Archimandrite Varnavas Lambropoulos


‘If you don’t want to knead, you’ll spend ten days sifting flour’, that is, finding excuses for your laziness.

The [Greek] folk saying’s got it right. And if that’s true for the genuinely tiring task of kneading bread, how much more so is it of the ‘heavy lifting’ of the acquisition of the virtues.

In the New Testament, there’s an epistle by Saint James, addressed to all Christians. If you haven’t read it carefully, you’re doing yourself a disservice. It contains all the teaching of the Apostle in brief. Though it’s short, it demonstrates the capacity of his heart.

The epistle begins with an exhortation which shows the depth of experience he has in the struggle for salvation. It’s an appeal which sounds very strange to the ears of people today, whose sole concern seems to be their comfort and pleasure. That is to say, it suits them to find excuses all the time to avoid starting on the serious task of saving their soul.

Saint James says: ‘Whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect’ [Jas. 2-4].

In other words, the holy Apostle is saying: ‘Accept the trials that God allows to befall you as blessings. Not as a curse. Accept them as an opportunity to train. To work out. To broaden your shoulders and add muscle to your arms. Accept them as solid food that will help you to bulk up spiritually. To mature. To become firm in the true faith. And to be adorned with the crowns of bravery and patience. To fan the flame of your relationship with Christ and deepen it.

A little further, Saint James removes another excuse which is very fashionable today. Many people say: ‘Sin’s natural’. To put it differently, God Himself is the cause of many of our temptations.

No, says Saint James. God doesn’t tempt anybody, nor is He tempted by anyone. Each of us is led into temptation by our own desire. This is what deceives and seduces us. And it’s this desire that begets sin, which brings with it death.

In other words, Saint James tells us: ‘Don’t look for the cause of sin outside yourself. It’s you yourself and your passions which are the main causes of your afflictions. Your only hope of becoming free of sin and the death it brings is to fight against your wicked self and your passions’.





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OCN has partnered with Pemptousia. A Contemporary post-modern man does not understand what man is.  Through its presence in the internet world, Pemptousia, with its spirit of respect for beauty that characterizes it, wishes to contribute to the presentation of a better meaning of life for man, to the search for the ontological dimension of man, and to the awareness of the unfathomable mystery of man who is always in Christ in the process of becoming, of man who is in the image of divine beauty. And the beauty of man springs from the beauty of the Triune God. In the end, “beauty will save the world”.


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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