Paternal Counsels I: Elder Philotheos Zervakos

Paternal Counsels, select letters and excerpts from the book: Paternal Counsels Volume I, by Elder Philotheos Zervakos.

Archimandrite Philotheos Zervakos (1884-1980)

The homeland of Philotheos Zervakos (Constantine in the world) was Pakia, Lakonia. He was born in May 1884. As a child he learned the sacred letters from his virtuous parents and loved God, His Law, His Church, prayer, fasting, vigilance, quietness, and every virtue above all the delights of the world and even his own life.

As a teacher for three years he proved to be excellent at leading the students, parents, and all the inhabitants of the village of Phoinikion to Christ by his godly and good way of life.

By the all-wise providence of God he was acquainted early on with men wise in God as well as with holy spiritual fathers. After completing his service in the ranks of the earthly army, he was enlisted through monastic life in the heavenly army of Christ the King of All by the guidance of his spiritual father Saint Nectarios the Wonder-worker. He entered the virtuously radiant Monastery of the All-holy Life-giving Spring in Longovarda, Paros. On December 29, 1907 he was tonsured a monk with the new name of Philotheos, and the following day he was ordained deacon. On April 22,1912 he was ordained priest and made spiritual father. On October 21, 1913 he was awarded the office of archimandrite.

He became abbot of the monastery reluctantly and unwillingly in January 1930, and made it a God-loving oasis, a spiritual lighthouse and an ark of salvation for thousands of souls.

For roughly seventy years the ever-memorable Elder Philotheos was the spiritual father and guide for thousands of souls of every class, age and level of education. He spent his life in a holy and apostolic manner and proved to be an angel of consolation not only for the monastery and the island of Paros, but also for several thousands of Christians in Greece and abroad.

His blessed and holy repose occurred on May 8,1980, on the feast of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian and Saint Arsenios the Great. He went to Him for Whom he had longed and to Whom he was well pleasing throughout his whole life.

Paternal Counsels

Are you a child of God?

O man, whether you are a king, dictator, patriarch, metropolitan, prime minister, minister, professor, lawyer, mechanic, officer, doctor, adult, child, man, woman, poor or rich, if you are not a child of God you are nothing. You are a zero, a miserable person, worthy of tears! If, however, you are a child of God, you are the happiest man on earth. Rejoice and be glad! You can say like the Holy Apostles: "I am poor but I make many wealthy, I have nothing and possess everything, because I am a child of God" [2 Cor. 6:10]. I have God as Father. What is happier, more joyous, more honorable, more glorious and more blessed! ...

The universal apostasy

...All have gone astray—rulers and hierarchs, ministers and generals, priests and monks, officers and soldiers, learned and unlearned, rich and poor, adults and children, men and women. From such a generation and such people let us not expect progress and improvement, but rather the coming sword and the last great wrath, which is coming upon the sons of disobedience [Eph. 5:6, Col. 3:6]. There are a few exceptions as well, and there are also a few elect for whose sake the Lord spares the many sinners. But the elect are so few that I fear they will not be able to restrain the just wrath and indignation of God against the sinners. And there shall come great wrath from the Lord Almighty and tribulation the like of which has not occurred from the beginning of the world up to now. O sinners, where shall we flee? Let us take refuge in God alone and let us be ready, because the end of the present age is at hand.

Life resembles the sea

The present temporal life of people resembles the sea we and all people are small boats. And just as the ships which voyage on the sea do not always have calm weather, but often encounter strong winds and great storms and run into danger, so we also, as we voyage on the sea of temporal life, often encounter strong winds, great storms, scandals, temptations, illnesses, afflictions, worries, persecutions, and dangers. However, we should not cower. Let us have boldness and faith. And if we faint-hearted people of little faith cower in the face of dangers, let us call out like Peter to Christ, our sweetest God, Who is everywhere present: "Teacher, save us, we are perishing." And immediately our sweet Jesus will stretch out His right hand and will raise us up saying: "O ye of little faith, why did ye falter? Do not fear, I am near you, I will not let go of you."

When the ship arrives and enters the port, it experiences neither fear nor danger. In such a way, only when we reach the undisturbed and winterless haven of eternal life will we be eternally safe, because there and from then on every disturbance, fear, confusion, and danger ceases. There the calm is undisturbed, the peace is without war, the health is without illness, the happiness is without misfortune, the joy is without sadness, and the life is without death. May the all-good and heavenly Father, Who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth [1 Tim. 2:4], grant us also and everyone the eternal goods and the kingdom of heaven.

P.S. We have reached difficult and evil days. The wrath of the Lord has arrived. It is restrained by the prayers and intercessions of His all-holy Mother and the saints in heaven, and of the few elect on earth. In any case we ought to be ready and repent in order at least to save our souls.

Sins are the cause of wars

I find one sole cause of wars: the many sins of men. This above all is the reason for wars. The unerring mouth of our Savior Jesus Christ says: "And because of the increase of lawlessness the love of many will grow cold" [Matt. 24.12]. Understand it better: wherever there is darkness, the light is chased away; wherever there is war, love is chased away. So love was chased away, scorned and banished by the men of today, and what is going to happen? Without fail, what the Apostle Paul proclaimed will occur. "But if you devour one another, take heed that you are not consumed by one another" [Gal. 5:15]. The civilized peoples, who are at each other's throats like enraged wild beasts, will be consumed. If every transgression and disobedience from the beginning of the creation of the world received the just and fitting punishment, how is it possible for us who have neglected such salvation to escape legitimate punishment? ... People unjustly blame one man or another as causes of war; sin is the cause which removes man from God. When men are removed from God they perish, as the Holy Spirit says through the Prophet David: "Those who remove themselves from you [that is, God] perish." [Ps. 72:27]. How they perish! Some through war, others through fire, others through butchery of the sword, others from hunger, others from sickness, others from earthquakes, others from drowning, and in many other ways they perish. One way and means of perdition for men is war ...

If, my beloved, people had love between them would war ever occur? Of course not, never, for who loves and envies? Who loves and plots? Who loves and murders? Nobody, never ... Who today keeps the commandment of the God-man and Savior Christ, "Love one another" [John 13:34]? ... And especially inasmuch as the commandments of God are not severe? What burden is it for you to love God and your neighbor? ...


The Lord of Hosts, Who is powerful and strong in wars, will help His Church and His elect ... Remain faithful until death so that you may be worthy of the unfading crown... May the all-good God Who ordains all things in His love for mankind enlighten the minds and hearts of the most reverend hierarchs and bring peace to the Church of Greece. May division and scandals cease, may the swell and the storm cease, and may calm, peace, unity and accord come about, and may that mighty wrath of the Lord, which usually comes upon the sons of disobedience [Eph. 5:6; Col. 3:6], be restrained ... Since they do not listen to God, how will they listen to me, a sinner?

But, O Lord, how long [Ps. 89:15]? Until the cities are laid waste because they are not inhabited by men and the earth is left a desert; until the Lord arises and shatters the earth, and lawlessness and wickedness overturn the thrones of the powerful ... May God enlighten the whole world and may people come to knowledge and be at peace.

Advice to a priest

... "Priesthood is administered on earth but it has the rank of the heavenly hosts," according to the divine Chrysostom. And according to Isidore of Pelousion, "a priest is an angel of the Lord Almighty." As great, therefore, and lofty as the dignity of the priesthood is, so much ought the priest also to be great and lofty in virtue; not in pride, but rather in the humility which exalts; in meekness, innocence, purity, chastity, temperance, understanding, and prudence.

Fear of God, great care, and unceasing prayer are necessary. If the hierarchs and priests were all as the divinely-inspired Apostle Paul defines and as God wants them to be, in other words to be a light to the rest of the people, their shining works, the people would see the good works of the hierarchs and priests and would glorify the Father in heaven. They would not revile or blaspheme Him, but would live on earth like the angels in heaven. Unfortunately, the light has become darkness (with rare exceptions), and the darkness has become so great that the people, in their total blindness, fall one on top of the other and are crushed.

Our Lord Jesus Christ said to the Holy Apostles and their successors: "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works" [Matt. 5:16]. The majority of hierarchs and priests see to it that their golden altars, vestments and cassocks shine, but not their works. I am not saying that the hierarch or priest should be filthy, unclean, and ragged—far from it! He should be seemly and clean, as a minister, servant, and representative of the Heavenly King, yet he should not only have garments and boast in them, but also have God-pleasing and shining works. Strive to walk worthily of the vocation to which you were called. Do not pay attention to the majority, but to the few and the elect. Do not walk the wide and spacious road which leads to perdition, but the narrow and sorrowful one, which few walk and which leads to life. In this way you will please God and the angels, and benefit yourself and our brother Christians as well ...

Advice to a deacon

... When I had been ordained deacon and priest I came to Aegina, where my spiritual father Saint Nectarios lived. I asked him to wish me well, bless me, and give me the necessary counsels. I always remember it and will not forget it. First, he took off the wooden cross, which he always had with him and made the sign of the cross over me. Then he lifted up his right hand and blessed me, saying to me: "Be forever God-loving [Φiλόθεος] and humble. These two counsels do I give to you, to be philotheos [God-loving] all your life long, that is to love God and be humble." If you love God, Who is love, God will remain with you and you with God. And when God is with you do not fear anyone. If God is with us no one is against us, and the Spirit of the Lord shall rest in the hearts of the meek. Wherever there is humility, pride flees away; wherever Christ is, the devil flees away. On these two commandments and virtues hang all the Law and the Prophets.

About teachers

... Also write to me about how the school is going — are the children well-behaved? Do the professors and teachers and the principal have fear of God? In order for the children to become good they must have good teachers, and especially in this wicked generation of today. A proverb says, "Whichever teacher you sit with, such are the letters you will learn," and it is from good teachers that good lessons come. Good teachers and students are not those who teach and are taught only dry letters, but those who have fear of God and Orthodox, true, pure, and fervent faith. For the beginning of wisdom is not letters, but the fear of God [Ps. 110:10], and the beginning, middle and end of salvation is the Orthodox Faith, zealous, firm and unshakeable, a faith expressed through works. It is possible for someone to have much book knowledge, and to know all the languages, but if he does not have faith he is a zero, a beast, useless, fruitless, and harmful both to himself and others. It is possible for someone to be illiterate, but if he has fear of God and true faith, he is the wisest of all and superior to all. The Holy Apostles were illiterate, but they had fear of God and faith, and they became all-wise. The High Priests, Scribes and Pharisees were educated, but because they had neither fear of God nor faith, they became the most insignificant, the most foolish and the most imprudent of all ...

Counsels for a student

... Continue your lessons and don't look at what this or that person is doing — just pay attention to yourself [Dent. 15:9]. If many of your fellow-students are lewd, impious, blasphemous, and unruly, don't you imitate them. When the Lord sent His disciples into the world to preach the Gospel, He told them: "I am sending you as sheep amid wolves: become wise like serpents and innocent like doves" [Matt. 10:16]. And you, my child, are like a sheep amid wolves: become wise, and do not let the wickedness of the depraved, lewd, and impious influence you. Imitate the honey bee, which knows many impure, foul-smelling, and filthy places, but does not stop at these. He selects the fragrant and choice blossoms of the bushes and trees, and he gathers up the honey and the fragrant, aromatic wax. If you see anyone who is good, wise, pious and virtuous, imitate and keep company with him. Anyone you see that is lewd, filthy, impious, blasphemous, proud, envious and vindictive, do not approach him and do not keep company with him; but do not find fault with him, for Christ said: "Do not judge, so that you may not be judged, and do not condemn, so that you may not be condemned" [Luke 6:37]. Love, respect and take care of your parents, and your brothers as well. If they don't listen to you, and scorn you, then don't tell them anything. Just pray that the Lord may enlighten them to be at peace with one another. Also pray that the Lord may grant peace to the whole world and that we may all be deemed worthy of the heavenly and unending life and kingdom. Amen.

Advice to a daughter

... God glorified and honored the mothers of Saints, Basil, Chrysostom, Gregory, and Athanasios, and others both on earth and in heaven, because they were modest and upright, humble and prudent from the time they were young girls. They became beneficial to their families, to society and to their homelands, and they will become beneficial to all generations with their good and bright examples.

When you are informed that I have departed from this temporal life and homeland, beseech God that He may establish me a sinner in the tabernacles of the saved, the elect, and His saints. On the other hand when I find a place there and boldness, I will ask the Most High and All-good God to let you come and find me, so that we maybe together along with all the saints, near God, and so that we may become heirs of His kingdom [James 2:5] and enjoy the eternal goods of paradise and the Jerusalem above [Gal. 4:26] ...

Salutary counsels

My first counsel, or rather commandment of God, is that you love God with all your soul, heart, mind and strength [Matt. 22:37; Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27]. In order for us to be able to love God we must force ourselves, because good things are acquired with labor and toil [Matt. 11:12; Luke 16:16] ... Thank God for all the good things He gives you, and all the more so because He enlightened you to come to knowledge of Him, and removed you from the delusion of the evil one.

My second counsel is that you love your neighbor as yourself [Matt. 5:39-48; Luke 6:27-36]. Love even your enemies according to the Lord's commandment. Do good to those who do you evil. Love and help the poor as much as possible ... My third counsel is that you not condemn any of those who sin, because the Lord said: "Do not judge and you will not be judged" [Luke 6:37].

If you see someone sinning and you perceive that he will listen to you, advise him to refrain from sin ... Avoid keeping company with evil, impious and perverted people. My fourth counsel is that you go regularly to church and pray regularly—mentally when you are walking or working, saying "Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me," "Glory to Thee O God," "Most holy Theotokos help me," and other prayers you know. Study the Holy Scriptures and the works of the Holy Fathers. Be always mindful of God, death, judgment, paradise and hell.

Such thoughts, recollections and reflections as these do not allow man easily to sin. And in general do whatever is honorable, whatever is pure, whatever is just, whatever is of good report [Phil. 4:8]. Also instruct those who hear you in order so that they may make progress and be granted the eternal life and kingdom. May everyone attain this kingdom.


... As a spiritual father I advise you, whenever you sin, to be careful not to despair but to run to the spiritual doctor to confess and seek a cure: the mercy of God. The Lord came into the world to save not the righteous, those who are healthy in soul, but the sinners, those who are ill. He will receive these with great love and mercy as He received the prodigal son, the prostitute, the thief, the publican, and millions of sinners who were saved by repentance and confession. I leave you this paternal counsel: never, never despair whenever you sin, but have confidence and hope in the immeasurable mercy of God. Repent and confess, and you will be saved. The grace, peace, mercy and blessing of God, the protection and aid of the Panaghia and of all the saints, and my blessing be with you.

The Spiritual Father

The spiritual father must be knowledgeable, wise, discerning, experienced and prudent. He should have the Holy Spirit to give him guidance on how he is to tend and heal the souls of sinners. Above all, he should have love and loving care for those who confess. Such spiritual fathers, although rare today, nonetheless do exist. Whoever strives to find them is able to. What this is, God's wrath or abandonment of us, I do not know ... Preaching is good and necessary, but virtuous spiritual fathers are more necessary. The spiritual father is the one who will wash us from the mire of sin, cleanse our wounds, give us medicines for the safeguard, cure and health of the soul, and reconcile and unite us with God ... If we wish not to sin, we should remember death and reflect that God is before us ... The spiritual father must not only be clean and free from sin, but he should also have the gift of discernment, because spiritual knowledge differs from medicine as the soul differs from the body ...

True repentance

Signs of true repentance are deep feeling, contrition, and grief of a heart [2 Cor. 2:4, 7:10], which grieves because by sin it has saddened and angered a loving Father, the God Who so loves mankind. Other signs are sighs, prayers, fasts, vigils, and tears. This repentance is genuine and true. This repentance is beneficial: it grants remission to the sinner. In a moment it changes him from a sinner to a righteous man and from an enemy to a friend and intimate of God. We should have such repentance whenever we sin. The Prophet-King David showed such repentance, as did the Apostles Peter and Paul and many others. By repentance not only were they saved but many were sanctified, and the Church honors and celebrates their memory.

The cure of the soul

Whatever illness is in relation to a man's body, this is what sins are in relation to the soul. When one who has bodily sickness takes refuge in the doctor of bodies, he reveals his bodily ailments, and receives the necessary and appropriate medicines for a cure. In the same way, one who has sins, i.e. sickness of the soul, ought to go to the doctor of the soul, the spiritual father, and reveal his sins, i.e. the illnesses of his soul. And he will receive from him medicines that are appropriate, necessary and capable of curing illnesses of the soul.

The doctor does not cure all the illnesses of the body, because there also exist incurable illnesses. Yet the spiritual doctor cures all the illnesses of the soul easily, quickly, and without money, as long as the sinner confesses them and repents. Then he is instantaneously cured and from being a sinner he becomes righteous ... I advise you, just as you strive to find the most appropriate doctor of the body, do this also when it comes to choosing a spiritual father.

False repentance

As the tree is known by its fruit, so also is repentance. A sign of false repentance is when repentance takes place involuntarily, out of necessity, without pain and grief of heart, without contrition and feeling, without sighing and tears. Such repentance was shown by Pharaoh, who repented at every plague which came to him, but as soon as the plague passed away remained unrepentant. Such false repentance was shown by the Jews, who repented and remembered God in disasters and misfortunes. Yet as soon as the disasters passed away, they would forget God. Most people today also have such repentance: when they come into danger or disaster they repent and seek forgiveness, but as soon as the danger passes away the repentance goes away also. Such repentance is of no avail.


I congratulate you, my child, for loving and longing for the homeland. According to the ancient philosophers, this is the most honorable, decent and holy of all virtues ... More recent philosophers used to say: "fight for faith and homeland".

The first good is the faith and the second is the homeland. My beloved child, first love God, secondly the Panaghia, thirdly your parents, brothers, relatives and all people even your enemies, fourthly the faith, and fifthly the homeland.

Those who say that wherever land is, there also is the grave, apparently do not love their homeland. They love matter, the world, vanity and mammon more than their homeland and even than their own faith ... May the grace of God protect and preserve you from every danger, and enlighten and guide you to every good, so that you may honor and benefit yourself, your family, your society and your homeland.

Be patient

I saw your great sadness and the troubles which you are suffering from your husband. As your spiritual father I commiserated with you and grieved for you. I advise you, if you want to be saved, to be patient. It is the advice of our Sweetest Jesus Christ: "He who endures unto the end shall be saved." [Matt. 10:22, 24:13; Mark 13:13]. Listen, my child, whatever your husband does to you, whether he swears at you or beats you or blasphemes, put up with him and pray and beseech God to enlighten him to repent and to forgive him. Do not have malice towards him. And when, my child, you throw all your faith, hope and love upon God and continue being patient and praying ... as Christ prayed for those who crucified Him, God will receive your prayer and will deliver you from the great trial and affliction. You will be saved and will be granted the kingdom of heaven ... You do well, my child, to study religious books. Always study, for the reading of the Holy Scriptures is not only the consolation but also the salvation of our souls. Saint Chrysostom says: "reading the divine Scriptures opens up Heaven." And our Lord Jesus Christ instructs us: "You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life, and it is they that bear witness to me." [John 5:39]


The work which you are doing is spiritual, but force yourself to study one or two chapters from Holy Scripture, the lives of the saints, Patristic writings, and the other teachers of the Church. Also do not neglect the obligation of prayer and fasting and restraint according to your strength, and above all of forcefulness, since the kingdom of heaven suffers violence and violent men take it by force ... [Matt. 11:12; Luke 16:16]

A satanic illness

...Your daughter's illness will not be healed either by doctors, or mediums, or magicians and sorceresses It will be healed by Christ, the Panaghia, the saints, the prayer, and fasts, tears, and faith. If you gave half the money which you gave to the doctors to poor people and told them to pray for your child, today she would be well. It is a great sin, because you left God, the Panaghia and the saints, and sought help from the agents of the Devil. As your loving father I advise you, because I love you and commiserate with you, to repent and seek forgiveness from God with true repentance, to fast in accordance with your strength, and ask Him as well as the Panaghia with fervent faith to heal her. Then God, Who is rich in compassion, will take pity on you and heal her ... Do not hesitate. Be patient and believe and our beloved daughter will become well.

False Christians

Others again, when they fall ill and ask God to heal them and do not immediately receive their cure, leave God and take refuge in magicians, sorceresses and gypsies to tell them their fortune or to cure them. In other words they make the magicians superior to God, and believe that God is not able to heal them and that the gypsies will heal them. And others again, when they lose something, run for help to the mediums and spiritualists, taking refuge in other words in the Devil; because the spirits, which the spiritualists call upon, communicate and converse with, are evil spirits, demons who deceive them ... I ask you, can such Christians possibly be called and be children of God? Far from it! Such people are rather to be called children of the Devil.

Lifting spells

With regard to this pitiful and grievous state which the Devil and his servants created for you: all who cast magic spells or go to magicians and, motivated by envy, ask them to harm, people, are servants of Satan. You will do the following: take refuge in God, all of you, both your husband and your children, through prayer. God is more powerful than the Devil and the whole world, which He can crush in a moment, as well as all who do evil.

Get up all of you, both your husband and your children, and all of you repent, because we all sin. After you go to confession do an unction service, and whoever the spiritual father allows should receive communion ... Let each one ask God to chase away the temptation. And the Devil will leave if there is love and humility. If there is hatred and malice he does not leave, but builds a nest. Wherever there is love and humility the Devil leaves and God dwells there.

We should ask more often for the help of God

I advise you more often to take refuge and seek the aid of the Most Holy Theotokos and of all the saints. We are not forbidden also to seek the aid and mediation of people, but we should have recourse more to the aid of God. Whatever we ask of Him He will give to us as long as it is for the benefit of our souls ... You also, study as much as you can; it is good and necessary for us to ask the aid of God and men, but let us also not neglect to offer whatever is necessary of us ...

May the Lord protect and preserve you from visible and invisible enemies, and may He strengthen, support, enlighten and guide you to do His holy will. Become light, life and salt to those in darkness, and guide many to the way of light and truth.

Curing a demonic illness

The only doctor for the illness which you are all undergoing and suffering from is Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the world, and His most compassionate Mother the Panaghia, the salvation of sinners who repent. The illness from which all of you in the house are suffering is demonic ... But our God Who loves mankind gave us weapons with which to fight and chase away the Devil. He gave us prayer and fasting. This kind of demon, Christ said, does not depart except with prayer and fasting [Mark 9:29]. Before sleeping in the evening, with attention, faith, piety and compunction say "In the name of the Father and the Son ... " then the Trisagion, "All-holy Trinity," "Our Father," and afterwards "have mercy on me O God," "I believe in one God," "My hope is the Father ... " "Virgin Theotokos" and the prayer of the Angel, "O Holy Angel ..."

Apart from this prayer also say the prayers: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us," "Glory to Thee, O God, " "Lord, have mercy" twenty times and "O Cross, guardian of the whole world." Take the priest to do a holy water service and to sprinkle the whole house inside and outside, and to sprinkle your clothes and your shoes which Satan tears up ... God also gave us faith, humility and love toward God and neighbor against the Devil ...the Lord preserveth all that love Him, but all the sinners shall He utterly destroy [Ps. 144: 20] ...


The Devil hates good things and often puts obstacles in our way. But when we seek the aid of God, the Power of God disperses them. I pray that the Lord may strengthen you in His work. Rejoice with the joy of the Lord always both on earth and more so in heaven, and pray that the Saint may be your helper and champion, defender and guardian. Today's generation is a wicked generation, crooked and perverted, and the Lord sends out crooked ways to the crooked. Most of the people in our wicked generation are not children of God, but with their sins and their lack of repentance they have become children of the Devil.

Feast Days and immodest women

When in every sin we resist with all our powers and defeat the enemy the Lord will reckon this to us as a martyrdom ... A feast, says the divine Chrysostom, is a display of good works, piety of souls, and strictness of life. That is, at feasts we should exhibit and perform good works, not of course hypocritically and theatrically, but humbly and unassumingly. Good works are giving charity to the poor, feeding the hungry, quenching the thirsty, visiting the sick, consoling the afflicted, and protecting widows and orphans.

There is piety of soul and strictness of life when during feasts we cease bodily works and engage in spiritual ones, in the study and reading of divine Scriptures, in prayers, in hymns of doxology and spiritual songs [Col. 3:16; Eph. 5:19]. Unfortunately, during feasts most men give themselves up to debauchery, drunkenness and prodigality, while most women, instead of displaying good works, show off good dresses and are not content only to adorn themselves with lavish clothing, but paint their lips, nails and faces, and insult their Maker and Creator ... Alas, what a state we have reached! Where will we end up? Assuredly in perdition. The Local Synod of Gangra anathematizes women who cut the hair of their head [Canon 17], while the Apostle Paul says that it is indecent for women to cut their hair [I Cor. 11:61]. The Emperor Justinian enacted legislation to have such women driven out of the Church ... I shall probably seem annoying because I tell the bitter truth. I am doing my duty, just as fathers advise their children, for they often censure and scold their children when they go astray, and sometimes flog them. They do not do this because they envy them, but because they love them, in order to turn them away from evil. I also do this as a spiritual father. Because I love and care for you as my children, I have a duty to advise you and an obligation to censure you, not because I hate you, but because I love you and desire what is beneficial and advantageous for you, and conducive to your salvation. I advise you henceforth to refrain from deeds so hateful to God and harmful, and to give the money you spend to the poor, the orphans and widows, so that you may find it in heaven. I ask of all men and women, young and old, that we hate sin and approach God with our whole soul. Keep His commandments, so that here we may live a peaceful and happy life and be granted after the end of the present life to dwell in the beloved tabernacles of paradise. Amen.

Love is the surest of all ways

With regard to the sense of sight, which is polluted when it sees the bodies of men and women, especially of women immodestly dressed, you do well to turn away your eyes and mind so as not to see the vanities and filthiness of silly women, lewd, shameless, foul, impure and devilish. But the surest way of all is for you to acquire perfect love, which casts out fear [1 John 4:18] and never fails [1 Cor. 13:8]. As a burning flame perfect love consumes every foul and evil desire. Likewise you should acquire true humility, which crafty Satan, our enemy who hates good, does not approach and fears ... Let us ask always with fervent faith and tears from the Bestower of all good gifts and virtues that the Lord give us humility and love, so that we may escape from the snares and nets of the all-wicked and all-evil enemy and safely reach the calm haven of eternal life and rest ...

Evil days

The days which we have come to are evil. If for the sake of His elect and through the prayers of His all-holy Mother and all the Saints, the Lord does not have mercy, then not only houses and churches, but even whole cities will be laid waste due to the many sins of people and the lack of love and faith. Let us be ready. I have approached death and I ask that it come soon so that I may not see the grievous days of the great wrath of the Lord.

As to which life you should follow, the married or the celibate, this is God's will, because often what men want is one thing and what God commands is another. Both the married and the celibate life are good, but the virginal life is better and superior, because the celibate takes care to be pleasing to God, whereas the married man strives to be pleasing to his wife and to the world [1 Cor. 7:32-34]. God compels no one towards either married or celibate life. "Whoever wishes to, come after Me" [Matt. 10:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23]. The man, if he wants, must choose on his own either one life or the other. If he wavers as to which of the two lives he should follow, then let him offer most fervent prayer with compunction and devotion, so that God may reveal to him which life is more advantageous and beneficial for him to follow. And God, Who says, "Ask, and it shall be given, seek, and ye shall find" [Matt. 7:7; Luke 11:9], will reveal it to you.


...You should know that prayer which is fervent, pure compunctionate and eager has great power because it unites man with God. Through prayer man converses with God just as he converses with a man. When he converses with a man he pays attention and keeps his mind on what he is saying, whereas when he speaks with God he does not pay attention, but is drowsy, becomes heavy, and says one thing with his mouth and another thing with his mind. What happens? How will man be delivered from drowsiness, from the heaviness of his body, from negligence and slothfulness, from the envious Devil who despises the good? He will be delivered by vigilance, diligence and prayer ... Wherever there is light, darkness is put to flight, and wherever Christ is, the Devil is put to flight ...

P.S. If you know familiar people, friends or relatives who blaspheme God, Christ, and the Panaghia, tell them to cease blaspheming and to repent and confess, because great wrath is coming from the Lord Almighty on account of all the sins which people commit, but especially on account of their blasphemies against Christ and the Panaghia. If it is possible, tell His Eminence and the priests to say in church that people should cease sinning and especially blaspheming Christ and the Panaghia, and that they should repent before the wrath of the Lord comes.

Necessary prescriptions

I advise you as my beloved children to pay attention to and watch over three things that are necessary and soul-profiting: great patience, zealous Orthodox faith, and above all whole-hearted love towards God and one's neighbor, even towards enemies. By doing these things, keeping the Lord's commandments, repenting whenever you fall into great or minor sins and going to confession, you will be saved and granted the heavenly goods ... Without the

sacrament of Confession few and far between would be saved. Our whole life is an acceptable time for repentance and salvation, but especially the days of the fasts ... Whoever dies in repentance is fortunate and blessed ... I pray that the Lord may deem us all worthy of the eternal goods. Amen.

The calendar

I do not agree with the attitude of those Old Calendarists who believe and proclaim that the sacraments of the New Calendarists are invalid because they lack the old calendar. The sacraments would be invalid in the event that priests were to call upon the new or the old calendar to descend from Heaven to sanctify the precious gifts. Nonetheless they call upon the Holy Spirit and He comes down, and the faithful partake of the Body and Blood of Christ. It is a great delusion and heresy for one to think that without the old calendar a sacrament cannot be performed ... Woe to the unworthy priests and in particular to those who have enmity among themselves. The holy angels stand by with fear and trembling during the hours of the sacred services and liturgies. Yet we sinful people stand by like beasts and then boast that we are genuine Orthodox, because we firmly cling to the old calendar in the belief that this alone is sufficient for salvation.

The calendar is not God, in case we should think that only the old calendar will save us, as certain fanatical Old Calendarists have thought and imagined. When Christ came into the world, He did not teach old and new calendars. He taught love, humility, meekness, patience, righteousness, abstinence and modesty. Read the Holy Gospel, the source of truth, light and righteousness, and you will see that it refers nowhere to the calendars ... All the saints became sanctified, not by the calendars, but by prayers, fasts, vigils and other toils which they endured for the love of God and the acquisition of heavenly goods. All the people who are being saved and are going to be saved, will be saved not by old and new calendars, but by fervent faith and love towards God and by their good works ... So if you want to be saved, follow Christ and not calendars, because salvation is from God and not from the calendars.


The Holy Spirit through the wise Sirach utters the following remarkable words: "If you wish to approach and serve the Lord, prepare yourself for affliction and temptation." [2:1] The words of the Holy Spirit are true, most true. "In the world," said the Lord, "you will have affliction, but take heart, your affliction will be turned to joy and no one can take your joy away from you." [John 16:33, 20-22] And again He said: "Blessed are you when men shall hate and reproach you, and shall persecute you and say every wicked thing against you falsely for My sake ... Then rejoice and be glad, for your reward shall be great in heaven" [Matt. 5:11-12; cf. Luke 6:22-23]... "Take away temptations and afflictions," says Saint Isaac the Syrian, "and no one will become a saint, no one will be saved." With the increase and multiplication of temptations and afflictions the crowns also increase ...

Unshaken in our faith

Everything that the all-wise Holy Apostles and the Godly-wise Fathers of our Holy Orthodox Church handed down to us, many of their successors today want to abolish and so dislodge the Church. However, they will be unable to do this, because the Lord will crush them like vessels of clay. And the few elect will be shaken, and few out of the few will remain unshaken. Let us force ourselves to remain faithful and unshaken in whatever we have received from thedivine Apostles, the Holy Fathers, and the teachers of our Church ... do and write as much as you can, but today's generation has eyes and sees not, ears and hears not ... [Jer. 5:21; cf. Ezek. 12:2, Ps. 134:16-17, Mark 8:18].

The consummation of the present deceitful age is drawing near. Let us repent and be ready, because we do not know at what hour the Lord and death will come ...

Persistence in the good struggle

Every good deed, every act pleasing to God will also have obstacles and temptations. This is why the Holy Fathers considered that any virtue that was achieved without obstacles, temptations and afflictions was not a virtue. However, we should not retreat from the obstacles of him who hates the good (the Devil), but we should walk forward and call upon the aid of God and the saints to take away the obstacles. Henceforth, when an obstacle or even a war comes your way, take refuge in the aid of God and His saints. I pray, though, that the grace of the all-ruling and all-good God and the grace and mediation of His all-pure Mother may grant you to bring your God-pleasing work to a favorable conclusion in these wicked days ...

Let us not have our hopes in our powers, but in God ...

Spiritual companionship

... About the companionship which you do not have: I shall find you the good companionship which you actually have, but probably did not think of. First, you have God, Who is always with us, provided that we bear in mind and believe that He is everywhere present and sees us, hears us, observes us, and loves us. Furthermore, when we love Him, He protects us and guards us, as the Prophet-King David says: "The Lord guards all who love Him and He shall destroy all sinners." [Ps. 144:20]

Secondly, you have for company the Panaghia, our Spiritual Mother, who is higher than the heavens and beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim. She truly is the Mother of God, the Queen of Heaven and Earth, and the protection of all Christians who call upon her with faith. Thirdly, you have the Archangel Michael, the guardian of your soul and body. You also have your good and faithful wife, your small daughter ... There is no companionship better and higher than this. I also come myself, as your spiritual father, and visit you, not physically, but spiritually. If God wills it, I shall come during Great Lent to visit you physically as well. I shall come if God wills it and I am alive, because death is shouting, "prepare yourself quickly," and I cannot wait for you ...

Consolation of the sick

... So you should rejoice, because you are a sister of our Christ and God! What a great honor, what a great fortune that God calls us His brothers!

It follows that He also loves us. The Lord chastises those whom He loves [Heb. 12:6; Prov. 3:11-12] ... And having been chastised a little they will be greatly benefited, says the Holy Spirit. God will greatly benefit the sick people whom He loves and chastises in order to test them, to see their patience, faith and love. He will bestow on them His heavenly kingdom, the heavenly and eternal good things of paradise.

A great saint went to Paradise and saw that four orders of people were to be found there. The first order were those people who loved God and all people with their whole soul and their whole heart when they lived in the vain world. The second order were those people who took care of others and brought peace to those who were enemies with each other. The third order were those people who were ill when they were alive and had patience, who did not grumble or complain against God but glorified and thanked Him, like Job, poor Lazaros and many others. The fourth order were the people who, when they were alive, visited the sick, consoled them, and helped them ... I wish you a perfect cure, health in body and soul, a good end, and the kingdom of heaven, which I hope we may all be granted. Amen.

The good struggle

I rejoiced for your health in both cases and the eagerness you have in the work of mission, which are gifts and charisms of God, and I pray that the Lord may shelter and preserve you from the tangled snares of the contriver of treachery, and support and strengthen you in your struggle for the truth and our Orthodox Church. Always and now I advise you to be careful and vigilant, and to pray that you may not fall into temptation ... Besides attention and prayer there is another means for one to be preserved from the snares of the enemy. This is true humility, which crushes the enemy's traps. There is yet another means of safeguard and security: love God and your neighbor with all your soul and all your heart. Perfect love casts out fear and never fails [I John 4:18; I Cor. 13:8]. So ask God to give you understanding, wisdom, enlightenment, discernment, humility and love ...

Struggle with discernment

Fight the good fight [I Tim. 6:12; 2 Tim. 4:7] with humility, understanding and discernment, because we are battling and wrestling against invisible and all-wicked demons [Eph. 6:12]. Be sober, be vigilant, pray always, and remember God and death, for the devil wanders around like a lion seeking someone to devour, says the Apostle Peter [1 Pet. 5:8]. As much as you are able be careful with women and good-looking faces and compliments ... According to the divine Chrysostom, the woman is the Devil's bait. When the Evil One sows in your mind shameful thoughts about women, say: "Get thee behind me, Satan. I am an image of God. How can I pollute the image of God? But every Christian woman is an image of God. How can I think foul and wicked things about the image of God? She is also a spiritual sister of mine, superior to a sister according to the flesh." Be careful when something happens to you. Don't cower, but take courage and grasp the weapon of prayer and tell the Devil: "Hostile scoundrel, you wounded me. I will wound you with prayer ... with the aid and alliance of Almighty God," which you should always seek. Ask Him to give you humility so that you may not fall.

Humility and love

My one counsel is that you strive to acquire humility and my other is that you strive after love. The reason all we people sin is that we do not have humility and love. If all people had humility and love they would be living like angels and no evil would occur on the earth. All evils, all sins, pride licentiousness, adultery, fornication, sodomy— all together they come from the lack of humility and love. And how can man acquire these great virtues? He will acquire them not by being negligent and sleeping, but by

praying and forcing himself [Matt. 11:12; Luke 16:16]. Negligence gives birth to all evils and misfortunes, while diligence overcomes all difficulties and leads man to the road of happiness. The ancient sages used to say: "Everything becomes a slave to diligence." When you ask God with diligence, eagerness, piety and faith, He will give to you, for He said: "Ask and it shall be given, seek and ye shall find ..." [Matt. 7:7; Luke 11:9]. If you keep these two counsels of Mine, humility and love, you will have God within youboth here in this temporal life and more so in the eternal life will He make you heirs of His heavenly kingdom ...

Walk bravely

Walk courageously and bravely, eagerly and faithfully, clothed with the weapons of light, faith, hope, humility, and love. By fixing your eyes on Jesus, the Author and perfectos of the faith [Heb. 12:2], you will defeat the three great enemies: the world, the ruler of the world, and the flesh, and all visible and invisible enemies. And when you win, do not say "We won," because this expression is prideful. Say: "Not us, but our faith in God!" We are useless servants; Christ the true and perfect God and man won, and we did not do anything. And if we did something, it is not we who did it either, but rather the grace of God. By His gift and love for mankind, by the intercessions of His Mother and of all the saints, may we all be saved.

Divine Communion

... Of this heavenly bread some people out of disbelief and impiety do not partake at all, while others out of ignorance, poverty of faith [Matt. 17:20], negligence and lack of true and pure love towards God, partake of it once, twice, or four times a year. Yet even during these few times they commune out of habit, because most of them draw near without fear, faith and love ["With the fear of God and with faith and love draw near," Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom]. It is sorrowful and worthy of many lamentations that the priest often to comes out to the beautiful gate, to invite the Christians to commune, and no one comes to commune ... Where have we ended up! At least a few of the God-fearing Christians ought to commune at each liturgy ... May the all-good God enlighten, awaken and arouse everyone from the sleep of sloth and negligence. Then, when we have repented and been cleansed by repentance and confession, let us draw near with fear, faith and love to our pure God and become worthy heirs of His eternal and unending life and kingdom. Let no one who is unrepentant like Judas dare to approach the mystical table so that he may not be burnt up and handed over to the eternal fire ...

Saint Nectarios

Although I am glad to be an elder, it will be with difficulty that I write to you in order to comfort and calm your thoughts. I, the least of all and a sinner, do not have an opinion of my own, because within my own self, when I examine it well, I find I have nothing beautiful, nothing good. I follow the opinion of our Heavenly Father, the True God, Who made His saints wondrous—"Wondrous is God in His saints" [Ps. 67:36].

It was God Who first revealed Saint Nectarios to be a saint, and then the people, when they saw and heard of his wonders. Why did God make him a saint? He made him a saint because Nectarios loved God with his whole soul and his whole heart, and because he had fervent faith and great humility. I was a spiritual child of his, and I followed him to Athens and especially to Aegina. In his cell there at the Church lie used to kiss the holy Icons on his knees, and sometimes mad prostrations, but always with tears. How the audacious slanderers and false accusers dare to accuse him of being an iconoclast? Let them stop their talkative mouths! Let them be shamed and confounded [Ps. 69:3]. Saint Nectarios glorified God on earth, and so God glorified him on earth, in the entire inhabited world, and in heaven. The Church anathematized his arrogant and envious slanderers, and if they do not repent, God will send them off to the eternal fire.

Let us pray that God will give them good and true repentance. This is my opinion and this is the one you should embrace in order to have Saint Nectarios as a helper and an intercessor with God. Written on February 14,1980.

Good things come from Grace

It is right for us to admit with a contrite heart [Ps. 50:19] and in truth that all good things that come to pass are from the grace and help of God and that we people can do nothing without God. Whatever we have — existence, life, health, strength, wisdom and wealth—all these are gifts from God, while we are nothing and we were formed from nothing. Everything good that we do is from the grace ace of the Lord. The Apostle Paul, who labored more than all people for the Gospel of Christ, did not dare to say "I labored." He said in humility: "Not 1, but the grace of God dwelling in me" [I Cor. 15:10] ... You labored, but if the grace of God and the intercession of the saint did not co-operate, then nothing would have happened ... Let us be humble-minded and let us ask the Lord to give us humility and fervent and true faith.

A Will

... You should put Christ first. But you will tell me that Christ does not need anything. Yet it is not He Who has the need, but you. Give away the estate which He gave you, so that He may keep it for you in the bank of heaven and multiply it a hundredfold, a thousandfold, and a myriadfold. First, you will leave to the church of your village, the place where you were baptized and became a Christian, where you went to church, received communion, where you were crowned, and the Church will pray that God give you rest with the saints. Write in your will that if you should die before your wife your estate will come to her, and then write as follows: ,I leave first to the church of my village, the Dormition of the Theotokos, a thousand — in cash ... and a plot of land, so that I, my wife, and our parents may be commemorated. Secondly, I leave to the destitute poor of my village, who are deprived of even their daily bread and clothes, — drachmas" ... They are Christ's brothers, and whatever we give them God will give us a thousandfold in Heaven and His eternal kingdom.

Thirdly, leave to the poorest of your relatives who are suffering deprivation.

Fourthly, leave in cash upwards of — drachmas to the homes for the blind, the lepers and those who have tuberculosis ... Dispose of the rest, whatever is left over, either in cash or in plots of land, as you wish. You are also free, however, to change or alter those points on account of which I am writing to you and giving you my opinion, as God enlightens you ...


In order for us to become children of God and gods by ace we must always pray. For every good endowment grace perfect gift is from above, coming down from the and every Father of lights [James 1:17]. So if we wish to become children of Godl let us continuously and unceasingly ask Him to grant us such a grace as this.

Let our souls cleave after Him, as David says: "My right hand hath cleaved after Thee, Thy right hand hath been quick to help me" [Ps. 62:9]. Saint Gregory the Theologian says: "we should remember God more than breathe." The God-bearing Maximos the Confessor says: "A mind joined to God and spending time with Him in prayer and love becomes wise, good and powerful, man-befriending, merciful and long-suffering, and, simply speaking, carries almost all the divine qualities in itself ... " So let us love God with all our might and our neighbor as ourself [Dent. 6:5; Lev. 19:18; Matt. 22:37-40; Mark 12:30-31; Luke 10:27] in order to become children of God and gods by grace. Amen.


I advise you to have patience and take refuge in God and remain calm. In case they overcome and persecute you because wicked men and imposters will proceed from bad to worse, deceivers and deceived [2 Tim. 3:13], you do not have any responsibility; the persecutors have the entire responsibility. You will receive your reward in its entirety for your toils and struggles, but only if you endure to the end. Recall the Holy Apostles, Prophets, Confessors, Martyrs, Fathers and Teachers, and the kind of persecutors they endured, just like our sinless Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Be watchful and keep in your memory that by many afflictions we enter the kingdom of heaven [Acts 14:22]. The world resembles a stormy sea on which all people travel, and all who are excellent swimmers, brave and noble-hearted, pass over it without danger and reach the tranquil haven of eternal life. The clumsy, untrained and unqualified, the timid and faint-hearted are drowned ...

A deluded nun

The Most Holy Theotokos Mary by her great humility became the dwelling-place of God, and He Who was in every respect uncontainable was contained in her womb. The nun Magdalene by her satanic pride became the dwelling-place of demons, not of one, but of a legion, that is, of many demons. I handed her over to God, Who opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble. Let Him not punish her as He did her father and teacher Beelzebul, but may He give wisdom, repentance, contrition of heart, and save her as He saved the prodigal, the publican, the thief, the harlot, and other sinners who repented.

Convey my blessings to all my spiritual children there and to all who venerate my elder and spiritual guide Saint Nectarios.


... Your desire for quietness i! good and God-pleasing, because pu rification does not occur without quietness, and many of the Fathers say that quietness is the beginning of repentance. Nonetheless, what is good is not good if it is not done well, and there is a right time for everything.

The foundation of all virtues is humility and patience. He who is humble-minded is always obedient; he obeys the spiritual fathers and imitates Christ ... All who cut off their own will and gave themselves in obedience to elders built the house of their souls firm and unshakeable, and again those who obeyed and followed their own will were ruined and woefully lost ... My child, do not obey such a thought it is from the suggestion of the enemy, who attempts by deceptions from the right-hand side to tear you away from saving obedience ...

The scheming enemy the Devil, in order to remove one from the monastery or from obedience to an elder, makes all things go right and easy in quietness; but as soon as he departs he gathers up many demons and they fight the hesychast and make him confused. Do not deviate either to the right or to the left; walk the royal road [Deut. 5:32;17:11]. Have patience and persistence in that to which you were called. Become a model and example to the brothers in all things and reckon them all to be saints, but yourself a sinner above all. Accept abasement as praise, avoid calumny and accusation and always say the prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me.

I write you these few thoughts not according to my own opinion, but according to the mind of the Holy Fathers and as the all-good Father enlightened me for your advantage. Please, as my spiritual child, obey, and you will benefit both in this life and in the life to come.

Philotheos of Longovarda
November 5, 1912

To Christians

The immodest clothing of women is completely indecent and contrary to the Apostolic and Patristic Traditions. The majority of women have gone completely crazy. They put away modesty, shame, bashfulness, and became scantily clad and slovenly. Not only do they walk in the streets and squares to display their bare flesh and their painted lips, eyes, eyelashes, faces and nails, so as to deceive and entice men, but they fearlessly enter the sacred churches, not to pray of course, but to desecrate them and to pollute and scandalize those in church. The divine Chrysostorn also bears witness to this in his 8th homily on 1 Timothy, "Those are not the garments of a lady making petition can you pray when you are wearing such garments?,, These belong to mimes and musicians. None of them is proper for a woman, so do not imitate the harlots"

I think it would be good for such women to be forbidden to enter churches, as well as those who have cut their hair, until they mend their ways ...

(excerpt from a memorandum sent on November 25, 1929 to the Holy Synod)

Become children of God

... You have no need to paint yourself, and you gain nothing from doing so. You should not go to cinemas or theaters. Go to church, to sermons, and to spiritual people in order to benefit yourselves. Avoid idle talk, gossip, jokes, entertainment, and dances, because all these things harm the soul; if we do not cut them out and repent we will be punished in eternal life. Always remember God, my child, love Him, carry out His commandments; thank Him for enlightening you, and go to confession ... strive to become children of God ...

To a student

You ask me to send you a will; I am sending you the will will which the Lord left to His disciples, to us and to all people of all generations.

1st. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all Thy soul, heart, strength and mind [Matt. 22:37-39; Mark 12:30-31; Luke 10:27] and

2nd. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments [Matt. 22:40].

3rd. Love changes him who loves into that which he loves. Hence if you love God you will be a god, if you love flesh you will be flesh, and if you love the Devil you will be a devil.

4th. Do not despise the commandment of love, for by it you will become God; if you despise it, you will end up a son of Gehenna ... I wish you good progress in the good lessons and even more in the virtues.

Concerning anger and thoughts

... Concerning the anger which dominates you, the Holy Fathers say that it is the offspring of pride. You have pride, as it seems (unfortunately all of us do to a greater or lesser extent), so for this reason you get angry. If you had humility you would not get angry. One who has humility and meekness not only never gets angry, but also has patience. Pray not once but many times and ask God with ardent faith to give you humility, and when you ask it with faith He will give it to you. Because we are easily inclined to anger and to other sins, the Enemy deceives us as the all-wicked one that he is. Whenever, as a man, you happen to get angry or to sin in a small or large matter, repent at once and seek forgiveness with your heart from the all-compassionate God. Thus will He forgive you after you confess your sin with repentance.

