Monday, May 20, 2019

Hieromonk Gabriel: "How Ingratitude Became a Virtue"

(Remembering Sion via Pravmir) - Immanuel Kant once wrote: “Ingratitude is the essence of vileness.” And while I think that this is doubtless true in the modern sense of the word “vileness,” for the purpose of this article I would like to consider the archaic meaning: it comes from the Latin vilis, which means “worthless.” Kant is saying that there is nothing more worthless to human beings than ingratitude.

“Not so!” argues a recent article in The Atlantic, entitled: “Mothers Shouldn’t Be Grateful for Their Husbands’ Help.” The bulk of the article consists of an amalgamation of anecdotes and statistics marshaled in order to prove that women are not only being taken advantage of by their husbands in “the distribution of child-care labor in their home,” but that they have even been somehow duped into being grateful for it. The gratitude of women toward their husbands is declared to be “an impediment to the elusive goal of equity in the home.” Ingratitude, says the author, is not vile and worthless, but rather useful and even virtuous.

This article is exemplary of many of the chief dogmas of modernity (which, I suppose, is hardly surprising given that it ran just above one entitled “Abolish the Priesthood“). The most obvious of these dogmas is a radical egalitarianism, in which equality is more or less defined as complete and total interchangeability. The article clearly assumes that equality between the genders demands a precise 50-50 split in all childcare duties. It thereby also implicitly assumes that caring for children is something inherently undesirable: after all, nobody is filled with “righteous anger” because they get to do more of something which they themselves desire to do!

Let me be clear: I am certainly not trying to pretend that caring for children is not difficult or taxing at times; indeed, to speak thus as a monastic would be both naive and hypocritical. But it must also be admitted that almost any sort of professional work is also likewise difficult and taxing at times. So the question is this: why is professional work regarded as inherently more desirable than domestic work? Why should women actively cultivate ingratitude in the hopes that they will get to do more of the former and less of the latter? Why is it that women supposedly ought to find more fulfillment in pursuing a career than in raising children?
Complete article here.

Friday, May 17, 2019

From Russia: A little slice of heaven

With whom did the Old Testament figures speak?

This article, entitled “The depiction of the three persons of the Holy Trinity” is quite interesting reading. It's being posted in multiple parts, but I'll reformat a bit for the blog. I did not adjust some of the colorful translation word choice. Enjoy!

(Pemptousia) - The subject of the iconic approach of the Holy Trinity has especially preoccupied me here. And specifically the question whether, religiously wise, the depiction of the Holy Spirit in the classic icon of the Holy Trinity (in the past 350 years), as a pigeon, is correct or at least not harmful, that is the symbolic depiction of the non-built actions of HIM (as in the icon of Baptism) and not, of course, the existential depiction of the Embodied Son. (Besides from the non-built actions of HIM The Father as THE OLD OF DAYS is portrayed in the vision of DANIEL. Also the question arises, whether it is more correct the labeling of the Byzantine Icon of the three angels as “the hospitality of Abraham’’ rather than as “THE HOLY TRINITY”, again from an ecclesiastical point of view given that we have not declined that the holy icons remain the books of the illiterate or perhaps of the half educated brothers of ours. “Daniel is initiated in the unique ownership, having seen Christ heading towards Father and the Spirit indicating the vision (from Triadic Canon of Sunday’s Midnight sound an indirect).


The dominant opinion among “theological” circles and the majority of hagiographists is that the unruled Father does not appear in the Old Testament and he is totally absent. This right, they claim, is something which only the Son possesses and it is HE who converses with the prophets of the Old Testament. To prove what they claim they use certain hymns of the monthlies from celebrations of prophets and some views of saints spread within the THE GREEK FATHERLY RELIGIOUS TRADITION.

Initially the whole issue, that is, which of the three or the three of the persons of the Holy Trinity altogether appeared in the Old Testament did not preoccupy the Holy Apostles, who lived beside Christ, so as to enact a rule on this.

The same also occurred with the Ecumenical Synods. But in the first two of them, which composed the Symbol of Creed, it is shown that all the persons of the Holy Trinity make themselves felt in the Old Testament.

In the first article of the CREED it says about the ungoverned FATHER and it presents him in the middle of the GENESIS of the cosmos as the Creator of all visible and invisible. “I believe in one God, the Father Almighty Creator of heaven and earth ,and of all things visible and invisible ”and for not anybody to suppose that the Son is inferior to the Father, the subsequent article of the Creed presents the Son as the co-creator of the whole Cosmos, precisely as the Father, so as “ the of the one essence and one value” between the two existences and the Holy Trinity to be founded. “And in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of the father before all ages. Light of light, true God of true God, begotten, not created, of one essence with the Father, through whom all things were made”.

Subsequently the Creed states the presence of the one essence and one value Holy Spirit.

“In the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father, who together with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified, who spoke through the prophets”.

So if the Highly Holy Spirit is that which converses through the codified, secretive speech with the prophets of the Old Testament, under which logic has the Son the exclusiveness of appearance in the Old Testament and the exclusiveness of conversation with the prophets?

DOES the “we create” man resembling our picture and likeness according to the book of GENESIS not indicate precisely this of the same value participation and cooperation of the Triadic Lord in the creation of Adam?

Does the “Said the Lord to my Lord sit on my right until I put your enemies under your feet” (Psalm 109) not portray concurrently the Father and the Son and not found the of the same value between them as all the Holy commentators of this psalm of David interpret?

And how many other Psalms, half indicate the presence of the, without being dictated to, Father, which are explained by remarkable saints and other interpreters of this God inspired book of the Old Testament?

But let us approach the most characteristic appearance of the Father whom Prophet Daniel regards Him as having a human face and on the Throne giving the Son the authority of doomsday.

It is the first and unique time that “the without being dictated to” father has taken a specific form, a fact which leads us to the conclusion that beyond our right given to us by the VII Ecumenical Synod to depict the vision of the Prophets, the Father himself, according to his not interpreted wish, wanted the human kind to have a specific knowledge of his form.

To Daniel himself he could appear in whatever form he wanted.

The desiring man was invested with a prophetic charisma and a high level of saintliness, and in whatever way he regarded him, according to the measures of his acceptance, he could see and write everything that the highly Holy Spirit would say “The said by the Prophets”.

Nothing beats annual Chios Paschal rocket war

Life is a chance not to be afforded to all it seems

This belief that the life of a child should be cut out of society before he takes his first breath (or after if you happen to live in New York) if he might not be born into perfect circumstances is dangerous and frankly disgusting.

Our politics have become so warped that actors can call for a sex strike to combat... anti-abortion legislation? Excepting non-consensual congress, it should be remembered that sex causes babies and that those people who have sex should acknowledge that this is how they are made. That you may try and obstruct the system with chemicals or prophylactics does not mean something went wrong, but that despite all your labyrinthine impediments, life won out.

God has given us dominion over His creation, and yet we agonize over plastic straws in the ocean while just under a million children a year lose their lives and call it the humane choice. My life has seen numerous tectonically-large shifts on foundational beliefs:
  • Is a man a man or is a man a woman if he wants to be one enough?
  • Is marriage simply the stamp of two parties who wish to "be together?" Does marriage even require two parties - why not three or can one person marry himself?
  • Even though two parents and their children have been the bedrock of the family construct and of a healthy society for millennia, do we really need to worry about such trifles as having a mother and a father in the house? Come to think of it, is there really any difference between a baby and a furbaby?
  • If a child can't be trusted to walk to school alone, why would we think he can choose which sexual organs he can be chemically and surgically provided? Full disclosure: I thought I was going to ninja school when I grew up. If someone came to me and told me I had to pack my bag and jump out my bedroom window under cover of darkness and rush into a van to join a secret ninja organization, I might well have done it without a second thought. Such were the sort of life choices I was 100% certain I was destined to live out. The priesthood does share some passing resemblance to the ninjutsuka, but not enough for me to believe my adolescent fantasies bore some prescient power that would guide my fate.
These and other similarly alarming questions that 50 years ago we would have looked at bemusedly, today are asked as frank multiple choice questions. Everything is a popular opinion tipping point away.

As such, we won't save the lives of these children by hammering at abortion head-on. We have to prove the value of all the ideas about humanity that swirl around protecting innocent unborn children before we can show the good sense of letting life live. No one sees these babies and has to face the stark reality of their lives if an abortion happens; it is for some as if nothing of consequence ever happened. I have seen no baby, you have seen no baby, ergo there was no baby.

So I pray that we continue to turn the tide not just on abortion, but on what makes strong families, on the value of life at all stages from how we treat the life in the womb to how we treat our own grandparents as they face declining health, on what being a man means, on the cherished place of women as mothers, and all the rest. We do this most effectively locally both as examples of such and as vocal proponents - with much less efficacy by signing Internet petitions or posting mocking news stories.

