Greek Amphilochius (Makris) was born in 1889 year on the island of Patmos and at the age of 17-year-old devoted himself to God, taking monastic tonsure in the monastery of St. John the Divine. The founder of two women's monasteries, he led educational, missionary and charitable activities. His life was full of ascetic and prayer deeds, and now miracles are performed from his honest relics. The Publishing House of the Sretensky Monastery published the book "The Elder with Patmos Amfilohiy (Makris, 1889-1970). A life. Covenants. Testimonies ", in which numerous memoirs of the spiritual children of the elder Amphilochius are gathered. One of the fruits of his experience and his holy life, which consisted of constant struggle and a chain of trials, became spiritual instruction. Among his many spiritual councils, here are some of the most revealing, with the zeal saved for us by the sisters, whom he professed and taught.
Archimandrite Amphilochius (Makris)
You should not leave the food and bread that are offered to you at the table, for it is not only impolite, but also dangerous. You, young, need a lot of calories for the body. When you do not eat, either from self-will or from aspiration, and your health is gradually undermined, it not only creates difficulties for the whole community, but can even be considered suicidal.
Not only that in our time no one has good health, so you do not even watch yourself?
You, young people, need us so that we can supply you with weapons and everything necessary for fighting and fighting. But if you get sick, it will not work.
We see examples of fathers who were in fasting and abstinence, but they always had discernment and knew the measure; especially for young organisms. We see how strictly the Monk Pakhomi punished cooks and economists when, returning to the Lavra from some trip, he discovered that in his absence they did not cook, indulging in wetness for the sake of asceticism, and young people were also subjected to deprivation. When we do not have physical health, we can neither pray nor fulfill our duties! I have been convinced of this many times myself.
We must have tolerance and meekness. We must be patient, otherwise our salvation will be in jeopardy. We will not see the face of God, if we worry about trifles. Mistakes and difficulties of other people should not make us angry, for anger is the beginning of the murder. We must correct our brother with great patience and meekness, who can fall down, and not be angry with him; for especially those who are initiated, we must distinguish subtlety and nobility. But we often, seeing the shortcomings and flaws of other people, instead of suffering them and giving advice full of tenderness and love, we lose peace, and others start worrying with us, and so, because of the small things, the disorganization in the brotherhood occurs. This I say, young and mature, and to myself.
We must watch this, for we do not know if we will meet the next morning. Therefore, we should always be peaceful and ready, for such small things as this one are enough to lose the results of all our labors.
Fathers say that even worrying about animals or scolding them is a sin. What can we say about our brothers people. The little ones will respect big as mothers, and the big ones will love little ones, they will tolerate and correct them with great meekness and patiently.
May God help us to observe these wonderful rules in life. Imagine if the Apostle Paul were here, and he would tell us how much we would like to fulfill his words and advice. But he was, invisibly. God grant us the strength to work for our own education.
When the responsible person speaks to you, you must obey. For the commander, captain, father - all of them are enlightened by the Lord in all situations. Therefore, when the younger ones do not have obedience, they do not show good results either. I say and repeat this, that it should be so. Now I am absolving myself of responsibility, and it will be upon you, if you do not show obedience.
On the basis of what was read from the Apostle that day, the elder said during the conversation: "The apostle says: children, dress all in humility, like clothes, and fasten properly to protect ourselves from the cold and wind of arrogance.
As states we distinguish by their flags, so a true Christian can be distinguished by humility. Our Christ, who created the whole world, was born in a manger for cattle, but died on the cross as a criminal. And how much more humility did He show during His earthly life!
And He did all this so that we could take an example from Him. Let us ask Him to help us, dear sisters, to find humility, for without humility, neither love nor any other virtue can restrain. The enemy of humility, crafty, whose flag - selfishness, tries to distort and render useless all our actions by arrogance; even holy deeds. We need to be very afraid of this and feel lower than everyone else and ask God to add patience and humility to us. If we are praised, selfishness grows in us, but if we are condemned too. Whatever we do, always this evil is in front of us, and inside of us. Therefore, we must greatly fear it. This is the only thing that removes from God.
One day a spiritual elder told him about difficulties in spiritual matters.
"Do not worry," he replied. "By prayer, everything will come." Do not worry, just believe that everything we can not do, people, does God. Remember this and always keep it in your mind: what we can not do, God does.
And really. Even before the evening something happened that confirmed the words of the elder.
Piety is the most important means, giving us the brightest hopes both in this life and in the future. Bodily exercises benefit for a short while, and the exercise of piety is not only useful, but also saving. Repentance, night vigils, fasts are all our body exercises. All this we also need, because we have a material body that needs to be pacified. But what we must not forget to do is train our soul in spiritual matters. Only in this way will they have any value and physical exercises.
We have much more to take care of the perfection of the spirit. After all, he will remain with us forever.
Be careful, my child, the crafty one often prepares for us a beautiful ship; and putting us on it, drowns us in the middle of the sea.
My child, we must doubly love what hurts and hurts us.
As you serve the first, so should serve the second, and the third, and the last.
When we fall and hurt God, we must run to church, kneel. A couple of tears, a couple of words - what a relief they give! And His father's heart always takes us.
My child, the telegram that we send to heaven, goes much faster than earthly telegrams.
Thank God that in you is alive, the voice of conscience has not died. The fact that you go into such subtleties will lead you to paradise. But be careful. Do not be too sensitive. Because often excessive sensitivity is not useful, you can even lose your mind.
Be attentive in the comments. Talk and give advice with love.
God forgives the murderer, because he is committing murder in insanity, not owning himself. A selfish man does not forgive.
- Geronda, I'm afraid that these thoughts will deprive me of paradise. They are not at all like the initiated.
"No, my child, it's not your thoughts, it's not according to your will that they arise; these thoughts are from the evil one. Do not sit and do not understand in detail what thought ran. Do not attach importance to them. Say: "Get away from me, Satan!" And repeat as much as possible: "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me!" Be attentive. Watch your behavior, do not upset the Guardian Angel.
My child, have patience. Do what people tell you. Be in obedience. Serve old and small with love. Be always peaceful so that your Angel is always with you. Because if you drive him away, temptation will come, and then woe to you. Paradise can only be obtained through serious labor and struggle.
Bad thoughts - from the evil one
"Geronda, will all these thoughts and thoughts be considered by the Lord?"
"No, my child, for they are of the wicked one; he fights with your soul, just as he tested the Lord himself, and the saints. If this were the case, no one would go to heaven. Watch out, do not get caught by the Devil's tricks, and the grace of the Mother of God will surround you, guard you and protect you.
Always take guidance from the Lord.
"Because of these little things, do not lose your peace," the old man told his spiritual child. "Because that's how you give the temptation to hit you even harder." And you know, when they attack you, I suffer, too, your father. So, look, do not let him get close to you.
Blessed, God wants to pull out thorns from you, because He is a gardener, and you need peace.
Another time in confession, that's how he said:
"I say that this is the case; and if you do not believe me, old man, believe this shit, which is on me, that God enlightens me to answer so on this matter.
We must improve ourselves first of all. The world needs to see people who embody the law of God. And they are so rare in our time.
Be so united that in the person of one I see the other; Your disagreements will be a severe wound for me.
Often take communion, pray fervently, be patient, and you will see that you have a strong hand.
A person becomes regal when he unites with God through the Holy Communion. Then he is very attentive to his words. He does not want to interrupt the mysterious conversation with the King, and often other people coming to him do not understand this, but it's very hard for him. When we partake, we not only gain strength, but we enlighten, wide horizons open up before us, we experience joy. Everyone feels differently depending on the mood and the fire of the soul. Someone feels relief, someone is jubilation, one is pacification, the other is a spirit of devotion, and another is a love that is ineffable to all. I was often tired, but after the Holy Communion I felt that all my fatigue had disappeared. I felt real relief.
"The apostle spoke to us this morning about the unity and gifts of the Holy Spirit. When you are all one, the body will live. Then the grace of the Holy Spirit will come to our brotherhood. But when the hand is there, and the leg is there, and the head is separate, then the body is dead and the Holy Spirit will not come. Let's pay attention to love and unity. And when temptation comes by all kinds of little things and brings us controversy, let's be patient with your brother, worried and tired. If we are calm and rested at this moment, let's try to establish patience and meekness with the world. For when our brother is in a difficult situation of temptation, and we behave badly with him, we will, as it were, push him even lower, to anger. At this time, you need to think that we also have shortcomings, which are often ugly, as now this brother ".
