Saint Justin Popovich on Knowledge and Asceticism

Fr. Justin Popovich

St. Justin Popovich of Chelije

The more a man exercises himself in the virtues, the greater becomes his knowledge of God. The more he knows God, the greater is his asceticism. This is an empirical and pragmatic path. “If any man will do his [God’s] will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it be of God.” (John 7:17)  In other words: It is by living the truth of Christ that one comes to know its veracity and uniqueness. This is truly an empirical, experimental and pragmatic path. The knowledge of the truth is not given to the curious but to those who follow the ascetic way. Knowledge is a fruit on the tree of virtues, which is the tree of life. Knowledge comes from asceticism. For the true Christian, Orthodox philosophy is in fact the theanthropic ascesis of the intellect and of the whole person. Here, those arresting words of the Savior are especially significant. “Him who hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.” (Luke 8:18)

* This excerpt is from “Orthodox Faith and Life in Christ” by St. Justin Popovich

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