Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Apple Watch

Apple’s latest invention is upon us.  As with most releases of new technology in our day, there are reasons to shy away from it.

First, because it has the ability for wireless communication, the lifelorish (biological) side must be considered.  The Weston A. Price Foundation recently conducted a small-scale study of the effects of cell phone radiation on human blood.  The results are unsurprisingly dire.  From their report’s ‘Conclusions and Discussion’ section, we have these words:

Results show substantial changes in the blood from short-term cell phone radiation exposure in nine out of ten human subjects. RBC [Red blood cell--W. G.] aggregation and stickiness were mainly observed following 45 minutes of exposure to a smart phone in receiving mode worn by subjects in a backpack. By contrast, RBC morphological (shape) changes including the formation of echinocytes (spiky cells) were dominant after subjects actively used the phone for an additional 45 minutes. It appears that RBC stickiness with clumping is the first stage of the cell phone radiation effect. Subsequently, the RBC aggregates tend to break apart, and then cell shape changes occur, in which echinocytes and other misshapen cells are observed. Not all subjects showed both types of changes. The difference in net RBC aggregates between the carrying and the active use conditions are not significant for this small sample, as indicated by the overlap in the error bar values in Figure 15. However, the differences in RBC shape changes between the carrying and the active use conditions appear to be significant.

Such blood morphologies—RBC clumping and misshapen cells—are frequently observed in ill persons or those eating less-than-optimal diets.6,7 Echinocyte formation has been associated with aging RBCs and diseases such as cirrhosis of the liver.8 In a study exposing mice to cell phones, clumped RBCs were found after short- term exposure, and abnormal RBC shapes were observed over longer exposure times,9 which is similar to the results observed in this study.

It is possible that the changes in RBC shape that we observed may be related to functional changes in cell membrane permeability. Other studies have reported changes in RBC membranes following exposure to microwaves, too. Low-power microwave radiation increased membrane permeability and destabilized the cell membrane in rabbit RBCs, and also caused the shedding of particular membrane proteins.10 Similar effects showing changes in membrane permeability have been reported for human RBCs.11 Some, but not all, studies show a loss of hemoglobin from RBCs irradiated with cell phone frequency microwaves, indicating greater membrane fragility.12 However, these are in vitro studies in which blood taken from the body was directly exposed to microwaves.

 . . .

We did not investigate how long these blood changes last after the cell phone radiation exposure period ends. However, because subjects refrained from using a cell phone for four hours prior to the study, we can surmise that the blood recovers within four hours. The onset, reversibility, recovery time, and chronicity of these blood changes need further investigation.

It is probable that the blood changes we observed would affect blood circulation. RBC aggregation has been widely studied and its importance is well-established in the microcirculation. RBCs that are stuck together in rouleaux or other aggregates increase the blood viscosity, and this affects the passage of RBC through the microvessels throughout the body.13 RBC shape and deformability are also relevant to blood flow. The typical round disk shape of normal RBCs is considered optimum for blood flow. The shape of the echinocytes might impair blood flow and oxygen release from echinocytes is known to be impaired.14 It would be important to explore whether symptoms such as fatigue and poor concentration, characteristic of EHS, may possibly result from the blood changes that we observed in this study.

 . . .

Source:  ‘Does Short-term Exposure to Cell Phone Radiation Affect the Blood?’, http://www.westonaprice.org/modern-diseases/does-short-term-exposure-to-cell-phone-radiation-affect-the-blood/, posted 16 Jan. 2015, accessed 27 April 2015

Next is the þeodlorish (sociological) side, the dimension in which the people of a land are manipulated by the social ginmen (machine men, engineers).  The Apple Watch offers further ways for them to extend their technocratic rule over unsuspecting people, both by building excitement around the release of the Watch and through the sundry ‘apps’ associated with it:

In the scientifically regimented state, the citizen becomes little more than an amalgam of behavioral repertoires whose every thought, feeling, and idea is the product of external stimuli. From the scientistic vantage point, the populace's motivations can be calculated and systematized, thereby allowing those few conditioners who are accountable to no moral master to develop economic and technological stimuli that can produce the desired patterns of mass behavior. Such a societal model is known as a Technocracy, which Frank Fischer defines as follows: "Technocracy, in classical political terms, refers to a system of governance in which technically trained experts rule by virtue of their specialized knowledge and position in dominant political and economic institutions" (17).

Source:  Phillip D. Collins, ‘The Faustian Face of Modern Science: Understanding the Epistemological Foundations of Scientific Totalitarianism’, http://www.conspiracyarchive.com/Articles/Scientific_Totalitarianism.htm, posted 11 June 2009, accessed 9 April 2015

Lastly, there is the ghostly (spiritual) side.  St Ignatius Brianchaninov (+1867) warns us against insensibility to God that results from too heavy a focus on worldly things like this Watch in this lorespell (homily, sermon):

The stone is the soul’s illness by which all the other spiritual illnesses are guarded incurably and which the holy fathers call insensibility.[2] Many will say, what sort of sin is this? We have never heard of it. According to the fathers, insensibility is the deadening of spiritual feelings, the unseen death of the human soul with respect to spiritual things in a life that is flourishing with respect to material things. From a long-term physical sickness all strength can become exhausted and the body’s abilities withered; then the illness cannot find any more food, and ceases to torment the body’s constitution. It leaves the sick man alone and wasted, as if dead and incapable of movement due to the debilitating suffering, the terrible, dumb morbidity that is not expressed by any particular suffering. The same thing happens to the human soul. Long-term slackness of life amidst continuous distractions, constant voluntary sins, forgetfulness of God and eternity, inattention or only superficial attention to the Gospel teachings removes from our spirit any inclination toward spiritual things, and deadens it to them. Although they continue to exist, they cease to exist for our spirit because its life has ended for them—all its strength is directed toward the material, the temporal, the vain, and the sinful.

Source:  ‘Homily on the Sunday of the Myrrh Bearing Women. On Spiritual Deadness’, Nun Cornelia Rees, trans., http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/53230.htm, posted 29 April 2012, accessed 25 April 2015

Father Dumitru Staniloae’s teachings (the Orthodox priest and theologian from Romania) in The Experience of God: Vol. 2, The World: Creation and Deification (Brookline, Ma., Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2000 [1978 in Romania], Ionita and Barringer, trans. and ed.) make for a fitting end:

‘ . . .  In hell, the absence of life in God means also that normality is absent from the world, which is transformed into a mass of hallucinatory shadows cast up by the movements of chaos.  . . . In the state of sin our very being can advance to such a condition of self-centeredness that it almost no longer knows whether creation really exists’ (pgs. 177-8).

And without proper awareness of the creation (which we lose in overthoughtsomeness towards new gadgets), we lose a mighty mean of communion between God and man and between man and man:

‘We have seen, moreover, that the world has a meaning only because, being malleable, it can be led toward a mode of existence that is higher and eternal, toward the perfect truth or good that consists in love and union between God and the world, between humans and God, and among humans themselves, that is, only if the world is seen as a transparency that grows finer and finer to promote the relationship of total love between humans and God and among humans themselves’ (p. 172).

Friday, April 24, 2015

Blind Guides

There are many posing as wise leaders.  Southerners like any people must discern the truth-tellers from the liars, following the good and running away from the evil.  The choices are the same as they always have been:  whether to follow those who love man and seek to overcome the evil ghosts; or those who love the evil spirits and seek to destroy men.

In men like Glenn Beck and Pastor John Hagee, we have those who lean toward the latter, however good-intentioned they may be. 

 . . .

With his end-of-the world predictions long unfulfilled, Hal Lindsey has long since faded into relative obscurity, yet others have ambitiously taken up his mantle. Among the most prominent of the current crop of evangelical Christian Zionists stands John Hagee, the pastor of a Texas mega-church and founder of the lobbying group Christians United for Israel. His theological platform is based not only on uncritical, unwavering support for the nation-state of Israel, but a belief that at some point in the near future Russia, in an alliance with several Islamic countries, particularly Iran, will attack Israel, only to be defeated by God’s divine intervention.

Unfortunately, Hagee isn’t some irrelevant firebrand country pastor. He is a man with deep connections to the Republican Party faction of the ruling establishment. Republican presidential candidates seek out his endorsement, and he has been honored by the Israel lobby for his vocal advocacy for Zionism. But Hagee goes further than mere pro-Israel sermonizing; he also uses his pulpit and political connections to push for a belligerent US position against any and all of Israel’s enemies, again, with a special emphasis on Iran, against which he advocates a preemptive military strike. He claims this confrontation is a necessary precondition that “will lead to the Rapture, Tribulation, and Second Coming of Christ.”

Standing behind or perhaps next to John Hagee is the billionaire casino mogul and heavyweight fundraiser for Zionist causes, Sheldon Adelson. Adelson uses his vast wealth not simply in the American Jewish community, but consistently rewards Republican politicians for screamingly hawkish pro-Israel, bomb-Iran posturing. He is also an admitted pro-abortion social liberal, which makes Hagee’s warm association with him all the more dubious. John Hagee has on numerous occasions intoned against America’s moral degeneracy and warned that God would punish the nation with various natural disasters as a result. Yet that Adelson made his fortune promoting said degeneracy in the casino industry is irrelevant to Hagee, since cultish devotion to Israel trumps all other considerations.

John Hagee exploits a variety of Biblical prophecies to push for what amounts to a holy war against Muslim nations. When he writes his books and preaches his sermons, his aim is not spiritual or academic; he clearly desires war against Iran and increased American hostility toward Russia. He also completely distains political self-determination for the Palestinians; he opposes granting them an independent state, dismissing their identity as entirely manufactured. Waxing prophetic for his followers, he even suggested that last year’s Ebola outbreak was punishment on America for Obama allegedly trying to “divide” the land of Israel.

Being an appendage of the Atlanticist establishment, John Hagee is eager to hype war and hatred against America and Israel’s enemies. Absent in his commentary on “blood moons” and Israel’s sacred status is any mention that the very radical Muslim groups he rails against have been fostered by the West and Israel. Nor does he speak up for the millions of Christians displaced and massacred in the wars he has supported. The Christian notion of charity is absent from his worldview.

Cynical geopolitics masked as end-times prophecy is far from restricted to Hagee’s church congregation and a few offices in Congress. It is distilled and widely promoted by prominent American conservative outlets. Among its most prominent cheerleaders is the odd Dispensationalist-Mormon hybrid Glenn Beck, embraced by Dispensationalist Protestants despite his Mormon beliefs. Beck has allowed Hagee, who he describes as “one of the bravest guys I know,” and other pro-war Dispensationalists such as Joel Rosenberg, onto his TV program to espouse all sorts of anti-Iranian and anti-Russian sentiments.

Glenn Beck uses his program to regularly accuse Iran of trying to unleash apocalyptic chaos to usher in their Twelfth Imam, a messianic figure in Shiite Islamic eschatology that Beck associates with the Antichrist. But Beck is not content to project the nihilistic apocalyptic fantasies of his cohorts onto Iran; as of late, he has set his sights on Russia.

Like Hal Lindsey and John Hagee, Beck has posited Russia, along with China, as being “the alliance of Gog and Magog.” Beck, childishly babbling and crying his way through his pseudo-history presentations, also never misses a chance to suggest that Russian president Vladimir Putin is a new Hitler seeking to carry out a thousand year old plan for Russian fascist domination.

 . . .

In the theological view of Lindsey, Hagee, Beck and their fellow travelers, the Iranians, Russians, and Palestinians aren’t viewed as actual human personalities. They aren’t seen as people bearing the divine image of God, however imperfectly (much like the rest of us). Instead, they are reduced to little more than Satan’s hordes, predestined as cannon fodder for the Apocalypse. Whether by delusion or naked cynicism, “Christian Zionists” proclaim a theology of de-humanization.

The Russian philosopher Nicolas Berdyaev in his book The Fate of Man in the Modern World commented on this trend among certain Protestant thinkers who see in the world “only sin and powerlessness.” And that while they still believe in God, it is a deity “absolutely transcendent, separated by an abyss from the world and from man.” In this theology, the “image of God in man is shattered.”

Berdyaev’s analysis describes well the fruits of wedding Dispensationalist eschatology to Atlanticist geopolitics. Such grand distortions deprive the image of God to Russians, Iranians, or other villains de jour, casting them only as evil and depraved instruments of infernal powers. They are not only denied the divine image, but the freedom and human agency that corresponds to the spiritual personality. And while a few individuals among them might be “saved,” according to this formula, the collective peoples of Russia, Iran, and other Muslim nations are primarily destined to be hurled into hellfire after they serve their purpose on the cosmic stage.  . . .

Source:  Daniel Spaulding, ‘End-Times Buffoonery’, Soul of the East, posted 10 April 2015, http://souloftheeast.org/2015/04/10/end-times-buffoonery/, accessed 19 April 2015

Of the former, we may look to St Matrona of Moscow (+1952).  Ræther than play power politics, she shunned it, and taught others to do the same.

On the days when political demonstrations were held, Matrona urged everyone not to go outside, but to close their windows and doors. Hordes of demons, she said, occupied the entire area, filling the air and troubling people. Perhaps, here, Blessed Matrona, who often spoke allegorically, wanted to remind those around her of the need to guard the ‘windows of the soul’ – as the Holy Fathers sometimes call the senses, from evil spirits.

Thinking of the years after the revolution, Zenaida Zhdanova once asked Matushka, “How can God allow so many churches to be closed and destroyed?” Matushka replied, “It is the will of God to reduce the number of churches because there will be few believers and no one to serve.” Later, she said,

“The people are under hypnosis, they are not themselves, a terrible power has come into being…This power exists in the air and penetrates everything. In earlier times, swamps and impenetrable forests were the habitations of these forces because people were going to churches, they wore crosses and their homes were defended by icons, lampadas and blessings. Before, demons could only fly near these houses, but now they inhabit both houses and people because of unbelief and apostasy from God.”

Source:  Orthodox Wiki, http://orthodoxwiki.org/Matrona_of_Moscow, posted 23 October 2012, accessed 24 April 2015

By her teachings and way of life she encouraged all to seek God the Most Holy Trinity:

St. Matrona led an ascetic life on her bed of pain. She fasted constantly, slept little, her head resting on her chest, and her forehead was dented by the innumerable signs of the Cross that she made. Not only the Muscovites but also people from afar, of all ages and conditions, thronged around her to ask her advice and her prayers. In this way she truly became the support of afflicted people, especially during World War II. To those who came to ask her for news of their relatives in battle, she reassured some and counseled others to hold memorial services. She spoke to some directly, and to others in parables, having in view their spiritual edification and recommending them to keep the Church’s laws, to marry in the Church and to regularly attend Confession and take Communion. When the sick and possessed were brought to her, she placed her hands on their heads, saying several prayers or driving the demons out with authority, always insisting that she was doing nothing of herself but that God was healing by her mediation. When asked why the Church was undergoing such great persecutions, she replied that it was because of the sins of the Christians and their lack of faith. “All the peoples who have turned away from God have disappeared from off the face of the earth,” she affirmed. “Difficult times are our lot, but we Christians must choose the Cross. Christ has placed us on His sleigh, and he will take us where He will.”

 . . .

In her memoirs, Zenaida Zhdanova writes: “Who was Matrona, exactly? Matushka was an angel incarnate – a warrior, doing battle with evil powers as if she held a flaming sword in her hands. She healed by her prayers, with holy water…

“She was small, like a child, and often lay on her side, on her clenched fist. She also slept this way, never really lying down completely. When she received people, she sat cross-legged, her legs beneath her [She lost the use of her legs at the age of 17--W.G.]. She would put her hands on the head of the person kneeling in front of her, make the sign of the Cross over them, pray, and then say whatever was needful for their soul. “It seems that Matushka knew everything that was going to happen ahead of time. Every day of her life was a stream of grief and sorrow from those who came to her. She would hold the head of a weeping person in both hands, suffering with them, warming them with her holiness. The person would leave as if on wings, and many healings occurred as a result of her prayers. Matrona herself was often exhausted; she sighed heavily and prayed all night long. She had a small depression on her forehead from her fingers because she had crossed herself so very often. She crossed herself slowly, carefully, her fingers searching for this place on her forehead.”

Source:  Full of Grace and Truth, http://full-of-grace-and-truth.blogspot.com/2009/05/st-matrona-of-moscow.html, posted 2 May 2009, accessed 24 April 2015

Our Holy Mother Matrona will always be quick to answer the cries of those in need:

Having foretold the day of her death, she gave instructions for her funeral. Before falling asleep in peace on April 19, 1952, she cried out, “Come close, all of you, and tell me of your troubles as though I were alive! I’ll see you, I’ll hear you, and I’ll come to your aid.” Miracles were multiplied at her tomb and, ever since her translation to the women’s monastery of the Protecting Veil of the Mother of God (March 13, 1998), the faithful who, in their thousands, line up to venerate Moscow’s new protectress, turn to her icon and bring her their various problems as though St. Matrona were alive in front of them." From Volume Four of the Synaxarion, compiled by the Hieromonk Makarios of Simonos Petra, Mount Athos (taken from: http://www.antiochian.org/node/18294)

What can be said of those like Mr Glenn and Pastor John who bring forth those cries of the needy by stirring up wars and troubles in the world, with their death and grief and famine?

Those who give life or those who slay it?  Đose with bodily blindness (St Matrona was born blind) or those with ghostly blindness?  The Orthodox way of St Matrona and all the Church’s saints or the way of Western spiritual death? 

Such is your choice, Souðron.

Holy Saint Matrona, pray for us sinners! 

(For a fuller telling of St Matrona’s life, please follow this path:  http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2012/05/saint-matrona-blind-of-moscow-1952.html)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Ukraine and the South

Ukrainians of the east and southeast of that country (Novorossiya, New Russia) opposed to the American/E.U.-imposed Nazi regime in Kiev have adopted the symbols and songs of Ol’ Dixie in their stand against those invaders.

As they have learned from us, we ought also, in our turn, to see ƿhat we can learn from them.  Father Matthew Raphael Johnson posted again not long ago a recording (originally from 2009) about Ukraine’s resistance to the satanic New World Order that is worth a Souðron’s time. 

The themes of national solidarity through faith and struggle, of a true diversity of countries without an all-powerful Empire ruling over them, of an agrarian basis for society, and more besides, are very needful for the South and for all peoples to hear and heed today.

Here are two poems from the Ukrainian writer and artist Taras Shevchenko that will give one a sense of the strong desire for freedom and of the love of their native land that holds among them (and that ought to be amongst other peoples as well).

‘The Girl under a Spell’

The wide Dnipro roars and moans,
An angry wind howls aloft.
It bends the tall willows down,
Lifting waves as high as mountains.
And at that time a pale moon
Peeks out from behind a cloud now and then,
Like a tiny boat in a deep blue sea
It jumps up and dives down.
The cocks had yet to crow three times,
No one anywhere making a sound,
The owls in the grove called to each other,
And the ash tree creaked now and then.

‘My Testament’

When I die, bury me
On a grave mound
Amid the wide-wide steppe
In my beloved Ukraine,
In a place from where the wide-tilled fields
And the Dnipro and its steep banks
Can be seen and
Its roaring rapids heard.
When it carries off
The enemy’s blood from Ukraine
To the deep blue sea… I’ll leave
The tilled fields and mountains—
I’ll leave everything behind and ascend
To pray to God
Himself… but till then
I don’t know God.
Bury me and arise, break your chains
And sprinkle your freedom
With the enemy’s evil blood.
And don’t forget to remember me
In the great family,
In a family new and free,
With a kind and quiet word.

Source:  Ukrainian Literature, http://www.shevchenko.org/Ukr_Lit/Vol01/01-04.html, posted 2004, accessed 16 April 2015

Friday, April 17, 2015

Bright Week - Continuing the Work of the Resurrection by Bringing New Life to the World: Withstanding the Antichristian Powers of the West

In fact, the South is a living thing and it has thrived with dynamic change throughout its history without ceasing to be the South. It is a losing game for the South to try to be more “American” because America is moving so fast in the wrong direction that we could not keep up even if we wanted to.

This is a tall order. We operate under very different circumstances than our forebears who moved in a land still under development. We have to move in a highly-developed context. Armed resistance is not an option. It would be futile and counter-productive. But we can learn from our forebears’ spirit. We must obey the conqueror most of the time but we don’t have to accept his claims of legitimacy. We can abjure the realm, secede in spirit and in every other legal way we can. I think the dedication and the talent exists out there to keep Dixie vitally alive while “America” is dissolving.

--Dr Clyde Wilson, ‘A Southern Tradition: Restraining Bad Government’, The Abbeville Institute, posted 1 April 2015, http://www.abbevilleinstitute.org/clyde-wilson-library/a-southern-tradition-restraining-bad-government/, accessed 17 April 2015

What path ought Southrons and other traditionalists in the world tread wið respect to the totalitarian American Empire?  Some good guidance may be gleaned from Father Andrew Phillips’s answers to questions below.

 . . .

Q: Where is the Western world going?

A: The USA controls the Western countries through their elites which have been installed by US PR companies as feudal vassals. All that the Western elites do is in imitation of the USA, its clothes, its food, its television series, its media. Here are four recent statistics about the sex and violence of the USA, which God-fearing Americans know and for which they detest the White House:

85% of the world’s pornography comes from the USA.

Every day 24 former GIs who served in Iraq and Afghanistan commit suicide.

In March 2015 the American police killed twice as many people than the British police have killed since 1900.

In a recent global poll representatives from all the countries of the world, except for the USA, UK and France, declared that Public Enemy No 1 is the USA.

Should not such statistics make us think? It seems to me that either the Western world, especially the USA, is on the point of some great disaster, a hurricane, a tornado, a volcano, an earthquake, a tidal wave, or else it is on the point of repentance, of realizing its foolishness and turning back. It can go either way, but it cannot continue with impunity as now. It is not possible. Our actions always have consequences. It is called responsibility.

Q: Is Antichrist coming soon?

A: Nobody knows if he has even been born, let alone if he is coming to power. However there are clear signs that his coming is being PREPARED. Notably, there are these four signs: worldwide sodomy imposed by Washington and willingly promoted by the Western European elite; the genocide and expulsion of all Christians from of the Middle East; the war between Sunni Muslims and Shia Muslims, actively encouraged and financed by Zionism; the invasion of the western marches of Rus by the forces of Satan and their occupation of Kiev, the Mother of Russian Cities.

As yet, however, the Temple has not been rebuilt on Zion and, in general, we should not despair and certainly not fall into fatalism. I think that the coming of Antichrist has been delayed many times in history, not least last year, when the Ukrainian people rose up and fought the Satanic forces that the White House has put into power in Kiev. Despite the American threat of nuclear war, Russia did not rise to the bait and sweep away the junta within a fortnight, as it could have. That would have led to the end of the world with nuclear war started by the Nazi neocons in Washington and their paid allies: Zbigniew Brzezinski, Condoleeza Rice, Tony Blair, Carl Bildt and all those other satanists who have spoken directly of destroying the Church of God. As long as we fight and resist Satan, Antichrist cannot come. It all depends on us.

Q: ‘It all depends on us’. But what can we do?

A: At present we are resisting and fighting. There is no time to lose. Together all Orthodox who have an understanding of Orthodoxy have to work together. The visit of the new Greek Prime Minister to President Putin is a great sign of hope. President Putin gave the Greek leader, who says he is an atheist but in fact is just spiritually inexperienced, an icon which had been stolen by the Nazis from Greece. This was highly symbolic. The soul of Greece has indeed been stolen by the West. Now is the time of restoration. This is a personal message to the young Greek leader, but also a message to the whole Greek people. Restore your soul and give up on Nazism, both the old form and the new neocon form of the US/EU.

It is the same in Romania and Bulgaria. Satan is now trying to steal the souls of the Ukraine, Serbia, Moldova, Georgia – everywhere the same processes. Even in Western Europe there are those of us who are also fighting – for the liberation of the Western Lands from the West, for the ‘de-Europeanization of Europe’ and the restoration of Orthodoxy here too. Together, as conscious Orthodox, as the Army of Christ, we can conquer the Satanic spirit of Mammon and its sinister and idolatrous forces.

When asked how Russia could defeat the far superior American armed forces (each year the USA spends eleven times more on arms than Russia), over twenty years ago now the great and newly-revealed St Paisios the Athonite replied: ‘The Russians will win because the angels will help them’. We see such huge solidarity between all the conscious Orthodox peoples, from Damascus to Nicosia, from Belgrade to Kiev, from Bucharest to Sofia, from Athens to Moscow.

The time will come when Constantinople will be freed. And make no mistake Constantinople will not be freed so much from the Turks as from the Americans. But first there will be a Tsar in Russia for all Orthodox and he will call a real and free Council of all the Orthodox, not a diplomatic nicety. And that Council will not waste time talking about the US-imposed secularist agenda of human rights, racial discrimination and gender equality, it will thunder out the truths of the Church, about the Nation and the Family, which the Western world has deliberately forgotten in the cold and dark tomb, where Satan has buried its soul.

And then there will be a new generation of bishops in Constantinople, not appointees of the US State Department, but taken from the monks of Mt Athos, who, never forget it, are in the jurisdiction of Constantinople and who so eagerly support and pray for the Risen Russia. The old decadence will be gone and those pseudo-bishops who parrot the politically correct doctrines taught them by the Zionist CIA, visit synagogues and change the services will be gone. Great difficulties, but also great days, lie ahead for us all. The time will come, as St John of Shanghai prophesied, when you will hear ‘Christ is Risen’ shouted all through the Orthodox world, with an intensity and faith and conviction and unity that you have never heard before.

On Easter Night, after the Gospels at the Liturgy, I heard an insistent voice in my head speaking in Russian. It said: ‘Budet Tsar v Rossii’ – ‘There will be a Tsar in Russia’. Do not ask me how or when or who. That was the voice. I wonder if others heard the same voice?

Christ is Risen!

Source:  ‘Christ Is Risen!’, Orthodox England web log, posted 12 April 2015, http://www.events.orthodoxengland.org.uk/christ-is-risen/, accessed 12 April 2015

Monday, April 13, 2015

Bright Week - Continuing the Work of the Resurrection by Bringing New Life to the World: Two Kinds of Constitutions

The united States Constitution of 1787 is believed by many in the American Union to be based on Christian principles.  John Adams’s quote, ‘Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other’ (Wikiquote), is a favorite proof text of theirs.  To the extent that the sinful tendencies of man are acknowledged in the provisions of this writ, it is a true saying.  But insofar as one sin or a set of sins are pitted against other sins to bring about good for the commonwealth by federal officials, it is in sooth no Christian document.

Þe Holy Apostle teaches us, ‘Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good’ (Romans 12:21 KJV).  But James Madison, the father of the Constitution, gainsays him in Federalist No. 51:  Let ‘ambition . . . counteract ambition’ (Calhoon, Evangelicals and Conservatives, p. 85).  That is, use evil to overcome evil.

By thus bestirring a strong highmindedness within those in government, we see the real quickening force behind the u. S. Constitution and other charters like it:  self-love.  Yet Christians are taught over and over again to reject self-love.  St Maximus the Confessor (+662) names it as the ‘mother of all vices’ (Thunberg, Man and the Cosmos, p. 95).  Thunberg continues, new-wording St Maximus, ‘The life of vice is characterized by a continual disintegration . . . philautía [i.e., self-love--W.G.] generates a multitude of passions . . . and thus dividing the unity of human nature into thousands of fragments.  . . . The vices cause these divisions . . . also between him and his neighbors, since all men participate in the same nature and are called to a unity guided by this principle and aim’ (p. 95).

Simple disagreements among men are not the only fruits of these divisions.  St Maximus teaches further, says Thunberg, that by embracing self-love, which necessarily involves a flight from God, man will raise a ‘tyranny against his neighbor’ (pgs. 56-8).  Thus, the very thing the u. S. Constitution was written to guard against is its natural outcome because of its unchristian handling of man’s passions.

Self-interest, which is another name for self-love, the guiding moral principle in Western governlore and geldlore since the days of feudalism, therefore, cannot be the foundation for a folk or their government.  For self-interest and the vices springing from it yield only disintegration and destruction, not better union, peace, justice, and all the other goals of the u. S. Constitution’s Preamble or of any other virtuous people.

This is one kind of constitution, the constitution founded on self-love, and it is not Christian.  The second kind, the truly Christian constitution, is one founded on love.  ‘It is impossible to build a life based on wickedness and hatred, for they are the principles of destruction,’ Archbishop Averky Taushev (+1976) says.  ‘ . . . love is the only creative force in life; it is the source, the root, the well-spring of all creation.  The only reason for the creation of the world and man by God the Creator is His love . . . .  This love ennobles our entire life; it creates and inspires all that is truly great, truly beautiful.  Family life, society, and government are grounded in this love.  In short, love is the vivifying, fundamental life-giver of the world.  This is fully logical, for love is from God, and God Himself is love’ (Struggle for Virtue, pgs. 32-3).  ‘This mutual love [among Christians--W.G.] is a distinguishing characteristic of Christianity.  Therefore, where there is no love, there is no Christianity’ (p. 32).

This is quite an upbraiding in itself, but Archbishop Averky shows further the incompatibility between Western, Madisonian constitutions that kindle the fires of self-love in man (which he names ‘egoism’ below) and Christianity:  ‘The teachings of Christ are all directed against egoism.  The task of the Christian faith is to destroy all manifestations of egoism in a person, and thus to eradicate egoism itself, and in its stead to implant true spiritual Gospel love which excludes any egoism’ (pgs. 56-7). 

Rather than breaking apart, love upbuilds.  Thunberg writes, ‘Maximus . . . stress[es] the unifying function of charity itself’ (Man and the Cosmos, p. 96).  St Maximus says in Centuries on Charity IV:37, ‘Be no self-pleaser and you will not hate your brother; be no self-lover and you will love God’ (Man and the Cosmos, p. 96)

Therefore, instead of relying on an elaborate system of checks and balances as in Western constitutions of distrust to bring about justice for the people in a commonwealth and their various interests (i.e., allowing each to have what is due him), love is the guardian against injustice.  St Maximus teaches, quoth Thunberg, ‘God is by nature good and detached, and He manifests these two attributes in loving all men alike.’  Man, when he is free from self-love and its attendant vices, also loves all oðer men alike, manifests perfect ‘balance and equilibrium’ in all his actions toward others (pgs. 99-100, quotes at 99). 

The proper bulwark for protecting against favoritism and other governmental abuses is thus an inward virtue, residing in man’s ghost, and not an outward arrangement of counterbalancing branches and levels of government.

It is for such reasons that governments in Orthodox Christian countries are less sharply defined than those in the post-Schism, Protestant and Catholic West - often mirroring the family, with elders and a father-king in places of authority.  For in the West outward, neatly arranged, overly rational systems have taken the place of the fulness of the inner life of the Kingdom of God bestowed by the Holy Ghost, which the Western nations lost when they sundered themselves from the Orthodox Church.  This should not take anyone aback, for where the Holy Ghost dwelleth, there love and all the other virtues abound, and the law of man and his cleverness and his jinnies and pulleys and chains and levers to forhold man’s use of power are not needed (Rom. 14:17, II Cor. 3:17, Gal. 5:22-3).

Þe South, as she often does, finds herself in tension between the errors of the schismatic West and þe truth of the Orthodox Church:  on the one hand, very often overthoughtsome toward outward arrangements of government power (Calhoon, p. 192), that is, leaning toward mistrust, and on the other, always retaining and stressing the need for a familial tone and structure among her folk as a whole (pgs. 193-4), which implies the Christian virtues of love and trust. 

There are then two choices for the South.  She may follow the unchristian, Western tradition and have a constitution of mistrust which leads to division and strife:  ‘free government is founded in jealousy and not in confidence’ (Jefferson, ‘Kentucky Resolutions’).  Or she may follow the Orthodox Tradition and have a constitution based on trust, which brings about wholeness.  For trust, Father Pavel Florensky tells us, gives birth to faith (Hosking, ‘Foreward’, in Pyman, Pavel Florensky, p. xvii), the prerequisite to love.

Tertium non datur!  [There is no third option.],’ cries Archbishop Averky.  ‘Either life will be renewed by Gospel love or we will see the catastrophic ruin of humanity to which its ever-increasing malignity and hatred are leading it’ (Struggle for Virtue, p. 54).  American constitutional theory is powerless to stop that descent and will only hasten it, for it seeks the cure for sinfulness by increasing self-love, the very cause of sin itself.  Let St Maximus the Confessor warn us once more about using ‘vice to counteract vice’, about stirring up self-love, if we would see good days for ourselves and our afterkin:

Thus the immense and innumerable host of passions invades men’s life.  Their life becomes in this way deplorable.  For the human beings honor the very cause of the destruction of their existence and pursue themselves, without knowing it, the cause of their corruption.  The unity of human nature falls into a thousand pieces, and human beings, like beasts, devour their own nature.  In fact, in trying to obtain pleasure and avoid pain, instigated by self-love, man invents multiple and innumerable forms of corrupted passions.  If, for example, on account of pleasure, one cultivates self-love, one awakes in oneself . . . pride, vanity, self-conceit, . . . TYRANNY . . . (Thunberg, p. 58, all emphasis added).

Works Cited

Adams, John.  ‘Letter to the Officers of the First Brigade of the Third Division of the Militia of Massachusetts’.  Wikiquote.  Posted 8 April 2015.  http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/John_Adams.  Accessed 13 April 2015.

Calhoon, Robert M.  Evangelicals & Conservatives in the Early South, 1740-1861.  Columbia, S. Carolina:  U. of S. Carolina Press, 1988.

The Holy Bible.  King James Version.  Nashville, Tn.: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1972.

Hosking, Geoffrey.  ‘Foreward’, in Pyman, Avril.  Pavel Florensky: A Quiet Genius, the Tragic and Extraordinary Life of Russia’s Unknown da Vinci.  New York, Ny.: Continuum, 2010.

Jefferson, Thomas.  ‘The Kentucky Resolutions of 1798’.  Wikisource.  Posted 3 Nov. 2010.  http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Kentucky_Resolutions_of_1798.  Accessed 13 April 2015.

Taushev, Archbishop Averky.  The Struggle for Virtue: Asceticism in a Modern Secular Society.  Jordanville, Ny.: Holy Trinity Publications, 2014.

Thunberg, Lars.  Man and the Cosmos: The Vision of St Maximus the Confessor.  Crestwood, Ny.: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1985.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

‘Sentenced to Immortality’

An Easter Day sermon by one of Serbia’s great saints of the 20th hundredyear, St Justin Popovich.  It beginneð:

Man sentenced God to death; by His Resurrection, He sentenced man to immortality. In return for a beating, He gives an embrace; for abuse, a blessing; for death, immortality. Man never showed so much hate for God as when he crucified Him; and God never showed more love for man than when He arose. Man even wanted to reduce God to a mortal, but God by His Resurrection made man immortal. The crucified God is Risen and has killed death. Death is no more. Immortality has surrounded man and all the world.

By the Resurrection of the God-Man, human nature has been led irreversibly onto the path of immortality, and has become dreadful to death itself. For before the Resurrection of Christ, death was dreadful to man, but after the Resurrection of Christ, man has become more dreadful to death. When man lives by faith in the Risen God-Man, he lives above death, out of its reach; it is a footstool for his feet:

“O Death, where is thy sting? O Hades, where is thy victory?” (I Cor. 15:55).

When a man belonging to Christ dies, he simply sets aside his body like clothing, in which he will again be vested on the day of Dread Judgement.

Before the Resurrection of the God-Man, death was the second nature of man: life first, death second. But by His Resurrection, the Lord has changed everything: immortality has become the second nature of man, it has become natural for man; and death – unnatural. As before the Resurrection of Christ, it was natural for men to be mortal, so after the Resurrection of Christ, it was natural for men to be immortal.

 . . .

Source:  Pravoslavie.Ru, http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/46200.htm, posted 29 April 2011, accessed 11 April 2015