1) St Maximos the confessor: A true friend is one who in times of trial calmly and emotionally suffers with his neighbour the ensuing afflictions, poverty and disasters as if they were his own.
2) St Augustine: Whenever I feel a person burning with Christian mercy and love for me has become my friend, when I entrust any of my plans and thoughts to him, I am entrusting them not to a man, but to Him in whom he abides, so as to be like Him, ‘for God is love, and the one who lives in love lives in God.
3) St Augustine: No friends are true friends unless You, my God, bind them fast to one another through the love which is sown in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.
4) St John Chrysostom: Eating and drinking don’t make friendships – such friendship even robbers and murderers have. But if we are friends, if we truly care for one another, let us help one another spiritually. . . Let us hinder those things that lead our friends away to hell.
5) St John Chrysostom: While being virtuous is hard, and more challenging on one’s own, it is particularly so when the one practicing it experiences a dearth of good men. I mean, just as travel involves hardship, and much more so when the traveler is alone and has no one with whom to share the journey, so too in this case. In other words, fellowship and fraternal encouragement are no small thing.
6) St Isaac the Syrian: A chaste body is dearer to God than a pure offering. Both, however, prepare a dwelling-place for the Trinity in the soul. Walk with thy friends in a reserved attitude; in doing so thou wilt be of profit unto thyself and unto them. For usually under the pretext of friendship the soul casts off the reins of watchfulness.
7) St Maximos the Confessor: A faithful friend is a strong defense; for when things are going well with you, he is a good counselor and a sympathetic collaborator, while when things are going badly, he is the truest of helpers and a most compassionate supporter.
8) St John Chrysostom: It would be better for the sun to be extinguished than that we should be deprived of friends. Better to live in darkness than to be without friends.
9) St John of Kronstadt: Strive by every means constantly to rejoice the Heavenly Father by your life; that is, by your meekness, humility, gentleness, obedience, abstinence, right judgment, love of peace, patience, mercy, sincere friendship with worthy people, kindness to everybody, cordial hospitality, universal benevolence, accuracy in business, simplicity of heart and character, and by the purity of all your thoughts.
10) Secular: You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with