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The pastoral word of Archimandrite Alexander to the parishioners. (Sunday, October 13, 2019)

I am very worried; pain and fear; humiliating unjust interrogation; KGB; lawlessness dashing 90's; humiliating procedure; These people are only people, though they wear robes.; There were tears in my eyes when I read the decree in which you, the faithful, were forbidden freedom of Assembly and freedom of speech under the threat of anathema.; You are my children. You are the children of Christ; there Were days when I was ready to go to Athos as a simple monk and forget this filth and slander with which I was poured...

Maybe Fr.Alexander decided to leave the ROCOR/MP  because like the priests who signed petition in Sept. because the Church in Russia:
the resurgent Orthodox Church has developed a close relationship with the Kremlin. ...."A state devoid of justice is no better than a band of robbers," he said.

You can read more here:

MOSCOW -- In his 26 years of service to the Russian Orthodox Church, Father Andrei Lorgus has heard the confessions of believers from all walks of life.
But as a crackdown on Russia's opposition continued, with prison sentences and raids of protesters' homes, Lorgus said the officials he counsels at Moscow's St. Nicholas Church - among them judges, investigators, and law enforcement officers - were torn between their Christian conscience and their duties to the Russian state.
"I can feel tension inside them, that they're reflecting on things and have pangs of conscience," he said in a telephone interview. "I simply tell them, 'We will all answer before God.'"
Last week, Lorgus was one of more than 180 Russian Orthodox priests who signed an open letter urging the authorities to scale back their clampdown and free many activists sentenced to prison for attending protests. It was an intervention in politics that church scholars say is unprecedented in Russia since the 1991 Soviet collapse.

Is Jesus a magician?

Was the Lord's arrival announced by mages/magi(cians) using astrology?

That was for the purposes of showing that Christ came to both Jews and Gentiles. Far from a ringing endorsement of astrology.

Should we begin worshipping pagan gods when St. Paul saw the Gentiles worshipping the unknown God?

