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


Syracuse-St. Nicholas and Canadian Dioceses Appeal

An appeal from the diocesan meeting of the Syracuse-St. Nicholas and Canadian Dioceses to the Synod of Bishops, clergy and faithful of the ROCA.

At our diocesan meeting on October 30, 2014, at the Tolstoy Foundation in Valley Cottage, NY, under the chairmanship of Archbishop Andronik and with the participation of clergy and laypeople of the Syracuse-St. Nicholas and Canadian Dioceses, we expressed our greatly concern and distress at the worsening in mutual relations between our bishops, clergy and laypeople in the historic territory of RussiaSchism is desired only by the enemies of our ChurchFor us it represents an unthinkable and unacceptable tear in the divine chiton of Christ.

Therefore, we cannot support the position of either side in this conflictWe ask for an immediate convening of the entire body of the Council of Bishops and the removal of all personal opinion and discussions on the Internet until a conciliar resolution of all the contentious issuesIn case our request to convene a Council of Bishops is refused, we advocate for the assembly of an extraordinary All-Diaspora CouncilWe categorically state that any new schism in the ROCA will not be endorsed by us in favor of one or another of the aforementioned contending sidesTrusting in the grace of God, we appeal for the unity of our flock and the conciliar resolution of this dispute.

Archbishop Andronik
Mitered Protopriest Gregory Kotlaroff
Protopriest Vsevolod Dutikow
Protopriest Nikita Grigoriev
Protopriest Daniel Meschter
Protopriest Oleg Mironov
Fr. John Hinton
Fr. Dmitry Amelchenko
Dcn. Fr. Dimitri Dobronravov

Sadly, NFTU has published an analytical report (from the jurisdictional ecumenist point of view) providing all the links to the very contentious letters that our chief hierarch has asked be removed.  As of this notice at least one of the links has been disabled.  I realize we Americans are short on the news, and it is slow in coming to us in English.  But I ask, please, that we wait patiently to hear our news from our own people.  -jh

Painting from St. Xenia's Bulletin


Parish Events Bulletin
Blessed Saint Xenia of Petersburg
Russian Orthodox Cathedral
2 Colchester Square
OTTAWA Ontario (Kanata) K2K 2W9

Fall clean-up of grounds – The annual fall clean-up of the grounds will take place on Saturday November 1 at 10:30 am following the general panikhida at 10:00 am. In the case of bad weather, then on Sunday November 2 at 12:30. Please help clean up our church grounds and bring your rakes, shovels, shears and gloves. The more people that help, the quicker the work will be done.

An Orthodox Teenager’s View of Halloween

By Sophia Desiatov
As most of you are aware, Halloween is just right around the corner. It’s a time where children dress up as imaginary creatures and go around knocking on doors, hoping that their reward will be candy. Growing up, I was never allowed to participate in the tradition of dressing up and trick or treating. I remember my parents telling me that on this night, whenever a knock was heard, we weren’t allowed to open the door. I didn’t understand it at the time; I just thought Halloween was a universally accepted holiday, like Christmas or Easter. But now, I understand why my parents were so cautious about this one particular night. And I think it’s important that all Orthodox Christians – especially children – should understand the meaning behind Halloween.
Halloween, or All Hallows’ Eve, is a tradition that began in the pre-Christian times. The Celtic people, who were commonly pagans, believed that ‘life was born from death’. Thus, on the last day of October, they worshipped a deity called Samhain (pronounced sow-in), otherwise known as the Lord of death. On this night, sacrifices – animals or human – were made in order to appease Samhain, who in turn would lower the veil between the living and the dead, allowing the lost ones to be reunited the living for one night. The festival also included a bonfire of oak branches where the sacrifices were made and other rituals performed. Moreover, the custom of ‘trick or treat’ originated from people – in costume - visiting houses in exchange for food, so that the hunger of the dead would be satiated. If Samhain was not pleased with the offering, ‘tricks’ or curses would befall on those visitors.
It doesn’t sound very innocent, does it? The trouble with Halloween is that because of society, it has become heavily commoditised, shrouding the true meaning and covering it with money and profits. This makes it easier for children to see Halloween as a way to spend money and have fun, while ignoring the warnings. Fortunately, I haven’t experienced a traditional Halloween night, unlike the parades in Greenwich Village in the United States, and I don’t plan to. It feels wrong going against my belief in order to celebrate and revel in a night of darkness in order that a satanic deity could be appeased, all because everyone else around me is doing it.
That’s another problem with Halloween; it has become readily accepted by society, that it puts pressure on faithful Orthodox Christians to succumb to the temptation and darkness of Halloween. It puts pressure on Orthodox children to follow their peers’ footsteps, because to them, it’s ‘cool’. But we shouldn’t feel pressured to explain to our peers that we don’t celebrate Halloween because it goes against our faith. They should learn to embrace our values and respect our decisions, just as they expect us to respect their decisions.
Halloween is a pagan tradition that seeks to appease a satanic deity, and Orthodox Christians must learn to defend themselves against those who attempt to draw us into this celebration of evil.
Sophia Desiatov
Editor’s note: Orthodox Christians would do best to attend the All-night Vigil in honour of St John of Kronstadt on Friday night, rather than participate in pagan festivities! 

The Five Cycles

from the Festal Menaion
page 38-41 (from the Preface)

The Five Cycles

From the liturgical viewpoint the life of an Orthodox Christian is composed of various cycles.  First of all, there is the great cycle embracing a man's whole life from birth to death, from cradle to coffin.  This consists in actions which are not repeated, but occur once only during the earthly existence of each person: baptism; chrismation or confirmation; burial.  To this cycle belong also the sacraments or sacramental blessings which confer special grace for a particular office or vocation within the Christian community: marriage; monastic profession; holy orders.  At the other extreme from this major sequence involving a Christian’s entire life, there is the daily cycle of prayers and praises offered by the Church once in every twenty-four hours.  In the liturgical life of Orthodoxy, as with the Jews and other ancient peoples, the day is considered to begin at sunset. 

Certain minor qualifications must be added.  Under exceptional circumstances, chrismation may be repeated: for instance, an Orthodox who has (apostatized to Islam is received back into the Church by anointing with chrism.  Second marriages occur after the death of the other partner or, less commonly, after divorce: but this is in some measure a departure from the strict norm.  There are various degrees in monastic profession and holy orders: but no single degree is ever repeated, each being conferred once for all.) 

Accordingly the Church observes the following order:

• Vespers (Gk. εσπερινος ; Slavonic, vechernya)
• Compline (Gk. αποδειπνον ; Slavonic, povecherie)
• Midnight Office or Nocturns (Gk. μεσονυκτικον ; Slavonic, polunoshchnitsa)
• Matins (Gk. ορθρος ; Slavonic, utrenya)
• First Hour
• Third Hour
• Sixth Hour
• Ninth Hour

Such is the basic daily pattern. To complete the series there may be added :

(i) The ‘Interhours'.  During certain periods of fasting, each of the Hours (Gk. ωραι ; Slavonic, chasy) is followed by an intermediate office or ‘Interhour’ (Gk. μεσωριον ; Slavonic, mezhdochasie).

(ii) The Offices for the Blessing of the Table (a) at midday (b) in the evening.

(iii) Morning and Evening Prayers, and the general commemoration of the Living and the Dead which has its own liturgical form.  These are of a more informal character than the other offices.  They are read by lay people before the icons in their own homes; in monasteries they are sometimes recited by each member of the community individually in his or her cell, while in other cases they take a corporate form and are read aloud in chapel.

The Holy Liturgy is frequently included in this daily cycle: its place is normally after the Sixth Hour, but during fasts it is celebrated after Vespers.  It is somewhat misleading, however, to treat the Liturgy as part of the daily cycle.  In the first place, it is not in fact prescribed to be celebrated each day: according to Orthodox practice, except in cathedrals and large monasteries a daily Eucharist has always been the exception rather than the rule.  Secondly, and more important, the Eucharist in its deeper reality does not properly belong to the ‘liturgy of time’, and therefore stands apart from the daily cycle.  The celebration of the Lord's Supper is always an ‘eschatological’ event, in which the eschaton, the Age to Come, breaks in upon this present age: and so, although occurring in time, it transports the participants to a point altogether outside time – to the ‘heavenly places‘ where there is no past, present, or future, but only the eternal Now.  The Eucharist, then, cannot simply be integrated into the temporal sequence nor set on a level with daily offices such as Matins and Vespers.

Connected with the Liturgy is the service of the Typica (Gk. τυπικα ; Slavonic, izobrazitelnaya), which is sometimes read after the Sixth Hour on days when there is no celebration of the Eucharist.  (During the fasts after the Ninth Hour).  On occasion it may also precede the Liturgy.

Obviously the great majority of Orthodox are not able to participate in the whole of the daily cycle.  It is usually performed in its entirety only in monasteries, and even here there may be considerable abbreviations.  In many parish churches Vespers and Matins are not celebrated daily, but only at weekends and at major feasts.  On working days a devout lay Christian will be content to read the Morning and Evening Prayers, in a shorter or a fuller form according to the time at his disposal.

Between these two extremes—the daily sequence, and that of a man's entire life – there are three intermediate cycles which together comprise the Church’s Year:

(i) The weekly cycle of the Eight Tones.
(ii) The annual cycle of movable feasts, centered upon Pascha.
(iii) The annual cycle of fixed feasts, commencing on 1 September.

In daily worship these three cycles are combined together and superimposed one upon another, thus endowing the liturgical year with a constant and unfailing variety.  The material for each cycle is contained in a special book or set of books:

• the weekly cycle in the Octoechos;
• the annual cycle of movable feasts in the Triodion and the Pentecostarion;
• the annual cycle of fixed feasts in the twelve volumes of the Menaia.

Russian Christmas Bazaar


• The Five Cycles of the Orthodox Services

• Putin's tricks
Ukraine crisis: 'Frozen conflicts' and the Kremlin
   The idea is that a bloody, territorial conflict with no obvious solution is put on hold, with Russia stepping in to keep the peace on its own terms.
   Moldova's breakaway territory of Trans-Dniester and Georgia's rebel regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia were given as examples of this policy. ........................
   It has to be said, too, that Russia is often regarded as a benefactor and protector by the people who actually live inside the "frozen conflict" zones, while many Russians feel a sense of duty towards expatriates and anyone "loyal" to the old USSR. ........................
   "The original device in Crimea was not independence but greater autonomy as a semi-independent entity," says Sutyagin.
   "When the Kremlin gave in to the temptation to annex Crimea, it became necessary to replace it with another conflict, in the east. It is against the Kremlin's interests to annex territory because an unresolved dispute gives it the opportunity to influence the country involved."
   Nonetheless, Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine probably best exemplifies an "international dispute" of the kind cited by Nato's charter as an obstacle to membership.

• Sam Vaknin, PhD. compares Obama to Nero and Hitler
     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KpspQaddFWc  (1 hour radio interview)
     Interview with Dr. Sam Vaknin, author of the bestseller Malignant Self-Love, the definitive book on clinical narcissism. Vaknin, in discussion with Brent Bedford and Matthew Ogden, emphasizes that Barack Obama's psychology mirrors that of Nero and Hilter

Sunday of the Fathers of the 7th Council


from Fr. Gregory to his flock:
upon returning from missionary visits to Florida , Oklahoma, and Colorado, this is excerpted from his weekly message to his flock:

This council, as you most certainly know, was the definitive affirmation of the place in the Church of the holy icons and relics, after decades of bloody and not infrequently lethal persecutions.  As such, it is the capstone, affirming the foundation of the Faith spelled out in all the preceding councils, bit by bit, as it became necessary:  "What has not been attacked, the fathers have not defended."  What could not, of course, be even imagined at that time is the current horror in which the ultimate heresy infects almost everything around us:  It really doesn't matter what you believe, as long as you believe something -- if even that; every "version" of God is legitimate (so say the "Orthodox patriarchs" of Constantinople and Alexandria) -- and on and on.

So what are we to do?  The answer is really very simple (if not so simple to accomplish!).  Hold fast to what we have been taught.  Accept nothing, even if it seem to be from an angel, which is at variance with the universal teachings of the holy Scriptures and the fathers.  Live the Faith to the best of our feeble abilities, trusting in the goodness of the Lord to supply that which is lacking.  And above all, love one another with a godly love, cherishing one another above all else in the Lord.  Let us love one another that with one mind we confess the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit!  Without that love, any "confession" is only empty sounds.

