Aphorisms of Elder Sophrony (Sakharov)

54429.pThe following words of Archimandrite Sophrony (Sakharov) were recorded by various Athonite monks.

“I am neither Greek nor Russian; I am an Athonite.”

“I have been wearing a cassock for sixty years, but whenever I meet an Orthodox Christian or any other person, I bow my head low before him.” (Thereby the Elder wished to indicate that he feels himself to be the most unworthy.)

“Theology is the content of our prayers.”

“The Fathers of the fourth century left us certain prophecies, according to which in the last times salvation will be bound up with deep sorrows.”

“We must have the determination to overcome temptations comparable to the sorrows of the first Christians. All the witnesses of Christ’s Resurrection were martyred. We should be ready to endure any hardship.”

“Psychology brings the greatest evil to mankind today, because this science does not take into consideration Divine revelation, according to which man is created ‘in the image and likeness of God.’”

“All of us, at every moment of our lives, are in absolute need of Divine grace, which is given to man through pain and effort. When we pray in the morning, pray in the evening, and pray every moment – then we have the right to say: ‘Lord, do not leave me; help me.’”

“It is essential to read the Gospel, that incomparable book. Then our life will be built up on the basis of the Word of God. And we will begin to think and make decisions in the spirit of the Divine commandments. How beautiful, when one begins to think like the Creator of this world!”

“When we begin to lead the Christian life, all our labor, all our struggle [podvig] is directed towards accepting even our enemies with love. In this consists the Christian’s martyric witness.”

“The earthly life is for us a continual Judgment of God. If we follow Christ’s commandments, then the Grace of the Holy Spirit will come to us; but when we embark on them (even in small ways), God leaves us and we feel that abandonment about which outsiders do not even know. They do not understand what abandonment by God is.”

“The human soul is the image of God. It finds rest only when it attains perfection.”

“We do not think about how to change the world with our own powers. We strive to receive strength from God in order to act at all times with love.”

“When the grace of God comes to us, then we already here live in the dimension of eternity.”

“The most important thing in the spiritual life is to strive to receive the grace of the Holy Spirit. It changes our lives (above all inwardly, not outwardly). We will live in the same house, in the same circumstances, and with the same people, but our life will already be different. But this is possible only under certain conditions: if we find the time to pray fervently, with tears in our eyes. From the morning to ask for God’s blessing, that a prayerful attitude may define our entire day.”

“Whoever gives up his cross cannot be worthy of the Lord and become His disciple. The depths of the Divine Being are revealed to the Christian when he is crucified for our Savior. The Cross is the foundation of authentic theology.”

“The Christian’s great tragedy is the inability to find a spiritual father. Laymen are themselves guilty in this, if they are unwilling to listen to the words of their spiritual instructors.”

“Life without Christ is tasteless, sad, and forlorn.”

Translated from the Russian

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