Home Spiritual Mothers Lessons from the Saints: A Talk by Mother Chrysovalanti

Lessons from the Saints: A Talk by Mother Chrysovalanti

In this video, Mother Chrysovalanti recounts the teachings of saints such as St. John Chrysostom, St. Justin Popovic, St. Paisios, and others. She emphasizes the importance of genuine faith and the dangers of spiritual complacency, offering a heartfelt reflection on these profound lessons.

Video source: Ιερός Ναός Αγίου Δημητρίου Δήμου Αγίου Δημητρίου Watch the full interview here: https://youtu.be/xH56nY-Yybc
Church of Saint Dimitrios, Athens, Greece, October, 2023

Mother Chrysovalanti:

I’ll explain why I accepted [the invitation] to come, after I cite some opinions of the saints. St. John Chrysostom was speaking really nice; he is the greatest rhetor of our Church. The people were clapping hands [when listening to him] out of their enthusiasm, and he says to them, “I don’t want you to clap hands. I want you to apply what I say. Because if we die and I go to paradise — if I go to paradise — and you don’t apply [what I say], end up in hell, do you know what you’ll do to me? You’ll spit on me in the next life! And you’ll say to me: ‘Why didn’t you tie us so that we did what you said and not end up in hell?’ That’s why we must help one another. Because sometimes we think that we’re doing well and if we listen to something [disturbing for the progress our spiritual life, we get irritated].”

Going on, St. Justin Popovic says, “Give up everything for Christ; do not give up Christ for anything!” Something we modern Christians do often. In 1978, St. Paisios visited some women monasteries and told us the following: “The era of pure people who dedicate themselves to Christ is coming to an end. From now on, from the day children are born, it is the devil that will teach them and they’ll learn about everything except for God. For this reason, unless you, monastics and Christian [laypeople] aren’t right and people, tired of sin, don’t find something beautiful, something better, then they are lost… Neither devil will satisfy them, nor will they be able to find something good. Thus, we, Christians, have a responsibility!”

Fr. Atanasije Jevtić of Serbia used to tell us, “We are responsible to the last idolater.” Because if we are right and holy, both with our example and our prayer, we affect some people. In addition, St. Iakovos [Tsalikis] who was our spiritual father. We visited him a month before he reposed. The brothers [i.e. monks of the monastery of St. David in Evia] told us, “Please, say something to him.” “We get him food and he throws it outside the window to the birds.” “He can’t survive like that.” So, I told him, “Geronda, we need you, why do you do that? Why don’t you eat the food the Fathers get you? Even a bit…” [St. Iakovos]: My child, I want to die. With the sorrow that we say, “I want to live,” he said, “I want to die.” “Why, my Geronda, do you want to die? So many people are helped by you.” [St. Iakovos]: My child, I cannot listen to [people] sinning anymore. From clergy to laity. Have we not understood that God is our Father and we shouldn’t hurt Him. I can no longer listen to people sinning. Because, for St. Iakovos, God was something greatly loved. He was thinking about Him the whole day. Whatever God said is what he did.

While we “dirty” them, St. Paisios used to say. [St. Paisios]: What would you say if you were cooking an egg yolk and a bird came and left a dropping in it? He dirtied it. You wouldn’t eat it. This is the religion we, modern Christians, practice. A bit from here, a bit from there and so on [i.e. we make compromises with our faith]. St. Paisios — I was really impressed by this — one day saw Christ Himself. As soon as he saw Him, said spontaneously, “Is this the face we spit on? Is this the face we don’t listen to and spit on with our sins?” That’s how the saints felt with God. Do we feel like that? Let’s do our self-criticism through examples [of right Orthodox life given during this speech] and let each one correct [himself] as he sees fit.


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