Fr. Rafail, disciple of Archimandrite Sophrony of Essex, talks about the reality of spiritual fatherhood in Orthodox Christianity.
Fr. Rafail Noica:
Later on, when I finally moved to the monastery and lived there, I used to tell people that actually I was born when I met Father Sophrony [Sakharov].
When I was born, I was already 20 years old. I saw all my previous life as darkness and blind search.
Several years later a click happened in my mind (I use this word again) and I realized that I used to say something theologically correct. St. Paul tells the Corinthians: “For though you have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have you not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you…” [1 Corinthians 4:15]. When I understood that what I was saying was theologically grounded, I realized that spiritual fatherhood and spiritual birth are a reality. It is not a symbol. I can not say a “physical” one, but it is a “real” reality… It is a reality. A reality even stronger than the physical one, though not palpable.