Do not accept wicked, unclean and blasphemous thoughts and you will not sin. When, however, you accept and do those things which the wicked one puts into your mind, then you have sin. When an evil thought comes to you, first say, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me", and then say, "get behind me Satan, I'm not listening to you." Bark as much as you want, "I don't accept those things you're putting into my mind."

So, let us not be sad because we have remained alone. We are not alone. We have many friends near us, but we don't see them, although they see us. First, we have our God Who so loves mankind, secondly His most compassionate Mother, and thirdly the guardian angel of our soul; fourthly,whichever saint we call upon instantly arrives, accompanies and helps us; fifthly, we see all our relatives noetically, when we wish, while they see us more and beseech God for us.

About slander

Slander is false accusation. The slanderer is called a devil and is a devil, because just as the Devil falsely slandered God to the first-formed people and deceived them, so also the envious man, the slanderer, falsely accuses his brothers and convinces many to believe him. The slanderer harms himself, the one who is slandered and those listening as well ... All those who are slandered, however, and have patience, and welcome and forgive the slanderers, are worthy of blessing. "Blessed are you when men shall hate you ... and say all manner of evil against you falsely...". However, slanderers harm many of those who are slandered, because slander has sundered lawful marriages beloved couples, caused enmity towards beloved friends, relatives and brothers, thrown innocent people into jails, and sent some into exile and others to death. For this reason slander is the greatest sin and the spiritual father should canonize [give a penance to] slanderers as murderers ...

To a blasphemer

... To say that you will not promise to quit and stop blaspheming is the same as saying, "I don't want to stop blaspheming, so as to obey God, but I prefer to obey the Devil, who rejoices when I blaspheme God. On account of blasphemy he will take me with him to the outer fire, which is prepared for the Devil and his blasphemous angels" [Matt. 25:41].

Now think like a reasonable man and repent. Stop blaspheming, and chant hymns and spiritual songs to the Lord [Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16], not blasphemies, before death comes, for in hades and after death there is no repentance. Repent truly and sincerely, shed tears and sighs, so that you may see that your daughter is well and be rescued from both temporal and eternal damnation. Do not put off the opportunity. Death comes suddenly.


I wrote you that you mustn't weep about your mother, because you sin and sadden God. You also sadden your mother's soul. You also sadden me because you don't listen to me. You listen rather to the temptation which tells you that you are the cause of your mother's death, because you didn't take care of calling the doctors to heal her. Hear, if you have ears to hear. Suppose you were to gather all the doctors of Europe, America and Africa together; all the doctors in the whole world would not have been able to give her one hour of life. God found her at a good time, He loved her and gave her repose in eternal life, in the kingdom of heaven.

If you're willing to listen to me, when you receive my letter and read it, thank God and glorify Him for taking your mother and giving her repose in eternal life, in which there is no pain, sadness, worry, illness, fear, danger, or death. There is life there without death, health without illness, peace without war, joy without sadness, and happiness without misfortune. Everything there is good, nothing is evil.

Salvation only through repentance

The present days are wicked and the times are difficult. Great patience and persistence are needed. There is a need for great patience, attention and prayer ... It is impossible that the great wrath of the Lord should not come. It will only pass by when all people repent like the Ninevites. But where is there repentance? When last May, following the Lord's command I sent a memorandum to the Synod that they should preach repentance through love, the hierarchs first preached impenitence, pride and wickedness. Woe to the sinful and impenitent world!!! There is only one hope of salvation: if the Lady Theotokos, the salvation of the world, with her many intercessions saves the world even now, as it was saved in the past.


Accursed is the mouth which blasphemes God. Whoever blasphemes must not be called a man, but not a beast either; he ought to be called a monster ...

I pray that God is with you. In order for Him to be with You, you must have love and keep His commandments. "That man," says the Lord, "who keeps My commandments loves Me". He who abides in love abides in God and God in him.

... From moment to moment I await an invitation to the Jerusalem above, even though I haven't yet begun to repent. May God by the intercessions of His all-holy Mother and all the saints have mercy on me and save me freely.

I am walking towards death at full speed. We are all walking towards death, and it is fitting that we should be ready for the uncertainty of death.

God will crush the Enemy

... If your son listens to my advice, he will be saved from the traps of the crafty serpent and the sorcery of the lewd woman.

1st. Let him sincerely and truly repent, and find spiritual father to clearly confess all his sins without being ashamed.

2nd. Let him seek forgiveness, if possible with tears and sighs, from the all-good God and his spiritual father.

3rd. Let him hate sin and the Devil, and henceforth force himself not to sin and not to obey the Devil, and

4th. Let him love God with all his soul and heart, and his neighbor as himself. And then he will believe that he will be saved. Because when he hates the Devil and sin and loves God, God will abide with him; when God is with us, no one is against us. If he obeys the few things I write, God will crush the Enemy's traps and sorceries like a spider's web. I ask and advise him to obey, for obedience is life, while disobedience is death.


If you want to be saved, you and your wife and your children, stop playing cards and repent. Don't play even once or take cards into your hands. Be careful, be careful, be careful! Do not play with your soul again. Your soul is worth more than the whole world. Card-players lose both their souls and their lives, both the temporal and the eternal. They win eternal hell. Be careful, and again be careful, don't endanger your soul. I wish you good repentance. Good works

Let your light so shine before men who walk in darkness that they may see your good works [Matt. 5:16; 1 John 1:6] and not hear your good words. Good words are good too but good works are better. The good works of the Apostles, their faith, love, humility, meekness, abstinence, patience, longsuffering, prudence, wisdom, and their other virtues profited the non-believers more than their words. When the unbelieving idolaters and the impious people saw these virtues shining in the Apostles, they were amazed, believed, and glorified the Most High Father. Now the successors of the Holy Apostles have many words and few shining works. You, my child, become a child of light and strive to acquire the virtues mentioned above, so that the name of the Heavenly Father may be glorified in you also.

Beware of the leaven of today's Scribes and Pharisees [Matt. 16:6; Mark 8:15; Luke 12:1]. Remain firm in the Orthodox Faith and the Sacred Traditions, so that you may receive the kingdom of heaven as a reward. The Lord will scatter and crush like potter's vessels [Psalm 2:9] those who say perverted things, make war on the Orthodox Faith, and oppose the Apostolic and Patristic Traditions ...


Prayer is good and most beneficial when it is done with diligence, vigilance, piety, faith, compunction and attention. Because the Devil fights, hates, and envies those who pray, and wars on them in various ways; while those who don't pray are his friends, and he loves them. It is through prayer that man speaks to God. He speaks and seeks the good, beneficial and salutary things from Him. One who prays must have great humility and reckon with Whom he is speaking, and must always seek humility.

Attention is necessary

... If I had known that the Abbess recognizes Catholic nuns as saints, I would have dissuaded you from going to the Convent. Because to the extent that she recognizes Catholic nuns as saints, it is not at all unlikely that she will also recognize the Pope, the "Vicar of Christ", as infallible, and slowly but surely she will also accept Catholic priests and our own modern pants-wearing and shaven clergy. Woe to the world from the scandals!!...

About the second temptation you encountered, you had the right to get angry and censure them for all that you saw, but not to beat them, if you had a stick. When the Lord sent His disciples into the world to preach the Gospel, He did not tell them: "Hold a stick and beat all who don't listen to you." O woe, if they had had sticks and beaten the unbelievers, the impious, and the wolves, they would have pounced on them and torn them to bits, and no one would have become Christian. It is better to tell our deceived brothers the truth, and if they won't be convinced, to ask God to enlighten them to return from deception. And if they don't wish to, God will punish them; let us pray for them that God may forgive them, and us also, because if we examine ourselves well, we are not without sin ... May the God of love and peace give repentance and return to all, because today almost "all are gone astray, they have altogether become useless" [Psalm 13:3] ...

Why don't we become holy?

