Archpriest Andrei Tkachev about marriage and family, about how to find your half, how to build relationships between spouses, between parents and children, about spiritual life and about choosing a life path.
Marriage and Wedding
– If a young man does not want to get married right away, although he knows that it is very important for a girl, do you need to start a family life with an ultimatum: “Or a wedding – or separation”? How to be in this situation?
– Unfortunately, the wedding today to the fortress of marriage does not lead. We have an overwhelming, disastrous number of divorces in general, including church marriages. The wedding does not hold anyone when the marriage collapses. A man went on a spree, or a woman fell in love with another, or they simply got enraged, or the veil fell off her eyes and they realized that they were completely strangers to each other. Half a year has passed, and one of the spouses suddenly realized: “I don’t want to live with this person.” The question arises: why got married? Answer: “Well … got married because they thought: everything will be all right.”
Church marriage in massive divorce devalued to the extreme. People do not feel the sanctity of marriage, do not appreciate it, do not look at it as something that happens once and for all. Therefore, it is necessary to call some to the wedding, and even to drive away some from the wedding.
I will tell you from experience who is best to be crowned: people who signed a certain number of years ago lived through periods of everyday storms, gave birth to children, beat all the pots, they knew everything about each other, they repeatedly quarreled and made peace, they already knew that they would live only together, they don’t have any “spare airfields”, they are already 35–40 years old, they have finally grown wiser and matured, started going to church … And then one day he said to her: “Honey, can you not get married to you?” to him: “You know, dear, I myself have been thinking about this for a long time, only I was afraid to tell you – I did not know As you otneseshsya “. And here they come to the Church, the priest confesses them, crowns and rejoices about them. When we marry marriages that have already taken place, these are the most pleasant and safe weddings.
With young people because how is it? They just met yesterday, and today, with adrenaline enthusiasm, they run with burning eyes to the first church to be married. Why should they get married? Where to get married? Wait, look around, get to know each other better! So that later not to come with requests to debunk.
Crowned in order to be forever together no matter what the circumstances, in illness and health. As in the catholic oath of the wedding, it is said: “I take you as a spouse, and I promise you loyalty in old age and in youth, in illness and health, in wealth and in poverty. Help me, God, and all the saints. Amen”. We do not have such an oath promise in the wedding, but maybe it would not hurt us.
We have a bride and groom at the wedding, I think, only 5% of the words are understood from the whole wedding ceremony: the priest reads, the deacon sings, the choir sings along, and what do they hear at that time that they understand ?! Yes, do not hear anything! I was crowned – I have not heard a single word. Although I was a ponomarie before this, and I knew the Requiem, I knew the texts of the wedding ceremony well, my wife and I were church people, the priest was crowning good … But I did not hear a single word. Therefore, and did not understand. And non-church people, coming to get married, all the more do not understand what is happening to them: why they drink wine, why go in a circle, why they have candles in their hands, why they have something put on their heads, they ask something, they sing Isaiah, rejoice: I have a Virgin in the womb ”,“ Holy Martyr, good suffering ”… A bunch of Jewish names are listed: Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, Moses, Sephora …
Now we, thank God, baptize people with preparation, rarely are baptized without preparation. Catechization of godparents and themselves baptized, if they are adults. In the same way, you need to work with crowning people. I remember that there was a recommendation for people who love each other and are already thinking about their future wedding, so that they resemble other people’s weddings: they stood, looked from the outside on how this sacrament happens, listened to the text of prayers that are read over the marriages, prayed By the way, for someone else’s married couple, maybe, they are not at all known, they asked God for their loyalty, longevity and health … It would be so useful for them.
The wedding is a very rich, beautiful sacrament; it is a wonderfully rich prayer practice. But it somehow flies by – by, leaving no hold in the soul, only the fact remains that “we got married”.
The wedding today does not “save” from divorce. And divorces – this is not just one particular case. These are millions of people who are not afraid to get married and then get a divorce, break their marriage – and join a new one again. And marry again. People are not afraid: their fear is gone. Fear is removed from the issue of marital uniqueness – it collapses. And the question arises: whether it was necessary to marry? Maybe not needed? Maybe less is better? Maybe you need to sift people somehow?
Recently, I had to marry spouses who have lived 46 years together. This is nice: he is an old man, she is an old woman. Grandchildren near them, great-grandchildren already on the road – great! So touching! But here is also the question: why marry such couples? Maybe not needed? Very necessary! These are the roots that we water in order for the branches to blossom: children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren … This is a good marriage, I repeat. But everything else …
What is marriage for a modern godless person? – It’s just a cherry on a cake, it’s a beautiful rite, no more. She says to him: “I want to be in a luxurious white dress,” and he says to her: “And I am in an expensive suit. And so we were photographed from 18 angles. Gifts we nadaryat. Yes, not only photos – we will make a movie. And then – on a honeymoon trip. And also a movie. ” It is so interesting to watch a movie about yourself!
These are general considerations. Now for your situation. I do not think that we should start a married life with an ultimatum: “Only the wedding, and no more.” If a young man marries you, agrees to sign with you, give you his last name, but is not yet ready to get married, I think you need to marry him. And go for it in the hope of complete bond, including the already graceful wedding. It will also be a marriage, but not crowned.
It is believed that marriage without a wedding is fornication. It is not true. Marriage without a wedding is a marriage. Only without a wedding. Recall, as stated in the Gospel of marriage in Cana of Galilee, to which Christ came, having consecrated him by His presence and performed the first miracle. It says that “marriage was” in Cana of Galilee; does not say: “fornication”.
Any marriage of unbelievers cannot be called fornication. These spouses do not get married because they have no faith.
Your young man does not want to get married for some reason. What could be the reasons? Perhaps he is not yet strong in faith and does not want a wedding for him to be a formality, but it will be a formality for him if he does not really believe. It happens that someone in the family believes more, someone less. You are a church girl, you believe more, but he is less church, but he does not forbid you to go to church, regards it as a good feature of your life, although you are not yet ready to be as ecclesiastical as you are. We must respect the human faith. The sacraments are done by faith. Faith is an indispensable condition for the grace and strength of any church sacrament. Therefore, such a noble disbelief or lack of faith must be treated with respect.
Why else might he not want to get married? Perhaps afraid of responsibility. And there is nothing terrible, it can be accepted. Just check your feelings: do you love this person? If you agree to live with him – well, live! And everything else – in time get settled. This is all profitable and catching up. The main thing is that he was not a drinker, not a drug addict, did not have previous marriages behind him and children from previous marriages, because he will have a divided heart – and it will be hard for you to live with it. That he was a hard worker, not afraid of work, able to provide a family. And so you do not interfere with going to the temple.
The most simple set of normal qualities for the one you can marry: works, does not drink, does not forbid going to church, wants children (this is very important!). All the rest will follow. Because Orthodoxy of a modern Orthodox young man does not guarantee at all that this is a normal young man. He can be Orthodox – and a freeloader: sit on the neck of his parents, for example, or his wife. He can be a libertine and change. He may be cold to you, may not love you, and marry you for the sake of registration, for example. The fact that he is Orthodox does not mean anything today – given the current state of our piety.
– I do not have a question, but a story. There was such a case, the priest told me about him. While still a young shepherd, he was called to take communion to the house and confess a person with oncology. It was an elderly couple who had lived together for 40 years. The priest retired with his spouse, and the man, not mystical and not religious, said that just a day ago the walls had dissolved in front of him, he saw something like “Trinity” by Rublev and heard: “Get ready, you will die soon”. And he immediately asked: “What about my wife? What will happen to her? ”And hears:“ She is no wife to you ”. Here the vision disappeared. Batyushka then marry this couple. And he told us this story as an example of the fact that even such a long and faithful marriage for God is not a marriage, unless he is married.
– Your story is taken into account, it was necessary to hear it. He reminds us of the conversation of Christ with the Samaritan woman. The Savior then told her: “You had five husbands, and the one that you have now is not your husband either.” But I still emphasize: if the wedding was not because the people of the Orthodox Church do not belong, but belong to another religion or are not religious at all, but they have mutual love, mutual agreement, children – and this is a common cross and a common burden – I do not call such a life. I consider it a marriage.
The life of your grandparents was all over in the years of Soviet power. What percentage of married marriages was then? Yes, the minimum: 2-3%! And what, all of them are fornicators? Are you all born of fornication? And maybe one of you is fortunate enough to have a wonderful grandmother who didn’t mind your soul and put more love in you than your dear mother; perhaps it taught to read, and the whole world taught to love; or you had a wonderful grandfather, a front-line soldier, or maybe just an honest worker, a good person. And they lived together for a long time, hand in hand. Are they fornicators? Language does not turn to call all their fornicators.
I know who the fornicators are, and you know who the fornicators are. Fornicators enough in life, often even crowned. Do not confuse these things. And the story is accepted. Just keep in mind that private revelations are private revelations, this is not the norm for the entire fullness of the Church. For example, if a pastor told you: “Do not eat boiled eggs on Mondays,” this does not mean that he said this to all of humanity and everyone needs to do that. He told you. There are private blessings and private revelations, that is, God said something about someone to someone. It happens like this: it is said to you, and you tell everyone. And it also happens: it is said only for you. Therefore, from a single case it is not always possible to draw a general conclusion concerning all people in general.
Before you get to the altar
– What if you feel sympathy for a non-Christian, Greek Catholic?
– There is no way with a Greek Catholic to an Orthodox person. I may be so categorical in this matter, because I know them well, I grew up among them. I repeat: with the Greek Catholic Orthodox – no way. An atheist is better than a Greek Catholic. This is my personal opinion, I have my attitude towards them.
– For a girl to get married, is there enough spiritual union, or should some place have a carnal feeling?
– There must be a carnal feeling! And how without a carnal feeling? Why are you getting married? To read together the Great Soviet Encyclopedia? You must love each other, love with body and soul. Carnal feeling is a great beauty. This side of life is a great beauty and a great mystery that God gave to man. Extremely great beauty and great mystery. People who do not understand this, who have wreaked havoc on their mind and conscience and with dirty eyes are looking at marriage or are engaging in sex with some sexual evil, are unhappy people. These are people who do not understand anything in life.
The relationship between a man and a woman is amazingly beautiful and extremely mysterious. Therefore, you need to love your husband by marrying him. You cannot love your husband without marrying him. As appetite comes with eating, so love comes during living together. It is necessary to cleave with all the soul and with all thoughts to each other to the continuity and drink from this cup this honey of the matrimonial relationship with gratitude to God. And treat as a great gift.
– Should a girl take any action on her future spouse, or should she just wait?
– A girl must, of course, wait. Although if she is smart and her initiative will be smart, then she should use it. What is the mind of a woman manifested? Whatever she does, she creates the illusion that a man does it. This is how it is in one film: a weak-willed husband, an energetic wife, who all the time so unobtrusively throws ideas to her husband, and then, when he offers her the same thing, he admires: they say what a fine fellow you are, how great everything is. This is the feminine strength and wisdom that is manifested in this.
As for the steps … And what steps can you do? Here, as in the Soviet song: “My dear, good, guess yourself.” Good songs were written in Soviet times about it. It is necessary that he guessed himself. And it’s always hard to wait.
– The girl writes: “It seems to me that when you meet your fate, you will immediately feel. I’m not in a hurry to get acquainted with the opposite sex. When the time comes, God will let you know. Am I not right?”
– You are absolutely right.
– What is the age difference allowed? Is it advisable for a husband to be older?
– Anything can happen. In modern times, women are often older, I notice this trend.
The second half must necessarily be marriageable in the full sense of the word. I find it difficult to understand the 85-year-old man who marries a 19-year-old.
