Gleanings from Orthodox Christian Authors and the Holy Fathers

humility

171 Entries

Humble-mindedness will bring all the virtues. REF:St. Anthimos of Chios +1960



Humility is, not only to humble your own self, but also to forbear the humiliations which others impose on you. REF:Archimandrite Joel Giannakopoulos +1966

So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do. (Luke 17:10)

8. Let us beware therefore of saying anything about ourselves, for this renders us both odious with men and abominable to God. For this reason, the greater the good works we do, the less let us say of ourselves; this being the way to reap the greatest glory both with men and with God. Or rather, not only glory from God, but a reward, yea, a great recompense.

Demand not therefore a reward that thou mayest receive a reward.

19 Confess thyself to be saved by grace, that He may profess Himself a debtor to thee; and not for thy good works only, but also for such rightness of mind. For when we do good works, we have Him debtor for our good works only; but when we do not so much as think we have done any good work, then also for this disposition itself; and more for this, than for the other things: so that this is equivalent to our good works. For should this be absent, neither will they appear great.

For in the same way, we too, when we have servants, do then most approve them when, after having performed all their service with good will, they do not think they have done anything great.

Wherefore, if thou wouldest make thy good deeds great, do not think them to be great, and then they will be great.

It was in this way that the centurion also said, “I am not fit that thou shouldest enter under my roof;” because of this, he became worthy, and was “marvelled at” (Matt. viii. 8) above all Jews.

On this wise again Paul saith, “I am not meet to be called an apostle;”(1 Cor. xv. 9) because of this he became even first of all.

So likewise John: “I am not meet to loose the latchet of His shoe;”(Mark i. 7; Luke iii. 16; John i. 27, iii). 29. because of this he was the “friend of the Bridegroom,” and the hand which he affirmed to be unworthy to touch His shoes, this did Christ draw unto His own head.

So Peter too said, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man;”(Luke v. 8) because of this he became a foundation of the Church.

For nothing is so acceptable to God as to number one’s self with the last. This is a first principle of all practical wisdom.

For he that is humbled, and bruised in heart,
will not be vainglorious,
will not be wrathful,
will not envy his neighbor,
will not harbor any other passion.

For neither when a hand is bruised, though we strive ten thousand times, shall we be able to lift it up on high. If therefore we were thus to bruise our heart likewise, though it were stirred by ten thousand swelling passions, it could not be lifted up, no, not ever so little. For if a man, by mourning for things pertaining to this life, drives out all the diseases of his soul, much more will he, who mourns for sins, enjoy the blessing of self-restraint. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf110.iii.vi.html NPNF1-10. St. Chrysostom: Homilies on the Gospel of Saint Matthew, Homily 3



Prayer is grace. God gives it when there exists zeal and humility… Let Christ not be missing from your heart.REF:Elder Amphilochios of Patmos +1970

The most easy, brief and safe path to heaven is humility. This is the only safe and undangerous path… REF:Elder Joseph (trans. from Greek by Elizabeth Theokritoff), "Elder Joseph the Hesychast," (Mount Athos: The Great and Holy Monastery of Vatopaidi, 1999), pp. 195 - 198

All Saints through humility were elevated, honored, glorified, made wondrous and sanctified by God. If you take away humility no one would be a Saint… REF:Elder Joseph (trans. from Greek by Elizabeth Theokritoff), "Elder Joseph the Hesychast," (Mount Athos: The Great and Holy Monastery of Vatopaidi, 1999), pp. 195 - 198

… Inner and real humility is for one to feel, that whatever he has, life, health, wealth, wisdom all are foreign, are gifts of God. REF:Elder Joseph (trans. from Greek by Elizabeth Theokritoff), "Elder Joseph the Hesychast," (Mount Athos: The Great and Holy Monastery of Vatopaidi, 1999), pp. 195 - 198

…The only hope of salvation from the delusions and the heresies, the innovations and the traps of wicked people and of the devil is prayer, repentance and humility… REF:Elder Joseph (trans. from Greek by Elizabeth Theokritoff), "Elder Joseph the Hesychast," (Mount Athos: The Great and Holy Monastery of Vatopaidi, 1999), pp. 195 - 198

"The Lord does not forbid us to desire to become His favorites, for He wants us to desire advancement in the spiritual life. But He does not want us to grasp for honors and privileges, but rather to acquire the heights by humility." Blessed Theophylact, commenting on Mark 9:33-41

Paul writes, 'I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this' (1 Cor. 4:4). You see he does not exalt himself, but humbles and abases himself in every way, and that just when he had reached the summit. And the Three Children were in the fire, in the midst of the furnace, and what did they say? 'For we have sinned and transgressed by departing from You; and we have done evil in every way' (Dan. 3:29). This is what it is to have a contrite heart. St. John Chrysostom

If the grace of God comes, everyone and everything changes; however, in order for it to come, we must humble ourselves first. Elder Porphyrios

God gives us His Grace, when we are humble. Elder Porphyrios

If you are enclosed within yourself through prayer, humility, and mourning, you will find a spiritual treasure -- only let pride and criticism be far from you. REF:Elder Ephraim of Philotheou Mount Athos, "Counsels from the Holy Mountain"

6. May you love one another and not be embittered by reason of egotism. Humility is a sure guide; it does not allow the one who has it to strike against the reefs of carelessness and be crushed, but as a luminous guide it leads faultlessly to safety. REF:Elder Ephraim of Philotheou Mount Athos, "Counsels from the Holy Mountain"

I think the quality needed is a certain deep humility of mind that enables one to accept other ways of looking at things, other emphases, as equally Orthodox with one's own. REF:Fr Seraphim Rose, "Letters"

'Know thyself': this is true humility, the humility that teaches us to be inwardly humble and makes our heart contrite. Such humility you must cultivate and guard. For if you do not yet know yourself you cannot know what humility is, and have not yet embarked truly on the task of cultivating and guarding. To know oneself is the goal of the practice of the virtues. Nikitas Stithatos in The Philokalia, Vol. 4

... reading and spiritual knowledge are good, but only when they lead to greater humility... St. Peter of Damaskos (Book 1: A Treasury of Divine Knowledge, The Philokalia Vol. 3 pg. 169)

...a single raising of your mind to God, and a single humble genuflexion to His glory and in His honor has infinitely more value than all the treasures of the world... Lorenzo Scupoli (Unseen Warfare: Chapter 20)

...the more a man is found worthy to receive God's gifts, the more he ought to consider himself a debtor to God, who has raised him from the earth and bestowed on dust the privilege of imitating to some degree its Creator and God. For to endure injustice with joy, patiently to do good to one's enemies, to lay down one's own life for one's neighbor, and so on, are gifts from God, bestowed on those who are resolved to receive them from Him through their solicitude in cultivating and protecting what has been entrusted to them, as Adam was commanded to do (cf. Gen. 2:15). St. Peter of Damascus (Book 1: A Treasury of Divine Knowledge, The Philokalia Vol. 3 176)

...the more a man is found worthy to receive God's gifts, the more he ought to consider himself a debtor to God, who has raised him from the earth and bestowed on dust the privilege of imitating to some degree its Creator and God. For to endure injustice with joy, patiently to do good to one's enemies, to lay down one's own life for one's neighbor, and so on, are gifts from God, bestowed on those who are resolved to receive them from Him through their solicitude in cultivating and protecting what has been entrusted to them, as Adam was commanded to do (cf. Gen. 2:15)." St. Peter of Damascus (Book 1: A Treasury of Divine Knowledge, The Philokalia Vol. 3 176)

...true humility does not say humble words, nor does it assume humble looks, it does not force oneself either to think humbly of oneself, or to abuse oneself in self-belittlement. Although all such things are the beginning, the manifestations and the various aspects of humility, humility itself is grace, given from above. There are two kinds of humility, as the holy fathers teach: to deem oneself the lowest of all beings and to ascribe to God all one's good actions. The first is the beginning, the second the end. St. Gregory of Sinai (Texts on Commandments and Dogmas no. 115)

...we have never achieved anything good on our own, but all good things are ours from God by grace, and come as it were from nothingness into being. For 'what do you have which you did not receive?' asks St. Paul - receive, that is, freely from God; 'and if you received it, why do you boast as if you had not received it' (I Cor. 4:7), but had achieved it by yourself? Yet by yourself you cannot achieve anything, for the Lord has said: 'Without Me, you can do nothing' (John 15:5). St. Peter of Damascus (Book 1: A Treasury of Divine Knowledge, The Philokalia Vol. 3 pg. 176)

...we have never achieved anything good on our own, but all good things are ours from God by grace, and come as it were from nothingness into being. For 'what do you have which you did not receive?' asks St. Paul - receive, that is, freely from God; 'and if you received it, why do you boast as if you had not received it' (I Cor. 4:7), but had achieved it by yourself? Yet by yourself you cannot achieve anything, for the Lord has said: 'Without Me, you can do nothing' (John 15:5)." St. Peter of Damascus (Book 1: A Treasury of Divine Knowledge, The Philokalia Vol. 3 pg. 176)

A brother from Abba Poemen's neighborhood left to go to another country one day. There he met an anchorite. The latter was very charitable and many came to see him. The brother told him about Abba Poemen. When he heard of his virtue, the anchorite wanted to see him. Some times afterwards when the brother had returned to Egypt the anchorite went there to see the brother who had formerly paid him a visit. He had told him where he lived.

When he saw him, the brother was astonished and very pleased. The anchorite said to him, "Please, will you be so kind as to take me to Abba Poemen?" So he brought him to the old man and presented him, saying, "This is a great man, full of charity, who is held in high estimation in his district. I have spoken to him about you, and he has come because he wants to see you." So Abba Poemen received him with joy. They greeted one another and sat down.

The visitor began to speak of the Scriptures, of spiritual and of heavenly things. But Abba Poemen turned his face away and answered nothing. Seeing that he did not speak to him, the other went away deeply grieved and said to the brother who had brought him, "I have made this long journey in vain. For I have come to see the old man, and he does not wish to speak to me."

Then the brother went inside to Abba Poemen and said to him, "Abba, this great man who has so great a reputation in his own country has come here because of you. Why did you not speak to him?" The old man said, "He is great and speaks of heavenly things and I am lowly and speak of earthly things. If he had spoken of the passions of the soul, I should have replied, but he speaks to me of spiritual things and I know nothing about that."

Then the brother came outside and said to the visitor, "The old man does not readily speak of the Scriptures, but if anyone consults him about the passions of the soul, he replies." Filled with compunction, the visitor returned to the old man and said to him, "What should I do, Abba, for the passions of the soul master me?"

The old man turned towards him and replied joyfully, "This time, you come as you should. Now open your mouth concerning this and I will fill it with good things." Greatly edified, the other said to him, "Truly, this is the right way!"

He returned to his own country giving thanks to God that he had been counted worthy to meet so great a saint. "The Desert Christian," by Benedicta Ward, (New York: MacMillan, 1975), p. 167



A brother questioned Abba Motius, saying, "If I go to dwell somewhere, how do you want me to live?" The old man said to him, "If you live somewhere, do not seek to be known for anything special {i.e. by setting oneself apart from the common practice of Christians}... For these things make an empty reputation and later you will be troubled because of this. For men rush there where they find these {special} practices." The brother said to him, "What shall I do, then?" The old man said, "Wherever you live, follow the same manner of life as everyone else and if you see devout men, whom you trust doing something, do the same and you will be at peace. For this is humility: to see yourself to be the same as the rest. When men see you do not go beyond the limits, they will consider you to be the same as everyone else and no-one will trouble you." Abba Motius

A brother questioned Abba Poemen saying, "Give me a word." And he said to him, "The fathers put compunction as the beginning of every action." The brother said again, "Give me another word." The old man replied, "As far as you can, do some manual work so as to be able to give alms, for it is written that alms and faith purify from sin." The brother said, "What is faith?" The old man said, "Faith is to live humbly and to give alms." The Desert Fathers

A brother questioned an old man, "Tell me something which I can do, so that I may live by it", and the old man said, "If you can bear to be despised, that is a great thing, more than all the other virtues". Apophthegmata Patrum

A characteristic of those who are still progressing in blessed mourning is temperance and silence of the lips; and of those who have made progress – freedom from anger and patient endurance of injuries; and of the perfect – humility, thirst for dishonors, voluntary craving for involuntary afflictions, non- condemnation of sinners, compassion even beyond one’s strength. The first are acceptable, the second laudable; but blessed are those who hunger for hardship and thirst for dishonor, for they shall be filled with the food whereof there can be no satiety. St. John Climacus, “The Ladder of Divine Ascent,” (Boston: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978), Step 7: On Joy-Making Mourning

A man who is truly humble is not troubled when he is wronged and he says nothing to justify himself against the injustice, but he accepts slander as truth; he does not attempt to persuade men that he is calumniated, but he begs forgiveness. St. Isaac the Syrian, from The Ascetical Homilies

A person who suffers bitterly when slighted or insulted should recognize from this that he still harbors the ancient serpent in his breast. If he quietly endures the insult or responds with great humility, he weakens the serpent and lessens its hold. But if he replies acrimoniously or brazenly, he gives it strength to pour its venom into his heart and to feed mercilessly on his guts. In this way the serpent becomes increasingly powerful; it destroys his soul's strength and his attempts to set himself right, compelling him to live for sin and to be completely dead to righteousness. St. Symeon the New Theologian (Practical and Theological Texts no. 31)

Abba Anthony said, "I saw the snares the the enemy spreads out over the world and I said groaning, "What can escape from such snares?" Then I heard a voice saying to me, "Humility." St. Anthony the Great, commemorated 17 January

Abba Cronius said that Abba Joseph of Pelusium told him the following story

When I was living in Sinai, there was a brother who was good, ascetic, and handsome. He came to church for the Liturgy dressed in a little old mafort patched and darned all over. Once when I saw him coming to the Liturgy I said to him, "Brother, do you not see the brothers, looking like angels for the Liturgy in church? How can you always come here in that garb?" He said to me, "Forgive me, abba, but I have nothing else." So I took him in to my cell and gave him a tunic and whatever else he needed.

After that he wore them like the other brethren and was like an angel to look at. Now once it was necessary for the fathers to send ten brethren to the emperor about something or other, and he was chosen as one of the group to go. When he heard this, the brother made a prostration before his abba saying, "In the Lord's name, excuse me, for I am the slave of a great man there, and if he recognizes me, he will deprive me of my habit and force me to serve him again." The brothers were convinced and left him behind. But later, they learned from someone who had had known him well when he was in the world that he had been the head of imperial administration and that he had spoken as he did as a ruse, so that no one would know this or bother him about it. So great, amongst the fathers, was their concern to flee from glory and the peace of this world! The Desert Fathers



Abba John (the Dwarf) said, "Humility and the fear of God are above all virtues." Sr. Benedicta Ward, "The Sayings of the Desert Fathers," (Kalamazoo, Michigan: Cistercian Publications, 1975), pp. 89-95

Abba John (the Dwarf) said, "Who sold Joseph" A brother replied saying, "It was his brethren." The old man said to him, "No, it was his humility which sold him, because he could have said, "I am their brother" and have objected, but, because he kept silence, he sold himself by his humility. It is also his humility which set him up as chief in Egypt." Sr. Benedicta Ward, "The Sayings of the Desert Fathers," (Kalamazoo, Michigan: Cistercian Publications, 1975), pp. 89-95

Abba John said, "Who sold Joseph" A brother replied saying, "It was his brethren." The old man said to him, "No, it was his humility which sold him, because he could have said, "I am their brother" and have objected, but, because he kept silence, he sold himself by his humility. It is also his humility which set him up as chief in Egypt. The Desert Fathers

Abba Or gave this counsel, "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." "The Lives of the Desert Fathers," trans. by Normal Russell, (Kalamazoo, Michigan: Cistercian Publications, 1981), pp. 63-64

Abba Or said, "The crown of the monk is humility." "The Lives of the Desert Fathers," trans. by Normal Russell, (Kalamazoo, Michigan: Cistercian Publications, 1981), pp. 63-64

Abba Poemen said, "As the breath which comes out of his nostrils, so does a man need humility and the fear of God. the Desert Father

Abba Sisoes asked Abba Or, "Give me a word," and he said to him, "Do you trust me?" He replied that he did. Then he said to him, "Go, and what you have seen me do, do also." Abba Sisoes said to him, "Father, what have I seen you do?" The old man said, "In my own opinion, I put myself below all men." "The Lives of the Desert Fathers," trans. by Normal Russell, (Kalamazoo, Michigan: Cistercian Publications, 1981), pp. 63-64

Also in this very same city (Ancyra) we found a monk who preferred not to be ordained to the priesthood. He had spent some time in the army and had now spent twenty years as an ascetic. He lived with the bishop of the town. So great was his mercy and so kind was he that he went about at night and had mercy on the needy. He neglected neither the prison nor the hospital, neither the poor nor the rich, but he helped all. To some he gave words of good cheer, being himself stout of heart. Some he encouraged, others he reconciled; to some he gave bodily necessities, to others, clothing.

What is wont to happen in all great cities occurred here, too; for on the church porch there was gathered a crowd of people, some unmarried, others married, lying there for their gifts of daily food. It happened one time in winter that a woman was lying in labor on the church porch at midnight. He heard her crying out in pain. Leaving his customary prayers, he went out and looked at her. He found no midwife, but instead took the midwife's place, not at all squeamish about the unpleasant aspects of childbirth, for the mercy which worked in him had rendered him insensible to such things.

Now his clothes are not worth an obol, and his food is about equally cheap. He cannot stand to bend over a writing-table -- his love of humanity drags him away from books. If someone gives him a book as a present, he sells it immediately, saying to the jeering bystanders: "How can I persuade my Teacher that I have mastered His lessons, unless I sell His own Word to practice perfection?" Palladius, Historia Lausiaca, 68



Amma Theodora said said that neither asceticism, nor vigils nor any kind of suffering are able to save, only true humility can do that. There was an anchorite who was able to banish the demons; and he asked them, "What makes you go away? Is it fasting?" They replied, "We do not eat or drink." "Is it vigils" They replied, "We do not sleep." "Is it separation from the world?" "We live in the deserts." "What power sends you away then?" They said, "Nothing can overcome us, but only humility." (Amma Theodora said) "Do you see how humility is victorious over the demons?" Sr. Benedicta Ward, "The Desert Christian," (New York: MacMillan Publishing Company, 1975), pp. 83-84

An Athonite elder said, "Humility acts like a magnet, drawing to it the grace of God. The humble are granted grace. These things are arranged. An Athonite Gerontikon

An angel fell from heaven without any other passion except pride, and so we may ask whether it is possible to ascend to Heaven by humility alone, without any other of the virtues. St. John Climacus, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent," (Boston: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978),STEP 23: On Mad Pride, and, in the Same Step, on Unclean Blasphemous Thoughts

An old man was asked, "What is humility?" and he said in reply, "Humility is a great work, and a work of God. The way of humility is to undertake bodily labor and believe yourself a sinner and make yourself subject to all." Then a brother said, "What does it mean, to be subject to all?" The old man answered, "To be subject to all is not to give your attention to the sins of others but always to give your attention to your own sins and to pray without ceasing to God." The Desert Fathers

An old man was asked, 'How can I find God?' He said, 'In fasting, in watching, in labors, in devotion, and, above all, in discernment. I tell you, many have injured their bodies without discernment and have gone away from us having achieved nothing. Our mouths smell bad through fasting, we know the Scriptures by heart, we recite all the Psalms of David, but we have not that which God seeks: charity and humility.' The Desert Fathers

An old man who lived in the desert as a hermit thought that he had attained perfection in the virtues. He prayed to God, saying, "Show me perfection of the soul, and I will do it." God wanted to humble him in his thoughts, and said to him, "Go to this Archimandrite (monastic superior), and do whatever he tells you."

