Holiness seems to us something unattainable, and she is in love. On the skills and techniques of the workshops of holiness, which were considered monasteries from ancient times, we talked in a blitz interview with their modern inhabitants: on Mount Athos, in the Russian outback and in the center of Moscow.
We will be told that holiness is a rare gift and that this is only an exception to the general order of the life of Christians. And our time is especially scanty saints. And this is so. But not because it should be so - we simply, contrary to the gift, are not what we are called to and are meant for ... By joining in faith spiritually and blessedly with the first Holy Man - Christ, Christians and receive from Him holy powers to lead the saint a life. The God-man Christ has given you authority to become like Him, says Saint John Chrysostom, "Do not be afraid, when you hear this, it's scary not to be so.
Archbishop Alexy (Frolov)
Schemonah Hilarion, hegumen cells of St. Harlampy New Skete of the Holy Mountain Athos.
- Father Hilarion, all of us, Christians, are called to holiness: "Be holy," says the Lord, "because I am holy" (see: 1 Pet. 1: 16). And how to become saints?
"I know that only the Lord does us saints. The saint is one who lives according to the laws of God. When the Lord was told:behold thy mother and thy brethren stand outside, desiring to speak with thee(Matthew 12: 47), - what did Christ answer? He pointed to His disciples with his hand!These are my mother and my brothers; for whosoever shall do the will of My Father in Heaven, that is Me brother, and sister, and mother(Math 12: 49-50).
We are one family with Jesus, with the Mother of God, if we live in the Gospel. We are the bloodline of Christ, and are holy to Him. The Eucharist is at the center of our lives, and this is always the Passover experience of forgiveness and love. "But the divine pius of the Blood to communion, first reconciled that grieved ..."
I remember how our elder Kharlampy, a child and disciple of the elder Joseph Hesychast, collected us all already his pupils before putting up the Cup. "Let's have Easter today!" He said. "Yes, we will make Easter," we agreed and everyone knelt down. He opened the veil, read to us a permissive prayer and communicated all.
- How to preserve holiness after Communion?
"If you have communicated, it does not mean that you have become a saint." What do we read in our prayers for Holy Communion? "There is fire, unworthy poglyayayay." When we take communion, Christ is within us, we feel it, and only in this way can we share in His holiness. Our "holiness", and hence - eternal life, we do not. But we are given the participation, which depends on how much we have dignifiedly joined. You are only called to be likened to Christ - you are given His image in the Gospel, and in the Communion are given for this power.
- Vladika Mark (Arndt) says that in the Communion, we still receive only a kind of task in advance, which must then be realized in communication with our neighbors.
- In Christianity there is no "I", there are "we". In the experience of the Eucharist, we are all one. Then it is checked how close we are to each other. When the Lord was tempted:who is my neighbor?(Luke 10: 29), remember what Christ answered?
It is good to interview the Lord in your heart. Accept each person as sent to you by Christ. Here you are talking with your brother or sister, how much do you open your heart? Can you at least smile at the one who approached you? Quietly, in a peaceful manner, answer his question?
Love - and there is nothing else in the world that could show us holiness
- How does the holiness of God manifest itself in our day?
- Saints canonized in the Orthodox Church after the reappearance of man, but unmistakably holiness in life can be determined by love.
Love - and there is nothing else in the world that could show us holiness. If we really have holiness in our hearts, then we can not hurt our neighbor.
The Lord commanded:Yes, love one another; how I loved you(In. 13: 34).
"He loved us with the love of the cross - that is, he took wounds on Himself ..."
- And he says to us:Do not be afraid(this call in the Gospel is mentioned most often). He himself was reproached, demoniacs called, grinned over him, crucified ... On the Cross He prayed (see: Luke 23: 34). His words and our response to all the evil that, for the glory of God, will be able to cause us.
Otherwise, what did we truly leave today's prayer and pursue a career? - as I complained to the Elder Jonah in Odessa. The apostles passed on their faith and changed the world not because they were highly educated people. None of these ordinary fishermen studied in institutions. They just lived according to the commandments of God - that's all! Confessed what they heard, saw, touched (see: 1 IN. 1: 1).
What did the pagans exclaim when they saw the Christians? They did not say, "How much power are there in these sufferers, going to the agony!" No, they were amazed: "What kind of love they have!" And love is God.
The Lord is in the midst of us ...
- ... and there is and will be!
"We are all called to the apostle too. Let not immediately (see: Luke 9: 55), but the apostles learned to be the bearers of the Holy Spirit. And before that, on their request, what did Christ answer? In this same whole meaning of Christian life: to be the vessels of the Holy Spirit.
Hegumen Mikhail (Semyonov), the governor of the monastery of the "Savior of the Savior Not Made by Hands" in the village of Klykovo.
- Father Michael, to you the question as to the governor. How can a parish or a monastery today become a workshop of holiness?
- The workshop of holiness is born from the spirit of the family. The Lord could come to the world as he pleased, He did not even need a father in the flesh, but He incarnated in the family and, as it is said,was in obedience to his parents(LX2: 51).
So in Russia children from time immemorial received moral education, the beginnings of holiness in the family. Pilgrimage to Greece, Cyprus, you see how the Greeks and now the traditions are very painfully passed from one generation to another.
We have this continuity for decades of domination of godless power, unfortunately, is broken. The focus of attention was tried to bring down from the family to some more blurred class, collective principles. Mother was withdrawn from the family: let, they say, engage in "socially useful work". As if the birth and upbringing of children is not the main "benefit of society"!
We must revive our traditions. And then we, the Russians, just like an inferiority complex was imposed: they say it is yes, but what are we? ..
- The Greeks themselves assure that after a period of martyrdom, when the Russian Church inXX century ascended to its Golgotha, everything has changed: now you have in Russia, they say, a spiritual academy, and we, in Greece, have a seminary ...
- That's it! Do not look for holiness somewhere on the side.The Kingdom of God is within you(Luke 17: 21), says the Lord.
In Greece, holiness is cultivated, let's say, homegrown: they keep traditions first of all in families. In the monastery there the person goes, already having the spiritual baggage of obedience to the elders, knowledge of the Holy Scripture, the commandments of God, the ordination of services, having the skill of prayer.
And we have many of the restored monasteries created, in fact, literally from scratch. On this and the spirit in them is often appropriate: such a bracing activists.
There was someone, say, a lifelong military man, took tonsure, so he is still in the cloister all their relationships continue to build on a team principle! He just does not know how. And if another worked for most of his life as an accountant, then he and after uttering the vow of nestyazhaniya will spread and on his novices this accountable accounting attitude ...
That's the problem. But you have to be self-centered so that the Lord can act in the Church. Live in the Gospel, and nothing else. In this and the cross.
- How to learn a cross?
- Search for your own carriers of tradition.
- When Shiarhimandrite Gavriil (Bunge) from Switzerland came to Sretensky Monastery, he noted: you, Russians, complain that you broke the tradition, but the succession was preserved in the experience of the elders who were and are in the Russian people.
- Yes! At one time, the Lord introduced me to the old man Zeppora (Shnyakina). I, after talking with her, immediately realized that my brain just is not in the wrong direction deployed. I had to change a lot in myself.
I remember that Shiarchimandrite Elijah (Nozdrin) was above us, who came to the monasteries at the time, in 1990, and joked: "Com-co-moles!" And now, in my opinion, there remains such a temptation. Instead of engaging in grinding your heart, we are injecting some kind of external super-activity: there are so many fields sown, schools built, reports read ... So what if you did not cease to sin with all this?What is the use of man,- Asks the Lord, -if he gains the whole world, but hurts his soul?(Math 16: 26).
Now they have set up monasteries and temples, pinned domes, bought expensive icons, and feel that something is missing ... Yes, love is not enough! Sorry, you come to the monastery - all formally. How do they treat you there? If you are from someone, by someone's protection, you will be smiling. If they do not know you, they will meet you: "There, there, there to sleep." As if you're an animal ... What, do people go to monasteries for this ?! Every human soul needs love.
In 1990-ies, when all rushed to the monastery, they were looking for this kindred warm feeling of Christian brotherhood, love, communication. If found - remained; no - they went further to look for. Because these routines-rioting: lifting-work-work-work-retreat still with the Komsomol youth were full.
- Vladyka Alexy (Frolov) said that now work - according to the Soviet is still inertia or adapting to modern consumerism - is turned into an idol. Unfortunately, even inside the church fence.
- This formal approach to all and everything and the activist spirit must be re-braided, so that temples and monasteries become forges of holiness. A former Soviet citizen or a modern citizen who has been brought up outside the Church since childhood will need 20 years of persistent inner labor over himself to the monastery in order to at least steal the roots of entrenched passions.
It is necessary to self-root! And without humility there is not and can not be true Christian love
- How does this struggle with passions take place so that you can already get love?
- "Create a pure heart in me, God ..." The contraction of love is, first, the issue of purifying the heart. And secondly, work in our heart of the Spirit of God:And renew the spirit of righteousness in my womb(Psalm 50: 12). We are purified by grace! And it is served only by humility. Conclusion: I must humiliate myself.
Do not praise - which is very conducive to these "socialist competition": who did what - and self-sucking. Without humility, there is and can not be true Christian love. In love and holiness.
And we now have a huge deficit of love ...
The Lord, creating the angelic and human world, created it not according to the law, not according to need, but solely for love. Here to this exclusiveness of life for the sake of love and called to return to Christian communities, whether they are parochial or monastic. Otherwise, as Starets Sofroniy (Sakharov) said, what excuse do we have ?!
Hieroschemamonach Valentin (Gurevich), the confessor of the Moscow Don Stauropegial Monastery.
- Father Valentine, you are the confessor of the brotherhood of one of the Moscow monasteries, you also feed many lay people. The fact that we are all sinners is understandable. And what about holiness?
- They often complain: it is difficult to talk about holiness in a city monastery. What, they say, is to stammer about holiness especially to those who live in the world ... But in our forcible vanity today, as before, every Christian conducts his own inner war.
Many of the world dream of "going to a monastery." And some of those who entered the monastery, as you listen to them, now and then are thinking about how to find a "monastery with an established monastic life."
But we are called by the Lord every place where we are called to bear our ministry. We must rely on the mercy of God and work where you are set, and submit all your plans and considerations to the judgment of God.
Of course, if we talk about monasteries, there are now comfortable monasteries with many brethren and well-adjusted execution of the Charter, such as Optina Pustyn, Valaam Monastery, Pskov-Pechersky - especially the times of great elders, such as Archimandrite John (Krestyankin). But even there the brothers have their temptations.
That is, it is always not in where you are struggling, but in how you plan the chump of your old man.
- Do you plan yourself, or does the Lord cut off all that is superfluous?
- We are the Lord's apprentices. We also need work:The Kingdom of Heaven is taken by force, and those who use force admire him(Math 11: 12).
The Lord said that in the last days of the Antichrist, due to the multiplication of iniquities, the love of many will become scarce. In our country, the rehearsal of the advent of the Antichrist was revolutionary events in the early twentieth century, when lawlessness multiplied in an unprecedented degree. Now we are reaping the fruits of these tares.
"That's exactly what Father Mikhail just said about this: it's not easy to get rid of the consequences of Soviet social engineering."
- Indeed, even if one is churching, moreover, when entering the monastery, a person can not at once get rid of the learned skills: let's say, always and again, believing that "our business is the right one".
- "Do not be globally right," Father Valerian Krechetov often quotes the tsarist times ...
- Yes Yes! Otherwise, it is easy to substitute, for example, the holy righteous John of Kronstadt: "Evil comes sometimes to the heart under the pretext of jealousy about the glory of God or about the good of others; Do not believe and your jealousy in this case: it is a lie or jealousy not according to reason. Just be more afraid of the evil spirit's insults on your brother: he knows that love is our first virtue, and knows the most beneficent fruits of it for Christians - and therefore most of all tries to deprive our hearts of our love ... Bitter as the death of enmity. Yes we run hostility, like the poison of the serpent. Let's hold on to love, for love is sweet. "
Prayer of St. John of Kronstadt: "Lord, put in and affirm in me the feeling of sincere benevolence to all people"
- Archpastors, pastors note that now people have become very touchy. One of the prerequisites is the Soviet experience of socializing everything and everything. How can we let this passion go, for example?
- The same holy righteous John of Kronstadt, who foresaw and predicted much, offers, for example, such a prayer: "Lord, plant and affirm in me a feeling of sincere benevolence towards all people." You can pray this prayer. Or choose another of the ascetic arsenal of the holy fathers.
The main thing is to keep love in your heart with all your might. This is the main skill that is required of ourselves, in this Workshop of holiness, which is the whole Church of Christ.
- Well, in the Church, first of all, the Lord works, we work together together and ourselves, but outside too the pressure is constantly felt. How can we take this kinetic energy into circulation, turning for good?
- Previously, with the pressure on the monasteries that the Soviet government exerted, the monks were like wild ducks - they were collected: a constant danger, a hunter can shoot down every moment ... And now they are like home. Well, we - relax, become obese, forget how to fly, let's go waddling and grunting at feeders?
- Vladyka Alexy (Frolov) loved to give an anecdote about the cock, who, having seen the eagle soaring in the sky, climbed up to the fence and, balancing, waved his wings: "I'm flying too!"
"There used to be more holiness." In the Lavra, you can say yesterday what patterns were just a jeweler's inner work on yourself: Archimandrite Cyril (Pavlov), Archimandrite Naum (Bayborodin) ... - real warriors of Christ! It is necessary to take their example into the arsenal of Jesus' prayer, careful study and memorization of the Holy Scripture - otherwise how can one fight? Forge is a forge, but let's not forget about the battle.
We should not wait until the attacks on the Church begin to grow into full-scale persecutions and the pike will re-enter our sea, "so that the crucian will not doze" ...