My Acquaintance with Elder Sophrony

Source: Orthodox Christian Network

Metropolitan Kallistos says that Elder Sophrony wanted his monastery to stay loyal to the tradition of Orthodoxy, but at the same time be open to the spirit of the world. He explains how monks in Essex Monastery practiced hospitality, and why Elder Sophrony wanted his monks be well-educated, so they could give proper guidance to those who asked for it. Metropolitan Kallistos also speaks about the life of prayer in the Monastery, and how monks and nuns live together.

He speaks about Elder Sophrony’s personal experience of “kenosis”, i.e. self-emptying, and his deep sensitivity, as well as his great sense of humour and joy. Metropolitan Kallisotos emphasizes the significance of this brotherhood in England, and of the importance of St Silouan the Athonite’s teachings on prayer.

See also
St. Silouan of Mt. Athos: “I have many sorrows of my own, and they are my own fault…” St. Silouan of Mt. Athos: “I have many sorrows of my own, and they are my own fault…”
Roman Savchuk
St. Silouan of Mt. Athos: “I have many sorrows of my own, and they are my own fault…” St. Silouan of Mt. Athos: “I have many sorrows of my own, and they are my own fault…”
Roman Savchuk
There are moments when it seems that circumstances are indeed beyond our power, when life breaks down and it’s painful even to look at the world around us. Reality is cruel, and the soul can truly become sick. And no one knows when sorrows will knock at doors of the heart. But we must know in that moment how to answer these unawaited guests…
St. Silouan the Athonite St. Silouan the Athonite St. Silouan the Athonite St. Silouan the Athonite
If you will pray for your enemies, peace will come to you; but when you can love your enemies - know that a great measure of the grace of God dwells in you, though I do not say perfect grace as yet, but sufficient for salvation. Whereas if you revile your enemies, it means there is an evil spirit living in you and bringing evil thoughts into your heart, for, in the words of the Lord, out of the heart proceed evil thoughts - or good thoughts.
On the Love of Enemies: the Teaching of St. Silouan On the Love of Enemies: the Teaching of St. Silouan
Jean-Claude Larchet
On the Love of Enemies: the Teaching of St. Silouan On the Love of Enemies: the Teaching of St. Silouan
Jean-Claude Larchet
Although it is natural and usual to love those who love us and to do good to those who do good to us, to love our enemies is distasteful to our nature. One can say that it isn’t in our power but is an attitude that can only be the fruit of grace, given by the Holy Spirit. This is why St. Silouan the Athonite writes, "The soul that has not known the Holy Spirit does not understand how one can love one’s enemies, and does not accept it."
Comments
Andreas Moran12/10/2014 11:03 am
Concerning Elder Sophrony, it should be noted that on the Russian version of this site, in a video posted 14 October 2014, Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol says that Elder Sophrony is the greatest saint of our times and is on the same level as St Gregory the Theologian and St Gregory Palamas. Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos holds the same opinion.
Andreas Moran12/9/2014 8:03 pm
It is unfortunate that Metropolitan Kallistos links S N Bulgakov with Elder Sophrony without mentioning the important differences between their theology. His Eminence gives the impression that Father Sophrony on his own related kenosis to the Holy Trinity but this idea can be traced to the writings of St Philaret of Moscow, and Father Sophrony's theology of kenosis in the Holy Trinity is very different from Bulgakov's. Father Sophrony's theology is undoubtedly Orthodox. For an explanation, reference may be made to the book by Father Sophrony's great nephew, Hieromonk Nicholas Sakharov called, 'I love therefore I am'.
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