The Founding of Orthodoxy
Very Rev. Fr. +Gregori, SSJt., Abbot, Cor-Bishop
The Christianization or evangelization of the Slavs was initiated by Patriarch Photius, one of Byzantium's most learned churchmen. His appointment of the brothers Cyril and Methodius for the mission showed a real sense of missionary insight, as both brothers spoke the Slavic dialect then in use among the Slavic settlers near their native city of Thessalonica. Upon receiving their commission from Patriarch Photius, they immediately created an alphabet, the so-called Cyrillic alphabet; and then proceeded to translate the Scripture and the liturgy. This was the origin of Church Slavonic, the common liturgical language still used by the Russian Orthodox Church and other Slavic Orthodox Christians.
Their first mission to Moravia was unsuccessful, as they were forced to flee by German missionaries and the changing political situation, but their work was not in vain. Soon, Byzantine missionaries, including the exiled disciples of the two brothers, turned to other locations. At the beginning of the eleventh century most of the pagan Slavic world, including Russia, Bulgaria and Serbia, had been won for Byzantine Christianity. Constantinople officially recognized Bulgaria as a patriarchate in 945, Serbia in 1346, and Russia in 1589. The conversion of Russia actually began with the baptism of Vladimir of Kiev in 989, on which occasion he was also married to the Byzantine princess Anna, the sister of the Byzantine Emperor Basil II.
The expansion into the Slavic world created an Orthodox "Commonwealth." Byzantine art, literature, and culture were no longer confined within Byzantium's own political boundaries but extended far beyond into the Balkans and the north of Russia to create a single Byzantine Orthodox commonwealth. The Slavic nations, in reality, were not only Christianized, but civilized by the Byzantines. The conversion of the Slavs was not only pivotal in the destiny of the young Slavic nations, but it was equally decisive for the future of the Church. The addition of Slavic Orthodoxy into the Orthodox “family” permanently enlarged the Church's area of geographic distribution, the Slavic element brought immense riches into the Church's midst. Few people, perhaps, have embraced the Orthodox faith with such love and devotion as the Slavs.
This chapter of Church history also serves to show another major point. Western Christianity at this time was zealously imposing a uniform Latin liturgical language on converts, whereas Byzantine Christianity refused to do so. Greek was seldom used as a missionary language among the Slavs. The idea of a single liturgical language was shunned. The Cyrillic alphabet and liturgy, which employed the vernacular language of the peoples, created native-speaking Churches in the Balkans and elsewhere. The Orthodox Church insisted on preaching the Gospel in the ordinary language of the people so as to be directly and immediately understood by the new converts. And that, after all, is the goal of Christian mission. In the history of Orthodoxy, this legacy of the "Apostles to the Slavs," Saints Cyril and Methodius, is among the most precious and it is held very dear in the hearts of all Orthodox Christians.
The tragic event of the medieval Church was the schism between Eastern and Western Christianity. This sad division was not a single event, but a prolonged process spanning centuries. The cracks and fissures in Christian unity are arguably visible as early as the fourth century, which makes the year 1054, the traditional date marking the beginning of the schism and the excommunication of patriarch Michael Cerularius by papal legates, false. In reality, there is no exact date for the schism. The schism was a result of a complex chain of events whose climax was only reached in the thirteenth century with the sack of Constantinople by western Crusaders (1204). Keep in mind that the events leading to schism were not always exclusively theological in nature. Cultural, political, and linguistic differences were often mixed with the theological. Unlike the Copts or Armenians who broke from the Church in the fifth century and established ethnic churches at the cost of their universality and catholicity, the eastern and western parts of the Church remained loyal to the faith and authority of the seven ecumenical councils. They were united, by virtue of their common faith and tradition, in one Church. the transfer of the Roman capital to the Bosporus inevitably brought mistrust, rivalry, and even jealousy to the relations of the two great sees, Rome and Constantinople. Sadly, It was easy for Rome to be jealous of Constantinople at a time when it was rapidly losing its political prominence.
Rome refused to recognize the conciliar legislation which promoted Constantinople to second rank. This estrangement was also helped along by the German invasions in the West, which effectively weakened contacts. The rise of Islam with its conquest of most of the Mediterranean coastline (not to mention the arrival of the pagan Slavs in the Balkans at the same time) further intensified this separation by driving a physical wall between the two worlds. Communication between the Greek East and the Latin West by the 600s had become dangerous and all but ceased.
