I like to read the lives of the saints and also writings directly from the saints. From this I’ve noticed two things. First, there are recurring spiritual teachings that are common among saints who lived in different epochs and nations, signifying importance for all Christians. Second, I’ve noticed attitudes, sentiments, and behaviors that no saint has taught. I’d like to extrapolate on the latter and imagine some statements that I suspect no Orthodox saint has ever said. (If a canonized saint did advocate for one of the sayings, leave a comment with the correction.) Here we go…

1. “I only go to church once a week.”

2. “I don’t like to do prostrations.”

3. “Can you hand me a third piece of cake?”

4. “I’m bored.”

5. “This new piece of technology has made my life so much better.”

6. “I need to take some time off from praying.”

7. “We must fight climate change.”

8. “I wish my muscles were a lot bigger.”

9. “I need to update my style.”

10. “I need a vacation.”

11. “Let’s go have some fun.”

12. “I eat healthy so that I will never get sick.”

13. “You should always have a plan B.”

14. “You have to fight for your rights by hiring a lawyer.”

15. “I won’t ever forgive that person.”

16. “There is wisdom in crowds.”

17. “I’m happy with the level of faith I’ve attained.”

18. “Stand six feet away from me so I don’t get sick.”

19. “I like wearing pajamas in public.”

20. “It’s not important to fast.”

21. “The church services are too long for me.”

22. “I don’t have a spiritual father.”

23. “The humanity of Lord Jesus Christ evolved from monkeys.”

24. “Different religions all lead to the same God.”

25. “I regularly cut my hair and beard.”

26. “I haven’t picked up a Bible in a long time.”

27. “I stare at a digital screen all day long.”

28. “I’m concerned about the overpopulation of the Earth.”

29. “There’s a lot we can learn from the field of science.”

30. “I broke my personal record for bench press today.”

31. “Not everything in the Bible is true.”

32. “I’m scared that the new virus will kill me.”

33. “I’m stocking up on guns and ammo.”

34. “This house is my forever home.”

35. “Did you catch the game last night?”

36. “I’m too busy to help you.”

37. “I really need a tan.”

38. “I used a psychedelic drug to achieve a state of grace.”

39. “One doesn’t need the Church to be saved.”

40. “I love loud music.”

41. “I don’t own a prayer rope.”

42. “This outfit accentuates my physique.”

43. “Traffic makes me so angry.”

44. “I want to share a picture I took of myself with everybody in the world.”

45. “My personal opinions are very important.”

46. “Many of my good friends are Muslims and Jews.”

47. “I’m very close to hitting my wealth goal.”

48. “I don’t have time to feed the poor.”

49. “I can’t wait to retire and play golf all day.”

50. “My best friend is my dog.”

51. “I like to fantasize about things that may happen in the future.”

52. “I’m stuffed!”

53. “It’s important to listen to the scientific experts.”

54. “Cursing is a good way to let out steam.”

55. “It’s essential to have a sense of humor that makes everybody laugh.”

56. “It’s not important to pray to the Theotokos.”

57. “I only like to sit in comfortable chairs.”

58. “I won’t eat that because it’s bad for my physical health.”

59. “I must be treated with respect.”

60. “I need to live in a big house.”

61. “I’m tired of working.”

62. “I have to retrieve something out of my personal safe.”

63. “I hate that person.”

64. “Tomorrow we’re going to the movies!”

65. “I don’t want to burn myself out.”

66. “I have not memorized any prayers.”

67. “It’s good to let loose once in a while.”

68. “It’s better to be rich than poor.”

69. “I’m an expert at making gourmet meals that please everybody.”

70. “I don’t have to follow that commandment.”

71. “The government needs to fix this problem.”

72. “I like to live in the middle of the big city where all the action is.”

73. “Let me see how my 401k retirement plan is doing.”

74. “I don’t own many icons.”

It’s helpful for Orthodox Christians to do a self-examination of their modern lifestyles. Would the saints of the Church believe what you believe? Would they have your same habits and attachments? Would they sanction the things that you think yield temporary life enjoyment? In such a contemplation, I believe most would discover that they have allowed the secular world to intrude upon their lives and compete with what the Orthodox Church teaches. Since I came to the Church at a later age, much of my efforts seem to be chopping off the secular habits that are firmly gripped upon my soul.

Read Next: Faithmaxing

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44. “I want to share a picture I took of myself with everybody in the world.”

Not a saint per se, but I’m very weirded out by the way some clergy constantly change their social media profile pictures.

Good list and lots of thought provoking points. I’d argue that hair/beard thing shouldn’t be an issue if you’re not a monastic. Long hair and beards tend to be very distracting and requiring extra attention and care for men. For most of us who aren’t monks, it’s much easier to get the occasional haircut and beard trim. Trimming my beard with an electric trimmer takes about three minutes a week and keeps it unobstructive, and I spend a lot less time glancing in my mirror when my hair isn’t real long. I used to love the idea of long hair but since God blessed me with a thinning hairline, I’ve kept it shorter and my fussing over my appearance has never been lower.

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As I expect most on here to have felt while reading that list, there were some I was happy (perhaps too pridefully) that I don't do or agree with, and others were like a mirror that showed faults I wish weren't there.

But there were none I could disagree with.

