SELECT SAYINGS
(Apophthegmata)
of the
DESERT FATHERS
[and MOTHERS]

Abba Pishoi and Abba John the Short,
Wall Painting, St. Katharine's Monastery, Sinai.

The Greek Alphabetical Collection English translation from Benedicta Ward’s The Sayings of the Desert Fathers.  Greek-letter numerals indicate Migne, PG 65.72-440, The Greek Alphabetical Collection; Arabic numerals are from the Greek Systematic Collection, ed. Guy, SC 387 (Cerf, Paris, 1987),pp. 92-448.

 

 

 

 

[1] ANTHONY the GREAT

Περὶ τοῦ ἀββᾶ Ἀντωνίου.[65.76]

 

 

 

 

[1.]1. When the holy Abba Anthony lived in the desert he was beset by acedia, and attacked by many sinful thoughts. He said to God, ‘Lord, I want to be saved but these thoughts do not leave me alone; what shall I do in my affliction? How can I be saved?’

   α. Ὁ ἅγιος ἀββᾶς Ἀντώνιος͵ καθεζόμενός ποτε ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ͵ ἐν ἀκηδίᾳ γέγονε καὶ πολλῇ σκο τώσει λογισμῶν· καὶ ἕλεγε πρὸς τὸν Θεόν· Κύριε͵ θέλω σωθῆναι͵ καὶ οὐκ ἐῶσί με οἱ λογισμοί· τί ποιή σω ἐν τῇ θλίψει μου; πῶς σωθῶ;
A short while afterwards, when he got up to go out, Anthony saw a man like himself Καὶ μικρὸν διανα στὰς ἐπὶ τὰ ἔξω͵ θεωρεῖ τινα ὁ Ἀντώνιος ὡς ἑαυτὸν͵

[a] sitting at his work,

καθεζόμενον καὶ ἐργαζόμενον͵

[b] getting up from his work to pray,

εἶτα ἀνιστάμενον ἀπὸ τοῦ ἔργου καὶ προσευχόμενον͵

[a] then sitting down and plaiting a rope,

καὶ πάλιν καθεζόμενον καὶ τὴν σειρὰν πλέκοντα͵

[b] then getting up again to pray.

  εἶτα πάλιν εἰς προσευχὴν ἀνιστάμενον·

 It was an angel of the Lord sent to correct and reassure him. He heard the angel saying to him, ‘Do this and you will be saved.’ At these words, Anthony was filled with joy and courage. He did this, and he was saved.

ἦν δὲ ἄγγελος Κυρίου͵ ἀποσταλεὶς πρὸς διόρθωσιν καὶ ἀσφάλειαν Ἀντωνίου. Καὶ ἤκουσε τοῦ ἀγγέλου λέγοντος· Οὕτως ποίει͵ καὶ σώζῃ. Ὁ δὲ τοῦτο ἀκούσας͵ πολλὴν χαρὰν ἔσχε καὶ θάρσος͵ καὶ οὔτως ποιῶν ἐσώζετο.

 

 

 

 

[1.]2. When the same Abba Anthony thought about the depth of the judgments of God, he asked, ‘Lord, how is it that some die when they are young, while others drag on to extreme old age? Why are there those who are poor and those who are rich? Why do wicked men prosper and why are the just in need?’ He heard a voice answering him, ‘Anthony, keep your attention on yourself; these things are according to the judgment of God, and it is not to your advantage to know anything about them.’

   β. Ὁ αὐτὸς ἀββᾶς Ἀντώνιος͵ ἀτενίσας πρὸς τὸ βάθος τῶν τοῦ Θεοῦ κριμάτων͵ ᾔτησε λέγων· Κύριε͵ πῶς τινες ὀλιγόβιοι ἀποθνήσκουσι͵ τινὲς δὲ ὑπεργηρῶσι; καὶ διατί τινὲς μὲν πένονται͵ ἄλλοι δὲ πλουτοῦσι; καὶ πῶς ἄδικοι μὲν πλουτοῦσι͵ δίκαιοι δὲ πένονται; ῏Ηλθε δὲ αὐτῷ φωνὴ λέγουσα· Ἀντώνιε͵ σεαυτῷ πρόσεχε· ταῦτα γὰρ κρίματα Θεοῦ εἰσι͵ καὶ οὐ συμφέρει σοι αὐτὰ μαθεῖν.

 

 

 

 

[1.]3. Someone asked Abba Anthony, ‘What must one do in order to please God?’ The old man replied, ‘Pay attention to what I tell you:     γ. Ἠρώτησέ τις τὸν ἀββᾶν Ἀντώνιον͵ λέγων· Τί φυλάξας τῷ Θεῷ εὐαρεστήσω; καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ γέρων εἶπεν· ἃ ἐντέλλομαί σοι φύλαξον·

[1] whoever you may be, always have God before your eyes;

ὅπου δὲ ἂν ἀπέρχῃ͵ τὸν Θεὸν ἔχε πρὸ ὀφθαλμῶν σου πάντοτε·

[2] whatever you do, do it according to the testimony of the holy Scriptures;

καὶ ὅπερ ἂν πράττεις͵ ἔχε ἐκ τῶν ἁγίων Γραφῶν τὴν μαρτυρίαν·

[3] in whatever place you live, do not easily leave it.

καὶ ἐν οἵῳ δ΄ ἂν καθέζῃ τόπῳ͵ μὴ ταχέως κινοῦ.

Keep these three precepts and you will be saved.’

Τὰ τρία ταῦτα φύλαξον͵ καὶ σώζῃ. [65.77]

 

 

 

 

[1.]5. He also said, ‘Whoever has not experienced temptation cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.’ He even added, ‘Without temptations no one can be saved.’

   ε. Ὁ αὐτὸς εἶπεν· Οὐδεὶς ἀπείραστος δυνήσεται εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τῶν οὐρανῶν. Ἔπαρον γὰρ͵ φησὶ͵ τοὺς πειρασμοὺς͵ καὶ οὐδεὶς ὁ σωζόμενος.

 

 

 

 

[1.]6. Abba Pambo asked Abba Anthony, ‘What ought I to do?’and the old man said to him, ‘Do not trust in your own righteousness, do not worry about the past, but control your tongue and your stomach.’

   Ϛ. Ἠρώτησεν ὁ ἀββᾶς Παμβὼ τὸν ἀββᾶν Ἀντώ νιον· Τί ποιήσω; Λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ γέρων· Μὴ ἔσο πε ποιθὼς τῇ δικαιοσύνῃ σου͵ μηδὲ μεταμελοῦ ἐπὶ πράγματι παρελθόντι͵ καὶ ἐγκρατὴς γενοῦ γλώσσης καὶ κοιλίας.

 

 

 

 

[1.]7. Abba Anthony said, ‘I saw the snares that the enemy spreads out over the world and I said groaning, “What can get through from such snares?” Then I heard a voice saying to me, “Humility.”‘

   ζ. Εἶπεν ὁ ἀββᾶς Ἀντώνιος· Εἶδον πάσας τὰς παγίδας τοῦ ἐχθροῦ ἡπλωμένας ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς· καὶ στενάξας εἶπον· Τίς ἄρα παρέρχεται ταύτας; Καὶ ἤκουσα φωνῆς λεγούσης μοι· Ἡ ταπεινοφροσύνη.

 

 

 

 

[1.]8. He also said, ‘Some have afflicted their bodies by asceticism, but they lack discernment, and so they are far from God.’

   η. Εἶπε πάλιν͵ ὅτι Εἰσί τινες κατατρίψαντες τὰ ἐαυτῶν σώματα ἐν ἀσκήσει͵ καὶ διὰ τὸ μὴ ἐσχηκέ ναι αὐτοὺς διάκρισιν͵ μακρὰν τοῦ Θεοῦ γεγόνασιν.

 

 

 

 

[1.]9. He also said, ‘Our life and our death is with our neighbor. If we gain our brother, we have gained God, but if we scandalise our brother, we have sinned against Christ.’

   θ. Εἶπεν πάλιν͵ ὅτι Ἐκ τοῦ πλησίον ἐστὶν ἡ ζωὴ καὶ ὁ θάνατος. Ἐὰν γὰρ κερδήσωμεν τὸν ἀδελφὸν͵ τὸν Θεὸν κερδαίνομεν· ἐὰν δὲ σκανδαλίσωμεν τὸν ἀδελφὸν͵ εἰς Χριστὸν ἁμαρτάνομεν.

 

 

 

 

[1.]10. He said also, ‘Just as fish die if they stay too long out of water, so the monks who loiter outside their cells or pass their time with men of the world lose the intensity of inner peace. So like a fish going towards the sea, we must hurry to reach our cell, for fear that if we delay outside we will lose our interior watchfulness.’

   ι. Εἶπε πάλιν· Ὥσπερ οἱ ἰχθύες ἐγχρονίζον τες τῇ ξηρᾷ τελευτῶσιν͵ οὕτως καὶ οἱ μοναχοὶ͵ βρα δύνοντες ἔξω τοῦ κελλίου͵ ἢ μετὰ κοσμικῶν διατρί βοντες͵ πρὸς τὸν τῆς ἡσυχίας τόνον ἐκλύονται. Δεῖ οὖν͵ ὥσπερ τὸν ἰχθὺν εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν͵ οὕτως καὶ ἡμᾶς εἰς τὸ κελλίον ἐπείγεσθαι͵ μήποτε βραδύνοντες ἔξω ἐπιλαθώμεθα τῆς ἔνδον φυλακῆς.

 

 

 

 

[1.]17. One day some old men came to see Abba Anthony. In the midst of them was Abba Joseph. Wanting to test them, the old man suggested a text from the Scriptures, and, beginning with the youngest, he asked them what it meant. Each gave his opinion as he was able. But to each one the old man said, ‘You have not understood it.’ Last of all he said to Abba Joseph, ‘How would you explain this saying?’ and he replied, ‘I do not know.’ Then Abba Anthony said, ‘Indeed, Abba Joseph has found the way, for he has said: “I do not know.”‘

   ιζ. Παρέβαλόν ποτε γέροντες τῷ ἀββᾷ Ἀντωνίῳ͵ καὶ ἦν ὁ ἀββᾶς Ἰωσὴφ μετ΄ αὐτῶν. Καὶ θέλων ὁ γέ ρων δοκιμάσαι αὐτοὺς͵ προεβάλετο ῥῆμα ἐκ τῆς Γρα φῆς͵ καὶ ἤρξατο ἐρωτᾷν ἀπὸ τῶν μικροτέρων͵ τί ἐστι τὸ ῥῆμα τοῦτο. Καὶ ἕκαστος ἔλεγε κατὰ τὴν ἰδίαν δύναμιν. Ὁ δὲ γέρων ἑκάστῳ ἔλεγεν· Οὔπω εὗρες. ῞υστερον ὅλων λέγει τῷ ἀββᾷ Ἰωσήφ· Σὺ πῶς λέ γεις εἶναι τὸν λόγον τοῦτον; Ἀποκρίνεται· Οὐκ οἶδα. Λέγει οὖν ὁ ἀββᾶς Ἀντώνιος· Πάντως ἀββᾶς Ἰωσὴφ εὗρε τὴν ὁδὸν͵ ὅτι εἶπεν͵ Οὐκ οἶδα.

 

 

 

 

[1.]24. It was revealed to Abba Anthony in his desert that there was one who was his equal in the city. He was a doctor by profession and whatever he had beyond his needs he gave to the poor, and every day he sang the Sanctus with the angels.

   κδ. Τῷ ἀββᾷ Ἀντωνίῳ ἀπεκαλύφθη ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ͵ ὅτι Ἐν τῇ πόλει ἐστί τις ὅμοιός σοι͵ ἰατρὸς τὴν ἐπι στήμην͵ τὴν περισσείαν αὐτοῦ διδοὺς τοῖς χρείαν ἔχουσι͵ καὶ πᾶσαν τὴν ἡμέραν τὸ Τρισάγιον ψάλλων μετὰ τῶν ἀγγέλων.

 

 

 

 

[1.]34. Abba Anthony once went to visit Abba Amoun in Mount Nitria and when they met, Abba Amoun said, ‘By your prayers, the number of the brethren increases, and some of them want to build more cells where they may live in peace. How far away from here do you think we should build the cells?’ Abba Anthony said, ‘Let us eat at the ninth hour and then let us go out for a walk in the desert and explore the country.’ So they went out into the desert and they walked until sunset and then Abba Anthony said, ‘Let us pray and plant the cross here, so that those who wish to do so may build here. Then when those who remain there want to visit those who have come here, they can take a little food at the ninth hour and then come. If they do this, they will be able to keep in touch with each other without distraction of mind.’ The distance is twelve miles.

   λδ. Παρέβαλέ ποτε ὁ ἀββᾶς Ἀντώνιος τῷ ἀββᾷ Ἀμοῦν εἰς τὸ ὄρος τῆς Νιτρίας͵ καὶ μετὰ τὸ συντυ χεῖν ἀλλήλοις͵ λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ ἀββᾶς Ἀμοῦν· Ἐπειδὴ διὰ τῶν εὐχῶν σου ἐπληνθύθησαν οἱ ἀδελφοὶ͵ καὶ θέλουσί τινες αὐτῶν οἰκοδομῆσαι κελλία μακρὰν ἵνα ἡσυχάσωσι͵ πόσον κελεύεις ἵνα ἀπέχῃ διάστημα τὰ κτιζόμενα κελλία τῶν ἐνταῦθα; Ὁ δὲ εἶπε· Γευσώ μεθα ὥραν ἐνάτην͵ καὶ ἐξέλθωμεν͵ καὶ διακινήσωμεν τὴν ἔρημον͵ καὶ σκοποῦμεν τὸν τόπον. Ὡς δὲ ὥδευ 88 σαν τὴν ἔρημον ἕως οὗ ἐλθεῖν δῦναι τὸν ἤλιον͵ λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ ἀββᾶς Ἀντώνιος· Ποιήσωμεν εὐχὴν καὶ στή σωμεν ὧδε σταυρὸν͵ ἵνα ὧδε κτίσωσιν οἱ θέλον τες κτίσαι͵ ἵνα καὶ οἱ ἐκεῖθεν͵ ὅταν παραβάλωσι τού τοις͵ γευσάμενοι τὸ μικρὸν βουκὶν αὐτῶν ὥραν ἐνάτην͵ οὕτως παραβάλωσι͵ καὶ οἱ ἔνθεν ἀπερχόμε νοι͵ τὸ αὐτὸ ποιοῦντες͵ ἀπερίσπαστοι μένωσιν ἐν τῷ παραβάλλειν ἀλλήλοις. ῎εστι δὲ τὸ διάστημα σημεῖα δεκαδύο.

 

 

 

 

[1.]35. Abba Anthony said, ‘Whoever hammers a lump of iron, first decides what he is going to make of it, a scythe, a sword, or an axe. Even so we ought to make up our minds what kind of virtue we want to forge or we labor in vain.’

   λε. Εἶπεν ὁ ἀββᾶς Ἀντώνιος· Ὁ τύπτων τὸ μαζὶν τοῦ σιδήρου͵ πρῶτον σκοπεῖ τὸν λογισμὸν τί μέλλει ποιεῖν͵ δρέπανον͵ μάχαιραν͵ πέλυκα. Οὕτως καὶ ἡμεῖς ὀφείλομεν λογίζεσθαι ποίαν ἀρετὴν μετερ χόμεθα͵ ἵνα μὴ εἰς κενὸν κοπιάσωμεν.

 

 

 

 

[2] ARSENIUS

Περὶ τοῦ ἀββᾶ Ἀρσενίου. [88.26]

 

 

 

 

 [2.]1. While still living in the palace, Abba Arsenius prayed to God in these words, ‘Lord, lead me in the way of salvation.’ And a voice came saying to him, ‘Arsenius, flee from men and you will be saved.’

   α. Ὁ ἀββᾶς Ἀρσένιος͵ ἔτι ὢν ἐν τῷ παλατίῳ͵ εὔξατο τῷ Θεῷ λέγων· Κύριε͵ ὁδήγησόν με πῶς σωθῶ. Καὶ ἦλθεν αὐτῷ φωνὴ λέγουσα· Ἀρσένιε͵ φεῦγε τοὺς ἀνθρώπους͵ καὶ σώζῃ.

 

 

 

 

[2.]2. Having withdrawn to the solitary life he made the same prayer again and he heard a voice saying to him, ‘Arsenius, flee, be silent, be tranquil [sic. pray always], for these are the source of sinlessness.’

   β. Ὁ αὐτὸς ἀναχωρήσας ἐν τῷ μονήρει βίῳ͵ πά λιν εὔξατο͵ τὸν αὐτὸν λόγον εἰπών. Καὶ ἤκουσε φωνῆς λεγούσης αὐτῷ· Ἀρσένιε͵ φεῦγε͵ σιώπα͵ ἡσύχαζε· αὗται γάρ εἰσιν αἱ ῥίζαι τῆς ἀναμαρτησίας.

 

 

 

 

[2.]3. It happened that when Abba Arsenius was sitting in his cell that he was harassed by demons. His servants, on their return, stood outside his cell and heard him praying to God in these words, ‘O God, do not leave me. I have done nothing good in your sight, but according to your goodness, let me now make a beginning [of good].’

   γ. Ἐπέστησάν ποτε τῷ ἀββᾷ Ἀρσενίῳ οἱ δαίμονες ἐν τῷ κελλίῳ θλίβοντες αὐτόν. Παραβαλόντες δὲ οἱ δια κονοῦντες αὐτῷ͵ καὶ στάντες ἔξω τῆς κέλλης͵ ἤκου σαν αὐτοῦ βοῶντος πρὸς τὸν Θεὸν καὶ λέγοντος· Ὁ Θεὸς͵ μὴ ἐγκαταλίπῃς με· οὐδὲν ἐποίησα ἐνώπιόν σου ἀγαθόν· ἀλλὰ δός μοι κατὰ τὴν χρηστότητά σου βαλεῖν ἀρχήν.

 

 

 

 

[2.]4. It was said of him that, just as none in the palace had worn more splendid garments than he when he lived there, so no one in the Church wore such poor clothing.

   δ. ῎ελεγον περὶ αὐτοῦ͵ ὅτι ὥσπερ οὐδεὶς τοῦ πα λατίου ἐφόρει βελτίονα αὐτοῦ ἐσθῆτα· οὕτως οὐδὲ εἰς τὴν Ἐκκλησίαν εὐτελεστέραν τις αὐτοῦ ἐφόρει.

 

 

 

 

[2.]5. Someone [In the Latin version the interlocutor is Evagrius] said to blessed Arsenius, ‘How is it that we, with all our education and our wide knowledge get nowhere, while these Egyptian peasants acquire so many virtues?’ Abba Arsenius said to him, ‘We indeed get nothing from our secular education, but these Egyptian peasants acquire the virtues by hard work.’

   ε. Εἶπέ τις τῷ μακαρίῳ Ἀρσενίῳ· Πῶς ἡμεῖς ἀπὸ τοσαύτης παιδεύσεως καὶ σοφίας οὐδὲν ἔχομεν͵ οὗτοι [89] δὲ οἱ ἀγροῖκοι καὶ Αἰγύπτιοι τοσαύτας ἀρετὰς κέ κτηνται; Λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ ἀββᾶς Ἀρσένιος· Ἡμεῖς ἀπὸ τῆς τοῦ κόσμου παιδεύσεως οὐδὲν ἔχομεν· οὗτοι δὲ οἱ ἀγροῖκοι καὶ Αἰγύπτιοι ἀπὸ τῶν ἰδίων πόνων ἐκτήσαντο τὰς ἀρετάς.

 

 

 

 

 [2.] 6. One day Abba Arsenius consulted an old Egyptian monk about his own thoughts. Someone noticed this and said to him, ‘Abba Arsenius, how is it that you with such a good Latin and Greek education, ask this peasant about your thoughts?’ He replied, ‘I have indeed been taught Latin and Greek, but I do not know even the alphabet of this peasant.’

   Ϛ. Ἐρωτῶντός ποτε τοῦ ἀββᾶ Ἀρσενίου τινὰ γέροντα Αἰγύπτιον περὶ ἰδίων λογισμῶν͵ ἕτερος ἰδὼν αὐτὸν εἶπεν· Ἀββᾶ Ἀρσένιε͵ πῶς τοσαύτην παίδευ σιν Ρωμαϊκὴν καὶ Ἑλληνικὴν ἐπιστάμενος͵ τοῦτον τὸν ἀγροῖκον περὶ τῶν σῶν λογισμῶν ἐρωτᾷς; Ὁ δὲ εἶπε πρὸς αὐτόν· Τὴν μὲν Ρωμαϊκὴν καὶ Ἑλληνι κὴν ἐπίσταμαι παίδευσιν· τὸν δὲ ἀλφάβητον τοῦ ἀγροίκου τούτου οὔπω μεμάθηκα.

 

 

 

 

[2.]7. Blessed Archbishop Theophilus, accompanied by a magistrate, came one day to find Abba Arsenius. He questioned the old man, to hear a word from him. After a short silence the old man answered him, ‘Will you put into practice what I say to you?’ They promised him this. ‘If you hear Arsenius is anywhere, do not go there.’

   ζ. Παρέβαλέ ποτε ὁ μακάριος Θεόφιλος ἀρχιεπί σκοπος τῷ ἀββᾷ Ἀρσενίῳ͵ μετὰ ἄρχοντός τινος· ἠρώτα δὲ τὸν γέροντα͵ ἀκοῦσαι παρ΄ αὐτοῦ λόγον. Μικρὸν δὲ σιωπήσας ὁ γέρων͵ ἀπεκρίνατο πρὸς αὐ τόν· Καὶ ἐὰν ὑμῖν εἴπω͵ φυλάσσετε; Οἱ δὲ συνέθεντο φυλάττειν. Καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς ὁ γέρων· ῞οπου ἐὰν ἀκούσητε Ἀρσένιον͵ μὴ πλησιάσητε.

 

 

 

 

[2.]36. It was said of Abba Arsenius that once when he was ill at Scetis, the priest came to take him to church and put him on a bed with a small pillow under his head. Now behold an old man who was coming to see him, saw him lying on a bed with a little pillow under his head and he was shocked and said, ‘Is this really Abba Arsenius, this man lying down like this?’ Then the priest took him aside and said to him, ‘In the village where you lived, what was your trade?’ ‘I was a shepherd,’ he replied. ‘And how did you live?”I had a very hard life.’ Then the priest said, ‘And how do you live in your cell now?’ The other replied, ‘I am more comfortable.’ Then he said to him, ‘Do you see this Abba Arsenius? When he was in the world he was the father of the emperor, surrounded by thousands of slaves with golden girdles, all wearing collars of gold and garments of silk. Beneath him were spread rich coverings. While you were in the world as a shepherd you did not enjoy even the comforts you now have but he no longer enjoys the delicate life he led in the world. So you are comforted while he is afflicted.’ At these words the old man was filled with compunction and prostrated himself saying, ‘Father, forgive me, for I have sinned. Truly the way this man follows is the way of truth, for it leads to humility, while mine leads to comfort.’ So the old man withdrew, edified.

   λϚ. ῎ελεγον περὶ τοῦ ἀββᾶ Ἀρσενίου͵ ὅτι͵ ἀσθενή σαντος αὐτοῦ ποτε εἰς Σκῆτιν͵ ἀπῆλθεν ὁ πρεσβύ τερος͵ καὶ ἤνεγκεν αὐτὸν εἰς τὴν ἐκκλησίαν͵ καὶ ἔθηκεν αὐτὸν εἰς χαλάδριον͵ μικρὸν προσκεφάλαιον πρὸς τῇ κεφαλῇ αὐτοῦ. Καὶ ἰδοὺ εἷς τῶν γερόντων ἐλθὼν ἐπισκέψασθαι αὐτὸν͵ καὶ ἰδὼν αὐτὸν εἰς τὸ χαλάδριον͵ καὶ τὸ προσκεφάλαιον ὑποκάτω αὐτοῦ͵ ἐσκανδαλίσθη͵ λέγων· Οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ ἀββᾶς Ἀρσένιος; καὶ εἰς ταῦτα ἀνάκειται; Λαβὼν δὲ αὐτὸν πρεσβύτερος κατ΄ ἰδίαν͵ λέγει αὐτῷ· Τί ἦν τὸ ἔργον σου ἐν τῇ κώμῃ σου; Ὁ δὲ εἶπε· Ποιμὴν ἤμην. Πῶς οὖν͵ φησὶ͵ διῆγες τὸν βίον σου; Ὁ δὲ ἔφη· Ἐν πολλῷ κόπῳ διῆγον. Καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ· Νῦν οὖν πῶς διάγεις ἐν τῷ κελλίῳ; Ὁ δὲ ἔφη· Μᾶλλον ἀναπαύομαι. Καὶ λέ γει αὐτῷ· Βλέπεις τοῦτον τὸν ἀββᾶν Ἀρσένιον; [104] πατὴρ βασιλέων ὑπῆρχεν ὢν ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ͵ καὶ χί λιοι δοῦλοι χρυσόζωνοι καὶ ὅλοι μανιάκια καὶ ὁλοσήρικα φοροῦντες παρειστήκεισαν αὐτῷ· πολύτιμα δὲ στρώματα ὑποκάτω αὐτοῦ ἦν· σὺ δὲ ποιμὴν ὢν͵ οὐκ εἶχες ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ ἣν νῦν ἔχεις ἀνάπαυσιν· καὶ οὗτος τὴν τρυφὴν ἣν εἶχεν ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ͵ ὧδε οὐκ ἔχει. Ἰδοὺ οὖν σὺ ἀναπαύῃ͵ κἀκεῖνος θλίβεται. Ὁ δὲ ἀκού σας ταῦτα͵ κατενύγη͵ καὶ ἔβαλε μετάνοιαν͵ λέγων· Συγχώρησόν μοι͵ ἀββᾶ͵ ἡμάρτηκα· ἀληθῶς γὰρ αὕτη ἐστὶν ἡ ἀληθινὴ ὁδὸς͵ ὅτι οὗτος ἦλθεν εἰς ταπείνωσιν͵ ἐγὼ δὲ εἰς ἀνάπαυσιν. Καὶ ὠφεληθεὶς ὁ γέρων ἀνεχώρησεν.

 

 

 

 

[3] MACARIUS the GREAT

Περὶ τοῦ ἀββᾶ Μακαρίου τοῦ Αἰγυπτίου. [257.li30-  ]

 

 

 

 

[3.]16. ABBA Macarius the Great said to the brothers at Scetis, when he dismissed the assembly, ‘Flee, my brothers.’ One of the old men asked him, ‘Where could we flee to beyond this desert?’ He put his finger on his lips and said, ‘Flee that,’ and he went into his cell, shut the door and sat down.

   ιϚ. Ὁ ἀββᾶς Μακάριος ὁ μέγας ἔλεγε τοῖς ἀδελ φοῖς ἐν τῇ Σκήτει͵ ὡς ἀπέλυε τὴν ἐκκλησίαν· Φεύ γετε͵ ἀδελφοί. Καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ τις τῶν γερόντων· Ποῦ ἔχομεν φυγεῖν πλέον τῆς ἐρήμου ταύτης; Ὁ δὲ ἐτίθει τὸν δάκτυλον αὐτοῦ εἰς τὸ στόμα͵ λέγων· Τοῦτο φεύγετε. Καὶ εἰσήρχετο εἰς τὸ κελλίον ἑαυτοῦ͵ καὶ ἔκλειε τὴν θύραν͵ καὶ ἐκάθητο.

 

 

 

 

[3.]17. The same Abba Macarius said, ‘If you reprove someone, you yourself get carried away by anger and you are satisfying your own passion; do not lose yourself, therefore, in order to save another.’

   ιζ. Εἶπεν ὁ αὐτὸς ἀββᾶς Μακάριος· Ἐάν τινι ἐπι τιμῶν͵ εἰς ὀργὴν κινηθῇς͵ ἴδιον πάθος πληροῖς. Οὐ γὰρ ἵνα ἄλλους σώσῃς͵ σεαυτὸν ἀπολέσεις.

 

 

 

 

[3.]19. Abba Macarius was asked, ‘How should one pray?’ The old man said, ‘There is no need at all to make long discourses; it is enough to stretch out one’s hands and say, “Lord, as you will, and as you know, have mercy.” And if the conflict grows fiercer say, “Lord, help!” He knows very well what we need and he shows us his mercy.’

   ιθ. Ἠρώτησάν τινες τὸν ἀββᾶν Μακάριον͵ λέγον τες· Πῶς ὀφείλομεν προσεύχεσθαι; Λέγει αὐτοῖς ὁ γέρων· Οὐκ ἔστι χρεία βαττολογεῖν͵ ἀλλ΄ ἐκτείνειν τὰς χεῖρας͵ καὶ λέγειν· Κύριε͵ ὡς θέλεις καὶ ὡς οἶδας͵ ἐλέησον. Ἐὰν δὲ ἐπίκειται πόλεμος· Κύριε͵ βοήθει. Καὶ αὐτὸς οἶδε τὰ συμφέροντα͵ καὶ ποιεῖ μεθ΄ ἡμῶν ἔλεος.

 

 

 

 

[3.]31. They said of Abba Macarius that if a brother came to see him with fear, like someone coming to see a great and holy old man, he did not say anything to him. But if one of the brethren said to him, as though to humiliate him, ‘Abba, when you were a camel-driver, and stole nitre and sold it again, did not the keepers beat you?’ If someone talked to him like that he would talk to them with joy about whatever they asked him.

   λα. ῎ελεγον περὶ τοῦ ἀββᾶ Μακαρίου͵ ὅτι εἰ προσ ήρχετο αὐτῷ ἀδελφὸς͵ ὡς ἁγίῳ γέροντι καὶ μεγάλῳ μετὰ φόβου͵ οὐδὲν ἐλάλει αὐτῷ. Εἰ δὲ ἔλεγεν αὐτῷ τις τῶν ἀδελφῶν ὡς ἐξουθενῶν αὐτόν· Ἀββᾶ͵ ἆρα ὅταν ἦς καμηλίτης καὶ ἔκλεπτες νίτρον καὶ ἐπώλεις αὐτὸ͵ οὐκ ἔδερόν σε οἱ τηρηταί; Εἰ ταῦτά τις ἔλεγεν αὐτῷ͵ ἐλάλει αὐτῷ μετὰ χαρᾶς͵ εἴ τι αὐτὸν ἠρώτα.

 

 

 

 

[3.]36. Abba Macarius said, ‘If we keep remembering the wrongs which men have done us, we destroy the power of the remembrance of God. But if we remind ourselves of the evil deeds of the demons, we shall be invulnerable.’

   λϚ. Εἶπεν ὁ ἀββᾶς Μακάριος· Ἐὰν μνησθῶμεν τῶν ὑπὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων ἐπαγομένων ἡμῖν κακῶν͵ ἀναιροῦμεν τὴν δύναμιν τῆς τοῦ Θεοῦ μνήμης. Ἐὰν δὲ μνησθῶμεν τῶν κακῶν τῶν δαιμόνων͵ ἐσόμεθα ἄτρωτοι.

 

 

 

 

 

 

[4] ABBA MOSES

Περὶ τοῦ ἀββᾶ Μωσῆ.

 

 

 

 

[4.] 2. A brother at Scetis committed a fault. A council was called to which Abba Moses was invited, but he refused to go to it. Then the priest sent someone to say to him, ‘Come, for everyone is waiting’ for you.’ So he got up and went. He took a leaking jug, filled it with water and carried it with him. The others came out to meet him and said to him, ‘What is this, Father?’ The old man said to them, ‘My sins run out behind me, and I do not see them, and today I am coming to judge the errors of another.’ When they heard that they said no more to the brother but forgave him.

   β. Ἀδελφός ποτε ἐσφάλη εἰς Σκῆτιν· καὶ γενομέ νου συνεδρίου͵ ἀπέστειλαν πρὸς τὸν ἀββᾶν Μωϋσῆν. Ὁ δὲ οὐκ ἤθελεν ἐλθεῖν. Ἀπέστειλεν οὖν πρὸς αὐτὸν ὁ πρεσβύτερος͵ λέγων· Ἐλθὲ͵ ὅτι σε ὁ λαὸς περιμέ νει. Ὁ δὲ ἀναστὰς ἦλθε. Καὶ λαβὼν σπυρίδα τετρημ μένην͵ καὶ γεμίσας ἄμμου͵ ἐβάστασεν. Οἱ δὲ ἐξελ θόντες εἰς ἀπάντησιν αὐτοῦ͵ λέγουσιν αὐτῷ· Τί ἐστι τοῦτο͵ Πάτερ; Εἶπε δὲ αὐτοῖς ὁ γέρων· Αἱ ἁμαρτίαι 284 μού εἰσιν ὀπίσω μου καταῤῥέουσαι͵ καὶ οὐ βλέπω αὐτάς· καὶ ἦλθον ἐγὼ σήμερον͵ ἁμαρτήματα ἀλλό τρια κρῖναι. Οἱ δὲ ἀκούσαντες͵ οὐδὲν ἐλάλησαν τῷ ἀδελφῷ· ἀλλὰ συνεχώρησαν αὐτῷ.

 

 

 

 

[4.]6. A brother came to Scetis to visit Abba Moses and asked him for a word. The old man said to him, ‘Go, sit in your cell, and your cell will teach you everything.’

   Ϛ. Ἀδελφὸς παρέβαλεν εἰς Σκῆτιν πρὸς τὸν ἀββᾶν Μωϋσῆν͵ αἰτούμενος παρ΄ αὐτοῦ λόγον. Λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ γέρων· ῞υπαγε͵ κάθισον εἰς τὸ κελλίον σου· καὶ τὸ κελλίον σου διδάσκει σε πάντα.

 

 

 

 

[4.]8. The magistrate heard about Abba Moses one day and he went to Scetis to see him. They told the old man. He got up and fled to the marsh. Some people met him and said to him, ‘Old man, tell us where the cell of Abba Moses is.’ He said to them, ‘What do you want with him? He is a fool.’ So the magistrate went back to the church and said to the ministers, ‘I heard people talk about Abba Moses and I went to see him, but there was an old man going into Egypt who crossed our path and we asked him where Abba Moses’ cell is, and he said to us, “What do you want with him? He is a fool.”‘ When they heard this, the clergy were offended and said, ‘What kind of an old man was it who spoke like that about the holy man to you?’ He said, ‘An old man wearing old clothes, a big black man.’ They said, ‘It was Abba Moses himself and it was in order not to meet you that he said that.’ The magistrate went away greatly edified.

   η. ῎ηκουσέ ποτε ὁ ἄρχων περὶ τοῦ ἀββᾶ Μωϋ σέως͵ καὶ ἀπῆλθεν εἰς Σκῆτιν ἰδεῖν αὐτόν· καὶ ἀνήγ γειλάν τινες τῷ γέροντι τὸ πρᾶγμα· καὶ ἀνέστη φυ γεῖν εἰς τὸ ἕλος. Καὶ ὑπήντησαν αὐτῷ λέγοντες· Εἰπὲ ἡμῖν͵ γέρον· ποῦ ἔστιν ἡ κέλλα τοῦ ἀββᾶ Μωϋσέως; Καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς· Τί θέλετε παρ΄ αὐτοῦ; ἄν θρωπος σαλός ἐστι. Καὶ ἐλθὼν ὁ ἄρχων εἰς τὴν ἐκ κλησίαν͵ λέγει τοῖς κληρικοῖς· Ἐγὼ ἀκούων τὰ περὶ τοῦ ἀββᾶ Μωϋσέως͵ κατῆλθον ἰδεῖν αὐτόν· καὶ ἰδοὺ ὑπήντησεν ἡμῖν γέρων ὑπάγων εἰς Αἴγυπτον͵ καὶ εἴπομεν αὐτῷ· Ποῦ ἔστιν ἡ κέλλα τοῦ ἀββᾶ Μωϋσέως; καὶ λέγει ἡμῖν· Τί θέλετε ἀπ΄ αὐτοῦ; σαλός ἐστιν. Ἀκούσαντες δὲ οἱ κληρικοὶ͵ ἐλυπήθησαν͵ λέγοντες· Ποταπὸς ἦν ὁ γέρων ὁ ταῦτα λαλήσας κατὰ τοῦ ἁγίου; Οἱ δὲ εἶπον· Γέρων͵ παλαιὰ φορῶν͵ μακρὸς καὶ με λανός. Οἱ δὲ εἶπον· Αὐτός ἐστιν ὁ ἀββᾶς Μωϋσῆς· καὶ διὰ τὸ μὴ ἀπαντῆσαι αὐτὸν ὑμῖν͵ ταῦτα εἶπεν ὑμῖν. Πολλὰ δὲ ὠφεληθεὶς ὁ ἄρχων ἀνεχώρησεν.

 

 

 

 

[4.]13. It was said of Abba Moses at Scetis that when he had arranged to go to Petra, he grew tired in the course of the journey and said to himself, ‘How can I find the water I need there?’ Then a voice said to him, ‘Go, and do not be anxious about anything.’ So he went. Some Fathers came to see him and he had only a small bottle of water. He used it all up in cooking lentils for them. The old man was worried, so he went in and came out of his cell, and he prayed to God, and a cloud of rain came to Petra and filled all the cisterns. After this, the visitors said to the old man, ‘Tell us why you went in and out.’ The old man said to them, ‘I was arguing with God, saying, “You brought me here and now I have no water for your servants.” This is why I was going in and out; I was going on at God till he sent us some water.’

   ιγ. [285.53-288.14] ῎ελεγον περὶ τοῦ ἀββᾶ Μωϋσέως εἰς Σκῆτιν͵ ὅτι ὡς ἤμελλεν ἐλθεῖν εἰς τὴν Πέτραν͵ ἐκοπίασεν ὁδεύων· καὶ ἔλεγεν ἐν ἑαυτῷ· Πῶς δύναμαι τὸ ὕδωρ 288 μου συναγαγεῖν ὧδε; Καὶ ἦλθεν αὐτῷ φωνὴ λέγουσα· Εἴσελθε͵ καὶ μηδὲν φροντίσῃς. Εἰσῆλθεν οὖν. Καὶ παρέβαλον αὐτῷ τινες τῶν Πατέρων͵ καὶ οὐκ εἶχεν εἰ μὴ ἓν μόνον λαγύνιον ὕδατος· καὶ ποιοῦντος αὐ τοῦ μικρὸν φακὸν͵ ἀνηλώθη. Ὁ δὲ γέρων ἐθλίβετο. Εἰσερχόμενος οὖν καὶ ἐξερχόμενος͵ ηὔχετο τῷ Θεῷ. Καὶ ἰδοὺ νεφέλη βροχῆς ἦλθε κατ΄ αὐτῆς τῆς Πέτρας· καὶ ἐγέμισεν ὅλα τὰ ἀγγεῖα αὐτοῦ. Καὶ λέγουσι μετὰ ταῦτα τῷ γέροντι· Εἰπὲ ἡμῖν͵ τί εἰσήρχου καὶ ἐξήρ χου. Καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς ὁ γέρων· Δίκην ἐποίουν μετὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ ὅτι͵ ῎ηνεγκάς με ὧδε͵ καὶ ἰδοὺ ὕδωρ οὐκ ἔχω ἵνα πίωσιν οἱ δοῦλοί σου. Διὰ τοῦτο εἰσηρχόμην καὶ ἐξηρχόμην παρακαλῶν τὸν Θεὸν͵ ἕως οὗ ἔπεμψεν ἡμῖν.

 

 

 

 

  Seven instructions which Abba Moses sent to Abba Poemen. He who puts them into practice will escape all punishment and will live in peace, whether he dwells in the desert or in the midst of brethren.

 [288.1li5-289.li.36] 

 

 

 

 

[4.14.]1. The monk must die to his neighbor and never judge him at all, in any way whatever.

   ιδ. Εἶπεν ὁ ἀββᾶς Μωϋσῆς  ὅτι ὀφείλει ἄν θρωπος ἀποθανεῖν ἀπὸ τοῦ ἑταίρου αὐτοῦ͵ τοῦ μὴ κρίνειν αὐτὸν ἔν τινι.

 

 

 

 

 [4.14.]2. The monk must die to every [evil thought] before leaving the body, in order not to harm anyone.

   ιε. Πάλιν εἶπεν ὅτι͵ Ὀφείλει ἄνθρωπος νεκρῶσαι ἑαυτὸν ἀπὸ παντὸς πονηροῦ πράγματος͵ πρὸ τοῦ ἐξελθεῖν ἀπὸ τοῦ σώματος͵ τοῦ μὴ κακῶσαί τινα ἄν θρωπον.

 

 

 

 

[4.14.]3. If the monk does not think in his heart that he is a sinner, God will not hear him. The brother said, ‘What does that mean, to think in his heart that he is a sinner?’ Then the old man said, ‘When someone is occupied with his own faults, he does not see those of his neighbor.’

   ιϚ. Εἶπε πάλιν· Ἐὰν μὴ ἄνθρωπος ἔχῃ ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ αὐτοῦ ὅτι ἁμαρτωλός ἐστιν͵ ὁ Θεὸς οὐκ εἰσ ακούει αὐτοῦ. Καὶ εἶπεν ὁ ἀδελφός· Τί ἐστιν͵ ἔχει ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ ὅτι ἁμαρτωλός ἐστιν; Καὶ εἶπεν ὁ γέρων ὅτι͵ Εἴ τις βαστάζει τὰς ἁμαρτίας αὐτοῦ͵ οὐ βλέπει τὰς τοῦ πλησίον αὐτοῦ.

 

 

 

 

[4.14.]4. If a man’s deeds are not in harmony with his prayer, he labors in vain. The brother said, ‘What is this harmony between practice and prayer?’ The old man said, ‘We should no longer do those things against which we pray. For when a man gives up his own will, then God is reconciled with him and accepts his prayers.’

   ιζ. Εἶπε πάλιν· Ἐὰν μὴ συμφωνήσῃ ἡ πρᾶξις μετὰ τῆς εὐχῆς͵ εἰς μάτην κοπιᾷ. Καὶ εἶπεν ὁ ἀδελφός· Τί ἐστι͵ συμφώνησις πράξεως μετὰ εὐχῆς; Καὶ εἶπεν ὁ γέρων· ῞ινα ὑπὲρ ὧν εὐχόμεθα͵ μηκέτι ποιῶμεν αὐτά. ῞οταν γὰρ ἄνθρωπος ἀφῇ τὰ θελή ματα αὐτοῦ͵ τότε καταλλάσσεται αὐτῷ ὁ Θεὸς͵ καὶ δέχεται τὴν εὐχὴν αὐτοῦ.

 

 

 

 

[4.14]5. The brother asked, ‘In all the affliction which the monk gives himself, what helps him?’ The old man said, ‘It is written, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”‘ (Ps 46.1)

   ιη. Ἠρώτησεν ὁ ἀδελφὸς ὅτι͵ Ἐν παντὶ κόπῳ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου͵ τί ἐστι τὸ βοηθοῦν αὐτῷ; Καὶ λέγει ὁ γέρων· Ὁ Θεός ἐστιν ὁ βοηθῶν. Γέγραπται γάρ· Ὁ Θεὸς ἡμῶν καταφυγὴ καὶ δύναμις͵ βοηθὸς ἐν θλίψεσι ταῖς εὑρούσαις ἡμᾶς σφόδρα.

 

 

 

 

 The old man was asked, ‘What is the good of the fasts and watchings which a man imposes on himself?’ and he replied, ‘They make the soul humble. For it is written, “Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins.” (Ps.25.18) So if the soul gives itself all this hardship, God will have mercy on it.’

   Εἶπεν ὁ ἀδελφός· Αἱ νηστεῖαι καὶ ἀγρυπνίαι ἃς ποιεῖ ἄνθρω πος͵ τί γίνονται; Λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ γέρων· Αὗται ποιοῦ σι τὴν ψυχὴν ταπεινωθῆναι. Γέγραπται γάρ· Ἰδὲ τὴν ταπείνωσίν μου καὶ τὸν κόπον μου͵ καὶ ἄφες πάσας τὰς ἁμαρτίας μου.ῃ Ἐὰν ἡ ψυχὴ ποιήσῃ τοὺς καρποὺς τούτους͵ σπλαγχνίζεται ὁ Θεὸς ἐπ΄ αὐτῇ δι΄ αὐτῶν.

 

 

 

 

 [4.14]6. The old man was asked, ‘What should a man do in all the temptations and evil thoughts that come upon him?’ The old man said to him, ‘He should weep and implore the goodness of God to come to his aid, and he will obtain peace if he prays with discern­ment. For it is written, “With the Lord on my side I do not fear. What can man do to me?”‘ (Ps. 118.6)

   Λέγει ὁ ἀδελφὸς τῷ γέροντι· Τί ποιήσει ἄνθρωπος ἐν παντὶ πειρασμῷ ἐπερχομένῳ ἐπάνω αὐ τοῦ͵ ἢ ἐν παντὶ λογισμῷ τοῦ ἐχθροῦ; Λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ γέρων· Κλαίειν ὀφείλει ἐνώπιον τῆς ἀγαθότητος τοῦ Θεοῦ͵ ἵνα βοηθήσῃ αὐτῷ· καὶ ἀναπαύεται ταχέως͵ [289] ἐὰν παρακαλῇ ἐν γνώσει· γέγραπται γάρ· Κύριος ἐμοὶ βοηθὸς͵ καὶ οὐ φοβηθήσομαι τί ποιήσει μοι ἄνθρωπος.

 

 

 

 

 [4.14]7. A brother asked the old man, ‘Here is a man who beats his servant because of a fault he has committed; what will the servant say?’ The old man said, ‘If the servant is good, he should say, “Forgive me, I have sinned.”‘ The brother said to him, ‘Nothing else?’ The old man said, ‘No, for from the moment he takes upon himself responsibility for the affair and says, “I have sinned,” immediately the Lord will have mercy on him. The aim in all these things is not to judge one’s neighbor. For truly, when the hand of the Lord caused all the first-born in the land of Egypt to die, no house was without its dead.’ The brother said, ‘What does that mean?’ The old man said, ‘If we are on the watch to see our own faults, we shall not see those of our neighbor. It is folly for a man who has a dead person in his house to leave him there and go to weep over his neighbor’s dead.

Ἠρώστησεν ὁ ἀδελφὸς ὅτι͵ Ἰδοὺ ἄνθρω πος δέρει τὸν δοῦλον αὐτοῦ δι΄ ἁμαρτίαν ἢν ἔπραξε. Τί ἐρεῖ ὁ δοῦλος; Λέγει ὁ γέρων· Ἐάν ἐστι δοῦλος κα λὸς͵ ἐρεῖ· Ἐλέησόν με͵ ἡμάρτηκα. Λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ ἀδελφός· Οὐδὲν ἄλλο λέγει; Λέγει ὁ γέρων· Οὐχί. Ἀφ΄ οὗ γὰρ τὴν μέμψιν ἐπιτιθεῖ ἐφ΄ ἑαυτῷ͵ καὶ εἴπῃ͵ Ἡμάρτηκα͵ εὐθέως σπλαγχνίζεται ἐπ΄ αὐτῷ ὁ κύ ριος αὐτοῦ. Τέλος δὲ τούτων πάντων͵ τὸ μὴ κρῖναι τὸν πλησίον. ῞οτε γὰρ ἡ χεὶρ Κυρίου ἀπέκτεινε πᾶν πρωτότοκον ἐν γῇ Αἰγύπτῳ͵ οὐκ ἦν οἶκος οὗ οὐκ ἦν ἐν αὐτῷ τεθνηκώς. Λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ ἀδελφός· Τίς ἐστιν ὁ λόγος οὗτος; Λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ γέρων ὅτι͵ Ἐὰν ἡμᾶς ἐάσωσιν ἰδεῖν τὰς ἁμαρτίας ἡμῶν͵ οὐ μὴ ἴδωμεν τὰς ἁμαρτίας τοῦ πλησίον. Μωρία γάρ ἐστιν ἀνθρώ πῳ͵ ἔχοντι τὸν ἑαυτοῦ νεκρὸν͵ ἀφεῖναι αὐτὸν καὶ ἀπελθεῖν κλαῦσαι τὸν τοῦ πλησίον.

 To die to one’s neighbor is this: To bear your own faults and not to pay attention to anyone else wondering whether they are good or bad. Do no harm to anyone, do not think anything bad in your heart towards anyone, do not scorn the man who does evil, do not put confidence in him who does wrong to his neighbor, do not rejoice with him who injures his neighbor. This is what dying to one’s neighbor means.

 Τὸ ἀποθανεῖν δὲ ἀπὸ τοῦ πλησίον σου͵ τοῦτό ἐστι τὸ βαστάσαι σου τὰς ἁμαρτίας͵ καὶ ἀμεριμνεῖν ἀπὸ παντὸς ἀνθρώπου͵ ὅτι οὗτος καλός ἐστιν͵ ἢ οὗτος κακός. Μὴ ποιήσῃς κακὸν μηδενὶ ἀνθρώπῳ͵ μηδὲ λογίζου πονηρὸν ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ σου εἴς τινα· μηδὲ ἐξουδενώσῃς τινὰ ποιοῦν τα κακόν· μηδὲ πεισθῇς τῷ κακοποιοῦντι τὸν πλησίον αὐτοῦ͵ μηδὲ χαῖρε μετὰ τοῦ ποιοῦντος κακὸν τῷ πλησίον αὐτοῦ·

Do not rail against anyone, but rather say, “God knows each one.” Do not agree with him who slanders, do not rejoice at his slander and do not hate him who slanders his neighbor. This is what it means not to judge. Do not have hostile feelings towards anyone and do not let dislike dominate your heart; do not hate him who hates his neighbor. This is what peace is: Encourage yourself with this thought, Affliction lasts but a short time, while peace is for ever, by the grace of God the Word. Amen.”

μὴ καταλαλήσῃς τινά· ἀλλὰ λέγε· Ὁ Θεὸς γινώσκει ἕκαστον· μὴ συμπεισθῇς μετὰ τοῦ καταλαλοῦντος͵ μηδὲ συγχαρῇς μετὰ τῆς καταλαλιᾶς αὐτοῦ͵ μηδὲ μισήσῃς τὸν καταλαλοῦντα τὸν πλησίον αὐτοῦ. Καὶ τοῦτό ἐστι τὸ μὴ κρῖναι. Μὴ ἔχε ἔχθραν μετά τινος ἀνθρώπου͵ καὶ μὴ κρατήσῃς ἔχθραν ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ σου· μὴ μισήσῃς τὸν ἐχθραίνοντα μετὰ τοῦ πλησίον. Καὶ αὕτη ἐστὶν ἡ εἰρήνη. Ἐν τούτοις ἐαυτὸν παρακάλει· πρὸς ὀλίγον χρόνον ὁ κάματος͵ καὶ εἰς ἀεὶ ἡ ἀνάπαυσις͵ χάριτι τοῦ Θεοῦ Λόγου. Ἀμήν.

 

 

 

 

[5] AMMA THEODORA

Περὶ τῆς Ἀμμᾶς Θεοδώρας.
[p. 201.li.12- p. 204.li.21]

 

 

 

 

 [5.]1. AMMA Theodora asked Archbishop Theophilus about some words of the apostle saying, ‘What does this mean, “Knowing how to profit by circumstances”?’ (Col. 4,5) He said to her, ‘This saying shows us how to profit at all times. For example, is it a time of excess for you? By humility and patience buy up the time of excess, and draw profit from it. Is it the time of shame? Buy it up by means of resignation and win it. So everything that goes against us can, if we wish, become profitable to us.’

   α. Ἠρώτησεν ἡ Ἀμμᾶς Θεοδώρα τὸν Πάπαν Θεό φιλον τὸ ῥητὸν τοῦ Ἀποστόλου͵ τὸ͵ Τί ἐστι τὸν καιρὸν ἐξαγοραζόμενοιῃ; Ὁ δὲ λέγει αὐτῇ· Ἡ ἐπωνυμία δεικνύει τὸ κέρδος· οἷον͵ καιρὸς ὕβρεώς σοι πάρεστιν; ἀγόρασον τῇ ταπεινοφροσύνῃ καὶ μακροθυμίᾳ τὸν τῆς ὕβρεως καιρὸν͵ καὶ ἕλκυσον κέρδος πρὸς ἑαυτόν· Καιρὸς ἀτιμίας; τῇ ἀνεξικακίᾳ ἀγόρασον τὸν καιρὸν͵ καὶ κέρδησον. Καὶ πάντα τὰ ἐναντία͵ ἐὰν θέλωμεν͵ κέρδη γίνονται ἡμῖν.

 

 

 

 

 [5.] 2. Amma Theodora said, ‘Let us strive to enter by the narrow gate. Just as the trees, if they have not stood before the winter’s storms cannot bear fruit, so it is with us; this present age is a storm and it is only through many trials and temptations that we can obtain an inheritance in the kingdom of heaven.’

   β. Εἶπεν ἡ Ἀμμᾶς Θεοδώρα· Ἀγωνίσασθε εἰσελ θεῖν διὰ τῆς στενῆς πύλης. Ὃν τρόπον γὰρ τὰ δένδρα͵ ἐὰν μὴ λάβωσι χειμῶνας καὶ ὑετοὺς͵ καρποφορεῖν οὐ δύνανται· οὕτως καὶ ἡμῖν͵ ὁ αἰὼν οὗτος χειμών ἐστι· καὶ ἐὰν μὴ διὰ πολλῶν θλίψεων καὶ πειρασμῶν͵ οὐ δυνησόμεθα τῆς βασιλείας τῶν οὐρανῶν γενέσθαι κλη ρονόμοι.

 

 

 

 

[5.] 5. The same amma said that a teacher ought to be a stranger to the desire for domination, vainglory, and pride; one should not be able to fool him by flattery, nor blind him by gifts, nor conquer him by the stomach, nor dominate him by anger; but he should be patient, gentle and humble as far as possible; he must be tested and without partisanship, full of concern, and a lover of souls.

   ε. Εἶπε πάλιν ἡ αὐτὴ͵ ὅτι ὁ διδάσκαλος ὀφείλει εἶναι ξένος φιλαρχίας͵ καὶ ἀλλότριος κενοδοξίας͵ μακρὰν ὑπερηφανίας͵ μὴ ὑπὸ κολακείας ἐμπαιζόμενος͵ μὴ ὑπὸ δώρων τυφλούμενος͵ μὴ ὑπὸ γαστρὸς νικώμενος͵ μὴ ὑπὸ ὀργῆς κρατούμενος· ἀλλὰ μακρόθυμος͵ ἐπι εικὴς͵ πάσῃ δυνάμει ταπεινόφρων· ἔγκριτος εἶναι καὶ ἀνεκτικός· κηδεμονικὸς καὶ φιλόψυχος.

 

 

 

 

[5.] 7. Amma Theodora also said, ‘There was a monk, who, because of the great number of his temptations said, “I will go away from here.” As he was putting on his sandals, he saw another man who was also putting on his sandals and this other monk said to him, “Is it on my account that you are going away? Because I go before you wherever you are going.”’

   ζ. Εἶπε πάλιν ἡ Ἀμμᾶς Θεοδώρα͵ ὅτι ῏ην τις μοναχός· καὶ ἀπὸ πλήθους τῶν πειρασμῶν λέγει· Ὑπάγω ἔνθεν. Καὶ ὡς ἔβαλεν ἑαυτοῦ τὰ σανδάλια͵ ὁρᾷ ἄνθρωπον ἄλλον βάλλοντα καὶ αὐτὸν τὰ σανδάλια αὐτοῦ͵ καὶ λέγοντα αὐτῷ· Οὐ δι΄ ἐμὲ ἐξέρχῃ; ἰδοὺ ἐγώ σε προάγω ὅπου ἐὰν ἀπέρχῃ.

 

 

 

 

[6] AMMA SARAH

Περὶ τῆς ἀμμᾶς Σάῤῥας.
 [420.li.24-53]

 

 

 

 

[6.]3.IT was said concerning her that for sixty years she lived beside a river and never lifted her eyes to look at it.

   γ. ῎ελεγον περὶ αὐτῆς͵ ὅτι ἐπάνω τοῦ ποταμοῦ ἔμεινεν ἑξήκοντα ἔτη οἰκοῦσα͵ καὶ οὐ παρέκυψεν ἰδεῖν αὐτόν.

 

 

 

 

 [6.]5. Amma Sarah said, ‘If I prayed God that all men should approve of my conduct, I should find myself a penitent at the door of each one, but I shall rather pray that my heart may be pure towards all.’

   ε. Εἶπεν ἡ ἀμμᾶς Σάῤῥα· Ἐὰν εὔξωμαι τῷ Θεῷ͵ ἵνα πάντες οἱ ἄνθρωποι πληροφορῶνται εἰς ἐμὲ͵ εὑρεθήσομαι εἰς τὴν θύραν ἑκάστου μετανοοῦσα· ἀλλὰ μᾶλλον εὔξομαι τὴν καρδίαν μου ἁγνὴν εἶναι μετὰ πάντων.

 

 

 

 

[7] AMMA SYNCLETICA

Περὶ τῆς Ἀμμᾶς  Συγκλητικῆς. [p. 4221.li.12- p. 428.li.15]

 

 

 

 

[7.]1. AMMA Syncletica said, ‘In the beginning there are a great many battles and a good deal of suffering for those who are advancing towards God and afterwards, ineffable joy. It is like those who wish to light a fire; at first they are choked by the smoke and cry, and by this means obtain what they seek (as it is said: “Our God is a consuming fire” [Heb. 12.24]): so we also must kindle the divine fire in ourselves through tears and hard work.’

   α. Εἶπεν ἡ ἀμμᾶς Συγκλητική· Ἀγών ἐστι καὶ κόπος πολὺς τοῖς προσερχομένοις τῷ Θεῷ͵ τὰ πρῶτα· ἔπειτα δὲ͵ χαρὰ ἀνεκλάλητος. ῞ωσπερ γὰρ οἱ πῦρ ἐξ άψαι βουλόμενοι͵ πρῶτον καπνίζονται καὶ δακρύουσι͵ καὶ οὕτως τοῦ ζητουμένου ἐπιτυγχάνουσι (καὶ γάρ φησιν͵ Ὁ Θεὸς ἡμῶν πῦρ καταναλίσκον ἐστίνῃ)· οὕτως δεῖ καὶ ἡμᾶς εἰς ἑαυτοὺς τὸ θεῖον ἐξάψαι πῦρ μετὰ δακρύων καὶ πόνων.

 

 

 

 

 [7.] 6. She also said, ‘If you find yourself in a monastery do not go to another place, for that will harm you a great deal. Just as the bird who abandons the eggs she was sitting on prevents them from hatching, so the monk or the nun grows cold and their faith dies, when they go from one place to another.’

   Ϛ. Εἶπε πάλιν· Ἐὰν ἐν κοινοβίῳ τυγχάνῃς͵ μὴ μεταλλάξῃς τὸν τόπον· βλαβήσῃ γὰρ μεγάλως. 424 ῞ωσπερ γὰρ ὄρνις͵ ἐξανισταμένη τῶν ὠῶν͵ οὔρια ταῦτα καὶ ἄγονα παρασκευάζει· οὕτως καὶ μοναχὸς ἢ παρθένος ψύγεται καὶ νεκροῦται τῆς πίστεως͵ τόπον ἐκ τόπου περιερχόμενος.

 

 

 

 

[7.] 7. She also said, ‘Many are the wiles of the devil. If he is not able to disturb the soul by means of poverty, he suggests riches as an attraction. If he has not won the victory by insults and disgrace, he suggests praise and glory. Overcome by health, he makes the body ill. Not having been able to seduce it through pleasures, he tries to overthrow it by involuntary sufferings. He joins to this, very severe illness, to disturb the faint-hearted in their love of God. But he also destroys the body by very violent fevers and weighs it down with intolerable thirst. If, being a sinner, you undergo all these things, remind yourself of the punishment to come, the everlasting fire and the sufferings inflicted by justice, and do not be discouraged here and now. Rejoice that God visits you and keep this blessed saying on your lips: “The Lord has chastened me sorely but he has not given me over unto death.” (Ps. 118.18) You were iron, but fire has burnt the rust off you. If you are righteous and fall ill, you will go from strength to strength. Are you gold? You will pass through fire purged. Have you been given a thorn in the flesh? (2 Cor. 12.1) Exult, and see who else was treated like that; it is an honour to have the same sufferings as Paul. Are you being tried by fever? Are you being taught by cold? Indeed Scripture says: “We went through fire and water; yet thou has brought us forth to a spacious place.” (Ps. 66.12) You have drawn the first lot? Expect the second. By virtue offer holy words in a loud voice. For it is said: “I am afflicted and in pain.” (Ps. 69.29) By this share of wretchedness you will be made perfect. For he said: “The Lord hears when I call him.” (Ps. 4.3) So open your mouth wider to be taught by these exercises of the soul, seeing that we are under the eyes of our enemy.’

   ζ. Εἷπε πάλιν· Πολλὰ τοῦ διαβόλου τὰ ἔνεδρα. Διὰ πενίας οὐ μετεκίνησε ψυχήν; πλοῦτον προσάγει δέλεαρ. Δι΄ ὕβρεων καὶ ὀνειδισμῶν οὐκ ἴσχυσεν; ἐπαίνους καὶ δόξαν προβάλλεται. Διὰ τῆς ὑγείας ἡττηθεὶς͵ νοσοποιεῖ τὸ σῶμα. Ταῖς γὰρ ἡδοναῖς μὴ δυνηθεὶς ἀπατῆσαι͵ διὰ τῶν ἀκουσίων πόνων τὴν παρατροπὴν ποιῆσαι πειρᾶται. Νόσους γάρ τινας βαρυτάτας ἐξ αἰτήσεως͵ πρὸς τὸ διὰ τούτων ὀλιγω ρήσαντας ἐπιθολῶσαι αὐτῶν τὴν πρὸς Θεὸν ἀγάπην͵ προσάγει. Ἀλλὰ καὶ κατατέμνεται τὸ σῶμα πυρετοῖς σφοδροτάτοις͵ καὶ δίψει ἀσχέτῳ ἀνιᾶται. Εἰ μὲν ἁμαρτωλὸς ὢν ταῦτα ὑφίστασαι͵ ὑπομνήσθητι καὶ τῆς μελλούσης κολάσεως͵ καὶ τοῦ αἰωνίου πυρὸς͵ καὶ τῶν δικαστικῶν τιμωριῶν͵ καὶ οὐ μὴ ὀλιγωρήσῃς πρὸς τὰ παρόντα. Χαῖρε ὅτι ἐπεσκόπησέ σε ὁ Θεός· καὶ τὸ εὔφημον δὲ ἐκεῖνο ῥητὸν ἐπὶ τῆς γλώττης ἔχε͵ ὡς Παιδεύων ἐπαίδευσέ με ὁ Κύριος͵ καὶ τῷ θανάτῳ οὐ παρέδωκέ με.ῃ Σίδηρος ἐτύγχανες· ἀλλὰ διὰ τοῦ πυρὸς τὸν ἰὸν ἀποβάλλεις. Εἰ δὲ καὶ δίκαιος ὢν ἀῤῥωστεῖς͵ ἀπὸ τῶν μεγάλων ἐπὶ τὰ μείζονα προ κόπτεις. Χρυσὸς εἶ; ἀλλὰ διὰ τοῦ πυρὸς δοκιμώτερος γίνῃ. Ἐδόθη σοι ἄγγελος τῇ σαρκί; ἀγαλλιῶ· βλέπε τίνι ὅμοιος γέγονας· τῆς γὰρ Παύλου μερίδος ἠξιώ θης. Διὰ τοῦ πυρετοῦ δοκιμάζῃ; διὰ ῥίγους παιδεύῃ; ἀλλά φησιν ἡ Γραφή· Διήλθομεν διὰ πυρὸς καὶ ὕδατος͵ καὶ ἐξήγαγες ἡμᾶς εἰς ἀναψυχήν.ῃ ῎ετυχες τοῦ πρώτου; προσδόκα τὸ δεύτερον. Πράττων τὴν ἀρετὴν͵ βόα τὰ τοῦ ἁγίου ῥήματα· φησὶ γάρ· Πτωχὸς καὶ ἀλγῶν εἰμι ἐγώ.ῃ Τέλειος γενήσῃ διὰ ταύτης τῶν θλίψεων τῆς δυάδος· φησὶ γάρ· Ἐν θλίψει ἐπλάτυνάς με.ῃ Ἐν τούτοις μᾶλλον τοῖς γυμνασίοις τὰς ψυχὰς ἀσκηθῶμεν· ἐπ΄ ὀφθαλμῶν γὰρ ὁρῶμεν τὸν ἀντίπαλον.

