Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Deluded "Super-Ascetic" Who Made 3,000 Prostrations A Day


When Elder Daniel Katounakiotis (+1929) was in the Russian Monastery, he observed that a certain monk living in asceticism in a kathisma outside the Monastery played a role of a great ascetic. He fasted severely, wore the most wretched clothes, walked around barefoot even in winter, etc. Among other things, while the rule called for 300 prostrations a day, he made 3000. For this reason the other monks marvelled at him.

Elder Daniel, even though he was younger at the time, displayed no enthusiasm. His clear-sighted eyes discerned a situation that was not pleasing to God. He noticed that the door of his kathisma contained an opening which allowed the passers-by to look in and praise his great asceticism.

His love moved him to report the situation to the abbot, and thus save the brother from delusion. The abbot set out for the kathisma of the "super-ascetic".

"How are you doing here, father?"

"By your prayers, Elder, well. I struggle and weep over my sins."

"Only you never come to tell me your thoughts."

"What could I tell you, Elder? You know them all. I am a sinner who struggles."

"How do you struggle? Tell me, do you make prostrations?"

"Yes, Elder, I make a few."

"How many?"

"By your prayers, 3000 a day."

"What! Why 3000? Who gave you a blessing to do so many? No, don't ever do 3000 again. What are you trying to portray - a 'super-ascetic'? From now on do only fifty, so you won't get proud."

With that the abbot left. The incision had been made, and the abscess soon revealed its foul contents. For the former "great ascetic" made a 180-degree turn. He was unable to make even fifty prostrations. Instead of ragged clothes he now wore whatever was most expensive, and had the choicest foods brought to his poor table. Naturally, the other fathers were astonished, and they understood that his excessive ascetic practices had been fed by the spirit of pride. This explained this surprising change, for the spirit of delusion runs after extremes. According to patristic wisdom, the extreme, the superfluous, and the excessive are "of the demons".

Contemporary Ascetics of Mount Athos vol. 1, by Archimandrite Cherubim, pp. 259-60.

Liturgical Gestures


Orthodox worship is characterized by a complete utilization of the senses sight, smell, hearing, speech and touch. We see the candles, Icons, frescoes, etc., we hear the sounds of singing and reading, at times lifting up our own voices, and we smell the characteristic odor of the incense. The whole of the human person is involved in worship, and important among the senses is the actual deportment of the human body. The attitude of the Orthodox Believer to worship is reverential, and certain types of bodily movements are utilized to reinforce this sense of reverential piety we stand during the services, we make bows and prostrations, and with great frequency, we make the Sign of the Cross. Accordingly, there are several types of Bows, depending on the solemnity of the moment.

Prostration (Great Metanoia, Great Poklon):

Here the worshipper prostrates the whole body, throwing the weight forwards onto the hands and touching the ground with the forehead.

Bow (Small Metanoia, Small Poklon):

The worshipper bows from the waist, touching the ground with the fingers of the right hand. Both Prostrations and Bows are preceded by the Sign of the Cross.

Reverence:

At certain times the worshipper merely bows the head; sometimes this is accompanied by the Sign of the Cross.

Sign of the Cross:

The Sign of the Cross is made with the thumb and the first two fingers of the right hand joined at the tips (the third and fourth fingers being closed on the palm). By joining the thumb and the first two fingers, we express our belief in the Most-Holy Trinity. The two fingers closed on the palm represent the two natures of Christ divine and human. With the thumb and first two fingers joined, we touch first the brow, then the breast, the right shoulder and then the left, making on ourselves the Sign of the Cross and signifying by the four points that the Holy Trinity has sanctified our thoughts (mind), feelings (heart), desires (soul) and acts (strength) to service of God. By making the Sign of the Cross on ourselves we also signify that Christ has saved us by His sufferings on the Cross.

Bishops and Priests, in bestowing a blessing, make the Sign of the Cross from left to right (appearing to us from right to left), while holding the fingers in such a manner as to represent the Greek letters IC and XC the first and last letter of the name Jesus Christ.

Source: Excerpt taken from These Truths We Hold - The Holy Orthodox Church: Her Life and Teachings by St. Tikhon's Seminary Press.

Christians Are the Most Persecuted Religion in the World


Martin Barillas
September 30, 2010
Spero News

At least 75 percent of religious persecution is directed at people of the Christian faith. Each year 170,000 Christians suffer because of their beliefs. These are some of the conclusions that have led the Commission of the Catholic Bishops' Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) to organize a conference on the persecution of Christians, to be held in Brussels (Belgium) on October 5, 2010.

The initiative, as the organizers note in a statement, has been supported by various groups within the European Parliament, in collaboration with Aid to the Church in Need,” and Open Doors International.”

According to the statement, "The total number of faithful who are discriminated against amounts to already 100 million. This makes Christians the most persecuted religious group. Persecution may also include obstacles to the proclamation of Faith, confiscation and destruction of places of worship or prohibition of religious training and education."

Therefore, the COMECE and its fellow sponsors launch this appeal: “Europe cannot remain passive. The European Union must take the co-responsibility for the protection of religious freedom in the world"

The COMECE will present a report on religious freedom, which includes a series of recommendations to the EU institutions. Among the speakers are Bishop Eduard Hiiboro Kussala, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Tombura -Yambio in South Sudan, and Archbishop Louis Sako, Chaldean Archbishop of Kirkuk.

Saint Gregory the Illuminator of Armenia

St. Gregory the Enlightener (Feast Day - September 30)

By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

Life

Gregory was born of a prominent family which was related to the royal houses of Persia (King Arteban) and Armenia (King Khosrov). When these two houses made war against each other, Gregory withdrew to Caesarea in Cappadocia. It was there that he first learned of the Christian Faith, was baptized and married. He had two sons of this marriage, Bardanes and Aristakes, and dedicated them both to the service of the Church. After the death of his wife, Gregory returned to Armenia and placed himself in the service of King Tiridates. He faithfully served him, and Tiridates loved Gregory. But when the king learned that Gregory was a Christian, he became greatly enraged and pressured him to deny Christ and worship idols. Not succeeding in this, Tiridates subjected Gregory to many harsh tortures, then threw him into a deep pit full of poisonous reptiles to kill him. However, the All-Seeing God preserved St. Gregory's life in that pit for fourteen full years. After that, Tiridates set out to persecute all Christians in his kingdom, and attacked a convent where there were thirty-seven nuns, including the abbess, Gaiana. When he had killed all of them by terrible tortures, Tiridates went insane and was like a wild boar. His sister had a dream in which a man, dazzlingly bright, told her that Tiridates would only become well when Gregory was removed from the pit. Taken from the pit, Gregory healed and baptized Tiridates. Then, at the wish of Tiridates, Gregory became Bishop of Armenia. Through God's providence, Tiridates also helped him in enlightening all of Armenia and its surrounding regions with the Christian Faith. St. Gregory ended his earthly life of great labor in old age, in about the year 335. Meanwhile, his son Aristakes had been consecrated a bishop, and he continued the work of his father, both physically and spiritually. Aristakes was one of the 318 Holy Fathers at the First Ecumenical Council.


Reflection

Marvelous changes occur daily in the destiny of men - in the present, as in times past. Those humiliated for the sake of God's righteousness are raised to great heights, and the blasphemers of the Faith are converted to servants of the Faith. King Tiridates threw St. Gregory into a deep pit. The saint spent fourteen years in that pit, forgotten by the entire world, but not by God. Who among men could have thought that the greatest light of the Armenian people was to be found in the darkness of a pit? And who would have ever thought that the powerful and tyrannical King Tiridates would one day save the life of that same Gregory, whom he had condemned to death, and would help him more than the rest of the whole world could help him? After fourteen years, God revealed Gregory as still alive. Gregory then miraculously healed the insane king. King Tiridates, the unrestrained persecutor of Christ, was baptized and became the greatest zealot for the Christian Faith! It could be said that, with God's help, Gregory and Tiridates were both drawn out of the pit of darkness-Gregory a physical one, and Tiridates a spiritual one. Oh, the infinite wisdom of God in governing the destinies of men! The formerly wild and passionate Tiridates was softened and ennobled so much by repentance and the Christian Faith, that he came to resemble St. Gregory more than his old, unrepentant self.


Hymn of Praise

Gregory was a great light
To his people and his nation.
He spurned glory and riches
For the poverty of Christ the Crucified,
Preferring eternal riches in heaven.
He raised his mind to heaven and thoughts of God,
And endured much physical torture,
As if it all were painless.
He was strong with the power of God's grace,
And nourished by God's heavenly food,
And armored against evil by God's providence.
He was lowered into the pit from his glory,
And from the pit he was elevated to the heights-
The heights of eternal glory.
Gregory, great and holy,
Enlightened Armenia with Jesus.
Even the wild boar, Tiridates,
Was baptized under the Cross and became a lamb.
With great glory, the land of Armenia glorifies
Its miracle-worker, St. Gregory.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
As a sharer of the ways and a successor to the throne of the Apostles, O inspired of God, thou foundest discipline to be a means of ascent to divine vision. Wherefore, having rightly divided the word of truth, thou didst also contest for the Faith even unto blood, O Hieromartyr Gregory. Intercede with Christ our God that our souls be saved.

Kontakion in the Second Tone
Let us the faithful today all acclaim with divine songs and hymns the renowned hierarch Gregory as an athlete for truth's sake, as a shepherd and teacher, a universal luminary bright with splendour; for he intercedeth with Christ that we be saved.

What Does it Mean to be Human? (Video)


What Does it Mean to be Human? An evening with Ravi Zacharias (Wycliffe Hall, Oxford University)

Date: Thursday, March 18, 2010
Time: 7:00pm-9:00pm
Venue: Loke Yew Hall, The University of Hong Kong

Ravi Zacharias is presently Visiting Lecturer at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford University in Oxford. He has spoken in numerous universities, notably Harvard, Princeton, and Oxford University, and has given talks at the White House, the Pentagon, and the British Parliament. He has addressed writers of the peace accord in South Africa, the president's cabinet and parliament in Peru, and military officers at the Lenin Military Academy and the Center for Geopolitical Strategy in Moscow. He has authored or edited twenty books, including Walking from East to West (Zondervan, 2006), The Grand Weaver (Zondervan, 2007), and Beyond Opinion (Thomas Nelson, 2008); his Can Man Live without God (Word, 1994), was awarded the Gold Medallion for best book in the category of doctrine and theology.

