Arizona – Orthodox Christianity
ARIZONA OF MY HEART
Confession and Spiritual Accounting
Elder Ephraim of Arizona, USA
EASTERN ORTHODOX SPIRITUALITY
This confession of yours gave my soul much joy, because God and the angels, who were awaiting it, rejoiced. You succeeded in putting the devil to shame, who greatly rejoices when someone hides his thoughts from his spiritual father. When a snake leaves its lair, it rushes to hide somewhere because it feels as if it will be struck—the same thing happens with a diabolical thought, which is like a poisonous snake. When such a thought leaves a person’s mouth, it disperses and disappears, because confession is humility, and since Satan cannot even bear the smell of humility, how could he possibly remain after a humble, sincere confession? My child, I wish you a good beginning and cautious progress. Don’t be ashamed before me. Don’t see me as a man, but as a representative of God. Tell me everything, even if you have a bad thought about me, because I am experienced with demonic influences, and I know how the devil fights man. I know that spiritual children have simple hearts and that if evil thoughts come to them, it is due to the devil’s malice and the spiritual child’s ego, who is permitted to fall and have such thoughts against his Elder, so that the spiritual child may be humbled more. Therefore, don’t worry. I will always rejoice when you speak freely and sincerely to me, for without frank confession, there will be no spiritual progress.
My child, have no worries. I have taken up your burden. I only beg you to be at peace. Your words may be just on paper, but I feel the power, the meaning, and the essence of what you write; I enter into the spirit of your words. I entreat you to be at peace from now on. You are forgiven everything with the confession you made. Satan perceived your character and torments you, but without anything serious having occurred. Everything you write (that is, the thoughts that torture you ) is a trick of the evil one to make you despair, be distressed, and so forth. Throw everything that happened to you into the depths of the sea. Map out a new course in your life. If you keep thinking the same way, know that you will become the laughing-stock of the demons. I beg you, just be obedient to me. After your confession, everything has been forgiven, so let bygones be bygones. Don’t scratch a wound that made you suffer so much. Don’t be deceived by the thought that it is your fault. If you hadn’t taken him to the doctors, etc., then such thoughts would rightfully fight you. Whereas, as things are now, you have fulfilled your duty. God wanted to take him, for a reason that only His infinite wisdom knows, while you are thinking you killed him! Be careful with this thought, or else it might lurk in your heart. It is a ruse of the devil to harm you, as he knows how. This skilled trickster has drowned in the depths of hell countless multitudes with despair. When something happens and the devil sees that a person is upset by it, his trick is to pile on a multitude of supposedly legitimate thoughts in order to lead the poor person to a great storm and drown him. (As the saying goes, a fox loves a scuffle ). And when the storm passes, he sees that he was in danger of drowning in just a spoonful of water.
Humble yourself, and from now on confess, for confession contains most holy humility, without which no one is saved. The devil greatly rejoices when he manages to persuade a person to hide diabolical thoughts. This is because he will achieve his premeditated, soul-destroying goal.
I have written to you about the conscience, that we must be careful not to do something that will make it reproach and condemn us. Bear in mind that God sees everything and that nothing is hidden from His eyes. So how could I tell lies before God? Don’t you know that lies are from the devil, and that by not being careful, it becomes a practice, then a habit, and then a passion, and don’t you know that liars will not inherit the Kingdom of God? (cf. Rev. 21:8 ). Fear God. God is not pleased with material offerings when we neglect attending to our inner heart. But it is necessary to do these also without leaving the others undone. (cf. Mt 23:23 ). Attend to your conscience, for we do not know the hour of our death. And if we do not repay our creditor (our conscience, that is ) everything we owe him, he will accuse us vehemently, without holding back. Then—alas!—our mouth will be silenced, not having any answer to give.
Every night, review how you passed the day, and in the morning review how the night passed, so that you know how your soul’s accounts are doing. If you see a loss, try to regain it through caution and forcefulness. If you see a profit, glorify God, your invisible helper. Do not let your conscience prick you for long, but quickly give it whatever it wants, lest it take you to the judge and the prison (cf. Mt. 5:25 ). Does your conscience want you to attend to your prayer rule* and regain prayer? Give it these things, and behold, you are delivered from going to the judge. Do not weaken the saving voice of your conscience by disregarding it, because later you will regret it to no avail.
Α prayer rule consists of the prayers and metanoias** which one does daily, under the guidance of one’s spiritual father.
Ιn its primary sense, «μετάνοια» (pronounced «meh-tah΄-nee-ah» ) means repentance, literally, “a change of mind”. However, it can also mean the specific act of making the sign of the cross, followed by a bow either down to the ground or to the waist. It is a gesture of reverence, worship, respect, or repentance. A typical prayer rule includes a number of metanoias done while saying the Jesus prayer. Some translators use the word “prostration” for this term.
See to it that you are sincere in your deeds as well as in your words, and especially in confession. For God searches out the hearts and reins (Ps. 7:9 ), and nothing remains obscure in the sight of His sleepless eye. Fear God; God is not mocked (Gal. 6:7 ); He is not fooled. He chastises severely when He does not see sincerity; so be careful. When you are disobedient and commit a secret sin, counteract it by openly revealing it in confession. Do not let your ego overcome you and make you hide the truth and remain uncorrected and passionate. Correct everything now if you want to see good days of dispassion* and peace.
Dispassion is achieved when all three aspects of the soul (i.e., the intelligent, appetitive, and incensive aspects ) are directed towards God. It is the transfiguration of the passionate aspect of the soul (i.e., the aspect of the soul which is more vulnerable to passion, namely, the appetitive and incensive aspects ), rather than its mortification. Thus dispassion in this context does not signify a stoic indifference, but rather, a transfiguration and sanctification of the powers of the soul and eventually of the body also.
Taken from “Counsels from The Holy Mountain” by Elder Ephraim of Arizona (Philotheou Mt.Athos)
LATIN AMERICA OF MY HEART
The Chakos Family
Fr. John and Presvytera Sandy serve as missionary specialists, a role that involves spending part of the year doing direct field work in Guatemala and part of the year in the United States, where they build awareness, speak on missions, and provide consultation. When in Guatemala, Fr. John serves as a teacher and guide for the communities and as the field leader for the long-term missionaries. The first of the long-term missionaries to Guteamala, Fr. John has been serving in the communities since 2011. Pres. Sandy provides work opportunities to the Mayan women by training them in sewing and garment making. She has created Mayan Artisan Studios (MAS) to enable the women to sell vestments and liturgical adornments to customers abroad.
Jesse has been serving for four years in Guatemala where he lives in Aguacate in the department of Huehuetenango. Jesse uses his training as a seminary graduate to teach and preach in the parishes in Guatemala and Southern Mexico. Two of his main responsibilities are teaching classes to the eight Guatemalan seminarians and preparing Spanish-language Orthodox educational materials. In addition, he assists in coordinating visiting mission teams. While in Guatemala, Jesse also is continuing the online ministry that he began during his initial travels to Guatemala in 2012. Jesse created this website (Mayan Orthodoxy) for the joy and inspiration of the Church.
Archimandrite Juvenal Repass
Archimandrite Juvenal Repass is a priest and monastic of the Diocese of Alaska, Orthodox Church in America. In his service in Guatemala, he draws on his years as a teacher at both St. Herman’s Seminary in Alaska and St. Tikhon’s Seminary in Pennsylvania to provide training and guidance in Orthodoxy for the people of Guatemala.
In 2014, Jennifer participated in the pioneering work of the initial music ministry team sent to Guatemala. She combines years of experience in the classroom as an educator along with her formal theological studies from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology to serve and assist the Orthodox Church in Guatemala and Southern Mexico in developing, formalizing, and setting patterns of liturgical music. Her efforts also include mentoring and equipping choirs and leaders in the church so that they can inspire and teach the hymns within their respective communities and beyond. Additionally Jennifer assists in producing publications for use by indigenous clergy, catechists, and lay leaders as well as assisting with the seminary program in Aguacate.
Answer Christ’s call in YOUR life
“How can I join a mission team to Guatemala?”
To join a short-term mission team to Guatemala or do mission work in other countries, click here to contact the teams department at OCMC. You also can view a list of all current mission teams offered through OCMC. See the list here.
“How can I come to Guatemala as a long-term missionary?”
The Mayan communities have very specific needs that require missionaries with theological training, medical training (dentists, doctors, nurses, etc), or a background in translation and linguistics. Candidates who are fluent in Spanish are especially encouraged to apply. If you are interested in becoming involved in Guatemala as a long-term missionary, please click here to inquire with the missionary department at OCMC.
[Photos of the Chakos family, Fr. Juvenal, and Jennifer Rice are used with the permission of OCMC.]
PROTESTANTS MET ORTHODOXY
The Personal Story of Fr. George Johnson, Washington, USA
From Protestantism to Orthodoxy
Fr. George Johnson
JOURNEY TO ORTHODOXY
I am a priest in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, serving in the cathedral of St John the Baptist in Washington, D.C. There are some almost uncanny parallels between our lives, even down to the grumpy choir directors. I was (and sometimes still am) the grumpy choir director, however.
I became interested and involved in Anglicanism through a singing job in a “high” church in 1968. At the time, my focus was primarily musical. My parents were devout Southern Baptists, and, while I now appreciate their humility and devotion, in my youth I did not so much. The Episcopal Church offered an escape from the music and worship of the Baptists, which, shall we say, were not to my taste.
The Western liturgical tradition as carried on by the high-church Anglicans seemed to me to be just the right combination of grandness and sobriety justly suited to worship. Having just come from the Baptists, the intellectual and spiritual confusion which at length gave rise to tradition-destroying innovations did not concern me for a long time. I chalked it up to our fallen state, for which God was making accommodations which I did not understand. I thought I could press on for the sake of art and faith, and pray that everything would come out alright. It was going to take a great deal to make me want to throw away Tallis, Byrd, Weelkes, Purcell, …, RVW, Walton, Britten, … , not to mention all the great hymns and tunes, and the gorgeous language of the (old) Prayer Book and Psalter.
A great many things happened, but I’ll cut to the chase. In 1984 or 5, a lesbian member of our parish who sang in my choir asked me to be a member of a committee to help her explore a calling to the priesthood. Needless to say, I begged off. But I did not have the courage to tell her that the thought of her as a priest made me sick. You may be familiar with the musical “Fiddler on the Continue reading “The Personal Story of Fr. George Johnson, Washington, USA – From Protesantism to Orthodoxy”
AMERICA OF MY HEART
Saint John Maximovitch of Shanghai
& San Francisco (+1966)
“Holiness is not simply righteousness, for which the righteous merit the enjoyment of blessedness in the Kingdom of God, but rather such a height of righteousness that men are filled with the grace of God to the extent that it flows from them upon those who associate with them. Great is their blessedness; it proceeds from personal experience of the Glory of God. Being filled also with love for men, which proceeds from love of God, they are responsive to men’s needs, and upon their supplication they appear also as intercessors and defenders for them before God.” (St. John Maximovitch)
* * *
What better description could be found to portray the essence of a man whose love for Christ drew him to such heights of spiritual perfection that he enkindled the faith of thousands from East to West? The life of St. John Maximovitch demonstrates more vividly than any words that true Christianity far exceeds the bounds of human “goodness”. Here is a shining reflection of the supernatural love of God which works miracles, a living proof that the burning faith of the early Christian saints still warms the earth at a time when the love of many has grown cold.
St. John did not isolate himself from the world, but he was not of this world. First and foremost he was a man of prayer. He completely surrendered himself to God, presenting himself as a “living sacrifice” and he became a true vessel of the Holy Spirit. His work as an apostle, missionary and miracle worker continues even now.
This saint of the latter times was born June 4, 1896 in the province of Kharkov. At baptism he was given the name Michael. As a child he was serious for his years and he later wrote: “From the first days when I began to become aware of myself, I wished to serve righteousness and truth. My parents kindled in me a striving to stand unwaveringly for the truth, and my soul was captivated by the example of those who had given their lives for it.”
Following the desire of his parents, he entered law school in Kharkov. He was a naturally gifted student but spent more time reading the Lives of Saints than attending academic lectures. “While studying the worldly sciences,” he wrote, “I went all the more deeply into the study of the science of sciences, into the study of the spiritual life.”
After the Revolution, he was evacuated together with his family to Belgrade where he entered the faculty of theology at the University. In 1926, a year after his graduation, he was tonsured a monk and given the name John, after his own distant relative, St. John of Tobolsk. In November of that same year, he was ordained hieromonk. Soon he became a teacher at Continue reading “Holy Fathers: Saint John Maximovitch of Shanghai & San Francisco (+1966)”
USA OF MY HEART
Fr. Peter Gilquist, USA:
Why Protestant Clergy are coming to the Orthodox Church
LATIN AMERICA OF MY HEART
Latin America: Peoples in search of Orthodoxy
His Eminence Metropolitan Athenagoras of Mexico
Thirteen years ago, when I undertook the (then newly-established) Holy Metropolis of Mexico with only three priests and three mainly Greek-speaking communities, in Mexico, Panama and Venezuela, I would never have expected, let alone conceive the miracle that is unfolding today for our Orthodox Church in Latin America. We all lived the miracle of Cuba, when Fidel Castro’s government undertook the construction of the Sacred Temple of Saint Nicholas in Havana and officially received Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who officiated the inauguration of that Holy shrine in January of 2004. In the decade that passed, we experienced the propagating of our faith in the states of Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, etc… just as we experienced – and continue to experience – the continuing drama of the people of Haiti, after the catastrophic earthquake of last January. A drama which unfortunately will heal, only after several years have passed.
Orthodox children of Cuba
Greece became acquainted with Christianity and lived its own Pentecost around two thousand years ago, through the Apostle Paul and the other Apostles. Greece is the most blessed country in the world. And this is because – as I point out to our priests – whichever stone you lift, underneath it you will find the relics of a Saint, a Martyr, a holy man, a fighter for the Orthodox faith… We, however, in Latin America are living our Pentecost today. For us – with the exception of the few Greek Orthodox Communities – Orthodoxy has only just arrived in Latin America. I recall six years ago, when our Ecumenical Patriarch visited Cuba to officiate in the inauguration of the Holy Temple of Saint Nicholas, there were only four Orthodox Cubans, whereas now, more than one thousand Cuban families have been baptized and have embraced Orthodoxy. And every day, there are more – many more – who seek to acquaint themselves with the Faith of our Fathers. Six years ago, with the inauguration of Saint Continue reading “Latin America: Peoples in search of Orthodoxy”
USA OF MY HEART
“Bible Answer Man”
booted from Bott Radio Network after Hank Hanegraaff
joins Eastern Orthodox Church
JOURNEY TO ORTHODOXY
Most of us knew this sort of thing was coming. They cite concerns over ‘biblical accuracy’ without offering so much as one single example of any Biblical inaccuracy from Hank.
The “Bible Answer Man” radio show program with Hank Hanegraaff has been booted from Bott Radio Network over concerns regarding ‘biblical accuracy’, following Hanegraaff’s conversion into the Eastern Orthodox Church.
“We want to make sure that our listeners know that the programming that we have on Bott Radio Network is thoroughly biblical,” said BRN President Richard P. Bott II, a member of Lenexa Baptist Church in Lenexa, Kansas, according to Baptist Press.
BRN had reportedly been broadcasting the “Bible Answer Man” since the 1980s, even before Hanegraaff joined the show in 1989.
The Christian Post confirmed last week that Hanegraaff, who is also the president and chairman of the Christian Research Institute, was chrismated on Palm Sunday at Saint Nektarios Greek Orthodox Church in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Some, such as Rod Dreher, an Orthodox Christian and author of the New York Times best-selling book The Benedict Option, told CP last week that the news of Hanegraaff joining the Orthodox Church is “astounding.”
“Many evangelicals seek the early church; well here it is, in Orthodoxy,” Dreher said.
“I am sure some will be scandalized by Hanegraaff’s conversion but I hope at least some will wonder how someone as knowledgeable about the Bible as Hank could convert to Orthodoxy, and go to a Divine Liturgy to taste and see what it’s like.”
ORTHODOX HEART SITES
100+ Stories of Our Days – Coming to Orthodoxy
CONVERSIONS TO ORTHODOXY
3 Reasons to join the Eastern Orthodox Church
Michael Witcoff, USA
Michael Witcoff is a Christian, a copywriter, an author, and a marketing consultant. He believes the West is experiencing divine wrath for turning our backs on God, and that the only hope for salvation is to unite under one faithful banner as our enemies have under theirs.
* * *
Friends and brothers, it’s been quite a while since I last wrote to you. Between my consulting business and my growing interest in the world of blockchain technology, I’ve had a lot on my plate lately.
But the time seems right for me to come back to Return Of Kings and share a bit more of my journey with you. The rhythm I aim for in life is to learn and grow, then share and teach.
Today’s topic, Eastern Orthodoxy, is something I’d never even heard of when my last article here was published. But since discovering what it is and delving deeper into its mysteries, it’s consumed an enormous amount of my time and attention.
So much of it, in fact, that I recently decided to leave my Wesleyan ways behind and become a full-fledged member of the Orthodox Church. Today, I’d like to share with you my top three reasons for doing so.
1.It’s The Church That Jesus Planted
During my time as a Protestant, it never even occurred to me that a denomination existed reaching all the way back to the time of the apostles.
Once I realized there was an unbroken chain of tradition reaching back nearly 2,000 years, I began to ask an entirely new kind of question. What did they teach? How did they worship? What did they believe? How did it get Continue reading “Three reasons to join the Eastern Orthodox Church – Michael Witcoff, USA”
Facebooks: Fr. Seraphim Rose, USA (+1982)
NATIVE AMERICANS MET ORTHODOXY
The Bible in Kanien’kéha – Mohawk
Nene tsiniyought tsi Sʼhongwawenniyoh, oni tsi ongwe ok oni tsinihorighhonde ne Jesus Christue
1Tsidyodaghsawen ne LogosLogos, tsinidewawennoten yaweght ayairon-owenna, oríwa. keaghne, etho Yehovahne yekayendaghkwe ne Logos, ok oni Logos ne naah ne Yehovah.Yehovah, ne Rawenniyoh. 2Ne ne Sagat tsidyodaghsawen enskatne Yehovahne yekayendaghkwe. 3Yorighwagwegon ne rodeweyenòkden, ok tsi nikon ne kaghson yagh oghnahhoten teyodon ne ne yagh raonha te hayàdare. 4Raonhage yewèdaghkwe ne adonhèta ok oni ne adonhèta naah ne raodighswatheta nʼongwe. 5Aghson tsidyokaras watyoghswathet ok yaghten yeyoyenda-on. 6Rayadatogen ne Yehovah ronha-on ne ne John ronwayatskwe. 7Ne wahhoni warawe tsi rodogense, ne ne aontahharighwatròri tsi watyoughswathet, ne ne aontyescnhak agwegon nʼongwe raonha raoriwa aonteyakeweghdaghkonhek. 8Yagh raonha te keaghne ne etho kaghswathetsera, ok ne ne rowanha-on nʼahaderightyatrory kaghswathetseroten. 9Ne naah ne togenske kaghsathetsera, ne ne watyakoghswatheta agwegon ne ongwe ne ne oghwhenjage yakoghwa eston. 10Oghwhenjage yéresgwe, yorighwagwegon ne naah rodeweyenòkden, ok nʼongwe yàghten howayenderhèon. 11Eghwarawe tsi Rawenniyoh, ok ne sʼhakowenniyoh yaghten honwarighwatsteristha. 12Ok tsinihadi rotiwarighwatsteristha, rononha sʼhakogwenyon tserawi nene enhonàdon ne Yehovah sʼhakoyea-ongonwa, ne ne rononha agwagh nè teyakaweghdaghkon ne raoghseanakon: 13Ok tsironwanadewedon yaghten né kanegwenghsage, yaghoni tsi yawèron nʼOwatoti, yaghoni tsi-ireghre nʼongwe, ok deaghnon ne Yehovah tsjnihenigonroten. 14Ok ne Logos owàron waondon ok oni tsi yakwenderon wahhanàdayen (ok ne wakwatkaghtho ne raogloria,Raogloria, ne raowesepghtsera tsini hakowànen ne Niyoh. ne ne gloria tsi niyought ne raonha-on ne rodewedon ne Ronihha) ranànon ne graciaGracia, ne kendénron, tsiniyought yaweght tsishongwariwawàse ne Niyoh. ok oni ne togensketsera.
The Bible in Kanien’kéha – Mohawk
Bible languages and translations
FAITHBOOK – ORTHODOXY
The Uncovering of the Honorable Relics of the Hierarch and Wonderworker John, Archbishop of Shanghai and San Francisco (+1966)
“The Lord keepeth all their bones, not one of them shall be broken” (Ps.33)
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
In the year 1993 from the Nativity in the Flesh of God the Word, on the feast of St. Chariton the Confessor, October 11, the All- merciful Lord revealed to us sinners the greatest mercy through the uncovering of the holy and much-healing relics of the Hierarch and Wonderworker John, Archbishop of Shanghai and San Francisco who rests in the beautifully embellished and prayer-filled sepulchre, untouched for twenty-seven years after burial, under the Cathedral of the Most Holy Mother of God, Joy of All Who Sorrow.
Monday was a strict fast day for all those who took part in this holy obedience to the Church. Many prepared by serving the Divine Liturgy and through Confession. In the evening, after Vespers was served at the altar of our Holy Father John of Kronstadt, Wonderworker of all Russia, in whose canonization the ever-memorable Vladyka John took part, a blessing was taken from the ruling Archbishop Anthony around eight o’clock in the evening by Priest George Kurtov, Priest Alexander Krassovsky, Protodeacon Nikolai Porshnikoff, Deacon Alexei Kotar, and Reader Vladimir Krassovsky. After the blessing these participants entered the holy sepulchre in order to make the necessary preparations which earlier had been blessed by His Grace, the ruling Archbishop. In the sepulchre the caretaker, Boris Michailovich Troyan, was already working and waiting.
A long table was prepared on which was later placed the new, temporary, pine casket. Crowbars, hammers and other instruments were brought in. All candle stands, analoys, and flowers were placed aside to make more room for the work. Candles were burning on the candle stands and the entire sepulchre was fully illumined.
After the initial preparation work was completed, and after the exclamation “Blessed is our God,” and the beginning prayers, they began to read the Gospel from St. John over the casket, In the beginning was the Word. Around nine o’clock in the evening during the reading of the Holy Gospel, the ruling bishop of Western America, Vladyka Archbishop Anthony, Archbishop Laurus of Syracuse and Holy Trinity, Bishop Kyrill of Seattle, Archpriest Stephan Pavlenko, Archpriest Peter Perekrestov, Priest Sergey Kotar, Hieromonk Peter (Loukianoff), Priest Paul Iwaszewicz and Hierodeacon Andronik (Taratuchin) arrived at the holy sepulchre. All together there were fifteen people: three hierarchs, seven priests, three deacons, one reader, and one layman.
All three bishops, as well as all the priests, read from the Holy Gospel. Around 9:07, after the Gospel readings, the bishops began to serve a full Pannykhida which was sung by the clergy. This ended around 9:45 P.M. Before the chanting of Memory Eternal the “Prayer Before the Beginning of Every Good Work” was read. Vladyka then turned to all those present with the following words, “Honored Vladykas, Fathers, and Brethren; the Lord has sent us in holy obedience to our Church in order to examine and report concerning the Continue reading “The Uncovering of the Honorable Relics of the Hierarch and Wonderworker John, Archbishop of Shanghai and San Francisco (+1966)”
HEAVEN ON EARTH – ORTHODOXY
Blessing the ground for
St Katherine Orthodox Chapel in Vermont, USA
ST JOHN MAXIMOVITCH OF SAN FRANCISCO
LIVING PLACES OF SAINT JOHN MAXIMOVITCH
* * *
ST JOHN MAXIMOVITCH IN FRANCE
Reminiscences of his Spiritual Daughter
by Zinaida V. Julem
The period of Blessed John’s life in France has so far been rather obscure, and not much information about it has been available. A devoted spiritual daughter of his, the author of these memoirs, Zinaida V. Julem, fills in this gap, giving us a view from the “inside” and disclosing the mystical world of perhaps the holiest man of the 20th-century. Surely a prophet of such calibre could not get by without evoking envy and hatred, just as did the prophets of old. But to conceal this righteous man from the view of the thirsting new generation would be a sin, because the glory of God, revealed in the lives of the righteous, serves to enkindle that divine fire which Christ our Lord wishes to have burning upon this earth. (St. Luke 12:49).
In anticipation of the forthcoming 20th anniversary of Blessed John’s repose, which will occur on June 19/July 2, 1986, we here present a spiritual portrait of this wonderworker who once walked among us. This account comes from a simple loving heart, guarded by the Patristic awareness of sobriety. Realizing that Blessed John was touched by Divinity and was in contact with the mind of his Creator, the author was able to peer into the mystery of his sanctity. Although her observations only give us glimpses, they offer clear testimony to the close presence of the other world for which the Holy Orthodox Church prepares its children, and to the ability of God’s saints to penetrate that realm even while on earth. That mystery, that revelation beyond our glimpses, remains hidden in God. It is opened to those who, like Blessed John, ascend on the wings of divine love for God and their neighbor. And those of us who watch from below are given renewed hope and the inspiration to increase our upward striving.
Abbot Herman of Platina
ST JOHN MAXIMOVITCH IN SHANGHAI, CHINA
REMINISCENCES OF NUN EUPHEMIA, AS TOLD TO THE NUNS OF HOLY CROSS SKETE
from THE ORTHODOX WORD, No. 189, pp. 176-181
There were always wars in China. The Chinese had large families with many children, and there was very little to eat. To save on food, they would get rid of newborns, placing them out on the street to freeze to death. Vladika John would pick them up and bring them to the orphanage. On these outings, the deacon of the cathedral would follow him in order to help and protect him. Once Vladika said to this deacon about a child, “Pick him up.” The deacon objected, “But he’s Chinese.” “But he is made in the image of God,” said Vladika. Thus the orphanage grew. Vladika John asked my mother Lydia to Continue reading “Living places of Saint John Maximovitch (+1966)”
Biblical Forecasts of Scientific Discoveries
By Dr. Hugh Ross, Astronomer
January 1, 1976
REASONS TO BELIEVE
Not only is the Bible filled with the fundamentals of science, but it is as much as 3,000 years ahead of its time. The Bible’s statements in most cases directly contradicted the science of the day in which they were made. When modern scientific knowledge approaches reality, the divine accuracy of the scriptures is substantiated. For example:
|Biblical Statement||Science Then||Science Now|
|Earth is a sphere (Is. 40:22).||Earth’s a flat disk.||Earth is a sphere|
|Number of stars exceeds a billion (Jer. 33:22).||Number of stars totals 1,100||Number of stars exceeds a billion|
|Every star is different (1 Cor 15:41).||All stars are the same.||Every star is different.|
|Light is in motion (Job 38:19-20).||Light is fixed in place.||Light is in motion.|
|Air has weight (Job 28:25).||Air is weightless.||Air has weight.|
|Winds blow in cyclones (Eccl. 1:6).||Winds blow straight.||Winds blow in cyclones.|
|Blood is a source of life and healing (Lev. 17:11).||Sick people must bled.||Blood is a source of life and healing.|
For centuries the conjectures of science also were at odds with Genesis 1 concerning the origin and development of Earth and of life on Earth. However, science has progressed beyond these conjectures and now agrees with Genesis 1 in the initial conditions of Earth, the description of subsequent events, and in the order of these events. The probability that Moses, writing more than 3,400 years ago, would have guessed all these details is less than one in trillions. Below is a partial list of other fundamentals of science explained in the Bible:
- conservation of mass and energy (Eccl. 1:9; Eccl. 3:14-15).
- water cycle (Eccl. 1:7; Is. 55:10).
- gravity (Job 26:7; Job 38:31-33).
- Pleiades and Orion as gravitationally bound star groups (Job 38:31). NOTE: All other star groups visible to the naked eye are unbound, with the possible exception of the Hyades.
- effect of emotions on physical health (Prov. 16:24; Prov. 17:22).
- control of contagious diseases (Lev. 13:4546).
- importance of sanitation to health (Lev.; Num. 19: Deut. 23:12-13). control of cancer and heart disease (Lev. 7-19).
In the crucible of scientific investigation, the Bible has proven invariably to be correct. No other book, ancient or modem, can make this claim; but then, no other book has been written (through men) by God.
Copyright 1976, Reasons To Believe
Subjects: Creation Passages, General Apologetics , Two Books
ARIZONA OF MY HEART
FRANCE OF MY HEART
Père Ephraïm d’Arizona
sur la confession et la responsabilité spirituelle
LA PRIÈRE DE JÉSUS
La confession a donné à mon âme beaucoup de joie, parce que Dieu et les anges, qui l’attendaient, se sont réjouis. Tu as réussi à faire honte au Diable, lui qui se réjouit grandement quand quelqu’un cache ses pensées à son père spirituel.
Quand un serpent sort de sa tanière, il se précipite pour se cacher quelque part parce qu’il sent qu’il sera frappé – la même chose se produit avec une pensée diabolique, qui est comme un serpent venimeux. Quand une telle pensée quitte la bouche d’une personne, elle se disperse et disparaît, parce que la confession est humilité, et puisque Satan ne peut même pas supporter l’odeur de l’humilité, comment pourrait-il rester après une humble confession sincère?
Mon enfant, je te souhaite un bon début et un progrès prudent. N’aie pas honte devant moi. Ne me vois pas comme un homme, mais comme un représentant de Dieu. Dis-moi tout, même si tu as une mauvaise pensée sur moi, parce que je suis expérimenté au sujet des influences démoniaques, et je sais comment le Diable combat homme.
Je sais que les enfants spirituels ont des cœurs simples et que si les mauvaises pensées viennent à eux, cela est dû à la malice du Diable et à l’ego de l’enfant spirituel, qui est autorisé à tomber et à avoir des pensées contre son frère, afin que l’enfant spirituel puisse être plus humble. Par conséquent, ne t’inquiète pas. Je vais toujours me réjouir quand tu me parles librement et sincèrement , car sans confession franche, il n’y aura pas de progrès spirituel.
Mon enfant, n’aie pas de soucis. J’ai pris ton fardeau. Je te prie seulement d’être en paix. Tes paroles peuvent être seulement sur le papier, mais je sens la force, le sens et l’essence de ce que tu écris; J’entre dans l’esprit de tes mots. Je te prie d’être en paix à partir de maintenant. Tu es tout pardonné avec la confession que tu as faite. Satan a perçu ton caractère et te tourmente, mais sans que rien de grave n’ait eu lieu. Tout ce que tu écris (c’est à dire les pensées qui te torturent) est une astuce du Diable pour te faire désespérer, être affligé, et ainsi de suite. Jette tout ce qui t’est arrivé dans les profondeurs de la mer. Trace une nouvelle voie dans ta vie. Si tu continues à penser de la même façon, sache que tu vas devenir la risée des démons. Je te prie, de m’être seulement obéissant.
Après ta confession, tout a été pardonné, alors passe l’éponge. Ne gratte pas une blessure qui t’a fait tant souffrir. Ne sois pas trompé par la pensée que c’est de ta faute. Si vous ne l’avais pas amené chez les médecins, etc, alors ces pensées auraient raison de te combattre. Alors que, les choses étant ce qu’elles sont maintenant, tu as rempli ton devoir. Dieu a voulu le prendre, pour une raison que seule Son infinie sagesse connaît, tandis que tu envisages que tu l’as tué! Sois prudent avec cette pensée, sinon il peut se cacher dans ton cœur. Il s’agit d’une ruse du Diable pour te faire du mal, comme il sait le faire. Ce filou habile a noyé dans les profondeurs de l’enfer des multitudes innombrables par le désespoir. Lorsque quelque chose arrive et que le Diable voit qu’une personne est bouleversée par elle, son astuce consiste à empiler une multitude de pensées soi-disant légitimes afin de mener la pauvre personne dans une grande tempête et la noyer. (Comme dit le proverbe, un renard aime la bagarre). Et quand l’orage passe, elle voit qu’elle était en danger de se noyer dans une cuillère d’eau seulement.
Sois humble, et à partir de maintenant confesse-toi, car la confession contient la très sainte humilité, sans laquelle personne n’est sauvé. Le Diable se réjouit grandement quand il réussit à persuader une personne de cacher des pensées diaboliques. C’est parce qu’il va atteindre son but prémédité de détruire l’âme.
Je t’ai écrit au sujet de la conscience, de devoir veiller à ne pas faire quelque chose qui va donner lieu à des reproches et nous condamner. Garde à l’esprit que Dieu Qui voit tout et que rien n’est caché à Ses yeux. Alors, comment pourrais-je dire des mensonges devant Dieu? Ne sais-tu pas que les mensonges viennent du Diable, et que, en n’étant pas prudent, ils deviennent une pratique, une habitude, puis une passion, et ne sais-tu pas que les menteurs n’hériteront pas le Royaume de Dieu? (cf. Ap 21, 8). Crains Dieu. Dieu n’est pas content des offrandes matérielles quand nous négligeons de veiller sur notre cœur intérieur. Mais il est nécessaire de faire celles-ci [les offrande] également sans négliger de faire les autres. (cf. Mt 23:23). Veille sur ta conscience, car nous ne savons pas l’heure de notre mort. Et si nous ne remboursons pas à notre créancier (c’est-à-dire à notre conscience) tout ce que nous lui devons, elle nous accusera avec véhémence, et sans retenue. Alors -hélas!- notre bouche sera réduite au silence, n’ayant pas de réponse à donner.
Chaque nuit, examine la façon dont tu as passé la journée, et à l’examen du matin comment la nuit s’est passée, de sorte que tu saches où en sont les comptes de ton âme. Si tu constates une perte, essaie de la retrouver par la prudence et la vigueur. Si tu constates un bénéfice, glorifie Dieu, ton aide invisible. Ne laisse pas ta conscience te poindre pour longtemps, mais donne-lui rapidement ce qu’elle veut, de peur qu’elle ne t’amènes au juge et à la prison (cf. Mt. 5:25). Est-ce que ta conscience veut que tu t’occupes de ta règle de prière et retrouve la prière? Donne-lui ces choses, et voici, tu es délivrer de l’obligation d’aller devant le juge. N’affaiblis pas la voix salvatrice de ta conscience en l’ignorant, parce que plus tard, tu le regretteras en vain.
Père Ephraïm d’Arizona
DENMARK OF MY HEART
Orthodoxe Helgens Levneder
Udarbejdet af Munkepræsten Macarius af Simono-Petra-Klosteret. Oversat til Dansk af Munken Fotius (Ole Fr. Stjernfelt) af Paracletens Kloster. (2936 Sider)
Et synaxarium kan oversættes ved en helgenbeskrivelse; liv og i en række tilfælde mirakler. som tilskrives en person, der er blevet kanoniseret som en helgen.
I fire meget smukt indbundne bind er for hver af årets dage beskrivelser af helgener, som har relation til dagene. Hvert bind omfatter et kvartal.
Bind IV har et alfabetisk navneregister over de helgener, som er blevet grundigt bekrevet, og tillige er deres dag eller dage nævnt.
De enkelte bind kan transporteres uden at blive beskadiget, idet der er vedlagt et særligt skånebind, som passer til hver af værkets fire dele.
Det fornemme værk er forsynet med omfattende fodnoter til uddybning af og forklaring på forhold i teksten, der ikke kan formodes at være almen kendte. En mængde sort-hvide gengivelser af ikoner i relation til helgener og begivenheder medvirker til at værket er så smukt.
Endvidere er der også farvegengivelser af ikoner, der relaterer til årets største religiøse fester.
AMERICA OF MY HEART
Ancient Faith Radio:
Saint John Maximovitch of Shanghai & San Francisco (+1966)
This brightly-shining Saint of our own day was born in Russia in 1896. In 1921 his family fled the Russian Revolution to Serbia, where he became a monk and was ordained a priest. From the time of his entry into monastic life he adopted a severely ascetical way of life: for the rest of his life he never slept in a bed, sleeping only briefly in a chair or prostrated before the icons. He ate one meal a day, in the evening. Teaching seminarians in Serbia, he instructed them each day to devote six hours to divine services, six hours to prayer (not including the divine services!), six hours to good works, and six hours to rest (these six hours obviously included eating and bathing as well as sleeping). Whether his seminarians followed his counsels we do not know, but he himself not only followed but exceeded them.
In 1934 he was made Bishop of Shanghai (in the Russian Church Abroad), where he served not only the Russian émigré community but a number of native Chinese Orthodox; from time to time he served the Divine Liturgy in Chinese. When the Communists took power in China, he laboured tirelessly to evacuate his flock to safety, first to the Philippines, then to various western countries including the United States. He served as Bishop in Paris and Brussels, then, in 1962 was made Archbishop of San Francisco. Throughout his life as monk and hierarch he was revered (and sometimes condemned) for his ascetical labours and unceasing intercessions. During his life and ever since, numerous miraculous healings of all manner of afflictions have been accomplished through his prayers.
Once, in Shanghai, a caretaker, investigating strange noises in the cathedral after midnight, discovered Bishop John standing in the belltower, looking down on the city and praying for the people. Years later, when he visited Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, New York, the priest responsible for hosting him found the saint walking through the halls of the monastery, standing outside the door of each room and praying for the monk or seminarian sleeping within. When the Archbishop had prayed outside each room, he returned to the beginning of his circuit and began praying again; and so he spent the entire night
Even as Archbishop, he lived in near-absolute poverty. His appearance was striking: His cassock was made of blue Chinese “peasant cloth,” crudely decorated with crosses stitched by orphans who had been in his care in Shanghai. His Bishop’s “miter” was often a cloth cap to which he had glued paper icons. Even in the United States, even while serving the Divine Liturgy (which he did every day), he went barefoot in all seasons. (Eventually, after he was hospitalized with an infected foot, his Metropolitan ordered him to wear shoes; thereafter, he wore sandals). Needless to say, he was an embarrassment to those who like their bishops to make a more worldly appearance, but among his various flocks throughout the world, there were always those who recognized him as a Saint in his own lifetime.
Following his repose in 1966, a steady stream of healings and other miracles was accomplished through his intercessions, and in 1996 he was glorified as a Saint of the Church. His incorrupt and wonder-working relics can be venerated at his cathedral in San Francisco. At St John’s funeral, the eulogist told his mourners (and all of us): because Archbishop John was able to live the spirituality of the Orthodox Church so fully, even in modern, western, urban society, we are without excuse
Footnote: An acquaintance of Monk John once met him on a train in Serbia. When asked his destination, Monk John replied, “I’m going to straighten out a mistake. I’ve gotten a letter meant for some other John whom they intend to make a bishop.” The same person met him again on his return journey and asked if he had been able to resolve his problem. John answered, “The mistake is much worse than I thought: they did make me a bishop.”
(From Ancient Faith Radio)
USA OF MY HEART
Letter To A Roman Catholic Friend
Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
JOURNEY TO ORTHODOXY
Can one be Roman Catholic and Orthodox? I would like to share with you a brief letter that was published some time ago in an Italian Orthodox parish newsletter. Its author, Archpriest Gregorio Cognetti, is the Dean of the Italian parishes under the Moscow Patriarchate. This letter was generally liked by the Italian Orthodox converts, and also received a high degree of appreciation among some cradle-born Orthodox (it was, for instance, translated into Romanian); I hope it may be prove an interesting reading and a source of inspiration for all of you.
Chapel Hill (U.S.), March 1982
Even though you never asked it directly, I feel from your words that you do not yet understand why I left the Roman Church to become Orthodox.
You were even a member of one of the least latinized Byzantine parishes, you seem to say, why, then?…
I guess I owe you an explanation, since, a long time ago, when we were both members of the Latin church, we shared the same feelings. These same feelings brought both of us to a Byzantine rite parish, and then myself to Orthodoxy. You could not have forgotten the criticisms that we moved to the Romans: the continual insertion of new traditions in place of the old ones, Scholasticism, the legalistic approach to spiritual life, the dogma of papal infallibility. At the same time we both reckoned the legitimacy and correctness of the Orthodox Church. A Uniate parish seemed the optimal solution. I Continue reading “Letter To A Roman Catholic Friend – Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA”