ON the HERESY of the SABBATARIANS and JUDAISERS - ON KEEPING THE LORD'S FEAST ON SUNDAY INSTEAD OF SATURDAY

by Nektarios Nectar Panagiotis Farmakis on Thursday, August 18, 2011 at 9:00am
 
ON KEEPING THE LORD'S FEAST ON SUNDAY INSTEAD OF SATURDAY (CHAPTER 14) (Mostly taken from Book: The Truth of our Faith by Blessed Elder Cleopa  

Things examined and proven:

  1. Christ is the End of the Law
  2. No Longer Under the Schoolmaster of the Old Covenant
  3. No Command to Keep the Sabbath for the First-Created
  4. The Meaning of "Remember the Sabbath" (Ex 20:8)
  5. The Nations (Gentiles) Not Commanded to Keep the Sabbath
  6. The Meaning of the "Eternal" Covenant (Lev 17:7)
  7. The New Testament Teaching Regarding the Sabbath
  8. The Lord and His Disciples Did Not Regard the Sabbath
  9. The Practice of the Apostles and Their Successors
  10. The Lord's Day is the Day of Resurrection
  11. The Witness of the Early Church Fathers and Christians

INQUIRER: If the New Covenant is a continuation of the Old Covenant, how is it that we don't commemorate the seventh day (Saturday) as a feast day.

ELDER CLEOPA (of Blessed Memory +1998): From Adam until the death of Abraham, according to certain chronologies, 3,678 years passed, to which must be added the 403 years in which the Jews were captive in Egypt, totalling 4,108 years (Chronology of George Kedrinos, also confirmed by many Saints of the Church such as St. Kosmas Equal-to-the-Apostles). During the period from Adam until Moses, neither were the Scriptures written nor Saturday observed as a feast day by any race of people. For so many thousands of years the patriarchs and faithful of God were guided along the path of salvation only by the Holy Tradition. Finally, after so long a time, as the Israelites were passing through the desert of Arabia, God blessed the Sabbath day in commemoration of the creation of the world in seven days - on the seventh day of which God rested - and of the exodus of His people (of that time) from the slavery of Egypt. Holy Sciprutre recounts these events as follows:

"And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made." (Gen. 2:3).

Elsewhere, in reference to the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, it is written:

"And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the Sabbath day." (Dt. 5:15)

Yet, nevertheless, it should be well understood that the Sabbath was not given by God as an obligatory feast for all the people of the world, but was sanctioned as a feast and eternal agreement only for His people Israel. Holy Scripture makes this clear:

"Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.’” (Exodus 31:16-17)

In another passage, Holy Scripture shows us also that the Sabbath and all of the other commandments of the Law were given to Israel alone:

"He declares His word to Jacob, His statutes and His judgments to Israel. He has not dealt thus with any nation; And as for His judgments, they have not known them." (Psalm 147:8-9 [147:19-20])

In other words, to the unbelieving nations that did not descend from the race of Jacob and its commandments, God did not appear. One of these commandments included the commandment concerning the Sabbath. When the idol worshippers came to Nehemiah wanting to take part in the building of the temple, he told them:

“The God of heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no heritage or right or memorial in Jerusalem.” (Nehemiah 2:20)

If the idol worshippers had kept the Sabbath, would Nehemiah have had the right to speak to them in that way?

The idol worshippers could have answered him that they too, have the Sabbath as a sign of a covenant with God just like the Israelites. To the contrary, however, Nehemiah states clearly and firmly that they have no place or right in Jerusalem.

As a further testimony that neither the Law nor the Sabbath was given to the idol worshippers, we have the Epistle of Saint Paul to the Romans, where he says,

"...when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things contained in the law...: (Rom. 2:14)

And further on, the same Apostle says that to the Israelites "to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises." (Rom. 9:4)

With the above examples as a base, one comes easily to the conclusion that the commandment of the Sabbath was a sign of union and covenant between God and Israel, that consequently it was given only to the people of Israel (old Israel of the Old Covenant), and not to all men without distinction. (see Ex. 31:16-17)

And yet, neither was the commandment of the Sabbath given for an indiscriminate amount of time. The Apostle Paul in his Epistle to the Galatians shows us  that "it was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator." (Gal. 3:19)

Moreover, we know that "Christ is the end of the law"1 (Rom. 10:4). Behold, then, for what duration of time the Law was intended: until the coming of the end which is Christ Himself. The Law, as we know, was for Christ only pedagogical in order that we might be justified by faith. After the coming of faith we are no longer under the "schoolmaster" of the Law (Gal 3:24-25), for the Old Testament was replaced, fulfilling the command of Jeremiah in which he says:

“Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the LORD. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people." (Heb 8:8-10; Jer 31:31)

Here the prophet speaks of the closing of one covenant and refers to the time in which this covenant will be replaced with a new one. Yet, this begs the question: what covenant will be replaced?

The Prophet Jeremiah offers us the following:

“Behold, days are coming," says the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took hold of their hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, for they did not abide in My covenant, and I disregarded them" (Jer. 31:31-32 [Jer 38:31-32 LXX])

In what exactly this covenant consists, the Prophet Moses informs us:

"The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. The LORD did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us, those who are here today, all of us who are alive...I stood between the LORD and you at that time...These words the LORD spoke to all your assembly, in the mountain from the midst of the fire, the cloud, and the thick darkness, with a loud voice; and He added no more. And He wrote them on two tablets of stone and gave them to me." (Dt. 5:2-22)

This covenant, this concord, must be replaced with the New Covenant. Consequently, inasmuch as this old accord has been replaced or fulfilled, so too has the command to keep the Sabbath.

INQUIRER: But father, our Christ has not dissolved the law of the Old Testament, for He Himself said:

"Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily, I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass away, NOT one jot or one tittle will by no wise pass from the law, till all is fulfilled." (Mat. 5:17-18)

Doesn't this seem to imply that the Sabbath would also remain valid forever?

ELDER CLEOPA: Christ did not dissolve the Law and the Prophets, or in general the Old testament, He only replaced it with the New Covenant, which is more complete than the Old.

The Old Testament, as is apparent above, has only as instructive character, with aim of preparing mankind for the coming of the Saviour:

"Therefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster." (Gal. 3:24-25; schoolmaster=tutor)

Our salvation no longer hangs on the performance of the mandated works of the Old Testament or on observing of the Sabbath, but on our faith in Jesus Christ, our Saviour. Through Jesus Christ the old Law was fulfilled and ceased to exist,

"for Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth." (Rom. 10:4)

The old Law was observed up to the time of St. John the Baptist who was also the last to prepare the way for the coming of Christ (Mat. 11:13). Those who are under the authority of the law have been born under the mastership of slavery, exactly as the son of Abraham who descended from his father's slave,  Hagar. Those living under the Law of Grace can be likened to the son of Abraham that was born of his free wife, Sarah, inasmuch as they are born for freedom and an inheritance. Hence it is that Hagar and Sarah are representative of the two Covenants. And thus it is also that the words of the Saviour "think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets" have the following meaning:

I did not come contrary to the law and the prophets, or, My coming is not something strange, but on the contrary, it is towards the fulfillment both of the law of Moses as well as all the books of the prophets. In this way, with My coming I fulfill the Law perfectly since it was for this reason that I came. (Rom 10:4)

When the Saviour says that "till heaven and earth pass, not one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled," He is referring to the realization of the words of the prophets concerning Him. These prophecies found their fulfillment precisely in that offering of His own Blood at the Mystical Supper, whence the accord of the Old Testament also found its end. Having eaten with His disciples, the Saviour took the cup and gave it to them saying, "This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you." (Lk 22:20)

INQUIRER: In spite of this, it is also true that God blessed and sanctified the seventh day even from the creation of the world and the completion of His work, as it is written:

"And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He Had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it; because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made." (Gen 2:2-3)

Consequently, after the sixth days of creation, the seventh day was the first Sabbath that was made holy by God Himself, and due to this fact shouldn't it remain holy for all people and all ages?

ELDER CLEOPA: These two passages speak only of God and His work, saying that God finished His work, rested, blessed and hallowed the seventh day. They do not, however, say anything concerning man, nor would it have been possible for man to have a day of rest, only one day after his creation (Gen 1:26-31). Placed by God " into the Garden of Eden to dress it and keep it" (Gen 2:15), the first man did not receive any command with reference to observing the seventh day as a feast or day of rest. The only command that God gave him was to not eat of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen 2:16-17). For man, all the days were of the same rank. Even more so, of course was it the case that they received no command to observe a particular day festively after Adam and Eve transgressed the commandment, knew good and evil and were thrown out of paradise. On the contrary, the entire life of man is one continual workday since he is bound to labour all his days on the earth, safeguarding his food, for as it is written, "in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life" (Gen 3:17).

It is apparent indeed, that God rested on the seventh day of His work, but as to what this day was called we are not informed. By implication, then, the following questions arise:

- Is the seventh day, in fact, the same as the Sabbath?

- Were the days of the week then numbered in such a way that the seventh day corresponds to the contemporary Saturday or Sabbath?

- Where it related that, in fact, the days were numbered and how were these days called in those days?

- And, at the very least, can you show me where exactly the word "Sabbath" - about which you have spoken with someone so exhaustively - is written?

It is true, indeed, that God rested and sanctified the seventh day, but what does the seventh day actually signify?

Nowhere are we ever told that for this day there was "the evening and the morning" as we are told concerning the other days of creation. If this were the case, God would have continued on the eighth day - the first day of the next week - to begin to create the world again, or to do work of some sort, for after the sixth day He would have to rest once again. Furthermore, for God Himself the seventh day of each week would be a feast and day of rest. This would mean that the feast day of the Sabbath would be a day of rest according to the example of God alone, wihtout being based on a particular commandment from the beginning. The commandment, however, came much later.

The seventh day is nothing more than the day on which God ceased to work of creating the universe. Nowhere in Holy Scripture are we told that, from the beginning, man also ceased from his work on the seventh day.

INQUIRER: There exists a passage in which we can see that the command to sanctify the seventh day was not given in the time of Moses' sojourn in the desert, but that it existed even from the creation of the world:

"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy" (Ex. 20:8).

You see here that God draws the attention of our intellect to this already existing commandment - a command that was not instituted at this point for the first time. And since it existed from the beginning, it means that all people. of every age, and not just those who came after Moses, must observe it.

ELDER CLEOPA: "Remember" refers to that which exists from before (i.e. "remember" something that I said some other time), for, indeed, the command to keep the feast of the Sabbath was not given for the first time on the same date with the other commandments on Mount Sinai. Yet, it is not as it appears to you, dearest in Christ, that it was given in the beginning to Adam in paradise. This commandment was assuredly given later on and for the first time in the desert of Sinai when God, through Moses, charged the Jews not to gather manna on the Sabbath or seventh day. It is for this reason that the first commandment starts with the words, "Remember the Sabbath day..." (Ex. 16:25) in order to remind the Jews that He had given them this commandment earlier than the others. Thus, the Sabbath did not originate in paradise, nor was this feast celebrated until the days of Moses.

INQUIRER: It is possible for the feast of the Sabbath to have been replaced, since it is a sign and eternal agreement between God and men, having as it basis the words of God Himself?

"Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever" (Ex. 31"16-17).

Thus, the substitution of the Sabbath with Sunday or with any other day would mean the substitution of an eternal covenant with a human one.

ELDER CLEOPA: It is true that the Sabbath is an eternal covenant that was given by God, not, however, for all the peoples of the world, but only for the people of Israel. This fact we can better understand from the testimonies of Holy Scripture.

