I am the Lord thy
God. Thou shall have no other gods beside Me.
Thou shalt not make
unto thee any graven image, nor any likeness of anything that is in Heaven
above, nor that is in the earth beneath, nor that is in the waters under
the earth: thou shalt not bow down to them, nor serve them.
Thou shalt not take
the Name of the Lord thy God in vain.
Remember the Sabbath
day, to keep it holy; Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: but
the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.
Honor thy father and
thy mother that it may be well with thee and that thy days may be long on
Thou shalt not kill.
Thou shalt not commit
Thou shalt not steal.
Thou shalt not bear
false witness against thy neighbor.
Thou shalt not covet
thy neighbor’s wife; thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s house, nor his
land, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass,
nor any of his cattle, nor anything that is thy neighbor’s.
The Ten Commandments of the Law were arranged on
two tablets because they legislate two aspects of love: love for God and love
Indicating these two aspects of love, the Lord
Jesus Christ in answering the question, Which is the greatest commandment in
the Law? said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with
all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On
these two commandments hang all the Law and the prophets (Matt. 22:37-40).
To love God is our first and most important
obligation, because He is our Creator, Provider, and Saviour. For in Him we
live, and move, and have our being (Acts ).
Then follows the obligation to love our neighbor,
which serves as an expression of our love for God. Whoever does not love his
neighbor does not love God. The Apostle John the Theologian explains, If a man
say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not
his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? (I
By loving God and neighbor we discover true love
for ourself, because true love for ourself consists in fulfilling our obligations
towards God and neighbor. It is expressed in care for one’s soul, in cleansing
oneself of sin, in subordinating the body to the spirit, in limiting our
personal necessities. We must guard our health and care for the development of
our spiritual strength and capacities in order to manifest our love to God and
By this concept, love of ourself is shown not to
be a detriment to our neighbor. On the contrary, we owe love to ourselves in
order to bring sacrificial love to our neighbor. Greater love hath no man than
this, that a man lay down his life for his friends (his neighbors) (John
15:13). Love toward ourself and love toward our neighbor must be offered as a
sacrifice of love to God. The Lord Jesus Christ speaks about this thus: He that
loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he that loveth
son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he that taketh not his
cross (i.e., who, from all his superfluous burdens of life, refuses the
suffering and trials which the Lord sends, but instead goes the easy path of
wickedness) and followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me (Matt. 10:37-38).
If a man first of all loves God, then naturally he
cannot fail to love father and mother and children and all his neighbors; and
this love is sanctified by Divine Grace. If a man loves anyone of these without
loving God, then such love may even be criminal, as, for example, when a man
for the happiness of a beloved friend might deprive others of their happiness,
treat them unjustly, cruelly, etc.
Thus, although all the commandments and the Law of
God are contained in two commandments of love, in order to more clearly show us
our obligations to God and neighbor, they are further broken down into the Ten
Commandments. Our obligations to God are described in the first four
commandments, and our obligations to our neighbor — in the last six
The First Commandment of the
Law of God.
I. I am the Lord thy God. Thou shalt have no
other gods beside Me.
The first commandment of the Lord God asserts His
existence and admonishes us to honor Him, the One true God. We must not render
divine homage to anyone but Him. That is, we must study what is written by God
and about Him, or theology.
Theology is the highest branch of knowledge. It is
our first and most important obligation. All scholarly human knowledge loses
its true meaning, its underlying idea and purpose, if it is not illumined by
the light of theology. Instead of good, such knowledge leads to a life of much
In order to acquire knowledge of the true God, we
1. Read and thoroughly study the Holy Scriptures,
which convey to us true and most perfect knowledge of God.
2. Read the works of the Holy Fathers and teachers
of the Church, which is necessary in order to understand the Holy Scriptures
rightly and to guard oneself from incorrect interpretations and thinking.
3. Frequently attend church, because in the church
services are contained lessons about God and His works.
4. Listen to the sermons of the priest and read
books of religious and moral content.
5. Study the works of God — nature, as well as the
story of the race of man, which reveal to us God’s marvelous plan.
This commandment imposes on us definite
obligations of worship. We must:
1. Believe in God, that is, have the most sincere
and firm conviction of His existence.
2. Walk before the Lord, that is, always be
conscious of God and do everything as before the eyes of God (behave
carefully), and always remember that God sees not only our deeds but also our
3. Place our hope in God, love God, and obey God.
Always be ready to do what He commands and not grumble when He does not do for
us as we ourselves would like. In fact, only God knows when and what to give to
us, and what is profitable and what is harmful to us.
The highest form of love of God is respect, or
fear of God — fear to become estranged from God because of our sins.
4. Do homage to God, glorify and give thanks to
the Lord God, our Creator, Provider and Saviour, remembering all His gifts and
mercy to us.
5. Fearlessly confess God before all. Acknowledge
that He is our God, and do not abandon the faith even though this confession
might bring suffering and even death.
Sins against the first commandment are:
1. Atheism — when people completely reject the existence
of God. Such people the Prophet David calls fools. The fool hath said in his
heart, There is no God (Ps.l3:l).
2. Polytheism — when instead of the One true God,
people acknowledge many imaginary gods.
3. Unbelief — when people, while acknowledging the
existence of God, do not believe in His Divine Providence and Revelation. This
unbelief often comes from incorrect education and upbringing, from pride and
conceit, from enthusiasm for evil examples, from careless regard for the
guidance of the Church, and from a sinful life.
4. Heresy — when people imagine or invent
teachings contrary to God’s truth, or stubbornly and intentionally distort the
truth of God.
5. Schism — self-willed deviation from the union
of Divine worship, from union with the Orthodox Church.
6. Apostasy — when people disavow the true faith,
fearing such things as persecution and mockery; or from enthusiasm for false
7. Despair — when people, forgetting the endless
mercy of God, do not hope to receive from God help and salvation. Horrible
examples of despair occur in cases of suicide.
8. Sorcery (witchery) — when people, abandoning
faith in the power of God, turn to various occult and evil powers.
9. Superstition — when people believe in some
ordinary thing or occurrence, attributing supernatural powers to it.
10. Laziness in prayer and in all pious deeds.
11. Love for creatures, including people, more
than for God.
12. Flattery — when people care more about
pleasing other people than pleasing God.
13. Self-sufficiency — when people hope more in
themselves or in other people than in the mercy and help of God.
The commandment of God does not contradict our
obligation to venerate angels and saints of God and to pray to them. We honor
them not as God Himself, but as faithful servants of God, who are obedient and
who lead God-pleasing lives. The angels and saints of God are close to God and
are able to intercede on our behalf. We must ask their help and defense in firm
trust that the Lord, for their sake, quickly hears our sinful prayers. The Word
of God says, Pray for one another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent
prayer of a righteous man availeth much (James 5:16). For He is not a God of
the dead, but of the living: for all live unto Him (Luke 20:38).
The Second Commandment of the
Law of God.
2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven
image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the
earth beneath, or that is in the waters under the earth: thou shalt not bow
down thyself to them, nor serve them.
The second commandment of the Lord God prohibits
idolatry, that is, forbids making any idols for worship, or rendering homage to
likenesses of anything that we see in heaven (sun, moon, stars), or that is
found on earth (plants, animals, people), or found in the waters (fish). The
Lord forbids worshipping and serving these idols instead of the true God, as
In forbidding worship of idols, one must never be
confused about the Orthodox veneration of holy icons and relics. Protestants
and various sectarians criticize us for "worshipping them." But in
venerating holy icons we do not consider them gods or idols. They are only
likenesses, representations of God, or of the angels or of the saints. The word
icon comes from the Greek and means likeness. In venerating icons and praying
before icons, we do not pray to the material icons (the paint, wood or metal),
but to the saint who is represented thereon.
Everyone knows how much easier it is to turn one’s
thoughts to the Saviour when he sees His Most-pure Image or His Cross, than
when he sees only empty walls, or a bookcase.
Holy icons are given to us for venerating the
memory of the acts of God and His saints and for devoted elevation of our
thoughts to God and His saints. Veneration of icons warms our hearts with love
for our Creator and Saviour. Holy icons are similar to the Holy Scriptures,
except that they are written with faces and objects instead of letters.
