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Virtues by definition are aspects of behavior that when practiced demonstrate the highest moral standard. These characteristics when in a person are universally admired regardless of their faith or background.

People make a choice how to live their lives; either they follow their impulses and desires. Or they choose to live a life of value by adhering to moral standards that they will never compromise regardless of whether that is in their best interest or not. As such people of virtue will maintain honesty, courage and integrity no-matter what challenges them. They will be consistent and inspirational in their kindness and forgiveness. They will consider respectfulness and obedience as valuable characteristics they will not neglect.

Most virtues considered to be excellent moral standards have already been demonstrated in the life of Christ and are mentioned in the Holy Scriptures. The most important of which are the “Fruits of the Spirit” These have been endorsed by Christ and are integral to His character. As such they flow through the Holy Spirit to become integral characteristics of the true follower of Christ. In fact it is impossible to have a genuine relationship with Christ and claim to know Him without exhibiting these characteristics. For this reason they have their own section in the website above this article and should be studied first.

This section focuses on a small sample of virtues worth attaining in pursuit of a life in Christ. Below is a list of virtues with a quote from the Bible for your own personal meditation.

When looking through these virtues meditate on what it means to be a person of patience, of honesty etc. Focus on the verses written and start to think how can I discipline myself to be “that” person. Just because they don’t come naturally to you does not mean they are beyond you. Remembering, “that all things are possible through Christ who strengthens us”. Focus your minds and hearts to develop routines and disciplines that will train you to attain as many virtues as possible.

  • Calmness


Composure: steadiness of mind under stress

Bible Verses:

"Don't let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me” John 14:1

Be still in the presence of the Lord, 
and wait patiently for him to act. 
Don't worry about evil people who prosper 
or fret about their wicked schemes.

Stop being angry! 
Turn from your rage! 
Do not lose your temper- 
it only leads to harm. 
For the wicked will be destroyed, 
but those who trust in the Lord will possess the land. Psalm 27:7-9


The more tranquil a man becomes, the greater is his success, his influence, and his power for good. Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom. James Allen (British Philosopher 1864-1912)

If one loses ones inner peace, everything will look disturbed in ones’ eyes, and what is simple will seem complicated. HH Pope Shenouda

HH Pope Shenouda so admired the virtue of calmness that he wrote a whole book on the subject available here.



  • Courage


The ability to do something that is frightening or strength in the face of pain or grief

Bible verses:

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord. Psalm 31:24


Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point. C. S Lewis

Every Goliath has a David waiting to conquer him in the name of the Lord of Hosts. HH Pope Shenouda


  • Diligence


Careful and persistent work or effort, without distraction or laziness.

Bible Verses:

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:58

Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest. Proverbs 1:6-8


A hermit said, “We do not make progress because we do not realize how much we can do. We lose interest in the work we have begun, and we want to be good without even trying”

“Many of our brothers were lost because nobody visited them or by the time they were visited, it was too late.” HH Pope Shenouda


  • Endurance / Perseverance


The fact or power of enduring an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way

Bible verses:

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope. Romans 5:3-4

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. James 1:12-14

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. Luke 9:24

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9


“The one who overcomes hardships and does not use them as an excuse, proves the truth of his inner intentions.” HH Pope Shenouda


  • Forgiveness


A conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness

Bible verses:

“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven. Luke 6:37

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32

By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35

Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven. Matthew 18:21-22

If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. Mark 3:24

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matthew 6:14-15


The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. Mahatma Ghandi

The glory of Christianity is to conquer by forgiveness. William Blake

Abba Poemen also said this about Abba Isidore that whenever he addressed the brothers in church he said only one thing, 'Forgive your brother, so that you also may be forgiven.'


  • Cheerfulness


The quality of being cheerful and dispelling gloom

Bible verses:

A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed. Proverbs 15:13

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22

Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7


Though you do not see Him, you believe, and in believing there is unspeakable joy.


  • Hospitality


The friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers

Bible verses:

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Hebrews 13:2

And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. 1 Peter 4:8-9


A brother came to a hermit: and as he was taking his leave, he said, “Forgive me, abba, for preventing you from keeping you rule.’ The hermit answered, ‘My rule is to welcome you with hospitality, and to send you on your way in peace.’


  • Humility


The state or quality of being humble; freedom from pride and arrogance; lowliness of mind; a modest estimate of one's own worth; a sense of one's own unworthiness through imperfection and sinfulness; self-abasement; humbleness.

Bible verse:

The fear of the LORD is the instruction for wisdom, And before honor comes humility. Proverbs 15:33

You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time. 1 Peter 5:5-6

But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, "God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble." James 4:6

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:3-11


Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it's thinking of yourself less. C. S. Lewis

It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels. St Augustine

The nearer a man comes to God, the more he sees himself to be a sinner. Isaiah the prophet saw the Lord and knew himself to be wretched and unclean (Is 6:5). Abba Mathois

Any work done by man, without the hand of God, surely leads to vain glory. HH Pope Shenouda


  • Integrity


The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles

Bible Verses:

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Romans 12:9

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. Psalm 1:1-4

The LORD judges the peoples; judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness and according to the integrity that is in me. Psalm 7:8

The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them. Proverbs 11:3

And Job again took up his discourse, and said: “As God lives, who has taken away my right, and the Almighty, who has made my soul bitter, as long as my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils, my lips will not speak falsehood, and my tongue will not utter deceit. Far be it from me to say that you are right; till I die I will not put away my integrity from me. Job 27:1-5

Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. Titus 2:7-8


Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring and integrity, they think of you. H Jackson Brown, Jr

The time you spend alone with God will transform your character and increase your devotion. Then your integrity and godly behavior in an unbelieving world will make others long to know the Lord. Charles Stanley

He who is led by the truth will be pleased with its leadership and nourishment and lives by it. HH Pope Shenouda

In all man’s acts, it is not enough that the aim has to be holy, but also the means must be sound. Very often, man errs and fails because his means are wrong. HH Pope Shenouda


  • Obedience

Definition: Compliance with someone's wishes or orders or acknowledgment of his or her authority. It is one of three monastic vows.

Bible Verses:

Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him. "He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father's who sent Me. John 14:23-24

Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:13-16

Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? Romans 6:16


The monk’s service is obedience. He who has this shall have his prayers answered, and shall stand by the Crucified in confident faith. For that was how the Lord went to his cross, being made obedient even unto death. Hyperichius


  • Patience


The capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.

Bible verses:

Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary. Isaiah 40:31

Be patient, therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. James 5:7-8

And we urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with all men. 1 Thessalonians 5:14

“Be still, and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10


It is easier to find men who will volunteer to die, than to find those who are willing to endure pain with patience. Julius Caesar

To bear with patience wrongs done to oneself is a mark of perfection, but to bear with patience wrongs done to someone else is a mark of imperfection and even of actual sin. Thomas Aquinas


  • Pure thinking


Purity is the quality of being unmixed, uncontaminated or wholesome. Pure thinking is having only one consistent and clear mind without contradiction, sin, selfishness and hypocrisy.

Bible verse:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Matthew 5:8


Abba Poeman said: “Someone may seem to be silent, but if in the heart one is condemning others, then one is babbling ceaselessly. And there may be another who talks from morning till evening, and yet in the heart that person is truly silent. Thant person says nothing that is not profitable. 

Purity of heart is to will one thing. Soren Kierkegaard


  • Meekness


Mild of temper; soft; gentle; not easily provoked or irritated; yielding; given to forbearance under injuries

Bible verses:

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29

But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect. 1 Peter 3:15

Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. James 3:13


The meek are not those who are never at all angry, for such are insensible; but those who, feeling anger, control it, and are angry only when they ought to be. Meekness excludes revenge, irritability, morbid sensitiveness, but not self-defence, or a quiet and steady maintenance of right. Theophylact

A meek person deals simply with everyone and never argues much or acts stubbornly. HH Pope Shenouda


  • Silence


The practice of silencing all external and internal thoughts to expose one self to an inner awareness of your self and God within you.

Bible verses:

It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. Lamentations 3:26

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. Psalm 62:5


Having withdrawn to the desert, Abba Arsenius heard a voice saying to him: “Arsenius, flee; be silent; pray always. These are the source of sinlessness.


  • Tears of the Spiritual Life


The tears of brokenness, vulnerability before the Lord, repentance and ultimate joy in the presence of the Lord.

Bible verses:

Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! Psalm 126:5


One who wishes to purify one’s faults purifies them with tears; one who wishes to aquire the virtues axquires them with tears. Weeping is the way that the Scriptures and the Fathers give us, when they say: ‘Weep!’ Truly, there is no other way than this. Abba Poeman

Click on the book to read HH Pope Shenouda’s meditations on Tears in the Spiritual life.



  • Watchfulness


The process of paying close and continuous attention.

Bible Verses:

But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Matthew 24:43

For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. 1 Thessalonians 5:2


Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God. HH Pope Shenouda


  • Wisdom


The quality of being wise; knowledge, and the capacity to make due use of it; knowledge of the best ends and the best means; discernment and judgment; discretion; sagacity; skill; dexterity.

Bible verses:

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. James 3:17


I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else. C. S Lewis

Man needs to drink from all springs of knowledge, with wisdom and care, by examining and sifting information. HH Pope Shenouda


  • Zeal / Passion


Passionate ardor in the pursuit of anything; intense interest or endeavor; eagerness to accomplish or obtain some object

Bible verses:

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Romans 12:9-13


Zeal is kindling the heart and the will, as if with fire, to do what one believes to be good. HH Pope Shenouda

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