Savior, the Mother of God, and the saints. He also censes the icon-people, the image of God in the people who are present. And as they leave the church precincts, these people remain as much the images of God, worthy of being censed and venerated. Our relations with people should be an authentic and profound veneration.

-- St. Maria of Paris (d. 1945), Mother Maria Skobtsova: Selected Writings, pp. 80

"Turn down for WHAT?!"
Hmm? ???
As in the song. It was a real theological "mic drop" moment, is what I'm saying.
 

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I'm not going to embarrass myself by asking "what song," it is enough that I get the point now :angel: :laugh:
 

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Why is it, you ask, that one can pray for so many years with a prayer book, and still not have prayer in his heart? I think the reason is that people only spend a little time lifting themselves up to God when they complete their prayer rule, and in other times, they do not remember God. For example, they finish their morning prayers, and think that their relation to God is fulfilled by them; then the whole day passes in work, and such a person does not attend to God. Then in the evening, the thought returns to him that he must quickly stand at prayer and complete his evening rule. In this case, it happens that even if the Lord grants a person spiritual feelings at the time of the morning prayer, the bustle and business of the day drowns them out. As a result, it happens that one does not often feel like praying, and cannot get control of himself even to soften his heart a little bit. In such an atmosphere, prayer develops and ripens poorly. This problem (is it not ubiquitous?) needs to be corrected, that is, one must ensure that the soul does not only make petition to God when standing in prayer, but during the whole day, as much as possible, one must unceasingly ascend to Him and remain with Him.

In order to begin this task, one must first, during the course of the day, cry out to God more often, even if only with a few words, according to need and the work of the day. Beginning anything, for example, say ‘Bless, O Lord!’ When you finish something, say, ‘Glory to Thee, O Lord’, and not only with your lips, but with feeling in your heart. If passions arise, say, ‘Save me, O Lord, I am perishing.’ If the darkness of disturbing thoughts comes up, cry out: ‘Lead my soul out of prison.’ If dishonest deeds present themselves and sin leads you to them, pray, ‘Set me, O Lord, in the way’, or ‘do not give up my feet to stumbling.’ If sin takes hold of you and leads you to despair, cry out with the voice of the publican, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner.’ Do this in every circumstance, or simply say often, ‘Lord, have mercy’, ‘Most Holy Theotokos save us”, ‘Holy Angel, my guardian, protect me’, or other such words. Say such prayers as often as possible, always making the effort for them come from your heart, as if squeezed out of it. When we do this, we will frequently ascend to God in our hearts, making frequent petitions and prayers. Such increased frequency will bring about the habit of mental conversation with God.

— St. Theophan the Recluse, On prayer, Homily 2
Delivered 22 November, 1864



Pretty much my life right now.
 

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I don't get the last paragraph. http://www.orthodoxyandworldreligions.com/2018/08/when-st-gabriel-fool-visited-synagogue.html

Nice to see that he had good things to say about the Jews, though.
 

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Asteriktos

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God is activity itself. Not only he interferes now and then with His wonders and miracles in the life of men and nations, but He is constantly and unceasingly active in supporting and vivifying His creation.

-- St. Nikolai of Serbia, Source
 
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I love this one:

"Stand at the brink of the abyss of despair, and when you see that you cannot bear it anymore, draw back a little and have a cup of tea" ~Elder Sophrony of Essex
 
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Men of the world love the world because they have not yet discovered its bitterness. They are still blind in soul and do not see what is hiding behind this fleeting joy. +Elder Joseph the Hesychast
 

Asteriktos

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True prayer is undistracted, prolonged, performed with a contrite heart an alert intellect. The vehicle of prayer is everywhere humility, and prayer is a manifestation of humility. For being conscious of our own weakness, we invoke the power of God.

-- St. Nectarios of Aegina, Source
 

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According to the evangelical, Orthodox understanding found in St. Isaac the Syrian, knowledge is an action, an ascesis, of the whole human person, and not of one part of his being--whether it be the intellect, the understanding, the will, the body, or the senses...

