Today, July 19. 2015 marks the 4th anniversary of the falling asleep in the Lord of the revered elder Archimandrite Arsenie (Papacioc). The twentieth century saw unspeakable persecutions against the Church in Romania, but as is always the case, the Church is made stronger in adversity. "The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church," and thus the twentieth century also saw great sanctity in the Romanian Orthodox Church. Several world-renowned elders rose up in the Romanian land, including Elder Cleopa (Ilie), Elder Arsenie (Boca), Elder Justin (Parvu), and Elder Arsenie (Papacioc), among others. Laboring in asceticism in secluded Romanian forests and in prisons, Elder Arsenie learned the fine art of true theology—that is, true prayer, and the war against the sinful passions. His counsels are down-to-earth yet profound, and thus many are drawn to his example, both in Romania and around the world. In honor of the repose of this modern-day elder, we offer a video of the elder, giving a word on humility, suffering, and sacrifice, all of which he knew first-hand, followed by a compilation of his sayings on various soul-profiting topics.
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Watch more videos of Elder Arsenie here
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Elder Arsenie (Papacioc) of Romania, blessed memory, was part of the great generation of confessors for Christ that had suffered much while imprisoned for their faith under the atheist [communist] regime of the east. His words, not academic but rather simple, down to earth, have great authority as they are spoken from an experience of suffering and with a burning love for everyone.
The humble man never acknowledges himself as such ... for he would not be humble!
Humility is the only power that can free the human soul and the nations.
There is only one way to follow: humility!
Christ was humble, then who are we not to be …?
Do you wish to overcome evil: humble yourself and do not judge. Then, you will be free.
Humility leads you to God, but love tastes God!
Humble yourself for Grace to abound in you.
Humility is the blood of life. One cannot be saved without it.
Man can never say “I am humble!”
Humility is the art of descending into yourself and remaining there.
Sometimes grace abandons you, so you may humble yourself before God!
Wherever you are, and whenever you’re tempted, pray and do not be discouraged!
Anyone who wants to acquire the gift of prayer must keep silent and pray.
We speak so much about prayer. It's the one thing that cannot be discussed but practiced.
A deep silence is a deep prayer. And a deep prayer is like a deep silence.
Every moment is a time [in eternity] and every sigh can become a prayer.
We must not cease to pray, even with the mind.
If you pray, you are always present in you.
On Worldly Wisdom
It’s hard for the intellectual to live a life of prayer.
God is not revealed to the sharp mind, but to the humble pure heart that is constantly open to Him.
The philosophers have only created some notions, but they did not solve any problem.
Intelligence and education have no value if they are not in the service of love.
On the Church
Salvation exists only in Christ and His Orthodox Church.
If you are Orthodox, you ought to hold tight to its teachings, if not you’ll fall into heresy.
We cannot renounce even an iota from the Orthodox truth. This is a great matter that concerns God. Such it was with the fall of Catholicism! Personally, I no longer consider it a church, but a governmental body with a clerical name.
To the devil we don’t need to give explanations!
We cannot talk about the devil without speaking about God. In God’ creation the devil is tolerated.
Do you believe that the devil is free? No! He’s the most bound for he is not in Christ … So do not be afraid of him. He is tolerated, not a power.
It is a great mistake to enter into conversation with the devil. We ought to converse only with God.
If you want to drive him away, say: “Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me,” and speak to God. The power of His Name will rid you of him. It suits the devil to enter into a dialogue for it means that you acknowledge him. Thus through prayer we ignore him.
If we first address the issue of hell, then we ignore heaven!
Walking on a wrong path—sinning means hell.
Pride is a devilish state, an absolutely diabolical one.
No other passion brings man closer to the devil’ resemblance than does pride.
If you do not listen to those whom God has appointed for you, it is easily understood that you would rather obey Satan.
Lucifer fell hopelessly. The greatest fall, and with only two words: “I am” …
Indirectly, the devil confesses God through temptations.
There is no relationship between good and evil. Our Savior says, “Give Me your whole heart!” But the devil says, “I only need one of your fingers.” But through it, soon he’ll take over your whole being. The whole you.
Sin brings humility. So it is understood that the devil plays an indirect “role” in our salvation for he reveals our infirmities, and by this helps us to grow. If he would realize how much help he is to our salvation he would trouble us less…
Whatever may be the reason for your sorrow, it’s only from demons. The grace of God doesn’t come where there is grief or sadness because you would not know what to do with it and would waste it.
No philosophical word can explain monasticism.
The monastic life is… an entry into paradise.
It’s no small thing to serve Christ and His Pure Mother your whole life!
If we give ourselves up to God He will not abandon us!
Monks are not perfect but they are in the making.
The cross of the monk is cutting off his own will, to give up what he likes, to carry what is not convenient.
The cenobitic [communal] life of renouncing your will is a great work in God’s creation.
Cutting off his will should be the main focus of the monk, and not solitude, where he can do what he wants, and not to receive a reward. If you evade obedience you’ve strayed and cannot grow.
If you do not obey your spiritual elder you’ll be enslaved!
The state of disobedience is diabolic.
Wherever you are, keep vigilant then you’ll live like in the desert … You need to know how to live as a hermit, while [physically] being in the midst of the world!
We cannot talk about hesychasm having cakes on the table.
There is no hermitage if you do not carry the pain of the [whole] world in your heart!
Renouncing the world can also take place in the soul of the layman. The Holy Scripture applies to everyone. The entire world received the Commandments.
On the Monastic Life
Entrance into a monastery is an entrance into heaven, and leaving the monastery is leaving paradise.
No school can compare to monastic training!
In the monastery one is separated from his human personality to enter into the angelic reign. It means that by losing yourself you are awakened.
If one wishes to embrace the monastic life you cannot do it for the sake of the monastery; but you ought to become “the monastery!”
There is no grace without the abbot’s blessing … if I have a joy at my age , it is because I did not do one thing without a blessing.
Satan hates monasteries the most. He is able to engage the whole world against you, not to enter the monastery. When you decide to go, do not look back!
One cannot enter a monastery for any other reason than the spiritual … Only after you have died to yourself, then come to the monastery.
It is no small or insignificant thing to live in a monastery confident in your purpose and without murmuring.
On Charity/ Mercy
With God there is no past evil where there is a good present.
When God forgaives you it means He forgives you for eternity.
God keeps us not because we are worthy, but because He is very merciful.
My brothers, do not ignore a begging hand, or one that offers help.
Charity is not only to give something. It means to accept the man sitting next to you, without casting him out of your mind.
In having pity on others we show our likeness to Christ.
The beggar stretches out his hand not to ask, but to give you the kingdom of heaven, and you do not notice!
Let's remember, my brothers: beggars are biblical characters!
Do you want to get rich? Give everything you have! And you’ll receive a hundredfold!
Man doesn’t account much when he receives, yet he remembers when he gives.
Learn to live not only for yourself, but to live for all who are with you.
The mercy of God does not abolish hell [judgment].
Lets be attentive for love is the criteria of [the last] judgment!
When Christ asked us to love He also gave us the strength to do it.
We should love our pain [sorrow] and those that caused it.
You are free and have the possibility to climb [grow] if you do not hate.
Our hearts must always be free for Christ.
This world is not evil; we are at fault for we do not know to love.
Hatred of your neighbor is the most devilish work.
If you would try to love people as you love Christ then you’ll no longer see the wrongs of your neighbor.
Know that love for enemies is a commandment. We ought to bear them in our heart.
One question is justified, and let us all ask ourselves: “Do I love or I do not…?”—for it’s a commandment, my brother! Do not think that our Savior spoke only to the people of His time or to His apostles. No … He spoke for all men and for eternity.
Fathers, the great battle is to heal wounds, not to apply penances. We defile His sacrifice on Golgotha when we refuse to absolve those with grievous sins when they repent.
The Canons of the Church are a great guidance. But you are to use them with elasticity [economia].
It is said that deer will not run well for two reasons: when she is too fat, or when she is too weak. Too much asceticism can weaken someone, but also indifference and non-engaging can“fatten” a man.
Personally, I’m not for penances that require a lot of time and physical effort.
Penance means the possibility to repent, to commit that sin no more, to struggle not to fall again.
A good penance is to look at the penitent as at someone you love!
We need a … continuous state of love.
We must have “the need” to love. There is never someone near you by coincidence [in vain]. He is there, by God’s providence.
A spiritual father accounts for his child’s weakness.
Outside the Church, there is no salvation! Hell exists only outside the Church.
He who can do good but does not do it commits sin.
Only the devil cannot be saved.
Without God’s grace it is impossible to be saved only by your actions, no matter how great of an ascetic you may be.
It is the Cross that saved mankind! Not God’s justice or His miracles, but His Cross! When Jesus was crucified, Satan was defeated.
I do not see how fasting alone can give us hope for salvation. Humility rooted deeply in our hearts and freedom from resentments are our hope for salvation.
What we’re asking for first is the will to overcome temptations. And by praying to God, His grace will not abandon us.
Heaven is full of repentant sinners.
We ought to strive for the world to be saved, with everything we’ve got, so every day we may gain eternity. That’s our ideal.
Our Saviour was not crucified only for a “category” of sins, but for everything that means sin on earth. And He gave everyone the strength to avoid hell, yet He descended into hell. And those in hell He also loves. But they are whipped by His love, by His justice. And what did Christ not do to save us from hell?
Fear of death is not caused by death but by life. If you want to not fear death, live as a Christian! Only those who don’t live in Christ, fear death!
Man, in his foolish pride and suffering, wants all of heaven in a moment!
There is no sense or purpose if there is no God.
We too can overcome the world, not by our power but by His.
Nothing is lost as long as our faith is alive!
Life it is too precious to be spent in vanity.
On Marriage and Family
When we say during the prayers of the Holy Sacrament of Marriage that the woman shall be subject to her husband, the husband must also take heed when he is told in the same prayer that he must love her. If he does not love her she will not obey him. Man, by not listening to this word, becomes responsible for the woman’s stubbornness. The woman must also not forget that this obedience is her way to salvation. And if the man is the head [of the family] then the woman is the heart, and this heart is made by God that He may find rest in it!
Nothing is better than a good [hearted] woman and nothing is worse than a fallen woman. So husbands, you must labor with all your power to transfigure her.
Love joins everything in a couple. This is the symbolism of the wedding ring.
A marriage done just for pleasure has no meaning. Marriage means reaching together into eternity.
It is the married woman that gives birth raises and educates a child.
We cannot by an means accept that a woman will have an abortion … It’s a grave matter for she will murder an unbaptized person. We must always ask ourselves what Christ would’ve done in this case?
Family remains the best instructor.
On the Holy Eucharist
The man that prepares can commune often, but he must be given a time for repentance first. For indeed who is that is prepared for such a wonder?
Some neglect the mystery of confession and use it just as a pretext to commune.
On Christian Suffering
My dear, suffering is a gift from God!
The mission of Christ on earth was to save the world through suffering, so suffering brings much humility.
It is a mistake to run from your own suffering. You are truly free only when you are struggling, when you are present on the Cross.
Suffering brings deep wisdom and makes you reflect more seriously on your salvation.
A question arises: how is our heart responding to the suffering around us? The greatest thing we’ll be asked at the last judgment is why have we not paid more attention to our neighbor?
On the sin of homosexuality
God punished it by fire! (Genesis 19: 24-25). It is the most grievous sin! It is said that this sin hastens the End!
I mean such sins will bring judgment sooner over the world. Save yourself my brother, for many are falling… It’s the word of the Holy Fathers that this very serious sin, of sodomy (homosexuality), brings swift Judgment … We are now in an advanced stage, as the West has already officially accepted sodomy [same-sex marriages]!
I’m not sad that I’m an old man! I do nothing for myself. Everything that I do, I do it for God and for His children.
I’m not totally in favor of great asceticism. I lean more from great vigilance! For it is not asceticism [in itself] that God wants from us but our broken and humble hearts, His continuous presence in our lives.
I’ve experienced many things in life and have seen God’s wonders; “I saw the invisible God, I experienced Him!” Our world today strives to see only His contour; she wants to touch Him in a carnal form.
Lets get accustomed to the authority of the words of the Holy Scripture.
Peace is greater than justice.
There is nothing that Christ spoke that cannot be fulfilled.
Our life is our witness! And we ought to confess the Truth, wherever we are.
No matter where [who] we are, we’re all unprepared, and it’s only by God’s grace that we do the things that we do.
If you’re vengeful, you’ll be indebted to God. But if you resist evil then God “owns” you.
We must refute immediately all thoughts that come to mind, and they will come until our last breath.
God’s will not delay His help if we’ve purified our hearts.
Often, you compare yourself with the man you call evil! Why don’t you try comparing yourself to St. Peter and Paul, or with Saint Silouan the Athonite?
If you go to ask the advice of a bishop or of a man [abbot] of God, know that the answer will come from God, not from that bishop or abbot. If you complain about it, know that it is God that you slandered.
Elder Cleopa was a great father! A great chancellor with much knowledge! He created a spiritual era. He leaned more towards an ascetic work with strict fasting, prayers and tears of repentance; I’m more for watchfulness [awakening].
Believe in God, love the Church and follow the [spiritual] fathers of the Church. Walk through life on the path of humility. Acquire a good name near Christ. Persist more in prayer. You’ll be free only when you face with love those who hate you! Remain still in Christ for eternity …