Of course, a girl, marrying a man much older than herself, must understand that if he is 50, and she is 20, it’s good, you can live a happy life, but when she’s 40 and he is 70, their life will be burdened with many difficulties . This need to think. In 40 years, in 50 years, life often just begins. And if your half does not want to start your new life with you, where will you go? We must start over again together.
In one Spanish play, in which the girl for the old man came out, it was said: “She should wrap her ivy around a rotten pillar.” I do not want this for you. The age of the spouses must be comparable.
It happens that girls want their spouse to be like their father. There may be feelings for a husband for children, such as for a father in order to hide behind his back in order to feel secure and small. Men often look for older women and with some filial instinct are drawn to them as to their mother. A lot of nonsense in life happens.
Of course, it is better that the time gap is not critical. 5–6 years age differences are not too noticeable. But 20 and 30 years of difference – this is a serious problem.
– How do you feel about marriage, where a woman is older than a man, for example, he is 21, and she is 36?
– I wish them happiness. Why not? So far, so good. Everything will be different when he will be 36 and she will be 51.
Once I watched one program devoted to the topic of fidelity in marriage. It was attended by Yuri Kuklachev. And they were told the story of two circus artists. One acrobat, who was 30 years old, fell in love with a woman 20 years older than himself. He was told: “Do not do stupid things. In 15 years you will be a man to wherever, and she is an old woman. You will be 45, and she is 65, you are 50, and she is 70. Do you understand this? ”But the relationship was very serious, they got married. As time passed, she grew old, his counselors began to pout again: “You are still young, use your life. Drop her! Why do you need an old woman? “And he replied:” No, I can not offend her, this is a living person, and we have lived together for many happy years. “
Completely unexpected story. Because all the participants of this program carried mostly nonsense from the category: “Do what you want, love anyone you want, sleep with anyone you want.” And suddenly Yuri Kuklachev told this story. I said: “Wow!” Clowns were not loved in Russia for nothing, it’s such an analogy of the holy fool. They are on the sacred list: warrior, monk, holy fool. A clown is a person who will tell the truth and the truth where neither a scientist nor a politician will say it.
We must be people. You can not act like a living person. After all, the relationship of two – it’s not a jacket to change. This is a person to take on, to absorb oneself, to give oneself to a person.
And the whole complexity of the relationship lies precisely in the fact that we, having fallen in love with beautiful eyes, are forced to take everything else. We take the whole person. Moreover, we take him along with his mom, dad, brothers, sisters, grandmothers, grandfathers, with our relatives. After all, the relatives of my wife are also my relatives. So we take a lot of things together with a person, and you cannot throw it anywhere. It is so heavy! And the sacred burden, you can not jokingly treat this, but only seriously.
– Is it worth seeking a girl if she does not reciprocate?
– You know, there are cases when people fall in love with themselves their half. “My two great love will suffice us with a head,” Zemfira sings. If your love is as hot as a stove, as big as the mountains of the Caucasus, it will involve you in your whirlwind. And no – so no, then leave the girl alone. Let him seek. So you do not coincide with her dreams.
– How to choose a future wife?
– What does it mean to choose? In the store, or what? Previously, in the slave market, you could choose a woman. Be sure to look at the teeth. The fact is that strong teeth are a sign of a healthy bone system. If the teeth are carious, then the bones are fragile. Previously, the slaves were chosen: the muscles felt, the teeth looked, looked between the fingers, so that there was no fungus. In general, hard work.
– Should I choose a friend of life, or will she come?
– It will not come anywhere! Are you going to sit and wait? “Happiness suddenly knocked on the door in silence. Are you up to me? I believe and do not believe “, – so, or what?
Look, look, listen. Sometimes you look: beautiful; her mouth opened – the flowers wilted. Running from such, with all legs! Plato said: “Speak with me, that I saw you.” We do not see a person until he speaks. Outside is a picture. And what is in her heart, in her head? Now everything is beautifully dressed. Now rags are cheap, cosmetics are affordable, people are watching themselves, people have become groomed. Who is now under 50, remember what your youth was like? Another at all! Another choice of goods, other opportunities for recreation, leisure was different.
And now not only the sleek, bright, but also not afraid of anything, uninhibited. If you want – I will put on jeans with holes, if you want – I will arrange on my head it is not clear what. Nobody is ashamed of anyone or anything. About what about myself talking about shame, scream out loud. Good people have become .
Keep an eye out. The real ones are not so discreet. Good girls imperceptible, they really need to be sought. She will be out of shame in the shadows. And you look at her as an artist. After all, the artist in the clump of marble sees the sculpture. A man should be able to see the true in a woman.
The Letters of the Elder Paisius to the Laymen tells the following story. A certain man married and sent him a photograph: look, they say, older, what a beautiful wife I have. And he says: “And who will marry the ugly? I, too, found something to boast about! Chose a beautiful and boast. Would take a simple wife, would love her and boast. And ugly, you think, do not want to get married? And where to go, which are less beautiful than the rest? What are they, first cry, yearn, and then into the sins of serious embarking? You Christians should take unpretentious wives for yourself. Good, simple. Let beauties take fat uncles with millions in their pockets. ” Beauty alone will not. Although, of course, beauty fades away, does not last long, but, in any case, it is easier for beauties.
We must look to the people. A lot of good people unnoticed. The spirit of our time is that hollowness is all sorts of nonsense, every kind of arrogance, and every impudence climbs into the eyes without any demand. And there were no less good people, they just pushed aside to the periphery. Each person can be Caliph for an hour. For this, an entertainment industry, talk shows, TV, Internet, club life has been created. It foams, all this shame, but the good ones are not visible, although there are a lot of them.
I stand on the fact that we have a lot of good people.
– What to do if a man considers as a problem and an obstacle to marriage the lack of own housing, but the girl has an apartment?
