Author Topic: Modern Church Fathers  (Read 160222 times)

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #405 on: November 06, 2017, 09:01:05 PM »
Church life in the era of Constantine was a period of interaction between Christianity and paganism. This interaction began earlier, already in the second century. Can this really be considered a catastrophe, a collapse, a failure of Christianity? Not in the least! Can we say that this is wonderful and great? Neither can we say this. There is no single answer. Absorbing elements of paganism into itself, Christianity in this way sanctified all that was wonderful in the legacy from India to the New World. We can say that in the course of all millennia not a single soul which strove towards God passed unnoticed by him. Not one spark of the spectacular in the whole history of art passed unnoticed within the beauty of the world.

No matter where pagan concepts originated, they always had elements adaptable to Christianity, not in a spirit of compromise or expediency, but because of their innate worthiness. If some of our hymns contain echos of the hymn of Osiris, that only makes me happy, knowing that we have received that eternal intuition of the resurrection which the ancient Egyptian experienced on the shores of his native river. Within the surrounding lifeless desert, he suddenly saw from this clay, this earth, this silt, the rising of first shoots. He saw the sun pulling them upwards and he sang, "Osiris has conquered death by death." And we repeat those marvelous words , the Church adopts them. In the Church there were poets enough to invent something original. But this early Christian sensitivity was an act of reverence, if you will, of love and affection towards the whole non-biblical world, which we inaccurately call "pagan."

-- Fr. Alexander Men (d. 1990), Source

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #406 on: November 08, 2017, 12:05:48 AM »
[Christ's] sacrifice will bring no salvation if He is to experience only His personal suffering. He has to be tormented by the painful wounds of sin, which afflict mankind. The heart of the God-Man fills with inexpressible grief. All human sins, beginning with Adam's transgression and finishing with those to be committed at the sound of the last trumpet, all the great and small sins of all people appear before His mental eyes. As God, He always had them before Him, "all things are manifest before Him," but now His human nature, too, experiences all their burden and abomination. The holy, sinless soul fills with horror. His suffering surpasses that of the sinners themselves, whose hardened hearts are not aware to what extent sin defiles a man and alienates him from the Creator. His sufferings are more acute because He sees this hardening of hearts. He sees that 'people blinded their eyes so as not to see, and that they do not want to hear with their ears and to turn to Him to be healed' (Isa. 6:9).

-- St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco (d. 1966), Christ's Prayer in the Garden (quoted in: Emmanuel Hatzidakis, Jesus: Fallen?, p. 93)

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #407 on: November 08, 2017, 04:11:33 PM »
As we leave the church after the Sunday Eucharist we enter again into time, and time, therefore, is the first "object" of our Christian faith and action. For it is indeed the icon of our fundamental reality, of the optimism as well as of the pessimism of our life, of life as life and of life as death. Through time on the one hand we experience life as a possibility, growth, fulfillment, as a movement toward a future. Through time, on the other hand, all future is dissolved in death and annihilation. Time is the only reality of life, yet it is strangely nonexistent reality: it constantly dissolves life in a past which no longer is, and in a future which always leads to death. By itself time is nothing but a line of telegraph poles strung out into the distance and at some point along the way is our death.

All generations, all philosophers have always been aware of this anxiety of time, of its paradox. All philosophy, all religion is ultimately an attempt to solve the "problem of time." And thousands of books, Christian and non-Christian, have been written about it. It is not our purpose, however, to add another "theology of time" to all those that exist already. It is rather to describe very briefly the experience of time which Christians have had from the very beginning and which is still given to them in the Church. Here again what the Church offers is not a "solution" of a philosophical problem, but a gift. And it becomes a solution only as it is accepted as freely and joyfully as it is given. Or, it may be, the joy of that gift makes both the problem and the solution unnecessary, irrelevant.

-- Fr. Alexander Schmemann (d. 1983), Source

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #408 on: November 09, 2017, 07:39:14 PM »
Nocturnal prayer is traditional in Christian liturgical practice in general, and in particular, in the monastic practice of prayer. when recommending night vigils to monks, teachers of the ascetical life emphasised that night is the most suitable time for prayer, because then the whole world is immersed in sleep and there is nothing to distract the ascetic. 'Let every prayer that you offer in the night,' Isaac says, 'be more precious in your eyes than all your activities of the day.' Keeping night vigil is a 'work filled with delight' during which 'the soul experiences that immoral life, and by means of this experience she puts off the vesture of darkness and receives the gifts of the Spirit.'...

The person who guards himself during the day knows the power of night vigil. By itself, it can replace other virtues: '...If a man's body be enfeebled by illness and he cannot fast, vigil alone can gain for the intellefect steadfastness in prayer and bestow upon his heart noetic insight to understand the nature of spiritual power.' Moreover, if someone has not the strength to make prostrations and recite psalms by reason of spiritual darkening and laxity, then vigil alone, even while sitting, will be adequate for him: 'If these works [prostrations and psalmody] depart from you and you cannot perform them, at least remain wakeful in a sitting position, pray with your heart, and make every effort to pass the night without sleeping, sitting and pondering good thoughts. And if you do not harden your heart and darken it with sleep, then by the grace that first fervour, lightness and strength will return to you and you will leap with joy, giving thanks unto God.'

-- Met. Hilarion (Alfeyev) (b. 1966), Source

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #409 on: November 10, 2017, 07:37:58 PM »
Divine truth is simple and absolute, while man's truth is multi-faceted and relative. the more someone approaches divine truth, the more he approaches divine simplicity. This simplicity is neither poverty nor naivety; it is richness and wisdom, self-sufficiency and completeness. Simplicity again, is the absence of any deficiency, of any passion, of any lack; it is the absence of any need for supplementation.

-- Georgios Mantzaridis (b. 1935), Source

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #410 on: November 11, 2017, 10:38:36 PM »
The most abominable enemy endeavours to destroy love by love itself: love for God and our neighbor--by love for the world, for its fleeting blessings and its corrupt, impious habits, by carnal love, by the love of riches, of honours, of pleasure, of various amusements. Therefore let us extinguish every love for this world in ourselves, and let us kindle in ourselves by self-denial, love for God and our neighbour. Every beauty in this world (personal beauty) is only a faint, insignificant shadow of the uncreated beauty, of the unspeakable goodness of God's face; every earthly enjoyment is nothing in comparison to future delights. I pray, Lord, that the faith of Christ may penetrate into the depths of my heart, that Christ's Gospel may penetrate all my thoughts, feelings, and deeds, into my bones and my brains, and not me only, but all men, as the universal truth, the highest wisdom, and the life eternal. "And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, Whom Thou hast sent." (Jn. 17:3)

-- St. John of Kronstadt (d. 1908), Source

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #411 on: November 12, 2017, 07:22:20 PM »
As St. Paul writes, “If any one does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his own family, he has disowned the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Tim. 5:8). God wants us to provide for our families as much as He wants us to support His work through the church. The point I wish to make is that 95% of all the religious giving done by Americans today is out of our surplus. After our money is all spent (or at least contracted for) for all that new jewelry and cosmetics and three times as much for clothing as any human being requires, and pretty plush vacations, after all this, then we scream that we cannot be expected to give more sacrificially. The widow teaches us one thing: if our giving is not sacrificial, it isn’t Christian.

-- Fr. Anthony Coniaris (b. 1926), Source

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #412 on: November 13, 2017, 11:43:04 PM »
There are six kinds of saints, or six types of holiness, listed here in relative importance for the Church:

Apostles: their teaching is the foundation of the Church

Martyrs and confessors: they are an example to us of supreme sacrifice

Prophets: they foretold the coming of Christ

Hierarchs and teaching saints: they preserve unity among the faithful; this includes saints such as St. John of Damascus and St. Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain

Monastics: they have died in peace praying for the world

Righteous: they have attained holiness in the world by keeping the commandments, participating in the liturgical life of the Church, etc.; this includes saints such as Abraham and Sarah, Joachim and Anna, St. Joseph, etc.

-- Fr. Ambrose (Alexey Young) (b. 1943), Source

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #413 on: November 15, 2017, 03:22:35 AM »
As his compensation for directing the School he was able to live in a mansion and have a diet rich and varied with servants and maids. But no, Athanasios was an ascetic. He lived in a meager cell belonging to the Holy Trinity Monastery, as a very poor monk. The things belonging to him he distributed to the poor. He considered it an inexcusable sin to enter the new year with even a penny from the previous year. He could have dressed in expensive and princely clothes. yet when he passed away on June 24, 1813 he left a shredded rason, some books, an inkwell and a lamp. Then he was living in an even poorer monastery and more meager cell at the Hermitage of St. George in Reston on Chios.

-- St. Athanasios Parios (d. 1813), Source

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #414 on: November 16, 2017, 01:45:29 AM »
In the cultural and ideal tendencies of our epoch dehumanization moves in two directions, toward naturalism and toward technicism. Man is subject either to cosmic forces or to technical civilization. It is not enough to say that he subjects himself: he is dissolved and disappears either in cosmic life or else in almighty technics; he takes upon himself the image, either of nature or of the machine. But in either case he loses his own image and is dissolved into him component elements. Man as a whole being, as a creature centred within himself, disappears; he ceases to be a being with a spiritual centre, retaining his inner continuity and his unity. To the fractional and partial elements of man there is offered not only the right to autonomy, but to supremacy in life. The self-assertion of these disunited elements in man, as, for instance, the non-sublimated elements of the subconscious, sexual desire, or the will to dominance and power, bear witness to the fact that the unified, whole image of man is disappearing and giving place to non-human and natural elements. Man has disappeared; there remains only certain of his functions.

-- Nicholas Berdyaev (d. 1948), The Fate of Man in the Modern World

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #415 on: November 16, 2017, 10:30:00 PM »
Consequently man's apostasy estranges the whole creation from God, devastates it, and, as it were, deprives it of God. The Fall of man shatters the cosmic harmony. Sin is disorder, discord, lawlessness. Strictly speaking it is only man that dies. Death indeed is a law of nature, a law of organic life. But man's death means just his fall or entanglement into this cyclical motion of nature, just what ought not to have happened at all. As St. Gregory says, "from the nature of dumb animals mortality is transferred to a nature created for immortality." Only for man is death contrary to nature and mortality is evil.

Only man is wounded and mutilated by death. In the generic life of dumb animals, death is rather a natural moment in the development of the species; it is the expression rather of the generating power of life than of infirmity. However, with the fall of man, mortality, even in nature, assumes an evil and tragic significance. Nature itself, as it were, is poisoned by the fatal venom of human decomposition. With dumb animals, death is but the discontinuation of individual existence. In the human world, death strikes at personality, and personality is much greater than mere individuality.

-- Fr. Georges Florovsky (d. 1979), Creation and Redemption: Volume Three in the Collected Works, p. 106

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #416 on: November 19, 2017, 02:46:47 AM »
The Alexandrine Fathers, and especially St Cyril, developed this mysticism of the adoption that deifies. Only the Word is the Son by nature, but in his body, in his Spirit, we become 'sons by participation'. This is an energy-based, spirit-filled Christology in which the humanity is shot through with the brightness of the divinity like iron red-hot in the fire.

"Participation in the Hοly Spirit gives human beings the grace to be shaped as a complete cοpy of the divine nature." - Cyril of Alexandria, Treasure, 13 (PG 75,228)

"Anyone who receives the image of the Son, that is the Spirit, possesses thereby in all fullness the Son, and the Father who is in him." - Cyril of Alexandria, Treasure, 33 (PG 75,572)

Tο be deified is therefore to become someone living with a life stronger than death, since the Word is life itself and the Spirit is the one who brings life. All human possibilities are brought into play. The structures of thought, feeling, friendship, creativity, while remaining οnly human structures, receive an infinite capacity for light and joy and love.

-- Olivier Clement (d. 2009), Source

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #417 on: November 19, 2017, 08:22:32 PM »
Jesus teaches that there are those to whom the gift of virginity is given 'for the sake of the kingdom of heaven' (Matt. 19:12) The Apostle Paul later expounds on this teaching in 1 Cor. 7, indicating that marriage is good, but virginity is better--but that virginity is only for those who are gifted for it. Neither Jesus nor Paul implies anything negative about marriage, about the material body, or about sexual union... Both Jesus and Paul describe virginity "for the kingdom of heaven's sake" as being a special gift, a charisma. This gift of virginity is an exceptional vocation, while marriage is the ordinary vocation, the normal course of events in the world.

-- Kristofer Carlson (b. 20th century), Why Mary Matters

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #418 on: November 23, 2017, 07:57:01 AM »
My argument hinges on the way in which St Maximos's understanding manifests a general intuition that is implicit throughout the Eastern Christian tradition: that it is quite wrong to speak--as Western theology so often has--of divine grace as something added as a supernatural gift to "pure nature." Rather, as Vladimir Lossky has rightly noted, this Eastern tradition knows nothing of "pure nature" since it sees grace as being "implied in the act of creation itself." Because of this, as he goes on to note, the cosmos is seen as inherently "dynamic, tending always to its final end."

The belief that things have a natural "place" or telos toward which they naturally tend to move is known as teleology, and what Lossky hints at here is the way in which, for important strands of Byzantine theology, at least some aspects of the divine providence arise from within the creation through the intrinsically teleological factors that have been, so to speak, built into its components. This is particularly clear in the work of St Maximos himself since he sees the logos that constitutes the inner reality of each created thing, not only as a manifestation of the divine Logos of which the fourth gospel speaks, but also as what Metropolitan Kallistos has described as "God's intention for that thing, its inner essence, that which makes it distinctively itself and at the same time draws it towards the divine realm."

For St Maximos--and for the strange of the Greek patristic tradition that culminates in his work--the way in which each created thing has its origin and intended final end in God is intimately linked to the constitutive presence in it of a characteristic logos which is a manifestation, in some sense, of the divine Logos itself. This presence not only gives, to each created thing, the being it has in the temporal world, but also draws it--from within, not by some external, special action--toward its ultimate fulfillment in Christ.

-- Fr. Christopher Knight, Source

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #419 on: November 24, 2017, 07:18:40 AM »
Even though the body, inasmuch as it is a body, is naturally inclined to the pleasure derived from physical things, it is nevertheless led, governed, and controlled by the mind (soul) when reason is whole and complete. For according to St. John Damascene, the difference between a rational and an irrational soul is this: The irrational soul is led and ruled by the body and the senses, while the rational soul leads and rules the body and the senses. It has been thus determined by God for the rational to rule over the irrational, and the better to rule over the worse, and to subdue the latter's instinctive moves. This is why when the body has a desire, it does not directly rush into action to satisfy the desire, but is obstructed by the hegemonious mind.

-- St. Nicodumus of the Holy Mountain (d. 1809), Source

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #420 on: November 26, 2017, 03:55:53 PM »
Get into the habit, train yourselves, to do whatever you are doing conscientiously, with elegance, with distinction, don't blur your work, don't do anything in bad taste, all anyhow. Remember that you can waste a whole lifetime on all anyhow, whereas in measured, rhythmic activity even things or tasks of secondary importance may help you discover much that may later serve you, perhaps, as a most profound source of new creative insights... Thought is God's gift and requires cultivation. To be clear and precise in thought is the guarantee of spiritual freedom and delight in thinking.

-- Fr. Pavel Florensky (d. 1937), Source

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #421 on: November 28, 2017, 01:47:59 PM »
The population of the Empire at any one period of its existence is not known, and, given the nature of the sources; it is not likely ever to be known. For about the year 1000, Ε. Stein has estimated a population of approximately 20,000,000; another scholar has put it at 15,000,000. For reasons which have been explained elsewhere, the latter figure is probably too low, but we may use it as a conservative representation of reality. Applying to this figure the ratio of monks to the general population of Constantinople on the eve of its fall, we may say that in the year 1000 there were in the Byzantine Empire slightly more than 150,000 monks and over 7,000 monastic establishments. This estimate may be too low. Nicephorus II Phocas, in his famous novel prohibiting new monastic establishments, speaks of myriads of monasteries already in existence, and Basil II, in his, conveys the idea that in many of the villages located in every theme of the Empire there existed establishments which could be called monasteries. And, for purposes of comparison, the situation which obtained in Crete in 1632 may be cited. In that year there were 376 monasteries and 4,000 monks in Crete, whose total population then was 200,000. These figures yield an average of slightly less than eleven monks per monastery and α ratio of two monks per one hundred inhabitants...

The remark of Zosimus that the monk "appropriates the greater part of the earth," was, of course, a rhetorical exaggeration. Nevertheless, a competent modern authority on the internal history of the Byzantine Empire has estimated that at the end of the seventh century, about one-third of the usable land of the Empire was in the possession of the church and the monasteries.

-- Peter Charanis (d. 1985), The Monk as an Element of Byzantine Society

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #422 on: November 30, 2017, 05:37:11 PM »
The future Bishop Gorazd (Pavlik) was born on 26 May 1879 in the Moravian town of Hrubavrbka in the Czech Rupublic and was baptised Matthias. After schooling he finished the Roman Catholic theological faculty in Olomouc and was ordained priest. During his studies he had become interested in Orthodox Christianity and the mission of Sts Cyril and Methodius and visited Kiev. With the formation of Czechoslovakia in 1918 and freedom from Austro-Hungarian Catholic tyranny, hundreds of thousands of people left the Catholic Church, among them Matthias Pavlik. Some of these people turned for help to the Serbian Orthodox Church (parts of which had also suffered from the same tyranny). As a result the Serbian Church consented to consecrate Fr Matthias bishop with the monastic name of Gorazd...

Together with those who had remained faithful to Orthodoxy, the Bishop [Gorazd] set to work. Churches were built and parishes organised in various parts of Bohemia. In all eleven churches and two chapels were built under him. Services were in Czech. Essential church books were published, for example the Book of Needs, catechisms and so on. Using his knowledge, experience and contacts, Bishop Gorazd also helped those who had returned to their ancestral Orthodox Faith in Slovakia and Subcarpathian Russia, which was then part of Czechoslovakia...

In 1942 the Czech Resistance assassinated the Nazi governor Heydrich in Prague. The resistance fighters were allowed to hide in the crypt of Sts Cyril and Methodius Orthodox Cathedral. When Bishop Gorazd learned of this a few days later, he was greatly troubled, realising that if the occupying Germans found out, then the whole Czech Orthodox Church would suffer repression. Before leaving for Berlin to take part with the Metropolitan in consecrating Fr. Philip (Gardner) 9 to the episcopate, he asked that the resistance fighters be moved elsewhere as soon as possible. However the Nazis found the Czech hiding-place and on 18 June 1942, seven of them were shot there. The two Cathedral priests and other Orthodox were arrested. Bishop Gorazd did not try to save himself, but wishing to avert repression of the Czech Church, took all responsibility on himself. He wrote three letters to the Germans with the words: 'I am giving myself up to the authorities and am prepared to face any punishment, including death'.

On the 27 June 1942 Bishop Gorazd was arrested and tortured. He was executed by firing squad on 4 September 1942. He was aged 63. The two Cathedral priests were also shot. The Orthodox Church in Bohemia and Moravia was forbidden to operate and its churches and chapels closed. Orthodox priests were exiled to forced labour camps in Germany. For his part Metropolitan Seraphim courageously refused to issue any statement condemning Bishop Gorazd.

-- St. Gorazd Pavlik (d. 1942), Source

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #423 on: December 01, 2017, 09:01:11 PM »
When a pilgrim stops on his way in a house for pilgrims, he does not pay any attention to the state of the house. Why would he, when he is staying there only for a short time? He is content with only the basic necessities; he tries not to waste the money that he needs to continue his journey and to find housing in that great city to which he travels. He bears privation and lack of comfort with patience, knowing that they are only accidents to which every traveler is subject, and that undisturbed calm awaits him in the place to which he travels. He does not become attached to any object in his hostel, no matter how attractive such an object may be. He does not lose time doing unnecessary things—he needs all the time he can muster to complete the difficult journey. He is constantly deep in thought about the glorious capital city, the aim of his travels; the significant difficulties he will have to overcome and various things that could make his travels easier; about ambushes by robbers along the highways and the misery of those who were unable to complete the journey; and about the blissfulness of those who were able to complete it successfully. Having stayed in the hostel for as long as necessary, the pilgrim thanks the owner, and having left, forgets about the hostel or only remembers it in passing, because his heart was cold toward it. Let us develop the same indifference to the world.

-- St. Ignatius Brianchaninov (d. 1867), The Field: Cultivating Salvation
« Last Edit: December 01, 2017, 09:01:36 PM by Asteriktos »

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #424 on: December 07, 2017, 10:28:58 PM »
For our faith, brethren, is not of men nor by man, but by revelation of Jesus Christ, which the divine Apostles preached, the holy Ecumenical Councils confirmed, the greatest and wisest teachers of the world handed down in succession, and the shed blood of the holy martyrs ratified. Let us hold fast to the confession which we have received unadulterated from such men, turning away from every novelty as a suggestion of the devil. He that accepts a novelty reproaches with deficiency the preached Orthodox Faith. But that Faith has long ago been sealed in completeness, not to admit of diminution or increase, or any change whatever; and he who dares to do, or advise, or think of such a thing has already denied the faith of Christ, has already of his own accord been struck with an eternal anathema, for blaspheming the Holy Ghost as not having spoken fully in the Scriptures and through the Ecumenical Councils.

-- Encyclical of the Eastern Patriarchs (1848)

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #425 on: December 12, 2017, 09:31:56 PM »
For our faith, brethren, is not of men nor by man, but by revelation of Jesus Christ, which the divine Apostles preached, the holy Ecumenical Councils confirmed, the greatest and wisest teachers of the world handed down in succession, and the shed blood of the holy martyrs ratified. Let us hold fast to the confession which we have received unadulterated from such men, turning away from every novelty as a suggestion of the devil. He that accepts a novelty reproaches with deficiency the preached Orthodox Faith. But that Faith has long ago been sealed in completeness, not to admit of diminution or increase, or any change whatever; and he who dares to do, or advise, or think of such a thing has already denied the faith of Christ, has already of his own accord been struck with an eternal anathema, for blaspheming the Holy Ghost as not having spoken fully in the Scriptures and through the Ecumenical Councils.

-- Encyclical of the Eastern Patriarchs (1848)

I wonder when "long ago" was for them, when the faith was "sealed." At the end of the Apostolic age? After the final book of the NT was written? After the Ecumenical Councils? Another interesting thing about it is that throughout the document they speak loftily of the "seven ecumenical councils," and yet we also find this:

"Some of the Bishops of that City, styled Popes, for example Leo III and John VIII, did indeed, as has been said, denounce the innovation, and published the denunciation to the world, the former by those silver plates, the latter by his letter to the holy Photius at the eighth Ecumenical Council"
« Last Edit: December 12, 2017, 09:32:45 PM by Asteriktos »

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #426 on: December 12, 2017, 09:53:40 PM »
The former is definitely interesting. The latter I think is not too contradictory. I think Orthodoxy will forever speak of "the Seven Ecumenical Councils," even if she accepts more as being on the same footing. I personally feel that the eighth and ninth are indisputably Ecumenical, but I still speak of "the Seven," for instance.
"This is the one from the beginning, who seemed to be new, yet was found to be ancient and always young, being born in the hearts of the saints."
Letter to Diognetus 11.4

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #427 on: February 23, 2018, 03:08:54 AM »
Biblicists up to the seventies of the last century (when new studies began to elucidate Origen's exegetical principles in greater depth and charity) tended to dismiss Origen as someone who had little regard for the historical reality of the texts and events. This too is far from being the case when the context of Origen's work is closely studied. What he says is not that the history does not matter, but rather behind it lies an even more significant history, precisely because the trans-historical society of the Church recognizes universal relevance out of accidental event. Indeed, for Origen this very process of seeing the deeper significance (its universal import) out of the raw data of history and text, is that "scriptural principle" that is the Church's perennial instinct in "reading" history in the light of providence...

-- Fr. John McGuckin (b. 1952), Volume 2 of Collected Studies, Seeing the Glory: Studies in Patristic Theology, p. 118

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #428 on: February 23, 2018, 10:43:03 PM »
It is sometimes said that Orthodox Christians kiss the Gospel Book, but they don't read it. I hope that is not true, but it is certainly true that we do not only read the Gospel, the Gospel Book is an object of veneration: it is carried in procession at the Little Entrance, its binding is usually decorated with icons, of the resurrection and of the cross--there are examples of Gospel Books with marvellous illuminations throughout. This is not irrelevant, or superfluous, for the Gospel Book is seen as an icon of Christ. St. Theodore the Studite, in the second stage of the Iconoclast controversy, spoke of icons as 'written in god,' compared with the Gospel that was 'written in ink.' The comparison works both ways: just as an icon is venerated, because it images forth the one depicted and so provides access to the one depicted, so the Gospel, through what is written in it, provides us with access to the one who is the Gospel: Christ, Emmanuel, God-with-us. It is still 'writing in ink,' which needs to be interpreted, but it is important because it discloses Christ, it invites us to an encounter with Christ.

The Orthodox approach to the Scriptures endeavours to keep a balance between these two dimensions. The patient work of scholarship is important. The Bible is a collection of books written over hundreds, even thousands of years. They were written and rewritten in particular historical circumstances, and understanding those historical circumstances will help us to read them in an appropriate way. The text of the scriptural books themselves is not something we can take for granted. There are a host of manuscripts, with different readings, and there are scholarly methods for seeking to establish the original meaning.

All this is useful, and there is no reason why an Orthodox Christian should ignore it. But it is not the whole story. Scholarly interpretation has been governed by an overriding concern to establish the original text and meaning. But there are many circumstances in which this is either not appropriate or not the whole story. For the Scriptures do not simply belong to their original context: they have been read and re-read over the centuries. When we venerate the Book of the Gospels we are acknowledging it as something that belongs in the present: it bodies forth Christ now.

-- Fr. Andrew Louth (b. 1944), Introducing Eastern Orthodox Theology, p. 8

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #429 on: February 26, 2018, 04:34:20 PM »
If we manage to free our minds from the concept of the Eucharist as a thing or a means of grace and recognize it mainly as an act of the worshiping synaxis, we shall easily realize that for the ancient Church the Eucharist was not simply a communio in sacris, but also a communio sanctorum and therefore the expression of the very "ecclesia of God" in a certain place. In the body of the Eucharist the Early Church could see at once the body of Christ and the body of the Church. For "the bread which we break is it not a koinonia of the body of Christ? Because there is one loaf, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the same loaf." (1 Cor. 10:15) This understanding of the Eucharist makes it easy for Paul to imply clearly the striking identification of the "ecclesia of God" with the eucharistic gathering. (1 Cor. 11:18-22)  For Paul, as well as for Ignatius, the Didascalia, Cyprian and many other sources of early Christianity, the celebration of the Eucharist and the communion of the faithful in it bear a deep ecclesiological significance: they express the "ecclesia of God" and her unity par excellence.

-- Met. John Zizioulas (b. 1931), Councils and the Ecumenical Movement, pp. 40-41

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #430 on: February 27, 2018, 07:57:41 PM »
Only after this did Holy Mother Olga speak. She spoke about God and people who choose to do evil things. She said the people who hurt me thought they could make me carry their evil inside of me by rape. She was very firm when she said, "That's a lie. Only God can carry evil away. The only thing they could put inside you was the seed of life which is a creation of God and cannot pollute anyone." I was never polluted. It just felt that way because of the evil intentions of the people near me. What I had held inside me was the pain, terror, shame, and helplessness I felt. We had labored together and that was all out of me now. She burned some grass over the little flame and the smoke went straight up to God who is both the judge and the forgiver. I understood by the "incense" that it wasn't my job to carry the sins of people against me either. It was God's, and what an ever-unfolding richness this taste of salvation is.

-- Matushka Olga Michael (d. 1979), Source

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #431 on: March 01, 2018, 06:26:38 AM »
Unlike many Christians in our day, for example, the fathers generally did not doubt Adam and Eve's historic existence; Adam was, after all, the root of the key scriptural genealogies. Unlike us, they had no scientific reason to doubt them as the first physical parents of humanity. Thinkers such as Origen, especially, took the literary cues of the biblical narratives as indicating an interweaving of fictive and historical material and pointed out that the "historical" tends to be completely beyond our means either to access or to prove. Yet even he, like the other fathers, when speaking genealogically, looked back to Adam. Taking this for granted, the fathers approached the narratives on the allegorical, typological, and moral levels, milking each for truth and meaning. Whatever their different conclusions about the details and historicity, they saw the narratives as telling the truth about God and created reality, about human sinfulness and the need for redemption, and ultimately abot the person and work of Christ, the Son of the Father, anointed by and proclaiming the Holy Spirit.

-- Peter C. Bouteneff, Beginnings: Ancient Christian Readings of the Biblical Creation Narratives, pp. 182-183

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #432 on: March 01, 2018, 06:48:19 PM »
Filaret captured the attention of many by his little book, On the Dogmatic Significance and Protective Usages of the LXX and Slavonic Translation of the Holy Scripture, published in Moscow in 1858. this book was part of an ongoing dispute between those who opposed translated the Hebrew text, who wanted instead to translate the Old Testament from the LXX, and those who preferred to translate into Russian directly from the ancient Hebrew. Filaret demonstrated in this book how and why the exegete must consider the best text not only from a philological point of view, but also from the view of its dogmatic worthiness. Filaret, for the first time, manifestly related an exegetical methodological direction to Orthodox dogmatic teaching by: (1) making a distinction in the meaningfulness between the biblical text of the Hebrew Old testament and LXX for the Orthodox; and (2) insisting that only the text of the LXX can do justice to the theology of the Russian Orthodox Church in challenging the validity of the Hebrew texts for the understanding of the Old Testament.

The LXX, for him, represented the harmony for the whole of Eastern Orthodox Christianity. While the books of the LXX are valid sources for Orthodox doctrines, he felt that the Hebrew texts might lead the interpreter to conclusions that are contradictory to ecclesiastical dogma. Although Filaret prepared the way for recognition of the theological character and significance of the LXX texts for the Orthodox Church, he admittedly denied that it is possible to interpret the Old Testament  without considering the Hebrew text. It is also important to note, that Filaret, in laying the foundation for Old testament interpretation with its comparative study between textual readings in Hebrew, Septuagint, and Slavonic Bible, agreed with the Orthodox thought that there is no differentiation of the biblical texts on the basis of their canonicity. He says, that the Orthodox Church canonized the books of Scripture, but "it did not determine in which reading or reading variant a given passage originally existed; the interpreter has to determine which to follow and which readings to rule out." In the end, this allowed the possibility for Orthodox Bible interpreters to practice their work with different biblical texts and to reconstruct the original textual reading.

-- said of St. Philaret of Moscow (d. 1867), Source

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #433 on: March 01, 2018, 08:24:53 PM »
Filaret captured the attention of many by his little book, On the Dogmatic Significance and Protective Usages of the LXX and Slavonic Translation of the Holy Scripture, published in Moscow in 1858. this book was part of an ongoing dispute between those who opposed translated the Hebrew text, who wanted instead to translate the Old Testament from the LXX, and those who preferred to translate into Russian directly from the ancient Hebrew. Filaret demonstrated in this book how and why the exegete must consider the best text not only from a philological point of view, but also from the view of its dogmatic worthiness. Filaret, for the first time, manifestly related an exegetical methodological direction to Orthodox dogmatic teaching by: (1) making a distinction in the meaningfulness between the biblical text of the Hebrew Old testament and LXX for the Orthodox; and (2) insisting that only the text of the LXX can do justice to the theology of the Russian Orthodox Church in challenging the validity of the Hebrew texts for the understanding of the Old Testament.

The LXX, for him, represented the harmony for the whole of Eastern Orthodox Christianity. While the books of the LXX are valid sources for Orthodox doctrines, he felt that the Hebrew texts might lead the interpreter to conclusions that are contradictory to ecclesiastical dogma. Although Filaret prepared the way for recognition of the theological character and significance of the LXX texts for the Orthodox Church, he admittedly denied that it is possible to interpret the Old Testament  without considering the Hebrew text. It is also important to note, that Filaret, in laying the foundation for Old testament interpretation with its comparative study between textual readings in Hebrew, Septuagint, and Slavonic Bible, agreed with the Orthodox thought that there is no differentiation of the biblical texts on the basis of their canonicity. He says, that the Orthodox Church canonized the books of Scripture, but "it did not determine in which reading or reading variant a given passage originally existed; the interpreter has to determine which to follow and which readings to rule out." In the end, this allowed the possibility for Orthodox Bible interpreters to practice their work with different biblical texts and to reconstruct the original textual reading.

-- said of St. Philaret of Moscow (d. 1867), Source
Wow, thanks! This book by St. Philaret would be really helpful for me, since I have this ongoing project to make an Orthodox Psalter in Portuguese. I doubt it has been translated to any language, but if I can find an online version, Google Translate should help.

Edit: Found it!  :D Thanks, Asteriktos.  :-*  Since it's so short and elucidative, maybe I can get a friend to translate it to Portuguese to me. My best friend studied Russian and Portuguese for two years in university.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2018, 08:29:58 PM by RaphaCam »
"May the Lord our God remember in His kingdom all Holy Catholic Apostolic Church, which heralds the Word of Truth and fearlessly offers and distributes the Holy Oblation despite human deficiencies and persecutions moved by the powers of this world, in all time and unto the ages of ages."

May the Blessed Light shine Forth

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #434 on: March 02, 2018, 06:59:12 PM »
Sounds like a good project, hope it goes well!

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #435 on: March 02, 2018, 07:18:39 PM »
How can we know God? How can we penetrate into the depths of His essence and examine His nature, His composition and His hypostasis? It is impossible. And it is impossible because God is a spiritual essence and nature while we are carnal and earthly men. God is infinite and we are finite. He is our Creator and we His creatures. How can the infinite be contained by the finite, and how can the imperfect comprehend the perfect? The creatures fathom their Creator? "Our God is inaccessible and our mind cannot contain Him."  Nor can we approach so close as to know Him completely. Nor can our narrow and limited mind contain the infinite and all-perfect God. This is what Holy Scripture means when it says that "No one has ever seen God" (John 1:18) and that "no man has ever seen God or is able to see Him." (1 Tim. 6:16)

(Footnote: The wise Solomon declares the same thing when he says: "What man is he that can know the will of God? or who can think what the will of the Lord is?" (Wis. 9:13) Holy Scripture in this way wants to tell us that the Divine is inscrutable and incomprehensible to man. For this reason St. Cyril of Jerusalem says, "We do not explain to you what God is, for in matters concerning God it is great knowledge to be able to confess our unknowability." And St. Athanasius adds: "And though it is impossible for us to understand what God is, it is possible for us to say what He is not." He is not small, limited, imperfect, weak, mortal, sinful as man is, and so man cannot know him.)

-- Carl S. Tyneh (ed.), Orthodox Christianity: Overview and Bibliography, p. 7

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #436 on: March 03, 2018, 11:07:30 PM »
Second, John is far removed from ferocious monastic misanthropists, who use the wicked and the worldly as a scapegoat loaded perhaps with the detestable acts they have been tempted to commit themselves. He is also an ascetic writer for whom life is a way of giving. And to give, in acts of even the most extreme renunciation and mortification, was to give to others, by virtue of an undefined--or undefinable--law of generosity. To give away and expect nothing--nothing whatever in return--to embrace all things in self-giving love, is the air that John of the Ladder breathes.

-- John Chryssavgis (b. 1958), John Climacus: From the Egyptian Desert to the Sinaite Mountain

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #437 on: March 04, 2018, 05:30:19 PM »
Contrary to Scully's Westernized interpretation, the Great Church--like all authentic Byzantine temples--serves not to transport the worshipper to heaven, as the Goth temple would do, or to replace the natural and earthly with an abstract, Platonized heaven, or even less elicits a psychologized "inner" space. Rather, it serves to join together heaven and earth, to be the ontological bridge between them. The great dome, originally lined with solid gold, still seems to float weightlessly above, as if suspended from heaven or borne by seraphic orders. It is heaven itself, but brought down to earth and joined with it. The Divine Liturgy, for whose sake the church is built, dramatically enacts the joining of heaven and earth: the drama is a progressive interaction and eventual communion of the heavenly (the sacred space and the celebrants in teh sanctuary, behind the chancel or iconostasis) and the earthly sphere of the nave, toward whome the icons face, offing the vision of heaven.

-- Bruce V. Foltz, The Noetics of Nature: Environmental Philosophy and the Holy Beauty of the Visible

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #438 on: March 05, 2018, 07:08:02 PM »
If it is impossible not to become indignant, then at least restrain your tongue according to the words of the Psalmist: "I am so troubled that I cannot speak" (Ps. 77:4). In this instance we can take as examples for ourselves St. Spyridon of Tremifunt and St. Ephraim the Syrian. The first bore an insult when he entered the palace by the demand of the Greek emperor: one of the servants present in the emperor’s chamber, taking him for a beggar, laughed at him, did not allow him to enter the chamber and even struck him on the cheek. St. Spyridon, being without malice, turned the other cheek to him, according the word of the Lord (Mt. 5:39). The Blessed Ephraim, living in the desert, was once deprived of food in the following fashion. His pupil, carrying the food, accidentally broke the vessel on the way. Blessed Ephraim, seeing the pupil downcast, said to him: "Do not grieve, brother. If the food did not want to come to us, then we will go to it." And so the monk went, sat next to the broken vessel, and, gathering the food together, ate it. He was thus without malice!

-- St. Seraphim of Sarov (d. 1833), Source

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #439 on: March 06, 2018, 10:30:45 PM »
In 1931, Bishop Dositheus was appointed the first bishop of the newly established Zagreb Diocese. Here in the capital city of Croatia, Orthodox Christians were a minority in a predominately Roman Catholic nation. The new bishop arrived in his diocese among Catholics who were not welcoming of an Orthodox bishop especially since his missionary work was well known in leading Carpatho-Russians out of the Greek Catholic Church. Bishop Dositheus became the target of insults in the streets and stones were thrown into his windows at night. When told that he should contact the police he responded that it was inappropriate for a bishop to do this. The bishop told a friend "When they swear at me or spit at me, I simply raise my hand and bless them". Bishop Dositheus took seriously the words of the Beatitudes: Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth...

Upon the ascent of the Ustashi, Bishop Dositheus was immediately arrested. Ill and lying in bed, half-dressed, he was taken into the street to face a Catholic mob. He was led through the streets, beaten and mocked by the crowd. On his arrival at a hospital for treatment, he was nearly unconscious. His mistreatment at the hospital continued where he was the object of scorn and derision by the Catholic nuns who staffed the hospital. Seriously ill, he was taken by two Nazi SS guards to a prison in Belgrade, Serbia where he was found dressed in rags, his body covered with bruises. At the request of the Serbian government, Bishop Dositheus was released from the hospital and placed in the Monastery of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple. The nuns of the monastery cared for him until he died from his injuries on January 13, 1945

-- St. Dositheus of Zagreb (d. 1945), Source

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #440 on: March 08, 2018, 12:32:12 AM »
Showing great zeal not only in thy spiritual labours as a novice, but also in thine Apostolic fervour as thou preached to a people sitting in darkness, thee, O Venerable Herman, revealed the light of Christ to them with great power. Remembering thine apostolic labours and thy efforts to preach, with love we praise thee:

Rejoice; uncomplaining giver of obedience to thy spiritual father!
Rejoice; preacher who brought the Good News from afar!
Rejoice; faithful son of Holy Russia!
Rejoice; adopted son of North America!
Rejoice; initiator of the monastic way in our land!
Rejoice; zealous preacher of the Orthodox Faith!
Rejoice; our Venerable Father Herman of Alaska, America's most glorious doer of wonders!

-- Akathist to St. Herman of Alaska (d. 1836)
« Last Edit: March 08, 2018, 12:32:36 AM by Asteriktos »

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #441 on: March 17, 2018, 11:30:59 AM »
The assertion that there is such a thing as right faith came to be expressed, by the end of the second century, in terms of the canon (rule) of faith or truth, where canon does not mean an ultimately arbitrary list of articles of belief which must be adhered to, or a list of authoritative books which must be accepted, but is rather a crystallization of the hypothesis of Scripture itself. The canon in this sense is the presupposition for reading Scripture on its own terms--it is the canon of truth, where Scripture is the body of truth.

-- Fr. John Behr (b. 1966), The Way to Nicaea, p. 15

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #442 on: March 18, 2018, 06:47:10 PM »
"God allowed the Orthodox to be scattered to the world, so that they would announce to all nations the true Orthodox faith, and prepare the world to the second coming of Christ." (1953 Synod of ROCOR)

I'm translating this back into English from a Portuguese book on Orthodox liturgics, so the original form should be different. I would like to read the full text.
"May the Lord our God remember in His kingdom all Holy Catholic Apostolic Church, which heralds the Word of Truth and fearlessly offers and distributes the Holy Oblation despite human deficiencies and persecutions moved by the powers of this world, in all time and unto the ages of ages."

May the Blessed Light shine Forth

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #443 on: March 19, 2018, 07:10:12 PM »
He never spoke in his own name, but would always quote the holy Fathers or what Father Macarius had said in similar circumstances. His words of instruction were clear, concise and based on his own experience of the battle with passionate thoughts. He was always approachable and received all his visitors with the same attention and courtesy whatever their rank in society. When he observed that people who sought his help had need of confession, he would give them a space of three days to examine their consciences and make known the causes of their maladies. Thus he put numerous sinners on the path of godliness, and cured many who were mentally sick by his prayer.

-- said of: St. Hilarion of Optina (1873), Source

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #444 on: March 20, 2018, 04:51:19 PM »
When we think of spiritual discipline we usually think in terms of life, rules of thinking and meditation, rules of prayers, which are aimed at drilling us into what we imagine to be the pattern of a real Christian life. but when we observe people who submit themselves to that kind of strict discipline, and when we ourselves attempt this, we usually see that the results are far less than we would expect. And this generally comes from the fact that we take the means for the end, that we concentrate so much on the means that we never achieve the end at all, or  that we achieve them to so small a degree that it was not worth putting in all that effort to achieve so little. this results, I believe, from not understanding what spiritual discipline is and what it is aimed at.

We must remember that the discipline is not the same thing as drill. Discipline is the condition of the disciple, the situation of the disciple with regard both to his master and to what he is learning. And if we try to understand what discipleship means when it is put into action, when it results in discipline, we may easily find the following things. First of all, discipleship means a sincere desire to learn and a determination to learnt at all cost. I know that the words 'at all cost' may mean a great deal more for one person than for another. It depends on the zeal and the conviction or the longing we have for the learning. yet it is always 'at all cost' for this particular person. A sincere desire to learn is not so often to be discovered in our hearts. Quite often we wish to learn up to a point, provided the efforts will not be too great, provided we have guarantees that the final result will be worth the effort. We do not launch into this learning wholeheartedly enough and this is why so often we do not achieve what we could achieve. So the first condition if we wish to become disciples fruitfully and learn a discipline which will give results, is integrity of purpose. This is not easily acquired.

-- Met. Anthony of Sourozh (d. 2003), Meditations on a Theme: A Spiritual Journey

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #445 on: March 21, 2018, 03:24:33 AM »
He never spoke in his own name, but would always quote the holy Fathers or what Father Macarius had said in similar circumstances. His words of instruction were clear, concise and based on his own experience of the battle with passionate thoughts. He was always approachable and received all his visitors with the same attention and courtesy whatever their rank in society. When he observed that people who sought his help had need of confession, he would give them a space of three days to examine their consciences and make known the causes of their maladies. Thus he put numerous sinners on the path of godliness, and cured many who were mentally sick by his prayer.

-- said of: St. Hilarion of Optina (1873), Source
Okay, this almost made me cry warm for some reason.
"May the Lord our God remember in His kingdom all Holy Catholic Apostolic Church, which heralds the Word of Truth and fearlessly offers and distributes the Holy Oblation despite human deficiencies and persecutions moved by the powers of this world, in all time and unto the ages of ages."

May the Blessed Light shine Forth

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #446 on: March 21, 2018, 05:56:11 AM »
He never spoke in his own name, but would always quote the holy Fathers or what Father Macarius had said in similar circumstances. His words of instruction were clear, concise and based on his own experience of the battle with passionate thoughts. He was always approachable and received all his visitors with the same attention and courtesy whatever their rank in society. When he observed that people who sought his help had need of confession, he would give them a space of three days to examine their consciences and make known the causes of their maladies. Thus he put numerous sinners on the path of godliness, and cured many who were mentally sick by his prayer.

-- said of: St. Hilarion of Optina (1873), Source
Okay, this almost made me cry warm for some reason.

It is a nice picture of compassion. I wish I could be as caring of other people as St. Hilarion.

May he pray for us.
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #447 on: March 21, 2018, 07:00:56 PM »
"And how is Fr. Seraphim?"
"He's as happy as a clam."

-- said of: Fr. Seraphim Rose (d. 1982), Source

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #448 on: March 21, 2018, 07:48:57 PM »
He never spoke in his own name, but would always quote the holy Fathers or what Father Macarius had said in similar circumstances. His words of instruction were clear, concise and based on his own experience of the battle with passionate thoughts. He was always approachable and received all his visitors with the same attention and courtesy whatever their rank in society. When he observed that people who sought his help had need of confession, he would give them a space of three days to examine their consciences and make known the causes of their maladies. Thus he put numerous sinners on the path of godliness, and cured many who were mentally sick by his prayer.

-- said of: St. Hilarion of Optina (1873), Source
Okay, this almost made me cry warm for some reason.

So unlike ourselves.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #449 on: March 22, 2018, 07:10:20 PM »
The way into the heavenly Kingdom is Jesus Christ Himself. Only those who go by this way follow Jesus Christ. But as to how we must go by this way, listen to what Jesus Christ Himself says: Whoever wishes to follow Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. And what it means to deny oneself, take up one’s cross and follow Jesus Christ will be told in the following pages. Jesus Christ said: Whoever wishes to follow Me. These words mean that Jesus Christ does not compel or force anyone to follow Him. He does not want to have as His disciples those who are unwilling or those who have no special desire to follow Him, but wants us willingly and without any compulsion to surrender ourselves wholly to Him. Consequentially, only those who desire to do so enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Christian, your salvation or perdition depends on your own will! In His unspeakable wisdom and love, the Lord has given you freedom to do what you like, and He does not wish to take this most precious gift away from you. And so, if you wish to follow Jesus Christ, He will show you the way into the Kingdom of Heaven and will even help you along the way. But if you do not wish to follow Him, do as you like; no one is going to compel you or force you. But beware of despising the call of Jesus Christ and His loving kindness. In His great goodness, Jesus Christ knocks for a long, long time on the door of everyone’s heart in order to awaken his soul and arouse in it a desire for salvation. But woe to the man whom He finally abandons and whom He casts out as a son of perdition!

-- St. Innocent of Alaska (d. 1879), Indication of the Way into the Kingdom of Heaven (pdf)