Confessing before Father Paisie Olaru

I, too, met Father Paisie Olaru, during my pilgrimages to Sihăstria Monastery and the Sihla Skete, together with my schoolmates and above all, with regretted Father and Professor Constantin Galeriu, such a brilliant guide in searching and discovering spiritual treasures.

During my studies at the School of Theology in Bucharest, being advised by experts to read the sacred texts in their original language and in my effort to acquire as many languages as possible, at one point I got to an acute existential crisis, one that made me question the meaning of my life. Tired, confused, I decided to do a complete confession (starting with my childhood) before the worthiest Spiritual Father I have ever met, Father Paisie Olaru.

In one of my personal discussions with Father Archimandrite Nicodim Sachelarie, he said: “Father Paisie and Father Cleopa are true monks and great spiritual confessor fathers. Many others would do well to find something else to do.”

So I bought train tickets in Bucharest, to go to Moldavia. Although I rushed to catch the train, I missed it. Annoyed by the incident and full of impatience, I returned to the ticket desk and decided to take the next train that was leaving Bucharest, even if I had to tour around the entire Romania. So I took the next train, which followed the route Brasov – Ciceu – Onesti – Adjud – Bacău – Piatra-Neamt, then I took the bus. I walked all the way up from Agapia to Sihla. I had written down several letter-sized pages, in tiny handwriting, in order to make a confession that would be as detailed as possible before the holy man. Continue reading

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On Fasting

Mother Arsenya of Russia

As to fasting and its importance, Mother Arsenya used to say: “Many learned people of our times say that fasting and all the other churchly rules are just some empty rituals, a mere appearance that leads to nothing. For my part, the more my life passes on, the more I am convinced that all the rules that have been established by the Holy Fathers are the greatest gift that God has given us and that they all bring salvation due to the Grace that lies in them. Scholars say: «All of these are trifles; it is the truths of the Gospels that matter.»

Yet I am telling you that it is impossible to know and gain an insight into the truths of the Gospels directly, by avoiding the rules of the Church and neglecting them. It is only through them that we are led to the high truths of Christ’s teachings. When we talk about fasting, we talk about refraining from eating much and from doing anything that lacks measure, in order to render our bodies lighter, thinner, and apt for spiritual feelings.

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Do Animals Have A Soul?

By Cornel Dragoş

If I say there are other creatures of God, [what I mean is that] some are less wonderful than the soul, and others are like the soul. An animal’s soul, for example, is less wonderful than a man’s soul, and that of an angel is just as wonderful: yet nothing is better than the soul itself. And if at a certain instance, none of these is better, that is the consequence of the sin that that soul has committed and has nothing to do with its nature. However, sin will not pull man down to the point where an animal’s soul would be preferred over the former’s one or even compared with it.”

These surprising words by St. Augustin point out the greatness of human soul compared to that of the non-speaking beings. Yet, what kind of soul do animals have? A nuanced answer by the Holy Fathers in what follows herein…

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