Then God revealed to the Archimandrite, before the other one came to him, "Look, this hermit is coming to you. Tell him to take a whip and go take care of your pigs." When the old man came, he knocked on the door and entered the archimandrite's presence. After they had greeted one another, they sat down. The hermit who had come said to him, "Tell me what to do that I may be saved." The other one said, "You will do whatever I tell you?" And he replied, "Certainly." And he said to him, "Then take a whip and go care for the pigs." Those who had known the hermit or had heard about him, when they saw that he was taking care of the pigs, said, "Have you seen that great hermit about whom we were hearing? He has lost his wits, and is possessed by a demon, and takes care of pigs." When God saw his humility in patiently enduring the taunts of others, he commanded him to return to his home. The Desert Fathers



As in all things to the good, God is prepared to help man acquire humility. Yet man himself must take care of himself. The Holy Fathers say “render up blood and receive spirit.” This means, struggle even to the point of giving up your blood, and you will receive a spiritual gift. While you seek after and ask for spiritual gifts, you are unwilling to shed your blood. That is, you want everything, but do not want to be bothered or disturbed by anyone. But can one ever acquire humility living a life of tranquility? Humility consists of seeing oneself as the worst of all, not only of people, but even of dumb beasts, even the evil spirits themselves. And then, when people disturb you, you are aware that you cannot stand it, and that you become angry with people; involuntarily, you then will consider yourself to be a bad person… If in the process you regret being bad, and reproach yourself as incorrigible, if you truly repent of this before God and your spiritual father, then you will already be on the path to humility. But were no one to bother you, were you live in tranquility, how could you become conscious of your badness? If they are trying to demean you, they want to humble you. You yourself are asking God for humility. Why then should you lament over people? Spiritual Counsels of Holy Elder Amvrossy of Optina
http://www.stjohndc.org/Fathers/0011d.htm


As in all things to the good, God is prepared to help man acquire humility. Yet man himself must take care of himself. The Holy Fathers say “render up blood and receive spirit.” This means, struggle even to the point of giving up your blood, and you will receive a spiritual gift. While you seek after and ask for spiritual gifts, you are unwilling to shed your blood. That is, you want everything, but do not want to be bothered or disturbed by anyone. But can one ever acquire humility living a life of tranquility?

Humility consists of seeing oneself as the worst of all, not only of people, but even of dumb beasts, even the evil spirits themselves. And then, when people disturb you, you are aware that you cannot stand it, and that you become angry with people; involuntarily, you then will consider yourself to be a bad person… If in the process you regret being bad, and reproach yourself as incorrigible, if you truly repent of this before God and your spiritual father, then you will already be on the path to humility. But were no one to bother you, were you live in tranquility, how could you become conscious of your badness? If they are trying to demean you, they want to humble you. You yourself are asking God for humility. Why then should you lament over people? Counsels of the Venerable Elder St. Amvrossy of Optina



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 (Second Century on Love no. 43)

As we consider our own selves and come to know our misfortune and wretchedness, we shall have reason enough to be humble. We are born naked and with a cry. We live in calamity, misfortune, and sins. We die with fear, disease, and sighing. We are buried in the earth and return to the earth. There it is not evident where the rich man lies, where the poor, where the noble and where the lowly, where the master and where the servant, where the wise and where the foolish. There they are all made equal, for they all return to the earth. Why, then, should earth and corruption be conceited? St. Tikhon of Zadonsk, Journey to Heaven

As with the appearance of light, darkness retreats; so, at the fragrance of humility, all anger and bitterness vanishes. St. John Climacus, “The Ladder of Divine Ascent,” (Boston: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978), Step 8: On Freedom From Anger and On Meekness

At the Last Judgment the righteous will be recognized only by their humility and their considering themselves worthless, and not by good deeds, even if they have done them. This is the true attitude. St. Peter of Damascus

BROTHER: And what is internal humility?

OLD MAN: The humility of love, peace, friendship, purity, restfulness, tranquility, subjection, faith, remoteness from envy, and a soul which is free from the heat of anger, and is far from the grade of arrogance, and is redeemed from the love of vainglory, and is full of patient endurance like the great deep, and whose motion is drawn after the knowledge of the spirit, and before whose eyes are depicted the fall of the body, and the greatness of the marvel of the Resurrection, and the demand for judgement which shall come after the revivification, and its standing before the awful throne of God. If the soul has these things, redemption shall be unto it. E. A. Wallis Budge, "The Paradise of the Holy Fathers," Seattle, St. Nectarios Press, 1984, pp. 263-264



Behold, this is the true and the Christian humility. In this you will be able to achieve victory over every vice, by attributing to God rather than to yourself the fact that you have won. St. John of the Ladder

Believe that dishonors and reproaches are medicines that heal the pride of thy soul, and pray for those who reproach thee, as for true physicians of thy soul, being assured that he who hates dishonor, hates humility, and he who avoids those who grieve him, flees from meekness. Venerable Dorotheos

But when the Holy Spirit dwells in the heart of a person, He shows him all his inner poverty and weakness, and the corruption of his heart and soul, and his separation from God; and with all his virtues and righteousness. He shows him his sins, his sloth and indifference regarding the salvation and good of people his self-seeking in his apparently most disinterested virtues, his coarse selfishness even where he does not suspect it. To be brief, the Holy Spirit shows him everything as it really is. Then a person begins to have true humility, begins to lose hope in his own powers and virtues, regards himself as the worst of men. And when a person humbles himself before Jesus Christ Who alone is Holy in the glory of God the Father, he begins to repent truly, and resolves never again to sin but to live more carefully. And if he really has some virtues, then he sees clearly that he practiced and practices them only with the help of God, and therefore he begins to put his trust only in God. St. Innocent of Irkutsk, Indication of the Way Into the Kingdom of Heaven

Confess thyself to be saved by grace, that He may profess Himself a debtor to thee; and not for thy good works only, but also for such rightness of mind. For when we do good works, we have Him debtor for our good works only; but when we do not so much as think we have done any good work, then also for this disposition itself; and more for this, than for the other things: so that this is equivalent to our good works. St John Chrysostom, HOMILY III., MATT. I. 1

Consciously look on yourself as an ant or a worm, so that you can become a man formed by God. If you fail to do the first, the second cannot happen. The lower you descend, the higher you ascend; and when, like the psalmist, you regard yourself as nothing before the Lord (cf. Ps. 39:5), then imperceptibly you will grow great. And when you begin to realize that you have nothing and know nothing, then you will become rich in the Lord through practice of the virtues and spiritual knowledge. St. Theognostos, On the Practice of the Virtues, Philokalia, Vol. 2

Consider well, brethren, how great is the power of humility. Consider how great is the spiritual energy behind saying, `Pardon me.' Why is the devil called not only `enemy,' but also `adversary'? He is called `enemy' because he is a hater of man, one who hates what is good, a traitor; and `adversary,' because he always puts obstacles in the way of good. If someone wants to pray he puts obstacles in the way through evil suspicions, shameful thoughts, and spiritual torpor. If a man wants to give alms he obstructs it through avarice or procrastination. If a man wants to keep vigil he obstructs it with hesitations or laziness. In every single thing he is against us when we desire to do good. This is why he is called the enemy and the adversary and why, by lowliness, all his attacks and devices are brought to nothing. St. Dorotheos of Gaza, Discourses and Sayings

Cultivate humility Strive to acquire deep humility.

A good Christian love his fellow men, helps the poor, and is very humble. Modern Orthodox Saints Saints Raphael, Nicholas and Irene of Lesvos., by Constantine Cavarnos., INSTITUTE FOR BYZANTINE AND MODERN STUDIES., Belmont, Massachusetts., 1990., pp. 145-155



Do not become a disciple of one who praises himself, in case you learn pride instead of Humility. St. Mark the Ascetic

Even if an angel should indeed appear to you, do not receive him but humiliate yourself, saying, 'I am not worthy to see an angel, for I am a sinner.' St. Clement of Rome

Extirpate two thoughts within thyself: do not consider thyself worthy of anything great, and do not think that any other man is much lower than thou in worthiness. Learn humblemindedness beforehand, which the Lord commanded in word and showed forth in deed. Hence, do not expect obedience from others, but be ready for obedience thyself. St. Basil the Great

Extirpate two thoughts within thyself: do not consider thyself worthy of anything great, and do not think that any other man is much lower than thou in worthiness. Learn humblemindedness beforehand, which the Lord commanded in word and showed forth in deed. Hence, do not expect obedience from others, but be ready for obedience thyself. St. Basil the Great

For nothing is so acceptable to God as to number one's self with the last. This is a first principle of all practical wisdom.(7) For he that is humbled, and bruised in heart, will not be vainglorious, will not be wrathful, will not envy his neighbor, will not harbor any other passion. For neither when a hand is bruised, though we strive ten thousand times, shall we be able to lift it up on high. If therefore we were thus to bruise our heart(8) likewise, though it were stirred by ten thousand swelling passions, it could not be lifted up, no, not ever so little. St John Chrysostom, HOMILY III., MATT. I. 1

