Fr. Artemy Vladimirov is an unusually soft-spoken priest in a country of forceful clergymen, but under his gentleness is a powerful mind
Fr. Artemy Vladimirov is a very prominent priest in Russia, especially popular among Moscow's English-speaking population for his intelligence and perfect command of the English language.
He has a strong internet presence, travels regularly to the US to lecture, and published a book in English in 2010, called Bright Faith, which aims to introduce Orthodox Christian spirituality to Westerners. (You can see all the articles we have published about him here)
Fr. Artemy is very soft-spoken, a rather unusual phenomenon in Russia, where forceful priests who often speak bluntly and directly are more the rule than the exception. Meanwhile, he often uses symbolic and poetic language, betraying his literary background, so his style is not for everyone (Let us know what you think of it in the comments!).
Yet under his gentleness hides a powerful mind.
In this video, he talks about carnal passions, the lust of the flesh; something difficult to address in the modern world because it is so widespread, so accepted and even celebrated.
To clarify, when he speaks about lust, he does not mean healthy passion in a marriage, which is blessed by God. Instead, he means obscene thoughts that lead to carnal dreams and secret vices. Carnal passion quietly and purposefully defiles mankind, distorting the human person, robbing him or her of inner beauty and purity. He is referring to the addiction of lust, the slavery to the flesh, which robs men of their spiritual life.
Fr. Artemy says that a Christians first goal is to maintain the purity of soul and body, which is especially difficult today when mass media transmits the 'fornication spirit' on a daily basis.
Here are the steps he suggests:
- Take control your senses, especially eyesight and touch: Any free and loose interaction or unchaste behaviours between men and women burn away all Christian values in an instant. ‘To keep the distance' is the golden rule for Christians. The Seventh Ecumenical council forbade both the production and consumption of pornography, because of how it inflames the person with unclean thoughts and gives birth to other vices. Through the eyes, lust penetrates into our consciousness and the beast of fornication immediately takes control of the soul, turning it into a house of vices.
- Spend some time in nature: There is something about nature that makes us feel like children again, pure and full of awe.
- Work a lot, work creatively: The flame of lust is strongest in people who don’t know what to do with themselves. If you plan your day, so that it is full of diverse, interesting activities, you direct your energy productively and creatively, instead of burning it away in sexual desires.
- Always seek Christ. Think about Him. Pray. Christ is the embodiment of love, truth and beauty. If you feel His constant glance, purity will become natural.
- Repent. Frequently confess your sins and partake in the Holy Eucharist. The Church can return chastity even to the most prodigal souls.