Orthodox Elders and Spiritual Fathers
Fr. Paisie Olaru
We are fascinated with holiness, Holy people and places. We are interested in knowing about the
Saints of the church, and we pray to them to intercede for us, particularly for our salvation. [...]
Many of us are lucky enough to have met Holy people. I consider myself lucky, since I have met a few.
First, there was Fr. Teofil, the blind monk from a
monastery in Romania, who is acknowledged and respected by the whole of Romania as a spiritual father
and Holy man. I was also blessed to have known Fr. Arsenie
Boca, who advised me during my youth. He rests now with the saints in Heaven. [...]
This same feeling took hold of me on a recent trip to Romania, when I had the chance to visit a
small wooden church built in 1575. The door to the church was small, and to enter the church, I had to
bend to a posture of humility.
While inside saying a prayer, the feeling of holiness overcame me. I could just imagine the many souls
who in the duration of so many years prayed and glorified God in this jewel of a church.
Similarly, when I entered the monastery of Sāmbata de Sus, recently rebuilt to replace the old one
destroyed many years ago, the grandeur of this monastery could not be described: the feeling of piety
that I felt in this Holy place cannot be compared.
But holiness is not only to be observed, felt or studied. To fully understand holiness, one has to
experience it. To know holiness, we have to live it - we must become Holy. Even though God has made
us in his image and has thereby given us the potentiality to become part of His holiness, attaining
it is not an easy task. [...]
And so, we should strive to obtain the likeness of God, which consists of holiness, among other virtues.
The likeness of God is the scope for which we continually attempt to reach. By having a living faith
and collaborating with the Grace of God, we can spiritually develop the image of God within us, until
we attain this likeness of God. The likeness of God is indeed the aim of our salvation, which will give
us this state of holiness. Acquiring holiness is therefore a life-long process, in which one continually
accepts change, striving for the stature of a "perfect man" in Christ.
Archbishop Dmitri of Dallas, the Diocese of the South, writes: "Once a person has come to faith in
Christ, he sets out on the path of holiness, to conform to the model of Christ, to wage a constant
battle against the temptations of Satan, to acquire the Holy Spirit and to live a life that prepares
him to be with God in His Eternal Kingdom." [...]
By Rev. Fr. Cornel Todeasa, Saint Dimitri Church,
579 Clinton Avenue, Bridgeport CT 06605, USA