What are the passions and which are the worst of them all?

What are the passions and which are the worst of them all?


Elder Joseph of Vatopaidi (+2009)


Created as God-like from the beginning, man would not accept anything irrational in his thoughts and in his life. All his thoughts and his motions were proper since they had been illuminated by the divine Grace. As soon as he was deceived and severed himself from the origin of consummate perfection, man’s personality was immediately crashed and his original ‘simplicity’ was followed by ‘complexity’. Thus the rational was replaced by the irrational. Ever since all the faculties of the human personality have been perverted, were in effect inclined towards the irrational and gave birth to passions. Man’s thoughts and deeds are not moved according to what is strictly “needed” but follow wicked intentions and habits in accordance with the prevailing passion.

Every thoughts and deeds of the irrational are and are called passions, because they do not operate in accordance with rational laws and “needs” but in accordance with unnatural urges, in which brutality and demonism reign.

The starting point of a passion is found in the irrational use of thoughts, which causes the practical abuse of things. This is the so called irrational “performance” (κατ’ ενέργειαν), which is the practical perversion, condemned not only by the divine but also by human justice. That’s why courts and prisons were established.

The great ‘giants’ of passions, as our Fathers describe them, are: love of pleasure, love of money and love of glory (or ambition). If these three passions reign in the soul, they produce three other tyrants worthy of them, which crash the forces of the soul and the mind: negligence, forgetfulness and ignorance. Whoever likes to study more intensively the law of perversion, let him study our books “Askesis, the mother of Sanctification” and “Lessons from Vatopedi.” (Note: translations into English for both books is forthcoming).

Source: pemptousia.com




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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”.

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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.