Even in the Old Testament icons were used. At the
same time that Moses received the commandment forbidding idols, he received
from God instructions to place in the Tabernacle, the mobile Hebrew temple,
holy gold icons of Cherubim on the lid of the Ark of the Covenant. The Lord
said to Moses, Make them in the two ends of the mercy seat... and there I will
meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat from
between the two Cherubim which are upon the Ark of the testimony, of all things
which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel (Exod.
25:18,22). The Lord also ordered Moses to make likenesses of cherubim on the
veil separating the Sanctuary from the Holy of Holies; and on the interior side
of the veil covering, a fine cloth of ancient times, thought to have been made
of linen, fine wool, cotton or silk, which covered not only the top but the
sides of the Tabernacle (cf. Exod. 26:1-37).
In Solomon’s Temple there were sculptured and
embroidered icons of Cherubim on all the walls and on the Temple veil (cf. I
Kings 6:27-29; II Chron. 3:7-14). The Cherubim on the Ark of the Covenant were
consecrated (cf. II Chron. 3:10). When the Temple was ready, the glory of the
Lord (in the form of a cloud) filled the temple (I Kings 8:11). The likenesses
of the Cherubim were pleasing to the Lord, and the people, looking at them,
prayed and worshipped.
There were no icons of the Lord God in the
Tabernacle or in the Temple of Solomon, because He had not yet revealed Himself
in the flesh as God incarnate. There were no likenesses of the Old Testament
righteous men, because the people had not yet been redeemed and justified (Rom.
3:9,25; Matt. 11:11).
The Lord Jesus Christ sent a miraculous icon of
His Face to King Abgar of Edessa. It was known as the Icon-Not-Made-By-Hands.
Praying before the Icon-Not-Made-By-Hands of Christ, Abgar was healed of an
incurable illness. The Evangelist Luke was a physician and an artist. He
painted and left for posterity icons of the Mother of God. Several of them are
found in Russia and in Greece.
Many holy icons have been glorified by miracles.
Likenesses of animals or even of the Devil do not
defile a holy icon if they are necessary to depict an event necessary for
visual instruction. As is known, mention of them in writing does not defile the
Nor does veneration of holy relics contradict the
second commandment. In the holy relics we honor the Grace of God, which acts
through the remains of the saints.
For Christians, idolatry in the form handed down
to us from pagans is impossible. However, instead of uncivilized idolatry,
there exist among us much more subtle forms of idolatry, such idolatry as
worship of sinful passions like greed, gluttony, pride, vanity, lust and so on.
Covetousness (greed) is the desire to acquire
wealth. The Apostle Paul says that covetousness... is idolatry (Col. 3:5). For
the rich man love of gain is an idol which he serves and worships more than
Gluttony consists of love of dainty dishes and
drunkenness. The Apostle Paul says about people who put the feeling of
satisfaction for food and drink as the highest thing in life, that their god is
their belly (Philip. ).
Pride and Vanity. The proud and vain man has an
excessively high opinion of his worth, his intelligence, beauty, and wealth.
The vain man considers only himself. He considers his ideas and wishes higher
than the will of God. He regards the opinions and advice of other people with
contempt and derision, but his own ideas he does not reject, no matter how
false they may be. The greedy and vain person makes an idol of himself, both
for himself and for others.
By prohibiting these lesser idols, the second
commandment inspires the following virtues in their place: unacquisitiveness,
generosity, self-denial, fasting, and humility.
The Third Commandment of the
Law of God.
3. Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy
God in vain.
The third commandment forbids us to pronounce the
name of God in vain, without due reverence. One uses the name of God in vain
when one pronounces it in empty conversation, in jest and in sport.
Forbidding the use of God’s name thoughtlessly or
disrespectfully, this commandment forbids the sins which come from
thoughtlessness and irreverence in regard to God. Among such sins are:
Swearing — thoughtless, habitual oaths in casual
Blasphemy — audacious words against God;
Sacrilege — when people scoff or jest at sacred
Breaking promises given to God;
Perjury (oath breaking);
Making false oaths by the name of God.
The name of God must be pronounced with awe and
reverence, in prayer, in studies about God, and in lawful vows and oaths.
Reverent, lawful vows are not forbidden by this
commandment. God Himself used an oath about which the Apostle Paul reminisces
in his epistle to the Hebrews: For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath
for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. Wherein God, willing more
abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel,
confirmed it by an oath (Heb. 6:16-17).
The Fourth Commandment of the
Law of God.
4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work, but the seventh day is the
Sabbath of the Lord thy God.
The fourth commandment of the Lord God directs
that six days be spent in labor and devoted to duties such as one’s vocation,
but that the seventh day be devoted to the service of God, for holy work and
acts pleasing to God.
Holy works and acts pleasing to God are understood
to be: work for the salvation of one’s soul, prayer both in church and at home,
study of the commandments of God, enlightenment of the mind and heart by
wholesome learning, reading of the Holy Scriptures and other spiritually
helpful books, pious conversation, helping the poor, visiting the sick and
prisoners, comforting the grieving, and other good deeds.
In the Old Testament, the Sabbath (which in Hebrew
means rest, peace) is celebrated on the seventh day of the week, Saturday, in
remembrance of God’s creation of the world (on the seventh day God rested from
acts of creation). In the New Testament, at the time of the Apostles, it began
to be celebrated on the first day of the week, Sunday, in remembrance of the
resurrection of Christ.
In the category of the seventh day it is necessary
to include not only the day of the Resurrection, but also other feast days and
fasts established by the Church. In the Old Testament the Sabbath also included
other feasts: Passover, Pentecost, the Feast of Tabernacles, etc.
The most important Christian feast day is called
"The Feast of Feasts" and "The Triumph of Triumphs," the
Bright Resurrection of Christ, called Holy Pascha (Easter), which occurs on the
first Sunday after the spring full moon, after the Jewish Passover, in the
period between the 22nd of March (April 4th new style) and the 25th of April
(May 8th, new style).
Then follow the twelve great feasts established to
honor our Lord Jesus Christ and His Mother, the Holy Virgin Mary:
The Nativity of the
Theotokos September 8 (21, n.s.).
The Entry into the Temple
of the Theotokos, November 21 (December 4, n.s.).
The Annunciation of the
Most-holy Virgin Mary, March 25 (April 7, n.s.).
The Nativity of Christ,
December 25 (January 7, n.s.).
The Entry of the Lord,
February 2 (15, n.s.).
The Theophany (or
Epiphany), January 6 (19, n.s.).
The Transfiguration of
our Lord Jesus Christ, August 6 (19, n.s.).
The Entrance of the Lord
into Jerusalem (Palm Sunday), the last Sunday before Pascha.
The Ascension of our
Lord Jesus Christ, on the fortieth day after Pascha.
Pentecost, or Trinity
Sunday, on the fiftieth day after Pascha. ~
The Elevation of the
Precious and Life-giving Cross, September 14 (27, n.s.).
The Dormition of the
Mother of God, August 15 (28, n.s.).
Of the remaining feast days, some of the most
The Circumcision of our Lord Jesus Christ, January
1 (14, n.s.).
The Protection of the Mother of God, October 1
The Kazan Icon of the Mother of God, October 22 (November 4, n.s.).
The Nativity of St. John the
Baptist, June 24 (July 7, n.s.).
The Beheading of St. John the Baptist, August 29 (September 11, n.s.).
The feast of the Apostles, St. Peter and
St. Paul, June 29 (July 12, n.s.).
The Apostle John the Theologian, May 8 (May 21
n.s). and September 26 (October 9, n.s.).
The feasts of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, May 9
(May 22, n.s). and December 6 (19, n.s.).
by the Church are:
1. The Great Fast, before Pascha.
The Fast lasts for seven weeks: six weeks are the
fast itself and the seventh week is Holy Week — in remembrance of the suffering
of Christ the Saviour.
2. Nativity Fast, before the feast day of
Nativity, the birth of Christ.
It begins on the 14th of November (27, n.s.), the
day after commemorating the Apostle Philip and is therefore sometimes called
the fast of St. Philip. The fast lasts for forty days.
3. Dormition Fast, before the feast day of the
Dormition of the Mother of God.
It lasts for two weeks, from the 1st of August
(August 14, n.s). until August 14 (27, n.s.).
4. The Apostles’ or Peter’s Fast, before the feast
day of the Apostles Peter and Paul.
It begins one week after Trinity Sunday
(Pentecost) and continues until the 29th of June (July 12, n.s.). Its length is
determined by whether Pascha is early or late. The longest it can be is six
weeks, and the shortest is a week and one day.
One day fasts:
1. Nativity Eve — the day before the Birth of
Christ, 24th of December (January 6, n.s.). An especially strict fast during
the Nativity Fast. Customarily, one does not eat until the appearance of the
first star, and then only strict lenten food, no meat, fish or dairy products.
2. The Eve of the Theophany — the day before the
Baptism of the Lord, the 6th of January (January 19, n.s.).
3. The day of the Beheading of St. John the
Baptist, 29th of August (September 11, n.s.).
4. The day of the Elevation of the Cross of the
Lord, in commemoration of the finding of the Cross of the Lord, 14th of
September (September 27, n.s.).
5. Wednesdays and Fridays of every week. Wednesday
— in remembrance of the betrayal of the Saviour by Judas. Friday — in
remembrance of Christ’s suffering and death on the cross.
There is no fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays in
the following weeks: in Bright Week, the week of Pascha; in the interval
between Christmas and Theophany; in the week of the Holy Trinity (from
Pentecost until the beginning of Peter’s fast), in the week of the Publican and
the Pharisee (before the Great Fast); and in Cheese-fare week immediately
preceding the Great Fast, when dairy products, but not meat, are allowed.
At the time of the fasts it is especially
necessary to resolve to cleanse oneself of all bad habits and passions such as
anger, envy, lust and enmity. One must refrain from a dissipating, carefree
life, from games, from shows and spectacles, from dancing. One must not read
books which give rise to impure thoughts and desires in the soul. One must not
eat meat or dairy products, since according to the experience of the Saints
these foods strengthen our passions and make it more difficult to pray, but
only permitted fasting foods such as vegetables, and when permitted, fish, and
only making use of these foods in moderation. During a fast of many days one
should have confession and receive Holy Communion.
Those who break the fourth commandment are those
who are lazy on the first six days, doing no work, as well as those who work on
a holy day.
No less guilty are those who may cease worldly
pursuits and work, but who spend the time in amusements and games, who indulge
in pleasure and drunkenness, not thinking about serving God. Especially sinful
is indulging in distractions the evening before a feast day, when we should be
at the Vigil, and in the morning, after the Liturgy. For Orthodox Christians a
feast day begins in the evening when the All-night Vigil is served. To devote
this time to dancing, movies, or other diversions instead of prayer, is to make
a mockery of the feast day.
The Fifth Commandment of the
Law of God.
5. Honor thy father and thy mother that it may
be well with thee and that thy days may be long on the earth.
The fifth commandment of the Lord God orders us to
honor our parents and for this promises a happy and long life. To honor parents
means to love them, to be respectful toward them, to refrain from offending
them by either word or act, to obey them, to help them in labor, to care for
them when they are in need, especially when they are sick and old, and also to
pray for them to God both during this life and when they die. Disrespect toward
a parent is a great sin. In the Old Testament, anyone who slandered his father
or his mother was punished by death (Mark 7:10; Exod. 21:17).
We must also give equal honor to those persons who
have authority over us as parents to us. Among such people are pastors and
spiritual fathers, laboring for our salvation, instructing us in the faith and
praying for us; government officials, who work for our domestic tranquility and
defend us against oppression and plundering; teachers and benefactors, who try
to teach us and provide everything that is good and useful to us; and in
general, our elders, having much experience in life and who therefore can give
us good advice. It is a sin not to respect our elders, especially those in old
age. It is a sin to regard their experience with distrust, indifference, and
sometimes to refer to their remarks and instruction with derision, to consider
them "backward" people, and to consider that their view is outmoded,
has served its time. Even in the Old Testament the Lord said through Moses,
Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honor the face of the old man,
and fear thy God (Lev. 19:32).
But if it happens that parents or superiors
require of one something that goes against our faith and the Law of God, then
one must say to them, as the Apostles said to the leaders of the Jews: Whether
it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge
ye (Acts 4:19). Then one must suffer for the faith and the Law of God no matter
The Sixth Commandment of the
Law of God.
6. Thou shalt not kill.
The sixth commandment of the Lord God forbids
murder, taking the lives of other people, or taking one’s own life (suicide).
Life is the greatest gift of God. Therefore, to
deprive oneself or someone else of life is a most terrible, grave, and enormous
sin. Suicide is the most terrible of all sins committed against the sixth
commandment, because in suicide, besides the sin of killing, there is also the
grave sin of despair, grumbling against God, and insolent uprising against the
Providence of God. Furthermore, suicide precludes the possibility of
A person is guilty of murder even if he kills
another person accidentally, without thinking. Such a murder is a grievous sin,
because in this case the murderer is guilty due to his carelessness.
A person is guilty of murder even when he does not
commit the murder himself, but promotes the murder or allows someone else to do
it. For example:
A judge, condemning the
accused to death when his innocence is known.
Anyone who does not save
a neighbor from death, when he is fully capable of doing it.
Anyone who helps another
commit murder by his decree, advice, collaboration, or rationalization; or
who condones and justifies a death and by that gives opportunity for more
Anyone who by hard labor
or cruel punishment exhausts victims into a weakened state and thus
hastens their death.
Anyone who through
self-indulgence in various vices curtails one’s own life.
Other sins against the sixth commandment are:
wishing that someone were dead, not rendering help to the indigent and sick,
not living with other people in peace and concord, but on the contrary,
maintaining hatred, envy, and malice towards others, instigating quarrels,
brawls, and distress among others. Sin against the sixth commandment is doing
anything which injures the weak, children in particular. The Gospel of Christ
says, Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer (I John 3:15).
Besides physical killing, there is yet a more
terrible and accountable murder: spiritual killing. Among the sins of spiritual
murder is seduction. That is, when one leads astray or seduces his neighbor into
unbelief or into a life of vice, and by this renders the soul of his neighbor
liable to spiritual death.
The Saviour said, But whosoever shall offend one
of these little ones which believe in Me, it were better for him that a
millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of
the sea... woe to that man by whom the offense comethl (Matt. 18:6-7).
In order to avoid sin against the sixth
commandment, Christians must help the poor, serve the sick, comfort the
sorrowful, lighten the conditions of the unfortunate, with everyone be kind and
loving, reconcile themselves with anyone who has grown angry, forgive offenses,
do good to enemies, and refrain from harmful examples, either by word or deed,
especially before children.
It is impossible to equate criminal murder with
the killing that occurs in battle. War is a great social evil, but at the same
time war is an enormous catastrophe permitted by the Lord for a lesson and
correction of people, just as He permits epidemics, starvation, fires, and
other misfortunes. Therefore, killing in a war is not viewed by the Church as a
particular sin of man. Furthermore, every soldier should be ready, according to
the commandment of Christ, to "lay down his life for his friends,"
for the defense of his faith and his homeland.
Among the military there are many saints glorified
However, even in war it is possible to be guilty
of murder, when, for example, a soldier kills someone who has surrendered, or
when a soldier allows brutality, etc.
Capital punishment of a criminal applies also to
social ills and is a great evil. But it is allowed in exceptional cases when
according to justice, it appears that it alone can stop a multitude of murders
and crimes. But in terms of justice, the administrators carrying out the
execution answer before God. Capital punishment of hardened criminals is often
the only means by which they will be brought to repentance. Note that without
the will of God, not a hair would fall from anyone’s head.
The Seventh Commandment of
the Law of God.
7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
The seventh commandment forbids adultery, that is,
unfaithfulness to one’s spouse and all unlawful lust.
God forbids a husband and a wife to break the
bonds of mutual faith and love. Of the unmarried, God requires pure thoughts
and desires, to be chaste in word and deed, in thought and desire.
In order to do this it is necessary to avoid
everything that could give rise to unclean feelings in the heart: obscenity,
immodest and shameless songs and dances, suggestive plays, movies, and
pictures, immoral books, drunkenness, etc.
God’s word commands us to maintain our bodies in
purity, because our body is a member of the body of Christ and a temple of the
Holy Spirit. Fornicators, and all who indulge in lustful acts or imagination
sin against their own bodies, they weaken the health of their body, inflict
illness upon it and impair its spiritual capability, especially imagination and
The Eighth Commandment of the
Law of God.
8. Thou shalt not steal.
There are many forms of stealing:
Theft, to steal someone
Robbery, taking someone
else’s property by force.
Sacrilege, to misuse
that which belongs to the Church.
Extortion, or bribery,
to unlawfully accept gifts from people for goods or services which are
supposed to be rendered free of charge.
Parasitism, to accept
renumeration or payment for services which are supposed to be rendered and
then fail to do the work.
Usury, to charge an
exorbitant rate of interest on a loan.
Fraud, to appropriate
someone else’s property by cunning. For example, to avoid paying debts, to
embezzle funds without regard for the proprietor’s things or money, to
cheat in measuring or deceive in weighing for a sale; to hold back the
wages of a hired worker; to take a sum of money for some needy person, and
then keep it for something else, and so on. Also, children deceive when
they are lazy students, while at the same time their parents and society
pay for their education, and teachers expend labor on their behalf.
Forbidding every form of taking property of a
neighbor, this commandment instructs us to be unmercenary, honest, industrious,
merciful and truthful. In order to avoid sin against this commandment, one must
love one’s neighbor as much as oneself, and not do anything to him that he
would not like to have done to himself.
The highest virtue inspired by the eighth
commandment is complete poverty, renunciation of all property. But God does not
obligate everyone to this virtue. He proposes it only to those who wish to
attain high moral perfection. If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell what thou
hast, and give to the poor, and thou shall have treasure in heaven (Matt. ).
Many spiritual heroes have followed the advice of
this Gospel passage: St. Anthony the Great, St. Paul of Thebes, St. Nicholas
the Wonderworker, and many others.
The Ninth Commandment of the
Law of God.
9. Thou shalt not bear false witness.
The ninth commandment of the Lord God forbids us
to speak falsehoods about our neighbor, and in general forbids all lies. For
Perjury in court.
Gossip, slander, and
defamation, which are diabolical acts since the word "devil"
means libeler, slanderer, defamer.
Repugnant to Christians are even those little
white lies which are not intended to cause harm to a neighbor. Lying is not
becoming to the calling of a Christian and not in harmony with love and
consideration for one’s neighbor. The Apostle Paul says, Wherefore putting away
lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of
another (Eph. ).
It is never appropriate to blame or judge others,
if we have not been specifically required to do so because of the
responsibility of our position or duty. Judge not that ye be not judged, says
It is necessary to keep in mind that judging,
reproach, and mockery will not reform a neighbor; only love, tolerance, and
good harmony will. It is also necessary to always bear in mind that each of us
has many weaknesses and faults.
One must always keep a restraint on his tongue.
One must speak only the truth and curb oneself from disparaging remarks and
idle chatter. Speech is a gift of God. Jesus Christ said, But I say unto you,
that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in
the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words
thou shalt be condemned (Matt. -37).
The Tenth Commandment of the
Law of God.
10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife,
thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, nor his land, nor his manservant,
nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor’s.
The tenth commandment of the Lord God forbids not
only doing something bad to someone near us, but also forbids even bad desires
and thoughts in connection with them.
The sin against this commandment is called envy. A
person who is envious, who entertains the idea of wanting something that
belongs to someone else, can pass from the desire to the evil deed.
But beyond this, envy in itself can defile the
soul, rendering it impure before God, as it is stated in the Word of God, The
thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord (Prov. 15:26, Wis. of
One of the main tasks of true Christianity is to
cleanse one’s soul of all impurity, in accordance with the admonition of the
Apostle, Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit,
perfecting holiness in the fear of God (II Cor. 7:1).
In order to avoid sin against the tenth
commandment, it is necessary to maintain a pure heart, free of any earthly
attachment, free of all wicked thoughts and desires, and to be satisfied with
that which one has, to thank God for it, never to desire anything that is
anyone else’s, but to rejoice for others in what they have.