The Church’s Teaching
About the Holy Spirit
Part 2
by Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky

Blessed Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) (+1936)


Gifts of the Spirit --- Wisdom

And so we will pass on to the teaching about the gifts the Holy Spirit bestows on the soul of the believer.

From all that has already been said it is clear that the daring inspiration with which the apostles and martyrs conquered the world for Christ was a specific gift of the Divine Spirit. But if we liken the light of the Divine Spirit to white sunlight, then we shall find in it the entire seven-colored spectrum of spiritual gifts. These are enumerated in Metr. Philaret’s11 catechism, but in a very unsatisfactory manner .... Conviction and inspiration are the most immediate and especially active social forces bestowed by the Holy Spirit upon Christ’s preacher, and they are imparted also to those who listen to them in accordance with the extent to which they are well-disposed towards the word of truth --- or else they put them to shame and make them shudder with shame and fear if they turn out to be opposed to them. These forces would not have such power in the life of the Church-society were it not for the fact that, when the servants of Christ acquire the Holy Spirit, He has an enlivening and enlightening effect upon the various powers of their souls.

Let us begin by pointing out the wisdom and depth of Christ’s teaching and of the apostles’ spirit-bearing words, which astounded those who heard them. Archdeacon Stephen’s interrogators “were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spake” (Acts 6:10). What philosopher could expound the essence of the faith of Christ with such power and profundity as did the Apostle Paul in such a short speech on the Areopagus in Athens? What lawyer could overthrow accusations so briefly and wisely as he overthrew the Jews’ accusations before the court? Here Christ’s words about confession of the faith were fulfilled: “I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist” (Lk. 21:15), for “it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Spirit” (Mk. 13:11).

And so the gifts of the Holy Spirit are gifts of wisdom and knowledge, of understanding the works of God, which is why in Church hymns and in the Holy Bible the Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of Wisdom, the Spirit of Understanding: “And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding” (Is. 11:2); St. Paul also writes: “God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God” (I Cor. 2:10); “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God” (1 Cor. 2:12). --- On the day of Theophany, before the Great Blessing of the Waters (which St. Gregory the Theologian in his homilies calls a mystery), the Church sings: “Come, receive ye all the Spirit of wisdom, the Spirit of understanding, the Spirit of the fear of God, even Christ Who is made manifest.”A Now let us look how far from truth are all those who separate faith from knowledge, religion from reason --- all those who accuse our faith and Church of demanding blind trust in Her teaching and a hostile attitude towards the voice of reason. By “reason” they are quite mistaken in understanding the tendentious and often stupid hypotheses of materialists, both the open materialist, and the hidden ones who hide themselves under the name of “positivists”. They really do believe these people quite blindly, relying on their false authority which has been exaggerated by newspaper agitation. Equally wrong are the contemporary Russian illuminati, followers of Fr. Florensky and V.S. Soloviev12, who are forever talking about mystical attainments and at times have an extremely hostile attitude towards reason. Soloviev himself is not guilty of this, but on the other hand his followers are not strangers to a certain unspoken hope that he is directly illuminated by the Holy Spirit, despite their life which is more than unrestrained. Sacred insanity --- amentia sacra --- is foreign to the Orthodox teaching about the Holy Spirit, although one of the Russian Rakitins13 wrote an entire master’s dissertation (thick and ungifted), in which he tries to prove that the gift of tongues is nothing other than the Khlyst craze for screaming senseless sounds and dancing. This was in the insane year 1917; although the Synod refused to accept the dissertation, the Academy still accepted the author as a master of theology and again petitioned the Patriarch to bestow a degree upon him for this quite indecent pamphlet, in defiance of the decision already made by the Synod. I do not know how the matter ended, because at that time I left for Kharkov, and then for Kiev.

The grace of God is, of course, a supernatural phenomenon, but just like most other spiritual gifts, the gift of spiritual wisdom is granted to those who strive towards wisdom with their own will and reason, and ask the Lord in prayer for an increase of these gifts, as the Apostle James explains (Js. 1:5 and 3:13-18).

