Heresies and Schisms Will Appear in the Churches, in the Last Days

St. Ambrose Heresies and Schisms Will Appear in the Churches Mocking The Holy FathersSt. Ambrose of Optina (1812-1891) –
My child, know that in the last days hard times will come; and as the Apostle says, behold, due to poverty in piety, heresies and schisms will appear in the churches; and as the Holy Fathers foretold, then on the thrones of hierarchs and in monasteries there will be no men to be found that are tested and experienced in the spiritual life. Wherefore, heresies will spread everywhere and deceive many.

The enemy of mankind will act skillfully, and whenever possible he will lead the chosen ones to heresy. He will not begin by discarding the dogmas on the Holy Trinity, the divinity of Jesus Christ, or the Theotokos, but will unnoticeably start to distort the Teachings of the Holy Fathers, in other words the teachings of the Church herself.

The cunning of the enemy and his “tipics” (ways) will be noticed by very few — only those that are most experienced in spiritual life. Heretics will take over the Church, everywhere, and they will appoint their servants, and spirituality will be neglected. [Read more…]

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Trust Faithful Orthodox Elders, Avoid Modernist Liberal Academics

Trust Faithful Orthodox Elders, Avoid Modernist Liberal Academicsby Fr. Michael Wood (Hieromonk) –
For the academic, nothing is a given, nothing is sacred, all must be questioned and challenged.

While I have spent a fair amount of my life in and around academic institutions, and would count myself an historian and liturgist, I am above all an eremitic monastic priest. While I certainly cannot lay claim to the extremes of monastic asceticism that many of our great Orthodox Elders have held to, nevertheless in all matters theological, I will always come down on the side of Scripture, Tradition and the Fathers, for that is where Orthodox truth is to be found.

We are, as Orthodox Believers in The Church, dependent entirely upon revelation and as such our real theologians are not academics at all, but rather the great experiencers of God.

Hence when we have academic clergy presuming to pronounce on the faith, from their height of academe, I would counsel the faithful to run away from them. [Read more…]

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

How to Know When God is Calling – Tuning in to the Call of God

How to Know When God is Calling - Tuning in to the Call of Godby Regis Nicoll –
“When God calls you to do something,” the speaker cautioned, “your only response is, yes.” I saw a number of heads nodding in agreement, but I sensed a question stirring in the heads of others: “But how do I know when God is calling?”

It’s an important question. In fact, there is no question more important for Christians. For how can we follow Christ, if we can’t tell his call from that of the culture or of those darker angels that would lead us into temptation or prod us to another have-to, got-to, need-to duty that seems good and feels good—and maybe, is good—but is not God sent? [Read more…]

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Parable of the Wheat and the Tares – Why Priests Must Vigilantly Keep Watch

Parable of the Wheat and the Tares - Why Priests Must Vigilantly Keep Watchby Archpriest Victor Potapov –
The devil sows tares, says the Lord, while men sleep. In other words, the devil sows his tares secretly, unnoticeably, when the guards appointed to look after the field, that is, the pastors of the Church, keep watch inadequately, and when the faithful themselves live carelessly as well and listen too credulously to impostors and false teachers.

In the parable of the sower and the seed, the discourse was about how men accept the word of God in different ways, and how this word affects men in different ways. In the next parable ­ that of the wheat and the tares ­ Christ speaks of the fourth portion of seed, which had fallen on good ground, and how the enemy of man’s salvation does everything possible in order to ruin that which grows in this good ground.

The parable of the wheat and the tares is extremely topical for our days, when people raise the question of the origin of evil in the world and are perplexed over the temptations, schisms and fallings away which they encounter in the Church Herself. [Read more…]

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

No Scriptural Approval, Acceptance, or Tolerance of Homosexuality

Bishop Alexander Mileant - no example in all of the New Testament of approval, acceptance, or even tolerance of homosexualityby Bishop Alexander (Mileant) –
There is no example in all of the New Testament of approval, acceptance, or even tolerance of homosexuality.

Homosexuality: Although there is much more open discussion about homosexuality in the twentieth century than in previous times, there is definite reference to it in ancient writings. The frequently used synonym, sodomy, comes from the apparent homosexual activity among men of Sodom (Genesis 19), and the severity of strictures set forth in the Holiness Code, with nothing short of the death penalty being imposed, suggested that the need for discipline must have been great, (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13). The Old Testament understood normal sexual intercourse as not only a way of expressing a loving relationship, but also as a divinely appointed way of procreating new life.

In the New Testament, St. Paul condemns male prostitutes and homosexuals (I Corinthians 6:9-11). In the first chapter of his epistle to the Romans (Romans 1:24-32), he also judges it as unnatural. [Read more…]

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Orthodox Worldview: Orthodox Christianity Not Limited to Church Building

Orthodox Worldview: Orthodox Christianity Not Limited to Church Buildingby Fr. Seraphim Rose –
There exists a false opinion, which unfortunately is all to widespread today, that it is enough to have an Orthodoxy that is limited to the church building and formal “Orthodox” activities, such as praying at certain times or making the sign of the Cross; in everything else, so this opinion goes, one can be like anyone else, participating in the life and culture of our times without any problem, as long as we don’t commit sin.

Anyone who has come to realize how deep Orthodoxy is, and how full is the commitment which is required of the serious Orthodox Christian, and likewise what totalitarian demands the contemporary world makes on us, will easily see how wrong this opinion is.

One is Orthodox all the time every day, in every situation of life, or one is not really Orthodox at all. Our Orthodoxy is revealed not just in our strictly religious views, but in everything we do and say. Most of us are very unaware of the Christian, religious responsibility we have for the seemingly secular part of our lives. [Read more…]

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Rebuke and Publicly Denounce Blasphemers

Rebuke and Publicly Denounce Blasphemers - St Nicholas Slaps Arius Iconby St. John Chrysostom –
But since our discourse has now turned to the subject of blasphemy, I desire to ask one favor of you all, in return for this my address, and speaking with you; which is, that you will correct on my behalf the blasphemers of this city. And should you hear any one in the public thoroughfare, or in the midst of the forum, blaspheming God; go up to him and rebuke him; and should it be necessary to inflict blows, spare not to do so.

Smite him on the face; strike his mouth; sanctify your hand with the blow, and if any should accuse you, and drag you to the place of justice, follow them there; and when the judge on the bench calls you to account, say boldly that the man blasphemed the King of angels!

For if it be necessary to punish those who blaspheme an earthly king, much more so those who insult God. [Read more…]

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Repentance is a Change, Not a Simple Regret

Repentance is a Change, Not a Simple Regret - Patriarch Daniel of Romania by Aurelian Iftimiu (on Patriarch Daniel of Romania) –
‘Repentance is an effort for inner change, not a simple regret,’ His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel [of Romania] said in his Sunday homily at St Gregory the Enlightener Chapel of his Patriarchal Residence.

His Beatitude noted that repentance does not simply imply saying ‘I’m sorry’ and moving on, ‘it is an effort to change the way of thinking, of speaking and of acting.’

In this regard, the Patriarch recalled that many saints ‘were originally thieves and criminals, but through repentance they changed themselves and became wonderworking Saints.’ ‘Some of them used to be decadent, as Mother Mary of Egypt who through much repentance became a Saint. When praying she rose from the ground because she was more related to heaven than to earth,’ Patriarch Daniel said Jan. 13.[Read more…]

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Not Gay or Homosexual, but Men and Women Created in the Image and Likeness of God

Not Gay or Homosexual, but Men and Women Created in the Image and Likeness of Godby Fr. Ioannes Apiarius –
Open Letter to all men and women who struggle with same-sex attraction.

Christ is Risen! May Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, be with you always. Walk in the Lord and seek the illumination of the Holy Spirit on your journey to find salvation and acquire the joy and peace of Christ that surpasses all understanding.

Do not believe the lies of Satan. Do not accept the delusions and distortions of those who have forsaken the true God and abandoned the wisdom of Christ and the Scriptures. You are not “gay” or “homosexual.” You were not “born this way.” You are men and women created in the image and likeness of GOD! You were all designed by Him for everlasting life in His Kingdom. You struggle with carnal temptations and spiritual passions, like every single man and woman since the fall of Adam and Eve. In other words you are human. [Read more…]

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Preserve Your Purity and Modesty, Guard Against Moral Corruption in Contemporary Society

Preserve Your Purity and Modesty, Guard Against Moral Corruption in Contemporary Society by Met. Philaret of New York –
Our Lord Jesus Christ, instructing His disciples and apostles, imbued in them the necessity of observing purity of heart and thought. From the thought and from the heart proceed our sinful impulses: “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart,” says the Saviour; “and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witnesses, blasphemies” (Matt. 15:18-19).