The rift widened further in the ninth century when the missionary ambitions of the two communions clashed over the Christianization of Bulgaria and Moravia. The election of Patriarch Photius even caused a temporary division, known as the "Photian Schism." It is the coronation of Charlemagne as emperor by the pope and the revival in 800 of a western "Roman" Empire which best shows how far the gulf had widened. The West was acting as if the Roman Empire, with its legitimate emperor in Constantinople, had ceased to exist. The Byzantine Empire's claims to world sovereignty were being totally ignored. Charlemagne's new "empire" was usurping the legitimate role of the Roman Empire in Constantinople. this declaration of independence and emancipation from Byzantium was not only a threat to the unity of Christendom, but also indirectly, to the shared faith of the one Church.
Today these historical factors no longer exist, yet the schism continues, which means that we must seek further for the ultimate root cause of schism in the intellectual and theological differences rather than in the political, geographical or historical factors. The primacy of the bishop of Rome and the procession of the Holy Spirit -- were involved. These doctrinal novelties were first openly discussed in Photius's patriarchate. To re-iterate, Christendom was divided into five sees with Rome holding the primacy. This was determined by canonical decision, it had nothing to do with any hegemony of any one local church or patriarchate over the others. During the progressive alienation Rome began to interpret her primacy in terms of sovereignty, as a God-given right involving universal jurisdiction in the Church. The collegial and conciliar nature of the Church, in effect, was gradually abandoned in favor of a supremacy of unlimited papal power over the entire Church. More than enough has been said about early ecclesiology to realize how much Rome’s understanding of the nature of Episcopal power was in direct violation of the Church's essentially conciliar structure. Rome insisted on basing her monarchical claims to "true and proper jurisdiction" (as the Vatican Council of 1870 put it) on St. Peter. This "Roman" exegesis of Mathew 16:18, however, was unknown to the Fathers who had ruled on the Church's organization. To the Orthodox, St. Peter's primacy could never be the exclusive prerogative of any one bishop. All bishops must, like St. Peter, confess Jesus as the Christ and, as such, all are St. Peter's successors.
Equally problematic to the Christian East was the western interpretation of the procession of the Holy Spirit. Like the primacy, this too developed gradually and entered the Creed in the West almost unnoticed. This theologically complex issue involved the addition by the West of the Latin phrase filioque ("and from the Son") to the Creed. The original Creed sanctioned by the councils and still used by the Orthodox Church today did not contain this phrase; the text simply states "the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, proceeds from the Father." The Latin interpolation was unacceptable to the Byzantines, theologically, because it implied that the Spirit now had two sources of procession, the Father and the Son, rather than the Father alone. In short, the balance between the three persons of the Trinity was altered. In addition to the dogmatic issue raised by the filioque, the Byzantines argued that the phrase had been added unilaterally and, therefore, illegitimately, since the East had never been consulted. The councils, which drew up the original Creed, had expressly forbidden any subtraction or addition to the text. Thus the West's tampering with the major creedal formula of the Church was, all in all, inadmissible.
As if these problems weren’t enough, mention should be made of Rome's proselytizing pressure. Evidence for this is appallingly and abundantly plentiful. Missionaries were prepared in special schools such as the College of St. Athanasius in Rome (opened in 1577) and then sent to the East in order to engage in direct proselytizing of the Orthodox. This network of Roman propaganda also embraced the Orthodox Slavic world. The pressure of the Catholic Polish monarchy and Jesuits in Poland and Lithuania on Orthodox dioceses canonically dependent on Constantinople is well enough known. The Uniat Ukrainian Church was, in part, the result of such pressure through the Union of Brest-Litovsk in 1596. There was, of course, little that the Orthodox Church could do to counter this aggressive Romanization, given the historical situation. Rome’s defection left Constantinople with undisputed primacy among the other eastern patriarchates. This is how Constantinople became the primary see of Orthodoxy. How the patriarch of Constantinople became the senior bishop in Orthodoxy is understandably a major theme of Orthodox Church history. Although the patriarchate’s primatial status has never been in question - it is, and remains, the first see of Orthodoxy - its geographical frontiers were considerably reduced as a result of the struggle for freedom undertaken by the various Orthodox nationalities under Ottoman rule. The new independent nation states could not remain ecclesiastically under the jurisdiction of a patriarch who was still within the orbit of the foreign and hostile Ottoman state.
