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The Mystery of Christian Life

The majority of the texts in this book are taken from Saint Sophrony’s collection of drafts which did not reach book form in his lifetime, because he was so occupied in taking care of the monastery and those who visited with need of his prayer and counsel. The texts began in handwritten form, often on already used paper, so that not a scrap of paper – each one a gift from God – would be wasted. The final drafts were typewritten. Some texts were in files; others were on loose papers, many of which were not in any particular order.


The Bedewing Furnace
of the Heart

The work of holy stillness is dynamic and so enthralling that when the mind is enthroned in the heart, it is captivated and longs for nothing to tear it away. It descends into the deep recesses of the heart and rises to the infinite heights of the divine Will. Purified in its furnace, the mind becomes fit for the contemplation of the judgments of God. Like the apostles after Pentecost, man now lives as if he were ‘full of sweet new wine’, given over to the sober drunkenness of divine love.

At the Doors of Holy Lent

During the period before the Triodion and the Sundays which marks its beginning, the Church sets forth before our eyes various lessons through the Gospel readings: the grateful Leper, the Blind Man of Jericho, Zacchaeus, the good and faithful Servant of the ‘talents’, the Canaanite woman, the Publican, the Prodical Son and the Righteous on Judgement Day. Through some word, or deed, or attitude, these people all attracted God’s gaze upon them. They became the target of His visitation and traversed centuries in an instant. These suffering souls, who had withered away either because of sin or because of not knowing the true God, came into the presence of the Lord and ‘a spiritual sun, the name of which is persona’, began to rise in them.

Thirst for Life Eternal

Sayings on the Sundays of the Pentecostarion

The meaning of Pentecost is precisely to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, which will fill every molecule of our being with the incorruptible love of Christ. It will make our heart vibrate with His life-giving word that testifies with power that ‘though we were dead, yet we shall live’ eternally. The Holy Comforter will render us ‘taught of God’. He will continually initiate us into His mystery, revealing His benefits known and unknown, which make our heart melt with the warmth of His love and be overwhelmed by the only legitimate sorrow, provoked by the awareness that we are unable to thank Him as He deserves and as is befitting unto Him.


The All-embracing Gift
of the Holy Spirit

The paradoxical phenomenon of monasticism is not easily understood, not even by all monks. A true monk puts himself below every creature, verifying Christ’s words: ‘If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all,’ and ‘He that serves is greater than he that sits at meat.’ Who of the children of this age would be so foolish as to desire to put himself lower than all and become ‘a nothing’? But the children of light, who have tasted of immortal life and are led by the Holy Spirit, gladly accept to follow Christ in His descent, which is more wondrous even than His ascent above the heavens. Only those who have tried out this ‘foolishness of Christ, the power of God, and the wisdom of God’ and were confirmed therein through grace, can muster enough courage to pursue this supernatural exploit.

Ὑποστατικὴ προσευχὴ μέτρον τελειώσεως

πιστὸς μὲ τὴν ὑπακοή του στὶς θεῖες ἐντολὲς γίνεται «δέσμιος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ»· ἐξαρτᾶται ἀπὸ τὸν Θεὸ καὶ σταδιακὰ καθίσταται τέκνο Θεοῦ, ἀπελευθερωμένο ἀπὸ τὸν νόμο τῆς ἁμαρτίας καὶ φορέας τοῦ Πνεύματος τοῦ Ἁγίου. Μὲ τὴν πτώση ὁ Ἀδὰμ ἀπώλεσε τὴ μακαριότητα τῆς ἀδιάκοπης παραμονῆς στὴν παρουσία τοῦ Θεοῦ. Μὲ τὴν προσευχὴ οἱ ἀπόγονοι τοῦ Ἀδὰμ γεύονται ἐκ νέου τὴν εὐδαιμονία τῆς θείας παρουσίας καὶ τῆς διαλογῆς μὲ τὸν Κύριο, ποὺ γεννᾶ ἐντὸς τους τὸν πόθο νὰ ἀδολεσχήσουν σὲ αὐτὴν. 

Ce livre se propose de présenter les icônes créées par Saint Sophrony dans sa quête pour représenter le Visage du Christ. Mon espoir était de permettre aux icônes et aux peintures murales de parler d’elles-mêmes. Mais nos mentalités modernes sont habituées à une imagerie visuelle qui change rapidement et sans cesse, c’est pourquoi j’ai inséré des citations venant des écrits de Saint Sophrony, afin que le lecteur, ainsi incité à s’arrêter un peu, fasse une expérience plus plénière en regardant la Présence des images. Le linceul de Turin, qui était sa source d’inspiration constante, est la seule image de ce livre qui ne soit pas peinte par Saint Sophrony. Il la considérait comme faite par Dieu Lui-même.

Ce livre présente les fresques qui se trouvent dans un petit réfectoire de la Communauté de Saint Jean Baptiste en Essex, R.U. Elles illustrent la vie de Saint Silouane l’Athonite, père spirituel de Saint Sophrony de l’Athos, fondateur de la communauté. Après la mort de son père spirituel, Saint Sophrony écrivit un livre, Saint Silouane l’Athonite, retraçant la vie du saint et incluant ses écrits. Les fresques, qui suivent le sens des aiguilles d’une montre, se conforment à l’ordre du livre et présentent les moments significatifs de la vie du Saint. Les inscriptions sur les fresques, avec quelques compléments explicatifs, reproduisent le texte de ce livre.

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Thank you for continuing to release Fr. Zacharias’s writings. They are incredibly encouraging personally and very helpful for pastoring. As a mission-planting priest, these books have enabled me to connect the hard work we are doing here with God’s desire for our salvation. I hope Fr. Zacharias is able to continue publishing for a long time.

Fr. Joel Wilson @Annunciation Orthodox Christian Church
monastery of st john the Baptist
monastery of st john the Baptist
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