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Sayings and Examples of St Arsenios the Cappadocian

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“When someone has an illness, only then does he have the ability to truly empathise with the pain of another. And when you look briefly at your brother’s pain, then you will be greatly alleviated of your own pain. God bestows afflictions/illnesses so as to either purify us or to strengthen us. Illnesses are not permanent but pass and can be beneficial. God often does what doctors desire. And if he does not immediately bestow therapy, it is for the benefit of a person.”

“Pray and do not neglect the rite of confession! For with confession, a person is changed completely. It is better to have one spiritual mentor, because they are like a doctor. For the spiritual guide must know at every moment the state of the patient, so as to prescribe each time the appropriate medicine.”

“Fr Arsenios steadfastly preached Orthodoxy through the Orthodox manner of his life. His asceticism “melted” his flesh with the warmth of love that he had towards God. And in this way, transformed his soul with the grace of God. He believed fervently and healed many faithful and unfaithful (infidels). Few words, but many miracles. He endured much in this life but hid much within him. As a liturgical celebrant of the Most High, he did not walk upon the earth, and as a concelebrant he was like lightning before the people. God glorified him, because the through the nobleness of Arsenios’ life, He was glorified, to Whom belongs all glory for all eternity, Amen.”

“The Elder never touched money with his own hands, not only to avoid being governed by the passion of avarice – a phenomenon which is dangerous to clergy of some who do fall prey – but more so to emphasise in the minds of Christians and Turks, that his priesthood was not a profession.”

“To a close associate he once said: ‘Entrust those things to God which are humanly difficult, so as to avoid anxiety. For when Christ sees that you do not have any human help, then He will intercede by offering help. With humility and faith all problems are resolved’.”

“Prayer is a dialogue with God. The soul of the true Christian desires to pray constantly. It begins with doxology, then moves towards petitionary prayers and then to supplication. We must prepare for prayer by reading a selection from the Gospels or the Gerondikon. The one in prayer must also remember his brethren daily, and ask of God to show mercy towards them and guide them onto the path of salvation. The problems of others must become our problems. And if you want pure and true prayer, you must look upon all peoples as saints. The prototype and example for our prayer is the man born blind, who despite what everyone else said to silence him, he cried out louder for God to show him mercy.”

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Translated by VM for Mode of Life Project

Dedicated to my good friend, Tim O’Connor, a man of immense faith and humility, who enriches our lives and the lives of his students with the fruits of music.

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