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 Valery Filimonov, academician, biocybernetics and management systems expert, introduced Interfax-Religion his thoughts on prospects of turning humanity in controllable “biomass” and comments on who stands behind these attempts, what are the dangers of electronic control over people.

– Do you consider universal technotronic dictatorship a myth or reality?

– It’s an old dream of the high and mighties. Zbigniew Brzezinski wrote about necessity of total control and technotronic dictatorship in 1968. David Rockefeller cynically said, “The super-national sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination” Today their plans are gradually materializing. All of us can witness the process. They foster the society where each person will stay under the vigilant eye of the Big Brother who keeps guard of the interests of today’s masters, the kings of profiteering and the pawnbrokers of the global scale. It is becoming only evident that the current recession is part of the world’s elite scheme to enslave humanity.

– What are the dangers of electronic control over people? Is it real to turn humans in controlled mass of cyborgs?

– Today we can assert that not only are they establishing the system of continuous surveillance, but also they are building the system of absolute power over people. What is the use of spending billions for peeping through the keyhole!

For example, Opinion 20 of the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies states the need of “the transformation of the human race” through “the multiplication of body-friendly technologies” which can “herald the coming of cyborgs.” It proposes to modify individuals “via various electronic devices, under skin chips and smart tags.”

– What do you think about the scales of such control? Who hides behind these technologies and what is the aim?

– According to a number of international agreements, new world order is usually called global informational society or global network society. In fact, this unitarian transnational cyber society will become an electronic death camp. People will be turned in impersonal user-friendly “bio object.” He will be helpless before cyber system, which is to control the society, and its masters. In fact, it will be global technotronic fascism using the latest informational and telecommunicational technologies as a powerful instrument of electronic suppression of free human will.

It is an open secret that the main driving force behind the global Internet community unites antichristian and cosmopolitan members of the world’s elite, rather than science experts.

– Do you see any deep antagonism between attempts to establish total control and faith in God?

– God created man in His image, free and responsible. Technotronic dictatorship is being introduced with the aim to suppress the Divine freedom of each human individual and completely change all behavioral patterns. Humans will live under the strict rules of system behavior patterns, that is, become just a controllable attachment to the automatically operated system. Is it possible to preserve God-like dignity in the society of creatures stuffed with electronics and subjected to various manipulations? It is evident that people are not able to follow their religious beliefs within such global network community, and it is no secret that those in charge of “a new world order” have made the Holy Orthodoxy their enemy number one.

Ideology of globalism opposes Christian outlook and is incompatible with it. It is introduced and promoted in secular society and in the Church by efforts of “world elite” and expresses their interests. Globalists don’t accept and deny Russia its historical mission as a guardian country of Orthodox faith, culture and traditions.

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Chisinau, April 28, Interfax – Resident of Moldavian village Kodryany cut down an old ash-tree and in the cut he saw a drawing very similar to images of a cross and a burning candle.

“It’s usually very easy to cut down a tree, and here I was facing a difficulty. And spilling wasn’t white as usual, but bright red. It was very difficult to cut it, but when I did, I looked at the cut and oh good heaven: there was a scarlet cross and a burning candle below it! I was shocked!” Pavel Boyko was quoted as saying by the Moldavian edition of the Komsomolskaya Pravda daily.

Members of the Boyko family are believers and frequent churchgoers and like their ancestors, they chant in a church choir.

According to Pavel’s daughter Anzhela, when they called for Fr. Sergy, rector of St. Nicholas church located nearby, the priest stared at the drawing for a long time and then said, “It is the Epiphany.”

Fr. Sergy made a picture and then send it to his ruling bishop.

“I don’t know what to think about this phenomenon. I’ve seen this before, in Ukraine, in the Vinnitsa Region. I reported everything to the Dean, and they told me that I should keep this cut in the church. Perhaps, it’s a sign from God. We hope that it’s a good sign,” the priest says.

Meanwhile pilgrims started coming to the Boyko house. People are arriving from neighboring villages to see the alleged miracle.

Source: http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=5978

crowdpalm

An Excerpt from

With Pain and Love for Contemporary

 

Man

 

by Elder Paisios the Athonite (+1994)

 

Our Lord Jesus Christ, with His great love and joy which fill the souls of the faithful during His holy feast days, exalts us spiritually and truly resurrects us. All we need to do is participate in these feasts and celebrate them with a spiritual appetite; for once we taste the heavenly wine to which the saints will treat us, we will become drunk in spirit.

— Geronda (Elder in Greek), what must we do to live a spiritual life during these feasts?

— To live through Christ’s feasts in a spiritual way, we must keep our minds focused on the holy days themselves and not on the work that we have to do to prepare for them. We should think about the events of each holy day (Nativity, Theophany, Pascha and so on) and say the Jesus Prayer glorifying God in our heart. This way we will celebrate with reverence every feast day of the Church. For most people, who live in the world, Nativity is the time to eat pork, Pascha to eat lamb and the Meat-fare week at the beginning of Lent, the time to throw confetti. But for the true monks, every week is Holy Week. Every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday they experience Holy and Great Wednesday, Holy and Great Thursday, and Holy and Great Friday, that is, the days of the Passion of Christ, and every Sunday is for them Pascha, the Day of the Resurrection. Why must we wait until Holy Week to remember the Passion of Christ? Why should we be like people who live in the world? Can’t we realize what Christ is risen means, without eating lamb? You see, Christ said, Therefore be ye also ready, for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of Man cometh (Matthew 24:44). He did not say, “Get ready right now!” From the moment Christ said, “Be ready!” we must all, but especially monks and nuns, be constantly vigilant and ready.

We must study and live through these divine events all the time. When someone studies the events of each feast day, he will be naturally moved to pray with particular reverence. Then, during liturgical services, our mind will be absorbed by the events we are celebrating and we will follow with great reverence the chanting of hymns. When our mind thinks divine thoughts, we get to live through these holy events, and in this manner we are transformed. We think of a saint for whom we have a special devotion, or of the saint whose feast day we are celebrating, and our mind rises higher toward Heaven. And when we keep the saints in mind, they keep us in mind, too, and they come to our assistance. This is how we can start a friendship with them, the one that will last forever. And so, even though we may live alone, we will actually share our lives with everybody: with the saints, the angels, the whole world. Imagine, being alone, and feeling their company! This is the living presence of the saints who are God’s children and will reach out to help us, their poor brothers and sisters.

Our saints have shed blood, sweat and tears for the love of Christ. We should always celebrate them with reverence, and they will be there to help us. Every time we hear the Synaxarion “On this same day, we commemorate Saint …,” we must rise to our feet, like soldiers standing at attention when the names of their fallen comrades who died heroically are being read.

If we want to really feel the significance of a feast day, we must abstain from all work. On Holy and Great Friday, for instance, the only thing we should be doing is praying. For people who live in the world, Holy Week is full of chores. On Great Friday, they will exchange good wishes “Happy Easter!” This is so wrong! On Holy and Great Friday, I will lock myself in my Kalyvi (monastic hut). Silence will be of great help to the soul. It’s very much like the time that follows the reception of the Great Schema, when a monk or nun will spend a whole week in silence to allow Divine Grace to fill the soul and to appreciate what has actually taken place. In silence, we get the opportunity to rest a little, to study and pray. When a good thought crosses our mind, when we examine ourselves, or say the Jesus Prayer, we will really come to feel something of the divine event celebrated on that day.

 

“Better Is a Little That the Righteous Has”

It is unfortunate that in our days we don’t use freedom to do good and become holy; instead, we use freedom to become more secular. In the past, people would work all week and rest on Sunday, a holy day. Now, they rest on Saturday as well. But are their lives more spiritual? Or are they more sinful? If people spent their time on spiritual work (prayer, spiritual study and so forth), things could have been different; people would live more conservative and decent lives. But we poor human beings try to rob time from the spiritual things, from Christ. People who live in the world will arrange to do all their heavy chores on Sundays. They are trying to find one Sunday for this chore, a holy day for another, and that’s how they bring God’s wrath on themselves. Why would the saints then come to their assistance? Turn Sunday into a chore day? Never! Even if others offer to help us on that day, we should never accept it. Not on a Sunday.

