Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Final Triumph

On this Triumph of Orthodoxy Sunday, having labored in the Lord and overcome his work healing the Russian Church, Metropolitan Laurus triumphed into eternity.

Memory Eternal! The Heavenly Kingdom to him! (Царствие ему Небесное!)

In less important news, this is my last post at blogger. Before you get to worried that I have quit the blogging business I'll say that I'm moving to Wordpress. So from now on you must go here to find your delicious incendiaries. I'll post that again just so you don't get confused:

Friday, February 22, 2008

On that note

I'll have you know that I was not one of the 121.976 people that contributed to Barack Obama's sweeping win in Russia.

On the infamous declaration of Kosovo I might echo the words of Patriarch Alexey and say, that it "is an anti-historic event that upsets the global balance and that may lead to very tragic events in a whole series of spots on the globe where separatist sentiments are being fanned."

Maybe an octave lower (because he has a deeper voice) I would sing along with Bishop Peter and say, "unfortunately, the West does not understand either the Russians or the Slavs. I speak openly about this despite the fact that I love the country I was born in. I do not know how to explain it, but I think that the West senses its spiritual bankruptcy in the face of Orthodox Christianity. The West fears Russian patriotism and Slavic unity."

Next, I would almost go as far as Zhirinovsky and say that it is advantageous for the West to back the U.S. on the Kosovo issue, "because this is a defeat of the Orthodox world and the further destruction of disobedient Orthodox Serbia. ...Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova and Ukraine will be lynched in the same manner later."

And, further, if I were such a person, I would say "so there" and "it serves you right" about the burnt embassy in Belgrade.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

It's the thought that counts in the Old Testament outward acts were attended to, so in the New Testament it is not so much what is done outwardly as what is thought inwardly that is regarded with close attention, that it may be punished with searching judgment. For while the law forbids the eating of many things as being unclean, the Lord nevertheless says in the Gospel, Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man, but the things which come forth from the heart, these are they which defile a man (Matth. xv.11). And soon after He added in explanation, Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts (Ib. 19). Hence it is abundantly indicated that what is shewn by Almighty God to be polluted in act is that which is engendered of the root of polluted thought. Whence also Paul the Apostle says, All things are pure to the pure; but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure (Tit. i. 15). And immediately, to declare the cause of this defilement, he subjoins, For their mind and conscience is defiled.
St. Gregory Diologos

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Perfect obedience

The Orthodox Church by teaching men about perfect love, at the same time, also teaches them perfect obedience from which emanates order and harmony among the faithful. Bishops owe their obedience to the Lord. Priests owe their obedience to the bishops. The faithful owe their obedience to both [bishops and priests]. St. Ignatius writes about this: "You are required to obey without hypocrisy; he who would deceive his visible bishop would also scorn the Invisible [Christ]. I pray you, endeavor to fulfill everything in godly unanimity under the presidency of the bishops who occupy the place of Christ and the presbyters who constitute the assembly of the apostles, not thinking that whatever you do alone and apart would be correct."
St. Nikolaj (Velimirovic)

Friday, January 18, 2008

On Theophany

You were led to the holy pool of Divine Baptism, as Christ was carried form the Cross to the Sepulchre …And each of you was asked whether he believed in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit …You died and were born; and that Water of salvation was at once your grave and your mother …O strange and inconceivable thing! We did not really die; we were not really buried; we were not really crucified and raised again, but our imitation was only figurative, while our salvation is in reality. Christ was actually crucified, and actually buried, and truly rose …Christ received the nails in His undefiled hands and feet, and endured anguish; while to me without suffering or toil, by the fellowship of His pain He vouchsafes salvation…
Therefore with fullest assurance, let us partake as of the Body and Blood of Christ: for in the figure of Bread is given to you His Body, and in the figure of Wine His Blood; that you, by partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ, might be made of the same body and the same blood with Him. For thus we come to bear Christ in us …thus it is that, according to the blessed Peter, we become partakers of the divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4). Christ on a certain occasion discoursing with the Jews said, 'Unless you eat My flesh and drink My blood, you have no life in you' (John 6:53) …Contemplate therefore the Bread and the Wine not as bare elements, for they are, according to the Lord's declaration, the Body and Blood of Christ …Let faith establish you.
St. Cyril of Jerusalem

Christ, the Maker of all, came down as the rain, and was known as a spring, and diffused Himself as a river, and was baptized in the Jordan. …Oh things strange beyond compare! How should the boundless River that makes glad the city of God have been dipped in a little water! The illimitable Spring that bears life to all men, and has no end, was covered by poor and temporary waters! He who is present everywhere, and absent nowhere-who is incomprehensible to angels and invisible to men-comes to the baptism according to His own good pleasure. When you hear these things, beloved, take them not as if spoken literally, but accept them as presented in a figure. Whence also the Lord was not unnoticed by the watery element in what He did in secret, in the kindness of His condescension to man. "For the waters saw Him, and were afraid." They wellnigh broke from their place, and burst away from their boundary. Hence the prophet, having this in his view many generations ago, puts the question, "What aileth thee, O sea, that thou reddest; and thou, Jordan, that thou wast driven back? " And they in reply said, We have seen the Creator of all things in the "form of a servant," and being ignorant of the mystery of the economy, we were lashed with fear. … Do you see, beloved, how many and how great blessings we would have lost, if the Lord had yielded to the exhortation of John, and declined baptism? For the heavens were shut before this; the region above was inaccessible. We would in that case descend to the lower parts, but we would not ascend to the upper. But was it only that the Lord was baptized? He also renewed the old man, and committed to him again the sceptre of adoption. For straightway "the heavens were opened to Him." A reconciliation took place of the visible with the invisible; the celestial orders were filled with joy; the diseases of earth were healed; secret things were made known; those at enmity were restored to amity. For you have heard the word of the evangelist, saying, "The heavens were opened to Him," on account of three wonders. For when Christ the Bridegroom was baptized, it was meet that the bridal-chamber of heaven should open its brilliant gates. And in like manner also, when the Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove, and the Father's voice spread everywhere, it was meet that "the gates of heaven should be lifted up." "And, lo, the heavens were opened to Him; and a voice was heard, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." … The beloved generates love, and the light immaterial the light inaccessible. "This is my beloved Son," He who, being manifested on earth and yet unseparated from the Father's bosom, was manifested, and yet did not appear. For the appearing is a different thing, since in appearance the baptizer here is superior to the baptized. For this reason did the Father send down the Holy Spirit from heaven upon Him who was baptized. For as in the ark of Noah the love of God toward man is signified by the dove, so also now the Spirit, descending in the form of a dove, bearing as it were the fruit of the olive, rested on Him to whom the witness was borne. For what reason? That the faithfulness of the Father's voice might be made known, and that the prophetic utterance of a long time past might be ratified. And what utterance is this? "The voice of the Lord (is) on the waters, the God of glory thundered; the Lord (is) upon many waters." And what voice? "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." This is He who is named the son of Joseph, and (who is) according to the divine essence my Only-begotten. "This is my beloved Son"-He who is hungry, and yet maintains myriads; who is weary, and yet gives rest to the weary; who has not where to lay His head, and yet bears up all things in His hand; who suffers, and yet heals sufferings; who is smitten, and yet confers liberty on the world; who is pierced in the side, and yet repairs the side of Adam.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Suffering Orthodoxy

Why does the good Lord permit assaults and sufferings on the True Faith while He permits the pleasure of tranquility to heresies and paganism? Why? Even St. John Chrysostom asks and immediately replies: 'So that you would recognize their weakness (the weakness of the heresies and paganism) when you see that they disintegrate on their own without any disturbance and also to be convinced in the power of faith which endures misfortunes and even multiplies through its adversaries.' “Therefore, if we quarrel with the pagans or with the wretched Jews, it is sufficient to emphasize as evidence of divine power that the Faith (Christianity) which was subjected to countless struggles maintained victory' even when the entire world stood against her [the Church]. St. Isaac the Syrian says: 'The wondrous love of God toward man is recognized when man is in misfortunes that are destroying his hope. Here, God manifests His power for his [man's] salvation. For man never recognizes the power of God in tranquility and freedom.'
St. Nikolaj (Velimirovic)

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Another beatitude

Blessed is he who knows his function and gift received from the Spirit, and who serves according to his designation to the end. Just as the Holy Spirit now apportions His gifts, so the Lord, in His time, will apportion rewards.
O Lord, Holy Spirit, true God, help us to use Thy gifts to the end of our lives in humility, for the well-being of Christ's Church and for our eternal salvation.
St. Nikolaj (Velimirovic)

Friday, December 07, 2007


If we are not humbled by virtues, then sin will humble us.
St. Nikolaj (Velimirovic)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Apropos to the feast of St. Justinian

We believe that the true and immaculate Christian faith is the first and greatest benefit that men enjoy, that it should be strengthened in every respect, and that all the holy priests throughout all the earth should be strengthened in every respect, and that all the holy priests throughout the earth should unite to preach it and should extripate every kind of false doctrine, as ins prescribed by Our laws and Our edicts.
St. Emperor Justinian

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The carnal heart

Our children have so-called "baby-teeth" which fall out by themselves, and in their place other teeth grow — real ones. In the same way we have a heart. But this is a coarse, carnal heart — a selfish one. With such a heart you cannot enter Eternal Life. And it will not fall out by itself. We have to cast it out and replace it with a new heart — not ours, but Christ’s. And any time we help our neighbor and make an effort, we are as if tearing off a piece of our heart and giving it away to our neighbor. And in place of this piece of carnal, sinful heart, the Lord puts in us a similar piece of His heart — Christ’s heart.
Archbishop Andrei (Rymarenko)

Monday, November 05, 2007

The dead weight of technology

Ethics are likened to a lady, and technology like her handmaiden. That is why ethics have to control technology. Eternal values are the territory of ethics and not technology. It is devastating for an entire people to put the purpose of their lives in technology, and all of their labor and sweat they sacrifice to the advancement of technology, dragging behind them ethics, like Achilles dragged the dead Hector tied to a chariot. A people like that can succeed to build all of their cities from ivory and gold, but if people like Ahab and Jezebel live in them, dogs will have the last word and not people.
St. Nikolaj (Velimirovic)

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Speaking of state capitals

…the concept of Providence, i.e. of the perennial concern of the Creator with the destiny of His Creation, was actually reduced to something utterly sentimental and subjective.
Fr. Georges Florovsky

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

"Royal" authority

The sole head of the Church is Jesus Christ, whose teaching is carefully preserved in its entirety by the Orthodox Church. The Russian emperor, to the extent that he follows this teaching is as much a son of the Church as any other Orthodox Christian. At no time and in no place has the Church ever given him authority over her teaching or considered him her head... If the Russian emperor is not the head of the Church for Russians, much less is he the head of the Church for us. For us he is no more than a brother in faith as are all Russians who share our faith.
St. Nikolaj (Kasatkin) of Japan
Speaking of Russia... I'm leaving today for an extended stay in that locale; I have established a blog to catalogue: Recounting Rus

Monday, August 27, 2007

The devil's ill-logic

It is as if, at a session of a course of justice, the devil should be addressed as follows: 'Granted that you destroyed all because you found them guilty of sin; but why did you destroy Christ? Is it not very evident that you did so unjustly? Well then, through Him the whole world will be vindicated'
St. John Chrysostom

Friday, August 24, 2007

Pluralities and majorities

...are necessary for parliaments and parties but not for God's Church, which is the pillar and foundation of faith, independently of the above categories and even in contradiction of them...
St. Hilarion (Troitsky)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The state of affairs

It would be a very happy state of affairs if only one person corrupted our youth, while the others improved them.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

On Vice

Each of us, let us acknowledge it, is the first author of his own vice.
St. Basil the Great

Monday, August 20, 2007

The land of the pharaohs

Neither the sun, with its multitude of stars, is not as glowing as much as the wilderness of Egypt with all of its monks.
St. John Chrysostom

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Fulfilling the commandment

Adam did not want to go from strength to strength, from grace to grace in communion with God, but wanted to have this strength within himself. And he went away, went away into the byways of human life, and therefore lost the Tree of Life. But God the Merciful One, God the Father gives us His Son Who was incarnate of the Most Holy Virgin, Who lived the Good News of the Gospel and showed us how to fulfill the commandment: Love for God and neighbor.
Archbishop Andrei (Rymarenko)

Friday, August 17, 2007

Of categories

When intellectual and conventional categories replace ontological truth and revelation in Christian theology, then in the historical life of the Church, too, the problem of salvation is obscured by a shadow that torments mankind, that of a “law” which leads nowhere.
Christos Yannaras