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Author Topic: Modern Church Fathers  (Read 41335 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #270 on: November 24, 2013, 02:42:38 AM »

[Q.] Is there any sure repository of holy tradition?

[A.] All true believers united by the holy tradition of the faith, collectively and successively, by the will of God, compose the Church; and she is the sure repository of holy tradition, or, as St. Paul expresses it, 'The Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.' (1 Tim. 3:15).

-- St. Met. Philaret (d. 1867), The Longer Catechism of The Orthodox, Catholic, Eastern Church, 18
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« Reply #271 on: November 26, 2013, 01:39:38 AM »

In the Saviour's words there is a certain elixir of immortality, which drips drop by drop into the soul of the man who reads His words and brings his soul from death to life, from impermanence to permanence. The Saviour indicated this when He said: "Truly, truly I say unto you, whoever listens to my word and believes in the One who sent me has eternal life ...and has passed over from death to life" (John 5:24). Thus the Saviour makes the crucial assertion: "Truly, truly I say unto you, whoever keeps my words will never see death" (John 8:51). Every word of Christ is full of God. Thus, when it enters a man's soul it cleanses it from every defilement. From each of His words comes a power that cleanses us from sin. Hence at the Mystical Supper the Saviour told His disciples, who used to listen to His word without ceasing: "You have already been cleansed by the word which I have spoken to you" (John 15:3).

-- St. Justin Popovich (d. 1979), How To Read The Bible And Why
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« Reply #272 on: December 01, 2013, 09:25:06 AM »

I sincerely wish for you too the goal of the Theologian, finding you capable to a certain degree of complying with this purpose, and your reward will be great on earth and in heaven. Take the yoke of this goal upon yourself, as one obliged to render an answer at some point to the Giver for the talent given you. Take upon yourself the labor needed to attain this goal. Putting aside all vexation, apply yourself continually and humbly to the prayer of repentance that you are now occupied with, drawing inspiration from it for your writing. Then subject your writings to your own strictest criticism, and in the light of your conscience, enlightened by the prayer of repentance, mercilessly throw out of your works everything that belongs to the spirit of the world, that is foreign to the spirit of Christ.

-- St. Ignatius Brianchaninov (d. 1867), The Collected Letters of St. Ignatius Brianchaninov (PDF)
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« Reply #273 on: December 06, 2013, 12:30:41 AM »

Man and woman move toward one another by "mutually getting to know each other," by revealing themselves to each other for a shared ascent; nothing comes to ennoble or legitimize, still less to "pardon" this meaning that royally imposes itself before, or even independent of, procreation. It is from this overflowing fullness that the child can come as fruit, but it is not procreation that determines and establishes the value of marriage. St. John Chrysostom says: "When there is no child, will they not be two? Most certainly, for their coming together has this effect, it diffuses and commingles the bodies of both. And as one who has cast ointment into oil, who has made the whole one, so in truth is also here." (Homily 12 on Colossians) "Two souls so united have nothing to fear. With harmony, peace and mutual love, man and woman own all possessions. They can live in peace behind the impregnable wall that protects them, which is love according to God. By love's grace, they are harder than diamond and stronger than iron, they sail in abundance, steer a course toward eternal glory and attract more and more grace from God." (Homily 38 on Genesis)

-- Paul Evdokimov (d. 1970), The Sacrament of Love: The Nuptial Mystery in the Light of the Orthodox Tradition, p. 45 (Source)
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« Reply #274 on: December 16, 2013, 06:57:05 AM »

God's grace always assists a struggler, but this does not mean that a struggler is always in the position of a victor; sometimes the beasts did not touch the righteous ones, but by no means did they not touch them always. What is important is not victory or the position of a victor, but rather the labor of striving towards God and devotion to Him. Great is the Apostle Paul, but he asks the Lord many times ('thrice" means not once, but many times) that the messenger of Satan depart from him, for he "buffets" him, making some sort of attacks that are difficult and averse to his spirit. But the Lord leaves him in such a position: "My grace is sufficient for thee" (2 Cor. 12:7-9) - enough assistance of grace and gifts are provided for him. The Lord wants from the apostle the striving which cleanses his soul.

