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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



A brother said to Abba Antonios :

"Pray for me"

The elder replied :

"Neither I can forgive you, nor God, if you yourself do not examine your errors and pray."

Certain brothers visited Abba Antonios and they said to him :

"Speak to us, how may we be saved ?"

And the elder replied :

"Have you heard the Holy Scriptures? That is enough for you."

but they said :

"We want to hear a piece of advice from you also, father."

So the elder replied :

"The Gospel says - if someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn, so that he may strike you on the other"

They replied

"We can't do that"

So the elder said to them :

"If you cannot turn the other side, at least tolerate the one blow"

They replied :

"We can't do that either."

Then the elder said :

"If you can't do that either, then don't return the blow."

They again said :

"We can't do that either"

Then the elder said to his pupil :

"Prepare some broth for them, for they are sick."

And to them he said :

"If you can't do this, and you don't want the other, then what can I do for you ? Praying is required."

Abba Agathon

The brothers again asked him :

"Father, which virtue demands the most labor?"

He said to them :

"Forgive me, but I think that nothing is as difficult as praying. Because, every time someone wants to pray, the enemies want to obstruct him; because they know that nothing can stop them, except praying to God.

And furthermore, whichever excercise a person may pursue, if he patiently perseveres, in the end he will be comforted; praying, however, demands struggling, even to our dying breath."

Saint Epiphanios of Cyprus

The Abba of a monastery in Palestine reported to the blessed Epiphanios, bishop of Cyprus :

"With the support of your blessings, we did not neglect our canon; indeed, we zealously observed the third, the sixth and the ninth hours."

However, he reprimanded them, saying :

"It is obvious that you have neglected the other hours of the day, seeing how you allowed resting between your prayers. A true monk should constantly have a prayer and a psalm in his heart ."

Abba Poemen

Certain elders visited Abba Poemen and said to him :

"If we see any brothers dozing in the congregation, do you believe we should wake them, in order that they pay attention during the night-vigil ?"

And he said to them :

"Well, if I happen to see a brother dozing, I place his head on my knees and allow him to rest." 

Vasileios the Great

For prayers and for psalms - just like many other things - every moment is suitable, therefore we should praise the Lord, not only by using our hands as we work, but also with our tongue whenever we can, which is even more capable of strengthening our faith. If, however, we cannot pray in a loud voice, then let us praise the Lord within our hearts, with psalms and hymns and spiritual odes as the Scriptures tell us; let us say our prayer during our working hours : namely, we can thank Him for giving strength to our hands for labouring, and for the mind's capacity for science; for granting us the materials from which we made our tools, and the materials which we use in our crafts, whichever they may be; and to pray that the labours of our hands have no other purpose, than to please God.

Saint Mark the Ascetic

He is blind, who cries out loudly, saying : "Son of David, have mercy on me", for he prays with the body, and has not yet acquired spiritual knowledge.

He that was blind and recovered his sight, upon seeing the Lord, thenceforth confessed Him to be the Son of God , and no longer Son of David, and worshipped Him.

Do not boast, if you shed tears while you pray. It is Christ who touched your eyes, so that you may see the mind's light.

The ways of praying are many, and one may differ more or less from the other; but there is not a single way of praying that will cause harm; unless it is not praying, but a work of the devil.

Whenever you remember God, multiply your beseeching, so that whenever you forget Him, He will remind you.

He that prays for the good of unjust people, exterminates the demons; he that defies the former, is annihilated by the latter.

Pray, so that you might not be visited by any temptation.

If it does come, confront it as something that belongs to you, and not as if it were someone else's.

A servant does not demand freedom as though it were his wages;

instead, he thanks the Lord like a debtor, and anticipates his freedom

through God's grace.

When the mind prays undisturbed, it leads to the crushing of the heart. A crushed and humbled heart the Lord shall not allow to perish.

Saint Esychius the Elder

As it happens with rain, when, the more it falls upon the soil, the more it softens it, thus the soil of our heart rejoices and is filled with the holy name of Christ, the more we pronounce it and call upon it .

(….) It is not possible for the soul to become the image of God, except only through divine grace and man's faith, when he concentrates his mind with extreme humility in incessant prayer.

Saint Neilos the Ascetic

You must strive to maintain your mind deaf and dumb during the time of prayer, and only then, shall you be able to pray.

If you wish to pray correctly, do not cause sorrow to any soul; otherwise, your labour will be futile.

Do not pray, so that the things you desire may be done. For they may not necessarily coincide with God's will. It is better that you pray as taught, with the words : "may Your Will be done, within me".

And in every circumstance, ask this of the Lord : that His Will be done; because He wants what is best for you, and what is most beneficial for your soul, while you do not always ask for that which is beneficial.

With virtues, we learn the reasons behind various creations, and thus, we approach the reasoning of our Lord the creator.

However, He usually reveals Himself, during the state of prayer.

He that prays spiritually and sincerely, ceases to praise the Lord for His creations, but instead, honours Him and glorifies Him for His sake alone.

If you are a theologian, you pray genuinely; and if you genuinely pray, you are a theologian.

Psalms are a kind of wisdom, and praying introduces us to spiritual and various other kinds of knowledge.

Saint Maximos the Confessor

He that is in need of a just man's prayer will not benefit from it, as long as he himself continues to derive pleasure from sins and not from virtues.

The Mighty Samuel was once sorrowing for Saul and the sins that he had committed, but he (Samuel) was unable to appease the Lord, because, to his sorrow was not added the due repentance of the sinner (Saul).

Thus, God dismissed his faithful one from a foolish bereavement, with these words : "for how long will you grieve for Saul? I myself have taken away his right to rule over Israel."

Saint Theognostos

Although you may (through unadulterated prayer which invisibly unites the invisible mind with God) have attained the state of seeing as a mirrored reflection the life which is to be the successor of your passing life here, because you had accepted the betrothal of the Spirit and acquired within you the kingdom of heaven with all your senses and your thoughts; although you may have achieved all this, do not, however, tolerate being dismissed from your flesh, without having foreseen your death; instead, you should fervently pray for this, and hope to achieve this, near the time of your departure, if this benefits you. And you should prepare yourself for this departure, by casting out all fear; thus, you shall be able to pass through the air, escape from the malevolent spirits, and pass bravely and fearlessly through the heavenly arches, to be united with the angelic hosts, and be numbered amongst the chosen and the just ones throughout the ages, and to look upon God, as much as this is possible. You will enjoy the benevolence which the Lord bestows, and you will feel the Word of the Lord radiating beyond the heavens, while He is being worshipped in His immaculate flesh, in joint worship with the Father and the Spirit, by all the heavenly hosts and all the saints.

Hosios Elias

The demons are extremely hostile towards unadulterated prayer; they cannot be conquered by a host of psalms, in the way that an army conquers its adversaries, but by a harmony of three things : the mind with logic, and logic with the senses.

Hosios Peter of Damascus

Do You wish to comfort me, within the knowledge of You ? I will not contradict You.

Do You perhaps wish to deliver me unto temptations, in order to humble me ? I will still follow You.

There is nothing for me to do, without You.

Without You, I would not have been born from nothing, and neither can I live without You, or be saved.

Do what You will, with Your creation. I believe that - guileless as You are - You have reserved good things for me, even though perhaps for my own benefit I do not recognize them; but then again, I am not worthy enough to see them, nor do I ask to see them so that I might be comforted, for it may not be beneficial to me.

Neither do I dare to ask You to comfort me from any ongoing war ( even though I am weak and everything fatigues me), because I do not know what is for my benefit.

You know everything. Do as You wish; only do not let me fail, no matter what, and even if want to or not, please save me, And that too, only if You so wish.

I have no will of my own; I stand before You as something lifeless; I place my soul in Your holy hands, in this life and the life to come.

Because everything is possible for You, and everything is known to You, and You wish only the best for everyone, and You always long for my salvation. I can see this, in all the good things which You have done for us by your grace, openly or secretly; in those things which we recognize and those which we do not recognize, and in that condescendence which You have shown us, that no mind can grasp, o Son and Word of God.

Who am I, that dares to speak to You, reader of hearts ? Yet, I utter these things, so that I myself may comprehend, and so that my enemies may also learn, that I seek refuge in You, my harbour of salvation.

And behold how, by Your grace, I have learnt that You are my God, and that I dare not speak in excess, except perhaps to display my slow, deaf and mute mind. Because it is not I, but Your grace, which engineers all good. Because I do not know whether I have ever done anything good; instead, I have always accomplished a multitude of bad deeds, and for these, I kneel before you as a servant, because You have made me worthy of repentance, hence I am Your servant and the son of your servant-girl. But, please do not allow me my Lord, o Lord Jesus Christ my God, to do, or to say, or to think of, something which you do not desire, because the many sins which I have committed are sufficient enough; but, in whichever way that You wish, please help me.

I have sinned, help me in the way that You know best. I believe o Lord that you hearken to my pitiful voice and that you care. Help me in my faithlessness. You, that have given me life, and made me a Christian. It is an important dignitary rank for me, as Karpathios says, to be named a Monk and a Christian; just as You had said, Lord, to one of your servants "it is a great honour for you to have received My name". This is the best that I could have, above all the kingdoms of the earth and the heavens, as long as I shall never cease to be called by Your most sweet name. 

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