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 2020 Sat, 25 Jul 2020 00:00:00 +0000 <![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.

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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

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Utilize the Orthodox Ethos Podcast Interactive Transcripts!:

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Books:

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

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

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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.

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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?


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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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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.

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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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Books:

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

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

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<![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.

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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...

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<![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!:

-- 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/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?

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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.

- - -

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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].

—————————

[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.

——————————————————————————————————————–

(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

- - -

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).
————
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.

- - - - -

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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<![CDATA[Our Spiritual and Ecclesiastical Crisis (2/3): An Interview with Professor Demetrios Tselengides – The Orthodox Ethos Podcast]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/our-spiritual-and-ecclesiastical-crisis-2-3-an-interview-with-professor-demetrios-tselengides https://orthodoxethos.com/post/our-spiritual-and-ecclesiastical-crisis-2-3-an-interview-with-professor-demetrios-tselengides Today on The Orthodox Ethos Podcast:

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

  • The veneration of the Holy Icons and Holy Things in the Temple
  • The fear of the Faithful and the faithlessness of fear
  • When we must be disobedient to men in order to remain faithful to Christ

    - - - -

    Biographical Details:

    Professor Tselingidis’ 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.

    We come to him once again, during this time of troubles that the Church of Christ is facing, troubles not on account of a virus or pandemic, but on account of the undermining of, and departure from, the Orthodox Identity, Dogma and Ethos.

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<![CDATA[Μέρος B': Η Πνευματική και Εκκλησιαστική Κρίση. Συνέντευξη με τον Ομότιμο Καθηγητή Δογματικής Θεολογίας ΑΠΘ, κ. Δημήτρη Τσελεγγίδη – Με τον π. Πέτρο Χιρς]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/meros-b-i-pneymatiki-kai-ekklisiastiki-krisi-synenteyksi-me-ton-omotimo-kathigiti-dogmatikis-theologias-apth-k-dimitri-tseleggidi https://orthodoxethos.com/post/meros-b-i-pneymatiki-kai-ekklisiastiki-krisi-synenteyksi-me-ton-omotimo-kathigiti-dogmatikis-theologias-apth-k-dimitri-tseleggidi Utilize the Orthodox Ethos Podcast Interactive Transcripts!: https://oe-transcripts.now.sh

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<![CDATA[Our Spiritual and Ecclesiastical Crisis: An Interview with Professor Demetrios Tselengides (Pt. 1/3) – The Orthodox Ethos Podcast]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/our-spiritual-and-ecclesiastical-crisis-an-interview-with-professor-demetrios-tselengides-pt-1-3 https://orthodoxethos.com/post/our-spiritual-and-ecclesiastical-crisis-an-interview-with-professor-demetrios-tselengides-pt-1-3 Today on The Orthodox Ethos Podcast: The First of a Three-part series of interviews with Professor of Dogmatic Theology at the University of Thessaloniki, Demetrios Tselingides, on the Ecclesiastical and Spiritual Crisis We Now Face.

We are grateful to Professor Tsellingides for joining us here on The Orthodox Ethos Podcast. It is a joy and an honor for us to have him with us, not only because we have a close friendship going back nearly 20 years and he was my professor for as long at the Theological School of the University of Thessaloniki, and my doctoral thesis advisor.

Much more importantly we are honored by his presence, because we have a tremendous need in the Church today for the Patristic word, for answers to the faithful’s questions, and the challenges the Church is facing, based upon the teaching of the Holy Fathers. This is especially true for those outside of Greece, in the West, who are troubled and scandalized by the response which has been offered to date, and who are in search of consolation and clarity.

Biographical Details:

Professor Tselingidis’ 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.

We come to him once again, during this time of troubles that the Church of Christ is facing, troubles not on account of a virus or pandemic, but on account of the undermining of, and departure from, the Orthodox Identity, Dogma and Ethos.

**Utilize the Orthodox Ethos Podcast Interactive Transcripts!: https://oe-transcripts.now.sh

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<![CDATA[Μέρος Α': Η Πνευματική και Εκκλησιαστική Κρίση. Συνέντευξη από τον Ομότιμο Καθηγητή Δογματικής Θεολογίας ΑΠΘ, κ. Δημήτρη Τσελεγγίδη – Με τον. π. Πέτρο Χιρς]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/meros-a-i-pneymatiki-kai-ekklisiastiki-krisi-synenteyksi-apo-ton-omotimo-kathigiti-dogmatikis-theologias-apth-k-dimitri-tseleggidi https://orthodoxethos.com/post/meros-a-i-pneymatiki-kai-ekklisiastiki-krisi-synenteyksi-apo-ton-omotimo-kathigiti-dogmatikis-theologias-apth-k-dimitri-tseleggidi Utilize the Orthodox Ethos Podcast Interactive Transcripts!: https://oe-transcripts.now.sh

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<![CDATA[On Demonic Methodology, Part II: Q & A – The Orthodox Ethos Podcast]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/on-demonic-methodology-part-ii-q-and-a https://orthodoxethos.com/post/on-demonic-methodology-part-ii-q-and-a In this episode of The Orthodox Ethos Podcast:

Details:

00:43 ~ On the Discernment of Spirits: A Chief Characteristic of Orthodoxy

01:40 ~ Acquired by the Spiritual Athletes

02:36 ~ Test the Spirits (Ideas, Teachings, Thoughts, Persons)

05:06 ~ The Critera to Recognize the Lying Spirits

07:21 ~ The Philosophy of Antichrist

08:42 ~ Discernment or Delusion: No Other Option

11:18 ~ Do Orthodox Christians Believe in Conspiracy Theories?

12:51 ~ Search the Scriptures

14:38 ~ The Church's Experience

19:07 ~ Diabolus Simia Dei

20:35 ~ One Possible Assessment

24:51 ~ Study the Zeitgeist in order to Avoid it and Save Yourself and Others

28:19 ~ It is Always Both/And in Orthodoxy

30:21 ~ The Path to Repentance Passes Through Open Churches

33:21 ~ Important Announcements: Subscribing, Summer Seminar, Short Break

- - - -

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<![CDATA[FIVE SPIRITUAL LESSONS FROM THE CORONAVIRUS – ~ Archpriest Geoffrey Korz]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/five-spiritual-lessons-from-the-coronavirus https://orthodoxethos.com/post/five-spiritual-lessons-from-the-coronavirus

There is no event in living memory that has shaped the life and outlook of people worldwide as much as the coronavirus outbreak of 2020. Some have likened it to the psychological and political impact of a world war. While this may be true, these are still passing considerations: the bigger—and much more important—lessons of the coronavirus for the timeless Orthodox Church and for the world at large are the spiritual lessons. It is the spiritual lessons which, if they are learned, will heal the souls of individuals and nations in a way that will endure into eternity. If they are not learned (as the old adage reminds us), God through history will replay them, again and again if necessary, to awaken the souls of mankind using the most common and effective means God has always used: repentance through suffering.

Here, we will discuss five major lessons of the coronavirus for the spiritual lives of the faithful, and for the life of the Orthodox Church as a whole.

Does My Faith Live at My Home?

Most people lived restricted lives because of the coronavirus. Isolated at home, life laid bare what we had and what we lacked in terms of spiritual roots. While electronic and online resources provided some help, these are not alive: they all depend on real people to put them to use in active ways.

This exposes all sorts of gaps in our Christian life: Do we pray as a normal part of our day? Do we even know the prayers? Do I make the effort to contact my priest when I can’t simply drop in to the church? When I can’t hear a Sunday sermon, where am I getting spiritual teaching? Online? Is the source faithful, or even really Orthodox? Is going to church the only time we really pray or even think about God and the real purpose of our life? Do we live as if God and His purpose are real? Does spiritual life and practice permeate our family?

For those who have family responsibilities, if we have not invested the time and effort to shape our home in this way, what is our plan now to change that? This first critical, personal lesson—does my faith live at my home?—is grossly impeded by the reality that for many people, the period of the coronavirus crisis was spent in a combination of physical inactivity, or in recreation and escapism. Far from being a time that was ideal for gaining spiritual strength (despite the fact that it occurred in the midst of Great Lent), too often, the period of the virus saw people neglect their spiritual condition, falling victim to the Internet, comfort food, video games, and movies. For all the talk of turning each home into a “little church”, too often this time at home became a lost opportunity—although not a lost lesson, for those who would learn from it.

Do we have any king but Caesar?

The start of the pandemic saw the Orthodox world divide into two groups: those determined to keep churches open and services functioning as long as possible—even if in meant standing up to the state—and those who anticipated the spirit of the moment, and quickly closed churches and banned services.

In general, a divide might be drawn between countries with an Orthodox majority which had recent experience of totalitarian governments, versus those in the liberal, secular West who cannot envision such a regime ever being possible. Those who come from former or current totalitarian countries—the former Soviet states, the Balkans, Greece, Romania, Georgia, China, and others—seem to have no problem recognizing the great responsibility for and need for leadership from shepherds of the Church in times like these. In general, people born and raised in the West have not learned the same lesson.

While few would argue against the need for health precautions against a worldwide pandemic, the Orthodox Church is left with a critical question which draws on its own recent experience with persecution: at what point would Church leaders (hierarchs and priests) take a position calling repeatedly on a civil government in defense of religious freedom? Would it require a ban on hospital visits for this to happen? Would it require churches to be shut down for three months? For six months? For a year?

And if it would take Church leaders this long to recapture the spirit to stand up to civil authorities, would it even happen at all? Are Orthodox Christians in the West simply too much at ease with any “new normal” that anyone within the Church who took such a stand would not only be unusual, but would in fact be criticized and attacked by those within the Orthodox Church in the West?

It is not the burden of the faithful to show that public Liturgies and the Holy Mysteries are essential: it is the burden of the hierarchs to defend the faithful. This is especially true in cases where the state gradually and increasingly encroaches on that freedom.

All crises are opportunities. There are those in Orthodox circles who invest much energy in dialogues with the heterodox at other times. A crisis such as this was and is the perfect opportunity to cooperate on a deep and fundamental question of religious freedom: the opening of churches. Orthodox bishops could have taken (and still should take) the initiative and stood together with the Roman Catholics and others and demand that the same rules that apply to opening liquor stores and lotto services apply to churches. Why don’t they do so now?

Our second spiritual lesson from the coronavirus must be this: Is God our King, or is Caesar—our civil government? And when our civil government opposes the free exercise of the historic Christian faith, will we rally our Christian courage and confront it, or will we simply join the call to be “good citizens”?

Do we fear Death more than God?

Fear has been the single biggest motivator during the coronavirus crisis: not faith, not politics, and not even science. Yet fear—especially the fear of Death—is the exact opposite of the Lord’s teaching:

And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have nothing further they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: fear Him who after He kills, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!(Matthew 10:28)

The panic among leaders and decision-makers—including those in the Church—has been embarrassing, but why has it happened? We should expect this from secular-minded people who do not believe in God, or who believe that this life is all that people are given. Yet Christians know this is not true—our whole life and all our decisions are based on hope in eternal life. This is the reason we draw our bishops from among the monastics, and have them advised by a council of other bishops who are also monks—not a staff of insurance reps, lawyers, admin assistants, medical experts and lifetime bureaucrats.

At least, that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

In the midst of the coronavirus, many Church jurisdictions leaned heavily on insurance reps, lawyers, admin assistants, medical experts and lifetime bureaucrats to make decisions about Church life, without a circle of seasoned spiritual elders in sight. The result? Our Council of Secular Experts advised our authorities—both political and within the Orthodox Church—to fear Death more than God, and to plan accordingly.

That’s just what they did.

The third lesson we might draw from the coronavirus is this: the Council of Secular Experts won’t be of any help before the Throne of Judgement—and they may even be wrong about things in this life. We are all going to die soon, whatever happens. The only question is whether we act like Christians or not while we are here.

Hard Evangelism, Hard Conversion

The virus tested the seriousness of Orthodox Christians. During this time, many faithful strengthened their prayers at home, received the Holy Mysteries as best they could, and sought out ways to serve the Lenten services without interruption. In contrast, there are many stories of those who moved completely to viewing services online, becoming spectators of the Great Fast rather than participants. This suggests that, when the time of the virus ends, two groups will emerge in the Church: one that is deeper, stronger, and better rooted in the traditional practice of their Orthodox faith, more prepared to survive the challenges of the years ahead, and a second group who are uncomfortable when Orthodox life does not resemble comfortable, secular life—easily accessible online, in shops, without struggle or endurance, and with the click of a button.

The implications for evangelism to the Orthodox Church are obvious.

The period of the virus has revealed just how few people in Western society are really up for the work it entails to be a Christian. In recent decades, much time and effort has been put into making churches comfortable to those who might be interested in joining: the Protestant “seeker sensitive” movement of the 1990s was based on such an idea. Such sentiment has infected many parts of the Orthodox Church, too, where there is no price that is too high to pay to avoid giving offense to visitors of inquirers. This stands in sharp contrast to the three-year Catechism period of the early Church, in which those preparing for baptism were not only taught, but trained to have such a deep root of faith in Christ, that they would be prepared to face martyrdom.

Today, we too often live in an environment that hesitates to make visitors find the Church any different than their home family room.

Church life without entertainment is difficult: it demands something of each person. Closed churches during Holy Week meant Orthodox people had to take up the Cross of praying the services themselves: those who did can attest to the great blessings this brought. They also know how few of their friends and family are up for making such a spiritual journey: it is much easier to “sell” people on viewing a link on YouTube. One can already see the emergence of a cheap, substitute pseudo-Orthodoxy, which will be very appealing to people with modern habits and tastes. The virus shutdown made this eminently clear. Sadly, it will be tempting for clergy and laity alike to try to sell this Plastic Orthodoxy to outsiders as an easy and less demanding way to “enter the Church”—thinking they are getting the fullness of the faith of the saints and martyrs, but for a fraction of the personal cost.

The fourth lesson the coronavirus teaches us is, the Church necessarily includes those who are seasoned by struggle—and also necessarily loses those who refuse it. This will mean churches will be smaller, and Her clergy and faithful will have to get used to inquirers who walk away from Orthodox Christianity when they don’t get their own, easy way.

Is the Orthodox Church Useless?

A church that is deemed useless in a time of crisis like this is also useless in normal times.

What is the purpose of a church during normal times? There are better places to have a social club, an intellectual chat group, a school, or a centre to alleviate poverty. The distinctive function of the church is the place where the Holy Mysteries are offered, in order to heal souls (prayers go along with this: if churches were for prayers alone, one could pray at home and sell off the church buildings).

Most of modern society already feels the central function of the Church—the Holy Mysteries—has no practical use, and is ineffective for anything but making people feel better, psychologically. For this reason, many Orthodox parishes follow the Protestant model to make themselves “relevant” to secular people by offering functions (such as rentals, clubs, classes, and charitable works) which secular people would believe makes the Church “useful”. Some Orthodox people (even priests) spend the majority of their energy on activities such as these, leading them to believe that they are very active Orthodox Christians—when in fact, they are not, at least not without the Liturgical life of the Orthodox Church.

Historically, Orthodox Christians did everything they could to assemble to receive the Holy Mysteries. Even in the darkest days of the Soviet Union or the Ottoman Empire, the enemies of the Church allowed at least a few churches to operate. Those too fearful to attend might arrange to have the Holy Mysteries smuggled out to them, receive Holy Baptism in a private home, or meet in a remote forest for Holy Unction. Even during times of plague, Church authorities would not close the churches: on the contrary, they made the Holy Mysteries more accessible—taking certain precautions if lives were at risk—but always using the Heavenly Power of Christ’s Church for it’s true function.

Authorities—both Church and secular—achieved during the few weeks of the coronavirus what pagan Rome, the Muslim Turks, the Soviets, and the Fascist Ustache could only have dreamed of doing: closing down every single Orthodox church in a matter of days. Orthodox nations refused this; Orthodox in the West generally complied, or even cooperated.

This very foolish (or wicked) compliance will likely have an unanticipated consequence, a message sent to people inside and outside the Church that unlike every single example given by the saints at a time of plague or crisis, there are those in the Orthodox Church today who believe the power of God in the Church is useless against this great evil.

This is of course a lie. Yet it is the implicit message.

What message is sent when Orthodox churches are closed in the midst of a social disaster of any kind? Whether to the faithful or the secular, the message when this is done is clear: the single unique function of the Church—the Holy Mysteries—is not essential or even useful in the midst of a crisis.

Orthodox hierarchs, clergy, and faithful in some other countries understand this. This fifth lesson is perhaps the most fundamental lesson Orthodox Christians in the West—especially in North America—have yet to learn. Until we do, we cannot say we think like or like as Orthodox Christians.

Whether the coronavirus lockdown will be enough to teach it to the faithful here—or whether God will permit several more rounds of such lessons for us to learn it—remains to be seen.

Archpriest Geoffrey Korz is a parish priest of the Orthodox Church in America, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

SOURCE

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<![CDATA[A DEADLY VIRUS AND AN ECCLESIOLOGICAL NIGHTMARE – Archpriest John Klingel]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/a-deadly-virus-and-an-ecclesiological-nightmare https://orthodoxethos.com/post/a-deadly-virus-and-an-ecclesiological-nightmare We have all seen by now the disruptive reports describing in detail just how deadly and serious the coronavirus is. While that is true, the way that many within the Church are responding and, in particular, the guidance that we have received from many bishops, is disconcerting. We are directed now by hierarchs in several jurisdictions that the laity are to remain at home viewing the services via live-streaming, while the clergy are to serve a full cycle of services in near-empty churches, accompanied by a skeleton staff of altar servers and readers or singers. What is wrong with this picture?

We have suggested elsewhere that the live-streaming of the liturgy does great damage to the liturgical experience of the participant. We refer the reader to that writing and temporarily set that issue aside for the purposes of this essay. But we understand that the circumstances that we face are severe and require a creative and perhaps, unique approach. At the same time, whatever decisions are made about the liturgical life, although they may be only temporary, they must be consistent with what we know about the inner, essential life of the Church.

While historians grapple with many details of the life of early Christians, one of the most important things we know is that the worship of the early Church was conducted by Christians as a group, by coming together. This was true even in the time of persecution when assembling in one place posed great risk of arrest, torture and martyrdom. Clearly, the Church understood that gathering together was the means by which she manifested something essential about her nature. Since God had entered into a covenant with the people of Israel, the Church as the New Israel would inherit this unique relationship not as numerous individuals, but collectively as a people. Metropolitan John (Zizioulas) of Pergamon reflects on the significance of the names εκκλησία (Church) and εκκλησία του θεού (Church of God) that were applied to the early eucharistic community:

“A careful study of I Cor. 11 reveals that the term εκκλησία is used in a dynamic sense: "when you come together into, i.e. when you become, εκκλησία,” (v. 18.). This implies clearly what in the following verses becomes explicit, namely that the eucharistic terms “coming together," “coming together επι το αυτό,” “Lord's Supper," etc., are identified with the ecclesiological terms “εκκλησία” or “εκκλησία of God." The other consequence which, I think, is of great importance for later developments of the idea of catholicity is that this local community is called όλη η εκκλησία, i.e., the whole Church, already by Paul again.”1

In other words, the defining activity of the Church, as Church, was that she gathered together weekly to celebrate the Eucharist and, when she did so, all the members of the community were present. The curious little phrase επι το αυτό (“together in one place”)2 has come to be identified with Nicholas Afanasiev, who wrote extensively about it.3 Yet it was Afanasiev’s student, Alexander Schmemann, who reminds us most pointedly in his magisterial work, The Eucharist, that “the very word “church” — εκκλησία — means “a gathering” or “an assembly,” and to “assemble as a church” meant, in the minds of the early Christians, to constitute a gathering whose purpose is to reveal, to realize, the Church.”4

This gathering was not accidental and the role of the leader, who stood in first place and presided at the gathering, was precisely directed at those who stood before him as members of the Eucharistic community and as partakers of the Eucharistic meal. It was on their behalf that he offered the thanksgiving and it was among them that the offering was distributed. Thus Afanasiev:

“All of the faithful celebrate the Eucharist in the assembly but this celebration of all is manifest through one person. This is the nature of any celebration in the Church. The one who offers thanks is always one, but others concelebrate with him. The celebrant at the eucharistic assembly was the one who occupied a central place at the gathering. He “offered thanksgiving” in which all took part. He was always one and always the same but also always together with all. The people of God could neither celebrate without him nor could he celebrate without them, for not only he himself but all were priests of the Most High God.”5

The sense of importance that Liturgy only be celebrated when all members of a community are gathered together in the same place eventually manifested itself in two, related liturgical rules: (1) a priest or bishop is forbidden from serving the Liturgy more than once on the same altar on the same day,6 and (2) a priest or bishop is forbidden from serving the Liturgy privately, by himself.7 The first of these prohibitions honors the communal aspect of the sobor, which would necessarily be diminished if more than one gathering were to occur. Each parish or church ought to have but one service at which all members partake, in order that the catholicity of the Church be revealed:

“As a combination of the existing fragmentary liturgical evidence of the first centuries allows us to know, the “whole Church” “dwelling in a certain city” would “come together” mainly on a Sunday to “break bread.” This synaxis would be the only one in that particular place in the sense that it would include the “whole Church.” This fact, which is not usually noted by historians, is of paramount ecclesiological significance, for it immediately draws the line of demarcation between the Christian and the non-Christian pattern of unity at the time of the early Church.”8

The second prohibition does much the same, marking the Liturgy as the distinctive, public prayer of the community as opposed to the personal prayer of the individual cleric:

“But can a bishop or a presbyter celebrate the divine services alone, without God’s people? To answer this question, one should first determine just who actually celebrates the sacraments and divine services in the Church... The Liturgy and the sacraments are celebrated by the Church and in the Church, in the assembly of the people of God. This means that the Liturgy and the sacraments are celebrated in the ecclesial assembly by God’s people, which includes both laics in the narrow sense of this word and the ecclesial hierarchy, all calling upon God in prayer... A bishop or a presbyter, presiding over the people of God, celebrates the sacraments only together with the people without whom their role as presiders would be a mere phantasy.”9

Thus we see that to preside at the Liturgy by definition means to stand in first place (proistamenos) before the community gathered together. Now we know that the current health crisis that confronts the Church makes it impossible, or at least, highly dangerous, for the members of the community to gather together in person. Consequently, the question presents itself whether, under these extremely unusual circumstances, the clergy may be permitted to serve the Liturgy in the absence (or near-absence) of the laity, when only a very small number of laypersons are present, the rest having been barred from attendance. As a practical matter, we have seen for weeks now that the clergy have been instructed to do this and that they have been in fact regularly serving the full cycle of liturgical services with a skeleton crew of singers and altar servers. What are the ecclesiological implications of these decisions?

Without meaning any disrespect to those hierarchs who have struggled to guide the Church through these stormy waters, or to the many clergy members who have diligently given of themselves by tirelessly serving these services and placing themselves in harm’s way in order to minister to those who may or may not be ill, we are concerned that the following questions may not have been asked or fully considered:

  1. Does the current practice of serving in the absence of the laity violate our historical understanding of the role of the clergy as servants and minsters (who are the clergy serving, and to whom do they minister in this situation)?
  2. Keeping in mind that clergy and laity have different functions, has this practice improperly separated the clergy and the laity and assigned to them different purposes, privileges or identities?10
  3. If the Church cannot gather and constitute herself, is there a meaningful and necessary reason for the clergy being required to serve a full cycle of services in an empty Church?
  4. Have we accepted a liturgical theory of representation whereby the few laypersons present represent the laos tou theou (the people of God), who have been barred from attendance?
  5. Has the Liturgy, the great “catholic” prayer of the Church, been reduced to being part of the private prayer or personal devotion of the priest?
  6. Have the laity been demoted to mere viewers of a liturgical ritual enacted without them and observed by them from a remote location, so that they can no longer co-minister and participate?
  7. Is it actually impossible, under these circumstances, for the sacraments to be administered to the laity?
  8. When Holy Communion is offered under such circumstances, with the overwhelming majority of the laity absent, what is the ecclesiological significance of the Mystery since, by its definition, it ought to reveal the profound and mysterious unity that Christians experience, which overcomes our multiplicity and fallenness (i.e., the Sacrament of the Church)?11
  9. By serving under these circumstances, have we eliminated the potential for evangelization, since members of the laity and visitors are temporarily not welcome?
  10. Has the “community,” “sobornicity” and “conciliarity” of the liturgy been extinguished or obscured by these practices?
  11. Finally, when the liturgical ethos of the Church is truncated and reduced in this manner, is it inappropriate to celebrate at all under these conditions, when such celebration will be out of character with the complex choral, material and liturgical traditions with which it is seamlessly a part?

Regretfully, we feel forced to conclude that the answer to most, if not all of these questions, is yes. Understandably, some of these questions are addressed by the decision of the hierarchs to require live-streaming of the services, which presents its own, unique problems. Nevertheless, it appears to us that a great harm is visited upon the Church by permitting our liturgical tradition to be celebrated in this fashion. Simply put, the laity is an essential, non-negotiable part of the Church and, in its absence, the Church is tragically reduced so that she can no longer manifest the fullness of her identity. That said, we recognize that many parallels can be drawn between the current situation and those historical situations—the Catacomb Church, the Turkocratia, the Communist Yoke—when the Church could barely function and extreme measures were necessary. We also recognize that there are exceptions to every rule and that in certain cases (for example, solitary monks) it has been possible [for them] to celebrate the Liturgy in private or with no members of the laity present. But these are discrete, highly unique circumstances in which exceptions may be necessary and good. The current situation (the Coronavirus) is distinguished from these historical anomalies (if we may refer to them as such) insofar as in this present situation we have seen the Church embrace an approach that is literally in effect on all continents and in every Orthodox Church. Accordingly, because it is so widespread and uniformly adopted (temporarily we hope) that we must raise these questions, inconvenient as they are, since our liturgical discipline is so uniformly challenged. If this was happening in just one or two places and for a short period of time, we might be inclined to overlook it or consider it a stopgap measure of no consequence. However, we have at present no clear indication of when the situation will be reversed or redressed.

We should pause here to note that throughout her long history, the liturgical practice of the Church has been significantly varied. We do not mean to suggest that at every time and place the role of the laity has been manifest to the same degree. Nor do we wish to imply that in any way the Liturgy is not effective or efficacious at times when members of the laity are absent. Whenever it is celebrated, the Divine Liturgy is the meeting of the whole Church, living and departed, earthly and heavenly, the Communion of the Saints, bringing together those who are present and those who are absent. We have all celebrated or attended Liturgies at which very few persons were present, but which nevertheless seemed to be such meaningful moments in which all of life was recapitulated and referred back to God’s Kingdom. Feast day Liturgies, for example, are a notable example of services which are typically very poorly attended however, this is due to the laypeople having other things that they want or need to do, not to the fact that they have been locked out of the church. On such Feast days, they would be very welcome to attend and their absence is a thing of sadness and loss for the community.

What then is the alternative to celebrating in the absence of the laity, as has been authorized and required during this pandemic? It appears to us that in this situation, the essential conditions for celebrating the Liturgy simply do not exist. In closed communities such as monasteries, it is completely safe and appropriate to continue to serve a full cycle of services. Parishes that can imitate in some degree, the isolation and distancing that is typical of a monastic community, could certainly continue to gather and celebrate. However, the majority of parishes, and large, urban communities and cathedrals would seem to be places where, for a time, it would be best for them (as painful as this is) to be closed and the liturgical life suspended indefinitely.12 Why is this necessary? It is necessary for a profound, theological reason, because an essential part of the Church community is missing and without that part, the Church cannot fulfill herself and manifest her identity as a holy nation, the people of God.

SOURCE

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<![CDATA[LITURGY AND LIVE-STREAMING: TWO THINGS THAT DON’T GO TOGETHER – Archpriest John Klingel]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/liturgy-and-live-streaming-two-things-that-dont-go-together https://orthodoxethos.com/post/liturgy-and-live-streaming-two-things-that-dont-go-together With the outbreak of the Coronavirus we hear calls repeatedly from many priests and hierarchs to practice social distancing, avoid attendance at Liturgy, and rely instead on viewing the live-streaming of liturgical services. Is this good advice?

While temporary absence from liturgical services may be a necessary part of our response to the virus outbreak, the spiritual efficacy of live-streaming is seriously doubtful. Yes, for use in certain circumstances such as for those who are severely ill, bed-ridden or too weak to do anything other than view a television or computer monitor, live-streaming of the liturgy may serve a benefit. Certainly, the possibility exists that hymnography that is sung at live-streamed services may be heard by those who would otherwise be inattentive had they been physically present. Many have benefited from time to time by viewing liturgical services recorded on YouTube which are highly educational and often deeply inspiring. Why, then, would recorded or live-streamed services pose a spiritual hazard to us, especially at this time of grave illness and distress?

The answer is because in viewing a liturgical service in this manner, one additional barrier—the screen—stands between the viewer and the celebrant of the service. This one element, and the posture that it evokes in the viewer, is symptomatic of the very problem that liturgy poses for the modern person. By peering into a monitor to see something that we are meant, instead, to be actively participating in, the Liturgy is once again misunderstood and misused by such a viewer. Instead of being actively engaged as a member of the body gathered together and manifesting its fullness, the computer breaks down the oneness of Liturgy into isolation, separation and division. Indeed, the Coronavirus unleashes a devastating assault on Liturgy by upending everything that Liturgy is meant to be about. We are supposed to brush shoulders with our fellow members, not hold them at a distance of six feet. We are supposed to stand closely together as we work to join our voices in song, not worry about the spread of infection. We are supposed to share a meal intimately with our brothers and sisters, even sharing the very utensils, not eat privately by ourselves in a perfectly hygienic laboratory setting. Liturgy then, is meant to be reflective of life itself, which is neither neat nor clean. And Liturgy—properly understood—is meant to be work, not entertainment, a work that is corporate, not individual. We are meant to struggle, cooperate and work together to bring about the offering to God of the very things that He has blessed us to share in this life.

The computer monitor (what a telling symbol of modernity) simply continues and enhances the estrangement from Liturgy that we already experience, repeatedly. The fact is that for many of the laity, Liturgy is boring, too lengthy, incomprehensible and disconnected from daily life. In our utter passivity, the Liturgy is seen as something to be watched instead of something to be done. It is a peculiar duty to be discharged and acquitted of as easily as possible. It is modern man, seated passively in a pew with his legs crossed and his eye on his watch, who is completely unsympathetic and unaware of the reason, purpose and profound need for liturgical action. Perhaps this gravely estranged person (who is each of us) needs just such a tragedy to serve as an alert, to awaken him and her to an awareness of our complete dependency on God, on God’s mercy, and of God as the source and ultimate arbiter of life.

