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Freedom

“Freedom is an essential characteristic of the Christian life Christ promised that the truth would set us free…The experience of freedom comes to us when we recognize the connection between the material and spiritual worlds. They are not divorced from one another…Anxiety and obsessiveness are qualities of the world, but our relationship with Christ results in freedom and inner peace…Whoever wants to create Christian culture must try to cultivate in his own heart a child of the light and to give it the freedom to act as is appropriate for a person who acts as though he is subject to the law of freedom…we must renew the Christian spirit and action within ourselves first, then bring it to our creativity in the world.” (Dr. Eugenia Scarvelis Constantinou, Kevin Scherer, Ivan Ilyin)


“Our works demonstrate our true or disordered freedom. True freedom is when we align our will with that of God. Disordered freedom is the opposite of that. Free will, which is God’s greatest gift to us, is what separates us from all the other creatures and gives us the opportunity for a conscious relationship with our Creator. We are solely responsible for the use or misuse of the gift of free will…Conscience is the soul of freedom, its eyes, its energy, its life. Without conscience, freedom never knows what to do with itself.” (Alexandros Christodoulou, Thomas Merton)


“When God made Himself known to us in the Incarnation of Christ, He allowed Himself to have a limit and a definition. He who was uncircumscribable became circumscribable. It is why we can make an icon of His image. When we dwell without limits (“unfettered freedom”), in some manner, we cease to have any meaningful existence. Who I am also means who I am not…life within revealed limits is the only true freedom. Freedom is not the ability to do anything, to have no limits, but the ability to truly be who and what you are, which can only be known through the revelation of limits.” (Father Stephen Freeman)


“Without Christ, it is impossible to correct ourselves. We will not be able to detach ourselves from our passions. On our own, we cannot become good… There is one thing we must do and that is turn to Him and love Him with all our soul. Love for Christ, this is the best and sole remedy for the passions”… considering ourselves “dead to sin” is a matter of our focus…our souls are like a garden with flowers and weeds…we should water the flowers and not the weeds. That means that we should not bother with the weeds. But we should “channel the strength of our soul to the flowers.” “Ignore evil,”…“Look toward Christ, and He will save you”…how we direct our attention, we live free of condemnation. We set our minds on the leading of the Spirit and not on the desires of the flesh, and so we live in the New Life of freedom from the law.” (St. Prophryrios, Fr. Basil)


“The Spirit of God is a Spirit of absolute freedom, “everywhere present and filling all things.” Such total inner freedom is essential if He is to realize His work of renewal, sanctification and salvation within our lives and within creation as a whole…the Spirit fills our very being with that Life. He bestows gifts upon the Church and fruits upon its members. He fills us with life-giving grace, leading us from a state of bondage to one of genuine freedom. If He can thus bestow on us that life-giving freedom, it is only because He Himself is the source and embodiment of perfect freedom, of divine Freedom, in which we—miracle of miracles—are invited to take part.” (Fr. John Breck)


“The word of the day is “freedom.” What do people have in mind when they seek freedom? They seek release from whatever controls or threatens to restrain them. And yet, in the name of freedom, many let themselves be dominated by all sorts of indulgences: the pursuit of fame, wealth, adventure, comfort, lust, and power…St. Philaret of Moscow spoke about the person who thinks freedom means the ability to do whatever he wants. He writes, “But such a man uses external freedom only to more severely burden himself with inner slavery. True freedom is the active ability of a man who is not enslaved to sin, who is not pricked by a condemning conscience, to choose the better in the light of God’s truth, and to bring it into actuality with the help of the gracious power of God.” (Fr. Basil)

“Slave and free are simply names. What is a slave? It is a mere name. How many masters lie drunken upon their beds, while slaves stand by sober? Whom shall I call a slave? The one who is sober, or the one who is drunk? The one who is the slave of a man, or the one who is the captive of passion? The former has his slavery on the outside; the latter wears his captivity on the inside.” (St. John Chrysostom)


“…in whatever measure we serve God, we are free. In whatever measure we serve the law of sin, we are still in bondage…Freedom occurs when we delight in the law of God, for freedom gives you joy. As long as you do what is right out of fear, you find no delight in God. Find your delight in him, and you are free. Do not fear punishment; rather, love righteousness.” (St. Augustine)

“In creating man as a person, God had in mind communion, and freedom was the only way to this. With man’s choice to introvert the ekstatic movement of his personhood towards himself and creation, the ontological difference between Creator and creatures was affirmed as a gap, that is, not as difference, but as division, and man became enslaved to nature. Freedom led to slavery…the most paradoxical thing that lies in the fact of freedom is that man cannot “free himself” from it—if he wanted to do so—unless he extinguishes himself completely. This makes Sartre’s “man is condemned to be free,” sound quite true. For the alternative which freedom poses for man’s existence lies between accepting existence as a whole as something of which man freely partakes, or making existence something which man controls himself.” (Metropolitan John Zizioulas)


“If freedom is nothing more than an ongoing arbitrariness, there can be no integrity in such a personal relationship. Nobody, not even the person himself or herself, will be able to anticipate one’s actions in a given situation, since such people cannot know themselves how they will react. True freedom comes through self-mastery. It requires enormous self-discipline. Those who cannot or will not overcome their passions are doomed to a lifetime in a spiritual and mental pigsty of misery, fulfilling the gist of St. Augustine’s words: “My two wills: One new, the other old; one spiritual, the other carnal, battle within me and tear at my soul by their discord.” (Fr. Vladimir Berzonsky)


“While Christ promised us that the truth would make us free (John 8:32),  many Americans like Christ’s Jewish interlocutors might answer Christ: “We … have never been in bondage to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will be made free’?” (John 8:33). Christ of course is not talking about a political or social freedom, but a spiritual one. If we miss that point, we misunderstand Christ, and will look to politics or ideologies to save us. But they can only save us in a worldly way and from some worldly problems, but not in the way that Jesus Himself is teaching…Freedom as a spiritual reality is what the Church lives for, not for some political ideology.  Christ said his kingship was not of this world (John 18:36).  Neither is the freedom of which He spoke – a freedom from sin, from passions, from evil, from selfish self-centeredness.  As Christians in America we should realize there is a difference between the freedom Christ spoke about for us and the Bill of Rights, which speak about political rights, not spiritual freedoms.  Our Lord spoke of a freedom to love, forgive, be merciful and generous – to be like God.  His freedom was renunciation of the politics and power of the world, in order to live as God’s children, to imitate God, and to be like God (Matthew 5:48).” (Fr. Ted Bobosh)


“…when we discover the reality of God’s mercy toward us it becomes the source of our own mercy toward others. That source is an immediate and liberating encounter with God’s peace and love, a living in the present moment without anxiety. The telos of Christian prayer and ascesis, as Burton-Christie suggests, is the freedom to love God and others fully present, fully alive in the here and now.” (Vincent Pizzuto)


“We are not born free – that is the discovery I made while still in prison. That’s how it is: man is born with a sick and unfree soul, inherited from ‘humankind’, from Adam and Eve.…political freedoms may come and go, but enslavement to sin cannot be overthrown by politics and ideologies. Enslavement to sin is overcome only with self-denial, self-emptying, with repentance and by the help of Christ and the Holy Spirit. No matter what government we live under, no matter how much political freedom we enjoy, if we commit sins we make ourselves slaves to sin. We can claim to live in the most free country in the world and yet be a slave to our passions, our self, our sins. “(Fr. Sergei Ovsiannikov, Fr. Ted Bobosh)


“…when Christ announced His ministry in Luke 4 He quotes Isaiah 61:1, and said He had come “set at liberty those who are oppressed” – Isaiah reads to “preach liberty to the captives” – this is all about freedom from sin, the very thing that enslaves, and make us captive, takes away our freedom. The more we are free from what enslaves us internally the more we live and foster freedom externally in the world around us.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)


“In truth there is only one freedom – the holy freedom of Christ, whereby He freed us from sin, from evil, from the devil. It binds us to God. All other freedoms are illusory, false, that is to say, they are all, in fact, slavery.” (St. Justin Popovich)

“A common misunderstanding of liberty or freedom is to see it as standing apart from all moral restraints, to say there is no such thing as sin. But this results in slavery of the worst kind, bondage to egotistic and sensual passions. True Christian freedom begins with freedom from sin, freedom from immoral activity. A Christian is called to live in purity in an impure world.” (Orthodox Study Bible, 2 Peter 2:19)

“In truth there is only one freedom—the holy freedom of Christ, whereby He freed us from sin, from evil, from the devil. It binds us to God. All other freedoms are illusory, false, that is to say, they are all, in fact, slavery.” (St. Justin Popovich)

“Only a slave can show mercy to fellow slaves, no matter how much they have come to resemble their oppressors. For our sake, Christ became a slave that He might free us all…Perhaps the greatest sea-change in the Christian mindset has been the shift from slave to management. The contemporary first-world views itself as management, despite the fact that it is as much slave as the world has ever been. It is possible to say that repentance begins by renouncing ourselves as managers and acknowledging ourselves as slaves. Only in that manner can Christ set us free. Managers, as such, cannot be saved.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“Giving into the passions enslaves us to the world and actually keeps us from knowing our true selves, which is God’s desire for us. Knowing ourselves and growing into what we were meant to be as created persons of God with purpose are only possible when God illumines our thoughts and hearts. This can’t happen when we enslave ourselves to thoughts and behaviors that are not of God.” (Sacramental Living)

“Jesus does not give us freedom to do what we want, but freedom to follow God. As we seek to serve God, Jesus’ perfect truth frees us to be all that God meant us to be.” (Life Application Study Bible, John 8:32)

“Some people by the word freedom understand the ability to do whatever one wants…People who have the more allowed themselves to come into slavery to sins, passions, and defilements more often than others appear as zealots of external freedom, wanting to broaden the laws as much as possible. But such a man uses external freedom only to more severely burden himself with inner slavery. True freedom is the active ability of a man who is not enslaved to sin, who is not pricked by a condemning conscience, to choose the better in the light of God’s truth, and to bring it into actuality with the help of the gracious power of God. This is the freedom of which neither heaven nor earth are restrict.” (St. Philaret of Moscow)

“Regard as free not those whose status makes them outwardly free, but those who are free in their character and conduct. For we should not call men truly free when they are wicked and dissolute, since they are slaves to worldly passions. Freedom and happiness of soul consist in genuine purity and detachment from transitory things.” (St. Anthony the Great) “

Freedom is not, as we sometimes believe, the power to choose—it is the experience of accepting and embracing this God-given orientation and energy that already exists in our souls.” (Kevin Scherer)

“All change comes with a certain degree of pain, discomfort, and bitterness…Shame is healthy when it allow us to see that we have produced no fruit in this life, only emptiness and death….However, once we accept godly shame with equanimity…It reminds us that we are slaves of God…Slavery to God…is actually freedom.” (Dynamis 6/28/2015, Orthodox Study Bible, Romans 6:22)

“Freedom isn’t free, and it never has been—it’s always hard-won and must be diligently guarded…Freedom from the slavery of our own undisciplined desires requires us to war against the inevitable entropy that causes us to drift toward selfishness…freedom is the joy of becoming who you are in the light of who He is. All other pursuits toward false versions of freedom lead you to a dead end.” (Father Barnabas Powell)

“Despite all of our efforts to control our own reality, the fact is, we are controlled by the thoughts that barrage our minds. Most of us are unconsciously fixated on either the past or the future…The only way to experience the freedom of real life, the divine life God created us to enjoy, is to reorient and realign our humanity as God intended it.” (Kevin Scherer)

"We all know the experience: we have felt pulled between what we think we ought to do, and what we’re tempted to do. If we give in to temptation habitually, we can eventually lose the freedom we first had. That’s the essence of addiction, which may begin with a free act of the will, but ends in bondage and the loss of freedom." (Jonathan Witt and Jay W. Richards)

“Modern people like to see freedom as the complete absence of any constraints. But think of a fish. Because a fish absorbs oxygen from water, not air, it is free only if it is restricted to water. If a fish is “freed” from the river and put out on the grass to explore, its freedom to move and soon even to live is destroyed. The fish is not more free, but less free, if it cannot honor the reality of its nature.... Freedom is not so much the absence of restrictions as finding the right ones, those that fit with the realities of our own nature and those of the world." (Pastor Timothy Keller)

"The Lord wants us to love each other; this is the essence of freedom — love for God and for your neighbor. This is both freedom and equality. But in earthly titles there can be no equality; this is of no concern to the soul, however. Not everyone can be a king or a prince; not everyone can be a patriarch or an abbot, or a leader, but no matter what your title you can love God and serve Him, and that is all that matters. And whoever loves God more on earth shall be in greater glory in the Kingdom." (St. Silouan of Mount Athos)

“God’s love for you is so profound and complete that He will not violate your free participation or lack of participation in His life.” (Father Barnabas Powell)

“The God-given freedom of the human will can have both horrible and wonderful consequences…God honors human freedom even in those who disdain His mercy. It is our choice.” (Sr. Dr. Vassa Larin, Dynamis 9/4/2014)

"...evil cannot be ruled out for any world in which God chooses to make creatures who are genuinely free to reject him, the source of all being and goodness. Even God accepts a tradeoff. Indeed, without the contrast between good and evil choices, and between greater and lesser goods, our freedom would be insignificant." (Jonathan Witt and Jay W. Richards)

“Hell is God’s tribute to the freedom he gave each of us to choose whom we would serve; it is a recognition that our decisions have a significance that extends far down the reaches of foreverness.” (James Sire)

“If you want to be like Jesus Christ and want to live with Him forever, then you love Him with all your heart and rearrange your whole life around Him, bit by bit. If you want to be transformed into a saint, you come to church as often as you can, because here the divine energy of God works on us in a way we just can’t get elsewhere. If you want to know true peace and true joy and true healing, then you enter into the house of God and engage yourself in the power of what is happening. And in doing all this, we discover true freedom. This is not the “freedom” of getting something for free, like the free gift you get when you open a new credit card. This is not the freedom of being given a license to do anything you want. Rather, this is the freedom of being filled with divine energy and power from on high: being made capable of perfect love, powerful enough to know perfect peace, and strong enough to know unending joy.” (Father Andrew Stephen Damick)

"The good news of the Gospel is that we are free. Out of love God created us to be free. He gave us free will even if it means we choose other than Him. Too much in today's world starts off well intended but digresses into thought systems and actions that intentionally or unintentionally seek to limit our freedom. God wills us to be free." (Sacramental Living Ministries)

“…though God is Lord of history, He does not coerce or force obedience and conformity to His will. Coerced conformity is dehumanization, whereas fulfilled humanity - which is the divinization of human life - must be free, since God is free.” (Rev. Dr. Stanley S. Harakas)

“God loves you, so He has set you free. He could have forced you to obey Him, but He didn’t. He could have damned you or saved you whether you wanted it or not, but He didn’t. He could have created us to be like robots who automatically do what is right. But He didn’t. He could have forced us to come to church. But He didn’t. He set us free…Love always sets you free. Someone who loves you does not force himself on you. Someone who loves you does not make you do anything. Someone who loves you invites and inspires you, hoping that you will respond to the invitation.” (Father Andrew Stephen Damick)

“Making the right choices and living a virtuous life are not enough for human beings to attain the fullness of life. They need to be in communion with God. However, living with God presupposes that they live a virtuous life by exercising their freedom. Being with God implies that authentic human beings participate in, and communicate in their lives, the love of God for all human beings and the world at large.” (Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Clapsis)

"The fact that we enjoy freedom, then, is itself a sign of the existence of God…Freedom is a gift of God to humanity that defines and shapes human beings as being in God's image.” (Jonathan Witt and Jay W. Richards, Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Clapsis)

“No matter how independent we may consider ourselves, we truly are dependent creatures. From the moment of our conception, we are dependent on our mother for nourishment that flows from her body to ours. Then, once we are born, we have an additional list of dependencies that others must satisfy for us. We still need nourishment; we need safety; we need to be cleaned. And, though sometimes forgotten, we need to be loved. Only then can we begin to thrive.” (Marianne C. Sailus)

“Our freedom consists in embracing all that happens to us, negative and positive, pain and pleasure, disappointment and joy, as a blessing in divine disguise.” (Albert S. Rossi)

"...the only freedom we have is to say,"Thy will be done,” or"My will be done.” So our free choice is to want the Lord’s will...For at the moment we submit our freedom to God, we become truly free..." (Albert S. Rossi, Abbot Tryphon)

“We live in an individualistic, consumeristic society, a society in which we are taught not selfrenunciation but self-assertion—that your freedom, interests, and needs must always come first…God respects human freedom, even when it is used to exclude Him from one’s life.” (Donald B. Kraybill, Steven M. Nolt, and David L. Weaver-Zercher, Bishop John Michael Botean)

“It would seem to be a genetic trait of us humans to desire freedom. We want to live in a free society, to have freedom to make our own choices and freedom from the tyranny of others. Yet we fail to realize that the freedom we desire from the innermost part of our being is not really freedom in and of itself. The true desire for freedom is the desire for God. God yielded to us a piece of His divine authority, which instilled in us this sense that freedom is something good.” (Abbot Tryphon)

“The way we gain communion with and knowledge of God is from the heart to the mind, not the mind to the heart. This is why ritualistic worship, prayer, fasting, giving, Church services, and other disciplines are incredibly important. These practices may seem archaic, even silly, in the postmodern world but the postmodern world in many ways is a world created by our intellectualism in which we cater, even in religious circles, to our ego and to some extent worship ourselves, which is the wall that separates us from God.” (Sacramental Living)

“It is important to remember that our God did not create us as puppets, but rather as persons with the freedom to respond, or not, to His invitation to enter into communion with Him.” (Abbot Tryphon)

“Freedom is not just freedom from restraint; freedom is freedom to do what God has empowered you to do.” (Mel Lawrenz)

“A fish is free as long as it stays in the water. If it suddenly declares that it wants its freedom to fly in the air like a bird, disaster occurs. A train is free as long as it stays on the track. However, if it demands freedom to take off down a major highway, the result is destruction and devastation. We too can only experience true freedom in its fullest if we remain within the framework of freedom. Often this requires accepting responsibility and practicing discipline.”(Gigi Graham Tchividjian)

“The Christian life involves both freedom and discipline…Freedom is not the absence of constraints but finding the right ones, those that fit our nature and liberate us…Freedom in Christ...means taking every opportunity to serve and to become the best person you can be.” (Life Application Study Bible, 1 Corinthians 9:19-27, Philippians 3:17-21, Pastor Timothy Keller)

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