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 2021 Fri, 18 Dec 2020 00:00:00 +0000 <![CDATA[“We will have Modified People...” (Part 1) - A Call to Prayer – Metropolitan Neophytos of Morphou]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/we-will-have-modified-people-part-1-a-call-to-prayer https://orthodoxethos.com/post/we-will-have-modified-people-part-1-a-call-to-prayer Excerpts from the second half of the video:

Very difficult moments for humanity are coming. It seems that these difficult moments are just now starting. When this virus will end in May, other grievances will come; far greater than this one...

Therefore, we will need even more patience and even more faith. Now we are in the stage of practice, and of exams. These exams will pass, and more difficult ones will come.

That is why I am asking you, and I have said this in other places as well, in every town the priest should find ten prayerful people. If he finds more, all the better!

Give each of the ten people to read every day, at any time they can, two Kathismas from the Psalter of David.

Two Kathismas take about 15 minutes... That's why we call them Kathismas.

And where it writes, "Glory be to the Father...", we get up and make three crosses (prostrations).

At the end, we will commemorate the names of the living and the dead, those who love us and those who hate us, those who serve us and those who harm us, and the people who are in pain (suffering).

There are many people who are in need of being commemorated and in need of our love.

This is the best way, which God has enlightened me with, and which I have received as counsel from enlightened people, so that we can build bastions of faith in every village and in every place. Let's do concrete things, not just words and sermons!

As you can see, the situation is worsening; the times are worsening.

What should the Christians do? Are they only capable of putting on masks to protect themselves from these things? During the next illness we will not be able to protect ourselves with masks, nor with "shots" (vacc—s). What will we do then?

"Shots" will prove themselves to be very dangerous for people. In the same way we have genetically modified food, we will have, slowly, slowly, modified people.

Therefore, Christians must do the the things which are difficult. Christians are meant for the difficult things. Atheists are meant for the easy things; who think they can change the world, but in fact they cannot even change themselves.

The Christian is the one can change, he is the one who can transform, the one who can be sanctified. Us bishops have a great responsibility!

If we cannot influence the many, we can help through the mediation of the few. God can do His work even with only two or three people!

“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them” (Matt. 18:20.)

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For full transcript, see the subtitles in the video below.

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<![CDATA[De-mystifying the Vaccine for Corona Virus – Monk Paul of the Holy Mountain, Biologist, MD Molecular Biology and Biomedicine]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/de-mystifying-the-vaccine-for-corona-virus https://orthodoxethos.com/post/de-mystifying-the-vaccine-for-corona-virus [Read it in Greek or German, as well.]

It is with sorrow and wonder that we are observing an event unprecedented in world history [1]. In the name of “love” for the elderly and the more vulnerable, vaccination is being scheduled for all people worldwide, in order to exterminate the implacable “invisible enemy”, known as Corona virus SARS-Cov2 (COVID19):

• A necessary legal framework that will abolish the right to individual choice and will “defend” the benefit-right to public health (Law 4675/2020 for Greece) [2]

• An accompanying governmental authoritarianism to enforce it.

• Creating demand and expectation for the vaccine (terrorism-brainwashing by the media with the dilemma of “vaccine or social incarceration-isolation”).

• Unilateral funding for the production of the vaccine, for controls by clinical trials, for mass-production in vast quantities and for delivery to every corner of the planet - at the expense of research for finding and producing specialized antiviral drugs.

These are just some of the steps in the protocol already being implemented in order to reach this milestone event. Businessmen, journalists, government officials, and international NGOs are almost daily propagating the vaccine like a magic wand that will supposedly allow humanity to return to the pre-COVID era. On the other hand, instead of the scientific community (with the exception of an excessively projected, vaccine-obsessed elite), stigmatizing this misinformation, it has been keeping a “fishy silence” about what people should really expect from the vaccine, with the exception of a few inspired instances, such as Professor Dr. Yannis Ioannidis [3]. In fact, this specific “pandemic” anything BUT justifies worldwide vaccination. Let's see why:

1. The particularly low mortality rate of the disease, but also its distribution by age, clearly denote that vaccination, whenever it becomes feasible, must be targeted. This percentage is fictitiously over-evaluated for the time being (~2.5%) : on the one hand, due to the over-representation of severely positive cases of the virus [4], and on the other, given that the death toll from COVID has also included the deaths of cases found positive for COVID but with other, underlying diseases (not the SARS respiratory syndrome) [5]. Recent studies which have estimated the number of deaths in relation to the actual number of people exposed to the virus – based on serological tests (antibody tests) in a specific geographical area – have determined that this percentage is of the order of magnitude of seasonal flu (certainly <1%) [ 6].

It should be noted that even if the epidemic returns, as is the case with influenza, the health system will deal with it more effectively, as now there is experience in managing the disease (more ICUs). Hence, mistakes of “Italy’s kind” will not be repeated, leading to a further reduction of the mortality rate. Based on the above, even if a safe and effective vaccine is produced (something especially difficult for corona viruses’ biology), it can be justified for administering it only to high-risk groups, as is done with the seasonal flu vaccine. Needless to say that it is not justified for administering it to children - who are in their vast majority asymptomatic, nor to people who have been exposed and are immune to the virus (positive antibody test), given that they already have what the vaccine would have given them.

2. Covid19 virus, as opposed to influenza, mainly affects people in the third and fourth age groups, where the phenomenon of immune senescence [7] occurs – that is, the reduction in size, quality and duration of their immune response-protection - which can occur, after being vaccinated. In other words, the vaccine-induced active immunity may not be capable of protecting the elderly, who are the par excellence “target” of the corona virus; hence, the finding of an anti-viral therapy should be a priority – assuming that the protection of the elderly is in fact what is desired.

3. Related to the above, is that with seriously ill patients, acute respiratory failure occurs through an immuno-pathological mechanism (a “storm” producing inflammatory cytokines and reducing CD4 and CD8 T-mediated immune response [8]). There are serious concerns that vaccination will exacerbate this immune complication in the event of a subsequent viral infection and will consequently worsen the patient's clinical course. A similar effect was observed with the FeCoV coronavirus vaccine, which affects cats and causes peritonitis. [9].

4. The logic of eradicating an infectious disease through global vaccination, on the one hand presupposes the existence of a very safe and very effective vaccine, and on the other hand, most importantly that there be no other hosts of the virus in the natural environment. That is, man has to be the only species that can host the virus. This is true of the polio virus, but it does not apply to the coronavirus, because all research suggests that the virus originated from bats. Unknown and controversial remains the intermediate link (host?) which had transported it from the bats' caves of Wuhan city. In any case, the disappearance of the virus through global vaccination would only be temporary - in other words, a terrible waste of resources, inasmuch as it could transfer from its natural refuge (the bats or the intermediate host) to the human population at any given moment, capably mutated for bypassing the existing herd immunity and initiating a new pandemic.

5. Coronaviruses, being RNA viruses, mutate rapidly, gaining genetic and therefore antigenic diversity. This diversity, especially for coronae, also increases through RNA recombination, due to the particularly inconsistent mode of transcription of viral RNAs. Two types have already been identified for SARS-Cov2, S and L [11, 12]. It is doubtful that a vaccine can provide both equal coverage for all strains of the virus that emerge, as well as permanent protection over time, hence underlining one more time the importance and priority of finding anti-viral drugs against coronavirus. It is quite likely, therefore, that over time, a global vaccination evolve into regular global vaccinations.

Could this perhaps be the aim? Perhaps the corona is the long-awaited pretext for launching the universal transition to a hybrid human biology, where the human body will be protected, strengthened and ultimately dependent on platform technologies (genetic engineering, digital interfacing) through regular vaccinations-updates. But why all the rush for a vaccine that not only does not promise much, but is the cause for concern in the scientific community, especially if it is produced in a hurry and implemented en masse? Finally, do the pharmaceutical industries serve man, or does the opposite apply?

The reality is that ~ 99% of people infected with coronavirus survive. Emphasis (ie funding) should be placed on how to target the 1% of those who don’t survive, in spite of a host of pharmaceutical options (immuno-modulators, monoclonal antibodies, RNA polymerase inhibitors, proteases, etc.). Already, the first results from the form of hydroxychloroquine-azathromycin [13] as well as from a monoclonal antibody that targets the superficial glycoprotein S of the virus [14] are very encouraging.

Of course, part of an anti-viral strategy is also the development of a safe and effective vaccine. However, as analyzed, its forced production (1 year instead of at least 6 years) with so many gaps in the knowledge of the biology of the corona is not indicated - much less its mandatory mass implementation. It is a tragic scientific forfeiture (if not absurdity) in the age of Molecular Biology - whose aim is to provide Medicine with specialized (even personalized) treatments minimizing any side effects – that there is discussion solely about intervention in 100% of the human population, in order to “protect” 1% of it from a flu-like virus, with a suspicious pharmaceutical half-measure. Quite simply, this is a WRONG approach, certified by the fact that for so many years there has never been any global vaccination against the flu virus - which would have been far more plausible, inasmuch as it strikes all age groups.

Man, as a rational being with critical thinking, has the ability to voluntarily choose whatever is recommended by medicine and biotechnology in favor of his health, while simultaneously undertaking the consequences of those choices, given that interventions in the human body are rarely without side-effects. Vaccines are not exempt of this rule. [15] The choice of not being vaccinated does not endanger public health, as long as it does not abolish another person's right to receive the vaccine - and with it, any protection it provides. It is therefore self-evident that the final decision-responsibility for receiving a vaccine belongs to the person being vaccinated, since he will necessarily have to live with any complications that may arise. No eventual compensation can restore irreversible damages to a person’s physical and mental health. Consequently, that which is condemnable is every kind of complaisance that criminalizes a person's stance towards living in a body free of suspicious vaccines, and which transforms societies from democratic, to herds of undecided and expendable animals.

One can perceive from the aforementioned that the law pertaining to compulsory vaccination [2] and the related propaganda in favor of the vaccine – with the Covid19 virus pretext - have no scientific origin and reference. They do not defend but rather undermine the good of public health, and they enable the monstrous financial interests involved, as well as the obscure agenda of certain “big brothers” with power-loving appetites. Finally, they militate against the freedom of a person’s spirit and body. As such, they should be retracted at a scientific, legal and mainly at a spiritual level.

The clime in which these schemes are developed and consolidated is fear. The Mass Media of Intimidation carefully create and maintain this clime. Fear is a mighty inner force of man; it can paralyze his will, but it can even steel it. The question is in which direction a person directs that fear. If he turns it towards God, the only One worthy of being feared (Luke 4: 5), then he will receive enlightenment in return, boldness and courage - according to His words: “be of courage, for I have overcome the world” (John 6:33). If a person remains focused on the phobias of this age, he will receive in return even more anxiety, confusion and cowardice, according to the Psalm: “they cowered in fear, where there was no fear” (Psalm 5: 5). The intentional persistence to de-sanctify the Sacrament of Holy Communion is not by coincidence; its purpose is to elicit and generate fear that will support the myth of the vaccine - as is the case throughout the ages, with all fictitious concoctions that lack any logical grounds.

Every time there is mention of saliva, spoons and the like - by those who have targeted Holy Communion -the miracle comes to mind of the born blind man (John 9). The Lord, with a “sanitarily unacceptable” action, restored the eyes of the blind man! He mixed His saliva (a means of spreading viruses and bacteria) with soil (a source of millions of germs) and “smeared” the clay mixture over the eye sockets of the blind man (mucosal conjunctiva: a point of entry for germs and the onset of infection). We are familiar with what ensued, just as we know that no science is able to reproduce that result. Quite simply, if it had taken place today, apart from the Pharisees of that time, among Jesus’ accusers would also be certain narrow-minded infectious disease specialists.
I pray from the depth of my heart that God will make them worthy of experiencing the Power of the Sacrament. The Lord is there, and invites them. He will never obligate them ...

Hagiorite Monk Paul
Biologist, MD Molecular Biology and Biomedicine
Vouleftiria, Holy Mountain.
______________________

Thanks to the Holy Monastery of the Pantocrator for first posting this. Go to https://www.impantokratoros.gr/D15080C7.en.aspx for the original post and the Greek and German versions.

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References:

1. https://www.gatesfoundation.org/TheOptimist/Articl...
2. https://www.e-nomothesia.gr/kat-ygeia/nomos-4675-2...
3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwPqmLoZA4s
4. https://www.bmj.com/content/368/bmj.m1113.long
5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4BGMn3Xg2Y
6. https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.14...
7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC22659...
8. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/...
9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16322745
10. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eradication_of_infec...
11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC71081...
12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC71081...
13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC71025...
14. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-020-16256-

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<![CDATA[What We are Living Now is the Mercy of God; We Must be Tried - the Pedagogy of God – Metropolitan Neophytos of Morphou]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/what-we-are-living-now-is-the-mercy-of-god-we-must-be-tried-the-pedagogy-of-god https://orthodoxethos.com/post/what-we-are-living-now-is-the-mercy-of-god-we-must-be-tried-the-pedagogy-of-god <![CDATA[“The Doors, The Doors”: The Church Will Have to Close Its Doors Again – Holy Elder Athanasius Mitilianaios]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/the-doors-the-doors-the-church-will-have-to-close-its-doors-again https://orthodoxethos.com/post/the-doors-the-doors-the-church-will-have-to-close-its-doors-again <![CDATA[Sign up to Receive the “Orthodox Heritage” Journal – Essential Spiritual Nourishment]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/sign-up-to-receive-the-orthodox-heritage-journal https://orthodoxethos.com/post/sign-up-to-receive-the-orthodox-heritage-journal The Orthodox Ethos highly recommends its readers also sign up to receive the Orthodox Heritage Quarterly Journal.

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<![CDATA[Those Who will Give the Testimony of our Christ will become Awesome Martyrs, Awesome Saints in the other World! – Elder Ephraim of Philotheou and Arizona]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/those-who-will-give-the-testimony-of-our-christ-will-become-awesome-martyrs-awesome-saints-in-the-other-world https://orthodoxethos.com/post/those-who-will-give-the-testimony-of-our-christ-will-become-awesome-martyrs-awesome-saints-in-the-other-world April 4, 1990

Philotheou Monastery, Mount Athos

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Here in Greece, and even more so abroad, there are people living far away from God, either with heresies, or with satanism, or narcotics, or crime, and what else is there that does not exist abroad. All these people are God’s creatures. All these people are God’s children. All these people need prayer, need help to be enlightened, to return to God. You see lost beings on the road, you feel sorry for them and think: Where is this man going, what is he doing, where is he dwelling, what does he believe, how does he understand life? He is like an animal that does not know what to rejoice at. Every man is called to live the eternal life with Christ, and yet he finds himself in this great – let us say – abandonment, he is in the midst of this desperation, inside his lost self. And indeed he needs prayer. From whom? Who will make this powerful prayer for these men to be enlightened? It is for this that all the people who are confessing have enormous devoutness for monasticism. They revere monks very much, and they greatly desire the establishment of monasteries. They love the Holy Fathers so much, and they know that the patristic teachings substantially give new birth. Certainly, the patristic teaching is the interpretation of the Gospel in detail, the evangelic truth inside the practical application of the life of the Fathers. These people there want also to live this life. And if it is in our Christ’s plan, what He wants will happen, because I believe that the antichrist will come and set foot first and foremost on that great Babylon which is called New York. However, he will come to find the strongest front: he will find Christians full of life and faith confronting him.

It is for this reason that monasticism must stand again on its bastion, on this great strength that it contains in itself. We proclaimed this throughout North America, and said to them that perhaps they and their children and those children yet to be born, must be initiated in the Faith, in the Orthodox Faith, in the patristic teachings, in order to become strong Christians, to become confessors and martyrs who will give the testimony of Christ during those years of the antichrist. They will be immeasurably greater Saints of the great Saints and martyrs of the Church, because then, in the first years of Christianity and of the Orthodox Faith, the grace was there by the bushel, as we say. There was holiness everywhere, and the Holy Spirit was very apparent. They were praying, and the Holy Spirit was descending on the Apostles, and they were speaking other tongues—Oh, the grandeur of God! And the martyrs, with the martyrdoms, with the miracles, with the signs they were giving, were bringing the people to the Faith abundantly.

But now in the latest years, in these last years we see that the world is full of the worshipers of Satan and heretics and apostates from God. Therefore those who will give the testimony of our Christ will become awesome martyrs, awesome Saints in the other world. Today we see souls being saved, and we feel that these simple saved people are very great, and have much glory in Heaven near God.


© 2020 SAINT ANTHONY'S GREEK ORTHODOX MONASTERY PRESS


Source: https://sagom-press-news.mailchimpsites.com/homily--april-4-1990-philotheou-monastery-mount-athos

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<![CDATA[“ Defying the warnings of the police, Bishop Cyril blessed the water...” – St. Cyril of Kazan]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/defying-the-warnings-of-the-police-bishop-cyril-blessed-the-water https://orthodoxethos.com/post/defying-the-warnings-of-the-police-bishop-cyril-blessed-the-water An excerpt is from a book "Russia's Catacomb Saints: Lives of the New Martyrs" by Ivan Andreyev and Fr. Seraphim Rose.

"During the celebration of Theophany in Petersburg in 1909 Bishop Cyril revealed himself as an outstanding fighter for church truth and tradition. Under the influence of worldly “scientific” elements it was officially decreed that all water which was to be blessed for the feast in the Petersburg diocese must be boiled beforehand, and thus the great Agiasma had to be performed over steaming pots. One outspoken church organ of the time noted that: “More faith was shown in the firewood necessary to boil the water and kill the germs, than in God. Fortunately, however, not everyone stepped away from the anchor of our salvation, and in the same Petersburg the Lord preserved for his chosen ones a single bishop who did not agree to yield his faith for the sake of peace with the enemies of Christ’s Church. If these notes ever see the light of print, let them preserve the name of this loyal servant of God and archpastor, for the strengthening of faith and piety in my overburdened brethren. Cyril of Gdov is the name of this bishop. May his name be blessed from generation to generation.” Defying the warnings of the police, Bishop Cyril blessed the water of the Neva River at the St. Alexander Nevsky Lavra right through a hole in the ice. The local police, however, took measures to ensure that no one was allowed to take water from the “Jordan”."

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<![CDATA[A Succinct Examination of Prof. Vlasios Fidas’ Claims regarding the Ukranian Autocephaly – - Archpriest Anastasios Gkotsopoulos [Translation by Orthodox Synaxis]]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/a-succinct-examination-of-prof-vlasios-fidas-claims-regarding-the-ukranian-autocephaly https://orthodoxethos.com/post/a-succinct-examination-of-prof-vlasios-fidas-claims-regarding-the-ukranian-autocephaly November 25, 2020

Original English publication here.

Greek original here. Creative use of ellipses and other forms of academic dishonesty practiced by Prof. Fidas are, as we have previously demonstrated, an integral part of how scholars associated with the Patriarchate of Constantinople treat history.

The Synodical Praxis of the Ecumenical Patriarchate (1686) and the Autocephaly of the Church of Ukraine

1. The Canonical Affiliation of Ukraine

(The self-refutation of Prof. Fidas)

In his work The Synodical Praxis of the Ecumenical Patriarchate (1686) and the Autocephaly of the Church of Ukraine, Prof. Fidas refers to Ukraine’s violent annexation to the Church of Russia, to the Metropolitan of Kiev’s anti-canonical participation of the Patriarchal Synod of Moscow and that the Church of Ukraine has always belonged to the See of Constantinople. The professor states the following verbatim:

a. “With this Synodical Praxis of the Ecumenical Patriarchate (1686), not only were the eastern eparchies of Ukraine and Belarus not fully and permanently transferred to the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Moscow, as the theological advisors of the Patriarchate of Moscow dubiously assert, but to the contrary the inviolability of the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s jurisdiction in Ukraine was declared throughout the territory of the Metropolis of Kiev,” (Fidas, Synodical Praxis, p. 5).

b. “Following the decisions of the Synodical Praxis of Ecumenical Patriarch Dionysios IV (1686), “Little” (Ukraine) and “White” Russia came under the direct canonical jurisdiction of the Metropolis of Kiev, which depended on the Ecumenical Patriarchate,” (Fidas, Synodical Praxis, p. 22).

c. “The Patriarchate of Moscow has struggled for five centuries forcibly and with purely political or ethno-phyletistic criteria to subordinate the Church of Ukraine to its dynastic jurisdiction and for this reason the ecclesiastical hierarchy, the sacred Clergy and pious laity of Ukraine always refused to accept this dependency,” (Fidas, Synodical Praxis, pp 35-36). The professor’s claim is completely arbitrary and inaccurate. In fact, to the contrary, “the [canonical] ecclesiastical hierarchy [of about 90 hierarchs], the sacred Clergy and the pious laity of Ukraine” counts 12,000 parishes and 5,000 monks who remain in the canonical Church despite the persecution and state and para-state terrorism exercised against them.

d. “Of course, this unique, substantial independence is enshrined in its Charter, since the Holy Synod of the Church of Ukraine elects and ordains not only all the hierarchs of Ukraine, but also its Primate, the Metropolitan of Kiev and all Ukraine. Nevertheless, this regime of the Church of Ukraine’s substantial independence is relativized and weakened by the Patriarchate of Moscow’s anti-canonical claim that the Metropolitan of Kiev is also a regular member of the Holy Synod of Moscow, apparently to express the arbitrary claim of its full dependency on its jurisdiction” (p. 37). Where did the professor realize that the “Patriarchate of Moscow’s claim that the Metropolitan of Kiev is also a regular member of the Holy Synod of Moscow” is “anti-canonical”? He had previously written the complete opposite of this (see paragraph e. below). The participation of the Metropolitan of Kiev in the Holy Synod of Moscow is provided by her statute in a decision of the Council of 1945 which, indeed, had inter-Orthodox participation (including from Constantinople)! So now the professor recalls that it is an “anti-canonical claim”!

A most complete refutation of the new opinions of the professor above has been provided by the professor himself in his previous publications. In a whole series of scholarly publications over a period of forty years (1966-2005), Prof. Fidas has written the following, which makes it the full, canonical jurisdiction of the Church of Russia in Ukraine absolutely clear:

a. Fidas, Ecclesiastical History of Russia, pp. 273-274: “Dionysios of Constantinople placed the Metropolitan of Kiev under the canonical jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Moscow (1687).”

b. Fidas, Ecclesiastical History of Russia, pp. 317-318 and idem, “The Russian Church,” ΘΗΕ 10 (1965), p. 1055: “The Metropolitan of Kiev participates in the Synod of the Church of Russia as one of three permanent members (along with those of Moscow and Saint Petersburg).”

c. Fidas, Ecclesiastical History of Russia, pp. 301-304: The Theological Academy of Kiev is one of the four most important academies of the Patriarchate of Moscow.

d. Fidas, Ecclesiastical History of Russia, pp. 335: The Metropolitan of Kiev served as president of the All-Russian Council of 1917 at which the patriarchal institution was reestablished in Russia.

e. Fidas, Ecclesiastical History of Russia, pp. 348-349 and idem, “The Russian Church,” ΘΗΕ 10 (1965), p. 1077: Of particular importance and, indeed, with inter-Orthodox participation is the Council of 1945, which drafted the administrative regulation of the Church of Russia. Prof. Fidas writes, “Taking part in the Synod of 1945 were Patriarch Christophoros of Alexandria, Patriarch Alexander of Antioch, the ‘Patriarch-Catholicos’ of the Church of Georgia Kallistratos, the representative of the Patriarch of Constantinople, Metropolitan Germanos of Thyateira, the representative of the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Archbishop Athenagoras of Sebasteia, the representative of the Serbian Church, Metropolitan Joseph of Skopje, Bishop Joseph of the Church of Romania, etc. … The Synod also drafted the “Administrative Regulation of the Church of Russia.” According to Article 19 of the Regulation, the Metropolitan of Kiev participates as a permanent member of the Standing Synod! Does there exist the slightest reservation in good faith that the Metropolitan of Kiev does not depend on the Church of Russia, according to the unanimous decision of the Churches above?

f. Fidas, “The Russian Church,” ΘΗΕ 10 (1965), p. 1077: among the eparchies of the Church of Russia is Kiev and all Ukraine, as well as all the monasteries of Ukraine!

From the above historical facts cited by Prof. Fidas himself, it is clear that in recent centuries the Orthodox in Ukraine have participated in all facets of the ecclesiastical life of the Patriarchate of Russia (monachism, theological schools, administration, including the Holy Synod, persecutions, etc.) and not in that of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

In the works: Nicephoros, Metropolitan of Kykkos and Tellyria, The Contemporary Ukrainian Question and its Solution according to the Sacred Canons (Nicosia: Study Center of the Sacred Monastery of Kykkos, 2020), p. 34ff; Priest Anastasios Gkotsopoulos, Ukrainian Autocephaly: A Contribution to Dialogue (Thessaloniki: To Palimpsiston, 2019), pp. 15-36; idem, “Ukrainian Autocephaly: An Invitation to Ecclesiastical Unity or an Invitation to the Unity of the Church?,” homily given on January 1, 2020, available as a pdf in Greek here, pp. 4-7, there are many facts (most of which from Constantinople!) that demonstrate the fullness of the canonical jurisdiction of the Church of Russia in Ukraine.

In any case, however, apart from the documents and facts, the pan-Orthodox ecclesiastical consciousness, which for 332 years has considered Ukraine to be part of the Church of Russia, suffices on its own.

Moreover, we should not forget the fact that it is without any Tomos or Praxis, but rather solely on the basis of longstanding ecclesiastical consciousness and practice that Eastern Illyria belongs to the See of Constantinople and not that of Rome.

The transfer of Eastern Illyria (Crete, Achaia, Thessaly, Albania, Macedonia) from the Patriarchate of Rome to the Patriarchate of Constantinople did not take place with the issuance of a Tomos, as would be normal, but on the basis of ecclesiastical custom.

Until 731, Eastern Illyria canonically belonged to the jurisdiction of the then-Orthodox Patriarchate of Rome.

In 731, the Iconoclast Emperor Leo III the Isaurian, against the emphatic protests of the Orthodox Pope Gregory III, by imperial decree seized Eastern Illyria and transferred it to the Patriarchate of Constantinople with the aim of punishing the Pope of Rome, who was Orthodox and did not agree with the destruction of icons!

Consequently, just as Eastern Illyria belongs to Constantinople because of ecclesiastical custom, despite the fact that there does not exist any ecclesiastical praxis (“Tomos”) transferring jurisdiction from Rome, all the more so the Metropolis of Kiev belongs to the Patriarchate of Moscow, since there exists the Patriarchal and Synodical decision of 1686, which ecclesiastical consciousness both in Constantinople and at a pan-Orthodox level has interpreted as having created an ecclesiastical custom for 332 continuous years.

2. Misinterpretation of the Praxis of 1686

The misinterpretation and manipulation by Fidas of the texts relating to the Synodical Praxis of 1686 is obvious. For a concise review of the interpretation of these texts, see Priest Theodoros Zisis, Ukrainian Autocephaly: The anti-Canonical and Divisive Intrusion by Constantinople (Thessaloniki: To Palimpsiston, 2018), pp. 75-95.

Besides, the consistent, stable and uninterrupted ecclesiastical consciousness of three centuries creates an ecclesiastical custom that authentically and authoritatively interprets the Praxis of 1686 as the full and canonical transfer of Ukraine to the Patriarchate of Moscow.

3. Regarding the Right to Hear Appeals

For a thorough refutation of Mr Fidas’ views about whether Constantinople has the right to receive the appeals of clergy from other Orthodox jurisdictions, see Nikephoros, Ukrainian Question, p. 86ff.

The professor refers to Filaret’s appeal on pp. 65-71. But Mr Fidas artificially conceals the fact that Filaret appealed to Constantinople in 1992, as soon as he was condemned (June 11, 1992) and the Ecumenical Patriarch immediately rejected his appeal in his letter of August 26, 1992, accepting the condemnation by the Church of Russia as canonical.

The appeal was already heard and conclusively rejected in 1992! For this reason, all the Churches accept Filaret as deposed and anathematized! (See Nikephoros, Ukrainian Question, pp. 110-113; Gkotsopoulos, homily, pp. 9-14; idem, Ukrainian Autocephaly, pp. 55-60).

Mr Fidas writes with regard to Filaret’s deposal: “In the same spirit, the Patriarchal Synod annulled the anti-canonical and unjustly-imposed deposal as canonically unjustified and abusive, as can be deduced from the reasoning of the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. It is, moreover, widely-known that the deposal of Metropolitan Filaret of Kiev by the Patriarchate of Moscow took place unjustly and anti-canonically… In the same spirit, the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate annulled the anti-canonically imposed penalty and restored the unjustly-deposed Metropolitan of Kiev to his episcopal dignity,” (Fidas, Synodical Praxis, pp. 68, 70).

With these unsubstantiated allegations, the professor directly insults the Ecumenical See:

Did it take 26 years (1992-2018) for the Patriarchate to understand that Filaret’s deposal was “canonically unjustified and abusive”?

Did it have to leave the “unjustly-deposed” Filaret, an elderly person (today he is 91) under the “anti-canonically imposed penalty” for 26 years? Completely unreasonable!

And most importantly: the professor forgets that Patriarch Bartholomew himself noted regarding Filaret’s deposal: “Our Holy Great Church of Christ, recognizing in full the… exclusive competencies of the Most Holy Church of Russia under You, receives that which was synodically decided regarding the person in question, not wishing at all to cause any difficulty for Your Sister Church” (Letter of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to Patriarch Alexei of Moscow, protocol no. 1203/26.8.1992). Regarding the anathematization of Filaret (1997), the Ecumenical Patriarch states in his letter to the Patriarch of Russia: “Taking cognizance of the above decision, we share it with the Hierarchy of Our Ecumenical See and impel it henceforth not to have any ecclesiastical communion with those mentioned” (Letter of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to Patriarch Alexei of Moscow, protocol no. 282/7.4.1997).

Finally, when the Ecumenical Patriarch stated in writing that the Patriarchal Synod “receives that which was synodically decided regarding the person in question, not wishing at all to cause any difficulty,” did he mean that it recognizes it as “canonically unjustified and abusive,” as Mr Fidas writes later?

Mr Fidas only refers to the appeal of Filaret. Does he once more keep silent about the shocking case of Makary and the fifteen “bishops” with him? Why?! Obviously, he cannot justify unjustifiable things. The professor understands that Makary, with his band, is not entitled to exercise an appeal because he was never deposed since he is completely unordained! He draws his “consecration as a bishop” from the charlatin and imposter Chekalin. So what “restoration to hierarchical dignity” is the Patriarchate talking about? This is an absurd and impractical legal position.

Unfortunately, however, the Patriarchal Declaration of October 11, 2018 also refers to the appeal of Makary! “Third, to accept and review the petitions of appeal of Filaret Denisenko and Makary Maletich and their followers who found themselves in schism not for dogmatic reasons, in accordance with the canonical prerogatives of the Patriarchate of Constantinople to receive such petitions by hierarchs and other clergy of all the autocephalous Churches. Thus, the above mentioned have been canonically reinstated to their hierarchical or priestly rank, and their faithful have been restored to communion with the Church.” What appeal? Against what judgment was it made?

4. Procrustean Scholarship…

Professor Fidas refers in his work to the very important letter of Patriarch Jeremias III (September 23, 1723) which was issued in response to a request from Tsar Peter the Great. It makes the grievous impression that he is hiding some very critical phrases of the letter that completely subvert his argument!

The professor’s citation (in Fidas, Synodical Praxis, p. 28) is as follows: “Our mediocrity… confirms, concludes and declares that that which was established by the most pious and serene autocrat… is and is called the sister in Christ Synod in the great and holy Russian Kingdom by all pious and Orthodox Christians… And it has the right to perform and institute that which the four most holy Apostolic Patriarchal Sees do. [Our mediocrity] councils, motivates and prescribes it to preserve and secure inviolate the customs and canons of the holy Seven Ecumenical Councils and all else that the holy Eastern Church holds and remains steadfast in all things unto the ages. (K. Delikanes, Patriarchal Documents, vol. 3, 234-235.”

The full letter to Peter the Great is as follows: “Our mediocrity, by the grace and authority of the most-holy life-giving and sacredly-governing Spirit, confirms, concludes and declares that that which was established by the most pious and serene autocrat, the holy king of all Muscovy, Little and White Russia, and all the Northern, Eastern and Western [lands] and all the many parts of the dominion of kyr kyr Emperor Peter Alexievich, very beloved of [our mediocrity], is and is called the sister in Christ Synod in the great and holy Russian Kingdom by all pious and Orthodox Christians, clergy and laity, rulers and ruled, and by every personal dignitary. And it has the right to perform and institute that which the four most holy Apostolic Patriarchal Sees do. [Our mediocrity] councils, motivates and prescribes it to preserve and secure inviolate the customs and canons of the holy Seven Ecumenical Councils and all else that the holy Eastern Church holds and remains steadfast in all things unto the ages.”

From the letter it is clear that the canonical jurisdiction of the Russian Church and of her Synod extends to the territorial authority of the Russian Empire, namely: the territory of “all Muscovy, Little and White Russia, and all the North, East, West and all the many parts”! In other words, Patriarch Jeremias III of Constantinople recognizes the canonical jurisdiction of the Synod of the Church of Russia over “Little… Russia,” that is, Ukraine! It is obvious why the professor concealed the clause that describes the limits of Russia’s jurisdiction. This amounts to a falsification of historical events.

Moreover, in the letter of Peter the Great to Patriarch Jeremias III, Mr Fidas adds in parentheses the word “(= appeal)”, which serves his argument. Unfortunately, however, Peter the Great did not write this word:

The professor’s quote is as follows (in Fidas, Synodical Praxis, 27-28): “So if ever they ask Your All-Holiness for any good advice for the benefit and stronger economy of the Church (= appeal), in such circumstances please do not deprive them of this, for the common interest of the Orthodox… (K. Delikanes, Patriarchal Documents, vol. 3, 231-234).”

The letter as it is written: “So if ever they ask Your All-Holiness for any good advice for the benefit and stronger economy of the Church, in such circumstances please do not deprive them of this, for the common interest of the Orthodox…”

The professor deliberately added the non-existent word (“= appeal”) to the letter, however it is not included in the original text.

5. When the scholar chooses not to have contact with reality...

Mr Fidas writes, “Therefore, the only canonical path to resolving their longstanding and sharply irreconcilable differences is the immediate proclamation of the autocephaly of the Church of Ukraine, which will satisfy a persistent and just demand of the great Orthodox Church of Ukraine.”

The professor conceals the fact that not only did there not exist any “demand of the great Orthodox Church of Ukraine” (Fidas, Synodical Praxis, p. 38), but to the contrary, the request of Hierarchs, the other clergy and the faithful laity was not to receive autocephaly. Proof of this is that the faithful people remained on the side of the canonical Church and refused to join the autocephaly.

And naturally, “the immediate proclamation of autocephaly” did not bring about the “resolution of their longstanding and sharply irreconcilable differences” that the professor assumed. To the contrary, indeed, it increased the violence.

Finally, the degree of seriousness of the study (corresponding to that of its author’s broader scholarly contribution) is demonstrated in its conclusion: “Therefore, the only canonical path to restoring the internal unity of the divided ecclesiastical body of the severely-tested Great Orthodox Church of Ukraine is, as in all the autocephalous Orthodox Churches of modern times, the immediate proclamation of autocephaly, which will prove to be particularly beneficial not only for the restoration of the internal unity of the ecclesiastical body, but also for the strengthening of the Patriarchate of Moscow’s fraternal bonds with the autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine” (Fidas, Synodical Praxis, p. 71).

Inferring from what has been mentioned above, the “immediate proclamation of autocephaly” proved neither “to be particularly beneficial not only for the restoration of the internal unity of the ecclesiastical body,” nor “for the strengthening of the Patriarchate of Moscow’s fraternal bonds with the autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine,” nor for pan-Orthodox communion!

Violence, state action against the faithful, schism within schism and all the unrest in worldwide Orthodoxy prove that Constantinople and its fellow-travelers in Ukraine had no contact with Ukrainian reality when they planned Ukraine’s “autocephaly,” which proved to be a headache.

And the most tragic thing: they turned the problem of one local Church into a pan-Orthodox problem with unforeseen consequences for the unity of Orthodoxy.

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The Original English Source:

Many thanks to Orthodox Synaxis for this translation!: https://orthodoxsynaxis.org/2020/11/25/archpriest-anastasios-gkotsopoulos-examines-prof-vlasios-fidas-claims/

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<![CDATA[“Christ is Bringing a New Crew to Lead His Ship” – - Saint Porphyrios of Kafsokalyvia]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/christ-is-bringing-a-new-crew-to-lead-his-ship-the-church https://orthodoxethos.com/post/christ-is-bringing-a-new-crew-to-lead-his-ship-the-church Thirty years ago Saint Porphyrios said to Metropolitan Neophytos of Morphou:
“You will see, my son, that when you pass your 50th year [the Metropolitan is now 58 years old] that God has a plan to change the ‘crew’ of the ship.”

“I said to him, what do you mean, Geronda, the “crew of the ship”?. . .”

“The ship of Christ is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic, Orthodox Church. Only this Church.,” he tells me. “Whoever is a ‘captain,’ whether he be a patriarch, an abbot, a priest, a deacon...He will change them if they are not doing their job well. He will allow a variety of events to happen - sicknesses, earthquakes, floods, and a massive war...and after all of this there will come a great peace with the NEW crew of the ship, which Christ will bring. And in the crew it is not only the captains, but also the simple people.”

And Metropolitan Neophytos continues:

“Doesn’t is make an impression on you how many faithful from among such as the singers, actors, etc., which the church goers did not have in great estimation, as coming from a place of sinfulness, now come and confess their faith and work for the sake of Orthodoxy, and we have bishops which are afraid to say clearly, ‘come my children to the Church and don’t be afraid’.... Oh, my bishop!, oh, my father!, Christ is sending us a fantastic opportunity to teach the people how to repent for particular sins and we are talking about how to protect ourselves and live another 20 or so years!...and yet we will nevertheless die!. . . Our problem is repentance, forgiveness of sins and eternal life! . . . The hierarchy needs to be talking about this - our life after death (a death which lasts all of 2 seconds); afterwards?...our eternal life. . .”

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This is our translation of an excerpt from this radio interview, posted today (Nov. 21) online (on You Tube): “Neophytos of Morphou: What did Saint Porphyrios say about the Crew of the Church?”
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<![CDATA[ELDER EPHRAIM of Arizona Appeared and CALLS US TO REPENTANCE [UPDATED - Multi-lingual] – Without Repentance Terrible Events Await Us]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/elder-ephraim-of-arizona-appeared-and-calls-us-to-repentance https://orthodoxethos.com/post/elder-ephraim-of-arizona-appeared-and-calls-us-to-repentance We have received the following, published with the blessings of Saint Anthony’s Monastery in Florence Arizona, which has asked us to pass it on to the faithful for their spiritual edification.

Message From Father Paisios of St. Anthony’s Greek Orthodox Monastery

November 19, 2020

Our beloved Orthodox Christians, evlogeite,

We will soon be commemorating the one-year anniversary of the repose of our holy spiritual father, Geronda Ephraim of Arizona. A recent vision that a woman in Greece had of Geronda Ephraim has come to many people’s attention. The vision concerns the general state of the world, and how prayer and tears of repentance are so necessary today and yet lacking everywhere.

We would like to confirm that the vision is from God, and that its message very much reflects the spirit of our Geronda’s teaching. This holy and spiritual message that is presented here in several languages for the benefit of the Church.

We pray that through Geronda’s intercessions, we will all understand the significance of his powerful message and strive to implement it in our lives.

Geronda Ephraim, the former abbot of Philotheou Monastery and the founder of Saint Anthony’s Monastery, who lived the ascetical life and fell asleep in the Lord in Arizona, appeared to a woman in Northern Greece who at the time was together with her daughter-in-law. At the time of the appearance this woman was not asleep, but in a state of wakefulness. At a certain moment, the woman entered into a state of ecstasy, which lasted about ten minutes, as her daughter-in-law who was watching her related.

The woman herself did not know how long the vision lasted. This was something new for her (i.e., the content of their conversation was unlike any of their previous conversations; for after Geronda’s repose she had seen him several times, both in her sleep and while awake), and for this reason she was astonished and called her spiritual father, in order to ask if what she had seen was delusion or reality.

She saw Geronda Ephraim, who was very sad and who was imploring Christ concerning the coming tribulations—things which certainly correspond with the things Geronda spoke about while he was in this life. And he told her:

“Repentance! Repentance! Christ is very angry. We people today should not be in the spiritual state in which we find ourselves. Great evils are coming—you cannot imagine how evil. Alas, what awaits you! Repent as long as there is time. Get on your knees and weep; shed tears of repentance so that perhaps Christ will soften. This also has to do with what is happening in America. Many people will depart through all that is coming, many people will depart [i.e., they will die]. You are not merciful toward one another, you do not have mercy. You are harsh. One person will devour the other. Tell these things to your spiritual father and to others.”

The woman who saw this vision was a spiritual daughter of Geronda Ephraim for many years, and was in communication with him until his repose. It is authentic and verified.

Please feel free to share this message.

In Christ,

+ Kathegoumenos Archimandrite Paisios,

Saint Anthony’s Greek Orthodox Monastery

Florence, Arizona

GREEK ORIGINAL

«Ὁ Γέροντας Ἐφραὶμ ὁ Φιλοθεΐτης, ποὺ ἀσκήτεψε στὸ Ἅγιον Ὄρος καὶ ἐκοιμήθη στὴν Ἀριζόνα, ἐμφανίστηκε σὲ μία γυναίκα ποὺ βρισκόταν μαζὶ μὲ τὴν νύμφη της, ὄχι στὸν ὕπνο τῆς γυναίκας, ἀλλὰ σὲ κατάσταση ἐγρηγόρσεως. Κάποια στιγμή, ἡ γυναῖκα χάθηκε, καὶ αὐτὸ διήρκεσε 10 λεπτὰ περίπου, ὅπως εἶπε ἡ νύμφη της, ποὺ τὴν παρακολουθοῦσε, γιατὶ ἡ ἴδια δὲν κατάλαβε πόσο χρόνο διήρκεσε ἡ ὀπτασία. Ἦταν κάτι πρωτόγνωρο γιὰ τὴν ἴδια καὶ ἀναπάντεχο (τὸ περιεχόμενο τῆς συνομιλίας. Τὸν Γέροντα τὸν εἶχε ξαναδεῖ μετὰ τὴν κοίμησή του, καὶ καθ᾽ ὕπνον, καὶ ξύπνια). Καὶ γι᾽ αὐτό, φυσικά, πῆρε τὸν πνευματικό της τηλέφωνο, συγκλονισμένη, γιὰ νὰ τὸν ρωτήσει, ἐὰν αὐτὸ ποὺ εἶδε ἦταν πλάνη, ἤ ἦταν πραγματικότητα. Εἶδε τὸν Γέροντα Ἐφραίμ, ὁ ὁποῖος ἦταν πολὺ λυπημένος, καὶ προσπαθοῦσε νὰ μεταπείσει τὸν Χριστὸ γιὰ ὅσα ἐπρόκειτο νὰ συμβοῦν (γενηθησόμενα). (Αὐτά, βέβαια, συμβαδίζουν κατὰ πνεῦμα μὲ ὅσα ἔλεγε ὁ Γέροντας Ἐφραὶμ ὅσο ἦταν ἐν ζωῇ).

Καὶ μετὰ τῆς εἶπε: « Μετάνοια! Μετάνοια! Ὁ Χριστὸς εἶναι πολὺ θυμωμένος. Δὲν ἔπρεπε οἱ σημερινοὶ ἄνθρωποι νὰ εἴμαστε σὲ αὐτὴν τὴν πνευματικὴ κατάσταση ποὺ βρισκόμαστε. Ἔρχονται πολὺ μεγάλα κακά. Δὲν μπορεῖτε νὰ φανταστεῖτε πόσο μεγάλα θὰ εἶναι . . . Ἀλλοίμονο, τί σᾶς περιμένει. Μετανοεῖστε ὅσο ὑπάρχει καιρός. Νὰ γονατίζετε καὶ νὰ κλαίετε. Νὰ ρίχνετε δάκρυα μετανοίας, μήπως ὁ Χριστὸς μαλακώσει. Αὐτὸ ἔχει νὰ κάνει καὶ μὲ αὐτὰ ποὺ γίνονται στὴν Ἀμερική. Πολὺς κόσμος θὰ φύγει μὲ αὐτὰ ποὺ ἔρχονται. Πολὺς κόσμος θὰ φύγει [=θὰ πεθάνει]. Δὲν ἔχετε ἔλεος ἀναμεταξύ σας. Δὲν ἔχετε ἔλεος. Εἶστε σκληροί. Ὁ ἕνας θέλει νὰ φάει τὸν ἄλλον. Αὐτὰ νὰ τὰ πεῖς καὶ στὸν πνευματικό σου, καὶ στοὺς ἄλλους».

Ἡ κυρία ποὺ εἶδε τὸ ὅραμα ἦταν πνευματικοκόρη τοῦ Γέροντα Ἐφραὶμ ἀπὸ παλιά, καὶ εἶχε ἐπικοινωνία μὲ τὸν Γέροντα μέχρι τῆς τελευτῆς του. Τὸ μήνυμα τοῦ Γέροντος εἶναι ἔγκυρο».

RUSSIAN

Старец Ефрем Филофейский, подвизавшийся и отошедший ко Господу в Аризоне 7 дек., 2019 года, явился в начале ноября не во сне, а наяву одной благочестивой женщине из северной Греции, находившейся в этот момент со своей невесткой. По словам невестки, в какой-то момент женщина «отключилась» и пребывала «вне себя» примерно минут десять; она и сама даже не поняла, сколько длилось ее видение.

Содержание разговора со Старцем для нее было чем-то новым поскольку ей еще и до этого являлся Старец, как во сне, так и наяву, после своего успения. Придя в себя, потрясенная женщина позвонила своему духовнику спросить, было ли это прелестью или истинным (настоящим) видением. Она увидела старца Ефрема очень опечаленным, пытавшимся убедить Христа изменить ход происходящих в мире событий (которые развиваются именно таким образом, как предупреждал Старец еще при жизни). Старец ей сказал:

«Покаяние, покаяние, покаяние! Христос очень разгневан. Нынешние люди находятся в таком духовном состоянии, в котором они не должны пребывать. Грядут очень большие беды, не представляете даже какие… Бедные, что вас ждет! Покайтесь, пока есть время. Преклоните колени и плачьте, пролейте слезы покаяния, может быть Христос смягчится ... Это связано и с тем, что происходит в Америке ... Много людей отойдет в мир иной из-за того, что грядет, многие отойдут [умрут]… Вы немилосердны друг ко другу, немилосердны. Вы жестоки, буквально пожираете друг друга .... Расскажи об этом своему духовному отцу и остальным.

Женщина, которой явился Старец Ефрем, была его давней духовной дочерью и продолжала общаться со старцем до кончины последнего.

Все это правда.

ROMANIAN

Părintele Efrem, fostul stareț al Sfintei Mănăstiri Filotheu, și ctitorul Sfintei Mănăstiri Sfântul Antonie Cel Mare din Arizona, unde și-a trăit ultimii ani din viața ascetică, și tot unde a trecut la Domnul, i s-a arătat unei fiice duhovnicești, care trăiește în Nordul Greciei. Când i-a apărut părintele, ea era alături de nora ei; nu dormea, ci era trează. La un moment dat, femeia a intrat într-o stare ca și cum ar fi fost în răpire; această stare a durat aproximativ 10 minute, potrivit nurorii sale care o îngrijea. Femeia aflată în răpire nu și-a dat seama cât a durat viziunea.

Aceasta a fost prima întâmplare de acest fel (adică conținutul conversatiei a fost diferit de celelalte pe care femeia le-a mai avut cu părintele, căci l-a mai văzut pe părintele Efrem și alte dăți, după trecerea sa la Domnul, atât în somn cât și in stare trează), și de aceea fiind uluită, ea l-a sunat pe duhovnic și l-a întrebat dacă vedenia a fost reală sau dacă a fost o înșelăciune.

În această vedenie, ea l-a văzu pe părintele Efrem cum era foarte trist, și cum îl ruga pe Hristos să schimbe cursul evenimentelor în desfășurare - care corespund întru totul cu cele spuse de Sfinția sa de pe când era înviață. Apoi părintele Efrem i-a spus femeii:

”Pocăință! Pocăință! Hristos este foarte furios. Noi, oamenii de astăzi, nu ar trebui să fim în starea spirituală în care ne aflăm. Vin necazuri mari, nu vă puteți imagina cât de cumplite! Vai tuturor ce vă așteaptă! Pocăiți-vă cât mai este vreme! Trebuie să îngenuncheați și să plângeți, să vărsați lacrimi de pocăință, și poate că Hristos se v-A milostivi! Aceasta are legătură cu ceea ce se întâmplă în America. Mulți oameni vor muri în urma evenimentelor care urmează, mulți vor muri. Nu aveți milă între voi, nu arătați milă unii față de alții. Sunteți împietriți la inimă. Sunteți aspri unii cu alții, vă devorați unul pe altul. Spune toate acestea duhovnicului tău și altora.”

Femeia care a văzut această viziune a fost o fiică duhovnicească a Părintelui Efrem timp de mulți ani, fiind în legătură și comunicând cu acesta până la trecerea sa la cele veșnice. Această mărturie este autentică și verificată.

SERBIAN

Старац Јефрем, бивши игуман манастира Филотеи и оснивач манастира Светог Антонија

у Аризони, који је живео аскетским животом и упокојио се у Господу у Аризони, јавио се жени у северној Грчкој која је у то време била заједно са својом снахом, и није спавала већ је била будна. У једном тренутку жена се ”изгубила”(пала у занос) у периоду око 10 минута, по мишљењу њене снахе која ју je посматрала . Сама жена није знала колико дуго је трајала визијја.

Тако нешто претходно није јој било познато(то јест, садржај њиховог разговора; Старца је раније већ видела, након његовог упокојења једнако и у сну и на јави). Збуњена, позвала је свог духовног оца, наравно да би га питала да ли је оно шта је доживела илузија или стварност.

Видела је Старца Јефрема који је био веома тужан, покушавајући да убеди Христа у вези тренутних догађања, о којима је Старац говорио још за време свог живота. Рекао јој је:

’’Покајте се! Покајте се! Христос је веома љут. Данашњи човек не би требао да буде у духовном стању у ком се налази. Долазе велике несреће....какве несреће, не можете ни замислити. Авај, шта вас чека! Покајте се док има времена. Клекните на колена и плачите;пустите сузе покајања да би се Христос можда смиловао. Ово је повезано са оним што се догађа у Америци. Многи ће отићи током дешавања која предстоје...Многи ће отићи..Нисте милостиви једни према другима. Окрутни сте,једни друге прождирете.

Реци то свом духовном оцу и другима.” Жена која је имала ово виђење била је дугогодишња духовна кћи Старца Јефрема и општила с њим све до његовог упокојења. Ово је веродостојно и потврђено.

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<![CDATA[TRAITORS INSIDE THE CHURCH – ~ Elder Athanasios Mytilinaios]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/traitors-inside-the-church https://orthodoxethos.com/post/traitors-inside-the-church ...Then as I said, Apostle Peter asked them to be quiet. A very serious problem arises here, which has been troubling me for years now. Since you and I are inside the Church, and we are the Church, this is the problem: The secrecy of the issues of the Church by the faithful.

The Church was once a closed circle. A relic of this closed circle that has remained to this day is when we say: “The doors! “The doors!” In other words: "Close the doors." Of course, today we don't close the doors because there's supposedly no reason to close the doors and we have given to the contemporary interpreters of the Holy Liturgy a new, metaphorical so to say, dimension to this: "Close the doors to the soul which represents the five sense," for example. Your eyes shouldn't be staring or looking about in a strange way when attending a service. Your eyes should avoid listening to whatever shouldn't be heard, etc. In other words, close whatever distracts you from concentrating on the Holy Liturgy.

Yet, this isn't a spiritual order at all; it's clearly a technical order. Just like: "Wisdom.” “Arise." There's a full stop after "Wisdom" and another one after "Arise". This means that the Evangelion (Gospel) is Wisdom. When the Priest says "Wisdom,” there should be a pause. A pause to signify the full stop and then, "Arise" and pause again. This means that the Evangelion (Gospel) is the WIsdom of God so you should stand up from your seat. Because the faithful had the option of sitting even from ancient times.

Just like today, we have seats inside the church, maybe not enough for everybody, but people could sit in the old days too. They had stools that were called "scymbous". (Let me say something strange here, concerning our language. Scymbous was a Greek word meaning "Stool". This word travels to Europe and came back as "Escabeau" (This word is used today).)

So ... people could sit if they want to. So at that time they had to get up, to stand up. This is just a practical order. And all these matters were taken care of by the Deacons or others who had such a responsibility.

So, here, again, with "The doors" what we mean is "Close the doors". A technical order. Why? Because the Church was a closed issue. You couldn't enter the Church if you hadn't been baptized. The Catechumen can enter the Church but they had to leave before the Sanctification of the Holy Gifts [i.e. after the Sermon].

