The Stranniki (Russian for Runaways or Wanderers) are the strong Pomorsky Old Believers who rejected prayers for Tsar Peter and all government papers (identification, passports, money, etc). They would not wear clothing contrary to Old Orthodox Russia, nor eat with those of contrary Faith and Practice. Keeping themselves separate from the antichrist society they went far into the Siberian wilderness. This blog is about these people and my effort to conform my life to theirs.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Love of Animals

We see from the lives of the holy men and women printed in these volumes that the labors which they performed and their fastings and prayers made most of them kind and considerate to their fellow men, slow to anger, unwilling to judge others, and patient to bear silence, solitude, hunger, heat and cold, nakedness and poverty and the scorn and contempt of the world. One of their characteristics, which shows itself here and there in their histories, is the kindliness with which the great solitaries regarded animals.

One day a female hyena came and knocked with her head at the door of the court in which Macarius was sitting, and came and dropped a whelp at his feet. He took up the whelp, saw that it was blind, and when he had prayed and spit in its eyes, the little creature was able to see. Its mother suckled it, and then took it up and carried it off. On the following day the hyena reappeared carrying the skin of a sheep which it had no doubt killed and eaten, and left it for the old man (Vol. 1, p. 124), who accepted the gift and subsequently handed it on to the lady Melania.

In the account of the burial of Mar Paule we also have a pretty story of the two lions which came and dug his grave. As they stood before Anthony near the body of Paule, they wagged their tails, and rubbed their teeth together, and purred, and then they dug a hole in the ground with their paws; this done they drooped their heads and tails, and licked Anthony’s hands and feet. Having prayed over them he told them to depart, laying his hands on them as he did so (Vol. 1, p. 203). When they had gone Anthony buried his friend. Whatever the facts of the case may be in this instance, it is clear that Anthony was accustomed to be with lions, and that kindly hermits in all countries have lived on friendly terms with beasts of all kinds is so well known as scarcely to deserve mention.

Theon the monk was fond of animals, and loved the sight of buffaloes, goats and gazelle, and gave them water to drink (Vol. 1, p. 339).

From, The Garden of the Holy Fathers, Vol. 1, p. lxj, here:

It also speaks of The Lives of Holy Women on page 65 (lxv).

Friday, October 30, 2009

We Do Not Have Freedom of Conscience

In the book Provincial Landscapes, by Donald J. Raleigh, we can find these words on pages 187, 190-1.

...Old Believer nastavniki, nachetchiki, monks, nuns, and other active members of their communities were charged as wreckers, saboteurs, agitators, poisoners, and agents of foreign powers... Conspiratorial organizations such as the Brotherhood of Russian Truth (Bratstvo russkoi pravdy) or the League of Militant Christians were likely invented to facilitate collective trials during 1937-38.

The religious affiliation of arrested Old Believers was often represented as a motivation for their anti-Soviet activity. The NKVD often used holy books, crosses, religious paintings, and even outward expressions of piety as evidence of anti-Soviet activity. For example, a 1937 case against two brothers, both Old Believers, drew on the fact that they prayed before and after breakfast in the workers’ canteen...

Ten copies of a “holy letter” discovered by the NKVD in peasant houses in Cheliabinsk Region, read, “Do not come to the councils of the not get tempted by the satiated life (sytoi zhizn’iu) in the kolkhozes that is the work of the in your own individual household.”

...According to official reports, the radical Beguny denounced Soviet power and its representatives as the Antichrist, refusing to join the collective farms, since they were of Satan's doing.

The intensity of apocalyptic sentiment among Old Believers peasants during collectivization, however, should not be exaggerated on the basis of the NKVD reports and charges of anti-Soviet agitation. Eschatology, an integral element of Old Believer religious identity, had a variety of meanings that are not to be reduced to the language of dissent. The position of the Beguny, for example, had much to do with their religious teaching, which had caused them in the past to refuse to join the tsarist army, carry passports, or possess money...

Chasovennye and other priestless Old Believers in the Urals believed that the Antichrist, understood as a distorted spirit of true Christianity, had ruled the world since the seventeenth-century schism. Priestly Old Believers, on the other hand, believed that the Antichrist was yet to come. Anna Ivanova’s father (b.1919), a member of the Belokrinitskie current, for example, maintained that the Antichrist would come after a world war, when the Jews from all over the world would father together in one state, which, according to him, was a matter far into the future.

[I would note that the terms priestless and priestly are both misnomers as they are commonly applied to the two Old Believer groups. Those called priestless have Christ as their Heavenly High-Priest, and those who are thought of as being priestly adopted heretical New-Rite clergy and therefore their priests are invalid. A last comment about the Antichrist, as the Lord Himself taught that there would be many Antichrists, it is no contradiction to say that Peter the Great was the Antichrist and yet there is still another one to come, or that might very well be before us now.]

A letter sent in 1938 by a group of Pomorian Old Believers from the village of Sepych in Perm Oblast articulated the bitterness that all Old Believers felt at the time: “Article 125 says there is freedom of conscience but as it is we do not have any. The Old Believer religion is driven underground.”

Copied from:

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Do Not Worry About The Past

1. When the holy Abba Anthony lived in the desert he was beset by accidie, and attacked by many sinful thoughts. He said to God, ‘Lord, I want to be saved but these thoughts do not leave me alone; what shall I do in my affliction? How can I be saved?’ A short while afterwards, when he got up to go out, Anthony saw a man like himself sitting at his work, getting up from his work to pray, then sitting down and plaiting a rope, then getting up again to pray. It was an angel of the Lord sent to correct and reassure him. He heard the angel saying to him, ‘Do this and you will be saved.’ At these words, Anthony was filled with joy and courage. He did this, and he was saved.

2. When the same Abba Anthony thought about the depth of the judgments of God, he asked, ‘Lord, how is it that some die when they are young, while others drag on to extreme old age? Why are there those who are poor and those who are rich? Why do wicked men prosper and why are the just in need?’ He heard a voice answering him, ‘Anthony, keep your attention on yourself; these things are according to the judgment of God, and it is not to your advantage to know anything about them.’

3. Someone asked Abba Anthony, ‘What must one do in order to please God?’ The old man replied, ‘Pay attention to what I tell you: whoever you may be, always have God before your eyes; whatever you do, do it according to the testimony of the holy Scriptures; in whatever place you live, do not easily leave it. Keep these three precepts and you will be saved.’

4. Abba Anthony said to Abba Poemen, ‘this is the great work of a man: always to take the blame for his own sins before God and to expect temptation to his last breath.’

5. He also said, ‘Whoever has not experienced temptation cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.’ He even added, ‘Without temptations no-one can be saved.’

6. Abba Pambo asked Abba Anthony, ‘What ought I to do?’ and the old man said to him ‘Do not trust in your own righteousness, do not worry about the past, but control your tongue and your stomach.’

7. Abba Anthony said, ‘I saw the snares that the enemy spreads out over the world and I said groaning, “What can get through from such snares?” Then I heard a voice saying to me, “Humility.”’

8. He also said, ‘Some have afflicted their bodies by asceticism, but they lack discernment, and so they are far from God.’

9. He also said, ‘Our life and our death is with our neighbor. If we gain our brother, we have gained God, but if we scandalize our brother, we have sinned against Christ.’

10. He said also, ‘just as fish die if they stay too long out of water, so the monks who loiter outside their cells or pass their time with men of the world lose the intensity of inner peace. So like a fish going towards the sea, we must hurry to reach our cell, for fear that if we delay outside we will lose our interior watchfulness.’

11. He said also, ‘He who wishes to live in solitude in the desert is delivered from three conflicts: hearing, speech, and sight; there is only one conflict for him and that is with fornication.’

There is an Old English edition of the Paradise of the Holy Fathers, Vol. 2, which offers another way of expressing “do not worry about the past” on page 196, line 197, “regret not nor cogitate upon a matter which is past” here:

Friday, October 23, 2009

Chemistry Is Witchcraft

Chemistry is really nothing less than an attempt to play God and change His design and purposes. Chemistry is practiced supposedly for the good of people, but the result is always the destruction of the earth. The use of chemicals, especially when they are corrupted on the molecular level, create poisons in ways that we may never completely understand. It is often wrongly believed that the harm caused by using flesh-inspired chemicals is outweighed by the good the do. God will destroy those who destroy the earth (Rev. 11:18).

