Feast of the Holy Righteous Martyr Nicon and His 199 Disciples
IN HIS LOVING-kindness God has given us purifying commandments so that, if we wish, we can by their observance be cleansed not only of sins but also of passions themselves. For passions are one thing and sins another. Passions are: anger, vanity, love of pleasures, hatred, evil lust and the like. Sins are the actual operation of passions, when a man puts them into practice, that is, performs with the body the actions to which his passions urge him. For it is possible to have passions and yet not to act from them.
The old law had as its purpose to teach us not to do what we did not want done to us; consequently it forbade only the actual doing of evil. Now however, in the New Testament, we are required to banish the passion itself, which urges us to do evil—hatred itself, love of pleasures, love of fame and other passions.
—St Dorotheus of Gaza, Directions on Spiritual Training