Category Archives: Sayings from Saints, Elders, and Fathers

Ecumenical Patriarch Anthimos: The Western Church, from the tenth century downwards . . .

“The Western Church, from the tenth century downwards, has privily brought into herself through the papacy various and strange and heretical doctrines and innovations, and so she has been torn away and removed far from the true and orthodox Church of Christ. How necessary, then, it is for you to come back and return to the ancient and unadulterated doctrines of the Church in order to attain the salvation in Christ after which you press.”

+ Ecumenical Patriarch Anthimos (Synodal reply to the Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII, 1895)

St. Basil the Great: On Giving Thanks to the Creator

Giving ThanksAs thou takest thy seat at table, pray. As thou liftest the loaf, offer thanks to the Giver. When thou sustainest thy bodily weakness with wine, remember Him Who supplies thee with this gift, to make thy heart glad and to comfort thy infirmity. Has thy need for taking food passed away? Let not the thought of thy Benefactor pass away too. As thou art putting on thy tunic, thank the Giver of it. As thou wrappest thy cloak about thee, feel yet greater love to God, Who alike in summer and in winter has given us coverings convenient for us, at once to preserve our life, and to cover what is unseemly. Is the day done? Give thanks to Him Who has given us the sun for our daily work, and has provided for us a fire to light up the night, and to serve the rest of the needs of life. Let night give the other occasion of prayer. When thou lookest up to heaven and gazest at the beauty of the stars, pray to the Lord of the visible world; pray to God the Arch-artificer of the universe, Who in wisdom hath made them all. When thou seest all nature sunk in sleep, then again worship Him Who gives us even against our wills release from the continuous strain of toil, and by a short refreshment restores us once again to the vigour of our strength. Let not night herself be all, as it were, the special and peculiar property of sleep. Let not half thy life be useless through the senselessness of slumber. Divide the time of night between sleep and prayer. Nay, let thy slumbers be themselves experiences in piety; for it is only natural that our sleeping dreams should be for the most part echoes of the anxieties of the day. As have been our conduct and pursuits, so will inevitably be our dreams. Thus wilt thought pray without ceasing; if thought prayest not only in words, but unitest thyself to God through all the course of life and so thy life be made one ceaseless and uninterrupted prayer.”

+ St. Basil the Great, from Homily V. In martyrem Julittam, quoted in the Prolegomena in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Series II Volume 8

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St. Peter of Damascus: . . . if someone wants to be saved, no person and no time, place or occupation can prevent him. He must not, however . . .

Icon of St. Peter of DamascusBriefly, we may say that in the nature of things, if someone wants to be saved, no person and no time, place or occupation can prevent him. He must not, however, act contrary to the objective that he has in view, but must with discrimination refer every thought to the divine purpose. Things do not happen out of necessity: they depend upon the person through whom they happen. We do not sin against our will, but we first assent to an evil thought and so fall into captivity. Then the thought itself carries the captive forcibly and against his wishes into sin.

The same is true of sins that occur through ignorance: they arise from sins consciously committed. For unless a man is drunk with either wine or desire, he is not unaware of what he is doing; but such drunkenness obscures the intellect and so it falls, and dies as a result. Yet that death has not come about inexplicably: it has been unwittingly induced by the drunkenness to which we consciously assented. We will find many instances, especially in our thoughts, where we fall from what is within our control to what is outside it, and from what we are consciously aware of to what is unwitting. But because the first appears unimportant and attractive, we slip unintentionally and unawares into the second. Yet if from the start we had wanted to keep the commandments and to remain as we were when baptized, we would not have fallen into so many sins or have needed the trials and tribulations of repentance.

+ St. Peter of Damascus, Book I: A Treasury of Divine Knowledge, The Philokalia: The Complete Text (Vol. 3)

St. Ephraim of Nea Makri: Prayers for Deliverance from Addictions

St. Ephraim of Nea MakriPrayers to the Holy Martyr St. Ephraim of Nea Makri, who intercedes on behalf of those with addictions to alcohol and drugs. Read more here and here.

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O Holy Martyr Ephraim, look with compassion upon my distress and, as thou didst deliver the young man from his cruel addiction, so also pray for me that our Lord and Saviour, for Whom thou didst witness unto death, may deliver my soul from captivity to Satan. For I am in cruel bondage and suffering because of my weakness and sinfulness. Beseech our merciful Lord that, as He didst lead the Hebrews forth from slavery in Egypt and called His people out of Babylon, as He delivered the youth from the demon, and freed the daughter of the Canaanite woman, and healed the woman taken in adultery and restored the Samaritan woman, that He may also set me free and deliver me from the demon of addiction***. I confess that I have fallen into this evil through my own slothfulness and weakness, but have mercy and pray for me, O saint and martyr of God.

A short prayer to be said continually by one who is struggling with addiction to drugs or alcohol***:
O Lord, Jesus Christ, through the prayers of Thy Holy Martyr Ephraim, have mercy on me and deliver me from this cruel bondage.

***Note: that this could potentially be changed based on whatever one’s specific need might be, e.g. depression, disease, passion, etc.

Read more from OCQ about overcoming addictions and passions.

St. John the Wonderworker: Tradition about the Wise Thief

Icon Wise Thief[The Wise Thief’s] whole life had been one of theft and crime. But evidently his conscience had not died, and in the depths of his hearth something good remained. Tradition even hold that he was that very thief who, during Christ’s flight into Egypt, took pity on the beautiful Baby and forbade his accomplices to kill Him when they attacked the holy family. Did he perhaps recall the face of that Child when he looked upon the face of the One hanging next to him on the Cross?Book Man of God St John Maximovitch

+ St. John the Wonderworker of Shanghai and San Francisco, “Why the Wise Thief Was Pardoned,” Man of God: Saint John of Shanghai & San Francisco

St. Gennadius: Always have the fear of God . . .

St. Gennadios Scholarios“Always have the fear of God in your heart, and remember that God is always with you, everywhere, whether you are walking or sitting.”

+ St. Gennadius of Constantinople, The Golden Chain, 14

Elder Thaddeus: We think we know a lot . . .

Scholar Education KnowledgeWe think we know a lot, but what we know is very little. Even all those who have striven all their life to bring progress to mankind — learned scientists and highly educated people — all realize in the end that all their knowledge is but a grain of sand on the seashore. All our achievements are insufficient.

+ Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica, Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives