Gleanings from Orthodox Christian Authors and the Holy Fathers

slander

27 Entries

Slander is a great evil. Just exactly as the little rudder of a ship guides the ship where it wants, so the tongue guides a person either to good or to evil. The holy fathers greatly reprove the judgment of others' sins, vices, or evil habits. REF:Elder Ephraim of Philotheou Mount Athos, "Counsels from the Holy Mountain"



The chief cause of criticism and slander is pride and egotism, for man thinks himself better [than others]. For this reason it is very beneficial for a person to think of himself as smaller than all, so that he sees the brother as better, in order that he may, with the help of God, be delivered from this evil. REF:Elder Ephraim of Philotheou Mount Athos, "Counsels from the Holy Mountain"

It is one thing to criticize someone and another to be fought against with regard to criticism. To criticize is a great passion, but to be fought against and to fight back -- this is the cause of crowns. REF:Elder Ephraim of Philotheou Mount Athos, "Counsels from the Holy Mountain"

Abba John said to his brother, "Even if we are entirely despised in the eyes of men, let us rejoice that we are honored in the sight of God." Sr. Benedicta Ward, "The Sayings of the Desert Fathers," (Kalamazoo, Michigan: Cistercian Publications, 1975), pp. 89-95

Abba Or said, "He who is honored and praised beyond his merits, will suffer much condemnation, but he who is held as of no account among men will receive glory in heaven." "The Lives of the Desert Fathers," trans. by Normal Russell, (Kalamazoo, Michigan: Cistercian Publications, 1981), pp. 63-64

Abba Or said, "If you have spoken evil of your brother, and you are stricken with remorse, go and kneel down before him and say: 'I have spoken badly of you; let this be my surety that I will not spread this slander any further.' For detraction is death to the soul." "The Lives of the Desert Fathers," trans. by Normal Russell, (Kalamazoo, Michigan: Cistercian Publications, 1981), pp. 63-64

Another day, Theodore (of Tabennesi) went off to a monastery to visit the brothers, and straightway they brought him a brother they accused of having stolen something, that he should expel him from among the brothers for this reason. The culprit, however, was not this brother, but another who passed for a faithful man among all the brothers. But they were accusing the former because he was somewhat negligent in their view.

When the thief realized that he had not only committed the first fault but that, moreover, because of him they were going to drive the other brother away from the monastery, he went to see Theodore privately and said to him, "Forgive me, my father; I am the one who committed the theft." Theodore said to him, "The Lord has forgiven you the fault you have committed, for clearing the innocent in our presence." Then he called the one who had been falsely accused and said to him, "I know that you are not the perpetrator of this fault. But even if the brothers afflicted you a little for the fault you have not committed, nevertheless do not be proud of your innocence in this case. For you are doubtless indebted to the Lord for other faults you have committed.

Therefore, give Him thanks and be in fear of Him all you life long." Then he said to the brothers about this matter, "Have you not entrusted me with judgment so that I might pass sentence? Well, it is God's will that he should be absolved. Indeed, we are all in need of God's mercy." the Bohairic Life of Pachomius, fourth century



Another day, Theodore (of Tabennesi) went off to a monastery to visit the brothers, and straightway they brought him a brother they accused of having stolen something, that he should expel him from among the brothers for this reason. The culprit, however, was not this brother, but another who passed for a faithful man among all the brothers. But they were accusing the former because he was somewhat negligent in their view.

When the thief realized that he had not only committed the first fault but that, moreover, because of him they were going to drive the other brother away from the monastery, he went to see Theodore privately and said to him, "Forgive me, my father; I am the one who committed the theft." Theodore said to him, "The Lord has forgiven you the fault you have committed, for clearing the innocent in our presence."

Then he called the one who had been falsely accused and said to him, "I know that you are not the perpetrator of this fault. But even if the brothers afflicted you a little for the fault you have not committed, nevertheless do not be proud of your innocence in this case. For you are doubtless indebted to the Lord for other faults you have committed. Therefore, give Him thanks and be in fear of Him all you life long." Then he said to the brothers about this matter, "Have you not entrusted me with judgment so that I might pass sentence? Well, it is God's will that he should be absolved. Indeed, we are all in need of God's mercy." the Bohairic Life of Pachomius, fourth century



Blessed is he who, though maligned and disparaged every day for the Lord’s sake, constrains himself to be patient. He will join the chorus of the martyrs, and boldly converse with the angels. Blessed is the monk who regards himself as hourly deserving every dishonor and disparagement. Blessed is he who mortifies his will to the end, and leaves the care of himself to his director in the Lord; for he will be placed at the right hand of the Crucified. He who will not accept a reproof, just or unjust, renounces his own salvation. But he who accepts it with an effort, or even without an effort, will soon receive the remission of his sins. St John Climacus, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent", Step 4: On Blessed and Ever-Memorable Obedience (Boston: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978)

Do not condemn, even if you see with your eyes, for they are often deceived. St. John Climacus, “The Ladder of Divine Ascent,” (Boston: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978), Step 10: On Slander or Calumny

Do not regard the feelings of a person who speaks to you about his neighbor disparagingly, but rather say to him: “Stop, brother! I fall into graver sins every day, so how can I criticize him?” In this way you will achieve two things: you will heal yourself and your neighbor with one plaster. This is one of the shortest ways to the forgiveness of sins; I mean, not to judge. “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged.” (Luke 6:37) St. John Climacus, “The Ladder of Divine Ascent,” (Boston: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978), Step 10: On Slander or Calumny

Empty talk is, the door to criticism and slander, the spreader of false rumors and opinions, the sower of discord and strife. Unseen Warfare

Give no ear to the slanderer's talk nor let your talk run on in the fault-finder's hearing, by readily speaking and listening to things against your neighbor; otherwise you will fall from divine charity [love] and be found a foreigner to eternal life. St. Maximus the Confessor, Four Centuries on Charity

He who wants to overcome the spirit of slander should not ascribe the blame to the person who falls, but to the demon who suggests it. For no one really wants to sin against God, even though we all sin without being forced to do so. St. John Climacus, “The Ladder of Divine Ascent,” (Boston: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978), Step 10: On Slander or Calumny

Him that privily talked against his neighbor did I drive away from me. Psalm 100:5

I have heard people slandering, and I have rebuked them. And these doers of evil replied in self-defense that they were doing so out of love and care for the person whom they were slandering. I said to them: 'Stop that kind of love, otherwise you will be condemning as a liar him who said: "Him that privily talked against his neighbour, did I drive away" (Ps. 100:5). If you say you love, then pray secretly, and do not mock the man. For this is the kind of love that is acceptable to the Lord. But I will not hide this from you (and of course be careful, lest you judge the offender): Judas was in the company of Christ's disciples, and the thief was in the company of murderers. Yet it is a wondrous thing, how in a single instant, they exchanged places. St. John Climacus, The Ladder of Divine Ascent

I have heard people slandering, and I have rebuked them. And these doers of evil replied in self-defense that they were doing so out of love and care for the person whom they were slandering. I said to them: “Stop that kind of love, otherwise you will be condemning as a liar him who said: ‘Him that privily talked against his neighbor, did I drive away.’ (Psalm 100:5) If you say you love, then pray secretly, and do not mock the man. For this is the kind of love that is acceptable to the Lord.” But I will not hide this from you – and of course be careful, lest you judge the offender: Judas was in the company of Christ’s disciples, and the thief was in the company of murderers. Yet it is a wondrous thing, how in a single instant, they exchanged places. St. John Climacus, “The Ladder of Divine Ascent,” (Boston: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978), Step 10: On Slander or Calumny

If you have spoken evil of your brother, and you are stricken with remorse, go and kneel down before him and say: 'I have spoken badly of you; let this be my surety that I will not spread this slander any further.' For detraction is death to the soul. Abba Or

If you want to overcome the spirit of slander, blame not the person who falls but the prompting demon. No one wants to sin against God, even though all of us sin without being compelled to it.
I knew a man who sinned openly but repented in secret. I denounced him for being lecherous but he was chaste in the eyes of God, having propitiated Him by a genuine conversion.
Do not allow human respect to get in your way when you hear someone slandering his neighbor. Instead, say to him, "Brother, stop it! I do worse things every day, so how can I criticize him?" You accomplish two things when you say this. You heal yourself and you heal your neighbor with the one bandage. St. John Climacus, The Ladder of Divine Ascent, 10

It is better to eat meat and drink wine and not to eat the flesh of one's brethren through slander. St. Tikhon of Voronezh

No sensible person, I think, will dispute that slander is born of hatred and remembrance of wrongs. Therefore it comes next in order after its forebears. St. John Climacus, “The Ladder of Divine Ascent,” (Boston: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978), Step 10: On Slander or Calumny

One who loves his neighbor can never tolerate slanderers, but rather runs from them as from fire. St. John Climacus, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent," (Boston: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978), Step 30: Concerning the Linking Together of the Supreme Trinity Among the Virtues

Slander is, an offspring of hatred, a subtle yet coarse disease, a leech lurking unfelt, wasting and draining the blood of love. It is, simulation of love, the patron of a heavy and unclean heart, the ruin of chastity. St. John Climacus

Upon the death of Mary’s mother, her father, Evgenios, resolved to dedicate his life completely to God; therefore, he became a monk. Mary also desired to betroth herself to Christ. However, she did not wish to be separated from her father. Hence, our venerable mother discarded her feminine apparel and donned men’s clothing. She then cropped her hair in a manly fashion and assumed the name of Marinos. Under this disguise, she entered the very same monastery as her father near Alexandria of Egypt. Soon after, however, her father reposed in the Lord.

Mary was then tonsured and kept the name of Marinos. Though her tasks (obediences) involved laboring with the younger monks, no one ever thought that the young Fr. Marinos might be a woman.

Nearby the monastery, there was an inn. Once, it became necessary, during a monastic obedience outside the monastery, that Fr. Marinos lodge at the inn. The innkeeper’s wayward daughter, believing that Fr. Marinos was a man, burned with desire for the young monk. After pursuing the monk and humiliating herself when repulsed by Mary, the wanton innkeeper’s daughter sought revenge. She accused the righteous Fr. Marinos of seducing her. She did this because she already had illicit relations with a soldier and had conceived by him.

Mary gladly accepted this false accusation and the reproach that went with it. She even went so far as to admit that she committed sin with the innkeeper’s daughter. In time, the innkeeper’s daughter brought forth a son. At this point, Mary was expelled from the monastery when the newborn was entrusted to her. Henceforth, she was expected to support and bring up the lad.

The responsibility, anxiety, and care of rearing and feeding another’s infant was something that the ever-memorable one voluntarily endured with much hardship and public scorn. During this time, the innkeeper’s daughter went mad when she became possessed by an evil demon. After three years of enduring deprivation, Mary, inspired by God, re-entered the same monastery again, together with her foster son.

It was there that she dwelt until her blessed repose in 508. When preparations were being made for the burial, it was only then discovered that Monk Marinos was actually a woman. When the innkeeper’s daughter touched the precious relics of Mary, she was immediately healed from demonic possession, and admitted that the actual father was some soldier.

At this unexpected turn of events, the abbot of the monastery and all the brotherhood, who formerly accused the holy one of being wretched and depraved, now called Mary blessed and worthy of great honor. "The Lives of the Spiritual Mothers," (Buena Vista, California: Holy Apostles Convent, 1991), pp. 70-72



When you hear that your neighbor or friend has abused you behind your back or even to your face, then show love and praise him. St. John Climacus, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent," (Boston: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978), STEP 22: On the Many Forms of Vainglory

Wherefore, not those that are slandered, but the slanderers, have need to be anxious, and to tremble, for the former are not constrained to answer for themselves, touching the evil things which are said of them, but the latter will have to answer for the evil they have spoken, and over these impends the whole danger. St. John Chrysostom

When you hear your name being criticized act as if you didn't hear. This is Paradise, this is perfection. Elder Amphilochios Makris - http://agrino.org/cyberdesert/makris.htm





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