Amongst the Montenegrin people there is an innumerable amount of stories of miracles through the holy relics of Saint Basil of Ostrog. One of the most interesting stories amongst them is the story of the United States Senator William (Bill) Barr.
His wife was Dr. Dojna Galic Barr, a prominent American psychiatrist with a Montenegro heritage, who published a book named Blue Pigeon where she documented the visit of her husband to the Monastery of Saint Basil.
The Republican Senator from Illinois survived an assassination attack in 1970. Five sticks of dynamite were placed beneath his green "Cadillac" limousine and exploded when the driver turned the key to start the ignition. This occurred on June 2, 1970 and when it happened all news and radio stations were briefly cut off to broadcast the news of this assassination attempt. The Police Department immediately began an investigation and it was for a long time held up on file, but it was never discovered who was behind this heinous act and eventually investigations ceased. Police suspected that it involved someone who was bothered by this admired politician, who had lead a group of five fellow senators in the investigation to allow blacks to live in an urban complex along with whites, which bothered many racist individuals.
Senator Barr was wounded and the doctors where not able to save his right leg. The remaining pain created much difficulty for him and the doctors where unable to help with the pain of the amputated leg or the constant fever and other related medical issues such as the constant burning through his muscles. Doctors tried all possible methods to control the pain: hypnosis, acupuncture, drugs such as morphine and several operations. Nothing worked.
According to the Senator, one night he had an unusual dream in which he visited a small white church on the cliff of a mountain. The dream kept reappearing night after night, and an old man with white hair and beard and a language he did not understand walked him from room to room of this church while at the same time healing ill people in the church with his touch. He told his wife about the dream, but neither him nor her understood it.
While he was looking for medicine that could help him with his pains, the Senator was informed by a doctor of a maker of modern prosthetics whose heritage was from Yugoslavia and lived in Lansing, Michigan. Unfortunately he had died but was succeeded by his son named Jane. During a visit to the man's office he noticed a picture of a small white church and an icon of a white haired Saint Basil on the reception wall. He eventually received the prosthesis and was able to walk almost normal, but was still in severe pain.
Senator Bill decided to visit Jane again to find out more about Saint Basil, since he was haunted by this saintly figure. From Jane he found out everything about Ostrog and decided to visit the monastery. Jane agreed to go with him with a group of prosthetic patients.
He made this trip in 1980 together with the group of other patience who lost limbs. In the days before the trip the Senator fasted in a strict Orthodox manner for forty days and learned the "Our Father" in the Serbian language with the help of his Orthodox wife, and he read about Saint Basil and his miracles. During his stay in Montenegro he walked up to the Upper Monastery daily with much pain because he was strangely attracted to the place. It should be noted that this walk lasts about an hour and is uphill. He stated that these visits could not compare to anything else in life and he neither cared how difficult it was nor how long. Every day the pains became less and less, especially as he kneeled in front of the relics of Saint Basil.
Later, he said: "I admit, I was a skeptic...I thought it may be just a superstition. But this is a phenomenon that is impossible outside the Church. I saw blind, deaf, dumb patients carried on stretchers, children and adults, all climb uphill to the monastery either on foot or in a car. I believe in God's miracles, for I am a witness."
While in Ostrog William Bill Barr was moved towards Orthodoxy through Saint Basil of Ostrog. He vowed to devote his life to helping people with amputated body parts all over the world, and spread the knowledge of the benefits of the new discoveries in modern prosthetics.
He returned home from his trip with no pain at all and with a great faith in his heart and soul, and three icons - one for his wife, one for the house, and one that he kept always on his key chain.
As he had promised at the shrine of St. Basil, Bill Barr founded an Institute in which the best doctors and nurses in prosthetics worked. He also organized mobile clinics throughout America, Africa and the Middle East. He especially helped youth that were victims of terrorist attacks. In his humanitarian campaigns he would often fly as the pilot. From one mission he was not to return home however.
One day Dojna was informed by telephone from Washington that a helicopter carrying a clinic crashed and burst into flames. Among the victims were Senator Bill and Jane. Only portions of their body parts were recovered. Among the recovered items given to Dojna was the key chain with the icon of Saint Basil.
For more about Saint Basil and his Monastery, see here.
Above is a video of Dr. Dojna Galic Bar in which she talks about nostalgia towards Serbia, about her husband (she doesn't mention the story about St. Basil of Ostrog), her life in the States, and about the various recognition and rewards she has received for two of her novels. She also talks about French sculptor and graphic artist Camille Claudel, who, unfortunately has little recognition in the world of her beautiful artwork and was estranged from her family, which led to her mental illnes and confinement in an asylum. Mrs. Galic-Bar also talks about her apolitical views, hence, mentions Barack Obama, the danger of terrorism, and the sin of black slavery in the history of the U.S. She states how she and her husband condemned the segragation of blacks in the USA and the pain it caused, and how her late husband Bill Bar, as a white man, protested for their rights and liberation while being a senator. (Many thanks to Sladjana Vukcevic for this summary)
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Amongst the Montenegrin people there is an innumerable amount of stories of miracles through the holy relics of Saint Basil of Ostrog. One of the most interesting stories amongst them is the story of the United States Senator William (Bill) Barr.
Serbian Church glorifies Father Justin Popovich, Father Simeon of Dajbabe
The Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church has released this communique on April 29, 2010:
At its afternoon session on April 29 of this year, the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church unanimously adopted the recommendations of the responsible diocesan bishops and added to the diptychs of the saints of the Orthodox Church the names of Archimandrite Justin Popovich spiritual father of the Chelije Monastery near Valjevo of blessed memory (1894-1979), hereafter known as our Venerable Father Justin of Chelije, and Simeon Popovic, abbot of the Dajbabe Monastery near Podgorica (1854-1941), hereafter known as our Venerable Father Simeon of Dajbabe.
The liturgical commemoration of our Venerable Father Justin will be on June 1 on the Old Calendar (June 14 according to the New Calendar), and the commemoration of our Venerable Father Simeon will be celebrated on March 19 on the Old Calendar (April 1 on the New Calendar).
The festal glorification of these newly-canonized God-pleasing ones will take place at the Holy Hierarchical Liturgy of the Holy Assembly of Bishops next Sunday, May 2, at St. Sava Church on Vracar in Belgrade, beginning at 9:00 AM.
O our Venerable and God-bearing Fathers Justin and Simeon, pray to God for us!
See pictures here.
Message from Ecumenical Patriarch Secretariate in Mexico
In conformity with the canonical responsibility of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the diaspora, and sharing the vision of His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch BARTHOLOMEW, the Holy Metropolis of Mexico is pleased to announce that, in an unceasing and continuing mission outreach ministry effectively being pursued by the Holy Metropolis of Mexico for these past twelve years, with active ministries in Haiti, Cuba, Costa Rica, Colombia, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Venezuela, and following months of catechetical and pastoral preparation by the Mitered Archimandrite Andrew (Vujisić), Archiepiscopal Vicar for the Holy Metropolis, and upon the written request and petition of Messrs. Andrew Girón and Michael Castellanos, leaders of a religious community in Guatemala, the heretofore Orthodox Catholic Church of Guatemala (OCCG), has been canonically received into the Holy Metropolis of Mexico.
In announcing this exciting development, His Eminence Metropolitan ATHENAGORAS of Mexico expressed his great pleasure in welcoming the OCCG which was received in its entirety, including their former clergy, seminarians, lay ministers, catechists and affiliated membership into the canonical family of the Orthodox Church. Following their official reception, the leaders of OCCG, Messrs. Andrew Girón and Michael Castellanos traveled to Mexico City where on the weekend of March 19-21, they were ordained to the Holy Priesthood, receiving the title of Archimandrite.
The OCCG has an approximate membership of 527,000 faithful and catechumens, overwhelmingly indigenous, with 334 churches in Guatemala and southern Mexico, with 12 (formerly OCCG) clergymen and 14 seminarians, who are assisted in their pastoral ministry by 250 lay ministers and 380 catechists. The administrative offices of the OCCG are located on 280 acres of land, with a community college and 2 schools with 12 professors / teachers. Additionally, the OCCG has an established monastery located on 480 acres of land. Fourteen students from Guatemala, with full scholarship, are now enrolled in the St. Gregory Nazianzen Orthodox Theological Institute Licentiate degree program. The seminary is fully accredited by the Holy Metropolis’ Department of Education.
The reception of the former OCCG into the canonical fold of the Orthodox Church, is in accord with the ministry of the Holy Metropolis of Mexico which, since 1996 has been answering the command of our Lord to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). By directive of Metropolitan ATHENAGORAS, Mitered Archimandrite Andrew (Vujisić) has now assumed the arduous task of preparing qualified men and women, indigenous to Guatemala and the Latin American culture and experience, for leadership roles in the Orthodox Church, thus advancing apostolic diakonia and outreach into the broader region, and creating an environment, that while fostering respect for indigenous cultures, will develop a proper knowledge and understanding of the Orthodox faith, leading our new Guatemalan family to a spiritual and sacramental life, an Orthodox phronema, and orthopraxia.
Mexico City, April 7th 2010
FROM THE OFFICE OF THE HOLY METROPOLIS
Telephone: (011) 52 55 5294 4460, Fax: 52 55 5294 2678
Fr. Deacon Daniel Williamson
Archbishop Demetrios Visits Ecumenical Patriarchate and Athens
Apr 29, 2010
GOA Press Release
NEW YORK – Archbishop Demetrios of America made a five-day trip to Constantinople and Athens. He arrived in Phanar on Friday, April 23 – the feast of the St. George the Trophybearer – in order for his visit to coincide with the visit of His Beatitude Theophilos III, Patriarch of Jerusalem to the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
The next day, the Archbishop was present at the official welcome of the Patriarch of Jerusalem and his delegation of Hierarchs and clergy who had come from the Holy Land for the re-opening of the Jerusalem Patriarchal Metochion of St. George in Neochori. After the formal reception of His Beatitude, the Archbishop participated in a meeting with the two Patriarchs and other Hierarchs aiming at a final resolution of pending issues related to the Palestinian-Jordanian communities in the United States, which concluded successfully.
On Sunday, April 25, the Archbishop attended the Divine Liturgy with His All Holiness. The Liturgy was celebrated by the Patriarch of Jerusalem and his synodia in the Metochion of St. George. In the afternoon, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in a special meeting with the Archbishop reviewed the arrangements for the forthcoming Episcopal Assembly of North and Central America.
The next day, the Archbishop traveled to Athens. On Tuesday April 26, the Archbishop visited in succession His Beatitude Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece, Prime Minister George Papandreou, Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs Dimitris Droutsas, and Foreign Affairs Chief of Protocol Ambassador Aikaterini Boura (formerly the Consul General in New York). In all the above cases the Archbishop had substantive discussions concerning Greece and the Omogeneia in the U.S. The Archbishop, during the same day, also had two meetings with the advance teams that prepare Ionian Village for the summer sessions.
Upon his arrival in New York yesterday, Archbishop Demetrios was informed about some false reports in the Media referring to information of a supposed resignation. His Eminence stated categorically that the reports were baseless and patently false. The Archbishop further added that there is no discussion about any resignation whatsoever. He said that he is looking forward in the coming years to the continuation of the sacred and vital mission and work of the Holy Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, with the same faith, zeal, methodical planning and love, especially in view of the difficulties confronting our contemporary world.
Charles Paul Freund
From the February 2000 issue of Reason
The last mystery surrounding the infamous anti-Semitic pamphlet Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion--the identity of the 1904 hoax's author--finally has been solved. According to the Russian historian Mikhail Lepekhine, the Protocols were concocted by a Russian propagandist named Mathieu Golovinski as part of a monarchist scheme to persuade Czar Nicholas II that the capitalist modernization of Russia was really a Jewish plot to control the world. Golovinski's handiwork--24 subversive "protocols" that purport to be the minutes of a secret "Zionist" conclave--was to become a bulwark of anti-Semitic paranoia and an essential text of Nazism. The Protocols remain dear to credulous paranoids throughout the world.
Historian Lepekhine discovered Golovinski's authorship in Russia's long-closed archives and published his findings last November in the French newsweekly L'Express. Golovinski had been linked to the work before: The German writer Konrad Heiden identified him as an author of the Protocols in 1944.
The Protocols have been known to be a forgery since 1921, when The Times of London revealed that they had been largely copied from an 1864 political tract by a Frenchman, Maurice Joly. That work was a commentary on French politics and had nothing to do with Jews. Golovinski, working with such mystical anti-modernizers as the Holy Brotherhood, combined Joly's fantasy elements of world domination with earlier anti-Jewish and anti-Masonic material to produce "evidence" of an overarching Jewish-Masonic plot. Late-Imperial Russia was awash in documentary forgeries, domestic spying, and counterspying, with revolutionaries and the Czarist secret police often involved in complex duplicities. Golovinski himself changed sides after the 1917 revolution, becoming a Bolshevik propagandist.
Of course, a parallel universe of Protocol-believers has continued to claim that the Protocols are authentic, and that any evidence to the contrary is the real forgery. The leading proponent of this view was probably Nesta Webster, who wrote prolifically in the 1920s about purported Jewish conspiracies, and whose anti-revolutionary zeal may have stemmed from her belief that she had been guillotined by French revolutionaries in an earlier incarnation.
The Protocols remain widely sold in the Middle East, are readily available in Japan, and have lately become quite popular in the Balkans. In the U.S., reprints can be found in many Afrocentric bookstores. The Protocols were reprinted in their entirety in William Cooper's popular 1991 conspiracist work, Behold a Pale Horse, though Cooper instructed readers that "any reference to 'Jews' should be replaced with the word 'Illuminati.'"
"That which is set in motion by the Holy Spirit becomes an eternal movement, living and holy; when the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in a man, he who was previously only earth and dust receives the dignity of a prophet, an apostle and an angel of God." -St. Gregory Palamas
Professor Ivan M. Kontzevitch was one of the 20th century's greatest students of Orthodox sanctity, which was encapsulated in his excellent book The Acquisition of the Holy Spirit in Ancient Russia. His magnum opus, this book is a priceless sourcebook of all that he felt important to say about the prayer of the heart, communion with God, asceticism, and eldership. In it he combined careful honest scholarship with a first-hand knowledge of saints with whom he had been in contact while in Russia including the holy elders of Optina Monastery.
One particular elder whom Professor Kontzevitch came to know personally and was his spiritual father was the last elder of Optina Monastery before the 1917 revolution, Elder Nektary of Optina. In fact, Professor Kontzevitch's brother, Bishop Nektary of Seattle, was named after Elder Nektary and also had him as a spiritual father, and the mother of these two brothers, Nektaria, was a nun who had the Elder as a spiritual father as well. She witnessed the destruction of Optina Monastery and many other horrors of the Soviet system (her coffin was found above Elder Nektary's in Optina when his relics were discovered in 1992).
The book The Acquisition of the Holy Spirit in Ancient Russia is not only interesting for its contents, but is also a book which can be judged by its cover. It not only depicts many illumined fathers from whom the uncreated light emanates, but it is also in a peculiar color purple. We are told in the book by the author that this color was chosen with a purpose. He had seen Elder Nektary immersed in God's uncreated light, and this was the color that comes closest to it.
When he in reclusion, Elder Nektary’s spiritual preceptors blessed him, after ten years of exclusive study of spiritual literature, to read secular authors and to study the secular sciences, obviously with the aim that he acquire that knowledge which would enable him to help lead the restless souls of the groping intelligentsia to salvation. He studied science, mathematics, history, geography and classical literature, both Russian and foreign. He spoke to his visitors about Pushkin and Shakespeare, Milton and Krilov, Spengler and Hegart, Blok, Dante, Gogol, Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky. In his only hour of rest after dinner he would ask to have read aloud Pushkin or some fairy tales—either Russian or the Brothers Grimm.
Starets Nektary became close to Constantine Leonti Bolotov, a scholar who became a monk living in Optina, and who used to read his original literary works to him. He studied painting under this academic and throughout his life maintained an interest by sketching icons and closely following new developments in trends and techniques. For example, his sketch of the Annunciation was made in the final year of his life at Optina.
Having a talent for painting, this art was especially close to Starets Nektary. He used to declare, "Currently, the art of painting is on the decline. Previously, before commencing a painting a painter used to prepare himself – both internally and externally. Before sitting down to the task, he would prepare all the necessary items: canvas, paints, brushes etc... and would then paint not only a few days, but years, and sometimes a whole lifetime, like painter Ivanov’s ‘Appearance of Christ to the People’. Great masterpieces were created in those days. Today, painters work hurriedly, without thought or feeling… For example, when painting a spiritual work, it is necessary for the light to emanate from an angel rather than it fall upon him."
The Starets badly wanted a painting to be done of Christ’s Birth. "It is necessary for the world to remember this enormous event. After all, it happened only once in the entire history!… The shepherds are dressed in short frayed clothing, facing the light with their backs to the viewer. And the light should not be white but slightly golden, be totally whole – not as rays or clusters – and only the far corner of the painting should be darkened, so as to remind us that it was night. In order to make it quite clear that this beauty was not human but heavenly and not of this world" added the elder with particular emphasis, "the light from the angels’ configurations must be soft, barely discernible." Another time the Starets mentioned to a girl: "Why were the shepherds worthy to see the angels that night? – Because they were vigilant."
Once the elder was shown an icon, depicting Christ’s Transfiguration, where the light from Mount Tabor contrasted with the dark ganglionic trees in the foreground. The Starets ordered their erasure, explaining that "where there is light from Tabor, there is no room for darkness… When there is this light, every nook and cranny is illuminated."
Regarding fine arts, the Starets had the following to say: "One can apply himself to the arts just as one would to any other activity, for example: carpentry or rearing cows. But everything has to be done as though in God’s view. There are major and minor arts. The minor one can be like this: there is sound and light. An artist is a person that is capable of comprehending these barely discernible colours, shades and inaudible sounds. He interprets his impressions onto canvas or paper. The results are painting, notes or poetry. Here, it is as though the sound and light are extinguished. Only colour remains from the light. The book, notes or painting are in their own way, crypts of light and sound. Along comes a reader or viewer, and if he is capable of creatively reading or viewing, then the resurrection of purpose occurs. Then the circle of the art is completed. In front of the viewer and reader’s soul, the light erupts and the sound becomes worthy of his hearing. Consequently, an artist or poet has nothing much to be proud of. He is only doing his part of the work. It is futile of him to think that he is the creator of his works – there is only one Creator, while people only destroy the word and images of the Creator and then, receiving His power, enliven them. However, there is a greater art – the word that is enlivening and inspirational (e.g. Psalms of David). The path to this art lies through the artist’s personal deeds – it is a path of sacrifice and only one from many achieve their aim… All the verses in the world are not worth a single line of a Psalm… Pushkin was a very intelligent man but was unable to live his life correctly."
These and other observations of Father Nektary were the fruits of his internal, spiritual experience. Having become Starets, he began to share with his visitors that which he acquired through reading and contemplation.
Starets loved to quote from "Hamlet": "There are many things on earth, friend Horatio, that our wise men have not even dreamt of." He was talking about how it is essential for a writer to ponder over every word: "Before beginning to write, dip your pen into the inkwell, seven times."
Recognizing the importance of the theatre as a source of influence on the community, Starets Nektary advised the artists to keep a sense of proportion in the game. He once refused to bless a young woman, aspiring to join the theatre. When asked about his refusal, he responded: "She will not be able to overcome the temptations and will become immoral… Modesty is of great worth; it is none other than a virtue of chastity. If a person safeguards his chastity (which is easily lost by the intellectuals) he safeguards everything."
The Life and Ministry of the Holy Apostles Jason and Sosipater and the Virgin-Martyr Kerkyra
by St. Nikolai Velimirovich
Jason was born in Tarsus, as was the Apostle Paul himself, and Sosipater in Achaea. The first was nominated by the Apostles as Bishop of Tarsus and the second as Bishop of Iconium.
Travelling and preaching the Gospel, these two apostles came to the island of Corfu, where they succeeded in building a church dedicated to St Stephen the Protomartyr and in bringing some unbelievers to the Church.
The king of the island [Kerkylinus] threw them into prison, where there were seven robbers already imprisoned: Satorninus, Jakischolus, Faustian, Januarius, Marsalus, Euphrasius and Mamminus. The apostles brought all seven of them to the Christian faith, making wolves into lambs. The king commanded that these seven be put to death in boiling pitch, and they thus received the wreath of martyrdom.
When, after this, the king was in process of questioning the apostles, his daughter Kerkyra, looking through a window, saw the torture of these men of God and, discovering the reason for it, proclaimed herself a Christian and gave all her jewels away to the poor. The king was filled with wrath against his daughter and shut her up in a separate prison, then, failing to turn her from Christ, ordered that the prison be burned down. The prison burned to the ground, but the maiden remained alive. Seeing this wonder, many of the people were baptized. The furious king ordered that his daughter be bound to a tree and killed with arrows.
Those who had come to believe in Christ fled from the terrible king to a nearby island and hid themselves. The king set off in a boat to arrest them, but his boat overturned in the sea and thus the unrighteous perished, as Pharaoh aforetime.
The new king accepted the Christian faith and was baptized, receiving the name Sebastian. Jason and Sosipater freely preached the Gospel and strengthened the Church of God in Corfu to great old age [some say Sosipater was martyred before the death of Jason by being burned to death], and there finished their earthly course and went to the courts of the Lord.
Apolytikion in the Third Tone
O Holy Apostles, intercede to our merciful God, that He may grant our souls forgiveness of sins.
Kontakion in the Plagal of the Second Tone
Being illuminated with the teachings of Paul, ye became luminaries unto the whole world, O thrice-blessed ones; for ye ever shine upon the world with miracles, O Jason, thou fountain of healings, and Sosipater, thou glory of the Martyrs of Christ. O God-bearing Apostles, ye protectors of them that be in need, entreat God that our souls be saved.
Nothing can be kept secret from our Omniscient God. At every moment, to Him is known all that is being done in the world; both in the external as well as in the internal, spiritual world. Not one intention, not one desire, not one thought of his can man conceal from God. How can you hide from God that which you cannot hide from men; from holy men!
One day, Tsar Ivan the Terrible came to church to pray to God. In the church, Blessed Basil, "the fool for Christ," stood for prayer. It is true the Tsar was in church physically, but his thoughts were on the Hill of the Sparrow, a short distance from Moscow, upon which he had begun to construct a palace. Throughout the liturgical services the Tsar thought about how he could extend and complete his palace on that hill. After the services the Tsar noticed Basil and asked him: "Where have you been?" Basil replied: "In church." Basil then immediately asked the Tsar: "O Tsar and where were you?" "I, also, was in church," answered the Tsar. To that the discerning saint replied: "You are not speaking the truth Ivanushka for I perceived how, in your thoughts, you were pacing about on the Hill of the Sparrow and building a palace."
- St. Nikolai Velimirovich
1000 Ex-Scientology Church Members Have Left And Spoken Out
April 27, 2010
Just in time for Scientology leader David Miscavige's 50th birthday (this Friday, April 30th, Happy Birthday Dickhead), internet activist group Anonymous has released a list of 1000 people who've left the Church — and spoken out against it.
While some of those who've left still follow the tenets of Scientology, all are now free of the oppressive, bankrupting, immoral, family separating, labor law breaking, government spying, member abusing, abortion-forcing cult. In a press release issued by Why We Protest, the details of this major milestone are highlighted.
"...The stories told by these ex-members are similar to the revelations made recently by former members speaking out against Scientology in highly visible stories in the New York Times, the St. Petersburg Times, and most recently, in a five-part series on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360. According to the Church of Scientology, these former members are "liars" and "apostates" with an agenda to destroy the church. Anonymous wonders whether Scientology will also call all 1,000 of these former members liars."
I remember when the wave of criticism grew from a few outspoken critics, like Arnie Lerma, Mark Bunker and Gerry Armstrong, to a massive body of masked and unmasked individuals who decided it was time to take the Church of Scientology to task. Since then, a grassroots movement has helped add their voice to those who've been abused by this government sanctioned ponzi scheme/cult, that enjoys tax benefits no other religion gets, may have killed members, has driven members to suicide or bankruptcy and uses famous celebrities to create a facade of legitimacy built on bilking innocent people for millions upon millions of dollars.
In honor of this monumental occasion, I am posting the original video which inspired me to look deeper, closer and with greater scrutiny at a religion that most deem as simply kooky, but is much, much more sinister than you can imagine.
For those who've left, you have my respect. For those still stuck in their Scientology nightmare, there is hope...and help. Please, take the first step to free yourself and join your 1000+ brothers and sisters. Smell the fresh air of freedom that awaits you.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
In the first video she yells: ""I hate you, Orthodox. Orthodoxy is the most disgusting religion. All other religions will go to hell... We like when you cross yourself in a wrong way... You all think that Nad'ka (disrespectful form of "Nadezhda", which means "Faith" by the way) is crazy. But she is not. If any of you will offend her, you will answer before God for this. She is blessed. She is blessed and got a blessing to go to the churches to make you wiser... The whole country soon will know her... She (Nadezhda) will pray for those who drink and they will stop being alcoholics, those who she will sign with the cross will be healed..." and then at the 2:09 mark of the video she continues: "She was blessed for this, by this Kol'ka, who I hate!"
And then you see this woman falls and the words on the screen say: "Servant of God Nadezhda". And then she gets up and walks to the Elder and he blesses her with holy oil.
In the second video below, it opens with a scene of the grave of the elder, but then goes to normal. The voice of the evil spirit then says:
"She came here and brought these six fools with her also... I hate this Nad'ka... I curse her! (repeats it several times)... Why did she come here today? (crying) I don't want this! You all soon will bow before our master - Antichrist. Soon it will be his power. Soon you will bow before him! Repent, sinners!..." (Nadezhda crosses herself at times while it shouts out of her body).
At the 0:53 mark on the video, Nadezhda is looking at the Elder and the evil spirit says: "I don't want them to live! I don't want it!"
You can barely hear the voice of the Elder saying to another woman: "Don't be afraid. Let her shout." Then it looks like he is saying "Lord have mercy".
The demon continues to shout: "I hate when women wear scarves! It is better to wear hats in a demonic style! All women in hats, you all will go to hell... they put on men clothes and think they are beauties! You all will go to hell... you all will answer before God."
The video then stops and an old woman on the screen appears, apparently this was from a documentary about Elder Nikolai to make episodes only about this incident.
In the beginning of the third video below you can see a Russian newspaper and an article about Blessed Pelagia.
The demon shouts: "Those who don't believe in Blessed Pelagia, will go to hell... And those priests who don't bless people to read her (about her?... it says "her", but it is unclear if it means she had writings) they go to hell and take other people with them... Those who don't venerate Blessed Lyubushka (loving form of Lyubov which means "Love" - some other Saint of our times, I guess), will go to hell... Repent, sinners, repent! Who are you to judge them?"
Then you can see on the screen the words: "Servant of God Nadezhda", who is standing before the Elder and continues to shout: "I hate you Kol'ka! Why did you bless Nad'ka to open the eyes of the people? Why does she need to go to the temples? Let her work! I don't want to take anything from you! I hate those who love Nad'ka... and love those who hate her and laugh at her... (crying) I don't want... don't want... to sit in her! It would be better if I could come out!!! And entered into someone else... How could I know she is such a fool!!!"
It should be noted that Nadezhda was an Orthodox woman who went to go see the Elder when this happened to her, hence the way the demon speaks about its situation.
The fourth and last video in the series below shows Nadezhda standing before the Elder, saying: "Let them go to hell! Let them not know the truth! Let them be fooled! Let them watch TVs, play on the computers! Let them die! Let them go to Hell! Hell!"....
The last video below is from the same period as the first video.
In the beginning the evil spirit shouts: "I hate you, Orthodox. Orthodoxy is the most disgusting religion. All other religions will go to hell..."
When the Elder closes the door, that old woman who was reading the prayers says: "Did you hear? Our Orthodox faith is the only true faith. All other religions will go to hell..."
Demon: "Don't teach! I am tired of you Val'ka! (Val'ka is a disrespectful form of name Valentina)... She is disgusting! She teaches everybody, teaches! Let them go to hell! Let them not know the truth! Let them to be fooled! Let them watch TVs, play on the computers! Let them die! Let them go to hell, hell! All of them! To hell!"
Then you can see the door opens a little bit and the women see the Elder standing there... he was there during the whole time... then one woman says something to Val'ka and the demon starts shouting; "Why do you say Nad'ka (Nadezhda) is good! It is me who is good!"
The demon on the video is roaring, as he is very angry that he can't do any evil things now and he is suffering. Sometimes in the videos above after shouting he starts crying: "I don't want it! I don't want it!" It seems like he doesn't want to do what he is doing, because it works for good and opens the eyes of the people. This demon hates everybody, and talks to everybody or about anybody with no respect and in a very "village" style, in a style of simple uneducated Russian people, who live in villages or very small towns. It doesn't say any cuss words... at least they are not on the video.
Any part of the Scriptures you like to choose is inspired by God. The Holy Spirit composed the Scriptures so that in them, as in a pharmacy open to all souls, we might each of us be able to find the medicine suited to our own particular illness.
Thus, the teaching of the Prophets is one thing, and that of the Historical books is another. And, again, the Law has one meaning, and the advice we read in the Book of Proverbs has a different one.
But the Book of Psalms contains everything useful that the others have. It predicts the future, it recalls the past, it gives directions for living, it suggests the right behavior to adopt. It is, in short, a jewel case in which have been collected all the valid teachings in such a way that individuals find remedies just right for their cases.
It heals the old wounds of the soul and gives relief to recent ones. It cures the illnesses and preserves the health of the soul.
Every Psalm brings peace, soothes the internal conflicts, calms the rough waves of evil thoughts, dissolves anger, corrects and moderates profligacy.
Every Psalm preserves friendship and reconciles those who are separated. Who could actually regard as an enemy the person beside whom they have raised a song to the one God?
Every Psalm anticipates the anguish of the night and gives rest after the efforts of the day. It is safety for babes, beauty for the young, comfort for the aged, adornment for women.
Every Psalm is the voice of the Church.
- Commentary on Psalm 1, by Saint Basil the Great, 4th century.
Translation by Thomas Spidlik, Drinking from the Hidden Fountain: A Patristic Breviary, Cistercian Publications, Kalamazoo, MI – Spencer, MA, 1994.
The fifty days following Pascha until the Feast of Pentecost are known as the period of the Pentecostarion in the Orthodox Church. At the mid-point between these great feasts of Pascha and Pentecost, on the twenty-fifth day which is always a Wedneday, is one of the most beloved feasts for the most devout Orthodox Christians known quit simply as Mid-Pentecost. Mid-Pentecost is to the Pentecostarion what the Third Sunday of Great Lent which honors the Holy Cross is to the period of Great Lent. It is a day which helps us focus on the central theme of the entire period. Whereas the mid-point of Great Lent reminds us to bear up the Cross of Christ bravely so that we may daily die with Christ in order to experience the Resurrection of our Lord, so also the mid-point of the Pentecostarion enlightens us regarding the theme of the fifty days following Pascha - which is the acquisition of the Holy Spirit poured out as a gift upon all the faithful who partake of the living water which is Christ Himself.
The central theme woven throughout the period of the Pentecostarion therefore is water. This becomes the central theme of the period because it is the central theme of the Gospel of John which we read in its entirety during the Pentecostarion and which naturally flows into the Acts of the Apostles which is also read during this period in its entirety. This theme appears for the first time on Pascha itself in the joyous Canon of the Feast of Feasts written by Saint John the Damascene when he invites us to "drink a new drink," not "brought forth from a barren rock," as in the Old Testament under Moses, but which rather "springeth forth from the grave of Christ." Then during the Paschal Divine Liturgy the priest processes with the Gospel and chants loudly from Psalm 67:27 saying: "In the congregations bless ye God, the Lord from the well-springs of Israel."
When Renewal or Bright Week is over the Church wisely sets up two Sundays in which to abolish all doubts concerning the Resurrection of Christ, that of the Sunday of Saint Thomas and the Sunday of the Myrrh-bearing Women. This is done in order to ensure that we all partake of the living water that only the risen Lord can give. The following three Sundays, as we approach Pentecost, the theme of water becomes more and more central in the hymns of the Church. Thus we are found one Sunday at the Sheep's Pool with the Paralytic, then at the Well of Jacob with the Samaritan Woman, and finally at the Pool of Siloam with the Blind Man. During this festive period we hear concerning the "living water" which if one partakes of "he will never thirst". We are taught that it is our Savior Himself who is this living water, and we partake of Him through the baptismal waters and the Cup of Life which issued forth from His side at His crucifixion unto remission of sins and life everlasting. Then on Pentecost we have grace rained upon our parched souls and bodies so that we may be fruitful and have a great harvest as we hear from the holy Gospel on that day: "If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink". Finally the Pentecostarion concludes with the Feast of All Saints, that is those who partook of the "waters of piety", which is the harvest of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
The Fathers teach us that the feast of Mid-Pentecost stands in the middle of the fifty-day period from Pascha to Pentecost as a mighty flowing river of divine grace which have these two great feasts as its source. Pascha and Pentecost are united in Mid-Pentecost. Without Pascha there is no Pentecost and without Pentecost there is no purpose to Pascha.
We read the following entry in The Great Horologion that further explains the details of the feast:
"After the Saviour had miraculously healed the paralytic, the Jews, especially the Pharisees and Scribes, were moved to envy and persecuted Him, and sought to slay Him, using the excuse that He did not keep the Sabbath, since He worked miracles on that day. Jesus then departed to Galilee. About the middle of the Feast of Tabernacles, He went up again to the Temple and taught. The Jews, marveling at the wisdom of His words, said, 'how knoweth this man letters, having never learned?' But Christ first reproached their unbelief and lawlessness, then proved to them by the Law that they sought to slay Him unjustly, supposedly as a despiser of the Law, since He had healed the paralytic on the Sabbath.
"Therefore, since the things spoken of by Christ in the middle of the Feast of the Tabernacles are related to the Sunday of the Paralytic that is just passed, and since we have already reached the midpoint of the fifty days between Pascha and Pentecost, the Church has appointed this present feast as a bond between the two great Feasts, thereby uniting, as it were, the two into one, and partaking of the grace of them both. Therefore today’s feast is called Mid‐Pentecost, and the Gospel Reading, 'At Mid‐feast'—though it refers to the Feast of the Tabernacles—is used.
"It should be noted that there were three great Jewish feasts: the Passover, the Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles. Passover was celebrated on the 15th of Nissan, the first month of the Jewish calendar, which roughly coincides with our March. This feast commemorated that day on which the Hebrews were commanded to eat the lamb in the evening and anoint the doors of its houses with its blood. Then, having escaped bondage and death at the hands of the Egyptians, they passed through the Red Sea to come to the Promised Land. It is called 'the feast of Unleavened Bread,' because they ate unleavened bread for seven days. Pentecost was celebrated fifty days after Passover, first of all, because the Hebrew tribes had reached Mount Sinai after leaving Egypt, and there received the Law from God; secondly, it was celebrated to commemorate their entry into the Promised Land, where also they ate bread, after having been fed with manna forty years in the desert. Therefore, on this day they offered to God a sacrifice of bread prepared with new wheat. Finally, they also celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles from the 15th to the 22nd of 'the seventh month,' which corresponds roughly to our September. During this time, they lived in booths made of branches in commemoration of the forty years they spent in the desert, living in tabernacles, that is, in tents (Ex. 12:10‐20; Lev. 23 LXX). "
The Feast of Mid-Pentecost is celebrated for an entire week until the following Wednesday, making it an eight day feast. During this entire time the hymns of Mid-Pentecost are joined with that of Pascha. Because of the theme of water, traditionally the Church celebrates the Lesser Blessing of the Waters on this day, preferably with a procession with the Holy Cross to a water spring.
The theme of the feast not only invokes water, but even more central to the Gospel chronology it honors Christ as Teacher and Wisdom as He reveals Himself between the stories of the Paralytic and that of the Blind Man. During this time we are told: "Now about the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught...Jesus answered them, and said, 'My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself'" (John 7:14-30). The icon for this feast depicts the young Jesus teaching the elders in the Temple (Luke 2:46, 47) at which time Jesus first revealed Himself as a teacher or rabbi. Traditional Orthodox icons will depict Jesus as larger than the elders, showing his superior spiritual status.
