Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov

What Is Good and What Is Bad?

Posted in Reflections, Uncategorized by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 3 March 2021

It is a rather strange phenomenon when black-and-white meanings or all-or-nothing interpretations are assigned to sacred texts. Am I the Publican or the Pharisee? Am I the Prodigal Son or the Elder Son? Even the obvious ambiguity of the text is often brushed aside, overlooked, or explained away. Christ said that the Publican went down to his house justified. Some have advised to imitate the Publican lest one is condemned with the Pharisee (see Amma Syncletica [Apophthegmata Patrum] among many others). But Christ did not actually say that the Pharisee was condemned. Perhaps he was, but this is not self-evident to me. (It is certainly good advice to imitate the Publican, though solely in his repentance – an emphasis that necessarily must be made.)


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