Saints Saint Isaac the Syrian


I would like to share some quotes from St Isaac from some of my readings

He was a hermit of the Assyrian church in the 7th century. In orthodoxy his work is read in orthodox churches in Greece around mount athos and Coptic churches in Egypt

He has some controversial quotes that might spark some theological debate but most of his stuff aligns perfectly with orthodoxy.


  • If you believe firmly that God cares for you, then you do not need to worry about the body, nor need you be concerned about discovering ways to conduct your life. If, however, you doubt God's care, and want to look after yourself without God, then you are the most miserable person imaginable.

  • The knowledge of God does not reside in a body that loves comfort.

  • The intellect will not be glorified with Jesus unless the body suffers for the sake of Jesus.

  • Do not approach the mystery-filed words of the Scriptures without prayer and a request for assistance from God. Say, 'Lord, grant me to become aware of the power in the words.' Consider prayer to be the key to insights into Truth in the Scriptures.

  • The day you open your mouth to denigrate someone, consider yourself as dead to God and emptied of all your labors.

  • Be someone persecuted rather than become a persecutor.

  • Knowledge is a step on the ladder to faith. Once someone has reached faith, he does not need to use knowledge any longer.

  • Virtue is not the child of good actions, but of the good intention behind those actions.

  • Variation of different prayers greatly helps a mind which is harassed by distraction.

  • Once someone has doubted God's care for him, he immediately falls into a myriad of anxieties.


Sharing one of my favorite quotes from St. Isaac.. I find it fascinating how much these monks had a grasp on the human psyche. As Father David Abernathy says in the podcast he does, on St. Isaac that these monks where the first psychoanalysts.

Quote Page 424

"Pride is not when a proud thought passes through the mind, nor when a man is over come by pride for a time, but when it permanently abides in him. In the first instance there can be compunction; but he who has loved pride knows no compunction." --- St. Isaac the Syrian

Further down on page 424

"But it is also by the praise of the sons of men that a man becomes deranged in his understanding and is smitten with insanity, as when he desires to perform deeds among men that are beyond his measure, so that the praise of his greatness may increase and men will perceive him to be near to God. Many have have excelled in their discipline, have grown rich in gifts from God, and been honored with the grace of working signs. But afterword these same men, who were formerly so honored, underwent a change and were smitten of God, because they were unable to bear the many gifts form God, and been honored with grace of working signs . But afterward these same men , who were formerly so honored, underwent a change and were smitten of God, because they were unable to bear the many gifts they had received and were carried away by pride. Therefore they were rejected by God as dross and became strangers to the lofty rank they had enjoyed. Many have there been who were quiet and stable of mind , whose words were weighted, whose life was chaste , whose knowledge was envied, but who have become an object of terror to those who know them and a most lamentable sight for those who see them." --- St. Isaac the Syrian


Other Christian
‘And what is a merciful heart? It is the heart burning for the sake of all creation, for men, for birds, for animals, for demons, and every created thing; and by the recollection of them the eyes of a merciful man pour forth abundant tears. By the strong and vehement mercy which grips his heart and by his great compassion, his heart is humbled and he cannot bear to hear or to see any injury or slight sorrow in creation. For this reason he offers up tearful prayer continually even for irrational beasts, for the enemies of the truth, and for those who harm him, that they be protected and receive mercy. And in like manner he even prays for the family of reptiles because of the great compassion that burns without measure in his heart in the likeness of God.’
- St. Isaac