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Orthodox Talks in English – No. 4: Is the Desire for Martyrdom a sign of Madness, Evil or Love?
After the events of September 11, 2001, there has been much in the media regarding martyrs, martyrdom, sacrifice, Jihad, etc. Because of this, many Orthodox Christians are confused about what true martyrdom is. This talk outlines what an Orthodox martyr is and the attitude that Orthodox Christians should have towards those of different faiths. It is easy to hate those who wish us harm, but is this allowed for an Orthodox Christian? Should Orthodox Christians be proud that they have the True Faith and, because of this, disdain those of other faiths?
During the Turkish occupation of Greece, those desiring martyrdom by the Turks would often go to Mount Athos to prepare themselves. The Elders responsible for them were very cautious about whom they would bless for martyrdom. From this talk it will be shown that not every desire for martyrdom is spiritually healthy. This desire can in fact come from pride. True obedience to one’s spiritual father and the daily acceptance of God’s will are higher than even martyrdom.
Topics covered in this talk: counterfeit spirituality; tricks of the demons; are there good ghosts and bad ghosts?; spiritual ignorance; the difference between spiritual fathers and confessors; lack of discernment can lead to spiritual disaster; obedience and humility; the dangers of fantasy; TV superheroes; the bedsores of lounge chair confessors; “holy” liars; the blessedness of seeking God’s will; and more.

Talk Duration: 99 minutes

With the blessing of


Archbishop of Sydney, Australia and New Zealand

First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia