Selected Sayings of Saint Anthony of Optina

Saint Sophia Cathedral
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Topic of the Week: Selected Saying of Saint Anthony of Optina

The World

The affairs of the world are so numerous that they could hardly be completed in a hundred years, and so important that they will not allow any kind of delayTo our misfortune, only God-pleasing works can be set aside without fear, some until morning, some until next year, and some even until old age, for which reason it often happens that they remain unfulfilled. I sincerely sympathize but cannot help in any way.

Can you place your hope in the world? Whom has it not deceived? To whom has it not lied? It promises much, but gives very little. Only those who hope in the Lord, according to the words of the Prophet David, do not sin, i.e., they are not deceived in their hope!”

Excerpted from The Joy of Remembering God: Selected Sayings of St. Anthony of Optina



If you want to find consolation amid sorrows, with your heart quickly turn to the Lord, the One Comforter. Try yourself, according to the word of God, i.e., repent, correct yourself, believe in Jesus Christ with your heart and soul and flee to Him, as your only Savior. The more you pray to God in time of sorrow, the sooner you will feel sweet consolation.

That life goes on without sorrow—what can you do? For there has never been a person on earth so fortunate that has spent his whole life without sorrows and without tears, since we live not in the Kingdom of Heaven but in the valley of tears. But there is hope that they who sow with tears will reap with joy. Therefore cast your sorrows on the Lord and He will nourish you.

I advise you to cheer up with prayer, even if it is brief, and the trust that, just as after winter and severe bad weather, pleasant springtime arrives, so also after boredom pleasant delights quickly appear; and therefore console yourself with this hope.


Do not be confused because dark thoughts often trouble you, for dark thoughts, like autumn clouds, come one after another and darken everything. But then they pass and the sky remains clear and pleasant. And so our thoughts wander, they wander around the wide world, but the mind remains planted in its place, and then it is quiet, and the soul becomes joyful. But our mind, from wandering here and there, becomes accustomed to the brief but often repeated prayer of Jesus, which may God grant you the habit of saying, and then your days will be bright.



There is joy in frequent remembrance of God, as it is written: I remembered God and I was gladdened (Ps. 76:4).

Middle School:


I ask you to pray for those who have offended you, saying: “O Lord, Who lovest mankind, forgive those who hate us and offend us, Thy servants (their names), for they know not what they do, and warm their heart to love us unworthy ones.”


The Holy Church cries out: fasting is not avoiding food, but putting away all evil, controlling the tongue from idle talking and gossip, forbearing from anger, and abstaining from lust, falsehood, and flattery. Whoever fasts in this way, his fast is pleasing to God.

High School:


When a man acquires a courageous spirit, then in times of all infirmities and physical ailments he can be peaceful and content with his situation.

What can you do? For the Lord has already established that our temporary life will not pass without sorrows, and it is said, “Always be mindful of your sickness and be sorrowful in your heart.” But what is more amazing is that not one holy man, no matter how holy and perfect he may have been, did not pass his life without having to endure something—and this so that man be not puffed up with pride. And if the saints endured, how much must we endure!

Bodily illness is sent to man from God not always as punishment for sin, but sometimes through His kindness for freeing or preserving us from spiritual sicknesses, which are incomparably more dangerous than physical ones.

Fortitude of Spirit

Your spirit should not grow weary, but should become warm from spiritual reading, from it should come thoughts about eternity, and from prayer, even though it may be brief. Say to the Lord: “Gather my scattered mind, O Lord and humble my hardened heart with fear of Thee, and have mercy on me!” For without Divine help we are powerless; we cannot even deal with pesky flies, must less invisible enemies.

A Message from Maria Spanos

I am passionate about our Orthodox Christian faith and seek to help others learn as much as they can about it. My purpose here is to share online resources that help strengthen our relationship with Christ and bind us closer to His Church. I believe they are invaluable in learning about our precious Orthodox Tradition, and are a great aid for teaching family members, friends and others about Orthodoxy. ~Maria

Two of my favorite quotes:

“A true Christian behaves in this life so that it may be a preparation for the future one and not only a life here below. In his actions, he does not think what will be said of him here but of what will be said there in heaven; he represents to himself that he is always in the presence of God, of the angels and all the saints, and remembers that someday they will bear witness of his thoughts, words, and deeds.”  — Saint John of Kronstadt


Of all the holy works, the education of children is the most holy.”
— St. Theophan the Recluse