Since the hymns of the Church invoke and praise our Lord as the Wisdom of God spoken of in the Book of Proverbs, it is traditional that all churches named after Holy Wisdom or Hagia Sophia celebrate their feast on this day. In fact, Greek scholar Constantine Kalokyre has written a study titled "The Churches of the Wisdom of God and the Date of their Celebration", which appeared in the periodical Saint Gregory Palamas, no. 71 (723) (1988), pp. 538-617. In this study he comes to the conclusion that the Great Church of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople celebrated its feast day on Mid-Pentecost.
Apolytikion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Midway in the feast, refresh my thirsty soul with the flowing waters of piety. For You cried out to all, O Savior, "Let him who thirsts come to me and drink." You, O Christ our God, are the Fountain of Life, glory to You.
A website has been developed in support of Patriarch Irenaios, which give reasons why he is under house arrest. The website can be seen here: http://www.gopoj.org/. I would only encourage readers to remember that there are two sides to this story, the other side of which I know little about. Some background information can be found here.
During a certain uprising in Constantinople during the reign of Emperor Constantine, some embittered men broke off the nose and ears of the statue of the emperor in the city. Many adulators quickly came to the emperor and with great disgust relayed to the emperor how rebels broke the nose and ears from his statues and they asked the emperor to punish the transgressors with the most severe punishment. The great emperor felt his nose and ears with his hands and said to the flatterers: "I feel that my nose and ears are whole and undamaged!" The flatterers were ashamed and withdrew. With every royal generosity we all need to endure insults from others. Yet, with particular caution listen to accusations against other people, which our flatterers bring to us. We should always confess before God and before ourselves, that we, by our sins, deserved even greater insults than those which are perpetrated against us.
- St. Nikolai Velimirovich, Prologue
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
"If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the dividing line between good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being, and who is willing to destroy his own heart?"
- Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Achipelago
I post the articles below to inform Orthodox Christians of the reality of the distribution of the forged and ridiculous document known as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion in Orthodox circles. This is not only done in Russia which is well known, but also in Greece, Mount Athos, Serbia, certain Orthodox Monasteries in North America and many other places with a majority Orthodox population. Today this document is becoming extremely popular in Islamic countries where the ideology known as "The Narrative" uses it to make up lies against Jews and Americans.
Unfortunately it is even referred to by some venerable holy elders and saints of the past and present who accepted it in the simplicity of their hearts and were mislead by its contents, which is not uncommon in the history of the Church or in the lives of the Saints. The Protocols follow a certain paradigm that, although extremist and false, could fit in with an Orthodox worldview if it were indeed true. Since most of our holy elders and saints who accepted this document were not scholars to evaluate its forged nature, I don't think it is proper to blame them for endorsing it. However, what is lacking is a critical evaluation of this document within Orthodox circles for those who are zealous for the Faith and seek the Truth above all else. It is in this spirit that they accept and endorse The Protocols, and it is in this spirit that they should also reject it when encountered with the Facts which should help enlighten the Truth of our Faith. These Facts should lead to the inevitable conclusion that not only are The Protocols a false document, but the illusion that Zionism is the great enemy of the Church, which is a concept inherited through these Protocols, is also without basis except through one's imagination and speculation.
I will not over-extend myself in a long refutation of The Protocols of the Holy Elders of Zion here, but I do want to cite a few articles below to help begin ones research of this document and the ideology behind it. And I would encourage people to be aware of this information so that we can help illuminate our sincere brothers and sisters in Christ who unwittingly undermine Orthodoxy by their endorsement of this forgery.
1. Moscow Times: 'Protocols of Zion' Puts Church in Hot Water - This article reveals the reality of the distribution of The Protocols in Russia and the war against its distribution. More can be read here about the effects of The Protocols in Russian society.
2. The Protocols of the (Learned) Elders of Zion - This is the Wikipedia entry for the document that does an excellent job in a summary format exposing the fraud and forgery behind it. This is an excellent place for one to begin their research.
3. The London Times Exposure - The London Times was the first to totally expose the forgery in 1921.
4. SERMON AGAINST THE POGROMS by Saint Antony Khrapovitsky, Metropolitan of Kiev - The Protocols arose during the time of the pogroms of Russia when Jews became the scapegoat for Russian miseries and Bolshevism. Saint Antony in this sermon (April 20, 1903) tries to illumine his listeners against such a mindset of hatred and enmity against the Jews and he forms here a proper Orthodox attitude towards the Jews.
5. EXPOSÉ OF ... "THE PROTOCOLS OF ZION" - This is a short history of how The Protocols became popular in America to promote anti-Bolshevik bias.
6. Jews Protest The Protocols - This article from the 1920's further shows how popular this forgery was becoming in America and to what extent the Jews went to fight its distribution and endorsement.
7. Sergei Nilus - This is the man responsible for first publishing this forged document in Russia which lead to its distribution throughout Europe by Russian expatriates after the 1917 revolution. Another piece here shows a contemporary Orthodox extremist perspective on this man in relation to The Protocols and how its justification is done based solely on his great veneration for St. Seraphim of Sarov.
8. THE JEWISH QUESTION IN THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH - This piece puts the question in a proper contemporary perspective.
by St. Anastasius the Sinaite
St. Anastasius was a priest and abbot of Mt. Sinai. His zeal for true faith led him to travel through Egypt, Arabia, and Syria to combat the errors of the Acephalites and Eutychians. His writings show not only a thorough command of Holy Scripture and a wide knowledge of the writing of the Church Fathers and other Christian writers, but also classical erudition and a solid grounding in Aristotelian philosophy. Of his prolific output the most important works are Guide Against the Acephalites and Answers to Questions. It is from the latter that the present passage is translated. St. Anastasius died in great old age in 686.
QUESTION: What is the mark of the true Christian?
ANSWER: Some say correct faith and pious works. Jesus, however does not define the true Christian in these terms. It is possible for one to have faith and good works, and to be conceited over these and not to be a perfect Christian. A Christian is a veritable dwelling place of Christ, held together by good works and pious beliefs. True faith, without works is dead, as are works without faith. We must, therefore, use every effort to keep ourselves clean from foul deeds so that it may not be said of us They profess that they know God, but in works they deny Him (Titus 1:16), wherefore the Lord says If a man loves Me, he will keep My words, and My Father will love Him, and We will come unto him and make Our home with him (John 14:23).
Do we not learn from this that the house of the soul is built through correct belief and good works, and thus God dwells within us. I will dwell in them, He says, and walk in them (II Cor. 6:16). The Apostle also points this out when he says Know you not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates (II Cor. 13:5)? Will not the devil then know whether or not the Master of the house, Christ, is inside your mind? When he sees you angry, or shouting, or using oaths, or foul language, or blaming someone, or abusing him, or finding fault, or reproaching someone, or condemning, or hating, or treating someone unjustly, or being conceited, or boasting, or being elated, or not praying habitually and remembering death, then he knows that God, your protector and provider is not inside your soul. And so, the evil one enters like a thief, not finding the divine light in your heart, and he loots the house of your soul, and your last state becomes worse than your first.
From Deuteronomy: And now, Israel, what does the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve the Lord thy God (Deut. 10:12).
