Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Questions - English Orthodox Web 6


ORTHODOX WEB


Questions

English Orthodox Web 6

ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY – MULTILINGUAL ORTHODOXY – EASTERN ORTHODOX CHURCH – ΟΡΘΟΔΟΞΙΑ – ​SIMBAHANG ORTODOKSO NG SILANGAN – 东正教在中国 – ORTODOXIA – 日本正教会 – ORTODOSSIA – อีสเทิร์นออร์ทอดอกซ์ – ORTHODOXIE – 동방 정교회 – PRAWOSŁAWIE – ORTHODOXE KERK -​​ නැගෙනහිර ඕර්තඩොක්ස් සභාව​ – ​СРЦЕ ПРАВОСЛАВНО – BISERICA ORTODOXĂ –​ ​GEREJA ORTODOKS – ORTODOKSI – ПРАВОСЛАВИЕ – ORTODOKSE KIRKE – CHÍNH THỐNG GIÁO ĐÔNG PHƯƠNG​ – ​EAGLAIS CHEARTCHREIDMHEACH​ – ​ ՈՒՂՂԱՓԱՌ ԵԿԵՂԵՑԻՆ​​

ORTHODOX WEB: http://orthodoxweb.blogspot.com - Abel-Tasos Gkiouzelis - Email: gkiouz.abel@gmail.com

♫•(¯`v´¯) ¸.•*¨*
◦.(¯`:☼:´¯)
..✿.(.^.)•.¸¸.•`•.¸¸✿
✩¸ ¸.•¨ ​

http://englishorthodoxweb3.blogspot.com - Conversions to Orthodoxy
http://englishorthodoxweb7.blogspot.com - Conversions to Orthodoxy
http://englishorthodoxweb8.blogspot.com - Conversions to Orthodoxy
http://englishorthodoxweb9.blogspot.com - Conversions to Orthodoxy
http://englishorthodoxweb10.blogspot.com - Conversions to Orthodoxy

<>

What is the Orthodox Church?

Saint Sebastian Dabovich of Jackson & San Francisco, CA, USA (+1940):

WHAT is the Orthodox Church? The Orthodox Church is a body or community of people, who, 1—correctly believe in divine revelation; and 2—who obey a lawful hierarchy instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ himself, through the holy apostles. In order to belong to the Orthodox Church two principal conditions are required: First—to accurately accept, rightly understand and truthfully confess the divine teaching of faith; and secondly— to acknowledge the lawful hierarchy or priesthood, to receive from it the holy mysteries or sacraments, and generally to follow its precepts in matters concerning salvation.

+ St. Sebastian Dabovich, Preaching in the Orthodox Church: Lectures and Sermons by a Priest of the Holy Orthodox Church

Source:

http://easternorthodoxchurch.blogspot.com

EASTERN ORTHODOX CHURCH

<>

Who started the Orthodox Church? 

The Orthodox Church was founded by our Lord Jesus Christ, when after His Ascension, He sent down upon His Apostles the Holy Spirit who proceeds from God the Father as is written in the New Testament. The Orthodox Church of today can trace its history back to the New Testament Church in unbroken continuity. The Apostles, as per our Lord’s command, preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ and founded churches in Europe, Asia and Africa. Under the direction of the Apostles and their successors, whom they appointed to carry on their mission, the Orthodox Church began to thrive. At each city and town that the Apostles traveled they would appoint a bishop to continue to minister to the faithful, before leaving on their missionary journeys. As the Church grew, the bishops in turn had to appoint priests and deacons to help them with their flock.

Source:

https://www.orthodoxphotos.com

https://www.orthodoxphotos.com/beginning.shtml

ORTHODOX PHOTOS


<>

Who wrote the Holy Bible?

The Holy Bible was written by several writers over an approximate period from 1500 B.C. to 100 A.D. However, the answer is that ultimately God himself was the author. Throughout the Holy Bible we see men and women who God used as his instruments in bringing divine messages. The Holy Bible was written by humans, but is ‘God-breathed’, i.e. the spirit of God inspired the Holy Bible writers to convey an accurate and true message – the very words of God himself.

Source:

http://textsorthodoxy.wordpress.com

TEXTS - ORTHODOXY


<>

If God created the world and everything else, who created God ?

The answer is no one! God is the ‘Uncaused Cause’ or ‘Prime Mover’. Only things that have a beginning (e.g. the Universe) require a creator. God, on the other hand has existed from all eternity. He is an infinite spirit, not restricted in any way by time or space.

Source:

http://atheismanswers.blogspot.com

ATHEISM - ANSWERS

<>

If God is holy and good, 
where did evil come from?

Evil is not something that was created by God, rather it should be seen as a lack of good. God created man with free will – the ability to choose between right and wrong. Evil basically comes from the exercise of that free will in not following God. Being human means that we have responsibility for our own actions, whether they be good and bad.

Source:

http://heartquestionsandanswers.wordpress.com

HEART QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS - ORTHODOXY

<>

Was Jesus called Emmanuel?

Yes, Jesus was called Emmanuel, John Chrysostom explains:

‘What then says this oracle? Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel.

How was it then, one may say, that His name was not called Emmanuel, but Jesus Christ? Because he said not,you shall call, but they shall call, that is, the multitude, and the issue of events. For here he puts the event as a name: and this is customary in Scripture, to substitute the events that take place for names.

Therefore, to say, they shall call Him Emmanuel, means nothing else than that they shall see God among men. For He has indeed always been among men, but never so manifestly.

But if Jews are obstinate, we will ask the, when was the child called, Make speed to the spoil, hasten the prey? Why, they could not say. How is it then that the prophet said, Call his name Maher-shalal-hash-baz? Because, when he was born, there was a taking and dividing of spoils, therefore the event that took place in his time is put as his name. And the city, too, it is said, shall be called the city of righteousness, the faithful city Sion. Isaiah 1:26-27 And yet we nowhere find that the city was called righteousness, but it continued to be called Jerusalem. However, inasmuch as this came to pass in fact, when the city underwent a change for the better, on that account he says it is so called. For when any event happens which marks out him who brings it to pass, or who is benefited by it, more clearly than his name, the Scripture speaks of the truth of the event as being a name to him.’

—John Chrysostom, Homilies on Matthew, Homily 5, 3.

Source:


SAINT JOHN CHRYSOSTOM - QUOTES

<>

Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?

We live in a world of pain and suffering. There is no one who is not affected by the harsh realities of life, and the question “why do bad things happen to good people?” is one of the most difficult questions in all of theology. God is sovereign, so all that happens must have at least been allowed by Him, if not directly caused by Him. At the outset, we must acknowledge that human beings, who are not eternal, infinite, or omniscient, cannot expect to fully understand God’s purposes and ways.

The book of Job deals with the issue of why God allows bad things to happen to good people. Job was a righteous man (Job 1:1), yet he suffered in ways that are almost beyond belief. God allowed Satan to do everything he wanted to Job except kill him, and Satan did his worst. What was Job’s reaction? “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him” (Job 13:15). “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised” (Job 1:21). Job did not understand why God had allowed the things He did, but he knew God was good and therefore continued to trust in Him. Ultimately, that should be our reaction as well.

Why do bad things happen to good people? As hard as it is to acknowledge, we must remember that there are no “good” people, in the absolute sense of the word. All of us are tainted by and infected with sin (Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8). As Jesus said, “No one is good—except God alone” (Luke 18:19). All of us feel the effects of sin in one way or another. Sometimes it’s our own personal sin; other times, it’s the sins of others. We live in a fallen world, and we experience the effects of the fall. One of those effects is injustice and seemingly senseless suffering.

When wondering why God would allow bad things to happen to good people, it’s also good to consider these four things about the bad things that happen:

1) Bad things may happen to good people in this world, but this world is not the end. Christians have an eternal perspective: “We do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16–18). We will have a reward some day, and it will be glorious.

2) Bad things happen to good people, but God uses those bad things for an ultimate, lasting good. “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). When Joseph, innocent of wrongdoing, finally came through his horrific sufferings, he was able to see God’s good plan in it all (see Genesis 50:19–21).

3) Bad things happen to good people, but those bad things equip believers for deeper ministry. “Praise be to . . . the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ” (2 Corinthians 1:3–5). Those with battle scars can better help those going through the battles.

4) Bad things happen to good people, and the worst things happened to the best Person. Jesus was the only truly Righteous One, yet He suffered more than we can imagine. We follow in His footsteps: “If you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. ‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.’ When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:20–23). Jesus is no stranger to our pain.

Romans 5:8 declares, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Despite the sinful nature of the people of this world, God still loves us. Jesus loved us enough to die to take the penalty for our sins (Romans 6:23). If we receive Jesus Christ as Savior (John 3:16; Romans 10:9), we will be forgiven and promised an eternal home in heaven (Romans 8:1).

God allows things to happen for a reason. Whether or not we understand His reasons, we must remember that God is good, just, loving, and merciful (Psalm 135:3). Often, bad things happen to us that we simply cannot understand. Instead of doubting God’s goodness, our reaction should be to trust Him. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5–6). We walk by faith, not by sight.

Source:

Paul Enns, Everything Happens for a Reason? God’s Purposes in a World Gone Bad, MOODY PUBLISHERS / 2012 / PAPERBACK

<>

Questions & Answers – Orthodoxy


<>

Is there any instances known of the use of saintly intercession in the Church before the Saint Constantine, or in light of the 
Bible verses above?

Answer:

Yes, in the Maccabees and Baruch in the Old Testament (Septuagint).

<>

 How do Baptismal names work?

Answer:

You are named for a Saint that you share a name with or are close to.

<>

My birthname is Noah, 
is the biblical Noah considered a Saint?

Answer:

Yes, Noah is a Saint.

<>

Why are certain prayers repeated a lot?

Answer:

Because Christ prayed repeatedly when He was in the Temple, and in Revelation the elders and angels repeat prayers.

<>

What is the purpose of Sacraments? This is something that I have always found vague when reading about Orthodoxy.

Answer:

They are how we participate in God’s divine life, and are the basis for why we do everything else we do.

<>

If a Roman Catholic or a Protestant wants to convert to Orthodoxy (Eastern Orthodox Church), what are the steps?

The best is first to be willing to spend the time to really understand the commonalities and differences between Roman Catholicism or Protestantism and Orthodoxy (Eastern Orthodox Church).

In most cases, a person begins the process of conversion by speaking with a local Orthodox priest, who gives instructions (or catechism) on the teachings and beliefs of the Orthodox Church. These beliefs and doctrines have continued unchanged for over 2000 years, since the time of Jesus and the Twelve Apostles. This process of catechism could take many months. Once you have learned about the faith and teachings of the church, you would then be ready to be baptized as a member of the Orthodox Church, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (ie. the Holy Trinity). Baptism is by triple immersion in water. At the same time, you would be Chrismated, which means receiving the Holy Oil and the Holy Spirit.

Thanks for your message! If you need anything, I am here!

I thank God that the truth of the Orthodox Church is being revealed to all over the world!

Source:

http://simplyorthodox.tumblr.com

SIMPLY ORTHODOX


<>

Why is it hard to believe that Mary (Mother of Jesus) gave birth in a way contrary to the law of natural birth and remained a virgin?

Saint Ambrose of Milan (+397):

“Why is it hard to believe that Mary (Mother of Jesus) gave birth in a way contrary to the law of natural birth and remained a virgin, when contrary to the law of nature the sea looked at Him and fled, and the waters of the Jordan returned to their source (Ps. 113:3). Is it past belief that a virgin gave birth when we read that a rock issued water (Ex. 17:6), and the waves of the sea were made solid as a wall (Ex. 14:22)? Is it past belief that a Man came from a virgin when a rock bubbled forth a flowing stream (Ex. 20:11), iron floated on water (4 Kings 6:6), a Man walked upon the waters (Mt. 14:26)? If the waters bore a Man, could not a virgin give birth to a man? What Man? Him of Whom we read: ‘…the Lord shall be known to the Egyptians, and the Egyptians shall know the Lord in that day; and they shall offer sacrifices, and shall vow vows to the Lord, and pay them’ (Is. 19:20).

In the Old Testament a Hebrew virgin (Miriam) led an army through the sea (Ex. 15:21); in the New testament a king’s daughter (the Virgin Mary) was chosen to be the heavenly entrance to salvation.”

+ St. Ambrose, Synodal Letter 44, Letters, 1-91 (Fathers of the Church Patristic Series)

Source:

http://www.orthodoxchurchquotes.com

ORTHODOX CHURCH QUOTES


<>

Why the Orthodox clergy 
have beards and long hair?

The Orthodox clergy have beard and long hair because they are dedicated to God. The Numbers 6:5 in Old Testament says about this:

Numbers 6:5 > "During the entire period of their Nazirite vow, no razor may be used on their head. They must be holy until the period of their dedication to the Lord is over; they must let their hair grow long".

<*>

Why did Jesus have to die ?

The Bible tells us in Genesis 3 that sin entered the world through Adam and Eve’s rebellion in the Garden of Eden. As human beings, all of us inherit a sinful nature – we are by nature, sinners (Romans 3:23). By the very fact that God is holy, he cannot overlook human sinfulness. Romans 6:23 and 1 Corinthians 15:22 tell us that our sin leads to death and not just separation from God.

To restore mankind to God, some satisfaction had to be made for the sins of humanity. However, no human being could ever make that satisfaction. Instead God sent his son – Jesus Christ, to pay the price for us. As God, his death as the lamb of God would be sufficient.

The most famous explanation is that found in John 3:16:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life” (John 3:16).

<>

Why did [the Prodigal Son] not set off at once instead of a few days after?

Saint Gregory Palamas (+1359):

“And not many days after,” it says, “the younger son gather all together, and took his journey into a far country” (Luke 15:13). Why did [the Prodigal Son] not set off at once instead of a few days after? The evil prompter, the devil, does not simultaneously suggest to us that we should do what we like and that we should sin. Instead he cunningly beguiles us little by little, whispering, “Even if you live independently without going to God’s Church or listening to the Church teacher, you will still be able to see for yourself what your duty is and not depart from what is good.” When he separates someone from the divine services and obedience to the holy teachers, he also distances him from God’s vigilance and surrenders him to evil deeds. God is everywhere present. Only one thing is far away from His goodness: evil. Being in the power of evil through sin we set off on a journey far away from God. As David says to God, “The evil shall not stand in thy sight” (Ps. 5:5).

+ St. Gregory Palamas, The Parables of Jesus, Sermons by St. Gregory Palamas

Source:

http://www.orthodoxchurchquotes.com

http://www.orthodoxchurchquotes.com/2016/02/28/5100/

ORTHODOX CHURCH QUOTES


<>

What is yoga? 
What is kundalini energy?

By Fr. Joseph Magnus Frangipani, USA

The literal meaning of yoga is ‘yoke.’ It means tying your will to the serpent kundalini and raising it to Shiva and experiencing your ‘true’ self. All paths of yoga are interconnected like branches of a tree. A tree with roots descending into the same areas of the spiritual world. This is evident in the ancient books the Bhagavad Gita and the Yogic Sutras of Patanjali. I learned that the ultimate goal of yoga is to awaken the kundalini energy coiled at the base of the spine in the image of a serpent so that it brings you to a state whereby you realize Tat Tvam Asi.[8]

Of course, yoga may facilitate exceptional experiences of body and mind. But so does the ingestion of mind-altering drugs, and flavorless, imperceptible poisons. Through yoga, little by little, one is harnessing shakti, which yogis refer to as the Divine Mother, the ‘dark goddess’ connected with other major Hindu gods. This energy isn’t the Holy Spirit, and This isn’t aerobics or gymnastics. Attached to this entire system are bhajans and kirtans – pagan equivalents to Orthodox Christian akathists, but for Hindu gods – as well as mantras, which are ‘sacred’ formulas, like calling cards or phone numbers, to the various pagan gurus and gods.

* * *

Notes:

[8] Sanskrit for “Thou art that” appearing in the Upanishads and subsequent yogic and Vedic texts. The phrase means the practitioner is identical with the Ultimate Reality, or with a god, or God.

Source:


<>

Why the Priests wear special clothes (vestments) in the Divine Liturgy?

The Holy Apostles in the first years of Church they were special clothes in the Divine Liturgy, too.

Historical witness

In this way, this person will begin his own search for the HISTORICAL Church. Regardless of what assertions someone may have (as to what the early Christians supposedly did or believed in their worship), there are historical records, early Christian texts and archaeological discoveries, which evidence that Christians from the very beginning worshipped God in the Orthodox manner, and not in the Protestant one. There was an acknowledgement of Synods, specialized clergy, icons, vestments, the honouring of saints and holy relics, clearly defined dogmas, Divine Liturgy, Confession, Holy Unction, Chrismation, memorial services, the Crucifix, fasting, feast-days… All these things existed, from the very beginning, with changes being made to the Rubric only in details of minor significance. Should a Protestant discover all this information within the ancient historical sources, he will come to realize that everything he had been taught by his leaders was just an arbitrary and false depiction of the first Christian Church; and he will realize that everything he detested in Orthodox worship as non-Scriptural, is precisely that which was delivered to us by the Lord Himself!!!

Historical research will most assuredly lead a well-intentioned person to Orthodox worship, away from the Protestant concoctions of the 16th century.

Source:

https://www.oodegr.com/english/ekklisia/genika/prot_ask1.htm

* * *

The Church from the first years use special clothes in the Divine Liturgy of Sunday because Holy Bible say about these. The Church accept the Old and New Testament as Jesus Christ say in New Testament in Matthew 5:17-19. The Jesus don’t abolish the Old Testament but fulfill it.

Jesus Christ says in Matthew 5:17-19:

“17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:17-19).

So, the Church for the first years until today and always keep what the Holy Bible say about the clothes of Apostles-Priests in Old Testament:

“4Then bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance to the tent of meeting and wash them with water. 5 Take the garments and dress Aaron with the tunic, the robe of the ephod, the ephod itself and the breastpiece. Fasten the ephod on him by its skillfully woven waistband. 6 Put the turban on his head and attach the sacred emblem to the turban” (Exodus 29:4-6).

“And also the woven garments, both the sacred garments for Aaron the priest and the garments for his sons when they serve as priests” (Exodus 31:10).

“From the blue, purple and scarlet yarn they made woven garments for ministering in the sanctuary. They also made sacred garments for Aaron, as the Lord commanded Moses” (Exodus 39:1).

Also, you can read this:

https://www.oodegr.com/english/ekklisia/genika/prot_ask1.htm

Greek Protestants ask: Why be Orthodox?

By N. M., former heretic group leader


<>

Is it right to kill animals for food? Is it right to eat meal? Can something that we eat making us more closer to God?

Answer:

God in the Holy Bible gave us all the animals to eat.

So we can eat meat. It is not a sin.

Genesis 9:3 > “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything”.

Genesis 1:30 > “And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.”

Acts 10:9-16 > “The next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray. And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth. In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. And there came a voice to him: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” …”

* * *

The Buddhists believe in the false reincarnation and they don’t eat meat because they fear not eat their grandmother.

It’s false. It’s wrong.

Also the plants are alive.

The Buddhists don’t eat meat because it is a living animal but they eat plants which are alive, too.

* * *

The Orthodox Christians don’t eat meat, milk, cheese etc. only in the fasting.

Matthew 9:14-15 > ” 14 Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?”. 15 Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast. ”

With the Orthodox Christian fasting we are close to God and the devil stay far away from us.

With the Orthodox Christian fasting our prayer is stronger and devil goes away.

If someone is ill don’t make fasting or ask his Spiritual Father (=Personal Spiritual Father – Orthodox Priest) about it.


<>

What is a Saint who called Fool-for-Christ?

A saint who has the title Fool-for-Christ is one who is known for his apparent, yet holy, insanity.

Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. (1 Corinthians 3:18-19)

One form of the ascetic Christian life is called foolishness for the sake of Christ. The fool-for-Christ set for himself the task of battling within himself the root of all sin, pride. In order to accomplish this he took on an unusual style of life, appearing as someone bereft of his mental faculties, thus bringing upon himself the ridicule of others. In addition he exposed the evil in the world through metaphorical and symbolic words and actions. He took this ascetic endeavor upon himself in order to humble himself and to also more effectively influence others, since most people respond to the usual ordinary sermon with indifference. The spiritual feat of foolishness for Christ was especially widespread in Russia. –(Excerpted from The Law of God, Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, NY: 1993)

Source:

https://foolforchristfullofchrist.wordpress.com

FOOL FOR CHRIST - FULL OF CHRIST

<>

Aren’t all religions just the same?

By this it is often meant that many religions have things in common, such as belief in the divine, a desire to do good and avoid evil, and respect for other human beings.

Christianity does not deny that there is truth and value in other religions. As an example, Zen Buddhism believes in five precepts as a way of governing one’s conduct. One precept states “I will respect the property of others, I will not steal.” That said, other belief systems may also have practices that are contrary to the Bible. As the Bible is God’s living word and without error, it follows that other religions cannot be the same as Christianity. Christianity uniquely claims that God came in human form to redeem fallen mankind and reconcile the human race to himself.

Source:


QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS - ORTHODOXY

<>

What joy does the Nativity of the 
Mother of God bring us?

Saint John of Kronstadt, Russia (+1908):

What joy does the Nativity of the Mother of God bring us? Let us explain in more detail the Church hymn which explains the meaning of this feast’s joy. Through the birth of the Ever-Virgin, through Her only-begotten Son and God, cursed and outcast mankind makes peace with God Who is immeasurably offended by man’s sins, for Christ became the mediator of this peace (cf. Rom. 5:10-11). Man is freed from the curse and eternal death, made worthy of the blessing of the Heavenly Father; he is united and co-mingled with the Divine nature; he is raised to his first inheritance by this co-mingling, according to the Church hymn. Mankind, once an outcast, has been made worthy of sonship to the Heavenly Father, received the promise of the glorious resurrection and eternal life in the heavens together with the angels.

This has all been and is being wrought by the Son of God incarnate from the Most Pure Virgin from the Holy Spirit, and by the intercession of His Most Pure Mother. How honored and magnified is mankind through the Holy Virgin Mother of God, for it has been made worthy of renewal and sonship by God; She Herself was made worthy by Her immeasurable humility and exceedingly great purity and holiness to be the Mother of the God-man!

+ St. John of Kronstadt, Sorrow and Joy: A Homily on the Day of the Nativity of the Most Holy Mother of God

Source:

http://holyvirginmary.wordpress.com

HOLY VIRGIN MARY MOTHER OF GOD

<>

Why do Christians pray to God?

Christianity uniquely emphasises that a Christian can have a personal relationship with God. We should regard prayer as being the talking part of the relationship and a two way process at that. Jesus himself set down the model prayer for all Christians:

“This is how you are to pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and do not subject us to the final test, but deliver us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:9-13).

Prayer has the benefit of drawing us into a deeper relationship with God – as we pray we learn more about his will for our lives.

Source:

http://prayerofyourheart.wordpress.com

PRAYER OF YOUR HEART

<>

What is Eternal Life 
in Eastern Orthodox Church?

The Symbol of Faith: Eternal Life

I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world [ages] to come

(From the Sympol of Faith)

The Eastern Orthodox Church does not believe merely in the immortality of the soul, and in the goodness and ultimate salvation of only spiritual reality. Following the Scriptures, Orthodox Christians believe in the goodness of the human body and of all material and physical creation. Thus, in its faith in resurrection and eternal life, the Orthodox Church looks not to some “other world” for salvation, but to this very world so loved by God, resurrected and glorified by Him, tilled with His own divine presence.

At the end of the ages God will reveal His presence and will fill all creation with Himself. For those who love Him it will be paradise. For those who hate Him it will be hell. And all physical creation, together with the righteous, will rejoice and be glad in His coming.

The wilderness and the solitary places will be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom in abundance (Is 35:1).

For behold I create new heavens and a new earth says the Lord, and the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create, for behold I create Jerusalem a rejoicing and her people a joy (Is 65:17-18).

The visions of the prophets and those of the Christian apostles about things to come are one and the same:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband; and I heard a great voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God himself will be with them; He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away” (Rev 21:1-5).

When the Kingdom of God fills all creation, all things will be made new. This world will again be that paradise for which it was originally created. This is the Orthodox doctrine of the final fate of man and his universe.

It is sometimes argued, however, that this world will be totally destroyed and that God will create everything new “out of nothing” by the act of a second creation. Those who hold this opinion appeal to such texts as that found in the second letter of Saint Peter:

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away… and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and the works that are upon it will be burned up (2 Pet 3:10).

Because the Bible never speaks about a “second creation” and because it continually and consistently witnesses that God loves the world which He has made and does everything that He can to save it, the Orthodox Tradition never interprets such scriptural texts as teaching the actual annihilation of creation by God. It understands such texts as speaking metaphorically of the great catastrophe which creation must endure, including even the righteous, in order for it to be cleansed, purified, made perfect, and saved. It teaches as well that there is an “eternal fire” for the ungodly, an eternal condition of their being destroyed. But in any case the “trial by fire” which “destroys the ungodly” is in no way understood by the Orthodox in the sense that creation is doomed to total destruction, despised by the loving Lord who created it and called it “very good” (Gen 1:31; also 1 Cor 3:13-15; Heb 12:25-29; Is 66; Rev 20-22).

Source:

http://heavenonearthorthodoxy.wordpress.com

HEAVEN ON EARTH - ORTHODOXY

<>

What does it mean to be a righteous person?

“My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day” (Acts 23:1)

Living by ones conscience entails listening to ones conscience; and listening to ones conscience means that one chooses to make the right decisions based upon their moral values and core beliefs. Therefore, acting in accordance to God’s Commandments and striving to overcome sin is the very definition of what it means to be righteous.

Fr. John

Source:

http://apantaortodoxias.blogspot.com/2019/06/brethren-i-have-lived-before-god-in-all.html

<>


What does the Orthodox Church think of streetpreaching?

The Orthodox Church accept the streetpreaching because the Jesus Christ and His Holy Apostles done streetpreaching.

The streetpreaching is something good but the issue is what they teach! If the streetpreachers teach the Orthodox Christianity this is good. If the streetpreachers teach wrong teaches this is not good for the souls of people who hear them.

The Orthodox Church accept the streerpreaching and there are many Orthodox priests who doing streetpreaching in our days.

Many Saints of the Orthodox Church in all the centuries done streetpreaching. Also, the Saints of our days.

Some Orthodox streetpreachers are:

-Fr. Josiah Trenham, the priest of the Orthodox Church of Saint Andrew in the Riverside, California, USA:
https://saintandrew.net

-Saint Daniel Sysoev in Moscow, Russia (+2009):
http://orthochristian.com/117356.html

-Saint John of Santa Cruz, California, USA (+1985):
https://saintsbookorthodoxy.wordpress.com/2018/07/06/37738/

-Saint Cosmas of Aetolia (Greece), Equal to the Apostles (+1779):
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2016/08/23/saint-cosmas-of-aetolia-aitolos-equal-to-the-apostles/

etc.

