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Faith Issues / Re: I loathe and fear going to church
« Last post by Gebre Menfes Kidus on Today at 07:17:43 AM »
DISCLAIMER: I am not a priest or Orthodox authority of any sort.

I can relate to your struggles. I struggle with anxiety and depression and insomnia. I love attending Divine Liturgy, and yet I miss Church way too often. I have learned that we all have to live out our own faith as best we can. Measuring ourselves against others, and judging others, is a sure spiritual pitfall. So don't worry about what others think. You will attend Divine services when you can. If others think you are weak and unfaithful because you don't come every Sunday, so be it. Remember that you are living to serve God, not man. And God knows your heart. So be at peace, and keep striving.

Faith Issues / Re: I loathe and fear going to church
« Last post by Nathanael on Today at 06:13:16 AM »
I can't believe that so many recommend you to seek the help of a medical professional. I would understand that, if this problem effects you in your everday life - from morning till evening - and that would indicate that it has maybe a mental cause. But it's "only" during the service in the church - and therefore it's from the devil. 

Even since the Early Church Christians are compared with soldiers. We're in a spiritual arena. And we have to fight, and we have to find a way out to the last atom of our strength.
And I can say only from my own experience. I had and I have terrible temptations  but I'm so thankful for God for that. All this fight exhausted so much - but all that opened my spiritual eyes and I see more and more clearly how messed up my life is with so many, "little" bad habits, passions and by my Ego. Horrible temptations give us the opportunity to see our life and ourselves more clearly and to see the need to change our life and to lead a more virtuous, "ascetic" life; it teaches us humility and prayer. And by seeking help of a medical professional at the very beginning, we lose this opportunity.

Orthodox Psychotherapy (as for example described in the book of Hierotheos Vlachos) is also effective against so many sorts of psychological problems. But we need guidance, the will to fight and most of all - patience. Maybe the problem will be solved in few months, maybe after one year or after ten years. but that's the way to eternal life - to carry our cross. Father Arseniye, who I recommended to you to listen, had different psychological problems during his life and he has been dealing with mental problems in general and the question of taking medicine against that. He says that we have first to really try to solve the problem without medicine and then - with the blessing and guidance of our spiritual father - we can consider seeking help of a medical professional/psychiatrist. But you risk to be addicted to that. Father Arseniye recommends medical help in case of schizophrenia.

so I feel a measure of guilt for having these feelings

Eight years ago I struggled almost for a year with terrible blasphemous-vulgar thoughts during services. I couldn't even look at the icons and it was very difficult to pray. And like you I felt very guilty for these thoughts. But this is an error. We shouldn't feel guilty - this feeling can only increase this temptation. The cause of this fear is not you - but the devil. This is not your feeling. Try as much as possible not to pay attention to them.
And after receiving this and other advise from a monk, these blasphemous disappeared in my case.

Church must not change its doctrines for God may have a purpose for it and how can it answer to those it did not preach the truth to if it later teaches the truth even if it can answer they may not believe it. I have erred it is not for us to Change anything. It is for God to judge rightly those outside not us if He will save them.
Also I did not mean I condemn people who sincerely believe all need to be in church their conscience not convicting them and having good answer to conscience I hope all of them are those who hold the faith with a good conscience
If we're going to be that unpleasant, the correct categorization for these men would be quadroon.
Almost all the materials I found on this topic are in Russian. Here are a few articles.

A Comparison of the Signature of Pushkin with the Signature of Dumas

The article above notes that although dueling was severely punished by Tsar Nikolas I, the Tsar made an exception and acted mercifully toward those involved in Pushkin's fatal duel, wherein officially Pushkin was killed. The article proposes that Pushkin faked his own death and notes that Pushkin's wife did not attend the funeral, as if that was faked too. He believes that Pushkin showed up in France as "Alexander Dumas", with a new French identity.

"It's not a secret that Nikolai I created in Europe a powerful spying network. In this project were included powerful leading minds of Russia, for example spies included I.S. Turgenev (a famous author) (1818-1883) and F.I. Tyutchev (1803-1873). Acceptable work was found for A S Pushkin too, wo after Karamzin's death was solidly helped with the position of a natural historian. There was no demand in Russia for that kind of work, but that kind of "vacancy", which was not hard to create, should have appeared in France, the main political and military enemy of Russia of the time."
The writer (I think it's Nina Milova) imagines that by posing as a French history writer, "Dumas" could gain access to France's historical archives.

The writer says that Pushkin's handwritten signatures are in question as to their autheticity, and that Dumas generally left no direct signatures, only signatures copied by correspondents.

She points out similarities between the writers, like how they were both Mulattos with similar appearances and who both knew French and Russian fluently. Pushkin wrote a work, Kinzhal, about Karl Zand, whereas Alexander Dumas wrote a work called Karl-Ludwig Zand.
Puskin and Dumas:

According to the writer, Dumas liked to tell a joke that his grandfather was African and that all he had in genetic common origin with ignorant racists was a monkey. But this is joke a giveaway, because the real Dumas only had an African grandmother, but Pushkin did have an African grandfather.

Alexander Dumas' alleged father was French general Thomas Dumas, who died in 1806 and whose wife and son were soon forgotten and lived in the provinces. So their son Alexander Dumas appeared to come from nowhere back into French public life in the 1820's. But practically none of the French associates of Thomas Dumas recognized him, only one Herzog De Foie gave him legal recognition papers.

The writer said she always racked his brains trying to see why the writer Dumas was so mean to the female character Miledy. He depicted her so badly and tortured her to death. The writer proposes that this was because of Pushkin's own mistreatment by his own wife, Natalya Goncharova. Like Atos falling in love with Miledy when she was 16, Pushkin fell in love with Goncharova when she was that age. Both Goncharova and Miledy remarried once. Miledy remarried in 1844, when Dumas wrote The Three Musketeers (1844-1845).

Nina Milova in her interview with Moskovsky Komsomolets, Pushkin lived after his duel and wrote under the pseudonym Dumas, says that she decided that he faked his death when she learned that his relatives were absent from his funeral. His father learned about the funeral two weeks after it.

Milova says that the doctors couldn't find the cause of death, nor find the fatal bullet. She says that the Russian nobility loved to travel to Western Europe for vacations, but she thinks it's strange that officially Pushkin never left Russia. Supposedly it was because he was considered an enemy of the state, but Milova says that this is not true, as archives show that he was an official of the Foreign Ministry. She thinks that his exile in the 1820's was a cover for his trips abroad, as "Dumas" first made a public appearance in Paris at that time (1822), after years in obscurity as a child. Meanwhile, she says that Pushkin's time in exile in 1822-1823 is a black hole in his own biography. She says that Pushkin's faking his own death would be a way to get out of his massive debts in Russia.

She proposes that in the novel The Count of Monte Cristo, "Dumas"/Pushkin intends to suggest that D'Antes was unfairly condemned for killing Pushkin. In real life Pushkin's French brother-in-law D'Antes was charged with killing Pushkin in a duel and was briefly imprisoned. In reality, D'Antes helped Pushkin escape to France. Meanwhile, in Dumas' novel, the protagonist "Edmond Dantes" escapes from unjust judgment and takes on a new identity as the Count of Monte Cristo.

When at one point Dumas dedicated a chapter to Pushkin, Milova interprets this as Dumas/Pushkin dedicating literature to himself in reality. Further, she notes that Dumas was a translator of Pushkin works into Russian, despite the fact that Dumas officially first went to Russia only in about 1858, ie. when Dumas was already over 60 years old. Dumas had a major interest in Russia, writing novels about the Decembrists and Caucasus. How could he get so fluent in Russian and and knowledgeable about Russia if he only went there first in his old age?

The point is salvation is not supposed to be very difficult to obtain.

Who told you it is supposed to be easy?

“For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it."  Matthew 7:14

Is all you offer criticism? Also it is hard to believe you care for my thoughts which is why most of my posts are ignored thanks to the people wrong attachment to st Isaac of Syria. I hope when the church quotes him and when you do you condemn his heresies
I can not be guided in a church which worships idols for they don’t take all my matters seriously and urgent but leave me in my sins to the woe of the world. It is probably my fault now but he Church could be like that in the future. Now confession is open but I don’t feel like going because of previous experiences so it is my fault I don’t go because it is open but I still fear not being taken seriously

It is as difficult as it is just for then how will God judge the world ?
I guess I am wrong it is not easy but it is doable with grace and if we don’t have church and God grace how can we do it ? Colossians below shows how because of Paul suffering the church could be sanctified
if I can explain more I will but John said  “God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world but to save it”
and paul said “who are you to judge another servant to his own master he stands or falls. Indeed he will be made to stand for God is able to make him stand” therefore we don’t keep ourselves standing without grace

On questioning who can be saved it is written “With man it is impossible but with God all things are possible”

Zechariah 4:6 says “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the Lord of hosts.”

So the question is do we need to sweat blood to be saved ? I guess you are right we need to as Paul said you have not yet resisted to bloodshed striving against sin but by salvation being easy I meant it is difficult at the moment because we don’t even know what we must do I mean no one helps us but we must help ourselves with books etc for if we do have help those who will be saved are “like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,And rejoices like a strong man to run its race”
Really the whole psalm 19 teaches how God grace leads to salvation for those who are willing as John and James to be baptised with Christ baptism.

Colossians 1:24-29 (NKJV)
24 I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, 25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, 26 the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. 27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. 29 To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.

Is salvation not in a sense easy when the Lord told us “Look to Me and be saved all you ends of the earth” but He may have simply meant He is the way

Orthodox-Protestant Discussion / Re: Re: Better know a Protestant
« Last post by RaphaCam on Today at 02:16:13 AM »
Now if you google "the ark of the covenant, even the Lord", you'll see this is presented as some kind of alternate translation.