– Yes, he is just a fool, this man. A woman loves you, you love a woman, she has an apartment, live with her and turn this apartment into a paradise, drag it into a house, work, earn a second if you want. What face to turn up? What kind of nonsense is this? What kind of pride? Stupid man, does not know his happiness.
– What do you think about Orthodox dating sites?
– This is the relief of today’s life, taking into account its overall workload. All these mobile phones, social networks are crutches for cripples. We are pretty maimed and live in some strange, crafty era. All this is necessary, it can be used. Who knows what path you are waiting for happiness. But just like everyone else, use it wisely and carefully.
Orthodox dating sites are completely entitled to be, like everything else that concerns Orthodox resources on the web. Orthodox resources are very rich, there you can find a lot of useful information.
Remember, what begins the cartoon about Cheburashka? The animal suffers from loneliness. A young crocodile is looking for friends. With such motives we go to dating sites.
– How to explain to an unchurched person that marital relations are possible only in marriage? How to do it right?
– It is correct to do this: say: “My dear, I love you very much, I understand everything, I am also not a stone. But we can not. Please, if you love me, let’s wait for marriage. Let’s not eat the sweet until the moment resolved. ”
Therefore, do not torment your girls and marry them early, because it is impossible to be long in this love languor, sooner or later … Hay and fire cannot be near, they will surely break out. Proceeding from this, if there is mutual love, solve all domestic issues as soon as possible and live together, as God ordered, because otherwise there is a temptation to sin. A bitter sediment for life remains, when people entered into unauthorized intimacy before marriage, did not endure. So, girls, persuade. And you, men, do not corrupt your beloved girls and do not accustom them before marriage to that which cannot be accustomed to. Do not use their weakness and gullibility. Take care of them.
– Memo: “I want to marry a seminarian. Instead of meekly standing in the service, I look in his direction. How to fight temptations? ”
– This is a serious test for you. To come to the temple to pray with the person you love … Of course, your heart is pounding, you want to look not at the side of the altar and not at the icon, but where it went. So maybe go to another temple to pray? Because where he serves or where he prays, it will be difficult for you to pray.
In general, marrying a seminarian is a good thing, God help you!
Just read, please, all the literature about the wives of the Decembrists. What they were courageous, what they were noble … The priest’s wife should be the same “wife of the Decembrist.” You never know where they will send you, as soon as the arms of the bishops and divine grace fall on him, he heals the weak, replenishes the impoverished, prophesies your husband as a priest.
By the way, women are often jealous of their male priests for God, because the priest … is betrothed to the throne. The rite of consecration is very similar to the rite of the wedding. And when young people are crowned, and when they ordain a priest, they sing the same tropari, they also lead around the throne three times. And the priest must be faithful to the throne, this is his first wife – the Church. Therefore, the wedding ring priest removes.
The wives of priests often reproach their husbands: “You are lost all the time in the Church, you have forgotten me, you have stopped loving me.” And he did not stop loving! But he must have a heart of sorrow.
The wife of the priest is extremely hard work. Perhaps, only the wife of a military man can in some sense be compared with the wife of a priest. They wound up in garrisons, married to lieutenants and became generals in old age — these wise women are in some ways like mothers. In the patience of the humble share of his, in being constantly in the shadow of her husband, in the unceasing work of painstaking. It takes a lot of work. It is an honorable cup – to be the priest’s wife – but with a specifically bitter drink.
And God forbid you to be a good wife of a priest, because with a bad wife a priest cannot be good. If the wife of a priest is a bad woman, he will not be able to become a priest, she will drag him down with her into her disgrace, dampen his heart and make an atheist out of him. It will only require money and a good life. And if the priest’s wife is good, then he has every chance of being a great man, because a good priest is a great man. This is perhaps the greatest man – a good priest.
Another piece of advice: ordination must be kept away from the marriage so that you can profit and enjoy each other. Because it is very bad when they got married today, and tomorrow the consecration and 40 days must be served. A young wife remains unloved because he serves, serves, serves, serves, and does not deal with his wife. This is bad. It is necessary to marry, to profit with each other, to enjoy each other, to get to know this side of life, and only then take upon ourselves the priestly grace and harness oneself in the hardest work. A wife should help her husband.
Relationship between spouses
– How to get rid of jealousy between husband and wife?
– If jealousy is not pathological, then it is quite natural. Strong as death, love. And jealousy is one of the manifestations of love, with which it is impossible to argue. In marriage, we are the owners of each other. The Apostle Paul says: the wife is the mistress of the husband’s flesh, and the husband is the master of the wife’s flesh. That is, the wife is my property, I do not allow anyone to touch my property. And my wife has every reason not to allow anyone to her property, that is, to my flesh, because we are mutual owners of each other’s flesh. And this possessiveness can turn a person into a furious lion, if he is put on a sensitive offense or a shadow of insult. Jealousy is the natural reaction of a person to an attempt on the most precious thing he has, and the most expensive thing he has is his half. “No man’s life is when the flesh is hated, but it feeds and warms thou, as the Lord is the Church” (Ephesians 5:29).
God is also portrayed in Scripture as a jealous husband who is angry with a lecherous wife, Israel. Prophets write about it. And punishes her lovers. Like a bear, from which the young were taken, fierce and terrible, from whom one cannot be on the path that destroys everyone who tries to touch those whom she loves. “As for you, it concerns the pupil of my eye” (cf. Zech. 2: 8). This is jealousy legal.
But there is a pathological jealousy, unconditional, associated with some delusions. That St. Luke (Voyno-Yasenetsky) writes in the book “I Loved Suffering”: his wife was a beautiful woman, she loved him very much, he did too, but she was jealous of him pathologically, and even lost mental health from jealousy. True, she made a vow that she would be a virgin and would not marry, but then she would love her future husband and marry him, breaking her promise. Maybe this was the cause of such painful jealousy. But any normal feeling, any ordinary emotion can become something painful.
