Orthodox Understanding of Anger


I am posting here a link to a wonderful article by Met. Jonah Paffhausen that speaks eloquently to the spiritual disciplines regarding anger and similar issues. It is entitled: Do not react.

About Fr. Stephen Freeman

Fr. Stephen is a retired Archpriest of the Orthodox Church in America, Pastor Emeritus of St. Anne Orthodox Church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He is also author of Everywhere Present: Christianity in a One-Storey Universe, and Face to Face: Knowing God Beyond Our Shame, as well as the Glory to God podcast series on Ancient Faith Radio.


16 responses to “Orthodox Understanding of Anger”

  1. Margaret Avatar

    Fr. Stephen, Thank you for posting this! I found it a few months ago and printed it out. I go back to this again and again, what a blessing! God bless you!

  2. Moses Avatar

    This could come in very handy! Thanks! =D

  3. Deb Seeger Avatar

    I am continually amazed the creative ways and avenues that our God uses to reach us. In the last week, I have had extreme anger towards a family member; be angry but do not sin.(Eph4:26) The sin part is the quencher, as you kindly addressed in “Orthodox Understanding Anger” But prior to reading your essay, by choosing to not sin I have just shut down. Yesterday, I has a great sense by God the near exact content of your message. I am amazed, and thrilled. Then, reading “Do Not React” reflected even more light on several unresolved issues within my heart. Hence, I give God the glory for loving me enough to not allow me to live with this sin any longer but a big hug from me to you for confirming in your essay what God has been speaking to me.

  4. Lucy Avatar

    Thank you for posting this. I heard this on the CD series I have, but I learn better by reading than by hearing. I have those three things on a postcard I keep in my kitchen to remind me. Not that I do it, but at least I keep those three principles in front of my face. Thank you again.

  5. Ben Avatar

    Thank you Father! I really appreciated the link (any writing by Met. Jonah is always a piece of refined gold). . .

  6. luciasclay Avatar

    Fr Stephen,

    Thanks for that. In the “Do not react” which is the same as meekness / turn the other cheek etc. And using the example he describes most prominently there, though I was not the one at which the events were directed primarily but to another I loved and cared about.

    It is one thing to turn the other cheek and not react when it is me. It is another when by not reacting I would put another directly in harms way who I am charged to protect. It seems in that case to me that someone will be hurt no matter what I do or don’t do. So I choose to protect the younger innocent against the older. And by doing that I drive a big wedge where love and forgiveness should be between me and them.

    This is a hard situation to work through for me especially as it has to do with forgiveness. My forgiveness depends on how I forgive. I have decided it is one thing to forgive but there are certain things I must do to fulfill my charge to protect those who I have been given. Forgive but do not permit again. In my mind and heart I weep for how it must be. I have come to see it that sin does separate. Even when there is love and forgiveness.

    If you have time and inclination can you explain more fully what is said by Met. Jonah or the Church in questions like this ? Realizing this is very abstract. And if you don’t then Fr. thank you for the wonderful article and continued teaching.


    Lucias Clay

  7. Mrs. Mutton Avatar
    Mrs. Mutton

    I plan to print this out as a guideline for this coming Lent. Thanks, Father.

  8. fatherstephen Avatar

    Obviously a difficult matter. It’s hard to be a parent, an abbot, a Rector, etc. Pray a lot. Weep for them. Beg grace of God for them.

  9. […] sin.  I have copied it in full because links to this sort of thing sometimes stop working.  (H/T Father Stephen’s blog). Do Not Resent, Do Not React, Keep Inner […]

  10. Theodora Elizabeth Avatar
    Theodora Elizabeth

    Very timely – just what I needed, and with Lent coming up too! I forwarded it to everyone in my church’s adult study group. Thanks!

  11. Ian Avatar

    Thank you Father; I desperateyly needed something like this currently — I have printed it out and shall read it when I get home. And thanks for the quotes from St John Climacus [my patron saint] above too.

  12. David Avatar

    Thank you for posting this here, Father, and thank you for all of these recent posts on anger. I have had problems with my anger and controlling it since I was young (and, of course, being in the military hasn’t helped that much). Reading these posts and this article especially has given me a lot to think about.

  13. Sean Avatar

    I read the Metropolitan’s post until I reached the end, where there can be found a list of questions that one has to ask oneself in the process of acknowledging one’s faults and shortcomings.. I was hard put to find a couple of questions where I could sincerely plead innocent. It was quite frightful and illuminating.

  14. NeoChalcedonian Avatar

    Absolutely Incredible! I read this before I joined the Church, was deeply touched by it, but had no idea who wrote it; it all comes full circle. Thanks.

  15. Woundology Avatar

    I do not even know the way I finished up right
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  16. Christine Avatar

    In case someone else wants this document, they moved the link. It’s now at: https://monasteryofstjohn.org/documents/abbatialessays/Do_not_react.pdf

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