Orthodox Ethos https://orthodoxethos.com/ Orthodox Ethos is a collective effort of ordained and lay Orthodox Christians. Our purpose is to present and support the Orthodox truth, way and life. en-us Copyright 2021 Mon, 20 Sep 2021 00:00:00 +0000 <![CDATA[Men Have Become Wolves to Men – “Do you want to be healed?” -- St. John 5:6. A new epistle from the Burning Bush Brotherhood]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/men-have-become-wolves-to-men https://orthodoxethos.com/post/men-have-become-wolves-to-men Posted on

See original post and the Burning Bush Brotherhood site here: https://burningbushbrotherhood.com/2021/09/18/men-...


  • "The value of this freedom is witnessed by our beloved Savior’s ministry on earth to such an extent that He said to His betrayer, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” If the Lord does not constrain Judas, how do we think it is proper to constrain brothers and sisters into injections against their free-will?"
  • "... it is only the devil who seeks to trample upon man’s will in order to ensnare and enslave him for evil bidding through sin."
  • "The demons desire that we begin to fear, not the contamination of willful sin and the passions, but rather physical illness. Motivated by this fear of bodily sickness and death, we have fallen to such a state that we are willing to brand and stigmatize even our brethren."


To our beloved Shepherds, Brother Concelebrants, and Faithful in Christ the Lord,

With deep concern and from the urging of our conscience in Christ, we write to address the continued troubled state of our Nation and of many in the Church.

Only a few days ago, on September 9th, the President of our Country issued a disquieting executive order that has as its goal the forcing of the current COVID vaccine—a form of experimental gene-therapy—on millions of American citizens. The disquiet of many of the clergy and faithful was exacerbated on September 16, by the statement of the Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church of America and Archbishop Elpidophoros’ tweet stating “there is no religious exemption in the Orthodox Church for Her faithful from any vaccine, including the COVID19 vaccine.”

The civil and legal aspects of this issue are being addressed elsewhere by many and will be a matter of civil discord and debate for the foreseeable future. The intent of this epistle is not to address the troubling civil aspects of compelling people to receive an experimental and inadequately tested gene-therapy injection but, more importantly, our intent is to focus on the spiritual aspects and dangers of such a statement and the mentality surrounding it.

The “health crisis” that the world was forcefully subjected to well over a year and a half ago has been revealed as an even deeper spiritual crisis. In the name of health and protection, much that is harmful and destructive to both body and soul has been perpetuated. At current, under the new decrees of the Federal Government, millions of fellow Americans and thousands of Christians are being backed into an agonizing corner. Many, for very substantial and plausible reasons, have made an informed and free choice not to receive a novel gene-therapy injection. Now in the name of safety from a virus from which more than 99% recover, their very means of livelihood are being threatened. The current willingness of some to deprive other persons of their work, livelihood, studies, and even, possibly, access to stores, hospitals, and places of religious worship reveals that the goal of mandates does not have the well-being of humanity at heart whatsoever, as it constantly claims.

No person should be deprived of their ability, in good conscience and freewill, to question and refuse a proposed medical treatment. Neither the efficacy nor the safety of the available injections has been sufficiently determined. Normal safety studies have not been done. The long-term effects on people both physically and spiritually are unknown. Many people for good reasons still have very substantial ethical, moral, and spiritual concerns about the development, ingredients, and effects of the proffered injection. But some in the Church are all to willing to trample upon the conscience of their brothers and sisters in Christ, whether out of fear or out of unquestioning faith in the honesty of government, its chosen experts, and the mainstream media. The concerns of many Christians are not due to politics or ignorance but are based firmly upon their deep faith and belief in Christ and their love for truth. A troubling new ideology is developing in which even Christians are willing to advocate the “necessity” for the “greater good” of forcing vaccination – injections – against the will and conscience of another believer, in the name of “love.” Such attempts at compulsion through manipulating and distorting the meaning of “love” are abhorrent to the Christian and a distortion of true love found within the phronema of the Church.

Modern man’s fallen state has subjected him to a disease much deadlier than any virus the world is facing: self-assertive human pride. Finding himself in this state, he cannot truly love nor can he know the definition of love. We see evidence of this in everyday life as so many politicians and leaders carry out soul-destroying policies and behaviors under the banner of “love.” It is how our vice-president can approve of the most egregious abortion policies but has the audacity to tout “that the act of getting vaccinated is the very essence of what the Bible tells us when it says ‘love thy neighbor.’” What we are witnessing is a distorted version of love that can “easily turn into aversion, and even into bitter hatred,” says St. Ignatius Brianchaninov a distorted love that “has even been expressed by the dagger.”[i] This sort of love only wants what is earthly and is compelled by self-assertive pride. True love is spiritual love, which desires for that which is lofty, “it knows no unjust partiality; it is reasonable and strict, wishing for the beloved not deceptive—and often harmful—earthly treasures, but true treasures, spiritual ones.”[ii] Unfortunately, we have witnessed persons within the Church become mouthpieces for the improper and imperfect love taught by worldly people and very seldom do we hear of true spiritual love. St. Ignatius Brianchinonov reminds the faithful that the command to “love thy neighbor” is far from the fallen human heart and it is a spiritual command that is only realized through cleansing and purification. Therefore, for this love to be realized the spiritual life must be taught—an inoculation against sin—not the abandonment of the faithful and coercion of an experimental injection. When leaders preach distorted worldly love they are nothing more than wolves in sheep’s clothing, for this perversion of love that masquerades as Christian love consumes and devours the souls of men. Such wolves would like us to believe that distorted love is “the essence of what the bible tells us” but inside it is full of rot, vanity, and preferers worldly status over spiritual ascent.

God has endowed man with the ability to act freely within boundaries and the free-will of man is a characteristic of his rational soul being created in the image of God.[iii] Freedom is the greatest gift God bestowed upon man at creation, “and it was this freedom of will that defined the high dignity of man—a dignity that raised him infinitely above every other creature.”[iv] Freedom of will was bestowed on man out of the true love God has for him, and it is true love that desires a free response—“love for love—that is in no way forced. Only this kind of love has any worth: love that flows freely from a loving heart, without any compulsion or coercion.”[v] As a faithful shepherd has recently called to mind the words of St. Irenaeus: “For there is no coercion with God, but a good will towards us is present with Him continually. And therefore does He give good counsel to all. In man, as well as the angels, He has placed the power of choice…”[vi] This power of choice is so sacred that God Himself does not impede on it, allowing man to choose to act freely. St Nektarios writes, “So great and valuable is this freedom of man that God himself shows respect [for it] and honors it.”[vii] The value of this freedom is witnessed by our beloved Savior’s ministry on earth to such an extent that He said to His betrayer, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” If the Lord does not constrain Judas, how do we think it is proper to constrain brothers and sisters into injections against their free-will? What are the faithful to do when, instructed by the likes of St. Theophan to never act against their conscience, they are commanded to do so by politicians and unsupported in following their conscience by their hierarchs? To impede upon man’s will and to break his conscience in order to subject him to anything against his will is not true love or recognition of the dignity of humanity. In truth, it is only the devil who seeks to trample upon man’s will in order to ensnare and enslave him for evil bidding through sin. St Symeon the New Theologian writes: “The devil bred spite among people and seduced them to love it. And so they arm themselves against one another, thinking that they are fulfilling their own desires but do not understand that in this way they serve the devil and are in slavery to him. The harassing of one another, this plunder, usurpation, and all iniquity are nothing but the consequences of this slavery.”[viii] As fathers and shepherds, as icons of Christ the High Priest, it is right for the leaders of the Church to enable their reason-endowed sheep to listen to their conscience.

Moreover, the dividing of people into “vaccinated” and “unvaccinated” goes contrary to the truth of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. The emerging environment of segregation, discrimination, suspicion, division, and exploitation of fear bears many signs of demonic inspiration. The Apostle warns us in no uncertain terms: “I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.”[ix] We judge such divisions and the policies that foment them to be the work of our enemy to neutralize the Church and destroy souls.

It is the devil who wants us to view our fellow man as unclean. It is the enemy who seeks to equate humans with a virus, shunning them as if they were tainted by hell itself. The demons desire that we begin to fear, not the contamination of willful sin and the passions, but rather physical illness. Motivated by this fear of bodily sickness and death, we have fallen to such a state that we are willing to brand and stigmatize even our brethren. We have never found such a mentality in the sacred Traditions of our Holy Faith. With great sobriety we recall the turbulent history of our world over the 20th and into the 21st century. As Orthodox Christians we remember well that it was in the name of “fraternity and the well-being” of humanity that the godless regimes of Secular Communism were instituted in Russia and throughout Eastern Europe. Under the banner of the betterment of humanity millions of people were systematically dehumanized, discriminated against, brutalized, and slaughtered. People were divided into card-carrying Communists or not. Those who did not conform to the government agenda and propaganda were painted as “enemies of the people” who obstructed the advancement of society. Papers of government approval were necessary for basic living. We know most certainly that the spirit behind these works was intensely anti-Christian and antichrist. Numerous fabricated “humanitarian crises” were used as means to attack and deconstruct the Christian understanding of society and human interaction and moreover the Church.

Our brotherhood firmly rejects the exploitation of a person’s acceptance or rejection of a medical treatment to institute a system of discrimination and ostracization not only in the world, but, most of all, in the Church. Can we as Christians morally segregate people in Church on this basis? Can we justify in effect rewriting our Lord’s command to say, “Come unto Me, all ye who are weary and heavy laden—but only if you are vaccinated—and I will give you rest?” Can we justify before Christ making “proof of vaccination” a requirement to enter a Church and participate in worship? Are not such things totally foreign to the spirit of true Orthodoxy? The thought of such things taking place fills us with grief.

We are dedicated to ministering to all who seek Christ without any distinction between “vaccinated” and “unvaccinated.” Could we justify any other practice before God? The unequivocal answer is no.

To the faithful whose conscience is awake and pricked by the insolence of leaders and employers coercing you to partake of these novel injections or face the cost of your livelihood, freedoms, and participation in social life, we will be writing a more detailed epistle soon. Listen to your conscience, do not cave into social pressure, and join our brotherhood in our prayer rule. For now, we leave you with the words of Alexander Solzhenitsyn and encourage you to read his essay Live Not By Lies in full, which is easily found online and deserves careful study and application in the days ahead:

“Yes, at first it will not be fair. Someone will have to temporarily lose his job. For the young who seek to live by truth, this will at first severely complicate life, for their tests and quizzes, too, are stuffed with lies, and so choices will have to be made. But there is no loophole left for anyone who seeks to be honest: Not even for a day, not even in the safest technical occupations can he avoid even a single one of the listed choices—to be made in favor of either truth or lies, in favor of spiritual independence or spiritual servility. And as for him who lacks the courage to defend even his own soul: Let him not brag of his progressive views, boast of his status as an academician or a recognized artist, a distinguished citizen or general. Let him say to himself plainly: I am cattle, I am a coward, I seek only warmth and to eat my fill.”[x]


[i] Archbishop Averky Taushev, The Struggle for Virtue: Asceticism in a Modern Secular Society, p. 57

[ii] Archbishop Averky, p. 59

[iii] St John Damascene: “From the earth God formed man’s body and by His own inbreathing gave him a rational soul, which last we say is the Divine Image—for ‘according to His image’ means the nous and free will, while ‘according to His likeness’ means such likeness in virtue as is possible.”

[iv] Archbishop Averky, p. 71

[v] Ibid.

[vi] St. Iranaeus, Against the Heresies, IV, 37, I; Quoted by Bishop Siluan in an archpastoral letter dated Sept. 10th, 2021.

[vii] St. Nectarios of Aegina, Habitation of Holiness: “The Relation of True Freedom with Moral Freedom,” p. 20

[viii] Quoted in Archbishop Averky, p. 74

[ix] Romans 16:17

[x] Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Live Not By Lies

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<![CDATA[A MUST WATCH! What is to come for those who are v@χχ1n@tεd – By: Father Savvas Agioritis]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/a-must-watch-what-is-to-come-for-those-who-are-v-xx1n-ted https://orthodoxethos.com/post/a-must-watch-what-is-to-come-for-those-who-are-v-xx1n-ted <![CDATA[September Pastoral Letter on Vaccine Passports – By: Auxiliary Bishop George of Australian & New Zealand Diocese (ROCOR)]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/two-pastoral-letters-on https://orthodoxethos.com/post/two-pastoral-letters-on THE AUSTRALIAN AND NEW ZEALAND DIOCESE OF THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OUTSIDE OF RUSSIA

September 15, 2021

To the Honourable Gladys Berejiklian and the Honourable Andrews,

As the Bishop of the faithful entrusted in me, I am compelled by my conscience to address by way of open letter a significant concern for my flock and all those who fall under the New South Wales and Victorian state jurisdictions. My serious concern is about the untenable proposal of a vaccination passport to be introduced into the public life of New South Wales and Victoria (to date), a measure, if introduced will impact destructively not only on Church life, but on the Australian life we have known and loved.

Churches have a responsibility to minister to all. We cannot accept polarization of the faithful. The Church, fallible in the flesh, but strong in the Spirit, sees its purpose in calling the world to unity and diversity, in respect and love for all. The essential Gospel message of respect for free will and its expression in civil life is the historical foundation of the Western democratic state, including Australia. To admit only one group of people based on the vaccination criterion goes against the very nature of the Church, which embraces all.

Vaccine passports will create an unethical two-tiered society and we strongly condemn this proposed measure. The Church CANNOT enforce such discriminatory measures in our parishes and refuse entry to anybody who seeks to attend without the proposed vaccine passport, or any other certificate, as this would lead to discriminatory outcomes and would violate the Church’s teachings and canons.

In our multicultural and multi-faith society, these proposed measures, which are divisive, coercive and discriminatory, echo the trials experienced by many before they fled persecution and now call Australia home.

We pray and implore that you – our elected leaders – are made aware of the terrible consequence of such an unethical measure. History is the best teacher on where such courses of action have led to in the past.

Bishop George

Auxiliary Bishop of the Australian & New Zealand Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia

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Bishop George also wrote another letter in August which can be read here:

Bishop George of Canberra Auxiliary Bishop Australia-New Zealand Diocese Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (stgeorgeparish.org.au)

Two similar pastoral letters were written by Bishop Siluan of the Serbian Metropolitante of Australia and New Zealand, which can be read here:

1) AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR THE TIME WE ARE LIVING NOW | Orthodox Ethos

2) ARCHPASTORAL REFLECTION ON CURRENT COVID CRISIS | Orthodox Ethos

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<![CDATA[St. Euphemia the Great Martyr and the Heresy of Monophysitism – Commemorated on September 16]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/st-euphemia-the-great-martyr-and-the-heresy-of-monophysitism https://orthodoxethos.com/post/st-euphemia-the-great-martyr-and-the-heresy-of-monophysitism In the third century of Christianity, when pagan rulers were putting Christians both young and old to torture and death for not bowing down to idols, there lived a young girl who was raised a Christian and who had true and steadfast faith. Hidden and praying to the True God in a house church with forty-eight other Christians, while pagans worshipped demons, was the maiden Euphemia, the daughter of a senator. When the civil authorities discovered these young Christians, they were taken to the tribunal. All of the children were tortured for nineteen days and finally put to death by the Emperor Diocletian, but none waivered in their faith. The noble Euphemia was singled out for special treatment by the governor of Chalcedon.

Euphemia prayed to the Lord Jesus Christ, Who strengthened her in her coming ordeal. First the governor flattered her and tried to bribe her with promises of rank and riches. But the young girl preferred her Lord Jesus Christ above all.

Sharp knives, red-hot ovens, hidden pits with spears, and wild beasts could not harm the maiden who was wholly devoted to Christ. Only at the saint’s prayers that she die a violent death did the Lord finally allow a she-bear to bite her in the leg, at which she gave up her pure soul. The guards would not have given Euphemia’s body for Christian burial, but the Lord sent an earthquake at which they all fled. Thus were her parents able to take up her holy body and bury it not far from Chalcedon. She died in the year 304, and is commemorated on this day, September 16/29.

In Chalcedon a majestic church was built over St. Euphemia’s relics. In the year 451 there was a famous Council held in that city, which would go down in history as the Fourth Ecumenical Council. The Orthodox world was in a state of great discord. Many people believed in the Monophysite heresy, and while many did not, the exact reason why they could not believe in it had to be precisely expressed as dogma. For a long time, representatives of each side made their own arguments, and could not reach an agreement. Then the Patriarch of Constantinople came up with an idea that we will scarcely see expressed today: to leave the decision up to the Holy Spirit. But how does one do that? How do we ask the Holy Spirit? The Council members had a solution that was obvious to them, located as they were in the church that contained the wonder-working relics of St. Euphemia. Each side wrote its confession down on its own scrolls and placed them on her relics. In the presence of the Emperor, the tomb was sealed with the imperial seal and a watch was set for three days. Both sides prayed and fasted very strictly for those three days, and when the tomb was opened it was seen by all that St. Euphemia was holding the scroll of the Orthodox in her right hand, and the scroll of the Monophysites lay at her feet. She even raised her hand to give the Orthodox scroll to the patriarch.

This obvious sign was accepted by the wavering as proof of the rightness of Orthodox dogma. But those who had put so much stock in the Monophysite heresy did not give in! They could not be convinced, no matter what miracles they saw.

We celebrate this event every year on July 11/24, and St. Euphemia is now called by the Orthodox, “The All-Praised”. It is a wondrous miracle for the saint to have presented God’s answer to the Council. But just stop and think about how wondrous our holy Orthodox hierarchs and clergy of this Council were. Certainly there were many very well-educated, erudite scholars present among the 630 representatives of that Council. There were patriarchs among them who were held in great authority. The Emperor himself could have taken the side of the Constantinople Patriarchate against that of Alexandria out of patriotic support for the capital city, and simply forced everyone to follow this dogma. Let’s not forget that this has actually happened in history—just recall the Emperor Charlemagne and all the trouble he caused with his despotic political theologies—trouble that goes on to this day.

But no, that is not how it was among those holy men. They did not ask for a final solution from the Emperor, or the theologians, or any individual patriarch. They turned to a martyr, a young virgin, for they knew that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Head of our Church, stood behind, blessed, and supported that young girl through frightful sufferings, and that she was faithful to Him throughout her ordeal. No bribes, no flattery, no threats could shake her faith and devotion to Him. Just imagine what it would have been like for a young girl to face a rotating wheel with sharp blades designed to rip her flesh to shreds, or a red-hot oven that would burn her alive, or wild beasts that were supposed to gnaw her body in front of a crowd. For many, the raging fury of a governor would be enough to paralyze one with fear. But here in the church were her holy, incorrupt relics to prove that Christ triumphed in this weak young maiden. Thus, the holy men were certain that if they prayed and fasted—that is, approached the matter with all seriousness and religious earnestness—God would speak through His faithful sufferer.

This amazing example lives on. Throughout the history of the Church, there have been false teachings, and false hierarchs who will listen to no one and are determined, for one reason or another, to carry on in their error. Moreover they have taken entire geographical populations along with them. They followed teachings that they and their advisors devised, but did not believe God’s sign when it was right before their eyes. This is what pride leads men to do. But the wise men whose decision the Orthodox follow to this day humbled themselves before a young girl-martyr, because the suffering Church has always been the Church that shows itself to be faithful to Christ. The Church has always been tested by suffering, and those who are willing to suffer receive help from Christ to bear it. Christ’s victory in them has always been a sign to all. “The martyrs’ blood is the seed of the Church.”

Take, for example, the phenomenon of the “Living Church” in the Soviet Union. At the turn of the twentieth century, there were a number of clergymen in Russia who got caught up in the revolutionary mindset that was fomenting in Russia. They felt that in the tectonic shifting of their country’s politics they might be able to introduce new ideas into Orthodoxy as well—Church “reforms”. Because their ideas were worldly and inspired by politics, they became the tool of the new soviet regime, whose ultimate goal was not reform, but annihilation of the Church. Lenin even devised a twisted negative PR to this end: The less upright, the more compromised the clergy, the better for the soviet government. Therefore, the soviet government chose to back what then took form as the “Living Church”, and declare it the only legal Orthodox Church in the nation. The “Orthodox Church in the USSR”, as they called themselves, had as their goal, “the democratization of Church governance and modernization of Church services.” The leading “hierarch” of this “church” was Alexander Vvedensky, who as a “hierarch” continued to live in a conjugal state with his wife. Naturally, one thing on his agenda was a release of the age-old rule in the Orthodox Church that bishops cannot be married.

The lawful Patriarch Tikhon, who had been chosen at the Local Council held in 1918 where representatives of the totality of the Russian Orthodox Church, of the clergy, monastics, and laity were present, did not accept this schismatic development. He refused to meet with its bishops and clergy, unless it be to accept their repentance. His flock stood firmly behind him, while the soviet government stood behind the Renovationists. Here are a few of the "Living Church's" intended renovations:

  • Permission for monastics (including bishops) to marry, while retaining their episcopal and clerical ranks;
  • Permission for the clergy to marry after their ordination, to remarry or to marry widows;
  • Permission for the married priests to be consecrated as bishops.

It is interesting how these items always seem to come to the fore when renovationist movements start to gain momentum.

Monasticism has often been called a “bloodless martyrdom”. One could say that part of this martyrdom is that they may have to suffer a little by not being married. Our bishops have always been monks, so that wives, children, and so on would not hinder them from rightly ruling their dioceses. They have to suffer a little in this life, because they do not have the comfort that a housewife can provide.

We do have a married priesthood. But it has always been our canonical practice that candidates for the priesthood be married before they are ordained, so that their own house be in order before they take up the cross of serving the spiritual needs of a parish. When a priest’s wife dies (or if she should divorce him), the priest, if he wants to continue to be a priest, is to remain a widow, and not cause his parishioners any temptation by marrying again. The widowed priests have to suffer a little.

But this has always been known to those who are deemed worthy of the priesthood or a bishopric, and no one has ever been forced into ordination. Monks are made bishops often as part of their monastic obedience; but again, the monastic tonsure itself, with its vow of obedience, is voluntary. Anyone who renounces his priesthood or monastic vows—well, God forbid that we should appoint ourselves judges over them. But our Church has provided for a limitation on their service in the Church, for their own good and the good of the faithful.

We all as Christians have to bear our own cross, which means bearing suffering—be it physical martyrdom, or the sacrifice of our own desires for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who always helps us in this struggle.

As for the Church crisis in the early Soviet Union—many of the Russian Orthodox clergy followed the Renovationists, first out of their desire for reforms, and later out of the desire to remain alive and out of prison. We know by hindsight that the Renovationist movement crashed while the canonical Church remained, but certainly at the time it was not so clear what to do. However, the vast majority of the faithful remained with their true pastor, whose voice they knew. The Living Church parishes were empty, while the churches that stayed with Patriarch Tikhon and his successors were full. The faithful were ready to suffer—in the least by being “illegal” from the atheist government’s point of view, and at worst by being tortured and imprisoned for their faith. They knew the voice of their true shepherd, who did not resign and leave them to the wolves. They knew his voice because they knew the voice of Christ, by practicing their Orthodox faith in spirit and in truth. Orthodoxy with its holy traditions lived on in the lives of its devoted children. In the end, even many of those who followed the Renovationists were imprisoned and put to death by the very government that had given them the legal right to take over the churches of the canonical Church.

The history of our holy, beloved Church, the Lives of its saints, and the writings of its holy venerable fathers are available for us to study. These writings help us to know what is right and what is wrong, and what we should do when things become very confusing. But Christ told us that the gates of hell will not prevail against our Church. And He also told us that we are to render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, but to God the things that are God’s. Those who are with God know when the time has come to suffer, and if God blesses, they will have the strength to suffer. And our holy hierarchs of the Fourth Ecumenical Council left us a brilliant example to follow: that suffering for Christ is our spiritual compass, and a pure, virgin martyr whose soul is with Christ is more to be trusted than hundreds of clerical scholars.

-------------------------------------------------

Source: The Sign of Martyrdom: St. Euphemia and the Ecumenical Council / OrthoChristian.Com

For more information about Orthodoxy and Monophysitism, see the following:

1. The Revelation of the Theotokos: the Monophysites are not Orthodox! | Orthodox Ethos

2. The Boundaries of Salvation: The ‘Two Natures’ of Communion in Christ | Orthodox Ethos and LECTURE: Chalcedon and the Boundaries of the Church An Examination of the Ecclesiology of the Promoters of Union with the Monophysites/Non-Chalcedonians (EXCERPT) | Orthodox Ethos

3. St. Paisios the Athonite on Ecumenism, Common Prayer with the Heterodox, and the Erroneous Ecumenist Phronema concerning the Monophysites | Orthodox Ethos

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<![CDATA[An Open Letter to the New South Wales Premier and Minister for Health and Medical Research – by Deacon Stephen McKay, with the blessing of His Grace Bishop GEORGE+ of Canberra, Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia.]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/an-open-letter-to-the-new-south-wales-premier-and-minister-for-health-and-medical-research https://orthodoxethos.com/post/an-open-letter-to-the-new-south-wales-premier-and-minister-for-health-and-medical-research This article and letter have been written in my capacity as a clergyman of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, and with the blessing of His Grace, Bishop GEORGE+ of Canberra. The views expressed herein are mine, and do not necessarily reflect the views of my other employer, AC3.

The most chilling aspect of the current response to the Covid19 pandemic is not simply the interminable lockdowns or other inconveniences we must endure to stem the spread of the virus, not is it the economic fallout forcing the closure, sometimes even the permanent failure of numerous small business, although this is in itself a serious concern. By far the most disturbing aspect is the disregard for the foundational ethics of the medical profession, the necessity of individual informed consent for any medical treatment or prophylactic measures, and the now mandatory requirement for certain citizens of New South Wales to participate in the medical experimentation programme of vaccination trials currently running under the TGA's provisional pathway.

Placing any kind of coercive pressure upon any group of people to participate in medical experimentation is a violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the Commonwealth of Australia is party state, and which is the foundational document for the Commonwealths Human Rights Commission Act 1986.

As a clergyman in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, I feel compelled by my conscience to advocate on behalf of those members of my community whose rights are being violated in this manner, and as an Australian Citizen since 2005, I am likewise compelled by my oath of allegiance "to Australia and it's people, whose democratic beliefs I share, whose rights and liberties I respect, and whose laws I will uphold and obey."

This afternoon, with the blessing of His Grace, Bishop GEORGE, I sent the following correspondence to the NSW Premier and Minister for Health and Medical Research. Please read the letter, and I urge you to stand up with me and be counted on this matter. Take a moment to write to your State representative and politicians and let them know that these measures are unacceptable and that human rights are not negotiable and human beings are not cattle!

==

The Reverend Deacon Stephen McKay * Saint John the Baptist Skete * 10 Harrison Street * Kentlyn, NSW 2560

25 August 2021

The Honourable Gladys Berejiklian, Premier of New South Wales

The Honourable Brad Hazzard Minister for Health and Medical Research, New South Wales

Dear Minister and Premier,

I am writing to you on behalf of several parishioners and congregation members within the Russian Orthodox community in New South Wales, both those known to me personally as well as many others who share similar convictions, and who work either in the New South Wales Department of Health or in many of the industries subject to the recent order requiring vaccination as a condition of work.

Minister, as you are no doubt aware, the Therapeutic Goods Administration has provided a temporary conditional approval under the provisional pathway with rolling reviews for the Moderna, Pfizer BioNTech, Jannsen-Cilag and AstraZeneca vaccines. Under this programme, these products are still experimental, as evidenced by the requirement for rolling reviews and further evidenced by the indemnities granted by the Federal Government for the vaccine manufacturers and even the medical staff tasked with administering the vaccines.

In accordance with ethics of the medical profession, any decision regarding vaccination - and certainly when this is in the context of medical experimentation - cannot be made by anyone other than the patient concerned. Every patient must be accorded the necessary freedom to make their own decision without coercion and with full disclosure of the risks as well as benefits of any proposed treatment and as well as the alternative treatments available.

These ethical principles are foundational to the practice of medicine and have been reflected throughout the history of the profession in various forms from the “premium non nocere” (“first do no harm”) of the ancient oath of Hippocrates, to the Nuremberg Code of 1947 and UNESCO’s Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights of 2005.

In particular, I would draw the Minister’s attention to Article 6 - Consent in the latter document, which very eloquently applies the fundamental ethical principles which have guided practicing physicians around the world for centuries:

“1. Any preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic medical intervention is only to be carried out with the prior, free and informed consent of the person concerned, based on adequate information. The consent should, where appropriate, be express and may be withdrawn by the person concerned at any time and for any reason without disadvantage or prejudice.

“2. Scientific research should only be carried out with the prior, free, express and informed consent of the person concerned. The information should be adequate, provided in a comprehensible form and should include modalities for withdrawal of consent. Consent may be withdrawn by the person concerned at any time and for any reason without any disadvantage or prejudice. Exceptions to this principle should be made only in accordance with ethical and legal standards adopted by States, consistent with the principles and provisions set out in this Declaration, in particular in Article 27, and international human rights law.

“3. In appropriate cases of research carried out on a group of persons or a community, additional agreement of the legal representatives of the group or community concerned may be sought. In no case should a collective community agreement or the consent of a community leader or other authority substitute for an individual’s informed consent.

(The emphasis here, as in other quotations elsewhere in this letter, are my own.)

I made Australia my home in 1982, and I still recall with pride the passing of the Human Rights Commission Act in 1986, just four years later. At that moment I was deeply proud to call Australia home. If I may draw your attention to the seminal document on which the Act is based, i.e. the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. This document is included as Schedule 2 in the aforementioned Act. Part III Article 7, states the following:

“No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. In particular, no one shall be subjected without his free consent to medical or scientific experimentation."

Further I would point out that the Siracusa Principles on the Limitation and Derogation Provisions in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights sets forth the following:

“Section II. Derogations in a Public Emergency, D. Non-derogable Rights

No state party shall, even in time of emergency threatening the life of the nation, derogate from the Covenant’s guarantees of the right to life; freedom from torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and from medical or scientific experimentation without free consent; freedom from slavery or involuntary servitude; the right not be be imprisoned for contractual debt; the right not to be convicted or sentenced to a heavier penalty by virtue of retroactive criminal legislation; the right to recognition as a person before the law; and freedom of thought, conscience and religion. These rights are not derogable under any conditions even for the asserted purpose of preserving the life of the nation.”

Many people across many different communities of faith in this State, including people who are also physicians, nurses and other frontline medical workers, have strong personal objections of conscience to the use of cultured human cell lines that have been harvested from aborted children. Unfortunately, this is presently the case with all the Covid19 vaccines available today. And I include myself in this number as I also find that my conscience will not permit me to be vaccinated with any substance so produced. As this is a matter of personal conscience, I fully understand and accept opposite opinions on this matter and pass no judgement on any who do choose to be vaccinated. In fact, I have great respect for those whose conscience permits and who choose, for the benefit of their fellows, to subject themselves voluntarily to clinical trials. However, as matter of conscience, my understanding is that this is a position which is protected explicitly as a non-derogable right by the Sircusa Principles.

I do not understand how the New South Wales Government is able to require participation in medical experimentation as a condition of employment for workers in any industry without violating Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, unless the inclusion of this document as Schedule 2 in the Human Rights Commission Act 1986 is merely decorative.

The heroes of our nation par excellence are without question the thousands of volunteers who gave their lives for God, King and Country on the shores of Gallipoli over 100 years ago. Their bravery and sacrifice is burned into the consciousness of our nation - and rightly so. Today I would add to the company of those heroes the 452 Australians who have voluntarily participated in the medical trials of the Covid19 vaccination programme to date and who have died as a consequence. These people should be recognised publicly and honoured by more than a mere statistical entry in the TGA’s Database of Adverse Event Notifications.

Like the ANZACs, these people are heroes because they voluntarily participated at cost of their lives in the clinical trials of an experimental vaccination for the good of their fellow Australians. It is particularly the voluntary nature of their sacrifice which sets them apart. However, when human beings are required by public order to participate in medical experimentation willing or not, this is not heroism. This is slavery, or something even worse. And those who pronounce such orders are remembered in history as tyrants.

Having been approached by several frontline medical workers who are distressed by internal communications they have received recently, I would ask the Minister to please address such internal departmental communications in a manner which fully respects the ethics of the medical profession and the non-derogable civil and political rights of the Department’s own staff members, as well as those of every citizen of the State of New South Wales.

I ask the Premier and Parliament of New South Wales to review and adjust the measures taken in the management of the current pandemic by taking fully into account the rights of each citizen in accordance with International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Human Rights Commission Act 1986.

In also ask the State to review and if needful to temper the terms of the current public health orders. In particular, I request the Minister for Health to immediately cancel any orders requiring workers to participate in medical experimentation under the duress of economic pressure and loss of employment. Such measures are unconscionable in a free and democratic society, incompatible with the Human Rights Commission Act 1986, and should be revoked with all haste.

I look forward to your considered reply.

Deacon Stephen McKay


Reposted from: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/open-letter-nsw-pre...

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<![CDATA[ARCHPASTORAL REFLECTION ON CURRENT COVID CRISIS – By: S I L U A N Bishop of the Metropolitante of Australia and New Zealand The Serbian Orthodox Church]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/archpastoral-reflection-on-current-covid-crisis https://orthodoxethos.com/post/archpastoral-reflection-on-current-covid-crisis “But He answered and said to them, I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out!” (Luke 19:40)

To Whom It May Concern,

I am compelled by my conscience as Bishop of the faithful entrusted to me, to address by way of this open letter my deep concerns regarding the situation our Nation has spiraled into during this current health crisis, which we fear is becoming more of a crisis of humanity than that of health itself.

The Latin proverb Homo homini lupus est, "A man is a wolf to another man," has tragically found its new form and expression in today’s crisis as: "Homo homini virus est! Man has become a virus to his fellow man" in this ever-changing world and dystopian looking society. This is not hyperbole; it is happening right now around us. Just look at our workplaces, formerly places of collegiality and friendship, now rapidly digressing into segregation, suspicion, bullying and ridicule of those who have not yet received the green ticket!

A vivid example of this was presented to me by one of our faithful in possession of a medical exemption, who has been labelled a health risk by their colleagues and has ever since been treated with contempt and discrimination, as if they were a leper, a walking virus.

This type of behaviour would previously be deemed unacceptable, however in the ‘new normal’ of today’s dystopian society it is subtly encouraged through media hysteria which is fueling mass psychosis, in which fear and anxiety, mistrust and segregation have become the new Gospel!

The policy of “no jab, no job”, has had and continues to have an impact on the well-being and mental health of many who feel that they have been pushed into a corner and forced to take the vaccine without the right to informed consent and right of conscience. This should not be happening anywhere in the world, especially in a democracy such as Australia. People have a legitimate right to be concerned and to ask questions regarding these particular vaccines, as they are still dubbed to be in their clinical trial phase, as recently stated by the Australian Minister for Health.

These measures, or workplace policies, have created many social and existential anxieties that have impacted the community.

No blackmail or coercion, including that of vaccination is morally acceptable. Without freedom of choice there is no humanity. Orthodox Christianity professes that the human person is created in the image and likeness of God and that the central quality or attribute of this Image is the gift of free will, the ability to make an informed and free choice.

For example, following Christ in the Orthodox Church is ontologically significant because following Christ leads to formation, i.e., human transformation and completion = perfection = salvation. However, through the lens of Orthodox soteriology this is a synergetic act(ion) which entails a free disposition on humanity’s part. Christ himself says: “If anyone DESIRES to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24). Christ leaves us with a choice, does not cancel out human freedom to choose, does not impose salvation.

St Iranaeus also echoes this: “…because God made man a free agent from the beginning, possessing his own power, even as he does his own soul, to obey the behests of God voluntarily, and not by compulsion of God. For there is no coercion with God, but a good will towards us is present with Him continually. And therefore does He give good counsel to all. In man, as well as the angels, He has placed the power of choice…” (St. Iranaeus, Against the Heresies, IV, 37, I). This should not be equivocated to an anti-vax position, but rather one of informed consent, also considering any ethical concerns that those of faith might have.

Orthodox Christians, for example, have a moral issue accepting vaccines that have been developed from cell lines that were obtained from tissues harvested from aborted fetuses. The issue of ethical concerns for such vaccines was raised last year by some of the major Christian jurisdictions in Australia, such as the Roman Catholic, the Anglican and Greek Orthodox Archdioceses. Therefore, the moral concerns of Christians should be taken into consideration, as they are not simply subjective views, but derive from the fundamental positions and core beliefs of the Church. That is why our faithful may appeal to this, our Archpastoral letter, and other statements of the Orthodox Church as to why they are unable to receive these particular vaccines.

I would also like to mention as a great concern the alarming prospects of the introduction of Vaccine Passports. I believe that this will lead to a two-tiered society, it will divide people, families, and friends and will provide a basis for acts of discrimination and ostracization. In relation to this, media reports have also mentioned that “Churches will be required to use Vaccination Certificate Systems for Vaccinated-ONLY Worship”?!? This is totally foreign to the Spirit of the Church, to the Ecclesiology, the Holy Gospel and Tradition of the Church. We could never accept or adopt such a practice! It would entail discrimination against those who are members of the same Body, the Body of Christ, His Holy Church. How can we go against the Gospel? Against Christ who exclaims: “Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Mathew 11:28). We cannot accept the polarisation of the faithful, it goes against the very nature of the Church and we will not be implementing this system in our churches.

The Church embraces all who seek Christ, those vaccinated and unvaccinated. It will seek to heal a wounded and heavy-laden society, not inflict new wounds and burdens.

I pray that Christ illumines and heals us all, this society immersed in the darkness of sorrow and anxiety, that we may perceive our fellow neighbours, not as a virus, but as those fashioned in His image and likeness.

With Archpastoral love and blessings,

+ S I L U A N

Bishop of the Metropolitante of Australia and New Zealand

The Serbian Orthodox Church

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<![CDATA[The Zealot Jungle Which is Growing Up Around Us – Letter from Fr. Seraphim Rose]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/the-zealot-jungle-which-is-growing-up-around-us https://orthodoxethos.com/post/the-zealot-jungle-which-is-growing-up-around-us <![CDATA[Mount Sinai To AB Elpidophoros: The One and Only Ladder To Heaven… – Posted by Helleniscope]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/mount-sinai-to-ab-elpidophoros-the-one-and-only-ladder-to-heaven https://orthodoxethos.com/post/mount-sinai-to-ab-elpidophoros-the-one-and-only-ladder-to-heaven "By Nick Stamatakis

Helleniscope’s audience has been reacting for many weeks to the infamous statement by AB Elpidophoros at the “Religious Freedom Summit” in Washington DC on July 16, 2021: “When you elevate one religion above all others, it is as if you decide there is only one path leading to the top of the mountain. But the truth is you simply cannot see the myriads of paths that lead to the same destination…” We have published our response and the responses of others who are largely in agreement that this statement, (given Elpidophoros “ecumenist” past and actions, including his geopolitical adventures), constitutes pure heresy.

So when I received the message (through an intermediary) from Archimandrite Father Makarios (Mannos) of St.Katherine’s Monastery at Sinai, Egypt, responding to this heretical statement (following below), a friend of Fr. Makarios suggested an even shorter response to AB Elpidophoros, a response in the form of a question:

“Your Eminence, can you name one Orthodox saint who has prayed with or participated in liturgies with priests of other Christian dogmas?” There is NONE. We have had several heretic Patriarchs and other hierarchs who were excommunicated. But none of our Saints shares these “ecumenist” views. And this is a short answer to this heresy.

Below is the little longer – but filled with wisdom – answer by Father Makarios of Sinai:

“Many of the adventurers starting out to climb Mount Everest don’t make it to the summit. Many die trying. Study the twelfth-century icon depicting the book, The Ladder of Divine Ascent, by Saint John Klimakos:

There are far more people who start out on the challenge of Spiritual Perfection, with very, very few who make it to the top of the Spiritual Mountain, even though there is visible help (prayerful people, and angels) directing their support to those who are trying to make the ascent. Also present are the devil’s playmates who are depicted pulling strugglers off the Ladder. One will notice, as well, that as the steps get higher, so also the ascent becomes steeper. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is Himself at the top of the ladder, reaching out a welcoming hand to those who reach the top of the Ladder. Of course, the person on the top rung is Saint John of the Ladder.

In days gone by, Orthodox Christian pilgrims would come to Saint Katherine’s monastery and as a spiritual exercise, climb the Holy Mountain, Mount Moses, Mount Sinai, Mount Horeb, (All these names for the same mountain but very affectionately and correctly called “The God-walking Mountain” by the monks of Saint Katherine’s monastery). How so? The Prophet Moses ascended the mountain and experienced the presence of God there (Exodus 19). Five hundred years later, the Prophet Elias came to the same mountain and also found God there, not in the noise of this world, but in a “still small voice”. (I Kings 19).

A stairway numbering over 3000 steps was built by the monks to make it easier for people to ascend the mountain. At a certain time in the history of the monastery, a monk named Stephen came to dwell as a hermit on Mount Sinai. When he saw pilgrims ascending the stairway he would stop them and ask them questions about the nature of Orthodox Christianity. If their answers were not satisfactory, Saint Stephen would not allow the pilgrims to continue their climb. He would send them back to the monastery where they were given guidance on matters of the faith. Then, they would climb the mountain to where Saint Stephen was located, to explain to him what they had learned. He would then allow them to continue the climb. Such was the spiritual exercise related to the ascent of the God-walking Mountain. That sense of spirituality has, for the most part, disappeared. Nowadays, people of all religions or no religion climb this mountain, not to share the ethos of its holiness but rather to experience the glorious sunrise, not to be experienced in any other place in the world.

Yes, there is only one path to the summit of this mountain. We who are here now at this holy monastery pray that we, and those who come to us, whoever they may be, also experience the presence of God in this holy place.

Respectfully, in the Service of Christ,

Archimandrite Makarios

Saint Katherine’s Monastery

Sinai Egypt"

Source: Mount Sinai To AB Elpidophoros: The One and Only Ladder To Heaven... - Helleniscope

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<![CDATA[ON THE SPIRITUAL DANGERS OF THE SPUTNIK V VACCINE]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/on-spiritual-dangers-of-the-sputnik-v-vaccine https://orthodoxethos.com/post/on-spiritual-dangers-of-the-sputnik-v-vaccine Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. (1 Thess. 5: 21-22)

If you have pity for others, you will not condemn anyone. (St. Anatoly of Optina)


CONTENTS

Introduction

Thesis One: “There are no spiritual problems, you can and should be vaccinated”.

Thesis Two: “There is no evidence of the presence of elements of aborted infants in the vaccine”.

Thesis Three: “Creating vaccines in a medium of cells originating from abortion has been approved by the Church".

Thesis Four: “If abortions were performed for the direct purpose of producing medicines, then this would be a grave crime, a sin. But it has nothing to do with the present case.”

Thesis Five: It is downright blasphemous, for it equates the consequences of killing a baby as a result of an abortion with the Sacrifice of Christ".

Thesis Six: “Let us take advantage of the consequences of the murdered baby’s death”.

Conclusions and Suggestions

References


TO READ AND DOWNLOAD, CLICK HERE: https://www.dropbox.com/s/fut6ymb28pefqie/2021.07....

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<![CDATA[RELIGIOUS EXEMPTION COLLECTIONS AND RESOURCES – Compiled by Orthodox Ethos]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/religious-exemption-resources-and-collections https://orthodoxethos.com/post/religious-exemption-resources-and-collections Dearest to Christ,

Many Orthodox Christians have contacted us seeking resources for exemption from mandatory masks, vaccination, and testing against Covid-19 in various settings (i.e., workforce, school, and military). Below, we have compiled various resources we believe are helpful. Each has its own particular strength; find the documents best suited to your situation. Maybe multiple documents and resources from below will best serve you. We will continue to pray that the Lord protect and guide you from the current craftily-designed demonic temptation to defile your souls and bodies in the pursuit of some supposed humanitarian good. If you have trouble accessing or downloading the resources below, please contact us.

In Christ,

Fr. Peter Heers and the Orthodox Ethos team


RESOURCES

  1. Herein, may be one of the most important documents for an Orthodox Christian in this post. This is a thorough collection of both hierarchical and spiritual leaders stating the position that an Orthodox Christian should not receive the vaccine. It argues the Orthodox position from many supporting points, both spiritual and medical, with links to its sources. Vaccine Exemption: Orthodox Christian Religious - Practical Supporting Documents.pdf
  2. Herein, you will find an “air tight religious exemption request” template if it is mandated at school, job, or in the military. Additionally, there are “practical” templates available that explain why the vaccine is not necessary from a medical standpoint. This is one of the best resources available online in collecting exemption forms that are already pre-made for you. We all owe “Kaleb of Atlanta” a great debt of gratitude for these. https://news.gab.com/2021/07/29/important-download-covid-vaccine-religious-exemption-documents-here/
  3. Herein, you will find exemption templates for school, work, and military that argue from a legal basis. Disclaimer: This might not be able to be used once the vaccines have acquired FDA Approval. However, see the first bullet point in the “Additional resources supporting exemptions” section down below. Vaccines & The Law - America's Frontline Doctors (americasfrontlinedoctors.org)
  4. Herein, are three legal exemption templates from masks, testing and the vaccines. Usable for work or school. Note: All three are based on the basis that these products are not FDA approved and thus mandating is illegal. However, see the first bullet point in the “Additional resources supporting exemptions” section down below. Federal Law Prohibits Mandates of Emergency Use COVID Vaccines, Tests, Masks — 3 Resources You Can Use to Inform Your School or Employer • Children's Health Defense (childrenshealthdefense.org)
  5. Herein, is a letter a parent can fill and give to the school mandating the vaccine for their child which argues from a legal and medical basis. 2021-5_To Universities RE COVID Mandate from RFK Jr-LB (1).docx (childrenshealthdefense.org). See also: 2021-06_GENERIC Mandate letter.docx (childrenshealthdefense.org). Many resources are available on this site, especially for children (see below).
  6. Herein, you will find a strong scientifically based template parents can write to schools mandating their children to wear masks. Rational Ground – Clear Reasoning on National Policy for COVID-19 » Letter to the School Board
  7. Herein, you will find a list of schools that allow for various exemptions (religious or legal) and details how to access such exemption documentation. Disclaimer: The list of schools posted was last updated June 23, 2021 and the website does not guarantee accuracy of information. Additionally, on the website’s top right corner is a drop-down menu; select the “Covid-19” tab for more legal and medical resources helpful for exemptions. Finally, if interested in legal assistance for exemptions, you can contact ICAN via email or phone call at: info@icandecide.org or 512-522-8739. COVID-19 Vaccine Exemptions | ICAN - Informed Consent Action Network (icandecide.org)
  8. Herein, a legal team is offering assistance to anyone seeking exemptions. WeThePatriots has been successful already (see website news). Additionally, they provide various resources for Military Religious Exemptions. See We the Patriots USA. See also Military Religious Accommodations – We the Patriots USA.
  9. Herein, at the bottom of the page with a light grey box as a background is an exemption template for a working individual to hand to their boss. The strength of this template is stating one’s basic medical rights. Whoever uses this can copy and paste this in a document and adjust the wording according to their own needs, such as the greeting and closing. Fight Back: Here's How People Are Legally Resisting Dystopian Diktats to Get a Covid Shot or Be Fired – PJ Media See also Exemption Template #1 (below).
  10. Herein, you will find a few Legal Notices and Affidavits against Mandatory Vaccinations and Face Masks you can present at work or school. The website also has various documents on information regarding the dangers of masks and vaccines (see especially the “Informed Consent Matter” under “Testimonies and Reports…” which documents MANY specific adverse reactions you can hand to your school or employer substantiating your beliefs): Resources - Constitutional Law Group
  11. Herein, you will find “Acceptance of Responsibility” documents which “is to make the doctor or other vaccine promoting individual aware that you are aware of the dangers of vaccination and that you insist that the promoters accept the responsibility that they so easily expect you to bear.” This may be best handled by submitting the paperwork for their review then rescheduling the conversation (since the goal is to avoid an appointment with the vaccine distributor anyway). The strongest document here is the “Physician's Warranty for Vaccine Safety” Vaccination Liberation Information (vaclib.org)
  12. Herein, you will find an article that explains exactly how much legal ground (and it is significant) is actually held by those who feel employers are asking employees to violate their religious convictions. For Covid Vaccine Religious Exemptions - Your Sincerely Held Beliefs Are What Matter - Orthodox Reflections. In another article, they share the resources found in the above Resource #2 with a good explanation for each, along with a sample Exemption Letter from the Rutherford Institute (bottom of post): The Air Tight Religious Exemption Request for Covid Vaccines - Orthodox Reflections


More Exemption Documents:

  1. Exemption Template 1: This is an excellent starting document for beginning an amiable conversation with one’s boss or employer. It pushes back against a mandate from a position of strength. With this document, you are not appearing to threaten legal action but rather to express your very serious concern, in writing, how uncomfortable you are with the employer’s decision. Download here.
  2. Exemption Template 2: Makes the legal arguments why experimental medical products cannot be mandated. This is a strong legal document when these shots do not have FDA approval. Again, even in the event of FDA approval, you can cite the 2005 Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights which protects your right to choose (see 3.a above). Download here.
  3. Orthodox Ethos Religious Exemption: This takes a complete apologetic supporting an Orthodox Christian refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine which takes into account the presuppositions which differentiate a Western understanding of “religious exemptions” from an Orthodox approach to the issue (primarily when an Orthodox Christian might be asked for “the head of your religious body to make a statement”). As Orthodox Christians, we do not have a Pope, nor a Caliph, nor a Dali Lama. Our head is the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, a carefully constructed religious exemption has been crafted to present an Orthodox opposition to a mandated vaccine. NOTE: the “NOW, THEREFORE” section needs to be personalized. NOTE: there are instructions to notarize the document at the end. Download here.


SPIRITUAL CONCERNS

It is an admitted fact that the current shots use ingredients or use, in the process of their production, fetal “therapy” which comes from the harvesting of embryos by that satanic process of abortion. See the above religious exemption resources, especially “Vaccine Exemption: Orthodox Christian Religious - Practical Supporting Documents.pdf.”

The evil of this should not be underestimated. The Holy Fathers have an axiom that “you cannot do a good thing in a bad way.” See https://orthodoxethos.com/post/good-is-not-good-if-not-done-in-a-good-way

We also have this testimony from the life of St. John the Theologian (from the Synaxarion): “The following was recorded by St. Prochorus, one of the seven Deacons, concerning the holy apostle and Evangelist, the beloved John the Theologian. . . . In the bath-house there was diabolical activity at work. When it was first being built, Satan incited these deluded idolaters to bury in the foundation, under the stones, either a fifteen or sixteen-year old youth or maiden, that it might go well in the bath-house. With this bloodthirsty murder of an innocent child, Satan began to dwell therein with demons.”

Whether it is a bathhouse or a medical product, we should know from our Tradition that if it is founded or built upon the murder of innocent children, then it becomes the dwelling place of demons! This was even confessed to Geronda Evthymios on Athos during a recent exorcism.

In St. Nikolai Velimirovich’s Prologue, we read the life of St. Constantine the Great and find another relevant spiritual example of this evil. St. Nikolai narrates: “Constantine fell ill with the dreaded disease of leprosy. As a cure, the pagan priests and physicians counseled him to bathe in the blood of slaughtered children. However, he rejected that. Then the Apostles Peter and Paul appeared to him and told him to seek out Bishop Sylvester, who would cure him of this dreaded disease. The bishop instructed him in the Christian Faith and baptized him, and the disease of leprosy vanished from the emperor’s body.” For Orthodox Christians, it should be enough to have faith that the Church heals diseases of both body and soul. That the slaughter of children is unnecessary, yet the evil is promoted anyway, should now become a cause of very great repentance for us.

Our saints of past days have been warning us of the deception of these times in healthcare. You may find some in the supporting documents listed in the resources above. In addition to those, notice some more compiled over the previous months from OrthodoxEthos.com. Of significance is the recent Fr. Peter podcast Why I Will Not Be Inoculated with the Experimental Drug Solution. In addition to these are many more testimonies. Geronda Athanasios Mitilinaios taught “In the martyrdom of the last days, there will be a manipulation of the soul, and the methods used will be most satanic. Why? Because they will inject chemical substances inside of you (vaccines). That will paralyze your nous, your volition, your freedom, It will alter your sense of personal feeling, and detract (misdirect) your nous. These things have been tested and are widely known!”


Additional resources supporting exemptions:


Given the politicized nature of this and the censorship which comes with it, it is likely the links may not stay up or may change. As of the time of this posting, all these links are active and working. Please contact Orthodox Ethos if a link appears broken.


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<![CDATA[AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR THE TIME WE ARE LIVING NOW – By: His Grace Bishop Siluan, Primate of the Serbian Metropolitanate of Australia and New Zealand]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/an-important-message-for-the-time-we-are-living-now https://orthodoxethos.com/post/an-important-message-for-the-time-we-are-living-now ARCHPASTORAL EPISTLE TO MY SPIRITUAL CHILDREN

Dear fathers, venerable monastics and faithful people entrusted to us by Christ our Lord...

By observing the crisis that has gripped the entire world, especially the continent on which we live, I want to address you as your Bishop and spiritual father with words of consolation, in order to share with you the burdens that you carry.

It has never been easy to follow Christ! The Savior Himself indicated to us that we would have many tribulations in the world, but He also encouraged us with the words "Fear not, for I have overcome the world!" (John 16:33).

Christ's victory is certain, indisputable and infinite, and the power of this victory is offered to us by Christ through life in Him, in the Holy Church, whose Head He is, and we are the members of His Body. This should be our greatest consolation, as believers, because we know that God has not left us and will not leave us alone, no matter what temptations befall us. The temptations themselves do not have the final say, especially when we understand and look at the temptations through the spirit of the Gospel. When we lay all our cares and all our burdens on our Lord Jesus Christ. He said, "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matt. 11: 29,30).

Today, Christ calls us, us Orthodox Christians, His Church, to be witnesses of His presence in this wounded and burdened world. To witness to His victory and the freedom with which He set us free; the victory that does not know about restraints and chains of any restrictions; He calls us to witness to His light, which dispels all darkness and all fears; to bear witness to His joy, which is able to remove all our sorrows.

In the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ, this world that has been left without consolation, without hope, without joy, without God, and thus without its direction, needs to regain its eschatological and eternal meaning from which eternal consolation, eternal joy and eternal peace are born.

We are the members of Christ, His Body.

Yes, great darkness has come upon the world. The path to our Holy churches, to our neighbours, has been amputated. We are burdened with various contradictory statements that confuse our hearts. In all this foolishness, saint Justin Popovic, would say even more precisely - in this madness, which direction should we look at? Who to contact? Who to trust? In whom to find a way out of the gridlock that surrounds us? Only in Christ, brothers and sisters! No one and nothing else can help us.

From purely human solutions we have suffered mentally, spiritually and physically.

Therefore, in the midst of this crisis, with fatherly love, I am advising you and calling you to use this time to return to God, to cry out to him as King David once did: "Listen to the cry of my king and my God! For I pray to you, Lord! (Psalm 5,2)

Without prayer, without sincere and contrite repentance, we will not defeat the demons that are attacking humanity.

In the sea of vast information and vile misinformation, let us not lose the sight of our Lord Christ, because He is our Passover, our way out of every crisis and downfall, our consolation and salvation.

God sees everything! He knows that it is difficult for us, and it is our duty to cry out to Him day and night for mercy from the depths of our souls.

There is no crisis that humanity has not brought upon itself by deviating from God's laws, which means deviating from the Godly order in creation.

Today, we Orthodox Christians need most of all the gift of discerning the spirits, the gift of discernment, so that we can walk without stumbling.

If we want to be properly zealous, to be like the Holy Prophet Elijah, to testify before the modern 'Ahab’s' of today's world the faith in the truth of Christ, we must first of all, put the full armor of God, of which the Holy Apostle Paul speaks about in his Epistles. With the Lord’s help we all need to be internally and spiritually renewed, (create in me a new heart o Lord and renew a right spirit within me, Ps 50). Only then can we be true witnesses of God, because zeal without the Grace of the Holy Spirit, will not bear fruit. Saint Elijah was an example of living faith among people, because he was all in God, always sober like the Cherubim, and thus he was precise in stating and discerning the spiritual state of his time.

Let us manifest and proclaim the life of Christ in our body through patience and longsuffering, mercy and love!

Behold, now is the best time, here is the day of salvation! (2 Cor. 6: 2).

Let's help everyone who is in need, who is in any kind of trouble!

Let the Church communities be organized, led by the clergy, to provide the necessary support, be it in spiritual consolation, a package with essential items and food or in a monetary gift. Those who are wealthier should now help the needs of others. Brothers and sisters, "buy" Heaven with deeds of mercy!

May our love be revealed now!

Let us not allow fear and discouragement to settle in us. Let us dispel it with prayer and hope in God!

There is no true worship without suffering, says our folk wisdom. The Lord has now given us the opportunity to be His witnesses, His apostles amongst people frightened and confused.

Priests, my co-apostles in the Harvest on the Fifth Continent, be brave, do the most you can so that the believers can be taken care of, so that they do not lack in anything.

From the beginning, our position was, as a sacred brotherhood in Christ, that it is unacceptable for us to close our places of worship, to classify the Church among non-essential organizations. We, as the Church of Christ, as His Body in such circumstances, need to manage, to find avenues, to continue to minister... We are never to reject any soul in need. Let's recognize the time in which we live. The times of the early Christians are here again… We need to use the wisdom and experience of the early Church, its work and its guidelines...

I commend your zeal and service.

Dear monastics, multiply your prayers! May your prayer be a deep cry to the Lord for the mercy and salvation of the world!

My dear people, let us overcome all tribulations with Christ! Pray for the priesthood, support them because the Cross of their ministry is not easy.

We condemn any blackmail or any coercion, including that of vaccination. Without freedom of choice there is no humanity. It is an ontological category.

At the same time, it should be known that there are certain vaccines that are morally problematic for Christians, such as those developed from the cells of aborted fetuses that I personally, as a Bishop, cannot accept.

Let us remain in the freedom in which Christ has set us free!

I am with you in prayer and thought.

I greet you all from the Lelic Monastery, in prayerful anticipation of seeing you soon.

With the Lord's blessing,

+ Bishop Siluan

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<![CDATA[Why I Will Not Be Inoculated with the Experimental Drug Solution – By: Fr. Peter Heers]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/why-i-will-not-be-inoculated-with-the-experimental-drug-solution https://orthodoxethos.com/post/why-i-will-not-be-inoculated-with-the-experimental-drug-solution <![CDATA[Standing in the Temple of Thy Glory, We Think Ourselves to Stand in Heaven, O Theotokos – Archbishop Averky of Jordanville]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/standing-in-the-temple-of-thy-glory-we-think-ourselves-to-stand-in-heaven-o-theotokos https://orthodoxethos.com/post/standing-in-the-temple-of-thy-glory-we-think-ourselves-to-stand-in-heaven-o-theotokos IN GREAT LENT, we often hear these very significant words in our churches, for they are read at every Matins service.

In truth the church is an earthly heaven,” our great righteous one and man of prayer, the ever-memorable pastor of Kronstadt, Father [now Saint] John emphasizes: “where God’s altar is, where the awesome Mysteries are celebrated, where the Angels minister with men, where there is uninterrupted glorification of the Almighty - there heaven truly is, and the heaven of heavens.”

And in fact, our church with the celebration therein of the Divine services for us, who still live on earth, is, as it were, the portal, as it were the earthly preparation for that heavenly Supper of the Lamb of God, of which all the Christians in the future life, who await us there in heaven, are called to be participants.

“Let us lift up our hearts” we hear, a bidding addressed to us by the celebrants of the Divine service. And we, while standing in church, as it were actually breaking away from the earth for a season, with mind and heart offer ourselves up there “on high,”- to heaven, where God dwells with the countless hosts of Angels and Saints.

Everyone praying in church, if he is really praying, must consider himself as not being on earth, but in heaven. He must leave outside the walls of the church all his earthly thoughts, feelings, desires and worries, all his usual worldly habits, manners and ways.

This is why it is wholly inappropriate and inadmissible for one, coming into church, to conduct himself as if he were with guests, in a worldly gathering - to approach his acquaintances, wish them good heath, and inquire or chat about this and that.

Such behaviour, even if it is allowed [not corrected], is a breach of reverence, an insult to the unearthly, heavenly sanctity of the church!

In church, everything is different:there one’s particular world is not earthly, but heavenly; there one’s rules, customs, one’s regulations and customs are prescribed by the church order. And he who loves the church, for whom it is the way to heavenly sanctity, such a one must know all this, and, if he does not know it, he must strive to learn it.

But our entering the church and our standing therein must be with the very greatest reverence and with the fear of God. As you come it, you should sign yourself three times with the sign of the Cross, doing this on feast days with bows from the waist and on ordinary days with prostrations to the ground.* To those already standing in church bow very slightly to the right and to the left, and then take up the usual place where you stand and pray. Men must stand on the right side and women on the left, leaving a clear path between the Royal Gates and the exit. This is an ancient custom, hallowed by the centuries, which those break who do not observe it.

All those who come into church - this “earthly heaven,” - must, even in their outward appearance, imitate the celestial ones, with whom they are entering into converse there, and they should not by any means cause them, or the other people praying there, any visual offence. Their clothing should be modest and decent, and not in any way frivolous, modish or loud. In particular, it is inadmissible for women to come into church bare arms and legs, in dresses which are extremely short and insufficiently covering, which only serve to suggest that they have unchaste dispositions; nor with their heads uncovered or with made-up faces and painted lips. To come in God’s church so indecently attired is tantamount to swearing blasphemously against its heavenly sanctity.

Is it acceptable to be late, when you are invited to a dinner party with someone of high standing? All the more it is unacceptable and sinful to be late for the Divine service in God’s house, where the Lord and Master Himself, our Sovereign Host and our Leader, in Whose hands are our life and our death, is awaiting us.

It is not futilely in churches the insistent exclamation is made: “The doors! The doors! In wisdom let us attend!” And then, after the confession of the Faith: “Let us stand well! Let us stand with fear. Let us attend, that we may offer the holy oblation in peace.”

The doors of the church, not only as it was in ancient times, but even now should at this time be completely closed, lest anyone, by his untimely entering the church or leaving it, disturb those standing there from concentrating on their prayer at these most important and holiest moments of the greatest Christian Mystery, the Divine Eucharist.

If even at worldly spectacles, such as are shown to people of the vain world, often the entrance is closed when the presentation begins, so that the spectators will not be disturbed, then surely it is permissible for us in the churches of God to prohibit coming in and going out during the preeminent moments of the Divine service, and to prohibit wandering back and forth, distracting those who are praying from their prayers?

A great responsibility for this break-down of reverence will be borne before God by the pastors, who do not instruct their flocks on concentrating on prayer in church, and, being lenient with regard to every kind of indiscipline, fail to give those of a pious disposition the possibility of praying in peace. But it is even worse and more offensive if, even in the sanctuary itself there is such irreverent and unnecessary going back and forth, for then there is no, and there cannot be any, real prayer even among the priestly ministers!

Always and in every circumstance, we must bear in mind that, according to the remarkable declaration of the ever-memorable Father John of Kronstadt, “The Church, though it is founded on earth, nonetheless belongs to the number of heavenly institutions.”

For this reason, everything in the Church must be heavenly.

And the very purpose of the Church consists in this: to lead us up from earth to heaven, from being earthly to make us heavenly.

Preeminently the pastors of the Church themselves have to be heavenly and not earthly, estranged from worldly vanity and from the passions and lusts, which prevail in the world, for to them in the persons of His disciples and Apostles, of whom they are the successors, the Lord clearly said: “Ye are not of the world” (John 15:19). Even without yet speaking of their inward dispositions, a consequence of this, the very outward appearance of the pastors, all their conduct and the character of their life, their every approach to the affairs of their ministry, all the methods and all the ways in handling their flock - all this has to be special, separate from the normal worldly ways - heavenly, and not earthly.

And all the ordinary believers, constantly recalling that the Church of Christ glorifies those, whom She calls “earthly angels,” and “heavenly men,” must ever have before them this unworldly ideal: to be estranged from this world, which lies in evil, - to become heavenly.

Be as “they that use this world, as not abusing it,” (1 Cor. 7:31), thus does the Holy Apostle Paul bring this to mind.

Estrangement from the earth, striving for heaven - this is the exalted ideal with which our Christian Faith present us.

Woe to him who does not remember this or does not want to comprehend it, who does not accept this with all his heart and who is not touched by it!

Such people are completely foreign to true Christianity, and bear the name Christian in vain, deceiving themselves and others.

But even greater woe to those who consciously reject this high ideal of Christianity, who in a falsifying way desire to subordinate it to other, lesser, ideals!

Such are the “false prophets,” such are the innkeepers who “mix water with the wine,” according to the expression used in the Scriptures; such people are in fact abusers of souls, to whom we can only address the dreadful threat of the Lord: “Whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in Me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:6). “Woe unto that man by whom the offence cometh!” (Matthew 18:7).

And see, regardless of this awesome prohibition from the Lord Himself, in our times we can observe manifestations of such dreadful snares, which essentially overturn Christianity itself.

Such is the horrible and destructive heresy of our times, which overthrows the dogma of the Church, attempting to undermine faith in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, which has existed for more than nineteen centuries already, with all her doctrines, canons, pious traditions and precepts, which seeks to discredit Her as being exhausted and moribund, and to create in Her place a new “False Church.”

According to the design of her organizers, this new “False Church” has to be torn away from heaven and made a wholly worldly construct, with worldly aims, tasks and operations. The “pastors” of this “church’ must be completely worldly people, both in appearance and in inward disposition. The attention of the faithful must be diverted from heaven, and riveted to the earth; the attitude to the services and all the church arrangements, on a par with all mutual relations in this “church,” will have to be purely formal and official, as such things are in all worldly organizations.

The idea of the new “false church,” which necessitates the amalgamation within it and the union of all the faith confessions on the earth, has now become very popular, “very much in vogue,” and it is spreading more and more, along with the so-called “ecumenical movement.” And this is in no way to be wondered at!

Now, genuine spiritual life in people, which alone draws people up to heaven, making them heavenly rather than earthly, has fallen as never before. “The “inner activity,” which once so flourished among us in Holy Russia, and which produced so many wondrous pillars of Christian piety in the first centuries of Christianity, has now all but disappeared. And, you know, without this “inner activity” genuine spiritual life is untenable, and true Christianity impossible.

Along with this, we observe the most dreadful symptoms arising:with a certain incomprehensible bitterness, and with a kind of evil derision, the spiritual life in general is denied by certain people, as if it were unnecessary or even something “unhealthy” in the task of edifying the Church (with regard to this, bear in mind the building up of the “false church”!), and “inner activity is substituted for by that which is exclusively external - “organization” and “administration” are set up against the spiritual life, as if by external measures it were possible to set the soul of man aright and to save it.

And yet the premier purpose of the Church is precisely the salvation of souls! But now it is as if they do not want to know this, and they talk about the salvation of the soul only occasionally and with a kind of ironical smile.

It is not the man of prayer, nor the struggler for piety, who renounces the world and aspires to raise his glance to heaven; it is not the good shepherd, who sincerely cares for the salvation of the souls of his flock and for this reason introduces into their life the concept that they should break their ties with the earthly and raise their hearts and minds to the heavenly, - but it is the dry smart-dealing formalist, the “organiser,” and the “administrator,” who are now recognized by the false teachers and reformers of the Church as the ideal.

Striving for heaven, - something to which the Church calls us constantly through her prayers, is now dismissed as something “unreal,” “impracticable,” and even “unhealthy,” as opposed to the sham ideal of worldly “organization,” and “administration,” which, contrary to the true teaching of the Church, they are establishing and which they recognise as self-sustaining and as alone responding to contemporary needs.

And so, see the characteristic sign of our times: the true Church of Christ with her preaching of the spiritual life must needs be abolished, and exchanged for a certain false likeness, one with exclusively worldly working principles, aims and tasks.

But isn’t such a mentality the very clearest sign of the approach of that dread time, of which the Saviour and Lord spoke: “When the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?”(Luke 18:8)?

Already many have no faith in God, no faith in Christ and no faith in the Church; and in the place devoid of faith, they set up other idols, among which the proponents of the new “false Church” have the idol of “organization” and that of “administration.” But why, and what for, if the most important thing, faith, is not there, if it is unknown?

“Organization” and “administration,” without real faith, without a genuine spiritual life, are but a body without a soul, a dead, lifeless corpse!

“Thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead” and for this reason “repent,” “if therefore thou shalt watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I shall come upon thee” (Rev. 3:1-13). See this dreadful foretelling about this false church, its activists and followers, who rejoice in their “organization” and “administration,” which are but the appearance of life.

In our days, such is the evil of the perversion of the true aims of the Church.

A healthy moral conscience cannot but see diabolical intrigues here - that “strong delusion,”through which people will “believe a lie” of which the Holy Apostle Paul forewarned us (2 Thess. 2:11).

For there are placed before the Church certain other aims, other concerns, besides that single one, for which She was founded by the Lord and Saviour: the salvation of souls - it is mindless and absurd!

But that it is necessary for us to strive to become heavenly from being earthly, and, even while living here on earth, to attempt to live as if in heaven, the true Church of Christ teaches us clearly, and especially now, in the Great Lent, she zealously calls us to do so.

Removing and safeguarding ourselves from the pernicious spirit of the times, let us heed the call of the Holy Church, if we indeed do not wish eternal perdition for ourselves:

“Come, brethren and, before the end, with pure hearts, let us all draw nigh to the Compassionate God. Casting aside the cares of this life, let us take thought for our souls….” (Aposticha of Mattins, Thursday before Palm Sunday).


Footnote: * This custom, although admirable, is not kept in all Orthodox churches and especially not in parishes churches.

From Homilies and Speeches, Vol. II: http://archbishopaverky.blogspot.com/2019/03/stand...

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<![CDATA[Science and the Holy Fathers – Notes from Fr. Seraphim Rose]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/science-and-the-holy-fathers https://orthodoxethos.com/post/science-and-the-holy-fathers The following are select separate notes found after Fr. Seraphim Rose's repose in 1982, published in Genesis, Creation, and Early Man:


4. Science as a Lower Form of Knowledge

The Orthodox Christian is not “against science.” But he expects from science only that knowledge which it is capable of giving, by its very nature—not theology, not a philosophy of life. Yet in our time of intellectual confusion, when “science” has achieved such a prestige in the popular mind as to be synonymous with knowledge itself, it happens all too often that scientists presume to teach that which they did not learn by means of science at all; such scientists, in fact, talk like theologians.

Modern science thinks it is “knowledge” par excellence, and before its prestige Orthodox believers waver, often apologizing for believing what seems “unscientific,” remaining content with the pietism or “religious feeling” which is the place where the scientific establishment allows faith today.

But true Orthodox Christianity is quite different. It is not bound up with any current of modern thought; it is a knowledge superior to science, and it certainly need not apologize to a lower form of knowledge.

We know God created the world in “measure, number, and weight” (Wisdom 11:20); but God has not revealed to man the details of His ordered creation, and those who pry into the “mystery of nature” find out only an infinitesimal part of the mysteries which come from God’s infinite wisdom. Modern science has proved that fallen man is not capable of using well what knowledge he has obtained.

But modern science is not only knowledge. It has divorced itself from revelation, and therefore placed itself at the disposal of heretical, un-Christian and anti-Christian theories and philosophies. Often these conflict with revelation because they enter the realm open only to theology.

So it is with the doctrine of the first man. God has not revealed many details of the first state of His creation, but [what He has revealed] is sufficient to judge the philosophical-religious speculations of evolutionists. The Orthodox doctrine of creation has not been known in the West; the Roman Catholic doctrine is quite different.


6. The Lack of Philosophical Culture among Orthodox Christians

The misunderstanding of evolution on the part of some Orthodox Christians comes from a want of philosophical culture:

1) They do not have a critical approach to scientific "findings" (al­though, in full harmony with the modern spirit, they do have a critical approach to Scripture) and do not understand the nature of scientific "evidence" which supposedly supports evolution, nor do they know how to distinguish between fact and philosophy. They are unnecessarily awed by scientific "experts" and do not take the necessary trouble to investigate the question themselves.

2) They do not understand the philosophical "spirit of the age" which gave rise to evolution, and therefore they naively accept the "sci­entific fact" of evolution, but reject the finished philosophy of evolution as in Teilhard de Chardin. They do not see that these are one whole­; without the philosophy, there would never have been the "fact" of evolution.

3) They do not understand the philosophy of the Holy Fathers—their whole outlook on nature and on specific questions such as the natures of individual things.


7. The Philosophy of the Holy Fathers

“The Fathers said nothing about evolution”—this is used by many Orthodox as an excuse for actually believing whatever one wants or whatever "science" says on this subject.

But our attitude to the Fathers must be more serious and more profound than this. Being faithful to the Fathers does not mean merely being ready to quote them or feel “free” to think as one pleases if no quotes are available. Rather, it means entering into their thought, which is the thought of the Church of Christ, and having a coherent philosophy of life derived from our life in the Church in harmony with the thought of the Fathers.

And the Fathers did have a philosophy, indeed a theology, which encompasses the question of evolution and makes it absolutely clear what the Orthodox Christian must think about this question. "Evolu­tion" is not a "heresy," any more than Buddhism is a "heresy''; but it includes, implies and presupposes so many errors and false views as to be totally incompatible with Orthodox Christianity. Most Orthodox believers have not thought deeply on this question, and so in their carelessness they think it is somehow "possible" to accept evolution. The rest of this study will attempt to clarify this issue, to make Ortho­dox Christians aware of the implications of Orthodox theology and the philosophy of the Holy Fathers, which have a very clear view of the chief questions raised by evolution for Christian believers.


From Genesis, Creation, and Early Man by Fr. Seraphim Rose (St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, Second Edition, 2011, pages 508-511; italics emphasis by author, bold emphasis by editor)

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<![CDATA[Good is not Good, if not Done in a Good Way – ~ St. Ephraim the Syrian and St. John of Damascus]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/good-is-not-good-if-not-done-in-a-good-way https://orthodoxethos.com/post/good-is-not-good-if-not-done-in-a-good-way Listeners to my podcasts and readers of my books and articles have asked me to provide them with the source of a patristic principle which I have often quoted during my lectures, "τό καλόν οὐκ ἔστι καλόν, ἐάν μή καλῶς γένηται" (good is not good, if not done in a good way). Having heard this many times over my 12 years at the theological school in Thessaloniki, it had become so ingrained in me that I essentially took it for granted and had forgotten where I had originally seen it in the writings of the Holy Fathers.

After a search was done, it turns out that it is used by St Ephraim the Syrian, and multiple times by St. John of Damascus. Two of the several relevant passages are pasted below.

***

I am indebted to Fr. Theodore and Fr. Seraphim Zisis for their assistance.

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<![CDATA[An Essential Epistle on the Greatest Blasphemy of Our Days – By George Karras, “Orthodox Heritage” editor, May 27th, 2020.]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/an-essential-epistle-on-the-greatest-blasphemy-of-our-days https://orthodoxethos.com/post/an-essential-epistle-on-the-greatest-blasphemy-of-our-days

MESSAGE OF THE MONTH (May 2020)

Today, at the end of the most tragic Lenten and Paschal season His Bride has ever lived, we celebrate the Apodosis of Pascha and tomorrow Orthodoxy observes His Holy Ascension. Sadly, most Orthodox churches shall remain either closed or with limited (at best) participation, as priests all over the western world willingly implemented the directives of their hierarchs to “ensure the safety of the flock.” Those who seek to finally receive His Holy Body and Blood shall be exposed to the machinations and blasphemous creativity of the various hierarchs and dioceses, with very few exceptions, and no spiritual basis whatsoever; as always, their justification shall remain that it is all for “the health and safety of the faithful.” This comes as even CDC declares the mortality rate of Covid-19 to be at levels of any other ordinary flu virus. In the end, once all data is gathered, a handful of honest world leaders will inform their citizens that this entire reaction to Covid-19 was not just unnecessary but completely destructive. Honest historians shall catalogue it as one of humanity’s darkest pages.

Let us return, however, to the topic at hand. As has been the case in past ecumenist-related positions, selected theologians (of rather peculiar background and questionable educational reputation) will misquote one or two Church Fathers, or call upon the Church’s history to justify whatever hierarchal invention has been presented to the faithful. Such quotes are always out of context, and, without exception, inaccurate when the faithful are presented with the source document in its totality. The faithful, on the other hand, stand aside, trying to determine the why’s and the how’s, and all in the midst of a likely economic devastation for their families.

Let us examine recent and current ecclesiastical events a little closer.

The Closure of Churches
Elimination of the Eucharist for the Faithful

Our Lord tells us that He is the bread (manna) from Heaven (Jn 6:35, 38). I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. (Jn 6:35). He also instructed us that to eat of this New Bread meant never seeing death (Jn 6:49-50). He says ...unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. (Jn 6:53). And, as if to settle completely the issue, Jesus adds, for my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. (Jn 6:55).

It is the result of these divine admonitions that the Holy Church decreed the mandatory, frequent inclusion of the Eucharist as well as their liturgical participation of the flock into their lives. Specifically, the ninth Apostolic Canon required that: All those faithful who enter and listen to the Scriptures, but do not stay for prayer and Holy Communion must be excommunicated, on the ground that they are causing the Church a breach of order. As the Church evolved through its early history, church attendance was also included within the Church canons: In case any Bishop, or Presbyter, or Deacon, or anyone else on the list of the Clergy, or any layman, without any graver necessity or any particular difficulty compelling him to absent himself from his own church for a very long time, fails to attend church on Sundays for three consecutive weeks, while living in the city, if he be a Cleric, let him be deposed from office; but if he be a layman, let him be removed from Communion. (Canon LXXX, “The Rudder,” p. 384). Naturally, the faithful who desired to attend and partake of the Holy Gifts, during this Covid-19 crisis, bear no accountability—such accountability is placed upon those who closed the churches and established attendance restrictions.

In spite of the aforementioned scriptural passages and Church decrees, the majority of the western hierarchs willingly (and sadly without any opposition whatsoever) agreed to withhold the Holy Gifts from His flock. The admonitions of the courageous Greek priest Fr. Vasileios Volouthakis (during his Holy Friday homily) remain available in the digital media to remind all of the atrocity of such decision: “The hierarchs and the archons of the people consented to scourge and imprison Jesus, so that they can debar and boycott Him away from His flock, Shame on the hierarchs and the civil leaders of the people, shame on them. This shame shall never be erased from history; this indignation of the flock shall never be erased from its conscience. The wrath and the curse of God shall come upon the heads of all those who decided to withhold the Body and Blood of our Lord from the faithful… Shame! What has become of the Church of Greece? Shame! I am shamed and question as to why the people of God are not as astonished as I would have expected. They have imprisoned us and closed the churches over a deception, an obvious medical deception…” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CI3cbQYchHE).

It has been said by those in positions of ecclesiastical authority that since local synods had decided the closure of the churches, any exception is unacceptable and constitutes disobedience; there is nothing further from the truth. The decision of a (geographically) local synod is never binding to the flock; the people are not obliged to follow such local synodical decision. The final judge of the validity of such a decision is the flock, and this is 100% patristically based, throughout the long history of the Church. Let us be reminded of the many cases whereby local synods adopted heretical views only to be rejected by the people and reversed in subsequent synodical gatherings. Of course, should such closure be warranted indeed, then the lead hierarchs should have called a pan-Orthodox Synod before uniquely deciding and acting on their own and inflicting such great spiritual harm upon the flock.

And now, after several months of longing and suffering, our Orthodox Church’s life enters a new phase; it comes just days after the multi-week shut-down of the liturgical life for the faithful, throughout the Great Holy Lent, Pascha, and most of the post Paschal time period. Let us be reminded that serious pandemics, Muslim and German occupations, communism, world wars, civil wars and earthquakes never before resulted in the closure of churches. His flock withstood during the last few months an event that is indeed unique to the Church’s 2,000-year history! The clergy’s “instructions” to observe the services via live webcasts has been ludicrous and horrific; is Orthodoxy entering the phase of televangelism now? How embarrassing and shameful to consider that standing in front of a television with lit Paschal candles is a form of oikonomia for the celebration of His Resurrection by the faithful. Hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of souls, and especially young children, were prohibited from receiving His Body and Blood. Needy souls were not allowed to have Holy Confession, unless it was “in secret,” and never in their parish church. Why? Was the Covid-19 virus present only in the parish churches but not in the crowded stores and pharmacies?

Celebrant clergy (in empty churches and with just a chanter and perhaps a deacon) read aloud during the Pascha services the words of St. John Chrysostom: Wherefore, enter you all into the joy of your Lord; and receive your reward, both the first, and likewise the second. You rich and poor together, hold high festival. You sober and you heedless, honor the day. Rejoice today, both you who have fasted and you who have disregarded the fast. The table is full-laden; feast ye all sumptuously. The calf is fatted; let no one go hungry away. Yet the flock went hungry, they did not participate in the Holy Eucharist; they stood staring at cold television sets that exemplified resemblances of something religious yet so far away. The few souls that dared to defy orders, mostly in Greece and other eastern European nations, found themselves fined and / or arrested. Blessed be the clergy that found ways around the bishopric and civil directives!

There is, however, an even greater tragedy: We wonder: how many souls departed this temporary earthly life, un-confessed and un-communed, as the great majority of western clergy eagerly over-adopted and blindly followed the shutdown directives? Is there any spiritual accountability towards such a spiritual tragedy? No Covid-19 death can possibly outweigh the heartbreak of a dying man or woman (and especially a child) who desires but is unable to confess and receive the Holy Sacraments before departing this life.

We would also be remiss if we did not emphasize that these ridiculous restrictions took place even in states such as Arizona, whereby its governor included religious activities as Constitutionally protected (which means that the Arizona Governor, just like several governors in the USA, deemed religious activities as community essential). This, however, meant nothing to the bishops as they blindly made their directives universal in all cities and states, irrespective of local laws and limited restrictions within several geographic regions. As a brethren reminded us, “it is as if they were in competition to outdo the civil authorities!”

Luckily, not all clergy complied with the bishopric directives—there have been a handful of exceptions and a few, very few blessed souls were afforded the observance of a somewhat normal Lenten and Paschal season.

We stand in appreciation of the position taken by the civil authorities in the United States, via President Trump, on May 22nd, 2020: “Some governors have deemed liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential but left out churches and other houses of worship—that’s not right—so I’m correcting this injustice. I am ordering governors to allow houses of worship to open immediately, declaring them “essential” to American life during COVID-19. So, the governors need to do the right thing and allow these very important essential places of faith to open right now, this weekend. If they don’t do it, I will override the governors. In America, we need more prayer, not less.”

This directive was followed by several churches; tragically, some of them (rather most of the Orthodox churches in America), selected to still remain closed to the faithful for the weekend of May 24th, as bishops gathered with legal advisors to compose policies and procedures, again in the interest of “the health and safety of the faithful.” We have been provided multi-page documents originated by several dioceses; all of them have their own unique rules and regulations, especially as it relates to the delivery of the Holy Eucharist. The exhaustive details and specific guidelines developed by most dioceses compete and likely exceed anything corporate entities such as Home Depot and Costco have developed. Worship in most Orthodox churches have now become a complex process.

The “New” Eucharistic Approach

For two thousand years, clergy has been transmitting the grace of the Holy Mysteries in a similar manner, always having celebrants and participants alike, come in contact with the Holy Chalice (and lavitha in second millennium). Modern logic or ungodly doubts have been absent; such blasphemous thoughts never entered the teaching or practices of the Church, until now. Participants witnessed a perpetual great miracle. Is it possible that now, because of a new-found flu virus, the Holy Communion can cause sickness or the slightest damage? Is it possible for the Body and Blood of our Lord and God to contaminate our body and blood?

For centuries, the same Holy Chalice and the same tongs have been in use, never washed, never disinfected. The priests of the nursing homes and hospitals, even the ones for the most infectious diseases, give the Holy Communion to the faithful and reverently consume the Gifts and live long, healthy lives.

It is this history and experience that lead us to the only logical and acceptable conclusion: the proposed deviations in the delivery of Holy Communion to the faithful, either via “plastic spoons” or dipping of the lavitha into alcohol for … sterilization, or the use of several “spoons,” (as directed by the GOA Archbishop) all constitute an absolute blasphemy towards the Holy Spirit. For any person, hierarch or otherwise, to infer or to explicitly state that the current method poses any threat to the faithful who approach the Holy Chalice with faith and fear of God is preposterous and unfounded in the long history on the Church. It is best that any person who has any doubts (i.e., lack of faith) relative to the sanctity of the Holy Eucharist, as it has been delivered to the faithful for nearly 1,000 years, to not approach the Holy Chalice.

The faithful ought to question any clergy and especially any bishop wishing to deviate from Holy Tradition: during their own lifetime of receiving Holy Communion, how many faithful approached the Chalice with herpes, AIDS, hepatitis, flu and colds, mouth cancers and every other common or uncommon disease of our days? Why is it that parishes and communities never experienced any related pandemics? Why are the priests (who consume the remnant of the Holy Gifts in the end) still alive? What has changed with Covid-19, when medical evidence every day points to its “ordinary flu strain” nature?

Let us also make a necessary correction towards the terminology utilized by clergy eager to abandon traditional Eucharistic methods. The Holy Eucharist is being delivered via “tongs”—lavitha in Gk; it is not a “spoon,”—κοχλιάριον in Gk. The term lavitha refers to the burning coal given to Isaiah by an Angel with tongs. (Isa 6:6-6:7): Then flew one of the Seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar. And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.

We suspect that other plans are hiding behind such measures and we are quite confident that even post-pandemic, most of the established liturgical deviations will be maintained. How else would the ecumenist movement be able to join with the Latins and share the same format of Eucharist? Are Latin-type “wafers” the next plan by the appointed hierarchy of the Orthodox Church?

A New Iconoclasm?

We wish to also address the new iconoclastic directives prohibiting the kissing of the priest’s right hand, delivery of the antithoron in small zip-lock baggies (and not by the priest openly, as before), and especially the veneration and kissing of holy icons.

The faithful kiss the priest’s right hand from time to time and always when he delivers antithoron. This is an act of veneration. The people are venerating the High Priesthood of Christ, of which the parish priest is simply a participant. They also venerate the hand that sanctifies the Holy Gifts; to contemplate the likely spread of a virus via the hand that just sanctified bread and wine into His Body and Blood is as illogical and blasphemous as the questioning of the Holy Eucharist’s delivery via the lavitha.

With regard to the holy icons, all Orthodox hierarchs and clergy have been taught in theological schools the mandatory veneration of icons, as based on the 7th Ecumenical Synod. Let us be reminded on the significance of icons within the liturgical life of the Church.

The power of iconography is not in the matter but in who icons point to, in who lies behind the images. Saint Basil the Great had written long before: The honor given to the image passes on to the prototype that lies behind it. The doctrinal significance of icons is that they proclaim the Incarnation. Therefore, the Fathers of the Church decreed that not only are icons permissible but that it is essential to have them—for to reject them is to deny Christ’s humanity, his materiality. Therefore, the Fathers continued, as the sacred and life-giving Cross is everywhere set up as a symbol, so also should the images of Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, the holy angels, as well as those of the saints and other pious and holy men be exhibited on the walls of churches, in homes and in all conspicuous places, by the roadside and everywhere, to be revered by all who see them. The Fathers made it clear that icons are both teaching devices and also means of grace, points of contact with God and the saints.

The Seventh Ecumenical Synod among it decrees stipulated that that veneration and honor shall be paid to the representations of the Lord and of the Saints and that they should be bowed to, and saluted with kisses, and attended with lights and the offering of incense. And for the greater establishment of the veneration of the holy images, the Seventh Ecumenical Synod anathematized all those who made war against the images, and set forth the veneration, and established it forever, as is evident from the ninth canon of that synod. That none of the books containing the heresy of the traducers of the Christians are to be hid. ALL the childish devices and mad ravings which have been falsely written against the venerable images, must be delivered up to the Episcopate of Constantinople, that they may be locked away with other heretical books. And if anyone is found hiding such books, if he be a bishop or presbyter or deacon, let him be deposed; but if he be a monk or layman, let him be anathema. (Canon IX, 7th Ecumenical Synod).

Concluding Thoughts

One of the greatest pandemics in modern history was that of 1918. Albeit forgotten, it was virus-based pandemic that lasted about 15 months, from spring 1918 to early summer 1919. It infected 500 million people—about a third of the world’s population at the time. Humanity experience 50,000,000 deaths. Humanity had to concurrently deal with World War I. The Covid-19 experience stands in minuscule comparison, both in terms of its ferocity as well as its mortality. Yet there were no church closures—on the contrary, people flooded the churches in prayer to be delivered from this (true) pandemic. In the adjacent picture, we see the faithful overflowing a cathedral in San Francisco as they crowd fills the street in prayer, with no regard towards “social distancing.” And none of them with any “masks.”

The Covid-19 time-period comes not long after the sad and tragic schism our Church experienced following the Ukrainian mess caused by the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The manner by which the Church’s hierarchs are addressing “post-pandemic liturgical practices” will only further divide His Bride and deepen, or perhaps even cause, new schisms. It is rather apparent that great confusion, anxiety, sadness and a form of a psychological withdrawal is prevailing amongst most the flock. What most of the clergy has and continues to call oikonomia we call paranomia (lawlesnness). And we do not stand alone in our characterization.

The mess that the great majority of western bishops created with this “event,” in the final word, is the clearest indication yet of the complete lack of any spiritual leadership on their part. It is tragic that in this one crucial moment in history, the Ecumenical Patriarchate is blindingly absent. We believe that if the Church of Constantinople had not fallen into its multi-decade ecumenical delusion(s) and preserved the Church’s dogma, then it would command respect among hierarchs and flocks worldwide and all bishops would have looked and followed Phanar’s patristically-based lead. Such fallen, confusing and uncoordinated rules, regulations, policies, procedures and liturgical practices would not have been possible.

In his one and only address to the faithful, the Ecumenical Patriarch exclaimed: “Perhaps some of you have felt that these drastic measures undermine or harm our faith. However, that which is at stake is not our faith—it is the faithful. It is not Christ—it is our Christians. It is not the divine-man—but human beings.”

We beg to differ with the Bishop of Constantinople—since when have wars, serious pandemics, hunger and martyrdom ever compromised the faithful flock? We dare suggest that if anything, they have strengthened it. We instead believe that the newly found liturgical practices being adopted by hierarchs worldwide do undermine the Faith 100%; such practices and teachings damage the possibility of spiritual healing for a great majority of the flock. It is the therapeutic nature of the Church as a spiritual hospital, providing a means for acquiring divine power and grace for the healing of diseases of soul and body, that our bishops must focus upon. As such, litanies and Holy Unction, Confession and Holy Communion are what the faithful need; worldly pre-occupations with new social norms, isolation, fear, seclusion, and dissociative imaginations are neither Orthodox nor beneficial whatsoever. They are instead the direct product of the Evil One’s influence upon the current true pandemic of faithlessness.

As we close our painful post-Paschal thoughts, we also self-reflect and conclude that a lot of what we are experiencing is likely the result of our (the flock’s) fallen spiritual state. May we improve ourselves, for we remain convinced that should the flock (under the leadership of few brave and patristically-bound dedicated shepherds) repent and pray, God shall send us the bishops we desire. Until then, we will be “stuck” with the hierarchs that we deserve…

Let us stand well, let us stand with fear…

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<![CDATA[Open Letter: TO OUR BELOVED HIERARCHS, BROTHER CONCELEBRANTS, AND OUR FAITHFUL FLOCKS – From the Burning Bush Brotherhood]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/open-letter-to-our-beloved-hierarchs-brother-concelebrants-and-our-faithful-flocks https://orthodoxethos.com/post/open-letter-to-our-beloved-hierarchs-brother-concelebrants-and-our-faithful-flocks “Gird yourselves with sackcloth and wail you priests.

Mourn, you who serve the altar” Joel 1:13.


TO OUR BELOVED HIERARCHS, BROTHER CONCELEBRANTS, AND OUR FAITHFUL FLOCKS,


Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!


We write this letter in anguish and pain of heart, carrying a burden we have borne in silence for too long. Today we write with boldness, a boldness that is found not in ourselves but in our desire to hold fast to the Holy Traditions of our beloved Orthodox Faith—the true medicine of the world. We write as a brotherhood of clergy in America not bound by jurisdiction or diocese. The fires of current trials have brought us together, and our brotherhood has been forged in tears, brokenness, and prayer. It is in the ashes of what this past year and a half has wrought that we have felt the disruption of the Church at many levels, but have found like-minded brother priests whose resurrectional joy, silent suffering, and confessor-like endurance kept the spark of zeal ignited. Sadly, because of the nature of our testimony, we cannot publicly disclose ourselves, but we judge our voice to be a necessary voice crying in the wilderness out of love and pain for the Church. We are keeping anonymity not on account of cowardice but for the reason we have been silent for many months: we have deep concern what may happen to our flocks if we are identified. Truly, a lamentable predicament to be in! It is the suffering cries of the laity and our flocks, however, that have inspired us to speak out with a necessary tone of repentance and healing. We will address the laity whom we have neglected, exhort our brother priests to awake, and exhort our beloved fathers and chief hierarchs to fervent apostolic witness.


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Firstly, to the faithful. The past year has revealed much in our hearts. It would be easy to place the blame on some outside circumstances or some other person—society at large or authorities in the government or in the Church. Yet we acknowledge that, above all else, sin starts in our own hearts. Above all else, we are personally responsible for the shortcomings and failings that the Lord has laid bare. It is He who has allowed the many tribulations and temptations of the past year on account of our many sins. These trials are for our chastisement and healing; they are for the turning of our hearts back once again to the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe, as the saints testify, “Because of your sins the Lord has allowed this trouble to come upon you, because you keep forgetting God” (St. John of Kronstadt).


As clergy, we take responsibility for the many stumbling blocks set before the flock of Christ the Lord, especially in the turbulent year 2020. We acknowledge that, in many ways, we, the clergy, acted out of weakness and ungodly fear. We humbly ask for forgiveness. We know that the actions of clergy made dire prophecies ring true. "The time will come when we will not find even a tiny piece of antidoron, and we will say to ourselves, 'Where can I get a little antidoron? I used to have it every day. I took and ate it by the handful. Where are you my little antidoron, that I might partake of you?' The time will come when we will not have either antidoron or holy water.”[1]


Forgive us for not sounding a clear call to repentance. Forgive us for closing churches in a time of deep spiritual need. Forgive us for limiting services and restricting attendance. Forgive us for turning the people of God away from Church and the Holy Mysteries in a time of profound need, effectively “not allowing those who are entering to go in.” Forgive us for allowing the altering of the mode of Holy Communion for fear of the spread of illness, such as the use of multiple spoons and the wiping of the communion spoon in a disinfectant. Forgive us for refusing in-person holy confession during a time of great crisis. Forgive us for forbidding the proper veneration of icons held by the Holy Fathers of the 7th Ecumenical Council, a veneration our forefathers and mothers shed blood for. Forgive us for making face-masks a requirement for entering the Holy Temple of our Lord. Forgive us for placing secular narratives above the teachings of the Holy Orthodox Faith.


Forgive us, for we should have served more services. We should have had public repentance, prayer and fasting. We should have had processions with holy icons and fervent supplications. We should have served the service of blessing of holy water and the sprinkling of the people of God therewith. We should have served Holy Unction, for the healing of soul and body. We should have called, in both word and action, the people of God first and foremost to a hope, trust, and faith in God above all else. We should have shown forth steadfast courage and faith in the holy things of the Faith. Forgive us for failing to walk in the way of our Holy Fathers. Forgive use for blurring the divine lines of the Holy Liturgy with the dark ink of fleshly reasoning and justification.


Forgive us for neglecting your children and reversing their catechism, asking them to experience God through a screen and forcing them to conceal their angelic faces behind an iconoclastic mask. We did not heed the words of our Savior, Who calls your children to Him, and we allowed the millstone of directives to drag us into the dark depths of a burdened conscience. We beg for your forgiveness and for theirs, seeking the life giving breath of repentance.


We firmly resolve never to abandon you or your families again, no matter the circumstance or the cost—to the shedding of our blood.


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Secondly, to our brother priests and deacons. We must confess, in the words of the New Hieromartyr Peter, “But this is our grief – we have invented all the wrong means by which we think to be saved from this terrible sickness that has mercy on no one. We try to utilize various serums and vaccines … and the vast majority of people almost completely leave out the spiritual starting point in a person—his soul.” We started from externals and not from the spiritual starting point. Our weakness and sin, manifest in the past year, are but symptoms of a more profound ailment, one that surpasses COVID in gravity and it appears has infected a large amount of people.


We have led Orthodox Christians to reason more according to the spirit of the fallen world than by the Life and Spirit of Holy Orthodoxy. Our hearts have gradually grown accustomed to worldly thinking rather than having the mind of Christ. The past year was not the ailment, it but revealed in a more acute light the ailment already afflicting us. When, as priests, we received the Holy Body of our Lord into our unworthy hands at ordination, we pledged to preserve it whole and unharmed until our last breath, acknowledging our accountability at the Second Coming. How have we slipped so far as to forget our promise before God and become so foreign to the ways of our holy fathers who served worthily before us?


We have permitted a humanistic ecumenism to supplant the Divine One Holy Catholic and Ecumenical Church, which is the very Body of the Theanthropos. The predominance of our placing faith in the resolutions of men reveals that we have begun, in the words of St. Justin Popovic, “to replace faith in the God-man with a belief in man, to replace the Gospel of the God-man with a gospel according to man, to replace the philosophy of the God-man with a philosophy according to man, to replace the culture of the God-man with a culture according to man. In brief, they [we] seek to replace life according to the God-man with life according to man.”


In many places we allowed our liturgical life to cease, depriving the world of the sacred power of the divine liturgy which restrains the power of the evil one. “Do you know how much this guards us? An elder once told us that when a person carries the Gospel with him, it protects everyone in the surrounding neighborhoods. Just imagine then, the power of Christ's sacrifice that happens every day."[2] Today, clergymen stand in awe at the evil that has escalated over this past year but have neglected to see the cosmic significance that our vocation plays in it. “The Divine Liturgy is the way we know God and the way God becomes known to us,” says St. Sophrony. It is the Church’s greatest mission, and we laid it aside! In this great work, the Lord’s work, the same Saint says, “We feel His Divine presence within us, outside of us, at the highest grandeur of the universe, in the face of man and in the radiant intellect. And in the hours that the unwaning light illumines, our hearts we realize we will not die.” However, many of us allowed the divine presence of God that is imprinted on the dear faces of our people to be concealed under a mask and abandoned them to be pursued by the jaws of wolves without participation in divine services. Furthermore, we let down the world and ceased to sanctify it, allowing evil to unmask itself and act more openly.


Much of this was done under the guise of love—but it was not Christian love. It was a “love” defined by politicians and slick spokesmen who also advocate for the “right” to murder unborn children, who bomb our Orthodox countries on Pascha, and who will not even lift a finger for the poor of their own cities. Some of our people died without the Holy Mysteries, without the faithful by their bed, without proper burial. Others withered away in loneliness, battled thoughts of suicide, and were lost to the clutches of this world.


Open and common prayer with heretics and schismatics, contrary to the canons, has become all-too common. And this sad sin has widened its wound now to encompass prayer with non-Christian groups. “What harmony,” we ask, “has Christ with Belial? Or what portion has a believer with an unbeliever.”[3] Blatant rejection of the clear Orthodox teaching on morality is permitted in broad daylight, bareheaded, and those who uphold the Orthodox Faith remain silent. The broad and easy path of compromise is continually sought and the healing traditions of the Holy Fathers are neglected.


For these things, we ought to offer the world our public repentance. We have forgotten God by trusting more in the powers of this world. The world now needs priests and deacons who are confessors, men of prayer, and who strive for an austere life of asceticism. If we are lukewarm, not only will we be spit out by our Lord, but also by the world—for it knows all too well the wretched stench of a compromising clergyman.


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Lastly, to our beloved shepherds, the bishops. Often when we look back upon the deep wounds experienced by the Church throughout history, we see the abnormal break between the people and their shepherd as the cause of that wound. We, as a brotherhood of your priests whom you endearingly call sons, have now experienced such a break and suffer feelings of orphanhood. The biggest anguish this year has brought is the absence of courageous apostolic shepherds.


The voice of your fatherly guidance and protection became to us the voice of a stranger, for no longer did we hear the consoling voice of the Lord, the Holy Fathers, or the healing medicines of the Church, but the voice of the world, corrupt politicians, and medical advisors that are now profiting off a dire situation. The wolves in politicians’ dress co-opted Christian morality, and the same that teach our women to murder their children in their womb pontificated “love for neighbor”—and the hierarchy parroted this shamelessly. “Love for neighbor” became not burying our dead properly and isolating our flocks to the point of suicide. It contributed to the escalating rise in household abuse, and more. Fear and this pseudo “love for neighbor” led our bishops [you!] to instruct us not to allow our people into the temple for healing. All of us in this brotherhood began to realize that your voices had become foreign worldly, full of fear, and not the voice of Whom we pledged our lives to serve—our One Good Shepherd.


We love you and we long for your care, but if you continue to be strange voices we cannot do anything but heed the One True Voice that leads us to the pastures of life. We do not see this path as disobedience, but the ultimate obedience to our Lord and His Bride—the Holy Church. For, under the guise of obedience, we were told to follow this strange new path that is unprecedented in our history as a people of God. In many cases, we have silently resisted this new strange voice that we have heard and have led our people as best we could—struggling on our own in silence. In heartache and despair, we have watched our shepherds become drunk with the drink that this world offers and uncover themselves; we have labored to hide your nakedness from your sheep. They love you—they thank you in their prayers for not shutting them out, not forcing masks upon them, not changing the method of communion, etc., when in reality you told us to force these deadly ideas upon them. Forgive us, but we had to find the Voice of the Master and in grief we had to resist the strange path we have seen you sadly forge because there is no life in it—all we saw in the parishes from these worldly measures was spiritual death.


Please return to us once again as loving shepherds with the Voice that brings us life. We have felt orphaned, without apostolic guides, and have suffered the unnatural severance between father and son. Whether you have been silent or have outright supported the deterioration of our parishes through worldly mandates, you have grieved us and have shaken the innermost depths of our hearts. We cannot fully express in words how this betrayal has affected us—you saw the wolf and ran, you have scattered the sheep, but there is time to return to care for the flock. In great sadness we have watched you now pat yourselves on the backs, congratulating yourselves and boasting that the impositions over the past year were right and correct. Yet, when your people for long months were deprived of the medicines of the Church, were pushed to the brink of darkness, were seized in the clutches of the children of hell, and forced to participate in the liturgy through a screen like starving children watching a feast through a window, you must admit that this truly was not a victory.


As your sons, we must tell you that we cannot be obedient to the voice of the murderous spirit of this age and that we have found it coming from your chanceries in the form of mandates, sermons, political conferences, and zoom meetings. We have great love for you and reverence your office, but sadly cannot follow you down a foreign road so we beg you to return to bold apostolic speech. We know that obedience is discriminate, not indiscriminate, from both our Holy Fathers and the divine Scriptures, for both speak of true and false shepherds. We know the holy examples of St. Maximus the Confessor and the erring hierarchy who aligned with the impious Emperor. We remember St. Athanasius and the heretical presbytery who opposed him. We recollect the faithfulness and boldness of St. Mark of Ephesus and how the compromising hierarchy were shamed by the laity on the docks of Constantinople. We are inspired by the recent boldness of the Russian martyrs who were imprisoned and suffered under Sergianism and its allegiance to an atheistic regime. The path of schismatics is riddled with disaster, and this path we will never take, but we discern in the lives of these holy ones the painful path of blessed disobedience. “Obedience makes the subordinate one with the one he obeys. The Holy Writ says: ‘and the flocks conceived before the rods’ (Gen. 30, 39) […]. One may say: the subordinate’s faith can replace the elder’s inadequacy. Wrong! Faith in truth saves. Faith in lies and in diabolical deceit harms!”[4]


St John of the Ladder writes, “Above all, you should leave the integral faith and the pious dogmas as a legacy to your children, so that not only your children but your grandchildren too will you manage to guide towards the Lord by walking the path of Orthodoxy.”[5]This is the legacy that is not foreign, and in these times it is impossible to be silent as a shepherd in the face of treachery. Teach us, lead us, and leave us the legacy of Truth and Life. St Paisios warned us saying: “If Christians don’t begin to witness their faith, to resist evil, then the destroyers will become even more insolent. But today’s Christians are no warriors. If the Church keeps silent, to avoid conflict with the government, if the Metropolitans are silent, if the monks hold their peace, then who will speak up?” Truly, we must recognize that it is because of the Church’s silence that evil has all the more prevailed in these times.


Speak, beloved hierarchs! Speak out against the mandates that have deprived us of spiritual life, speak out against the immoral agendas of the LGBTQ movement that publicly seeks to snatch your children, speak out against false unions! Embolden your priests and do not deprive us of shepherds for the sake of ease, of legal immunity, or out of indifference. We are the prey of this current age, save us! We feel as the prophet wrote, “As I live, saith the Lord God, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock. Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord. Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I shall visit the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock…”[6] Return to feed us, your poor priests and people.


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To all, in humility before God, we vow not to return to the strange path of the past year that so many have experienced and are still suffering under. We will not return to practicing the following.


1. We will not deprive the people of the life-giving sacraments of the Church out of fear.

2. We will not change the method of Holy Communion.

3. We will not limit the occupancy in the Temple of God.

4. We will not deprive the faithful of the veneration of holy icons, relics, and other holy objects or vessels.

5. We will not require the iconoclastic masking of our people.

6. We will not urge or require our people to inject themselves with experimental injections, especially those manufactured and/or tested on aborted fetal cell lines.


We therefore resolve to uphold the Holy Orthodox Faith of our Fathers and we call upon all faithful Orthodox to do the same. First and foremost, this is a call to deeper repentance and spiritual resolve. We all have a responsibility to identify ­the sickness of the modern age and to heal it by calling on the sweetest name of our Lord Jesus, saying, “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.”


Your Servants,


THE BURNING BUSH BROTHERHOOD

July 31st/July 18th P The Year Of Our Lord 2021



[1] Gerondissa Makrina Vassopoulou, Words of the Heart, pg 504. She said these prophetic words on the 19th of December, 1992.

[2] Gerondissa Makrina Vassopoulou, Words of the Heart, pg 504. She said these prophetic words on the 19th of December, 1992.

[3] 1 Corinthians 6:15

[4] Saint Ignatius Brianchaninov, op. cit., tome I, pp.141.143.146ff

[5] Saint John of Sinai, On the Shepherd 97, edition Holy Monastery of Paraclete, Horopos Attica,

1946, p.402 (PG 88, 1201A).

[6] Ezekiel 34, 8-10 (KJV)

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<![CDATA[What the Saints Have to Say about the V*ccίnε and Μ@sκs – By: Fr. Damaskinos of Grigoriou (Mt. Athos)]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/what-the-saints-have-to-say-about-m-skusd-and-the-v-ccine https://orthodoxethos.com/post/what-the-saints-have-to-say-about-m-skusd-and-the-v-ccine "Father Damaskinos of the Grigoriou Monastery, Mount Athos said the following in Cahul, Moldova on the 11th of July 2021 alongside Bishop Benjamin Goreanu:

“The Holy Fathers told us not to take the ναccίnε. The ναccίnε brings death after a short time.

Saint Nektarios, who is related to a woman, in Athens, Mrs. Julia, who is 85 years old, she is in a sickbed and Saint Nektarios comes to her almost every night… and talks to her; she is his disciple. I befriended this [the saintly] Julia, I have great love for her, I talk to her on the phone, and I asked her two weeks ago: what does Saint Nektarios say about the ναccίnε? Will the faithful get the ναccίnε or not? And the Saint said: “They don't have to! It's 100 percent dangerous. Dangerous to life.”

And there are other saints, like Elder Ephraim of Arizona, who after his death appeared to a priest and told him not to have people take the ναccίnε, because after seven to eight months many people will die, because the ναccίnε is poisonous to our body.

And to (the relics of) St. Ephraim of Nea Makri, which is a little further from Athens, went a father and his child, a 10-year-old girl who was sick, and St. Ephraim appeared to her and told her: "I am the patron of this monastery, I will heal you, but tell your parents not to go to my monastery wearing a mask. I am the patron saint of the monastery. The mask doesn't help in the church, here is the grace of God."”

Description and Translation provided by @orthodoxyforyou on Instagram, who adds: "Note: The admin of this account can personally testify that Father Damaskinos told me in 2018, in South Africa, about the saintly Julia, and how Saint Nektarios appears to her almost every night."

Sources:

PĂRINTELE DAMASCHIN GRIGORIATUL, în conferința de la Cahul, despre ARĂTĂRI ȘI MESAJE DESPRE VACCIN ȘI BOALĂ ale sfinților NECTARIE, EFREM CEL NOU și EFREM DIN ARIZONA. Episcopul Basarabiei de Sud, PS VENIAMIN – povățuiri și problematizări legate de IMPUNEREA și EFECTELE VĂZUTE ALE VACCINĂRII (video, text) | Cuvântul Ortodox (cuvantul-ortodox.ro)

Parintele DAMASCHIN GRIGORIATUL si PS VENIAMIN la Cahul - RASPUNSURI FOARTE IMPORTANTE PENTRU NOI! - YouTube

https://www.instagram.com/p/CRlSwwirEbI/?utm_sourc...

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<![CDATA[Majestic Procession of 350,000 faithful in Kiev (PHOTOS & VIDEO) – By: Thanos Thanopoulos]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/majestic-procession-of-350-thousand-faithful-in-kiev-photos https://orthodoxethos.com/post/majestic-procession-of-350-thousand-faithful-in-kiev-photos "Today is Tuesday, the 27th of July 2021, eve of the celebration of the Baptism of Rus, and the Orthodox Church of Ukraine is ready to celebrate this day in all majesty, just like every year. On the evening of Tuesday a majestic procession took place in Kiev, in which more than 350 thousand faithful participated. Leading this great procession was Onuphry, Metropolitan of Kiev, while the clergy and the people accompanied the procession with banners, relics, and wonderworking icons. It should be noted that on Metropolitan Onuphry stopped the procession Hrusevski Street, where he prayed for the repose of the souls of those who died in the tragic events of February 2014. After the conclusion of the awe-inspiring procession all-night vigils will be served in all the churches of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. Finally, it should be mentioned that representatives of three Orthodox Churches, Ephraim of Seleucia (of the Patriarchate of Antioch), Bishops Stefan of Remesiana and Hierothey of Toplica (of the Patriarchate of Serbia), and the Archbishop Michael (of the Church of the Czech Lands) participated in the procession."

Source: Μεγαλειώδης Λιτανεία με 350 χιλιάδες πιστούς στο Κίεβο (ΦΩΤΟ) (romfea.gr)

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<![CDATA[The Revelation of the Theotokos: the Monophysites are not Orthodox! – From "The Spiritual Meadow" of St. John Moschos, followed by the insights of Patriarch Theodore Balsamon]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/the-revelation-of-the-theotokos-the-monophysites-are-not-orthodox https://orthodoxethos.com/post/the-revelation-of-the-theotokos-the-monophysites-are-not-orthodox From the "Spiritual Meadow" of St. John Moschos, followed by the insights of Patriarch Theodore Balsamon.

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<![CDATA[Father Savvas the Athonite answers questions on fear and the fear of God (Part 1) – Greek Audio - English Subtitles]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/father-savvas-the-athonite-answers-questions-on-fear-and-the-fear-of-god-part-1 https://orthodoxethos.com/post/father-savvas-the-athonite-answers-questions-on-fear-and-the-fear-of-god-part-1 Father Savvas is a hieromonk in the Monastery of Holy Trinity, Edessa, Macedonia, Greece. He has a degree in Dentistry and in Theology.

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<![CDATA[Concerning That "Church" Which Will Accept a Legalization from the Antichrist – St. John Maximovitch]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/concerning-that-church-which-will-accept-a-legalization-from-the-antichrist https://orthodoxethos.com/post/concerning-that-church-which-will-accept-a-legalization-from-the-antichrist St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco (+1966), from a homily given in 1956 on the Sunday of the Dread Judgment:

"St. John the Theologian "himself says that he was 'in the Spirit' - meaning that the Holy Spirit Itself was in him - when the fate of the Church and the world was revealed to him in various symbols. That is why this is a Divine Revelation. He presents the fate of the Church in the image of a woman who hides in the wilderness during these times. She is not obvious in life. This is happening now in Russia...

Reaching the summit of power, the Antichrist will demand people acknowledge that he has achieved what no earthly power and no one else has been able to do, and will demand worship of himself as an exalted being - a God. (St. John elsewhere states the Antichrist, 'will have a helper, a Magus, who, by the power of false miracles, will fulfill his will and kill those that do not recognize the authority of Antichrist.') He will do only what pleases people, under the condition that they recognize him as the Supreme Power.

He will provide opportunities for Church life, allow her to hold services, and promise that wonderful temples will be built, provided that he be recognized as "Supreme Being" and worshipped. He will have a personal hatred for Christ. He will thrive on this hatred and will rejoice in people's apostasy from Christ and the Church.

There will be a mass falling away from the faith, during which many bishops will betray the faith, and point to the wonderful position of the Church as justification. A search for compromise will be the characteristic state of the people's faith. Directness of confession will vanish. People will subtly justify their fall, and solicitous evil will support such a general state of mind. People will grow used to apostatizing from the truth and will be accustomed to the sweetness of compromise and sin. The Antichrist will allow people anything as long as they, falling down before him, worship him."

https://orthodoxlifemagazines.blogspot.com/2021/03...


The ROCOR Synod of 1938 (in which St. John participated) further relates:

“Since the epoch we have lived through was without doubt an epoch of apostasy, it goes without saying that for the true Church of Christ a period of life in the wilderness, of which the twelfth chapter of the Revelation of St. John speaks, is not, as some may believe, an episode connected exclusively with the last period in the history of mankind. History show us that the Orthodox Church has withdrawn into the wilderness repeatedly, from whence the will of God called her back to the stage of history, where she once again assumed her role under more favourable circumstances. At the end of history the Church of God will go into the wilderness for the last time to receive Him, Who comes to judge the quick and the dead. Thus the twelfth chapter of Revelation must be understood not only in an eschatological sense, but in a historical and educational sense as well: it shows up the general and typical forms of Church life.

If the Church of God is destined to live in the wilderness through the Providence of the Almighty Creator, the judgement of history, and the legislation of the proletarian state, it follows clearly that she must forego all attempts to reach a legalization, for every attempt to arrive at a legalization during the epoch of apostasy inescapably turns the Church into the great Babylonian whore of blasphemous atheism. The near future will confirm our opinion and prove that the time has come in which the welfare of the Church demands giving up all legalizations, even those of the parishes. We must follow the example of the Church prior to the Council of Nicaea, when the Christian communities were united not on the basis of the administrative institutions of the State, but through the Holy Spirit alone.”

Cited by A. Gustavson, The Catacomb Church, Jordanville, N.Y.: Holy Trinity Monastery, 1960, p. 102


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<![CDATA[COMPLETE LECTURE SERIES LINKS! Russia's New Martyrs & The Catacomb Church: A Type of the End Times – "Today in Russia tomorrow in America."]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/complete-lecture-series-links-russias-new-martyrs-and-the-catacomb-church-a-type-of-the-end-times https://orthodoxethos.com/post/complete-lecture-series-links-russias-new-martyrs-and-the-catacomb-church-a-type-of-the-end-times LECTURE SERIES LINKS:

Russia's New Martyrs & The Catacomb Church: A Type of the End Times - Lesson 1 - YouTube


Russian New Martyrs - Lesson 2: The Onslaught of Persecution and Resistance under St. Tikhon - YouTube


Russian New Martyrs - Lesson3: The Renovationists and The Orthodox Response - YouTube


Russian New Martyrs - Lesson 4: The Satanic Bolshevik Mentality & Methodology - YouTube


Russian New Martyrs - Lesson 5: The Lives and Witness of the New Martyrs (1917-1927) - YouTube


Russian New Martyrs - Lesson 6: The Declaration & Stance of Metropolitan Sergius (“Sergianism”) - YouTube


Russian New Martyrs - Lesson 7: Consequences of the 1927 Declaration and the Orthodox Response - YouTube


Russian New Martyrs- Lesson 8: The Catacomb Church - YouTube


Russian New Martyrs - Lesson 9: The Lives and Witness of the New Martyrs (1928-1938) - YouTube


Russian New Martyrs - Lesson 10: Conclusion: Lessons for the Last Christians - YouTube

EXCERPTS OF LECTURE SERIES LINKS:

Ecclesiastical Affairs & Politics - YouTube


St. Benjamin of Petrograd and the "Living Church" heretics - YouTube


Patriarch Tikhon's anathematization of Soviet power - YouTube


St. Tikhon: Preacher of Repentance - YouTube


WEEP! by I. M. Andreyev (Excerpt from Russia’s New Martyrs Course) - YouTube


The People: Protectors of the Faith - YouTube

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<![CDATA[The Weakened Faith of our Generation.... – Talk by Metropolitan of Morphou, Neophytos; given at Saint Cyprian and Justina Church in Meniko, Cyprus (2.12.2020)]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/the-weakened-faith-of-our-generation https://orthodoxethos.com/post/the-weakened-faith-of-our-generation

Metropolitan Neophytos: “Now I speak to you at another level not at a spiritual level. At a scientific level, at a human level. My study, the reading I have made in scientific websites, the scientists that I trust, pay attention to this word, who have God in them, the doctors who have God in them, the microbiologists who have God in them, the epidemiologists who have God in them, all say that no vaccine, not only the vaccine for the coronavirus, should not be obligatory. No vaccine! If it is obligatory it is a violation. Do you hear? It is a violation of our soul and of our body. Everyone is to reflect and see what they want , examine their faith, whom will you trust? This has meaning what I tell you. Whom will you trust? Do not be like lost people. Do you know one bad thing of having too much information is this: You hear one this way, you hear the other another way, you hear the third and something different. You don’t know whom to trust. This is a very bad thing that happens in our times. I personally, one good thing I have is that I know whom to trust. For many matters. For the scientific matters which scientists, for the spiritual which scientists? And something else! We are people of prayer, others a little, others a lot, but we pray. Why don’t you pray and say “My Christ, either enlighten me what vaccine to take if it is needed or if I should not hurry towards this.” The people of God, the older ones, used to say, do not hurry when the antichrists start to seal the bodies, do not hurry. It is a big mistake because there can be such an intervention of God and there will be, I am certain, because there is much prayer in our times, much pain, in all the world, in all the world. I tell you that in America, in Europe , in Asia they are much more informed than us. Indeed. The Swedish who are a very “modern” (in brackets) society had such side effects from earlier vaccines that now 70 % of the Swedish do not want to hear about any vaccine.

Person sitting next to the Metropolitan: “Because of the swine flu 60% were vaccinated and even to date there are side effects, they can’t drive, they fall asleep while driving, it is a.....”

Metropolitan Neophytos: “Indeed, and something else that was told to us at Synod yesterday, it is good for me to tell you, the epidemiologist of Cyprus, which makes you wonder, such a man who is at the university and teaches the young people epidemiology, a man who is very much with God, it is to wonder why the government did not put him as its counselor. And he told us the following regarding the obligatoriness of the vaccine which for me is the key, it is this. I cannot now hinder the great centers, the pharmaceutical companies of America and Europe and of Russia from producing vaccines. You understand! It is their products, they want to sell them. When we talk about side effects and we have concerns and are scared they say to you, “are you serious my Bishop. The other medicines that you take don’t they have side effects? The aspirin that you take does it not have side-effects? Is it 100%?” And every organization, you know, acts differently, there is this also. So what did the epidemiologist Soteriades tell us yesterday? The whole key is not if there will be vaccines. There will be vaccines. Vaccines will come. The whole matter is the vaccine being obligatory. They need to respect the freedom of the people and more so he told us the following, and I did not know this, and it was my mistake that I did not know this, because I studied law. He brought to us, the same doctor, the charter of human rights. Those which were recognized by the United Nations Organization as the basic human rights and one of the articles of this charter states that the obligatory reception into the human body of whatever medicine, injections is forbidden without the consent of the sick person. They are the rights of the sick person. Sickness is not a part of death. It is a part of health. We need to understand this. It is a part of health. Many times our organism needs to get sick so that it can warn us to run to the doctor. Isn’t it so? So there are no other complications. So when this charter of human rights comes and says this very simple thing that it is forbidden without the consent of the sick person. I heard someone say, “but with this logic if all the hierarchs begin like Morphou and say to the people their rights – I did not say to you not to take the vaccine, I said to you that I will not take it, I tell you this. You will have to decide. Either now that you hear me or see me elsewhere. You will decide whom you will trust. That is why you are called faithful. The rationalists will go to be inoculated, do you understand, but you are faithful. Being faithful means that you believe in the visible and invisible. You believe that there are mysteries. The 4% we approach through science the 96% through the mysteries. And whatever you grab. That’s how it is, ‘for we know in part...” (1 Corinthians 13:9) says Apostle Paul.




Source:

Time: 1:07:16 - 1:16:00

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<![CDATA[Met. Panteleimon of Antinoes responds to Ab. Elpidophoros' Perennialism – "Only within the Orthodox Church man can find the Path which leads to the top of the mountain, which is God the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit..."]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/met-panteleimon-of-antinoes-responds-to-ab-elpidophoros-perennialism https://orthodoxethos.com/post/met-panteleimon-of-antinoes-responds-to-ab-elpidophoros-perennialism "Recently the Greek Orthodox Archbishop of America, Elpidoforos, published on Facebook a statement [*] which says:

"They are many paths which lead to the top of the mountain, and those who ignore this fact are ignorant"!

His Eminence attempts to spread Ecumenism, which is the mingling and mixing of all religions into one.

With respect to His Eminence, I would like to strongly stress the Orthodox Teachings of of our Church. According to the Holy Gospel, Jesus Christ is the only Way and Truth and Life of the world. No one can reach the Father but only through the Son. If anyone does not accepts the Son, then he cannot have the Father.

The Orthodox Church is the only True Christian Church, which preserved, without any changes or alterations, the Original Apostolic Teachings and Traditions.

Only within the Orthodox Church man can find the Path which leads to the top of the mountain, which is God the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. But to achieve this one must belong to the Original Church, which Christ established on the Cross.

Only within the Orthodox Church man can achieve his sanctification and salvation in Jesus Christ. All other religions and Christian heresies do NOT lead anyone to his final goal, which is his salvation through the Son of God.

I would like to remind His Eminence, the belief of the ancient Holy Fathers of our Church, stating that "outside of the Church, there is No Salvation"!

Thus, it must be made very clear that all other religions, as Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Taonism, Idolatry, Christian heresies and all the rest, unfortunately, do NOT lead man to salvation. They are man made institutions.

As Orthodox Christians we respect the religious beliefs of all, but DO NOT agree or accept them. We do not mingle the Truth with lies, or confuse the Light with darkness, or mix the True God with false gods.

There is ONLY ONE GOD and He is the FATHER AND THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT.

If anyone wishes to find the True God, then he must become a member of Christ's Body which is the Orthodox Church. Ecumenism is the darkest first-born son of Satan. [**]

I will humbly ask His Eminence Elpidoforos to reconsider His statement and to declare the True Teachings of the Orthodox Church.

We must never forget, that we will all stand before Christ, the Just Judge, and will give an account of our deeds, words and thoughts. Everything will be examined strictly.

With these humble thoughts, I embrace His Eminence Elpidoforos with fraternal love in Jesus Christ.

Sincerely Yours.

+Metropolitan PANTELEIMON of Antinoes

Retired Metropolitan of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa

Kalymnos-Greece, 19th July, 2021"

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* Archbishop Elpidophoros' statement was a shortened phrase that originates from of a much larger speech made at the 2021 International Religious Freedom Summit (see quoted picture below): “When you elevate one religion above all others, it is as if you decide there is only one path leading to the top of the mountain. But the truth is you simply cannot see the myriads of paths that lead to the same destination, because you are surrounded by boulders of prejudice that obscure your view.” See “Address for the International Religious Freedom Summit, 2021 “The Rising Tide of Religious Nationalism”,” goarch.org, Address for the International Religious Freedom Summit, 2021 “The Rising Tide of Religious Nationalism” - Messages - Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (goarch.org)

** St. Gabriel the Fool for Christ of Georgia says, "Ecumenism is a super heresy." See St. Gabriel of Georgia the Fool for Christ, “Edifications,” monkgabriel.ge, Edifications - St. Gabriel Confessor and Fool for Christ's Sake (monkgabriel.ge). See also “False Ecumenism Archives,” orthodoxchurchquotes.com, False Ecumenism Archives - Orthodox Church Quotes.

Likewise, a pilgrim once asked St. Ephraim of Katounakia "what kind of thing Ecumenism is" and in reply the Elder said the following as described by the pilgrim: «This question, my child, had also been posed by someone else, some time before you. I myself have been up here on these rocks for forty years... I have even forgotten my Greek (note that he had completed Middle School) and as such, I haven’t preoccupied myself with that issue. But, because I had to reply – seeing that I had been asked about it, and since I had no knowledge of the matter - I went to my cell and prayed, asking Christ to inform me what Ecumenism is. I received His reply, which was that Ecumenism has a spirit of wickedness and is dominated by unclean spirits». So I [the pilgrim] asked him exactly how that was verified. He replied that «after praying, my cell became filled with an unbearable stench, which caused my soul to feel asphyxiated; I couldn’t breathe spiritually». I asked him if that had been an extraordinary event for him, or if that was the way that Christ responds in analogous cases, and he assured me that «in all the cases that are involved with sorcery, with unclean spirits, that is the state in which He introduces me. Sometimes there is a spoken response, but in the present case, that was His answer and I have the absolute certainty that Ecumenism does not have the Holy Spirit, but the unclean spirit». See “Elder Ephraim of Katounakia, Holy Mountain: Ecumenism is Dominated by Unclean Spirits,” impantokratoros.gr, https://www.impantokratoros.gr/C54EBF09.en.aspx?__cf_chl_jschl_tk__=85604d57dc8d638502fffa3f3def9e4fecd641b5-1615935784-0-AaqW_unwnDE2wx599T4ySJBPKTcxde4PHTO-pFe0eTo2eFVoXRnjso_xRUTviMN5U9wdLk4YKqjFjsVbKlxhcpnockf7oua_sVqFsmXk32Xj5iPboBkrrLWIcu3CjMw8TGHS_eOIDdK-uH0rVzTfjRs0UBm8mVYkrKRKn1kFZ8MIZV29I31OAFLARaC-6m9lSrhjk2mhKo2qUKxxoiQ9MD3AtE4z8mQ5DqSRzJoJbpLQvs6sz-5ia3sR32-2Lqo2g4pqgKP9JMd2eishHK6vXVGqAgi4GaiTGgkdrXuNKcsFG9FSJpUskE6a6GJCXtkW_-fcjy3gJK4jrgy-ml9cSR0yXh-NJWJiIrSIL-JreTcDKgNZ9A401a2rjTMT9Luaf_vbZrnEaSyqrDYqvZ6gwrA citing Holy and Great Synod of the Orthodox Church - A Synod Lacking in Synodicity and Orthodox Self-Awareness (Trikala: Synaxis of Orthodox Romaics “Fotis Kontoglou,” 2016), https://www.impantokratoros.gr/C54EBF09.en.aspx.

"What do we see here? We see a hierarchy. We see an order of things. The Father sent the Son, the Son sends the Apostles. They listen to the Apostles - they hear the Apostles - they hear Christ, they hear the Father. They don't listen to the Apostles they don't listen to Christ, they don't have the Father. It's very clear in Scripture that the path to God is through Christ and the path to Christ is through the Apostles. And who are the Apostles in every age? The Apostles are disciples of the Lord, keeping His word, those who are following after the Disciples. There is such a thing that is called Apostolic Succession... Year after year, century after century, down through the ages there is a continual line of succession from Christ to the Bishops and Priests we have today... It is not enough to have the hands laid on them and made Priests. Many people think it is. If you have the hands laid on you who has had the hands laid on them etc. etc. all the way back to Christ [that] you are an Apostle. No. That is not accurate. That is a very legalistic way of thinking. You have to have the Faith of the Apostles and the Life of the Apostles, to be a descendent, a disciple, and Apostle in this age. It presupposes all of it; both the Dogma and the Ethos, the Teaching and the Way of Life... In the Church we of course have the Bishops from age to age, but we also have the Holy Saints and Elders that are kind of Apostolic Succession, and wherever that life of Christ, that Person of Christ lives in the people in the Church, there you have the descendants of the Apostles... Remember now: God the Father sent God the Son to His Apostles and the Apostles now teach us. If we listen to them, we listen to Christ. If we reject them, we reject Christ. That's how He wanted things ordered. For us to be disciples of His disciples, in practice in the Church, and therein is our our joy which is our salvation." - Fr. Peter Heers, Homily on Luke 10

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<![CDATA[The Spirit of Antichrist and the Forerunners of Antichrist – Archbishop Averky of Jordanville]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/the-spirit-of-antichrist-and-the-forerunners-of-antichrist https://orthodoxethos.com/post/the-spirit-of-antichrist-and-the-forerunners-of-antichrist From the second chapter of St. Paul's Second Epistle to the Thessalonians it is clear that the teaching about the Antichrist enters into the content of the earliest apostolic evangelization. After giving a description of the Antichrist in the third and fourth verses of that chapter, the holy Apostle writes further to the Thessalonians. "Do you not remember that when I was still with you, I told you this?" (1 Thess. 5:5) One cannot help considering it noteworthy that in the short period that he spent in Thessalonika that holy Apostle Paul not only did not pass over the teaching on the Antichrist in silence, as something of secondary nature and not very important, but rather considered it necessary to expound this teaching in complete detail. And in this, his second epistle, he merely repeats what he had earlier said about the Antichrist with his own mouth.

But why is it so important to know this teaching?

Because, as the Holy Fathers warn us beforehand, he who ignores this teaching, considering it unimportant and not essential in Christianity, will not recognize the Antichrist and will worship him.

But is it really possible not to recognize the Antichrist?

Yes, it is possible! This is what Bishop Ignatii (Brianchaninov), who collected into one place everything said about Antichrist by the ancient Holy Fathers, says about it: [quotes from Vol. IV, p. 297]

"Antichrist will call himself a preacher and restorer of true knowledge of God: those who do not understand Christianity will see in him a representative and champion of true religion and will join themselves to him. Antichrist will appear to be gentle, merciful, full of love and of all virtues: he will be recognized as such and obeyed on account of his most exalted virtues by those who recognize fallen human nature as the truth... Antichrist will offer to mankind the organization of the highest earthly well-being and prosperity, he will offer honors, wealth, majesty, and bodily comforts and pleasures: those who seek earthly things will accept the Antichrist and call him their master. Antichrist will reveal before mankind a shameful display of striking miracles similar to the cunning presentation of the theater... he will instill fear by the terrors and wonders of his miracles, and by them satisfy vanity and human pride, he will satisfy carnal sophistry and superstition, and will confuse human learning: all men who are guided by the light of their fallen nature and who are foreign to guidance by the Light of God will be attracted to obey the deceiver." The Antichrist will be accepted with excitement by apostates from Christianity, but is deserving of deep attention and mourning, as the Holy Fathers note, that the chosen themselves will be uncertain about the person of the Antichrist, so skillfully will he be able to conceal from external observation the Satanic evil roots in him. "The Antichrist's opponents will be considered trouble-makers and enemies of the general welfare and good order, they will be subjected to both concealed and open persecution, torture, and execution." All who refuse to worship the Antichrist will fall into the most painful and difficult position: "their small number will seem insignificant before all mankind, and their opinion will be thought especially feeble, subject to general contempt, hatred slander, and oppression; violent death will be their lot."

Pious Reader: Do you not find that the picture described above to some extent reminds one of what is already going on in the world?

Yes! But where is the Antichrist? Has he come already?

We do not see yet Antichrist himself, but his spirit obviously is settling in and already beginning to rule in the world. A large number of forerunners of Antichrist are preparing with tremendous energy for his arrival, his triumph, and his enthronement among mankind. Of course, a very long and considered preparation is necessary for the Antichrist to be able to be accepted amongst Christian people. It has been and is being conducted from the very times of the Apostles with every greater intensity. Thus, even the Apostle St. John the Theologian wrote in his First General Epistle: "Every spirit which does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God: but that is the spirit of Antichrist, of which you have heard that it should come, and even now it is already in the world" (1 John 4:3). "Who is a liar but he that denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is Antichrist, that denies the Father and the Son" (1 John 2:22), and finally, "As you have heard that Antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists" (1 John 2:18). The learned commentator on the Holy Scripture, Bishop Michael, remarks that in the Greek original the name "Antichrist" has the definite article, which completely distinguishes this name as that of a well-known, definite person, while the other "antichrists" do not have a definite article and, consequently, as being "many," are distinguished from him. These "many antichrists" are only the forerunners of that Antichrist who will appear before Christ's second Coming and the end of the world: they are, as it were, "reflections" of their "Prototype" - the individual Antichrist who is to come. They bear the spirit of Antichrist, and it is their task to lay the proper groundwork for the advent of Antichrist and to create propitious circumstances for his appearance in the world.

These "forerunners" of the Antichrist also direct that world-wide process which the Apostle St. Paul called "apostasy" (II Thess. 2:3). The essence of this process is Christian mankind's ever greater departure from the genuine, uncorrupted teaching of the Gospel and the replacement of the Gospel commands with other ideals. The destructive nature of these ideals proposed to mankind by the Antichrist's forerunners is that they sometimes seem acceptable for Christians, compatible with Christianity, while in reality they are profoundly opposed to it; they gratify human passions and lusts and confirm mankind's fallen nature in its fallen state.

Can one trace this process of "apostasy" in history and in life?

One both can and should! One should, in order to save oneself and one's neighbor from being attracted into this process, draw back from it, save oneself from being infected by the spirit of Antichrist which more and more is taking over the world.

The devil, of course, could not reconcile himself to the appearance of Christianity in the world, and so from the times of the Apostles we see the "spirit of Antichrist" at work in Christian people. The first "forerunners of Antichrist" were Simon Magus, Cerinthus, and the Nicolaitians, with whom the Holy Apostles had to fight. Then came the Gnostics and a whole crowd of every possible sort of heretic with which the Holy Fathers and teachers of the Church had to fight over the course of several centuries. In the first ten centuries of the Christian era the spirit of genuine faith and piety was, however, still strong enough in Christians that it enjoyed every time a brilliant victory over the "spirit of Antichrist"... and the Church of Christ, despite all the heavy trials it endured, was triumphant over its enemies.

But then by the middle of the eleventh century the "spirit of Antichrist" had so firmly taken root in the West that it was able to completely tear away a whole half of Christendom from union with the Universal Church. The result of this was "Papism" with its many and varied departures from genuine Christian teaching on faith and piety – with its newly conceived dogmas, defective morality, indulgences, the "sacred inquisition", and similar perversions.

This was the first decisive victory of the "forerunners of Antichrist".

Others soon followed it.

At the end of the middle ages, to totally root out the remnants of Christianity, the same "spirit of Antichrist" conceived in the bosom of "Papism", which had torn itself away from the true Orthodox Faith, movements which were completely opposed to Christianity – unrestrained free thought, "humanism", which places man himself in the place of God, and.... finally.... "atheism" or total godlessness. It was not without the strong influence of those movements that there occurred in the 16th century a schism within the Papal church organization itself, becoming known as "Protestantism", which supposedly undertook to reform the Church, but which in reality went further on the way of "apostasy" and denied the very essence of the Church. Protestantism in turn began more and more to break up into fragments, "sects" – many of which at the present time have departed so far from Christianity that they deny its most important dogmas and even faith in the Divinity of the Founder of Christianity, the Lord Jesus Christ. This process by which the bigoted and ridiculous new sects are constantly arising has not stopped even now. It is extremely characteristic how clearly the "spirit of Antichrist" is manifested in all these sects. The majority, if not all, of them talk a lot about the Second Coming of Christ and await him with special impatience and excitement (i.e., Adventists), but they are silent about the advent of the Antichrist which will precede it, or else they affirm that the Antichrist already exists in the person of the Pope of Rome. Typical in this regard was the conference held in Evanston, organized by Protestants and sectarians and conducted under the device: "Christ – The Hope of the World". Much, very much was said at this conference about the "Second Coming of Christ" and about the blessings which it would bring to men on earth (!?), but there was total silence about the Antichrist! Does this not naturally lead one to the thought that Protestants and sectarians are gradually being prepared by their leaders to accept the Antichrist when he appears as Christ Himself?

At the same time the clearly antichristian teachings of materialism, socialism, and Marxism-communism are appearing and being propagandized in the West, and social and political organizations with secret worship of Satan are spreading their nets ever wider, acting just as the Antichrist himself will act, "with diabolical craftiness and hypocrisy" (as Bishop Ignatii puts it). The heads of these organizations, these truly "foxes in heart and wolves in soul" (as St. Nilus the Myrrh-gusher of Mt. Athos said) are gradually taking control through out the whole world not only of public and political life, but also of people's religious life. This is all directed to one goal – the preparation of conditions propitious for humanity's accepting the Antichrist and worshipping him as its king and god.

The chief hindrance on the way to the attaining of this goal was Orthodox Russia, the only powerful support of the true Orthodox Christian faith in the world with its Emperor, the sovereign defender and protector of the whole Orthodox Church. In the course of two centuries the "forerunners" of the Antichrist worked systematically and stubbornly to transform the Russian Orthodox Empire into the atheist Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. When this was achieved, a new effort was undertaken with the aim of destroying the Orthodox Church itself, working simultaneously in two directions: by means of horrible, unheard of persecutions, all but surpassing the persecutions of the first centuries of Christianity; and by means of dissolution from within, with the help of Living Church ideas, renovationism, and the planting of all sorts of free-thinking modernist tendencies in the spirit of Protestantism. In the end, in most Orthodox countries which survived devastation, the remnants of the local Churches were made into sorry tools of a power at war with God. Bountiful fruit, however, had been gathered by the "spirit of Antichrist" in other Orthodox churches too, which remained free. They are strongly infected by the poison of free-thinking liberalism and modernism which is leading them to merger with Protestantism. Thank God, there is still a remnant in them which has not bowed the knee before the "spirit of Antichrist" which is ever more and more raising its head! Our Russian Church Abroad is still remaining firm also, although the followers of the approaching Antichrist have created a destructive schism in it, and now they are trying to destroy it completely, wipe it off the face of the earth, using for this all possible means, the chief of which is lying and slander, the natural weapons of the father of lies and slander from the beginning, the devil.

The spectacle in the world is in general quite without cheer, and would be a cause to get discouraged and fall into despair if we did not know that "it is thus written" in the Word of God and all of this must be so.

What should we do and how should we react?

"Apostasy is permitted by God", as one of the great instructors in the spiritual life of our time Bishop Ignatii (Brianchaninov) teaches us, "do not attempt to stop it with your powerless hand. Flee from it yourself, protect yourself from it; that is enough for you to do. Learn to know the spirit of the age, study it, so whenever possible you will be able to avoid its influence... Only God's special mercy is able to stop this all-destroying moral epidemic, to stop it for a while, because it is necessary that everything foretold by the Scriptures happen. Judging by the spirit of the times and the intellectual ferment one must suppose that the building of the Church, which has been shaking for some time, will fall quickly and horribly. There is no one to stop and oppose it. The measures undertaken to support it are borrowed and hasten its fall, rather than stopping it. There is no one who can be expected to restore Christianity! The vessels of the Holy Spirit have finally dried up everywhere, even in the monasteries, those treasures of piety and grace... The salt has lost its savor. In the chief pastors of the Church there remains only a weak, dim, inconsistent and incorrect understanding according to the "letter" which kills the spiritual life in Christian society and destroys Christianity, which is an action, not a letter. It is distressing to see to whom the sheep of Christ have been entrusted, to whom their direction and salvation have been committed. But this has been permitted by God... God's merciful patience delays and postpones the decisive disintegration for the small remnant of those being saved, while those who are decaying or have decayed attain the fullness of their corruption. Those who are being saved must understand this and make use of the time given them for salvation. May the merciful Lord shield the remnant of those who believe in Him! But, this remnant is meager and is becoming more and more so... "Let him who is being saved save his soul," [Vol. IV and the Patericon] says the Spirit of God to remnant Christians.

Since the time when Bishop Ignatii wrote this, the situation in the world has grown worse, not better. "Since the Antichrist will have as his main task the drawing away of everyone from Christ," says the other great spirit-filled preceptor of our time, Bishop Theophan the Recluse, "he will not appear as long as royal authority remains in force. It will not allow him to develop, it will hinder his acting in his own spirit. This, then, is the "one who holds back" (II Thess. 2:7). But when royal authority falls, and the people everywhere institute self-government (republics, democracies), then there will be room for the Antichrist to act. It will not be hard for Satan to prepare voices in favor of renouncing Christ, as experience showed during the French revolution. There will be no one to pronounce an authoritative veto. And so when such regimes, suitable for disclosing the Antichrist's aspirations are instituted everywhere, then the Antichrist will appear. [Commentary on II Thess. 2:6, page 504]

What Bishop Theophan predicted has happened: the Antichrist's "forerunners" have done their job – the "spirit of Antichrist" is installed everywhere, having everywhere established "regimes suitable for disclosing the Antichrist's aspirations". Remembering Bishop Ignatii's words that "the Antichrist will be logical, just, and the natural result of the general moral and spiritual direction of mankind", we leave it to the reader attentive to surrounding life to draw his own conclusions from what has been said above, while, on our part, we can only repeat: "Let him who is being saved save his soul!"


http://archbishopaverky.blogspot.com/2011/02/spiri...


For those who wish to listen to a reading of this article:

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<![CDATA[Bishops: Do not persecute the Priests for preserving Orthodox traditions! – By Metropolitan Ambrosios of Kalavryta]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/bishops-do-not-persecute-the-priests-for-preserving-orthodox-traditions https://orthodoxethos.com/post/bishops-do-not-persecute-the-priests-for-preserving-orthodox-traditions His Eminence Metropolitan Ambrosios is the former Metropolitan of the Metropolis of Kalavryta and Aigialeia in northern Greece. What follows is a translation of his open letter, posted (in Greek) on Aktines on June 22, 2021."

"Your Beatitude,

Holy Fathers,
Brethren in Christ,

The Body of Christ, the Church, is being attacked. It is being attacked by dark powers, foreign special interest groups that pull the strings of mankind.

And they have control over governments, but also in religions everywhere – even in the One True, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

This demonic control and the calamities it brings along are allowed by God, as a consequence of the fall and the estrangement of mankind.

God's people are under persecution.

They have sinned and they pay the price.

A symbol of the fallen Greek Orthodox people is the hierarchy of Church.

As God’s people, fully aware of our sinfulness and shortcomings but with faith in the Holy Triune God and in His mercy, we are determined to place ourselves at the brake of the vehicle that defiles homeland and Church.

We bear the burden and responsibility, which came out from the Canons of the Ecumenical Councils, from the words and exhortations of the Holy Fathers of our Church, and from the struggles and the sacrifice of ethno-martyrs and holy martyrs.

The Church is not an autonomous organization. She has no opinion or position of her own.

Her ministers (deacons, presbyters, bishops, patriarchs, synods) are not authorized to say and do whatever they feel is appropriate, according to their personal opinion.

How much more under the urging and pressure of political authorities.

The Church did not build her faith. It is not her creation. She received it and serves it.

In recent years, especially after the sacrilegious Kolymbari synod, we have lived through the trampling of Holy Tradition, of the Gospel of the Orthodox faith.

We have become listeners to a new rhetoric, about social responsibility, love of neighbor, indiscriminate obedience, and oikonomia. An “oikonomia” that has become lawless.

It has become a deluded bishop-worship and an absolute submission to the dictates of the authorities.

Wherever there is Orthodoxy there are wounds.

We have seen sacraments of heretics being recognized.

We have witnessed bishops donating the Qur'an as a sacred book.

Hierarchs have hidden their pectoral crosses so as not to make others uncomfortable.

We were stunned as we witnessed common prayers and concelebrations of bishops of the Greek Church, with heretics, Muslims and schismatics.

We have seen metropolises locking churches and threatening priests.

We have seen masks in front of the Holy Altar, before the holy icons and the holy relics streaming with grace, gloved hands of clergymen handing out antidoron, many times in inappropriate containers and elders protecting their stole from being kissed.

We have seen a single-use disposable spoon for distributing of the immaculate Body and Blood of our Christ.

We saw the Lord “resurrected” on the second day.1

We have seen bishops prohibit the sacrament of Confession.

A new religion has been established and the Mysteries of Christ have been defiled, the consequence of long-standing violations of the Holy Rudder, the Canons of the Fathers, and the Gospel itself.

Holy bishops: You have become more royal than the king. [“Holier than the Pope” -tr.]

You have done more to tear down our faith and deny us Christ, with greater zeal and wrath than the anti-Christian government rules.

You lead the Church into schism.

And when a few pious clergymen resist this demonic atheistic current, reverently offering the Gifts of the Holy Mysteries as before, as immaculate as they received them from Holy Orthodoxy Tradition, with faith and trusting in the Lord, they are given a beating with the bishop’s staff – beaten with suspension, beaten with transfer, beaten by removing their offikia [clergy ranks], beaten with citations from prosecutors.

You punish pious priests. You punish the people of God by depriving them of the salvific Gifts of the Mysteries, or you make them available under certain conditions - conditions that defile and are irreverent toward the Holy Trinity. With masks, with distances and with a limited number of people, you sin against the Holy Spirit.

And the pulpits fell silent. They stopped echoing the word of Truth. They are no longer bases of Orthodox struggle. Instead, they echo government decisions and medical ultimatums. Vaccine advertising campaigns and unholy measures are broadcast by preachers and bishops.

Shame!

And you demand obedience to the Church?

What is the Church? The hierarchy and the clergy? Not the people?

What does Tradition teach us?

Who was the Church?

Saint Gregory Palamas or John Kalekas the Latin-minded?

Saint Mark of Ephesus or Mitrophanes and the rest of the hierarchy?

Saint Maximos the Confessor or all the [Eastern] Patriarchates of his day?

Saint Cyril or Nestorius?

Are not the Saints models of conduct to imitate?

Isn't the Church also triumphant – that included the Saints and Fathers who dogmatized?

What happens if the “Church” you talk about fights against Christ? What happens when it cooperates, applauds and promotes anti-Orthodox laws and practices?

We do not judge, because, as Saint John Chrysostom explains: “‘DO NOT JUDGE, SO YOU WON'T BE JUDGED’ (Mat. 7:1) PERTAINS TO LIVES, NOT TO MATTERS OF FAITH” (PG. 63, 231-232).

We have been witnessing a flagrant violation of the Gospel for some time now in actions, words, and decisions of hierarchs.

And then you ask for indiscriminate obedience?

Didn’t the Apostle Paul say, “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be excommunicated”? (Gal. 1:8).

Didn’t Athanasios the Great say that, “If the bishop or the priest, the eyes of the Church, behave improperly and scandalize the people, they must be deposed. It is preferable for the congregation to assemble without them in a house of prayer than be cast out with them as with Annas and Caiaphas in the Gehenna of fire.

“The eyes of the Church” turned into anti-orthodox preachers and persecutors of clergy who have “committed crimes”.

And their crime? — The preservation of the Tradition of the Holy Fathers of our Church.

How can these clergymen deserve condemnation and not praise, who keep the Tradition of the Holy Fathers at the risk of episcopal and governmental punishments? Don’t you know that by condemning them you condemn the Fathers of our Church? The saints and the martyrs?

Enough is enough!

We will no longer tolerate the continued desecration of our faith.

We will not tolerate punishments for clergymen who have not broken any promise to the Lord, and who struggle though persecuted and reviled for faith and homeland.

We will not permit the discipline of clergy or bishops who have done the minimum of remaining Orthodox and serving the flock without fail and crossing every “t”.

We will take action by every means and in many ways.

The anger that has accumulated here for a long time against those who are corrupting humanity, who are violating our freedom, our rights, our very lives, will be vented on you. Because you betray us.

If you come to your senses and become leaders of the righteous struggle that God blesses, know that you will have an “army” dedicated and determined.

We are determined to fight to the death – but death on the cross.

And if the difficulties pass, you will be blessed and praised for everything.

Show condescension to those who may be difficult to reason with.

But like the child who tries to serve and help his sick father, so we too make a final effort to get you back on the path of Tradition.

Let us embrace brotherly and show respect to our common Fathers.

Let us keep the Traditions and with one mouth let us glorify the most honorable and majestic name of the Lord.

And finally, to our Triune God be honor and glory unto the ages of the ages. Amen.

Metropolitan (former) of Kalavryta and Aigialeia

Ambrosios"

"1. As many know, in 2020, the political authorities of Greece did not permit the midnight Paschal Liturgy, so the Synod directed the clergy to celebrate it before evening, thus on “the second day”, Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath."


Source:

Bishops: Do not persecute the priests for preserving Orthodox traditions! (orthodoxwitness.org)

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<![CDATA[A Courageous Example in Troubled Times: Hieromartyr Vladimir of Kiev's response to the 1890 Cholera Epidemic – "The saint had more services offered and he himself traveled to severely afflicted areas..."]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/a-courageous-example-in-troubled-times-hieromartyr-vladimir-of-kievs-response-to-the-1890-cholera-epidemic https://orthodoxethos.com/post/a-courageous-example-in-troubled-times-hieromartyr-vladimir-of-kievs-response-to-the-1890-cholera-epidemic Original post by Fr. Zechariah Lynch:

In this post I am sharing with you, the reader, two important examples from the life of the New Hiero-martyr Vladimir of Kiev. The accounts are take from his recorded life in “Holy New-Martyrs of Southern Russian” by Vladimir Moss.

The first is an account of how the Saint conducted himself during the time of a cholera epidemic in Russia. Russia saw a number of cholera outbreaks in the 1800s, the particular outbreak in the 1890s is said to have claimed around 200,000 lives. In general, the following example serves to illustrate a saintly response during a epidemic. The reader will note, the saint had more services offered and he himself traveled to severely afflicted areas. We may ascertain the great importance which the prayers of the Church held for the saint and those of his flock.

On January 19, 1891, Bishop Vladimir was appointed Bishop of Samara and Stavropol. His rather brief term of service in Samara (less than two years) constitutes a special chapter in the life of the martyr-metropolitan. It coincided with a famine in Samara, which was followed by a cholera epidemic. During these terrible calamities that befell the Samara region, Bishop Vladimir put exceptional energy into developing various means of helping the people. Through the work of a special committee which he established, he organized widespread assistance for the hungry, cooperated with the parish relief organization, and recommended that arrangements be made for partially and fully subsidized dining halls and tea rooms to feed the hungry. In all of this he not only acted as an organizer and leader of the clergy, but was also actively involved in the work. In his sermons and printed appeals he prompted the clergy and the local populace to assist their unfortunate brothers who were suffering from the famine. In his sermons and various publication, he tried to communicate to the people a healthy, proper attitude toward the epidemic and suggested effective ways of fighting against it. He organized and served at gatherings for the purpose of praying for deliverance from this terrible misfortune. He also conducted funeral services at the cemeteries for those who had died during the epidemic, and fearlessly appeared among the worshippers in places where the threat of cholera was greatest. His personal example inspired other priests to forget their own troubles and alleviate the sufferings of others.”

The second pertinent example from his life is a courageous and bold message which he delivered in the midst of the revolutionary tremors which Russia was experiencing in the early 1900s. In the midst of obvious social disintegration at the hands of socialism, the saint boldly denounced the perpetrators as those who have “renounced God.” The saint rightly understood that the “nest” was abroad, that is outside of Russia. Many of the main funds for Communism came from the Western banking elites. Their program of destroying countries has long been grinding away.

The saint boldly strives to expose the demonic plans that were seeking to destroy the lives of millions. One feels deeply that he felt it was his obligation to do so. Indeed, Christianity loses its savor when it roles over in the face of clearly satanic plans.

He understood the globalist intents even then, stating that they “dream of subduing the whole world.” Although his message was given well over one hundred years ago, his basic observations and warnings ring all the truer today. In fact, much of the world at current reflects the turmoil that he is addressing. Sadly, we no longer have Christian Governments, for most have become active purveyors of the secularist-revolutionary mindset. Once again before the face of humanity is dangled the false hope of “earthly paradise.” The controlled dialectics of revolutionary deconstruction have advanced upon precision lines. Crises are manufactured and exploited to subject people to slavery. While promising freedom, the result will actually end in the imprisoning of the human spirit. In our times the advancing promise conceals itself under things like the “great rest” and “making the world safe from the virus.”

Yet the real agenda is to leave no one in peace. It is the demonic desire to dominate every aspect of human life, yes even down to thoughts.

These deceptive spirits and their sad servants have long been denounced by true Christians.

In the autumn of 1905, when revolution broke out and Moscow was seized by strikes and anarchy, Metropolitan Vladimir powerfully raised his archpastoral voice, rebuking the rebels and exposing the essence of the revolution. Thus on October 16, after the liturgy in the Kremlin Dormition cathedral, he said: “The heart bleeds when you see what is happening around us… It is no longer the Poles, or external enemies, but our own Russian people, who, having lost the fear of God, have trusted the rebels and are holding our first capital as it were in a siege. Even without this we have been having a hard time because of our sins: first harvest failures [in 1891, 1897, 1898 and 1901], then illnesses, then an unsuccessful war [the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-05], and now something unheard of is taking place in Rus’: it is as if God has deprived Russian people of their minds. By order of underground revolutionaries, strikes have begun everywhere, in the factories, in the schools, on the railways… Oh if only our unfortunate workers knew who is ruling them, who is sending them troublemaker-agitators, then they would have turned from them in horror as from poisonous snakes! You know these are the so-called social-democrats, these are the revolutionaries, who have long ago renounced God in their works. They have renounced Him, and yet it may be that they have never known the Christian faith. They denounce her servants, her rites, they mock her holy things. Their main nest is abroad: they are dreaming of subduing the whole world to themselves; in their secret protocols they call us, the Christians, animals, to whom God, they say, have given a human face only in order that it should not be repulsive to them, His chosen ones, to use our services… With satanic cunning they catch lightminded people in their nets, promising them paradise on earth, but they carefully hide from them their secret aims, their criminal dreams. Having deceived the unfortunate, they drag him to the most terrible crimes, as if for the sake of the common good, and, in fact they make him into an obedient slave. They try in every way to cast out of his soul, or at any rate to distort, the teaching of Christ. Thus the commandments of Christ say: do not steal, do not covet what belongs to another, but they say: everything is common, take from the rich man everything you like. The commandments of Christ say: share your last morsel, your last kopeck with your neighbour, but they teach: take from others everything that you need. The commandments of Christ say: give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, fear God, venerate the Tsar, but they say: we don’t need any Tsar, the Tsar is a tyrant… The commandments of God say: in patience possess your souls, but they say: in struggle acquire your rights. The commandment of Christ orders us to lay down our souls for our friends, but they teach to destroy people who are completely innocent, to kill them only for the fact they do not agree with them, and do not embark on robbery, but just want to work honourably and are ready to stand for the law, for the Tsar, for the Church of God…”

Metropolitan Vladimir was faithful to the Truth to the end. On January 25, 1918, he was executed for his Orthodox Christian faith. He was shot numerous times and subsequently bayoneted. When his body was found, the figures of his hands were formed as for a blessing.

May this holy one who ministered both in a time of epidemic and in a time of total social upheaval, serve as an example for us in our own times and struggles. Let us be bold in our confession of faith, and let us serve God without fear.

Source: A Courageous Example in Troubled Times – The Inkless Pen

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<![CDATA[LINKS TO ALL ORTHODOX ETHOS LECTURE SERIES [UPDATED] – OE on Patreon & Crowdcast]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/links-to-all-orthodox-ethos-lecture-series https://orthodoxethos.com/post/links-to-all-orthodox-ethos-lecture-series Platform Pages:

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https://www.crowdcast.io/e/orthodox-ecclesiology/2

  • Lecture Three: The Church in St. Augustine, Nestorius and Chalcedon

https://www.crowdcast.io/e/orthodox-ecclesiology/3

  • Lecture Four: The Church in Ss. Maximos and John of Damascus, and the 6th and 7th Oecumenical Councils

https://www.crowdcast.io/e/orthodox-ecclesiology/4

  • Lecture Five: The Church in the 8th Oecumenical Council & Great Schism

https://www.crowdcast.io/e/orthodox-ecclesiology/5

  • Lecture Six: The Church in Ss. Nicholas Kabasilas and Gregory Palamas and St. Mark of Ephesus

https://www.crowdcast.io/e/orthodox-ecclesiology/6

  • Lecture Seven: The Church in The Kollyvades Fathers, St. Hilarion (Troitsky) and Fr. George Florovsky

https://www.crowdcast.io/e/orthodox-ecclesiology/7

  • Lecture Eight: The Church in St. Justin Popovich, Vladimir Lossky and Fr. Alexander Schmemann

https://www.crowdcast.io/e/orthodox-ecclesiology/8

  • Lecture Nine: The Church as Presented in Vatican II and Modern Ecumenism

https://www.crowdcast.io/e/orthodox-ecclesiology/9

  • Lecture Ten: The Church Before the Face of the Religion of the Future

https://www.crowdcast.io/e/orthodox-ecclesiology/1...

  • For the Lecture Series question and answer sessions, go to:

https://www.crowdcast.io/e/orthodox-ecclesiology-qa/

**This series was also live-streamed through The Orthodox Ethos Youtube channel, Twitter account, and Facebook Pages (Profile, Page and Orthodox Survival Group).


6. The Russian New Martyrs and The Catacomb Church: A Type of the End Times

  • Lecture One: Introduction: Russia’s Golgotha, A Type of the End Times

https://www.crowdcast.io/e/russias-new-martyrs--the/1

  • Lecture Two: The Onslaught of Persecution and Resistance under St. Tikhon

https://www.crowdcast.io/e/russias-new-martyrs--the/2

  • Lecture Three: The Renovationists and the Orthodox Response

https://www.crowdcast.io/e/russias-new-martyrs--the/3

  • Lecture Four: The Satanic Bolshevik Mentality and Methodology

https://www.crowdcast.io/e/russias-new-martyrs--the/4

  • Lecture Five: The Lives and Witness of the New Martyrs (1917-1927)

https://www.crowdcast.io/e/russias-new-martyrs--the/5

  • Lecture Six: The Declaration & Stance of Metropolitan Sergius (“Sergianism”)

https://www.crowdcast.io/e/russias-new-martyrs--the/6

  • Lecture Seven: Consequences of the Declaration and the Orthodox Response

https://www.crowdcast.io/e/russias-new-martyrs--the/7

  • Lecture Eight: The Catacomb Church

https://www.crowdcast.io/e/russias-new-martyrs--the/8

  • Lecture Nine: The Lives and Witness of the New Martyrs (1928-1938)

https://www.crowdcast.io/e/russias-new-martyrs--the/9

  • Lecture Ten: Conclusion: Lessons for the Last Christians

https://www.crowdcast.io/e/russias-new-martyrs--the/10

  • For the Lecture Series question and answer sessions, go to:

https://www.crowdcast.io/e/russias-new-martyrs-q--a

**This series was also live-streamed through The Orthodox Ethos Youtube channel, Twitter account, and Facebook Pages (Profile, Page and Orthodox Survival Group).

]]>
<![CDATA[Understanding the Important Distinction between Church-Organism vs. Church-Organization – from St. Mikhail Novoselov]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/important-distinction-between-church-organism-vs-organization https://orthodoxethos.com/post/important-distinction-between-church-organism-vs-organization One should distinguish between the Church-Organism and the Church-organization. Only to the Church-Organism are some names for the Church applicable, which we find in the Holy Scripture; for example: “glorious, holy, blameless” (Eph. 1: 4), “without spot or blemish” (Eph. 5:27), “Lamb’s wife” (Rev. 19: 7, 21:9), “body of Christ” (Eph.1: 23; Col.:18), “pillar and the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15) and many others. These concepts do not apply to the church organization (or are applicable with great restrictions) and legitimately confuse and reject people.

The Church-Organism is the same in all ages, for it is eternal in essence, and the Church-organization depends on the historical conditions of its existence. The Church-Organism is a pure “bride of Christ, adorned for her husband” (Rev. 21:2), and the church-organization has all the shortcomings of human society and always bears the imprint of human infirmities.

The Church-organism does not include anything that defiles, and in church-organizations wheat and tares grow together—and the need to grow, according to the word of the Lord, to the end of this age (Mt.13: 24-30).

The Church-organization often persecutes the saints of God, and the Church-Organism takes them into its core. How much the church-organization and the Church-Organism do not coincide can be seen from many examples: St. Athanasius the Great, St. John Chrysostom (who was clearly persecuted by an Orthodox church-organization), St. Maximus the Confessor, St. Gregory Palamas and others. The church-organization throws them out of its midst, deprives them of Episcopal sees, etc., and in the church-organism they are and eternally remain the most glorious members.

The Church-Organism is “the pillar and confirmation of the truth,” and the Church-organization is subject to delusions, filled with heresies. And it happens, as can be seen from the previous letters, that a small part of the church-organization is held at the Church-Organism, at the Body of Truth, and most of it is split off, and the truth continues to live in a smaller part.

One can belong to the visible church (organization) externally, and to the Body of Christ (Organism)—certainly internally; and the measure of belonging, determined by the measure of holiness, determines the degree of a person's involvement in the Truth—Christ.

Holy New-Martyr Mikhail Alexandrovich Novoselov (+1938) from “Letters to Friends,” Letter 18.

https://azbyka.ru/otechnik/Mihail_Novoselov/pisma-...


1. About the Church as a living organism

From the very beginning, there were two different ideas about Christianity and the Christian community:

The Jewish concept is now called rationalistic. Christianity is reduced to the personal inner connection of individuals with the Divine Person and to faith in Her [the Church’s] and Her work. At the same time, the Person Himself, as being in heaven, “conceals” everything. The idea of Her is made vague, and Her teaching is put in Her place. And a person “binds himself” not with the Divine Person, but with Her teaching.

Gnosticism degenerated into mystical sects. Mystics build their understanding of Christianity on the principles of the heart, on love for the Person of Christ. They affirm the necessity of knowing the living, visible, and tangible Christ. And in this they are right, for the gospel of Christ contains precisely such an idea. But the mystics are wrong when they seek and “find” a living, tangible, and visible Christ in those places where they seek and [claim] find Him.

Rationalists don't lie, they only narrow down the gospel. The mystics expand—and expand quite correctly—the understanding of the rationalists; but they also (apart from the error of seeking and finding) have a huge gap: they ignore a very important part of the Gospel. This part relates to the essence of the Christian community and to the interconnection of its members.

In the minds of rationalists and mystics, the Christian community is an organization—and nothing else. The members of this organization are related to each other like members of any organization: by a common goal, common beliefs, and common convictions. But in the Gospel we have an indication of a different kind of community, a community as an organism, a community as a living Personality.

This idea of Christianity, as something not only Personal, but also catholic-social, we have only in the teaching of the Church. According to the teaching of the Church, the Church of Christ is not only an organization, but it is still a living Organism, a Living Person, the Body of Christ. Just as Christ once needed a Body to carry out His work, so now, to continue His work, He needs a visible and tangible Body. The present Body of Christ is His Church.

Now an analogy: what does a living apple tree do when it grows? A live apple tree—i.e. some force, which we call life in an apple tree, grabs the dead, inorganic and gives life, makes it alive and organic. It is the same with Christ: the Power of Christ grabs the living only physically, draws it into His Body and endows it with life of a higher order, life that is timeless. Just as something living only by plant life—consumed into man—begins to enliven human life, man begins to live from this plant life. So in the same way a man, drawn into the Body of Christ, begins to live in Christ, and Christ begins to live in him.

The cells of our body all live an independent life, but besides this life they have another life—the one that we give them. The cells of our body, since they live in us, and we live in them, have a common life and connection with each other. If we die then the cells in our corpse, preserving their life, will then lose their life in us and the connection with each other (in the human).

Here is the Apostle, speaking about this, said: When I was drawn into the Body of Christ, I, like a cell, was alive, but the center of gravity of my life and its meaning and significance changed. “I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20). If the cell of our body were conscious and recognized our personal, human, mental life as an individual, then it could say: “I am alive, but it is not I who live, but Ivan Ivanovich lives in me.”

And Christ spoke about this truly. He told the cell: only that cell that begins by losing its cell's life can hope to get life in Ivan Ivanovich. “To preserve your soul, you must first lose it” (Luke 9:24 and others).

Against their will, many, hearing such words, said: “what strange words!” They seem strange to those who have not thought scions and apple trees and will never guess that these words must be understood in the most direct, everyday sense. As soon as you understand these words (“in order to gain your life, you must first lose it”) in a simple manner, you will see that it is impossible to say better and more precisely: in order for the scion to find life (come to life), it must first stop living only as a scion, but begin to live in an apple tree. It is not scions that should “embody” the tree (for what does that mean?). And it is necessary for the apple tree to incarnate (take on the matter of) scions. It was not Paul who became the organism of Christ — this is the Khlyst doctrine, the essence of the Khlysty—but Paul entered, as a part, into the Body of Christ, into the living Organism of Christ, into the Church of Christ—and in exactly the same way as scions enter an apple tree.

For eternal life, not man must incarnate Christ, but Christ must incarnate man. If man were to incarnate Christ, then Christ would be a part of man. And only if Christ incarnated a person, it is possible to say—to put it more precisely—that a person has become a part of the Body of Christ. Christ said that He is the beginning of a new Being, a new Organism (not an organization), that He is the head of this Being. And people—His friends—are members of this Organism. And He spoke absolutely precisely and definitely: since I have eternal life, they can have eternal life—only parts of Me for Himself.

I took the apple tree as a likeness of Christ. I likened a person to scion that only comes to life in an apple tree. Not if in resting in close proximity, but if it becomes part of the apple tree. “I am the beginning of a new life,” Christ said. “I draw people not into an organization, but I draw people into Me, into My life... I am eternal life itself” (John 11:25).

You say you don't understand how you can be drawn into the Body of Christ. Christ spoke a lot about this, and it all comes down to the likeness of an apple tree and a scion. Is it possible to explain how the scion is drawn into the tree and becomes alive? “Anyone who has heard from the Father about the need to be drawn in, is drawn in.” Divine power acts and attracts, and nothing else is known. It is also known that some do not resist this force, while others do resist. So, according to the teaching of the Church, we are particles and molecules of the Body of Christ, if we do not resist the Power of Christ drawing us into the Body of Christ.


2. About “contemporary Orthodoxy”

Now I can answer the question of what is contemporary Orthodoxy from the point of view of the teachings of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of Christ.

I ask the person who asks me: “What do you mean by the words: the Church of Christ? Do you mean only one organization, or do you mean ‘organism’? Do you have any general idea of the community as an organism? If you do not have such an idea, then you should not apply the name Church to the organization, because this only gives rise to misunderstandings. Better to call it a party, society, community, etc. Then the question will appear in a much more definite form, namely: is the contemporary Orthodox party or community similar to a primitive Christian party, organization, or community?” And I answer: “It is not similar at all! The only difficulty here is that it is difficult to judge an organization that includes hundreds of millions. But still the answer remains the same: it is not at all similar!

But if we take the point of view of the Gospel and recognize that the Church is precisely the Church—the temple of the Holy Spirit living in Her, the Body of Christ and the living Organism—then our whole concept changes, and the question loses all meaning. Loses because there is no question in it! After all, the Church is the life in Christ of hundreds of millions of people. Why can we think that this life in Christ of these hundreds of millions or a part of them is not the same as that which the parts and molecules of the Body of Christ lived before?

With such a view of the Church (as a living Organism), pointing to the Synod or “a group of bishops,” according to the teaching of the Church Fathers, is the same as approaching an apple tree, pointing to a hollow, and saying that you affirm “the apple tree is alive that this is something alive and real”; but look—an empty place filled with dirt and dust! And another analogy: a “malignant growth” has grown on the human body. This is how the doctors diagnosed it. Now I ask: “What relation is this growth to the person's personality?” Let's just say: our individuality lives in our body, lives in the hand, leg, ears. The “growth” emerges. I ask: “do we live in this growth?” Christ gives the following answer: “As long as the growth is ‘sensitive’ while you are in pain if ‘pricked’, until then you undoubtedly live in this growth. If “sensitivity” is lost, then let this growth be to you like a tax collector and a sinner. If he “does not obey”, if the sensitivity is lost, then it means that he is no longer part of the body.

Imagine that now with us something that will certainly come and come true: that out of 100 bishops 99 will renounce Orthodoxy, and out of 80 million 79,999,900 people will renounce it. So what of this? Nothing at all! This case would be of great “concern” for the Forsaken, but it would not concern the Church at all. As she was the Body of Christ and the New Organism, she would have remained that way. If Christ did not come to found an organization, but to give life to a higher Organism, then crowds of filthy parasites, monks, etc. has absolutely nothing to do with it. It is as absurd and unreasonable to point to them when wishing to belittle Christianity; as if someone, when arguing about the superiority of a rotten fruit over a faceted diamond, from the point of view of “life” explains that rotten fruit is in compost and manure. And such remarks have always been made, and are always made, and will always be made by Judaizers, i.e. rationalists. They spoke and say to Christ: “Your disciples are in dung! And Christ always answered, answers, and will answer: “Yes! unfortunately, this is so, but since they are alive, they will throw off the manure from themselves.” What is the use that you Jews have nothing, since you are dead?”


https://azbyka.ru/otec.../Mihail_Novoselov/pisma-k...


To read about the life of St. Mikhail Novosyolov:

https://orthodoxwiki.org/Mikhail_Novosyolov

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<![CDATA[Ecclesiastical Affairs & Politics – from Fr. Peter Heers]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/ecclesiastical-affairs-and-politics https://orthodoxethos.com/post/ecclesiastical-affairs-and-politics <![CDATA[COVID Restrictions, Masks, Lockdowns, Vaccines, Pandemic Prophesies and Deceptions According to Saints, Holy Elders and Clergy – A beneficial Database to guide the Orthodox]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/covid-restrictions-masks-lockdowns-vaccines-pandemic-prophesies-and-deceptions-according-to-saints-holy-elders-and-clergy https://orthodoxethos.com/post/covid-restrictions-masks-lockdowns-vaccines-pandemic-prophesies-and-deceptions-according-to-saints-holy-elders-and-clergy See "COVID Restrictions, Masks, Lockdowns, Vaccines, Pandemic Prophesies and Deceptions According to Saints, Holy Elders and Clergy," othodoxtalks.com, Videos & Articles (orthodoxtalks.com) .

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<![CDATA[Elder Gabriel of Mt. Athos (disciple of St. Paisios) Offers Spiritual Counsel for the Faithful during Covid]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/elder-gabriel-of-mt-athos-disciple-of-st-paisios-offers-spiritual-counsel-for-the-faithful-during-covid https://orthodoxethos.com/post/elder-gabriel-of-mt-athos-disciple-of-st-paisios-offers-spiritual-counsel-for-the-faithful-during-covid <![CDATA[VALUABLE LIFE LESSONS from Blessed Elder Athanasius of Grigoriou in a Time of Delusion and Apostasy – Emulate the Saints to Attain their Same End: Perfection and Holiness]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/valuable-life-lessons-from-blessed-elder-athanasius-of-grigoriou-in-a-time-of-delusion-and-apostasy https://orthodoxethos.com/post/valuable-life-lessons-from-blessed-elder-athanasius-of-grigoriou-in-a-time-of-delusion-and-apostasy Introduction:

The Saints were men and women who exemplify the perfection of the Christian life through holiness and virtue we should strive to emulate. In what follows from the life of the Blessed and clairvoyant Geronda Athansius of Gregoriou Monastery (Mt. Athos), we find three valuable life lessons we need to hear and implement during these days in which many Orthodox Christians - clergy and laymen alike - have fallen prey to demonically-influenced fear and secular rationalism to the extent of casting doubt on the power of the Holy Things and replacing sacred traditions with blasphemous innovations. As we see in the life of the clairvoyant Blessed Elder Athanasius of Gregoriou Monastery (Mt. Athos), we learn three valuable life lessons:

1) Whenever we are faced with danger, we must run to God and His Saints first with unwavering faith and trust for help, strength, and protection;

2) Whenever we are sick, we should first and foremost ardently seek the healing Christ offers us in the Hospital of His Holy Temple through the medicine of the Holy Mysteries and Holy Things such as the Relics and Icons since they are conduits of healing and nourishment we need;

3) Whenever people seek to undermine, attack, and persecute our Faith or attempt to introduce anti-Christian innovations, especially when they are blasphemous and cast doubt on the power of the Holy Things, we must be ready to defend the Faith and be willing to sacrifice anything for the Truth and ultimately our own salvation, even if this means suffering imprisonment, fines, loss of jobs etc.. Our obedience to Christ often comes at a heavy price in this vain life, though we should take comfort in knowing that our allegiance to Christ not only lifts us into the heavenly abodes the Saints reached, but any earthly suffering does not even compare to the glorious blessings of eternal life, so long as we remain faithful until the very end.

1) The Locust Swarm vs The Saints

“In the village of Voultisa, which is in the coastal area of Pieria east of Veria, Grigoriou Monastery had a metochion which it had bought in 18557 from a certain Turkish bey. One time the steward, very upset, sought for help from the Monastery. He requested that they send him a devout priest and holy relics. A terrible evil had struck that flat region of the country. Countless armies of locusts were spreading destruction and threatening to devastate everything in sight.

The Monastery council decided to send help immediately. The holy relics were prepared, among which were those of the Holy Martyr Anastasia the Roman. The Monastery had no hieromonk to send more pious than Fr. Athanasius. And he, accustomed to obedience, made a prostration to the Abbot, prayed, received the blessings of the fathers, and set off to do battle against the natural disaster in the village.

When Fr. Athansius arrived in Voultisa, he was greatly pained by the catastrophe, seeing the damage being done by the swarm of locusts. With evident anguish, the villagers were begging God to have compassion on them - they had no other hope. Joyfully they welcomed the help of the Monastery, fervently kissing the holy relics and the hand of the hieromonk from Mt. Athos, by whom they were immediately impressed.

“Father, pray to God that He might make a miracle,” they implored him with tears.

The situation allowed no delay. Armed with the strength of his faith, Fr. Athanasius donned his epitrachelion[*] and began sprinkling with Holy Water. Praying together with him were the Saints, whose relics he was carrying. So many times in his life he had shown obedience to God - would not God be obedient to his earnest supplications? [**] In the deathly silence that gripped the multitude of stricken Christians, the steadfast, majestic voice of Fr. Athanasius could be clearly heard:

“Do not condemn the land,

Nor the vineyard, nor the garden,

Nor the fruitful or fruitless tree,

Or the green leaf…

But go away, depart

From the land.”

While the villagers crossed themselves, Father Athanasius proceeded to the fields, carrying the holy relics in his hands. The people were in an agony of fear and suspense. This assistance from Mt. Athos was their last hope. Would this hieromonk do anything with his saints and prayers? But it was not before their desperation was changed into great joy.

As Fr. Athansius with the holy relics continued walking through the fields, the swarm of locusts, as if smitten by some invisible power, began to leave and fly far away. Shortly afterwards, the sea around them became unrecognizable, strewn with millions of drowned locusts. The region was saved from that horrible pestilence. Never had the place seen such exultation, tears of joy, and kissing of hands afterward.

But what transpired a few days later in the harbor of Grigoriou Monastery surpasses all description. In a splendid procession with incense, banners, and fans, the fathers welcomed Fr. Athanasius with unprecedented emotion. They received him like a Roman general triumphantly returning to Rome after defeating the barbarians.”


2) The Relics of Saints as Conduits of HEALING

“Another protector of the Monastery is the Holy Virgin-Martyr Anastasia the Roman, who in the third century was martyred by Decius with terrible tortures. Towards the west end of the outer courtyard there is a compunctionate church dedicated to her name. Many fragments of her holy relics have been preserved in the Monastery, including portions of her skin which have been fragrant with time. There is a special receptacle containing blood shed at the time of her martyrdom.

St. Anastasia especially cares for the health of the fathers, and for this reason they give her the name “Physician.” It is no easy task to enumerate all the times when the monks were delivered from sickness by her miraculous power. There were periods of time when the infirmarians of the Monastery had nothing to do, because anyone who fell sick had only to make a prostration before the relics of St. Anastasia, and he would be immediately healed Patron Saints! The more one thinks about this reality, the more one marvels. The good God has assigned to the various institutions of the Church “small gods,” if that expression is permissible. How happy he must feel who is overshadowed by their strong wings! One must keep vigil and pray to maintain the best possible relationship with them.”


3) His Love and Respect for Holy Tradition

“During the period of his abbacy, Fr. Athanasius was confronted many times with various problems and difficulties. In his first years he was worn out by the calendar question. He had no desire to align the Monastery with something that was being imposed on them by the modernist spirit.

His stand was reminiscent of the Studite Monks: “We must,” he said, "remain unshaken pillars of the ancient traditions of our Fathers and appear as brave soldiers of Christ, and not say, ‘The Bishops and the Patriarchs tell us!’ What does the Apostle Paul, the mouth of Christ, tell us? ‘Even if angels descend from heaven and preach another Gospel, do not listen to them.’ (cf. Galatians 1:8)...

During his abbacy he had carefully observed the principles established for the Monastery by former abbots. He believed that the more closely we imitate the Fathers in their way of life, the more we will be able to attain their successful end. One deviation from tradition, especially without serious reason, can lead to a second. The second easily accepts a third, and the evil continues…”

----------------------------

Sources:

Archimandrite Cherubim, Contemporary Ascetics of Mount Athos Volume 1, pgs. 112, 114-115, 129-130, 131, 133-134.

* “Let us make note of this: He [Fr. Athanasius] regarded the priesthood with such piety and fear that when he later became Abbot and tonsured some twenty-seven monastics, he never dared to allow anyone to advance to the holy altar. He constantly kept in mind the saying: “Better with a prayer-rope in Paradise than an epitrachelion in hell.”” (pg. 112)

** “Heaven easily bends down towards such souls, and the veils between this world and the other are easily parted asunder.” (pg. 131)

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<![CDATA[A Letter to an Abbess Concerning the Vaccines (English Translation) – By Elder Evthymios of Kapsala, Mt. Athos]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/a-letter-to-an-abbess-concerning-the-vaccines-english-translation https://orthodoxethos.com/post/a-letter-to-an-abbess-concerning-the-vaccines-english-translation Elder Evthymios of the Cell of the Resurrection in Kapsala on Mt. Athos, a disciple of Saint Paisios of Mt. Athos, more than a year after his first letter, now writes a second letter concerning mandatory vaccination in response to questions from an abbess (dated 20 June 2021).

Venerable Abbess, your blessing.

I received your letter some time ago, and I beg your pardon for delaying to respond due to a lack of time. It is indeed difficult for me to respond to letters, but, because I saw your concern for all that has been happening in our days and your good disposition to act according to the will of God, I am responding to you.

I do not know you, and it is difficult for you to meet me as you desire. You ask whether you may share my response with others, to which I have no objection. Besides, my views on the coronavirus and the vaccine are well-known, and I say more or less the same things to pilgrims as well, when they ask me.

Every day, “like the waves of a billowy sea,” pilgrims come to Mount Athos and some of them even to our cell. All of them, as well as those who send letters, have but one anxiety and one question: “What will happen with the obligatory vaccine?” All of their other problems which used to inundate them have now been delegated to second place.

In his attempt to deal with the coronavirus epidemic, his Excellency the Prime Minister of our country has imposed a strict control, which seems to surpass the endurance of our people. He imposed the strictest limiting measures, the greatest fines, and the most extended lockdowns out of all the countries of Europe. He incompetently interfered in the matters of the worship of the Church by closing down the temples and depriving the faithful of the assistance of the sanctifying Mysteries with measures that are exceptionally strict and unfair toward Christians. His actions reveal his inclination to humiliate and weaken the Church.

In fact, in his excessive zeal to deal with the virus successfully, he has proposed a certificate of vaccination and announced that the vaccinated will enjoy privileges. This will not be a simple paper, a usual certificate. If (as we hope not) this is employed, then whoever will not be vaccinated and will not have this certificate will be excluded from everywhere. Τhe Council of Europe (2361/2021) has ruled that the vaccine is not compulsory and that there should be no discrimination between those vaccinated and those not vaccinated. Behaving despotically, the Prime Minister of Greece becomes, as we say, “kinglier than the king”, he divides the Greek people, and he enforces a dictatorship of the worst kind.

Some bishops have undertaken to apply this anticonstitutional and illegal attempt of the Prime Minister, threatening and blackmailing priests, monks, and the people of God to become vaccinated. Do they have such authority to force them to be vaccinated against their will?

Our Saviour Christ would heal only those that asked for healing. As for the rest, before healing them he would ask them, “Do you wish to be made well?” He neither heals nor saves us without our consent, although He greatly desires our salvation. God does not abolish our freedom. He respects our free will, which He Himself gave to us. According to the holy Chrysostom, “God does not force those that wish not” (PG 51, 143).

Our present-day “saviours” do not take us into account at all. Under the pretext of health they abolish our freedom. Then, from the fear of the virus we passed on to the terrorism caused by the compulsory vaccination. Unfortunately we are experiencing division, hatred, and the distinction of people into categories. The present-day situation is somewhat reminiscent of Greece at the time of the civil war. It prepares and prefigures the age of the Antichrist. Just as at that time whoever does not have the mark will be excluded from buying and selling, from public positions, and from travel, similarly, if this certificate of vaccination is put into practice, whoever is not vaccinated will be excluded from everywhere. Fear, coercion, surveillance are the common elements.

The topic of the coronavirus is of course, at first glance, a medical matter, but it has become more of political one (the politicians and the journalists speak more), it is also economic, and it has become a perfect means of enforcement and control. To be sure, it is also spiritual, since under its pretext our free will is abolished, while cells from an aborted fetus were used in the preparation of the vaccine.

Τhere are testimonies going around which are continually increasing, according to which at the airports there is a device that recognises who is vaccinated and also that on certain mobile phones with a certain application a twelve-digit number appears when a vaccinated man approaches. This evidence proves that the vaccinated can be tracked through the vaccine. On all these matters the experts will enlighten us and I believe that God will uncover the whole truth.

Much money has been employed and much advertisement has been done for this vaccine. Many have done it wishing to protect their health. They have every right to do so. We sincerely wish none of the vaccinated to come to any harm. Nevertheless, they should let the people be, let them free to choose. No one should nor has any right to coerce those that do not wish to do the vaccine to be vaccinated.

We are not against vaccines in general. The old, tried vaccines saved many. The newer ones have many unwanted effects. Regarding this specific vaccine people are justifiably fearful. This is a vaccine that became compulsory by law even before it was made, of which the producing companies were exempt from responsibilities and compensations, which was put into use so quickly before it was sufficiently tested, which does not fully protect the vaccinated, and every day we learn of serious side-effects and deaths of vaccinated individuals. We learn these facts not only from statistics but also from acquaintances and relatives of ours.

As we lamented for the death of acquaintances and relatives from the coronavirus, so now we lament for the sick and dead from the vaccine. To escape Scylla (the virus), is going to Charybdis (the problematic vaccine) the only solution? Is there no cure for the virus?

I am not a doctor to express an opinion. Nevertheless, I know doctors that have successfully treated patients with the coronoavirus using antibiotics, vitamins, and other medicine.A doctor that I know gave antibiotics and other medicine to hundreds of patients and no one died. There is a cure for the virus, but some people do not want it. They only promote the vaccine. I read the well-known statements of the French scientist Luc Antoine Montagnier, Nobel prize winner, who said, “There are effective cures which are also cheap, such as azithromycin and hydroxychloroquine. The vaccine is not a cure. Research must turn to the therapeutic approach.” If the vaccine was truly sufficiently tested and effectively protected without side-effects and deaths, people would be internally informed and all of this propaganda and pressure would be unnecessary. They would ask for the vaccine on their own. Too long has our people been plagued with this painful coronavirus affair. Let them at last leave every one free to act according to his judgement, without pressure.

In the difficult years that we are living, more than in any other age, our refuge and salvation is our Church. The Church is not simply the ark that saves us: she is for the difficulties. [I.e. she is particularly meant to help us especially in difficult situations.] Wherever science and human attempts are unable to help, the Church, when she uses her own spiritual means and her own salvific medicine, makes possible even the impossible and heals every disease. She is able to eliminate any epidemic, no matter how contagious and deadly it may be, as Church history teach us. Just as Noah’s ark, which prefigured the Church, contained both clean and unclean animals, so also our Church contains saints and sinners, righteous and unrighteous, masked and non-masked, vaccinated and non-vaccinated. There is room for everyone in the House of God. We must not separate people, nor should we consider the vaccinated as marked deniers of Christ. And again neither should the vaccinated reprove and unbearably pressure those that do not wish to take the vaccine, as is usually the case. In the future, when the truth concerning the vaccine will have been revealed, perhaps many will regret having done it, as some have already regretted it. It has already been announced that two well-known companies have withdrawn their vaccines as being dangerous. Is it with such vaccines that the Prime Minister is trying to build the much-promoted immunity wall? And does he have no responsibility for those who have suffered irreparable damage to their health and for those that have died? Are they playing with people’s health and life? How can we still believe that they are interested in our health?

Venerable Abbess! With these short lines I am expressing my pain of heart and replying to your question, which is similar to the anxiety and concern of a multitude of people. I worry over the division of our people. The political parties have always been partitioning and dividing the people. The Church unites us amongst ourselves into one body with Christ as the head. Even the name “Church” [Ecclesia – ‘congregation’] is a name of unity. History teaches us that whenever the people was divided, disaster followed. Whenever the enemies of our Nation were planning and “meditating evils” for us, they prepared the division of the people beforehand. Before the Fall [of Constantinople] they had divided us with false unions into unionists and anti-unionists, before the Asia-Minor Catastrophe into Royalists and Venizelians, before the civil war into communists and nationalists, and before the Turkish invasion of Cyprus into Macarianists and Antimacarianists. In similar situations the solution is not the submission of the Truth to falsehood for the sake of unity but the selfless struggle for the prevalence of the Truth which sets us free. We are in need of repentance and prayer that God may grant an end to this trial. The Holy Spirit, Whose descent we are celebrating, “calls all to unity”. Because He is also the Spirit of Truth, may He reveal to us the whole truth regarding the vaccines.

I pray the Trinitarian God grant His grace to all that act with pain of heart and sincerity for the health of men, to all that respect freedom, and to all that struggle for the unity of the people, giving hope and strengthening their faith.

With my love in Christ

And boundless wishes,

Priestmonk Euthymios

Cell of the Resurrection

Holy Mountain

7/20 June 2021

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<![CDATA[Abbot Parthenios of St. Paul's Monastery (Mt. Athos) Warns Against C0v!d V@x and Emphasizes Prayer and Trust in God]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/abbot-parthenios-of-st-pauls-monastery-mt-athos-warns-against-c0v-d-v-x-and-emphasizes-prayer-and-trust-in-god https://orthodoxethos.com/post/abbot-parthenios-of-st-pauls-monastery-mt-athos-warns-against-c0v-d-v-x-and-emphasizes-prayer-and-trust-in-god "Speaking at trapeza on the great feast of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, Elder Parthenius, the abbot of St. Paul’s Monastery on Mt. Athos, spoke about a prayer against the coronavirus that he reads at the end of his prayer rule.

In the same talk, he also addressed the issue of coronavirus vaccines, which he advises against receiving.

Video of his talk was published by the Orthodox Vision YouTube channel.

Elder Parthenius, one of the most respected spiritual guides on the Holy Mountain today, notes that while the Athonites have the opportunity to serve the Divine Liturgy and partake of the Body and Blood of Christ, many others are not so fortunate, and are “groaning and suffering.”

“After all, the Lord has arranged things that we cannot understand everything that is happening to us,” he reflects. But it is important that we “ask the Lord and Our Lady the Theotokos to grant us to live well in this year.”

While we may not understand everything, God arranges everything for our salvation, Elder Parthenius teaches. We must pray that “this evil, this storm, this disease will pass us by.”

He also notes that he received a prayer written by a certain Bishop Joel, “a many of holy life,” against the virus. “I got my hands on it too and I made myself a copy,” the Elder says. “When I finish my prayer rule, I recite this prayer: ‘My Christ, Theotokos, cover us; help us!’ That’s where our hope is.”

“Who else can we, who transgress God’s commandments, hope in?” the Elder asks.

He also emphasizes that when he prays, he always entreats the Lord that he might never deny Him, until his last breath, and that he may attain Paradise. He condemns none but himself, trusting only in the mercy of the Lord, Abbot Parthenius says.

“Our hope is that whoever trusts in God will not be ashamed. We must rely not on our own strength, but on the mercy and love or God,” emphasizes Fr. Parthenius.

In the same talk, the respected Elder emphasizes that he does not bless anyone to receive the coronavirus vaccine, because it is too much in line with what is written in Revelation 13, which describes the seal that will be required for people to buy or sell, or live an ordinary life.

The Elder notes that this is not exactly the same thing, but the similarities are apparent. It is especially telling, the Elder believes, that the companies that produce the vaccine are exempt from any liability, which is a mockery of the people.

Others can do as they please, the Elder says, but he does not give his blessing to his spiritual children to receive the vaccine. We must not be afraid, but only trust in God, he emphasizes.

Given how much mankind flagrantly violates the commandments of God, it is no wonder that there are so many misfortunes and tragedies in the world, Elder Parthenius says.

In the spring, the Athonite abbot urged the government to open the churches, that the people might be able to pray more for deliverance from the pandemic."

Source: Athonite elder speaks about prayer against COVID / OrthoChristian.Com

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<![CDATA[Geronda Philotheus of Karakallou Monastery (Mt. Athos) Speaks Out Against C0v!d and V@x – "I see that behind the back of all these events stands the devil, acting as their participant and secret mastermind."]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/geronda-philotheus-of-karakallou-monastery-mt-athos-speaks-out-against-c0v-d-and-v-x https://orthodoxethos.com/post/geronda-philotheus-of-karakallou-monastery-mt-athos-speaks-out-against-c0v-d-and-v-x (The following more accurate and updated translation has been provided by Fr. Zachariah Lynch):

"The Igumen of Karakallou monastery on Mt. Athos, Archimandrite Philotheus, shared some of his thoughts about the corona-virus:

“We have a very clear inner sense, that this pandemic has come about not by random chance but has been intentionally created. And then the vaccine appeared, as if for the purpose of shortening and defeating the pandemic.

But we have a very clear inner sense that all of this is artificial; it is controlled and directed by some people, in reality, so that they may implement, not what is said publicly, but rather what they desire. That is, they are striving to achieve some goal that is very important to them.

We witness with what methods and means they use to impose the mandatory reception of this vaccine. They have a greater long-term goal, these dark powers. We see this because the Revelation of St. John the Theologian and other Apostolic Men, who have spoken about the last times and the antichrist, have prepared us for this.

We witness that everything that is transpiring has exactly this goal - this most important goal for them. Certainly, we do not know the exact time when all this will take place, but they desire that their primary goal will be easily realized when the time comes– the application of the mark, the coming mark of the Antichrist. They are preparing everything for this even now.

This explains the obviously dictatorial means they are using to impose the vaccine, and the mass manipulation of consciousness that is being exploited by the mass media and the internet. It is well known that they generously pay newspapers and television channels and so forth.

We do not consider such actions acceptable, moreover when democratic principles and freedom of movement are restricted, and various human rights are infringed upon, and so forth. How do all these restriction correspond to the spirit of constitution and laws? All of this is being carried out under the pretext of a pandemic, which they play over and over again with the help of the creation of new virus strains. Already now they are saying that in October a worse virus will appear, so that under this pretext they might vaccinate the remaining [unvaccinated] people.

However, all these events compel us to think more seriously about everything that is taking place around us. And I see that behind the back of all these events stands the devil, acting as their participant and secret mastermind. How else, if not with the help of the devil, did all these centers of dark power achieve synchronous success, so cunningly and methodically, on a total global scale?

However, our blessed hope and trust is founded upon the mercy of God and the existence of good-will and good-endeavors of many Christians and thoughtful people. For we see that there are people who resist these bad things and themselves feel that something impure and wicked is taking place. But the Lord will certainly reveal many needed things for the right understanding and assessment of the events taking place.

For this reason, seeing all these things, we have heartfelt pain and spiritual concern. We prayerfully ask the Most Pure Theotokos to protect and defend Her people, the people of God, by the grace of God.”"

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<![CDATA[St. Paisios the Athonite on Ecumenism, Common Prayer with the Heterodox, and the Erroneous Ecumenist Phronema concerning the Monophysites]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/st-paisios-the-athonite-on-ecumenism-and-the-monophysites https://orthodoxethos.com/post/st-paisios-the-athonite-on-ecumenism-and-the-monophysites Introductory remarks:

Certain Orthodox Christian clergy and laymen infected with the demonically-influenced super heresy of Ecumenism [1] attempt to discredit and slander the Holy Fathers by saying the Monophysites (non-Chalcedonians) had taught the exact Christology the Orthodox Christians taught at the Fourth Ecumenical Council. Consequently, such individuals fail to recognize that by this logic they are simultaneously making the following erroneous claims:

1) That the Church through its Fourth Ecumenical Council and Holy Fathers erred in anathematizing the Monophysites. What this then leads one to believe is that the 4th Ecumenical Council is not truly an Ecumenical Council but a pseudo-council, and the Holy Fathers were not truly illumined God-bearing Fathers led by the Spirit of Truth but were pseudo-fathers the Church has erroneously canonized and venerated over the centuries.

2) That because the Church supposedly fell into error by anathematizing the Monophysites at the 4th Ecumenical Council, Jesus Christ should be deemed a liar and not the God-Man when He said the Gates of Hades would not prevail against the Church (Mt. 16:16-18) and when He promised Spirit of Truth to guide the Church into all the truth (Jn. 16:13).

3) That the miraculous revelation of St. Euphemia the Great Martyr to be demonic and false [2].

4) That because the Monophysite confession supposedly was the same confession as the Orthodox, and that the Orthodox simply misunderstood the Monophysite's which led to the supposedly erroneous anathema, the Monophysites have always been members of the Orthodox Church, though this reality supposedly has not been so visible over time because of certain prejudices, narrow-mindedness, over-zealotry, and ultra-conservative tendencies. This then leads certain Orthodox clergy and laymen to practice Common Prayer services with the Monophysites, and even commune Monophysites in their Orthodox parishes, and by extension, Orthodox clergy and laymen to "commune" in Monophysite parishes.

St. Paisios the Athonite, whom we commemorate on July 12, had much to say about Ecumenism, Common Prayer with the heterodox, the invalidity of heterodox "mysteries", and the erroneous Ecumenist's phronema concerning the Monophysites, which we read of down below.

Sources:

[1] After St. Ephraim of Katounakia’s divine revelation, he stated “Ecumenism is dominated by unclean spirits.” Likewise, St. Gabriel of Georgia the Fool for Christ says, “Ecumenism is a super heresy.” See “Elder Ephraim of Katounakia, Holy Mountain: Ecumenism is Dominated by Unclean Spirits,” impantokratoros.gr, https://www.impantokratoros.gr/C54EBF09.en.aspx?__cf_chl_jschl_tk__=85604d57dc8d638502fffa3f3def9e4fecd641b5-1615935784-0-AaqW_unwnDE2wx599T4ySJBPKTcxde4PHTO-pFe0eTo2eFVoXRnjso_xRUTviMN5U9wdLk4YKqjFjsVbKlxhcpnockf7oua_sVqFsmXk32Xj5iPboBkrrLWIcu3CjMw8TGHS_eOIDdK-uH0rVzTfjRs0UBm8mVYkrKRKn1kFZ8MIZV29I31OAFLARaC-6m9lSrhjk2mhKo2qUKxxoiQ9MD3AtE4z8mQ5DqSRzJoJbpLQvs6sz-5ia3sR32-2Lqo2g4pqgKP9JMd2eishHK6vXVGqAgi4GaiTGgkdrXuNKcsFG9FSJpUskE6a6GJCXtkW_-fcjy3gJK4jrgy-ml9cSR0yXh-NJWJiIrSIL-JreTcDKgNZ9A401a2rjTMT9Luaf_vbZrnEaSyqrDYqvZ6gwrA citing Holy and Great Synod of the Orthodox Church - A Synod Lacking in Synodicity and Orthodox Self-Awareness (Trikala: Synaxis of Orthodox Romaics “Fotis Kontoglou,” 2016), https://www.impantokratoros.gr/C54EBF09.en.aspx. See also “Edifications,” monkgabriel.ge, Edifications - St. Gabriel Confessor and Fool for Christ's Sake (monkgabriel.ge). See also “False Ecumenism Archives,” orthodoxchurchquotes.com, False Ecumenism Archives - Orthodox Church Quotes.

[2] You can read of the miraculous revelation of St. Euphemia the Great Martyr proving the Monophysite confession to be heretical and opposed to the Orthodox confession at the 4th Ecumenical Council here: The Miracle of Saint Euphemia the All-Praised / OrthoChristian.Com.

Part 1:

“Today unfortunately, the European courtesy has come in and they try to show themselves as being nice. They wish to show superiority and finally they end up worshiping the two horned devil. “One religion, they tell you, should exist” and they level out everything. Some also come to me and tell me, “All of us who believe in Christ should create one religion.” Now it is as if you are telling me, I told them, about gold and copper, so many carats of gold and that much copper, that was separated, to gather them and make them one again. Is it correct to mix them again? Ask a jeweler. Is it proper to mix trash with gold? So much struggle was waged to distil the dogma. The Holy Fathers must have known something for prohibiting the relationships with the heretics. Today they say: “We should pray together not only with the heretics but also with the Buddhist and with the fire worshiper and the demon worshiper. The Orthodox must also be present in common prayers and in their conferences. It is a presence.” What presence? They resolve everything with logic and justify the unjustifiable. The European mind also believes that spiritual matters can also come into the Common Market. Some of the Orthodox who are shallow and wish to make a promotion, “a mission,” they arrange conferences with the heterodox to cause a sensation, believing this way that they promote Orthodoxy, by becoming so to speak “Hungarian goulash” with the false believers. Then the super-zealots take hold of the other end; they also blaspheme against the Mysteries of the New-calendarists, etc. and deeply scandalize the souls who have piety and Orthodox sensitivity. On the other hand, the heterodox come to conferences, act like teachers, take whatever good spiritual thing they find from the Orthodox, they process it, they give it their own color and mark and they present it as a prototype. And the strange contemporary world becomes touched by such strange things and is spiritually destroyed. The Lord though at the appropriate time will present the Marks, the Eugenikos and the Gregory Palamas’ who will assemble all our deeply scandalized brothers, to confess the Orthodox faith and strengthen the traditions of the Church and give great joy to our Mother, the Church.”

(Source: The Elder Paisios on common prayers (impantokratoros.gr))

Part 2:

“He [St. Paisios] particularly respected the Ecumenical throne. He recognized its pan-orthodox mission and understood the difficult position it was in. He prayed a lot and publicly defended it during many instances. As a mouthpiece we witnessed the Elder to be a strong fighter against the heretics. On matters of faith he was precise and uncompromising. He had a great Orthodox sensitivity and for this he would not accept common prayers and communion with non Orthodox persons. He would stress: "For us to pray together with somebody, we must agree on the faith". He would break his relationship or avoid meeting clerics who participated in common prayers with the heterodox. The "mysteries" of the heterodox he would not recognize and he would advise that those who were coming over to the Orthodox Church be properly catechized before baptism. He fought intensely against ecumenism and would talk about the greatness and uniqueness of Orthodoxy, information which derived from his heart that was full of divine grace. His life indicated the superiority of Orthodoxy. For a period he stopped, together with almost the rest of the Holy Mountain, to commemorate the patriarch Athenagoras for his dangerous openings to the Roman Catholics. But he would do so with anguish. "I pray" he would say to someone, "so that God cut some days off my life and give them to the patriarch Athenagoras to complete his repentance". About the Anti-chalcedonians (monophysites) he would say: "They [Ecumenists] do not say that they [the Monophysites] did not understand the Holy Fathers but that the Holy Fathers did not understand them [the Monophysites]. Namely, as if they [the Monophysites] are right and were misunderstood [by the Holy Fathers]". He characterized as blasphemy against the Holy Fathers the proposed cleansing of the Liturgical books from the characterizations of the heretics Dioscorus and Sevirus. He said [concerning the Ecuenist mindset], "So many Holy Fathers who had divine illumination and were their contemporaries, [supposedly] did not understand them [the Monophysites] but misunderstood them, and here we come so many centuries later to correct the Holy Fathers? Why don't they even consider the miracle of Saint Euphimia? Is it possible that even she had misunderstood the book of the heretics?" Without seeking to appear as [a] confessor, with his ways, he would react, talk and write to ecclesiastic people. "The church" he would say "is not a boat of every bishop to do what he pleases". His reactions were followed by a lot of prayer and love for the Church but also for those who deviated and by assumed apathy, distinction and greater enlightenment.”

(Source: Elder Paisios the Agiorite on Ecumenism (impantokratoros.gr))

Part 3:

“He considered the Anti-Chalcedonians (that is, the Monophysites [Oriental Orthodox])—along with the other heretics and those of other religions—to be creatures of God and our brothers according to the flesh, in terms of our common descent from Adam; but he did not consider them children of God and our brothers according to the spirit, characterizations he believed applied only to Orthodox Christians. Regarding the Monophysites’ sympathizers and their fervent supporters among the Orthodox, he observed, “They don’t say that the Monophysites didn’t understand the Holy Fathers—they say that the Holy Fathers didn’t understand them. In other words, they talk as if they’re right, and the Fathers misunderstood them.” He considered proposals to erase from the liturgical books statements identifying Dioscorus and Severus as heretics to be a blasphemy against the Holy Fathers. He said, “So many divinely enlightened Holy Fathers who were there at the time didn’t understand them, took them the wrong way, and now we come along after so many centuries to correct the Holy Fathers? And they don’t take the miracle of Saint Euphemia into account? Did she misunderstand the heretics’ tome too?” Without trying to seem like a confessor of the faith, the elder, in his own way, expressed his opposition regarding various matters, speaking to and writing ecclesiastical figures. “The Church,” he would say, “isn’t the ship of each bishop to do with as he pleases.” These reactions of his were accompanied by much prayer and love, not only for the Church, but also for those who were deviating from the faith; and all was the fruit of dispassion, discernment, and enlightenment from above. The Fourth Ecumenical Council was held in Chalcedon in 451. The Council taught that Jesus Christ had two natures, divine and human. Those who rejected this teaching became known as Monophysites, from the Greek words for “single nature.” The Council decided in favor of the dogma of two natures in Christ, and it condemned those who rejected its authority and persisted in their errors, expelling them from the Body of Christ. The various communions descended from those who rejected the Council have been known by a variety of names, including Monophysites, Non-Chalcedonians, the “Lesser” or “Separated” Eastern Churches, Copts, and Jacobites; and in latter times by other names, including Miaphysites, Henophysites, Pre-Chalcedonians, and Oriental Orthodox. The conclusions of the Fourth Council were affirmed at the Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Ecumenical Councils, and the Fathers of the Council are celebrated yearly on the Sunday between July 13 and 19. The elder refers to the claim among supporters of union with the Non-Chalcedonians that the disagreement at the Fourth Ecumenical Council was essentially a tragic misunderstanding, the Holy Fathers there present failing to consider that people of differing backgrounds sometimes use different words to refer to the same thing. Dioscorus was among the leaders of the anti-Orthodox at the Fourth Council, and Severus was one of the Council’s most fervent critics. Both are regarded as saints by Non-Chalcedonians (Monophysites). The Church’s liturgical texts, however, speak of the Fourth Council’s victory over heresy, some specifically identifying Dioscorus and Severus as enemies of the Faith. A union of the sort the elder rejected would require all these references to be deleted; and, in general, a rewriting of liturgical texts, saints’ lives, and educational literature touching on the Fourth Council. The Church at which the Fourth Council met housed the relics of Saint Euphemia, and, after prolonged discussion failed to produce an agreement, it was decided to place each party’s confession of faith (or “tome”) in her tomb and supplicate God to reveal His will in the matter through His Saint. The imperial seal was set on the tomb and a guard appointed, and those present spent days in fasting and prayer. When the tomb was opened in the presence of all, the tome of the Orthodox was found in the saint’s right hand, while that of Dioscorus and his party was at her feet. This miracle is commemorated by the Church on July 11: “O Euphimia,” reads one hymn, “Christ’s comely virgin, thou didst fill the Orthodox with gladness and didst cover with shame all the heretics; for at the holy Fourth Council in Chalcedon, thou didst confirm what the Fathers decreed aright” (Great Horologion, p. 541).”

(Sources: Elder Paisios’ Thoughts on Anti-Chalcedonians and their Supporters | lessons from a monastery (wordpress.com) See also Saint Paisios the Athonite: On the Oriental "orthodox" - YouTube).

Apolytikion of St. Euphemia the Great Martyr:

O Euphemia, thou didst gladden the Orthodox, and put the heretics to shame. Thou didst confirm the Fathers' teaching at the Fourth Council. O glorious Martyr, entreat Christ our God to grant us His great mercy.

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<![CDATA[The Christian “Special Forces” Fighting Against the Antichrist – Elder Ephraim of Philotheou and Arizona]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/the-christian-special-forces-fighting-against-the-antichrist https://orthodoxethos.com/post/the-christian-special-forces-fighting-against-the-antichrist The Facebook video link: https://www.facebook.com/otElders/videos/511506100163348

The full English transcript: https://otelders.org/signs-of-the-end-times-set/the-christian-special-forces-fighting-against-antichrist/

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<![CDATA[Elder Philotheos Zervakos - Pastoral Care for Married Couples & The Evil of Abortion – "If they have faith in God, even if they obtain 20 or 50 children - God, Who gives and nourishes the birds of the sky, will provide for them!"]]> https://orthodoxethos.com/post/elder-philotheos-zervakos-pastoral-care-for-married-couples-and-the-evil-of-abortion https://orthodoxethos.com/post/elder-philotheos-zervakos-pastoral-care-for-married-couples-and-the-evil-of-abortion "Because I saw that it was necessary for me to answer you, I write you the following: Tell the couple about which you wrote, where the husband does not want children whereas the wife wants them, that God's will must be done and not the devil's. God allowed marriage for the birth of children and blessed it. Whereas the man-killing devil, when he is not able to murder, puts brother against brother and advises men to murder. He advises the parents to murder their children inside the womb. The husband who does not want children, who does not listen to God, but prefers to hear the devil and takes his wife and pays the doctors to do abortions, becomes a murderer, not of foreign people, but of his own children. The wife, when she is pregnant, must not listen to her husband and have an abortion and become a murderess, but if her husband forces her, she should protest, she should go to the priest, or to the Metropolitan and seek help, and if her husband insists she should divorce him.


There are two solutions for this matter. The one is that if they do not want children, not to have relations anymore, but to practice chastity and keep continence. This is done with the agreement of both spouses and by economy so that they not become murderers. If they do not like this solution, but prefer to listen to the devil and to murder their children they should prefer to separate. If they have faith in God, even if they obtain 20 or 50 children - God, Who gives and nourishes the birds of the sky, will provide for them! If the husband does not have faith then he will not be able to provide for his own self and he will be condemned to eternal hell... Let them be very careful and let them listen and do what I tell them so that they will have God's blessing and inherit the eternal kingdom of the Lord. If again they don't listen, they will receive a curse from God and will inherit, with the devil, eternal hell. I pray God enlightens them to accept my counsel, because obedience is life, while disobedience is death..."


Elder Philotheos Zervakos Paternal Counsels Volume II, published (in English) by Orthodox Kypseli, Thessaloniki, Greece, 2005, pages 20-21.


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"There is no worse crime than that which happens in Greece, for parents to kill 300,000 children each year before they are born. It exceeds even Communism, and all heresies and evils. Because if they had let their children be born, baptised them, and then killed them with a knife, the children would have gone as Christians and the responsibility of the parents would be less than now (in abortion) where they have also killed the child's soul. God, of course, will compensate because in the dwellings of the Heavenly Father there are many mansions. Parents, however, reveal their hatred for their children and I wonder why God has not thrown fire the way He did on Sodom and Gomorrah. The sodomites did other terrible things, but they did not reach this level. The parents that agree to abortion, in this way, supersede the evil of Sodom and Gomorrah. So, great wrath will come. Many things happen, especially to big evils.

Lewdness and the abortions that women do... such great evil in the world never happened in any age for mothers to kill 6 to 10 children and not feel any regret of conscience, who, if they had a little shade of repentance and feeling, would open tombs and enter into them to suffer, but they are unfeeling. They confess sometimes, but without repentance. This is one thing and the second is the nakedness of women. Now they walk around bare, and the men are bare also - they are not much better - but more so the women... and this is not possible for God to endure. He endured the sinners of Noah's time and of Sodom and Gomorrah, but they had not reached this level to walk around naked and to expose their filthy bodies before men, to attract and draw them into sin. God is long-suffering and fore-bearing, but his tolerance also has limits. It is never possible for God - who always punishes sin - to allow such evil to happen without punishment. We should only be ready.


Learn that it is a commandment of God for parents to have as many children as God would be willing to give them. It is also my order and advice. Couples who don't keep the Divine command - to have as many children as God would give them - will be punished. Also, whoever hinders them from keeping this Divine command will definitely be punished both in this life and also in the next."


The Truth About Abortions, published (in Greek) by Orthodox Kypseli, Thessaloniki, Greece, 2011, page 90-91


https://sites.google.com/site/abortioninformationf...

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