The Grace Given To Us


From the writings of the Elder Sophrony:

At Vespers during Lent at the Monastery of Old Russikon-on-the-Hill the Lord allowed a certain monk to see Father Abraham, a priest-monk of the strict rule, in the image of Christ. The old confessor, weaing his priestly stole, was standing hearing confessions. When the monk entered the confessional he saw that the grey-haired confessor’s face looked young like the face of a boy, and his entire being shone radiant and was in the likeness of Christ. Then the monk understood that a spiritual father ministers in the Holy Spirit, and the sins of the repentant sinner are forgiven him by the Holy Spirit.

If people could  behold in what glory a priest celebrates the Divine Office they would swoon at the sight; and if the priest could see himself, could see the celestial glory surrounding him as he officiates, he would become a great warrior and devote himself to feats of spiritual endurance that he might not offend in any way the grace of the Holy Spirit living in him.

As I pencil these lines my spirit rejoices that our pastors are in the likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ. But we, the flock, though we have grace but in small measure – we, too, are in the likeness of the Lord. Men ignore this mystery but St. John the Divine told us clearly: ‘We shall be like him.’ and this not only after death but even here and now, for the Holy Spirit lives in our Church, lives in all virtuous pastors; lives in the hearts of the faithful. The Holy Spirit teaches the soul to fight the good fight; gives the strength necessary to fulfill the commandments of the Lord; stablishes us in all truth; and has so adorned man that he has become like unto the Lord.

About Fr. Stephen Freeman

Fr. Stephen is a priest of the Orthodox Church in America, Pastor Emeritus of St. Anne Orthodox Church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He is also author of Everywhere Present and the Glory to God podcast series.


7 responses to “The Grace Given To Us”

  1. Stephen Avatar

    Wonderful, Thank you! Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

  2. Clark Avatar

    If I’m not mistaken, the picture is of Patriarch Pavle of Serbia, a living saint who fully embodies Elder Sophrony’s comments. From what I understand, the patriarch is in extremely ill health.

  3. fatherstephen Avatar


    It is indeed Patriarch Pavle, whom I could think of no better as a picture of the words of the holy elder. Pray for the health of Patriarch Pavle.

  4. T Avatar

    Great photo

  5. Don Avatar

    I have to share this post with my Spiritual Father. Thank you for this blog!

  6. David Withun Avatar

    Sometimes the only word to say about something is “wow.” That was wonderful, Father Stephen, thank you for sharing it.

  7. Athanasia Avatar

    I have come to love Blessed Fr. Sophrony like I knew him personally. That love has been watered by his spiritual son, Fr. Seraphim Black, himself a holy man, who God has blessed me with as a spiritual big brother.

    Blessed Fr. Sophrony pray for us!

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