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

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Synaxarion Reading Sunday of Samaritan Woman

SYNAXARION READING 
On this day, the fifth Sunday of Pascha, we commemorate the conversation of the Lord with the Samaritan woman 

Verse: When thou camest to obtain perishable water, O woman, thou didst Draw forth living water, whereby thou didst wash away the stains of thy soul. 

Since on this Sunday Christ openly confesses Himself to be the Messiah, which means Christ or the anointed one; (for messia is the Hebrew word for oil), for this reason, the present feast is placed in the week of Mid-Pentecost; and also because, on the previous Sunday, Christ wrought a miracle at the Sheep's Pool.  On this Sunday, He works a miracle at Jacob's well, which Jacob himself dug and bestowed upon his son Joseph.  This was a special place, for here, in the vicinity of Mount Somor, the Samaritans inhabited many cities.  Christ came to Sichar, where Jacob once lived with his daughter Dinah and his sons.  Sychem, the son of Emmor the Chorræan, lusted after Dinah and raped her; thereupon, her brothers, provoked to zeal, suddenly entered their city and slew everyone, including Sychem and his father Emmor.  Jacob lived in that place and dug the present well.  The Hebrews who originally lived on this mountain were not called Samaritans, but Israelites. 

During the reign of King Pekah, they offended God by falling into idolatry and other iniquities.  During the reign of King Hoshea, who became a vassal of the Assyrians and paid tribute to them, the Assyrians came and deported the inhabitants of Samaria, together with their women and children, to their own country.  Subsequently, the King of the Assyrians, in order that the land should not remain uncultivated, dispatched men from Babylon and the neighboring regions to settle in the territory of the Israelites; but God sent lions against the heathen, and by His permission, the lions devoured them.  On learning of this, the King of the Assyrians wanted to know the reason why.  The Israelites held captive in Assyria replied that it was because the settlers did not know the ways of the God of that place.  Hence, the King sent them a priest from the Jews to instruct them in the Law of God.  They accepted only the five books of Moses, rejecting the Prophets and the rest of Scripture, and continuing to worship their own idols.  They were called Samaritans after Mount Somor.  They were hated by the Hebrews who returned from captivity, because they were only semi-Jewish; the Jews did not eat with them, regarding them as worthy of abomination.  For this reason, they frequently called Christ a Samaritan, on the ground that, like the Samaritans, He supposedly violated certain provisions of the Law. 

Jesus, therefore, came to Sichar, and being weary from His journey, sat down at about the sixth hour of the day.  A certain woman came from the city to draw water, the Disciples having gone to purchase food.  Jesus asked her for water, but she excused herself by saying that the Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans (St. John 4:9); for she knew who He was, both by His accent and by His apparel.  Jesus raised their conversation to a higher level by introducing the idea of spiritual water, which connotes abundance and cleansing power, since the Spirit is always likened to water and fire.  The woman was sure, from the fact that He had not brought a bucket, that He did not have such water, and added that the well was deep.  She then went on to talk about their forefather Jacob, saying that he had dug the well and that he and his children had drunk from it, commending the rich resources of the well, and also its usefulness and the coolness of its water.  Christ, however, did not say that He was greater than Jacob, so as not to frighten the woman, but again He spoke about the water, thus proving His superiority; for one who drank from that water, He said, would in no wise be thirsty.  The woman asked for this water, but He told her to call her husband, since His words needed to be more firmly understood.  She denied that she had a husband.  

Jesus, knowing all things, replied: Thou hast well said, I have no husband: For thou hast had five husbands; which the Law forbiddeth, and the sixth whom thou now hast, since thou livest with him unlawfully, is not thy husband (St. John 4:17-18).   Some interpreters consider the five husbands to be the five books of Moses, which the Samaritans accepted, and the sixth to be the very words of Christ, which were not yet hers, since Grace had not yet been poured out upon her.  Other interpreters suppose that they are the five laws given by God in Paradise, after the banishment of Adam and Eve from Paradise, in the time of Noah, in the time of Abraham, and in the time of Moses, and the sixth to be the Gospel, which she did not yet have.  There are still others who say that they are the five senses.  The woman replied to Him, calling Him a Prophet, and then asked Him about the mountain where one should worship: should it be in Somor or in Jerusalem?  For the Samaritans, being imperfect in their understanding, did not believe that God existed everywhere, but abode only in that place where they worshipped, that is, on Mount Gerizim, on account of the blessings given by God in that place, or because it was there that Abraham first set up an altar to God.  The Jews, likewise, also said that one must worship God only in Jerusalem, and for this reason Jews from everywhere gathered there for feasts.  Christ replied that the salvation of the world was of the Jews, but that God is non-material and that those who would be vouchsafed to worship Him would do so, not with sacrifices, as they had thitherto, but in Spirit and truth, and in this way they would not only know God, but would also know Him in the Holy Spirit and in the Son; for the Son is the Truth. 

The woman then said: "We have heard from the Scriptures that the Messiah cometh Who is the Christ"; (St. John 4:25).  Jesus, foreknowing the woman's gratitude, said: I am He; The Samaritans, too, knew about the Messiah from the books of Moses, especially from the verse; The Lord God shall raise up a Prophet for you; (Deuteronomy 18:15), and many others. 

