The Holy Fathers on Death

Even death is afraid to approach the one who fears God, and then only comes to him when told to separate his soul from his body.

Saint Ephraim the Syrian

When a human soul goes out of the body, some great mystery happens. For if it is guilty of sins, then there come hordes of demons, evil angels and dark forces, take that soul and drag it to their side. No one should be surprised at that, because if a man surrendered and fell prey to them while still alive in this world, will not they have even greater control over him and enslave him when he departs from this world? As for the other, the better part of people, something different happens to them. There are Angels around the holy servants of God in this life; the holy spirits surround them and protect them; and when their souls are separated from the body, the choir of Angels welcomes them into their fellowship, into a bright life, and thus leads them to the Lord.

Saint Macarius the Great

Let us, if possible, remember death unceasingly, for this memory leads us to lay aside all our worries and troubles, to guard our minds and to pray incessantly, to be dispassionate to the body and to be disgusted with sin; to tell the truth, almost all virtues, lively and active, come out of it.

Saint Hesychius of Jerusalem

When the soul departs from the body, the passions that it learned during the earthly life, are the reason for its enslavement by demons; and virtues, if it acquired them, are its protection against demons.

Holy Abba Isaiah

Those who diligently pursue virtue, are truly set free from suffering and bondage when they leave this life.

Saint John Chrysostom

You should always be waiting for death but not be afraid of it; both are indeed the real characteristics of a person who pursues wisdom.

Saint Nilus of Sinai

The memory of death is always saving, and the more so when we stand in front of a deceased person…

Saint Theodore the Studite

Regarding oneself dead develops a spirit of brokenness and tenderness – the root and fruit of repentance and tears.

Saint Theophan the Recluse

Just as the behavior of the carnal and spiritual man is different and their lifestyles are unequal, so their death and their future condition after death are not similar either. Death is terrible for the carnal man, but peaceful for the spiritual man; death is sad for the carnal man, but joyful for the spiritual man; death is distressing for the carnal man, but sweet for the spiritual man. The carnal man dies both temporarily and eternally: to be carnally minded is death, says the Holy Apostle (Rom. 8:6), but the spiritual man gets to Eternal Life through this death, for spiritual wisdom is life and peace… Hell is for the carnal man; but the spiritual man will have his dwelling in heaven. The carnal one enters the eternal fire with the devil and his angels, but the spiritual one will live with Christ, whom he serves diligently, in eternal joy. Both are rewarded according to their works, which they have done in the flesh.

Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk

Do not be afraid of death, but prepare for it by living in holiness. If you are ready for death, you will stop being afraid of it. If you love the Lord with all your heart, you will desire death.

Saint Demetrius of Rostov

Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds

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