What is the Science of Salvation?

A collection of quotes and sayings about Truth from the great traditions of the world.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Light of God

 At a dinner a hierodeacon was forced to sit facing the noonday sun which hit him directly in the eyes. During a talk about the future life the hierodeacon argued, "Vladyko! If God is immeasurably merciful, then how can He deprive some of His heavenly kingdom?"
    "And why are you fidgeting your head and not sitting still?" His Eminence asked him.
    "The sun is shining directly in my eyes and does not give me rest," answered the hierodeacon.
    "This then is the answer to your question," said Innocent. "God does not deprive unrepentant sinners of His heavenly kingdom, but they themselves cannot bear His light, as you cannot bear the light of the sun."
                                              From the Life of Metropolitan Innocent of Moscow
                                              (Orthodox Life, May - June, 1969)


    Give free outlet to your love for the generous Lord of love, kiss the Cross and the icons, adorn them with flowers; if only evil be crushed with silence, the good will be allowed to breathe freely. If what is given in love is received in love, the scope of love is increased and enlarged, and this is the aim of your work. The greater the river, the wider the delta.
                                                        Tito Colliander
                                                        "Way of the Ascetics"

Pray for Forgiveness

  During prayer a sincere seeking after amendment is indispensable.
                                            St. John of Kronstadt
                                            "My Life in Christ"

Faithful to Traditions

  It is my conviction that if it is by God's will that we are gathered together, then we should be faithful to the traditions of the saints and the holy fathers and to our Lord's commandments, instead of seeking to exempt ourselves by saying that nowadays it is impossible to live according to the Scriptures and the precepts of the fathers. We are weak indeed, but we must nevertheless follow, according to the measure of our strength, the example of the blessed and venerable fathers, even though we are unable to become their equals.
                                                                  St. Nilus Sorsky
                                                                  "The Tradition to the Disciples"
                                                                 (A Treasury of Russian Spirituality)


 Humility is a Heavenly siphon which from the abyss of sins can raise the soul to Heaven.
                                          St. John Climacus
                                          "The Ladder of Divine Ascent"  (Step 25)

Judge Not

    ...And should you see your neighbor sin, beware of thinking only of his sin; think also of the good he has done, and continues to do, and keeping everything in mind, not looking at one thing only, very often you will find that he is better than yourself. For God will not examine man with partiality.
                                              St. Basil the Great
                                              "On Humility"
                                              (The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers)


  No persecutions against those who venerated the Mother of God and all that is bound up with the memory of Her could lessen the love of Christians for their Intercessor. The rule was established that every series of hymns in the Divine services should end with a hymn or verse in honor of the Mother of God (the so-called "Theotokia"). Many times in the year Christians in all corners of the world gather together in church, as before they gathered together, to praise Her, to thank Her for the benefactions She has shown, and to beg mercy.
                                                       St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco
                                                       "The Orthodox Veneration of Mary the Birthgiver of God"

Faith and God

 The husband of every Christian soul is God; for she is joined to Him by faith.
                                                       St. Gregory the Great
                                                       "The Supper of God and the Soul"

Watch Continually

Watch yourself continually, that spiritual life and wisdom may not dry up within you.
                                                             St. John of Kronstadt
                                                             "My Life in Christ"

Afflictions and Glorification

  A small affliction borne for God's sake is better [before God] than a great work performed without tribulation, because affliction willingly borne brings to light the proof of love. But a work of leisure proceeds from a self-satisfied conscience. That is why the saints were proved by tribulations for Christ's love, and not by ease. For [good] works accomplished without toil are the righteousness of those in the world, who do righteous deeds with their possessions [but not their bodies], thus gaining nothing within themselves. But you, O struggler, taste within yourself Christ's suffering, that you may be deemed worthy of tasting His glory. For if we suffer with Him, then we are glorified with Him.
                                                     St. Isaac the Syrian
                                                     "Ascetical Homilies"  (Homily Thirty-Six)

State of Grace

  Human beings were made in the image of God, but because of their sin the beauty of the image was destroyed and the soul dragged down by passionate desires. But God who made humanity is the true life. And so, as a consequence of humanity losing its likeness to God, it lost its harmony with life, since we cannot be outside God and still live a contented life.
    Let us return to the original state of grace from which we were exiled by sin, making ourselves in the image of God once more, so that we may be like the Creator in our freedom from desire. For if you can make your life as close to the passionless calm of the divine nature as possible, then your soul will be restored to the image of God. And if you can achieve this similarity to God, you will also have attained the image of the divine life which lasts for ever in eternal happiness.
                                                      St. Basil the Great
                                                      "Freedom from Passions"
                                                      (Gateway to Paradise)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Corrected by Adversity