At the conclusion of this conversation, the Disciples returned and were amazed at Christ's extreme condescension in talking with a woman.  In the meantime, they besought Him to eat, both because of His weariness and on account of the heat of the day.  But He spoke to them about eternal food, namely, the salvation of mankind and how they needed to harvest the labors of the Prophets.  When the woman reached the city and recounted what had happened to her, all the inhabitants were aroused and went to Christ, convinced that the woman would not have reproached herself unless she had come to know something of importance.  They implored Him to stay with them and persuaded Him to remain for two days.  He worked very many miracles during His sojourn there, which, on account of their multitude, are not recorded by the Evangelists  The woman in question was the Samaritan woman, who was subsequently named Photine by Christ, and who, along with her seven sons, received the crown of martyrdom in the reign of Nero, after much hardship, in the course of which her flesh was scraped, her breasts were cut off, her hands were crushed, fine reeds were inserted under her fingernails, she was forced to swallow molten lead, and suffered countless other torments.  It should be known that the Emperor Justinian transferred from there with honor to the palace of God the Word, that is, the Great Church of Hagia Sophia, not only the mouth of that well, which he placed on a well outside the narthex, but also the stone on which Christ sat and conversed with the Samaritan woman.  To this day, they remain there, healing every kind of disease, and providing remedies especially for those suffering from fevers and chills (malaria).

By the intercessions of Thy Martyr Photine, O Christ God, have mercy on us. 
Amen 

Spring has sprung

photos sent to me from: 
  Williams, Arizona
  elevation 6,765 feet
  May 23, 2019
     
What we woke up to this morn  :)


A Lesson in Judging

Excerpt from a You Tube movie: Bloodlines

Melody has been called to witness at Stewart's trial, and she has come to doubt his innocence.  In her struggle with her conscience, she visits her Rabbi.

visit 1

visit 2

Our Church teaches this same as the Rabbi says about the law and the conscience.  The Law of God is innate in the soul, and the law of the land reflects the Law written in the conscience.* 
 ( Journey To Heaven, St. Tikhon of Zadonsk) 

The Demon in Democracy

Book

The Demon in Democracy
Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies
by Ryszard Legutko

Synopsis

Ryszard Legutko lived and suffered under communism for decades—and he fought with the Polish anti-communist movement to abolish it. Having lived for two decades under a liberal democracy, however, he has discovered that these two political systems have a lot more in common than one might think. They both stem from the same historical roots in early modernity, and accept similar presuppositions about history, society, religion, politics, culture, and human nature. 

In The Demon in Democracy, Legutko explores the shared objectives between these two political systems, and explains how liberal democracy has over time lurched towards the same goals as communism, albeit without Soviet style brutality. 


Both systems, says Legutko, reduce human nature to that of the common man, who is led to believe himself liberated from the obligations of the past. Both the communist man and the liberal democratic man refuse to admit that there exists anything of value outside the political systems to which they pledged their loyalty. And both systems refuse to undertake any critical examination of their ideological prejudices. 

Vladyka Agafangel Discussion on fragments


Metropolitan Agafangel: About Shards, Splits, and Collecting Perspectives
Author: Metropolitan Agafangel. Publication date: May 20, 2019 . Category: Author column .

In recent years, a seemingly strange opinion has appeared and is actively spreading, according to which it is quite correct and supposedly to legally separate "groups of Orthodox" and lead their "church" life in isolation and independently from others, as they think, groups similar to them.  As one of the leaders of such already quite numerous formations put it: "The church ship is broken, and we are saved on the slivers of this ship."

This phenomenon became widespread only at the very beginning of the 21st century, before that there were no such thoughts in the Orthodox environment since the first Pentecost.  There were, so to speak, global splits - Monophysites, Catholics and others, we have - Old Believers.  But so, in order to massively split up without sufficient reasons into small groups of several dozen or hundreds of people - this had not happened until recently.

Recently, they even stopped referring to Decree No. 362 of Patriarch Tikhon, or rather, to their false interpretation, according to which this Decree legally legitimizes the fragmentation of the Church (although, in fact, this Decree explicitly prescribes the collection of the Church at the first opportunity , and clause 9 completely excommunicates the "disobedient" cause of gathering).  Nowadays they even stopped referring to the confession of heresy as a reason for "separation."

It has now become the accepted norm to simply make a statement that one or another group is "deposited" for no reason whatsoever provided by the canons.  And that's all.  They quarreled, did not share - and this, supposedly, is enough.  Or even easier - “to postpone” simply by the fact, without any statements or explanations, and even notifications (as Archpriest Oleg Nikolaev, now banned from the former government of Berdyansk, recently removed from the PCU, did it).

In modern schismatics, the perception of the destruction of the split is completely lost.

It has become "unfashionable" and "too tedious" to remember that the Church can be only one, that the fullness of grace is contained only in this One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.  That schism cannot violate the unity of the Church - the Church has always been and remains alone, despite the fact that those who break away from its Unity fall away.  As Christ is One and One, so is the Church one and one.  Contrary to this obvious dogma, many now believe that there can be unity without eucharistic communion — unity without Christ at its foundation.  They began to argue with earnestness that the Church, as it were, was divided into equally equal “fragments” — but it was in this statement that the essence of ecumenical heresy lies.

Now, unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of heretical ecumenists, both among the "world Orthodoxy" and the "alternative",

* * *

According to the teachings of the Church, schism is the division of the body of the Church, and at the same time, the divided parts cannot remain equal and redeeming.  The Church of Christ is a community of believers that throughout its history has not been divided with the primacy Christian Church founded by Christ and has not fallen away from it by schism, heresy, or other false doctrines.  Each member of the true Church, in the depth of his conscience, must be sure that the community to which he belongs has never separated from the Church of Christ and, accordingly, from Christ Himself.  The thread of apostolic succession from Christ to the present representatives of the hierarchy must be preserved and not broken.

At the same time, there is a false belief that such continuity is preserved in the mechanical transmission of ordinations from one bishop to another.  According to this misconception, even many heretics (such as, for example, Catholics and Monophysites), allegedly, maintain the apostolic succession.  But this is not the case - all those who went to schism or fell away to heresy lose their apostolic succession, even though they may have received ordinations from legitimate bishops.  The schism and heresy break the thread of continuity, and those who fell away need to be restored to the true Church, which only keeps this continuity.  How and by what order the Church restores this continuity is a question of the Church, which is usually interpreted in terms of providing spiritual assistance to those who are weak.  The ceremonies changed throughout time, but, in any case, it was a reception in the bosom of the true Church.  For the same schismatics or heretics, different practices could be used at different times: it could be either a new consecration, or simply repentance, or in some other way — the decision in such cases is left to the discretion of the Church.  There were examples of reunification through mutual repentance (Metropolitan Anthony and Eulogius), and simply by the fact of establishing communication.  The church always acts in such cases, guided by the mission of preaching the Gospel and salvation.

* * *

But the split in itself can be conditionally divided into two categories - constructive (or tactical) and destructive.

Tactical - if leaders deliberately seek their own benefit or their "justice," it can even be said that it is not quite a split, in its classical sense, but a kind of tactical move - for the sake of getting autocephaly, for example.  There were many similar cases in history.  In the end, such dissenters initially intend to return to the community that they left, but in a new capacity.  Usually, they succeed.  Such schismatics understand that they are in a split with all the ensuing consequences, but for the sake of their goals they are ready to “suffer” this state for some time - as one archpriest said: canons are canons, and life is life.  A classic example of this is the Kyiv Patriarchate (of course, given that they are seeking to return, not to the Church, but to the world community of churches).

Destructive - A destructive split is, so to speak, a split for the sake of a split, or rather, for the sake of the ambitions of concrete split leaders.  This split does not end with anything good, except that after the death of the leader, his small flock returns from where they left (or does not return).  Or the leader of the split, suddenly, repent (which is extremely rare).  Such a schism does not want to return to the Church, since the concept of the Church in such a schism is lost or very distorted, and this schism borders on heresy and, as a rule, flows into it.  The result of such a destructive position can only be degradation and extinction, which, as we see, in many cases occurs today.  An example of such a destructive split is the recent "separation" from us without any canonical reasons for the former bishops of Andronicus and Sophronius.

It should be said that amid such an understanding of the split, many groups appeared, not even schismatics, but simply outspoken adventurers, who under the guise of "CPI" or "catacombists" or "tsarebozhnikov," "opponents of codes and passports" or other similar impostors, form their petty sects, which, more often than not, are banal and openly fooling unhappy people who have fallen under their influence, people (this, by the way, is one of the sad prospects to which a destructive split usually comes).  I will not give examples, those who are interested in these issues are well aware of them.

* * *

Indeed, the Church can, under the pressure of various external circumstances, divide - that is, lose contact between its parts (as happened, for example, in the USSR).  It can happen that happened in connection with the unification of the ROCOR with the Moscow Patriarchate - when at different times and for various reasons separate “fragments” of the former ROCOR appeared.  At the same time, the various divided parts of the ROCOR turned out to have “their own truth,” for the sake of which they separated themselves.  In principle, they can remain with this truth.  But the true Church of Christ cannot be satisfied with a closed position, alone with its grievances and pretensions.  The true Church is always open, the commandment of Christ always follows: "Go, teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you; and, behold, I am with you all the days to the end of the age" (Mt. 29.19-20).  “Go, teach,” openness is one of the most important properties of the true Church in which the Lord is “all the days until the end of the age,” and which opposes in the Gospel to the sitting of the disciples of the Lord who have not yet believed in the Resurrection of the Teacher, behind closed doors, for fear of the Jews" (see Jn 20.19).

During the absence of physical persecution, the true Church cannot hide behind closed doors — this directly follows from the Gospel (the apostles preached even in spite of the persecutions).  I continue to believe that in the territory of both the former USSR and the whole world, except for the churches that have fallen away from the Truth, there are groups, maybe not so many, that have preserved intact Orthodoxy.  And, quite permissible, not all of them had the opportunity, for various reasons, to meet with each other.  Therefore, it is necessary to at least search for a dialogue - emanating from the desire to tell one another the truth.  Perhaps an understanding will appear in such a dialogue, a common will be found, mutual concessions for the sake of unity in Christ will become possible.  This is the only healthy and correct way.  The very unwillingness of such a dialogue is a clear and obvious sign of the degradation that has taken place and the confluence of sectarianism.

* * *

Our small branches usually exist by the labors of one person — this is either the abbot or the active layman.  If he dies, then the parish usually dies with him.  If such an orphaned parish is nearby, then sometimes it is possible to organize its maintenance, but, unfortunately, most often for objective reasons - it fails.  The church must have a sufficient number of people, especially young people, to prepare a shift and maintain the viability of the parishes in the future.  This requires inter-parish communication — joint singing and youth congresses, conferences, and meetings, which is possible only if there are a sufficient number of parishes nearby.  Without this, unfortunately, does not work.  This is an urgent question concerning our survival, which we must never forget.

Our Synod of Bishops constantly calls for a dialogue of all who agree to conduct it.  But, unfortunately, so far we are confronted only with "sitting behind closed doors" and not hearing a knock at their door.  Pass through the closed door is not given to us.

I’m writing about this not for the first time, not because I expect that everyone will start trying to unite right now, but only because it is impossible to keep silence and you need to talk about it again and again.  As always, I hope that God's dispensation among those "sitting outside the door" will still find those who can still hear us and replenish the general ranks of Christ's army in the current, apostatic days.

Let us, Lord, serve you and your commandments!

