Monday, June 26, 2017

How To Distinguish Between Good and Evil (St. Gregory of Sinai)

By St. Gregory of Sinai

(On Prayer: Seven Texts)

Question: What should we do when the devil transforms himself into an angel of light (cf 2 Cor. 11:14) and tries to seduce us?

Answer: You need great discrimination in order to distinguish between good and evil. So do not readily or lightly put your trust in appearances, but weigh things well, and after testing everything carefully cleave to what is good and reject what is evil (cf. 1 Thess. 5:21-2). You must test and discriminate before you give credence to anything. You must also be aware that the effects of grace are self-evident, and that even if the devil does transform himself he cannot produce these effects: he cannot induce you to be gentle, or forbearing, or humble, or joyful, or serene, or stable in your thoughts; he cannot make you hate what is worldly, or cut off sensual indulgence and the working of the passions, as grace does. He produces vanity, haughtiness, cowardice and every kind of evil. Thus you can tell from its effects whether the light shining in your soul is from God or from Satan. The lettuce is similar in appearance to the endive, and vinegar, to wine; but when you taste them the palate discerns and recognizes the differences between each. In the same way the soul, if it possesses the power of discrimination, can distinguish with its noetic sense between the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the illusions of Satan. 

From The Philokalia, vol. 4, p. 286.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

The Birth of John the Baptist and the Summer Solstice

By John Sanidopoulos

The summer solstice occurs some time between June 20 and June 22. As seen from a geographic pole, the sun reaches its highest altitude of the year on the summer solstice. Therefore the summer solstice is the longest day of the year, and in turn the shortest night.

On the day after the summer solstice daylight begins to slowly decrease, while nighttime slowly increases. This happens until the fall equinox which occurs some time between September 21 and September 24, when the sun directly shines on the equator and the length of day and night is nearly equal.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


By Fr. Alexey Young

According to J.K. Baalen, 'Theosophy, or Divine Wisdom, is the apostate child of Spiritism mixed with Buddhism. It is far more complicated and more intricate than Spiritism; at the same time its world and life view is more complete and fascinating" (The Chaos of Cults).

The founder of Theosophy was Helena Petrovna Blavatskaya, known to her followers as Madame Blavatsky, or simply "H.P.B." Born in Russia in 1848, she was the daughter of noble parents, granddaughter of a princess and, through the Dolgoruky family, a descendant of the 12th century saint, Michael of Chernigov.

In her youth she rejected Orthodox Christianity and, in fact, proclaimed "a venomous hatred of Christianity" throughout her whole life (Marion Meade, Madame Blavatsky: The Woman Behind the Myth).

Monday, June 12, 2017

Saint Peter the Athonite and the Demons

St. Peter the Athonite (Feast Day - June 12)

The icon above depicts an episode from the life of St. Peter the Athonite, the first ascetic of Mount Athos. It shows the devil as an angel of light appearing to St. Peter in order to pursuade him away from the monastic path he endured bravely. The first biography of St. Peter was written by St. Gregory Palamas, who relates the story behind this icon. This is a lesson which teaches us the great virtue of humility and obedience in withstanding demonic attacks and deception.

The Most Holy Mother of God appeared in a dream to Saint Peter and indicated the place where he should live till the very end of his days – Holy Mount Athos. When the ship sailed alongside Athos, it then halted of its own accord. Saint Peter realized that this was the place he had to go, and so he went ashore. This was in the year 681. The Monk Peter then dwelt in the desolate places of the Holy Mountain, not seeing another person for 53 years. His clothing had tattered, but his hair and beard had grown out and covered his body in place of clothes.