From David: Ye that love the Lord, see to it that ye hate evil (Ps. 96:10); The Lord preserveth all that love Him, but all the sinners shall He utterly destroy (Ps. 144:20). And: for not a God that willest iniquity art Thou. He that worketh evil shall not dwell near Thee, nor shall transgressors abide before Thine eyes (Ps. 5:2, 3).
From Isaiah: And the Lord has said, This people draw nigh to Me with their mouth, and they honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me: but in vain do they worship Me (Is. 29:12). They seek Me day by day, and desire to know My ways, as a people that had done righteousness, and had not forsaken the judgment of their God (Is. 58:2), says the Lord, and: When ye stretch forth your hands, I will turn away Mine eyes from you, for your hands are full of blood. Wash you, be clean; remove your iniquities from your souls before Mine eyes; cease from your iniquities; learn to do well; diligently seek judgment, deliver him that is suffering wrong, plead for the orphan, and obtain justice for the widow(Is. 1:15-18).
From Solomon: The ways of an ungodly man are an abomination to the Lord; but He loves those that follow after righteousness (Prov. 15:9). And: By alms and by faithful dealings sins are purged away; but by the fear of the Lord every one departs from evil (Prov. 15:27).
From Sirach: Say not, I have sinned, and what harm hath happened unto me? for the Lord is longsuffering, He will in no wise let thee go… and say not, His mercy is great; He will be pacified for the multitude of my sins: for mercy and wrath come from Him, and his indignation resteth upon sinners (Sir. 5:46). As His mercy is great, so is His correction also: He judgeth a man according to His works… for every man shall find according to his works (Sir. 16:12-14).
From the Apostolic Constitutions: “Therefore let him who is to be baptized be a stranger to wickedness, abstaining from sin, a friend of God, an enemy of the devil, an heir of God, a co-heir of Christ, renouncing Satan and his demons and his works, chaste, pure, holy, a lover of God, a son of God, praying as a son to the Father and saying thus as is the custom of the faithful: Our Father, Who art in heaven,…  So that he may not call God Father unworthily, and be reproached by Him, as Israel, the first born son who once heard that A son honors his father, and a servant his master: if then I am a father, where is mine honor (Mal. 1:6)? For the glory of fathers is the holiness of their children, and the honor of a master is the fear of his servants. 
From St. Gregory of Nyssa, On the Lord’s Prayer: “He Who is good does not have the nature to become the father of an evil will, nor the Holy One of one polluted in his life; nor He Who is changeless of one constantly changing; nor He Who is Life of one dead through sin; nor He Who is pure and untainted of one disfigured by disgraceful passions; nor the bountiful one of a miser; nor He Who is found in every good, in any way of those who are involved in evil. If anyone looking at himself sees that he still needs cleansing and he recognizes his conscience as being full of defilement and evil crimes, and, before cleansing himself of these and similar evils, he insinuates himself into God’s family by calling Him Father, being unrighteous, he calls on the Righteous One, being impure he calls the Pure One Father, his words would be insult and mockery, as if he were naming God as the Father of his own vileness. For the word father indicates the cause of the one who comes to exist through him.
“Therefore a man who with a bad conscience calls God his father does nothing other than blame God as the author and cause of his own wickedness. But light has not fellowship with darkness, says the Apostle. Light rather associates itself with light, the just with the just, the incorrupt with the incorrupt. Their opposites, however, relate to their own kind. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit (Matt. 7:18).
“If then someone who is slow of heart and seeks after lying, as Scripture says, dares to use the words of the prayer, let him know that the father he calls is not the heavenly one, but rather, the infernal one, for he is a liar and become the father of lies, within whomever they be. He is sin and the father of sin. For this reason those who are subject to passions are called children of wrath, and the apostate from Life is called the son of perdition.
“Would you like to know the properties of the evil character? They are envy, hate, slander, conceit, avarice, passionate lust, and the sickness of megalomania. These and suchlike characterize the form of the adversary. If someone whose soul is infected with such stains were to call on the Father, what sort of father would hear him? Clearly the one who has kinship with the one who calls on him, and this is not the heavenly one, but the infernal one. The one whose family features he bears will recognize the family relationship. Thus the prayer of an evil man, as long as he persists in his wickedness, becomes an invocation of the devil. When he has abandoned his wickedness and lives innocently, his voice will call on the good Father.”
The same Gregory, To the Monk Lybbius: “If someone puts on the name of Christ, but does not show a life corresponding to that name, he makes a lie of the name. For neither is it possible for the Lord not to be justice, purity and truth, and estrangement for every evil, nor is it possible for a Christian not to show that he partakes of those qualities.”
St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechism: “It is of no benefit to us to be called Christians if we do not correspond in our deeds. For it is written: If ye were Abraham’s children ye would do the works of Abraham (John 8:39).”
St. John Chrysostom, On St. Matthew: “Whoever calls God Father, with this small word, confessed the remission of sins, the redemption from punishment, justification, sanctification, liberation, adoption as son, kinship with the Only-Begotten, and the bestowal of the Spirit. Nor is it possible for someone to call God Father, if he is not a partaker of all those good things, and has not become a son of God. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God (Rom. 8:14). Thus whoever calls God Father should demonstrate appropriate behavior so as not to appear unworthy of the kinship. No man can serve two masters… God and mammon (Matt. 6:24).”
“Do not philosophize too much, for God has declared it once and for all and said that it is impossible for service of one to be compatible with service of the other. So do not say it is possible. For, when one tells you to seize (others’ property) and the other tells you to free yourself of what you have; one says to be chaste, the other to fornicate; one says to eat and drink, the other to fast and exercise self-control; the one to despise things of this world, the other to cleave to them; the one to marvel at marble walls and buildings, the other not to value these things but rather to pursue philosophy, how is it possible for these to be compatible with each other?
“He here calls mammon a master, not because of its own nature, but because of the wretchedness of those who bow and submit to it. Thus the Apostle calls the belly a god, not because of any worthiness of such a mistress, but from the wretchedness of those who serve her.”
St. Basil the Great, from The Ascetics: “If we believe the Lord when He says, Whoseover committeth sin is the servant of sin (John 8:34), and again, Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do (John 8:44), we see that he (the sinner) is not only in fellowship, but a slave (of the devil), and his father and his master he calls the one whose work he does. The Apostle also bears witness to this, saying, Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness (Rom. 6:16)? Nor should faith be dead, as the body without the spirit is dead. And again: Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble (James 2:19). The Lord asks, why do you call Me Lord, Lord, and do not do what I say? We, who are ruled by the Lord, must confess Him also by our actions, not having sin reigning or ruling within us, so that it may not be said of us that they loved Him with their mouth… their heart was not right with Him (Ps. 77:39).
“Let us listen to the Apostle saying, Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor the effeminate,… nor drunkards, … nor extortioners shall inherit the kingdom of God (I Cor. 6:9,10). And again, no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words; for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be ye not partakers with them (Eph. 5:5-7). If we were to be among these, we who claim to believe, who await the kingdom, we would not be partners of the King, but associates of the King’s enemies.
“If we have come to know Christ, we have come to know the Truth. If we know the Truth, we will live in truth, in our deeds. Otherwise, when He comes again, He will put our lot with the unbelievers, saying: Verily I say unto you, I know you not (Matt. 25:12). It will not help us to cry, Lord, Lord. Even the demons believe with an empty faith.