Metropolitan Agafangel
2019

В последние годы появилось и активно распространяется странное, казалось бы, мнение, согласно которому вполне правильно и, якобы, законно отделяться "группам православных" и вести свою "церковную" жизнь обособленно и независимо от других, как они думают, подобных им групп. Как выразился один из возглавителей таких, уже весьма многочисленных, образований: "Церковный корабль разбит, и мы спасаемся на щепочках этого корабля".
Явление это получило широкое распространение только в самом начале 21 века, до этого таких мыслей в православной среде, начиная с первой Пятидесятницы, не было вовсе. Были, так сказать, глобальные расколы – монофизиты, католики и прочие, у нас – старообрядцы. Но так, чтобы массово дробиться без достаточных причин на группки из несколько десятков или сотен человек – такого ещё не было.
В последнее время даже перестали ссылаться на Указ №362 Патриарха Тихона, вернее, на его ложную трактовку, согласно которой этот Указ, якобы, узаконивает дробление Церкви (хоть, в действительности, этот Указ в п.2 прямо предписывает собирание Церкви при первой появившейся возможности, а п.9 вовсе отлучает от Церкви "непослушных" делу собирания). Ныне даже перестали ссылаться на исповедание ереси, как причины для "отделения".
Сейчас стало принятой нормой просто делать заявление, что та или иная группа "отлагается" без всяких на то предусмотренных канонами причин. И всё. Поругались, не поделили – и этого, якобы, достаточно. Или ещё проще – "отлагаться" просто по факту, без всяких заявлений и объяснений, и, даже, уведомлений (как это сделал не так давно удалившийся в ПЦУ ныне запрещённый протоиерей Олег Николаев из Бердянска).
У современных раскольников совершенно утрачено осознание гибельности раскола.
Стало "немодным" и "слишком утомительным" вспоминать, что Церковь может быть только одна, что полнота благодати содержится только в этой Единой Святой, Соборной и Апостольской Церкви. Что раскол не может нарушить единство Церкви – Церковь всегда была и остаётся одна, при том, что отпадают отколовшиеся от её Единства. Как Христос Один и Един – так и Церковь одна и едина. Вопреки этому очевидному догмату, многие теперь считают, что может быть единство без евхаристического общения – единство без Христа в его основании. Стали с серьёзностью рассуждать, что Церковь, будто бы, разделилась на равноблагодатные "осколки" – но именно в этом утверждении заключена суть экуменической ереси.
Сейчас, к сожалению, еретиков-экуменистов подавляющее большинство – как в среде "мирового православия", так и в среде "альтернативного",
* * *
Согласно учению Церкви, раскол – это разделение тела Церкви, и при этом разделившиеся части не могут оставаться равноблагодатными и спасительными. Церковь Христова – это то сообщество верующих, которое на протяжении всей своей истории не разделялось с первенствующей христианской Церковью, основанной Христом, и не отпадало от неё путём раскола, ереси или иных лжеучений. Каждый член истинной Церкви в глубине своей совести должен быть уверенным в том, что сообщество, к которому он принадлежит, никогда не отделилось от Церкви Христовой и, соответственно, от Самого Христа. Должна сохраняться и не быть разорванной нить апостольской преемственности от Христа до сегодняшних представителей священноначалия.
При этом бытует ложное убеждение, что такая преемственность сохраняется в механической передаче хиротоний от одних епископов к другим. Согласно этому заблуждению, даже многие еретики (такие как, например, католики и монофизиты), якобы, сохраняют апостольскую преемственность. Но это не так – все ушедшие в раскол или отпавшие в ересь теряют апостольскую преемственность, несмотря даже на то, что, возможно, получили хиротонии от законных епископов. Раскол и ересь прерывают нить преемственности, и отпавшие нуждаются в восстановлении в истинной Церкви, которая только и хранит эту преемственность. Как и по какому чину Церковь эту преемственность восстанавливает – это вопрос Церкви, который обычно трактуется в плане оказания духовной помощи тем немощным, кого она принимает. Чиноприёмы менялись на протяжении времён, но, в любом случае, это был приём в лоно истинной Церкви. Для одних и тех же раскольников или еретиков, в разные времена могла применяться разная практика: это могла быть или новая хиротония, или просто покаяние, или как-то иначе – решение в таких случаях возлагается на усмотрение Церкви. Были примеры воссоединения через взаимное покаяние (Митрополиты Антоний и Евлогий), и просто по факту установления общения. Церковь всегда в таких случаях поступает, руководствуясь миссией проповеди Евангелия и спасения.
* * *
Но и сам по себе раскол можно условно поделить на две категории – конструктивный (или тактический), и деструктивный.
Тактический – если лидеры целенаправленно добиваются своей выгоды или своей "справедливости", это, можно даже сказать, не совсем раскол, в его классическом понимании, а своего рода тактический ход – ради получения автокефалии, например. Подобных случаев было немало в истории. В конечном итоге подобные раскольники изначально намерены вернуться в сообщество, которое они покинули, но уже в новом качестве. Обычно, это им удаётся. Такие раскольники понимают, что находятся в расколе со всеми вытекающими последствиями, но ради своих целей готовы "потерпеть" это состояние какое-то время – как говорил один протоиерей: каноны есть каноны, а жизнь есть жизнь. Классический пример тому – Киевский патриархат (конечно, учитывая то, что они стремятся вернуться не в Церковь, а мировое сообщество церквей).