13/26 Oct:  Pentecost XX:  The Fathers of the Seventh Council



St. Ieronymos (Jerome) of Aegina

• Newly glorified St. Ieronymos (Jerome) of Aegina
 Article will appear in the January issue of Orthodox Tradition

Official Declaration (Διακήρυξις) of the Sanctity of St. Ieronymos (Jerome) of Aegina
St. Gregory Palamas Monastery

On October 3, 2014 (Old Style), on the Island of Aegina, Greece, the Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece celebrated the official Declaration of the Sanctity of the Elder Ieronymos of Aegina and the entering of his name among the Saints of the Orthodox Church (Ἁγιοκατάταξη).  Somewhat imprecisely called the “Glorification” of a Saint, and wholly wrongly a Saint’s “Canonization,” this ecclesiastical act begins with the recognition, by the People of God, of a holy man or woman’s spiritual charisms, eminence, or miraculous deeds, followed by the Church’s acknowledgment thereof and his or her formal and official liturgical commemoration.  The celebration held on Aegina, at the Church of the Holy Unmercenaries (built by Saint Ieronymos himself), was, indeed, the joyous culmination of this ancient process.

Saint Ieronymos was born Basil Apostolides in Karvali (in ancient times, Karbala), Cappadocia, or Güzelyurt (Gelveri, Kelveri), Turkey, in 1883.  He was ordained in his native land and served as a Deacon at the Church of St. George in Constantinople.  With the exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey that was arranged at the Treaty of Lausanne in the 1920s, he found himself in Greece as a refugee, eventually ending up, after his Ordination as a Hieromonk in 1923, on the island of Aegina.  He became known as a gifted confessor, a healer, serving as a hospital chaplain, and as a clairvoyant.  In 1940, he returned to the Church (Old) Calendar, stating: “The Church of Greece, by changing the festal calendar, has become diseased, a change that was the beginning and cause of many evil things.”  Without condemning anyone, and avoiding factionalism, he lived out the rest of his life as a monastic hermit, considered by all, Old and New Calendarists alike, to be a Saint.  He reposed in 1966, and his funeral was served by Metropolitan Akakios of Attica and Diavleia, the oldest living Bishop of our Holy Synod.

See, at left, moments from the emotion-filled service celebrating the newly revealed Saint Ieronymos, presided over by Archbishop Kallinikos, with many of the Synod’s Hierarchs present, including His Grace, Bishop Auxentios of Photike.  Photos: (At left, top to bottom, the Divine Liturgy; a number of the faithful, who spilled out into the courtyard, since the small Church could not accommodate them;) His Beatitude blessing those present with the Saint’s Relics; and the reliquary containing his Relics.  Below, an Icon of Saint Ieronymos, capturing his humility and boundless love, having once commented: “I do not consider prayer offered by a person whose heart does not bleed with love and pain [for his fellow man] to rise up to God.”

A popular biography of the Saint, in which many of his sayings can be found, was written several decades ago by Petros Botses: Γέροντας  ̔Ιερώνυμος, Ἡσυχαστὴς τῆς Αἴγινας (Elder Ieronymos, the Hesychast of Aegina), published in Athens by the author in a number of editions.  (We have used the 2006 edition.)  An English translation, with various addenda, was published in 2007 by the Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Brookline, MA.    

On halloween

• St. John Chrysostom on halloween
    Festival of Satan

other articles on this blog related to halloween
Google search:
site:remnantrocor.blogspot.com halloween

Regarding halloween:
Reminder from Fr. Gregory (Tennessee):

Orthodox Christians should have NO participation in this "feast".  If you have children in public schools exposed to such demon-inspired events, they should be kept home "sick" (not entirely a falsehood!) on the day(s) of "celebration".

Fr. Gregory mission visit to Florida

St. John of Kronstadt GOC
Bunnell, Florida
Pentecost 17, Apostle Codratus

Michael C., spokeman for the parish, welcomes visitors and wants to establish contact with other strugglers in our Churches.  He writes:

We were so happy to finally meet Father Gregory, and to have him serve here.  We see the recent union of the GOC with sister churches as nothing short of a miracle, which has brought us many smaller miracles/blessings along the way.  Father Gregory's visit with us (Oct. 4-5) was one of those.

To see a little history about our small parish, look here:

Decades ago we were all together under ROCOR, as you know.

...Yes, the evil one never sleeps, and he knows our weaknesses and has centuries of experience against man and God.  He will continue to try and divide us, so especially now - after the re-union of our groups, we need to remain firm, clear-headed, and sober.

Four Hundred Texts on Love: Third Century #62

62. Self-esteem is eradicated by the hidden practice of the virtues, pride, by ascribing our achievements to God.

Example of Narcissist Thinking

Example taken from real life
from Joanna's notepad

"– and if you think I wouldn’t sue Christians, be comforted, o (enemy name slurred), by the fact that I truly no longer regard you as Christian."

