Author Topic: Modern Church Fathers  (Read 143295 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Asteriktos

  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,250
Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #450 on: March 23, 2018, 10:31:04 PM »
At the age of eight or nine, he was reprimanded and punished by his parents for some mischief. Angry because of this, Matthew, in the presence of some Muslims, responded by saying that he would become a Muslim. Because of this, the Muslims sought to take him away and have him circumcised but his parents with difficulty kept them at bay and he never became a Muslim... On Holy Thursday, Onouphrios made his final preparations. He shaved his beard and head, was anointed with oil from the oil lamps of a church, and he prayed there all night. In the morning he received Holy Communion from the reserved Sacrament, since on Holy and Great Friday a Divine Liturgy is prohibited. He then put on Turkish clothing and set off for the city of Chios...

Finally he entered the courthouse and asked for the judge. Kadi Muxurbasi appeared and Onouphrios issued his complaint, saying: "Fifteen years ago, I received such a wound in this place that since then I have traveled to various places, but I have been unable to cure the wound. This is why I have returned here again to heal it." After the judge asked what was the nature of this wound, Onouphrios replied that as a youth he denied his Orthodox Christian faith and confessed Islam, though never observed it and always remained an Orthodox Christian. But when he came of age and became cognizant of the evil he had done as a child, he became wounded in his conscience, which is why he returned to confess his Christian faith and anathematize Islam. Saying such things, Onouphrios then took his green Turkish headdress and threw it to the floor. This left all those in attendance speechless.

...Onouphrios was arrested and taken to prison, where he endured various tortures. Remaining steadfast in his faith, Onouphrios was sentenced to be decapitated. Onouphrios was therefore taken to the place of execution, where he knelt in prayer. Then a Muslim chef took his knife and stuck it into the neck of the Saint. Though the Christians desired to gather something of his relics or even some blood from the ground, the Turks forbid this and had the body gathered up with three barrels of dirt stained with his blood and put them aboard a ship, and they were dumped in the sea. And when they arrived back to shore, they were dumped in the sea. And when they arrived back to shore, they washed the boat to make sure there was no blood for the Christians to gather.

-- St. Onouphrios of Chios (d. 1818), Source

Offline Volnutt

  • Dull Sublunary Lover
  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 11,980
  • too often left in the payment of false ponchos
  • Faith: Evangelical by default
  • Jurisdiction: Spiritually homeless
Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #451 on: March 23, 2018, 10:33:53 PM »
At the age of eight or nine, he was reprimanded and punished by his parents for some mischief. Angry because of this, Matthew, in the presence of some Muslims, responded by saying that he would become a Muslim. Because of this, the Muslims sought to take him away and have him circumcised but his parents with difficulty kept them at bay and he never became a Muslim... On Holy Thursday, Onouphrios made his final preparations. He shaved his beard and head, was anointed with oil from the oil lamps of a church, and he prayed there all night. In the morning he received Holy Communion from the reserved Sacrament, since on Holy and Great Friday a Divine Liturgy is prohibited. He then put on Turkish clothing and set off for the city of Chios...

Finally he entered the courthouse and asked for the judge. Kadi Muxurbasi appeared and Onouphrios issued his complaint, saying: "Fifteen years ago, I received such a wound in this place that since then I have traveled to various places, but I have been unable to cure the wound. This is why I have returned here again to heal it." After the judge asked what was the nature of this wound, Onouphrios replied that as a youth he denied his Orthodox Christian faith and confessed Islam, though never observed it and always remained an Orthodox Christian. But when he came of age and became cognizant of the evil he had done as a child, he became wounded in his conscience, which is why he returned to confess his Christian faith and anathematize Islam. Saying such things, Onouphrios then took his green Turkish headdress and threw it to the floor. This left all those in attendance speechless.

...Onouphrios was arrested and taken to prison, where he endured various tortures. Remaining steadfast in his faith, Onouphrios was sentenced to be decapitated. Onouphrios was therefore taken to the place of execution, where he knelt in prayer. Then a Muslim chef took his knife and stuck it into the neck of the Saint. Though the Christians desired to gather something of his relics or even some blood from the ground, the Turks forbid this and had the body gathered up with three barrels of dirt stained with his blood and put them aboard a ship, and they were dumped in the sea. And when they arrived back to shore, they were dumped in the sea. And when they arrived back to shore, they washed the boat to make sure there was no blood for the Christians to gather.

-- St. Onouphrios of Chios (d. 1818), Source

I have a hard time with this one. I can't really read it as anything other than senselessly throwing his life away in the name of scrupulosity.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2018, 10:37:47 PM by Volnutt »
On an extended hiatus from this site. Please pray for me and my family.

I'm sorry to any that my posts might offend.

Offline Asteriktos

  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,250
Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #452 on: March 23, 2018, 10:57:36 PM »
Yeah, it's supposed to be inspirational but I can't say it inspires me much. Anyway, these types of stories aren't uncommon in Greek/byzantine hagiography, and I try not to exclude something from these threads just because I don't happen to 'get it' or be the target audience.

Offline Volnutt

  • Dull Sublunary Lover
  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 11,980
  • too often left in the payment of false ponchos
  • Faith: Evangelical by default
  • Jurisdiction: Spiritually homeless
Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #453 on: March 24, 2018, 12:03:09 AM »
Yeah, it's supposed to be inspirational but I can't say it inspires me much. Anyway, these types of stories aren't uncommon in Greek/byzantine hagiography, and I try not to exclude something from these threads just because I don't happen to 'get it' or be the target audience.

Yeah, good point.
On an extended hiatus from this site. Please pray for me and my family.

I'm sorry to any that my posts might offend.

Offline Asteriktos

  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,250
Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #454 on: March 25, 2018, 10:27:52 PM »
During part of my mandatory service, I was stationed in Athens, and I often made the one-hour trip to see Elder Porphyrios at the monastery he had built outside the city, where he lived the last years of his life. Each day a crowd of people would go to see him. In fact, the central bus agency had created a special stop on their route known as "the elder's stop," on account of the number of pilgrims who daily requested to get off at the monastery. When I would go to see him, even before I reached the monastery I could often feel the sweetness of grace that came from being enciclred by his prayers. When he would make the sign of the Cross over me, I would feel the peace of God, which passeth all understanding (Phil. 4:7). In his presence, all my needs, even my physical needs, were met mysteriously, miraculously, and effortlessly.

-- Dionysios Farasiotis, The Gurus, the Young Man, and Elder Paisios

Offline Asteriktos

  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,250
Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #455 on: March 27, 2018, 06:33:35 PM »
A husband’s love must be sacrificial and it must be openly expressed to the wife. Women require affection and stability, in order to feel secure in the marriage relationship. Most men do not naturally express their feelings of love with the same comfort as women. Saint Paul’s admonition that men should love their wives focuses on the demonstration of that love; for left to themselves, most men often take it for granted that their feelings are understood. Saint Chrysostomos also speaks to this issue:

"Finally, never call her [the wife] by her name alone, but with terms of endearment, honor, and love. If you honor her, she won’t need honor from others; she won’t desire praise from others if she enjoys the praise that comes from you. Prefer her before all others, both for her beauty and her discernment, and praise her. She will in this way be persuaded to listen to none that are outside, but to disregard all the world except for you. Teach her to fear God, and all other good things will flow from this one lesson as from a fountain and your house will be filled with ten thousand blessings."

One sure way to have a home full of love and joy is for the husband to express his love openly. But this love must be sacrificial, even in the face of suffering poverty, serious or debilitating illness, or death. A man must seek to emulate in his love for his family the love that our Lord showed for the Church: a love which led Him to the Cross.

-- Fr. David and Juliana Cownie, Source (pdf)

Offline Asteriktos

  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,250
Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #456 on: March 28, 2018, 11:35:42 PM »
In an article published in 1939--the first item in the volume Essential Wriings--she makes clear where she stands, and also how she sees herself as belonging to a tradition of Orthodox theology. It is called 'The Second Gospel Commandment'--to love one's neighbor as oneself--and her main gravamen is how easily this commandment has been sidelined or relativized. Because it is 'second,' it is often treated as secondary, an appendix to the first commandment. She starts out by pointing out how we are never encouraged to pray alone: the prayers we say morning and night as Orthodox are all prayers in which we pray, now as 'I,' but as 'we'--culminating, of course, in the Lord's Prayer, the 'Our Father.' Her first conclusion takes this form:

'Thus what is most personal, what is most intimate in an Orthodox person's life, is thoroughly pervaded by this sense of being united with everyone, the sense of the principle of sobornost, characteristic of the Orthodox Church. This is a fact of great significance; this forces us to reflect.'

She related it immediately to Khomiakov, Dostoevsky, Solov'ev: the great ninetheenth-century figures who are pillars of the Russian Religious Renaissance. She then faces two ways that seem to her to turn away the force of this sense of the fundamental place of sobornost. First, what she calls a 'holy egoism,' which accepts the value of the second commandment, the need to feed the hungry, shelter beggars and so on, but treats this as an ascetic exercise, undertaken for the salvation of the soul of each one of us. The neighbour, the one in need, provides an opportunity to further our salvation: to love like that is not to love the other at all, but use him or her as a way of loving oneself. 'One cannot love sacrificially in one's own name, but only in the name of Christ, in the name of the image of God that is revealed to us in man.'

The next problem is: the Philokalia, the pre-eminent work of Orthodox spirituality. She remarks that 'in the first volume of the Philokalia, material about the attitude towards one's neighbor takes up only two pages out of sex hundred, and in the second volume, only three out of seven hundred and fifty'--quite a different proportion from the Gospels and Epistles of the New Testament. Nevertheless, from these few pages she quotes from St Makarios the Great, from St John Cassian, from St. Neilos of Sinai (actually from Evagrius), from St Ephrem the Syrian, and St Isaac the Syrian. Here she finds enough to establish an Orthodox tradition that leads to genuine attention to our neighbor, the other, and his or her needs, and she goes on to sketch out what this entails.

She talks of work and abstinence--work that is not merely 'an unavoidable evil, the curse of Adam,' but also 'participation in the divine economy,' in which work is 'transfigured and sanctified'; abstinence that frees one to attend, an abstinence of which one is virtually unconscious, for it is the attention enabled that is important. Attention, to the other, to his or her needs, is paramount for Mother Maria. This requires the cultivation of inwardness, an inwardness that enables us to discern and respond to the inwardness of the other--something very different from an ascetic impersonality--but this respect for the attention to the other is to be neither judgmental nor indulgent. As she puts it:

'On the one hand, it is dangerous to approach a man with the yardstick of all-measuring doctrine and begin to dissect his living and sick soul; on the other hand, it is no less dangerous to accept sentimentally the whole of a man as he is, his soul along with all its sores and growths.'

We are to discern the image of God in the other, and fall before him in veneration, yet at the same time, not to ignore the way the image has been ravaged by sin, and to long 'to become an instrument of God in this terrible and scorching work.'

-- said of: St. Maria of Paris (d. 1945), Source

Offline Asteriktos

  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,250
Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #457 on: March 30, 2018, 07:21:35 PM »
Saint Alexi (Shushania) was born September 23, 1852, in the village of Noqalaqevi, in the Senaki district of Samegrelo [in Georgia], to a pious Christian couple. His father died in 1868, after giving the sixteen-year-old future hieromonk his blessing to care for the family. In the same year that his father died, Alexi journeyed to Jerusalem on a pilgrimage, and from there to Constantinople to visit his uncle, Islam Shushania, a successful merchant and a clever and pious man. During this visit, Alexi became fascinated with the trade industry and resolved to become a merchant as well. But he would soon discover that God’s will was different from his own...

At the age of twenty Alexi moved to Teklati Women’s Monastery. He began to lead a strict ascetic life and went from village to village, caring for those ill with tuberculosis, cholera, and other serious illnesses, and burying the corpses of the homeless. Several years passed, and many became convinced that Alexi was a fool-for-Christ. He preached the Word of God with intensity, and his life was an example for many. His preaching inspired his mother, Elene, his younger sister Salome, and his brother Besarion to join him in the monastic life. After he was tonsured a monk, Besarion made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and remained there for several years. Because of his exemplary service to the Lord, he was ordained a priest at Martvili Monastery. Later he was tonsured into the great schema. Alexi also spent time on Mt. Athos. After returning from the Holy Mountain, he made a pilgrimage to the Kiev Caves Monastery, then returned to Georgia to continue his labors.

Around the year 1885 St. Alexi moved to Gelati Monastery, where he continued to study and produced several original works. In 1886 he was reassigned to Khobi Monastery and ordained a deacon by Bishop Grigol, and in 1888 he was ordained a hieromonk. Two years later, in 1890, he became ill and returned to be with his mother and sisters at Teklati Monastery. According to God’s will his health was restored, and in 1891 Alexi fashioned a cell for himself in the mountainous village of Menji (also called “Archangels’ Hill”), near the place where he was born. He gathered his disciples and undertook a stricter ascetic life. Fr. Alexi’s health was so improved that he was able to celebrate the divine services again.

The holy father would receive alms, but he distributed most of what was given to him. He divided the alms in three parts: the first he put aside for his personal needs, the second, for the church and its guests, and the third, for the poor and infirm. St. Alexi kept a life-size cross in his cell, and when he prayed he supported the cross on his back, since it reminded him of the position in which St. Simon of Cyrene carried the Holy Cross to Christ’s Crucifixion on Golgotha. In spite of his strict ascetic life, Hieromonk Alexi was remarkably close to the people in his community and was loved by many for the spiritual warmth that he radiated.

-- St. Alexi of Teklati (d. 1923), Source

Offline Asteriktos

  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,250
Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #458 on: March 31, 2018, 03:38:01 PM »
Historical reality is perfectly clear: the holy Councils of the Holy Fathers, summoned by God, always, always had before them one, or at the most two or three questions set before them by the extreme gravity of great heresies and schisms that distorted the Orthodox Faith, tore asunder the Church and seriously placed in danger the salvation of human souls, the salvation of the Orthodox people of God, and of the entire creation of God. Therefore, the ecumenical councils always had a Christological, soteriological, ecclesiological character, which means that their sole and central topic--their Good News--was always the God-Man Jesus Christ and our salvation in Him, our deification in Him. Yes, He [who is] the Son of God, only-begotten and consubstantial, incarnate; He [who is] the eternal Head of the Body of the Church for the salvation and deification of man; He [who is] wholly in the Church by the grace of the Holy Spirit, by true faith in Him, by the Orthodox Faith.

-- St. Justin Popovich (d. 1979), Source

Offline Asteriktos

  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,250
Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #459 on: April 03, 2018, 09:52:25 PM »
The central theme, or intuition, of Byzantine theology is that man's nature is not a static, 'closed,' autonomous entity, but a dynamic reality, determined in its very existence by its relationship to God. This relationship is seen as a process of ascent and as communion--man, created in the image of God, is called to achieve a 'divine similitude'...The dynamism of Byzantine anthropology can easily be contrasted with the static categories of 'nature' and 'grace' which dominated the thought of post-Augustinian Western Christianity.

-- John Meyendorff (d. 1992), Source

Offline Asteriktos

  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,250
Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #460 on: April 04, 2018, 04:06:28 PM »
The reflection of the divine glory recreates or regenerates us into something other than or in essence different from our previous nature. Transformation into the image of the Lord and the image of His body becomes the fundamental pursuit of our life, accomplished essentially through the intervention of the Holy Spirit. As a result, we do not engage in idle talk and discuss intellectual concepts that do not influence our lives. We discuss the essence of Being who truly is, with whom we seek assimilation by God's grace; and because of the inadequacy of human terms, we call this "the image of the glory of the Lord." Based on this image, and in the likeness of this image, we become "partakers of the divine nature". We are truly changed, although "neither earth, nor voice, nor custom distinguishes us from the rest on mankind."

-- Pat. Bartholomew of Constantinople (b. 1940), Source

Offline Nathanael

  • Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 369
Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #461 on: April 04, 2018, 04:14:30 PM »
"It's a Long Path:
In the atmosphere of the world today prayer requires super human courage. The whole ensemble of natural energies is in opposition. To hold on to prayer without distraction signals victory on every level of existence. The way is long and thorny but there comes a moment when a heavenly ray pierces the dark obscurity, to make an opening through which can be glimpsed the source of the eternal Divine Light. The Jesus Prayer assumes a meta-cosmic dimension. St John the Divine asserts that in the world to come our deification will achieve plenitude since 'we shall see Him as He is'. 'And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure ... Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him' (cf. 1John 3.2,3,6). In order in Christ's Name to receive forgiveness of sins and the promise of the Father we must strive to dwell on His Name 'until we be endued with power from on high' (cf. Luke24-49)."

Elder Sophrony
Wisdom from Elder Seraphim - All our troubles come from...:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6eL2pwtVKs

The Goal of an Orthodox Monk: 'Incarnation of Love':
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZishdSrYWM

Offline Nathanael

  • Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 369
Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #462 on: April 04, 2018, 04:17:23 PM »
Elder Sophrony on the Struggle of Prayer:

P"rayer is infinite creation, the supreme art. Over and over again we experience an eager upsurge towards God, followed only by a falling away from His light. Time and again we are conscious of the mind’s inability to rise to Him. There are moments when we feel ourselves on the verge of insanity. ‘Thou didst give me Thy precept to love but there is no strength in me for love. Come and perform in me all that Thou hast commanded, for Thy commandment overtaxes my powers. My mind is too frail to comprehend Thee. My spirit cannot see into the mysteries of Thy will. My days pass in endless conflict. I am tortured by the fear of losing Thee because of the evil thoughts in my heart.’

Sometimes prayer seems to flag and we cry, ‘Make haste unto me, O God’ (Psalm 70:5). But if we do not let go of the hem of His garment, help will come. It is vital to dwell in prayer in order to counteract the persistently destructive influence of the outside world.

Prayer cannot fail to revive in us the divine breath which God breathed into Adam’s nostrils and by virtue of which Adam ‘became a living soul’ (Gen. 2:7). Then our regenerated spirit will marvel at the sublime mystery of being, and our hearts echo the Psalmist’s praise of the wonderful works of the Lord. We shall apprehend the meaning of Christ’s words, ‘I am come that [men] might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly’ (John 10:10)."
Wisdom from Elder Seraphim - All our troubles come from...:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6eL2pwtVKs

The Goal of an Orthodox Monk: 'Incarnation of Love':
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZishdSrYWM

Offline Volnutt

  • Dull Sublunary Lover
  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 11,980
  • too often left in the payment of false ponchos
  • Faith: Evangelical by default
  • Jurisdiction: Spiritually homeless
Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #463 on: April 04, 2018, 04:32:37 PM »
The reflection of the divine glory recreates or regenerates us into something other than or in essence different from our previous nature. Transformation into the image of the Lord and the image of His body becomes the fundamental pursuit of our life, accomplished essentially through the intervention of the Holy Spirit. As a result, we do not engage in idle talk and discuss intellectual concepts that do not influence our lives. We discuss the essence of Being who truly is, with whom we seek assimilation by God's grace; and because of the inadequacy of human terms, we call this "the image of the glory of the Lord." Based on this image, and in the likeness of this image, we become "partakers of the divine nature". We are truly changed, although "neither earth, nor voice, nor custom distinguishes us from the rest on mankind."

-- Pat. Bartholomew of Constantinople (b. 1940), Source

I think Pat. Bartholomew would be horrified that you called him a Church Father lol.
On an extended hiatus from this site. Please pray for me and my family.

I'm sorry to any that my posts might offend.

Offline Asteriktos

  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,250
Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #464 on: April 04, 2018, 04:43:28 PM »
I gave up quoting 'fathers' in this thread a long time ago. ;) Now my criteria are: 1) did he/she live in the 19th century or later?; 2) were they Orthodox? 3) Did they ever in their life say or do anything that I feel like quoting for whatever reason?
« Last Edit: April 04, 2018, 04:44:34 PM by Asteriktos »

Offline Volnutt

  • Dull Sublunary Lover
  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 11,980
  • too often left in the payment of false ponchos
  • Faith: Evangelical by default
  • Jurisdiction: Spiritually homeless
Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #465 on: April 04, 2018, 05:06:30 PM »
I gave up quoting 'fathers' in this thread a long time ago. ;) Now my criteria are: 1) did he/she live in the 19th century or later?; 2) were they Orthodox? 3) Did they ever in their life say or do anything that I feel like quoting for whatever reason?

lol, k.
On an extended hiatus from this site. Please pray for me and my family.

I'm sorry to any that my posts might offend.

Offline Asteriktos

  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,250
Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #466 on: April 08, 2018, 09:23:56 PM »
Towards the end of his life, St. Savvas remained in a state of intense prayer and holy contrition. For three days he did not receive anyone and he gave his last counsels: requested love and obedience in Christ & never betray the Orthodox Faith. When he was on the point of death taking his last breath, suddenly he received strength, brought his blessed small hands together, and clapped them repeatedly saying his last holy words: "The Lord! The Lord! The Lord," then he recited the hymn of the Annunciation which the nuns found odd as it was not the Annunciation with the new gregorian calendar, but only did the nuns realise later that at that point those following the old Julian calendar were celebrating the vesper feast for the Annunciation. Thus, he died on April 7, 1947 (which was March 25 for the Old Calendar - the eve of the feast of the Annunciation). Upon closing his eyes, one of the nuns saw the soul of the Saint ascending in a golden cloud towards heaven.

After 10 years when the saint's grave was opened, a heavenly fragrance emanated from the grave which covered the whole island of Kalymnos like a giant cloud, this phenomenon was witnessed by all, including the local bishop who upsettingly and initially was refusing to grant permission to the nuns to exhume his relics. Only when after three years of his death St Savvas miraculously appeared to the nuns ordering them to exhume him as the side of his head was getting wet being buried with his head at the base of a water deposit, and only after following years of torment and dreams, did the then Bishop Isidoros believe the nuns and allowed his relics to be exhumed, finding his whole body incorrupt and intact apart from a small section on his skull where a patch of his skin deteriorated because of the water leaking on him--as the Saint had said to the nuns! This was a testament to the sanctity of the saint. Thousands of miracles and healings have since been attributed to St. Savvas the New of Kalymnos.

-- St. Savvas the New (d. 1947), Source

Offline Asteriktos

  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,250
Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #467 on: April 09, 2018, 07:15:39 PM »
It is thus an error and somewhat historically naive to demand that, for all problems, we should reason "as did the Fathers," and to reject or put into doubt any problem for the sole reason that we do not find it in their writings. If we examine the history of dogma in its creative cycles, we can see that each age has its own problems, which are new with respect to those of the past, and is not afraid to innovate while taking care not to break with tradition. It is clear that an attitude of mistrust or rejection of a new problem and, consequently, of a new doctrine is to fall into an anti-historic Talmudism and, at the same time, into a specific patrological heresy.

-- Sergei Bulgakov (d. 1944), quoted in: Antoine Arjakovsky, The Way: Religious Thinkers of the Russian Emigration in Paris and Their Journal, 1925-1940, (University of Notre Dame Press, 2013), pp. 396-397

Offline Asteriktos

  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,250
Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #468 on: April 10, 2018, 10:03:22 PM »
She was born in 1865 on the island of Cimola. Against her own wishes, her parents married her to a sailor, but he drowned soon after their wedding. Though she grieved for him, she also took his loss as a sign that she was to follow the path that she had always most deeply desired — so she entered monastic life, receiving the name Methodia. She then shut herself in a small cell where she gave herself to prayer without reservation, hardly ever leaving. She prayed virtually around the clock, and kept strict fast every day but Saturday and Sunday, on which days she would leave her cell to partake of the Mysteries. She received no visitors at all during Lent; at other times, she would receive only women. She became known throughout her region as a counselor and healer. She reposed in peace at the age of forty-two, in 1908.

-- St. Methodia of Cimola (d. 1908), Source

Offline Asteriktos

  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,250
Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #469 on: April 11, 2018, 09:02:05 PM »
For St. Basil, the first moment of time is not yet time. "As the beginning of a road is not yet the road, nor the beginning of a house, a house, thus the beginning of time is not yet time, nor even a minimal part of time." This first moment, for us, is unthinkable--if, that is, we weakly define the instant as a point in time (a false representation, as St. Augustine has shown, since the future becomes past without ceasing, without our ever being able to grasp the present in time). Now the first moment is not divisible. It is not even infinitely small, but without measure according to time: it is the moment as limit, thus without duration.

What then is the moment? This problem preoccupied ancient thought. In the impasse of a ruthless rationality, Zeno reduced time to the absurd, since it was--or rather could not be--at once movement and rest. More aware of mystery, Plato had remarkable thoughts on the "instant" which, he said, is not time but a limit, and, as such, an opening onto eternity. The present without dimension, without duration, revealed itself as the presence of eternity.

For St. Basil this is precisely that first moment in which the entire assemblage of being appeared, symbolized by "the heavens and the earth." The creature rises up in an "instant" which is at once eternal and temporal, on the frontier of eternity and time. The "beginning," logically analogous to the geometric notion of the frontier (between two planes, for example) is a sort of instantaneousness, non-temporal in itself, but whose creative explosion gives rise to time. This is the point of contact of the divine will with what will henceforth become and endure: the very origin of the creature is thus a change, a "beginning" and that is why time is a form of created being, whereas eternity properly belongs to God. But this original contingency will never disappear, for the word of God is unshakeable (1 Pet. 1:25). The world thus created will always exist, even when time is abolished, or rather, since time itself is a creature, when it is transformed into the eternal newness of the apocatastasis.

-- Vladimir Lossky (d. 1958), Orthodox Theology: An Introduction, p. 61

Offline Asteriktos

  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,250
Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #470 on: April 12, 2018, 11:45:46 PM »
For which cause we have remained silent until now, and have declined to take into consideration the papal encyclical in question, esteeming it unprofitable to speak to the ears of those who do not hear. Since, however, from a certain period the Papal Church, having abandoned the method of persuasion and discussion, began, to our general astonishment and perplexity, to lay traps for the conscience of the more simple orthodox Christians by means of deceitful workers transformed into apostles of Christ (2 Cor. 11:13), sending into the East clerics with the dress and headcovering of orthodox priests, inventing also divers and other artful means to obtain her proselytizing objects; for this reason, as in sacred duty bound, we issue this patriarchal and synodical encyclical, for a safeguard of the orthodox faith and piety, knowing "that the observance of the true canons is a duty for every good man, and much more for those who have been thought worthy by Providence to direct the affairs of others." (St. Photius, Epistles 3.10)

-- Patriarchal Encyclical of 1895

Offline Asteriktos

  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,250
Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #471 on: April 13, 2018, 08:41:16 PM »
Q. You talked about the growth of the church in the past 10 or 15 years. I wonder if you could give us a sense of how it’s grown and how the nature of the ministry of the church has changed in that time?

Yes. Just to give you the sense, I will give you some figures. In 1988, the Russian Orthodox church had 6,000 parishes. Now, we have 36,000 parishes. Most of these new parishes are either the churches which were destroyed and were built again, or these are churches which were in ruins and were restored. Or, these are newly established communities. When I speak about the parishes, as a rule it is both the church building and the church community. What does this figure mean? It means that every year we opened more than 1,000 churches: three churches per day for this entire period. And it continues at the same speed. We had, in 1988, 21 monasteries for the entire Russian Orthodox church. Now we have over 950 monasteries. Which means that we opened more than 900 monasteries in less than 30 years and each of these monasteries are filled with monks and nuns. Their average age is… Most of them are quite young. So, it is an incredible monastic revival, again on an unprecedented scale.

We had three theological educational institutions and now we have more than 50 higher educational institutions which belong to the church. And we have about the same number in Russia of theology faculties and departments in state universities. With regard to the social role of the church, the major shift was from the situation of a ghetto to the situation where the church is a very active actor in society, in social discussions, in the social processes. There are now two church TV channels. There are TV programmes which are operated by the church and state channels. And the church is very actively present in the mass media, in the internet, and also in the social arena.

-- Met. Hilarion Alfeyev (b. 1966), Interview with The Economist (2.1.18)

Offline Asteriktos

  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,250
Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #472 on: April 14, 2018, 07:22:13 PM »
To speak, then, as St. Theophan does, of standing before God "with the mind in the heart," means that we are to worship Him with the totality of our human personhood. The rational faculties are in no way rejected, for we are rational creatures--what St. Clement of Alexandria termed "logical sheep"--and therefore our worship should be logike latreia, "reasonable worship" (Rom. 12:1). Likewise, our emotions and affections are not to be excluded from our worship, for they too are part of our personhood. Our prayer should be animated by eros, intense and fervent longing for the Divine, so that our worship becomes truly an expression of "erotic ecstasy," to use a phrase of St. Maximos the Confessor. But logos and eros, reason, emotions and affections, are to be combined with the other layers of our personality, and all of them are to be integrated into a living unity, on the level of the deep self or the heart. Our experience of God, to cite Evelyn Underhill again, "spreads from the field of consciousness to transform and bring into the total act of worship the deep instinctive levels of the mind." Our worship is to be all-embracing.

-- Met. Kallistos Ware (b. 1934), The Inner Kingdom, p. 62

Offline Asteriktos

  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,250
Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #473 on: April 15, 2018, 09:00:24 PM »
The Kozel'schansk Icon of the Mother of God belongs amongst the icons most recently glorified, and is amongst those most venerated. This icon is of Italian origin and was brought to Russia by one of the courtiers of the empress Elizaveta Petrovna (1741‑1761). The owner of the icon married a records-clerk of the Zaporozhsky-Cossack army, Siromakh. Therefore down to the Ukraine went the icon. During the XIX Century it belonged to the Kapnist family among their sacred possessions. The icon was situated in the village of Kozel'schina, Poltava governance. During Cheesefare Week in the year 1880, the daughter of V. I. Kapnist, Maria, fell grievously ill... In the month of October the father journeyed with his sick daughter to Moscow. Here he had recourse to the most reknown doctors, who declared that the sickness was beyond their powers. The parents and the sick girl began already to despair...

The mother, having decided to go on the following day, and pointing to the family image of the Mother of God, said to her daughter: "Masha [a diminutive for "Maria"], tomorrow we go to Moscow, take the image of the Mother of God, let us clean its cover and pray harder before our Mediatrix. Ask, that we make a good trip and that thy illness be cured". The sick girl herself, having lost hope in worldly physicians, placed all her hope in God and entrusted her fate to Heavenly help. This icon had long before been known as wonderworking. According to tradition, it particularly aided young women, who recoursed to it in prayer to have an happy family. And with this too was the custom, to clean the cover of the icon, and the one praying would wipe it with cotton or linen. Pressing the holy icon to her bosom, the sick girl, with the help of her mother, rubbed at it and poured out all the burden of her infirmity, and sorrow and despair of soul before the countenance of the Mother of God. And the ardent and intense prayer of the sick girl was heard. She at once felt the strength in her hands and her feet and she cried out loudly: "Mama! Mama! I feel my feet! Mama, I feel my hands!" She tore off the metal braces and bandages and began freely to walk about the room, all the while continuing to hold on reverently to the image of the Mother of God in her hands...

-- said of: The Kozel'schansk Icon of the Mother of God (Source)

« Last Edit: April 15, 2018, 09:00:45 PM by Asteriktos »

Offline Asteriktos

  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,250
Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #474 on: April 16, 2018, 09:36:34 PM »
Of course, it would be easier to get to paradise with a full stomach, all snuggled up in a soft feather-bed, but what is required is to carry one’s cross along the way, for the kingdom of God is not attained by enduring one or two troubles, but many!

