September 8, 2018


The apostates of Istambul continue to honor their masonic pledge to sow unceasingly scandals and confusion in the Church of Christ, as they have done since 1920, when Meletios broke the liturgical unity of the Christians forcing the adoption of the Papist calendar, in exchange for 100,000 pounds from the British secret service.

They have now completed the journey from the City of Constantine to Istambul, well guided from Langley, Virginia.

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, I testify before God and men that I am not in Communion with Bartholomew, a second order employee of the prince of this world, and with whoever agree and support this satanic move, which has the potential to ignite a full conflagration in the Ukraine.

May the Lord reward them all according to their deeds. May He impute to them all the schisms and the lost souls which can come out from what they have just done.

To my hierarchies, in full humility a plea: get out of that damned World Council of churches!

The only good thing of this shameless decision is that now the enemies of Christ inside the Church should have to declare themselves openly, and anathemize themselves.

May this adulterous generation in the Ukraine remember that nobody and nothing, not even the blood of martyrdom, can heal a schism, but repentance and renouncing the errors. The habit is necessary for all things, and sufficient for nothing. The only thing which suffices is the Grace of the Lord they have betrayed, and it’s perfect in weakness.

May they remember that the hour of the Lord comes as a thief in the night.

For the prayers of all the saints who have shone forth in Kiev and its lands, o Lord, have mercy and protect Your people in the Ukraine.




September 3, 2018

This article begs some reflections and a few modest warnings.

If you do not have a single holy Father in support of what you are claiming, prudence requires that you question attentively yourself in order to exclude that you are simply wandering through the vanities of your mind.

If then the holy Fathers quite conspicuosly have a different say in the matter than your thoughts, well, it’s time to conclude that you are a legend in your own mind.

Orthodoxy works this way.

The devil did sin from the beginning. Thus says the Lord, thus says the divine Theologian. In the beginning God created the heaven and earth, man was not there yet. From the beginning the devil was a murderer and a liar; his words unto Eve were lies since the very start.

The fallen angels cannot repent because they know the Truth, they were face to face with Him; they cannot repent because sin aroused inside themselves, it was and it is not insinuated in them by external lies, as it was and it is with men; they cannot repent because they have not the heavy ballast and burden of the manifold weakness of the flesh. Their sin is obscenely pure, it is blasphemously perfect, a satanic perfection which only the blasphemers against the Holy Spirit are able to imitate among men.

The Holy Wisdom is not a Person. It’s necessary not only to avoid saying it is a Person, but above all to STOP talking about it like a Person. It’s heresy to identify it with the Son. The Logos is generated before all the centuries to express the Wisdom of God through the procession of the Holy Spirit. It is the loving work of God for His creation since the pre- eternal Trinitarian council, carried on in perfect unity by the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and manifested unto us.

We believe in God the Father Almighty. God created man in His image and likeness. Then He took a man’s bone and formed the woman. The feminine is entirely contained in man, it’s not a distinct or autonomous principle. Its ontological basis is in man, as the Son and the Holy Spirit have their cause and unity in the Father. Man lives in two hypostasis, as God lives in Three Persons perfectly united, with no separation nor confusion. In man both the non-hypostatic union of his will, logos and spirit (the image of God) and the hypostatic union of man and woman was shattered with the fall.

Finally, a little gloss about Archimandrite Sophrony. I don’t know if he has the authority of the holy Fathers; God knows His saints, and reveals them in His Church. I know that not a few who consider him a saint suffer from strong delusions, like that Romanian priest who had the effrontery to claim that the Papist are in the Church because they feel it that way. This kind of delusion has regrettably infected also a large part of the work of father Dumitru Staniloae, a work that has yet a great value in many of its other parts.

We must be sober, brethren, we must be vigilant!

One does tire of the various accusations of heresy from across the Ortho-internet, all of them contradictory, each of them basing themselves on an unsupported series of assertions of how “Orthodoxy works.” No, it doesn’t work like that, and that is evident in the fact that one has to exclude a priori certain theologians (Staniloae and Sophrony among them) who are almost universally regarded as reliable witnesses to the mind of the Church, because they don’t support the artificially narrow construction of Orthodoxy being advocated, a construction which is little more than a few decades old.

The idea that it is “heresy” to identify Christ with Divine Wisdom is particularly galling, given that it’s something the Fathers do not infrequently. It’s also a little ironic, given that one more often finds the accusation of heresy being leveled at those who don’t exclusively identify it with the person of the Son. Wisdom is a way of referring to Christ as Logos. Christ is called Logos because the logoi are those energies which are principles of created natures, and the Father always energizes in the Son. If you raise objections I’ll find plenty of direct quotations on Christ as Eternal Wisdom (for which there is a feast day and iconography, FYI), but it should be easy enough to find those on your own given their abundance.

But perhaps one should simply be silent if such nonsense is what emerges when the mouth is opened, nonsense which accuses a whole choir of Fathers of heretical teaching.

A Knowledgeable One

I have not accused you of any heresy, I’ve just reminded you of St. Peter warning.

I have said that to identify the Holy Wisdom of God with Christ is heresy, as much as speaking of it as of a Person. If that’s not your case, then rejoice!

Indeed, it should not be so difficult to understand that if you IDENTIFY the Holy Wisdom with the Son, you RESERVE that Wisdom to the Word, and I am pretty sure that none of the holy Fathers was that stupid. What the Fathers said is that the Son does MANIFEST that Wisdom unto us, as the only relation of God with His creation, through Whom proceeds the Holy Spirit from the Father. There is nothing which has not its cause in the Father, He Who Is, and is not shared by the Son and the Holy Spirit, One God, the Living Triune God of Christianity.

The Father always energizes in the Son, but always through the procession of the Holy Spirit. Never forget that!

The Apostle testifies this in 1 Cor 18, 24. The fool will understand there that Christ IS the power of God, and the wisdom of God. In fact, St. Paul is saying that in Christ and with Christ and through Christ the Holy Spirit proceeds and the wonderful work (the power, and the wisdom) of God are done.

God’s work is always shared and carried on by the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Our God is ONE!

It may seem that it’s a nuance, a very subtle objection, and it’s true: it is like that small difference between omousia and omoiusia. A little difference which is able to destroy the Orthodox dogma of the Holy Trinity.

For your information, then, the Church knows only three theologian; none of them have the name Sophrony or Dumitru.

Archimandrite Sophrony has written to us the wonderful life of St. Silouan, and we all are very grateful to him for this.

Father Dumitru Staniloae has written ponderous tomes of doctrine, many valuable, many less so. We are very grateful to him for this. If he had the delusion to consider valid the ordinations of the Papists, I am pretty sure you will be able to find how many holy Fathers have spoken against that: hint, all of them!

It should be clear the reason why it would be pure silliness to have such a convinction, above all thinking what it would mean in relation to all the other Sacraments, but it may escape the attention of people puffed-up by the vanities of their mind.

Silence is indeed a golden advice, above all for a man whose internet logorrhea has become proverbial in Orthodoxy. Do not forget fast and prayers.


August 28, 2018

The Repose of the Mother of God in the Tradition of the Church.


In giving birth thou didst preserve thy virginity, and in thy falling asleep thou hast not forsaken the world, O Theotokos. Thou hast been, translated to life, as thou art the Mother of Life. And by thy supplications thou dost deliver our souls from death.


Kontakion of the feast

The tomb and mortality could not hold the Theotokos, who is untiring in her supplications and our certain hope in her intercessions. For, as the Mother of Life, she hath passed over to the Life Who dwelt within her ever-virgin womb.


August 8, 2018

Ho cominciato a cinguettare!


August 6, 2018

Martyr Christina of Tyre

Troparion, in Tone IV

Thy ewe-lamb Christina crieth out to Thee with a loud voice, O Jesus:/ “I love Thee, O my Bridegroom,/ and, seeking Thee, I pass through many strug­gles:/ I am crucified and buried with Thee in Thy baptism,/ and suffer for Thy sake, that I may reign with Thee;/ I die for Thee that I might live with Thee./ As an unblemished sacrifice accept me,/ who sacrifice myself with love for Thee// By her supplications save Thou our souls, in that Thou art merciful.


Kontakion, Tone IV

Thou wast known to be a radiant dove with wings of gold,/ and didst soar aloft to the heights of heaven, O honored Christina./ Wherefore, we celebrate thy glorious festival,/ bowing down before the shrine of thy relics with faith,// from whence divine healing for souls and bodies poureth forth upon all in abundance.


July 12, 2018


Dio, che in tempi diversi ed in vari modi parlo’ nei tempi passati ai padri per mezzo dei profeti, ha in questi ultimi giorni parlato a noi tramite suo Figlio, che Egli ha fatto erede di ogni cosa, per mezzo del quale Egli anche fece i mondi; che essendo lo splendore della sua gloria, e l’immagine espressa della sua persona, e sostenendo tutte le cose con la parola del suo potere, quando Egli ebbe lui stesso purificato i nostri peccati, sedette alla destra della suprema Maesta’; essendo reso molto meglio degli angeli, poiche’ Egli ha ottenuto per eredita’ un nome piu’ eccellente dei loro.

Poiche’ a quale degli angeli ha Egli mai detto, Tu sei mio Figlio, questo giorno Io ti ho generato? E ancora, Io saro’ un Padre per lui, ed egli sara’ per me un Figlio? E ancora, quando Egli porta l’unigenito nel mondo, Egli dice, E che tutti gli angeli di Dio lo adorino.

E degli angeli Egli dice, Che fa dei suoi angeli spiriti, e dei suoi ministri una fiamma di fuoco. Ma al Figlio Egli dice, Il tuo trono, o Dio, e’ per sempre: uno scettro di giustizia e’ lo scettro del tuo regno. Tu hai amato cio’ che e’ giusto, e odiato l’iniquita’; pertanto Dio, proprio il tuo Dio, ti ha unto con olio di letizia al di sopra dei tuoi compagni.

E, Tu, Signore, in principio hai posto le fondamenta della terra; ed i cieli sono il lavoro delle tue mani: essi periranno, ma Tu rimani; ed essi diverrano vecchi come fa una veste; e come una veste Tu li ripiegherai, ed essi saranno cambiati: ma Tu sei lo stesso, ed i tuoi anni non falliranno.

Ma a quale degli angeli ha Egli mai detto, Siedi alla mia destra, fino a quando faro’ dei tuoi nemici il tuo sgabello? Non sono essi spiriti di provvidenza, inviati ad assistere coloro che saranno eredi della salvezza?

Pertanto noi dovremmo dare la piu’ seria attenzione alle cose che abbiamo udito, per evitare che in qualunque tempo dovessimo lasciarle sfuggire. Poiche’ se la parola parlata da angeli fu sicura, ed ogni trasgressione e disobbedienza ricevette la giusta ricompensa in pagamento; come noi scamperemo, se trascuriamo una salvezza cosi’ grande; che al principio comincio’ ad essere parlata dal Signore, e ci fu confermata da coloro che lo ascoltarono; Dio anche dando loro testimonianza, sia con segni e prodigi, e con vari miracoli, e doni dello Spirito Santo, secondo il Suo volere?

Poiche’ Egli non ha posto in soggezione agli angeli il mondo a venire, del quale noi parliamo. Ma uno in un certo posto testimonio’, dicendo, Cos’e’ l’uomo, che Tu sei memore di lui? O il figlio dell’uomo, che Tu lo visiti? Tu lo facesti un po’ inferiore agli angeli; tu lo incoronasti con gloria ed onore, e lo ponesti sopra le opere delle tue mani: Tu hai posto tutte le cose in soggezione ai suoi piedi. Poiche’ in quello che Egli ha posto tutto in soggezione sotto di lui, Egli non lascio’ niente che non fosse posto sotto di lui. Ma adesso noi ancora non vediamo tutte le cose sottoposte a lui.

Ma noi vediamo Gesu’, che fu fatto un po’ inferiore agli angeli per la sofferenza della morte, incoronato con gloria ed onore; che Egli per la grazia di Dio potesse provare la morte per ogni uomo. Poiche’ convenne a Lui, per il quale son tutte le cose, e per mezzo del quale son tutte le cose, nel portare molti figli nella gloria, di rendere il capitano della loro salvezza perfetto attraverso le sofferenze.

Poiche’ sia Colui che santifica e coloro che sono santificati sono tutti di Uno: per la qual cosa Egli non si vergogna di chiamarli confratelli, dicendo, Io dichiarero’ il Tuo nome ai miei confratelli, nel mezzo dell’assemblea cantero’ Io le Tue lodi. E ancora, Io porro’ la mia fiducia in Lui. E ancora, Guardate Me ed i bambini che Dio mi ha dato.

Per tanto allora che i bambini sono partecipi della carne e del sangue, anche Egli stesso allo stesso modo prese parte dello stesso; che attraverso la morte Egli potesse distruggere colui che aveva il potere della morte, e cioe’, il diavolo; e liberare coloro che attraverso la paura della morte furono per tutta la vita soggetti in schiavitu’. Poiche’ in verita’ Egli non prese su di se’ la natura degli angeli; ma prese su di se’ il seme di Abramo.

Per la qual ragione gli convenne di essere reso come i suoi confratelli, che Egli potesse essere un fedele e misericordioso alto sacerdote nelle cose che riguardano Dio, per riconciliare i peccati del popolo. Poiche’ in quello che Egli stesso ha sofferto venendo tentato, Egli e’ in grado di soccorrere coloro che vengono tentati.

Pertanto, santi confratelli, partecipi della chiamata divina, considerate l’Apostolo e l’Alto Sacerdote della nostra professione, Gesu’ Cristo; che fu fedele a Colui che lo designo’, come anche Mose’ fu fedele in tutta la sua casa. Poiche’ quest’Uomo fu ritenuto degno di maggior gloria che Mose’, in quanto colui che ha costruito la casa ha piu’ onore che la casa. Poiche’ ogni casa e’ costruita da qualche uomo, ma colui che costrui’ ogni cosa e’ Dio.

E Mose’ davvero fu fedele in tutta la sua casa, come un servo, per una testimonianza di quelle cose che dovevano essere parlate dopo; ma Cristo come un figlio sopra la sua propria casa; la cui casa siamo noi, se restiamo fermi nella confidenza e la gioia della speranza fino alla fine.

Perche’, come lo Spirito Santo disse, Oggi se udite la Sua voce, non indurite i vostri cuori, come nella provocazione, nei giorni di tentazione nel deserto: quando i vostri padri mi tentarono, mi misero alla prova, e videro le mie opere per quarant’anni. Percio’ fui addolorato con quella generazione, e dissi, Essi sono sempre in errore nei loro cuori; e non hanno conosciuto i miei modi. Cosi’ Io giurai nella mia ira, Essi non entreranno nel Mio riposo.

Fate attenzione, confratelli, per evitare che in qualcuno di voi vi sia un cuore malvagio di incredulita’, in separazione dal Dio vivente. Ma esortatevi l’un l’altro ogni giorno, mentre e’ chiamato Oggi; per evitare che qualcuno di voi sia indurito attraverso la finzione del peccato.

Poiche’ noi siamo resi partecipi di Cristo, se manteniamo il principio della nostra fiducia fermo fino alla fine; mentre viene detto, Oggi se voi udite la Sua voce, non indurite i vostri cuori, come nella provocazione. Poiche’ alcuni, quando ebbero udito, sfidarono: e pero’ non tutti quelli che vennero fuori dall’Egitto con Mose’.

Ma con chi fu Egli addolorato per quarant’anni? non fu con coloro che avevano peccato, le cui carcasse caddero nel deserto? Ed a chi giuro’ Egli che non sarebbero entrati nel Suo riposo, se non a quelli che non credettero? Percio’ noi vediamo che essi non potettero entrarvi a causa dell’incredulita’.

Che si tema quindi, per evitare che, venendoci lasciata una promessa di essere accolti nel Suo riposo, qualcuno di voi dovesse apparire di non esserne degno. Poiche’ a noi la parola fu predicata, proprio come a loro: ma la parola predicata non diede loro profitto, non essendo unita con la fede in coloro che la udirono.

Poiche’ noi che abbiamo creduto entriamo nel riposo, come Egli disse, Poiche’ Io ho giurato nella mia ira, se essi entreranno nel Mio riposo: sebbene le opere fossero completate sin dalla fondazione del mondo. Poiche’ Egli parlo’ in un certo posto del settimo giorno in questa maniera, E Dio riposo’ il settimo giorno da tutte le sue opere. Ed in questo posto ancora, Se essi entreranno nel Mio riposo. Si vede quindi che rimane che alcuni devono entrarvi, e coloro ai quali per primo fu predicato non vi entrarono a causa dell’incredulita’: ancora, Egli restrinse un certo giorno, dicendo in Davide, Oggi, dopo cosi’ tanto tempo; come e’ detto, Oggi se voi udirete la Sua voice, non indurite i vostri cuori.

Poiche’ se Joshua avesse dato loro il riposo, allora Egli non avrebbe parlato dopo di un altro giorno. Rimane quindi un riposo per il popolo di Dio. Poiche’ colui che e’ entrato nel Suo riposo, ha anche cessato dai suoi propri lavori, come Dio fece dai suoi.

Lavoriamo dunque per entrare in quel riposo, per evitare che alcun uomo cada nello stesso esempio di incredulita’. Poiche’ la parola di Dio e’ spedita, e potente, e piu’ affilata di qualsiasi spada a doppio taglio, penetrante fino a dividere in pezzi anima e spirito, ed i giunti e il midollo, ed ha discernimento dei pensieri e degli intenti del cuore. Neppure esiste alcuna creatura che non sia manifesta al Suo sguardo: ma ogni cosa e’ nuda ed aperta per gli occhi di Colui col quale abbiamo a che fare.

Vedendo allora che noi abbiamo un grande Alto Sacerdote, che e’ passato nei cieli, Gesu’ il Figlio di Dio, che noi si tenga ferma la nostra professione. Poiche’ noi non abbiamo un alto sacerdote che non puo’ essere toccato dal senso delle nostre infermita’; ma fu in ogni punto tentato come noi siamo, eppure senza peccato. Che noi si avanzi quindi con baldanza davanti al trono di grazia, che si possa ottenere misericordia e trovare grazia che aiuti nel tempo del bisogno.

Poiche’ ogni alto sacerdote preso dagli uomini e’ ordinato per gli uomini nelle cose che spettano a Dio, che egli possa offrire sia doni che sacrifici per i peccati: che possa avere compassione per il profano, e per coloro che sono fuori strada; per il fatto che anch’egli stesso e’ circondato da infermita’. E per tal ragione egli deve, come per il popolo, cosi’ anche per se stesso, fare offerte per i peccati. E nessun uomo prende quest’onore in se stesso, ma solo colui che e’ chiamato da Dio, come lo fu Aronne.

Cosi’ anche non Cristo glorifico’ se stesso per essere fatto alto sacerdote; ma Colui che gli disse, Tu sei mio Figlio, questo giorno Io ti ho generato. Come Egli disse anche in un altro posto, Tu sei un sacerdote per sempre secondo l’ordine di Melchisedec. Che nei giorni della sua carne, quando ebbe offerto preghiere e suppliche con ferventi grida e lacrime a Colui che era capace di salvarlo dalla morte, e fu udito in cio’ che temeva; sebbene egli fosse un Figlio, e pure apprese l’obbedienza dalle cose che sopporto’; ed essendo reso perfetto, Egli divenne l’autore dell’eterna salvezza in tutti coloro che lo obbediscono; chiamato da Dio alto sacerdote secondo l’ordine di Melchisedec.

Del quale noi abbiamo molte cose da dire, e dure da esprimere, vedendo che voi siete lenti a comprendere. Poiche’ quando e’ gia’ tempo che voi dovreste essere maestri, voi avete ancora bisogno che qualcuno vi insegni quali sono i principi fondamentali degli oracoli di Dio; e siete diventati tali che avete bisogno di latte, e non di cibo solido. Poiche’ chiunque che usi latte e’ inesperto nella parola di giustizia: perche’ egli e’ un infante. Ma il cibo solido e’ per coloro che sono nell’eta’ matura, proprio coloro che a ragione d’uso hanno esercitato i loro sensi nel discernimento  del bene e del male.

Pertanto lasciando i principi della dottrina del Messia, andiamo verso la perfezione, non ponendo di nuovo le fondamenta del pentimento per opere morte, e di fede verso Dio, della dottrina del battesimo, e dell’imposizione delle mani, e della resurrezione dei morti, e del giudizio eterno. E questo faremo, se Dio lo permette.

Poiche’ e’ impossibile per coloro che una volta erano illuminati, e hanno assaporato dei doni divini, e furono resi partecipi dello Spirito Santo, e hanno gustato la buona parola di Dio, ed i poteri del mondo a venire, se cadranno, rinnovarli ancora al pentimento; vedendo che essi crocifiggono a se stessi nuovamente il Figlio di Dio, e lo espongono apertamente alla vergogna. Poiche’ la terra che si nutre nella pioggia che spesso viene su di essa, e produce frutti adatti per coloro dai quali e’ preparata, riceve benedizioni da Dio: ma quella che accoglie spine e rovi e’ scartata, ed e’ vicina alla maledizione; il cui destino e’ di essere bruciata.

Ma, diletti, noi siamo persuasi di cose migliori da voi, e cose che accompagnano la salvezza, sebbene parliamo in questo modo. Poiche’ Dio non e’ ingiusto da dimenticare le vostre opere ed i lavori di amore, che voi avete mostrato verso il suo nome, in cio’ che voi avete provveduto ai santi, e vi provvedete. E noi desideriamo che ognuno di voi mostri la stessa diligenza alla piena sicurezza della speranza fino alla fine: che voi non siate indolenti, ma seguaci di coloro che attraverso fede e pazienza ereditano la promessa.

Perche’ quando Dio fece la promessa ad Abramo, poiche’ non poteva giurare su nessuno piu’ grande, Egli giuro’ su se stesso, dicendo, Sicuramente benedicendo Io ti benediro’, e moltiplicando Io ti moltiplichero’. E cosi’, dopo aver pazientemente sopportato, egli ottenne la promessa.

Poiche’ gli uomini davvero giurano sul piu’ grande: ed un giuramento a conferma e’ per loro la fine di ogni disputa. Laddove Dio, volendo mostrare piu’ copiosamente agli eredi della promessa l’immutabilita’ del suo consiglio, lo confermo’ con un giuramento: che da due cose immutabili, in quanto e’ impossibile che Dio menta, noi potessimo avere una forte consolazione, che siamo fuggiti per rifugio onde tener stretta la speranza che ci e’ posta davanti: la qual speranza noi abbiamo come un’ancora dell’anima, allo stesso tempo sicura e costante, e che penetra in cio’ che e’ oltre il velo; dove il precursore e’ entrato per noi, proprio Gesu’, fatto alto sacerdote per sempre secondo l’ordine di Melchisedec.

Poiche’ questo Melchisedec, re di Salem, sacerdote del Dio supremo, che incontro’ Abramo che tornava dall’eccidio dei re, e lo benedi’; al quale Abramo diede anche la decima parte di tutto; per interpretazione essendo innanzitutto Re di giustizia, e dopo quello anche Re di Salem, e cioe’, Re di pace; senza padre, senza madre, senza discendenza, non avendo ne’ inizio di giorni, ne’ fine di vita; ma reso come simile al Figlio di Dio, rimane un sacerdote in continuazione.

Ora considerate quanto grande fosse quest’uomo, al quale perfino il patriarca Abramo diede il decimo delle spoglie. E davvero coloro che sono i figli di Levi, che ricevono l’ufficio del sacerdozio, hanno un comandamento di prendere decime dal popolo secondo la legge, e cioe’, dai loro confratelli, sebbene essi vennnero fuori dai lombi di Abramo: ma egli la cui discendenza non e’ computata da loro ricevette decime da Abramo, e benedisse colui che aveva la promessa. E senza alcuna contraddizione il minore e’ benedetto dal migliore.

E qui uomini che muoiono ricevono decime; ma li’ egli le ricevette, del quale e’ testimoniato che egli vive. E come posso cosi’ dire, anche Levi, che riceve decime, pago’ decime in Abramo. Poiche’ egli era ancora nei lombi di suo padre, quando Melchisedec lo incontro’. Se dunque la perfezione fosse dal sacerdozio Levitico, (poiche’ sotto di esso il popolo ricevette la legge), quale bisogno ulteriore vi era che un altro sacerdote dovesse sorgere secondo l’ordine di Melchisedec, e non essere chiamato secondo l’ordine di Aronne? Perche’ venendo cambiato il sacerdozio, vi e’ necessariamente un cambiamento anche della legge.

Poiche’ colui del quale queste cose sono parlate appartiene ad un’altra tribu’, dalla quale nessun uomo diede servizio all’altare. Poiche’ e’ evidente che il nostro Signore sorse da Giuda; della qual tribu’ Mose’ non parlo’ per niente concernente il sacerdozio. Ed e’ ancora molto piu’ evidente: per quello che secondo la similitudine di Melchisedec sorge un altro sacerdote, che e’ fatto, non secondo la legge di un comandamento carnale, ma secondo il potere di una vita senza fine. Poiche’ Egli testimonia, Tu sei un sacerdote per sempre secondo l’ordine di Melchisedec.

Poiche’ vi e’ invero un annullamento del comandamento in vigore prima a causa della sua debolezza e mancanza di profitto. Poiche’ la legge non rese niente perfetto, ma l’apporto di una migliore speranza lo fece; per mezzo della quale noi ci avviciniamo a Dio. Ed in quanto che non senza un giuramento Egli fu fatto sacerdote (poiche’ quei sacerdoti venivano fatti senza un giuramento; ma questo con un giuramento da Colui che gli disse, Il Signore giuro’ e non si pentira’, Tu sei un sacerdote per sempre secondo l’ordine di Melchisedec): da cosi’ tanto fu Gesu’ reso una certezza di un migliore testamento.

Ed essi veramente furono molti sacerdoti, perche’ non gli fu permesso di continuare a ragione della morte: ma quest’uomo, poiche’ Egli continua per sempre, ha un sacerdozio immutabile. Per la qual ragione Egli e’ anche capace di salvare alla perfezione coloro che vengono a Dio tramite lui, vedendo che Egli vive per intercedere per loro. Poiche’ un tale alto sacerdote conveniva a noi, che e’ santo, incapace di far male, senza macchia, separato dai peccatori, e reso piu’ alto dei cieli; che non ha bisogno quotidianamente, come quegli alti sacerdoti, di offrire sacrifici, prima per i suoi propri peccati, e poi per quelli del popolo: poiche’ questo Egli lo fece una volta e per sempre, quando offri’ se stesso. Poiche’ la legge fa’ alti sacerdoti uomini che hanno infermita’; ma la parola del giuramento, che fu dopo la legge, ordina il Figlio, che e’ consacrato per sempre.

Ora delle cose di cui abbiamo parlato questo e’ il sunto: noi abbiamo un alto sacerdote siffatto, che e’ posto alla destra del trono della Maesta’ nei cieli; un ministro del santuario, e del vero tabernacolo, che il Signore eresse, e non l’uomo. Poiche’ ogni alto sacerdote e’ ordinato per offrire doni e sacrifici: pertanto e’ di necessita’ che anche quest’Uomo ha alquanto da offrire.

Poiche’ se fosse sulla terra, Egli non dovrebbe essere un sacerdote, vedendo che ci sono sacerdoti che offrono doni secondo la legge: che servono nell’esempio ed ombra delle cose divine, come Mose’ fu esortato da Dio quando stava per fare il tabernacolo: poiche’, Vedi, Egli disse, che tu faccia tutte le cose secondo il modello svelato a te sul monte.

Ma ora Egli ha ottenuto un ministero piu’ eccellente, per cosi’ tanto Egli e’ anche il mediatore di un patto migliore, che fu stabilito su promesse migliori. Poiche’ se quel primo accordo fosse stato perfetto, allora nessun posto dovrebbe essere stato cercato per il secondo. Poiche’ trovando difetto con loro, egli dice, Ecco, vengono i giorni, dice il Signore, quando Io faro’ un nuovo patto con la casa di Israele e la casa di Giuda: non secondo il patto che Io feci con i loro padri nel giorno quando li presi per mano per condurli fuori della terra di Egitto; perche’ essi non continuarono nel mio accordo, ed Io non ebbi considerazione per loro, dice il Signore.

Poiche’ questo e’ il patto che Io faro’ con la casa di Israele dopo quei giorni, dice il Signore; Io porro’ le mie leggi nella loro mente, e le scrivero’ nei loro cuori: ed Io saro’ per loro Dio, ed essi saranno per me un popolo. Ed essi non insegneranno, ogni uomo il suo vicino, ed ogni uomo il suo fratello, dicendo, Conosci il Signore: poiche’ tutti mi conosceranno, dall’ultimo al piu’ grande. Poiche’ Io saro’ misericordioso verso la loro ingiustizia, ed i loro peccati e le loro iniquita’ Io piu’ non ricordero’.

In cio’ che Egli dice, Un nuovo patto, Egli ha reso il primo usato. Ora cio’ che decade e diventa vecchio e’ pronto per svanire.

Allora davvero il primo patto aveva anche ordinanze di servizio divino, ed un santuario mondano. Poiche’ vi era un tabernacolo fatto; il primo, dove era il candeliere, ed il tavolo, ed il pane sacerdotale; che e’ chiamato il santuario. E dopo il secondo velo, il tabernacolo che e’ chiamato il Santissimo; che ha l’incensiere dorato, e l’arca del patto ricoperta tutta intorno con oro, dove vi era la pentola dorata che ebbe la manna, ed il bastone di Aronne che germoglio’, e le tavole del patto; e sopra di essa i cherubini della gloria ombreggianti il seggio propiziatorio; del quale adesso non possiamo parlare in dettaglio.

Ora quando queste cose erano cosi’ ordinate, i sacerdoti andavano sempre nel primo tabernacolo, adempiendo il servizio di Dio. Ma nel secondo andava solo l’alto sacerdote una volta ogni anno, non senza sangue, che egli offriva per se stesso, e per le colpe del popolo: questo denotando lo Spirito Santo, che la via per il Santissimo non era ancora resa manifesta, mentre che il primo tabernacolo ancora permaneva: che era figurativo per il tempo allora presente, nel quale erano offerti sia doni che sacrifici, che non potevano rendere perfetto colui che rendeva il servizio, per quanto riguarda la coscienza; che consistevano solo in cibi e bevande, e varie abluzioni, ed ordinanze carnali, su di loro imposte fino al tempo della riforma.

Ma essendo venuto Cristo alto sacerdote di buone cose a venire, per mezzo di un tabernacolo piu’ grande e perfetto, non fatto con le mani, che vuol dire, non di questa creazione; nemmeno per mezzo del sangue di capre e vitelli, ma del suo proprio sangue egli entro’ una volta nel luogo santo, avendo ottenuto una redenzione eterna per noi. Poiche’ se il sangue di tori e di capre, e le ceneri di una giovenca aspergente l’impuro, santificano per la purificazione della carne: quanto ancor di piu’ il sangue di Cristo, che attraverso lo Spirito eterno offri’ se stesso senza macchia a Dio, purifichera’ la vostra coscienza da opere morte per servire il Dio vivente?

E per questo motivo Egli e’ il mediatore del nuovo testamento, che per mezzo della morte, per la redenzione delle trasgressioni che furono sotto il primo testamento, coloro che son chiamati potessero ricevere la promessa dell’eredita’ eterna. Poiche’ ove vi e’ un testamento, ci deve di necessita’ anche essere la morte del testatore. Poiche’ un testamento e’ in vigore dopo che gli uomini sono morti: altrimenti non ha alcuna forza mentre il testatore vive.

Per la qual ragione neppure il primo testamento fu dedicato senza sangue. Poiche’ quando Mose’ ebbe parlato ogni precetto a tutto il popolo secondo la legge, egli prese il sangue di vitelli e di capre, con acqua, e lana scarlatta, ed issopo, ed asperse sia il libro, e tutto il popolo, dicendo, Questo e’ il sangue del testamento che Dio vi ha ingiunto. Inoltre egli asperse con sangue sia il tabernacolo, e tutti i recipienti del ministero. E quasi tutte le cose sono dalla legge purificate con sangue, e senza versamento di sangue non vi e’ remissione.

Era pertanto necessario che i modelli delle cose nei cieli dovessero essere purificate con questi; ma le cose divine stesse con sacrifici migliori che questi. Poiche’ Cristo non e’ entrato nei luoghi santi fatti con le mani, che sono figurativi di cio’ che e’ vero; ma nel Cielo stesso, per apparire ora nella presenza di Dio per noi: non che Egli debba sovente offrire ancora se stesso, come l’alto sacerdote entrava nel luogo santo ogni anno con sangue di altri; perche’ allora dovrebbe Egli aver sovente sofferto dalla fondazione del mondo: invece una sola volta adesso nella fine dei tempi e’ Egli apparso per disporre del peccato con il sacrificio di se stesso. E come e’ determinato per gli uomini di morire prima, ma dopo questo il giudizio: cosi’ Cristo fu una volta offerto per sopportare i peccati di molti; ed a coloro che lo cercano Egli apparira’ la seconda volta senza che vi sia peccato verso la salvezza.

Poiche’ avendo la legge un’ombra delle buone cose da venire, e non la vera immagine delle cose, con quei sacrifici che essi offrivano continuamente anno dopo anno mai poteva rendere perfetti quelli che vi si approcciavano. Perche’ allora non avrebbero essi cessato dall’essere offerti? per quello che gli adoratori una volta purificati non avrebbero piu’ dovuto avere coscienza dei peccati. Ma in quei sacrifici vi e’ ancora fatta rimembranza dei peccati ogni anno. Poiche’ non e’ possibile che il sangue di tori e di capre debbano togliere via i peccati.

Per la qual ragione quando Egli viene nel mondo, dice, Sacrifici ed offerte Tu non vorresti, ma hai preparato un corpo per me: in offerte bruciate e sacrifici per il peccato Tu non hai avuto piacere. Allora Io dissi, Ecco Io vengo (nel volume del Libro e’ scritto di me), per fare il Tuo volere, o Dio.

Quando Egli dice sopra, Sacrifici ed offerte e offerte bruciate e offerte per il peccato Tu non vorresti, neppure hai piacere in essi; che sono offerti per la legge; allora Io dissi, Ecco, Io vengo per fare il Tuo volere, o Dio; Egli porta via il primo, che possa stabilire il secondo. Per il qual volere noi siamo santificati attraverso l’offerta del corpo di Gesu’ Cristo una volta per tutte.

Ed ogni sacerdote sta in piedi quotidianamente servendo ed offrendo molte volte gli stessi sacrifici, che mai possono portar via i peccati: ma quest’Uomo, dopo che ebbe offerto un solo sacrificio per i peccati, sedette alla destra di Dio; da allora in poi aspettando fino a che i suoi nemici siano resi il suo sgabello. Poiche’ per mezzo di una sola offerta Egli ha perfezionato per sempre coloro che sono santificati.

Di che anche lo Spirito Santo ci e’ testimone: poiche’ dopo quello Egli aveva prima detto, Questo e’ il patto che Io faro’ con loro dopo quei giorni, dice il Signore, Io porro’ le mie leggi nei loro cuori, e nelle loro menti le scrivero’; ed i loro peccati e le loro iniquita’ non piu’ Io ricordero’. Ora dove vi e’ remissione di questi, non vi e’ piu’ offerta per il peccato.

Avendo pertanto, confratelli, audacia di entrare nel Santissimo per mezzo del sangue di Gesu’, con un modo nuovo e vivente, che Egli ha consacrato per noi, attraverso il velo, che e’ per cosi’ dire, la sua carne; e avendo un alto sacerdote sopra la casa di Dio; avviciniamoci con un cuore vero in piena sicurezza di fede, avendo asperso i nostri cuori da una cattiva coscienza, e lavato i nostri corpi con acqua pura. Manteniamo salda la professione della nostra fede senza vacillare; (poiche’ e’ degno di fede Colui che promise); e valutiamoci l’un l’altro per suscitarci all’amore ed alle buone opere: non abbandonando l’adunanza di noi stessi insieme, come e’ la maniera di alcuni; ma esortandoci l’un l’altro: e cosi’ tanto di piu’, in quanto voi vedete il Giorno avvicinarsi.

Poiche’ se noi pecchiamo volontariamente dopo che abbiamo ricevuto la conoscenza della verita’, li’ non rimane piu’ sacrificio per i peccati, ma una certa spaventosa aspettativa di giudizio e fiera indignazione, che divorera’ gli avversari. Colui che sdegnava la legge di Mose’ moriva senza misericordia sotto due o tre testimoni: di quanta piu’ dolorosa punizione, supponete voi, sara’ considerato degno colui che ha calpestato il Figlio di Dio, e ha ritenuto il sangue del patto, con il quale egli fu santificato, una cosa empia, e ha agito in dispetto dello Spirito di grazia? Poiche’ noi conosciamo Colui che ha detto, La vendetta appartiene a me, Io ripaghero’, dice il Signore. E ancora, Il Signore giudichera’ il suo popolo. E’ una cosa terrificante cadere nelle mani del Dio vivente.

Ma chiamate al ricordo i giorni passati, nei quali, dopo che foste illuminati, voi sopportaste una gran lotta di afflizioni; in parte, mentre foste resi uno spettacolo sia da rimproveri e da tormenti; ed in parte, mentre diveniste compagni di coloro che furono cosi’ abusati. Poiche’ voi aveste compassione di me nelle mie catene, e prendeste con gioia lo sciupo dei vostri beni, sapendo in voi stessi che avete in cielo migliori e durature sostanze.

Non gettate via dunque la vostra fiducia, che ha una grande ricompensa in premio. Poiche’ voi avete bisogno di pazienza, in modo che, avendo fatto il volere di Dio, possiate ricevere la promessa. Poiche’ ancora un poco, e Colui che deve venire verra’, e non indugera’. Ora il giusto vivra’ per fede: ma se qualsiasi uomo si ritira, la mia anima non si compiacera’ in lui. Ma noi non siamo di coloro che si ritraggono nella perdizione; ma di coloro che credono verso la salvezza dell’anima.

Ora la fede e’ la sostanza di cose sperate, l’evidenza di cose non viste. Poiche’ per essa gli anziani ottennero una buona testimonianza. Per mezzo della fede noi capiamo che i mondi furono incorniciati dalla Parola di Dio, cosi’ che le cose che son viste non furono fatte di cose che si manifestano.

Per fede Abele offri’ a Dio un sacrificio piu’ eccellente di Caino, per il quale egli ottenne testimonianza che egli era giusto, Dio dando testimonianza dei suoi doni: e da cio’ egli essendo morto ancora parla. Per fede Enoch fu tradotto che egli non dovesse vedere la morte; e non fu trovato, perche’ Dio lo aveva tradotto: poiche’ prima del suo trasferimento egli aveva questa testimonianza, che egli compiaceva Dio. Ma senza fede e’ impossibile compiacerlo: poiche’ colui che viene a Dio deve credere che Egli e’, e che Egli premia coloro che diligentemente lo cercano.

Per fede Noe’, essendo avvertito da Dio di cose ancora non viste, si mosse con timore, preparo’ un’arca per la salvezza della sua casa; per la quale egli condanno’ il mondo, e divenne erede della giustizia che e’ per fede.

Per fede Abramo, quando egli fu chiamato ad andare in un posto che doveva dopo ricevere come un’eredita’, obbedi’; e ando’, non sapendo dove andava. Per fede egli soggiorno’ nella terra della promessa, come in una terra straniera, dimorando in tende con Isacco e Giacobbe, gli eredi con lui della stessa promessa: poiche’ egli cercava una citta’ che abbia fondamenta, il cui costruttore e facitore sia Dio. Attraverso la fede anche Sara ricevette forza per concepire il seme, e fu sgravata di un bambino quando aveva passato l’eta’, perche’ ella giudico’ degno di fede Colui che aveva promesso.

Pertanto germogliarono li’ proprio da uno, ed egli tanto capace quanto un morto, cosi’ tanti in moltitudine come le stelle del cielo, ed innumerevoli come la sabbia che sta in riva al mare. Costoro tutti morirono in fede, non avendo ricevuto le promesse, ma avendole intraviste da lontano, e furono persuasi di esse, e le strinsero, e confessarono che essi erano stranieri e pellegrini sulla terra. Poiche’ coloro che dicono tali cose dichiarano apertamente che essi sono in cerca di una patria. E davvero, se essi fossero stati memori del paese dal quale erano usciti, potrebbero aver avuto l’opportunita’ di esservi ritornati. Ma ora essi cercano una patria migliore, e cioe’, una divina: dove Dio non si vergogna di essere chiamato loro Dio: poiche’ Egli ha preparato per loro una citta’.

Per fede Abramo, quando egli fu messo alla prova, offri’ Isacco: e colui che aveva ricevuto le promesse offri’ l’unigenito suo figlio, del quale fu detto, Che in Isacco il tuo seme sara’ chiamato: ritenendo che Dio fosse capace di rialzarlo, anche dai morti; da dove egli anche lo riebbe figurativamente.

Per fede Isacco benedisse Giacobbe ed Esau riguardo cose da venire. Per fede Giacobbe, quando era moribondo, benedisse entrambi i figli di Giuseppe; e rese il culto, appoggiandosi sulla cima del suo bastone. Per fede Giuseppe, quand’egli mori’, fece menzione della partenza dei figli di Israele; e diede comandi riguardo le sue ossa.

Per fede Mose’, quando fu nato, fu nascosto tre mesi dai suoi parenti, perche’ essi videro che egli era un figlio giusto; ed essi non furono spaventati dal comando del re. Per fede Mose’, quand’egli ebbe raggiunto l’eta’, rifiuto’ di essere chiamato il figlio della figlia del faraone; scegliendo piuttosto di soffrire afflizioni con il popolo di Dio, che godere i piaceri del peccato per una stagione; stimando la vergogna di Cristo piu’ grande dei tesori in Egitto: poiche’ egli ebbe rispetto verso la ricompensa del premio. Per fede egli abbandono’ l’Egitto, non temendo l’ira del re: poiche’ egli resistette, come vedendo Colui che non e’ visibile. Attraverso la fede egli mantenne la pasqua, e l’aspersione del sangue, per evitare che Colui che distrusse i primogeniti dovesse toccarli. Per fede essi passarono attraverso il mar Rosso come su terra asciutta: cosa che tentando di fare gli Egiziani furono affogati.

Per fede le mura di Gerico caddero, dopo che furono compassate per sette giorni. Per fede Rahab la prostituta non peri’ con quelli che non credevano, quand’ella ebbe ricevuto le spie in pace. E cosa diro’ in piu’? poiche’ il tempo non mi basterebbe per dire di Gideone, e di Barak, e di Sansone, e di Jefte; di Davide anche, e Samuele, e dei profeti: che per mezzo della fede soggiogarono regni, operarono giustizia, ottennero promesse, fermarono le fauci dei leoni, domarono la violenza del fuoco, scamparono il filo della spada, dalla debolezza furono resi forti, divennero valorosi in battaglia, misero in fuga le armate degli stranieri.

Le donne riebbero i loro morti rialzati di nuovo in vita: ed altri furono torturati, non accettando liberazione; ch’essi potessero ottenere una migliore risurrezione: ed altri ebbero prove di crudele derisione e flagellazione, si’, ed in piu’ di catene ed imprigionamenti: essi furono lapidati, furono segati a meta’, furono tentati, furono uccisi con la spada: essi vagabondarono intorno in pelli di capre e di pecore, essendo indigenti, afflitti, tormentati (dei quali il mondo non era degno): essi vagarono nei deserti, e nelle montagne, e nelle tane e caverne della terra.

E costoro tutti, avendo ottenuto una buona testimonianza attraverso la fede, non ricevettero la promessa: avendo Dio provveduto cose migliori per noi, ch’essi non dovessero essere resi perfetti senza di noi.

Per la qual ragione vedendo che noi anche siamo compassati con un cosi’ grande nugolio di testimoni, mettiamo da parte ogni pesantezza, ed il peccato che tanto facilmente ci assale, ed affrontiamo la competizione che ci e’ posta davanti, guardando a Gesu’, l’autore e perfezionatore della nostra fede, che per la gioia postagli davanti sopporto’ la croce, disprezzando la vergogna, ed e’ seduto alla destra del trono di Dio. Considerate lui che sopporto’ una tale contrapposizione di peccatori contro di lui, per evitare di essere fiacchi e vaghi nelle vostre menti.

Voi ancora non avete resistito fino al sangue, lottando contro il peccato. Ed avete dimenticato l’esortazione che parla a voi come a dei figli, Figlio mio, non sdegnare il castigo del Signore, e non sentirti mancare quando sei da Lui rimproverato: poiche’ il Signore castiga colui che ama, e punisce ogni figlio che accoglie. Se voi sopportate il castigo, Dio tratta con voi come con figli; poiche’ che figlio e’ colui che il padre non punisce? Ma se voi siete senza castigo, del quale tutti son partecipi, allora voi siete dei bastardi, e non figli.

Per di piu’ noi abbiamo avuto padri della nostra carne che ci hanno corretto, e noi demmo loro rispetto: non saremo noi molto meglio in soggezione al Padre degli spiriti, e vivremo? Poiche’ essi davvero per qualche giorno ci punirono secondo il loro proprio piacere; ma Egli per nostro profitto, che noi si possa essere partecipi della Sua santita’.

Ora nessun castigo al momento sembra essere piacevole, ma penoso: nonostante dopo esso guadagni il tranquillo frutto di giustizia a coloro che son da esso esercitati. Pertanto alzate le vostre mani che penzolano, e le deboli ginocchia; e rendete dritti i percorsi per i vostri piedi, per evitare che cio’ che e’ zoppo sia fatto uscire dalla strada; ma che sia piuttosto guarito.

Seguite la pace con tutti gli uomini, e la santita’, senza la quale nessun uomo vedra’ il Signore: analizzando con diligenza per evitare che qualcuno manchi della grazia di Dio; per evitare che qualsiasi radice di amarezza germogliando vi affligga, ed in tal modo molti siano contaminati; per evitare che vi sia qualche fornicatore, o persona profana, come Esau, che per un boccone di cibo vendette il suo diritto di nascita. Poiche’ voi sapete come dopo, quando avrebbe dovuto ereditare la benedizione, egli fu rifiutato: poiche’ egli non trovo’ posto di pentimento, sebbene egli lo cercasse attentamente con lacrime.

Poiche’ voi  non siete venuti al monte che poteva essere toccato, e che bruciava con fuoco, e neppure all’oscurita’, e tenebra, e tempesta, ed al suono di tromba, e la voce di parole; la qual voce coloro che la udirono supplicarono che la parola non fosse piu’ loro pronunciata; (poiche’ non potevano sopportare quello che era comandato, E se anche una bestia tocchi la montagna, essa sara’ lapidata, o trafitta con un dardo: e cosi’ terribile era la vista, che Mose’ disse, Io ho paura e tremo oltre misura): ma siete venuti al monte di Sion, e nella citta’ del Dio vivente, la Gerusalemme celeste, e ad una compagnia innumerevole di angeli, all’assemblea generale e chiesa dei primi nati, che stanno scritti in cielo, e a Dio il Giudice di tutti, ed agli spiriti di uomini giusti resi perfetti, ed a Gesu’ il mediatore del nuovo patto, ed al sangue dell’aspersione, che parla cose migliori di quello di Abele.

Fate attenzione a non rifiutare Colui che parla. Poiche’ se non scamparono coloro che rifiutarono cio’ che fu parlato sulla terra, molto di piu’ non scamperemo noi, se ci voltiamo via da Colui che parla dal cielo: la cui voce allora scosse la terra: ma ora Egli ha promesso, dicendo, E pure una volta ancora scuoto non solo la terra, ma anche il cielo.

E questa parola, E pure una volta ancora, significa la rimozione delle cose che sono scosse, come di cose che son fabbricate, che quelle cose che non possono essere scosse possano rimanere. In questo modo ricevendo noi un regno che non puo’ essere smosso, che noi si abbia grazia, con la quale si possa servire Dio in maniera accettabile con riverenza e timor divino: poiche’ il nostro Dio e’ un fuoco che consuma.

Lasciate che l’amore fraterno continui. Non siate dimentichi di ospitare stranieri: poiche’ in tal modo alcuni hanno ospitato angeli senza saperlo. Ricordatevi di coloro che sono in catene, come se foste incatenati con loro; e coloro che soffrono avversita’, come foste voi stessi anche nel corpo. Il matrimonio e’ onorabile in tutto, ed il suo letto incontaminato, ma Dio giudichera’ fornicatori e adulteri. La vostra conversazione sia senza avidita’; e siate contenti con quelle cose che avete: poiche’ Egli ha detto, Io non ti lascero’ mai, ne’ ti abbandonero’. In modo che noi si possa audacemente dire, Il Signore e’ il mio aiutante, ed io non temero’ cio’ che l’uomo mi fara’.

Ricordate coloro che hanno autorita’ su di voi, che vi hanno parlato la parola di Dio: la cui fede seguite, tenendo conto del fine del loro discorso. Gesu’ Cristo e’ lo stesso ieri, ed oggi, e per sempre. Non fatevi portare in giro con diverse e strane dottrine. Poiche’ e’ una buona cosa che il cuore sia stabilito con grazia; non con pietanze, che non hanno dato profitto a coloro che ivi sono stati occupati. Noi abbiamo un altare, del quale coloro che servono il tabernacolo non hanno diritto di mangiare.

Poiche’ i corpi di quelle bestie, il cui sangue e’ portato nel santuario dall’alto sacerdote per il peccato, sono bruciati fuori l’accampamento. Per la qual ragione anche Gesu’, ch’Egli potesse santificare il popolo con il suo proprio sangue, soffri’ fuori la porta. Andiamo dunque avanti verso di Lui fuori l’accampamento, sopportando il suo stesso disonore. Poiche’ qui noi non abbiamo una citta’ che stia, ma ne cerchiamo una da venire. Tramite Lui offriamo dunque il sacrificio di lode a Dio continuamente, e cioe’, il frutto delle nostre labbra rendendo grazie al Suo nome. Ma di far bene e condividere non dimenticate: poiche’ con tali sacrifici Dio e’ ben compiaciuto.

Obbedite coloro che hanno governo su di voi, e sottomettetevi: poiche’ essi vigilano per la vostra anima, come coloro che devono dare conto, che essi possano farlo con gioia, e non con dolore: poiche’ quello non e’ profittevole per voi. Pregate per noi: poiche’ noi confidiamo di avere una buona coscienza, in ogni cosa volendo vivere onestamente. Ma io vi scongiuro di preferenza di far questo, che io possa essere restituito a voi al piu’ presto.

Ora il Dio di pace, che riporto’ dai morti nostro Signore Gesu’, quel grande pastore di pecore, per mezzo del sangue del patto eterno, vi renda perfetti in ogni buona opera per fare il Suo volere, operando in voi cio’ che e’ ben piacevole al Suo sguardo, attraverso Gesu’ Cristo; al quale sia gloria in eterno. Amen.

E vi supplico, confratelli, tollerate la parola di esortazione: poiche’ io vi ho scritto una lettera in poche parole.

Sappiate che il nostro fratello Timoteo e’ posto in liberta’; con il quale, se egli viene in breve tempo, io vi vedro’. Salutate tutti coloro che hanno comando su di voi, e tutti i santi. Quelli d’Italia vi salutano. La grazia sia con voi. Amen.


July 10, 2018

A sinistra il Signore mise le capre.

Anche persone serie, come quella qui intervistata, impegnate in analisi perfino condivisibili, sia pur parzialmente, non riescono ad esimersi da un bel tuffo nel ridicolo quando si tratta di discutere la propria sinistra mitologia.

La Rivoluzione bolscevica in Russia, finanziata peraltro da una cricca di banchieri di New York, fu un bagno di sangue e poco altro. Il suffragio universale fu davvero utile ai lavoratori e contadini russi, non vi e’ dubbio, finalmente liberi di poter votare per il partito comunista E SOLO IL PARTITO COMUNISTA, prima di essere avviati allegramente nei gulag (campi di lavoro NON PAGATO, Hitler non invento’ niente) o esseri messi a morte per quelli che oggi chiameremmo reati di opinione. Per inciso, uno dei primi ukaz di Lenin fu quello di legalizzare l’omicidio dei viventi non ancora nati.

L’intermezzo fascista, come lo chiama lui, che aveva sostanzialmente matrice SOCIALISTA, sia in Italia che in Germania, fu reso necessario proprio per evitare cotanto progresso democratico ai popoli di quelle due nazioni ed aveva un genuino supporto popolare. I lavoratori se la passavano sicuramente meglio dei loro colleghi sovietici, e non solo loro: in sei anni la Germania da un cumulo di macerie divenne la seconda potenza industriale del mondo, e la nazione con il piu’ alto tenore di vita PER I CETI POPOLARI. Quei regimi erano inoltre molto meno sanguinari rispetto al mostro sovietico, sia pur nella condivisione di una sostanziale illiberalita’.

La mancanza di senso del ridicolo in cio’ che e’ sinistro non e’ certamente andata scemando con il passare del tempo. Nell’Italia del dopoguerra, tutti i diritti e le guarentigie ai cittadini ed ai lavoratori sono stati introdotti da leggi approvate da maggioranze a guida democristiana. Lo stato sociale in Italia e’ stato eretto dal potere democristiano, e le sue fondamenta erano FASCISTE. Quando la sinistra ha preso il potere in Italia, HA SMANTELLATO lo stato sociale e svuotato di ogni contenuto lo Statuto dei lavoratori, oltre a svendere tutta la ricchezza produttiva nazionale al capitale di rapina. Questi sono i fatti!

Tutta la storia del XX secolo dovrebbe portare ad una revisione critica del mito democratico, almeno nei suoi aspetti platealmente menzogneri. Ove non accompagnata da garanzie che siano EFFETTIVAMENTE sottratte alla dialettica politica contingente, la democrazia ha generato abomini che nessun monarca ha mai operato.

Il suffragio universale, tanto per cominciare, deve essere un qualcosa di cui SI DEVE ESSERE DEGNI. Il diritto di voto va tolto ai criminali, e l’eta’ minima per esercitarlo va ripensata. Non puo’ essere concesso a persone che della vita sostanzialmente non capiscono nulla, a parte l’indottrinamento appena ricevuto in quello che dovrebbe essere il sistema educativo.

Esso va mondato inoltre da ogni velleita’ taumaturgica. Dopo due anni di governo Monti, l’ottanta per cento degli elettori voto’ per le forze politiche che avevano sostenuto ed approvato ogni provvedimento di quel maledetto governo in Parlamento. Poi si lamentano….

Vanno infine sottratti EFFETTIVAMENTE ad ogni potere dispositivo del corpo elettorale tutte le liberta’ fondamentali delle persone e tutti i poteri statali che definiscono la SOVRANITA’ dello stesso. Solo in questo modo lo Stato potra’ finalmente raggiungere quello status di potere organizzativo e regolativo sostanzialmente neutro (rispetto alle persone ed ai gruppi di potere, NON rispetto ai valori), che e’ l’unica sua vera legittimazione nel ristretto ambito secolare.


June 29, 2018

by father John Whiteford

When St. Paul met with the presbyters in Ephesus for the last time, he left them with a warning:

“For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:29-30).

The truth of this warning has been demonstrated throughout Church history. The most devastating heresies in the history of the Church have been those which have arisen from within the Church. The reason why this is so was well summed up by Cicero:

“A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the plague.”

Of course the Church not only can, but always will, survive such traitors, because Christ has promised us this, but the damage done to souls by traitors from within is far greater than that done by foes from without for the reasons Cicero gives.

When the Bolsheviks were seeking to destroy the Russian Orthodox Church, they found a group of willing accomplices among its clergy, who supported communism, wanted to allow widowed priest to remarry, married priests to become bishops, the adoption of the new calendar, innovations in the services, and the acceptance of other novel teachings. This group formed the so called “Living Church.” The Bolsheviks did not create the Living Church out of thin air, they simply allowed renovationists from within the Church to establish their own version of “Orthodoxy,” as a means to undermine the real thing. For a time, it was even recognized as the legitimate ecclesiastical authority in Russia by the Patriarchate of Constantinople. However, the “Living Church” failed, because it was rejected by the faithful of the Russian Church, and when it became clear that it was no longer useful to the Soviets (since they had no real support), they were allowed to wither away, and finally disappear. But the damage done by the “Living Church” was very real and extensive.

Today, we see the beginnings of a new renovationist movement, and this group is so radical that it makes the “Living Church” look quite traditional by comparison. Among the ideas that they promote are the ordination of women as priestsecumenismmodernismliturgical innovations, and universalism. However, the most base part of their agenda is their promotion of relativism when it comes to Christian morality, and in particular, their promotion of the acceptance of homosexuality and transgenderism.

There are three online journals now which incessantly promote their renovationist agenda. “Public Orthodoxy,” “The Wheel,” and “Orthodoxy in Dialogue.” These journals have hardly attempted to camouflage their agenda, but they usually have tried to use enough weasel words to allow for some implausible deniability. Lately, however, they have become even more brazen.

The most recent issue of “The Wheel,” a journal whose general editor does not believe homosexuals need to remain celibate, and makes no secret of the fact, featured an introduction by no less than Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware). Since there are now several very thorough refutations of what he says, I won’t focus on it myself. I will only echo the disappointment expressed by many, as well as the appreciation for the many good things he has done in the past for the English speaking Orthodox world. I hope we discover that the real Metropolitan Kallistos has been kidnapped, and someone else is writing under his name, but the Metropolitan Kallistos of 10 years ago did not agree with the mealy-mouthed approach he takes now to homosexuality. The Orthodox Faith has not changed in the last 10 years, the only thing that has changed is that western culture has tipped on this question in favor of homosexuality. Whether his comments are due to the weakness of old age, or some other mitigating factor, God knows, and only God can judge his heart. However, we can and must discern whether his words are sound or not.

For the best articles answering Metropolitan Kallistos, see:

“Metropolitan Kallistos and The Wheel,” Fr. Lawrence Farley

“Ambiguity Serves No One: A Review of the Foreword by Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware) to the latest issue of The Wheel,” by Dr. Edith M. Humphrey

“Anatomy of a Foreword: Metr. Kallistos on Sexual Morality,” by Fr. John Cox.

What I would like to focus on in this article is the response of Sister Vassa to these articles, and then recent comments from Aristotle Papanikolaou of Fordham University, who has let the mask slip a bit more than most of these people have, thus far.

Sister Vassa Strikes Again

Sister Vassa herself has been the subject of controversy on the issue of homosexuality, but in a recent video, she defended at some length Metropolitan Kallistos’ recent article.

She argues that he is “just asking questions.” The problem is, he is just asking questions about matters that are not questionable. The Serpent just asked a question of Eve when he said: “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” (Genesis 3:1). Entertaining that question didn’t work out so well.

She asks why we can’t just give people like Metropolitan Kallistos the benefit of the doubt. The problem is, you can’t give someone the benefit of the doubt where no doubt is left. If someone had suggested that they heard tell that Metropolitan Kallistos was arguing that a gay couple that was in a committed relationship ought to be given communion, and that their spiritual father should take a “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach to their relationship, I would have given His Eminence the benefit of the doubt that he actually would have said such a thing. However, I think it is rather unlikely that “The Wheel” published a forgery written under his name, and so we have to deal with what he said, and we have to judge whether what he said was right or wrong.

Sister Vassa repeatedly questioned the qualifications of those who have responded to Metropolitan Kallistos, by saying that they are “not the peers” of this great man. This of course all depends on what you mean by “peers.” As a scholar, Dr. Edith Humphrey is certainly a peer. But as a bishop, the bishops of the rest of the Church are certainly his peers, and every time they have spoken on this issue, they have spoken with clarity that directly contradicts the mealy-mouthed approach taken by the article in question. But even the laity have the right and obligation to challenge a bishop who is in error. I am sure few of the faithful in Constantinople were the intellectual peers of the bishops who returned from the false council of Florence, having made a shameful and heretical union with Rome, but they felt like peers enough, as members of the Body of Christ, to not only disapprove of their union, but to greet them with a shower of debris of various sorts, in order to make their opinions unmistakably known. The people of God are the guardians of piety, as the Encyclical of the Eastern Patriarchs of 1848 (in reply to Pope Pius the IX) states. It is therefore not only permissible, but obligatory for all of the faithful, and even more so for the clergy, to oppose these attempts to infect our Church with the same heresies that have wreaked such havoc in mainline Protestant Churches, and are in the process of doing the same in the Roman Catholic Church.

Sister Vassa suggests that those criticizing this article are guilty of the sin of Ham. Ham’s sin was to reveal his father’s nakedness when he was drunk. Had Noah run around naked for all to see, Ham would not have been wrong to have suggested his father ought not to have done so. The nakedness here is the error of this article. The article was not made public by those criticizing it. If anyone is guilty of the sin of Ham, it is perhaps the editors of “The Wheel” who published the article in the first place, and I am sure that all of the critics of this article would have been far happier had someone committed the article to the shred bin, and thus actually covered the nakedness of His Eminence.

And to defend the article in question, Sister Vassa had to equivocate on what is in dispute here. She said:

“Some people want to pretend that there aren’t questions… we have all the answers… Is that true? Is that true, that we are finished perfect works as human beings? Or do we still need a little bit of work? Do we still need to be developed? Of course we do. We are all God’s precious works in progress. And we grow in our faith. We grow not only as individuals, but hopefully as Church… right? Can we imagine that we as the Church in this world have nothing else left to learn? Can that be possible?”

The question is not whether any of us are perfect, nor is the question whether any of us as individuals have all the answers. The question here is whether the indisputably consistent teachings of the Church on this issue, found in both Scripture and Tradition, are correct or not, or whether we might today be in a position to revise such clear and consistent teachings — teaching that even heretics have not generally disputed in Church history.

Metropolitan Kallistos suggests that somehow if a gay couple is in a committed relationship, this is a mitigating factor. However, the man in Corinth who was in a sexual relationship with his step mother was also in a committed relationship… and yet this does not seem to be a mitigating factor for St. Paul, who said that this man was to be barred from the fellowship of the Church until he repented (1 Corinthians 5-6). Likewise, Herod was in a committed relationship with Herodias, his brother Philip’s ex-wife, and yet St. John the Baptists did not suggest that this was a mitigating factor in his sin either (Mark 6:14-29). And in both cases, the sin was far less of a violation of the natural order than that of homosexuality.

Aristotle Papanikolaou Let’s the Mask Slip Further


For those of you who might be confused by the abbreviations and the Twitterisms here, let me put his statements into clearer English:

“One more thing: the heart of the debate is on what can be talked about in Orthodoxy.  [Public Orthodoxy, the online Journal he helps run] simply asserts that everything except the dogmas (statements of faith, not morality–contra[ry to Rod Dreher], whose ‘Orthodox morality’ is ironically a modern neologism) is up for discussion.”

Is there any basis for separating Orthodox dogma and Christian morality? No. Let’s go back to the very first Council of the Church, the Council of the Apostles in Jerusalem, recorded in Acts 15. The question was to what extent ought gentiles be held to obey the Mosaic Law. On one side, there were those who argued that gentiles had to become Jews, and live according to all of the ceremonial and moral laws of Moses. However, the Apostles said that gentiles were to be held instead to the basic laws God gave to Noah for all of mankind (see Genesis 9:1-17), and to the Moral Law of God, particularly with regard to sexual morality. They wrote to the gentile converts:

“…it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; that ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well” (Acts 15:.28-29).

Some will object that Christians do not observe what the Apostles wrote with regard to eating the blood of animals, but while this is generally true of the heterodox, it is not true of the Orthodox (See “Stump the Priest: The Council of Jerusalem on the Blood of Animals“).

And when the text speaks of “fornication,” the word is porneia (πορνεία), which refers to any sex which is unlawful, and in the Jewish and Christian context, this means any sexual relations forbidden by the moral law of God, as expressed in the Scriptures, including homosexual sex (see The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Volume 6, ed. Gerhard Kittel (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing, 1964-1976), p. 587-595) .

So is this decree of the Apostles, that all Christians must refrain from sexual immorality, dogma? Well the Scriptures say that this is exactly what it is. The Apostles obviously did not post their epistle to their website. The way this epistle was disseminated to gentile converts was by people like St. Paul himself. We are told in the chapter immediately following the record of the Council of Jerusalem that St. Paul and his companions delivered this epistle as they went on their next missionary journey:

“And as they went through the cities, they delivered to them for observance the decrees, that were ordained by the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem” (Acts 16:4).

And what is the Greek text for “the decrees”?  “τα δογματα” ta dogmata (i.e. the dogmas).

How far does Aristotle Papanikolaou think anyone would have gotten with St. Paul or any of the other apostles, if they had suggested that the dogma forbidding sexual immorality was up for debate? I would think that they would have had little patience with such an argument.

We seem to be heading into a period of Church history in which we will be increasingly confronted by renovationists of this kind. We must stand firm, and we must, as the People of God, reject what they are trying to sell.

M Y     U P D A T E

Response to Giacomo Sanfilippo, a hypocrite and lover of the abomination.

As for Inga Leonova, from several people it’s possible to hear the contrary of what has been assured to father John: namely, that she is in fact a lesbian. In any case, that does not really change anything about the matter.

The matter is not the personal sin of Inga Leonova; the matter is her promotion of the abomination, her cursed attempt to insinuate in the Holy Church of Christ a practice condemned and despised in the Scripture and by EVERY SINGLE HOLY FATHER of the Church. A practice that is an open rebellion to God and the constitutional order of His Creation, so hateful that the holy Fathers condemned the practice of anal sex even in lawfully married couple, giving them a stricter penance too.

She should be excommunicated from the Communion of Christ, until she repents (just like all the justifiers of the abomination, like Giacomo Sanfilippo and Aristotle Papanikolaou and George Demacopoulos and their kind). Their priests and their bishops will receive the greater condemnation.

She is another confirmation of the divine inspiration in the commandment of St. Paul: women must keep silence in the Church

Here some useful information about Inga Leonova and the background of the Lavender Mafia inside the OCA, in which she moves doing her filthy works.

I repeat, Christians should avoid even sharing the air in the same room with people like them!

Regarding Metropolitan Kallistos, he has forfeited his dignity as a shepherd of the Church of Christ. No Christian is entitled to the convinctions he has endorsed and shamefully made public, go figure if a Metropolitan is. Timothy Ware will get back the respect due to a bishop when he will show respect to the Church and her Holy Tradition, in repentance.


June 22, 2018

Orthodoxy   and   the   Kingdom   of   Satan

A   Solemn   Recapitulation


June 17, 2018

Essa e’ una cagata pazzesca, in qualsiasi salsa venga presentata.

Non vi e’ stata alcuna evoluzione dell’uomo. E men che meno dalle scimmie. Piuttosto vi e’ stata una regressione. L’uomo non discende dalla scimmia. L’uomo e’ diventato una scimmia!

Ridotto ad una bestia dagli adoratori della Bestia, egli adora l’immagine della Bestia.

E tale rimarra’, grazie anche a persone che riconoscono l’aberrazione di tale visione, come la persona qui intervistata, ma che nel loro orgoglio intelletuale e nella pavidita’ di fronte ad un’intimidazione sociale che essi stessi hanno interiorizzato, si rifiutano assolutamente di ritornare a Dio, che e’ l’unica cosa che possa spiegare la Sua immagine: l’Uomo!

In tal modo, essi si confinano in una mera antitesi alla tesi della Bestia, in una stanca dialettica che da secoli e secoli non puo’ fare altro che produrre la stessa sintesi, sia pur di volta in volta camuffata in una narrativa nuova di zecca, che nasconde sempre lo stesso padrone: il regno della Bestia.

E nel regno della Bestia, il dissenso puo’ anche essere tollerato (esso puo’ venir buono per la prossima antitesi, che verra’ sintetizzata da par suo da colui che e’ il padrone di ogni dialettica), purche’ non si nomini il nome di Dio, se non per deriderlo o bestemmiarlo.

E tutti i dissidenti e tutti i resistenti si adeguano di buon grado, nella vanita’ delle loro menti, consegnandosi al ben triste fato di contestare qualche stronzata qui e la’, purche’ il dogma fondamentale della separazione da Dio non venga toccato.

Oggi l’unico vero rivoluzionario e’ colui che confessa Dio in spirito e verita’. Il resto e’ composto da mandrie di piccoli borghesi, nelle mani dell’aristocrazia oscura.


April 25, 2018

The Almighty has no use for slaves. What good slaves can be to Him Who may whatever He wishes?

God cannot deny Himself. He made men in His image, and this means above all that He made us free, free to choose, and this freedom must be preserved at any cost.

Man must be free to choose life eternal, and life eternal is the voluntary submission to the will of God, out of love for Him and His statutes. It is the faith in God and His Word!

This willing submission, in spirit and truth, means the Cross in this world (Mat 16, 24), which men have willingly delivered to the evil one. He died for our sins!

The Cross thus encompass all the life of Christ, and it’s not a single, separate (though, materially, it is the culminating) moment of His redemption of mankind. In other words, Gethsemane and Golgotha are not separate, they constitute the same Cross, so that the specious polemics about the imagined heresy contained in the work of the ever-memorable Metropolitan Anthony of Kiev are just a waste of time, with all their trawl of braided misunderstandings.

To be sure, the Metropolitan’s work contains not a few flaws:

  • we are not guilty for the sin of Adam, but we inherit that sin, in our flesh; our flesh is not only the body, but also what make it a living body, the soul; our soul is however a living (and rational <= logos provided) soul too, by the Spirit breathed in us by God, whereby able to be a bridge between the body and the Spirit, so that it can bear the imprint of the Eternal; if our will (our existence) directs and uses the soul just as a bridge to the world, then man abdicate his kingship, to become only the most sophisticated and the most stupid of the animals at the same time, bartering the image of God for that of the Beast;
  • in Adam all have sinned because our flesh bears the mark of that sin, which make impossible for us to avoid sinning in our life in this world; the Son of God took our flesh from a Virgin just to redeem it, for only He could live in that flesh sinless and overcome the world, so being a ransom for many (all those who believe in Him) in His Body;
  • the regenerative principle in man is exactly the same as the generative principle of his living soul: the Holy Spirit; the love of Christ in His suffering for a fallen mankind and complete obedience in our flesh to God unto death, even the death on the cross, is the conduit through which the Holy Spirit proceeds anew to many (all those who believe in Him), through His Body; the fuse which ignite the regenerative principle is Faith.
  • the fulfilment by Christ of all righteousness is not secondary at all;
  • man is the union of a living soul and a body, perfectly united, with no confusion, no separation, so that there are no torments not shared by both in this life;
  • it is not correct to dismiss entirely His impending death when explaining the exceedingly sorrowful state of the Lord in Gethsemane, lest you dismiss the supreme podvig of the Son of Man: even knowing that death had no power over Him, death is a traumatic experience for every man, even that Man, above all for that Man, the Sinless One; for that death (with its outline of humiliations and sufferings) was the only unjust one, death having no power over Him; yet He had to suffer it as a necessary step in the fulfilment of His ministry; for that hour He had come unto the world, to die for our sins;
  • the comparison with the martyrs’ suffering is baseless, as Christ was without sin;
  • the idea of the sufferings of Christ as a sacrifice to the devil is pure silliness, bordering on blasphemy, and should not even be mentioned; the sacrifice of Christ is offered to God, out of infinite love for Him and His will: the salvation of man in the only way fit for the image of God, through his free will;
  • His death was necessary to destroy death (our fear of death, which put us in bondage to this world and his prince), with His Resurrection.

These flaws are anyway nothing in comparison to the fluffy intellectual slime produced by some of his critics, the usual legends in their own mind, who at time seem to be unaware that, without Christ, the cross is just a massive piece of wood and blood a commodity.

Metropolitan Anthony was fighting heresies, not producing them. His laudable struggle has not been devoid of imperfections, but it’s surely well grounded in the Orthodox understanding of our redemption, contrariwise to the outright heresies which were being taught into Orthodox academies so-called. Heresies so dear to the debauched future betrayers of the Tsar, still unrepentant thereafter, because in them they fancies about finding cloaks for their sins.

The fears and the reserves of blessed Seraphim of Platina about degenerates appropriating the work of Metropolitan Anthony to advance their filthy compromises with the spirit of the world, partially justified also by not always proper examples and language used by Vladika, were not without merit, but futile nevertheless: the devil used the Scripture to tempt the Lord, and his progeny always slither around the Scripture to take cover for their abomination; go figure what they are willing and capable to do with non-Scripture. What should we do? Stay silent? They would then use that silence in their slanderous theomachy.

The culminating moment of His Cross, His death on Golgotha, meant the destruction of death, because the perfect man (as Adam was called to be) is immune to its clutches.

The fallen man must die in order to avoid the perpetuation of evil and his perennial abode in sin. Death is a decree of mercy and imperium at the same time by God.

The perfect man had to die in order to be resurrected.

Christ, though sinless, had to die as a man in order to be resurrected, in the body, and free us from the bondage which subjects this world, because of the Fall, to the evil one, a bondage aptly summed up in a few words: the fear of death!

And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.

A sacrifice was necessary, indeed, the supreme sacrifice, offered to God for us, but to the satisfaction of nobody but us, our need to repent and atone for our sins, atonement made possible only by Him and through Him; and only in the measure that this satisfaction of our vital (in the true sense) needs is the good pleasure of God, then, to the satisfaction of God.

A sacrifice suffered by the Lord God, for thus it becometh Christ to fulfil all righteousness (Mat 3, 14), as divinely teached by St. Paul in his epistle to the Hebrew,

Death ought to be destroyed, but only in a way preserving our free choice, to join the Way (and this means the Cross in this world), teached by the Truth, to Life everlasting.

…with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

The perfect man was also the perfect God, because only the Son incarnated could accomplish that complete, voluntary and self-denying obedience.

No man after the Fall could do it.

As you know, the fall of logical beings, both angels and people, occurred through rebellion. When Christ came to bring back into balance that which had fallen, he did not deign, nor provide nor attempt nor decide to make that return by any other gate but that of obedience.

When Christ came, He had the power, as Lord of all to alter even the law of creation, because “He spoke and they were born, He commanded and they were made”. He is the craftsman. And yet, to prove the perfection of His Godly magnificence, He indicated that there should be a return to where the fall occurred. He was forced, therefore, to take on our own nature, to undergo a kind of selflessness that’s inconceivable for the thought process of logical beings and to persuade us, in practice, that our restitution could only succeed in this way.

Venerable Joseph of Vatopaidi

The perfect God had to become a man, because it was man who did need His salvation.

Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

That glorification, in absolute humility, obedience and submission (to God, not to men), restored to mankind the Way shown by the Truth to Life, a hope of salvation.

Just a hope, as man must still choose, every man. God cannot deny Himself.

Life eternal is the Faith in a faithful God and His Son, His Word, the Conveyor of His Holy Spirit: our Lord Jesus Christ!

And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

Why did Christ say the words: ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me’?

April 16, 2018

For it was meet that the Christ of God would accomplish all righteousness (Mat 3, 13-15).

Whereby the Giver of the Law submitted to all rituals and requirements of the Law, and the Word of Truth suffered all that was prophesied about Him.

Christ was quoting the first words of Psalm 21, which contains a prophesy about the humiliation and suffering of the Holy One of Israel. You can appreciate the astonishing precision of the words used by king David: he uses the exact words that the chief priests and the Pharisee did utter in mocking the Lord at His Golgotha, he describes exactly what the soldiers did with the garments of the Lord, and the excruciating dislocations upon the body’s limbs and the pain caused by the cross, and all the wounds inflicted upon Him.

Christ was telling them once more that they had not known the time of their visitation, that they were crucifying the Lord of Glory. Alas, there were no ears to hear!

My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? O my God, I cry in the day time, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.

But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel. Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them. They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.

But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him. 

But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother’s breasts. I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother’s belly. Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help.

Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion.

I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.

For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.

Seest thou how they labour for the truth against their will?

April 10, 2018

For they themselves came to Pilate, themselves asked, themselves sealed, setting the watch, so as to be accusers, and refuters one of another. And indeed when should they have stolen Him? on the Sabbath? And how? for it was not lawful so much as to go out. And even if they transgressed the law, how should they have dared, who were so timid, to come forth? And how could they also have been able to persuade the multitude? By saying what? By doing what? And from what sort of zeal could they have stood in behalf of the dead? expecting what recompense? what requital? Seeing Him yet alive and merely seized, they had fled; and after His death were they likely to speak boldly in His behalf, unless He had risen again? And how should these things be reasonable? For that they were neither willing nor able to feign a resurrection that did not take place, is plain from hence. He discoursed to them of a resurrection, and continually said, as indeed these very men have stated, “After three days I rise again.” If therefore He rose not again, it is quite clear that these men (having been deceived and made enemies to an entire nation for His sake, and come to be without home and without city) would have abhorred Him, and would not have been willing to invest Him with such glory; as having been deceived, and having fallen into the utmost dangers on His account. For that they would not even have been able, unless the resurrection had been true, to feign it, this does not so much as need reasoning.

For in what were they confident? In the shrewdness of their reasonings? Nay of all men they were the most unlearned. But in the abundance of their possessions? Nay, they neither had staff nor shoes. But in the distinction of their race? Nay, they were mean, and of mean ancestors. But in the greatness of their country? Nay, they were of obscure places. But in their own numbers? Nay, they were not more than eleven, and they were scattered abroad. But in their Master’s promises? What kind of promises? For if He were not risen again, neither would those be likely to be trusted by them. And how should they endure a frantic people. For if the chief of them endured not the speech of a woman, keeping the door, and if all the rest too, on seeing Him bound, were scattered abroad, how should they have thought to run to the ends of the earth, and plant a feigned tale of a resurrection? For if he stood not a woman’s threat, and they not so much the sight of bonds, how were they able to stand against kings, and rulers, and nations, where were swords, and gridirons, and furnaces, and ten thousand deaths by day, unless they had the benefit of the power and grace of Him who rose again? Such miracles and so many were done, and none of these things did the Jews regard, but crucified Him Who had done them, and were they likely to believe these men at their mere word about a resurrection? These things are not, they are not so, but the might of Him Who rose again brought them to pass.

People lie to obtain some sort of profit or to hide their shame. They do not lie to get insults, hard life, persecutions, unspeakable tortures and horrible deaths.

C H R I S T     I S     R I S E N ,    I N D E E D ! ! !

If any man be devout and loveth God, let him enjoy this fair and radiant triumphal feast! If any man be a wise servant, let him rejoicing enter into the joy of his Lord.

If any have laboured long in fasting, let him how receive his recompense. If any have wrought from the first hour, let him today receive his just reward. If any have come at the third hour, let him with thankfulness keep the feast. If any have arrived at the sixth hour, let him have no misgivings; Because he shall in nowise be deprived therefore. If any have delayed until the ninth hour, let him draw near, fearing nothing. And if any have tarried even until the eleventh hour, let him, also, be not alarmed at his tardiness.

For the Lord, who is jealous of his honour, will accept the last even as the first. He giveth rest unto him who cometh at the eleventh hour, even as unto him who hath wrought from the first hour.

And He showeth mercy upon the last, and careth for the first; And to the one He giveth, and upon the other He bestoweth gifts. And He both accepteth the deeds, and welcometh the intention, and honoureth the acts and praises the offering.

Wherefore, enter ye all into the joy of your Lord; Receive your reward, both the first, and likewise the second. You rich and poor together, hold high festival! You sober and you heedless, honour the day! Rejoice today, both you who have fasted and you who have disregarded the fast. The table is full-laden; feast ye all sumptuously. The calf is fatted; let no one go hungry away. Enjoy ye all the feast of faith: receive ye all the riches of loving-kindness.

Let no one bewail his poverty, for the universal Kingdom has been revealed. Let no one weep for his iniquities, for pardon has shown forth from the grave. Let no one fear death, for the Saviour’s death has set us free. He that was held prisoner of it has annihilated it.

By descending into Hell, He made Hell captive. He embittered it when it tasted of His flesh. And Isaiah, foretelling this, did cry: Hell, said he, was embittered when it encountered Thee in the lower regions.

It was embittered, for it was abolished. It was embittered, for it was mocked. It was embittered, for it was slain. It was embittered, for it was overthrown. It was embittered, for it was fettered in chains. It took a body, and met God face to face. It took earth, and encountered Heaven. It took that which was seen, and fell upon the unseen.

O Death, where is thy sting? O Hell, where is thy victory?

Christ is risen, and thou art overthrown! Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen! Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice! Christ is risen, and life reigns! Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave. For Christ, being risen from the dead, is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

To Him be glory and dominion unto ages of ages.

St. John Chrysostom


April 2, 2018

The Entry of the Lord into Jerusalem. Decani, Serbia. Fragment of fresco.

Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he was hungry. And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And at once the fig tree withered away. And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!

Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority? And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in likewise will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him? But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet. And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.

But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, the first.

Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, that the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.

Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it, but the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise.Last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, this is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.

When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? They saith unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.

Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, the stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, the kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.

Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk. And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teach the way of God in truth, neither care thou for any man: for thou regard not the person of men. Tell us therefore, what think thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? Show me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a denarius. And he said unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then said he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s. When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.

The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him, saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no offspring, left his wife unto his brother. Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh. And last of all the woman died also. Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her. Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine.

But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The son of David. He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, the LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? And no man was able to answer him a word, neither dared any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.

Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, saying: the scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, and love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.

Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor! Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold? And, whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty. Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift? Whoso therefore shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon. And whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein. And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon.

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, and say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?

Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.

Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall see me no more, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to show him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye all these things? Verily I say unto you, there shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.

Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place (whoso read, let him understand), then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains. Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house, neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day.

For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before.

Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.

Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.

Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. As the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

Know this, that if the master of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.

Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delays his coming; and shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; the lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looks not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: and I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with interest. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: and before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was hungry, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungry, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was hungry, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungry, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto his disciples,  Ye know that after two days is the feast of the  Passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.

Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed. And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the passover, that we may eat. And they said unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare? And he said unto them, Behold, when ye are entered into the city, there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he enter in. And ye shall say unto the master of the house, The Master saith unto thee, Where is the guest chamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples? And he shall shew you a large upper room furnished: there make ready. And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover.

When the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

Behold, the hand of him that betrayed me is with me on the table. And truly the Son of man goes, as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed! And they began to enquire among themselves, which of them it was that should do this thing.

There was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.

For whether is greater, he that sit at meat, or he that serve? is not he that sit at meat? but I am among you as he that serve. Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all. For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean.

So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me. Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.

When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake. Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved. Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake. He then lying on Jesus’ breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it? Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.

Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him. For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor. He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night.

Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him. Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you. A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards. Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake. Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice.

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.

Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me. These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe. Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me. But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.

I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

These things I command you, that ye love one another. If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.

If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.

But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.

These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.

But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you. But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.
Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father. Then said some of his disciples among themselves, What is this that he saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me: and, Because I go to the Father? They said therefore, What is this that he saith, A little while? we cannot tell what he saith.

Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, Do ye enquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me? Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.

A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man can take from you. And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.

These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father. At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.

His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb. Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God. Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe? Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

These words spoke Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.

I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.

I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou loved me before the foundation of the world.

O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.

When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the Brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples.

And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy. And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.

Judas also, which betrayed him, knew the place: for Jesus often resorted thither with his disciples. Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons. Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye? They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus said unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them. As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground.

Then asked he them again, Whom seek ye? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way: That the saying might be fulfilled, which he spake, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none.

Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus. Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?

Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him, And led him away to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year. Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.

And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple: that disciple was known unto the high priest, and went in with Jesus into the palace of the high priest. But Peter stood at the door without. Then went out that other disciple, which was known unto the high priest, and spake unto her that kept the door, and brought in Peter. Then saith the damsel that kept the door unto Peter, Art not thou also one of this man’s disciples? He saith, I am not. And the servants and officers stood there, who had made a fire of coals; for it was cold: and they warmed themselves: and Peter stood with them, and warmed himself.

The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine. Jesus answered him, I spoke openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing. Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said. And when he had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answerest thou the high priest so? Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me? Now Annas sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest.

And Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. They said therefore unto him, Art not thou also one of his disciples? He denied it, and said, I am not. One of the servants of the high priest, being his kinsman whose ear Peter cut off, saith, Did not I see thee in the garden with him? Peter then denied again: and immediately the cock crew.

Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death; but found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses, and said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days. And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? But Jesus held his peace.

And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy. What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death.

Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the Passover.

Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself. And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood. And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in. Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value; And gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord appointed me.

Pilate then went out unto them, and said, What accusation bring ye against this man? They answered and said unto him, If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee. Then said Pilate unto them, Take ye him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death: That the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spake, signifying what death he should die.

Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews? Jesus answered him, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me? Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done? Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. Pilate said unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and said unto them, I find in him no fault at all. But ye have a custom, that I should release unto you one at the passover: will ye therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews? Then cried they all again, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber.

Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands. Pilate therefore went forth again, and said unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him. Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate said unto them, Behold the man! When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate said unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him. The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.

When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid; And went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer. Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.

And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar. When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.

When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.

Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away. And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.

And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was:


This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin. Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews. Pilate answered, What I have written I have written.

Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which said, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did.

Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.

Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.

After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, said, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the spirit.

And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.

The Jews then, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. And again another scripture said, They shall look on him whom they pierced.

And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus. And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.

Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.

Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first. Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can. So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.

And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. And if this come to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him, and secure you. So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.

When the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.

Then Mary Magdalene runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said unto them, They have taken away the LORD out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him. Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre. So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, and the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.

Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed. For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.

But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, and seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my LORD, and I know not where they have laid him.

And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the LORD, and that he had spoken these things unto her.

And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him. And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?

And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not.

Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.

And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.

Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and said unto them, Peace be unto you. And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the LORD. Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.

But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the LORD. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.

And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My LORD and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, and said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things.

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.

After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself. There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples. Simon Peter said unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing. But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. Then Jesus said unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No. And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.

Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher’s coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea. And the other disciples came in a little ship; (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes. As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread.Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught. Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken. Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord. Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise.

This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead.

So when they had dined, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He said unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He said unto him, Feed my lambs. He said to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He said unto him, Feed my sheep. He said unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus said unto him, Feed my sheep.

Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou was young, thou girdest thyself, and walked whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he said unto him, Follow me.

Then Peter, turning about, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee? Peter seeing him said to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus said unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me. Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?

This is the disciple which testifies of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true. And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.



March 28, 2018


This story has so much to teach us all – but especially Orthodox bishops and priests. In this video one sees the marvelous response of God to one man’s determined and pained search for spiritual health and healing and his simple and humble acceptance of the providence of God.

Seraphim was born, baptized, confirmed and raised as a Lutheran, although a nominal observer, who later, for lack of fulfillment and meaning in his life, sought out eastern religious experiences. After passing through much suffering and pain as a result of opening himself up to the spirits present in these religions, the Mother of God herself visited Him and revealed to him the truth of Christ and the Church.

Initially received by chrismation, but not being healed of his spiritual ills, he was led again by God to a mountain monastery in Romania where he finally found freedom, healing and new life in Christ in Baptism – and where he finally, experientially understood «what this Orthodoxy is all about!»

This is a message that every Orthodox shepherd of souls needs to listen to attentively, for it comes from a man in search of healing for his soul – totally unaffected by, or even aware of, ecclesiastical politics, ecumenical perceptions or theories, or canonical or pastoral justifications of oikonomia.


This story is just a story about a man, and it does not signify anything at all. There are countless men baptized in the Orthodox Church who do not find freedom, healing and a new life in Christ afterward. Applying the same sick logic, we should find fault in the Baptism….. God forbid!!!

When a man is grafted lawfully in the Body of Christ, that is, according to the judgement of the ruling hierarch (even if that judgement is not correct, the hierarch will answer for it, not the man, who will belong to the Church nevertheless), that man is the only responsible for his lack of good fruits and worthy labors of repentance. Most of time, it happens because he is at fault in his discernment of the Body and the Blood of Christ; in particular cases, this sprouts out of monumental pride concealed in fake humility and zeal, as with this poor girl.

There are no magic rituals in the Church. As much as rituals are very important, no ritual will save you. The Pharisees performed perfectly all the rituals prescribed, rituals which had their foundation in God’s command as ours have; yet those bearers of rituals brought to maniacal exactitude crucified the Lord of Glory.

Chrismation is the seal of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is the very thing who is missing in all the Christian ecclesial forms which plague this world: they have the water and they have the words (in most cases), as a corpse has still the form of a man; what they lack is the Spirit who enlivens and sanctifies the water and the words.

For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days hence.

Baptism is the rebirth in the Lord; Chrismation is the baptism of the Holy Spirit; Eucharist is the direct and continuous nurture of the Holy Spirit through the Body and Blood of the Lord. The Church unites the three rituals in one: Baptism is immediately followed by Chrismation, and soon after comes the Eucharist; three distinct aspects of one ritual, with no confusion and no separation, in the same wise of the Most Holy Trinity, our God.

The partaking of divinity is not BY rituals, but THROUGH rituals, just like our spirit operates through the body, not by the body, and is not constrained by the body.  What sanctifies and saves is He who operates into the rituals. These fruitless polemics can be loved only by those who apparently think that in the Body of Christ you can have the Father without the Son or the Son without the Holy Spirit or the Holy Spirit without the Father, and so on and so forth, depending on some features and forms of the Body.

Water can be missing, but it’s not missing He Who sanctifies the water. Water can be missing because it already was, as the words already were, but above all because the aim is the sanctification of the man received in the Church, not of the water. This must never be forgotten, to avoid that simpletons come out claiming that, then, you can have Eucharist without the bread and the wine.

Sealed by the Holy Spirit, in the lawful judgement of the local bishop, in whom resides the power to loose and bind in earth as in heaven, a man belongs to the fullness of the Church, and let whoever denies it be anathema! What that man will do with that privilege is then something who depends ENTIRELY on him: he may also despise the Holy Spirit claiming that after His seal he still misses something to be a saint. What he lacks, instead, is a proper discernment of the Body of Christ, a discernment drowned in his poorly disguised haughtiness and in his worshipping of his feelings. Be assured that his feelings ARE NOT what Orthodoxy is all about: the Lord is!

In my poor understanding, the lawful judgement is missing in the local bishop if he receives heterodoxes without chrismation, which is always necessary. Through repentance and confession, only those who already belonged to the Church and were led astray may be accepted back. Yet even in this case, nobody should dare to claim that the heretics thus received do not belong to the fullness of the Church, as their nourishment with the Body and the Blood of the Lord will give them His Spirit too.

Divine power is the only power which cannot be abused, so that an unlawful judgement by the ruling hierarch, being an abuse of his power to bind and to loose, will not affect the receptacle of that judgement, and will stay entirely upon the shoulders of the bishop. It’s the main reason why the Church offers unceasing prayers for the ruling hierarchs. It is also the reason why unworthy bishops and priests cannot defile the Sacraments they perform.

I pray earnestly that father Peter will draw back from that slippery and extremely dangerous slope, as it is the straightest path to the abyss. He should rather concentrate his admirable efforts in the blessed fight against the pan-heresy of ecumenism toward the return to the Church Calendar, whose forsaking is a much more serious rift in the communion of the faithful than the different praxis in receiving heretics, as testified by the pitiful state of those jurisdictions still bowing down to the masonic coup of 1920.



March 3, 2018

This is a very interesting essay, but in my poor understanding it contains some major flaws. The consequence is that the author’s conclusions resemble dangerously those imagined in “River of Fire” by Kalomiros, so dear to all the snowflakes of Orthodisneyland. It’s a pity, as he is one of the soundest philosophical minds out there today, and he can surely do better than that evolutionist and (squared) schismatic.

The problem with him is that he puts his mind as the foundation in the path to the truth, just the fault he masterfully expose in his critic of the Western theological drift. He avoids that drift, just because he stays anchored to the Scripture and the holy Fathers, yet that is done out of love for his mind, not for the Truth. He’s come to the Church to satiate his mind, so that his mind, not crucified, will keep him fundamentally unchurched.

When he will understand that it’s humility to make you great in the eyes of the Lord, he will come and learn the Truth. Until then, the Truth will resist him, so that he will stay confined in that unsuspected place where very talented morons are found: a sound (carnal) mind.

First of all, he does not grasp fully that the nature of man is in the image of God; that means the incoercible freedom of his will. Therefore the restoration of human nature by Christ operates only in potency; to be fulfilled in act it needs the cooperation of the single man, and so it will be even in the eschaton: the unity of God in all with all will concern only those who have believed and struggled to live in His mode of being. God does not unite with evil, nor those who have rejected him will be allowed in the new heavens and earth, because they would not simply suffer the love of God: they would start their theomachy anew.

The resurrection in their bodies will happen because as men they rejected God and as men they will be judged. A man is not without his body. Their resurrection will be one of condemnation though, not unto Life (Whom they have rejected) but unto the second death. The Lord will resurrect unto Life the faithful in that Day (John 6, 40).

Note also that the Lord says “Depart from me, you cursed, you workers of iniquity…”, an exclamation of Imperium, which exclude any free adherence by them; au contraire, they plead with Him. There wouldn’t be any free departure by them; having the possiblity, they would stay attached gladly to the blessings of God and His works, and keep their fighting against Him. But history is accomplished that Day, there’s no place for them in the Eschaton.

In fact, Hell (as Heaven) is a place not less than a state (of separation from God). Time and space will not disappear in the Eschaton, they will be simply transfigured, ceasing to be separation, limitation and change: any Creation presupposes them, the Word of God speaks first of all by measure, duration, difference and distance. On these commands preside space and time, which are therefore surely related in inextricable symbiosis, but just as surely not in the way imagined by that demented Einstein. They are always certain and absolute, always interrelated but never interchangeable, and never one influences or invades the other’s sphere.

The author also neglects totally the fundamental salvific nature of the Sacraments, available exclusively in the mystical Body of Christ: the Church. That is absolutely unacceptable in Orthodoxy, ça va sans dire!

Moreover, the unequivocal teaching of the Church is that there is no repentance after death, as there cannot be present any faith there; therefore, all of the holy fathers’ writings MUST BE interpreted in accordance with this teaching.

Expounding on this truth, there are tons of consequences which may be extracted.

Give me the words, o Lord, if they are Thine;

Give them me not, if they are mine.

The Gospel may be indeed still be preached to the dead, but exclusively to those who have not had any hint of Him; these cases have grown exceedingly residual after the descent of the Lord in Hades and with the passage of time since then.

It’s preferable to say that the dead are remembered by the Lord, provided that they do not belong to the number of those who have no excuses (Rom 1, 18-20 / John 15, 22-24).

Those who have lived with the fear of God, even if not having a true understanding of Him; those who had His law written in their heart, even if not consciously knowing Him; those who have loved the Lord and His statutes, even if in a knowledge distorted by false teachers and wolves in sheep’s clothes; those who have confessed Him, even if in the error where they were born, to the face of this world constantly at war with God; all of them cannot possibly be forgotten by the Lord.

Whoever has believed in Christ and has confessed Him to be the Son of God and the Saviour of mankind has eternal life (John 3, 16 and 36). With this confession, baptized in the name of the Triune God (even if through a mere sacramental form), having build their life upon this foundation, they will be saved, yet so as through fire (1 Cor 3, 10-15), as their works have been spoiled by false teachers and the snares of the devil, who rules this world through his progeny. They will not suffer the sin of false shepherds and archons of Satan.

 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth. The blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the sin against the Truth. We know Who is the Truth. The supreme blasphemy is the negation of Christ as the Son of God (in words or in deeds), and it cannot possibly apply to our dear brothers confessing Him in truth, yet in the error they have inherited.

Though, their works will not be able to resist the testing of fire, as only the belonging to the Body of Christ gives the ability to produce true work of faith and repentance, because only that Body (the Church, the One Church, the Orthodox Church) is enlivened directly by the Holy Spirit, and only that Body can thus dispense directly His Grace, through real Sacraments, not mere sacramental forms. Nevertheless, they will not lose the salvation of their faith and confession in Christ.

It must be emphasized here that also the belonging to the Body of Christ must be lived in spirit and truth. It’s not a question of the right certificate of baptism. Members of the Church will lose the Truth they have inherited or acquired, if they fail in their right work as cells of the Body of Christ; then, they will become malignant cells, tumors, but in the Body of Life it’s the tumors to die. They will die slowly, eating and drinking of their condemnation.

Orthodox Christians can be sure of only one thing: they will receive a stricter examination, as they could partake of the fullness of the Truth. The “cradle Orthodox” will receive the strictest. The most awful judgement is reserved to those who soiled the Sacred Orders with the teachings of this world. Outside the Church there is no salvation, for those who belonged to the Church.

Indeed, many Orthodox Christians will also suffer loss at the Day, being saved as through fire. The purification by fire serves to ensure that in the Kingdom not even a chance to choose evil will enter.

Yet, Orthodox Christians are immeasurably helped in their task to save themselves, by the Sacraments and the unceasing prayers of the Church. The Sacraments (that is, the Grace and the Power of God) can be dispensed directly only in the Body of Christ, because only through the Son (His Word) the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father to the created realm (altough, the Body does not delimit nor constrain the Spirit).

They are divinely nourished in the Sacraments, partaking even materially of the Divinity in the Eucharist (provided that they discern the Body and the Blood of the Lord, there are no magic rituals in the Church; that discernment is the approach with faith and fear of God). This undescribable privilege will accompany them even when they depart from this world, when they are remembered in the bloodless Sacrifice during the Liturgy, a more powerful help than the direct intercessions of the thriumphant Saints. Moreover, the Body will remind their needs to the Head all the time, and the Head loves His Body and take care of all its legitimate needs.

All of this is not available to our dear brothers, born in the error, and it’s immediately understandable why their path toward the salvation is much more difficult and thorny, why their works very often do not stand even here, why they are able to offer so little resistance to the machinations of the devil and the countless deceits of his progeny, the satanists who by now openly rule this world.

Nevertheless, they are not excluded from the salvific prayers of the Church, and every Orthodox Christian is a member of the Church (and is the Church, in a certain sense, the temple of the Holy Spirit). Therefore, they can be greatly helped in the time preceding the Last Judgement (eternity is for the age to come) by the prayers of every pious Orthodox Christian (by the prayers of every righteous man, indeed, but it is a certain thing that only in the Church is found the correct prayer <= the correct way, mode and discernment in prayer).

The Lord loves His children, and hearkens to their supplication, if they do not ask amiss. So much so that they can help not only our dear brothers, born in the error, but even those who do not confess Him, yet living with the fear of God.

Indeed, they may be able to even alleviate the torments of those who are suffering in hell in the current age, as it was revealed to St, Macarius the Great. Prayer and fasting subdue the demons and shatter their bonds, thus the Lord has said, and His word cannot be broken; there is no reason to restrain the effects of those powerful weapons to those who are still in this world; opposite, in my poor understanding, that constrain would be a heretical teaching.

Indeed, the compassion and the prayers of St. Gregory the Great delivered the emperor Trajan from hell, and he was a persecutor of Christians (though mildly, as he had a sense of righteousness).  Indeed, a strict and reiterated fasting, united with fervent prayers, once delivered a suicide from hell.

All the children of the Church have to do is to have faith as little as a mustard seed!

Another powerful mean of helping the departed is almsgiving on their behalf. Broadly speaking, the faithful can do all sort of works of repentance on behalf of the departed. St. Paul even speaks of those baptized for the dead (1 Cor 15, 29). Yet, I find it not wise to delve unto these misteries to satisfy our vain and prideful mind: it is not only not profitable, but it could be extremely dangerous to pretend further in the exclusive domain of God.

Christ has been very parsimonious in His teachings regarding the afterlife for a reason, for the same reason that you cannot repent after death: once you know, faith has no place anymore; but salvation is in your faith, not in your knowledge.

The Lord will have mercy on whom He will have mercy. My faith is in the Lord!

Nei giorni in cui la Tua Chiesa ricorda alla Tua misericordia i suoi figli, o Signore, osero’ ricordarTi anche tutti coloro che son dipartiti da questo mondo lontani dalla Tua Grazia, privati dei salvifici misteri del Tuo Corpo, e magari con terribili peccati a gravare la loro coscienza, non riconosciuti, ne’ confessati.

Nel Tuo buon piacere, Signore, nella Tua infinita bonta’ e misericordia, nella Tua assoluta sovranita’, ricordati Ti prego anche di loro e abbi misericordia. Tu che ti sei degnato di prendere la nostra stessa carne e conosci fino in fondo la nostra miseria e debolezza, Tu che hai voluto subire fino in fondo la nostra iniquita’ solo per restituirci una speranza di salvezza, Tu che hai camminato e sofferto nell’inganno che domina interamente questo mondo, considera che in quello stesso inganno loro nacquero, da quell’inganno furono cresciuti ed in quell’inganno son morti, ed abbi misericordia di loro.

Signore di ogni misericordia, Tu che chiedesti misericordia perfino per chi ti stava inchiodando alla Croce, ricordati Ti prego anche di loro ed abbi misericordia. Nega al maligno, o Signore, il bottino che pensa di aver cosi’ indegnamente guadagnato, concedigli come compagni nel fato di distruzione che si e’ scelto solo coloro che lo hanno servito consapevolmente, i bestemmiatori dello Spirito Santo. A tutti gli altri, o Signore ti prego, degnati di concedere, nei tempi e nei modi che solo Tu conosci, la tua parola di salvezza.

Non per la preghiera di un miserabile, o Signore, ma per l’intercessione della Tua purissima Madre e di tutti i Tuoi santi. Amen!


February 24, 2018

Per le sacre preghiere di san Castrese, Signore, di cui indegnamente porto il nome, abbi misericordia di me, che sono un peccatore e la mia miseria e’ grande.

San Castrese

Santo gerarca Castrese, due volte martire di Cristo sotto l’empia progenie di Ario, la prima volta venendo preservato da un angelo che guido’ una nave sfasciata e senza timone dalle sponde africane a quelle del Volturno, onde insieme ai tuoi compagni di martirio potessi rafforzare la Parola tra i fedeli in quelle terre, ascolta le preghiere dalle citta’ che ti onorano come patrono ed intercedi presso il Signore per noi.


February 18, 2018

Siamo ponti che uniscono due estremita’ del nulla?

Grondanti un arcano significato, inciampiamo tra meraviglia e dolore, con buona creanza dando senso alla fatica di Sisifo.

Ti svelai nelle Tue opere! E per la luce e la terra, e per l’acqua e l’aria, Ti resi grazie.

Ma quando fui sulle mie ginocchia, ricevesti un sorriso beffardo, nell’insensata superbia di chi vive sapendo di dover morire.

Ci consola lo specchiarci negli occhi di un figlio, negli anni in cui il frutto e’ acerbo, prima della sua caduta. E li’ annegare!

Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider.

Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward. Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.

Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers. And the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city. Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.

Hear the word of the LORD, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah.

Poi Ti ho sentito, Signore; nell’aridita’ miserabile del mio deserto, nella cacofonia del mio spirito, nonostante avessi sperperato come bronzo risonante ogni talento ricevuto, Ti ho sentito.

Nella mia quieta disperazione, Ti ho sentito; senza aver meriti ai Tuoi occhi, tra le eco assordanti della mia vanita’ ed orgoglio, nei fumi della mia vana rabbia per le opere del nemico, li’ Ti ho sentito. Avrai misericordia, Signore?

Poiche’ meriti continuo a non averne, e la mia fede somiglia tanto a sete di giustizia. Avrai misericordia, Signore?

Noi siamo quelli che credono senza comprendere, avviluppati nei lacci di questo mondo, il nostro rifiuto non serve a negarlo come unica realta’ che capiamo. Avrai misericordia, Signore? Non siamo santi e mai lo saremo; avrai misericordia, Signore?

La mia croce e’ stata solo quella di sentirmi sempre un estraneo ovunque abbia vissuto, perfino a casa mia. Ero muto quando ascoltavano ed erano sordi quando ho parlato, Signore. Una croce piccola e leggera, e pure non riesco a sopportarla; avrai misericordia, Signore?

Io son quello che con due monete in tasca Te ne da’ solo una, li’ fuori la chiesa. Avrai misericordia? Non ho molto, ma non ho mai avuto bisogno di niente, e pure con due monete Te ne do’ solo una. Proprio li’, fuori la chiesa. Avrai misericordia, Signore? Per chi non riesce a credere che il resto gli sara’ dato in aggiunta, Signore,  avrai misericordia?

Per tutte le volte che non troviamo le parole, per tutte le volte in cui la nostra preghiera e’ muta, prosciugata dall’aridita’ del nostro cuore, avrai misericordia? Tu che sai quello che vogliamo dire anche se non sappiamo dirlo, Signore, avrai misericordia? Quando nella nostra vergogna non riusciremo ad alzare gli occhi di fronte a Te, nell’ora in cui moriremo….. avrai misericordia, Signore?

Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

Abbi misericordia, o Signore!

Noi siamo quelli che ammaestrati dal diavolo hanno creduto in Dio. Siamo quelli a cui la Parola e’ nascosta o distorta in ogni modo, a cui l’esempio e’ negato, negato da ogni respiro del mondo. Abbi misericordia, Signore.

Noi siamo quelli ammazzati nell’anima a milioni, ovunque nel mondo, e non vi son segni che accompagnino questo martirio. Siamo quelli calunniati ed esclusi per amor Tuo, e non riusciamo a gioire per questo. Siamo quelli che non vedono fratelli quando si guardano intorno. Abbi misericordia, Signore.

Noi siamo quelli che credono per il semplice fatto di riuscire a credere, nonostante tutto, tutto cio’ che poteva essere e non e’ stato, tutto cio’ che e’ stato e non doveva essere. Noi siamo quelli che hanno visto e pure han creduto, quelli che qui mai Ti vedranno e mai neppure han tentato. Noi siamo il resto del resto. Abbi misericordia, Signore.

Noi siamo quelli che dimenticano che la vendetta e’ Tua, Signore, e la desiderano; invano, poiche’ la rabbia degli uomini non e’ la giustizia di Dio. Solo Tu ripagherai! Siam quelli che fissano l’abisso nel loro cuore e pure non disperano. Noi siamo il resto del resto. Abbi misericordia, Signore.

Noi siamo i codardi che pretendono di amarTi e Ti chiedono di non mandar loro prove che ritengono insuperabili. Siamo i miserabili che giudicano Pietro e Tommaso nella comodita’ del loro divano, siamo dell’empia stirpe di chi ritiene che avrebbe creduto prima e meglio degli apostoli, avessi Tu camminato in mezzo a noi e non a loro. Noi siamo il resto del resto. Abbi misericordia, Signore.

Noi siam quelli che si chiedono quanto l’uomo sia davvero libero, siamo i comprensivi giudici di noi stessi e gli implacabili accusatori degli altri. Noi siamo quelli che non riescono a darTi neppure il poco che hanno deciso di offrirti, quelli incapaci di mettere ordine in casa loro che pretendono di mettere a posto il mondo. Noi siamo il resto del resto. Abbi misericordia, Signore.


Poiche’ questa e’ la fede che troverai, Signore, quando verrai di nuovo, finalmente in gloria.

Una fede stropicciata e rammendata, strenuamente ricordata. Stanca oltre ogni dire, asfissiata per legge, insultata per vezzo. Raggomitolata in se stessa, mai consolata se non da se stessa. Impossibilitata a colpire ed incapace di arrendersi, priva di miracoli ed un miracolo lei stessa.

Un’assurdita’ probabilistica, Signore, come ogni vita che Ti neghi come causa.

Questa e’ la fede che troverai. Una fede che e’ brace opaca, non fiamma potente, ma e’ brace conservata nel gelo. Abbi misericordia, Signore.

Ciuffi d’erba e non messi rigogliose troverai, ma e’ erba che ha spaccato il cemento. Piccole gocce d’acqua e non fonti zampillanti, ma gocce che si son fatte strada nelle rocce del deserto. Abbi misericordia, Signore.

Una fede pugnalata incessantemente alle spalle mentre le sorridono, che e’ sopravvisuta a tutti gli assassini.

Questo e’ cio’ che rimane, il resto del resto. Abbi misericordia, Signore.

Poiche’ amiamo i nostri nemici, Signore, al punto da non ricordarne alcuno, ma odiamo i Tuoi nemici, con un odio perfetto. Poiche’ non ci lamenteremo se darai la paga anche a chi nella vigna non e’ mai venuto a lavorarci. Poiche’ ringrazieremmo Dio anche se questa fosse l’unica vita donataci. Abbi misericordia, Signore.


Siamo ponti che uniscono la terra al Cielo, che principiano dal nulla in direzione del Tutto, fatti dal niente e sospesi sul niente, tra vertigini di potere e sconforto quella direzione e’ l’unica cosa che ci mantiene.

Non e’ semplice, o Signore, anche solo capire che non e’ necessario capire, e solo aver fede….. abbi misericordia.

Per i vivi e per i morti, Signore, abbi misericordia.

Per tutti coloro che furono, sono e saranno ingannati, Signore, abbi misericordia.

Per tutti quelli trascinati a fondo dai lacci di questo mondo, Signore, abbi misericordia.

Abbi misericordia di noi peccatori, Figlio di Dio, Tu che puoi tutto: abbi misericordia di noi.


January 7, 2018

“Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a Virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call his name Immanuel

“Take counsel together, and it shall come to naught; speak the word, and it shall not stand: for God is with us (Immanuel)”

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace”

“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse (the father of king David) and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord”

“Behold My servant, whom I uphold; Mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put My spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause His voice to be heard in the street… A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench”

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me; because the Lord hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek;’ he hath sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound”

“And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be My servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give Thee for a light to the Gentiles, that Thou mayest be My salvation unto the end of the earth”


Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

C H R I S T     I S     B O R N  !         G L O R I F Y     H I M  !


“To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness

Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him to whom we have to give account.

In truth God as a man was born on earth! Why? That we might live through him (1 John 4:9).


September 5, 2018
The Western Rite Communities of the Russian Orthodox Church outside Russia

For over a century, the question of the Western Rite within the canonical Orthodox Church has been one of tremendous debate. Many Orthodox Christians of Western ancestry find within it a home, an answer to their deepest longings for a “rebaptism” of Western Christianity, and an opportunity to draw Western Christians back into the fold of the True Church. Others see the Western Rite as something foreign, misleading, and dangerous. These see the Western Rite as an innovation, and even (possibly) heretical.

What, though, are we Orthodox, to think of the Western Rite? Is it dangerous and wrong, or is it holy and good? What is the substance of the objections which well-intentioned Orthodox people have, clergy and laity alike? In what follows, I will look at several frequent arguments which are utilized in the opposition to the use of the Western Rite. I will examine them, and will answer them, not only from a Western Orthodox perspective, but also with honest evaluation from Eastern positions.

Saint John (Maximovitch) of Shanghai celebrating the Western Rite with Western Rite Orthodox in Paris.

Saint John (Maximovitch) of Shanghai celebrating the Western Rite with Western Rite Orthodox in Paris.

I will apologize here at the outset for the blunt, and possibly even polemical nature of much of what is said here. However, as our culture quickly descends into a politically correct world, where no one says what he or she actually means, bluntness is sometimes needed to make a firm point. Forgive me, a sinner, for the sake of Christ.

The Western Rite is Simply Reverse Uniatism

Perhaps the most frequent objection to the Western Rite movement is that it is simply “reverse Uniatism.” Of course, as many of us know, the Unia, or the Eastern Catholics, are those groups of people in historically Orthodox lands who, under political pressure, came under the Roman Pope, while retaining their Orthodox liturgical rites.

The claim that the Western Rite Churches are simply Orthodox Uniates is not only untrue, it shows something of a problematic ignorance of what the Unia actually is. First, Uniate Churches are former Orthodox bodies, which came under Rome for reasons which were mainly political, not religious in the least, and most of the time this union was forced by political leaders.

Further, the Uniate Churches (i.e.; the Ukrainian Greek Catholics, Melkites, Ruthenians, etc…) do not hold the same theological views as the Roman Church on many issues. Most notably, Uniates are not required to say the “filioque” in the Nicene Creed, and do not hold to Papal Supremacy in the same way that their Roman counterparts do. Rather, they hold to a view of the papacy that we Orthodox would, most likely, agree with, that does not coincide with the theology of their Roman brethren. Further, their theological views on the Sacraments are also completely different, such as the differences in theology and practice around Baptism, Chrismation/Confirmation, and first Communion.

Indeed, another great difference between the Unia and the Western Rite communities is the issue of saint veneration. One can find Eastern Catholics that venerate St. Mark of Ephesus, who stood against the formulas of reunion with the Roman Church, and declared the Roman Church to be in heresy. For the Western Rite Churches to be on the same level here, they would have to commemorate Roman saints like Francis of Assisi, Thomas Aquinas, and Anselm of Canterbury, which, of course, they do not do.From viewing only these basic issues, it is fairly obvious that, even though they may be under the same papal umbrella, the Roman Church and the Eastern Catholics do not hold the same faith. The Western Rite, however, cannot fall under the indictment of being called “reverse” Uniates. In order for this to be true, the Western Rite groups would have to enter under the care of Orthodox Bishops, while maintaining not only their liturgical rites, but also their own heterodox theology, while claiming that only submission to an Orthodox Bishop is necessary for being part of the Church.

The Western Rites, however, are required to embrace, hold, and proclaim the same faith, the same theological positions, and the same sacramental theology, as the rest of the Orthodox world. In reality, the Western Rite is, simply put, Western Orthodoxy. This Western Orthodoxy is not opposed to Eastern Orthodoxy, but, rather, in harmony with it.

Whatever individual parishes might hold or practice that may be in error (which, of course should be dealt with by their respective bishops), the movement as a whole, and all the Western Rite Vicariates in the Canonical Church are required to hold the Orthodox Catholic Faith. Thus, the charge of “reverse Uniatism” falls flat, and is completely false.

The Western Rite is not part of our tradition/it’s not a living tradition

Another very frequently utilized argument against the Western Rite is that it is not a part of the living tradition of the Orthodox Church. The argument usually goes something like this: The Western Church left the historical Christian faith at the time of the Great Schism, and her liturgical rites, which have changed over time, have lost their Orthodox context. Thus, they have not been celebrated within the Orthodox context for a period of time deemed long enough to exclude their Orthodoxy. Therefore, so the argument goes, the Western Rite is not a “living” tradition.

However, this argument raises, by necessity, an essential question, which must be answered. This question is: what is a “living” tradition? For Orthodox opponents of the Western Rite, a liturgical rite must be continually celebrated and, relatively, unaltered for most (or all) of Christian history to be considered “living.”

However, this is not a Christian definition of anything being “alive.” What makes something alive is the presence of Christ, the working activity of the Holy Spirit. If something exists within the Church, and is blessed by the hierarchy, and celebrated by the faithful, in accordance with the True Faith, then it is alive.

Would any of us argue that the Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified Gifts, or St. Basil’s Liturgy, are not part of the “living” tradition of the Church during the periods of the year when they are not in use? And further still, the Western Rite liturgies have a wider modern use than the Liturgy of St. James, but those who would discredit the Western Rite see no problem with the idea that this liturgy is “alive.”

What makes a liturgical form or rite “alive” is that it is celebrated, that it is used in the Church for the worship of God, and the feeding of His people with the sacraments of the Church. Whether or not something has had continuous use since the time of the Apostles to the present is not a measure of life, because we need only look at some of our own Orthodox parishes and see that though the correct “rite” and theology may be present in an exterior manner, while the parish itself is dead or dying because those rites have not become an interior reality. This is possible in the East or West. There is no distinction here. If the celebration of these liturgical rites brings about a true experience of God, this is the true mark of their validity.

We must remember that we worship the God Who is invested in giving life to the dead. Why would we say that He cannot and would not breathe new life into an ancient Liturgy again? Rather than making some historical or philosophical argument about “living tradition,” we need only to look with our eyes (both physical and spiritual), and see if something is alive.

Further, to say that the Western Liturgies are not “our” tradition (meaning, of course, Orthodox Tradition) is to say that the liturgical rites celebrated by the Western saints of the first thousand years of Christianity were invalid. The great champion of the Western Rite of the twentieth-century, St. John the Wonderworker, of Shanghai and San Francisco, has told us clearly:

Never, never, never let anyone tell you that, in order to be Orthodox, you must be Eastern. The west was fully Orthodox for a thousand years, and her venerable liturgy is far older than any of her heresies.

This great saint saw the Orthodoxy in these rites, and he saw past the coating of heretical doctrines that have become associated with them since the Schism. He proclaimed that, though the churches may have fallen into error, the liturgy is sound. Therefore, if the liturgy is sound and true, then it is Orthodox.

Are there “orthodox” Traditional Catholics, Anglicans, or Lutherans left?

One frequent question that is raised is the issue of Traditional Catholics, Anglicans, and Lutherans who are conservative in their theology, but still remaining in their respective confessions. The issue usually is phrased something like this; “I could understand the Western Rite if there was a large group of Irish Catholics in the 1950’s that wanted to become Orthodox. But nowadays, those that are still Roman Catholic, Anglican, or Lutheran don’t remember those rites. So they should just come into the Byzantine Rite if they want to become Orthodox.”

The first point that needs to be raised is in terms of Anglicans and Lutherans. Generally speaking, those that leave these confessions to become Orthodox are coming from very “High Church” backgrounds to begin with. We must remember, that while certainly having “low Church” groups within these confessions, Anglicans and Lutherans are the most liturgical of all Protestant groups, and generally take their liturgy very seriously.

The Anglicans, in particular, have an incredibly deep sense of liturgy that is far more ancient in practice and origin, and deeper in reverence, than the modern Roman Catholic Rite, and is, in fact, quite beautiful. So in terms of “remembering the rite,” Lutherans and Anglicans don’t really need to remember it, they live it every time they step into a church.

Some would also say that the conservatives in the Lutheran and Anglican Communions are all now either Roman Catholic or Orthodox, and would ask of any remaining in these groups, “why would you come to Orthodoxy now, and not ten or twenty years ago.” The answer to this is clear: faithfulness. Many Anglicans, Lutherans, or even Presbyterians or Methodists, having been raised in these confessions, remain faithful to their churches, even though these churches are no longer faithful to them.

When these people decide to leave, regardless of the timing, to come to Orthodoxy, it isn’t for us to ask “why now?” It is for us to say, “thank God.” Further, if these people were that faithful to confessions which were running away from their historical faith, how faithful, then, will they be to Holy Orthodoxy when they find it! These are the people that we want in our parishes! These faithful give up so much to leave all they know, and it is possible for the Orthodox to bring them home, and embrace them, while giving them their liturgical forms that they know.

While it must certainly be conceded that the modern Roman Catholic liturgy is a far cry from the beauty and splendor of their former Mass (the liturgy normally used in Western Rite Orthodox parishes), we must also note the tremendous growth in Traditional Catholic parishes across the U.S. especially. Indeed, in the last 20 years, the parishes in the American Roman Catholic Church that have seen the most consistent growth have been those that celebrate the Latin Tridentine Mass daily. This growth has not been older people coming for nostalgia, as one might expect. Rather, these parishes are filled with twenty and thirty-somethings, who are longing for their roots.

What makes the Western Rite so necessary are exactly these facts. There are many High Church Protestants and Traditional Catholics who are searching for their Orthodox Christian heritage, and their own confessions are leaving them behind. In the case of the Traditional Catholics, in many cases they are actually treated like second class, with the new Charismatic-driven Novus Ordo parishes receiving favor.

It is precisely these people, these traditional conservative members of these liturgical bodies, that we must show the light of Orthodoxy to. Indeed, we can offer them something incredible: their deepest longing for participation in the form worship that their Western ancestors used, within the context of the True Faith of Jesus Christ. This is a tremendous gift, and we would be foolish not to use it, because it could, theoretically, change the world, and, for many Christians, heal the Schism, one Baptism at a time.


The Western Rite Liturgies are too Patri-centric

A very common objection that is used by Western Rite detractors is the idea that the Western Rite Mass is too “Patri-centric.” To put this another way, it is said that the prayers of the Western Liturgies are almost entirely directed at the Father, at the expense and negation of the Son. While this may or may not be true, the idea behind it is an interesting one.

It is often said by Eastern Rite objectors, “we pray ‘to Christ our God,’ they [the Western Rite] pray, ‘through Christ our Lord.’” In saying this, they are making the claim that Western Rite prayers are somehow deficient, and that God will not answer them, or some other such nonsense.

What we often forget in this line of argument is that we Byzantine Rite Christians do not pray exclusively to Christ in our Liturgies either, and there are even Patri-centric prayers in the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. The most obvious example is actually in the most solemn moment of our Liturgy: the Anaphora.

As we progress through the Liturgy, and approach the Mystery of mysteries, the prayer that is utilized is not a Christo-centric one, but rather, Patri-centric;

It is meet and right to sing of Thee, to bless Thee, to praise Thee, to give thanks to Thee and to worship Thee in every place of Thy dominion. For Thou art God ineffable, inconceivable, invisible, incomprehensible, ever-existing and eternally the same, Thou and Thine only-begotten Son and Thy Holy Spirit. Thou it was who brought us from non-existence into being, and when we had fallen away, didst raise us up again, and didst not cease to do all things until Thou hadst brought us up to heaven and hadst endowed us with ‘Thy Kingdom which is to come. For all these things we give thanks to Thee, and to Thine only-begotten Son and to Thy Holy Spirit; for all things of which we know and of which we know not, whether manifest or unseen; and we thank Thee for this liturgy which Thou hast found worthy to accept at our hands, though there stand by Thee thousands of archangels and hosts of angels, the Cherubim and the Seraphim, six-winged, many eyed, who soar aloft, borne on their pinions, singing the triumphant hymn, shouting, proclaiming and saying: Holy! Holy! Holy! Lord of Sabaoth! Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory! Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!

Further, as our Liturgy is beginning, the very first prayer of the priest before the Altar is not a prayer to Christ, but a prayer to the Holy Spirit, the “O, Heavenly King.”

Now, one might bring forth an objection here saying, “we concede that some prayers in the Eastern Liturgy are not Christo-centric, but in the Western Church, all the prayers are Patri-centric.” Even this, though, isn’t true. While the great majority of Western Rite prayers are, indeed, directed to the Father, there are many exceptions.

First, one of the first moments of the Mass in the Western Rite is the “Kyrie,” in which the Priest and people antiphonally chant together, “Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.” Indeed, further, in the prayers just before Communion, the Western Liturgy gives us three beautiful prayers to Christ, the first of which says:

O Lord, Jesus Christ, Who didst say to Thine Apostles: Peace I leave you, My peace I give to you: look not upon my sins, but upon the faith of Thy Church; and deign to give Her that peace and unity which is agreeable to Thy will: One God, Who livest and reignest unto ages of ages. Amen.

Finally, it is simply a fact that, in the Western Church, the formula for prayer has always been Patri-centric. It is curious that this was not a problem for the Eastern Christians when they were in communion with Rome before the Schism, but that some Orthodox Christians would use this as an objection to the Western Rite now.

NdM – Those eastern fools (it is a great act of charity calling them Orthodox Christians) are actually saying that our Lord was not Orthodox: ALL of Christ’s prayers were Patri- centric!

Modern Orthodox Theologians Oppose the Western Rite

A further argument used against the Western Rite is that modern Orthodox “theologians” and scholars argue against its use. Among these are names such as Fr. Alexander Schmemann, Metropolitan Kallistos [Ware], and others. These scholars will make varied claims to historicity, Roman Catholic innovations, post-Schism devotions, and many other objections from an academic position.

This argument, though, can be easily deflected, however, in answering the following question; do academics determine Orthodoxy, or do the saints? The answer, of course, is the saints, or more specifically, the living activity of the Holy Spirit working within the saints of God in His Church, in accordance with Sacred Tradition.

We can plainly see that no matter how many “academics” may argue against the use of the Western Rite, they must stand up against the saints who supported it, including St. John Maximovitch, St. Tikhon of MoscowSt. Nicholas of Japan, and St. Raphael of Brooklyn, among others. There are also many other Orthodox academics, scholars, and leaders in the Church that support the Western Rite, men such as Vladimir Lossky, Patriarch Sergius I of Moscow,[1] Metropolitan Anthony (Bloom)Metropolitan Philip (Saliba), and Bishop Basil (Essey) of Wichita.

Will we, embrace the same scholastic mindset that we criticize in the Western Churches, and allow our faith and practice to be determined by academics? Or will we follow the testimony and lived experience of the saints? The answer is clear; if the saints of God and various Orthodox Synods have accepted something, there ends the matter. There is no more room for discussion on the acceptance of the Western Rite as something Orthodox. It has been proclaimed so, and has been accepted, and must be given every chance to grow and succeed.

The Western Rite incorporates non-Orthodox elements into the life of the Church

Another frequent argument is that the Western Rite brings into Orthodoxy elements of Church life that are not Orthodox in their origin. This can range from liturgical practices, paraliturgical devotions, and even vestments or clergy attire. This accusation is very often flung at Western Rite Orthodox by, especially, more “hardcore” or traditionalist Orthodox Christians. They argue that the introduction of certain Western elements into Orthodoxy pollutes the purity of Orthodoxy, and should be avoided by the suppression of the Western Rite.

One can only comment that these detractors are several centuries too late to make this argument. There are, indeed, many elements that exist within Orthodoxy that are not only of non-Orthodox, but even non-Christian origin. Aside from our theological language, with terms like hypostasis, which come from pagan Greek philosophy and are decidedly non-Christian, the average Orthodox parish, in America and elsewhere, has countless Western elements, whether they are aware of them or not.

Whenever we walk into a church and hear four-part music, see pictorial stained glass windows, meet a priest in a clergy collar or vestments that are in a particular “seasonal” color, these are western influences. These elements are now commonplace in our Orthodox Churches, and we don’t even consider that they are of Roman Catholic origin. We take for granted that they are Orthodox, and that they are a part of the worship of the Church.

Further, to answer those who are of a more “traditionalist” bent, we should point out that there are elements that are considered “traditionally” Orthodox that are not even Christian in origin. Some of these elements are very interesting in this regard, because some argue that they are the very markers which determine how an Orthodox priest should look, in terms of appearance.

Take for example, the riassa, and the wearing of long hair and unkempt beards, especially by non-monastic clergy. These are often considered the foundation of how an Orthodox clergyman should appear in public. There is a huge problem with this, however, as they are not Christian, but Islamic in origin. These were the markers of government officials during the Muslim Ottoman Turkish Empire, a period of time in which we, as Orthodox Christians, were subjugated under Islamic rule.

The same is true of the kamalavkion, or klobuk, as it was a Turkish judicial hat, as well as the sakkos and mitre, worn by bishops in the Liturgy, which were clothes worn by the Byzantine Emperors, and not historically by bishops until the Ottoman conquest. These items, worn today by all Orthodox clergy everywhere, bishops and priests, are not even Christian in origin, and, in terms of the riassa, long hair, and the kamalavkion, are even signs of Muslim domination over the Church, and yet we continue to wear them, and call them signs of the Orthodox priesthood, because they have been blessed by their use in the Church.

The traditional attire of an Orthodox priest is a simple cassock, black for monastics, and in various colors for married clergy, a beard, which is neatly trimmed if he lives in a city or town, and short hair, which is the Byzantine clerical tonsure. This is our true Orthodox heritage, but we ignore it in favor of Islamic norms. It is a strange curiosity that those who would argue against the introduction of Western Rite elements in the Church are the same people who embrace Western Christian, and even Islamic elements to their Liturgy and Church life.

Further, wherever the Orthodox Church has found Herself, She has embraced pieces of the local culture, and “baptized” them. Here in America, in Alaska, the Church came to the natives and permitted them to hold to certain rites and ceremonies (i.e.; spirit houses, smudging ceremonies) which are of animistic tribal pagan origin, but were baptized, and are now considered fully Orthodox. This practice is not limited to native Alaska, but can be found all over the Orthodox world. Finally, the Julian calendar, which is a sticking point of discussion to so many in the Orthodox Church, is not of Christian origin, but of pagan beginnings. Will we continue argue along these lines, splitting hairs, and making nonsensical arguments? Or, will we be truthful with ourselves, and look at the origins of what we do, and simply acknowledge the truth, that we have taken what is good in the world around us, and baptized it, to the glory of Almighty God.

Only the Byzantine Rite is acceptable for use in the Orthodox Church

An absolutely ludicrous and absurd claim, made by detractors of the Orthodox Western Rite, is that only the St. John Chrysostom, St. Basil, St. James, and Pre-Sanctified Liturgies are acceptable for use in the Orthodox Church. This idea is a complete innovation, and one cannot even be claim to see its origin in the Great Schism, but rather long after.

In actuality, the Orthodox Church had its own local liturgical rites in various geographical regions throughout the East. These included a distinctive Antiochian Rite, and Alexandrian Rite which were ultimately suppressed in favor of the Constantinopolitan Rite. This plurality of rites existed long after the Schism with Rome, and elements of these historically Orthodox rites can be seen in various liturgical variations throughout the Church.

There is no argument for the Byzantine liturgical primacy other than a pride, and historical ignorance, either innocent or deliberate. What is essentially being said by this argument is that God Himself only honors that Liturgy that is celebrated by the Byzantine Church in the modern era. This is an argument that negates not only the liturgical validity of every Western saint that the Orthodox commemorate, but also the saints of ancient Antioch, Syria, Alexandria, and others.

Is this what we really believe? Of course it isn’t. Every Orthodox Christian acknowledges the Orthodoxy of St. Gregory the Great, St. Benedict of Nursia, St. Cyril of Alexandria, St. Moses the Ethiopian, and all the other non-Byzantine saints. Why on earth, then, do we venerate their sainthood, but dismiss the Liturgies that formed them into saints?

Another factor here is a denial that the liturgical expression of the Byzantine Rite has changed, believing that it has been static since its beginning. This is, of course, ridiculous. Liturgical formation and evolution over time is simply a documented fact. Let us note an extremely early example; the difference between epicleses in the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom and that of the Didache, or that used by the most ancient Church. They are very different, and are examples of liturgical development within the Orthodox Church. We could also point to doxologies and liturgical prayers in the Holy Scriptures, in the letters of St. Paul and elsewhere, that were used in the early Church and are no longer in use by the Orthodox Church. There is nothing wrong with this. Rather, it shows the maturing of the Church.

Finally, we should also look back to our not-so-distant past, to the post-Revolution Russians living in the diaspora. Specifically we should look to France, where the Russian Church, under the leadership of St. John Maximovitch, saw it as part of their duty to restore the Gallican Rite Liturgy, which is the indigenous Orthodox Liturgical rite in France (Gaul). St. John and his followers obviously did not cling to any notion that only the Byzantine Rite liturgies were suitable for Orthodox worship. Let us call a spade a spade, and simply answer this criticism for what it is: ridiculous. This kind of argument, one that dwells on a static exterior, is what led to the Old Believer schism in the Russian Church, and there is not a single one of us that does not lament what a horrible tragedy that was. We must remember our brothers and sisters in Christ, honor their cultural differences in which truth can be found, as Orthodoxy has historically been wont to do. In doing this, let us see true Orthodox diversity as a blessing from God, as a mark of His Creative energies working through men in different places and in different times.

The Western Rite is Divisive

There are those that argue that the existence of the Western Rite within Orthodoxy is, by its nature, divisive. They argue that the liturgical variation brought about by the Western Orthodoxy causes an undue separation between the Western Rite Orthodox and their Eastern Rite brethren, driving a wedge in Orthodox Unity.

This argument could conceivably have some traction, because it has been manifestly true. However, the divisive attitudes that have emerged have not been a result of the Western Rite itself, nor have they usually been manifested in Western Orthodox Christians themselves. Rather, these attitudes are generally the result of a lack of any attempt to truly understand the Western Rite at all.

Western Orthodox Christians are our brothers and sisters in the Orthodox faith, not our enemies or competitors. What we see in this line of argument is, indeed, nothing less than the rampant phyletism that exists within the Orthodox world. This divisive attitude does not exist only between Eastern Rite and Western Rite Orthodox, but between Greek and Russian, cradle and convert, and the many “warring” jurisdictions in the diaspora which shamefully allow a non-canonical Church structure to continue because of pride and power.

Let us, again, be honest with ourselves. If the Western Rite is divisive, it is so because we have not yet obtained a heart that is formed in Christian love and charity. Differences in liturgical ceremony do not cause this kind of division of themselves. What does cause divisiveness is pride, and believing that what we are doing is the only “right” way. In being truly honest with ourselves, we must admit that the notion that there is liturgical uniformity, even within a single national Church or jurisdiction, and even from parish to parish in a single diocese, is complete fiction. Saying otherwise is simply not honest.

A celebration in the 1940's in the church of the Holy Trinity at the Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra with Hieromonk Denis (Chambault) of the Western Rite community in Paris A celebration in the 1940’s in the church of the Holy Trinity at the Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra with Hieromonk Denis (Chambault) of the Western Rite community in Paris

What does the Western Rite have that the Eastern Rite doesn’t?

This question, which also has been asked often, I have intentionally placed at the end of my discussion. This is a difficult question to answer due to the fact that it is usually framed in such a way so that however the person may answer, they can be accused of saying that Orthodoxy is lacking in some way.

I think, rather than thinking in terms of one liturgical expression lacking in something, that it would be better to point out the strength that the Western Liturgy brings to Orthodoxy. Simply put, this strength is one thing: the presence of silence.

The Byzantine Liturgies are beautiful, moving, majestic, and they draw us into the eternal now, there is no question about it. But when we examine the liturgy of the West, we find that the strength which it brings, besides being equally beautiful and majestic, is the role that silence plays in the Liturgy.

We cannot over-emphasize the role that silence (hesychia) plays in Orthodox spirituality, and we have saints who are hesychasts who devote their entire life to seeking and experiencing God in cultivation interior silence. What the Western Rite offers us is a change, during the Holy Liturgy, to focus on exterior and interior silence. Indeed, there are entire sections of the Mass that are celebrated in complete, or nearly complete silence.

For example, during the preparation of the Holy Gifts, which we in the East call Proskimedia, and which happens during the Liturgy in the West, is done in silence. Also, during the consecration of the Mystery, the only sound is the low voice of the priest, praying over the gifts before their elevation. This allows the people to silence themselves, and to focus on the coming of Christ in the Eucharist, bringing about the possibility for a preparation of the heart which is without distraction.

It would be a mistake to allow this focus, which is so central to our faith as Orthodox, to fade away, and worse yet, to ignore it.


We, as Orthodox, must examine ourselves deeply, and gauge whether our objection to the Western Rite, based on any of these arguments (or others), is based on actual fact, or on our own pride. This is a hard truth to consider, but we must consider it. If we are not willing to set aside our own pride and our own preferences for what we think is correct in this regard, then we will not even be able to flee from divisiveness in our relationships with other Eastern Rite Orthodox faithful. How sad this is. We must, as Christians, be better than this. We must examine anything that comes to us on its own merits, on its fidelity to the Apostolic Faith, and not hold our own opinion up as a measure against it.

At the end of the day, the Holy Church has granted the celebration of the Western Liturgies, and has proclaimed them Orthodox. These Liturgies have been celebrated by modern saints of God, who encouraged their use and growth. The Orthodox Western Liturgies encouraged all the Western saints of the first millennium, and fed the faithful with the Bread of Life. Thus, the weight of their merits is incalculable, because they hold, in truth, the experience of Christ of one thousand years, and beyond, into Eternity.

The many Eastern Rite Orthodox Christians who have a tendency to criticize, demean, or even openly persecute the Western Rite usage must re-examine their motives for doing so. If the Western Rite is examined anew and found lacking in Orthodoxy, then let it fall from use. However, if it be sound in doctrine, in practice, and be present in the acclamation and testimony of the saints, then let it not only stand, but also be encouraged, and given means to grow and flourish, that the West may once again stand beside the East in united proclamation of Holy Orthodoxy.

May it be so, for the sake of our Great God and Savior Jesus Christ, to Whom all glory and honor is due, with His Father Who is without beginning, and His All-Holy, Good, and Life-Creating Spirit, always, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

A Deacon of the Orthodox Church


August 28, 2018

Pietro, un apostolo di Gesu’ Cristo, agli stranieri sparsi attraverso il Ponto, la Galazia, la Cappadocia, la provincia d’Asia, e la Bitinia, eletti in accordo all’onniscienza di Dio Padre, attraverso la santificazione dello Spirito, nell’obbedienza e versamento del sangue di Gesu’ Cristo: sia Grazia a voi, e pace, siano moltiplicate.

Sia benedetto il Dio e Padre di nostro Signore Gesū Cristo, che secondo la sua abbondante misericordia ci ha generati di nuovo in una speranza di vita con la resurrezione di Gesū Cristo dai morti, verso una ereditā incorruttibile, ed incontaminata, e che non si dissolve, riservata in cielo per voi, che siete mantenuti dal potere di Dio attraverso la fede nella salvezza pronta per essere rivelata alla fine del tempo.

Per la qual cosa voi gioite grandemente, sebbene ora per una stagione, se necessario, voi siate oppressi attraverso molteplici tentazioni: che la prova della vostra fede, essendo molto piū preziosa dell’oro che perisce sebbene sia stato temprato dal fuoco, possa essere trovata nella lode ed onore e gloria al manifestarsi di Gesū Cristo: che voi amate non avendolo visto; nel quale, sebbene adesso non lo vediate, eppure credendo, voi gioite di letizia indicibile e piena di gloria: ricevendo lo scopo della vostra fede, proprio la salvezza delle vostre anime.

Della qual salvezza hanno domandato e ricercato diligentemente i profeti, che testimoniarono della grazia che doveva venire a voi: cercando cosa, o che modo di tempo lo Spirito di Cristo che era in loro intendeva, quando testimoniava in anticipo le sofferenze di Cristo, e la gloria che doveva seguire.

Ai quali fu rivelato, che non per loro stessi, ma per noi essi provvedevano le cose, che vi sono adesso riportate da coloro che vi hanno annunciato il vangelo con lo Spirito Santo venuto giū dal cielo, cose nelle quali gli stessi angeli desiderano guardare.

Pertanto cingete i lombi della vostra mente, siate sobri, e sperate fino alla fine per la grazia che deve esservi portata alla rivelazione di Gesū Cristo; come bambini obbedienti, non foggiando voi stessi secondo le passate brame nella vostra ignoranza: ma poichē Colui che vi chiama ē Santo, cosī voi siate santi in ogni tipo di conversazione; perchē sta scritto, Siate santi, poichē Io sono Santo.

E se vi rivolgete al Padre, che senza riguardo per le persone giudica secondo le opere di ogni uomo, trascorrete il tempo del vostro soggiorno qui nel timore: in quanto che voi sapete che non foste riscattati con cose corruttibili, come oro ed argento, dai vani discorsi ricevuti per tradizione dai vostri padri; ma con il prezioso sangue di Cristo, come di un agnello senza macchia e senza imperfezioni: che invero fu preordinato prima della fondazione del mondo, ma fu manifesto in questi ultimi tempi per voi, che per Lui credete in Dio, che lo rialzō dai morti, e gli diede gloria, che la vostra fede e speranza possa risiedere in Dio.

Vedendo che voi avete purificato le vostre anime in obbedienza alla Veritā per mezzo dello Spirito verso un amore sincero per i confratelli, assicuratevi che vi amiate ferventemente l’un l’altro; essendo nati di nuovo, non di seme corruttibile, ma incorruttibile, dalla Parola di Dio, che vive e rimane per sempre.

Poichē ogni carne ē come erba, e tutta la gloria dell’uomo come i fiori di campo. L’erba si secca, ed i suoi fiori cadono via: ma la parola del Signore dura per sempre. E questa ē la parola che attraverso il vangelo vi ē annunciata.

Per questo motivo mettendo da parte ogni malizia, ed ogni inganno, e le ipocrisie, e invidie, ed ogni parola malvagia, come infanti appena nati, desiderate il latte sincero della Parola, che possiate crescer per suo mezzo: se cosī ē voi avete avuto sapore che il Signore ē misericordioso. Venendo al quale, come ad una pietra vivente, scartata invero dagli uomini, ma scelta da Dio, e preziosa, voi anche, come pietre vive, siete eretti in una casa spirituale, un santo sacerdozio, per offrire sacrifici in spirito, accettabili a Dio per mezzo di Gesū Cristo.

Per tal motivo ē anche contenuto nella Scrittura, Ecco, Io pongo in Sion una prima pietra d’angolo, eletta, preziosa: e colui che crede in Lui non sarā confuso. Per voi pertanto che credete Lui ē prezioso: ma per coloro che son disobbedienti, la pietra che i costruttori hanno scartato, la stessa ē fatta capo d’angolo, e pietra di inciampo, una roccia che offende, proprio a coloro che inciampano nella Scrittura, essendo disobbedienti, alla quale eppure erano designati.

Ma voi siete una generazione scelta, un sacerdozio reale, una nazione santa, un popolo distinto; che possiate mostrare le lodi di Colui che vi ha chiamato fuori dalle tenebre nella sua meravigliosa luce; voi che in passato non eravate un popolo, ma siete adesso il popolo di Dio: che non avevate ottenuto misericordia, ma adesso l’avete ottenuta.

Grandemente diletti, io vi supplico come stranieri e pellegrini, astenetevi dalle brame della carne, che fanno guerra all’anima; avendo un onesto contegno tra i Gentili: che, mentre loro vi parlano contro come malfattori, essi possano dalle vostre buone opere, che loro osservano, glorificare Dio nel giorno di visitazione.

Sottomettetevi ad ogni ordinanza dell’uomo per amore del Signore: sia ciō al re, come supremo; oppure ai governatori, come a coloro che sono dal re mandati per la punizione dei malfattori, e per lodare coloro che fanno bene. Poichē cosī  ē il volere di Dio, che facendo bene voi possiate mettere a tacere l’ignoranza di uomini sciocchi; come liberi, e non usando la vostra libertā come una cappa di malizia, ma come servi di Dio.

Onorate tutti gli uomini. Amate la fratellanza. Temete Dio. Onorate il re.

Servitori, siate sottomessi ai vostri padroni con ogni timore, non solo al buono e gentile, ma anche al testardo. Poichē questo ē degno di grazie, se un uomo per coscienza verso Dio sopporta ingiustamente afflizione, sofferenza. Poichē quale gloria vi ē se, quando siete colpiti per vostre mancanze, voi le sopportate pazientemente? Ma se, quando voi fate bene, e soffrite per questo, voi lo sopportate con pazienza, questo ē accettabile a Dio.

Poichē proprio a questo voi foste chiamati: perchē anche Cristo ha sofferto per noi, lasciandoci un esempio, che voi dobbiate seguire i suoi passi: che non commise peccato, neppure fu trovato inganno dalla sua bocca: che, quando fu insultato, non insultō di contro; quando ebbe a soffrire, non minacciō; ma rimise se stesso a Colui che giudica giustamente: che Egli stesso sopportō i nostri peccati nel suo proprio corpo sulla croce, cosī che noi, essendo morti ai peccati, dovessimo vivere in giustizia: dalle cui ferite voi foste resi sani. Poichē voi eravate come pecore andando allo sbando, ma siete ora restituiti al Pastore e supervisore delle vostre anime.

Nello stesso modo, voi mogli, siate sottomesse ai vostri propri mariti; che, se non obbediscano alla parola, essi anche possano essere vinti senza la parola dal contegno delle mogli; osservando il vostro casto comportamento unito a timor reverenziale. L’ornamento delle quali non lasciate che sia quello esteriore dell’acconciatura dei capelli, e dello sfoggio di oro, o dell’indossare un vestito; ma che sia l’uomo nascosto del cuore, in quello che non ē corruttibile, proprio l’ornamento di uno spirito quieto e mansueto, che ē di gran prezzo agli occhi di Dio.

Poichē proprio in questa maniera nei tempi antichi le donne sante, che avevano fede in Dio, adornavano se stesse, ponendosi in soggezione ai propri mariti: proprio come Sara obbediva Abramo, chiamandolo signore: le cui figlie voi siete, fintanto che fate bene, e non siete spaventate da alcun stupore. Nello stesso modo, voi mariti, dimorate con loro secondo conoscenza, dando onore alla moglie, come al recipiente piū debole, e come eredi comuni della grazia della vita; che le vostre preghiere non siano compromesse.

Infine, siate tutti voi di una sola mente, avendo compassione l’un dell’altro, amate come confratelli, siate pietosi, siate gentili; non restituendo male al male, o invettive alle invettive, ma al contrario benedicendo; sapendo che voi siete a questo chiamati, che possiate ereditare una benedizione.

Poiche colui che amerā la vita, e vedrā giorni buoni, che egli freni la sua lingua dal male, e che le sue labbra non pronuncino inganno: che si astenga dal male, e faccia bene; che cerchi pace, e la consegua. Poichē gli occhi del Signore sono sopra i giusti, e le sue orecchie sono aperte alle loro preghiere: ma il volto del Signore ē contro coloro che operano il male. E chi ē che vi farā danno, se voi siete seguaci di ciō che ē buono?

Ma se voi soffrite per amore di giustizia, felici voi siete: e non siate spaventati del loro terrore, neppure siate preoccupati; ma santificate il Signore Dio nel vostro cuore: e siate sempre pronti a dare una risposta ad ogni uomo che vi chieda la ragione della speranza che ē in voi con timore e mansuetudine: avendo una buona coscienza; che, mentre parlano male di voi, come di malfattori, possano coloro che accusano falsamente la vostra buona condotta in Cristo essere svergognati.

Poichē ē meglio, se cosī ē volontā di Dio, che voi soffriate per fare del bene, piuttosto che per opere malvagie. Poichē anche Cristo ha una volta sofferto per i peccati, il giusto per l’ingiusto, ch’Egli potesse portarci a Dio, venendo messo a morte nella carne, ma resuscitato dallo Spirito: per mezzo del quale Egli anche andō e predicō agli spiriti in prigione; che un tempo furono disobbedienti, quella volta che la pazienza di Dio aspettō nei giorni di Noē, quando l’arca era in preparazione, nella quale pochi, ossia, otto anime furono salvate dall’acqua. La stessa figura nella quale proprio il battesimo salva adesso anche noi (non il mettere via lo sporco della carne, ma la risposta di una buona coscienza verso Dio), per la risurrezione di Gesū Cristo: che ē andato in Cielo, ed ē alla destra di Dio; angeli ed autoritā e potenze essendo rese soggette a Lui.

Pertanto che allora Cristo ha sofferto per noi nella carne, armate voi stessi similmente con la stessa mente: poichē colui che ha sofferto nella carne ha smesso di peccare; che egli non piū debba vivere il resto della sua vita nella carne secondo le brame degli uomini, ma secondo il volere di Dio. Poichē il tempo passato delle nostre vite puō a noi bastare di aver forgiato il volere dei Gentili, quando noi camminavano nella lascivia, nella smodatezza, nell’eccesso di vino, in baldoria, bagordi e abominevoli idolatrie; onde loro ritengono strano che voi non corriate piū con loro verso lo stesso eccesso di rivolta, parlando male di voi: i quali dovranno dar conto a Colui che ē pronto a giudicare i vivi ed i morti.

Poichē per questo motivo il vangelo fu annunciato anche a coloro che son morti, che essi potessero essere giudicati secondo gli uomini nella carne, ma vivere piacendo a Dio nello spirito. Ma la fine di ogni cosa ē vicina: siate quindi sobri, e vigili in preghiera. E sopra ogni cosa abbiate fervente caritā tra voi stessi: poichē la caritā coprirā la moltitudine dei peccati.

Siate ospitali l’uno verso l’altro senza malincuore. Come ogni uomo abbia ricevuto il dono, cosī anche lo serva ad un altro, come buoni dispensieri della molteplice grazia di Dio. Se un uomo parla, che parli come gli oracoli di Dio; se un uomo assiste, che lo faccia come da abilitā che Dio dā: che Dio possa essere glorificato in ogni cosa attraverso Gesū Cristo, al quale sia gloria e dominio per sempre. Amen.

Diletti, non ritenete sia una stranezza quella che riguarda la tremenda sofferenza che sta per mettervi alla prova, come se qualche cosa insolita vi  accadesse: ma gioite, in quanto che voi siete partecipi delle sofferenze di Cristo; che, quando la Sua gloria sarā rivelata, voi anche possiate esser lieti di gioia suprema. Se voi siete disonorati per il nome di Cristo, felici voi siete; poichē lo spirito di gloria e di Dio dimora su di voi: loro ne parlano male, ma da parte vostra Egli ē glorificato. Ma che nessuno di voi soffra come assassino, o come ladro, o come un malfattore, o come un intrigante negli affari di altri uomini.

Ma se un uomo soffre come Cristiano, che non se ne vergogni; ma dia gloria a Dio per questo motivo. Poichē ē venuto il tempo che il giudizio debba cominciare alla casa del Signore: e se esso comincia prima con noi, quale sarā la fine di coloro che non obbediscono al vangelo di Dio? E se il giusto a stento sarā salvato, dove l’empio ed il peccatore compariranno? Pertanto, che coloro che soffrono in accordo con il volere di Dio affidino ben facendo a Lui la custodia delle loro anime, come ad un Creatore degno di fede.

Esorto gli anziani che sono fra voi, io che anche sono un anziano, ed un testimone delle sofferenze di Cristo, ed anche partecipe della gloria che sarā rivelata: nutrite il gregge di Dio che ē tra di voi, curandone la sorveglianza, non per costrizione, ma volenterosamente; non per sporco lucro, ma di una mente pronta; neppure come signori sull’ereditā di Dio, ma come esempi per il gregge. E quando il Pastore supremo apparirā, voi riceverete una corona di gloria che non svanisce.

Nello stesso modo, voi giovani, siate sottomessi agli anziani. Sī, tutti voi siate sottomessi l’uno all’altro, e siate rivestiti di umiltā: poichē Dio resiste al superbo, e dā grazia all’umile. Siate umili dunque sotto la potente mano di Dio, che Egli possa esaltarvi nel tempo stabilito; lasciando ogni preoccupazione a Lui; poichē Egli si cura di voi.

Siate sobri, siate vigili, poichē il vostro avversario, il diavolo, come leone ruggente, va in giro, cercando chi possa divorare: resistetegli risolutamente nella fede, sapendo che le stesse afflizioni sono compiute nei vostri confratelli che sono nel mondo. Ma il Dio di ogni grazia, che ci ha chiamati nella sua gloria eterna attraverso Gesū Cristo, dopo che voi abbiate sofferto per un po’, vi rende perfetti, vi fonda, rafforza e definisce. A Lui sia gloria e dominio per sempre. Amen.

Per mezzo di Silvano, un vostro fedele fratello, come ritengo, ho scritto brevemente, esortando, e testimoniando che questa ē la vera grazia di Dio dove voi state. La Chiesa che ē in Babilonia, eletta insieme con voi, vi saluta; e cosī fā Marco mio figlio. Salutatevi l’un l’altro con un bacio di amore. La pace sia con tutti voi che siete in Cristo Gesū. Amen.


August 15, 2018





August 14, 2018


July 29, 2018

fr seraphim rose

Absurdism is a profound symptom of the spiritual state of contemporary man, and if we know how to read it correctly we may learn much of that state. But this brings us to the most important of the initial difficulties to be disposed of before we can speak of the absurd. Can it be understood at all?

The absurd is, by its very nature, a subject that lends itself to careless or sophistic treatment; and such treatment has indeed been given it, not only by the artists who are carried away by it, but by the supposedly serious thinkers and critics who attempt to explain or justify it. In most of the works on contemporary “existentialism,” and in the apologies for modern art and drama, it would seem that intelligence has been totally abandoned, and critical standards are replaced by a vague “sympathy” or “involvement,” and by extra-logical if not illogical arguments that cite the “spirit of the age” or some vague “creative” impulse or an indeterminate “awareness”; but these are not arguments, they are at best rationalizations, at worst mere jargon. If we follow that path we may end with a greater “appreciation” of absurdist art, but hardly with any profounder understanding of it.

Absurdism, indeed, may not be understood at all in its own terms; for understanding is coherence, and that is the very opposite of absurdity. If we are to understand the absurd at all, it must be from a standpoint outside absurdity, a standpoint from which a word like “understanding” has a meaning; only thus may we cut through the intellectual fog within which absurdism conceals itself, discouraging coherent and rational attack by its own assault on reason and coherence. We must, in short, take a stand within a faith opposed to the absurdist faith and attack it in the name of a truth of which it denies the existence. In the end we shall find that absurdism, quite against its will, offers its own testimony to this faith and this truth which are — let us state at the outset — Christian.

The philosophy of the absurd is, indeed, nothing original in itself; it is entirely negation, and its character is determined, absolutely and entirely, by that which it attempts to negate. The absurd could not even be conceived except in relation to something considered not to be absurd; the fact that the world fails to make sense could occur only to men who have once believed, and have good reason to believe, that it does not make sense. Absurdism cannot be understood apart from its Christian origins.

Christianity is, supremely, coherence, for the Christian God has ordered everything in the universe, both with regard to everything else and with regard to Himself, Who is the beginning and end of all creation; and the Christian whose faith is genuine finds this divine coherence in every aspect of his life and thought. For the absurdist, everything falls apart, including his own philosophy, which can only be a short-lived phenomenon; for the Christian, everything holds together and is coherent, including those things which in themselves are incoherent. The incoherence of the absurd is, in the end, part of a larger coherence; if it were not, there would be little point in speaking of it at all.

The second of the initial difficulties in approaching the absurd concerns the precise manner of approach. It will not do — if we wish to understand it — to dismiss absurdism as mere error and self-contradiction; it is these, to be sure, but it is also much more. No competent thinker, surely, can be tempted to take seriously any absurdist claim to truth; no matter from which side one approaches it, absurdist philosophy is nothing but self-contradiction. To proclaim ultimate meaninglessness, one must believe that this phrase has a meaning, and thus one denies it in affirming it; to assert that “there is no truth,” one must believe in the truth of this statement, and so again affirm what one denies. Absurdist philosophy, it is clear, is not to be taken seriously as philosophy; all its objective statements must be reinterpreted imaginatively, and often subjectively. Absurdism, in fact — as we shall see — is not a product of the intellect at all, but of the will.

The philosophy of the absurd, while implicit in a large number of contemporary works of art, is fortunately quite explicit — if we know how to interpret it — in the writings of Nietzsche; for his nihilism is precisely the root from which the tree of absurdity has grown. In Nietzsche we may read the philosophy of the absurd; in his older contemporary Dostoevsky we may see described the sinister implications which Nietzsche, blind to the Christian truth which is the only remedy for the absurd view of life, failed to see. In these two writers, living at the dividing point between two worlds, when the world of coherence based on Christian truth was being shattered and the world of the absurd based on its denial was coming into being, we may find almost everything there is of importance to know about the absurd.

The absurdist revelation, after a long period of underground germination, bursts into the open in the two striking phrases of Nietzsche so often quoted: “God is dead” means simply, that faith in God is dead in the hearts of modern men; and “there is no truth” means that men have abandoned the truth revealed by God upon which all European thought and institutions once were based. They have abandoned it because they no longer find it credible. Both statements are indeed true of what has, since Nietzsche’s time, become the vast majority of those who were once Christian. It is true of the atheists and satanists who profess to be content or ecstatic at their own lack of faith and rejection of truth; it is equally true of the less pretentious multitudes in whom the sense of spiritual reality has simply evaporated, whether this event be expressed in indifference to spiritual reality, in that spiritual confusion and unrest so widespread today, or in any of the many forms of pseudo-religion that are but masks for indifference and confusion. And even over that ever-decreasing minority who still believe, inwardly as well as outwardly, for whom the other world is more real than this world — even over these the shadow of the “death of God” has fallen and made the world a different and a strange place.

Nietzsche, in the Will to Power, comments very succinctly on the meaning of nihilism: What does nihilism mean? That the highest values are losing their value. There is no goal. There is no answer to the question: “why?”

Everything, in short, has become questionable. The magnificent certainty we see in the Fathers and Saints of the Church, and in all true believers, that refers everything, whether in thought or life, back to God, seeing everything as beginning and ending in Him, everything as His will — this certainty and faith that once held society and the world and man himself together, are now gone, and the questions for which men once had learned to find the answers in God, now have — for most men — no answers.

There have been, of course, other forms of coherence than Christianity, and forms of incoherence other than modern nihilism and absurdity. In them human life makes sense, or fails to make sense, but only to a limited degree. Men who believe and follow, for example, the traditional Hindu or Chinese view of things, possess a measure of truth and of the peace that comes from truth — but not absolute truth, and not the “peace that passes all understanding” that proceeds only from absolute truth; and those who fall away from this relative truth and peace have lost something real, but they have not lost everything, as has the apostate Christian. Never has such disorder reigned in the heart of man and in the world today; but this is precisely because man has fallen away from a truth and a coherence that have been revealed in their fullness only in Christ.

Only the Christian God is at the same time all power and all love; only the Christian God, through His love has promised men immortality and, through His power to fulfill that promise, has prepared a Kingdom in which men will live in God as gods, having been raised from the dead. This is a God and His promise so incredible to the ordinary human understanding that, once having believed it, men who reject it can never believe anything else to be of any great value. A world from which such a God has been removed, a man in whom such a hope has been extinguished — are, indeed, in the eyes of those who have undergone such disillusionment, “absurd.”

“God is dead,” “there is no truth”: the two phrases have precisely the same meaning; they are alike a revelation of the absolute absurdity of a world whose center is no longer God, but — nothing. But just here at the very heart of absurdism, its dependence upon the Christianity it rejects is most apparent. One of the most difficult of Christian doctrines for the non-Christian and anti-Christian to understand and accept is that of the creatio ex nihilo: God’s creation of the world not out of Himself, not out of some pre-existent matter, but out of nothing.

Yet, without understanding it, the absurdist testifies to its reality by inverting and parodying it, by attempting in effect, a nihilization of creation, a return of the world to that very nothingness out of which God first called it.

This may be seen in the absurdist affirmation of a void at the center of things, and in the implication present in all absurdists to a greater or lesser degree, that it would be better if man and his world did not exist at all. But this attempt at nihilization, this affirmation of the Abyss, that lies at the very heart of absurdism, takes its most concrete form in the atmosphere that pervades absurdist works of art. In the art of those whom one might call commonplace atheists — men like Hemingway, Camus, and the vast numbers of artists whose insight does not go beyond the futility of the human situation as men imagine it today, and whose aspiration does not look beyond a kind of stoicism, a facing of the inevitable — in the art of such men the atmosphere of the void is communicated by boredom, by a despair that is yet tolerable, and in general by the feeling that “nothing ever happens.”

But there is a second, and more revealing, kind of absurdist art, which unites to the mood of futility an element of the unknown, a kind of eerie expectancy, the feeling that in an absurd world, where, generally, “nothing ever happens,” it is also true that “anything is possible.” In this art, reality becomes a nightmare and the world becomes an alien planet wherein men wander not so much in hopelessness as in perplexity, uncertain of where they are, of what they may find, of their own identity — of everything except the absence of God.

This is the strange world of Kafka, of the plays of Ionesco and — less strikingly — of Beckett, of a few avant-garde films like “Last Year at Marienbad,” of electronic and other “experimental” music, of surrealism in all the arts, and of the most recent painting and sculpture — and particularly that with a supposedly “religious” content — in which man is depicted as a subhuman or demonic creature emerging from some unknown depths. It was the world, too, of Hitler, whose reign was the most perfect political incarnation we have yet seen of the philosophy of the absurd.

This strange atmosphere is the “death of God” made tangible. It is significant that Nietzsche, in the very passage (in the Joyful Wisdom) where he first proclaims the “death of God” — a message he puts in the mouth of a madman — describes the very atmosphere of this absurdist art.

We have killed him (God), you and I! We are all his murderers! But how have we done it? How were we able to drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the whole horizon? What did we do when we loosened this earth from its sun? Whither does it now move? Whither do we move? Away from all suns? Do we not dash on unceasingly? Backwards, sideways, forwards, in all directions? Is there still an above and below? Do we not stray, as through infinite nothingness? Does not empty space breathe upon us? Has it not become colder? Does not night come on continually, darker and darker?

Such, in fact, is the landscape of the absurd, a landscape in which there is neither up nor down, right nor wrong, true nor false, because there is no longer any commonly accepted point of orientation.

Another, more immediately personal, expression of the absurdist revelation is contained in the despairing cry of Ivan Karamazov: “If there is no immortality, everything is permitted.” This, to some, may sound like a cry of liberation; but anyone who has thought deeply about death, or who has encountered, in his own experience, a concrete awareness of his own impending death, knows better that that. The absurdist, though he denies human immortality, at least recognizes that the question is a central one — something most humanists, with their endless evasions and rationalizations, fail to do. It is possible to be indifferent to this question only if one has no love for truth, or if one’s love for truth has been obscured by more deceptive and immediate things, whether pleasure, business, culture, worldly knowledge, or any of the other things the world is content to accept in place of truth. The whole meaning of human life depends on the truth — or falsity — of the doctrine of human immortality.

To the absurdist, the doctrine is false. And that is one the reasons why his universe is so strange: there is no hope in it, death is its highest god. Apologists for the absurd, like apologists for humanist stoicism, see nothing but “courage” in this view, the “courage” of men willing to live without the ultimate “consolation” of eternal life; and they look down on those who require the “reward” of Heaven to justify their conduct on earth. It is not necessary, so they think, to believe in Heaven and Hell in order to lead a “good life” in this world. And their argument is a persuasive one even to many who call themselves Christians and are yet quite ready to renounce eternal life for an “existential” view that believes only in the present moment.

Such an argument is the worst of self-deceptions, it is but another of the myriad masks behind which men hide the face of death; for if death were truly the end of men, no man could face the full terror of it. Dostoevsky was quite right in giving to human immortality such central importance in his own Christian world-view. If man is after all to end in nothingness, then in the deepest sense it does not matter what he does in this life, for then nothing he may do is of any ultimate consequence, and all talk of “living this life to the full” is empty and vain. It is absolutely true that if “there is no immortality”, the world is absurd and “everything is permitted” — which is to say, nothing is worth doing, the dust of death smothers every joy and prevents even tears, which would be futile; it would indeed be better if such a world did not exist. Nothing in the world — not love, not goodness, not sanctity — is of any value, or indeed even has any meaning, if man does not survive death. He who thinks to lead a “good life” that ends in death does not know the meaning of his words, they but caricature Christian goodness, which finds its fulfillment in eternity. Only if man is immortal, and only if the next world is as God has revealed it to His chosen people, Christians, is there any value or meaning to what man does in this life; for then every act of man is a seed of good or evil that sprouts, to be sure, in this life, but which is not reaped until the future life. Men who, on the other hand, believe that virtue begins and ends in this life are but one step from those who believe that there is no virtue at all; and this step—a fact of which our century bears eloquent witness — is all too easily taken, for it is, after all, a logical step.

Disillusionment, in a sense, is preferable to self-deception. It may, if taken as an end in itself, lead to suicide or madness; but it may also lead to an awakening. Europe for five centuries and more has been deceiving itself, trying to establish a reign of humanism, liberalism, and supposedly Christian values on the basis of an increasingly sceptical attitude toward Christian truth. Absurdism is the end of that road; it is the logical conclusion of the humanist attempt to soften and compromise Christian truth so as to accommodate new, modern, that is to say, worldly, values. Absurdism is the last proof that Christian truth is absolute and uncompromising, or else it is the same as no truth at all; and if there is no truth, if Christian truth is not to be understood literally and absolutely, if God is dead, if there is no immortality — then this world is all there is, and this world is absurd, this world is Hell.

The absurd view of life, then, does express a partial insight: it draws the conclusions of humanist and liberal thought to which well-meaning humanists themselves have been blind. Absurdism is no merely arbitrary irrationalism, but a part of the harvest European man has been sowing for centuries, by his compromise and betrayal of Christian truth.

It would be unwise, however, to exaggerate in this direction, as apologists for the absurd, and to see in absurdism and its parent nihilism signs of a turn or a return to hitherto neglected truths or to a more profound world-view. The absurdist, to be sure, is more realistic about the negative and evil side of life, as manifest both in the world and in man’s nature; but this is after all very little truth in comparison with the great errors absurdism shares with humanism. Both are equally far from the God in Whom alone the world makes sense; neither consequently has any notion of spiritual life or experience, which are nourished by God alone; both therefore are totally ignorant of the full dimensions of reality and of human experience; and both have thus a radically oversimplified view of the world and especially of human nature.

Humanism and absurdism, in fact, are not as far apart as one might have supposed; absurdism, in the end, is simply disillusioned but unrepentant humanism. It is, one might say, the last stage in the dialectical procession of humanism away from Christian truth, the stage in which humanism, merely by following its internal logic and drawing out the full implications of its original betrayal of Christian truth, arrives at its own negation and ends in a kind of humanist nightmare, a sub-humanism. The subhuman world of the absurdist, though it may at times seem eerie and bewildering, is after all the same one-dimensional world the humanist knows, only rendered “mysterious” by various tricks and self-deceptions; it is a parody of the true world, the world the Christian knows, the world that is truly mysterious because it contains heights and depths of which no absurdist, and surely no humanist, even dreams.

If, intellectually, humanism and absurdism are distinguished as principle and consequence, they are united in a deeper sense, for they share a single will, and that will is the annihilation of the Christian God and the order He has established in the world. These words will seem strange to anyone disposed to take a sympathetic view of the “plight” of contemporary man, and especially to those who listen to the arguments of absurdist apologetics which cite supposed scientific “discoveries” and the all-too-natural disillusionment that has come out of our century of war and revolution: arguments, in short, that rely on the “spirit of the age,” which seem to make any but a philosophy of absurdity next to impossible.

The universe, so this apology runs, has become meaningless, God has died, one knows not quite how or why, and all we can do now is to accept the fact and resign ourselves to it. But the more perceptive absurdists themselves know better. God has not merely died, said Nietzsche, rather men have murdered Him; and Ionesco, in an essay on Kafka, recognizes that “if man no longer has a guiding thread (i.e., in the labyrinth of life), it is because he no longer wanted to have one. Hence his feeling of guilt, of anxiety, of the absurdity of history.” A vague feeling of guilt is indeed, in many cases, the only remaining sign of man’s involvement in bringing about the condition in which he now finds himself. But man is involved, and all fatalism is only rationalization.

Modern science is quite innocent in this respect, for in itself it must be, not merely neutral, but actively hostile to any idea of ultimate absurdity, and those who exploit it for irrationalist ends are not thinking clearly. And as to the fatalism of those who believe that man must be a slave to the “spirit of the age,” it is disproved by the experience of every Christian worthy of the name — for the Christian life is nothing if it is not a struggle against the spirit of every age for the sake of eternity.

Absurdist fatalism is in the end the product, not of knowledge nor of any necessity, but of blind faith. The absurdist, of course, would rather not face too squarely the fact that his disillusionment is an act of faith, for faith is a factor that testifies against determinism. But there is something even deeper than faith which the absurdist has even more reason to avoid, and that is the will; for the direction of a man’s will is what chiefly determines his faith and the whole personal world-view built upon that faith. The Christian, who possesses a coherent doctrine of the nature of man and should have thereby a deep insight into human motives, can see the ultimate responsibility the absurdist prefers to deny in his disillusioned view of the world. The absurdist is not the passive “victim” of his age or its thought, but rather an active — though often confused — collaborator in the great undertaking of the enemies of God.

Absurdism is not primarily a phenomenon of the intellect, not simple atheism nor mere recognition of the fact of an absent God — these are its disguises and rationalizations; it is rather something of the will, an anti-theism (a term applied by Proudhon to his own program, and seen by de Lubac, in The Drama of Atheist Humanism, as a key to understanding other revolutionaries), a fight against God and the Divine order of things. No absurdist, to be sure, can be fully aware of this; he cannot and will not think clearly, he lives on self-delusion. No one (unless it be Satan himself, the first absurdist) can deny God and refuse his own truest happiness in full consciousness of the fact; but somewhere deep within every absurdist, far deeper than he himself usually wishes to look, lies the primordial refusal of God which has been responsible for all the phenomena of absurdism as well as for the incoherence that indeed lies at the very heart of this age.

If it is impossible not to sympathize with some at least of the artists of the absurd, seeing in them an agonized awareness and sincere depiction of a world that is trying to live without God, let us not for all that forget how thoroughly at one these  artists are with the world they depict; let us not lose sight of the fact that their art is so successful in striking a responsive chord in many precisely because they share the errors, the blindness and ignorance, and the perverted will of the age whose emptiness they depict. To transcend the absurdity of the contemporary world requires, unfortunately, a great deal more than even the best intentions, the most agonized suffering, and the greatest artistic “genius”. The way beyond the absurd lies in truth alone; and this is precisely what is lacking as much in the contemporary artist as in his world, it is what is actively rejected as definitely by the self-conscious absurdist as it is by those who live the absurd life without being aware of it.

To sum up, then, our diagnosis of absurdism: it is the life lived, and the view of life expressed, by those who can or will no longer see God as the beginning and end, and the ultimate meaning, of life; those who therefore do not believe His Revelation of Himself in Jesus Christ and do not accept the eternal Kingdom He has prepared for those who do believe and who live this faith; those who, ultimately, can hold no one responsible for their unbelief but themselves. But what is the cause of this disease? What, beyond all historical and psychological causes — which can never be more than relative and contributory — what is its real motivation, its spiritual cause? If absurdism is indeed a great evil, as we believe it to be, it cannot be chosen for its own sake; for evil has no positive existence, and it can only be chosen in the guise of a seeming good. If up to this point we have described the negative side of the philosophy of the absurd, its description of the disordered, disoriented world in which men find themselves today, it is time to turn to its positive side and discover in what it is that absurdists place their faith and hope.

For it is quite clear that absurdists are not happy about the absurdity of the universe; they believe in it, but they cannot reconcile themselves to it, and their art and thought are attempts, after all, to transcend it. As Ionesco has said (and here he speaks, probably, for all absurdists): “To attack absurdity is a way of stating the possibility of non-absurdity,” and he sees himself as engaged in “the constant search for an opening, a revelation.” Thus we return to the sense of expectancy we have already noted in certain absurdist works of art; it is but a reflection of the situation of our times, wherein men, disillusioned and desolate, yet hope in something unknown, uncertain, yet to be revealed, which will somehow restore meaning and purpose to life. Men cannot live without hope, even in the midst of despair, even when all cause for hope has been, supposedly, “disproved.”

But this is only to say that nothingness, the apparent center of the absurdist universe, is not the real heart of the disease, but only its most striking symptom. The real faith of absurdism is in something hoped for but not yet fully manifest, a “Godot” that is the always implicit but not yet defined subject of absurdist art, a mysterious something that, if understood, would give life some kind of meaning once more.

All this, if it seems vague in contemporary absurdist art, is quite clear in the works of the original “prophets” of the age of absurdity, Nietzsche and Dostoevsky. In them the revelation of absurdity has a corollary. “Dead are all the gods,” says Nietzsche’s Zarathustra: “Now do we desire the Superman to live.” And Nietzsche’s madman says, of the murder of God: “Is not the magnitude of this deed too great for us? Shall we not ourselves have to become gods, merely to seem worthy of it?” Kirillov, in Dostoevsky’s Possessed, knows that, “If there is no God, then I am god.”

Man’s first sin, and the ultimate cause of the miserable condition of man in all ages, was in following the temptation of the serpent in Paradise: “Ye shall be as gods.” What Nietzsche calls the Superman, and Dostoevsky the man-god, is in fact the same god of self with which the Devil then, and always, has tempted man; it is the only god, once the true God has been rejected, whom men can worship. Man’s freedom has been given him to choose between the true God and himself, between the true path to deification whereon the self is humbled and crucified in this life to be resurrected and exalted in God in eternity, and the false path of self-deification which promises exaltation in this life but ends in the Abyss.

These are the only two choices, ultimately, open to the freedom of man; and upon them have been founded the two Kingdoms, the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Man, which may be discriminated only by the eye of faith in this life, but which shall be separated in the future life as Heaven and Hell. It is clear to which of them modern civilization belongs, with its Promethean effort to build a Kingdom of earth in defiance of God; but what should be clear enough in earlier modern thinkers becomes absolutely explicit in Nietzsche. The old commandment of “Thou shalt,” says Zarathustra, has become outmoded; the new commandment is “I will”. And in Kirillov’s satanic logic, “The attribute of my godhead is self-will.” The new religion, the religion not yet fully revealed that will succeed the old religion of Christianity to which modern man thinks by now to have delivered the final blow — is supremely the religion of self-worship.

This is what absurdism — and all the vain experimentation of our day — is seeking. Absurdism is the stage at which the modern Promethean effort hesitates, entertains doubts, and has a faint foretaste of the satanic incoherence in which it cannot but end. But if the absurdist is less confident and more fearful than the humanist, he nonetheless shares the humanist faith that the modern path is the right path, and in spite of his doubt he retains the humanist hope — hope not in God and His Kingdom, but in man’s own Tower of Babel.

The modern attempt to establish a kingdom of self-worship reached one extreme in Hitler, who believed in a racial Superman; it reaches another extreme in Communism, whose Superman is the collectivity and whose self-love is disguised as altruism. But both Nazism and Communism are extreme forms — their phenomenal success proves it — of what everyone else today actually believes: everyone, that is, who does not stand explicitly and absolutely with Christ and His Truth.

For what is the meaning of the gigantic effort in which all nations have today joined to transform the face of the earth and conquer the universe, to bring about an entirely new order of things wherein man’s condition since his creation will be radically transformed and this earth, which since man’s fall has been and can be nothing but a place of sorrow and tears, is to become, supposedly, a place of happiness and joy, a veritable heaven on earth with the advent of a “new age”? What does this mean but that man, freed of the burden of a God in Whom he does not believe even when he professes Him with his lips, imagines himself to be God, master of his own destiny and creator of a “new earth,” expressing his faith in a “new religion” of his own devising wherein humility gives way to pride, prayer to worldly knowledge, mastery of the passions to mastery of the world, fasting to abundance and satiety, tears of repentance to worldly joy.

To this religion of the self absurdism points the way. This is not, to be sure, always its explicit intention, but it is its distinct implication. Absurdist art depicts a man imprisoned in his own self, unable to communicate with his fellow man or enter into any relationship with him that is not inhuman; there is no love in absurdist art, there is only hatred, violence, terror, and boredom — because in cutting himself off from God, absurdist man has cut himself off from his own humanity, the image of God. If such a man is awaiting a revelation that will put an end to absurdity, it is surely not the revelation that the Christians know; if there is one point on which all absurdists would agree, it is the absolute rejection of the Christian answer. Any revelation the absurdist, as absurdist, can accept must be “new.”

About Godot, in Beckett’s play, one character says, “I’m anxious to hear what he has to offer. Then we’ll take it or leave it.” In the Christian life everything is referred to Christ, the old self with its constant “I will” must be done away with and a new self, centered in Christ and His will, be born; but in the spiritual universe of “Godot,” everything revolves precisely about the old self, and even a new god must present himself as a kind of spiritual merchandise to be accepted or rejected by a self that will tolerate nothing that is not oriented to itself. Men today “wait for Godot” — who is, perhaps on one level, Antichrist — in the hope that he will bring appeasement of conscience and restore meaning and joy to self-worship, in the hope that is, that he will permit what God has forbidden and provide the ultimate apology for it. Nietzsche’s Superman is absurdist, modern man with his sense of guilt obliterated in a frenzy of enthusiasm generated by a false mysticism of the earth, a worship of this world.

Where will it all end? Nietzsche and the optimists of our day see the dawn of a new age, the beginning of “a higher history than any history hitherto.” Communist doctrine affirms this; but the Communist reorganization of the world will, in the end, prove to be no more than the systematized absurdity of a perfectly efficient machine that has no ultimate purpose.  Dostoevsky, who knew the true God, was more realistic. Kirillov, the maniacal counterpart of Zarathustra, had to kill himself to prove that he was God; Ivan Karamazov, who was tormented by the same ideas, ended in madness, as did Nietzsche himself; Shigalev (in The Possessed), who devised the first perfect social organization of mankind, found it necessary to deliver nine-tenths of mankind to absolute slavery so that one-tenth might enjoy absolute liberty — a plan that Nazi and Communist Supermen have put into practice. Madness, suicide, slavery, murder, and destruction are the ends of the presumptuous philosophy of the death of God and the advent of the Superman; and these are, indeed, prominent themes of absurdist art.

Many feel — with Ionesco — that only out of thorough exploration of the absurd condition in which man now finds himself, and of the new possibilities this has opened up for him, may a way be found beyond absurdity and nihilism into some new realm of coherence: this is the hope of absurdism and humanism, and it will become the hope of Communism when (and if) it enters its period of disillusionment. It is a false hope, but it is a hope that may, for all that, be fulfilled. For Satan is the ape of God, and once divine coherence has been shattered and men no longer hope for the absolute coherence God alone can give to human life, the counterfeit coherence that Satan is able to fabricate may come to seem quite attractive.

It is no accident that in our own day serious attention is being given once more by responsible and sober Christians dissatisfied alike with facile optimism and facile pessimism, to a doctrine that, in Western Europe at least, was almost forgotten for centuries under the influence of the philosophy of enlightenment and progress. (Cf. Josef Pieper, The End of Time; Heinrich Schlier, Principalities and Powers in the New Testament; and before them, Cardinal Newman.)

This is the doctrine, universally held by the Churches of the East and West, of Antichrist, that strange figure who appears at the end of time as a humanitarian world-ruler and seems to turn creation upside-down by making darkness seem light, evil good, slavery freedom, chaos order; he is the ultimate protagonist of the philosophy of the absurd, and the perfect embodiment of the man-god: for he will worship only himself, and will call himself God. This is no place, however, to do more than point out the existence of that doctrine, and to note its intimate connection with the Satanic incoherence of the philosophy of the absurd. But more important even than the historical culmination of absurdism, whether it be the actual reign of Antichrist or merely another of his predecessors, is its supra-historical end: and that is Hell.

For absurdism is, most profoundly, an eruption of Hell into our world; it is thus a warning of a reality men are all too anxious to avoid. But those who avoid it only find themselves the closer to it; our age, the first in Christian times to disbelieve entirely in Hell, itself more thoroughly than any other embodies the spirit of Hell.

Why do men disbelieve in Hell? It is because they do not believe in Heaven, i.e., because they do not believe in life, and in the God of life, because they find God’s creation absurd and wish that it did not exist. The Elder Zosima, in The Brothers Karamazov, speaks of one kind of such men.

There are some who remain proud and fierce even in hell… They have cursed themselves, cursing God and life… They cannot behold the living God without hatred, and they cry out that the God of life should be annihilated, that God should destroy Himself and His own creation. And they will burn in the fire of their own wrath forever and yearn for death and annihilation. But they will not attain to death…

Such men, of course, are extreme nihilists, but they differ in degree only, and not in kind, from those less violent souls who faintly curse this life and find it to be absurd, and even from those who call themselves Christians and do not desire the Kingdom of Heaven with all their hearts, but picture Heaven, if at all, as a shadowy realm of repose or sleep. Hell is the answer and the end of all who believe in death rather than life, in this world rather than in the next world, in themselves rather than in God: all those, in short, who in their deepest heart accept the philosophy of the absurd. For it is the great truth of Christianity — which Dostoevsky saw and Nietzsche did not see — that there is no annihilation, and there is no incoherence, all nihilism and absurdism are in vain.

The flames of Hell are the last and awful proof of this: every creature testifies, with or against his will, to the ultimate coherence of things. For this coherence is the love of God, and this love is found even in the flames of Hell; it is in fact the love of God itself which torments those who refuse it.

So it is too with absurdism; it is the negative side of a positive reality. There is, of course, an element of incoherence in our world, for in his fall from Paradise man brought the world with him; the philosophy of the absurd is not, therefore, founded upon a total lie, but upon a deceptive half-truth. But when Camus defines absurdity as the confrontation of man’s need for reason with the irrationality of the world, when he believes that man is an innocent victim and the world the guilty party, he, like all absurdists, has magnified a very partial insight into a totally distorted view of things, and in his blindness has arrived at the exact inversion of the truth. Absurdism, in the end, is an internal and not an external question; it is not the world that is irrational and incoherent, but man.

If, however, the absurdist is responsible for not seeing things as they are, and not even wishing to see things as they are, the Christian is yet more responsible for failing to give the example of a fully coherent life, a life in Christ. Christian compromise in thought and word and negligence in deed have opened the way to the triumph of the forces of the absurd, of Satan, of Antichrist. The present age of absurdity is the just reward of Christians who have failed to be Christians.

And the only remedy for absurdism lies at this, its source: we must again be Christians. Camus was quite right when he said, “We must choose between miracles and the absurd.” For in this respect Christianity and absurdism are equally opposed to Enlightenment rationalism and humanism, to the view that reality can be reduced to purely rational and human terms. We must indeed choose between the miraculous, the Christian view of things, whose center is God and whose end is the eternal Kingdom of Heaven, and the absurd, the Satanic view of things, whose center is the fallen self and whose end is Hell, in this life and in the life to come.

We must again be Christians. It is futile, in fact it is precisely absurd, to speak of reforming society, of changing the path of history, of emerging into an age beyond absurdity, if we have not Christ in our hearts; and if we do have Christ in our hearts, nothing else matters.

It is of course possible that there may be an age beyond absurdity; it is more likely, perhaps — and Christians must always be prepared for this eventuality — that there will not be, and that the age of absurdity is indeed the last age. It may be that the final testimony Christians may be able to give in this age will be the ultimate testimony, the blood of their martyrdom.

But this is cause for rejoicing and not for despair. For the hope of Christians is not in this world or in any of its kingdoms — that hope, indeed, is the ultimate absurdity; the hope of Christians is in the Kingdom of God which is not of this world.

Father Seraphim Rose