Written by Valeriu Gafencu – while in the Communist Gulag  

(continued from the previous post)

The Ten Commandments

The First Commandment: 

I am the Lord thy God, thou shall not have any gods before me.

1) Do you believe in God?

2) Do you believe in the Holy Trinity?

3) Do you worship God?

4) Do you love Him?

5) Do you know Him? Have you compelled yourself to learn something about God from the books of Holy Scripture, church books, or from somewhere else?

6) Do you somehow believe in charms and magic spells?

7) Have you visited fortune tellers and astrologers?

8. Do you practice occultism?

9) Do you believe in dreams? Believe only in God.

10) Do you somehow bestow more honor upon some creature or things than to God?

11) Do you value money, food or wine, a woman or a man, more than God?

12) Have you ever grumbled against God?

13) Have you despaired because of any trouble, misfortune, or any other evil that has befallen you?

14) Have you opposed the truths of Christian teaching?

15) Have you read books that are against religion?

16) Have you given such books to someone else to read

17) Have you attended gatherings of nonbelievers?

18) Have you read their books and magazines with the intention of discovering another truth other than that of the Church?

19) Have you defended lack of faith or sects or Islam?

20) Have you brought gifts to sectarians?

21) Do you believe in superstition or paganism?

22) Is God your main concern?

23) Have you always put hope in God?

24) Do you believe that heaven and hell exist?

25) Do you believe that there will be a judgment?

26) Do you put too much trust in the goodness of God and in this way not fear judgment?

27) Do you believe that God can no longer forgive you because of the multitude and gravity of your sins?

28) Have you always sought the help of God?

29) Have you prayed regularly? Evening, morning, and at noon?

30) Do you go to church regularly?

31) At prayers and at church do you think only of God?

32) At the end of the day, do you remember God?

33) Have you brought thanks to God through all your deeds?

34) Have you sought His help before doing something?

35) Do you sometimes say prayers only from habit?

36) Do you think of other things during the time of prayer?

37) Does the thought ever come to you that you cannot be saved?

38) Have you put off repentance until old age?

39) Do you deliberately go late to church?

40) Do you pay attention to the service?

41) Do you laugh or talk or look at other people when in church?

The Second Commandment:

Thou shall make no graven image or the likeness of any thing of what is in heaven or on earth, in the sea or on the earth, nor shall you worship them or serve them. 

1) Do you believe that some men are great and have the same value that Christ had? For example, philosophers or religious leaders.

2) Do you believe in the holy icons?

3) What kind of worship do you accord them?

4) Do you believe that an icon is in fact the very saint that it depicts?

5) Do you believe in people – your wife, your husband, your child – instead of believing in God?

6) Do you worship things such as money, food, drink, or other pleasures?

7) Is your own mind your only law and do you do only that which it tells you?


The Third Commandment:

Do not take the name of the Lord Thy God in vain. 

1) Have you ever sworn by God the Father or by the Savior Jesus Christ?

2) Have you sworn by the angels, archangels?

3) Have you sworn by the Holy Virgin?

4) Have you sworn by the saints, the church, Pascha, the oil lamps, the icons, the cross, or other things?

5) Have you brought false witness to the Name of God?

6) Have you sworn other kinds of oaths, for example on your eyes, your life, the salvation of your soul? For the Savior said, „Let your speech be yes and no; for anything more than that is of the devil.”

7) Have you cursed anyone? Have you sent others to the devil or yourself?

8. Do you have the habit of cursing those who do you wrong? The Savior taught us to pray for them.

9) Have you sworn a false oath?

10) Have you sworn a true oath?

11) Do you use as an oath the word “zău,” which is an abbreviation for “pe Dumnezeul meu” [upon my God]?

The Fourth Commandment:

Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day.

Sunday is the Lord’s day. And all the feast days instituted by the church throughout the year have the same value.

1) Have you kept all Sundays and feast days?

2) Were you in church on each of those days?

3) Did the other members of your household keep them, did they attend church, did you prevent them for any reason?

4) Have you given others work on those days? Do you go to church late?

5) Did you keep the Lord’s day in a worthy manner? Or is it for you an ordinary day or a day for parties and amusements? Do you go to church in the morning? In the afternoon do you read books that are useful and constructive for the soul?

6) Do you look after your soul more on those days than on others?

7) Have you done or participated in a clacă (see 199)?

8. Do you behave improperly in church?

9) Have you cursed the church or the servants of the Holy Altar?

10) Do you honor priests as the servants of God?

Do you make fun of them or disdain them? Do you gossip about them and speak of their sins?

11) Do you pray for them? Do you obey them?


(199 Clacă: An informal gathering around a campfire for conversation,

music, and dancing. – Translator’s note)


The Fifth Commandment:

Honor thy father and thy mother.

1) Have you beaten your parents or in-laws?

2) Have you abused them or persecuted them?

3) Have you heeded their advice?

4) Have you deceived them in any way?

5) Have you taken advantage of their good faith?

6) Have you helped them when they are in difficulty?

7) Have you done church services for them after their deaths?

8. Have you helped your brothers and sisters?

9) Have you taken care of your wife and children?

For St. Paul says, If anyone does not look after his own, and especially those of his own household, such a one has abandoned the faith and is worse than a non-believer. (1 Tim 5:8) 

10) Have you beaten your wife? Have you held anything against her? Have you abused her? 

11) Have you honored your husband? Have you loved your husband or wife as your own self?

12) Have you deceived your husband or wife?

13) Have you made his/her life more difficult? Do you nag or criticize?

14) Have you sufficiently looked after the spiritual well-being of those in your household?

15) How have you behaved with your spiritual fathers? Godparents, teachers, priests? Have you respected them and helped them?

16) Have you been insolent or stubborn with your parents?

17) Have you upset them? Angered them?

18) Have you spoken ill of them or derided them?

19) Have you made fun of their weaknesses?

20) Have you been mindful of your religious obligations?

21) Have you been ashamed of them?

22) Have you spent money on useless things (tobacco or other pleasures), causing your family to be lacking in necessary things?

If you are a parent:

23) Have you steered your children on the path of the Church, in word and in deed?

24) Have you set a bad example with arguments, drunkenness, filthy language, lying, stealing, dishonor, gossiping, laziness?

25) Do you live with a concubine and the children see it?

26) Have you punished them for bad deeds: such as arguing, lying, fighting, stealing? Have you spared them out of mercy?

27) Have you prayed for your children, wife, husband, brothers, sisters, parents?

28) Were you too harsh or too easy on your children?

29) Have you had bad servants who taught your children things harmful for the soul? If you are a guardian:

30) Have you fulfilled all your material and moral obligations toward the children?

31) How have you behaved with your servants or apprentices?

32) Have you paid them honest wages, have you held anything back for any reason?

33) Have you encouraged them to fulfill their religious duties?

34) Have you encouraged them to commit any sin?

If you are a servant:

35) Have you obeyed your master or boss?

36) Have you diligently fulfilled all your duties?

37) Have you done your work in a careless, slipshod manner?

38) Have you stolen anything?

39) Have you told bad stories about the house to others?

The Sixth Commandment: Thou shall not kill.

1) Have you ever killed anyone, voluntarily or involuntarily?

2) Do you want to kill anyone, or have thoughts of revenge? Have you ever praised anyone who killed?

3) Do you want anyone to die, in order to gain their wealth, wife, husband, etc.?

4) Have you beaten anyone?

5) Have you threatened anyone?

6) Do you hate anyone, are you reconciled with all those you know?

7) Do you wish anyone evil, death, or harm?

8. Do you rejoice when evil befalls your fellow man?

9) How do you behave with those around you?

10) If you are a man, have you abandoned your children?

11) If you are a woman, have you voluntarily abandoned your baby?

12) Have you sought to kill yourself, directly or indirectly?

13) Have you gone hunting?

The Seventh Commandment:

Thou shalt not commit adultery.

Those unmarried commit fornication, those married adultery.

1) Have you committed fornication, or if you are married, adultery?

2) Do you live as a concubine?

3) Do you sin against nature – masturbation or homosexuality?

4) Do you desire to sin with the husband or wife of another?

5) Do you seek opportunities to commit sexual sins?

6) Do you think about shameful things too much?

7) Do you seek to recall such scenes?

8. Do you want to see the shameful parts of the body?

9) Do you speak about shameful things?

10) Have you read books that give you sexual pleasure?

11) Have you urged anyone to commit such sins?

12) Have you caused someone else to sin through clothing or dressing up?


The Eighth Commandment:

Thou shalt not steal.

A priest cannot forgive the theft of something that has not been returned. Therefore, give back what you stole and then go to confession.

1) Have you stolen money or other objects from the state, society, or any man?

2) Have you done harm to others?

3) Have you helped those you have harmed to recover?

4) Have you taken adequate care of the wealth of another man that has been entrusted to you?

5) Have you given back money or other objects that you borrowed?

6) Have you received stolen things (things that were stolen)?

7) Have you given back things that you found?

8. Have you secretly changed the property line between you and your neighbor?

9) Have you urged someone else to do this?

10) Have you charged too much interest for borrowed monies?

11) Have you altered merchandise and then sold

it as if it were good?

12) Have you deceived anyone by weighing or counting goods wrongly?

13) Have you taken things by force from someone smaller than you?

14) Have you accepted bribes?

15) Have you taught children to steal?

16) Do you have thoughts about making money by dishonorable means?

The Ninth Commandment:

Thou shall not bear false witness. 

1) Have you sworn a false oath?

2) Have you lied?

3) Have you born false witness?

4) Have you behaved correctly with your neighbor?

5) Have you lied to him?

6) Have you told lies about others?

7) Have you purposefully spread false account about others?

The Tenth Commandment:

Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s wife.

Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s goods.

1) Have you desired the wife, daughter, husband, or son of your neighbors?

2) Have you desired the wealth of your neighbor?

3) Have you desired the social status of someone higher than you?

4) Have you hated your neighbor for any reason?

5) Have you desired the house, the land, the vineyard, or the work of your brother?

(Taken from the book “The Saint of the Prison”

Translated by Monk Sava – an American convert to Orthodoxy from Oasa Monastery) to be continued…