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Orthodox Talks #19: The Life of Elder Porphyrios of Greece

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Talk 19: The Life of Elder Porphyrios of Greece

Speaker: Hieromonk Kosmas

(Duration: 3hr 11min) 

Among Christians today one may encounter three incorrect views regarding the saints. The first is that saints are a thing of the past, not encountered in our day and age. The second is that saints achieve holiness because they are born with special qualities or God especially chose them (predestined them) to be saints, and therefore holiness is unattainable for ordinary people. The third view is that saints are myths, because the accounts of their miracles and extraordinary way of life are impossible to believe.

In this talk, Father Kosmas relates in detail the life of Elder Porphyrios (1906–1991) and shows how an “ordinary person” can become a saint—even today. He emphasises that one receives great spiritual benefit from reading the lives of saints, particularly those who lived in our times. This account of this great saint shatters the three wrong views mentioned above.

The following questions are also discussed: how can praise damage children? Is there a link between insufficient physical activity and mental illness? How do parents frequently lead their children into delusion? Why do the demons hate those who reveal their thoughts to a spiritual father? Which is the greater virtue: asceticism or obedience? Why are the churches in Russia full? What is innocent fanaticism?

Other topics covered in this talk include: the link between failed marriages and irresponsibility in the childhood of the spouses; how the attitude of “I want to be spiritual but don’t tell me my faults” is quite common amongst Christians today; the ever-changing theories of psychology; the relationship between depression and disobedience; the disastrous effects of self-will; how God withholds His divine gifts in order to protect us from abominable pride; how our faith in God should not be based on miracles alone; how sorcerers receive their occult knowledge from other sorcerers, while elders receive their wisdom by grace; and—one of the most difficult areas in spiritual life—the upbringing of children.

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