-- St. Anthony of Optina (d. 1865), Source

Offline Asteriktos

  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,250
Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #475 on: April 17, 2018, 10:27:24 PM »
Now if you don't feel comfortable with the calendar, follow the old... However don't let the enemy deceive you that you will be saved since now you are an old calendarist. Christ, when He sent His disciples into the world told them: Preach the gospel to all the world, and he who believes and is baptized will be saved. He did not say preach the old calendar and he who believes and is baptized will be saved in it.

-- Elder Philotheos Zervakos of Paros (d. 1980), Source

Offline Asteriktos

  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,250
Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #476 on: April 18, 2018, 07:54:13 PM »
Very much aware that members of Russia's educated society "nourished themselves on the fruits" of the West, the academics' enterprise involved engaging the West and the related notion of modernity in a new way. They were aware that they had to develop a new understanding of their own vocations, a new style and language of discourse, as well as a new approach to the meaning and purpose of Orthodox scholarship, knowledge, and science. On the immediate practical level, the more progressive of the academics believed they and their colleagues had to shed their perennial suspicion of philosophical ideas and cultural currents emerging from the modern West and instead find inspiration in the phrase from St. Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians (5:21): "Test everything, hold fast to what is good." Alexander Ivanstov-Platonov, a protopresbyter and professor of Church history at Moscow University, insisted that "those who extent their hand to contemporary civilization were not cowards or renegades or traitors to Orthodoxy."

One of the most well-known advocates of this approach was Archimandrite Feodor Bukharev, whose often complex ideas have been recently examined by Paul Valliere. In his 1860 essay, "On the Relation of Orthodoxy to Modernity," Bukharev maintained that awareness of one's contemporary environment was a biblical mandate; a lack of such awareness posed its own set of dangers to faith. As guidance in his relation to the West and its ideas, Bukharev sought not so much the dogmatic teachings of the ecumenical councils, but the spirit of those councils, with which, he maintained, their participants took up the challenges of their times. In this vein, he and other like-minded academics encouraged mastering Western treasures of knowledge and wisdom in order to discern their "applicability" to Orthodoxy, and even advocated passing through the "Western school" in order to learn as much as possible. Only in this way, he argued, could Orthodoxy remain a vital force in the modern world.

-- Source

Offline Asteriktos

  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,250
Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #477 on: April 19, 2018, 04:31:21 PM »
Divine grace, according to my own participation in it, is understood by the sense of the spirit, as borne witness by those who have known and seen it. It is the radiance of divine brightness, sensed in theoria and with lucidity of the nous; a subtlety of the intellect; a fragrant and sweet breath; undistracted prayer and the cessation of thoughts; an immaculate and perfectly peaceful life; as well as humble, calm, purifying, illuminating, joy-creating, and free of every fantasy! At that blessed moment there is no place for the slightest doubt in the recipient to think that perhaps it is not divine grace, as he is free of every suspicion or fear about it.

-- Elder Joseph of Vatopedi (d. 2009), Source

Offline Asteriktos

  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,250
Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #478 on: April 21, 2018, 01:10:22 PM »
Although with the eyes of the body and of reason the believer sees the Church only in her external manifestations, the believer's spirit recognizes her in the sacraments, and in prayer, and in God-pleasing works. For this reason the believer does not confuse her with a society that calls itself Christian, for not all who say "Lord, Lord" actually belongs to the elect and the seed of Abraham (Matt. 7:21). It is by faith that the true Christian knows that the one, holy, sobornyi, apostolic Church will never disappear from the face of the earth until the Last Judgment of all creation, that she abides on the earth invisible to the eyes of flesh and to minds that are wise in the way of the flesh within the visible community of Christians, just as she remains visible to eyes of faith in the Church beyond the grave, which is invisible to bodily eyes. It is through faith again that the Christian knows that the earthly Church--though she be invisible--is always robed in a visible image; that there has never been, could never be, and will never be such a time when the sacraments would be distorted, holiness exhausted, and the doctrine spoiled; and that one is no Christian who canot say where, from apostolic times, the Holy sacraments have been performed and are performed, where the doctrine has been preserved and is preserved, where prayers have been sent up and are sent up to the throne of grace.

-- Aleksey Khomyakov (d. 1860), Source

Offline Asteriktos

  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,250
Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #479 on: April 22, 2018, 04:36:12 PM »
Just in the same way that water pours of its own accord from an overfull vessel, so prayer to God begins to spring spontaneously from a heart which is filled with the holy feelings that have been produced by the habit of regular vocal prayer... Why is it, then, you may ask, that some people use their prayer books for years yet never have prayer in their hearts? To me, the reason for this seems to lie in the fact that the only time they make the effort to raise their hearts to God is while they are actually carrying out their rule of prayer... only in the morning, for example. They think that then their relationship to God is complete, their duty fulfilled. After this, they spend their whole day in other activities, without ever turning to God. Then, when evening comes, they may decide it is time to turn back to the business of prayer.

-- St. Theophan the Recluse (d. 1894), Source

Offline Asteriktos

  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,250
Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #480 on: April 24, 2018, 06:13:16 PM »
Most studies on conciliarity presume that a synod must be a “success,” in terms of achieving unity and vanishing heresies. Yet, if we identify synodality with “success”—with the final results in verbal and practical agreement—then we will need to admit that many Councils were not so “successful.” We must understand here that a dogmatic “gigantomachia” does not simply end in the agreement of words and formulas, but in the reality of the Mystery, recognized (sacramentally, liturgically) in the Image of the Crucified and Resurrected Christ. It is indicative that Polycarp, the famous Bishop of Smyrna, in about the year 155 visited his Roman fellow brother Anicetus to discuss with him the disputed issue of the date of Pascha. Although they did not agree in all things, imagine, they nonetheless served the Liturgy together, after which Polycarp returned to Smyrna—to his martyrdom.

