Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Persecution of the heretics


  • Please log in to reply
96 replies to this topic

#81 Kosta

Kosta

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,517 posts

Posted 24 October 2013 - 04:34 AM

Phoebe,

That's more of a different situation. I'm speaking about heresies within the church and when the culture deteriorates precisely because Christians are the cause of that deterioration. Living like Christ is good but that won't convince heretics and secularists. First you're naive in thinking that only Christians are capable of loving. Are you saying the non believer and secularist are immoral compared to you? Secondly it is Christians who are more prone to embracing sinful practices because we come from the more advanced societies which follow the model formed under the enlightenment. Thus the western world has been in a social schism for centuries. Middle Easterners and poor Africans do not seek abortion although we try to force it upon them through various international health services and in the name of population control. Why do Muslims believe in the virgin birth but Christians do not? Why do Christians think that diversity in religion is a good thing which is the cornerstone of the WCC. Why do some Orthodox Christians criticize the greek and Russian church when they try to curb heresies and make it difficult for groups like the Jehovah's witness from proselytizing?

Claiming that we should be smarter about our faith so we can effectively compete with and counter foreign missionaries through study is the height of insanity. Faith isn't about that, grandma in the village isn't going to study every heresy to counter there claims, most of them don't even have any level education.

You can sit on your hands and do nothing and make excuses as your parish shrinks because all your family members have apostacized or you can do what you can to eliminate the parasite.

#82 Phoebe K.

Phoebe K.

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 278 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 24 October 2013 - 10:47 AM

I was speaking of what we as members of the congregation should focus on, i was not saying that teaching is not needed, we can all benefit from a grater knowledge of the catichisam.  we all need to ask our priests to teach us the faith, needing to lurn it is not just something for children and those of us who have recently converted but for all the faithful, once we know the truth we do not need to understand the hericys to be able to counter them.

 

what I am saying about love is that there is a qualitative difference, in that ours is inpowerd by the Holy Spirit, where as in the world most love is selfintersted.

 

As a covert in a non orthodox country (in an area where the church is not very visible) I am used to living with hericys and nonbelievers around me (including in my family as I am the only believer) and know from experience that knowing the catichisam is more use in tackling the hericys than necessarily understanding what they believe.  When we know the truth with our hart we can see and rebuf error with ease, what we need most is catichisam of believers so they know the truth rather than attacking those who are sick with false doctrine



#83 Kosta

Kosta

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,517 posts

Posted 24 October 2013 - 11:24 AM

Phoebe I agree with what your saying. But were basically talking about 2 different situations. I would say that without taking action and sometimes this would include persecution we will end up like an area you live, where there is no visible church and our family members are non-believers and heretics divided up into many sects. 

 

One example is a fellow I used to work with from El Salvador. This is a country which tends to be roman catholic. In his village due to an influx of wealthy american missionaries highly educated with money to hand out. His village of a few thousand people is now divided between roman catholics, penetcostals, baptists, Jehovahs Witness and shockingly a mormon church. So you have a small mountain village of poor people divided up and christians applaud this in the name of diversity! 

 

In a traditional Orthodox country I would hope the people would rise up and throw these people out. Just Like when Christ picked up a whip and chased the merchants out of the temple. These heretics should indeed be persecuted and we should not fold up like a cheap lawn chair because they come bearing gifts and telling everyone they will open up a clinic. Likewise if an Orthodox bishop told his congregation that the Virginity of the Theotokos is now an optional belief (as did the lutheran bishop), the people should chase him out and cut off his beard. And in Greece and most parts of Russia and Serbia that is precisely what would happen. And the nominalists of secular christianity should take note on how things are done instead of defending the heretics against their own brethren.


Edited by Kosta, 24 October 2013 - 11:27 AM.


#84 Rdr Andreas

Rdr Andreas

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,030 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 24 October 2013 - 01:37 PM

"the people should chase him out and cut off his beard. And in [Greece and most parts of] Russia [and Serbia] that is precisely what would happen"

 

- people, that is, from the 2-3% of practising Orthodox Christians there.



#85 Alice

Alice

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 673 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 13 November 2013 - 04:10 PM

In response to Ghandi's often quoted remark which Daniella posted, there are many Christians acting as Christ in the world, through philanthropy (both corporeal and individual), churches, aid organizations, and the like...

 

Of course, today's world of media propaganda does not advertise the many, many, countless daily acts of Christ helping others in the world, but focuses on anything negative they can find about Christians and Christianity.

