Love Thy Neighbour- By: St. Mary (Skobtsova) of Paris

Nun taking care of disabled children (St. Elizabeth Convent, Minsk).

A person should have a more attentive attitude toward his brother’s flesh than toward his own. Christian love teaches us to give our brother not only material but also spiritual gifts. We must give him our last shirt and our last crust of bread. Here personal charity is as necessary and justified as the broadest social work. In this sense there is no doubt that the Christian is called to social work. He is called to organize a better life for the workers, to provide for the old, to build hospitals, care for the children, fight against exploitation, injustice, want, lawlessness. In principle the value is completely the same, whether he acts on an individual or social level; what matters is that his social work be based on love for his neighbour and not have any latent career or material purposes. For the rest it is always justified- from personal aid to working on a national scale, from concrete attention to an individual person to an understanding of abstract system for the correct organization of social life. The love of man demands one thing from us in this area: ascetic ministry to his material needs, attentive and responsible work, a sober and unsentimental awareness of our strength and of its true usefulness.

Excerpt taken from the book:
Mother Maria Skobtsova, Essential Writings.

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2 Responses to “Love Thy Neighbour- By: St. Mary (Skobtsova) of Paris”


  1. 1 Teena H. Blackburn June 26, 2010 at 10:45 am

    After having a really heated debate on another blog over the issue of whether we should have social welfare programs as well as private charity, it’s nice to see this quote. A lot of American Orthodox have brought with them into the church the idea that government is bad, and that only private charity bespeaks of personal virtues. Thank you for posting this.


  1. 1 Church-State Cooperation in Russia « Arms Open Wide Trackback on March 27, 2012 at 9:22 am

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"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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"Every day you provide your bodies with good to keep them from failing. In the same way your good works should be the daily nourishment of your hearts. Your bodies are fed with food and your spirits with good works. You aren't to deny your soul, which is going to live forever, what you grant to your body, which is going to die."

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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."

St. Tikhon of Zadonsk

“Prayer does not consist merely in standing and bowing your body or in reading written prayers….it is possible to pray at all times, in all places, with mind and spirit. You can lift up your mind and heart to God while walking, sitting, working, in a crowd and in solitude. His door is always open, unlike man’s. We can always say to Him in our hearts Lord , Lord have mercy.”

St. John of Kronstadt

The candles lit before the icons of the Theotokos are a symbol of the fact that She is the Mother of the Unapproachable Light, and also of Her most pure and burning love for God and Her love for mankind.

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