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The greatest sin in the world after denial of the faith

October 24, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Interview with Elder Paisius Olaru of Sihla Skete

—A certain woman who did not want to have many children went to the Elder and asked his advice about what she should do. He said to her:

If you avoid having children, you avoid salvation. One child is not enough, because you might lose it. Many children in a home are usually healthier than one or two, because they often become spoiled and sickly. Here is fulfilled the word of the Lord: He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully (II Cor. 9:6).

A little while ago an old woman came to me for confession, and I asked her: “Sister, how many children do you have?” “Father, I’ve borne eighteen! God took eight of them when they were little, and the other ten are the first citizens in the village!” Another woman came from far away, and I asked her: “How many children do you have, my Christian?” “None, Father.” “And how many abortions have you had up to now?” “Father, I’ve had forty.” “Go and confess to the bishop, my child, and repent while you still have time, because God’s judgment is terrible!” After denial of the faith, the greatest sin in the world is the murder of babies by abortion. These two sins quickly bring God’s wrath and punishment upon men.

—What penance do you give those who have had abortions?

The punishment for abortion and murder in general is life-long repentance. The penance consists of daily prostrations, fasting until evening every Wednesday and Friday, complete avoidance of this sin in the future, and the birth and baptism of other children in place of those killed. Also in such circumstances they are forbidden to receive Communion for seven years, except in the case of a pregnant woman, who can receive Communion as a special allowance.

—Certain Christians asked the Elder, ‘’What will happen to the souls of infants killed by abortion?’’ and he answered with a sigh:

I believe that these infants are martyrs. They will complete the number of the martyrs in the last times, as the Apocalypse says. In dying through abortion they receive the baptism of blood, but the Church does not commemorate them in her prayers in order not to encourage abortions, which for the parents is an act of infanticide.

From The Orthodox Word, Vol. 28, No. 1, pp. 15-42. Posted on 6 Dec, 2005 (n.s.).

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