JESUS CHRIST – ORTHODOXY
Let us never loose hope! – Fr. Ephraim of Arizona, USA
JESUS CHRIST – ORTHODOXY
Let us never loose hope! – Fr. Ephraim of Arizona, USA
AMERICA OF MY HEART
Holy Confession: Confidentiality
From “Guidelines for Clergy” (Orthodox Church in America):
“The secrecy of the Mystery of Penance is considered an unquestionable rule in the entire Orthodox Church. Theologically, the need to maintain the secrecy of confession comes from the fact that the priest is only a witness before God. One could not expect a sincere and complete confession if the penitent has doubts regarding the practice of confidentiality. Betrayal of the secrecy of confession will lead to canonical punishment of the priest.
St. Nicodemus the Hagiorite exhorts the Spiritual Father to keep confessions confidential, even under strong constraining influence. The author of the Pedalion (the Rudder), states that a priest who betrays the secrecy of confession is to be deposed. The Metropolitan of Kos, Emanuel, mentions in his handbook (Exomologeteke) for confessors that the secrecy of confession is a principle without exception.”
In St. Nicodemus the Hagiorite’s Exomologitarion, he writes:
“Nothing else remains after confession, Spiritual Father, except to keep the sins you hear a secret, and to never reveal them, either by word, or by letter, or by a bodily gesture, or by any other sign, even if you are in danger of death, for that which the wise Sirach says applies to you: “Have you heard a word? Let it die with you” (Sir. 19:8); meaning, if you heard a secret word, let the word also die along with you, and do not tell it to either a friend of yours or an enemy of yours, for as long as you live. And further still, that which the Prophet Micah says: “Trust not in friends… beware of thy wife, so as not to commit anything to her” (Mic. 7:5).
For if you reveal them, firstly, you will be suspended or daresay deposed completely by the Ecclesiastical Canons, and according to political laws you will be thrown in jail for the rest of your life and have your tongue cut out. Secondly, you become a reason for more Christians not to confess, being afraid that you will reveal their sins, just as it happened during the time of Nektarios of Constantinople when the Christians did not want to confess on account of a Spiritual Father who revealed the sin of a woman. The divine Chrysostom both witnessed these things and suffered because of them on account of his trying to convince the people to confess. It is impossible for me to describe in words how much punishment this brings upon you, who are the cause of these things.”
St. John of the Ladder writes:
“At no time do we find God revealing the sins which have been confessed to Him, lest by making these public knowledge, He should impede those who would confess and so make them incurably sick.”
The Byzantine Nomocanon states, in Canon 120:
“”A spiritual father, if he reveals to anyone a sin of one who had confessed receives a penance: he shall be suspended [from serving] for three years, being able to receive Communion only once a month, and must do 100 prostrations every day.”
Guide to Confession
Confession hours in Greece, Cyprus, England, Germany and USA
In all Eastern Orthodox Churches there are Spiritual Fathers appointed to perform the Holy Confession. Here is only some of them:
Fr. John Kostof, tel. 2108220542
Fr. George Kougioumtzoglou
St George Orthodox Church
Rotonta 5, Thessalonica
Fr. Athanasios, Fr. Sabbas
Stavrovouni Monastery, Larnaca
St. John the Baptist Monastery Old Rectory,
Tolleshunt Knights by Maldon, Essex CM9 8EZ United Kingdom
Fr. Ephraim Filotheitis & others Spiritual Fathers
St Anthony’s Monastery in Arizona
Fr. Philotheos Maroudas
Griechisch-Orthodoxe Kirche Dortmund “Heilige Apostel”
Greek Orthodox Church of Holy Apostles in Dortmund
Address: Luisenstraße 17, 44137 Dortmund, Germany
For more Orthodox Churches in all over the world for Holy Confession please send me email:
ORTHODOXY IS LOVE
About the Spiritual Father
Saint Silouan the Athonite (+1931) &
Saint Nikon of Optina, Russia (+1938)
Consider that the Holy Spirit lives in the spiritual father, and He will tell you what to do. But if you think that the spiritual father live negligently, and that the Holy Spirit can’t live in him, you will suffer mightily for such a thought, and the Lord will humble you, and you will straightway fall into delusion.
(St. Silouan the Athonite, Writings, II.1)
If a man does not tell everything to his spiritual father, then his path is crooked and does not lead to the Kingdom of Heaven. But the path of one who tells everything leads directly to the Kingdom of Heaven.
(St. Silouan the Athonite, Writings, XIII.9)
Tell everything to your spiritual father, and the Lord will have mercy on you and you will escape delusion. But if you think that you know more about the spiritual life than your spiritual father, and you stop telling him everything about yourself in confession, then you will immediately be allowed to fall into some sort of delusion, in order that you may be corrected.
(St. Silouan the Athonite, Writings, XVII.13)
The Holy Spirit acts mystically through the spiritual father, and then when you go out from your spiritual father, the soul feels her renewal. But if you leave your spiritual father in a state of confusion, this means that you did not confess purely and did not forgive your brother all of his sins from your heart.
