You are on page 1of 21

discovering

virtue

An activity book for
Orthodox Christian youth
The Orthodox Christian goal

is to reach a state of holiness

by uniting ourselves

through grace to Christ

and by acquiring

in this present life the

virtues
rtues of Christian perfection.
What is Vi
Virtue?

Theword“virtue”isusedtodefineaperson’scharacter.
Theword“virtue”isusedtodefineaperson’scharacter.
 

Everygoodqualitytobefoundin
EverygoodqualitytobefoundinapersonisreallyfirstandforemostfoundinGod.
andforemostfoundinGod.
Hemadeeachandeveryperson
eachandeverypersoninHisimage,withthepotentialtobecomelikeHim.
withthepotentialtobecomelikeHim.

AllgoodthingscomefromHimand
llgoodthingscomefromHimandHedesiresthatweshareinthisgoodness
Hedesiresthatweshareinthisgoodness.

Therefore,tobelikeGod,istoacquire
Therefore,tobelikeGod,istoacquireHisgoodnessandHisvirtues.
virtues.

InGreek,thisis
InGreek,thisiscalledηθικηαρετη,or"habitualexcellence."
,or"habitualexcellence."
Thesequalities
Thesequalitiesarepracticedatalltimes,inastateofperfection,
perfection,
whichweoftenfallshortofdoingbecausewearesinners.
chweoftenfallshortofdoingbecausewearesinners.
Howeverthecloserweg
thecloserwegrowtowardsChrist,themorewewillresemble
wewillresemble
HisvirtuesorotherwiseknownasthefruitsoftheSpirit.


“beyeperfectasyourheavenlyFatherisperfect."

WordsofChristfromtheGospelofSt.Matthew5:48
"Putontherefore,astheelectofGod,
"Putontherefore,astheelectofGod,
holyandbeloved,bowelsofmercies,
holyandbeloved,bowelsofmercies,
kindness,humblenessofmind,meekness,longsuffering;
kindness,humblenessofmind,meekness,longsuffering;
forbearing
forbearingoneanother,andforgivingoneanother,
ifanymanhaveaquarrelagainstany:
ifanymanhaveaquarrelagainstany:
evenasChristforgaveyou,s
evenasChristforgaveyou,soalsodoye.
Andaboveallthesethingsputoncharity,
Andaboveallthesethingsputoncharity,
whichisthebondofperfection.
AndletthepeaceofGodruleinyourhearts,
AndletthepeaceofGodruleinyourhearts,
towhichalsoyearecalledinonebody;
towhichalsoyearecalledinonebody;
andbeyethankful.
LetthewordofChristdwellinyourichly
LetthewordofChristdwellinyourichly
inallwi
inallwisdom;teachingandadmonishing
oneanotherinpsalmsandhymnsandspiritualsongs,
oneanotherinpsalmsandhymnsandspiritualsongs,
singingwithgraceinyourheartstotheLord"
singingwithgraceinyourheartstotheLord"



(Colossians3.12-16)
faith
Hope
Knowledge
wisdom
Honesty
Humility
Obedience
patience
courage
faithfulness
chastity & self control
generosity
gratitude
love
How do we
achieve Virtues?

Weknowit’spossibletoachievevirtuesandsharein
Weknowit’spossibletoachievevirtuesandsharein
God’sperfectioninthislife,becausetheSaintsoftheOrthodoxChurch
God’sperfectioninthislife,becausetheSaintsoftheOrthodoxChurch
didso.Ifwelookattheirlives,wewillfindamaptofollow!
didso.Ifwelookattheirlives,wewillfindamaptofollow!

AlloftheSaintshavesomethingincommon.They
AlloftheSaintshavesomethingincommon.Theystrugglestruggled
andmadegreat
madegreatsacrificesbecauseoftheirloveforGod.

SomeSaintsledsinfullivesatfirst,butthroughrepentancethey
Saintsledsinfullivesatfirst,butthroughrepentancethey
Saintsledsinfullivesatfirst,butthroughrepentancethey
committed
tedtherestoftheirlivestoChrist.Othersgaveup
greatwealthandfametofollowthenarrowpath.Somewillingly
greatwealthandfametofollowthenarrowpath.Somewillingly
clothedthemselvesinsimpleattire,ateverylittle,slept
clothedthemselvesinsimpleattire,ateverylittle,sleptfewhourstokeep
fewhourstokeep
vigilduringthenights,
vigilduringthenights,offeredeverythingtheyhadtothepoor
offeredeverythingtheyhadtothepoorand
surroundedthemselveswithsilence.
surroundedthemselveswithsilence.Becauseofthis,theirdays
heirdays
werefilledwith
werefilledwithprayerandabundantjoy!

JustasGodblessedthem,Hewillblessustoowhenwe
JustasGodblessedthem,Hewillblessustoowhenweattempt mpt
small
smallgesturesforHimtoshowourgratefulness.

CanyouwriteafewexamplesbelowofthingsyoucandoforGod?







faith,hope,knowledge,wisdom,honesty,humility,obedience,
faith,hope,knowledge,wisdom,honesty,humility,obedience,
patience,courage,faithfulness,
patience,courage,faithfulness,temperance,generosity,gratitude,love
,gratitude,love
Virtue Match-up
up
Drawalineconnectingthecorrectdefinition



tobetruthfulatalltimesand
avoidhypocrisy

tofollowthewillofGodby
thewillofGodby
sometimesdenyingour
enyingourown
desiresjoyfully
• Faith 
undoubtingbeliefin
• Hope thingshopedfor

illuminationnotfrombooks
• Knowledge butfromaholywayoflife
pleasingtoGod
• Wisdom 
beliefinwhatispossible
beliefinwhatispossible

• Honesty completerelianceon
Godforallthingsrather
rather
• Humility thanourselvesorothers
orothers

theabilityofthemind
• Obedience tounderstandGod

Virtue Match
Match-up
Drawalineconnectingthecorrectdefinition


thecareandconcernfor
careandconcernfor
thewell-beingofothers

TowaituponGod’sdoing
doing
• Courage
withacceptanceofyourfaults
andthefaultsofothers • Gratitude
 & contentment
Acommitmenttoachieve
Acommitmenttoachieve
yourcalling,andbearing
yourcalling,andbearing
fruitwiththegiftsandtalents
fruitwiththegiftsandtalents • Self-Control
Control
giventoyoubyGod & Chastity

Havingnofearevenunto
• Faithfulness
martyrdomorhumiliation
orhumiliation

beingthankfulforeverything
thankfulforeverything • Patience
andfullofinnerpeace

• Generosity
totrulyimitateGod

& Kindness
makingsacrificesanddecisions
sacrificesanddecisions
foraholiermind,body,andsoul
mind,body,andsoul • love
"The demons very much fear six virtues:
1. Hunger
Hunger

2. Thirst
Thirst

ThePrayerofJesus(LordJesusChrist,havemercyonme)
3. ThePrayerofJesus

4. ThesignoftheCross,thatishewhomakes
ThesignoftheCross,thatishewhomakes
thesignofthecrosscorrectlyuponhimself
signofthecrosscorrectlyuponhimself

5. Frequent
FrequentCommunionoftheMostPure
MysteriesofChrist,ifoneworthilycommunes
MysteriesofChrist,ifoneworthilycommunes

6. UndoubtinghopeinGod.
UndoubtinghopeinGod.

There is nothing more frightful
that this weapon against the demons.”
-StPaisiosVelichkovsky

Write the number from
rom these six virtues that seems the hardest? _____

Which numbers can remember to do daily? ____ _____ _____ _____
FAITH




'Faithgiveswingstoprayer,
'Faithgiveswingstoprayer,
andwithoutitwecannot
andwithoutitwecannot
flyuptoHeaven.'
flyuptoHeaven.'

St John of the Ladder



Question: List two events from the Bible that happened because of faith

Answer: 1. __________________________________________________________________

2. ________________________________________________________________________________
A story of obedience

IntheSayingsoftheDesertFathersthereoncewasamonkwhowastoldtoplant
monkwhowastoldtoplant
adrystickinthesandandtowateritdaily.Thespringwassofarfromhiscellthat
adrystickinthesandandtowateritdaily.Thespringwassofarfromhiscellthat
hehadtoleaveintheeveningtofetchthewaterandhereturnedthefollowingmorning.
hehadtoleaveintheeveningtofetchthewaterandhereturnedthefollowingmorning.

ForthreeyearshepatientlyfulfilledhisAbba'scommand.Attheendofthi
ForthreeyearshepatientlyfulfilledhisAbba'scommand.Attheendofthisperiod,
thesticksuddenlyputforthleavesandborefruit.TheAbbapickedthefruit,tookittothe
church,andinvitedthemonkstoeat,saying,"Comeandtastethefruitofobedience."

Circle the people in your life that you can practice obedience with:

Mom Principal Parish Priest Grandparents
Grand

Coach Older Sibling Nouno/Nouna

Teacher Dad Monk/Nun Spiritual Father
Painting rocks of virtue

peace
peace love patience


Supplies needed:
Smoothrocks,paint,paintbrushes


Instructions:
Chooseafavoritevirtuetopaintonastoneandcarryit
aroundinyourpocketasyourspecialreminder.  


A story of humility

AmonkonceaskedelderMacariushowtobesaved.
AmonkonceaskedelderMacariushowtobesaved.
St.Macariusansweredhim,"Gotothetombsandattackthedeadwithinsults."
thetombsandattackthedeadwithinsults."
Themonkwonderedatthe
wonderedattheadvice.Howeverhewent,ashewastold,andcastston
,andcaststones
atthetombs,insultingthe
atthetombs,insultingthedead.Thenreturning,hetoldwhathehaddone.
dead.Thenreturning,hetoldwhathehaddone.
Macariusaskedhim,"Didthedeadnoticewhatyoudid?"did?"
Andhereplied,"Theydidnotnoticeme."
Andhereplied,"Theydidnotnoticeme."

"Go,then,again,"saidelderMacarius,"andthistimepraisethem."
Themonk,wonderingyetmore,wentandpraisedthedead,callingthem
,wonderingyetmore,wentandpraisedthedead,callingthem
,wonderingyetmore,wentandpraisedthedead,callingthem
righteousmen,apostles,saints.Returning,hetoldwhathehad
men,apostles,saints.Returning,hetoldwhathehaddone,saying,
done,saying,
"Ihavepraisedthedead."ElderMacariusaskedhim,"Didtheyreplytoyou?"
themonksaid,"Theydidnotreplytome."
Andthemonk

Macarius,"Youknowwhatinsultsyouhaveheapedonthem
ThensaidelderMacarius, "Youknowwhatinsultsyouhaveheapedonthem
andwithwhatpraisesyouhaveflattere
andwithwhatpraisesyouhaveflatteredthem,andyettheyneverspoketoyou.
dthem,andyettheyneverspoketoyou.
Ifyoudesiresalvation,youmustbelikethesedead.Youmustthinknothing
Ifyoudesiresalvation,youmustbelikethesedead.Youmustthinknothing
ofthewrongsmendotoyou,norofthepraisestheyofferyou.
Belikethedead.Thusyoumaybesaved.”
the opposite challenge
Fillintheemptyspacesbelowwithanopposingcharactertraitofthevirtuesupabove


faith     love     generosity
  hope      chastity
   knowledge
        wisdom  courage
      honesty
humility
  obedience
        patience
gratitude



disbelief

indifference
What is chastity?



InZadonsktherelabored
theasceticGeorge,whowaswell
theasceticGeorge,whowaswell-knowninhistime.
Earlyonherealizedallthevanityofworldlylifeandwenttoamonastery,
Earlyonherealizedallthevanityofworldlylifeandwenttoamonastery,
butwasnotsatisfiedevenwiththisandchoseforhimselfabsolutesolitude
butwasnotsatisfiedevenwiththisandchoseforhimselfabsolutesolitude—reclusion.
Herehespenthistimeinfasting,prayerandcontemplationofGod,buttemptations
Herehespenthistimeinfasting,prayerandcontemplationofGod,buttemptations
didnotleavehim.Whenhewasstillintheworld,hehadlovedagirlwithapurelove,
andherimageoftenstoodbeforehim,disturbinghisstateofspiritualc
andherimageoftenstoodbeforehim,disturbinghisstateofspiritualcalm.Once,sensing
alm.Once,sensing
hishelplessnessinthestruggle,hecriedout:"OLord,ifthisismycross,givemethe
strengthtobearit;butifitisnot,thenerasetheveryrecollectionofherfrommy
memory."TheLordheardhim.Andonthatverynighthesawi
memory."TheLordheardhim.Andonthatverynighthesawinadreamayoung
nadreamayoung
maidenofuncommonbeauty,clothedingoldraiment.Inhergazethereradiatedsuch
unearthlymajestyandangelicpuritythatGeorgewasunabletotearhiseyesawayfrom
her,andwithreverenceheasked,"Whoareyou?Whatisyourname?"
her,andwithreverenceheasked,"Whoareyou?Whatisyourname?""Mynameis
"Mynameis
chastity,"shereplied,andthevisioncametoanend.Comingtohimself,theascetic
offeredupthankstotheLordforbringinghimtoreason.Theimagehehadseenin
offeredupthankstotheLordforbringinghimtoreason.Theimagehehadseenin
hisdreamwassoingrainedinhismindthatitcompletelyerasedallothe
hisdreamwassoingrainedinhismindthatitcompletelyerasedallotherimages.

-Elder
Elder Barsanuphius of Optina

Did you know?

The holy canons of the Orthodox Church specify that male candidates
for the priesthood are to be virgins. Chastity is for guys and girls alike!

Abba Longinos was once asked which virtue
he considered most important of all.

"Just as pride is the greatest of all evils, since it
succeeded in casting the angels from heaven to the
abyss, so humility is the greatest of all virtues. It
had the power to raise the sinner from the abyss
up to heaven. For this reason, the Lord blesses,
before all others, the poor in spirit."


"Unless
a man

keeps the
commandments

of God,

he cannot

progress,

even in

a single
virtue"

-AbbaAgathon

Oneofthem,anexpertinthelaw,testedhimwiththisquestion:
Oneofthem,anexpertinthelaw,testedhimwiththisquestion:
"Teacher,whichisthegreatestcommandmentintheLaw?"

Jesusreplied:

“LovetheLord
yourGodwithallyourheart
yourGodwithallyourheart
andwithallyoursoul
andwithallyoursoul
andwithallyourmind.”
andwithallyourmind.”

“Andthesecondislikeit:'
Andthesecondislikeit:'Loveyourneighborasyourself.”
Loveyourneighborasyourself.”


Matthew22:35-38
start
CLOSING PRAYER

PrayerofaSinglePerson

JesusmyLord,Whobecamemanandgraceduswiththebeautyof
Yourlifeandwiththeexampleoffaith,purityandlove;helpme,Ipray,
toloveYouwithallmymind,heartandsoul,andtoliveaccording
toYourteachings.Strengthenmewhentemptationsstrike,thatImay
remainpureinthoughtandsteadfastinvirtue,doingonlythingsthatare
pleasingtoYou.GuidemetoliveYourwillandnotmyownasIlook
tothefuture.Grantmefaith,courageandlove,thatImayserveYouin
holinessallthedaysofmylife,throughtheprayersoftheTheotokos
andofalltheSaints.Amen.

It is impossible for a man without legs to walk,
even if the rest of his body is healthy,
so it is impossible to approach god,
or reach god in prayer,
without active virtue.

BySt.TheophantheRecluse,OnPrayer,Homily4