Treasury of Orthodox Christian Wisdom

This project is an attempt to gather quotes on spiritual topics from different Orthodox Christian saints, authors and teachers, both ancient and contemporary, with a particular focus on the Oriental Orthodox Communion (Syriac, Coptic, Armenian, Ethiopian and Eritrean Orthodox Churches).

If you want to contribute a quote to this project, please submit it below or email us at


  • “There is nothing the Devil loves more than disrupting prayer. Prayer is an arrow, that pierces the Devil’s eyes. For the prayer that comes out of the the tongue of a Christian is like a fire that burns Satan. Hence, out of all virtues, Satan hates prayer and pious labor of a Christian.”
    + St. Abba Giyorgis of Gesecha (+1425), Arganonä Maryam | Ethiopian Orthodox monk
  • “If you store up grievances and nurse old animosities inside yourself, and then try to pray, you will be like someone going to a well for water with a bucket that is full of holes.”
    + St. Evagrius of Pontus (+AD 399), Chapters on Prayer. 22
  • “Sometimes it happens that when you start to pray, you find you can pray well. At other times, even when you have expended great effort, you may find your efforts frustrated. This experience is to make you learn that you must exert yourself constantly, for having once gained the gift of prayer you must be careful to keep it safe.”
    + St. Evagrius of Pontus (+AD 399), Chapters on Prayer. 29
  • “Do not pray for your heart’s desires, For they may not entirely harmonise with God’s purposes. Pray instead as you have been taught: ‘May your will be done in me.’ (Luke 22:42). Pray to God this way about everything, that his will might be accomplished in you; for he only desires what is good and useful for your life, whereas you do not always request this.”
    + St. Evagrius of Pontus (+AD 399), Chapters on Prayer. 31
  • “Whether you pray alone, or in the company of others, try never to pray simply as a matter of routine, but always with conscious awareness of what you are doing.”
    + St. Evagrius of Pontus (+AD 399), Chapters on Prayer. 42
  • “Know this: that the holy angels encourage us to pray, and when we do pray they stand beside us with great joy, praying for us. But, if we grow careless and admit wicked thoughts, we greatly vex the angels, for there they are struggling hard on our behalf, and we cannot even be bothered to pray to God for our own benefit, but have scorned their assistance, and dishonoured their Master and their God.”
    + St. Evagrius of Pontus (+AD 399), Chapters on Prayer. 81

Spiritual Struggle

  • “Don’t try to be extremely disciplined right away. Above everything, beware of your own confidence, lest you fall from a height of discipline because of lack of training. It is better to move ahead a little at a time. So then, withdraw from the pleasures of life little by little. Gradually destroy all your evil habits, lest you bring on yourself a mass of temptations by stirring up all of your passions at once.”
    + St. Basil the Great (+AD 379), Letter 42

Reading the Scriptures

  • “The acquisition of Christian books is necessary for those who can use them. For the mere sight of these books renders us less inclined to sin, and incites us to believe more firmly in righteousness.”
    + St. Abba Epiphanius of Salamis (+AD 403), Sayings of the Desert Fathers, Epiphanius 8
  • “Reading the Scriptures is a great safeguard against sin.”
    + St. Abba Epiphanius of Salamis (+AD 403), Sayings of the Desert Fathers, Epiphanius 11


  • “The sinner thinks that sin prevents him from seeking God, whereas it is for this that Christ has descended to ask for man! Is it not that God has come to the flesh of man to cure its illness and redeem him from the sin that has ruled over him, and to raise him from the curse of death? Sin is no longer able to sever the sinner from God after he has sent his Son and paid the price—the whole price—on the Cross.”
    + Fr. Matta El-Meskeen/Matthew The Poor (+2006), Repentance | Coptic Orthodox monk

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