You should love each other, worry about each other and, of course, be jealous. In a good way.
– Today, our state pursues a policy of annihilating the modern Russian family, a policy of male sexual segregation. What does this mean? A man today is deprived of almost all rights in the family. He is deprived of the right to influence his wife, deprived of the right of authority over her. The spouse can live separately, can refrain from intimacy, can independently decide whether to keep the child alive or kill him by abortion. How can a modern man find the strength to create a family in such conditions?
– I agree with you. And not only in this our Babylonian captivity. Many forms of our life are direct evidence that the world is enveloped in a web of demonic meanings. What you have listed is one of the manifestations of this. And church life with its eternal norm of joy in God firmly opposes all this: at the legislative level, one thing happens, and we try to resist and survive, based on our norms and beliefs in this atmosphere of sluggish schizophrenia.
Not so long ago, at one of the conferences for teachers, where it was said about family and sex education, I heard that some documents in Russia already presuppose a sex change. I was surprised, asked which ones. It turns out that the pension card, SNILS: the rules for its receipt state that this document should be changed when changing the name … and gender. So we carry documents in our pockets that theoretically imply a change in gender identity. That is our life. The Church does not accept gender reassignment.
As for men … One example from everyday life. Sitting at the table for lunch or dinner, who in our families serves the first plate of food? – Children. Like this! And who should? Husband! Husband first plate! The breadwinner of the family, then everything else, the last wife. This is the norm of life. And the wife must uphold this principle consistently. Mom should feed the second, and the first – the husband, even though mom will burst with anger. Because it is God’s law! First, first in meaning.
The church must embed healthy thoughts in their heads. And whatever the legislators think up, whatever nonsense they throw, we must live – and we will live – according to our ideas. And we will be internally free.
Family and spiritual life
– How to grow spiritually in a family, when they are overwhelmed with numerous cares and affairs, a lot of fuss?
– You can not not grow spiritually in the family! Living in a family and not growing spiritually is impossible. Because the family will demand patience from you. The family will beat your nerves and drink blood, the family will bring up a number of excellent qualities in you, such as courage before everyday adversity, for example. Therefore, a family man is a hardened, blown-up man. The family really saved. Some worries about children are worth something! What is worth only one all-night vigil, which a woman makes over a crying child who is not sleeping! What does it mean to take a child, to feed him, to collect, to worry to school, when he became a teenager, so as not to get into something that he often gets at that age! What does it mean to have not one child, but two, three, four or five!
What does it mean for a husband and wife to overcome all the difficulties of personal relationships so that her horns are withered, his horns are broken off! Yet the horned, all proud, everyone thinks that they are in the center of the world, that the world revolves around him – everyone is firmly convinced of this. “The world revolves around me, not you, do you understand?” – “No, I, not you, you do not understand” In order to live side by side with such a life stance, you must be humble. Years to 50 horns are broken off, diseases are acquired, children have grown up, a person is already acquiring wisdom. And with him you can already talk about something serious. And what to talk about with a person who does not know all this?
I recall the episode from the Soviet film “Blonde around the corner.” A butcher in a store of such a large and heavy Georgian is asked: “Listen, Vano, if aliens arrived, would you have something to talk with them?” And he replies: “If they have children and work, then I will have something talk to them! ”With a man who has no children and work, what should we talk about? About the latest Hollywood movie? Boring So do not worry about spiritual growth in the family: it is in the family that it is.
Look at the family of St. Basil the Great. By the way, Saint Basil the Great, Saint John Chrysostom, and Saint Gregory the Theologian both have holy mothers. Vasily has Emilia, with Gregory – Nonna, with John – Anfus. You can remember them together with your mother: “With the prayers of St. Basil the Great and his mother, the prayers of Gregory the Theologian and his mother, the prayers of John Chrysostom and his mother, have mercy on me, O Lord.” The holy martyr Panteleimon has a holy mother, Iula. Blessed Augustine has a holy mother, Monica. And the husbands of these holy women were not saints at all. The friends of Saint Monica even wondered why she walks without bruises and bumps: her husband was very nervous, terrible in anger, and their husbands are docile, but they are always with bruises. And she said to them: “Yes, I am silent, I never argue with him. He said a word to me – I said to him: “Forgive me!” ”. And so she went all her life without cuffs with such a fierce husband. And the rest with gentle husbands received cuffs. Here is the school of family life.
For Gregory the Theologian, the father was a heretic for a while, and his wife, the mother of St. Gregory, begged and returned to the Catholic Church. And bore Gregory and other children. Did something prevent these women, who did not have saints and great men, from giving birth to such great people for the Church and being an example and edification for them? St. Gregory the Theologian generally said that he had taken all the virtues he had from his mother. He says: “Being an old man, I live to old age, I remember my childhood and I believe that my mother was to blame for all my good things, everything that is good with me, all the reason.” Like this.
Diminishing possible holiness amidst the bustle of the family is unwise. One cannot think that holiness is possible only with the ascetic striving of the soul, only in monasticism. Monasticism is a mystery: the mystery of the next century. And marriage is a nature, but a nature that obeys God, and it is also capable of very big things.
Children and parents
– At what age can you begin to teach children to the spiritual life? How to do it right, and where to start?
– I think from conception.
Vasily Rozanov has a derogation about the well-known idea that nature is resting on geniuses. We know that often in genius people offspring are anemic, stunted, as if nature really had rested. So, Rozanov says a very interesting thing: if a genius is proud, then even at such a sacred second as conceiving a child, he can only think of himself. He seems to be conceiving a child half-heartedly, his soul is not all involved in this, he is busy with himself and at this second.
For, you need to start raising. It makes a difference whether spouses pray for children, not necessarily immediately before conceiving, or they do not pray what kind of life a woman leads during pregnancy. After all, the baby she wears feeds on everything she eats. And if they take communion, then he takes communion too.
Further. Modern science says that the child hears, as if through the cotton wool, the sounds of the outside world. You can talk to the baby, you can pray with him. There is a Jewish belief: the angel reads the entire Torah to the child in the womb of the mother, and when he is born, the angel hits him by the mouth, and he forgets everything he has been read. And Plato has the idea of learning as memories: when we learn, we kind of recall what we used to know. So, it is believed that the teaching of the Holy Scriptures is like a memory of what you knew in the womb.
The next period: the child lies in a cradle, and the mother sings over him: “Hail Mary, Gracious Mary, God bless you with the Virgin …” This is also education.
Of course, you need to talk with the baby, take him to the temple … And be ready that by the age of 12–14 he will cry and suddenly will not want to go to the Church, no matter how much you drive to the church, no matter how much he churches, or show incense … Anyway, at 12–14, when the boy’s voice begins to break and the antennae grow, and the girl becomes idle for a long time in front of the mirror, this can happen … About the mirror. Some of the Orthodox lecturers gave such an example. When a girl is called a friend to walk, and she threw a little coat on herself, the hat in her hand and the shmig for the door is a child. And when the call: “Will you get out?” – “I will leave,” and the long gathering begins, and “Mom, give me your scarf …” – this is already a woman, she is interested in looking from the outside, she goes outside already waiting for what will happen someone noticed – someone good, of course.
We also need to prepare for this departure from the Church and not make any terrible disturbances in connection with it. Then, when your child grows up, it will return to the Church. Rarely those who grew up in the Church, so in it all the time and without a ray and abide. There is usually a rejection experience. For several reasons: either because of their pride and stupidity, or for some everyday reasons inflicted on a person in the Church, or because of the wrong behavior of the pastor …
But our churchism does not go anywhere. That faith, which once entered a person, will not go anywhere, it will lie at the bottom of the inviolable reserve. Then she will prove herself.
How to educate what to do? It is necessary to accustom the child to basic things along with faith. For example, to hard work. If a child knows the catechism perfectly, but he scatters his things around the room and has never washed a plate behind him, he does not make his own bed … You know, I am skeptical about such Orthodoxy. This is a clever Orthodoxy, in which a person is a slob, a lazy or greedy person, a parasite, a parasite. And I am very sad to think about what it is. A person should be hardworking, he should serve himself, take a responsible attitude to life, help someone.
The child must, of course, be brought up in respect for elders, in caring for others. For example, you gather a child to school, give him an apple – and immediately cut it in half, saying: “You will eat at recess – give half to a friend.” Or give two sandwiches: “Here are two sandwiches for you: one for you and the other for your friend with whom you sit at the desk”. To get the child to share, not hamster in his corners. To teach kindness – this is Orthodox education. Not just one knowledge of catechism. And truthfulness: for example, if you nakkodil – admit it. Do you like music and listen to it loudly? And you think that maybe one of the neighbors is already asleep, tired or sick, make it quieter. Is this behavior is not Orthodoxy? This is just Orthodoxy. These life principles are not enough for us now. And they play an important role in the education of man.
– As a godfather for the first time to talk with his godson from an unbelieving family about God? Or if the godson is from a family where one is Muslim and another is Christian, but does not go to the temple?
– You can always talk about God at any age: in 2 years, and in 3 years. Only, of course, in other words, not the same as in 15–16 years. I will answer you with the words of St. Tikhon Zadonsky: “Love will find words.”
There are no ready-made recipes. Because with one child, you can read books about the martyrs, and with another something simpler.
It is difficult to talk about the Lord with adults too. Talking about the Lord is a very hard task. We can’t speak about the Lord. What do you say to another person about God who stands here and listens to you? It is necessary to speak honestly about the Lord, to proceed from what you personally know with your heart. It excludes any falsehood in the conversation about the Lord.
Overpower this science as much as you can, on your own, choosing words, selecting literature, picking up little books as a gift, sometimes taking the child with you to church. And, of course, praying for him.
Relationship between different generations in the family
– What is the place of the mother-in-law in a young newly-formed family? How not to prevent the young?
– In a young newly-formed family, there is no place for the mother-in-law. I remind you: husband and wife are one flesh, and no relatives at all, even the closest ones. This is one person. And mother is the closest relative. That is, kinship with the mother is kinship of the first degree, and kinship of the husband with the wife or wife with the husband is kinship of the zero degree. Therefore, who needs to love more: mother or husband? Husband! And to obey whom more: mother or husband? Husband Or a wife, if it is a husband. Mom for you who if you got married? Very close relative. But no more than that.
But mothers do not want to give up their positions: this is my child, my little blood. Your little blood does not belong to you since he married, and she married. Now he or she belongs to the person with whom he is legally married. And you should understand this and take a step aside.
It is normal when a person is waiting for the time when he will no longer be responsible for his children. And it is abnormal when he takes care of them to old age, and talks about them, and climbs into their lives, because “Well, I know better: I’m your mother.” This getting into someone else’s life is a very sad thing. It is necessary to love, but it is necessary to hold the heart together and move away for some distance.
Why, in fact, cry when married daughters or sons marry? Because it’s parting. This is a real parting. If anything, this is some kind of death. The transition from girlhood to the feminine state is moral, social. It is the dying of one person and the rebirth of another person. Therefore, it is always given in the heart of loved ones as separation – a real separation.
One must be able to part with his matured children and hand them over to those who interlace with them. This, in fact, is root Orthodoxy, about which few people know. And if they know theoretically, they practically do not want to know. Mothers – more often than not, fathers are less likely – they put their hands into someone else’s life on the basis of the fact that she’s a mother, not at all bothering to realize that since marriage she has already lost the nearest place to her child. The closest place was taken by the spouse. From here jealousy, envy, hatred of the mother-in-law to the daughter-in-law. This is purely feminine jealousy: some kind of woman took my boy and commands him. This is a purely human, partly erotic, crushed, partly psychotic. Awful side of life.
It may be necessary to help somehow, but in general let them cook their first useless borscht … themselves! And you need to live separately. Let close, but separately. Let the rented apartment, but separately. If a young family lives in the apartment of the wife’s parents, the poor spouse is between two fires – between the mother and the husband, divorces the warring parties. If they live with his parents, the poor fellow tries to regret his wife and mother. All these shu-shu is not necessary. Married – take your wife under your arm, in your other hand a suitcase with unpretentious belongings and blow to a rented apartment so that your spirit is not in the parent’s house. Everything, begin to live independently. Well, you can go on a honeymoon trip after the wedding, and then immediately to a rented apartment.
– The situation, which many probably also came across: the younger generation baptized with burning eyes, as if growing a little in faith, sincerely wants to share this joy of faith with neighbors – and the neighbors – parents – do not go to church yet, but they don’t reject the Church … How can one not fall into “Orthodox despotism” and do not push his neighbors away from the Church with his insistent aspiration to church them?
– Yes, this happens: one of the family members joins the church and begins to save all the others: do not eat it, don’t watch it, don’t wear it, do not do it … Of course, this should be avoided. And you need to understand that if an old person accepts faith, no need to stuff him with theological literature, you need to love and respect him, be attentive to him. Not everyone is everything.
Life path choice
– Please tell me how to make the right life choice regarding any action? And how to understand, turning back, that you made this choice correctly?
– It is very easy to understand that you made a mistake: you have your whole life turned upside down, everything has gone in different directions, and you are suffering. What is there to theorize? And if all the glory of God, then it means that you were not mistaken. Just turning back, a man understands that his life is a wonderful and harmonious picture of God’s Providence every second. We, like mad ones, try to ride from side to side, and the Lord puts us in our place and leads us through life. Therefore, looking back, we see two things: we have a lot of mistakes, and the Lord never left us. These two things see anyone.
Of course, such important things as the choice of a profession, the choice of a life partner, the choice of a place of residence, the birth of children, serious diseases, from which, God forbid, the person crawls out – all this requires a careful approach. Here we must raise the question of how to prepare for serious decisions and how not to make mistakes in choosing. And looking back … I have a lot of mistakes, but you, Lord, kept me every second.
– Does God have a plan for each of us, or does man need to make the very choice of the way of life? And if there is a special plan of God for each of us, how can we recognize him?
– Of course, the idea is.
And how to choose a life path in terms of professional self-determination? There are such secular methods developed in Soviet times, with the help of which your professional interests are determined. If a person, for example, is drawn to nature, then obviously he needs to be a gardener or a huntsman. If he pulls in to the pieces of iron, then obviously he needs to go to the service station or factory as an engineer. If he is attracted to people, then probably he needs to be a teacher or a guide. And if he is drawn to people and to nature, then there are professions that combine such interests. Or maybe he is drawn, for example, to books, then he needs to be a librarian or a scholar. A person needs to check himself at random, to which his soul is drawn, to which path of life he is more inclined.
Of course, you must test yourself, you must know yourself. It is very bad when a man in old age cannot find himself when he lives as if someone else’s life. Therefore, you need to try yourself in young roles in young roles. Why, for example, do children need to go to sports clubs and different clubs: artistic, musical? Not to be a musician or an athlete, but to try yourself: what do you like more, where will your talents be revealed?
So look for yourself, youth is given precisely for this.
– Can a woman get a theological education?
– Can. Why not? There are very smart women. Although, of course, theology is not a woman’s occupation at all. It requires a male mind.
But if you have a talent for this and you are pulling, please do it.
– How old can a woman be thinking about monastic life? And is it worth thinking about her, if she is 30–35, married, but there are no children?
– It is impossible to recommend thinking or not thinking about monastic life. Choosing monasticism, you need to have such an overwhelming desire for it, so that all obstacles seem ridiculous. If you are so eager to clothe yourself in black, grace yourself to Christ and die for the world you do not have, leave thoughts about the monastery! This is strictly prohibited to you.
When people go to the monastery from misfortune, with the reasoning that life did not work out, they did not get married, there were no children, nothing good could come of their monasticism. Monasticism is fire. In this fire you will languish until you are charred and burned.
The most beautiful thing on earth is monasticism. The smartest, the strongest. But a person who is not ready for monasticism has no right to approach this shrine.
Now about age … What is 35 years old? Do you think life is over these years? In vain! Life will begin more than once and not twice – at the age of 40, and at 45, and maybe at 50. Maybe God saved you a sweet happiness for more mature years. Who knows!
– If a girl or a young man is not going to choose a monastic way, and hopes and prays to get married, is it worth seeking spiritual guidance from the monastics? Or is it better and more beneficial for the white priesthood?
– Of course, it would be better for the white clergy, and even older. Because it is better to confess and take advice from my grandfather. A good grandfather with a gray beard, with intelligent eyes, with rays of wrinkles near his eyes, who lived three, four, five times more than you, who heard and saw everything on this earth that you can hear and see, nothing surprising, pitying you and loving, able to pray, is the best person to whom to confess. And the family itself, that is, he is a grandfather, not only in age, but also in life. But there are almost none. White priests are mostly deserters. They desert the spiritual nourishment of their flock, and people have to go to monasteries and have the nuns to feed. Especially those who earnestly want to live. They are drawn to the monks, but it can be dangerous.
The lay person who is fed by a monk is a kind of ambiguity. At least the possibility of ambiguity. At every step. If a monk is young, for example, then he does not need to know everything that you tell him. You just prevent him from living. Spiritualism is compassion, empathy: you need to absorb this person in yourself, to feel his pain, his need. A monk is categorically contraindicated to delve into the need of an unmarried woman and absorb herself, to rush with her rich spiritual world. Strongly contraindicated! And if they, these women, are 28 or 145 and they all turn their rich spiritual world inside out, then they just kill the monk, they turn him from a monk into a black little head. If the monk is holy, the questions are removed: where there is holiness, everything is removed. But holiness is attained for a long time; perhaps, except that by the age of the grandfather is faster.