 

Do they ever highlight, for just one example, the many houses which are built yearly by Orthodox Christians for the poor of Mexico who do not have a concrete structure to live in? Since the majority of the 'builders' or 'construction workers' of this yearly miracle are teenagers from all over the United States and every Orthodox jurisdiciton, it is even more noteworthy, but sensationalist media which assaults us today on all our venues, does not survive on such uplifting news. If Ghandi or any of the newly growing group of Christian haters and bashers would interview those good Mexican families if they experienced Christ in the actions of others, I think he might have been more cautious in his remarks.

 

The Christian world is much larger today than it was in the first years of Christianity. Under that 'label' there is a majority that are 'Christians' by name or baptism only. How wrong that Christianity should be judged by masses of people who don't care about their faith!

 

The media is creating a Christian hating frenzy, it seems, based upon the fact that Christianity does not condone and celebrate homosexuality and other social anomalies of today's morally confused world.

 

Anyway, to get more precisely back on topic, persecuting heretics sounds, to me, a lot like the Islamic idea of persecuting infidels... :unsure: :unsure:

 

Again, as I said above, today's Christian world is enormous, but official Christianity as a mandate is not practiced in any nation, as it was at times in history.


Edited by Alice, 13 November 2013 - 04:17 PM.


#86 Daniela S.

Daniela S.

    Junior Poster

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 34 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 14 November 2013 - 01:12 AM

(This is a reposting of my comment, because the formatting was very poor. I apologize for the repetition, and hopefully a moderator would not mind removing my previous post.)

 

I have been reading this thread and contemplating this topic. I am not knowledgeable about these things, or about church history or saints, but I have come across an interview and some writings which have struck a chord as true. I would like to know if others think they apply here, or if I am misunderstanding their context.

 

The first is from an interview with Metropolitan John of Korca in which he was asked about a quote from St. John Chrysostom.  St. John said "If all of you in this church were Christians, there would be no more pagans in the world".  Here is Metropolitan John's reply;

 

  …He was right. And others have said the same.  Mahatma Ghandi said, "I would have become a Christian if I'd ever met one". Once a holy man was asked, "Why in the first centuries did Christianity spread so fast, and not now?" He answered "In, the first century, Christianity was preached by Christians."  If we really understand this we won't be so quick to see the faults of others. The famous "Mea culpa" is a basic doctrine of Christianity. St. Seraphim said, "If you receive the Holy Spirit, thousands around you will be saved." We are not saving thousands around us because we are not saving ourselves. This is the essential thing, and it helps people understand humanity in another light, the light that gives love rather than hatred. Most of the experience I've had of Christian fanatics is that they have a problem with belief themselves. They doubt, and then try to repress every doubt that arises around them...      

 

The second is from a pastoral letter by St Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow in 1919;

   

Christian, the ideal is Christ, who used no sword to defend himself, who brought the sons of thunder to peace, having prayed for His enemies on the Cross. For the Christian, the guiding light is the command of the holy Apostle, who suffered much for his Savior and who sealed his dedication to him by his death: "Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God: for it is written: Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord. No, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head." (Rom. 12:19-20)

 

The third is from St John Chrysostom;

 

   For this reason Jesus has also added, "But I say to you, do not resist the evil one." He did not say "do not resist your brother" but "the evil one"! We are authorized to dare to act in the presence of evil through Christ's influence. In this way he relaxes and secretly removes most of our anger against the aggressor by transferring the censure to another. "What then?" one asks. "Should we not resist the evil one at all?" Indeed we should, but not in this way. Rather, as Jesus has commanded, we resist by surrendering ourselves to suffer wrongfully. In this way you shall prevail over him. For one fire is not quenched by another, but fire by water.



#87 Daniela S.

Daniela S.

    Junior Poster

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 34 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 14 November 2013 - 01:44 AM

Dear Alice,

   Thank you for your response. We agree on many things.  The nagging question for me is whether or not we should be justifying our anger so often, and being so reluctant to act with humility when we are challenged by non-believers. Aren't there teachings against this in our Tradition? I would like to share an excerpt from an essay by Fr Lev Gillet;

 

 "The Savior gives His disciples His peace at the moment when His passion is about to begin. When He is confronted with the vision of immediate suffering and death, He proclaims and communicates His peace. If at such moments, Jesus is the Master of Peace, then the strength of this peace will not abandon the disciple in moments of lesser strife…The choice is not between fighting and not fighting, but between fighting and suffering. Fighting brings about only vain and illusory victories, because Jesus is the absolute reality.  Suffering without resistance proclaims the absolute reality of Jesus. If we understand this point, we see that suffering is a real victory…Jesus goes to the front of the soldiers, who with their torches and weapons, want to lay hands on Him. He goes freely, spontaneously, to His passion and His suffering. Jesus cures the servant whose ear had been cut off by the sword of a disciple. Not only is Jesus unwilling that His disciple defend Him by force, but he repairs the damage that the sword has caused. It is the only miracle that Jesus performed during His passion…"

 

  How do these ideas fit into this conversation? I am stubborn, susceptible to anger, and quick to blame others and justify myself, but I find hope in these ideals.



