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Orthodox Living

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==The Virtue of Philotimo==
Philotimo The virtue of philotimo is commonly emphasized in Greek Orthodox Christianity. It follows in line with two other important words; ethos (demeanor, manner) and phronema (mind-set, attitude/disposition). Philotimo is the humble, dignified and respectful way people interact with one another (family members, extended friends and family, fellow parishioners and extends to the workplace). And it is perhaps more especially referred to in the highly refine and profoundly simple monastic literature of Orthodoxy. In our times and from the works and words of Elders Paisios (+1993) of Mount Athos and Porphyrios of Athens, we see the term and its antecedent spirit used quite frequently. That these two modern spiritual giants of the Greek-speaking world use the word so naturally (as most Greeks do) is no coincidence however, because it is an anthropological concept that was first observed by the ancient Greeks. It was always used with regard to eager and grateful living. When one is grateful he responds toward God and others by enacting other virtues. Hence, some would say that the philotimo spirit is the singularly unique virtue from which stem all the virtues. When used specifically in the spiritual sense, philotimo expresses the intense and constant feeling of deep appreciation and heartfelt gratitude for God’s God's gifts, to such a degree that the soul feels the inner need to freely and thankfully respond. It is the feeling of not being able to “give back” "give back" enough. It can mean gratitude for anything from a small gift someone might have given you (or the small act of kindness someone may have shown you) to an appreciation for one’s one's heritage and ancestors (to one’s one's own parents) as according to the word of the Apostle Paul who writes, “Remember"Remember, it is not you that holds up the root, but the root that holds you up (Rom. 11:18)." At another level, in our effort to successfully define philotimo, we might also simply suggest these two English words “responsive "responsive gratefulness."
Philotimo is that deep-seated awareness in the heart that motivates the good that a person does. A philotimos person is one who conceives and enacts eagerly those things good. The term is formulated in a beautifully synthesized Greek word which comes from two Greek root words; 1) the prefix filo (filw) – which literally means I love (cf. John 21:16 as in Apostle Peter’s Peter's response to the Lord’s Lord's question, “Do "Do you love me?"- “nai "nai kurie, su oidaV oti filw se," - which also has height, depth and breadth of meaning in and of itself). Philo can be more precisely understood also as having deep heartfelt appreciation or gratitude for some one or some thing. It is also the prefix to many other etymologically Greek monikers (eg. philanthropist, philosopher, philologist, philharmonic etc.). As a prefix, philo denotes one as an appreciator or friend (lover) of the essence of another concept found in the term which follows it, in this case, “timi” "timi" (Grk timh, h)." Timi is yet another very important ancient Greek and Christian concept that means honor or value. Honor (or the value of things) is itself the immeasurably deep philosophical concept about which volumes could be written. Another way of thinking about philotimo is when considering a clean or clear conscience and how one act eagerly upon that which the conscience dictates. Philotimo is therefore intimately intertwined with the grateful conscience, the stirrings of one’s one's inner disposition, but it is infinitely more.
Olivie Clement says the following about love in his book 'The Book of Christian Mysticism,' "spiritual progress no other test in the end, nor any better expression, than our ability to love. It has to be unselfish love, founded on respect; a service, a disinterested affection that does not ask to be paid in return ("our" philotimo), a 'sympathy,' indeed an 'empathy,' that takes us out of ourselves enabling us to 'feel with' the other person and indeed to 'feel' him or her. It gives us the ability to discover in the other person an inward nature as mysterious and deep us our own, but different and willed to be so - by God.
==Elder Paisios (of the Holy Mountain +1994) explains philotimo==
(from the book “Elder "Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain” Mountain" by monk Christodoulos of Mt Athos)
Father Paisios told me an incident from his childhood years:
==The philotimo spirit is to be found everywhere==
There are countless examples of how the spirit of philotimo is manifest in our daily lives. Simple people everywhere think, do and say the good things they do because they have philotimo. Every day each of us encounters integral and honorable human beings, whose hearts and consciences are so sensitive that they think and act eagerly toward others out of philotimo. It stems from a person’s person's feeling of responsive gratefulness or grateful indebtedness to three “significant "significant others;" his Creator, his own forebears (immediate as well as past) and his fellow human beings (living and historic). There are some whose sensitivities are so finely tuned, whose inner dignity is so real that their sense of gratitude and honor is the very thing which guides their every thought. In contemporary American jargon it is said that everyone loves the “underdog"underdog;" eagerly rooting for the underdog, that, too, is philotimo. From ancient times and from biblical literature, we can see a myriad of concrete examples of people who acted out great deeds, wrote incredibly wondrous works and uttered awe-inspiring words from a philotimo spirit. Furthermore, it is found in the way of historic wise men from every corner of the globe, (people like Lao Tsu and Socrates stand out; as do the Prophets Moses and Job) were motivated by philotimo. The same stands for modern history: famous and honorable and noble leaders like the great Cappadocian Church Father, Saint Basil the Great and the great desert dwelling Saint Anthony the Great to the American astronaut Neil Armstrong and former President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. Many notably famous people from all walks of life; in religion and politics, in medicine and in the theatre and in philosophy and philanthropy: Each of these individuals (though because of the inherent imperfection of man, none of them is perfect), certainly reflected the philotimo spirit in numerous well known and documented instances in their lives. Let us say that a person may simply be philotimos because he or she is eagerly and sincerely kind, grateful and honorable.
==Lessons about philotimo in ancient Greek philosophy==
Those who have read Plato's Republic will most likely agree that Socrates' refusal to the pleas of Crito (that he flee from imprisonment), was directed by Socrates’ Socrates' own philotimo spirit and his high regard and honorable appreciation for the State and the Law -"uper patrida kai patrwn upertato h patrhV" [Crito’s Crito's desire to free his teacher was also born from philotimo]. Another of Socrates' famous quotes speaks about philotimo as well. “Virtue "Virtue is knowledge, and the man who knows the right, will act correctly."
==Lessons learned about philotimo in the person of Christ==
Saint Epiphanios says that in taking on flesh, Christ became the “bait” "bait" on the end of the fish-hook that awakened in all people the philotimo spirit and thus draws all men to Himself. He moved our grateful hearts both by dying on the Cross (and arising from death) and by being born so humbly, so poorly in a manger. Hence, Jesus came into the world appearing weak, in the form of a servant, as one of lowly heart (humble) and immeasurably meek - to save us. It was this Jesus Who walked and talked among men, Who climbed up on the Cross for the sins of all mankind – indeed to save the human race. Saint Athanasios the Great says the “God "God became man, so that man might become God." He dwelt among us that forever we might dwell in heaven. Although the coined Greek term "philotimo" is not to be found as such in the Bible, the concept of responsive gratefulness or grateful indebtedness and the eager doing of good deeds and cultivating good thoughts, in honor of and on behalf of God, the God of mercy, love and forgiveness, is found everywhere.
==The philotimo found of God in the Old Testament==
Once, Abba Zosimos remembered the saying about the Old Man who was robbed by his neighboring brother. Instead of rebuking his brother, that Old Man began to work harder, thinking that the brother had need of these things.
Abba Pior, as he walked, ate. Someone therefore asked him. “Why "Why do you eat this way?" And he said, “I "I do not wish to use my physical nourishment as main work, but as side work." And to another who asked him about the same thing, he replied, “In "In order that my soul might not feel the bodily pleasure as I eat."
In our modern times, upon arriving at his hermitage, Elder Ephraim of Katounakia on Mount Athos is once said to have walked all the way back to another monastery which he’d he'd just visited to receive a loaf of prosforo. It seems that in sitting to receive a little of their hospitality he noticed a simple bic pen on the table. He nonchalantly picked it up, made a comment about it being a nice pen and then he put it down. Well, the abbot of that monastery told Elder Ephraim to keep it as they had many. “No"No, no," was the Elder’s Elder's reply, but the other insisted. So off Elder Ephraim went to return to his hermitage, but the closer he got the heavier he felt. Upon arriving at his gate, he realized that it was the pen in his pocket that was causing him the burden. He made an about-face, eagerly walked back and returned the pen, then peacefully and with joy returned to his hermitage ready and spiritually rested to begin preparing for the liturgy.
==Examples of philotimos in persons found in American politics==
(A suggested film: The March of the Penguins [which could be sub-titled "Real Parents"])
==Another two definitions of “philotimos”"philotimos"==
Philotimos - 1. generous, liberal, lavish; of God, Chrys. hom. 15.5 in Gen. (4.12ID); Mac.Mgn.apocr.4.25(p.207.12);carizetai gar th f. dexia ta anagkaia proV to zhn Cyr.Ps. 5;8(M.69.740D); of entertainments of hospitality, Eus.m.P.6 (p.920.16; M.20.1h f. trapeza +Cosm.Melschol.(M.38546) in Gr.Naz.carm.22(epitaph.) of praise etc. - Patristic Greek Lexicon, Lampe

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