Quote from: Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth,.... Some both Jewish and Christian interpreters, because there is a distinguishing accent on the word "covenant", read the words "the ark of the covenant, even the Lord of all the earth"; so in some copies of our English Bible, as if the ark was called the Lord of all the earth, because of his presence and dwelling there; but, as Kimchi observes, either the word "ark" is wanting, or the word "covenant", and may be supplied either thus,"the ark of the covenant, the ark (I say) of the Lord of all the earth;''or thus,"the ark of the covenant, which is the covenant of the Lord of all the earth:''the true meaning is what Abarbinel gives,"the ark of the covenant of the Lord, who is the Lord of the whole earth;''the Maker and possessor of the whole earth, the whole terraqueous globe; and can do what he pleases in the earth, or in the water; and can control the powers of nature, and do what is beyond them, things miraculous and astonishing: passeth before you into Jordan; not only unto it, but into it, into the river itself; and, by the power of him whose presence was with it, the waters of Jordan were to be divided, to give them a passage through it as on dry land, and so it came to pass.
Reviews / Re: What's everyone listening to?
« Last post by Gebre Menfes Kidus on Today at 01:29:22 AM »
Carlos Santana and John McLaughlin: "Afro Blue"

This is the vintage Santana that most people don't know about. Amazing stuff.

Faith Issues / Re: I loathe and fear going to church
« Last post by Pravoslavbob on Today at 12:12:09 AM »
I have to share a major problem I'm going through.  Though going to church has always been a bit of a chore for me, in the last few weeks, these feelings have ramped up considerably, and they have been building up for many months.  As of the moment, the very thought of going to church almost sends me into a panic.  The last time I went to Vespers, I had a panic attack (it was internal, I didn't show my discomfort).  As of the moment, the idea of going to church sends me into a near-existential panic.  I feel trapped, caged, persecuted, and even some degree of physical discomfort, like I'm being beaten up with invisible clubs. 

The Orthodox Church has done so much for me, and I know these feelings are wrong, but I can't bottle them up anymore.  I have been going through some tough personal struggles, and my faith has helped me, but still, these feelings and persist and grow.  Maybe I just need to move my schedule around a bit in other areas of my life, I don't.  Vespers especially gets to me; I have to go to confession to take communion, so I go, but it can be pure hell.  It feels like I'm being blackmailed into going.  I know, viewing taking the steps to receive the Eucharist as blackmail is horrible, but again, that's how my mind how sometimes framed it.  Going to church in general feels painful, and there's a part of me that's wondering why I submit myself to something that's so miserable?  Why do I torment myself like this?  I know that the devil attacks us in church, I know how important church attendance is, and I've met some great people there, but at this point, going there seems like going to a weekly torture chamber.  Also, I know that there are many Christians throughout the world being attacked and killed for their faith, so I feel a measure of guilt for having these feelings.  I know these feelings aren't right, but they are a reality.  Any advice?

When you say "I have to go to confession to take communion", ie every time you wish to go to communion, do you mean your spiritual father has initiated this discipline particularly in your case, or does he require it of everyone who wishes to approach the cup every week?
Faith Issues / Re: I loathe and fear going to church
« Last post by RobS on Yesterday at 11:53:40 PM »
I have to share a major problem I'm going through.  Though going to church has always been a bit of a chore for me, in the last few weeks, these feelings have ramped up considerably, and they have been building up for many months.  As of the moment, the very thought of going to church almost sends me into a panic.  The last time I went to Vespers, I had a panic attack (it was internal, I didn't show my discomfort).  As of the moment, the idea of going to church sends me into a near-existential panic.  I feel trapped, caged, persecuted, and even some degree of physical discomfort, like I'm being beaten up with invisible clubs.

Rhinosaur, in bold is particularly worrisome. I agree with Lexi, what you are describing I'd recommend receiving help from a professional. I know the feelings you have cause I went through them last year. My own experience with acute clinical depression was a hellish nightmare I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. The day of my baptism my entire body was kicking and screaming. But I used three stones to kill a bird. I got treatment through a qualified psychologist, my GP to prescribe basic anti-depressants, and involvement in the parish life. All three of these in tandem helped resolve my depression and anxiety. You don't have to do what I did, but I want you to know there is hope and success is possible.

Please keep us updated with how things are going along. Shoot me a PM if you want to talk.

I suffer from anxiety myself. I highly recommend seeking the help of a medical professional, as such strong anxiety is not something you should have to deal with. It's a medical condition that deserves medical treatment. Trying to soldier through on your own isn't doing yourself or the other people in your life any good. Whether it is just someone to talk to, or something that needs medication, it would be wise to seek the help of a professional.

You should combine secular treatment (psychiatry and psychology) with religious (pastorals, confession, prayer, etc.).
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