Thus also the Apostle Paul, after shipwrecks, after scourgings, after many grievous tortures of the flesh and body, says that he was not harassed but was corrected by adversity, in order that while he was the more heavily afflicted he might the more truly be tried. There was given to me, he says, a sting of my flesh, an angel of Satan, to buffet me lest I be exalted. For which thing thrice I besought the Lord, that it might depart from me. And He said to me: 'My grace is sufficient for thee: for power is made perfect in infirmity.' (2 Cor. 12: 7-9) When, therefore, some infirmity and weakness and desolation attacks us, then is our power made perfect, then our faith is crowned, if though tempted it has stood firm, as it is written: 'The furnace trieth the potter's vessels, and the trial of affliction just men.' (Eccli. 27: 5). This finally is the difference between us and the others who do not know God, that they complain and murmur in adversity, while adversity does not turn us from the truth and faith, but proves us in suffering.

St. Cyprian of Carthage


Monday, September 12, 2011

The Christian Life

In what does the Christian life consist? In having nothing in the heart but Christ, or, if possessing earthly blessings, in not in the least attaching oneself to them, but in clinging with the whole heart to Christ.

                                               St. John of Kronstadt
                                               "My Life in Christ"

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Passionate Action

A man attacked by passionate thoughts before he has begun to act from passion, is still within his city; he is free and has God to help him. So as soon as he humbles himself before God and fights a little, God's help comes to free him from the onslaught of passion. But if he does not fight and, pandering to himself, surrenders to carnal pleasure, God's help withdraws from him and passion entices him to passionate action, after which he will serve this passion whether he wants to or not.
                                                      St. Abba Dorotheos
                                                      "Directions on Spiritual Training"
                                                      (Early Fathers from the Philokalia)

Perseverance, Faith and Prayer

Occupations that are necessary and result from God's ordinance are inevitable, but untimely occupations should be rejected, and preference given to prayer; especially should we reject those which involve us in great expenditure and acquiring superfluous possessions. For in so far as a man limits them for the Lord's sake and cuts off their superfluous substance, he restrains his thought from distraction. And in so far as he restrains his thought, he gives room to pure prayer and shows sincere faith in Christ. But if someone cannot do this through lack of faith or from some other weakness, let him at least know the truth and press forward as much as is in his power, accusing himself of infancy.
                                                   St. Mark the Ascetic
                                                   "Directions from Discourses"
                                                   (Early Fathers from the Philokalia)

Friday, September 9, 2011

A Prayerful Spirit

Prayer comes to someone who labors at it, but it will not come to anyone who does not work at it. We see that the Holy Fathers labored a great deal at prayer, and by these labors kindled within themselves a prayerful spirit.
                                        St. Theophan the Recluse
                                        "The Spiritual Life"

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Power of the Jesus Prayer

    Let us not be scared, practisers of the prayer of Jesus, either by winds or waves! By winds I mean diabolic thoughts and imaginings, and by waves the revolt of the passions aroused by thoughts and reveries. From the midst of the most furious storm, with perseverance, courage and weeping you will cry to the Lord Jesus Christ, and He will rebuke the winds and the waves. And having learnt from experience the omnipotence of Jesus, we shall render to Him due adoration, saying: Thou art indeed the Son of God (Matt. 14:33).
                                                       Bishop Ignatius Brianchaninov
                                                       "On the Prayer of Jesus"

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Fountain

  If you desire that God should rain upon you from as it were the fountains of His mercy, let you also have a fountain.
                                                    St. John Chrysostom
                                                    "The Fountain of Alms"

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Pulling Back the Veil

The meek Christian virtues are a mighty power in God's world  -  they are an artery by which the power of God comes down into the world. In order to understand this, we must pull back the veil from our own personal world view. A veil usually hangs before our mental eye that limits our thoughts and actions in earthly life. But when we pull back the veil, before us open perspectives of eternity, with faith in the immortality of our soul, with faith in God, with faith in the radiant kingdom of eternal life. In the face of eternal life, concepts are completely changed: much that is great becomes of no consequence, and the insignificant becomes great. He who believes and beholds the Kingdom of God with spiritual eyes is like a giant whose head reaches the heavens. Who has strength enough to throw him down? They can slay his body, they cannot kill his soul and spirit. The words of St. Paul can be applied to such spiritual giants: For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, not things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 8:38-39). Here there is an authentic feeling of His power, which the Apostle expresses in the words: We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves (Rom. 15:1).
                                                              Protoprespyter Micheal Pomazansky
                                                              "How Each of Us Can and Ought to Serve the Church"

Monday, September 5, 2011


...So God chose those whom the world despises; because oftentimes the very contempt of the world will bring a man to himself.
                                                          St. Gregory the Great
                                                          "The Supper of God and the Soul"

Sunday, September 4, 2011


One cannot say that Christianity is a religion. Christianity is a revelation of eternity and life.
                                              Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica
                                              "Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives"

Saturday, September 3, 2011

How Deep Is Your Faith?

If with faith you receive the holy sacraments, you will see that they will bring forth in your spiritual powers deep peace, with a wonderful sense of joy and freedom. The Lord loads us with benefits according to the measure of our faith; the Body and Blood give life to the believer's heart, according to the measure of its preparedness.

                                                              St. John of Kronstadt
                                                              "My Life in Christ"

Repentance and Grace

 A small sorrow mixed with joy, tears, and consolation in the soul is from the grace of God. Throughout our life, it guides us towards repentance whenever we err. A sin drives away boldness towards God, but repentance brings it back at once. Grace does not bring despair, but it continually brings to repentance a person who has fallen.
                                                 Elder Joseph the Hesychast
                                                 "Monastic Wisdom" (Thirty-fifth Letter)

Following the Herd

When a horse is taken from the herd, a bridle thrown on it and it is led away, the horse resists and wants to go off to the side. But when it sees that the other horses are walking calmly, it also joins the ranks. It is the same with people.
                                                  Elder Ambrose of Optina

Love Your Neighbor

...The inexpiable and serious fault of discord is purged not even by martyrdom. He cannot be a martyr who is not in the Church. He will not be able to arrive in the kingdom who deserted her who is to rule. Christ gave us peace; He ordered us to be in agreement and of one mind; He commanded us to keep the bonds of love and charity uncorrupted and inviolate. He cannot display himself a martyr who has not maintained fraternal charity.
                                                     St. Cyprian of Carthage
                                                     "The Unity of the Catholic Church"

Pray for the Will of God

Look at the man who likes to have his own way. His soul is never at peace and he is always discontented: this is not right and that is not as it should be. But the man who is entirely given over to the will of God can pray with a pure mind, his soul loves the Lord, and he finds everything pleasant and agreeable.
                                                          Staretz Silouan
                                                          "Wisdom from Mount Athos"

Stillness and the Nous

  I found here a haven of stillness;
  Be healthy, my soul and my body;
  Swim, O my nous, in the sweetest tranquility,
  and ask not at all what your neighbor is doing.
                                            St. Joseph the Hesychast
                                            "Monastic Wisdom"  (Forty-eight Letter) 

A Prayer to God

Heal our passions, cure our diseases, help us out of our difficulties, make our lives peaceful, send us the illumination of the Spirit. Inflame us with the desire of thy Son. Render us pleasing to Him, so that we may enjoy happiness with Him, seeing thee resplendent with thy Son’s glory, rejoicing forever, keeping feast in the Church with those who worthily celebrate Him who worked our salvation through thee, Christ the Son of God, and our God.
                                              St. John of Damascus

Mother of God

What words can describe your divinely-radiant beauty, O Virgin Mother of God? We cannot circumscribe you in our words and thoughts, for everything about you surpasses our speech and understanding. But, with your loving permission, we may sing your praises. In you all graces find a place. You are the fullness of everything noble and good, a living picture and icon of all goodness and kindness, for you alone were found worthy of the gifts of the Spirit in their entirety, or rather, you alone had mysteriously dwelling in your womb Him in whom all these gifts were stored. In a way past understanding, you became His tabernacle, and now through death you proceed hence to immortality, and are fittingly translated from earth to heaven, to live with Him for ever in the heavenly tabernacles. From there you care for your inheritance, and by your unsleeping intercessions you reconcile us to your Son.
                                                          St. Gregory Palamas
                                                          "Homily Thirty-Seven: On the Dormition of the Mother of God"

Exoneration and Forgiveness

Judge not, forgive, give. . .  It seems like nothing but expenses, without any profit. But behold what is promised: if you do not condemn, you will not be condemned; if you forgive, you will be forgiven; if you give, you will be given to. Right now the profit is not visible, but it will undoubtedly come for one who makes these expenditures from the heart. It will come precisely at that time when he needs exoneration and forgiveness the most.
                                           St. Theophan the Recluse
                                           "Thoughts for Each Day of the Year"

Love of God

Do not indulge yourself, and you will not hate your brother. Do not love yourself, and you will love God.
                                                 St. Maximus the Confessor
                                                 "Fourth Century on Love"
                                                 (Early Fathers of the Philokalia)


In the early works of the Holy Fathers a reverent attitude during services was shown to be an important and sacred duty. To stand before God and His holy saints during the church service is the only acceptable posture for the faithful, both for the ones who are serving, and the ones praying, for does a servant sit before his master? The faithful are all servants of the Lord, redeemed by His blood (Luke 17:10; I Cor. 16:19,20).
                                                 Rev. G.S. Debolsky
                                                 "Why Orthodox Christians Stand During Divine Services"
                                                 (Orthodox Life   No.6, 1983)