In accordance with the theme of our paper it would be appropriate to analyze all the names of spiritual gifts given by the prophet Isaiah (Ch. 11), which our text-book catechism takes to be an enumeration--- i.e. a precise and complete list. Incidentally, in Metropolitan Philaret’s catechism they are listed in a different order than in the Holy Bible, and the “Spirit of godliness” (11:2) is left out altogether; also, the catechism presents the “Spirit of the Lord” as the highest of many gifts of the Spirit, but in Isaiah it is first in order. It is just as incorrect and hopeless to look for such a scientific division of gifts in the prophet and expect to find them in a graduated order, as it is to divide the Lord’s Prayer into seven parts. In fact, in both the Lord’s Prayer and in Isaiah’s prophecy, concepts are brought forward synonymously --- they are almost identical in meaning, but each is clarified by the others. This is how we should think of the first three and last two petitions of the Lord’s Prayer. A very fine article about this prayer from this point of view has been written by the former theological academy and university professor H. I. Ilyinsky. He was the enlightener of the tribesmen in the Volga area and Siberia, and translated into their language the Holy Scriptures, as well as other spiritual books, especially the service books. This article was printed after his repose in 1892 in the “Orthodox Companion” (“Pravoslavny Sobesednik”), under the title “Ex Oriente Lux”, if I remember correctly.

Those who love all kinds of classifications when enumerating the gifts of the Holy Spirit would be more successful if they cited the Apostle Paul, for the simple reason that before going on to spiritual gifts he says: “The works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: adultery, fornication,” and so on; “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance” (Gal. 5:19, 23). In the New Testament, of course, there is more completeness, but here also there is no attempt at a graduation of virtues in the order they are assimilated, such as we have in Christ’s Beatitudes. Here there is no mention of either the second or the fourth Beatitudes or the three last ones.

Gradualness in Acquiring the Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Nevertheless, it is of course impossible to lay claim to a more or less complete enumeration of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, for it was not without reason that St. John the Baptist said, “God giveth not the Spirit by measure” (Jn. 3:34). --- It is enough if we can manage to point out a few gifts of the Spirit such as are more accessible to our comprehension. In doing this we must note that it is impossible to establish a strict graduation in gifts of the Spirit. Thus St. Paul begins his list of gifts of the Spirit with the greatest, love, which is the “combination of perfections” (Col. 3:14),14 and mentions temperance, one of the most elementary virtues, last. --- It is better to say that each virtue has degrees of ascent and that one supports another like the steps of a wooden ladder --- although the order of these degrees is not identical in every person who struggles for virtue; the order in which the gifts of the Spirit are granted is not identical either. Thus His grace and the gift of tongues descended on those who listened to St. Peter’s preaching before they were granted the gift of baptism (Acts 10:44-46); St. Peter said the following about this event: “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them, as on us at the beginning” (Acts 11:15).

But, if the Lord does not give the Spirit by measure, people must nevertheless not depart from the Church’s directions for struggling in prayer by degrees, gradually, so as not to undergo a shipwreck of faith (I Tim. 1:19) or be subjected to the shameful lot of the chief priest Sceva (Acts 19:13-17)15. --- It is clear that those who are newly converted to godliness must first offer repentance, in order to receive gifts of the Holy Spirit (Mt. 3:2; 4:17 etc., and especially Acts 2:38).16

From the foregoing it is evident that one and the same gift of the Holy Spirit can have differing degrees. Who, for example, will dispute the fact that even the most sinful people often have impulses of a feeling of selfless love and even perform exploits inspired by this feeling? Not only do very sinful people sometimes have access to natural impulses and even deeds inspired by good feelings, but these are also sometimes accompanied by grace-filled thoughts or preceded by prayers and tears. They greatly err against the truth who think like the Stundists that once they have experienced the illumination of the grace of the Holy Spirit, they are already unable to sin. They are quite wrong in citing I Jn. 5:18 (“he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not”), for being born of God has degrees --- in its elementary stage it belongs to all the faithful who believe that Jesus is the Christ (I Jn. 5:1) --- just as does faith itself, upon which this birth from above is conditional. Otherwise how could one explain that it is not with all, but only with a very few of the faithful that these words of Christ have been fulfilled: “And these signs shall follow them that believe (the Apostles preaching): In My name they shall cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues,” etc., etc. (Mark 16:17)?

