Author Topic: Letting go of my bitterness...  (Read 935 times)

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Offline sad sap 81423

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Letting go of my bitterness...
« on: June 06, 2018, 04:14:47 PM »
Glory be to Jesus Christ!

Hello everyone,

I am a Catechumen for Orthodox Christianity and will become anointed in just a few months. I am really excited for this moment and very honored to find this immaculate church. Orthodoxy has opened my eyes and has been pushing me to know Christ more and more. I am very in love this church!! However, my perspective on the churches I used to attend in my area (All Protestant/non-denominational) have turned sour..

I'll try and make it short, but you see, my uncle was a very popular pastor in the area and one of the most honorable men in my family tree. In the 70's-90's, He had a message that when the world becomes just as bad as the days of Noah, Jesus will return, as it says in Matthew 24:37. His outlook of the world was ugly and was surely convinced that the world was very close to becoming like the days of Noah. So his plan was to build an Ark. Not for a flood, but for Jesus' second coming. He became very popular around town and sometimes he made the news (Including Time magazine). It was a big project that required a lot of money. He was doing very well with donations that he received all over the world, until he ran out of money... The project stalemated and flow of revenue wasn't enough. They only managed to put up the steel foundations (He could only be allowed by the state to use steel beams for a structure that large). It is now sitting on the side of the interstate, rotted and just a shell.

Now here's where the "fun" begins.. The small city I live in, makes fun of the Ark. Occasionally, someone will make a meme poking fun of the ark and will go viral amongst the community. It's not just atheists either, its people who I know, people who I've seen go to Church, even other Pastors may leave comments. People will just say "Oh its just a handful of ignorant people". But I know a handful when I see it. When people first realized the Ark was not going to be completed, rumors began to circulate. He said that people made lies that he found another women and ran off to California, even though he still lives 2 miles away from the Ark this very day. Or that he and his wife took the donation money and ran off with it, etc... You get the picture.
I understand the criticisms that were made when it came to the money management. I would understand that if you are reading this, you probably don't agree with the idea of a multi-million dollar Ark Church. But the bitterness I have comes from the ignorant people who call themselves Christian and pray for unity amongst it's fellow churches, meanwhile bashing other Christians. So it becomes personal. It's so hard to not only forgive them, but to also not think of myself as a "better" Christian than the ones in my area since I found the Orthodox Church. I also am aware that the Ortho church isn't a church I should be Running away to but a running to. How can I stop running away and start running to???

I'll be more than glad to answer any questions if you are curious about me, my story, my uncle, etc...
« Last Edit: June 06, 2018, 04:15:34 PM by sad sap 81423 »

Online Volnutt

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Re: Letting go of my bitterness...
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2018, 05:02:38 PM »
I hate to say it, but theology so phenomenally bad that it leads to building an Ark for the Second Coming kind of deserves a certain amount of ridicule. When someone is bringing shame on the name of Christ before unbelievers like that, I think mockery can be a way to mitigate the damage.

This doesn't excuse personal attacks or making up lies, though. I'm sorry you guys had to endure that.

As far as bitterness, I guess if I were in your shoes I would ask myself why I continue to be Christian at all. I remain a Christian despite some of my misgivings because I still believe Christianity is the Truth, even if there's a lot of unfriendly people in it. And if I believe it's the Truth, then I need to go where the Truth is. This doesn't make anything easier, of course. I do sympathize :(
« Last Edit: June 06, 2018, 05:03:16 PM by Volnutt »
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

Offline sad sap 81423

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Re: Letting go of my bitterness...
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2018, 05:35:07 PM »
I appreciate and thank you for your sympathy. It's not to bad now. Now its just Facebook memes, but it still gets under my skin.

I can understand the criticism about making a multi-million dollar Ark. He also did missionary work all over the world to preach the Ark and ask for help. Places like Ghana, Nigeria, he even smuggled tiny Russian bibles to USSR in 1988. He was asking for donations from poor countries to a project that costs tons of money..

What I wish to know is why you think the theology behind the Ark is wrong?

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Re: Letting go of my bitterness...
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2018, 05:55:45 PM »
It doesn't make any kind of sense. Setting aside the question of whether the Flood was literal or not, setting aside the question of whether and to what extent literalistic prophetic futurism is a valid interpretation or not, what makes him think there's going to be a repeat of the Flood? Pretty sure part of the Flood narrative was God resolving to never do that again. It also plays havoc with the idea of the Church as the true Ark of Salvation, which was the whole point of Christ drawing that comparison in the first place.

Does he think there will be a Flood and then "the elements will melt with fervent heat?" That's a bit redundant. Will the Antichrist die in the Flood and then immediately come back to life for Armageddon? Will Jerusalem be destroyed in the Flood? I thought its survival was significant.

Why would God cut the population of the earth down to just him and his family when prophecy makes it sound like there will still be a lot of people left alive on the Earth when Christ returns?

And probably most importantly, why does your uncle get to pull a teaching like this out of his hat with absolutely no attestation in Church history? This is how cults start (and the "getting money out of poor Third World Christians" part doesn't help that sense any).
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

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Re: Letting go of my bitterness...
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2018, 06:11:12 PM »
Rereading your first post, I missed the line about it not being for a Flood. I apologize for jumping the gun on that.

But why would an Ark help with the Second Coming? A fortified underground bunker, I could see the use of (even though I'm not sure that Christians should be taking great lengths to hide from martyrdom like that). But why an Ark? If the world ends in fire as implied by 2 Peter, it would just burn up anyway.

The point about unattested beliefs still stands, though.
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

Offline Ainnir

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Re: Letting go of my bitterness...
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2018, 06:31:05 PM »
Well it's a difficult thing to really wrap oneself around (or even to want to wrap oneself around), but we pray the Lord's Prayer quite a bit, as I'm sure you know by now.  In it we say, "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."  So this puts the weight of responsibility back on ourselves to forgive others "seventy times seven," as well as repent of our unforgiveness, which is the root of bitterness.  It may be very hard to do at first, but pray the Lord will have mercy on these critics.  Welcome to the forum and I'm so glad you are excited about your journey!
Is any of the above Orthodox?  I have no clue, so there's that.

Offline maneki_neko

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Re: Letting go of my bitterness...
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2018, 09:42:12 PM »
And probably most importantly, why does your uncle get to pull a teaching like this out of his hat with absolutely no attestation in Church history? This is how cults start (and the "getting money out of poor Third World Christians" part doesn't help that sense any).

Agreed. I can see how from an outside perspective the whole situation looks very shady. That being said, I can also understand why you'd feel hurt about people mocking a relative you love and admire.

Well it's a difficult thing to really wrap oneself around (or even to want to wrap oneself around), but we pray the Lord's Prayer quite a bit, as I'm sure you know by now.  In it we say, "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."  So this puts the weight of responsibility back on ourselves to forgive others "seventy times seven," as well as repent of our unforgiveness, which is the root of bitterness.

I like Ainnir's advice. I think about this line every time we say the Lord's Prayer and the magnitude of what that means. For me it means looking at who is hurting me at my life and striving with God's Grace to pray for them and show kindness, or think of them charitably. Maybe this is one of the reasons why we say this prayer so much in Orthodoxy; to get back to the basics and be reminded of how forgiveness is supposed to work in our life. Not easy, but it gives us a step in the right direction.
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Offline sad sap 81423

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Re: Letting go of my bitterness...
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2018, 10:36:02 PM »

Does he think there will be a Flood and then "the elements will melt with fervent heat?" That's a bit redundant. Will the Antichrist die in the Flood and then immediately come back to life for Armageddon? Will Jerusalem be destroyed in the Flood? I thought its survival was significant.

Why would God cut the population of the earth down to just him and his family when prophecy makes it sound like there will still be a lot of people left alive on the Earth when Christ returns?

It is a symbolic message. Nothing literal. Its not supposed to hide himself from Christ's return. The Ark was more of a Evangelical tactic. It was right off the highway and right before the exit, so thousands of people see it everyday. Some even got off the highway just to see the construction site up close. But you are correct. Many churches in my area want to be the "one" who is spreading the message of the Bible. After months of becoming Catechumen, I've learned that sola fide and sola scriptura is not mentioned in the bible and that those doctrines have just become mans interpretation. I digress..

But to the topic at hand, thank you everyone for the answers to my question. I know that if I just keep close to the Lord, eventually he will help me seek peace.

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Re: Letting go of my bitterness...
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2018, 10:52:53 PM »

Does he think there will be a Flood and then "the elements will melt with fervent heat?" That's a bit redundant. Will the Antichrist die in the Flood and then immediately come back to life for Armageddon? Will Jerusalem be destroyed in the Flood? I thought its survival was significant.

Why would God cut the population of the earth down to just him and his family when prophecy makes it sound like there will still be a lot of people left alive on the Earth when Christ returns?

It is a symbolic message. Nothing literal. Its not supposed to hide himself from Christ's return. The Ark was more of a Evangelical tactic. It was right off the highway and right before the exit, so thousands of people see it everyday. Some even got off the highway just to see the construction site up close.

Oh, ok. My mistake!

Yeah, that doesn't really deserve ridicule other than maybe in the financial aspects.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2018, 10:53:17 PM by Volnutt »
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

Offline Rubricnigel

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Re: Letting go of my bitterness...
« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2018, 10:21:57 AM »

As far as bitterness, I guess if I were in your shoes I would ask myself why I continue to be Christian at all.

The guy just said he's  going to be anointed in a few months, geesh.

To OP,  congrads on all you've done, im in a similar boat (not to be ironic :) but the only advice I'd say is, if you know your yncle didnt steal the money, he is genuine, then those who mock him are just assholes so dont let it fester. Alot of people probably dont know about him being genuine or how he ran out of $$ instead of swindling it. Maybe have a local newspaper publish an op-ed piece and let your feeling be known.
    God bless, and dont let people get you down. Congrads

Offline Tzimis

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Re: Letting go of my bitterness...
« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2018, 05:03:04 PM »
Congrats on finding Orthodoxy. It's unfortunate for your uncle and the family as a whole in situations like this. People, and that includes many orthodox tend to label others short comings. Than unfortunately you have to carry that stigma with you for a while.

 I guess its a prideful way of making themselves feel better and more righteous in there eyes. Meanwhile the things they are probably hiding are much more shameful.

 I does sound like a running away issue though. But, the good news is that you couldn't have chosen a better place. Sometimes people need a fresh start.

Offline Luke

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Re: Letting go of my bitterness...
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2018, 05:37:50 PM »
People find reasons to gossip about others.  The OP is not the first or last person for this to happen to.  Hopefully the town will figure out it is time to knock it off.  May the Lord be with the OP in his journey toward Orthodoxy.

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Re: Letting go of my bitterness...
« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2018, 07:06:07 PM »

As far as bitterness, I guess if I were in your shoes I would ask myself why I continue to be Christian at all.

The guy just said he's  going to be anointed in a few months, geesh.

I wasn't encouraging him to leave the faith, just trying to help him remember why he sticks to it despite conflicts with people.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2018, 07:06:46 PM by Volnutt »
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

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Re: Letting go of my bitterness...
« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2018, 07:41:59 PM »

As far as bitterness, I guess if I were in your shoes I would ask myself why I continue to be Christian at all.

The guy just said he's  going to be anointed in a few months, geesh.

I wasn't encouraging him to leave the faith, just trying to help him remember why he sticks to it despite conflicts with people.
Those conflicts are from a different faith. You seem to have a very bothersome Universalist view of Christianity

Offline WPM

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Re: Letting go of my bitterness...
« Reply #14 on: June 07, 2018, 10:50:55 PM »
Sure, … everyday I practice letting go of hatred. (Does not want to practice anymore hate)
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Offline Onesimus

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Re: Letting go of my bitterness...
« Reply #15 on: June 07, 2018, 11:32:26 PM »
Quote
But the bitterness I have comes from the ignorant people who call themselves Christian and pray for unity amongst it's fellow churches, meanwhile bashing other Christians. So it becomes personal. It's so hard to not only forgive them, but to also not think of myself as a "better" Christian than the ones in my area since I found the Orthodox Church. I also am aware that the Ortho church isn't a church I should be Running away to but a running to. How can I stop running away and start running to?

Many of us convert go through intense bitterness with regard to our previous sects.  It will take time.   But that bitterness must be looked at as a sin and you should confess it and focus on your own heart.

My priest wisely told me; “it is good to be discerning with other people.... All of us need to remember to turn that discernment meter around and point it at ourselves.” 

Our bitterness comes from our own heart...not from others.  Their sins are their own...ours are our own.   Confess your own sins as worse then theirs and you at some point learn to forgive and forbear their sins...and you will begin the path to letting go of your bitterness.  If you are struggling with thinking of yourself as a “better” Christian you should confess this in confession and ask for guidance on how to escape prelest.

Do the above and you will be “running to the Church” in repentance And contrition for your own sins which need healing, instead of away from something or someone else’s sins against you.

You will have occasion to have Orthodox people hurt you and be “ignorant” and sin against you as well.   It may cause similar feelings after your conversion high wears off.

What happened in your family’s past is always going to be the subject of gossip. It’s your cross to bear whether you like it or not.   Christians will sin against you and be hypocritical.   That is also your cross to bear.   How you respond to others sins and the burden of your cross(es) is the key.   There were two others crucified with Christ on Calvary.  One bore his cross in penitence< the other cursed his cross in bitterness.

 We all carry crosses. Carrying them is painful and ugly process.  We won’t always bear it gracefully.   There are stumbles along the path of carrying our cross. We will be battered and scorned by others who may have helped put that cross on us.  We will be bloodied and harmed.  The cross will reveal our hearts and which theif we resemble at any given moment.    Seek to be the penitent theif.   The more you embrace your cross the more you will run to the Church, and the more you run to the Church the more you will embrace your cross.   That cross...that suffering is not what God wants for you, but He has made it a path for your salvation nonetheless.   Pick up your cross daily and follow Christ and the tool the devil is using to crucify you will become the tool of His demise in your life.   This is the beauty of Christ’s suffering....a suffering you are called to participate in.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2018, 11:43:00 PM by Onesimus »

Offline Sharbel

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Re: Letting go of my bitterness...
« Reply #16 on: June 10, 2018, 04:12:03 PM »
It's so hard to not only forgive them, but to also not think of myself as a "better" Christian than the ones in my area since I found the Orthodox Church.

Until the day of your death, the jury will not even have been convened to figure out whether you've ever been a better Christian, IOW, a canonized saint.
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Offline RaphaCam

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Re: Letting go of my bitterness...
« Reply #17 on: June 11, 2018, 12:58:25 AM »
Was it this thing?

"May the Lord our God remember in His kingdom all Holy Catholic Apostolic Church, which heralds the Word of Truth and fearlessly offers and distributes the Holy Oblation despite human deficiencies and persecutions moved by the powers of this world, in all time and unto the ages of ages."

May the Blessed Light shine Forth

Offline Sharbel

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Re: Letting go of my bitterness...
« Reply #18 on: June 11, 2018, 10:06:29 PM »
Sanctus Deus
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Re: Letting go of my bitterness...
« Reply #19 on: June 11, 2018, 10:32:05 PM »
Eeesh, talk about movies that all of a sudden aged really poorly- "Sexual harassed by God. Five women speak out."
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

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Re: Letting go of my bitterness...
« Reply #20 on: June 11, 2018, 10:51:16 PM »
"May the Lord our God remember in His kingdom all Holy Catholic Apostolic Church, which heralds the Word of Truth and fearlessly offers and distributes the Holy Oblation despite human deficiencies and persecutions moved by the powers of this world, in all time and unto the ages of ages."

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Offline OrthoDisco

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Re: Letting go of my bitterness...
« Reply #21 on: June 24, 2018, 12:43:50 PM »
Would it help to delete your facebook account.
Its just spyware, anyway.

I still get angry with the modernist christians who do such hypocritical things like that -
speak of unity, but devour all the other christians who aren't like them.
I have to always ask God's forgiveness and help. Thats all. Its a sad cycle, but it gets better.
But I was very angry with modernist/nondenomenational church because that's where I came to Orthodoxy from. (For reasons i won't state right now.)
But if I were you, seriously, I would unfriend everybody, or delete FB. You dont need to subject yourself to that ridicule.
And read/pray some of the psalms. They are perfect for this type of situation! It will calm you from the inside, out.
God bless.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2018, 12:46:42 PM by OrthoDisco »

Offline sad sap 81423

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Re: Letting go of my bitterness...
« Reply #22 on: June 24, 2018, 01:04:57 PM »
Would it help to delete your facebook account.
Its just spyware, anyway.

I still get angry with the modernist christians who do such hypocritical things like that -
speak of unity, but devour all the other christians who aren't like them.
I have to always ask God's forgiveness and help. Thats all. Its a sad cycle, but it gets better.
But I was very angry with modernist/nondenomenational church because that's where I came to Orthodoxy from. (For reasons i won't state right now.)
But if I were you, seriously, I would unfriend everybody, or delete FB. You dont need to subject yourself to that ridicule.
And read/pray some of the psalms. They are perfect for this type of situation! It will calm you from the inside, out.
God bless.

Not a bad idea deleting Facebook. I truly believe it is addicting and it is just a giant database. I may consider it.

Yes, Its funny that some churches here in the US are more worried about starting missionary work in Orthodox countries than going to New England to do the same (Example: 56 percent of Vermont is atheist!). Its insulting to be honest.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2018, 01:06:31 PM by sad sap 81423 »

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Re: Letting go of my bitterness...
« Reply #23 on: June 24, 2018, 01:48:11 PM »
Would it help to delete your facebook account.
Its just spyware, anyway.

I still get angry with the modernist christians who do such hypocritical things like that -
speak of unity, but devour all the other christians who aren't like them.
I have to always ask God's forgiveness and help. Thats all. Its a sad cycle, but it gets better.
But I was very angry with modernist/nondenomenational church because that's where I came to Orthodoxy from. (For reasons i won't state right now.)
But if I were you, seriously, I would unfriend everybody, or delete FB. You dont need to subject yourself to that ridicule.
And read/pray some of the psalms. They are perfect for this type of situation! It will calm you from the inside, out.
God bless.

Not a bad idea deleting Facebook. I truly believe it is addicting and it is just a giant database. I may consider it.

Yes, Its funny that some churches here in the US are more worried about starting missionary work in Orthodox countries than going to New England to do the same (Example: 56 percent of Vermont is atheist!). Its insulting to be honest.

yeah truly insulting!
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