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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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Fasting Abundantly

Fasting Abundantly
Fr. Vasile Catalin Tudora

The idea that any Westerner has about fasting is strongly linked with renunciation, with giving-up, with sacrificing something for God. In the Eastern Orthodox Church however, fasting achieves a much richer meaning. Fasting is not only about giving up, but it is actually more about gaining, about being able to reach things that are possible only through this spiritual exercise.

In a legalistic understanding of salvation some believe that Christ has come on earth to fulfill a duty, to repair an offense that man has brought unto God. His sacrifice on the Cross satisfies this need and mankind enters again in God's favors. From this perspective fasting is a similar symbol: a personal sacrifice that one makes to step back into God's grace. This can be anything ranging from giving up chocolate to abstaining from Facebook for the Lenten period. But such frivolous renunciations really don't cut it into the genuine meaning of fasting. God doesn't need any of these sacrifices as He does not need the whole burnt offering of the Old Testament anymore. It is us, not God, who need the fasting rule.

Reducing the fasting to a symbol, to a mere idea of fasting, the entire exercise of Great Lent is perverted. Fasting becomes a theoretical notion that can be achieved through an act that involves little or no effort because, at the end, is not the fasting that is important, but only the idea of fasting. This intellectual reduction is yet another symptom of our brokenness, of the ontological separation between our mind and our heart. Seduced by dry rationality the mind construes an entire new reality that we confuse many times with the true authenticity of existence that only a heart open to God can perceive.

In this world, made-up by our minds saturated with secular values, the importance of the complete involvement of the body in fasting is forgotten, because for the mind a symbol is enough. But man does not exist in a fantasy of the mind, but lives in the real world, as a true person, body and souls, both physical and spiritual.

Christ saves the world not by spreading the idea of salvation, but coming down Himself, taking body from the Virgin Mary and physically becoming one of us; not a ghost, not a spirit, but flesh and bones. His death on the cross was not a symbol, but a painful reality. His resurrection was not a simple story full of morality, but the defining moment of a new stage in human existence. By reducing everything to symbols we end up living in our minds and missing the genuine existence.

In the Orthodox understanding man is utterly aware that living in a physical world, with a corrupted and fallen nature, the body is subject to passions that affect the state of his entire being. Controlling the body through fasting directs the entire human being towards God, because "a body subdued by fasting brings the human spirit freedom, strength, sobriety, purity, and keen discernment." (St. Ignatiy Brianchaninov). In a paradoxical way by starving the body the entire human being is nourished spiritually and is able to "ascend on high, to contemplate lofty things and to put the heavenly higher than the pleasant and pleasurable things of life." (St. John Chrysostom).

We don't want however to reduce the experience of fasting to a mere vegetarian diet. The Great Lent is a period of total transformation, of metanoia, as the Greek fathers call it. The faster should strive to change his or hers entire way of life, redirecting priorities, seeking new avenues to God, striving for perfection in Christ. As St. Basil the Great advises "True fasting lies in rejecting evil, holding one's tongue, suppressing one's hatred, and banishing one's lust, evil words, lying, and betrayal of vows."

From this perspective we can truly say, paraphrasing St. John Chrysostom, that fasting of the body is a feast for the soul. A soul liberated from the weight of an overfed body and nourished with the manna of virtues can reach into the spiritual heights, free of the passions that drag it to the ground. Such a soul can pray more, can forgive more, can love more. Fasting is not a simple renunciation but an exercise of love, as salvation is not an honor satisfying sacrifice but the greatest act of love ever seen.


Fr. Vasile Catalin Tudora pastors St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in Euless, Texas, and edits the Gladsome Light Dialogues blog





http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles-2010/catalin-fasting-abundantly.php

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