First of all, we see that the Lord spoke to Moses and said for the descendants of Israel to keep the Sabbath as a day of rest from generation to generation, as an eternal covenant (Ex. 31:16).

In a second passage, this covenant is a commemoration of the enslavement in the land of Egypt from which God had freed the Israelites, charging them, as a memorial, to keep the Sabbath as a day of rest.

"And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the Sabbath day" (Dt. 5:15).

And thirdly, we see that the Sabbath is a visible sign between God and the children of Israel. "And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 'Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my Sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between you and me throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you" (Ex. 31:12-13). The Prophet Ezekiel expresses this in the same way: "Thus saith the Lord GOD... I gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD that sanctify them" (Ezk. 20:5,12).

And fourthly, it is apparent that the Sabbath and the entire Law was given only to the Hebrews, and not for the other peoples and nations. This is derived from the testimonies of the rulers of the chosen people who returned from exile. For when foreigners came and sought from them permission to help in the building of the temple, they said to the Jews: "Let us build with you: for we seek your God, as ye do; and we do sacrifice unto him since the days of Esarhaddon king of Assyria . . ." (Ezra 4:2). In response to these words, the envoy of the gentiles received explicitly and categorically the following answer on behalf of Nehemiah: "The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build: but ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem" (Neh. 2:20).

Take especial note of the second to last word, "memorial." This word is repeated sometimes by God and other times by Moses in order to draw our attention to the feast of the Sabbath or to the covenant, given through Moses, between God and His people who were saved from the slavery of Egypt. It is said, "Remember the Sabbath day," and "remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt . . . therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the Sabbath day" (Dt. 5:15). Subsequently, this commemoration refers to the agreement-covenant of the Sabbath which God contracted with the Israelite people when he lead them out of the bondage of Egypt. The other nations do not have this covenant of the Sabbath for they never had any covenant with God, as did the Hebraic people, and thus they have no reason to commemorate this reast of the Sabbath.

After the Hebrews were carried away into Babylonian captivity, the peoples that gathered in Palestine and possessed the land mixed with the remaining Hebrews and believed in their God (Ezra 4:2). This faith, however, was not able to make the participants in the history of the chosen people and its covenant with God concerning the Sabbath. For this reason, they were repelled from the building of the temple, being told that they did not have a "memorial in Jerusalem." In other words, the Sabbath is an exclusively Jewish feast and cannot be transferred to other peoples, even if they believe in the God of Israel. This is a truth that cannot be misinterpreted and which all those keeping the Sabbath must clearly understand, for it pertains to the Old and New Testament.

If this covenant of the Sabbath is referred to as being "eternal," the word "eternal" here must be understood by us as having the meaning of a particular stability that cannot be changed or substituted by men. By no means, however, can we suppose that God doesn't have the power to alter or replace it, given the fact that as we know, the Saviour Himself transformed this "eternal" covenant of the Sabbath. Thus, the word "eternal" here means the epoch of the Old Testament, at the end of which began a new age and a new covenant - the covenant given as a promise even in the Old Testament on other occasions as well, as for example in the command to keep the feast of the paschal lamp, for which God charges the Hebrews: "ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations" (Ex. 12:14). The same applies to the feast of Unleavened Bread which He charges them to keep,  it being an eternal covenant. Besides all of this, those who today observe the Sabbath do not also keep the feast of the paschal lamp according to the Old Testament traditions - the rubrics with the unleavened bread and the bitter herbs, loins girded, shows on the feet, with staff in hand and in haste, ready to leave (Ex 12:1.24).

The "eternal law" is also the undying flame of the oil lamp hanging before the veil of the ark of the Law in the temple of Jerusalem (Ex 27:20-21).

The ritual of the slaughtering of animals for the sacrifice is also called an "eternal covenant" (Lev 17:7).

In spite of all of this, those who keep the "eternal" covenant of the Sabbath don't honour these other "eternal" laws and covenants. for then they would have to return to all of the rubrics and rituals of the Old Testament.

INQUIRER: Another, similar scriptural testimony was produced for me in which it is hown that the observance of the feast of the Sabbath is required of all Christians of all races and peoples. Hence, the Saviour "came to Nazareth. where had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up for to read" (Lk 4:16).

Furthermore, it is written of the Apostle of the nations that "Paul. as his manner was, went in unto them  (i.e. into the synagogue of the Jews of Thessalonica), and three Sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures" (Acts 17:2). And elsewhere it is written:

"The women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulcher . . .And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment." (Lk 23:55-56).

So, it seems that they also honoured the commandment of the Law and kept the Sabbath day. And the Saviour, speaking about the end of the world, revealed that the Sabbath will remain until the end, saying, "Pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day" (Matt 24:20). Whereas the Apostle Paul, speaking of the Sabbath day's repose, says that God gave to His people "rest" (Heb 4:4-11). His people are Christians from all nations and ages. Is it not they, therefore, that are required to keep the rest of the Sabbath?

ELDER CLEOPA: We no longer have any need of keeping the Sabbath.

The New Testament has succeeded the Old, dedicating another day to rest and celebration - the first day of the week (1), the Lord's Day.

The consecration of this day of celebration and rest is independent of the old Sabbath. The Sabbath of the old Law, as we showed earlier, was instituted by God as a day of celebration and rest in memory of the exodus from the slavery of Egypt of only one people: the people of Israel (not New Israel=the Church).

On Sunday (2), however, we celebrate the memory (anamnisi in Greek) of the resurrection of the Lord, through which was accomplished the renewal and regeneration of the entire world, our exodus from the slavery of sin and the acquisition of the heavenly Canaan.

The teaching on the abolition of the Sabbath in the New Testament is supported both on an indirect (particular and general) and direct basis (from the life of Christ and the Apostles).

The New Testament "made old" its predecessor, thereafter called "Old," and fulfilled all of the old agreements (laws), among which belonged also that of the Sabbath. The Old Testament was not complete, but rather it was, at the very most, a shadow, a figure. Observe, then, why a new testament had to have been founded. In saying "new covenant" the Lord made olf the first, which existed only in the "time of reformation" (Heb 8:13), that is, until it was reformed and perfected by the New Law (Heb 9:10, 10:9). "For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second" (Heb 8:7).

Thanks to the second Covenant everything in the Old Testament, "behold, . . . have become new" (2 Cor 5:17).

Once and for all the ordinances of the Old Law have been annulled and replaced, including the feast of the Sabbath. Having all of this in mind, the great Apostle Paul writes against those who would not want to practice the ordinances of the old Law and criticize those who do not observe them, giving correction with the following words:

"Let no man therefore judge you in meat in drink, or in respect to a holy day or the new moon or the Sabbath days, which are a shadow of things to come, but the body if of Christ" (Col 2:16-17).

It is true that those who would acquire salvation must be descendants of Abraham. Descendants of Abraham, however, are not those that are descendants according to the flesh, but those that place their faith in the fulfillment of the messianic promises. These, then, are Christians, who become children of God and free from the ineffectual injunctions of the law, dictates that Christ (Gal 3:5), with His gospel commandments, has blotted out, they being an obstacle to our salvation. "[He has] blotted out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us" (Col 2:14).

Salvation does not come from the works of the law, but from our faith in Jesus Christ, for "the just shall live by faith" (Rom 1:17).

Christians, therefore, must show the proper veneration due to the Old Testament, but in no case should we honour it more than the New Testament or even to the New Testament's detriment.

Our Saviour Jesus Christ, who did not come to abolish the Law and the Prophets but to fulfill them (Mat 5:17), observed all of the commandments of the Law, excepting only one - that of the Sabbath.

For if He went to the synagogue as every Jew did on the Sabbath, it was with the aim of preaching to the people gathered there or to heal the sick, and not that He might be an example for us to observe the Sabbath.

The Jews then, as they still do today, had the habit of gathering at the synagogue on Friday evening for prayer. If our Saviour also went on this day to the synagogue, would this then mean that we should also keep a memorial on Friday as well?

I see that you have thought that Christ and the Apostles had regard for the Sabbath. Truly, but what kind of recognition was this?

It is known only that He performed a majority of His miracles on the Sabbath, something for which they threatened Him with death (Jn 5:16).

The following were healed on the Sabbath: the man with the withered hand (Mat 12:9-14),  the woman bowed down with a spirit of infirmity (Lk 13:10-17), the man with dropsy (Lk 14:1-6), the man with an unclean spirit (Mk 1:21-26), the man with an infirmity for thirty-eight years (Jn 5:1-18), the man born blind (Jn 9:1-18).

Three of these restorations to health - of the man with the withered hand, the hunched over woman and the man with the unclean spirit - not only happened on the Sabbath but in the hall of the synagogue itself.

Concerning the passage, "pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day" (Matt 24:20), it is good to remember that here the text is not speaking of the sanctification or veneration of the Sabbath.

Saint Ephraim the Syrian, a great teacher of the truth, explains that the word "winter" signifies that we not be seized by God in the winter of our unprepared ness, while the word "Sabbath" signifies that we do not be overcome by heresies. With these words the Lord does not 'forbid' us the Sabbath rest, since He Himself made 'allowance' for is saying, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath" (Mk 2:27-28). But, neither did the Apostles respect the day of the Sabbath, for they plucked and ate ears of corn even though it was the Sabbath. (Mt 12:1-1).

The Holy Gospel tell us, as well, that the Jews sought to kill Jesus "because he not only had broken the Sabbath, but said also that God was His Father" (Jn 5:18).

Christ, however, as Lord also of the Sabbath reproached it: "Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances" (Eph 2:15).

The Saviour made a new covenant by His blood, and through the example of His life and work instructed us to keep no longer the day of the Sabbath as a religious observance. and if our Jesus Christ taught us this with His words and actions is it possible for us to ignore Him - He Whom we have "put on" and in Whose Name we have been baptized? (Gal 3:27)

You've also referred to the fact that the holy Myrrh-bearers kept and honoured the Sabbath day, "and rested on the Sabbath day according to the commandment" (Lk 23:55-56).

Indeed, the Myrrh-bearers, as the simple women that they were, honoured the Law and all its prophets. They followed Christ, but like Joseph of Arimathea, whom the holy Gospel says was a council member, and "a good and just man" (Lk 23:50), they kept to the Law out of fear of the Jews. Joseph of Arimathea, "a rich man" (Mt 27:57) and "honourable council member" (Mk 15:43), while in such fear of the Jews that he followed Christ secretly, out in the open worked as every Jew, even taking part in council. How much more, then, would a few women fear not keeping the Sabbath in violation of the Law?

If we examine carefully the New testament, we see that all of the commandments of the Decalogue - in their substance - proceed from the Saviour or the holy Apostles except for the commandment of the Sabbath.

The first commandment we find in Matthew 12, verses 31 to 32 and Mark 3, verse 29.

The second commandment we find in St. Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, chapter 10, verse 14, and 1 John 5, verse 21.

The third commandment is founded in James 4, verse 12 and chapter 5, verse 12.

The fifth commandment is found in Matthew 15, verse 4 and 19, verse 19.

The sixth is found in Matthew 19, verse 18 and Mark 10, verse 19.

The seventh, eighth and ninth commandments are found in Matthew 19, verse 18, in Mark 19, verse 10 and in the letter to the Romans, chapter 13, verse 9.

And the tenth commandment we find in Romans 13, verse 9.

Yet, in spite of all this, nowhere in the Gospel or the epistles of the Apostles do we find even an allusion made to the fourth commandment, the commandment concerning the Sabbath day.

This should also make it clear to us that this commandment no longer exists for the Saviour and the Apostles but rather is transformed into the Sunday assembly/Eucharist). And if it no longer exists, then naturally neither is it spoken of any longer. Our Saviour Jesus Christ condensed all the commandments into two, in love of God and love of our neighbour, saying, "On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets" (Mt 22-40).

Likewise, the Apostle teaches us that love is the totality of the law.

INQUIRER: Nevertheless, it is claimed that the Apostles and early Christians observed the Sabbath and that it was only from the time of Constantine the Great in 321 that the innovations of celebrating the feast on Sunday was introduced, thereafter becoming obligatory.

ELDER CLEOPA: It is not true that the Apostles and the first Christians kept the Sabbath. If the great Apostle Paul went to the synagogue on the Sabbath he didn't go in order to be observant of the Sabbath but because it was there that the Jews were all gathered together (Jn 18:20) and there that he had the opportunity to speak to them from the Scriptures (Acts 17:2).

The Apostle Paul did not speak to the masses only in the synagogue, but in the marketplaces and houses (Acts 17:7), and even outside of the gates of the cities in the fields (Acts 16:13). He did not only speak to the people on the Sabbath, but all day and all night (Acts 20:31). And what kind of rest did the Apostle Paul enjoy on the day of the Sabbath?

He toiled working in the field of the souls of men in the service of the word of God (Acts 6:2).

The Apostles were not alone in not giving special honour to the Sabbath - their successors did likewise: Barnabas, Ignatius the God-bearer, Polycarp of Smyrna, Clement of Rome, Justin Martyr, Tertullian, and many others of the first, second and third centuries. They confess that the Christians of their epoch celebrated with exactness the feast of Sunday - the Lord's Day - following, as we know from Scripture, the Apostles in this practice.

Concerning Constantine the Great, history testifies only to the fact that during the time of his rule Christianity was recognized as a free religion by the state. This recognition consequently supported the spread of Christianity throughout the Roman world, as well as the observance of the religious duties of Christians, among which was the holy day and feast of the Lord, Sunday. Thus, the Roman State did nothing else except recognize and sanction a practice already in existence.

INQUIRER: What are the Scriptural foundations for keeping the Lord's feat on Sonday instead of Saturday?

ELDER CLEOPA: For believing Christians the greatest feast is the Resurrection of Christ - the day of joy - for on this day Christ Himself greeted the Myrh-bearing women, saying: "Rejoice!" (Matt 28:9)

The day of Resurrection is the day on which our Saviour Jesus Christ freed us from the slavery to sin (1 Peter 2:24), just as He once freed His chosen people from the bondage of Egypt.

The day of Resurrection is a day sanctified with His priceless Blood. It is a day of declaration that we have risen from the death of sin and that we will rise also from the bodily death unto eternal life - if, that is, we die with steadfast faith in Christ, as the Apostle Paul says: "And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished" (1 Cor 15:16-17). And in another passage: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain" (1 Cor 15:14).

Therefore according to the witness of the Apostle Paul, the faith of a Christian is worth nothing without complete trust that Christ has risen from the grave on the third day. as He Himself foretold. If the Resurrection of Christ is so important for each Christian, shouldn't he always have it in mind and honour it, celebrating the "putting on" [of Christ[ with white garments of purity and virtue, like the angels who rolled back the stone from the tomb? (Mt 28:3)

The Lord's Day [Sun (or Son)-day), the day of our salvation, is also called in Holy Scripture "the first day of the week" (Mk 16:2), "after eight days" (Jn 20:26), or "the day of the Lord" (Rev 1:10).

The three days of which Holy Scripture speaks are the days in which the Saviour remained in the tomb, the number of which was also typified in Holy Scripture with the Prophet Jonah and his stay within the belly of the whale for three days (Mt 12:40). This number likewise corresponds to the number of days in which the Saviour said He would raise the temple of God (Jn 2:19:22) [Note: some heretic's teach that the Resurrection happened on Saturday, by twisting and misunderstanding the chronology and time from the Crucifixion till the Resurrection, according to the then Hebraic Calendar]. And that which He had said by way of the prophets to His disciples that He would rise from the tomb on the third day (Mk 16:9), the Saviour brought to pass with His Resurrection (Matt 28:1-10).

On the first day of the week the event of His Resurrection took place, and on the first day of the week, in Emmaus, He performed the first Liturgy with the breaking of the bread before His two disciples (Lk 24:30).

It was on the evening of the first day of the week, "when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst of His disciples and said unto them, "Peace be unto you" (Jn 20:19-20).

It was on the first day of the week (Sunday) that the Saviour breathed on His disciples giving them the power to bind and to loose the sins of men. On the same day of the week, as well, He appeared to His disciples again, with Thomas present, for whom He fortified his faith in His Resurrection (Jn 20:26).

In addition, it was on Sunday that He appeared in Galilee (Acts 20:7-12).

And it was on this day that the Apostles celebrated the breaking of bread, in other words, the Divine Liturgy (Acts 20:-12).

On the same day the gathering of economic aid and preaching as organized by the Apostles took place in order to assist the impoverished Christians (1 Cor 16:1-2).

Thus it is then, that the same resurrectional day, as a day of glory of the Lord, became also the feast of the love of the brethren (the day of assembly). Of this day the psalmist speaks when saying, "This is the day which the Lord hath made; let us rejoice and be glad therein" (Ps 117:24). And likewise it was on the Lord's Day that the Revelation revealed to the Evangelist John (the Apostle) came to pass (Rev 1:10).

INQUIRER: Are there any other ancient testimonies that during the first centuries the early Christians celebrated the feast on the the Lord's day (Sunday)?

ELDER CLEOPA: I believe I have referred you to a significant number of testimonies concerning the feast of Sunday from both Holy Scripture and the Christians of the ancient and contemporary Church, as well as for what reason they kept feast on Sunday instead of Saturday. You should know that, besides those contained in Holy Scripture presented previously, there are many other trustworthy testimonies from the holy Apostolic Fathers, the disciples of the holy Apostles who were their successors and who personally heard their words.

One of these was Saint Ignatius the God-bearer (who was the little boy/child, Christ pulled aside, and used as an example of, saying we must be innocent/pure as them - and reposed in +107 AD), Bishop of Antioch. In the epistle that he sent to the Christians of Magnesia, he says the following:

"Those who were brought up in the ancient order of things have come to the possession of a new hope, no longer observing the Sabbath, but living in the observance of the Lord's Day, on which also our life has sprung up again by Him and by His death" ('The Epistle to the Magnesians', ch.9, The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol.1, Edited by A. Roberts & J. Donaldson).

Later, writing in the second century after Christ, St. Justin the Martyr (+155 AD) writes:

"Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Saviour on the same day rose from the dead" ('First Apology, ch.67, The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol.1, Edited by A. Roberts & J. Donaldson).

In addition, we find similar testimonies in the Didachi (or Teaching of the 12 Apostles - Book 2, ch.59), in the Canons and the multitude of the holy Fathers and writers of the Church from the second to the fourth century, as for example in Tertullian, Saint Irenaeus, Saint Ambrose of Milan, Saint John Chrysostom and many others.

It was for this reason, then, that with the sanctioning of Sunday as a day of rest for the entire empire - including non-Christians - by the Emperor Constantine the Great, it has remained even until today a weekly day of rest for all Christian peoples.

29th Canon of the Synod of Laodicea, 364 AD:

"Christians should not Judaize and should not be idle on the Sabbath, but should work on that day; they should, however, particularly reverence the Lord's Day and, if possible, not work on it, because they are Christians" (Apostle1.com's Ed Note:  Working on Sunday should be devoted to Christian pursuits for the benefit of self and others).

[Note: A sign of the times, and very sad action that has taken place since the mid-70's and mroe so now, with the New Age Movement, is that businesses are not obliged to remain closed on Sunday anymore. In fact rarely does a business owner stay closed on this day. It used to be law, and the norm, even in the West. Now, even Banks and some government places are open on Sunday. Are the Zionist Freemasons trying to shift it back to Saturday for when the Anti-Christ comes into the scene?]

FOOTNOTES/REFERENCES:

1. The first day of the week is also known as the eigth day:

"The number eight was, for ancient Christianity, the synod of the resurrection, for it was on the day after Sabbath, and so the eight day, that Christ rose from the tomb. Furthermore, the seven days of the week are the image of the time of this world, and the eight day of life everlasting. Sunday is the liturgical commemoration of the eighth day, at the same time a memorial of the Resurrection and a prophecy of the world to come..." ('The Bible and the Litrugy', by J. Danielou).

And elsewhere we are reminded that Sonday  represents "...an eight and eternal day, consecrated by the Resurrection of Christ... There shall we rest and see, see and love, love and praise" (

'City of God', bk. 22, ch. 30, St. Augustine).

2. In Greek the word for Sunday (Kiriakee) comes from the word for Lord (Kirios), and could literally be translated as "the Lord's Day."

3. The Christian remembrance (anamnesis) is much more than just a memory or reminiscence ... The individual events of the past (Incarnation, Cross and Resurrection, Pentecost) are, at the same time, paradoxically present in the Church (Orthodoxy) here and now. The Incarnation of the Word is at once ah historic event of the past which can and should be 'remembered' in the ordinary way, and also an 'abiding presence' of the Lord which can be directly perceived and recognized . . . by the eye of faith, in the Church ... The accomplishment of the Promise was not just an extra event in the homogenous sequence of happenings. It was an 'event' indeed, but it was an event which never 'passes'. ('The Worshipping Church', Fr. George Florovsky introduction to 'The Festal Menaion', pg.28, St. Tikhon's Seminary Press.)

ADDITIONAL SOURCES ON TOPIC:

1. DISCOURSE ON THE NATIVITY OF THE MOST HOLY MOTHER OF GOD, SAINT ANDREW, ARCHBISHOP OF CRETE (+720 AD)

"Here is the end (of the law): in that the Lawgiver, having made everything, hath changed the writing in spirit and doth head everything within Himself (Eph. 1:10), hath taken the law under its dominion, and the law is become subjected to grace, such that the properties of the law nor suffer reciprocal commingling, but only suchlike, that the servile and subservient (in the law) by Divine power be transmuted into the light and free (in grace), 'so that we - sayeth the Apostle - be not enslaved to the elements of the world' (Gal 4:3) and be not in a condition under the slavish yoke of the writing of the law.

Here is the summit of Christ's beneficence towards us! Here are the mysteries of revelation! Here is the theosis [deification] assumed upon humankind - the fruition worked out by the God-Man."

"We however, as we have received [the custom], on the day of the Lord's resurrection alone have the duty of abstaining not only from that but from every attitude and practice of solicitude, even putting off business so as to give no place to the devil. The like also in the period of Pentecost, [a festival] distinguished by the same established order of exultation." - Tertullian, On Prayer, 23

St. Caesarius of Arles (†542 CE) taught that you should not work on Sunday.

The Holy Elders of Optina, St. Seraphim of Viritsa, and many Saints from throughout the history of the Church teach the same. St. Kosmas of Aetolia, Equal-to-the-Apostles taught that the money made from working on Sunday is cursed. He said that if one was to work on Sonday as an exception, to do so on hours not interfering with Church service/Divine Liturgy, and that the money made that day should be given to the poor, or at least a portion of it 9if one is too weak to give it all).

You're not supposed to do servile work or labor for profit on Sunday or the major feasts.  

The attitude was codified by the Holy Emperor Constantine the Great.

Quote:

"On the venerable day of the Son (Sunday) let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed. In the country however persons engaged in agriculture may freely and lawfully continue their pursuits because it often happens that another day is not suitable for grain-sowing or vine planting; lest by neglecting the proper moment for such operations the bounty of heaven should be lost."

[Given the 7th day of March, Crispus and Constantine being consuls each of them for the second time. Codex Justinianus, lib. 3, tit. 12, 3; translated by Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. 3 (1902), p. 380, note.]

The Slavic (excerpt Russian) words for Sunday (neděle, niedziela, and недеља, respectively) can be translated as "without acts (work)".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Week-day_names#ref_NOWRK.E2.98.896

In pretty much every Orthodox monastery I have stayed in, they avoid unnecessary work on Sundays and feast days. For example, they'll clean the dishes but they won't weed the garden. The same goes for most Traditional and pious Orthodox Christians.

Conclusion:

We see

1) From the Testimony of Holy Scripture

2) From the Testimony of Holy Tradition

3) From the Testimony of Church History

4) From the Testimony of our Holy Ecumenical Synods/Councils

5) From the Testimony of our Apostolic and Holy Canons

6) From the Testimony of the people throughout the ages

7) From the Testimony of the Saints

8) From the Testimony of ancient Literature of early Christians

9) From the Testimony of the Conscious of Christ's Body from day one till now....

That SON-day, is the Day of resurrection, the LORD'S DAY, the day of assembly, worship and Eucharist. The "Pascha" day.

However, as as mentioned before, Orthodox Christian monasteries, serve Divine Liturgy and celebrate Eucharist everyday, and most pious Parishes do this about 4 times a week.

But SUN [SON]-day is exceptional and special holy day in its hymnology, spirit etc...

 Sunday is the day for Keeping the LORD'S Feast Day!!!

Do not be deceived by the demonic teachings of ELLEN G WHITE and other occultists and heretics that have followed her teachings and deceptions!

This is a free ebook on the false teachings of Ellen G. White and the Seventh Day Adventist church. This ebook is available to download at: http://biblebelievers.com

Also beware for Messianic Judaism!!!

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However... there is something else we wish to warn you about.

 

DISCLAIMER NOTICE: The views expressed at this website regarding any article not directly connected to religious content is the opinion or commentary of the author which we may not necessarily believe in, accept or support, and some religious articles we may not accept or support either. We take no responsibility or liability for the content of any news item or article presented as any information provided which you rely upon requires that you, the reader/viewer, take action to verify its worthiness on your own.  We have deduced to a minor degree, that the information provided by the author is such that warrants posting for you the viewer/reader only... and that any statements or purported facts, including any news item, is for you to verify as to its authenticity.  We take no liability and no responsibility for its accuracy whatsoever! You who are new visitors, may wish to read a very short article below entitled "The purpose for presenting our Daily News section" Sadly to say, we take no pleasure in stating that some of the items we post are not from what we would call true "Christian" organizations. But we post it because it provides another side of the proverbial story.  The Church, after all, is supposed to be a temple for sick souls (sinners) without distinction between their worse sins or otherwise, but it seems to some organizations that they say much about others, but fail and refuse to upbraid themselves and their members for their own sins...)

 

"Never, never, never let anyone tell you that, in order to be Orthodox, you must also be eastern. The West was Orthodox for a thousand years, and her venerable liturgy is far older than any of her heresies."

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The purpose for presenting this Daily News section:

Daily News is very important to those who are true Orthodox Catholic Christians.  For without knowing or gaining information for understanding about what is happening in one's local area and around the world, you could  find yourself faced with denied services in the secular area, lack of income, even (although it sounds far-fetched) ability to worship openly for the time is not far off when all will have to decide if they wish to follow the Anti-Christ through the One World Church and One World Government as prophesied by the Apocalypse, the Book of Revelation of St. John or follow the faith delivered once and for all which will cause for many to be denied the abilities to survive under those kind of conditions, causing for one to consider other options. 

 

Many of those who subscribe to, and some who have caused or are the cause for, these things to happen are involved in or with the Roman Jurisdiction of the Catholic Church (which is not the seat of all things "Catholic") as well as its protestant daughters such as the cultic Jehovah's Witnesses, the Pentecostal Churches, the Church of Latter Day Saints also known as the Mormon Church and far too many more to list. 

 

Yet, at this web site we do provide some of the reasons about why they are opined to be the harbingers of that which is prophesied in Holy Scripture for the bringing about of the End Times which we have already entered.  It is not necessarily their individual members or parishioners that should be blamed since they are only the "Sheep" and not the Shepherds... So do not think we castigate individual people of themselves as we castigate those "money changers" who Jesus Christ chased out of His Father's House as the Bible Describes; for they exist in these present times too.

 

Events are already rushing toward that time in which this is beginning to happen and will become more fully wide-spread. In these present times all you need to really do is look around both your local and larger areas as to what is really on-going through.  Things so very little or miniscule that they are barely noticeable except to the more informed observer may become apparent. 

Those little things are the laws of the land, economics, politics, the degrading and erosion of those rights and liberties afforded by the Constitution of these United States of America and many other things such as the manner with which entertainments have taken over much of the populace, entering into and becoming a major focus in worship, and more. 

We ask you, if you don't want to believe us... Have you heard, seen or found what is termed (of the many terms being used) that there are "holding areas" or "camps" or "Closed/Fenced communities" being built by GOVERNMENT? 

Here in North America, especially in the United States of America, we must admit that what Russia has come out of (a communistic, atheist country) we are entering into.  And one last thing that needs also to be understood... Something very important to those of you who are "Catholic" in the Roman sense of its jurisdiction....   And, we believe this also holds true for many who are "Orthodox" whether "Eastern" or "Western"....

[ * Non-Denominational = Synchrestic Ecumenism, Disease of Scholasticism, altering the Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ to accommodate the disease of Political Correctness and CULTIC PROTESTANTISM, and the Roman Jurisdiction (Latin Church = Vatican) of the Catholic Church) breaking of - or failure and refusal to respect and abide by  - the ancient Seven Ecumenical "Do Not" Canons which leaves everything else open to God's gift of creativity... failure & refusal to abide by and have respect for those who diligently protect one of the other Pillars of the Church, the Seals of the Confessional, but "Non-Denominational" also includes worshiping Satan's religion of Muslim, Islam by praying with them and other heretics such as 'Pentecostalism,' 'Jehovah's Witnesses,' 'Mormons,' 'Church of Christ,' any so-called church with "Community Church" in their nomenclature and others who by their false and misleading dogmas and doctrines are actually against the Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ upon whom and for exacting reason we are called "Christian" in both spirit and truth from which non-denominational protestant sectarian claimants have departed from as being so-called Christian] Only a skilled spiritual father can help you!

Remember: You cannot ride two horses or serve two masters for one of them will be harmed by your thoughts, your very words and your actions which is to blaspheme the Holy Ghost (Spirit) who will depart from you.  And when the Holy Spirit departs, the great deceiver (unbeknownst to you) will rush in to fill the void under disguise of being the Holy Spirit!  Testing of the Holy Spirit to insure it is the Holy Spirit does not, for many a Sectarian Protestant and Roman, work because the Great Deceiver (Satan) is most skilled in worming and snaking his charms around your mind and heart to feign being the Holy Spirit.  Remember, Satan has the same gifts similar to the Holy Spirit but Satan's gifts are UN-HOLY and lead all who accept him (unbeknownst to you) to perdition.

 

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The lives of monks consist of a podvig [(spiritual struggle) exploit] of repentance and of withdrawal from the world. They flee from judging their neighbor in his moral falls, considering themselves to be sinners and the worst of all men.

But, when it is demanded of monks and other clergy, that they remain humble and indifferent to questions of faith, then do they cast off humility and obedience. It is demanded of them, by the conscience of the Church, the faith in and for the Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ that They rise up when the truth of Orthodoxy is threatened. They are supported in this by a living conscience and by a sense of responsibility for that faith for which our forebears-martyrs and confessors alike-sacrificed everything, even their very lives.  As a result we have opted to present to you the story about "Modern Day Ecumenism and its horrors" along with various links to who just a few of these Synchrestic Ecumenists are who threaten the root and branch of Christianity as exists in true Orthodox Catholic Christianity (Both Orthodox and Roman)!

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Can You See Where We Are Heading? - God, Man & the World - Awake I

  God, Man & the World - Part B - Awake II - Continuation of ‘One World Government’, ‘One World Religion’ & the ‘One World banking System’

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God, Man & the World - Part D - Awake IV - Tavistock Institute, the Best Kept Secret in America

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God, Man & the World - Part H - Awake VIII - A Closer Look at the One World Order and Bible Prophecy – Part I

God, Man & the World - Part I - Awake IX - A Closer look at the One World Order and Bible Prophecy – Part II - The Culture War in America

  God, Man & the World - Part J - Awake X - A Closer Look at the One World Order and Bible Prophecy – Part III - The Devaluation of Life

Criminal Aliens: What Kind of Future Does America Have?

(Notice: Generally our news postings will be on or about Monday, Wednesday & Friday)

WOTI (Western Orthodox Theological Institute)

 

A New Study Primer

 

 

Special Information and articles

 

The Good Times - the Bad Times - The End Times

Is Mainline Orthodoxy world wide following Rome?

 

About St. Pambo - St. Seraphim of Sarov in comparison to Francis of Assisi

 

"Do not be afraid! I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified.
He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said."
Matthew 28:5-6

 

 

The following articles and information do not necessarily reflect the attitude or beliefs of this jurisdiction or those who are with us in spirit and truth!

 

"I understand the idea of sodomy and homosexuality, but to say that homosexuality is not a sin is incorrect and not just in my mind but all of Orthodoxy and again, not just in Orthodoxy but all of Catholicism and again, not simply all of Catholicism but all of Christianity with the exception of those who have this in their personal life as sin or are very close to someone who does. Celibacy or Married Life is the ultimate ideal.  For both Homosexuality and Heterosexuality are truly sinful if... and below is the hard part of this understanding..." (Ed. Note: We have never said "homosexuality is not a sin or okay... however, there are those who, being homosexual, are that way for a variety of reasons.  Jesus Christ talked of these kinds as referring to Eunuchs.  The conversion tactics employed by many other groups, bespeaks of a "politics" that is not wholly honest either spiritually or even materially.  For, in their endeavors they have failed to show forth the truth that one is driven into a "closet" style of life.  It is better, we believe, to become wholly celibate, be it a homosexual or even heterosexual... and to learn what "celibacy" really means and requires).

 

If a man looks on a woman who is not his wife with lust, he has sinned. If he and she are married to other people he has committed adultery. If a man looks at a man with lust he has sinned the same as a man who looks at a woman. Sodomy does not have to enter into it, lust for someone is a sin by itself and must be removed. But people do this all day long to be sure but it is still a sin. To say that homosexuality and heterosexuality are not a sin due to their lusting, allows both heterosexuals and homosexuals to live in sin without repentance and this is wrong to do to them spiritually.

 

It is for the sake of their own soul that one has to recognize sin that is in them and not to excuse it regardless of the sin or the preference of the sinner. Sodomy is indeed a sin regardless of what any one may tell you, the act of attraction or the lust is a sin even without action and simply must be repented of by both heterosexuals and homosexuals. I must also add this; woe to all who misguide others into sin and especially those who are of the clergy who do this. For the sake of your own soul and others, you must recognize this and repent. I know that it is not easy to overcome and if it is never overcome then one must live a life of constant repentance, that is the only choice.

Might We also Suggest the following important articles:

+ A Monastic Struggler's Story

+ Begin with Yourself, Then the World

 

How Many Times?

 

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