Gleanings from Orthodox Christian Authors and the Holy Fathers


43 Entries

For, tell me, who of you that stand here, if he were required, could repeat one Psalm, or any other portion of the divine Scriptures? There is not one.

And it is not this only that is the grievous thing, but that while ye are become so backward with respect to things spiritual, yet in regard of what belongs to Satan ye are more vehement than fire. Thus should any one be minded to ask of you songs of devils and impure effeminate melodies, he will find many that know these perfectly, and repeat them with much pleasure.

10. But what is the answer to these charges? “I am not,” you will say, “one of the monks, but I have both a wife and children, and the care of a household.” Why, this is what hath ruined all, your supposing that the reading of the divine Scriptures appertains to those only, when ye need it much more than they. For they that dwell in the world, and each day receive wounds, these have most need of medicines. So that it is far worse than not reading, to account the thing even “superfluous:” for these are the words of diabolical invention. Hear ye not Paul saying, “that all these things are written for our admonition”. - NPNF1-10. St. Chrysostom: Homilies on the Gospel of Saint Matthew - Homily II

...we should search the Scriptures in accordance with the Lord's commandment, so that we may find eternal life in them (cf. John 5:39); and we should pay attention to the meaning of the psalms and troparia, becoming in this way totally aware of our ignorance. For if one does not taste of knowledge, says St. Basil the Great, one does not know how much one lacks. St. Peter of Damaskos (Book 1: A Treasury of Divine Knowledge, The Philokalia Vol. 3 pg. 194)

A monk who desires to attain to a knowledge of Scripture should ... direct the full effort of his mind and the attentiveness of his heart toward the cleansing of fleshly vices. As soon as these have been driven out and the veil of the passions has been lifted, the eyes of his heart will naturally contemplate the mysteries of Scripture Fifth Book of the Institutes

All Scripture, then, is given by inspiration of God and is also assuredly profitable. Wherefore to search the Scriptures is a work most fair and most profitable for souls. For just as the tree planted by the channels of waters, so also the soul watered by the divine Scripture is enriched and gives fruit in its season, viz. orthodox belief, and is adorned with evergreen leafage, I mean, actions pleasing to God. For through the Holy Scriptures we are trained to action that is pleasing to God. St. John of Damascus, Exposition of the Orthodox Faith

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.

Divine Scripture often repeats the same words, yet this is not to be regarded as verbosity. On the contrary, by means of this frequent repetition it unexpectedly and compassionately draws even those who are very slow in grasping things to an awareness and understanding of what is being said; and it ensures that a particular saying does not escape notice because of its fleetingness and brevity. St. Peter of Damaskos (Book 1: A Treasury of Divine Knowledge, The Philokalia Vol. 3 pg. 188)

Do not consider it sufficient for yourself to read the Gospel alone, without the reading of the Holy Fathers! This is a proud, dangerous thought. Better, let the Holy Fathers lead you to the Gospel, as their beloved child who has received his preparatory upbringing and education by means of their writings. Blessed Bishop Ignatius Brianchaninov, "On Reading the Holy Fathers,", "Living Orthodoxy" (Vol. XVII, No. 2, March-April 1995), St. John of Kronstadt Press, Liberty, Tennessee, 37095

For if thou wouldest learn how great is the profit of the Scriptures, examine thyself, what thou becomest by hearing Psalms, and what by listening to a song of Satan; and how thou art disposed when staying in a Church, and how when sitting in a theatre; and thou wilt see that great is the difference between this soul and that, although both be one. St John Chrysostom, Gospel According To St. Matthew, Homily 2

God's Scripture gives proof in numerous passages that man must undergo many disturbances in this life; and also that many consolations are at hand. With these, a spirit of sufficient vigor and awareness of the right should overcome present discomforts and look to those things that promise everlasting joy. St. Ambrose of Milan

Has some good thought come to you? Have you felt some good impulse or inclination in your heart? Stop! Check it with the Gospel. Blessed Vladyka Ignatij (Brianchaninov)

Heed all the thoughts of the Holy Gospels, because they are all diamonds, treasures, joy, delight, eternal life. The existence of many churches neither preserves nor strengthens our faith to the proper extent and in the proper manner, if those who believe in God are not enlightened by the Old and the New Testament. Modern Orthodox Saints I, St. Cosmas Aitolos).Dr. Constantine Cavarnos., INSTITUTE FOR BYZANTINE AND MODERN GREEK STUDIES., Belmont, Massachusetts., pp.81-94

In Holy Scripture we see humble words, simple words, but within they possess such great depths of the knowledge of God that the passing wisdom of this world cannot even stand beside it. St. Paul wrote about this wisdom of God: 'Among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God' (1 Cor. 2:6-7). St. Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain, A Handbook of Spiritual Counsel

It is, indeed, impossible for the mind not to be troubled by thoughts, but accepting them or rejecting them is possible for everyone who makes an effort...therefore we practice the frequent reading of Scripture, so that we may be open to a spiritual point of view. For this reason we frequently chant the psalms, so that we may continually grow in compunction. For this reason we are diligent in vigils, fasting, and praying, so that the mind which has been stretched to its limits may not taste earthly things but contemplate heavenly ones. When these things cease because negligence has crept in again, then, it is inevitable that the mind, by the accumulated filth of the vices, will soon turn in a carnal direction and fall... St. John Cassian

Just as soul and body combine to produce a human being, so practice of the virtues and contemplation together constitute a unique spiritual wisdom, and the Old and New Testament together form a single mystery. St. Maximos the Confessor(Fourth Century of Various Texts no. 90)

Just as the body that benefits from clean air will acquire good health and will be kept pure, so too the soul that enjoys the divine words - as it were, God's wind - will be restored to health and rejuvenated in purity, and made holy. Its eye will be illumined so that it can gaze all the time on God. Just as is the case with the body's eye, provided it is open and clear, it never ceases to have its fill; so too it is with the illumined *eye* of the mind: provided it is straightforward and pure, it is occupied with spiritual vision; and when it is opened so as to peer into the mysteries of divine knowledge and into the world above, it will become even more illumined and purified, thus enabled to approach the essential light of the divinity that exists above the world. Chapter XI. Martyrius, The Syriac Fathers on Prayer and the Spiritual Life

Let us then pay heed to what we hear in the Holy Scriptures:let us know the teaching of Christ the true Doctor; and let us receive with joy the doctrine which flows from His goodness. For during the time we were little ones He fed us with the food of little ones:and when we began to grow up in the rebirth, He wanted to nourish us with the food of truth. In His great love for us He neither put us to the test nor overburdened us, but He wanted to make it known that we are God's pupils and that we are sons of those who ask Him, 'Test me, Lord, put me to the test; cleanse with fire my loins and my heart, see whether there exists in me a pernicious path.' The Instructions of Theodore, Pachomian Koinoinia, Vol. III

Scripture has not explained to us what the things of the age to come are; and yet, how we might receive a perception of their delight here, without a change of nature and a translation to another place, Scripture has easily taught us. For although it does this by the names of things desirable and highly esteemed, which to us are sweet and precious, in order to stimulate us to a yearning for them, still when it says, 'which eye hath not seen, nor ear hath heard' and the rest, Scripture has declared to us that the good things to come are incomprehensible, and have no similarity to any thing here. Ascetical Homilies of St. Isaac the Syrian

Someone asked Abba Anthony, "What must one do in order to please God?" The old man replied, "Pay attention to what I tell you: Whoever you may be, always have God before your eyes. Whatever you do, do it according to the testimony of the Holy Scriptures. In whatever place you live, do not easily leave it. Keep these three precepts and you will be saved." Athanasius, Life of St. Anthony, 17

Studying the holy and sacred Gospel, I found in it many and different teachings which are all pearls, diamonds, treasures, riches, joy, gladness-eternal life. Among the other things I also found this teaching in which Christ says to us: no Christian, man or woman, should be concerned only with himself, how he can be saved, but must be concerned also with his brethren so that they may not fall into sin. St. Cosmas Aitolos in Missionaries, Monks and Martyrs by Veronis

The Holy Fathers teach how to approach the Gospel, how to read it, how to understand it correctly, what helps and what hinders in comprehending it. And therefore in the beginning occupy yourself with the reading of the Fathers. When they have taught you how to read the Gospel, then read the Gospel primarily. Blessed Bishop Ignatius Brianchaninov, "On Reading the Holy Fathers,", "Living Orthodoxy" (Vol. XVII, No. 2, March-April 1995), St. John of Kronstadt Press, Liberty, Tennessee, 37095

The Holy Scripture is the domain of Wisdom, Word and Spirit, of God in the Trinity: in it He clearly manifests Himself: 'The Words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life,' (St. John 6:63) said the Lord. The writings of the Holy Fathers are again the expression of the Mind, Word and Spirit of the Holy Trinity, in which the spirit of the higher class (spiritually speaking) of mankind has largely participated; the writings of ordinary worldly men are the expression of the fallen spirit of men, with all their sinful attachments, habits and passions. In Holy Scriptures we see God face to face, and ourselves as we are. Man, know thy self through them, and walk always as in the presence of God. St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ: Part 1)

The man who has been enabled by grace to acquire spiritual knowledge should struggle to study the divine Scriptures and this knowledge with deep dedication, humility, attention and fear of God, for unless he does this he will be deprived of his knowledge and threatened with punishment, as unworthy of what God has given him, in the same way as Saul was deprived of his kingdom, as St. Maximos explains. But he who devotes himself to spiritual knowledge and struggles to attain it, St. Maximos states, should call upon God at all times, ad did David, saying: `Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew an upright Spirit within me' (Ps. 51:10). In this way he may become worthy of God's indwelling. St. Peter of Damascus, The Philokalia, Vol. 3

The reading of Scriptures is a great means of security against sinning. Ignorance of Scripture is a great cliff, a deep abyss. It gives birth to heresies and introduces a corrupt way of life. Even one parable can help the soul to have contrition for a sin, to find a little rest from the concerns of the world. Reading Scripture each day will accomplish some great and noble good in us. St. John Chrysostom

The word of God is food for the soul. The word of God is both strength and light for the soul.... All the saints emphasized the necessity of reading the Holy Scriptures. St. Seraphim of Sarov says: 'The soul must keep itself nourished with the word of God; because the word of God is, as St. Gregory the Theologian says, the bread of angels that feeds the soul that is hungry for God. Most of all we must read the New Testament and the Psalms. The understanding is enlightened by these. It is a very good thing to read the word of God in solitude, and to read the entire Bible with understanding. God gives a man His mercy for undertaking this exercise more than for other good deeds, and He fills him with the gift of comprehension. When a man nourishes his soul with the word of God, then he is filled with the understanding of good and evil. Prologue of Ochrid- Bishop Nicholas Velimirovich

To the impious and lovers of this world the Christian life and the morality of the Gospel is a scandal and foolishness, but it is wisdom before God. You should do what the Gospel teaches and not as people say. Let the mockers mock, but afterward they will weep bitterly, and already too late, for their conscience itself will reprove them. St. Tikhon of Zadonsk, Journey to Heaven

Truly great and mighty is the power of God's word. For the word of God has changed "the offspring of vipers" into children of God. So let us constantly sow it within the hard soil of our heart, waiting for it to soften it so that the wheat-ear of life may sprout up in it. For the word of God is at the same time the seed and the water; and even though we have a heart like stone, it will be softened and split up by the water of the Spirit, so that it can bring forth holy fruit that is pleasing to God. Martyrius, The Book of Perfection, 53 7th century

When you are occupied with reading the word of God, have in mind that God is secretly present beneath every word, and take these words as issuing from His divine lips. Lorenzo Scupoli (Unseen Warfare: Chapter 23)

"...for the tokens of truth are more exact as drawn from Scripture, than from other sources..." De Decretis 31 ATHANASIUS

"Divine Scripture is sufficient above all things" De Synodis 6 ATHANASIUS, De Synodis 6

"Scripture is of all things most sufficient for us" Ad Epis Aeg 4 ATHANASIUS, Ad Epis Aeg 4

"The holy and inspired Scriptures are sufficient of themselves for the preaching of the Truth" Contra Gentiles 1,1 ATHANASIUS

...the Scriptures...will learn from them more completely and clearly the exact detail of what we said ATHANASIUS, De Incarnatione 56

For they were spoken and written by God ATHANASIUS, De Incarnatione 56

How can we prove and certify as true something which Sacred Scripture does not attest? CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA, Glaphyra on Genesis PG 69,53c

It believes also the Holy Scriptures, old and new, which we call canonical, and which are the source of the faith by which the just lives... AUGUSTINE, De Civ Dei 19,18

It is manifest that those things are not to be inquired into, which Scripture has passed over into silence. For the Holy Spirit has dispensed and administered to us all things which conduce to our profit ANASTASIUS OF ANTIOCH

Let us search for the Church in the Sacred Scriptures AUGUSTINE, Epis 105

The Scriptures are enough for instruction ANTONY OF EGYPT, Vita S. Antoni 16

The hearers taught in the Scriptures ought to test what is said by teachers and accept that which agrees with the Scriptures but reject what is foreign BASIL THE GREAT, Moralia 72,1

Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth BASIL THE GREAT, Epis Ad Eustathius

These [canonical] books are the fountains of salvation, so that he who thirsts may be satisfied with the oracles contained in them: in these alone the school of piety preaches the Gospel; let no man add to or take away from them. ATHANASIUS Festal Letters 39

What more shall I teach you than what we read in the Apostle? For Holy Scripture fixes the rule for our doctrine, lest we dare to be wiser than we ought AUGUSTINE, De Bono Viduitatis 2

[H]e will find there in much greater abundance things that are to be found nowhere else, but can be learnt only in the wonderful sublimity and wonderful simplicity of the Scriptures AUGUSTINE, De Doctr Christ 2,42,63

Redeeming the Time

↑ Grab this Headline Animator

We confidently recommend our web service provider, Orthodox Internet Services: excellent personal customer service, a fast and reliable server, excellent spam filtering, and an easy to use comprehensive control panel.

St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas