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


We know it is the last hour

1 John 2:18
Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour.

Some scenes from a homeless camp in Austin

Roadie has esophagus cancer.  He is 57 years old and talks incessantly.

some more scenes

Add caption

Loco needs a hermia operation.

Little Steve preaches the Bible.



Add star Mon, Feb 15, 2016 at 9:56 AM

To: Joanna Higginbotham


Two years after Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin touts the move as a historic achievement, looking on with a satisfied smile from countless billboards across the peninsula. However, overwhelming opposition from the Muslim Tatar ethnic minority puts a crack in this picture of unanimous support, as evidenced in interviews with more than two dozen Tatars across Crimea. And the resistance appears to be growing.

Officials in the Crimean government have accused Tatar leaders who opposed the annexation of betraying the interests of the Tatars and being agents of Ukraine. Under Russian law, people can be punished for calling for the return of Crimea to Ukraine.
Six people, including Elnara Asanova's husband, Ali Asanov, are now on trial in the capital, Simferopol, on charges of rioting dating back to fist fights between rival rallies of the pro-Russian party and Crimean Tatars on Feb. 26, 2014. Not a single pro-Russian protester has faced charges.

The reaction of the Crimean authorities to any display of allegiance to Ukraine sometimes borders on farce. A shop assistant at Umerov's store says inspectors once asked them about a mailbox that happened to be in the yellow and blue colors of the Ukrainian flag.

More and more Tatars in Crimea and outside now say they want more than a return to Ukraine's fold, after its passive stance toward Russian annexation. What they want is Tatar autonomy within Crimea.

Thank you for your continued prayers

Everyone who prays for me and my daughter, I thank you. There is no doubt that heaven is attentive because of your prayers.

We arrived in Oregon late Saturday Feb 20.    Praise God.

Next (now) she endures the brief but intensely unpleasant period of detox.   After that she faces a lifetime of "rehab".  Most heroin addicts relapse in the first 15 years.  Odds are not very favorable... Her mother suffers with her.

Please keep praying for us.  Gabriella is an apostate.  Pray she is returned to the Church.

Grackle gathering

HEB Grocery store parking lot
Austin, Texas
evening of Feb. 17, 2016
A large flock of grackles gather here in the evenings.

Junction IH35 + W. William Cannon Rd.
This is a regular panhandling corner for many local homeless.  They come here to "fly a sign" to collect enough money for the day's dope and food (in that order).

GOC mission in Melbourne


The English-speaking Orthodox Church
 on Spring Street in the heart of Melbourne CBD. 
A worshipping community living the 
Faith of our Fathers
 - proclaiming the Apostolic Christian faith for all Australians in contemporary English.

The wisdom of sorrows

The wisdom of sorrows
Whatever the reason for the sufferings that are sent us, they are all invariably sent for our benefit – for the salvation of our souls, for the remittance of our sins, and in the case of innocent Christians – to merit a crown in the Heavenly Kingdom. The elders Barsonuphius the Great and John say: “Everything that happens to a man serves to test him on the road to salvation, in order for him to endure and believe himself to be unworthy. It is a good sign that you are sorrowing. Do you not know that whenever someone asks the fathers to pray for him, or asks God to give him aid, then his sorrows and temptations are increased to test him? Thus, do not seek bodily rest if the Lord does not send it to you, for bodily rest is vile in the eyes of the Lord, Who said: In the world ye shall have tribulation (John 16:33). Know that those who wish to have rest in everything will hear at a certain moment: Remember that thou in thy lifetime received thy good things (Luke 16:25). The one who is unable to bear tribulation will not see glory. Do you not know that there are many sorrows for the righteous and through them they are tested like gold by fire? Therefore, if we are righteous, we shall be tried by sorrow; if, on the other hand, we are sinful, we will suffer sorrows as being worthy of them. Let us remember all the saints and what they endured in doing good: they were hated and reviled by other people until their very end. Accept the suffering of sorrow in everything, in order to be the descendant of saints, and whether you experience sorrow, or deprivation, or insult, or illness, or physical labor, – for everything that befalls you give thanks to God.”
Saint Isaac the Syrian writes: “God did not wish for His beloved to rest while they are in the body, but wished that they, while living in the world, live in sorrow, hardship, labor, deprivation, solitude, need, illness, insult, in sadness of the heart and exhaustion of the body. The Lord knows that those who live in bodily comfort are unable to remain in His love. However, when illness, need, bodily exhaustion or fear of bodily harm trouble your mind and deprive you of joy and hope in the Lord, then know that you are being ruled by the body and not by Christ. Therefore, concerning all sorrows that befall you openly or secretly, make a cautious judgment that this has happened to you rightfully and justly. And be grateful for everything.”
Thus, in all cases suffering is meaningful. But we can also speak not only of the wisdom of suffering, but also of its necessity for man. N. N. Fioletov writes: “The soul of a man who has never suffered, never gone through tempests, agitation or struggles, often becomes covered with the crust of vanity, banality, self-satisfaction; it faces the danger of becoming immersed in a state of inertia and dullness. We can see in everyday examples how often people who have not suffered through anything are unable to understand the feelings of others, remain indifferent to the suffering of others, how often they lose the realization of the higher purpose and meaning of life, and become immersed in a bog of triviality. This state of complete self-satisfaction and dullness is commonly mistaken for happiness.”
 Thus, all suffering sent from God is not a violation of universal harmony, but on the contrary, in all cases suffering is the manifestation of one of the forms of God’s constant Providence over man, proof of God’s love and charity towards fallen mankind. In view of God’s benevolence and wisdom, it could not be otherwise of course. Holy Matrona of Zadonsk often said: “Sorrows in life are presents sent to us from paradise.”
A Christian must essentially reject the worldly understanding of the word “misfortune,” for “all sorrow, united with patience, is good and beneficial for us,” – writes Saint Peter Damascene. There is no “misfortune” in a world ruled by the benevolent Lord God, and that which people call misfortune is rather a merciful admonition from God the Father, a testing by Him of a Christian’s faith. Apostle Paul writes that, in a Christian, tribulation engenders patience, and patience – experience, and experience – hope, and hope does not shame us (Rom. 5:3-5).
Saint John of Tobolsk says the same: “If man’s will were directed towards virtue and were truly submissive to and in accord with the will of God, then hardships, illness, sorrows, and other misfortunes which each man encounters in life would not seem to him to be a punishment, for he would suffer them with a joyous heart and love for God, reasoning and believing that they had been sent to him by the will of God for an unknown, but obviously good purpose.”
Moreover, saints and righteous people reached a stage where they, understanding the beneficial meaning of sorrows for man’s soul, not only suffered them good-naturedly, without grumbling or agitation, but joyously, and even hoping for them and seeking them. Thus the wise Abbess Arsenia writes: “After the Lord helps you get rid of passions, then sorrows become the greatest joy in life for your soul; it rises above them, it is not overcome by them, but only realizes and feels God’s great help, which strengthens the spirit by means of life’s sorrows and tribulations; realizes the great wisdom of God’s paths, which through these sorrows lead man to freedom, purify him, and always place him on the right path. Then the soul feels power and joy, and gives thanks to God for these sorrows, which seem insignificant to the soul in comparison with the blessings which it receives from the Lord through these sorrows.”
And another righteous one said: “The greatest joy in the world is the joy of suffering.” The righteous priest John writes: “All of us can complain when we do not experience suffering, for nothing else makes us as comparable to the Lord as the bearing of His Cross.” The philosopher Eckhart provides the following spiritual aphorism: “A quiet and tranquil life, spent in God, is good; a life full of tempests, spent in patience, is better; but to find tranquility in a life full of suffering is the best.”
We must always remember that a good-natured endurance of suffering is possible only with God’s help, and is God’s gift to Christians. St. Peter Damascene writes about it thus: “To endure insults with joy and meekness, to do good to one’s enemies, to lay down one’s life for others, and similar qualities are God’s gifts, which are sent to those who yearn for them, and who earn them from God by means of suffering.”
Thus, only he cannot endure “trials” and “tribulations,” who does not place his trust in God, who is not aware of his sinfulness, who does not feel the need to purify his heart, to save his soul, and who is not aware of his powerlessness to achieve this solely through his own efforts.
Elder Siluan writes: “If misfortune befalls you, think of it this way: the Lord sees my heart, and if He so wishes, everything will be well with myself and others, – and thus your heart will always be tranquil. But if anyone should grumble: this is bad, and that is not good, – such a one will never have peace in his heart, even though he keep the fast and pray at length. Some people suffer greatly from poverty and illness, but do not become humble, and so they suffer in vain… If you humble yourself, you will see your woes turn into tranquility, so that you will say to yourself: why have I tortured myself and sorrowed so greatly up to now? But now you are joyous, because you have attained humility and the grace of God has descended upon you.”
The same elder also says that “sorrows invariably accompany love and grow in one’s soul just as Christ’s love grows in the soul. This is understandable: Christ’s love (in the soul of a Christian) encompasses the entire world, and painfully and ardently co-suffers with all the sorrows of the world, just as Christ suffered and shed tears, looking upon Jerusalem and foreseeing its forthcoming destruction.” Therefore, writes Schema-Archimandrite Sophronius, “whoever loves God, passes through sufferings which the one who doesn’t have great faith in God is unable to endure and spiritually falls apart.” But – “great faith and love engender great courage.”
St. Isaac the Syrian writes: “Whoever lives in virtue without suffering sorrow, will see the door of pride open before him.”
But the Lord’s care and aid to man in developing humility within himself permeates the entire world. Abbot John says: “All the facts and circumstances of earthly life are designed to humble man, to erase the pride of his feelings and his mind, enlightening him with an awareness of God’s mercy and suppressing his egoism. In this lies the meaning of innumerable illnesses, incurable ailments, humiliations, poverty, dependence upon others, feelings of impotence concerning one’s past, present, and future… At the same time this engenders gratitude to God and the collapse of all futile faiths, all vain hopes and false ideals.
How terribly would man’s pride grow were he not humbled by all that now humbles him on earth: death, illness, physical suffering, helplessness, frailty, moral torment, humiliation, labor, ingratitude, unreason, an ugly exhibition of inner passions, the judgment of one’s conscience…”
And Bishop Varlaam Ryashentsev adds: “Only then do we begin earning some merit in heaven when we, being innocent, undergo suffering with all humility, without grumbling, accepting it as God’s will and trial of us. In this manner the soul is cleansed of spiritual corruption. Without deep and innocent suffering, without a cross, no one can enter paradise. The path of God is a daily cross.”
Father Alexander Elchaninov writes similarly: “I often believe that all the thorns and brambles of our earthly situation are expressly set up by God to heal our souls.
Sorrows erase our sins. ‘Where there are no sorrows there is no salvation,’ – says St. Seraphim of Sarov. Not only the suffering that is sent by God, but all spiritual endeavors, all voluntary deprivations, all sacrifices are immediately exchanged for spiritual wealth within us: the more we lose, the more we gain. It is for this reason that ‘it is hard for the rich to enter the Heavenly Kingdom,’ because they do not undergo this exchange of earthly, temporal, corruptible benefits for heavenly, incorruptible benefits. Thus, woe is unto those who are satiated, laughing, merry – they will become deprived to the point of complete spiritual poverty.
Brave souls instinctively search for sacrifice and suffering, and become spiritually strengthened by tribulations. There are numerous proofs of this in the Gospel and in the writings of the apostles, especially Apostle Paul. Even non-Christian religions are aware of it: thus fakirs, yogis, and dervishes torture themselves with cold calculation.
We must ask God to send us trials, and we must feel concern when we live prosperously. Children who grow up in luxury and satiation grow up with spiritual emptiness, while those who go through illness and poverty grow up with great spiritual strength, for our light affliction, which is but for a moment, earns us a far more exceeding and eternal glory (2 Cor. 4:17).
The Lord pities us greatly, but sends us suffering: only if we are struck by misfortune and calamity can we produce some sparks, some holy fire. Therefore, endure your sorrows with patience: even lower creatures do not live without suffering, and the higher is man, the more he suffers.
Illness has taught me much. It has strengthened my understanding that whoever is with Christ lives with suffering, and that there is no other path for a Christian except through internal and external pain. And, thinking of the multitude of suffering in the world, I have come to the realization that it is by means of such innocent suffering that the invisible Kingdom of God is built up, and His suffering Body – the Church of Christ – is assembled. Great is the purifying power and the value of suffering. Our spiritual growth depends primarily on how we undergo suffering. Courage in the face of suffering, a willingness to undergo it – such is the mark of a true Christian soul. But we must not search for suffering or make it up.”
The Lord often sends great suffering before one’s body dies. In this we can also see the aptness of such suffering: the more suffering the soul leaves on earth as it passes into the other world, the greater joy it finds in that world of “blessed repose.” Here we must remember the Lord’s words: but woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep (Luke 6:24-25).
It is for this reason that spiritual people pity those who sin in this world, who do not repent of their sins, and who live a life of amusement and vanity. It is said of such: “the Lord has abandoned them.” Of those who suffer tribulation it is said: “the Lord has visited them.”
Those who bask in earthly happiness lose their spiritual compass in life, they are the most miserable of men: their personal life is in danger. Thus, all wise men, both the ancients and contemporaries, and not only Christian, avoided earthly happiness, and their awareness of the world beyond prevailed over the visible world, and their sense of responsibility for their life was exceedingly developed… Wise people do not try to become comfortably settled on their earthly path, in order not to fall spiritually asleep and miss the Bridegroom’s coming at midnight…
Neither should a Christian’s mind be troubled at the sight of the suffering of innocent children. Even here God’s wisdom and providence are present. Most often the Lord wishes, through the suffering of such innocent children, to bring their parents or relatives to their senses, to impede the latter from stepping onto the path of sin and to place them upon the path of repentance. The children themselves will be subsequently exalted by God to a much greater degree than the temporary duration of their suffering.

At this point we should recollect the Lord’s words to St. Anthony the Great. St. Anthony once ruminated at length about the multitude of trials and afflictions which befell children, about the suffering of innocent children, and about other matters that were difficult for the human mind to comprehend. Then he heard the following words: “Anthony, such are the fates that are sent by God. It is detrimental to the soul to investigate them. Look rather to yourself.”

Video about Esphigmenou

BBC has blocked this video already.  Did anyone download it?  If so, Please send it to me.


13 minutes


"The Heart of Greek Orthodoxy" Fwd:


Add star Mon, Feb 15, 2016 at 12:37 PM
Bcc: joannahigginbotham@gmail.com

---------- Forwarded message ----------

Dear All,
Congratulations on the Feast of the Meeting of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Last night, there was a documentary on BBC about Greece and part of it was about Esphigmenou. Hope you are able to open the link to the clip I uploaded on my youtube channel. For those who still remember Philaret, or now Fr Gaius, he's featured in it too!
With love in Christ,
augustine, unworthy hieroschemamonk


Joint Declaration of Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia met in Havana, Cuba on Friday (12 Feb) to sign an historic joint declaration.
The official English translation of the full joint declaration is below:
Joint Declaration of Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia
“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God the Father and the fellowship of the holy Spirit be with all of you” (2 Cor 13:13).
1. By God the Father’s will, from which all gifts come, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the help of the Holy Spirit Consolator, we, Pope Francis and Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, have met today in Havana. We give thanks to God, glorified in the Trinity, for this meeting, the first in history.
It is with joy that we have met like brothers in the Christian faith who encounter one another “to speak face to face” (2 Jn 12), from heart to heart, to discuss the mutual relations between the  Churches, the crucial problems of our faithful, and the outlook for the progress of human civilization.
2. Our fraternal meeting has taken place in Cuba, at the crossroads of North and South, East and West. It is from this island, the symbol of the hopes of the “New World” and the dramatic events of the history of the twentieth century, that we address our words to all the peoples of Latin America and of the other continents.
It is a source of joy that the Christian faith is growing here in a dynamic way.  The powerful religious potential of Latin America, its centuries–old Christian tradition, grounded in the personal experience of millions of people, are the pledge of a great future for this region.
3. By meeting far from the longstanding disputes of the “Old World”, we experience with a particular sense of urgency the need for the shared labour of Catholics and Orthodox, who are called, with gentleness and respect, to give an explanation to the world of the hope in us (cf. 1 Pet 3:15).
4. We thank God for the gifts received from the coming into the world of His only Son. We share the same spiritual Tradition of the first millennium of Christianity. The witnesses of this Tradition are the Most Holy Mother of God, the Virgin Mary, and the saints we venerate.  Among them are innumerable martyrs who have given witness to their faithfulness to Christ and have become the “seed of Christians”.
5. Notwithstanding this shared Tradition of the first ten centuries, for nearly one thousand years Catholics and Orthodox have been deprived of communion in the Eucharist. We have been divided by wounds caused by old and recent conflicts, by differences inherited from our ancestors, in the understanding and expression of our faith in God, one in three Persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are pained by the loss of unity, the outcome of human weakness and of sin, which has occurred despite the priestly prayer of Christ the Saviour: “So that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you … so that they may be one, as we are one” (Jn 17:21).
6. Mindful of the permanence of many obstacles, it is our hope that our meeting may contribute to the re–establishment of this unity willed by God, for which Christ prayed. May our meeting inspire Christians throughout the world to pray to the Lord with renewed fervour for the full unity of all His disciples. In a world which yearns not only for our words but also for tangible gestures, may this meeting be a sign of hope for all people of goodwill!
7. In our determination to undertake all that is necessary to overcome the historical divergences we have inherited, we wish to combine our efforts to give witness to the Gospel of Christ and to the shared heritage of the Church of the first millennium, responding together to the challenges of the contemporary world. Orthodox and Catholics must learn to give unanimously witness in those spheres in which this is possible and necessary. Human civilization has entered into a period of epochal change. Our Christian conscience and our pastoral responsibility compel us not to remain passive in the face of challenges requiring a shared response.
8. Our gaze must firstly turn to those regions of the world where Christians are victims of persecution. In many countries of the Middle East and North Africa whole families, villages and cities of our brothers and sisters in Christ are being completely exterminated. Their churches are being barbarously ravaged and looted, their sacred objects profaned, their monuments destroyed. It is with pain that we call to mind the situation in Syria, Iraq and other countries of the Middle East, and the massive exodus of Christians from the land in which our faith was first disseminated and in which they have lived since the time of the Apostles, together with other religious communities.
9. We call upon the international community to act urgently in order to prevent the further expulsion of Christians from the Middle East. In raising our voice in defence of persecuted Christians, we wish to express our compassion for the suffering experienced by the faithful of other religious traditions who have also become victims of civil war, chaos and terrorist violence.
10. Thousands of victims have already been claimed in the violence in Syria and Iraq, which has left many other millions without a home or means of sustenance. We urge the international community to seek an end to the violence and terrorism and, at the same time, to contribute through dialogue to a swift return to civil peace. Large–scale humanitarian aid must be assured to the afflicted populations and to the many refugees seeking safety in neighbouring lands.
We call upon all those whose influence can be brought to bear upon the destiny of those kidnapped, including the Metropolitans of Aleppo, Paul and John Ibrahim, who were taken in April 2013, to make every effort to ensure their prompt liberation.
11. We lift our prayers to Christ, the Saviour of the world, asking for the return of peace in the Middle East, “the fruit of justice” (Is 32:17), so that fraternal co–existence among the various populations, Churches and religions may be strengthened, enabling refugees to return to their homes, wounds to be healed, and the souls of the slain innocent to rest in peace.
We address, in a fervent appeal, all the parts that may be involved in the conflicts to demonstrate good will and to take part in the negotiating table. At the same time, the international community must undertake every possible effort to end terrorism through common, joint and coordinated action. We call on all the countries involved in the struggle against terrorism to responsible and prudent action. We exhort all Christians and all believers of God to pray fervently to the providential Creator of the world to protect His creation from destruction and not permit a new world war. In order to ensure a solid and enduring peace, specific efforts must be undertaken to rediscover the common values uniting us, based on the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
12. We bow before the martyrdom of those who, at the cost of their own lives, have given witness to the truth of the Gospel, preferring death to the denial of Christ. We believe that these martyrs of our times, who belong to various Churches but who are united by their shared suffering, are a pledge of the unity of Christians. It is to you who suffer for Christ’s sake that the word of the Apostle is directed: “Beloved … rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice exultantly” (1 Pet 4:12–13).
13. Interreligious dialogue is indispensable in our disturbing times. Differences in the understanding of religious truths must not impede people of different faiths to live in peace and harmony. In our current context, religious leaders have the particular responsibility to educate their faithful in a spirit which is respectful of the convictions of those belonging to other religious traditions. Attempts to justify criminal acts with religious slogans are altogether unacceptable. No crime may be committed in God’s name, “since God is not the God of disorder but of peace” (1 Cor 14:33).
14. In affirming the foremost value of religious freedom, we give thanks to God for the current unprecedented renewal of the Christian faith in Russia, as well as in many other countries of Eastern Europe, formerly dominated for decades by atheist regimes. Today, the chains of militant atheism have been broken and in many places Christians can now freely confess their faith. Thousands of new churches have been built over the last quarter of a century, as well as hundreds of monasteries and theological institutions. Christian communities undertake notable works in the fields of charitable aid and social development, providing diversified forms of assistance to the needy. Orthodox and Catholics often work side by side. Giving witness to the values of the Gospel they attest to the existence of the shared spiritual foundations of human co–existence.
15. At the same time, we are concerned about the situation in many countries in which Christians are increasingly confronted by restrictions to religious freedom, to the right to witness to one’s convictions and to live in conformity with them. In particular, we observe that the transformation of some countries into secularized societies, estranged from all reference to God and to His truth, constitutes a grave threat to religious freedom.  It is a source of concern for us that there is a current curtailment of the rights of Christians, if not their outright discrimination, when certain political forces, guided by an often very aggressive secularist ideology, seek to relegate them to the margins of public life.
16. The process of European integration, which began after centuries of blood–soaked conflicts, was welcomed by many with hope, as a guarantee of peace and security. Nonetheless, we invite vigilance against an integration that is devoid of respect for religious identities. While remaining open to the contribution of other religions to our civilization, it is our conviction that Europe must remain faithful to its Christian roots. We call upon Christians of Eastern and Western Europe to unite in their shared witness to Christ and the Gospel, so that Europe may preserve its soul, shaped by two thousand years of Christian tradition.
17. Our gaze is also directed to those facing serious difficulties, who live in extreme need and poverty while the material wealth of humanity increases. We cannot remain indifferent to the destinies of millions of migrants and refugees knocking on the doors of wealthy nations. The unrelenting consumerism of some more developed countries is gradually depleting the resources of our planet. The growing inequality in the distribution of material goods increases the feeling of the injustice of the international order that has emerged.
18. The Christian churches are called to defend the demands of justice, the respect for peoples’ traditions, and an authentic solidarity towards all those who suffer. We Christians cannot forget that “God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something, that no human being might boast before God” (1 Cor 1:27–29).
19. The family is the natural centre of human life and society. We are concerned about the crisis in the family in many countries. Orthodox and Catholics share the same conception of the family, and are called to witness that it is a path of holiness, testifying to the faithfulness of the spouses in their mutual interaction, to their openness to the procreation and rearing of their children, to solidarity between the generations and to respect for the weakest.
20. The family is based on marriage, an act of freely given and faithful love between a man and a woman. It is love that seals their union and teaches them to accept one another as a gift. Marriage is a school of love and faithfulness. We regret that other forms of cohabitation have been placed on the same level as this union, while the concept, consecrated in the biblical tradition, of paternity and maternity as the distinct vocation of man and woman in marriage is being banished from the public conscience.
21. We call on all to respect the inalienable right to life. Millions are denied the very right to be born into the world. The blood of the unborn cries out to God (cf. Gen 4:10).
The emergence of so-called euthanasia leads elderly people and the disabled begin to feel that they are a burden on their families and on society in general.
We are also concerned about the development of biomedical reproduction technology, as the manipulation of human life represents an attack on the foundations of human existence, created in the image of God. We believe that it is our duty to recall the immutability of Christian moral principles, based on respect for the dignity of the individual called into being according to the Creator’s plan.
22. Today, in a particular way, we address young Christians. You, young people, have the task of not hiding your talent in the ground (cf. Mt 25:25), but of using all the abilities God has given you to confirm Christ’s truth in the world, incarnating in your own lives the evangelical commandments of the love of God and of one’s neighbour. Do not be afraid of going against the current, defending God’s truth, to which contemporary secular norms are often far from conforming.
23. God loves each of you and expects you to be His disciples and apostles. Be the light of the world so that those around you may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father (cf. Mt 5:14, 16). Raise your children in the Christian faith, transmitting to them the pearl of great price that is the faith (cf. Mt 13:46) you have received from your parents and forbears. Remember that “you have been purchased at a great price” (1 Cor 6:20), at the cost of the death on the cross of the Man–God Jesus Christ.
24. Orthodox and Catholics are united not only by the shared Tradition of the Church of the first millennium, but also by the mission to preach the Gospel of Christ in the world today. This mission entails mutual respect for members of the Christian communities and excludes any form of proselytism.
We are not competitors but brothers, and this concept must guide all our mutual actions as well as those directed to the outside world. We urge Catholics and Orthodox in all countries to learn to live together in peace and love, and to be “in harmony with one another” (Rm 15:5). Consequently, it cannot be accepted that disloyal means be used to incite believers to pass from one Church to another, denying them their religious freedom and their traditions. We are called upon to put into practice the precept of the apostle Paul: “Thus I aspire to proclaim the gospel not where Christ has already been named, so that I do not build on another's foundation” (Rm 15:20).
25. It is our hope that our meeting may also contribute to reconciliation wherever tensions exist between Greek Catholics and Orthodox. It is today clear that the past method of “uniatism”, understood as the union of one community to the other, separating it from its Church, is not the way to re–establish unity. Nonetheless, the ecclesial communities which emerged in these historical circumstances have the right to exist and to undertake all that is necessary to meet the spiritual needs of their faithful, while seeking to live in peace with their neighbours. Orthodox and Greek Catholics are in need of reconciliation and of mutually acceptable forms of co–existence.
26. We deplore the hostility in Ukraine that has already caused many victims, inflicted innumerable wounds on peaceful inhabitants and thrown society into a deep economic and humanitarian crisis. We invite all the parts involved in the conflict to prudence, to social solidarity and to action aimed at constructing peace. We invite our Churches in Ukraine to work towards social harmony, to refrain from taking part in the confrontation, and to not support any further development of the conflict.
27. It is our hope that the schism between the Orthodox faithful in Ukraine may be overcome through existing canonical norms, that all the Orthodox Christians of Ukraine may live in peace and harmony, and that the Catholic communities in the country may contribute to this, in such a way that our Christian brotherhood may become increasingly evident.
28. In the contemporary world, which is both multiform yet united by a shared destiny, Catholics and Orthodox are called to work together fraternally in proclaiming the Good News of salvation, to testify together to the moral dignity and authentic freedom of the person, “so that the world may believe” (Jn 17:21). This world, in which the spiritual pillars of human existence are progressively disappearing, awaits from us a compelling Christian witness in all spheres of personal and social life. Much of the future of humanity will depend on our capacity to give shared witness to the Spirit of truth in these difficult times.
29. May our bold witness to God’s truth and to the Good News of salvation be sustained by the Man–God Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, who strengthens us with the unfailing promise: “Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom” (Lk 12:32)!
Christ is the well–spring of joy and hope. Faith in Him transfigures human life, fills it with meaning. This is the conviction borne of the experience of all those to whom Peter refers in his words: “Once you were ‘no people’ but now you are God’s people; you ‘had not received mercy’ but now you have received mercy” (1 Pet 2:10).
30. With grace–filled gratitude for the gift of mutual understanding manifested during our meeting, let us with hope turn to the Most Holy Mother of God, invoking her with the words of this ancient prayer: “We seek refuge under the protection of your mercy, Holy Mother of God”. May the Blessed Virgin Mary, through her intercession, inspire fraternity in all those who venerate her, so that they may be reunited, in God’s own time, in the peace and harmony of the one people of God, for the glory of the Most Holy and indivisible Trinity!

Francis                                  Kirill
Bishop of Rome                      Patriarch of Moscow
Pope of the Catholic Church    and all Russia

Russian version found on Internet Sobor:

Orthodox Church and Roman Catholics to meet in Cuba

Shared by Protodeacon Basil Yakimov in Australia

Heads of Russian Orthodox Church and Roman Catholics to meet in Cuba - tragic meeting that will bring ECUMENISM to the Russian land!!!

Regards Victor
It is very easy with just a few links to demonstrate that there is NO TRUE ORTHODOX INTENTION of Kyrill of Moscow in meeting with the Pope in Cuba on the 12 of feb 2016, which will place just a few days from now.
There are those amongst us that are blind to this most obvious fact. Pls see the 3 LINKS below that demonstrate this most clearly
1st link - in which the Pope promotes love & unity amongst all  faiths. This is fully blown Dogmatic Syncretism (the heresy of interlife of different faiths).
2nd link - is the promotion of the same heretical love/deception by Kyrill of Moscow
& this, again Kyrill of  Moscow
What is clear is that - ecumenism historically has 3 main types,
1 Protestant centric Ecumenism, championed by the WCC - in which no church has the right to claim that, only it is the one true church, which is a denial of Apostolic Orthodoxy
2 Papal centric ecumenism - dialogue between the Orthodox & Papist - that states heretical Papists are a graceful sacrament bearing Apostolic church - which is a denial that the 'One' Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church is Synonymous only with the Orthodox Church
3 The assembly of world religions - which professes the cult of belief in the One God of all religions and faith communities which are equal in their capacity to unite man with God -- which is denial of the God/man Christ as the only saviour of mankind.
When we see in the links above that both the Pope and Kyrill are equally implicated and confess this 3rd and most evil of all constructs. THEN WHAT SORT OF CHRISTIAN TRUTH IS WILL TAKE PLACE ON THE 12TH OF FEB IN THIS MOST UNFORTUNATE YEAR OF 2016 - LET THOSE POOR & IGNORANT SOULS WHO ENTERTAIN SUCH FOOLISHNESS HAVE EARS WITH WHICH TO HEAR - NO SUCH THING WILL TAKE PLACE.


On the text prepared for the coming pseudo-council

Observations on the text prepared for the pan=Orthodox council:
"Relations of the Orthodox Church with the rest of the Christian world"

Professor of the Theological School at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Dr. Dimitrios Tselengidis has sent his first theological observations to the Orthodox hierarchs of several Local Orthodox Churches (including those of Greece, Russia, Serbia, Georgia, Bulgaria, Alexandria, and Antioch) concerning the text: “Relations of the Orthodox Church with the Rest of the Christian World.”
* * *
This text displays recurrent theological inconsistency and contradiction. Thus, in the first article it proclaims the ecclesiastical self-identity of the Orthodox Church, considering Her—and very rightly—as the “One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.” In article six, however, there is a contradiction with respect to the formulation of the above article (1). It notes characteristically that the “the Orthodox Church recognizes the historic existence of other Christian Churches and Confessions not in communion with Her.”

Here the reasonable theological question arises: If the Church is “One” according to our Creed and the Orthodox Church’s own self-identity (art. 1), then how is there mention of other Christian Churches? It is clear that these other Churches are heterodox.

Heterodox “Churches”, though, cannot at all be called “Churches” by the Orthodox. Considering things from a dogmatic perspective it is not possible to speak about a plurality of “Churches” with different dogmas, and this, indeed, with regard to many different theological issues. Consequently, as long as these “Churches” remain firm in the erroneous beliefs of their faith, there is no theological justification to grant them ecclesial recognition —and this officially —outside of the “One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.”

In the same article (6), there is another serious theological contradiction. At the beginning of the article the following is noted: “According to the ontological nature of the Church, it is impossible for [Her] unity to be shattered.” At the end of this same article, however, it is written that, by Her participation in the Ecumenical Movement, the Orthodox Church has as its “objective aim the paving of the way which leads toward unity.”

Here the question is put: Given that the unity of the Church is an acknowledged fact, what type of unity of Churches is being sought in the context of the Ecumenical Movement? Does it perhaps mean the return of Western Christians to the ONE and only Church? Such a meaning, though, does not emerge either in the letter or the spirit of the entire text. On the contrary, indeed, the impression is given that there exists a long-established division in the Church and that the prospects of the [Ecumenical] dialogues focus on the disrupted unity of the Church.

Theological confusion is also caused by the ambiguity in article 20, which reads: “The prospects of the theological dialogues of the Orthodox Church with the other Christian Churches and Confessions shall always be determined on the basis of Her canonical criteria of the already established ecclesiastical tradition (canon seven of the Second Ecumenical Council and canon 95 of the Quinisext Council).”

But, canon seven of the Second Ecumenical Council and canon 95 of the Quinisext address the reception of specific heretics that had demonstrated their desire to join the Orthodox Church. However, it is apparent from the letter and spirit of the text, as judged from a theological perspective, that there is no discussion whatsoever of the return of the heterodox to the Orthodox Church, the only Church. Rather, in the text, the baptism of the heterodox is considered an accepted fact from the outset—and this without a Pan-Orthodox decision. In other words, the text endorses “Baptismal Theology.” Simultaneously, the text deliberately ignores the historic fact that the contemporary heterodox of the West (RC & Protestant) have not one, but heaps of dogmas that differ from the Orthodox Church (besides the filioque, created grace in the sacraments, the primacy of the pope, papal infallibility, the rejection of icons, and the rejection of the decisions of the Ecumenical Councils, etc.).

Article 21 also raises appropriate questions, where it notes that, “the Orthodox Church ... has a favorable view of the documents adopted by the Commission [referring to the Committee for ‘Faith & Order’] . . . for the rapprochement of the Churches.” Here it must be observed that these documents [of the Committee] have never been adjudged by the Hierarchs of the Local Orthodox Churches.