Деструктивный раскол – это, так сказать, раскол ради раскола, вернее, ради амбиций конкретных расколовождей. Этот раскол ничем хорошим не заканчивается, разве что после смерти вождя, его немногочисленная паства возвращается откуда вышли (или не возвращается). Или вождь раскола, вдруг, покается (что бывает крайне редко). Такой раскол не желает вернуться в Церковь, поскольку понятие Церкви в подобном расколе утрачено или очень искажено и этот раскол граничит с ересью и, как правило, в неё перетекает. Результатом такой деструктивной позиции может быть только деградация и вымирание, что, как мы видим, во многих случаях происходит сегодня. Пример такого деструктивного раскола – недавнее "отделение" от нас без всяких канонических причин бывших епископов Андроника и Софрония.
Следует сказать, что на фоне такого понимания раскола, появилось множество групп, уже даже не раскольников, а просто откровенных авантюристов, которые под видом "ИПЦ" или "катакомбников" или "царебожников", "противников кодов и паспортов" или прочих им подобных самозванцев, образовывают свои мелкие секты, которые, чаще всего, банально и открыто одурачивают несчастных, попавших под их влияние, людей (это, кстати, одна из печальных перспектив, к которой обычно приходит деструктивный раскол). Примеры приводить не буду, те, кто этими вопросами интересуются, их прекрасно знают.
* * *
Действительно, Церковь может под давлением разных внешних обстоятельств, разделиться – то есть, потерять контакты между своими частями (как это случилось, например, в СССР). Может случиться и то, что случилось в связи с унией части РПЦЗ с Московской Патриархией – когда в разное время и по разным причинам возникли отдельные "осколки" бывшей РПЦЗ. При этом у разных разделённых частей РПЦЗ оказалась "своя правда", ради которой они обособились. В принципе, им можно и оставаться с этой своей правдой. Но подлинная Церковь Христова не может удовлетворяться замкнутым положением, один на один со своими обидами и претензиями. Подлинная Церковь всегда открыта, всегда следует заповеди Христа: "Идите, научите все народы, крестя их во имя Отца и Сына и Святаго Духа, уча их соблюдать всё, что Я повелел вам; и се, Я с вами во все дни до скончания века" (Мф 29.19-20). "Идите, научите", открытость, – вот одно из важнейших свойств истинной Церкви в которой Господь "во все дни до скончания века", и которое противопоставляется в Евангелие сидению учеников Господа, ещё не веривших в Воскресение Учителя, за закрытыми дверями "страха ради иудейска" (см. Ин 20.19).
Подлинная Церковь во времена отсутствия физических гонений не может прятаться за закрытыми дверями – это прямо следует из Евангелия (апостолы проповедовали даже несмотря на гонения). Я продолжаю верить, что на территории как бывшего СССР, так и во всём мире, кроме отпавших от Истины церквей, есть группы, может, не столь многочисленные, сохранившие неповреждённое Православие. И, вполне допустимо, не все они имели возможность, по разным причинам, встретиться друг с другом. Поэтому необходим хоть бы поиск диалога – исходящего из стремления рассказать друг другу свою правду. Может, в таком диалоге обрящется понимание, найдётся общее, станут возможными взаимные уступки ради единства во Христе. Это единственный здоровый и правильный путь. Само нежелание такого диалога – явный и очевидный признак совершившейся деградации и впадения в сектантство.
* * *
Наши небольшие приходы обычно существуют трудами одного человека – это или настоятель, или активный мирянин. Если он умирает, то с ним умирает, как правило, и приход. Если такой осиротевший приход рядом, то иногда удаётся организовать его обслуживание, но, к сожалению, чаще всего по объективным причинам – не удаётся. Церковь должна иметь достаточное количество людей, особенно молодёжи, чтобы готовить смену и поддерживать жизнеспособность приходов в будущем. Для этого необходимо межприходское общение – совместные певческие и молодёжные съезды, конференции, собрания, что возможно только в случае, если рядом будет достаточное количество приходов. Без этого, к сожалению, не получается. Это актуальный вопрос, касающийся нашего выживания, о котором мы никогда не должны забывать.
Наш Архиерейский Синод постоянно призывает к диалогу всех, кто согласен его проводить. Но, к сожалению, пока сталкиваемся только с "сидящими за закрытыми дверями" и не слышащими стук в их дверь. Проходить же сквозь закрытые двери нам не дано.
Я об этом пишу далеко не в первый раз не потому, что расчитываю, что прямо сейчас все начнут предпринимать попытки объединяться, а только потому, что молчать нельзя и об этом надо говорить снова и снова. Как всегда, надеюсь, что Божиим промыслом среди "сидящих за дверями" всё же найдутся те, кто ещё сможет нас услышать и пополнить общие ряды Христова воинства в нынешние, апостасийные, дни.

