Feast Day: September 24th
The Life of Saint Silouan the Athonite: Thus he gave himself to God with all his Soul, and in a brief while he not only received the Gift of Unceasing Prayer from the Most Holy Mother of God, but was also granted ineffably to see the Living Christ…
Apolytikion: By Prayer didst thou receive Christ for thy Teacher in the way of humility; and the Spirit bare witness to Salvation in thy heart; wherefore all peoples called unto hope rejoice this day of thy memorial. O Sacred Father Silouan, Pray unto Christ our God for the Salvation of our Souls.
Kontakion: In thine Earthly life thou didst serve Christ, following in His steps; and now in Heaven thou seest Him Whom thou didst love, and abidest with Him according to the promise. Wherefore, O Father Silouan, teach us the path wherein thou didst walk.
Troparion: By thy Prayers thou didst receive Christ as thy Master on the path of humility; and in thy heart the Holy Spirit witnessed unto thy Salvation. For this cause all people called to live in hope are now rejoicing and celebrating thy Memory. O Holy Father Silouan, Pray to Christ to save our Souls.
Saint Silouan wished to receive a Blessing from Saint John of Kronstadt to become a Monk, and to ask for his Prayers. He travelled to visit him, however Saint John was absent at the time of his arrival. Saint Silouan wrote a note and left it for Saint John, it read… “Father, I wish to become a Monk. Pray that the world does not detain me.” Saint Silouan recalled that the very next day he felt that all round him “the flames of hell were burning.” After many years when Saint Silouan would recount this feeling he said “I still marvel at the power of his Prayer. Almost 40 years have passed, yet I have not seen anyone serve the way he did.”
Saint Silouan loved Christ with his whole heart and dedicated his life to Prayer. He was Tonsured a Monk and fulfilled his Monastic Obediences in humility and always with Prayer in his heart.
“When the Soul knows the Love of God by the Holy Spirit, then he clearly feels that the Lord is our own Father, the closest, dearest Father, the best. And there is not greater happiness than to love God with all the mind and heart, and our neighbour as ourself. And when this love is in the Soul, then all things bring joy to the Soul.”
Saint Silouan often struggled with great despondency and felt that God did not hear him. However, one day when he was a Novice, he saw Christ and became filled with the Grace of the Holy Spirit.
“Don’t be troubled if you don’t feel the Love of God in yourself, but think about the Lord, that He is Merciful, and guard yourself from sins, and the Grace of God will teach you.”
This Grace however left Saint Silouan not long after, and he spent fifteen years in anguish Praying to Christ for His Grace to come again, and to be able to Pray with a pure mind.
Father Silouan sat down again, and with bowed head and aching heart he Prayed, “Lord, Thou seest that I desire to Pray to Thee with a pure mind but the devils will not let me. Instruct me, what must I do to stop them hindering me?” And in his Soul he heard, “The proud always suffer from devils.” “Lord,” said Silouan, :teach me what I must do that my Soul may become humble.” Once more, his heart heard God’s answer, “Keep thy mind in hell, and despair not.”
“The Saints were people like all of us. Many of them came out of great sins, but by repentance they attained the Kingdom of Heaven. And everyone who comes there comes through repentance, which the Merciful Lord has given us through His sufferings.”
“When God wants to have Mercy on someone, He inspires someone else to Pray for him, and He helps in this Prayer.”
Saint Silouan had an immense love for every single person, and all of God’s creation. He often thought about Eternal Life and Prayed that every Soul will be Saved and be with God.
I remember a conversation between him and a certain hermit, who declared with evident satisfaction, “God will punish all atheists. They will burn in everlasting fire.” Obviously upset, the Staretz said: “Tell me, supposing you went to Paradise and there looked down and saw somebody burning in hell-fire – would you feel happy?” “It can’t be helped. It would be their own fault,” said the hermit. The Staretz answered him with a sorrowful countenance: “Love could not bear that,” he said. “We must Pray for all”.
“With all your power, ask the Lord for humility and brotherly love, because God freely gives His Grace for love towards one’s brother. Do an experiment on yourself: one day ask God for love towards your brother, and another day – live without love. You will see the difference.”
“The Lord greatly loves the repenting sinner and mercifully presses him to His bosom: “Where were you, My child? I was waiting a long time for you.” The Lord calls all to Himself with the Voice of the Gospel, and his Voice is heard in all the world: “Come to Me, My sheep. I created you, and I love you. My Love for you brought Me to Earth, and I suffered all things for the sake of your Salvation, and I want you all to know My Love, and to say, like the Apostles on Tabor: Lord, it is good for us to be with You.””
Saint Silouan met Saint Sophrony on Mount Athos, and became his Spiritual Father.
Below are some Icons Saint Sophrony Painted of his beloved Spiritual Father Saint Silouan.
At his Monastery in Essex, Saint Sophrony and his Monastic Brothers Painted a series of Icons of Saint Silouan’s life.
Icons, Photos & Videos
Quotes by Saint Silouan
Understand two thoughts, and fear them. One says, “You are a Saint,” the other, “You won’t be Saved.” Both of these thoughts are from the enemy, and there is no truth in them. But think this way: I am a great sinner, but the Lord is Merciful. He loves people very much, and He will forgive my sins.
A certain Monk told me that when he was very sick, his mother said to his father, “How our little boy is suffering. I would gladly give myself to be cut up into pieces if that would ease his suffering.” Such is the Love of God for people. He pitied people so much that He wanted to suffer for them, like their own mother, and even more. But no one can understand this great Love without the Grace of the Holy Spirit.
We suffer because we have no humility and we do not love our brother. From love of our brother comes the love of God. People do not learn humility, and because of their pride cannot receive the Grace of the Holy Spirit, and therefore the whole world suffers.
No matter how much we may study, it is not possible to come to know God unless we live according to His Commandments, for God is not know by science, but by the Holy Spirit. Many philosophers and learned men came to the belief that God exists, but they did not know God. It is one thing to believe that God exists and another to know Him. If someone has come to know God by the Holy Spirit, his Soul will burn with love for God day and night, and his Soul cannot be bound to any earthly thing.
We have such a law: If you forgive, it means that God has forgiven you; but if you do not forgive your brother, it means that your sin remains with you.
Whoever will not love his enemies cannot know the Lord and the sweetness of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit teaches us to love our enemies in such way that we pity their Souls as if they were our own children.
I ask you to try something. If someone grieves you, or dishonours you, or takes something of yours, then pray like this: “Lord, we are all Your creatures. Pity your servants, and turn them to repentance,” and then you will perceptibly bear Grace in your Soul. Induce your heart to love your enemies, and the Lord, seeing your good will, shall help you in all things, and will Himself show you experience. But whoever thinks evil of his enemies does not have love for God and has not known God.
If you see a man who has sinned and you do not pity him, the Grace of God will leave you. Whoever curses bad people, and does not Pray for them, will never come to know the Grace of God.
It is impossible to keep Spiritual peace if we do not take care of the mind, that is if we do not drive out thoughts that are displeasing to God and, on the contrary, keep thoughts which are pleasing to God. It is necessary to look into the heart with mind and see what is done there. Is it peaceful or not? If not, then find out in what you have sinned.
What joy is ours that the Lord not only forgives our sins, but allows the Soul to know Him, so soon as she humbles herself. The poorest wretch can humble himself and know God in the Holy Spirit. There is no need of money or posessions in order to know God, only humility. The Lord gives Himself freely, for His Mercy’s sake alone. I did not know this before but now every day and every hour every minute, I see clearly the Mercy of God. The Lord gives peace even in sleep, but without God there is no peace in the Soul.
The Holy Apostle John the Theologian says that the Commandments of God are not difficult, but easy (I John, 5:3). But they are only easy because of love, while they are all difficult if there is no love.
The Soul that has come to know God fully no longer desires anything else, nor does it attach itself to anything on the Earth; and if you put before it a kingdom, it would not desire it, for the love of God gives such sweetness and joy to the Soul that even the life of a king can no longer give it any sweetness.
The Lord does not show Himself to a proud Soul. The proud Soul, no matter how many books it reads, will never know God, since by its pride it does not give place for the Grace of the Holy Spirit, while God is known only by the humble Soul.
When the Soul knows the love of God by the Holy Spirit, then he clearly feels that the Lord is our own Father, the closest, dearest Father, the best. And there is not greater happiness that to love God with all the mind and heart, and our neighbour as ourself. And when this love is in the Soul, then all things bring joy to the Soul.
The humble Soul is Blessed. The Lord loves her. The Mother of God is higher than all in humility, and therefore all races Bless her on Earth, while the Heavenly powers serve her. And the Lord has given us this Blessed Mother of His as a defender and helper.
There are people who, when they encounter inability to understand, do not ask the Lord. But one must immediately say, “Lord, I am a sinful man and I don’t understand as I should. But give me understanding, Merciful One, as to how I must proceed.” And the Merciful Lord then inspires them as to what to do and what not to do.
The Lord has given the Holy Spirit upon the Earth, and in whomsoever He dwells, that one feels Paradise within himself. You might say: why hasn’t this happened to me? Because you have not given yourself over to the Will of God, but you live according to yourself. Look at the one who loves his own will. He never has peace in himself and is always displeased with something. But whoever has given himself over to God’s Will perfectly has pure Prayer. His Soul loves the Lord, and everything is acceptable and good to him.