The subject of this post is a real life example of something said by a narcissist.  It is a narcissist's threat against his perceived enemy published publicly on the internet.  The narcissist is a member of a group calling itself Orthodox, but which does not meet the criteria for a valid ecclesiastical body (Milan synod).  During his rant against his perceived enemy the narcissist says,

"– and if you think I wouldn’t sue Christians, be comforted, o (enemy name slurred), by the fact that I truly no longer regard you as Christian."

In this example are a number of characteristics of typical narcissist-psychopath thinking: control, immunity, "dis-reason", and dehumanizing (lack of empathy).  You will see how these characteristics form a chain in the thinking of a narcissist – how control slides into dehumanizing.

1.  Control.  If you do any studying of narcissism, you know the word "control" is always on the first page.  For a narcissist it is all about control.  The narcissist will use any and every means to control his victims.  Psychological manipulation is one way of controlling others, appealing to higher authority is another way.   The narcissist will often involve the parent, the principal, the boss, the police, the bishop, or the courts to help him "control" his victim.   Some narcissists sue for a hobby – they always have at least one law suit in progress at any given time.  However, no narcissist willingly plays a game on a stage he can't manipulate.

2. Immunity.  The narcissist uses the rules to control his victim.  He requires his victim to follow the rules, but he himself is exempt from the rules.*   
     *UNLESS it is convenient for the narcissist to impose the rule on himself.  An example of a narcissist imposing a rule on himself is that of another real-life "Orthodox" narcissist who refuses to work on Saturdays.  He invokes the Biblical rule to keep the Sabbath and applies it to himself to justify why he can't help with the work on Saturdays.  And then he feels superior for doing this.

3. "Dis-reason".   This is my term – you won't find it in the psychology books.  But there are pages and pages trying to describe it.  Here it is in a nutshell in the above example.  The Christian precept is that Christians are not supposed to take their personal grievances to the secular courts, to be judged by secular judges.  In our example the narcissist twists that precept to somehow justify it for him to bring a lawsuit against somebody if they are not a Christian.  But we who have normal reason have to ask, does he consider himself to be a Christian? 

4. Dehumanizing.   Let's look at the "dis-reason" in the narcissist's statement.   For study purposes let's put the statement under a microscope and magnify certain words, exaggerating the example so that the movement contained in it becomes more visible. 

Let's change the word "sue" to "murder".

•... if you think I wouldn't murder a Christian, be comforted ... I no
longer regard you as a Christian.

Now let's change the word "Christian" to "person".

•... if you think I wouldn't murder a person, be comforted ... I no
longer regard you as a human.

This is where the psychopath's thinking leads to.  He is entirely self-justified for what he does to other people.  His victims are not human to him.  One of my favorite quotes from a serial killer,

"I had to kill her, she would not stop screaming."

Never mind the reason why she was screaming in the first place.  He is entirely justified in his mind to do anything he needs to do to shut her up.  For him it is a given that letting her go is not an option – that never occurs to him that she would stop screaming if he stopped hurting her.  Taken further, with the serial killer, it turns out that he gets pleasure from seeing his victim in agony.  Serial killer Tom Sells described it as a rush – a rush that a serial killer finds addicting.  It is truly demonic.  

ANOTHER CHARACTERISTIC of psychopath thinking (I don't have a word for it) is sometimes shown by odd subtleties of a malicious nature.   Our example contains one of these:

"– and if you think I wouldn’t sue Christians, be comforted, o Enemy, by the fact that I truly no longer regard you as Christian."

"...be comforted" ?  How incredibly odd.

What would fit here instead would be:  be certain, be informed, be forewarned, or something of that nature...

This could be projection, or sarcasm.  But it might also be something else.  The narcissist-psychpoath is speaking to his enemy, but not directly – he has posted this on his blog.  He can't even be certain his enemy will get the message.  But his blog readers (Christians) surely will see it – maybe he said that for their sake.

We are seeing more and more narcissists and psychopaths in the world as demonic activity increases in these end times.  Antichrist will be the ultimate psychopath.  He will be loved by all and have demonic assistance in his popularity (charisma).

Doctor Cures diabetes with our Church fast diet

no meat, no dairy, no oil, 
wine allowed
McDougall M.D.
Santa Rosa, California

Nutrition Journal Publishes
Results of 1,615 McDougall Patients

Important Medical Findings attained
from eating a healthy diet in 7 days include:

  • Weight Loss = 3 pounds with unlimited amounts of food encouraged
  • Cholesterol Reduction = 22 mg/dL
  • Off Blood Pressure and Diabetic Medications = Almost 90% of cases

Entire article available free to read and share:

Subtle Meaning Change in Troparion to Cross

12. The Holy Church commanded Her children to pray for the Tsar, not only in the ektenias, but also in many troparions and canons, most notably the tropar to the Holy Cross:

Save, O Lord, Thy people, and bless Thine inheritance. Grant victory unto our pious Ruler, _____(name), over all adversaries. And by the power of Thy Cross, preserve Thou Thy commonwealth.

Troparion to the Holy Cross
Unfortunately, after the February revolution of 1917, the Holy Synod agreed to change these texts, replacing the “Pious Ruler” with “Orthodox Christians".  St John of Shanghai and San Francisco opposed this innovation, because the texts acquire a subtle difference in meaning, which again leads to people thinking differently regarding authority, about good and evil.

Towards a spiritual understanding of civil war


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Towards a spiritual understanding of civil war, strife, political unrest, and political opinions. Part 1

How does the current civil war in the area of the world known as Ukraine relate to Russian patriotism and anti-communism? How does it relate to the battle between good and evil, between God and Satan? This question is troubling many in the Russian Church Abroad.
The answer is not simple, and many have attempted to state it. Ultimately, the answer must be spiritual, not tainted by sin or earthly passion.
And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
Matthew 24:6

The battle between good and evil

1. There exists a struggle between good and evil. That is, between God and the evil one. This struggle began before the creation of man, with the fall of Lucifer. It continued by implicating man – first of all, Eve, Adam, and later, every one of their descendants.

2. All current and past political conflicts are very much part of this battle.

3. The devil is a bodiless being that has not died (although as a spirit, he is not by nature immortal). His nature is such that he has gained immense experience in how to deceive humans.

Due to demonic influence, our human reasoning is usually tainted by evil to some degree. This applies to all forms of conflict, and most especially, to war.

4. Most people are implicated in evil unconsciously. However, some people choose to serve evil consciously. Such are magicians, sorcerers, fortune-tellers, Satanists, masons, members of other secret societies that serve evil. It is important to understand that such secret societies with truly evil agendas have great power in the modern world (as they have had for hundreds of years). This power may be hidden to many simple people. Both spirits and men who serve evil usually strive to hide this service, so that their victims – those who wish to serve good (Christians) – would be deceived into serving evil.

5. Christians must always strive to be in God, with God, and for God – for good. But how do we know what is good?

6. The world is not simple. Spiritual reality is very much a part of the “real world”, to such an extent that evil spiritual deception clouds our understanding in most, if not all areas of life.
And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:
Luke 22:31
7. The Gospel and the Tradition of the Church can tell us what is good. For man, it is good to prepare his soul for Heaven, through good works (as defined in the Gospels) and repentance for evil deeds, thoughts, and feelings.

8. Alas, the individual Christian is subject to deception even in how he reads and understands Scripture! Evil never stops influencing us, never abandons its aim of separating us from God, and separating us from our brothers. As the saying goes: “The devil does not sleep”. This is how we know what side we are on:
In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.
1 John 3:10

Earthly government

9. Earthly movements (such as political movements) are never fully good – they are of this world, and this world lies in evil (1 John 5:19). This world is becoming more and more evil, as we near the end of time.

10. The closest an earthly government can be to fulfilling God’s will, is the case of an Orthodox Kingdom, with a pious Tsar or King crowned by the Church by the will of God. This is the teaching of the Orthodox Church. However, we have not had this organisation of government for a long time… The Byzantine and Russian Empires are well-known examples of Orthodox Kingdoms.

11. From history, we know that not even all crowned Tsars were “good”. The crowned Tsars are attacked very much by the evil one, and many of them succumbed to evil to some degree. The devil always conducts intense warfare against those in high places and in power.

