Saint Isidore of Pelusium: On Evil Thoughts

Whence is it that evil thoughts come forth from the heart, and defile a man? Doubtless, because the laborers are asleep who should be keeping watch, so as to safeguard and preserve the fruits of good seed that is growing up. For unless we have weakened in our vigilance, by gluttony and by sloth, defiling […]

14 Letters of Saint Isidore of Pelusium

1. To the monk Nilus. The holy bishops and the guides of the monastic discipline, from the conflicts and struggles which they underwent,[1] established fitting terms, for activities for our instruction and knowledge. They called the withdrawal from the material world “renunciation,” and ready obedience “subjection.” And they, on the one hand, only had nature […]

Saint Gregory the Theologian’s Advice to a New Bride

We are in Constantinople, in 384 AD. There is a festive event taking place: the wedding of two well-known youths of that time. They are both from upper class families. The bride, Olympiatha, is a remarkable young lady, quite wealthy and a descendant of the imperial family. She is an orphan whose uncle Prokopios (an […]

“Go back to your cell…”

There was once a brother who was very eager to seek goodness. Being very disturbed by the demon of lust, he came to a hermit and told him about his thoughts. The hermit was inexperienced and when he heard all this, he was shocked, and said he was a wicked brother, unworthy of his monk’s […]

“To Praise Athanasius is to Praise Virtue…”

“To praise Athanasius is to praise virtue… To speak of and admire him fully, would perhaps be too long a task for the present purpose of my discourse, and would take the form of a history rather than of a panegyric: a history which it has been the object of my desires to commit to writing for the pleasure and instruction of posterity, as he himself wrote the life of the divine Antony, and set forth, in the form of a narrative, the laws of the monastic life.

Saint Athanasius of Alexandria: Life of Saint Anthony

The life and conversation of our holy Father, Antony: written and sent to the monks in foreign parts by our Father among the Saints, Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria. Athanasius [1] the bishop to the brethren in foreign parts.

“… and do not forgive us our trespasses…”

One brother from Libya came to Abba Silouan, at Mount Panepho, and told him: Abba, I have an enemy who did many evils to me. He trampled upon my field, when I was still in the world, and many times he planned to harm me. Now, furthermore, he put poisons to poison me. So I intend […]

Saint Gregory of Nyssa: Against Fate

[M.145 & J.31] You certainly recall the occasion when, if I may speak in accord with the Gospel, the great mountain of faithlessness in your midst was recently transformed into faith (cf. Mt 17.20). In his old age the most wise Eusebios pondered over the [M.148] necessity of human intention and what seems to be […]

Saint Gregory of Nyssa: On Perfection

[J.173 & M.252] You manifest a determination to know how you can perfect your life in accord with virtue so that through all events you may succeed in being blameless in life. I would especially like good examples to be found in my own life for offering instruction in facts rather than in theory. I […]