-- St. Justin Popovich, The Theory of Knowlege of St. Isaac the Syrian (trans. Asterios Gerostergios)
 

Asteriktos

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Mor Ephrem said:
One day, OCNetters will post quotes from Asteriktos in this thread.
Only if I become all fire, and burn away the corruption of past sins  8)
 

Asteriktos

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It is absolutely necessary that the reading [of Fathers] correspond to one’s way of life. Otherwise, you will be filled with thoughts that may be holy, but may also be impossible to achieve in action, given your situation. This only results in a pointless exercise of the imagination and desires. Actual deeds of virtue appropriate to your mode of life will slip through your fingers. Not only will you become a fruitless dreamer, but your thoughts, constantly contradicting the actual reality of your life, will inevitably lead to confusion and lack of firmness in your actions, both of which will be detrimental to yourself and those around you.

-- St. Ignatius Brianchaninov
 

Dominika

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Human feels tranquil when he knows his future;
but he feels more tranquil when he knows that his future is in the hands of God


Metropolitan of Aleppo Paul (Yazigi)
 

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The early or Modern Church Fathers fall into three basic categories: Apostolic Fathers, ante-Nicene Church Fathers, and post-Nicene Church Fathers. As the most respected pastors and theologians of their duties, the opinion of the Fathers set the standard for what is considered biblical Christian teaching.
 

WPM

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If you're a Genuine Eastern Orthodox Christian.
 

Ainnir

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"The important thing is for us to enter into the Church -- to unite ourselves with our fellow men, with the joys and sorrows of each and everyone, to feel that they are our own, to pray for everyone, to have care for their salvation, to forget about ourselves, to do everything for them just as Christ did for us.  In the Church we become one with each unfortunate, suffering and sinful soul."  (pp. 88-89)

"We are one even with those who are not close to the Church.  They are distant on account of ignorance.  We must pray that God will enlighten them and change them so that they too may come to Christ."  (pg. 89)

"For the people of God there is no such thing as distance, even if they be thousands of miles apart." (pg. 89)

"He who loves little, gives little.  He who loves more, gives more.  And he who loves beyond measure, what has he to give?  He gives himself!" (pg. 103)

"We should regard Christ as our friend.  He is our friend.  He asserts this Himself when He says, you are my friends... Let us stretch out to Him and approach Him as a friend.  Do we fall?  Do we sin?  With familiarity, love and trust let us run to Him -- not with fear that He will punish us, but with the confidence which we derive from the sense of being with a friend.  We can say to Him, 'I have fallen, forgive me.'  At the same time, however, let us have the sense that he loves us and that He receives us with tenderness and love and forgives us.  Don't let sun separate us from Christ.  When we believe that He loves us and we love Him, we don't feel strangers and distanced from him, even when we sin.  We have secured His love, and however we behave, we know that He loves us." (pg. 104)

"The soul that is in love with Christ is always joyful and happy, however much pain and sacrifice this may cost."  (pg. 106)

--Saint Porphyrios, Wounded by Love
 

Ainnir

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Elder Thaddeus, from Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives

The angelic hosts are not enslaved by their thoughts, or by the things of this world.  They gaze upon created things, but their thoughts do not become enslaved by them, for the center of their thoughts is in servitude only to the power of God, through which they love all of creation.  As for us, when we see an object that attracts us, we immediately become attached to it -- this is terrible and it is also deadly.  If this lasts for a length of time, then this object becomes our idol.  An object takes the place in our hearts that belongs to God, no matter whether it is an inanimate object, a living thing, or a person." ch. 16, #29

"The Lord looks at the inner depth of the heart, at what the heart longs for and what it desires.  And if He sees that a soul cannot come home, the Lord will, in His own time, cleanse it and draw it to the center, and the soul will find peace.  However, if in the innermost part of the heart there is something unclean, something that is attracted to this world and bound to it, then our wandering will last a long time and we will endure much sorrow and suffering." ch. 16, #37

"The heart must break loose from its desires.  If we know that all of our relationships with our fellow men and our family are but worldly things, that they bind us to the extent that our hearts become attached to them, then it is better to despise one's father and mother, one's brother, husband, and sister, because all of this is no good to us if it destroys God's peace.  If this is the case, then it is better to despise all of this, become one with the Lord, and pray for His help.  We must humble ourselves and then reestablish a correct relationship toward all of our fellow men.  The main thing is to become one with the Lord; then He will teach us how to love our neighbor, for we do not know how -- our love immediately becomes transformed into something material, for it has not been cleansed from the inside." ch. 16, #38

"One should cleanse one's heart from worldly plans and desires.  Only then can we sincerely love our neighbor.  Otherwise, our earthly love will cleave first to one thing and then to another.  This is a fleeting, ephemeral love and it shatters us constantly.  We do not live our life with understanding but superficiality." ch. 16, #39
 
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