Orthodox Outlet for Dogmatic Enquiries Psychotherapy


A passion is not removed the same way as a sin



It is a known fact that when a conscientious Christian senses that he has committed a sin, he can be rid of it by means of the Spiritual Father's prayer of absolution that will be read to him.

However, if a sin has a certain underlying passion as its cause, it does not mean that along with the sin that was forgiven by the Spiritual Father's prayer, the underlying passion has also been eradicated and gone away, and that the person has thereafter become unimpassioned and perfected.

Thus, in all probability that person will again commit the same sin, because of that underlying passion that he has. Of course it is not our intention to enumerate the ways that passions can be eradicated - when the 1st Antiphon of the 4th Tone says: "From my youth, many sins besiege me; but You, my Saviour, understand this and save me."

Let us only mention here that a passion may not depart immediately, the way a sin does with the Spiritual Father's prayer, but it definitely does weaken, even if slowly, when the struggling Christian resorts to the appropriate spiritual weapons. To give an idea of this gradual weakening of passions, let us present a simplified example:

In olden times, a certain well-meaning man had ended up an animal thief. Stealing animals had become his passion. When he became acquainted with a Spiritual Father and confessed his sins and the passion that he had, the elder helped him to cut the habit gradually, because he had discerned that it would not be possible to cut it at once.

So, before leaving, he said: "Could you please do me a favour and not steal any horses from now on?"

"Yes" he replied, "that will be easy".

And he indeed stopped stealing horses.

The next time he went for confession to the Spiritual Father, he again asked him before leaving: "Could you please do me a favour and not steal any goats from now on?"

"Yes" he replied, "although that will be tough, I will do as you say".

And he now stopped stealing goats.

After going to confession again and again in the same manner, the Spiritual Father eventually minimized the kinds of animals that the man was accustomed to stealing.

So, one day he went to the Spiritual Father, and full of joy said to him:

"Father, now all that's left is chickens!"


Translation:  K.N.

Article published in English on: 12-8-2010.

Last update: 12-8-2010.