There are, unfortunately, people who hide their sins during confession. Thus, some hide because of false fear, others because of false shame, others because of pride, others hide their iniquities from the priest in repentance simply because of ignorance, and through this they not only do not receive forgiveness for their sins, but they also double them, because they lie before the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, Who accepts their confession. To distract such people from the destructive habit of concealing their sins and to teach them open, sincere, and unhypocritical repentance, we will point them to one happening of how Christians sometimes repent of their sins in ancient times.
In one city there was a bishop who once fell into mortal sin at the advice of the devil. Bitterly repented of his fall, the bishop, in order to receive forgiveness, went to the middle of the church and openly confessed his sin in front of everyone when a multitude of people gathered in the church. After that, considering himself, out of deep humility, unworthy of the rank of the hierarch, he took off his omophorion, placed it on the holy table, and then said to the people: “Forgive me, brethren, now I can no longer be your bishop.” Seeing the great humility and regret of their shepherd, everyone who was in the church cried out with tears: “Let your sin fall on us, father, just do not deprive us of your shepherdness!” And for a long time, they begged the bishop to stay with them. Yielding, on the one hand, to the prayer of his flock, and on the other, wishing to somehow atone for his sin before God, the bishop finally exclaimed; “Well, if you really want me to stay with you, then I will do, but only on one condition: if you give me your word to unquestioningly fulfill what I now command you.”
All gave their word. Then the bishop, having ordered to close the doors of the church, said: “Know that the anyone of you who does not step on me now with his feet will not have a part with God.” And, with these words, he fell on the floor. Everyone was terrified; but not daring to break the word and fearing disciplinary punishment of the bishop, they began to walk through him. And what? When the last man in the church stepped on him, a voice from heaven said: “For the sake of his great humility, I forgave his sin!” – Everyone heard this voice and glorified God.
So, brethren, may there never be a lie between you after this, especially during confession. For you now know how disastrous this lie is for you. Repent, like David, who washed his bed all night; like the woman, which was a sinner, who washed the feet of the Lord with tears, and like Peter, who wept bitterly over his sin, and only then the Lord will undoubtedly forgive you and out of the children of wrath make you holy children and children of blessing.
Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds