Saturday, December 13, 2014

Bishop Nikon on current issues in the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad

Bishop Nikon speaks abnout a spiritual approach to certain politically-influenced current problems among some people of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. He speaks about spiritual life, which relates intimately to all problems in life.

A characteristic of spiritual life of beginners is their great zeal. Often, this zeal is unfortunately a “zeal without knowledge”, which has the capacity to be used by the demons to the destruction of a Christian. Although a beginner’s zeal may not be directly sinful or passionate, it is not yet holy zeal, full of love for God and neighbour. Indeed, it cannot yet be holy, because the spiritual life cannot be learned from books - it must be lived through, over many years.

To assist in learning the Christian life, correct spiritual practice and guidance are of great importance. Every believer’s prayer and life must follow the teachings of Scripture and the Holy Fathers. This might seem not too difficult, as many written sources are widely available today, and anyone can read them….However, without a living spiritual guide, a beginner is bound to fall many times, and may not be able to extricate himself from his inevitable mistakes. Both laymen and clergy must therefore have their own spiritual father here on earth, to whom they not only confess their sins regularly, but also disclose their inner thoughts and feelings, as well as their manner of practicing the faith. This they do in order to learn the true Way, and in order to never be separated from Christ on account of some mistake, some slip in their mind, feeling, or understanding.

We are all beginners in spiritual life, and it is not possible for us to discern whether we are on the correct path without guidance.

This way of spiritual life is not only for monks, but rather, it is for every Christian!


Metropolitan Agafangel
First Hierarch of the Russian
Orthodox Church Abroad

Bishop John of Melbourne
Vicar bishop of Australia

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