Podvig or Prelest

St.Theophan the Recluse 1815-1894

From the minute of his new life, the repentant sinner commences his podvig, struggle, and labor, and begins to bear the burden, the yoke. This is so essential that all the saints accept the only true path to virtue to be pain and hard work. On the contrary, lightness and ease are a sign of a false path, for the kingdom of God suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force (Matt. 11:12). Anyone who is not struggling, not in podvig [spiritual struggle], is in prelest [spiritual delusion]. The Apostle says: whoever does not endure is not a son. (Heb. 12:8) (The Path to Salvation: A Manual of Spiritual Transformation pg. 209)


  1. You’re awesome, Max! This is a great find. I shall cherish it.

  2. That one was just for you, it really was.

  3. Sobering words which remind me of Fr. Seraphim, who may very well have gleaned this gem from St. Theophan: “Orthodoxy is not comfortable unless it is fake.”

  4. And yet there is comfort and joy in Orthodoxy– but these by the grace of God come to us within struggle and sorrow over sin.

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