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

Icon of the Three Hands

from Russian Church History translated by Br. Issac:

While governing Damascus, John also worked zealously for the good of the Church, defending it against various enemies by the power of his authority as well as his discourse.  Apropos of the iconoclastic controversy which was developing in Constantinople, he wrote several epistles to the Christians there, in which he defended the ancient dogma of the veneration of icons with power and eloquence.  The Emperor Leo the Isaurian, desiring to wreak vengeance upon St. John, ordered his scribe to learn how to copy St. John's handwriting.  He then had a letter forged, supposedly addressed by St. John to the Emperor, in which the saint allegedly expressed his readiness to betray his ruler and surrender Damascus to the Greeks; this forged letter was sent to the Caliph, who believed the slander and commanded that John's right hand be cut off.  After this was done, St. John prayed and wept before the icon of the Mother of God, and through her miraculous aid his severed hand grew back onto his arm.

Enraptured over his miraculous healing, St. John sang the hymn in honor of the Mother of God: "In thee rejoiceth all creation, O thou who art full of grace...."  This hymn is still chanted by us during Great Lent instead of the usual hymn "It is truly meet to bless thee...."  Furthermore, in memory of his healing, St. John had a silver representation of his hand made and affixed it to the icon before which he had prayed.  News of the miracle spread rapidly throughout Damascus.  The icon was venerated as wonder-working, and many arranged to have copies made of it.  The iconographers who made such copies depicted the third hand also, and hence that particular type of icon of the Virgin Mary became known as the icon "of three hands."

The Caliph also learned of the healing of St. John, and, convinced of his innocence, desired to shower the saint with all manner of good things.  But St. John, having learned from personal experience how unstable were all the good things of this life, did not wish to remain in Damascus and withdrew to the Monastery of St. Sabbas the Sanctified in Palestine.  There, at first, neither the abbot nor any of the brethren wanted to take such a famous man in as a mere novice.  Finally, one elder agreed to take St. John, but, in order to humble his intellect, he forbade him to engage in writing.

Schismatics: Beware of Receiving the Holy Gifts Unworthily

machine translation

St. Testimonies of the miraculous power of the Sacraments of Communion

One case:
This case took place in Urzhum Vyatka province.  In the local church there was a liturgy, and a crowd of communicants waited for the priest to come out from the altar with the Holy Gifts.  When the priest appeared with the Holy Chalice, he began, as usual, to read the Prayer of Prayer "I believe, Lord, and I confess," which the believers repeated after him in chorus.  During the reading, the priest's attention was drawn to a tall man who, especially loudly, screamed the words of prayer throughout the church.  When the communion began, this pilgrim also approached the Holy Chalice, but, having communicated, suddenly loudly cried out and stood on the left side before the icon of the Mother of God.  The priest noticed that he spat something into his hand, and immediately sent the deacon to find out what was the matter, and if the Holy Gifts were in his hand, then take action against the possible blasphemy.  When the deacon approached the strange communicant, then with amazement and in horror, he saw in the swollen hand of the last coal.  Those were the burnt Holy Gifts.  The worshiper's mouth was also burned to such a degree that he could not close it from severe pain.  It turned out that he was a schismatic who decided to start receiving the sacrament of Communion without first joining the Orthodox Church and even without confession.

full article:


• Fate of the Shatskiis Brothers

• photos Vl. Agafangel in Virginia  3/19

• newly translated sermon St. Philaret

St. John of Shanghai: About the February Revolution in Russia

machine translation

St. John of Shanghai: About the February Revolution in Russia

Author: Nun Faith incl. . Posted in Archive ROCOR (Views: 133)
 "If the highest military commanders and public figures were among the" bowed-down "rulers of the Sovereign abdication, they fulfilled what was oath-the artificially organized Petrograd rebellion would be suppressed and Russia saved."

Letter to Mr. Reyer on the attitude towards the leaders of the White movement - Archbishop. John of Shanghai:

You raise the question of the commemoration of the leaders of the great armies of the Civil War, as well as articles in the press that darken them.
Of course, it is not only possible to pray for them, but it must, both in domestic and in church prayers. They were Orthodox and remained so until the end of life; They have everything, and for those who are more grieved, one needs to pray even more. Also, one can not approve articles in the press against them. They are dear to many of their comrades-in-arms, and are dear to their positive qualities. So articles touch upon the feelings of many and offend them, creating harmful strife among the Russian people. But, however, we must clearly not only report on the meritorious aspects of their activities, but also negative ones, in order to know the causes of our wretches, so that we ourselves do not imitate them; If we are also guilty of that, sincerely try to correct what is possible. No one can justify evil, and more than that, ennoble it. "Woe is to them that call evil good, and good evil evil is considered sweet, and sweet is bitter" (Isaiah 5, 20).

