A society in which consumption has to be artificially stimulated in order to keep production going is a society founded upon trash and waste, and such a society is a house built on sand.

- Dorothy Sayers

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Wise Words from a Saint's Father

I recently ran across this account by St. Siluoan, the 20th century Russian Athonite saint, of advice given him by his natural father. It seemed like particularly appropriate advice to post in this blog on Orthodoxy and Eco-Justice. I grow ever more convinced that we will not make any headway on the issue of how to repair the damage the technological civilization we have embraced has done to the environment, nor will we be able to dedicate ourselves wholeheartedly to the aid and defense of the indigent of the world until we can adopt such an attitude towards what the saint calls "worldly goods" whose "losses are a small matter":

Let us not be distressed over the loss of worldly goods, such losses are a small matter. My own father taught me this early in life. When some misfortune happened at home, he would remain serene. When our house caught fire and the neighbors said, ‘Ivan Petrovich, your house is burnt down!’ he replied, ‘With God’s help I’ll build it up again.’ Once we were walking along the side of our field, and I said, ‘Look, they’re stealing our sheaves!’ ‘Aye, son,’ he answered me, ‘the Lord has given us corn and to spare, so if anyone steals it, it means he’s in want.’ Another day I said to him, ‘You give a lot away to charity, while some who are better off than we are give far less.’ To which he replied, ‘Aye, son, the Lord will provide.’ And the Lord did not confound his hope.

- From St. Silouan of Mount Athos


  1. St. Silouan was a Russian who went to live as a monk on Mount Athos in Greece and became one of the greatest elders of the 20th century Orthodox Church. He was recently glorified as a saint.

  2. Fr. Cassian

    Great blog! I am a fellow Orthodox also doing research/interests in Orthodoxy/ecology/theology.

    St Silouan is one of the reasons I became Orthodox (I had read far too much Anabaptist literature and St Silouan was the Saint I needed to read (not hymns to Constantine (still working that one out)). The monastery in Essex is a God send also!

    Keep up this blog! I will be following!

  3. Maximus Daniel,

    Thank you for your kind comments. I have been rather busy the last couple of weeks but I will be posting more soon...keep checking back.