Own understanding

The wise Solomon says in the Proverbs (Prov. 11:14), They that have no guidance fall like leaves, but in much counsel there is safety. Do you see O brethren, the power of this expression? Do you see what the Holy Scriptures teaches us? It exhorts us not to trust in ourselves, not to consider ourselves intelligent, not to believe that we are able to govern ourselves; for we have need of help, we have need of those who instruct us according to God. There are no people more unfortunate and closer to perdition than those who do not have an instructor in God's path. For what does this expression mean:

Chris is Risen!

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life.


Forestalling the dawn, the women came with Mary, and found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre, and heard from the angel: Why seek ye among the dead, as though He were mortal, Him Who liveth in everlasting light? Behold the grave-clothes. Go quickly and proclaim to the world that the Lord is risen and hath slain death. For He is the Son of God Who saveth mankind.

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Thou didst descend into the tomb, O Immortal, Thou didst destroy the power of death. In victory didst Thou arise, O Christ God, proclaiming “Rejoice!” to the myrrh-bearing women; granting peace to Thine apostles, and bestowing resurrection on the fallen.

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The angel cried unto her that is full of grace: Rejoice, O pure Virgin! And again I say, rejoice!  For thy Son is risen from the grave on the third day, and hath raised the dead, O ye people, be joyful!

Shine, shine, O new Jerusalem, for the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee; dance now and be glad, O Zion, and do thou exult, O pure Theotokos, in the arising of Him Whom thou didst bear.

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Come let us worship God the Word,
Who was born of the Father before the ages, and was incarnate of the Virgin Mary;
for having endured the Cross, He gave Himself over to burial, as He Himself willed, and having risen from the dead, He saved me, the man who hath gone astray.

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Christ our Savior, having nailed to the Cross the handwriting against us, blotted it out, and abolished the dominion of death; we worship His Resurrection on the third day.

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With the archangels let us sing praises to the Resurrection of Christ, for He is the Redeemer and Savior of our souls; and in fearful glory and mighty power, He is coming again to judge the world, which He hath fashioned.

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Thee, the Crucified and buried, did the angel proclaim to be Master, and He said unto the women:
Come, see where the Lord lay, for He is risen, as He said, for He is Almighty.
Wherefore, we bow down before Thee, who alone art Immortal; O Christ, Giver of life, have mercy on us.

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By Thy Cross Thou didst abolish the curse of the tree; by Thy burial Thou hast slain the dominion of death; and by Thine arising hast Thou enlightened the race of man.
Therefore, we cry out to Thee: O Benefactor, Christ our God, glory be to Thee.

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Out of fear the gates of death were opened unto Thee, O Lord, and the gatekeepers of hades, having beheld Thee, were afraid; for Thou didst shatter the brazen gates, and didst break the iron bars, and thou didst lead us out of the darkness and the shadow of death, and didst burst our bonds asunder.

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Sin it is to judge one's neighbor

 If we would remember, O brethren, the words of the holy elders, if we would always study them, we would not so easily give ourselves over to carelessness over ourselves. For if, as they have said, we were not careless concerning small things and what seems to us insignificant, we would not fall into what is great and serious. I always say to you that from these insignificant sins, from the fact that we say, "What importance is there in this or in that," is formed in the soul an evil habit, and a man begins to be careless about great things. Do you know what a serious sin it is to judge one's neighbor?

Do not be careless until your last breath

When I had an ailment of the legs which caused me great pain, certain of the brethren who had come to visit me asked me to tell them the reason for my affliction, having as I think a dual purpose: to comfort me a little and draw my thoughts away from my ailment, and to give me an opportunity to converse with them a little on something profitable. But since my affliction did not allow me at that time to tell them what they wished, you must now listen to this: for the account of sorrow is pleasant after the sorrow has passed. So also on the sea, when a storm arises, everyone who is in the boat is worried; but when the storm passes everyone joyfully and animatedly talks with each other about what just happened. It is good O brethren, as I always tell you

Conscience

When God created man He sowed in him something divine, a certain thought which has in itself, like a spark, both light and warmth; a thought which enlightens the mind and indicates to it what is good and what is evil—this is called conscience, and it is a natural law. This is that well which, as the Holy Fathers interpret it, Isaac dug and the Philistines covered up (Gen. 26:18). Following this law, that is, conscience, the Patriarchs and all the saints pleased God before the written Law. But when men through the fall of sin buried and trampled upon it, then the written Law became necessary, the Holy Prophets became necessary, the very Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ became necessary in order to reveal and move it (the conscience)—in order that this buried spark might again be ignited by the keeping of His Holy Commandments.

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"As the Prophets saw, as the Apostles taught, as the Church has received, as the Teachers express in dogma, as the inhabited world understands together with them, as grace illumines, as the truth makes clear, as error has been banished, as wisdom makes bold to declare, as Christ has assured, so we think, so we speak, so we preach, honoring Christ our true God, and his Saints, in words, in writings, in thoughts, in sacrifices, in churches, in icons, worshiping and revering the One as God and Lord, and honoring them because of their common Lord as those who are close to him and serve him, and making to them relative veneration. This is the faith of the Apostles; this is the faith of the Fathers; this is the faith of the Orthodox; this faith makes fast the inhabited world."
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