Chrysostom, On Fasting: “Let my prayer be set forth as incense before Thee, the lifting up of my hands… (Ps. 140:2). Look at your hands and examine them. And if they hold nothing stolen or defiling, say this with boldness: Let my prayer be set forth as incense. If you have stolen something or committed something forbidden, do not call, do not lift your hands until you cease your wickedness. Even if, by God’s permission, you are able to lift your hands, your prayer, being defiled, can in no way ascend to heaven, but you will hear When ye stretch forth your hands, I will turn away mine eyes from you: and though ye make many supplications, I will not hearken to you (Is. 1:15).”
Chrysostom, On St. Matthew: “Let us now learn what things defile a man. Let us learn, and shun them. Even in the Church we see among many that they try to keep such a custom, to make an effort to come in clean clothing, and to wash their hands and feet, but not even giving a thought to presenting God with a clean soul. Saying this, I do not forbid anyone to wash his hands and his mouth, but I would that he wash them as is proper. Not only with water, but, instead of water, with virtues. Defilement of the hands is theft, evil actions, attacks on one’s neighbor. (Defilement) of the mouth is blasphemy, abuse, foul language, ribaldry, mockery, insult.
“If, then, you are conscious of committing or uttering none of these things, nor being defiled by any of these defilements, come with confidence. Or have you received these defilements a myriad times? Do you rinse your hands and tongue, but carry in them deadly and noxious filth? Tell me, if you had dung and mire in your hands, would you dare to pray? Not at all. There is, however, no harm in these, in the other there is death and destruction. How is it that you show piety in the irrelevant but indifference to what is forbidden? What then, says one, should one not pray? One should, but not in a defiled state and in such filth. What then, he says, if I have been taken by it? Cleanse yourself. How and by what means? Weep, groan, give alms, confess, apologize to those offended by you, be reconciled. With these wipe clean your tongue, so as not to anger God more greatly.
“If someone were to embrace your feet with hands full of dung, you would not only not hear him, but even repel him with your foot. How do you then thus dare to approach God? The tongue of one who prays is the hand with which we embrace God’s knees. Do not therefore defile it, so that He may not say to you: Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear you. Death and life are in the power of the tongue (Prov. 18:21). By your words you will be either justified or condemned. You do not dare to pray fresh after the company of your wife, but after abusive and insulting speech and other wickedness you stretch forth your hands before being properly cleansed. How do you not tremble, tell me, calling on that terrible and awesome name? Have you not heard St. Paul say: I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hand without wrath and doubting (I Tim. 2:8).
Chrysostom, On St. John: “The Lord tells us that faith is of no benefit to us if our life remains corrupt: Not every one that saith to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; Many will say unto Me on that day Lord, Lord have we not prophesied in Thy name?… And then I will profess unto them, I never knew you (Matt. 7:21-23). What use is faith when the Lord does not acknowledge us? When we do not do God’s will, we are in the snare of the devil. And, just as the sparrow, even if it is not completely entangled, but caught only by one foot, is in the trapper’s power, so it is also with us. Even if we are not completely entangled, but only in respect to either our faith or our life, we are in the devil’s power, for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage (II Peter 2:19).”
St. John of the Ladder: “He who claims to have true faith, but commits sins, is like a face with no eyes. Conversely, he who does not have faith, but is good in his actions is like one drawing water and pouring it into a vessel with holes.”
Mark the Monk: “Some, without doing the commandments, think they have right faith. Others, doing (the commandments), expect the kingdom as their just desert. Both miss out on the kingdom.”
Maximus the Monk, from The Ascetic Chapters: “A Christian pursues wisdom in the following three things: the commandments, dogma, and faith. The commandments free the mind from the passions, dogma leads to a knowledge of the truth, and faith to contemplation of the Holy Trinity, to Whom be all glory, honor, and worship, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages.”
1. Archbishop Filaret of Chernigov: Historical Study of the Church Fathers (in Russian), vol. 3, p. 178.
2. Apostolic Constitutions, 3:18.
3. Apostolic Constitutions, 7:24.
By St. Nikolai Velimirovich
The True Faith must be persecuted in this world. The Savior Himself said this clearly and openly to His apostles.
St. Apollinaris of Hierapolis in writing against the Montanist heretics says: "Let them tell us before God who, out of all their prophets, beginning with Montanus and his wives, was persecuted by the Jews and killed by the ungodly? No one. Who, from among them was taken away for of the Name of Christ and was crucified on the cross? Again, no one. Have any one of the women ever been flogged or stoned in the Jewish synagogues? Nowhere and never."
However, the Orthodox saint wants to say, that the True Faith must be persecuted in this world. Heresies are generally closer to the worldly and demonic spirit, which is why the world and the demon do not persecute their own. To be constantly persecuted, with brief intervals in between, is a characteristic of the Faith and of the Orthodox Church. This persecution existed throughout all of history, either from without or within; externally from unbelievers and internally from heretics.
HOMILY: About the Persecution of the Pious
"It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God" (Acts of the Apostles 14:22).
"In fact, all who want to live religiously in Christ Jesus will be persecuted" (2 Timothy 3:12).
The Lord Jesus prophesied this and by His example He proved it. The apostles also said this and by their examples they proved it. All the God-bearing Fathers of the Church, confessors and martyrs said this and they proved this by their example.
Therefore, is there any need to doubt that, through a narrow door, one enters the kingdom of God? Should we hesitate for a moment that, "it is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God?" No, there is no basis nor justification for doubt. Can sheep live among the wolves and not be attacked by them? Can a candle burn in the midst of cross winds and not sway back and forth? Can a good fruit-bearing tree grow along side the road and not be disturbed by passersby? Thus, the Church of pious souls cannot but be persecuted and be persecuted by heathens, by idolaters, by heretics, by apostates, from passions and vices, from sin and transgressions, from the world and by demons. So it is that not one devout soul can remain without persecution, be it externally or internally, until it is separated from the body and the world.
Someone might oppose this and prove it otherwise according to his calculation and according to his logic. But, in this case, neither the mind nor the logic of one man is of any avail. Thousands who were crucified speak otherwise, thousands burned alive cry out otherwise, thousands who were beheaded prove otherwise and thousands who were drowned witness otherwise. O my brethren, the Christian Faith is mighty not only when it agrees with sensory reasoning and sensory logic but when, and especially when, it contradicts sensory reasoning and sensory logic.
Those who want to live a godly-life will be persecuted. This the apostle prophesied at the beginning of the Christian era and twenty Christian centuries render a multi-voiced echo to confirm the truth of the prophecy.
O Resurrected Lord, grant us light that we may be pious to the end and give us the strength to endure persecution to the end. Amen.
A story worth watching: new Noah’s Ark claim on Ararat at over 4000 meters (14,000 feet, above permanent snow line and well above tree line). Pictures show wood beams, complex joints, wooden nails, racks, doors, staircases and rooms in a large structure buried under the ice that might have preserved it for millennia. Too early to comment; read the announcement and look at the pictures. Click on ENG on the site for English. See also CMI news flash, Discovery Online, and WND.
Other possible explanations should be considered before jumping to conclusions, but the amount of detail in the photographs and the number of witnesses, the exploration all documented on film, makes it very intriguing to say the least, much more detailed than most prior eyewitness accounts. However, some spectacular claims in the past have turned out to evaporate on inspection. The principle “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” should restrain acceptance of the claim at face value. CMI updated its post with some cautions about the credibility of the team, but it appears those doubts are being cast by a rival search team. This claim will require corroboration by independent investigators and clarity about the location and characteristics: detailed maps and multiple measurements.