Дай нам, Господи, послужить Тебе и Заповедям Твоим!          Митрополит Агафангел          2019 год.

Sticky


• Judicial bailiffs with the participation of MP clerics took away from the ROAC Ilyinsky church in Trubchevsk

Another Betrayal


Another betrayal
Author: Metropolitan Agafangel. Publication date: May 16, 2019 . Category: ROCOR .

Archpriest Oleg Nikolaev from Berdyansk left our Church and joined the PCC. Oleg Nikolaev is banned in the priesthood.

Stickies

• The inside story of Alexander Litvinenko - Documentary 1 hour

• Belief in Aliens Could Be America's New Religion

• Homily for Pentecost

God Discriminates

Book

What does it mean to be Orthodox? 

The Orthodox faith teaches a way of living that leads to eternal life. This also means a person acknowledges the struggle with sin and human passions, particularly related to man-woman relationship, sexuality, and the purpose of marriage as revealed by God.

The articles in this book use Scripture and traditional sacred writings as a foundation to explain Orthodox views on these topics and others. Written by Orthodox priests and laymen, the articles provide Insight Into God’s will and the human spirit.

I [author] have been a Romanian Orthodox priest for over forty years, during which time I collected numerous articles on social issues. I selected the articles in this book to provide the reader with a deeper understanding of the Orthodox faith regarding the pertinent issues we are faced with in our society.

Most Americans know very little about the Orthodox faith. These short articles will challenge them to think about a way of life they may have never heard of before. The goal of an Orthodox life is to seek the Kingdom of God and eternal life. That means, each individual is to struggle to overcome their passions and lead a life in Christ. This struggle is in opposition to what they have been exposed to in their education; namely, to seek pleasure and happiness and to avoid any pain or suffering. The Orthodox Church teaches that we are to love God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—and Jesus Christ, God-Man, with our heart and soul, so that we willingly sacrifice ourselves for the love of Christ.

After reading the articles in the book you now understand there is a choice in the life style one choses to live. The next step is to learn more about an Orthodox way of life through the Church Fathers (e.g., Ss. Justin the Martyr, Athanasius, John Chrysostom, and Gregory Palamas, to name a few). If this has led you to do further readings, then I believe the effort to bring this book to print has been fulfilled.


Review by Fr. Photios in Portland 
sent out to his emailing list

Book to Get 
Mon, May 6, 2019 at 3:12 AM
Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,

Christ is Risen!

Here is a book worth getting and sharing, which is a compilation of writings by Theologians and Fathers of the Church, compiled by our retired priest Fr. John Fleser in Boston.

Considering the current social drama surrounding this very serious issue, it really behooves us to be knowledgeable about the Church's position on the subject. Remember as well that we are sinners and the chiefest among them, for we have the Church and we know better. So while we see the problem in society, and while we try to keep ourselves from the contagion of sin, we must remember to be loving and merciful towards those who are trapped in their passions. Are we not trapped in our own, and do we not also ask that God has mercy on us? So we must show that same love and mercy which we would hope God gives us. We don't have to condone someone's lifestyle in order to love them. Our Most Merciful Lord does the same for us.

May God enlighten us all with books such as these.

In Christ, Risen from the dead,
Fr. Photios

True Story from Life of Fr. Valery Alekseyev

Memories of Valeria Alekseeva: Baptism at Pascha

Author: Metropolitan Agafangel. Publication date: May 02, 2019 . Category: ROCOR .
Father Valery once told the seminary students this story, which occurred at Easter during the time when he had just recently become a priest.


Spring was cold and Easter was early. Festive service served in the unheated temple. During the times of “developed socialism” it was not possible to heat a small temple in a provincial district. And the rector, and the choir, and a few parishioners - frozen in earnest. But it didn’t spoil the festive mood.

After the service, of course, they consecrated the paschka and that which came to them. It was still very early and completely dark. The people who have settled all over the summer have gone their separate ways. Father Valery went to his little house at the temple - talk a little, and warm up. His mother set the table. I forgot something, went out into the yard, into the pantry. Suddenly from the yard came the noise, the cry. An excited mother ran into the house:
“There the gypsies came, their newborn is dying, they are asking to be baptized! ..”

Father Valery, not dressing, ran into the courtyard. Only priestly cross grabbed. In the courtyard a few dozen gypsies crowded. Generally in the town they lived a couple of thousand. They were sedentary, lived here for a long time - they said, for more than a hundred years. And all were listed as Orthodox. Some of them, of course, went to church. The majority, like the majority of the Orthodox of the Union, were only baptized - and not churched. But these Gypsies always baptized their children. And in the church they buried their dead.

Father Valery immediately saw a young woman holding some sort of bundle to himself. Around her, slowly howling, are other women. Men silently stood a little apart.

- boy or girl? - Father Valery asked, taking the child in his arms. He was absolutely tiny - and, it seems, he was no longer breathing. The priest did not understand the children, but it seemed to him that the baby was on the strength of several days.

“Boy,” said the woman, chokingly.

Father Valery, without asking anything more, almost rushed to the temple. Gypsies - for him. Inside it was dark. The priest went to the font, from which they forgot to pour water (not otherwise, by the Providence of God - but he thought about that later). The temple was so cold that the water was covered with ice. Father Valery did not even undress the child - he asked only to take the blanket, - he broke the ice with his elbow.

- The servant of God Nikolay is baptized, - the name was thought up by itself, - in the name of the Father, amen, and the Son, amen, and the Holy Spirit, amen.

Whether from the icy water, or from the grace of God - and most likely, and from that, and from the other - small, which seemed a little alive, frantically shouted. From surprise father Valery almost dropped him from his hands. What happened with the gypsies - it is impossible to convey. For them, the priest, who was looked upon with respect and fear, turned into a holy wonderworker for them.

And Kohl grew up active and healthy. As he grew up, he often visited his father (until the latter left, when the boy was about six years old). Brought him gifts from his parents. And he called "tatka": the priest was considered the godfather of the child.

***
This is a real story from the life of Protopresbyter Valery Alekseev, which Father Valery himself once told the students of the St. Cyril and Methodius Theological Seminary of the ROCOR.

Recorded Hope Vatolkina

Related post:
Another Related post:

Trailer to film Soviet Holocaust

 
2½ minutes
Link:

Martyred in the USSR is a documentary about militant atheism in the former Soviet Union. It tells the personal, emotional and horrific story of what people went through simply because they chose to cling to their faith, even at the risk of death. It did not matter what religion you practiced, if you believed in God in the USSR you were persecuted, and persecuted brutally. From 1917 to 1990 people of faith were shot, executed, thrown in the gulag and left to die because the Soviet Government hated religion. What makes this story extremely important is that the new generation in Russia knows nothing about their past and will deny that the brutality ever happened.

