Letters, Volume 2 (The Fathers of the Church, Volume 114)

Letters, Volume 2 (The Fathers of the Church, Volume 114)

Translated by JOHN CHRYSSAVGIS
Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 364
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt32b1cm
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  • Book Info
    Letters, Volume 2 (The Fathers of the Church, Volume 114)
    Book Description:

    No description available

    eISBN: 978-0-8132-1585-3
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. ABBREVIATIONS
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. xi-xvi)
  6. LETTERS, VOLUME 2
    • LETTERS TO VARIOUS BROTHERS (349–398)
      (pp. 1-37)

      A brother heard from another brother about the warfare of the latter; so he advised him as much as he could, although he had not reached the measure to give such advice. As a result, the warfare immediately turned upon himself. When he saw himself burdened and knew that he was suffering this because he had not admitted his own weakness to his brother, and that it is necessary to seek the counsel of the fathers, he announced this to the Other Old Man. The latter responded in this way.

      Brother, there is no other way for a person except...

    • LETTERS TO LAYPERSONS AND TO MONKS (399–462)
      (pp. 38-76)

      A Christ-loving layperson confessed his sins to the same Old Man, also requesting forgiveness for them. In response, the Old Man said the following.

      Whoever manifests his sins is justified of these, according to the Scripture that says: “Admit your sins first, so that you may be justified.”¹ And again: “I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and you forgave the impiety of my heart.”² Therefore, brother, let us henceforth guard ourselves; however, as for our previous sins, behold, God has forgiven them.

      The same person asked the same Old Man: “Tell me, father, how it is...

    • TO A DEVOUT LAYMAN, NAMELY, THE FUTURE ABBOT AELIANOS (463–482)
      (pp. 77-88)

      A Christ-loving layperson¹ asked the same [Other] Old Man whether one should reflect a great deal about the sacred mysteries, and if a sinful person approaching these mysteries would be condemned as being unworthy. Response by John.

      When you enter the holies, pay attention and have no doubt that you are about to receive the body and blood of Christ; for this is the truth [about what is happening]. As for how this is the case, do not reflect on it too much, according to him who said: “Take, eat; this is my body and blood”;² he gave us these...

    • LETTERS TO VARIOUS MONKS (483–491)
      (pp. 89-96)

      A brother happened to be working with another brother and was struck by the latter at the instigation of the devil. Troubled by this, he sought to be relieved of working with that brother. So he asked the Great Old Man about it. And Barsanuphius responded in the following manner.

      Brother, in regard to what you have asked me, do not be troubled or do anything with turmoil, especially against a person who is already troubled by his thoughts and by the devil’s envy. For you, too, have been tempted and enraged by thoughts on other occasions. And if you...

    • LETTERS TO A FORMER SOLDIER, NOW A MONK (492–502)
      (pp. 97-104)

      A brother, who was a soldier in the secular world,¹ renounced everything for life in the monastery; and he asked the same Great Old Man whether he would be able to repent. Response by Barsanuphius.

      Brother, god rejects no one, but rather he calls everyone to repentance. Therefore, one who approaches him should do so with all one’s heart, sowing in the hope of also harvesting, and expecting temptation until one’s last breath.²

      Question: “And then, will God come to the assistance of that person?” Response.

      Child, the arena is open, and whosoever wants to be saved may hear Jesus...

    • MORE LETTERS TO VARIOUS MONKS (503–570)
      (pp. 105-147)

      A brother who dwelt with an elder asked the same Old Man, John, about his diet and sleep, as well as about the turmoil that occurred to him in regard to those things, which he felt that his elder was not doing correctly. Response.

      The elders say: “Giving rest to one’s neighbor is a great virtue, especially when one does not do this under coercion or with wastefulness.” As for you, keep as much as your body requires; even if you eat three times a day, this is not harmful. For if one eats only once a day but does...

    • ON ABBA JOHN, THE OTHER OLD MAN (570B)
      (pp. 148-148)

      The abbot [Seridos] said about the same Old Man [John], that he never saw him smiling¹ or troubled; never did he take holy Communion without shedding tears after reciting the words: “Lord, may these holy things not be to me for condemnation.” Once, it happened that the same Old Man asked the abbot to do something. When, however, the abbot left there, he forgot [what he had been asked]. On a return visit, when it was time to leave, he said to him: “If you remember, do what I have asked you.” The abbot was sorry for forgetting and so...

    • ON ABBOT SERIDOS (570C)
      (pp. 149-151)

      About abbot Seridos, I have many things to tell you, which are great and admirable, as well as entirely worthy of relating; yet I shall omit most of them for the sake of brevity and shall only recall enough information to present the man’s virtue. For he led a temperate life from his youth, more intensely abstinent than any other person. He suppressed the body so much that it was terribly wounded. Nevertheless, afterward, the holy Old Man¹ prayed to God and healed him, commanding him to control the body with discernment in order that he might carry out his...

    • LETTERS TO ABBOT AELIANOS (571–598)
      (pp. 152-174)

      A brother, who was a Christ-loving layperson¹ with much faith in the holy Old Men, Abba Barsanuphius and Abba John,² desiring that they direct him toward life,³ sent a letter asking Abba John the following: “Father, with God’s mercy I pray that I may renounce the world for the monastic life, but I hesitate, unsure as to whether I should renounce everything from now on and become a monk or whether I should first put my affairs in order and then leave⁴ so that I might be carefree in my renunciation,⁵ especially on account of my elderly wife, my children,...

    • LETTER TO THE MONKS OF THE MONASTERY (599)
      (pp. 175-176)

      Some elders in the monastic community asked the same Old Man: “Master, we entreat you to tell us why, after promising us that you were imploring God the Master to leave the abbot of blessed memory [Seridos] with us, nevertheless he took him [away from us] even prior to you, although he always fulfills the desires of those who fear him.¹ Moreover, teach us this, father: How is it that God sometimes conceals something from the saints, as it happened with the prophet Elisha?² For what reason did the ulcers appear in the abbot when he was about to die?”...

    • ON THE DEATH OF THE OTHER OLD MAN, JOHN (599B)
      (pp. 177-178)

      The same Abba John inhabited the first cell of the Great Old Man, which was built for the latter outside of the monastery, and lived there in stillness for eighteen years until his death, which he predicted in the following way: “I shall die within seven days after Abba Seridos.” When we entreated him not to leave us as orphans, he said: “Had Abba Seridos lived on, I would have stayed another five years; however, since God withheld this from me and took him, I shall stay no longer.”

      Then, Abba Aelianos, who had recently become a monk and at...

    • LETTERS TO A MONK ABOUT ORIGENISM (600–607)
      (pp. 179-195)

      A brother asked the holy Old Man, Abba Barsanuphius, saying: “Father, I do not know how I came upon the books of Origen and Didymus, as well as the Gnostic Chapters of Evagrius and the writings of his disciples.¹ These books say that human souls were not created with the bodies but pre-existed them, being naked intellects or bodiless. Similarly, they say that both angels and demons were naked intellects. Human beings were condemned to the body because of their transgression, while angels became what they are by preserving their original condition. Demons, however, became what they are as a...

    • LETTERS TO VARIOUS BROTHERS (608–616)
      (pp. 196-206)

      Another brother asked the same Great Old Man: “Tell me, father, what happens when I see someone doing something and I tell someone else, yet I say [to myself] that I am not condemning him, but that we are only holding a conversation? Am I condemning that person in my thought?” Response by Barsanuphius.

      If there is any passionate movement within you, then you are condemning that person. But if your thought is free from passion, then there is no condemnation. One is simply talking in order to prevent the evil from increasing.

      Question: “What do the words mean: ‘With...

    • LETTERS TO LAYPERSONS OF VARIOUS PROFESSIONS (617–787)
      (pp. 207-289)

      A Christ-loving layperson asked the Other Old Man, John: “I implore you, father, clarify this for me, too, so that I may depart joyfully. Since my thought tells me to offer some alms from my possessions, what is more beneficial for me to do? Should I give things away gradually, or should I give them away all at once?” Response by John.

      Brother, even if I am not capable of responding to you as I should, yet you heed the counsel of Scripture: “Do not say: ‘Go, and come back again tomorrow, I will give it,’ when you can give...

    • LETTERS TO VARIOUS BISHOPS AND TO THE INHABITANTS OF GAZA (788–844)
      (pp. 290-322)

      A certain priest, who had been elected to the episcopate by the faithful of that city, sent a letter asking the same Old Man whether God wants him to become a bishop. Response by John.

      Brother, you are asking me something that is beyond me; for I am the least significant person¹ and have not reached such a measure. Nevertheless, you have abandoned the Apostle and ask me, who have not even begun² to be a monk. The Apostle says: “Whoever aspires to the office of bishop desires a noble task. Now a bishop must be above reproach,”³ and so...

    • LETTERS TO VARIOUS LAYPERSONS AND A BROTHER (845–848)
      (pp. 323-324)

      A Christ-loving layperson asked the Other Old Man: “Is it good for me to suggest to the lord bishop whatever I feel may be beneficial for him?” Response by John.

      This is a good thing, and it is proper for a love that is according to God. Hold your heart in purity before God, and this will not cause you any harm. Now, having your heart in purity means not saying anything against anyone out of vengeance, but only for the sake of good itself. Therefore, do not imagine that such a thing is in fact slander; indeed, everything done...

  7. INDICES