Thursday, January 28, 2016

The South Needs the Orthodox Church - Part 4th

IV. Ruin or Renewal

So it is not just the might to withstand and triumph over the gates of Hell that flows from the Orthodox Church but the ability to raise all the world to a higher plane of being, filling it with new content from Heaven (which is to say, the fulfillment of man’s calling by God to be the priest of His creation).  And no man-made ideologies - whether capitalism or scientism or constitutionalism - nor man-made Christian denominations will bring this new life into the world.  Only union with God through the grace found within the Orthodox Church:  ‘Baptism is the personal Pentecost of each person who enters the Church, and through baptism each can begin a new road and has become a “new creature” in a movement of continuous growth:  “After Pentecost the time of the Church is oriented towards the novissima, the new things of the Kingdom . . . Christianity, in the radiant witness of its confessors, martyrs and saints is messianic, revolutionary, explosive.  The Gospel calls for the violence which seizes the Kingdom, tears open the heavens and transforms the old image of the world into the new creation . . . The salt of the earth and the light of the world, the saints appear as the obvious and hidden leaders of humanity, those who will assume responsibility for history and accomplish it . . . The saints take the torch from the martyrs and continue to illumine the world.”

‘With Pentecost a new era has begun in the collective life of the world.  The members of the Church in general concern themselves with the forgiveness of sins, the elimination of divisions and differences among people, and the increasing of love, and they press forward toward the Kingdom of Heaven’ (Staniloae, The Church, p. 77)

‘In regard to grace, we should equally emphasize its quality as inexhaustible power that comes to us from the infinite Godhead that dwells in Christ’s humanity, as well as from the luminous perspective that grace opens to us in the infinity of communion with the Person of Christ or with the Holy Trinity—a perspective that was opened for us in Christ out of love.  Grace is the open window toward the infinity of God as Person, or as a Triune communion of Persons, once God has placed us in relationship with Him through grace.  Grace removes life’s limitations from our existence and thereby satisfies in a real way its thirst for the transcendent personal infinitude.  As such grace gives us the possibility for our fulfillment as the “image of God,” or helps us to advance in the likeness of Him, in the infinity of our loving relationship with Him’ (p. 96).

‘The incarnate Son’s Sitting “at the Right Hand of the Father” shows that the Father gives Him the first place in leading the world to deification, in the work of bringing it into union with God, to its filling with divine infinity in a relationship of unending love with God.  . . . The ultimate goal of Christ’s work is to destroy the universal death, that is, to raise creation from the extreme state of weakness produced by its separation from the source of life, which is God; this means the strengthening of our spirit from the divine Spirit irradiating from Him to such an extent that it might overcome the supremacy of the automatism of a hardened nature that leads to death.  And this is accomplished by raising human beings into the perfect communion with the personal God, who is infinite in His spiritual might.

‘God wants the world to be brought to Him through a man, through the human body become a medium fully transparent of His infinite power of life and love; He wants to bring it through His most beloved Son whom He made man for this purpose, so that through Him His infinite love for Him may be extended to all human beings and to the world with which they are in solidarity through creation’ (The Person of Jesus Christ, p. 151).

Or, to use Tolkien’s image from The Silmarillion of the building of Menegroth, the South must be fellow-workers with Christ, using the new content pouring forth from Him  in the Orthodox Church out of Heaven if she wishes to join the great work of renewing the face of the earth in the beauty of holiness that the Orthodox peoples of the world have been engaged in for 2,000 years, from pre-Schism Ireland and England and Gaul to Egypt and Syria, to Greece, Romania, Georgia, and the rest:  ‘Therefore the Naugrim laboured long and gladly for Thingol, and devised for him mansions after the fashion of their people, delved deep in the earth.  Where the Esgalduin flowed down, and parted Neldoreth from Region, there rose in the midst of the forest a rocky hill, and the river ran at its feet.  There they made the gates of the hall of Thingol, and they built a bridge of stone over the river, by which alone the gates could be entered.  Beyond the gates wide passages ran down to high halls and chambers far below that were hewn in the living stone, so many and so great that that dwelling was named Menegroth, the Thousand Caves.

‘But the Elves also had part in that labour, and Elves and Dwarves together, each with their own skill, there wrought out the visions of Melian, images of the wonder and beauty of Valinor beyond the Sea.  The pillars of Menegroth were hewn in the likeness of the beeches of Oromë, stock, bough, and leaf, and they were lit with lanterns of gold.  The nightingales sang there as in the gardens of Lórien; and there were fountains of silver, and basins of marble, and floors of many-coloured stones.  Carven figures of beasts and birds there ran upon the walls, or climbed upon the pillars, or peered among the branches entwined with many flowers.  And as the years passed Melian and her maidens filled the halls with woven hangings wherein could be read the deeds of the Valar, and many things that had befallen in Arda since its beginning, and shadows of things that were yet to be.  That was the fairest dwelling of any king that has ever been east of the Sea’ (pgs. 102-3).

But if the South remains stiff-necked and rejects the Orthodox Faith, she will continue down the path of the modern, post-Schism Western Europeans and join them in bringing the ugliness and torment of Hell upon the world:  ‘In the north of the world Melkor had in the ages past reared Ered Engrin, the Iron Mountains, as a fence to his citadel of Utumno; . . . Beneath Ered Engrin he made a great tunnel, which issued south of the mountains; and there he made a mighty gate.  But above this gate, and behind it even to the mountains, he piled the thunderous towers of Thangorodrim, that were made of the ash and slag of his subterranean furnaces, and the vast refuse of his tunnellings.  They were black and desolate and exceedingly lofty; and smoke issued from their tops, dark and foul upon the northern sky.  Before the gates of Angband filth and desolation spread southward for many miles over the wide plain of Ard-galen; but after the coming of the Sun rich grass arose there, and while Angband was besieged and its gates shut there were green things even among the pits and broken rocks before the doors of hell (pgs. 135-6).

‘ . . .

‘Then suddenly Morgoth sent forth great rivers of flame that ran down swifter than Balrogs from Thangorodrim, and poured over all the plain; and the Mountains of Iron belched forth fires of many poisonous hues, and the fume of them stank upon the air, and was deadly.  Thus Ard-galen perished, and fire devoured its grasses; and it became a burned and desolate waste, full of a choking dust, barren and lifeless.  Thereafter, its name was changed, and it was called Anfauglith, the Gasping Dust.  Many charred bones had there their roofless grave; for many of the Noldor perished in that burning, who were caught by the running flame and could not fly to the hills.  The heights of Dorthonion and Ered Wethrin held back the fiery torrents, but their woods upon the slopes that looked towards Angband were all kindled, and the smoke wrought confusion among the defenders.  . . .

‘In the front of that fire came Glaurung the golden, father of dragons, in his full might; and in his train were Balrogs, and behind them came the black armies of the Orcs in multitudes such as the Noldor had never before seen or imagined.  And they assaulted the fortresses of the Noldor, and broke the leaguer about Angband, and slew wherever they found them the Noldor and their allies, Grey-elves and Men’ (pgs. 176-7).  

* * * * *

‘The Light failed; but the Darkness that followed was more than loss of light.  In that hour was made a Darkness that seemed not lack but a thing with being of its own:  for it was indeed made by malice out of Light, and it had power to pierce the eye, and to enter heart and mind, and strangle the very will’ (Silmarillion, p. 81).  This is the kind of darkness that has devoured Western Europe, the New England States, and their kindred the world over, and which threatens to engulf the South.  The light of the distant, distorted Christ of the Protestant and Roman Catholic churches has indeed failed; it is too weak to overcome the ‘Unlight’ (p. 78), for it has not the full radiance of the Godhead within it.  Only the rays of Light of the True Christ shining forth in love from the Orthodox Church are bright enough to pierce through and burn away the choking darkness sent forth by Satan, whether by his own hand or through his servants, be they demons, Silicon Valley transhumanists, nihilistic artists and entertainers, power-mad politicians, war-mongering banksters, gene-mutilating scientists, social engineering educators, or some other sort.  The Old Time Religion, for all its good achievements, can take the South no further; it has done all it can for her.  From now on, if Dixie wishes to defend her life as a Christian people and all her good traditions, she will have to do so from within the only safe haven of the world, the Holy Orthodox Church.

‘Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light’ (Ephesians 5:14 KJV).

‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live’ (John 5:25 KJV).

‘And the Spirit and the bride say, Come.  And let him that heareth say, Come.  And let him that is athirst come.  And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely’ (Revelation 22:17 KJV).

Works Cited

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

Staniloae, Dumitru.  The Experience of God, Orthodox Dogmatic Theology, Vol. 3: The Person of Jesus Christ as God and Savior.  Ioan Ionita, trans. and ed.  Brookline, Mass.: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2011.

--.  The Experience of God, Orthodox Dogmatic Theology, Vol. 4: The Church: Communion in the Holy Spirit.  Ioan Ionita, trans. and ed.  Brookline, Mass.: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2012.

Tolkien, J. R. R.  The Silmarillion, 2nd edition.  Christopher Tolkien, ed.  Ny.: Ballantine Books, 1999.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The South Needs the Orthodox Church - Part 3rd

III. The South: A Foundation of Rock and Sand

Because of the kindness of God and the circumstances she has been placed in, the South has done better at holding to the true Faith than some of her Western European kindred.  Her theologians have not accepted fully the Filioque heresy (Dabney, Systematic Theology, pgs. 197-9) or the false teaching of absolute divine simplicity (Thornwell, Collected Writings: Vol. 1, pgs. 163 & 164); her small steps toward sacramentalism (that God is present in His creation) are found in numerous pieces of poetry and prose throughout her history; and her experiences with and observations of her own institution of slavery and of industrialism, capitalism, socialism, and other Western philosophies taught her to put away the nominalist view of mankind as isolated, separate individuals in favor of the inseparable oneness of humanity (Fitzhugh, Sociology for the South, p. 69), yet without losing sight of the surpassing value of each person within that oneness (Bradford, Remembering Who We Are, p. 80).

These and other beliefs in line with the unchanging truths of the Orthodox Church have helped the South steer a safer course than her kinsfolk in Western Europe and elsewhere over the last four hundred years.  But she has not escaped their errors completely.  By and large she accepts most of them wholeheartedly.  Thus, the Church has no relation to Christ’s actual body:  ‘She is the product and not the principle of truth.  . . . It is a society which has grown out of the facts of redemption’ (Thornwell, p. 44); ‘ . . . we see nothing in the Bible to warrant the belief of a literal conjunction of the substance of the Godhead in Christ, with the substance of the believer’s soul; much less of a literal, local conjunction of the whole mediatorial person, including the humanity, with the soul’ (Dabney, p. 616); grace is not the uncreated energies of God by which He unites us to Himself and through which we participate in the life of the All-Holy Trinity but a judicial ‘unmerited favor’ (Dagg, Manual of Theology and Church Order, Part One, p. 258); baptism is not the means by which we are united with Christ’s glorified and ascended body by the working of the Holy Ghost but an empty symbol:  ‘Profession is the substance, and baptism is the form [of church membership--W. G.] . . .’ (Dagg, Manual, Part Two, p. 95); further, ‘A Christian church is an assembly of believers in Christ, organized into a body, according to the Holy Scriptures, for the worship and service of God’ (p. 74); and the only thing holding these believers together is the love produced in them by the Holy Ghost (p. 125):  ‘Love . . . is declared to be the “the bond of perfectness.”  It binds all the people of God together, and makes them one’ (p. 126).   And on it goes. 

Even under the best of circumstances it would be unwise to place one’s hope in beliefs of this sort, for truth mixed with error usually tends toward disorder.  And the circumstances of this age are far from ideal; the evils now are strong indeed.  Money-getting, politics, football, smart phones and Facebook, and other kinds of pleasure-seeking and distractions already have much of the South in thrall to one or more of them.  The Protestant and Roman Catholic faiths are not strong enough to overcome them, by and large; for they are themselves products of human weakness (the lust for worldly dominion of the Roman Catholic popes; the pride of Luther, Calvin, and the other Protestant Reformers in standing in judgment upon the teachings of the Holy Apostles and the God-bearing Mothers and Fathers who have come after them; and so on).  Only a return to the Orthodox Faith, the faith of our forebears of Western Europe before the Great Schism of 1054, before Reformation, Counter-Reformation, and Enlightenment, wherein dwells the whole, ever-near, undivided, undistorted, undimmed, unweakened Christ, the Wisdom of God and the Power of God, only a return to the Orthodox Church with this Christ at the center of her being will give the South the means to withstand the blows of the Devil and his servants today and in all the years to come. 

For, lo, the grace of God in the Orthodox Church overcame the persecution of the pagan Roman emperors and the many-headed hydra of Heresy that rose up after their downfall; it overcame the Islamic conquest of the Balkans, and strives with it still in parts of the Middle East and North Africa; and it overcame the ruthlessness of the godless materialists (the Communists) in Eastern Europe and Russia.  But without the solid foundation of the whole Christ and the Apostles and prophets, without the holy Orthodox Church, Western Europe, Canada, Australia, and all the other Western countries are falling to pieces.

So the South must choose:  She may go on following the path of Protestantism and Roman Catholicism to its end, in which case she also will fall apart and die as her kinsmen in post-Schism Western Europe are now doing.  Or she may leave that deadly way and unite herself to the Orthodox Church, the one true body of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ, in which case she will know a fulness of life unimaginable in the Western churches.  For oneness with God brings life, but sunderedness from God, even in what may seem like little matters of doctrine, leads to death, because ‘ . . . if the dogmas of the Church express the experience of Christ as present and working in the Church, . . . then ignoring the dogmas not only means weakening the Church but also reducing the content of the faith to a sum of subjective interpretations of a Christ about whom one has heard—a Christ who remains at a distance—instead of identifying those dogmas with the experience of Christ found in His integral working, through the Holy Spirit’ (Staniloae, The Church, p. 64).

But where the true Christ dwells, all is changed:  ‘ . . . the Resurrection is the single event that proves not only that history is made with the collaboration of certain powers above the strictly “immanent” human powers, but also that history in general is destined to be raised to a superior plane, to the plane of the incorruptible and eternal life, to the spiritualized plane where it is not the uniform processes of nature that reign, but the freedom of the human spirit, through which the Holy Spirit renders the body spiritual and transparent.  From this point of view, Christ’s Resurrection has a deep connection with history, and His Resurrection must illustrate this importance for history, or the beginning of its efficiency as a force of pneumatization and of directing history toward the suprahistorical plane that it opened, or better said, toward the plane of spirituality that transcends it. 

‘Christ’s Resurrection is thus not only verifiable, as a fact impenetrable in its content above the contents of historical facts, but it also opens up for us a content of existence from another plane with the greatest efficiency upon history.  It has a great and continuous spiritual causality upon history.  Because of the Resurrection, history does not move only within the limited or static plane that would not lead us to anything essentially new, but it connects us with a content in which new contents are communicated to history.  The Resurrection is connected with history not only through suprahistorical causality that it brought upon history, but also through the role it did and does play in introducing a new mode of life in history.  Christ has risen because He conquered through His life the weakness of human nature together with its innocent passions, going in the manifestation of this spiritual strength all the way to accepting death for others.  Without fully entering in history as an effect and cause, Christ established a certain connection with history, bringing certain effects into history and playing the role of causality upon it in order to open its access to the overcoming of the mode of existence in a simple, immanent repetition, which leads nowhere, and in order to take history out of the dominion of death. 

‘ . . . the Resurrection’s content elevates and enriches the mode of historical life’ (Staniloae, The Person of Jesus Christ, pgs. 133-4).

Works Cited

Bradford, M. E.  ‘The Agrarianism of Richard Weaver’.  Remembering Who We Are: Observations of a Southern Conservative.  Athens, Ga.: U of Georgia Press, 1985.

Dabney, Robert L.  Systematic Theology.  Carlisle, Penn.: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1985.  Quote copied from, accessed 21 Jan. 2016.

Dagg, John L.  Manual of Theology and Church Order.  Harrisonburg, Va.: Gano Books, 1982.

Fitzhugh, George.  Sociology for the South: Or the Failure of Free Society.  Forgotten Books, 2012.

Staniloae, Dumitru.  The Experience of God, Orthodox Dogmatic Theology, Vol. 3: The Person of Jesus Christ as God and Savior.  Ioan Ionita, trans. and ed.  Brookline, Mass.: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2011.

--.  The Experience of God, Orthodox Dogmatic Theology, Vol. 4: The Church: Communion in the Holy Spirit.  Ioan Ionita, trans. and ed.  Brookline, Mass.: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2012.

Thornwell, James H.  The Collected Writings of James Henley Thornwell, Vol. I: Theological.  Carlisle, Penn.: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1986.

Friday, January 22, 2016

The South Needs the Orthodox Church - Part 2nd

II.  Breaking Apart the Foundation: Roman Catholicism and Protestantism

Looking mainly at the oneness and holiness of the Church, Fr Dumitru goes on to write, ‘Unity belongs to the Church’s constitution as the incarnate Word’s extended body.  For the Lord became incarnate, was crucified, and rose from the dead as a man in order to gather in Himself those divided, to gather them in the infinity of His love for the Father and of the Father’s love for Him.  This unification of all in Him constitutes the very essence of salvation.  For this unity means unity in the blessed and infinite God.  In fact, unity is not possible outside God, and thus neither is salvation.  Christ extends Himself in us through His sacrificed and risen body, so that He may unite us and make us like Himself; He fills us with the same love that He has for God the Father and that God the Father, who is in Him, has for Him.  And this is the Church.  Being filled with this love, the Church is also the loving unity among her members (The Church, pgs. 57-8). 

‘ . . .

‘Thus the foundation of the Orthodox Church is Jesus Christ Himself, whose sacrificed and risen body is found deep within the Church.  The unity of the Church is an ontological unity, or better said, a supra-ontological one.  In Catholicism this kind of inner unity has been weakened because through the mysteries one receives only a created grace, not grace as uncreated energy in which Christ Himself is found.

‘In Catholicism this weakening of the union with Christ through the mysteries led to the elevation of the pope as vicar, or locum tenens, of Christ.  Obedience to the pope has thus become the means by which the unity of the Church is maintained in a more juridical or institutional way.  Protestantism, unhappy with such a nonspiritual and rather external unity of the Church, has reduced the relationship with Christ to a simple relationship of the believer with Him through faith.  But because this faith does not have its source in Christ’s bodily presence in the Church, to a great extent it has become devoid of power and content, becoming more like a voluntary, subjective act with a much reduced content decided upon by each individual (p. 62).

‘ . . .

‘The Church is unitary because, having Christ working within her, she is truly His extended body; that is, she is fully united with the head and fully united within herself.  A Church that does not have Christ within her in this full and intimate manner, and that considers that Christ is so distant from her that she needs a vicar, is not fully united with Christ, and consequently neither is she fully one within herself in the innermost way—not to mention the total lack of unity in a Church in which Christ is even more absent and in which an experience of the whole Christ does not exist, but only a faith that to a great extent is inconsequential for life, a faith that is interpreted in as many forms as there are individuals (pgs. 65-6).

‘ . . .

‘The holiness of the Church is strongly connected with her unity.  For the more united the Church is with Christ and thus within herself—that is to say, the more intimately she is united with her head, who is holy—the holier she is in her quality as His body.  Sin, which is the opposite of holiness, is at bottom a sin against unity.  The holiness of the Church and of her members flows from the union with the Lord’s sanctified body through obedience and sacrifice.  The holiness of the Church and of her members is the form in which we see manifested their strong union with Christ, who was sanctified through His sacrifice for us although He was already without sin due to the hypostatic union. 

‘This means that the holiness of the Church, just like her unity, has its source in Christ, who is holy and who is present within her.  Where there is a direct and intimate relationship with Christ, and in Him with the other faithful, there is holiness.  In Protestantism, in which the faith in Christ’s intimate and working presence in the Church has been weakened, the holiness of the Church—along with her unity—has also been weakened to the point of disappearing.  Concern for the holiness of the body through abstinence has also been greatly weakened in Catholicism (see, for example, the absence of fasting, eating before Holy Communion, and so forth), due to the lack of emphasis on partaking of Christ’s sanctified body in the Church, and generally due to the similar reduced emphasis on the importance of Christ’s body and His holiness, as well as our body’s importance in the work of salvation.

‘The Church’s holiness and unity, which derive from the strong union with Christ, are attributes in which Christ’s saving power is manifested through the Church.  Salvation cannot be obtained without participation in Christ’s holiness, which works in the Church.  If salvation is participation through the transparence of the body in the divine infinity in the Holy Spirit, who spiritualizes our bodies, one understands why some Western denominations that avoid any effort toward spiritualizing the body conceive of salvation as a juridical solution to the conflict between God and human beings, as a purely formal solution that will bear fruit in the faithful’s existence in the life to come. 

‘Christ is holy because, above all else, He is God.  Holiness is an attribute of God.  The created being does not have holiness except through participation.  That is why when participation in Him is not affirmed, the created being’s holiness is not affirmed either (as in Protestantism).  . . .

‘It is with this holiness that, through the Incarnation and His sacrifice, the Son of God has filled the human nature He assumed, raising it onto the divine throne and guaranteeing its life, together with its eternity, from the divine infinity.  Because Christ is in the Church with this nature and because He abides in the faithful, holiness, salvation, and the eternal divine life are communicated to them.  Holiness is communicated from His body through His Holy Spirit.  Through His pneumatized body His holiness is being endlessly communicated to us in the Church, as is the power to become ever holier, ever more open to God’s purity and eternal love, and free of any egoism that is opposed to holiness’ (pgs. 68-70).

Works Cited

Staniloae, Dumitru.  The Experience of God, Orthodox Dogmatic Theology, Vol. 4: The Church: Communion in the Holy Spirit.  Ioan Ionita, trans. and ed.  Brookline, Mass.: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2012.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The South Needs the Orthodox Church - Part 1st

I.  The True Foundation

The South is waning, for she has not the whole Christ but a ‘distorted Christ’, to borrow some words of Prince Myshkin’s (Dostoyevsky, The Idiot, p. 476).  The crumbling of Roman Catholic and Protestant Western Europe and her children across the world into post-Christian heathenism, even after any number of revivals that were thought to herald better days for the Western churches - the Great Awakenings in North America in the 18th century, the Welsh Revival of 1904-5, Billy Graham’s crusades, Vatican Councils, etc. - should awaken within all the realization that there is something amiss about how Roman Catholics and Protestants view Christ and His Church.

The Orthodox priest and theologian Father Dumitru Staniloae (1903-1993) is here a great help, for he not only bewords the true teaching about Christ and the Church, but also where the Western faiths have strayed from this truth.  He says, ‘Through the Incarnation, life of obedience, Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension of the Son of God as man, the foundation of our salvation has been laid in the fulfillment of our nature, which Christ assumed.  But, strictly speaking, our salvation is achieved only through Christ, who comes to dwell within us with the body He bore—a body that has risen, ascended, and been made fully spiritual, that is, has been filled with the Holy Spirit and thus has become perfectly transparent.  This indwelling produces the Church.  The Church, therefore, is the intended fulfillment of the saving work begun through the Incarnation.  . . . In this way the sanctification and the beginning of the resurrection that are found already in Christ’s body are planted within believers and are being developed through these believers’ cooperation with Christ.

‘ . . .

‘The descent of the Holy Spirit . . . initiates the indwelling of Christ’s deified body in human beings and thereby initiates the Church as well.

‘The descent of the Holy Spirit is thus the act of transition from Christ’s saving work in His personal humanity to the extension of this work within other human beings.  Through the Incarnation, Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension, Christ lays the foundation of the Church in His body, and through these events, the Church’s being exists in its potential form.  However, the Son of God became man not for Himself but so that He could extend salvation from His body, as divine life within us.  This divine life, extended from His body into those who believe, is the Church’ (The Church, pgs. 1-2).

‘ . . . the most complete understanding of Christ’s sacrifice is that which sees its direction both toward God and toward the human nature assumed by Christ and, through it, toward human beings’ (The Person of Jesus Christ, p. 105).

This is the true teaching.  We must next look at how the Roman Catholics and Protestants in general and the South in particular have gone astray from it. 

Works Cited

Dostoyevsky, Fyodor.  The Idiot.  Constance Garnett, trans.  Susan Rattiner, ed.  Mineola, Ny.: Dover Publications, 2003.

Staniloae, Dumitru.  The Experience of God, Orthodox Dogmatic Theology, Vol. 3: The Person of Jesus Christ as God and Savior.  Ioan Ionita, trans. and ed.  Brookline, Mass.: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2011.

--.  The Experience of God, Orthodox Dogmatic Theology, Vol. 4: The Church: Communion in the Holy Spirit.  Ioan Ionita, trans. and ed.  Brookline, Mass.: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2012.

Friday, January 15, 2016

What We’re Fighting for

A couple of good talks from Mrs Barbara Marthal and Dr Tom Fleming that will hopefully encourage Southerners to hold on to the good traditions of their forebears (and other like-minded folks in other lands to hold on to the good things in their fatherhoards (inheritances) as well) in the face of ġe·mynd fordoing (memory destroying) modernity.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

This Ain’t Your Confederate Pa-Paw’s Army

Many young Southern men and (alas) women are still willing to swell the ranks of the American Empire’s war machine, thinking they are undertaking a noble endeavor in some way.  But this is not the Confederate Army, led by honorable Christian generals who were guided by high principles.  Since the days of Lincoln’s War, it has been an army bent on robbery, rape, and wrack.  The South tasted first of this cup, then the North American Indians, the Philippines, Europe in WWI and WWII, and now Libya, Iraq, and elsewhere in the so-called ‘War on Terror’ (War OF Terror, as someone said well of it).  American actions in the Philippines may help dispel some of the propaganda surrounding the Messiah Nation’s efforts to be a ‘force for good’ all over the globe:

 . . .

It was the islands Washington coveted as an outpost for the projection of military power into Asia. The Filipinos were an encumbrance.

"We do not want the Filipinos," declared the San Francisco Argonaut in 1898. "We want the Philippines. The islands are enormously rich, but unfortunately they are infested with Filipinos. There are many millions there and, it is to be feared, their extinction will be slow."

Fortunately, the Filipinos are not extinct, despite the U.S. Government’s devoted efforts. In a 41-month period from 1898 to1902, roughly 20,000 Filipino guerrillas were killed. At least ten times that number of civilians were slaughtered as well. Some chroniclers estimate that more than two million Filipinos were liberated of their mortal cares during America’s lethal application of muscular Christianity in the islands.

“The United States later fought World War II over a period of fifty-six months with approximately four hundred thousand American deaths,” observes Bradley, who has written two acclaimed books about the Pacific War (Flags of our Fathers and Flyboys). “So Adolf Hitler and Hideki Tojo, with their mechanized weaponry, killed about the same per month — seventy-two hundred — as American civilizers did in the Philippines.”

Among the benefits of Christian culture the American Army shared with the Filipinos was the ancient ritual called the “water cure.”

During World War II, American P.O.W.s were subjected to waterboarding by Japanese interrogators who, as convicted war criminals, experienced the long drop to the end of a hangman’s rope.

Decades earlier, American soldiers sent to “pacify” and “civilize” the archipelago — "We come as ministering angels, not as despots," warbled Senator Knute Nelson in praise of that noble venture — would chant a marching cadence called “The Water Cure” in happy anticipation of their ministry:

Hurray, hurrah. We bring the Jubilee. Hurray, Hurrah. The flag that makes him free. Shove in the nozzle deep and let him taste of liberty. Shouting the battle cry of freedom!

We’ve come across the bounding main to kindly spread around Sweet liberty whenever there are rebels to be found. So hurry with the syringe boys. We’ve got him down and bound. Shouting the battle cry of freedom!…

Oh pump it up in him till he swells like a toy balloon. The fool pretends that liberty is not a precious boon. But we’ll contrive to make him see the beauty of it soon. Shouting the battle cry of freedom!

Grover Flint, a first lieutenant in the 35th Infantry who served in the Philippines for a year and a half, later described how America’s Ministering Angels used the “water cure” to fill Filipinos to the brim with liquid liberty:

“He [the victim] is simply held down, and then water is poured into his face, down his throat and nose from a jar, and that is kept up until the man gives some sign of giving in or becoming unconscious, and when he becomes unconscious he is simply rolled aside and he is allowed to come to…. His suffering must be that of a man who is drowning, but he can not drown.”

Such treatment was appropriate, insisted Gen. Frederick Funston, whose troops — with his knowledge and support — executed helpless POWs, tortured civilians, massacred non-combatants, and raped countless women.

The Filipinos, explained this exponent of pagan barbarism, are “an illiterate, semi-savage people, who are waging war, not against tyranny, but against Anglo-Saxon order and decency.”

The “decency” of which Funston spoke so piously was famously displayed in a village called LaNog, the entire population of which was murdered on the orders of Captain Fred McDonald — except for a single comely mestizo woman who was gang-raped by McDonald’s officers and then turned over to the enlisted men for similar treatment.

A particularly vigorous display of “Anglo-Saxon decency” took place in March 1906, when the Army mowed down roughly 1,000 Muslim men, women, and children who had taken refuge in the crater of an inert volcano.

 . . .

Source:  William Grigg, ‘Shadows and Foreshadowing at Nagasaki’,, posted 9 Aug. 2010, accessed 12 Jan. 2016

Given this history, the latest revelation should surprise no one:  Sexual abuse of children has been ongoing at at least one American base in Afghanistan (which, if only one, is still one too many):

KABUL, Afghanistan — In his last phone call home, Lance Cpl. Gregory Buckley Jr. told his father what was troubling him: From his bunk in southern Afghanistan, he could hear Afghan police officers sexually abusing boys they had brought to the base.

“At night we can hear them screaming, but we’re not allowed to do anything about it,” the Marine’s father, Gregory Buckley Sr., recalled his son telling him before he was shot to death at the base in 2012. He urged his son to tell his superiors. “My son said that his officers told him to look the other way because it’s their culture.”

The policy of instructing soldiers to ignore child sexual abuse by their Afghan allies is coming under new scrutiny, particularly as it emerges that service members like Captain Quinn have faced discipline, even career ruin, for disobeying it.

– From the New York Times article: U.S. Soldiers Told to Ignore Sexual Abuse of Boys by Afghan Allies

 . . .

Source:  Michael Krieger, ‘Fighting for Pedophilia’, Liberty Blitzkrieg,, posted 23 Sept. 2015, accessed 12 Jan. 2016.

We ask all of our Southern brothers and sisters who are considering joining this demonic horde:  Find another outlet for your desire to defend your fatherland.  If at all possible, find a way to band together to protect the Souð from her foemen.  For you will not find anyone like the great Lee in the neo-Puritan Army of Washington City today, who wrote to his soldiers before entering Yankee territory,

"The commanding general considers that no greater disgrace could befall the army, and through it our whole people, than the perpetration of the barbarous outrages upon the unarmed, and defenseless and the wanton destruction of private property that have marked the course of the enemy in our own country. ... It must be remembered that we make war only upon armed men, and that we cannot take vengeance for the wrongs our people have suffered without lowering ourselves in the eyes of all whose abhorrence has been excited by the atrocities of our enemies, and offending against Him to whom vengeance belongeth, without whose favor and support our efforts must all prove in vain."

Source:  Paul Greenburg, ‘The Unchanging Lee: On the General’s Birthday, 2015’,, posted 16 Jan. 2015, accessed 12 Jan. 2016

Friday, January 8, 2016

Let the Saints Be a Shield for the South

Þe (The) South has many armed men to guard her, and these have there place, it would seem.  But for heavenly protectors she cares little.  This is foolishness.  See what great help is being so carelessly ignored:

After Corfu's deliverance from a siege by the Turks - owing to the protection of St. Spyridon the Wonderworker - on August 11, 1716, Andrea Pisani, the governor and captain-general of Corfu, wished to do something in order to thank the saint for his great benefaction concerning the aforementioned deliverance. He consulted a papist theologian, Francisco Frangipani, as to what he should do, what would be best and well-pleasing to the saint.

The theologian said that it would be a very good and holy deed to build a precious marble altar inside the Church of St. Spyridon, so that they could perform a Latin mass inside. And "Your excellency can hear the mass in your own language when you are present there," he said. The theologian's counsel pleased the governor, and he ordered that the materials be prepared at once. However, before the materials were made ready, it seemed appropriate to him to call the priests of that church (where the relics of the divine Spyridon were housed) and find out in what way they could be of assistance. As soon as they heard the unexpected news, they told him bluntly that this was a dangerous innovation, and they wished in no way to help him with his plan. The governor replied angrily that even if they were not willing to help, as the supreme authority he would do as he wished and would command that the materials be gathered outside the saint's church without fail. So there was gathered together asbestos, plaster, marble, and a slab from select marble, superbly crafted for an altar.

That night in a dream, the governor saw a man in a monastic habit saying to him, "Why are you bothering me, and why are you upsetting my children (i.e., the priests)? Know that what you are intending to do is not in your interest." At daybreak he called the theologian into his room (that is, the one who gave him the idea) and related to him the dream in detail. The theologian said, "As Christians, we are obliged in no way to believe dreams, nor are we to accept them at all as real. You should certainly consider this, my lord, to be an obvious temptation of the devil, with which the adversary troubles the good, in order to amuse himself and impede such a most-pious deed." The governor calmed down, fully convinced by the theologian's words. That night, the governor again saw the same monk in a dream threatening him harshly saying, "Know, most certainly, that if you bother my holy house, you will regret it, as it is of no profit." The ruler was terrified by this steadfast decree. He did not again wait for daybreak, but straightaway called for the theologian. He told him every detail about the vision, described his faint-heartedness and said that he was overcome by such fear, that he not dare go through with the task. Then the theologian speaking up and poising himself nobly, said, "My lord, know, that if you grow timid from doing this holy deed that you have decided upon, you will appear to people as not being of proper judgement, since you believe in dreams conjured up by the devil." The governor was filled with courage by these words and as day came on, which was the 11th of November 1718, he went to the church of the saint so as to venerate. He was accompanied by those of his court (along with the city's engineer) in order to measure the area according to length, width, and height for the construction of the altar.

 . . .

At around midnight on November 12th, the day on which the craftsmen expected to start their work, there was lightening and thunder - thunderbolts, one after the other. It was then that the guard of the governor's residence saw a monk approaching him holding a lit torch in his hand. The guard, according to procedure, asked him once, and then twice, "Who are you? Where are you going?" And seeing as he did not receive an answer, he lifted his musket in order to kill the visitor. But then the monk answered, "I am Spyridon." As soon as he said this he grabbed the guard by the arm and threw him with great force out into Spianada Square in the city of Corfu, close to the Church of the Crucifixion. There the guard found himself standing upright on both feet holding his gun as he had been before. Immediately following this, the saint lit the store house of the castle on fire. The extreme heat caused the buildings that were inside the governor's palace and everything around it to collapse. The governor was killed inside, his neck having been crushed between two beams in such a way that it was as though they had been placed there for that purpose. The theologian was found outside the walls of the citadel in a ditch, into which all the squalor of the city sewer drained and flowed, holding his private parts in his hand. He received a just foretaste of his reward for his excellent advice, and the grandeur of his polity (as a papist). Many others were also killed, both men and women, some belonging to the court and others not, about nine-hundred souls. Around that time two other fearsome signs also took place.

First: That same night, a large silver oil lamp that the governor had hung before the saint's relics as an offering fell to the ground and its base broke into pieces, in spite of having been hung with a very strong chain. None of the numerous other oil lamps fell or suffered anything similar. And what happened to the oil lamp (or rather, the base) is apparent still today, because it was again hung up in the same manner it was found as evidence of the incident.

Second: At the exact same moment (as was confirmed later by those who looked into the matter) a flaming arrow - a thunderbolt of lightening to be precise - struck the picture of the governor in Venice and burnt it up, without anything else in the house suffering any harm. His brothers and relatives immediately interpreted this as a bad omen concerning the governor.

The rest of the Latin laymen and clergy, or rather the "Prevedore" as they were called, the Latin bishop, other officials and private citizens, as many as lived in the city of Corfu (for it was the home of the bishop's palace and many others), these are who I call the rest, gave the command that the aforementioned building materials be taken from the Saint's church. They made use of the materials elsewhere, save the marble slab which had been cut for the altar. This was reverently taken to their so-called "duomo," that is the cathedral of their own metropolis, into the great altar. It can still be seen there today resting low on its side.

The soldier, who had been the guard at the castle on that day, was roused and crying out in a loud voice, declaring, "Saint Spyridon did these great and fearful things." And he would tell the whole story in great detail. Therefore, the Latins, not wanting to bear the shame, sent him away to Italy three days later.

This is the story of the frightful and monumental event that took place in the city of Corfu, owing to the most-divine Spyridon - quick to listen and patron of the city and of the whole Church. We must now consider carefully and in detail those circumstances, which prove the event undeniable, so that the enemies of the truth cannot blather, saying that the arson at the store house was a coincidence, from which the governor and those around him died.

Source: Ouranou Crisis (Judgement from Heaven), Archimandrite Nektarios Ziompolas. Athens, 2007; from ‘Miracle of St. Spyridon in Corfu: Recounted by St. Athanasios of Paros (+1813)’,, posted 25 Dec. 2015, accessed 26 Dec. 2015

The saints of our forebears of Orthodox Europe and Africa await our cries for help, as kinsmen long sundered yet full of love.  How many times have St Geneviève of Paris, St Menas of Egypt, St Cuthbert of Lindisfarne, and others delivered those who called upon them from famine, plague, invasion, and so on?  Let us seek their help, together with St Spyridon, St Michael the Archangel, and all the holy saints and angels, and the Most Holy Mother of God most of all, who hath invincible might, that we may live quiet lives in all godliness.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Achieving the American Dream Will Bring Us to Ruin

The Holy Elder Paisios of Mount Athos (+1994) makes this abundantly clear in a story he once told:

 . . .

Once there came here a well-known doctor to talk. His wife was a doctor also, both religious people. He complained that his children were living worldly lives and not only did not follow the family traditions of the Church, but also saw them as ironic.

They characterized Christians as mentally deficient, close-minded, dishonest, hypocritical and rascals, because their life, they would say, was not consistent with their words and their deeds were not Christian.

Even at Holy Unction, which the parents would have done once a year in their home with their children, when they were young they participated, but now were reacting and not to be found.

The doctor seemed very tired and desperate for the spiritual regeneration of his children. And he thought that all efforts, his own and that of his wife, were wasted; they were not captured nor were the children touched.

At some point the doctor, putting his head within his two hands, as if to cover his face with shame, told me: “I am afraid that the big money has done us harm.”

I asked him to tell me what he meant, and he very frankly admitted that they had strayed from their path and had acquired assets that were completely unnecessary. “We have three large houses,” he said, “one for us and one for each child. Also, two cottages, four expensive cars, a boat, deposits, and many material things.”

He continued: “The children became spoiled and now we are accused by them of causing this. Also, they tell us that we have married beautifully wealth with Christianity.” He then asked me to tell him what to do to get back peace and unity in the family.

I told him to give all to the poor and keep only one house, a cottage and their salaries. Frightened, he changed color, got scared, and was disappointed by the reply I gave.

He left and never returned. He was tied to the here, not to the Above. That is why the children looked for other ways of life different from that which their parents had suggested.

When I hear that there is great poverty and misery, I hurt a lot and I can not pray.

I’m not saying when you have two tunics to give one. This is unusual and difficult for most. But if you want to be called Christian and have the good things of God, why sweat and fight for the above mentioned and not do charity and good works? They are building their foundation on sand, whoever has a lot of money and manages it selfishly, oblivious to the poverty and misery of his fellows. Did you ever see grave clothes with pockets? All stays here. Only good works go to heaven. You know why there are wars? For the money. Because the rich can not put a bridle on greed and the poor do not wish to acquire the necessary, but envy the riches and glory of the rich.

Your pockets should always be open to allow the money to leave towards philanthropies. It is scandalous that there are pockets full of money and for them to be stitched.

Source:  ‘Ease of Life and Christianity Do Not Go Together’,, posted 28 Dec. 2015, accessed 5 Jan. 2016

As always, the lives of the Saints give us a better pattern to follow than the dominant Western/American one.  Consider the life of St Melania the Younger:

She was born in 383 in Rome, to a very wealthy family with large estates in Italy, Africa, Spain and even Britain. She was the grand- daughter of St Melania the Elder (June 8) and a pious disciple of Christ from a young age. She was married against her will at the age of fourteen, to a relative named Ninian. They had two children, both of whom died in early childhood. Henceforth Melania and her husband dedicated themselves entirely to God. They had both dreamt of a high wall that they would have to climb before they could pass through the narrow gate that leads to life, and soon began to take measures to dispose of their wealth. This aroused opposition from some of the Senate, who were concerned that the selling off of such huge holdings would disrupt the economy of the State itself. 

  With the support of the Empress, though, Melania was able to free 8000 of her slaves and give each a gift of three gold pieces to begin life as freedmen. She employed agents to help fund the establishment of churches and monasteries throughout the Empire, donated many estates to the Church, and sold many more, giving the proceeds as alms. When Rome fell to the Goths under Alaric in 410, Melania and Ninian moved to Sicily, then to Africa, where they completed the sale of their propery, donating the proceeds to monasteries and to aiding victims of the barbarians.

  In Africa Melania, now aged about thirty, took up a life of the strictest asceticism: she kept a total fast on weekdays, only eating on Saturday and Sunday; she slept two hours a night, giving the rest of the night to vigil and prayer. Her days were spent in charitable works, using the remainder of her wealth to relieve the poor and benefit the Church. After seven years in Africa, Melania, her mother and her husband left on pilgrimage to the Holy Land. There they founded a monastery on the Mount of Olives, which grew to a community of ninety nuns. Melania'smother died in 431, then her husband and spiritual brother Pinian; she buried them side by side.

  Save for one visit to Constantinople, Melania continued to live in reclusion in a small cave on the Mount of Olives; she became an advisor to the Empress Eudocia, who sought her expert counsel on her gifts to churches and monasteries.

  Melania fell ill keeping the Vigil of Nativity in 439, and fell asleep in the Lord six days later; her last words were 'As it has pleased the Lord, so it has come to pass.' Her monastery was destroyed in 614 by the Persians, but her cave hermitage on the Mount of Olives is still a place of pilgrimage and veneration.

Source:  John Brady, entry for 31 December at, accessed 1 Dec. 2015

Also worthy of heed is the life St Juliana of Lazarevskoye (+1604) (see entry for 2 January at and this short recording by Fr Michael Gillis on our Lord’s warning against covetousness: