January 27, 2010

A Patristic Text Elder Porphyrios Loved

Elder Porphyrios persistently taught that our love for our fellow man should be such that we look upon them as we look upon ourselves.

At one time he had asked one of his spiritual children to photocopy the following section of St. Symeon the New Theologian, which was handed out to his visitors:

We should look upon all the faithful as one person and consider that Christ is in each one of them.

We should have such love for them that we are ready to sacrifice our very lives for them.

For it is incumbent upon us neither to say, nor think of any person as evil, but we must look upon everyone as good. If you see a brother afflicted with a passion, do not hate him.

Hate the passion that makes war upon him. And if you see him being terrorized by the habits and desires of previous sins, have compassion on him. Maybe you too will be afflicted by temptation, since you are also made from matter that easily turns from good to evil. Love towards your brother prepares you to love God even more. The secret, therefore, of love towards God is love towards your brother.

For if you don't love your brother whom you can see, how is it possible to love God, Whom you do not see?

"For he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God Whom he has not seen" (1 Jn. 4:20).



My brothers and sisters,

This is the Elder speaking to you. My children, do not misunderstand me. I cannot speak with you, but be assured that by the grace of God, my humble self sees each one of you who comes to greet me and prays noetically for your problems. I wish you many years and good repentance. Whoever is in a rush and cannot wait, let them leave and God’s grace will help them with whatever they are hoping for. I am not always well enough to receive people. Even the nuns here cannot be of service as long as I am not well.

[The above announcement was posted at the request of Elder Porphyrios on the outer door of the Convent "The Transfiguration of the Savior" at the beginning of 1990.]