The soul is everything for the man. We could say that it is the life and master of our earthly body. God gave it the power to enliven and lead it, to give it rest and warmth. Without these, our bodies would be mere clay, ash and dust.
The nature of man is the understanding spirit, very wise and delicate, very peaceful, sweet and meek, made of grace and beauty which cover invisible limbs, very decent and pleasing God and the legions of holy angels.
At the beginning the souls of all men shine more than the sun. But the more they age, the more they get the look in accordance with their deeds. The souls of the virtuous ones don’t have the same shine all of them. The shine depends on how hard each one of them endeavored to cleanse by struggle for virtue. The soul brightens in accordance with the struggle. The more toils and afflictions someone suffers for God, the higher he ascends and the closer he gets to Him. And the closer he gets to Him, the brighter he gets and he becomes god by grace by communion with the Holy Spirit.
The iron from black and cold as it is, the more it stays in the fire, the brighter and warmer it becomes. With the men it happens the same. The Holy Spirit is the fire and we, the men, are the black iron. Therefore the more we persist in fasting, in vigils, in praying and abstention, as the Holy Spirit had ordained to us, the brighter and purer become our faces.
With the sinful it happens the opposite. When the souls are given to the babies they remain pure during pregnancy. But after birth, if they start to sin they darken. And the more they welter and immerse themselves in sin, the darker they get and become like the soot.
Many souls when they are disembodied seem to be hurt, others seem hungry and dressed in rags. Some look as if they were full of leprosy while others are black like the Ethiopians and others dark as if they were singed. The souls of the slanderers are like the devils, those of the heretics, like the deep darkness. Those of the blood shedders and of the idolaters – for not going further – are even worse !
Saint Andrew fool of Christ – Evanghelismos Publishing, Bucharest, 2005, pg.161-162