Thursday, April 10, 2014

Repentance according to the Orthodox Church

Reading Metropolitan Kallistos’ book The Orthodox Way, I came across the Orthodox explanation of repentance, which is an interesting topic not only from the beginning of Christianity, but maintains its relevance more so in our modern epoch. Bishop Kallistos claims:


“Repentance marks the starting-point of our journey…Correctly understood, repentance is not negative but positive. It means not self-pity or remorse but conversion, the re-centering of our whole life upon the Trinity. It is to look not backward with regret but forward with hope-not downwards at our own shortcomings but upwards at God’s love. It is to see, not what we have failed to be, but what by divine grace we can now become; and it is to act upon what we see. To repent is to open our eyes to the light. In this sense, repentance is not just a single act, an initial step, but a continuing state, an attitude of heart and will that needs to be ceaselessly renewed up to the end of life. In the words of St. Isaias of Sketis, ‘God requires us to go on repenting until our last breath’. ‘This life has been given to you for repentance’, says St. Isaac the Syrian. ‘Do not waste it on other things’” (p.113-114).  

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