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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






Book Review

from Joanna's notepad

The Ark of Salvation
A Young Adult's Guide to the Orthodox Church


I ordered a copy of this book for my grandson, but I wanted to read it first before giving it to him.  I was looking for errors that are creeping into our Church such as evolutionism and the idea that Harry Potter is harmless Christian fantasy.  I found something unexpected instead.

The book is 158 pages.  Five pages into the first chapter there is already a 2-page section on the "energies of God."  This exalted concept is never even mentioned by our Church Fathers, or rarely, if ever, is it even mentioned.  St. Philaret, in his catechism of 611 questions mentions the word "energies" one time. Once!  And this one time that it is used he refers to human energies, not God's energies.

In the The Ark of Salvation, in the 2-page section on the "energies of God" is a quote taken from Archimandrite George, Deification As The Purpose of Man's Life, [Mt. Athos: Monastery of Gregoriou, 2001]  p. 3.

Is this a surprise?  Neo-Athos.  With it's pitiful fall into lip-serving the new calendar and  commemorating the ecumenist mason EP, now it brings out these exalted writings of past confessors to stimulate their deadened condition.  I underline the word "confessors" because without first confessing the Truth [about the EP], they have no business contemplating or teaching about God's uncreated energies.

It would be ok if this subject  were confined to the 2-page section, but it isn't.  Instead the rest of the book, up to page 89, at least, is permeated with references to God's energies.  At page 89, after the chapter on marriage, I closed the book.  I've seen enough.  I don't want to give this book to my grandson.

As Fr. Seraphim used to say, "Poor suffering Orthodoxy."

related post:


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...as a monk, he knew virtually nothing of married life and had no business knowing about it, anyway



added note 12Nov2014:  When a married couple convert questioned Fr. Seraphim Rose about marriage, Fr. Seraphim "gave us the strictest and highest standard to followBut in subsequent conversation he also urged us to consult with a married priest to see if there are sometimes legitimate exceptionsHe pointed out that, as a monk, he knew virtually nothing of married lifein particular, marital lifeand had no business knowing about it, anyway."
Letters p. 7  

This is the unofficial rule of seasoned priests and archimandrites: that monastics advise monastics, and non-monastics advise non-monastics.  A young man or woman considering monasticism needs guidance from both the married parish priest and the hieromonk.

One of the cruelest things I've seen happen is where the young man considering monasticism allowed a girl to get her hopes for marriage with him, and then chose the monastery.  This left the woman feeling used.  One girl said, "I was just his stepping stone to be a monk."  This is because it is one thing to choose monasticism regardless of whether marriage is a possibility or not, and another thing to choose monasticism after being unlucky in the love department.  Another case was particularly tragic.  After her monk decided on monasticism, she married another man, who knew (as did she know too well) that he was her second choice.  Later, her monk decided monasticism was not for him, but his bride was already married to Mr. Second Choice.  The third case the girl had been very invested in the relationship, she left the state and I can not find her.  I hope she eventually married a good husband.

Another case I observed was where monasticism was not involved.  It is worth mentioning.  A young seminarian aspired for the priesthood.  His wedding was scheduled, and ordination was in his future.  This couple was given a blessing for conjugal relations.  But before the wedding the woman backed out, leaving the seminarian not just heartbroken, but no longer a virgin.  Technically, strictly, this was to be treated like a divorce, making him unfit for the priesthood.