It is clear therefore that both faith, and being born of God, and every other gift of the Holy Spirit has degrees, and the Apostle John’s words that he who is born of God cannot sin apply only to the highest degree of spiritualization, but this degree has to be “stirred up” (2 Tim. 1:6) by struggles, for the Lord said that he who expels demons in His name cannot lightly speak evil of Him (Mk. 9:39), and St. Paul said “holding faith, and good conscience; which some having put away, concerning faith have made shipwreck” (I Tim. 1:19).

Let us return to our examination of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. So far we have examined one --- the Spirit of wisdom, which is given to the believer who has been filled with grace, especially when bearing witness to his faith before persecutors.

Disobedience to the Church a Sign of Delusion

However, before continuing our examination of separate gifts of the Holy Spirit, we must pause over the words of Holy Scripture, and in particular, those of the Holy Apostle John: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of Antichrist” (I Jn. 4:1-3). --- Consequently the first sign distinguishing a true spirit from a false one, from self-deception, is a correct confession of faith. The second sign is indicated four verses later: “We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the Spirit of truth, and the spirit of error” (I Jn. 4:6). By what sign? By the sign of obedience to the Church authorities and Church teaching. The Holy Spirit is not there where there are obstinacy and divisions. All heresies begin precisely with this symptom --- proud division and disobedience. Even Adam’s apostasy began from this: the Holy Spirit, on the contrary, is the Spirit of unity and peace. Let us recall the kontakion of Holy Pentecost: “When He distributed the fiery tongues He called all into unity”.

The Gift of Tongues

In accordance with this saving property of the Holy Spirit, His first outpouring was expressed in teaching the faithful to speak in all languages, in order to destroy the evil divisions among people. Quite different is the contemporary anti-Christian, self-loving attitude of people which is expressed in chauvinism, in the mutual hatred of peoples and lack of desire to hear foreign speech, in defiance of the Apostle who says that in the Church of Christ “there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free; but Christ is all, and in all” (Col. 3:11). Note that it was not only the Apostles who received this gift of tongues, but also their followers (Acts 10:44-46; 19:6), in accordance with Christ’s words (Mk. 16:17).

Of course, the gift of tongues is a supernatural gift, but a soul embraced with such world-wide love becomes capable of receiving it. Thus when St. Pachomius the Great gathered together monks from various lands and peoples to live with him, the Lord opened his lips to the knowledge of the Greek tongue. Origen learned Hebrew in a few days. Similarly St. Anthony the Roman, who had been brought to Novgorod by the ocean waves, immediately obtained from God the gift of understanding Russian after praying for it for three days. The division of tongues was a consequence of the divine wrath for the second opposition to God on the part of the human race17. The gift of tongues, a gift of the Holy Spirit, was a symbol of God’s call to humanity to unite in the one flock of Christ, which is obedient to God but hated by the world, and therefore suffers. It has need of a special Comforter. The Holy Spirit is just such a Comforter.

The Comforter

Why does the Savior call the Holy Spirit the Comforter? It was with precisely this name that He first spoke to His disciples quite definitely about the Third Hypostasis.

Of course, the first of the Holy Spirit’s actions promised by Christ was awaited as consolation of His Apostles in their separation from their Teacher. During His parting talk the Lord actually returned four times to His promise of the coming of the Holy Spirit, and on each occasion makes a connection between these promises and the consolation of the disciples in their separation from Him, as well as with His predictions that they would be persecuted by the world. In both respects the Holy Spirit will be their Comforter (Jn. 14:16-18; 15:15, 26; 16:7-15).

Where is this term taken from? Like almost all the definitions and names used by Christ, such as Word, Son of Man, Heavenly Father, they are taken by the Lord from the books of the Old Testament. We have printed articles about these three terms adopted from the Old Testament both in Russia and abroad: we even printed a small tract, “The Moral Idea of the Dogma of the Holy Spirit”, where we showed the connection between this term and the book of Ecclesiastes.