You write that many considered the Emperor guilty of our failures, and therefore consider themselves to be in violation of the oath? Oath is an oath before the Cross and the Gospel, and its violation is a perjury. If indeed it was really done, it threatened with great poverty or was obviously immoral, then even if it broke it, it would not be possible to consider itself completely innocent, and should have sought the Church for an oath from an oath. But if the violated, for reasons of respect, is still partially guilty and must be cleansed of the grape, how guilty are those who succumbed to slander and deceit. 

In fact, the commissariat commissioned by the Provisional Government did not find confirmation of the accusations against the Tsarist family and had to admit it. To whom more is given, from that more will be required, and therefore, who otvetstvennnie occupied most of the time, I am more guilty of failure to fulfill my duty.
If the higher military commanders and public figures, in fact, the "conspiratorial" prayers of the Sovereign for abdication, did what they ought to have done-the artificially organized Petrograd rebellion would have been suppressed and Rossia had been saved.
Recently, France was in a difficult situation. De Gaulle's statement about the self-prediction of Algerians to many Frenchmen who were especially born and raised in Algeria was sounded as changed, and a rebellion arose demanding the overthrow and execution of the "change". But most otvetstvennyh persons remained true to their duty and rolled into the abyss of France was saved. The same would happen in our country, if the leaders of the army and society remained loyal to the oath and duty. There was a terrible grief before God and a state crime. As much as who has cleansed his grains, he is known to God. But there was almost no open repentance.
The call for a struggle for Russia, the resignation of the Provisional Government, and the loss of power that was seized, although it aroused the grateful feelings of many and the corresponding movement, but this was not the expression of repentance on the part of the main perpetrators, who continued to consider themselves heroes and saviors of Russia.Between the two, Trotsky admits in his memoirs that most of all they (the Soviets) feared that the Tsar would not be proclaimed, since Then the fall of Soviet power would become inevitable. However, that did not happen, the "leaders" were afraid of the same thing. They encouraged many to fight, but their belated call and courage did not save Russia. Some of them put their lives in that fight and shed blood, but much more innocent blood is shed, which continues to rain all over Russia, screaming to the sky.

