TEXT BANK 2016
texts by students
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4 КУРС: Spring 2016
1. In the former Soviet Union the Church was IN COMPLETE SUBSERVIENCE TO THE STATE. Many religious HOUSES were closed, Orthodox PRACTICES were prohibited, and communists harassed THE PARISH CLERGY and propagated atheism in schools. Such policy contributed to creation of wider problem of RELATIONS BETWEEN CHURCH AND STATE and THE ALLIANCE BETWEEN CHURCH AND STATE became barely feasible. Sometimes the government wanted to create an impression of religious freedom in Russia, so THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT allowed the Church to restore PATRIARCHATE. However, there was a MONASTIC REVIVAL in 1936, for The Constitution of 1936 guaranteed freedom of religious WORSHIP.
2. Being FOOL-IN-CHRIST entails suffering constant defamation from those surrounding, for it may seem insane on the surface. However, it is a rather laborious task, because such saints are to expose vices regardless of all the humiliation they receive: they must be SELF-STRIPPING, invulnerable to ridicule and mentally tough. One of the most famous FOOL-IN-CHRIST heroes is St. Xenia of St. Petersburg, who after her husband’s death abandoned her former way of life and experienced a SPIRITUAL REBIRTH. She undertook CHARITABLE WORK by selling her husband's house in order to distribute the money to others, thus she VOWED TO COMPLETE POVERTY. She refused all assistance from her relatives, happy TO BE DETACHED FROM THE WORLDLY ATTACHMENTS. Even all the ALMS that she received from passers-by she gave to the poor. God granted her the gift of INSIGHT and of SPIRITUAL DIRECTION. People regarded her visits to their homes or shops as a great blessing and mothers, whether WITH CHILD or with grown babies, asked for a blessing kiss to bring a good fortune. She spent all forty five years IN SECLUSION, living in a field outside the city.
А.Я. [(8) 43]
"Orthodox Quote of the Week"
I am a proponent of those who argue that it takes an immense amount of mental work to be a Christian. There can be many pivotal reasons to corroborate this idea. First and foremost, you have to learn to be invulnerable to external allurements and temptations which can contribute to our impoverishment, for instance passing a quick judgment on others, nurturing enmity and inveterate hatred, leading an idle lifestyle etc. We must nurture love and affection towards our neighbour, especially someone we are tempted to hate. We also need to treat triumph and disaster, poverty and affluence just the same, showing humility. Should we have execrable thoughts, we must be able to ward them off to eradicate detrimental habits. What’s more, we ought to accustom ourselves to participate in Church sacraments: to worship every week, receive communion, repent and observe fasts. Charitable work wouldn’t go amiss as well to help those in need.
From my own experience I can say that I am still far from being a real Christian, because there is a plethora of things I need to change in my character, for instance judging others and being lax, permissive towards my lifestyle with regard to austerity. Therefore, you should have constant vigilance of your thoughts and be stricter to yourself. Becoming Christian doesn’t entail being indulgent and idle, it is a permanent awareness, that everything you do should be done for the glory of God.
А.Я. [(4,5) 30]
"Orthodox Quote of the Week"
I completely agree with this statement. A true Christian is always immune to all manner of vices that can impoverish the character, for instance rancor, animosity and an alluring desire to do evil in reprisal for something. He nurtures love for his neighbor irrespective of the harm this neighbor might have done to him. Should he encounter obstacles, hardships, a true Christian will take them humbly, safe in the knowledge that it is bound to strengthen the character and that there is nothing sent for us by God that we cannot overcome. A true Christian treats pillory, humiliations in the same way as praise and acclaim.
In my view, this is a state of spirituality that is extremely hard to achieve, because we are notoriously vulnerable to reproach, indecent judgment and resentment. Only saints succeeded in reaching the highest ladder of deification. However, it is our moral duty to strive towards such sainthood, do everything to eliminate deleterious habits, bad thoughts and idle lifestyle. Everything we do must be for the glory of God.
А.Я. [(5) 25,5]
"Orthodox Quote of the Week"
This story demonstrates what is paramount in Christian life. Asking such questions as "does poverty mean the same to you as abundance?" and "are your enemies the same for you as your friends?", the Elder wanted to show that fasting and reading of the Scriptures are not the aim of Christian life but only the means that God gave us to achieve the virtues of love, humility, gratefulness etc. This can be proved by the word of the holy Apostle Paul: Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. (1 Cor. 13:1-3).
А.О. [(4) 25]
1) In the early centuries of Christianity, the original patriarchates were those of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem and Rome. In the minds of believers, particularly in the east, those patriarchates were AUTOCEPHALOUS churches though in full communion with each other. Centuries later, sadly the Great schism took place and the Patriarch of Constantinople and the Pope EXCOMMUNICATED one another.
The Ecumenical Patriarch became an AUTOCRAT over members of Eastern Christian churches. Russia also adopted Eastern Orthodoxy and became THE SUCCESSOR OF BYZANTIUM appointing its own Patriarch to lead the Russian church after the Patriarch in Constantinople.
2) The concept of Moscow the Third Rome was a manifestation of deep Orthodox belief, but later it served THE ENDS OF RUSSIAN SECULAR IMPERIALISM.
3) The DOUBLE-HEADED EAGLE was formerly associated with the Byzantine Empire and was a main element of the coat of arms of the Russian Empire.
4) The books beginning with Isaiah and ending with Malachi belong to a section of the Christian Bible called the PROPHETIC BOOKS.
5) Orthodox theologians often speak of the historical lack of Orthodox social and pastoral work. It is often claimed that the reputation of the Christian East is its DETACHMENT FROM THE WORLD and dedication to mysticism and contemplation. However, social and charitable engagement was far from foreign to the Orthodox tradition.
One of the most important, and painful, episodes in Russian Church history was about the role of monasteries in relation to society and to poverty. Saint Sergius of Radonezh wanted to unite the mystical and social role of the Church, and advocated
for establishment A CLOSE ALLIANCE BETWEEN CHURCH AND STATE. Under his SPIRITUAL DESCENDANTS, these aspects became separated. In the early 16th century, Saint Nilus of Sora and his "TRANSVOLGA HERMITS" as they became known, attacked the ownership of land and property by the monasteries, which at that time managed around one third of the land. THE NON-POSSESSORS wanted to draw a clear line between THE THINGS OF CAESAR AND THE THINGS OF GOD saying that a monk's primary task is to help others by example, prayer and BEING VOWED TO COMPLETE POVERTY, and that charity is the duty of the laity. They thought that monastic land ownership and social activity can disturb monks from necessary SECLUSION and ASCETICISM and can lead to being ABSORBED IN WORLDLY CONCERNS and TANGLED UP IN SECULAR ANXIETIES.
On the other hand, their opponents, "the Possessors", led by Saint Joseph of Volokolamsk, defended the property of Orthodox COMMUNITIES, and paid great attention to THE SOCIAL OBLIGATIONS OF MONASTICISM: monks have a responsibility to assist the sick and the poor, and to do this effectively they must own land and manage resources in their RELIGIOUS HOUSES.
6) The HOLY SYNOD, at first called THE SPIRITUAL COLLEGE, which the SPIRITUAL REGULATION created, was a small committee of bishops and priests, appointed by the Emperor as a new SYSTEM OF CHURCH GOVERNMENT. The Holy Synod was put under supervision of the CHIEF PROCURATOR who was also an agent of the Tsar, which meant that THE CHURCH WAS IN COMPLETE SUBSERVIENCE TO THE STATE which compromised 'CROWN RIGHTS OF THE REDEEMER', the spiritual independence of the Church.
7) The decision to translate the whole Bible from the original texts into the modern Russian language reflected the growing acceptance in the Russian theological community of the contemporary Western STANDARDS OF theological SCHOLARSHIP of the time.
8) FREEMASONRY in Russia started in the 18th century and it was a spiritual community of people united in an effort of the ethical and educational enlightenment of people.
9) REVERENT AWE is exactly what the fear of God means for Christians. This is one of the greatest motivating factors for us to be closer to the Creator of the Universe.
10) DEFICATION and SANCTIFICATION are not the same subjects as many people tend to think, but sanctification is a part and parcel of the process of deification.
11) The revival of THE PRACTICE OF SPIRITUAL DIRECTION in the Slavic world is associated with the name of Paisius Velichkovsky, who introduced the Russian translation of the PHILOKALIA. St. Paisius is venerated for his personal holiness, and his great role in MONASTIC REVIVAL.
12) The Russian OLD BELIEVERS or “OLD RITUALISTS” were a distinct Russian branch of Christians that maintained a separate place of worship because of disagreements with the Russian Orthodox Church in INSIGHT over scriptural interpretation and CORPORATE WORSHIP (e.g. THE TWO-FINGER SIGN OF THE CROSS). The Old Believers were often referred to as “religious DISSENTERS” because of the Great Schism in the middle of the 17th century that separated them from the official state church of Russia. After the split, they survived incessant persecution in various forms from both the Russian Orthodox Church and state authorities, although they are arguably the same during this period.
13) In early churches there was a practice of PUBLIC CONFESSIONS and FREQUENT COMMUNION and today many pastors encourage these practices.
А.П. [(21) 57]
"Orthodox Quote of the Week"
I completely agree with this statement. The Scriptures ascribe the property of purification to salt as a means of protecting from decomposition. Similarly, humility protects our soul from decay, from pride and arrogance.
Speaking about such virtues as self-judgment, self-belittlement and humility we should remember the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Luke 18:9-14). A Pharisee, obsessed by his own virtue, is contrasted with a tax collector who humbly asks God for mercy. This parable demonstrates the need to pray humbly as coming to God in humility, the publican receives the mercy he asks for. That is why St. Isaac the Syrian contends that if we acquire humility we become the sons of God.
А.О. [(4) 21]
1. Some people state that ALMSGIVING is better than prayer or fasting in terms of acts of virtue.
2. For the monks TO BE DETACHED FROM THE WORLD means complete dedication to God.
3. NON-POSSESSORS were supposed to BE VOWED TO COMPLETE POVERTY as their primary task was to pray.
4. We THINK IN A WORLDLY WAY when we are out of the Presence and in a Godly way when in it.
5. In considering the TREATMENT OF HERETICS it is important to consider the underlying beliefs motivating their behavior.
Whatever remains RECALCITRANT to God’s will can only be destroyed. (c)
7. In our own country for many centuries RELATIONS BETWEEN CHURCH AND STATE were complicated notwithstanding the attempts to ease them from both sides.
8. Render to Caesar the THINGS THAT ARE CAESAR’S, and to God the THINGS THAT ARE GOD’S. (Mark 12:17)
9. A majority of Protestants and Catholics alike believed that CLOSE ALLIANCE BETWEEN CHURCH AND STATE benefited both by promoting individual morality, social harmony, and political stability.
10. CORPORATE WORSHIP brings together God's word, prayer and fellowship.
11. To avoid numerous errors the Russian SERVICE BOOKS were thoroughly checked and corrected by Greek monks.
12. The TIME OF TROUBLES was a period of political crisis in Russia that followed the demise of the Rurik dynasty and ended with the establishment of the Romanov dynasty.
13. TO KEEP FASTS is the most powerful spiritual discipline of all Christian disciplines.
С.М. [(7) 29]
SPIRITUAL REGULATION is a law enacted by Peter I in the form of a manifesto which defined the legal position of the ORTHODOX CHURCH in the RUSSIAN EMPIRE. It was a starting point of the so-called SYNODICAL PERIOD in the history of RUSSIAN ORTHODOXY, when the Church was deprived of its AUTOCEPHALY and became COMPLETELY SUBSERVIENT TO THE STATE.
In October, 1718 Peter I ordered THEOPHAN (PROKOPOVICH) to make this project for the SPIRITUAL COLLEGE (or HOLY SYNOD). By February 1720 the project of the SPIRITUAL REGULATION was ready. It was signed by 6 BISHOPS and 3 ARCHIMANDRITES in January, 1721 with few corrections and ammendments. 7 months later the project was signed by 19 BISHOPS, 48 ARCHIMANDRITES, 15 ABBOTS and 5 HIEROMONKS.
The most significant aspect reformed by the SPIRITUAL REGULATION was the ABOLITION of the PATRIARCHATE and the establishment of the HOLY SYNOD instead. The members of the Synod were as follows:
Four Assessors (representatives of the REGULAR CLERGY and MARRIED CLERGY)
The EMPEROR himself was represented by the CHIEF-PROCURATOR. In accordance with the Spiritual Regulation, men were prohibited to BE TONSURED A MONK or just join the COMMUNITY until 30 years of age. MONKS were obliged to CONFESS their own sins and PARTAKE in THE HOLY MYSTERIES (COMMUNION) at least four times a year. Monks were not allowed to visit CONVENTS and HOUSES. Women could TAKE A VEIL much later than men. NUNS were prohibited to TAKE final MONASTIC VOWS until they were 50 years old.
REVEREND SERAPHIM OF SAROV is one of the HOLY ELDERS (STARTSY) of the 19th century who marked the period of MONASTIC REVIVAL and development of THE PRACTICE OF SPIRITUAL DIRECTION and a peculiar phenomenon of ELDERSHIP. We all know from St. Seraphim’s life that he was immensely SEVERE and stringent to himself: he lived in SECLUSION, ate a little and rarely, and prayed unceasingly even while working. There is an episode in his life which tells that he SPENT A THOUSAND SUCCESSIVE NIGHTS IN CONTINUAL PRAYER. He prayed for our Fatherland, because in the beginning of the century our MONARCHY was under threat. FREEMASONRY had a plan to overthrow the Russian MONARCH (Nicholas I) via a pseudo upheaval of the unsatisfied army. Here we are talking about the infamous DECEMBRISTS. Interestingly, St. Seraphim of Sarov was PROCLAIMED A SAINT by the EMPEROR Nicholas II.
St. Seraphim of Sarov teaches us that the goal of
the Christian life is to ACQUIRE THE HOLY SPIRIT. It is bound to the ORTHODOX DOCTRINE OF DEIFICATION, the idea of SANCTIFICATION of the body and soul which become TRANSFIGURED BY THE GRACE OF GOD.
М.Я. [(11) 49]
"Orthodox Quote of the Week"
As I see it, to be a Christian means not just to be granted with a special privilege, but to be burdened with huge responsibility. And this responsibility has nothing to do with laziness. As we read in the Epistle to Galatians ‘For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ’ (Gal.3:27). Though Jesus Christ has become man and took
the human nature, He didn’t know laziness, for laziness is a consequence of sin. We, being corrupted by the original sin, which, however, is cleansed in the Mystery of Baptism, are prone to sin. That is why we have to work on ourselves, make ourselves combat our infirmities.
Everything requires work in this life. There is a wise proverb: A cat in gloves catches no mice. Whether you wish to achieve success, to be well-off, to get a well-paid job, to be promoted on your career ladder, to graduate from the university, to get a good certificate of degree and so on, you have to work, coping with a plethora of difficulties, challenges and facing failures. This is all the more significant and crucial in terms of being a Christian. St. Seraphim of Sarov came from a merchant’s family. He compared
the Christian life with the commerce, business where there is no place for laziness, but only for perseverance and industriousness.
М.Я. [(4) 33]
"Orthodox Quote of the Week"
The saying of Elder Paisios invokes in my mind the Gospel teaching, that “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much” (Luke 16:10). So, everyone is to be observant concerning even the smallest aspects of their life, since these details constitute our entire being. Why the Elder alludes to the experience of the Fathers? As I see it, the holy Fathers who gathered in Ecumenical Councils were not content with obscure formulations and paid particular attention to the details. Like them, we need to master all the peculiarities of our lives, not being satisfied until the perfection is reached.
П.П. [(4,5) 40]
"Orthodox Quote of the Week"
Although St. Ignatius Brianchaninov addressed first and foremost
to the monastic community, it is not only monks who are to be guided by these sagacious words. The laity is to lend their ears to this sermon too. A person is truly his (her) own enemy more than anyone else. How often we act to the detriment of our own lives. We are reluctant to get rid of mischievous and obnoxious habits. To my mind, it seems seriously alarming as Russian proverb asserts “A habit is the second nature”, it identifies how we behave in everyday life and in unexpected situations. The body and the mind are interconnected, that is why it is impossible to struggle with evil thoughts and at the same time neglect the body.
П.П. [(4) 35,5]
"Orthodox Quote of the Week"
For me the appeal of St. John Climacus to use one's own discernment in dealing with people is quite a thought-provoking utterance.
It is easy to notice someone’s “vices and failings” as they are on the surface. Moreover, we are sometimes inclined to see only them and concentrate on merely one side of one’s character, believing that the person is no more than that. However what is evaluated as the whole personality may appear to be only the top of “unfathomable mines” (William Cowper, “God Moves in a Mysterious Way”) of one’s soul.
This idea correlates with the motif of onion to which a person may be compared. This motif has been developed by a number of reputed writers, such as German author Günter Grass and Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen. In his autobiographical work “Peeling the Onion” (2006) the first of them appeals to the image of onion in order to draw a comparison with one’s memory. Ibsen uses this image in a play “Peer Gynt” (1867) in more psychological terms. Here it illustrates the idea that there is always a fusion of different life experiences that exist simultaneously in a man. Consequently, it is unfair to judge someone by the “upper layer” of their behavior as there is always much more about him or her.
Along with St. John Climacus, secular writers urge their readers not to be deceived by what we see from the first sight. Fairly better is to follow the example of a merchant looking for fine pearls (Matt 13:45) and try to find “pearls” rather than sins in our neighbor.
П.П. [(4,5) 31,5]
"Orthodox Quote of the Week"
of the Christian spiritual life is impossible. The Christian must learn the humility to accept sorrow. The path to humility is long and complex enough. This way is our whole life. Humility is the acceptance of yourself as you are. Often the biggest problem for men is to be yourself, be who you are today. The greatest manifestation of pride is when people do not want to admit who they really are. Man wants to appear in the eyes of other people better than he actually is. Man, first of all, should reconcile himself to God and see who he is. Because if a person believes that he is smart, why would he ask God to grant him reason? He is so smart anyway. If a person considers himself to be talented, then why ask God for talent? But if he thinks he has nothing then he can ask from God, it means he has something to strive for, so there is where to go. And humility, first and foremost, is, I think, when man does a very brave deed. He's not afraid to be a fool if he is a fool. Not afraid to admit his stupidity, if he's stupid. Not afraid to admit his inability, if he is unable. And he does not flow from this into discouragement, self-blame, which, they say, how is it that there are even worse than me, and understands that this is the point of reference. So when he hears "fool", he is not offended, but humbled.
Я.Б. [(1) 55]
"Orthodox Quote of the Week"
For salvation you must have faith and love for God. In the spiritual life fasting, vigil and prayer are key elements. These three struggles connect us with God. We must remember that the Lord is everywhere, he is near us every moment, hears our every request. But we need to reach out to him, God does not force anyone who is not attracted to Him. Regardless of the place and our environment we must remember God because He is our salvation.
Я.Б. [(1) 49]
"Orthodox Quote of the Week"
Doing the will of God is what enables a person, being in substance a limited creature, to be in communion and unity with his or her Creator. That is, it is the basis of a person's being. Situations in which there is genuine bewilderment concerning the will of God are few, and usually people actually know the answer given by the Gospel in each particular case. But most often they try to hide it first of all from themselves. However, by cowardly disregarding this answer from day to day man
is thus only complicates the situation, and new circumstances keep piling up, which puts the person into such a complicated structure that even one move to fix it will not work without breaking it and someone else's life, and maybe not one. But the Lord always still gives us a chance to follow His will and not to hurt either our own or someone else's soul — He suggests small steps with which to start. Only while taking these steps it is very important not to stop when things get tough.
Я.Б. [(1) 48]
"Orthodox Quote of the Week"
Thoughts are human, angelic and demonic — the three dispensations. Demonic thoughts are passions, addictions, hatred, spitefulness, judgment. An angelic thought is a dispassionate vision of things by the mind that is not towered and not humiliated, not indulged in what would be an unwise affection.
Of course, only saints and ascetics could talk about accepting the thoughts from God and the Angels. For people who are at different stages of purification are affected both by the Angels and the evil spirits. We usually do not pay attention to where a new thought comes from or why the desire was born. And yet it is so important to understand and define this. Was it "from the right" — from the Guardian angel, or "from the left" — the evil one. Thoughts from demons are filled with confusion and sadness. The thought of God comes with calm and joy. And to get rid of bad thoughts it is just enough to pray.
Я.Б. [(1) 47]
"Orthodox Quote of the Week"
The spiritual benefit, we can say, is received by the soul in its ascent to the Lord. A person has a goal in life, the acquisition of Divine properties, the communion with divine nature. We become better or worse as a result of action taken by us, closer to the divine nature, or, conversely,
are removed from it. In this sense, any of our actions anyway you can measure this spiritual benefit. Spiritual benefit consists in receiving God's grace. Its first symptoms — when you live in peace, silence, tranquility. As if the soul breaks away from the bustle of the world, becomes free from its celebration, is freed from its addiction. Even unbelievers feel it, and sometimes, staying in inner silence, being in the friendly environment of the Orthodox people, the person comes to God.
Я.Б. [(3) 46]
A CHAPLAIN is a Christian official who is responsible for the religious needs of an organization.
Under the rule of MOSLEMS in Constantinople the Christians were able to practice their religion as long as they agreed to be subject to the power of Islam.
After the Church reform in the 18th century Peter I was called THE PRECURSOR OF ANTICHRIST by some people.
The PASTORAL STAFF is a necessary attribute for every ruling bishop.
The forty martyrs of Sebaste were drowned in the lake having SUFFERED VIOLENT DEATH for WITNESSING TO THEIR FAITH.
The PARISH CLERGY’S most important task is to teach and SPIRITUALLY GUIDE their FLOCKS.
THE JESUITS (also known as THE SOCIETY OF JESUS) and FRANCISCANS are both Roman CATHOLIC religious orders, their disciples build their religious life around the rites and sacraments of the Catholic Church.
THE COUNCIL OF FLORENCE held in 1596 had as its condition the recognition by THE UNIATES THE SUPREMACY OF THE POPE.
THE PHILOKALIA is a collection of texts written from the 4th to the 15th centuries complied in the 18th century by ST. NICODEMUS OF THE HOLY MOUNTAIN and St. Macarius, Metropolitan of Corinth.
FREQUENT COMMUNION is essential for the spiritual life of every Christian.
А.Б. [(9,5) 42,5]
"Orthodox Quote of the Week"
To my mind, the message of this quote lies in the ability of a person to find power and deny all tempting thoughts concerning his own personality and others. It can rightly be said that the task of being in a state of peace with people around you as well as with yourself is ferociously challenging. Humility is a virtue contrary to pride, it implies the striving not to dominate others, not to despair whatever happens to you, to rely on God’s will in any obstacle.
Provided a Christian has a humble heart, it leads him to peace, love to God and, eventually, to Salvation. As it is said in 1 Pet. 5:5-6: “…all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time…”.
I tend to think that it is highly essential and extremely complicated on the other hand to keep your soul in peace. Even if it seems that someone deserves your anger and irritation, we have to aspire to love our offenders as once Christ loved and forgave those who despised and hated Him. For any human being, be it a priest in a local church or a killer, is first of all the image of Christ.
А.Б. [(4) 33]
"Orthodox Quote of the Week"
Newton’s first law of motion states that if the net force (the vector sum of all forces acting on an object) is zero, then the velocity of the object is constant. Consequently, an object that is in motion will not change its velocity unless a force acts on it, and at the same time, an object that is at rest will stay at rest unless some force acts on it.
