ABSTRACT. God’s love for people is full and rich, as the Holy Fathers often say in their writings. Even if penitents have gathered sin upon sin, error upon error, mistake upon mistake, thus becoming grievous wrongdoers, even if they do not show complete and intense repentance for their misdeeds, Christ will not reject their repentance, whether small and brief, but He will offer forgiveness for it. Even if the fathers of the desert were often considered to be harsh – and in many respects they were – they often turned out to be more tolerant than the clerics of great churches or local communities in recommending penitential acts. In view of the Paterikon Fathers, the sign of repentance and ensuing forgiveness from God means putting aside passions connected with those sins and working on deeds pertaining to light, rather than darkness. Unfortunately, discussions concerning repentance and mourning are often misleading. Intense repentance does not lead to discouragement or despair but, paradoxically and fortunately, to heavenly joy.

Keywords: desert; Fathers; Paterikon; penthos; sin; fervent penance; peace

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Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, Iasi

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