Author Topic: Modern Church Fathers  (Read 102352 times)

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Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #360 on: May 18, 2017, 10:17:24 PM »
Father Sophrony also makes another very interesting and important observation concerning the example given by Christ and our own theosis or deification. He points to the fact that even though the deification of Christ's human nature was, as Saint John Damascene says, effected from the very moment in which He assumed our nature, nevertheless Christ as Man shied away from anything which might give the impression of auto-theosis, that is to say, self-deification or self-divinization. That is why we see the action of the Holy Spirit underlined at His Holy birth: "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee... therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God" (Luke 1:35); also, the Holy Spirit descends upon Christ at His baptism in the Jordan (Matt. 3:15); and concerning the Resurrection, the Scriptures speak thus: "God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory" (1 Pet. 1:21); and finally, Christ Himself, teaching us the way of humility and how always to ascribe glory to Our Heavenly Father, says: "If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true" (John 5:31-32)

The same movement may be observed in the Divine Liturgy. The Words of Institution--"take eat, this is my body," "drink of this all of you, this is my blood"--by themselves are not regarded as sufficient to effect the consecration of the Holy Gifts; they must be accompanied by the Epiklesis, the invocation of the Holy Spirit, precisely in order to avoid any notion of self-deification, to avoid, that is, giving the impression that simply by speaking the words which Christ spoke, we are able to transform the Holy Gifts into the precious body and blood of Christ.

-- Said of Elder Sophrony (d. 1993), (in: Christopher Veniamin - The Orthodox Understanding of Salvation: "Theosis" in Scripture and Tradition)
"Fear not to follow with pious feet the corpse of Hafiz, for though he was drowned in the ocean of sin, he may find a place in paradise." - Hafez

Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #361 on: May 19, 2017, 08:58:34 PM »
The origin of the patristic insistence on the equality of all bishops can be understood only in terms of the presuppositions: 1) that the corporate eucharistic life locally manifested is an end in itself, 2) that individual communities are related to each other by their identity of existence in Christ, 3) that the fullness of Christ dwells in the faithful who gather together in the life of Christ epi to auto, and 4) that the episcopate is an inseparable part of this local life epi to auto. The order of the episcopate was not something that existed in itself, or itself, and over or apart from the local Church. It was definitely within the Church, and since the visible Church could be defined only in terms of the body of Christ locally manifested in its mystagogical life, the episcopate was definitely of local character. The existence of bishops in the smallest and remotest villages of the empire cannot be explained otherwise than in terms of the necessity to have a bishop and council of presbyters within and responsible for the life of each eucharistic center. Therefore bishops were equal because communities were equal. One local manifestation of the body of Christ could not be more body of Christ or less than another. Likewise the living image of Christ (the bishop) could not be more image or less image than another image because Christ, whose image the bishops are, is identically One and Equal with Himself.

-- Fr. John Romanides (d. 2001), The Ecclesiology of St. Ignatius of Antioch, 7
"Fear not to follow with pious feet the corpse of Hafiz, for though he was drowned in the ocean of sin, he may find a place in paradise." - Hafez

Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #362 on: May 21, 2017, 03:16:46 PM »
If Adam had not sinned, he would have remained forever blessed, and all his descendants would have enjoyed blessedness. It was for this very purpose that God had created man. But Adam, having succumbed to the tempter-devil, transgressed against the law of the Maker and took pleasure in the taste of the forbidden fruit. When God appeared to Adam right after he had sinned, Adam, instead of repenting and promising obedience henceforth, began to justify himself and to blame his wife. Eve in turn blamed the serpent for everything. And so it was that sin became a part of human nature, deeply injuring it because of the lack of repentance of Adam and Eve. The existing communion with the Maker was cut and the blessedness lost. Having lost Paradise within himself, Adam became unworthy of the external Paradise and was therefore banished from it.

After the fall into sin, Adam's soul darkened: his thoughts and desires became muddled, and his imagination and memory began to cloud. Instead of peace and joy he met sorrow, agitation, ruination, misery, and woe. He experienced hard labor, poverty, hunger, and thirst. And after years of unsurpassed sorrows, sickly old age began to oppress him, and death neared. Worst of all, the devil, the perpetrator of every evil, obtained through sin the ability to influence Adam and to further alienate him from God.

-- St. Innocent of Alaska (d. 1879), Indication of the Way into the Kingdom of Heaven
"Fear not to follow with pious feet the corpse of Hafiz, for though he was drowned in the ocean of sin, he may find a place in paradise." - Hafez

Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #363 on: May 27, 2017, 09:18:15 PM »
First of all, concerning faith, one preliminary remark. Faith is very often understood by people as a defeat of intelligence. In other words, faith begins when I can no longer think creatively, when I let go of any attempt at rational understanding, and when I say 'I believe' because it is so absurd that it is the only way of facing the problem. This may be an act of credulity, it may be an act of cowardice, it may be a preliminary act, full of wisdom and intelligence, that teaches us not to draw conclusions or to come to conclusions before we have understood.

But his it not the faith as understood by the great men of all religions, and particularly the Christian faith. In the Epistle to the Hebrews in the eleventh chapter, faith is defined as 'certainty of things unseen.' We usually lay the stress on 'things unseen' and forget the 'certainty' about them. So when we think of faith we usually think of the invisible and instead of certainty put against it an interrogation mark. Then to solve the problem, we accept in a childish way, in an unintelligent way very often, what we are told by others--usually our grandparents of three generations back, or whoever else we choose to believe for reasons that are not always reasonable.

But if you try to see the way in which faith originates in those people who were the great men of faith, the heroes of faith, you can see that it always originates in an experience that makes the invisible certain, and which allows them, having discovered that the invisible is as real as the visible, to go further in searching the invisible by methods of their own.

-- Met. Anthony of Sourozh (d. 2003), Source
"Fear not to follow with pious feet the corpse of Hafiz, for though he was drowned in the ocean of sin, he may find a place in paradise." - Hafez

Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #364 on: May 29, 2017, 05:56:41 PM »
Discernment was another marker of spiritual authority in the ascetic community. In many of his own letters, St. Anthony noted that he prayed that his disciples might receive the gift of discernment in order to understand better the difference between good and evil and thereby offer themselves more completely to God. He also related that he knew of men who had pursued asceticism for many years, but in the end, the lack of discernment led to their spiritual demise.

-- George Demacopoulos (b. 1970), Source
"Fear not to follow with pious feet the corpse of Hafiz, for though he was drowned in the ocean of sin, he may find a place in paradise." - Hafez

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #365 on: May 29, 2017, 06:24:27 PM »
-- George Demacopoulos (b. 1970), Source

You're killing my soul. 
The whole forum is Mor. We're emanations of his godlike mind.

Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #366 on: May 29, 2017, 06:38:41 PM »
-- George Demacopoulos (b. 1970), Source

You're killing my soul.

;D ;D ;D

Embrace this podvig, cast aside your prelestuous mindset that presumes you already know what is good for you, and you will verily acquire an Orthodox phronema!
"Fear not to follow with pious feet the corpse of Hafiz, for though he was drowned in the ocean of sin, he may find a place in paradise." - Hafez

Offline Rohzek

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #367 on: May 29, 2017, 06:43:14 PM »
-- George Demacopoulos (b. 1970), Source

You're killing my soul.

;D ;D ;D

Embrace this podvig, cast aside your prelestuous mindset that presumes you already know what is good for you, and you will verily acquire an Orthodox phronema!

You win the internets. 8)
I no longer forum here.

Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #368 on: June 02, 2017, 06:26:06 PM »
Having spoken about self-offering, vicarious self-denial and sacrifical service as the archetypal specifications of the Christian priesthood, St. Symeon turns next to the witness of Christian asceticism in order to elucidate further his understanding of the priesthood. What he implies here is that the ascetic model is basic to that of a priest. The ascetic is he, who loves the Lord above all else. The priest is he, who loves the Lord and accepts his calling to feed his sheep.  Is it not true, he asks, that the divine and cross-bearing, ascetic vesture is the sign of the poverty of Christ? Is it not the sign of the cross, the icon of death, the study of all that lies above and beyond the world, the laying off or the rejection of all things that lie below and are earthly? It is indeed so, he says. And yet, there have been so many great, spiritual masters, who fully understood and honored this ascetic vesture in their lives, but avoided assuming the height of the sacred glory of the priesthood. This was not, he explains, because they thought that the priesthood is something to be avoided, but because its height requires a soul that is very great and capable of dispensing sacred deeds. It requires a soul that is as pure as is possible for man; a soul that is totally eager and tireless to be of benefit to the brethren, for the priesthood is God's work, loved by Him and undertaken out of love for Him. This is exactly what Christ stressed to Peter three times, and what Christian asceticism is basically all about.

Many of the great, spiritual masters who wore the ascetic vesture with true humility, shrunk from entering the ranks of the priesthood, because they considered it much higher than their capability. These great and true ascetics were in fact much more eligible for the priesthood than those others, who openly sought it, instead of avoiding it, regarding themselves most worthy of it because of the height and purity of their monastic values. There is no doubt, says St. Symeon, that the monastic ideals fit perfectly with the lofty and pure calling of the priesthood. Indeed, the Church knows this and has, therefore, entrusted her protection to the holy ascetics. It has become customary to have ascetic priests promoted to the hierarchy of the Church, and it is demanded that those priests, who are to become hierarchs, should first assume the ascetic habit. According to St. Syemon, the linking of ascetic priests with higher ranks of the clergy represents the high view of the faithful and divine protectors of the Church. Yet, it often happens that ascetic priests themselves corrupt and render useless such a lofty view! What is the cause of such a problem, and how can it be cured?

The problem in this case, says St. Symeon, is the departure of such priests from their monastic ideals. By corrupting their ascetic vesture and habit, they fail to dispense their priesthood worthily. Such ascetics are usually only interested in acquiring this most divine authority. Thus, they employ all their powers and sacrifice everything they have in order to achieve this. yet, as soon as they gain it, they prove that they are unworthy of exercising it. They do the opposite to what they are supposed to do, to the detriment both of themselves and of the priesthood itself. No one, says St. Symeon, should aspire to acquire the priestly vesture in order to climb up to the ladder of hierarchy. Anyone, who is elected to the priesthood, should first consider the divine and lofty purpose of it, so that he may humble himself along with the Master, who humbles himself, and whose image he puts on. Failure to do this often leads newly ordained priests to turn this divine order into a source of conceit and blindness. This is not due to the priesthood as such, but to the priests' choice, which does not turn their mind to the divine truth, but makes them yawn in idleness and become attached, or literally nailed to, things that lie below and pertain to selfishness.

-- Fr. George Dragas (b. 1944), On the Priesthood and the Holy Eucharist
"Fear not to follow with pious feet the corpse of Hafiz, for though he was drowned in the ocean of sin, he may find a place in paradise." - Hafez

Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #369 on: June 09, 2017, 11:12:58 PM »
We take the liberty of saying that it seems our Brother Bishops have treated this matter without sufficient attention, without realizing how far our Church is being drawn into the sphere of anti-canonical and even of anti-dogmatical agreements with the heterodox. This fact is especially clear if one turns to the initial statements of the representatives of the Orthodox Churches as compared with what is taking place at present.

At the Conference in Lausanne in 1937, the representative of the Ecumenical Patriarch, Metropolitan Germanos, clearly stated that restoring unity with the Church means for Protestants that they must return to the doctrines of the ancient Church of the Seven Ecumenical Councils. "And what are the elements of the Christian doctrines," he said, "which should be regarded as necessary and essential? According to the understanding of the Orthodox Church there is no need now to make definitions of those necessary elements of faith, because they are already made in the ancient Creeds and the decisions of the Seven Ecumenical Councils. Therefore this teaching of the ancient undivided Church should be the basis of the reunion of the Church." That was the position taken by all the Orthodox delegates at the Lausanne and Oxford Conferences...

What, then, has changed? Have the Protestants abandoned their errors? No. They have not changed, and the Church has not changed; only the persons who are now said to represent her have changed. If the representatives of the Orthodox Churches had only continued firmly maintaining the basic principles of our belief in the Church, they would not have brought the Orthodox Church into the ambiguous position which was created for her by the decision of the Geneva Conference last year. Since the Assembly of the World Council of Churches in New Delhi, the Orthodox delegates no longer make separate statements, but have merged into one mass with the Protestant confessions. Thus all the decisions of the Uppsala Assembly are made in the name of "the Church," which is always spoken of in the singular.

-- Met. Philaret of New York (d. 1985), Source
"Fear not to follow with pious feet the corpse of Hafiz, for though he was drowned in the ocean of sin, he may find a place in paradise." - Hafez

Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #370 on: June 17, 2017, 09:13:57 PM »
Translation is the core of missionary work. Nowadays the work of a mission in general, in any country, cannot be limited to oral preaching alone... In Japan, where people like reading and respect the printed word so much, we must first of all provide the faithful and those who are about to be baptized with books printed in their mother tongue, by all means well-written and neatly and cheaply published... The printed word must be the soul of the mission.

-- St. Nicholas of Japan (d. 1912), Source
"Fear not to follow with pious feet the corpse of Hafiz, for though he was drowned in the ocean of sin, he may find a place in paradise." - Hafez

Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #371 on: July 18, 2017, 09:34:16 PM »
We need to be careful not to harbour any resentment against those who harm us, but rather to pray for them with love. Whatever any of our fellow men does, we should never think evil of him. We need always to have thoughts of love and always to think good of others. Look at Saint Stephen the first martyr. He prayed, Lord, do not hold this sin against them. We need to do the same. We should never think about someone that God will send him some evil or that God will punish him for his sin. This thought brings about very great evil, without our being aware of it. We often feel indignation and say to someone: ‘Have you no fear of God’s justice, are you not afraid of God’s punishment?’ Or else we say, ‘God will punish you for what you’ve done,’ or, ‘O God, do not bring evil on that person for what he did to me,’ or, ‘May that person not suffer the same thing.’

In all these cases, we have a deep desire within us for the other person to be punished. Instead of confessing our anger over his error, we present our indignation in a different way, and we allegedly pray to God for him. In reality, however, in this way we are cursing our brother. And if, instead of praying, we say, ‘May God repay you for the evil you have done to me,’ then once again we are wishing for God to punish him. Even when we say, ‘All very well, God is witness,’ the disposition of our soul works in a mysterious way and influences the soul of our fellow man so that he suffers evil.

-- St. Porphyrios of Athos (d. 1991), Source
"Fear not to follow with pious feet the corpse of Hafiz, for though he was drowned in the ocean of sin, he may find a place in paradise." - Hafez

Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #372 on: July 24, 2017, 07:28:40 PM »
One of the best definitions of providence I ever heard was: God doing the best he can with what he’s got, and what he’s got is us. Poor God! But he doesn’t give up on us. No matter how often we fall, we can get up again, but we are told in Scripture—in Proverbs, in Psalms, in Prophets, in the New Testament, in the letter to the Romans, in the Book of Revelation—that we will answer for our works: kata ta erga; we will answer for what we have done, what is written in the books. It’s not just you say, “Oh, I believe in God; therefore I can relax and heaven is mine, because Jesus saved me.” That’s an abomination. It’s just an abomination.

-- Fr. Thomas Hopko (d. 2015), Source
"Fear not to follow with pious feet the corpse of Hafiz, for though he was drowned in the ocean of sin, he may find a place in paradise." - Hafez