Elder St Paisios on Lent:

“In order for God and the Saints to help, one must desire it and ask for it; otherwise, they do not intervene. Christ asked the paralytic: ‘Do you wish to be healed?’ If one refuses, God respects his wish. If one does not wish to go to Heaven, God will not take him there… If someone asks for help, God and the Saints give it. In the wink of an eye they will have helped you. Often, you can’t even bat an eyelid before they have already helped you. This is how fast God comes to your aid.”

During Great Lent, we are given a greater opportunity to struggle and participate more intensely in the Saving Passion of Christ: with our repentance and prostrations; with the cutting off of our passions; with a reduction of our food intake. For the love of Christ.

Wealth brings destruction upon people because they do not give to the poor for the benefit of their souls and of the souls of those who have passed away. Giving alms to the afflicted, widows, orphans etc. aids in the repose of the departed. Because, when someone gives alms for the sake of a departed soul, this causes others to say: “May God have mercy upon that departed soul. May his bones be sanctified.”

We adore Thee O Christ and we bless Thee for by Thy Holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world.

Elder St Paisios on Lent cont.

Now, during Lent, those in the world take greater care to cultivate temperance, but we monks (and others) must always be careful. What is more important, though, is to be careful with the passions of the soul and then the body’s. Because if one prioritizes bodily asceticism over them and does not struggle to eradicate the passions of the soul, he will accomplish nothing.

We must make use, as much as we can, of all the opportunities this spiritual arena offers to us, in order to approach closer to the Crucified Christ. Then, we will helped by Him and rejoice spiritually at His Holy Resurrection since we would have experienced more spiritually Great Lent.

Ι pray that God gives you strength during Great Lent, so that you may climb Golgotha and be near Christ there, together with the Theotokos and your patron Saint, John the Theologian, and that you may be granted worthy to participate in the awesome Passion of our Lord. Amen.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight O Lord my strength and my redeemer



Lent with St Theophan’s ‘Thoughts for Each Day of the Year’
First Monday of Lent
Apostle Paul sees in us the law of sin, warring against the law of the mind. This law, like a seed, at first is as if not visible, but then is revealed and entices. Those who are born of lepers do not manifest leprosy until a certain age, but then it is revealed, and begins to consume them just as it did their parents. Where was the leprosy before this time? It was hiding within. So does the original sin hide until the time, and then comes out and does its business. Environment means a lot for both suppressing this sin and revealing it. If there were no sinful elements all around, there would be nothing with which to feed this hidden sin, and perhaps it would dry up of its own. But herein is our sorrow: that all around there is very much favourable food for it. There is much sin in every person as well as in society; but all of this does not necessarily determine that we will sin. Sin is always a matter of freedom—struggle and you will not fall. Only he who does not want to struggle falls. Why do we not want to struggle? There are no regulations concerning desire and lack of desire: I want to, because I want to; and I don’t want to, because I don’t want to. Self-rule is the original principle—one cannot go beyond it.

O Lord come to my assistance, O Lord make haste to help me.



Lent with St Theophan’s ‘Thoughts for Each Day of the Year’
First Tuesday of Lent
Someone turned to the Lord with a question: Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? What necessitated this question? Were there no scriptures? Was the law not read every Saturday for everyone? There was everything—both Scripture and its interpreters; but in society difference of opinion went around and muddled everyone. The Pharisees said one thing, the Sadducees another, the Essenes, their own thing, the Samaritans their own. In Galilee, perhaps even pagan teachings were heard, and each put forth their own with a tone of conviction. Anyone who was zealous for salvation naturally came to the question: What should I do? What should I follow, that my soul not be destroyed? Our situation now is very similar those times. What teachings are not going around our schools, in society, and in literature! For the indifferent it is nothing; but they for whom every teaching is not the same cannot but seek an answer to the question, “What should I do?” So what is the solution? The one the Saviour gave: Believe and live as God commanded, and do not listen to people’s talk; let them talk. The talk of scientists is like rumours and fashion: today they say one thing, tomorrow another. But you should heed only God’s word, which abides unto the ages. What the Lord commanded no philosophizing can revoke. Everything must be done, and cannot be put off. The judgment indeed will be according to the word of the Lord, and not according to our philosophizing.


Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.


Lent with St Theophan’s ‘Thoughts for Each Day of the Year’
First Wednesday of Lent
The path to faith is repentance. In repenting what does one say? “I have sinned; I will not do it again. I will not sin; therefore I will live by the commandments.” Repentance does not depart with the acceptance of faith; but uniting with faith, it remains through to the end. So too this resolution to live by the commandments remains in force in the presence of faith. Consequently, if the believer came to faith along a direct path—that is, the path of repentance—he is zealous in fulfilling the commandments, or is a doer of good works. Faith gives him a most powerful motivation for this; faith also gives him grace-filled strength to accomplish this through the Holy Mysteries. Thus, faith furthers works. Works in turn make faith perfect, for until that which someone believes is done in deed, faith is not really faith. It becomes apparent only in works; not only apparent, but strong. Works influence back upon faith and strengthen it.

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of Hosts, the whole earth is filled with Thy Glory.


Lent with St Theophan’s ‘Thoughts for Each Day of the Year’
First Friday of Lent
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these (Mark 12:28, 30–31). This also serves as a supplement to the portrayal of the hidden man of the heart. Sanctifying the Lord is his spirit, and love—his soul; all the other virtues are his various members—arms, legs, eyes, ears, tongue. Remembrance of this is very needful, because it sometimes happens that, considering the doing of good to be the final virtue, people think they can get by with only this, not thinking about the Lord, and forgetting about love. Doing good without faith and a desire to please God is not holy; it is like a house that has not been blessed, or a room without icons. Without love, the doing of good is like a building filled with lifeless sculptures, succumbing to mustiness and mold. Pay attention to this, each of you; and setting out to create a new person in yourself, try to place him before the Lord, who is without any flaw.


Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ in me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
(St. Patrick’s Breastplate prayer excerpt)

Lent with St Theophan’s ‘Thoughts for Each Day of the Year’
First Saturday of Lent
The widow placed in the treasury (the church collection box) two mites (a half-kopeck piece, approximately); but the Lord said that she cast in more than anyone, although the others were casting in rubles and tens of rubles. What gave extra weight to her mite? It is the disposition with which the offering was made. Do you see the difference between the doing of good without soul, by habit, and the doing of good with soul and heart? It is not the external aspects of a deed which give it value, but the inner disposition. It may happen that a deed which is outstanding in every regard has no value whatsoever before God, yet a deed which is insignificant in appearance is valued greatly. What follows from this is evident in and of itself. But do not take it into your head to be careless about external things, intending to limit yourself only to inner things. That widow would not have received approval if she had said to herself, “I too have the desire to put in money—but what should I do? I only have two mites. If I give them away, I myself will be left with nothing. She had the desire and acted upon it as well, committing her life into the hands of God. Nobody would have condemned her If she had put in nothing—neither people, nor God. But then she would not have revealed such a disposition, which singled her out from the ranks of others and made her renowned throughout the entire Christian world.


O Come let us worship and fall down before Christ, O Son of God, Who didst rise from the dead, save us who chant unto Thee, Alleluia.