You must be a peach at coffee hour.
<<Was the Epaphroditus to whom Josephus dedicated his work a Christian or Christian sympathizer?>>
    He likely was a Christian, and if not, then a Christian sympathizer, based on three main pieces of evidence:
    (1) Josephus wrote that Epaphroditus strongly encouraged Josephus' writing, Josephus was apparently a Christian or Christian sympathizer based on his passages on Jesus and James, and Josephus dedicated his Antiquities, autobiography, and Contra Apion to Epaphroditus. In particular, Josephus' patron Epaphroditus especially encouraged Josephus to write Contra Apion, which is an apology for Judaism. This in turn suggests that like Josephus himself, Epaphroditus was especially interested in Jewish religion. This would go along with belief in Jesus as the Jewish Messiah, since in this early period, Christianity was much more closely associated with Judaism.
    (2) The philosopher Epictetus was apparently a pagan Christian because he referred to "we" who are "baptised" and taught concepts that overlap with New Testament teachings. He was a freedman whose former master was Epaphroditus, whom Suidas wrote was Nero's guard or chamberlain in his Encyclopedia entry for "Epictetus." Suidas' encyclopedia's entry for "Epaphroditus" describes Epaphroditus as physically large and a collector of literature in the same way that Josephus describes the Epaphroditus who was his own patron, so apparently this Epaphroditus was the same as Josephus'. Suidas says that Epaphroditus lived in Rome in the period from Nero to Nerva, whereas Josephus wrote that Epaphroditus was killed by Domitian, who ruled before Nerva. But a careful analysis of Suidas' writing, like his entry on Apollonius of Tyana, shows that Suidas may have only been using this as a general estimate of Epaphroditus' era, which addresses the initially apparent conflict in dates between the two Epaphrodituses.
    (3) In his Epistle to the Philippians, Chapters 2 and 4, Paul introduces an Epaphroditus who is his companion in labor and fellowsoldier in Christ to the Philippian Christians. Along with introducing Epaphroditus, Paul concludes: "Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you. All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household." Since Paul had converts among the praetorian guards and Senators like Pudens, Paul's letter serves as circumstantial evidence that Paul's companion Epaphroditus was the one famous as a Nero's secretary or bodyguard. Josephus writes that his patron Epaphroditus was "himself concerned in great affairs, and many turns of fortune", whereas Nero's secretary Epaphroditus was involved in Nero's death, according to Suetonius.
<<What resemblance or closeness does Josephus see between the Pharisees and Stoics when he writes: "Being now in my nineteenth year I began to govern my life by the rules of the Pharisees, a sect having points of resemblance to that which the Greeks call the Stoic school"?>>
Josephus uses the Greek word παραπλήσιος, meaning similar or close.
    In the context of explaining Josephus' comparison between the Stoics and Pharisees, Jerome Neyrey writes, "In several places, Josephus describes the Pharisees (i.e., Stoics) in terms of providence and theodicy. For example, 'The Pharisees, who are considered the most accurate interpreters of the laws, and hold the position of the leading sect, attribute everything to Fate and to God . . . Every soul, they maintain, is imperishable, but the soul of the good alone passes into another body, while the souls of the wicked suffer eternal punishment.'(Josephus, B.J. II.162-163)" (J. Neyrey, "Epicureans and the Areopagus Speech: Stereotypes and Theodicy",
    Leonard Ooh writes that "Josephus redresses his telling of the story [of the Binding of Isaac] as depicting Abraham “in the guise of a kind of Stoic philosopher, who reasons that ‘all that befell His [G-d’s] favored ones’ was ordained by his providence (προνοιασ) (Ant 1.225),” (Felman 194). The Greek word προνοι[2] is itself a Stoic term, in which Josephus uses 74+ times in the first half of Antiquities (Feldman 194)." (
    In his book "Flavius Josephus on the Pharisees: A Composition-Critical Study", Steve Mason writes:
By presenting the Pharisees as those who attribute everything to eimarmeni kai Theo, Josephus may be anticipating one of the bases on which he will later compare the Pharisees to the Stoics (Life, 12)(75)
    Footnotes: 75: A. Posnanski notes that we have here only a terminological parallel. Josephus does not advance any particular Stoic doctrines for the Pharisees, such as that of the logos spermatikos. It is worth norting, however, that Josephus himself comes close to this Stoic teaching when, in his speech against suicide at Jotapata, he speaks of the soul as a portion of God (Theou moira, War 3:372).
    Mason also writes in the same book:
The Pharisees, he says, are the leading philosophical school among the Jews, and, like the leading Hellenistic school (the Stoics), they attribute everything to fate or God. Also like the Stoics, the Pharisees both concede that virtuous action lies in man's power and insist that eimarmeni cooperates (Bitheo/adiuno) in each action. It is beyond the scope of this study to decide whether or not Josephus was right. Suffice it here to note: (a) that Josephus knew a good deal more about the Pharisees, and probably about the Stoics, than does modern scholarship' (b) that he considered the Pharisees and Stoics to be alike in some respects (cf paraplisios, Life 12); (c) that outside observers of ancient Judaism sometimes described it in Stoic terms; and (d) that monism and monotheism, insofar as they both posit a single ultimate being, must share certain common features.
    Steve Mason writes in Footnote 92 of his publication Life of Josephus, "If we ask why Josephus compared Pharisees with Stoics, the answer is not hard to imagine. Stoics had famously tried to find room for both fate and free will, just as Josephus' Pharisees do (Ant. 13. 171-73). This was the central philosophical issue. The roles of the two schools in their respective societies-widely embraced ideas, even if the number of committed members was small (Ant. 18.15)-might also have played a part in his comparison.[/quote]
<<Does Josephus' story of one "Herod" rescuing him with his guard James in Sections 17-18 sound realistic? Is it more likely an allegorical allusion to Jesus' brother James, King Herod, and Josephus than a literal recounting of his experience?>>
    It sounds realistic, although like the story of Josephus getting three friends down from crosses, it also sounds like he is making a cryptic allusion to Christianity.
    I originally thought that the story was not realistic because I read Whiston's translation as if it meant that Josephus and James both jumped onto the back of Herod, who carried them out. This seemed like an unrealistic feat to me. Whiston gives this section of Josephus' autobiography this way:
17. ...But when I was in the open place of the city, having dismissed the guards I had about me, excepting one, and ten armed men that were with him, I attempted to make a speech to the multitude of the people of Tiberias: and, standing on a certain elevated place, I entreated them not to be so hasty in their revolt; for that such a change in their behavior would be to their reproach, and that they would then justly be suspected by those that should be their governors hereafter, as if they were not likely to be faithful to them neither.
    18. But before I had spoken all I designed, I heard one of my own domestics bidding me come down, for that it was not a proper time to take care of retaining the good-will of the people of Tiberias, but to provide for my own safety, and escape my enemies there; for John had chosen the most trusty of those armed men that were about him out of those thousand that he had with him, and had given them orders when he sent them, to kill me, having learned that I was alone, excepting some of my domestics. So those that were sent came as they were ordered, and they had executed what they came about, had I not leaped down from the elevation I stood on, and with one of my guards, whose name was James, been carried [out of the crowd] upon the back of one Herod of Tiberias, and guided by him down to the lake, where I seized a ship, and got into it, and escaped my enemies unexpectedly, and came to Tarichese.
    A more careful reading shows that in the passage above, Josephus does not say that he leaped down with James onto Herod, or that he was carried out together with James on Herod's back. Thackeray's translation is generally better than Whiston's and makes it clearer that they were not both carried on Herod's back. Thackeray has:
They duly arrived and would have done their business, had I not instantly leapt from the parapet, with James my bodyguard, and been further aided by one Herod of Tiberias, who picked me up and conducted me to the lake, where I seized a boat, embarked, and escaping thus beyond all expectation from my enemies, reached Tarichaeae.
    When Josephus first told his story in Wars of the Jews, Book II, Chapter 21, he did not mention his bodyguard James or the Herod who carried him, but he did say that the parapet that he was standing on was 6 cubits high:
But as soon as Josephus had got the people of Tiberias together in the Stadium, and tried to discourse with them about the letters that he had received, John privately sent some armed men, and gave them orders to slay him. But when the people saw that the armed men were about to draw their swords, they cried out; at which cry Josephus turned himself about, and when he saw that the swords were just at his throat, he marched away in great haste to the sea shore, and left off that speech which he was going to make to the people, upon an elevation of six cubits high. He then seized on a ship which lay in the haven, and leaped into it, with two of his guards, and fled away into the midst of the lake.
    The six cubits could just be his normal estimate of the height, but one could question why he estimated it to be six cubits instead of, say, 5. Goliath was six cubits tall, so conceivably Josephus was thinking of the man Herod who carried him. This Herod would have to be a large or strong man to carry Josephus out of the crowd.
    Josephus' apparent references in his autobiography to John the Baptist and Jesus, as well as the similarities between the stories of his escape in Tiberias and James' death, suggest that Josephus was alluding to the latter. A feature of some early Christian writings was to include coincidences or similarities between one's own life and the New Testament, such as in the Martyrdom of Polycarp. And in the chapters following the Testimonium Flavianum in his Antiquities, Book XVIII, Josephus plays with characters' names like "Paulina" and events like gathering tithes from converts to send to Jerusalem to allude to elements of the New Testament (ie. Paul's gathering of tithes for Jerusalem), so Josephus elsewhere uses a similar method to cryptically allude to major Christian figures and events.
    In his autobiography, Josephus wrote that from 16-19 years old, he was taught by a hermit, Banus, who lived in the wilderness, "used no other clothing than grew upon trees, had no other food than what grew of its own accord, and bathed himself in cold water frequently, both by night and by day, in order to preserve his chastity. I imitated him in those things..." The image of the bathing ascetic hermit teaching Josephus these ways brings to mind how Jesus was baptized by John "the Baptist" before beginning His ministry. Josephus might have focused on the name "Banus" because it resembles the Vulgar Latin terms "baneare" and "baneum" (meaning to bathe and a bath, respectively), or as it may refer to "Bannaim", which some scholars take to mean
"those who bathe," from the Judæo-Aramean word "banna'a," equivalent to the Greek βαλανεîον (bath). (
Jewish Encyclopedia's article on "Bannaim" quotes a Mishnah that "Garments belonging to the Bannaim may not have a mud-stain even upon one side, because these people are very particular concerning the cleanliness of their clothing, and any such spot would prevent the purifying water from actually penetrating the garment as it is usually worn..." The article notes that "[I)t is highly probable that the word 'Bannaim' in the above-mentioned Mishnah means simply 'bathers'".
    He also records a time when he saw Jews crucified by the Romans, recognized three of his friends, and asked Titus to take them down, "so he immediately commanded them to be taken down, and to have the greatest care taken of them, in order to their recovery; yet two of them died under the physician's hands, while the third recovered." Josephus, whose name is a Greek version of Yosef/Joseph, had a father named "Matthias", making his native Aramaic name Joseph "Bar Mattiyah". So Josephus' story about trying to save his three friends from the Romans, only one of whom survived, can recall how "Joseph of Arimathea" requested the body of Jesus from the Romans, so that Jesus, who rose again, and the two other convicts were taken down.
    Josephus' description of his jumping from the parapet brings to mind the story of the killing of James, thereby fitting the pattern of such Christian passages in the Antiquities corresponding to those in the Lives. This is because in the Antiquities, Josephus narrated the story of John the Baptist, the crucifixion of Jesus, and the killing of James. In the story of James' death in early Christian writings like Hegesippus', James orated at the Temple and was thrown down from its wall and stoned or clubbed. As Josephus explained in Antiquities, Book XX, James' killers took advantage of the Roman governor's absence in order to kill James, which implies that the Roman authorities' power had effectively been protecting James. Similarly, in the story of Josephus' escape with his guard James, Josephus had been making a speech on an elevated parapet, but then jumped down to avoid being killed by anti-Roman rebels, and was carried to safety by one "Herod." "Herod" carrying Josephus could also allude to the Herodian rulers supporting him, which would accord with Josephus' good relations with the more orderly or pro-peace faction in Tiberias in Sections 12-13 of his Vitae. There, Josephus describes how rebels burnt and looted Herod's palace, which "provoked" Josephus, who decided to retake the stolen goods and "resolved to preserve whatsoever came to my hand for the king."
I actually value your theological knowledge and welcome your answers to the questions. I am giving my best, sincere answers based on the information that I find.
Other Topics / Re: W.A.G.-word association game
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Every rational creature has God-like powers.

Gotta love the equivocation game.

Actually it's the univocation game.
Other Topics / Re: W.A.G.-word association game
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Orthodox-Catholic Discussion / Re: Catholic Church Music
« Last post by Dominika on Today at 12:48:58 PM »
Vexilla Regis in Latin and Polish by a female choir:
Every rational creature has God-like powers.

Gotta love the equivocation game.
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