Orthodox Ethos https://orthodoxethos.com/ Orthodox Ethos is a collective effort of ordained and lay Orthodox Christians. Our purpose is to present and support the Orthodox truth, way and life. en-us Copyright 2019 Fri, 05 Apr 2019 00:00:00 +0000 <![CDATA[Schedule of Divine Services: April 6 - 21, 2019 – @ The Three Hierarchs Chapel - Florence, Arizona]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/schedule-of-divine-services-april-6-21-2019 https://orthodoxethos.com/post/schedule-of-divine-services-april-6-21-2019 ANNOUNCEMENT

[For Those Living Near Florence, Arizona]

Schedule of Divine Services

Three Hierarchs Chapel

A P R I L 6 - 21, 2 0 1 9

  • Saturday, April 6th: Patriarch Eutychios of Constantinople

6:00 PM: 9th Hour, Great Vespers

7:15 PM: Compline

  • Sunday, April 7th: Our Holy Venerable Father John of the Ladder

6:00 AM: Midnight Office

6:30 AM: Orthros

8:00 AM: 1st Hour

8:15 AM Divine Liturgy

10:00 AM: Shared Meal (everyone contributes)

  • Tuesday, April 9th:

5:30 AM: Prayers before Holy Communion

6:00 AM: 9th Hour

6:30 AM: Divine Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified Gifts

  • Thursday, April 11th :

7:30 AM: Prayers before Holy Communion

8:15 AM: 9th Hour

8:30 AM: Divine Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified Gifts

[Three Hierarchs Academy Students in attendance]

  • Saturday morning, April 13th :

6:00 AM: Prayers before Holy Communion

6:30 AM: Orthros

8:00 AM: 1st Hour

8:15 AM Divine Liturgy

  • From Saturday afternoon, April 12th ~ through ~ Monday, April 15th:


  • Tuesday, April 16th:

5:30 AM: Prayers before Holy Communion

6:00 AM: 9th Hour

6:30 AM: Divine Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified Gifts

  • Thursday, April 18th :

7:30 AM: Prayers before Holy Communion

8:15 AM: 9th Hour

8:30 AM: Divine Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified Gifts

[Three Hierarchs Academy Students in attendance]

  • Saturday, April 20th : L a z a r u s S a t u r d a y

6:00 AM: Prayers before Holy Communion

6:30 AM: Orthros

8:00 AM: 1st Hour

8:15 AM Divine Liturgy

Vespers of Palm Sunday

6:00 PM: 9th Hour, Great Vespers

7:15 PM: Compline

  • Sunday, April 21st: P a l m S u n d a y

6:00 AM: Midnight Office

6:30 AM: Orthros

8:00 AM: 1st Hour

8:15 AM Divine Liturgy

10:00 AM: Shared Meal (everyone contributes)

The schedule of services for G r e a t & H o l y W e e k will be announced on Lazarus Saturday.

<![CDATA[The Central Place of the Orthodox Academy in the Church’s Resistance to Secularism – By Archpriest Peter Heers]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/the-central-place-of-the-orthodox-academy-in-the-churchs-resistance-to-secularism https://orthodoxethos.com/post/the-central-place-of-the-orthodox-academy-in-the-churchs-resistance-to-secularism Sydney, Australia

Monday, April 1 (March 19), 2019

<![CDATA[The Boundaries of Salvation: The ‘Two Natures’ of Communion in Christ – Lecture by Archpriest Peter Heers]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/the-boundaries-of-salvation-the-two-natures-of-communion-in-christ https://orthodoxethos.com/post/the-boundaries-of-salvation-the-two-natures-of-communion-in-christ Saint Nicholas Orthodox Church

Blacktown NSW, Sydney, Australia

Sunday, March 31 (18), 2019

<![CDATA[Becoming One With Christ: The Spiritual Presuppositions of Participation in the Mysteries – A Lecture By Archpriest Peter Heers ]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/becoming-one-with-christ-the-spiritual-presuppositions-of-participation-in-the-mysteries https://orthodoxethos.com/post/becoming-one-with-christ-the-spiritual-presuppositions-of-participation-in-the-mysteries Saint Alexis the Man of God Orthodox Church

Alexandria, Sydney, Australia

Saturday, March 30 (17), 2019


St. Symeon the New Theologian on the Presuppositions to Participation in the Holy Mysteries:

"Through repentance the filth of our foul actions is washed away. AFTER THIS, we participate in the Holy Spirit, not automatically, but **according to the faith, humility and inner disposition of the repentance** in which our soul is engaged. For this reason, it is good to REPENT EACH DAY as the act of repentance is unending."

- Saint Simeon the New Theologian


“The S T A N C E of the priest must be akin to Christ’s - that is, witnessing to Truth in Love and total freedom. His role is to present the Truth and let them FREELY decide. He is to be a mystagogue and this presupposes discipleship. The priest cannot “magically” “put people into the kingdom” through the mysteries.”


“Catechism means making disciples in DOGMA and ETHOS. It is purification and not simply learning ABOUT Christ. Purification involves not only overturning and changing outward customs, habits, ideas, or putting away idol worshipping ways (including: sexual impurity and unnatural acts, worship of sports, the tyranny of fashion, self-love and narcissism, etc.). Catechism is, more importantly, the beginning the Prayer of Jesus, the constant remembrance of God, which brings with it internal cleansing and illumination.”


““The presuppositions of the reception of converts by oikonomia (i.e. chrismation) must never overturn akriveia (exactitude), which is the integrity of the mystery. Oikonomia is a temporary, exceptional departure from akriveia, and presupposes a return to akriveia (exactitude) by another route. It cannot become the norm. The Thief on the Cross is our Lord’s example of His application of oikonomia. Today, it is quite clear that the presuppositions do not exist for a salvific employment of oikonomia in the reception of converts. Not only are we overturning the “rule of faith” with regard to the boundaries of the Church (due to heretical interpretations of our practice) but we are also undermining the integrity of the mystery of baptism itself, implying and often putting into practice ourselves the notion that fidelity to the form of baptism (immersion, which is the meaning of the term and is integral to the mystery) is unnecessary. If we hold this view, we are no longer following the Holy Fathers but Aquinas and the scholastics.”

<![CDATA[LECTURE: Chalcedon and the Boundaries of the Church An Examination of the Ecclesiology of the Promoters of Union with the Monophysites/Non-Chalcedonians (EXCERPT) – By Archpriest Peter Heers]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/lecture-chalcedon-and-the-boundaries-of-the-church-an-examination-of-the-ecclesiology-of-the-promoters-of-union-with-the-monophysitesnon-chalcedonians-excerpt https://orthodoxethos.com/post/lecture-chalcedon-and-the-boundaries-of-the-church-an-examination-of-the-ecclesiology-of-the-promoters-of-union-with-the-monophysitesnon-chalcedonians-excerpt Holy Trinity Orthodox Church

Melbourne, Australia

Friday, March 29 (16), 2019


“Chalcedon and it’s decisions are as much about the Person of Christ as the Body of Christ. In its Oros (lit. Boundary-decision) the Council set down the boundaries inside of which one is IN Christ, outside of which one stands apart from Christ, from communion in Him. No amount of speculation or questioning or debating as to the terminology used by the holy fathers can change this reality: Christ is incarnate in time and space and one must meet Him there or not at all.

Every departure from Christ, whether on account of heresy or in schism, can only be repaired by way of Christ, which is repentance. The way back to the Way is Christ Himself. The methodology and not only the content must be Christ. For he is the Way as well as the Truth, and both are necessary if one is to have Life.”

<![CDATA[PHOTO REPORT: Lecture Delivered to the Clergy Assembly of the Serbian Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia and New Zealand – Lecture Entitled: “The Church and Secularism: Standing Before the Spirit of Antichrist”]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/photo-report-lecture-delivered-to-the-clergy-assembly-of-the-serbian-orthodox-archdiocese-of-australia-and-new-zealand https://orthodoxethos.com/post/photo-report-lecture-delivered-to-the-clergy-assembly-of-the-serbian-orthodox-archdiocese-of-australia-and-new-zealand PHOTO REPORT


I am presently in Australia delivering lectures to the faithful of the Serbian Orthodox Archdiocese at the invitation and with the blessing of His Grace Bishop Siluan.

Earlier today (Wednesday, March 27 (14)) I gave the lecture “The Church and Secularism: Standing Before the Spirit of Antichrist” to the Clergy Retreat of the Archdiocese at the New Kalenich Monastery in ACT (Australian Capital Territory).

<![CDATA[PHOTO REPORT: Lecture Delivered to the Clergy Assembly of the Australian Diocese of ROCOR – Lecture Entitled: “The Boundaries of the Church and the Demonic Method of Adulteration of the Faith in Ecumenism.”​]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/photo-report-lecture-delivered-to-the-clergy-assembly-of-the-australian-diocese-of-rocor https://orthodoxethos.com/post/photo-report-lecture-delivered-to-the-clergy-assembly-of-the-australian-diocese-of-rocor PHOTO REPORT


“The Boundaries of the Church and the Demonic Method of Adulteration of the Faith in Ecumenism.”

On Tuesday, March 26 (13), in addition to lectures I am delivering to the faithful of the Serbian Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, at the invitation and with the blessing of His Grace Bishop SILUAN, I was blessed to speak to the clergy retreat of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia in the presence of His Eminence Metropolitan HILARION and His Grace Bishop GEORGE of Canberra.

<![CDATA[Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God: The Spiritual Priorities of Pilgrims on the Path to Heaven – By Archpriest Peter Heers]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/seek-ye-first-the-kingdom-of-god-the-spiritual-priorities-of-pilgrims-on-the-path-to-heaven https://orthodoxethos.com/post/seek-ye-first-the-kingdom-of-god-the-spiritual-priorities-of-pilgrims-on-the-path-to-heaven Archpriest Peter Heers

Saint Stephan the Protomartyr * Rooty Hill, Australia

Friday, March 22 (9), 2019

<![CDATA[St. Gregory Palamas: A Guide of Orthodoxy vis-a-vis the West and Roman Catholicism – By Archpriest Peter Heers]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/st-gregory-palamas-a-guide-of-orthodoxy-vis-a-vis-the-west-and-roman-catholicism https://orthodoxethos.com/post/st-gregory-palamas-a-guide-of-orthodoxy-vis-a-vis-the-west-and-roman-catholicism Saint Nicholas Orthodox Church

Brisbane, Australia

Saturday, March 23 (10), 2019

<![CDATA[Sacred Tradition is the Very Church – By Saint Nektarios of Aegina]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/sacred-tradition-is-the-very-church https://orthodoxethos.com/post/sacred-tradition-is-the-very-church “Sacred Tradition is the very Church; without the Sacred Tradition the Church does not exist. Those who deny the Sacred Tradition deny the Church and the preaching of the Apostles.

Before the writing of the Holy Scriptures, that is, of the sacred texts of the Gospels, the Acts and the Epistles of the Apostles, and before they were spread to the churches of the world, the Church was based on Sacred Tradition....The holy texts are in relation to Sacred Tradition what the part is to the whole.

The Church Fathers regard Sacred Tradition as the safe guide in the interpretation of Holy Scripture and absolutely necessary for understanding the truths contained in the Holy Scripture. The Church received many traditions from the Apostles... The constitution of the church services, especially of the Divine Liturgy, the holy Mysteria themselves and the manner of performing them, certain prayers and other institutions of the Church go back to the Sacred Tradition of the Apostles.

In their conferences, the Holy Synods draw not only from Holy Scriptures, but also from Sacred Tradition as from a pure fount. Thus, the Seventh Ecumenical Synod says in the 8th Decree: "If one violates any part of the Church Tradition, either written or unwritten, let him be anathema."

- Saint Nektarios of Aegina

<![CDATA[The Orthodox Ethos: Its Distortion, and Our Acquisition and Realization of It – Lecture by Archpriest Peter Heers]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/the-orthodox-ethos-its-distortion-and-our-acquisition-and-realization-of-it https://orthodoxethos.com/post/the-orthodox-ethos-its-distortion-and-our-acquisition-and-realization-of-it <![CDATA[NEW LECTURE: UNDERSTANDING SIN AND FORGIVENESS (+ Q & A) – By Archpriest Peter Heers]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/new-lecture-understanding-sin-and-forgiveness-q-and-a https://orthodoxethos.com/post/new-lecture-understanding-sin-and-forgiveness-q-and-a <![CDATA[Re-Activating Orthodox Ethos – A Note to Readers, from the Editor]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/re-activating-orthodox-ethos https://orthodoxethos.com/post/re-activating-orthodox-ethos Dearest to Christ,

Greetings in Christ Jesus from Florence, Arizona!

After a near year-long hiatus from publishing on Orthodox Ethos, I am pleased to announce that we are “making a new beginning”!

Firstly, I ask your forgiveness for our absence.

Secondly, I thank you for your patience.

Thirdly, I ask your prayers that we may be consistently “present” and active for you going forward, providing you with ‘spiritual meat’ and sustence for your souls.

Please consider, if you have not already, signing up to our mailing list (on the right or below), to receive email updates. Likewise, please consider sharing our work with others, that they may also have an opportunity to read and listen to the Orthodox Word of Life which we strive to present.

May you have a blessed Lenten struggle and be crowned with a Good Resurrection, this Pascha and on the Eighth and Eternal Day!

Asking your prayers, I am

Yours in Christ Jesus,

Fr. Peter Heers

Editor of Orthodox Ethos

<![CDATA[Jean-Claude Larchet calls for abstinence from social media during fasting periods – Prof. Jean-Claude Larchet]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/jean-claude-larchet-calls-for-abstinence-from-social-media-during-fasting-periods https://orthodoxethos.com/post/jean-claude-larchet-calls-for-abstinence-from-social-media-during-fasting-periods During the first day of the International Conference on Digital Media and Orthodox Pastoral Care in Crete (DMOPC18), the renowned theologian Jean-Claude Larchet said that during the fast seasons Christians ought to reduce their activity on social platforms.

~ ~ ~

Petition to all local Churches to include the abstinence from the use of the Internet and social networks explicitly in the rules relating to Lenten periods and fasting days

Presentation at the 2nd International Conference on Digital Media and Orthodox Care (DMOPC 18), June 18-21,2018

New forms of media still called digital media, which are accessed via computers, tablets, and especially now smartphones, and whose content is mainly that of the Internet, social networks, and messages (SMS, MMS, etc.) have invaded the lives of contemporary people and especially those of today’s youth, from the age of 10 and sometimes younger.

Their ability to communicate quickly and almost at no cost, the possibility they provide of accessing nearly everyone and everything, and the power of the images circulated in digital media imbue digital media with a considerable power of seduction. Social pressure (in particular the pressure to conform), but also the economic organization of society, has made these into tools one is almost obliged to have so as not to be excluded from various social, administrative, or economic groups or circles.

Mostly, however, it is a dependence of an internal or psychological nature that has been established among users of all ages. This addiction worries many parents, as it now affects many children, and it is even noted by the users themselves; we see this addiction most clearly in the most severe cases, where drastic treatment, in particular in the form of a long-term total withdrawal from such media, is required, and sometimes clinical psychiatric care as well. Yet this addiction often remains unperceived in less serious cases, since habit is capable of making what is not normal appear to be so. It should be noted: for most users, the use has become abusive.

At this conference, which has brought together actors from the Orthodox media, the media are presented in most cases in a positive way, as either belonging to the ecclesial life or as being something which ought to belong to it, with the idea that they have now become driving forces indispensable to the pastoral and missionary activity of the Church. This quasi-paradisiacal vision, however, must be tempered. In real life, people spend far less time visiting Orthodox sites than they do others, and many young Orthodox remain completely oblivious to them. In the vast majority of cases, the passions that inhabit fallen man attract him to content in conformity with these passions, whether via the choice of sites visited or via the motivations for communicating on social networks such as Facebook, where narcissism (which the Greek Church Fathers call philautia) plays a considerable role, whether in the staging of oneself or in the frenzied quest after "likes" that flatter the ego.

I recently published a 320-page book entitled “Sick of the new media” (in French : Malades des nouveaux médias”), which has been translated into Romanian under the title “Prisoners of the Internet,” and which is currently being translated into English under the title “Addicts of Modern Media.” In this book, I show in a very detailed and reasoned way the negative, corrosive, and destructive effects the new media have on the various spheres of human life: psychic, intellectual, cultural, social, relational, and finally (and especially) spiritual. I also propose a few preventative and therapeutic measures, especially of a spiritual nature. For this presentation, which must be very brief, I have chosen to speak only about fasting and abstinence as means for limiting and controlling the use of new media, which in most cases has become abusive and harmful.

Concerning the consumption of food and sexual activity, the Orthodox Church has established rules of limitation and abstinence for the Lenten periods as well as certain days of the week and of the year.

One of the main purposes of these rules is to accustom the mind to controlling the bodily and psychic impulses, to reorient and refocus the psycho-physiological forces towards the spiritual life, to establish a state of hunger and desire causing a person to sense their dependence on God and their need for Him, and to establish in the soul a peaceful state disposed to penitence and promoting attention and concentration in prayer.

The abuse of new media, which has become common, produces effects contrary to those sought by fasting and abstinence: the vain exhaustion of energy, permanent external solicitation and dispersion, incessant internal movement and noise, an invasive occupation of time, the impossibility of establishing or maintaining inner peace, and the destruction of the attention and concentration necessary for vigilance and prayer.

These effects, it should be stressed, are related to the use of new media once a certain threshold has been reached, regardless of their content. As the great media expert Marshall McLuhan has shown, the medium has a greater impact than the message it conveys, to the point that we can say that “the medium is the message.” This, of course, should not make us forget the question of the content, which, when it is bad, ends up inciting and nourishing the passions, further increasing the degree of incompatibility with the ascetic life broadly understood and harming even more the spiritual life.

The Church must take into account these new circumstances created by our time, and must establish appropriate rules, accompanying those of fasting from food and sexual abstinence, so as to help modern man, through regular voluntary limitation, to free himself from the new addictions that bind him, and so as to give him the means to lead in full the spiritual life befitting his nature and serving as the condition for his true personal development.

One could say that no rule is necessary for this, and that pastoral recommendations suffice; but one could say the same thing, however, with respect to fasting from food or sexual abstinence, for which the Church has established canons, and in solemn manner no less, at Ecumenical Councils, by reason of the fact that rules that formulated officially and with precision have a greater impact, have a more universal scope, and are of a more obligatory character than mere recommendations at the parish level, which moreover are not always made.

The question that arises here is that of the nature of fasting and abstinence practiced.

As mentioned above, it is a matter of limiting the amount of time one is connected and of strictly regulating the use and content of these media. It is necessary to give up being permanently connected, and to limit the connection to one defined period in the day. We need to get rid of unnecessary media, such as social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) and all entertainment websites. Any websites that pose a risk of temptation or leading to bad encounters should obviously be avoided. It is also fitting to limit one’s Internet connection to what is strictly necessary for professional work or studies.

Parents need to teach their children, who use these new media, to implement such a limitation by explaining to them the meaning behind it.

The Lenten periods opportunities open to all for jettisoning the artificial and virtual relationships of social networks so as to rediscover deep, concrete, and real relationships with family and friends, and in general so as to be more attentive to the people around us. These Lenten periods are also opportunities for rediscovering silence and solitude, which are necessary for the practice and development of the spiritual life.

The question that risks provoking ire here in the context of this conference is whether the rule of fasting and abstinence from new media should be extended to Orthodox sites as well. I do not want to put most of the participants in this symposium out of a job, and my aim is even less to limit the presence of the Christian and ecclesial word in a world where it is already too little present.

But first of all, I would like to point out that during the Lenten periods, and especially Great Lent, a number of Orthodox media, especially those with spiritual content, are self-limiting: they either close their sites for a period of time of various length, or at least slow down and restrict their production.

Such a restriction has an exemplary value and testifies in its own way to the existence of Lent and the limitations to which it calls us.

My second remark concerns reading. It is true that in a very positive way, most Orthodox media offer spiritual readings at least in part, and some sites are even devoted solely to such literature. There is therefore no reason, in principle, to limit the production or consultation of such sites, and it seems that it should even be encouraged, insofar as the faithful are encouraged to do more spiritual reading during the Lenten periods.

However, I would like to point out here that the scientific studies that have been done on the methods of reading on a screen show that this type of reading is both rapid and superficial.

On screens, texts appear to us as images. For this reason, the text on a screen becomes the object of a sweeping gaze, just as in the case of an image, with one’s eye usually resting on only a few lines.

One study found that the vast majority of people do not read the text line by line, as they would in a book, but rather jump quickly from the top of the page to the bottom, in a movement generally following the shape of the letter F: they read the first lines, go down a little, read the left part of a few lines, then go down along the left side of the page.

A second study concluded that the average reader on the Internet only reads about 20% of the text.

A third study found that most web pages are viewed at most for 10 seconds, which clearly shows that they are not really being read.

Reading on a screen barely stops on words or phrases. It is a reading where there is little backtracking, and is not very reflexive. It is a superficial reading which hardly gives rise to efforts of comprehension and memorization.

In many ways, new media make the relationship to the text lighter, more unstable, more fragile, more ephemeral.

Fasting periods can and should be periods when the time for and the quality of reading can be regained by abandoning digital media in favour of printed materials, and especially books, which all studies show allow for a much more fruitful reading than do screens, while lacking the disadvantages of the latter.

Completely cutting oneself off from media of any kind during the Lenten periods is an ideal solution for finding the hesychia indispensable to the deepening of the spiritual life, which is precisely the main goal of the fasting periods.

In conclusion, I would like to note that many private clinics and hotels offer longer or shorter stays of total disconnection, starting on the low end at prices of 1000 euros, or about 1200 dollars, per week. The Orthodox Church should officially offer this possibility during the Lenten periods as a guaranteed free service, thus making it accessible to all, and moreover with a spiritual profit not found elsewhere. One of these clinics has as its advertising slogan: “Disconnect to reconnect.” The Church can make this slogan her own by specifying: “Disconnect from new media to reconnect with God and your neighbour.”

~ ~ ~

On the Net, in other languages:

DMOPC18: Jean-Claude Larchet calls for abstinence from social media during fasting periods

DMOPC18, Creta: Deschiderea oficială a Conferinței și prima zi de comunicări în plen

DMOPC18: Jean Claude Larchet indeamna la post de social media

DMOPC18: Ζαν-Κλοντ Λαρσέ εκκλήσεις για αποχή από τα social media κατά τη διάρκεια της νηστείας περιόδους

Жан клод ЛарШе позива на апстиненцију од друштвених медија током периода поста

<![CDATA[Homily: Making Our Every Day the Day of the Holy Spirit – Archpriest Peter Heers]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/homily-making-our-every-day-the-day-of-the-holy-spirit https://orthodoxethos.com/post/homily-making-our-every-day-the-day-of-the-holy-spirit <![CDATA[How our world stopped being Christian: anatomy of a collapse – Review by Jean-Claude Larchet of Guillaume Cuchet’s book Comment notre monde a cessé d’être chrétien. Anatomie d’un effondrement [How our world stopped being Christian: anatomy of a collapse] (Paris: Seuil, 2018), 276 pp.]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/how-our-world-stopped-being-christian-anatomy-of-a-collapse https://orthodoxethos.com/post/how-our-world-stopped-being-christian-anatomy-of-a-collapse For half a century, many authors have noted the spectacular decadence of Catholicism in France and more widely in Europe, and have worried about it: Louis Bouyer in The Decomposition of Catholicism (1968), Serge Bonnet in À hue et à dia. The Avatars of Clericalism in the Fifth Republic (1973), Michel de Certeau and Jean-Marie Domenach in Christianity Exploded (1974), Paul Vigneron in A History of the Crises of the Contemporary French Clergy (1976), Jean Delumeau in Will Christianity die? (1977), Emile Poulat in The Post-Christian Era (1994), Bishop Simon in Towards a Pagan France? (1999), Denis Pelletier in The Catholic Crisis (2002), Danièle Hervieu-Léger, Catholicism: The End of a World (2003), Yves-Marie Hilaire in Will the Churches Disappear? (2004), Denis Pelletier, in The Catholic Crisis: Religion, Society, Politics in France (1965–1978) (2005), Emmanuel Todd and Hervé Le Bras in The French Mystery (2013), and Yvon Tranvouez in The Decomposition of Western Christianity (2013).

In this book — the title of which plays on that of Paul Veyne’s book When Our World Became Christian, yet announces the inversion of the process whose beginnings the latter analysed — Guillaume Cuchet, professor of contemporary history at the University of Paris-Est Créteil who specialises in the history of Catholicism, proposes to define the moment when this decadence began and to determine the reasons for it. One of the main scientific tools he uses is statistical analysis, and one of the objective criteria he considers is the rate of regular Sunday church attendance among the French population, which has declined from 27% in 1952 to 1.8% in 2017. This criterion can be challenged because, according to a recent article in the French Catholic newspaper La Croix, one can be a “practicing” Catholic with other commitments. True, in the absence of such a Sunday practice, a Christian culture can last for a while; but the loss of contact with liturgical life can only lead to its gradual weakening and eventual disappearance.

The first third of the book defines adherence to Catholicism as it appears from a mass of statistical data compiled by the clergy between 1945 and 1965, and in particular statistics carefully and regularly established over a wider period (1880–1965) by Canon Boulard, a sociologist and author of the four-volume work Materials for the Religious History of the French People, 19th–20th Centuries.

According to Cuchet, it is in the 1960s — more precisely in 1965 — that the rupture inaugurating the process of Catholic decadence in France can be dated. This break coincides with the Second Vatican Council, which is paradoxical, since this council was designed, by those who organised it, as an aggiornamento to vivify a Catholicism confronted with the modern world. Yet as the author, after examining various hypotheses, points out, “we do not see what other event could have generated such a reaction. By its mere existence, to the extent that it suddenly made possible the reform of the old norms, the council was enough to shake them, especially since the liturgical reform which concerned the most visible part of religion for most people began to be implemented as early as 1964."

In the second half of his book, the author precisely analyses the causes, related to the council, of the rupture and process of decadence which continues today throughout the world.

The council caused the faithful to lose their bearings. The conciliar text published in 1965 on religious freedom, Dignitatis humanae, appeared “as a kind of unofficial authorisation to rely on one’s own judgment with regard to beliefs, behaviour, and practice, which contrasted strongly with the former system.” This occasioned Father Louis Bouyer’s sad remark: “Nobody believes anymore; everyone does only what they want.”

In the area of piety, notes Cruchet, aspects of the liturgical reform which might appear secondary, but which were not at all on the psychological and anthropological level, played an important role. This included the abandonment of Latin, the reception of Communion in the hand, and the relativisation of old ties. To this can be added the criticisms of solemn communion which increased starting in 1960 and especially in 1965, as well as the new pastoral practices around baptism (from 1966) and marriage (from 1969–1970), which tended to increase the level of access to the sacraments by requiring more preparation and personal investment on the part of those wishing to receive them.

In the area of beliefs, the very fact of there being a change in discourse was what mattered. Variation in official teachings made skeptics out of the humble faithful, who concluded that if the institution had been “mistaken” yesterday in declaring as immutable what had ceased to be, one could not be assured that the same would not occur in the future. A whole series of old “truths” suddenly fell into oblivion, as if the clergy themselves had ceased to believe in them or did not know what to say about them after having spoken of them for so long as something essential.

Another area in which this situation was able to destabilise the faithful, notes the author, is “that of the image of the Church, its hierarchical structure and the priesthood. The ‘Catholic crisis’ of the years 1965–1978 was at first a crisis of the clergy and Catholic militants. The abandonment of the cassock (from 1962) and the religious habit, the politicisation (towards the left) of the clergy, the departure of priests, religious and nuns, appeared to many as a real ‘betrayal of the clergy’ without equivalent since the French Revolution, which had had the same destabilising effects.”

Furthermore, “the council paved the way for what might be called ‘a collective exit from the obligatory practice on pain of mortal sin,’ which occupied a central place in ancient Catholicism. [...] This ancient culture of obligatory practice was mainly expressed in the area of the ‘commandments of the Church,’ which children learned by heart at catechism and the guarding of which had to be verified during the examination of conscience when preparing for confession. This also included the duty of keeping Sundays and feast days holy, of confessing sins, and of receiving Holy Communion at least once a year; [and] of fasting on Fridays, on the eves of great feasts, and during the so-called "Four Seasons" of Lenten periods. All these requirements were relaxed to the point of disappearing with the exception of Communion, which became systematic and was received without any preparation, since confession and fasting had practically disappeared. The easing of the Eucharistic fast, however, had been accomplished in several preliminary stages: in 1953, Pius XII, while maintaining the obligation of fasting from midnight on before communion, decided that the intake of water would no longer break it; in 1957, the motu proprio entitled Sacram communionem reduced fasting to three hours for solid food and one hour for liquids; in 1964, Paul VI decreed that one hour sufficed in both cases, which meant in practice the disappearance of the Eucharistic fast, since one hour is the time of travel to church and the duration of the Mass before communion.

During this conciliar and post-conciliar period, “it is striking," notes the author, “to see to what extent the clergy voluntarily removed the old system of norms which they had so much difficulty putting in place,” inevitably creating in the people the feeling that one had “changed their religion,” and provoking amongst some of them an impression of generalised relativism.

The author dedicates two whole chapters to the causes of decadence which seem to him fundamental: the crisis of the sacrament of penance and the crisis of the preaching on the Last Things.

1) According to Cuchet, “The crisis of confession is one of the most revealing and striking aspects of the ‘Catholic crisis’ of the years 1965–1978.” “The decline of confession is in itself a major sociological and spiritual fact that historians and sociologists probably have not taken full measure of: nothing less, in fact, than the overwhelming transformation by massive abandonment, in the space of only a few years, of a practice which over a long period of time had profoundly shaped Catholic attitudes. In 1952, 51% of Catholic adults admitted going to confess at least once a year (at Easter, it had been obligatory since the promulgation of Canon 21 of the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215); in 1974, this had decreased to only 29%, and in 1983, to 14%. According to the author, the breaking point is around 1965–1966, when confession ceased to be presented as the “sacrament of penance,” and began to be presented as the “sacrament of reconciliation.” This went hand in hand with the following:

- the end of the aforementioned “obligatory practice” and a decriminalisation of the abstention from religious practice, previously considered as a sin inasmuch as this was a breaking with the commandments of the Church, which were presented as duties one was compelled to fulfil;

- a loss of the sense of sin in the conscience of many faithful, but also among the clergy who now feared to evoke this notion, as well as that of the Last Things. The author notes in this regard: “The clergy have quite abruptly stopped speaking on all these delicate subjects, as if they had stopped believing in them themselves, while at the same time a vision of a Rousseau kind of God carried the day: the “Love God” (and no longer merely “God of love”) of the years 1960–1970.” As one old Breton peasant summarised in the early 1970s in an interview with the sociologist Fañch Élégoët, “The priests have paved the road to heaven.” Once narrow and steep, it was now a highway used by almost everyone. With such a road at hand, if there were no longer any sin or hell, or at least some serious sin that could deprive you of heaven, the usefulness of confession, in its traditional definition, was actually less obvious”;

- a disconnect between confession and communion. “In the old system, we confessed more than we communed, and confession was first perceived as a sort of purification ritual conditioning access to the Eucharist.” The development of frequent communion, accompanied by the loss of a sense of sin, as well as the idea among some clergy — influenced by psychoanalysis — that it was necessary to liberate the faithful from feeling guilty and to “free them from the confessional” had as a consequence that the faithful were now invited to communion without needing to confess. Communion then became trivialised, while the very possibility of confession practically did not exist any more, the regular individual confessions being replaced, starting in 1974, by “penitential ceremonies” celebrated once a year before Easter. At these gatherings, the faithful did not confess anything (the author calls these ceremonies “forms of penance without confession”) but received a collective absolution after listening to a vague speech in which the notion of sin was most often bypassed. And when the possibility of confessing remained in some parishes or was later restored, “the faithful did not know very well how to confess, or even if it was still useful to do so.”

2) The last chapter is devoted to a cause of decadence which seems equally fundamental to the author: the crisis of the preaching on the “Last Things.” In the chapter’s title, the author wonders whether that might not mean in the background “the end of salvation,” and he notes that in ancient catechisms and theological treatises, an important place was given to death, judgment, and the two final destinations of the hereafter, hell and paradise. Worried as early as December 1966 at seeing them disappear from teaching and preaching, the bishops of France noted: “Original sin [...], as well as the Last Things and Judgment, are points of Catholic doctrine directly related to salvation in Jesus Christ and whose presentation to the faithful actually makes it difficult for many priests to teach them. We do not know how to talk about them.” Shortly before this, Cardinal Ottaviani, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, had noted that original sin had almost completely disappeared from contemporary preaching. Cuchet remarks that it was not only a pastoral and pedagogical problem of presenting dogma, but also that “in reality, it was indeed a problem of faith and doctrine, and a discomfort shared between the clergy and the faithful. Everything happened as if, quite suddenly, at the end of a whole work of underground preparation, whole parts of the ancient doctrine considered hitherto as being essential, such as judgment, hell, purgatory, the devil, had become unbelievable for the faithful and unthinkable for theologians.” The author situates this crisis (although it had had some warning signs for some time) in the 1960s, along with the crisis of confession, noting that the former is closely related to the latter: “The collapse of the practice of confession follows an identical chronology, in particular the virtual disappearance in a few years, or even a few months, of the group that once was so common among those who confessed frequently. The relationship is directly, if not exclusively, linked with the erasure of the notion of mortal sin (in the sense of sin making one liable to damnation). But it also had implications on other sacraments related to the Last Things. In the new ritual of baptism, the exorcisms were considerably reduced (because it did not seem desirable to insist on the role of Satan, in whose existence some clergy no longer believed and who seemed to belong to a mythology from which the faithful, judged to be naive, were to be freed); there was also a clear mocking of original sin, from which [baptism] was supposed to deliver so as to secure eternal life.”

As far as baptism is concerned, another reform was to cause the disaffection of many of the faithful: beginning in December 1965, “a new pastoral ministry of baptism, whose primary concern until now was to have children baptised as soon as possible, on the contrary, [strove] on the contrary to put off the date so as to involve the parents more in the preparation.” It should be added that a certain number of priests went so far as to discourage the baptism of children on the pretext that it must be a free, voluntary, and fully conscious act, and advocated postponing the discussion of baptism until they had reached adolescence.

Approaching his conclusion, the author emphasises again the catastrophic effects of the crisis of the 1960s on the dogmatic conscience of the faithful, which in a way had become Protestantised: “The consecration of the freedom of conscience by the council has often been interpreted in the Church, unexpectedly at first, as a new freedom of the Catholic conscience, implicitly allowing it to distinguish between dogmas and practices of obligation. The very notion of dogma (as obligatory belief in conscience) then became problematic. This major decision of the council, coupled with the notion of a “hierarchy” of truths, seems to have operated in the minds of many as a kind of official decriminalisation of the “DIY believer” which contrasted greatly with the previous system, where the truths of the faith were to be taken as a whole and not by pick-and-choose. It was to be expected that the most disagreeable of these [tenets], or those most counter-intuitive to common sense, would pay the price, and this did not fail to occur.”

Whatever the external factors might have been that could have played a role in the collapse of Catholicism (modern attitudes, social pressure, etc.), the internal factors are what appear to be decisive according to the author of this book.

Catholicism itself bears a heavy responsibility in the dechristianisation of France (and more broadly of Europe, because an analysis made for other countries would lead to identical conclusions). The aggiornamento realised by the Second Vatican Council, and which had proposed to face the challenges of the modern world, did nothing but adapt itself to the latter; thinking to bring the world to its side, it ended up giving in to the world, and despite wanting to be heard in the secular sphere, Catholicism has instead become secularised. Fearing to assert its identity, it became relativised to the point that a large number of faithful no longer found in it the signposts to which they had been accustomed or that they expected, and no longer saw the point of seeking in Catholicism what the world already offered them in a less roundabout way.

The Catholic authorities seek to minimise the collapse described in this book by various arguments (a large number of French remain Catholic and have their children baptised; religious practice is measured by commitments other than Mass attendance; quality has replaced quantity, etc.). Yet they struggle to convince. John Paul II is often presented as having engineered a recovery from the excesses that followed Vatican II, but it must be noted that Sunday religious observance in France declined from 14% at the time of his election to 5% at the time of his death in 2005. If it is true that living communities existing in cities can provide a false example (as was also the case with the few churches open during the Communist period in the Eastern Bloc, crowded on account of others being closed), as well as the spectacular gathering of young people during the World Youth Days, the French countryside nevertheless shows the reality of a dramatic desertification: the multiplication of disused churches (that is to say, churches no longer acting as place of worship); priests having the care of twenty or even thirty parishes and celebrating every Sunday a “regional” Mass for a small group of faithful, mostly elderly and sometimes coming from several dozen kilometres away; the disappearance of burials celebrated by priests due to the lack of available celebrants; the lack of contact between priests and faithful because of their mutual distance and the unavailability of the former, who are more occupied with clerical meetings than with pastoral visits ...

The sad evolution of the post-conciliar Catholic Church, as described in Cuchet’s book, should serve as a warning to the Orthodox bishops and theologians who have dreamt and still dream of calling for a “Great Orthodox Council” similar to that by which the Catholic Church wanted to accomplish its aggiornamento, but whose main effect was to provoke its internal disintegration and the dramatic haemorrhage of a large number of its faithful.

Jean-Claude Larchet

Source : orthodoxie.com


<![CDATA["Have Faith": Examining Homeschooling and Compulsory State Education – Archpriest Peter Heers, D.Th.]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/have-faith-examining-homeschooling-and-compulsory-state-education https://orthodoxethos.com/post/have-faith-examining-homeschooling-and-compulsory-state-education ST. EMMELIA WEST CONFERENCE: “HAVE FAITH”
APRIL 19-22, 2018


It is a great joy and blessing for me to be here, back in California, as Fr. Paul said. I grew up in the East Bay, from age ten to nineteen -- before I went away to college. And I spent my formative three or four years before I went to Greece in this area, going to St. John, the relics, and Platina, and many other places. So, it's a joy to be back. Actually, in this place right here, I met Elder Ephraim for the first time twenty-four years ago, so this brings back a lot of memories.

My topic today is “Have Faith,” and the directions that I received from the director of the conference -- who I want to thank for inviting me. She's done a tremendous job. Thank you very much, Christine, for inviting me and allowing me to be here and to speak to you, as well as Fr. Noah, who is an old friend on the East Coast, who’s involved as well -- regarding the topic, I was told, “This needs to be motivational. We need to give people courage in this struggle for home education, and not just for educating, but actually imparting the faith.” I think this is one of the main reasons why we're all here and why we're all believers in homeschooling and struggling to continue, is that we understand what's at stake is not simply the education of our children, but the faithfulness of our children to Christ.

And this is why today I'm going to focus a little bit – as a jumping off point – on homeschooling in relation to state compulsory schooling and history, because I think it's important for us to see the big picture. A lot of us, we start out homeschooling, we're looking at our small children, and we look at the various things we need to do to impart to them the basics, and a lot of us are uneasy: are we really capable? Can we really do this? But if we step back and see the larger picture, I think it's very encouraging. It's also very frightening, when we see the history of compulsory schooling. But it's also encouraging, because we see that homeschooling is so very necessary, not just for ourselves, but for the Church and for the survival of the Church as we go forward.

I started out my homeschooling in Greece about 18 years ago, and you might not know, but in Greece, it's actually illegal to homeschool. It's not allowed. You have to send your children to the state school. It's kind of ironic that here we are in California and you are free to homeschool, but in Greece you are not. So, as an American citizen, I did it anyway. I was an illegal homeschooler for my entire 18 years in Greece.

And I want to tell you a little story about what I encountered with the Greek state schooling system, because I think it's encouraging, in that it shows that God is above all and encourages us in everything we do. About two years into homeschooling, I was in the village up in the mountain outside Thessaloniki where we lived, a very small village. And eventually someone said, "You know, Fr. Peter, who's the priest of the village, is not sending his kids to school. What's going on?" And they told the school down in the next city, and the school officials called us in and they said, "You need to be sending your kids to school." And we said, "Well, actually, no we don't. I'm an American citizen, and in America this is the kind of education system that we have, and our children are enrolled there online." We were enrolled with St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco Academy, “distance learning,” we called it. We presented them the paperwork, and they didn't really know what to make of it because probably in Greece there's about five or ten people who homeschool, and they're probably all foreigners. In any case, he said, "I have to submit the paperwork to the state because this is a requirement. You have to send your kids to school.” And then he tried to convince us why it's so important to send our kids to school.

Of course in Greece, comparatively, you might say, “Well, why, Fr. Peter, did you feel it's so necessary?" You'll see after I present about compulsory state education why I think it's necessary. Comparatively, fifteen, eighteen years ago things were much better – and probably much better than California in terms of what kind of influences they were bringing into the school system. But it goes beyond just the threats, the moral problems in the school. It goes to the whole heart of what it means to raise a child, how to raise a child, how that child is going to react to you, and when he should start learning, and when he or she should start leaving the house and being far from the mother and father. There's a lot more to homeschooling than just the education. It's much more involved. Compulsory state education is actually much more diabolical than it looks, when you understand the history.

So we stood our ground and he sent the papers to the state of Greece, the department of education, and we never heard from them. And we did our education for the next fifteen years in Greece for all of our children. I still don't know what happened, but my guess is they just said, “Why bother with the crazy priest up in the mountains from America?” And then we learned as we went on that there were more Greeks becoming interested in homeschooling in Greece.

We learned that other people had fought to have control over the education of their children as well in Greece, and they had been successful. Some had sent their children abroad, and others had done school via the internet. And increasingly, what's happened in Greece since that time -- just to share something that I'm sure most of you don't know – has been the introduction of transgenderism, homosexuality, teaching sexual education to very young children. And many other things have been introduced into the schools in Greece, with the result that there have been more and more people who are interested in homeschooling in Greece.

Read the rest of the lecture, and see the slide shows, at the St. Kosmas Aitolos Homeschool Community.

<![CDATA[Going Deeper in the Spiritual Life: Moving from the Horizontal to the Vertical Plane [AUDIO] – Archpriest Peter Heers, D.Th.]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/going-deeper-in-the-spiritual-life-moving-from-the-horizontal-to-the-vertical-plane-audio https://orthodoxethos.com/post/going-deeper-in-the-spiritual-life-moving-from-the-horizontal-to-the-vertical-plane-audio ST. KATHERINE ORTHODOX CHURCH


APRIL 23, 2018


<![CDATA[On the Patristic and 'Post-Patristic' View of Education and Salvation – Archpriest Peter Heers, D.Th.]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/on-the-patristic-and-post-patristic-view-of-education-and-salvation https://orthodoxethos.com/post/on-the-patristic-and-post-patristic-view-of-education-and-salvation ST. EMMELIA WEST CONFERENCE: “HAVE FAITH”
APRIL 19-22, 2018

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Venerable Fathers, Esteemed Colleagues, Brothers and Sisters,

Christ is Risen!

It is an honor and a joy to join you, my fellow Orthodox home-schoolers, here today in this beautiful retreat center and near the Monastery of the Theotokos the Life-Giving Spring.

I would like to thank the Antiochian Archdiocese Department of Homeschooling and Fr. Noah Bushelli, as well as the St. Kosmas Orthodox Homeschool Association and Christine Hall, for the invitation to speak to you today.

The title of my talk is, most likely, a little disorienting for many of you. I am sure you all know what patristic means, but what does “post-Patristic” mean? The term itself is used in the sense of relativism, partial or total questioning, re-evaluation, a new reading, or even the transcendence of the thought of the Fathers of the Church.

When we speak of post-Patristic theology or theologians this refers to a contemporary movement among a small but unfortunately growing segment of academic theologians, mainly in Greece and America, who are calling on the Church to, among much else, “move beyond the fathers” of the Church, to “reinterpret our dogmatic teaching,” and to consider all heterodox Christians as a part of the One Church. (1)

According to Professor Demetrios Tselingides:

“This movement of so-called “post-Patristic” theologians which has appeared in recent years, is organically embedded in [today’s] broader, secularized, theological climate, and particularly in the spirit of Ecumenism itself... Certainly, this movement also has Protestant influences, which are particularly clear in the scientific nature of the attitude of the “post-Patristic” theologians to the theological teaching of the Holy Fathers.” (2)

The two most basic presuppositions which “post-Patristic” theology/theologians ignore are:

1. That the experience of Spiritual Life in Christ in the Church is the foundational presupposition of theologizing in an Orthodox and delusion-free manner.

2. Orthodox and delusion-free theology is only produced by those who have been cleansed of the impurity of their passions and, moreover, those who have been enlightened by the uncreated rays of divinizing Grace.

When holiness or even Orthodox theological methodology of “following the holy Fathers” is set aside, “the adoption of theological reflection and speculation is inevitable.” (3) Here is where the post-patristic theologians and the infamous Barlaam of Calabria converge “in a theology which is anthropocentric and has as its criterion selfvalidating reason.” (4)

Let’s refresh our memory a bit about Barlaam and his theology. The patrologist Panagiotis Chrestou explains:

“Barlaam bore the influence of the Renaissance, which began to rise at this time, and he considered the revelation of God to be static, limited to biblical times, and he denied that it existed in the current life of the Church, namely the experience of the monks. At the same time he sought a new authenticity, outside of Christianity, personified by the great philosophers of ancient times.

He thus explained the revelation of God based on Greek philosophy and not on the basis of the hesychastic tradition, which survived vibrantly in the Eastern Christian Roman Empire, especially Mount Athos. This is the reason why Barlaam was in opposition to Athonite monasticism, as it was expressed by Saint Gregory Palamas.” (5)

“Just as Barlaam and his followers doubted the uncreated nature of the divine light and divine grace, so too contemporary “post-patristic” theologians effectively ignore the uncreated and, therefore, enduring character of the sanctity and teaching of the Godbearing Fathers, whom they attempt to replace, as regards teaching, by producing their own original theology. This is not a battle against the Fathers, of an external nature, but in essence a battle against God, because what makes the Fathers of the Church really Fathers is their uncreated sanctity, which, indirectly but to all intents and purposes, these theologians set aside and cancel out with their “post-Patristic” theology.”

You are probably all wondering, that is all fine and good, but what does it have to do with homeschooling our children? I am glad you asked. Allow me to connect the dots.

Two main characteristics of Barlaamism that we see re-emerging today are:

• The interpretation of Holy Scripture based on philosophical and dialectic reasoning as well as thoughtful analysis and not on the living hesychastic experience.

• The view that theology, or the knowledge of God, is the objective experience of the senses, the imagination and logical processes, and not the fruit of personal experience, which is how the hesychast monks experienced it.

This idea that one can make progress on the path of salvation, or that it is even obtained through the ascent of the rational intellect to the knowledge about God, is ever so slightly creeping into Orthodox homeschooling rhetoric, most surely unbeknownst to most.

Allow me to give you a few examples:

1. The direct association of education, study and reflection, with theosis, as if the former were means to the later.

2. The idea that the goal of our reading and writing and rhetoric is theosis, again implying the one leads to the other.

3. The putting of the the Holy Tradition of the Fathers on equal footing with the tradition of Ancient Greece, and claiming that both can help train us to overcome the passions.

4. And, finally, the idea that education is itself a means by which we can overcome the passions, as opposed to a preparatory step, much like, as the Apostle Paul writes, “the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith, after which “we are no longer under a schoolmaster” (Gal 3:24).

Keep these four examples in mind as we now turn to look at the approach of the Holy Fathers to Classical Education.

1. The Fathers of the Church and Classical Education

The Fathers of the Church are today often held up as great examples of the indispensability of including pagan, classical literature in Christian education. Undoubtedly, some Fathers were well versed in classical literature and philosophy, perhaps as few of their contemporaries. Of this, no one can doubt.

Did, however, the great hierarchs of the Church become great theologians because of their classical education? Or, were their years spent in reading pagan philosophy and literature a prerequisite to become great theologians?

If one remembers the famous patristic saying, "If you are a theologian you truly pray. If you truly pray you are a theologian,” (6) the answer is apparent. A better question is: did the Great Hierarchs use their pagan education as a tool in their pastoral and apologetic work for the upbuilding of the Church? The answer to this is, of course, yes.

The Fathers of that age were shepherds of their rational flocks and indeed the entire Church at a time of great change, straddling, as it were, the outgoing Pagan world and the rising Christian empire. Their pastoral task was to speak of heavenly truths to earthbound wise-men in terms and a language which they understood. In order to understand their engagement with what we now call the “classical world” and its philosophy and mythology, it is crucial always to have this pastoral context in mind. In particular, one must understand that they were first of all approaching pagan, nonChristian culture and literature kat’oikonomia or according to pastoral condescension and not in search of the knowledge of God. Their employment (and transformation) of philosophical terms and ideas was not an end in itself but chiefly a means by which to bring uninitiated men to "the full knowledge of the truth (2 Tim. 3:7).

2. Two Types of Wisdom

In the writings of the Three Hierarchs, but also in the epistles of the Apostles Paul and James, and indeed the entire patristic tradition, there are two types of wisdom:

• ἄνωθεν, from above (or divine and true) and

• θύραθεν, from without (or human and worldly)

Each type of wisdom has limits as to its development, its aims and the means by which it is acquired.

The wisdom which comes from above (ἄνωθεν), from God, by revelation, is obtained by the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. It is not limited, as is human knowledge. God Himself is revealed in His divine energies (actions). His mysterious presence in creation is inscrutable. It cannot be subjected to human inspection and proof. Man either receives God's mysteries with faith (trust), and sees that "God is good," or he rejects them.

The ἄνωθεν wisdom leads man to salvation, to regeneration, to taking man from the image to the likeness of God, to his perfection. Divine wisdom makes the passionate, impassive, the earthly, heavenly, the mindless, Godly-minded, the mortal, immortal.

The wisdom which comes from men, or θύραθεν, is obtained by human means, with study and reflection. Within human, θύραθεν, wisdom, the mind is taught to judge, to meditate upon, to follow principles and human rules of logic, in order to examine the earthly, the created. It cannot, however, thereby judge and examine that which is from above, and that which is uncreated (See: 1 Cor. 2: 6-16)

The following passage from the Apostle Paul’s epistle to the Corinthians is very enlightening for us in our examination of the two wisdoms:

“Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Cor 2:6 - 16)

Hence, this θύραθεν or worldly wisdom is not necessary for salvation and must not become an end in itself. Contrast this with the thinking of Barlaam, as summarized by Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos:

“Barlaam gives priority to "outer wisdom" or philosophy, which even monks should seek, because only through human wisdom can we achieve dispassion, to approach perfection and sanctification. This is because he considers Greek education to be a gift from God similar to the revelation given to the Prophets and Apostles.” (7)

If worldly wisdom cannot be claimed as a means to salvation, it can, however, cooperate with and assist the heaven-sent (ἄνωθεν) wisdom toward the supreme aim of our salvation. It should been seen as a tool, and its value, then, lies in its use and it depends upon the proper perspective and disposition of the one employing it, whether or not he has respect for the things of God, according to the psalmist, "the beginning of wisdom is the fear of God (Psalm 110/11:10).

In this perspective, then, we can see that the Holy Fathers' use of the terms and ideas put forward by the human wisdom of their day was a pastoral tool, a pastoral condescension - with full respect, but also full knowledge of the limits of that wisdom.

When classical educators look for Patristic support for, as one writer put it, seeking “the face of God” in pagan literature, they cite first and almost exclusively St. Basil the Great. In his famous "Address to Young Men on the Right Use of Greek Literature" the Saint wrote the following:

“Now, then, altogether after the manner of bees must we use these writings, for the bees do not visit all the flowers without discrimination, nor indeed do they seek to carry away entire those upon which they light, but rather, having taken so much as is adapted to their needs, they let the rest go. So we, if wise, shall take from heathen books whatever befits us and is allied to the truth, and shall pass over the rest. And just as in culling roses we avoid the thorns, from such writings as these we will gather everything useful, and guard against the noxious.” (8)

First of all, it is apparent here that far from rushing indiscriminately, headlong into pagan literature the Saint is selectively lighting on that which is redeemable, salvaging what he can from the noxious writings of “natural men” (1 Cor. 6:14-16).

Secondly, although it is not debated that St. Basil knew classical Greek literature as a whole very well, it needs to be said his education was obtained long before his initiation into Christ and it was a providential preparation and apologetical tool to better wield the ultimate weapon, the Truth revealed in Christ and manifest in the Holy Scriptures.

What is often overlooked, however, in this discussion is that the Fathers had little choice in the matter. In the Fourth century the mainstream education curriculum was based on Ancient Greek literature and thus the youths’ encounter with it, including mythology and other fiction, was a given. St. Basil had no choice but to prepare young people for the texts that they were going to encounter.

We need to remember that St. Basil and his friend, St. Gregory of the Theologian, although raised in Christian homes, had undergone this education before being baptized and although both were quite familiar with pagan myths, they harshly ridiculed them. (9) Reading pagan fiction (mythology) was, then, not a choice made in adulthood, post baptism.

St. Basil himself in Epistle 223 (PG 32, 824AB) writes that he wept many tears for the days of his adolescence which he had spent in vain, studying philosophy, the “wisdom of this world that God made foolish” (1 Cor. 1: 20). It is only logical to assume that what he writes concerning philosophy applies much more to mythology (or fiction):

Much time had I spent in vanity, and had wasted nearly all my youth in the vain labour which I underwent in acquiring the wisdom made foolish by God (cf. 1 Cor. 1:20). Then once upon a time, like a man roused from deep sleep, I turned my eyes to the marvellous light of the truth of the Gospel, and I perceived the uselessness of “the wisdom of the princes of this world, that come to naught” (1 Cor. 2:6). I wept many tears over my miserable life and I prayed that guidance might be vouchsafed me to admit me to the doctrines of true religion. First of all was I minded to make some mending of my ways, long perverted as they were by my intimacy with wicked men. Then I read the Gospel, and I saw there that a great means of reaching perfection was the selling of one's goods, the sharing them with the poor, the giving up of all care for this life, and the refusal to allow the soul to be turned by any sympathy to things of earth. And I prayed that I might find some one of the brethren who had chosen this way of life, that with him I might cross life's short and troubled strait. And many did I find in Alexandria, and many in the rest of Egypt, and others in Palestine, and in Cœle Syria, and in Mesopotamia. I admired their continence in living, and their endurance in toil; I was amazed at their persistency in prayer, and at their triumphing over sleep; subdued by no natural necessity, ever keeping their souls' purpose high and free, in hunger, in thirst, in cold, in nakedness (cf. 2 Cor. 11:27) they never yielded to the body; they were never willing to waste attention on it; always, as though living in a flesh that was not theirs, they showed in very deed what it is to sojourn for a while in this life, and what to have one's citizenship and home in heaven. All this moved my admiration. I called these men's lives blessed, in that they did in deed show that they “bear about in their body the dying of Jesus” (2 Cor. 4:10). And I prayed that I, too, as far as in me lay, might imitate them.

What the Saint describes here is essentially his inner, spiritual conversion and coming to the knowledge of the truth of life in Christ, a process which led away from the vanity of the worldly wisdom of “natural men” to the wisdom from above found in the ascetics and under the direction of a spiritual father.

3. The Diachronic Witness of the Fathers on the Superiority of Christian Wisdom

Throughout the history of the Church the stance of the Saints’ has been consistent: they commend the study of classical learning, with discernment, but give clear precedence to Christian wisdom. The example of St. Photios the Great is indicative:

While supporting classical learning along side of spiritual formation St. Photios advises:

“Give yourself over to our own noble muses too, seeing that these differ from those of the Pagans as much as freemen differ from slaves and as much as truth differs from flattery. . . . True, divine gladness, that which is proper to man. . . Springs from the Holy Scriptures and our zealous study of them.” (10)

There is a clear hierarchy of things pertaining both to man’s make-up and to his education and formation. It is no accident that the Lord chose fishermen rather than Pharisees as his disciples, thus pointing to the superiority of His Grace over the power of the human mind. St. Photios, responding to a question concerning how the illiterate Apostles managed to overcome Pagan rhetoric, writes:

“If the mind is greater than the written word, and divine grace is - by an incomprehensible measure - greater than the mind, then you ought not at all to be surprised if the Apostles, who possessed the greater [mind] and the greatest [divine grace] completely overwhelmed those - I mean, the rhetors and philosophers - who showed great arrogance on account of their possession of the least.” (11)

One needs to always have this hierarchy in mind, both when reading the Scriptures and Fathers and teaching their children, otherwise he will be misled into believing that, unlike the Holy Apostles, the Great Hierarchs were “great” because of their worldly education and not their spiritual initiation.

Another example brought forth by St. Photios to illustrate this hierarchy and the pastoral condescension of the Saints is the stance of the Apostle Paul when he spoke to the pagans in Athens concerning the altar of an unknown god (Acts 17:23). Fr. Theodore Zisis summarizes St. Photios the Great’s commentary on this as follows:

“The Apostle Paul’s use of classical idioms..does not mean that he somehow abandoned his basic position that the truth must be built upon spiritual realities alone ‘comparing spiritual things with spiritual,” for it is indeed he who calls ‘the Mosaic law itself chaff, when compared to the supreme wisdom of Christ.’ It would be truly unworthy of Paul’s divine illumination were he to ‘compose truth from myths.’ On the contrary, here is simply condescending to the Athenians’ weakness, to their spiritual infancy, which would not allow them to see the truth directly, thereby pedagogically preparing them so that the truth’s rays might illumine their minds.” (12)

4. Coming to the Knowledge (Epignosis) of the Truth

The Fathers’ primary task, then, as shepherds and catechists was not simply to teach, much less to inform, but rather to initiate a proud and rationalist world into the Mystery of the Gospel. This is the heart of the work of the catechist or teacher: to initiate his disciple into the event of Pentecost. In fact, the Greek word for catechism, ῾κατήχηση῾, is formed from the event of Pentecost, when a sound (ήχος) came down (κάτω) from heaven.

The aim of the Fathers' pastoral work was not one of moral improvement or rational development but of supra-rational communion with the Holy Trinity, which presupposes repentance, purification and initiation. To paraphrase the Apostle of Love, "that which they had seen and heard from the beginning," that of which they had επίγνωσης, or first-hand, experiential knowledge, that they declared unto the 4th century pagan world, "that they may also have communion" with them and the Holy Trinity.

The Holy Fathers did not believe that salvation was simply a matter of obtaining γνώσης (knowledge), but, rather, επίγνωσης, experiential knowledge of God Himself, of His uncreated energies, which meant first of all entry into the Church and initiation into the life in Christ. This initiation was a process of purification and illumination, of divesting oneself of the passions and heretical ideas of the rationalists and investing oneself with the mind of Christ and Orthodox phronema or mindset; of putting off the old man of sin and death and putting on the resurrected and ascended humanity of Christ.

Enlightenment for the Holy Fathers did not chiefly mean the acquiring of knowledge ABOUT God, ABOUT the truth in terms of ideas - although this can be helpful and an important preparatory step - but rather all learning was meant to lead to personal, experiential knowledge of the Truth Incarnate. They undoubtedly encountered in their day that which the Apostle Paul describes as a characteristic of the last days, namely, men who had "the form of piety" but denied "the power thereof," who are "always learning" but "never able to come to a full knowledge (επίγνωσης) of the truth" (2 Tim. 3:5,7).

This is a characteristic of the heretical man: having lost the ethos or way of life he innovates and shipwrecks with regard to the dogma or truth of Christ. Or vice-versa: having ignored or devalued the dogmas of the Church as the basis of spiritual life, he soon falls into a worldly, grace-obstructing way of life.

Thus, given the ever-imminent threat of heresy, much of the Fathers' pastoral and catechetical work consisted of the struggle against heresy and heretically-minded men.

The heretics used worldly philosophy to logically examine and pronounce upon the things of God which surpassed logic - and they did this without the necessary prerequisite of experience. Our Saints fought heresy at its root, stressing in word and deed that dogmatic Truth and the Way or Ethos of Christ are inseparable, two sides of the same coin; that there is no possibility for the autonomy of one from the other; and that the loss of one is the loss of the whole.

As St. John Chrysostom wrote:

"There is no benefit from a pure life when one professes heretical dogma and, likewise, the opposite is true: right dogma is of no benefit when one leads a corrupt life." [Οὐδέν ὄφελος βίου καθαροῦ, δογμάτων διεφθαρμένων, ὥσπερ οὐδέ τοὐναντίον, δογμάτων ὑγιῶν, ἐάν ὁ βίος ᾖ διεφθαρμένος» P.G. 53,31 καί P.G. 59, 369]

And elsewhere:

"Let us not think that holding the faith alone is sufficient for salvation, if we do not also show forth a pure life." [Μηδέ νομίζωμεν ἀρκεῖν ἡμῖν πρός σωτηρίαν τήν πίστιν, ἐάν μή βίον ἐπιδειξώμεθα καθαρόν. - P.G. 59, 77]

For him who has a corrupt life it is a matter of time that he will adopt heretical dogmas. And, although we are not to concern ourselves with the corrupt lives of others, we are called to examine the dogma and the faith of others - including bishops. We judge on the basis of that which we have all inherited, both in our Chrismation and in the Holy Tradition.

In Church life today we observe the tragic consequences when clergy and laity ignore the inseparable relation of faith and life, both with the temptation on the left and that on the right. Whether one has shipwrecked in terms of faith or in terms of life, it matters little to the enemy of our salvation. His aim is to remove us from the full life of the Church, to deprive us of the Grace of God and make us into the "world." Whether you exit the Church on the right or the left, he cares not - so long as you exit, so long as you are removed from the Mystery and Mysteries.

5. The Work of Initiating our Children into the Mystery

There is a great pitfall that we can all slip into, following, as we are often encouraged to do, not the illumined and deified (of which there are few) but the academic “experts.” Namely, it is to make the goal of our education μάθηση (fact learning) as opposed to επίγνωσης (experiential knowledge) and μύηση (initiation). The focus of our work becomes producing intellectuals and academics, quite knowledgeable about many things, no doubt, but not initiated into the Mystery.

When the spiritual and intellectual center of our education moves from the altar to the podium, or from the Gospel book to the text book, or from The Prayer to social work, then we have acquired the "form of piety" without "the power thereof". In such a case, the "επίγνωσης of the truth" - the experience of, communion with, Christ - will remain something sought for but never actualized. And then the fearful words of our Lord will be applied:

"Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt hath lost its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men." (Matt. 5:13)

One cause of falling into this tragic error is the loss of discernment in how to "hierarchize", or prioritize spiritual matters. This error, in turn, is caused by the encroachment of the worldly spirit due to alienation from the ascetic life as the presupposition of participation in the Mystery and Mysteries of Christ.

If we truly wish to be "followers of the Holy Fathers," to be Orthodox in practice, it is necessary that we also be following them in the presuppositions of their dogmatic teaching, which is, namely, their life in the Holy Spirit, the pre-requisite of which is purification from the passions and enlightenment of the intellect through God's divinizing Grace. This purification from the passions is considered of greater importance than theology itself by the great Theologian himself, St. Gregory, for only then can the intellect of man truly come to know God by participation in Him.

In this context, we sadly observe that our contemporary academic theology has (with a few notable exceptions) not followed Patristic theology. The reason for this appears to be because it has been deeply effected by the secularized, heterodox theological environment in the West. In particular, this refers to their theological methodology and mistaken theological presuppositions.

Western Heterodox theological methodology is mainly based upon reductive and abstract functioning of the intellect, which is, in the final analysis, autonomous from God. Thus, in the West, dogmas were mainly considered to be theological ideas which are conceived in the mind without any particular relation to the life of the one expressing it. On the contrary, Orthodox theological methodology is experiential, characterized by living knowledge of God which is actualized within the Church, the communion of theosis.

Therefore, it should be clear why the Holy Fathers, although valuing θύραθεν / human wisdom, knew its proper place and did not allow it to supplant the central place which ἄνωθεν / divine wisdom occupies, and while engaging in theological discourse they never lost sight of the spiritual presuppositions.

Today, one observes generally that there is confusion or ignorance as to the hierarchy of things in spiritual and intellectual life, including in home education. In order for everything to ultimately serve our ascent, however, it is essential that the hierarchy of things is maintained.

6. The Use of θύραθεν Philosophy in Christian Education Today

What does all of this mean for us today? Is it good for Orthodox children to study the ancient philosophers and read pagan literature, or not? Is there any benefit for Orthodox children? Is there any harm in it?

One possible answer, abrupt as it is, was given by St. Gregory of Nysa, who was no stranger to worldly wisdom. He said: “Secular [or worldly] education, in very truth, is infertile, always in labor, and never giving life to its offspring.” (13)

This is not to say that St. Gregory did not make use of it. As we saw above, the Fathers used it as a tool in their work of upbuilding the Church. The question, then, is not primarily should Orthodox children approach worldly wisdom in search of The Light, as if they do not have Him, but is this worldly wisdom useful? Is it a means to the end or aim of our life?

The answer to these questions is manifest when we answer another, more basic question: what is the true aim of our Christian life? On this, St. Seraphim of Sarov has this to say:

“Prayer, fasting, vigil and all other Christian practices, however good they may be in themselves, do not constitute the aim of our Christian life, although they serve as the indispensable means of reaching this end. The true aim of our Christian life consists in the acquisition of the Holy Spirit of God.” (14)

The only Good per se, then, is the acquisition of the Holy Spirit. Among the means to reaching this end one could include spiritual study, of course, but is it good to study θύραθεν philosophy and literature? It could be “good” contingent upon a positive response to this question: does it lead one to the acquisition of the Holy Spirit? (15)

Within the Orthodox spirit and ethos the pursuit of the telos, the end, is ultimately free of the deon, or “duty” or “rules.” This is most apparent in the lives of the “fools-for-Christ.” However, the freedom of holiness presupposes purification from the passions. A salvific use of freedom has as its sine qua non freedom from the passions, usually obtained after long ascetic struggle. For most of us, such freedom is still to come, after we learn obedience to Christ in His Body and under the direction of a spiritual father.

What does this imply for the education of our children and the use of θύραθεν wisdom? In practice it means we make of it selective use for particularly suited children of high school or late high school age. Why? For the same reason that it is unwise to expose a newly planted tree to high winds and rain without it first putting down roots: it will most likely be uprooted. As homeschooling parents the truth of this should be obvious to all of us, for on this same basis we also decided not to send our young souls into the storm of public schools.

Putting down roots here means a thorough grounding in the realism of the Holy Scriptures and Lives of the Saints, and years living within the grace of God and under the shelter of obedience to a spiritual father. Thus, when they are exposed to the gusts of the ‘natural man’s’ philosophy and the rain of idolatrous fancy they will weather the storm and be the better for it.

And, yet, even this discerning use of worldly wisdom and pagan literature is not a necessity, nor recommended for some. As we saw above, even St. Basil the Great, who had the task to guide young men through the wilderness of pagan literature, realized late in life that there was no need for him to do it for his salvation. The narrow path is winding, to be sure, but one does not need to pass through Athens to reach Jerusalem. If some do, for whatever historical or pastoral or intellectual reason, that is another matter, and it may be, as it was in St. Basil’s case, providential and ultimately for the upbuilding of the Church.

Here, someone might respond: not everything has to serve the aim of the acquisition of the Holy Spirit, does it? How about just fulfilling the need for students to develop intellectually, read, write and speak well, become good citizens, function in society, etc.?

Undoubtedly, there is need of developing these skills and gifts. That is why, ultimately, the particulars of the decision belong to the parents, who will decide on a case by case basis when and how much of the wisdom offered for life in this world is necessary and beneficial for their children’s’ mental and educational development. (16)

In the process of discernment, however, let them not acquiesce to the proud thought that ALL of my children must be well-versed in the wisdom of this world in order to go to college. Or, ALL of my children must become professionals or teachers. This thought, inspired from the demon of pride on the right, has led many an innocent soul into the fire of fornication and darkness of disbelief. Beyond the sad reality of the university today, the system of which has been rightly labeled the Gulag Pelagos of America, this is an abysmal and impersonal pedagogy which sets some children up for miserable lives, even as it serves to further the diabolical aims of globalization.

No, we must remain focused on each child’s gifts and spiritual condition, guiding and correcting our course analogous with the spiritual conditions, but always with the telos, or end, in mind: purification from the passions and illumination of the nous.

This brings us to one final question with regard to worldly wisdom: can one find enlightenment towards salvation in the writings of the ancient Greek philosophers or in the men of letters among the heterodox, in terms of the process of purification of the soul?

It should be clear at this point that for whatever reason we utilize the wisdom of the world in the education of our children, its function is only preparatory for the spiritual life. Although a honing of the mind can purify one of wrong thinking about reality, the purification of the passions of the soul has spiritual presuppositions which cannot be fulfilled by even the greatest refinement of the rational intellect, much less the imagination, for purification toward illumination pertains to the nous and its cleansing.

1 See the Letter of Metropolitan Paul of Glyfadas who succinctly presents the matter, here: https://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2012/03/contextual-or-post-patristic-theology.html

2 Demetrios Tselingidis, Post-Patristic or Neo-Barlaamite Theology (http://orthodox-voice.blogspot.nl/2013/05/patristic-theology-and-post-patristic.html).

3 Ibid.

4 Ibid.

5 From an article by Metropolitan Hierotheos (Vlachos) entitled: “Barlaamism in Contemporary Theology (https://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2014/10/barlaamism-in-contemporary-theology-1.html).

6 Evagrius Ponticus, Chapters on Prayer, chapter 60.

7 https://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2014/10/barlaamism-in-contemporary-theology-2.html.

8 “To the youth; on how they can benefit from Greek [pagan] literature” (Πρὸς τοὺς νέους, ὅπως ἂν ἐξ ἑλληνικῶν ὠφελοῖντο λόγων [De legendis gentilium libris]).

9 See: St. Gregory’s works Contra Julianum Imperatorem - Κατά Ἰουλιανοῦ Βασιλέως στηλιτευτικοὶ 1 & 2.

10 St. Photios the Great. Amphilochios. Question 107. See: Protopresbyter Theodore Zisis, Following the Holy Fathers (New Rome Press, 2017), p. 186.

11 Ibid. Question 202; Zisis, p. 186.

12 Ibid.

13 St. Gregory of Nysa, De Vita Moysis, II, 36.

14 Trans. Hieromonk Seraphim (Rose), Little Russian Philokalia, Vol.1: St Seraphim, 4th ed. (Platina, CA: St Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 1996), p.79.

15 With respect to these and subsequent reflections, I am indebted to Deacon Aaron Taylor for his study, Reading Imaginative Literature: A Study in Orthodox Moral Theology.

16 As St John Chrysostom writes, “It is impossible to treat all…people in one way, any more than it would be right for the doctors to deal with all their patients alike.” Περί ιεροσύνης, VI.4 [PG 48]; St John Chrysostom, Six Books on the Priesthood, trans. Graham Neville (Crestwood, NY: St Vladimir’s Seminary, 1977), p. 142.

<![CDATA[Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary Launches a Master of Divinity degree for Fall 2018. – Announcement by the Dean, Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster, PhD]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/holy-trinity-orthodox-seminary-launches-a-master-of-divinity-degree-for-fall-2018 https://orthodoxethos.com/post/holy-trinity-orthodox-seminary-launches-a-master-of-divinity-degree-for-fall-2018 Dear Alumni, Friends, and Supporters:

“This is the day the Lord has made; let us greatly rejoice and be glad therein.”(Psalms 117:24, LXX)

On this glorious day, I am delighted to announce that Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary in Jordanville, New York, will, by the grace of God the Holy Trinity and the approval of the New York State Board of Regents, begin a new Master of Divinity degree in Fall 2018.

On Tuesday, April 10, 2018, the Board’s approval culminated a long, sometimes arduous application process that began in 2015. Although others have also contributed their time and efforts, I wish to thank, in particular, the prime movers of our campaign from the beginning: Archimandrite Luke, our Rector; Priest Ephraim Willmarth, Assistant Dean and Director of Admissions; Dr. Vitaly Permiakov, Assistant Professor of Dogmatic and Liturgical Theology.

The Master of Divinity degree (M.Div.) is the standard graduate professional degree for clergy in North America. It entails a rigorous, advanced, comprehensive, full-time three-year course of study in the various theological and pastoral fields for students who already hold a bachelor’s degree. Our M.Div. degree curriculum will also include four 1-credit “field education” practica where seminarians can learn how to apply their theological knowledge and newly acquired pastoral skills in practical ministry settings including parishes, college campus ministry, prison ministry, humanitarian service,evangelism, and public moral witness.

With profound gratitude to one of our most generous benefactors, I am humbled also to announce that Holy Trinity Seminary expects to offer full scholarships for tuition and books to as many as ten entering M.Div. students in Fall 2018!

We shall accept applications for the new M.Div. degree immediately. If you are interested in applying, or know an Orthodox man who may be called to the Holy Priesthood, please send your inquiry to Priest Ephraim Willmarth, Director of Admissions:

ejwillmarth@hts.edu (telephone: 315-858-0945). You may find additional information on the Admissions page and Academics page of the Seminary website: www.hts.edu

I hope you will join us on this new journey on the 70th anniversary of the founding of Holy Trinity Seminary or make a generous financial contribution to support our new degree program.

Yours in Christ,

Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster, PhD

Dean and Professor of Moral Theology

<![CDATA[On the Essential Identity of Ecumenism and Phyletism – ​By Archpriest Peter Heers]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/on-the-essential-identity-of-ecumenism-and-phyletism https://orthodoxethos.com/post/on-the-essential-identity-of-ecumenism-and-phyletism As Fr. Seraphim Rose once wrote, the difference between Orthodoxy and heterodoxy is most apparent in that the Orthodox Church (in Her Saints) is able to discern the spirits. Moreover, discernment of the methods of the fallen spirits is a requirement in the formation of Christology and Ecclesiology. As the Evangelist John writes, “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8).

Insomuch, therefore, as one is purified from the passions and illumined by the Spirit of God, so much is his spiritual vision open and discernment acquired. This gift of discernment, the greatest of the virtues, presupposes initiation into the death, resurrection and life in Christ which is lived within His Body, the Church. That few Orthodox Christians possess a good measure of this gift is a testament to the inroads of the spirit of anti-Christ, which, by another name, is secularism. The end of the worldly spirit is the denial of the theanthropic nature of the Christ and His Body, “the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth” before the ascent of the man of iniquity, the Antichrist. This temptation is coming upon the world primarily through the spread of the ecclesiological heresy known as ecumenism.

Ecumenism and Secularism

Ecumenism as an ecclesiological heresy and denial of the Truth of the Body of Christ, and as a methodological distortion of The Way of Christ, has been born and bred within a secularized “Christianity.” As we said, secularism is first and foremost the spirit of antichrist, which is “already in the world,” namely, “every spirit which confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.” This refers not only to that “Christianity” which expressly denies the divinity of our Lord, the various contemporary “Arianisms,” but every spirit which denies that the Jesus Christ is come – that is, has come and remains – in the flesh, in His Body, the One Church.

Ecumenism as a unification movement ironically seeks to overcome the scandal of division by denying the “scandal of the particular” – the Incarnation. Instead of crucifying their intellect on the cross of this scandal – that Christ entered and continues within history in a particular time and place, being mysteriologically-incarnationally ‘here’ and not ‘there’ – the uninitiated and rationalist followers of Jesus seek a theanthropic Body in their image: “divided in time,” in search of a fullness which they imply exists only on the heavenly plane. They see the Church as divided on the historical plane, as limited by the heavy hand of history. They see as Church identifiers not primarily the exclusive marks of oneness, holiness, catholicity and apostolicity taken together, but rather the externals which “already unite,” such as the water of baptism (whether sprinkled, poured or immersed), the rites of the Liturgy, the belief in Christ’s divinity or the common text of Holy Scripture. It matters little that such externals, and indeed much more, were possessed by ancient heretics such as the Monophysites or Iconoclasts and were never seen as sufficient to produce any sort of “partial communion” or “already existing unity.” Neither does it seem to faze them that “the demons believe and tremble” and thus “unity in belief in Christ’s divinity” would necessarily include the demons.

This new ecclesiology, this new vision of the Church, or, rather, of Christ Himself as Head and Body, might be characterized as ecclesiological Nestorianism, in which the Church is divided into two separate beings: on the one hand the Church in heaven, outside of time, alone true and whole, and on the other hand, the Church, or rather “churches,” on earth, in time, deficient and relative, lost in history’s shadows, seeking to draw near to one another and to that transcendent perfection, as much as is possible in the weakness of the impermanent human will.

They apparently don’t realize, however, that in denying the manifest Oneness of Christ in a particular time and place on earth, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, they are also denying He is come in the flesh. They seek to forge a Church from disparate elements or recognize an already existing but “divided” Church in place of the One Church, a body in place of the God-man’s Body which is come, and in this reveal they are of the spirit of antichrist (lit. that which is put in place of Christ).

Phyletism and Secularism

Strangely, what is often seen as opposed to ecumenism, or even the heresy ecumenism is meant to correct, Phyletism, is a kindred spirit with ecumenism and born and bred within the same spiritual milieu: secularism.

As with the heresy of ecumenism, the phyletist sees the Church as limited by and within history, as identified not firstly or as much by the exclusive marks of oneness, holiness, catholicity and apostolicity as by one’s ethnic identity and its past. The aim of the Church here is not the salvation of all men from sin and death but the salvation of their ethnic identity and nation. With phyletism, as with ecumenism, the hierarchy is lost, discernment misplaced or non-existent, as to what is first and what follows in terms of our identity, with the secondary and tertiary taking the lead.

Phyletism was the necessary precursor to ecumenism, the pendulum swung to the right so that momentum could be built up for the great swing to the left and the ensuing apostasy. It was necessary also that a straw man be created in place of Patristic Orthodox ecclesiology so that legitimate opposition to the new ecclesiology could be easily marginalized and lumped together with the various “isms” on the right. Ecumenism is supposed to come as a corrective to phyletism, but paradoxically it can be, and often is, reconciled “peacefully” with phyletism.

For example, when one views his church as essentially identified with his tribe he readily accepts that his neighbor’s tribe must also have a national church (to the worldly minded it matters not whether it is “fully” orthodox or “partially” heterodox). Only in this context can one make sense of such phenomena in the West as the immigrant who sees no problem with his own children going to the local heterodox community since they have “become Americans” and go to the “American church.” Only when one understands that the phyletists identify the Theanthropic Body of Christ with their language and their culture can he begin to grasp why they prefer to lose their very own children and let their parish die with them, rather than change one iota of these transitory aspects (Matt. 24:35).

Ecumenism and Phyletism: Two Sides of the Same Coin of Secularism

Far from being enemies or correctives of each other, ecumenism and phyletism are rather two sides of the same coin of secularism. Both deny the catholicity of the One Church and both seek to recognize in its place a “divided” Church, whether it be along ethnic or denominational lines. Both reduce the Church to the sociological and historical level, placing it at the service of the fallen world as opposed to the service of man’s salvation from, and the overcoming of, the world, according to the words of the Lord: “[B]e of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (Jn. 16:33).

The greatest proof, however, that ecumenism and phyletism are possessed of the “spirit of antichrist” lies in their fruits. They work against the salvation of the world because they make the Church into the world, “thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men” (Mat. 5:13). On the one hand, whether through tribalism or relativism, they deny the divine-humanity of the One Church, Her otherworldliness, Her power of the Cross (asceticism) which, if She “be lifted up” by it, draws all men toward Christ (Jn. 12:32). On the other hand, lacking the “magnet” of holiness and the theanthropic virtues, these two children of secularism deny to the heterodox the salvific “pricking” of the soul, what the Holy Elder Paisios of Mt. Athos called the “good uneasiness.” Speaking much of love, each in their own way (for nation or world), both are revealed as bereft of love for his neighbor’s salvation, for both leave him in his delusion and error, the one by erecting an ethnic roadblock, the other by denying him the narrow path.

First appeared at: http://anothercity.org/on-the-essential-identity-of-ecumenism-and-phyletism/

<![CDATA[St. Emmelia Orthodox Homeschool Conferences: Spring 2018 West Conference – St. Nicholas Ranch, Dunlap, CA - April 19-22]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/st-emmelia-orthodox-homeschool-conferences-spring-2018-west-conference https://orthodoxethos.com/post/st-emmelia-orthodox-homeschool-conferences-spring-2018-west-conference Whether you are an experienced homeschooler or just an inquirer, this is the conference for you!

Learn more!

<![CDATA[On “Partial Ecclesiastical Communion,” the Dominant Theory Behind Contemporary Ecumenism – Excerpt from: The Ecclesiological Renovation of Vatican II by Archpriest Peter Heers]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/on-partial-ecclesiastical-communion-the-dominant-theory-behind-contemporary-ecumenism https://orthodoxethos.com/post/on-partial-ecclesiastical-communion-the-dominant-theory-behind-contemporary-ecumenism

The basis for modern Catholic-Orthodox dialogue, the decree [on Ecumenism of Vatican II] established the principle of real, if imperfect, communion between Christians and their churches and communities. - by John Long, S.J.

The idea of partial communion, so central to the new ecclesiology,
is inconsistent with this understanding of the organic unity of the Church. Once again, in this regard as well, Vatican II was not a return to the patristic vision of the Church, but rather a further step away from it. As Metropolitan Kallistos Ware has written: “The Bible, the Fathers or the Canons know of only two possibilities: communion and non-communion. It is all or nothing. They do not envisage any third alternative such as ‘partial intercommunion.’” [1] Father Georges Florovsky likewise points out that in the patristic view of the Church “there was simply the question of ‘full communion,’ that is, of membership in the Church. And there were identical terms of this membership for all.” [2]

The identification of “full membership” with “membership in the Church”— a membership based on identical terms for all— could not come into more direct opposition to the heart of the new ecclesiology, which is based upon the possibility of there being degrees of membership in the Body of Christ. This idea stems from the acceptance of a division of the Mysteries from each other and from the Mystery of the Church as a whole. They suppose that Baptism can exist outside the unity of the Church and the other mysteries, mechanically, as it were, imparting membership to those who receive it in separation.

However, just as the Eucharist “is indissolubly bound to the whole content of faith, and likewise to the visible structure of the Church,” [3] so too is Baptism. And, just as “those who advocate intercommunion on the basis of ‘Eucharistic ecclesiology’” treat the Eucharist “too much in isolation (ibid.),” those who advocate a partial communion on the basis of a “common Baptism” likewise consider Baptism too much in isolation. While putting forth Baptism as a point of unity, they fail to realize that, apart from unity in faith and unity in the bishop, unity in a “common Baptism” is impossible. Just as communing together in the Holy Eucharist cannot compensate for, let alone create, unity in faith (ibid.), so too sharing the typos of Baptism (if it is actually shared) cannot create ecclesiastical unity or even a so-called “partial” unity.

Moreover, just as the Eucharist is celebrated and received locally and visibly, such that the separation of the heterodox from participation in the Eucharist is likewise visible and local, so too is Baptism performed in the local Eucharistic Synaxis, from which the heterodox are necessarily excluded. The One Church does not exist as an abstract idea, but is manifested visibly in time and space as the local Church. “One cannot be baptized into the Catholic Church without belonging at the same time to a local Church,” [4] for the local Church, “as an ‘organism,’ a sacramental body, is not a ‘part’ or a ‘member’ of a wider universal organism. It is the very Church itself.” [5] Likewise, one cannot be baptized into the “Catholic Church” of Christ without being in communion with all of the members of the Body, for Christ, the Head of the Church, is inseparable from all of His members. “Why,” asks St. John Chrysostom, “letting go the Head, dost thou cling to the members? If thou art fallen off from it, thou art lost.” [6] Whether one falls from the Head or from the Body, the result is the same: he has lost both the one and the other.


"The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honoured by the name of Christian, but do not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter" (Lumen gentium 15). Those "who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church" (Unitatis redintegratio 3). With the Orthodox Churches, this communion is so profound "that it lacks little to attain the fullness that would permit a common celebration of the Lord's Eucharist" (Paul VI, Discourse, 14 December 1975; cf. Unitatis redintegratio 13-18). - The Catholic Catechism


There is, therefore, no basis to suppose, as proponents of Unitatis Redintegratio and the new ecclesiology do, that “despite divisions and mutual condemnations all communities of the baptized . . . are in communion,” [7] even if only partially. Communion is one both vertical and horizontal, both with God and among men, both between the Head and His Body, and it is full and only full: “being complete here and complete there also.” [8] The Lord shows no partiality, but distributes the gifts to all alike within the Body. Once united, all become a single house, all are related and brothers in Christ. Just as there can be no partial Christ, there can be no partial communion in Christ, for the Body of communion, “which is his body, [is] the fulness of him that filleth all in all” (Eph. 1: 23). From the moment one is a member, the communion he enjoys in Christ is full, for Christ only gives Himself fully. Whether or not he fully actualizes this self-offering of Christ is not an institutional but an individual issue, and that within the Body.

Whether we speak of one Mystery or another, of Baptism or the Eucharist, one and the same Christ is offering Himself to man, uniting man to Himself. This unity with God is accomplished in the mysteries, all of which have certain presuppositions, first of all, and common to all, unity in faith. That is why what Fr. Dimitru Staniloae insists upon, and warns against, with regard to the Eucharist and “intercommunion” is equally true of Baptism and “partial communion”:

“Ecclesiastical unity, unity in faith, and unity in the Holy Eucharist are all three inseparable and interdependent for the total communion and life in Christ. Consequently, the Orthodox Church cannot accept “intercommunion,” which separates communion in the Holy Eucharist from unity in faith and ecclesiastical unity. More correctly, “intercommunion” is a danger which threatens to destroy the Church, break up the unity of faith and [communion in] the Holy Eucharist [among the Orthodox].” [9]

So, too, the Orthodox Church cannot accept “partial” or “incomplete” communion in a “common Baptism,” for there can be no division between the Mysteries and the Mystery and between Christ in the Mysteries and Christ in whom we believe and trust, whom we confess, and in whom we have our being, our unity. Therefore, the acceptance of an “incomplete communion” between the Church and the heterodox is, like intercommunion in the Eucharist, a grave danger to the unity of the body of Christ. The body of the Church is joined together with the Lord such that, as St. John Chrysostom has written, even the slightest division, the slightest “imperfection” or “incompleteness,” would eventually bring the dissolution of the entire body. ~

Read more here


[1] Archimandrite Kallistos Ware, Communion and Intercommunion: A Study of Communion and Intercommunion Based on the Theology and Practice of the Eastern Church (Minneapolis: Light and Life, 1980), 16.

[2] Fr. Georges Florovsky, “Terms of Communion in the Undivided Church,” in Intercommunion. The Report of the Theological Commission Appointed by the Continuation Committee of the World Conference on Faith and Order together with a Selection from the Material Presented to the Commission, ed. D. Baillie and John Marsh (London, 1952), 50, as quoted in Ware, Communion and Intercommunion, 16– 17. Professor George Galitis is also quoted by Ware in the same vein, that in the ancient Church “there is only communion and non-communion” (G. Galitis, The Problem of Intercommunion with the Heterodox from an Orthodox Point of View: A Biblical and Ecclesiological Study [in Greek] [Athens, 1966], 24– 25.) It is important to note that Fr. Georges Florovsky, whose views are often cited in support of versions of theories of baptismal theology-ecclesiology, quite early on explicitly qualified his scholarly musings on the views of St. Augustine and stated that the Saint’s views were “no more than a ‘theologoumenon,’ a doctrine set forth by a single Father.” Likewise, he urged the Orthodox to take it into account, not for its own sake or on its own terms, and certainly not as it has been played out within Latin theology, but simply as one view that can aid in the formation of a “true ecumenical synthesis.” Indeed, Fr. Florovsky lamented that the Orthodox have too often expounded upon the doctrine of the sacraments using the Roman model, without any creative or transforming adoption of St. Augustine’s conception. On the contrary, Fr. Florovsky formally and firmly rejected the theory of primordial unity in a common Baptism as is stressed by Roman Catholicism, explaining that it, like the Protestant branch theory, glosses over and minimizes the scandal of “dis-union,” which for him was to be faced forthrightly and explained in terms of “the true [Orthodox] Church and secessions.” Florovsky stressed the unity of the mysteries, especially the first three, and hence thought less in terms of regeneration linked to Baptism than of incorporation into the common Body of Christ in the Eucharist. See Andrew Blane, Georges Florovksy, Russian Intellectual and Orthodox Churchman (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1997), 311– 17.

[3] Ware, Communion and Intercommunion, 20.

[4] Ware, Communion and Intercommunion, 23.

[5] Schmemann, “Unity, Division, Reunion.”

[6] PG 62.344.36: Τί τοίνυν τὴν κεφαλὴν ἀφεὶς, ἔχει τῶν μελῶν; ἐὰν ἐκεῖθεν ἐκπέσῃς, ἀπόλωτας.

[7] Jorge A. Scampini, “We acknowledge one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins,” address given at the Faith and Order Plenary Commission in Kuala, Malaysia, July 28– August 6, 2004. It is significant to note that Pope John Paul II, in his encyclical Ut Unum Sint (par. 42), linked this idea of deep communion in spite of division to “baptismal character,” thus following faithfully the precedent established by Congar, Bea, and Vatican II: “The very expression separated brethren tends to be replaced today by expressions which more readily evoke the deep communion— linked to the Baptismal character— which the Spirit fosters in spite of historical and canonical divisions. Today we speak of “other Christians,” “others who have received Baptism,” and “Christians of other Communities.” . . . This broadening of vocabulary is indicative of a significant change in attitudes. There is an increased awareness that we all belong to Christ.”

[8] PG 63.131.39, Saint John Chrysostom, Homily on the Epistle to the Hebrews, 17.6.

[9] Dimitru Staniloae, Γιὰ ἕναν Ὀρθόδοξο Οἰκουμενισμὸ [Toward an Orthodox Ecumenism] (Athens, 1976), 29.

<![CDATA[Journey to Life: Baptized into Christ in the Orthodox Church – The Miraculous Journey from Lutheranism, through eastern religions, to Orthodoxy]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/journey-to-life-baptized-into-christ-in-the-orthodox-church https://orthodoxethos.com/post/journey-to-life-baptized-into-christ-in-the-orthodox-church The miraculous journey from Lutheranism, through eastern religions, to the Orthodox Church.

This story has so much to teach us all – but especially Orthodox bishops and priests. In this video one sees the marvelous response of God to one man’s determined and pained search for spiritual health and healing and his simple and humble acceptance of the providence of God.

Seraphim was born, baptized, confirmed and raised as a Lutheran, although a nominal observer, who later, for lack of fulfillment and meaning in his life, sought out eastern religious experiences. After passing through much suffering and pain as a result of opening himself up to the spirits present in these religions, the Mother of God herself visited Him and revealed to him the truth of Christ and the Church.

Initially received by chrismation, but not being healed of his spiritual ills, he was led again by God to a mountain monastery in Romania where he finally found freedom, healing and new life in Christ in Baptism – and where he finally, experientially understood «what this Orthodoxy is all about!»

This is a message that every Orthodox shepherd of souls needs to listen to attentively, for it comes from a man in search of healing for his soul – totally unaffected by, or even aware of, ecclesiastical politics, ecumenical perceptions or theories, or canonical or pastoral justifications of oikonomia.

<![CDATA[Heavenly Psalmody from Mt. Athos: The Universal Glory / Την Παγκόσμιον Δόξαν – Blessed Elder Ephraim of Xeropotamou / ο Μακαριστός Γέρων Εφραίμ Ξηροποταμινός]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/heavenly-psalmody-from-mt-athos-the-universal-glory-thn-pagkosmion-do3an https://orthodoxethos.com/post/heavenly-psalmody-from-mt-athos-the-universal-glory-thn-pagkosmion-do3an <![CDATA[Prospective Theology Students: Sign up for a Pilgrimage to Mt. Athos from July 6-18, 2018!]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/prospective-theology-students-sign-up-for-a-pilgrimage-to-mt-athos-from-july-6-18-2018 https://orthodoxethos.com/post/prospective-theology-students-sign-up-for-a-pilgrimage-to-mt-athos-from-july-6-18-2018 Dear Friends,

We will (once again) be hosting a summer retreat and pilgrimage to Thessaloniki and Mt. Athos for present, past or future students of theology (roughly ages 19-30), including those only considering the priesthood or attending seminary.

There are up to 15 spots available for this 12 day intensive program which will include:

  1. A five day pilgrimage to Mount Athos, where we’ll meet with contemporary elders and Abbots (July 13-17).
  2. The all-night vigil at the Monastery of St. John the Theologian in Souroti, for the feast of Saint Paisios the Athonite (July 12).
  3. A five day program of services, lectures, discussion and visits to Thessaloniki and local monasteries from our base in the mountain-top village of Petrokerasa outside of Thessaloniki. We will invite spiritual fathers and elders from Northern Greece, as well as professors of theology from the University of Thessaloniki, to visit with and speak to the participants.

Below is a description of the two-week program.

The deadline is March 30th. After that the price will rise.

Sincerely in Christ Jesus,

Fr. Peter Heers
Assistant Professor of Holy Scripture
Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary
Jordanville, New York

For more information contact Fr. Peter Heers (uncutmountainpress@gmail.com)


A 12 day pilgrimage to Thessaloniki, Mount Athos and select Monasteries in Northern Greece which includes meetings with Athonite Elders and Spiritual Fathers, Abbots and Abbesses of Monasteries in Northern Greece, Professors of Theology from the University of Thessaloniki, talks and presentations on contemporary challenges facing the Church, Divine Services and the 9 hour Vigil for St. Paisios the Athonite held at the Monastery of Souroti, where he reposed and was buried.

During the retreat portion of the trip, participants will be hosted in a newly-built guest house in the village of Petrokerasa, in the mountains outside of Thessaloniki, where they will spend the first five days of their stay participating in a spiritual program of prayer, discussions, lectures and walks to mountain-side chapels, and from where they will also make one-day trips to nearby monasteries and the historic churches of Thessaloniki.

During the second part of their stay, they will travel to Mount Athos for a five day pilgrimage to the Monasteries, Sketes and Kellia of the Garden of the Theotokos and 1000+ year old Monastic Republic. The Participants will meet with elders and experienced monastics and have an opportunity to learn from their example and wisdom.


  • JUL 6 Friday — Depart from U.S./Canada/UK/Australia
  • JUL 18 Wednesday — Return to U.S./Canada/UK/Australia

  • JUL 7 Arrive in Greece
  • JUL 7-11 — In Petrokerasa
  • JUL 11 Evening — Vigil for Elder Paisios (Souroti) (8:00pm-4:30am)
  • JUL 12-17 — On Athos
  • JUL 18 — Depart for U.S./Canada/UK/Australia


  1. Pilgrimage to Mt. Athos
    Our five day pilgrimage to Mt. Athos will include visits to both large Coenobitic Monasteries and smaller sketes and kellia, so that our young pilgrims will experience the spectrum of monastic life that exists on Holy Mountain. The pilgrims will have an opportunity to speak with experienced spiritual fathers and abbots on the Holy Mountain, a blessing which is not available to most visitors.
  2. Trips to Local Monasteries
    Two trips are planned to nearby monasteries, which may include Meteora, the Timios Prodromos Monastery in Serres, the Monastery of the Metemorphosis in Sohos, where the Elder Ioannikios resides (he is the author of the Athonite Gerontikon), and to the Monastery of St. Arsenios the Cappadocian, in Ormylia, Chalkidiki, which was founded with the blessing of Elder Paisios the Athonite.
  3. Two days will be set aside for visits to Thessaloniki, both to see the historic churches of Ss. Demetrios and Gregory Palamas and to shop in the marketplace, which includes many ecclesiastical goods shops.
  4. Vigil for the Feast of St. Paisios the Athonite at the Monastery of St. John the Theologian in Souroti, Greece, which was where the Saint reposed and his relics are interred.
  5. During our stay in Petrokerasa, we’ll take walks out into the countryside, to the chapels, of which the parish of Petrokerasa has six, where we’ll hold vespers and compline. In the evenings, there will be a presentation or a talk on a particular topic, followed by a general discussion.


  1. Past, present or future students of theology can participate. Because the program includes a 5 day trip to Mount Athos, the program is only open to men. Also, participants will only be accepted if they have a letter of recommendation from their spiritual father or bishop.
  2. The Facilities and Stay in Petrokerasa
    We have facilities here – brand new! – that can host up to 15 individuals. They include, in addition to rooms, a large kitchen and dining hall, a smaller kitchen and several showers and bathrooms. The hall is equipped with a large interactive screen (whiteboard) which will be used during presentations to the participants.
  3. Cost for Participants
    Each participant would have to fund their travel to and from Thessaloniki, provide $500 for the room, board and non-Athonite travel of the program, $50 for the Athos diamonitirion (visa) and roughly $50 for common travel expenses on Mt. Athos.


This is a unique opportunity for Orthodox from abroad to quickly and intensely be immersed in the life, ethos and teaching of Orthodoxy in Northern Greece.

The advantages of visiting Thessaloniki and Mount Athos as a part of this program, as opposed to on one’s own, should be obvious: the participants will not only spend less money, but will, in the span of 12 days be thoroughly and directly introduced to the spiritual environment of Orthodoxy in Greece and on Athos.

For more information contact Fr. Peter Heers (uncutmountainpress@gmail.com)

<![CDATA[The Patristic View of the Baptism of Heretics – Excerpt from the Synaxarion (Lives of the Saints) of the Orthodox Church and the Procatecheis of St. Cyril of Jerusalem]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/the-patristic-view-of-the-baptism-of-heretics https://orthodoxethos.com/post/the-patristic-view-of-the-baptism-of-heretics SYNAXARION for December 7th


The woman hated the doctrine of the wicked-minded * Wondrously she endured burning. O what manliness!

On December seventh, we celebrate the memory of a certain Orthodox woman of Rome. Her name is unknown to us, but we must surely call her blessed. In the year 474, the Arians raised up a terrible persecution against the Orthodox Catholic Christians. Sunilda, the wife of the Arian ruler of Rome, took it upon herself to attempt to force one Orthodox woman to accept the baptism of the Arians. The woman would not consent, so the Arians seized her, took her by force to one of their churches, and immersed her into the water in the presence of the Arian bishop. As she came out of the water, she turned to her handmaid who was holding a purse. She took two coins out of the purse, handed them to the Arian bishop, and said to him, “Thanks for the bath.” This so enraged the Arians, they dragged her out of their temple, tied her to a post, and burned her alive. Through her holy intercessions, O God, have mercy and save us. Amen.

~ ~ ~

On the One Baptism and the Baptism of Heretics, from the Procatechesis (7) of St. Cyril of Jerusalem

"The washing (of baptism) is not received two or three times. In such a case it might be said, 'Failing once, I will do it successfully a second time.' But if you fail the first time, there is no making it right. 'For there is one Lord, and one faith, and one baptism'" (Eph 4.5). For only heretics are re-baptized, since their former baptism was not really baptism."

(Οὐκ ἔνι δὶς καὶ τρὶς λαβεῖν τὸ λουτρόν· ἐπεὶ ἦν εἰπεῖν· Ἅπαξ ἀποτυχών, δεύτερον κατορθῶ· ἐὰν δὲ τὸ ἅπαξ  ἀποτύχῃς, ἀδιόρθωτον τὸ πρᾶγμα. «Εἷς γὰρ κύριος, καὶ μία πίστις, καὶ ἓν βάπτισμα·» μόνον γὰρ αἱρετικοί τινες ἀναβαπτίζονται, ἐπειδὴ τὸ πρότερον οὐκ ἦν βάπτισμα.)

<![CDATA[A Public Statement on Orthodox Deaconesses – by Concerned Clergy and Laity [UPDATED: 56 signatories]]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/a-public-statement-on-orthodox-deaconesses https://orthodoxethos.com/post/a-public-statement-on-orthodox-deaconesses The Patriarchate of Alexandria’s appointment of six “deaconesses” in the Congo in February 2017 has prompted calls in some corners for other local churches to follow suit. In particular, a group of Orthodox liturgical scholars has issued an open statement of support for Alexandria, declaring that the “restoration of the female diaconate is such that neither doctrinal issues nor authoritative precedents are at stake.”1

We, the undersigned clergy and laity, beg to differ and are writing now with three purposes: to question what was accomplished in the Congo, to clarify the historical record on the place of deaconesses in Orthodox tradition, and to point out the serious doctrinal issues raised by the appointment of deaconesses.

First, as to what was accomplished in the Congo, we note that the Patriarch of Alexandria did not use the Byzantine rite of ordination for deaconesses.2 He laid hands [cheirothetise] on one woman making her “Deaconess of the Mission” and then prayed over five other women using a “prayer for one entering ecclesiastical ministry,” a generic blessing in the Greek-language archieratikon for a layman starting church work. He did not bestow an orarion upon any of the women yet had the five women assist in washing his hands, as subdeacons would. All this was done not during the Divine Liturgy, as with an ordination, but at its end. These facts, plus anecdotal reports from Africa that these new deaconesses have been assigned the duties of readers, call into question the claim that what happened in the Congo was truly a “restoration of the female diaconate,” for their manner of making and assigned duties bear only partial resemblance to those of ancient deaconesses.

Second, what can be said with certainty about the historical presence, role, and status of deaconesses in the Orthodox Church is that setting apart women as deaconesses was just one of several ways the early Church sought to protect the modesty of women by entrusting certain women with certain duties such as assisting in baptizing and anointing adult women and visiting women in their homes where and when men were not permitted, strictly within the limits specified for women by the Holy Apostles in Holy Scripture. The duties and status of deaconesses varied with time and place, as did the way deaconesses were appointed. The same duties were also assigned to widows, laywomen, male clergy, or nuns, so the need for deaconesses did not exist universally. Much of the ancient Church never had deaconesses. Outside Syria, Anatolia, Greece, and Palestine, deaconesses were rare to nonexistent.3

Deaconesses were also not without controversy. Several local councils prohibited their appointment (Nîmes in 396; Orange in 441; Epaone in 517; Orleans in 533), and many texts testify to the concern of Church Fathers to minimize their role, sometimes in favor of widows. The order appears to have peaked in the fifth or sixth century, surviving mainly in major eastern cities as an honorary office for pious noblewomen, the wives of men made bishops, and the heads of female monastic communities. The twelfth-century canonist Theodore Balsamon wrote that the “deaconesses” in Constantinople in his day were not true deaconesses. A century later, St. Athanasius, Patriarch of Constantinople, ordered that no new deaconesses were to be made. Scattered proposals and attempts to appoint deaconesses again in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries did not receive enough support to cause a lasting revival of the order. Even now, other autocephalous Orthodox Churches have not rushed to follow the example of Alexandria.

Third, some blame resistance to deaconesses on a worldly, purely cultural prejudice against women, but that accusation treats the Church herself unfairly, even contemptuously, by ignoring legitimate prudential objections to the making of deaconesses motivated by genuine concern for the preservation of truly Christian and plainly Apostolic respect for the distinction of male and female, to which our post-Christian world is increasingly hostile.

The liturgists’ statement itself gives cause for such concern. Its argument for “reviving” the order of deaconess is not based on the needs of the women to be served by deaconesses—needs that somehow require ordination, needs that nuns, laywomen, laymen, or male clergy are not already meeting. Rather, the statement’s argument is based on the supposed need of women to be deaconesses. Making them deaconesses would be a “positive response” to the “contemporary world,” an “opportunity for qualified women to offer in our era their unique and special gifts,” and a “special way” to emphasize the “dignity of women and give recognition to her [sic] contribution to the work of the Church.”4 Such justifications denigrate the vocation of Orthodox laity, implying that only clerics serve the Church in meaningful ways, contrary to Orthodox belief that all Orthodox Christians receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit and a personal calling to serve the Church at Holy Chrismation.

The liturgists’ statement also makes clear that they do not intend a true “restoration” of the ancient order of deaconesses; their aim is a new order of clergywomen authorized to do things never done by Orthodox deaconesses and in some cases explicitly forbidden by Apostolic ordinance and Church canons. They would have women preach, which the Apostles and Fathers never allowed in church. They leave open the question of other liturgical duties, admitting no limitation that bishops must respect. They question which “qualities and qualifications” truly matter, doubting whether deaconesses must be mature and unmarried, despite the ancient rule, most forcefully insisted upon in the sixth century by St. Justinian as emperor, that deaconesses be at least middle-aged and remain celibate as deaconesses.5

The liturgists’ most ominous assertion is their subtle note, in anticipation of popular opposition, that “adequate preparation and education” are needed not of the women to be appointed deaconesses but “of the people who will be called upon to receive, honor, and respect the deaconesses assigned to their parishes.” Clearly, they foresee the need to force clergy and laity to accept deaconesses, which is hardly trusting of the Holy Spirit or respectful of the Orthodox Church’s traditional regard for episcopal authority.

In sum, the statement’s emphasis on gratifying women, disregarding tradition, and resorting to force gives evidence of a feminist perspective and approach consistent with the faithless western world but not with the Orthodox Church. More evidence of the liturgists’ perspective is available elsewhere. For example, two of the liturgists have called for the removal of Ephesians 5 from the Rite of Crowning on the grounds that it is inconsistent with modern thinking and therefore likely to be misunderstood. They suggest a different epistle or perhaps a sanitized version of Ephesians 5 without verse 33 (“Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence [phobētai, fear] her husband.”).6

Given this state of faith, we believe the appointment of deaconesses in any form in the present era is likely to divide the Church and distress the faithful by challenging the Church’s basic understanding of human nature. God has made every one of us either male or female and ordained that we live accordingly as either a man or a woman. He has also provided us with many authoritative precepts distinguishing men and women, in the Law, in the Holy Apostles, in the canons of the Church, and in the literature of our Holy Fathers, in passages too numerous to cite. But if laws and canons and precepts are not enough to turn us to repentance, God has given us two distinct models of perfected humanity, one male and one female: Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Word of God, and His Most Pure Mother, the Theotokos, whose icons stand always before us in worship as reminders of what we are meant to be as men and women.

Yet there are advocates of deaconesses who wish to see women treated the same as men in the Church as in the world and who therefore use the rite of “ordination” (cheirotonia) of deaconesses in a handful of Byzantine service books to argue that deaconesses were once “major clergy.” These advocates covet the rank, honor, and authority of the clergy. Some would have deaconesses be just like deacons, only female. They would up-end the natural and economical order of male and female to raise women over men in the hierarchy of the Church. They would ordain women who are young, married, and with children, and they would give them a vocal role in worship and all the authority a deacon might exercise over men as well as women. The liturgists do not go that far, but their statement leaves open that possibility by either ignoring or questioning traditional limits on deaconesses, while stressing the exclusive prerogative of bishops to make of deaconesses what they will.

We cannot, therefore, take seriously the liturgists’ claim that “restoration of the female diaconate is such that neither doctrinal issues nor authoritative precedents are at stake.” Neither can we accept their assurances that deaconesses today will not lead to priestesses tomorrow, knowing where similar incremental innovations have led in heterodox communions. We also ought not to think only of what we ourselves might tolerate today. We must think generationally. Just as children who grow up in parishes with female readers are more likely to believe as adults that women should be deacons or deaconesses, so children who grow up in parishes with deaconesses will be more likely to believe as adults that women should be priests and bishops.

We therefore entreat all Orthodox hierarchs, other clergy, and theologians to uphold the dogmatic teaching of the Church concerning the creation and calling of man as male and female by resisting the divisive call to appoint deaconesses.

Add your name to the statement on the AOIUSA website.

Endnotes [Signatures follow]

1 Evangelos Theodorou, et al., “Orthodox Liturgists Issued a Statement of Support for the Revival of the Order of Deaconess by the Patriarchate of Alexandria,” Panorthodox Synod, https://panorthodoxcemes.blogspot.ca/2017/10/ortho..., Oct. 24, 2017.

2 See “Το Πατριαρχείο Αλεξανδρείας για Διακόνισσες και Αγία Σύνοδο,” Romfea, http://www.romfea.gr/epikairotita-xronika/11485-to..., Nov. 16, 2016; and, “Στην Αφρική εόρτασε τα ονομαστήρια του ο Πατριάρχης Θεόδωρος,” Romfea, http://www.romfea.gr/patriarxeia-ts/patriarxeio-al..., Feb. 18, 2017.

3 For the most in-depth study of the subject, see Aimé Georges Martimort, Deaconesses: An Historical Study, trans. K.D. Whitehead (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1986). For a thorough study of Orthodox deaconesses before their disappearance, see Brian Patrick Mitchell, “The Disappearing Deaconess: How the Hierarchical Ordering of the Church Doomed the Female Diaconate,” http://www.brianpatrickmitchell.com/wp-content/upl....

4 The “positive response” and “special way” are from the report of the Inter-Orthodox Symposium in Rhodes in 1988 titled, “The Place of the Woman in the Orthodox Church and the Question of the Ordination of Women” (Istanbul: The Ecumenical Patriarchate, 1988), which the liturgists quote approvingly.

5 The minimum age for deaconesses changed several times over the years: The emperor St. Theodosius the Great set it at 60 in 390, the age the Apostle Paul set for enrolled widows in 1 Timothy 5:9, which St. Theodosius’s legislation mentioned. Canon 15 of Chalcedon lowered it to 40 in 451. St. Justinian’s Novella 6 raised it to 50 in 535, making an exception for women living in hermitages and having no contact with men. His Novella 123 lowered it to 40 again in 546, which Canon 14 of III Constantinople (in Trullo) confirmed in 692.

6 Alkiviadis Calivas and Philip Zymaris, “Ephesians 5:20-33 as the Epistle Reading for the Rite of Marriage: Appropriate or Problematic?” Public Orthodoxy, https://publicorthodoxy.org/2017/09/08/ephesians-r..., accessed Nov. 4, 2017.

Archimandrite Luke (Murianka), D.A. (Cand.), Rector & Associate Professor of Patrology, Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary (ROCOR)

Archpriest Chad Hatfield, D.Min., D.D., President, St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (OCA)

Archpriest Alexander F.C. Webster, Ph.D., Dean & Professor of Moral Theology, Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary (ROCOR)

Protopresbyter George A. Alexson, Ph.D. (Cand.), Holy Apostles Greek Orthodox Church (GOAA), Sterling, VA

Mitred Archpriest Victor Potapov, St. John the Baptist Russian Orthodox Cathedral (ROCOR), Washington, DC

Archimandrite Demetrios (Carellas), Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (GOAA)

Archpriest A. James Bernstein, St. Paul Orthodox Church (AOCANA), Lynnwood, WA

Archpriest Lawrence Farley, St. Herman of Alaska Orthodox Church (OCA), Langley, BC

Archpriest Stephen Freeman, St. Anne Orthodox Church (OCA), Oak Ridge, TN

Archpriest Patrick Henry Reardon, All Saints Orthodox Church (AOCANA), Senior Editor, Touchstone, Chicago, IL

Archpriest Lawrence Margitich, St. Seraphim of Sarov Orthodox Church (OCA), Santa Rosa, CA

Archpriest Peter Heers, D.Th., Assistant Professor of Old and New Testament, Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary (ROCOR)

Archpriest Geoffrey Korz, All Saints of North America Orthodox Church (OCA), Hamilton Ontario

Archpriest Miroljub Srb. Ruzic, St. Nicholas the Wonderworker Orthodox Church (OCA), Center for Slavic and East European Studies, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH

Archpriest David C. Straut, St. Elizabeth the New Martyr Orthodox Church (ROCOR), Rocky Hill, NJ

Archpriest John Whiteford, St. Jonah Orthodox Church (ROCOR), Spring, TX

Hieromonk Patrick (John) Ramsey, Ph.D. (ROCOR), [On loan to the Metropolis of Limassol, Cyprus], Distance Tutor, Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies, Cambridge, England

Hieromonk Alexander (Reichert), Acting Abbot, SS. Sergius & Herman of Valaam Monastery (ROCOR), Atlantic Mine, MI

Hieromonk Alexis Trader, D.Th., Karakallou Monastery, Mt. Athos (Greece)

Fr. John E. Afendoulis, St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church (GOAA), Newport, RI

Fr. Kristian Akselberg, D.Phil. (Cand.), St Andrew's Greek Orthodox Church (Ecumenical Patriarchate}, London, England

Fr. John Boddecker, SS. Theodore Orthodox Church (ROCOR), Buffalo, NY

Fr. Christopher Allen, SS. Joachim and Anna Orthodox Church (ROCOR), San Antonio, TX

Fr. Ignatius Green, Holy Virgin Protection Russian Orthodox Church (ROCOR), Nyack, NY, Editor, St Vladimir's Seminary Press

Chaplain (Major) George Ruston Hill, U.S. Army, Ethics Instructor, The Judge Advocate General's Legal Center and School, Charlottesville, VA

Fr. Johannes Jacobse, St. Peter the Apostle Orthodox Church (AOCANA), Bonita Springs, FL

Fr. Andrew Kishler, St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church (AOCANA), Spring Valley, IL

Fr. Nathaniel Johnson, Saint Lawrence Orthodox Church (GOAA), Felton, CA

Fr. Seraphim Majmudar, Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church (GOAA), Tacoma, WA

Fr. John A. Peck, All Saints of North America Orthodox Church (GOAA), Sun City, AZ

Fr. John Schmidt (OCA-ROEA), St. Elias Orthodox Church, Ellwood City, PA

Chaplain (Captain) Christopher Moody, U.S. Army (GOAA), Fort Sill, OK

Fr. Gregory Telepneff, Th.D., Senior Research Scholar, Center for Traditionalist Orthodox Studies

Protodeacon Brian Patrick Mitchell, St. John the Baptist Russian Orthodox Cathedral (ROCOR) , Washington, DC

Deacon Nicholas Dujmovic, Ph.D., Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Politics, Protection of the Holy Mother of God Orthodox Church (OCA-ROEA), Falls Church, VA

Deacon Stephen Hayes, D.Th., Archdiocese of Johannesburg and Pretoria, Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa

Deacon Alexander William Laymon, Colonel, U.S. Army, Retired, St. Herman of Alaska Orthodox Church (ROCOR), Stafford, VA

Deacon Michael Pavuk, Director of Development, Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary (ROCOR), Jordanville, NY

Deacon Ananias Sorem, Ph.D., Lecturer in Philosophy, California State U. at Fullerton, Falling Asleep of the Ever-Virgin Mary Church (OCA-ROEA), Anaheim, CA

Deacon Alexander William Laymon, Colonel, U.S. Army, Retired, St. Herman of Alaska Orthodox Church (ROCOR), Stafford, VA

Teena H. Blackburn, Lecturer in Philosophy and Religion, Eastern Kentucky University

David Bradshaw, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy, University of Kentucky

Mark J. Cherry, Ph.D., Professor in Applied Ethics, Department of Philosophy , St. Edward's University

Corinna Delkeskamp-Hayes, Editor, Christian Bioethics, Freigericht, Germany

Tristram Engelhardt, Jr., Ph.D., M.D., Professor, Rice University, Professor Emeritus, Baylor College of Medicine

Bruce V. Foltz, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, Eckerd College

David Ford, Ph.D., Professor of Church History, St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (OCA)

Nancy Forderhase, Ph.D., Emerita Professor of History, Eastern Kentucky University

Ana S. Iltis, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy, Director, Center for Bioethics, Health and Society, Wake Forest University

Nathan A. Jacobs, Ph.D., Visiting Scholar of Philosophy, University of Kentucky, President, 5Sees Production Company

Joel Kalvesmaki, Ph.D. , Editor in Byzantine Studies, Dumbarton Oaks

James Kushiner, Executive Editor, Touchstone , Chicago, IL

George Michalopulos, Editor and Publisher, Monomakhos.com

Sampson (Ryan) Nash, MD, MA, Director, The Ohio State University Center for Bioethics, Associate Professor of Medicine, The Ohio State University College of Medicine

Alfred Kentigern Siewers, Ph.D., Associate Professor of English, Bucknell University

*Names of organizations are for identification only.

Point of contact for inquiries: Protodeacon Brian Patrick Mitchell,protodeaconpatrick@gmail.com

Over at the AOI site there is an option to add your name:


<![CDATA[The Moscow Patriarchate on The “Council” of Crete – Resolutions of the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church (29TH NOVEMBER – 2ND DECEMBER 2017)]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/the-moscow-patriarcahte-on-the-council-of-crete https://orthodoxethos.com/post/the-moscow-patriarcahte-on-the-council-of-crete Excerpts:

37. The Bishops’ Council approves the evaluation of the Council of First Hierarchs and bishops of ten Local Orthodox Churches which took place on the island of Crete from 18th to 26th June 2016 which is contained in the decision of the Holy Synod of 15th June 2016 (Journal no.48). This Council cannot be viewed as Ecumenical, and the decisions taken at it cannot be viewed as binding for the entire Orthodox Church since in the absence of the agreement of a number of Local autocephalous Orthodox Churches on holding the Council at a time early agreed upon the principle of consensus was violated. At the same time, we ought to recognize the Council on Crete as a significant event in the history of the Orthodox Church.

38. An analysis of the documents of the Council of Crete entrusted by the Holy Synod to the Synodal Biblical and Theological Commission has shown that some of them contain unclear and ambiguous formulations, which does not allow us to consider them exemplary expressions of the truths of the Orthodox faith and the Church’s Tradition. This is especially true of the document on “The Relationships of the Orthodox Church with the rest of the Christian world,” which was not signed by two thirds of the members of the delegation of the Serbian Orthodox Church, as well as by individual bishops of a number of other Local Churches which took part in the work of the Council on Crete, which testifies to a significant difference in opinion in relation to this document even among the participants of the Council of Crete.

39. The members of the Council note the ambiguous attitude towards the Council which took place on Crete among the family of the Local Orthodox Churches, noting the commentaries of the Holy Synods of the Patriarchates of Antioch (27th June 2016), Bulgaria (15th November 2016) and Georgia (22nd December 2016) which expressed a critical attitude towards the Council of Crete. Also, hierarchs of a number of other Local Churches and the Holy Koinotita and the monasteries of Mount Athos have also given detailed commentaries on the documents of the Council of Crete and its method of adopting decisions.

40. The Holy Council expresses the belief that the preservation and strengthening of the unity of the Holy Orthodox Church, independent of its position on the Council of Crete, is the common task of all the Local autocephalous Orthodox Churches, both those which took part in the Council on Crete as well as of those which abstained from taking part in it. The bolstering of inter-Orthodox cooperation acquires special importance in this regard.


<![CDATA[UPDATE: Uncut Mountain Press Fund-Raising Campaign a TOTAL SUCCESS – Go Fund Campaign Raises $17,100 in just over 10 Days to Re-Launch the Publishing Work of UMP]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/update-uncut-mountain-press-fund-raising-campaign-a-total-success https://orthodoxethos.com/post/update-uncut-mountain-press-fund-raising-campaign-a-total-success ANNOUNCEMENT from Fr. Peter Heers, Director of Uncut Mountain Press


A heart-felt THANK YOU to all who helped UMP raise over $17,000!

Within just over 10 days, 109 faithful souls raised $17,100 to re-launch the publishing of the best of Traditional Orthodoxy in Greece and Mt. Athos!

What a joy and an honor to be on the receiving end of your loving-kindness and zeal for the upbuilding of the Body of Christ!

We are indebted to all who sacrificed in any way to support our publishing work. We ask your prayers now as we work diligently to bring to fruition your sacrificial love in your lives and the life of the faithful - for the sake of your souls, our souls and every believer and good-willed seeker.

Our first steps will be:

1. To bring back into circulation all of our out-of-print titles, including The Truth of our Faith, Exomologetarion, Patristic Theology and all of our books (see here for descriptions: https://www.uncutmountainpress.com).

2. To bring quickly to press (God-willing) two important titles previously announced and partially complete: Treatise on the Procession of the Holy Spirit by St. Gregory Palamas ( https://uncutmountainpress.com/books/apodictic-treatise-on-the-procession-of-the-holy-spirit/) and Ecumenism: Origins, Expectations, Disenchantment ( https://uncutmountainpress.com/books/ecumenism/).

3. And, to begin work on our many other projects, future publications which will benefit many, including books by Professor Demetrios Tselengidis, Fr. Anastasios Gotsopoulos and others (see the full list on the GFM campaign page: https://www.gofundme.com/uncut-mountain).

We thank you all for your support and we ask your prayers as we work hard to accomplish these goals over the next few months and years.

This week, however, we have the joy of commencing with the distribution of the Book Rewards to our 109 donors! It is a providential coincidence that this will correspond with the Nativity Season and bring a small, but significant, added joy to you of our supporters.

Finally, for all those who still would like to support the campaign and receive the Book Rewards, you can still do so, both on the GFM campaign webpage or by mailing a check to our Press.

For the purpose of allowing others who desire to help, we have increased the goal amount by $2,000 and will leave the GFM page active for the several more weeks.

For those who prefer to support the Press directly, you can mail your checks to:

Uncut Mountain Press
259 Main Street
Jordanville, NY 13361

Again, we thank you for your support and pray the Lord bless you immensely!

With gratitude to you and entreaty to God on your behalf,

Fr. Peter Heers
Founder and Director of Uncut Mountain Press

<![CDATA[Following the Holy Fathers: Timeless Guides of Authentic Christianity – By Fr. Theodore Zisis, Translated by Fr. John Palmer, Published by New Rome Press]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/following-the-holy-fathers-timeless-guides-of-authentic-christianity https://orthodoxethos.com/post/following-the-holy-fathers-timeless-guides-of-authentic-christianity The English speaking Orthodox world is finally able to gain access to the renowned Patristic scholar and confessor of Faith, Fr. Theodore Zisis with this new translation by Fr. John Palmer of his introduction to the Holy Fathers. Fr. John spent several years near Fr. Theodore when doing his Ph.D. Thesis in Thessaloniki and has given us a true and trusted English version.

May all those who love the Holy Fathers run to buy this text and be greatly benefited!

Following the Holy Fathers: Timeless Guides of Authentic Christianity

Pages: 344

Binding: Sewn softcover

From the Introduction…
It must be clearly established in our minds that the Fathers of the Church, those wise and holy teachers of the Orthodox faith, are not the product of some by-gone age; they are not a thing of the past. This is greatly important since many contemporary Orthodox theologians, having fallen under the influence of non-Orthodox scholars, believe and teach that the mark of antiquity renders an ecclesiastical writer a Father of the Church; in other words, in order to be a Father one must have lived in some ancient era. Consequently, this view divides the Church’s indivisible history according to quality and spiritual depth; it treats the Church as if it were not Christ Himself extended unto the ages of ages, as if during particular eras – such as our own – it had ceased to be guided by the Holy Spirit and to produce saints, teachers and theologians. On the contrary, the Church continues on its course through history ever undiminished in quality, sanctifying through Christ its holy head and through the All-Holy Spirit, who remains eternally and continually within it…

—Protopresbyter Theodoros Zisis

From the Translator’s Introduction…

This book, then, represents a collection of valuable scholarship covering both a broad range of Patristic figures dating from apostolic times to the present day, as well as a wide variety of themes. Moreover, it paints a roughly representative picture of one of Greece’s most important modern Patristic scholars and effectively introduces him to the English-speaking world. Most importantly, though, this volume offers to show readers how an authentic Orthodox Patrologist relates to the lives, text, and teachings of the Holy Fathers.

—Rev. Dr. Fr. John Palmer ]]>
<![CDATA[Archpriest Theodore Zisis: Interview on the “Council of Crete” [GREEK] – ΟΔΥΣΣΕΑ ΤV (Nov. 28, 2017)]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/archpriest-theodore-zisis-interview-on-the-council-of-crete-nov-28-2017 https://orthodoxethos.com/post/archpriest-theodore-zisis-interview-on-the-council-of-crete-nov-28-2017 <![CDATA[FORGED IN FIRE: A Day in the Life of a Seminarian – Holy Trinity Seminary - Giving Tuesday]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/forged-in-fire-a-day-in-the-life-of-seminarian https://orthodoxethos.com/post/forged-in-fire-a-day-in-the-life-of-seminarian DONATE HERE: http://hts.edu/support.html

<![CDATA[Uncut Mountain Press Book Giveaway – The Ecclesiological Renovation of Vatican II among the books to be distributed]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/uncut-mountain-press-book-giveaway https://orthodoxethos.com/post/uncut-mountain-press-book-giveaway Receive a FREE book from Uncut Mountain Press

Enter to get your FREE copy!

GO TO: https://gleam.io/wPCth/uncut-mountain-press-book-giveaway

— Three random entrants will be selected to receive a print copy of "The Ecclesiological Renovation of Vatican II" by Protopresbyter Peter Heers

— Four random entrants will receive one eBook of their choice from Uncut Mountain Press!

Enter below! Contest runs until Monday, December 4th, 2017.


<![CDATA[A Day in the Life of A Seminarian (Trailer) – Holy Trinity Seminary, Jordanville, NY]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/a-day-in-the-life-of-a-seminarian-trailer https://orthodoxethos.com/post/a-day-in-the-life-of-a-seminarian-trailer <![CDATA[“WHEN THEY KILL ME, DON’T CRY FOR ME, BUT PRAY FOR ME” – Remembrances of Fr. Daniel Sysoev by Archimandrite Melchisedek (Artiukhin)]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/when-they-kill-me-dont-cry-for-me-but-pray-for-me https://orthodoxethos.com/post/when-they-kill-me-dont-cry-for-me-but-pray-for-me

Today is already eight years form the beginning of the eternal life of our dear brother and sincere pastor Fr. Daniel Sysoev!

A priest once wrote these words in his last book: “The best end, which only a Christian can imagine, is a martyric death.” These words were written by the murdered priest Daniel Sysoev. His Holiness the patriarch wrote in his message: “The Lord honored his faithful servant with a confessor’s and martyr’s death, and he now abides in the Synaxis of the saints among the righteous, in the Synaxis of spirits made perfect.” St. John Chrysostom once said, “It is not only death that makes martyrs, but the whole dispensation of life.” But the whole dispensation of life.

Fr. Daniel’s mother, Matushka Anna, said, “He grew up a very weak boy, and was near death three times, not distinguished by such a fighting nature as he later had, when he became a priest. He was a very bookish person, always reading books, which led to him needing glasses. Then he went to school. Remember, he was born in ’74; it was ’81 when he was seven—the peak of Soviet life. He missed the beginning of class in September in second grade. His homeroom teacher came to our house and suddenly saw a circle of icons. She was in shock. She told the headmaster, she talked about it at the teachers’ meeting, and they began to brainwash him, overloading him with books from the library. His physics teacher even brought some kind of device to our house (maybe you remember from when you studied), which produced lightning, saying, ‘Look, son, it’s not God in Heaven, and it’s not the prophet Elijah making the lightning—there’s no miracle here—it’s just this device.’ And nothing helped. Once his teacher stood him in front of the entire class and said, ‘Laugh at him. What, you believe in God? What, you know some prayers?’ My son said, ‘Yes, I believe in God, and I know some prayers.’ His confession began in second grade. He was the black sheep in those times, you know—Soviet, terrible godless, a-religious times. When he was six, our family spiritual father, an archimandrite, once asked him, ‘Danyush,[1] what do you want to be—a married priest or a monk?’ And he answered, ‘No, neither.’ ‘Then what?’ ‘The patriarch.’ He was always a maximalist.”

Archimandrite Melchisedek speaks about Fr. Daniel at an evening held in his honor. Photo: pravmir.ru

Archimandrite Melchisedek speaks about Fr. Daniel at an evening held in his honor. Photo: pravmir.ru

I remember, his classmate that he lived with in the same cell for four years at the Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra, said, “He didn’t listen to the teacher in class. He would read books. He was surrounded by books. When we asked him, ‘Why don’t you listen to the teacher?’ he answered, ‘I’ve already read all that.’ But when the teacher would suddenly say something not quite right, he immediately noticed: ‘I’m sorry, but St. Symeon the New Theologian said about that subject…’ The teacher wouldn’t even know how to answer. Such was his knowledge. He told one friend, ‘I can read two-three books a day.’ He was a very shy person. When he was a deacon, having just finished seminary, he would gather dozens and hundreds of people for Bible talks at the Krutitsy podvoriye. I was there for these talks. If you didn’t say bye to him on time, then you couldn’t get out of the hall, because there were so many people. It was impossible to push through to him, and he lived for it; he breathed it.”

He had a choice. Many might think that, in fact, an unexpected death is not a martyric death. Why? But when there is no choice. But remember the words of St. John Chrysostom: “A martyric death comes not only at the moment of death, but is born from the whole will of man.” He received death threats fourteen times. He told his matushka, “I will not live to see thirty-three.” They spoke for a long time between themselves before that, about who would bury whom, and he said, “Let’s pray about it.” And Matushka said, “No, I feel that I will die before you.” And eventually, when he began to pray about it, he said, “No, most likely you will bury me. I think I won’t live to see thirty-three.” “Who will you leave us to?” “Oh,” he said, “I will leave you in reliable hands.” “Whose?” Matushka asked. “The Mother of God’s.”

Fr. Daniel's widow, Matushka Julia, speaking to Metropolitan Hilarion of New York

It was a premonition, and a real sense of death. Matushka Julia said, “I’ve had the impression the last few weeks that death is breathing down my neck.”

The church where Fr. Daniel served was small. When his murderer entered the church, there’s some stairs to the second floor there just inside the door, that the regent, Vladimir Strelbitsky came down. The killer saw his cassock and shot the regent, wounding him in the shoulder, and two women who were there cried out. Fr. Daniel, in the altar, preparing to hear someone’s confession, must have heard this shot, or the women’s cries. And when the murderer yelled out, “Where is Sysoev?! Where is Sysoev?!” it was impossible not to hear it. Fr. Daniel walked out and answered the killer, “That’s me!” He was wounded in the neck, in the carotid artery, and when he fell to the floor, he was fatally shot in the back of the head, and the bullet went through, right through, into the floor of the church. He had a choice. He could have sat it out in the altar, or hidden, escaping through the attic. He didn’t do that.

When we read from the Old Testament on the day of the repose of a martyr, we read these words: He, being made perfect in a short time, fulfilled a long time (Wis. 4:13). It’s possible to live a long time and do nothing for God, for man, or for the Church. And it’s possible to live a short life, but when it’s with God it will be a long life before God, despite the fact that the number of years is not so large.

Not long before his death he told his daughter, “When they kill me, don’t cry for me, but pray for me.” We know that when we pray for sinful people, the Lord hears our prayers and gives them His merciful aid and strength. When we pray for the righteous, this prayer returns to us—our love returns to us.

We have gained a martyr in Heaven, a confessor of Christ, and an intercessor before God for us sinners.

Eternal and blessed memory to the ever-memorable murdered Priest Daniel!!!

Archimandrite Melchisedek (Artiukhin)
Translated by Jesse Dominick



<![CDATA[Tο υπ’ αριθμόν 1 αμάρτημα του Ελληνικού λαού – π. Αθανάσιος Μυτιληναίος ]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/to-yp-ari8mon-1-amarthma-toy-ellhnikoy-laoy https://orthodoxethos.com/post/to-yp-ari8mon-1-amarthma-toy-ellhnikoy-laoy -Η αποδοχή του δυτικού ορθολογιστικού ουμανισμού (το αμάρτημα αρνήσεως της Εκκλησίας).

-Ο πόλεμος εναντίον της Εκκλησίας από εγκάθετους επισκόπους (δεν είμεθα σε θέση να σας ποιμάνομε, φροντίστε να σωθείτε μόνοι σας).

-Ο πόλεμος εναντίον των Μοναστηριών.

-Οι ολέθριες εθνικές συνέπειες με την απώλεια εδαφών και αιχμαλωσία του λαού.

-Η δύναμη της μετανοίας και της εν Χριστώ ζωής.


Μακαριστός Γέροντας π. Αθανάσιος Μυτιληναίος (1927 – 2006)

Απόσπασμα ομιλίας που εκφωνήθηκε στις 25/04 του 1983.

Κἂν ὁλόκληρος δὲ λαὸς ἁμάρτῃ, οὐ νικᾷ τὴν τοῦ Θεοῦ φιλανθρωπίαν. Ἐμοσχοποίησεν ὁ λαὸς, καὶ οὐκ ἀπέστη ὁ Θεὸς τῆς φιλανθρωπίας· ἠρνήσαντο οἱ ἄνθρωποι τὸν Θεὸν, ἀλλ’ ὁ Θεὸς ἑαυτὸν οὐκ ἠρνήσατο. Οὗτοι οἱ θεοί σου Ἰσραὴλ, εἰρήκασιν· καὶ πάλιν συνήθως ὁ Θεὸς τοῦ Ἰσραὴλ, σωτὴρ αὐτῶν ἐγένετο. Καὶ οὐ μόνος δ’ ὁ λαὸς ἥμαρτε, ἀλλὰ καὶ Ἀαρὼν ὁ ἀρχιερεύς. Μωϋσῆς γάρ ἐστιν ὁ λέγων, Καὶ ἐπ’ Ἀαρὼν ἐγένετο ὀργὴ Κυρίου· καὶ ἐδεήθην, φησὶν, ὑπὲρ αὐτοῦ, καὶ συνεχώρησεν αὐτῷ ὁ Θεός. Εἶτα Μωϋσῆς μὲν αἰτῶν ὑπὲρ ἀρχιερέως ἁμαρτάνοντος, ἐδυσώπει τὸν Κύριον· Ἰησοῦς δὲ ὁ μονογενὴς, αἰτῶν ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν οὐ δυσωπεῖ τὸν Θεόν; Κἀκεῖνον μὲν διὰ τὸ πταισθὲν οὐκ ἐκώλυσεν ἐλθεῖν εἰς ἀρχιερωσύνην· σὲ δὲ ἐξ ἐθνῶν ἐλθόντα, κεκώλυκεν εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὴν σωτηρίαν; Μετανόησον, ἄνθρωπε, λοιπὸν καὶ αὐτὸς ὁμοίως, καὶ οὐ κεκώλυταί σοι ἡ χάρις.

Ακόμη, λέγει, όχι μόνο άτομα αλλά και λαός ολόκληρος ακόμη αν αμαρτήσει και αυτόν ο Θεός μπορεί να τον συγχωρήσει, διότι δεν νικούν την φιλανθρωπία του Θεού οι αμαρτίες ενός ολοκλήρου λαού. Και έχει το παράδειγμα εδώ της μοσχοποιήσεως του Ισραήλ. Πριν προχωρήσω όμως για να δούμε την μοσχοποίηση του Ισραήλ θα ‘θελα να σας έλεγα το εξής.

Αλήθεια, ο λαός μας αυτή τη στιγμή έχει πολλές αμαρτίες; Βέβαια κάθε λαός έχει αμαρτίες, όχι ως πρόσωπα αλλά ως λαός. Διότι έχει πάρα πολύ σημασία αυτό, το να δούμε όχι τα άτομα αλλά τον λαό σαν σύνολο. Έχει πάρα πολύ σημασία, το ξαναλέγω. Πράξεις τις οποίες δεν κάνουν πρόσωπα αλλά κάνει ο λαός. Αυτή τη στιγμή ο λαός μας έχει φοβερές αμαρτίες. Όταν λέγω ‘αυτή τη στιγμή’ βέβαια, 160 τόσα χρόνια, να εξηγούμεθα, δηλαδή μετά το 1821. Πράγμα που σας το έχω ξανααναφέρει εδώ, θα το ενθυμήστε αλλά δεν πειράζει αν το ξαναπούμε, ότι ο λαός μας άρχισε να αμαρτάνει όσο δεν αμάρτανε τα 400 χρόνια δουλείας εις τους Τούρκους. Ως λαός το ξαναλέγω.

Και ποια ήταν η αμαρτία του λαού μας; Όχι βεβαίως πορνείες και μοιχείες, αυτά αφορούσαν τον κάθε πολίτη, τον κάθε άνθρωπο και τον κάθε Χριστιανό, αλλά το ξεκίνημα της αμαρτίας του λαού μας ήταν το εξής. Όταν εκείνοι που ήσαν στην Ευρώπη, Έλληνες, και είχαν σπουδάσει έξω και δεν είχαν ζήσει τις λαχτάρες του λαού μας αλλά ζούσαν στην ασφάλεια της Ευρώπης και εκεί εσπούδαζαν, αυτοί είχαν προ πολλού χάσει την Ελληνική τους και την Ορθόδοξή τους ταυτότητα. Ναι μεν ίσως να πίστευαν ακόμα στο θέμα Ελλάς αλλά δεν πίστευαν πια στο θέμα Ορθόδοξος Εκκλησία διότι είχαν υποστεί πολλή φθορά έξω στην Ευρώπη. Και η Ελληνική τους ακόμα αγάπη και αυτή είχε ακόμη υποστεί φθορά, μην το ξεχνάμε. Αυτοί οι άνθρωποι όμως θέλησαν, αλλοτριωμένοι από τις λαχτάρες όπως σας είπα του λαού μας και τις περιπέτειές του, θέλησαν όταν η Ελλάς ελευθερώθηκε να ‘ρθουν στην Ελλάδα και να κυβερνήσουν τον λαό μας. Οι άνθρωποι αυτοί όμως είχανε μείνει ήδη ξένοι στα αισθήματα του λαού και προσπάθησαν να μεταφέρουν στην Ελλάδα τον Ευρωπαϊκόν δυτικόν ανθρωπισμόν με τον οποίον θα αντικαθιστούσαν την Εκκλησίαν.

Βέβαια το θέμα αυτό δεν ήταν καινούριο πάλι και γι’ αυτούς, διότι η περίπτωσις εισόδου του Ευρωπαϊκού ανθρωπισμού-ουμανισμού ήδη είχε σημειωθεί από τα τελευταία χρόνια της Βυζαντινής Αυτοκρατορίας. Βλέπομε μία κίνηση μετά τον 10ον αιώνα να υπάρχει αυτή η τάσις να εισαχθεί στο Βυζάντιο ο δυτικός ουμανισμός. Εξάλλου τα τελευταία χρόνια του Βυζαντίου εδοκιμάσθησαν πολλοί από αυτήν την προσπάθεια και πολλοί λαοί του Βυζαντίου είχανε ήδη χωρισθεί, οι μεν εδέχοντο την Ορθόδοξον Πίστη και θέση και συνεπώς από την Ορθόδοξον Πίστη ΑΠΕΡΡΕΕ ο σωστός θα λέγαμε ανθρωπισμός να το πω έτσι, δηλαδή η σωστή χριστιανική ανθρωπολογία, και εκείνοι οι οποίοι εδέχοντο απ’ τη Δύση τα καινούρια εκείνα φρούτα ως ‘φώτα’ που ήρχοντο δήθεν και που φυσικά αυτοί δεν ξεκινούσαν από την Πίστη αλλά από την φιλοσοφία ή από τον ορθολογισμόν.

Σας σημειώνω μόνον έναν σταθμόν σε αυτήν την περίπτωση, τον Νικόλαο Καβάσιλα. Ο Νικόλαος Καβάσιλας, Θεσσαλονικεύς, θεολόγος μεγάλος, πάρα πολύ ηγωνίσθη εναντίον του ήδη εισερχομένου εις την Ανατολή δυτικού ανθρωπισμού και τα έργα του, όπως είναι κάποιες ομιλίες στην Θεοτόκο ή η εν Χριστώ ζωή, δεν είναι τίποτε άλλο παρά μία απάντησις. Μόνο που ένας που θα τα διαβάσει δε ξέρει γιατί τα έγραψε αυτά ο Καβάσιλας. Τα ‘γραψε ακριβώς για να αναχαιτίσει αυτόν τον δυτικόν ανθρωπισμόν. Το υπογραμμίζω αυτό: αυτόν τον δυτικόν ανθρωπισμόν.

Το αποτέλεσμα είναι ότι ήρθε η Άλωσις της Κωνσταντινουπόλεως και ανεκόπη αυτή η διείσδυσις του δυτικού ανθρωπισμού.

Έφυγαν Έλληνες έξω και εκεί εμπολιάστηκαν με αυτόν τον δυτικόν ανθρωπισμόν. Ο λαός μας όμως ακριβώς ένεκα της μακροτάτης αυτής κατοχής των Τούρκων στην Ελλάδα εγλίτωσε από αυτόν τον ορθολογιστικόν ουμανισμόν, τον φιλοσοφικόν ουμανισμόν. Γλίτωσε. Είναι όπως ακριβώς συμβαίνει με τα αρχαία κτίσματα που σώζονται όσο είναι θαμμένα και δεν τα ανακαλύψαμε. Απ’ τη στιγμή που θα κάνουμε ανασκαφή και θα τα βγάλουμε στην επιφάνεια τότε συμβαίνει το εξής: κινδυνεύουν από τους αρχαιοκαπήλους ή από την φθορά. Όσο μένουν θαμμένα είναι προφυλαγμένα. Εξάλλου η αρχαιολογική υπηρεσία το ξέρει αυτό γι’ αυτό και δεν κάνει ανασκαφές αν ξέρει ότι κάπου κάτι έχει να βρει, για να γλιτώσει ακριβώς αυτά τα κτίσματα από τους αρχαιοκαπήλους και τη φθορά, προπαντός από τους αρχαιοκαπήλους.

Όταν ελευθερώθηκε η Πατρίδα μας, και φυσικά την ελευθέρωσαν οι άνθρωποι οι ντόπιοι, οι αγωνισταί οι ντόπιοι,τότε ήρθαν οι απ’ έξω Έλληνες, μορφωμένοι αυτοί πλέον αλλά και μπολιασμένοι με τον δυτικόν ουμανισμόν, για να εκτοπίσουν την Ορθοδοξία και την Εκκλησία μας και να εισαγάγουν αυτόν τον δυτικόν ουμανισμόν. Σημειώσατε ότι αυτό είναι το αμάρτημα. Το φοβερόν αμάρτημα. Το παμέγιστον αμάρτημα. Έγιναν πάρα πολλές προσπάθειες. Σας θυμίζω στο καινούριο πια Κράτος το Ελληνικό τον Φλαμιάτο, σας θυμίζω τον Παπουλάκο. Διαβάσετε αυτές τις μορφές για να αντιληφθείτε τι εγίνετο εδώ στην Ελλάδα. ..

Όπως σας είπα όμως αυτό το αμάρτημα δεν είναι τι άλλο παρά αποστασία, στοιχειοθετεί αποστασίαν από τον Θεόν. Και έβλεπε κανένας όσο περνούσαν οι δεκαετίες, τόσο το πράγμα εγίνετο χειρότερο. Και τι δεν προσέβαλε αυτό το πνεύμα. Προσέβαλε ακόμη και την Θεολογική μας Σχολή Αθηνών, η οποία έβγαλε θεολόγους οι οποίοι εγίνετο μετά επίσκοποι. Σημειώσατε ότι για να γίνει κανείς επίσκοπος έπρεπε να είναι θεολόγος και για να είναι θεολόγος έπρεπε να περάσει από το Πανεπιστήμιο Αθηνών, αλλά περνώντας από το Πανεπιστήμιο Αθηνών έπαιρνε και τα φρούτα της Δύσεως. Και έτσι η Εκκλησία μας άρχισε να χάνει από τους επισκόπους της σιγά-σιγά το Ορθόδοξό Της φρόνημα, διότι οι διδάσκοντες καθηγηταί πάρα πολλές φορές πλην εξαιρέσεων δεν είχαν Ορθόδοξο φρόνημα. Αυτό βεβαίως επηρέασε πάρα πολύ την εκκλησιαστική ζωή του τόπου μας, αναμφισβήτητα.

Μέχρι, για να μην πολυπραγμονώ, μέχρι που μπήκαμε στην ΕΟΚ αυτό το αμάρτημα συνεχίζει, διότι μπαίνοντας στην ΕΟΚ αυτός ο σκοπός υπήρχε: ό,τι απέμεινε από την Ορθόδοξον τοποθέτηση του λαού μας να πεταχτεί έξω. Στην πραγματικότητα λοιπόν εκείνοι που μας κυβέρνησαν στα 160 τόσα χρόνια μέχρι σήμερα -πλην εξαιρέσεων το ξαναλέγω- απέβλεπαν ή λίγο ή πολύ, ή συνειδητά ή ασυνείδητα, ή από πολιτική σκοπιμότητα ή όχι, το θέμα είναι ότι απέβλεψαν όλοι στο να εξωστρακίσουν την Ορθόδοξο Πίστη από τον λαό μας και να εισαγάγουν τον ορθολογιστικόν, δυτικού τύπου ουμανισμόν-ανθρωπισμόν.

Και αυτή τη στιγμή δε στις ημέρες μας το βλέπομε να καλπάζει. Γιατί λέγω στις ημέρας μας να καλπάζει; Διότι απλούστατα η πορεία αυτής της καταστάσεως ακολουθεί όχι αριθμητική καμπύλη αλλά γεωμετρική, εκθετική καμπύλη. Με αυτήν την έννοια. Επόμενον ήτανε στην αρχή ο λαός να έχει μεγάλη αντίσταση, τώρα η αντίστασή του όλο και μικραίνει και μικραίνει, και ερχόμενο αυτό το πνεύμα διαρκώς να επιβληθεί ο λαός πια ή δεν το καταλαβαίνει ή έτσι του αρέσει πια. Αποδέχεται αυτό το ουμανιστικό πνεύμα της Δύσεως και απεμπολεί αυτό που είχε πατρογονικό. Αυτό είναι το μεγάλωμα και το υπ΄ αριθμόν ένα αμάρτημα του λαού μας. Τώρα όλα τ’ άλλα είναι αποτέλεσμα αυτού του πνεύματος. Όλα τ’ άλλα. Για να καταλάβετε δηλαδή τί θα πει αμαρτάνει ένας λαός.

Και λέγει τώρα εδώ ο Άγιος Κύριλλος, είδες, η Χάρις του Θεού μπορεί να σώσει έναν λαό όταν μετανοήσει γιατί έχει αμαρτήσει. Δεν ξέρω βέβαια αν ο λαός μας αυτή τη στιγμή είναι σε θέση να μετανοήσει. Δεν ξέρω. Για την ώρα δεν έδειξε δείγματα να μετανοεί, αντιθέτως μάλιστα κινείται με κάθε προσπάθεια και δύναμη όλο και να τονίσει την αποστασία του από τον Θεό, με κάθε τρόπο. Με κάθε τρόπο.

Αλλά αυτό ξέρετε με τι αντιστοιχεί με τον αρχαίο λαό του Ισραήλ; Το ότι ο λαός του Ισραήλ εμοσχοποίησε, που το αναφέρει εδώ ο Άγιος Κύριλλος. Τί ήτο αυτό; Αγαπητοί μου 40 μέρες ανέβηκε ο Μωυσής πάνω εις το όρος Σινά για να πάρει κατ’ εντολή του Θεού τις Εντολές. Σαράντα ημέρες, όχι παραπάνω. Και επέρασαν οι μέρες και ο λαός άρχισε να ανησυχεί τι απέγινε ο Μωυσής και τότε είπαν, α ο Μωυσής πρέπει να χάθηκε.. Τι; Να χάθηκε; Καλά για σταθείτε. Δεν είδαν το βουνό να είναι πυρίκαυστο χωρίς να είναι ηφαίστειο το Σινά; Δεν είδαν τον γνόφον και τον ζόφον επί της κορυφής; Δεν άκουσαν την φωνή του Θεού σαν σάλπιγγες δυνατές που τους έπιασε φόβος και τρόμος; Τα ξέχασαν; Τα ξέχασαν. Μέσα σε λιγότερο από 40 ημέρες αγαπητοί μου τα ξέχασαν. Μα είναι δυνατόν;

Εμείς άμα διαβάζουμε την ιστορία των Εβραίων λέμε, ‘μα είναι δυνατόν;΄ Α, κάποτε το έλεγα κι εγώ αλλά είναι δυνατόν για τον κάθε λαό. Και εμείς ξεχνάμε έτσι. Έτσι είμεθα επιλήσμονες των θαυμάτων του Θεού και της παρουσίας του Θεού. Αποτέλεσμα. Πιάνουν τον Ααρών και του λένε, θα μας κάνεις ένα μοσχάρι κατά απομίμηση της λατρείας των Αιγυπτίων και θα το λατρεύσουμε. Αυτός θα είναι ο Θεός μας από εδώ και εμπρός. Βρε αμάν -με συγχωρείτε με την γλώσσα που μιλάω έτσι- μα δεν είναι σωστό.. Εκ των υστέρων ο Ααρών όταν είδε τον οργισμένο Μωυσή εδικαιολογήθηκε έτσι, ξέρεις λέγει κύριε την ορμή αυτού του λαού, εζήτησαν να με φονεύσουνε όταν εγώ αρνήθηκα. Εζήτησαν να με φονεύσουνε και προκειμένου να μην με φονεύσουν τους είπα, ε μαζέψτε ότι χρυσά αντικείμενα έχετε, φέρτε τα μου τα εδώ να τα βάλω σε χυτήρα να σας βγάλω το μοσχάρι και να το λατρεύετε. Αυτό έκανα. Έτρεμε ο καημένος ο Ααρών όταν τα έλεγε αυτά εις τον Μωυσέα, τον οργισμένον πολύ δικαιολογημένα Μωυσέα.

Και τότε όταν έκαναν το μοσχάρι αυτό το έστησαν σε εμφανές σημείον του στρατοπέδου των και άρχισαν να γιορτάζουν, να λατρεύουν οργιαστικά, δηλαδή όπως είχανε πάρει από την Αίγυπτο κτλ, που οι λατρείες των ειδώλων ήσαν συνοδευόμενες με όργια, γενετήσια όργια. Και εδώ στην Ελλάδα η λατρεία του Βάκχου, του Διονύσιου, η λατρεία της Αφροδίτης ήτανε θα λέγαμε οργιαστικές λατρείες.

Και τότε κατέβηκε ο Μωυσής, είδε τον λαό να αμαρτάνει. Σε τί; Στη μοσχοποίηση, στην αποστασία. Και τότε αγαπητοί μου επέταξε τις πλάκες χάμω, τις έσπασε και είπε, ένας λαός που με τόσην ευκολία μπορεί να ειδωλολατρεί, δεν είναι άξιος να πάρει θεοχάρακτες πλάκες που είναι γραμμένος εκεί ο νόμος του Θεού. Και τότε έπεσε σφαγή μέσα στο στρατόπεδο και τότε έτρεμε μπροστά στην οργή του Μωυσέως ο Ααρών κτλ. Αλλά ο λαός όμως μετενόησε και όταν μετενόησε ο Θεός συνεχώρησε τον λαό. Είναι κάτι που πραγματικά κάνει πολύ εντύπωση. Εξάλλου ολόκληρη η ιστορία του Ισραήλ δεν είναι τίποτε άλλο παρά αποστασία, τιμωρία, μετάνοια, δικαίωσις, και πάλι αποστασία, τιμωρία, μετάνοια, δικαίωσις. Αυτούς τους κύκλους όλη τους τη ζωή οι Ισραηλίται έκαναν απέναντι στον Θεό.

Ακούστε αυτή τη φρασούλα: ἠρνήσαντο οἱ ἄνθρωποι τὸν Θεὸν, ἀλλ’ ὁ Θεὸς ἑαυτὸν οὐκ ἠρνήσατο. Οὗτοι οἱ θεοί σου Ἰσραὴλ, εἰρήκασιν·

Είπαν, αυτοί είναι θεοί σου, όπως το μοσχάρι το χρυσό·

καὶ πάλιν συνήθως ὁ Θεὸς τοῦ Ἰσραὴλ, σωτὴρ αὐτῶν ἐγένετο.

και πάλι ο Θεός, ως συνήθως, πάλι εγίνετο ο Θεός τους και ο Σωτήρας τους. Τους τιμωρούσε αλλά πάλι όμως τους συγχωρούσε γιατί μετανοούσε ο λαός. Και όχι μόνο τον λαό συνεχώρησε ο Θεός αλλά και τον αμαρτήσαντα αρχιερέα τον Ααρών. Διότι προσευχήθηκε ο Μωυσής υπέρ του Ααρών και ο Θεός συνεχώρησε τον Ααρών. Βλέπετε λοιπόν ότι ο Θεός συγχωρεί έναν αμαρτήσαντα λαόν;

Αγαπητοί μου κι εμείς όπως και άλλοτε σας έχω πει είμαστε πολύ κοντά στον τυπικό λαό του Ισραήλ ή περίπου είμεθα κι εμείς ένας ‘τυπικός’ λαός επειδή δεχθήκαμε πρώτοι το Ευαγγέλιο, επειδή είμεθα Ορθόδοξοι, επειδή, επειδή, επειδή, συνεθέσαμε την πίστη με την ζωή την εθνική και είμεθα θα λέγαμε ένα πιστό αντίτυπον του λαού του Ισραήλ που είναι ‘τύπος’. Και στο θέμα της τιμωρίας, κι εκεί πρέπει να είμαστε κάπως έτσι. Μην μας τιμωρήσει ο Θεός. Εγώ σας είπα το αμάρτημά μας. Σας το είπα, είδατε ποιο είναι τώρα αυτό. ΑΡΝΟΥΜΕΘΑ ΠΙΑ ΤΗΝ ΕΚΚΛΗΣΙΑ.

Βλέπει δε κανείς τα τελευταία χρόνια, συστηματικά -τελευταία χρόνια, πείτε 10, πείτε 20 χρόνια, δεν ξέρω- συστηματικά να υπάρχει αυτή η προσπάθεια να προσβληθεί η Εκκλησία.


Εγώ θα σας έλεγα ότι δεν μπαίνουν παρά σκοπίμως .. ΣΚΟΠΙΜΩΣ. Ευοδώνουν και Πατριάρχες ακόμα αυτές οι σκοτεινές δυνάμεις για να εξωθήσουν την Εκκλησία του Χριστού, να Την αλώσουν. Ναι, ναι, ούτε καινούρια πράγματα λέω, ούτε πρωτοφανή. Λίγο πολύ θα έχετε διαβάσει και θα ξέρετε. Προωθούν σε μεγάλες θέσεις ιερατικές, ανθρώπους που ξέρουν ότι θα τους επιβάλουν οι σκοτεινές δυνάμεις τη θέλησή τους για να προσβάλουν τελικά την Εκκλησία. Η Μασωνία έχει δουλέψει πάνω στον τομέα αυτόν φοβερά, φοβερά έχει δουλέψει.

Λοιπόν τί λέτε; Όταν από την άλλη μεριά προσπαθούν κάθε εκκλησιαστικό θεσμό να τον προσβάλλουν. Τελευταία αρχίζουν να προσβάλλουν τα Μοναστήρια. Βεβαίως δεν είναι καινούριο αυτό. Η πρώτη προσβολή που έγινε των Μοναστηριών ήταν το 1833. Δεν είναι καινούριο πράγμα. Εκεί είχαμε μία δήωση των Μοναστηριών, λεηλάτηση άνευ προηγουμένου. Διώξιμο μοναχών και μοναζουσών άνευ προηγουμένου. Ένα πλήγμα εναντίον των Μοναστηριών μόλις αγαπητοί μου δέκα περίπου χρόνια μετά από την απελευθέρωση της Πατρίδος μας, που συνετέλεσαν τα Μοναστήρια τα μέγιστα υπέρ της ελευθερίας της Πατρίδος μας. Από τότε κατά περιόδους ο αγώνας εναντίον του θεσμού του μοναχισμού είναι αμείλικτος και μάλιστα πολύ τελευταία φαίνεται ότι πια επήραν την απόφαση να κάνουν δουλειά γερή και να τελειώνει η ιστορία, γιατί απλούστατα τα Μοναστήρια .. είναι αντίσταση. Εγώ θα έλεγα και θετική και αρνητική αντίσταση αλλά ας το πάρουμε από την αρνητική αντίσταση, δηλαδή, είναι κυματοθραύσται αυτών των ρευμάτων που έρχονται, απ’ όπου έρχονται. Και σου λέγει, δεν γίνεται, πρέπει να φύγουν από τη μέση, να φύγουν από τη μέση, δεν πρέπει να υπάρχουν τα Μοναστήρια και με κάθε τρόπο τα διαβάλλουν.

Τελευταία ετέθη σε πολλά σχολεία το ερώτημα στα παιδιά Δημοτικού και Γυμνασίου: τί γνώμη έχετε για τα Μοναστήρια; Μας χρειάζονται; Και απήντησαν τα παιδιά εν φωνή, δεν μας χρειάζονται τα Μοναστήρια. Προπαρασκευή ξηλώματος του μοναχικού θεσμού. Και προσπαθούν τώρα για να ρίξουν στάχτη στα μάτια, και ότι εμείς δεν προσβάλλουμε την Εκκλησία, ότι δεν έχει καμμία σχέση ο θεσμός του μοναχισμού με την Εκκλησία. Αν είναι δυνατόν! Μόνο αθεολόγητοι άνθρωποι θα μπορούσαν να πουν ότι δεν έχει σχέση η Εκκλησία με τον μοναχισμόν. Οι ρίζες του μοναχισμού είναι μέσα στην Αγία Γραφή. Εκεί είναι οι ρίζες του μοναχισμού. Αυτός ούτος ο Κύριος 40 ημέρες έζησε εις την έρημον και αυτός ούτος ο μείζων εν γεννητοίς γυναικών Ιωάννης ο Βαπτιστής ήτο από νήπιον εις την έρημον, ασκητής που δεν τον έφτασε ποτέ κανένας στα μέτρα της ασκήσεως και του οποίου χαρακτηριστικά η ιδία η Αγία Γραφή αναφέρει όταν λέγει: φορούσε μόνο ένα τρίχινο ένδυμα, έτρωγε μόνον ακρίδες και μέλι άγριο, φορούσε μια λωρίδα για ζώνη και ήτανε ασκητικότατος. Αυτά ακριβώς που βρίσκουμε στον μοναχισμό. Και θα λέγαμε ότι ο μοναχισμός είναι κάτι ξένο από την Εκκλησίαν; [σ.σ. δυστυχώς τώρα έχουν βρει έναν πιο ύπουλο και αποτελεσματικό τρόπο να υποτάξουν τον μοναχισμό, τον αλλοιώνουν εκ των έσω, αλλοιώνουν αυτά ακριβώς τα ασκητικά του χαρακτηριστικά με ευρωπαϊκά κονδύλια].

Αυτά όλα είναι η προσβολή κατά της Εκκλησίας, των τελευταίων οχυρών θα λέγαμε της Εκκλησίας, ακριβώς για να επικρατήσει αυτός ο δυτικού τύπου, σας είπα, ορθολογιστικός ουμανισμός. Δεν είναι καινούρια αυτά που σας λέγω ούτε άγνωστα. Δεκαετίες πίσω δουλέψαν άνθρωποι για να γίνουν αυτά και γίνονται και τελεσιουργούνται. Εγώ σας καλώ σε μία επαγρύπνηση.

Μάλιστα συμπτωματικά, τώρα το θυμήθηκα παρότι θα σας το έλεγα την ώρα των αποριών, ακούστε τώρα να ιδείτε και θα πάρετε μία εικόνα. Λυπούμαι που θα το πω αλλά τί να κάνουμε; Η ‘Απογευματινή’, 13 Απριλίου του ’83, δημοσίευσε το εξής: «Με εγκύκλιό του ο Μητροπολίτης Φθιώτιδος Δαμασκηνός που έστειλε στις Εκκλησίες της περιφερείας του, γνωστοποιεί ότι με απόφαση της Ιεράς Συνόδου της Εκκλησίας της Ελλάδας αποκαταστάθηκε εκκλησιαστικώς η Αθανασία Σάμαρη (Αγία Αθανασία Κρικέτου) και γίνεται δεκτή όπως κάθε Ορθόδοξος Χριστιανός στα Μυστήρια της Εκκλησίας.» Τι θα λέγατε για αυτό; Τι θα λέγατε για αυτό! Όταν αυτή είναι μια δαιμονισμένη γυναίκα και λοιπά .. να μην λέω πιο πολλά. Και γίνεται εγκύκλιος και την αποκαθιστά.

Δεν έχω παρά να σας πω τούτο: είναι τα αποτελέσματα των όσων σας είπα. Προσέβαλαν την Εκκλησία εκ των έσω.Έβαλαν ανθρώπους κατά καιρούς να διοικούν την Εκκλησία που δεν είχαν καμμία σχέση με την Εκκλησία. Εδώ είναι το μέγα δυστύχημα και σαν συμπέρασμα εγώ θα σας έλεγα το εξής αγαπητοί μου: Αυτήν την στιγμή ο λαός ας φροντίσει να ποιμάνει τον εαυτόν του γιατί εμείς δεν είμεθα σε θέση να σας ποιμάνομε. Λυπούμαι που το λέγω. Φροντίστε να σωθείτε. ΦΡΟΝΤΙΣΤΕ ΝΑ ΣΩΘΕΙΤΕ.

Όλα είναι καρποί αυτού του μεγάλου αμαρτήματος. Πόσο το τόνισα. Ας μετανοήσουμε λοιπόν. Όπως μετανόησε και ο παλιός Ισραήλ ας μετανοήσουμε για να μην έρθει πραγματικά η καταστροφή. Και ο Θεός απειλούσε, να σας πω μία από τις απειλές, με πολλά πράγματα απειλούσε ο Θεός αλλά δύο ήταν οι κυριότερες: Η ΜΕΤΑΚΙΝΗΣΙΣ ΤΩΝ ΕΔΑΦΙΚΩΝ ΟΡΙΩΝ ΚΑΙ Η ΑΙΧΜΑΛΩΣΙΑ. Μάλιστα το θέμα της αιχμαλωσίας και ο Μωυσής το προφήτευσε και μάλιστα είπε ότι από Βορρά θα σας αιχμαλωτίσουν. Και ήρθαν οι Νινευΐται πρώτα, οι Ασσύριοι, και αιχμαλώτισαν το Βόρειον Βασίλειον και μετά ήρθαν οι Βαβυλώνιοι, ο Ναβουχοδονόσωρ, και αιχμαλώτισε το Νότιον Βασίλειον. Αλλά και τα όρια άρχισαν να σμικρύνονται. Τα μεγαλύτερα όρια που ποτέ είχε ο Ισραήλ ήταν στην εποχή του Δαυίδ και του Σολομώντος. Ήταν η ‘χρυσή εποχή’ του Ισραήλ αλλά ο Σολομών ημάρτησε και του λέγει ο Θεός, δεν θα τιμωρήσω εσένα για χάρη του πατέρα σου, θα τιμωρήσω όμως οπωσδήποτε τους απογόνους σου. Ο γιος του έχασε τον Βορρά, τη Σαμάρεια, και έγινε άλλο Βασίλειο. Χώρισε ο λαός σε δυο Βασίλεια και από εκεί οι ποικίλες σμικρύνσεις.

Λοιπόν. ΜΠΟΡΕΙ ΝΑ ΕΠΙΤΡΕΨΕΙ Ο ΘΕΟΣ ΝΑ ΣΜΙΚΡΥΝΕΙ Η ΠΑΤΡΙΔΑ ΜΑΣ, ΝΑ ΧΑΣΟΜΕ ΚΑΙ ΕΔΑΦΗ. Και αυτό, να βάλει ο Θεός το χέρι Του ΘΑ ΕΙΝΑΙ ΑΠΟ ΤΙΣ ΑΜΑΡΤΙΕΣ ΜΑΣ. Να το ξέρετε αυτό το πράγμα γιατί υπάρχει το ιστορικό προηγούμενο και ερμηνευτικά στην Αγία Γραφή είναι κατατεθειμένο. Διότι δεν κάνομε ερμηνεία φιλοσοφική της ιστορίας αλλά έχομε αποκάλυψη της ερμηνείας της ιστορίας. Διότι εκεί εξηγεί ο Θεός, θα σας μικρύνω τα όρια επειδή επαναστατείτε εναντίον μου. Και αυτό δεν είναι αποτέλεσμα φιλοσοφικής κριτικής, φιλοσοφικής ερεύνης, φιλοσοφικής σκέψεως, το γιατί και πως και το τι. Όχι, αλλά το αποκαλύπτει ο Θεός αυτό. Συνεπώς ας το προσέξουμε. Και τότε που μικρύναμε και η Κωνσταντινούπολις έμεινε μόνο μία πόλις, εκείνη η παλιά μεγάλη Βυζαντινή Αυτοκρατορία, ήταν αυτός ο λόγος.

Αν μου πείτε ότι οι Αυτοκρατορίες και οι λαοί κάποια στιγμή μεγαλώνουν πολύ και μετά αρχίζουν και μικραίνουν και κάποτε χάνονται, αυτό είναι ένας ιστορικός νόμος.. Δεν υπάρχουν ιστορικοί νόμοι. Αν θα θέλαμε να δούμε την ιστορία βεβαίως φιλοσοφικά θα βγάζαμε αυτούς τους ιστορικούς νόμους. ΤΗΝ ΙΣΤΟΡΙΑ ΤΗΝ ΚΥΒΕΡΝΑΕΙ Ο ΘΕΟΣ και οποιοσδήποτε λαός, ή Χριστιανικός ή μη Χριστιανικός, στέκεται σωστά ή όχι σωστά, ο Θεός μεγαλώνει ή μικραίνει. Δεν μου λέτε παρακαλώ, τί είπε ο Θεός για τους Βαβυλωνίους; Θα τους εξαφανίσω από τον χάρτη και απ’ την ιστορία. Εξαφανίστηκαν. Τί είπε ο Θεός; Είπε ο Θεός ότι τους Βαβυλωνίους θα τους τιμωρήσουν οι Πέρσαι και τους Πέρσας θα τους τιμωρήσουν οι Έλληνες, και αυτά ειπώθηκαν, πριν γίνουν, στις περίφημες εκείνες προφητείες του Δανιήλ που προφητεύει και για τους Έλληνες. Αλλά και οι Έλληνες λέει θα τιμωρηθούν. Ήρθαν οι Ρωμαίοι διότι ναι ήσαν ειδωλολάτρες οι Έλληνες.. μπορούσαν να λατρεύουν την Αθηνά, ήθελαν και την Αρτέμιδα -ειδωλολάτρες το ξαναλέγω. Αλλά εσείς υπερβήκατε και την φύση την ίδια. Όταν λατρεύετε την Αφροδίτη και τον Βάκχο και μετέχετε σε παραφύσιν αμαρτήματα ω Έλληνες, παραφύσιν αμαρτήματα, ω Έλληνες!, τότε θα σας τιμωρήσει ο Θεός γιατί πια εδώ υπερβήκατε τον γραπτόν νόμον της συνειδήσεως. Παραβήκατε αυτήν την ίδια την φύσιν. Γι’ αυτό τιμωρούσε ο Θεός. Ο Θεός λοιπόν τιμωρεί τους λαούς και δεν υπάρχουν ιστορικοί νόμοι που κρίνουν τα πράγματα. Όχι δεν υπάρχουν ιστορικοί νόμοι. Ο Θεός κυβερνά τους λαούς, αναδεικνύει ή τιμωρεί.

Μετανόησον, ἄνθρωπε, λοιπὸν καὶ αὐτὸς ὁμοίως, καὶ οὐ κεκώλυταί σοι ἡ χάρις.

Μετανόησε λοιπόν άνθρωπε κι εσύ και δεν θα σε εμποδίσει η Χάρις του Θεού.

Ἀνεπίληπτόν σου παράστησον εἰς τὸ ἑξῆς τὸν τρόπον·

Αλήθεια, τώρα που ακούσατε αυτά που σας είπα, και δεν είναι βέβαια η πρώτη φορά που τα είπα αυτά, πες τε μου πως αισθάνεσθε; Μέσα σας αγανακτείτε, πονάτε. Ε, ακούστε να σας πω. Ακούστε να σας πω. Αν είμεθα εδώ κάποιοι άνθρωποι, ένας κάποιος αριθμός, όχι μικρός και μάλιστα άνδρες και νέοι οι πιο πολλοί άνθρωποι, ακούστε κάτι: ΕΧΟΥΜΕ ΕΝΑΝ ΤΡΟΠΟ ΝΑ ΣΩΣΟΥΜΕ ΤΑ ΠΡΑΓΜΑΤΑ. ΑΝ ΕΜΕΙΣ ΜΕΤΑΝΟΗΣΟΥΜΕ ΠΡΟΣΩΠΙΚΑ. Μα θα μου πείτε, προηγουμένως σας είπα ότι εδώ δεν αμαρτάνουν πρόσωπα αλλά ένας λαός. Μάλιστα. Αλλά και στα Σόδομα ένας λαός είχε αμαρτήσει αλλά ο Θεός τελικά δέχεται αν παρέμεναν 10 άνθρωποι καθαροί να μην καταστρέψει ένα ολόκληρο λαό. Έτσι, και αυτό κατατεθειμένο στην Αγία Γραφή είναι. Έχομε την Αποκάλυψη, έχομε την βεβαιότητα της Αποκαλύψεως. Δεν είναι κατ’ επίνοιαν το συμπέρασμα αλλά είναι κατά αποκάλυψιν, που σημαίνει, αν σε κάθε πόλη Ελληνική και σε κάθε χωριό Ελληνικό υπάρχουν μερικοί άνθρωποι οι οποίοι ζουν την ζωή της μετανοίας και οδύρονται για την κατάσταση που υπάρχει, της αποχριστιανοποιήσεως του λαού μας -γιατί πια, τι είπα τώρα, καταρχάς είπα για την Ορθοδοξία, όχι μόνο πάμε να χάσουμε την Ορθοδοξία μας αλλά και την Χριστιανική μας ιδιότητα– τότε ο Θεός ίσως συγχωρήσει τον λαό μας, ανεχθεί τον λαό μας και δεν μας τιμωρήσει ένεκα αυτών των ανθρώπων οι οποίοι θα έχουνε μετανοήσει.


Δεν υπερηφανεύομαι αλλά δοξάζω τον Θεό, ο Θεός με βοήθησε, αυτή τη θέση που σας λέγω αυτή την στιγμή την είχα όταν ήμουν στρατιώτης. Την ίδια θέση. Ούτε αφήρεσα ούτε πρόσθεσα τίποτα σε αυτά που σας λέγω. Και τότε το έλεγα σε συναδέλφους, ότι ο καλύτερος, ο υψηλότερος έχων την φιλοπατρία μέσα του είναι ο Χριστιανός. Αυτός που ζει αληθινή Χριστιανική ζωή, αυτός που ζει εν παρθενία ακόμη εάν θέλετε, όχι αυτοί που τρέχουν και κυνηγάνε τις γυναίκες.. Αυτοί δεν αγαπάνε την Πατρίδα τους γιατί αυτοί είναι παράγοντες καταστροφής της Πατρίδος των, θετικώς και αρνητικώς. Όχι μόνο από πλευράς τιμωρίας του Θεού που παραβαίνουν τις εντολές Του, αλλά και από την πλευρά ακόμη ότι οι ίδιοι ως μέλη μια Πατρίδος γίνονται ανίκανοι να κρατήσουν την Πατρίδα τους όρθια. Είναι σάπιοι άνθρωποι, ούτε να δουλέψουνε δεν μπορούνε. Συνεπώς, βλέπετε ποιος είναι ο αληθινά φιλόπατρις και ποιος αληθινά αγαπάει την Πατρίδα του; Εκείνος που ζει όπως ο Θεός θέλει και ακόμη φροντίζει με κάθε τρόπο να μην αμαρτάνει και να είναι εν μετανοία.

Ας μετανοούμε λοιπόν αγαπητοί μου και να είστε σίγουροι, αν ο Θεός κρίνει δεν θα τιμωρήσει την Πατρίδα μας αν δει την μετάνοια έστω αυτών των λίγων πιστών ανθρώπων. …

Πηγή Κατηχήσεις Αγίου Κυρίλλου. Ομιλία αριθμός 17 που έγινε στις 25/04/1983. Απομαγνητοφώνηση Φαίη για το ιστολόγιο ΑΒΕΡΩΦ [από 20:45 έως τέλος]

HT: http://aktines.blogspot.com.cy/2017/11/1.html#more

<![CDATA[VIRTUES & VICES: Nuturing Orthodox Christian Virtues in Everyday Life – Upcoming Lectures in Hamilton, Ontario, December 2, 2017]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/virtues-and-vices-nuturing-orthodox-christian-virtues-in-everyday-life https://orthodoxethos.com/post/virtues-and-vices-nuturing-orthodox-christian-virtues-in-everyday-life <![CDATA[Cultural Marxism and Public Orthodoxy – Fr. John Whiteford]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/cultural-marxism-and-public-orthodoxy https://orthodoxethos.com/post/cultural-marxism-and-public-orthodoxy One could make a career of responding to all of the nonsense that "Public Orthodoxy" spews on a regular basis.

Recently, Ashley Purpura has made the unlikely argument that the services of the Church somehow promote gender fluidity, in her [dare I presume her binary gender?] article: "Beyond the Binary: Hymnographic Constructions of Orthodox Gender,"which begins with the manifestly ridiculous assertion:

"Much like gender itself, Orthodox understandings of gender span a spectrum of diverse views."
Of course, anyone with any concern for the truth who actually knows anything about the Orthodox Church knows that this is not even slightly true. There is not the most microbial fragment of a basis for such an absurd claim. Not even the remotest hint of such a microbial fragment....

Bolsheviks pause to take a group photo after looting a Church

But how does this presumably intelligent and educated woman come to make such a baseless statement? One has to be extremely mal-educated to ignore all of the evidence to the contrary of her thesis.

To provide the thinest of a veneer of something like evidence, she argues that there are hymns that celebrate the bravery and endurance of certain women martyrs that speak of their "manly" courage. And so we have to assume that Orthodox monks, who for the most part are the authors of such hymns, secretly wished to promote gender fluidity.

What other evidence does she cite? Well, in our hymns, male chanters sometimes read hymns that speak in the voice of women characters. For example, at the feast of the Annunciation, at the canon, there is a dialogue between the Archangel Gabriel and the the Virgin Mary, and so the fact that a man would read this canon is somehow an example of "gender-bending." By this logic, no one could ever read the Bible aloud without falling into "gender-bending" at some point, since they will inevitably speak words that were spoken by members of the opposite sex.

And so we are supposed to conclude that centuries before anyone ever knew that gender-bending was a thing, the hymns of the Church expressed a widely diverse perspective on gender, and embraced the notion that gender is "fluid"

But then Ms. Purpura asks how it is that the hymns of the Church could embrace gender fluidity when "so much elsewhere in the tradition... reinforces gender expression exclusively along an essentialized binary". Of course the simple solution to this concocted problem is to come to the reasonable, and historically defensible conclusion that Ms. Purpura's starting premise is nonsense, and then no such problem exists.

But the most perplexing question here is how it is possible for someone who is educated and intelligent to come to a conclusion that is so obviously lacking in any actual basis in history or evidence? Well, if we look at her bio at Purdue University, we find the answer. There we find that she

"...reevaluates Byzantine constructions of ecclesiastical hierarchy in light of critical theory...."
What does that mean? That means she uses a Marxist approach on the material she studies. See the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on Critical Theory:
Critical Theory seeks to analyze what it studies in terms of Marxist theories of class struggle, and to identify who the oppressors are, and who are the oppressed in any given context, and to interpret their subject matter in ways that liberate the oppressed. So you see, Ms. Purpura most likely does not really believe that centuries of Orthodox monks have been promoting ideas of gender fluidity, but the LGBTQWXYZ community today is (in her view) "oppressed" by ""cisgendered" Orthodox, and so if she can "reinterpret" Orthodox hymnody in a way that helps to liberate the oppressed, it doesn't really matter what the actual truth is, it only matters that the oppressed are liberated from their oppressors.

And all of this is designed simply to overturn the existing order, in order to pave the way for something new. Never mind that the history of Marxism, when put into practice has resulted in the worst slaughter and misery the human race has ever seen. Truth doesn't matter, because, they hope that just maybe... despite all human experience up until now, the next attempts at a Marxist utopia will work in practice as well as its devotees think it works in theory.

One has to wonder, at what point does Archbishop Demetrios in particular and the Greek Archdiocese in general, become bothered by their close association with the so-called "Orthodox Christian Studies Center" at Fordham University, which so consistently promotes the LGBTQWXYZ agenda, not to mention pretty much everything else they publish contrary to actual Orthodox Christian teaching.

Update: In the fuller version of the article, which is referenced at the end, and found here:


We find the following statement which crosses the line into outright blasphemy:

"Despite stemming from a Byzantine tradition that sanctifies a literary corpus of transvestite or andromimetic nuns, homoerotic mystical imagery, and a patristic tradition of resolving gender division on the path to salvation, present-day Orthodox Christianity through its official and public hierarchical channels maintains a gender binary and the cisgender performance of that binary as normative and spiritually necessary" (p. 528).
When she speaks of "transvestite or andromimetic nuns" she is referring to nuns like St. Theodora of Alexandria, who was a married woman who fell into adultery, and in repentance decided to become a nun, but because she feared that he husband would find her, chose to dress as a man and go to a monastery, where her husband would never think to look. She was later falsely accused of having fathered an illegitimate child, and she did not defend herself, endured the shame, and raised the child herself. Her innocence was only discovered at her death (see her life for more). Such examples are unusual, but exceptional cases due to circumstances, and the Church commemorates her as a woman, not as a man, and certainly not as a gender fluid person of some other non-binary category. To use such examples to promote the acceptance of homosexuality or transsexualism is ridiculous. The suggestion that the services are full of homoerotic imagery is both perverse and blasphemous. The farthest thing from the minds of the hymnographers of the Church would have been anything remotely supportive of the homosexual or gender-queer agenda.

For more information, see:

<![CDATA[[VIDEO] Liturgical Chaos and Insanity Imported into the Ukraine EX OCCIDENTE – The Chasm Continues to Widen Between Orthodoxy and Catholicism]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/video-liturgical-chaos-and-insanity-imported-into-the-ukraine-ex-occidente https://orthodoxethos.com/post/video-liturgical-chaos-and-insanity-imported-into-the-ukraine-ex-occidente

Fascinating video of the major contrast between the Orthodox Church and "Eastern Rite" and Latin Rite Catholicism in the Ukraine

Video by Union of Orthodox Journalists