Therefore, the relation to them, as to all the statesmen of Russia, should be the one expressed by Pushkin with the words of the record-writer: "Praise for glory, for good, and for grief, for the dark day, the Savior humbly implore ...", not at all of them Not justifying, but not screaming for them, for what happened is our common disgrace, the disgrace of Russia and its future.
"Orthodox Russia", No. 13, 1991. 
Extracted from the journal "Bee", published by the Foundation of the name of St. John (Maksimovich), June 1990 No. 6, Moscow
Свт. Иоанн Шанхайский: О февральской революціи въ Россіи
"Если бы высшіе военачальники и общественные дѣятели вмѣсто «колѣнопреклоненныхъ» умоленій Государя объ отреченіи, выполнили то, что слѣдовало по-присягѣискусствен­но устроенный петроградскій бунтъ былъ бы подавленъ и Россія спасена".
Письмо г-ну Рейеру об отношении к вождям Белого движенияАрхиеп. Иоанна Шанхайского:
Вы ставите вопросъ о поминовеніи вождей бѣлыхъ армій гражданской войны, а также о статьяхъ въ печати, чернящихъ ихъ
Конечно, молиться за нихъ не только можно, но и дол­жно, какъ въ домашнихъ, такъ и въ церковныхъ молитвахъ. Они были православные и остались таковыми до конца жиз­ни; грѣхъ имѣютъ всѣ, и за тѣхъ, кто больше грѣшитъ, нужно еще больше молиться. Также никакъ нельзя одобрить статей въ печати, направленныхъ противъ нихъ. Они дороги многимъ своимъ соратникамъ, и дороги за свои положительныя качества. Такія статьи затрагиваютъ чувства многихъ и оскорбляютъ ихъ, создавая вредный раздоръ среди русскихъ людей. Но самимъ, однако, надо ясно себѣ отдавать отчетъ не только въ похвальныхъ сторонахъ ихъ дѣятельности, но и отрицательныхъ, чтобы знать причины нашихъ бѣдствій, чтобы самимъ не подражать имъ; если мы тоже виновны въ томъ, искренне стараться ис­править то, что возможно. Никакъ нельзя оправдывать зло, а тѣмъ болѣе его облагораживать. «Горе тѣмъ, которые зло называютъ добромъ, и доброзломъ... горькое почитаютъ сладкимъ, и сладкоегорькимъ» (Исаія 5, 20). 
Пишете, что многіе считали Государя виновнымъ въ на­шихъ неудачахъ, а посему считаютъ себя вправѣ нарушать присягу? Присяга есть клятвенное обѣщаніе передъ Крестомъ и Евангеліемъ, и нарушеніе ея есть клятвопреступленіе. Если бы даже действительно выполненіе ея грозило большими бѣдствіями или было явно безнравственнымъ, то и тогда нару­шивши ее не могъ бы себя считать совершенно невиннымъ и долженъ былъ бы искать у Церкви разрѣшенія отъ клятвы. Но если нарушившій, по причинамъ уважительнымъ, все же час­тично является виновнымъ и долженъ очиститься отъ грѣха, насколько виновнѣе тѣ, кто поддался клеветѣ и обману
Вѣдь слѣдственная комиссія, назначенная Временнымъ правительствомъ, не нашла подтвержденія обвиненіямъ противъ Царской семьи и должна была это признать. Кому боль­ше дано, отъ того больше взыщется, и посему, чѣмъ кто отвѣтственнѣе занималъ мѣсто, тѣмъ болѣе виновенъ въ неисполненіи своего долга.
Если бы высшіе военачальники и общественные дѣятели вмѣсто «колѣнопреклоненныхъ» умоленій Государя объ отреченіи, выполнили то, что слѣдовало по-присягѣискусствен­но устроенный петроградскій бунтъ былъ бы подавленъ и Россія спасена.
Недавно Франція была въ тяжеломъ положеніи. Заявленіе де Голля о самоопредѣленіи алжирцевъ многимъ францу­замъ особенно родившимся и выросшимъ въ Алжирѣ, прозву­чало какъ измѣна, и поднялся бунтъ съ требованіемъ сверженія и казни «измѣнника». Но большинство отвѣтственныхъ лицъ остались вѣрны своему долгу и катившаяся въ бездну Франція была спасена. То же произошло бы и у насъ, если бы руководящія лица арміи и общества остались вѣрны присягѣ и долгу. Совершенъ былъ страшный грѣхъ передъ Богомъ и го­сударственное преступленіе. Насколько кто загладилъ свой грѣхъ, вѣдомо Богу. Но открытаго покаянія почти никѣмъ про­явлено не было
Призывъ къ борьбѣ за Россію, послѣ паденія Временнаго правительства, и потеря захваченной было власти, хотя вызвалъ благодарныя чувства многихъ и соотвѣтствующее дви­женіе, но не было это выраженіемъ раскаянія со стороны главныхъ виновниковъ, продолжавшихъ считать себя героями и спасителями Россіи. Между тѣмъ, Троцкій въ своихъ воспоминаніяхъ признаетъ, что больше всего они (совѣты) боялись, чтобы не былъ провозглашенъ Царь, т.к. тогда паденіе совѣтской власти стало бы неминуемымъ. Однако того не случи­лось, «вожди» боялись того же. Они воодушевили многихъ на борьбу, но запоздалый ихъ призывъ и отвага не спасли Россію. Нѣкоторые изъ нихъ въ той борьбѣ положили жизнь и пролили кровь, но гораздо больше пролито невинной крови, которая продолжаетъ литься по всей Россіи, вопія къ небу
Посему отношеніе къ нимъ, какъ и ко всѣмъ государственнымъ дѣятелямъ Руси, должно быть то, которое выра­жено у Пушкина устами лѣтописца — «Хвалите за славу, за добро, а за грѣхи, за темныя дѣянія, Спасителя смиренно умо­ляйте...», нисколько ихъ не оправдывая, но и не крича о нихъ, ибо то, что произошло, нашъ общій позоръ, позоръ Россіи и ея бѣдствіе.
«Православная Русь», 13, 1991 г
Извлечено изъ журнала «Пчела», изданіе Фонда имени святителя Іоанна (Максимовича), іюнь 1990 г. 6, Москва