For this reason the Lord calls blessed those who are opposed to worldly possessions, saying: `Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.' Why to the words, `Blessed are the poor,' does He add, `in spirit'? So that by this would be shown that He considers blessedness to be the humility of the soul. Why did He not say, blessed are the poor-spirited - and thus would be demonstrated the humility of thinking - but rather He says, `poor in spirit'? By this He wants to teach us that bodily poverty is also a blessedness, in that through this one can receive the kingdom of heaven, when it is done for the sake of the humility of the soul. This is the case when bodily poverty is united with the humility of the soul and when it is for the person the principle of the humility of the soul. Having called blessed `those poor in spirit,' He demonstrated in a wonderful way what are the root and cause of the visible poverty of the saints - that is, their spirit. St. Gregory Palamas, Treatise on the Spiritual Life

God descends to the humble as waters flow down from the hills into the valleys. St. John of Kronstadt

Has someone offended thee? Guard thy breast with the sign of the Cross; remember what took place on the Cross, and all will be extinguished. Think not of offenses only, but recall also whatever good thou hast received from the one who has offended thee, and at once thou shalt grow meek. Bring to mind the fear of God, and quickly thou shalt grow more temperate and calm. Train thyself not to offend another during offenses themselves, and then, when offended, thou wilt not feel grief. Think to thyself that he who is offending thee is in a frenzy and not in his right mind, and then thou wilt not be vexed at the offense. St. John Chrysostom

Having fallen from his heavenly rank through pride, the devil constantly strives to bring down also all those who wholeheartedly wish to approach the Lord; and he uses the same means which caused his own downfall, that is pride and love of vainglory. These and similar things are the means by which the demons fight us and hope to separate us from God.

Moreover, knowing that he who loves his brother loves also God, they put into our hearts hatred of one another - and this to such degree that at times a man cannot bear to see his brother or say a word to him. Many have performed truly great labors of virtue, but have ruined themselves through folly. It would not be surprising if the same thing were to happen to you too; if, for example, having cooled towards active work, you begin to imagine that you already possess virtues. For there you have already fallen into that devilish disease (high opinion of yourself), thinking that you are close to God and are in the light, whereas in actual fact you are in darkness.

What made our Lord Jesus Christ lay aside his garments, gird himself with a towel, and, pouring water into a basin, begin to wash the feet of those who were below Him (John 13:4, etc.), if not to teach us humility? For it was humility He showed us by example of what He then did. And indeed those who want to be accepted into the foremost rank cannot achieve this otherwise than through humility; for in the beginning the thing that caused downfall from heaven was a movement of pride. So, if a man lacks extreme humility, if he is not humble with all his heart, all his mind, all his spirit, all his soul and body - he will not inherit the kingdom of God. St Anthony the Great, "Early Fathers From the Philokalia," by E. Kadloubovsky and G.E.H. Palmer, (London: Faber and Faber, 1954), pp. 45-46



He who fights this adversary by bodily hardship and sweat is like one who has tied his foe with a string. But he who opposes him by temperance, sleeplessness and vigil is like one who puts a yoke on him. He who opposes him by humility, freedom from irritability and thirst is like one who has killed his enemy and hidden him in the sand. And by sand, I mean humility, because it produces no fodder for the passions, but is mere earth and ashes. St. John Climacus, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent," (Boston; Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978), STEP 15: On Incorruptible Purity and Chastity, to Which the Corruptible Attain by Toil and Sweat

He, therefore, who sets himself to act evilly and yet wishes others to be silent, is a witness against himself, for he wishes himself to be loved more than the truth, which he does not wish to be defended against himself. There is, of course, no man who so lives as not sometimes to sin, but he wishes truth to be loved more than himself, who wills to be spared by no one against the truth. Wherefore, Peter willingly accepted the rebuke of Paul; David willingly hearkened to the reproof of a subject. For good rulers who pay no regard to self-love, , take as a homage to their humility the free and sincere words of subjects. But in this regard the office of ruling must be tempered with such great art of moderation, that the minds of subjects, when demonstrating themselves capable of taking right views in some matters, are given freedom of expression, but freedom that does not issue into pride, otherwise, when liberty of speech is granted too generously, the humility of their own lives will be lost. St. Gregory The Great, Pastoral Care

He, who grieves sorely in his heart when dishonored or offended by others, ought to know from this that he bears within himself the ancient serpent. If he will bear the offense in silence, or will answer the one offending him with deep humility, then he has thereby weakened and crushed this serpent. Venerable Simeon the New Theologian

Hold faith and humility fast within you; for through them you will find mercy, help, and words spoken by God in the heart, along with a protector who stands beside you both secretly and manifestly. Do you wish to obtain these things, which are a fountain of life? From the very onset take hold of simplicity. Walk before God in simplicity and not with knowledge. Simplicity is attended by faith; but subtle and intricate deliberations, by conceit; and conceit is attended by separation from God. The Ascetical Homilies of St. Isaac the Syrian.

Humility is the only thing we need; one can still fall having virtues other than humility -- but with humility one does not fall. St. Benedict

I have seen pride lead to humility. And I remembered him who said: Who hath known the mind of the Lord? The pit and offspring of conceit is a fall; but a fall is often an occasion of humility for those who are willing to use it to their advantage. St. John Climacus, The Ladder of Divine Ascent.

I know a man who kept no long strict fasts, no vigils, did not sleep on bare earth, imposed on himself no other specially arduous tasks; but, recollecting in memory his sins, understood his worthlessness and, having judged himself, became humble - and for this alone the most compassionate Lord saved him; as the divine David says: 'The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit' (Ps. 34:18). In short, he trusted the words of the Lord and for his faith the Lord received him. St. Simeon the New Theologian (On Faith, Writings from the Philokalia on Prayer of the Heart; Faber and Faber pg. 143):

I once caught this mad imposter (pride) as it was rising in my heart, bearing on its shoulders its mother, vainglory. Roping them with the noose of obedience and thrashing them with the whip of humility, I demanded how they got access to me. At last, when flogged, they said: “we have neither beginning nor birth, for we are progenitors and parents of all the passions. Contrition of heart that is born of obedience is our real enemy; we cannot bear to be subject to anyone; that is why we fell from Heaven, though we had authority there.

“In brief, we are the parents of all that opposes humility; for everything which furthers humility, opposes us. We hold sway everywhere, save in Heaven, so where will you run from our presence? We often accompany dishonors, and obedience, and freedom from anger, and lack of resentment, and service. Our offspring are the falls of spiritual men: anger, calumny, spite, irritability, shouting, blasphemy, hypocrisy, hatred, envy, disputation, self-will and disobedience.

There is only one thing in which we have no power to meddle; and we shall tell you this, for we cannot bear your blows: If you keep up a sincere condemnation of yourself before the Lord, you can count us as weak as a cobweb. For pride’s saddlehorse, as you see, is vainglory, on which I am mounted.” But holy humility and self-accusation laugh at both the horse and its rider, happily singing the song of victory: Let us sing to the Lord, for gloriously is He glorified: horse and rider hath He hurled into the sea (Exodus 15:1) and into the abyss of humility. St. John Climacus, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent," (Boston: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978),STEP 23: On Mad Pride, and, in the Same Step, on Unclean Blasphemous Thoughts



I saw the snares that the enemy spreads out over the world and I said groaning, "What can get through from such snares?" Then I heard a voice saying to me, "Humility. St. Anthony the Great

I shall tell you something strange, but do not be surprised by it. Should you fail to attain dispassion because of the predispositions dominating you, but at the time of your death be in the depths of humility, you will be exalted above the clouds no less than the man who is dispassionate. St. John of the Ladder

If the indestructible might of the unfading kingdom is given to the humble and the meek, who would at this point be so deprived of love and desire that the divine gifts as not to tend as much as possible toward humility and meekness to become, to the extent that this is possible for man, the image of God's kingdom by bearing in himself by grace the exact configuration in the Spirit to Christ, Who is truly by nature and essence the Great King? St. Maximus the Confessor, Commentary on the Our Father in SelectedWritings

If thou wilt endure an offensive word, then thou hast extinguished an ember. But if thou wilt think about it, then, like someone kindling a fire, thou wilt produce smoke, which is confusion. However, one can conveniently extinguish it too by silence, prayer and a bow from the heart. Venerable Dorotheos

If we are concerned with our salvation, there are many things the intellect can do in order to secure for us the blessed gift of humility. For example, it can recollect the sins we have committed in word, action and thought; and there are many other things which, reviewed in contemplation, contribute to our humility. True humility is also brought about by meditating daily on the achievements of our brethren, by extolling their natural superiorities and by comparing our gifts with theirs. When the intellect sees in this way how worthless we are and how far we fall short of the perfection of our brethren, we will regard ourselves as dust and ashes, and not as men but as some kind of cur, more defective in every aspect and lower than all men on earth. St. Hesychius the Priest

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 like 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,m at least refrain from joining him in this. The Ascetical Homilies of St. Isaac the Syrian

If, according to the example of Abraham and Job, we think that we are earth and ashes, then we shall never be robbed, but we will always have something to give to others:not gold and silver, but an example of humility, patience, and love toward God. May there be glory to Him forever. Amen. St.s Barsanuphius & John, Guidance Toward Spiritual Life

In all respects belittle yourself before all men, and you will be raised above the princes of this age. St. Isaac the Syrian.

In answer to your question as to what constitutes a happy life, whether splendor, fame and wealth, or a quiet, peaceful, family life, I will say that I agree with the latter, but will add the following: A life lived in humility and with an irreproachable conscience brings peace, tranquility, and true happiness. But wealth, honor, glory and exalted position often serve as the cause of a multitude of sins, and such happiness is not one on which to rely. Counsels of Venerable St. Makary (Ivanov) of Optina

Increasing self-criticism is the sign of increasing humility. Indeed, there is no clearer sign. The Ladder of Divine Ascent, Step Four, On Obedience

It is better for your soul that you confess yourself as guilty in everything and as being the least of all, than to run to self-justification, something that comes from pride. God opposes the proud, and renders grace unto the humble. Counsels of Venerable St. Hilarion (Ponomarev) of Optina

It is one thing to be humble, another to strive for humility, and another to praise the humble. The first belongs to the perfect, the second to the truly obedient, and the third to all the faithful. St. John Climacus, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent," (Boston: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978), Step25: On the Destroyer of the Passions, Most Sublime Humility, Which is rooted in Spiritual Perception

It is useless to accuse those around us and those who live with us of somehow interfering with or being an impediment to our salvation and spiritual perfection… Spiritual or emotional dissatisfaction comes from within ourselves, from inexperience and from poorly conceived opinions we do not want to abandon, but which bring on doubt, embarrassment, and misunderstanding. All of this tires and burdens us, and brings us to a sorry state. We would do well to comprehend the Holy Fathers’ simple advice: If we will humble ourselves, we will find tranquility anywhere, without having to mentally wander about many other places, where we might have the same, or even worse, experiences. Counsels of the Venerable Elder St. Amvrossy of Optina

It is useless to accuse those around us and those who live with us of somehow interfering with or being an impediment to our salvation and spiritual perfection… Spiritual or emotional dissatisfaction comes from within ourselves, from inexperience and from poorly conceived opinions we do not want to abandon, but which bring on doubt, embarrassment, and misunderstanding. All of this tires and burdens us, and brings us to a sorry state. We would do well to comprehend the Holy Fathers’ simple advice: If we will humble ourselves, we will find tranquility anywhere, without having to mentally wander about many other places, where we might have the same, or even worse, experiences. Spiritual Counsels of Holy Elder Amvrossy of Optina
http://www.stjohndc.org/Fathers/0010d.htm


It was said of Abba Arsenius that once when he was ill at Scetis, the priest came to take him to church and put him on a bed with a small pillow under his head. Now behold, and old man who was coming to see him, saw him lying on a bed with a little pillow under his head and he was shocked and said, "Is this really Abba Arsenius, this man lying down like this?"

The the priest took him aside and said to him, "In the village where you lived, what was your trade?" "I was a shepherd," he replied. "And how did you live?" "I had a very hard life." Then the priest said to him, "And how do you live in your cell now?" The other replied, "I am more comfortable." Then the priest said to him, "Do you see this Abba Arsenius? When he was in the world he was the guardian of the emperor, surrounded by thousands of slaves with golden girdles, all wearing collars of gold and garments of silk. Beneath him were spread rich coverings. While you were in the world as a shepherd you did not enjoy even the comforts you now have, but he no longer enjoys the delicate life he led in the world. So you are comforted while he is afflicted."

At these words, the old man was filled with compunction and prostrated himself saying, "Father, forgive me, for I have sinned. Truly the way this man follows is the way of truth, for it leads to humility, while mine leads to comfort." So the old man withdrew, edified. The Desert Fathers



Know that when you do not possess calm, you do not have humility within you. The Lord revealed this in the following words, which indicate as well where to seek after calm. He said: “Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly of heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matthew 11:29). Advice from the Holy Elder St. Leo (Nagolkin) of Optina

Let all who are led by the spirit of God enter with us into this spiritual and wise assembly, holding in their spiritual hands the God-inscribed tablets of knowledge. We have come together, we have investigated, and we have probed the meaning of this precious inscription. And one man said: “It (humility) means constant oblivion of one’s achievements.” Another: “It is the acknowledgement of oneself as the last of all and the greatest sinner of all.” And another: “The mind’s recognition of one’s weakness and impotence.” Another again: “In fits of rage, it means to forestall one’s neighbor and be first to stop the quarrel.” And again another: “Recognition of Divine grace and divine compassion.” And again another: “The feeling of a contrite soul, and the renunciation of one’s own will.” But when I had listened to all this and had attentively and soberly investigated it, I found that I had not been able to attain to the blessed perception of that virtue from what had been said. Therefore, last of all, having gathered what fell from the lips of those learned and blessed fathers as a dog gathers the crumbs that fall from the table, I too gave my definition of it and said: “Humility is a nameless grace in the soul, its name known only to those who have learned it by experience. It is unspeakable wealth, a name and gift from God, for it is said: “learn not from an angel, nor from man, nor from a book, but from Me, that is, from My indwelling, from My illumination and action in you; for I am meek and humble in heart and in thought and in spirit, and your soul shall find rest from conflicts and relief from thoughts.” (Matthew 11:29) St. John Climacus, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent," (Boston: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978), Step25: On the Destroyer of the Passions, Most Sublime Humility, Which is rooted in Spiritual Perception

Let our praise be in God, and not of ourselves; for God hateth those that commend themselves. Let testimony to our good deeds be borne by others, as it was in the case of our righteous forefathers. Boldness, and arrogance, and audacity belong to those that are accursed of God; but moderation, humility, and meekness to such as are blessed by Him. The First Epistle Of Clement To The Corinthians, Chapter XXX

Let us beware therefore of saying anything about ourselves, for this renders us both odious with men and abominable to God. For this reason, the greater the good works we do, the less let us say of ourselves; this being the way to reap the greatest glory both with men and with God. Or rather, not only glory from God, but a reward, yea, a great recompense. Demand not therefore a reward that thou mayest receive a reward. St John Chrysostom, HOMILY III., MATT. I. 1

Make account that thou hast done nothing, and then thou hast done all. For if, being sinners, when we account ourselves to be what we are, we become righteous, as indeed the Publican did; how much more, when being righteous we account ourselves to be sinners. St John Chrysostom, HOMILY III., MATT. I. 1

Man, as far as his body is concerned, is like a lighted candle. A candle must be consumed; thus also the body must die. But the soul is immortal, and so our care also must be more for the soul than for the body. 'For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul' (Mk. 8:36). St. Seraphim of Sarov, Spiritual Instructions, Little Russian Philokalia, V. 1

Meekness and humility of heart are virtues without which it is impossible to inherit the Heavenly Kingdom, to be happy on earth, or to experience inner calm. Counsels of Venerable St. Antony (Putilov) of Optina

Never disobey your spiritual teachers and fathers, but obey them willingly in everything, executing their orders quickly and readily, and especially those which can teach you humility and go against your own will and inclination. Lorenzo Scupoli (Unseen Warfare: Chapter 19)

No man, wise in his own opinion, because he has studied all the sciences and is learned in external wisdom, will ever penetrate God's mysteries or see them unless he first humbles himself and becomes foolish in his heart, repudiating his self-opinion together with the acquirements of learning. St. Simeon the New Theologian (Practical and Theological Precepts no. 116, Writings from the Philokalia on Prayer of the Heart; Faber and Faber pg. 124)

Norhing else extinguishes passions so much as compassion. On the other hand, if someone struggles as a result of vainglory or with the idea that he is applying himself to virtue, he is not struggling with knowledge. He, though, who abstains with knowledge does not think he is exercising virtue, neither does he want to be commended as an ascetic, but believes that by way of abstinence prudence is obtained and that through this, comes humility. Abba Dorotheos

Nothing done in humility for the sake of God is bad. But things and pursuits differ. Everything not strictly necessary is a hindrance to salvation - everything, that is to say, that does not contribute to the soul's salvation or to the body's life. For it is not food, but gluttony, that is bad; not money, but attachment to it; not speech, but idle talk; not the world's delights, but dissipation; not love of one's family, but the neglect of God that such love may produce; not the clothes worn only for covering and protection from cold and heat, but those that are excessive and costly; not houses that also protect us from heat and cold, as well as anything human or animal that might harm us, but houses with two or three floors, large and expensive;...not friendship, but the having of friends who are of no benefit to one's soul; not woman, but unchastity; not wealth but avarice; not wine but drunkenness; not anger used in accordance with nature for the chastisement of sin, but its use against one's fellow-men. St. Peter of Damaskos (Book 1: A Treasury of Divine Knowledge, The Philokalia Vol. 3 pg. 156)

O Lord, my heart is not exalted, neither have mine eyes been lifted up." This Psalm, a short one... teaches us the lesson of humility and meekness. Now, as we have in a great number of other places spoken about humility, there is no need to repeat the same things here. Of course we are bound to bear in mind in how great need our faith stands of humility when we hear the Prophet thus speaking of it as the equivalent to the performance of the highest works: "O Lord, my heart is not exalted." For a troubled heart is the noblest sacrifice in the eyes of God. The heart, therefore, must not be lifted up by prosperity, but humbly kept within the bounds of meekness through the fear of God. St. Hilary of Poitiers, On the Psalms

Once a spiritual brother of mine and I visited Elder Zosimas, a Russian hermit at Karoulia (on Mt. Athos). We found him seated on the ground chopping firewood. We asked for his blessing, venerated the icons of the small church, and then asked him to tell us something comforting. Only then did he lift us his joyful face and utter one word in Russian. It was a word that contains the entire immense spiritual life of man: "Smirenia, smerenia," he said, which means humility. Nothing else. He put his head down again and patiently continued to chop the few bits of firewood he had for the winter. An Athonite Gerontikon

One day Abba Arsenius consulted an old Egyptian monk about his own thoughts. Someone noticed this and said to him, "Abba Arsenius, how is it that you with such a good Latin and Greek education, ask this peasant about your thoughts?" He replied, "I have indeed been taught Greek and Latin, but I do not know even the alphabet of this peasant." The Desert Fathers

One elder passed seventy weeks in fasting, eating food only twice a week, as he begged the Lord to reveal to him the meaning of a passage in Holy Scripture. But God would not reveal it to him. Seeing this, the elder said to himself, "I have labored long and hard, and I have accomplished nothing. I will go to my brother and ask him."

