The title of this speech in Greek is ‘Περί ταπεινώσεως και ταπεινοφροσύνης’. An Elder has explained the difference as being that ‘ταπεινοφροσύνη’ is an attitude of mind (hence ‘humble outlook’), while ‘ταπείνωσις’ (‘humility’) is from the heart. In practice, however, the terms are often used interchangeably.
Without question, the Scriptures as a whole, as well as Patristic philosophy, are ‘seasoned with salt’, as it were, garlanded with the good mother of the virtues, the humble outlook. This is particularly noticeable at the points related to the behavior and comportment of people living by the direct instructions to reach their destination and striving to put these into practice through repentance.
In another homily, we referred to obedience as a virtue. Now we’re obliged to describe humility as an attribute, the character and form of the soul and of the personality.
If duty is an inviolable rule of life for rational beings, how much superior to it must be the personal attributes, the form and the character? And if, again, humility were only a human skill and achievement, which adorns and perfects rational beings, without it also being divine, human boldness would be able to describe it. But from the moment that it was revealed to us that it reaches as far as the Incarnate Word of God Himself, humility became something beyond that which human thought can conceive, and which can be understood only with admiration and astonishment. He Himself says: ‘Learn from my example, for I am meek and humble in heart’.