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Latter-day Fathers

Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain

Gerontissa Gabrielia

Elder Germanos of Stavrovouni

Stories from the Desert Fathers

On Good and Evil

On Lasciviousness

On Avarice

On Repetance

On Prayer

On Fasting

On Labour

On Confession

On Matrimony

On Holy Communion

Gerontikon of
Mt. Athos

Elder Joseph the Hesychast and the teaching of mental prayer which flowed
from his letters

Prayer of the heart for the Faithfull Living in the world

With the Fathers

On the Necessity of Constant Prayer for all Christians

Hermas: The Shepherd

First Vision

Second Vision

Third Vision

Fourth Vision

Fifth Vision

First Commandment


Third Commandment

Forth Commandment

Fifth Commandment

Sixth Commandment


Eighth Commandment

Ninth Commandment

Tenth Commandment



First Similitude

Second Similitude

Third Similitude

Forth Similitude

Fifth Similitude

Sixth Similitude

Seventh Similitude

Eighth Similitude

Ninth Similitude

Tenth Similitude

St. John Chrysostom - Homily on the passage <Father if it be possible...>

Symeon of
Thessaloniki -
All should pray in the
name of Jesus Christ

Basil of Caesarea - Letter 234 to Amphilochius

Basil of Caesarea - On the Holy Spirit 66-68

The Martyrdom of St. Polycarp

St. John Chrysostom Instructions to Catechumens

First Instruction (1)

First Instruction (2)

First Instruction (3)

First Instruction (4)

First Instruction (5)

Second Instruction (1)

Second Instruction (2)

Second Instruction (3)

Second Instruction (4)

Second Instruction (5)

St. John Chrysostom Three homilees concering the power
of demons


Homily 1

Homily 2



Abba Antonios

Life and death stem from those who are near us .

For, if we gain our brother, we gain God; if however we scandalize him, we sin in Christ !

Abba Antonios was once visited by several elders, amongst which was the Abba Joseph.

Wishing to test them, Abba Antonios selected an excerpt from the Bible and asked them what it meant, starting from the youngest.

And, one by one, they gave their opinion, to the best of their ability.

When each one finished, he would say :

"You haven't grasped it yet."

Finally , he asked Abba Joseph :

"What do you think this excerpt means ?"

And he replied :

"I don't know."

Then Abba Antonios said :

"Abba Joseph has at least found the path, because he said "I don't know".

Abba Antonios said :

A time will come, when people will become deranged, and, when they encounter someone who is not deranged, they will revolt against him, saying "you are deranged", simply because he does not resemble them.

Three fathers were accustomed to visiting the blessed Antonios each year.

And whilst two of them would ask him for his thoughts on the salvation of the soul, the one father would always remain silent, never asking anything.

A long time had passed , when Abba Antonios finally asked him :

"You have come here so many times, and yet you have never asked me anything."

To which he replied :

"It is enough for me to observe you, father."

Abba Antonios said :

" I do not fear God any more; instead, I love Him. 'for love casts out all fear' (John, 4:18)".

Abba Antonios said :

"He that strikes the mass of iron, first considers what he intends to make from it ; a sickle, a knife, an axe.

We must similarly consider for which virtue we are labouring, so that we do not toil in vain."

Abba Arsenios

Once, when Abba Arsenios was consulting an Egyptian elder, someone who saw him remarked :

"Abba, how is it that you, with such a broad Roman and Greek education, are discussing your thoughts with this peasant here ?"

and he replied :

"I may possess Roman and Greek education, however I have not yet learnt this peasant's alphabet."

Abba Agathon

"A man who becomes enraged is not accepted by God, not even if he resurrects the dead."

Saint Isaiah the Anachorite

Anger is a natural passion of the mind: without anger, man is not purified, unless he becomes angry at all the sins to which he is subjected by the devil.

When Job discovered it, he reproached his enemies, with these words:

"you dishonorable and corrupt ones, who have nothing good; whom I do not consider worthy, not even as sheepdogs for my herds ".

He that wants to attain natural anger, uproots all his personal desires, until he is raised to the natural state of the mind.

Abba Alonios

Abba Agathon once asked Abba Alonios :

"How can I restrain my tongue, not to tell any lies ?"

And Abba Alonios replied :

"If you do not tell lies, then you must be committing many sins."

He then asked :

"What do you mean ?"

And the Abba explained :

"Let's say that two people murdered someone, before your very eyes, and one of them hid himself in your cell. And let's say, that the master who is searching for him, asks you "did a murder take place in your presence ?". If you do not lie, you will be surrendering the man to his death.

It is therefore better to set him free before God, for only He is all-knowing."

Abba Ioannis Kolovos

Several elders found time to dine together at the Scete; with them, was Abba Ioannis. Someone, who happened to be the eldest in age, arose to offer the jug of water; No-one was willing to take it from him, except for Ioannis Kolovos.

The others therefore wondered at this, and asked him :

"How is it that you, being so much younger, dared to be served by the eldest one ?"

And he said to them :

"Whenever I rise to offer the jug, I rejoice if everyone accepts it, because in this way I receive wages.

It is for this reason that I accepted it, so that he too may receive wages, in case he is saddened if no-one accepts it from him."

And when they heard these words, they were amazed, and were benefited by his discretion.

Abba Isaac the elder of the cells

Abba Isaac said :

"When I was younger, I lived as a hermit with Abba Kronios, who never asked me to do anything, even though he was old and weak; instead, he would get up by himself and would offer the jug to me and to all the others, without exception. I had also lived as a hermit with Abba Theodoros of Fermi, who also never asked me to do anything; indeed, he would even set the table by himself and say :

"Brother, if you wish, come and eat."

And I would say :

"Abba, I have come here to benefit from you; why don't you ask anything of me ?"

But the elder would remain silent. So I left him, and sought the other elders' advice. The elders went to him, and said :

"Abba, our brother came to your holiness to benefit himself – why do you never ask anything of him ?"

And the elder replied :

"Am I perhaps the head of a commune, that I should command him ? Indeed, I may perhaps say nothing to him, however, if he wishes, he may do whatever he sees me do."

So, from that time, I hastened to do that which I perceived the elder was going to do. Furthermore, whenever he did something, he would do it silently.

This he also taught me : to pursue my work in silence.

Abba Jacob

Abba Jacob said:

"It is more important to prefer estrangement than hospitality."

Abba Poemen

Abba Joseph said:

We were together with Abba Poemen, when he called Agathon 'abba'. And so we asked him :

'He is so young; why do you call him 'abba' ?'

And abba Poemen replied :

"It is his mouth that caused him to be called 'abba' ".

Abba Romaeus

The same abba spoke of an elder who had a good pupil, whom, in contempt, he drove out of his cell, clothed only in his woolen cape. However, the brother sat outside, and practiced patience. When the elder later opened the door and noticed him still sitting outside, he bowed before him in penance, saying :

"Father, the humility of your tolerance has conquered my carelessness. Come inside; from now on, you are the elder and the father, and I am the junior and the pupil."

Athanasios the great

If all that we see around us is the work of evil, then which is the work of goodness ?

Indeed, we see nothing that is not the work of the Creator.

And how could we have known of the existence of goodness, if none of its works existed, by which we could recognize it ? Because it is by his works, that we recognize the creator.

And finally, how is it possible for two beings - entirely contradictory to each other - to co-exist, and, what is that which would separate them, so that the one may remain at a long distance away from the other ? Because it is impossible for both of them to exist together, since the one would negate the other.

Nor can the one exist within the other - since by nature they have nothing in common to each other - and thus cannot be joined.

Saint Mark the Ascetic

Whatever good you may remember, do it; so that whatever you do not remember, shall be revealed to you.

Do not thoughtlessly surrender the essence of goodness to oblivion.

Do not say that you have achieved a certain virtue without any tribulation; the virtue which you acquired thus easily, has not been tested.

Most counseling from others is for our benefit; however, nothing can be more beneficial to each of us, than our own opinion.

If you desire to be cured, attend to your conscience: do whatever it tells you, and you shall discover the remedy.

Each person's secrets are exposed to God, and to their own conscience; may every one of us therefore be corrected by these two.

Whoever disregards prudence and prides himself for his ignorance, is not only incompetent verbally, but also in knowledge.

Just as wisdom in words is one thing, and prudence is another, thus differs incompetence in words, to imprudence.

It is better to pray humbly for your neighbour, than to reprimand him for his every sin.

If they speak to you in a bad manner, turn your anger towards yourself, and not towards the other; otherwise, if your hearing perceives maliciously, you will reply maliciously.

Executing a command is one thing, and acting virtuously is another;

although the one seems to spring from the other, when they collaborate in doing good.

Always do good, as much as you can, and, whenever there is need for the greater, do not turn to the lesser; for, as the Bible says, "he that looks back, is not worthy of the kingdom of heaven".

Man is almost incapable of managing those things which he has inherited by nature.

Christ, through His Cross, bestows upon us an heirdom.

The first evil is ignorance; secondly, follows faithlessness.

Humility is not the condemning of our conscience; it is God's grace, and our awareness of His sympathy.

Saint Diadochus of Fotiki

Evil does not exist in nature, nor is anyone created evil;

God did not create anything evil.

It is when someone desires evil within his heart, thus giving substance to the unsubstantial, that it commences to exist, exactly as desired by him that shaped it.

Consequently, we should always ensure that we have God in our memory, and should always fight the tendency towards evil. This can be done, because the nature of goodness is more powerful than the tendency towards evil, since good does exist, whereas evil does not exist, except when we cause it to exist.

Saint Peter of Damascus

Food is not evil, only gluttony;

neither is money, only avarice;

neither is speech, only idle talk;

neither are the pleasant things of the world, only their excesses;

neither is the love for our kin, except when it becomes the cause for not showing gratitude to God;

neither is clothing, when we use it to cover us and protect us from the cold and the heat, only that which is unnecessary and luxurious;

neither are houses, when we have them to protect us from those things which I just mentioned, as well as from enemies, beasts and people; only the two-storey and three-storey ones, and the huge and overly expensive ones;

neither is property, only that which is not considered absolutely necessary;

neither is the possession of books, for those who sincerely desire to have no possessions; only if they are not used for divine study;

neither are friends, only those friends that do not benefit our souls;

neither is woman something evil, only fornication;

neither is wealth, only avarice;

neither is wine, only drunkenness;

neither is natural anger, like the one we feel towards our sins, only the anger we feel towards our fellow-man;

neither is authority, only the lust for power; and what is worse, vainglory;

neither is virtue, only the belief that it is ours;

neither is knowledge, only the belief that we are knowledgeable, and what is worse, to ignore our own ignorance;

neither is true knowledge, only deceptive knowledge;

neither is the world something evil, only perversions;

neither is a unanimous opinion evil, only that which is between criminals, or that which does not aid the salvation of our soul;

neither are the members of the body; only their misuse; because vision was not given to us to observe the things we should not, but to glorify the Creator on observing His creations and to progress according to the soul's and the body's true interests;

neither was hearing given to us so that we may pay attention to slander and nonsense, but to hearken to the Word of God, and to every voice, of men and of birds and of all others, and to glorify their Creator;

neither the sense of smell, so that the soul would become limp and betray its principles on account of the fragrances, as the Theologian said, but to breathe, and to accept the air bestowed on us by God, and to thank Him for it, because without air no body could survive, neither man's nor beast's (.....).

And the arms and legs were not given to us so that we may steal and grab and beat others, but that we may use them in labours that please God : to those who are weaker in soul, so that they may give alms to the needy, thus perfecting themselves, and to those who are stronger in soul and in body, so that they may practice abstinence from possessions and thus imitate Christ and His holy disciples, and glorify God, and marvel, at how His wisdom exists in our body parts. And how these, our weak hands and fingers - through God's providence - are capable of every science and labour, of writing and agility, from whence comes the knowledge of innumerable arts and scriptures, of science and of various medicines, of so many languages and letters; and, generally speaking, everything that has been done, and is being done, and that shall be done, are all gifts which have been given to us and are continuously being given, so that we may survive physically and be saved spiritually, as long as we use all of them according to God's purposes, and through them, glorify Him with endless gratitude.

Otherwise, we depose and destroy ourselves, and everything in this life will lead us to suffering, and to eternal damnation in the coming life, as has already been said. 


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