"For me, unity is all life. I feel extremely tired when I see disagreements, which usually, fortunately, are a mere misunderstanding. We must, however, watch this little evil, so that it does not lead to a large and incorrigible. Even a small cold by negligence can lead to death. "
"And finally, N., Christ does something else for us. This Christian unity that connects us is not accidental. Something important and high is hidden in it. For in the brotherhood I learned what Christian love is. There is sacrifice, holiness and faith in it. The world will not recognize them, for it is far from Christ. If people wanted to imitate and cultivate this love within themselves, the earth would immediately become a paradise, and people - angels. We must be united and obliged to try and make other people happy.
So, I tell you that this kind of love is called Christian. In the first centuries of Christianity this love united all Christians who sacrificed themselves for Christ and their brothers. "
In the letter of his spiritual daughter, the elder notes: "I think of you, as well as about many other children of ours living in the modern world, which is completely different from the past, when there was at least a little humanity and a little Christianity. The present era has created a dark curtain, through which, no matter how keen eyes, it is difficult to know another person, even a relative or friend. This darkness makes me worry about those who travel and carry a valuable load of faith and love. The few lamps that they have with themselves, a little light of Christ, unfortunately, remain in the big cities; and the whole of our country lives for the most part without light, and the darkness is very dense. "
"I feel like a young man of thirty, passionate missionary and ready to serve the Greek people, most of whom fell into the clutches of communism because of the indifference of the clergy and the false aristocracy of this people. The current words of preachers and politicians only pour oil on the fire. The poor and uneducated people were left by them, but now no one listens. He needs deeds and a life full of Christian love. It is necessary that we feel compassion for him as brothers. Only with our love and charity will we return our brothers to Christ. Therefore, it is necessary, even late, to form a Christian branch of the uplifted; We will help with deeds and words to our brothers, who suffer spiritually and physically. I'm not saying this for you, since you have been in the ranks of the insurgents for many years. I say this with pain and sorrow that began to appear around the world, about so many revolutionary movements. May God help the faithful and His Holy Church! That's it, my dear M. and my dear S., I think about it and I'm sad because of the approaching general collapse of the world. Let the prayer of the faithful appear in a mound, restraining the destructive flow. "
"We, today's Christians, do not have the faith and fear of God, and so we change so easily and pay attention to a thousand false doctrines. We are like those trees that grow on stony ground and are said to fall from the breeze of a light breeze. The ancient elders were like trees whose roots go deep into the earth, and even the worst wind will not shake them. Yes, their branches were broken, but the barrel stood tight. May God free us from error, for there is nothing worse than error. When a person sins, he feels it, but when he is mistaken, he does not feel it. A delusion (God save us from all delusion) is always a fruit of arrogance and selfishness. So let's try to have humility, and then the Holy Spirit will lead us to the truth. "
"God in the place of the fallen Satan created man. But now man has become a friend of Satan and together they fight with God. First, only Lucifer and his retinue rose up against God. But now the man himself, whom God created in His image, joined them. Therefore, God deprived man of reason, and now he will destroy the earth with his own hands, if everything continues, as now, with all the most devastating inventions. And so, the soul that has fallen away from its Creator, with its own hands, is preparing for itself a reward and will remain forever in darkness with his companion Lucifer.
Therefore, we should always take care that our soul is next to the Creator, and then nothing will be scary to us, even if the inventors of the XX century burn and destroy the earth. We are on the clouds, as the divine Paul says [1 Thess. 4: 17], as good spirits, we will reach the Creator without being exposed to any danger. "
We live in very difficult times, when the words of Scripture are fulfilled: "Whom God wants to punish, the mind takes away from him." It seems that all countries keep their weapons ready. And what kind of weapon? Mass destruction and world destruction. It's all because of our sins, for we have forgotten God. Our heart is chained with ice, and there is no more warmth of love in it; because this crisis is observed in all states. In the old days, God erased everything from the face of the earth with the help of the flood. Now He will make it fire again. If before we do not live, then you, the youth, you will see everything with your own eyes. The fire that the man himself created with his own hands for self-destruction, all these atomic and hydrogen bombs. Therefore, we, to whom God sent grace and brought here to the monastery, where we can keep the heat in our hearts, even a little warmth of love, should try to be always ready, because we do not know what awaits us. And we will pray to God for the whole world, and for the faithful and the unbelievers, for they are our brothers, entangled and caught in the claws of the evil one. May God give us love, patience, humility, holiness, and we have the hope that He will preserve us as if in a new ark if we always remain near Him. "
"In order to interpret the book of Revelation, it is necessary to have the power and inspiration of its sacred author and evangelist, Beloved Disciple of the Lord John the Theologian, that is, to receive the gift of prophecy. There are, however, various signs warning us about the imminent war and the death of mankind. For an example, I will cite: the indifference of the majority to Christian truths and the emergence of a diverse variety of petty heresies. "
"Our Church must call on the people to deep and sincere repentance. God could have burned Nineveh. But He did not. He demanded that the residents repent. For this purpose Jonah was sent. And today there must be hot preachers who will preach to the rulers and the people a return to God our fathers through repentance. "
"Let us bear with patience the burdens of life for Christ's sake. Let the world consider us mad. Let us say unimaginable things about us. The hour will come when we will be freed from all the burdens and sorrows of the world and we will go into the palaces of Jesus to enjoy the true enjoyment. "
The first duty of parents is the elder calls the Christian upbringing of children. In a letter to a Christian mother, he advises: "The only thing I want from you is to root as deeply as possible the love of Christ in the hearts of your children."
Another time, he notices to his mother that the existential question of her personal salvation depends on the care she will show for the Christian upbringing of children: "Take good care of your children, for your salvation depends on them."
To a young man who asked for advice and prayers of the elder on the important issue of choosing a spouse, he writes: "I fully support such a careful approach to this most complex issue and at the same time I pray that the Lord will show you His will. Only He can unerringly make a holy and perfect choice and answer the prayer and petition of your heart, for you ask Him not for riches and other worldly goods, but for the Christian companion of life, so that, with the blessing of the Lord, to show you in society a family that has the fear of God and Christian virtues. "
He reminds one of his spouses what Christ requires from a Christian mother and how He can please: "As I wrote to you before, the only thing that is pleasing to Christ is that you give Christian upbringing to your children and show Christian obedience to your spouse."
Another time he tells his mother that she must dedicate herself fully to the cause of Christian upbringing of children and not to be distracted by worldly thoughts. She should indulge in reading sacred books and praying: "After reflecting on this, reject all worldly things, watch only the upbringing of children, for this is your sacred duty. When there is time, study the Scriptures and draw near to God in prayer. "
The sea experiences a good helmsman, an arena - an athlete, a commander - a battle, and a Christian - a temptation. Temptation is the life of man on earth, as the long-suffering Job says (Job 7: 1). We heard the elder repeating in spiritual conversations a patristic saying, "Take away the temptation - and no one will find salvation."
The elder writes a spiritual daughter passing through the trials: "Have courage, and Christ will decide everything favorably. Your faith should not be bent because of trifles. Your grounds must be strong. In nature, the storm benefits, and on the sea and on land, and therefore, for those who live in the spiritual life, it is useful, even more. N., this is paradise! Should we not suffer for Christ's sake? Or do you think that my life is covered with flowers? No, no, there are stones, dirt and thorns. And I ask God to give me courage and patience. "
In the letter of another spiritual daughter, the elder advises: "Your letter touched me very much, I see how you want to fight the enemy of the soul, and that you are trying to prepare yourself in advance for these attacks of temptations. This is very pleasing to me, for in a war a Christian can get experience of a spiritual battle, then to appear before the Throne of the King of Christ worthy of the heavenly crown. And I hope that one day I will see you in the crown, the bride of Christ in the Heavenly Halls. When Christ is in our heart, we can all overcome with His help; therefore I write to you - always have Christ in your heart, and in a hundred cases out of a hundred you will emerge victorious. "
The devil fights against us not only with the help of thoughts, he also uses our fellows as tools of war against the salvation of our souls. Here it is necessary to make a distinction, so that we hate the devil, and not his tools; for otherwise, according to the old man, Satan will laugh at us. To describe this situation, the elder uses a very imaginative picture:
"When a person throws a stone at a dog, that often, instead of attacking a person, rushes and bites a stone. So do we. The temptation sends someone to us, and he tempts us - by words or behavior, and we, instead of dealing with the one who threw this stone, that is, with temptation, bite the stone itself, that is, our fellow, whom the crafty one used as a stone. And who knows how our tempters rejoice and mock us when they see it all! In the hour of temptation, we must have patience and prayer. Do you know what kind of masters these tempters are? They and small [temptation] make great. The tempter disturbs, upsets and creates external wars. He has so many tricks. He introduces a person into question. So we have so many shipwrecks. God's protection weakens our temptations. When you are tempted, then the grace of God descends. When a person encounters temptations, he becomes convinced of his impotence, humble himself, and the grace of God comes to him. May the winds of temptation not affect you; they can not do anything to you. "