On what basis does Mark Arey present his novel interpretations as if they were the correct Orthodox understanding of this passage? Certainly not on the basis of the Fathers. Certainly not on the basis of how the Church has always understood this passage.
Dennis Menos believes that “the Ecumenical Patriarch needs to be elevated to the rank of “head” of the Orthodox East, with authority to act and speak for the entire Church” and that His Holiness “will need to be freed of all responsibility for serving also as the Primate of the Church of Constantinople”.
The instruction in military training for troops reads: “Remember the glory and the victory of Germany. You must kill exactly 100 Russians for your personal fame. You have neither a heart nor nerves—you don’t need them at war. Having killed pity and compassion inside yourself, you shall murder any Russian; don’t stop, evenit’s an old man, or a woman, a girl or a boy is standing in front of you. Murder! In this way you will save yourself from death, ensure the future of your family and win fame forever.”
The founder of the great and famous monastery on Iona along with numerous other monastic communities and churches, St. Columba has for fourteen centuries been greatly venerated by many Christians as the enlightener of Scotland, a co-patron of Ireland and the spiritual father of a host of churches throughout Europe.
“In the capital of Latvia the Orthodox churches are filled to capacity with Latvian parishioners. Every Wednesday, Latvian Lutherans and Catholics talk with Orthodox priests about how they can convert to Orthodoxy. In Latvia whole families are receiving the Orthodox faith.”
Of course we should deal with people who struggle with that sin pastorally, just like we do people who struggle with alcoholism, adultery, drug abuse, or any other passion that is especially difficult to overcome. But if we fail to communicate what sin is, it is impossible for those whom we have confused to overcome sins that they do not recognize to be such.
There is one more issue to consider which is central to the Orthodox concept of salvation, and that is deification. I will relate what I have learned from an Orthodox priest who is a university professor. This father is fluent in Arabic and has studied the Chalcedonian/Non-Chalcedonian positions.
The Scriptures and Orthodox theology are clear that God is not just a super human being – God is not merely an omnipotent and omniscient human writ large. God is totally other, and whatever words we might apply to us humans – being, nature, person, existing – cannot then rightfully be applied to God.
Today, when the holy Church celebrates the memory of all the saints who shown forth in the Russian lands, we prayerfully turn our spiritual gaze towards the hosts of warriors for the Heavenly King, the immortal Divine regiment.
There are, however, many of both Chalcedonians and Non-Chalcedonians, who believe that all along through history, it was a language problem, a matter of semantics. However, St. John of Damascus knew their language, and he wrote against them. And if it was all along this language problem, then we would have to say that God made a mistake with the miracle He performed through the Great Martyr Euphemia at the Fourth Ecumenical council.
Fr. Michael met us in his monastery in the center of Tbilisi, in the Old City, on the banks of the Kura River. He spoke about a lot: how he came to God, and how he labored on Mt. Athos, of his meetings with the patriarch, with St. Gabriel (Urgebadze), and other interesting and edifying stories.
The Cross procession is also a podvig. But contemporary man is educated as if no podvigs are necessary, that we need to live richly, to have and spend a lot of money, and enjoy life. In this false system of false values there is no place for podvig, and those who think this way not only never walk the Velikoretsk procession—they find it hard to even leave their homes.
What is the beginning of sainthood? According to the Lord, it is the acknowledgement of Jesus Christ before others. How do we acknowledge our Lord and master on a daily basis before others? It is a really important question that is worthy of reflection and a thoughtful answer.
Divorces are a real disaster of our times. Broken lives, the loss of any hope of building personal happiness, unhappy children who are very likely to imitate the behavior pattern of adults, the inevitable diminishing of the role of family and family values in the society—these are the most evident consequences of divorces.
This may sound like ancient, boring history to some, but Orthodoxy's continued fidelity to the faith of Nicea actually has tremendous, contemporary witness in terms of how sharply it contrasts with the ecclesiological progressivism of our age. Orthodoxy has become counter cultural by remaining traditional.
There are no longer long services and plangent, angelic singing in our city parishes, and icons of the Rublev school are found far from everywhere. But grains of these olden times, of this semi-monastic life have been preserved, by the will of God, and survived to our day in the Edinoverie (United Faith, Old Rite) parishes of the Russian Church.