We do not allow God to be in charge. And so, everything that we do without faith in God has nothing to do with Him; it belongs to the world. It does not have His blessing and for this reason the outcome is never good. When we work on holy days, we give the devil rights and then he gets involved in our affairs. The Psalm reads: Better is the little that the righteous has than the abundance of riches of the wicked (Psalm 36:16). This is the kind of life that will receive a blessing. The rest is as worthy as shavings. But in order to live this way, we must have faith, philotimo (responsive gratefulness) and reverence, and put God in charge of our lives. And you’ll see that God will never abandon you.

I remember once, some threshing machines were brought to the village, and my father was notified that they could start on Sunday from our fields, and then move downhill to other lots. My father said to me, “What should we do? The machines are here.” “There is no way I will work on Sunday,” I replied. “We can do it on Monday.” “But,” my father objected, “if we miss this opportunity, we’ll have such a hard time threshing with the horses.” “That’s fine with me,” I said. “If I have to, I’ll be threshing all the way to Nativity.” So, I went to church anyway, without giving the matter any more thought. Well, as the machines started coming toward our field, they broke down. “Forgive us, but the machines won’t work. We’ll take them to Yiannena and fix them, and when we come back on Monday, you will be first in line!” So instead of threshing on Sunday, they ended up threshing on Monday. I’ve seen this kind of thing happen so many times.

 

What Are Laypeople Supposed to Do?

 

How different was the spirit of monasticism in the old days! I remember how laypeople, who celebrated the Feast of the Holy Cross according to the new calendar, would come to the Holy Mountain after the feast and bring us grapes. Sometimes, the day they arrived, we would be celebrating the Feast of the Holy Cross according to our calendar. But the Fathers would never go to unload the boat on such a day. They would send them back, or just leave them there, both the caïque (a wooden fishing boat) and the grapes. They would do the same if an olive oil or wood shipment would happen to arrive on the day of a feast. And the monasteries were poor. The monks were thinking: “What will people say if they see monks working on this day?” They would rather have a storm take the load, and lose the oil and the grapes, than to go and unload the ship, miss the Feast and scandalize souls.

 

drumul-spre-emaus1

 

Not so today… I happened to be at a monastery on the eve of a feast day, and the monks were unloading grapes. The entire brotherhood later gathered together to squeeze them. That night they were supposed to have a Vigil, but they decided to postpone it and transfer it to another time. And that was a major Feast! In another place, they were repairing a monastery damaged by fire, on a Sunday. Just wait, it will burn down again! When people who live in the world see these things, they naturally say to themselves, “Feast days mean nothing anymore.” People who live in the world are looking for an excuse to justify their sins.

We monks should be especially careful not to work on feast days, not only because doing so is a sin, but because we also become a cause for scandal; we sin twice.

— Geronda, this is what actually happened. One of the Sisters did not think of telling a worker to come another day. So he ended up working on a feast day.

— Then the Sister needs to be given a canon. (Here, canon is the discipline imposed by a Spiritual Father upon the believing sinner in the context of the Mystery of Repentance for his or her correction. Such discipline could take the form of fasting, almsgiving, prayer, abstinence from Holy Communion for a specified time and so on).

Geronda, on a feast day, after the Vigil is over, if one becomes sleepy, can they do some handiwork while saying the Jesus Prayer?

— Can’t she do prostrations? Let her do prostrations to overcome her sleepiness. Why do handiwork?

— How about on Sunday? Is it right to weave a komboschoini (Greek for prayer rope) after a Sister has performed her spiritual duties?

— Why should you weave a komboschoini? Why not enjoy this day’s full spiritual nourishment? Unfortunately the spirit of the world is entering our monasteries. From what I hear, there are monasteries where, on Sunday afternoons or in the afternoon of a feast day, they will return to their chores and duties. As if they have children that are dying from hunger or owe heavy debts that will force them to auction their house! Where’s the need? Of course, it’s different with the monk or nun who serves the visitors, or the cooks who serve in the kitchen. Someone needs to be there to do the necessary work.

Do you remember Father Menas in the Skete of Saint Anna? A fisherman brought him fish on a Sunday morning, for the feast day. “It’s fresh, Geronda,” he said. “Today is Sunday, when did you catch it and it’s so fresh?” he replied, puzzled. “This morning,” the man answered. “Throw them away, son, they’re anathematized,” Father Menas responded. “And if you want to make sure that I’m telling you the truth, give one to the cat and see if it will eat it.” And indeed, the fisherman threw the cat a fish but the animal turned its head away, with repulsion. That’s how sensitive monks were in those days!

Once, on the Feast of the Theotokos in August, a monastery had a whole crew working with chain saws in the forest, gathering wood. Even though it was a clear day, suddenly it got cloudy, and lightning struck just next to the woodcutters, who were so terrified that they left without even notifying anyone that the forest was on fire. It took them forever to put out the fire. The following Sunday, two wood cutting crews went out again. These fires are God’s wrath, because we have turned Sundays and feast days into working days. And the sad thing is that we don’t realize what we are doing. We are pushing God’s tolerance and patience to its limits.

If there is a need for something, the monks will pray, saying the Jesus Prayer one hundred times each, and God will enlighten someone to send them a hundred thousand drachmas. The monk’s job is prayer. If we don’t put our trust in God, who will? Those who live in the world? God feels obligated to hear the prayer of the monk who has entrusted his life to Him. When I lived in the Coenobium (monastery), there was a monk who assisted the Abbot. He was not quick at all; in fact, he never left before the Divine Liturgy ended, and yet he always managed to finish all his chores. I, on the other hand, who was quicker and left before the Liturgy ended to prepare the assembly room, would be running into all kinds of problems. Sometimes I would mishandle the coffee beaker and the coffee would spill all over; other times I would drop the cups and the glasses; something would always go wrong! But he would wait until the end of the Liturgy. He would cross himself and trust in God to help him. If he were ever reprimanded, he would accept it with humility. He was humble and benefited twice as much.

When we don’t get stuck on unimportant details, which would cause no harm if omitted, we will benefit twice as much from whatever good we do, and give to the saints, whose feasts we celebrate, double the praise they are due. We should try to the best of our ability, not to devote ourselves to work at the expense of our spiritual life, which should always come first; this way, no matter what job we do, we’ll have the blessing of God. It’s our spiritual life that must come first, not material things. If we put our work ahead of everything else and put prayer in second place, this means that for us work is more important than prayer. It is pride and irreverence that lie behind this attitude. The work of the spiritually bankrupt cannot be sanctified. If we put spiritual matters first, God will take care of us. When we monks don’t observe feast days, what are laypeople supposed to do? If we don’t do our spiritual work and plead with the saints to help us, who will? What happens is that we end up saying all the time that we believe in God, but in reality we don’t even trust in Him. If we monks and nuns, who wear the monastic cassock, will not respect the Canons of the Church, and violate and dishonor Her age-old traditions, what possible meaning can our lives have?

Normally, we must cease all work before the Vespers of Sunday or of a feast day. If arrangements can be made, it is better to work more on the previous day, and avoid any work after the Vespers of a festal celebration. It is a different matter, if, in the event of an emergency, some light tasks need to be taken care of in the afternoon of a Sunday or a feast day. But even in such cases, the work should be done with discretion. In the old days, when farmers out in the fields heard the church bell announcing Vespers, they would do the sign of the cross and cease all work. The women of the neighbourhood would do the same. They would stand up, cross themselves and stop knitting or anything else they were doing. And God would bless them. They had their health and enjoyed life… Now they have abolished the feast days, distanced themselves from God and the Church, and not surprisingly, end up spending all the money they earn on doctors and hospitals… Once, a man came to my Kalyvi (monastic hut) and said, “My boy gets sick very often and doctors cannot figure out what’s wrong with him.” “Stop working on Sundays and things will change,” I told him. He followed my advice, and his little boy recovered.

I always tell people that if they want to avoid calamities in their life, they should stop working on Sundays and feast days. Work schedules could be arranged to keep these days free. Where there is spiritual sensitivity, everything is possible; solutions will be found. That’s really the issue here. Even if a particular solution is to our disadvantage, and we suffer a loss, in the end we’ll be twice blessed. But so many people fail to understand this. They do not even attend the Divine Liturgy. The Divine Liturgy sanctifies. If a Christian will not go to Church on Sunday, how will he be sanctified?

It’s unfortunate, but, the way things are going, people will do away with feast days, and with everything else. You see, they are even changing their names, and are forgetting their saints whose name they bear. If they are named Vasilike, they change it to Vicky; Zoe (Life) to Zozo — which sounds like saying zo (animal) twice! They have come up with new feasts, Mother’s Day, May Day, April Fools’ Day… Pretty soon they’ll say, “Today is Artichoke Day, tomorrow Cypress Day, later the birthday of the inventor of the atom bomb, or of soccer and so on…” But God will not abandon us…

 

anastasis

  

By Father George Calciu

 

    What new word can I share with you my friends? Since then (1) many long years have passed. A new generation has arisen, tested by unique experience and, perhaps, touched by a new skepticism born from contact with the Western world estranged from the right Faith.

Perhaps today, even more so than when I delivered those “Seven Homilies to the Youth” (1), the soul of young people – whom I consider as much my friends as I did back then (because I still speak in the name of Jesus Christ) – is increasingly assaulted by mental illness.    

    This is brought about by the treacherous propaganda from the West, under the mask of liberal democracy, which often takes on the appearance of Christianity, just as Satan dons angelic light to deceive as many as possible.

    Back then (in communism) you were oppressed through force, which created within you a natural resistance against a system of materialistic thinking and formed within you a mystical dimension. You, my young friend, did not believe anything that was told to you then, because, as you know, under the guise of relative truth, which the rulers of the time had proclaimed as absolute truth, a complete and totalitarian lie was hidden.

    Back then, the voice of the priest reached you through the spoken homily at the price of his liberty and even his life, and the truth of Christ consoled a soul wounded by the violence of political language and physical terror.

    Back then you were told of Communist internationalism and of an exclusively materialistic existence, which sought to kill the universal love of the Savior. Then, you were told that you were a mere instrument, without freedom, in the social and political mechanism, and that only integration into this necessity would bring you freedom. However, Christ is calling you to a greater freedom of a totally different order when He says, Sanctify them through Thy Truth; Thy word is Truth (John 17:17) and, in another place, Ye shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall set you free (John 8:32).

    It is not so, my friend, that back then the Christian Truth appeared crystal clear and easily understandable to you?

    Today, in the nest of lies which surrounds you from all sides, are you still able to distinguish the Truth from the lies as easily?

    Under the invasion of American and Protestant-style “evangelization”, in which partial truths of Christianity are preached before a satanic background of rock music and in the form of a “cheep sham spectacle”, full of shrieks and false tears, with miracles and healings falling upon your confused head, how can you find the true Christ in your heart?

    Yesterday, under the terror of Communism atheism, you could robe your soul with the body of the Lord, anointed with myrrh, as when Joseph and Nicodemus put him in the tomb.

    Today seduced by the infernal rhythm of drums and the barbaric rhythm of sectarian preaching, you no longer find God, and you stand, like Mary Magdalene, crying in from of the empty tomb of your soul.

    Who stole God from you? Which gardener has hidden Him from you, so that now you are alone and crying?

    Return to the simple truth of faith and to the account of the Resurrection of Christ! Run like Peter and John towards the Lord’s tomb, stoop down, enter, and you shall see and you, shall believe, knowing the Scripture, that Jesus had to rise from the dead!

    Perhaps yesterday, when Communism tried to wrench any faith from your heart and to form you into a mere cog in the gears of the social machinery, you, out of a spirit of youthful revolt had more Christ in your soul than you have today.

    Today you are attacked from all sides with the sound of the rhythmic drumming of all the anti-Christian organizations, which wish to create an amorphous mass out of the world’s nations, easily led  to their intended destination. So it happens in the political world – a few individuals are anointed in secret and installed to govern all people from positions of international power. They determine which nations have the right to bear children and which must abort them; they substitute themselves to God and sketch the destiny of nations according to their pleasures and interests. Whoever does not submit shall perish!

 

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    This totalitarianism is expressed, more and more, even in the life of the Church, through Masonic-style ecumenical international organizations, which actually impose a new religion, a new liturgy divested of sacredness, the Holy Mysteries, and ritual, like a modern theatrical production.

    These so-called religious theaters – which you see gathered in all the public marketplaces, led by some of the Western youth – represent the desanctification of Christianity and the Liturgy. Unfortunately even some Orthodox clergy have taken part in the de-sacramentalization of the Liturgy, as in the case of the brochure Reconciliation – the Gift from God and the Beginning of New Life, edited in Iasi, in 1995, where among the editors is found an Orthodox priest (of course, not without the approval of his hierarch). This work, in its liturgical part, is an attack on the sanctity of Orthodox Liturgy and a negation of its Mysteries.

    How can you not stand, like Mary, in front of an empty tomb? All these attacks are pointed against you, young men, especially against you, because you are more deprived of protection and you are more sensitive to injustices. Your attackers want to tell you that you are an empty tomb if you no not submit to them.

    However, it is written: Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are from God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world (I John 4:1).

    Who can test today if the spirits come from God when the Orthodox and catholic priests themselves preach an anti-Christian Messianic message, similar to the sects established by rebels against the Church? Who protects you from straying, my younger brother? Who is to enrobe your heart with the presence of true Christ and not with the false christs of this age.

    As many as received Him, to them He gave power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name; which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth…And of his fullness have all we received , and grace for grace (John 1:12–14,16).    

    You were born, young man, not of desire of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but from God, Who became flesh for you and of Whose fullness you partook, and grace after grace you have received.

    This grace is a shield against fornication, to which your modern teachers push you. They tell you that liberty is the eradication of any obstacle facing you; that a good conscience is a talisman; that honor is an old-fashioned, obsolete notion; that sexuality is the unleashing of the beast within you; that your likeness to Christ is a story created by the priests; and that the love of God and neighbor is a new way of inhibiting your personality. Search in your heart, beyond this diabolic ticket of lies, and you will find the Truth, the only one that shall set you free! And the supreme Truth is the Resurrection, the Resurrection of Christ, as the lever for your own resurrection.

    As we approach Passion Week, which we meet filled with pain and repentance for our own participation in the slaying of Christ, not only by the mere decadence of the old Adam but through our actions at every moment and our daily falls. Through these we have wounded Him Who is the ideal of human perfection. The priest proclaims from the altar ‘the death of God’ again and again during the 12 Passion Gospels in a wearing and haunting way. “O my sweet springtime, O my sweetest child, where has Thy beauty gone?” (3). We will be mournful and full of tears, but never despairing, because we know that the time has come to when the Son of Man will be betrayed and delivered into the hands of high priests, who will judge, condemn and give Him over to death, but on the third day He will rise (cf. Matt. 16:21, 17:22-23, 20:18-19; Mark 10:33-34; Luke 9:22, 18:31-35). This is way we sing during the Lamentation service: “As a lion hast Thou fallen asleep in the flesh, O Savior, and as a young lion hast Thou risen from the dead, putting off the old age of the flesh”. (4).

    With torn flesh, ravaged by torments, Christ arises as a lion cub, renewed trough the total spiritualization of the body. As a lion cub, He comes out of the myrrh-filled linen shroud, leaving it untouched yet retaining its form. As a lion cub He ascends, illumined, through the stone of the tomb without leaving a trace – the stone which the angel would later remove in order to show the women that Jesus was no longer in the grave. Come, see the place where the Lord lay (Matt. 28:6).

 

    Christ is Risen!

 

    Paradoxically, the priest who said to you that Christ had died now proclaims, in the brilliant light of the Truth, that He is Risen. He knows and he preaches the Truth of the Resurrection with conviction. Friend, you are no longer an empty tomb! The risen Christ dwells in you and His joy remains wholly in you.

    During Pascha of 1981, I was in the prison of Aiud. Early that morning, when the guards was changing shifts, I broke every diabolic rule of the prison by saying to the guard (one of the cruelest): “Christ is Risen!” He hesitated a few moments, in which, like lightening, I saw passing on his face the innocence of childhood, when his mama or grandma led him by the hand to church and when he heard the angelic voice of the priest saying: “Christ is Risen!”

After this moment of hesitation, he softly answered me; “Truly, He is Risen!” It was for me the most assuring proof that I was never misled in this regard: the one who was torturing me (for Christ) was confessing the Resurrection of the Lord! I cried in silence with tears of joy.

    Late, cornel Prisacaru (5) came to try to prove to me there, behind the bars, in cold and hunger, through Marxist arguments, that it was stupid to believe and affirm the Resurrection of Christ. When he entered my cell, I said: “Christ is Risen!” He gazed fixated a few seconds and asked me in return: “ Did you see Him?”

“I did not see Him, Mr. cornel but I believe in the Resurrection through the authority of those who saw Him risen and confessed it: apostles and disciples, myrth-bearing women, solders who lay as dead men, penetrated by the light of the Resurrection, millions of martyrs who, in the moment of their martyric deaths, have had the vision of the risen Christ. You have not seen the North Pole, but you don’t doubt its existence, through the authority of those who informed you. You have not seem Marx or Engels or Lenin but you believe in their existence and, I assume in their theories, through the authorities of those who speak to you about them…”

    I was wasting myself in a stupid and cadaverous argument, using human proofs, dead before they were uttered, when the supreme Truth consists in its simple proclamation. I was encountering in some way the same circumstances as had the Apostle Paul when he made use of philosophy before the Athenian citizens, speaking about the irrational and antirational act of the Resurrection (cf Acts 17:16-34). I was slaying little by little, the spirit of Truth which the previous guard had kindled in my cell through the simple confirmation of the Resurrection: “Truly he is Risen!”…

    Young friend, I can enumerate biblical proofs of the Resurrection; I can send you to the tomb with Peter and John to see how Jesus came out from the linen cloth without changing its form, or through the rock without breaking it; I can tell you of all of His appearances to the apostles, disciples and saints. They are all, in my mouth, smoke and haze, if the Spirit of God does not speak through me.

    Christ has risen in your heart even before I or someone else could tell you. And you knew this fact and confirmed it, the same as my guard, when you cried from the deepest unarguable conviction: “Truly He is Risen!”

 

    Hristos a Inviat! Adevarat a Inviat!

 

    Do not run after spectacles; do not run after cheep miracles performed on stage, do not run to the senseless babbling of the sectarians: their incomprehensible words are serpents coming out of their mouth! Do nor run to the theatrical preaching of any of them; they are all lies, they are all hidden weapons of Satan! Go to the simplest truth, to the most indisputable and even more undisputed:

 

    Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!

 

anastasi

 

 

 

(Published in The Orthodox Word, No. 255, 2007;

in honor of father George blessed memory).  

 

 

(1). The year 1978, when the first 7 homilies to the Christian youth were delivered and for which father George was later arrested and imprisoned by the atheist-communist government of Romania.

 

Father George after immigrating to the Western world, used to comment: ”Communism had clearly divided  the good from the evil. Today, there are many gray spaces as they teach us that everything is good, everything is truthful, everything is acceptable, everything is permissible”…

 

(2). Father George gave this homily in 1998 speaking almost prophetically about our world’ evolution.

 

(3 & 4). From the Lamentation Matins (service) of Great Saturday.

 

(5). A different guard than the one previously mentioned.

 

(Commentaries by blog’ author)

 

palmsunday

 

85x11_journeytopascha_10 (PDF)

Grest and Holy Wed. and Thursday (Video link, req. RealPlayer)

Great and Holy Friday (Video link, req. RealPlayer)

 

Orthodox Easter Jerusalem 2007,  Holy Fire: the great miracle of Orthodoxy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holy Fire – Holy Sepulcher 2006, Orthodox Easter

 

  

Starting with Saturday of Lazarus, April 11.

lazarus

 

The Saturday of Lazarus is counted as one of the great feast days of the Church. It is celebrated with a great deal of joy and reverence.

The Gospel of John (11.3) tells us that while Christ was preaching elsewhere, Mary and Martha, sent word that their brother Lazarus was sick. Jesus did not leave at once to go and visit His ailing friend, however, because through His divinity He knew that Lazarus’ sickness would not result in permanent death. Christ knew that Lazarus would be brought back to life by Christ, an act which would bring glory to the Father and the Son. So Jesus waited two days before making the journey to Bethany to visit Martha and Mary and Lazarus, who by this point had been dead for four days.

When Martha heard that Jesus was coming she went out to meet Him and immediately fell at His feet and worshipped Him saying “Lord had you been here then my brother would not have died.” Christ then asks her to go and call her sister Mary and to show Him where they buried Lazarus.
When Martha called Mary she told her sister that the Lord was asking for her and they immediately left their home and went to the tomb. When Jesus saw the tears of the sisters and the sorrow of all those who had come to mourn Lazarus He felt a great deal of sorrow in His heart and wept (John 11:35).

Jesus then asked that the stone which was placed in front of the tomb be removed. Martha immediately protested stating that her brother has been dead for four days and that his body will have a terrible smell, but Christ insisted and they rolled away the stone.

It is significant that Lazarus had been dead for four days. According to ancient Jewish Tradition, it is said that the soul remained near the body for three days but by the fourth day a person was truly considered to be dead.

Jesus, then lifts up His voice in prayer and cries out, “Lazarus come forth,” and Lazarus exited the tomb still wrapped in the linen shroud. They immediately unbound him and offered glory to God. During His earthly ministry, Christ had performed many miracles, curing the mother-in-law of Peter, healing the paralytic, healing lepers, those possessed by demons, and the blind. Never had anyone raised someone who had been dead for four days! Everyone in attendance offered praise to God. It did not take long for word of what happened to spread throughout Jerusalem which explains the reception He receives the following day (Palm Sunday).

In today’s celebration we clearly see the two natures of Christ being revealed. His Divinity through the pre-knowledge of Lazarus’ Death and coming Resurrection and His Humanity through His asking to be shown where they buried Lazarus and His weeping.

 

extremehumility

An Interview with Father ANDREW PHILIPS about the Christian Persecution in History and Today’ World Crises

 

 

Retrieved from http://sceptik.wordpress.com/2009/04/06/interview-with-father-andrew-philips-2009/

 

40saints

 

Interviewer (Bacauanu Mihail) – God Bless, Father and thank you for letting me interview you. The first question would be one that tempts everyone to ask someone like you. How did you become Orthodox? I think each one of us has a “story” that made them go to Church. Some were atheists and started believing, others converted from Catholicism or Protestantism. But in your case, like that of Seraphim Rose too, the “conversion” is as surprising, as it happened in a place mostly not knowing Orthodoxy. Am I right? I understand that at the age of 12 you started asking yourself questions about life and a bit more later you started in search of God in other Christian denominations, that were closer to you. What do you think made you start this journey, this search, and why did you follow it? How come you did not search for God in science or philosophy?

Father AndrewIt is true that there was no logical reason for me to join the Orthodox Church. I was not brought up in any Christian confession and my father was not baptised at all. However, when I was a child, I was sensitive to the world around me and I felt that there was another world near this one. This world was just beyond the visible world, an invisible but parallel world, which was full of good presences and which in fact was the real world, for the visible world was just an illusion. As I grew older, I wanted to understand what that world was and how it related to life and death, where I had come from and where I was gong to. So I began reading about all sorts of ideologies, including Communism, but also about religions. So I discovered the Gospels, which I read for the first time when I was thirteen. When I was fourteen I realised that I was a Christian and unconsciously always had been a Christian. Then I visited different churches around me, Protestant, Anglican, Roman Catholic, but I did not feel the presence of that other world in them. They were all the same. I then learned that there was one church where I had not been, the Orthodox Church. I read about it and said to myself – this is where I have always been. It was only when I was 16 that I managed to visit an Orthodox church, far away from my home. I knew as soon as I entered that church that I was at home at last, this was where I had always been in my soul, and that my whole future would be here in this Church.

BMDuring the last few months we have witnessed atheist campaigns, which promoted atheism in some European countries by sticking atheistic posters and messages on buses and subways. There are some folks here in Romania that want to forbid religious symbols from public places, such as schools. They also want Darwin’s theory to be taught in schools. I’d like to ask you where you think Darwin was wrong and where you think his followers today are mistaken? And when I ask you this I have in mind that wherever you go on Earth, specially in the East, mysticism has had a huge influence on people’s life, while atheism never created anything!! Do you think that Christianity brought something useful to the world or just wars and struggles for power?