During the persecutions, the Church was in hiding. Those who had nothing to do with the Church should never find out the activity of the Church. This should never happen. This secrecy of early Christianity was kept meticulously. I have talked to you in the past and I'm going to remind you again when we read the teaching of St. Cyril [of Jerusalem].

There is a quote outside but it's not by St. Cyril but by someone else: "Be careful, for this is not to be delivered to the uninitiated". St. Cyril, in his first catechesis, clearly states: "Mind you, that if you have come here to spy on us and see what we are doing here, God is spying on you instead." And St. Cyril keeps stressing how careful a Christian should be because it was an absolute necessity that spies should be kept away, and no one should be spying on what they did during the services.

This should never be because Christians were persecuted. Therefore, keeping the secrets was an absolute necessity for everyone, both clergy and laity.

Now, how could a priest go out in public? There is something that has been done, will be done, and is being done, take it as you will. Namely, the following:

Let's assume that one day I stop wearing the priest’s garment (the cassock or rassa), not under the influence of modernism but because of a strict prohibition. Thus, I'm not allowed to wear my Priest‘s garment and my dress is the same as a layman’s, or a person in the world, and nobody knows that I am a priest.

By the way, I just remembered that I had been offered a tiny epitrachelion a few days ago. I thought: This is to be worn underneath my shirt so that no one can see and I can do the work! This is actually something I have already done, I've listened to people's confession on the street! In the street - can you imagine? Or at the entrance of a block of flats! And wearing my epitrachelion underneath my black cassock, today we are allowed to wear our black rassa, but there may come a time when we won't be allowed to wear them, so an epitrachelion could be worn as a shirt underneath.

A very small epitrachelion could be worn and you could start [the confession on the Street) by saying: "Well George, how are you? How is everyone at home? - Whispering, go ahead and say your sin." Then, George replies: "How's work?", in other words, some words to be heard out loud and others whispered, pretending to have a conversation while one is quietly confessing.

Now, can you imagine in this case if that person who confessed later went and said to other people, “Brother, ‘You know, Father Athanasios took my confession on the street ... Of course, he didn't wear a robe or a priest's cassock"...Note that everything is done in secret because it's a time of persecution and I don't know if this is the second, third or tenth person to hear this story from George. For, certain people lack the virtue of discretion and keeping a secret and so they could openly point to the priest and say: "That is a truly a priest and a Father-confessor who performed in secret." So, then they go and arrest Father Athanasios with the charge of being the father confessor and therefore a priest.

If you think these things belong to the distant future, allow me to tell you that five or six years ago we read in the newspaper the following event:

A high ranking official of the Russian synod was found dead in a train. He was there for an inspection concerning the bookkeeping. As I said he was a high-ranking official and he had a small briefcase always with him. So the man had a heart attack and died on the train. When they opened the briefcase, do you know what they found? A Bishop's vestment! He was a secret Bishop. This happened recently, in our days. Tomorrow, things may be worse, we don't know, there will be retrogressions of phenomena.

A question: Is there any confidentiality between the faithful? When Apostle Peter asked them to be quiet, could anyone have shouted out to their neighbors: "Do you know something? We saw Peter... etc." No, not a word, not a peep! Are you listening? Unfortunately, among the faithful today there are frivolous people; indiscreet, shallow, and irresponsible. And these people, without looking deeply into things, are capable of harming the Church enormously.

For example, [let’s suppose that] fifty of us are gathered somewhere to perform a secret Divine Liturgy. In other words, we hiding from the authorities [to do so]. And then one of the faithful goes to a neighbor and says: "What a wonderful Divine Liturgy that was!" . . .And they ask, “where...how...what...?" Can not such a secret be kept?!...The news goes around and the second time we go there, they come and arrest us.

And there, what is there to do? What can we do now? This problem has always been troubling me. If difficult times come how can a priest perform his priestly obligations when there's so much frivolity all around? For, I have to tell you that in time of persecution this issue, which is, in fact, a problem, is almost insurmountable. It is a great problem. This is why, dear children, the faithful must acquire what is called an "ecclesial conscience" and a responsible attitude towards the Church, so they don't get to the point of harming the Church.

Let's not forget that, in the end times, when the Divine Liturgy won't be an easy thing to perform, what do you think, when Christians retreat to the mountains, when the Antichrist comes or just before that, that you won't face such a problem? This is something very important, extremely important: how to be able to perform the Divine Liturgy in secret, or perform your duties as an Orthodox Christian in secret.

In those days the ones who are not serious, the ones who are frivolous and reveal secrets, who are ready to spill the beans, to reveal what is to be kept secret, then God - this is how I understand it - will allow these people to bow down before the Antichrist among the first. You may ask why ... It is very simple: because they'll get arrested. After this frivolity, which brought them to this situation, in order to avoid any kind of maltreatment, they'll resort to denying Christ. Therefore they bow down before the Antichrist. This is something that awaits those who can't keep a secret.

So, please, try to do some work [on yourself] concerning this issue. Let's try to be very careful and serious and discreet in Church matters. Let's not be ready to go out and tell whatever crossed our minds. And, lots of time we distort things we hear in Church. Of course, such a person, whether he realizes it or not, turns into a traitor. And unfortunately, as the Holy Spirit informs us in the holy writings of the Apostle Paul: in the end times, there'll be traitors around.

In his letter to Timothy, 3:4, St. Paul says: “In last days men shall be truce-breakers, ... Traitors. "Truce-breaker" is someone who, interpreted... isn’t stable in his friendship, nor true to what he agrees." These people show a frivolity in regard to agreements they promise to keep. These are the truce-breakers, the ones who break a truce (lit. ‘not the same confederacy’ in Greek).

Therefore these are the people who break the agreements, and the Apostle Paul calls them "traitors". Pay attention: Traitors! And this is a major issue, indeed, the issue of treason (or betrayal) and of traitors. One may become a traitor out of frivolity. Just like some children, after some pressure, were forced to reveal where the Bishop of Smyrna, St. Polykarpos, was hiding. These children showed the authorities where BIshop Polykarpos was hiding and they found him and arrested him. But sometimes a person truly has the disposition of being a traitor.

Unfortunately, this element of treason (or betrayal) has never been eliminated. Either for obtaining benefits, or whatever may be the reason. In any way, a traitor is the one who could even get to the point of betraying his fellow men, those belonging to his own faith but also to his own people at home, his family, and relatives. Just like our Lord said to us: that a father will betray his child etc., in difficult times.

Also, traitors are the ones our Lord mentioned, that one will be betraying the other because of different personal interests. Also, betrayal inside the Church has unfortunately a broader character. For example, a person who is baptized into the Orthodox Church, and he writes a book in favor of Ecumenism, an ecumenistic book, trying to mislead the believers concerning the heresy of Ecumenism. Isn't this person a traitor of our faith?... This is why we should be very careful and never forget that traitors exist in the environment of a decadent of spirituality. Because the person who has a booming, a flourishing, a thriving of spirituality prefers to be a martyr rather than a traitor.

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<![CDATA[As an Orthodox Christian, How should I vote?: St. Paisios the Athonite is Your Guide – Archpriest Peter Heers]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/as-an-orthodox-christian-how-should-i-vote-st-paisios-the-athonite-guides-us https://orthodoxethos.com/post/as-an-orthodox-christian-how-should-i-vote-st-paisios-the-athonite-guides-us
In former times, if a pious Christian was involved in public life, he probably wasn’t too well. They would have considered him crazy. Today, it is the opposite. If a pious person isn’t concerned and pained by the way things are in the world, he is the one who has lost his mind. - St. Paisios the Athonite

TODAY you cannot stand indifferent to the public square. You cannot leave matters to the powers that be, as if they are benevolent and working for our good. There are many national and international leaders who are clearly opposed to the faith and vision and to the ethos of the Orthodox Church, to the sanctity of life and man as made in God’s Image, to the integrity of the family and to the purity of the youth.

Taking part and taking a stand today, witnessing to truth in society as an expression and confession of our faith in Christ, is an expression of our love for our neighbor and our Lord.

Saint Paisios says elsewhere:

“Too many Christians don’t want to take on and remove an evil in society, so as to maintain their peace and quiet, the status quo. This means that they have no love. But, later we see these same people working hard for their own interests. That is why a certain spirit reigns today: with so-and-so we need to have good relations, so he will say good things about us, with others we need to have it good so he doesn’t drag us throw the mud, and so on. And others keep silent, they don’t talk, for fear they will write about them in the newspapers, etc.”

And elsewhere, the Saint spoke about voting:

“Vote for the one you believe it is best; the one who loves God and our country.” They always gave the same reply: They are all the same, Father. Then he added: “Well, look here. All olive trees are the same; all of them are affected by the same disease called dakos. However, some are affected 100% by it, others 80% and others 50%. Since we are in need of olive trees, we have to look for the ones that are affected the least. When we go to vote, we should always bear in mind two things: a) how much the candidate loves God and is thus a conscious member of the Church, and b) how much he loves his country and look solely after its interests and not his own. If someone uses another criterion to vote, he is acting out of self-interrests and is not behaving like a true Christian. Later on, divine justice will allow him to pay for his mistake.”

Taking the criteria laid down by the great elder and Saint, and applying it to the situation in America, we can easily come to see, first of all, for whom we should NOT cast our vote.

Orthodox Christians obviously cannot support corrupt politicians who lie and use their power to become rich.

Or, those who want the government to force Christian homeless shelters, adoption agencies, and other charities to endorse same-sex marriage, transgender identity, and experimental cross-sex drugs and surgeries.

Those We Cannot Support with Our Vote

Furthermore, Orthodox Christians cannot vote for:

1. Those who are aggressively pro-abortion and support a law which has allowed for the murder of 60 million human beings since it was passed.

  • a. Those who support abortion for any reason, or no reason, up to and - believe it or not for some - even beyond the moment of birth.
  • b. Those who want the government to fund abortions, who will force Americans to pay for this grievous sin.
  • c. Those who support physician-assisted suicide.

2. Those who endorse same-sex marriage as on par with true marriage, thus undermining Christian morality and furthering the de-Christianization of society.

3. Those who advocate for the repeal of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which protects the religious conscience rights of health care workers who decline to assist with abortions and protects Christian adoption agencies which chose to place babies only with heterosexual couples.

4. Those who support the Obamacare mandate requiring religious ministries to provide contraceptive and abortifacient drugs to their employees - despite that this would force them to trample on their conscience and their Christian Faith.

5. Those who are for implementing a nationwide lockdown if the “science” demands it - a lockdown which would, to be sure, once again mandate the closing of Orthodox churches.

6. Those who claim that the Orthodox Christian understanding of sexuality and gender is rank “discrimination” and thus walk in step with the radical pro-LGBT Orwellian “Equality Act” cannot be a recipient of our support.

7. Those who sound positive and inclusive — they say they want “protections” for people and want to fight “discrimination,” — but this rhetoric is deceptive.

8. Those who are twisting the notion of discrimination in order to force Christians to violate their beliefs.

9. Those who aim to force transgender ideology on the American people. The same people who want sign legislation that will force Christian schools and ministries to hire people who oppose their religious convictions on sexuality and gender. The laws will also force these ministries — which hold that God created humans male and female — to open women’s sports and women’s restrooms to biological males, to refer to biological males by female pronouns if they “identify” as female, and to pay for transgender surgery in their health care plans.

10. Those who not only pledge to fight religious freedom at home. They pledged to make a America into a global force of enforcement of the extreme agenda of the Neo-Marxists which seeks to decimate the Christian vision of man and pressure Orthodox Christian countries into denying the Faith.

11. Those who are for “cancel culture” even on the Supreme Court and demonize those who oppose the extreme LGBT agenda.

12. Those who brand conservative Christian nonprofits “hate groups” due to their beliefs on marriage and sexuality, listing them along with the Ku Klux Klan.

13. Those who single out those who adhere to traditional religious beliefs and moral convictions, aiming to limit their ability to live by their consciences and ostracizing them from polite society.

14. Those who describe opponents of the radical LGBT agenda as “the dregs of society.”

15. Those who are supported by, and support, outspoken Socialist and Marxist forces and would open the door to making American a socialist country.

16. Those who are largely silent before the rioting and burning of buildings by Marxist, anarchical mobs in many American cities.

Consider the Lessons of History

Wherever socialism has sought to gain a footing, it has led a charge against, and persecuted terribly, the Orthodox Church. We have a host of millions of martyrs in the 20th century which testifies to the destruction which comes in the wake of socialists and Marxists coming to power. Socialism and Marxism inevitably lead to totalitarianism, where the government takes the place of God in the lives of its subservient citizens.

Let us remember the years leading up to the Russian Revolution and the prophetic voices which called the nation to repentance. It was 120 years ago and the great wonderworker St. John of Kronstadt, among many others in the Church at the time, stood prophetically calling the people of Russia to repentance and calling out the godless Marxist-socialist leadership. Listen to what was said of St. John and how he stood, not indifferent, but actively opposing the zeitgeist of his day:

“Being himself an image of meekness and humility, love for every person, irrespective of nationality or religion, St. John adopted an attitude of great indignation towards those godless, materialistic, and liberal trends, which subverted the faith of the Russian people and sabotaged Russia’s thousand-year-old government. Subsequent events of the bloody Russian Revolution and the triumph of the godless and inhumane Bolshevism showed how right was the great saint of the Russian land in his warnings and prophetic visions.”

St. John himself wrote and preached:

“Russia, if you fall away from your faith, as many of the intellectual class have already fallen away, you will no longer be Russia or Holy Russia. And if there will be no repentance in the Russian people—then the end of the world is near. God will take away the pious Tsar and will send a whip in the person of impious, cruel, self-appointed rulers, who will inundate the whole earth with blood and tears.” (— Sermon of 1905, in Father John of Kronstadt (50th Anniversary Book, Utica, N.Y., 1958, p. 164)

Brothers and sisters, if we are not in pain for the state of the country and the world, we are in a spiritual coma. We are teetering on the edge of anarchy. Or, rather, simply insanity, according to the words of Saint Paisios: If a pious person isn’t concerned and pained by the way things are in the world, he is the one who has lost his mind.

We must ask God for more love even as the spiritual, moral and even political upheaval of American life is at the doors. It is the eleventh hour. We will all give an account before God for our passivity and indifference, and fear, unless we sincerely repent. Unless we fall on our knees and ask God for mercy, AND also express our love for our country by going to vote for a candidate who at least respects God and Christians, and shows love for his country, or at least, for one who is - according to St. Paisios - “affected the least” by the disease of the day, the zeitgeist of the age, the spirit of the world, which is the spirit of Antichrist.

May God have mercy on America and bless her to keep socialism at bay and continue to be a safe, peaceful place for Orthodox Christians to work out their salvation.

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<![CDATA[THE TEMPTATION COMING UPON THE ENTIRE WORLD – Elder Athanasius Mitilinaios]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/the-temptation-coming-upon-the-entire-world https://orthodoxethos.com/post/the-temptation-coming-upon-the-entire-world TRANSCRIPT:

"Then we have a third and final stage of Ecumenism. We said that first is Orthodoxy, then Roman Catholicism, then Protestantism. These will associate themselves with Judaism and Mohamedanism, and all these five joined together, and we will move to the third stage, which is all of the so-called natural religions, which are Idol-worshipping, such as Buddhism, etc. They will all unite. This is the so-called pan-religion. People, Orthodox people, Christian, which I refer to as Orthodox Christian, for I don't recognize anyone else ... When this arrived, and it's on its way, it is going to be the great temptation of the end times. What does "Great Temptation of the End-Times" mean? It is written in our Holy Scriptures, in the New Testament. It is that temptation which will cast doubt upon the Theanthropic Nature of the Person of Christ. This doubt will leave the door wide open for Ecumenism. This is the last temptation of history.

Let me explain. It has to do with that religion which [will come] before the rise of the Anti-Christ. Before the appearance of the Anti-Christ, all religions will unite. Ecumenism will unite them. It will unite them in that religion which will be before the coming of the Anti-Christ. Why only before the Anti-Christ? Because after the appearance of the Anti-Christ, since Ecumenism - a work of the Devil, 100%!; 100% the work of the Devil. How does St. Justin Povovich refer to Ecumenism? Pan-Heresy! All of you who have read his books must have found this ... Pan-Heresy! It's not only one heresy. It includes the totality of all heresies which have existed on earth.

So ... This Ecumenism leads to the Anti-Christ. This is why I told you that we'll arrive at this Ecumenism before the coming of Anti-Christ. When the Anti-Christ comes, he will abolish Ecumenism. Listen to what kind of game played here. He'll abolish Ecumenism. Listen to what [devilish] games are happening! He will do away with Ecumenism. . . And this isn't because we imagine things will turn out this way, but it's written in the New Testament.

Listen to this: In the Apostle Paul’s Second Letter to the Thessalonians, 2:4, he writes:

“...who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.”

The Anti-Christ (The son of perdition) “Who opposeth (i.e. against/anti-Christ) and exalteth himself above all that is called God (above everything on earth that was of value). The Anti-Christ will claim to be above whatever is called "God" or is revered by people. This means he'll exalt himself above our God the Holy Trinity, above Buddha, above everything! He will abolish the already united religions.

Let me read it once again: "Who exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; whatever is called "God" or is worthy of respect of any religion. The Anti-Christ will abolish all these. "So that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, "so the Anti-Christ will sit in the temple of God as God and he will say to all: "I am the God, there is no other God, only myself, showing himself that he is God." And he will prove himself to be “god” by performing false miracles. (The Apostle Paul says this further down.) It's an unbelievable thing, where this Ecumenism leads to.

Let me say a few words about the great temptation of the end times: Our Lord warns us in the book of Revelation, 3:10, "to the Angel of the Church in Philadelphia write” (this means to the Bishop of Philadephia):

“Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.”

Since you have kept My word, to endure patiently, I will also keep you." So, since you have kept, I will keep you as well “from the hour of trial that is coming upon the whole world." And I will protect you from the time of temptation that everyone in all the world must go through, "which shall come upon the entire world, to try them that dwell upon the earth." To try all those which dwell upon the earth!

What kind of temptation is this? Doubting (disbelief in) the Theanthropic Person of Christ. This is the temptation. "Who is Christ?" Ah, who is He? . . . Theosophy and freemasonry have shown us [what this means]. They have a picture that comes in different sizes. The so-called "Mystical Supper of the Initiates (mystis)" (mystikos signifies the believer who is united (initiated) with God, with regard, in this case, to Christ in the Mystical Supper). How? Listen.

They show Christ in the middle (of the picture), and on His left and His right you can see figures like Zoroaster, Mithras, Moses, Mohamed, Buddha, on His right and on His left. These are called "mystis” [initiates]. Therefore, they accept Christ merely as one of the “mystis” [intiates]. The put him on the same level as Buddha, Mohamed, or whatever.

So, Christ as the Theanthropic Person is cast into doubt. This is a widespread depiction and if you ever see this picture in a house you visit, know that there's a Freemason living there. Yes. Yes! Therefore, THIS is the great temptation - a temptation which is already at work in our days and creates disbelief in the God-Man, the Theanthropic Person of Christ.

And, unfortunately, even here, in our country [Greece], people forge this temptation, when they constantly move away from Jesus Christ through apostasy, so that you may hear a minister of the Government say the word "God" without knowing who the God is he believes in. Have you ever heard the name of Christ? Never. What does this mean? This means that things are going ever-increasingly towards a de-christianization. What can we say here? Stand aright!

That is why the remnant alone will be saved. This is why it's essential that we know the Name of God. Because Buddhism also uses the term "god". And Islam speaks of “god.” But WHO is THE [ONE] God? Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The true God is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; One God, three persons. God the Holy Trinity.

We will continue, God willing, next Monday."

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<![CDATA[Are Orthodox Christian Bishops Afraid of COVID, the Government, or Both?]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/are-orthodox-christian-bishops-afraid-of-covid-the-government-or-both https://orthodoxethos.com/post/are-orthodox-christian-bishops-afraid-of-covid-the-government-or-both
President Trump, after recovering from COVID, was due to leave Walter Reed hospital when he Tweeted this message, “Feeling really good! Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life.”

As an obese 74 year-old with a famously poor diet and a high-stress job, Trump has very publicly beaten the virus and in a short period of time. President Trump is also the man whose campaign has organized events across the country which gathered together tens of thousands of his most fervent supporters.


Through Trump’s actions we can confirm two very important things. First, COVID-19 is obviously not as deadly as the media and government scientists first led us to believe. President Trump is one of the most briefed men on the planet. He has the best medical experts in the world on speed dial. He is not interested in dying. And he wants to be re-elected president with all his heart. That would not occur if his campaign events were threatening his life and the lives of his voters. So, just like anyone else who has been paying attention, it is clear that President Trump is aware that COVID may be highly infectious, but for the vast majority of the American population, it is not a major life threat. The survival rates published by the CDC confirm an expected 99.98% survival rate for patients under 49, and even at 70 plus years of age a patient has a 94.6% chance of pulling through. Worldwide numbers indicate that COVID mortality is within the range of the seasonal flu.

The other thing Trump’s message of COVID defiance and his rallies without limits prove is that President Trump is certainly not an Orthodox Bishop in the United States. If he were, he’d be way more timid.



Successors to the Apostles just finished gathering, virtually of course, for the 10th annual meeting of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the USA. Among other things, the bishops drafted A Message of Hope from the Assembly of Bishops. You can read the entire message at the link. The portions we would like to focus on are quoted below:

In our present circumstances, trying to hold a sensible middle ground between opposing forces of faithless reason on the one hand and spiritualized folly on the other is the greatest challenge of our time…. Certainly, our present physical separation from one another and spiritual isolation from the divine services have complicated our ability to navigate these troubled waters. It is not fitting for us, as Orthodox Christians, to add to the burdens of our brothers and sisters either by condemning them or by appeasing them with insincere flattery. Rather, we ought to honestly fulfill the law of God by bearing one another’s burdens, as the Holy Apostle Paul reminds us (cf. Gal. 6:2).

On the one hand, we suppose, it was good that the Orthodox bishops in this country finally, as a group, acknowledged that we have a few problems here. On the other hand, after reading through this multiple times, we kept asking ourselves, “Where’s the hope here again, other than in the title?”

President Trump is a secular leader, and one that is not noted for his deep and abiding faith in God. But even he was able to call upon us to cast off fear and live our lives. The Orthodox Bishops did not. Trump was bold and inspirational in a time of crisis, the Bishops are trying to hold a tepid “middle ground.” From the beginning of this crisis, Orthodox Christians have asked the bishops to evaluate the data on the virus for themselves and make wise, independent, transparent decisions. The choice has not been between “faithless reason” and “spiritualized folly.” Those words are deployed to merely cover the Bishops’ own fear of action.

Rather, as is even more abundantly clear today than ever, the choice has been between politically useful hysteria and protecting the well-being of our most vulnerable in society. Even WHO officials have now realized that lockdowns are doing the most harm to those who can least afford it. Dr. David Nabarro of the WHO has urged world leaders to stop using lockdowns as a primary virus control method, “Look what’s happened to smallholder farmers all over the world. … Look what’s happening to poverty levels. It seems that we may well have a doubling of world poverty by next year. We may well have at least a doubling of child malnutrition.”

jesus-suffer-the-children

Shouldn’t the Shepherds of Christ’s Church on Earth have something to say about a public health strategy that is doubling the rate of poverty and doubling child malnutrition? Opposing this doesn’t seem like “spiritualized folly” to us. And supporting such policies doesn’t appear to us to be any kind of reason, “faithless” or otherwise.

But there is even more evidence emerging that continuing to destroy economies and human lives over a virus with a close to 100% survival rate for those under 70 is a horrible idea. Over 6,000 scientists signed a petition calling for end of coronavirus lockdowns:

Over 6,000 scientists signed their names to a petition calling for an end to coronavirus lockdowns, citing the “irreparable damage” they have caused.
“As infectious disease epidemiologists and public health scientists we have grave concerns about the damaging physical and mental health impacts of the prevailing COVID-19 policies, and recommend an approach we call Focused Protection,” states the petition, which was signed by over 2,800 medical and public health scientists, over 3,700 medical practitioners, and over 60,000 private citizens, according to Newsweek. “Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health.”
The petition continues: “Keeping these measures in place until a vaccine is available will cause irreparable damage, with the underprivileged disproportionately harmed.
“The most compassionate approach that balances the risks and benefits of reaching herd immunity is to allow those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk,” the petition reads. “We call this Focused Protection.”

When the lockdowns began, many bishops and priests published letters saying that destroying jobs and closing churches was to help “the least of these” (Matthew 25:31). Those of us complaining about the lockdowns and the church closures were often accused of not caring about the vulnerable. We were told, in no uncertain terms, that we were putting money above human lives. Well, that was then and this is now. And now that 15 days to flatten the curve has turned into 7 months, it has become abundantly clear that the lockdowns and social isolation are hurting and even killing the most vulnerable in our society. And it needs to stop.

So why did the bishops not stand up for the least of these among us? Why can politicians and scientists speak out, but the men burdened with leading the Faithful simply keep quiet? Are they that afraid of a virus or the government, or both?

The bishops also noted, “our present physical separation from one another and spiritual isolation from the divine services.” Churches in many states, such as California, are still closed or severely constrained. Lawsuits are popping up all over on Constitutional grounds, and many churches are resisting the restrictions in a myriad of ways. This message was a perfect time for the Bishops to condemn restrictions on religious liberty, and declare once and for all that the Church is “essential.” They, of course, did no such thing which is how most of the Bishops have behaved since the beginning of this crisis. Not only will the Bishops not fight for California, they won’t stand up for Christian freedom of worship in even the mildest of language.

Thanks be to God that we have leaders in the Orthodox Church such as Abbot Tryphon who are willing to stand for the Church. Abbot Tryphon wrote the following in a recent article entitled The Church is THE Essential Institution:

Given the communal nature of the Church, it is particularly alarming our City, State, and Federal governments are using this Covid-19 pandemic to bar people from gathering in their temples for common worship. The importance of social interaction in the central square, as seen in traditional villages where the cafe life, together with the communal nature of the Church, were the primary source of fraternal interaction, demonstrate the danger facing a society that has ordered her people to remain apart, sequestered in their homes.
A nation that forbids her people from participating in corporate worship, is a nation that is doomed.
Isolated from others, the communal nature that is an important element in what it means to be human, is lost. As humans, we are meant to be together, for it is in our lives together that we grow in mind and spirit. It is in community that we learn to love God, and it is within the corporate gathering together for the Divine Liturgy, that we collectively hear the Word of God, and receive the Life-giving Body and Blood of Our Saviour.
It is high time we clearly let those who’ve decided that liquor stores, pot shops, and drug stores are by far less essential to the maintenance of our souls, then the Church. A nation that forbids her people from participating in corporate worship, is a nation that is doomed. It is clear that we have need for access to the food we need for physical sustenance, but the spiritual food needed for a healthy soul and body, makes the Church THE most essential institution in the land.

Like President Trump on the secular side, Abbot Tryphon boldly proclaims truth but from an Orthodox Christian perspective. Compare his prophetic boldness in crying out that a nation which forbids corporate worship is “doomed” with the Bishops’ “middle ground.” Who speaks for the historic witness of the Faith of the Martyrs – Abbot Tryphon or the Bishops?

The danger to our Faith extends past this current crisis. The Bishops’ continuing silence probably means that we are not taking steps to make our own plans as a Church for how to deal with any future crisis. The current policy of simply “comply” has been condemned as dangerous by other Orthodox leaders such as Archbishop Theodosy (Snigiryov) of Boyarka who said:

If the Church adopts a “whatever they say, we’ll do,” stance as its doctrine of responding to social problems, then in the near future, authorities in different countries will be able to close our churches, and deprive the faithful of the Liturgy under any humanitarian pretext—a pandemic, the danger of nuclear war, climate change, etc.

The Bishops missed more opportunities than just defending the vulnerable (while embracing actual science), and calling for an end to restrictions on Christian worship. The ongoing vaccine effort is alarming many with concerns about decreased safety protocols and possible side effects from the use of potentially dangerous new technology. The Russian Church has dealt with those concerns by proclaiming that patients have the right to voluntary, informed consent of all vaccines. Our American Bishops ignored this controversy in their message, even though it is being discussed daily and even featured in presidential debates.

The Bishops also failed to renounce the “new normal” and advocate unequivocally for a return to pre-COVID life, at least for those under 70 or otherwise not in high risk groups. 7 months in, we still have mask mandates, restrictions on travel, and experiments with “immunity” passports. As with lockdowns, the science does not support the need for the “new normal.” Recently, a survey conducted by over a dozen medical institutions for the CDC and published in Sept. 11’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report showed that 85% of those who contracted COVID-19 during July among the study group either “always” or “often” wore face coverings within the 14 days before they were infected. Just 3.9% reported never wearing a mask. And, of course, the data tell us that the overwhelmingly, vast majority of those who did get the virus will be just fine.

The uselessness of mask mandates has always been known based on prior experience with the flu. We have been writing about masks for months. Which makes us wonder why the vast majority of Orthodox parishes are still enforcing mandatory masks, even when many of their localities are not requiring them? When will the Bishops take a stand against the “new normal,” or does their reticence to do so mean that at least the 38 who signed off on this statement are on-board with it?

The Bishops’ message also said:

At the same time, this health crisis and the energy required to shoulder it have also given rise to an unhealthy increase of polemical opinion related to questions of science, medicine, and civil and ecclesiastical directives. As often happens when human passions erupt, such polemics have infected other areas of society as reflected in the rise in this country of racial tensions, ideological clashes, and political polarization… we are not called to base our lives upon the ephemeral convictions that are common in the realm of politics, economics, or ideology. Rather, we are called to “set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Col. 3:2), placing our trust in the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and doing His Holy Will through our efforts to fulfill His life-giving commandments.



Many American cities have been rocked for months with violent riots. Innocent business and home owners have suffered billions in property damage. There is rampant, open speculation of increased mob violence after a possible botched election. But the Orthodox Bishops don’t condemn the violence while calling for calm and prophetically taking to task the politicians who have promoted the chaos? Why do the Bishops note our current distress, but somehow refer to all this chaos and destruction as “polemics“?

As Christians, of course we place our hope in the Gospel, just as the Bishops advise. But how can our leaders ignore what is happening around us? Not only are we beset by Marxist-led mob violence in the streets, but churches are being attacked and vandalized. Christians are being “cancelled” from their jobs and from society for the crime of merely standing up for the tenets of our faith. A Supreme Court nominee is being attacked for the crime of taking her Roman Catholic faith seriously. Yet our Bishops ignore all that and simply tell us to focus on Jesus Christ.

That is not bad advice, focusing on Jesus is always the right thing to do. But we need more out of our leaders to help us in the life we have to live prior to entering God’s Kingdom. What is happening to us now as a nation and as a Church matters, and the Bishops seem completely disconnected from our daily struggles.

It is estimated that 1 in 5 churches will close in the next 18 months. That crisis is reaching the Orthodox as well. The Greek Archdiocese has launched a COVID-19 Parish Recovery Initiative:

Many parishes of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America have reported declines in weekly giving and stewardship donations due to the lengthy COVID-19 shutdown. Additionally, reports showcase the decline of attendance at holy services and ministries as well as technological challenges associated with delivery services and ministries virtually.

Millions of people are deeply disappointed in the way the Church (and the other “Christian” bodies in the US) has caved to COVID hysteria. They are lost, dejected and in need of guidance. They are staying home in droves, and they are keeping what money they have and not giving it to the Church. Our people need the kind of “spiritualized folly” that the Bishops condemn. They need the Faith of the Apostles and Martyrs, not the scribblings of academics too afraid to even meet their fellow Bishops face-to-face. By God’s Grace that boldness still exists within our Holy, Orthodox Church. May God grant that the Bishops catch the the fire of the Holy Spirit in their bellies and that it pours out into their preaching. Then maybe the leaders of our Faith will be capable of giving us a real message of hope over fear.

———-
Source:

https://orthodoxreflections.com/are-orthodox-christian-bishops-afraid-of-covid-the-government-or-both/

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<![CDATA[Three Miraculous Events which Show that Holy Communion is Invulnerable not only to bacteria and viruses, but also to everything else! – From the Website: agiapisti.blogspot.com]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/three-miraculous-events-which-show-that-holy-communion-is-invulnerable-not-only-to-bacteria-and-viruses-but-also-to-everything-else https://orthodoxethos.com/post/three-miraculous-events-which-show-that-holy-communion-is-invulnerable-not-only-to-bacteria-and-viruses-but-also-to-everything-else 1. Presbyter Fr. P.L., known to the editorial team of our blog, recounts:

"My father-in-the-flesh, Presbyter E.L. had just Celebrated the Divine Liturgy in his parish in a village in Halkidiki (Northern Greece). As he finished the katalysis (consumption of the Holy Blood and Body that remained in the Holy Chalice), he wanted to add a little water, as is often the case, to consume the Gifts easier. After looking in the closet, inside the Holy Altar, where he kept the water, he found the bottle was empty and sent the church warden to fill it up. As soon as the latter returned with the water, my father added a fairly good amount of water to facilitate the katalysis

But the smell of this "water", which had now been added to the Holy Chalice, was intense and very strange. He called me to smell it too… There was no doubt… the warden had not added water but… bleach!!!

It was too late to do anything else. The rest of Holy Communion had to be consumed at all costs.

"I will consume and go to bed and let whatever He wants happen. But you do not call a doctor and in no case should you take me to the hospital. Tell your mother to prepare a bowl in case I vomit. Let God’s will be done”...

He consumed with fear of God everything that was in the Holy Chalice and we went home.

He made the sign of the Cross, we forgave each other and indeed he lay down and waited to see what would happen ...

He had some stomach pain but nothing more. After about four hours, he sat up, Crossed himself and glorified God. He asked us to bring him some hot tea…

More than 20 years have passed since then and he is still alive without any problems!"



2. Narrated again by Fr. G.L .:

"In the village where I work, about 20 years ago, a family asked me to Celebrate the Divine Liturgy in a chapel that was rarely used, to offer Holy Communion to a relative of theirs who was suffering from AIDS. In fact, he was in the final stage with hemoptyses and everyone was waiting for his repose in the Lord.

Of course, it did not even cross my mind to arrange for special conditions such as disposable teaspoons or that I could contract something from the patient…

We performed the Divine Liturgy and his relatives, supporting him, brought him into the Chapel, his face severely distorted and unrelated to how I knew it.

I communed him as I would any of the Faithful.

I consumed the content of the Holy Chalice as usual and to this day I am absolutely healthy!”


3. Fr G.L. narrated to us the story of the blessed Elder Gregory of Docheiariou with whom they had a close spiritual relationship:


"My Elder, St. Amfilochios of Patmos often went and heard the confessions of the faithful, in various parts of Greece, whereever he was called. In an area of Northwestern Greece where he happened to be present, a priest came to confess to him.

This priest said to him:

"Geronda, I must stop serving… The reason is that I had a bad relationship with my fellow parish priest and I wanted to hurt him…

One day after the Divine Liturgy, while he was handing out the antidoron, I discreetly approached the Holy Prothesis, I lifted up the Chalice Cloth and I threw in 2 scorpions! After the Antidoron was distributed, we said goodbye to each other and I pretended to leave but I secretly watched to see what he would do…

After his initial surprise, he chopped the scorpions with the Holy Spear and Consumed them together with the Body and Blood of Christ! He is of course completely healthy, but I must stop approaching the Holy Altar after the shock I felt from the miracle I witnessed and the evil deed I committed!... ”

I convey these to you, said the Fr. G.L., because all the persons involved in the narration have now slept in the Lord and of course the names of the priests involved, the exact place and the Temple where they occurred are completely unknown to me.

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<![CDATA[The Demonic Method of Co-existence, Dialogue, Infiltration, and Subversion at work in Ecumenism Today – ~ Archpriest Peter Heers]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/the-demonic-method-of-co-existence-dialogue-infiltration-and-subversion-at-work-in-ecumenism-today https://orthodoxethos.com/post/the-demonic-method-of-co-existence-dialogue-infiltration-and-subversion-at-work-in-ecumenism-today The following analysis of the demonic methodology at work in contemporary syncretistic ecumenism was distributed to participants in the summer online course “An Orthodox Survival Course 2020” which we offered through our Patreon page (and Crowdcast video platform) and is available to all of our patrons.

You can become a patron (with any donation amount) and gain access to all online courses through The Orthodox Ethos Patreon Page. Beginning October 6th, three courses are available to all patrons:

1. The Truth of our Faith: Introduction to Orthodoxy for Catechumens and Newly-Illumined

2. Fr. Seraphim Rose’s Orthodox Survival Course: A Study of the Unfolding of Apostasy from the Great Schism until Today

3. On the Divine Liturgy: A Spiritual and Ecclesiastical Look at Heaven on Earth

It is especially important for missionaries today that we refer to and comprehend the demonic method of adulteration. 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.

When the devil saw that his power was literally devastated by the Cross and Resurrection of Christ, he began to attack the Church with another, new method, with the method of adulteration. He does not claim that Christ is no one of significance. He comes, rather, to speak in the tongue of adulteration and to say, “Yes, certainly, I accept Jesus Christ, but simply as a man, not as the God-man, Theanthropos. He may indeed be a remarkable man, but he is nevertheless a man”. This is what western man has arrived at today. That is, Arianism dominates that western world today. Jesus is a remarkable man but He is not God.

For those who he cannot bring to deny Christ's divinity, he allures them with unbelief on the ecclesial plane. He has introduced a variety of theories, all of which, however, deny the Theanthropic Nature of the Body of Christ, the One Church. This denial may attack any of the four marks of the Church - that it is One, Holy, Catholic or Apostolic. One may hear, for example: “The Orthodox Church is significant and we value your icons, history and theology, but you are not the only Church of Christ”. Or, "the Orthodox Church is, indeed, the Body of Christ, but nevertheless not exclusively so, not absolutely so, since other Christian denominations are also "churches" in an ecclesial sense, even if incomplete."

Yet what is the difference between this and Arianism, the denial of the God-man, the lie of the devil? It is simply on the level of ecclesiology and not only Christology [as was Arianism]. For salvation is wrought in the Church, and if there is a denial of the Church there is a denial of the God-man. It is equal to saying that Christ is simply a man. For if the Church is not theanthropic, not a continuation of the Incarnation, then it differs little from the various confessions, associations, or organisations, which are are purely human creations. If the Orthodox Church identifies Herself with these then we have essentially Arianism in practice, on the level of ecclesiology, and the salvific missionary work of the Church is in vain. The devil seeks in every way to sway the Church from Her Theanthropic identity - and it matters not in what particular way (heresy) he achieves this. This is precisely what is happening today on the level of ecclesiology.

The devil passes through four stages in his assault on the Church: co-existence, dialogue, infiltration or penetration and finally subversion. He employs a methodology that has not changed from the time of Adam and Eve, whether on the personal or ecclesiastical plane. He passes through four stages in order to achieve his goal, which is the subversion of Orthodox Faith and the overturning of Her salvific mission.

The First Stage: Co-Existence

The first stage is co-existence. He comes in the guise of another form, as he once did in the garden as a snake, in order first of all to draw near to us, near to the Orthodox, near to the faithful. This co-existence is a necessary pre-requisite for him to go on to the next stage, which is dialogue. It is for this reason that in the Old Testament God is so strict with the people of God, that they not mingle with idolaters. He must be strict with His people on this point, for co-existence is the beginning of the fall. "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers," says the Apostle Paul, but "come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you."

However, today we do not live before the Incarnation, in the period of the Old Testament. We cannot come out of the world existentially. We are able, however, to depart from it spiritually, in the manner of our living. The faithful separate themselves from the world in the way in which they live. Then the boundaries were visible, now they are spiritual. And, yet, this does not mean that they are invisible or blurry. The Fathers of the Church laid down the boundaries of the Church in the holy canons and decisions of the Councils. Indeed, there are many canons of the Church which regulate our behavior in spiritual matters with regard to the heterodox.

We must respect these boundaries if we wish to stay far from temptation. If we abolish or disregard the canons, if we abolish or blur the boundaries, we will undoubtedly enter into temptation. And the temptation is to conform to this world, to become secularized not only in faith but also in methodology and ethos. Today, many remain Orthodox in dogma (at least initially) but become heterodox in methodology and in ethos. The Apostle Paul says: "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." Keeping the canons of the Church, such as with regard to common prayer with the heterodox, is necessary in order not to enter into the temptation of co-existence with the heterodox in regard to our manner of living and ethos. For, as our Lord said, “if the salt lose its flavor, it is good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled under foot...”.

The Second Stage: Dialogue

The enemy, however, does not stop there. His aim is to bring us to the second stage, to dialogue. And here he has much experience and is stronger than us. For this reason humility alone saves him that will not fall into this snare. Christians are naïve and not cunning, and our weakness is precisely here, because we desire to believe that the other man is sincere. It is particularly dangerous when we have much pride and little progress in the spiritual life. They mollify us and tell us whatever we like to hear. The heterodox are very good at this. They praise us for our history, our icons, our "spirituality," etc. Pride and arrogance comes saying that we are something and we are doing something special. This does not mean, however, that there is any desire on behalf of the heterodox to become Orthodox. Most desire to acquire what we have, not become what we are. This is especially true of most followers of the Pope and apparent in the Vatican's “foreign policy.”

Now, to be sure, within the ecclesial sphere not all dialogue is cursed. There are two kinds of dialogue: one that is blessed and lawful, which was done by the saints and apostles, and another kind that is cursed, which serves the aims of the devil.

The first type of dialogue, the blessed kind, is for clarification. The apostles came to Christ many times for clarification. This dialogue is blessed. Someone comes with humility and a good disposition to learn from the Lord. When the heterodox come thus to the Church, we are on a good road. We can expect blessings. We shall have spiritual fruit.

The second type of ecclesial dialogue, which is conducive to demonic aims, is that which we'll characterize as investigative. When the heterodox or atheist comes to the Church for this kind of dialogue, not for clarification but for investigation or debate, then the spirit of cunning is manifest. Investigation or debate in this context indicates pride before Christ and His Church, as if to say: “I’m coming to converse. Let’s talk about it and find another, third way, another truth, not what you Orthodox preach necessarily, but together we shall find the historic truth, the truth of Christ, etc.” One comes not as a seeker of the truth, not as a disciple, but “on equal terms.” Indeed, this very phrase was used when the theological dialogue with the Vatican was begun fifty years ago: that the Vatican and the Orthodox are dialoguing “on equal terms.”

It is precisely within this context, this mentality, that we shall not find salvation. There will be no return of the heterodox for the simple reason that the very basis of their meeting with the Church has precluded it! Within this mentality there is no repentance and whatever is done is without cost, without sacrifice on their part. However, without sacrifice, without crucifixion of the old man and his worldly mind communion with the Resurrected Christ is impossible.

If we are moving within these four things - no search for truth, no spirit of discipleship, a lack of repentance and no sacrifice or cost, then this kind of dialogue is investigation, not clarification, and it is cunning and from the devil. It is precisely here that we shall fall, because we are simple and naïve and not accustomed to the ways of the worldly-wise and the heterodox. This type of dialogue does not lead to salvation but to the adulteration of Orthodoxy, to schism and to heresy.

The Third Stage: Infiltration

The third stage is infiltration (διείσδυση). After having sufficiently dialogued with the First-formed the enemy succeeded in planting a seed of doubt in the word of their Creator and trust in his sincerity and authority. He penetrated the sacred trust of man in God and infiltrated into their noetic realm, posed to subvert the castle of Orthodoxy from within.

The devil achieves infiltration through daily co-existence, endless dialogue with the heterodox, worldly friendships and friendship with the world, co-operation on common cause agendas, ethics and politics, which ignore dogmatic and ecclesiological presuppositions and are aimed at worldly success. We see this very clearly today among Orthodox clergy and theologians throughout the Church, but especially traditionally non-Orthodox lands. In various parts of the world we have arrived at the point where on many levels there is a corruption of the Orthodox phronema (mindset), precisely because there is not only co-existence and dialogue but also infiltration of the heterodox and his phronema(mindset) into the Orthodox Church. Examples of this include mixed marriages becoming the norm rather than the exception, common prayer (which is often justified on the basis of the mixed-marriage precedent), corruption of the Orthodox ethos among clergy and laity, including even the beginning of public support of deviant sexuality, the adoption of missionary methods of the heterodox, the perversion of the role of the bishop from an prophet and apostle to a diplomat and a politician, etc.

Sooner or later, infiltration leads to the fourth stage, subversion.

The Fourth Stage: Subversion

The enemy works incrementally and systematically, usually in the shadows, out of sight or disguised as something good, even virtuous, all in order that man doubt God, His commandments, Church dogma and canons. He’ll use whatever it takes, even the cover of “love” and “brotherhood” as long as we stretch out our hands and contravene His commandments. It was only after the First-Formed stretched forth their hands that they realized they had been subverted, separated from Life, cast our of paradise.

What exactly is subversion in the realm of mission and ecumenism? Subversion in this case means that it is no longer a matter of the return of the heterodox but that we the Orthodox ourselves identify with the heterodox, consider them within or a part of Mystery of the Church, or even commune with them, whether in prayer or the Eucharist. Unfortunately, this is already happening among some Orthodox, both in North America and Europe. We have first hand reports that Orthodox priests are communing heterodox, from among the Latins, and even more often among the monophysites/non-Chalcedonians, during, for example, mixed marriage ceremonies. Yet, even when there is but a theoretical "recognition" of a "valid" Baptism or even Eucharist among Latins or Monophysites, the subversion of the Orthodox Faith is no less real.

When Orthodoxy is identified with heterodoxy, the truth with delusion, the Church with heresy, then we have arrived at the fourth and final stage and there is subversion of the Orthodox Faith and phronema (mindset).

As faithful Orthodox Christians, we desire that the missionary work of the Church proceed and flourish. If we desire it truly, we shall take head to the machinations of the enemy and attend to the avoiding these four stages of demonic methodology, to avoid the snares of the devil.

Orthodox mission is the answer to the adulteration of the Faith. Only if the Orthodox Church continues Her mission to the heterodox in an Orthodox manner, only then is there hope of subversion, not of Orthodoxy (God-forbid) but of the pan-heresy of Ecumenism.

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<![CDATA[Online COURSES N O W Being Offered – Fr. Peter Heers]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/online-courses-n-o-w-being-offered https://orthodoxethos.com/post/online-courses-n-o-w-being-offered <![CDATA[Should we send our kids to school if they are requiring them to wear masks? – Metropolitan Neophytos of Morphou]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/should-we-send-our-kids-to-school-if-they-are-requiring-them-to-wear-masks https://orthodoxethos.com/post/should-we-send-our-kids-to-school-if-they-are-requiring-them-to-wear-masks Question: They want our kids, from 6 years up, to wear masks in school. What should we do?

Answer: Listen, my brother Aristeides, you who ask this good question: “Our children and our eyes!” [A Greek saying meaning ‘all your attention and care on your kids!’] “Your kids and your eyes!” Both the eyes and the mouth wish for a face that will see God - without a mask. The ancient Greeks - do you know where they would put on masks? In the tragedies (theatre). And the comedies. If our children grow accustomed to masks from now, in twenty years we’ll have a society of demons. Did you hear that? Not of humans: of demons! My opinion is this: find a way so that your children may never wear a mask. This is my opinion. I’m speaking to you responsibly. It is better that they remain without the so-called education of Europe for a few months, or a few years. And what an education! What a joke! You should do school at home. Did you hear? School at home! Do churches at home. Do pharmacies at home. You will see that soon they will be telling you that they have run out of medicine. They want to push society over into chaos, into terror. They want us to be scared, chaosed — See what a beautiful word the old Cypriots have, “chaosed”. It’s when you don’t know what is happening with you: “Deep calleth unto deep” (Psalm 41:7). — So that we’ll say to them, “The vaccine! Please give us a vaccine!” So, they are after our will, they are after our freedom: in brief, they are after our soul. It’s not simply the European ‘rights’ that they want to steal from us. Do not be deceived. They are after our immortal soul!

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SOURCE:

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<![CDATA[“They thought that by closing the churches they would stop the virus...Lord have mercy!. . .” – Metropolitan Neophytos of Morphou]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/they-thought-that-by-closing-the-churches-they-would-stop-the-virus-lord-have-mercy https://orthodoxethos.com/post/they-thought-that-by-closing-the-churches-they-would-stop-the-virus-lord-have-mercy “They thought that by closing the churches they would stop the virus...Lord have mercy! Is this the first outbreak of a virus? From what I know, during epidemics the churches are open day and night and the Liturgy is offered nonstop. Some have attempted to create doubt about Holy Communion, that it can impart infection. Do you know what is the Divine Liturgy? The Body and Blood of the Resurrected Christ. Do you know of a God who defeats death but transmits sicknesses? And there are Hierarchs who tell you to change the lavida (spoon) and to dip it in disinfectant. . . God forbid!” ]]> <![CDATA[AN ORTHODOX SURVIVAL COURSE: What Participants Are Saying – Lessons 1 & 2 are Complete; Lesson 3 Just Ahead]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/an-orthodox-survival-course-what-participants-are-saying https://orthodoxethos.com/post/an-orthodox-survival-course-what-participants-are-saying ‪NEXT LESSON: ‬

‪The Mystery of Iniquity and the Apostasy‬

‪Save your spot for our next Lesson, schedule for this Thursday evening (9 PM EST/6 PM PST): ‬

‪https://www.crowdcast.io/e/an-orthodox-survival/3‬

SIGN UP @ Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/frpeterheers

- - - - -

WHAT PARTICPANTS ARE SAYING ABOUT LESSON 2:

C.T.

Thank you Father. Your first lecture was so insightful and humbling. Thank you so much. . . This is really excellent material and I am grateful that you are addressing these issues. They are generally not being addressed elsewhere and my experience is that if you do ask these questions you get labelled weird or an extremist or legalistic. Thank you for taking our questions and concerns seriously!

P.T.

Your podcast and YouTube videos are providing a light and an inspiration in these dark times. Can't wait for the course.

J. S.

I love all lectures by Fr. Peter!

M. W.

Wonderful

A.

A true pillar of Orthodoxy during these unprecedented times

R. C.

Full of love of Christ! Thanks

P. A.

Much appreciated. I look forward to each session.

K.

Beloved Father, it is nice how you have a formal lesson prepared, followed by such an in depth Q & A. The Q & A is so vital since it represents the plethora of questions among the Orthodox faithful - many of which are necessary to have answered and which you can evidently see are the gray areas in a time where so much ecumenism and mixed ecclessiology have clouded what we know or have hindered knowing in the first place. The lessons followed by the Q & A also offer great spiritual guidance in a time where many of us are thirsting for Patristic spiritual Fathers and true edification. God bless your current endeavor.

T. F.

Thank you Fr Peter! As a two year convert and attending a OCA Mission Parish you are answering so many questions that I'm having during these troubling times!!!

I. B.

I appreciated Father Peter's answer to the question concerning economia in baptism. The Greek Archdiocese in America refused to baptize me, even though I strongly wanted it, having only been tapped with dampened fingers by Lutherans several years earlier. So I gave up and accepted chrismation only. Still I never felt right about it because everything I read in the Holy Fathers said I was missing something essential. Worse yet, I learned that at one time the Orthodox in Greece would not give communion to any Orthodox who had not been immersed. But no priest was willing to correct the situation (yes, I was a pest who kept on asking). Finally after 14 years and 4 churches, I happened to be at a monastery which, hearing about my situation, insisted on correcting it. I was so happy! The abbess said that I was glowing as I came up the third time. (I'm sure she saw that with spiritual eyes, but I remember a feeling of lightness lingering for about a week.) The years since then have blessed me with finding a spiritual father and getting on track with the Orthodox mind and life. To those who have been abused by the innovators' false economia, I say: keep knocking and it shall be opened. Glory to our loving savior Jesus Christ. Glory forever!

W. B.

Very refreshing to hear what the fathers taught and has been kept through tradition for over 2000 years. I mourn and pray for those who suffer from innovation. I’m very glad to be with my small ROCOR mission. A classic quote has new meaning for me: I took the path less traveled and it has made all the difference to me!

H. K.

I love everyone's comments here. I feel like we are a family, thank you Father Peter and brothers and sisters.

K. J.

A balm in painful, raw, and confusing times.

C. Z.

Extremely grateful, Fr. Peter, for this priceless opportunity, and I am learning so much! I also truly appreciated learning about the new Saints of our Church, and realized I have 3 books written by St. Ignatius Brianchavinov: The Field, The Arena, and The Refuge. They were highly recommended by the bookstore at the monastery I go to in Roscoe NY, and I have almost completed the first volume. (I love books, and have acquired many books after converting and just wish I had more time to read them all. I can't pass up a good Orthodox book when I see one, and also sell books at my Church's bookstore.) This course, however, is an interactive way of learning and there's nothing better than something "live" as you feel so much a part of it! Although I go back and watch the videos again, there's a lot to be said about being an active participant while the class is being given. The Q&A's are amazing and I particularly loved the 2nd session's this week, Father, as you answered many of my own burning questions, and again, I am so grateful for your generous gift of your time and thoughtful comprehensive responses! God bless you and thank you for this beautiful ministry!

