The way concentration camp prisoners died was horrific. Some died of famine, backbreaking labor, and epidemics. Some were executed by shooting, but the majority of them were killed with cold steel: The Ustase would cut their throats with special knives (“Serb-cutters”), fracture their skulls with hammers, cut off their hands, legs, fingers, ears, lips, put out their eyes, hack off women’s breasts.
The joint declaration signed by the Pope and the Patriarch leaves one with mixed feelings. On the one hand, one is glad that they raised their voices in defense of the persecuted Christians of Syria and Iraq, called for peace in the Ukraine and restoration of Europe’s Christian roots, and came out in defense of the family and the right to life of all people, especially infants.
We are about to partake in the services for Holy Pentecost, as the Church celebrates the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Disciples. The Matins service is especially notable for Canon II, a monument of ecclesiastical poetry. We offer this commentary on that canon by liturgical scholar Deacon Vladimir Vasilik. The excerpts from the canon are from the translation by Archimandrite Ephrem Lash.
The weather forecasts were good, and nothing indicated any trouble. Just the same, on the horizon there appeared at first a large dark cloud, which started growing rapidly. A sharp wind blew, which grew into a strong squall. A storm began. Huge waves started beating against the small ship.The ship was tossed from side to side. Water flowed into the machinery area. The ship was on the verge of stopping, and that would fatal for all.
Hearing this, St. Seraphim sighed softly and waved his hand: “What are you thinking, Matushka? Do you understand who you are giving your daughter to? He’s a convict! A convict! What wedding? What crowning? The Great Siberian Way is in store for him."
But then let us think about what kind of purity a man must acquire in order to enter into this Kingdom. Let us not put off our salvation till later, nor hope that we will be purified before death or even at the time of death, or that we will land in “purgatory,” as the Catholics mistakenly think. For those who say, “Later,” it will never come. Therefore let us be concerned about our salvation now, while it is still possible to say, “Now.”
The problem of the theological opinions of priest Georgiy Kochetkov has reached a peak following the latest scandal surrounding the sectarian activities of one of his followers, a priest of the Archangelsk diocese, John Privalov, who not only intentionally disrupts ecclesiastical peace and liturgical discipline in his own parish, but also separates his congregation from the Russian Orthodox Church, forbidding those under his care to have any communication with other priests or to make pilgrimages to monasteries. In connection with this, the question arises about Kochetkov’s own spiritual foundation, which upon investigation is found to be a collection of vulgar heresies. A number of our foremost theologians and pastors have already spoken and written about this many times.
The understanding of justice has lost its ground; its motives and impulses have become one-dimensional. It has lost its noble direction, its original, sacred premises, and has submitted itself to the spirit of skepticism, in which everything is doubtful, to the spirit of relativism, and to the spirit of nihilism, which does not want to believe in anything.