ROCOR-MP still waiting for MP to repent

The rebellious leader: the ROC again raised the question of the burial of Lenin

Author: Nun Faith incl. . Posted in Monitoring (Views: 104)

The Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (ROCOR MP) on the centennial anniversary of the revolution raised the question of the burial of Vladimir Lenin's body, proposing to remove him from the Mausoleum on Red Square, and also to get rid of the revolutionary toponymy in Russia. The idea did not arouse unanimity among representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate, politicians and experts who disagreed on the need for such actions.
The Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCA MP) made a statement on Sunday stating that "one of the symbols of the reconciliation of the Russian people with the Lord could be" the liberation of Red Square from the remains of the main persecutor and tormentor of the 20th century and the crushing of the Monuments ". In the ROCA, the MP believes that in the same way "it is necessary to do with the names of cities, regions, streets, which to this day are deprived of their historical names." The text of the statement was announced in all parishes of the ROCA MP.
However, the Synodal Department of the Moscow Patriarchate did not comment on the document on the relationship between the Church and society and the media, explaining this by saying that the message "is addressed to the outside world and not to the interior of the Church." However, a month earlier the head of this department of the media, Vladimir Legoyda, noted that the survey on the further fate of Lenin's Mausoleum is not an "overprincipled moment" for the ROC, it "will be resolved over time in a natural and calm manner." According to him, it is necessary to "wait a little". 
. . .
complete article here:

The Lenten Prayer

Sermon by Father Macarius   († 3Aug2014)

Of all the lenten hymns and prayers, one short prayer could be termed the Lenten Prayer. It is traditional, and probably one of the great teachers of spiritual life is Saint Ephraim the Syrian.  Here is the text:

        “O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, faint heartedness, and lust for power and idle talk.  

But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to Thy servant.
Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own errors and not to judge my brother; for Thou art blessed unto the ages of ages. Amen.” 

This prayer is read twice at the end of each Lenten service Monday through Friday, not on Saturdays and Sundays because on these days on Sundays we celebrate the Resurrection and Saturdays the Sabbath and the fast is restricted.  At first reading of this, a prostration follows each petition and at the end we bow also 12 times and say, “O God, cleanse me a sinner.”  And the entire prayer is repeated with one final prostration at the end. 

And why does this short prayer occupy such an important position in the entire Lenten worship? Because it enumerates, in a unique way, all the negative and positive elements of repentance and constitutes, so to say, a checklist for the individual Lenten effort.  This effort is aimed first at our liberation from such fundamental spiritual diseases which shape our life and make it virtually impossible for us to even to start turning ourselves to God.  

Getting back to the word prostration, in the Greek, metania, means to change one’s mind.  So by passing from an erect position to one bowing you are changing your mind also with your body.  The basic disease of speaking of √sloth  which is a strange combination of laziness and passivity and our entire being which always pushes us down rather than up which constantly convinces us no change is possible, and therefore desirable.  It is a fact that deeply-rooted cynicism which to every spiritual challenge responds, “What for?” and makes our lives difficult at its very source.  The result of sloth is √faint-heartedness – this is a state of despondency which all spiritual fathers consider the greatest danger for the soul.  

Despondency is the impossibility for man to see anything good or positive.  It is a reduction of everything to negativism and pessimism.  It is truly a demonic power in us because the devil is fundamentally a liar.  He lies to man about God and about the world.   He fills life with darkness and negation.  Despondency is a suicide of the soul because when man is possessed by it, he is unable to see the light or desire it.  Also it matches his √lust for power.  Strange as it may seem, it is precisely sloth and despondency that fill our life with lust for power by vitiating the entire attitude to our life and making it meaningless and empty, they force us to seek compensation and a radically wrong attitude towards other persons.  

If my life is not oriented to God nor aimed at eternal values, it will inevitably become selfish, self-centered and this means that all things become means of my own self-satisfaction.  If God is not the Lord and Master of my life, then I become my own lord and master, the absolute center of my own world and I begin to evaluate everything in terms of my needs, my ideas, my desires and my judgment.  The lust for power is thus a fundamental depravity in my relationship to other beings, a search for their subordination to me.  It does not necessarily express the actual urge to co-manage others and may result as well in indifference, contempt, lack of interest and respect.  It is indeed sloth and despondency directed this time at others that it completes spiritual suicide with spiritual murder. 

Finally √idle talk - of all created beings, man alone has been endowed with the gift of speech. All the Fathers see it as the very seal of the divine image in man because God himself has revealed his Word as in the first chapter of the Gospel of John.  But being the supreme gift, it is by the same token the supreme danger being the very expression of man.  The means of his fulfillment is for this very reason the means of his fall and self-destruction of a trail of sins - the word saves and the word kills, the word inspires and the word poisons, the Word is the means of Truth and is the means of demonic lie.  Having ultimate positive power is, therefore, tremendous negative power.  It creates negatively when it deviates from its divine origin and purpose.  The word becomes idle and forces sloth and despondency, and lust for power, and transforms life into the very power of sin.  These four are thus the negative objects of repentance; they are the obstacles to be removed but God alone can remove them.

Hence the first part of the Lenten prayer described from the bottom of human helplessness, then the prayer moves to the positive aims of repentance which also are four.

√Chastity - if one does not reduce this term as often and as erroneously done only to sexual connotation, it is understood as the positive counterpart of sloth.  Exact and full translations of the Greek sofrosini and the Russian tselomoodrie ought to be whole-mindedness.  Sloth is the first of all dissipation, the brokenness of our vision and energy, the inability to see the whole its opposite then, is precisely wholeness.  If we use to mean by chastity the virtue opposed to sexual depravities, it is because the broken character of our existence is nowhere better manifested than in sexual lust, the alienation of the body from the light that controls the spirit. 

Christ restores wholeness in us and He does so by restoring to us the true scale of values by leading us back to God.  The first and wonderful fruit of this wholeness or chastity is √humility.  We already spoke of it - it is above everything else the victory of truth in us, the elimination of all lies in which we usually live.  Humility alone is capable of truth, of seeing and accepting things as they are and therefore seeing God’s majesty and goodness in love and everything.  That’s why we are told that God gives grace to the humble and resists the proud.  

Chastity and humility are naturally followed by √patience.  The natural or fallen man is impatient for being blind to himself, he is quick to judge and condemn others.  Having but a broken, incomplete and distorted knowledge of everything, he measures all things by his tastes and ideas, being indifferent to everyone except himself, he wants life to be successful right here and now. Patience, however, is a truly divine virtue.  God is patient not because he is indulgent, but because he sees the depth of all that exists and the inner reality of things which in our blindness we do not see, is open to Him.  The closer we come to God, the more patient we grow and the more we reflect that infinite respect for all beings which is a proper quality of God. 

Finally, the crown of all virtues, all of growth and effort is √Love.  That love, as we have already said, can be given by God alone - the gift which is the goal of all spiritual preparation and practice.  All this is summarized and brought together to the concluding petition of the Lenten prayer in which we ask to see our own errors and not to judge my brother. 

But, ultimately, there is but one danger – pride.   Pride is the source of evil and all evil is pride.  It is not enough for me to see my own errors, for even this apparent virtue can be turned into pride.  Spiritual writings are full of warnings against the subtle forms of pseudo piety which, in reality, are the cover of humility and self-accusation and can lead to a truly demonic pride.  When we see our own errors and do not judge our brothers, when in other terms chastity, humility, patience and love are but one in us, then and only then the ultimate enemy pride will be destroyed in us. 

After each petition, we make a prostration.  As I said, prostrations are not limited to the prayer of Saint Ephraim, but can consequently be the distinctive characteristic of the entire length of worship.  Here, however, their meaning is disclosed best of all.  In the long and difficult effort of spiritual recovery, the Church does not separate the soul from the body.  The whole man has fallen away from God, the whole man is to be restored, the whole man is to return.  The catastrophe of sin lies precisely in the victory of the flesh, the animal, the irrational, the lust in us, of the spiritual and the divine.  But the body is glorious, the body is holy.  So holy that God himself became flesh.  Salvation and repentance then are not contempt for the body or neglect of it, but restoration of the body to its real function as an expression and light of spirit.  As a temple, the price is the human soul.  To be a Christian, in a sense, is a fight not against but for the body.  For this reason the whole man, soul and body repents.  The body participates in the prayer of the soul just as the soul prays through and in the body.  Prostration is a sign of repentance and humility, of adoration and obedience are thus a lenten rite of par excellence.  And in the Pre-Sanctified Liturgy a hymn reads: “Let us abstain from sin as we abstain from food.”  Amen.