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Persecution of the heretics


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#41 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 06:11 PM

Should Russia refuse visas for foreign Protestant missionaries and make their activities difficult? Is that persecution? After all, they people draw away from the Orthodox church.

#42 Matthew Namee

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 07:55 PM

I said that I was not going to post anymore, but I have another thought which I would like to add:

Who is the author of heresy and the one who seeks to destroy souls? The devil. Those proselytizing heretics are merely pawns of the real enemy, Satan. If you kill the heretics, Satan will simply find more people willing to promote his agenda. The only sure way to combat heresy is by holiness: if the people are holy, they will be unmoved by the words of the heretics. Thus we must, by example and education, and most importantly love, raise up our children to be firm in the Orthodox faith. Only in this way can they avoid the temptations of the enemy. And remember, you can kill all the heretics in the world, but the real enemy does not die. "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (Ephesians 6:12)

Also, while some saints may have said that heresy (or schism) is the worst sin, I doubt that it is the sin to which people are most likely to fall. The enemy will attack us wherever we are weak; if we are weak in the faith, then certainly he will attack us there. But how many people are doctrinally sound but fall daily to evil passions? We would do better to focus our attention on combating lust, greed, gossip, and other passions.

#43 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 10:02 PM

Should Russia refuse visas for foreign Protestant missionaries and make their activities difficult? Is that persecution? After all, they people draw away from the Orthodox church.


Again we are getting things mixed up. If the government of Russia has decided that foreign missionaries are a threat to the public good that is certainly within the realm of civil authority and not necessarily persecution, particularly since these people are not Russian citizens to begin with. Nations do have the right to decide who will cross their borders. However, if the local priest tells people to burn the houses of people who have become Protestant, I think that falls under the banner of persecution and is probably not a good thing. Is it really that hard to understand?

#44 Bob Robinson

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Posted 03 May 2008 - 12:34 AM

I'm a new to the Orthodox faith and absolutely love that God, after 35 years in the Protestant church, brought me to the place my wife and I are at now. We were missionaries for many years with YWAM and our Baptist church. Today, we are just working and learning....

I'm open to correction, but does it really matter if a saint says to kill the heretics when Jesus gave His life for them and not only gave His life but gave them good health (while He was here on earth) and freedom from demonic oppression. He had quite a ministry of healing and deliverance in those short 3 years. So He came and did that for people and because a "saint" says "kill them" we do? How will you explain that to the local police depatment. "Oh, they were Islamic so we killed them." "You know, that's what God wants us to do to our enemies--not bless them, not love them, not lay our lives down for them." I'm sorry, but I think when a saint, who may have everything else right, says, "Go kill them heathen" has to be ignored.

#45 Misha

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Posted 03 May 2008 - 01:17 PM

I add another phrase from st Issac's 58th homily about the false zeal:

"Be aware that if you put fire and burn someone then God will ask these burned souls from you !
And even if you don't light the fire but you agree and feel happy about it ,then you will be also guilty when Lord comes to judge the world."

#46 Bob Robinson

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Posted 11 May 2008 - 12:16 AM

I have no problem with those who are in the army and have to fight for the freedom of their people against aggression. I would have a problem with the German army of WW1 or WW2 doing what they were doing. So let's go back to the days of Christ and ask Him what we should do with those heretics. Let's see, He was surrounded by Pharisees and Sadducees who were indeed not walking in the truth of even their own religion and even opposing Christ's teaching. How many of them did He kill? Hmm, I don't recall Him killing any. That should give us some idea of what God's response is to our enemies and those who persecute us and those who even believe differently than us should be. Are you going to get up an army and eliminate all the Mormons? In terms of heretics, they are near the top. But wait, we have those pesky Jehovah's Witnesses who deny the Trinity. Should we just get all our Orthodox brothers together and go burn down their churches and hang their leaders? OK, those are some hyperboles, but do you see where we're going? I hope so.

#47 Bob Robinson

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Posted 11 May 2008 - 05:13 PM

Should Russia refuse visas for foreign Protestant missionaries and make their activities difficult? Is that persecution? After all, they people draw away from the Orthodox church.


I was a protestant missionaries for 17 years and worked in Hong Kong, Thailand, Taiwan, India, Canada, Mexico and a few other countries. I never tried to share Christ with other Christians--I was a missionary of Christ to those who had no idea who He was or what He has done for them. If an Orthodox is drawn to a Protestant's ministry and leaves the Orthodox church, then there's something wrong with the Orthodox church he/she belongs to and not the missionary's activities. We who are Orthodox have THE truth and if it's perceived by us the laity and made clear by our Priests and Bishops and so on, why on earth would we leave? We are very fortunate to have "The Great Pearl" and as those who have it should be proclaiming it to the lost and to the Protestants who don't know there is more for them in Orthodoxy. When I worked in Thailand the government was very amiable to me sharing Christ to the Buddhist population--they didn't fear missionaries. I once shared Christ door to door in a 100% Mormon town. I first asked the mayor if it was all right to go around the neighborhoods sharing Christ and he told me I was wasting my time but he didn't mind one bit. Again, he thought that the Mormons had the truth so missionaries were not a threat. Anytime you start persecuting (or killing) heretics, you will one day have to answer to God as to why you didn't give your life for them so that they too could be saved.

#48 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 08:31 AM

If an Orthodox is drawn to a Protestant's ministry and leaves the Orthodox church, then there's something wrong with the Orthodox church he/she belongs to and not the missionary's activities. We who are Orthodox have THE truth and if it's perceived by us the laity and made clear by our Priests and Bishops and so on, why on earth would we leave?


I'm not sure how prevalent this is now, but for some time after perestroika, American missionaries were active in rural Russia. The statement in the quote does not recognise the reality that existed. Were these missionaries arriving in some village with a well-ordered church, a priest who was actively preaching the Orthodox faith and serving the community? Of course not. The Church had suffered the most savage and demonic persecution in its history. It was only just emerging from repression and people knew nothing about their Orthodoxy (if they were baptised which many were not ). Hundreds of thousands had been martyred, no instruction had been allowed, people were not permitted to own a Bible or prayer book, priests - where they existed at all - were not allowed to preach or instruct. (The father of our parish priest in Moscow got 5 years in a gulag for assembling a few young people to form a choir in the church.) Even Dostoevsky's 'Brothers Karamazov' was not allowed. So nothing could be 'made clear' by priests and bishops. It was this situation of vulnerability that missionaries sought to exploit. Also, then the Orthodox church building - if it had survived at all - was a wreck whereas these missionaries came with money and built modern facilities which impressed the simple. The Yeltsin years allowed this sort of thing just as they had financial chaos and exploitation. I hope that now the Church has emerged, things are different.

Edited by Andreas Moran, 14 May 2008 - 10:53 AM.


#49 Deanna Leonti

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 01:51 PM

I am not sure about this maybe some of you can help me with this,

weren't there Saints in the past who were called heretics by those with in the church?

I quite can't remember exactly where I read this, was it St. Joan of Arc (Latin Church)?,
were there any from the Orthodox?

#50 Deanna Leonti

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 02:18 PM

If the Church properly educates its people, if the people are Orthodox in truth and not only in name, then the sophistries of heretics will have no effect.


True, however I do have a little tidbit to add.

I for one was one who was taught and raised Catholic, and kind of left for a short time thinking to myself what is it about them(diff. denomination) and me that are different?

how can they quote so well and I cannot?
I wasn't trained to quote, but that doesn't mean I wasn't taught scripture ( I remember when the San Hendrin was quoting and using scripture at and toward Jesus, and think maybe this might be the reason why I wasn't taught to quote) well anyway the Lord let me see what was different by allowing me to go and seek, only for me to realize that I was in the right church and get back to it. heheh :)
The Sacraments are so strong that those who have had them will not fall far from the tree!

Deanna

#51 Misha

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Posted 17 May 2008 - 03:14 AM

Sometimes ,God decides to "persecute" those who don't respect His will...

In 1716 the Turks had the island of Corfu under a tight siege. They had 50,000 troops and a good number of ships surrounding the island, cutting its lifeline from land and sea.

The barbarian armies had been concentrated at the far walls of the city. Pizani, a general of the forces of the Venetian Republic, was anxiously anticipating the oncoming enemy attack (since Corfu and the nearby islands were occupied by Italy at the time).

At daybreak on August 11, 1716, St. Spyridon, the patron Saint of the island, appeared in front of the enemy lines holding a glistening sword in his right hand. His austere and grandiose appearance horrified the aggressors who began to recede. The Agarenes, panic-stricken by the most awesome presence and fearless attack of the Saint, abandoned weapons, machinery and animals, running for their lives.

This great miracle became known throughout the island. The Turks had left behind 120 cannons, a large number of weapons, ammunition, animals and food.

After this powerful, surprising and most obvious miracle, the Venetian ruler Andrew Pizani, who was a Papist, wanted to erect a Papist altar inside the Orthodox Church of St. Spyridon (forever pushing for this was also the Papist Cardinal of the island). However, St. Spyridon appeared to Pizani in a dream saying: "Why are you bothering me? The altar of your faith is unacceptable in my Temple!" Naturally, Pizani reported this to the Papist Cardinal who answered that it was nothing but an evil fantasy of the devil who wanted to nullify the noble deed. After this, Pizani was much encouraged, so he ordered the necessary materials to commence construction of the altar. The materials were piled up outside of the temple of St. Spyridon. When the Orthodox priests of the temple and the Greek leaders of the island realised what was going on, they were greatly grieved. They asked to meet with Pizani to ask him to put a stop to this. Pizani's response was quite disheartening. He said quite bluntly, "As a ruler I will do whatever I please!" At that moment, the Orthodox community of the island turned their eyes to their Saint, beseeching him to put a stop to this abomination.

That same night, St. Spyridon appeared to Pizani as a monk and told him, "I told you not to bother me. If you dare to go through with your decision, you will surely regret it, but by then it will be too late."

The next morning, Pizani reported all this to the Papist Cardinal who now accused him of being not only faithless but also of being "yellow". Again, after this, the ruler mustered up enough courage to order the construction of the altar.

The Papists of the island were celebrating their triumph while the Orthodox were deeply grieved. Their grief could not be comforted and with tears they begged for the Saint's intervention to save them from the Papist abomination.

The Saint heard their prayers and intervened dynamically.

That evening, a terrible storm broke out, unleashing a barrage of thunderbolts on Fort Castelli, Pizani's base and his ammunition barracks. The entire fort ended up in a holocaust. 900 Papist soldiers and civilians were instantly killed from the explosion, but not a single Orthodox was harmed (as they were not allowed inside the fort after dark). Pizani was found dead with his neck wedged between two wooden beams. The body of the Papist Cardinal was found thrown a great distance from the fort.

But the most incredible fact was that the same night and at the same hour, another thunderbolt struck in Venice, targeting the compound of Pizani, burning his portrait that hung on the wall. Strangely enough, nothing else was damaged. Also, the guard of the ammunition barracks saw the Saint draw near him with a lit torch. He was carried by the Saint near the church of the Crucified without a single scratch.

St Athanasios the Parian describes this great miracle in his book "Heavenly judgement"

Corfiots celebrate this miracle every year on November's 12th

#52 Olga

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Posted 17 May 2008 - 10:36 AM

Sometimes ,God decides to "persecute" those who don't respect His will...


Exactly. It is God's prerogative to "persecute", not man's. It is one thing to excommunicate a heretic, which the Church has always allowed where necessary, and quite another to seek him out to kill, maim or inflict harm on him.

#53 Bob Robinson

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Posted 17 May 2008 - 11:08 PM

...and there you have it. Here in the States we have a melting pot of cultures and religions. If we were to start killing those who didn't believe as we did, we would obviously be put in jail or executed. Killing heretics isn't beneficial for the one killed or the one doing the killing. So let's go with Miss Olga--Let God sort out the heretics and we'll share Christ with them.

#54 H. Smith

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Posted 20 October 2013 - 09:31 PM

You didn't have to be a heretic to get into trouble. St Maximos the Confessor had his right hand cut off and his tongue torn out. He was justified not very long after. St Maxim Grek suffered appallingly from the Russians who suspected him of heresy when all he was trying to do was correct Slavonic translations from the Greek. I venerated his relics at the Holy Trinity St Sergius Lavra and whispered how sorry I was that he suffered so much for the truth. I feel he heard me.

 

Andreas,

 

I wonder if the treatment of St. Maximos casts light on the campaign against the Judaizers that was going on at that time. Russian historians have different opinions about the facts of that campaign. If you read about the case of St. Maximos, the charges against him show that they mischaracterized his views. He took a dissident point of view about the political machinations going on at the time, and he was punished by the authorities on claims of heresy. He was not very good at Slavonic, and one accusation was that he was a heretic for using the imperfect tense about the Holy Trinity, suggesting the Holy Spirit only had been part of it.

 

My impression was that the anti-Judaizing campaign at that time was somehow related to Joseph Volotzki's campaign against the non-possessors, who included St. Nils Sorsky, with whom St. Maximos sided. Based on some Russian writers, I think there may be more to this interesting and tragic chapter of Russian history than meets the eye.


Edited by H. Smith, 20 October 2013 - 09:32 PM.


#55 H. Smith

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Posted 20 October 2013 - 11:11 PM

I would add that if you look at a list of the supposed heretic works (http://www.cirota.ru....php?id=1663179 - in Russian), they appear to be either (A) works that are actually attacking monasticism (or the monastic system?), rather than promoting Judaizing, or (B) it is questioned by researchers whether the works are actually heretical.

 

In the first category (A) we find "Ellensky Letopisets," which one author analyzed in an article showing its criticisms deal with monasticism. This actually relates much better to the main dispute at the time over monastic property. Then in the second category (B), we find the "Laodocian Epistle", which by the way had already been approved by Church officials and copied by scribes without objections.

 

There are other curious facts too, like the strong vagueness about who the "Skhara" instigator was, that many of the accused denied the accusations, and that it openly involved a competition over the heirdom to Ivan III's throne. The luck of the competitors reversed during this campaign, and the losers were executed after Ivan III's death.

 

Unfortunately much writing and inquiry is in Russian about this sad story, which ended how many lives? Granted, it was nowhere near the scale of the Spanish or Portuguese Inquisitions, praise God.


Edited by H. Smith, 20 October 2013 - 11:17 PM.


#56 H. Smith

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 11:37 AM

In the posts above, I confused Maximos the Confessor with Maximos the Greek. The latter was a Greek who came to Russia 11 years after the Judaizers were crushed, and he was accused of heresy, but in fact he was involved in politics and his heresy was grammatical. He was imprisoned, but later society took a positive view of him, while he was still alive.


Edited by H. Smith, 21 October 2013 - 11:38 AM.


#57 Ryan

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 11:53 AM

In the posts above, I confused Maximos the Confessor with Maximos the Greek. The latter was a Greek who came to Russia 11 years after the Judaizers were crushed, and he was accused of heresy, but in fact he was involved in politics and his heresy was grammatical. He was imprisoned, but later society took a positive view of him, while he was still alive.

 

I think St. Maximos the Greek is a fascinating figure. It was wonderful to be able to venerate his relics at Troitse-Sergeyeva monastery. The whole non-possessor movement is very interesting and I think they have a lot to say today about church-state relationships and also questions of wealth and poverty in the Church.



#58 H. Smith

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 04:46 PM

I think St. Maximos the Greek is a fascinating figure. It was wonderful to be able to venerate his relics at Troitse-Sergeyeva monastery. The whole non-possessor movement is very interesting and I think they have a lot to say today about church-state relationships and also questions of wealth and poverty in the Church.

You are right that he was a fascinating figure, as he, an outsider, was able to have an independent view on the country's politics. That sounds like an interesting pilgrimage.



#59 H. Smith

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 04:55 PM

Yuri is right - my wife read a book about this not long ago. The sect was led by the jew Skhariya and briefly flourished in Moscow and Novgorod. St Joseph and Archbishop Gennady, as Yuri says, led the attack against the sect. Skhariya was executed on the orders of Ivan III. Some of his followers were executed or burned at the stake. Such treatment of heretics was, of course, usual in Europe for many centuries, not least in England.

Andreas,

 

Actually, it is not clear that the alleged Skharia really was executed by Ivan III. The claim that he was comes only from V.N. Tatischev who lived a few centuries later. Olga Kuzmina casts doubt on whether that happened, pointing out that at the time of the alleged execution the sect's high-placed alleged adherents still had favor in Moscow. (http://statehistory....vyatoy-Sofii/13) It was only in the 1500's that the history records generally say the executions happened, while I read that Skharia's alleged execution was in 1491. This all casts doubt on who the Skharia person really was and what influence he really had in creating the alleged heresy, which, by the way actually differed from Judaism, as even some scholars who accept the official version say.

 

The other thing I will add is that you are right that burning heretics was not unusual for Europe then. However, it was in fact completely different for Russia up to that point. In fact, the proponents of the burnings in Russia took ideas for their campaign directly from the Spanish Inquisition, and cited it with approval. Centuries later Dostoevsky would portray the Inquisition much more negatively in THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV, and Russians themselves have developed a more negative view of the Inquisition.


Edited by H. Smith, 21 October 2013 - 04:59 PM.


#60 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 06:56 PM

I doubt if anyone now has a positive view of the Inquisition but that is not about Orthodoxy.






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