The same forces that warred to eradicate religion today now war to overtake religion via ecumenism which is bound up inextricably with socialism: a form of and step to Communism.  Antichrist will establish one world church and one world government.

Why did this bishop stay with the ROCOR-MP?

Archbishop Alipiy (Gamanovich) Died
Author: Metropolitan Agafangel. Publication date: April 30, 2019 . Category: Moscow Patriarchy .

On Sunday, April 28, on the feast of the Passover of Christ, His Eminence Alipius, the former archbishop of Chicago and Middle America, builder of the Intercession Cathedral in Chicago, died.

The details of the time of the requiem worship, funeral and burial will be announced later.
Archbishop Alipias autobiography in Russian: https://chicagodiocese.org/files/abaautobiography_ru.pdf


___________________________________________
Needless Grief Inflicted on Archbishop Alypy.
July 1, 2002.
(Editors note: it seems Fr. Paul is once again involved in troubles concerning the older bishops. One wonders what motivates him and why Archbishop Alypy is being so ill treated?)

Taken from an internet list post:
This letter was given to the Synod at ROCOR by our Bishop Alypy regarding what is happening in our church. I was asked by a parishoner to post this on the internet. Now you seen why we have fallen.

"I was consecrated a bishop in 1974, and thus have already served for 28 years in the Diocese of Chicago and Detroit. When I arrived in Chicago, I saw very soon that there were many drawbacks for the development of parish life. First and foremost, the church was in a bad neighborhood; across the street there was often blaring music; the church was defaced with graffiti; there was no parking lot, and so forth. Archbishop Seraphim did not want to move to another location, and used to say, "When I die, do what you will"; but later, he did agree, and gave permission to start a special building fund (by the time we purchased land, there was $60,000.00 in this fund).

By 1980, Archbishop Seraphim and Fr. Theophan had almost completely relocated to Vladimirovo-Lost Lake, and only drove into Chicago now and then.

At some point I expressed the thought, while amongst parishioners who also wanted to relocate the church, of buying a lot with a house already on it - since it would have been beyond our means to build both a church and a house. And all at once, Vladimir G. Filippov came upon a suitable parcel of land, one that we liked, and which we soon bought. But let no one think that all this came about as if by magic! After all, there had been other lots or buildings that we had considered, and the land that we did buy was not that easy to make over for our use, or to get the needed permissions for this. We bought the land in 1986, but it would have been hard to build a church immediately, as we still did not have the funds.

It was on New Year's Day of 1990 that I took up residence in the house on the land we had bought. In the spring of that same year, Vladimir G. Filippov came to me and said, "We need to start building a church already!" These were the words that I needed to hear, and we all were inflamed with enthusiasm. Work was taken up in September, and by September of 1991, we held the first service. I began to paint the murals on the church walls at once, and this labor lasted about 9 years.

On all the documents - on the deed, and on those related to construction -there stands my signature, which shows and proves that I am the one in charge of this place; the more so as all who were here in those times can bear witness that I worked more than anyone else on this place. Of course, I did not work alone, but with the help of others.

But then, misfortune befell me. I had decided to cut back the mulberry (sycamore) trees on the south side of the church, since their berries were soiling the walk: people were stepping on them and tracking them into various places, including the church.

I climbed a ladder, and began cutting a branch with an electric chainsaw. When I had cut through it halfway, the branch broke away and hit the ladder. I fell headlong onto the cement path, according to a witness, and was injured in the small (the lumbar region) of the back. I lost consciousness at once. Fr. Pablo Iwaszewicz called the paramedics and had me admitted to Lutheran General Hospital. I underwent an operation and, as I am told, it went well. Fr. Pablo did much to assist me, often came to see me, spent the night in the hospital room, helped me to turn onto the other side when needed. I am grateful to Fr. Pablo for his help. When I saw him doing this, I trusted him completely.

But soon I began to notice something else about him. I realized this his concern for me was a cloak for something different: Fr. Pablo had decided to use my serious condition to get rid of me, and to seize complete control for himself over the parish. Before this I had noticed a tendency in him towards love of power, but I had supposed that good sense would, nonetheless, win out. But, unfortunately, in this case, that was not to be. In setting up plans for my future, he never said so much as a word to me on the subject, not once did he take counsel with me, but kept everything a secret, and even reached an agreement with the hospital doctors to have them abet him in this.

Suddenly I found out that, on Wednesday evening, June 5, a meeting was announced to discuss my condition, a meeting to which, supposedly, the doctors treating me were invited. Many parishioners came to this meeting. To their amazement, they saw, not the doctors who were treating me, but certain doctors from our parish, who were not treating me, and who had seen me only on [Orthodox] Easter Sunday, i.e. on May 5. Nevertheless, as instructed by Fr. Pablo, they boldly gave a negative prognosis, based on obsolete information from the first days, rather than on my current status. Therefore I consider this information to be spurious. They claimed that I was lying motionless on the bed, almost unable to move; that my mind was failing me, and that I had no idea what was going on; and therefore they proposed to put me in a nursing home - that is, to leave me there to die; or else to put me somewhere as far as possible from Chicago, so that I would not be able to return home. I cannot remember a single instance of a sick hierarch being forbidden to return to his place of residence! Archbishop Averky was ill, but he was not put in a nursing home. Archbishop Anthony of San Francisco and Western America was also ill, but he was not put away anywhere - and there are other cases.

Many of the parishioners objected to the clearly false information, and felt that a bishop, who had put in so much work for the church, deserved better treatment, and of course, should be allowed to return to his residence. During this dispute, Dr. Nina Efimievna Horun, who had just been to see me in the hospital, arrived at the meeting. She declared without hesitation that the statements being made were false, that she had only just come from visiting the Bishop, and had seen that I could easily move from the wheelchair to the bed and back, and that I often simply sat on the bed. She said that nothing was wrong with my head, and that I had no memory loss.

Fr. Pablo had not expected such a turn of events, and immediately closed the meeting, saying that he "had to hurry". There was no microphone at the meeting, it was difficult to hear what was said, so that many did not understand what was going on. Fr. Pablo left in company with the doctors, and together they composed a "Decision of the Council" from the meeting, based on the initial information that was given about my illness, which no longer corresponded to my condition - despite the fact that other information on my status had been presented that was much more positive. Therefore I consider the "Decision of the Council" from this meeting to be false, and to have been done with the deliberate aim of distancing me from my residence.

The aggressive report by Fr. Pablo to the Synod of Bishops had its effect, the more so as Bishop Gabriel was a godfather to Fr. Paul's children. All of this was done secretly, behind my back, without my being asked or informed by so much as a single word, taking the word of a priest with a doubtful reputation and without sending anyone to check on his story. Such treatment of a sick bishop is foreign to any idea of fairness.

When I learned of this deceitful plot, there was nothing else I could do, except turn to a secular lawyer and threaten to bring a lawsuit for slander. Only after this was I able to get an agreement from Metropolitan Laurus that I might return to my home.

My release from the hospital was scheduled for June 20. Four days before this, on Sunday, I decided to go to church, since it had already been two months since I was in church. The doctor's assistant gave me permission to be absent for 3 hours. It was conveyed to me that, somehow, Fr. Pablo had learned of this, got in touch with the hospital, and demanded that they not let me go, as he was afraid of an "uprising" at the church! And so, the senior doctor told me not to go to church. What an outrage! He tried every way he could to keep me from returning home. He urged it upon all the parishioners that I had completely lost my wits, and all ability for logic. He was afraid that his lie would all at once be exposed. For a month and a half, my apartment had been under its usual locks. But now, he changed the locks. He did everything to prevent the bringing-in of accommodations, such as wheelchair access and the like, so as to make my return impossible. But I still came back, and accommodations were made.

It took 7 days for an "elevator" to be installed. For 5 days I went to the Rehabilitation Institute I C- of Chicago, and attended church on Saturday and Sunday: they carried me along with the wheelchair up and down the steps, risking injury to me and to themselves. All of this was because of Fr. Pablo, who did everything possible to keep me out of my apartment. But when I returned, did Fr. Pablo perhaps reconcile himself to the fact, and cease his war against his bishop? No! To my face, he was polite; but out of sight, his dirty work goes on. To people who showed an interest in my return, he said, "Just as he arrived, so will he depart". He has been spreading a rumor that I returned home contrary to a Synodal decree. Deacon Gregory, who fell completely under the aggressive influence of Fr. Pablo, made the reproof in my direction, that "Archbishop Alypy should have asked permission to go to church!"

Incidentally, when the Starosta [church warden], George [Pawlukowsky], was told that in Archbishop Alypy's house a special exit with an elevator was being installed, and that the church should pay some $5,000, he replied, "I don't know anything about it, the Synod has to decide that". I would like to ask "the Synod" whether they thought at all about what they were doing. I am the senior member of the Synod, and my assignment was made by the Sobor [Council] of Bishops. They could not simply cast me out by order of Fr. Pablo. I was sent no notice that a Synod was convening, and I was not sent a single decree. The Ukase, of which I received a copy from the lawyer, about my being deprived of my rights, was sent by Bishop Gabriel to the hospital doctor, but he did not give it to me personally, considering this Ukase to be confidential, i.e., secret.

The Synod refers to Fr. Pablo by the title of "Dean". What does that signify? He considers this title to be higher than that of the Pastor of the parish, who is an Archbishop in rank. You cannot deprive me of my status without a trial, for which I have committed no crime. If someone is ill and because of illness unable to carry out his duties, then these duties are assigned to an assistant, but only on a temporary basis, without any special title, until the recovery of the hierarch, when he is able to resume his work.

I am being helped by the choir director, George Perekrestov, and by Matthew Panchishin. Fr. Pablo tried, and still tries, to drive my helpers away from me. On the Monday of the Holy Spirit [the Monday after Pentecost, or Whit-Monday], and at a private Pannikhida [memorial service], he gave a sermon about how "each person should know his place in society and in the Church," looking at George Perekrestov and at the others who have been helping me. I would like to know what his place is, in society and in the Church! He is only a priest, but he lays claim to the domain of a bishop, takes absolutely no stock of his superior, the archbishop, and decides the latter's fate according to his own egotistic judgment. He carries on dictatorially, and by his behavior drives parishioners away. He drove away Yuly, who was willing to stay and help me. He threatened Yury, who had agreed to help me, that he would hand him over to the American immigration authorities.

Such behavior of a priest towards the ruling Archbishop is criminal. Unfortunately, he obtained the support of certain members of the Synod of Bishops. I appeal to the members of the Synod, as to my brethren, and I ask them to correct this wrongful situation, if indeed they are concerned about what is right.

I demand that the "Authorization" by Bishop Gabriel, which is based on early, and therefore incorrect, documents, be revoked. Fr. Pablo still makes use of this authorization, claiming that the Metropolitan had no right to go against this Synodal decree. I am the senior member of the Synod, and I was told nothing about this, nor was I given any written minutes, and therefore I doubt that there was any such Synod session. On the basis of this authorization, Fr. Pablo takes no account whatever of the ruling Archbishop. Never has there been such wrongdoing in our Church Abroad.

(Signature)
Archbishop Alypy