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After my death our beloved Church abroad will break three ways ... first the Greeks will leave us as they were never a part of us ... then those who live for this world and its glory will go to Moscow ... what will remain will be those souls faithful to Christ and His Church. ~St. Philaret of NY

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Death found them all fully mature for eternity

Link shared with us by Matushka Irene Dutikow
Subject: article of the Romonov family

The article was compiled in 2006 by unknown person,  Reference sources are all solid.  The first source listed is this sermon is found in Orthodox Life magazine, translated by Seraphim Johnson.  Metropolitan Anastasius, "Homily on the Seventh Anniversary of the Martyric End of Emperor Nicholas II and the Entire Royal Family", Orthodox Life, vol. 31, no. 4, July-August, 1981  I checked and could not find the exact article online, but there is a different translation here, which appears to be complete.  (The paragraphs start and end the same in both translations, but I did not comb through word by word.)
http://www.pravmir.com/death-caught-the-royal-family-rully-prepared-for-eternity



Death caught them fully prepared for eternity
This homily was delivered by Metropolitan Anastassy on July 4/17, 1925 after a requiem liturgy on Golgotha in Jerusalem

Seven years have passed since the day of the death of our Royal Martyrs (this homily was delivered in 1925 – Ed.), and we bring forth upon this world-wide altar table the Bloodless Sacrifice in their memory.

The prayer of love is our constant duty before them and their great sufferings, which culminated with the cruel execution of the entire Royal Family in that bloody night in Ekaterinburg.

The great battle between good and evil continues, and it has demanded of Russia such terrible sacrifices.  The name of the late Tsar will continue to stand before us as a “sign spoken against.”

Even as tears of sorrow are evoked in one person at the mention of this name, another is brought to a frenzy and he furiously casts poisonous barbs at him.  Are not such people vindictive against the martyred Tsar because even though his blood was spilt, they cannot justify the crime in any way?

All the contrivances of the killers of the Tsar proved too feeble to darken his moral image—the image which serves as a measuring stick of true human dignity—whether one sits on a throne or ekes out a pitiful living among the lowest of this world.

It is well known that people, just like precious metals, are revealed through fire.  The late Emperor passed through both forms of temptation that mankind is subjected to on earth: the temptation of lofty position, glory, happiness, and also the temptation of insult, deprivation, and physical and emotional suffering.  It is difficult to say which of these two paths of tribulation is more dangerous.  It is hard for a person to endure the notion of his superiority over others and to bear the intoxicating effect of greatness, glory, wealth, which almost always come to him along with their all-corrupting companion, the temptation of pride. No less moral strength is required of us in order to preserve peaceful grandeur of spirit as we face sorrows and misfortunes, when the human heart unwittingly harbors anger towards the whole world, or falls into depression.

The position of a king, especially an absolute sovereign, contains within it more danger, since in his hands is the fullness of power and might, and the earthly benefits this brings, which would seduce the majority of mankind.

For the ruler of millions of people, there is almost no conception of “impossible,” and his wishes are given creative force. It is no wonder that sycophants often ascribe almost divine properties to the great and the glorious.

The temptations of royal power are so great that they gave rise to a wise custom in ancient Byzantium: amid the noise and glitter of coronation ceremonies, when the elated crowds applauded their king, their crowned sovereign, as though to a demigod, pieces of stone were presented to him so that he would select a material for his tomb, or a sack of ashes to remind him that he will become as earth and dust, just as every other mortal.

The throne of the Russian Tsar when Emperor Nicholas II occupied it was so lofty that it was visible to the whole world; but its brilliance did not blind the late Tsar for even a moment. He did not become drunk with power and did not ponder his fleeting greatness; to the contrary, he felt drawn to the lowly of the world and could not overcome his own feelings of humility, which frequently hindered his ability to express his will to the degree demanded by the times.  Nurtured from his childhood by the peace-giving spirit of Orthodox Christianity, the Tsar-Martyr was always meek and humble and soft of heart, “a bruised reed did he not break, and smoking flax did he not quench.”  Peace and love were the main elements of his soul: he began his peaceable and seemingly blessed reign by calling for peace in the entire world, and when he was first forced to draw his sword to defend Russia from external enemies, and then from internal enemies, his heart could not but ache with pain.

Untested yet by experience, the Tsar constantly grieved that his benevolent intentions were dashed against the obstacles of life’s contradictions. Power was revealed to him to be less a joyful opportunity to spread goodness, than a bitter necessity to fight evil (Romans 13:1-4), and, suffering in his heart, with patient submission, he bore the burden as a duty laid upon him from on high.

The Tsar spent his moments of repose within the circle of his loving family, who lived according to the ancient Russian daily way of life even amid the surrounding splendor.

The lofty, self-sacrificing attitude burning in the heart of the Russian people at the outset of the world war once again gave the Tsar wings. Inspired by this holy fire, his soul merged with that of his subjects, and as the expression of his people’s desires, became the true Leader of the Fatherland.

These were doubtless the happiest days of his reign, when the legacies of his homeland’s history were unfurled and he sensed in his heart the mysterious voice calling upon him to manifest the lofty call of the Russian nation.  Patiently enduring all the misfortunes of war, he went boldly forth towards the glorious triumph of truth and peace.  But alas! The time had come only to demonstrate that we were not prepared to meet the lot cast to us.  The people did not endure the great tribulations to the end and were not crowned with victory.  Enticed by the spirit of seduction and temptation, they strayed from the narrow road of podvig that the hand of Providence had set them upon and chose instead the broad road of willfulness and lawlessness.  In drunken madness, they mercilessly set out upon the destruction of all the sober foundations of social life and then, the Restrainer, that is, the Tsar, as the source of power and the main pillar of civic order, was taken from them.

Just like Job, on whose feast day the Lord deemed the Tsar would be born, the latter likewise lost glory, wealth and his reign, and his friends, in an instant.

Only a very few of his friends then wished to drink of the same cup with him and remained true to him to the end; others, thought they sympathized with his plight, did not dare to speak of this openly, lest they be ostracized by the crowd; most of his former friends, who were often much favored by him, denounced him “for fear of the Jews” and instead of consoling him, sent their recent benefactor words of criticism for having deserved his own fate.

The Lord only left the Passion-Bearing Tsar a single consolation which He did not grant Job–his loving and selfless family, but alas!  They were to share with him only humiliation and sorrows, and for this reason sometimes they served as additional causes for his suffering.

The worst of all sorrows that suddenly befell the Ruler of All Russia was doubtless the loss of his personal freedom, that most treasured of all blessings, which millions of his subjects enjoyed and which God did not deprive of Patriarch Job, the Old Testament man of sorrows. Imprisoned and under watch, the Tsar had to endure this sorrow of the brutality of human ingratitude.  People who had so recently trembled at his very glance and hoped to catch the briefest of his smiles, as a living ray of sunlight, now subjected him to the lowest degradations, mocking not only him and the Empress, but even their young children, whose tender purity was enchanting, whose souls had to suffer for an especially long time, for this was their first contact with evil and falsity of this world.  Every day, every hour these brutal keepers invented new forms of mental anguish for the helpless Royal Family, and yet they heard not one word of admonishment from the mouths of the regal victims.  They emulated the One of Whom it was said “when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not” (1 Peter 2:23).  They only spoke of their sufferings to God and before Him only did they pour out their hearts.  The sense of abandonment which gripped them did not cool their love for Russia; forgetting their own sufferings, the royal prisoners continued to the end of their days to suffer inseparably with their people.

The very act of abdication from the throne was on the part of the Tsar an expression of his lofty self-sacrifice for the sake of his fervently-loved Fatherland.

While foreign kings who had, in England and France, experienced the same fate by Divine Providence, they would not abandon their thrones without a bloody battle, but our late Emperor was foreign to any thought of defending his power from the sole desire to rule.  “Are you certain that this will serve to benefit Russia?” he asked of those who, ostensibly in the name of the people, requested that he abdicate from his inherited rights.  Receiving a positive response, he immediately removed the burden of royal power from himself, lest even a single drop of Russian blood spilt during a civil war, which would be his sole responsibility.

By this wise, historic question, the Tsar forever removed from himself any responsibility for his decision and it fell upon those who first raised their sacrilegious hand against him.

As they approached their final days, these noble sufferers, with genuine royal greatness, as we see from their last letters, rose higher and higher above this world, towards the strength of faith of holy confessors, with martyric benevolence and with utter forgiveness of their enemies.

Death caught them fully prepared for eternity; yet the very surroundings of the sudden execution must have inflicted even more suffering upon them.  For the young royal children, who were to fade in the very prime of life, the thought of a violent death was especially horrifying because they were facing it for the first time in their lives, and the very sight of those heartless executioners must have been shocking.  The hearts of their parents were torn to pieces from the thought that—because of them—their absolutely innocent children were being led to slaughter, and these unfortunate royal parents, like the Holy Martyr Sophia, endured death time and time again, dying inside together with each of their children.

History will someday reveal the details of this terrible night which are yet hidden from us now, and the tears of loving joy will often spill over the podvigi of our new great Passion-Bearers, whom the Lord smelted like silver, seven times, in order to obtain them as worthy unto Himself (Wisdom of Solomon 3:5-7), and will crown them with even more glorious diadems than the crowns of kings.

The world shook in horror at the sight of the atrocity at Ekaterinburg.  Only the evil-doers themselves continued to spew unquenchable hatred, even after the execution, persecuting their victims, weaving a thorny network of bitter slander around them.  Fortunately, time—the indifferent judge of human deeds—will every day continue to denounce the slander, revealing the image of the late Tsar and Tsarina in the light of truth.  Now no one dares to say that they could have ever even thought of betraying Russia, or that the sanctity of their family hearth was darkened by even a fleeting shadow.  No one could now dare lay the blame of all the sufferings and horrors crushing our Homeland at the feet of Emperor Nicholas II, for the guilt of this lies truly upon the entire Russian nation and upon each one of us in particular.

This genuine suffering sovereign could not be responsible that his fate was to rule such a gigantic sovereignty at a crucial moment in history when no natural human power could withstand the opposition of the evil, destructive elemental force, accumulated by the sins of many generations, and unstoppable like the lava of an exploding volcano.

The measure of spiritual gifts the Tsar possessed with which he served God and mankind was likewise granted from above.  Not everyone is born a genius, but each must work and increase his God-given talents to the extent possible.  Who can accuse the Tsar, now reposed in the Lord, that he did not fulfill this Gospel commandment?  Who does not know that he was a tireless worker upon his throne, always zealous for the successes of his country, protecting its dignity and safety over the course of his 23 years of rule, until he finally lay down his soul for it in the end.

If the Tsar, striving as always for lofty goals, did not find the corresponding means to manifest them, if he often thought more highly of his advisors than they deserved, and experience at times frustration and indecision in the face of the looming danger, this only proves that he was a human being.

Who has the right to judge one human weakness or another, his willful and unintended sins, except the One Who entrusted him with the throne and sent him into such great cleansing tribulations, which were “heavier than the sand of the sea” (Job 6:3)?

The great martyric podvig of the Russian Tsar Nicholas II almost has no equal in the history of recent centuries, and only here upon this terrifying and mysterious Golgotha can we make sense of the sacred meaning of the cross placed upon him and upon his entire family from above.  This Golgotha is the global altar, and it is the place of judgment of the entire world.

Since Divine love and truth have joined together here, in order to tear asunder the manuscript of human sins, Divine Providence is revealed to us from the heights of Golgotha, weighing the fates of individuals and of entire nations.  From here, all the blood of martyrs cries out to heaven and invokes God’s wrath upon some, and bestows grace upon others.  Here is the wellspring of judgment and of mercy to the peoples of the world.

Filled with sorrowful bewilderment, the Most-Pure Mother stood here with the Myrrh-Bearing Women and with St John the Theologian, beholding the King of Glory crucified on the Cross.  Pierced with sorrow, too, from the height of this holy place we gaze upon crucified, humiliated and bloodied Russia, and on behalf of the entire Russia people, we pray to Him in Whose hands rests the entire world: O Lord! If it is for the purification of the entire people that the sacrifice of the first of their sons and the Leader of the Russian Land was required, then it has been brought forth.  If the resolution of our common sins must occur with the spilling of innocent blood, then it even now pours forth to You from the wounds of the Royal Children, pierced, young and pure like sinless lambs, and other passion-bearers like them, whose names only You know.  We bring to You for the sake of redemption, too, the pleas and cries of all the Russian people wallowing in deathly sufferings, and these Russian tears of love which for the centuries poured from Golgotha.

