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The eight cardinal sins and their subdivisions
1. Gluttony

Overeating, drunkenness, not keeping the fasts, eating in secret, over- indulgence, extreme love of ones body and bodily comforts, which leads to egoism and indifference to God, the Church and virtue.
2. Lust

Sexual desires in the heart and soul. The entertainment of impure thoughts, delight in them, acceptance of them. Sexual fantasies and enthrallment. Inappropriate physical contact. Foul language and the reading of sexually inflaming literature. Sins of natural sex (fornication and adultery) and unnatural (sodomy and bestiality).
3. Avarice

Love of money and material possessions. The desire to enrich oneself and thoughts of how to achieve it. Greed and cupidity. Lack of faith in Gods Providence. Addiction to and unhealthy love for earthly possessions, which keep the soul in bondage. Love of gifts. Misappropriation. Usury. Hard-heartedness towards the needy. Theft. Piracy.
4. Wrath

Hot temper, angry and revengeful thoughts, irritability, seething of the heart and mind with rage; quarreling, indecent shouting, use of obscenities and cruel words, beating, pushing, murder. Malice, hate, enmity, revenge, slander, the passing of judgment on others, giving offense to others.
5. Despair

Chagrin, despondency, loss of faith in God, doubt of God, ungratefulness towards God for everything that happens in ones life, faint-heartedness, impatience, taking offense, grumbling, renunciation of ones cross, the attempt to give it up.
6. Idleness

Indolence towards all good deeds, especially prayer. Abandonment of church and home prayers. Abandonment of constant prayer and spiritual reading. Indifference to and hastiness in praying. Negligence. Impiety. Slothfulness. Excessive abandonment to sleep and other bodily comforts. Idle talk. Improper jokes. Sacrilege. Abandonment of spiritual labors. Forgetfulness of ones sins. Forgetfulness of Christs commandments. Carelessness. Bitterness. Loss of the fear of God.
7. Vanity

Vainglory. Bragging. Desire and seeking after earthly and vain honors. Love of beautiful clothing and things. Excessive attention to the attractiveness of ones body. Shame in confessing ones sins. Deceitfulness. Self-justification. Contradiction. Hypocrisy. Lying. Flattery. Sycophancy. Envy. Humiliation of others. Moral relativism. Shamelessness. Demonic lifestyle.
8. Pride

Contempt for others. Self-preferment. Defiance. Clouding of the mind and heart. Exclusive reliance on earthly things. Blasphemy. Disbelief. False intellect. Disobedience of the law of God and the Church. Imposing of ones own will. Reading heretical, profane and vain books. Revolt against authority. Mockery. Abandonment of humility and silence. Loss of simplicity. Loss of love for God and ones neighbors. Death of the soul.


Such are the sins which constitute the great curse - the mortality of Adam, which sprang from his fall. The prophet Isaiah speaks of this great curse, saying: From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in him; but wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment (Isaiah 1:6). According to the holy fathers, this means that the curse - sin - is not local, i.e. striking only one bodily member, but affects the entire being: envelops the body, envelops the soul, takes possession of all the faculties of a person. God called this great curse - death, when He forbad Adam and Eve to taste of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, saying: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die (Gen. 2:17). Immediately upon eating the forbidden fruit the forefathers experienced eternal death; they felt an earthly sensation in their eyes; they saw that they were naked. The knowledge of the nakedness of their bodies reflected the nakedness of their souls, which had lost the beauty of chastity granted them by the Holy Spirit Himself. In their eyes there was this new physical sensation, while in their souls there was the feeling of shame, which comprised all their new sinful feelings: pride, uncleanliness, sorrow, despondency, despair. Death becomes the great curse; irremediable is the mortality which came with the loss of the Divine image! The Apostle Paul calls this great curse the law of sin, the body of death (Romans 7:23-24), because the mortified mind and heart have turned completely towards the earth, slavishly serve the lowly desires of the flesh, have become dark and heavy, have themselves become flesh. This flesh is no longer able to communicate with God (Gen. 6:3). This flesh is unable to inherit eternal, heavenly bliss (1 Cor. 6:50). The great curse has spread upon all mankind, has become the ill-fated legacy of each and every person.

Looking upon this great curse of mine, I am filled with bitter sorrow! I ponder what to do. Shall I follow the example of ancient Adam, who, upon seeing his nakedness, hastens to hide himself from God? Shall I attempt to justify myself, as he did, throwing the blame upon sin? It is futile to hide from the All-seeing One! It is futile to justify oneself before the One Who always wins in judgment (Psalm 30:7)! Instead of fig leaves let me dress myself in tears of repentance; instead of justification let me bring to Him my sincere penitence. But, dressed in penitence and tears, can I present myself before my God?

Bishop Ignaty Bryanchaninov.
Ignaty Bryanchaninov.

O, sinful descendant of Adam, take heart! A great light has shone forth in your prison: God has descended into the land of your exile, in order to bring you up into the heavenly homeland which you had lost. You wished to have knowledge of good and evil. He allows you to retain this knowledge. You wished to become like God, and because of this your soul has become like the demons and your body like the animals; but God, joining you to Him, makes you godlike through grace. He forgives your sins. And that is not all! He extracts the root of evil from your soul, the very pestilence of sin, and grants you an anodyne against sin for the entire course of your earthly life, no matter how many times you sin through your frailty. This anodyne is the confession of sins. Do you wish to take off the mortality of Adam? Do you wish to attain freedom from your enslavement to sin? Immerse yourself in humility! Overcome the shame of vanity, extract your sins, engage in battle with your sins by means of sincere confession. This anodyne must precede all others; without it the anodynes of prayer, tears, fasting and all other means will be insufficient, unsatisfactory, unstable. Go, proud one, to your spiritual father, find at his hands the charity of the Heavenly Father. Only sincere and frequent confession can free us of sinful habits, make our repentance fruitful, our correction lasting and sincere.

Bishop Ignaty Bryanchaninov.
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