15 Quotations of Holy Fathers about Love

Painting by Nino Chakvetadze

Saint Basil the Great

1. A fearful man is still a slave, whereas the one who has become perfect in love has already reached the dignity of a son. A slave is also called a tramp because he has nothing of his own, while a son is rich because he is the heir to his father’s wealth.

2. Having cleansed ourselves of all hatred, it is necessary to love even enemies, and, when need be, to sacrifice one’s soul for one’s friends, having the same love as God and his Christ has for us.

3. Love has two remarkable characteristics: to grieve and suffer when a loved one suffers harm, and to rejoice when he is happy and work for his benefit. That is why blessed is the one who weeps for the sinner, who is exposed to terrible danger, and rejoices at the one who does good, for it is written that he gains incomparable benefit.

4. What is the measure of love for God? It is that the soul is constantly stretched and uses force to do the will of God for the purpose and in pursuit of God’s glory.

5. What are the signs of love for God? The Lord himself taught us this by saying, If ye love me, keep my commandments (John 14:15).

Saint Gregory the Theologian

1. There is no ministry that is as pleasing to God as mercy <…>, and never does God reward us with His love more than when we love mankind.

2. Thus, in keeping with the commandment to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15), we must open up our mercy to all the poor and those who suffer for whatever reason; we are to offer people charity, whether they are widowed or orphaned, whether they are driven out of their homeland or oppressed by the rulers, whether they suffer the insolence of their superiors or the inhumanity of tax collectors or the murderous hand of thieves or the greed of robbers or the seizing of estates or shipwrecks. For they all have the same right to our sympathy, and look at our hands just as we look at the hands of God when we ask Him for something.

3. He is called peace (Ephesians 2:14), love (1 John 4:16) and similar titles, encouraging us by his very titles to strive for the acquisition of these virtues.

4. Do not love wealth if it does not help the poor. Forgive if you have received forgiveness, and be merciful if you have been pardoned. Acquire human love by human love while you are still alive. May your whole life be renewed. May your paths be made new.

5. Let us get together spiritually. Let’s rather be brother-loving than self-loving.

Saint John Chrysostom

1. Where there is love, there is great security and God’s great blessing. Love is the mother of all blessings, their root and source; it is the end of wars and the extermination of strife. Indeed, just as dissent and strife cause death and demise prematurely, so love and harmony produce peace and unanimity, and where there is peace and unanimity, all in life is safe and secure. Why speak of the present only? Love brings us heaven and unspeakable goods; it is the queen of virtues.

2. Love covers many sins (1 Pet. 4:8); on the contrary, animosity makes one suspicious of things that do not exist. It is not enough not to be an enemy; you must also increase in love. Remember that this is what Christ commanded, and that is enough.

3. God does not need us at all, and still loves us very much, whereas we desperately need him but do not accept his love, preferring money, human friendship, physical comfort, power, and glory – in spite of the fact that He prefers nothing to us.

4. Indeed, love is a strong wall, impregnable not only to men, but also to the devil. He who is surrounded by a multitude of those who love him cannot fall into danger; he has no reason to be angry, but always feels peace of heart, joy and gladness; there is no reason to be jealous; there are no occasions for vindictiveness. Look how easily he carries out both his spiritual and worldly affairs. Who can compare to him? He is like a city completely shielded by walls; and he [who has no love] is like a city without any protection.

5. To be the cause of love is a great wisdom. If you destroy love, you will destroy and overthrow everything. If the likeness of love has such power, what must be the true [love] itself?


Sources: The Symphony of St Basil the Great Works,
St. Gregory the Theologian. Homilies.
The Symphony of St. John Chrysostom Works
Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds

About the author

The Editor of the Catalog of Good Deeds.

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