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St Nikolai Velmirovich

Friends, I want to share with you some of my favorite “words” from St Nikolai Velmirovich, one of our great 20th c. saints, a Serbian bishop who was imprisoned by the Nazis during WWII and who later came to America. He reposed at St Tikhon’s in 1956. His book The Prologue is an excellent source for daily readings and the Lives of the Saints. ~Fr John

  • Mercifulness opens the way to the heart of all creatures, and brings joy.

  • Mercilessness brings fog to the fore, and creates a cramped isolation.

  • Have mercy on Your merciful servant, most Tender Hand, and reveal to me the mystery of Your mercy.


He who carries hell within himself will end up in hell, but he who bears heaven within his soul will ascend to heaven. And truly, no one can ascend to heaven other than those who have heaven within; and no one can end up in hell besides those who have hell within. The familiar is drawn to what is familiar and unites with the familiar; but it rejects what is not familiar.


If your heart has been softened either by repentance before God or by learning the boundless love of God towards you, do not be proud with those whose hearts are still hard. Remember how long your heart was hard and incorrigible. Seven brothers were ill in one hospital. One recovered from his illness and got up and rushed to serve his other brothers with brotherly love, to speed their recovery. Be like this brother. Consider all men to be your brothers, and sick brothers at that. And if you come to feel that God has given you better health than others, know that it is given through mercy, so in health you may serve your frailer brothers.


It benefits little to prove by human logic and words that the teaching of Christ is the teaching from God. The fastest and most reliable way to know this is truth is to do the will of God in the same way that Christ proclaimed it and testified to it. Whosoever would do this, that one will know that the teaching of Christ is the teaching from God. If you cry for the sake of God, you will know what kind of comfort He is. If you are merciful, you know the mercy of God. If you build peace, you will know how it becomes you to be called the Son of God. If you forgive men, you will know God forgives you.

“Give me a word!”

For truly the assistance which God gives to our nature is provided to those who correctly live the life of virtue. This assistance was already there at our birth, but it is manifested and made known whenever we apply ourselves to diligent training in the higher life and strip ourselves for the more vigorous contests.

-St Gregory of Nyssa

Whatever else, we must convince our heart to pray, otherwise it’ll dry up completely. The recognizable features of prayer are love of God, directness and simplicity. The same is true for the prayers we make to the saints.

-St John of Kronstadt

If you want the Lord to be merciful to you, always repent, be merciful to the suffering, and comfort them. "Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy".

-Archbishop Seraphim of Bogucharsk

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