Open the wise book of the world, open
holy Scripture, and search somewhere there in the beginning. You will see there
were five cities in a rich land. The grass was five meters high; they had goats
and cattle; they had wealth. And what happened? They fell into sin, they fell
in the flesh: they fell into fornication, into adultery, in sins against
nature. They became “oka”. For man is spirit, which rises upwards; while he who
has become “oka”, you weigh him and his whole value is only 50, 60, 80 okas of
body. So they became people of “okas”. Flesh only, without spirit, without
ideals, without anything high and sublime. In that society only one just man
remained. And he would tell them: My brethren, stop, depart from sin… It fell on
deaf ears; they couldn’t care less; they kept doing what they were doing, their
pleasure. Partying, entertainment, woman, fornication. They had nothing more in
their brains beyond the flesh and wine and entertainment. They were building
houses, palaces, all these things. What was the end? One day, there where the
sun shone brilliantly, suddenly the sky became black. There was lightning,
thunder, and in a short time there fell not water nor snow nor hail. But what
fell? Fire and brimstone! The region lit up. The trees were burned, the sheep
were burned, the goats were burned, the houses were burned, their kings were
burned, their judges were burned, their teachers were burned, all were burned.
Their gold, their silver, everything melted. God passed them through a furnace.
And then, after all things were burned, suddenly the earth sank to the depth of
500 – 600 meters, into a chaos. There a sea was formed, where nothing lives. In
all the waters fish live; in this not a single fish lives. Sodom and Gomorrah became
the Dead Sea.…
Today we put before you the words of one of the most inspiring elders of our times. The late Elder Porphyrios was a monk from Mt Athos who, for health reasons, had to leave Mt Athos, and ended up living in the heart of Athens for most of his life. In 1926, and at the age of twenty, he was ordained a priest by the Archbishop of Sinai, Porphyrios III, who gave him the name Porphyrios. At the age of twenty-two he became a confessor and spiritual father. Due to his extreme humility and obedience he received early the gift of spiritual discernment i.e. a type of clairvoyance. Below we provide his invaluable and insightful advice to parents on parenting issues.
What saves and makes for good children is the life of the parents in the home. The parents need to devote themselves to the love of God. They need to become saints in their relation to their children through their mildness, patience and love. They need to make a new start every day, with a fresh outlook, renewed enthusiasm and love for their children. And the joy that will come to them, the holiness that will visit them, will shower grace on their children. Generally the parents are to blame for the bad behaviour of the children. And their behaviour is not improved by reprimands, disciplining, or strictness. If the parents do not pursue a life of holiness and if they don’t engage in spiritual struggle, they make great mistakes and transmit the faults they have within them. If the parents do not live a holy life and do not display love towards each other, the devil torments the parents with the reactions of the children. Love, harmony and understanding between the parents are what are required for the children. This provides a great sense of security and certainty.
The behaviour of the children is directly related to the state of the parents. When the children are hurt by the bad behaviour of the parents towards each other, they lose the strength and desire to progress in their lives. Their lives are constructed shoddily and the edifice of their soul is in constant danger of collapsing. Let me give you two examples.