H/T: Kandylaki (full text here)
– Geronda, did you tell anyone that there’s going to be a war? That’s what we heard. Is it true?
I have not said anything of the sort, but people come up with things. Even if I knew something, to whom would I say it?
– Geronda, war is such a barbarous thing.
– If people did not have the «courtesy» of sin they would not have reached this barbarous state. Even more barbarous is this moral degradation. People’s bodies and souls are falling apart. Someone told me, «They call Athens a ‘jungle’ but no one is leaving the city. Every one calls it a ‘jungle’ and yet everyone still gathers there.» Human beings have come down to the level of animals. You know what animals do when they enter the stable; they defecate and urinate… Then, as the manure ferments, they feel warm and don’t feel like getting themselves out of there. The same happens with human beings; they feel the comfort of sin and don’t have the heart to leave. They smell the stench, but they stay anyway. You see, if someone were to come inside the stable he would not be able to stand the stench; but those who have got used to it are not bothered.
– Geronda, some people say that it’s not only today that people are sinning; this has been going on ever since ancient Rome.
– Yes, but the Romans were idolaters. And when the Apostle Paul wrote to the Romans, he was writing to baptized idolaters who had gone back to their bad habits. We should not take as example a decadent era. Today, they have taken sin and made it fashionable. Have a look at us, an Orthodox Nation and yet, we are in such a state! Imagine how other nations must be! And the worst thing is that today, that the sin has become so fashionable, if people see someone who does not go with the flow, avoids sin and is pious, they consider him old-fashioned and backward. For them not to sin is considered an insult and to sin is considered progress. And this is the worst thing of all that could happen. If today, all those who live in sin would only acknowledge their condition, God would have mercy on them. Instead, they justify the unjustifiable and they glorify sin. This is the greatest blasphemy against the Holy Spirit: they take sin to be progress and morality the status quo. For this reason, the wages of those who struggle in the world and maintain a pure life are great and of great worth.
In the old days, if one were a pervert or a drunk, they would be ashamed to appear in public because people would scorn them. A woman who had strayed even a little did not dare to come out of her house; and in a way, this was a sort of restraint. These days, if someone is upright, say a young woman who lives a life of piety, people will say, «Look at how she lives.» Back then, when lay people sinned, poor souls, they felt their sinfulness, bowed their head a bit and would not mock one who lived a spiritual life. On the contrary, they actually admired them. Today, people have no sense of their guilt and there is no respect. All standards have been leveled. And people make fun of those that don’t live a worldly life.