Skip to content. Skip to navigation
Personal tools

Patristic References

Document Actions

Anger and Hate

Malice will never drive out malice. But if someone does evil to you, you should do good to him, so that by your good work you may destroy his malice.
A Desert Father

Whoever entertains in his heart any trace of hatred for anyone, regardless of what the offence may have been, is a complete stranger to the love of God. Love of God and hatred of any man are absolutely incompatible with one another.
St. Maximus the Confessor

First, you shall love the God who made you, secondly, your neighbor as yourself. And whatsoever you would not have done to yourself, do not do you to another.
The Didache

We must be free from all hatred toward all men and love our enemies; and, when necessity requires, lay down our life for our friends with a love like that which God in His Christ had for us.
St. Basil the Great

It is a fearful thing for Christians to be hateful, who are commanded by the Lord Jesus Christ to love not only friends, but also their enemies.
St Tikhon Zadonsk


The absolute evil is sin, and it is sin, which really deserves the name of evil. All sin derives from our free choice; it is in our power to abstain from wickedness, or to be evil… Do not on any account suppose God responsible for the existence of evil: and do not imagine that evil has any substantive existence of its own. Wickedness does not exist as if it were a kind of living creature: we cannot produce its essence in real subsistence. For evil is the privation of good… as blindness supervenes on destruction of the eyes, so evil, having no independent existence, supervenes upon mutilations of the soul.
St. Basil the Great


Love does not exclude wars of mercy waged by the good.

Even if others make war against us, it is right for us to remain in peace.
St. John Chrysostom

It is certainly a greater and more wonderful work to change the minds of enemies, bringing about a change of soul, than to kill them.
St. John Chrysostom

Do not think that it is impossible for anyone to please God while engaged in active military service. Among such persons was the holy David, to whom God gave so great a testimony; among them also were many righteous men of that time; among them was also the centurion who said to the Lord: I do not deserve to have you come into my house…and concerning whom the Lord said: I tell you, I have never found faith like this, not even in Israel. Among them were also the soldiers who came to be baptized by John, the sacred forerunner of the Lord, and the friend of the Bridegroom.

Think, then, of this first of all, when you are arming for battle, that even your bodily strength is a gift of God; for, considering this, you will not employ the gift of God against God. For, when faith is pledged, it is to be kept even with the enemy against whom the war is waged, how much with the friend for whom the battle is fought! Peace should be the object of your desire; war should be waged only as a necessity, and waged only that God may by it deliver men from the necessity and preserve them in peace. For peace is not sought in order to kindle war, but war is waged in order that peace may be obtained. Therefore, even in waging war, cherish the spirit of a peace-maker, that, by conquering those whom you attack, you may lead them back to the advantages of peace.

If you enroll as one of God's people, heaven is your country and God your lawgiver. And what are His laws? You shall not kill. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. To him that strikes you on the cheek, turn also the other.
Clement of Alexandria

Killing in war was differentiated by our fathers from murder. Nevertheless, perhaps it would be well that those whose hands are unclean abstain from communion for three years.
St. Basil the Great


What pleasure is there in our life that is not mixed with sorrow? What glory on earth lasts? All are more fleeting than shadows, and more deceitful than a dream! But You, O Christ, in the light of Your face, in the beauty of Your holiness, give peace to our brother You have chosen, for You are the Lover of mankind.
St. John of Damascus

Where are the affections of the world? Where are the vain dreams of delight? Where is gold or silver? Where is the multitude of servants and attendants? All is dust and ashes, or a shadow that passes away. Brethren, let us then pray to Christ our Immortal King and say: O Lord, grant your blessings to your departed servant, and give rest to his soul in your everlasting happiness of heaven.
St. John of Damascus

Prayer is the destruction of fear.
St John Kronstadt