Recent Elders on Monasticism

First in a new series of blog posts featuring reflections on monasticism by 20th century Orthodox monks and nuns.

In working on the design for the North American Thebaid coffee table book — the publishing goal of my two-year photographic pilgrimage to Orthodox Christian monasteries of the USA & Canada — I am going back through favorite books for pithy sayings on monasticism and the spiritual life. Some of these may make it into the finished Thebaid book, providing prose glimpses into the monastic way to complement the photographs.

Some are lofty, some are challenging (a ‘hard word’), but in every case, it is a joy to rediscover these pearls, and I wanted to share some of them with you.


“The spiritual life has great joys. You fly away and leave this world and don’t take anything else into consideration. You become a child and God lives in your heart.”

“Love Christ, have humility, prayer, and patience. These are the four points of your spiritual compass. May the magnetic needle be your youthful Christian heart.”

“My children, I don’t want paradise without you.”

~ Elder Amphilochios of Patmos (†1970)

From  Precious Vessels of the Holy Spirit


3 thoughts on “Recent Elders on Monasticism

  1. Christ is risen!

    This is wonderful! What I’m wondering right now is whether you got to meet Elder Efraim of Arizona when he was at his best health-wise, I hear that these days he no longer meets pilgrims.

    I love the photos (although I haven’t looked around much), they capture the atmosphere and experience of monastery life and pilgrimage. Congratulations! And God willing, hopefully this project will go on expanding and reaching and touching more people.



    1. Indeed, He is Risen! Thank you, Anna, for your kind words and encouragement. Though I have not yet been to St Anthony’s, it is on my itinerary for this summer. It would be a great blessing to meet Elder Ephraim! As God wills! – zosimas


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