God willing the damage of a few decades of lunacy can be undone in an equally short time before too many of our children die unremembered by all but God who sees all things.

Abp. Elpidophoros teleconference with clergy raises eyebrows

What was not mentioned below were some words about Orthodox unity in the New World. Specifically, this unity would be unity delivered by the EP - could only be delivered by the EP. Does this mean a lightning-fast action as we saw in Ukraine or is this more of the Canon 28 diasporal position that has been reiterated for years now. For the sake of all concerned I hope any actions taken will be measured and conciliar.

(GOARCH) - Archbishop Elpidophoros Holds Teleconference Call with the Hierarchs and Clergy

To the Reverend Clergy,
The Esteemed Parish Councils,
The Philoptochos Sisterhoods,
The Youth Organizations,
And the Faithful of the Holy Archdiocese of America:

Today, May 16, 2019, His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America held a teleconference call with the Hierarchs and clergy – active and retired, of the Holy Archdiocese of America. The call was organized by Metropolitan Methodios of Boston in his capacity as Archiepiscopal Vicar, with the cooperation of the Archdiocesan Presbyters Council. Over 400 clergy participated in the call.

During the one-hour conference call, Archbishop Elpidophoros had the opportunity to address the clergy directly and took questions on various aspects of the ministry of the Church. Among his opening remarks, Archbishop Elpidophoros said:

“I was especially eager to address you, the beloved and most respected clergy of our Holy Archdiocese, for you are the very heart of this vital Eparchy of the Ecumenical Throne. I wanted to let you know, personally, that my heart and mind are deeply focused on your welfare, the welfare of your families, and your God-saved ministries on behalf of the People of God.

“Although my service to the Church of America is only now commencing, our service to Christ and His Holy Church has always been united – by prayer, by our celebrations of the Divine Liturgy, and by our commitment to the Priesthood of our Great High Priest Jesus Christ. I do feel that I am already with you – in your trials and in your triumphs. As a Deacon, I learned to serve, as you all have done. As a Priest, I enjoyed the foretaste of His Glory as you also enjoy, standing before the Holy Altar. And as a Hierarch, I embrace the service of the Good Shepherd, as I know all of you try to do in your every-day ministries.

“I look forward getting to know all of you, as the Militia of Christ that you already are, and as individuals as well. Your pains will be my pain. Your challenges are my challenges. Your needs will be my priority, as together we seek to strengthen the foundations upon which your ministry edifies the Body of Christ.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Behold! The Pizza Slice Psalter!

I kid, but there does seem to be a new psalter published by some Orthodox publishing house every year. I'm going to buy it of course, but I think I have an entire bookshelf of psalters at this point.

(Holy Cross Bookstore) - New from Holy Cross Orthodox Press! The Psalter According to the Seventy is a new translation by the Rev. Fr. Peter Chamberas. This edition is interlinear with Greek on the left and English on the right. It is broken into the traditional Kathismata. The gilded pages and beautiful layout creates an aesthetic of prayer.

Pope of Rome visits Bulgaria

(Vatican) - Apostolic Journey to Bulgaria: Visit to the Patriarch and to the Holy Synod

Your Holiness,
Venerable Metropolitans and Bishops,
Dear Brothers,
Christos vozkrese!

In the joy of the Risen Saviour, I offer you Easter greetings on this Sunday known in the Christian East as “Saint Thomas Sunday”. Let us consider the Apostle, who puts his hand in the Lord’s side, touches his wounds and proclaims, “My Lord and my God!” (Jn 20:28). The wounds opened in the course of history between us Christians remain painful bruises on the Body of Christ which is the Church. Even today, their effects are tangible; we can touch them with our hands. Yet, perhaps together we can touch those wounds, confess that Jesus is risen, and proclaim him our Lord and our God. Perhaps together we can recognize our failings and immerse ourselves in his wounds of love. And in this way, we can discover the joy of forgiveness and enjoy a foretaste of the day when, with God’s help, we can celebrate the Paschal mystery at one altar.

On this journey, we are sustained by great numbers of our brothers and sisters, to whom I would especially like to render homage: the witnesses of Easter. How many Christians in this country endured suffering for the name of Jesus, particularly during the persecution of the last century! The ecumenism of blood! They spread a pleasing perfume over this “Land of Roses”. They passed through the thicket of trials in order to spread the fragrance of the Gospel. They blossomed in fertile and well-cultivated ground, as part of a people rich in faith and genuine humanity that gave them strong, deep roots. I think in particular of the monastic tradition that from generation to generation has nurtured the faith of the people. I believe that these witnesses of Easter, brothers and sisters of different confessions united in heaven by divine charity, now look to us as seeds planted in the earth and meant to bear fruit. While so many other brothers and sisters of ours throughout the world continue to suffer for their faith, they ask us not to remain closed, but to open ourselves, for only in this way can those seeds bear fruit.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Rare word #20: Hagiopolite

Hagiopolite - of Jerusalem (ἅγιος πόλις - Holy City).

People see the word often in relation to a saint (e.g. Cosmas the Hagiopolite) and continue past without giving the descriptor much thought, but once you understand the meaning, you'll see it all the time. It also comes into play when we look at liturgical history. For example, Hagiopolitan is often used when discussing the origins of this or that practice (often in contrast to Constantinopolitan or other ancient sees). There are quite a few of these titles milling about. From something like the relatively common Studite to the mysterious Tishbite.

The Consecration of Bishop Daniel Findikyan

Watch the solemn ceremony in which His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians, consecrated the Primate of the Eastern Diocese Bishop Daniel Findikyan. The consecration took place on May 12, 2019, at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin.

My 500th attempt to get you to the Small Parish Forum

I've been to this a few times. Really enjoyed it. You don't have to be in the OCA. Other jurisdictions do come - in fact even some non-Orthodox come. Send your enthusiastic parishioners. Send your unenthusiastic parishioners who need a little revitalization. Heck, send yourself.

Scholarships are available.

(OCA) - Online registration is now open for the Parish Development Forum, slated to be held at Saint John the Baptist Church in the Pittsburgh suburb of Canonsburg, PA from 3:00 p.m. on July 11 through noon on Saturday July 13, 2019.

Co-sponsored by the Orthodox Church in America’s Archdiocese of Western Pennsylvania, the Diocese of the Midwest and the Bulgarian Diocese, this year’s theme will be “Strengthening Our Commitment to the Community: Growing and Sharing Our Faith; Welcoming Others”.

“The Forum will focus on encouraging parishes to move beyond the status quo and adopt a mindset of thriving – not merely surviving,” said Joseph Kormos, Forum Co-Chair and Parish Development Ministry leader for Archdiocese of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania. “Emphasis will be on the attitudes and practices that enable Orthodox parishes to grow, both spiritually and numerically, in our increasingly hostile post Christian religious environment.

“Recently known as the Small Parish Forum, we realized that the conference content was clearly relevant to a range of parish situations—small and large, growing and declining. As a result the event name has been reshaped to ‘Parish Development Forum’ to better describe the Forum’s goal of delivering actionable ideas and good practices valuable to clergy and lay leaders,” noted Kormos.

Western Europe archdiocese to hold general assembly

Given the speed of other recent events unfolding in the Orthodox world this year, September seems like leisurely-paced dawdling instead of responsible pacing.

Machine translated English:
(AROC-WE) - Communiqué of the Office of the Diocesan Administration of May 13, 2019 concerning the Pastoral Assembly of May 11th of the Archdiocese of the Russian Orthodox Churches in Western Europe.

May 11, 2019 was held in the premises of the Institute of Theology St. Sergius and with the help of the parish St Serge, the pastoral assembly that his Eminence Archbishop Jean de Charioupolis had convened in his pastoral letter of April 22, 2019.

This initiative follows the disarray caused by the decision of 27 November 2018 of the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople to repeal the Exarchate and the spontaneous debate that has developed in the future of our Archdiocese.

After the celebration of the divine liturgy presided by Monseigneur Jean, the assembly of priests, deacons and members of the council of the Archeveché successively heard the reports of the RP Jean Gueit (ongoing talks with the Patriarchate of Moscow) and Alexandre Fostiropoulos ( visit to the Patriarchate of Constantinople). The RP Vladimir Yagello then presented the position of the members favorable to the proclamation of an autonomy; Rev. Jivko Panev, who teaches canon law at ITO St Serge, explained the reasons why such a proclamation did not seem possible.

The ensuing two-hour debate, dense and irenic, highlighted the deep suffering suffered by the ecclesial body that constitutes the Archbishop's House, shaken in its integrity and identity. In his conclusion, his Eminence Archbishop Jean explained that he had no choice but to propose a new canonical solution and that he considered that the decision should be taken as soon as possible in order to avoid a de facto dismantling of the Archdiocese.

An extraordinary general meeting will be convened on September 7, 2019.
Original French:
Communiqué du Bureau de l’Administration Diocésaine du 13 mai 2019 concernant l’Assemblé pastorale du 11 mai dernier de l’Archevêché des églises orthodoxes russe en Europe Occidentale.

Le 11 mai 2019 s’est tenue dans les locaux de l’Institut de théologie Saint Serge et avec l’aide de la paroisse St Serge, l’assemblée pastorale que son Eminence l’Archevêque Jean de Charioupolis avait convoquée dans sa lettre pastorale du 22 avril 2019.

Cette initiative fait suite au désarroi suscité par la décision en date du 27 novembre 2018 prise par le Saint Synode du patriarcat de Constantinople d’abroger l’exarchat et du débat spontané qui s’est développé quand à l’avenir de notre Archevêché.

Après la célébration de la divine liturgie présidée par Monseigneur Jean, l’assemblée des prêtres, diacres et membres du conseil de l’Archeveché a entendu successivement les rapports des RP Jean Gueit (pourparlers en cours avec le patriarcat de Moscou) et Alexandre Fostiropoulos (visite effectuée au siège du patriarcat de Constantinople). Le RP Vladimir Yagello a présenté ensuite la position des membres favorables à la proclamation d’une autonomie ; le RP Jivko Panev, qui enseigne le droit canonique à l’ITO St Serge, a exposé les raisons pour lesquelles une telle proclamation ne paraissait pas envisageable.

Le débat de deux heures qui s’en est suivi, dense et irénique, a mis en évidence la souffrance profonde subie par le corps ecclésial que constitue l’Archevêché ébranlé dans son intégrité et son identité. Dans sa conclusion, son Eminence l’Archevêque Jean a expliqué qu’il n’avait pour sa part d’autre choix que de proposer une nouvelle solution canonique et qu’il considérait que la décision devait être prise dans les meilleurs délais afin d’éviter un démantèlement de fait de l’Archevêché.

Une assemblée générale extraordinaire sera convoquée le 7 septembre 2019.

The wisdom in our icons

(Death to the World) - We recently received the following story about a living martyr named Monk Gabriel, who lives in Georgia, a country near the black sea which not long ago had been under the yoke of Communism. Last year one member of our Brotherhood went to Georgia and met this man, and confirmed the truth of this account.

“Thirty five years ago in the year that Stalin died (Stalin died in March and it all happened during a May demonstration), Fr. Gabriel was a very young Hieromonk…

“Do you know the central square in Tbilisi? During the Demonstration, the government speakers and the speaker’s rostrum stood there. Behind them, on the building of the Executive Committee of the Communist Party, there always hung portraits of the party leaders in full figure, two floors in height. At the peak of the demonstration, when the square was packed with people and while a member of the government was delivering a speech, suddenly a portrait of Stalin burst into flames. Fr. Gabriel had gained entrance to a window and poured kerosene on the back of the portraits and then set them on fire.”

“Perhaps it is a legend?”

“Some things, of course, have been enshrouded by legend; but he burned the portraits. Lenin’s portrait burned immediately, too. Horror came over the square, they all froze and from fear and everything became still. While the pictures of the leaders were in flames, from the second floor window, Fr. Gabriel gave a sermon: “The Lord said, ‘Thou shalt not make unto thee idols, or any graven images… Thou shalt not bow down before them nor serve them for I am the Lord your God, Thou shalt have no other Gods!’ (Exodus 20:3-5). People, come to your senses! The Georgians have always been Christians! So why are you bowing down before Idols? Jesus Christ died and rose again… But your cast idols will never be resurrected. Even during their life they were dead…”

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Want to learn about St. Gregory the Theologian?

Let's see...

Do you want to learn about St. Gregory the Theologian?
Do you want to help revitalize the Church in Albania?
Do you want to visit one of the prettiest churches in Texas?
And since it's in July... with some of the best A/C?
How about listen to a gifted choir?
I'm sure the food is going to be quite good, too.

This is the place to go. Head over to North Texas Orthodox Missions to register.

Pascha in Korea