What is a Spiritual Father? Do you need one? Do you already have one? As I ask myself these questions, I will attempt to figure out the what, when, who, and/or how! Forgive me if I do not succeed.
According to Bishop Kallistos Ware, “One who climbs a mountain for the first time needs to follow a known route; and he needs to have with him, as companion and guide, someone who has been up before and is familiar with the way. To serve as such a companion and guide is precisely the role of the “Abba” or spiritual father—whom the Greeks call “Geron” and the Russians “Starets”, a title which in both languages means “old man” or “elder”.”
Here is an excellent article by Archpriest John Whiteford, on the topic at had:
The term “Spiritual Father” (in Russian “dukhovnik” (духовник)), has a range of meaning that has to be properly understood for this question to be answered. At the lowest level, one could speak very loosely of a priest that they regularly confess to as their spiritual father. But more properly, a spiritual father is one that you have an ongoing spiritual relationship. The difference is somewhat subtle, but a person might regularly confess to one priest for a period of time, but then switch confessors, and begin confessing to another priest. But when you develop a relationship with a priest that you maintain over a long period of time, and often when separated by distance, that is more a spiritual father/child relationship.
To read the rest of the article, please click here —> Spiritual Father