When he had left his cell and locked the door behind him, an angel from the Lord appeared and said to him: "Seventy weeks of fasting did not bring you nearer to God. Now, however, when you have humbled yourself and resolved to go to your brother with your question, I have been sent to you to explain the meaning of this passage." And fulfilling this, the angel departed. the Paterikon of Bishop Ignatius, found in Spiritual Sowings. Translated by Elizaveta Baranova



Our humility is our surest intercessor before the face of the Lord. It is by dint of humility and penance that the last shall be first. St. Macarius of Optina

Our prayer begins to be of value only when grace comes. As long as we have only the natural fruits of prayer, what we achieve is valueless, both in itself and in the judgement of God. For the coming of grace is the sign that God has looked on us in mercy. St. Thalassius

Pointing out that man has nothing of which to be proud, the Elder added “Actually, what does man have to crow about? A ragged, wretched beggar cries out for alms: ‘Have Mercy! Have Mercy!’ But as to whether he will be shown mercy, who knows?” Counsels of the Venerable Elder St. Amvrossy of Optina

Pray Simply. Do not expect to find in your heart any remarkable gift of prayer Consider yourself unworthy of it-then you will find peace. Use the empty, cold dryness of your prayer as food for your humility. Repeat constantly: "I am not worthy, Lord, I am not worthy!" But say it calmly, without agitation. This humble prayer will be acceptable to God. Elder Macarius of Optina

Pray simply. Do not expect to find in your heart any remarkable gift of prayer. Consider yourself unworthy of it. Then you will find peace. Use the empty cold dryness of your prayer as food for your humility. Repeat constantly: I am not worthy; Lord, I am not worthy! But say it calmly, without agitation. St. Macarius of Optina

Q: How can one be saved in the present times?

A: In every time, if a man can cut off his own will in everything, and have a humble heart, and death always before his eyes – he can be saved, by God’s grace; and wherever he might be, fear does not take possession of him, for such a one “forgetteth the things that are behind, and stretcheth forth to those that are before (Philemon 3:13). Act thus, and you will be saved by God without sorrow. “Saints Barsanuphius and John: Guidance Toward Spiritual Life,” trans. by Fr. Seraphim Rose, (Platina, California: St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 1990)



Q: Pray that I might place a beginning to salvation.

A: The beginning is humility and the fear of God: “The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 1:7). And what is the beginning of wisdom, if it is not to remove oneself from everything hateful to God? And how does one remove oneself from this? Do nothing without questioning and counsel; likewise, say nothing unfitting, and at the same time acknowledge oneself to be senseless, unsalted, and degraded, and in general insignificant. “Saints Barsanuphius and John: Guidance Toward Spiritual Life,” trans. by Fr. Seraphim Rose, (Platina, California: St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 1990)



Q: When I do something good, how should I humble my thoughts? And how does one reproach oneself after doing something good?

A: For humility of thoughts, even though you might have performed all good deeds and kept all the commandments, remember Him Who said: "When you have done all this, say that we are unprofitable slaves, for we were obliged to do what we have done" (Luke 17:10) – and all the more when we have not even attained as yet to the fulfilling of a single commandment.

Thus one should always think and reproach oneself at every good deed and say to oneself: I do not know whether it is pleasing to God. It is a great work to do according to God’s Will, and yet greater to fulfill the Will of God: this is the joining of all the commandments; for to do something according to God’s Will is a private matter and is less than fulfilling the Will of God.

Therefore the Apostle said: "Forgetting what is behind, and stretching forth to what is ahead" (Philemon 3:13). And no matter how much he stretched out to what was ahead, he did not stop and always saw himself as insufficient, and he advanced; for he said: "whatever is perfect, think on this"(Philemon 3:15), that is, so as to advance. "Saints Barsanuphius and John: Guidance Toward Spiritual Life," trans. by Fr. Seraphim Rose, (Platina, California: St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 1990)



Repentance and humility establish the soul. Charity and meekness strengthen it. Monk Evagrius

Seek god daily. But seek Him in your heart, not outside it. And when you find Him, stand with fear and trembling, like the Cherubim and the Seraphim, for your heart has become a throne of God. But in order to find God, become humble as dust before the Lord, for the Lord abhors the proud, whereas He visits those that are humble in heart, wherefore He says: "To whom will I look, but to him that is meek and humble in heart? "Modern Orthodox Saints, St. Nectarios of Aegina", Dr. Constantine Cavarnos, Institute for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, Belmont, Massachusetts., 1981., pp. 154-187

Self-accusation before God is something that is very necessary for us; and humility of heart is extremely advantageous in our lives, above all at the time of prayer. For prayer requires great attention and needs a proper awareness, otherwise it will turn out to be unacceptable and rejected, and `it will be turned back empty' to our bosom. Martyrius of Edessa, in The Syriac Fathers on Prayer and the Spiritual Life

Self-accusation before God is something that is very necessary for us; and humility of heart is extremely advantageous in our lives, above all at the time of prayer. For prayer requires great attention and needs a proper awareness, otherwise it will turn out to be unacceptable and rejected, and `it will be turned back empty' to our bosom. Martyrius of Edessa, in The Syriac Fathers on Prayer and the SpiritualLife

Self-accusation before God is something that is very necessary for us; and humility of heart is extremely advantageous in our lives, above all at the time of prayer. For prayer requires great attention and needs a proper awareness, otherwise it will turn out to be unacceptable and rejected, and `it will be turned back empty' to our bosom. St. Symeon the New Theologian

Some visitors came to the Thebaid one day to visit an old man, bringing one possessed with a devil that he might heal him. When they persistently asked him, the old man said to the devil, "Come out of God's creature." And the devil said to the old man, "I am going to come out, but I am going to ask you a question. Tell me, who are the goats and who are the sheep?" The old man said, "I am one of the goats, but as for the sheep, God alone knows who they are." When he heard this, the devil began to cry out with a loud voice, "Because of your humility, I am driven away!" and he departed at the same hour. The Desert Fathers

Tame your steed with the bridle of knowledge, lest, looking here and there, he become inflamed with lust towards women and men and throw you, the horseman, to the ground. Pray to God, that He may turn "your eyes, lest they see vanity" (Psalms 118:37). And when you will acquire a manful heart, warfare will depart from you.

Cleanse yourself, as wine cleanses wounds, and do not allow stench and filthiness to accumulate in you. Acquire weeping, so that it might remove from you freedom (looseness) in your relations, which destroys the souls that adopt it. Do not throw away the implement without which fertile land cannot be worked. This implement, made by the Great God, is humility: it uproots all the tares from the field of the Master and gives grace to those who dwell in it. Humility does not fall, but raises from a fall those who possess it. Love weeping with all your heart, for it also is a participant in this good work.

Labor in everything to cut off your own will, for this is accounted to a man for sacrifice. This is what is meant by: "For Thee we are mortified all the day, we are accounted as sheep for slaughter" (Psalms 43:22). Do not weaken yourselves by conversations, for they will not allow you to prosper in God. Firmly bridle the organs of your senses: sight, hearing, smelling, taste, and feeling, and you will prosper by the grace of Christ. Without tortures no one is a martyr, as the Lord also has said: "In your patience possess ye your souls" (Luke 21:19), and the Apostle says, "in much endurance, in sorrows" (II Corinthians 6:4). "Saints Barsanuphius and John: Guidance Toward Spiritual Life," trans. by Fr. Seraphim Rose, (Platina, California: St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 1990)



The Christian needs two wings in order to soar upward and attain Paradise: humility and love. When the first order of angels fell from angelic glory and became demons, the other nine orders humbled themselves and worshipped the All-Holy Trinity, and remained in their place and rejoice forever. We, too, my brethren, must reflect what an evil thing pride is - that it cast down the devil from angelic glory and he will always burn in Hades - and that humility kept the angels in Heaven, and they rejoice perpetually in the glory of the Holy Trinity. Let us then, my brethren, avoid pride, because it is the first daughter of the devil, is a path that leads to Hades; and let us have humility, because it is angelic, is a path that leads to Paradise. Modern Orthodox Saints I, St. Cosmas Aitolos).Dr. Constantine Cavarnos., INSTITUTE FOR BYZANTINE AND MODERN GREEK STUDIES., Belmont, Massachusetts., pp.81-94

The Lord said, 'When you have done all that is commanded you, say: We are useless servants: we have only done what was our duty' (Luke 17:10). Thus the kingdom of heaven is not a reward for works, but a gift of grace prepared by the Master for His faithful servants. St. Hesychius the Priest

The One Who used humble words with Paul, His persecutor, used the same humble words with the Pharisee. Humility is so powerful that even the all-conquering God did not conquer without it. Humility was even able to bear the burden of a stiff-necked nation in the desert. Moses, the humblest of men, was given charge of the nation that was the most stubborn of all men. God, Who needed nothing to save His people, later found Himself in need of the humility of Moses just to abide the grumbling and complaining of (His) critics. Only humility could tolerate the perversity of a nation that dismissed signs in Egypt as well as wonders in the desert. Whenever pride caused divisions in the nation, the prayer of humility healed their divisions. Now, if the humility of a tongue-tied man endured six hundred thousand, how much more does His humility endure, Who granted speech to the tongue-tied! For the humility of Moses is a (mere) shadow of the humility of our Lord. St. Ephrem the Syrian, Homily on Our Lord

The Russian ascetic, Father Tychon, who lived sixty years on Mt. Athos after he had visited three hundred monasteries in Russian, said, "God blesses with one hand in the morning the entire world, and uses both hands to bless the humble man. A humble person is above the whole world." an Athonite Gerontikon

The appearance of this holy vine is one thing during the winter of the passions, another in the spring of fruit-blossom, yet another in the actual harvest of the virtues. Yet all these different stages concur in gladness and fruit-bearing, and therefore, they all have their own signs and sure indications of fruit to come. For as soon as the cluster of holy humility begins to blossom within us, we at once begin, though with an effort, to hate all human glory and praise, and to banish from ourselves irritation and anger. When this queen of virtues makes progress in our soul by spiritual growth, we regard all the good deeds accomplished by us as nothing, or rather as an abomination, supposing that everyday we add more and more to our burden by a dissipation that we do not comprehend. We suspect the very abundance of the Divine gifts showered upon us to be beyond our deserts and to aggravate our punishment. So our mind remains unplundered, reposing securely in the casket of modesty, only hearing the knocks and jeers of the thieves, without being subject to any of their threats; because modesty is an inviolable safe. St. John Climacus, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent," (Boston: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978), Step25: On the Destroyer of the Passions, Most Sublime Humility, Which is rooted in Spiritual Perception

The brothers surrounded the same Abba John (Cassian) was at the point of death and ready to depart eagerly and joyously to God. They asked him to leave them a concise and salutary saying as their inheritance, which would enable them to become perfect in Christ. Groaning he said to them, "I have never done my own will, not taught anything which I had not previously carried out." Benedicta Ward, "The Sayings of the Desert Fathers," (Kalamazoo, Michigan: Cistercian Publications, 1975), p. 114

The first kind of humility is to hold my brother to be wiser than myself, and in all things to rate him higher than myself, and simply, as that holy man said, to put oneself below everyone. The second kind is to attribute to God all virtuous actions. This is the perfect humility of the saints. It is generated naturally in the soul by the performance of the commandments. [It is] just like a tree bearing much fruit: it is the fruit that bends the branches and lowers them down, but when there is no fruit, the branches point upwards and grow straight. St. Dorotheos of Gaza, Discourses and Sayings

The heights of humility are great and so are the depths of boasting; I advise you to attend to the first and not to fall into the second. Abba Isidore of Pelusia

The humbler our opinion of ourselves, the more swiftly our prayer rises to God. So soon as we lose humility, each and every ascetic effort is nullified. If pride is active in us, or fault-finding, or unfriendliness, the Lord stands remote from us. Archimandrite Sophrony (His Life is Mine: Part 2, Chapter 3; SVS Press pg. 123):

The more a person thinks in his soul that he is the most sinful of men, the more does hope increase and flourish within his heart by this humility, giving us the confidence that it will be our salvation. St. Symeon the New Theologian

The natural property of the lemon tree is such that it lifts its branches upwards when it has no fruit, but the more the branches bend down the more fruit they bear. Those who have the mind to understand will grasp the meaning of this. St. John Climacus, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent," (Boston: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978), Step25: On the Destroyer of the Passions, Most Sublime Humility, Which is rooted in Spiritual Perception

The old man (Abba Moses) was asked, "What is the good of the fasts and watchings which a man imposes on himself?" and he replied, "They make the soul humble. For it is written, "Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins" (Psalm 25:18). So if the soul gives itself all this hardship, God will have mercy on it." "The Desert Christian," by Sr. Benedicta Ward, (New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., 1975), p. 142

The one who has come to understand the weakness of human nature has had experience of the divine power, and such a person who because of it has succeeded in some things and is eager to succeed in others never looks down on anyone. For he knows that in the same way that God has helped him and freed him from many passions and hardships, so can He help everyone when He wishes, especially those who are striving for His sake. Although for His own reasons He does not deliver all from their passions right away, still as a good and loving physician He heals in His own good time each one of those who are striving. St. Maximus the Confessor, Four Centuries on Love

The power to bear Mysteries, which the humble man has received, which makes him perfect in every virtue without toil, this is the very power which the blessed apostles received in the form of fire. For its sake the Saviour commanded them not to leave Jerusalem until they should receive power from on high, that is to say, the Paraclete, which, being interpreted, is the Spirit of consolation. And this is the Spirit of divine visions. Concerning this it is said in divine Scripture: 'Mysteries are revealed to the humble' [Ecclus 3:19]. The humble are accounted worthy of receiving in themselves this Spirit of revelations Who teaches mysteries St. Isaac the Syrian, Ascetical Homily 77, page 384

The question of Abba Dorotheus to the Great Elder: I am being strongly attacked by sexual passion; I am afraid that I may fall into despondency, and that from the infirmity of my body I will not be able to restrain myself; pray for me, for the Lord’s sake, and tell me, my Father, what I should do?

A: Brother! The devil, out of envy, has raised up warfare against you. Guard your eyes and do not eat until you are full. Take a little wine for the sake of the body’s infirmity of which you speak. And acquire humility, which rends all the nets of the enemy.

And I, who am nothing, will do what I can, entreating God that He might deliver you from every temptation and preserve you from every evil. Do not yield to the enemy, O brother, and do not give yourself over to despondency, for this is a great joy to the enemy. Pray without ceasing, saying: "Lord Jesus Christ, deliver me from shameful passions," and God will have mercy on you, and you will receive strength by the prayers of the Saints. Amen. "Saints Barsanuphius and John: Guidance Toward Spiritual Life," trans. by Fr. Seraphim Rose, (Platina, California: St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 1990)



The soul that really loves God and Christ, though it may do ten thousand righteousnesses, esteems itself as having wrought nothing, by reason of its insatiable aspiration after God. Though it should exhaust the body with fastings, with watchings, its attitude towards the virtues is as if it had not yet even begun to labor for them. St. Macarius the Great

The way of humility is this: self-control, prayer, and thinking yourself inferior to all creatures. Abba Pimen

There are certain kinds of trees which never bear any fruit as long as their branches stay up straight, but if stones are hung on the branches to bend them down they begin to bear fruit. So it is with the soul. When it is humbled it begins to bear fruit, and the more fruit it bears the lowlier it becomes. So also the saints; the nearer they get to God, the more they see themselves as sinners. St. Dorotheos of Gaza, Discourses and Sayings

There are certain kinds of trees which never bear any fruit as long as their branches stay up straight, but if stones are hung on the branches to bend them down they begin to bear fruit. So it is with the soul. When it is humbled it begins to bear fruit, and the more fruit it bears the lowlier it becomes. So also the saints; the nearer they get to God, the more they see themselves as sinners.

I remember once we were speaking about humiliation and one of the great lights of Gaza, hearing us say, "The nearer a man is to God the more he sees himself to be a sinner," was astonished, and said, "How is this possible?" He did not know, and wanted to know the answer. I said to him, "Tell me, how do you regard yourself in respect to the other citizens here?"

And he said, "I regard myself as great, and among the first of the citizens." I said then, "If you went away to Caesaraea, how would you regard yourself then?" "I would value myself somewhat less than the great folk there." So I said, "If you went away to Antioch, what then?" And he replied, I would regard myself as one of the common people." I said, "And if you went into the presence of the Emperor, what would you think of yourself then?" He replied, "I should think of myself as just one of the poor." Then I said to him, "There you are! In the same way, the saints, the nearer they approach to God, the more they see themselves as sinners." Dorotheus of Gaza, Discourses and Sayings



There is a humility that comes from the fear of God, and there is a humility that comes from the fervent love of God. One man is humbled because of his fear of God, another is humbled because of his joy. The man humbled from fear of God is possessed of modesty in his members, a right ordering of his senses, and a heart contrite at all times. But the man humbled because of joy is possessed of great exuberance and an open and insuppressible heart. The Ascetical Homilies of St. Isaac of Syria.

Therefore, brothers, let us strive with all our heart, bearing death before our eyes every hour, and every moment imagining the fearful punishment. But these things the mind comes to perception and the soul is weighed down weeping, but it is also made contemplative and prepared to be turned toward God, undistracted by earthly things. And not only this, but once humility is worked out by these, the soul is persuaded to become compassionate and without vainglory, lowly and made a stranger to all worldly mentality. St Pachomius, Armand Veilleux, trans., "Pachomian Koinonia -- Volume II," (Kalamazoo, Michigan: Cistercian Publications, 1981), pp. 41 - 44.

They used to say that on one occasion when Abba Arsenius the Great fell ill in Scete, a priest went and brought him to the church, and he spread a palm-leaf mat for him, and placed a small pillow under his head; and one of the old men came to visit him and saw that he was lying upon a mat that he had a pillow under his head, and he was offended and said, "And this is Arsenius lying upon such things!"

Then the priest took the old man aside privately, and said unto him, "What labor did you do in your village?" And the old man said unto him, "I was a shepherd." And the priest said unto him, "What manner of life did you lead in the world?" And he said unto him, "A life of toil, and great want."

And when the old man had described all the tribulation which he had endured in the world, the priest said unto him, "And here what manner of life do you lead?" And the old man said unto him, "In my cell I have everything comfortable, and I have more than I want." And the priest said unto him, "Consider the position of Abba Arsenius when he was in the world! He was the father of kings, and a thousand slaves, girt about with gold-embroidered vests, and with chains and ornaments around their necks, and clothed in silk, stood before him; and he had the most costly couches and cushions to lie upon. But you were a shepherd, and the comforts which you never enjoyed in the world, you have here; but his man Arsenius has not here the comforts which he enjoyed in the world, and now you are at ease while he is troubled."

Then the mind of the old man was opened, and he expressed contrition and said, "Father, forgive me; I have sinned. Verily this is the way of truth. He has come to a state of humility, while I have attained to ease."

And the old men having profited went his way. E. A. Wallis Budge, "The Paradise of the Holy Fathers, (Seattle, St. Nectarios Press, 1984), pp. 106-107



This is the mark of Christianity--however much a man toils, and however many righteousnesses he performs, to feel that he has done nothing, and in fasting to say, "This is not fasting," and in praying, "This is not prayer," and in perseverance at prayer, "I have shown no perseverance; I am only just beginning to practice and to take pains"; and even if he is righteous before God, he should say, "I am not righteous, not I; I do not take pains, but only make a beginning every day. St. Macarius the Great

This subject sets before us as a touchstone, a treasure preserved in earthen vessels, that is to say in our bodies, and it is of a quality that baffles all description. This treasure has an inscription, which is incomprehensible because it comes from above, and those who try to explain it with words give themselves great and endless trouble. And the inscription runs thus: Holy Humility. St. John Climacus, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent," (Boston: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978), Step25: On the Destroyer of the Passions, Most Sublime Humility, Which is rooted in Spiritual Perception

Those who seek humility should bear in mind the three following things: that they are the worst of sinners, that they are the most despicable of all creatures since their state is an unnatural one, and that they are even more pitiable than the demons, since they are slaves to the demons. You will also profit if you say this to yourself: how do I know what or how many other people's sins are, or whether they are greater than or equal to my own? In our ignorance you and I , my soul, are worse than all men, we are dust and ashes under their feet. How can I not regard myself as more despicable than all other creatures, for they act in accordance with the nature they have been given, while I, owing to my innumerable sins, am in a state contrary to nature. St. Gregory of Sinai, Philokalia, Vol. IV

Throughout all his years as pastor St. Peter of Alexandria sat on a footstool at the times appointed for sitting, though the people and clergy often entreated him to be seated upon his throne. One day, after the Divine Liturgy, Saint Peter explained to them, 'Do you know why I do not sit on my throne or ascend the steps leading to it? It is because when I draw near, I see a heavenly light shining on it and sense the presence of a divine power. I am filled with terror and do not dare sit there, for I know myself to be unworthy. Instead, I sit on the footstool, and still feel fear...For this reason the people sat Saint Peter upon his throne after his death, crying, 'Pray for us, God's holy favorite" St. Demetri' LIVES OF THE SAINTS (11/25 St. Peter of Alexandria)

True discrimination comes to us only as a result of true humility, and this in turn is shown by our revealing to our spiritual fathers not only what we do but also what we think, by never trusting our own thoughts, and by following in all things the words of our elders, regarding as good what they have judged to be so. St. John Cassian(On the Holy Fathers of Sketis)

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. "Modern Orthodox Saints, St. Nectarios of Aegina", Dr. Constantine Cavarnos, Institute for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, Belmont, Massachusetts., 1981., pp. 154-187

What salt is for any food, humility is for every virtue. To acquire it, a man must always think of himself with contrition, self-belittlement and painful self-judgment. But if we acquire it, it will make us sons of God. St. Isaac of Syria

When a man penetrates the depths of humility and recognizes that his is unworthy to be saved, his sorrow releases springs of tears, and as a consequence spiritual joy floods out in his heart. In this way, hope rises out of this spring, grows with it, and strengthens our certainty of being saved. St. Symeon the New Theologian

When anyone out of kindness praises you to others, and they pass on these praises to you, do not consider them as a just tribute of esteem really due you, but ascribe them solely to the kindness of heart of the person who spoke of you in this way, and pray for him that God may strengthen him in his kindness of heart and in every virtue; but acknowledge yourself to be the greatest of sinners, not just out of humility, but truthfully, actually, knowing as you do your evil deeds. St. John of Kronstadt

When pride retreats from a man, humility begins to dwell in him, and the more pride is diminished, so much more does humility grow. The one gives way to the other as to its opposite. Darkness departs and light appears. Pride is darkness, but humility is light. St. Tikhon of Zadonsk, Journey to Heaven.

Where humility is combined with the remembrance of God that is established through watchfulness and attention, and also with recurrent prayer inflexible in its resistance to the enemy, there is the place of God, the heaven of the heart in which because of God's presence no demonic army dares to make a stand. St. Philotheos of Sinai(Texts on Watchfulness no. 4)

Where there is humility, there is also simplicity and innocence, and this Divine branch will not experience God’s judgment. Advice from the Holy Elder St. Leo (Nagolkin) of Optina

Wondrous are the works of humility that lead a person to divine and glorious heights of honor and grace. There was a monk of St. Anne's (on Mt Athos), a vessel of grace, who was the first chanter at the Patriarchate. This monk went to the spiritual father of St. Anne's to make his confession and to ask his advice.

"What kind of work did you do?" asked the spiritual father.

"I was the leading chanter at the Patriarchate, holy Father."

"If you want to be saved," the confessor said, "you will not tell anyone that you are a chanter, because here on the Holy Mountain there are many celebrations and you will be asked to go and sing, and so you will have no real chance to be a monk. I will put you under the obedience of a good father. You will only read well; you will never sing well. You will be out of tune and you will pretend that you are unable to read music."

"Let it be blessed, holy Father," said the novice who was then sent to a pious elder.

A considerable time went by before the spiritual confessor asked the elder, "How is everything going with the novice?"

"Good," he replied. "He is obedient. The only thing is that he cannot sing. But he does read very well."

The years went by. The spiritual father, who was clairvoyant, foresaw that the chanter who was in hiding was near his end. One St. Anne's feast day the central church was celebrating. The spiritual father had been appointed typikaris of the skete. He ordered the chanter-in-hiding to prepare himself to sing the Cherubic Hymn for the Divine Liturgy. The monk was sad, for he did not want to be revealed. It was such a grace for him not to be known, "to exist in secrecy." He pretended that he had forgotten the music with the passing of time. Even so, he obeyed his spiritual father and agreed to it.

When it was time for the Cherubic Hymn, the typikaris pulled the monk to where the chanters were. The others were sad, thanking that the typikaris had made a mistake. After they had heard the singing however, and the evident musical knowledge of this unknown nobleman and chanter, they said to each other, "And he, the blessed one, was listening to us all this time and he said nothing!"

After the Liturgy ended, the father confessor took the monk with him to his hut. Two days later he fell ill and reposed in the Lord. No one would have known the victorious struggle of humility had the spiritual father not revealed it. An Athonite Gerontikon



Believe that dishonors and reproaches are medicines that heal the pride of thy soul, and pray for those who reproach thee, as for true physicians of thy soul, being assured that he who hates dishonor, hates humility, and he who avoids those who grieve him, flees from meekness. Venerable Dorotheos

Remember that by your own power you will gain nothing. Always call upon the Lord Jesus Christ for help in all situations. Then, your praiseworthy attitude will be aided by God's Might, which curtails all sin - All wiles of the demons. If you overcome some sinful influence, do not credit yourself, you will again fall into the same sins. Abbot Nikon

Since salvation comes to you as a free gift, give thanks to God your saviour. If you wish to present Him with gifts, gratefully offer from your widowed soul two tiny coins, humility and love, and God will accept these in the treasury of His salvation more gladly than the host of virtues deposited there by others. Dead through the passions, pray like Lazarus to be brought to life again, sending to God these two sisters to intercede with Him; and you will surely attain your goal. St. Theognostos, in The Philokalia, Vol. 2.

The man who endures accusations against himself with humility has arrived at perfection. He is marvelled at by the holy angels, for there is no other virtue so great and so hard to achieve. St Isaac of Syria

The mind that realizes it's own weakness has discovered whence it might enter upon salvation and draw near to the light of knowledge and receive true wisdom which does not pass away with this age." St. Gregory Palamas

Where poverty of spirit is perceived, there is also the sorrow that is full of joy St. Symeon the New Theologian

Where poverty of spirit is perceived, there is also the sorrow that is full of joy St. Symeon the New Theologian

Where poverty of spirit is perceived, there is also the sorrow that is full of joy St. Symeon the New Theologian

Where poverty of spirit is perceived, there is also the sorrow that is full of joy St. Symeon the New Theologian

Paul writes, 'I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this' (1 Cor. 4:4). You see he does not exalt himself, but humbles and abases himself in every way, and that just when he had reached the summit. And the Three Children were in the fire, in the midst of the furnace, and what did they say? 'For we have sinned and transgressed by departing from You; and we have done evil in every way' (Dan. 3:29). This is what it is to have a contrite heart. St. John Chrysostom

Since salvation comes to you as a free gift, give thanks to God your saviour. If you wish to present Him with gifts, gratefully offer from your widowed soul two tiny coins, humility and love, and God will accept these in the treasury of His salvation more gladly than the host of virtues deposited there by others. Dead through the passions, pray like Lazarus to be brought to life again, sending to God these two sisters to intercede with Him; and you will surely attain your goal. St. Theognostos, in The Philokalia, Vol. 2.

"Just as water and fire cannot be combined, so self-justification and humility excludes one another." REF:St. Mark the Ascetic

111. Humility consists, not in condemning our conscience, but in recognizing God's grace and compassion. REF:Saint Kosmas Aitolos +1779

You should not even get the fleeting idea that you are better. Before God whoever thinks that it is possible that all others are better than he wins. REF:Saint John Chrysostom





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