-- St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco (d. 1966), Source
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« Reply #275 on: December 17, 2013, 01:24:18 PM »

When you embrace a dear one you do not stop to meditate how and why you love—you just love wholeheartedly. It is the same when spiritually we grasp Jesus the Christ to our heart. If we pay heed to the depth and quality of our love, it means that we are preoccupied with our own reactions, rather than giving ourselves unreservedly to Jesus--holding nothing back.  Think the prayer as you breathe in and out; calm both mind and body, using as rhythm the heartbeat. Do not search for words, but go on repeating the Prayer, or Jesus' name alone, in love and adoration. That is ALL! Strange—in this little there is more than all!

-- Mother Alexandra (d. 1991), Introduction to the Jesus Prayer
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« Reply #276 on: December 18, 2013, 01:30:27 PM »

Sometimes prayer consumes the heart like fire; and when the heart succumbs to the burning flame, unexpectedly there falls the dew of Divine consolation. When we become so conscious of our frailty that our spirit despairs, somehow, in an unknown fashion, a wondrous light appears, proclaiming life incorruptible. When the darkness within us is so appalling that we are paralyzed with dread, the same light will turn black night into bright day... When we are so overwhelmed by the feeling of our own nothingness, the uncreated light transfigures and brings us like sons into the Father's house.

-- Elder Sophrony (d. 1993), Source
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« Reply #277 on: January 20, 2014, 05:52:47 PM »

To bear your cross means not only to accept patiently all difficulties that befall you but also to strive for spiritual perfection, as the Scriptures teach us. For example, we must do good to others: work for the prosperity of your parish, visit the sick and imprisoned, help the needy, collect money for the poor, and assist in spreading spiritual enlightenment. In other words, we must seek out tasks which will lead to the salvation and welfare of those around us and then, with perseverance and meekness, strive in that direction by our actions, words, prayer, and advice.

-- St. Innocent of Alaska (d. 1879), The Way Into the Kingdom of Heaven
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« Reply #278 on: January 20, 2014, 06:29:01 PM »

In the light of Orthodox spirituality, Christian morality no longer appears as the simple fulfillment of duties imposed by God's commands, duties that in this life lead nowhere, but only assure him of salvation as an exterior reward in the next life... The Christian grows in God, even in the course of this life because response to these commands brings about a step by step transformation in his being; he is filled more and more with the working presence of God.

-- Fr. Dumitru Staniloae (d. 1993), Orthodox Spirituality: A Practical Guide for the Faithful and a Definitive Manual for the Scholar
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"The kingdom of heaven is virtuous life, just as the torment of hell is passionate habits." - St. Gregory of Sinai

"Our idea of God tells us more about ourselves than about Him." - Thomas Merton
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« Reply #279 on: January 20, 2014, 06:34:41 PM »

Our perfection, or our union with God, is therefore not only a goal, but also an unending process. On this road two great steps can be distinguished: first, the moving ahead toward perfection through purification from the passions and the acquiring of the virtues and secondly a life progressively moving ahead in the union with God. At this point, man's work is replaced by God's.

-- Fr. Dumitru Staniloae (d. 1993), Orthodox Spirituality: A Practical Guide for the Faithful and a Definitive Manual for the Scholar
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"The kingdom of heaven is virtuous life, just as the torment of hell is passionate habits." - St. Gregory of Sinai

"Our idea of God tells us more about ourselves than about Him." - Thomas Merton
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« Reply #280 on: January 21, 2014, 04:01:06 PM »

"The highest form of prayer, is to stay in silence before god." - St. isaac the syrian

This one is my favorite.
"If you notice that your mind constantly wanders off to various chores that you have to do, you must realize that your not doing well spiritually, and this should alarm you because you have distanced yourself from god." - Elder Paisios
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Rejoice in the joy of our god.
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« Reply #281 on: January 21, 2014, 04:15:45 PM »

"If you notice that your mind constantly wanders off to various chores that you have to do, you must realize that your not doing well spiritually, and this should alarm you because you have distanced yourself from god." - Elder Paisios

Oh, good to know. My mind constantly wanders off, but rarely to "chores". l must be doing alright, then!
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"The kingdom of heaven is virtuous life, just as the torment of hell is passionate habits." - St. Gregory of Sinai

"Our idea of God tells us more about ourselves than about Him." - Thomas Merton
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« Reply #282 on: January 22, 2014, 12:58:25 AM »

Those who seek after Christ find Him in accordance with the true words of the Gospel, “Knock, and it shall be opened, seek, and ye shall find.” “In My Father’s house there are many mansions.” Note that here the Lord is speaking not just of Heavenly mansions, but about earthly abodes as well. He is speaking not just of interior ones, but of external ones as well.