Why is it that people today don't become holy? Because they don't want to. They don't force themselves. They don't love God and heavenly things. They don't keep His commandments. God wants us all to become holy. "Become holy, " He says, "for I am Holy." [Lev. 11:44-45; 1 Peter 1:16]. Somewhere else He says: "I said you are gods and are all sons of the Most High." [Psalm 81:6; Luke 6:35]. If it were not possible for us to become holy, gods by grace and the sons of God, God would not say it, because God neither wants impossible nor does He tell lies. So the reason comes the from ourselves. It comes first from our evil disposition, secondly from our negligence and slothfulness, thirdly from the little or complete lack of love we have for God and heavenly things, and fourthly from the whole-hearted love we have for mammon and our attachment and devotion to what is material and base. "We were taught," says the divine Damascene, "to become children of God, but we do not become this if we fail to cast off our passions and our sins" ... Most people of today's generation are fleshly and diabolical, because they love the flesh and prefer to keep the commandments and wishes of the Devil and not those of God. However, even today and unto the end of the age, there are and shall be a few saints, difficult to find, and yet not like the ones of old ...


Learn that it is a commandment of God for parents to produce as many children as God wishes to give them. It is also my own commandment and advice ... Couples who don't observe the divine commandment, to produce as many children as God gives them, will be punished. Also, all who prevent them from keeping this divine commandment will be punished both in this life and of course in the next ...

Tell your parents, from my side, to refrain from soul-damaging advice, which is of the Devil, and to listen to me. Let them rejoice that, in an age as corrupt as the one we live in, their children have fear of God and keep His commandments, yes, and let them boast of it ... If they don't wish to listen to God first and then to me, their spiritual father, don't worry and don't listen to them, since their advice is not according to God ... You listen to God, so that He may always be with you. With heartfelt wishes and blessings, your spiritual father, Archimandrite Philotheos
March 1980

The Last Days

... As to your desire that I inform you what opinion I have about the outcome of today's international crises, my opinion is in agreement with whatever all the Prophets and Holy Apostles prophesied concerning the present international condition of the wicked days and difficult times. I especially agree with whatever our Lord Jesus Christ foretold in the Gospels concerning the last days and times. What should convince both me and you and all the faithful to believe are the following words of the Lord: "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." [Matt. 24:35; Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33]. Everything the Lord said in the sacred Gospel took place, but other things are taking place and others will take place. Concerning the end of the age, He did not set the date precisely; He said only, "when you see wars, earthquakes, floods, disbelief, impiety, lawlessness, lack of love, false prophets, false messiahs, and deceivers, then consider that the end is approaching."

In an ancient book it was written that when the Disciples asked the Teacher when these things would happen and He told them, the above, He also told them that when the men became women and the women men, then the end would take place. And the divine Chrysostom said that the Lord also said this, that the Second Coming will take place when women are lacking in modesty. On the basis of all this, my opinion is that we should be ready, for we do not know either the hour or the moment of death.

Take courage and be strengthened

We shall meet opposition from the Papophiles, the Lutheran-Calvinists and the ecumenists, but we shall not retreat. Helped by all the saints and by the grace of Almighty God, we shall win or die gloriously. As for you, forbear a little longer until the time of battle comes and the wrath of the Lord passes away ... May God deliver the world from the modernisms and the innovations of the clergy and the laity, both men and women.

Take courage, my child, and be strengthened in Christ Who strengthens you. Struggle against visible and invisible enemies and defeat them always with the alliance and aid Of God, by the help and the protection and the intercession Of His all-undefiled Mother, of all the saints and my blessing ... Again, certain Christians are not pleased to be called Christians and they are called Masons. They aren't pleased to be registered in the book of life, but they are pleased to be registered in the book of Masonry. It doesn't suffice for them to have Christ as Father and Teacher and to have th teaching of the Gospel, than which there is none superior more lofty and more beneficial. Rather, they want to have as Father and Teacher the "Architect", who of course is none other than the Ruler of Darkness, the Lucifer who deceives them.

Let us hate the Devil

... We are on good terms with everyone, even with those who hate us and are at enmity with us, who curse us, accuse us and treat us unjustly. It is only with the Devil that we don't have good relations, but we shall never love him. Even if there are people who happen to hate us, or treat us unjustly, or falsely accuse us, it is not they who are to blame, but the Devil who incites them. However, we must not lay all the weight and blame on the Devil; the people who listen to him are also to blame; rather, we ought to love everyone and hate only the Devil as the cause and reason for all evils...

Do we think of death?

We men strive a small amount or not at all for our salvation. We incline more towards sin than towards virtue. We love earthly things more than heavenly things, mammon more than God... The reason people sin is that they don't remember death as they should. The wise Isaac the Syrian says that the Devil attempts in every way to remove the thought of death from man's mind. He fills man's mind with unprofitable and harmful recollections. He will give the whole world to man so long as he doesn't think or remember death, and doesn't consider it in depth. We must reflect how we will die: well or badly? Ready or unprepared? All of us who fear death do so because we have not loved God as we should, and because the desire fog God and heavenly and eternal goods has not wounded our hearts. We fear it because we have not believed that on dying we cross over from death to life, to the everlasting and indestructible heavenly homeland.

In God we shall gain strength

Do not procrastinate, because a little procrastination quenches the light. seeking forth every haste and strength, always with faith ng divine grace and aid and knowing that in God we shall gain strength. Have an example of every virtue so that you may hear the most sweet voice of the Master at the time of recompense for each man's deeds: "You good and faithful servant, you good worker of my mystical vineyard, you showed yourself faithful over a few things. I shall appoint you over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord." [Matt. 26:21,23]. In order to be granted this blessed voice of the Lord you must be humbled. Learn from the humility of the Lord and seek the gift of humble-mindedness, so that the Lord may lift you up high and bring your works to a successful conclusion.

To a confessor priest

... Truly the evil of the present age has exceeded the evils and sins of all other ages, and every spiritual father with the fear of God and a conscience is in a difficult position when it comes to applying oikonomia to sinners who confess. In the present wicked generation the spiritual father ought to use oikonomia, for if he uses strictness, either none of those who confess, or few and far between, will be found worthy of receiving communion...

One should not expect anything other than the mercy of the all-good God to send out capable and chosen men into His mystical vineyard or the coming sword to cleanse the earth from her iniquities ...

Let us prefer the love of God above all, for to them that love God all things work together for the good [Rom. 8:28].


Only through the uplifting of humility shall we find rest in our souls, and by this alone will the true and desired union be achieved.

...You do well, my child, to commune every 15 days and at all the presanctified liturgies. Whichever beloved child of mine communes with fear, faith and love, he is united with God. For as Christ Himself says in the Gospel: "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood remains in Me and I in him, and if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of God, you do not have life in you." [John 6:56,53]. With my blessing, my child, commune as you are communing, but always with fear, faith and love, because whoever communes without fear, faith and love is united not with Christ, but with the Devil ...

My own children are those who listen to me, my counsels, and my advice; they listen to and perform the law and commandments of God.

To God I leave the protection of my spiritual children

Most people today, foolish and ignorant, not knowing the value of children, are sad when God gives them many children, and murderers, more criminal than all other criminals, slaughter them. The more spiritual children I acquire and God gives me, the more I rejoice. I am sad only that I am poor and am not able to nourish them spiritually as I ought. I am sad that I shall part with them, but I also rejoice, because I will leave them to God, Who nourishes everything that has breath. The Heavenly Father, the All-good, the Lover of mankind, the Merciful One, ... to such a Father I leave the defense and protection of my spiritual children. Departing from this temporal life, the valley of weeping, in rejoicing and gladness, I believe and hope that I shall not fall from my hope, poor and sinful though I am.

A good meeting in the Jerusalem above

Fight the good fight [1 Tim. 6:12] with eagerness and seek strengthening always from God, without Whom we can do nothing. Ask Him to give you faith and humility. Also ask on behalf of me, the negligent Elder who speaks and does not put into practice ... I rejoice that I am departing from this earthly temporal life and am proceeding to the eternal homeland. I am sad that I did nothing good on earth. I hope that the Lord will freely save me by the immeasurable multitude of His compassions and by the intercessions of His all-undefiled Mother and of all the saints ... for as many days as the Lord wishes me to be in this life, I will help you by my prayers and when I proceed to the heavenly homeland and find a place of rest, I will help you from there as well.

I am writing to you from the road of death, on which I am walking and drawing near, wishing for a good meeting in the Jerusalem above. Amen.

May He Who rose from the dead and bestowed on us eternal life, grant us Paradise as He granted it to the thief, and the incorruptible and eternal goods. Amen.

For more counsels, not included in this post, please purchase the book Paternal Counsels Volume 1, by Elder Philotheos Zervakos. St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite Publication Society Website