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MYSTERY OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD!
THE PAN‐HERESY OF ECUMENISM EXISTED AMONG THE ORTHODOX PRIOR TO 1924 In 1666‐1667 the Pan‐Orthodox Synod of Moscow decided to receive Papists by simple confession of Faith, without rebaptism or rechrismation! At the beginning of the 18th century at Arta, Greece, the Holy Mysteries would be administered by Orthodox Priests to Westerners, despite this scandalizing the Orthodox faithful. In 1863 an Anglican clergyman was permitted to commune in Serbia, by the official decision of the Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church. In the 1800s, Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow wrote that the schisms within Christianity “do not reach the heavens.” In other words, he believed that heresy doesn’t divide Christians from the Kingdom of God! In 1869, at the funeral of Metropolitan Chrysanthus of Smyrna, an Archbishop of the Armenian Monophysites and a Priest of the Anglicans actively participated in the service! In 1875, the Orthodox Archbishop of Patras, Greece, concelebrated with an Anglican priest in the Mystery of Baptism! In 1878 the first Masonic Ecumenical Patriarch, Joachim III, was enthroned. He was Patriarch for two periods (1878‐1884 and 1901‐1912). This Masonic Patriarch Joachim III is the one who performed the Episcopal consecration of Bp. Chrysostom Kavouridis, who in turn was the bishop who consecrated Bp. Matthew of Bresthena. Thus the Matthewites trace their Apostolic Succession in part from this Masonic “Patriarch.” In 1903 and 1912, Patriarch Joachim III blessed the Holy Chrism, which was used by the Matthewites until they blessed their own chrism in 1958! Thus until 1958 they were using the Chrism blessed by a Masonic Patriarch! In 1879 the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople decided that in times of great necessity, it is permitted to have sacramental communion with the Armenians. In other words, an Orthodox priest can perform the mysteries for Armenian laymen, and an Armenian priest for Orthodox laymen! In 1895 the Ecumenical Patriarch Anthimus VII declared his desire for al Christians to calculate days according to the new calendar! In 1898, Patriarch Gerasimus of Jerusalem permitted the Greeks and Syrians living in Melbourne to receive communion in Anglican parishes! In 1902 the Patriarchal Encyclical of the Ecumenical Patriarchate refers to the heresies of the west as “Churches” and “Branches of Christianity”! Thus it was an official Orthodox declaration that espouses the branch theory heresy! In 1904 the Patriarchal Encyclical of the Ecumenical Patriarchate refers to the heretics as “those who believe in the All‐Holy Trinity, and who honour the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and hope in the salvation of God’s grace”! In 1907 at Portsmouth, England, there was a joint doxology of Russian and Anglican clergy! Prior to 1910 the Russian Bishop Innokenty of Alaska, made a pact with the Anglican Bishop Row of America, that the priests belonging to each Church would be permitted to offer the mysteries to the laymen of one another. In other words, for Orthodox priests to commune Anglican laymen, and for Anglican priests to commune Orthodox laymen! In 1910 the Syrian/Antiochian Orthodox Bishop Raphael (Hawaweeny) permitted the Orthodox faithful, in his Encyclical, to accept the mysteries of Baptism, Communion, Confession, Marriage, etc, from Anglicna priests! The same bishop took part in an Anglican Vespers, wearing his mandya and seated on the throne! In 1917 the Greek Orthodox Exarch of America Alexander of Rodostolus took part in an Anglican Vespers. The same hierarch also took part in the ordination of an Anglican bishop in Pensylvania. In 1918, Archbishop Anthimus of Cyprus and Metropolitan Meletius mataxakis of Athens, took part in Anglican services at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London! In 1919, the leaders of the Orthdoxo Churches in America took part in Anglican services at the “General Assembly of Anglican Churches in America”! In 1920 the Patriarchal Encyclical of the Ecumenical patriarchate refers to the heresies as “Churches of God” and advises the adoption of the new calendar! In 1920, Metropolitan Philaret of Didymotichus, while in London, serving as the representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate at the Conference of Lambeth, took part in joint services in an Anglican church! In 1920, Patriarch Damian of Jerusalem (he who was receiving the Holy Light), took part in an Anglican liturgy at the Anglican Church of Jerusalem, where he read the Gospel in Greek, wearing his full Hierarchical vestments! In 1921, the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury took part in the funeral of Metropolitan Dorotheus of Prussa in London, at which he read the Gospel! In 1022, Archbishop Germanus of Theathyra, the representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in London, took part in a Vespers service at Westminster Abbey, wearing his Mandya and holding his pastoral staff! In 1923, the Ecumenical Patriarchate recognized the mysteries of the “Living Church” which had been anathematized by Patriarch Tikhon of Russia! In 1923, the Ecumenical Patriarchate recognized Anglican mysteries as valid! In 1923, the Patriarchate of Jerusalem recognized Anglican mysteries as valid! In 1923, the Church of Cyprus recognized Anglican mysteries as valid! In 1923, the “Pan‐Orthodox Congress” under Ecumenical Patriarch Meletius Metaxakis proposed the adoption of the new “Revised Julian Calendar.” In December 1923, the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece officially approved the adoption of the New Calendar to take place in March 1924. Among the bishops who signed the decision to adopt the new calendar was Metropolitan Germanus of Demetrias, one of the bishops who later consecrated Bishop Matthew of Bresthena in 1935. Thus the Matthewites trace their Apostolic Succession from a bishop who was personally responsible (by his signature) for the adoption of the New Calendar in Greece.
THE KIDS TROUBLE THE MYSTERY TYPES 49 SUFFERING CONDITIONS 66 THE TRUTH OF THE MYSTERY 78 BOOKWORM 50 THE DICE ROLL 66 COMPUTER GEEK 51 ITEMS AND PRIDE 67 THE MYSTERY AND EVERYDAY LIFE 79 HICK 52 LUCK 67 JOCK 53 80 POPULAR KID 54 DOING THE ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE INDIVIDUAL VERSUS GROUP SCENES 67 ANSWERING QUESTIONS 68 AN OVERVIEW OF THE MYSTERY 80 BUYING EFFECTS 68 PHASE 1 – INTRODUCING THE KIDS 81 NON-PLAYER CHARACTERS 68 PHASE 2 – INTRODUCING FAILED ROLLS 69 THE MYSTERY 81 PUSHING THE ROLL 69 HELPING EACH OTHER 70 PHASE 3 – SOLVING THE MYSTERY 81 KID VERSUS KID 70 PHASE 4 – SHOWDOWN 87 EXTENDED TROUBLE 70 PHASE 5 – AFTERMATH 87 PHASE 6 – CHANGE 88 88 ROCKER 55 TROUBLEMAKER 56 WEIRDO 57 AGE 58 ATTRIBUTES 58 LUCK POINTS 58 SKILLS 58 ITEMS 59 PROBLEM 59 DRIVE 60 PRIDE 60 RELATIONSHIPS 60 ANCHOR 61 CONDITIONS 62 EXPERIENCE 62 NAME 62 DESCRIPTION 62 FAVORITE SONG 62 HIDEOUT 63 QUESTIONS 63 SKILLS 72 SETTING THE MOOD SNEAK 72 NON-PLAYER CHARACTERS 91 FORCE 72 ITEMS 91 MOVE 72 TINKER 72 BIGGER MYSTERIES AND CAMPAIGNS 93 PROGRAM 73 CALCULATE 73 CONTACT 73 CHARM 74 LEAD 74 INVESTIGATE 75 COMPREHEND 75 EMPATHIZE 75 3
CAN FASTING MAKE ONE “WORTHY” TO COMMUNE? In the first paragraph of his first letter to Fr. Pedro, Bp. Kirykos writes: “... according to the tradition of our Fathers (and that of Bishop Matthew of Bresthena), all Christians, who approach to receive Holy Communion, must be suitably prepared, in order to worthily receive the body and blood of the Lord. This preparation indispensably includes fasting according to one’s strength.” To further prove that he interprets this worthiness as being based on fasting, Metropolitan Kirykos continues further down in reference to his unhistorical understanding about the early Christians: “They fasted in the fine and broader sense, that is, they were worthy to commune.” Here Bp. Kirykos tries to fool the reader by stating the absolutely false notion that the Holy Fathers (among them St. Matthew of Bresthena) supposedly agree with his unorthodox views. The truth is that not one single Holy Father of the Orthodox Church agrees with Bp. Kirykosʹs views, but in fact, many of them condemn these views as heretical. And as for referring to St. Matthew of Bresthena, this is extremely misleading, which is why Bp. Kirykos was unable to provide a quote. In reality, St. Matthew’s five‐page‐ long treatise on Holy Communion, published in 1933, repeatedly stresses the importance of receiving Holy Communion frequently and does not mention any such pre‐communion fast at all. He only mentions that one must go to confession, and that confession is like a second baptism which washes the soul and prepares it for communion. If St. Matthew really thought a standard week‐long pre‐communion fast for all laymen was paramount, he certainly would have mentioned it somewhere in his writings. But in the hundreds of pages of writings by St. Matthew that have been collected, no mention is made of such a fast. The reason for this is because St. Matthew was a Kollyvas Father just as was his mentor, St. Nectarius of Aegina. Also, the fact St. Matthew left Athos and preached throughout Greece and Asia Minor during his earlier life, is another example of his imitation of the Kollyvades Fathers. As much as Bp. Kirykos would like us to think that the Holy Fathers preach that a Christian, simply by fasting, can somehow “worthily receive the body and blood of the Lord,” the Holy Fathers of the Orthodox Church actually teach quite clearly that NO ONE is worthy of Holy Communion, except by the grace of God Himself. Whether someone eats oil on a Saturday or doesnʹt eat oil, cannot be the deciding point of a person’s supposed “worthiness.” In fact, even fasting, confession, prayer, and all other things donʹt come to their fulfillment in the human soul until one actually receives Holy Communion. All of these things such as fasting, prayers, prostrations, repentance, etc, do indeed help one quench his passions, but they by no means make him “worthy.” Yes, we confess our sins to the priest. But the sins aren’t loosened from our soul until the priest reads the prayer of pardon, and the sins are still not utterly crushed until He who conquered death enters inside the human soul through the Mystery of Holy Communion. That is why Christ said that His Body and Blood are shed “for the remission of sins.” (Matthew 26:28). Fasting is there to quench our passions and prevent us from sinning, confession is there so that we can recall our sins and repent of them, but it is the Mysteries of the Church that operate on the soul and grant to it the “worthiness” that the human soul can by no means attain by itself. Thus, the Mystery of Pardon loosens the sins, and the Mystery of Holy Communion remits the sins. For of the many Mysteries of the Church, the seven highest mysteries have this very purpose, namely, to remit the sins of mankind by the Divine Economy. Thus, Baptism washes away the sins from the soul, while Chrism heals anything ailing and fills all voids. Thus, Absolution washes away the sins, while Communion heals the soul and body and fills it with the grace of God. Thus, Unction cures the maladies of soul and body, causing the body and soul to no longer be divided but united towards a life in Christ; while Marriage (or Monasticism) confirms the plurality of persons or sense of community that God desired when he said of old “Be fruitful and multiply” (or in the case of Monasticism, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”). Finally, the Mystery of Priesthood is the authority given by Christ for all of these Mysteries to be administered. Certainly, it is an Apostolic Tradition for mankind to be prepared by fasting before receiving any of the above Mysteries, be it Baptism, Chrism, Absolution, Communion, Unction, Marriage or Priesthood. But this act of fasting itself does not make anyone “worthy!” If someone thinks they are “worthy” before approaching Holy Communion, then the Holy Communion would be of no positive affect to them. In actuality, they will consume fire and punishment. For if anyone thinks that their own works make themselves “worthy” before the eyes of God, then surely Christ would have died in vain. Christ’s suffering, passion, death and Resurrection would have been completely unnecessary. As Christ said, “They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick (Matthew 9:12).” If a person truly thinks that by not partaking of oil/wine on Saturday, in order to commune on Sunday, that this has made them “worthy,” then by merely thinking such a thing they have already proved themselves unworthy of Holy Communion. In fact, they are deniers of Christ, deniers of the Cross of Christ, and deniers of their own salvation in Christ. They rather believe in themselves as their own saviors. They are thus no longer Christians but humanists. But is humanism a modern notion, or has it existed before in the history of the Church? In reality, the devil has hurled so many heresies against the Church that he has run out of creativity. Thus, the traps and snares he sets are but fancy recreations of ancient heresies already condemned by the Church. The humanist notions entertained by Bp. Kirykos are actually an offshoot of an ancient heresy known as Pelagianism.
FROM THE ANAPHORAE OF THE ANCIENT CHURCH REGARDING “WORTHINESS” OF HOLY COMMUNION This can also be demonstrated by the secret prayers within Divine Liturgy. From the early Apostolic Liturgies, right down to the various Liturgies of the Local Churches of Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, Constantinople, Rome, Gallia, Hispania, Britannia, Cappadocia, Armenia, Persia, India and Ethiopia, in Liturgies that were once vibrant in the Orthodox Church, prior to the Nestorian, Monophysite and Papist schisms, as well as those Liturgies still in common use today among the Orthodox Christians (namely, the Liturgies of St. John Chrysostom, St. Basil the Great and the Presanctified Liturgy of St. Gregory the Dialogist), the message is quite clear in all the mystic prayers that the clergy and the laity are referred to as entirely unworthy, and truly they are to believe they are unworthy, and that no action of their own can make them worthy (i.e. not even fasting), but that only the Lord’s mercy and grace through the Gifts themselves will allow them to receive communion without condemnation. To demonstrate this, let us begin with the early Apostolic Liturgies, and from there work our way through as many of the oblations used throughout history, as have been found in ancient manuscripts, among them those still offered within Orthodoxy today. St. James the Brother‐of‐God (+23 October, 62), First Bishop of Jerusalem, begins his anaphora as follows: “O Sovereign Lord our God, condemn me not, defiled with a multitude of sins: for, behold, I have come to this Thy divine and heavenly mystery, not as being worthy; but looking only to Thy goodness, I direct my voice to Thee: God be merciful to me, a sinner; I have sinned against Heaven, and before Thee, and am unworthy to come into the presence of this Thy holy and spiritual table, upon which Thy only‐begotten Son, and our Lord Jesus Christ, is mystically set forth as a sacrifice for me, a sinner, and stained with every spot.” Following the creed, the following prayer is read: “God and Sovereign of all, make us, who are unworthy, worthy of this hour, lover of mankind; that being pure from all deceit and all hypocrisy, we may be united with one another by the bond of peace and love, being confirmed by the sanctification of Thy divine knowledge through Thine only‐begotten Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, with whom Thou art blessed, together with Thy all‐holy, and good, and quickening Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.” Then right before the clergy are to partake of Communion, the following is recited: “O Lord our God, the heavenly bread, the life of the universe, I have sinned against Heaven, and before Thee, and am not worthy to partake of Thy pure Mysteries; but as a merciful God, make me worthy by Thy grace, without condemnation to partake of Thy holy body and precious blood, for the remission of sins, and life everlasting.” After all the clergy and laity have received Communion, this prayer is read: “O God, who through Thy great and unspeakable love didst condescend to the weakness of Thy servants, and hast counted us worthy to partake of this heavenly table, condemn not us sinners for the participation of Thy pure Mysteries; but keep us, O good One, in the sanctification of Thy Holy Spirit, that being made holy, we may find part and inheritance with all Thy saints that have been well‐pleasing to Thee since the world began, in the light of Thy countenance, through the mercy of Thy only‐begotten Son, our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ, with whom Thou art blessed, together with Thy all‐holy, and good, and quickening Spirit: for blessed and glorified is Thy all‐precious and glorious name, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.” From these prayers is it not clear that no one is worthy of Holy Communion, whether they have fasted or not, but that it is God’s mercy that bestows worthiness upon mankind through participation in the Mystery of Confession and receiving Holy Communion? This was most certainly the belief of the early Christians of Jerusalem, quite contrary to Bp. Kirykos’ ideology of early Christians supposedly being “worthy of communion” because they supposedly “fasted in the finer and broader sense.” St. Mark the Evangelist (+25 April, 63), First Bishop of Alexandria, in his Divine Liturgy, writes: “O Sovereign and Almighty Lord, look down from heaven on Thy Church, on all Thy people, and on all Thy flock. Save us all, Thine unworthy servants, the sheep of Thy fold. Give us Thy peace, Thy help, and Thy love, and send to us the gift of Thy Holy Spirit, that with a pure heart and a good conscience we may salute one another with an holy kiss, without hypocrisy, and with no hostile purpose, but guileless and pure in one spirit, in the bond of peace and love, one body and one spirit, in one faith, even as we have been called in one hope of our calling, that we may all meet in the divine and boundless love, in Christ Jesus our Lord, with whom Thou art blessed, with Thine all‐holy, good, and life‐creating Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.” Later in the Liturgy the following is read: “Be mindful also of us, O Lord, Thy sinful and unworthy servants, and blot out our sins in Thy goodness and mercy.” Again we read: “O holy, highest, awe‐inspiring God, who dwellest among the saints, sanctify us by the word of Thy grace and by the inspiration of Thy all‐ holy Spirit; for Thou hast said, O Lord our God, Be ye holy; for I am holy. O Word of God, past finding out, consubstantial and co‐eternal with the Father and the Holy Spirit, and sharer of their sovereignty, accept the pure song which cherubim and seraphim, and the unworthy lips of Thy sinful and unworthy servant, sing aloud.” Thus it is clear that whether he had fasted or not, St. Mark and his clergy and flock still considered themselves unworthy. By no means did they ever entertain the theory that “they fasted in the finer and broader sense, that is, they were worthy of communion,” as Bp. Kirykos dares to say. On the contrary, St. Mark and the early Christians of Alexandria believed any worthiness they could achieve would be through partaking of the Holy Mysteries themselves. Thus, St. Mark wrote the following prayer to be read immediately after Communion: “O Sovereign Lord our God, we thank Thee that we have partaken of Thy holy, pure, immortal, and heavenly Mysteries, which Thou hast given for our good, and for the sanctification and salvation of our souls and bodies. We pray and beseech Thee, O Lord, to grant in Thy good mercy, that by partaking of the holy body and precious blood of Thine only‐begotten Son, we may have faith that is not ashamed, love that is unfeigned, fullness of holiness, power to eschew evil and keep Thy commandments, provision for eternal life, and an acceptable defense before the awful tribunal of Thy Christ: Through whom and with whom be glory and power to Thee, with Thine all‐holy, good, and life‐creating Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.” St. Peter the Apostle (+29 June, 67), First Bishop of Antioch, and later Bishop of Old Rome, in his Divine Liturgy, writes: “For unto Thee do I draw nigh, and, bowing my neck, I pray Thee: Turn not Thy countenance away from me, neither cast me out from among Thy children, but graciously vouchsafe that I, Thy sinful and unworthy servant, may offer unto Thee these Holy Gifts.” Again we read: “With soul defiled and lips unclean, with base hands and earthen tongue, wholly in sins, mean and unrepentant, I beseech Thee, O Lover of mankind, Saviour of the hopeless and Haven of those in danger, Who callest sinners to repentance, O Lord God, loose, remit, forgive me a sinner my transgressions, whether deliberate or unintentional, whether of word or deed, whether committed in knowledge or in ignorance.” St. Thomas the Apostle (+6 October, 72), Enlightener of Edessa, Mesopotamia, Persia, Bactria, Parthia and India, and First Bishop of Maliapor in India, in his Divine Liturgy, conveyed through his disciples, St. Thaddeus (+21 August, 66), St. Haggai (+23 December, 87), and St. Maris (+5 August, 120), delivered the following prayer in the anaphora which is to be read while kneeling: “O our Lord and God, look not on the multitude of our sins, and let not Thy dignity be turned away on account of the heinousness of our iniquities; but through Thine unspeakable grace sanctify this sacrifice of Thine, and grant through it power and capability, so that Thou mayest forget our many sins, and be merciful when Thou shalt appear at the end of time, in the man whom Thou hast assumed from among us, and we may find before Thee grace and mercy, and be rendered worthy to praise Thee with spiritual assemblies.” Upon standing, the following is read: “We thank Thee, O our Lord and God, for the abundant riches of Thy grace to us: we who were sinful and degraded, on account of the multitude of Thy clemency, Thou hast made worthy to celebrate the holy Mysteries of the body and blood of Thy Christ. We beg aid from Thee for the strengthening of our souls, that in perfect love and true faith we may administer Thy gift to us.” And again: “O our Lord and God, restrain our thoughts, that they wander not amid the vanities of this world. O Lord our God, grant that I may be united to the affection of Thy love, unworthy though I be. Glory to Thee, O Christ.” The priest then reads this prayer on behalf of the faithful: “O Lord God Almighty, accept this oblation for the whole Holy Catholic Church, and for all the pious and righteous fathers who have been pleasing to Thee, and for all the prophets and apostles, and for all the martyrs and confessors, and for all that mourn, that are in straits, and are sick, and for all that are under difficulties and trials, and for all the weak and the oppressed, and for all the dead that have gone from amongst us; then for all that ask a prayer from our weakness, and for me, a degraded and feeble sinner. O Lord our God, according to Thy mercies and the multitude of Thy favours, look upon Thy people, and on me, a feeble man, not according to my sins and my follies, but that they may become worthy of the forgiveness of their sins through this holy body, which they receive with faith, through the grace of Thy mercy, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.” The following prayer also indicates that the officiators consider themselves unworthy but look for the reception of the Holy Mysteries to give them remission of sins: “We, Thy degraded, weak, and feeble servants who are congregated in Thy name, and now stand before Thee, and have received with joy the form which is from Thee, praising, glorifying, and exalting, commemorate and celebrate this great, awful, holy, and divine mystery of the passion, death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. And may Thy Holy Spirit come, O Lord, and rest upon this oblation of Thy servants which they offer, and bless and sanctify it; and may it be unto us, O Lord, for the propitiation of our offences and the forgiveness of our sins, and for a grand hope of resurrection from the dead, and for a new life in the Kingdom of the heavens, with all who have been pleasing before Him. And on account of the whole of Thy wonderful dispensation towards us, we shall render thanks unto Thee, and glorify Thee without ceasing in Thy Church, redeemed by the precious blood of Thy Christ, with open mouths and joyful countenances: Ascribing praise, honour, thanksgiving, and adoration to Thy holy, loving, and life‐creating name, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.” Finally, the following petition indicates quite clearly the belief that the officiators and entire congregation are unworthy of receiving the Mysteries: “The clemency of Thy grace, O our Lord and God, gives us access to these renowned, holy, life‐creating, and Divine Mysteries, unworthy though we be.” St. Luke the Evangelist (+18 October, 86), Bishop of Thebes in Greece, in his Divine Liturgy, writes: “Bless, O Lord, Thy faithful people who are bowed down before Thee; deliver us from injuries and temptations; make us worthy to receive these Holy Mysteries in purity and virtue, and may we be absolved and sanctified by them. We offer Thee praise and thanksgiving and to Thine Only‐ begotten Son and to Thy Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.” St. Dionysius the Areopagite (+3 October, 96), Bishop of Athens, in his Divine Liturgy, writes: “Giver of Holiness, and distributor of every good, O Lord, Who sanctifiest every rational creature with sanctification, which is from Thee; sanctify, through Thy Holy Spirit, us Thy servants, who bow before Thee; free us from all servile passions of sin, from envy, treachery, deceit, hatred, enmities, and from him, who works the same, that we may be worthy, holily to complete the ministry of these life‐giving Mysteries, through the heavenly Master, Jesus Christ, Thine Only‐begotten Son, through Whom, and with Whom, is due to Thee, glory and honour, together with Thine All‐holy, Good and Life‐creating Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.” Thus, it is God that offers sanctification to mankind, purifies mankind from sins, and makes mankind worthy of the Mysteries. This worthiness is not achieved by fasting. In the same Anaphora we read: “Essentially existing, and from all ages; Whose nature is incomprehensible, Who art near and present to all, without any change of Thy sublimity; Whose goodness every existing thing longs for and desires; the intelligible indeed, and creature endowed with intelligence, through intelligence; those endowed with sense, through their senses; Who, although Thou art One essentially, nevertheless art present with us, and amongst us, in this hour, in which Thou hast called and led us to these Thy holy Mysteries; and hast made us worthy to stand before the sublime throne of Thy majesty, and to handle the sacred vessels of Thy ministry with our impure hands: take away from us, O Lord, the cloak of iniquity in which we are enfolded, as from Jesus, the son of Josedec the High Priest, thou didst take away the filthy garments, and adorn us with piety and justice, as Thou didst adorn him with a vestment of glory; that clothed with Thee alone, as it were with a garment, and being like temples crowned with glory, we may see Thee unveiled with a mind divinely illuminated, and may feast, whilst we, by communicating therein, enjoy this sacrifice set before us; and that we may render to Thee glory and praise, together with Thine Only‐begotten Son, and Thine All‐holy, Good and Life‐creating Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.” Once again, worthiness derives from God and not from fasting. In the same Liturgy we read: “I invoke Thee, O God the Father, have mercy upon us, and wash away, through Thy grace, the uncleanness of my evil deeds; destroy, through Thy mercy, what I have done, worthy of wrath; for I do not
But the epistemology of postmodernism—that we are necessarily limited in our ability to access the full and unrestricted Truth—actually remains consistent with Catholic theology’s presentation of the Truth as a mystery to humankind.
A DIALOGUE BETWEEN AN ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN AND A RATIONALIST ON THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST Vladimir Moss Orthodox. My friend, I would like to ask you a question: what do you understand by the words: “We are saved by the Blood of Christ”? Rationalist. That we are saved by the Sacrifice of Christ Crucified, whereby He washed away our sins in His Blood shed on the Cross. Orthodox. I agree. And how precisely are our sins washed away? Rationalist. By true faith, and by partaking of the Holy Mysteries of the Church with faith and love, and especially the Mystery of the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist. Orthodox. Excellent! So you agree that in the Mystery of the Body and Blood of Christ we partake of the very same Body that was nailed to the Cross and the very same Blood that was shed from the side of the Saviour? Rationalist. Er, yes… Orthodox. I see that you hesitate, my friend. Is there something wrong in what I have said. Rationalist. Not exactly… However, you must be careful not to understand the Mystery in a cannibalistic sense. Orthodox. Cannibalistic? What do you mean, my friend? What is cannibalistic here? Rationalist. Well, I mean that we must not understand the Body of Christ in the Eucharist to be a hunk of meat. That would be close to cannibalism – to paganism. Orthodox. You know, the early Christians were accused of being cannibals by their enemies. However, cannibals eat dead meat. In the Mystery we do not partake of dead meat, but of living flesh, the Flesh of the God‐Man. It is alive not only through Its union with His human Soul, but also through Its union with the Divine Spirit. And that makes It not only alive, but Life‐giving. Rationalist. Still, you mustn’t understand this in too literal a way. Did not the Lord say: “The flesh is of little use; it is the spirit that gives life”(John 6.63)? Orthodox. Yes indeed, but you must understand this passage as the Holy Fathers understand it. St. John Chrysostom says that in these words the Lord was not referring to His own Flesh (God forbid!), but to a carnal understanding of His words. And “this is what carnal understanding means – looking on things in a simple manner without representing anything more. We should not judge in this manner about the visible, but we must look into all its mysteries with internal eyes.” 1 If you think about the Flesh of Christ 1 St.
BELIEF THAT ONE IS MADE “WORTHY” BY THEIR OWN WORKS RATHER THAN THE MYSTERIES IS PELAGIANISM Pelagius (c. 354‐420) was a heretic from Britain, who believed that it was possible for man to be worthy or even perfect by way of his free will, without the necessity of grace. In most cases, Pelagius reverted from this strict form and did not profess it. For this reason, many of the councils called to condemn the false teaching, only condemn the heresy of Pelagianism, but do not condemn Pelagius himself. But various councils actually do condemn Pelagius along with Pelagianism. Various Protestants have tried to disparage the Orthodox Faith by calling its beliefs Pelagian or Semipelagian. But the Orthodox Faith is neither the one, nor the other, but is entirely free from Pelagianism. The Orthodox Faith is also free from the opposite extreme, namely, Manicheanism, which believes that the world is inherently evil from its very creation. The Orthodox Faith is the Royal Path. It neither falls to the right nor to the left, but remains on the straight path, that is, “the Way.” The Orthodox Faith does indeed believe that good works are essential, but these are for the purpose of gaining God’s mercy. By no means can mankind grant himself “worthiness” and “perfection” by way of his own works. It is only through God’s uncreated grace, light, powers and energies, that mankind can truly be granted worthiness and perfection in Christ. The most commonly‐available source of God’s grace within the Church is through the Holy Mysteries, particularly the Mysteries of Baptism, Chrism, Absolution and Communion, which are necessary for salvation. Baptism can only be received once, for it is a reconciliation of the fallen man to the Risen Man, where one no longer shares in the nakedness of Adam but becomes clothed with Christ. Chrism can be repeated whenever an Orthodox Christian lapses into schism or heresy and is being reconciled to the Church. Absolution can also serve as a method of reconciliation from the sin of heresy or schism as well as from any personal sin that an Orthodox Christian may commit, and in receiving the prayer of pardon one is reconciled to the Church. For as long as an Orthodox Christian sins, he must receive this Mystery repeatedly in order to prepare himself for the next Mystery. Communion is reconciliation to the Immaculate Body and Precious Blood of Christ, allowing one to live in Christ. This is the ultimate Mystery, and must be received frequently for one to experience a life in Christ. For Orthodox Christianity is not a philosophy or a way of thought, nor is it merely a moral code, but it is the Life of Christ in man, and the way one can truly live in Christ is through Holy Communion. Pelagianism in the strictest form is the belief that mankind can achieve “worthiness” and “perfection” by way of his own free will, without the need of God’s grace or the Mysteries to be the source of that worthiness and perfection. Rather than viewing good works as a method of achieving God’s mercy, they view the good works as a method of achieving self‐worth and self‐perfection. The most common understanding of Pelagianism refers to the supposed “worthiness” of man by way of having a good will or good works prior to receiving the Mystery of Baptism. But the form of Pelagianism into which Bp. Kirykos falls in his first letter to Fr. Pedro, is in regards to the supposed “worthiness” of Christians purely by their own work of fasting. Thus, in his first letter to Fr. Pedro, Bp. Kirykos does not mention the Mystery of Confession (or Absolution) anywhere in the text as a means of receiving worthiness, but attaches the worthiness entirely to the fasting alone. Again, nowhere in the letter does he mention the Holy Communion itself as a source of perfection, but rather entertains the notion that mankind is capable of achieving such perfection prior to even receiving communion. This is the only way one can interpret his letter, especially his totally unhistorical statement regarding the early Christians, in which he claims: “They fasted in the fine and broader sense, that is, they were worthy to commune.” St. Aurelius Augustinus, otherwise known as St. Augustine of Hippo (+28 August, 430), writes: “It is not by their works, but by grace, that the doers of the law are justified… Now [the Apostle Paul] could not mean to contradict himself in saying, ‘The doers of the law shall be justified (Romans 2:13),’ as if their justification came through their works, and not through grace; since he declares that a man is justified freely by His grace without the works of the law (Romans 3:24,28) intending by the term ‘freely’ nothing else than that works do not precede justification. For in another passage he expressly says, ‘If by grace, then is it no more of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace (Romans 11:6).’ But the statement that ‘the doers of the law shall be justified (Romans 2:13)’ must be so understood, as that we may know that they are not otherwise doers of the law, unless they be justified, so that justification does not subsequently accrue to them as doers of the law, but justification precedes them as doers of the law. For what else does the phrase ‘being justified’ signify than being made righteous,—by Him, of course, who justifies the ungodly man, that he may become a godly one instead? For if we were to express a certain fact by saying, ‘The men will be liberated,’ the phrase would of course be understood as asserting that the liberation would accrue to those who were men already; but if we were to say, The men will be created, we should certainly not be understood as asserting that the creation would happen to those who were already in existence, but that they became men by the creation itself. If in like manner it were said, The doers of the law shall be honoured, we should only interpret the statement correctly if we supposed that the honour was to accrue to those who were already doers of the law: but when the allegation is, ‘The doers of the law shall be justified,’ what else does it mean than that the just shall be justified? for of course the doers of the law are just persons. And thus it amounts to the same thing as if it were said, The doers of the law shall be created,—not those who were so already, but that they may become such; in order that the Jews who were hearers of the law might hereby understand that they wanted the grace of the Justifier, in order to be able to become its doers also. Or else the term ‘They shall be justified’ is used in the sense of, They shall be deemed, or reckoned as just, as it is predicated of a certain man in the Gospel, ‘But he, willing to justify himself (Luke 10:29),’—meaning that he wished to be thought and accounted just. In like manner, we attach one meaning to the statement, ‘God sanctifies His saints,’ and another to the words, ‘Sanctified be Thy name (Matthew 6:9);’ for in the former case we suppose the words to mean that He makes those to be saints who were not saints before, and in the latter, that the prayer would have that which is always holy in itself be also regarded as holy by men,—in a word, be feared with a hallowed awe.” (Augustine of Hippo, Antipelagian Writings, Chapter 45) Thus the doers of the law are justified by God’s grace and not by their own good works. The purpose of their own good works is to obtain the mercy of God, but it is God’s grace through the Holy Mysteries that bestows the worthiness and perfection upon mankind. Blessed Augustine does not only speak of this in regards to the Mystery of Baptism, but applies it also to the Mystery of Communion. Thus he writes of both Mysteries as follows: “Now [the Pelagians] take alarm from the statement of the Lord, when He says, ‘Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:3);’ because in His own explanation of the passage He affirms, ‘Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God (John 3:5).’ And so they try to ascribe to unbaptized infants, by the merit of their innocence, the gift of salvation and eternal life, but at the same time, owing to their being unbaptized, to exclude them from the kingdom of heaven. But how novel and astonishing is such an assumption, as if there could possibly be salvation and eternal life without heirship with Christ, without the kingdom of heaven! Of course they have their refuge, whither to escape and hide themselves, because the Lord does not say, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot have life, but—‘he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.’ If indeed He had said the other, there could have risen not a moment’s doubt. Well, then, let us remove the doubt; let us now listen to the Lord, and not to men’s notions and conjectures; let us, I say, hear what the Lord says—not indeed concerning the sacrament of the laver, but concerning the sacrament of His own holy table, to which none but a baptized person has a right to approach: ‘Except ye eat my flesh and drink my blood, ye shall have no life in you (John 6:53).’ What do we want more? What answer to this can be adduced, unless it be by that obstinacy which ever resists the constancy of manifest truth?” (op. cit., Chapter 26) Blessed Augustine continues on the same subject of how the early Orthodox Christians of Carthage perceived the Mysteries of Baptism and Communion: “The Christians of Carthage have an excellent name for the sacraments, when they say that baptism is nothing else than ‘salvation,’ and the sacrament of the body of Christ nothing else than ‘life.’ Whence, however, was this derived, but from that primitive, as I suppose, and apostolic tradition, by which the Churches of Christ maintain it to be an inherent principle, that without baptism and partaking of the supper of the Lord it is impossible for any man to attain either to the kingdom of God or to salvation and everlasting life? So much also does Scripture testify, according to the words which we already quoted. For wherein does their opinion, who designate baptism by the term salvation, differ from what is written: ‘He saved us by the washing of regeneration (Titus 3:5)?’ or from Peter’s statement: ‘The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (1 Peter 3:21)?’ And what else do they say who call the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper ‘life,’ than that which is written: ‘I am the living bread which came down from heaven (John 6:51);’ and ‘The bread that I shall give is my flesh, for the life of the world (John 6:51);’ and ‘Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye shall have no life in you (John 6:53)?’ If, therefore, as so many and such divine witnesses agree, neither salvation nor eternal life can be hoped for by any man without baptism and the Lord’s body and blood, it is vain to promise these blessings to infants without them. Moreover, if it be only sins that separate man from salvation and eternal life, there is nothing else in infants which these sacraments can be the means of removing, but the guilt of sin,—respecting which guilty nature it is written, that “no one is clean, not even if his life be only that of a day (Job 14:4).’ Whence also that exclamation of the Psalmist: ‘Behold, I was conceived in iniquity; and in sins did my mother bear me (Psalm 50:5)! This is either said in the person of our common humanity, or if of himself only David speaks, it does not imply that he was born of fornication, but in lawful wedlock. We therefore ought not to doubt that even for infants yet to be baptized was that precious blood shed, which previous to its actual effusion was so given, and applied in the sacrament, that it was said, ‘This is my blood, which shall be shed for many for the remission of sins (Matthew 26:28).’ Now they who will not allow that they are under sin, deny that there is any liberation. For what is there that men are liberated from, if they are held to be bound by no bondage of sin? (op. cit., Chapter 34) Now, what of Bp. Kirykos’ opinion that early Christians “fasted in the fine and broader sense, that is, they were worthy to commune?” Is this because they were saints? Were all of the early Christians who were frequent communicants ascetics who fasted “in the finer and broader sense” and were actual saints? Even if so, does the Orthodox Church consider the saints “worthy” by their act of fasting, or is their act of fasting only a plea for God’s mercy, while God’s grace is what delivers the worthiness? According to Bp. Kirykos, the early Christians, whether they were saints or not, “fasted in the fine and broader sense, that is, they were worthy to commune.” But is this a teaching of Orthodoxy or rather of Pelagianism? Is this what the saints believed of themselves, that they were “worthy?” And if they didn’t believe they were worthy, was that just out of humility, or did they truly consider themselves unworthy? Blessed Augustine of Hippo, one of the champions of his time against the heresy of Pelagianism, writes: “In that, indeed, in the praise of the saints, they will not drive us with the zeal of that publican (Luke 18:10‐14) to hunger and thirst after righteousness, but with the vanity of the Pharisees, as it were, to overflow with sufficiency and fulness; what does it profit them that—in opposition to the Manicheans, who do away with baptism—they say ‘that men are perfectly renewed by baptism,’ and apply the apostle’s testimony for this,—‘who testifies that, by the washing of water, the Church is made holy and spotless from the Gentiles (Ephesians 5:26),’—when, with a proud and perverse meaning, they put forth their arguments in opposition to the prayers of the Church itself. For they say this in order that the Church may be believed after holy baptism—in which is accomplished the forgiveness of all sins—to have no further sin; when, in opposition to them, from the rising of the sun even to its setting, in all its members it cries to God, ‘Forgive us our debts (Matthew 6:12).’ But if they are interrogated regarding themselves in this matter, they find not what to answer. For if they should say that they have no sin, John answers them, that ‘they deceive themselves, and the truth is not in them (1 John 1:8).’ But if they confess their sins, since they wish themselves to be members of Christ’s body, how will that body, that is, the Church, be even in this time perfectly, as they think, without spot or wrinkle, if its members without falsehood confess themselves to have sins? Wherefore in baptism all sins are forgiven, and, by that very washing of water in the word, the Church is set forth in Christ without spot or wrinkle (Ephesians 5:27); and unless it were baptized, it would fruitlessly say, ‘Forgive us our debts,’ until it be brought to glory, when there is in it absolutely no spot or wrinkle.” (op. cit., Chapter 17). Again, in his chapter called ‘The Opinion of the Saints Themselves About Themselves,’ Blessed Augustine writes: “It is to be confessed that ‘the Holy Spirit, even in the old times,’ not only ‘aided good dispositions,’ which even they allow, but that it even made them good, which they will not have. ‘That all, also, of the prophets and apostles or saints, both evangelical and ancient, to whom God gives His witness, were righteous, not in comparison with the wicked, but by the rule of virtue,’ is not doubtful. And this is opposed to the Manicheans, who blaspheme the patriarchs and prophets; but what is opposed to the Pelagians is, that all of these, when interrogated concerning themselves while they lived in the body, with one most accordant voice would answer, ‘If we should say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us (1 John 1:8).’ ‘But in the future time,’ it is not to be denied ‘that there will be a reward as well of good works as of evil, and that no one will be commanded to do the commandments there which here he has contemned,’ but that a sufficiency of perfect righteousness where sin cannot be, a righteousness which is here hungered and thirsted after by the saints, is here hoped for
ANCIENT AND CONTEMPORARY FATHERS REGARDING SO‐CALLED “WORTHINESS” OF THE HOLY MYSTERIES St. John Cassian (+29 February, 435) totally disagrees with the notion of Bp. Kirykos that the early Christians communed frequently supposedly because “they fasted in the fine and broader sense, that is, they were worthy to commune.” Blessed Cassian does not approve of Christians shunning communion because they think of themselves as unworthy, and supposedly different to the early Christians. Thus whichever side one takes in this supposed dispute of Semipelagianism, be it the side of Blessed Augustine or that of Blessed Cassian, the truth is that both of these Holy Fathers condemn the notions held by Bp. Kirykos. Blessed Cassian writes: “We must not avoid communion because we deem ourselves to be sinful. We must approach it more often for the healing of the soul and the purification of the spirit, but with such humility and faith that considering ourselves unworthy, we would desire even more the medicine for our wounds. Otherwise it is impossible to receive communion once a year, as certain people do, considering the sanctification of heavenly Mysteries as available only to saints. It is better to think that by giving us grace, the sacrament makes us pure and holy. Such people [who commune rarely] manifest more pride than humility, for when they receive, they think of themselves as worthy. It is much better if, in humility of heart, knowing that we are never worthy of the Holy Mysteries we would receive them every Sunday for the healing of our diseases, rather than, blinded by pride, think that after one year we become worthy of receiving them.” (John Cassian, Conference 23, Chapter 21) Now, as for those who may think the above notion is only applicable for the Christians living at the time of St. John Cassian (5th century), and that the people at that time were justified in confessing their sins frequently and also communing frequently, throughout the year, while that supposedly this does not apply to contemporary Orthodox Christians, such a notion does not hold any validity, because contemporary Holy Fathers, among them the Hesychastic Fathers and Kollyvades Fathers, have taught exactly the same thing as we have read above in the writings of Blessed Cassian. Thus St. Gregory Palamas, St. Symeon the New Theologian, St. Macarius Notaras of Corinth, St. Nicodemus of Athos, St. Arsenius of Paros, St. Pachomius of Chios, St. Nectarius of Aegina, St. Matthew of Bresthena, St. Moses of Athikia, and so many other contemporary Orthodox Saints agree with the positions of the Blessed Cassian. The various quotes from these Holy Fathers are to be provided in another study regarding the letter of Bp. Kirykos to Fr. Pedro. In any case, not only contemporary Greek Fathers, but even contemporary Syrian, Russian, Bulgarian, Serbian and Romanian Fathers concur. St. Arsenius the Russian of Stavronikita (+24 March, 1846), for example, writes: “One can sometimes hear people say that they avoid approaching the Holy Mysteries because they consider themselves unworthy. But who is worthy of it? No one on earth is worthy of it, but whoever confesses his sins with heartfelt contrition and approaches the Chalice of Christ with consciousness of his unworthiness the Lord will not reject, in accordance with His words, Him that cometh to Me I shall in no wise cast out (John 6:37).” (Athonite Monastery of St. Panteleimon, Athonite Leaflets, No. 105, published in 1905) St. John Chrysostom (+14 September, 407), Archbishop of the Imperial City of Constantinople New Rome, speaks very much against the idea of making fasting and communing a mere custom. He instead insists on making true repentance of tears and communion with God a daily ritual. For no one passes a single day without sinning at least in thought if not also in word and deed. Likewise, no one can live a true life in Christ without daily repentance and frequent Communion. But in fact, the greatest method to abstain from sins is by the fear of communing unworthily. Thus, through frequent Communion one is guided towards abstinence from sins. Of course, the grace of the Mysteries themselves are essential in this process of cleansing the brain, heart and bowel of the body, as well as cleansing the mind, spirit and word of the soul. But the fear of hellfire as experienced in the partaking of communion unworthily is most definitely a means of preventing sins. But if one thinks that fasting for seven days without meat, five days without dairy, three days without oil, and one day without anything but xerophagy, is a means to make one “worthy” of Communion, whereas the communicant then returns to his life of sin until the next year when he decides to commune again, then not only was this one week of fasting worthless, not only would 40 days of lent be unprofitable, but even an entire lifetime of fasting will be useless. For such a person makes fasting and Communion a mere custom, rather than a way of Life in Christ. Blessed Chrysostom writes: “But since I have mentioned this sacrifice, I wish to say a little in reference to you who have been initiated; little in quantity, but possessing great force and profit, for it is not our own, but the words of Divine Spirit. What then is it? Many partake of this sacrifice once in the whole year; others twice; others many times. Our word then is to all; not to those only who are here, but to those also who are settled in the desert. For they partake once in the year, and often indeed at intervals of two years. What then? Which shall we approve? Those [who receive] once [in the year]? Those who [receive] many times? Those who [receive] few times? Neither those [who receive] once, nor those [who receive] often, nor those [who receive] seldom, but those [who come] with a pure conscience, from a pure heart, with an irreproachable life. Let such draw near continually; but those who are not such, not even once. Why, you will ask? Because they receive to themselves judgment, yea and condemnation, and punishment, and vengeance. And do not wonder. For as food, nourishing by nature, if received by a person without appetite, ruins and corrupts all [the system], and becomes an occasion of disease, so surely is it also with respect to the awful mysteries. Do you feast at a spiritual table, a royal table, and again pollute your mouth with mire? Do you anoint yourself with sweet ointment, and again fill yourself with ill savors? Tell me, I beseech you, when after a year you partake of the Communion, do you think that the Forty Days are sufficient for you for the purifying of the sins of all that time? And again, when a week has passed, do you give yourself up to the former things? Tell me now, if when you have been well for forty days after a long illness, you should again give yourself up to the food which caused the sickness, have you not lost your former labor too? For if natural things are changed, much more those which depend on choice. As for instance, by nature we see, and naturally we have healthy eyes; but oftentimes from a bad habit [of body] our power of vision is injured. If then natural things are changed, much more those of choice. Thou assignest forty days for the health of the soul, or perhaps not even forty, and do you expect to propitiate God? Tell me, are you in sport? These things I say, not as forbidding you the one and annual coming, but as wishing you to draw near continually.” (John Chrysostom, Homily 17, on Hebrews 10:2‐9) The Holy Fathers also stress the importance of confession of sins as the ultimate prerequisite for Holy Communion, while remaining completely silent about any specific fast that is somehow generally applicable to all laymen equally. It is true that the spiritual father (who hears the confession of the penitent Orthodox Christian layman) does have the authority to require his spiritual son to fulfill a fast of repentance before communion. But the local bishop (who is not the layman’s spiritual father but only a distant observer) most certainly does not have the authority to demand the priests to enforce a single method of preparation common to all laymen without distinction, such as what Bp. Kirykos does in his letter to Fr. Pedro. For man cannot be made “worthy” due to such a pharisaic fast that is conducted for mere custom’s sake rather than serving as a true form of repentance. Indeed it is possible for mankind to become worthy of Holy Communion. But this worthiness is derived from the grace of God which directs the soul away from sins, and it is derived from the Mysteries themselves, particularly the Mystery of Repentance (also called Confession or Absolution) and the Mystery of the Body and Blood of Christ (also called the Eucharist or Holy Communion). St. Nicholas Cabasilas (+20 June, 1391), Archbishop of Thessalonica, writes: “The Bread which truly strengthens the heart of man will obtain this for us; it will enkindle in us ardor for contemplation, destroying the torpor that weighs down our soul; it is the Bread which has come down from heaven to bring Life; it is the Bread that we must seek in every way. We must be continually occupied with this Eucharistic banquet lest we suffer famine. We must guard against allowing our soul to grow anemic and sickly, keeping away from this food under the pretext of reverence for the sacrament. On the contrary, after telling our sins to the priest, we must drink of the expiating Blood.” (St. Nicholas Cabasilas, The Life in Christ). St. Matthew Carpathaces (+14 May, 1950), Archbishop of Athens, while still an Archimandrite, published a book in 1933 in which he wrote five pages regarding the Mystery of Holy Communion. In these five pages he addresses the issue of Holy Communion, worthiness and preparation. Nowhere in it does he speak of any particular pre‐communion fast. On the contrary, in the rest of the book he speaks only about the fasts of Wednesday and Friday throughout the year, and the four Lenten seasons of Nativity, Pascha, Apostles and Dormition. He also mentions that married couples should avoid marital relations on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Aside from these fasts and abstaining, he mentions no such thing about a pre‐communion fast anywhere in the book, and the book is over 300 pages long. In the section where he speaks specifically regarding Holy Communion, Blessed Matthew speaks only of confession of sins as a prerequisite to Holy Communion, and he mentions the importance of abstaining from sins. Nowhere does he suggest that partaking of foods on the days the Orthodox Church permits is supposedly a sin. For to claim such a thing is a product of Manicheanism and is anathematized by several councils. But Blessed Matthew of Bresthena was no Manichean, he was a Genuine Orthodox Christian, a preserver of Orthodoxy in its fullness. The fact he had 600 nuns and 200 monks flock around him during his episcopate in Greece is proof of his spiritual heights and that he was an Orthodox Christian not only in thought and word, but also in deed. Yet Bp. Kirykos, who in his thirty years as a pastor has not managed to produce a single spiritual offspring, dares to claim that Blessed Matthew of Bresthena is the source of his corrupt and heretical views. But nothing could be further from the truth. In Blessed Matthew’s written works, which are manifold and well‐ preserved, nowhere does he suggest that clergy can simply follow the common fasting rules of the Orthodox Church and commune several times per week, while if laymen follow the same Orthodox rules of fasting just as do the priests, they are supposedly not free to commune but must undergo some kind of extra fast. Nowhere does he demand this fast that is not as a punishment for laymen’s sins, but is implemented merely because they are laymen, since this fast is being demanded irrespective of the outcome of their confession to the priest. Yet despite all of this, Bp. Kirykos arbitrarily uses the name of Bishop Matthew as supposedly agreeing with his positions. The following quote from the works of Blessed Matthew will shatter Kirykos’s notion that “fasting in the finer and broader sense” can make a Christian “worthy to commune,” without mentioning the Holy Mysteries of Confession and Communion themselves as the source of that worthiness. The following quote will shatter Bp. Kirykos’ attempt to misrepresent the positions of Blessed Matthew, which is something that Bp. Kirykos is guilty of doing for the past 30 years, tarnishing the name of Blessed Matthew, and causing division and self‐destruction within the Genuine Orthodox Church of Greece, while at the same time boasting of somehow being Bishop Matthew’s only real follower. It is time for Bp. Kirykos’ three‐decades‐long façade to be shattered. This shattering shall not only apply to the façade regarding the pharisaic‐style fast, but even the façade regarding the post‐1976 ecclesiology held by Bp. Kirykos and his associate, Mr. Gkoutzidis—an ecclesiology which is found nowhere in the encyclicals of the Genuine Orthodox Church from 1935 until the 1970s. That was the time that Mr. Gkoutzidis and the then layman Mr. Kontogiannis (now Bp. Kirykos) began controlling the Matthewite Synod. On the contrary, many historic encyclicals of the Genuine Orthodox Church contradict this post‐1976 Gkoutzidian‐ Kontogiannian ecclesiology, for which reason the duo has kept these documents hidden in the Synodal archives for three decades. But let us begin the shattering of the façade with the position of Blessed Matthew regarding frequent Communion. For God has willed that this be the first article by Bishop Matthew to be translated into English that is not of an ecclesiological nature, but a work in regards to Orthopraxia, something rarely spoken and seldom found in the endlessly repetitive periodicals of the Kirykite faction.
Mystery Lunch Club – Wednesday 20th January 2016 Throughout 2016 Starline's much loved lunch club returns for every third Wednesday of the month.
FROM THE PRAYERS OF PREPARATION FOR COMMUNION REGARDING “WORTHINESS” OF THE HOLY MYSTERIES In the prayers for preparation for Holy Communion, written by several different Holy Fathers, we find the repetition of this belief in utter unworthiness for Holy Communion, whether one has fasted or not. Note also, that among the Fathers who wrote these prayers are St. Basil the Great and St. John Chrysostom, the greatest luminaries among the Anatolian‐Cappadocian Fathers. Yet these most awesome and splendid examples of sanctity, whether they fasted “in the finer and broader sense,” as Metropolitan Kirykos calls it, by no means considered themselves “worthy to commune.” For it is not abstaining from foods that make one worthy, but rather abstaining from sins, and all men have sinned save Christ who alone is perfect, and save Theotokos who is the purest temple of the Lord from her very childhood, but was hallowed, sanctified and consecrated by God at the hour of the Annunciation. The rest of us are sinners, even the saints, but their holiness is owing to God’s mercy upon them due to their purity of life, and their theosis is owing to the grace of God that overshadowed them, as they lived every day in Christ. The fact that the saints were not worthy in and of themselves, but by the grace of God, can be well understood by reading their prayers of preparation for Holy Communion. For these prayers were written by saints who, in their shortcomings, were also sinners; and they wrote these prayers for the sake of sinners who, just like them, strive by God’s grace to become saints. Thus, in the second troparion in the preparation for Holy Communion we read: “How can I, the unworthy one, shamelessly dare to partake of Thy Holy Gifts?” In the last few troparia in the service of preparation for Holy Communion, we read: “Into the splendor of Thy Saints how shall I, the unworthy one, enter?...” and again “O Man‐befriending Master, Lord Jesus my God, let not these holy Gifts be unto me for judgment through mine unworthiness…” St. Basil the Great (+ 1 January, 397), in his first prayer of preparation for Holy Communion, writes: “… For I have sinned, O Lord, I have sinned against Heaven and before Thee, and I am not worthy to gaze upon the height of Thy glory… Wherefore, though I am unworthy of both heaven and earth, and even of this transient life…” In his second prayer we read: “I know, O Lord, that I partake of Thine immaculate Body and precious Blood unworthily, and that I am guilty, and eat and drink judgment to myself, not discerning the Body and Blood of Thee, my Christ and God…” St. John Chrysostom (+14 September, 407), in his first prayer of preparation for Holy Communion, writes: “O Lord my God, I know that I am not worthy, nor sufficient, that Thou shouldest come under the roof of the house of my soul, for all is desolate and fallen, and Thou hast not in me a place worthy to lay Thy head…” In his third prayer we read: “O Lord Jesus Christ my God, loose, remit, forgive, and pardon the failings, faults, and offences which I, Thy sinful, unprofitable, and unworthy servant have committed from my youth, up to the present day and hour…” If in any place in the prayers of preparation for Holy Communion there is a statement of worthiness within man, it is claimed that Christ and the Mysteries themselves are the source of that worthiness. By no means are mankind’s own works, such as fasting, considered to make one worthy. Thus, Blessed Chrysostom writes: “I believe, O Lord, and I confess that thou art truly the Christ, the Son of the living God, who didst come into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. And I believe that this is truly Thine own immaculate Body, and that this is truly Thine own precious Blood. Wherefore I pray thee, have mercy upon me and forgive my transgressions both voluntary and involuntary, of word and of deed, of knowledge and of ignorance; and make me worthy to partake without condemnation of Thine immaculate Mysteries, unto remission of my sins and unto life everlasting. Amen.” St. Symeon the Translator (+9 November, c. 950) writes: “…O Christ Jesus, Wisdom and Peace and Power of God, Who in Thy assumption of our nature didst suffer Thy life‐giving and saving Passion, the Cross, the Nails, the Spear, and Death, mortify all the deadly passions of my body. Thou Who in Thy burial didst spoil the dominions of hell, bury with good thoughts my evil schemes and scatter the spirits of wickedness. Thou Who by Thy life‐giving Resurrection on the third day didst raise up our fallen first Parent, raise me up who am sunk in sin and suggest to me ways of repentance. Thou Who by Thy glorious Ascension didst deify our nature which Thou hadst assumed and didst honor it by Thy session at the right hand of the Father, make me worthy by partaking of Thy holy Mysteries of a place at Thy right hand among those who are saved. Thou Who by the descent of the Spirit, the Paraclete, didst make Thy holy Disciples worthy vessels, make me also a recipient of His coming. Thou Who art to come again to judge the World with justice, grant me also to meet Thee on the clouds, my Maker and Creator, with all Thy Saints, that I may unendingly glorify and praise Thee with Thy Eternal Father and Thy all‐holy and good and life‐giving Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.” St. Symeon the New Theologian (+12 March, 1022) wrote a poem that clearly explains how a communicant must regard himself as utterly unworthy to receive the Holy Body and Blood of the Lord, and entirely hope in God’s mercy: From sullied lips, From an abominable heart, From an unclean tongue, Out of a polluted soul, Receive my prayer, O my Christ. Reject me not, Nor my words, nor my ways, Nor even my shamelessness, But give me courage to say What I desire, my Christ. And even more, teach me What to do and say. I have sinned more than the harlot… And all my sins Take from me, O God of all, That with a clean heart, Trembling mind And contrite spirit I may partake of Thy pure And all‐holy Mysteries By which all who eat and drink Thee With sincerity of heart Are quickened and deified… Therefore I fall at Thy feet And fervently cry to Thee: As Thou receivedst the Prodigal And the Harlot who drew near to Thee, So have compassion and receive me, The profligate and the prodigal, As with contrite spirit I now draw near to Thee. I know, O Saviour, that no other Has sinned against Thee as I, Nor has done the deeds That I have committed. But this again I know That not the greatness of my offences Nor the multitude of my sins Surpasses the great patience Of my God, And His extreme love for men. But with the oil of compassion Those who fervently repent Thou dost purify and enlighten And makest them children of the light, Sharers of Thy Divine Nature… St. John Damascene (+4 December, 749), in his first prayer of preparation for Holy Communion, thus writes: “O Lord and Master Jesus Christ, our God, who alone hath power to forgive the sins of men, do thou, O Good One who lovest mankind, forgive all the sins that I have committed in knowledge or in ignorance, and make me worthy to receive without condemnation thy divine, glorious, immaculate and life‐giving Mysteries; not unto punishment or unto increase of sin; but unto purification, and sanctification and a promise of thy Kingdom and the Life to come; as a protection and a help to overthrow the adversaries, and to blot out my many sins. For thou art a God of Mercy and compassion and love toward mankind, and unto Thee we ascribe glory together with the Father and the Holy Spirit; now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.” In his second prayer he writes: “I stand before the gates of thy Temple, and yet I refrain not from my evil thoughts. But do thou, O Christ my God, who didst justify the publican, and hadst mercy on the Canaanite woman, and opened the gates of Paradise to the thief; open unto me the compassion of thy love toward mankind, and receive me as I approach and touch thee, like the sinful woman and the woman with the issue of blood; for the one, by embracing thy feet received the forgiveness of her sins, and the other by but touching the hem of thy garment was healed. And I, most sinful, dare to partake of thy whole Body. Let me not be consumed but receive me as thou didst receive them, and enlighten the perceptions of my soul, consuming the accusations of my sins; through the intercessions of Her that without stain gave Thee birth, and of the heavenly Powers; for thou art blessed unto ages of ages. Amen.” While waiting in line to receive Holy Communion, the following verses of the Blessed Translator are read: Behold I approach for Divine Communion. O Creator, let me not be burnt by communicating, For Thou art Fire which burns the unworthy. But purify me from every stain. Tremble, O man, when you see the deifying Blood, For it is coal that burns the unworthy. The Body of God both deifies and nourishes; It deifies the spirit and wondrously nourishes the mind. The following troparion clearly expresses with what mindset and manner one must approach the Mysteries. Let it not be thought that a Christian is meant to state the following simply as an act of false humility. On the contrary, the Christian must truly deny any sense of his self‐worth in the eyes of Christ, and must therefore submit himself entirely to Christ’s judgment, praying that the Lord will judge according to his great mercy and not according to our sins. The troparion reads: “Of thy Mystic Supper, O Son of God, accept me today as a communicant; for I will not speak of thy Mystery to Thine enemies, neither will I give thee a kiss as did Judas; but like the thief will I confess thee: Remember me, O Lord, in Thy Kingdom. Remember me, O Master, in Thy Kingdom. Remember me, O Holy One, when Thou comest into Thy Kingdom.” After a few other troparia, the following prayer is read: “Sovereign Lover of men, Lord Jesus my God, let not these Holy Things be to me for judgment through my being unworthy, but for the purification and sanctification of my soul and body, and as a pledge of the life and kingdom to come. For it is good for me to cling to God and to place in the Lord my hope of salvation.” As one approaches the Holy Chalice, one should crosswise fold his hands over his chest, and reflect in his mind the following petition: “Neither unto judgement, nor unto condemnation be my partaking of thy Holy Mysteries, O Lord, but unto the healing of soul and body.” When the priest administers the Holy Communion he announces: “The servant of God, [name], partakes of the precious, most holy and most pure Body and Blood of our Lord, God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins and life everlasting. Amen.” Then, the communicant kisses the bottom of the chalice, thinking of himself as the harlot who kissed the feet of the Lord while anointing them with precious myrrh and her penitent tears, while contemplating the Seraphim who touched a burning coal to the mouth of Isaiah, saying: “Behold, This hath touched thy lips, and will take away thine iniquities, and will purge thy sins (Isaiah 6:7).”
THE TEACHING OF BLESSED MATTHEW OF BRESTHENA REGARDING FREQUENT RECEPTION OF COMMUNION Written in 1933 by Archimandrite Matthew [Carpathaces] of Great Laura, the future Bishop of Bresthena (1937‐1949), and Metropolitan of Athens (1949‐1950), of the Genuine Orthodox Church of Greece (+14 May, 1950). Is it possible, you ask me, to receive Communion? Why, don’t we have to become saints in order to be worthy, as Blessed Chrysostom calls out in his liturgy, “The Holies for the holy?” And who can become a saint? You’re not able? Then, are the Holy Scriptures false? “And ye shall be holy men unto me (Exodus 22:31);” “I said ye are gods (Psalms 81:6).” This is what God says about us. So, who is able? As many as desire this, cleanse yourselves from every bodily and spiritual sin, and you will immediately become saints. I do not tell you this myself, God says it through the Apostle. “So clean yourselves, brethren, from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God (2 Corinthians 7:1).” But is it difficult? I do not deny it. But it is probably not as difficult as you think. Consider this… An infant or even a very sinful old man, upon leaving the baptismal font, is he not worthy to commune of the Holy Mysteries? Yes, and who can doubt this? Baptism is a divine bath, it is a purification of sins, it is a spiritual rebirth. In the baptismal font we bury the old person of sin, and we put on the new man, Jesus Christ. “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ (Galatians 3:27),” says he who ascended to the third heaven. So, what if it was possible to multiply the Mystery of Holy Baptism? What I am trying to say is, if it was possible for us to be baptized every time we wished, then you would no longer have any doubt that we worthily commune of the Mystery of the Frightful Eucharist. So if I prove to you that every time you wish, it is possible to enter the baptismal font and to get baptized, then you would no longer be able to leave [i.e., shun the Mystery of Holy Communion]. You must conclude then, that it is possible to become worthy of the Mystery of Holy Communion. And is not Repentance, my brethren, a second baptismal font, into which it is possible to enter every time we wish and as many times as we wish, and nobody can prevent us? Is not Repentance a font equivalent to the font of Holy Baptism? “Tears dropped are equivalent to the font.” Yes, the tear, whenever it drops from our eyes for our sins, has the power of Holy Baptism. “And toilsome lamentation brings back the grace which departed for some time.” A lamentation from the heart ascends to heaven, and brings down that grace, which we have lost because of the multitude of our sins. It is not my opinion, but that of Gregory of Nyssa and the moral teachers of the Church. See now, upon what that which seemed impossible and most difficult to you depends? Upon one tear, one lamentation! “Tears dropped are equivalent to the font, and toilsome lamentation brings back the grace which departed for some time.” (Gregory of Nyssa, Words Concerning Repentance). What is this? I knew it! In the midst you bring to me the canons of St. Basil, the revealer of heavenly things, to St. Amphilochius, in order to oppose me. And you tell me, “Does not St. Basil, the revealer of heavenly things, define in his canons that for those who steal to not receive Communion for two years; for those who murder, twenty; for those who commit adultery, fifteen years; and so forth? For nearly all sins he appoints many years for us to abstain from Communion.” And what is concluded from this? Is it concluded that it is not possible for us to become worthy to receive Communion? Or rather that Repentance does not have the same power that Baptism has? Both conclusions are erroneous. They are erroneous because from these same canons of St. Basil, it is concluded that it is possible for us to become worthy to receive Communion, since he himself appoints that after so many