17 October 2012


"Our ignorance, O holy brothers, has cast as much light for you as it could on the knowledge and teaching of the illustrious fathers. Even if perchance our unskilled language has confused it instead of clarifying it, I pray that our blameworthy rudeness not nullify the renown of our Judge to lay bare this magnificent teaching, if one reflects upon its sublime insights, the offensive boorishness of our words cannot hinder the reader's profit. And we ourselves are concerned more about usefulness than renown. To be sure, I advise all into whose hands these little works may fall to realize that whatever is pleasing in them is from the fathers, whereas whatever is displeasing is ours" (17.30.3).

"It remains for the spiritual zephyr of your prayers to accompany me now, tossed about as I have been thus far by a most dangerous tempest, to the safe harbor of silence" (24.26.19).

The main purpose of this weblog's short run was to increase awareness of St. John Cassian and his works, especially for Christians in the Western Hemisphere. Hopefully it has fulfilled its purpose for at least a few people.

Since this blog has nothing of its own to contribute, it is better for it to remain silent. Moreover, it is best to read St. John's actual works rather than poor summaries of his works. These brief summaries were intended to encourage people to read the actual conferences.

The Conferences should be read with attention by all who desire union with God. They are even more helpful when they are read indefinitely alongside the Holy Scriptures. For Christians they should be required reading, yet they have been sadly neglected. Perhaps, St. John will enjoy a wider readership in the future.

Our God-bearing Father John Cassian, pray to Christ our God to grant us His great mercy.

15 October 2012

Selected Quotes from Fr. Schmemann's Journals

"The temptation of piety is to reduce Christianity to piety; the temptation of theology--to reduce it totally to history."

"'A quiet and silent existence' is the summit of intelligence, of wisdom, of joy, and--I don't know how to say it better--of 'interestedness.' Humility is not to be crest fallen, dejected, nor to be a bigot. It is a royal and kingly virtue because humility stems from wisdom, from knowledge, from contact with life overabundant. The contemporary man is a man who constantly jumps to action. Our whole civilization is an energetic 'jump to action'--and man finds himself exactly where he was before he jumped."

"Amazing--in nature, in the world, everything moves. But in this movement (falling snow, branches lit by the sun, fields) each moment reveals a divine immobility, a fullness, in an icon of eternity as life.

Another strange thought: the  whole world lives at the same time, the whole world lives this very minute, owns this minute; the rest is abstract numbers on a calendar."

12 October 2012

St. Simeon the New Theologian on Faith

"It is good to preach God’s mercy before all men and to reveal to one’s brethren His great compassion and ineffable grace shed on us. I know a man who kept no long strict fasts, no vigils, did not sleep on bare earth, imposed on himself no other specially arduous tasks; but, recollecting in memory his sins, understood his worthlessness and, having judged himself, became humble—and for this alone the most compassionate Lord saved him; as the divine David says: ‘The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit’ (Ps. xxxiv. 18). In short, he trusted the words of the Lord and for his faith the Lord received him. There are many obstacles obstructing the way to humility; but no obstacles bar the way to belief in the words of God. As soon, as we wish with all our heart, straightway we believe. For faith is a gift of the all-merciful God, which He gave us to possess by nature (infused in our nature), subjecting its use to the authority of our own will. Consequently, even the Scythians and barbarians have natural faith and believe one another’s words. But to show you an actual example of whole-hearted faith, listen to a tale, which will confirm this.

There lived in Constantinople a young man by the name of George, about twenty years old. All this happened in our lifetime, in our own memory. He had a handsome face and in his walk, his bearing and his manner there was something ostentatious. Owing to this, people, who see only what is on the surface and, ignorant of what is hidden inside each man, come to mistaken conclusions about others, made various evil suppositions about the youth. He made the acquaintance of a certain monk, who lived in one of the monasteries in Constantinople, a man of holy life."

Read the rest of this article here.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...