Constantinople, Constantinople! What Have You Done?

    

The bigger they are, the harder they fall. The greater the position, the stronger are the consequences of errors. The status of primacy can become a temptation, when the word of Christ is forgotten: But many that are first shall be last; (Matthew 19:30), for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased (Luke 18:14).

Constantinople, Constantinople! A city of great saints, and great heretics; a city that has known the glory of the Orthodox Empire, and experienced the shame of ruin, and the miserable subjugation to the sons of the Ottomans. Your contribution to history is invaluable: you turned nations and empires to Christ, you were distinguished by unsurpassed holy theologians, whose works are a model of faith for all of us. But within your borders were also born heresies, and thanks to you, troubles came.

You, once an Imperial City, drove out two of your greatest Holy Hierarchs—Gregory the Theologian and John Chrysostom; both had no place within your illustrious walls. You had Nestor[1] as your primate, and you knew Eutyches[2] as an influential abbot of a monastery, and mentor of high persons and courtiers.

Within you, O Constantinople, the destinies of the nations were intertwined, there were struggles in you, and in you they argued about the fine points of the faith: The Holy Emperor Justinian composed the hymn “O Only Begotten Son, and Immortal Word of God”[3], and likewise the heretical emperor Anastasius added the monophyte addition “who was crucified for us” into the Trisagion.

Within the bounds of your Empire, vast heresies were born which divided Christians, and your Emperors could not overcome these tragic sunderings. You denounced the errors of Catholicism, and then later you conducted a Unia with them, trying to be saved from the sword of the Muslims.

Within you truth conquered, but with God’s allowance, it’s opposite also overcame; not every word of yours is an expression of truth, and not all that you speak is infallible and without error.

Your sword, the heir of the victorious Roman gladius[4] did not withstand Zulfiqar—the double-bladed sword of Mohammed[5]. Your sons slavishly filled the ranks of the Janissaries[6], and in place of the spiritual and majestic domes of your churches, the sharp points of the minarets of mosques arose.

You were betrayed into the hands of Muslims, underwent ruin, and lost your very name, becoming Istanbul, having lost the opportunity for clear preaching among those of different religions, within your own boundaries. Now your flock is scattered all across the world, like nestlings without a nest, like children without shelter.

You know well what the grief and sorrow of separation feels like, the pain of cutting children off from their mother. Why do you bring this same pain on others?

Why are you trying to cut off from the Mother Church the children who are dear to her heart? Why do you contribute to the gathering of storm-clouds, thickening over the heads of our brothers and sisters, whose loyalty to the canonical Church is alike the podvig [feat] of the martyrs, who are ready to suffer, but not to renounce, to endure torture, but not flee from the shelter of their dear native church?

A Time of Troubles is a test. In any trouble, a blow from those whom we thought of as friends, and allies, and like-minded people is especially painful. The one who supports an enemy is a traitor. The stab of a traitor comes always in the back, and is therefore especially bitter.

But with us is The One, who will not betray, who will not deceive, and who will not fail—Our Lord and Savior. History is an intertwining of human contrariety, infirmities, and sins, but it’s not an uncontrollable process; we are not abandoned by God’s providence.

And when nightfall is gathering around Holy Rus’, and birds of prey are hungering for the bodies of those fallen on the battlefield, the Lord gave his gracious help—the Strength of God makes perfect in our weakness. (cf. 2 Corinthians 12:9). And therefore, Russia will remain standing. What should we fear for our enemies if God Himself is with us?

When a person wishes to listen, he hears. Our thirst for unity, the desire of our heart is not yet heard. We have been eager for unity since the beginning of the 1990s, when we were divided into different states. We crave for the unity of the spiritual nature—they are trying to divide us, and now, they want to tear the living body of the church into portions, to shed blood, because always, when a living organism is dissected, blood is shed, and pain permeates throughout the whole body. But the voices of our hearts have still not yet been heard.

But even when people do not want to hear us, God always hearts us—to Him we turn our prayers, supplications, and tearful petitions. He helps when nobody, and nothing else can. He raises the dead, heals the sick, returns the lost, and saves those who have perished.

The time allotted to us is filled with destiny.[7] The future of Holy Rus’ is in the making. This future also depends on us, our prayers, our heartfelt petitions, and our active participation in supporting unity.

May division never prevail—the deeds of the one who divides, in order to rule over those who are divided. May the Savior’s high priestly prayer be fulfilled:

That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us…that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them” (John 17:21:26).

O God, do not allow the cutting [schism] of the body of Your Holy Church!

O Defend from plundering, Your flock!

So that Love will not become scarce in our hearts, but a pledge of unity with You, and union with our neighbors!

Amen!

Priest Valery Dukhanin
Translation by Matfey Shaheen

Pravoslavie.ru

10/12/2018

[1] The famous heretic and founder of Nestorianism.

[2] A heretic who when opposed to Nestor, went into heresy in the opposite extreme.

[3] The prayer/song which in the Divine Liturgy, follows/concludes the Second Antiphon, after the Glory…Now and Ever. – Trans.

[4] One of the most famous swords of the Roman Empire, iconic after the Marian reforms. A short sword (compared to later medieval swords) which was intended to be used in formation together with a large shield of scutum. The gladius later lengthened into the so-called Spatha which seems to have developed into the later period migration era sword, after the fall of the Roman Empire, which became known by many terms such as “Frankish sword”, “Viking era sword” and so forth. – Trans.

[5] Zulfiqar was a legendary sword associated with Mohammed, which supposedly had two blades or two different points, in a design which appears to be more fantasy than historical. Scientific-historical knowledge of sword making indicates that such a design would not likely have actually existed or been practical. Rather, if it did exist, it is highly unlike it had two actual separate blades joined into one in the typical artistic depiction. – Trans.

[6] Turkish elite soldiers taken from non-Turkish Christian families

[7] The word Fate/Destiny also mean doom, which itself means judgment. In other words, our time given to us, God has marked with a special fate, and we will all be judged based on if we do his will, and thereby our destiny fulfill, or likewise, if we fail, we will have to explain to him all the same. In the end, He judges all. – Trans.

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Comments
Nisibis10/15/2018 10:21 pm
Since you mentioned St. Iakovos and Mitr. Athanasios, are you aware that translations of Mitr. Athanasios's talk, given about St. Iakovos speak of how God brought confusion to the turks on the day when they picked the new patriarch (yes, thats correct, the turks decide who becomes patriarch of istanbul, and not the orthodox) so that patriarch bartholemew would be chosen over the one the turks "really wanted"! So according the words of the translator, St. Iakovos prayed for Bart to be patriarch! Was that also prophetic? Greeks need to repent as Nineveh of old repented & stop saying "We have Abraham as our father", since "God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.” Mat 3:9
Nisibis10/15/2018 10:11 pm
anthony, for one who loves to accuse people of using strawmen, you are a master at it, and its interesting to note that you have yet to provide one solid evidence to support your strange predictions, that you place in the mouth of saints and contemporary elders. You have only provided your own narrative and that of another greek speaking hellenist like yourself. greece is in financial and MORAL ruin, and you, yourself have spoken about the terrible state of your greek countrymen throughout the world! We now see how your patriarch is "repenting", by bring schism to the church of Christ, and doing it in the name of hellinism! Real St. Piesios: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlLODoBpgAg
anthony10/15/2018 5:58 pm
Dearly beloved Mr John! Greetings Sir! It would appear we have yet again more straw man arguments attempting to impute what was said with that which was not. Prophecies are not set in stone to the extent man repents. Has man repented? Amerika? turkey? england? Any other? As an Athonite monk said each nation has an account to settle with God. We in little Kypros and our Hellenic brothers are paying the final installments. There is a price to pay for evil and that culmination will be seen in the coming events. Not triumphalism. Realism. Interestingly when Ayie Morphou spoke about the prophecies he was castigated big time by the Church of Cyprus. Exactly the same nonsense as in these responses!
John10/15/2018 2:41 pm
Anthony, there have been prophecies that did not come true--either prophecies of doom that God revoked due to people's repentance, or prophecies of dominion that God revoked due to a people's proving to be unworthy of it. Prophecies are not fixed in stone. People can't just do whatever they want and then say, "But that dominion was prophesied to us". They have to earn it in God's eyes. And don't forget the beatitude: "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth."
anthony10/15/2018 2:30 pm
Dearly beloved nisibis! The same prophecies were spoken to Mitr. Neofytos, Morphou - spiritual son of Ayios Iakovos Tsalikis, Mitr. Athanasios, Lemesos and Athanasios Rakovalis spiritual sons of Ay. Paisios. Are they all liars or Hellenic nationalists. Your words speak of a disgusting perversion of the prophecies. Ellas will be unable to defend herself as she will be impoverished -the money flows will be stopped. Russia will attack turkey not to help Ellas but because the turks will close the Bosphorous preventing her reaching her base in Syria. Nato wont let her keep K'polis. The only option for both sides will be to return K'polis to us. As the saying goes. Man proposes. God disposes.
Nisibis10/15/2018 5:05 am
Anthony: It is not I, nor any other critic that has given a straw-man argument, but it was you that placed words in the mouth of a saint, and then pasted a link to a youtube video (in greek), by a hellenist, (much like yourself), who claims to be speaking on behalf of.....St. Paisios! The video says the greeks will get attacked, and do nothing, then the Russians will come and save them, but the greeks will do nothing yet again(!), because they will wait for the Russians and the rest of the world to be annihilated in WW3, so that they can take over the world and make everyone greek after there is no one left to fight! Is this the hellenism you speak of? Sounds like cowardly vultures to me!
Joseph10/14/2018 6:11 pm
Bohdan: The Ukrainian Orthodox Church is autonomous. It does not depend on Moscow. But in Orthodoxy, Churches cannot be founded on schisms--otherwise that church is not Orthodox. The canonical Church has not asked for autocephaly. Therefore, it is obvious that the church that you want to be independent will not have anything to do with brotherly unity. They have already shown that anyone who does not go along with their program is an "enemy". It is not Godly. Nothing good can come of it.
