What Constitutes Gossip?

The Gossip. Painting of Nikolaos Gyzis

The Gossip. Painting of Nikolaos Gyzis

Strangely enough, the word ‘gossip’ originally meant ‘godparent’ and it is connected with the word ‘sibling’. It is useful to recall, because it means that gossip comes about when people are too familiar, too close to each other. I think that in the hothouse of certain tiny convert groups, where relations are too close for comfort, this can be a problem. I have not particularly come across the problem of gossip in more ‘normal’, larger parishes.

The essence of gossip is pride, the wish to feel superior to others, it is smugness, pretentiousness, self-importance. Gossip always condemns others. Here we must distinguish between ‘judging’ and ‘condemning’. We constantly have to judge – judges have to do it, parents have to do it, priests have to do it.

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WHAT TO DO ABOUT A BAD PRIEST (by St. Theophan the Recluse)

St. Theophan the Recluse

St. Theophan the Recluse

From The Letters of St. Theophan the Recluse

Question: “We had a good priest; but he was transferred to another parish. In his place came another, who is a grief to the soul. In his serving the services, he is careless and hurried; when conversations occur, he talks only about trivial things; if he starts to talk about the things of God, then it is all with a kind of limitation and truncation of the strict truth. How is one to escape from such a temptation?”

Answer: You yourselves are at fault. You made poor use of the good priest, and the Lord took him away. Tell me, did you become better from your previous good priest? Here you falter to say, “Yes.” But I from a distance shall say that you did not become better, judging by the fact that you are judging the new priest, not knowing how to control your feelings in relation to him as you should. Indeed, you had a good priest even before this good priest who has now departed from you, and the one before him was good too. You see how many good priests the Lord has sent you; but you all have not become any better for it. And here He has decided: why waste good priests on these people? I’ll send them one not so good. And He did. Seeing this, you should have at once paid attention to yourself, to repent and improve, but you just judge and keep judging over and over again. Improve yourselves, and then the priest will at once be changed. He will think: “With these people I cannot carry out my holy work carelessly; I must serve reverently and conduct edifying conversations.” And he will mend his ways. If priests are negligent and hurried in serving the services and are trivial in conversations, then most of the time it comes from conforming to the parishioners. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

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