-Also, all the Orthodox missionaries doing streetpreaching.

Source:

http://faithbookorthodoxy.wordpress.com

FAITHBOOK - ORTHODOXY

<>

Does God exist? 
Is there evidence for the existence of God?

Answer: The existence of God cannot be proved or disproved. The Bible says that we must accept by faith the fact that God exists: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). If God so desired, He could simply appear and prove to the whole world that He exists. But if He did that, there would be no need for faith. “Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed’” (John 20:29).

That does not mean, however, that there is no evidence of God’s existence. The Bible states, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world” (Psalm 19:1-4). Looking at the stars, understanding the vastness of the universe, observing the wonders of nature, seeing the beauty of a sunset—all of these things point to a Creator God. If these were not enough, there is also evidence of God in our own hearts. Ecclesiastes 3:11 tells us, “…He has also set eternity in the hearts of men.” Deep within us is the recognition that there is something beyond this life and someone beyond this world. We can deny this knowledge intellectually, but God’s presence in us and all around us is still obvious. Despite this, the Bible warns that some will still deny God’s existence: “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14:1). Since the vast majority of people throughout history, in all cultures, in all civilizations, and on all continents believe in the existence of some kind of God, there must be something (or someone) causing this belief.

In addition to the biblical arguments for God’s existence, there are logical arguments. First, there is the ontological argument. The most popular form of the ontological argument uses the concept of God to prove God’s existence. It begins with the definition of God as “a being than which no greater can be conceived.” It is then argued that to exist is greater than to not exist, and therefore the greatest conceivable being must exist. If God did not exist, then God would not be the greatest conceivable being, and that would contradict the very definition of God.

A second argument is the teleological argument. The teleological argument states that since the universe displays such an amazing design, there must have been a divine Designer. For example, if the Earth were significantly closer or farther away from the sun, it would not be capable of supporting much of the life it currently does. If the elements in our atmosphere were even a few percentage points different, nearly every living thing on earth would die. The odds of a single protein molecule forming by chance is 1 in 10243 (that is a 1 followed by 243 zeros). A single cell is comprised of millions of protein molecules.

A third logical argument for God’s existence is called the cosmological argument. Every effect must have a cause. This universe and everything in it is an effect. There must be something that caused everything to come into existence. Ultimately, there must be something “un-caused” in order to cause everything else to come into existence. That “un-caused” cause is God.

A fourth argument is known as the moral argument. Every culture throughout history has had some form of law. Everyone has a sense of right and wrong. Murder, lying, stealing, and immorality are almost universally rejected. Where did this sense of right and wrong come from if not from a holy God?

Despite all of this, the Bible tells us that people will reject the clear and undeniable knowledge of God and believe a lie instead. Romans 1:25 declares, “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.” The Bible also proclaims that people are without excuse for not believing in God: “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).

People claim to reject God’s existence because it is “not scientific” or “because there is no proof.” The true reason is that once they admit that there is a God, they also must realize that they are responsible to God and in need of forgiveness from Him (Romans 3:23, 6:23). If God exists, then we are accountable to Him for our actions. If God does not exist, then we can do whatever we want without having to worry about God judging us. That is why many of those who deny the existence of God cling strongly to the theory of naturalistic evolution—it gives them an alternative to believing in a Creator God. God exists and ultimately everyone knows that He exists. The very fact that some attempt so aggressively to disprove His existence is in fact an argument for His existence.

How do we know God exists? As Christians, we know God exists because we speak to Him every day. We do not audibly hear Him speaking to us, but we sense His presence, we feel His leading, we know His love, we desire His grace. Things have occurred in our lives that have no possible explanation other than God. God has so miraculously saved us and changed our lives that we cannot help but acknowledge and praise His existence. None of these arguments can persuade anyone who refuses to acknowledge what is already obvious. In the end, God’s existence must be accepted by faith (Hebrews 11:6). Faith in God is not a blind leap into the dark; it is safe step into a well-lit room where the vast majority of people are already standing.

Source:

Norman L. Geisler, Frank Turek, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, CROSSWAY / 2004 / PAPERBACK

<>

Is your grandmother a fish?

By

Dr. Georgia Purdom

According to a soon-to-be published book for young children, a fish and many other animals are your “grandmothers.” The subtitle for the book is “a child’s first book of Evolution.” While the author and illustrator do a good job of simplifying evolution through words and pictures and using terminology that is kid-friendly, it is exactly those points that make the book so deceptive.Starting with the Familiar

Rather than starting at the beginning of the evolutionary tree of life with a single-celled organism, the author starts with a fish likely because this would be more familiar to young children. The author chose not to use the terminology of “millions of years” but rather states “a long, long, long, long, long time ago” probably because young children don’t have a good understanding of time. In addition, the author uses the term “grandmother” to refer to each animal (i.e., grandmother fish, reptile, mammal) since children would know what a grandmother is but not an ancestor.

Confusing the Issue of Intelligent Behavior

The book compares animal behavior to human behavior for each of the animal grandmothers. This seduces children into thinking because they can do the same types of things they must be related to the animals. For example, “She [Grandmother Fish] could wiggle and swim fast. Can you wiggle?” Well, certainly children can wiggle (every parent can attest to this!), but that doesn’t mean humans are related to fish. It’s no secret that humans and animals have some similar behaviors, but as we have reported many, many times before this isn’t because of shared ancestry. Instead, God designed animals to beintelligent, but their intelligence pales in comparison to that of humans who are made in the image of God.

Missing Evolutionary Transitions

Following the comparative animal-human behaviors for each “grandmother,” children are presented with a small evolutionary tree showing lines connecting that grandmother to the next one. The book connects fish to reptiles, reptiles to mammals, mammals to apes, and, of course, apes to humans. While visually simple, it discounts the millions of mutations that would have to occur by random chance for these transitions to be possible (and the fact that transitional fossils between these organisms are absent).

Following the conclusion of the book is a parent’s guide giving more detailed information about each evolutionary transition presented in the book. For example, grandmother mammal is said to cuddle and parents are told, “They evolved cuddling as part of nursing our young. Both of these behaviors are governed by the ‘cuddle hormone,’ oxytocin.” It seems the author didn’t stop with simplifying evolution for kids; he also wanted to absurdly simplify it for their parents as well.

How Evolution Supposedly Happens

Also in the parent’s guide are explanations of three major points related to evolution: descent with modification, artificial selection, and natural selection. Dogs are used for artificial selection to show that people have bred dogs to achieve dogs with specific traits (of course, traits that already existed in dogs). They conclude this section with, “All the different kinds of dogs come from one kind of dog that lived a long time ago.” Finally, something I can agree with in the book! All dogs did come from the original dog kind created by God on Day Six of Creation Week, approximately 6,000 years ago. I found it interesting that their point about artificial selection is that it results in variation within a certain group of animals (dogs) and yet somehow a similar type of mechanism (natural selection) is supposed to achieve molecules-to-man evolution with one kind of animal evolving into a completely different kind of animal! I honestly hope parents reading the guide will see the obvious problem this creates for evolution and how natural selection cannot be a mechanism.

As with many books on evolution, time is presented as the key. Evolution can do anything and everything with enough time. But it is this simplification presented to both children and parents in this book that is so problematic. As a professional geneticist, I can attest to the fact that time is not the key but rather what is needed is a genetic mechanism that adds new and novel information so that organisms can evolve from fish to humans. The problem is that with all the thousands of papers published on mutations, no such mechanism has ever been observed. Mutations only alter (and many times detrimentally) genetic information that is already present—they don’t add new and novel information of the type that will change one kind of organism into another. All the time in the world is useless if there is no genetic mechanism to add what is needed for molecules-to-man evolution.

Teaching Our Kids the Truth About Our Origins

With its engaging text and illustrations, I’m sure this book will find its way into many public libraries and even school libraries. I challenge parents and others to suggest to their local librarian an alternative book from AiG’s vast resources for children. One of my personal favorites is Dinosaurs for Kids. I always say it should be called “Dinosaurs for Everyone,” because it is a book that will keep the attention of both children and parents and equip them to answer common questions about dinosaurs. Also, be sure to visit the Creation Museum and take advantage of our “Kids Free in 2014.”

While it is sad to see evolutionary resources like this book for children, it is very encouraging to see the many children’s resources (including Answers Bible Curriculum andAnswers VBS) available through AiG that help us teach our kids that the truth about our origins can only be found in the truth of God’s Word.

Keep fighting the good fight of the faith!

Source:

http://godandscienceorthodoxy.wordpress.com

GOD AND SCIENCE - ORTHODOXY

<>

What does it mean to dress modestly?

In describing the mode of dress appropriate for women in church, the apostle Paul exhorts them to dress “modestly” with “decency and propriety” then goes on to contrast immodest dress with the good deeds which are appropriate for those who profess to be true worshipers of God (1 Timothy 2:9–10). While the Bible only specifically addresses the need for women to dress modestly, the same teaching would apply to men in principle. Both men and women should bring glory to God in their manner of dress.

Modesty in the way we dress is not just for church; it is to be the standard for all Christians at all times. The key to understanding what constitutes modesty in dress is to examine the attitudes and intents of the heart. Those whose hearts are inclined toward God will make every effort to dress modestly, decently, and appropriately. Those whose hearts are inclined toward self will dress in a manner designed to draw attention to themselves with little or no regard for the consequences to themselves or others.

A godly woman endeavors to do everything with a “God-ward” perspective. She knows that God wants His people to be concerned for His glory and the spiritual state of their brothers and sisters in Christ. If a woman professes to be a Christian yet she dresses in a way that will unduly draw attention to her body, she is a poor witness of the One who bought her soul by dying for her on the cross. She is forgetting that her body has been redeemed by Christ and is now the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19–20). She is telling the world that she determines her own worth on a purely physical basis and that her attractiveness depends on how much of her body she reveals to them. Further, by dressing in an immodest fashion, displaying her body for men to lust after, she causes her brothers in Christ to sin, something condemned by God (Matthew 5:27–29). Proverbs 7:10 mentions a woman “dressed like a prostitute and with crafty intent”—here, the woman’s heart condition is displayed by her manner of dress.

The Scripture says that we are to dress modestly, but what exactly does that mean in modern society? Does a woman have to be covered from head to toe? There are cults and religions in the world that demand this of women. But is that the biblical meaning of modesty? Again, we have to go back to the matter of the attitudes of the heart. If a woman’s heart is inclined toward godliness, she will wear clothing that is neither provocative nor revealing in public, clothing that does not reflect negatively upon her personal testimony as a child of God. Everyone else in her circle may be dressing immodestly, but she resists the temptation to go along with the crowd. She avoids clothing designed to draw attention to her body and cause men to lust, for she is wise enough to know that type of attention only cheapens her. The idea of causing men to sin against God because of her dress is abhorrent to her because she seeks to love and honor God and wants others to do the same.

Modesty in dress reveals a modesty and godliness of the heart, attitudes that should be the desire of all women (and men) who live to please and honor God.

Source: Elizabeth George, A Woman After God’s Own Heart, 2007

<>

How is Yoga connected with Hinduism?

By Fr. Joseph Magnus Frangipani, USA

To be clear, Hinduism does not refer to a specific religion. It is a term the British gave to the various cults, philosophies and shamanistic religions of India. If you ask one Hindu if he believes in God, he may tell you that you are God. But ask another, and he will point to a rock, or statue, or a flame of fire. This is Hindu polarity: either you are God, or everything else is a god.

Yoga is beneath this umbrella of Hinduism, and in many ways is the pole of the umbrella. It acts as a missionary arm for Hinduism and the New Age outside of India.[9] Hinduism is like an extraordinary Russian nesting doll: you open one philosophy and within it are ten thousand more.

And the unopened ones are risks. You may swim easily and carelessly in waters you do not know. But unaware of the tides and nuances of the area, you may be in danger. You may be swept away by the undertow. You may cut yourself against unseen rocks and contract imperceptible infection and poison.

This happens in the spiritual life.

When we dive in the ocean, we may be attracted to the brightest, most colorful and intriguing fish but the most colorful and exotic are often the most poisonous and deadly.

The first time I visited India, I took off my shoes and socks and walked through the water, coconuts, discarded candy and shimmering fire of Kalkaji Temple. It is one of the most famous temples dedicated to Kali, ‘the goddess of death.’ I didn’t know it, but I was right in the middle of her most important festival of the year. The temple was chaos and the energy very heightened and dark.

Thousands of men, women and children gathered at this Rishikesh temple to worship this demon. Next to me, a woman’s eyes rolled back in her head, arms waving back and forth, tongue wagging pink from her mouth, legs lifting and falling like a puppet on strings. This was clearly demonic possession.

Once, I venerated the Sitka Mother of God icon[10] and experienced incredible warmth, tears of humility and love, mental clarity, and peace. It was like walking in front of a window full of warm, fragrant sunshine. At Kalkaji temple, I experienced the opposite.

Kali is often depicted as a frightful, many-armed goddess with purple skin raising a severed human head, a bloody tongue hanging from her mouth. She wears a necklace of human heads and a belt of arms.

I have drank coffee with people instrumental in the movement of yoga, Hinduism and the New Age in America who, in order to be initiated into her cult, were prompted to eat human corpses from Nepalese graveyards. Not too long ago, the popular British newspaper The Guardian reported that child sacrifices continue to this day, honoring this demon Kali.[11] This is all connected to Hinduism. And it is connected to yoga because the postures of yoga are not religiously neutral. All of the classic asanas have spiritual significance. For example, as one journalist reports, the Sun Salutations,—perhaps the best-known series of asanas, or postures, of hatha yoga—the type most commonly practiced in America—is literally a Hindu ritual.

“Sun Salutation was never a hatha yoga tradition,” says Subhas Rampersaud Tiwari, professor of yoga philosophy and meditation at Hindu University of America in Orlando, Florida. “It is a whole series of ritual appreciations to the sun, being thankful for that source of energy.”[12]

To think of yoga as a mere physical movement is tantamount to “saying that baptism is just an underwater exercise.” writes Swami Param of the Classical Yoga Hindu Academy and Dharma Yoga ashram in Manahawkin, N.J.[13]

It is the goddess Kali who attempts to unite practitioners through shakti with Shiva by means of yoga. At her temple just outside New Delhi, I saw the hideous ‘self-manifested’ idol: a rock with strange, beady eyes, beaked and covered in yellowy slime and curdled food. In Hinduism, idols are ‘woken up.’ They are dressed. They are fed. They are sung to. And they are put to sleep. I’ve been part of hundreds of these ceremonies.

With more than five million readers, Yoga Journal is the best-selling yoga magazine in the world. In a revealing moment regarding the superiority of yoga as psychotherapy, Yoga Journal revealed the Hindu philosophy behind the practice:

“From the yogic perspective, all human beings are ‘born divine’ and each human being has at its core a soul (atman) that dwells eternally in the changeless, infinite, all-pervading reality (brahman). In Patanjali’s classic statement of this view…we already are that which we seek. We are God in disguise. We are already inherently perfect, and we have the potential in each moment to wake up to this true, awake, and enlightened nature.”[14]

Teachers and students typically greet each other with the Sanskrit ‘namaste,’ which means, “I honor the Divine within you.” This is an affirmation of pantheism and denial of the true God revealed in the Bible. The Sun Salutations, or, Surya Namaskara, originated with the worship of the Hindu solar deity Surya.

In Church hagiography and iconography, we venerate saints—real people who lived righteously before God and participated and continue to participate in His light and love—asking their intercessions. Idols, on the other hand, writes Fr. Michael Pomazansky, “are the images of false gods, and the worship of them was a worship of demons, or else of imaginary beings that have no existence; and thus, in essence, it is a worship of the lifeless objects themselves.”[15]

I have seen swamis – in this country, in America – transmit this demonic kundalini energy just by looking in a person’s eyes. And if one is open to it, the body may shake and vibrate like a tin windup toy.

And yet when it came time for me to receive this cursed energy through Shaktipat, an unbelievable fear washed over me like cold, electrified water so I raised my shield and sword: I started saying the Jesus Prayer.[16] Glory to God! This awful presence was deflected by the Name of Jesus. We must remember, as St. Paul writes, We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.[17]

With that prayer as my shield and sword, I swam a stroke back towards Christ. I took a step out of the far country. I took a step into my Father’s House.

* * *

Notes:

[10] A gift from laborers of the Cathedral of St. Michael the Archangel in Sitka, Alaska, this exceptionally beautiful miracle-working icon is indeed a window to heaven.

[11] The Guardian, Saturday, March 4, 2006.

[12] Dru Sefton, “Is Yoga Debased by Secular Practice?” Newhouse News, July 15, 2005, http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1445950/posts.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Stephen Cote, “Standing Psychotherapy on Its Head,” Yoga Journal, May/June 2001, p.104. http://michaeltalbotkelly.com/standing-psychotherapy-on-its-head/.

[15] Orthodox Dogmatic Theology, p. 323.

[16] Shaktipat is the conferring of demonic spiritual energy with a word, look, thought or touch. The Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

[17] Ephesians 6:12.

Source:

http://orthochristian.com

http://orthochristian.com/80417.html

ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY

<>

What is the meaning of the Orthodox reverence of the holy servants of God?

During baptism, a person is given a name in honor of one of the saints, who from that moment becomes his heavenly patron. Each Orthodox Christian should know the “life” — the history — of his heavenly patron and turn to him in prayer for help and guidance. Our devout ancestors tried to commemorate the day of their saint’s memory—their “angel’s day”—by partaking of the Holy Communion and celebrating this day more festively than their birthday.

What is the meaning of the Orthodox reverence of the holy servants of God? Do the saints in Heaven know our needs and difficulties and are they interested in us? Do they hear our prayers to them and do they try to help us? Indeed should we turn to saints for help, or is it enough to pray only to the Lord God? Sectarians, who have lost the apostolic traditions, do not understand the essence and purpose of Christ’s Church and thus deny the necessity of prayers to the saints in Heaven. We will briefly outline herein the Orthodox teaching concerning this.

Orthodox reverence of the holy servants of God comes from the conviction that all of us, those seeking salvation or those already saved, living and dead, form a single family of God. The Church is a great society, encompassing the visible and invisible world. It is a huge, universal organization, built on the principle of love, in which each member must care not only about himself, but about the well-being and salvation of others. Saints are those people who during their life more than others expressed love to others.

We orthodox believe that when a righteous person dies, he does not sever his ties with the Church, but crosses over to its higher, heavenly domain—into the Church triumphant. Once in the spiritual world, the soul of the righteous person does not stop thinking, wanting, feeling. Just the opposite, these characteristics are revealed more fully and completely.

Modern non-Orthodox Christians, having lost the active connection with the heavenly-earthly Church, have the most vague and contradicting ideas concerning the afterlife. Some of them think that after death the soul of the person falls asleep and is as though shut off from everything; others—that the soul of a person, even if it continues its activity after death, does not concern itself with the world from which it has departed. Others think that as a matter of principle one should not pray to saints, because a Christian has direct association with God.

What is the teaching of the Holy Scriptures concerning the righteous who have departed the earthly world, and the power of their prayers? In apostolic times the Church was considered as one Heavenly/earthly spiritual family. The Apostle Paul wrote to newly-converted Christians: But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect (Heb. 12:22-23). In other words, you, by becoming Christians, have joined a great family and come into close contact with the heavenly world and with the righteous who are found therein. The parting words of the Apostle Peter—“Moreover I will endeavor that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance” (2 Peter 1:15) clearly attest to the fact that he promises to continue to care about them from that spiritual world.

The ancient practice of turning to the holy martyrs and servants of God for help is based on the recognition of the active association of the Heavenly-earthly Church and on the basis of faith in the power of prayer.