Now, if this is the experience of Liturgy that some, or many have when it is conducted within the walls of the temple, what kind of experience do we hope to have of Liturgy when we celebrate it—what has been called the liturgy after the Liturgy—in our homes? First, we must acknowledge with deep regret that for many Orthodox Christians, the home is simply not a place of prayer. We have fallen out of the custom and habit of prayer in the home. If we bother to maintain an icon corner in our homes, it remains for many merely a cultural adornment but not a living place of prayer. And for those who do regularly practice the discipline of daily prayer in the home, they know from experience that prayer conducted in this manner is, by definition, work and effort. To stand before the holy icons, to bow and prostrate oneself, to read the prayers out loud and to remember the names of our loved ones, takes time and effort. And it is this time and effort that actually connects our individual, private prayer with the corporate, public prayer of the Church. It is this reliance on the written prayers of the prayer book that unites us to the Holy Tradition of the Church and shapes our thoughts and perceptions. And so it is deeply ironic that when we are faced with an international threat to our health and well-being that some hierarchs are content to substitute the viewing of liturgical services for the exercise (the perfect word here) of personal prayer, instead of commanding the faithful to prostrate themselves before God. The idea that more of the very thing that is our problem, our passivity and complete lack of engagement, could be the solution to the problem, is astounding.

But there is a darker side to internet viewing. We have seen the ubiquitous spread of evil, vice and obscenity in a unique way via this medium. Images of the most sacred aspects of life have been captured and misused in the most base and profane ways. Intimate and beautiful things have been perverted and objectified purely for the sake of sensual pleasure. And now it is suggested that something that is extremely sacred—the liturgy itself—be viewed here. We forget, however, that the Liturgy has certain human requirements. Our worship has a physicality to it that is non-negotiable. We enter the Church (a place) and put lit candles before the icons. We smell the beeswax and the incense. The deacon tells us to bow our heads to the Lord, and we do it. The priest elevates the Lamb, fractions it and places it in the Cup precisely so we can eat it, not look at it. But now, for whatever reason I can’t meet the human requirements of the gathering, the sobor, the synaxis. Rather than recognizing that I am denied something that is ineffable and irreplaceable, in my modern, fallen instinct I prefer to have the same feelings I would if circumstances permitted me to do the necessary work (i.e., the Liturgy) even when I can’t or won’t do it. So I create an artificial world of images in order to gratify myself and produce those feelings. But the Liturgy is not offered for this purpose. Although it may produce feelings of deep emotion in the believer, the goal of the Liturgy is to call mankind to a higher and nobler reality, a noetic reality according to which we acknowledge the very limitations of creaturely life and experience. The path to this noetic reality, however, is not through subterfuge or by objectification, but by restraint of the passions, struggle and asceticism. At least this is what the saints tell us.

We forget that the Liturgy is hierophantic. When I was first ordained, photography was allowed but there were still those who remembered when it was not permitted inside a Church. The services are sacred and the ban of photography was intended to preserve their sacredness, to prevent their depiction as something common or banal. Indeed, something is lost when we artificially reproduce what is purely original in life.

The Coronavirus is a serious threat to our health, many have suffered and died as a result and, to be frank, more will likely suffer in the months ahead. Part of this suffering involves the interruption to our lives, our work, our celebrations, our economy. We need to come to terms with this and to mourn these losses, not paper over them with the appearance of normalcy. Our loss of the ability to celebrate the Liturgy with the regularity and frequency that we ordinarily would is also part of this suffering. We should acknowledge this and then redirect our grief into devout prayer to God, conducted in our homes and before the Holy Icons, in accordance with Tradition and through the prayers of our Holy Fathers.

SOURCE

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<![CDATA[The "House Church," the Divine Liturgy and Us – The Orthodox Ethos Podcast]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/the-house-church-the-divine-liturgy-and-us https://orthodoxethos.com/post/the-house-church-the-divine-liturgy-and-us In this episode of The Orthodox Ethos Podcast the idea of the "House Church" is discussed, as well as "participating" in the Divine Liturgy via Live Stream.

00:29 The House Church in the Ancient Church

02:23 What Makes the House a Church?

03:32 Is it ok to Stay Home for Church now?

04:43 Hell is Separation, Heaven Communion

07:33 Depart Catechumens & The Doors, The Doors

09:36 The Enemy Strives to Do Away with the Mystery

11:12 Egeria the Pilgrim and Her Message to Us

12:55 Keep in Mind the Endgame

15:13 Keep the Mystery Inviolate

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<![CDATA[The Coronavirus Narrative and Its Demonic Methodology – The Orthodox Ethos Podcast]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/the-coronavirus-narrative-and-its-demonic-methodology https://orthodoxethos.com/post/the-coronavirus-narrative-and-its-demonic-methodology In this episode, the following topics are covered

1. What kind of crisis is this?

2. Is this a pandemic?

3. The M.O. of the Enemy (the Devil)

4. His Three-Step Program

5. The Father of Terror and State-sponsored Terrorism

6. The Marxist Dialectic at Work

7. Examples of Terrorism:

- A. Yuval Noah Harari’s Totalitarianism

- B. Neil Ferguson’s Fear-Mongering

- C. The UN’s 30 times high story

- D. Death Counts Like Ubiquitous Advertisements

- E. Cultivating the Fear of Death

- F. The Final Solution

8. The enemy’s way and The Way

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<![CDATA[Responding to the Crisis: Christian Realism and Worldly Idealism – The Orthodox Ethos Podcast]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/responding-to-the-crisis-christian-realism-and-worldly-idealism https://orthodoxethos.com/post/responding-to-the-crisis-christian-realism-and-worldly-idealism In this episode of The Orthodox Ethos podcast:

  1. To be a "New Christian" or a True Christian
  2. Insane in the Eyes of the World
  3. Q&A, including:
    1. Healing the Spiritual Schism
    2. What to do when you are shut out
    3. Don't remain idle: take the fight to 'em
    4. St. Paisios Example and Us
  4. Christian Realism and Worldly Idealism

00:00:33 - Introduction: He Has Overcome the World

00:02:05 - Fr. Seraphim Rose: To be a New Christian or a True Christian

00:04:36 - Healing the Spiritual Schism

00:08:22 - What to do when you are shut out

00:17:45 - Don't remain idle: take the fight to 'em

00:19:52 - St. Paisios' Example and Us

00:28:26 - Fr. Seraphim Rose: Christian Realism and Worldly Idealism

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<![CDATA[Homily on the Sunday of the Apostle Thomas (Antipascha) – Fr. Peter Heers]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/homily-on-the-sunday-of-the-apostle-thomas-antipascha https://orthodoxethos.com/post/homily-on-the-sunday-of-the-apostle-thomas-antipascha Utilize the Orthodox Ethos Podcast Interactive Transcripts!: https://oe-transcripts.now.sh

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<![CDATA[The Church is a Hospital, a Life-giving Spring – The Orthodox Ethos Podcast]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/the-church-is-a-hospital-a-life-giving-spring https://orthodoxethos.com/post/the-church-is-a-hospital-a-life-giving-spring In this episode of The Orthodox Ethos Podcast:

  1. The Church is a Hospital, in which sicknesses are healed
  2. The Story of the Life-Giving Church throughout the Ages
  3. Answers to Your Questions

DETAILS:

00:00:37 - Introduction: The Church is a Hospital

00:03:09- Are prayers powerless, the Church unable to save?

00:05:38 - The Life-Giving Spring - A Fountain of Healing since 455 AD

00:13:47 - The Synaxarion: Healing of Soul and Body Daily

00:15:36 - Q&A 1: Different Stances = Different Results

00:17:33 - Scandalizers and the Scandalized

00:19:03 - The Church is in Her Saints, to which we all submit

00:21:06 - Q&A 2: Temptation to Lose Faith in the Church, in Christ

00:27:21 - A Wake-up Call to the Bishops and Clergy: Do Not Scandalize the Little Ones

00:29:01 - The Temptation Coming Upon the World

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<![CDATA[Facing the Coronavirus Crisis with Faith: Pleas from Mt. Athos and Greece – The Orthodox Ethos Podcast]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/facing-the-coronavirus-crisis-with-faith-pleas-from-mt-athos-and-greece https://orthodoxethos.com/post/facing-the-coronavirus-crisis-with-faith-pleas-from-mt-athos-and-greece THE ORTHODOX ETHOS PODCAST

Facing the Coronavirus Crisis with Faith: Pleas from Mt. Athos and Greece

1. Orthodox Christians Unite to Petition for the Opening of the Churches for Pascha in Greece
2. A Plea from Elder Parthenios, Abbot of St. Paul’s Monastery on Mt. Athos: OPEN THE CHURCHES!
3. A Cry from the heart of Athens: Shame on the Chief Priests and Rulers of the People!
4. The Ancient Church’s Witness of Love and Faith in Time of Pestilence.

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SHOW NOTES:

Abbot of St. Paul’s Monastery on Mt. Athos: https://www.romfea.gr/epikairotita-xronika/36684-i...

Fr. Vasilios Boloudakis homily on Great and Holy Friday: You Tube

Metropolitan Nektarios of Kerkyra: https://www.romfea.gr/diafora/36134-kerkuras-nekta...

Fr. Christopher Gourlis in Chios, fined for 5,000 euros because he left the door of the Church open: https://www.efsyn.gr/ellada/koinonia/239789_syneli... https://www.romfea.gr/diafora/36625-p-xristoforos-...

Interview with Fr. Thermi, missionary in Sierra Leone, with Hank Hanegraaff, on his podcast Hank Unplugged: You Tube

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<![CDATA[The Coronavirus Crisis: Letter from the Holy Mountain - Elder Evthymios of Kapsala – The Orthodox Ethos Podcast]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/the-coronavirus-crisis-letter-from-the-holy-mountain https://orthodoxethos.com/post/the-coronavirus-crisis-letter-from-the-holy-mountain Episode 7: AUDIO

Elder Evthymios of the Kelli of the Resurrection in Kapsala on Mt. Athos addresses the crisis and the Church's response to it, calling all of us to faithfulness, patience and prayer, and to repentance.


THE FULL TEXT OF THE ELDER EVTHYMIOS’ LETTER (Translation)

Epistle by Priestmonk Euthymius, Kapsala, Mount Athos: 4/14/2020

The critical days that we are traversing and the sacredness of the days of Holy Week command rather silence and prayer.

Nevertheless, because some opinions were recently circulated under my name on the internet, I shall mention the following so that the truth may be re-establish and harm be avoided:

I have never told people to store food because of an impending war, and I have never prophesied the end of the threat of the virus, as some have irresponsibly and falsely diffused.

Also, without my permission they have posted my discussions with inexact and self-contradictory views of mine concerning the coronavirus, which caused questions. My views are clear in what follows. They are completely personal, without any desire of imposing them on others.

To the many unbearable problems which men have, the threat of the virus has now been added too, which has ended up a nightmare. People suffer more from their fear, panic, and involuntary reclusion than they do from the virus.

The [Greek] state has taken protective measures, but the Church has her own means of confronting the virus. Now, humbled as never before, weakened and bound by the state, she is unable to grant them to her faithful.

In older times and in similar cases of deadly epidemics, she would perform sanctifications of the waters (αγιασμός) and go out in procession with the sacred icons and holy relics. Why should these not be done today as well? “Is the Lord’s hand unable” to help us in these days too (cf. Is. 59:1)?

During the third decade of the twentieth century, my village was struck by a plague which killed fifty little children in a few days. They could not dig the graves fast enough.

Then they brought the skull of Saint Charalampes from Saint Steven’s in Meteora and the plague immediately ceased.

Ever since the Lord performed the Mystical Supper and handed down the most holy mystery of the Divine Eucharist, the world-saving Divine Liturgy has not ceased to be celebrated to this day.

Neither Diocletian, nor the Turks, nor the communists in Russia, nor the Germans during the years of the occupation managed to stop the Divine Liturgy and the faithful from approaching Holy Communion.

And now, with the fear of the virus, the churches have closed down and the faithful are deprived of the saving grace of the mysteries, of which they have so great a need. On the contrary, while everyone here [in Greece] remains fearfully silent, in the Orthodox Churches of Serbia, Bulgaria, and Georgia divine worship continues unhindered, the churches are open, Divine Liturgy is celebrated, and the faithful are not afraid of being affected by the virus.

The protective measures employed by the present government are unconstitutional, unbearable, extreme, and unfair to the Greek Orthodox, while they have also created an atmosphere of terrorism, which the media aggravate.

Yes,the virus exists and we must protect our health and the health of those around us. Fear, however, must vanish, because when man is in a state of fear he cannot think and act rationally and discreetly.

In a similar case, when the eruption had occurred at Chernobil, people had then panicked and were examining the vegetables and fruits in order to eat those that had the least exposure to radiation.

When Saint Païsios was asked, he said that we should do the sign of the cross and eat fearlessly, which he himself first did, setting an example.

Were he alive today, it would be inconceivable for us to see him wearing a mask and gloves, carrying a little bottle of alcohol in his pocket and avoiding people or speaking to them from a distance.

He would surely be pacifying the people, he would be helping them put away fear, and most of all he would be saddened by the closing of the churches. Such a fear is unbefitting for Christians inspired by the example of the God-Man and by the Martyrs of our faith.

Many are anxiously expecting the defeat of the coronavirus by the invention of the vaccine, which will be obligatory for all. As for us, we refuse to be vaccinated.

Whoever is afraid, let him receive as many vaccines as he likes, but he should know that they may produce unforeseen and grave side-effects, as was the case a few years with the vaccines against the bird flu done to children, many of whom became paralysed.

Likewise, many of those who received the vaccine against hepatitis B contracted multiple sclerosis, and the same happens with other vaccines as well. Unless God guard us, what can vaccines and medicine do?

The godless Kazantzakis was vaccinated so as to be protected from cholera during a trip of his, and he still fell ill.

We have superior vaccines and the “medicine of immortality”, the holy Mysteries. We have time-tested doctors, specialists on viruses, Saint Charalampes, Saint Bessarion of Dousikou Monastery, who are for the plague, and so many other saints. Now, however, with the strict limitations the people remains helpless and uncomforted.

And while everyone is struggling to confront the virus, some people have other things in mind and as their goal. Top doctors and scientists are pointing out that what is happening is a discipline test: the goal is to manipulate the people in the direction they want.

This seemed strange and incredible until recently, but it is not imaginary, since men are now publicly saying that “The coronavirus pandemic has brought to the fore the need for a world-wide democratic government” (George Papandreou) and proposing that “each man have on him a microchip with biometrical data in relation to this virus or to other epidemic measurements” (Evangelos Venizelos).

These people are openly speaking of mark [of the Antichrist] and world-wide dictatorship, but do we get it? And what are we doing? Saint Païsios has spoken and written so much about this topic.

Can we possibly trust these men who have enslaved us to the foreign lenders and who are now leading us into slavery to the Antichrist?

Foretelling the future hardships, Saint Païsios would emphasise: “Only with a good spiritual life shall we make it through”. God has permitted this great trial because our sins.

We have need for sincere repentance, inexhaustible patience, and unceasing prayer, which strengthens our faith. We wish our brethren a good Resurrection under whatever circumstances.

May the Risen One, the Lord of life and Vanquisher of death, comfort and enlighten all of us by the light of His Resurrection, and may He give power and endurance to His people. By His grace may we arrive at the day of our deliverance from sin and from all evils. Amen.

With pain of heart

And sincere brotherly love,

Priestmonk Euthymius

Cell of the resurrection, Kapsala

Mount Athos

04 / 01-14 / 2020

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<![CDATA[Holy Week in the Catacombs (pt. 2) – The Orthodox Ethos Podcast]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/holy-week-in-the-catacombs-pt-2-guides-in-the-quest-for-the-orthodox-ethos-pt-2 https://orthodoxethos.com/post/holy-week-in-the-catacombs-pt-2-guides-in-the-quest-for-the-orthodox-ethos-pt-2 Today on The Orthodox Ethos Podcast:

HOLY WEEK IN THE CATACOMBS Episode 6

1. What should our stance and way be when we are locked out of Divine Services and Divine Liturgy?

Abbess Thekla from Montreal has an answer.

2. Part two of "Your Guides in the quest to acquire the Orthodox Ethos

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<![CDATA[Holy Week in the Catacombs – Guides in the Quest for the Orthodox Ethos (pt. 1)]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/holy-week-in-the-catacombs https://orthodoxethos.com/post/holy-week-in-the-catacombs Today on The Orthodox Ethos Podcast:

HOLY WEEK IN THE CATACOMBS (Episode 5)

1. How does one confront the inferno of apostasy raging all around us? Saint Paisios of Mt. Athos has the answer.
2. Holy Week in the catacombs? Where to look for inspiration?
3. Part one of “Your Guides in the quest to acquire the Orthodox Ethos.

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Utilize the Orthodox Ethos Podcast Interactive Transcripts!: https://oe-transcripts.now.sh

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<![CDATA[The Triumphal Entry of Christ and the Last Temptation of Christians – The Orthodox Ethos Podcast]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/the-triumphal-entry-of-christ-and-the-last-temptation-of-christians https://orthodoxethos.com/post/the-triumphal-entry-of-christ-and-the-last-temptation-of-christians New Episode:

In this episode Fr. Peter examines the Triumphal Entry of Christ into Jerusalem and the persons and scenes which accompany it, with special attention to the temptation of turning the Church earthward and embracing a "social gospel," Christ without the Cross and the Church refitted to serve the world as an end in itself.

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Utilize the Orthodox Ethos Podcast Interactive Transcripts!: https://oe-transcripts.now.sh

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<![CDATA[The Coronavirus: A Sign of the Times – The Orthodox Ethos Podcast]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/new-episode-the-coronavirus-a-sign-of-the-times https://orthodoxethos.com/post/new-episode-the-coronavirus-a-sign-of-the-times In this episode we examine the Coronavirus Crisis as a crisis of both soul and body, the reaction of many Christians as a sign of the times, and the faithfulness of the Prophet Daniel as an example for the Last Christians.

Sections:

  • Questions we must answer.
  • Not Of this World?
  • As in the Days of Noah
  • Carrying out Both of the Great Commandments
  • A Sign of the Times as the End Times?
  • The Example of the Prophet Daniel
  • When it is illegal to go Church...
  • If we are afraid, we will not enter the Kingdom of God
  • More Questions we need to answer
  • Time for Self-knowledge

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Utilize the Orthodox Ethos Podcast Interactive Transcripts!: https://oe-transcripts.now.sh

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<![CDATA[The First of Feasts, The Beginning of Redemption, and The Fear of Death – The Orthodox Ethos Podcast (Ep. 2)]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/the-first-of-feasts-the-beginning-of-redemption-and-the-fear-of-death https://orthodoxethos.com/post/the-first-of-feasts-the-beginning-of-redemption-and-the-fear-of-death AUDIO: https://orthodoxethos.com/podcast/the-first-of-feasts-the-beginning-of-redemption-and-the-fear-of-death

Today's podcast focuses on the First of Feasts, the Annunciation:

* The power of the Great Mystery of the Incarnation destroys the fear of death.

* St. Maximos the Confessor on how God desires to become incarnate in each of us and make the soul that gives birth to Christ a Virgin Mother.

* The Apostle Paul on the Incarnation, which brings to nought the devil's power, the fear of death, which keeps men in bondage.

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