Tag Archives: Quotes of the Optina Elders

St. Anatoly of Optina: How can one laugh at a clergyman? . . .

PriestHow can one laugh at a clergyman? So what if he serves poorly? He still has grace. He is ordained. One must not, must not, laugh!

+ St. Anatoly of Optina, quoted from Living Without Hypocrisy: Spiritual Counsels of the Holy Elders of Optina

St. Ambrose of Optina: In the beginning, envy is revealed through . . .

St. Ambrose of Optina 5In the beginning, envy is revealed through inappropriate zeal and rivalry, and later by fervour with spite and the blaming of the one who is envied.

+ St. Ambrose of Optina, quoted from Living Without Hypocrisy: Spiritual Counsels of the Holy Elders of Optina

St. Ambrose of Optina: . . . you should care about the main thing . . .

“You must not be greatly troubled about many things, but you should care for the main thing — preparing yourself for death.”

+ St. Ambrose of Optina, quoted from Living Without Hypocrisy: Spiritual Counsels of the Holy Elders of Optina

St. Macarius of Optina: Do not allow the spark of discord and enmity to smolder. . .

Repentance“Do not allow the spark of discord and enmity to smolder. The longer you wait, the more the enemy tries to cause confusion among you. Be watchful, so that he does not mock you. Humility destroys all of his schemes.”

+ St. Macarius of Optina, quoted from Living Without Hypocrisy: Spiritual Counsels of the Holy Elders of Optina

St. Ambrose of Optina: If you do good . . .

Icon of St. Ambrose of OptinaIf you do good, you must do it only for God. For this reason you must pay no attention to the ingratitude of people. Expect a reward not here, but from the Lord in heaven. If you expect it here — it will be in vain and you will endure deprivation.

+ St. Ambrose of Optina, quoted from Living Without Hypocrisy: Spiritual Counsels of the Holy Elders of Optina

St. Anatoly of Optina: Wherever God is — there is peace. And the opposite is self-evident . . .

St. Anatoly of Optina“Wherever God is — there is peace. And the opposite is self-evident: where there is envy, enmity, impatience, self-love — there is the devil. Wherever the devil is — there, everything is ruinous, proud and hostile.”

+ St. Anatoly of Optina, quoted from Living Without Hypocrisy: Spiritual Counsels of the Holy Elders of Optina

St. Nikon of Optina: Most of our sins happen . . .

Icon of St. Nikon of Optina“Most of our sins happen because we forget the commandments of God.”

+ St. Nikon of Optina, Living Without Hypocrisy: Spiritual Counsels of the Holy Elders of Optina

St. Anatoly of Optina: Are you fighting against your passions? Fight, fight, and . . .

St. Anatoly of Optina“Are you fighting against your passions? Fight, fight, and be good soldiers of Christ! Do not give in to evil and do not be carried away by the weakness of the flesh. During the time of temptation, flee to the Physician, crying out with the Holy Church, our mother: “O God, number me with the thief, the harlot, and the publican (i.e., with the repentant), and save me!”

+ St. Anatoly of Optina, quoted from Living Without Hypocrisy: Spiritual Counsels of the Holy Elders of Optina

St. Macarius of Optina: Woe to our times . . .

Photo of St. Marcarius of Optina“Woe to our times: we now depart from the narrow and sorrowful path leading to eternal life and we seek a happy and peaceful path. But the merciful Lord leads many people from this path, against their will, and places them on the sorrowful one. Through unwanted sorrows and illnesses we draw closer to the Lord, for they humble us by constraint, and humility, when we acquire it, can save us even without works, according to St. Isaac the Syrian.”

+ St. Macarius of Optina, Quoted from Living Without Hypocrisy: Spiritual Counsels of the Holy Elders of Optina

St. Macarius of Optina: The thoughts that vex and annoy us . . .

Photo of St. Marcarius of Optina“The thoughts that vex and annoy us have many distinctions: a provocation, or an attack of a thought, is not a sin but is a test of our free will, to what it is inclined—to the thought or to opposition of it. However, when there is agreement and communion with these passions it is considered to be a sin and repentance is needed. He who does not have the strength to oppose them himself must hasten to God, cast down his infirmity and implore His help and the help of the mother of God. When someone is conquered by thoughts it is a sign that pride preceded them, and therefore, he must humble himself more.”

+ St. Macarius of Optina, quoted from Living Without Hypocrisy: Spiritual Counsels of the Holy Elders of Optina

St. Ambrose of Optina: Our invisible enemy plants a sinful thought . . .

Icon of St. Ambrose of Optina“Our invisible enemy plants a sinful thought in the soul of a person, and then records it as if it were the person’s own thought, so that later he can accuse the person at the terrible judgement of God.”

+ St. Ambrose of Optina, quoted from Living Without Hypocrisy: Spiritual Counsels of the Holy Elders of Optina

St. Nikon of Optina: We must consider all evil things, even the passions which war . . .

Icon of St. Nikon of Optina“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

St. Anatoly of Optina: Do not fear sorrows, but fear the stubbornness of heretics . . .

St. Anatoly of Optina“Do not fear sorrows, but fear the stubbornness of heretics who try to separate a man from Christ, which is why Christ commanded us to consider them as pagans and pharisees.”

+ St. Anatoly of Optina, quoted from Living Without Hypocrisy: Spiritual Counsels of the Holy Elders of Optina

St. Anthony of Optina: Can you place your hope in the world? . . .

Photo of St. Anthony of Optina“Can you place your hope in the world? Whom has it not deceived? To whom has it not lied? It promises much, but gives very little. Only those who hope in the Lord, according to the words of the Prophet David, do not sin, i.e., they are not deceived in their hope!”

+ St. Anthony of Optina, Living Without Hypocrisy: Spiritual Counsels of the Holy Elders of Optina

St. Nikon of Optina: Do not forget . . .

Icon of St. Nikon of OptinaDo not forget prayer─it is the life of the soul.

+ St. Nikon of Optina, Living Without Hypocrisy: Spiritual Counsels of the Holy Elders of Optina

St. Ambrose of Optina: How does a person become bad? . . .

Icon of St. Ambrose of Optina“How does a person become bad?─from forgetting that God is over him.”

+ St. Ambrose of Optina, Living Without Hypocrisy: Spiritual Counsels of the Holy Elders of Optina

St. Joseph of Optina: Prayer is food for the soul. Do not starve the soul, it is better to . . .

St. Joseph of Optina“Prayer is food for the soul. Do not starve the soul, it is better to let the body go hungry. Do not judge anyone, forgive everyone. Consider yourself worse than everyone in the world and you will be saved. As much as possible, be more quiet.”

+ St. Joseph of Optina: Living Without Hypocrisy: Spiritual Counsels of the Holy Elders of Optina

St. Macarius of Optina: Concerning prayer in church, know that it is higher than . . .

Icon of the Optina Elders“Concerning prayer in church, know that it is higher than prayers at home, for it is raised by a whole group of people, among which many are most pure prayers, offering to God from humble hearts, which He accepts as fragrant incense. Along with these our prayers are also accepted, even though they are feeble and worthless.”

+ St. Macarius of Optina, Living Without Hypocrisy: Spiritual Counsels of the Holy Elders of Optina

St. Moses of Optina: If at some time you show mercy to someone . . .

Pic of St. Moses of Optina“If at some time you show mercy to someone, mercy will be shown to you.
If you show compassion to one who is suffering (and of course, this is not a great deed) you will be numbered among the martyrs.
If you forgive one who has insulted you, then not only will all your sins be forgiven, but you will be a child of the Heavenly Father.
If you pray from all your heart for salvation – even a little – you will be saved.
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

St. Ambrose of Optina: . . . In this way, it overturned the entire ancient Apostolic office that accomplishes almost all the Mysteries and all the ecclesiastical institutions . . .

Icon of St. Ambrose of OptinaBut just as one mistake–which is not considered a mistake–always brings another one in its train, and one evil begets another, so the same happened with the Roman Church. This incorrect philosophizing that the Holy Spirit proceeds also from the Son, having just barely appeared in the West, already then gave birth to other similar offspring, and instituted little by little other novelties, for the most part contradictory to the commandments of our Savior clearly portrayed in the Gospel, such as: sprinkling instead of immersion in the mystery of Baptism, exclusion of laypersons from the Divine Chalice and the use of unleavened bread instead of leavened bread in the Eucharist, and excluding from the Divine Liturgy the invocation of the All-Holy and Life-Giving and All-Effectuating Spirit. It also introduced novelties that violated the ancient Apostolic rites of the Catholic Church, such as: the exclusion of baptized infants from Chrismation and reception of the Most-Pure Mysteries, the exclusion of married men from the priesthood, the declaration of the Pope as infallible and as the locum tenens of Christ, and so on. In this way, it overturned the entire ancient Apostolic office that accomplishes almost all the Mysteries and all the ecclesiastical institutions–the office, which before had been preserved by the ancient holy and Orthodox Church of Rome, being at that time the most honored member of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church (Encyclical § 5, item 12).

Nevertheless, the main heresy of the Roman Church is not in subject matter, but in action; there is the fabricated dogma of supremacy, or rather, prideful striving for dominance of the bishops of Rome over the four other Eastern Patriarchs. For the sake of this dominance, supporters of the Roman Church placed their pope above the canons and foundations of the Ecumenical Councils, believing in his infallibility.

+ St. Ambrose of Optina, A Reply to One Well Disposed Towards the Latin Church
Regarding the unjust glorying of the papists in the imaginary dignity of their Church

Read entire article

 

St. Ambrose of Optina: . . . Especially since it rejected the decisions of the Ecumenical Councils the Roman Church should not be called catholic, as it follows its own incorrect theorizing.

Icon of St. Ambrose of OptinaFor all the stated reasons, the Catholic Eastern Church severed its communion with the local Church of Rome, which had fallen away from the truth and from the canons of the catholic Orthodox Church. Just as The Roman bishops had begun with pridefulness, they are also ending with pridefulness. They are intensifying their argument that allegedly the Orthodox Catholic Church fell away from their local Church. But that is wrong and even ridiculous. Truth testifies that the Roman Church fell away from the Orthodox Church. Although for the sake of imaginary rightness papists promote the view that during the time of union with the Catholic Orthodox Church, their patriarch was first and senior among the five patriarchs, this was true only for the sake of Imperial Rome, and not because of some spiritual merit or authority over the other patriarchs. It is wrong that they called their Church “Catholic”, i.e. universal. A part can never be named the whole; the Roman Church before its fall from Orthodoxy, comprised only a fifth part of the one Catholic Church. Especially since it rejected the decisions of the Ecumenical Councils the Roman Church should not be called catholic, as it follows its own incorrect theorizing.

+ St. Ambrose of Optina, A Reply to One Well Disposed Towards the Latin Church
Regarding the unjust glorying of the papists in the imaginary dignity of their Church

Read the entire article

St. Ambrose of Optina: If someone offends you . . .

Icon of St. Ambrose of Optina“If someone offends you, don’t tell anyone about it except your elder, and you will be peaceful. Bow to everyone, paying no attention whether they respond to your bow or not. You must humble yourself before everyone and consider yourself the worst of all. If we have not committed the sins that others have, perhaps this is because we did not have the opportunity – the situation and circumstances were different. In each person there is something good and something bad; we usually see only the vices in people and we see nothing that is good.”

+ St. Ambrose of Optina, Living Without Hypocrisy: Spiritual Counsels of the Holy Elders of Optina

St. Macarius of Optina: The Lord calls to him all sinners . . .

Photo of St. Marcarius of Optina“The Lord calls to him all sinners; He opens His arms wide, even to the worst among them. Gladly He takes them in His arms, if only they will come to Him.”

— St. Macarius of Optina

St. Nikon of Optina: In order to fulfill the commandments of Christ . . .

Icon of St. Nikon of Optina “In order to fulfill the commandments of Christ, you must know them! Read the Holy Gospel, penetrate its spirit and make it the rule of your life.”

+ St. Nikon of Optina

St. Ambrose of Optina: . . . only an instant.

Icon of St. Ambrose of Optina“Years are not needed for true repentance, and not days, but only an instant.”

+ St. Ambrose of Optina, quoted from Living Without Hypocrisy: Spiritual Counsels of the Holy Elders of Optina

St. Ambrose: A Reply to One Well Disposed Towards the Latin Church

Icon of St. Ambrose of OptinaIn vain do some of the Orthodox marvel at the current propaganda of the Roman Church, at the feigned selflessness and activity of her missionaries and at the zeal of the Latin sisters of mercy, and incorrectly ascribe to the Latin Church such importance, as if by her apostasy from the Orthodox Church, the latter remained longer such, and has the necessity to seek unification with the former. On rigorous examination, this opinion proves to be false; and the energetic Latin activity not only does not evoke surprise, but, on the contrary, arouses deep sorrow in the hearts of right-thinking people, who understand the truth.

The Eastern Orthodox Church, from apostolic times until now, observes unchanged and unblemished by innovations both the Gospel and Apostolic teachings, as well as the Tradition of the Holy Fathers and resolutions of the Ecumenical Councils, at which God-bearing men, having gathered from throughout the entire world, in a conciliar manner composed the divine Symbol of the Orthodox Faith [the Creed], and having proclaimed it aloud to the whole universe, in all respects perfect and complete, forbade on pain of terrible punishments any addition to it, any abridging, alteration, or rearrangement of even one iota of it. The Roman Church departed long ago into heresy and innovation. As far back as Basil the Great, certain bishops of Rome were condemned by him in his letter to Eusebius of Samosata, ‘They do not know and do not wish to know the truth; they argue with those who proclaim the truth to them, and assert their heresy.’

— St. Ambrose of Optina, “A Reply to One Well Disposed Towards the Latin Church: Regarding the unjust glory of the papists in the imaginary dignity of their Church”

Click here to read St. Ambrose’s letter in its entirety

St. Ambrose of Optina: If you find that there is no love in you . . .

Icon of St. Ambrose of Optina“If you find that there is no love in you, but you want to have it, then do deeds of love, even though you do them without love in the beginning. The Lord will see you desire and striving and will put love in your heart.”

— St. Ambrose of Optina

St. Ambrose of Optina: We must begin with thanksgiving . . .

Icon of St. Ambrose of Optina“We must begin with thanksgiving for everything. The beginning of joy is to be content with your situation.”

–St. Ambrose of Optina

St. Ambrose of Optina: Sinful thoughts continually disturb a man. . . .

Icon of St. Ambrose of Optina“Sinful thoughts continually disturb a man. But if he does not cooperate with them, then he is not guilty of them.”

+ St. Ambrose of Optina

St. Ambrose of Optina: One ascetic woman

Icon of St. Ambrose of Optina“One ascetic woman was besieged for a long time with unclean thoughts. When the Lord came and cast them away from her, she called to Him: ‘Where were you before now, O my sweet Jesus?’ The Lord answered: ‘I was in your heart.’ She said then: ‘How could that be? For my heart was full of unclean thoughts.’ The Lord said to her: ‘Know that I was in your heart, for you were not disposed to the unclean thoughts, but strove rather to be free of them; and when you were not able to be free, you struggled and grieved. By this you prepared a place for Me in your heart.'”

+ St. Ambrose of Optina