#88 Rdr Andreas

Rdr Andreas

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,030 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 14 November 2013 - 07:21 AM

Alice wrote: "but official Christianity as a mandate is not practiced in any nation".  Recently, I met a Russian woman who lives in Moscow.  She said that such is the state of things that if she were not already Orthodox, nothing about the Orthodox Church as she sees it there would persuade her to become Orthodox.



#89 Alice

Alice

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 673 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 15 November 2013 - 01:45 PM

Alice wrote: "but official Christianity as a mandate is not practiced in any nation".  Recently, I met a Russian woman who lives in Moscow.  She said that such is the state of things that if she were not already Orthodox, nothing about the Orthodox Church as she sees it there would persuade her to become Orthodox.

 People like this woman often overlook that it is the churches that by and large feed people, both food and spiritual food...it is the priests that give consolation, it is the nuns that offer love and hospitality, it is the monastics that will pray for you when they don't even know you, etc. I get very upset when I hear those who are against Christianity say 'what good is the church'.

 

The largest philanthropic organizations in the world are Catholic. The Red Cross is Christian. The largest philanthropic organization feeding the hungry, homeless and unemployed in Greece is the church! The Archbishop himself, according to eye witnesses, gets paid his monthly stipend in one office, and by the time he has reached his office upstairs, he has given all his money, his very last euro, to people who have gone there begging him for help.

 

Has this woman in Russia read about the great saints which her fellow servants of God line up for hours to venerate--the saints of the Orthodox church who gave every breath to helping others-like St. Matrona of Moscow or St. Xenia Petersburg? Has she read the stories of the countless priests in the gulags who were a source of God's comfort and love to the prisoners?

 

I could go on and on, but you are the messenger only, and I ask your forgiveness dear Andrea, if I have offended with my post.

 

In Christ,

Alice



#90 Herman Blaydoe

Herman Blaydoe

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 4,157 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 15 November 2013 - 04:57 PM

When we are challenged, according to the Apostle Peter:

But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.” But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. (1 Peter 3:14-16)

I believe this presupposes a few things.

First, that you exhibit a "hope that is in you" such that someone would be moved to ask about it. In other words, our example should speak louder than our words. I would assume this means you live a life predicated on "hope" and not despair.

Secondly that you have educated yourself in the Faith; that you know what you believe and why so that you are "always ready" to give a good "defense". Note the use of the word "defense". We are not being told to attack someone else's faith, but merely to defend our own "hope", when challenged, and not when it hasn't been specifically asked about.

Thirdly, the good Apostle obviously assumes the worst, in that he evidently expects that you will not convince and convict in every situation, but the more likely outcome is that you will be defamed and reviled for your efforts, so don't be surprised. But part of that "hope" in us comes directly from the words of the Lord Himself, who said "Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:11-12)

Now this advice is for you and me, in normal situations. If we do this we do well. Now there will be those prophets, apostles and martyrs that, moved by the Spirit, may indeed preach boldly, tear down idols, and convict mightily the evil of the day. May God be with them! But I, personally, don't think that is necessarily the gift given to all Orthodox Christians, if we take the good Apostle above at his word.

Herman



#91 Herman Blaydoe

Herman Blaydoe

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 4,157 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 15 November 2013 - 05:07 PM

One more thing, dear Daniela, is that I personally do not believe we should EVER justify our own anger. Anger, even "righteous anger" is so seldom truly justified, that we should assume our anger is not justified and when we become angry we should apologize for it. If others want to think it "justified" by its own evidence, then to God be the glory. But I have to suspect that the more humble path is not to "justify" oneself in anything even if we are. I could be wrong.

 

Herman



#92 Rdr Andreas

Rdr Andreas

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,030 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 15 November 2013 - 05:42 PM

Alice, many faithful Orthodox Christians in Russia, including clergy, are disturbed about how things are in the Church there, especially at the top.  This woman is by no means an isolated example but simply voiced a widely held view.  People I know there remark on the decline in church attendance.  It is all something which is difficult to appreciate without knowing what Russia is like these days and what goes on there.  I don't want to say more in a public forum.



#93 Alice

Alice

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 673 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 15 November 2013 - 06:22 PM

Andreas,

 

Without knowing the specifics, all I can say is that there are always things that we don't like going on at the top in many Orthodox countries and jurisdictions. There always has been and always will be.