And we are all young. When Jacob came to Egypt, Pharaoh asked him: “How old are you, father?” “My days, my lord, are scarce and small: only 130 years your servant has been traveling on earth,” was the answer. And what about our 35 years, 45 years, 55 years? This is cat’s age. Subtract from him 15–20 years of childhood and adolescence, which we led unconsciously when we just grew up bodily, without gaining spiritual experience. Those years when we lived consciously, thinking, and our age will be. And this is a very small age.
Of course, people will go to the monks, because, as St. John of the Ladder said, “the light of the laity, the light of the monks is the angel”. But there are a lot of things mixed up. First, the monks are very beautiful. You are intuitively attracted to them, because they are good: they have smart eyes, they carry some secret in themselves, and a person naturally attracts mystery, purity and mind. Our brother, a white priest, is another matter: the nose is a barrel, the belly is a watermelon … You don’t have much to do with this. And he, in fact, does not suffer, if you do not attract him. How much we complain to each other: “There’s still no time for anyone” …
A human soul is attracted to monks, because a monk is an amazing person, this is already a little bit more than a person. But the spirit is not far from the flesh, and man never fully understands what he wants. He does not understand the degree of harm that he can inflict on another person with his frank conversations. He thinks only of himself, does not think of something else. But the monks left the world, and the world catches up with them and makes them engage in themselves. And I feel sorry for them. For monks, all these confessions are very dangerous.
And you also steal time, addressing questions that do not need to turn to another, which the person himself would understand if he had thought about them. And then, with frank nonsense climb!
In theory, a white priest is a priest who deals with worldly problems. And the monastics themselves often say: “Do not ask me about it, I do not understand anything about it. Look for a married priest for yourself: they should know this. ” It is right. And if a monk does not feel this distance, he can cripple you, because he will give you his advice, will broadcast you his life – quite different than yours, with a different experience.
Of course, there are exceptions. There are wonderful shepherds among the white clergy, there are wonderful shepherds among the monastics. But it seems to me that the following should be the general rule: “The worldly – to the worldly. Do not touch the monastic – pity him. “
There was such a case in the Optina Hermitage, when the elder Leo was there. Near it always stood a lot of people. And he talked to everyone for a long time. Usually these were women older than middle age – the most pious one. The village women, under 50 years old. The elder Leo was such a big one, healthy – and very funny, he could joke. People felt easy with him. And in the monastery to repent (before the revolution there was a church court for the priests, the civil court did not judge them; the sinners were sent to the monasteries for some time to repent) there was a certain learned archpriest. And now he says to the elder Lev: “And the hunt is for you, father, to stand on the street for half a day with these women …” And he: “And that’s right! But you do not accept them. But this is for you, the white priest, to stand with people. And you do not want. Here they come to me. ”
After all, how is it? They come to the white priest: “Batyushka, can I talk to you?” – “I have no time!”; “Tell me …” – “You’ll get round!”; “You can …” – “Then you will come!” And then he will not come. He will go where they will talk. And most often these are monasteries. This is a church problem.
– In which case can I change my spiritual father?
– Why change it? People can interrupt their relationship, but for this to happen, some kind of catastrophe must occur on a small human level. If a spiritual glitch occurred in your life because of your spiritual father, that is, he led you in the wrong direction and his advice was disastrous … Or you could not fulfill what he requires of you … You could quarrel, dampen your relationship, stop understanding each other, for example because you matured and outgrew the demands that the confessor puts on you. In all these cases, spiritual relationships are upset.
But I have another thing to say: real spiritual relations: the pastor is a novice, the person is a priest, correct, well-tuned, sounding like a good instrument, is extremely small. The priest does not need to take on these heavy brocade garments of the clergy. He needs to be an adviser, an assistant, a listener on the principle of “do no harm”, but not pretend to be anything hyper-spiritual. It is necessary to pray sincerely, listen and help as much as possible, but not pretend to be an Egyptian elder of the 5th century.
Youth in the Church
– Batiushka, why in our time few young people go to the temple?
– First, our meeting today is the answer to your question. We came to the temple, he sheltered us, we are in God’s bosom, and the lion’s share of the people here are young people. So to say that young people do not go to the temple is wrong.
And the parishes are different: some parishes are full of young people, others are empty of young people. Here you need to understand why so. What pop, so is the parish. I just flew in from Krasnodar today, and there is such work in one of the churches! Well done clergy of this temple! They have their own secondary school, a secular school with elements of Christian education, which has passed accreditation. So children learn at the temple. They have an orphanage for abandoned children, their temple is crowded with people of both sexes and all ages, there are sisterhoods and fraternities. Looking at such parishes, and we have them, it cannot be said that we do not have young people.
But when, for example, on Friday evening you go to any cafe or restaurant, you realize that on Friday evening there are more young people in the restaurant than in the temple, this is true. But how to make sure that they find for themselves in the temple the right pastime, so to speak – spiritual leisure – and that they come to be treated and study. Your help is needed here. How many came to our meeting today? Let’s say 400 people. The social circle of each is about two-three-four people, and many more. Multiply 400 by 4 – it will be 1600. 1600 people may be brought into the Church or involved in church life with your efforts, that is, you must also carry some grain of apostolic labor.
If church concerns are placed solely on the shoulders of the priests, the Church cannot do anything. The active help of the laity is needed in everything, including in the preaching. We communicate with each other, share news, share what we love, share books, discuss some everyday problems. By telling unobtrusively or helping to learn something about Christ, you can also engage in apostolic ministry. Young people will listen to? Of course, the young man will listen to the young man more and more attentively. Therefore, I expect you, in general, from all the laity to have a more active attitude to the Christian faith, so that you bring someone to the church, to make it easier for people to come to the Church.