The Impassibility of God and the Church Fathers


by Dr. Robert Duncan Culver

DEFINITIONS

Impassibility comes into our language as translation of the Greek word apatheia in the writings of Church Fathers, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. Apatheia, despite the obvious etymological connection with apathy and apathetic in modern English, (Pelikan) started out as meaning "the state of an apathes" (alpha privative, plus pathos) "without pathos or suffering" (Liddell and Scott Lexicon). Among the Greek Fathers pathos or passion was the right word for the suffering of Christ, as it still is. So in theology to be impassible means primarily to be incapable of suffering. Early theology affirmed that in heaven our resurrected bodies will be apathes in this sense. The word came to be extended to mean incapable of emotion of any kind and beyond that, apathes (impassible) in important theological discourse meant without sexual desire (Gregory of Nyssa, The Great Catechism, chap. xxxv, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, 1910, ii, 5, pp. 502-504). As applied to God, incapacity for any emotions sometimes is meant. We will return to this. The twelfth canon of the Second Council of Constantinople (553, Fifth Ecumenical) seems to say Christ on earth was impassible in the sense of "longings (passions, presumably sexual) of the flesh" (Henry Denzinger, The Sources of Catholic Dogma, trans. R. J. Deferrari, Hersler Book Co., 1954, 224).

In this paper I am interested mainly in the question of whether or not the divine nature is capable of emotion, including, in a secondary way, the experience of suffering.

IMPASSIBILITY IN THE ANCIENT CHURCH

There was no difference of opinion on this subject among orthodox theologians of the ancient Church. Even Tertulian, perhaps the most antiphilosophy theologian among important early writers, vehemently opposed the notion that God could suffer pain. Reading of the Cappadocian Fathers (Gregory Nazianzus, Gregory of Nyssa and Basil the Great) in preparation for a paper on the post-Nicea (324) apologetics of orthodoxy sparked my notice of uniform and vehement agreement of Christians on God's impassibility. In January of this year (1996) I carefully read J. N. D. Kelly's Early Christian Doctrines. He confirms that all the Fathers, including even most heretics, strongly believed the divine Being is impassible. (See pages 84, 120, 122, 142, 143, 169, 291, 299, 372, 314, 317, 322, 325, 476, 488). This issue colored every aspect of efforts to clarify christology at the first four ecumenical councils (Nicea 325, Constantinople 381, Ephesus 431, Chalcedon 451). Nobody orthodox denied impassibility and even the heterodox acknowledged it. They did not separate impassibility from divine simplicity (mentioned more frequently) but regarded it as a necessary aspect of simplicity. They did not cite Aristotle's unmoved mover, Plato's eternal forms or anything of the sort. Their arguments were based mainly on the usual biblical texts we still today cite to teach God's immutability (Psa 102:27; Is 40:10; Mal 3:6; Js 1:17). Simplicity, that is, God is not composed of parts, was then as now, established logically. Anything composed of parts is the sum of the parts, each of course less than infinite. Any number of finite parts do not add up to infinity. Since God is infinite, as established by scripture and demonstrated by reason, God is simple, not compound or complex. The three members of the Trinity each possesses the Godhead fully. They are not three thirds - they are a trinity of God not three gods.

At this point I want to anticipate charges that the early church fathers corrupted a pure biblical doctrine of a loving, personal God through introduction of Greek speculative philosophy. Let us hear what they said about this charge.

A sophisticated Christian theology which employs formal logic, precise definitions and elegant literary techniques, as some of the ancient theologians did, does not constitute betrayal of the Gospel treasure. The early theologians nevertheless had to defend themselves against those who thought it was a betrayal. Irenaeus, while insisting "the faith" is "one," yet explained that theological refinements were of value. In Against Heresies he says, "Inasmuch as certain men have set the truth aside . . . by means of their craftily constructed plausibilities draw away minds of the inexperienced . . . I have felt constrained to compose the following treatise in order to expose their machinations" (I, 1). These "certain men" are later named. Most of them were highly educated scholastics, wise in their own eyes, whom Irenaeus felt he had to meet, not entirely on their own ground, but in such a way as to provide his readers sufficient skill and knowledge to rescue themselves from these so called "gnostics" - not a term of derision then but more equivalent to our "experts" or "intelligentsia." His book is strewn with the language of these people. So to answer these errorists some skill (he does not call it philosophy) is helpful. They should not be allowed to get away with doctrinal murder, so to speak, just because they are cunning and eloquent (I, x. 2, 3). More importantly, by such skill "one may [more accurately than another] bring out the meaning of those things which have been spoken in parables, and accommodate them to the general scheme of the faith; and explain [with special clearness] the operation and dispensation of God connected with human salvation . . ." (I, x. 3). [Above citations are all from Antenicene Fathers, I, 315-331).

Christian theology was not "as Harnak tried to maintain, the product of encounter between Gospel and Hellenism. It is not the Hellenisation of Christianity. It was not the fruit of speculation but sincere effort to use the techniques of the learning of the day to elaborate Christian truth" (J. Danielou, Gospel Message and Hellenistic Culture, p. 303).

Clement of Alexandria had to face opposition from those who opposed any employment of philosophical learning. He said they "prefer to block their ears in order not to hear the sirens" and that Christians as a whole "fear Greek philosophy as children fear ogres - they are frightened of being carried off by them. If our faith (I will not say our gnosis [knowledge]) is such that it is destroyed by force of argument, then let it be destroyed; for it will have been proved that we do not possess the truth" (Danielou, p. 304,305).

Clement asserted that philosophic learning has many positive uses. He really means theology which employs the techniques of learning - which we would now call systematic theology (Danielou, 306-322).

The climax of ancient consolidation of orthodoxy was in 451, at Chalcedon, the Fourth Ecumenical Council. Jaroslav Pelikan devotes several pages merely to summarize the impassibility doctrine as expressed in the Fathers before the Fourth Ecumenical Council (The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition, pp. 52-55). I shall not quote this at length as I did in a paper earlier this year. Rather, since the climax of consolidation of orthodoxy came at Chalcedon 451, the Fourth Council, let me cite two learned Fathers whose views on Impassibility coincided quite exactly and whose views were specifically endorsed and incorporated in the Definition and Canons of that Council. The letters of each were read at the Council and essentially adopted as the doctrine of the Council; hence passed into received orthodoxy of the Church from that day to this.

Neither was present and neither expressly addressed the Council. Cyril's dogmatic letter addressed the heresy of Nestorius and was written to Nestorius twenty years earlier. Leo's letter (The Tome of Leo) was addressed to Flavian, Bishop of Constantinople two years before the Council. Both Epistles were read, weighed and vigorously endorsed at Chalcedon.

Cyril's letter had been first addressed directly to Nestorius just before the third Council (Ephesus 431) because it was he who was deemed to be dividing the church through denial that Mary gave birth to incarnate deity. Cyril's Epistle to Nestorius was then read at the third Council. It had a positive effect in winning that council to the orthodoxy of 325 and 381. But shortly trouble arose from another quarter. Eutyches, an old archimandrite at Constantinople promoted the doctrine "not only that after His incarnation Christ had only one nature but also that the body of Christ is not of like substance with our own" (Kurtz, Church History, I. 334). This and other problems made a fourth council (Chalcedon 451) necessary.

So Cyril's letter was read again at the later council. I quote some relevant portions of Cyril's letter:

"We say that he 'suffered and rose again.' We do not mean that God the Word suffered in his Deity . . . for the Deity is impassible because it is incorporeal. But the body which had become his own body suffered these things, and therefore he himself is said to have suffered them for us. The impassible [God] was in the body which suffered" (Bettenson, Documents of the Christian Church, 2nd Ed., 1963 p.67).

(The article on Cyril in Smith's six-volume Greek and Roman Biography, Mythology and Geography, vol 1, p.918, right column says Ephrem of Antioch speaks of a now lost treatise by Cyril on impassibility and another on suffering.)

The Tome of Leo was read by his representative. Hold in mind that the doctrinal problem being addressed was to define the incarnation of the Son of God. As Cyril's letter was intended to correct Nestorius, Leo's Tome was intended correct Eutyches. I cite several portions related to impassibility.

"While the distinctiveness of both natures was preserved, and both met in one Person . . the inviolable [divine and impassible] was united to the passible, so that . . . the same 'Mediator' might from the one element be capable of dying and also from the other be incapable [of dying]" (Ibid, 255).

"The Lord of the universe allowed his infinite majesty to be overshadowed, and took upon him the form of a servant; the impassible God did not disdain to be passible Man, and the immortal to be subject to the laws of death" (Ibid, 256).

"To pass by many points - it does not belong to the same nature to weep with feelings of pity over a dead friend [Jesus over Lazarus] and, after the mass of stone had been removed from the grave where he had lain four days, by a voice of command to raise him up to life again" (IbId, 256).

In the first excerpt passibility is said to be part of Man's nature but not of God's. In the second the same idea is enlarged in elegant language which says that as God was impassible and immortal - hence as incapable of suffering as of dying. In the third, as God the Son our Lord was "incapable of feelings of pity," such as He expressed when He wept at Lazarus' tomb. "Incapable of feelings of pity" means impassible in the sense of incapable of emotion.

At this climax in the doctrinal consolidation of Christian antiquity the report of Session II goes on to say:

"After the reading of the foregoing epistle the most reverend bishops cried out: 'This is the faith of the fathers, this is the faith of the Apostles . . . . Piously and truly did Leo teach, so taught Cyril. Everlasting be the memory of Cyril . . . . This is the true faith.'"