We beseech Your mercy and call upon Your eternal truth, combined in the unspeakable mystery of the Cross raised by Your Divine Son.

Arise, O God, judge Thou the earth; for Thou shalt inherit among all the nations. Amen.


Read on July 4/17, 1925, after the funerary Liturgy at Golgotha in the Church of the Resurrection of Christ in the Holy City of Jerusalem. 

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 Matushka Irene also shares this link to a large collection of rare photos
http://orthochristian.com/114465.html

Opening of the 5th Seal



Revelation 6:9-17 King James Version (KJV)

And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:
10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?
11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.


out of print
The Apocalypse
by Archbishop Averky
translated by Fr. Seraphim Rose

ROCA Priest Laments his past in MP

Archpriest Sergiy Begashov: Do not remember the sins of my youth, Lord!


Today, the Orthodox Church celebrates the feast in honor of the icon of Our Lady of Vladimir. This day, has always been for me a special day, because On July 6, I received the holy dignity.  Today, this day has become even more significant for me, because fifteen years have passed since my consecration. 15 years is not much at all, but enough to think about, to turn back, to make some comments and conclusions. And these conclusions to which I have come today are due to the fact that five years out of these fifteen, I served in the ROCA.
When we moved to our church from the MP, I was asked to write an autobiography and provide copies of decrees on ordinations and awards. But my carefree life as the head of a large family and as a rector-builder, as well as (which is a sin to conceal) a banal laziness, prompted me to move this tedious and embarrassing business farther and farther. How five years have passed, and I have not done what I promised. And although I already amended, but this very "correction" caused me even more embarrassment than the time that I indignantly dragged with this. (May forgive me m. Rafael).
All this made me look back again, and try to somehow rethink my past. And now, looking at these fifteen years, I suddenly experience something that I did not experience earlier. I am ashamed! I was stained with this past. This hypocrisy, this pretense, this pseudo-humility and this pseudo-righteousness. I'm ashamed of the fact that I was part of this performance and that I desperately tried to find my place in it. I am ashamed that I saw lies, tyranny, blasphemy and outright lawlessness, and was silent, as it seemed to me then, to cover the "sin of my brother".I'm ashamed that I lied myself. He lied for the sake of "the benefit of the church." I am ashamed and I am guilty of believing in the "Russian world" and was himself an adept. What took these shameful 200grn then at the diocesan assembly of the clergy for "prayers" about Victor Feodorovich. I took it and wanted to get more. I am ashamed for the fact that I was a SLAVER, rejoicing and hating at the same time pressing on my throat, my landlord's boot. I confess that I convinced myself that this is the church. He knew that this could not be, but he persuaded. Both myself and others. And he seduced some. May God forgive me!
Of course, five years, it's too little to see, to get rid of this slavish poisoning. Where I sin, because some old, incomparably stronger than me, it was not possible to overcome this in forty years. But that's what I see, it's enough to have vomiting in a desire to shake this past of myself to the end, in order to survive to live, and live forever. "And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only God and Jesus Christ, whom you sent," the great Lord and Savior, the Head and Founder of His Church and ours.
Yes, unfortunately, in our church everything is not as it should be. And in our church there is a place of stupidity and craftsmanship, obscurantism and ritualism, superficiality and vices, third-transtvo and imperialism, BUT! In our Church there is something that I did not see before - there are believing people here, and what seemed absolutely impossible - even among the bishops! Here there is Truth and Freedom, and these two qualities are the qualities of the Holy Spirit, for the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, instructing on all truth, where there is, there is Freedom. There's no need to invent something, hide something slyly. There everything is as it is. And thank God that He by His mercy brought me here.
And now, in view of all of the above, let me, my dear fathers, brothers and sisters, just as the Mother of God liberated the Orthodox people from the yoke of their wicked image by the manifestation of their miraculous image, and by Her prayers freed from the yoke of my past wickedness. For I do not want to see, hear, know, or have anything from that past.
Metropolitan Vladyka, I ask your blessing not to be called to me again as an archpriest, not to bear any awards, nor to remember them, and to consider them for nothing, as though they had not been. I only ask permission to wear my modest wooden cross, which my maternal grandfather once donated (which remains, alas, to the MP), and then, just because I have no other priestly cross.
With gratitude to God, His Church and her children, the saving servant of God, Priest Sergius Begashov, ROCOR.

