The Orthodox Christian Understanding of Sin

Archimandrite Sophrony

Archimandrite Sophronius

By: Archimandrite Sophronius (Sakharov)

Sin is primarily a metaphysical phenomenon whose roots lie in the mystic depths of man’s spiritual nature. The essence of sin consists not in the infringement of ethical standards but in a falling away from the eternal Divine life for which man was created and to which, by his nature, he is called.

Sin is committed first of all in the secret depths of the human spirit but its consequences involve the individual as a whole. A sin will reflect on a man’s psychological and physical condition, on his outward appearance, on his personal destiny. Sin will, inevitably, pass beyond the boundaries of the sinner’s individual life, to burden all humanity and thus affect the fate of the whole world. The sin of our forefather Adam was not the only sin of cosmic significance. Every sin, manifest or secret, committed by each one of us affects the rest of the universe.

The early-minded man when he commits a sin is not conscious of its effect on himself as is the spiritual man. The carnal man does not remark any change in himself after committing a sin because he is always in a state of spiritual death and has never known the eternal life of the spirit. The spiritual man, on the contrary, does see a change in himself every time his will inclines to sin- he senses a lessening of grace.


7 Responses to “The Orthodox Christian Understanding of Sin”

  1. 1 Dn Charles September 18, 2009 at 10:55 am

    ” The spiritual man, on the contrary, does see a change in himself every time his will inclines to sin”
    What a blessing it would be to have this gift!

  2. 2 Moses September 18, 2009 at 9:11 pm

    Thanks Mash for this! 🙂

  3. 3 Mark Downham January 10, 2011 at 4:02 am

    This is an exact confession of the Evangelcial understanding of the problem of Sin and a responsible and infoirmed reasding of Scripture and a brilliant summing up of Adamic inquity (original sin) and human transgression (personal sin).

  1. 1 Elder Sophrony: The Effects of Sin « Enlarging the Heart Trackback on October 15, 2009 at 12:17 pm
  2. 2 The Orthodox Christian Understanding of Sin « Sowing Seeds of Orthodoxy Trackback on April 16, 2010 at 6:24 am
  3. 3 The Orthodox Christian Understanding of Sin « Sowing Seeds of Orthodoxy Trackback on July 15, 2010 at 6:44 am
  4. 4 Altvater Sophrony von Essex: Über das Wesen der Sünde [Elder Sophrony of Essex: The Orthodox Christian Understanding of Sin] | Faith · Hope · Charity Trackback on March 25, 2012 at 9:09 am

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St. Poemen the Great

"A man may seem to be silent, but if his heart is condemning others, he is babbling ceaselessly. But there may be another who talks from morning till night and yet he is truly silent, that is, he says nothing that is not profitable."

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"Remember, O my soul, the terrible and frightful wonder: that your Creator for your sake became Man, and deigned to suffer for the sake of your salvation. His angels tremble, the Cherubim are terrified, the Seraphim are in fear, and all the heavenly powers ceaselessly give praise; and you, unfortunate soul, remain in laziness. At least from this time forth arise and do not put off, my beloved soul, holy repentance, contrition of heart and penance for your sins."

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