Elder Teofil Paraian

 

One of the great Elders of recent years was the Romanian hieromonk Fr. Teofil Paraian (†2009). Blind from birth, he nevertheless completed his studies at the Theological School of Sibiu and then entered the monastic community of Brancoveanu (Sâmbăta de Sus). Despite his blindness, he was ordained priest. Below are some extracts from his teachings.

I insist that, even if they can’t go to all the services, people should at least attend the divine liturgy. And if they don’t go to the liturgy, I won’t even sit and talk to them. Because I’ve got nothing to say to them. For example, I asked one man what he did at the time when he should have been in church and he answered: ‘I watch television’. I told him: ‘Be careful. This means that you’re in front of the television and that you’ve turned your back on God. So, change. Go to church so that you’ve got God in front of you and the television behind you’.

People are often negligent about things. If you ask them why they don’t go to church, you’ll not often hear them say that they don’t believe and that this is why they don’t attend. In reality, though, this is in fact the reason they don’t go. They don’t go because:

* they don’t have enough faith to make it necessary for them to go

* they don’t have enough faith to make it necessary for them to stay in church

* they don’t have enough faith to make it necessary for them to follow the church services.

***

It’s not possible to make spiritual progress without acts of faith. Faith increases through works.

* If the faithful fast, then the less faithful should also fast, so that they have practical faith that’ll strengthen whatever faith they already have.

* If the faithful go to church, the less faithful should do so as well, so that at least they’re present there.

Somebody once said to me: ‘Father, you tell me to go to church. But you can’t imagine how many bad thoughts, how many revolting things I have inside me’.  I know people are very different. But I also know that, if you don’t go to the place where there’s the gift of the grace of God, you won’t be able to receive the grace of God. So, go as you are, no matter how horrible your thoughts are, however base they may be. Because that’s the only way that the time will come when your mind will clear and you won’t have such dirty thoughts within you.

***

Attendance at divine services is a training, a kind of schooling. It was only when I’d completed my studies at the Theological School that I realized the treasures that there are in the services.

Source: pemptousia.com

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    Pemptousia and OCN have entered a strategic partnership to bring Orthodoxy Worldwide. Greek philosophers from Ionia considered held that there were four elements or essences (ousies) in nature: earth, water, fire and air. Aristotle added ether to this foursome, which would make it the fifth (pempto) essence, pemptousia, or quintessence. The incarnation of God the Word found fertile ground in man’s proclivity to beauty, to goodness, to truth and to the eternal. Orthodoxy has not functioned as some religion or sect. It was not the movement of the human spirit towards God but the revelation of the true God, Jesus Christ, to man. A basic precept of Orthodoxy is that of the person ­– the personhood of God and of man. Orthodoxy is not a religious philosophy or way of thinking but revelation and life standing on the foundations of divine experience; it is the transcendence of the created and the intimacy of the Uncreated. Orthodox theology is drawn to genuine beauty; it is the theology of the One “fairer than the sons of men”. So in "Pemptousia", we just want to declare this "fifth essence", the divine beaut in our life. Please note, not all Pemptousia articles have bylines. If the author is known, he or she is listed in the article above.


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Pemptousia Partnership

Pemptousia and OCN have entered a strategic partnership to bring Orthodoxy Worldwide. Greek philosophers from Ionia considered held that there were four elements or essences (ousies) in nature: earth, water, fire and air. Aristotle added ether to this foursome, which would make it the fifth (pempto) essence, pemptousia, or quintessence. The incarnation of God the Word found fertile ground in man’s proclivity to beauty, to goodness, to truth and to the eternal. Orthodoxy has not functioned as some religion or sect. It was not the movement of the human spirit towards God but the revelation of the true God, Jesus Christ, to man. A basic precept of Orthodoxy is that of the person ­– the personhood of God and of man. Orthodoxy is not a religious philosophy or way of thinking but revelation and life standing on the foundations of divine experience; it is the transcendence of the created and the intimacy of the Uncreated. Orthodox theology is drawn to genuine beauty; it is the theology of the One “fairer than the sons of men”. So in "Pemptousia", we just want to declare this "fifth essence", the divine beaut in our life. Please note, not all Pemptousia articles have bylines. If the author is known, he or she is listed in the article above.

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