FrAAtheism is today the fashionable ideology of this world, in all its different forms. Lazy people have made of Darwinism an excuse for not going to church and not trying to improve themselves. Darwinism is a fairy tale, a modern myth in all that it says about humanity. Its truths concern only the physical, animal, insect and botanical worlds and even then only in a limited way, because they are theoretical. To say that the whole universe is an accident is more difficult to believe than a fairy tale. If you can believe that, then you can believe in any fairy tale. How could something as complex as a human brain be the result of a mere chance? How could the presence of trillions of stars in the night sky be the results of mere chance? Common sense tells us that there is a Creator. As I said, Darwinism and its theories are all an excuse by people to justify their sins. And they are encouraged in this by the devil, who does not want people to obtain healing of their sins through leading an Orthodox way of life, obtaining the grace of the sacraments, through prayer and fasting. This whole issue of Darwinism is an illusion. Darwinism is a theory which can only have been developed by minds which do not believe in God, by intellectuals and fantasists, who do not have an understanding of the reality of the human soul because they spent too much time with animals. So they began thinking that they too were animals. Of course, if you do not believe in the existence of the immortal soul, and have no spiritual experience or life, then human-beings are animals. It is not surprising that Darwinism has been used by the Fascists and by Communists. If only the fittest survive, then, they said, we have the right to kill the weaker or ‘racially inferior’ – as Hitler did, or the ‘class enemies’, as the Communists did. However, our rejection of the illogical and irrational theories of Darwinism does not mean that we accept the strange ideas of the Protestant sectarians, who, not knowing the Tradition, interpret the Bible literally and do not know of and understand the interpretations of the Scriptures by the Holy Fathers, by the Church. To understand the Scriptures, you must have some understanding of the Author of the Scriptures. This is the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit lives inside the Church. This is why outside the Church, you cannot understand the Holy Scriptures. Christ saved the world. He is the Life and the Resurrection. The fact that some evil people use our Christian Faith to justify wars and their evil does not mean that Christianity is bad. It means that the devil, and those he inspires, will always try and discredit Christianity. They simply abuse our Christian Faith in order to camouflage their own sins. If Christianity had no value, they would not do that. The devil always attacks what is best and tries to destroy it. If Christianity had no value, if it were false, the devil would not bother to try and corrupt it. The devil does not attack those who do not repent – they are already his friends. He only attacks those who are trying to repent – therefore his greatest enemy is Orthodoxy.

BM There are some voices claiming that Orthodoxy is holding back progress and that, in general, Christianity is an inquisitorial, oppressive and xenophobic religion. Judging history from way back in time and until modern times, do you think Orthodoxy has been a retrograde factor?

FrAOrthodoxy is progress – but spiritual progressive. Those whom the world calls ‘progressives’ are in fact retrogrades – spiritual regressives. This paradox is because we Orthodox Christians have a radically different systems of values from the world, which ‘lies in sin’ (as St John says). We have an eternal, immortal perspective of life – they have a temporal, mortal one. Their whole ideology is the ideology of death. They say ‘live for comfort, enjoy this life while you can, live as selfishly as you want, because ahead of you there is only death’. But how can you live for comfort, when death hangs over you? We do not love death, as they do, we love the Resurrection. We are not spiritually primitive, we are spiritually advanced – they are spiritually primitive, because they believe in death.

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BMReading about you and about your parish the word diversity came to mind: an Englishmen finds God in the Russian Church, preaches Orthodoxy in Western Europe (where there are mostly Catholics and Protestants), visits Russia and Greece, has in his parish English people, Russians and Romanians, celebrates many religious services in languages other than English, and one of the main protectors of the parish is Saint John (Maximovich) of Shanghai, a Ukrainian by origin. How is it Father, that everywhere you go (in Orthodox places, countries) you feel at home, though Orthodoxy, in a way, is always different and yet the same? What could it be that holds us together, though we are different. Is it Christ’s resurrection or is it just our (religious) pride?

FrA We Orthodox all have the same home – the Church of Christ, which can take us to our home in heaven. We share the same spirit. Things like nationality, our passports, our native language, are all secondary, part of this world. The important things are universal. Our spiritual passport, the only one that can take us to heaven, says that our nationality is ORTHODOX. When you see an old Orthodox grandmother or a baby smile after communion – that is international – that is the language of Orthodoxy. All the rest is secondary.

BMMany Eastern Orthodox, that don’t have much information on Orthodoxy, find it strange when they hear about Orthodoxy in the USA, China, Africa or even in Western Europe. I think we are all curious to hear more about Orthodoxy in England. How do the divine services sound in English and how does Orthodoxy fit in with the English mentality?

FrAThe important thing is not the language, the important thing is the spirit. If we keep the Tradition of the Church, everything sounds good. Look at Romanian. One of the greatest achievements of Romanian Orthodoxy in the 19th century was the translations into Romanian. Before that Romanians only had the services in Greek or Slavonic. Does anyone want to go back to the situation of before? When no-one understood? Of course not! If we are faithful to God through His Church, we can use any language. In England, this means using English, the best form of English, liturgical English, which is a beautiful language, not the language of the street. We always give the best of our human culture to God. But we use other languages in church, depending on whom is present. In this way everyone can feel at home and included. The only other difference in our churches is that we venerate local saints, those who were here in the West before Roman Catholicism was invented and the Western schism of 1054, when the West finally broke away from the Orthodox Church and invented all these isms – Catholicism, later Protestantism, Baptism etc. And these were the origins of other isms, political ones, like Capitalism, Communism, Fascism, now Globalism. The Church is never divided, only some groups and individuals fall away from the Church. English and other Western people must accept the Orthodox Church as She is. The Church does not adapt to the world, the world must adapt to the Church. We provide all the services in the local languages of the West. We celebrate them. Then people come, perhaps only a few, but our task is to bring the last free souls of the West to the light of Orthodoxy before the end. If we put the Church first, then an (not just any) English mentality will fit in with it.

BMFather, a few hundred years ago, Christian Europe united and fought against Muslims and the Arab world. Today, Christian Europe supports the building of mosques and welcomes Islam. Don’t you find it weird? Don’t you think that Europe has lost its Christian identity, as St Nikolai Velimirovich said a few decades ago? Could Europe be confronting a demographic as well as a spiritual collapse, or not?

FrAEurope’s collapse is a spiritual collapse. All the other disasters in Europe come from this spiritual collapse – the total loss of faith. If Europe had faith, it would still believe in itself. It would say to Arabs: we are not racist, come and work here and live here, if you wish. But there is one condition. You must first be baptised, But because Europe no longer has any faith, it is ‘tolerant’ to Islam. What does ‘tolerant’ mean? It means indifferent, unbelieving. This is dangerous. This is what makes people tolerant of the devil too. What does it matter what you believe – we must be ‘tolerant’ – satanist or Christian, it’s all the same to dead souls. The demographic collapse of Europe is of the same order. Europe does not believe in life, because it has lost faith in God, the source of all Life, the Maker of Life. Therefore, it believes in death – abortion, euthanasia, all of this is the industry of death and Europe is in love with this industry of death. If Europe believed in the Resurrection, it would never abort its future. The origin of this is in the Roman Catholic and Protestant obsession with the crucifixion of Christ, not with the Resurrection.

BMSpeaking of the EU, Romanians are in the middle of a scandal concerning the implementation of RFID chips in passport, ID cards and the driving licence. Though it is not the sign foretold in Apocalypse, chapter 13, many see it as the step just before that, while others disagree strongly, and feel offended in a way by our protests. I wish to ask you: what do you think about RFID chips and how do you see RFID in the future? Do you agree that a police state (Big Brother) is about to be born? Are we living now the beginning of the Apocalypse, or not just yet? Should we even care about this subject?

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FrAThere are some things which are of primary importance, which we must be willing to die for. The Church dogmas, the Holy Trinity, the Divinity of Christ the God-Man. We must be ready to suffer martyrdom for these truths. There are other things which we regret, but they do not have the same importance. For example, I think that Orthodox would agree that the world would be better without modern TV. But are we going to die for this? No. So it is with these chips. It would be better to avoid them, but if the State insists, then we will accept them. Of course, they are ultimately opening the path to the Apocalypse, but the two World Wars opened the path to the Apocalypse much more quickly. And they happened. We cannot change this. ‘Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s’. Let me make it clear. I do not like these chips, which the EU insists on, but because they will not make me renounce Christ, I will reluctantly accept them, if there is no alternative. I am worried that some very simple, very devout people, with ‘zeal not accordingt o knowledge’, will turn this problem into some huge temptation and in this way they will fall away from the Church. I would call these chips a ‘lesser evil’ in such a case. This is the same with the calendar. In Russia they call the new calendar the Communist calendar, because the Communists introduced it there. Here in Western Europe, we call it the Catholic calendar – because that is what it is. The new calendar is a mistake. But there is a greater evil than this new calendar, it is to start a schism about it, as you have among some zealots in Romania, to fall away from the Church because of it. We make the Apocalypse come near through our soul. As long as there are just a few souls struggling ascetically against their personal sins, the Apocalypse will not come. Antichrist can only come when there is no grace left in the world. Let us belong to the few souls who are struggling ascetically and praying – this is how we delay the Apocalypse. This is much more important than fighting in a secular way against electronic chips. We should pray against them.

BMOn the same issue, some bishops said that we must not be afraid of RFID and politicians reject with arrogance the idea that the State could influence in one way or another, our redemption. How do you see the relationship between Church and State? Romanian priests are paid by the State.

FrA The relationship between Church and State has always been one of tension – and it always will be. The Church is ‘n the world, but not of the world’, the State is of this world. When the clergy are paid by the State, they must be especially careful not to become puppets or tools of the State. We must speak by the Holy Spirit, not by the secularist spirit of politicians and bureaucrats.

BMThe Romanian Orthodox Church made compromises with the Communists. It’s true that some bishops were killed by the Communists and that thousands of priests went to jail. However, the main idea is that of a compromise. The reason was the “salvation” of the Church. Did the ROC make the right decision? Today, it seems history is repeating itself. How worthy is this kind of compromise?

FrAThe Church never makes compromises. The Church is the Body of Christ. The true representatives of the Church were the hundreds of thousands who suffered under the Communists – many of then died. Of course, there were individuals who make compromises, and some of them were bishops and priests. Pray for them because their souls are tormented, because they were not faithful to the Church, but they swam with the tide. I think we must be very careful here. Some people love to condemn bishops and priests for their mistakes. But what would they have done if they had been in their position under the Communist yoke? Maybe they would have made even worse mistakes. On this subject I want to tell you something terrible but true. To those people who condemn the compromised bishops and the priests of the Church, answer this: ‘We get the bishops and priests that we deserve.

BM Last month, at Iasi, after a conference on Communist dungeons and the martyrs who died at that time, a miracle happened. From the bones of those martyrs streamed myrrh. I understand that in Russia they declared these martyrs saints. In Romania the bishops don’t want to do the same. Do you think they’re saints? Do you have a message for the Romanians and for these bishops that doubt it?

FrATo the Romanian people I say: venerate these new martyrs. They are the saints who can save Romania today. In Russia the new martyrs were glorified only because of popular veneration. If you put the bishops under pressure, they will canonise the new saints of Romania. There must be widespread popular veneration first. Paint their icons, make new services to them, go on pilgrimages, write books about their lives, with all the facts and details. This is the most important, vital, thing you can do in the Romanian Church today. Glorify your saints! Eventually the Romanian bishops will meet in Synod and canonise them. In the Russian Church, the great revival now is only because of these New Martyrs and their popular glorification. The bishops will follow the people in this matter. Do not wait for the bishops to lead you in this matter. The people must begin, creating pressure for their canonisation. This is what happened in Russia – through the prayers of the New Martyrs. The devil and the world hate the saints. True Orthodox love them.

BMAt the end of this year a big Pan-Orthodox Council is scheduled. Some sceptics say it will teach heresy. But no matter the result, one thing is for sure: there a lot of problems to be solved. What’s your opinion? Particularly if we are to think about what was signed at Ravenna, the Ecumenical Movement will be the main headline.

FrAThis Council will not take place so soon. There are many obstacles. Even if it does take place, there is no reason to think that it must be bad. It may solve some problems. As for Ravenna, it was not canonical, it was not signed by all the Orthodox Churches. In any case, there is no such thing as a Council until after its decisions have been received by the Orthodox people. If the decisions are not received by the people, then it is not a Council, it is just a meeting of intellectuals and politicians, Church bureaucrats, secularists in riassas, government agents. It is a Robber Council, irrelevant to us.

BMReturning to more important things, tell us something from your missions across Europe. You must have something to say! What were the good and the bad things you’ve stumbled upon? Which are the places you want to visit again and where would you like to go, where you have never been? What are the people from Western Europe like, compared to the those in the East? The tendency is to make the first devilish.

FrAI cannot leave my church, but if I could, I would travel to all the many parts of the Orthodox world, where I have not been. I am especially drawn to Bukovina and Moldavia. And I would like to return to Athos and then go to Diveevo and Optina in Russia. But God will give me this opportunity only when I am worthy of it. And then I have never been to Jerusalem and the Sea of Galilee. But as God wills. Western people are more rationalistic than Eastern Europeans. Eastern Europeans are more spontaneous, they have more soul. If their souls are good and Orthodox, then you at once feel at home. Western people are always thinking, always calculating, less spontaneous, their souls are not so visible. This is because of the deformations of Western culture, which have taken place since 1054. This can be very boring. Orthodox have fire in their souls, they are spiritually alive. On the other hand, many Eastern Europeans have abandoned God and so their souls have become full of passions. And that can be very bad, as we saw under Communism.

BMWhat are the main sins that affect the world today? What we should give up and what to gain in order to save our souls? Are we redeemed alone, or as a nation? Can we still talk about nations today?

FrAThe main sins are the same ones as always. There is nothing new under the sun. Just the excuses for the sins change. Now we blame the internet, or TV or something else. We have to return to the Church, in many cases discovering the Church for the first time. We find redemption personally, but one soul that finds salvation can save thousands of others around. Nations are falling apart today. They can survive only if there are enough strongly ascetic souls to maintain their national identities and keep their peoples together.

BMEveryone is talking about a crisis: financial, energy, spiritual… Some Elders and Holy Fathers think that the crisis means God’s Judgement for the world’s sins. But for those atheists and philosophers that reject this explanation, could the rationing of water, the prohibition to have more than one child, be real solutions?

FrAThe word ‘crisis’ comes from Greek. It means judgement. If humanity repents, everything is possible. Humanist, atheist measures merely delay the crisis, they do not solve it. The crisis is still there and does not go away. This crisis will be permanent, if there is not repentance.

BMScience is focused on improving the pleasures in life and getting rid of pain. They’ve found “cures” for fear, inhibition, and so on. Alvin Toffler, in his book Future Shock, writes that all this mechanism is set against us, and the consequences, as he writes, are recognized today, world wide. Did we make out of science a God, as St Justin Popovich says? Are we slaves of technical discoveries? In what way can this “enslavement” affect our lives, our redemption? Can we hold television for ruining young people’s lives? Can we achieve a goal in life through technology?

FrAScience is simply modern idolatry. Science is the knowledge of creation. Ancient idolatry was about the worship of the creation. Modern idolatry is about the worship of the knowledge of creation, of science. This is just as primitive as the idolatry which worshipped the sun, the moon, mountains, stones, seas and rivers. The ancient idolators were slaves of their idols, making human sacrifices to them – so we are modern slaves, making human sacrifices to the science of Chernobyl or embryo technology. This idiolatry means that we are no longer free to worship God, the Creator. We cannot worship both creation and the Creator. This is obvious. We should not blame TV for corrupting us. We always seek to blame others! We corrupt ourselves through our attachment to such things as TV. We have to be free. Christ said: Behold, I set you free’. TV is not in itself evil – we have made it evil. The same thing has happened with every human invention, from the knife to the gun, from the mobile phone to the computer. We make them all evil. Look at space. The first satellites went there fifty years ago. Now what do they do, they militarise space, they have ‘killer satellites’. If human beings go and live on the moon, what will happen? They will start killing each other there, just like on earth. A goal in life through technology? This would mean that our goal in life is slavery.

BMFather, everything is happening so fast around us, as if we don’t have enough time. Stress is the main word for each of us. It even affects the Church. It might be a foolish question, but how can we get rid of stress? More and more people are depressive. Especially in the West, with this financial crisis… We see in the media, TV, newspapers, many youngsters that are upset with life and choose to kill others in their path. They take a gun and just shoot everyone they meet, and then kill themselves. How come? Could it be that most of them, almost all of them, are treated for depression? Who’s to blame? Education? Friends? Television?