-- Bishop Maxim Vasiljević (b. 1968), Conciliarity in the Church History and Today

Offline Asteriktos

  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,250
Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #481 on: April 26, 2018, 03:38:04 AM »
Our body lives by means of those elements of which it  is itself formed, constantly absorbing into itself air, water,  and other organic bodies ; our soul lives by means of the  Divine Spirit, from Which it has its origin, and constantly absorbs into itself, for supporting its life, the life of God the Trinity, through the light of the intellect, through good inclinations and desires of the heart and will, and constancy in goodness. As the body, when it is not nourished by the elements natural to it, cannot live, and dies, so our soul, when not nourished by prayer or good thoughts, feelings, and works, also dies. As in our bodily nature the nourishment and growth of the body are satisfactorily accomplished for a time, but if accidentally, through Jood or drink or breathing, any poison or contagion enters the body, then suffering is at once occasioned, and even death, should not help be given in time ; so in our spiritual nature everything goes on satisfactorily for a time, but if it is corrupted by the Devil, then it suffers grievously, becoming as if benumbed, and it requires the speedy help of the heavenly Physician, the God of spirits, which can only be received through the prayer of faith.

-- St. John of Kronstadt (d. 1909), Source

Offline Asteriktos

  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,250
Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #482 on: April 26, 2018, 04:04:31 PM »
The Church is holy by its calling, or its purpose. It is holy also by its fruits: “Ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life” (Rom. 6:22), as the Apostle Paul instructs us. The Church is holy likewise through its pure, infallible teaching of faith: The Church of the living God is, according to the word of God, “the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15). The Patriarchs of the Eastern Churches, concerning the infallibility of the Church in its teaching, express themselves thus: “In saying that the teaching of the Church is infallible, we do not affirm anything else than this, that it is unchanging, that it is the same as was given to it in the beginning as the teaching of God” (Encyclical of the Eastern Patriarch, 1848, par. 12).

The sanctity of the Church is not darkened by the intrusion of the world into the Church, or by the sinfulness of men. Everything sinful and worldly which intrudes into the Church’s sphere remains foreign to it and is destined to be sifted out and destroyed, like weed seeds at sowing time. The opinion that the Church consists only of righteous and holy people without sin does not agree with the direct teaching of Christ and His Apostles. The Saviour compares His Church with a field on which the wheat grows together with the tares, and again, with a net which draws out of the water both good fish and bad In the Church there are both good servants and bad ones (Matt 18:23-35), wise virgins and foolish (Matt. 25:1-13). “We believe,” states the Encyclical of the Eastern Patriarchs, “that the members of the Catholic Church are all the faithful, and only the faithful, that is, those who undoubtingly confess the pure faith in the Saviour Christ (the faith which we have received from Christ Himself, from the Apostles, and from the Holy Ecumenical Councils), even though certain of them might have submitted to various sins . . . The Church judges them, calls them to repentance, and leads them on the path of the saving commandments. And therefore despite the fact that they are subject to sins, they remain and are acknowledged as members of the Catholic Church as long as they do not become apostates and as long as they hold to the Catholic and Orthodox Faith.”

-- Fr. Michael Pomazansky (d. 1988), Source

Offline Asteriktos

  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,250
Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #483 on: April 27, 2018, 06:12:02 PM »
Following Christ's resurrection, when he appeared to the frightened and confused disciples, according to the words of the Gospel, they thought that they had seen an apparition. He said to them: "Do not be afraid... it is I, touch me, and be convinced that a ghost does not have a body, as I do." And after this he took food, fish and bread, "and ate before them" (Lk. 24:36-43)  The apostles went out from Jerusalem with the message of the resurrection, and they preached the resurrection of the dead to the ends of the earth. And this faith, this joyful news, this proclamation became the joy and the life of those who made the words of the apostles their own.

But for the world of that time, this was an unheard-of and absurd preaching. That the world could reluctantly accept the notion of the immortality of souls, but considered the resurrection of the body to be totally ludicrous. When the apostle Paul preached this in Athens, at the very center of Greek wisdom and enlightenment, the philosophers who listened to him laughed, saying to Paul: "We will hear you again about this" (Acts 17:32). But I am convinced that even now, two thousand years after the founding of Christianity, it is difficult, if not impossible, for humanity to understand this preaching, to understand why Christianity itself stands or falls precisely on this teaching. Indeed, we celebrate Easter, it is indisputable that something happens to us when each year the evening silence is broken with the proclamation, "Christ is risen!" and with its unique response, "Indeed he is risen!"

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

Offline Dominika

  • Troublesome Sheep
  • Global Moderator
  • Protokentarchos
  • ******
  • Posts: 5,142
  • Serbian/Polish
    • My youtube channel
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: POC, but my heart belongs to Antioch
Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #484 on: May 04, 2018, 02:58:39 PM »
"There are no grave and tiny sins. Grave sin is the one that captured you. The little sin is the one you captured."

Serbian patriarch Pavle
Pray for persecuted Christians, especially in Serbian Kosovo and Raška, Egypt and Syria

My Orthodox liturgical blog "For what eat, while you can fast" in Polish (videos featuring chants in different languages)