 

Do we go to Church and love the Orthodox faith because of people or because of God? We have to look past the flaws and errors of men. Not every cleric is going to be a saint, and those who were, were often persecuted by lay people. It is like a vicious circle of sin, that shows us that no person or organization is free from its allure.

 

One of the worst examples I saw was in my own jurisdiction here in the United States around fifteen years ago. It was terrible! It involved lay people and clergy. I even wanted to leave Orthodoxy because of it, but through that dark period of discontent, I came to learn more about the faith and its beauty which transcends the sins of us all, and eventually found much comfort in it.

 

Right now, there is another jurisdiction here in the U.S. going through similar problems. It is not a reason to judge Orthodoxy or Christianity. Imagine being Roman Catholic these days? I cannot think of any thing worse to shake up one's faith.

 

Of course, I sound like I am preaching. I am sorry. I just wish that people could be reminded of all this.

 

Personally, I find much comfort in that Orthodoxy throughout the world (and especially in Eastern Europe) is standing up to the secularist propaganda embracing the alternate life style choice and strange displays of those with same sex attraction. I am assuming that, with the loud voice of this 'new normal' in secular society, there are many haters who would love to destroy the Orthodox church, and will do anything to discredit it and those who support its position. I wonder if that has anything to do with what is going on in Russia?

 

Anyway, I digress.

 

Alice


Edited by Alice, 15 November 2013 - 06:22 PM.


#94 Rdr Andreas

Rdr Andreas

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,030 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 15 November 2013 - 10:29 PM

"I wonder if that has anything to do with what is going on in Russia?"  No, Alice, it is not what you think.  It is internal.  As to the people, it is not a matter of losing faith.



#95 Kosta

Kosta

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,517 posts

Posted 16 November 2013 - 04:16 AM

  People I know there remark on the decline in church attendance.  It is all something which is difficult to appreciate without knowing what Russia is like these days and what goes on there.  I don't want to say more in a public forum.


I would imagine that church decline means since before the Bolshevik revolution??? From what I understand church attendance in Russia is pegged at 4% of adherents. That's no different than anywhere else and much higher than most European countries

#96 Rdr Andreas

Rdr Andreas

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,030 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 16 November 2013 - 07:36 AM

I was referring to the decline in attendance from what it was about three to four years ago.  The parish church we used to go to used to be full but in the last couple of years or so attendance has fallen off markedly. 



#97 Lakis Papas

Lakis Papas

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 616 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 16 November 2013 - 10:59 AM

Dear friends,
 
I think the idiosyncrasies of the local Christian peoples have historically set the course of the local Churches. Already, from the Book of Revelation, St. John sent warnings to local Churches. These warnings were collective in nature rather than addressing individuals. In Orthodoxy, the temperament of a people, that has negative characteristics, gives the opportunity for praising God. As underlined by the fathers of the Church, the peoples before Christianity were inhumane, but after their conversion to Christianity, they became angelic.
 
Christ said about the Spirit (John 16:8-11):

And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:  
 
of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 
of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 
of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

 

Today the Spirit of God already is active in the world and examines the world on the above three points. The social, religious, political, economic problems can be summarized and analyzed regarding the three points that are judged by the Spirit of God.
 
Seemingly, the presence of heretics is exogenous to the Church. In reality, however, the presence of heretics is a pathology of the Church. Today, as it was always, the main problem for Christianity is from within. The main problem for the Church is pharisaism and extreme greed for wealth or material gain.
 
The main weapons of the Church against the heretics are three: humbleness, lack of property/wealth, chastity. Usually, it is estimated that heretics were managed with the use of proper arguments by the Church. In fact they were defeated  from the Church by the exercise of humbleness, lack of property/wealth, chastity.
 
The Church relies on the following balance weights:
 
sin                    -> chastity 
righteousness  -> humbleness
judgment          -> lack of property/wealth
 
In the showdown between Church - heretics, Church comes at confrontation with herself. The easy solution is to beat heresy by objective means: refutation, rebuttal, annihilation. Thus rescuing the Church as a closed system of truths. But the Church as an ontology is: the salvation of others. Christ saved others, not Himself - in confrontation with others, he let Himself be defeated. Defeat according to secular terms is different from the defeat according to spiritual terms.
 
When churches are filled with people, most likely, it is to seek a secular goal. Normally, the goals of humbleness, lack of property/wealth, chastity do not attract large crowds. The true Church of Christ is not in size but in authenticity. Church does not want to change the world with visible and festive way, but imperceptibly and invisibly.





0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users