One of the first nations to be influenced by the French Revolution's explosive ideas was Greece; it was the first to break the Turkish yoke, winning its independence early in the century. It didn’t take long before a synod of bishops declared the Church of the new Kingdom of Greece autocephalous. The New Greek nation, in short, could not be headed by the patriarch. Greece's autocephalous status, recognized by Constantinople in 1850, meant that it could elect its own head or kephale. The Church of Greece is today governed by a Holy Synod presided over by the Archbishop of Athens. Mt. Athos and the semiautonomous Church of Crete alone remain under the patriarch's jurisdiction. The island of Cyprus, however, is independent of both Constantinople and the Church of Greece. Its autonomous status dates from the third ecumenical council (431) which accorded it this unique position. Up to that time, it had been subject to the patriarchate of Antioch. Like Greece, this ancient Church is governed by a synod of bishops and a presiding archbishop.
The ethnarchic system introduced by the Ottomans brought most of the autocephalous and patriarchal Slavic Churches under the jurisdiction of Constantinople. This subjection, with its loss of patriarchal status, was never popular. As a result, several independent national Churches came into being once political freedom was achieved. The Church of Serbia, which had lost its patriarchate in the Turkish period, became autocephalous in 1879, and its primate was recognized as patriarch by Constantinople in 1922. Romania, today the largest self-governing Church after Russia, was declared autocephalous in 1885 and became a patriarchate in 1925. Finally, the Church of Bulgaria declared itself autocephalous in 1860, but it was not until 1945 that Constantinople recognized it; its metropolitan in Sofia assumed the title of patriarch in 1953. Constantinople recognized Russia, which was outside the Turkish fold, as a patriarchate in 1589. Peter the Great, the tsar of Russia, abolished the patriarchate in 1721, replacing it by a governing Synod. This Synodal Period lasted until the Bolshevik Revolution, when the patriarchate was once again restored (1917). Today, Russia ranks fifth after the four ancient patriarchates of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem.
The ancient sees of the Near East also achieved greater freedom as a result of the breakup of the Ottoman Empire. For these, too, were often under the influence of Constantinople during the period of Turkish captivity. Even though Egypt defected in the fifth century (it refused to accept the fourth ecumenical council and created a national Coptic Church) the patriarchate of Alexandria continued to survive. The ancient title of the patriarch is still "pope and patriarch" an eloquent illustration that the designation of "pope" was never the exclusive privilege of the bishop of Rome in the Church. Today, the patriarch and the clergy of this see are Greek. Significantly, its jurisdiction extends over all Orthodox on the African continent. There is a flourishing Orthodox Church now exists in Uganda. Antioch, which was one of the largest cities of the Roman Empire, now ranks third after Constantinople. It consists of Arabic-speaking Orthodox Christians living in Syria and Lebanon. Until the late nineteenth century its patriarch and bishops were Greek, but since 1899 they have been Arabs. Jerusalem has been an independent patriarchate since the fifth century. Unlike Antioch, its patriarch is Greek although its faithful are for the most part Arabs. This venerable see is the guardian and protector of the Holy Places. On the whole, the strength of these ancient sees has been sapped under Islam.
The authority enjoyed by Constantinople today is no longer based on any vast ecclesiastical jurisdiction. In the last century and a half it has been stripped both of its former territories and most of its flock. Greece and the Balkans are no longer under its jurisdiction. Inside Turkey itself, moreover, the Orthodox Christian communities of Asia Minor have disappeared. The patriarch's immediate flock today is, in the main, composed of those Orthodox still living in Constantinople. The patriarchate's position, rests on its primatial status, rather than on any wide territorial jurisdiction. No less striking is the fact that world Orthodoxy, like the ancient Church, is essentially a decentralized body consisting of four ancient patriarchates and numerous local or national Churches, most of which enjoy full self-governing status. The Orthodox community of Churches is decidedly not a monolithic structure. Despite the lack of a centralized authority, however, all members of this living body are bound together by a common canonical and liturgical tradition, by a single doctrinal and sacramental unity, and by a common faith stretching back to the original Christian nucleus of Apostolic times. Behind the historical reality lies the true Catholic and universal Church. In Christian history, catholicity has never been coextensive with organizational or institutional uniformity.
St. Paul stated, "It was given to us not only to believe in Christ but also to suffer for him" (Phil. 1:29). The tragedy of the Orthodox Church for much of the twentieth century has been to suffer under the new political framework of atheistic totalitarianism and growing secularism. There is one really big and significant difference between this latest crisis and those of the past: the previous non-Christian political regimes under which the Church had to live were rarely deliberately anti-Christian. There has never been an exact precedent for the communist catastrophe. None of the past regimes were ever as insistent as communism in its belief that religion must not be tolerated. We thought that this ended with the fall of communism and the old Soviet Union, but it appears that we are wrong, as there is a growing trend throughout the world, especially in Europe and America, to force religion, namely Christianity, out of the public venue. According to Lenin, a communist regime cannot remain neutral on the question of religion but must show itself to be merciless towards it. There was no place for the church in Lenin's classless society. Today, we are witnessing the same thing, only this time, it is coming from so-called democratic societies that are pushing secular humanism under the guise of political correctness.
Will we, once again, see the Church transformed into a persecuted and martyred Church? Thousands of bishops, monks, clergy, and faithful died as martyrs for Christ, both in Russia and in the other communist nations, and their numbers may well exceed the Christians who perished under the Roman Empire. Just as frightening for the Church was communism’s indirect, but systematic, strangulation policy. During the Soviet Union era, in addition to the methodical closing, desecration and destruction of churches, ecclesiastical authorities were not allowed to carry on any charitable or social work. To some extent, we are witnessing the same thing happening today. Many members of the clergy are being arrested and brought to trial to face charges of preaching hate for speaking out against homosexuality, which the Church views as a sin (the sin being the homosexual acts, not homosexual tendencies). Here in the United States, various priests and pastors are facing federal charges and the loss of their church’s tax exempt status for speaking out against individual politicians’ programs and political stances that are in direct violation of the Church’s moral teachings ( such as same-sex marriages and unions, abortion and euthanasia ). Can Orthodoxy, the TRUE Church, survive under this new on-slaught of anti-religious, anti-Christian attacks? Only time will tell.
The Eastern Orthodox Church is hierarchically arranged. Each Patriarch is considered equal to the others in primacy, although Constantinople enjoys pride of place throughout the Orthodox world as the chief religious leader of the Imperial City.
There are five main Patriarchates, these are: Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, Moscow. The "Patriarch of Constantinople" is the first in honor among equals in jurisdiction.
The "Russian Church", with 88 million members, is the largest, so the Patriarch of Moscow became the "fifth Patriarchate", and with the "Russian Diaspora", has spread the Orthodox to America and Western Europe.
-The "Church of Armenia", with its important offshoot in the U.S.A., belongs today to the Oriental rather than to Eastern Christianity.
ALEXANDRIA in Egypt. The city, founded by Macedonian occupation in the 4th century B.C. has been of absolute primary impact to Western culture from the very beginning. Here was the site of the famous Library and museum, and here saw the writing of the modern Pentateuch. This Patriarchate was founded by St. Mark The Evangelist.
ANTIOCH. The city of Antioch was founded in 300 B.C., as the capital of the Seleucid Empire. Located at the angle of Asia Minor and the Levant, it has been a center of historical process from its inception. The Patriarchate of Antioch was founded by St. Peter the Apostle.
ARMENIAN PATRIARCHATE. (Not one of the main Patriarchates) The people of Armenia have seldom held a secure and independent realm of their own, but have often been at the mercy of the neighbors. In some ways resembling Diaspora Jews in that Armenians have normally been found as isolated communities throughout the Middle East, their religion has been a powerful source of unity to them, and has been enormously influential in preserving the identity of the culture. Since the 15th century, the seat of the Patriarchate has been in the ancient city of Etchmiadzin, about 10 miles west of the current Armenian capital of Yerevan, and about 7 miles north of the Armenian/Turkish frontier. The Armenian Church is a Monophysite communion, and therefore is most closely related to Syrian, Coptic and Ethiopian branches of Christianity. It is believed that this Patriarchate was established by St. Thaddeus (Jude Thaddeus) the Apostle.
CONSTANTINOPLE. Although the Christian community here is not the oldest, this Patriarchate comes closest to being the recognized head of the whole Orthodox world, by reason of its association with the Imperial City. The first Bishop of Constantinople, during the Roman period, was St. Andrew the Apostle. Constantinople did not become a Patriarchate until the rise of the Byzantine Empire. St. Alexander was the first Patriarch of the Byzantine era.
JERUSALEM. Perhaps one of the best-known places on earth; the Old City is situated on a bluff overlooking the Valley of the Jordan to the east, a site in continuous human habitation for a minimum of 7000 years. The Christian community in Jerusalem can justly make the claim of seniority over all others, since there has been a contiguous Christian presence here since the time of Jesus and his immediate followers. The Church at Jerusalem was established by St. James, the Brother of our Lord.
MOSCOW Patriarchate. The Russian Orthodox Church has been the essence of what has kept this culture vibrant and alive through every time of trouble. Originally, Moscow fell under the Jurisdiction of Kiev. St. Jonas is considered the first Patriarch of Moscow, as he was the first to be elected without the sanction of Constantinople, thus establishing the Russian Church as a fully independent body.
The "Uniate" Churches: (Orthodox Catholics under Vatican control): Some churches maintain their traditional Eastern rites and liturgies, but recognize the supremacy of the Pope, and obey him, like the Ukrainian, Rumanian, Maronite in Lebanon, India...
A Uniate "Patriarch", in the Roman Catholic Church, is a "Bishop", subject only to the Pope, and he is the head of the faithful belonging to his rite throughout the world. In 1994, there were 8:
... 1- Alexandria, for the Copts.
... 2- Three in Antioch: One for the Syrians, one for the Greek Melkites, one for the Maronite.
... 3- Babylon, for the Chaldeans.
... 4- Cilicia, for the Armenians.
... 5- Jerusalem, for the Latin Rite.
... 6- East Indies (Goa, Damao...).
There are many more independent Orthodox Church groups, but for the sake of time and space, I have not listed them here.
Previous: Founding of Orthodox Part I
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(Why the Photo Image as seen above? See Quotes for September-October-November 2005 from "Franklin")
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While the answer and question above is not sufficient for some to understand, we take the view (which we believe is ORTHODOX) that all things pertinent to life and living affects, and has an effect, upon not just our belief (Orthodox), but (for many) the way in which we act in accordance with our belief, our very faith.
Because this is a highly Protestant Country in which we live, having an effect upon the laws of the land, we should know something of what is on-going and where efforts by those denominations may affect and have a intrinsic effect on our very laws, for such does have an effect upon our daily lives as Orthodox Catholic Christians.
If one is not cognizant of the real events happening both locally and in the world, although many are removed from the world... one will not know what to expect or what to do, or how one can or cannot act which might betray one's faith and accrue the wrath of civil authorities as laws change. Yet, we are also reminded that these things must happen and it was for that which there exists many early Christian Martyrs and Saints.
While we can remove ourselves from the world, we still live in it. And for the faithful, theirs is a struggle for knowledge and understanding. All things are pertinent to the Orthodox Catholic Christian Faith which is the very foundation of Christianity. As such, we can not abandon them and leave them blind to events and happenings.
What we post as related to those things similar to various articles which might have a political theme or non-Orthodox Catholic Christian content, of sorts, does not mean or imply that we are supportive of, or against something articulated in an article, so much as it is NEWS and our faithful should be made aware, for such may be the very thing that will impact their day-to-day life.
Remember, not all Protestants, especially hard core cultic groups such as "Charismatic" - "Evangelical" and other people are not so generous in their viciousness toward anyone and anything that appears "Catholic" whether of the Roman or Orthodox jurisdictions, for they do not know or want to learn that which makes them "different" in their walk and talk as being far from the roots of Christianity.
Remember, it is the Roman jurisdiction which has more outwardly shown that it can be one of the most vicious toward those who are not Roman but are very much "Catholic" - for the sun and moon does not rise and set on the Vatican (Latin or Roman) jurisdiction as to who is or is not "Catholic" for the Roman jurisdiction split (schismed) from the roots of "Catholicism" which is founded in what is termed and called today as "Orthodoxy".
Any good article or piece of information will be considered so long as it is not defamatory or slanderous toward an individual when not based on TRUTH or FACT, or which is altered out of context from its original publishing by recognized sources.
+Joseph Thaddeus (Stanford), OSB, SSJt., Ph.D.
“I prefer a defeat accompanied by humility to a victory accompanied by pride.”
A Curse or a Blessing? Depending on to whom it may...
There are unscrupulous people on the internet these days. Some of them are not who they claim to be and in order to disrupt honest spiritual pursuits, they are known to send out e-mail under someone else's name or the name of another church or jurisdiction with attachments. Anyone can do this, if they want. Some of them exist in Toledo, Ohio... Some in Texas... Others in Michigan, California and many other places... Some are "haters of truth" who follow (whether they are willing to admit it) those who have sway over less educated or ignorant people... as their are also those who do not even know what they are doing because they seek glory to satisfy their own vanity and selfish pride to take over a church or jurisdiction of another, or to wreck havoc over those whom they hate without considering the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ.
If you should ever receive an e-mail with an attachment purporting to be from anyone at "apostle1.com" - "apostle1.org" or even "apostle1.net" - - - know that our policy is to not send out e-mail from any of our domain names with an attachment. Therefore, don't open it! If you receive any e-mail from apostle1.com, apostle1.org or apostle1.net and have never before communicated with us... even if you have communicated with us... verify, verify and again, verify.
Unless we know exactly from whom an e-mail comes... nothing is clicked on or opened, not even attachments! You would be surprised from whom 'hate' e-mail arrives and what attempts and extremes they go to make their e-mails "look" official when it is a lone person or persons who hate TRUTH and love lies, hate anything from being posted that involves TRUTH because they may be affected with exposure to the LIVING TRUTH of Jesus Christ's Love.
Also: Hang Up Telephone Calls constantly get to you?
We get them all the time. But one thing we do that many are unaware of... We keep an automatic telephone log and then we turn them over to the same group who monitors and interacts with the hackers, etc.
It no longer matters if the caller calls once in a day, every other day or every day or several times a week, once a week for several months... All get logged, even those who think they have escaped notice by using the actual I.D. Caller number of "000-000-0000" which is being used of late.
It is known that a telephone number showing up may actually be a telephone service provider phone number, yet... they too keep logs and information as to each individual cellular or local (their locale) phone usage...
In the not-to-distant future, we intend to post some of those telephone numbers which constantly show up as "harassing hang-up" callers. May be, you too have the same? If so, may be we can assist in interacting to go further in bringing them to justice...
Contact us by E-Mail... provide us with your telephone number (U.S. residents only)... so that we may telephone you and assess the information.
Those who do such unscrupulous things, HATE some of the news, quotes, and such as to inform the general public. Some of them pose as clergy, while a few are actually clergy from various "other" offshoot AMERICAN ORTHODOX CHURCH or other jurisdiction(s) of the same or similar name of which we are, in some instances, their former MOTHER CHURCH (as is the same named Toledo, Ohio based, an offshoot, who had once been a part of us and unknowingly to our unworthy selves, were once a part of the clergy but they did not obtain permission to leave the jurisdiction they were under, according to Canon, and thus obtained for themselves re-ordination and consecrations, several times... and then using a variety of church names, including our own after they were defrocked and excommunicated, having more than three (3) times being excommunicated by other legitimate apostles/bishops); having joined in and with "Independent" churches who have nothing to do with us or even true Orthodoxy.
They seek to go out of their way to character assassinate and disparage religious web sites who do not meet their own brand of standardization which is evidence of their being not "Orthodox" "Christian" or even "Catholic" no matter what their nomenclature corporate name may be. The Toldeo, Ohio based same name group under their so-called leader has been deposed, defrocked and excommunicated more than three different times by various bishops/apostles. He, and several others, have become just as bad as the modern day Ecumenists of the National Council of Churches, World Council of Churches, the World Council of Bishops and more. Their ultimate aim and goal is destruction to those from whom they had either originated from or gone through to obtain the same named "church" they claim to hold to by the state's civil law in which they reside alone. They are not a "Schema-monk" or even a true "monk" for they were deposed and excommunicated for violations of the Holy Rule they claim to subscribe to, giving and openly providing false misleading and inaccurate information about other more honorable clergy. These 'wolves in sheep's clothing attract other nefarious and questionable persons whose aims are similar: for fame, image, power and glory.
Remember, anything that is a HALF TRUTH is not truth but a lie! Many there are that you may know who fit those descriptions... pray for them. Pray that God will send his Spirit of Truth upon them and lead them to Salvation through tears of Repentance, conversion of their cold and calculating hearts toward seeking forgiveness from God and those whom they attempt to harm.
Those who receive e-mail from us, know who we are and from where we send mail. There are also many who know that they can send e-mail under another group or person's e-mail address, which has been happening. If you receive e-mail that purports itself to be from us, verify first by hitting your "reply" button and ask, "I received this e-mail but would like verification if it is from you."
If you are of another jurisdiction, you too could find that your parishioners, clergy and faithful might become subject to the same as we have recently found.
Let this be a warning to visitors so as to be safeguarded against unscrupulous e-mails which contain viruses, worms and unsavory material from person(s) organizations or institutions that are more self-serving than uplifting and informatively news worthy.
For ourselves, we have, as in the past, so once again, acquired the assistance of those who are able and capable of tracing e-mails back to their source and taking appropriate action in North America.
We have learned that the organization we subscribe to, whose members come from various legal and law enforcement backgrounds amongst other areas of society, are committed to the faith even though they may hold different theologies. Yet, in their monitoring of electronic communications of various persons or people, they do not always make haste to bring perpetrators to justice until after enough evidence has been gained in order to build a solid case. We do not always know what information they have gained, but we do know the organization, whom we've been asked not to name, has had a 97% success rate in bringing to justice and obtaining a conviction against individuals, people, and sometimes even religious organizations of a persona that gives the appearance of both secular and religious bearing but who abuse and misuse technology. The organization views those who abuse and misuse the internet and other technologies as nothing more than a form of "domestic terrorism" - - - - and, it would seem to appear that the courts are in agreement!
Those kinds of people, organizations, etc. who misuse and abuse communication technologies are no different than those who attempt to use coercive measures, and in some instance, even blackmail for the same idea is involved... to cause havoc and wreckage, to destroy the spirit and activity of those who struggle in the faith out of pain of heart for the Orthodox Church which is TRUTH. The degree that some have been known to go to, as seen by other jurisdictions, is to take advantage of questionably mentally challenged or those who have a lack of education and understanding to get them to make statements, even outright lies, in writing, in order to destroy. Such persons or groups are spiritual terrorists for unholy and un-Orthodox causes, aims and goals.
Yes, our Metropolitan Archbishop, +Joseph Thaddeus, SSJt., Ph.D. strongly defends the Seals of the Confessional for such leads to true Repentance in thought, word and deed whereby the penitent is required to make amends, where possible, to seek forgiveness of those harmed by his actions whether real or imagined, and to give his forgiveness to those who have harmed him before taking the Holy Body and Blood in the Eucharist, Jesus the Christ. The reality of this understanding is bound up in and with the findings for which cause he, himself, had been character assassinated by his detractors who claim the courts prevented him from breaking the Seals of the Confessional which is not the truth at all.... Click here to see what another bishop's findings are...
The workings of Holy Spirit will not be daunted by those who attempt to cause disruption! It is for these and other reasons that you are urged to read what true repentance and forgiveness means for real "Christians".
"It would be better to have ten (10) true repentant X-felons who ask for and give true forgiveness than it would be to have one (1) non-x-felon or common person whose self-righteousness exceeds even the Pharisees, Sadducees, the gossip mongers, slanderers and un-repentant; for the repentant x-felon understands the true meaning of the Church's purpose as being the spiritual hospital." (siq) +Joseph Thaddeus, OSB, SSJt., Ph.D., Metropolitan Archbishop, Archabbot, Primate
Yes... "Prejudice Makes Prisoners of the Hated and the Hater..." (1992-Fr. Alan Stanford)
One can ask, "What part of 'Prejudice' and 'hate' do you not understand? Are you a complacent person? In light of the saying, examine yourself! You may be surprised if you are honest with yourself for your soul may convict you before Jesus Christ convicts you in the times to come!
tested by some trial you should try to find out not why or through whom it came,
but only how to endure it gratefully, without distress or rancor."
St. Mark the Ascetic.
"Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit." Psalms 32:1-2
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