I am at peace buddy. My relationship with the Lord is going well--I'm surprised you think you can ascertain what it is based on internet postings. How can you be Orthodox and not know who these holy God bearing Fathers are that I mentioned? (And the Apostolic Writers are Fathers too!). Steve, you place yourself higher than the Fathers by judging that you know the mind of Christ better than they. They proved their position. You haven't proven yours. The Lord Jesus is not the only authority--he is the source of authority but he gave authority to the Church, which is the body of Christ. Do you know what the Church is? I suggest you read the book "The Mind of the Orthodox Church" by Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos:
I went to an Orthodox seminary and I have read a broad spectrum of writers. All of the Orthodox writers agree that the Church is the Body of Christ, Christ can't be divided, and so heretics don't have grace--whether they be Latin (like St Cyprian) or Greek or whatever. If you want me to quote the Lord, then let us quote where he says that not everyone who calls Lord, Lord will be saved, or in Revelation where he says that the lukewarm will be spit out? Or where St Paul says that in the end times many false teachers will arise?
Steve, the Church is a living organism passed down through the generations. That you think you can decide what is Truth and what is not against the Fathers of the Church you claim to be a member of indicates you think you can skip a step in the chain of faith that brought this faith to you. This is Protestantism.
I can't believe you have never heard of the FAMOUS and VERY INFLUENTIAL Fathers I have mentioned, such as St Nikodemos and St Theodore the Studite. Even St John Chrystostom whom I am sure you recognize had a quote above that I mentioned. At any rate Steve, you don't use Orthodox sources or Orthodox arguments to back up your claims; instead you appeal to your own judgment, and you have frankly not given me any reason to trust it. I'll trust the holy monks, bishops, priests, and laymen that I know in this life now who teach the Orthodox faith fully without reservation.
Nothing needs to fall in place, Steve--you really should not make assumptions about others' spiritual lives.
To come to know Lord Jesus is to understand that God's love is beyond anything we can understand. He loves us enough to become one of us and let us reject, condemn, torture and murder Him to save us from our evil -- our hatred of Love Himself and of each other, to share His Divine Life, Love and Joy with us forever, if we choose. He wants to save us. It isn't faith that saves; it isn't any Church that saves us. It is Lord Jesus Who saves us. Since the Church we belong is usually an accident of ethnicity and birth, our Church is less important than our relationship with Him.
I'm only going by what you are showing me.
I've heard of St. Theodore the Studite butI'ver never heard of Nikodemas of the Holy Mountain. Was he a monk on Mount Athos ? Anyone who teaches that believing Christians in other Churches don't have Lord Jesus is teaching you a demonic teaching right out of the mouth of hell. He is teaching you to worship your Church rather than Lord Jesus. He is teaching you spiritual pride.
I didn't say the Body of believers has no authority but that authority is dependent on recieving Lord Jesus in heart as God, Lord and Saviour. Being a bishop, priest , monk doesn't necessarily mean you are a member of His Church. Christ is not divided; anyone who recieves Him is a member of His Church. They may be in ignorance or error (who isn't ?) because of what they were taught but it is love, not knowledge that is the point.
You want to believe the Greek Church is Christ's Church which it is but it's not all of His Church. That would lead to the bizarre conclusion that Lord Jesus prefers Eastern Europeans (90 % + of the Greek Church). That makes no sense. This mentality feeds the nationalism that is the main and most destructive heresy among Greek Rite Orthodox.
You focus way too much on the Church rather than on Lord Jesus. This is confusing the means witht the end. The Church exists to bring us to Lord Jesus and to aid our growth in Him, "being conformed to His image by the Holy Spirit" as St. Paul said.
The Church isn't just about Lord Jesus , it's to Lord Jesus. Anyone who is not focused on Lord Jesus Christ is not yet a Christian, though they may be seeking Him.
By being an Old Calendarist, does that mean that you don't regard Orthodox who follow the necessary Gregorian correction of the Julian Calendar as Orthodox ? Am I right in assuming you first tried the main body of the Greek Orthodox, found it somewhat secularized and decided the Old Calendarists were purer ? Which is fine if that's bringing you closer to Lord Jesus; not fine if it's turning you into a loveless Churcholater.
In all Churches the same phenomenon is happening: they are all splitting along 3 lines:
1) to the world (the left)
2) to Lord Jesus (the center)
3) to some aspect of the Church (the right)
I and 3 are apostacy; only 2 is acceptable.
This is because we are in the Great Apostacy; we've been in it for some time.
No one is going to tell me Mother Theresa of Calcutta was not full of the grace of Lord Jesus. No one on the world stage in recent history has so beautifluly conveyed the love and reality of Lord Jesus; she imaged Him to us to a greater degree than anyone else. If you can't see Lord Jesus in her, then you don't know Him and have missed the point. That is a great tragedy.