// Google analytics code

Renouncing the world, impartiality and alienation – Father Gavril Galev


“Leave your land, your family, and your father’s home and go to the land that I am going to give you.”

Everything that God created is good and was created in order to serve man. But when the sin and the disobedience of man towards God appeared, the blessed unity between him and his Creator was ruined. It was natural for the man to be banished i.e. to be excluded from God’s closeness. That is why man eternally craves to be brought back again to the unity with God. The world as we know it, is too narrow and too hellish to fulfil that unity. For example, God addressed Abba Arsenij personally, when he asked God how to save himself.

The Abba thus heard a voice, saying: “Arsenij, run away from people (the world) and you will be saved.” The early Desert Fathers estranged themselves from the world and everything that was dear to them in the world, even man’s nature itself. They posted sentries, guarding their thoughts and tongue in order not to start an earthly conversation, the Abbas in the deserts used to live and even walk apart within some distance. In renouncing the world, Abba Erax said: “I never said an earthly word, nor do I want to hear one.” Abba Or instructed his disciple Paul: “Watch out, son, never bring in this cell words spoken by someone else!”

Renouncing the world, according to St. John Climacus, is permanent, take for example our patriarch Abraham: “Leave your land, your family, and your father’s home and go to the land that I am going to give you.” (Genesis 12.1).

Abba Kasijan recounts the story of a monk who had truly renounced the world. His relatives told him that his father was very ill and dying. They urged him to go and see him, the monk responded by saying: “I died for this world before he did, the dead one cannot follow the one who is alive.” In becoming a stranger among strangers you need to avoid every kind of prejudice.

Abba Agathon along with his disciples spent a lot of time building a cell together. Eventually they finished it and moved in. Within a week the Abba saw something he did not like. He told his disciples: “Come on, let us go away from here.” His disciples became upset and told him: “If you wanted to leave all of a sudden, then why did we labour so hard to build the cell? People will be lead astray by us and will say: “Look at them, the inconstant ones, they left again.” Seeing their faint-heartedness, the Elder told them: “Let some of them be tempted, but on the other hand some of them will find it useful since they will say: “Lucky them, they left their cell for the sake of God and despised everything else. In any case who likes to come with me, may come now, I am leaving.” His disciples bowed low urging him to let them go with him. It is also said that the same Abba used to leave one place and go to another carrying only his sheepskin coat.

In the beginning, renouncing the world is achieved with much effort and difficulty, through fasting and prayer, unstoppable cries, constantly watching over our own selves, renouncing our will through the obedience towards the Elder, enduring maliciousness, reproaches, injustices, mockery, insults and so on. The initial step in renouncing the world is difficult due to our nature and hardships of illnesses. God however sees the struggle and eases it for the beginners in order that they do not go back to the world immediately. In renouncing the world, let us consider the example of Lot and not of his wife.

Father Gavril Galev

About The Author