Here is an example of how emperors seek counsel from the saints, how the saints avoid vanity and riches, and how they counsel emperors.
The Orthodox King Peter of Bulgaria set off with his retinue for Rila Mountain, driven by the insatiable desire to see St. John of Rila and to benefit from his instruction. The king sent men ahead to inform the saint of his arrival, but the saint did not agree to meet with the king. The saddened king again sent some men with foodstuffs and an ample amount of gold, as well as a petition requesting the saints to write some counsel for him. John accepted the food but returned the gold, not even wanting to touch it; and he replied to the king:
"If you desire the Heavenly Kingdom, be merciful like the Heavenly Father. Do not trust in injustice and do not be covetous; be meek, quiet and accessible to everyone. Do not accept praises from your noblemen. Let your purple robe radiate with virtues. May the remembrance of death never depart from your soul. Humble yourself before the feet of our Mother Church; bow your head before her chief hierarchs so that the King of kings, seeing your sincerity, may reward you with goodness such as never entered into the heart of man."
Receiving the letter, the king kissed it, and he later read it frequently.
The Prologue of Ohrid, Vol. 1
30 January, Reflection