In all of Christian antiquity I was able to find only Origen among the learned, orthodox writers who dissented from this view. In a book on early Christian doctrine, Gods and the One God by R. M. Grant (Westminster, 1986) the author shows that Origen's early views promoted the Christian consensus that God is impassible (pp. 91,92) but late in life of about 69 years (185- 254) taught that God is passible (Grant, 92,93). Grant comments, "Apparently the threat of Patripassionism did not bother Origen, at least at this point" (p. 93). (Grant's documentation seems to be incorrect, so I could not check his references, but I have no doubt he is correct in his report of Origen.)

WHY THE PATRISTIC CONSENSUS ON GOD'S IMPASSIBILITY?

Enlightenment and liberal critics and historians blame the influence of Plato and other Greek philosophers, but I propose a compelling reason in the fact that in scripture God is most forcefully and grandly said to be supremely "blessed."

This occurs ten times in the New Testament, eight times employing eulogetos, used only of God in the New Testament. I cite two of these, Romans 1:25 and 9:5. The first refers to "God . . . the Creator, who is blessed (eulogetos) forever. Amen." The second speaks of "Christ . . who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen." (See also Mk 14:61; Lk 1:68; II Cor 1:3; 11:31; Eph 1:3; I Pet 1:3.) The first two refer to Jehovah God; the others to the "Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." In Mk 14:61 the high priest is employing "the Blessed" as a very old circumlocution for Jehovah and in II Corinthians 11:31, "he who is (eulogetos) blessed for evermore" is undoubtedly the familiar Septuagint rendering of Exodus 3:14 "I am ho On" (I am the one who is). It seems to me relevant to the "impassibility" of God that eulogetos means "blessed," that it renders baruk throughout the LXX and seems to refer to the joy of God in heaven and of those whom God has blessed there. In Christian theology and hymnody "blessed" is the standard word for the joys of heaven, unmixed with pain or sorrow (Rev 21:4). I noted this in every appearance of "blessedness" in Calvin's Institutes, for example.

Twice in the New Testament the word makarios is used of God, both times by Paul, (viz.: "the glory of the blessed God" (I Tim 1:11) and I Timothy 6:15,16, a peroration of Paul: "the blessed (ho Makarios) and only potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; who only hath immortality." Though I shall not carry my argument far in this paper, the evidence from eulogetos and makarios has impressed me that we need not give up the impassibility of God. God transcendent in heaven and immanent in all creation is supremely happy (a synonym of blessed), always has been so, and for ever will be.

Source

Aesop's Fable: The Ass and His Masters


AN ASS, belonging to an herb-seller who gave him too little food and too much work made a petition to Jupiter to be released from his present service and provided with another master. Jupiter, after warning him that he would repent his request, caused him to be sold to a tile-maker. Shortly afterwards, finding that he had heavier loads to carry and harder work in the brick-field, he petitioned for another change of master. Jupiter, telling him that it would be the last time that he could grant his request, ordained that he be sold to a tanner. The Ass found that he had fallen into worse hands, and noting his master's occupation, said, groaning: "It would have been better for me to have been either starved by the one, or to have been overworked by the other of my former masters, than to have been bought by my present owner, who will even after I am dead tan my hide, and make me useful to him."

He that finds discontentment in one place is not likely to find happiness in another.

The Origins of the Illuminati Myth and the Protocols (2 of 5)


Continued from Part One

THE SIMONINI LETTER

In 1806, Barruel produced a document in support of his slanderous charges against the Jews - the Simonini Letter. Like almost everything else connected with the myth of the Jewish world-conspiracy, the letter was a forgery - a fabrication produced by the French Political Police under Fouche. Its objective was to influence Napoleon against the Jews. The letter was ostensibly written by an army officer, J.B. Simonini. After having congratulated Barruel on "unmasking" the Jacobins, which Simonini claimed were preparing the way for Antichrist, the letter went on to describe the so-called Jewish role in the entire "Jacobin Plot."

At the time of his death in 1820, Barruel had elaborated the beginnings of the modern myth of the Judeo/Masonic Conspiracy. He had written a vast manuscript to show how a revolutionary conspiracy had existed down through the ages, from Mani to the medieval Knights Templar, and thence to the Freemasons. The whole organization was supposedly controlled by a Supreme Council. The Council was veiled in impenetrable secrecy and had no fixed residence, but wherever the statesmen of the Great Powers gathered, there they could be found as an "unseen and controlling presence" lurking in the background. The Council, which - according to Barruel - was made up entirely of Jews, elected a Grand Master and around the figure of the Grand Master, Barruel wove a truly lurid tale of intrigue, terror, despotism, sorcery and witchcraft. The tale was so fanciful, and so much the product of his own fevered imagination, that a few weeks before his death, Barruel - in a fit of conscience - sought to destroy all his existing manuscripts. He failed.

IN THE JEWISH CEMETERY IN PRAGUE

Barruel’s fantasies and the Simonini fabrication by Fouche found little acceptance in the first half of the nineteenth century. But around 1850, the myth reappeared - this time in Germany as a weapon of the extreme right in its struggle against the growing forces of liberty and democracy.

Writing after the great democratic uprisings of 1848 had swept through Europe, rocking the monarchies of the "Old World" to their very foundations, E.E. Eckert began to expand on Barruel’s themes of half a century earlier. The Catholic magazine, Historische-Politische Blatter picked up Eckert’s writings and helped spread them throughout southern Germany. [And these are precisely the writings that Hitler "ran into" in Vienna and Munich in his youth.]

A few years later, Herman Goedsche, writing for Neue Pruessiche Zeitung, authored a book which was to become the basis of one of the most famous anti-Semitic fabrications of all times - "The Rabbi’s Speech." How a relatively obscure and openly fictitious novel by Goedsche was transformed into the twisted and demonic "Rabbi’s Speech" is itself a case study in the pathological mental processes at work in those who give credence to the Illuminati Myth. Herman Goedsche had at one time been a minor official in the Prussian postal service. He had been dismissed, however, after having participated in a plot designed to incriminate the famous democratic leader, Benedec Waldeck. The plot had involved the use of forged letters.

In 1868, Goedsche produced a sensational novel under the pseudonym of "Sir John Retcliffe." The novel was entitled Biarritz. It contained a chapter called, "In the Jewish Cemetery in Prague." The novel itself was straight fiction and Goedsche never claimed that it was anything else but that. The chapter in question described a secret, nocturnal meeting which was supposed to have taken place in the Jewish Cemetery in the city of Prague during the Feast of Tabernacles. [It's interesting to note in this connection that there are some in "Latter Rain" who have taken note of all this and who have described these "goings-on" as a kind of "Black Mass" - a satanic precusor or spiritual counterfeit to the "real thing" (speaking here of the so-called "Black Mass.") which some "Latter Rain" devotees expect to occur in the "Latter Days" just prior to the Return of Christ.]

At eleven o’clock, the gates of the cemetery creak softly and the rustling of velvety coats is heard. A vague, white figure passes like a shadow through the cemetery until it reaches a certain tombstone; here it kneels down, touches the tombstone three times with its forehead and whispers a prayer. Another figure approaches; it is that of an old man, bent and limping. It coughs and sighs as it moves. The figure takes its place next to its predecessor and it too kneels down and whispers a prayer. A third figure appears, and then a fourth and so on until thirteen figures have finally appeared, each one having repeated the aforementioned procedure.

When the thirteenth and final figure has at last taken its place, a clock strikes midnight. From out of the grave there comes a sharp, metallic sound. Suddenly, a blue flame appears and lights up the thirteen figures. A hollow voice says, "I greet you heads of the Twelve Tribes of Israel." And the figures dutifully reply, "We greet you, Son of the Accursed" - which is to say, "Antichrist." The assembled figures are meant to represent the twelve tribes of Israel. The additional figure represents the "unfortunates of the exile" - the Diaspora.

BIARRITZ SPREADS

The relevant volume of Biarritz was published in 1868. But this was only the beginning of the story - for soon this frankly fictional episode began its demented transformation. It was the Russian anti-Semites who first thought of treating the story as an authentic record. In 1872, the chapter, "In the Jewish Cemetery of Prague," appeared by itself in St. Petersburg, then the capital of Czarist Russia, as a pamphlet. In 1876, a similar pamphlet appeared in Moscow with the title, "In the Jewish Cemetery in Czech Prague - the Jews, Sovereigns of the World." In 1880, a second edition of the Moscow pamphlet appeared in both Odessa and Prague. In 1886, it appeared in the Paris publication La Contemporain for July of that year. In all these versions, the chapter from Biarritz was presented no longer as fiction, but as fact - "The Rabbi’s Speech."

The authenticity of the speech was vouched for by an English diplomat - one "Sir John Readclif." To complete the irony and twisted turns of this story, when Francois Bournand printed the "Rabbi’s Speech" in La Contemporain, he prefaced it with a startling revelation: "We find the program of Jewry, the real program of the Jews, expressed by ... the Chief Rabbi, John Readclif ... It is a speech made in the 1880s."

Like a boomerang, the whole thing had come back on the unsuspecting Goedsche (Retcliffe).

Later editions of the "Speech" pictured Goedsche (AKA, Retcliffe, Retclif, Readclif, etc.) not as the Chief Rabbi, but as a hero. For instance, in 1933, the "Speech" surfaced in Sweden and was prefaced by a melancholy statement: "Sir John Readclif paid with his life for exposing the great Jewish conspiracy. It was a sad ending for a man ... who had been an English diplomat and historian."

Unbelievable? It would seem so! - but such are the "facts" that Illuminati enthusiasts marshal in defense of their system of conspiracy theories. And make no mistake about it, this is the stuff from which the entire myth of the Illuminati Conspiracy has been built.

DISJOINTED PIECES COME TOGETHER

Within a year of the publication of Goedsche’s fantasy, there appeared in France a book which was to become the "Bible" of the modern Illuminati Myth: La Juif, le judaisme et la judaisation des peuples chretiens by Gougenot des Mousseaux.

Mousseaux had become convinced that the world was falling into the grip of a mysterious body of Satan worshippers whom he called "Kabbalistic Jews."

In reality, the Kabbalah is nothing more than a body of Jewish mystical and theosophical doctrine dating in the main from the late medieval ages. It has been fully expounded in such works as the Zohar. While there can be no doubt that the Kabbalah falls outside the mainstream of Western (and Jewish) religious thinking, there is nothing secret about it.

Des Mousseaux, however, imagined the Kabbalah as something quite different: a secret demonic religion, a systematic cult of evil, established by the devil at the beginning of the world. According to des Mousseaux, the first practitioners of this cult were the sons of Cain, who after the flood were succeeded by the sons of Ham - these were the Chaldeans. In due time, they passed their secret on to the Jews who in turn controlled the Gnostics, the Manichees, and the Moslem sect of the Assassins. They at last transmitted their diabolical lore to the Templars who handed it to the Freemasons. But at all times the Jews, as the "representatives on earth of the spirit of darkness," had supplied the Grand Masters. [None of this, of course, is in the Bible - none of it; and for Christians - especially evangelicals - to accept such drivel and to pattern their "mindset" around it is tantamount to calling upon themselves the curse of Revelation 22:18 ("For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book"). Why? - because isn't that what one is doing by embracing such extra-Biblical material? (i.e., religious material which is so fundamental that it helps to shape one's world-view, but material which - nonetheless - cannot be found in the Bible).] According to des Mousseaux, the cult centered on the worship of Satan or Lucifer; the chief symbols of the cult were the serpent and the phallus. The rituals included exotic orgies of the wildest kind. But this was not all: by murdering Christian children, the Jews - who in reality were supposed to be witches - acquired demonic power. All this was supposed to be a part of the Kabbalah. Of course, it never was! Never! - except in the imaginations and innumerable forgeries produced by devotees of the Illuminati Myth.

Finally, in the last chapter of his book, des Mousseaux pictured Antichrist as a Jewish king whom all nations would accept as their savior. As he neared the 500th page of his manuscript, the author began to ratchet his frenzy up into monumental heights:

"... the Jews will raise up a man with a genius for political imposture, a sinister bewitcher around whom fanatical multitudes will cluster. The Jews will hail this man as the Messiah, but he will be more than that. After destroying the authority of Christianity, he will unite mankind in one great universal brotherhood and bestow on it a superabundance of material goods. For these great services, the Gentile nations will accept him, exalt him, and worship him as a god - but in reality, for all his apparent benevolence, he will be Satan’s instrument for the perdition of mankind." [Gougenot des Mousseaux, Le Juif, le judaisme it la judaisation des peuples chretiens, Paris, 1869, pgs. 485-498.]

What des Mousseaux had done was to bring together all the heretofore disjointed pieces of the Illuminist Myth and weave them together as a coherent whole. All that was needed now was for someone to tie it all to a specific and contemporary event. The man that did this was Pyotr Ivanovich Rachkovsky.

Continued...Part Three

Links Between Constantinople and San Francisco

The Golden Gate of San Francisco

GOLDEN GATE: A historic name first used in Constantinople and now in San Francisco

The following historical account was tendered by the California Highway & Transportation District in a former Internet reference:

"Actually, the term Golden Gate refers to the Golden Gate Strait which is the entrance to the San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean. The strait is approximately three miles-long by one-mile wide with currents ranging from 4.5 to 7.5 knots. It is generally accepted that the strait was named Chrysopylae or Golden Gate by Army Captain John C. Fremont, circa 1846. It is said it reminded him of a harbor in Istanbul or Constantinople named Chrysoceras or Golden Horn."

On 1 July 1846, before the discovery of gold in California, the entrance acquired a new name. In his memoirs, John C. Frémont wrote, "To this Gate I gave the name of Chrysopylae, or "Golden Gate"; for the same reasons that the harbor of Byzantium was called Chrysoceras, or Golden Horn." The name was popularized worldwide by the 1849 California Gold Rush.

It appears much more than casual that Captain John C. Fremont might have named the entrance to San Francisco Bay, the Golden Gate. The chief entrance to the City at the Great Walls of Constantinople was in fact named the "Golden Gate." (See: John Julius Norwich, Byzantium, The Early Centuries, New York , 1992, photographic section between pp. 124-125.)

The Golden Gate was emulated elsewhere, with several cities naming their principal entrance thus, for instance Thessaloniki (also known as the Vardar Gate) or Antioch (the Gate of Daphne), as well as the Kievan Rus', who built monumental "Golden Gates" at Kiev and Vladimir.

The Golden Horn of Constantinople

Of further interest to our readers may be the following observations:

- Rome, located on "Seven Hills" [Aventine, Caelian, Capitoline, Esquiline, Palatine, Quirinal, Viminal] east of the Tiber, was followed by Constantinople which was also built on seven hills (330 A.D.).

- Constantinople is situated at the tip of a peninsula surrounded by the waters of the Bosporus and its harbor, the Golden Horn. San Francisco too is located at the tip of a peninsula and is surrounded by water three ways - on the west by the Pacific Ocean, on the east by the San Francisco Bay, and on the north by the Golden Gate. The interesting detail is that the United States Geological Survey, 1973a, 1973b describes San Francisco by approximately a seven mile by seven mile square. The University of California San Francisco (UCSF) tells us that this is a city of 49 square miles [7 by 7] situated upon 44 hills. Given the famous hilly topography of the city, one might wonder if there are not five more underestimated elevations that have been disregarded. This, certainly would round things off to an entertaining total of 49 (. . . reminiscent of the "1849 Gold Rush" and its highly popular "San Francisco 49ers"). (See: http://www.sfsu.edu/~puboff/tour/seven.htm)

- The Church of Byzantium or Constantinople is by tradition the Church of the Apostle Andrew, or Andreas in the Greek language by Patriarchal lineage. A major geological feature that marks the San Francisco Bay Area is the famous San Andreas Fault. In addition to the subject of names, however, the earthquake faults mentioned in the next section reveal an even more dramatic physical linkage between Constantinople and San Francisco. (See: Apostolic Universal Center, Christ Unto Byzantium (Miami: CSA Press for the publishers, 1971), p. 12)

The Theodosian Golden Gate entrance into Constantinople

Earthquake Faults: Similarity Between San Francisco and Constantinople

(The following excerpts are quoted from the AOL News article written by Patrick Quinn of The Associated Press on Friday August 27, 1999.)

Quake Provides Lessons About Fault

". . . Scientists say they have learned key lessons from the deadly earthquake in Turkey that could save lives along the country's North Anatolian fault and its California twin, the San Andreas.

". . . It jumped over lakes and ignited other faults, which has some seismologists worried the same could happen along the San Andreas.

". . . Turkey's quake and the 500-mile fault are important to seismologists who study the San Andreas, which is nearly identical in length and type. Both also run along two tectonic plates grinding against each other."

Source

The Holy Monastery of Vatopaidi Is Being Vindicated


September 30, 2010
Eleftheros Typos

The so-called Vatopaidi case is now revealed as being a prefabricated ‘scandal’ without a trace of proof, despite the government’s declarations to the contrary. Four separate reports submitted to the investigative committee prove that the state has not suffered any financial injury by the so called ‘holy exchanges of land’. Moreover, there has been no waste of public money.

Yesterday (Tuesday, September 28, 2010), the former Prime Minister, Kostas Karamanlis, was also vindicated. In a memo to the investigative committee, he clearly stressed with emphasis that he has assumed full political responsibility for the case and that nothing reproachful had taken place.

One question now remains: What is PASOK looking for now? What does it want to prove and to whom? If PASOK does not accept the existing accountants’ reports, why did it proceed to set up the pre-investigative committee?

As the Mps who are already taking part in this committee are attesting, the results will need at least two years to come out if new reports are requested.

Political intrigue is obviously at hand here. The Papandreou government needs to keep the issue in the public eye, to declare that there is a so-called scandal, in order to pass on its own message to the naïve and the uninformed; to those people who have not yet realized that such political practices must be turned off if the country is to move forward.


Karamanlis’ letter to the president of the pre-investigative committee on the Vatopaidi case:

In reply to your letter, I would like to remind you that I have repeatedly referred to the Vatopaidi case in the past. I have nothing to add to those public declarations I have made. I am summarizing them as follows:

1) The proprietorship rights of the Vistonida lake and the surrounding areas have been clarified before 2004. The state has recognized Vatopaidi’s rights on the area.
All the supporting official documents have been in place since 2003.

2) The various ministers of the ND governments have adopted the legitimate process of the land exchanges in view of the former government decisions, the peoples’ demand for a solution to their problems in the area, and the fact that no funds were available for expropriation. This process has been applied in the past as well.

3) Two consecutive investigative committees, a long investigative process and the testimony of a large number of witnesses did not prove that anything reproachful had taken place. They did not even prove the slightest hint of political responsibility against anyone despite the obvious animosity and prejudice shown.

4) I am not in a position to assess the price valuations of the land and the various processes. But it is worth noting that four different valuations, by two different independent bodies, have found nothing reproachful, suspicious, and financially damaging to the state. It is curious to say the least, that these reports have been hidden during the sitting of the second investigative committee, and additional evaluations are being requested at this late point of time.

5) Since the judicial inquiry was launched which has caused public furor, the government decided to set up the investigative committee and rescind the decisions on the property rights of the land in the areas in question, to preempt any accusations of damage to public interests. All relevant ministers acted strictly and legitimately, without deviation from this line.

6) I have assumed full political responsibility for the case in a speech on the 16th of December 2008. I believe that it is the Prime Minister’s duty to assume the objective political responsibility on any issue of public interest, even if he believes that no political person has behaved reproachfully in the least.

Mr. President,

I have nothing to add on this issue. I wish and hope that the committee under your auspices will look for the truth, avoid political intrigue, will not defame personalities or try to create communicative fanfare. These are ailing phenomena which unfortunately are often present in our public life.

With kind regards,

K. Karamanlis

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Elder Daniel Katounakiotis: Stories of Apocalyptic and Demonic Delusions


Endowed with uncommon intelligence and thirsting for learning, Elder Daniel (+1929) had devoured the patristic books and plundered the treasures of the Spirit. Many monks who had fallen into various delusions through ignorance or a spirit of pride were saved by the intervention of Elder Daniel. Like his namesake, the Prophet Daniel, he in truth possessed "an excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting dreams ... and dissolving doubts" (Daniel 5:12).

Deluded Demos, For Whom Demons Danced

A good Christian of simple faith named Demos, a builder by profession, lived in Stika of Northern Epirus. One night he dreamt that in a certain place there was a church buried in the earth. Rousing his compatriots, therefore, they brought shovels and pickaxes and began the excavation. The church was brought to light. Full of satisfaction, Demos took pride in his success and pleasure in everyone's wonder; and when the cunning thought whispered to him, "Now, Demos, you are an important man, you have been chosen by God...," he accepted it without disputation.

A while later he was exercising his trade as builder on the Holy Mountain, working on a certain construction project of Vatopaidi Monastery.

In Vatopaidi St. Evdokimos is very much revered. Nothing has been preserved about his life, but in 1840, by God's providence, his relics were miraculously revealed in the cemetery of the Monastery. Demos displayed great devotion to him, and began to believe that the Saint also regarded him with particular favor. Since the tradition said nothing about his extraction, Demos imagined that he had come from Albania.

"The Saint is an Albanian, like myself," he began to declare.

"But how do you know?"

"An Albanian he is. Don't you see that his head is flat? Besides, one night I was begging him on my prayer-rope to tell me his fatherland, and he appeared to me as though he were alive. 'I am an Albanian, from Stika; we are even relatives...' he said."

The fathers suspected that he had been deceived by a demon.

"When he appears to you again, make the sign of the Cross," they told him. "If it is the work of the evil one, he will disappear immediately."

It was too late, however. The demon had conquered Demos' heart and would not readily leave.

It happened that a bishop was on Athos, Alexander of Rodostolos. He was informed of Demos' strange case, and his opinion was asked. He met with him and came to the conclusion that the visions came from God.

"Since Demos takes delight in the prayer-rope and the Cross, the revelations were from God."

Demos grew very proud that even a bishop had confirmed the authenticity of his visions. Later he wrote a massive volume full of supernatural mysteries, revelations, prophecies of war, the coming of St. Constantine, signs and monsters...all such things are found there.*

"But all these stories can't be from God! This is all confusion and raving," the fathers said among themselves. "Why don't we ask Elder Daniel? He can solve the problem for us."

They therefore took Demos' manuscript and set out for Katounakia.

As soon as Elder Daniel had read the first pages, he understood the truth. "The demons are dancing here!" he said.

He drafted a text on this subject, with passages from the lives of Saints and patristic writings, and sent it to Vatopaidi. There was no longer the slightest doubt about the delusion. When Demos was told of the answer, however, he went into a frenzy.

"Oreh, oreh, Despotis to'peh, oreh Prift!!!"

That is - since a bishop accepted the visions as coming from God, how dare Elder Daniel deny it!

Elder Daniel was not content with a mere diagnosis, but his love moved him to pray for Demos, with the result that the revelations ceased. At a later time the fathers managed to bring Demos to Katounakia and Elder Daniel welcomed him with love. When he began to demonstrate that the supposed vision of St. Evdokimos was of demonic origin, however, Demos could not endure the light of the truth. Flying upright, he cried out wrathfully:

"Oreh, oreh, Despotis to'peh, oreh, oreh Prift...!"

Nevertheless, he was forced by the facts to admit the truth, because once the devil was exposed he never appeared again. All the fathers were convinced as to the delusion, and even Bishop Alexander sent congratulations to Elder Daniel.

Truly, as the Apostle Paul said, the devil "transforms himself into an angel of light" (II Cor. 11:14), and woe to him who is taken in by the outward radiance.

"A sinner can easily repent, but it is difficult for one in delusion, unless the demon is exposed. As soon as he is uncovered, he is unable to escape," Elder Daniel often said.

The Teacher From Kerkyra Who Worked Demonic Miracles

Among those saved from delusion by the Elder's help was also a teacher from Kerkyra, who claimed to have a close collaboration with St. Spyridon. This man had mixed Christianity with Spiritualism, and he believed he could perform marvellous miracles. All of society had been debating about him; and the hospitals and physicians knew him well.

The evil spirit had been appearing to this man in the form of St. Spyridon. He urged him to hold a lighted candle in his hand during prayer, and to not blow it out when it burned down and scorched his hand, because if he bore it patiently he would be as the martyrs. And he told him not to receive Communion in church, but to lick the matter that ran from his burnt hand, for this would be of equal value with Holy Communion. One can understand what terrible burns and scars disfigured his hands.

During excursions with his disciples, he would say a prayer with the result that he would summon or disperse clouds, and bring rain. The disciples received no profit, however, because after the prayer and the "miracles" he would speak only nonsense.

This man, whose hands were rendered useless by the burns, asked somebody to save him. He went to Katounakia, where Elder Daniel told him that the miracles of God differed from the devil's miracles; and he delivered him from the dominion of Satan.

The Apocalyptic Delusions of Fr. Antipas

The Elder also released from delusion a monk from the Monastery of Patmos, named Fr. Antipas, who for three years had been seeing what he thought to be the Lord Himself. He claimed that the Lord had been dictating to him the interpretation of the Apocalypse [Book of Revelation] in order to have it published.

According to this monk, various significant prophecies of the Apocalypse had been fulfilled by the events of the Second World War. For example, the activity of the two prophets of whom the 11th chapter of the Apocalypse speaks, covers, according to the Prophet Daniel, 1290 days - which are the number of days between May of 1941 and October of 1944. Also, the number of Antichrist, 666, of which the 13th chapter speaks, he saw in the name of Hitler, based on the Latin alphabet. (A corresponds with 100, B with 101, C with 102, etc.) Thus, H=107, I=108, T=119, L=111, E=104, R=117. The total is 666.

Elder Daniel convinced him to burn his Interpretations.

He also healed a man from Kalavrita, who with the help of the demons knew the Gospels by heart and could walk through fire without being burnt; and also a monk of the Russian Monastery who made 3000 prostrations a day.

* This book was unfortunately translated into English and became popular in "underground" circles among the Greek Orthodox of America. I personally acquired this book many years ago in my own parish where a box full of copies were held.

Extracted from Contemporary Ascetics of Mount Athos by Archimandrite Cherubim. Subtitles and footnote are mine.

Aesop's Fable: The Thief and the Innkeeper


A THIEF hired a room in a tavern and stayed a while in the hope of stealing something which should enable him to pay his reckoning. When he had waited some days in vain, he saw the Innkeeper dressed in a new and handsome coat and sitting before his door. The Thief sat down beside him and talked with him. As the conversation began to flag, the Thief yawned terribly and atthe same time howled like a wolf. The Innkeeper said, "Why do you howl so fearfully?' "I will tell you," said the Thief, "but first let me ask you to hold my clothes, or I shall tear them to pieces. I know not, sir, when I got this habit of yawning, nor whether these attacks of howling were inflicted on me as a judgment for my crimes, or for any other cause; but this I do know, that when I yawn for the third time, I actually turn into a wolf and attack men." With this speech he commenced a second fit of yawning and again howled like a wolf, as he had at first. The Innkeeper, hearing his tale and believing what he said, became greatly alarmed and, rising from his seat, attempted to run away. The Thief laid hold of his coat and entreated him to stop, saying, "Pray wait, sir, and hold my clothes, or I shall tear them to pieces in my fury, when I turn into a wolf." At the same moment he yawned the third time and set up a terrible howl. The Innkeeper, frightened lest he should be attacked, left his new coat in the Thief's hand and ran as fast as he could into the inn for safety. The Thief made off with the coat and did not return again to the inn.

Every tale is not to be believed.

The Origins of the Illuminati Myth and the Protocols (1 of 5)


THE ORIGINS OF THE ILLUMINIST MYTH: THE FABRICATION OF THE "PROTOCOLS OF THE LEARNED ELDERS OF ZION"

By S.R. Shearer

THE ORIGINS OF THE ILLUMINATI MYTH: THE ABBE BARRUEL

Illuminati enthusiasts and devotees like to paint the myth as extending back into the misty past, but that simply is not the case. The Illuminati Myth did not exist as literature prior to the French Revolution - and even then only as disjointed pieces, not as a consistent whole. Not until 1905 did the myth explode on the world as a coherent body of literature. What anti-Semitic writings that did exist prior to 1797 had nothing to do with the Jews as participants in a revolutionary world-conspiracy aimed at the destruction of Christianity; it was largely confined to religious themes with only the most indirect political overtones. Clearly, the anti-Semitic literature which existed prior to 1797 tied the Jews to the death of Christ, and on that basis they were persecuted; it also pictured them as "moneylenders," and occasionally it linked them to the practice of witchcraft; but it never portrayed them as revolutionaries bent on the conquest of the world. On the contrary, Jews were painted as weaklings and cowards; a people hardly worth even the most indirect kind of political attention - and for that reason, most European armies excluded Jews from military service well into the nineteenth century.

The first disjointed pieces of the Illuminati Myth can be traced back to the French Revolution, specifically to the French cleric, the Abbe Barruel. [Please see Norman Cohn, Warrant for Genocide (New York: Harper and Row)] As early as 1797, nine years after the revolution, Barruel, in his five-volume Memoire pour servir a l’histoire du Jacobinisme, argued that the French Revolution represented the culmination of an age-old conspiracy of the most secret of secret societies. Down through the centuries this secret society had purportedly poisoned a number of monarchs; and in the eighteenth century it had captured the Order of Freemasons. In 1763, the conspiracy supposedly created a secret literary academy consisting of Voltaire, Turgot, Condorcet, Diderot, d’Alembert and other luminaries of the "French Enlightenment." This group of men ostensibly met regularly in the house of Baron d’Holbach and through its publications had undermined all morality and true religion in France. From 1776 onward, Barruel maintained, Condorcet and the Abbe Sieyes had built up a vast revolutionary organization of half a million Frenchmen who were the "Jacobins" of the French Revolution. But the heart of the conspiracy - the real leadership of the revolution - was supposed to rest in a Bavarian group known as the Illuminati under the headship of a certain Adam Weishaupt. To this handful of Germans, all the Freemasons and Jacobins of France owed blind allegiance - or so Barruel thought.

THE STUPIDITY OF IT ALL

It is beyond belief that thoughtful men could possibly accept such drivel! To those possessing even a modicum of knowledge concerning the "Enlightenment" and the French Revolution, such a tale represents absurdity and factual inaccuracy on such a vast scale that it hardly merits attention, let alone serious refutation.

Diderot, Voltaire, Holbach and the other founders of the "Enlightenment" - whose writings in large part produced not only the French Revolution, but the American Revolution as well - were anything but "lovers of the Jews." Voltaire, perhaps the leading figure of the French Enlightenment, was often heard to say that all men were worthy of freedom and the benefits of the Enlightenment except the Jews!! Why? - because "... the Jews were not of the same species as the rest of mankind!" This is hardly a statement which could reasonably be attributed to the supposed leader of the Jewish Conspiracy in France. Indeed, in it one can hear the demonic footsteps of the coming Holocaust echoing up through the corridors of history to lodge themselves finally in the hellish darkness of Hitler's Germany. Similar statements are easily attributable to many of the other leaders of the Enlightenment. But then such facts have never dissuaded anti-Semites before, and they could hardly be thought able to do so today.

To the men and women of the Enlightenment, Western Civilization had taken a wrong turn when it had embraced Judeo-Christianity. To "Enlightenment Man," history had begun with the flowering of Greek civilization in the sunny hills and islands of the Aegian - not the "backwaters" of Judea and Samaria - and had reached its zenith under Imperial Rome and the Emperor Marcus Aurelius - not the "secondary and relatively unimportant kingdom of David and Solomon."

The Ancient World of Greece and Rome had detested the Jews and their concept of "One God." Cicero and maintained, "They (i.e., the Jews) are - all of them - born with a raging fanaticism in their hearts, just as the Bretons and the Germans are born with blond hair. I would not be the least surprised if these people would not some day become deadly to the human race."

Voltaire's charge against the Jews - his hatred of them - had nothing to do with the Medieval and Catholic concept that they were the "killers of Christ." Voltaire refused to have recourse to the anti-Jewish position of the "Christian Civilization" that he himself had abandoned. Indeed, Voltaire was as much anti-Christian as he was anti-Semitic; to Voltaire, Christianity was merely an extension of Judaism, a view of Christianity which he had adopted from the Graeco-Roman Civilization he admired so much. Voltaire had instead recast his hatred of the Jews in the anti-Semitism of the Ancient World; he had cloaked his anti-Semitism in the ideas of Tacitus and Horace who had hated the Jews with a hatred older and much more obscene than anything conjured up by the Medieval Church - the pagan anti-Semitism of Greece and Rome.

The fact is, Voltaire's hatred of the Jews went far beyond the more "mundane" anti-Semitism of the church of his day, and there are scholars who argue with considerable persuasiveness that Voltaire's anti-Semitism was of a far more murderous kind than that found in the official church doctrine of his time. He had acquired his hatred of the Jews from the very same people who had supposedly taught him the value of freedom and the worth of man (i.e., the pagans of Greece and Rome). Moreover, it is probably not too much to say that his hatred went further even than the hatred of Cicero, Tacitus, and Horace in as much as he viewed Judaism (and Judaism's daughter, Christianity) of having poisoned the civilization he loved so well. This feeling of contempt and disgust for Judaism and Christianity was the view of the mainstream of the Enlightenment. Montesquieu, Locke, Gibbon, Hume, Rosseau, Mirabaud, Holbach, Voltaire, etc., were all to one degree or another anti-Semitic. The charge that these men were participants in some great Jewish world-conspiracy is so fraudulent and absurd that it hardly bears consideration, let alone rebuttal. It would be akin to seriously arguing with someone who insisted that two plus two equalled three. About all one could do is to shake his head and walk away.

THE FREEMASONS AND THE ILLUMINATI

As for the obscure German group known as the "Illuminati" - it was anything but a sinister group of men bent on a world-conspiracy. It was in fact nothing more than a cluster of "armchair intellectuals" more at home in their comfortable gatherings than in the streets inciting rebellion; they were more like an over-aged "athletic club" whose members could talk a good game, but nothing else. Moreover, they were anything but the leaders of the French Enlightenment, they were rather its timid followers. Indeed, they derived their name - "the Illuminati" (meaning the "enlightened ones") - from the fact that they were followers of the French Enlightenment, not its leaders. Finally, the Illuminati and the other followers of the Enlightenment were not Freemasons at all, but rather their rivals.

The Freemasons were the sworn enemies of the French Enlightenment and were (insofar as the French were concerned) originally Catholic and Monarchists who fought against the Revolution. Indeed, King Louis XVI and his brothers were all Freemasons. Rather than profiting from the Revolution, the Freemasons suffered greatly from its excesses under the Terror which the Revolution unleashed. The Freemasons were hunted down mercilessly and guillotined by the hundreds by the Jacobins. Furthermore, the charge that the Illuminati involved itself in witchcraft is so absurd that it fairly boggles the mind; these men were men who prided themselves on being men of science and rationalism; they everywhere denounced the "medieval" concept of witchcraft as being superstitious. Finally, the thought that half a million Frenchmen would ever under any circumstances "blindly" follow a small group of Germans (Bavarians) is so ridiculous that it is dizzying in its stupidity.

Continued...Part Two

Saint Malachias of Lindos the New Martyr

Venerable Martyr Malachias of Lindos (Feast Day - September 29)

Malachias (Malachi) was born in the early 16th century in the village of Lindos on the beautiful island of Rhodes to a pious Orthodox Christian family. His father George was a priest and his mother's name was Christina. One day the 22 year old Malachias traveled to the various Christian shrines on pilgrimage in Asia Minor, Greece, Egypt and finally came to Jerusalem. At Jerusalem he joined the brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre to be near the Tomb of the Lord and the Church of the Resurrection.

The devil, seeing no way of bringing this young soldier for Christ to ruin, inspired one day a Hagarene (Muslim) to slander Malachias in the marketplace. Walking by Malachias the Hagarene struck him and there he accused him of insulting the prophet Muhammad.

The Muslim authorities before whom Malachias was brought pressured him to convert to Islam and save his life, but Malachias refused. He said: "I will not venerate a man who is corrupt, totally unclean, and dead, nor will I deny Christ my God. May the sun nor the moon ever see such a thing. I will never worship the devil, nor submit to the words of a tyrant and apostate of God. I am a servant of Christ." Showing great courage and faithfulness to the Orthodox Christian faith, this enraged the Muslims even more.



They proceeded to beat him savagely and to pierce his ankles through. They went on to pass thin ropes through his pierced ankles which were then attached to horses. Attached to these horses with a rope through his ankles the torturers proceeded to whip them to make them run as fast as possible. Enduring this brutality, Malachias continued to refuse to deny Christ with courage.

After this and many other tortures, including neither giving him food or water in prison, Malachias was lead outside the city to the execution site where he was impaled with a metal-tipped stake pounded through his body. Malachias was subsequently lifted up and placed over a fire and was thus roasted alive, uttering his final words: "Lord, into Your hands I commend my spirit".

Malachias, the son of a priest, gave his life for the love of Jesus Christ in the city of Jerusalem on September 29th sometime between the years 1537 and 1580.

After the horrible martyrdom of Saint Malachias, the local Christians and Patriarch Germanos offered a large sum of money to the Muslim authorities to take the body of the Saint for burial. They took him to a cemetery for foreigners and buried him there. Patriarch Germanos proclaimed that his memory would henceforth be remembered on September 29th and be celebrated in the Church of Saint James the Brother of our Lord annually.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Saint Onuphrius of the St. David Gareji Monastery

Saint Onuphrius of the St. David Gareji Monastery (Feast Day - September 29)

Saint Onuphrius of Gareji (Otar Machutadze in the world) lived and labored in the 18th century. He was a Kartlian aristocrat famed for his wealth, hospitality, and charity.

Longing for the ascetic life, Otar wore a hair shirt under his distinguished raiment and unceasingly prayed to God for the strength to lead the monastic life. He revealed his will to his wife: “I thirst to turn from this world and draw nearer to Christ,” he said. “Therefore, I beg your forgiveness for all my transgressions, both voluntary and involuntary.”

His faithful wife consented and permitted him to go in peace. Otar traveled with his two eldest sons to Tbilisi, blessed them, and bade them farewell for the last time. Then he set off for the David-Gareji Monastery, which at that time was led by the kindhearted superior Archimandrite Herman.

Archimandrite Herman received Otar with great joy, and after a short time he tonsured him a monk with the name Onuphrius.

Blessed Onuphrius was a peaceful, humble and obedient man and a tireless ascetic. He would keep vigil through the night, and after the morning prayers he would go down to the ravine and continue to chant psalms, shedding tears over his past transgressions. He ate just one meal a day of bread and water, after the hour of Vespers. Once the Dagestanis attacked the David-Gareji Monastery, plundered the church, and took captive several monks including Onuphrius, the priests Maxime and Ioakime, and four deacons. Onuphrius was the oldest among them. The unbelievers planned to stab him to death, but the Lord protected him from their evil scheme.

According to the will of the All-mercifulGod, Onuphrius was freed and returned to the monastery.

The brotherhood was impoverished after the invasion, so Archimandrite Herman sent St. Onuphrius on a mission to solicit alms. It was difficult for St. Onuphrius to depart from the monastery, but he unquestioningly obeyed the will of his superior: the former aristocrat began to walk from door to door, begging for charity. At Tskhinvali in Samachablo St. Onuphrius attracted the attention of a crowd of people leading a young, demon-possessed man. The saint approached them and discovered that they were bringing the young man to a fortuneteller for help.

With love and great boldness St. Onuphrius addressed the crowd, saying, “My children, such behavior is not fitting for Christian believers. Bring the young man to me!”

The young man’s mother fell on her knees before him, begging for help, but St. Onuphrius raised her up and proclaimed: “I have come bearing earth from the grave of St. David of Gareji. This will help your son!” He dissolved a pinch of the earth in water and gave it to the young man to drink, and he was immediately healed.

St. Onuphrius took with him his youngest son, John, and returned to the monastery with a great quantity of provisions.

Once a certain Arab with a wounded eye came to the monastery seeking help. St. Onuphrius washed his eye in water from the holy spring of David-Gareji, and he was immediately healed.

Later St. Onuphrius desired to be tonsured into the great schema. The superior was hesitant, and told Onuphrius to remain for twenty or thirty days at the grave of St. David praying and supplicating God to reveal His will. The saint remained there in prayer, and after thirty days God revealed to the abbot that Fr. Onuphrius was truly worthy of this honor. Then Schemamonk Onuphrius gave a vow of silence and began to sleep on a tattered mat. Under his clothing he wore a heavy chain, and he left his cell only to attend the divine services.

Soon Blessed Onuphrius became so exhausted that he was no longer able to stand. The brothers begged him to lie on a bed and rest his head on a pillow, but the blessed Onuphrius opened his mouth for the first time since taking the vow of silence and said, “I vow to end my days on this mat.”

St. Onuphrius endured his infirmities with thanksgiving and repeated the Jesus Prayer incessantly. When people came to receive his blessing, he would welcome them, saying, “Let me kiss the edge of your garments and wash your feet with my tears!”

Sensing that the end of his days was approaching, St. Onuphrius partook of the Holy Gifts and, eighteen days later, on the Feast of Theophany, fell asleep in the Lord.

St. Onuphrius was buried on the south side of the grave of St. David of Gareji, near the altar window.

Source

On Amassing Wealth For Old Age While Neglecting the Wealth of Grace


By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

In ignorance, many people labor more to avoid suffering in old age and terminal illness than to avoid the torments of hell in the life after old age and death.

Such was the case of an unmarried and avaricious man who, from year to year, and with ever greater passion, amassed for himself unnecessary wealth. When asked why he strove so much to pile up excess wealth he replied: "I am gathering it for my old age. This wealth will heal and feed me in old age and sickness."

And indeed, his foreboding came true. In old age, a grave and long-lasting illness befell him. He distributed his accumulated wealth to physicians so they would heal him, and to servants so they would care for him and feed him. His wealth was soon spent, and the illness continued. The physicians and servants abandoned him, and he fell into despair. His neighbors brought him bread until his death, and he was buried at the expense of the community. He had used his wealth for that which he had intended it.

God had even done for him according to the man's will. God had sent him the illness that he had, in a sense, desired, and for which he had prepared great wealth. Nevertheless, all his wealth was unable to alleviate his sufferings in this world - so with what would he be able to alleviate his sufferings in the other world? Nothing, if he took with him neither faith, nor hope, nor charitable deeds, nor prayers, nor repentance!

Someone saw a departed man in the great glory of Paradise, and asked him how he had become worthy of that glory. The man replied: "In my earthly life I was the hireling of an evil-doer who never paid me. But I endured all and served him to the end, with hope in God." Then the onlooker saw another man in even greater glory, and when he asked him, that one replied: "I was a leper, and to the very end I offered gratitude to God for that." But no one saw in the glory of Paradise the man who had amassed money for illness in old age.

Diamanda Galas On Greek Orthodox Atheists


One of the most intense and disturbing (mainly in a positive way), performers of Avante Garde Jazz and Blues (if you can categorize her as such an artist), in the past few decades is Diamanda Galas. A San Diego native of immigrant Greek parents, she often speaks about the role of her culture in her music as well as religion. In 2005 I had the opportunity to see her perform live Defixiones, Will and Testament, an 80-minute memorial tribute to the Armenian, Greek and Assyrian victims of the Turkish genocides from 1914-1923, in New York City. Her voice penetrates the soul like few others are able to, and one of the most memorable and emotional scenes of the concert was when she was surrounded as if by fire and while burning alive she screamed "I was born a Roman and I will die a Roman" in the Greek language, in imitation of the many martyrs of the Asia Minor Catastrophy.

Despite this, Diamanda is not a devout Greek Orthodox by any means, but she made an interesting comment in an interesting interview that I thought is worthy of reflection and speaks much unfortunate truth about many Greeks as well as other Orthodox cultures. She was asked the following and responded in turn:

H.D.: You use a lot of religious imagery in your music. Did you come from a religious household?

Diamanda: Absolutely not. I come from an agnostic family, but at the same time, it’s Greek Orthodox, so there’s a combination of that. A lot of Greeks would agree with me when I say to be a Greek Orthodox atheist is to have the certainty of the Devil with no hope in God. And I’ve said that to a lot of Greeks in Greece, and they just laugh and say, “That’s it! Right on the money, Diamanda.”

Read the rest of the interview here.

Her official site can be viewed here.

False Rumors of Apocalytpic Visions and Elder Paisios


On various Greek blogs it is being reported that Elder Paisios the Athonite has recently predicted that Greece will be in war in three months. This was first reported in late August when a certain monk from Mount Athos was reportedly in a hospital in Thessaloniki, and released this information he heard from other monks on Mount Athos.

Basically the monk said that Elder Paisios was walking outside the Monastery of Saint Panteleimon on Mount Athos two weeks prior. There he met three young monks who approached the Elder and went to receive his blessing, but as they moved forward to do this the Elder pulled back and said: "Go to your Elder and tell him to buy large barrels of oil and flour because in three months from now we will have war in Greece and the people will be in hunger. Tell your Elder to inform the other monasteries about this."

The report which mentions this (see here) goes on to say that in the past week from when this was reported monks were seen at the Super Markets of Thessaloniki gathering oil and flour. He also mentions that this may be due to a recent prophecy of St. Kosmas Aitolos which may have been fulfilled with the recent Patriarchal Liturgy at Panagia Soumela in Trebizond (see here).

A few days ago, however, the new brotherhood of Esphigmenou Monastery officially addressed this issue and reported that it is a false rumor and it should not be taken seriously by Orthodox Christians. They wrote the following:

"NEVER did the holy Elder advise to gather foods! If I had stored foods all those in a time of hunger will kill me! If I don't have anything, then I will survive with some grass. Elder Paisios, a genuine voice of the monastic spirit, would have given his life in order for others to live! BE CAREFUL! Some are preaching catastrophies! Let us not do them a favor! The Elder would say that God shockingly loves Greece! These days we have the Holy Administration, and we have had no monk come forward to tell of this event, in accordance with the command of the Holy Elder Paisios. Neither the Holy Administration nor the Holy Community of Mount Athos has received knowledge of these events." (Source)

The Feast Day of St. Isaac the Syrian on September 28th

St. Isaac the Syrian (Feast Day - January 28 and September 28)

In the Greek Orthodox calendar there is no official feast day of St. Isaac the Syrian. Traditionally, however, he has been celebrated on January 28th together with the other great Syriac father of the Church, St. Ephraim the Syrian. The Slavic Churches celebrate St. Isaac officially on January 28th.

Not too many years ago Elder Paisios (+1993) sought to change this fact due to his great veneration for St. Isaac. He commissioned a Service to be written in his honor and chose to celebrate his feast on September 28th. The Service was written by the eminent hymnographer Fr. Gerasimos Mikragiannanites (+ 2002). Today the feast of St. Isaac is celebrated on Mount Athos on September 28th.

Furthermore, the first church dedicated to St. Isaac was built on Mount Athos, in the cell of a monk of the brotherhood of Elder Paisios in Kapsalis.

Elder Paisios, who would read the Ascetical Homilies of St. Isaac beneath the icon of the Saint, would say of St. Isaac: "If anyone went to a psychiatric hospital and read to the patients Abba Isaac, all those who believed in God would get well, because they would recognize the deeper meaning of life."

He also said:

"First you must read the Gerontikon, Philotheos History, and Evergetinos. All these books are practical not theoretical. Their simple patristic spirit and holiness will help you remove secular logic from your mind. Next, you should read Abba Isaac, and this way you will not see him as a philosopher, but as a man illumined by God."

It should also be noted that before the establishment of September 28th as the feast of St. Isaac by Elder Paisios, when he heard rumors that scholars accused St. Isaac of being a Nestorian, he prayed about this situation. Through divine revelation it was revealed to him that in fact St. Isaac was Orthodox and he wrote in his Menaion for January 28th the following words after the description of the feast of St. Ephraim the Syrian: "...and Isaac the Great Hesychast and much unjustly accused."

Below is the text of the Service in honor of St. Isaac commissioned by Elder Paisios. It is distributed by the Kalyva of the Resurrection of Christ in Kapsala on Mount Athos, where lived Fr. Isaac of Lebanon, a spiritual child of Elder Paisios. His ascetical tradition is maintained by Fr. Euthymios and his brotherhood.



Read also: Ὁ Ἀββᾶς Ἰσαάκ ὁ Σύρος, στό στόχαστρο τοῦ Οἰκουμενισμοῦ (pdf)

Holy Martyr Wenceslas the Prince of the Czechs

St. Wenceslas the Prince of the Czechs (Feast Day - September 28)

Thanks to the popular carol, "Good King Wenceslas," we have traditionally come to associate this saintly monarch with Nativity; the 19th century English verses relate an incident which took place "on the feast of Stephen," celebrated by the Church on December 27. If the incident is legendary, the hero most certainly is not. Outside of his native Czechoslovakia, however, few know the true story of this young Orthodox royal martyr, whose statue today dominates one of the principal squares in his nation's capital.

During the missionary journeys of Saints Cyril and Methodius, the Czech Prince Borivoy and his wife Ludmilla were converted. But their baptism was by no means followed by that of their subjects. Many powerful Czechs were opposed to the introduction of Christianity, as it threatened the privileges and powers of their own idolatrous religion.

The son of Borivby and Ludmilla, Prince Vratislav, married a nominally Christian woman, Drahomira, the daughter of a pagan tribal chief, who held tenaciously to the ancient beliefs. Their first son Vaclavor, as we know him, Wenceslas, [in Russian, Vyacheslav] was born near Prague in 907, and his father began his rule of Czechia in 915. Four daughters and another son, Boleslas, were also born to them.

When Wenceslas was thirteen, his father was killed in a battle. Drahomira took advantage of the confusion and religious animosity to garner the support of the powerful pagan nobility while Wenceslas awaited his majority. During that time, Grandmother Ludmilla arranged to bring up the boy; carefully she formed in his heart the love of Christ and His holy Church with the help of her priest, himself a disciple of St. Methodius. After Vratislav's death those same nobles encouraged Drahomira's jealousy of St. Ludmilla by sly suggestions. "Just look at what this interfering woman has accomplished: your own son is now better fit for a monastery than a throne," Between them they conceived and executed a plan to eliminate the Grandmother's gentle influence. They had her strangled [commemorated as a martyr by the Church on Sapt. 16].

Feeling herself now exempt from all Christian duty, the mother reclaimed her son, including him in her idolatrous ceremonies. Secretly, however, Wenceslas continued to celebrate his Christian faith in private services, receiving the Holy Mysteries in the deep of night. His own crops of wheat and wine were contributed for their preparation. Soon, God saw fit to bring the goodness of the young Prince to light, at the same time rewarding Drahomira in kind for her evil accomplishment. Murder, even by a regent., was severely punishable, and an uprising deposed and banished her. Gaining the throne shortly at the age of eighteen, Wenceslas recalled his mother to the castle, heeding the commandment to honor one's father and mother.

His was a well-formed soul and he cherished the peace and safety of his subjects sacrificially: once, to stop continuous murderous raids by his most pernicious enemy, he volunteered to meet him in hand-to-hand combat and let the outcome be the end of the dispute. Ever steadfast in the Faith, he was zealous in good deeds--clothing the naked, giving shelter to pilgrims, and buying freedom for those sold into slavery. His generous love extended to rich and poor alike. To encourage the Christians he undertook the planning and building of churches and was dauntless in his opposition of the nobles who oppressed them. The troubles between the Christian Prince and his pagan nobility were soon to erupt again in earnest.

In addition to his Holy Faith, the nobles resented his friendship with King Henry I, "the Fowler," of Germany. Prince Wenceslas preferred to be ruled by the "suzerainty of the empire", believing King Henry to be the rightful heir of Charlemagne, than to see his country crushed by the Germans if he rejected their rule. King Henry in turn admired the Czech Prince's devotion to the Church, offering to give whatever he might have of interest to the Prince. Wenceslas requested. a relic of St. Vitus. Upon receiving it he built a church (now a cathedral) to shelter. The Bohemian nationalists :were irritated by this friendship, and chafed at the influence of clergy in their Prince's counsels.

Although Wenceslas was reconciled to his mother, his younger brother Boleslas now began to be troublesome. Having grown up with his mother rather than St. Ludmilla, Boleslas had been more strongly influenced by pagan ideas. Now he fell easy prey to the evil suggestions of the same rebels among the nobility as had encouraged Drahomira to murder her mother-in-law. This wicked band used the occasion of the birth of Wenceslas' first son to stir up jealousy in Boleslas, hissing that should he not act quickly he would lose forever his opportunity for succession to the throne. Some say that the fire of this jealousy was fueled by the lie that Wenceslas was already plotting the murder of Boleslas. In any case, the band of Judases made haste to rise up against their lord.

Knowing the religious fervor of his brother, Boleslas invited him to the feast of Ss. Cosmas and Damlan. Though warned of danger, Wenceslas put his trust in God and went, as his custom was, to the church dedicated to the feast at hand--the castle chapel of Boleslas.

After Liturgy the Prince prepared to return home. But his scheming brother dissuaded him: "Why leave, brother? Let us join my knights for a hearty drink!" Still trusting in God, Wenceslas joined the men and stayed the day. At some point he was probably told of his brother's intent. But either he did not believe the wickedness of it or he determined to rest in the will of God. That night as he slept, the shameless brother and his band of infidels charted their course. When bells for matins awoke him, Wencelas gave thanks for his life and health and started for church. Boleslas caught up with him at the gate and they exchanged a few words. Then Boleslas drew his sword. "What has gotten into you, my brother?" cried Wenceslas. One of the henchmen wounded his right arm, and the near-martyr ran for the church. There on the Steps of the holy refuge he was beaten to death by two others; then a fourth pierced his side. Strangely, his blood did not yet sink into the ground. A priest covered his body with a cloth, and his mother was told. One can only faintly imagine the chaotic mixture of grief, terror and remorse that assailed Drahomira then. She ran, crying, to the body of her first-born, gathered him to her, and took him to the priest's house to wash and dress for burial. Then, fearing the duplicity of her younger son, She ran away to Croatia.

Three days after the murder, the blood of the holy martyr gathered itself together and stood above his body in the church in full view of many of the faithful. After his burial, many of his grateful subjects, feeling themselves orphaned, went to his grave to pray. Sources agree that miracles soon began in answer to these prayers, although they differ on the reason for Boleslas's decision to move the body to the church containing the relics of St. Vitus: some say the murderer feared reprisals from the faithful and hoped to hide the miracles behind St. Vitus's name; but others say that he repented of the killing of his Prince and brother, and moved the body to honor St. Wenceslas.

In any event, St. Wenceslas was embraced by the hearts of his subjects as their Patron, and his grave became a popular and fruitful place of pilgrimage. Of the many miracles wrought before the Saint's tomb, we cannot pass over the following:

A certain pagan, who was imprisoned, made a promise to the Lord, saying: “if the Lord helps me for the sake of the good deeds of blessed Wenceslas, I will believe in Christ and give my son into His service.” Straightway all of his shackles fell from him. Again and again the guards fastened him down, and again as before his shackles fell from him. Thus he was released and, fulfilling his vow, he studied and was baptized in the Faith, and lived for many more years.

There was in the city a poor woman who was blind and crippled. She went into the church, fell on the ground before the grave of blessed Wenceslas, and prayed until she regained her sight and the use of her arms.

In the Frankish territory there was a certain lame man. He saw in a dream a man dressed in white who woke him, saying: “Rise and go to the city of Prague to the church of St. Vitus; there you will regain your health.” When he ignored this, the same man again came to him in a dream and said: “Why did you not carry out my order?” The lame man answered: “I am going, Lord,” and he got up and went limping to some merchants and paid them to take him on their cart to the above-mentioned church. There he began to pray and fell on the ground before all present; and by God’s grace his knees, ankles, and feet were healed. He rose and gave thanks to God and blessed Wenceslas, for the sake of whose good deeds it pleased the Lord God to help him.

Through the tender-hearted prayers of St. Wenceslas, this young father of many, O Christ our God, release us from our shackles of sin, heal our souls , and save us!

Source: Compiled by Agafia Prince using material from a 10th-century Slavonic manuscript translated by Antonia and Kyril Janda.


Reflection By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

Vatslav (Wenceslas) was the grandson of St. Ludmilla. As king, he labored in the Faith like the great ascetics, and strengthened the Orthodox Faith among his people. He was strict in ensuring that no innocent person suffer in the courts. In his zeal for the Christian Faith and in his love for his fellow man, St. Vatslav purchased pagan children who were being sold as slaves, and immediately baptized them and raised them as Christians. He translated the Gospel of St. John into the Czech language, and transported the relics of St. Vitus and St. Ludmilla to Prague. His brother Boleslav invited him to be his guest, and then killed him in his court. Immediately after this, Boleslav brought in German priests and had the services celebrated in Latin. St. Vatslav suffered in the year 935 and his relics repose in Prague.

A faithful and God-fearing ruler is a true blessing for all people. King Vatslav of the Czechs was such a ruler. His zeal for the sanctity of the Faith and his steadfastness remind us of the ancient ascetics. During the day he devoted himself to the affairs of the state, and at night to prayer. In winter, he often walked barefoot to the church for Matins with his old servant Podivoi. He often prepared and baked prosphora himself, especially when he desired to receive Holy Communion. Because of his care for the Faith, many churches were built, in which daily services to God were celebrated. He especially concerned himself with the poor and needy. He was a lover of peace, yet also a great and fearless hero. When the neighboring Prince Radislav attacked the Czech lands, Vatslav sent him a letter asking why he was waging war. The proud Radislav replied that he wanted Vatslav to cede all the Czech lands, and his throne, to him. Vatslav promptly amassed a large army and confronted his enemy. Yet, pondering on the two powerful armies, he mourned that so many men would die, and sent a message to Radislav: "The quarrel is between you and me; you desire to rule the land of the Czechs and I will not yield. Agree to resolve this matter with a duel between the two of us. Why shed so much blood in a battle between two armies?" Prince Radislav agreed to this duel, and was defeated by Vatslav. On his knees, he begged him for forgiveness.


HYMN OF PRAISE: The Holy Martyr Vatslav, King of the Czechs

By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

From a wicked mother, good fruit was born:
St. Vatslav, who pleased God.
His wicked mother gave him only a body,
But his grandmother-light and faith and hope.
The glorious grandmother, pious Ludmilla,
Nurtured Vatslav's soul.
As a white lily, Vatslav grew,
And adorned himself with innocence.
As the king reigned, the people rejoiced,
And with their king they honored God.
Yet the adversary of man never sleeps or dozes,
Laying sinful snares for every soul,
And he incited Boleslav against Vatslav.
"For what, my brother, do you want my head?"
Vatslav asked, but was still beheaded!
But the evildoer did not escape God.
The soul of St. Vatslav went
Before the Most-high God, the Just,
The One he had always adored,
And with Ludmilla, Vatslav now prays
For his people, that they be strengthened in faith.
St. Vatslav, beautiful as an angel!

Read also:

Good King Wenceslas: LIFE & THE CAROL

Wikipedia: St. Vitus Cathedral

St Wenceslas Chapel

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