years, depending upon the sin, we may receive Communion. So the revealer of heavenly things himself says that it is possible for us to become worthy. Basil also believed that Repentance is equivalent to Baptism and that there is no other difference between Baptism and Repentance, except that Repentance only blots out the voluntary sins, while Baptism also blots out the ancestral sin. But because he was most exact and perfect in everything, he desired a sure and true Repentance. And because he knew how easy it is for man to fall into evil, especially after he has fallen once, for this reason he appointed the years so that everybody be informed, and for us ourselves to be informed, that our Repentance is sure and true. So whenever Repentance is perfect and true, what then remains? Then everything remains to the judgment of the corrector of our souls and spiritual father, as St. Basil himself, the revealer of heavenly things, clearly appoints in his second canon, and informs us, how he agrees with all the other fathers: “To also define the therapy of Repentance not based on time but on manner.” And behold how Repentance is equivalent to Baptism even according to St. Basil, if you interpret his opinion correctly. And behold how you no longer have any reply to a truth so evident. Tell me, my Christians, after Pascha, which will be in a few days, what will you do? Do you celebrate Pascha? What a ridiculous question! Yet, this is what I ask you. Do you celebrate Pascha as all Christians have the obligation to do? Do we celebrate Pascha? Indeed, all of us with such eagerness await Pascha. The Lord grant! [i.e., God willing!] But I am afraid that few of us celebrate Pascha. Pascha, O Christians, is not that which is commonly called pascha, to wit, the partaking of meat and the rest of the foods. That is called eating; that is called nourishment. Pascha, however, is the Communion of the Mysteries! This is Pascha, as God told Moses, “and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the Lord’s Pascha (Exodus 12:11).” Know therefore, all of you who do not wish to commune of this mystical Pascha, that you will not have any reply; you will not be able to find any excuse when you appear before the judgment of the fearful God. —“And why did you not condescend,” the God‐man will tell you then, “when I was crying out to you to come eat my bread, and drink my wine, which I have treated to you? Why such contempt for me, when I have showed you so much love? You see this Cross? You see these wounds? Out of love for you I endured them.” —“Lord we were not worthy.” Is this what you have to respond to Him? —“And you do not know how to cleanse yourselves with Repentance, to wash yourselves with tears, to bathe yourselves with Confession?” —“But it was difficult for us to stop sinning.” —“So you preferred your passions and your sins above me? Therefore, since you desired to be separated from me while you were living on earth, separated from my word you must also be in heaven. Is this really so, O wretched and unfortunate ones, as many of you as are wounded by your passions, and full of your uncleanness and sins?” O my Lord, I am the first [among sinners], and what will become of me then during so many frightful censures? And what will become of all of you who are similar to me? It would have been better if we were never born. —“Such contempt for my blood? Such contempt for my body?” the Judge will cry, “Are your hands filthy and have you sacrificed me and cut me to pieces, and touched me, as did the Jews? Are your lips foul and have you kissed me, as did Judas? Is your heart dirty and have you partaken of me? Is your soul sinful, and have you been insolent?” And what will I say, what will I reply, when, after the censures, Hades immediately swallows me up? My Christian brethren, please listen to me carefully. We cannot remain without Holy Communion: “If we do not eat of the body of the Son of Man and drink His blood, we have no life in us.” And we cannot receive Communion unworthily: “For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself.” If we do not receive Communion: despair. If we receive Communion unworthily: hell. Therefore, we must receive Communion worthily (which, as I have shown you, is possible) in order to inherit eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom be glory and power unto the ages of ages. Amen. Thus in the above homily by Blessed Matthew Carpathaces, we see that the worthiness of a communicant is obtained by the Mystery of Repentance, which is equal to Baptism, and is sealed by receiving Holy Communion itself.
In reference to the Mystery of Holy Communion The Orthodox Church, guarding the ancient Apostolic tradition, does not only urge the participation in the preeminent Mystery, but requires, by the 8th and 9th Apostolic Canons, the 66th and the 80th canons of the 6th Ecumenical Council and the 2nd canon of the Council in Antioch, all of the faithful in church, laypeople and clergymen to partake of the common Chalice, under the penalty of excommunication and deposition. Only the prohibited, those who have fallen into mortal sins, are excluded from this Eucharistic participation, by the suggestion of their spiritual father and confessor, as the 102nd canon of the 6th Ecumenical Council dictates. The philokalic fathers, who were mockingly called Kollyvades by everyone, from their adversaries to their mortal enemies, were attempting to revive and teach this ancient, revered Apostolic Tradition on the Holy Mountain and were criticized and slandered and sent away from Athos and some of them were killed. So it is a valid apprehension as to why Your Eminence remains completely silent and openly ignores the now known book of the philokalic fathers, which is the book of Saints Makarios Notaras, formerly of Corinth, and Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain, Concerning the Continuous Communion of the Immaculate Mysteries of Christ, which constitutes a summary and recapitulation of the teachings of the Holy and God‐bearing Fathers about the Mystery of Holy Communion, and as such proclaims both the synodal decision of Patriarch Neophytos of Constantinople from Maroneia, and the synodal decision of the Church of Greece in 1886. It is strange that this very well known book is absent from the sources and references about Holy Communion in the above mentioned book by Archbishop Andrew of the G.O.C., Concerning Holy Communion. The Patriarch of Constantinople Gregory V also invokes this ancient Apostolic Tradition by his synodal decision in the year 1819 which says that “the pious have the duty to approach and receive the life‐giving Body, for this reason they are called by the priest.” But also the Church of Greece, by its synodal decision in the year 1878, condemns the different teachings of Makrakis, among which are the abolition of the Mystery of Confession, and appeals to this ancient Apostolic Tradition by saying that “but not only does the Church by no means forbid the truly worthy to present themselves more frequently to Holy Communion, but indeed in every liturgy, by the sounding of ‘with the fear of God, faith and love draw near’ She calls them to present themselves to Holy Communion.” The previously mentioned bishop Matthew of Bresthena also invokes this Apostolic Tradition concerning frequent Communion in his book “The Mystery of Confession,” (Concerning Holy Communion, pp. 107‐ 111, Hieromonk Matthew, Spiritual Father, Pilgrim to the All‐holy and Life‐giving Tomb, Athonite, Cretan, Lavriotan, Athens 1933). All Holy Tradition speaks about the necessary preparation before Holy Communion, which concerns clergymen and laypeople, and consists of the continual cleansing of the heart and mind, by Repentance and Confession, by the obligatory complete fast from midnight and after and by the Pre‐Communion fast according to one’s strength, in accordance with the opinion of one’s spiritual father and confessor. Your Eminence, however, writes that the only necessary preparation and obligatory prerequisite for Holy Communion is fasting and nothing else. But the question easily arises of why the clergymen do not fast before Holy Communion, maybe because, according to Your view they have some privilege over laypeople? Why does Your Eminence completely silence the basic criterion of Holy Communion, which is the clean conscience, as the Church has believed from the beginning, and impose objective criteria for those who will receive Communion in the future? Who will inspect these, forbidding and allowing Holy Communion? Will someone give us a reference? Did the God‐bearing Holy Fathers, who did not establish a canon of obligatory fasting before Holy Communion, do this by oversight or mistake? By Your Eminence setting and imposing new canons and morals, under the pretext of devoutness and ascetic piety, do You consider that it is necessary to cover the void of what was unforeseen and omitted by the God‐bearing Holy Fathers? Does Your Eminence believe that the Holy God‐bearing Fathers have erred and that You are able to make an examination and correction of them? In Your Eminence’s reference to the unworthiness of the faithful, do You consider that we the clergymen and shepherds are worthy and holy and above any censure and criticism? Truly, if as You write, due to their unworthiness none of the faithful should remain in the church, then this means two things, either the congregation is not baptized Orthodox or we the clergymen and shepherds are unworthy of the Master’s calling and have no concern for the salvation of the logical sheep, which the Master Christ has entrusted to us, because we have not made them worthy of the grace of the All‐Holy Spirit so that they may continuously receive the life‐giving body and blood of the Lord, and rather the absence of our spiritual guidance will end up in our sure condemnation on the day of the just judgment. Therefore the faithful have every right not to call us shepherds and spiritual fathers, but oppressive wolves and stepfathers, because the total absence of love, indifference and contempt for the flock is what characterizes us. We, whose chief characteristics are lack of feeling and the strict observance of the letter of the law, as we exclusively understand it, present ourselves as managers of the power of Christ. We are only concerned with our personal interests and we offer the logical sheep of Christ as prey to the noetic wolf who is the ruler of this world, that is, the devil. Truly, which of us clergymen and shepherds, moved by pure love, and without ulterior motives and expedience, as our Lord, literally ran
(Scripture is mystery and parables) http://www.pdf-archive.com/2014/02/08/final-parttwo/preview/page/1/ Today we will be reviewing scriptures that seem to the carnal mind to be dark and scary, but when looking at them through the single eye, we see yet another layer emerge.
Mystery Person Synopsis IRENE makes plans to visit the city for a couple of days.
Thank you in advance to Linda Bennett, who has volunteered to bring refreshments during our August meeting (rumor is that we may be treated to another ice cream social!) and to Linda Bowen for volunteering to bring a unique “treasure” that she hopes will stump us during the “Mystery Item” contest.