Comments   

# RE: Archpriest Sergiy Begashov: Do not remember the sins of my youth, Lord! Metropolitan Agafangel 06/07/2018 14:21
Priestly awards, which are lower in rank, are not taken away and are not abolished, every priest has the right to dress or not to dress everything that was given to him earlier.

There is the grace of the priesthood, which has no ranks. As, by the way, and hierarchy.

About Death After Death

Vernost 120

ABOUT  DEATH  AFTER  DEATH
Seraphim Larin

It was in Eden that the snake, in responding to Eve’s doubts concerning the threat of death for disobedience, said: “Ye shall not surely die” (Gen. 3:4).  In believing the father of lies, Adam and Eve made all humanity mortal.  As a consequence, having entered the world, omnivorous death mows down everybody indiscriminately: the rich and the poor, famous and the unknown, leaders and their subordinates, the healthy and the ill.  In a frank conversation with Count de Montholne in 1821, the great conqueror, Napoleon Bonaparte exclaimed: “I will die and my body will return to earth and become food for worms. Such is the fate of him that was named the Great Napoleon! What a great chasm that exists between my insignificance and Christ’s eternal Kingdom!”  When another great conqueror – Alexander the Great was dying, he requested that upon his burial, one of his hands remain outside the coffin as a witness that he was a mere flawed, corruptible mortal who had achieved nothing in this life and whose body decomposes just the same as any other.

Before death, every person’s life appears before him, and he suddenly realises that all his “conquests” are nothing in the face of immortality.

However, it is not death itself that is frightening, but its consequences; behind death’s door eternity is revealed, in which there are two paths: a bright one that leads us to the blessed presence before God, generously sharing with us His unlimited love; and the other, that leads us down into the dark fate of the hater of Christ – the devil and his servants.  We structure our future in this life: we prepare our place in eternity: we realise our own fate.

“The death of a sinner is terrible” – declares the Prophet David.  Ungodly Voltaire, renowned throughout the whole world, whose “pen was mightier than the sword”, conqueror of minds, the “enlightener of Europe”, the “liberator” of morals and promoter of immorality, was dying from a stroke – slowly and agonisingly.  His close friends recorded his frightening demise: “Because his agonies only increased through our presence, he cursed us all the time, constantly exclaiming: ‘Go away!  You are the ones who have brought me to this state! Leave me I tell you, go away!  What miserable glory you have prepared for me!’”  He attempted to smother his suffering with a written confession, which was prepared and signed by him, and read before him.  However, all was in vain.  Two months before his death, he was tortured with internal agonies, at times grinding his teeth in a feeble hatred against God and people… On occasions, having turned away his face, he would invoke: “I must die – forsaken by God (Whom he despised) and everyone!”  Not being able to bear this spectacle, his nurse occasionally kept uttering: “I would never agree to be witness to the death of another godless individual for all the wealth of Europe.”

Another “great” representative of this world, L.N.Tolstoy – whose own death was not an easy one - could never understand as to why his peasants passed away so quietly and peacefully… a Christian ending.

Normally, people either don’t think about hell, or reject it fully, or imagine that after death they would arrive there, where “there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.”  Philosophies that promote libertine behaviour and impunity only tend to reinforce in a person the theories of contemporary notables of medicine, like doctors E.Kubler-Ross, Moodie, Professor Ring and others.  They all confirm that those who had spent time beyond life’s boundary and returned (out of body experience), have experienced exceptionally “positive feelings.”  These doctors had written many books about this ostensibly “positive” spending of time beyond the grave by patients, after they had been pronounced clinically dead.

From the Holy Gospel, the teachings of our Church, writings of the Holy Fathers, from the lives of Saints and finally from personal experience, we know that the life hereafter can be quite dismal.  Indeed, it could be quite the opposite - agonising  and eternal.  Even contemporary medicine has studies that testify to the “negative” suffering of people that had spent time being clinically dead, as well as “negative” torments of those, on the eve of their deaths.  Unfortunately, contemporary psychiatry – for whatever clandestine reasons - remains mute on these cases.

In 1993, an American doctor – Maurice C. Rowling – an eminent cardiologist and specialist in clinical deaths, president of the Institute of Cardiologists in the State of Tennessee, former physician to President Eisenhower, wrote a book titled “To Hell and Back”.  In it, he cites many examples where people that had experienced clinical death, landed in hell but initially didn’t want to reveal this.  Having gathered many testimonies as to the existence of the “negative” side of life beyond the grave, he sent copies of them to: Kubler-Ross, Ring, Moodie and others, proposing to organise a meeting with his patients that have experienced hell in the world hereafter.  Unfortunately, he received no response from any of them, except Kubler-Ross.  She declined the meeting under the pretext that the investigations were finished, and they were unwilling to return to the subject.

It should be noted that doctors Kubler-Ross, Moodie and others, who were mentioned in Father Seraphim Rose’s book “Soul after death”, have since travelled far along the path of truth distortion.  Doctor Moodie is currently a specialist in the diverse realms of shamanism and occultism, holding lectures and seminars, where he teaches how to pass your mind through mirrors and crystals.  He turned his house into a temple to the Greek god of medicine, Asclepius. Doctor Kubler-Ross busied herself with spiritism, and in her practice calls upon the spirits of Salema, Anka and Villi – even recording their voices on tape.  UFO’s, shamanism and spiritism had captivated Doctor Ring, attempting to bring all of them into a single configuration.

Apparently death doesn’t frighten them, as they have created for themselves a fantastic perception of the future after death, and if they don’t change, they will realise their lethal self-delusion upon separation of body and soul – when its too late, and then a cry of innocence will not be heard from the depths of hell!

The death to some unbelievers can bring about ineffective fear.  As an example, Sigmund Freud, the father of contemporary psychoanalysis had a mortal fear of death.  Notwithstanding the fact that he was a doctor, he even refused to come close to cadavers.  Once, while having a discussion with another “father” of psychoanalysis, Jung, Freud fainted when Jung went into an enthusiastic description of death and cadavers.  Later, he accused Jung of subconsciously wishing his demise.  This accusation was taken quite seriously by Jung, and for the next 6 years of their collaboration, he was as he wrote, “on the edge of a nervous breakdown”, fearing that he would indeed kill Freud.  And these are the fathers and founders of psychiatry and psychology, inspirers of contemporary medical “lights” – Moodie, Kubler-Ross and many others.

Jung likewise practiced spiritism, having written his work “Septem Sermons and Mortuos” under the influence of the summoned spirits.  As he writes: “My whole house was full of spirits, packed to the doors, and the air was that heavy that I could hardly breathe… It was here that I was inspired and began to write, and over a period of three nights, I had finished my work.”  The leader of the spirits and Jung’s acknowledged friend and mentor was none other than Philimon.  He had met him at the very beginning of his venture into spiritism. In describing his outer appearance, Jung wrote that he had “horns and wings” and “had a limp in one leg,” this “wise old man.”  He also reminded him of Goethe’s Faust!

It is to the demons’ advantage to reject the existence of eternal suffering, which has been prepared for them and their father – the devil.  In following their motivators, the adaptors – some of the authorities of contemporary medicine - also reject the sad fate of fallen souls.  The sobering and life-saving thought of eternal suffering is quite alien to them.

“Remember your last day and you will never sin.”  Just like fear of God, fear of death can appear as the beginning of wisdom, the beginning of conversion.  While out walking one day, the Byzantium Emperor Isaac 1 got caught in a storm.  In running toward shelter from the surrounding flashes of lightning, one bolt of lightning crashed right next to him.  This shook him up so much that he uttered: “I have seen the closeness of death!  And what have I done for my soul?  Nothing.”  He returned to the palace and abdicated, entered a monastery, was tonsured and became its gatekeeper.

“Just as it is impossible for a hungry person not to think of food, so it is impossible for a person to be saved that does not think of death and Final Judgment”, writes Saint John Climactus.  How many offences had not been committed because of the thought of eternal suffering, and how many souls inherited eternal life because of the sobering thought of death!

“My brothers, let us not deny the existence of Gehenna so as not to end up in it” writes Saint John Chrysostom, “because he who doesn’t believe in its existence, becomes lazy and remiss in good deeds.  And a lazy and neglectful person in good deeds, will reach a stage of unrepentance and undoubtedly will end up in hell.  Let us unreservedly believe in Gehenna and discuss it constantly, and then we will not fall into sin so easily and quickly.  Because just like bitter medicine, thoughts on sufferings in hell cure and avert evil.”

Let us treat physical death as the final earthly step toward eternity…  let us treat life on earth as the determinant of our eternal future… and let us hold fast to Christ’s Truth… notwithstanding that the vast majority “walk in a false spirit” and regard the true faithful as schismatics and disrupters, because “the stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.”  It is only through resolute commitment to true life and belief, can we face with calm certainty that “mercy and truth go before Your face” (Psalm 89:14)

Related post: Death of Stalin

"Our Church is small but pure as crystal"

from Joanna's notepad

"Our Church is small but pure as crystal." 
~ St. John S&SF

The first printing of this quote I am aware of is 1997, Jordanville, in a commentary made by monk Vsevolod Filipiev (who eventually went with the ROCOR-MP union).

The commentary is included in a book:


" . . . Amid the sorrows and deprivations which continually pursue the militant Church of Christ, let the words of prophesy spoken by our man of prayer Saint John of San Francisco comfort us: "Our Church is small but pure as crystal."  Our Church is pure and holy not because of personal righteousness, which alas, we have not, but thanks to the treasure preserved without compromise within the heart of the Church,thanks to the Truth of Christ. . . ."

Monk Vsevolod calls it a prophesy, but I wonder, since the statement is in the present tense.  It could just be St. John's observation.  

Prior to May 17, 2007, Unionite priests in ROCOR-MP were trained ahead of time how to handle it if anyone of their flock called attention to this quote.  It turns out that monk Vsevolod is the only name that shows up anywhere in the booklet (after the commentary), so we assume he is also responsible for the rest of the book: translating St. John's history, writing the life and providing the timeline.  

Fr. Seraphim had already previously translated St. John's history and published it in Orthodox Word magazine #37 (1971)
article in text here:

Monk Vsevolod's translation is different from Fr. Seraphim's.  Comparing the two translations I found two very short paragraphs inserted in monk Vsevolod's translation that are not in Fr. Seraphim's translation.  The two paragraphs don't really flow well with the whole.  But they are not unrelated.  My guess is that the translator had a thought that he wanted to add, but it somehow did not get put in brackets as an "editor's comment" like it should have been.  That the inserts were each separate paragraphs, and not hidden inside a paragraph, and that there is nothing tricky or sinister about either of them, points strongly to the explanation that these were editorial inserts that did not get properly marked.

Anyway, one of the inserts starts with "In 1964..." and St. John wrote the article in 1960.  So, Unionites used this discrepancy to prove that monk Vsevolod is a liar, saying none of the booklet can be trusted, and the deceitful anti-union monk just made it up about the "pure as crystal."

What is extremely telling to me is that back in early 2007 when I mentioned the "pure as crystal" to my Unionite priest, he INSTANTLY had the answer.  Without any hesitation he dismissed this evidence against the union saying some monk in Jordanville made it up.  How was his answer so instant? unless he was warned in advance what to say?  I caught this priest with instant canned answers to other questions also.  And I think all the ROCOR priests were given instructions on how to answer these difficult questions in such a way as to end the discussion.

Did monk Vsevolod make it up?

The flaming Unionite ROCOR-MP Fr. Peter Perekrestov inadvertently ADMITS that it was a teaching in ROCOR -- that our ROCOR is pure as crystal -- in his 25 questions paper: Question #18

18. We were taught that our Church is “crystal” clear, like unto a glass of pure clean water. If pure water is mixed with dirty water, the pure water becomes murky. Will not the same thing happen to our Church if we enter into communion with the Church in Russia or with the Local Churches that are members of the WCC? 

It would be nice to verify the quote, if for any reason, then to right the slander against monk Vsevolod.

Not that the fact would make any difference to anyone regarding the union.  People have made up their minds.  And the Unionites stubbornly stick their heads in the sand, not wanting to know the truth, or else pretending the truth does not matter.

However, if the quote is a prophesy, if the prophesy is that ROCOR will be small (future tense), then that can be comforting for us in the very small ROCOR of today -- which seems to be evaporating in America.  ROCOR will not disappear from the earth, because ROCOR is the guardian of the pearl -- the 3rd Rome.  ROCOR will always exist until the ROC is resurrected by an Orthodox Tzar.  And, St. John also said, repeating another prophesy that there will not be a 4th Rome.

". . . Yea, sacred are you, O Russia. The ancient writer was correct who said that you are the Third Rome, and there will be no fourth. . . ."

Prayer written by Metr. Anthony Khrapovitsky


http://rocorhistory.blogspot.com/2008/07/history-of-roca-by-st-john-maximovitch.html


[Fr. Seraphim Rose]: At every Divine Liturgy celebrated by the clergy of the ROCOR, the following prayer, written by Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky, is appointed to be read aloud by the priest before the Litany of the Catechumens:

"Deliver our Homeland from the cruel atheists and their authority.  Hear the painful lamentation of us Thy faithful servants, who cry out to Thee in distress and sorrow day and night, O most merciful God, and lead their lives out of corruption.  Grant peace and quiet, love and confirmation and speedy reconciliation to Thy people, whom Thou hast redeemed by Thy most honorable Blood; but be Thou manifest even unto those who have gone away from Thee and seek Thee not, that not one of them may perish, but that they all may be saved and come to knowledge of the truth, that all with unanimity of mind and unceasing love may glorify Thy most honorable name, O meek and patient Lord, unto the ages of ages!"

from: Orthodox Word magazine #37 March/April 1971 

Rare Film footage St. John S&SF


St. John quotes about churches


St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco 
On June 19 / July 2, 2010, the Orthodox Church commemorates St. John, Archbishop of Shanghai and San Francisco, the Wonderworker 

EXCERPT FROM A SERMON 
BY ST. JOHN OF SHANGHAI AND SAN FRANCISCO 
Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house...” 


Church is a sanctified place, Holy, where the Grace of God is eternally present.

* * *
Building a church is an offering to God, choosing a parcel of ground for Church services, donating to God one’s own riches, but most importantly offering Him one’s own love and diligence.  Churches were erected in different circumstances; during joyous or sad events, becoming like a beacon, from all the people on the face of their beloved land. 

* **
Churches are needed not for God, Whose throne is the sky and below Him the earth, but for us.  Our donations and offerings to Churches are likewise beneficial to us, but the Lord accepts not so much the material gift, as our zeal.  Christ approved the poor widow’s two mites and said that she hath cast more into the treasury than anyone, though the rich cast in much of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living (Mark 12:43-44).  Our offerings made in name of God are accepted by God Himself.  Spiritually, our offerings become Heavenly treasures, where no one can take them away, but if anyone dares to take church property, then he steals from God Himself and will be punished by God Himself.

* ** 
Thus acted devout Russian people, giving their few pennies to grey-haired wanderers who collected donations for churches.

** * 
At every church service the builders of churches are commemorated.

** *
Building churches here on earth, we are erecting for ourselves eternal abodes in Heaven.  Decades will pass, our bodies will decompose and maybe even nothing will be left of our bones; but our souls will live for- ever.  Blessed is he who prepared an abode for his soul in Heavenly Mansions.  Even if the erected churches are destroyed, the name of their benefactors will be recorded in God’s eternal books where the resounding prayers will be indelibly imprinted. 


Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house, and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glo- rified, saith the LORD. ...I am with you saith the LORD. (Haggai 1:7-8, 13)