The teachings of Saint Kosmas the Aetolian, part 1 of 8

The teachings of Saint Kosmas the Aetolian, part 1 of 8

Saint Kosmas of Aetolia Teachings TEACHING A The incarnation of God Logos Our Lord Jesus Christ and God, my brethren, the sweetest ruler and master, the creator of Angels and of all intelligible and perceptible creation, moved the Lord by His great goodness which he has for our race, next to the infinite gifts that He granted us and keeps granting us during each day and hour and moment, He condescended and became also a perfect man by the Holy Spirit and from the purest blood of our Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary, to make us escape from the hands of the devil, and to make us sons and heirs of His kingdom, to rejoice forever in paradise together with the Angels and not to burn in hell with the impious and the demons. The Mission of the Apostles Just as a ruler has vineyards and fields and hires workers, thus the Lord also as a vineyard has the entire world; and He took twelve Apostles, and gave them His grace and His blessing, and sent them to the entire world to teach people how to live well here on earth, in peace, with love, and after these to go to the paradise, to rejoice forever; to repent, to believe and to be baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and to have love for God and for their brother. And to whatever land the Apostles went and the people welcomed them, the Lord instructed them to bless that land; and again to whatever land the Apostles went and were not welcomed, the Lord instructed them to shake off even the dust from their shoes and to depart. Thus the holy Apostles receiving the grace of the Holy Spirit, as wise and faithful servants of our Christ, ran as lightning throughout the entire world. With that grace they healed the blind and the deaf and the lepers and those possessed by demons, and the greatest of all in the name of our Christ they commanded the dead and they rised. And in whatever land they went the holy Apostles and people received them well, they made them Christians, they ordained bishops and priests, they established Churches, and they blessed that land, and it became an earthly paradise, joy and gladness, a habitation of angels, a dwelling place of our Christ. But in whatever place they went where people did not receive them well, he instructed them to shake off the dust from their shoes, and remained in that land a curse and not a blessing, a residence of the devil and not of our Christ. His own life and mission It is meet and proper a teacher, when he wants to teach, to examine first what audience he has, and similarly his audience to examine what kind of teacher he is. And I, my brethren, who have been found worthy to stand in this holy place the apostolic one through the compassion of our Christ, I have first inquired about you and I have learned that with the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and God you are not pagans, you are not impious, heretics, godless, but you are pious Orthodox Christians, you believe and have been baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and you are sons and daughters of our Christ. And not only am I not worthy to teach you, but not even to kiss your feet. Because each of you is worth more than the whole world. Then you should know and your nobility also regarding me, I know, that other people are telling you various things, but if you want to learn the whole truth I will tell it to you. My homeland, the false, the earthly and fruitless one, is from the province of the Saint of Arta and from the county Apokouro. My father, my mother, my generation, are pious Orthodox Christians. Therefore I am also, my brethren a sinful man, worse than anyone; but I am a servant of our Lord Jesus Christ, the crucified and God. Not that I am worthy to be a servant of Christ, but my Christ condescends to have me because of his compassion. Our Christ therefore, my brethren, I believe, glorify and worship. Our Christ I beseech to cleanse me from every sin spiritual and bodily. Our Christ I beseech to strengthen me so that I may defeat the three enemies: The world, the flesh and the devil. Our Christ I beseech to make me worthy to also spill my blood for His love, as He spilled His for my love. If, my brethren, it were possible for me to climb up into the sky, to shout with a great voice, to preach to the whole world, that only our Christ is the Son and Word of God, and the true God, and the life of everything, I wanted to do it this small thing, and so I walk from place to place, and I teach my brethren as much as I can, not as a teacher, but as a brother; teacher only our Christ is. Calling to preach How I got motivated, my brethren, I wish to disclose to you the cause. Departing from my homeland fifty years ago, I walked to many places, forts, towns, and villages, and especially to Constantinople, and the longest I stayed on the Holy Mountain, seventeen years, where I wept over my sins. Among the counrless gifts which my Lord has granted me, he made me worthy and I acquired a little Greek learning, I also became a monk. Studying the holy and sacred Gospel I found in it many and different teachings, which are all pearls, diamonds, treasure, riches, joy, gladness, eternal life. Among the others I found also this teaching in which our Christ says, that no Christian should, man or woman, be concerned with himself only how to be saved, but should be concerned also with his brethren so that they may not fall into sin. Hearing myself, my brethren this sweetest saying where our Christ tells us, to concern ourselves with our brothers also, that teaching gnawed at me inside the heart for so many years, as the worm that eats the wood, what should I do wondering in my ignorance. I sought the advice of my spiritual fathers, bishops, patriarchs, I revealed my thinking to them, asking if it pleases God such work for me to handle, and everyone urged me to do it, and they told me that such work good and sacred it is. Actually urged on by his Holiness Sophronios, the Patriarch - may his blessing be upon us - and receiving his sacred blessing, I abandoned my own advancement, my own good, and went out to walk from place to place and to teach my brethren. Preacher Non-materialistic Making a start to teaching a thought occurred to me as I travelled about; to ask for money because I was avaricious and I loved money, yes, but also golden coins even more, not like your nobility who scorn money, or dont you scorn it? Studying again the holy and sacred Gospel, I found another teaching where our Christ says; free of charge I have given you my grace, free of charge you should also give it to your brethren, free of charge to teach, free of charge to counsel, free of charge to hear confessions, and if you ask and receive any kind of payment for the teaching, great or small, or even a penny, I put you to death and place you in hell. Hearing myself also, my brethren, this sweetest teaching where our Christ says, that we should labor free of charge among our brethren, in the beginning it seemed to me hard this saying, later however it seemed to me sweeter like a honeycomb, and I glorified and glorify a thousand times my Christ because he guarded me from that passion of avarice, and with the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ the Crucified One and God I have neither purse, nor house, nor chest, nor another cassock than this that I am wearing, but I still beseech my Lord until the end of my life to make me worthy never to acquire a purse, for when I make a start to accept money, I have immediately lost my brethren, and I cannot serve both, either God or the devil. The Holy Trinity The sweet Orthodox doctrine It is meet and proper, my fellow Christians, as we learn from the holy Gospel and the sacred Scriptures, to begin our teaching with God, and when we finish, to thank God; not that I am worthy to utter the name of my God, but God permits it out of his compassion. We leave aside therefore, my brethren, the prattlings of the impious, of the heretics, of the atheists, and we speak only what the Holy Spirit has inspired the holy Prophets, the Apostles and the Fathers of our Church and they wrote for us, and again we cannot speak of all teachings, for it is not possible; we would need years and years; but just a few which seem more important; and whoever is font of learning, let him seek to learn also the rest. The most gracious therefore, my brethren, and most merciful God is one, and anyone who says that there are many gods, is a devil. He is also a Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit; one nature, one glory, one kingdom, one God. He is incomprehensible, inscrutable Lord, omnipotent, all light, all joy, all compassion, all love. We have not one example to compare with the Holy Trinity, just because there is none other in the world. But in order to get some small help our mind, they bring some examples the theologians of the Church. Among the others they bring also the sun. The sun we all know that is one, one is God also; and as the sun illuminates this world the perceptible one, thus the Holy Trinity, God, illuminate the intelligible one. We have said, my brethren, that the sun is one, but it is also three together; He has rays, which come to our eyes like lines, like threads; He has also light, that spreads throughout the entire world. With the sun we liken the eternal Father, with the rays the co-eternal Son, and with the light the consubstantial Spirit. There is still another way for you to understand the Holy Trinity. How? To confess candidly, to receive the holy Sacraments with fear and with reverence, and then He will enlighten you the grace of the Holy Spirit to understand better. This Holy Trinity we, the pious and orthodox Christians glorify and worship; He is the true God, and out of the Holy Trinity all who are called gods are demons. And not only we believe, we glorify, we worship the Holy Trinity, but as many as the stars of the sky, and as the sand of the sea, Prophets, Apostles, Martyrs, Ascetics have shed their blood for the love of the Holy Trinity and have attained the paradise and rejoice forever. Similarly men and women have denied the world, have gone off to the deserts and practiced asceticism in all their lives, and have gone to paradise. In addition men and women lived in the world with prudence and virginity, with fasting, prayers, alms, with good works, and lived well here on earth and went to paradise to rejoice forever. The infinite presense of God There exist no place from where God is absent. We must also we, the pious Christians, when we wish to commit some sin, consider that God is within our hearts, he is present everywhere, and He sees us; we should be ashamed before the Angels, before the Saints, and especially before the angel, the guard of our soul, who observes us. Before a young child we are embarrassed, when we commit the sin, and how can we not be embarrassed before so many Saints and Angels? Love God The most gracious and merciful God, my brethren, has many and various names; he is also called light, and life, and resurrection. But the chief name of our God is and is called love. We should, if we wish to live well also here, and then to go to paradise, and to call our God love and father, we should have two loves; love for our God, and for our brethren. It is natural for us to have these two loves; unnatural is not to have them. And as a swallow needs two wings to fly in the air, so do we need these two loves, because without them it is impossible to be saved. And first it is our duty to love our God, because he gave us such large earth here to live on temporarily, so many thousands of plants, springs, rivers, seas, air, day, night, sky, sun etc. All of these for whom did he create, if not for us? What did he owe us? Nothing. All as gifts; He created us human beings, he did not make us animals; He made us pious Orthodox Christians, and not impious heretics. Although we sin thousands of times every hour, He has compassion for us like a father and He does not put us to death and put us in hell, but He waits for our repentance with His arms open, for when we shall repent, when we shall stop doing evil and we do the good deeds, to confess, to restore ourselves, for Him to embrace us, to place us in paradise to rejoice forever. Now then such sweetest God and master should not we also love Him, and if need occurs, should not we shed our blood as well a thousand times for His love, as He shed it Himself for our love? A man invites you to his home and wants to treat you to a glass of wine, and always in your whole life you will respect him and honor him; and God should not you honor and respect, who gave you so many good things and was crucified for your love? What father was crucified for his children at any time? And our sweetest Jesus Christ shed his blood and ransomed us from the hands of the devil. Now should not we too love our Christ? We not only we do not love him, but we insult him every day with the sins that we commit. Instead whom do you want us to love, my brethren? Should we love the devil, who put us out of paradise and brought us to this accursed world and we suffer so much evil? Moreover the devil is predisposed, for if he could this very minute to kill us all and to put us in hell, he would do it. Now I ask you, my brethren, to tell me who should we, hate the devil, our enemy, or to love our God, our author, our creator? - Yes, Oh saint of God. - Very well you speak, may your blessings be upon me, I say this too, but God also needs a couch to rest upon; what is that couch? Love. Let us have it therefore ourselves also that love for God and for our brethren, and then God comes and gladden us, and plant in us in our hearts the life, the eternal one, and we also live well here on earth and then we will go to paradise to rejoice forever. Love your brethren We (instead) not only we do not have love, but we have hatred and malice in our heart and we hate our brethren; the cunning devil comes and makes us bitter and plants death in our soul and we live badly here on earth, and we go to hell and burn forever. It is our nature to love our brethren; because we are of the same nature, we have the same baptism, the same faith, the Holy Sacraments we receive, the same paradise we hope to enjoy. Fortunate is that man who was worthy and received in his heart these two loves, love to God, and to his brethren. Because whoever has God in his heart, possesses all the goods, and sin he cannot bear to commit; and whoever does not have God in the heart, has the devil, and commits all the evil deeds and all the sins. A thousand of thousands good deeds if we perform, my brethren, fasts, prayers, almsgiving, and even if we shed our blood for our Christ, and we do not have these two loves, but instead we have hatred and malice toward our brethren, all that good that we have done is of the devil and to hell we shall go. But wait, you say, there with that little hatred that we have to our brothers, having so many good deeds performed to hell we go? Yes, my brethren, because that hatred is poison of the devil; and just as when we put in a hundred pounds of flour a little yeast, and it has such power and rises all the dough that might be, so it is also with hatred; all that good deeds that we have done, it turns it and transforms them to poison of the devil. Here, my christians, how are you getting along? Do you have love among you? If by chance you want to be saved, do not ask for anything else here in this world other than love. If there is anyone here among your nobility who might has this love for his brethren? let him stand up and say it to me, so that I may pray for him also, and ask the Christians too to forgive him, to receive such forgiveness, that even giving thousands of gold coins he would not find it. - I, Oh saint of God, I love God and my brethren. - Good, my child, have my blessing. What is your name? - Kostas. - What is your trade? - I tend sheep. - The cheese when you sell it do you weigh it? - I do weigh it. - You, my child, have learned to weigh the cheese, and I to weigh the love. Is the scale ashamed of its master? - No. - Now let me also weigh your love, and if it is true and is not false, then I will pray for you too, and I will ask all the Christians also to forgive you. - How can I understand you, my son, that you love your brethren? I, here, now that I walk and teach in the world, say that I love Mr. Kostas as dearly as my own eyes; but you do not believe it; you want to try me first, and then to believe me. I have bread to eat, you do not have; now if I were to give you a piece to you too, that you have not, thus I reveal that I love you. Instead if I were to eat all of the bread and you being hungry, what do I reveal? That the love that I have for you is false. I have two glasses of wine to drink, you do not have any; if I were to give to you also some of it to drink, then I reveal that I love you. If instead I do not give you, then false is the love. You are sad; your mother have died, or your father; if I were to come to console you, then is true my love. If instead while you cried and mourned I ate, drank, and danced, false would be my love. - Do you love that poor boy? - I love him. - If you loved him, you would buy him a shirt because he is naked, so that he too will pray for your soul. Is not that so, my Christians? With false love we do not go to paradise. Now if you wish to make your love true as gold, take and clothe the poor children, and then I will ask everyone to forgive you. Will you do it? - I do it. - Fellow Christians, Kostas has understood, that the love he had up to now was false, and he wants to make it true as gold, to clothe the poor children. And because we have taught him, I beg you to say for Mr. Kostas three times: May God forgive him and have mercy upon him. The Holy Creation The ten Orders of Angels The most gracious and merciful God is and is named love; is and is named Trinity. Moved the Lord by His compassion created first ten orders of Angels. The Angels are fiery spirits, immaterial, as is our soul. Each order is numerous as the stars of the sky. Who moved God and created them? His compassion. We too must, my brethren, if we wish to call our God father, to be compassionate, to make our brethren to rejoice, and then to call God as father: Our father who is in heaven... If however we are merciless, hard-hearted and we make our brethren to be poisoned and we put death in their hearts, we should not call our God as father, but the devil, for the devil wants us to make our brethren to become poisoned, and not God. And so, my brethren, the first order of the Angels of which we spoke earlier, fell because of pride and sought to be glorified equally with God. From the place that he was a luminous and most brilliant angel, he became the darkest devil, and the enemy of people; and he has to burn forever in hell. And when we hear about devil, he is the one who once was the first angel; he is the one who moves people to show pride, to murder, to theft; he is the one who enters into a dead person making him to appear as alive and we call him vampire; he is the one who enters also inside a living person and takes on the image of Christ, of Virgen Mary or some Saint, while running up and down like possessed, and says that he performs miracles. He is the devil who enters into a person and becomes epileptic and becomes demonic. And let God be glorified for He has given us three weapons with which to fight him. If there are here some of you who get possessed, and wish to learn the cure, it is easy; confession, fasting and prayer. The more a person goes to confession, fasts and prays, the more he burns and flees the devil. When it fell away the first order from the place of angelic glory and became demons, the other nine orders humbled themselves and fell prostrate worshipping the All-Holy Trinity and stood in their place to rejoice forever. We should too, my brethren, reflect on what a great evil is the pride; it brought down the devil from the angelic glory and he has to burn in hell forever; and how humility kept the Angels in heaven to rejoice forever in that glory of the Holy Trinity. We should reflect further that the most gracious God hates the proud and loves the humble. And not only God, but we too, when we see a humble person, we see him as an angel, he makes us want to open our heart and put him inside; but when we see someone proud, we look upon him as the devil, and we turn our face to other direction so as not to look at him. Let us then avoid, my brethren, the pride, because it is the eldest daughter of the devil, it is road which leads us to hell, and let us have humility, because it is angelic, it is road which takes us to paradise. - How are things here? Do you love pride or humility? Whoever loves humility, let him stand up and tell me, so that I pray for him. - Myself, Oh holy one of God, I love humility. - Take off your clothes, put on some poor clothes, and walk through the market place. You will not do it? Are you ashamed? Do something else. Cut off half of your mustache and come out to the bazaar. You will not do this either? I am not saying this to you only, but in order to hear the others as well; you should not say that you are humble. Do you see me with this beard? It is filled with pride, and may God uproot it from our hearts. A Christian needs two wings to fly to go to paradise, humility and love. The Creation of the World When the first order of angels fell and became demons, then the most gracious God commanded and this world came into being. And from the time that He created the world have passed 7,288 years. This world however is like an egg, and just as the yolk is in the center of the egg, so is the earth made by God to stand without touching in no other place. And just as the egg white is all arround the yolk, so is also the air in the earth. And just as is the shell all arround, so is also the sky all arround the earth. The sun, the moon and the stars are attached to the sky. The earth is round, and wherever the sun goes, there it becomes day, the night however is the shadow of the earth. Now here we have night, in another place it is dawn; and just as there are people here on the earth, there are some also under the earth. This is why the holy Fathers have ruled that we should color the eggs red for Easter. Because the egg symbolizes the world, while the red color the blood of our Christ, which he spilled on the Cross and sanctified the whole world. We too should rejoice and be glad a thousand times, because Christ has spilled his blood and purchased us from the hands of the devil; but we should also weep and mourn, because our sins crucified the Son of God, our Christ. God commanded and became seven days; and first He made Sunday and He kept it for himself; and the other six he gave them to us to work for the false and earthly affairs, and on Sunday we are to pause working and to go to our churches to glorify our God, to stand with reverence, and hear the Holy Gospel and the other books of our Church. What does our Christ instruct us to do? To meditate on our sins, on death, on hell, on paradise, on our soul which is more precious than the entire world, we are to eat and to drink moderately, similarly to clothe ourselves moderately, and the remaining time to use it for our soul, to make it a bride for our Christ, and then we can call ourselves human beings and earthly angels. But if we concern ourselves with how to eat, how to drink, how to commit sin, how to dress up this stinking body, which tomorrow will be eaten by worms, and not about the soul which is eternal, then we should not be called human beings, but animals. So make your body a servant of the soul, and then call yourselves human beings. On the first day God commanded and light was made. On the second day, the sky, the earth, the waters, the wind etc. On the third day became the grasses and the plants. On the forth the sun, the moon and the stars. On the fifth the sea, the fish and the birds. On Friday he commanded the earth and produced all the animals. The Creation of Man The man and the woman in the world there was not. God took dirt from the earth and formed a man like us, and breathed in him and gave him an eternal soul. And just as we human beings put flour and water and knead the dough and make a loaf of bread, so did God. We too must reflect on what is the body and what is the soul. The body is dirt and tomorrow will be eaten by worms, and necessary it is for the soul to rejoice forever in paradise, if it does good. This body which you see, my brethren, is the garment of the soul. The soul is the man; it is the soul which sees, hears, talks, walks, learns sciences, gives life to the body and does not allow it to stink. And when the soul comes out, then it stinks, and becomes wormy the body. The body has the eyes but does not see; has the ears, but does not hear; likewise with the other senses of the body. They are all activated by the soul. - Do you mourn the dead? - We mourn them. - As it seems, you feel pain for them. And how many days do you keep them? - Two, three hours. - That much love you have for the unfortunate man? From today on do not bury him, but guide him for twenty-four hours; and gather yourselves all together, young and old, and reflect upon it well because better teacher there is no other than death. And do not mourn for the dead, because you harm both yourself and them. And the ladies who have on dirty kerchiefs from mourning throw them away. When God made Man, the most merciful took a rib from him and created woman, and He gave her to him as a companion. Equal created her God the woman with the man, not inferior. - How do you regard the women here? - As inferiors. - If, my brethren, you want to be better men than women, you must perform also better works than they; if women however do better and go to paradise and we go to hell, what do we profit? We are men and we do worse. I observe wherever I travel and teach; I spoke a word for the women and they consider to drop the superfluous earrings, rings, and they immediately listened to me. I see them rush to confession. I also said a word for the men; natural it is for a man when he becomes fifty years old to grow a beard; but here I see some who are sixty and eighty years old men, and still shave. Are not you ashamed to shave? Did not God know better when He gave us beards? And just as it is unseemly for an old woman to deck herself out and to put on cosmetics, likewise it is for an old man, when he shaves. The wheat, when it starts becoming white, what does it want? Harvest. The same with man, when he starts getting white, what does this signify? Death. - Is there anyone here who wishes to let grow his beard? Let him stand up and tell me, to become brothers, myself also to pray for him, and to ask from all the Christians to forgive him. - I am, teacher. - Good, have my blessing. Pray to God for me the sinner, and I too will pray for you, for as long as I live. Will you do it? - We do it, Oh saint of God. - I beg you, my fellow Christians, to say, for all those who let their beards grow, three times: May God forgive and have mercy upon them. Let ask your nobility also for forgiveness, and may God enlighten you some day, as you let your beard grow, to also let of your sins go. And you young men you should honor them; and if it happens to be a man and he is thirty years old and he grew his beard, and also happened one of 50, or 60, or a 100 and he shaves, you should put the one who grew his beard to stay more from the one who shaves, as much in church, as at the table. I do not say to you, on the other hand, that a beard will take you to heaven, but the good works will. And your dress should be modest, and your food and your drink, and your whole conduct should be Christian, so that you give a good example for the others as well. Man, my brethren, gave birth to the woman from his side with no help of woman, and become strong again. She borrowed the side from the man and she owed for it. They were born as many as the stars in heaven women in the world, but none was found worthy to give birth to a man, to pay back the side which she owed, except for the Lady Theotokos, who was found worthy out of her purity and gave birth to sweetest Jesus by the Holy Spirit, without man, being a virgin, and again remained virgin, and paid back for that side. Listen, my brethren, what joyful mysteries our holy Church has? But she has them hidden and they need uncovering. This is why you must all get education, for you to understand how you walk. And you, oh man, do not treat your wife like a slave, because creature of God she is too just as you are. As much God was crucified for you, that much also for her. Father you call your God, father she calls Him too. You have one faith, one Baptism; God does not consider her inferior. This is why he did not make her from the head, for her to not have contempt for man. Similarly again he did not make her from the feet, for the man to not have contempt for woman. God named man Adam, and woman Eve. He also created a paradise in the place of the East full of joy and gladness; neither hunger, nor thirst, nor illness, nor anything sad. He adorned them with the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. He placed them in paradise to rejoice as angels. Said God to Adam and Eve: I have created you as human beings brighter than the sun. I have put you inside paradise, to enjoy from all the goods of paradise. But so that you know that you have God as your author and creator, I give you one commandment; from this fig tree alone do not eat figs; but know this also, if you transgress my commandment and you eat, you will die. And so God left them inside Paradise and they rejoiced like angels. For this the most gracious God adorned them with shame, and shame would protect them from every sin, but especially the woman. For this, my fellow Christians, and also daughters of my Christ, as much as you can, to be covered with shame, and you will look like gold. The Liberation of Man Adam and Eve died they went to hell and were burned for five and a half-thousand years because of one sin; what about us who commit many, and especially me, what is to happen to us? God is compassionate, but also just. He has an iron rod; and as he punished Adam and Eve, same way He will punish us too, if we do not do good. They transgressed Adam and Eve the commandment of God, and were exiled from paradise. Now what are we doing, my fellow Christians, us? Let know that in those five and a half-thousand years all who died went to hell. The Lord had compassion upon the race of humans and came and became perfect man from the Holy Spirit, from the purest blood of our Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary, and took us out of the hands of the devil. Know that on the Day of the Lord took place the Annunciation of the Theotokos; on the Day of the Lord Christ was born and revealed to us the holy Faith, the holy Baptism, the holy Sacraments; He was cursed, beaten, crucified in his human nature; he arose on the third day, He went to hell, and brought out Adam and Eve and their race; there was joy in heaven, in hades and in the entire world; it was poison and a double-edged sword for the Jews and for the devil; He ascended into heaven and sat on the right of the Father, to rule with him forever, and be worshipped by the angels. Let know that today, or tomorrow we expect the end of the world. You are prudent and wise; understand also by yourselves what is good and do it. Means to Salvation of the race Spiritual Centers Now what seems to you reasonable for us to do? I have two thoughts. One thought tells me: Enough what you have said to these Christians, and get up in the morning and go also to another place to teach. The other tells me: do not go; stay to tell them also the rest and tomorrow you can leave. What do you say shall I leave or stay? - Stay, Oh saint of God. - Good, my children, I shall stay; how can be good for a man to work in a vineyard, or to tend sheep, and not to eat from their products? Now that I have come here and work for you is it good if you do not give me some consolation, payment? And what kind of payment do I want? Money? What can I do with it? I, through the grace of God have neither a purse, nor a house, nor another cassock; and the bench that I stand on is yours, which represents my grave. This grave has authority to teach kings, patriarchs, bishops, priests, men and women, young and old and the entire world. If I were to travel about for money, I would be crazy and foolish; but what is my payment? For you to sit in groups of five, or ten, to discuss these divine teachings, to put them inside your heart, so that they may bring you the eternal life. They are not, my brethren, my own words what I told you, but of the Holy Spirit, and from the Holy Scriptures. What I have told you is the same as if He cames down God himself to tell them to you. Now if you were to do these things and put them in your mind, it would not seem to me to be lost time my effort. But if you do not do them, I leave saddened with tears in my eyes. Christian Schools Do you have a school here in your area for the children to read? - We do not, O saint of God. - You should all get together to establish a good school, to appoint a committee that will govern it, to appoint a teacher to educate all the children, rich and poor. Because from the school we learn what God is, what is Holy Trinity, what are Angels, demons, paradise, hell, virtue, evil; what is soul, body etc. Because without a school we walk in the darkness; from the school opens the monastery. If there were no school, how would I have learned to teach you? In conclusion I also studied about priests and about unbelievers, heretics, and atheists; the depths of wisdom I have searched; all the faiths are false; this I understood to be true, that only the faith of the Orthodox Christians is good and sacred, to believe and to be baptized in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. I tell you this now near the end; you should rejoice that you are Orthodox Christians, and should weep for the impious and heretics who walk in the darkness. We, my fellow Christians, what are we, just or sinners? If we are just, we are of good fortune and thrice-blessed; if instead we are sinners, now is the time to repent, to cease from doing evil, and do the good deeds; because by tomorrow we do not know what will happen to us. Take care then, my brethren, do not be proud, do not kill, do not fornicate, do not swear, do not say lies, do not slander, do not betray another, do not deck out your body, because it will be eaten by worms, but adorn the soul instead, which is worth more than the whole world. Do pray, fast, give alms, keep the thought of death before you, for when you will leave from this false world, to go to that eternal one. Listen, my brethren: Just as a rich man has ten servants and when one makes a mistake he dismisses and replaces him, so with our Lord, when it fell the first order of angels, God commanded and the world was made, and he made us human beings, in order to put us in the place of the angels. We, my fellow christians, we have no homeland here. For this God made us with an upright head, and He put on us the brain on the upper part, so that we shall always reflect the heavenly kingdom, our true homeland. So, my brethren, I will teach and counsel you, but I dare again and I beg the sweetest Jesus Christ to send from the sky His grace and His blessing to this land, and all the Christians, men and women, young and old, and to the work of your hands. And first, my brethren, may God have compassion on you and forgive your sins and may He make you worthy to live good here on earth and in peace during this fruitless life, and after death to be in paradise, in our homeland the true one, to rejoice forever, to glorify and worship the Holy Trinity to the ages of the ages. Amen. I beg you, my brethren, to say for me too, the sinner, three times: Forgive me and may God forgive you. Forgive one another too.