Церковные ВѢХИ

Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus. Outside the Church there is no salvation, because salvation is the Church. For salvation is the revelation of the way for everyone who believes in Christ's name. This revelation is to be found only in the Church. In the Church, as in the Body of Christ, in its theanthropic organism, the mystery of incarnation, the mystery of the "two natures," indissolubly united, is continually accomplished. -Fr. Georges Florovsky

ΟΡΘΟΔΟΞΙΑ Ή ΘΑΝΑΤΟΣ!

ΟΡΘΟΔΟΞΙΑ Ή ΘΑΝΑΤΟΣ!
§ 20. For our faith, brethren, is not of men nor by man, but by revelation of Jesus Christ, which the divine Apostles preached, the holy Ecumenical Councils confirmed, the greatest and wisest teachers of the world handed down in succession, and the shed blood of the holy martyrs ratified. Let us hold fast to the confession which we have received unadulterated from such men, turning away from every novelty as a suggestion of the devil. He that accepts a novelty reproaches with deficiency the preached Orthodox Faith. But that Faith has long ago been sealed in completeness, not to admit of diminution or increase, or any change whatever; and he who dares to do, or advise, or think of such a thing has already denied the faith of Christ, has already of his own accord been struck with an eternal anathema, for blaspheming the Holy Ghost as not having spoken fully in the Scriptures and through the Ecumenical Councils. This fearful anathema, brethren and sons beloved in Christ, we do not pronounce today, but our Savior first pronounced it (Matt. xii. 32): Whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come. St. Paul pronounced the same anathema (Gal. i. 6): I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ, unto another Gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the Gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you, than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. This same anathema the Seven Ecumenical Councils and the whole choir of God-serving fathers pronounced. All, therefore, innovating, either by heresy or schism, have voluntarily clothed themselves, according to the Psalm (cix. 18), ("with a curse as with a garment,") whether they be Popes, or Patriarchs, or Clergy, or Laity; nay, if any one, though an angel from heaven, preach any other Gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. Thus our wise fathers, obedient to the soul-saving words of St. Paul, were established firm and steadfast in the faith handed down unbrokenly to them, and preserved it unchanged and uncontaminate in the midst of so many heresies, and have delivered it to us pure and undefiled, as it came pure from the mouth of the first servants of the Word. Let us, too, thus wise, transmit it, pure as we have received it, to coming generations, altering nothing, that they may be, as we are, full of confidence, and with nothing to be ashamed of when speaking of the faith of their forefathers. - Encyclical of the Holy Eastern Patriarchs of 1848

За ВѢру Царя И Отечество

За ВѢру Царя И Отечество
«Кто еси мимо грядый о нас невѣдущиiй, Елицы здѣ естесмо положены сущи, Понеже нам страсть и смерть повѣлѣ молчати, Сей камень возопiетъ о насъ ти вѣщати, И за правду и вѣрность къ Монарсѣ нашу Страданiя и смерти испiймо чашу, Злуданьем Мазепы, всевѣчно правы, Посѣченны зоставше топоромъ во главы; Почиваемъ въ семъ мѣстѣ Матери Владычнѣ, Подающiя всѣмъ своимъ рабомъ животь вѣчный. Року 1708, мѣсяца iюля 15 дня, посѣчены средь Обозу войсковаго, за Бѣлою Церковiю на Борщаговцѣ и Ковшевомъ, благородный Василiй Кочубей, судiя генеральный; Iоаннъ Искра, полковникъ полтавскiй. Привезены же тѣла ихъ iюля 17 въ Кiевъ и того жъ дня въ обители святой Печерской на семъ мѣстѣ погребены».
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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Пасхальное послание Патриарха Московского и всея Руси КИРИЛЛА

Пасхальное послание
Патриарха Московского и всея Руси КИРИЛЛА
архипастырям, пастырям, диаконам, монашествующим
и всем верным чадам Русской Православной Церкви


Возлюбленные о Господе Преосвященные архипастыри,
всечестные пресвитеры и диаконы, боголюбивые иноки и инокини, дорогие братья и сестры!


Духовно торжествуя в сей великий и славный праздник Воскресения из мертвых Спасителя мира, мысленно созерцая Его исхождение от гроба, обращаю ко всем вам жизнеутверждающий, исполненный внутренней силы, необоримой правды и радости возглас:

ХРИСТОС ВОСКРЕСЕ!

Светозарная пасхальная ночь являет человечеству полноту Божественной любви, по которой превечный Сын Небесного Отца принял на Себя человеческое естество, исцелил его от болезни греха и, сойдя в адские глубины, сокрушил оковы смерти, даровав нам бесценную возможность единства со своим Создателем и Промыслителем.

Приобщаясь к этой всепокрывающей любви Господа, мы обретаем непобедимое оружие «против мироправителей тьмы века сего, против духов злобы поднебесной» (Еф. 6, 12). Мы преодолеваем страх, вызванный ограниченностью нашей человеческой природы, и обретаем способность безбоязненно смотреть в лицо любым вызовам времени. Ибо «в любви нет страха, но совершенная любовь изгоняет страх» (1Ин. 4, 18).
Неслучайно Евангелие многократно возвещает нам слова Господа, произносимые Им для ободрения, укрепления духа Своих последователей: «Не бойся!» Страх будущего, боязнь опасностей, неведомых, мнимых или реальных угроз — это чувство, знакомоемногим. Но Господь пребывает с нами, если только мы сами не отвергаемся Его. И во дни прославления Его победы над смертью Спаситель вновь взывает к каждому из нас: «Не бойся, только веруй!» (Мк. 5, 36).

Пусть наше поведение, противоречащее лукавому духу века сего, станет зримым подтверждением Правды Вечной. Ибо, хотя ныне мы пребываем в условиях общественной и религиозной свободы, стремление жить в соответствии с христианскими нравственными нормами по-прежнему означает движение против течения. Оно обнаруживает несогласие с теми стереотипами поведения и позицией оправдания греха, которые настойчиво и системно внедряются в жизнь людей через современные средства воздействия на сознание.

Светозарная пасхальная ночь являет человечеству полноту Божественной любви, по которой превечный Сын Небесного Отца принял на Себя человеческое естество, исцелил его от болезни греха и, сойдя в адские глубины, сокрушил оковы смерти, даровав нам бесценную возможность единства со своим Создателем и Промыслителем.


Обратившись ко Господу, мы сможем выбраться из духовной пустоты и царствующего в мире эгоизма, увидеть свет Воскресения, воспринять его как путеводный ориентир в шествовании к Небесному Граду.
Источником сил в этом движении к вечности да станет для нас приобщение к единой Евхаристической чаше. Да укрепит нас благодать Всесвятого Духа, даруя нашим душам неотъемлемый мир, стойкость в вере, преуспеяние в добродетелях.

Приобщаясь Тела и Крови Христовых, мы, по слову Священного Писания, становимся «причастниками Божеского естества» (2 Пет. 1, 4), способными изменить свое природное состояние. Через Причастие мы получаем возможность уподобиться во всем Тому, Кто ради нас «уничижил Себя Самого, приняв образ раба, сделавшись подобным человекам и по виду став как человек; смирил Себя, быв послушным даже до смерти, и смерти крестной» (Флп. 2, 7-8).

Нравственное, духовное изменение самого себя является главным залогом и основанием для преображения жизни общества, народа, страны. Невозможно изменить к лучшему целое, не совершенствуя его части.

Правильное умонастроение людей всех возрастных, социальных и политических групп непосредственно определяет благополучие Отечества. От того, какими будут наши жизненные векторы, зависит путь развития всех государств исторической Руси, Церкви нашей, а в предельном значении – и всего творения Божьего, врученного нам Создателем, чтобы беречь и «хранить его» (Быт 2, 15).

Молитвенно желаю всем вам, дорогие мои, неослабного пребывания в радости о Воскресшем Победителе ада и преизобильной помощи свыше в ваших повседневных трудах.

ВОИСТИНУ ВОСКРЕСЕ ХРИСТОС!

Аминь.

+КИРИЛЛ,

ПАТРИАРХ МОСКОВСКИЙ И ВСЕЯ РУСИ

Москва,

Пасха Христова
2012 г.


Friday, January 6, 2012

Рождественское послание Святейшего Патриарха Московского и всея Руси Кирилла


Рождественское послание Святейшего Патриарха Московского и всея Руси Кирилла архипастырям, пастырям, монашествующим и всем верным чадам Русской Православной Церкви.

+Преосвященные архипастыри, всечестные отцы, боголюбивые иноки и инокини, дорогие братья и сестры!

В светлый и исполненный радости праздник Рождества по плоти Господа и Бога и Спаса нашего Иисуса Христа сердечно приветствую всех вас, дорогие мои. В эту светозарную ночь мы вместе молитвенно вторим ангельскому славословию, возвещающему «великую радость, которая будет всем людям: ибо ныне родился в городе Давидовом Спаситель» (Лк. 2:10-11).

Человечество, отвергшее Бога в грехопадении, вновь обретает возможность единства со своим Творцом и Промыслителем. Вхождение Сына Божия в мир есть Его добровольное умаление себя до готовности снизойти до мучительной позорной «смерти, и смерти крестной» (Флп. 2:8). Бог рождается во плоти, для того чтобы явить Свою любовь людям и помочь обрести полноту бытия всякому человеку, желающему услышать Его призыв.

Именно поэтому нынешний праздник дарует нам непреложное упование на помощь свыше в самых сложных обстоятельствах нашей жизни. Бог, не оставивший Своего творения и открывший ему путь к вечности, явлен нам во Младенце Христе, беззащитном ребенке, нуждающемся во внимании и заботе.

