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Orthodox Talks # 3: Can We Be Called Orthodox Christians Without Reading the Lives of Saints?

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Talk 03: Can We Be Called Orthodox Christians Without Reading the Lives of the Saints?

Speaker: Hieromonk Kosmas

(Duration: 1hr 42min) 

More and more lives of saints have become available in English. Many of the Holy Fathers of the Church have said that it is absolutely necessary for one’s salvation to read the lives of saints, because they show the Gospel in practice. One who reads both the Gospels and the lives of saints will know what Christ taught. These statements seem harsh to some: why such emphasis on reading the lives of saints? The answer is that by studying their lives, Orthodox Christians are able to see the teachings of the Gospel in practice. Trying to read and apply the Gospels without following the example of the saints can lead to heresy and deception.

In this talk, Father Kosmas relates the life of New-Martyr Constantine. As a Turk, Saint Constantine knew that converting to Orthodoxy from Islam would result in the death sentence. Regardless of this, he set out for Mount Athos to receive Holy Baptism. After listening to this life, one will have no doubt that the lives of saints can be applied to our own lives in many ways.

The following questions are also discussed: does God help the non-Orthodox? Is obedience really that important? Did the Holy Fathers of Mount Athos compromise with the Muslim authorities? To what degree may we judge those who have made compromises in difficult situations? What attitude should the Orthodox have towards non-Orthodox?

Other topics covered in this talk include: visions and dreams; sorcery; conversion of Muslims to Orthodoxy; the devil’s tricks; supernatural phenomena in the media; Islam and Orthodoxy; spiritual stubbornness; sociopaths and the mentally ill; being judged according to one’s conscience; mediums; ghost chasers; corrupt monastics and clergy; and UFOs.

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