B. C.

Thank you, Father and fellow OSC seekers. I have benefited from Father Peter's many YT lectures over the past few years, so my expectations for this course were very high. This course continues to far exceed my high expectations. I have been studying on my own for the past two years, and began attending Sunday Liturgy at St I. in E. (CA), but haven't since its (modified) reopening in early summer. I feel blessed and grateful for this growing online community headed by Father Peter.

H. G.

This course is both fitting and right - especially now.

A. T.

Along with the others here, thank you Father for these lectures and Q&A sessions. Very beneficial, especially now.

M.

Thank you father! It is such a great blessing to have you in our spritual life.

S.

Thank you Father for guiding us during these tough times where there is much confusion and division. Please keep us in your 'proskomidi' and in your prayers during the Divine Liturgy so that God may enlighten us to follow and stay on His path which is getting narrower.

M. H

Thank you so much Father, these talks have been a balm on my heart as a mere inquirer in these confusing times.

A. G.

Absolutely enjoyed the course

D.

Thank you so much Father Peter. A very informative and inspiring course. Amazing how the recent saints were spot on when predicting the current state of affairs. Seems like we may be living through the worst of it but I also remember your and their admonitions not to despair and to trust in God because we don't know what He may have in store for us. Being aware of what's going on and understanding it is important, but the main work must be done in our hearts. Our faith is the only thing that will never fail us. God bless you and everybody participating.

K. Y.

Thank you, Father Peter. I found the second lesson spiritually beneficial and enlightening.

C. Γ.

Thank you, Fr. Peter for the very informative outreach! - Γ.

T. R.

Father, this course is an answer to prayer! I can only go to Divine Liturgy at a ROCOR Church on Fridays so am prepping the night before but what a joy today (Sunday when I cannot go) to listen to every beautiful and uplifting word from the Saints and the Tradition and your pastoral suggestions for us all at this very difficult time IN the Church. Every word you are speaking is so in tune with what my Spiritual Father and my catechizing priests who love the Saints and the Fathers and the Patristic Tradition have taught me. I have been STUNNED and saddened to learn how many priests and laity either never were exposed or somehow have been led away from the Orthodox Church. This course is truly spirit-saving for me in our very sad political situation in the US and even more in the sad confusion in our Church. Glory to God! I will catch up with Q & A #2 tomorrow. SUCH A BLESSING!!!

P.S. It is also SO encouraging to see the number of devoted Orthodox who care deeply about our Faith and being on the Royal Path and are seeking the counsel of the Fathers and the Saints. God bless you all!

C. T.

Thank you Fr Peter, I got a lot out of this lesson. I was so glad to hear what you had to say about baptism and ekonomia, I witnessed a baptism by pouring/sprinkling in my church not long after I had begun my catechiss there, and I was greatly troubled by it. I enquired at all of the local churches if any of them did baptism by immersion and they all said no, I was heartbroken to think that I would not be able to be received properly, and certain in my heart that if I could not be properly baptized, I would walk away from Orthodoxy, but an Orthodox aquaintaince knowing how troubled I was by the western style "baptism" spoke with the recently ordained Bishop in our area and he had a discussion with my priest who purchased a large birthing pool & now myself and 4 others will be received by immersion on the 19th of Sept this year! Glory to God! I cannot tell you how happy I am that I will be properly baptized, full immersion three times, I absolutely would have walked away if they had intended to pour or sprinkle me with water.

J.

Thank you Fr. Peter. I listened to your lecture twice, and on the second time completed the question and answer. I encourage all those following this course to be sure and listen until the end. The answers to the final two questions were extremely helpful.

A.

Thank you fr. For all you do for us. 🙏

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<![CDATA[The Method of Holy Communion & the Temptation of Little Faith: A Talk with Professor Demetrios Tselengides – The Orthodox Ethos Podcast]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/the-method-of-holy-communion-and-the-temptation-of-little-faith-a-talk-with-professor-demetrios-tselengides https://orthodoxethos.com/post/the-method-of-holy-communion-and-the-temptation-of-little-faith-a-talk-with-professor-demetrios-tselengides The Professor of Dogmatic Theology at the University of Thessaloniki, Demetrios Tselengides, talks to us about the move by some to change the method of Holy Communion and the ensuing temptation of little faith.

- - - -

00:35 - Question 1: The use of many lavides ("spoons"), is it blessed and in accordance with Holy Tradition?

02:14 - The "good uneasiness" of the Faithful is a god sign.

03:31 - The Church is led by the Holy Spirit; those faithful who are spiritually "deactivated" are in danger

06:01- The Canons of the Church define what may be done

07:10 - The Church is always caring pastorally for the exactitude of safeguarding [Holy Communion]

10:22 - We commune of the very Body and Blood that defeated death itself, defeated the evil one, defeated sin, and is thereafter a carrier of life.

12:21 - If during this trial, this temptation, we fall into the temptation, we are essentially falling away from the Church

15:03 - There are no testimonies for 2,000 years that any harm has come to priests through Holy Communion.

16:45 - Question 2: So it isn’t correct to say that we separate the spoon from Holy Communion, that the spoon does not participate, and so that it could be a carrier of sicknes?

16:58 - This rationale leads us into rationalism and considering all the Holy Vessels as conduits for illness.

18:02 - The critical and all-important question is not so much what is done as why it is done.

- - - -

Biographical Details:

Professor Tselengidis’ depth of knowledge, his education and studies, and his diligent research and labor have made him an internationally renowned academic theologian of Orthodox Dogmatic Theology. His most important offering and characteristic, however, is his work’s fidelity to the Holy Tradition and the Deposit of the Holy Fathers, a faithfulness he acquired by following experiential theologians of our day, such as Saints Paisios of Mt. Athos and Ephraim of Katounakia. He considers himself a humble minister, always emphasizing the absolute interrelation of right doctrine with the right way of life, distancing himself from the creation of a sterile and cold academic discourse.

He is the author countless articles and seven books on Dogmatic Theology, covering a wide range of topics, including the theology of the icon, grace and freedom, critical studies of the doctrine of salvation in Luther and the satisfaction of divine justice in Anslem of Canterbury, the Soteriology of Western Christianity, and the presuppositions and criteria of Orthodox Theology. Through his many lectures, articles, and appeals to the hierarchy on pressing ecclesiastical matters such as the Orthodox-Roman Catholic, and Orthodox-Anti-Chalcedonian Dialogues, the documents of the Cretan council, and the Ukrainian schism Professor Tselingides has given much courage and consolation to the faithful.

- - -

Utilize the Orthodox Ethos Podcast Interactive Transcripts!:

-- https://oe-transcripts.now.sh

*For all who would like to support The Orthodox Ethos, donations can be made via Paypal at the following link:

-- http://paypal.me/FrPeterHeers

Share and Subscribe to the OE YOUTUBE CHANNEL:

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]]>
<![CDATA[Περί της Kαινοτομίας του Tρόπου Mετάδοσης της Θ. Κοινωνίας: Συνέντευξη με τον κ. Δημήτριο Τσελεγγίδη – The Orthodox Ethos Podcast (Greek edition)]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/peri-tis-kainotomias-toy-tropoy-metadosis-tis-th-koinonias-synenteyksi-me-ton-k-dimitrio-tseleggidi https://orthodoxethos.com/post/peri-tis-kainotomias-toy-tropoy-metadosis-tis-th-koinonias-synenteyksi-me-ton-k-dimitrio-tseleggidi Περί της Kαινοτομίας του Tρόπου Mετάδοσης της Θείας Κοινωνίας και του Νέου Σταδίου Πειρασμού: Συνέντευξη με τον κ. Δημήτριο Τσελεγγίδη.

- - - -

OE is NOW ON PATREON, where you can also sign up for The Orthodox Survival Course:

- Link to New Patreon Page: https://www.patreon.com/frpeterheers

- Link to Announcement on OE: https://orthodoxethos.com/survival-course-2020

- - - - -

Utilize the Orthodox Ethos Podcast Interactive Transcripts!:

-- https://oe-transcripts.now.sh

- - - - -

*For all who would like to support The Orthodox Ethos, donations can be made via Paypal at the following link: -- http://paypal.me/FrPeterHeers

Share and Subscribe to the OE YOUTUBE CHANNEL: https://www.youtube.com/c/OrthodoxEthos

OE WEBSITE: https://orthodoxethos.com

UNCUT MOUNTAIN PRESS (UMP) Website: https://www.uncutmountainpress.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/frpeterheers

Twitter: https://twitter.com/frpeterheers

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Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00Y938IQ2

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Academia: https://hts.academia.edu/FrPeterHeersDTh

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/frpeterheers/

Books:

https://www.uncutmountainpress.com/books/the-ecclesiological-renovation-of-second-vatican-council--english/

https://www.uncutmountainpress.com/books/missionary-origins-of-modern-ecumenism/

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<![CDATA[The Current Challenge of Caesaropapism to the Orthodox Faith: Interview with Fr. Savas Agioreitis – The Orthodox Ethos Podcast]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/the-current-challenge-of-caesaropapism-to-the-orthodox-faith-interview-with-fr-savas-agioreitis https://orthodoxethos.com/post/the-current-challenge-of-caesaropapism-to-the-orthodox-faith-interview-with-fr-savas-agioreitis In this fourth part of our four-part discussion (4/4) with Archimandrite Savas Agioreitis, which took place on May 8th, we discuss a wide-range of matters pertaining to the current crisis, including the contemporary challenge of Caesaropapism to Orthodoxy and the innovations surrounding our understanding of the Holy Things in the Holy Temple of God.

- - - -

00:39 - Question 1: Should the Church be Obedient to the State even though it violates our internal life?
02:31 - The Synod supposed it could bless monastics to deny their vows
04:37 - Science doesn't say the truth; it seeks the truth.
06:56 - The Phenomenon of Caesaropapism
11:59 - Question 2: What about when it is not the State but the Hierarch which Innovates and Imposes upon the Clergy and People?
13:08 - Question 3: Is it so that "the faithful - not the faith - are in danger?
13:49 - Question 4: Is there absolutely no reason to close the Churches?
14:13 - Question 5: Since the government doesn't understand, what should we do?
15:04 - There are "red lines" for the "Crypto-Christians" as well.
15:37 - "Whosoever confesses IN Me...": Noetic Prayer a criterion for ecclesiality
17:13 - Question 6: Is this 'crisis' the result of not fulfilling the presuppositions for communion?
18:11- Question 7: Who discerns and excludes those unprepared from communing?
18:44 - The example of Fr. Athanasios Chamakiotis in Marousi (Athens)
19:19 - Question 8: What should Christians who are cut off from communion do as to live in a Christian way until they can commune again?
20:42 - Question 9: Should we not stand beside the priests and hierarchs to support them in doing the right thing?


- - - -

Archimandrite Fr. Savas Agioreitis began his monastic life in the Holy Kelli of the Entrance of the Theotokos in Kerasia on Mt. Athos. He is also a graduate of the School of Dentistry and the School of Theology, at the University of Thessaloníki, where he completed his Masters Degree with Professor Demetrios Tselengides. Today, Fr. Savas is the spiritual father of the Holy Monastery of the Holy Trinity in the Diocese of Edessa, in northern Greece. Fr. Savas works tirelessly teaching and guiding the faithful not only in his diocese or in Greece, but, indeed, through the online homilies and lectures, the world over, wherever the rational sheep of Christ are thirsting for the Word of God and the Gospel.

In addition to nearly daily homilies during Divine Liturgy, which are uploaded to the internet, now numbering in the many hundreds if not thousands, Fr. Savas is also a prolific author, penning more than 11 books.

- - - - -

A Four-Part Interview:

1. In the first segment we will address the Temple and whether or not the faithful need to fear becoming sick therein.

2. In the second segment, we address the all-important matter of having a spiritual father during these times of trouble and persecution.

3. In the third segment, we discuss a wide-range of matters pertaining to how we must live in a spiritual manner in face of this great challenge to our Faith.

4. And, in this fourth segment, we look at the challenge to the Orthodox Faith from contemporary Ceasaropapism and innovative ideas about the Holy Things in the Holy Temple.

We are sure that these interviews, with the ever-vigilant Fr. Savas, offered with much love and sacrifice to you, the pious, zealous faithful, will undoubtedly be profitable and enlightening!
- - - - -

- - - - -

OE is NOW ON PATREON, where you can also sign up for The Orthodox Survival Course:

- Link to New Patreon Page: https://www.patreon.com/frpeterheers

- Link to Announcement on OE: https://orthodoxethos.com/survival-course-2020

- - - - -

Utilize the Orthodox Ethos Podcast Interactive Transcripts!:

-- https://oe-transcripts.now.sh

*For all who would like to support The Orthodox Ethos, donations can be made via Paypal at the following link:

-- http://paypal.me/FrPeterHeers

Share and Subscribe to the OE YOUTUBE CHANNEL:

https://www.youtube.com/c/OrthodoxEthos

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Academia: https://hts.academia.edu/FrPeterHeersDTh

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/frpeterheers/

Books:

https://www.uncutmountainpress.com/books/the-eccle...

https://www.uncutmountainpress.com/books/missionar...

]]>
<![CDATA[Τhe Sunday of the Holy Fathers and the Meaning of Heresy – The Orthodox Ethos Podcast]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/the-sunday-of-the-holy-fathers-and-the-meaning-of-heresy https://orthodoxethos.com/post/the-sunday-of-the-holy-fathers-and-the-meaning-of-heresy A pernicious and dangerous re-definition of heresy is spreading among theologians and hierarchs which blurs the boundaries of Orthodoxy and heresy and thus blocks the path of return and salvation for many. In this podcast Fr. Peter examines the teaching of the Holy Fathers on heresy, heretics, and the key differences, including, first of all, the therapeutic methodology in the Church, the fruit of which, in every age, are the Saints and Holy Fathers.

- - - -

00:29 - Commemorating the Fourth Ecumenical Council

01:23 - Father George Metallinos: Successor of the Holy Fathers

02:55 - The Epistle of the Apostle Paul to Titus

04:17 - Heresy: What does it mean?

05:15 - A blurring of the boundaries

06:40 - The True Theologians: The Holy Fathers

11:52 - Charlatans, Quack Doctors: The Heretics

15:56 - The Great Threat Today: Setting Aside the Patristic Understanding of Heresy

17:24 - A Major Error: Using *Ourselves* as the Yard Stick of Orthodoxy

18:17 - Compare Rather the Patristic Example and Teaching

20:20 - We Must Follow the Holy Fathers in Everything

20:53 - The claim that a Heretic is simply one that is Factious is False

22:14 - That there is no heresy today: a pillar of the mindset leading to Antichrist

- - - -

OE is NOW ON PATREON, where you can also sign up for The Orthodox Survival Course:

- Link to New Patreon Page: https://www.patreon.com/frpeterheers

- Link to Announcement on OE: https://orthodoxethos.com/survival-course-2020

- - - - -

Utilize the Orthodox Ethos Podcast Interactive Transcripts!:

-- https://oe-transcripts.now.sh

*For all who would like to support The Orthodox Ethos, donations can be made via Paypal at the following link:

-- http://paypal.me/FrPeterHeers

Share and Subscribe to the OE YOUTUBE CHANNEL:

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https://orthodoxethos.com

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Books:

https://www.uncutmountainpress.com/books/the-eccle...

https://www.uncutmountainpress.com/books/missionar...

]]>
<![CDATA[How Shall We Live During This Current Persecution of Orthodoxy?: Interview with Fr. Savas Agioreitis – The Orthodox Ethos Podcast]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/how-shall-we-live-during-this-current-persecution-of-orthodoxy-interview-with-fr-savas-agioreitis https://orthodoxethos.com/post/how-shall-we-live-during-this-current-persecution-of-orthodoxy-interview-with-fr-savas-agioreitis In this third part of our four-part discussion (3/4) with Archimandrite Savas Agioreitis, which took place on May 8th, we discuss a wide-range of matters pertaining to how we must live in a spiritual manner in face of the current persecution of Faith in Christ and His Church.

- - - -

00:00:34 - Question 1: How will we live and survive this current situation?

00:01:14 - Answer 1: This crisis is pre-designed and we are under persecution

00:02:59 - A matter of faith, a dogmatic issue

00:04:07 - Question: Some say we are to bow before an icon, not kiss it.

00:05:30 - When we love God we also love our neighbor

00:07:00 - The Priest is "a type and in the place of Christ"

00:08:23 - St. Symeon the New Theologian: "Everything is expelled by Thy Light, o Christ"

00:09:20 - An Incident in Our Days from Romania which teaches us

00:10:37 - [WHO Disgraced; march for global government]

00:12:46 - Our Story in Romania: Communion Kills Virus-

00:14:49 - No need to change, for God Himself 'oikonomizes'

00:15:49 - "Life will never be the same"? "No going back"?

00:16:24 - Ecclesiastical Leadership Follows Rulers of This World

00:17:02 - What is said during the Consecration of the Temple

00:17:54 - Locked in, and out, of the Sheepfold!

00:19:37 - The Hierarch implores for the Temple to become "a refuge for patients"

00:20:06 - Dogma and Ethos are inseparable; lose one, lost the other

00:22:21 - The Temple: "an infirmary of passions, shelter of patients, expeller of demons."

00:23:53 - First and Foremost: Become Firm in the Faith

00:27:10 - Two abominations with regard to the Faith have led us here

00:28:50 - Three are the greatest sins of modern Greeks

00:30:45 - Spiritual Fathers without the Spirit

00:32:13 - Rational Sheep must judge with righteous judgement

- - - -

Archimandrite Fr. Savas Agioreitis began his monastic life in the Holy Kelli of the Entrance of the Theotokos in Kerasia on Mt. Athos. He is also a graduate of the School of Dentistry and the School of Theology, at the University of Thessaloníki, where he completed his Masters Degree with Professor Demetrios Tselengides. Today, Fr. Savas is the spiritual father of the Holy Monastery of the Holy Trinity in the Diocese of Edessa, in northern Greece. Fr. Savas works tirelessly teaching and guiding the faithful not only in his diocese or in Greece, but, indeed, through the online homilies and lectures, the world over, wherever the rational sheep of Christ are thirsting for the Word of God and the Gospel.

In addition to nearly daily homilies during Divine Liturgy, which are uploaded to the internet, now numbering in the many hundreds if not thousands, Fr. Savas is also a prolific author, penning more than 11 books.

- - - - -

A Four-Part Interview:

1. In the first segment we will address the Temple and whether or not the faithful need to fear becoming sick therein.

2. In this second segment, we address the all-important matter of having a spiritual father during these times of trouble and persecution.

3. In this third segment, we discuss a wide-range of matters pertaining to how we must live in a spiritual manner in face of this great challenge to our Faith.

4. And, in the fourth segment, we look at the challenge to the Orthodox Faith from contemporary Ceasaropapism and innovative ideas about the Holy Things in the Holy Temple.

We are sure that these interviews, with the ever-vigilant Fr. Savas, offered with much love and sacrifice to you, the pious, zealous faithful, will undoubtedly be profitable and enlightening!

- - - - -

OE is NOW ON PATREON, where you can also sign up for The Orthodox Survival Course:

Welcome VIDEO on New Patreon Page:

Link to New Patreon Page: https://www.patreon.com/frpeterheers

Link to Announcement on OE: https://orthodoxethos.com/survival-course-2020

- - - - -

Utilize the Orthodox Ethos Podcast Interactive Transcripts!:

-- https://oe-transcripts.now.sh

*For all who would like to support The Orthodox Ethos, donations can be made via Paypal at the following link:

-- http://paypal.me/FrPeterHeers

Share and Subscribe to the OE YOUTUBE CHANNEL:

https://www.youtube.com/c/OrthodoxEthos

OE WEBSITE:

https://orthodoxethos.com

UNCUT MOUNTAIN PRESS (UMP) Website:

https://www.uncutmountainpress.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/frpeterheers

Twitter: https://twitter.com/frpeterheers

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/frpeterheers/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00Y938IQ2

Postcards from Greece Podcast: https://saintkosmas.com/heers-postcards-from-greec...

Academia: https://hts.academia.edu/FrPeterHeersDTh

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/frpeterheers/

Books:

https://www.uncutmountainpress.com/books/the-eccle...

https://www.uncutmountainpress.com/books/missionar...

]]>
<![CDATA[OE is now on PATREON ~ and offering Online Courses! – Sign up Today for the Orthodox Survival Course!]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/oe-is-now-on-patreon-and-offering-online-courses https://orthodoxethos.com/post/oe-is-now-on-patreon-and-offering-online-courses

OE has a new page on Patreon which has been created in response to the overwhelmingly positive reciprocation of the faithful to The Orthodox Ethos Podcast.

Within just two months of launching our subscribers more than tripled to over 8,000. Many of them - many of you - have asked us for an easy way - like Patreon - to support the work financially and help it expand.

At the same time we were looking for a platform to host our online courses. We were pleasantly surprised to find that through Crowdcast we can also make Patreon the platform for our online courses - beginning with this summer’s Orthodox Survival Course 2020.

Once you become a patron, at whatever donation amount, you will gain access to the course, as well as to other content, such as live-streaming Q & A sessions, special announcements, videos and articles, and more.

Our approach to Patreon is different and unique. There are no membership tiers with levels of rewards. Access to all content is given to all patrons irrespective of their monthly donation amount. Everyone offers whatever he desires, for the sake of the Truth of Christ and the upbuilding of the brethren, and all share in the same benefits.

Now, with The Orthodox Ethos Patreon Page, yet another opportunity opens up to enlarge the circle of co-workers, patrons and subscribers, and so extend the reach of the work.

Now all of you can support The Orthodox Ethos platform and - no matter the level of support - gain access to all material, first of which is our online Summer Course starting in just a few weeks.

Become a patron today and we’ll see you in the Course!


An Orthodox Survival Course

Overview

A six-week introductory course, with a one hour lecture each week, followed by a Q & A session. This introductory course will be followed by a more extensive course in the Fall.

The course will begin with a summary of the work done by Fr. Seraphim Rose in his “Survival Course,” the aim of which was to help the faithful understand the apostasy and know why the modern age is the way it is. The course will, furthermore, point the faithful to contemporary sources of guidance given by the Saints of our age and important ecclesiastical writers, and analyze the challenges currently facing the Church, including church closures, “sanitized” Temples of God, vaccinations, wars and rumors of wars and other signs of our times.

When:

Begins on Thursday, July 30, 2020 at 9 PM (EST, New York), 6 PM (PST, San Francisco), 11 AM, Friday (Sydney, Australia)

  • A second Q&A Session for Eastern Hemisphere participants will be held every Friday evening at 7:30 PM (Sydney time zone)
  • Lessons are held weekly, every Thursday evening.
  • Seminar Dates: July 30; August 6, 13, 20, 26*; September 3. [*Wednesday evening]

Where:

Online, through The Orthodox Ethos Patreon Page; Go there now to sign up, becoming a patron of The Orthodox Ethos, at whatever level of support you prefer, and you have access to all Online Courses.

The Aim:

To assist in the acquisition of the Mind of Christ, the Orthodox Patristic Perspective and Worldview, in order to protect the faithful from the wiles of enemy and the spirit of Antichrist which, by another name, is secularism.

Lecturer:

Archpriest Peter Heers
Lecturer in Dogmatic Theology
Holy Trinity Seminary (ROCOR)

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<![CDATA[The Role of the Spiritual Father in the Current Crisis: Interview with Archimandrite Savas Agioreitis – The Orthodox Ethos Podcast]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/the-role-of-the-spiritual-father-in-the-current-crisis-interview-with-archimandrite-savas-agioreitis https://orthodoxethos.com/post/the-role-of-the-spiritual-father-in-the-current-crisis-interview-with-archimandrite-savas-agioreitis The second part of our four-part discussion (2/4) with Archimandrite Savas Agioreitis, given on May 8th, on the need to find, have and come under the direction of a spiritual father.

- - - - -

00:37 - Question 1: The Responsibilities of the Faithful

02:39 - Criterion given by St. Symeon the New Theologian - The Apostolic Life

05:03 - The criterion is not that the priest, bishop or even Synod said it...

05:45 - Question 2: Should I choose a Spiritual Father even if he lives hours away...by plane?

07:28 - There will come a time when you will travel hundreds of miles to find a priest...

08:16 - The Spiritual Father is a priest who has been purified and reached illumination

10:33 - Question 3: What happens when a Spritual Father does not direct properly?

12:18 - Question 4: How can the faithful discern whether or not he is being guided properly?

14:13 - Illumination means the Noetic Prayer exists in the Spiritual Father

14:55 - Examples of Spiritual Malpractice by Quack Spiritual Fathers

17:10 - Examples of those coming to Confession without Repentance

18:09 - A Spiritual Father must reach the level of Noetic Prayer

21:50 - Question 5: What is Repentance?: To Move the Nous to the Heart

23:12 - "Death came in through the Gates"

24:34 - Question 6: Can one see noetic prayer, or its fruits, in the Spiritual Father?

26:43 - Clear Criteria: Dogma and Ethos, the Truth, Way and Life

27:12 - His Spiritual Children are also a Criterion

29:00 - Question 7: If a priest does not confess the holiness of the Temple and Holy Things, should one avoid taking him as a Spiritual Father?

30:24 - The Holy Canons say the opposite of what many Bishops and Priests are saying today (with Covid-19 measures)

32:57 - We have lost the criteria today: even Patriarchs are succumbing to the spirit of Antichrist

34:16 - ΧΞΣτ (666) = (X) Christian (Ξ) Stranger to the (Στ) Cross

- - - -

Archimandrite Fr. Savas Agioreitis began his monastic life in the Holy Kelli of the Entrance of the Theotokos in Kerasia on Mt. Athos. He is also a graduate of the School of Dentistry and the School of Theology, at the University of Thessaloníki, where he completed his Masters Degree with Professor Demetrios Tselengides. Today, Fr. Savas is the spiritual father of the Holy Monastery of the Holy Trinity in the Diocese of Edessa, in northern Greece. Fr. Savas works tirelessly teaching and guiding the faithful not only in his diocese or in Greece, but, indeed, through the online homilies and lectures, the world over, wherever the rational sheep of Christ are thirsting for the Word of God and the Gospel.

In addition to nearly daily homilies during Divine Liturgy, which are uploaded to the internet, now numbering in the many hundreds if not thousands, Fr. Savas is also a prolific author, penning more than 11 books.

- - - - -

A Four-Part Interview:

1. In the first segment we will address the Temple and whether or not the faithful need to fear becoming sick therein.

2. In this second segment, we address the all-important matter of having a spiritual father during these times of trouble and persecution.

