The heavenly gladness and comfort of the Spirit

Elder Joseph Vatopaidinos

Spiritual gladness was seldom far from the face of Elder Joseph Vatopaidinos

AS it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

1 Cor 2:9-10.


THE head of all good zeal and the summit of achievements is the attentiveness [προσεδρεία, lit. a sitting down next to someone] of prayer, through which we come in possession of other virtues too, when God, on whom we have called, extends to us a helping hand.

For among those who are made worthy of it, there arises in prayer a communion with the hidden activity [of God], and a union of disposition with the holiness which stands in the presence of God, and a communion of the eye of the heart [nous] itself in an unspeakable love in the presence of the Lord.

“For thou hast given” he says, “gladness into my heart” (Ps 4:8). And the Lord himself? “The Kingdom of heaven is within you” (Lk 17:21). This matter of the Kingdom being within us, what else does it signify, than the heavenly gladness of the Spirit is manifestly stamped upon worthy souls?

For souls made worthy through the active communion of the Spirit receive here already the down-payment and beginning of this, the rest and joy and gladness in the Spirit (2 Cor 1:22) of which the saints in everlasting light are partakers in the Kingdom of Christ.

This is something we recall the divine Apostle making clear: for he comforts us, he says, in our troubles, so that we can comfort those in every trouble, by that same comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God (2 Cor 1:4).

And passages, like “My heart and my flesh exulted in the living God” (Ps 83:3) and “My soul has been filled as with marrow and fatness” (Ps 62:6), and those which chime in with them, refer to the same thing, and hint subtly at the active gladness and comfort of the Spirit.

Simeon Metaphrastis, “Paraphrase of the Homilies of St Macarios of Egypt” in the “Philokalia” (Vol. III). This comes from the start of No. II, On Prayer. This is my own (rather literal) translation.


A Prayer

The name of the Holy Spirit in St John’s Gospel is “the Comforter”.

GIVE swift and stable comfort to your servants, Jesu, in the despondency of our spirits; do not part from our souls in troubles, do not be far from our minds in perils, but ever anticipate us.

Be near us, be near, you who are everywhere; as you are also always with your Apostles, so unite yourself, O compassionate, with those who long for you, that united to you we may hymn and glorify your All-holy Spirit.

Sunday of Pentecost. Translation from Anastasis.


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