Finally, in article 22 the impression is given that the Upcoming Holy and Great Council is prejudging the infallibility of its decisions, since it considers that, “the preservation of the authentic orthodox faith is ensured only through the synodical system, which has always rested in the Church and which constitutes the appropriate and final judge on all matters of faith.” In this article, the historic fact is ignored that in the Orthodox Church the final criteria is always the living dogmatic consciousness of the fullness of the Church, which in the past confirmed even Ecumenical Councils considered robber councils. The synodical system by itself does not mechanically ensure the correctness of orthodox faith. This only happens when the Synod of Bishops has the Holy Spirit and the Hypostatic Way—Christ—working within it, and thus as “syn”—“odikoi” [i.e., “traversing together on the way”] they are, in practice, “following the Holy Fathers.”

General Assessment of the Text
With all that is written and what is clearly implied in the text above, it is clear that its initiators and authors are attempting the institutional and official ratification of Christian Syncretistism-Ecumenism by means of a Pan-Orthodox Synod. This, however, would be catastrophic for the Orthodox Church. For this reason I humbly propose the text’s total withdrawal.
* * *

In closing, one theological observation on the text, “The Sacrament of Marriage and its Impediments.” In article 5.i, it notes: “The marriage of an Orthodox person with a heterodox person is not permitted according to canonical akrivia [the ‘rule’] (canon 72 of the Quinisext Council in Trullo). However, it is possible to be blessed through condescension and love for man under the express condition that the children of this marriage will be baptized and raised in the Orthodox Church.”

Here, the express condition that, “the children of this marriage will be baptized and raised in the Orthodox Church” clashes with the theological guarantee of marriage as a sacrament of the Orthodox Church. The reason for this: because child-bearing shows itself—in connection with the baptism of children in the Orthodox Church—to legitimize the service of mixed marriage, something clearly forbidden by a Canon of the Ecumenical Councils (canon 72 of the Quinisext). In other words, a synod that is not Ecumenical, such as is the upcoming Holy and Great Council, explicitly turns a decision of an Ecumenical Council into something relative. This is unacceptable.

And finally this: If the blessed marriage does not provide children, is this marriage theologically legitimized simply on account of the intention of the heterodox spouse to place any possible children in the Orthodox Church?

For the sake of theological consistency, article 5.i, needs to be removed.

Dr. Dimitrios Tselengidis
Translated by Rev. Fr. Matthew Penney with assistance by Fr. C. A

09 / 02 / 2016

Russian Church calms down the believers who consider Pan-Orthodox Council 'anti-Christ'


04 February 2016, 10:03

Russian Church calms down the believers who consider Pan-Orthodox Council 'anti-Christ'

Moscow, February 4, Interfax - Head of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations Metropolitan Hilarion says there is no grounds for the concerns of some believers about the coming Pan-Orthodox Council.

"Unfortunately, there have been many rumors around this Council. For example, they say it will be 'the eighth Ecumenical Council,' it will be 'anti-Christ,' the union with Catholics will be concluded, all fasts will be abolished, priests will be allowed to marry for the second time, it will be a modernist council," the metropolitan said on Wednesday at a press conference in Moscow, resuming the results of the Bishops' Council.

He says that the DECR receives letters urging not to participate in the 'Ecumenical' or 'anti-Christ' council every day. The hierarch also told that the Russian Church had many concerns about the meeting, for example, that some decisions would be imposed on its participants, for example, approving of a new church calendar.

"We achieved that all decisions in the Pan-Orthodox Council will be taken by consensus," the metropolitan stressed.

According to him, every local church will send a delegation of 24 hierarchs, but each Church will have one voice and if "even one Church is against any decision, this decision won't be taken."

Besides, questions that were not previously agreed will not be put on the agenda and all the documents worked out in course of preparations to the council are published.

The Pan-Orthodox Council has not been convened for more than a thousand years and has been already prepared for more than half a century. In 2014, primates of the Orthodox Churched made a decision to convene the Council in 2016 in Istanbul, though saying "if unseen circumstances would not impede it." At their meeting in Chambesy (Switzerland), Orthodox leaders have decided to hold the Council on the island of Crete from June 16 to June 27.


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New edition of St. Tikhon Biography

2nd edition 2015
Chosen for His People: A Biography of Patriarch Tikhon
by Jane Swan and Scott M. Kenworth, 150 pages
 printed with the blessing of Metr. Hilarion ROCOR-MP, Jordanville

Ist edition 1964
A Biography of Patriarch Tikhon
by Jane Swan, 112 pages
Abe books has a hardcover copy for $95
• This book is serialized in Orthodox Life magazine in 1964 and 1965.
• 1st edition can also be borrowed through the inter-library loan system.

Kenworth changed the name of St. Tikhon's cell attendant, from Jacob Sergievitch Ostroumoff to Yakov Anisimovich Polozov (chapter 5).  

St. Tikhon (January 18, 1865 - March 25, 1925, Julian calendar), the Patriarch of Moscow, sought to preserve the Church and the Faith against the onslaughts of the Bolsheviks and their tool, the ‘Living Church’. He  feared that one of his successors would fall and sign the Church over to the Bolsheviks as did in fact happen with Metropolitan Sergius.  (Chapter 5, pp. 102 - 103 of the revised version.)  He did not seek unity with the ‘Living Church’.  On the contrary, in the Patriarch’s statement, p. 90-93, he spoke of how the ‘Living Church’ group had separated themselves from the true Church.  He roundly condemned them. He declared all the arrangements that they had made were ‘null and void, and all actions and sacraments performed by bishops and clergymen who have forsaken the Church, are devoid of the grace of God while the faithful taking part in such prayers and such sacraments shall receive no sanctification thereby, and are subject to condemnation for participation in their sin.’

Jane Swan’s biography documents an important part of recent Russian Church history that is grossly misunderstood in the West.  I have the original biography of Patriarch Tikhon by her and was hopeful that this version would include updated information. This ‘revised’ version, however, leaves something to be desired.  I went through and compared the original and Kenworthy’s revision.  He should have written his own biography instead of playing copy editor to Jane Swan.

He couldn't resist adding words here, subtracting words there or rearranging J. Swan's sentences or rephrasing.  He replaced words with synonyms. But, he faithfully copied typos from the original! Sometimes for pages, he copied the original wording with no changes. A good copy editor wouldn’t have copied the typos and would have left Jane Swan’s style alone.

He replaced Sobor with Council but then put in podvorye in place of Hotel (chapter 2) which is capricious.  He replaced klobuk with kukol (chapter 2) with no explanation for the change.   He changed the name of St. Tikhon's cell attendant from Jacob Sergievitch Ostroumoff to Yakov Anisimovich Polozov (chapter 5) without explanation. If it was a correction, he should have so noted it.  At least in the end notes, he indicated which were his and which ones were original.

Kenworthy didn’t include any information about the glorification of the saint by the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad on October 19, 1981 (Julian calendar) along with the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russian or even mention that St. Tikhon’s feast day is celebrated on Nov. 5/18 or the reason for that choice.  It so happens that Nov. 5/18 is the day on which St. Tikhon was selected as the new patriarch.  J. Swan did not include that date, but Kentworthy could have.  He has added very little to our knowledge of the Saint beyond lamenting that this is the only biography in English.  He has taken advantage of little of the resources that his preface claims have become available.

He did add some photos, including one from the burial service and two of the finding of the saint's relics and one of a full length icon.  The photo of the Patriarch in the original biography was not included.  It is, however, available on the internet here:
Reviewed by ROCA layman

S. Kenworthy's Preface in his new edition

Pseudo-council not to consider union of Orthodox to non-Orthodox

According to Pat. Kyrill of MP


Patriarch Kirill: There was no question of any union of the Orthodox Church with the non-Orthodox

The forthcoming Pan-Orthodox Council is to consider a draft document on Relations of the Orthodox Church with the Rest of the Christian World adopted by the 5th Pan-Orthodox Pre-Council Conference on October 10-17, 2015, in Chambesy. His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia reported this to the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, which has opened in Moscow.

In his report about the preparation of the Pan-Orthodox Council, the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church noted that this document was drafted on the basis of two texts elaborated as far back as the 80s, with one of them devoted to the so-called ecumenical movement and the other mostly to the bilateral dialogues conducted by the Orthodox Church with non-Orthodox communities. ‘The need for a considerable revision was dictated by the changes which have happened in a number of Protestant denominations in the last decades’, His Holiness stated, ‘influenced by the secular ideology, many of them embarked on the path of revision of not only their own doctrine but also the very foundations of Christian morality’.

This is what compelled the Orthodox Church to reconsider her relations with such communities, His Holiness reminded the bishops.

‘Our criticism was taken into account in the revision of this document’, Patriarch Kirill stressed noting that in its basic affirmations it takes into account the principle provisions of the Basic Principles of the Russian Orthodox Church’s Attitude to Non-Orthodoxy adopted by the Jubilee Bishops’ Council in 2000. Thus, the draft document of the Pan-Orthodox Council clearly states that the relations of the Orthodox Church with non-Orthodox churches ‘should be built on the speediest possible and more correct clarification of all the ecclesiological topics, especially in the area of teaching on the sacraments, grace, priesthood and apostolic succession as a whole’. In a separate note it states that the Orthodox Church, while participating in the work of the World Council of Churches, “does not accept the idea of ‘equality of confessions’ and cannot perceive the unity of the Church as some inter-confessional compromise”.

‘Certainly, no union of the Orthodox Church with the non-Orthodox is even mentioned in the document’, Patriarch Kirill stated.

Information Service of the Bishops’ Council
DECR Communication Service

ROCA Youth Conference February

FW: youth conf.



Sun, Jan 31, 2016 at 2:19 PM

From: SSok [mailto:sokiran
Sent: Sunday, January 31, 2016 6:00 PM
To: dutikow
Subject: RE: youth conf.

Дорогие братия и сестры!
Мы рады сообщить вам о том, что началась подготовка к очередному Съезду Православной Молодежи, который состоится в нашем духовно-просветительном центре Mountain View 
с 13 по 15 февраля 2016 года.

Опыт Съездов предыдущих лет показал живой и постоянно возрастающий интерес молодежи к этому ежегодному мероприятию, которое позволяет не только интересно провести время в замечательной компании, хорошо отдохнуть и приобрести новые знакомства, но и получить посредством бесед, лекций и индивидуального общения со священнослужителями важную информацию, которая помогает молодежи сформировать собственное мировоззрение и выработать правильное отношение к разного рода вызовам современного мира, помогает им, несмотря на все окружающие соблазны, оставаться верными чадами Русской Православной Церкви Заграницей.
Надеемся, что нынешний Съезд подарит его участникам еще больше положительных чувств и принесет действительную духовную пользу.
В скором времени мы постараемся разместить условия участия в Съезде, а также необходимую контактную информацию лиц, принимающих непосредственное участие в подготовке Съезда. Поскольку количество участников Съезда ограничено, то обращаясь ко взрослым, просим Вас не откладывать на долго принятие решения об участии ваших детей в Съезде.
С уважением, 
Правление Духовно-просветительного центра
Mountain View

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

We are pleased to announce preparations are underway for an upcoming Orthodox Youth Conference, scheduled on February 13-15, 2016, in our Mountain View Educational Religious Center.

Based on the experience of previous conferences, there is an active and growing interest to this annual event among the youth, which not only allows them to spend time in good company, to relax and make new friends, but to also gain important knowledge through discussions, lectures and individual conversations with priests, that helps them to form their own views on life and develop the proper responses to the many challenges of the modern world, helping them, despite all the surrounding temptations, to remain faithful sons and daughters of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad.

We hope that this conference will grant them even more lasting satisfaction and spiritual benefit.

Details for participating in the conference, as well as necessary contact information of the organizers of the conference, will be posted shortly. Since space is limited, we ask parents not to delay in deciding whether your children will attend the conference.

Mountain View Educational Religious Center Staff.