St. John the Baptist Parish, A Parish of the Russian Orthodox Church, Canberra, Australia

For The Seekers Of Heavenly Jerusalem

This is collection of precious spiritbearing words gathered in last few weeks from various springs, it is to be carefully examined and planted in the garden of the heart.

Let us praise her, then, today with sacred songs, we who are privileged to be called and to be the people of Christ. Let us honor her with an all-night assembly. Let us delight in her holiness of soul and body; after all, she is truly, after God, the holiest of all beings, for like always delights in like! Let us do her homage by our mercy and our compassion for the poor. For if God is honored by nothing so much as by mercy, who can deny that His mother is glorified, too, by the same thing? She has opened up to us the unspeakable depth of God's love for us!

St. Andrew of Crete

'If someone were especially dear to me, but I realized that he was causing me to do something less good, I should put him far from me.'

Abba Agathon

"As long as you have bad habits do not reject hardship, so that through it you may be humbled and eject your pride."

St. Maximos the Confessor

Do not wish what concerns you to be as seems best to you, buut as God wishes; and you will be free from cares and thankful in your prayer.

St. Nilus of Sinai

If you have money, lend it to Christ, and you will also receive a hundredfold and eternal life. Why do you offer your money to Satan, filling him with satisfaction, when you have nothing to gain than the woes of hell? What does the Scripture say? 'They sacrificed to demons and not to God.'

St. Nephon An Ascetic Bishop.

"If it be Thou, bid me to come unto Thee. And He said: 'Come.' And when Peter was come down out of the ship he walked on the water, to go to Jesus" As far as his faith took him, thus far Peter walked on the water; but as soon as he let doubt in, he began to sink, for doubt calls forth fear. The inner meaning of leaving the ship and walking on the water to the Lord Jesus means keeping one's soul from bodily cares and bodily love, and settng out on the dangerous path to the spiritual world, to the Saviour. Such moments occur with ordinary believers, with the fainthearted to whom joy in Christ is mingled with doubt. They often desire to free themselves from the flesh and follow Christ, the King of the spiritual world, but they quickly feel that they are falling and return to their fleshly preoccupations, as to the ship on the waves.

Bp. (St.) Nikolai Velimirovich

He Who granted one hundred years while the ark was bieng made to that generation, and still they did not repent, Who summoned beasts that they had never seen and still they showed no remorse, and Who establihed a state of peace between the predatory animals and those who are preyed upon and still they did not fear, delayed yet seven more days for them, even after Noah and every creature had entered the ark, leaving the gate of the ark open to them. This is a wonderous thing that no lion remembered its jungle and no species of beast or bird visited its customary haunt! Although those of that generation saw all that went on outside and inside the ark, they were stll not persuaded to renounce their evil deeds.

St. Ephrem the Syrian Whenever you want to subdue your high and proud thoughts, examine your conscience carefully: Have you kept all the commandments? Have you loved your enemies and been kind to them in their misfortunes? Have you counted yourself to be an unprofitable servant and the worst of all sinners? If you find you have done all this, do not therefore think well of yourself as if you had done everything well but realize that even the thought of such things is totally destructive.

Abba Or Through the fall our nature was stripped of this divine illumination and resplendence. But the Logos of God had pity upon our disfigurement and in His compassion He took our nature upon Himself, and on Tabor He manifested it to His elect disciples clothed once again most brilliantly. As St. John Chrysostom says, He shows what we once were and what we shall become through Him in the age to come, if we choose to live our present life as far as possible in accordance with His ways.

St. Gregory Palamas The capital vices are the image of the earthly man -- folly, cowardice, intemperance, injustice. The capital virtues are the image of the heavenly man -- prudence, courage, temperance, justice. Certainly then, as we have borne the image of the earthly, let us bear also the image of the heavenly.

St. Maximus the Confessor

"God's omnipresence is in space and thought - that is, God is everywhere, both in respect to space and in respect to thought; wheresoever I may go, either in the body or in thought, everywhere I meet God, and everywhere God meets me.

St. John of Kronstadt

Search for the way of the saints and you will discover that they have endured evil but have not returned it. Their blood cries out, 'Avenge us against those who live on earth,' but I, who love rest, what will I have to say on that day, seeing prophets and apostles, martyrs and all the other saints who have endured punishments, without returning evil or being angry. They persuaded those who were angry that it was not any human will but the injustice of the deed which compelled thier persecutors to treat them so cruelly. The saints were not annoyed with those who sent them to death or stoning, to burning or drowning. They prayed for them, in order that they would receive forgiveness, knowing the one who forced them to do these things.

Abba Isaiah of Sketis

"The Lord seeks a heart filled to overflowing with love for God and our neighbor; this is the throne on which He loves to sit and on which He appears in the fullness of His heavenly glory. 'Son, give me thy heart,' He says, 'and all the rest I Myself will add to thee,' for in the human heart the Kingdom of God can be contained." St. Seraphim of Sarov

The divine melodies of the chants indicate the divine delight and enjoyment which comes about in the souls of all. By it they are mystically strengthened in forgetting their past labors for virtue and are renewed in the vigorous desire of the divine and wholesome benefits still to be attained.

St. Maximos the Confessor

"The gnostic ought not to rely in any way on his own thoughts, but should always seek to confirm them in the light of divine Scripture or of the nature of things themselves. Without such confirmation, there can be no true spiritual knowledge..."

St. Peter of Damaskos

"When praying, we must believe in the power of the words of the prayer, in such a manner as not to separate the words from the deeds they express; we must believe that the deeds follow the words, as the shadow follows the body, for the word and the deed of the Lord are indivisible, 'for He commanded and they were created' (Ps. 148:5). And you must likewise believe that that which you say in prayer, for which you have asked will be done. You have praised God, and God has received your praise. You have thanked God, and God has received your thanks as a spiritual fragrance."

St. John of Kronstadt

Wherever there is hardness and pride, there also are disobedience and scandals. Wherever there is obedience and humility, God rests. The Holy Fathers say, "Pride goeth before a fall, and humility before grace." Whereas faintheartedness is the mother of impatience. Have you seen a man, and especially a monk, without patience? He is a lamp without oil whose light will soon go out.

Elder Joseph the Hesychast

"Almost every sin is committed for the sake of sensual pleasure; and sensual pleasure is overcome by hardship and distress arising either voluntarily from repentance, or else involuntarily as a result of some salutary and providential reversal. 'For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged; but when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, so that we should not be condemned with the world' (I Cor. 11:31-32)."

St. Maximos the Confessor

'For He made us, and not we ourselves. The Lord Himself,' I say, 'made us' (Ps. 98:3). And He also renews us, for in all that He has done and said through His saints from the beginning, He has strained to achieve the mystery of our salvation, which is the renewal of man. For the just Abel was immediately replaced by the God-sent birth of Seth, who resembled his father, fashioned with similar countenance in the image of God. So the stream of righteousness descended from the original fount and seeped through the rest; and though the deluge intervened, the seed of mankind thus destroyed survived in one just man. For the mystery of the one Redeemer was already at work on that occasion.

St. Paulinus of Nola

Practice self-observation. And if you want to benefit yourself and your fellow men, look at your own faults and not those of others. The Lord tells us: "Judge not, that ye be not judged," condemn not that ye be not condemned. And the Apostle Paul says: 'Who art thou that judgest another mans servant?"

St. Arsenios of Paros

In this passage (cf Mt. 12:30), He also seems to touch on the question which the Apostle too did not overlook, that the nations of this world would ask: how will the dead rise and with what manner of body will they come? For since He says, "Seek the Kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Lk. 12:31), He indicates that Grace will not be lacking for the Faithful in the present or in the future, if only those who desire the heavenly do not seek the earthly. For it is unseemly for the soldiers of the Kingdom to worry about food (cf. Lk. 12:29). The King knows how to feed, cherish, and clothe His household, and therefore said, "Cast thy care upon the Lord, and He will nourish thee" (Ps. 54:25).

St. Ambrose of Milan

"...we have now come out of the world and entered into the tomb of repentance and humiliation by being assimilated to the sufferings of the Lord (Rom. 6:5, II Cor. 1:5, Phil. 3:10), He Himself comes down from heaven and enters into our body as into a tomb. He unites Himself to our souls and raises them up, though they were undoubtedly dead, and then grants to him who has thus been raised with Christ that he may see the glory of His mystical resurrection."

St. Symeon the New Theologian

"The Lord will protect your coming in and your going out" (Ps. 120:8). Do you see unfailing assistance in every case, to one going in, one coming out? What could match the love? What the lovingkindness? Here, I agree, He refers to all of life: all of life is covered by this, entrances and exists. To indicate this He added, ' from now and forever." Not for a day, He is saying, nor for two, three, ten, twenty, a hundred, but constantly, which is not the case with human beings.

St. John Chrysostom

A person in the habit of contradicting others becomes a two-edged sword to himself. Unwittingly he destroys his own soul and alienates it from eternal life.

St Symeon the New Theologian

" one who truly prays the prayer of the body, God gives the prayer of the intellect; and to one who diligently cultivates the prayer of the intellect, God gives the imageless and formless prayer that comes from the pure fear of Him. Again, to one who practises this prayer effectively, God grants the contemplation of created beings. Once this is attained - once the intellect has freed itself from all things and, not content with hearing about God at second hand, devotes itself to Him in action and thought - God permits it to be seized in rapture, conferring on it the gift of true theology and the blessings of the age to be."

St. Peter of Damaskos

Anything that is easily found is also easily lost, whereas what is found after much labour will be guarded with vigilance.

St Isaac of Syria

'Remember, O my soul, the terrible and frightful wonder: that your Creator for your sake became Man, and deigned to suffer for the sake of your salvation. His angels tremble, the Cherubim are terrified, the Seraphim are in fear, and all the heavenly powers ceaselessly give praise; and you, unfortunate soul, remain in laziness. At least from this time forth arise and do not put off, my beloved soul, holy repentence, contrition of heart and penance for your sins.' --St Paisius Velichkovsky When a soul has true esteem for God, deeply-rooted faith combined with detachment from visible things, and an ascetic practice free from all self-love, it possesses, to use Solomon's phrase, a 'threefold cord' (Eccles 4.12), not easily broken by the spirits of wickedness. --Nikitas Stithatos The study of inspired Scripture is the chief way of finding our duty, for in it we find both instruction about conduct and the lives of blessed men, delivered in writing, as some breathing images of godly living, for the imitation of their good works. Hence, in whatever respect each one feels himself deficient, devoting himself to this imitation he finds, as from some dispensary, the due medicine for his ailment. --St Basil the Great The intellect will not be glorified with Jesus unless the body suffers for the sake of Jesus. --St Isaac of Syria As the first-fruits of future chastisement are secretly present in the souls of sinners, so the foretaste of future blessings is present and experienced in the hearts of the righteous through the activity of the Spirit. For a life lived virtuously is the kingdom of heaven, just as a passion-embroiled state is hell. --St Gregory of Sinai Love sinners, but reject their deeds. Do not despise them because of their failings, lest you too find yourself tempted in the very same way. Remember that you too share in the stink of Adam, and that you too are clothed in his weakness. --St Isaac of Syria If you cannot be merciful, at least speak as though you are a sinner. If you are not a peacemaker, at least do not be a troublemaker. If you cannot be assiduous, at least in your thought be unlike a sluggard. If you are not victorious, do not exalt yourself over the vanquished. If you cannot close the mouth of a man who disparages his companion, at least refrain from joining him in this.

St Isaac of Syria

The hour of death will come upon us, it will come, and we shall not escape it. May the prince of this world and of the air find our misdeeds few and petty when he comes, so that he will not have good grounds for convicting us. Otherwise we shall weep in vain. "For that servant who knows his Lord's will, and did not do it as a servant, shall be beaten with many stripes" (cf. Lk. 12:47).

St. Hesychios the Priest


" 'Mine eyes and Mine heart shall be there perpetually' (I Kgs. 9:3), is said of the Temple; 'there', that is, chiefly in the hearts of those assisting and praying in the Temple, for the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands. How comforting it is to read these words of the wise King Solomon! The eyes of the Master in God's temple are turned upon each of us, His heart is turned to each of us! Is it possible to require greater nearness? The Master's very heart is turned to me. Sometimes you stand face to face with another man and converse with him, but his heart is not turned towards you, and is occupied with something else; whilst here God's heart is wholly turned to you, with all its love, all its mercy, and according to your faith. He is ready to pour all His bounties upon you."

St. John of Kronstadt

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