Gleanings from Orthodox Christian Authors and the Holy Fathers

repentance

110 Entries

…Only the tears of repentance are able to cleanse the soul. REF:St. Anthimos of Chios +1960



…A saving medicine for the cure of your wounded soul is sincere repentance, done with humility and contrition of heart, with tears and sighs, with hate and aversion towards sin, and a firm decision to no longer sin…God’s compassion is greater than your sins… 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

…Having Christ as ally and armed with the weapons of Faith, Love and Humble-mindedness and of the Precious Cross, we will defeat the invisible and visible enemies…If we wish our salvation, we will find it only in repentance and in our return to God, from whom we departed…If we truly repent, like the Ninevites, we will also be saved, if we don’t repent, we will be sent to perdition… 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

Even if all spiritual fathers, patriarchs, hierarchs, and all the people forgive you, you are unforgiven if you don’t repent in action. St Kosmas Aitolos

...Then the old men [around him] asked him, 'With whom are you speaking, Father?' He said, 'Look, the angels are coming to fetch me, and I am begging them to let me do a little penance.' The old men said to him, 'You have no need to do penance, Father.' But the old man said to them, 'Truly, I do not think I have even made a beginning yet'... Apophthegmata Patrum. Sigma.14

...if you feel no pang in committing minor offences you will through them fall into major transgressions. St. Gregory Palamas (A New Testament Decalogue no. 7, The Philokalia Vol. 4 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 329)

...in spite of the fact that you are weak and faulty, you are accounted guilty for all the wrong things you do. For since you possess a will, all that comes forth from you is subject to it, and so everything good is counted in your favor and everything bad - to your detriment. Therefore, conscious of your general wickedness, admit yourself guilty also in the particular wickedness into which you have fallen at the present moment. Judge and condemn yourself, and only yourself; do not look around, seeking on whom you could put the blame. Neither the people around you nor the circumstances are guilty of your sin. Your bad will alone is to blame. So blame yourself. Lorenzo Scupoli (Unseen Warfare:Chapter 28)

...it is good to repent every day, as the commandment demands. For the words: 'Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand' (Matt 3:2) impose upon us a practice not limited to a definite time but for always. St. Simeon the New Theologian (Practical and Theological Precepts no. 84, Writings from the Philokalia on Prayer of the Heart; Faber and Faber pg.116)

...let us not lay the blame for the sins we have committed either on our birth or on anyone else, but only on ourselves. St. Antony the Great(170 Texts on Saintly Life no. 28)

A certain brother fell into temptation, and through tribulation relinquished the garb of monkhood; and he wished to begin to renew his ascetic life, but he saw the great difficulty of the matter, and he drew back, and said, "When shall I ever find myself in the same condition as I was formerly?"

And through fear he did not begin his work, and he went and made the matter known to an old man, and the old man said, "The matter is thus: There was a certain man who possessed an estate, and he held it to be of no account and did not cultivate it, and it became full of tangled undergrowth and thorns. Now one day he remembered it, and he sent his son, and said unto him, ‘Go, clean the estate.’ And when he had gone and seen the abundance of the undergrowth he was afraid, and said to himself, ‘When shall I be able to clean away all this undergrowth?’ And he threw himself upon a bed, and lay down, and went to sleep, and thus he did every day. The his father went forth and found that he was asleep, and that he had done nothing; and he said unto him, ‘How is it, my son, that no work whatsoever hath been done by thee?’ And he said to his father, ‘When I came to work and saw the abundance of the undergrowth, I was afraid and said, "When shall I be able to clean all this away?"’ And his father said unto him, ‘My son, work according to the measure of thy sleep each day, and it shall be sufficient for thee’; and when he heard this the young man plucked up courage, and did thus, and in a short time he cleansed the estate.

Thus also thou shalt not be afraid but begin the work of thy rules, and God, by His Grace, will establish thee among those in the first rank." Now when the brother had done thus he was helped. E. A. Wallis Budge, "The Paradise of the Holy Fathers," (Seattle, Washington: St. Nectarios Press, 1984), p. 137



A soldier asked Abba Mius if God accepted repentance. After the old man had taught him many things he said, "Tell me, my dear, if your cloak is torn, do you throw it away?" He replied, "No, I mend it and use it again." The old man said to him, "If you are so careful about your cloak, will not God be equally careful about his creature? " The Desert Fathers

Abba Sarmatas said, "I prefer a sinful man who knows he has sinned and repents, to a man who has not sinned and considers himself to be righteous." The Desert Fathers

Adam, God's first-formed man, transgressed: could He[God] not at once have brought death upon him? But see what the Lord does, in His great love towards man. He casts him out from Paradise, for because of sin he was unworthy to live there; but He puts him to dwell over against Paradise: that seeing whence he had fallen, and from what and into what a state he was brought down, he might afterwards be saved by repentance. St. Cyril of Jerusalem (Catechetical Lectures: Lecture 2 no. 7)

Always remain in a state of repentance, the foundation of our salvation, for we know not the day or the hour at which the Lord will come. St. Nilus of Sinai

And what is the profit," one may say, "when any one hears, but doeth not what is said?" No little will the profit be even from hearing. For he will go on to condemn himself,(2) and to groan inwardly, and will come in time also to do the things that are spoken of. But he that doth not even know that he hath sinned, when will he cease from his negligence? when will he condemn himself?

Let us not therefore despise the hearing of the divine Scriptures. For this is of Satan's devising; not suffering us to see the treasure, lest we should gain the riches. St John Chrysostom, Gospel According To St. Matthew, Homily 2.



As it is not possible to cross over the great ocean without a ship, so no one can attain to love without fear. The fetid sea, which lies between us and the noetic paradise, we may cross by the boat of repentance, whose oarsmen are those of fear. But if fear's oarsmen do not pilot the barque of repentance whereby we cross over the sea of this world to God, we shall be drowned in the fetid abyss. Repentance is the ship and fear is the pilot; love is the divine haven. The Ascetical Homilies of St. Isaac the Syrian

Boastful I am, and hard-hearted, all in vain and for nothing. Condemn me not with the Pharisee, but rather grant me the humility of the Publican, O only merciful and just Judge, and number me with him. the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete

But nothing causes such exceeding grief as when anyone, lying under the captivity of sin, calls to mind from where he has fallen, because he turned aside to carnal and earthly things, instead of directing his mind in the beautiful ways of the knowledge of God. So you find Adam concealing himself, when he knew that God was present and wishing to be hidden when called by God with that voice which wounded the soul of him who was hiding: "Adam, where art thou?" That is to say, Why do you hide yourself? Why are you concealed? Why do you avoid Him Whom you once longed to see? A guilty conscience is so burdensome that it punishes itself without a judge, and wishes for covering, and yet is bare before God. St. Ambrose Milan, Concerning Repentance, Book II

But nothing causes such exceeding grief as when anyone, lying under the captivity of sin, calls to mind from where he has fallen, because he turned aside to carnal and earthly things, instead of directing his mind in the beautiful ways of the knowledge of God. So you find Adam concealing himself, when he knew that God was present and wishing to be hidden when called by God with that voice which wounded the soul of him yourself? Why are you concealed? Why do you avoid Him Whom you once longed to see? A guilty conscience is so burdensome that it punishes itself without a judge, and wishes for covering, and yet is bare before God. St. Ambrose Milan, Concerning Repentance, Book II

Do all in your power not to fall, for the strong athlete should not fall. But if you do fall, get up again at once and continue the contest. Even if you fall a thousand times because of the withdrawal of God's grace, rise up again each time, and keep on doing so until the day of your death. For it is written, "If a righteous man fall seven times" -- that is, repeatedly throughout his life -- seven times "shall he rise again" (Proverbs 24:16). So long as you hold fast, with tears and prayer, to the weapon of the monastic habit, you will be counted among those that stand upright, even though you fall again and again. So long as you remain a monk, you will be like a brave soldier who faces the blows of the enemy; and God will commend you, because even when struck you refused to surrender or run away. But if you give up the monastic life, running away like a coward and a deserter, the enemy will strike you in the back; and you will lose your freedom of communion with God. St. John of Karpathos "The Philokalia: the Complete Text" (volume I), by St. Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain and St. Makarios of Corinth, trans. By G.E.H. Palmer, Philip Sherrard, and (Bishop) Kallistos Ware, (London: Faber and Faber, 1979), pp. 298 - 309

Do all in your power not to fall, for the strong athlete should not fall. But if you do fall, get up again at once and continue the contest. Even if you fall a thousand times because of the withdrawal of God's grace, rise up again each time, and keep on doing this until the day of your death. For it is written, 'If a righteous man falls down seven times' - that is, repeatedly throughout his life - 'seven times shall he rise again' [Prov. 24:16]. St. Ephrem

Do not be surprised that you fall every day; do not give up, but stand your around courageously. And assuredly the angel who guards you will honor your patience, While a wound is still fresh and warm it is easy to heal, but old, neglected and festering ones are hard to cure, and require for their care much treatment, cutting, plastering and cauterization. Many from long neglect become incurable. But with God all things are possible... St John Climacus - the Ladder of Divine Ascent

Do not deceive yourself, foolish worker, as if one time can make up for another. For the day is not sufficient to repay in full its own debt to the Lord. St. John Climacus, The Ladder of Divine Ascent

Do not rely on the evil one, who instills in you deceptive ideas, saying “You are still young, and will still live a long time. Therefore enjoy yourself now, and do not worry about your soul; you will repent when you are old.” If you do not repent when you are young, at an age when you are in full of strength, able to bear any burden and endure your podvig, then will you not, in old age, use your weakness as your justification? St. Ephraim of Syria

For God seeks nothing else from us, save a good purpose. Say not, How are my sins blotted out? I tell thee, By willing, by believing[1]. What can be shorter than this? But if, while thy lips declare thee willing, thy heart be silent, He knoweth the heart, who judgeth thee. Cease from this day from every evil deed. Let not thy tongue speak unseemly words, let thine eye abstain from sin, and from roving[2] after things unprofitable. Procatechesis, Or, Prologue To The Catechetical Lectures Of Our Holy Father, Cyril, Archbishop Of Jerusalem

For sin is what is not swiftly washed away by penitence, or sin is the cause of sin, or sin is also the punishment for sin, or sin is at once both the cause and the punishment of sin. For every act which is committed is first sin. But if it is not cleansed swiftly by penitence Almighty God by righteous judgement allows the guilty mind of the sinner to fall to further guilt, so that the mind which was unwilling to cleanse what it had done by weeping and correction begins to add sin to sin. Therefore the sin which is not washed away by the lament of penitence is at the same time the cause of sin, because from it arises whence the spirit of the sinner plunges deeper into guilt. Truly sin which follows from sin is at the same time a sin and the penalty for sin, because with increasing blindness it is generated from the retribution of prior guilt so that certain punishments are, as it were, the very increase of vices in the sinner. St. Gregory the Great, Homilies on the Book of Ezekiel

He who busies himself with the sins of others, or judges his brother on suspicion, has not yet even begun to repent or to examine himself so as to discover his own sins... St. Maximos the Confessor (Third Century on Love no. 55)

He who would be saved should ever have his heart disposed to repentance and broken, according to the Psalmist: "Sacrifice to God is a broken spirit: a broken and humbled heart God will not despise" (Ps. 50:17). St Seraphim of Sarov - Spiritual Instructions

He who would be saved should ever have his heart disposed to repentance and broken, according to the Psalmist: "Sacrifice to God is a broken spirit: a broken and humbled heart God will not despise" (Ps. 50:17).

In such brokenness of spirit a man can easily pass securely through the artful snares of the proud devil, whose whole care consists in agitating the human spirit, and in agitation sowing his tares, in accordance with the words of the Gospel: "Lord, didst not Thou sow good seed in Thy field? From whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, "An enemy hath done this" (Matt. 13:27-28). 1. When, however, a man strives within himself to have his heart humble and his thought not agitated, but peaceful, then all the snares of the enemy are without effect; there resides the Lord God Himself-"His place is in peace" (Ps. 75:3). St Seraphim of Sarov



However great the life we lead may be, we may count it stale and spurious, if we have not acquired a contrite heart. For this is essential, truly essential if I may say so, that those who have again been defiled after baptism should cleanse the pitch from their hands with unceasing fire of the heart and with the oil of God. St. John Climacus, The Ladder of Divine Ascent

I am become my own idol, and have injured my soul with passions, O merciful Lord, but accept me in penitence and recall me to awareness of Thee. May I never be the possession or food of the enemy. O Saviour, have compassion on me. the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete

I consider those fallen mourners more blessed than those who have not fallen and are not mourning over themselves; because as a result of their fall, they have risen by a sure resurrection. St. John of the Ladder.

I know Thee, Savior, as Deliverer, changing the decision about all my ills. Erase my sins, underwrite my remission from sin, bring me amnesty; Engrave my decree, and free me. Thou hast become, O Lord, my King and my God, Thou who dost will that all men be saved. A Prayer, The Kontakia of Romanos, Vol. II

I went down from Jerusalem, and I fell away from Thy commandments which were written there for the nations. And as I went on my way to Jericho, on account of my impetuous emulation of them who, of old, because of their wickedness were by Thee surrendered over to be slain by Thy people, and also because of my disobedience I fell into the hands of soul-corrupting passions as though they were thieves. Wounded by them and well nigh put to death, I cry to Thee, O Thou Who in Thy body wast, of Thine own will, wounded by nails and by a spear for the sake of mankind's sins, and by the Cross didst accomplish in Jerusalem the common salvation, heal me, O Lord, and save me. Vespers of Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Lent

If he who was righteous and blameless beyond all did not escape the snares and nets of the deceiver, what will you do, my soul, who are sin-loving and wretched, if something unexpected happens to you?" the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete

If you happen to be wounded by succumbing to some sin through weakness, or through the faulty nature of your character...do not lose heart and fall into senseless turmoil. Above all do not dwell on yourself, do not say: 'How could I be such as to allow and suffer it?' This is a cry of proud self-opinion. Humble yourself and, raising your eyes to the Lord, say and feel: 'What else could be expected of me, O Lord, weak and faulty as I am.' Thereupon give thanks to Him that the thing has gone no further, saying: 'If it were not for Thy boundless mercy, O Lord, I would not have stopped at that, but would certainly have fallen into something much worse.' Lorenzo Scupoli (Unseen Warfare:Chapter 28)

In fervent faith let us burn up with abstinence the lustful passions, and flee from the icy cold of sin; with the streams of our tears let us quench the everlasting flame, crying aloud: We have sinned against Thee, O most loving Lord; forgive us and grant us Thy great mercy Matins, Tuesday, the fifth week of GreatLent

In the Divine womb, that is, in the holy font, we freely receive perfect Divine grace. If after this we cover it over with the fog of passions, either through abuse of temporal things, or though excess of cares for worldly activities, it is possible, even after this, to regain possession of it, to restore its supernatural brightness and to see quite vividly its manifestation, by repentance and the fulfillment of commandments whose action is Divine. Grace manifests in proportion to each man's zeal in remaining faithful to faith, but above all through the help and benevolence of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Monks Callistus and Ignatius (Directions to Hesychasts no. 6, Writings from the Philokalia on Prayer of the Heart; Faber and Faber pg. 168)

It is a spiritual gift from God for a man to perceive his sins. St. Isaac of Syria

It is always possible to make a new start by means of repentance. "You fell," it is written, "now arise"(cf. Prov. 24:16). And if you fall again, then rise again, without despairing at all of your salvation, no matter what happens. So long as you do not surrender yourself willingly to the enemy, your patient endurance, combined with self-reproach, will suffice for your salvation. "For at one time we ourselves went astray in our folly and disobedience," says St. Paul. "... Yet He saved us, not because of any good things we had done, but in His mercy" (Tit. 3:3,5). St. Peter of Damaskos, Philokalia, Vol. 3

It is always possible to make a new start by means of repentance. 'You fell,' it is written, 'now arise' (cf. Prov. 24:16). And if you fall again, then arise again, without despairing at all of your salvation, no matter what happens. So long as you do not surrender yourself willingly to the enemy, your patient endurance, combined with self-reproach, will suffice for your salvation. St. Peter of Damascus (Book 1: A Treasury of Divine Knowledge, The Philokalia Vol. 3 pg. 170)

It was said of an old man that when his thoughts said to him, "Relax today, and tomorrow repent," he retorted, "No, I am going to repent today, and may the will of God be done tomorrow." The Desert Fathers

Just think, dear reader, how sorry and afflicted you would feel if, in a moment of folly when your mind would be darkened and your memory lost, you were disrespectfully and shamefully ungrateful to a man who loved you so much that he did not hesitate to sacrifice his own child in order to save you - supposing it were possible to find such a kind benefactor among men. Such is the love of God our Father Who "so loved the world, the He gave (delivered unto death) His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life!" (Jn. 3:15). Likewise, the penitent feels sorry and afflicted because he realizes that through sin he has been disrespectfully and shamefully ungrateful to such a benefactor, and has displeased such a loving Father. 'Repentance' by Archimandrite Seraphim Papacostas

Let no one be misled or mislead himself with empty words - before we have mourned and shed tears we have no repentance, nor a true desire to change, nor fear of God in our hearts. For we have not yet become conscious of our guilt nor judged ourselves, nor has our soul had the foretaste of the last judgment and eternal torment. St. Simeon the New Theologian (Practical and Theological Precepts no.71, Writings from the Philokalia on Prayer of the Heart; Faber and Faber pg. 113)

Let us then not be ashamed to confess our sins unto the Lord. Shame indeed there is when each makes known his sins, but that shame, as it were, ploughs his land, removed the ever-recurring brambles, prunes the thorns, and gives life to the fruits which he believed were dead. Follow him who, by diligently ploughing his field, sought for eternal fruit: "being reviled we bless, being persecuted we endure, being defames we entreat, we are made as the offscouring of the world." If you plough after this fashion you will sow spiritual seed. Plough that you may get rid of sin and gain fruit. He ploughed so as to destroy in himself the last tendency to persecution. What more could Christ give to lead us on to the pursuit of perfection, than to convert and then give us for a teacher one who was a persecutor? St. Ambrose of Milan, Concerning Repentance

My soul, my soul, arise! Why are you sleeping? The end is drawing near, and you will be confounded. Awake, then and be watchful, that Christ our God may spare you, Who is everywhere present and fills all things. Kontakion from the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete

No one is as good and kind as the Lord is; but He does not forgive one who does not repent. St. Mark the Ascetic

Not to sin is truly blessed; but those who sin should not despair, but grieve over the sins they have committed, so that, through grief they may again attain blessedness. It is good, then, to pray always and not to lose heart, as the Lord says, And again the Apostle says, ‘Pray without ceasing’, that is by night and by day and at every hour, and not only when coming into the church, and not bothering at other times. But whether you are working, lying down to sleep, travelling, eating, drinking, sitting at table, do not interrupt your prayer, for you do not know when he who demands your soul is coming. Don’t wait for Sunday or a feast day, or a different place, but, as the Prophet David says, ‘in every place of his dominion’. St Ephrem the Syrian, 'Three Short Discourses', from 'http://web.ukonline.co.uk/ephrem/3disc.htm'

Nothing equals or excels God's mercies. Therefore he who despairs is committing suicide. A sign of true repentance is the acknowledgment that we deserve all the troubles, visible and invisible, that come to us, and even greater ones. Moses, after seeing God in the bush, returned again to Egypt, that is, to darkness and to the brick-making of Pharaoh, symbolical of the spiritual Pharaoh. But he went back again to the bush, and not only to the bush but also up the mountain. Whoever has known contemplation will never despair of himself. Job became a beggar, but he became twice as rich again. St John Climacus - the Ladder of Divine Ascent

Nothing equals or excels God’s mercies. Therefore, he who despairs is committing suicide. A sign of true repentance is the acknowledgement that we deserve all the afflictions, visible and invisible, that come upon us, and even greater ones. Moses, after seeing God in the bush, returned again to Egypt, that is, to the darkness and to the brick-making of Pharaoh, who was symbolical of the spiritual Pharaoh. But he went back again to the bush, and not only to the bush, but also up to the mountain. Whoever has known divine vision will never despair of himself. Job became a beggar, but he became twice as rich again. St John Climacus, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent", Step 5: On Painstaking and True Repentance Which Constitute the Life of the Holy Convicts (Boston: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978)

Once gone forth from hence there is no more place for repentance; no satisfaction can be accomplished. It is here that life is lost or saved; it is here that eternal salvation is provided for by the worship of God, the the fruits of faith. St. Cyprian of Carthage, Letter to Demetrius

One must condescend to the soul in its infirmities and imperfections, and bear its defects as we bear those of others; one must not, however, become lazy, but should spur oneself to do better. Perhaps one has eaten too much, or done something similar to this which is natural to human weakness - do not be disturbed at this, and do not add injury to injury; but bestir yourself to correction and at the same time strive to preserve peace of soul, according to the word of the Apostle: 'Blessed is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth' (Rom. 14:22). St. Seraphim of Sarov, Little Russian Philokalia, Vol. 1

Remember, O my soul, the terrible and frightful wonder: that your Creator for your sake became Man, and deigned to suffer for the sake of your salvation. His angels tremble, the Cherubim are terrified, the Seraphim are in fear, and all the heavenly powers ceaselessly give praise; and you, unfortunate soul, remain in laziness. At least from this time forth arise and do not put off, my beloved soul, holy repentance, contrition of heart and penance for your sins. St. Paisius Velichkovsky

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

Repentance is the renewal of baptism. Repentance is a contract with God for a second life. A penitent is a buyer of humility. Repentance is constant distrust of bodily comfort. Repentance is self-condemning reflection, and carefree self- care. Repentance is the daughter of hope and the renunciation of despair. A penitent is an undisgraced convict. Repentance is reconciliation with the Lord by the practice of good deeds contrary to the sins. Repentance is purification of conscience. Repentance is the voluntary endurance of all afflictions. A penitent is the inflicter of his own punishments. Repentance is a mighty persecution of the stomach, and a striking of the soul into vigorous awareness. St John Climacus, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent", Step 5: On Painstaking and True Repentance Which Constitute the Life of the Holy Convicts (Boston: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978)

Repentance is the renewal of baptism. Repentance is a contract with God for a second life. A penitent is a buyer of humility. Repentance is constant distrust of bodily comfort. Repentance is self-condemning reflection, and carefree self-care. Repentance is the daughter of hope and the renunciation of despair. A penitent is an undisgraced convict. Repentance is reconciliation with the Lord by the practice of good deeds contrary to the sins. Repentance is purification of conscience. Repentance is the voluntary endurance of all afflictions. A penitent is the inflicter of his own punishments. Repentance is a mighty persecution of the stomach, and a striking of the soul into vigorous awareness. St. John Climacus

Repentance is the renewal of baptism. Repentance is a contract with God for a second life. A penitent is a buyer of humility. Repentance is constant distrust of bodily comfort. Repentance is self-condemning reflection, and carefree self-care. Repentance is the daughter of hope and the renunciation of despair. A penitent is an undisgraced convict. Repentance is reconciliation with the Lord by the practice of good deeds contrary to the sins. Repentance is purification of conscience. Repentance is the voluntary endurance of all afflictions. A penitent is the inflicter of his own punishments. Repentance is a mighty persecution of the stomach, and a striking of the soul into vigorous awareness. St. John Climacus, Ladder of Divine Ascent, Step 5

Repentance is the renewal of baptism. Repentance is a contract with God for a second life. A penitent is a buyer of humility. Repentance is constant distrust of bodily comfort.. :.Repentance is the daughter of hope and the renunciation of despair .... Repentance is reconciliation with the Lord by the practice of good deeds contrary to the sins. Repentance is purification of conscience. Repentance is the voluntary endurance of all afflictions... St John Climacus - the Ladder of Divine Ascent

Should you accuse and condemn yourself before God for the sins on your conscience, you will be justified for doing so. Counsels of the Optina Elder Moses (Putilov)

Should you be sorrowful over your sins, or be moved, or shed a tear, or sigh, your sighing will not be hidden from Him. St. Simeon tells us, “Nothing is hidden from Thee, my God, my Creator, my Redeemer, neither a teardrop, nor a part of a drop.” St. John Chrysostom states, “If you only lament over your sins, He will take it as a reason for your salvation.” Counsels of the Optina Elder Moses (Putilov)

Sincere repentance is a gift of God such that, although we may not have committed any severe fall into sin or evil deed, we still see ourselves in our true light, see how weak we are, how much we sin in the mind, in our feelings, and especially in our imagination. Looking honestly at ourselves, we have nothing left to say except "Lord God have mercy on me, help me, and forgive, forgive, forgive me!" Then forgiveness will come into our souls like Pascha, and we are as it were born anew. And if the Lord should forgive, who will condemn us? Metropolitan Vitaly, Paschal Encyclical, 2001 (http://www.orthodox.net/pascha/2001-pascha-vitaly.html)

The beginning of repentance proceeds from fear of God and heedfulness, as the holy martyr Boniface says (Lives of Saints, Dec. 19): The fear of God is the father of heedfulness, and heedfulness is the mother of inner peace, and the latter gives birth to conscience, which causes the soul to behold its own ugliness as in a certain pure and undisturbed water; and thus are both the beginnings and roots of repentance. Spiritual Instructions of St. Seraphim of Sarov

The deeper the contrition, the better. But however deep the contrition, never admit a shadow of doubt about forgiveness. Forgiveness is already fully prepared and the record of all sins has been torn up on the Cross. Repentance and contrition alone are expected of every man, before he too can participate in the power of the redemption of the sins of the world through the Crucifixion. Lorenzo Scupoli (Unseen Warfare: Chapter 28)

The fact that repentance furnishes hope should not be taken by us as a means to rob oursleves of the feeling of fear, so that one might more freely and fearlessly commit sin. For behold how God in every wise preached fear in all the Scriptures and showed Himself to be a hater of sin. The Ascetical Homilies of St. Isaac the Syrian.

The forgetting of wrongs is a sign of true repentance. But he who dwells on them and thinks that he is repenting is like a man who thinks he is running while he is really asleep. St. John Climacus, “The Ladder of Divine Ascent,” (Boston: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978), Step 9: On Remembrance of Wrongs

The forgetting of wrongs is a sign of true repentance. But he who dwells on them and thinks that he is repenting is like a man who thinks he is running while he is really asleep... St John Climacus - the Ladder of Divine Ascent

The grace of the priesthood is one thing, the grace of the great schema is another, the grace of the Mysteries is different, and the action of grace in ascesis is also different. They all spring from the same source, but each one differs from the other in eminence and glory. The grace of repentance, which acts in those who struggle, is a patristic inheritance. It is a divine transaction and exchange in which we give dust and receive heaven. We exchange matter for the Spirit. Every drop of sweat, every pain, every ascesis for God is an exchange. Monastic Wisdom: The Letters of Elder Joseph the Hesychast

The man who remains standing when he repents, has not kept the commandment. Abba Theodore of Pherme

The parents of a young girl died and she was left an orphan; she was called Paesia. She decided to make her house a hospice for the use of the fathers of Scetis. But in the course of time her resources were exhausted and she began to be in want. Some wicked men came to see her and turned her aside from her aim. She began to live an evil life to the point of becoming a prostitute.

The fathers, learning this, were deeply grieved and they called John the Dwarf and said to him, "We have learned that this sister is living an evil life. While she could she gave us charity, so now it is our turn to offer her charity and to go to her assistance. Go to see her then and according to the wisdom that God has given you, put things right for her."

So Abba John went to see her and said to the old doorkeeper, "Tell your mistress I am here." But she sent him away saying, "From the start you ate her goods and see how poor she is now." Abba John said, "Tell her I have something that will be very helpful to her." The doorkeeper's children mocked him saying, "What have you to give her that you want to meet her?" He replied, "How do you know what I am going to give her?"

The old woman went up and spoke to her mistress about him. Paesia said to her, "Those monks are always going about around the Red Sea and finding pearls." Then she got ready and said to the doorkeeper, "Please bring him to me." As he was coming up, she got ready for him and lay down on the bed. Abba John entered and sat beside her. Looking into her eyes, he said, "What have you got against Jesus that you behave like this?" When she heard this she became completely rigid. Then Abba John bent his head and began to weep copiously. She asked him, "Why are you crying, Father?" He raised his head, then lowered it again weeping and said to her, "I see Satan playing in your face, how should I not weep?"

Hearing this she said, "Father, is it possible to repent?" He replied, "Yes." She said, "Take me wherever you wish." "Let us go," he said and she got up and went with him.

Abba John noticed that she did not make any arrangements about her house; he said nothing but he was surprised. When they reached the desert the evening was drawing on. He made a little pillow in the sand and marked it with the sign of the cross, saying, "Sleep here." Then he did the same for himself a little further on, said his prayers and lay down.

Waking in the middle of the night, he saw a shining path reaching from heaven to her and he saw the angels of God bearing away her soul. When he saw that she was dead, he threw himself downward on the ground praying to God and he heard this: "One single hour of repentance has brought her more than the penances of many who continue without showing such fervor in repentance." Sr. Benedicta Ward, "Harlots of the Desert," (Kalamazoo, Michigan: Cistercian Publications, 1987), pp. 77-78



The saints are required to offer repentance not only on their own behalf but also on behalf of their neighbor, for without active love they cannot be made perfect ... In this way the whole universe is held together in unity, and through God's providence we are each of us assisted by one another. St. Mark the Ascetic (as quoted in HOW ARE WE SAVED? by Bishop Kallistos Ware, pg. 23)

The wicked one, on the watch, carried me off as booty as I lazily slept. He led my mind into error; he plundered my spirit and snatched away The wealth of Thy grace, this arch robber. So raise me up, as I am fallen, and summon me, Saviour, Thou who dost will that all men be saved. St Romanos the Melodist - A Prayer

The wicked one, on the watch, carried me off as booty as I lazily slept. He led my mind into error; he plundered my spirit and snatched away The wealth of Thy grace, this arch robber. So raise me up, as I am fallen, and summon me, Saviour, Thou who dost will that all men be saved. Kontakia of St. Romanos, A Prayer

This is now the second covenant you have made with God. The first you made when you originally entered into this life; the second, as you swiftly approach its close. Then through the profession of the true faith you were numbered among Christ's flock; now you are united to Him through repentance. Then you found grace; now you have contracted an obligation. Then, still a little child, you were not aware of the honor conferred on you, although later, as you grew up, you began to appreciate the greatness of the gift and restrained your tongue accordingly. Now, having reached complete understanding, you fully recognize the significance of the vow you are taking. Beware lest you fail to fulfill this promise as well, and are cast, like some shattered pot, into the outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (cf. Mt. 8:12). No path other than that of repentance leads to salvation. Theoliptos, Metropolitan of Philadelphia, Philokalia, Vol. 4

This life has been given to you for repentance; do not waste it in vain pursuits. St. Isaac of Syria

Thou dost not so much desire thy sins to be forgiven, as He desires to forgive thee thy sins. In proof that thou dost not so desire it, consider that thou hast no mind either to practice vigils, or to give thy money freely: but He, that He might forgive our sins, spared not His Only-Begotten and True Son, the partner of His throne St. John Chrysostom

Two factors are involved in man's salvation: the grace of God and the will of man. Both must work together, if salvation is to be attained.

Repentance is a Mysterion through which he who repents for his sins confesses before a Spiritual Father who has been appointed by the Church and has received the authority to forgive sins, and receives from this Spiritual Father the remission of his sins and is reconciled with the Deity, against Whom he sinned.

Repentance signifies regret, change of mind. The distinguishing marks of repentance are contrition, tears, aversion towards sin, and love of the good. "Modern Orthodox Saints, St. Nectarios of Aegina", Dr. Constantine Cavarnos, Institute for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, Belmont, Massachusetts., 1981., pp. 154-187



We must carefully consider whether our conscience has ceased to accuse us, not as a result of purity, but because it is immersed in evil. A sign of deliverance from our falls is the continual acknowledgment of our indebtedness. St John Climacus - the Ladder of Divine Ascent

We should not put off repentance, for we know not the hour of our death. St. Ephraim of Syria

What does spoil repentance is being again entangled in the same evils. "For there is one" we read, "who builds, and one who pulls down, what have they gained more than toil? He who is dipped in water because of contact with a dead body, and then touches it again, what has he gained by his washing?" Even so if a man fasts because of his sins, and goes his way again, and does the same things, who will hear his prayer? And again we read "if a man goes back from righteousness to sin the Lord will prepare him for the sword," and, "as a dog when he has returned to his vomit, and become odious, so is a fool who by his wickedness has returned to his sin." Chrysostom: Exhortation to Theodore after his fall, letter 1

What then? some one will say: 'We have been beguiled and are lost. Is there then no salvation left? We have fallen: Is it not possible to rise again? We have been blinded: May we not recover our sight? We have become crippled: Can we never walk upright? In a word, we are dead: May we not rise again?' He that woke Lazarus who was four days dead and already stank, shall He not, O man, much more easily raise thee who art alive? He who shed His precious blood for us, shall Himself deliver us from sin. Let us not despair of ourselves, brethren; let us not abandon ourselves to a hopeless condition. For it is a fearful thing not to believe in a hope of repentance. Second Catechetical Lecture Of Our Holy Father Cyril, Archbishop Of Jerusalem, Lecture Ii.- On Repentance And Remission Of Sins, And Concerning The Adversary

When a person is in a state of bondage to sin and has as an obstacle sadness and cannot concentrate, it means that he is without the regeneration of our Savior Jesus Christ and is far from Him.

But when a man "comes to himself" and feels that his soul is far from God and becomes aware of his sinfulness, and with tears of repentance entreats our Heavenly Father to forgive him and bring him back to the heavenly joy of our Christ, then the regeneration of his soul takes place. 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



When people go to the Lord with a firm resolve, He never allows them to fall back completely. He sees their weakness and works with them to help. He stretches out His hand of power from on high and draws them to Himself. His assistance is at the same time open, yet secret, conscious, yet unconscious, until such time as we have climbed right up the ladder and drawn close to Him. Then we will be made one in the All and forget all the things of earth, and be with God, whether in body our out of it I do not know. There we shall be fellow citizens, enjoying the good things that cannot be described. St. Symeon the New Theologian, The Practical and Theological Chapter

While a wound is still new and warm, it is easy to heal. Old wounds, carelessly left to fester are not easily healed, but require much effort, cutting, dusting [with medications] and cauterizations. With time, many wounds become intractable but for God everything is possible (Matthew 19: 26). The later the repentance, the more arduous it becomes. St John of the Ladder

Why do you increase your bonds? Take hold of your life before your light grows dark and you seek help and do not find it. This life has been given to you for repentance; do not waste it in vain pursuits. St. Ignatius the God-bearer

You are, I am sure, aware that for you penitence is now no longer limited to disclosing your sins to your confessor, but that you must now bear your sins in mind always, until your heart nearly breaks with their ugly load; and would break, were it not for your firm faith in the mercy of our Lord." St. Makary of Optina

...it is impossible for a man to be freed from the habit of sin before he hates it, just as it is impossible to receive forgiveness before confessing his trespasses... Monks Callistus and Ignatius (Directions to Hesychasts no. 28, Writings from the Philokalia on Prayer of the Heart; Faber and Faber pg. 199)

A brother asked Abba Sisoes, 'What shall I do, Abba, for I have fallen?' The old man said to him, 'Get up again.' The brother said, 'I have got up again, but I have fallen again.; The old man said, 'Get up again and again.; So then the brother said, 'How many times?' The old man said, 'Until you are taken up either in virtue or in sin. For a man presents himself to judgement in the state in which he is found.' The Sayings of the Desert Fathers.

It is always possible to make a new start by means of repentance. 'For a righteous man may fall seven times And rise again' (Prov. 24:16). And if you fall again, then rise again, without despairing at all of your salvation, no matter what happens. So long as you do not surrender yourself willingly to the enemy, your patient endurance, combined with self-reproach, will suffice for your salvation. 'For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient,'says St. Paul, '...not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us' (Tit. 3:3,5). St. Peter of Damaskos.

"Let none of you say it is impossible to weep each day, for those who say this also say it is impossible to repent each day. First of all, with an unquestionably firm faith and warm love, you ought to approach God and decidedly renounce the world." St. Paisius Velichkovsky

"Almighty God has allowed His chosen to succumb to certain sins. This is so that He may restore hope of forgiveness to others, who are under sin's domination, if they will only rise up to Him wholeheartedly: for then God can open up for them the way to heaven through sorrow and repentance. Let us them embrace sorrow, let is rid ourselves of our sins by tears and 'fruits worthy of repentance.' We must not squander the time that has been granted us. We see so many freshly washed clean of the wrongs they have done: what else so we have in them except a pledge of the compassion from on high!" St. Gregory the Great

If chastisement is an obstacle to wickedness, you will say, why do we not daily pay the penalty of sin? Because if this happened, the human race would be snatched away ahead of time and the opportunity for repentance removed. St. John Chrysostom, Commentary on the Psalms, Vol. 1

As long as we are in this world, let us repent with our whole heart of the evil things which we have done in the flesh, so that we may be saved by the Lord while we still have time for repentance. For after we have departed from the world, we are no longer able there either to confess or to repent anymore. Second Clement, c. A.D. 100.

Someone asked Abba Poemen to explain what repentance means exactly? "Not to commit the same sin again in the future," the Elder replied. Abba Poemen

A novice went to Holy Poemen in sorrow. "I had a great fall, Abba," he confessed, and I need at least three years to repent. "That's too much," the Elder told him. "Is three months enough, then?" " That's also too much," the Holy Man replied. Let me tell you that if you have truly repented and have made a firm decision not to fall into the same sin again, God in his Goodness will receive you back in three days" Abba Poemen

A brother confessed to Abba Sisoes. "I fell, Father. What am I to do now?" "Get up," said the Holy Elder, with his usual simplicity "I got up, Abba, but I fell into that cursed sin again," the brother confessed with great sorrow? "And what's stopping you from getting up again?" "For how long?" the brother replied " Until death finds you either falling or rising. Is it written. "wherever I find you there shall I judge you?" the Elder explained. Only pray to God that during your last moment you will be found upright in holy repentance." Abba Sisoes

" There is a sin which is always 'unto death' [1 Jn 5:16]; the sin which we have not repented. Even a saint's prayer's will not be heard for the unrepented sin. The person who repents correctly does not imagine that his sins are cancelled through his own effort; but knows that through this effort he makes peace with God." St. Mark the Ascetic

They say that a certain brother, when troubled by a thought which said, forget about today and repent tomorrow, would wisely reply "Today I'll show my repentance with works, as for tomorrow, let God's will be done." Unknown (found at http://agrino.org/cyberdesert/Repentance.htm)

Since the Word of God though His descent to us has brought the kingdom of heaven close to us, let us not distance ourselves from it by leading an unrepentant life. Let us rather flee the wretchedness of those who sit `in darkness and the shadow of death' (Isa. 9:2). Let us acquire the fruits of repentance: a humble disposition, compunction and spiritual grief, a gentle and merciful heart that loves righteousness and pursues purity, peaceful, peace-making, patient in toil, glad to endure persecution, loss outrage, slander and suffering for the sake of truth and righteousness. For the kingdom of heaven or, rather, the King of heaven - ineffable in His generosity - is within us (cf. Luke 17:21); and to Him we should cleave through acts of repentance and patient endurance, loving as much as we can Him Who so dearly has loved us. St. Gregory Palamas, Philokalia, Vol. 4.

Repentance must occur, not from fear of punishment but because we have sinned before God. Sweeten your thoughts with words of consolation and hope. Warm your words with the warmth of your love towards your Bridegroom and remember His Passion, which he underwent for you, so that you would remain firm, devoted and humble. Give your whole self completely over to the protecting veil of the Panagia. Elder Amphilochios Makris - http://agrino.org/cyberdesert/makris.htm

"Let none of you say it is impossible to weep each day, for those who say this also say it is impossible to repent each day. First of all, with an unquestionably firm faith and warm love, you ought to approach God and decidedly renounce the world." St. Paisius Velichkovsky

Even if all spiritual fathers, patriarchs, hierarchs, and all the people forgive you, you are unforgiven if you don’t repent in action. REF:Saint Kosmas Aitolos +1779

8. Unexpected trials are sent by God to teach us to practice the ascetic life; and they lead us to repentance even when we are reluctant. REF:Saint Kosmas Aitolos +1779

58. A sinner cannot escape retribution except through repentance appropriate to his offence. REF:Saint Kosmas Aitolos +1779

78. No one is as good and merciful as the Lord. But even He does not forgive the unrepentant. REF:Saint Kosmas Aitolos +1779

79. Many of us feel remorse for our sins, yet we gladly accept their causes. REF:Saint Kosmas Aitolos +1779

110. One who is repentant cannot be haughty, just as one who sins deliberately cannot be humble-minded. REF:Saint Kosmas Aitolos +1779

215. If a man falls into some sin and does not feel remorse for his offence as he should, he will easily fall into the same net again. REF:Saint Kosmas Aitolos +1779

Just as no one sells merchandise when the celebration ends, thus also in the tomb no one makes deals for the Kingdom of God. REF:Saint Basil the Great

When works of faith are lacking, the name of a Christian does not benefit us…hasten, oh Christian, with repentance and conversion the exit of the soul…because on earth repentance has its power. REF:Saint John Chrysostom





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