On Ascesis

 St. Oleg the Prince of Briansk

St. Oleg the Prince of Briansk

My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE. Ο ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΕΝ ΤΩ ΜΕΣΩ ΗΜΩΝ! ΚΑΙ ΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΑΙ.

ON ASCESIS
[An Athonite Gerontikon]

Our holy God-bearing father Peter the Athonite, the first hesychast of the Holy Mountain, lived in a cave situated in the southern part of the peninsula. There he led a truly angelic and heavenly life. Without clothes, barefoot, suffering both many and various temptations caused by demons, he, for fifty-three years was fed with heavenly bread.

Saint Gerontios, founder of the holy Skete of Saint Anne, was the first abbot of the Monastery of Vouileftirion. At first he lived in caves near the sea. Later, because of pirates, he moved higher up the rugged cliffs, where to this day, there is a chapel in honor of Saint Panteleimon. Many ascetics lived in dry Kalyves (Huts), possessionless, in prayer and ascesis, free of all worldly cares.

In order to bring some consolation to the other brothers, the Saint, through his prayers, make water flow there where he did his ascetic labors, somewhat like a spring.

His successor, however, wanted t have a small garden and gathered up all the water. This according to the fathers, was not pleasing to our Panagia (Mother of God) and thus the small spring almost dried up, with the water flowing less than before. This occurred because the Lady Theotokos wanted ascetics free from all earthly cares and to be given over entirely to prayer, and not to the cultivation of gardens.

An elder addressing nuns said:

"Ascesis should be done to the point that we do not endanger our health, so that we are able to perform all our Monastic obligations. Anything done in excess affects the body and makes one unable to do even those things that are necessary. The abbess should know round about the number of prostrations a nun makes. Vigil is superior to fasting as it purifies the mind. And it sweetens the heart, whereas sleeping causes the mind to become lethargic. We ought to force ourselves in the spiritual life. Many times we lose our spiritual appetite. We should force ourselves to swallow one bite and then our appetite will return. Just like we do with a sprained wrist. If we only pat it, it will not heal. It needs a sudden movement to go back in place. We should not be like tortoise that set out for the wedding but ended up arriving at the baptism of the first-born."

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"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!"--Saint John Chrysostom

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

+Father George