The Lord places each soul into the position, surrounded by such circumstances, that best facilitates its success. That is the external abode. It is the interior abode, prepared by the Lord for those who love and seek after Him, that fills the soul with peace and joy.

-- St. Barsanuphius of Optina (d. 1913), (Source)
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« Reply #283 on: February 13, 2014, 02:08:08 AM »

Mistaken and untrue is that theological minimalism, which wants to choose and set apart the "most important, most certain, and most binding" of all the experiences and teachings of the Church. This is a false path, and a false statement of the question. Of course, not everything in the historical institutions of the Church is equally important and venerable; not everything in the empirical actions of the Church has even been sanctioned. There is much that is only historical. However, we have no outward criterion to discriminate between the two. The methods of outward historical criticism are inadequate and insufficient. Only from within the Church can we discern the sacred from the historical. From within we see what is catholic and belongs to all time, and what is only "theological opinion," or even a simple casual historical accident.

-- Fr. Georges Florovsky (d. 1979), Volume One in the Collected Works of Georges Florovsky: Bible, Church, Tradition: An Eastern Orthodox View, p. 50
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« Reply #284 on: February 21, 2014, 02:47:53 AM »

Repentance signifies regret, change of mind. The distinguishing marks of repentance are contrition, tears, aversion towards sin, and love of the good.

-- St. Nektarios of Aegina (d. 1920), Source
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« Reply #285 on: February 23, 2014, 08:47:05 AM »

Where is the heart? Where sadness, joy, anger, and other emotions are felt, here is the heart. Stand there with attention. The physical heart is a piece of muscular flesh, but it is not the flesh that feels, but the soul; the carnal heart serves as an instrument for these feelings, just as the brain serves as an instrument for the mind. Stand in the heart, with the faith that God is also there, but how He is there do not speculate. Pray and entreat that in due time love for God may stir within you by His grace.

-- St. Theophan the Recluse (d. 1894), The Art of Prayer: An Orthodox Anthology, p. 191
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« Reply #286 on: February 24, 2014, 11:31:25 PM »

Because this mind of ours is enclosed within the "palace" of the body, as if in a dark prison, God has chosen to create the five senses of the body to serve as so many openings to the world around us. I am talking about the eyes, the ears, the nostrils, the mouth, and the common sense of touch, through which the mind can generally receive unto itself primarily spiritual nurture and pleasure. And first of all the mind can come to sense and to understand this visible creation around us, as well as the Holy Scriptures. Second, through this sense perception the mind is guided through rational thought to acquire wisdom, goodness, power, grace, truth, sweetness, and all other activities and perfections of the Creator that can be discerned in the creation and in the Bible. Third, the mind can move with the wings of thought to go beyond these activities and perfections to the knowledge and vision of God himself, the Creator of the world, the giver of Sacred Scripture and the possessor of such perfections. And as for creation the wise Solomon said: "From the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator." (Wis. 13:5) St. Paul also spoke about this: "Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made" (Rom. 1:20).

-- St. Nikodemus of the Holy Mountain (d. 1809), A Handbook of Spiritual Counsel
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« Reply #287 on: April 28, 2014, 09:41:27 PM »

But we only act true to our human nature when we ardently desire good, and persistently, valiantly strive to bring it about. This is no evil practice. It is nonsense to say that all desire is sinful, that we should never ask God to fulfil our wishes, that we should feebly abandon ourselves to what comes along. Surely, to act in this manner would be contrary to reason, to human nature, and to Holy Writ. Desire is not a sin; only the desire of evil is wrong. How could man belong to the kingdom of the Word, be a reasonable creature and free--if all desires were wrong? And if you should now strive to wish for nothing, neither for a happy marriage nor for the purity of the virginal life, what kind of a life would yours be? You are not a log or a stone; nor were you ever intended to be. You were made woman, free to desire, choose, and act.

-- St. Macarius of Optina (d. 1860), Source
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« Reply #288 on: May 01, 2014, 02:07:15 AM »

One distressed intellectual wrote to me: "I’m having a very difficult time. Outwardly everything is fine--business is going well, there’s harmony in my family, and I have a good wife. But the trouble is that I have no one to whom I can bare my soul. My wife doesn’t understand what I’m depressed over, and the children are still small. What can I do? How can I be delivered from melancholy and sorrow?" I advised him to read the Psalter. "In the 93rd Psalm is the following: 'According to the multitude of my sorrows in my heart, Thy consolations brought gladness unto my soul' (Ps. 93:19). Take this verse and start reading the Psalter. I think God will comfort you," I wrote to him. Some time passed. I received a letter: "I heeded you and began to read the Psalter, but I don’t understand anything at all in it." I wrote to him: "The great Elder Ambrose replied to such a statement, 'You don’t understand, but then again, the demons understand perfectly and run away.' Read for now, without understanding, and at some point you’ll begin to understand." I don’t know what will happen next. And to you I repeat--read the Psalter daily, even a little, and the Lord in His mercy will not abandon you, and will always be your Helper and Comforter.

-- St. Barsanuphius of Optina (d. 1913), Source
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« Reply #289 on: May 09, 2014, 02:24:44 AM »

A very important principle about the spiritual life [is] that it must grow in the soil of humility. Christian prayer will reach profound depths: there is no end to the depths that Christian prayer can go into because it falls into the endless heart of God. On the other hand, Christian prayer is the search for the God who came down to us in humility, the God who accepted suffering, the God who was crucified. Not a God of the Platonists, but our Lord Jesus Christ, who told us that if we want to find the face of God we have to follow in his footsteps. And one of the things that most powerfully characterized our Lord, while he was on earth, and still as Lord of heaven and earth, was his immense humility. People often think that God is incomprehensible because of his spiritual majesty. Even more so our God in Christ is almost incomprehensible because of his depth of humility.

-- Fr. John Anthony McGuckin (b. 1952), Turning To The Fathers
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« Reply #290 on: May 09, 2014, 04:21:38 PM »

The discipline involved in the spiritual life at first is hard. It's like being weaned away from massive amounts of sugar in one's coffee. And you say, 'I take five sugars in my coffee, I could never possibly drink coffee without five spoons of sugar in it.' And it's true, if somebody gave it to you without the sugar that you're dependent on, it would taste foul. But slowly bring down your dependency on sugar, and after a while it tastes just as good as it did, in fact, you know, even better. You get used to the discipline, and it's exactly the same with the discipline of prayer.

I know many people who would rather run around the park, they'd rather do a two mile run, than actually go to the appointed time for their prayer. They'd do anything rather than pray, it just seems a burden. But my advice is: just acknowledge that's the case, and don't let it become a burden. Even if you can't pray, just go in front of the icon, wait till dusk comes, light the icon lamp. If you can't pray, just say: 'This is a very pretty icon lamp, and it's a very pretty icon, and may God be blessed and praised by the lighting of the lamps.' And next night you find you won't be so antagonistic to prayer, it actually becomes something that you might look forward to, when dusk comes you light the lamps, cheerful light of God the Father's glory, that beautiful hymn of Vespers...

If we find we can't pray mentally, open the Psalms, just read as long as you need. When your heart starts to lift--it's one of the great sayings of the desert Fathers again: 'you read the Psalms and your heart starts to lift'--close the book. If your mind starts wandering, open the book again. It's very important, St. Antony the great hermit said, that we have to give and take, that we have to be aware that our body has to be trained, but it has to be helped and comforted as well.

It's a difficult matter, following the path of the spirit, learning how to pray. But it brings immense joy and immense sense as we go into the life of prayer of self-righting. I mean in the sense of, when you drop a thing into the water you can see it wobble around, but if it floats it will eventually find its own level, it'll find its right way up, a self-righting mechanism. Prayer will give us a ballast in our daily life, it will give us the stability: intellectual, psychological, affective, spiritual...

-- Fr. John Anthony McGuckin (b. 1952), Turning To The Fathers
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« Reply #291 on: May 10, 2014, 03:34:17 PM »

Before we can make a self-study, we must make a study of the Gospel and the New Testament as whole. How can we judge ourselves according to strictly Christians standards when we do not really know, or take seriously, what these standards are? In preparing for confession, therefore, we should really spend more time looking at Christ than looking at ourselves. For it is certainly true to say that we can see ourselves more clearly by looking intensely at Christ for a short time than by hours of personal introspection.

Christians should know the Gospel and the teaching of the New Testament. In preparation for confession the Fathers of the Church give us some particular scriptural passages, which can help us to see what we are in respect to what we should be.

a. The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5, 6, 7; Luke 6)
b. The Last Chapters of St. Paul’s Letters to Romans (Romans 12, 13, 14)
c. The 13th Chapter of St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 13)
d. The First Letter of St. John (1 John)

Of course these sections do not exhaust the totality of Christian life, but they are invaluable in self-examination. If we read them carefully, with attention and in application to our own attitudes and actions we will have more than sufficient opportunity to judge ourselves by the standards on which Christians are to be judged. Altogether they do not add up to more than 13 pages in a normal sized Bible.

-- Fr. John Vesic, If We Confess Our Sins: An Orthodox Explanation of the Mystery of Confession (pdf)
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« Reply #292 on: May 13, 2014, 06:38:24 PM »

Christ, according to Saint Maximus the Confessor, was born once in the flesh, but He is always born spiritually in those who are united with Him. The birth of Christ within us, which is experienced as our regeneration, takes place through the sacramental life of the Church, especially through Holy Communion, when we commune with the prerequisites of prayer, repentance and the hesychastic life, which is called the neptic tradition of the Church. This is why Saint John Chrysostom speaks of the "eternal Christmas", the "eternal Pentecost".

When one reads the works of Saint Symeon the New Theologian, they understand what it is for Christ to be born within us. A person must feel within themselves Christ "stirring in the womb", like a pregnant woman feels the stirrings of an embryo within her. Our union with Christ does not take place in an abstract way, but existentially and spiritually, and it is experienced psychosomatically. One feels within themselves repentance, love for God and man, the sense of eternal life, the transformation of the passions, unceasing prayer and finally, if God allows, man can see God in His uncreated Light. The birth of God should cause our personal spiritual regeneration. If we do not experience this, it is as if Christ was not born for us. And it is a terrible thing to celebrate the Nativity of Christ, without feeling our own regeneration. It is as if we are celebrating the birth of an infant that is absent.

-- Met. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos (b. 1945), Source
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« Reply #293 on: May 18, 2014, 12:35:03 AM »

We have to start where people are, even if our goal is always going to be to bring them to the next step, to invite people to rethink things. So before hoping that people might accept some theological concepts, perhaps just get them to begin to consider what it means to say that human beings are made in the image of God. Before people accept the tri-personal Godhead, maybe get them to consider the possibility that there is a God. And before they accept the Christ of the Ecumenical Councils, why not preach Christ crucified, and what that might mean to somebody in their life, as they consider their life, their death, their suffering.

-- Peter Bouteneff, Sweeter Than Honey: A Ready Defense
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Hello for now, my friend


« Reply #294 on: May 22, 2014, 10:08:16 PM »

The complete and correct prayer is one in which the words of the prayer are accepted by both thought and emotion; attentiveness is therefore needful. Do not let your thoughts wander; imprison them again and again, and always begin anew from the point where you left off praying. You may read from the Psalter, in the same -way, especially if you do not have a prayer book. Thus you learn patience and watchfulness.

A person standing at an open window hears the sounds from outside; it is impossible not to do so. But he can give the voices his attention or not, as he himself wishes. The praying person is continually beset by a stream of inappropriate thoughts, feelings and mental impressions. To stop this tiresome stream is as impracticable as to stop the air from circulating in an open room. But one can notice them or not. This, say the saints, one learns only through practice.

-- Tito Colliander (d. 1989), Way of the Ascetics, Source
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Paradosis ≠ Asteriktos ≠ Justin

Hey, so I'm in a pop-alt-punk-folk-prog band called "Affable Dregs" and we have a new album coming out, titled "Vicious Turnips Always Taste Most Delicious." We'd really appreciate your support!
Justin Kissel
Formerly Asteriktos
Protospatharios
****************
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Hello for now, my friend


« Reply #295 on: June 24, 2014, 01:01:04 AM »

Do not let pass any opportunity for praying for any man, either at his request or at the request of his relatives, friends, of those who esteem him, or of his acquaintances. The Lord looks favourably upon the prayer of our love, and upon our boldness before him. Besides this, prayer for others is very beneficial to the man himself who prays for others; it purifies the heart, strengthens faith and hope in God, and enkindles our love for God and our neighbour. When praying, say thus: "Lord, it is possible for Thee to do this or that to this servant of Thine; do this for him, for Thy name is the Merciful Lover of Men and the Almighty."

-- St. John of Kronstadt (d. 1908), My Life in Christ (Source)
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Paradosis ≠ Asteriktos ≠ Justin

Hey, so I'm in a pop-alt-punk-folk-prog band called "Affable Dregs" and we have a new album coming out, titled "Vicious Turnips Always Taste Most Delicious." We'd really appreciate your support!
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