Sophrony (Sakharov)

Russian monk, theologian and writer

Saint Sophrony (23 September 1896 – 11 July 1993) was an archimandrite and one of the noted ascetic Christian monks of the twentieth century.

Sophrony Sakharov (1976)



Saint Silouan the Athonite (1991)

as translated by Rosemary Edmonds
  • Most people neither hear nor understand God speaking in their hearts: they listen to the urging of passion, which inhabits the soul and with its clamour drowns the still small voice of God.
    • p. 79
  • No sin is unforgivable except the sin that is not repented of.
    • p. 83
  • There are known instances when Blessed Staretz Silouan in prayer beheld something remote as though it were happening close by; when he saw into someone's future, or when profound secrets of the human soul were revealed to him. There are many people still alive who can bear witness to this in their own case but he himself never aspired to it and never accorded much significance to it. His soul was totally engulfed in compassion for the world. He concentrated himself utterly on prayer for the world, and in his spiritual life prized this love above all else.
    • p. 228
  • In my young days ... I had been attracted to the idea of pure creativity, taking the form of abstract art. ... I derived ideas for my abstract studies from life around me. I would look at a man, a house, a plant, at intricate machinery, extravagant shadowscapes on walls or ceilings, at quivering bonfire flames, and would compose them into abstract pictures, creating in my imagination visions that were not like actual reality. ... Fortunately I soon realised that it was not given to me, a human being, to create from 'nothing', in the way only God can create. I realised that everything that I created was conditioned by what was already in existence. I could not invent a new colour or line that had never existed anywhere before. An abstract picture is like a string of words, beautiful and sonorous in themselves, perhaps, but never expressing a complete thought ...
    • Preface


  • "No one on this earth can avoid affliction; and although the afflictions which the Lord sends are not great men imagine them beyond their strength and are crushed by them. This is because they will not humble their souls and commit themselves to the will of God. But the Lord Himself guides with His grace those who are given over to God's will, and they bear all things with fortitude for the sake of God Whom they have so loved and with Whom they are glorified for ever. It is impossible to escape tribulation in this world but the man who is given over to the will of God bears tribulation easily, seeing it but putting his trust in the Lord, and so his tribulations pass."
  • "There are three things I cannot take in: nondogmatic faith, nonecclesiological Christianity and nonascetic Christianity. These three - the church, dogma, and asceticism - constitute one single life for me."
    • Letter to D. Balfour, August 21, 1945.
  • "If one rejects the Orthodox creed and the eastern ascetic experience of life in Christ, which has been acquired throughout the centuries, then Orthodox culture would be left with nothing but the Greek minor [key] and Russian tetraphony."
    • Letter to D. Balfour.
  • Stand on the edge of the abyss and when you feel that it is beyond your strength, break off and have a cup of tea."


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