We should not even be attempting to look at such microscopic elements as carbon, by doing so we have polluted and contaminated everything (water, air, food). It goes back to the practice alchemy and today it has grown into things like genetics or cloning. Dictionaries define alchemy as having sprung up after the dark ages with the greedy purpose of transforming crude metals into gold and magically offering eternal life akin to the Holy Grail. Such madness is very dark witchcraft.

The American Heritage Dictionary offers this on Alchemy:

1. a form of chemistry and speculative philosophy practiced in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance and concerned principally with discovering methods for transmuting baser metals into gold and with finding a universal solvent and an elixir of life.

2. any magical power or process of transmuting a common substance, usually of little value, into a substance of great value.

We can see where the Periodic Table of Elements started.

Diderot’s Alchemical Chart of Affinities (1778).


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Us Against Them

Peace and non-violence will only be found in the future, in eternity. It is unchristian to use any industrialist petroleum product (like gunpowder), but we should do all we can to protect those we care about. A rock thrown at the right place might just derail the track off a tank.

I know modern-minded Orthodox priests who go around in a militarized Hummer, so watch out for them or they just might get you. The world has been enticed into its present Artillerized Antichrist Army society.

If we think about it this has always been an us against them situation from the beginning. Fact, the worst terrorist group is the U.S. government, with the rest of the world following close behind.

Ultimately, and shortly, the Heavenly King Jesus Christ will end this temporary world. Now is the time when we should flee (alone, if no others are like-minded) into the wilderness. It is necessary that we totally hide and leave no trace. In this we will be purified, so that even if we are captured and dragged back to Antichrist our testimony remains true. No matter what happens remember nobody is really alone.

Those with the Antichrist will lose in the end. We do not fight against flesh and blood, but these days many people and things have become demonized. Demons have always taken on many forms.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Three Forms Of Avarice

St. John Cassian

Examples of avarice are...condemned in Holy Scripture. Gehazi wanted to acquire property which he did not previously possess, and therefore never received the prophetic grace which his teacher had wished to leave him in place of an inheritance. Because of the prophet’s curse he inherited incurable leprosy instead of a blessing (cf. 2 Kings 5:27). And Judas, who wished to acquire money which he had previously abandoned to follow Christ, not only lapsed so far as to betray the Master and loose his place in the circle of the Apostles; he also put an end to his life in the flesh through a violent death (cf. Matt. 27:5). Thirdly, Ananias and Sapphira were condemned to death by the apostle’s word when they kept back something of what they had acquired (cf. Acts 5:1-10). Again, in Deuteronomy Moses is indirectly exhorting those who promise to renounce the world, and who then retain their earthly possessions because of fear that comes from lack of faith, when he says: ‘What man is there that is fearful and faint-hearted? He shall not go out to do battle; let him return to his house, lest his brethren’s heart faint as well as his heart’ (cf. Deut. 20:8). Could anything be more clearer or certain than this testimony? Should not we who have left the world learn from these examples to renounce it completely and in this state go forth to do battle? We should not turn others from the perfection taught in the Gospels and make them cowardly because of our own hesitant and feeble start.

Some, impelled by their own deceit and avarice, distort the meaning of the scriptural statement, ‘It is more blessed to give than receive’ (Acts 20:35). They do the same with the Lord’s words when He says, ‘If you want to be perfect, go and sell all you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven, and follow Me’ (Matt. 19:21). They judge that it is more blessed to have control over one’s personal wealth, and to give from this to those in need, than to possess nothing at all. They should know, however, that they have not yet renounced the world or achieved monastic perfection so long as they are ashamed to accept for Christ’s sake the poverty of the Apostle and to provide for themselves and the needy through the work of their hands (cf. Acts 20:34); for only in this way will they fulfill the monastic profession and be glorified with the Apostle. Having distributed their former wealth, let them fight the good fight with Paul ‘in hunger and thirst . . . in cold and nakedness’ (2 Cor. 11:27). Had the Apostle thought that the possession of one’s former wealth was more necessary for perfection, he would not have despised his former status a Roman citizen (cf. Acts 22:25). ...the apostle’s considered it more blessed to live off...the offerings of the Gentiles.

Philokalia, Vol. 1 - pages 80-1 (On the Eight Vices)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sit Outside The City

The man who has withdrawn from the world in order to shake off his own burden of sins should imitate those who sit outside the city among the tombs, and should not cease from his hot and fiery streams of tears and voiceless heartfelt groanings until he, too, sees that Jesus has come to him and rolled away the stone of hardness from his heart, and loosed Lazarus, that is to say, our mind, from the bands of sin, and ordered His attendant angels: Loose him from passions, and let him go to blessed dispassion. Otherwise he will have gained nothing.

Step 1.6 - On Renunciation of the World
The Ladder of Divine Ascent, HTM, 2001

Monday, October 19, 2009

Marriage, an alternative to the Orthodox Church

Marriage makes it more difficult to be Stranniki, but not impossible. The Stranniki recommended against marriage. According to the Apostle serving Christ alone was better.

From the book: Old Believers, Religious Dissent and Gender in Russia, Chapter 4 The Sacrament of the heart: marriage, family and gender in Pomorian discourse. Here we find a subsection titled, Old Believer marriage as an alternative to the Orthodox Church - “ the Orthodox Church from the seventeenth century there was a contradiction between the doctrinal view of marriage and canon law. According to doctrine, the sacrament of marriage, as one of the seven sacraments of the Church, had to be sanctified by the priest; while according to canon law, the Church ritual was one element but not the main condition of the sacrament.”

[From] “the second half of the eighteenth century, following the secularization of church properties by the state, the Orthodox Church focused on the ‘spiritualization’ of marriage. Putting more emphasis on the sacrament of matrimony, the Church [then] insisted on a Church wedding as the only condition for legitimate marriage.”

“However, as we can see, in the age of Enlightenment the priestless Old Believers also emphasized the spiritual and sacramental aspects of marriage. But in contrast to the official Orthodox writers such as Feofan Prokopovich, who believed that the Church sacrament was the essence of matrimony, Old Believer leaders played down the role of the ordained priesthood in the Church marriage, emphasizing mutual consent as the core of the sacrament...”

In a following subsection we read, “The Pomorian fathers instructed a newly married couple: ‘You my son, must love your wife but don’t be angry with her. If she does not obey you punish her slightly with a rod without anger.’ Taking into account the widely spread practice of wife beating among the lower classes in Russia, the elder’s advice to the husband to exercise his power with reason could be considered a tactical attempt to put limits on domestic violence.”

“...some women exercised public influence in communal affairs. As far as we can judge from the early twentieth century debates, there were two tendencies present in the community: one that encouraged women to take public roles and the other, more conservative, that resisted women’s participation. ...women were traditionally active members of the Old Believer community who carried out social, economic and religious duties...the 1911 conference resolved that women over the age of 18 could participate and vote in the communal assemblies.”

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Do We Have A Conscience?

The progress of technology is affecting the Old Believers, but a number of them still hide at a distance from the conveniences of the modern world. In these communities women dress modestly (in long sarafans) and men do not trim their beards. Maybe 15 to 20 miles from Odessa, Ukraine, along the shore of the Black Sea, are some of these people who struggle to keep a vestige of the Faith of their ancestors on the outskirts of a village named Gribovka.

Many of the people here do live a more rural life than most people, ignoring television, radio, they even shun telephones. At times they learn some of the more serious news from newspapers, but even that is considered a sin. For that worldliness they must ask for forgiveness.

In what would be considered severe and offensive deprivations to most people they live in all seriousness. Should anyone of them live in drunkenness, such a one would not receive a Christian burial. So only privately would their loved ones use Old Faith bridges in the hope of their finding mercy.

These people had no problem with an occasional lie in order to save themselves from socialist collective uprisings where almost nobody survived. They have had to live as recluses. There is a basic truth that we should not sin, and that we should live in agreement and accordance with such beliefs.

Our ordinary modern greetings of “Good morning” or “How are you” are not followed by Old Believers. They explain that there are no good mornings, except on Christ’s Resurrection, the first day of the week. The Old Believers instead begin conversation by offering, “Good health” and with passing comments they might say “Christ rescues” as only by Him are we protected. Goodbye’s are also very different, for they merely ask forgiveness, the customary final response being, “Amen, God will forgive.” (It might be the last opportunity to ask for forgiveness. Some people never really liked goodbyes anyway.) Outsiders may think it strange to always be asking forgiveness in this manner, but even the elderly practice this with their young. It is a good reminder that we should always be repenting and constantly and asking Christ to forgive us for our many sins.

More on the last Amur Old Believers.

Hard liquor is considered unclean to drink and we should advise others not to do such things. Other alcohol (like wine) must be consumed to the glory of God, in certain domestic settings, only on holidays and in reasonable limits. So the whole life of Old Believers is likewise in opposition to many worldly pastimes. From the view of those in the world living an Old Believer way of life is somewhat suicidal. It is true that there are many sacrifices to live a pure life, but then the benefits are beyond measure and incomparable with more ordinary or common satisfactions that everyone else has.

With all the promises, persuasions (and what inevitably leads to threats) from the outside society, the Old Believers always have to struggle to keep their balance. The moral pressures from the outside society is colossal to say the least. For them it is necessary to question everything in the modern world. But there is some truth out there, if only in the hidden places.

These Old Believers are what is called by outsiders as “priestless” but the term is a misnomer.

Gleaned from the following reports.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Official Papers are the Mark of the Beast

In the book Provincial Landscapes, Edited by Donald J. Raleigh, we can find these words on pages 172-3, 175-6, 179-80, 186.

The case study of Old Believers who, unlike Sectarians, formed a majority in many areas of the Urals region and Russia in general...

Stranniki, who emerged in the eighteenth century, refused to register with local authorities because they believed that the marks of the Antichrist were on official papers, such as passports and banknotes. Since they could not survive in Russia without “stamped papers,” however, Stranniki divided their communities into “elders,” who did not have passports and possessions, and the benefactors (strannopriimtsy), second-class members, who had to provide for the elders...

[The author offers misleading statements that Stranniki could not survive without papers, or that benefactors had to provide for elders. We all are able to take care of ourselves, but it is encouraging to help each other, as all Stranniki did.]

Staroobriadtsy reproduced their identity by means of traditional education, which focused on the reading of sacred books, the learning of church services, public disputes, oral and written historical tradition, and pilgrimage...

Father Pavel, was well know for welcoming everyone who visited him in his isolated forest cell - even robbers who had once broken into his house late at night. According to a local informant, “He offered them tea and supper and they felt ashamed to do their evil work.”

...Two interpretations of the Antichrist persisted from the seventeenth century: first, the representation of the Antichrist as “physical,” that is, incarnate as a man; and, second, as “spiritual,” that is, present in society as a spirit rather than a person. The Old Believers in the Urals accepted both these views and used them flexibly for different ends. The Old Believers in the industrial areas of the Central Urals had more moderate vies on the Antichrist.

...a local [communist] party member emphasized the predominance of well-off [Stranniki] members among the sect. It was said that 54.2 percent of sect members were kulaks and well off (zazhitochnye) and only 12.5 percent were poor peasants... He discovered that the kulaks used a system of secret tunnels, which had been dug by Stranniki to hide from tsarist authorities and to conceal grain from requisition squads... Staroobriadtsy in the Urals were particularly prone to be identified with antimodern forces, because in addition to the simplified Marxist view of religion as reactionary, Old Belief was perceived as the most antiquated, irrational, and even a primitive form of modern religion... Old Believer monophonic singing had neither rhythm nor beauty... Old Believers, who preferred spiritual healing to scientific medicine, were criticized for not believing in science and not trusting official medicine...

The secret police raided Old Believer forest skity, arresting religious itineraries in conformity with the new passport legislation of 1932-33. Between 1932 and 1936, NKVD forces destroyed dozens of forest hermitages in the area of Tiumen, Nizhnii Tagil, Verkhneivinsk, and Shalia. Skity inhabitants born between 1866 and 1901, plus some elders, were given sentences for parasitism, agitation against Soviet power, and counterrevolutionary activities.

Copied from this online source.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Today’s Churches Are Not Free

Before 1954 churches were able to be free with their speech about critical issues of the day. Fire and brimstone types feared only God, not man. Today the IRS forbids such. Today’s churches are milquetoast, hiding behind their tax exempt status. They are concubines disguised as churches. The IRS has become a political and religious weapon. They control these heretical churches with tax exempt status, otherwise known as the 501(c)(3) trap or the kiss of death.

The 501(c)(3) is absolutely unnecessary for churches, as they are now tax-exempted by the IRS, see Code 508(c)(1)(A). But once under the 501(c)(3) regulations these non-profit organizations and their staff members are prohibited from identifying with a candidate, expressing their views on issues that might indirectly associate them with a candidate or political party, and speaking out against government agencies. The prohibitions even extend to individual members of congregations within 501(c)(3) churches.

Congress approved a law in 1954, signed by Sen. Lyndon Johnson, to prohibit 501(c)(3) organizations (including churches and charities) from engaging in political activity and speaking against the government. The 501(c)(3) legally makes these private organizations agencies of the government and allows them special exemption from taxes and IRS scrutiny. Also, this law puts severe limits on their lobbying capabilities and virtually renders them ineffective. Practically speaking, the churches and charities trade their First Amendment right of free speech and their right to lobby for protection from the IRS. In simpler terms it is “hush money.”

The U.S. Gov’t has so deprived the modern style “churches” that these false churches have decided it is better not to “upset the apple cart” than risk losing their 501(c)(3) status. It is apparently more important to please man than honor God. These 501(c)(3) churches do not balk at divorce, they turn their back on fornication, and refuse to confront habitual liars or thieves that are in their midst.

Social Security Numbers, Corporate numbers or other numbers of the government like Social Security checks all meet the criteria of the “mark of the beast.” These false churches wear the mark of the beast all over themselves. The goal of the IRS is to shut the mouths of as many people as possible. The IRS has an agenda to monitor churches and censor any speech they deem to be too political and they look for “secret code words” from pulpits like “pro-life” and “conservative.”

Even Jerry Falwell’s group was recently forced by the IRS to pay a stiff fine. Also Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition had to hobble through an IRS audit. The IRS threat is real, if we participate with them. My advice is to cease and desist immediately. Liberal churches and groups like Planned Parenthood, feminists organizations or homosexual groups seem to sidestep audits entirely.

The IRS has become a police-state agency. Texe Marrs presented a list of things (partially seen below) that the IRS contends are prohibited. These prohibitions demonstrate how the IRS and the federal government now control churches to insure politically and religiously “correct” behavior. False religions such as Hinduism, Witchcraft, and Scientology are not seen as being affected by these rules. Keep in mind that these IRS guidelines are not prohibited by law, but the IRS obviously considers itself above the law.

According to the IRS organizations with 501(c)(3) status may not:
  • Expose conspiracies.
  • Criticize the New World Order.
  • Say anything negative about politicians.
  • Criticize government agencies and bureaus.
  • Criticize institutions like the White House, Congress, Federal Reserve, or Supreme Court.
  • Criticize bills or legislations.
  • Make disparaging remarks about other religions.
  • Discourage abortion.
  • Identify homosexuality as an abomination before God.
  • Appealing to people by using methods such as “fire and brimstone” preaching.
  • Identify threats to Christianity.
  • Discuss subjects the IRS deems “sensationalist.”
  • Criticize well-known public figures or institutions the IRS deems “worthy”, such as the super-rich elite, international bankers, the Hollywood movie industry, etc.
  • Criticize the Pope or the Vatican.
  • Criticize the United Nations or other globalist groups such as the Council on Foreign Relations and Trilateral Commission.
  • Criticize the Masonic Lodge, the Order of Skull & Bones, or other secret societies.
  • Highlight or otherwise bring attention to immorality of public officials or corruption in government.
  • Support home schooling, home churches, or unregistered churches.
  • Promote or encourage alternative healthcare.
  • Support or encourage persecuted Christians suffering under anti-Christian regimes in Red China, Cuba, Russia, Israel, Saudi Arabia, the United States, and elsewhere.
  • Ordain a pastor whose training or qualifications are not approved by the IRS.

501(c)(3) corporate churches have given themselves over to mammon as can be seen in their articles of incorporation, they serve what passes for money rather than God. No true Christian will allow themselves to be “an arm of the Antichrist.” There is this double-true statement, “What fellowship hath light with darkness?” We should all see the writing on the wall.

Here is one old news article for reference.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Knowledgeable are Silent and Still

Writings from the Philokalia on Prayer of the Heart, p. 76

“To psalmodise much is good for those who follow active life, since they are ignorant of mental occupations and lead a life of labour.”

The Complete English Philokalia, p. 278

“To psalmodize often is appropriate for novices in the ascetic life, because of the toil it involves and the spiritual knowledge it confers.”

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Angels Serve Food At Night

St. Onuphrius spoke of his experience like this, “Now when God saw that I patiently endured in the good fight of fasting and that I devoted myself completely to ascetic practices, He had his holy angels serve me with my daily food; He gave it to me at night and strengthened my body...” Histories of the Monks of Upper Egypt, p.155. There are many such stories of receiving a miraculous “second wind” in the ancient Thebaid.

Monday, October 12, 2009

St. Maximus the Confessor

“A man whose mind cleaves to God with love

holds as nought all visible things,

even his own body.”

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Let Us Avoid Staying in Towns

St. Neilos the Ascetic

Philokalia, Vol. 1 - pages 214-5

We are apt to say that in sickness the body needs some relief. But is it not much better to die rather than to do something unworthy of our vocation. In any case, if God wishes us to go on living, either He will give our body enough strength to bear the pain of the illness, and will reward us for our courage; or else He will find some way to relieve the pain, for the Fountain of Wisdom never lacks a remedy.

...Let us avoid staying in towns or villages; it is better for their inhabitants to come and visit us. Let us seek the wilderness and so draw after us the people who now shun us. For scripture praises those who ‘leave the cities and dwell in the rocks, and are like the dove’ (cf. Jer. 48:28). John the Baptist lived in the wilderness and the population of entire towns came out to him. Men dressed in garments of silk hastened to see his leather girdle; those who lived in houses with gilded ceilings chose to endure hardship in the open air; and rather than sleep on beds adorned with jewels they preferred to lie on the sand. All this they endured, although it was contrary to their usual habits; for in their desire to see John the Baptist and in their wonder at his holiness they did not notice the hardships and discomfort...

Let us give up our flocks and herds, and so become real shepherds. Let us abandon sordid commerce, and so acquire the ‘pearl of great price’ (Matt. 13:46). Let us stop tilling the earth which ‘brings forth thorns and thistles’ (Gen. 3:18), and so become cultivators and keepers of paradise. Let us give up everything and choose the life of stillness, and so put to silence those who now reproach us for owning possessions. The best way to abash our critics is discretely to correct in ourselves the faults for which they revile us; for such a change in those reproached puts their reproachers to shame. must first be purified from old defilements, and then with close attention must learn about holiness...

To master any art requires time and much instruction... The only art which the uninstructed dare to practice, because they think it is the simplest of all, is that of the spiritual way. What is difficult the majority regard as easy; and what Paul says he has not yet apprehended (cf. Phil. 3:12), they claim to know through and through, although they do not know even this: that they are totally ignorant.

(From the section subtitled, Ascetic Discourse)

Friday, October 2, 2009


“When harmed, insulted or persecuted by someone, do not think of the present but wait for the future, and you will find he has brought you much good, not only in this life but also in the life to come.” - St. Mark the Ascetic

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Earth and its Inhabitants

The Stranniki

In the book, The Earth and its Inhabitants, it mentions on page 465 that in Siberia not only are there “vagabonds” who have escaped from prison, but that due to its great and limitless area Siberia attracts other types of people:

‘The sect of Stranniki, or “Wanderers,” has many representatives in Siberia, where they are ceaselessly roaming over the woodlands and highlands in search of that, “White Water” which cleanses from all sin, and at the same time insures them everlasting bliss. In most of the towns and villages they find friends, who, though really members of the sect, lend a sedentary life, and outwardly conform to the orthodox religion. Their sole mission is to give hospitality to their “wandering” brethren, and screen them from the police. When they are discovered and thrown into prison, the Stranniki thank the Lord for the trial which has overtaken them, and which must purify their faith. But as a rule the “raskol,” or “desent,” finds a less propitious soil in Siberia than in European Russia, and the indifference of the Sibiryaks in religious matters has ended be reacting on the Raskolinks themselves.’