This law is perfectly applicable to all people. As long as a person has no motivation to wake up and do something, he will remain at rest like this inactive object. Laziness is a temptation for everybody, including the faithful. And the Lord says that it is a sin, for He enjoined people to live in labour. The book of Proverbs abounds in statements about being lazy. It says that such people despise work: “The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour” (Prov. 21:25), they like to sleep: “As the door turneth upon his hinges, so doth the slothful upon his bed” (Prov. 26:14), they seek excuses: “The slothful man saith, There is a lion in the way; a lion is in the streets” (Prov. 26:13). Provers also tell us what consequences are for those who refuse to work: “The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute” (Proverbs, 12:24).
The life of a true Christian is not supposed to be subject to laziness. We are taught in the church that God saves us not for our deeds but for our faith. But it does not mean that He is content with our inactivity. God judges us by our faith, but the good deeds we do are the manifestation of our faith and our love towards Him. Therefore, laziness blocks the opportunity for good works and, thus, to
А.Б. [(4) 29]
1) Saint Seraphim of Sarov showed strong spiritual sensitivity from his childhood. After recovering from a childhood illness, he entered the monastery at Sarov. He spent sixteen years in the ordinary life of THE COMMUNITY. Then he withdrew to spend the next twenty years in SECLUSION. He is known for a THOUSAND SUCCESSIVE NIGHTS that he spent IN CONTINUAL PRAYER. He practiced the Jesus Prayer and was granted THE VISION OF THE DIVINE AND UNCREATED LIGHT.
2) Saint Basil the Blessed, the "FOOL IN CHRIST" sharply criticized Ivan the Terrible. Despite this, Ivan listened to the shrewd censure and treated him with honor.
3) The OLD RITUALISTS separated after 1666 from the official Russian Orthodox Church as a protest against church reforms introduced by Patriarch Nikon of Moscow. DISSENTERS differed from the official Church solely in ritual, they put too great emphasis on THE EXTERNALS OF WORSHIP. For instance, they refused to make THE SIGN OF THE CROSS with three fingers and fought for the TWO-FINGER SIGN OF THE CROSS.
4) Macarius of Egypt was an Egyptian Christian monk and HERMIT. He is known for his wisdom. His friends and relatives used to call him “old young man” or “the young man with the elders’ wisdom.”
5) Saint Maximus the Greek was invited to Russia by the Tsar to translate Greek works into Slavonic and to correct the Russian SERVICE BOOKS, which were disfigured by numerous errors.
6) The HOLY SYNOD was established by Peter the Great in January 1721 to replace the Patriarchate of Moscow. CLOSE ALLIANCE BETWEEN CHURCH AND STATE was broken off. The Church was IN COMPLETE SUBSERVIENCE TO THE STATE during that period. Meetings of the Synod were attended by THE CHIEF PROCURATOR. The Church was recognized as a department of State and it made little allowance for what was termed in the English Reformation "THE CROWN RIGHTS OF THE REDEEMER." THE SYSTEM OF CHURCH GOVERNMENT established by Peter the Great continued in force until 1917.
7) The Roman Catholic Church follows the discipline of clerical celibacy, that is, there is no
THE MARRIED CLERGY.
8) Paissy Velichkovsky translated a large number of Greek theological writings into Church Slavonic, including the PHILOKALIA.
9) The Orthodox Church makes CONCESSIONS TO HUMAN WEAKNESS during the fast. For example, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers may not keep fasts.
10) Saint Dositheus is known as a SPIRITUAL DESCENDANT of St. Dorotheus. Before he became a monk he was a favorite servant of a noble military leader. He spent his life in pleasures and luxuries. One day he went on pilgrimage to Jerusalem, during which occurred his miraculous conversion to Christ.
11) The earliest recorded ANCHORITES lived in the third century AD. For example, St. Hilarion was known as the founder of anchoritic life in Palestine.
12) DEVOUT Christians KEEP THE FAST with AUSTERITY and attend Liturgy each Sunday.
13) NON-POSSESSORS is a 16th-century movement in the Russian Orthodox Church that was in opposition to ecclesiastical land-ownership. Non-possessors were strongly convinced that monks who are landowners cannot avoid being TANGLED UP IN SECULAR ANXIETIES, and since they become ABSORBED IN WORLDLY CONCERNS. Whereas POSSESSORS placed emphasis upon the SOCIAL OBLIGATIONS OF MONASTICISM. They claimed that it is a part of the work of monks TO CARE FOR THE SICK AND POOR, TO SHOW HOSPITALITY.
14) THE TRISAGION is generally understood to have emerged from the vision granted to the Prophet Isaiah of the heavenly Seraphim chanting at the throne of God.
"Orthodox Quote of the Week"
I absolutely agree with this quote saying that one of the most essential aspects of our faith is labor. Christians cannot be passive and relaxed; otherwise, it would be utterly difficult for them to pray, love others and serve our Lord.
In our today's fast-moving world there is a temptation to stop one day, have a rest and forget about all troubles and all missions that we should complete. Today in mass media there exists a very wide-spread thought that we all should live for ourselves, enjoy ourselves. Unfortunately, that way of life appeals to millions of people.
As for me that way of life means exactly what elder Porphyrios warns us against. Looking only after themselves makes people lazy and irreverent towards others, while the main work of Christians is showing their endless love to people that surround them.
E.E. [(3) 73,5]
"Orthodox Quote of the Week"
It is well-known that in the past not only in Russia but in other Christian countries it was thought that monks, elders and people who don’t have families and live in monasteries or in isolation and poverty can enter the Kingdom of God easier than those who have families, servants and high social status. Having children and being a layman was associated with “life in sin”.
In this quote St.Niphon says that we should not compare people and judge them by their professions. Some of them choose the most difficult way – monastic, however, that doesn’t mean that those people who decide to give birth to children, to create strong faithful, Christian families are sinful. Moreover, the saint also mentions aristocrats, soldiers, craftsmen, farm laborers as those people who also can be saved, even if their job is not connected with the Church directly.
I think that St. Niphon believes that everybody should do what they can do and not to overestimate themselves. If you do your job well, if you work for your boss, company, government honestly and devotedly, if you love you colleagues and are always ready to help, you can achieve salvation simply by fulfilling the commandments on your workplace.
E.E. [(4) 70,5]
"Orthodox Quote of the Week"
I think that major aim of these words of elder Joseph of Optina is to give an illustration of humility.
Today it is becoming extremely popular to plan everything in your life beginning with what you will have for lunch and ending with how many cars, houses and children you are going to have in the future. The worst thing is that if a person fails to realize something that was included in this wish list for life he ends up being irritated and severely depressed.
The only way to avoid it is to stop planning and being so proud and ambitious. Those who can be humble and put trust in God are thousand times happier, more self-confident and satisfied than those who are so selfish to think that everything should go the way they want it.
E.E. [(5) 66,5]
1. PHILOKALIA is also a collection of texts written long ago by the theologians of the Eastern Orthodox tradition.
2. Together with a MONASTIC REVIVAL there was a REVIVAL OF A MISSIONARY WORK. In Kazan there was a first university that had MISSIONARY STUDIES in its program that were taught by LAY THEOLOGIANS as well as PARISH PRIESTS etc.
3. BISHOP THEOPHAN THE RECLUSE after only seven years as a Bishop, resigned his position and retired to a monastery at Vysha where he lived simply, for 28 years, spending his life in prayer and silence.
4. In many parishes of Moscow, a FREQUENT COMMUNION of LAYMEN is a common practice. PUBLIC CONFESSION, on contrary, is not so widespread.
5. After the ABDICATION of the Emperor everything became a chaos. The Church was under control of the PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT.
6. The main aim of the Orthodox is to try to achieve
7. Saint John of Kronstadt WAS PROCLAIMED A SAINT BY THE RUSSIAN CHURCH IN EXILE.
the Orthodox churches, EXCOMMUNICATED people are excluded from the Eucharist.
E.E. [(7) 61,5]
"Orthodox Quote of the Week"
People should understand that becoming a true Christian is a final goal of each person. Some people might say that once you are baptized you may consider yourself
as a Christian but it is wrong. Becoming a true Christian is a long process full of obstacles of every kind, and struggle. Obstacles will be brought by the external world and they will consist in different situations where you will have to make a choice. Struggle is more connected with your personal inner world where you will have to deal with your thoughts, intentions etc. What is more, the process of becoming a true Christian is a lifelong process, people have to think about God and salvation every single day and act in a proper way otherwise they might spoil everything and end up with nothing at all.
Т.Д. [(3) 76]
"Orthodox Quote of the Week"
At all times it was difficult to be a Christian. Believers were persecuted for the name of Christ. Christianity was outlawed. The Roman government hated Christians because it considered them disloyal citizens. They were saying about Christians that they were rebels, they were also told that Christians engaged in cannibalism, they said that Christians did the most outrageous debauchery. It was not easy for Christians in those days to remain faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ. The world is always viewed suspiciously by people who do not like it. And this is the way it is now. Anyone who is somehow different from others, whether in clothing or because he or she expresses ideas that are different, is automatically subjected to suspicion of others. The more the world loves people who serve it reproachfully. To be good is dangerous. Dangerous to hold to a higher standard of conduct than the standard of the world, it is dangerous to behave better than others. In our day one can start to prosecute people even for the fact that they work harder and longer than others. Therefore, the most important requirement that applies to the Christian
God at all times, is that he or she has enough courage not to be like everyone else. To be different is dangerous, but no one can be a Christian without taking this risk because there has to be a difference between the people of this world and Christians — the people of Christ.
Я.Б. [(2) 43]
1 Russia was the only country that was capable of taking the leadership in eastern CHRISTENDOM, after the downfall of Constantinople in 1453.
2 During that time
the Russians were dealing with the remnants of the Tartar invaders, it seemed to them that God chose them as THE SUCCESSORS OF BYZANTIUM.
3 The PATRIARCH of
the Constantinople had appointed THE HEAD OF THE RUSIAN CHURCH, THE METROPOLIAN. His name was Isidore. At THE COUNCIL OF FLORENCE Isidore supported THE UNION with Rome. When he returned to Moscow and proclaimed THE DECREES OF FLORENCE he met no support, on the contrary, he was imprisoned and then was allowed to leave the country. The Russians could no longer ask the Church of Constantinople about the new Patriarch because it accepted THE FLORENTINE UNION. Even after the Florentine Union was abandoned Russia continued to appoint its own CHIEF HIEARARCH, since this moment the Russian Church was AUTOCEPHALOUS.
4 When Ivan III married Sophia, he assumed such titles as AUTOCRAT and Tsar. Also the state was given an emblem of THE DOUBLE-HEADED EAGLE. Since that moment Moscow was regarded as THE THIRD ROME. The first Rome had disappeared after it LAPSED INTO HERESY
the barbarians. Constantinople, which was thought to be the second Rome, was captured by the Turks after it had FALLEN INTO THE HERESY. Also since that moment Tsar acted as a CHAMPION and protector of Orthodoxy.
5 In 1503 during the Council a division occurred among the SPIRITUAL DESCENDANTS of Saint Sergius. The reason of this division was the ownership of lands by monasteries. As a result there was Nilus and HERMITS like him known as THE NON-POSSESSORS on one side, and Joseph with his people known as THE POSSESSORS on the other.
6 The Possessors emphasized THE SOCIAL OBLIGATIONS OF MONASTICISM, they thought that CARING FOR THE SICK AND POOR and SHOWING HOSPITALITY is an essential part of monasticism. To do such things the monk needed money and land. On the contrary, the Non-Possessors claimed that ALMSGIVING is not the thing that the monks should be concerned about. The primary aim of the monks was helping others by praying for people, to do this they should BE DETACHED FROM THE WORLD, only those who are VOWED TO COMPLETE POVERTY can achieve detachment. In opinion of the Non-Possessors those who owned land could not avoid BEING TANGLED UP IN SECULAR ANXIETIES, because they became ABSORBED IN WORDLY CONCERNS, and thought in WORDLY WAY. The conflict between the Possessors and the Non-Possessors involved a bigger problem, the problem of RELATIONS BETWEEN CHURCH AND STATE.
7 The Possessors supported the state in everything, they believed in THE CLOSE ALLIANCE BETWEEN CHURCH AND STATE.
8 The views of Possessors and Non-Possessors also differed in terms of PIETY and PRAYER. Joseph realized the importance of CORPORATE WORSHIP and of LITURGICAL PRAYER, emphasized the place of beauty in WORSHIP whereas Nilus thought that
the beauty might cause the creation of IDOL.
9 Despite the contradictions the Russian Church CANONIZED both Joseph and Nilus. It was necessary for Russia to have the JOSEPHITE as well as the TRANSVOLGIAN FORMS OF MONASTICISM.
10 Saint Maximus the Greek was invited to Russia to correct the Russian SERVICE BOOKS. Maximus was devoted to the HESYCHAST IDEALS just like Nilus. Also he was very strict in his demand for SELF-STRIPPING and SPIRITUAL POVERTY.
11 Saint Philip THE METROPOLITAN OF MOSCOW openly protested against the bloodshed of Ivan the Terrible, as a result he was strangled. Saint Basil the Blessed “FOOL IN CHRIST” criticized Ivan too.
12 Many historians consider the period of the seventeenth century as THE TIME OF TROUBLES.
13 In 1633 the leadership over the Church was taken by a group of married PARISH CLERGY, by ARCHPRIESTS John Neronov and Avvakum Petrovich. They made an attempt to reform the Church, for instance, they encouraged FREQUENT PREACHING, also the reformers saw the true Christian life in following the ASCETIC RULES. In their opinion not only the monks were supposed TO KEEP THE FASTS but women and children as well, all these recommendations could help to build the DEVOUTED Russian society. These reforms made few CONCESSIONS TO HUMAN WEAKNESS. Those who visited Moscow were shocked by the AUSTERITY OF THE FASTS and by the length of the SERVICES. It seemed to them the whole nation exists as one VAST RELIGIOUS HOUSE. It is known that the services lasted for seven hours, the Tsar and the whole Court attended it all people were standing together, observing this the foreigners compared Russian people to the devout ANCHORITES of the desert. The children were not excluded from these RIGIROUS OBSERVANCES they participated in the services as well.
14 In 1652 – 1653 began a quarrel between the reformers and the new Patriarch Nicon. He insisted that THE SIGN OF THE CROSS should be made by three fingers not by two. The Russians have always paid a lot of attention to RITUAL ACTIONS and to THE SYMBOLIC GESTURES WHEREBY THE INNER BELIEF OF A CHRISITAN IS EXPRESSED. Avvakum refused to accept this new tradition as a result he was BURNT AT THE STAKE. Soon his supporters separated and became known as the OLD BELIEVERS (they also can be called the OLD RITUALISTS). So as we can see a movement of Dissent arose in Russia but it is wrong to compare the Russian DISSENTERS to the English ones, because the Russian movement was not such radical.
15 The old believers fought for THE TWO-FINGER SIGN OF CROSS and for old texts and customs, it was the matter of principle, for they wanted no changes. The main value for the Josephites and Old believers was THE EXTERNALS OF WORSHIP.
16 Nicon wanted to make the Church supreme over the State, before him there was a DYARCHY or it also can be called a SYMPHONY of two sides where each one had its own responsibilities, kind of combination of SACERDOTIUM and IMPERIUM.
17 In 1721 Peter proceeded to issue the celebrated SPIRITUAL REGULATION, which meant that the PATRIARCHATE had to be abolished. Instead he established a commission THE SPIRITUAL COLLEGE or Holy SYNOD. It consisted of 12 members where 3 of them were BISHOPS. The Synod’s constitution was not based on THE ORTHODOX CANON LAW. It was based on the PROTESTANT ECCLESIASTICAL SYNODS in Germany. The Emperor didn’t have to attend the meetings himself for he had his own representative – THE CHIEF PROCURATOR. Peter established a very strict SYSTEM OF CHURCH GEVERNMENT which lasted until 1917. Generally the Synodical period is thought to be the time of decline when THE CHURCH WAS IN COMPLETE SUBSERVIENCE TO THE STATE.
Speaking about the Western Europe of that time we can say that it was a time of pseudo-religious movements: PROTESTANT MYSTICISM, GERMAN PIETISM, FREEMASONRY and so on. Despite the fact that theology was westernized THE STANDARTS OF SCHOLARSHIP WERE HIGH.
18 The second part of the nineteenth century was a period of revival, it was marked by the revival of the spiritual life and enthusiasm for MISSIONARY WORK.
19 Paissy Velichkovsky being at Athos had learned a lot about THE HESYCHAST TRADITION. Also he made a translation of the PHILOKALIA. He emphasized the importance of the CONTINUAL PRAYER and obedience to the ELDERS, or STARETS. During his life he made an attempt to combine the mystical with THE CORPORATE and social aspect of the monastic life. The DISCIPLES of Paissy traveled a lot and under their inspiration a MONASTIC REVIVAL took place on the lands of Eastern Europe.
20 Saint Seraphim of Sarov spent 16 years of the life with the COMMUNITY in the monastery, then he left it and spent next 20 years in SECLUSION, this was a kind of challenge which he successfully completed. After this he lived in a small CELL in the monastery. Despite the fact that he was SEVERE to himself (it is know that he spent A THOUSAND SUCCESSIVE NIGHTS IN CONTINUAL PRAYER standing without any motion) he was GENTLE towards others. Just as the Byzantine Hesychasts Seraphim of Sarov was given THE VISION OF THE DIVINE AND UNCREATED LIGHT. Despite all the difficulties the ASCETISM didn’t make him gloomy. Seraphim of Sarov had never had someone who could teach him in the ART OF DIRECTION und he left no SUCCESSOR.
Т.Д. [(50) 73]
"Orthodox Quote of the Week"
As for me
I’m I completely agree with this statement. Many people live their lives outside the church, they do not believe in God, some of them deliberately, others not. But there is a moment in your life which you cannot avoid. This moment might be the most difficult period in your life, it might be connected with health problems of yourself or your relatives, with social problems or financial ones.
For those who are with God this is a new obstacle, or challenge that people should overcome, for those who are alone in terms of spiritual life this is a kind of turning point, because this is a new opportunity to come to God, to convert and to believe. There are a lot of examples of people who became Christians in the most difficult period of their lives, because they were desperate, they were looking for help and they found it in faith.
Т.Д. [(3) 23]
"Orthodox Quote of the Week"
I personally think that the main point of this quote is that we should treat all people with respect and
do not judge them, for all people are the creatures of God. All people sin, we must not forget it, that’s why all our blaming others should be directed to ourselves.
We should mark good deeds of other people and try to do the same good things, in that way people might become better, and speaking about judging others by their bad deeds I can say that a few times I was deceived by my eyes because people whom I thought were bad in terms of manners and temper, turned out to be
a really good ones.
Т.Д. [(3) 20]
"Orthodox Quote of the Week"
The point of this quote is easy to understand and
I’m I completely agree with it. Man was supposed to be a perfect creature of God, perfect in terms of intelligence, moral and other aspects. But unfortunately people often can’t control themselves, and act without thinking, deliberately do harmful things to other humans. Instead of reflecting God’s image and being wise here on the Earth, we are stuck in jealousy, betrayal and lies. Whereas there are creatures that in some aspects behave themselves better than we do. It might sound paradoxical but in certain cases we should emulate them.
Т.Д. [(3) 17]
"Orthodox Quote of the Week"
I am inclined to think that this issue is rather intricate and knotty, for we can see a plethora of viewpoints on this statement: some people will contend that it is extremely essential to be able to tell virtues and vices apart, implying that we ought to judge, analyze deeds of others, marking not only virtues, but also sins, reflect on them and try to avoid doing them. And other people claim that we oughtn’t to regard ourselves as having the authority to judge others for only God has this right and we can be biased and blinded by prejudices, stereotypes and also personal feelings towards the person. As for me, I am the proponent of the idea that we should not be quick to pass a judgment on others’ actions and weigh everything sagaciously. We are often prone to errors of judgment and our opinion is always subjective.
I want to cite my failure in judging someone of my acquaintance. Once I thought that one person betrayed me when they did not give me money they promised to give me in an urgent situation and they did not even call back. I already started to feel downcast thinking there would be a long-term enmity between us. However, it turned out that they could not transfer the money because there was a technical problem in the bank and they also could not phone due to the weather that caused absence of signal.
Taking everything into consideration, we must be shrewd enough to judge people and analyze everything that may impel people to act as they do.
А.Я. [(5) 20,5]
"Orthodox Quote of the Week"
It has never been truer than it is today. Contemporary acquisitive society has completely forgotten how to genuinely love each other: without demanding anything in return, without jealousy, anxiety and conceit. We are self-seeking and always try to find benefits for ourselves. Not everyone is ready to sacrifice something dear to their heart so as to mollify each other to gain harmony or reconcile. Contemporary love is easily transfigured into long-term hostility and feud because it was not love: «Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud and is not easily angered».
Every so often we have the propensity of judging others, both overtly and backstabbing, without realizing that we are not better, even worse because we say nasty obscene things about people.
Conversely, the dog doesn’t bear grudges, never shows disloyalty. He has genuine love and affection; he is impervious to rancor, resentment and contempt and never passes on judgment on his master or anyone around. If people who live with him show consideration and care, he loves back regardless of character traits or weaknesses the family have. It cannot apply to humans, because we are often vulnerable to imperfections of those surrounding us getting irate and infuriated.
I can say that I am liable to passing judgment too, for instance it is sometimes extremely tempting to talk about my ex flatmate, discussing her imperfections which affect me, because I’d been locked in a series of conflicts between us for so long. But I try to combat my desire saying «Only God can judge us».
А.Я. [(5) 15,5]
1. Now that the time of Lent has come, we ought to OBSERVE FAST with no CONCESSION TO OUR HUMAN WEAKNESSES. By virtue of KEEPING FAST we make our deification much more feasible: not only do we get accustomed to AUSTERITY, severity to ourselves but also we eliminate detrimental habits, gluttony being one of them. Lent is also the time when we must try to avoid being TANGLED UP IN SECULAR AXIETIES and be ABSORBED IN WORDLY CONCERNS less, dedicating all our thoughts to God by CONTINUAL PRAYERS.
2. To avoid LAPSING INTO HERESIES or to eradicate misunderstanding about Christian doctrines, we must be taught theology or read theological manuals about Orthodox PRACTICES and WORSHIP and Fathers’ teachings. It is also deemed essential to have a spiritual Father for SPIRITUAL DIRECTION and guidance.
3. Recently my friend has gone to THE HERMITAGE OF OPTINO as a pilgrim, spending one week there. She saw elders who MINISTERED there and went to confession to hieromonk Nil Parnas whom she regards as GENTLE, generous and affectionate towards his spiritual children. And he also undertakes CHARITABLE WORK to CARE FOR THE SICK AND POOR. Every time she was listening to his sermons, a REVERENT AWE came over her: so ethereal was his face and so magnificent were his speech.
А.Я. [(8,5) 10,5]
1. In the 18th century THE SYSTEM OF CHURCH GOVERNMENT changed completely. THE SPIRITUAL COLLEGE or HOLY SYNOD was gathered in 1721 and was attended by the CHIEF PROCURATOR.
2. In Orthodoxy THE MARRIED CLERGY have always had all rights to MINISTER.
3. In Russia monasteries also became the educational centers that had very high STANDARDS OF SCHOLARSHIP. In these HOUSES many nobleman received necessary education.
4. The DISCIPLES of Paissy started the MONASTIC REVIVAL in Russia and other countries; they also developed the PRACTICE OF SPIRITUAL DIRECTION.
5. Reading the life of Seraphim of Sarov amazes everybody. We can’t imagine how it is possible to spend A THOUSAND SUCCESSIVE NIGHTS IN CONTINUAL PRAYER. We can’t be so SEVERE to ourselves; we are too
GENTLE and INDULGENT instead.
6. A PARISH PRIEST has to look after his parish and sometimes to organize different kinds of CHARITABLE WORK.
7. In the HERMITAGE OF OPTINO there lived many saints, so this place is always very popular with people.
E.E. [(8) 54,5]
"Orthodox Quote of the Week"
Indeed, I met many people who do believe that Orthodoxy is about not looking after the body at all. They say that the more shabby and untidy you look the more Orthodox you are. As a result, external neglect becomes one of the negative characteristics of Orthodoxy and discourages other people from trying to know something more essential about our faith.
However, there are people who, on the contrary, think that if they have to look only after their inner world they can eat and sleep as much as they want, because their souls and those things have nothing in common.
As we can see there are so many misconceptions about this issue. I believe that to understand what the connection between body and soul is, we should look at the apostle Paul’s words: “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?” (1 Corinth. 6:19) Our bodies contain the most precious treasure in the whole world, so we should control them and look after them with the same solicitude and attention as we look after our souls.
E.E. [(3,5) 46,5]
In the thirteenth century after the fall of Constantinople Russian people without doubt considered themselves THE SUCCESSORS OF BYZANTIUM in regard to to leadership in EASTERN CHRISTENDOM.
MOSCOW THE THIRD ROME is a concept applied to the city of Moscow after Rome and Constantinople had FALLEN INTO HERESIES.
After the year 1453 when Russia refused to accept the FLORENTINE UNION it was decided to APPOINT CHIEF HIERARCHS from the Russian clergy. This event subsequently led to the aquisition by the Russian church of the status of an AUTOCEPHALOUS CHURCH.
The division between THE POSESSORS and THE NON-POSSESSORS consisted only in different attitudes towards what the monk’s labour should be like. While the former fought for the SOCIAL OBLIGATIONS of monasticism, for the latter the continuous prayer and SELF-STRIPPING were the pillars of the monk’s toil.
The problem of THE RELATIONS BETWEEN CHURCH AND STATE has been topical throughout the history of almost every country.
The seventeenth-century Russia (after THE TIME OF TROUBLES) is known to have had the most AUSTERE way of life in the proper sense of the word. Obedience to AUTHORITY and DISCIPLINE, ASCETIC RULES and LITURGICAL PRAYER, KEEPING FASTS; all those RIGOROUS OBSERVANCES were the features that a true Christian had to possess.
The rejection of Patriarch Nicon’s CHURCH REFORM was mostly due to Russian mentality; Russian people have been always ATTACHED TO RITUAL ACTIONS that expressed their beliefs.
After the division between Nicon’s and Avvakum’s followers a separate sect called THE OLD BELIEVERS was formed. Disobedience to the church reform by the OLD RITUALISTS was punished by BURNING AT THE STAKE.
А.Б. [(12) 25]
THE TRISAGION is a pious and oft-repeated prayer in the Greek liturgy.
The Alternative SERVICE BOOK 1980 was the first complete prayer book produced by the Church of England since 1662.
The first reported FOOL-IN-CHRIST in Russia was St. Procopius (Prokopiy), who came from the lands of the Holy Roman Empire to Novgorod, then moved to Ustyug, pretending to be a fool and leading an ascetic way of life (slept naked on church-porches, prayed throughout the whole night, received food only from poor people).
It was precisely this icon and Hermogen, who had come to love it, that the Lord decreed should deliver Moscow and Russia from the chaos of THE TIME OF TROUBLES and the hands of the enemies.
Between 1900 and 1939 the Greek-Catholic PARISH CLERGY in Galicia underwent a transformation of its social, national, political and cultural consciousness.
FASTS ARE OBSERVED among Christians, Jews, Muslims, Confucianists, Hindus, Taoists, Jainists, and adherents of other religious faiths.
When, as a temporary CONCESSION TO HUMAN WEAKNESS, humans were given permission to eat animals after the Flood, it was recognized that this would mean that harmony between humans and animals would be replaced with estrangement and fear.
Many people are amazed by the AUSTERITY OF THE FASTS.
Normally the monks signaled the ANCHORITE once a day, when they left his meal of unleavened bread and water.
RIGOROUS OBSERVANCE of enclosure would however be merely pharisaical, were it not the outward expression of that purity of heart, to which alone is it
promised to see God.
THE SIGN OF THE CROSS is a symbolic ritual gesture which marks the four points of the Cross on Calvary over one's body.
BURNING AT THE STAKE in public was used in England & Wales to punish heresy for both sexes and for women convicted of High Treason or Petty Treason.
THE OLD BELIEVERS faced heavy persecution from then until the reign of Peter the Great, when they began to be tolerated as an extra source of tax revenue.
Additionally, OLD RITUALISTS have preserved ancient customs, traditional way of life, ancient clothes of Old Russia, natural rural economy, ancient form of church prayer singing.
They have continually argued for France's right to express its DISSENT from the opinion of the international community.
The LAITY are on the front lines and must have a clear consciousness of actually being the Church (Pope Pius XII).
The enforcement of the three-finger sign was one of the reasons for the schism of the Old Believers whose congregations continue to use the TWO-FINGER SIGN OF THE CROSS.
Я.Б. [(8,5) 41]
1. We, Russian Orthodox Christians, are truly SPIRITUAL DESCENDENTS of our great saints, such as St. Sergius of Radonezh, St. Seraphim of Sarov, holy Elders of Optina, St. Varlaam of Khutyn and many others, their list could be endlessly continued. But among this plethora of ASCETICS we can single out two great men whose story is extremely curious in terms of the issue of ONENESS OF MIND inside the Orthodox Church; they are SAINT NILUS OF SORA and SAINT JOSEPH, ABBOT OF VOLOKALAMSK. They viewed the matter of MONASTIC LANDHOLDING differently. THE HERMIT St. Nilus considered OWNERSHIP OF LANDS BY MONASTERIES unacceptable, for a monk is to BE VOWED TO COMPLETE POVERTY, not to possess EARTHY GOODS, to BE DETACHED FROM THE WORLD, lest he should THINK IN A WORLDLY WAY, BE TANGLED UP IN SECULAR ANXIETIES and ABSORBED IN WORDLY CONCERNS. Therefore, St.Nilus’s party and later all his FOLLOWERS, SPITITUAL DESCENDENTS were called THE NON-POSSESSORS, or ‘TRANSVOLGA HERMITS’. A converse viewpoint was maintained by St. Joseph. He tended to think that the monasteries are allowed to possess lands and earthy goods so that monks could CARE FOR THE SICK AND POOR, SHOW HOSPITALITY, GIVE ALMS, help those IN NEED and suffering. In other words, he put the focus on THE SOCIAL OBLIGATIONS OF MONASTICISM, which justified the fact of land ownership. For this reason his party was called THE POSSESSORS, or JOSEPHITES.
2. American culture always had at its core nationally important conceptions of millennial manifest destiny and the American nation as a chosen one. In the Second Awakening they became more emphasized precisely because concepts of MILLENARIANISM, or CHILIASM, were fairly popular. So the Second Awakening defined the historical mission of the American nation as a chosen one: to lead the mankind to the millennium, to prepare the world for the SECOND COMING OF CHRIST. Now it might help to understand why revivalism occurred, and why ARMINIANISM fitted more conveniently within American religion.
3. The 17th century appeared a turning-point for THE MOSCOW TSARDOM, for the Russian history and for the Russian Orthodox Church in particular. Throughout centuries the spiritual basis of our country was the Orthodox Church. Undoubtedly, the Byzantine model of RELATIONS BETWEEN CHURCH AND STATE was followed by Russia: a DYARCHY or SYMPHONY of two coordinated powers, i.e. there was a CLOSE ALLIANCE BETWEEN CHURCH AND STATE. But already in the 16th c. some conflicts were about to happen or happened, for instance, the ‘encounter’ of THE NON-POSSESSORS and THE JOSEPHITES. And in the 17th c. the crisis was brewing and took the shape of the DISSENT, which was caused by
the PATRIARCH NICON’s Church reforms. It is true that after the TIME OF TROUBLES there were loads of undecided vitally important problems in the ECCLESIASTICAL life: an issue of polyphony during the CHURCH SERVICE, an issue of TWO FINGER or THREE FINGER SIGN OF THE CROSS, correction of SERVICE BOOKS, the DIVINE LITURGY on the seven PROSPHORAS, the EIGHT-POINTED CROSS, the direction of the PROCESSION with the Cross, the double or triple 'ALLELUIA’ and so on. Patriarch Nicon and Tsar Alexis himself tackled the problem. Those who didn’t want to accept reforms made themselves separated and are known now as the OLD BELIVERS, or OLD RITUALISTS, because they stayed loyal to old RITUAL ACTIONS and SYMBOLIC GESTURES WHEREBY, they were convinced, THE INNER BELIEF OF A CHRISTIAN is expressed. In fact, we call them the DISSENTERS and even now we are unwilling to hold a joint CORPORATE WORSHIP. All in all, for the time being this SCHISM has not yet been overcome.
М.Я. [(24) 29]
"Orthodox Quote of the Week"
I think that this quote is teaching us not to judge people for their sins, but to notice beautiful things in them. I think that it’s quite true to life, though I don’t think that our eyes are deceived often, but it could be just a figure of speech. I understand what he wanted to say, because the one thing usually doesn’t mean the other: St. John Climacus, for example, lived in the seventh century, but only in the sixteenth century Nicolaus Copernicus had his heliocentric works published — before that everybody thought that the Sun moves round the Earth; the same is possible with people: Harry Potter thought that Severus Snape was an unpleasant person, but in the last book, when he understood everything, Harry called him a great man.
As the previous quotes about love and judgement, this one — quite fits my idea of Christianity. For example, if I don’t like any person, I try to find some virtues in him or her and love him or her for it. And though I used to believe my eyes almost always, I completely agree with
the other parts of that quote.
А.В. [(5) 54]
1) Patriarch Nikon thought that the Greek PRACTICES are the most beautiful and right ones, so he wanted all Russian SERVICE BOOKS to be rewritten in order to be the same as Greek.
2) In the past all heretics were persecuted, some of them were even BURNT AT THE STAKE.
3) In the 17th century people who paid a lot of attention to the EXTERNALS OF WORSHIP instead of the MYSTICAL PRAYER and fought for the TWO-FINGER SIGN OF THE CROSS were called OLD BELIEVERS or OLD RITUALISTS.
4) HOLY SYNOD consisted not only of BISHOPS but of THE MARRIED CLERGY too.
5) THE PARISH CLERGY and THE LAITY are the people who are responsible for their parish and peaceful life in it.
6) THE SYSTEM OF CHURCH GOVERNMENT during the SYNODICAL PERIOD is usually associated with the CHURCH IN COMPLETE SUBSERVIENCE TO THE STATE.
E.E. [(7,5) 43]
"Orthodox Quote of the Week"
In this quote an extremely important thing for us as
for sinful people is mentioned. We all should try our best and “bear every hardship, reproach and insult nobly”. In contrast with the words of other Holy Fathers (e.g. the words of St. Antony that we read last week), this commandment is quite real for us to fulfill.
Unfortunately, in our today’s world we have to face rudeness and impoliteness almost everywhere. The simplest example is Moscow underground in the peak hours, when people become crazy, start pushing each other and shouting at innocent people. If we try to bear this situation “nobly” every day month after month, trying to help the helpless and smile in response to anger, I think we will achieve this state of “never thinking the least evil of anyone”.
E.E. [(5) 28,5]
Fortunately for the Orthodox people, when the Florentine Union was accepted in Constantinople, Russians, as THE SUCCESSORS OF BYZANTIUM, continued to appoint their own CHIEF HIERARCH and the Church became AUTOCEPHALOUS. After Constantinople had LAPSED INTO HERESY, Russians succeeded Byzantine traditions: the Grand Duke of Moscow began to use titles of “Tzar” and “AUTOCRAT” and the emblem with THE DOUBLE-HEADED EAGLE.
I think that the Russian Church had spent a lot of efforts during the nineteenth century opposing itself to
the LATINISM and Protestantism: that’s why it was not ready for the Emperor’s ABDICATION and took it with submission. Luckily, at the time of THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT there an All-Russian Church Council, where, after some DELIBERATIONS, the Patriarch was elected by drawing the LOT.
After the West had FALLEN INTO HERESY, the Russian Empire became the only CHAMPION and protector of all Orthodox people in accordance with THE PROPHETICAL BOOKS. It served THE ENDS OF RUSSIAN SECULAR IMPERIALISM, and everything could be pleasant, but there was a dispute among the SPIRITUAL DESCENDANTS of Saint Sergius: the monks-landholders and the HERMITS.
In the nineteenth century in the history of the Russian Church we can find such bright people as Innocent, the bishop of Kamchatka, who later WAS PROCLAIMED A SAINT, and Alexis Khomiakov, a LAY THEOLOGIAN, the leader of the SLAVOPHILE circle. Khomiakov saw prerequisites for ORTHODOX to rediscover our own tradition, because we didn’t share the same ASSUMPTIONS with Roman or Protestant Christians.
I think that one of the greatest problems of the Russian Church during the sixteenth century was the dispute between the followers of Saint Joseph, who were called THE POSSESSORS, and the “TRANSVOLGA HERMITS”, who were called THE NON-POSSESSORS. They had different points of view: the possessors emphasized THE SOCIAL OBLIGATIONS OF MONASTICISM (for example — TO CARE FOR THE SICK AND POOR and TO SHOW HOSPITALITY), while the Non-Possessors argued that ALMSGIVING and other things that were emphasized by the Possessors are the duty of the laity, while a monk’s primary task is to help others by praying for them.
One of the greatest figures of the Russian Church in the nineteenth-early twentieth centuries was Father John of Kronstadt, who established PUBLIC CONFESSION and reversed to the more ancient form of CHANCEL SCREEN, and who WAS PROCLAIMED A SAINT by THE RUSSIAN CHURCH IN EXILE in 1964. He lived during the time of a REVIVAL OF MISSIONARY WORK: the Church had not ceased to send out preachers to THE HEATHEN, but, for example, the Academy of Kazan, opened in 1842, was specially concerned with MISSIONARY STUDIES.
I think that those monks who ARE VOWED TO COMPLETE POVERTY and ARE DETACHED FROM THE WORLD, fit the idea of Christianity more than those who are TANGLED UP IN SECULAR ANXIETIES. Those monks who prefer fighting with RECALCITRANT heretics to praying, are ABSORBED IN WORLDLY CONCERNS and act and think in A WORLDLY WAY.
Father John of Kronstadt was A PARISH PRIEST (he visited the poor and the sick and organized CHARITABLE WORK), but at the same time he had the gifts of INSIGHT, of healing and of SPIRITUAL DIRECTION. One of the most interesting things about Father John is that he insisted on FREQUENT COMMUNION, although at this time it was very unusual TO COMMUNICATE often.
Although in the sixteenth century there were problems with the SERVICE BOOKS, Saint Joseph emphasized the meaning of going to church, of CORPORAL WORSHIP and liturgical prayer: “On high the seraphim proclaim THE TRISAGION, here below the human multitude raises the same hymn”, he wrote. And though that century gave us a lot of interesting figures (Saint Maximus the Greek, who was very strict in his demand for SELF-STRIPPING and spiritual poverty; Saint Philip, the Metropolitan of Moscow; Saint Basil the Blessed, “FOOL IN CHRIST” and others), it led directly to THE TIME OF TROUBLES.
Although Saint Seraphim of Sarov had no successor in the art of DIRECTION, after his death it was taken up by the startsi, who MINISTERED in THE HERMITAGE OF OPTINO (one of them even travelled to visit Tolstoy after he had been EXCOMMUNICATED). It was a nice time for the Orthodox Church: through the startsi started the MONASTIC REVIVAL, appeared books like “The Way of a Pilgrim” and the translation of the “Philokalia” in five volumes (by BISHOP THEOPHAN THE RECLUSE).
Though the reformers (led by a group of married PARISH CLERGY) fought against drunkenness and insisted that THE FASTS BE OBSERVED, the reformers’ program made some CONCESSIONS TO HUMAN WEAKNESS. Nevertheless Muscovy around 1650 went far to justify the title "Holy Russia": even Orthodox from the Turkish Empire, who visited Moscow were amazed by THE AUSTERITY OF THE FASTS, by Russian ANCHORITES and by the fact that the whole nation appeared to live as "one vast RELIGIOUS HOUSE".
А.В. [(32) 48]
PIETISM was a very influential movement within Lutheranism. Pietists rebelled against established EXTERNALS OF WORSHIP and excessive attention to RITUAL ACTIONS. Philipp Jakob Spener proposed a "heart religion" to replace the dominant "head religion." Beginning with religious meetings in Spener's home, the amount of his DISCIPLES grew rapidly, especially after August Hermann Francke made the new University of Halle a Pietist center. Nikolaus Ludwig, Graf von Zinzendorf, a student of Francke's and godson of Spener, helped to spread the movement and attract there new REFLECTIVE CHURCHMEN.
A lot of people from PARISH CLERGY and professional theologians opposed them, some because of a concern to preserve their traditional PRACTICES, and others because of a genuine fear that they would lead to rampant subjectivity and LAPSING INTO HERESIES. I suppose that in German Pietism there is at least one more danger - spiritual life in this case is only about individual piety, such as ALMSGIVING, SHOWING HOSPITALITY, CARE FOR THE SICK AND POOR, KEEPING FASTS, - which is not bad, but the Church loses its Liturgical and Eucharistic reality.
А.П. [(7) 31]
1. Justinian's SUCCESSORS rescued BYZANTIUM from his financial excesses, especially his costly, failed attempt to recover Italy.
3. The Church of Cyprus has been AUTOCEPHALOUS since at any rate the Oecumenical synod of Ephesus in 431.
4. They argue that the symbol of double-headed eagle appeared in Russia earlier and note that in Byzantium the DOUBLE-HEADED EAGLE was used as a personal or religious emblem, not as a state emblem.
5. According to the Bulla of Paul IV, every prelate who has LAPSED INTO HERESY is excommunicated from the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church, and all his actions are null and void.
7. THE PROPHETIC BOOKS of the Bible address the classical period of prophecy from the days of Elijah to Malachi and include the Major and Minor Prophets.
9. Even as Jacob is the father of natural Israel, God is the Father of spiritual Israel, the SPIRITUAL DESCENDANTS of Abraham, which includes Gentiles.
10. THE “NON-POSSESSORS” worked just as hard in their monastic service as the followers of St. Joseph, but their labor was of different quality.
11. Monks argued that they did not use their wealth on themselves, but TO CARE FOR THE SICK AND POOR, TO SHOW HOSPITALITY, and to teach.
12. ALMSGIVING also benefits society by redistributing wealth to the most needy.
14. To do these things properly a monk must BE DETACHED FROM THE WORLD, and only those who ARE VOWED TO COMPLETE POVERTY can achieve true detachment.
15. It is this death of the body, that is, death of one’s ABSORPTION IN WORDLY CONCERNS that he prescribes for the philosopher.
17. As recorded in the synoptic Gospels, Jesus differentiated between THE THINGS OF CAESAR AND THE THINGS OF GOD.
18. Those who hanker after a CLOSE ALLIANCE BETWEEN CHURCH AND STATE would do well to ponder on the fate of the Jesuits.
19. CORPORATE WORSHIP brings together God’s word, prayer, and fellowship, and so makes for the greatest means of God’s ongoing grace in the Christian life.
"Orthodox Quote of the Week"
Love for God is an unceasing spring of grace. We are all called to feel this, but in fact we rarely do. We can only lightly touch this grace during the services or after the Holy Communion. Now we do not live in love for God, because we are too obsessed with ourselves and our everyday business. We also do not realize God’s love towards us as the righteous people did and do. They do everything not as the reaction to some particular actions but just out of love to all mankind, the inspiration to which is love towards God.
The love for God fills one’s whole heart, therefore there is no more place for evil, dishonesty, cruelty, irritation, hatred and wrath. We read about the saints and the holy fathers, sometimes we see such “everyday saints” close to us, but we still have to work on ourselves and to remind ourselves of God’s constant presence and love.
П.П. [(4) 27]
1. The Byzantine Empire was the SUCCESSOR OF the Roman Empire in the East, as the Western Roman Empire fell in 476 AD.
2. AN AUTOCEPHALOUS CHURCH enjoys total canonical and administrative independence and elects its own primates and bishops.
3. The DOUBLE-HEADED EAGLE generally denotes a claim to succession or cultural heritage from the Roman Empire.
4. Convinced that the Church had LAPSED INTO HERESY, Luther decided to metaphorically smash the idols.
5. Some Russian Tsars proved themselves to be CHAMPIONS and PROTECTORS of Orthodoxy.
6. TO GRANT SENIORITY in religious sense does not mean to allow political freedom.
7. Anti-Israel Christians in the United States and Europe are the SPIRITUAL DESCENDANTS of the Biblical Esau.
8. Saint Sergius in the course of his righteous life managed to unite the SOCIAL and MYSTICAL SIDES OF MONASTICISM.
9. HERMITS who lived in solitude generally supported Nilus and NON-POSSESSORS’ attitude towards MONASTIC LIFE.
10. THE SOCIAL OBLIGATIONS OF MONASTICISM were the basic issues of that separation.
С.М. [(6,5) 17]
I know that there are a lot of disputes about the SPIRITUAL REGULATION, which declared that the Patriarchate is replaced by THE SPIRITUAL COLLEGE or HOLY SYNOD.
A lot of people don’t like THE SYSTEM OF CHURCH GOVERNMENT which Peter the Great established, because THE CHURCH was IN COMPLETE SUBSERVIENCE TO THE STATE, as it was under the control of THE CHIEF PROCURATOR.
А.В. [(3) 16]
"Orthodox Quote of the Week"
The point of this quote, as I think, is that the more love the person has — then the less anger he or she has. If I got it right — then I completely agree with this idea. If we are speaking about
the examples from the real life, we can prove it by the slogan of the American youngsters of 1960s who were protesting against the war in Vietnam — “Make love, not war” — and their actions, like inserting flowers in the soldiers’ guns.
In my opinion (as it was said: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy'. But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (Matthew, 5:43-44)), Christianity — is quite about
the love, not about the anger or revenge, so this quote fits my idea of Christianity. As for me — I think, that I try to do no harm to those who do to me (intentionally or unintentionally), and I think that I’ve succeeded in it for the last few years. I think that people (especially nowadays and especially in our country) should think about love towards others more.
А.В. [(2) 13]
Maximus the Greek was sent to Russia with the task of translating SERVICE BOOKS into the Greek language. The first significant work done by him was the translation of THE PSALM-BOOK that was approved by the Russian PRIESTHOOD and the Tsar. Maximus the Greek's opposition to THE POSSESSORS and his criticisms regarding the domestic and foreign policy of Russia worsened his relations with the Tsar Vasily III.
FOOLISHNESS FOR CHRIST is the form of SANCTITY meaning deliberate wish to seem insane and, therefore, to conceal virtues. The first Russian fool in Christ was Isaac of Pechery.
А.Б. [(3) 13]
"Orthodox Quote of the Week"
This story teaches us to be independent of either blessings or misfortunes of this world. In other words, it teaches us to take all these as two sides of the same coin, as passing and perishable things. An ideal seems to be in a balance between the state of being spiritually above of all of these things and at the same time having extreme humility. Finally, one may come to the conclusion that is expressed in the following poem by an unknown author.
Stay untouched by luck or failure,
Calm in poverty and wealth.
Be the same in rags or favour,
Thank for illnesses and health.
Gently take disgrace and praising:
Both may have a bitter end,
And above all (how amazing!),
Love your enemy as friend.
П.П. [(5) 21,5]
"Orthodox Quote of the Week"
The following quote tells us about how a man can do good deeds and not receive anything in return for them. From the first sight it might seem wrong that the Abba judges the virgin for what she has just said because all the virtues she mentioned are those characteristic of a true Christian. But one of the first mistakes that she makes is that she does not do all this secretly, with modesty and piety, but rather tells it to the monk presumably with the intention to receive his approval. However, as we see further, this virgin has no spiritual benefit from what she does, as she has not ceased to value money and praise and has not begun to love her enemies.
The example of this woman proves to us that
the good deeds done with bad intentions have no reward; the soul of the good deed is its intention. Therefore St. Maximus the Confessor said that there is such kind of chastity, mercy, vigil, fast and feat that is meaningless in the eyes of God, for it is performed with wrong intentions.
In the 17th century one of the main questions raised in Church was: what is more important: RITUAL ACTIONS AND SYMBOLIC GESTURES WHEREBY THE INNER BELIEF OF A CHRISTIAN IS EXPRESSED (they were also called THE EXTERNALS OF WORSHIP) - or pure MYSTICAL PRAYER?
E.E. [(2) 23,5]
"Orthodox Quote of the Week"
As for me, I understand the meaning of this extract perfectly well, but, unfortunately, I cannot say that my friends as well as my family and I are able to follow St. Antony’s advice. It seems too extreme for us. Nowadays people are not so spiritually strong, we cannot even imagine how to fast 6 days a week all the time, to learn the Bible by heart etc. - all these things are extremely difficult for us, while St. Antony asks to labor even more.
I believe that we should not give up and at least try to do what we can do – love people, go to Church, pray and take the Holy Communion. Moreover, we can interpret St. Antony words in another way. When asking these questions: "Does poverty mean the same to you as abundance? Or dishonor the same as praise?Are your enemies the same for you as your friends?" the Elder might mean that nothing is more essential than love to others, and desire to leave everything and follow the Christ. No matter how many quotes from the Holy Gospel you know, if you cannot treat the people right and money is of utmost importance for you, that all is for nothing.
E.E. [(5) 21,5]
1. Old monks understood the significance of CORPORATE WORSHIP, how it is important to pray among other people in Church together. They claim that this worship can not be compared with one that we do on our own.
2. SERVICE BOOKS have always been rewritten and changed, that is why there are still many mistakes and inaccuracies.
3. I think that for many people it is very difficult to understand the difference between THE THINGS OF CEASER AND THE THINGS OF GOD.
E.E. [(1,5) 16,5]
"Orthodox Quote of the Week"
Abba Xanthios fairly noted that sometimes animals (such as dogs) possess some human qualities to the greater extent than people themselves. It is a well-known fact that dogs show their love and fidelity towards people. They can even overcome basic instincts in their faithfulness and devotion to humans (there are many examples of dogs dying on the graves of their departed owners). Such things as betrayal do not exist in their world. Why then we ourselves do not show love and compassion towards our neighbours? Why are we so permissive to ourselves and at the same time judicious towards
the others? Maybe we can learn a little bit from these creatures how to be a true Man.
Abba Xanthios’s idea also reminds me of the following passage from the Scriptures. As the apostle claims, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13:1). So our life is empty without love even if we have obtained all the other virtues.
П.П. [(4) 16,5]
"Orthodox Quote of the Week"
Frankly speaking, I do not think that I fully understand this quote, because I wonder if it is right to compare people with animals. Animals are not free creatures like people, so talking about their feelings and virtues seems to me quite absurd.
However, I can make an assumption that the main character of Abba Xanthios in this quote is not a dog but people who don’t want to free themselves from their sins, who are too irreverent and lazy to pray or to listen to the words of the Apostles. He gives us an example of a dog in order to create a shocking comparison and grab people’s attention, to make them think if this is true that they are worse than a dog? I believe that this image is just one of the methods that priests use in their sermons.
E.E. [(3) 15]
I’ve always thought that A CLOSE ALLIANCE BETWEEN CHURCH AND STATE is very dangerous for both of them, because in people’s minds THE THINGS OF CAESAR AND THE THINGS OF GOD can be mixed and that would be a problem of RELATIONS BETWEEN CHURCH AND STATE.
I think that women WITH CHILD shouldn't KEEP THE FASTS, even if they are very DEVOUT, because they first of all should care about the a child.
А.В. [(3) 11]
"Orthodox Quote of the Week"
The point of this quote, as I see it, is that everyone should try to love everyone else, and not to judge anybody. Of course, it’s a joking quote, because we can’t compare a dog and a human — these are completely different creatures. A dog is not as clever as a human, that’s why its feelings are more sincere. And that’s why it can’t judge anyone. When people do not judge each other and just love all the other people — they become closer to God. A good example — the attitude of princess Elizaveta Fyodorovna to her husband’s killer (she forgave him and asked the Tsar for the clemency).
I think that it’s quite Christian idea — to love everybody and not to judge. But I think it is not very easy to understand, and much harder — to follow it in your live. But in my opinion any decent person (even — not a Christian) should try to live in love and forgiveness with other people. Of course, there always were and would be unpleasant people, and it’s not easy to love them. But even then we should try. For me, for example, the easiest way to love people with the completely different outlook on life is not to talk with them at all. But I think that it’s not the best option — maybe I just should try more.
А.В. [(5) 8]
"Orthodox Quote of the Week"
I believe that by saying this Father Seraphim Rose wants to teach people to rely on God in everything. He especially emphasizes that temptations come soon after one’s conversion. Once a person steps on the way of becoming a true Christian, there appear various traps to lead him or her astray. That is why when we come across any difficulties in our life, we should realize that they are given by the Lord in order to strengthen our faith.
When I first read the quote, some lines of the poem The Pulley by George Herbert came to my mind. The poem starts with the description of the creation of a human being. God granted a person everything but rest. As the explanation goes,
“For if I should,” said he [God],
“Bestow this jewel also on my creature,
He would adore my gifts instead of me,
And rest in Nature, not the God of Nature”;
Both Father Seraphim and George Herbert appeal to the listeners and readers to search for rest in God who literary “pulls” tired, exhausted and frustrated people, i.e. all of us, to Himself: “If goodness lead him not, yet weariness/ May toss him to my breast.”
П.П. [(4) 12,5]
The uneasy RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CHURCH AND STATE was the reason for the Reformation in 16th-century England. Henry VIII was RECALCITRANT to the authority of the Pope. In that time the invention of the printing press increased circulation of the SERVICE BOOKS and it led to the transmission of new knowledge and ideas among scholars.
А.П. [(1) 6]
"Orthodox Quote of the Week"
The author of this quote, Father Seraphim Rose was an American convert to the Orthodox Church, who became both priest and monk, and today is widely regarded as a saint, although not formally glorified. His own life is a vivid example for his quote. In his adolescence he was baptized in the Methodist Church, later he became an atheist, then he had a lot of different religious strivings. Finally, Seraphim Rose became acquainted with Orthodoxy and was received into the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. So he really knew what conversion is.
We see that practically no one thinks about conversion when all is well and everything is proceeding according to plan. People change their religious views when they suffer terrible pains, then they feel qualms and they realize that their present worldview doesn’t have an application to their life any more and they long for some inner shift.
What the RELATIONS BETWEEN CHURCH AND STATE are is still an extremely difficult question. It is clear that this relationship has always been tenuous and what becomes a very CLOSE ALLIANCE BETWEEN CHURCH AND STATE sometimes ends up dramatically.
E.E. [(2) 12]
"Orthodox Quote of the Week"
It seems to me that the main idea of this quote is to explain to people why it is so necessary to suffer, to be ill, to overcome difficulties in our sinful world. It is well-known that very often even truly Orthodox people give up and start repining and complaining about their daily life. Moreover, many debates are held about why God allows all these catastrophes and disasters that happen in our today’s crazy world.
Seraphim Rose claims that without suffering no salvation can be achieved, because we are so sinful that remember about God only when we are in trouble. During hard times we start praying, are becoming desperate for God, so in those times He is closer to us that in times of our happiness and contentment. He always helps us out but we are so ungrateful that in order to feel God and be close to Him we need to suffer again and again.
E.E. [(3,5) 10]
"Orthodox Quote of the Week"
The main idea of this quote, as I see it, is that there will be no salvation for any person if he or she has no humility. I cannot disagree with this point of view because everyone should exercise her or his humility towards the will of God — it’s quite simple. The creature should always be humble in front of the Creator. If the creature starts to think that it’s more powerful than the Creator (but really — it’s not) and starts to behave in such a way, then, of course, it should be punished by the Creator (like it was with Lucifer, for example). But I don’t think that it is a good idea for you — always think about yourself with self-belittlement and painful self-judgement. Yes, you should be self-critical. You should always ask yourself — are you right in doing this or that? Is it a real virtue? But at the same time — you should always love yourself: not to be an egoist, but not to think that you are nobody.
When I try to do or to write something, I am always a self-critical person: it helps me to abstract from what I am doing and to evaluate what I am doing. So it is a good quote for everyday life, but you should not forget about the reasonable limits of self-criticism.
TO CARE FOR THE SICK AND POOR, TO SHOW HOSPITALITY is one of the most important things that all the Christians should be taught.
ALMSGIVING is still a very controversial question. People are afraid of giving money to counterfeit POVERTY, because they do not want to be cheated.
"Orthodox Quote of the Week"
In this quote, we see a very interesting comparison. Humility is compared with salt. Of course we can eat without salt but very soon all the food will become tasteless, we will not get useful vitamins and end up being depressed. The same with humility, if you don’t want to acquire it – it is completely fine, however, soon enough a person will realize that without humility life is worse and far more difficult: people turn away, you lose friends, because it is impossible to live with a man who can not accept the closest ones, you start feeling miserable etc. Of course gaining humility is a great labor that requires constant concentration, contrition, self-judgement, but on the other hand, the results are unbelievable. As Holy Fathers say all people that surround you will love you. Moreover, God will be really close to you.
SPIRITUAL DESCENDANTS of Saint Nilus of Sora were the HERMITS who rejected A CLOSE ALLIANCE BETWEEN CHURCH AND STATE and the supreme importance of CORPORATE WORSHIP. They were called THE NON-POSSESSORS and believed that those who ARE VOWED TO COMPLETE POVERTY must BE DETACHED FROM THE WORLD and should avoid TANGLING UP IN SECULAR ANXIETIES.
П.П. [(3,5) 8,5]
"Orthodox Quote of the Week"
St. Isaac the Syrian is famous for his ascetic works and spiritual homilies and provides plenty of writings on humility. In one of them he appeals to people to be contrite, self-belittled and painfully self-judicious. For me it is quite a powerful statement as I notice that we all tend to be judgmental and critical towards others but not to ourselves.
St. Isaac the Syrian claims that the virtue of humility makes us sons of God. I suppose, it is because of the fact that Christ is meek and humble Himself, as it is said in the Gospel according to St. Matthew, ‘Learn of Me, for I am meek and humble of heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.’ [Matt 11:29]. That is why those who try to acquire humility draw near to the Lord. A vivid example is St. Isaac the Syrian himself. From his hagiography we know that he led a meek and reclusive life in the hermitage being a man of great knowledge and of the humble heart.
For me the most inspiring are his words from another homily on humility. There he suggests that this virtue is accompanied by ‘patience, fearlessness and modesty’, the qualities that I would definitely like to develop.
4 КУРС: Autumn 2015
The Parish of St. Aidan and Chad
For any Orthodox Christian life abroad can be clouded by the absence of true faith and churches so dear to heart in their motherland
. But as for us, the exchange students from Moscow, there was no such problem. We were surrounded by love and care of the parishioners and clergy
of the Church of Saints Aidan and Chad in Nottingham.
This church was consecrated on 12th of February, 2011 by archbishop Elisey of Sourouzh, father Gregory Butler and several other priests serving in the Romanian Orthodox Church in England. The consecration was preceded by an All-night
Vigil. The very event was centering
mainly around the Holy Table with relics deposited into it,
which was then baptised and chrismated. After the Liturgy that followed the clergy
thanked Vladika Elisey and noted that such a rare event for Great Britain marks the new beginning for the parish of St. Aidan and St. Chad and gives all Orthodox people of Britain a great sign of hope that new churches would be opened there in
Saints Aidan and Chad are highly venerated saints in the United Kingdom not only among Orthodox people but also among those who practice the Catholic religion.
St. Aidan was a Celtic monk; born probably in Ireland about 600 A.D. he lived for many years on the Island of Iona, off the west coast of Scotland. During the rule of the Christian king Oswald St. Aidan was consecrated bishop (year 634) and sent to Northumbria with a mission to preach to people. Lindisfarne was chosen as St. Aidan’s monastic centre. There his monks could have some seclusion as well as could easily walk to the King’s house at Bamborough and to the mainland. The monks of Lindisfarne were mainly missionaries; for the sake of their work they lived in austerity
(they ate sparingly, drank water and wore rough clothes). All
money given to St. Aidan was used to ransom slaves or help the poor.
The mission of St. Aidan had rapid success. With the help of the king his message was translated into Anglo-Saxon for people. With time the missionaries became greatly respected as men who “lived as they taught”.
St. Aidan realised from the start the necessity of “native priesthood”, so he started a school for boys in Lindisfarne. They were taught to read and write, and the Latin they needed for the Gospel. They were trained as priests and missionaries.
his effort the monastic life for women had also started to develop in Northumbria. St. Hild became the first great Abbess, ruling the houses at Hartlepool and Whitby. Therefore from that time women had a chance to devote themselves to God in a life of prayer and service.
Loved and respected by all, St. Aidan died at Bamborough in 651, after 17 years as the first bishop of Lindisfarne.
St. Chad was born in Northumbria. Along with his three brothers he was a disciple of St. Aidan. Chad and his brother Cedd worked tirelessly and established the monastery of Laestingaeu (now Lastingham in Yorkshire). After the death of his brother St. Chad had been chosen to be a bishop of York by king Oswald. Although he was hesitant to be a bishop, he remained obedient to the king. Saint Chad, a Celtic Bishop, played a huge role in unifying the Church in 664 by accepting and recommending to his fellow bishops the adoption of the Orthodox Nicene calendar.
In the year 688 St. Chad’s consecration was found uncanonical and he willingly agreed to give up the See of York. But seeing in him a true bishop and a person of such humble and angelic character, his accusers pleaded with St. Chad to continue his archpastoral ministry and completed the rite of consecration according to all canons.
In 699 St. Chad was called on to be the archpastor of Mercian people who were known as deep pagans. St. Chad considered this to be his true work, bringing Mercian people to Christ. He soon discovered that a great persecution of Christians occurred on the plains of Lichfield in the year 303 A.D. So he moved his See there and his new diocesan Cathedral
and monastery were to be built in that place.
St. Chad is also known as a wonderworker. From time to time he would retire to the bottom of a small well and pray there. Many people claimed to see the uncreated light shining from the well when the saint was praying. His humble prayers could easily cure illnesses and demonic possession. A gifted man of prayer he was also a source of forgiveness even to those who would seek his destruction.
Seven days before his death, in 672, St. Chad was visited by the angelic hosts summoning him to heaven. After that event St. Chad was quickly taken ill (probably by the plague) and on the seventh day his soul “was released from the prison-house of the body”.
The holy relics of St. Chad are preserved in the Roman Catholic Cathedral that bears his name in Birmingham, England.
Н.Б. [(45) 60]
Saint Andrew — apostle of the Slavs, apostle of the Scotts
Let us acclaim the namesake of courage, that herald of things divine, the first-called of the Savior’s disciples, and the kinsman of Peter; for as he formerly cried out to him, so doth he now to us: Come, we have found the Desired One. (Kontakion to St. Andrew)
Apostle Andrew is known to be the first-called disciple of Christ, because together with the holy
Apostle John the Theologian he was the first who renounced earthly pleasures and followed the Saviour. Nowadays he is the patron of Scotland and at the same time of Russia (along with Greece, Romania and Ukraine). Why have so different and remote countries chosen this apostle as their saint and protector? What is it that made Scottish people accept his cross
as one of the national symbols? Why has the Russian Navy become associated with this cross
as well? This essay is intended to discuss these and some other crucial questions concerning the deeds of Saint Andrew and his later veneration.
First of all, a brief investigation of Apostle Andrew’s life seems to be appropriate
. Saint Andrew was a humble fisherman from Bethsaida and at first a disciple of Saint John the Forerunner. He was the one who initially strove towards the Lord and eagerly wanted to see the Messiah. That is why, perhaps, he was deeply touched by the words “Behold this is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) and so quickly and vigorously responded to the call “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matt 4:19). It is he who called St. Apostle Peter, his brother, to the Saviour. Not much evidence is given to his life in the Gospels (he is mentioned as taking part in the ‘Feeding of the Five Thousand’ and in a number of other events); but after the Ascension of Christ and the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles he started his vast missionary work. It is to be examined more carefully.
After the Resurrection of Christ St. Andrew preached the Holy Gospel in the lands of the Scythians, Thracians and Bithynians, in Macedonia and Asia Minor. He is thought to have reached what is modern Georgia, Armenia, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Romania. Particularly remarkable is his activity in the region of the Slavs
. He brought the true faith to what later became Kiev and is believed to have proclaimed there, “Behold these mounts! Here will shine the grace of God and will be raised many churches!” The apostle blessed the mountains and erected there a cross.
Apostle Andrew was a zealous and fervent preacher, however he was not delivered from affliction, wrath and need as not all people piously accepted the proclaimers of the Holy Gospel. Indeed he suffered many hardships and persecutions for the Gospel in various lands. He bore everything with patience and gratitude to God. As Saint John of Kronstadt claims “having nothing on earth and no passionate attachment to anything earthly, the Apostles possessed everything — all spiritual riches, all spiritual power; all spiritual consolation”. Apostle Andrew was granted a spiritual gift, “a gift of all manner of miracles — to heal illnesses, cast out demons, raise the dead; to hold every earthly sorrow, affliction, and life itself in contempt as transitory and succeeding to eternal life” (St. John of Kronstadt). Saint Andrew accepted the death of a martyr, being crucified in the town of Patras in 62 AD. He believed himself unworthy to be crucified on a cross like that of Christ, so he accepted his death on a ‘saltire’, or X-shaped cross (St Andrew’s cross) which became his symbol. This is the symbol that later started to be associated with Scotland and the Russian Navy.
St. Andrew visited the Slavs, but never went to the British Isles. However, it was the Scots who first started to use the symbol of his cross on the flag and treat him as their patron. Two possible explanations are given. The first of them claims, that in the 4th
century emperor Constantine the Great ordered to transfer the relics of the Apostle to Constantinople, the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire. It is said that the monk who was in charge of them, received a vision in which the Angel commanded him to bring the holy relics far to the north-east. His ship wrecked near the coasts of the Scottish town Fife where the relics were buried. Later Fife was renamed St. Andrews and became the centre of early Christianity and pilgrimage. According to another version, Oengus II, a IX century king of picts, prayed for the victory before the battle with Angles. While he was praying, a miraculous white saltire appeared in the blue sky and the Scottish troops won the battle. After the victory Oengus proclaimed St. Andrew to be the patron of the country. Some centuries passed since then and in 1385 the Saltire, consisting of a white representation of an X-shaped cross on a blue background was accepted as the country’s national flag. Now it is one of Scotland's most recognizable symbols. From 1606 it is also a part of the British flag, so-called the Union Jack.
How is it connected with the Russian history, then? It is known that Russian tsar Peter the Great visited England during his Grand Embassy. Whether it was the influence of the Scottish flag or not but he started to devise an ensign for the Russian Navy and Saint Andrew’s flag was chosen. Before that in 1698, Peter the Great established the first Russian medal, the Order of St Andrew, which is to be awarded for military exploits and public service. The Ensign started to be used since 1720. It was not completely similar to the Scottish sample. The difference is that the colours of the Russian Navy and Scottish flags are opposite. In contrast to Scottish one, Russian cross is blue on a white background. During the period of the Russian revolution, the Russian Navy Ensign was changed, but it was used by the White Army up to 1924. The flag of St Andrew was reintroduced in the Russian Navy in 1992, and is still used today.
In conclusion, the figure of St. Andrew as a widely-recognized and beloved Apostle is particularly significant for Scottish and Russian history, culture and religious life. Started whether as a continuity of the Scottish tradition or as an independent enterprise, the usage of St. Andrew’s flag in the Russian Navy is treated as the Apostle’s blessing to the whole country of Russia too.
П.П. [(65) 69,4]
‘Nothing is good or bad but by comparison’
Living here in Russia, we usually do not appreciate things we are used to and which we even do not notice. The LAITY of THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OUTSIDE OF RUSSIA can not
help agreeing that Russian Orthodox people own a priceless treasure – THE CHURCH SLAVONIC
LANGUAGE, the language of THE DIVINE SERVICE. It really is true, because, firstly, we are
involved in the long-lived
tradition, handed down from generation to generation, and, secondly, because we are provided with the already written, commonly accepted
unified PRAYERS, texts of THE GOSPELS, THE EPISTLES, PSALTER, THE PROPHETIC BOOKS, GENESIS, EXODUS and other BIBLICAL books which are read during the LITURGY, ALL-NIGHT VIGIL or GREAT LENTEN CHURCH SERVICES. And these are
not just words.
For a moment just
have a try to
imagine that you are an English parishioner of the English PARISH which relates to the MOSCOW PATRIARCHATE, but you live in the 17th century,
infamous for the so-called DISSENT, caused by PATRIARCH NICON’s Church reforms. Those who afterwards were known as the OLD BELIVERS, or OLD RITUALISTS, struggled against any corrections and changes in the texts of THE SCRIPTURES and PRAYER BOOKS. In other words, people were antipathetic to any kind of differences and alterations in customary practices. So, you will not comprehend the conflict for the very simple reason – in your country it is a norm.
Spending almost five months in Great Britain, we figured out that, from our viewpoint, there is a real problem: absence of unification in the church language. We say even nothing of the fact that the language used in CHURCH SERVICES itself is SECULAR. While living in England, we PARTICIPATED in CHURCH LIFE of the PARISH OF ST. AIDAN AND ST. CHAD in Nottingham: we sang in the
CHURCH CHOIR. From the very outset we realized that the CHERUBIC HYMN can vary not only in melody, which goes without saying, but also in words, which was quite unexpected
for us. Let us present some examples of singing just the CHERUBIC HYMN within one parish:
We, who mystically
represent the Cherubim,
And sing the thrice-holy hymn to the Life-giving Trinity,
Let us now lay aside all the cares of life
Amen. That we may receive the King of all,
Invisibly escorted by ranks of angels
We, who in a mystery
represent the Cherubim,
And sing the thrice-holy hymn to the Life-giving Trinity,
Let us now lay aside every care of this life
Amen. That we may receive the King of all,
Invisibly escorted by ranks of angels
Let us who mystically
represent the Cherubim
And who sing the thrice-holy hymn to the life-creating Trinity.
Now lay aside all cares, all earthly cares
Amen. That we may receive the King of all
Who comes invisibly upborne by the angelic hosts
You would question: Why is it so? But actually, the answer is on the surface. In order to adapt words to a harmonization one has to change either the word order or paraphrase, altering the words themselves. Obviously, for the harmonization by Fateev one had to write the first variant of the Cherubim Hymn, for the Skitskaya harmonization – the second one, and for the harmonization by Kastorsky – the latter one.
As far as the rest CHANTS are concerned, it was more or less unchangeable within the bounds of one parish. However, we came across the cases of unwarranted differences in some chants of the same harmonization, but in different parishes. For instance, if you go to the parish of St. Aidan and St. Chad of the ECUMENICAL
PATRIARCHATE, EXARCHATE OF PARISHES OF RUSSIAN TRADITION IN WESTERN EUROPE (separated from the MOSCOW PATRIARCHATE) instead of the usual LORD HAVE MERCY ON US you would hear LORD HAVE MERCY UPON US, instead of AND FORGIVE US OUR TRESSPASSES AS WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO TRESSPASS AGAINST US in ‘OUR FATHER’ you would rather hear AND FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS, AS WE FORGIVE OUR DEBTORS. Interestingly, replacement of a certain word could also be connected with the PRIEST’S preferences. For example, in prayers to the MOST HOLY AND EVER-VIRGIN MARY our father Gregory prefers to appeal to Her as to MOTHER OF GOD rather than to THEOTOKOS. For this reason the parish’s CHURCH CHOIR CONDUCTOR always substituted the Greek entitlement of OUR LADY to the preferable English one.
Certainly, we might explain these variations in two separated parishes as a consequence of their inner ‘SCHISM’ and their dislike to each other
. However, when we sang in the main Cathedral of the DIOCESE
OF SOUROZH in London, having already been accustomed to the English words in chanted prayers, we noticed several differences in the BEATITUDES.
In the long run, we can draw the conclusion that the Russian Orthodox people are genuinely happy and rich as we are spared
of such problem as,
to put it mildly, ‘language promiscuity’. We must be thankful to ST. CYRIL AND METHODIUS, APOSTELS TO THE SLAVS, for their unsurpassed and giant work in creation of the SLAVONIC ALPHABET.
The Russian Orthodox Cathedral in London
Missionary service abroad can be compared with the service of apostles to whom God commands: “go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Mat. 28:19) and says: “you will be my witnesses not only in Jerusalem but throughout Judaea and Samaria, and indeed to earth's remotest end”. (Act. 1:8)
Until this year I have never had an opportunity to watch the life of our Russian Church abroad. In this essay I want to share my impressions of what I have seen in London in the main Orthodox Cathedral in England, briefly tell about its history and express my point of view on what such parishes mean to people.
On Christmas Day (7 January 2016) I visited a Russian Orthodox Cathedral in London and had a great chance to participate in the Liturgy and receive the Holy Communion. I was struck by the number of people present, there were hundreds of Russians, Ukrainians and even Romanians. The Cathedral also impressed me. Although outside it looks absolutely Anglican, inside I could feel our unique Russian atmosphere. It seems to me that for many people this Cathedral appears to be an oasis in a desert. It is well known how difficult it is to be separated from your motherland, your culture. I believe that this Cathedral plays an irreplacable role for those people who for different reasons have to live abroad. Here they have an opportunity to meet, speak their native language and, what is most important, pray together.
After the unforgettable visit I was thinking about how difficult it is to build a community in the foreign land, how many obstacles are waiting those who want to establish a Church in the country with a different religion and culture. It seems to me that the Orthodox Cathedral in the center of London is one of the best examples of the Orthodox communities abroad.
There has been a Russian Church in London for about 300 years. The Parish itself was established in 1716. At first, all services were held in the Imperial Embassy Chapel. However, after the Russian Revolution, the Imperial Embassy Chapel was closed and a new home was sought for the parish.
There was a long period when different bishops tried to find a new place, which finally became a Church at Emperor's Gate, London SW7. This Church saw many bishops of London when finally in 1995 a beautiful Cathedral was found.
The Cathedral Parish is named after the Dormition of the Mother of God and belongs to the Russian Orthodox Church in Great Britain and Ireland (Moscow Patriarchate). It is located in Ennismore Gardens, Knightsbridge, London, but the Cathedral became Orthodox not at once.
The building of the cathedral was constructed in 1849 as the Anglican Church of All Saints. In 1955, the Anglican parish was merged with another, and the Church of the Holy Trinity on Prince Consort Road became the new parish church. The Church of All Saints was given to the use of the Russian Orthodox parish.
In 1978, it was purchased by the Sourozh diocese, without any funds being solicited or accepted from the Moscow Patriarchate. Over time, up to the death of Metropolitan Anthony in 2003, the parish developed into a multinational one.
From this historical background we can claim that the cathedral clergy has faced a lot of difficulties and obstacles in order to establish the peaceful community in an amazing place - lack of money, space, respect, problems and misunderstandings within the Patriarchate etc. As I mentioned in the beginning they act like the apostles of our age. While thousands years ago apostles had to die but to spread the Christianity all over the world, in our times priests abroad have to endure
the disrespect, total indifference towards their service from the native population. To be honest, I could not imagine the priest’s life abroad; however, after my visit I realized that no matter how many difficulties they have to overcome their work is really rewarding. I saw so many happy faces at Church that I myself was infected with this happiness and felt like being at home.
"Orthodox Quote of the Week"
It is quite clear that the person who is absolutely free is free not only from anybody’s orders & commands, but even from that person’s own desires. I agree with this statement fully, because we can see everyday a lot of people who are their own slaves: they are the slaves of their desires, habbits, wishes. For example, my neighbour is a rentier, he doesn’t work and thinks that he is free. He thinks that he doesn’t need to do anything. But he smokes and watches TV every day, so he has to buy cigarettes, smoke them from time to time, check the news on TV every hour - he can’t live without it. So, he is a slave of his own desires. I think that this statement expresses the idea of humility - one of the main qualities of the Christian people. As for me - I also have desires and habbits: I check up Twitter and Telegram from time to time, I like to visit fast-food restaurants and so on. So if I am able to cut off these desires, I would be freer.
"Orthodox Quote of the Week"
Enjoyment of exemption from sins and desires is a real value for every true Christian. Those people who have reached the condition when they keep the commandments not because of fear of being punished, but because of endless love towards God. They do not let sin to possess their bodies and souls, that is why they are free.
One of the brightest examples of Christian freedom is living a monastic life. From a secular point of view, the monastics are stuck in the same area, they do hard and boring stuff every day, they do not socialize and entertain themselves and in the end they are completely unable to do what they want. Can an average Christian claim the same thing? Of course, not! We are slaves of our cravings and desires, of our “belongings” and pseudo-values, but becoming a monk means to renounce passions and “goods” of
a civilization, which do not do any actual good for us.
1. All Christians are ought to show constant PERSEVERENCE in prayers, in obedience to Christ's commandments. Thus we can resist THE ALLURMENTS and enticing PLEASURES OF THIS WORLD.
2. Sometimes people fail to recognize GOD’S PROVINDENTIAL DISPENSATION to the world and they consequently lose faith getting frustrated and despondent. We must remember that THE GRACIOUS GOD does care for all humans and sometimes failures, disasters and misfortune are a blessing in disguise.
3. Cyril and Methodius were Christian missionaries among the Slavic people from Byzantium, who UNDERTOOK MISSIONARY JOURNEYS to the Slavonic towns. They also wanted to set Slavonic as THE LITURGICAL LANGUAGE and to make it possible they created Slavonic alphabet and Slavonic SERVICE BOOKS.
4. Before the establishment of monasteries people who craved SELF-HUMILATION, WITHDREW INTO THE FOREST to lead EREMITIC LIFE. The vivid example is that of Sergius of Radonezh, who FOUNDED A HERMITAGE dedicated to the Holy Trinity in the forest.
5. It’s essential to be able to WORSHIP at least every Sunday and receive COMMUNION FREQUENTLY. TO COMMUNICATE means to receive the Body and Blood of Christ.
Quote of the week
I cannot but agree with this statement. Our mind so stubbornly refuses to think about our impending death which is inevitable, and consequently we end up committing all manner of sins without any single concern about our fate in eternity. We conveniently forget about our mortality and that we don’t possess the knowledge about the time when we depart this life. We cease participating in the Church mysteries, praying – we give up following Christ commandments as inessential and ineffective, which can contribute substantially to spiritual impoverishment - some people may even become spiritually cruel and ferocious.
Some of this can be undoubtedly applied to me - I fear the thought about my future departure from this life, sometimes I avoid thinking about it, which leads to disobedience to certain commandments, neglect of their vital importance.
To sum up, it is significant for all human beings to be constantly aware of the fact that we are mortal and our existence here is alarmingly temporal, so that we should strive to obey commandments, be moral, kind and compassionate, thus getting closer to deification to achieve union with God.
1) The Slavs were CHRISTIANIZED in the reign of Vladimir in 988. Since that time Orthodoxy became the State religion of Russia.
2) Vladimir was conscious of the Christian law of mercy: he canceled DEATH PENALTY, and CORPORAL PUNISHMENT was very little used. He also placed emphasis upon THE SOCIAL IMPLICATIONS OF CHRISTIANITY: he distributed food to the orphans, poor and sick.
3) Slavonic is used as THE LITURGICAL LANGUAGE in such countries as Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro, Poland, Russia and Ukraine.
4)Archbishop Luka Voyno-Yasenetsky WAS CONSECRATED AS ARCHBISHOP OF Simferopol and of the Crimea in 1946. Apart from being a spiritual writer and a doctor of divinity he was an outstanding surgeon and the founder of purulent surgery.
5) Triodion, Octoechos, Horologion, Typicon are SERVICE BOOKS of the Orthodox Church.
6) At the end of the third MISSIONARY JOURNEY the holy Apostle Paul visited Jerusalem and then was sent to Rome to be judged by the emperor Nero. He was sentenced to beheading.
7) SACRED VESSELS are used in celebrating the Holy Communion. These are asterisk, chalice,
ciborium and paten.
8) The PRINCIPALITY of Serbia was a semi-independent state in the Balkans that came into existence as a result of the Serbian Revolution.
9) MOUNT ATHOS is the only place in Greece that is completely dedicated to prayer and worship of God. For this reason, it is called the Holy Mount.
10) Alexander Nevsky, one of the great WARRIOR SAINTS of Russia, inflicted decisive defeat upon THE TEUTONIC KNIGHTS in 1242. He put up a strong resistance as they intended to reduce the Russian "SCHISMATICS" to THE JURISDICTION OF THE POPE.
11) Alexander Svirsky was concerned with THE PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS OF THE GOSPEL and followed Christ in his life of poverty and voluntary SELF-EMPTYING. At the age of 19, he left home for the Valaam Monastery and spent further time of his life as monk, including some period of total isolation from society.
12) SAINT ALBAN is considered to be the British protomartyr. He is traditionally believed to have been beheaded in the Roman city of Verulamium during the 3d or the 4th century.
13) ST. BOTOLPH was one of the earliest and most revered of East Anglian saints and became known as the patron saint of wayfarers.
14) Saint Sergius of Radonezh being a young man of mere twenty left his parents' estate and WITHDREW INTO THE uninhabited, dense FORESTS and FOUNDED A HERMITAGE dedicated to the Holy Trinity that finally became THE GREATEST RELIGIOUS HOUSE IN THE LAND within Sergius lifetime. He followed Christ in his life of DELIBERATE SELF-HUMILIATION: spent his days in bodily labors, spiritual reading and prayers.
Quote of the week (к 25.11.15)
People should always keep in mind that life is given not for filling it with an endless joy or amenities, but for preparing ourselves for transition into eternal world where
the eternal life begins. But on the contrary seeing all earthly temptations people assume that this is the real life and this will last until death, and after the death will be nothing, or another earthly life. Such people don’t understand that after the death their souls will be transferred to the eternal world where some live in Heaven, others in Hell, the distribution depends on the deeds performed on earth.
It’s difficult to control yourself, your thoughts, your deeds because sometimes nothing depends on you but on others. But this is life it is meant to be difficult, and in any difficult situation before acting in a certain way we should remember that from our deeds depends our future eternal life and we shouldn’t be concentrated only on earthly life, for it is limited.
"Orthodox Quote of the Week"
I completely agree with the statement. We are liable to pass speedy judgments on the sins of those surrounding us with alarming frequency. People may sin overtly, which we are rather quick to notice, but they may do good deeds and repent of their sins covertly. Our eyes can be easily deceived and therefore it is not we who are to judge our neighbors, but it is God who has the right to judge. We are extremely prone to all manner of mistakes, and our judgment is often false due to its subjective nature.
For instance, I have a casual acquaintance who was infamous for having a rather idle lifestyle: she was a club-goer, smoking-lover etc. I tended to judge her, denouncing her as vulgar, but soon learnt that she constanty repented her sins to God and she has now given up the previous habits almost completely.
To sum up, we oughtn’t judge people according to what we see
visually. «Clothes count only for first impressions», and first impressions are infamously wrong and indecent sometimes. We must be careful while analyzing others, and yet better – leave it to God.
"Orthodox Quote of the Week"
The issue stated in the quotation is astutely topical nowadays. A great number of people perform good deeds with self-reliance, pride and without humility. People constantly feel demotivation, frustration and despondency when they fail to do good deeds which proceeds from pride. One must acknowledge that everything is possible only through God’s providence. God doesn’t always give us strength to do good deeds, but rather strengthens our passions so that we admit them and humble ourselves — so that we put our hope in God and in prayers rather than in ourselves, our power. «A heart that is broken and humbled God will not despise» (Ps: 50:17).
Sometimes I am liable to feel anxious and disgruntled when I don’t succeed in doing good deeds, for instance when I can’t help someone I know when they ask me, especially when I had whole-heartedly promised to do that.
To sum up, we should not be as arrogant as to rely on our own strength and luck. It is all from God that is done, successfully or not, through His unerring providence, and we ought to be humble in case of failure.
Quote of the week (к 28.10.15)
Reading this quote we have to admit that unfortunately it is true. Everyday people sin sometimes deliberately in order to insult someone or prove something, sometimes they do it unconsciously. I personally think that the problem is not in the amount of sins we commit, but in the way how we understand the act of confession and further repentance. Because many people think that after confession when all their sins are forgiven they start a whole new life, and they can sin over and over again. But in fact
the life remains the same and by the act of confession and repentance a sinner promises to himself and to God to do as much as he can in order to avoid sins he had done before.
"Orthodox Quote of the Week"
It is quite an obvious fact that frequent repetition of something can form strong habits which reflect inner state of a particular person. For example, having a practice of constant prayer and maintaining unblotted thoughts in your mind moves your closer to pious way of life, but having a habit of truant behavior and incautious talk cannot give you anything but step-by-step degradation, maybe unnoticeable at first.
St. Isaac of Syria once said: “Fear evil habits more than demons”. There is nothing to add to this clear and expressive statement, because fighting against habits is the hardest, sometimes almost impossible thing. You have to generate strong opposing force to resist that evil inertia of habit. We should just start “smashing” them, not only in our minds, but also by our repetitive actions to make them a routine, to acquire a new, really good habit.
1. David WITHDREW TO THE FOREST of Hareth in the mountains of Judah to avoid the fury of Saul.
2. The spirituality not only draws its followers into times of solitude but also calls on them to provide times and PLACES OF RETREAT to others, especially to the poor.
3. Absolute trust and confidence in God will always attract and SECURE HIS BLESSING.
4. THE ‘WILDERNESS of Judea’ (Matthew 3:1) is a wild, barren region, lying between the Dead Sea and the Hebron Mountains.
5. THE ALLUREMENTS OF THIS WORLD are to take us away from focus on worship.
6. In one sense, we’ll never know how many times GOD actually PROTECTED us.
7. The University will make every effort, in its timetabling of examinations, to avoid holding examinations on religious days or festivals which occur during examination periods for those students whose commitment to THE OBSERVANCE OF THEIR FAITH would otherwise cause them to miss the examination.
8. Antichrist and the PRECURSOR OF ANTICHRIST have been, and remain, terms of the most intense opprobrium.
9. Keith leads the PASTORAL STAFF and the extended leadership team.
10. As they WITNESSED TO THEIR FAITH they brought others to believe.
11. It is expected that these meetings will look at the diseases of Orthodoxy today. The first of these is the increase of racist thought and the SAD CONFUSION BETWEEN ORTHODOXY AND NATIONALISM.
12. The Academy of PARISH CLERGY is an international organization of clergy serving in faith communities of all sizes and in a variety of locales.
13. She didn't want to stop working, but finally she BOWED TO THE INEVITABLE and retired.
14. Workers can UNDERTAKE MISSIONARY WORK, pastoral or preaching work, or work within a religious order or community, such as a monastery or convent.
15. On 28 April 1950 the union with Rome was abolished and all THE UNIATES of Czechoslovakia were declared Orthodox.
16. Cited evidence about THE SUPREMACY OF THE POPE in the earliest days of the church is a matter of dispute.
"Orthodox Quote of the Week"
Due to the fact that our passions are ever present and ever active, we ought to be constantly vigilant, trying to combat enticements to the best of our abilities. And since out inner efforts are mostly unsufficient, the most viable option is to perform actions that are directly opposed to our passions – the external effort. For example, to suppress stinginess it is necessary to become generous; to combat pride, it is necessary to choose a humbling occupation. It is true that one such mode of action does not lead directly to the aim, because the passion may erupt inwardly, but the more we practise this approach, the more effective our attempts are. We need to choose our friends, our work, our activities, and so forth, so that we do not allow ourselves to be tempted in ways we cannot control.
From my own experience I can say there is a great number of situations when I am enticed into such vices as pride, hostility, hatred, rancor, resentment. And although not always successfully, I do try to adopt this approach of acting vice versa: showing kind disposition towards offenders by friendly word or some favours. For instance, I frequently fall out with my roommate due to our mutual misunderstanding or her unjust attitude to me. However, in spite of my resentment, I do try to revive our friendship by inviting her to go out or watch a film – thus, in action, we forget about our conflict and consequently forgive each other.
Taking everything into consideration, we must learn to be watchful of our inner thoughts as well as take direct actions to counter the rise of a passion. Both are useful in our spiritual effort to regulate our passions.
"Orthodox Quote of the Week"
Your heart never suffers the loss of something that has been obtained with no effort. Losing presents, for instance, is easier that losing something you have bought by yourself. This statement can also refer to our souls. The person becomes better, purer after making a lot of effort, after overreaching himself. For many Orthodox monks and saints it took years to return back on track, to start following the Law of God step by step. They have become purer after sorrows and hardships they faced in their lives. Monks leave this everyday life; they sacrifice it to the eternal life with God. And the harder this way of life is obtained, the stronger is the faith, the smaller is the temptation to give it up.
"Orthodox Quote of the Week"
I completely agree with this statement. When people strive to get something against all the odds, all manner of hardships, they sincerely appreciate it, reflecting upon all the efforts they’ve put to succeed. Skills, knowledge, the career people pursue are the more valuable to them the more they are gained and achieved with great industry and constant effort. We have a wise Bible proverb:
«Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathers by labor shall increase». [13:11].
Christianity is no exception. The consolidation of faith is largely due to our constant struggle with worldly enticements, sins and weaknesses. We have grown accustomed to having everything happen quickly and without delay, we also expect our spiritual lives to be on the same quick time line. We don't have the patience to build upon the knowledge of the Holy Fathers, so we don't practice regular spiritual reading. To strengthen our faith we have to learn through repentance, the discipline of fasting, prayers, partaking of the sacraments, continuous struggle with our sins and pernicious habits. We will not understand our faith unless we fight these trends with everything in our power. St. John of Kronstadt expressed it best: “This battle with the strong and cunning invisible enemy plainly showed me how many infirmities, weaknesses, and sinful passions there were in me – how strong a hold the prince of this world had over me, and how I had to struggle hard with myself, with my sinful inclinations and habits, and conquer them, so as to be as far as possible invulnerable to the arrows of the enemy”.
"Orthodox Quote of the Week"
This statement seems to be indisputable. Since childhood many of us have been told that we would value the price of broken toys when we would work for them ourselves. But being an adult you realize that this idea can be applied to any sphere of our life, especially spiritual life. The most valuable and desirable thing that we are eager to achieve – salvation – sometimes seems to be unattainable. And because of its inaccessibility it does not become less desirable. The same can be said about forgiveness. If forgiveness was something easy to receive, no one would really care
about asking for it, no one would consider a transgression as something baneful and destructive. Having once achieved merciful forgiveness, that was hardly deserved, we would try our best to keep this bestowal.
Peter and Stephen of Kazan are Russian saints of the sixteenth century, who UNDERWENT PERSECUTION by the MOSLEM world because, once CHAMPIONS OF ISLAM, they embraced Christianity and showed true PERSEVERANCE in the OBSERVANCE of Christian FAITH. They rejected the ALLUREMENTS AND PLEASURES OF THIS WORLD and WITNESSed TO THEIR FAITH by accepting martyrdom.
Group 353: Spring 2015
1) The bell rang, CLERGY and LAITY went out of the church to start a procession.
2) The Orthodox Church doesn't accept the Roman Catholic dogma of Papal INFALLIBILITY.
3) People started to EXALT God when THE HOLY FIRE appeared.
4) It was SACRILEGE to speak like that and laugh at the icon.
5) The work for which THOMAS AQUINAS is best known is the SUMMA.
6) We have little information about the life of SAINT DIONYSIUS THE AREOPAGITE. But we know that he was CONVERTED TO Christianity by the PREACHING of the Apostle Paul.
7) One of the reasons why the Slavs were CHRISTIANIZED was the CYRIL and METHODIUS's work. They translated the SERVICE BOOKS into SLAVONIC so that people could listen to the services and sermons in their own language.
1. The commemoration day of ST. METHODIUS AND CYRIL is considered a feast day of philologists. Holy Brothers from Thessalonica were not just EVANGELISTS who INITIATED THE MISSIONARY JOURNEY, but creators of the SLAVONIC alphabet (‘PRIMER’ for the Slavs), translators of necessary service books (the HOLY GOSPEL, the BOOK OF THE HOURS, the PSALTER and others). Thanks to them Slavonic became THE LITURGICAL LANGUAGE. Even today we HOLD SERVICES in Slavonic. In Slavonic we GLORIFY our GRACIOUS GOD with ONE MOUTH AND ONE HEART singing the CREED, the CHERUBIC HYMN, the TRISAGION and other chants.
2. MOUNT ATHOS is a monastic republic. The THEOTOKOS Herself chose this place as an object for Her MISSIONARY WORK. The Virgin Mary is a CHAMPION LEADER of all monks (the spiritual warriors) in never-ending SPIRITUAL COMBAT, UNSEEN WARFARE.
1) REVERENCE, compassion, BROTHERLY LOVE and keeping COMMANDMENTS OF GOD are some of the prerequisites for the salvation of our souls.
2) In our world of WRATH, factiousness, and all kinds of INIQUITIES we should be united in ONENESS OF MIND and mutual love and nurturance.
3) The ESTRANGEMENT between Christian Churches in early centuries is largely derived from disagreement on various MATTERS OF DOCTRINE, but apart from DIFFERENT DOCTRINAL APPROACHES political disunity should be taken into account as well.
4) Through the CRUCIFIXION Christ REDEEMED our TRANSGRESSIONS and thus gave us the opportunity to achieve salvation of souls by constant DEIFICATION.
5) God is LONGSUFFERING and PLENTEOUS IN MERCY, so by sincere and constant repentance we can receive THE REMISSION OF OUR SINS.
6) On the 12th of April this year GOOD TIDINGS WERE PROCLAIMED: Our Lord Jesus Christ is risen from the dead, bestowing salvation to those in the tombs.
7) The parents of St. PHOTIUS THE GREAT, who is deemed one of the greatest patriarchs of Constantinople, were martyred during the ICONOCLAST persecution and he was to be a future leader of the Church.
8) NICHOLAS CABASILAS, who was a LAY THEOLOGIAN – the theologian who didn’t receive formal theological training, wrote homilies on various subjects and was also a Byzantine mystic, whose mysticism was always CHRISTOCENTRIC, SACRAMENTAL, ECCLESIAL.
9) SAINT GREGORY PALAMAS, who was a monk of Mount Athos in Greece and a theologian of HESYCHASM, developed THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN THE ESSENCE AND THE ENERGIES OF GOD: we know God in His energies, not in His essence.
10) Saint DIONYSIUS THE AREOPAGITE, who was a judge of the Areopagus and the first Bishop of Athens, contended, that GOD IS INFINITE AND INCOMPREHENSIBLE.
11) SAINT JOHN CLIMACUS, who was a 7th-century Christian monk at the monastery of MOUNT SINAI, was the first to encourage the constant INVOCATION OF THE NAME «JESUS», contemporarily known as the Jesus Prayer.
12) One of the major causes of SCHISM between the Eastern and the Western Churches is the PAPAL CLAIM to UNIVERSAL SUPREMACY — full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church.
13) The WANTON SACRILEGE of THE CRUSADERS was a profound obstacle to the REVIVAL of the unity between Christian Churches: they tore to pieces the altar and icon screen in the Church of the Holy Wisdom and stole relics, thereby increasing the spirit of WRATH and hatred.
Saint Theodosius was conscious of THE SOCIAL CONSEQUENCES OF CHRISTIANITY and THE PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS OF THE GOSPEL. He followed Christ in his life of poverty and voluntary "SELF-EMPTYING." He INTRODUCED in the Petchersky Lavra THE RULE OF THE MONASTERY of the Studium at Constantinople.
Saint Dimitry Donskoy was the GRAND DUKE OF MOSCOW who fought with the Mongol SUZERAINTY over Russia and became one of the great WARRIOR SAINTS.
1) The SUPPLICATIONS of THE MEEK will be HEARKENED to and those who MAGNIFY God with a CONTRITE HEART will be delivered from any WANT and TRIBULATIONS.
2) During the rule of Russian Empress Elizabeth DEATH PENALTY was omitted and CORPORAL PUNISHMENT was MITIGATED. The focus of the Empress was on THE SOCIAL IMPLICATIONS OF CHRISTIANITY: helping to the poor and the sick, supporting widows and orphans.
3) What was BENEFITIAL for the newly-ENLIGHTED Slavs is that the Church in Russia didn’t suffer DOCTRINAL CONTROVERSIES, as they had been solved in Byzantium earlier.
4) Less than thirty years had passed since the Slavs were CHRISTIANIZED when the first saints — BROTHERS Boris and Gleb SANCTIFIED the Russian Church with their feat and were recognized as
the PASSION BEARERS.
During the Late Middle Ages from 1200 to 1500, PRINCIPALITIES were often at war with each other as royal houses asserted sovereignty over smaller principalities.
The uproar is the latest development in an ongoing, tangled DOCTRINAL CONTROVERSY at Cedarville University, an independent Baptist college with about 3,000 students.
Missionaries have tried to CHRISTIANIZE native people all over the world.
The chalice occupies the first place among SACRED VESSELS.
The diezmo was a compulsory ECCLESIASTICAL TITHE collected in Spain and its empire from the Middle Ages until the reign of Isabella II in the mid-19th century.
When the Slavs were CHRISTIANIZED the faith became the main part of their life. It even SERVED THE ENDS OF NATIONAL POLITICS which was thought by some scholars to be UNBENEFICIAL because it led to national problems, so nationalism was THE BANE OF ORTHODOXY for a long time. On the other hand the Orthodox faith united people and provided them with peace and harmony. For example in Kievan Russia St. Vladimir mitigated all savage laws, DEATH PENALTY was abolished, CORPORAL PUNISHMENT was little used. This happened because Vladimir followed THE CHRISTIAN LAW OF MERCY.
1. The Gospel of Luke contains 24 PARABLES.
2. CHARLEMAGNE was the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.
1) The Chrism used at Chrismation and the Antimension placed on the Holy Table are also said TO BE CONSECRATED.
4) Old CHURCH SLAVONIC, also known as Old Church Slavic, was the first Slavic literary language.
5)The PRINCIPALITIES are named thus because they have command over the lower angels, directing them to the fulfilment of divine orders.
6)Ancient ALTARS were raised structures that people placed sacrifices on.
7) The languages that are used by the Church in her official worship are known as LITURGICAL LANGUAGES.
MISSIONARY JOURNEYS have always been of utmost importance for the Orthodox Church. Those who INITIATED MISSIONARY WORK tried to HOLD SERVICES in the language of the people, so that they understood the LITURGICAL LANGUAGE. The translation of SERVICE BOOKS also played a significant role in spreading our faith.
1) True Christians FORSAKE everything that HINDERS them from following Christ and with FERVENT heart strive towards God.
2) According to the APOPHATIC THEOLOGY, God is INFINITE, INCOMPREHENSIBLE and UNAPPROACHABLE.
3) DIADOCHUS OF PHOTICE and SAINT JOHN CLIMACUS of MOUNT SINAI are the most excellent ASCETIC WRITERS whose works were used by SAINT GREGORY PALAMAS in the period of HESYCHAST CONTROVERSY.
4) The works of an unknown author, who was earlier thought to be SAINT DIONYSIUS THE AREOPAGITE, were widely used by such authors as SAINT MAXIMUS THE CONFESSOR and THOMAS AQUINAS in his SUMMA.
5) HESYCHASTS have an IMMEDIATE EXPERIENCE of UNAPPROACHABLE God through INNER RECOLLECTION. However they don’t deny GOD’S TRANSCENDENCE, for He is KNOWABLE and UNKNOWABLE at the same time.
6) While Evagrius of Pontus relies on PLATONISM and ORIGEN and denies the role of man’s body in REDEMPTOIN and DEIFICATION, Saint Macarius of Egypt uses HEBRAIC ideas and REDRESSES this opposition in his HOMILIES.
7) THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN THE ESSENCE AND THE ENERGIES OF GOD is such that although God is TRANSCENDENT and “THE WHOLLY OTHER” in His essence, He becomes IMMANENT and ENTERS INTO A DIRECT AND IMMEDIATE RELATIONSHIP WITH MANKIND through His energies.
the GREAT LENT there are three Saturday Divine Liturgies devoted to COMMEMORATION OF THE FAITHFUL DEPARTED. The Orthodox people commemorate their BLESSED memory and IMPLORE the God to grant them THE REMISSION OF SINS AND OFFENCES, grant them A PLACE OF GREEN PASTURE, A PLACE OF REST and place them in the BOSOM OF ABRAHAM, ISAAC, and JACOB.
THEOTOKOS is deemed as the most zealous protector of all the Orthodox people, who name Her reverently OUR MOST HOLY, PURE AND MOST BLESSED LADY, THE MOTHER OF GOD, EVER-VIRGIN MARY.
Every believing Christian knows the CHERUBIC HYMN, but not everyone is aware of the existence of the, so called, Seraphic Hymn. Usually we know the words of this Hymn, but we do not suspect
of its name. The words of the Seraphic Hymn are as follows: HOLY, HOLY, HOLY LORD OF SABAOTH; HEAVEN AND EARTH ARE FULL OF THY GLORY. HOSANNA IN THE HIGHEST. BLESSED IS HE THAT COMETH IN THE NAME OF THE LORD.
The Great Lent is a precious period of time when we should CAST ASIDE ALL EARTHLY CARES, think of the salvation of our souls more thoroughly and spend more time IN INNER RECOLLECTION.
In accordance with the GOSPEL OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, we should keep
bearing in mind the day of the DREAD JUDGEMENT OF CHRIST in order to live each day PERFECTLY, HOLILY, PEACFULLY AND SINLESSLY.
Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution humiliates and underestimates the human being for in fact it denies the BIBLICAL DOCTRINE OF MAN, according to which MAN WAS CREATED IN THE IMAGE OF GOD.
Saint Gregory Palamas drew
the doctrine of THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN THE ESSENCE AND THE ENERGIES OF GOD so that to prove that HESYCHASTS really had the mystical experience of THE VISION OF DIVINE AND UNCREATED LIGHT.
According to Barlaam the Calabrian's doctrine of God’s “OTHERNESS” AND UNKNOWABILITY IN AN EXTREME FORM God is to be known INDIRECTLY and people have no opportunity of AN IMMEDIATE EXPERIENCE OF GOD because of our sinfulness.
According to the BIBLICAL DOCTRINE OF MAN Hesychasts are not guilty of GROSS MATERIALISM in their prayers, they are just faithful to the concept of the FLESH AS AN INEXHAUSTABLE SOURCE OF SANCTIFICATION.
ARTOKLASIA, which means “breaking bread”, is a special prayer service that is done in the Greek Church. The FIVE LOAVES are reminiscent of the five loaves that Jesus Christ blessed in the desert and by which FIVE THOUSAND of His followers were fed.
1) She suffered years of mental TORMENT after her son’s death.
2) Many first-century Christians were MARTYRED for their faith.
3) We could take the path to PIETY only with the help of God's grace.
4) They left gifts for the gods to appease their WRATH.
5) If we repent, Merciful God WHO LOVEST MANKIND grants ABSOLUTION of any TRANSGRESSION VOLUNTARY and UNVOLUNTARY.
6) Sometimes we are so self-centered that we do not really notice that we make OFFENCES against our neighbours.
7) One of the obediences was reading the Psalter FOR THE DEPARTED.
8) There are nine RANKS OF ANGELS. These are Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Lordships, Powers, Authorities, Principalities, Archangels and Angels.
9) Before receiving the PRECIOUS GIFTS you have to keep fast and pray.
10) On the Great Feasts people do not make prostrations.
11) Only the remembrance of the DREAD JUDGEMENT OF CHRIST prevents me from condemning others.
During the Liturgy we all pray to the LIFE-CREATING TRINITY to give us REVERENCE, GOOD ESTATE of the churches and the BOUNTIFUL MERCIES. After receiving PRECIOUS GIFTS, we thank God for His mercy.
All people have their GUARDIAN ANGELS who guard them during their life. They pray for us, so that all our VOLUNTARY AND INVOLUNTARY OFFENCES may be forgiven.
The MACARIAN HOMILIES REDRSSED the matter of body’s role in the prayer stated by EVAGRIUS. Saint Macarius uses THE HEBRAIC IDEA OF THE HEART, that comprises will, individuality, emotions etc, to express the unity between body and soul.
God’s TRANSCENDENCE means that God is INFINITE, INCOMPREHENSIBLE and UNAPPROACHABLE. To affirm God's transcendence and deny His IMMANENCE is to arrive at deism. To deny his transcendence and affirm his immanence is to arrive at pantheism.
1. RELIGIOUS REVIVAL of Constantinople was achieved due to Michael VIII who brought to an end CRUSADERS' SHORT-LIVED kingdom.
2. Eastern and western Churches were able to find a compromise agreement on RECOGNITION of the PAPAL CLAIMS and on RECITATION of the CREED with the FILIOQUE.
3. Not to GROW FURTHER APART in their THEOLOGY east and west had to DESIRE SINCERELY CHRISTIAN UNITY on RELIGIOUS GROUNDS.
4. A PATRISTIC ATMOSPHERE in Byzantium was mainly preserved by specific MANNER OF UNDERSTANDING THE CHRISTIAN LIFE.
5. SYNTHESIS of philosophy and theology was reflected in western SCHOLASTICISM.
6. APOPHATIC THEOLOGY because of the inexactitude of humans language can speak of God only in NEGATIVE TERMS.
APOPHATIC THEOLOGY is a THEOLOGICAL METHOD that attempts to describe God by NEGATION that means that due to INCOMPREHENSIBILITY of God it’s less misleading to speak in terms of what might not be said about God.
SCHOLASTICISM is European medieval philosophy presenting a GREAT SYNTHESIS of theological background with rationalistic methods that was INCONSISTENT with PATRISTIC ATMOSPHERE in Byzantium.
1) During THE LITANY OF FERVENT SUPPLICATION the prayers are offered for a country’s CIVIL AUTHORITIES AND ARMED FORCES,
for our delivering from BITTER TORMENT, for the PROSPERITY, peace and TRANQUILITY of the whole Orthodox Christendom.
2) MYSTICAL THEOLOGY which was worked out by CLEMENT and ORIGEN OF ALEXANDRIA, THE CAPPADOCIANS and their disciple Evagrius of Pontus, a monk in the EGYPTIAN DESERT, has two tendencies, one of them is APOPHATIC THEOLOGY.
THE PORCH OF SOLOMON was a colonnade or a portico located on the east side of the
New Testament Herod’s Temple.
The CRUSADERS acted with
the WANTON SACRILEGE during the Fourth CRUSADE.
The HERALD entered and bowing low gave a writing with good TIDINGS.
He refused to HEARKEN to elder's words of wisdom.
Tablets of the Covenant were given to Moses on the MOUNT SINAI.
The FORERUNNER preached the BAPTISM OF REPENTANCE and IMMERSED people in the water of JORDAN. But it didn't BESTOW THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS. Only those who repented and received Christ got the REMISSION OF SINS.
Pope Honorius was ANATHEMATIZED by the Sixth ECUMENICAL COUNCIL as a heretic.
Macarius of Egypt is known for his wisdom and IMMATERIAL WAY OF LIFE.
In 410 Rome was attacked by the VISIGOTHS, led by Alaric I.
Group 353: Fall 2014
1) THE CEREMONY OF THE HOLY FIRE is one of the most joyful events in the Orthodox Church. All CONGREGATIONS gather and wait for the fire to come down from heaven.
2) When CRUSADES began with great ECLAT, as these warriors thought, a lot of Orthodox bishops, Patriarchs and even the Emperor of Byzantium were DISPOSSESSED. But they didn’t give up, because it was their SPIRITUAL COMMITMENT to protect the Church from
THE WANTON and SACRILEGE.
The development of a SCHISM was conditioned by such factors as politics, economy, cultural problems, but the most important factors were PAPAL CLAIMS and THE FILIOQUE. Before the open schism East and West had gradually become strangers to each other, this ESTRANGEMENT caused breaking in the COMMUNION OF CHRISTENDOM. Also a huge impact on the severance between East and West had THE RISE OF ISLAM. THE MEDITERRANIAN WORLD which belonged to ROMAN EMPIRE, now was under ARAB CONTROL.
In Byzantium many LAYMEN were educated and what is more, they were interested in THEOLOGY, many BYZANTINE PATRIARCHS used to be layman. Whereas in the West there was only one way to become an educated person it was provided by CHURCH FOR IT’S CLERGY, this education was the only one which survived through THE DARK AGES. Only PRIESTS were interested in theology, because the laity could not even read. Back to the Orthodoxy we can see that there was no such SHARP DIVISION BETWEEN THE CLERGY AND LAITY. Also we can tell that there were DIFFERENT DOCTRINAL APPROACHES in East and West.
THE POPE believed his IMMEDIATE POWER OF JURISDICTION to be extended to the East and to the West.
As claimed his ABSOLUTE POWER on the East The Greeks objected. The Pope had a PRIMACY OF HONOR, but not the UNIVERSAL SUPREMACY, also the Pope viewed INFALIBILITY as his own PREROGATIVE.
Besides two main issues, the PAPACY and the filioque, there was another one which was very important and which caused misunderstandings between East and West, it was the issue of CHURCH WORSHIP AND DISCIPLEINE. While Greeks allowed married CLERGY, Latins pressed for PRIESTLY CELIBERACY. What is more, these two sides had different RULES in FASTING,
for instance: The Greeks used LEAVENED BREAD in the EUCHARIST whereas the Latins – UNLEAVENED BREAD which was also called as AZYMES.
Khomiakov charged the West with MORAL FRATRICIDE because the west altered the CREED arbitrarily, it is a SIN against the UNITY OF THE CHURCH.
Orthodox consider filioque to be THEOLOGICALLY UNTRUE, they believe that the SPIRIT proceeds only from the FATHER, and charge with HERESY everyone who claims that He proceeds from the SON too.
In Orthodoxy a PATRIARCH OF CONSTANTINOPLE PHOTIUS is known as
a Saint Photius the Great. He was regarded as a great politician and diplomat, soon after his ACCESSION he was involved into a DISPUTE with Pope Nicholas I. Soon Photius was considered as a USURPER. Nicholas wanted to look further into the conflict between Photius and Ignatius – the previous Patriarch, so he sent LEGATES. Legates were treated with DEFERENCE, also they were invited to a COUNCIL. In the end the legates decided that Photius was a LEGITIMATE Patriarch.
In 867 Photius wrote an ENCYCLICAL LETTER addressed to Patriarchs of the east. The main point of the letter was the DENOUNCING THE FILIOQUE and charging those who use it with heresy. Photius SUMMONED UP a Council on which Nicholas I was EXCOMMUNICATED.
As I think, the real schism started after THE PAPACY had adopted the filioque and the Patriarch of Constantinople did not include the name of new Pope in THE DIPTYCHS, although the latter do not form an INFALLIBLE guide to Church relations.
We know that besides THE CLAIMS TO UNIVERSAL JURISDICTION there were a lot of disputes between the West and the East, for example about the UNLEAVENED BREAD or “AZYMES”, which were used in the Eucharist in the West.
Our God Jesus Christ came to REDEEM MANKIND from sin.
He was a very MEEK person full of COMPASSION and love.
We are all FETTERED by our sins and only MIGHTY God can LOOSE and COMFORT us.
On Easter Day my soul was EXCEEDING GLAD as never before.
These have been the days of PERSECUTION and TRIBULATION for Christians.
Don't be so ANXIOUS! Set aside your WRATH and try to puzzle it out.
He was known as a MERCIFUL and COMPASSIONATE man, righteous in word and in DEED.
In times of sorrow and MOURNING don't lose heart but pray and remember that our God is PLENTEOUS IN MERCY.
She acted as a PEACEMAKER in the dispute.
Throughout history, Christians have been REVILED and PERSECUTED FOR their beliefs and faithfulness to Christ.
You have to COMMIT YOURSELF UNTO CHRIST, otherwise your soul will PERISH.
Our LONGSUFFERING God forgives all our INIQUITIES and INFIRMITIES if we have repentance and truly want to change our life. He EXECUTES JUDGMENT according to His lovingkindness.
Papal LEGATES were often used to declare PAPAL CLAIMS TO UNIVERSAL JURISDICTION, to strengthen the ties and promote RECONCILIATION between Rome and
the many parts of Christendom. ENCYCLICAL LETTERS were written to ENFORCE THE PAPAL CLAIMS and to indicate high Papal priority of an issue at a given time. For example, papal legates could choose to issue A BULL OF EXCOMMUNICATION that was laid by them upon THE ALTAR in 1054.
I agree with the idea of Saint Photius’ ENCYCLICAL LETTER where he CHARGED those who used the filioque WITH HERESY. This letter was followed up by SUMMONING A COUNCIL, which DECLARED Pope Nicholas EXCOMMUNICATE.
The USURPER Leo III banned veneration of icons ten years after his ACCESSION. Those who treated icons with great DEFERENCE were CHARGED WITH HERESY. This prohibition of a custom which had been in use for centuries received the support of the CIVIL AUTHORITIES and a section of the clergy who were lost in INIQUITY, destroying icons, frescos and other types of holy images. And until Patriarch Methodius SUMMONED A COUNCIL in 843, ICONODULES were in great TRIBULATION. That council was the final defeat of Iconoclasm and THE TRIUMPH OF ICONS.
1) A lot of Popes tried to ENFORCE THE PAPAL CLAIMS especially THE CLAIM TO UNIVERSAL JURISDICTION in the east. That led to terrible conflicts such as when patriarch Photius WAS DEPOSED FROM ALL PRIESTLY DIGNITY or when Pope Nicholas WAS DECLARED EXCOMMUNICATE.
2) We pray to the ONLY-BEGOTTEN Son of God and the UNORIGINATE FATHER and implore to save the FETTERED and the FALLEN, to help the MEEK.
It is known that the ACCESSION of Saint Photius the Great happened 15 years after THE TRIUMPH OF ICONS, but supporters of Ignatius considered him A USURPER. Before the Pope proclaimed him TO BE DEPOSED FROM ALL PRIESTLY DIGNITY, he sent the LEGATES to him, who were treated with great DEFERENCE. While Nicholas was busy asserting PAPAL CLAIMS, especially his CLAIM TO UNIVERSAL JURISDICTION, Saint Photius dealt with the question of
the filioque and wrote AN ENCYCLICAL LETTER. In his letter he wrote about CHARGING of those who used the filioque WITH HERESY, continuing his letter by SUMMONING A COUNCIL in Constantinople.
1) We pray to our Lord for THE FETTERED and THE FALLEN, so that He saves them from PERISHING.
2) In 325 the First COUNCIL of Nicaea was SUMMONED where Arius was CHARGED WITH HERESY and his EXCOMMUNICATION WAS DECLARED.
The word SION has several meanings:
1. A south-west hill in JERUSALEM, where once there was a fortress. Beginning with ancient PROPHETS (JEREMIAH, EZEKIEL, ISAIAH, DANIEL) the Jewish tradition connected SION with the notion of a landmark. For the Jews the Sion became a symbol of Jerusalem and THE PROMISED LAND. Today there are the Sion Gates on the top of the hill which lead to the Old Town. In front of it there is a temple in honour of the DORMITION OF THE THEOTOKOS in Sion.
2. In the Bible the Sion is merely called the Sion, David’s town, God’s DOMINION, a holy mount. In metaphorical meaning Sion means Jerusalem itself, the whole JUDEA, the Jewish people.
3. A TABERNACLE.
When MOSES descended from the Mount SINAI where he had received TEN COMMANDMENTS from God of HOSTS, he saw the Jewish people committing INIQUITIES, i.e. prostrating in front of the golden calf. There was no ONENESS OF MIND amidst
the God’s people. Moses broke the Decalogue in WRATH.
The ONLY-BEGOTTEN SON of God DEIGNED to descend from
the heaven, to be INCARNATE from THE MOST HOLY, PURE AND MOST BLESSED LADY, THE MOTHER OF GOD AND EVER-VIRGIN MARY and become a man lest we should be PERISH.
1) In 858 Photius WAS APPOINTED as a new Patriarch, he was involved in a DISPUTE with a Pope Nicholas I soon after his ACCESSION.
2) Photius is known as the MOST SKILFUL diplomat and the most outstanding PATRIARCH of Constantinople, many people treated him with DEFERENCE.
1) To be
the true Christians and gain RIGHTEOUSNESS we shall keep the TESTAMENT of our Lord, fulfill His COMMANDMENTS and always remember that we are made of DUST.
2) Julius Caesar was the USURPER, who since his ACCESSION treated no one with any DEFERENCE.
The cause for ESRTANGEMENT between east and west wasn't only secular but theological. Ultimately, there were two MATTERS OF DOCTRINE: FILIOQUE and THE PAPAL CLAIMS.
The AUTOCRATIC STRUCTURE is the common feature of western Church.
In 1531 Maximus the Greek was accused of heresy and MISTRANSLATION of DEVOTIONAL BOOKS, then he was exiled to the Otroch Monastery in Tver.
OLD BELIEVERS separated from the official Russian Orthodox Church as a protest against church reforms introduced by Patriarch Nikon in the 17th century.
1) The LEGATES were sent to Constantinople where they were treated with great DEFERENCE.
2) The Greek Church strongly believes the FILIOQUE to be THEOLOGICALLY UNTRUE, moreover, many theologians think that it is a heresy accepted by the west. It is well known that Orthodox Church accuses Catholics of being guilty of MORAL FRATRICIDE, because they acted against the UNITY of the Church when added filioque into their CREED.
3) Every day we ask our LONGSUFFERING and MERCIFUL God in our prayers to help us to KEEP ALL THE COMMANDMENTS, to attain the RIGHTEOUSNESS and not TO BE WRONGED.
In religious organizations, THE LAITY consists of all members who are not a part of THE CLERGY.
A CELIBATE PRIESTHOOD can dedicate their life to God much better than a married priesthood.
You should keep adding flour and water to the same small lump of dough, the dough will become sour with the waste products of the yeast. This is how we get LEAVENED BREAD. Making UNLEAVENED BREAD is much easier: once the flour and water are mixed, the bread is ready to bake in a short time.
A man who confessed can BE GIVEN COMMUNION.
THE CRUSADES were of a military nature. Western European Christians organized them for liberation of the Holy Land from the Muslims.
1) In the Liturgy we always pray for THE SICK, THE SUFFERING AND THE CAPTIVE and ask our Lord, unto Whom Alone are due all GLORY, HONOUR AND WORSHIP, for FAVOURABLE WEATHER and the increase of the fruits.
2) The Orthodox and the Catholics have divergence of views in many aspects of faith and CHURCH WORSHIP AND DISCIPLINE, such as TRINITARIAN THEOLOGY, PRIESTLY CELIBACY, THE DIPTYCHS and using LEAVENED or UNLEAVENED BREAD during the Liturgy.
In the twelfth cenury the Pope believed his IMMEDIATE POWER OF JURISDICTION to spread in the east, but the Greeks, for example, assigned to him A PRIMACY OF HONOR, but not the UNIVERSAL SUPREMACY. A twelfth-century writer NICETAS criticized the idea of INFALLIBILITY of THE ROMAN PONTIFF.
1. The days of LENT are really essential to each Christian, for it is the time after which spiritual joy SPILLS OVER into a bodily feast during Pascha. Traditionally, these days are set apart for prayer and fasting and I strive to live with AUSTERITY as mush as possible to cultivate humility and restore inner peace.
2. Almsgiving is an immensely generous and unstinting help to those in real need: as God opens His BOUNTIFUL HAND and gives us food, so can we. CHARITABLE WORK, in general, is SET APART as the most powerful ACT OF KINDNESS a man can bestow.
3. Between all the Christians there should be
a strong KINSHIP, BROTHERLY LOVE and ONENESS OF MIND, for we altogether COMMIT OURSELVES and one another and all our life unto Christ our God. The members of the priesthood are the BENEFACTORS of all the faithful, who help us follow the paths to Christ by CELEBRATING SERVICES.
4. Icons are the VEHICLES OF THE SPIRIT, i.e. SPIRIT-BEARING and all Christians PROSTRATE before them, VENERATE and REVERENCE them. We MAKE OBEISANCE toward Christ, Our Savior, depicted on them.
During the reign of CHARLEMAGNE the interpretation of the doctrine by eastern and western Churches became more complicated by problems of language: THE GREATEST SCHOLARS of the century ceased to be BILINGUAL.
“IN PEACE LET US PRAY TO THE LORD” is the first prayer of the GREAT LITANY, when people pray about THE PEACE OF THE WHOLE WORLD.
One of the reasons of the increasing ESTRANGEMENT between eastern and western Churches was the problem of the MATTERS OF DOCTRINE: THE PAPAL CLAIMS and THE FILIOQUE.
THE SAYINGS OF THE DESERT FATHERS is the text consisting of wisdom stories describing the desert fathers and desert mothers who used to LEAD LIVES OF CONTEMPLATION AND their ASPIRATIONS TOWARD UNION with God.
THE AUTOCRATIC STRUCTURE OF THE WESTERN CHURCH implicates the Papal supremacy not only over the Church and its ECCLESIASTICAL SUBORDINATES but also over SECULAR RULERS.
THE SHARP DIVISION IN DOCTRINAL APPROACHES had touched upon the whole CHRISTIAN MYSTERY: the matters of WORSHIP, the CRUSIFIXION, REDEMPTION and DEIFICATION.
A disagreement had appeared between eastern and western churches on some vital MATTERS OF DOCTRINE namely the PAPAL CLAIMS and the FILIOQUE.
THE RISE OF ISLAM caused some difficulties in CULTURAL and ECONOMIC CONTACTS between the eastern and western parts of the MEDITERRANEAN WORLD.
The HOSTILITY and DEFIANCE of Roman Empire towards Constantinople SERVED TO ALIENATE east and west more that ever.
Many ECCLESIASTICAL DISPUTES made it harder to MAINTAIN RELIGIOUS UNITY between Greek east and Latin west which DRIFTED APART.
There has always been a conflict over PAPAL CLAIMS. Even though Greeks gave the Pope A PRIMACY OF HONOUR, THE ROMAN PONTIFFS wanted to have UNIVERSAL SUPREMACY. Popes think that INFALLIBILITY is their own PREROGATIVE.
For some reasons relations between western and eastern CHRISTENDOM were difficult due to the absence of a common language. It caused MISUNDERSTANDINGS, and sometimes there were DELIBERATE and MALICIOUS MISTRANSLATIONS. Two sides could not cooperate with each other any more. Due to the separation Greeks and Latin APPROACHED THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERY in a different way. Speaking about the TRINITY, Latins started with the UNITY OF THE GODHEAD, while Greeks with THREENESS OF THE PERSONS.
1) In the western Church there was a SHARP DEVISION BETWEEN CLERGY AND LAITY because most of the LAITY were uneducated and the so-called LAY THEOLOGIANS didn’t exist.
2) In the Middle Ages people could easily do DELIBERATE AND MALICIOUS MISTRANSLATIONS of the Bible and confuse others. These translations often contained
the false DOCTRINAL APPROACHES and spoke wrongly about DEIFICATION, REDEMPTION and other ultimately important issues.
Religion was present in every aspect of Byzantine SOCIAL LIFE. Almost all
types of FEASTS were religious. Many citizens, not only SCHOLARS and CLERGY but also UNEDUCATED and POOR people had a BURNINNG INTEREST in questions of religion.
PRAYER plays an important role in our life, it is the main WEAPON in our SPIRITUAL COMBAT against DEMONS, EVIL, and the DEVIL. Prayer can be used as a source of MOTIVATION which can help in a moment when people have
any doubts concerning LIFE, because life is a BATTLE, and each person has his or her own BATTLEFIELD against ENEMIES who try to lead people away from GOD. Prayer helps a lot in this WARFARE to the LAST BREATH.
1) The beginning of THE GREAT SCHISM is officially considered to be the year 1054, when the LEGATES OF THE POPE placed a BULL OF EXCOMMUNICATION upon THE ALTAR in THE SANCTUARY in the Church of the Holy Wisdom at Constantinople.
2) CHARLEMAGNE is thought to have been a SEMI-ICONOCLAST.
3) Saint John the Baptist is also called THE FORERUNNER as he was the prophet who PREPARED THE WAY BEFORE God and whose “VOICE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS” (Mark 1:3) urged people to MAKE the Lord’s PATHS STRAIGHT.
4) St. Seraphim of Sarov is known for his ANGELIC way of life.
1) In the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, a variety of new religious movements sprang up that aimed to revive PAGANISM and PAGAN RITES.
2) THE FIRST ECUMENICAL COUNCIL of the Christian Church was SUMMONED BY Constantine the Great in 325. The main work of the Council was the condemnation of ARIANISM.
3) Though MONOPHYSITISM was CONDEMNED at the Fourth Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon in 451, and repressed as a result it continued to have many adherents.
4) CAPPADOCIAN Fathers gave full meaning to the classic summary of the TRINITARIAN DOCTRINE.
5) THE TRIUMPH OF ORTHODOXY is celebrated on the first Sunday in Lent. During this service Orthodoxy is PROCLAIMED, its DEFENDERS ARE HONORED, and ANATHEMAS PRONOUNCED ON all ICONOCLASTS and other heretics.
Now it is understood that IT WAS NOT JUST CAESERO-PAPISM which played a role in the subordinating the Church to the State in Byzantium: there were two distinct elements — THE PRIESTHOOD and THE IMPERIAL POWER. That's why, though emperor JUSTINIAN was not the EXPONENT of Orthodoxy, he had TO SUMMON COUNCILS.
When Eastern and Western Cristendom were UNITED IN FAITH AND COMMUNION the LEGATES OF THE POPE could enter THE SANCTUARY of any church.
The placement of A BULL OF EXCOMMUNICATION upon THE ALTAR was the beginning of the schism between East and West, who quarrelled over MATTERS OF DOCTRINE.
CAESARO-PAPISM is the POLITY when THE PRIESTHOOD and all the ECCLESIASTICAL MATTERS are kept under control of THE IMPERIAL POWER.
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of LATTER-DAY saints consider the belief in God and the INCARNATION as the corner stone of their religion.
BESET by so many temptations THE LATTER-DAY Orthodox Christians can FEEBLY strike a path to LIFE OF CONTEMPLATION, they are always supposed to lead AN “UNSEEN WARFARE” against evil.
Holy venerable Sergius of Radonezh was THE GREAT PIONEER in establishing HESYCHASM in Holy Russia. By his WITHDRAWAL FROM SOCIETY into closure he FULFILLED A PROPHETIC AND ESCHATOLOGICAL MINISTRY. Venerable Sergius established the monastely with the COMMUNITY LIFE where monks DWELLED together under A COMMON RULE.
Before THE DIVINE LITURGY OF ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM THE THIRD and THE SIXTH HOURS are read.
It is very important to read THE CANON TO JESUS, THE AKATHIST HYMN TO SWEETEST JESUS, THE AKATHIST CANON AND THE AKATHYST HYMN TO THE MOTHER OF GOD and THE CANON TO THE GUARDIAN ANGEL.
1. In our UNTHEOLOGICAL AGE, primates of all Patriarchates and representatives of Local Orthodox Churches have decided this year to SUMMON THE Eighth ECUMENICAL COUNCIL in Istanbul (former Constantinople) in 2016. On this Council the following issues will be discussed: THE CYCLE OF FEASTS AND FASTS, abolition of some fasts of the LITURGICAL YEAR (the ADVENT, or the NATIVITY FAST, the DORMITION and the APOSTOLIC fasts), correction of some inaccuracies in the PASCHALION, unification of the CHURCH CALENDAR OF THE LITURGICAL COMMEMORATIONS and ORDER OF THE DIVINE LITURGY, orders of proclaiming AUTOCEPHALY and AUTONOMY.
2. One of the most moving chants in the ORDER OF THE FORGIVENESS is “Hide not thy face from thy servant; for I am in trouble: hear me speedily” when all the laymen in the church start kneeling and PROSTRATING THEMSELVES in PENITENCE.
3. In today’s Gospel reading we have heard THE BEATITUDES. We are called uponto be saints and we must follow Christ, His teaching. Now we know a huge number of ASCETICS who rejected EARTHLY BLESSINGS and chose WITHDRAWAL FROM SOCIETY and SOLITUDE, LEADING THE SOLITARY LIFE. But we are not obliged to become HERMITS and LEAD THE EREMETIC LIFE. We can strive to attain sainthood by loving with genuine Christian love, doing CHARITABLE WORK, GIVING ALMS, being merciful, patient.
RELIGIOUS ART CENTERED ON the HOLY ICONS, the pictures of CHRIST, the MOTHER OF GOD, and the SAINTS which were kept and VENERATED both in churches and in private homes did not CEASE with the ICONOCLAST attacks.
CHRISTIAN ART deepened the understanding of the CHARACTER OF CHRIST'S HUMAN NATURE and the true meaning of His REDEMPTION.
THE PRECIOUS and LIFE-GIVING CROSS is equally venerated to the BOOK OF THE GOSPELS, which are both regarded as MATERIAL SYMBOLS of the Christian faith.
The CHIEF CHAMPIONS OF THE ICONS such as Saint John of Damascus and Saint Theodore of Studium led the Orthodoxy to victory against those who REJECT THE COUNCILS OF THE HOLY FATHERS.
1) THE HOLY MONASTIC FATHERS LED LIVES FULL OF CONTEMPLATION, they were in constant CONVERSATION WITH THE EVERPRESENT GOD and HAD ASPIRATIONS TOWARDS UNION WITH HIM, as they were always looking to the day when we may join THE UNCEASING DOXOLOGIES OF HIS HEAVENLY COURT.
2) The Orthodox and Catholics, once UNITED IN FAITH AND COMMUNION, were separated in 1054 as the result of controversies in the MATTERS OF DOCTRINE, particularly THE PAPAL CLAIMS and THE FILIOQUE.
3) In our MORNING and EVENING PRAYERS and also in PRAYERS DURING THE DAY we should call upon our GUARDIAN ANGEL.
Except Besides celebrating THE DIVINE LITURGY OF ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM or St. Basil the Great and such services as VESPERS and MATINS, there are also THE CANONS FOR THE SICK AND FOR THE DEPARTED, THE AKATHIST HYMNS TO SWEETEST JESUS AND TO THE MOTHER OF GOD which are usually served in our churches.
At the FEAST OF THEOPHANY we bring home some holy water and SPRINKLE our BELONGINGS.
The apples that were blessed at the FEAST OF TRANSFIGURATION my granny usually keeps on the table, while the branches of PUSSY WILLOW, blessed on PALM SUNDAY, she keeps in the ICON CORNER.
I wonder how the Emperor could be the heart of THE CHRISTIAN POLITY OF BYZANTIUM and THE VICEGERENT OF GOD if he could not CELEBRATE THE EUCHARIST.
Nowadays the head of the country can't RECEIVE COMMUNION "AS PRIESTS DO", PREACH SERMONS and CENSE THE ALTAR.
There are priests who are NOT JUST doing their ordinary things like CENSING THE ALTAR, PREACHING SERMONS and other things which PRIESTS DO, but also take part in the social politics in our city.
THE PRIESTHOOD and THE IMPERIAL POWER are the most important things at all times.
He has never PILGRIMAGED to MOUNT SINAI, but he has been traveling in PALESTINE, UNDER THE GUIDANCE OF his ELDER brother.
A LAY MONK usually lives in the MONASTIC HOUSE, where are no ORDERS. They also can live
in the ASCETIC HOUSE in WITHDRAWAL and SOLITUDE.
MONASTICISM has different forms. First of all it is THE EREMITIC LIFE when monks lead the SOLITARY LIFE, secondly it is the SEMI-EREMITIC LIFE when groups of six monks live in small settlements UNDER THE GUIDANCE OF AN ELDER and finally the COMMUNITY LIFE when monks live together in the CLOISTER.
People having A CONSUMING DESIRE to do CHARITABLE WORK FOR the POOR AND BEGGARS are BESTOWED upon the Kingdom of Heaven.
During the THEOLOGICAL AGE each person from LAITY to scholars often was INTEMPERATE and ACRIMONIOUS while discussing different doctrinal ideas.
1) By LEADING THE SOLITARY LIFE monks FULFILL A PROPHETIC AND ESCHATOLOGICAL MINISTRY. Through all AUSTERITIES of the EREMETIC LIFE they attain spiritual perfection.
2) When BREAKING a long FAST we should not care about the abundance of food, but we are always to remember the LOVINGKINDNESS of our Lord Who gives us with His BOUNTIFUL HAND everything we need.
I heard the story about THE ARCHANGEL GABRIEL, who came to St. Mary to announce to her that Christ would be born, and MARY'S WILLING ACCEPTANCE, when I was a child, on THE feast of ANNUNCIATION.
During LENT, which is also called THE GREAT FAST, I am always waiting for PASCHA.
A SPIRIT-BEARING man is a person who has acquired the Holy Spirit, is filled with His grace and has become a VEHICLE OF THE SPIRIT.
When they woke up, they saw their Master in an extraordinary way: He emitted a bright light and His clothes became dazzling. And two men in a blaze of THE CELESTRIAL GLORY close to him. The disciples recognised in them Moses and Elijah.
THE CLERGY consists of three degrees of priesthood: deacons, priests and bishops.
One of the most important
and ancestral traits of the Christian faith is TO MAKE OBEISANCE to the saints.
CHARITABLE WORK and ALMSGIVING is able to BESTOW UPON US the kingdom of heaven already here on Earth, as it makes our hearts kind, gracious and open to grace.
THE BEGOTTEN, THE UNBEGOTTEN and the Proceeding… only these hypostatic properties tell the difference between three holy Hypostases, inseparably distinguishable not in nature, but by the distinctive properties of each Hypostasis.
There are a lot of icons in the Orthodox Church. People PROSTRATE themselves before them and kiss them; icons are CENSED and carried in PROCESSION. But people must always remember that we MAKE OBEISANCE not to the wood, but to the person depicted. We do not WORSHIP icons but VENERATE or REVERENCE them.
THE CYCLE OF FEASTS AND FASTS includes TWELVE GREAT FEASTS (DORMITION OF THE MOTHER OF GOD, THEOPHANY, MEETING OF THE LORD etc.) and four fasts e.g. ADVENT, LENT. These days are meaningful not only for the CLERGY but for all FAITHFUL, they remind us of the CELESTIAL GLORY and the DISGRACE of the demons.
The Orthodox Church has twelve great feasts such as THE ANNUNCIATION, THE ASCENSION, PENTECOST, THE TRANSFIGURATION etc. These feasts are the great joy for us and help us not to be ACRIMONIOUS and INTEMPERATE during our every-day life.
The FAITHFUL should not WAFFLE ON such important issue as the Trinitarian nature of God, because there has been THE REVELATOIN OF THE TRINITARIAN GOD. It is celebrated on PENTECOST.
MONASTICISM is a form of SPIRITUAL vocation. First it EMERGED in Egypt at the beginning of the 4th century. BY WITHDRAWING FROM SOCIETY monks became exemplars of Christian life. In the middle of the 4th century in Egypt there formed three types of monasticism: HERMITS, COMMUNITY LIFE monasticism and the form of SEMI-EREMITIC LIFE .
Each SEE takes part in CHARITABLE WORK to help homeless and disabled people.
The pupil is very INTEMPERATE and ACRIMONIOUS, but he does CHARITABLE WORK conscientiously.
1) Eggs which we DYE on PASCHA are symbols of new life, which we were BESTOWED UPON by THE MESSIAH.
2) We know holy patriarch JOHN THE ALMSGIVER as a saint who never was INTEMPERATE or ACRIMONIOUS, but who was occupied with CHARITABLE WORK and constantly INVOKED THE HOLY TRINITY.
Few FEASTS offer more elation than Easter when you perceive the SPIRITUAL JOY THAT SPILLS OVER INTO A BODILY FEAST. The CELESTIAL GLORY descends not only upon the CLERGY but also upon ALL THE FAITHFUL in those bright days.
1) There are special Church calendars which help THE FAITHFUL to follow the CYCLE OF FEASTS AND FASTS. They usually include not only TWELVE GREAT FEASTS, such as THE NATIVITY OF THE MOTHER OF GOD, THE EXALTATION OF THE CROSS, CHRISTMAS and others, but also other MINOR FEASTS and SAINT’S DAYS.
2) The fast for a Christian is not just A VEGAN DIET. While fasting we follow the example of Christ Himself, when He kept fast in the WILDERNESS before going for His MINISTRY.
The DEPARTED people after the FUNERAL SERVISE go away to the EVERLASTING world.
The icons help us to see God. When we want to ask God for something we PROSTRATES OURSELVES before the icons, kiss them and burn candles in front of them. In such way we show our VENERATION to the saints who are DEPICTED. If an Orthodox asks with love in his heart, he will be DEIGNED worthy by saints and God.
The ICONOCLASM is a religious and political movement that was held against worshipping the IDOLS. THE ICONOCLASTS considered the HOLY IMAGES as idols and VENERATING the icons as IDOLATRY according to the Old-Testament commandments.
1) We venerate HOLY IMAGES and THE PRECIOUS AND LIFE-GIVING CROSS, but do not worship them.
2) We celebrate THE TRIUMPH OF ORTHODOXY which is COMMEMORATED IN A SPECIAL SERVICE ON “ORTHODOXY SUNDAY” thanks to EMPRESS THEODORA who SUSPENDED THE PERSECUTION and REINSTATED the icons.
Group 253: Spring 2014
1. THE ICONOCLASTS (or ICON-SMASHERS) considered the HOLY IMAGES as idols and the cult of the veneration of icons as IDOLATRY.
2. The seventh ECUMENICAL COUNCIL summoned by THE EMPRESS IRENE in NICAEA studied the passages of the Holy Scriptures about veneration of the saints and their Holy Images and proclaimed the icons to be venerated as well as “THE PRECIOUS AND LIFE-GIVING CROSS”.
All people can FALL INTO HERESIES, such as GNOSTICISM,
MARCIONISM, NOVATIANISM, DONATISM because many of them don’t believe in the TRINITY or the INCARNATION or THE SALVATION OF MAN. It becomes easier for such people to listen to the false teachers rather than to the teachings of the CHURCH and CHRIST.
In order TO CELEBRATE the OFFICE the BISHOP should wear special clothes. For example: a CHASUBLE, an EPIGONATION, a SAKKOS, a PALITSA, a MITRE and a STAFF.
When people feel that they are guilty or their life is full of SIN they start to look for REPANTANCE, they can find it in such SACRAMENT as
A CONFESSION. The repentance means a movement to the KINGDOM OF GOD. The confession itself is not enough, it is important to IMPROVE yourself.
1. THE MONOTHELITE HERESY was a sort of compromise uniting Chalcedonian viewpoint of two natures in Christ with acceptance of united will of the God-Man, which was a position of opponents of Chalcedonian theology.
2. According to the religion of ISLAM, Allah is God, Creator and Maker of all existing things.
Numerous disputes on Church rites caused A ROCK OF OFFENCE among Orthodox people in Russia in the 17th century. These disputes were mostly caused by Nikon, the PROTAGONIST of a Church reform. Many people were against that and there was a lasting schism in the society. Some opponents of the Church reform were anathematized. Moreover, they were zealously persecuted; of course, that didn’t contribute to BRINGING THEM BACK INTO COMMUNION. Even nowadays there are a lot of points of view on the MATTER, MODERN SCHOLARS have not come to a conclusion about the necessity of the reform.
1. When people feel SICK bodily or SPIRITUALLY, such SACRAMENT as ANOINTING WITH OIL can help these people. It has
some spiritual power.
The BISHOPS are compared to SHEPHERDS who look after the FLOCK. Indeed, PRIESTS or bishops in a way are leaders. They lead us to the salvation, to the Kingdom of God.
1. Each Orthodox Christian must know the CENTRAL MESSAGE OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH, for it is a message of REDEMPTION. For us, students of Orthodox St. Tikhon's University, it is extremely important because we are called upon by our Lord Jesus Christ, as once were His disciples, to bring the message of THE SALVATION OF MAN into the world.
2. Heresies are utterly dangerous since they deprive us of the means to ATTAIN SALVATION through DEIFICATION. The fact is that any heresy IMPAIRS THE TEACHING OF THE NEW TESTAMENT granted to us by our God in order that we are be able to struggle with our SINFULNESS.
3. In the first year all students of our University are to study such discipline as Dogmatic Theology. It is one of the favourite and most appealing subjects among students because it covers such significant issues as THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY (or TRINITARIAN DOCTRINE), DOCTRINE OF THE INCARNATION, SEVEN ECCUMENICAL COUNCILS. We have a unique opportunity to listen to priests’ lectures about various HERESIES, such as ARIANISM, MONOPHISITISM, MONOPHELITISM and so on, about lives and works of outstanding PREACHERS, THEOLOGIANS, fathers of the Church, e.g. CAPPADOCIAN FATHERS, JOHN CHRYSOSTOM and others.
4. Have you ever inquired why the WEDDING RING is worn on the RING FINGER? Certainly, not because the finger is named ‘the ring’ one. The fact is that there is a vein in this finger which joins with a heart. Thereby it symbolizes the unity of MAN AND WIFE after their BETROTHAL and WEDDING when their hearts became one.
5. I was fairly surprised to know that MARRIAGE CROWNS have to do with MARTYRDOM, for they signify CROWNS OF MARTYRS. It means that MARRIAGE is a genuine feat.
6. An unspeakable feeling of relief embraced me while a priest, having covered my head with his STOLE, was saying the PRAYERS OF ABSOLUTION. And unspeakable joy filled my heart, the heart of the PENITENT, as I realized that hitherto I was RELEASED FROM MY SINS I had CONFESSED.
The Nicene Creed reflects the concerns of the First Council of Nicaea in 325 which had as its chief purpose to establish what Christians believed and to make people turn away from the SIDE-TRACK of heresy AND TOWARDS THE GOAL OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD. It is said in the Nicene Creed that Christ is "of one essence with the Father" (DIVINITY of Christ) and "was incarnate and was made man" (HUMANITY of Christ). So the Nicene Creed just in few words gives us the true idea about the nature of Christ, that He is TRULY GOD AND TRULY MAN.
In many Orthodox families parents read their kids “the Bible for children”, because they want them to know the history of Christianity, to know such people as ABRAHAM, ISAAC, JACOB, ELIJA, ELISHA etc.
In the fifth century the organization of the Church was based on the PENTARCHY, on five sees, which CLAIMED APOSTOLIC FOUNDATION and were responsible for the ECCLESIASTICAL ORDER and ECCLESIASTICAL ORGANISATION.
1) Once I was present at my friends' WEDDING. The BETROTHAL was beautiful: the couple was led into the church, they held WEDDING CANDLES, then they WERE CROWNED with the MARRIAGE CROWNS, the rings were placed on their RING FINGERS, which represented ETERNAL PROMISE AND UNION. At the end of the WEDDING the couple stood in front of the SOLEA and all congratulated the two people who had become MAN AND WIFE.
2) We should follow the Orthodox tradition and read the Holy Scriptures in order not to FALL INTO HERESY.
The fourth GENERAL COUNCIL in CHALCEDON was devoted to condemnation of MONOPHYSITISM and expounding the DOCTRINE of HUMANITY and DIVINITY of Jesus Christ.
CONFESSION as a SACRAMENT plays a very important role in the lives of Orthodox people. Only through this sacrament a PARISHIONER can REPENT and receive FORGIVENESS. This sacrament symbolizes an eager wish of the PENITENT to turn away from a SIDE-TRACK towards the KINGDOM OF GOD.
When we go to CONFESSION we usually prepare beforehand. As PENITENTS we thirst for BEING RELEASED FROM SINS. That’s why it’s such a special moment when the priest covers a penitent with the EPITRACHILION (or STOLE) and says PRAYERS OF ABSOLUTION. The PARISHIONER then ASKS THE PRIEST FOR A BLESSING so that he (or she) can participate in the Divine Mysteries.
MONOPHYSITISM was one of the most powerful heresies, which denied the FULLNESS OF CHRIST’S MANHOOD. Only in 451 the Orthodox Church managed to refute this belief by ACCLAIMING THE TOME OF SAINT LEO THE GREAT, POPE OF ROME in which it was said that Christ is TRULY GOD AND TRULY MAN.
3. Some historical UPHEAVALS CAUSED different kinds of APOSTASY.
4. Some people feel that there’s a BARRIER preventing them from entering the CHURCH. They cannot comprehend INCOMPARABLE RELEVANCE of attending the Divine Liturgy.
6. Nowadays when the TRADITIONAL ALLIANCE between Church and State is going to be revived it is difficult to imagine that only a few years ago CHRISTIANS were PERSECUTED.
7. Sometimes CHAPELS are built on places of ruined TEMPLES.
9. The LOCAL CHURCH is not only part of a WORLDWIDE ORGANIZATION, but it is also a EUCHARISTIC SOCIETY which can exist only locally.
10. During the SERMON the priest surrounded by his FLOCK ILLUMINATES like a torch the minds of PARISHIONERS with the Word of God.
The SERMONS of the priests who serve in our local church are very AUSTERE, but they are also very FLUENT AND ELOQUENT.
Churches are built in different SHAPES, e.g. BASILICA, OCTAGON and CROSS. There is a GRADUAL progression towards the Kingdom, represented by the SANCTUARY, in the basilica. The circle gathers God’s creation together under the DOME of heaven. The church plays an important role in Christian’s life. Everyone who considers himself Orthodox should come to the house of God. And of course, we should MAKE THE SIGN OF THE CROSS as we come in.
Firstly, when we come to the church, we see the ICONOSTASIS OR THE ICON SCREEN with a lot of ICONS. Everybody can pray in front of the icons. Also, here we have some RELICS of saints. Orthodox believe that the grace of God which was present in a saint’s life remains after the death. We should also come to the icon of the RESURRECTION or of a SPECIAL FEAST in the middle of the church and light candles which we buy at the CANDLE DESK, make the sign of the cross twice, kiss the icon and make the sign of the cross again.
The main part in the church is the ALTAR where there is the HOLY TABLE with the ANTIMINS on it. Also there are the GOSPEL BOOK, the CROSS, the SEVEN-BRANCHED CANDLESTICK, the TABERNACLE. All these holy things are necessary for the Holy Liturgy.
It’s generally known that the Orthodox Church has seven SACRAMENTS, e.g. the sacrament of BAPTISM and CHRISMATION. Everyone who receives these sacraments becomes a member of the Church. The person should be ANOINTED with the oil and IMMERSED three times in the water with the prayer. After this they are DRESSED IN THE BAPTISMAL ROBE and then PUT THE CROSS AROUND THE NECK. And at the end of the rite the people LINE UP TO KISS the cross.
Saint Spyridon took part in the FIRST ECUMENICAL COUNCIL of Nicea where he countered the theological arguments of ARIANISM.
The SERMONS of Saint John of Kronstadt led many people to repentance and prompted them to take up the cross and follow Christ.
The CAPPADOCIANS defending the Christian faith from heresies can be named true apologists.
Saint JOHN CHRYSOSTOM had fervent faith and led the strict and AUSTERE life.
THE COUNCIL OF NICAEA in 325 condemned ARIANISM.
The liturgy of SAINT JOHN CHRYSOSTOM is attributed to JOHN THE GOLDEN MOUTH, archbishop of CONSTANTINOPLE in the 5th century.
I think that THE LITURGY shouldn’t be CELEBRATED in secret CHAPELS: it should be CELEBRATED freely everywhere. THE TRADITIONAL ALLIANCE BETWEEN CHURCH AND STATE must be a guarantee for freely CELEBRATED CHRISTIAN WORSHIP: everybody should know that CHRIST IS RISEN.
I’ve never read the original texts of SAINT DIONYSIUS THE AREOPAGITE, SAINT MAXIMUS THE CONFESSOR or THOMAS AQUINAS.
According to some beliefs it is acceptable to take BAPTISM when you are a little child, and this ceremony is followed by PRAYERS OF NAME-GIVING and IMMERSION into the holy water water. But CHRISMATION may take place when you are an adult and you have real intention to become a member of the Church.
The councils established the most important doctrines, but then many THEOLOGIANS continued that work explaining people what these doctrines meant. CAPPADOCIAN FATHERS talked about GOD'S THREENESS and the ONENESS IN GOD trying to explain the TRINITARIAN DOCTRINE. Saint Athanasius spoke about THE UNITY OF GOD. We all also know SAINT JOHN CHRYSOSTOM, who was A FLUENT AND ELOQUENT PREACHER; thanks to his SERMONS a lot of people TURNED TO CHRIST.
1. One night a youth, being on Mount Athos as a pilgrim, was awakened by singing heard in a CHAPEL, located nearby. The young man thought it was time for the PROSKOMIDIA as an initial part of the DIVINE LITURGY. He set off to the chapel. Coming up to it, he heard the CHERUBIC HYMN. The voices of the CHOIR were heavenly, incredibly enchanting. He was utterly stuck when he found the church locked while the singing was carrying on. Then he decided to catch a glimpse of what was happening inside the temple through the window. He was surprised, even shocked at the sight of the Angels. He rushed to the guesthouse where he was staying with the aim of taking a recording device. He managed to record the wondrous chant sung before the central part of the Service – EPICLESIS AND CONSECRATION OF THE GIFTS. Interestingly, that cherubic hymn was sung only until the words: “…cherubim singing the thrice holy hymn to the Life-giving TRINITY”. The words about EARTHLY CARE were not included.
2. George was impressed by the atmosphere in the temple. He visited it for the first time in his life. The first thing that he noticed was the STAR OF BETHLEHEM painted on the wall, the star, marking the birth of the INCARNATE God, marking the COMING OF CHRIST to the sinful earth. The CHOIR and the CONGREGATION were singing THE CREED. George could not recognize a word, but he felt peace he had never experienced before.
After “OUR LORD” was sung George saw people getting fussed, moving and going in the direction of the HOLY DOORS and LINING UP FOR something.
“Where are they going to?”, inquired George, addressing to an old lady.
“COMMUNICANTS. They are going to RECEIVE THE COMMUNION”, replied the old lady.
“Communion? What is it?”, asked George.
“It is THE LAST SUPPER, established by Jesus Christ for His disciples in the UPPER ROOM. We, Orthodox Christians, receive the PRECIOUS BODY AND the PRECIOUS BLOOD of Jesus Christ for we are His disciples”, said the woman and joined the queue with her arms crossed on her breast.
1. I try to RECEIVE THE HOLY COMMUNION quite frequently. This SACRAMENT is the most Holy Event in the life of each Christian.
2. I RECEIVE ANOINTING during HOLY WEEK each year. I consider it to be the SACRAMENT of a real HEALING.
3. I like the aromatic fragrance of the INCENSE. There are special GRAINS OF A GUM perfumed with the fragrance of trees or plants.
The Liturgy consists of the PREPARATION, LITANIES, the reading of the EPISTLES and the GOSPEL BOOK, the CHERUBIC HYMN, and here are mentioned only few parts of the service.
During the service we make a lot of PROSTRATIONS, and implore the LIFE-GIVING TRINITY to forgive us.
So many years have passed before THE OFFICIAL TOLERATION OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH took place and formerly prospering PAGANISM yielded to Christianity. But DEVIATIONS INTO ERROR AND HERESY still often occurred and it was thought that heresies and PAGAN RITES could be elilminated by establisment of clear dogmas. So THE FIRST GENERAL OR ECUMENICAL COUNCIL OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH WAS SUMMONED AT NICAEA.
PROSKOMIDIA is a process of the preparation of bread and wine for the LITURGY. It needs to be prepared on THE TABLE OF OBLATION.
It’s well known that for a lot of people it’s very difficult to find UNANIMITY and achieve the ‘COMMON MIND’. Anyway we shouldn’t forget that we all belong to one Church and are united in SACRAMENTAL COMMUNION.
The history of COUNCILS is very interesting. THE FIRST COUNCIL was ATTENDED BY THE APOSTLES who decided how to deal with GENTILE CONVERTS.
In today's Christianity, the goal of achieving a “COMMON MIND” is a predominant task. In a Church COUNCIL the idea of free UNANIMITY is evidently becoming a reality.
Some people become very confused seeing the word CATHOLIC applied to the Orthodox Church, they think that it refers to Catholicism which is a NON-ORTHODOX belief. Calling our Church Catholic we mean that we all PARTAKE IN the same MYSTERIES, we believe that some day UNAMINITY and RECONCOLIATION can be achieved.
1. The concept of a “righteous GENTILE” in Judaism addresses the problem of pagans who are supposed to be saved because they led the righteous life, even though they never knew Christ.
2. At THE COUNCIL OF JERUSALEM, ASSEMBLING about year 50 AD, Christians refused to practice circumcision for baptized pagans.
1) According to ORTHODOX TRADITION, THE SUPPER OF THE LORD took place on Maundy Thursday.
2) In Orthodox Sunday school we were told about the usage of the sacred vessels, such as the TABERNACLE, the CHALICE, the PATEN, the STAR, the SPEAR, the SPOON and other items as TWO SMALL VEILS and the LARGE VEIL.
3) From seven sacraments of the Church I only once participated in BAPTISM and CRISMATION, regularly participate in COMMUNION, CONFESSION and ANOINTING WITH OIL, hope to participate in MARRIAGE and will never participate in ORDINATION.
4) I wish I read the Old Testament books by OBADAIH, JONAH, MICAH, NAHUM, HABAKKUK and other prophets.
5) I believe that the Orthodox can attain UNANIMITY only in SACRAMENTAL COMMUNION.
Some people believe that a person ABANDONING EVERYTHING he loves FOR GOD'S SAKE does it because he is called from the very birth. Whereas others are convinced that such strong desire appears only after TOIL IN PENANCE AND REPENTANCE. Anyway, the ORTHODOX COMMUNION has never doubted that THE CHURCH IN ITS FULLNESS stands on those who ENDURED A CROSS OR DEATH FOR CHRIST'S SAKE.
1. The Christians of the PRIMITIVE CHURCH CELEBRATED THE LITURGY and partook of the HOLY COMMUNION every day. They SUFFERED PERSECUTIONS and UNDERWENT MARTYDOM OF BLOOD. That’s why we say our Orthodox Church is FOUNDED UPON BLOOD.
2. One of my favourite twelve church feasts is the DAY OF PENTECOST, when there was THE DESCENT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT ON THE APOSTLES. This day is considered to be the birthday of the CHURCH OF CHRIST ON EARTH and it is also called THE WHIT SUNDAY.
3. SAINT CYRIL AND METHODIUS, THE APOSTLES OF THE SLAVS, are heavenly patrons of all philologists.
4. In the Orthodox temple there is a lot of light. The CHURCH CHANDELIER, OIL LAMPS, candles in the NAVE and the SEVEN-BRANCHED CANDLESTICK in the ALTAR symbolise the divine light and unceasing FERVENT PRAYER.
1. In 2010 the tendency of reduction of mortality and INCREASING THE FERTILITY continued in Russia.
2. They LIKEN the truth to the light, as well as goodness to warmth.
There are thousands of CHAPELS here in Russia, in some of them the LITURGY IS CELEBRATED.
When THE TRADITIONAL ALLIANCE BETWEEN CHURCH AND STATE came to an end, a lot of TRADITIONS OF THE CHURCH were forbidden.
Because of the SUPPER OF THE LORD we can understand the SACRAMENTAL LIFE of the Church and see THE CHURCH IN ITS FULLNESS.
Although our Church is strong and unconquerable now, it was FOUNDED UPON BLOOD and had been SUFFERING PERSECUTION for a very long time. Many people UNDERWENT MARTYRDOM OF BLOOD in order to ESTABLISH our Church.
1. Entering into the Orthodox temple firstly you smell sweet fragrance. It is INCENSE, used during the ORTHODOX WORSHIP.
2. In the beginning of the All night Vigil a priest CENSES the temple – firstly the ALTAR (THE HOLY OF HOLIES), then, going down the SOLEA, he CENSES the ICONOSTASIS and in the end he walks around within the temple and censes all the icons and people in it – it symbolizes the creation of the world by God.
3. Our hierodeacon is a gifted man: he has got an astounding baritone. When he RECITES LINANIES you can’t help praying.
4. Not so long ago our Bishop was CONSECRATED in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. Now he is already an Archbishop.
1. Each morning and evening before I go to bed I pray, trying to LIFT MY MIND UP INTO PRAYER. I stand in front of the ICON CORNER, where icons are surronded by a DECORATIVE TOWEL.
2. The first thing I do when I step into the church is venerating the ICON OF THE RESURRECTION. Then I go to the ICON OF CHRIST and light a candle for my departed relatives and father.
3. When I see a priest, I ask him for BLESSING ON THE DEEDS AND THOUGHTS. He MAKES THE SIGH OF THE CROSS as a GESTURE OF BLESSING.
1) The life of the parish to which I belong began from a small CHAPEL, where all main SERVICES WERE CELEBRATED, and mainly THE EUCHARIST WAS CELEBRATED every week.
2) We celebrate PENTECOST or THE DESCENT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT ON THE APOSTLES on the fiftieth day after Easter.
1. CHRIST'S CRUCIFIXION was a necessary condition for the salvation of mankind.
2. At the Liturgy, the main part of CHRISTIAN WORSHIP, the EUCHARIST is celebrated.
3. THE PERSECUTION which took place at the time of THE PRIMITIVE CHURCH could not destroy the HIERARCHICAL structure and SACRAMENTAL essence of it.
4. THE CELEBRATION OF THE EUCHARIST, “the medicine of IMMORTALITY”, is continued until the present day.
You know there is something special in the air when you are entering the church and hear that deep sound of the bell ringing for vespers. And then you stay inside and see the deacon SWINGING a CENSER. You notice blinking CHARCOAL inside of it and smell this spiritual FRAGRANCE of INCENCE. There is an ICONOSTASIS ahead which divides NAVE and SANCTUARY. In the sanctuary there is the PRIEST and SERVERS. By the end of the LITURGY the priest comes out and takes his stand on the AMBO for PREACHING.
1) Christian people have much in common, they have UNITY in the FAITH and COMMUNION in the SACRAMENTS, it makes them feel like a huge family.
2) Many people consider a church to be a house of GOD ON EARTH, this is the place where HUMAN sins can be forgiven and people can be encouraged after their FAILINGS.
The Holy Reverend Sergius of Radonezh is VENERATED all over the Orthodox world. Each of us can feel his permanent FERVENT and PURE PRAYERS for the Christendom. He TOOK HIS CROSS and FOLLOWED CHRIST. He preached the UNITY IN THE FAITH AND COMMUNION IN THE SACRAMENTS. A number of OIL LAMPS and CANDLES ARE LIT above and near his shrine.
1) UNITY IN THE FAITH AND COMMUNION IN THE SACRAMENTS make all Orthodox Christians a united universal Church.
2) In APOSTOLIC TIMES the Liturgy usually started in the evening and sometimes continued after midnight.
3) SAINTS CYRIL AND METHODIUS were outstanding scholars, theologians, and linguists, who for christianizing the Slavs and for influencing the cultural development of all Slavic peoples received the title “THE APOSTLES OF THE SLAVS.”
4) An AUTOCEPHALOUS CHURCH possesses the ability to choose its own bishops, including the Patriarch, Archbishop or Metropolitan who heads the church.
1. During the APOSTOLIC TIMES people began to understand that the strength of Church is in the UNITY IN THE FAITH and COMMUNION IN THE SACRAMENTS.
2. HUMAN FAILINGS couldn’t destroy the ORTHODOX COMMUNION.
1) Most people in Russia, including me and my family, are Orthodox; however Orthodoxy is not THE STATE CHURCH in our country.
2) Since APOSTOLIC TIMES one of the most important features of the Church was UNITY IN THE FAITH AND COMMUNION IN THE SACRAMENTS. It is still true for our Church nowadays.
1. THE ORTHODOX CATHOLIC CHURCH is the second largest Christian Church in the world.
2. The Roman Catholic Church distinguishes FULL and partial SACRAMENTAL COMMUNION.
SAINT CYRIL AND SAINT METHODIUS were Byzantine Greek brothers who UNDERTOOK MISSIONARY WORK among Slavonic peoples.
Till the third century AD ICONOGRAPHERS were persecuted massively so they DEPICTED episodes from the Gospel covertly and implicitly.
In 8 – 9 c. AD the iconoclastic movement occurs the members of which are against REVERENCE and VENERATION of icons.
Many THEOLOGIANS take part in RELIGIOUS DISPUTES and defend CHRISTENDOM.
HAVING PASTORAL CHARGE is utterly difficult, all the time a priest has to support people and show them the right way, he should always try to make people listen to him in order not to be A VOICE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS.
MONOPHYSITES belonged to the most wide-spread heresy in the world, many Orthodox people UNDERTOOK MISSIONARY WORK to defeat this heresy.
SAINT CYRIL AND SAINT METHODIUS, THE APOSTLES OF THE SLAVS are among the most VENERATED saints in Russia.
1) The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, as well as the heads of the Churches of CONSTANTINOPLE, ALEXANDRIA, ANTIOCH and JERUSALEM, BEARS THE TITLE PATRIARCH.
2) In my parish we always celebrate the day of SAINT CYRIL AND SAINT METHODIUS, THE APOSTLES OF THE SLAVS, who gave the Slavs the CYRILLIC CHARACTER.
To be an ICONOGRAPHER means to be responsible for your job and to work with REVERENCE to the ICON. It requires deep feeling of the icon, because the icon itself is a MEDIUM OF PRAYER.
In some CHURCHES, such as Protestant and ANGLICAN, women are allowed to be ORDAINED PRIEST.
In CHRISTENDOM he was known as a great missionary and THEOLOGIAN, who widely spread the word of God.
By the end of the fourth century owing to some RELIGIOUS DISPUTES the Roman Empire was divided into the Western empire (with the centre in Rome) and the Eastern empire, or Byzantium (with the centre in Constantinople). As a result, there occurred a schism of CHRISTENDOM into the Eastern (THE GREEK EAST) and the Western (THE LATIN WEST) parts. In 1054 Christianity was finally divided into Orthodoxy and ROMAN CATHOLICISM. And in the sixteenth century there appeared PROTESTANTISM as a consequence and a fruit of the REFORMATION.
I don’t think that THEOLOGIANS should take part in the RELIGIOUS DISPUTES about the APOSTASY: they must have clear position, there can’t be any disputes.
1) I’m a parishioner of the PARISH in honour of Epiphany which belongs to the Volgograd DIOCESE.
2) People in Europe name their children in honour of such saints as ST. ALBAN, ST. PATRICK, ST. CUTHBERT, ST. BEDE, ST. GENEVIEVE OF PARIS, ST. AUGUSTINE OF CANTERBURY, but people in my country more often use the names of ST ATHANASIUS and ST BASIL.
1) The phraseologism "A VOICE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS” used in Russia means the person who was UNDERGONE ALIENATION, and whose acts and appeals are ignored.
2) Akhenaten’s RELIGIOUS UPHEAVAL PROFOUNDLY INFLUENCED ancient Egyptian society.
The famous THEOLOGIAN of the ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH had spoken at a religious dispute and was accused of heresy afterwards.
SCHOLASTICISM applied philosophical concepts and ways of thinking to the doctrines of CHRISTENDOM.