This book reveals to us essentially a picture of life dominated by injustice, evil and violence, which Christ and the Apostles call the dominion of the prince of this world. Earthly life is desolate, apart from this power of the prince of this world, apart from this domination of evil, there is nothing on which to base one’s hopes, nothing with which to satisfy one’s soul, nothing with which to be comforted --- if “there is no faithful and constant comforter” (Ecc. 4:1). --- As you see, it is not even the actual oppressions and tears which torment the soul of this observer of human life, but rather the absence of a comforter who would give meaning to this injustice in life. He continues, “And I praised all the dead that had already died more than the living, as many as are alive until now. Better also than both these is he who hath not yet been, who hath not seen all the evil work that is done under the sun” (v. 2, 3) --- Similar quotations can be found in the speeches of the prophet Jeremiah (Ch. 11:15, 20). In all such sayings and complaints about life, the soul of the person speaking is not grieving about the sufferings themselves, but is lamenting the fact that he can find no consolation or meaning in them --- or that he has no comforter. It is true that both the Psalmist (Ps. 21) and the prophets foretell that man’s lot will not always be so lamentable, that consolation must come. Sometimes this hope seems close to them, sometimes distant and as it were doubtful. But it is remarkable that the consolation closest in time was expected in the most ancient times before the flood. Then the words “consolation”, “comforter” were heard; and when the righteous Noah’s father gave him his name he said: “He will comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the earth which the Lord hath cursed” (Gen. 5:29). The name Noah --- Nokhe in Hebrew --- means “consolation”, and the comforter, about whose absence Ecclesiastes grieved, is called “Menakhem”. Both these words, Noah and Menakhem, are derived from the verb nakham, which means “to comfort”. Christ the Savior promised His disciples the Supreme Comforter, Who would remain with them forever. He calls the Holy Spirit the Comforter because He is the Comforter Himself. Even before this, the righteous comforted themselves by meditating on the judgements of God: “I remembered Thy judgments of old, O Lord, and I was comforted.” (Ps.118:52) So we see with what hoary antiquity is connected Christ’s teaching about the Comforter of the whole human race in general and of His followers in particular. This is why He says to His disciples, “It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you.”18 Compare these words with the Sunday Antiphons (Anavathmoi):

Tone 3.

By the Holy Spirit is every richness of glory, from Him is grace and the life of all creation, for He is hymned with the Father and the Word.

Tone 4.

By the Holy Spirit every soul is quickened, and through purity elevated it is made resplendent by the triune Unity in a sacredly mysterious way.B

Tone 4.

By the Holy Spirit are the riches of God-knowledge, seeing and wisdom: for the Word reveals all the Father’s will in Him.

Tone 5.

By the Holy Spirit all things are upheld, visible and invisible: for being autocratic, the Trinity is most truly One.

Tone 6.

By the Holy Spirit is the source of everything most salutary, should He breathe on anyone who is worthy, he will soon be taken up from the earth, soaring and directing himself on high.

Tone 6.

By the Holy Spirit is the deification of all, good will, wisdom, peace and blessing, for He is equal in action to the Father and the Son.

Earlier we explained Christ’s statement that the Comforter would reprove the world of sin, of righteousness and of judgment. Now we will add that this comforting of the confessors of truth, this reproof of the world, is an inner triumph of the soul, enlightened by the Spirit of God, which makes everything happening in the world and all God’s enemies as well as the sufferings they cause appear as utterly insignificant before that fullness of life which a soul illuminated by the Holy Spirit senses within itself, “looking for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13). This is the feeling which St. John Damascene expresses in his Sunday antiphons.

And so, we had stopped on St. Paul’s enumeration of the fruits of the Spirit. Much can be said about each of them separately: they are wonderful both in themselves, and as a means for struggling with temptations and sin. “If ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Rn. 8:13-14), and again, “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Gal. 5:6).

Warnings against Delusion

However, we are not going to elucidate one by one all the gifts of the Holy Spirit listed by St. Paul. In conclusion we will point out just a few, but first we will cite a few biblical and patristic warnings against making use of them incorrectly. Our contemporaries in particular are guilty of this.

First of all we must advise them to pay close attention to the Apostle John’s words: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world,” and so forth (I John 4:1-3). He is referring to the Docetists. Then the only heretics were the Docetists and the Ebionites, but now there is a great multitude of them; especially dangerous are those false teachers who pretend to be personally inspired by God, being filled with the spirit of Antichrist (ibid., v. 3). Such are the Baptists, Irvingites, Illuminati, etc., and preachers and false apostles.19 “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the Apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (2 Cor. 11:13-15).

This is why the Church Fathers warn the faithful most insistently --- especially zealots of piety and devotees of theology --- against self-deception or delusion (prelest). Experienced spiritual fathers listen with anxiety to their disciples’ stories, about various dreams and visions, and constantly warn them against falling into delusion. That teacher of our Fatherland, Bishop Ignatius Brianchaninov, wrote to his friends: “Read the Fathers of the Church, but not the Latin false teachers, not Thomas ? Kempis, not Theresa and the other madmen, who can only drive you into delusion”. Likewise deceived by self-love were the Athonite Imenobozhniki20, who, thanks to God and the Synod, were condemned by the Ecumenical Patriarch Joachim and the All-Russian Synod.

Delusion, or self-deception, is combined with self-love, the principal enemy of our salvation, and only those ascetics become free from it who are filled with a spirit of constant self-reproach and repentance. We have to remember that in the best case we have only “the firstfuits of the spirit” (Rn. 8:23), and “if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us ... and His word is not in us” (I Jn. 1:8-10).

Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit

Particularly terrible is the “sin against the Holy Spirit”, of which the Lord said that He will not forgive it in this age or in the future age, although “all sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men where-with soever they shall blaspheme” (Mk. 3:28), even against the Son of Man (Mt. 12:32; Lk. 12:10). In his epistles the Apostle John commands us to pray for a brother who has sinned not unto death, and adds: “there is a sin unto death. I do not say that he shall pray for it” (I Jn. 5:16).

The Seventh Ecumenical Council in its fifth canon explains what a sin unto death is. Here, in the Savior’s well-known words about this sin, it is not blasphemy in the usual sense of the word that is meant, but a conscious opposition to the truth, to which one’s conscience bears witness, as the Lord said: “If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin” (Jn. 15:22). Here is an example of an unforgiveable sin. The Lord first spoke about an unforgiven blasphemy in Mk 3:29, here the Evangelist explains: “Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit” (Mk. 3:30). As you see, there was no direct blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, but there was an opposition to evident truth. In accordance with this, the 5th canon of the 7th Council, which we have mentioned, says, “A sin unto death is when certain persons sin and remain uncorrected. Worse than this is when people rise up in a stiff-necked manner against godliness and truth . . . The Lord God is not in such people, if they do not humble themselves and turn in sobriety from their falls into sin.”

This explanation both confirms the meaning of the words of Christ and St. John, and also makes it clear that an “unforgiveable sin unto death” refers to an impenitent state of soul, and not to individual acts of sin. However, we should not forget that all stubborn and self-confident people are guilty of this when they speak with derision of the holy commandments, of God and of the Holy Spirit. They are not convicted in full measure by the Savior’s dread words about blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, but as they become gradually more and more obdurate, they can bring the Gospel’s dire threat upon themselves in its entirety.

Distinguishing Spirits of Delusion
from Gifts of the Holy Spirit

And so, we have only touched lightly on a description of the gifts of the Holy Spirit enumerated in the Epistle to the Galatians, but we will deal more completely with them another time. We will say just a few more words 1) about distinguishing the spirits of delusion from the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and 2), about the most characteristic expression of a grace-filled disposition.

To distinguish the Spirit of God from the spirit of delusion is not so easy. St. Paul recognizes the gift of discerning spirits as a special gift of the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 12:16; cg. Heb. 5:14). And the Holy Fathers lay down that the most reliable sign for distinguishing between them is the irritation which deluded people, sectarians for example, exhibit when one makes objections to their errors. They will sing to you about brotherly love, about total forgiveness, but just raise some objection (especially from Holy Scripture), and the sectarian will start turning red in the face and trembling, and will have difficulty restraining himself from abuse. From this you will know that he is either simply an actor or else in a state of delusion.

How can one get free of such a state? Through prayer and confession. The daily prayers are also confession. This is why, for example, Fr. John of Kronstadt advised people to apply particular zeal to penetrating into the meaning of the evening prayer to the Holy Spirit, which enumerates not only external sins but also mental ones.

Characteristics of Grace

In conclusion let us turn once again to the words of St. Paul, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, goodness, mercy, faith, meekness, temperance. Against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the passions and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Ga. 5:22-25). All these virtues are preceeded and accompanied by compunction, which is what opened the path of the first society of Christians to faith and salvation (Acts 2:37),21 in accordance with the prophecy of Zacharias (12:10).22

“Nobody has entered into the heavenly Kingdom who has not compunction,” writes St. Simeon the New Theologian, “and by compunctionate repentance all sins and iniquities are covered.”

As far as the gifts of the Holy Spirit which we have enumerated are concerned, they dwelt very obviously in St. Seraphim of Sarov. Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, goodness, mercy, faith, meekness and temperance --- all these gifts of the Spirit shone forth in him.

He received all those who came to him with special love, beginning with the most corrupt people: he called everyone “my joy”, because he bore the divine joy in himself. Nothing could disturb his spiritual peace and calmness; he revealed his longsuffering in his superhuman struggles (standing on a stone for a thousand days and a thousand nights), and his faith --- in miraculous healings.

The rest of the virtues enumerated by St. Paul are inseparable from these. The power of the Holy Spirit in him was made manifest in the fact that those who came to him threw themselves down at his feet with words of repentance and compunction after his first words of greeting or exhortation.

Such are the actions of the Divine Spirit even in our faithless century, for not a hundred years have passed since St. Seraphim’s repose in 1832.

The fullness of the gifts of the Spirit is not determined by the natural talents of the person who receives them: they are obtained primarily by labor, crucifying the flesh, and especially by prayer. Prayer is partaking of the divine Being, as St. Anastasius the Sinaite teaches. Zealous strugglers must be warned against deluded mysticism and superstitions, but to just the same extent each must also take care not to cool this zeal in himself or in others by mockery, envy or temptations. “Quench not the Spirit”, writes St. Paul to the Thessalonians. “Despise not prophesyings, prove all things, hold fast to that which is good” (I Thess. 5:19-21).

If God helps me to lay my hands once again on the works of St. Isaac the Syrian and St. Simeon the New Theologian, then I will be in a position to share the more readily comprehensible contemplation of these Holy Fathers with good people. These Fathers did not write at the guidance of others, but from their direct contemplation of the Divine Glory.




11) Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow, a leading Russian hierarch of the 19th century.

12) Fr. Florensky (1882-1943): A disciple of Vladimir S. Soloview. He taught that the Church’s dogma can develop, and that individual “prophetic inspiration” should not be ignored in formulating the Church’s dogma as a concise religio-philosophical system.

V. S. Soloview (1853-1900): A famous Russian religious philosopher. Although his ideas had some connection with Orthodoxy, they were far from Orthodox, and Metropolitan Antony wrote and spoke against his teachings more than once.

13) A reference to a character in Feodor Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. Rakitin is a theology student who has written several articles that have been highly praised by the local bishop; he has, however, no real convictions or sincerity at all, and is about to embark on a secular career as a journalist.

14) The King James Version has “bond of perfectness”.

15) “Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying. ‘We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.’ And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, ‘Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are ye?’ And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame the, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.”

16) Mt. 3:2; 4:17. Both John the Baptist and our Savior began their preaching with the words, “Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”

17) i.e. the building of the tower of Babel.

18) Jn. 16:17.

19) Like today’s Pentecostalists, both those who call themselves Orthodox (members of the so-called “charismatic movement”), and those who do not.

20) A monastic sect on Mount Athos, which idolized the name of God, believing that the Divine Essence is present in the name of Jesus, uttered in the Jesus Prayer, and that the Jesus Prayer is the only genuine form of monastic activity.

21) After St. Peter’s first sermon on the day of Pentecost: “Now when they had heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the Apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?”.

22) “And I shall pour out the Spirit of grace and compunction upon the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and they will look upon Him whom they have pierced, and will make lamentation for Him, as for an only-begotten son, and grieve, as for a first-born.”


A. Service Book of the Orthodox Church, Hapgood, The Great Blessing of Waters, page 189.

B. Octoechos, translated by Professor N. Orloff, 1898. Anavathmoi, Mode Four.


Taken from Orthodox Life, Volume 27, No. 4, July-August 1977, Published by Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, New York.


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