About the Soul

St John the Faster the Patriarch of Constantinople

Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ Our Only True Savior and Our Only True Savior,


+In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Receive, O Lord, the doxologies and praises, the blessings, thanksgiving and petitions of Your sinful and unworthy servants, such as we are able to make at this time. And grant to us the remission of our transgressions. Overshadow us with the protection of Your wings. Expel from us every enemy and adversary. Bring peace to our life. Deliver from us the gloomy desire of mortal pleasures. You Who know the content of our heart, heal the latent wounds of our souls, which You alone observed, and strengthen the resolve of our mind to do Your Holy Will. Have mercy on us, help and protect us, O God, by Your grace, and make us worthy of Your Heavenly Kingdom, through the intercessions of our All-Pure Lady, the Theotokos, and of all Your Saints.

For You are Blessed unto the ages of ages. Amen.


On September 2nd Our Holy Orthodox Christian Church commemorates, honors and entreats the holy intercessions of the following Saints, Forefathers, Fathers, Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, Preachers, Evangelists, Martyrs, Confessors, Ascetics, Teachers and every righteous spirit made perfect in Our Holy Orthodox Christian faith: Saint Mamas of Caesarea, and his parents, Theodotos and Rufina; St. John the Faster, Patriarch of Constantinople; Venerable Eleazar, son of Aaron and Righteous Phineas; Holy Martyrs Philadelphos, Melanippos, and Parthagape; Holy Martyrs Didomedes, Julian, Philip, Eftychian, Hesychios, and others; Saint Barsanuphius, bishop of Kyrilov, priest John, and Egoumenenissa (Abbess) Seraphima of Therapontov Monastery, and Anatole, Nicholas, Michael and Philip; St. Aeithalas and Ammon of Thrace, Greece; "Kaluga" Holy Icon of the Theotokos (Mother of God).

NEW MARTYR BARSANUPHIUS, BISHOP OF KYRILOV, AND THOSE WITH HIM. Saint Barsanuphius finished his studies at the Novgorod Theological Seminary in 1894 when he was twenty-one years old. The next year he was tonsured a monk, ordained a deacon, and appointed a missionary preacher of the Novgorod diocese  He was ordained to the Priesthood when he was twenty-four, and in 1911, he was made the Egoumenos (Abbot) of the Kazan Monastery. In 1917, Saint Barsanuphius was consecrated the bishop of Kyrilov, a jurisdiction of the Novgorod diocese. However, the next year he was arrested by the Red Army during the Russian Communist Revolution and was sent to his execution with the Gerondissa (Abbess) Seraphima and four laymen. However, none of the firing squad's bullets could hit Saint Barsanuphius until they had finished praying. In frustration and fury, the Red Army soldiers lunged at Saint Barsanuphius with bayonets and killed him. He was buried not far from the Saint Cyril-White Lake Monastery, and many years later a pigsty was built over his burial site.

+By the holy intercessions of Your Saints and Holy Martyrs, O Christ Our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.


Holy Epistle Lesson: 2 Corinthians 2:3-15
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. Matthew 23:13-22


"Do not steal anything from anyone, and take nothing, and be content with what you earn by your own labors. Be diligent and avoid idleness. For as diligence is pleasing to God, so idleness on the contrary, as a source of every evil, is a sin very offensive to God". (Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk).

by Father Daniel Sysoev

Now, as to our souls: What is the soul? Many think that inside us lives some separate "little person", and they do not want to believe in the soul. But remember, that the soul is an intelligence, with a will and with senses. Obviously, if one does not believe that he has a mind, he is logically called made. There is nothing to talk about with such a person, for what is there to talk about with an irrational, weak-minded blockhead? In fact, the soul is the mind (nous), with both will and senses, and also possessing a certain vital capacity that animates the body.

Saint John Damascene distinguishes between a rational and an irrational part existing within the soul. That rational part, as I have said, is the loftier part of the soul. Highest of all in the soul is the intellect; it is also called the spirit, for it contains the Holy Spirit, which through the mind enlightens the entire person. This is why a person comes to the Church-by faith, which first transfigures the mind and then subdues the will and feelings.

In like manner, the irrational part of our soul is divided into that which is subject to reason and that which is not. An example of what is subject to reason is anger, created and instilled in us by God so that with its help we might drive sins away from us. There are other things having to do with our soul that are simply not subject to our reason. For example, there is the power that gives us the possibility of growing and developing, the power that supports life in our body. That power is not subject to our body, but it is also a manifestation of our soul, possessed of will and feeling. The apprehension of the soul as being a separate person living within us reflects some measure of common sense.

The soul has, as it were, a separate mechanism directing the body. There is the concept of "phantom pain". For example: a person has a leg amputated, and yet it hurts, because the lower part of the soul, not subject to reason, continues to search for the missing member. As Saint Gregory of Nyssa says, the soul bears upon it the stamp of the body which is dear to it, for it is not normal for a person to be an incorporeal being. This is why we believe in the resurrection of the body, and not simply the soul. One who believes in the immortality of the soul and thinks that after death he immediately enters into the Kingdom of Heaven and receives the full measure of bliss is not a Christian.

Death, as mentioned earlier, is also an abnormal state, but for a Christian, death is distinctly different from the death of someone who has no idea of Christianity. Wherein does this difference among human beings lie? For the Christian, the individual is not destroyed, but for the non-Christian, it is, for the understanding of "individual person" encompasses both soul and body. "I am in pain," says a person, although it is body that hurts, while his soul is quite healthy. When someone who has not been baptized dies, the soul is parted from the body, and the power that binds them together is lost. The body is left to lie in the grave, and the soul goes off into the chasms of the underworld to await the Day of Judgment. That is not how it is for the Christian. The tie between his soul and body remains intact, for God is omnipresent, and He seals the body and soul at baptism, when the person receives the seal of anointing with myrrh, the seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit. That seal is put on the body, but simultaneously the soul is blessed. When a person receives the Precious Body and Blood of the Lord, he literally becomes of one body with Christ, with Christ's blood literally flowing in his veins. The person's body becomes Christ's flesh, which is why we are called members of the Body of Christ.

In this way, the tie between a Christian's body and soul cannot be destroyed. The soul is separated from the body, but through God, the tie remains. It is for that reason that we pray before the holy relics of Saints, in the Righteous Ones, the tie (between body and soul) has been maintained as well. Before, people did not pray (before relics); until the Savior's redemptive work of redemption had been accomplished, that tie did not exist.

With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+Father George