(St. Silouan the Athonite, Writings, XIII.11)
The Lord loves us so much that He suffered for us on the Cross; and His suffering was so great that we can’t comprehend it. In the same way our spiritual pastors suffer for us, although we often don’t see their suffering. The greater the love of the pastor, the greater his suffering; and we, the sheep, should understand this, and love and honor our pastors.
(St. Silouan the Athonite, Writings, XIII.2)
The spiritual father only shows to way, like a signpost, but we have to traverse it ourselves. If the spiritual father shows the way and the disciple doesn’t move himself, then he won’t get anywhere, and will rot near the signpost.
(St. Nikon of Optina, Russia)
ORTHODOXY IN CHINA
CANADA OF MY HEART
The Mystery of Holy Confession in Eastern Orthodox Church
Fr. Maxym Lysack, Canada
ORTHODOXY IS LOVE
The Sacrament of Confession in the
Eastern Orthodox Church
As it says in John 20:23, “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven. If you retain the signs of any, they are retained.” This is the power of the presbyter or bishop to remit sins on behalf of God. He mediates for us to God, but only God forgives us our sins. This sacrament is an often misunderstood practice in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Many Protestants and Evangelicals protest that you can only have “God forgive your sins.” But there is a very good reason why we confess our sins to others apart from God: it’s called accountability. One feels more ashamed to commit a sin again, if another knows about it. If one confesses only to God, but no one else, then you can not be helped in fighting your sins properly. You will continue making the same errors, and will have no shame, since it is just your secret you keep to yourself. This means that you are more likely to commit this sin again! God would onto want that. He wants us to be as holy as possible.
This holy sacrament is even prefigured in the Old Dispensation. In Leviticus 5:4-6, it says “… that unrighteous soul, which determineth with his lips to do evil, or to do good, according to whatsoever a man may determine with an oath, and it shall have escaped his notice (or her) , and he shall know, and he sin in some one of these things, then he shall show his sin in the things wherein he hath sinned by that sin. And he shall bring for his transgressions against the Lord, for his sin, an ewe lamb of the sheep, or a kid of the goats, for a sin offering; and the priest shall make an atonement for him for his sin, which he hath sinned, and his sin shall be forgiven him.” Though we no longer make sin offerings of ewe lambs, we offer our lives and our hearts instead. We do this at Continue reading “The Sacrament of Confession in the Eastern Orthodox Church”
Find your nearest Eastern Orthodox Church in USA & Canada
for Holy Confession
RUSSIA OF MY HEART
Preparing for Confession
Fr. Alexander Elchaninov, Russia (+1934)
“This day is good, it is the day of purification.” This is a time when we can set aside the heavy days of sin, break the chains of iniquity: “to raise the tabernacle that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof” within our souls, and see it renewed and bright. But the path to this blessed purification is not easy.
We have not yet approached confession, and our soul already hears voices of temptation: “Should I wait instead? Am I well-enough prepared, don’t I partake of Communion too often?” We must firmly reject such doubts. “If you aspire to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for an ordeal” (Ecclesiasticus/Sirach 2:1). If you have decided to make confession and partake of Communion, many obstacles will arise, internal and external: but they will vanish as soon as you express firmness in your intention.
In particular, the question of making confession too frequently: One must make confession much more often than is customary; at least once during each of the Lenten periods. We who are possessed by “dreams of sloth” and clumsy in our repentance, must time and time again learn to repent. Secondly: it is necessary to draw a thread from one confession to the next, so that the period in between is filled with a spiritual struggle, with efforts fed by the impressions of our last Communion and inspired by the expectation of our next confession.
Another concern is about our father-confessor: to whom should we go? Should we go to the same one, time and again, no matter what? Can I go to a different priest? If so, under what circumstances? Priests experienced in spiritual matters will say that one should not change priests, even if it is only your spiritual guide, but not your spiritual father, the guide of your conscience. At times, it is true, after a wonderful confession made to a certain priest, the Continue reading “Preparing for Confession – Fr. Alexander Elchaninov, Russia (+1934)”
SAINT PAISIOS OF MOUNT ATHOS, GREECE
Advice about Confession
Saint Paisios of Mount Athos, Greece (+1994)
ST. JOHN THE FORERUNNER
We all know the importance of Confession, but yet so few take advantage of it. Here Saint Paisios of Mount Athos, Greece (+1994) shows us why it is so important.
A young man went to see the Elder. I arrived the moment he was ringing the bell, and waited behind him. After a while, Father Paisios opened the door and came to the fence.
-What’s up, young man, what do you want? asked the Elder.
-Father, I would like to see you and get your advice on something.
-Have you gone to confession? Do you have a spiritual father?
-No, Father, I don’t have a spiritual father and I haven’t gone to confession.
-Well, then you better go to confession and then come to see me.
-Why can’t I see you, Father?
-I will explain to you, so you can understand. Your mind is confused and troubled by the sins you have fallen into; as a result, you cannot realize the Continue reading “Advice about Confession – Saint Paisios of Mount Athos, Greece (+1994)”
EASTERN ORTHODOX CHURCH
Holy Confession: Christ sent Apostle Paul to a Spiritual Father
Fr. John Costoff
Fr. John Costoff, Greece:
An Elder (Spiritual Father) from Holy Mount Athos in Greece, said: “The most superior art is how to save yourself for eternity and you need a teacher for this art. You can’t just learn any kind of art by books alone. That’s why Christ, as soon as He appeared in front of Apostle Paul, He sent him to a Spiritual Father, Apostle Ananias, to teach him and advise him”.
TAIWAN & HONG KONG OF MY HEART
懺悔聖事 1-2：與愛和好 (台灣東正教會) Holy Confession
台灣基督東正教會 The Orthodox Church in Taiwan
李亮神父 Fr. Jonah
來自東正教會希臘聖山(Mt. Athos) Gregoriou Monastery修院，
其屬靈父親為已故希臘知名靈修導師 Elder Porphyrios。
ORTHODOXY IS LOVE
Confession: The Healing Sacrament
Jim Forest, USA & the Netherlands
A young monk said to the great ascetic Abba Sisoes: “Abba, what should I do? I fell.” The elder answered: “Get up!” The monk said: “I got up and I fell again!” The elder replied: “Get up again!” But the young monk asked: “For how long should I get up when I fall?” “Until your death,” answered Abba Sisoes. —Sayings of the Desert Fathers
“When I went to my first confession,” a friend told me, “tears took the place of the sins I meant to utter. The priest simply told me that it wasn’t necessary to enumerate everything and that it was just vanity to suppose that our personal sins are worse than everyone else’s. Which, by the way, was something of a relief, since it wasn’t possible for me to remember all the sins of my first thirty-odd years of life. It made me think of the way the father received his prodigal son—he didn’t even let his son finish his carefully rehearsed speech. It’s truly amazing.”
Another friend told me that he was so worried about all he had to confess that he decided to write it down. “So I made a list of my sins and brought it with me. The priest saw the paper in my hand, took it, looked through the list, tore it up, and gave it back to me. Then he said ‘Kneel down,’ and he absolved me. That was my confession, even though I never said a word! But I felt truly my sins had been torn up and that I was free of them.”
The very word confession makes us nervous, touching as it does all that is hidden in ourselves: lies told, injuries caused, things stolen, friends deceived, people betrayed, promises broken, faith denied—these plus all the smaller actions that reveal the beginnings of sins.
Confession is painful, yet a Christian life without confession is impossible.
Confession is a major theme of the Gospels. Even before Christ began His public ministry, we read in Matthew’s Gospel that John required confession of Continue reading “Confession: The Healing Sacrament – By Jim Forest, USA & the Netherlands”
HOLY CONFESSION OF YOUR HEART
If someone has repented once of a sin, and again does the same sin, this is a sign that he has not been cleansed of the causes of the sin, wherefrom, as from a root, the shoots spring forth again.
—Saint Basil the Great (+379)
USA OF MY HEART
Confession – Be the Bee ╰⊰¸¸.•¨* ORTHODOX USA
The Holy Confession and the poison
Fr. George Paulidis, Bishop of Nicea, Piraeus, Greece (+1990)
Some Holy Tuesday [Tuesday before Sunday Easter] after a sermon in a church of Lamia, Greece, appeared at the end of his short sermon a young man asking insistently to confess that very evening.
Fr. George was jaded and suggested the next day. But the young were kind and insisted on pressing to receive him that very night.
The heart of Fr. George could not refuse such a persistent. And we can imagine the surprised of Fr.George, when the young man pulled from the pocket and enecheirise a small bottle, telling him:
“My father, I wanted to deliver this bottle contained poison because tonight I was thinking about killing myself. Afterward preaching change my mind…”.
Such was his influence.
Source, Greek Book: Fr. John Costoff, From Atheism to Christ,
Publications: St. John Damascene, Athens 2011,
http://www.truthtarget.gr, TRUTH TARGET
IRELAND OF MY HEART
The Lord opened the understanding of my unbelieving heart, so that I should recall my sins.
—Saint Patrick of Ireland (+461)
There is still time for endurance, time for patience, time for healing, time for change. Have you slipped? Rise up. Have you sinned? Cease. Do not stand among sinners, but leap aside.
—Saint Basil the Great (+379)
ORTHODOX HEART SITES
Be ashamed when you sin, not when you repent
Saint John Chrysostom (Golden-mouthed)
Do not be ashamed to enter again into the Church. Be ashamed when you sin. Do not be ashamed when you repent. Pay attention to what the devil did to you. These are two things: sin and repentance. Sin is a wound; repentance is a medicine. Just as there are for the body wounds and medicines, so for the soul are sins and repentance. However, sin has the shame and repentance possesses the courage.
ORTHODOX CHURCH QUOTES
SAINTS OF MY HEART
Saint Joseph the Hesychast
of Holy Mount Athos, Greece (+1959)
Pure and absolute Confession
Take great care to clean yourself with pure and absolute Confession. Do not leave any sin inside of you, so the enemy cannot find a way to throw you down again.
—Saint Joseph the Hesychast
Holy Mount Athos, Greece (+1959)