 

 

 

 

[7.]11. She also said, ‘Imitate the publican, and you will not be condemned with the Pharisee. Choose the meekness of Moses and you will find your heart which is a rock changed into a spring of water.’

   ια. Εἶπε πάλιν· Μίμησαι τὸν Τελώνην͵ ἵνα μὴ τῷ Φαρισαίῳ συγκατακριθῇς· καὶ Μωσέως τὸ πρᾶον ἐπίλεξαι͵ ἵνα τὴν καρδίαν σου ἀκρότομον οὖ σαν εἰς πηγὰς ὑδάτων μεταβάλῃς.

 

 

 

 

[7.]12. She also said, ‘It is dangerous for anyone to teach who has not first been trained in the “practical” life. For if someone who owns a ruined house receives guests there, he does them harm because of the dilapidation of his dwelling. It is the same in the case of someone who has not first built an interior dwelling; he causes loss to those who come. By words one may convert them to salvation, but by evil behaviour, one injures them.’

   ιβ. Εἶπε πάλιν· Ἐπικίνδυνον͵ τὸν μὴ διὰ τοῦ πρακτικοῦ βίου ἀναχθέντα διδάσκειν. ῞ωσπερ γὰρ ἐὰν ᾖ τις οἰκίαν ἔχων σαθρὰν͵ ξένους ὑποδεξάμενος͵ βλά ψει τῇ πτώσει τοῦ οἰκήματος͵ οὕτως καὶ οὗτοι͵ μὴ πρότερον ἑαυτοὺς οἰκοδομήσαντες͵ καὶ τοὺς προσ ελθόντας αὐτοῖς ἀπώλεσαν· τοῖς μὲν γὰρ λόγοις συν εκαλέσαντο εἰς σωτηρίαν͵ τῇ δὲ τοῦ τρόπου κακίᾳ τοὺς ἀθλητὰς μᾶλλον ἠδίκησαν.

 

 

 

 

[7.]13. She also said, ‘It is good not to get angry, but if this should happen, the Apostle does not allow you a whole day for this passion, for he says: “Let not the sun go down.” (Eph. 4.25) Will you wait till all your time is ended? Why hate the man who has grieved you? It is not he who has done the wrong, but the devil. Hate sickness but not the sick person.’

   ιγ. Εἶπε πάλιν· Καλὸν τὸ μὴ ὀργίζεσθαι· εἰ δὲ καὶ γένηται͵ οὐδὲ μέτρον σοι ἡμέρας πρὸς τὸ πάθος συνεχώρησεν͵ εἰπών· Μὴ ἐπιδυέτω ὁ ἥλιος.ῃ Σὺ οὖν ἐκδέχῃ ἕως πᾶς ὁ χρόνος σου δύῃ. Τί μισεῖς τὸν λυπήσαντα ἄνθρωπον; οὐκ αὐτός ἐστιν ὁ ἀδικήσας͵ ἀλλ΄ ὁ διάβολος. Μίσησον τὴν νόσον͵ καὶ μὴ τὸν νοσοῦντα.

 

 

 

 

[7.]14. She also said, ‘Those who are great athletes must contend against stronger enemies.’

   ιδ. Εἶπε πάλιν· ῞οσον προκόπτουσιν οἱ ἀθληταὶ͵ τοσοῦτον συνάπτουσι ἀνταγωνιστῇ μείζονι.

 

 

 

 

[7.]15. She also said, ‘There is an asceticism which is determined by the enemy and his disciples practice it. So how are we to distinguish between the divine and royal asceticism and the demonic tyranny? Clearly through its quality of balance.    ιε. Εἶπε πάλιν· ῎εστι καὶ ἐκ τοῦ ἐχθροῦ ἐπιτετα μένη ἄσκησις· καὶ γὰρ οἱ αὐτοῦ μαθηταὶ τοῦτο ποιοῦσι. Πῶς οὖν διακρίνωμεν τὴν θείαν καὶ βασιλικὴν ἄσκησιν͵ τῆς τυραννικῆς καὶ δαιμονιώδους; δῆλον ὡς ἀπὸ τῆς συμμετρίας.

Always use a single rule of fasting. Do not fast four or five days and break it the following day with any amount of food.

῞απας σοι ὁ χρόνος εἷς κανὼν νηστείας ὑπαρχέτω. Μὴ τέσσαρας ἢ πέντε νηστεύσῃς͵ καὶ τὴν ἄλλην ἐν πλήθει τροφῶν κατα λύσῃς·

In truth lack of proportion always corrupts. While you are young and healthy, fast, for old age with its weakness will come. As long as you can, lay up treasure, so that when you cannot, you will be at peace.’

πανταχοῦ γὰρ ἡ ἀμετρία φθοροποιὸς τυγχάνει. Νέος ὢν καὶ ὑγιὴς νήστευσον· ἥξει γὰρ τὸ γῆ ρας μετὰ ἀσθενείας. Ὡς δύνῃ οὖν θησαύρισον τρο φὰς͵ ἵνα ὅταν μὴ δύνῃ εὕρῃς ἀνάπαυσιν.

 

 

 

 

[7.]18. She also said, ‘It is written, “Be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” (Matt10:16) Being like serpents means not ignoring attacks and wiles of the devil. Like is quickly known to like. The simplicity of the dove denotes purity of action.’

   ιη. Εἶπε πάλιν· Γέγραπται͵ ὅτι Γίνεσθε φρόνιμοι ὡς οἱ ὄφεις͵ καὶ ἀκέραιοι ὡς αἱ περιστεραί.ῃ Τὸ μὲν γὰρ γίνεσθαι ὡς οἱ ὄφεις εἴρηται͵ πρὸς τὸ μὴ λανθάνειν ἡμᾶς τὰς ὁρμὰς καὶ τὰς μεθοδείας τοῦ διαβόλου· τὸ γὰρ ὅμοιον ἐκ τοῦ ὁμοίου ταχίστην ἔχει τὴν διάγνωσιν· τὸ δὲ ἀκέραιον τῆς περιστερᾶς δεί κνυσι τὸ καθαρὸν τῆς πράξεως.

 

 

 

 

[7.]19. Amma Syncletica said, ‘There are many who live in the mountains and behave as if they were in the town, and they are wasting their time. It is possible to be a solitary in one’s mind while living in a crowd, and it is possible for one who is a solitary to live in the crowd of his own thoughts.

   2.27 Εἶπεν ἀμμᾶ Συγκλητική·[Guy, SC 387] Πολλοὶ ἐν ὄρει ὄντες τὰ τῶν δημοτῶν πράττοντες ἀπώλοντο͵ καὶ πολλοὶ ἐν πόλεσιν ὄντες τὰ τῆς ἐρήμου ἔργα ποιοῦντες σῴζονται. Δυνατὸν γὰρ μετὰ πολλῶν ὄντα μονάζειν τῇ γνώμῃ͵ καὶ μόνον ὄντα μετὰ ὄχλων τῇ διανοίᾳ διάγειν.

 

 

 

 

[7.]21. She also said, ‘Just as a treasure that is exposed loses its value, so a virtue which is known vanishes; just as wax melts when it is near fire, so the soul is destroyed by praise and loses all the results of its labor.’

   8.24 Εἶπεν ἡ ἁγία Συγκλητική· ῞ωσπερ θησαυρὸς φανερωθεὶς σπανίζεται͵ οὕτως ἀρετὴ γνωριζομένη καὶ δημοσιευομένη ἀφανίζεται· ὥσπερ γὰρ κηρὸς λύεται ἀπὸ προσώπου πυρός͵ οὕτως καὶ ψυχὴ ἀπὸ ἐπαίνων διαχεῖται καὶ ἀπόλλει τὸν τόνον.

 

 

 

 

[7.]22. She also said, ‘Just as it is impossible to be at the same moment both a plant and a seed, so it is impossible for us to be surrounded by worldly honor and at the same time to bear heavenly fruit.’

   8.25 Εἶπε πάλιν· ῞ωσπερ οὐκ ἔνι εἰς τὸ αὐτὸ βοτάνην εἶναι καὶ σπέρμα͵ οὕτως ἀδύνατον τῆς κοσμικῆς ἡμῖν δόξης περικειμένης καρπὸν οὐράνιον ποιῆσαι.

 

 

 

 


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