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“Otherness is the core of holiness. The Hebrew vocabulary for holiness means to be set apart or to be distinct. While the idea has a moral dimension related to conduct, it is not intrinsically about morality. It is about distinction.” (Michael S. Heiser)

“I was browsing through some online material recently and came across a conversation between a non-believing sceptic and a Christian apologist. The question was asked…“Why a virgin birth?” The apologist did a decent job of responding, giving a fairly common explanation of “why Christ had to be born of a virgin.” Something about it left me empty. Thinking about it – I believe my problem was that the question was wrong. “Why a virgin birth?” Is the question of a philosopher, that is, a question that we put to things rooted in their necessity. It is how we argue points with one another. We say that something must be true…because…and we state the reasons that describe its necessity. These are often the wrong kinds of questions to ask of God or of the things of God. In God, there is no necessity. He is utterly free and does not exist “because He has to.” If we could state such a reason – then that reason would itself be prior to God. There is no “prior” to God. We want to “make sense” of holy things, or to conclude that they are nonsense. We fail to see that “holy” is what makes sense possible. Holy is prior to sense.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“The verb “separate, divide” here explains how God used the light to dispel the darkness. It did not do away with the darkness completely, but made a separation. The light came alongside the darkness, but they are mutually exclusive—a theme that will be developed in the Gospel of John (cf. John 1:5)…The idea of separation is critical to this chapter [Genesis 1]. God separated light from darkness, upper water from lower water, day from night, etc. The verb is important to the Law in general. In Leviticus God separates between clean and unclean, holy and profane (Lev 10:10; 11:47 and 20:24); in Exodus God separates the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place (Exod 26:33). There is a preference for the light over the darkness, just as there will be a preference for the upper waters, the rain water which is conducive to life, over the sea water.” (NET Bible, Genesis 1:4)

“…the holiness of God is so great that it is actually dangerous for sinful people to be in His presence. The first place we see this is when Adam and Eve are expelled from the Garden of Eden, which was the place where God dwelt with mankind. After they sin, they are removed from the garden and cherubim are placed at the entrance of the garden to guard it (Gen. 3:24). They’re not guarding it from Adam and Eve, though—he is actually guarding Adam and Eve so they don’t try to go back in and thereby destroy themselves.” (Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick)

“A renowned religious scholar, Rudolf Otto, gave the world a classic work on the theme of holiness. In the beginning pages the author placed a requirement upon his readers: The reader is invited to direct his mind to a moment of deeply-felt religious experience ... “Whoever cannot do this, whoever knows no such moments in his experience, is requested to go no farther;”…The writer, Dr. Otto, is warning us that we will understand nothing of holiness if we have never personally experienced the overwhelming presence of God at some point in our lives.” (Fr. Vladimir Berzonsky)

“The deep calling of our lives is to find the fulfillment of our potential as those created in the divine image to become like Him in holiness. The God-Man has fulfilled this vocation and made it possible for all to share personally in His restoration and fulfillment of the human person. That is why our calling is nothing short of becoming ‘perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect’ (Matt. 5:48)…Holiness transcends the values of tolerance, social justice, and brotherhood held so high by secular America.” (Fr. Philip LeMasters, Vigen Guroian)

“…divine sanctification should apply to all parts of the person: one’s entire spirit, soul, and body…If one of these parts of the self would be left out, the whole person would no longer be in harmony. One aspect of the self would fight against the other. One unholy part would cancel the holiness of the others. But because all parts of the person would share in the sacredness of God, the whole self would serve the Lord in the perfect unity of holiness.” (Fr. Basil)

“From our earthly nation we inherit our worldly citizenship, culture, and language. In the Church, we inherit holiness, incorruption, and the end of every blemish. Purity and holiness come to us now from eternity. That which is to come assures the holiness of the Church, despite the sins we bring to God to be healed. “And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light…But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life” (Rv 21:24, 27). Our task is to struggle, to cast sin aside, and to strive for the holiness that God is creating in us by means of His grace and mercy.” (Dynamis 5/5/2021)

“…we must remember that taking up our own crosses requires a choice on our part each day of our lives. We certainly cannot control whether we encounter difficulties and challenges, but we always have the choice whether to make them opportunities to deny ourselves and follow our Lord. Doing so requires us to continue to pursue the difficult struggle of offering ourselves freely to Christ. We will share more fully in His great victory through the Cross only when we use our freedom as persons to die to the corrupting power of sin in our lives, which is how we will gain the strength to rise up with the Savior into a new life of holiness. Doing so is not a onetime event, but our constant vocation as those who dare to identify ourselves with the crucified and risen Lord.” (Fr. Philip LeMasters)

“In I Thessalonians 5:23, the Greek word which is translated as “sanctify” is “agiase.” The Greek word which is translated as “holy” is “agios.” So, sanctification and holiness are closely related. Both mean “to set apart for God.” People who are holy are people who set themselves apart for God, not in an egotistical way, but in a way that is disciplined and focused…People who see their mouths as holy use them as tools to build up and encourage others, rather than to tear down and destroy them. Thus, we don’t encourage and build up others merely because it is a nice thing to do, or because it makes them feel good, or because it makes life easier. We are supposed to encourage and build up others because it is a holy thing to do. Encouragement not only honors others. It honors God. It not only set us apart in our interpersonal relationships. It sets us on the path to holiness, to oneness with God, to salvation.” (Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis)

“Christ our Lord helps us move from faith to holiness, and from there to genuine love. But before such ultimate love can be attained, holiness must take root in us in order to purify our hearts, souls, and bodies. We are aided in this work of purification by the Holy Spirit. As we engage in the life and worship of the Church, we commit ourselves to live in a way pleasing to God.” (Dynamis 12/1/2021)

“St Paul’s hope for the parishioners at Thessalonica was that they would both abound and increase in love for one another. St Paul saw that if we in fact make love our aim (1 Corinthians 14:1; 1 Timothy 1:5), God establishes us in holiness. Love for others is our path to divine holiness (i.e., sainthood). So, in parish life each of us is to focus on how to love one another. We can easily be distracted from this primary goal.” (Fr. Ted Bobosh)

“The path to holiness is incompatible with using religion to glorify ourselves. It does not involve efforts to gain power or influence over others out of pride. It is not about telling people what they want or do not want to hear in order to get them to think of us in any particular way or to do our bidding. The way of all the saints is simply to “seek first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness” with the trust that God will provide what we need and what is best for all concerned (Matt. 6:33)… Let us live, then, as those who have tasted the living water of the Holy Spirit and know that nothing can truly satisfy us—in this life or in that which is to come—other than uniting ourselves to Christ in holiness. That is how each and every one of us may come to shine radiantly with the divine energies.” (Fr. Philip LeMasters) 

“God has provided a path to sainthood for each person…God laid out a path to sainthood for each of the saints and that path for all of them involved suffering, courage and in many cases, martyrdom. Each of these people carried a “cross” for Christ. Each suffered under its weight, just like Christ suffered on His cross. But these crosses were the ticket to Paradise and to sainthood for the saints. If being “Holy” means “being set apart for God,” then our path to holiness is paved with the crosses we each carry that set us apart for God. So, embrace whatever challenges you face in a spiritual way. See them as crosses, as paths to Paradise, and carry your unique cross in the same way that the saints carried theirs, in the same way that Christ carried His.” (Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis)

“…our Lord laid down His life willingly, offering Himself as a sacrifice in order to purify us from sin and set us on the path to holiness that leads ultimately to eternal life in His Kingdom. Let us therefore turn once and for all from the sin and uncleanness from which His death has purified us. Having been washed clean, let us set ourselves apart for holiness and the Lord's service, preserving the innocence to which Christ has restored us. Let us, having made a new beginning in righteousness, continue down the path of salvation and holiness to which our God has called us.” (Fr. Stephen De Young)

“Having come to his own country, [Jesus] is not so intent upon miracles. He does not want to inflame them into further envy or to condemn them more grievously by the aggravation of their unbelief. Yet he presents his teaching, which possesses no less wonder than his miracles.” (St. John Chrysostom)

“There is such power in the body and blood of Christ communicated to us in the eating and drinking of His gifts (Jn 6:54–56) that to do so in willful disregard of the Lord could result in sickness and even death…holy things are restricted from the immoral and unrepentant, not to protect the holy things themselves, for Christ needs no protection. Rather, we protect the faithless people from the condemnation that would result from holding God's mysteries in contempt.” (Orthodox Study Bible, 1 Corinthians 11:29-30, Matthew 7:6)

“ ‘Now when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceedingly glad; for he had desired for a long time to see Him, because he had heard many things about Him, and he hoped to see some miracle done by Him. Then he questioned Him with many words, but He answered him nothing.” (Luke 23:8-9). Herod sees Jesus as a novelty. Christ's silence is an act of compassion, for revealing divine mysteries in the face of such blasphemy would have brought Herod even greater condemnation. (Orthodox Study Bible, Luke 23:8-9)

“At several points in the Scriptures, human persons come in contact with the sacred in ways that result in extremely negative consequences. Chiefly, this takes the form of death. By entering sacred space or coming into contact with holy things incorrectly, these persons are immediately struck dead. This result, being instant, leaves no room for repentance or correction. The nature of these deaths and warnings issued regarding them, both before and after, has created a certain false sense of fear among many Christians. The seeming injustice of the death penalty for what seems to be minor transgression has likewise become a source of mockery for critics of the Scriptures and of Christianity…God is holy, and the holy God dwelling in the midst of His people presents a potential danger. When a sacred object is treated as a common thing, that sacred thing is profaned. It becomes no longer sacred and holy but a thing of common use. Because God is his holiness, He cannot be profaned. Christ cannot be made common. The Holy Spirit cannot become a spirit of some other kind. The profanation of God, then, does no injury to God but results in the destruction of the human person. Approaching our Lord Jesus Christ with repentance, reverence, and awe results in the burning away of all that is sinful and impure within us. Approaching Him in any other manner will eventually lead to our destruction along with our sins (John 8:21-24).” (Father Stephen De Young)

“I have used this analogy many times though admittedly it is not perfect. The sun is the sun. If you prepare properly, you can enjoy the warmth, the heat, and the light and will not get sunburn. If you do not prepare properly, you will get sunburn and sometimes it can be very severe. It is not the sun’s fault but ours for not being faithful to the wisdom provided to us about how to go into the sun. The Church and everything about it is rooted in love because the Church is established by Christ. We, His body, may mess things up at times in how we go about applying and living the faith where we can sometimes wield it as a weapon of exclusion and judgment. This does not change the fact that everything the Church is about is for the love and salvation of people. Much of what is considered exclusionary about the Church in today’s society is for our own good.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)

“What is holiness? Freedom from every sin and the fulness of every virtue. This freedom from sin and this virtuous life are only attained by a few zealous persons, and that not suddenly, but gradually, by prolonged and manifold sorrows, sicknesses, and labors, by fasting, vigilance, prayer, and that not by their own strength, but by the grace of Christ.” (St. John of Krondstat) “The Lord never withdraws His demand for holiness of life. Thus He purifies the building dedicated to His worship by driving out the money changers. Later, He makes a perfect offering of Himself for the sins of all mankind. He eliminates forever the blood-sacrifice of animals, for His Passion and Resurrection open the gates of heaven to all who truly repent, uniting themselves to Him and striving always to walk in His ways.” (Dynamis 4/24/2020) "We are the temples where He dwells, Christ teaches us, and so we must work to build those temples into places fit for Him. It is a work that we will never complete on earth, and the very acknowledgement of this serves to maintain our sense of purpose and motivation. We toil inwardly for Him, that we may draw closer to Him, that we may know Him in ways that are only revealed to those who strive for holiness." (Father Spyridon Baily) “…it is possible to be “good” but not “right” or holy. In other words, “good” is not the same as holy. So much that is taken for goodness in the world falls dreadfully short of the goodness the church ascribes to God and to the lives of saints. One must be “right” about God and “right” in relation to God to be truly good and genuinely holy.” (Vigen Guroian) “Unlike our contemporary situational ethics, the Church’s tradition places all human activity in the context of the absolute holiness, purity, and righteousness of God. Divine wisdom exposes the limitation of human knowledge: “Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?” (1 Cor 1:20). With God, values are never relative: right is right and sin is wrong. God judges rightly and mercifully, quickly forgiving the penitent. As Saint Paul declares, God renders “eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness – indignation and wrath” (Rom 2:7-8).” (OCPM 3/23/2017)

“That Herod, with his wealth and soldiers, feared John, a man who lived in poverty and was clothed in camel's hair (Mark 1:6), is a testament both to the power of personal holiness and integrity...” (Orthodox Study Bible, Mark 6:20)

"Holiness is not the escape from ourselves but the discovery of God’s image within us… Holiness comes from our position in Christ, not from our own goodness " (Father Spyridon Baily, Foundation Study Bible, 1 Corinthians 1:2)

“Most of our lives are so caught up in the mundane that we don’t understand and experience God’s holiness as we should. There is little appreciation or understanding of the sacred “otherness” of God. We have too often reduced Him to only friend and advisor. We do so at our own peril; for it is that sacred “otherness” that brings us to our knees. That is where the relationship needs to begin.” (Foundation Study Bible, Isaiah 6:3)

“When you encounter someone’s holiness you know it and you also want it too. I spent some time at a monastery recently. Of the many things that made a lasting impression on me were the faces of the brothers. The holiness and peace on their faces was apparent. I found myself inspired by it and wanting to draw closer to Christ because of it.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)

“Our mind struggles with what our flesh sees and what our Spirit-filled heart knows. The Holy Spirit illumines our hearts so that we may behold the holiness that exists.” (Dynamis 4/11/2018)

“Holiness means being totally devoted or dedicated to God, set aside for his special use and set apart from sin and its influence." (Life Application Study Bible, 1 Peter 1:14-16)

“Holiness means to be called out, to be marked, to be changed, to give your life to Christ and to live in Him…Today, if something is holy we imagine it has mystical qualities, but holy simply means set apart for a specific use.” (Father John Zeyack, Father Barnabas Powell)

“It’s important for us and our relationship with God to purposefully seek holiness by setting apart time and place solely for prayer in our homes…Designate A Prayer Space: Whether it is in the corner of your desk or a little stand in your room, it is important to have a place where you can put your Bible, Icons, etc. Dedicate the use of that space for God alone.” (Sacramental Living blog, St. Peter Orthodox Mission)

“One of the attributes of God is holiness. His holiness is reflected in His people and in physical objects that have been blessed by the Church for the use of His people in their journey toward Him. Therefore, reverence for these sacred objects and images is the manifestation of the relationship between us and God.” (Abbot Tryphon)

“The concept of sacred space is at the heart of all serious theology. Without sacred places, all space loses value. My recognition of the holiness of the altar area, a church building, a plot of ground, or a burial space is necessary to see the sacred in all of creation.” (Father Barnabas Powell)

“Holiness, as we have said other times as well, is the major purpose of human life on earth. This is the primary reason why we all exist and live…Holiness is a beautiful and sacred relationship. It is a relationship with God, the source of holiness itself, which sanctifies the human person and makes him into an image of meekness — into a divine person. There is no other holiness besides the one granted by God Himself to His faithful servants.” (Philokalia)

“Not an hour should pass without taking time to examine our heart...for holiness comes only to those who struggle…Love is the key to holiness, and it comes only to those who struggle.” (Abbot Tryphon)

“Holiness is not a discovery, and advantage, a private achievement, an individual success, a moral acquisition, or the attainment of some record in athletics or in some other

championship. Holiness is grace and a blessing from God; it is participation and communion and a fellowship with others.” (Philokalia)

“Sanctification is the ongoing process whereby the Holy Spirit works in believers, making their lives holy, separated from their old ways and to God in order to be more like Him.” (Foundation

Study Bible, 1 Peter 1:2)

“As a healing institution, the Church is a place for broken souls. We come before Christ as tarnished images, far from what God intended. Yet this very Creator God is patient and loving, quick to forgive. He invites us to holiness, to be made whole.” (Abbot Tryphon)

“Holiness is not an unattainable goal, but a necessary one that can be attained over a lifetime of struggle. The attainment of holiness must become the chief goal of each and every day, unto the end of our lives…A good step toward holiness is to practice being grateful for everything, demonstrating our gratitude to God for all that comes our way.” (Abbot Tryphon)

“There is nothing high-minded about Christian holiness. It is most at home in the slum, the street, the hospital ward: and the mysteries through which its gifts are distributed are themselves chosen from among the most homely realities of life. A little water, some fragments of bread, and a chalice of wine are enough to close the gap between two worlds; and give soul and senses a trembling contact with the Eternal Charity.” (Evelyn Underhill)

“Every Christian should find for himself the imperative and incentive to become holy. If you live without struggle and without hope of becoming holy, then you are Christians only in name and not in essence. But without holiness, no one shall see the Lord, that is to say they will not attain eternal blessedness...” (St. Philaret of Moscow)

"The acquisition of holiness is not the exclusive business of monks, as certain people think. People with families are also called to holiness, as are those in all kinds of professions, who live in the world, since the commandment about perfection and holiness is given not only to monks, but to all people.” (Hieromartyr Onuphry Gagaluk)

“We have an obligation to live lives of purity and holiness so that we can fulfill our calling to be living icons of God.” (Bishop Joseph)

“God calls us to holiness and offers Himself completely.” (Father John Zeyack)

“… it’s important to understand what the word Holy really means. The Hebrew word"qodesh” and the Greek word"hagios” (sometimes spelled"agios”) used in the Bible connote separate or set apart.” (Sacramental Living)

“To be holy is to be separate…Separation from the world involves more than keeping our distance from sinful practices; it means staying close to God.” (Life Application Bible, 2 Corinthians 6:17)

"Holiness is the goodness of God Who alone is good…. Holiness is manifested in people being renewed and transformed by the Holy Spirit, who seek to become holy as God is holy…”(Orthodox Study Bible, Glossary)

“If God is in every atom and molecule of everything, then holiness is everywhere, especially in those places and things that He has particularly blessed.” (Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick)

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