12. The Holy Church commanded Her children to pray for the Tsar, not only in the ektenias, but also in many troparions and canons, most notably the tropar to the Holy Cross:
Save, O Lord, Thy people, and bless Thine inheritance. Grant victory unto our pious Ruler, _____(name), over all adversaries. And by the power of Thy Cross, preserve Thou Thy commonwealth.
Troparion to the Holy Cross
Unfortunately, after the February revolution of 1917, the Holy Synod agreed to change these texts, replacing the “Pious Ruler” with “Orthodox Christians".  St John of Shanghai and San Francisco opposed this innovation, because the texts acquire a subtle difference in meaning, which again leads to people thinking differently regarding authority, about good and evil.

What inspires our political ideas?

13. Today, many Orthodox Christians are being deceived by the evil one into thinking that one or the other world power, or government, is ultimately on “the side of good” against evil. This stance is unfortunate for Christians. If Orthodox Tsars fell, then how much more vulnerable are modern atheist politicians to succumb to evil?

14. Many consider it important to write about their opinions. The enemy persuades people that they understand what is happening, that they have the “correct information” from the most “reputable sources”. Alas! The Christian does not realize that the evil one is playing with him, working him up over things of this world.
The nets for my mind are set out in various books calling themselves light, but containing teachings of darkness, written under the open or hidden influence of dark and evil world ruler… as the Apostle expresses it: “vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind” (Col 2:18)….
St Ignaty Brianchaninov, Vol1 1, Nets of the world ruler
15. Some Christians, of various convictions, would even force their political opinion on the Church. They demand statements from the Church in favour of one or the other side of conflict, of a government or ruler. In this case, the Christian has unconsciously made his political view an idol, which he wishes the Church would also serve.
Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.
1 John 5:21
16. Political and worldly opinions are not forbidden for a Christian – however, he is obligated to understand that the Law of God, love for every brother (regardless of this brother’s opinions), and obedience to the Church come before any political opinions.
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
John 3:19
17. The Evil One has always been at work to deceive the people of God. Even more so in the last times. Christians have always been of the opinion that it is the last times, and that a great struggle is occurring between God and Satan.
Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
1 John 2:18
18. The Church teaches that the world most definitely will end – when, we know not and cannot know. However, the closer we come to the end of the world, the more evil the world will become, and the less will worldly movements have fellowship with God.
And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
Revelation 20:7-8
In the end times, Satan controls all nations – he is the one who guides all sides of any conflict. Taking sides becomes senseless.

The Christian’s struggle against political temptation

19. The Christian’s aim is to abide with God forever. Our exit from the world may be through death, or through the end of the world – in either case, we will have to personally answer for our deeds, as judged  by the Gospel.
(Christ) gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:
Galatians 1:4
20. Christ commands us to pray:
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil
Matthew 6:13
The Holy Church commands us to repeat this prayer numerous times every day. The Holy Church teaches this because She knows that temptation and the devil are very real forces influencing every person, every group of people, every parish, every city, nation, and country.

21. Therefore, every Christian must understand that he is subject to temptation. If a Christian believes his political view of the world is without sin, and that only others are deceived in their political views, this very fact is proof of his own deception.

Spiritual deception is a multifaceted and more complex than the simple form of misinformation, or dishonesty of biased journalists.
Pray that ye enter not into temptation.
Luke 22:40
22. If we fall prey to the evil one’s schemes, be it on the fleshly, psychological, social, or political level, we are in the process of falling away from God, even if we at first accepted Him and were baptised. Those who fall away from God, if they do not repent, will be condemned… Let us not be as these ones, who do not see temptation, and when they happen to fall into it,  pridefully refuse to repent!
…..“And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.
Mark 4:17
23. Only at the Great Judgment will it be clear who remained faithful to God, and who did not. It is not for us, blind and deceived sinners, to define which ones of our brothers is a sinner and deceived.
So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just
Matthew 13:49
Part 1 of 3. To be continued

Four Hundred Texts on Love: Third Century #58

58. Just as parents have a special affection for the children who are the fruit of their own bodies, so the intellect naturally clings to its own thoughts. And just as to passionately fond parents their own children seem the most capable and most beautiful of all -- though they may be quite the most ridiculous in every way -- so to a foolish intellect its own thoughts appear the most intelligent of all, though they may be utterly degraded. The wise man does not regard his own thoughts in this way. It is precisely when he feels convinced that they are true and good that he most distrusts his own judgment. He makes other wise men the judges of his thoughts and arguments -- lest he should run, or may have run, in vain (cf. Galatians 2:2) -- and from them receives assurance.

Philokalia, volume II, page 92