On Understanding the Divine Services

St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite 1749-1809

[B]eware, brethren, the thought which the devil implants in some and which says: ‘you are unlettered and unlearned and do not understand what is said in church and so why do you submit to the Church in all things?’ You are answered, brethren, by an abba in the ‘Sayings of the Desert Fathers’, who tells you: ‘It may be that you do not understand what is said in church, but the devil does and quakes and fears and flees. I mean that you, too, even if you do not understand all the words spoken in church, you will understand a lot of them and benefit from them’. And I would add this: if you go often to church and hear divine words, the continuation of this is that, in time, you will understand what you – earlier – did not, as Chrysostom says, because God, seeing your willingness, will open your mind and illumine you to understand. (Χρηστοήθεια τῶν Χριστιανῶν, Rigopoulos Publications, Thessaloniki 1999, p. 305, footnote) 

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