For Confession: An Examination of Conscience From St. John of Kronstadt and St. Demetri of Rostov
Compiled and edited by V. Rev. Fr. George Morelli, Ph.D.
Sins Against God
- Do you pray to God in the morning and evening, before and after meals?
- During prayer have you allowed your thoughts to wander?
- Have you rushed or gabbled your prayers? or when reading in church?
- Do you read the Scriptures daily? Do you read other spiritual writings regularly?
- Have you read books whose content is not Orthodox or even anti-Orthodox, or is spiritually damaging?
- Have you pronounced the name of God without reverence, joking? Have you asked God's help before starting every activity?
- Have you made the sign of the Cross carelessly, thoughtlessly? Have you sworn? Have you murmured against God?
- Have you sinned by forgetting God?
- Have you been slack in attending church?
- Have you consecrated even part of the feast days, particularly Sundays and the Twelve Great Feasts, to God?
- Have you tried your best to attend church on these days? or have you spent them more sinfully than ordinary days?
- If unable to attend church for some reason, have you nonetheless tried to devote some part of these days to prayer and spiritual reading?
- Have you joined actively in worship services of the non-Orthodox or receive their sacraments.
- Have you kept the fasts?
- Have you behaved irreverently in church, or before the clergy and monastics?
- Have you laughed or talked in church, or moved about unnecessarily, thus also distracting other people from prayer?
- Have dressed modestly and in a becoming manner when in church?
- Have you tried to pay reverent attention to the readings, hymns, and prayers in church?
- Have you striven to pray with the service, crossing yourself, etc., or have you day-dreamed?
- Have you prepared for the services beforehand, looking up the Scriptural readings, making sure you have the texts to follow the service etc., especially if the service will be in a language you do not readily understand?
- Have you ever left church after the Divine Services, and particularly after receiving the Holy Mysteries and immediately engaged in light talk and thus forgotten the blessings and graces you have received?
- Have you been ashamed of your Faith or the sign of the Cross in the presence of others?
- Have you made a show of your piety?
- Have you used your Orthodox Faith or its teachings merely to browbeat others or belittle them?
- Have you used it as a shield or excuse for your own inadequacies rather than humbling yourself?
- Have you believed in dreams, fortune telling, astrology, signs and other superstitions?
- Do you give thanks to the Lord for all things?
- Have you ever doubted God's providence concerning yourself?
- Do you at least try to perceive His purpose in all the things that come upon you?
Sins Against Your Neighbors
- Do you respect and obey your parents, legitimate religious (priest & bishop) and legal authorities?
- Have you offended them by rudeness or contradiction?
- Have you insulted anyone?
- Have you quarreled or fought with anyone? Have you hit anyone?
- Are you always respectful to old people?
- Are you ever angry, bad tempered or irritable?
- Have you called anyone names? Do you use foul language?
- Have you derided any that are disabled, poor, old or in some way disadvantaged?
- Have you entertained bad feelings, ill will or hatred against anyone?
- Have you forgiven those who have offended you?
- Have you asked forgiveness from those whom you have offended?
- Are you at peace with everyone?
- Have you left the needy without help when you could have helped?
- Have you attended the sick or elderly when they have asked you to do so?
- Have you shown kindness and attention to all, remembering that God is expecting just such an attitude from you?
- Have you hit animals without a cause or been cruel to them, or neglectful of those in your care?
- Have you stolen anything?
- Have you taken or used other people's things without asking?
- Have you kept money or things that were lent you without returning them?
- Have you wasted your employers' time or resources? Have you taken things from work for your own use, used the firm's phone or other facilities for your own purposes without permission or repayment?
- Are you obstinate, and do you always try to have your own way?
- Have you been inconsiderate of other people's feelings?
- Have you tried to have your revenge against those who have offended you?
- Have you harbored resentment? Have you deceived people?
- Have you gossiped?
- Have you told untruths?
- Have you judged and condemned others?
- Have you taken pains before approaching for confession to be reconciled
- with all?
Sins Against Yourself
- Have you been proud? Do you boast of your abilities, achievements, family, connections or riches?
- Do you consider yourself worthy before God?
- Are you vain, ambitious? Do you try to win praise and glory?
- Do you bear it easily when you are blamed, scolded or treated unjustly? Do you think too much about your looks, outward appearance and the impression you make?
- Have you sinned in thought, word or deed, by a look or glance, or in any other way against by sexual sins? (Adultery, fornication, all extra-marital sexual relationships with others, masturbation, engaging in unnatural sexual acts, fantasizing, pornography, etc.)
- Have you envied anyone anything? Have you been over-sensitive?
- Have you been lazy? Have you done your duties heartily?
- Have you wasted your time, energy or abilities in things that do not profit the soul?
- Have you become obsessive about anything? Have you been despondent or listless?
- Have you had thoughts of committing suicide?
- Have you brought a curse on yourself or others or ill-wished them, being impatient?
- Have you drunk alcohol too much, or become dependent on drink?
- Have you taken drugs, other than necessary medicines? Have you smoked?
- Have you watched television too much or indiscriminately? Have you given yourself up to any other similar pastime which wastes your time and energy and might have harmed you?
- Have you been greedy, either with regard to food or to possessions?
- Have you indulged in comfort-eating? Have you become accustomed to eating between meals?
- Have you been picky about your food, or wasteful of foods, forgetting that so many people are without proper nourishment? Have you been extravagant? Have you been wasteful?
- Do you care for and seek first the salvation of your soul, the spiritual life and the kingdom of God, or have you put earthly considerations in the first place?
- Have you cared for all of God’s creation, protecting the earth, environment, precious resources?
- Is there any other sin, which burdens your conscience, or which you are ashamed to tell?
A Brief Confession Before Father Confessors
From the Full Confession of St. Demetrius of Rostov
I confess to the Lord my God and before thee, venerable father, all my countless sins, committed by me unto this very day and hour, in deed, word and thought. I sin daily and hourly by mine ingratitude toward God for His great and countless blessings and benevolent providence over me, a sinner.
I have sinned through: senseless talking; judging others; willful close-mindedness; pride; hard-heartedness; envy; anger; slander; inattention; negligence concerning my salvation; carelessness, indifference, disrespect, irritability, loss of hope, rendering evil for evil, bitterness, disobedience; complaining; self-justification; contradicting others; self-will; blaming others; gossiping, lying, frivolousness, tempting others, self-love, ambition, eating and drinking to excess, vanity; slothfulness and absent-mindedness in prayer in church and at home; not attending church and pine services because of laziness and carelessness; entertaining unclean thoughts, impure glances and deeds; desiring and obtaining excess possessions; neglecting the physical and spiritual needs of others and myself; not caring for the earth and it’s environment. I have sinned in deed, word thought; in sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch and the rest of my mental and physical senses and by counsel, command, consent, provocation, flattery concealment, partaking, silence. and defense. I am truly sorry for all my sins I repent and beg forgiveness.
(Here one should mention specifically any other sins which may be burdening the soul.)
I also repent and ask forgiveness for all those sins that I have not confessed because of their multitude and my forgetfulness. I commit to Christ to change my heart, mind and behavior and beg His grace.
Forgive and absolve me, venerable father, and bless me to commune of the holy and life-creating Mysteries of Christ unto the remission of sins and life everlasting.