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».

Sunday, June 13, 2010

From the Prayer of Jesus to Prayer of the Heart

Written by the Very Rev. John Breck

Archimandrite Placide Deseille is Higoumen of the Monastery of Saint Anthony the Great, St.-Laurent-en-Royans, France, and professor at the St. Sergius Theological Institute in Paris. The following thoughts are adapted from a talk he gave at a local parish on 6 March 2008, originally published by the Service Orthodoxe de Presse (SOP), supplement no. 327, April 2008.

The expressions "Prayer of the Heart" and "Prayer of Jesus" or "Jesus Prayer" are often used as equivalents. They should, however, be clearly distinguished one from the other. According to a person's degree of spiritual maturity, the "Jesus Prayer" can be either active or contemplative. In the latter case, it becomes a true "prayer of the heart."

The Jesus Prayer is composed chiefly of the name of Jesus. Athonite monks pray continuously: "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me!" It can begin with a confession of faith: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God." The cry for "mercy" is then uttered as a call for God to pour out His grace upon us ("mercy" is closely related to the Greek term for "oil," which in Hebrew usage was a symbol of blessing). The Jesus Prayer is thus a "verbal icon" of Christ, which communicates to us the deifying grace or energy of the Risen Lord.

This invocation becomes true "prayer of the heart" only under certain conditions. The 19th "Spiritual Homily" of St. Macarius of Egypt says this: "When persons draws near to the Lord, they must first do violence to themselves in a strenuous effort to await His grace with unshakeable faith... They must struggle to pray even when they lack 'spiritual prayer.' When God sees how just how they persevere in the struggle, even when their heart is not in it, God will grant them the gift of true spiritual prayer, true charity, true tenderness and compassion. In a word, God will fill them with the gifts of the Holy Spirit." ...

This struggle involves us in the active phase of prayer. It is not, however, a "method" that will lead us deeper into the spiritual life. That can only occur when we respond with humility to the grace of God. Repeating the prayer constantly has special value insofar as it leads us beyond discursive reasoning and other forms of mental reflection. It leads to simplicity and openness of heart that focuses the soul uniquely on Christ. Humility is the key to this inner movement. It enables us to sense God's Presence and help, and to welcome His gift of salvation. It promotes confidence in God, trust that He will see us through times of chaos and tumult, that He will be our Light when we walk through darkness, that He will comfort us in times of illness, spiritual struggle and distress. All of this God offers us through the Prayer of Jesus.

Once this prayer has taken root within us, our heart is illumined by a deep confidence, in which we are spared of the former blindness that allowed us to pray only with the lips. Now we welcome prayer as an ineffable treasure. As spiritual guides have so often declared, "the Prayer of Jesus is a joy that elicits a response of thanksgiving."

At this point in the spiritual pilgrimage, the heart becomes transformed by grace. Nevertheless, God allows us again and again to be tempted, to teach us that it is in Him alone that we can find our strength and the fulfillment of our hope. This is why it is so necessary that we learn to accept our weakness and frailty with a spirit of genuine humility. No one can acquire humility other than by using the appropriate means, means that lead to a humble and broken heart and the elimination of our presumptuous thoughts. For all too often the Enemy discovers the weak points within us, and that allows him to turn us from the way that leads to Life.

Without humility, it is impossible for a person to attain spiritual "perfection." We learn by trials, and without them, no one can acquire true humility.

That acquisition necessarily involves a "broken heart" and ardent prayer. Such humility allows those who love us to draw near to us and to manifest that love. However great the trials and temptations, they can always become, by the grace of God, the means by which we attain genuine humility and thus gain the Kingdom of Heaven. Those trials may involve our inner life: assault by corrupting thoughts, or surges of pride (which is so often a manifestation of our shame and woundedness). They may also involve attacks against our body: illness, old age, neglect on our part or the part of other people. Sometimes they come, too, from overt attacks by others: by abuse or abandonment. In any case, such trials are needed, in order to lead us into a state of true humility.

It is in that state of humble acceptance of our trials -- constantly remitting them into the loving hands of God -- that the Prayer of Jesus can become true Prayer of the Heart.


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