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


§ 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».

Friday, June 4, 2010

Divine Revelation and the Old Testament:

by Monk Themistocles (Adamopoulos)

How did God reveal Himself and communicate His will to the people of ancient Israel and Judea? A glance through the several books of the Old Testament would quickly suggest that God used various and several modes of divine self-disclosure towards His Old Covenant people through patriarchs, spokesmen, prophets as well as kings. This observation is encapsulated in a brilliant summary statement on Divine revelation by the author of the new Testament letter to the Hebrews in his prologue:

"In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets..." (Heb 1:1).

One such mode of Divine communication was through the awesome event of a Theophany. Among the most celebrated Theophanies to the ancient Israel one would include God's powerful descent on Mount Sinai as well as His majestic appearance to the prophet Isaiah in the Temple in Jerusalem. Another mode of Divine revelation was through dreams.

Revelation through dreams

The Old Testament records that God chose to communicate His will to the people of Israel through the vehicle of dreams or "visions of the night" to certain selected persons. One such type of Divine dream is the co-called incubation dream. These are dreams initiated by God to the sleeping dreamer in holy places, without the recipient having deliberately sought to receive such a dream. Perhaps the most celebrated example of an incubation dream is Jacob's dream of the Divine ladder at Bethel (Gen 28:11-19):

"Jacob... came to a certain place and stayed there for the night, because the night had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and laid down in that place. And he dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, the top of it reached to Heaven; and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And the Lord stood beside him and said, "I am the Lord, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac..." Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said surely the Lord is in this place - and I did not know it! And he was afraid and said "How awesome is this place! This is none other than the House of God, and this is the gate of Heaven." ... He called that place "Bethel", (i.e. the "house of God").

Divinely-sent dreams, as recorded in the Old Testament, may be accompanied by declarations either: (i) in plain words understandable to the recipient, or (ii) in symbolic language or images needing an inspired interpreter. An instance of the former type of dream occurs in God's command to the grieving Jacob (Joseph's father) to travel to Egypt (Gen 46:1-4). Such a dream needed no interpretation. An example of the latter type is the Egyptian Pharaoh's two enigmatic God-sent dreams of the seven thin cows eating the seven fat cows grazing by the Nile as well as that of the seven withering ears of grain swallowing the good ears of grain, demanding a skilled interpreter of divine dreams - the wrongly-imprisoned Joseph:

"Then Joseph said to Pharaoh "Pharaoh's dreams are one and the same. God has revealed to Pharaoh what He is about to do... the dreams are one. The seven lean and ugly cows that came up after them (i.e. the fat cows) are seven years, as are the seven empty ears... they are seven years of famine... There will come seven years of plenty throughout all the land of Egypt. After the, there will arise seven years of famine..." (Gen 41:25-30).

Authentic and false dreams

The Old Testament however does not classify all dreams as God-sent. Indeed the elect of God receive very few dreams. On the other hand many dreams are considered as false. These are the dreams of the falser prophets, men who do not speak for God, and those dreams were not initiated by the Lord:

"Do I not fill Heaven and earth? says the Lord. I have heard what the prophets have said who prophecy lies in my Name, saying "I have dreamed, I have dreamed!" (Jer 23:24-25).

Dreams in the Last Days

The use of dreams - as an instrument of Divine communication and the plan for human salvation - continues into the New Testament era. Thus within the Infancy narratives as recorded by St. Matthew, the righteous Joseph is the recipient of several dreams concerning: (i) the nature of the forthcoming Virgin Birth (Matt 1:20-21), (ii) a warning to flee to the safety of Egypt with Jesus and His Mother in the face of the Herodian massacre (Matt 2:13), (iii) an eventual call to return to the land of Israel (Matt 2:20), as well as instruction to settle in Galilee (Matt 2:22). Furthermore, the day of Pentecost is understood by the Apostles as a fulfillment of Joel's eschatological prophecy. In addition to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, one further aspect of this prophecy deals with he expectation that while there shall be an increase in spiritual visions there shall also be a predisposition for the elderly to experience holy dreams:

"And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even upon the men-servants and maid-servants in those days, I will pour out my spirit" (Joel 2:28-29).

Nevertheless, it is important to note that from an Orthodox theological or doctrinal position, the use of dreams after the Christ event is not necessarily for the purpose of adding further to the deposit of "revelation" or Sacred Truth as revealed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but rather a means of "illumination". Henceforth Jesus Christ, the Divine Word made flesh, becomes par excellence the exclusive mode of Divine revelation to the world. Nothing more can be added beyond Christ. Everything else which possesses truth is either inspired interpretation or illumination but not revelation! Thus while God may still send dreams to holy people they are not intended to add to the dogma of the Church but as a means of encouragement, warning or edification.

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