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Orthodox Talks #43: Examining the Pharisee Within Us

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Talk 43: Examining the Pharisee Within Us

Speaker: Hieromonk Kosmas

(Duration: 3hr 21min) 

The Holy Fathers teach that prayer, fasting and almsgiving are a means of acquiring the grace of God. Although many Orthodox Christians observe these holy practices, spirituality in the Church is steadily decreasing. While there are many reasons for this, the chief cause is that there are few spiritual guides with the gift of discernment. Because of this, pride and Pharisaism have spread like a disease among the faithful.

In this talk, Father Kosmas explains why observing spiritual practices can actually be harmful and can even lead to the loss of one’s soul. Citing the ancient and contemporary Fathers, he confirms that afflictions and illnesses have been given by God as a safer means of salvation for Orthodox Christians in the last times.

The following questions are also discussed: can one be holy but unable to guide? Why has the Church become more lenient with regard to serious sins? What did Christ mean by “when you pray, do not use vain repetitions”? Why did 100 monks die from fasting? Why did Elder Paisios wish that he might lose his legs? What did Christ mean by “do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing”? What is the first gift God gives to those who struggle? Why should spiritual fathers be aware of those with cunning minds?

Other topics covered in this talk include: the dangers of self-imposed ascetic labors; the purpose and importance of imposing penances in confession; why many people fast with no benefit; the ecumenists’ blasphemy against the miracle of Saint Euphemia at the Fourth Ecumenical Council; heresiarchs that were known for their prayer and asceticism; an explanation of Saint John the Baptist’s words, “Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance”; and why Christ continually warned against vainglory.

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