For many centuries a Greek Asia Minor was an important part of the Byzantine Empire, which was a largely Greek, Orthodox Christian entity that reached the peak of its success and prosperity in the early eleventh century, when it was the envy of the rest of the known world. Then, over the following four centuries, the Byzantine Greeks were attacked by the Western European Crusaders and by the Muslim Turks.
Why did this ancient Slavic Orthodox nation have to suffer so much grief and oppression from constantly changing groups of nomads, to occupiers and invaders, to the next “liberators”, and then some more “benefactors”?
We state that the idea of overcoming the church schism in Ukraine by the granting of a Tomos of autocephaly to the non-canonical church groups (“UOC-KP” and “UAOC”) has turned out to be a grave error.
Rather than attempting to add to the litany of excellent publications on the feast day, and retell the same glorious stories, let’s take a look and reflect on some stories and aspects of the Lavra that are rarely told in the English language.
The “Will and Testament” of the Forty Martyrs—the Roman soldiers of the Eleventh Thundering Legion (Legio XII Fulminata) who suffered in 320 in the town of Sebaste (Lesser Armenia)—is an important historical document and memorial of early Christian hagiographic literature.
This assessment and comparison of persecutions against the Church in Ukraine by the Poroshenko government today and its persecution by the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth after the Brest Unia in the sixteenth century was offered by an Archpriest Andrei Tkachev, who was born and raised in Lvov, the center of Western Ukraine and the stronghold of Greek Catholicism (Uniatism).
When and why did the Patriarchate of Constantinople introduce the new calendar? How is it connected with the current Church conflict in Ukraine? We discussed these subjects with Pavel Kuzenkov, Ph.D in Historical Sciences, teacher of the Sretensky Theological Seminary, and expert in Christian chronological systems.
The leaders of that sanguinary and bloodthirsty era, which did come about as Dostoevsky foresaw, indeed founded a kingdom of evil and terror in absolute contrast to the Heavenly Kingdom. Their atheistic and anti-Christian kingdom saw in the person of the Tsar and his family not any possible claimants to the throne, but the epitome of the Russian Orthodox state, the living symbol of the Orthodox Faith and the main defender of Orthodoxy on a worldwide basis.
A festal Liturgy was celebrated at Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral with his guests— primates and representatives from ten other Local Churches and the autonomous and self-governing bodies of the Moscow Patriarchate and a host of hierarchs from the Russian Orthodox Church.
Fr. Kosmas did not pursue any kind of titles. He was concerned about the salvation of the people and the strengthening of Orthodoxy in Zaire. He taught the African people the Jesus prayer, regarding it as an effective weapon against the “demonocracy” of the African sorcerers.
The Orthodox of various countries are looking on in perplexity and horror as the primate of a respected Church suddenly proclaims as his own canonical territory what has for over 300 years been accepted by everyone without exception as part of another Local Church, and pronounces those whom the entire Orthodox Church has unanimously recognized as schismatics to be part of the canonical Church—at the same time threatening to pronounce as schismatics those who have been abiding in Eucharistic unity with all the Local Churches.
To understand that Patriarch Bartholomew is by no means a good doctor, that he pursues completely specific materialistic goals, we must forget for a while about the current conflict and recall another. We must remember the Greek Orthodox Church.