FrALack of prayer is to blame. Without communion with God, the human being goes mad, because where there is no prayer, the demons invade. These young people who go berserk and shoot ten or twenty people, are possessed by demons. The demons are killing. Demons have no bodies, they need bodies to operate through them. This is why they possess people. It is very easy to do this now, because so many people, especially among the younger generation, are not baptised. The modern world is calling up all the demons from hell. Soon, if this continues, God forbid, hell will be empty, for all the demons will be on earth.

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BMAre the Holy Fathers relevant today? In what way do they give answers to our problems? Aren’t the Scriptures old and dusty? Science would say yes…

FrAThe Holy Scriptures explain who God is, how He loves us and how we can communicate with Him. The Holy Fathers help us to understand the Holy Scriptures. Science explains, or tries very weakly to explain, how God creates. The two things are quite different. The Scriptures only get dusty if we behave like atheists and leave them lying on a shelf. My Scriptures are not dusty.

BMYou wrote some books. Can you tell us more?

FrAI have written six books in English. They are to help English people or English-speaking people come to the Church, explaining culturally what Orthodoxy is and why they have norational reason to reject the Orthodox Church.

BMAre they available on the internet? How long has it been since you last published a book?

FrAOne is on the internet as an e-book. I have not written a book since 2000. Everything I write now is on the internet directly.

BMWe’re close to the end of this interview and I’d like to ask you just a few questions. How do you see the world’s future, and if you would have the power to do something about it (let’s say king for a day), what would you do? Would you talk to people? Would you pass a law?

FrAThe world is advancing rapidly to its end, but this ‘advance’ can also slow down. The end may still be far off. To slow down can only come though repentance. There is only power that I would like because there is only one power which can really change anything. And that is the power of prayer. Sadly, my prayer is very, very weak. To be a king for a day or to pass laws is useless. Politicians are only manipulated themselves. Only prayer, the force which does not depend on this world, can change anything in it. Only prayer sets an example. Words are weak. With prayer you can send back the demons to hell, where they belong. Without prayer, this is impossible and the demons wander all over the planet, creating destruction, suicide, misery.

BMA final message for the Romanians that read this interview. How do you see Romania from far away (spiritually but also, politically). I understand you have Romanians in your parish…

FrA I meet two sorts of Romanians here. One sort of Romanian is admirable, an example to all Western people. These are the Romanians who live their faith. The other sort of Romanian is Orthodox, but Orthodox by folklore. For example, only two weeks ago, I had a Romanian come to me to get married. She had already organised the secular ceremony, the flights for relatives from Romania, the reception, the food, the drinks, the dance music, everything. But then she had thought of the Church, as a kind of extra. Sadly, she had planned to get married on a Saturday. I said I could not do this because the Church forbids weddings on the day when the Church remembers the departed and when we should be preparing to take communion on Sunday, the day of the Resurrection. We have weddings on Sundays. She was very sad. All this happened because she had not thought of the most important thing, the Church, first. She said that she would go and find another priest who would marry her on a Saturday, if she paid him. Politically, today Romanian is faced with a choice. One choice is to take the road that leads to Western Europe, EU secularism. If you take that road, then in a few years time you will have young Romanian people shooting their school friends, mosques everywhere in Romania, Romanian politicians voting for euthanasia, making abortion and contraception freely available to thirteen year-old girls, just like in England, France, Germany, Finland or the USA or any other Western country. Then you will stop being Romanians. You will have become part of Babylon. The other choice is hard. It is the road of Romania’s spiritual history, the road of your spiritual identity, the road of your Romanian saints, including the new saints of the twentieth century. The first road is the road of death, both physical and spiritual suicide. The second road is the road of Resurrection, the road of life. It is the choice of the historic Romanian people. As a member of a nation which has tragically chosen the first path, I warn you against the first road.

BMThank for your time, which I know is very precious, as well as for your kindness in granting me this interview. God bless, and may God help us all. Have a peaceful Easter.

FrAHristos a Inviat! (Christ is Risen!)

BM Adevarat a Inviat! (Indeed He is Risen!)

 

About Fr. Andrew: Born in 1956, in a non-Christian family, Father Andrew discovered God at the  young age of 12, when he began to ask him self human’ existential questions. Back then, without an apparent reason, he had stared to learn the Russian language, and later became a member of the orthodox church of Russia, outside the borders of Russia (ROCOR). At the age of 14, he began to seek God  in the protestant and catholic traditions; than, discovering the Orthodox Church, he felt like home.  After he had lived abroad, doing missionary work, in 1997 he had returned to England where he is living today along with his wife and their 6 children. He is the parish priest of Saint John Maximovich Parish: http://orthodoxengland.org.uk/hp.php

 

 

 

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The Life of St Mary of Egypt: http://www.comeandseeicons.com/groups/udn03.htm

Sermon on the Sunday of Great Lent: Fr. Hopko 

st-mary-of-egypt-by-fr-th-hopko

TROPARION OF ST. MARY OF EGYPT

The image of God was truly preserved in you, O Mother Mary, for you took up the cross and followed Christ.  By so doing, you taught us to disregard the flesh, for it passes away; but to care instead for the soul, since it is immortal.  Therefore your spirit, O Holy Mother Mary,  rejoices with the angels

Troparion, tone 8

In thee, O Mother, was exactly preserved what was according to the divine image. For thou didst take the cross and follow Christ, and by thy life, didst teach us to ignore the flesh, since it is transitory, but to care for the soul as an immortal thing. Therefore, thy spirit, St. Mary, rejoices with the Angels.

Kontakion, tone 4

Having escaped the fog of sin, and having illumined thy heart with the light of penitence, O glorious one, thou didst come to Christ and didst offer to Him His immaculate and holy Mother as a merciful intercessor. Hence thou hast found remission of transgressions, and with the Angels thou ever rejoicest.

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Writings of the Holy Fathers:
Saint Theophan the Recluse

 

IS IT SUFFICIENT ONLY TO BELIEVE IN CHRIST
IN ORDER TO BE SAVED?

Compiled from the works of St. Theophan the Recluse

 

[Note: The following text written by an Orthodox saint follows the general impression received from Protestants who teach people “Once saved, always saved,” meaning that once one has received Christ as his personal Lord and Saviour that one cannot but go to heaven. (Webmaster)]

According to Protestant teaching, if one has believed in Christ, one is saved, that is, one’s sins are forgiven. According to this belief one does not have to fear falls, and virtues will proceed from the heart by themselves. Christ is within the believer and will not abandon him for any reason, paradise and the kingdom of heaven are his, etc.

All that is left to do is to rejoice: there will be no more labors, no fears, no struggles with the passions – the road will be smooth and full of gladness. And it is no wonder that many cling to this teaching. It is very attractive. However, there is no truth in it, but only deception. In order to refute this false teaching, Theophan the Recluse begins by directing our attention to the way into the kingdom of heaven as described in the word of God.

The Savior said: “Enter ye in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in therein…” [Matt. 7:13]. And He further taught: “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” [Matt. 16:24]. “The kingdom of heaven is taken by force (i.e., by forcing oneself and by the earnest labor in searching), and the forceful (i.e., those who force themselves to labor without feeling sorry for themselves), take it by force” [Matt. 11:12].

The holy Apostle Paul writes: “…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” [Philippians 2:12]. “Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” [2 Cor. 7:1]. By all means strive that “…your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” [1 Thess. 5:23]. If you want to be a true Christian, imitate those who are of Christ, for they have”…crucified the flesh with the affectations and lusts” [Gal. 5:24].

After that, St. Theophan with special force points out how strict the commandments of the Savior are concerning passionless and purity of heart, and how much attention and labor are needed to fulfill them. Do not dare to allow the slightest impulse of displeasure or anger against your brother: sin the slightest in this and you are already judged and in Gehenna [Matt. 5:22]. Meanwhile, we have another serious conflict. With regard to the opposite sex, how severe! One has only to glance in an improper way and already there is lust, and again Gehenna [Matt. 5:28-29]. And for judging others, how strict is the sentence! He who judges, in that very moment when he judges, and for that act alone, even if there are no others, is already judged, and not just some empty judgement like one’s own, but judged by God, immovable and eternal [Matt. 7:1]. Even for every idle word one must answer [Matt. 12:36], and concerning a loose tongue, who can tame it [James 3:8]? Therefore, what strict attention one must pay to oneself and how vigilantly one must labor over oneself!

If the trifles which we do not now consider to be sins are dealt such strict sentences and judgements, then what can be said about serious sins and passions? They are so abhorrent to the Holy Spirit and Christ that they should not even be brought to mind by Christians. If they are in the heart of one who desires to enter the kingdom of heaven, undoubtedly it is necessary to drive them out of there. What labors it requires and what battles with oneself.

Take the passion of lust, or take pride or vainglory, take stinginess, envy, lewdness, self-will and disobedience, or whatever passion you take, the eradication of it requires bloody sweat and tears. Therefore, see how those are forced to torment themselves who are entangled with some kind of passion and have undertaken to uproot it. One cannot reassure oneself that all of one’s sins are forgiven simply by the Cross of Christ and simply by approaching the Lord with faith. Whoever reassures himself with this hope and neglects the cleansing of his heart is deceiving himself. In the Mysteries of Baptism and Repentance indeed all former sins are completely blotted out and already forgotten. But then having once received from God such mercy, one must thereafter guard oneself from all sin, from all passionate impulses, attractions and thoughts. With the forgiveness of former sins one is given the grace of the Holy Spirit in order to help eradicate from the heart those harmful habits and passions which remain in it and give birth to further sin. If one begins to sin again, this deprives him of the gift and again he enters the ranks of the unforgiven and graceless. That is why those who are zealous for the salvation of their souls, following their conversion to the Lord, immediately begin, with the help of the grace of God, a battle with their passions and lusts, an unyielding battle.

So then, this – and not rejoicing – is what greets those who come to the Lord in faith. While being preoccupied with rejoicing one cannot fight with passions. Such a struggle does not even begin in these cases. Passions will remain in such a person, turning him into a whitened sepulchre, the outside beautiful, but the inside filled with dead men’s bones. Such people call themselves blessed, with such words as: “How fortunate I am! How glad I am! Christ has saved me, Christ has taken away my sins, Christ has granted me paradise!” Whereas Christ, looking at them, judges them righteously and condemns them to Gehenna.

The necessity of cleansing ourselves from all things sinful and passionate in order to inherit the kingdom of heaven, St. Theophan supports by example of God’s Saints. In the lives of the Saints, those who pleased and glorified God, we are told that they conducted their entire lives in struggles of self-modification and in labors by occupying themselves in virtues with unceasing recourse to God and to the source of grace – the Sacraments of the Church. This brought them at last into a state where evil inclinations and passions were completely removed from their souls and bodies; and instead of them there were installed good inclinations. When by this means all sins and passions are cast out, human nature again takes on its pure, original appearance; their spirit, soul, and body, permeated with grace, shine with divine light, which serves as an obvious sign that they finally became temples of the Triune God, as the Lord Jesus Christ promised.

Here are the most important of these points and the basis for the refutation of each of them:

 

ALL WHO BELIEVE IN CHRIST ARE ALREADY SAVED.

 One cannot agree with this. All those who have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ have only stepped onto the path which truly and undoubtedly will lead to salvation, but they are saved when they finish this path without fail and without falling away. Therefore, according to the Evangelist Mark the Lord says: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved…” [Mark 16:16], but is not saved yet.

 

HAVING BELIEVED IN CHRIST, THROUGH THIS ALONE
ONE APPROPRIATES TO HIMSELF THE GRACE OF REDEMPTION.

 This is not enough. The Lord redeemed us by His Blood, or by His death upon the Cross. We acquire the redeeming power of the Lord’s death in the Mystery of Holy Baptism, as the Apostle Paul explains [Romans 6:4]. Here man is crucified with Christ, washed in His Blood, and cleansed from sin. This power is renewed in the Mystery of Repentance, which is a second baptism in the font of tears. Faith precedes and accompanies both of these Mysteries, but faith alone, without these Mysteries, does not attract and does not renew the redeeming power of the Lord’s death on the Cross. Even with these Mysteries, faith alone does not attract such power, but is accomplished together with contrition of heart for sins, firm resolve to live a holy life, and confession of sins to a spiritual father.

ALL WHO HAVE BELIEVED IN CHRIST ANDARE CONVINCED
OF FORGIVENESS OF THEIR SINS THROUGH THIS,
RECEIVE CHRIST INTO THEMSELVES.

 From where have they taken this? asks St. Theophan, and then he points out how the Lord and the holy Apostles taught how one receives Christ in oneself. St. Paul writes: “As many as have been baptized in Christ have put on Christ” [Gal. 3:27]. Having put on Christ, one, of course, has received Him into oneself. Therefore, whoever has been baptized has become a receiver of Christ in himself. The Lord said: “He that eateth My Flesh and drinketh My Blood abideth in Me and I in him” [John 5:56]. If the Lord abides in one who has received Communion, then it is because, certainly, in Holy Communion he receives Him. Therefore, whoever has received the Holy Mysteries of the Body and Blood of Christ, has become through this a receiver of Him. Faith only opens the way to the Lord, for receiving Him in the sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion.

In another place in the same Evangelist, John the Theologian, the Lord shows still another way to receive Him, namely, by fulfilling His commandments. “He that hath My commandments,” says the Lord, “and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him” [John 14:21]. And further: “If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him” [John 14:23]

Do not think that this fulfilling of the commandments will open the way for the dwelling of the Lord in us in a special or separate way apart from Holy Baptism or Holy Communion. The grace of Baptism and Holy Communion gives the power to faithfully fulfill the commandments. Having fulfilled all the commandments, one adorns his soul with all virtues and makes his heart a temple worthy to be a habitation of the Lord. Only then will He dwell in him. He abides in him from the moment of Holy Baptism and even more completely communes with him in Holy Communion. Though helping him in a holy life, still the Lord does not completely rest content in him, because there does not dwell in the soul all the virtues acquired through the fulfillment of the commandments. In him are left still traces of passions and he falls into sins offensive to the Lord. He will not dwell in him, not trusting him and as yet only preparing in him a dwelling for Himself. But when the soul is sanctified by virtues, then He enters in good faith, as into a house, and dwells peacefully, undisturbed by the movement of offensive sins and passions in him…Here are all the means for accepting the Lord which He Himself has established. Without the Mysteries, neither faith nor virtues will attract the Lord.

 

IF WE HAVE RECEIVED CHRIST, HE WILL NEVER ABANDON US,
NO MATTER WHAT.

 St. Theophan asks: “Is it possible that Christ will abide where a person, by his sins committed after receiving Him, tramples on His Blood and crucifies Him again?” [See Heb. 6:6; 10:26-29]. It is known that sins make the soul and body foul. How can those who are deluded have the audacity to claim Him while in such foulness? God Himself testifies that our sins separate Him from us. Consequently, Christ the Lord forsakes him who sins, in whom He was formerly, and the good will of the Father withdraws from him, and the grace of the Holy Spirit is driven away. There other spirits begin to rule – the unclean.

THOSE WHO HAVE RECEIVED CHRIST ARE INCAPABLE OF MORTAL SIN

 In this statement there is no truth. The first among angels fell; one formerly among the Apostles fell; how many examples there are of falls of holy men of high life and wonderworkers! Freedom always remains with man. And he can fall, no matter how high he stood or close to God he was.

ONE WHO HAS RECEIVED CHRIST AND THEN SINNED AGAIN
NEED ONLY TO REPENT,
AND
HE INSTANTLY RECEIVES
IMMEDIATE FORGIVENESS, SINCE CHRIST IS AN INEXHAUSTIBLE
SOURCE OF COMPASSION

 This statement is made in order to suggest that when a Christian sins, confession of sins and absolution from a spiritual father in the Mystery of Repentance as prescribed by God is not necessary, but that it is enough to sigh in the heart over a sin and one is immediately forgiven, as a sigh flies from the breast. Even a firm intention to refrain from sinning in the future is not required.

Indeed this is too simplistic, notes St. Theophan. The sin of every man is a great offense to God Who has written His law in our hearts. The sin of a Christian offends God incomparably more, since the Christian has received a clearer and fuller knowledge of commandments, and has received grace to strengthen him in the fulfillment of those commandments. And a Christian, who has received in himself Christ the Lord – which is the highest degree of Christian perfection – in sinning offends God immeasurably. The Apostle thus concludes that he tramples on the Blood of Christ, even crucifies Christ Himself, Whom he has received in himself, and offended the Holy Spirit.

(Source: Orthodox Life, the Brotherhood of St. Job of Pochaev at Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, N.Y., vol. 37, No. 5. Sept.-Oct. 1987., pp. 10-14.

 

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