The Saviour pointed to this further with the following words: “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery; But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matt. 27-28). This law of the psycho-political nature of man is well-known to contemporary perverters, who are consciously striving to corrupt our youth. [Read more…]

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

God Has Inscribed on the Human Heart the Whole Order of Truth

God Has Inscribed on the Human Heart the Whole Order of Truthby Pope John Paul II –
The Creator, who at the same time is the supreme lawgiver, has inscribed on the human heart the whole order of truth. This order determines what is good, provides a foundation for the moral order and constitutes the basis of the dignity of man created in God’s image.

3. “Blessed are they who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times” (Ps 106:3).

Brothers and sisters, meditating on God’s love, revealed in the Heart of his Son, requires a consistent response on our part. We have not been called only to contemplate the mystery of Christ’s love, but take part in it. Christ says: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (Jn 14:15).

He thus places before us a great calling and at the same time a condition: if you want to love me, keep my commandments, keep God’s holy law, walk in the ways God has shown you and I have shown you by the example of my life. [Read more…]

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

The Bigotry of the Progressive Present

Bigotry of the Progressive Presentby Joseph Pearce –
These analogies all point to the uncomfortable fact that “progressivism” is as arrogant and as ignorant as the worst sort of redneck racism.

We live in very mean-spirited times. In spite of all the hypocritical cant about “love” and “tolerance” it can be shown that there is little real difference between the superciliousness of “progressivist” snobbery and the most pernicious forms of racism. If, for example, we were to visit a village in a remote corner of Africa and were to witness children playing with crudely crafted toys and presumed from our observations that these Africans must be inferior to Americans because American children have iPods and smart-phones we would rightly be accused of racism. Yet this is exactly what “progressivists” do when observing cultures separated by time instead of space. The past is deemed to be inferior and can be treated with scorn or, which is perhaps worse, with patronising condescension.

Let’s employ another provocative analogy. If Plato were to walk into a room of impeccably progressive moderns, he would no doubt become the cause of a good deal of humour on account of his quaint “ethnic” clothing. [Read more…]

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Orthodox College Students: Staying Orthodox in Anti-Christian Environment

Orthodox College Students: Staying Orthodox in Anti-Christian Environmentby Fr. Abbot Tryphon –
The summer months are coming to a close and many young people will be facing the prospect of heading off to college, some for the very first time. A scripture passage comes to my mind as I think of these wonderful young people preparing to leave home: “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves (Matthew 10:16).” College professors almost universally enjoy challenging young college students to question authority, yet are taken aback when their own authority is questioned. They know they are addressing a class of impressionable minds and almost make sport of attacking the positions of their students.

My advice to Orthodox students is to refuse to be intimidated and don’t be discouraged. Most of these professors took years to acquire the knowledge and the skill to successfully defend their belief system, or lack thereof, including atheism. [Read more…]

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

When You Direct the Soul Towards Beauty, You Direct It Towards God

When You Direct the Soul Towards Beauty, You Direct It Towards Godby Fr. Johannes Jacobse –
Advice I give to people who can’t escape their thoughts, especially when the thoughts cause worry and even depression is to take a walk, open your eyes to the beauty around you, and practice gratitude.

Think of the things you can be thankful for and consciously express gratitude for them, and with deliberation and conscientiousness ponder the beauty of nature — look at trees, flowers, the sky, anything beautiful around you and really *see* them. Make sure your body is moving as you do this. A slow walk is fine.

What happens is that thoughts quiet down and the mind can find some rest. What happens on a deeper level is that the soul is renewed. [Read more…]

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Heretics Also Appeal to Scripture to Deceive Believers

Heretics Appeal to Scripture Also - St. Vincent of Lerinsby St. Vincent of Lerins –

Here, possibly, some one may ask, Do heretics also appeal to Scripture? They do indeed, and with a vengeance; for you may see them scamper through every single book of Holy Scripture – through the books of Moses, the books of Kings, the Psalms, the Epistles, the Gospels, the Prophets.

Whether among their own people, or among strangers, in private or in public, in speaking or in writing, at convivial meetings, or in the streets, hardly ever do they bring forward anything of their own which they do not endeavor to shelter under words of Scripture.

Read the works of Paul of Samosata, of Priscillian, of Eunomius, of Jovinian, and the rest of those pests, and you will see an infinite heap of instances, hardly a single page, which does not bristle with plausible quotations from the New Testament or the Old.

But the more secretly they conceal themselves under shelter of the Divine Law, so much the more are they to be feared and guarded against. For they know that the evil stench of their doctrine will hardly find acceptance with any one if it be exhaled pure and simple. They sprinkle it over, therefore, with the perfume of heavenly language, in order that one who would be ready to despise human error, may hesitate to condemn divine words. [Read more…]

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail