Orthodox Christian Topics
Orthodox Christian Topics VI

Written by Greg Pantelidis BSc(Hons)



1. On commandments and virtues

1.    Keeping the commandments is life. Transgressing the commandments is death.
2.    The life of virtue is true life. The life of vice is true death.
3.    From keeping the commandments arises joy. From the life of virtue arises joy.
4.    But from transgressing the commandments arises sorrow. From the life of vice arises sorrow.
5.    The life of virtue is true happiness. The life of vice is unhappiness.
6.    Keeping the commandments leads to eternal life. Transgressing the commandments leads to eternal death.

2. On the trees that bear good fruit, bad fruit, and no fruit

1.    Man is like a tree. He either bears good fruit, bad fruit, or no fruit.
2.    Every good tree bears good fruit.
3.    Every bad tree bears bad fruit or no fruit.
4.    Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. (See Matt. 7:19).
5.    A good tree cannot bear bad fruit or no fruit. Nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. (See Matt. 7:18).
6.    From these words we see that a good person does good works and a bad person does bad works or no works.
7.    People who do no works are considered together with those who do bad works. (See James 4:17).
8.    Every person who doesn’t do good works is considered a tree which doesn’t bear good fruit.

3. On natural justice and spiritual justice

1.    Natural justice is to practice symmetry: to return good for good, bad for bad, and neutrality for neutrality.
2.    Spiritual justice is to practice one-sided symmetry: to return good for good, good for bad, and good for neutrality.
3.    Natural justice is to divide things between two people by giving half to one and half to the other. And to divide between many people by giving to each the portion they must receive according to symmetry.
4.    Spiritual justice on the other hand divides things according to need and not just according to symmetry.
5.    A worldly person practices natural justice. A spiritual person practices spiritual justice.
6.    An Orthodox Christian must advance from natural justice to spiritual justice.
7.    If we do not advance to spiritual justice we cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.
8.    Our Lord Jesus said: “Unless your justice exceeds the justice of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:20).
9.    The scribes and Pharisees practiced only natural justice. We must exceed natural justice and practice spiritual justice.
10.    Spiritual justice is to love God and neighbor, to love our enemies, to do good to all, and to lend to all. ( See Luke 10:27 and Luke 6:35).

4. On the four main desires and virtue

1.    A worldly person has four main desires. The desire for food, the desire for possessions (including knowledge), the desire for glory, and the desire for romance.
2.    These four main desires characterize the worldly person.
3.    An Orthodox Christian must transcend these four desires.
4.    Instead an Orthodox Christian must desire the virtues, the fruits of the Spirit of God.
5.    The four main desires constitute the image of the worldly person. The desire for virtue constitutes the image of the spiritual person.
6.    From the four main desires arises sorrow. But from the desire for virtue arises joy.

5. On unity

1.    Can there be unity between those who keep God’s law and those who transgress it?
2.    Can there be unity between the humble and the proud?
3.    Can there be unity between believers and unbelievers?
4.    Can there be unity between the chaste and the unchaste?
5.    Can there be unity between the wise and the unwise?
6.    Can there be unity between spiritual people and unspiritual people?
7.    Clearly in all the above unity cannot exist.

6. On self-denial and virtue

1.    Wherever he is an Orthodox Christian must practice self-denial.
2.    The way of the Orthodox Christian is that of self-denial.
3.    To bear the fruit of virtue an Orthodox Christian must practice self-denial.
4.    As from self-love is born every vice, so from self-denial is born every virtue.
5.    From self-love arises sorrow, but from self-denial arises joy and every virtue.

7. On assignment and self-denial

1.    To practice self-denial an Orthodox Christian must have a spiritual father.
2.    The spiritual father will assign the spiritual exercises of an Orthodox Christian.
3.    Without a spiritual father we cannot practice self-denial.
4.    An Orthodox Christian is guided by his spiritual father.
5.    In the spiritual life we must practice only what is assigned and not follow our own will.
6.    To receive blessing and Grace an Orthodox Christian must practice the assignments of his spiritual father diligently.
7.    Only by obeying the assignments of our spiritual father do we progress in the spiritual life.
8.    Only by self-denial and obedience to the assignments of our spiritual father do we practice Orthodox Christianity.

8. On obedience

1.    An Orthodox Christian must practice obedience to his spiritual father.
2.    From obedience to his spiritual father an Orthodox Christian advances in virtue and knowledge.
3.    From obedience arises wisdom. From obedience arises joy. From obedience arises dispassion.
4.    The life of obedience is a life of happiness. The life of obedience is a life of contentment.
5.    Obedience is blessedness. Disobedience is non-blessedness.
6.    The Orthodox Christian life is the life of obedience.
7.    Obedience is what leads from psychological illness to psychological health.

9. On humility

1.    Wherever he is an Orthodox Christian must practice humility.
2.    The practice of humility is essential for an Orthodox Christian.
3.    Just as from pride is born every vice, so from humility is born every virtue.
4.    The life of the humble is a life of peace and joy.
5.    From humility is born discernment, diorasis, and proorasis.
6.    The humble neither become angry nor do they anger their neighbor.
7.    The humble love all and are loved by all.

10. On love

1.    An Orthodox Christian must love God with all his heart, with all his soul, with all his mind, and with all his strength. (See Mark 12:30).
2.    An Orthodox Christian must love his neighbor as himself. (See Matt. 22:39).
3.    An Orthodox Christian must love his enemies. (See Matt. 5:44).
4.    An Orthodox Christian must love all, both good and bad. He loves the good as friends and the bad as enemies. (See St. Maximos the Confessor, First Century of Love, 71).
5.    The sign of the Orthodox Christian is that of humility and love.
6.    (John 13:35):” By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another”.
7.    An Orthodox Christian must practice humility and love always.
8.    In every place, an Orthodox Christian must practice humility and love.

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