Christ is in our midst, my dear readers!
How to tell the difference between good and false pastors
In today’s (September 9, 2022) Epistle reading we heard the words, For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light (1 Cor. 11:13–14). How can we tell the difference between deceitful workers and true pastors? False apostles from servants of Christ? Outwardly they look the same. But inwardly they are completely different. From angels of God radiates the warm light of peace and serenity, but from satan’s angels comes cold light and fear. False apostles lead their flock to hell, bind them to this world, and sow strife and division. Servants of Christ lead their flock to God; they teach love and repentance. They have to be judged not by their words—because both more or less say correct things—but by the fruits that these words bring forth in the hearts of their listeners. And it’s also very important to develop in oneself the subtlety of spiritual taste. It is developed just like the taste for music, art, poetry, and so on. A person who feels the beauty of classical music will not listen to low thieves’ songs. Whoever understands the beauty of verse will not sing vulgar ditties. It’s the same in spiritual life—whoever has felt the spirit of the holy fathers (not just what is written in their books, but also what’s written between the lines), will never fall for the words of false teachers, no matter how eloquent and persuasive they might seem. They are those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil (Heb. 5:14).
Our times are extraordinary. The devil wants to deceive, if it were possible, the very elect (Matt. 24:24). Therefore, See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil (Eph. 5:15–16).
The modern-day dance of the impious
“Again Herodias rages, again she dances wildly, again she demands from Herod the head of John the Baptist!” These are the words spoken by St. John Chrysostom about Empress Eudocia, when she placed near a church a statue dedicated to herself, and threw a celebration by it on the day of the Beheading of St. John the Prophet. These are the very words I would like to say today (September 11, 2022) about one people’s deputy, who on the eve of the feast of the Beheading of St. John the Forerunner registered bill No. 8012 in Parliament on the transfer of the Pochaev Lavra and the Kiev Caves Lavra to the OCU for use gratis.
The new followers of Herodias and Salome have stricken out this time not against St. John the Forerunner, but against the Mother of God Herself. But we know how the story ended for all these brazen women. Herodias died in exile, Salome fell through the ice, which then cut off her head, and Empress Eudocia died at the height of her power and beauty from a premature birth. God will not be mocked.
At the burial service of the Mother of God, Afonius tried to turn over her funeral bier—and immediately lost both his hands. True, he repented in time and the Theotokos forgave him. Will there be time for these wretched deputies to repent? I don’t know. But I am absolutely sure of another thing. Anyone who goes against the Queen of Heaven will be punished by God in one way or another. And not only him, but as we know from history, his descendants as well. After all, all our Lavras are dedicated to the Mother of God.
How mad, and what collaborators with the aggressor do you have to be in order to, in a country where a war is on, when on the front are tens of thousands of parishioners of the UOC, in a country where rivers of blood are flowing, where people are losing their homes—to begin yet another war, a religious war. After all, this spilled blood will be not only on those who started this war, but also on those who ignite it from within; on those who provoke the division of the people and sow religious strife.