The Shepherd, March 2005

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FROM THE FATHERS

“SUBMIT to the presbyters and be chastened unto repentance, bending the knees of your hearts.”

Holy Hieromartyr Clement of Rome,
from his Letter to the Corinthians, written c. 80 A.D.

“LET US, then, so long as we are in this world, repent whatever evils we have done in the flesh, so that we may be saved by the Lord while yet we have time for repentance. For after we have departed from this world it will no longer be possible to confess, nor will we have any opportunity to repent.”

Anonymous, circa 150 A.D,
sometimes (wrongly) also attributed to St Clement of Rome

“I BESEECH YOU, brethren, let everyone who has sinned confess his sin while he is still in this world, while his confession is still admissible, while satisfaction and remission made through priests are pleasing before the Lord.”

Holy Hieromartyr Cyprian of Carthage, + 258 A.D.

“GOD makes no distinction. He promised His mercy unto all, and granted His priests the license of forgiving sins without any exception.”

Saint Ambrose of Milan, + 397 A.D.

“YOU SHOULD strive to have a spiritual father throughout your life and to confess to him every sin and every evil thought and to receive from him healing and remission. For they have been given the power to bind and to unbind souls, and whatever they bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever they unbind on earth will be unbound in heaven (cf Matt. 18:18). This grace and power they have received from Christ, and so you should obey them and not gainsay them, lest you bring destruction upon your soul. For if a person who gainsays his natural parents in matters not interdicted by the divine law is, according to the Law (cf. Ex. 21:17), to be put to death, how will he who contradicts his spiritual fathers not expel the Spirit of God from himself and destroy his soul? For this reason be counselled by your spiritual fathers and obey them till the end, so that you may save your soul and inherit eternal and untarnished blessings.”

Saint Gregory Palamas, + 1359 A.D.

“THE CHILDREN of God lead a life according to the commandments of the Gospel, and they offer repentance for their slips and falls. If a servant of God for some unfortunate reason happens to fall into a mortal sin, he is healed of the wound of sin by repentance and confession, and therefore he does not cease to be a child of God.”

Saint Ignatius of the Caucasus, + 1867 A.D.

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