3. In the third segment, we discuss a wide-range of matters pertaining to how we must live in a spiritual manner in face of this great challenge to our Faith.

4. And, in the fourth segment, we look at the challenge to the Orthodox Faith from contemporary Ceasaropapism and innovative ideas about the Holy Things in the Holy Temple.

We are sure that these interviews, with the ever-vigilant Fr. Savas, offered with much love and sacrifice to you, the pious, zealous faithful, will undoubtedly be profitable and enlightening!

- - - - -

Utilize the Orthodox Ethos Podcast Interactive Transcripts!:

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https://www.uncutmountainpress.com/books/missionary-origins-of-modern-ecumenism/

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<![CDATA[St. Gregory Palamas: A Guide of Orthodoxy vis-a-vis the West and Roman Catholicism (Australia Lectures) – ~ By Archpriest Peter Heers, Lecturer in Dogmatic Theology (CTS), Holy Trinity Seminary, Jordanville, NY.]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/st-gregory-palamas-a-guide-of-orthodoxy-vis-a-vis-the-west-and-roman-catholicism-australia-lectures https://orthodoxethos.com/post/st-gregory-palamas-a-guide-of-orthodoxy-vis-a-vis-the-west-and-roman-catholicism-australia-lectures <![CDATA[Our Spiritual and Ecclesiastical Crisis (3/3): An Interview with Professor Demetrios Tselengides – The Orthodox Ethos Podcast]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/our-spiritual-and-ecclesiastical-crisis-3-3-an-interview-with-professor-demetrios-tselengides https://orthodoxethos.com/post/our-spiritual-and-ecclesiastical-crisis-3-3-an-interview-with-professor-demetrios-tselengides For a transcript of this episode go to the podcast page:

Part Three of our three part Interview with the Professor of Dogmatic Theology at the University of Thessaloniki, Demetrios Tselengides, in which he addresses:

- The criterion of the heart and the enlightening guidance of the Holy Spirit, in the discernment of sprits,

- The interpenetration of dogma and life, and the unity of the Way, the Truth and the Life

- And, the move from repentance to confession in practice - that Christ, that is, Divine Communion, is Life

- - - -

01:02: Question #1: How can the faithful be so bold as to follow the Holy Fathers?

03:07: They all had the criterion of the heart

03:35: An example of the simple faithful following the Holy Fathers

06:40: Live according to His will and He will inform you

07:43: Question #2: What is the Presupposition for standing aright?

08:00: The Example of the First Oecumenical Council

00:09:51: Truth lived existentially brings spiritual understanding

10:20: Question #3: Is this a dogmatic issue? Is disobedience justified?

10:50: Alliloperichoresis: Dogma and Life are Inseparable

11:58: No event in the Church is unrelated to the Life and Truth of Christ

13:37: The So-called "Home Church"

14:35: Question #4: Is there such a thing as "Private Worship"?

15:02: Choosing between Life or death?

23:33: Question #4: Repentance leads to Confession of Faith

25:48: Question #5: What if there is no leadership or guides?

-------

Biographical Details:

Professor Tselengidis’ depth of knowledge, his education and studies, and his diligent research and labor have made him an internationally renowned academic theologian of Orthodox Dogmatic Theology. His most important offering and characteristic, however, is his work’s fidelity to the Holy Tradition and the Deposit of the Holy Fathers, a faithfulness he acquired by following experiential theologians of our day, such as Saints Paisios of Mt. Athos and Ephraim of Katounakia. He considers himself a humble minister, always emphasizing the absolute interrelation of right doctrine with the right way of life, distancing himself from the creation of a sterile and cold academic discourse.

He is the author countless articles and seven books on Dogmatic Theology, covering a wide range of topics, including the theology of the icon, grace and freedom, critical studies of the doctrine of salvation in Luther and the satisfaction of divine justice in Anslem of Canterbury, the Soteriology of Western Christianity, and the presuppositions and criteria of Orthodox Theology. Through his many lectures, articles, and appeals to the hierarchy on pressing ecclesiastical matters such as the Orthodox-Roman Catholic, and Orthodox-Anti-Chalcedonian Dialogues, the documents of the Cretan council, and the Ukrainian schism Professor Tselingides has given much courage and consolation to the faithful.

- - -

Utilize the Orthodox Ethos Podcast Interactive Transcripts!:

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Books:

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https://www.uncutmountainpress.com/books/missionar...


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<![CDATA[BE ANGRY, AND SIN NOT. HOMILY ON THE FEAST OF PENTECOST – St. Luke, Archbishop of Crimea]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/be-angry-and-sin-not-homily-on-the-feast-of-pentecost https://orthodoxethos.com/post/be-angry-and-sin-not-homily-on-the-feast-of-pentecost The great feast has arrived, a feast of great joy for Christians: The Holy Spirit has descended upon the apostles, and not only upon the apostles—the Holy Spirit has come to the world to fulfill the promise made to us by our Lord Jesus Christ when He said, “I will not leave you orphans, I will send the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.” And the Holy Spirit sanctified the Earth, and He will lead the Christian race on the path of salvation to the end of the ages.

The Holy Spirit came down first of all upon the apostles. And how did He come down? In the form of fiery tongues, visibly. The Holy Spirit has not descended visibly like this upon anyone else since then. What does this mean? Why was it needed that the Holy Spirit should descend upon the holy apostles in the form of fiery tongues, visible and tangible to all? Because the apostles where saints; because through them, through their preaching, the Holy Gospel would be confirmed throughout the whole world. They were the first preachers of the Gospel, the first to bring the light of Christ into the world. This is why the Holy Spirit marked them in this way, descending upon them in the form of fiery tongues. He made their hearts and minds fiery, sanctified and enlightened them, reminded them of everything they had heard earlier from the Lord Jesus Christ, and gave them strength, so that they would bring the whole world to Christ.

But doesn’t the Holy Spirit come down upon all who are worthy to receive Him? Wasn’t St. Seraphim of Sarov filled with the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit came down upon him not in the form of fiery tongues but in such a way that it took possession of all his thoughts, desires, feelings, and longings. He filled St. Seraphim. Thus did the Holy Spirit fill many, many saints, and thus did the Holy Spirit fill also all of us unworthy contemporary Christians, for in the Sacrament of Chrismation and Baptism we are all given the grace of the Holy Spirit.

All are given this grace, all have received it, but not all have preserved it. Many have lost this treasure, lost the grace of the Holy Spirit. For could the Holy Spirit possibly abide in an impure heart that is filled with sin? As smoke chases away the bees, as stench repels all people, so does the stench of the human heart repel the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit lives only in pure hearts, and only to them does He grant His Divine grace, His holy gifts, for He is the “Treasury of good things”—all the true and most precious goods that the human heart could possibly possess. Could the impure heart receive them? Could the heart that is sinful and deprived of mercy and love possibly receive the grace of the Holy Spirit?

But how can we acquire a pure heart? How can we refrain from shameful sins? How can we refrain from the temptations of the enemy of our salvation, from the temptations of the world? How can we guard ourselves from them? We need to tirelessly, always, throughout our days and every hour remember that the Holy Spirit does not live in an impure heart. We must not succumb to temptation, and when the unclean spirit, the enemy of our salvation whispers in our ear the longing for earthly prosperity, when he draws us a picture of a glorious, comfortable life, when he arouses our pride, a desire for honor and glory, we must not accept these devilish whisperings, we must not accept the temptations of the world. When these temptations come to the heart we should understand right away that this is a temptation. We should immediately, with all the strength of our minds and hearts reject these temptations, not look at the seductive pictures that the unclean spirit draws for us to tempt us; we should not succumb to his suggestions. And if we fail to do that, if we look at these picture of glory and earthly prosperity, if we think more and more about them, then woe to us—for then the temptation will take possession of our hearts.

Great ascetics of piety, who knew how to observe the movements of their hearts, have said that if a person accepts these seductive images, he meshes with them; his soul becomes attached to them and unites with them. The holy fathers call upon us to fear uniting ourselves with all impure images. If we follow this instruction, we will not be stricken with that onerous and terrible woe—the Holy Spirit will not leave us. We must not admire, not delight in satan’s seductions, we should not mesh ourselves with them, but should arm ourselves against them with holy anger. The apostle Paul spoke profound words that we should all firmly remember: Be angry, and sin not (Eph. 4:26). There is holy anger—that anger with which Jesus’s heart was inflamed when He cast out the money-changers from the temple with a whip, and when He said to the holy apostle Peter, Get thee behind me, satan!

How could the Lord Jesus Christ say such words to the holy apostle who loved Him with all his heart? He said it in anger. That is how it should be. The Lord could not but be angry with the apostle Peter when the latter was trying to persuade Him not to go to His death on the Cross. This is the holy anger that should fill every Christian’s heart when he feels the whispered words against the path of Christ. Then may the Lord save us from remaining cold or lukewarm. May He give us holy anger to drive away the tempter. This is what we need. We need to also remember all our lives that the Lord Jesus Christ has called us to become God’s children, and to strive all our lives for the light of Christ.

We must dedicate our whole lives to the Lord Jesus Christ. We must strive with every fiber of our souls to never anger the Lord in any way, and to pray that He would help us who are weak in spirit. And the Lord will help us. And the Holy Spirit will come to our hearts and illumine them, and give us the strength to walk the path of salvation. May the Holy Spirit come down into our hearts. May the Holy Spirit console us and all who sorrow. This is what this great feast of Pentecost teaches us.

Original English Post: OrthoChristian

Translation by Nun Cornelia (Rees)

Original Russian Post: Troitsa

04 / 06 / 2017

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<![CDATA[The Suicidal Church, in Body or in Spirit – By Archimandrite Gregorios Estephan, Abbot of Holy Dormition of the Theotokos Monastery, Bkeftine, Lebanon]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/the-suicidal-church-in-body-or-in-spirit https://orthodoxethos.com/post/the-suicidal-church-in-body-or-in-spirit April 4, 2020

(Translated by: Maher Salloum)

Christ is risen, truly He is risen!

Christ is risen despite all of Satan’s attempts to prevent His Resurrection. Neither pandemics nor all of the evils of this world are able to prevent Christ’s Resurrection. Christ is risen and creation still trembles until this day as it beholds the light of the Resurrection, just as it did 2000 years ago. There are still people who perceive Christ’s Resurrection, and although they are few in number, they shout: 'Christ is risen!', and thanks to their shouts, Christ’s victory over evil and corruption is still ongoing in the world.

Right now, we are able to experience the resurrection of our souls, while we await the day when Christ our God will come! Then our bodies will be resurrected into immortality. The resurrection of the soul occurs when its sins are forgiven, whereas the resurrection of the body is established in its asceticism and its death from the passions of this world. The Lord Jesus Christ clearly taught about the eternal difference between the soul and body, between the salvation of the soul and the health of the body: “For which is easier, to say, Thy sins have been forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?” (Matthew 9:5). Christ clearly commanded us to struggle for the resurrection of our souls and not to fear the death of our bodies. The true fear is that both our souls and bodies will perish in hell (Matthew 10:28). Living this resurrection requires first the true Faith in the Son of God; “But without faith it is impossible to please Him” (Hebrew 11:6). The fullness of the Faith is man’s submission of his whole self into God’s hands, which occurs when he fully exercises God’s work. He who in Faith submits to God Himself and His will, God becomes for him everything in all.

Through this firm and strong Faith, whereby God becomes everything for man, the Church was able, since the beginning, to confront the powers of hell and to defeat them. Through Faith, our Fathers spoke Theology and confirmed the Church dogmas, and walked in the darkness of this age despite the persecutions and death threats, “through faith they subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became strong in battle…” (Hebrews 11:33-39).

As our Fathers faced, through this Faith, the harsh temptations of this world, likewise, until this day, they face the growing evils, both of the natural and moral types. Among these evils, is this pandemic that is shaking the world today, and which God allowed to thoroughly test the Faith of many who believe in Him. It is clear that this pandemic, whether it is natural or synthesized, has been exploited for a goal beyond what is apparent, that is to destroy what remains, in the believers in Jesus Christ, of the hope in the Resurrection and Eternal victory over death. A Satanic plan was fulfilled through this pandemic that spread in most areas of the globe; this plan is summarized in the following: promoting fear of the pandemic – introducing people into a state of horror – resulting in the collapse of living Faith in Jesus Christ. This collapse of the living Faith, which is taking place in Christian souls, is necessary to prepare for the coming of the Antichrist. The media has sown the fear of death in the souls of men, causing them to panic. Even many Christians who are not supposed to fear death, knowing that life is in God’s hands, are panicking because of this pandemic. They become fearful of the death of the body, while forgetting that which is related to the spiritual death of the soul.

This fear of disease and death is prevailing over the souls of many, leading to a collapse of faith. This reveals how their faith was weak and fragile to begin with. When faith is weakened, and even to the point of doubting God’s providence, and as a result fearing to go to Church and to partake of the Body and Blood of Christ, Christ Himself is banished from the souls of these "faithful". The entirety of our life journey to Christ Jesus is first and foremost a journey of Faith: “the life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, in that of the Son of God, Who loved me, and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). This unjustified fear which the world has sown within the souls of so many should have been faced by the Church by strengthening the Faith of her people and their attachment to her Savior Jesus Christ! But instead, they surrendered unto this fear along with the people. The Faithful flock vitally needed to solidify their Faith in Christ, while avoiding a collapse of Faith as a result of the planned and focused pressure exercised by the media. When Churches are closed during tribulations, does not the trust of the faithful in the Church weaken?

We ask with honesty, was there no other way or a dispensational solution, taking into account all the health measures, to face this pandemic, without closing the Churches and surrendering to a collective spiritual suicide? Going to Church during pandemics, temptations, hardships and persecutions does not mean that we are tempting God as if we are inviting something to befall us, but rather, by this, we are saying to Him that we walk with Him in Faith, revealing that what we need the most is to be with Him during these very afflictions, united with Him in His Body and Blood, in order to confront this pandemic and the dangers of disease, as well as all of the other catastrophes awaiting us. When Christians, during major persecutions and communism, risked their lives to go into the catacombs and gather around the Lord’s table, it was an expression of their loving Christ more than themselves, an expression of their knowledge that true life exists within this Eucharistic table, and not in their bodies.

We are witnessing a clash between man's intellect and Faith. God gave the intellect to be enlightened by Faith, but not in order for it to wander without Faith! Not in order for it to doubt God’s economy unto our race, thus identifying itself as self-sufficient.

In the Orthodox Church there has always been this clash between two principles: rationalism and Faith or spirituality. For since the days of the Gnostics and Arius, and on through the scholasticism and Barlaam, until the worldly rationalism perpetrated by contemporary Ecumenism, the Church has been in a state of unceasing struggle in order to preserve God’s revelation which He offered unto us, that has been treasured within our Orthodox Faith. This Faith is not only one of dogmas but also the Faith of piety and true spiritual life. By Faith, the Christian submits his life unto Christ, without any fear of what could happen to his life. However, rational logic justifies fear and the running away of man, even from before the face of God, in order to protect the life of his body.

Atheism which vigorously spreads in the West, and from it unto the entire world, was mainly the result of this rationalism, which dominated the theology of the West since the 9th century. Scholasticism established the western man in the rationalization of all aspects of life, resulting, for them, in the worship of God which no longer abided in “spirit and truth”, but rather was carried out with the intellect and human feelings. Faith that is examined by experience renders God a living God and not an abstract thought. Thus, the western man was lead from rationalism to nihilism and unto atheism that followed thereafter.

Those who worship God in “spirit and truth” are able to perceive God’s hand and His Wisdom in everything that happens in this life. But the rational man cannot see anything beyond his intellectual analysis of events for he gazes upon everything through the lens of his fallen human logic. This is what was revealed in the recent pandemic experience: some looked at it as a sign of God’s wrath resulting from all the iniquities, defilements, atheism and apostasy that now overruns the world. But intellectuals only saw in it a natural incident, as a consequence of human or natural causes, for to them God is “love” and infinite mercy, and He is truly so. But these who delight in their ideas overlook that God’s love is only given to those who respond to His love by offering repentance and laboring to keep the commandments and to acquire the virtues. God wants the salvation of man, “For whom the Lord loveth He correcteth” (Proverbs 3:12). When we talk about God’s wrath, it is not that wrath and passions exist in God’s nature, rather it is because man who is darkened by sin cannot see God except in this state, the darkened state of his soul reflects God’s gift in itself in a distorted manner. The more evil and corruption are rooted in man’s heart, the more he needs tougher temptations to move away from his evil; the goal is man’s repentance and salvation. God’s wrath is God’s righteous judgment.

Those intellectuals who reject this Divine wrath, are usually those who understand Christianity as a moral religion, and contend to apply matters that are external to the law. Their God is emotional, who forgives men’s iniquities, whether they repent or not, whether they are purified of their passions or not. This is the result of the protestant thinking that is promulgated in Orthodox theological circles, the goal of which is to relieve the conscience of people who are satisfied with their passions, and do not want to struggle to be freed from them. Those who promote Church modernism, that is, to adapt with the spirit of the modern age, under the influence of contemporary ecumenism, are compatible only with such a god, a god created in the image of man and his likeness; that is a god that descends to man, not to raise him to the level of his divinity, but to coexist with man’s passions.

Since the time of the fall, God's warning was clearly expressed, “thou shalt surely die” if you transgress the commandment. “But if ye will not hearken unto Me, and will not do all these commandments; And if ye shall despise My statutes, or if your soul abhor My judgments, so that ye will not do all My commandments, but that ye break My covenant: I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint upon you perplexity and the itch, and the fever which causes your eyes to waste, and disease which consumes your life ... And if ye will not be reformed by Me by these things, but will walk contrary unto Me; Then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins. And I will bring a sword upon you, that shall avenge the cause of My covenant: and when ye are gathered together within your cities, I will send the pestilence among you; and ye shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy.” (Leviticus 26:14-25).

Those who rely on their intellect offer, instead of the Faith moved by the grace of the Holy Spirit, symbolic meanings to most events in the Bible, when they do not conform with their own thoughts. The Church saw that God’s sayings in the Bible are clear: that all plagues and natural and human disasters have no cause except the sins of men. Since the beginning, God made a connection between the irrational creation and man created in His image and likeness, this creation is regulated with man’s repentance and it revolts under the action of his sins. The Bible is clear, God allows plagues to be unleashed upon men, yet the goal is not vengeance, but so they might repent. The Prophet Jeremiah says: “Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the LORD; and I will not cause Mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the LORD, and I will not keep My anger forever.” (Jeremiah 3:12-13). Sin separated man from God, “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2). For God wants to reform His people not to terrify and destroy them. Thus, the world is reconciled and escapes God’s wrath and judgment through repentance, “except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3,5). Saint Basil the Great reveals that plagues and illnesses are allowed by God in order to heal sin and evil, because the goal of such afflictions is to warn the faithful to avoid the torments of the eternal judgment[1].

The duty of Christians is to pray without ceasing for all people, while being full of the hope that they will reconcile with God through repentance. For God’s Mercy will continue in the world as long as there are people who repent in the world. Repentance is fulfilled by living the Mystical life of the Church.

God sent the Prophet Jonah to warn the people of Nineveh that His wrath is coming upon them. The Bible says about the repentance of the people of Nineveh: “let man and beast be covered with sackcloth” (Jonah 3:8). Saint John Chrysostom explains this saying: “We have heard that when the city received such news it did not fall into despair, but it was energized for repentance, and while it did not have a salvation counselor, it began to worship God and reconcile with Him”. Saint John continues by asking: “What did they do to achieve reconciliation?” and he answers that it was the repentance of the whole people with their leaders which effected this: “the Book says: For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from off him, and covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes”. O the wise king! He himself was the first to declare repentance, in order to bring his city unto a better state. For who can see the king himself struggling for salvation and languishes from now on?… The wounds of the crown are healed by sackcloth, he wipes the sins of the throne by sitting in ashes, he treats the illness of pride by humbling his appearance, by fasting he treats the wounds of luxury… and by doing so, he was practically awakening everybody by his call to walk in the same manner.”

By their repentance, they defeated the demons that were trying to drive them away from God. St. John Chrysostom continues while commenting on the verse “let man and beast be covered with sackcloth”: “O the Heavenly ordering! What convoy terrifying Satan! Satan was standing weeping as he saw its whole army turning to God and fighting the demons. There are children, women, and infants fighting alongside the men in this battle, even the irrational creatures participated in the war”.

Since ancient times, this was the state of the people who hear God’s warning and repent. The spread of pandemics is not something new in history, it happened several times. But the difference is in the method used to face them. Secular history itself witnesses how during the times when natural disasters, plagues and different diseases spread among the people, the Church used to confront them by a series of works of piety, such as fasting for several days, processions with icons, with prayers to receive God’s mercy and His compassion on the ailing people, to forgive their sins. During plagues, the faithful used to strive, before anything else, to drive out all demonic imaginations that might be defiling them with the disease, and so by reciting the Divine Names and asking for refuge in the Church along with the Saints, Sacred objects and Wonderworking icons, they used to seek holy men of God in order to ask them for their intercession before God to stop the calamity and to pray for their healing[2]. Yet of even more importance was the actions of repentance and the partaking of the Holy Mysteries, this was the medicine, in addition to the prayers for the sick[3]. It is said of the bubonic plague which hit Moscow in 1770, that many priests vehemently resisted the government policies of forbidding Church services and the traditional practices; the resistance of the clergy and laity resulted in a dangerous protest where the Archbishop, who was an agent of the government, was killed[4].

The Church faced the consequences of sin through such firm Faith and by strengthening piety in the souls of her members. Today also, if we do not stand up to this current pandemic by prayer, supplication and repentance, and more importantly, by holding Divine Liturgies, and receiving the Body and Blood of Christ which frees us from eternal death, what should we confront it with? By running away and isolating oneself? Christians, in prisons and mines during exile, perceived in depth their great need to partake of the Body and Blood of Christ, so their priests used to celebrate the Divine offering on the breasts of the faithful; the breast of the faithful became an altar for God.

We are in a time when we need the Body and Blood of Christ, more than at any other time, in order to be nourished and to receive the strength to resist every evil and disease. Although we know that, by God’s permission, we can fall sick due to this pandemic, but the faithful who becomes ill and continues his struggle in the Church and his participation in its Mysteries, is like a soldier in the battle arena resisting all evil, not by his own strength, but by the power of the salvific gift of Redemption. Does the one who partakes of the Body and Blood of Christ, knowing that it is the true food for eternal life, think of bodily death anymore? The death of such person therefore resembles the death of Martyrs[5].

Some faithful could die before the end of the pandemic; they should be ready by partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ as a provision of their salvation, it is the seal of their passing through all those unruly spirits of the air.

Saint Cyprian of Carthage faced the suffering of Christians who, not only endured the plagues that devastated the empire between 250 and 270 and claimed their lives by diseases and death, but also the accusations of the pagans that these diseases and plagues were caused by the refusal of the Christians to worship the gods of the empire. Saint Cyprian wrote a treatise “on mortality” to make the Christians steadfast in their Christian Faith and to strengthen this Faith in the face of the dangers of these plagues. He tells them to welcome death without fearing it; and that confusion in front death indicated a strong attachment to worldly pleasures; and that suffering and death from diseases frees them from the world and advances them more quickly toward Eternal Glory[6].

Some wrongfully and aggressively criticized and reproached us as if we were promoting some horrific heresy, because we demanded that the Churches remain open, however, we were simply exercising our Orthodox right of speech as being faithful members of the Holy Church. Intolerance against other’s opinions indicates an individualized authoritarian spirit and not a conciliar Orthodox spirit. This holds true when we do not cross the limits of Faith and speech established within our Orthodox Tradition. Every speech that is not rooted in the theology of our Orthodox Tradition is rooted in vanity and quickly transforms into heresy. Obedience is essential in the Church, it is obedience in the One Truth. Everything in the Church must abide by obedience, except that which conflicts with the Faith and Mysteries. Thus, all obedience which does not find its roots in obedience to the Church Tradition, which includes the Faith, Dogmas and Canons is a futile obedience, and the corresponding humility (that is being promoted) is a false humility.

Demanding that the Churches close and, by this, depriving the faithful of the Body and Blood of Christ should not have taken place by force when there is no reason for this rooted in the Faith. We do not judge anyone, but we were hoping that those who aggressively resisted the opening of the Churches for the sake of the faithful and made it a matter of life or death, would leave those who wanted to keep the Churches open for the faithful, and let them bear responsibility of their acts before Christ on the last day, when we will all stand, especially bishops and priests, to render an account, whether good or evil, for all we did toward His Holy Church.

It would be more profitable for such people to look, on the other hand, at the more dangerous issues that deal with the Faith and disturb our Holy Church, such as allowing communion to the non-Orthodox, and the participation of Orthodox priests in liturgical services with the non-Orthodox and vice-versa. Would it not be more beneficial for them to go after and confront those who promote such ideas which are at odds with the Orthodox Tradition, and which even resound in their own ecclesiastical circles? Those who sow the idea of secularizing the Church, altering the pious lifestyle, and modernizing the Orthodox Faith, started with the acceptance of homosexuality as a normal state, the promotion of women to the priesthood, the exchange of spiritual experiences with the heterodox, and finally by saying that contagious diseases are transmitted through the bread and wine, which the Holy Spirit has changed into the true Body and Blood of Christ. Saying that the divine Body of Christ, that became a source for the deification of man, might be a source which transmits disease, is equivalent to saying that the true Body of Christ that He took in His Incarnation and which rose from the dead and ascended into Heaven might transmit diseases and plagues. The Church never saw in the Body and Blood of Christ anything but a way to man’s deification and his full union with God the Word, and a provision for Eternal life. Everyone who thinks otherwise, that the Body and Blood of Christ can transmit diseases in any form, surely is in apostasy from the Holy Spirit Who causes this Change.

The True Body and Blood of Christ only transmits Eternal life, by entering our body and blood, Christ Himself changing us into His Body and Blood; we become a deified body and blood by Christ’s Body and Blood. Does this transmit diseases and germs? In the Holy Church of Christ, only ideas which are poisoned by heresy truly transmit plagues and fatal spiritual diseases; the germs of corrupt teachings are the true pandemic in the Church of Christ, they are immeasurably more evil than any material pandemic. They kill the soul and destroy the journey unto salvation.

Why is everyone silent in front of all these evils and perversions that are afflicting the Church of Christ and disorienting its mission of the salvation of mankind? Do those speaking with such an unlawful enthusiasm in support of the Church closures have such a zeal for the purity of the Orthodox Faith? Would they be as zealous in applying the Church Canons as they are to submit to the laws of the nations? Everyone emerged as being zealous for the salvation of the bodies of the faithful yet they did not tell them anything to strengthen their Faith in Christ and unto the salvation of their souls. Such a salvation consists of repentance and the preservation of the Orthodox Faith, of asceticism and the struggle to keep the commandments of Christ. All these issues reveal the weak and worldly spiritual state of the Church and the uprooting of the faithful from the liturgical and ascetical Tradition. This is the result of ecumenism and the lacking of that discernment which divides between Orthodox truth and heresies, between standing firm in Tradition and the openness to heterodox teachings and experiences.

The heterodox, along with the Orthodox who have been influenced by them, promise an easy salvation in which the Spirit blows randomly “wherever He wishes”, and thus they promote the idea that He will save everybody randomly as well. In our Orthodox Theology, “the Spirit blows wherever He wishes,” yet He wishes not as we wish (in our passions of pride and self-love); rather, since He is the “Spirit of Truth”, He blows in the non-faithful in order to lead them to “the Truth” - to the true Christ (unaltered by heterodox teachings). This is how He leads those who follow Him unto Eternal salvation.

For those intellectuals who strive to modernize the Orthodox Faith, Dogmas are nothing but philosophical and theoretical principles with no value at the level of practical life. But according to the true Orthodox Faith, Dogmas are the entrance into the experience of the true knowledge of God; a knowledge enlightened by Dogmas which teach us about the living God. “The Sacred Dogmas are Divine, Eternal and salvific truths, by the live-giving power of the Tri-Hypostatic Divinity”[7]. Only through correct Dogma are we led to the fullness of Faith and the experience of the vision of God. This is the way unto healing and salvation, which reveals the Divine Truth in its entirety, while drawing the boundary between truth and falsehood, between life and death, between Christ and the antichrists.

The European union, in most of her member countries, has imposed this closure upon the Orthodox Churches, thus interrupting the work of sanctifying creation. What the European market was not able to fulfill in our countries was fulfilled by the ecumenical movement - it was able to close our Churches and transfer the Mystery of our salvation unto this theater play which they transmit to our homes through the online media; and our shepherds are proud of it, sadly.

He who understands the Mystery of the Cross, the Mystery of the entirety of Christ's work, Who Himself did not run away from death but rather went to it willingly in order to sacrifice Himself for the salvation of His beloved, understands that it is also our duty to meet the Lord in the Mystery of His death and resurrection without fearing disease or death. Therefore, we cannot stop this ongoing Divine work that exists only in our Divine Eucharist. “It is the time for the Lord to act”, and every time spent outside of the Eucharist, or that does not receive its strength from this Divine Eucharist, is a time when the devil is working. In this Eucharist, we reiterate all of the Mystery of the Cross and Resurrection in a mystical way, the Mystery of salvation which, if interrupted, causes an interruption in the journey of man and creation toward salvation. For we who are Orthodox, the place of the Eucharist remains totally different than how it is for the non-Orthodox. The Divine Eucharist gives us Christ Himself with His Body and Blood, it is a true union with Jesus Christ, of course, according to the Divine Energies not the Divine Essence. It is not an icon of the Kingdom but the first experience and a real foretaste of the Kingdom and Divine life - an experience in this world that is bleeding from the wounds of all types of sins, heresies and evils. In this Eucharist that is celebrated frequently, or rather daily, the Church lives all the experience of Eternal life. It is the key of the heavenly Kingdom, while the cessation of this Eucharist, through [this] interruption, is nothing other than the closing of the door to the Kingdom.

Saint Ignatius of Antioch considers that the Divine Liturgy is necessary for two reasons: to preserve us from spiritual death and to “provide us the everlasting life in Christ”, this is why he calls it “the medicine of immortality”. As the body is necessary for the life of the soul, so the Divine Eucharist is necessary for creation. The body needs to breathe continuously, so too does creation need this Eucharist continuously, for otherwise it dies and the entire structure of its existence is disturbed. This Eucharist is the spirit that all creation breathes, both rational and irrational, even the angels themselves receive from it the means to worship God in Jesus Christ. Christ was clear when he said: “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you.” (John 6:53).

Days of extreme difficulties shall soon come upon our world when worse and more innumerable evils will be seen. “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come” (2 Timothy 3:1), because people departed from the true Faith, “giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (1 Timothy 4:1). This is what the Lord meant when he warned His people in the Old Testament, that if they do not repent and keep His commandments, He will add the plagues over them seven-fold, and He reiterates this warning of the seven-fold plagues four times. Saint Justin the Martyr says that: “God delays, for the human race, the work of judgment (the end of the world) for He knows beforehand that there will still be some who will be saved by repentance, and maybe some of these have yet to be born”[8].

The end of the world will come, not when the antichrist becomes strong, but when the Church becomes weak (Archbishop Sergei Baranov). If the strength of the Church exists in her Mysteries, and especially in the Mystery of the Eucharist, then her weakness, rather her death, is found in the interruption of these Liturgies.

We must also consider that since the Church has surrendered so easily because of this pandemic, even unto the closing of her doors, what is she going to do when the Antichrist comes? Do any of us ask this question? The interruption of these Liturgies, although temporary, is nothing but a sign among the signs of the end of times. Concerning the latter days, Saint Ephraim the Syrian (of the fourth century) reveals that: “the Churches will pathetically weep for the holy services will cease to take place in them and there will no more be Eucharistic oblations”[9]. The Church of Christ which is ever strong and victorious over Satan, sin and death, and concerning which the Lord promised that the gates of Hades shall not prevail over her, is submitting that simply? Does not this reveal its weakness and the fragility of its earthly journey?

Christ is in His Church and with His Church. Christ made His Body a Church and all that befalls the Church befalls Christ Himself. For all the Mystery of Christ, the Mystery of His Divinity and Incarnation, exists in His Church, “the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, Who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God” (Ephesians 3:9-10).

All of these spiritual struggles should take place with piety, for this was “the practice of the Saints in every age”. Saint Athanasius urges us that it also be “our path in this current age”, in order for us to be able to celebrate with them the feast which the Divine Word invites us unto, “for what is the feast other than the continuous worship of God, the knowledge of piety, and the unceasing prayer from every heart”[10].

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[1]. Saint Basil the Great, Quod Deus non est auctor malorum 5 in PG. 31, 337Cff

[2]. Procopius, BP 2.22.10–12, pp. 454–57; similar in Lemerle, Les plus anciens recueils 37, p. 78. For the church as sanctuary and healing place, Vie de Theodore de Sykeon 8, pp. 7–8; See: Dionysios Stathakopoulos, Crime and Punishment, The Plague in the Byzantine Empire, 541–749 in Plague and the End of Antiquity, p. 109-110.

[3]. Peregrine Horden, Sickness and Healing, Early Medieval Christisnity c. 600- c. 1100, The Cambridge History, p. 430

[4]. Alexander, Bubonic Plague in Early Modern Russia, 186–95; See: Jo N. Hays, Historians and Epidemics, in: Plague and the End of Antiquity, p. 41.

[5]. Eusebius of Ceasaria, Euseb. HE 7, 22, 7

[6]. Saint Cyprian of Carthage, De mortalitate 1–17

[7]. Saint Symeon the New Theologian, (Centurie Ascétique et Gnoséologique, 12) P. Justin Popovitch, Les Voies de la Connaissance de Dieu, Tr. Jean-Louis Palierne, L'Age D'homme 1998, p. 155.

[8]. Saint Justin the Martyr, I Apol. 28, 2

[9]. Saint Ephraim the Syrian, Τόμ. Δ΄,198 και σ. 126-127

[10]. Saint Athanasius the Great, Επ. 11, 11

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<![CDATA[Ποια είναι η μεγαλύτερη πνευματική πρόκληση που αντιμετωπίζει σήμερα η Εκκλησία; – ~ π. Πέτρος Χιρς]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/poia-einai-i-megalyteri-pneymatiki-proklisi-poy-antimetopizei-simera-i-ekklisia https://orthodoxethos.com/post/poia-einai-i-megalyteri-pneymatiki-proklisi-poy-antimetopizei-simera-i-ekklisia Κάποιος ανέφερε ότι το μελλοντικό θεολογικό ζήτημα από εδώ και στο εξής θα είναι η ανθρωπολογία. Δεν το συμμερίζομαι. Πιστεύω ότι θα είναι η εκκλησιολογία. Η εκκλησιολογία είναι οπωσδήποτε το πρόβλημα που πρέπει να λυθεί, δηλαδή, η κακιά εκκλησιολογία που εισήχθη από τις αρχές του 20ου αιώνα με τον οικουμενισμό, αλλά και ο φυλετισμός.

Αυτά τα δύο (σ.σ. οικουμενισμός / φυλετισμός) στην πραγματικότητα πάνε μαζί αν και συνήθως παρουσιάζονται ως αντίπαλα το ένα με το άλλο. Παρουσιάζονται ως δύο διαφορετικές προοπτικές, ή ως δύο διαφορετικά προβλήματα. Ότι ο οικουμενισμός θα ελευθερώσει την Εκκλησία από μία φυλετιστική, στενή, εθνικιστική θεώρηση και ότι ο φυλετισμός, ή ένα είδος έντονης πολεμικής στάσης μεταξύ των Τοπικών Εκκλησιών, θα αντισταθεί με κάποιον τρόπο σε αυτόν τον πειρασμό της ενσωμάτωσης του συγκρητισμού που φέρνει ο οικουμενισμός.

Στην πραγματικότητα όμως και οι δύο αυτές προοπτικές είναι κακές απαντήσεις. Και αυτό είναι που κάνει ο διάβολος συνήθως. Μας δίνει δύο κακές λύσεις. Καμία από αυτές δεν είναι εκ Θεού και καμία δεν εκφράζει το πνεύμα της Εκκλησίας.

Πιστεύω λοιπόν ότι το μεγαλύτερο πνευματικό ζήτημα που αντιμετωπίζει σήμερα η Εκκλησία είναι η εκκοσμίκευση.

Και τότε πως το λύνουμε αυτό;

Μα πως καταλήγουμε να υποκύπτουμε σε αυτούς τους ισμούς και στρέφουμε την Εκκλησία στον κόσμο; Όταν κατεβαίνουμε από τον σταυρό. Ο Κύριός μας λέει, κἀγὼ ἐὰν ὑψωθῶ ἐκ τῆς γῆς, πάντας ἑλκύσω πρὸς ἐμαυτόν. Και δεν μιλάει απλά για το σώμα Του στον Σταυρό, μιλάει για κάθε Χριστιανό. Μιλάει για το Σώμα Του την Εκκλησία, ότι το Σώμα της Εκκλησίας πρέπει να είναι συνέχεια ανεβασμένο πάνω στον σταυρό και τότε αυτοί οι πειρασμοί αποφεύγονται.

Χρειάζεται να ανέβουμε στον σταυρό. Αυτό σημαίνει σταύρωση της διανόησης. Πρέπει να σταυρώσουμε τον ορθολογισμό μας. Πρέπει να σταυρώσουμε την κοσμική ζωή μας. Πρέπει να σταυρώσουμε τα πάθη μας και τις επιθυμίες μας και μόνο τότε αυτοί οι ισμοί και αυτοί οι πειρασμοί δεν έχουν δύναμη επάνω μας.

Στην ουσία πρόκειται για έλλειψη του ασκητικού ήθους της Εκκλησίας που οδηγεί μετά σε μία διάβρωση του πνεύματος της Εκκλησίας. Ξέρετε ότι το δόγμα και το ήθος είναι αδιαχώριστα. Εάν χάσεις το ήθος θα χάσεις το δόγμα σταδιακά, και αν χάσεις το δόγμα δεν θα αποκτήσεις ποτέ το ήθος. Όπως μπορείτε να δείτε αυτό γίνεται με διάφορους τρόπους σήμερα. Ο διάβολος πάντα προσπαθεί να υπονομεύει. Εάν χάσεις λοιπόν το ήθος, που είναι η οδός του Χριστού. Και φυσικά εάν κάποιος είναι ανήθικος, σεξουαλικά ανήθικος, έχει φυσικά χάσει προ πολλού την οδό του Κυρίου που είναι οδός αγνότητας, οδός ταπεινότητας, οδός πραότητας, οδός εγκράτειας και σωματικής και πνευματικής σεμνότητας.

Εάν κάποιος είναι επιρρεπής στα πάθη τότε θα είναι επιρρεπής στις πλάνες και δεν υπάρχει τίποτε να κρατήσει μαζί την Εκκλησία. Η πίστη, όταν μιλάμε για την Ορθόδοξη πίστη και την προϋπόθεση της ενότητας της πίστεως, δεν εννοούμε μόνο την ομολογία της πίστεως. Εννοούμε την σύσσωμη εμπιστοσύνη του σώματος του Χριστού στην Κεφαλή του, την Εκκλησία. Και εννοούμε ότι εμπιστευόμαστε και παραδιδόμαστε στο σημείο που θα ανεβούμε στον σταυρό με τον Κύριό μας.

Όσο η Εκκλησία βαδίζει αυτόν τον πλατύ δρόμο, όσο οι άνθρωποι της Εκκλησίας τον βαδίζουν, συμπεριλαμβανομένων των επισκόπων -από τους πατριάρχες μέχρι και την τελευταία γιαγιά στην Εκκλησία-, όσο βαδίζουμε αυτόν τον πλατύ δρόμο τότε υπάρχει μόνο αποσύνθεση, διχόνοια και χλευασμός από τις δυνάμεις του κόσμου.

Αυτός είναι ο δρόμος που σταδιακά θα οδηγήσει στον Αντίχριστο. Αυτό είναι το πνεύμα του Αντιχρίστου. Δεν υπάρχει διαφορά. Δεν χρειάζεται να κοιτάξει κανείς στο μέλλον για να βρει το πνεύμα του Αντιχρίστου. Ο Άγιος Ιωάννης λέει ότι υπήρχε από την αρχή, ήταν ήδη παρόν από την εποχή των Αποστόλων.

Τί είναι αυτό το πνεύμα; Είναι η αλλαγή του Θεανθρώπινου Σώματος του Χριστού σε ένα απλό ανθρώπινο σώμα. Είναι η έλλειψη της πίστης στην Θεανθρώπινη φύση του Χριστού και επίσης στο Σώμα Του, διότι ο Χριστός είναι η Εκκλησία.

Ο πειρασμός λοιπόν που θα έλθει θα είναι σίγουρα αυτά τα δύο. Οι περισσότεροι άνθρωποι ανησυχούν μόνο για τον οικουμενισμό. … Με το «οικουμενική» δεν εννοούμε την Εκκλησία που δέχεται όλα τα έθνη και όλους τους ανθρώπους. Δεν εννοούμε την παγκοσμιότητα/οικουμενικότητα της Ορθοδόξου Πίστεως, φυσικά. Δεν εννοούμε αυτά τα πράγματα. Δεν εννοούμε την Αποστολή. Δεν εννοούμε να έχουμε την κοινή Πίστη.

Μιλάμε για μία διαστρέβλωση της Πίστεώς μας στην Εκκλησία. Εννοούμε την διαστρέβλωση στο πως κατανοούμε ποιος είναι ο Χριστός. Λέμε ότι πρόκειται για έναν ισμό, για μία διαστρέβλωση, και χρησιμοποιείται σε αυτό το πλαίσιο για να περιγράψει κάτι που αποκλίνει από αυτό που ομολογούμε.

Και ομολογούμε την πίστη μας ΣΤΗΝ Εκκλησία. Η Εκκλησία δεν είναι ένα πράγμα, δεν είναι ένα κατασκεύασμα, ΕΙΝΑΙ Ο ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ. Όταν λέμε πιστεύω εις Μίαν Αγίαν Καθολικήν και Αποστολικήν Εκκλησίαν, σημαίνει πιστεύω στον Χριστό. Αυτός είναι το Σώμα.

Αυτή λοιπόν είναι μία διαστρέβλωση στα αριστερά θα μπορούσε να πει κανείς. Υπάρχει και μία στα δεξιά με τον εθνοφυλετισμό, ο οποίος παίρνει την Εκκλησία που είναι οικουμενική/παγκόσμια και Την περιορίζει σε έναν γήινο σκοπό που είναι η διατήρηση του έθνους, η διατήρηση της ταυτότητας, που είναι μία ταυτότητα του κόσμου τούτου. Δεν υπάρχουν Ρώσοι, Έλληνες, Ρουμάνοι, Σέρβοι, Αμερικάνοι στον Παράδεισο. Υπάρχουν μόνο Ορθόδοξοι Χριστιανοί, υπάρχουν μόνο ψυχές, υπάρχει μόνο κοινωνία με τον Χριστό. Όλα τα άλλα έχουν μείνει πίσω. Από την στιγμή λοιπόν που η Εκκλησία περιορίζεται σε αυτό και ταυτίζεται με αυτό, δεν διαφέρει από το να ταυτίζεται η Εκκλησία με τον κόσμο με όρους που Την κάνουν μία από τις θρησκείες του κόσμου, που είναι συνήθως η κατηγορία εναντίον εκείνων που έχουν υιοθετήσει την οικουμενιστική κοσμοθεωρία.

Νομίζω ότι η μεγαλύτερη απειλή και η μεγαλύτερη πνευματική πρόκληση ενώπιον της Ορθοδόξου Εκκλησίας είναι να εγερθεί πάλι και να σηκώσει τον σταυρό για να σταυρωθούμε και να μην περιμένουμε τίποτε από αυτόν τον κόσμο, είτε υλικό είτε προσωπικό. Να καταλάβουμε ότι ο δρόμος του Ορθοδόξου Χριστιανού είναι απλά ο δρόμος του Γολγοθά και ότι η ζωή μας είναι με τον Χριστό στους ουρανούς. Εάν μπορέσουμε να επαναπροσανατολιστούμε ο καθένας τότε θα αποτρέψουμε όλες αυτές τις προκλήσεις.

Αλλά εάν δεν πάμε στο παρελθόν και δεν καταλάβουμε ότι πίσω από το σχίσμα στην Ουκρανία και πίσω από το αναπτυσσόμενο σχίσμα στην Εκκλησία βρίσκεται η έλλειψη της Ορθοδόξου εκκλησιολογίας η οποία πηγάζει από την έλλειψη του ασκητικού ήθους, τότε μάλλον δεν θα υπάρξει λύση και εδώ θα συναντήσουμε περισσότερες προκλήσεις.

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<![CDATA[HOLY COMMUNION AND GERMS – + Archbishop Michael of North and South America (Greek Archdiocese]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/holy-communion-and-germs https://orthodoxethos.com/post/holy-communion-and-germs In October 1953, Archbishop Michael of the Greek Orthodox Church of America, wrote a letter to the National Herald (dated October 5, 1953), in order to clarify questions about the allegedly unsanitary nature of Holy Communion. What follows are excerpts from the letter.

"The first thing that I would like to emphasize is that the Greek Orthodox Church in America is part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church and an inseparable part of the domain of the Ecumenical Throne (of Constantinople). As such she has no choice but to follow, in all matters of faith and tradition, the Mother Church of Christ, the Great Church of Constantinople, as well as the other parts of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

In all the domains of the Ecumenical Throne, as well as in all other Autocephalous Churches of the Orthodox East, the Holy Communion of the Most Precious Body and Blood of Christ is given to the faithful by a special spoon in both species. The same thing takes place in our Holy Churches in America. Nor could it be otherwise since we constitute a part of the whole Orthodox Church and we must be bound with her in matters of faith and tradition.

Now comes the matter of germs which frightens so many Christians: There should be no question about the fact that it is not possible to speak about germs where the very Body and Blood of our Savior Jesus Christ is present.

Indeed, germs which communicate diseases, as well as the diseases themselves, are the direct consequence of the ancestral sin (the original sin of Adam and Eve). All of nature, according to the teaching of the Church and the words of the Apostle Paul, 'sighs and suffers,' because of the ancestral sin. However, where God is present, there cannot exist any pain or suffering or germs or disease.

According to the faith of the Church, Holy Communion physically presents to us very God, Jesus Christ, who was incarnated, sojourned on the earth, was crucified and died and rose. It is Him that we receive when we come to Holy Communion, that is, His Life-giving Body and Blood for the remission of sins and eternal life.

During my service as Chancellor in the Archdiocese of Athens, I came to know priests who offered their services for long years in the "Sotiria" Tuberculosis Sanitarium. All of them communed the patients regularly and then consumed what was left in the Cup, without ever suffering any ill effect. This is because it is impossible for God to be the carrier of destructive germs; on the contrary, receiving Holy Communion restored the strength and health and healing of soul and body to the desperately ill, and rid them of their illness in a miraculous manner. Every priest will recall, from his own priestly experience, miraculous healings of sick people after their contrite confession and the Communion of the Most Precious Body and Blood of Christ.

Consequently, not only is it not, nor could it ever be possible for Holy Communion to be a carrier of germs, but, on the contrary, it is by general rule the carrier of health and life and strength. For this reason, the Fathers of the Church refer to Holy Communion as 'medicine'. However, one might protest, why is it that this miracle does not happen every time Holy Communion is received? Our answer is that this is a mystery known only to God. All we know and bear witness to, without reservation, is that the thought that the Life-giving and Sacred Body and Blood of Christ the Savior could be a carrier of germs is sheer delirium and blasphemy because the germs, as well as all evils--physical and moral--can be found only where the presence of God does not exist."

While the opportunity presents itself, let us add this: in accordance it the teachings of the Church and the words of St. Paul, in the 11th Chapter of his First Epistle to the Corinthians, we may suffer for receiving Holy Communion unprepared, that is, without the proper penance and confession. Yes, in that case, the communicant may suffer serious ills. This is what St. Paul has to say as interpreted by Professor Panagiotis Trembelas: "Let every man carefully examine himself and, after he has prepared himself with this examination, let him eat from the consecrated bread and drink from the consecrated cup. Because he who eats and drinks unworthily from the consecrated bread and wine, eats and drinks condemnation and judgement upon himself because he does not discern the body and blood of the Lord but uses them and consumes them as if they were common food. Therefore, because you eat and drink the body and blood of the Lord unworthily, and without examination, that is why many of you are weak and ill and some have died" (1 Cor 11:27-30).

Thus, the conclusion becomes eminently clear. Only the one who partakes unworthily may suffer some ill, and germs cannot exist where God himself is physically present.

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<![CDATA[To our beloved Hierarchs and Clergy of the Orthodox Churches of America and everywhere – From Your Parishioners]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/to-our-beloved-hierarchs-and-clergy-of-the-orthodox-churches-of-america-and-everywhere https://orthodoxethos.com/post/to-our-beloved-hierarchs-and-clergy-of-the-orthodox-churches-of-america-and-everywhere May 31, 2020 – Sunday of the Holy Fathers

To our beloved Hierarchs and Clergy of the Orthodox Churches of America and everywhere:

In May of 1848, The Eastern Patriarchs wrote a profound encyclical to the Pope in response to his flawed papal primacy claims. Toward the end of this most significant and profound work, the holy Patriarchs relayed to the Pope that, unlike the totalitarian mode of governance in his church, in Orthodoxy “neither Patriarchs nor Councils could then have introduced novelties amongst us, because the protector of religion is the very body of the Church, even the people themselves, who desire their religious worship to be ever unchanged and of the same kind as that of their fathers.”

Holy Fathers, we are faithful Orthodox Christians who desire to do just that, being ever cognizant of the Lord’s admonition, “Because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth” (Rev. 3:16). Thus, we feel compelled to respond to the proposed changes that are about to occurunder your guidanceto the Sacrament of Holy Communion, as well as to theologically inaccurate information that is being disseminated, sadly, from Orthodox priests and theologians in our Church.

Regrettably these days, Orthodox Christians who stand in defense of their Faith are labeled as “fundamentalists” and “traditionalists,” or even radicals, simply because they wish to preserve their Faith unadulterated and unharmed by secular mandates or societal whims. The doctrines of our Orthodox Faith should be subject to neither; but rather, The Holy Orthodox Church should remain true to the teachings of Christ, our Holy Church Fathers, and the Seven Ecumenical Councils.

Holy Fathers, we respectfully ask you to explain to us,how is it that God can defile or corrupt man in any way through the receiving of Holy Communion from a common spoon when that spoon has come into contact with the very Body and Blood of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ, Who is anall-consuming fireaccording to our Holy Communion Prayers? The Church has used the common spoon for the distribution of Holy Communion through a myriad of plagues and highly-communicable diseases for hundreds of years, and it has NEVER been a source of contamination. Yet now, we suddenly claim that “people are justly apprehensive and frightened.” As Father Calivas states in his narrative, the Coronavirus has many people wondering about and questioning the continued use of a common spoon for Holy Communion.Exactly who is it that is posing this question, and why are our clergy and hierarchs not responding to these fears and doubts with right teachings and truths about our Orthodox Faith which will unquestionably dispel any apprehensions that the faithful may have? Father Calivasgoes on to write the following: “The real fears, reservations, and apprehensions of the peopleshould not be dismissed… as if the act of communing is void of human considerations and thelimitations of the created order.”On the contrary, quite the opposite is true! Any fears that one may have SHOULD lovingly be dismissed through the right teachings of our Faith. Our faithful Orthodox Christians should be taught the truths of our Church and the countless miracles manifested throughout Ecclesiastical Historywhich serve to prove that the act of communing SHOULD be devoid of any faithless cogitations. If we truly BELIEVE in the Mystery, there cannot and should not be any set of physical limitations placed on the Divine Mystery of Holy Communion.

Does Father Calivas not shatter the Orthodox understanding of theosis with his following rationalistic claim – to wit: “The communion spoon is an imperfect material object. It does notshare in the incorruptibility of the risen and deified Body of Christ, which is really present tous through the eucharistic elements. On its own, the spoon is simply a spoon, a utensil? What an unfortunate argument from such a highly-esteemed theologian, to say the least!!! The wood that Christ was crucified on was simply a wooden cross…the nails hammered into His hands and feet were simply made of iron…the Belt of the Virgin Mary was simply cloth…the relics of the saints are simply bones…yet, the Holy Spirit of God has flowed and perpetually flows through these material, holy objects as they serve as proof of healingfor countless people of faith.

St. Symeon the New Theologian, towards the end of his Holy Communion Prayer, feels as imperfect as straw, but “after he partakes of the Lord’s Fire, [Holy Communion] he becomes like that Bush Moses saw,which, though unconsumed, was burning. The divine Glory of Christ during His Holy Transfiguration glorified and perfected everything around Him. Yes, even objects share in God’s Glory! According to Archimandrite Zacharias Zacharou, “Where the Holy Spirit ofGod intervenes, all corruption ceases.” As we see in countless examples in Holy Scripture, where God wills, the natural order of things is defeated. If the mere shadow of the Apostle Peter could heal the imperfections of human bodies, could there be any doubt that the Most Pure Body and Precious Blood of the Incarnate Son and Word of God can sanctify and perfect the holy Spoon during the partaking of the Holy Sacraments? Father Calivaswould not have remained alive and healthy to this day, after having consumed the remains of the Holy Cup which came into contact with the saliva of hundreds of thousands of mouths during the span of 64 years of active priesthood, were it not for the very fact that the Divine Mystery of Holy Communion absolutely, categorically, and ontologically was and is the medicine of immortality and NEVER will be a source of any pathogenic transmission.

We respectfully reiterate that this form of catechism should be one of the main tasks of our clergy and our hierarchs. Have our fellow Orthodox Christians been told about the priest in Crete who visited and communed the colony of lepers who lived on Spinalonga Island for at least ten years? Leprosy was a highly contagious disease; yet, this faithful priest was the only priest willing to go and celebrate Divine Liturgy daily, and he communed these poor lepers. To the dismay of many, he faithfully consumed the remains of the Holy Cup after each Holy Communion. He fell asleep in the Lord from old age, without ever having contracted the highly contagious disease of leprosy (Hansen’s disease). Have we used the example of Saint John Maximovitch, who communed a woman who had contracted rabies? After receiving Holy Communion from Saint John, the woman began foaming at the mouth and she subsequently spat out the Holy Gifts. Saint John proceeded to pick up and put in his mouth the Holy Gifts that had been vomited out by the sick woman! Those who were with him were horrified and exclaimed, “Vladyka, what are you doing? Rabies is terribly contagious!” But Vladykapeacefully answered, “Nothing will happen; these are the Holy Gifts.” And, glory to God, nothing did happen!

As you well know, Holy Fathers, these are not fairy tales; yet we are left to wonder about and lament over why, in lieu of relating to our faithful these miracles and other truths regarding the Sacrament of Holy Communion, we resort to furthering their fears and doubts by altering how Holy Communion is received, and implementing measures that do nothing more than adulterate and defile the teachings and doctrines of our Faith. Why is a renowned theologian like Father

Calivas concerned about mitigating “the transmission of dangerous parasitic microbes” by suggesting the elimination and/or cleansing of the common spoon, when this “imperfect material object” is immersed into the very Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ” after the Communion of each Orthodox Christian? Is alcohol or vinegar more therapeutic than the Healer of all ills? Does the “Purifier of all” not have the power to purify a created object when He Himself purifies His faithful of all sins and transgressions?

For reasons we previously stated, and for the many timeless truths of our Holy Orthodox Faith, there simply is no cogent argument to be made for eliminating the common spoon as a means by which the faithful Orthodox Christians receive Holy Communion. We would further proclaim that under these circumstances, such a change is blasphemous. Holy Communion is a Holy Mystery that is freely given to us by Christ for the cleansing of our bodies and souls and for

ourunion with Him. There is absolutely NO room for science or human reasoning to irreverently enter Gods Holy Ground, Gods Holy of Holies, the Holy Mysteries and miracles of our precious Orthodox Faith. Our Church should be off limits to “science”, or to any other organization that may endeavor to replace the unexplainable wonders of our faith with the empirical limits of science. For an Orthodox Christian, there is no room for fear. However, in order for this blessed fearlessness to occur, a Christian must understand what Christ has taught and promised to the one who is willing to “take up his cross and follow Him.” Are we willing to take up our cross and follow Him or is it easier and more convenient to give in to doubt and to follow any misguided and erroneous notion that conveniently allays our fears?

These past few months, the world has been overcome with fear and our state governments and themedia have done a stellar job of controlling and placing limitations on the masses through the use of fear. Why are our churches and places of worship doing the same and being transformed into apparent bastions of secular, political rhetoric when they should be ever increasing as dwelling places of the Body of Christ whose hierarchical representatives should be dispelling people’sfears through the divinely proclaimed dogmas and teachings of the Faith of Christ, as the Church is a place that is literally “out of this world!” Why are so many of our priests and hierarchs failing to catechize the faithful and to help them to understand the Divine Mysteries of the HolyOrthodox Church so that the faithful may freely and boldly approach to receive the Holy

Mysteries without fear or hesitation? Only when our faithful understand their Holy Faith and develop a relationship with Our Lord Jesus Christ can their fearsbe dispelled and replaced by the peace that comes from knowing Him!

We, your children, appeal to you, Holy Fathers, to dispel this virus of fear, the idol of Thanatophobia, by teaching our faithful the Truths we hold to be sacred and true. The Truths that have been sealed through the blood of the Saints and Martyrs of our Church.The Truths that must remain unchanged and unadulterated, now and ever and unto the ages of ages.

Respectfully, we remain,

Your Sunday School teachers, Chanters, Choir directors, Choir members, Philoptochos members, Parish council members, and all your faithful children in Christ.

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<![CDATA[Letter from An Orthodox Mom – Regarding the Response of the Hierarchy and Clergy to the Coronavirus Crisis]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/letter-from-an-orthodox-mom https://orthodoxethos.com/post/letter-from-an-orthodox-mom I am an Orthodox mother. I have been Orthodox for the last 30 years and my husband is cradle Orthodox, born and raised in the OCA. We have four children here, and one in Heaven.

In the last three months, I have not heard one bishop, or directive from a bishop, speak about our children. Not one. The ONLY reference to children has been that if they cannot distance themselves properly, they will need to remain home.
I am deeply grieved by this and, quite frankly, angry and I believe rightly so. My husband and I, like many other Orthodox parents, have struggled and done the hard work, week after week, year after year, for twelve years now, to take our children to church and teach them our faith.
And with one virus, that we are learning is not nearly as deadly as it was reported to be, they have pulled the thread out of not only our twelve years of work but thousands of years of work combined, by all Orthodox parents, all diligently working to pass on our precious and unique faith to our children, as our parents and grandparents did to us. This is all wrong.
I took my children with me to Church throughout the nine months before they were born. I crossed my belly with the sign of the cross because they could not do it for themselves. They were with me as I stood in the choir while I sang. Through me, they heard the prayers and they partook of communion until they were born and then baptized in a Church full of the faithful, surrounded by love.
After they were born, I stopped singing in the choir to tend to them. When they were antsy or tired, I walked with them around the church as they kissed icons on the walls. The ones they could not reach, I had them kiss their hand and reach up high to put their kisses on the icons above. When they were old enough, they would toddle up to the tall icon stands, and although they could not reach the icons above, they kissed the wooden cross, at their level, the one their father built with his own hands before they were even born.
I still watch children do this because they instinctively recognize the things which represent God and they recognize them devoid of fear.
In the years that followed, week after week, our family would stop what we were doing on Saturday’s to prepare for Vespers. We took them to venerate the icons every single time. We took them to communion every single time.
We got up early on Sunday after Sunday after Sunday, with not one, not two, not three, but four children. We got them dressed in their church clothes, drove them to Church and persevered through the services, walking in and out of the church with them, lunging at them to stop them from running into the Altar, taking them to the potty, shushing them during the gospel, and teaching them they are not to speak when Father is speaking. Godparents held them, without fear, also taking them around to kiss the icons to give me a break. I missed hundreds of sermons walking outside with a tired toddler and I did this week after week after week.
We also took them to communion week after week, year after year. Patiently, consistently, faithfully, because THAT is how you pass our faith onto our next generation. They are learning from US. They are learning from all that they see and all that they do, more than what they hear, for years.
Parents do not do this because it is easy. No parent does this for “fun” or for show. It’s too much work. It’s hard, relentless, diligent work. So, to have our bishops and priests, across so many jurisdictions, establish every contradictory protocol we can imagine is catastrophic.
They now want me to sign up to bring MY children to church, where all the adults are now wearing masks, which to a child is very scary. They are required to sanitize their hands upon arrival because they are looked upon as walking germ factories where, God forbid, they should cough or sneeze. Two of my children wear masks and two do not due to their ages. None of them are permitted to kiss the icons or get a hug from their godparents or grandparents or friends, who perhaps are so scared by all this, might even retreat if my children were to approach them.
Then, I take them to communion where the priest changes spoons after they consume it, after dipping it into THE Body and Blood of Christ, which is the most purifying thing we have access to in this world. As we leave the Church, speaking to no one, I’m left wondering if THIS is what I have to show my children after twelve years of diligent work and teaching.
May God have mercy on all those making these devastating decisions. The damage they are doing to the faith of our children is unmeasurable.
If I have “unreasonable faith” as one bishop described it to me back in March, perhaps his grandparents and parents had “unreasonable faith,” too, and perhaps that is what lead him to the priesthood and years of service in our church.
Why is having FAITH suddenly becoming so unreasonable? And why are they scolding devout Orthodox, calling us overly pious in a derogatory way, implying we have no care for our fellow parishioners if we do not embrace their new directives? If they believe this is the case, it is a flat out lie.
Over the years, as a mother, I have missed countless services because my children were sick and had to remain home. Now, we who are healthy and not afraid, are being told we must forgo our practice of faith to accommodate people who ARE afraid. We are to alter our faith so they can feel “safe”. My own faith, and the faith of my children, is negotiable and dismissible. Yet I am the one scolded for being unloving.
If those that fear the practice of our faith want to partake, our parishes should make accommodations for them so our priests can minister to them where they are comfortable. But they should not rewrite the faith due to a passing virus. This is not love. I don’t know what this is, but it is not love.
It’s wrong and I hope more parents and good priests and faithful will speak up and stand up for our Orthodox children and our faith and fight for what we know to be pure and true and right.
We will not take our children to any church where they see adults in face masks, are not allowed to kiss icons, or see different spoons used for communion. I have no explanation for this to my children. None. This is not Orthodoxy. It is not our Faith.

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<![CDATA[THE BREAD, THE WINE, AND THE MODE OF BEING – by Chrysostom Koutloumousianos, Hieromonk]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/the-bread-the-wine-and-the-mode-of-being https://orthodoxethos.com/post/the-bread-the-wine-and-the-mode-of-being The recent reappearance of the ancient terror of a pandemic has prompted fertile conversation among theologians and literary people across the world. Various opinions have been articulated, such as that disease can be transmitted through the current way of distributing holy communion, or that the Eucharistic Gifts themselves can be bearers and transmitters of pathogenic germs. It is said that since the bread and the wine do not alter their essence and essential properties, it follows that they are subject to decay and can also spread toxic viruses. This idea has supposedly found Christological grounds as well in that the human body of Christ is a carrier of germs which can be harmful to us, though not to Him; after all, germs themselves are not bad, since there is nothing bad in creation.

Within this framework the following evidence drawn from the writings of the Fathers might be relevant and useful.

Undoubtedly, there is nothing bad in creation. No form of life, nor even natural destruction can be considered as bad, because evil is only that which alienates us from God. However, at the same time one should not ignore or deny the products of personal sin, such as, for example, a dangerous laboratory hybrid, as well as the effects of the ancestral Fall, namely decay and death, to which the human being has been submitted. Now, God’s incarnation manifested something entirely new in the world.

Let us open a short parenthesis to delineate the Orthodox belief regarding the Eucharistic elements. Do we hold that they are merely a representation of the Lord’s presence in the congregation, as is the general understanding in Protestantism? In this case, the holy bread could be offered in sterilized bags and the holy wine in certified sealed bottles. If, on the other hand, in accord with the Roman Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation, the holy gifts are Christ with respect to their essence, then either we must commit ourselves to worshipping the gifts or fall into unbelief when thinking they can be corrupted.

The Fathers speak neither of transubstantiation nor symbolic function but of the ‘change’ of the material elements. This ‘change’ signifies a new mode of being, inaugurated through the appearance of God in the flesh. Here we must consider the patristic distinction between the logos of nature and the mode of existence, a distinction which is useful for an Orthodox approach to the mystery of Christ.

The Fathers use this distinction as a tool for explaining God’s miracles in history. When God intervenes to perform a wondrous act, He does not alter the nature of things — that is, their logos or principle; instead He innovates the manner in which their nature operates, so as to fulfill the divine economy. The innovated mode means nature operating beyond its own ordinance, beyond its limits, translating the human being “into another form of life”, as for instance when Noah remained unharmed amid wild animals and holy men would walk upon the waters.

The Incarnation was the climax of all divine interventions. The incomprehensible mystery that took place in the Logos Incarnate was the indissoluble union of divine and human nature. Such union meant the exchange of the natural properties in Christ, in the same way that a blade becomes fire when thrown into fire while at the same time fire acquires a sharp edge. Human nature remains intact while its mode of existence is altered. This is why Christ was born both in a divine and a human way, that is, carried by a woman, yet without labour pains and corruption. He was not subjugated to nature; instead, elevating it to Himself, He made nature “a transcendental mystery” Christ’s human nature operates in a divine mode, and it operates in a divine mode because it carries the fullness of divine activity.(1)

This same reality and understanding can be applied to the Eucharistic mystery. Here also an alteration of the material elements takes place. Neither is their logos or essence changed, nor their natural properties, but their condition and conduct, that is, their mode of being. Just as in Christ everything human has a transcendental mode, since human nature in Him has the fullness of divinity, so the Eucharistic Gifts receive and transmit to its participants the same theandric activity of Christ. We partake, therefore, not of something that is subject to decay and deterioration, but of God Himself, through matter that has become life-giving, as the very flesh of Christ is life-giving.

Clearly, authentic communion has to do not only with the presence of Christ in bread and wine but also with His presence within us. Union and assimilation with God is not accomplished without the good resolve (prohairesis) and synergy of man, nor is it exclusively fulfilled in the Eucharist.(2) We need to follow and wholeheartedly imitate Christ freely and be born in the Spirit. Divine activity operates in various inscrutable ways according to the measure of each one’s faith and longing.

Thus, when Christ is offered as bread, He does not alter the nature of bread but its ‘economy’. Christ’s human nature was passible, yet, one with the Divinity, and for this reason it could not be seized and possessed by death. And as His body was dead and risen, since it was never detached from Divinity, similarly, when we receive this body we foretaste the resurrection. Just as Christ suffers as a human being, yet acts as God, in the same way the consecrated elements, though subject to ‘suffering’ and corruption, act upon us as uncreated divinity. As St Cyril of Alexandria says,

The body of Christ is holy and has the power to vanquish every illness. It was and is holy, not merely as flesh with its natural powers, but as the temple of the indwelling divine Logos, who sanctifies His flesh with His Spirit. This is why Christ vivifies the daughter of the leader of the synagogue not only through His omnipotent command but also with His bodily touch. (Αναστασίου, Doctrina Patrum, σ. 129, 131-32)

Therefore, to those that receive communion with faith and true repentance the Lord’s body becomes a ‘safeguard’, ‘for strength, healing and health of soul and body’, maintenance and deification of human nature.(3)

The consecrated elements operate as the deified body of Jesus. Through matter God grants life uncorrupted. And although immortality is an eschatological condition, and we shall all, sooner or later, cross to the other side of the bank, yet ‘doses’ of incorruption are given in this mortal life according to the measure of each one’s faith, longing, godly fear and love.

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(1) See Maximus the Confessor, PG 91.298-300, 344, 1048-1056, 1273-1276, 1341-1345.

(2) See Chrysostom Koutloumousianos, The One and the Three: Nature, Person and Triadic Monarchy in the Greek and Irish Patristic Tradition, James Clarke, Cambridge 2015, pp. 119-22, 132-34, 150-53.

(3) John of Damascus, Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, 87. Also see Prayer before the Holy Communion, and Gregory of Nyssa, Catechetical Oration, 37.

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<![CDATA[​Orthodoxy’s Third Iconoclastic Period: 2020-20XX? – Nicholas Metrakos]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/orthodoxys-third-iconoclastic-period-2020-20xx https://orthodoxethos.com/post/orthodoxys-third-iconoclastic-period-2020-20xx Over one thousand years later, the ugly wolf of iconoclasm is again growling at the gates of the Orthodox Church. The princes of this world, in fear of the loss of their temporary power and misguided by perverse and strange theologies have influenced the shepherds of the flock of Christ to reject the borders of tradition – just as Leo the Isaurian and Constantine the Dung-named pushed the hierarchs of their time to reject the use of sacred images. Now we find ourselves in a similar situation as parishes “reopen” for the faithful after their unnecessary closure. We push beyond the borders of tradition with extreme protective measures, measures which themselves spread the insidious spiritual virus that the Church and Her mysteries are capable of transmitting death. There must be some public stand against this grave error, for “if all those who would make decrees are allowed such license, in a short time the entire structure of the Church would come to an end.”1

Guidelines and official documents published by the Orthodox Churches in the United States enforce separation of people, temperature monitors, masks, and other extreme measures. The veneration of holy images and objects is strictly forbidden. Illogically, against this backdrop of fear, the same persons that publish these “protective” measures tell the faithful that they need not fear illness when they approach the chalice containing the Body and Blood of Christ because this is not corruptible. No sensible person can reconcile these two messages.

Advised by well-intentioned lay leaders, the God-appointed shepherds of Christ’s flock are leading us into a dangerous theological crisis that like the previous two iconoclastic periods could have impacts on the Church for generations. We need not fear this terrible period, because not even the gates of hell will prevail against the true Bride of Christ. However, we must strengthen and educate ourselves and most importantly our children, to persevere in the truth. We should not be afraid our children and families will contract any physical virus but a spiritual one. Do not wait for a vaccine to appear but inoculate them against this heresy slowly seeping into our communities.

The physical temple in which the faithful gather for the divine services is not an ordinary space where corruption reigns but it is “a haven of the tempest tossed, for a healing of passions, for a refuge of the weak, for an expelling of evil spirits,” as the hierarch prays during the rite of Consecration. This space is a multidimensional icon of Christ and it is worthy of honor and recognition as sanctified matter that is a vessel of grace. If the icons on the walls, the objects in the space, and the bread and wine which are offered on the Holy Table within it are holy and worthy of veneration because they bring immortal life, then does it not stand that the building itself is holy and imparts grace? The holy temples of the Orthodox Church are established forever, “as You have shown by the harmony of the heavens above and the beauty of the Holy Tabernacle of your Glory below.” To wear a mask, be afraid when kissing the holy icons, or have anxiety about praying in the church is to deny the reality that this space has been filled with light everlasting, is the dwelling place of God, the abode of His glory, and is adorned with His divine and supernatural gifts.2 Unfortunately, these same prayers that are read by the venerable mouths of our hierarchs are contradicted by their hands issuing strict regulations that turn the Orthodox parish into a modern Stanford prison experiment.3

What then for those who appeal to Christ’s command to “render unto Caesar what his Caesar’s”4? St. John of Damascus, not mincing any words, has this to say:

“What right have emperors to style themselves lawgivers in the Church? Political prosperity is the business of emperors; the condition of the Church is the concern of shepherds and teachers.”5

We respect our federal, state, and local governments and give them their due but not even the Orthodox Christian emperor of Constantinople was allowed to be the lawgiver of the Church. Why then, do we give our elected officials, representing a secular government, this power?

The governance of the Church, St. John goes on to say, is left to “our pastors, and they have preached the word to us; we have those who interpret the ordinances of the Church.” To these God-appointed pastors he reminds, “We will not remove the age-old landmarks which our fathers have set, but we keep the tradition we have received.” Where in our tradition, do we find these landmarks currently being established? Where in our tradition, do we bar the faithful from the sacred temples of God to preserve their physical health? Where in our tradition, do we suffocate children over the age of 2 with masks where they need to breathe freely the sweet fragrance of the holy mysteries? Where in our tradition, do we flee from pandemics like those who have no hope in eternal life?

We cannot accept that the sanctified matter which itself becomes the vessel of sanctifying power is also a co-vector of corruption: neither the sacred images nor the liturgical objects. In the holy temple itself, which is the summative icon of divine-human union, this cannot be a place where masks are required, and veneration of icons is summarily banned. We are witnessing a theological crime in progress and we cannot standby silent. In this time of crisis, we raise up our voices in prayer to glorify God for the faith upon which we have been established. May St. John of Damascus intercede for all of us – especially our God-appointed shepherds and teachers, our holy hierarchs, that we be led upon the narrow path that leads to salvation and that a third wave of iconoclastic controversy does not beset the Orthodox Church.

Now the Church is consecrated by the blood of Christ and His saints, and it is adorned with the images of Christ and the saints. I honor and venerate all God’s holy temples, and everything where God’s name is found, not for their own sake, but because they are vessels of divine power. I salute matter and I approach it with reverence, and I worship that through which my salvation has come. I honor it, not as God, but because it is full of divine grace and strength. I honor and venerate angels, and men, and all matter which partakes of divine power, for these things have assisted in my salvation, and God has worked through them. Never will I cease honoring the matter which wrought my salvation.
Therefore, brethren, let us stand on the rock of faith and on the tradition of the Church, not removing the ancient landmarks which our holy fathers have set, nor allowing any room for those who would decree innovations and destroy the structure of the holy catholic and apostolic Church of God. No, brother, no, Christ-loving children of the Church, do not expose your mother to shame, do not rend her in pieces.6

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1 2nd Apology Against Those Who Attack the Divine Images.

2 Taken from the Prayer of Consecration read upon bended knee prior to the washing of the altar table.

3 These guidelines are expected to be enforced by parishioners upon other parishioners.

4 Matthew 22:21

5 2nd Apology Against Those Who Attack the Divine Images

6 A blended composition of various lines from St. John’s three apologies.

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<![CDATA[What is the Greatest Spiritual Challenge Facing the Church Today? – - Archpriest Fr. Peter Heers; interview with Herman Middleton]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/what-is-the-greatest-spiritual-challenge-facing-the-church-today https://orthodoxethos.com/post/what-is-the-greatest-spiritual-challenge-facing-the-church-today <![CDATA[THE ONLY CHURCH OPEN IN CHERNOBYL ZONE SHOWS THE MINIMUM RADIATION LEVEL – OrthoChristian.com]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/the-only-church-open-in-chernobyl-zone-shows-the-minimum-radiation-level https://orthodoxethos.com/post/the-only-church-open-in-chernobyl-zone-shows-the-minimum-radiation-level This story is mentioned in the latest episode of The Orthodox Ethos Podcast (see video below, at the 21:55 mark).
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Over the entire twenty-five years since the Chernobyl nuclear plant accident, radiation levels in the area of St. Elijah Church, the only church operating in the exclusion zone, was well below levels across the zone, Chernobyl disaster liquidators state.

"Even during the most difficult days of 1986, the area around the St. Elijah Church was clean (from radiation - IF), not to mention that the church itself was also clean," president of the Ukrainian Chernobyl Union Yury Andreyev said in a Kiev-Moscow video conference on Wednesday.

Now, the territory adjacent to the church has a background level of 6 microroentgen per hour compared with 18 in Kiev.

Andreyev also said many disaster liquidators are former atheists. "We came to believe later, after observing such developments which could be explained only by God's will," he says.

In particular, according to him, a few seconds after the explosion in the fourth unit of the Chernobyl PP, the cloud containing uranium particles started moving in the direction of Pripyat, a city located about 1,800 meters from the plant. There was a pine-tree on its way (it is featured on a well-known icon Chernobyl's Savior.)

"The cloud stopped short of this pine, divided into two parts by some unknown cause, and continued moving to the left and right sides of the city, instead of covering its residential areas. The radiation level in contamination areas was four or five roentgen per hour, and the city showed only half a milliroentgen," Andreyev said.

Interfax - Religion

4/21/2011

HT: http://orthochristian.com/46090.html

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<![CDATA[On the Holy Temple of God & COVID-19 Infection: Interview with Archimandrite Savas Agioreitis (1/4) – The Orthodox Ethos Podcast]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/on-the-holy-temple-of-god-and-covid-19-infection-interview-with-archimandrite-savas-agioreitis-1-4 https://orthodoxethos.com/post/on-the-holy-temple-of-god-and-covid-19-infection-interview-with-archimandrite-savas-agioreitis-1-4 The first part of our four-part discussion with Archimandrite Savas Agioreitis, on the question of whether the Holy Temple and Holy Things can be conduits for infection and sickness.

AUDIO VERSION

00:36 - Biographical Information on Fr. Savas

01:39 - List of Books

03:40 - Introduction to Episode and Series (Important Note)

09:32 - On Christ, the Light and Life of the Christian

12:01 - On Excommunication as Penance

12:57 - “Excommunication” Imposed on the Faithful is Anti-canonical

16:05 - No Conciliar Decision; Councils can err

16:43 - Can Bishops forbid priests to serve Liturgy?

17:31 - A Bishop is consecrated under the Gospel

18:27 - Can we get infected in the Holy Temple?

19:49 - St. Symeon the New Theologian: My Members are Christ; All of me, full of light

21:11 - St. Gabriel of Georgia, St. John Chrysostom on the Holy Temple

21:55 - Miracle in Chernobyl: No Radiation within Temple

22:29 - The Temple is a God-Protected Shelter

27:30 - A well-planned attack of the Enemy

29:00 - If we fall away from Christ, we can become ill, even die

30:28 - This is not oikonomia but a departure, secularization

32:26 - All done “out of love”?; “Trust in Princes and sons of men”

33:54 - A great delusion and deception is takin place

Archimandrite Fr. Savas Agioreitis began his monastic life in the Holy Kelli of the Entrance of the Theotokos in Kerasia on Mt. Athos. He is also a graduate of the School of Dentistry and the School of Theology, at the University of Thessaloníki, where he completed his Masters Degree with Professor Demetrios Tselengides. Today, Fr. Savas is the spiritual father of the Holy Monastery of the Holy Trinity in the Diocese of Edessa, in northern Greece. Fr. Savas works tirelessly teaching and guiding the faithful not only in his diocese or in Greece, but, indeed, through the online homilies and lectures, the world over, wherever the rational sheep of Christ are thirsting for the Word of God and the Gospel.

In addition to nearly daily homilies during Divine Liturgy, which are uploaded to the internet, now numbering in the many hundreds if not thousands, Fr. Savas is also a prolific author, penning more than 11 books.

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A Four-Part Interview:

1. In this first segment we will address the Temple and whether or not the faithful need to fear becoming sick therein.

2. In the second segment, we address the all-important matter of having a spiritual father during these times of trouble and persecution.

3. In the third segment, we discuss a wide-range of matters pertaining to how we must live in a spiritual manner in face of this great challenge to our Faith.

4. And, in the fourth segment, we look at the commentary of our Holy Venerable Father Saint Nikodemos the Hagiorite on the 28th canon of the Sixth Oecumenical Council, which is being cited by some to support a change in the method of communing the faithful.

Due to pleas from the faithful, we will air the fourth segment next and then return to the second and third afterwards.

We are sure that these interviews, with the ever-vigilant Fr. Savas, offered with much love and sacrifice to you, the pious, zealous faithful, will undoubtedly be quite profitable and enlightening!

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