Category Archives: St. Ambrose of Optina

Born: 5 December 1812, Bolshaya Lipovitsa settlement, Tambov, Russia
Reposed: 23 October 1891, Shamordino
Canonized: 13 May [O.S. 30 April] 1990 in Montreal, Canada by the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad; 7 August [O.S. 25 July] 2000 by the Moscow Patriarchate
Feast Day: 23 October [O.S. 10 October] (Repose); 10 July [O.S. 27 June] (Uncovering of Relics)

St. Ambrose of Optina: In the beginning, envy is revealed through . . .

St. Ambrose of Optina 5In the beginning, envy is revealed through inappropriate zeal and rivalry, and later by fervour with spite and the blaming of the one who is envied.

+ St. Ambrose of Optina, quoted from Living Without Hypocrisy: Spiritual Counsels of the Holy Elders of Optina

St. Ambrose of Optina: . . . you should care about the main thing . . .

“You must not be greatly troubled about many things, but you should care for the main thing — preparing yourself for death.”

+ St. Ambrose of Optina, quoted from Living Without Hypocrisy: Spiritual Counsels of the Holy Elders of Optina

St. Ambrose of Optina: If you do good . . .

Icon of St. Ambrose of OptinaIf you do good, you must do it only for God. For this reason you must pay no attention to the ingratitude of people. Expect a reward not here, but from the Lord in heaven. If you expect it here — it will be in vain and you will endure deprivation.

+ St. Ambrose of Optina, quoted from Living Without Hypocrisy: Spiritual Counsels of the Holy Elders of Optina

St. Ambrose of Optina: A continuously happy life produces extremely unhappy consequences. . . .

Portrait of St. Ambrose of Optina“A continuously happy life produces extremely unhappy consequences. In nature we see that there are not always pleasant springs and fruitful summers, and sometimes autumn is rainy and winter cold and snowy, and there is flooding and wind and storms, and moreover the crops fail and there are famine, troubles, sicknesses and many other misfortunes. All of this is beneficial so that man might learn through prudence, patience and humility. For the most part, in times of plenty he forgets himself, but in times of various sorrows he becomes more attentive to his salvation.”

+ St. Ambrose of Optina, Living Without Hypocrisy: Spiritual Counsels of the Holy Elders of Optina

St. Ambrose of Optina: Our invisible enemy plants a sinful thought . . .

Icon of St. Ambrose of Optina“Our invisible enemy plants a sinful thought in the soul of a person, and then records it as if it were the person’s own thought, so that later he can accuse the person at the terrible judgement of God.”

+ St. Ambrose of Optina, quoted from Living Without Hypocrisy: Spiritual Counsels of the Holy Elders of Optina

St. Anthony of Optina: Can you place your hope in the world? . . .

Photo of St. Anthony of Optina“Can you place your hope in the world? Whom has it not deceived? To whom has it not lied? It promises much, but gives very little. Only those who hope in the Lord, according to the words of the Prophet David, do not sin, i.e., they are not deceived in their hope!”

+ St. Anthony of Optina, Living Without Hypocrisy: Spiritual Counsels of the Holy Elders of Optina

St. Ambrose of Optina: How does a person become bad? . . .

Icon of St. Ambrose of Optina“How does a person become bad?─from forgetting that God is over him.”

+ St. Ambrose of Optina, Living Without Hypocrisy: Spiritual Counsels of the Holy Elders of Optina

St. Ambrose of Optina: . . . In this way, it overturned the entire ancient Apostolic office that accomplishes almost all the Mysteries and all the ecclesiastical institutions . . .

Icon of St. Ambrose of OptinaBut just as one mistake–which is not considered a mistake–always brings another one in its train, and one evil begets another, so the same happened with the Roman Church. This incorrect philosophizing that the Holy Spirit proceeds also from the Son, having just barely appeared in the West, already then gave birth to other similar offspring, and instituted little by little other novelties, for the most part contradictory to the commandments of our Savior clearly portrayed in the Gospel, such as: sprinkling instead of immersion in the mystery of Baptism, exclusion of laypersons from the Divine Chalice and the use of unleavened bread instead of leavened bread in the Eucharist, and excluding from the Divine Liturgy the invocation of the All-Holy and Life-Giving and All-Effectuating Spirit. It also introduced novelties that violated the ancient Apostolic rites of the Catholic Church, such as: the exclusion of baptized infants from Chrismation and reception of the Most-Pure Mysteries, the exclusion of married men from the priesthood, the declaration of the Pope as infallible and as the locum tenens of Christ, and so on. In this way, it overturned the entire ancient Apostolic office that accomplishes almost all the Mysteries and all the ecclesiastical institutions–the office, which before had been preserved by the ancient holy and Orthodox Church of Rome, being at that time the most honored member of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church (Encyclical § 5, item 12).

Nevertheless, the main heresy of the Roman Church is not in subject matter, but in action; there is the fabricated dogma of supremacy, or rather, prideful striving for dominance of the bishops of Rome over the four other Eastern Patriarchs. For the sake of this dominance, supporters of the Roman Church placed their pope above the canons and foundations of the Ecumenical Councils, believing in his infallibility.

+ St. Ambrose of Optina, A Reply to One Well Disposed Towards the Latin Church
Regarding the unjust glorying of the papists in the imaginary dignity of their Church

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St. Ambrose of Optina: . . . Especially since it rejected the decisions of the Ecumenical Councils the Roman Church should not be called catholic, as it follows its own incorrect theorizing.

Icon of St. Ambrose of OptinaFor all the stated reasons, the Catholic Eastern Church severed its communion with the local Church of Rome, which had fallen away from the truth and from the canons of the catholic Orthodox Church. Just as The Roman bishops had begun with pridefulness, they are also ending with pridefulness. They are intensifying their argument that allegedly the Orthodox Catholic Church fell away from their local Church. But that is wrong and even ridiculous. Truth testifies that the Roman Church fell away from the Orthodox Church. Although for the sake of imaginary rightness papists promote the view that during the time of union with the Catholic Orthodox Church, their patriarch was first and senior among the five patriarchs, this was true only for the sake of Imperial Rome, and not because of some spiritual merit or authority over the other patriarchs. It is wrong that they called their Church “Catholic”, i.e. universal. A part can never be named the whole; the Roman Church before its fall from Orthodoxy, comprised only a fifth part of the one Catholic Church. Especially since it rejected the decisions of the Ecumenical Councils the Roman Church should not be called catholic, as it follows its own incorrect theorizing.

+ St. Ambrose of Optina, A Reply to One Well Disposed Towards the Latin Church
Regarding the unjust glorying of the papists in the imaginary dignity of their Church

Read the entire article

St. Ambrose of Optina: If someone offends you . . .

Icon of St. Ambrose of Optina“If someone offends you, don’t tell anyone about it except your elder, and you will be peaceful. Bow to everyone, paying no attention whether they respond to your bow or not. You must humble yourself before everyone and consider yourself the worst of all. If we have not committed the sins that others have, perhaps this is because we did not have the opportunity – the situation and circumstances were different. In each person there is something good and something bad; we usually see only the vices in people and we see nothing that is good.”

+ St. Ambrose of Optina, Living Without Hypocrisy: Spiritual Counsels of the Holy Elders of Optina