Archimandrite Cleopa (Ilie). "What pride is and what it is born of".
Brother: Rev. Father, please tell me what pride is and what kinds of it are there in the world?
Elder: Let it be known to you, brother John, that pride is the beginning, root and source of all sin and all lawlessness. And since you have asked what kinds of it are there, then let it be known that, as St. Gregory the Dialogist says, “pride has five stages, and to understand these steps, you should first understand that there are five kinds of benefits to be proud of, namely:
natural benefits, that is, quick wit, beauty, courage, and the like;
the second type is the acquired benefits, such as knowledge, wisdom, skill, and the like;
the third type includes random goods, such as wealth, fame, position, and the like;
the fourth is the benefit of strong will;
the fifth is spiritual blessings, that is, the gift of prophecy, miracles and the like.”
So, brother John, at the first stage of pride is peculiar to the person who, possessing any of these benefits, does not recognize that he has received them from God, but believes that he has them by himself, in a natural way.
The second stage of pride is when a person admits that these benefits were given to him by God, but not for nothing, but because they befit him as supposedly worthy of them.
The third stage of pride is when someone thinks that he has some talents, which he, however, does not have.
The fourth stage of pride is when someone defames others and wants to be revered by all as more worthy than them.
The fifth, and last, step of pride is when a person comes to the point that he defames the holy laws and does not obey them as the holy fathers prescribed.
Let it be also known to you, brother John, and remember that pride has twelve daughters: vanity, curiosity, arrogance of mind, boasting, laziness, insolence, a hypocritical confession, self-justification, apostasy, self-will, willfulness, and getting completely accustomed to the sin.