Всем нам необходимо хранить в своем сердце этот библейский образ. Вспоминая лежащего в яслях Богомладенца, мы обретаем твердую веру и нерушимую надежду на Промысл Божий, ведущий ко благу всякого человека. И даже если в жизни нашей не остается опоры, все кажется нетвердым и ненадежным, мы должны ясно осознавать, что Господь способен преобразить Своей благодатной силой боль, страдание и нищету нашего мира в блаженство, радость и изобилие духовных даров.

В праздник пришествия Спасителя мысленные взоры верных обращаются к колыбели христианства, Святой Земле, удостоившейся быть местом рождения, обитания и земного служения Господа. Ныне последователи Христа в странах, где происходили события Священной истории, переживают нелегкие испытания, сталкиваются с новыми угрозами существованию многовековой духовной традиции. Вознесем в светлые дни Рождества усердные молитвы о наших собратьях по вере, хранителях бесценных святынь, наследниках первохристианского предания.

Если страдает один член, то с ним страдают все члены (см. 1 Кор. 12:26). Эти слова апостола относятся не только к членам одного прихода, одной церковной общины. Они, конечно же, охватывают всех чад Единой Святой, Соборной и Апостольской Церкви, Церкви Православной, распространенной по всему миру. Ее единство — не только в единой святоотеческой вере и общении в Таинствах, но и в сопереживании трудностям, в жертвенном служении друг другу, во взаимной молитве.

Минувший год был непростым в жизни многих стран и народов, в том числе тех, что проживают на пространстве исторической Руси: немало трагических происшествий и катаклизмов послужили испытанием нашей веры и стойкости.

Однако сегодня главные испытания свершаются не в материальной, а в духовной области. Тс опасности, которые лежат в физической плоскости, наносят урон телесному благополучию и комфорту. Осложняя материальную сторону жизни, они вместе с тем не способны нанести существенный вред жизни духовной. Но именно духовное измерение обнаруживает важнейший и серьезнейший мировоззренческий вызов нашего времени. Этот вызов направлен на уничтожение нравственного чувства, заложенного в нашей душе Богом. Сегодня человека пытаются убедить в том, что он и только он мерило истины, что у каждого своя правда и каждый сам определяет, что есть добро, а что — зло. Божественную истину, а значит, и основанное на этой Истине отличие добра от зла, пытаются заменить нравственным безразличием и вседозволенностью, которые разрушают души людей, лишают их жизни вечной. Если природные катастрофы и военные действия превращают в развалины внешнее устроение жизни, то нравственный релятивизм разъедает совесть человека, делает его духовным инвалидом, искажает Божественные законы бытия и нарушает связь творения с Создателем.

Этой опасности нам должно противостоять в первую очередь, призывая на помощь Пречистую Деву и сонм угодников Божиих, дабы они своим заступничеством у Престола Владыки Святого и Истинного (Откр. 6:10), почитаемого ныне в образе новорожденного Младенца, исходатайствовали для нас силы бороться с грехом, бороться «против мироправителей тьмы века сего, против духов злобы поднебесных» (Еф. 6:12). Обманы и миражи земного благополучия важно научиться распознавать в наших пагубных пристрастиях, в корыстных устремлениях, в соблазнах рекламы, в развлекательных и политических текстах. Важно всегда слышать голос своей совести, предупреждающей об опасности греха, уметь согласовывать свои действия с Евангельскими заветами.

Ныне, как и всегда, каждый христианин призван подтверждать своими ежедневными поступками ценность праведного образа жизни, сознательно противостоять нравственному релятивизму и культу быстрой наживы. Вокруг нас много немощных, больных, одиноких людей. Немало и таких, кто в силу экономических трудностей покинул родные места в поисках заработка и нуждается в заботе, попадая подчас в недружелюбное окружение. В проведении социальной, миссионерской, церковно-общественной работы должен участвовать каждый пастырь и мирянин. По слову святителя Иннокентия Херсонского: «Только во свете Христовом можно видеть Бога, себя и мир в истинном их виде; только по указанию Откровения небесного можно найти стезю, ведущую в вечную жизнь».

С теми, кто чает Христова утешения, мы должны разделить тепло и радость нынешнего праздника. Каждый из нас может принести свет Вифлеемской звезды ближним и дальним — коллегам, друзьям, родственникам, соседям.

В минувшем году в соработничестве с государственными властями, общественными организациями, представителями деловых кругов было положено начало многим инициативам, которые могут сплотить людей, возродить твердые духовные и нравственные основы общественной жизни.

Развитию такого соработничества, также как и свидетельству о драгоценном единстве нашей Церкви, служили и совершенные мною поездки по России, Украине, Молдове. Эти посещения обогатили мой опыт молитвы и общения с верующим народом и, надеюсь, содействовали укреплению духовных уз. В богослужениях, проходивших при участии очень большого количества людей, особым образом являлась сила веры и молитвы, что и составляет красоту Православия, красоту и мощь «единства духа в союзе мира» (Еф. 4:3).

Поздравляя всех вас с Рождеством Христовым и Новолетием, молитвенно желаю неизменного пребывания в радости о Господе, Который воплотился, чтобы «мы по упованию соделались наследниками вечной жизни» (Тит. 3:7). «Бог же надежды да исполнит вас всякой радости и мира в вере, дабы вы, силою Духа Святаго, обогатились надеждою» (Рим. 15:13). Аминь.

+КИРИЛЛ, ПАТРИАРХ МОСКОВСКИЙ И ВСЕЯ РУСИ

Рождество Христово 2011/2012 года

Москва



6 января 2012 года

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Пасхальное послание Святейшего Патриарха Кирилла архипастырям, пастырям, монашествующим и всем верным чадам Русской Православной Церкви

Возлюбленные о Господе архипастыри, всечестные пресвитеры и диаконы, боголюбивые иноки и инокини, дорогие братья и сестры!

От сердца, исполненного благодарности Богу, возглашаю всем вам великую и спасительную весть:

ХРИСТОС ВОСКРЕСЕ!

Из года в год этим пасхальным восклицанием Церковь свидетельствует о том событии вселенского значения, что произошло почти две тысячи лет тому назад. Тогда ранним утром жены-мироносицы пришли к месту погребения своего Учителя и увидели, что гроб пуст. Божественная сила Христа победила закон смерти. Он воскрес, свидетельствуя всему человечеству, что смерть ― это не конец жизни, что смерть преодолеваема силой Божией.

Воскресение Христово, будучи уникальным событием в истории мира, по замыслу Божиему стало началом и нашего личного воскресения. Именно для того и пришел в мир Спаситель, пострадал, был распят и восстал от гроба, чтобы каждый имел возможность пройти через опыт воскресения из мертвых, и совсем не в переносном, а в прямом смысле этого слова. Об этом ясно говорит апостол Павел: «Бог… воскресит и нас силою Своею» (1 Кор. 6:14).

Вот почему праздник Пасхи есть праздник победы жизни над смертью, ибо Воскресением Христа Спасителя воскресение из мертвых даровано и всем нам. И через какие бы трудные обстоятельства земного бытия мы ни проходили, какие бы испытания нас ни постигали, какими бы страхами нас ни пугали те, кто пытается, не имея духовной силы, прозревать будущее, наше восприятие мира должно быть спокойным и радостным, ибо Христос воскрес!

На Святой Руси праздник Пасхи всегда был самым великим и светлым. В последние десятилетия он вновь вернулся во многие дома и семьи. И ныне его отмечают и там, где прежде не звучало пасхальное приветствие: в больницах и тюрьмах, в Армии и на Флоте, и даже в космосе. И дай Бог, чтобы за внешними изменениями, происходящими ныне в странах Русского мира, совершалось бы подлинное возрождение душ человеческих, чтобы радость Воскресения Христова наполняла бы сердце каждого, чтобы светом Божественной любви были согреты не только наши родные и близкие, но и люди, лишенные возможности побывать в храме, престарелые, больные и одинокие.

Через Воскресение Христово верующий человек обретает возможность приобщиться к ниспосылаемой свыше благодатной силе, дабы жить по правде и заповедям Божиим: быть добрым и милосердным, честным и благожелательным в отношениях с людьми, способным разделять с ними и радость, и горе.

Это христианское отношение к ближним включает в себя также и заботу о своей стране, о своем народе, о своей семье, о доме. Проповедуя приоритет вечных духовных ценностей, Церковь призывает своих чад также и к бережному отношению к временным, но реальным ценностям Богом сотворенного мира: к окружающей нас природе, к богатому культурному наследию, которое веками созидалось нашими предшественниками. Быть хранителями духовных сокровищ и традиций Православия означает активно преображать себя, свой внутренний мир, а также поддерживать красоту и гармонию окружающего нас мира и устроять их там, где они разрушены злой человеческой волей. Таково призвание и такова ответственность христианина.

Господь не требует от нас непосильных подвигов. Обращаясь к душе каждого человека, Он вновь и вновь взывает: «Придите ко Мне все труждающиеся и обремененные, и Я успокою вас; возьмите иго Мое на себя и научитесь от Меня, ибо Я кроток и смирен сердцем, и найдете покой душам вашим; ибо иго Мое благо, и бремя Мое легко» (Мф. 11:28-30). Чтобы почувствовать и понять, насколько благо и легко то бремя, которое возлагает на нас Господь, нужно научиться делать добро и ближним, и дальним. В этом учении трудны лишь первые шаги: вовремя остановиться и не отвечать на грубость грубостью, на зло злом, на ложь ложью, на осуждение осуждением. А затем хотя бы раз испытать удовлетворение от правильного и честного поступка, принесшего пользу другому человеку, будь то в семье, на работе, на приходе или просто в общении с соседями и знакомыми. Это чувство удовлетворения способно перерасти в радостное и оптимистичное состояние духа, если добрые дела, совершаемые не ради корысти, а от чистого сердца, становятся частью нашей жизни. Только тогда почувствуем мы и изменения к лучшему в общественном бытии, когда осознаем наличие нерушимой связи между совершаемым нами добром и общественным благополучием.

Евангельская мотивация наших поступков, как в личной, так и в профессиональной и общественной сфере способна кардинально изменить нас самих и окружающий мир.

«Да воскреснет Бог и расточатся врази Его!» ― восклицаем мы в эту светозарную ночь. Да воскреснет Бог в наших сердцах и да расточатся ложь, вражда, злоба, распри и всякие разделения в жизни нашей.

От души поздравляю всех вас, мои дорогие, с праздником Святой Пасхи. Помощь и благословение воистину Воскресшего Господа да сопутствуют каждому из нас в наших дальнейших трудах во славу Церкви, на пользу стран, в которых мы живем, на благо ближних и дальних. Аминь.

+КИРИЛЛ, ПАТРИАРХ МОСКОВСКИЙ И ВСЕЯ РУСИ

Пасха Христова 2011 года, Москва



23 апреля 2011 года

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Gathering Dark Clouds

When the tempest arose and Christ and His disciples were at sea, He slept. The boat began to take on water. St. Peter awoke the Master, pleading with Him. He rebuked the storm, and all was well. His words then spoken were a quiet and loving "Oh, ye of little faith..."

So we must greet the storms rocking the Church Militant today. They are many, manifold. But simply have faith. Christ will rebuke the storm and we will be saved. Fair weather and safe harbours are a matter of our redoubling prayer and bulwarking our lives on the bedrock of a granite faith.

So when we consider the utterly disheartening situation in the OCA with its Metropolitan awakened to the reality of impending extinction of the Russian American mission, we must pray and have Faith. No, a reduction in membership from 1,000,000 in 1976 to 85,000 today, just 35 years later, is not the end. Millions in debt and obligations which lack any and all possible means of solvency are not the issue. God will provide. But in this dark night, grace has not abandoned the OCA, no it has simply receded, watching, waiting for the OCA to repent of the errors of the Theodosian era and begin rebuilding and renewing in the Holy Spirit and in the Tradition of the Church, to begin forming an actual American local tradition, and not one of Russian assimilates who prefer to dishonour their mothers and fathers, grandparents, their forefathers and their millenial Russian Orthodox piety. The Holy Spirit awaits the return of the Prodigal Son and He will prepare a rich banquet for him, that we all may feast, for our brother was dead but will be alive again. Grace upon grace waits to abound and bless Orthodox America. Let us pray.

Metropolitan Jonah approached the OCA Holy Synod with the prospect of self-annulment of the "autocephaly" as the OCA cannot continue on as it has existed with its FAILED "Americanizations" and RENOVATIONIST follies. He felt it more desirous to be succoured by the Mother Church, Moscow, than to eventually be absorbed by Constantinople and then have the OCA's holdings sold to pay whatever debts the Greeks (or Antiochians) can. His proposal is the best way. The old guard, of course, was furious. His resignation was demanded. It was quickly received. But fear of exposure of their failure cooled their tempers and they suspended their own Metropolitan "to think it over." To think, Metropolitan Jonah was once known to scoff at denunciations of "schmemannism," but it seems, he is now the victim of its polity.

They have to go and this event crystalizes that realization, EVEN FOR HIM.

No, Metropolitan Jonah is hardly a confessor of Orthodoxy, his is the type of "social activism" of a Frank Schaeffer who shouts at the rooftops of the failure of the Religious Right and laments abortion is still legal, prayer in schools is nigh now impossible and the gay agenda is victorious BUT then goes on to be a vehement Barack Obama partizan. This innate inconsistency of a certain generational archetype gives one little hope that Metropolitan Jonah will do little but eventually cave, and, thus, the old Russian temples of the OCA will either eventually be demolished or sold on the auction block to meet its debt burdens once Constantinople assumes full control of the North American Episcopal Assembly. The future is ominous but can be avoided. Sadly, Metropolitan Jonah can not be a constructive figure in that future. He is far too inconsistent and lacks a proper Orthodox formation to be part of the accomplishment.

In the final analysis, be it return to Moscow and a chance at resuscitation or absorption by the EP and a firesale, in all prospects, the OCA "autocephaly," even in theory, is a dead letter (and was from the very start).

In ROCOR, still nothing has been done to investigate the masonic influences in Synod and an insidious wave of unannounced modernizations has begun to creep in where a "neo schmemannism" and "quiet ecumenism" and blind eye to Renovationism have begun to reign. This is what happens when you have chancellors with no more than a high school education and "essential" churchmen of Los Angeles who gained their appreciation of their Russian Orthodox heritage by reading about it in an Ivy League university library.

While in the Mother Church, the fires of ecumenism yet rage with a quiet agenda which has not been seen since the schemers and deceivers of the Brest Unia. No, our crypto Uniate RENOVATIONIST Nikodimite hierarchs rage in all fury fastidiously seeking to recognize the Unia! They wish a modus vivendi with the UGCC! They are prepared to not only betray Orthodoxy but even the very ethnic heritage of the Little Russian and Rusin peoples whose history and character have been shaped by oppression, forced uniatization and armed struggle with and valorous victory over in abolition of Unia as THEIR HISTORICAL INDEPENDENT SOVEREIGN IDENTITY. No, the Nikodimites would condemn Gonta anew to the Polish-papal gallows. I believe that if this NIKODIMITE HERETIC DARES TO RECOGNIZE THE UGCC in the name of Medvedev, Putin or whomever, that it is time for AUTOCEPHALY FOR THE SEE OF KIEV in much the same fashion it was declared when Isidore brought the Byzantine Unia of Florence to Moscow. That is the answer this heretic should receive. It is high time, the Nikodimite party either begin TRADITIONALLY missionizing the post Soviet masses in the "Russky mir" or simply admit that it can't and step aside and let others act, locally, if necessary.

Saving souls, ending abortion and reaching the youth and secularized, not reeping profits from cigarette sales, is the concern of the Russian church. It is high time the patriarchate BEGIN honouring its vocation and STOP seeking Rome's help to address these issues. It itself MUST DO THE WORK.

At the Treaty of Hadiach, the "Ukrainian" Getman Vygovsky (who called himself a RUSSIAN) had the BREST UNIA ABOLISHED AND DRIVEN OFF ALL RUSIN AND LITTLE RUSSIAN TERRITORIES UNDER HIS CONTROL. This was a treaty recognized by recz pospolita. It is HIGH TIME IT BE ENFORCED! Renovationism was anathemized by St. Tikhon and HNM Benjamin of Petrograd among many other Confessors of Orthodoxy and it is time it be DRIVEN FROM OUR CHURCH, wherever it rears its ugly head and the anathemas of the Seventh Ecumenical Council regarding those "who innovate and become iconoclasts of the Holy Tradition ARE ANATHEMA!" be read aloud and obeyed.

Thus, I would suggest for the "Ukrainian" UGCC even a status of PATRIARCHATE, provided that they RENOUNCE UNIA AND BECOME FULL FLEDGED LATIN RITE PAPAL CHRISTIANS. The Unia must be abolished and it has no place on ANY EASTERN EUROPEAN OR HISTORICALLY ORTHODOX SOIL. Let Rome sway its followers with ITS OWN RITE! No, let them TOTALLY RENOUNCE ANY AND ALL KINSHIP TO HOLY RUS' AND HAVE ONLY A CONTRIVED AND FOREIGN CONCOCTED "UKRAINIAN" IDENTITY! LET THERE BE NO RUSSIAN PAPAL HERETICS! This is not something Rome wants to entertain as an option BUT IT WILL IF THE ISSUE IS EMPHASIZED AS A NECESSARY STEP FOR FRUITFUL DIALOGUE. While the "UGCC" is prepared to "enter schism" if Rome should take that step. Thus, Rome should consider how loyally papal these neo Nazis really are. So is Rome interested in rapproachment with Russian Orthodoxy at least so that constructive dialogue can occur or does it only want a Nikodimite quiet unia?! These are considerations it must finally consider in honesty and treat with good faith. The East is not stupid and IS NOT going to be deceived into Unia. Papal primacy isn't even an issue to discuss when THERE ISN'T AN ORTHODOX PAPACY. Rome, REPENT, RETURN TO ORTHODOXY AND BRING THE CHURCHES IN COMMUNION WITH YOU. Rome needs to engage this conversation honestly in paradigms of resolution so that dialogue may have an Orthodox and Catholic successful outcome.


Patriarch Kirill, Metropolitan AND HERESIARCH Hilarion Alfeev, Orthodox Russia tells you one thing in a loud voice, WE WILL NEVER ACCEPT UNIA AND WILL ONLY EVER RECOGNIZE ROME WHEN ROME IS ORTHODOX AGAIN! WE DO NOT AFFIRM MSGNR NIKODIM ROTOV's DECEPTIONS AND WILL NOT HAVE THEM! NEVER TO UNIA! NO PAPAL PRIMACY! THE "SACRAMENTS" OF HERETICS ARE GRACELESS! RELIGIOUS SYNCRETISM CALLED ECUMENISM OR UNIA IS APOSTASY AND ECCLESIOLOGICAL HERESY! Yes, Metropolitan Alfeev, EVEN "unleavened wafers" are blasphemous, for they deny the New Covenant and the REALITY THAT THE CHURCH DOES NOT HAVE THE BREAD OF HASTE BUT WE THE CHURCH HAVE THE BREAD OF LIFE LEAVENED BY CHRIST JESUS RISEN FROM THE DEAD TRAMPLING DOWN DEATH BY DEATH! That's why the Orthodox Eucharist is leavened (and why it was leavened in the Western churches prior to the schism). Don't even DARE to offend the Russian Orthodox faithful with common prayer with these HERETICS UNTIL THEY ARE ONE IN FAITH or mention a papal visit to Russia UNTIL THEY AT VERY LEAST REMOVE THE FILIOQUE FROM THE NICENE CONSTANTINOPOLITAN CREED THROUGHOUT THE PAPAL COMMUNION AND END THE UNIA!

WE WILL NEVER RECOGNIZE NOR ACCEPT UNIA ON RUSSIAN SOIL AND ANY PERSON WHO IS A LATIN HERETIC OF WHATEVER RITE ON RUSSIAN SOIL IS AN ACCURSED TRAITOR TO HOLY RUS'!

Let that be clear, Heresiarch Alfeev.

Aside from the Nikodimite minority, the most distasteful survivals of the Renovationist heretics on the soil of Holy Rus' are the UAOC and the "KP." They must either be legally reincorporated in the successor states as "Protestant churches" or disbanded and deprived of all legal protections as parasitic organisms seeking to uproot the historical Church of St. Vladimir engaging in a religious counterfeit, ie disbanded on the basis of their committing conspiracy, fraud and an organized criminal enterprise.

Finally, with the GOCs and "Katakombniki"... It would be good for the Milan Synod to achieve a ROCOR-like status with the Mother Church, the MP, but its diasporan Metropolia with its heretical Matthewite ecclesiological stupidities needs to be brought under control and also into Communion, perhaps with the OCA. It would be good for Fili and her Bulgarian and Romanian confederates to finally begin to regularize their status with their mother churches with the patronage of the MP, but they must stop concelebrating with deposed hierarchs who commemorate deposed Patriarchs of Jerusalem. Enough is enough. Yes, it is encouraging to see HOCNA moderate its ecclesiology but would be most beneficial if it finally resolved certain moral issues.

This storm is but a ripple in the ocean of the Church Militant's pilgrim sojourn on earth. Christ will calm this storm. The end is not near. Have faith. Keep the Faith. Be strong. Despair not! Christ is Risen!

R M Malleev-Pokrovsky

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Scandal of the Cross

What did ye go out into the desert to see?

The words of the Saviour are poignantly addressed to us, not just those who went out in the desert to hear the testimony of St. John the Baptist. Many times, we answer by our lives that we went out to see ourselves and our self righteousness, our wants and desires affirmed by a Prophet of God and our pride and intellectual cloud castles given divine sanction, no matter the inconsistencies and outright moral and theological contradictions involved. We have gone out to the desert so we must be right!

While what we really are denying is the Cross and Precious Blood of Christ who has born our sins and justifed us before the Father by uniting our nature to Him. All we need is to take up the cross and follow Him, to live a Christocentric life and imperative to holiness to allow freely given grace to be operative within us.

Therein lies the scandal: not carrying our cross but daring to act, that we will return to Cyrene and say that we have witnessed it, even assented to it, but never will do it, for to our pride "it is an unrealistic standard," which to us is unnecessary folly. "We have a better way" we have come up with.

But in actuality WE DON'T. No, we must bear the Cross, for it has borne up our sins and washed them away with His Precious Blood shed on it for our salvation.

So today we have in Moscow (and wherever he is sent) a person so scandalized by the Cross and the Church's witness of the life in Christ that he dares to deride it as "superstition," (No, no, the deifying witness of twenty centuries must be modified by a post Soviet "modernization")as a "war of fanatics against wafers (No for Him, Christ is not the "leaven of life" Who is now the Leaven for the "bread of haste"-TO THIS RENOVATIONIST UNIATE, Christ bears no fulfillment of the Holy Scriptures)," a war of the "spiritually ignorant" against papal erudition (Indeed, Timothy Ware and the higher critics know more than the Saints and even the Canons and the Scriptures /which it turns out, "they didn't really write"/, but somehow it MUST BE IGNORED! WARE's NEO RENOVATIONIST ECUMENISTS have missed how the WAY OF ORTHODOX SAINTS ALONE and their pathes have produced the fragrance of deified Holy Relics or even how they faithfully bear witness to the MIND OF CHRIST and the VOICE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT WHO ABIDES WITH HIS CHURCH EVEN TODAY AND SAYS, "I AM GOD, NOT A DEMIGOD. DO NOT BLASPHEME THE WORK OF HOLINESS AND GRACE-I PROCEED FROM THE FATHER."), a "rebellion against the enlightened authority of modernity," (After all, St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite was an innovator according to Professor Erickson, formerly of St. "Vlad's," while the Holy Canons of the Seven Ecumenical Councils are only the bigotry of antiquity-We must accept that heretics have valid Mysteries for modernity mandates a rending of the Body of Christ to achieve this demonia) all without the Saviour, His Precious Blood and the Redemption on the Cross. What did Metropolitan Alfeev come to the Church to see? Not the Cross, but a papal tiara. Has he even ventured into the wilderness?! No, the only cross a Nikodimite will bear is a stamp on a CPSU passport or a scrawling on a vaunted Order of Lenin and the only wilderness he will suffer is a papal concert hall.

Just recently, the OCA has been confronted with the fruits of pushing a FAILED RENOVATIONIST ECUMENIST agenda to the point of suicide. Thoroughly marginal personae have given way to further cover ups of sexual immoralities in at least the persons of the "resting" Archbishop of Canada and the formerly embezzling, male hustling Metropolitan Theodosius. A SECTARIAN ECUMENIST-RENOVATIONIST priest by the name of Father Leonid Kishkovsky seems to think that even by his very name, he is a "true blue" American native while speaking with a Russian accent. The recession is blamed for further declines in membership, now approaching 85% declines of 1976 total membership (It seems, they can't fit that many Orthodox Christians in their churches, but they sure can fit in the Renovationism, the New Calendar, embezzlements and homosexual hierarchs). Metropolitan Jonah has only presided over an increase in flight from and financial ruin for the OCA while his appeals to Anglicans to "forge concordats" for a "new Christian unity in America" have only been met with curses from the Anglicans and reproofs from those Orthodox faithful to the Holy Tradition. Indeed, the way of New Skete comprehensiveness and veneration of clearly spiritually deluded heretics like Francis of Assisi, John of the Cross, Therese of Lisieux, Rowan Williams et al. has not produced any type of spiritual renewal but only affirmed the evil banality and ineffectiveness of the quieted apostasy of ecumenism. No, St. John of San Francisco was never enough for Metropolitan Jonah. Fr. Seraphim (Rose) bore a "cross of bigotry" he would never bear. His mentor Archimandrite Anastassy (Newcomb) was simply a dupe for the "Russian Bishops" who was "too spiritually immature" to get that the scandal of the Cross was "inessential," because modernity's cross offers cheap grace without the Precious Blood with a modern messiah and a Marin County "enlightenment" channeled by a "new" guru preaching inclusiveness and not the "reaction of the Crucifixion." Joan Baez is singing in Bolinas! The OCA is lost, because it has resorted to such charlatans in cassocks with their ecumenist gimmicks and betrayals of Christ. Ersatz "traditionalists" who worship their delusions to simply allow them to see themselves in a mirror, rather than face the love and salvation of Christ IN FAITHFULNESS TO HIM IN HIS SOLE TRUE CHURCH. They don't want to see the Cross.

Over ten years ago now, the Holy Order of MANS group left quasi Greek Old Calendarism (in counterfeit of ROCOR) for mainly the OCA. Since that time, its communities have increasingly become more "modern" and "enlightened" in the Metropolitan Jonah mould. Gone are the Feasts on the Old Calendar, conferences about piety and fasting, "Synodal services," and in Phoenix, AZ all mention of even Platina. Indeed, Bradley Nasif and Frederica Matthews Green are the new gurus. Pews, flower petals, priests in gym shorts and resident charismatic theologians are all the rage. No, the Cross is not only a scandal, but an antique which will be kept in a photo album while we rap our ways to 21st. century American Orthodoxy without "the interference of the Russian Bishops." All that is missing is Shirley McClain and a service to "Mother Goddess Sophia."

In ROCOR, the mask has fallen away and the masonic forces which led Russia to Golgotha and martyred the Royal Family are now unashamedly the "enlightened masters" of ROCOR's fate. Where a Metropolitan denies participation in this luciferian cult while receiving its patronage in Latin American courts to fight schism. And ROCOR silences any talk of a freemasonic Metropolitan. It toils to shout down denunciations OF A SECTARIAN WHO WORSHIPS AT TWO ALTARS. For them, their "precious blood" is precious even when it comes from a thirty third degree black mass, BUT THIS IS NOT THE PRECIOUS BLOOD OF CHRIST, AND IT IS NOT THE SALVATION OF THE CROSS! Indeed, all those years of Red Bating were a camouflage for the truly inherent evil ROCOR sheltered in receiving the freemasons who SACRIFICED RUSSIA to their dark lord. They kept their secrets safe in order to serve them WHEN THE TIME CAME. With this current scandal of a Metropolitan, their time has come. The demons singing in the trees St. John of Kronstadt heard now give concerts against the Cross outside of Synod.

Just recently, the pathetic Neo-Sergianist Pashkovsky of Odessa began commemorating the DEPOSED Patriarch of Jerusalem. Compounding error with folly. The "Authentic Orthodox" of Greece, Bulgaria and Romania maintain Communion with this DEPOSED churchman, even joining in the chorus of condemnation of "party members in cassocks" while failing to recognize that Pashkovsky IS A VERY REAL ORANGE party member in a cassock. Do they even see the Cross? Do they even recognize the Precious Blood that has cleansed their sins in Christ's Church or are they our twenty first century Tartars of Kazan who are bathing in the Volga trying to wash it off? On the cross of Pashkovsky, Christ is not to be found. On his cross, Stepan Bandera and George Soros have opened a Walmart and a theatre devoted to a Passion play for Neo Sergianist schismatics.

Let us pray for the Holy Spirit to lead us in faithfulness to follow Christ in His Holy Church in witness of the sovereign Love of God the Father, to bathe ourselves in Jesus' Precious Blood and carry the Cross which has born away our sins. Let us convict ourselves and renew our faithfulness to Christ and His Church this Lent. Convict ourselves and reflect on how we must overcome ourselves and put on Christ who has put on and saved our humanity.

For His Cross will even save a vile reprobate like me and His Precious Blood washes my sins away. I believe and I confess that HE ALONE IN HIS ONE TRUE CHURCH, HIS PRECIOUS BODY, IS TRULY THE CHRIST, THE SAVIOUR OF ALL MANKIND. I confess with my intellect, my heart, my body and soul, by my entire being.

We all are sinners, and I am much worse the filth than all I have mentioned and beg Christ to help me repent. I recognize my mistake of going out into the wilderness only trying to catch a glimpse of myself to make my pride and falleness hallowed.

Please forgive me, brothers and sisters. God forgives.

Rostislav Mikhailovich Malleev-Pokrovsky, Tserkovnye Vekhi blog

Thursday, January 6, 2011

РОЖДЕСТВЕНСКОЕ ПОСЛАНИЕ

Святейшего Патриарха Московского и всея Руси Кирилла
6 января 2011 г. 13:00
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Преосвященные архипастыри, досточтимые отцы, всечестные иноки и инокини, дорогие братья и сестры!

В нынешнюю светозарную ночь мы вновь духовно переживаем радость обретения миром своего Спасителя. Вновь мысленно зрим Сына Бога Живого, лежащего в яслях Вифлеемского вертепа. Вновь слышим в сердцах своих ангельский глас, воспевающий хвалу Творцу и Искупителю: «Слава в вышних Богу и на земли мир, в человецех благоволение» (Лк. 2, 14).

Внимая славословию небесных сил, мы осознаем, что Рождество Христово исполнено вневременного значения и имеет прямое отношение к судьбе каждого человека. Даже тот, кто пока еще ничего не знает о подвиге Спасителя, может теперь обрести познание Истины, стать чадом Божиим и наследовать жизнь вечную. Рождество Христово открывает нам правду о нас самих и делает возможным эту правду понять и усвоить.

Вспомним, что первый человек был создан Творцом совершенным, по образу и подобию Божию (см. Быт. 1, 26). Но Адам, преступив заповедь, исказил замысел Создателя о себе. Лишившись живого общения с Богом, человечество все больше и больше погружалось в бездну греха и гордыни. И тогда Господь, любя Свое творение и желая ему спасения, посылает в мир Единородного Сына, Который восстановил целостность человеческой природы и стал Новым Адамом. Христос показал нам пример жизни, сообразной Божественному замыслу о человеке. Этот пример есть надежный ориентир, который помогает нам не сбиться с пути и обрести единственно верное направление, приводящее к полноте жизни и в условиях земного бытия, и в вечности.

Мы идем по этому спасительному пути, когда откликаемся на Божии призывы. Один из таких обращенных к нам призывов содержится в послании апостола Павла: «Прославляйте Бога и в телах ваших, и в душах ваших, которые суть Божии» (1 Кор. 6, 20). Это значит, что мы возносим хвалу Богу не только молитвами и песнопениями, но и добрыми делами во благо ближнего, во благо своего народа, во благо Церкви.

Такой труд становится радостным трудом во имя Христово, он реально преобразует окружающий мир и нас самих. Люди достигают сплоченности, работая не по принуждению и не ради корысти, а движимые искренним желанием сотворить дело доброе и полезное. Тем самым мы совместно служим Создателю, претворяя в жизнь Его волю. Греческое слово «литургия» переводится как «общее дело». Вся наша жизнь должна стать Литургией, общей молитвой и общим делом, совершаемым для того, чтобы воплотить в жизнь Божий замысел о мире и о человеке и тем самым воздать славу и хвалу Творцу. Это требует от нас солидарности с братьями и сестрами по вере и даже с теми, кто еще не обрел в сердце своем Господа, но, подобно евангельским волхвам, находится на пути к Нему.

Важность объединения усилий для преодоления скорбей и несчастий показали нам пожары, засухи и наводнения минувшего года в России и в некоторых других странах исторической Руси. Они еще раз напомнили нам о христианском долге помощи ближним — без различия убеждений, национальности, социального положения. В горячие летние месяцы многие люди щедро делились своими силами, временем и достоянием с теми, кого они даже не знали и которых вряд ли когда-либо увидят. Во имя чего они это делали? Во имя сострадания тем, кому плохо, кто терпит лишения и кому нужна помощь.

Общественная солидарность, совместные труды ради достижения общих целей невозможны без преодоления эгоизма, без понуждения себя к добру, без отказа от обращенности исключительно к своим нуждам и интересам. В основании подлинного «единства духа» (Еф. 4, 3) лежит закон любви, завещанный нам Спасителем. Единение народа не может быть ограничено лишь минутами испытаний. Оно должно стать неотъемлемой частью нашего национального самосознания и жизни.

Сила церковного единства явственно ощущалась мной во время многочисленных поездок по епархиям России, Украины, Казахстана, Азербайджана. Всюду я видел готовность архипастырей, клира, монашествующих и мирян трудиться на благо Православия, совершенствовать приходскую, монастырскую и епархиальную деятельность. Это вселяет надежду на успешное развитие церковной жизни в духе единения и соработничества.

От сердца, исполненного радости, поздравляю вас, Преосвященные архипастыри, досточтимые клирики, насельники обителей, братья и сестры, с великим и спасительным праздником Рождества Христова и Новолетием. Молитвенно желаю всем вам быть ревностными исполнителями воли Божией, приносящими духовные дары рождшемуся ныне Спасителю мира, дабы имя Его прославлялось всегда, ныне, и присно, и во веки веков.

Аминь.

+ КИРИЛЛ, ПАТРИАРХ МОСКОВСКИЙ И ВСЕЯ РУСИ

Рождество Христово 2010/2011 года

Москва


http://www.patriarchia.ru/db/text/1375456.html

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Relations between the Orthodox Church in America and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia

OCA Holy Synod of Bishops blesses Joint Statement of OCA, ROCOR Commissions
Posted 12/14

SYOSSET, NY [OCA] -- At their fall session held at the Chancery of the Orthodox Church in America here November 16-18, 2010, the members of the Holy Synod of Bishops gave their blessing to the Joint Statement of the Commissions of the Orthodox Church in America and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, titled "Relations Between the Orthodox Church in America and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.

The Joint Statement was drafted by members of the OCA and ROCOR Commissions at a their meeting in Sea Cliff, NY October 5-6, 2010. [See http://www.oca.org/news/2289 and http://www.oca.org/news/2285 for background information.] The text was submitted to, and received the blessing of, the OCA and ROCOR hierarchs.

The text of the Joint Statement reads as follows.



Relations between the Orthodox Church in America and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia
Joint Statement of the Commissions

of the Orthodox Church in America and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia

+

October 5-6, 2010
The Orthodox Church in America (OCA) and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) share a single origin – the local Church of Russia – and a long history on the North American continent. It was the Russian Church that first sent missionaries to America, established the first parishes, sent the first bishops and established the first dioceses. Prior to the Bolshevik Revolution, the North American Diocese of the Russian Church was the principal canonical ecclesiastical authority here, and although there were clergy and parishes of differing cultures and languages, many were in the archpastoral care of the bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church. Therefore, there is no question that the formation of multiple jurisdictions on this continent was largely due to the ecclesiastical chaos that ensued after the Revolution of 1917.

The life and witness of the Russian Orthodox Church in the 20th century was marked by violent persecution at the hands of the totalitarian atheist Bolshevik regime brought to power by the communist revolutionaries in 1917. The decades of persecution included the martyrdom of bishops, priests, monastics, and lay people in overwhelming numbers and in numerous killing fields and gulags. Thousands of churches and monasteries were desecrated and destroyed. The voice of the church was silenced in the public arena. Charitable and educational ministries were made illegal. In the midst of massive anti-religious campaigns and by means of unjust laws religious believers, both clergy and lay, were deprived of their rights and put on the margins of society as objects of derision and discrimination.

The decades of persecution were a time of human suffering and genocidal cruelty. These years were also a time of witness to Christ and faithfulness unto death. What the Russian Orthodox Church endured during Soviet rule affected Church life outside Russia.

In the Diocese of the Aleutians and North America, the loss of contact with the Church of Russia and the loss of support from Russia created confusion and even chaos in the midst of uncertainty. From this turmoil emerged the Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church in America (popularly known as the North American Metropolia), which is today the Orthodox Church in America.

For the millions of refugees fleeing from revolution and civil war in Russia and settling in the Balkans and Western Europe, in Asia and the Americas and Australia, there was need to find comfort and support within Church life under new circumstances.

With regard to the situation of the clergy and parishes of the Russian Church that were found abroad, there were two distinct directions that evolved. The first was the striving for a unified central Church Administration which could oversee the ecclesiastical life abroad until conditions would change in the homeland and the Patriarchate, independent of Soviet control, could be restored. The second was the striving toward the establishment of a completely independent self-administered Orthodox Church in North America.

These two directions are the essence of the conflict between the bishops, clergy and parishes which would become the Orthodox Church in America and the bishops, clergy and parishes which would remain part of a central Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.

However, even after the rupture of relations that occurred at the 7th All American Sobor in 1946, there were periods of close collaboration and mutual support between the North American Metropolia and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. Even when the close collaboration faltered, support and welcome to the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia was offered by the American Metropolia in the period when the Synod of ROCOR bishops moved from Europe to the United States.

On December 11, 1950, a joint meeting of the Metropolitans Anastassy and Leonty and bishops of the Metropolia and ROCOR was held in New York. As noted in the official Minutes of ROCOR’s Council of Bishops, the Metropolia and ROCOR hierarchs had during their meeting “unanimously recognized that the sad fact of ecclesiastical separation causes significant damage to the holy cause of Christ’s Church: it weakens the preaching of Orthodoxy, undermining Church discipline and a sense of responsibility among clergy of the Church, is a temptation for the faithful, diminishes the prestige of the Church in the heterodox world and makes more difficult its struggle with militant atheism. It was unanimously determined that the Church's unity is necessary.”

Those Minutes also note that: “after the discussion of practical ways for achieving Church unity the hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia in conjunction with the bishops of the American Metropolitan See, accordingly recognized that the most appropriate path for that time was the preservation of the existing organizations of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and the American Metropolia, which will exist in parallel, but will be in close fraternal cooperation between themselves, periodically calling meetings of hierarchs of both Church organizations to resolve common or contentious issues with a firm hope that further ways to more closely achieve canonical unity with God's help will be provided by life itself.”

After the meeting of the two first hierarchs and members of their Synods, the Great Council of Bishops of the North American Metropolia issued an Archpastoral Epistle dated December 2/15, 1950, which included the following statement:

“Let enmity between brothers be abolished and let mutual respect be established on the basis of our mutual acceptance of the co-existence of two paths for the Church in this country, one permanent and one temporary, which are the result of the exceptional sufferings of our time, full of terrible events, and forebodings, imperiously demanding from all the greatest submission to the Lord, the greatest brotherly love and moral support for each other. This does not break, but further strengthens the historical path of our Metropolia.

“What happened after the close of the Council on December 11, i.e. Metropolitan Anastassy twice visiting our newly elected primate at the Holy Protection Cathedral, and the talk that we bishops had which took place the same evening with the hierarchs of the Russian jurisdiction Outside of Russia who visited us, determines the possibility of peaceful life in parallel, subject to internal mutual respect and clear delineation of our canonical rights and historical foundations. The Russian Church Outside of Russia has its own flock in America as well. She has spread her wanderers’ tent in this country, too. Let the peace of God be with its zealous hierarchs, its kind shepherds and its laity!

“Let brotherly love prevail, and let mutual forgiveness of past wrongs be accomplished. The American Metropolia wishes to live in peace with these brethren as well, based on the temporary presence of their hierarchical administration on the territory of America until the future free All-Russian Local Council.

“No treaties or agreements protect this decision of our Church coexistence. It rests upon the requirements of life itself and the clear precepts of the Savior: "By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, if ye have love for one another" (John 13:35).

“The clear and unconditional definition of our own canonical path, made at the 8th All-American Sobor, requires us to have an attitude of brotherly love toward those who, while wishing to preserve their temporarily separate ecclesiastical administrative organization next to ours, are our brothers in Christ.”
Despite these mutual efforts toward establishing brotherly relations, the paths of the Church Outside of Russia and the American Metropolia continued to be separate.

In 1970, by recognizing the self-governing status of the Metropolia with the granting of the Tomos of Autocephaly, eucharistic communion between the Russian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) and the American Metropolia was restored and reconciliation was achieved.

At the beginning of the 21st century, the deep and extensive changes in Russia with the renewal of church life, the restoration of thousands of churches and monasteries, the freedom to bear public witness to the Gospel in Russian society, a process of dialogue between ROCOR and the Moscow Patriarchate led to the restoration of canonical unity through the Act of Canonical Communion in 2007.

It is now time for the Orthodox Church in America and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia to declare together in the spirit of mutual repentance and mutual forgiveness that we are committed to living together as brothers in Christ and as sister Churches, and to sharing a common witness to the Gospel of Christ and the Holy Orthodox Faith. This common witness should most clearly and most fully be expressed in eucharistic communion.

In addition, we see the need to work together in harmony on joint projects, such as pastoral education, parish schools, student outreach, translations of services, ministering to the poor and needy, and missionary efforts. To work in harmony we will need to reflect together on theological, pastoral, and liturgical issues which we face in our ministry in North America. We also affirm the need to examine together and develop a common understanding of the historical record concerning our churches. These hopes and endeavors can be encouraged and advanced through periodic meetings of our first hierarchs, bishops, clergy and laity to discuss matters of mutual concern, including those theological, liturgical and pastoral issues.

We are committed to the processes and goals expressed in the Chambesy accords of June 2009, specifically the active participation of both our Churches in the regional Episcopal Assembly as we strive to achieve Orthodox unity on this continent.

The following text from the Epistle of the Holy Apostle Paul to the Ephesians is addressed to us, and therefore to the believers of the Orthodox Church in America and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia: “I … beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in you all” (Ephesians 4: 1-6).

We ask for the intercession and blessing of the Holy Hierarch Tikhon, Patriarch and Confessor of Moscow and Enlightener of North America and all the saints who have shone forth on this continent as we labor “for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4: 12).

OCA Commission

Bishop TIKHON of Philadelphia
and Eastern Pennsylvania (Chair)

Archpriest Leonid Kishkovsky
Archpriest Alexander Garklavs
Archpriest John Erickson
Igumen Alexander (Pihach)
Alexis Liberovsky (consultant) ROCOR Commission

Bishop GEORGE of Mayfield (Chair)

Archimandrite Luke (Murianka)
Archpriest Alexander Lebedeff
Archpriest David Moser
Priest Peter Jackson
Archpriest Seraphim Gan (consultant)

A Russian translation of the text may be found at http://www.synod.com/synod/2010/12rocorocastatement.html."


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http://www.oca.org/news/2353



Tserkovnye Vekhi Responds:

Christ is Born! Give Ye Him Glory!

Beloved Brothers & Sisters in Christ,

We should be thankful to the Mother Church for coordinating this new era of pan-Russian Orthodox unity in North America. Such events as the restoration of Communion between Russian Orthodox brothers are blessed occurences, even when the auspices and personages associated with these events are less than ideal. While such an event inspires us to not only support such a step at unity but to broaden its scope to include other jurisdictions functioning in North America. Great opportunities for the Russian Orthodox mission await.

As a rejoinder to the OCA commentary on this joyous occasion, it is necessary to note that, no, the FICTION of an OCA feverishly seeking to derussify itself and create an American fiction out of a Russian (or post Russian) immigrant reality is shockingly appalling to read "as an official history" here YET AGAIN. While it is true that the ultimate goal of the Russian mission was and is A NORTH AMERICAN LOCAL CHURCH (As opposed to an "autocephaly" seemingly annulled with the latest concordats with the Phanariots), it must be reiterated that these things don't artificially transpire or "spontaneously coalesce by a fiat declared in conjuncition with Nikodimites" but are the result of a natural process of RETENTION of the core of believers of ones missions and the broadening of their ranks with native populations (and generations) on the missionary territory on which they function.

Disparaging RUSSIAN HERITAGE MUST STOP IMMEDIATELY IN THE OCA, and this occasion should be taken to not only ratify a better relationship with ROCOR but with the entire RUSSIAN Orthodox (AND "Orthodox Traditionalist" or "Authentic" or "Catacomb" or "Old Rite," etc.) immigrant community, within and without the OCA, to express regrets for the disturbingly unwarranted "Americanizations" which only engendered the most myopic of russophobias and created a climate of alienation which has resulted in the nullification OF THE MISSIONARY ROLE the Mother Church has assigned to its NORTH AMERICAN DAUGHTER. Loss of ones core of believers and 80%+ (and still declining!) of its membership is something for the OCA to lament and overcome. An embarassing era of OCA "nativism" has cost the Orthodox mission in this nation, on this continent, and it must be addressed satisfactorily if the OCA is to survive.

With ROCOR, many historical issues of cessation of intercommunion with the OCA still remain in regularizing the North American mission:

1). Renovationism, liturgical, canonical, theological, Patristic, Scriptual and otherwise. It must be cemented in the minds of all THAT THE SEVENTH ECUMENICAL COUNCIL SPECIFICALLY ANATHEMIZES ALL INNOVATIONS (it also condemns musical instruments in Orthodox worship).
2). Ecumenism and sectarian "dialogues" with the heterodox which have resulted in HERETICAL ecclesiological "concordats," crypto-Uniatism (Something the OCA was initially created to combat), HERETICAL ecclesiologies and endorsements of such SECTARIAN documents as the WCC's BEM, and a general denominationalist approach to Orthodox identity and purpose in North America. It is not without reason that the OCA has blunted its message and become BANAL in proferring a model of an "ACCEPTED POST RUSSIAN AMERICAN (RUSSOPHOBIC) DENOMINATION" "adapting to the American religious mainstream" which SECTARIANs like Fr. Kishkovsky (and Fr. LebedeV) envision as a "fellow denomination."
3). Not only a spiritual immaturity, but a total immaturity in approach to catechizing and churching both "cradle" and "convert" Orthodox Christians. The OCA as it has imploded has disastrously lost what resources and institutions it even had. Moreover, it remains a "post Russian" (not ethnically American!) body primarily as opposed to a LOCAL expression of Orthodoxy. There is no American Orthodoxy even in sight. Sadly, the OCA offers no acceptible paradigms for its advent.
4). New Calendarism. Lack of liturgical unity and rejection of the Holy Canons of Nicea for the ROBBER SYNOD of 1923, which even the Greek churches have in actuality abrogated (viz. RESTORATION OF THE JULIAN PASCHALION, REJECTION OF SECOND MARRIAGES FOR PRIESTS AND DEACONS AND A MARRIED EPISCOPATE, RETENTION OF BEARDS, CASSOCKS, ORTHODOX FASTING, FOREGOING DENIGRATION OF MONASTICISM, etc.) emphasizing that this 1923 Phanariot convention of Greek Renovationists is at best DUBIOUS by the very fact the Greek Robbers have themselves UNILATERALLY "uncanonically" altered and postponed its decisions. If they don't even respect their schismatic and heretical innovations, how can we?! There are no canonical grounds for the IMPOSITION of the Calendar Reform in the OCA while the fact the Mother Church retains the Orthodox Calendar makes this act at very least quasi-schismatic.

Yes, it is true that St. Tikhon felt it both possible and even necessary to implement a "new calendar" for Western missions, but when he learned the auspices of the way the current GREEK calendar reform was implemented, he ANNULLED the adoption of it by the Russian church and condemned it as "uncanonical" and an "INNOVATION WHICH PRECIPITATES SCHISM." The witness of such luminaries as St. Alexis Mechev is clear in relating the Russian church's reasons for non-adoption and condemnation of the GREEK calendar reform. The theological writing and acumen of St. Seraphim of Bulgaria cements it.

Likewise, the OCA with its first hierarchs from Metropolitan Platon to Metropolitan Leonty to even Metropolitan Ireney were at best "UNCOMFORTABLE" with the prospect of a calendar reform and generally patently opposed to it as something which "promoted unnecessary disharmony and divisions" (ie schism). It must be noted that when it was propagandized in the OCA in the late 1970s and early 1980s, that noteable hierarchs like the Bishops of S. Canaan and of Alaska openly called it "UNWARRANTED" and "SCHISM."

Thus its implementation has proven UNCANONICAL, SCHISMATIC, ruinous and unscrupulous in the OCA. It has failed in its stated goal of "Americanization." While honouring the American federal holiday of Christmas in nowise means that a given community becomes illegitimate in observing the Orthodox celebration of this Feast on the Orthodox Calendar. Such an observance does not necessarily embody a celebration of "two Christmases," but merely a broadening of what in the West is usually understood as a festive season of "Christmastime." Moreover, simply instructing parishes to be sensitive to Orthodox observance of the Nativity by OFFERING Christmas services on the 7, January AS WELL (at a minimum) in no wise causes acrimony with a Western religious custom which observes Christmas until the 6, January traditionally. One more day only preserves the joy and sacredness of Christmas in the West. If anything, with the rise of a new militant secularism in North America, it acts as a statement for Christ and Christmas and aids in reaffirming the sacredness of the Christmas season FOR ALL AMERICANs. Just as a variant Paschalion for Orthodox Christians exists without any great stress on the missionary witness of Orthodoxy, so too Orthodox observance of Christmas can only make it holier FOR ALL!

It must also be remembered that the US federal holiday DOES NOT RECOGNIZE THE DIVINITY OF CHRIST but merely honours Him (and Christmas) as a profound moral teacher with universal secular significance. That is all. Thus, the christological implications for associating Orthodox worship with artificial standards of such "patriotism" become shockingly evident. Arius would cringe.

It is understood that in all cases restoring the Orthodox Calendar (at least summarily) could indeed cause unnecessary upheavals in a thoroughly failed OCA. But gradual restoration (at least for the OCA "post Russian" dioceses) by episcopal observances and monastic mandates could provide a better approach to settling this unnecessary division. Dioceses and parishes should be generally allowed to return to the Orthodox Calendar while statements should be issued that 1). The Mother Church views the calendar innovation as too controversial to implement & 2). The Mother Church awaits resolution of this issue when a future Synod of Ecumenical Character can address it. THUS 3). Prudence is dictated in both having the OCA favour the Orthodox Calendar, its restoration, BUT as an act of pastoral economy, retention of the GREEK calendar reform can be observed by ECONOMY by communities who otherwise would become divided by its abolition. BUT the issue is not settled and awaits an Orthodox consensus.

5). Freemasonry in North America, although condemned by both the OCA and ROCOR (and the Russian church as a whole), should be better addressed and further rejected, especially when there are even hierarchical temptations and scandals which have arisen in regard to its evil influences and doctrine.

6). Both the OCA and ROCOR (and the Patriarchal /MP/ Administration) should use this occasion to restore a COMMON organism of North American Orthodox unity. While a Russian emphasis may indeed be at best only marginal in necessity today, a need for a Traditional Orthodox mission remains and needs to be reinvigorated in ONE institution. This institution must act and act quickly to normalize its missionary work, its work in catechesis and churching of American Orthodox.

The Russian mission in North America needs to, yes, appreciate the historical identity of Russian Orthodoxy not as an "Eastern Slavic Orthodoxy" or phyletism, but a church at its outset which united Scandinavians (who ruled Rus'), Slavs (of all regionalisms), Finns, Balts, Khazars, Bulgars, Turks, Tartars, Avars (Hungarians), Roma, Caucasians even Germans in one common religious and cultural identity, respectful to the ethnic traditions of these people with a thrust to not "reinforce Russian cultural imperialism" but Rus' as a unifying center (post tribal, not at all "nationalist") affirming the fundamental Truth and doctrine of Orthodoxy AS THE ONE TRUE CHURCH.

That is what is fundamentally meant by Russian Orthodoxy (or its multi ethnic model which was observed in other historical churches such as the Church of Byzantium, Antioch, Alexandria, even Bulgaria). So Russian Orthodoxy IS NOT concerned with "preservation of the /Great/ Russian ethnos" but exists as a unifying force for disparate peoples in affirming Orthodoxy. In 988 AD, Rus' was a Russo-Scandinavian state, and multi-ethnic/cultural and lingual. So too an American outgrowth of Russian Orthodoxy as it is blessed by God and matures into a local church, which all of us Russian Orthodox in North America are called to accomplish TOGETHER. This means not an absorption into an ethnic Russian Orthodoxy, but, rather, an adaptation of its model of multi-ethnic unification and heritage. We need not be ashamed of SS Vladimir and Olga ever, Metropolitan Jonah! Nor do we need your venerations of Francis of Assisi, Therese of Lisieux or John of the Cross to be "legitimately" Western and Orthodox!

No, we need our OWN Cyrils and Methodiuses and our OWN holy rulers and ascetics and even martyrs and confessors HERE, ORTHODOX (not HERETICAL!) Saints. Metropolitan Jonah, Orthodoxy IS NOT CALLED TO SOME ECUMENIST AND "QUIET" UNIA /ANGLICAN COMPREHENSIVENESS/ AS YOU ADVOCATE AS AN UNCONVERTED SECTARIAN! Orthodoxy is called to be the ONE TRUE CHURCH FOR ALL MEN ALONE, the beauty, light, love and joy of the world.

Where Russian Orthodoxy is specifically a MORE FIT MODEL for America lies in the fact of its model of multi-ethnicity as opposed to the MODERN "neoGreek" model of cultural, political (and even racial) exclusivism. Yes, OCA propaganda was correct in assessing that cultural assimilation generationally makes ethnic subcultures unenduring paradigms BUT WRONG IN ASCRIBING THAT IDENTITY TO ITS RUSSIAN ORTHODOXY, ITS SHAME AT OUR COMMON HERITAGE. Thus, THE PRESCRIPTION OF THE AMERICANIZERS HAS DESTROYED THE OCA BASED ON AN IGNORANCE ROOTED IN A FALSE PREMISE. It is sad that most of the Americanizers in the OCA were at least partially of Russian heritage. Pathetic.

No, the ROCOR paradigm of a messianic diaspora is not realistic either. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with being Russian until it intrudes on being Orthodox and converting the communities which surround our parishes into Orthodoxy. No Orthodox Church, inner city or rural or in Fr. Meyendorff's "ethnic ghettoes," CAN BE PERMITTED TO CLOSE but must simply spread the light of Christ where it is shining and welcome all with a loving embrace, in Russian, Romanian, Ukrainian, or even English, Spanish, French or Vietnamese.

A common language has to be found for all, and a common language for theology, Patristics and liturgy must frame its basis. English (or Spanish) is the natural language of the majority and must be respected and presented in a dignified form in traditional worship. While the challenge of our seminaries and scholars is to forego Orthodoxy in Russian and Slavonic(Romanian/Serbian/Bulgarian, etc.) translation but to find a mode of instruction of Patristic Greek /Katherevousa/ in providing a universal tongue of scholarship and liturgy for our NATIVE Orthodoxy. Instead of Russo-Byzantinism, we are called to mature to an Amero-Byzantinism. There is nothing wrong with ethnic heritage, but we must realize that we are not building or restoring Russia (or any other faraway nation or empire). We are building and restoring Orthodoxy to the West and specifically to North America.

Thus we are called to consider ending ethnic divisions amongst the "jurisdictions" as well as overcoming "political" ones and continuing the work of ENDING the religious counterfeit of UNIA. That means calling what is left of certain communities to a COMMON and SHARED SINGLE mission in North American Orthodoxy:

1). Russians and Russian Dissidents.
2). Carpatho Russians, all Rusins.
3). Byelorussians.
4). Ukrainians (or "Little Russians").

But also:

5). Serbs.
6). Macedonians.
7). Bulgarians.
8). Albanians.
9). Romanians, Moldavians, Georgians, etc.

And also:

10). Uniates parasitizing Orthodox local churches and "jurisdictions" of every stripe. UNIA must be brought to an end, either by its TOTAL absorption by the Latins in its papal depravity or by the return of Uniates to the ONE TRUE CHURCH, Orthodoxy.

One church and ONE unity is necessary now, one TRADITIONAL AMERICAN LOCAL ORTHODOXY IN FORMATION. ONE NORTH AMERICAN LOCAL CHURCH.

While the approach of the Antiochians and their inclusion with us in ONE MISSION must be greeted with a special favour where 2nd., 3rd., 4th., 5th., 6th., etc. generations as well as new North American converts must be reached with a "kerygmatic" or "evangelical" activism coupled with traditional Orthodox churching and life. We aren't called to make America ethnic but to make America Orthodox and to frame a North American cultural and religious identity in Orthodoxy. The Antiochian approach can not only make us stronger but help us to reach those generationally lost for whatever reason and establish for us not only an "acceptance" but a "significance" and positive influence for all the peoples and governments of North America. A new symphonia and a more Apostolic model of Church-state interaction is not only necessary but possible for North America.

These observations are written to appreciate the restored intercommunion between "branches of the Russian church" and tempered by a love of and well wishing for a common and shared success for Orthodoxy in the West. Orthodoxy is the Pearl of Great Price, the Body of Christ, mystically redeeming the world in Him in the eschaton. It is the sole True Church and outside of it there can be no salvation, for salvation is the Church, is the thenthropic, mystagogical justification of humanity in Christ Jesus in the Eighth Day. Fr. Florovsky's words and emphasis ring ever more true and requisite for us and especially for the future today. Let us celebrate intercommunion and develop a new unity and a stronger missionary Orthodoxy. Let us celebrate this restoration of brotherhood and look forward to a future Feast of one North American Orthodoxy culminating in not only an autocephalous North American local church, but even a majority North American local church.

ORTHODOXIA I THANATOS!

Rostislav Mikhailovich Malleev-Pokrovsky, Tserkovnye Vekhi Blog

Saturday, November 27, 2010

I Believe

By Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh

Source: http://www.mitras.ru/eng/


11 June 1985


In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.



What do we mean when we say that we believe? The word has become so weak. More often than not to believe means that we accept a proposition on trust and yet with a certain hesitation, with a degree of uncertainty: ‘I believe that he will come,’ ‘I believe he is right,’… How different this perception of believing is from the faith of Abraham or from the faith which the Son of God become the Son of man shows in mankind. Let us dwell one moment on Abraham who was called in the Old Testament “the father of all believers.”



The test came so clearly and could be such a lesson to us. He was promised a son in his old age and the son was born, and he grew, and the Lord had promised that this child would be the first of a vast race, as numerous as the sands of the shores, as many as the stars in heaven. And of a sudden when the child was already growing, when all hopes seemed to be ready to be fulfilled in him, when he was joy and expectation, the Lord gave his word, “Take this child, Abraham, take him onto the high mountain and bring him a blood offering to Me.” And here is the test not only in the fact that Abraham obeyed because he recognised the voice of the same Lord who had commanded him to leave his land and to go to the place that the Lord would reveal unto him, the test was even more acute. Was he going to believe God’s promise or God’s word? The promise could be misunderstood, the promise could be fulfilled differently. He did not know. What he knew for certain was that the Lord had spoken again and he trusted the Lord more than he trusted the promise he had been given. He left it to the Lord to find a solution to the problem that was insoluble for him. And the Lord did find the solution.



Now, no-one of us is put to the test in such a way. And yet, so often we are not prepared to accept God’s word to us because we think that God could not speak that way. We say that there must be something wrong in the way in which his words were reported, that we should use our intelligence, our judgment. The result being that we submit God’s word to our human judgment and not our human judgment to God’s own wisdom. And yet we might well know that the words of Isaiah the prophet are true throughout the ages, the words which God spoke to him, “My ways are not your ways, My thoughts are not your thoughts. My ways are so far above yours as My thoughts are above your thoughts. And so here we are confronted with sharpness by Abraham, by his unreserved, complete trust in God so different from our own attitude. Are we prepared to accept what Paul called ‘the folly of the preaching’, a preaching concerning ways and attitudes in this fallen, distorted world that seem not to solve its problems? Are we prepared to be fools for Christ’s sake, remembering that the folly of God is wiser than the sagacity of men and the wisdom of men? This applies to all our ways, to the way in which believe or not in the Gospel as it was proclaimed by the early Christian community. It applies also to our readiness to live according to the Gospel, to follow a way in a distorted world that is straight, to live in a way which is a scandal or a folly. Are we prepared for that?



I would like to give you an example, modern this time, of that kind of mad, foolish attitude.



I met in Russia a man, a priest who had spent thirty six years of his life in prison and in a concentration camp. To most of us it is either most of our lives, or half our lives, a very long term. He sat in front of me with eyes shining with wonder and said to me, “Do you realise how wonderfully good God has been to me? The Soviet authorities did not allow into prisons or camps priests or any kind of spiritual ministration. And God chose me, a young, inexperienced priest and sent me for thirty six years of my life to minister to the people who needed most of all to be looked after and to have a witness of God in their midst.” That is one who believed, that is one who took an act that otherwise could be understood as the brutality of the times, as something monstrous happening in our days, as an act of divine wisdom and an act of love not only to those who were also like him in prison or in a camp but to him. He deemed it a privilege to be allowed this ministry. Here is a man of faith, he did not try to oppose a passage of the Gospel or a line of the Scriptures to the will of God, to try to find a loophole or to find a way in which he could charge God with many years of suffering. He was a fool humanly speaking, he was wise in God.



And then I would like to attract your attention to the Lord himself. It is not his faith in the Father I want to speak about, it is His faith in man, in us. St. Paul is clear about it when he says, How would anyone die for his friends? but Jesus, the Son of God become the Son of men died for us while we still were God’s enemies, opposing His will, unfaithful, unwilling to follow the way of life which is narrow and hard at times. He had faith in us... This is one of the most extraordinary things one can experience - realise that God has faith in me. He created me knowing what I would be, and yet, He had faith that I would find the way, the way of life. He entrusted me with the knowledge of Him, He called me to be His disciple, and when I say “me” I mean each of us. God has faith in us. A friend of mine in a sermon said once, “When God looks at any of us, He does not see the virtues or the achievements which may well not be there, but what He does see is His own image in us”. Do we look at one another with faith?



You know, faith according to the XI chapter to the Epistles to the Hebrews is certainty concerning things unseen. To see the image of God in one’s neighbour is an act of faith that makes us followers of Christ because He looked at the harlot, at the sinner, at the tax-gatherer, at Zacchaeus and Matthew and in each of them He saw the possibility of salvation. One of the reasons why our world is so cold and so dark, and so painful is that very few believe in one another. We treat one another as though we were a precious painting that has been damaged by time, by moisture, by circumstances, by the folly of man, and we concentrate only on the damage - it is cut, is it slash, it is ugly, it’s almost destroyed. That is what we see. And God looks and sees what has survived of the unsurpassed beauty of His image and loves it.



And we could do the same quite easily. It would be so easy if we thought that our neighbour however damaged, profaned, made ugly, distorted by life in all its forms, whether it be heredity or education, or circumstances, that our neighbour is a holy image. Think of the way in which you would treat the photograph of your mother who had died, or your fiancé who had been killed in the war, or of a person whom you loved with all there was of love in you and you discovered that his photograph had decayed, had been ill-treated, perhaps, torn with hatred by someone. You would treat it with tenderness, the very wounds it bears would call for care. We would treat this photograph, as one would treat a badly wounded person. One wouldn’t say, “This person is wounded. How revolting this blood and these broken bones, and this flesh!” We would say, “Here is still life, he can live”. And we would give all our attention and love to this person. This is the way in which God sees us and believes in us. And this is the second half of the diptych - to say that we believe in God and don’t believe in those for whom He has given His life is a lie. It’s not true. St. John says that if we say that we love God and don’t love our neighbour we are liars. Well, we are; but in order to love our neighbour we must have faith in him, faith that all things are possible, that the most depraved, the most broken person can change. And indeed people do change. One can see that in so many ways when life is tragic. In the war, in accidents people whom we thought were totally incapable of any good suddenly show mercy and love and heroic courage.



So when we speak of faith and of believing we must learn to believe in the way in which the early Christians believed. Take St. Barnabas. It was reported to him that Saul, the persecutor had come blinded by a vision and everyone probably said, “Don’t come near him, don’t you know that he came, he was on his way to destroy everything that we are building. He is a hater of Christ.” Barnabas believed in him, he went to see him, he called him his brother, not Cain but a brother in Christ, and he restored the sight of Paul and gave him to know Christ and sent him on his glorious missionary journey. He believed in him because God had believed in him first.



And think of so many people who in the Gospel or in the Acts are believers. Take for instance the man who said, “I believe, Lord, help my lack of faith!” How often we would be right to speak that way recognising that we lack this total certainty and yet that there is in us a flicker of hope, that we are ready to believe and yet we are afraid of believing - what if my faith is not met by God’s mercy? We can say, each of us, “I believe, Lord, help my unbelief!” But we must then believe. What did this father believe in? I think what he believed in was what he saw in the Lord Jesus Christ. He saw in His eyes infinite, divine compassion. He did not see the power of the magician, Christ was no magician, but he saw love, and because he saw love, he saw that everything is possible.



Now, we should be able to be to people around us an occasion for that kind of faith. People should meeting us, see in us that love which that man found in Christ. They should see compassion, they should see that we believe in them even against all evidence. And then they also could believe through us in God and through God in mankind and in life. Then they could, like Thomas, say, “My Lord and my God!” and have no doubt anymore. So that faith is an act of heroic trust, faith is an act of faithfulness to God’s word and to God’s person, faith is also the certainty which is born from that kind of experience. Let us read in the Gospel the passages where we can find faith revealed and ask ourselves, “How did these men and women find this degree of trust in God?” And we will discover that we also possess enough evidence to believe; only we imagine that believing is something so extraordinary, it is the condition of the saints. No, it is the condition of normal, ordinary, sinful people, who can give their trust to God, obey and then discover that they were not insane in doing this.


http://www.pravmir.com/article_1153.html