Door to Mercy

Repentance is the door of mercy, opened to those who seek it. By way of this door we enter into the mercy of God, and apart from this entrance we shall not find mercy.
                                                             St. Isaac the Syrian
                                                             "Ascetical Homilies"  (Homily Forty-Six)

Sin and Man

Every man on earth is sick with the fever of sin, with the blindness of sin, and is overcome with its fury. As sins consist mostly of malice and pride, it is necessary to treat everyone who suffers from the malady of sin with kindness and love. This is an important truth, which we often forget. Very often we act in the opposite manner: we add malice to mailice by our anger, we oppose pride with pride. Thus, evil grows within us, and does not decrease; it is not cured - rather it spreads.
                                                                St. John of Kronstadt
                                                                "My Life in Christ"


    A man in obedience does not know despondency....
                                          St. John Climacus
                                          "The Ladder of Divine Ascent" (Step 12)


    A man who has reached knowledge of the measure of his weakness has reached perfect humility.
                                             St. Isaac of Syria
                                             "Directions on Spiritual Training"
                                             (Early Fathers From the Philokalia)

Works of Light

   Let us cast off, brethren, the works of darkness, and let us perform the works of light, that we may not only walk honestly, as in the day (cf. Rom. 13:12-13), but also become children of the day (1 Thess. 5:5). And come, let us go up the mountain where Christ shone forth, that we may see what happened there. Or rather, if we become children worthy of that day, the Word of God Himself will take us up when the time comes. Now, I beseech you, strive to lift up the eyes of your understanding towards the light of the Gospel message, that you may be transformed by the renewing of your mind (cf.Rom. 12:2), and having acquired the divine brightness from above, be comforted to the likeness of the glory of the Lord (cf. Rom. 8:29), whose  face shone like the sun today on the mountain.
                                                          St. Gregory Palamas
                                                          "Homily Thirty-Five: Another on the Transfiguration of the Lord"

Righteousness and Divine Light

 ...For the righteous shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father (Matt. 13:43), and when they have all become divine light, they will behold, as children of that light, Christ's indescribable divine radiance. The glory that proceeds naturally from His divinity was shown on Tabor to be shared by His body as well, because of the unity of His person. Thus His face shone as the sun on account of this light.
                                            St. Gregory Palamas
                                            "Homily Thirty-Four: On the Transfiguration"


 'Grace and sin do not dwell together in the mind,' says St. Diadochos, 'but before baptism grace incites the soul to goodness from without, while Satan lurks in its depths, endeavouring to bar all the doors of righteousness in the mind; but from the very moment that we are reborn the devil remains outside and grace dwells within.'
                                                                St. Theophan the Recluse
                                                                "The Art of Prayer"

Always in God's Presence

 ...To kindle in his heart such a divine love, to unite with God in an inseparable union of love, it is necessary for a man to pray often, raising the mind to Him. For as a flame increases when it is constantly fed, so prayer, made often, with the mind dwelling ever more deeply in God, arouses divine love in the heart. And the heart, set on fire, will warm all the inner man, will enlighten and teach him, revealing to him all its unknown and hidden wisdom, and making him like a flaming seraph, always standing before God within his spirit, always looking at Him within his mind, and drawing from this vision the sweetness of spiritual joy.
                                               St. Dimitri of Rostov
                                               "The Inner Closet of the Heart"


The rainfall of grace of a single day provides enough water for the things planted in the soul for the entire period that grace leaves.
                                                 Elder Joseph the Hesychast
                                                 "Monastic Wisdom"  (Thirty-fifth Letter)


We Orthodox, must not flatter ourselves with the thought that we are capable of directing the movement for unification in ecumenism into a course towards Orthodoxy
                                                      Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky
                                                      "Contemporary Movement for Unification"
                                                      (Selected Essays)

Initiation into the Mysteries

No one can learn the art of virtue by himself, though some have taken experience as their teacher. For to act on one's own and not on the advice of those who have gone before us is overweening presumption  -  or, rather, it engenders such presumption. If the Son does nothing of His own accord, but does only what the Father has taught Him (cf. John 5: 19-20), and the Spirit will not speak of His own accord (cf. John 16: 3), who can think he has attained such heights of virtue that he does not need anyone to initiate him into the mysteries?
                                                       St. Gregory of Sinai
                                                       "On Stillness: Fifteen Texts"
                                                       (The Philokalia)

Pride vs the Holy Spirit

The Lord does not manifest Himself to a proud soul. All the books in the world will not help the proud soul to know the Lord. Her pride will not make way for the grace of the Holy Spirit, and God is known only through the Holy Spirit.
                                         Staretz Silouan
                                         "Wisdom from Mount Athos"