We know that not all, but only the most zealous and devout persons did God during their lifetime call His friends, and glorified them with the gifts of the Holy Spirit and miracles. Thus, Christ told the apostles at the Last Supper: Ye are my friends!… For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother” (John 15:14-15; Mt. 12:50). Sacred history presents many examples of spiritual closeness, or “audacity,” of the saints with God. For example, Abraham asks God to have mercy on the citizens of Sodom and Gomorra, and God was willing to fulfill his request, if there were at least ten righteous persons found there. Another time God rescinded his punishment of Abimelech, king of Gerar, by the prayers of Abraham (Gen. Chap. 18, Gen. Chap. 20). The Bible relates, that God spoke with the Prophet Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. When Miriam, the sister of Moses, sinned and was punished with leprosy, Moses attained forgiveness for her from the Lord through prayer (Ex. 33:11; Numbers Chap. 12). Other examples can also be presented about the particular strength of the prayers of God’s servants.

The saints themselves do not overshadow God and do not weaken the need to turn to Him as the Heavenly Father. For even grown members of a family do not lessen the authority of the parents, when they care for their children together. Even more so: nothing pleases a parent more, than seeing how older brothers care for the younger. In similar fashion, our Heavenly Father rejoices, when the saints pray for us and try to help us. The holy servants of God possess a stronger faith than we, and are closer to God by their righteousness. For this reason we will turn to them as to our older brothers, appearing at the throne of the Almighty for us.

It is noteworthy that the righteous, while still living on earth, saw and knew much that was inaccessible to normal perception. Even more so should these gifts be inherent in them, when they, free from their mortal body, have passed on to the higher world. The Apostle Peter, for example, saw what was occurring in Ananias’ soul; the illegal act of his servant Giezia was revealed to Elisha and, what is more amazing, all the secret plans of the Syrian court were revealed to him, which he later related to the King of Israel. The saints, while on earth, penetrated the higher world with their spirit, and some saw hosts of angels, others earned the right to see the image of God (Isaiah, Ezekiel), others were transported to the third Heaven and heard secret indescribable words there, for example, the Apostle Paul. Even more so, being in Heaven, they are more capable of knowing what is happening on earth and hearing those who turn to them, since the saints in Heaven are “equal to the angels” (Acts 5:3; 4 [2] Kings Chapter 4; 4 [2] Kings 6:12; Luke 20:36). From the parable of the Lord about the rich man and Lazarus we find out, that Abraham, being in Heaven, could hear the cry of the rich man, suffering in hell, the “great gulf” dividing them notwithstanding. The words of Abraham: your brothers have Moses and the prophets, let them hear them — clearly show that Abraham knows the life of the Hebrew nation, occurring after his death, knows of Moses and his law, about the prophets and their writings. The spiritual vision of the souls of the righteous in Heaven, without doubt, is greater than it was on earth. The Apostle writes: “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known” (1 Cor. 13:12).

The nearness of the saints to God’s throne and the power of their prayers for the faithful existing on the earth, is obvious from the book of Revelations, in which the Apostle John writes: ”And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands.” Later he describes the vision of the righteous in Heaven, praying for the people suffering on earth: And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand (Rev. 5:11; 8:3-4).

Great is the power of prayer! Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much, taught the Apostle James (Jam. 5:16). Praying for another is an expression of love for him; and the saints in Heaven, praying for us, show us their brotherly love and care.

In the Gospel and other New Testament books we find numerous examples witnessing the power of prayer for other people. Thus, for example, at the request of the nobleman, the Lord healed his son; at the request of the Canaanite woman her daughter was freed from the demon; at the request of a father the Lord healed his possessed son; and by request of his friends, He forgave and healed the sick of the palsy, whom they lowered from the roof with ropes; by the faith of the Roman centurion, his servant was healed (John 4:46-53; Mat. 15:21-23; Mark 9:17-25; Mark 2:2-25; Mat. 8:5-13). In addition, the Lord performed most of the miraculous healings at a distance, in absentia.

In this way, if the prayers of simple people have such strength, then even more powerful are the prayers of the righteous, standing before the throne of God. And this is the confidence that we have in him (the Son of God), that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us, urges us the beloved pupil of Christ (1 John 5:14).

This is why the Church from the very earliest times taught about the benefits of prayerful appeal to the saints. This we see, for example, from ancient liturgies and other literary monuments of apostolic fathers. In the liturgy of the Apostle James we read: “Especially we perform the memory of the Holy and Glorious Ever-virgin, Blessed Mother of God. Remember Her, Lord God, and by Her pure and holy prayers have mercy on us.” Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, in describing the Liturgy of the church of Jerusalem, notes: “Thus we remember (in the Liturgy) those deceased earlier, firstly the patriarchs, the prophets, apostles, martyrs, so that through their prayers and intercessions God would accept our prayers.”

There are numerous accounts of the Fathers and teachers of the Church, particularly beginning with the fourth century, of the Church’s reverence of the saints. But even from the beginning of the second century there is direct evidence of ancient Christian writings of faith in the prayers of the saints in Heaven about their brothers on earth. Witnesses of the martyrdom of St. Ignatius the God-Bearer (beginning in the second century) say, “Returning home in tears, we conducted an all-night vigil… Later, dozing off, some of us saw the blessed Ignatius suddenly arisen, embracing us, and others also saw him praying for us.” Similar notes containing mentions of prayers and intercessions for us by martyrs are contained in other writings from the era of persecutions on Christians.

The determination of the holiness of the dead person is confirmed by special evidence, such as: martyrdom for Christ, fearless espousal of their faith, selfless service to the Church, the gift of healing. Particularly, when the Lord confirms the holiness of the dead person through miracles after their death upon praying to them.

Besides the help of the saints through prayer, they help us attain salvation through the example of their own life. The familiarity with the lives of the saints enriches the Christian with the spiritual experience of those, who more zealously than others embodied the Gospel in their life. Here are so many clear examples of living faith, courage, patience. Being persons like ourselves, and overcoming the most difficult temptations, they inspire us to carry out our path of life patiently and uncomplainingly.

The Apostle James called upon Christians to imitate the patience of the ancient prophets and Job the Long-suffering, to acquire strong faith, like the prophet Elijah. The Apostle Peter taught Christian wives to take the example of modesty and obedience from the righteous Sarah, Abraham’s wife. The Holy Apostle Paul presents the feats of the ancient righteous, beginning with Abel and ending with the Maccabees, and urges Christians to imitate them. In the conclusion of his thorough teaching on this theme he writes: Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us (James fifth chapter; 1 Peter 3:6; Heb. 12:1).

The Lord said: Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven (Matt. 5:15-16). Saints are bright stars, showing us the way to the Heavenly Kingdom.

Let us treasure the closeness to God of God’s holy servants and turn to them for help, remembering that they love us and concern themselves with our salvation. Familiarity with the lives of the saints is particularly important in our time, when the general mass of “Christians” of the most varied direction has become so trivialized and the understanding of the Christian ideal has been distorted.

Bishop Alexander (Mileant)
Translated by N. and N. Semyanko / Irina Zerebko

FatherAlexander.org

Source:

http://cominghomeorthodoxy.wordpress.com

COMING HOME - ORTHODOXY

<>