Anthony10/14/2018 5:07 pm
Dearly beloved respondents! Greetings! And many thanks for your astute words of wisdom (and perversion of my words) oh wise sages! It is not I who announce these words. It is our saints. Holy Scripture itself attests to the fact that we should discern the signs of the times. Please don't use your straw man arguments to impute that I am spreading ''anti-Orthodox'' nationalist propaganda. Nor impute that what our saints prophesied are lies (Nisibis). They all spoke by the same Holy Spirit. Saint Kosmas foresaw the initial liberation of Greece within 3 generations of his martyrdom. St Paisios saw the invasion of Cyprus as it was taking place. They don't spread propaganda. Only what is revealed.
Bohdan10/14/2018 7:05 am
To Joseph: So when Moscow church become independent from Constantinople it was a good thing right? But when Kiev church should be independent now then it's bad, it's "slavery to US"? You missing some 400 years of Ukrainians fighting for independence, and Russia trying to deprive them from language, history, freedom. And covering it with "unity" idea - but not a brotherly one, between to independent nations, but a one of control and power (with center - how else- in Moscow). Ukraine orthodox church is much bigger then most of the already independent churches of other nations. It has all right to be independent. Independency and brotherly unity don't exclude each other.
Nisibis10/13/2018 11:10 pm
Anthony, please stop with your anti-orthodox "hellenism" chants. What Church father supports your desire to spread hellenism, what verse from the Holy Scriptures supports such an absurd teaching? Many of you greeks suffer from a false understanding of infallibility. The Orthodox church does not, and has never taught that saints are infallible, but that the councils are infallible, and the councils have never taught the spread of hellenism, but the spread of the Holy Gospel through the Orthodox faith! These calls for hellenism, are comparable to the islamic call to arabize the whole world which are anti-christian and dangerous! Christian race, and NOT hellenism is what the fathers teach!
Joseph10/13/2018 2:18 pm
Bohdan: You are the one selling a myth. You know very well that the canonical Church in the Ukraine is independent, consists of Ukrainian citizens, and they should be allowed to have their say. Do they want this schism? No, they vote with their feet--their churches are full, while the schismatic churches are empty. If you enjoy being a slave to the the US instead, well that's your choice. But don't force your decision on others.
Bohdan10/13/2018 1:49 pm
This article forgets that the same is true for Russias church. It's big and proud. Too proud actually to see it's own mistakes and blindness. Moreover this article is selling the myth of unity among Russia and Ukraine (but only under Russias control, never the other way round, right?). Unity is love and not control by Russia. But can Russian church understand it? Visibly not. Independent ukrainian church can be in loving brotherly unity with Russian church, but a proud Russian church will not admit it. It will unity of control. But you will loose. This is not a black time for church, a bright one. It's not the fall of Constantinople, but the fall of proud Moscow. And it's good. It's healing.
Мomčilo10/13/2018 5:51 am
Dear Anthony, you have been announcing this war between Russia and Turkey for some time now. All i can see is that Turkey is worsening its relations with the West and becoming more friendly with Russia. Another point is that Greece is becoming staunchly pro USA and NATO. And we all know who is the main enemy of NATO. All..this proves once again that without complete independence, sovereignty and strong state, there is no independant and free Church. This is why Russian state must stay strong. Not to become like Greece. Wests footstool.
Anthony10/12/2018 10:50 pm
Beloved dearests! Fear not! Fret not! Constantinople will once again become the beacon of Orthodoxy and Hellenism. This has been prophesied by Patro Kosmas. By Ayios Paisios. By Geronda Iosif Vatopaidinos. A massive war is coming between Russia and turkey!!! Watch this video - and if you think what Ayios Paisios prophesied are just fairy tales - watch what he prophesied at 5:46 - the turks will cut of the Euphrates for irrigation purposes - this is the beginning of preparation for war. Look it up. It's what the turks have quite recently done!!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wbKxr9fKqE
Nisibis10/12/2018 8:51 pm
Dear Father, your words are very timely, and unfortunately so very true. Constantinople has been the cause of much pain and suffering throughout Christendom, and it appears that their work is not yet over! Today, the spirit of those who persecuted St. John Chrysostom, St. Maximos the confessor, St. Gregory the Theologian, and those who opposed the errors of Iconoclasm, prevails in Istanbul and the Phanar, but they will never overcome the Holy Church, for the Lord teaches that the gates of hell will not prevail against Her (Matt 16:18). Humbly, I say that Christ's prayer is already fulfilled; The Church is one and united, but their will be those who leave Her, and have already left Her!
John Kohl10/12/2018 8:22 pm
To the introductory sentence of commentary, "The bigger they are, the harder they fall," the Ecumenical Patriarch has promoted himself to the station of "Orthodox Pope" and then characteristically has fallen from that oxymoronic height. His actions are neither ecumenical nor orthodox nor patriarchal, and threaten to promote an open civil war in Ukraine.
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