August 31

When you know yourself you cease from all outward tasks undertaken with a view to serving God and enter into the very sanctuary of God, into the noetic liturgy of the Spirit, the divine haven of dispassion and humility. But until you come to know yourself through humility and spiritual knowledge your life is one of toil and sweat. It was of this that David cryptically spoke when he said, ‘Toil lies before me until I enter the sanctuary of God’ (Psalm 73: 12-17 LXX).

~Nikitas Stithatos

August 30

‘Know thyself’: this is true humility, the humility that teaches us to be inwardly humble and makes our heart contrite. Such humility you must cultivate and guard. For if you do not yet know yourself you cannot know what humility is, and have not yet embarked truly on the task of cultivating and guarding. To know oneself is the goal of the practice of the virtues.

~ Nikitas Stithatos

August 29

The fruits of the Holy Spirit are love, joy, peace, goodness, long-suffering, kindness, faith, gentleness, self-control (cf. Galatians 5:22-23). The fruits of the spirit of evil are hatred, worldly despondency, restlessness of soul, a troubled heart, guile, inquisitiveness, negligence, anger, lack of faith, envy, gluttony, drunkenness, abusiveness, censoriousness, the lust of the eyes (cf. 1 John 2:16), vanity and pretentiousness of soul. By these fruits you may know the tree (cf. Matthew 12:33), and in this way you will certainly recognize what kind of spirit you have to deal with. An even clearer indication of these things is given by the Lord Himself when He says, ‘A good man out of the good treasury of his heart brings forth good things; and an evil man out of the evil treasury of his heart brings forth evil things’ (Matthew 12:35). For as the tree, so is the fruit.

~Nikitas Stithatos

The Other Side of Loneliness

On the other side of loneliness,

there is a place.


I’m telling you.


I’ve been there

and it’s not so bad.

There’s nothing to be afraid of,

because it isn’t nothing—

this loneliness.


You aren’t alone,

though it may feel that way,

for a time.


Yes, I’ve seen you running

trying to get away.

Away from that fearful silence.

I understand.

I’ve been running too.


Let me tell you though—

on the other side of loneliness,

is the place where you’ll encounter you.

I know because it’s where

I encountered me.


You may have felt it in a forest,

or heard it whispering at the beach—

stillness calling you to silence.


Have courage—

endure the boredom,

face the tears—

the twin veils which mask

your entry into you.


Else, live a life of constant fleeing—

never finding rest.




August 28

To speak humbly is one thing, to act humbly is another, and to be inwardly humble is something else again. Through all manner of hardship and through the outward labors of virtue those engaged in spiritual warfare can attain the qualities of speaking and acting humbly, for these qualities require no more than bodily effort and discipline. But because the soul of such people often lacks inner stability, when temptation confronts them they are easily shaken. Inward humility, on the other hand, is something exalted and divine, bestowed through the indwelling of the Paraclete only on those who have passed the midpoint of the spiritual way–who have, that is to say, through acting in all humility traversed the rigorous path of virtue.

~Nikitas Stithatos

August 27

The vehemence of our trials and temptations depends upon the degree to which we are debilitated by the passions and infected by sin; and the bitter cup of God’s judgment varies accordingly. If the nature of the sin within us is such that it is easily treated and cured–if, that is to say, it consists of thoughts that are self-indulgent or worldly–then the Healer of our souls in His compassion adds but a mild dose of wormwood to the cup of trial and temptation He administers, since these are merely human ailments by which we are afflicted. But if the sin is deep-seated and hard to cure–a lethal infection of pretentious arrogant thoughts–then in keenness of His wrath He gives us the cup undiluted, so that, dissolved and refined in the fire of successive trials and the humility they induce, the sickness may be removed from our soul and we may wash away our brackish thoughts with tears, thus presenting ourselves pure in the light of humility to our Healer.

~Nikitas Stithatos

August 17

‘Devote yourselves to stillness and know that I am God’ (Psalm 46:10). This is the voice of the divine Logos and is experienced as such by those who put the words into practice. Thus once you have renounced the turmoil and frightening vanity of life you should in stillness scrutinize yourself and the inner reality of things with the utmost attentiveness and should seek to know more fully the God within yourself, for His kingdom is within us (Luke 17:21). Yet even if you do this over a long period of time it will be difficult for you to erase the imprint of evil from your soul and to restore it wholly to its Creator in all its primal beauty.

~Nikitas Stithatos

August 16

Those who pursue the carnal mode of life and in whom the will of the flesh is imperious…are not able to conform to God’s will (Romans 8:8). Their judgment is eclipsed and they are totally impervious to the rays of divine light: the engulfing clouds of the passions are like high walls that shut out the resplendence of the Spirit and leave them without illumination.

Their soul’s senses maimed, they cannot aspire to God’s spiritual beauty and see the light of the true life and so transcend the lowliness of visible things….they strive only for what is visible and corruptible, on this account fighting among themselves and even sacrificing their lives for such things, avid for wealth, glory and the pleasures of the flesh, and regarding the lack of any of these things as a disaster.

To such people applies the prophetic statement that comes from God’s own mouth: ‘My Spirit shall not remain in these men, for they are flesh’ (Genesis 6:3).

~Nikitas Stithatos

August 15

Love for God begins with detachment from things human and visible. Purification of heart and intellect marks the intermediate stage, for through such purification the eye of the intellect is spiritually unveiled and we attain knowledge of the kingdom of heaven hidden within us (Luke 17:21). The final stage is consummated in an irrepressible longing for the supranatural gifts of God and in a natural desire for union with God and for finding one’s abode in Him.

~Nikitas Stithatos

August 14

In the orthodox teaching we say that some belong to the state of the slave, others to the state of the hireling and others to the state of the son. In general, it must be pointed out that sin in the orthodox teaching is darkening of the nous, while repentance and forgiveness of sins are the illumination of the nous. Sin is regarded as an illness of the soul. Sin is not placed in a legal framework, but a medical one.

In conclusion we can say that our relationship with God should not be regarded as juridical, legal, but as personal ecclesiastical. The legalistic view is alien to the orthodox mind. When we think that God has been offended by the sin which we commit and that we must therefore do everything to appease Him, when our relationship with God is put on a business basis, then we are living in the legalistic spirit.

~Metropolitan Hierotheos