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39. “One doesn’t need the Church to be saved.”

There is a discussion within this forum, but personally have seen and have been told from local Orthodox Christians, husbands have been attending Church alone without the wife and children.

@IconWriter provided a consideration:

There is also this thought to hold: “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.” 1 Cor: 7:14

It is my understanding Orthodox teaches this scripture is accurate, however this does not mean the wife and children are saved. I see now how significant it is to attend traditional Church practice both on weekends and throughout the week.

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#75: I wanna Rock!
#76: My favorite band is The Rolling Stones.

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Although we are all called and should strive to be so, has any saint has ever suggested, "I am holy"?

(...I am actually wondering. To use a non-Orthodox example [sorry], how is the honorific and fait accomplis title 'Holy Father' received by a pope, etc. In what spirit do they reconcile that appellation?)

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Although we are all called and should strive to be so, has any saint has ever suggested, "I am holy"?

(...I am actually wondering. To use a non-Orthodox example [sorry], how is the honorific and fait accomplis title 'Holy Father' received by a pope, etc. In what spirit do they reconcile that appellation?)

Highly unlikely. Often it can be considered in bad taste to call someone holy as that would only tempt the person into pride.

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74. “I don’t own many icons.”

St. Seraphim of Sarow only had one icon, if I recall correctly, it was his beloved small icon of the Mother of God.

I heard from novices more than once that it is recommended to have fewer icons - maybe so to not cultivate a passion for collecting/possessing.
Although icons are holy objects, many spiritual fathers recommend to the novices to in the end try to have very few. But still most novices I know own many icons.

I also heard that actually many Saints owned only a few or just one icon, but I don't know which Saints, sadly.

Maybe it also depends on what you mean by "own".
For example the priest-monk I know wouldn't use that term, I think, he would consider himself to be something like the keeper and not the owner of icons. But that's just my speculation.

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19. “I like wearing pajamas in public.”

Too funny.

75. "I'll start tomorrow."

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While it obviously wasn’t something that he emphasised or focused on, I believe St Paisios made a few approving comments here and there about the health benefits of traditional lifestyles and diets.

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Saints didn't need to set benchpress PRs or aim deliberately to improve their physical condition because they didn't live in an environment was intended to poison them for the profit of their enemies. And if they had, if saints did live around trans-fats and microplastics, they would have avoided them too, and not out of a lack of faith.

Exercise strengthens the body and builds discipline. A bad diet weakens the body and displays a lack of discipline.
As part of taking our faith seriously, we should respect our bodies as temples of God, to reject modern temptations that seek to break them, and to strive for strength to become the best warriors that God made us to be.

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Hm. I'm pretty sure many saints lived during and in some of the worst periods in the history of the world, with disease, malnutrition, war, and so on.

Many of the lives of saints were painful, often filled with (even spritual) torment and suffering, and short. At least, I have yet to come across one who lived otherwise and were known for their exercise and health regimens.

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Exercise strengthens the body and builds discipline. A bad diet weakens the body and displays a lack of discipline.
As part of taking our faith seriously, we should respect our bodies as temples of God, to reject modern temptations that seek to break them

I agree with this.

Perhaps I'm misunderstanding, but what is wrong with a healthy diet if one is not doing it out of vanity or pride, or to achieve an immoral goal? What is wrong with taking care of our bodies as temples of God?

Is it that we're supposed to have enough faith that we can eat unhealthy food all the time, as long as we're not being gluttonous, and God will cause it to not harm us physically? Is it that we're supposed to actively want a shorter lifespan so we can be with God sooner? Is a reduced quality of life due to eating unhealthy and losing some body mobility due to lack of exercise seen as desirable, as a type of suffering? Are we to place an undue burden on our children who have to care for us because we neglected to take better care of ourselves?

God has allowed us to have the knowledge to avoid some unhealthy things, like vegetable oils as a past article mentioned, and to make better food choices. How is that wrong?

I genuinely want to understand.

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Hm. I'm pretty sure many saints lived during and in some of the worst periods in the history of the world, with disease, malnutrition, war, and so on.

Many of the lives of saints were painful, often filled with (even spritual) torment and suffering, and short. At least, I have yet to come across one who lived otherwise and were known for their exercise and health regimens.

Not much is said about the typical diet of a saint because it's largely not their lifestyle choices that we're supposed to reflect on, but what they achieved - things so outstanding that they gain the recognition of the highest levels of the Church.
In this situation, it goes without saying that saint X's bench PR and dietary decisions don't really come into the picture.

Many saints are canonised for dying for their principles which isn't good for overall physical health.

Assuming you are not presently burning at the stake, would strength training and a good diet really detract from your ability to live the faith?
There are a lot of military men who became saints, St George for instance - would he have not considered physical strength important?

God created each and every one of us in the image of him and we should strive to do honor to that in honoring our body.
We certainly shouldn't use the excuse of the grandness of other great men's achievements to avoid doing the little things that make us better men.

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An article written as to provoke discussion, does so. My interpretation of the spirit of this article is summarized in Ecclesiastes 12:8.

Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity.

How should we view the merits of a thing, if there any merits to it at all? And what kind of merits are they? In whose eyes?

In any case, it is not a matter of checking boxes down a list.

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