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"Holy Zeal" by late Archbishop Averky, ROCOR


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#1 Mike L

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 07:03 PM

http://orthodoxinfo....m/holyzeal.aspx

#2 Steve Roche

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 09:31 PM

Hi Mike,

A post of mine was recently deleted by brother Moser for saying similar things as mentioned in your link. I commented that there can be “superficial christians”, which he took as 'personal criticism'. Your article in the link is saying much the same.

To quote:

Without this holy zeal Christians are "Christians" in name only: they only "have a name that they live," but in reality "they are dead"…

I will go further…

The Church is divided between dead Christians and live Christians. The dead Christians are still in love with this world. They love the titles, the honour, the prestige, the "geniuses", the recognition… they love this world. These “superficial Christians” are at war against the true Christians, but as happened in days past, the Pharisees recognised that they were the children of the prophets; yet stopped short of recognising that it was themselves that killed the prophets.

I may again be cautioned on telling the truth, and I may even be banned for speaking so candidly. Thanks for your article.

Steve

#3 Mike L

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 10:18 PM

I thought it was a great article; pulls no punches, is very traditionally Orthodox, & "hits the nail on the head", so to speak, personally, IMHO.

#4 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 10:30 PM

There is only one Judge.

#5 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 11:27 PM

This is an Orthodox forum. We refer to clergy in a proper manner. For Orthodox Christians, the proper way to refer to a priest is by his first name and title, for example, Fr. David or the Priest David. Last names are used only to differentiate one priest from another if they have the same first name. As a point of etiquette, use of last names only for clergy is considered a sign of disrespect.

As to declaring others to be this or that, this is something best done in a circumspect manner. Finally, a wise person values correction so that he may be wiser.

We now return you to the thread in progress.

Herman the moderating Pooh

#6 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 08:36 AM

What is clear is that the piece by Archbishop Averky was written in the context of ecumenism. What is condemned and warned of is compromising the Orthodox faith by accommodating heretics. In addition to OT examples of fiery zeal against paganism, the example of St Nicholas is given: a godly zeal against heresy. It is then said that the reason for what is condemned is indifference to everything except worldly wellbeing and the attraction of ‘cheap surrogates’ for the life in Christ. No examples of these surrogates are given but ‘getting on’ in the world and the attractions of power, and position are implied. There is reference to Rev. 3:14-22, the Letter to Laodicea in which Christ condemns those people’s being tepid and so nauseating to Him. Laodicea was a very wealthy city, famous for banking and finance, garment manufacture, and for medicine especially eye ointment. The people are trapped by their pre-occupation with these things.

This thread is connected with what was said at post #163 in the thread about whether it is a sin to listen to secular music. Nothing in the article to which the link in post #1 of this thread leads says anything about listening to music. Clearly, no one here would advocate listening to the lyrics of John Lennon; the issue in that thread concerns beautiful though secular music. There is a rigorist tendency which suggests that listening to anything except Church music is ungodly and apathetic (ie indifferent to a life in Christ).

It should be noted that neither Archbishop Averky’s article nor Christ’s condemnation of the church in Laodicea should be used by anyone as the basis for judging others. Each of the Letters in Rev. 3 ends with the words, ‘Let him who has an ear hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches’. This means the reader in every age who must heed Christ’s warnings and apply them to himself – not to others.

Does zeal for the life in Christ entail abandoning interest in the arts? Patristic authority and not our own opinions should guide us. The spiritual aspect of our lives, says St Theophan the Recluse, should predominate but this ‘does not mean that when a man is spiritual that the intellect and physical have no place in him’. ‘The standard of the holy, virtuous and righteous life in inscribed in the conscience’ and this then is introduced into the domain of a person’s life. The soul has ‘a yearning and love for the beautiful. The proper work of this part [ie the sensual part of the soul] is to perceive in the soul through the senses either its pleasant or unpleasant condition.’ St Theophan writes of the ‘selfless feelings’ which are aroused by the contemplation of beauty both natural and artistic: ‘the eye does not want to tear itself away from the flower and the ear does not want to tear itself from the song’. The saint then writes that above all such incidental encounters with beauty ‘is the enjoyment received from paintings, works of sculpture, music and singing, and even higher than this, the enjoyment received from poetry. Works of fine art are delightful not just for the outward form, but more particularly for the beauty of inward composition.’ The saint then goes on to say that the works of art he commends are those which are a ‘reflection of Divine beauty' and not those concerned with mundane ‘everyday circumstances’.

Writing of zeal, St Theophan writes that ‘spiritual zeal does not drive out intellectual zeal for science and art’ but ‘merely moderates and regulates it’. The important thing, he writes, is not to let interest in the arts and so forth ‘capture the attention and energy of a person’ so that that ‘it then extinguishes spiritual zeal’.

In advising his spiritual child who was a singer and musician, the saint counselled her to play and sing but not for frivolous amusement but to make an impression on the souls of her listeners; this, writes the saint, ‘is doing the same as a good preacher in church’. St Theophan tells this spiritual child to sing ‘both secular and religious songs’ that are uplifting.

The reason I chose to quote St Theophan from his book, ‘The Spiritual Life’ is because the orthodoxinfo.com site from which Archbishop Averky’s article is taken recommends this book saying that if one can buy only one book, it might be this one.

Edited by Andreas Moran, 07 May 2012 - 09:04 AM.


#7 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 11:35 AM

For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. (Romans 10:2).

Also, that the soul be without knowledge is not good; and he that hastens with his feet sins.
(Proverbs 19:2)

There is "zeal" and then there is "zeal". Discernment has its part to play. I agree with Andreas here, CONTEXT counts for something, don't you think?

#8 Mike L

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 04:30 PM

I agree with the whole "judgment" thing-- however, we are warned time & time again in the scriptures & by the Fathers about being careful who we associate with, who we listen to, who we fellowship with, etc. (e.g. 2 Cor. 6:14). We are called/told to have discernment...and at times a little righteous indignation, if necessary. There is a big difference between righteousness & self-righteousness, judgmentalism & discernment, our personal judgment vs. adjusting our will to the Will & Just Judgments of a Just God, who is also merciful and loving.

#9 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 04:49 PM

I agree with the whole "judgment" thing-- however, we are warned time & time again in the scriptures & by the Fathers about being careful who we associate with, who we listen to, who we fellowship with, etc. (e.g. 2 Cor. 6:14). We are called/told to have discernment...and at times a little righteous indignation, if necessary. There is a big difference between righteousness & self-righteousness, judgmentalism & discernment, our personal judgment vs. adjusting our will to the Will & Just Judgments of a Just God, who is also merciful and loving.


These things are well known, and in stating them, it seems you agree with St Theophan. A well-formed conscience exercises discernment and follows the middle way, the golden mean.

#10 Steve Roche

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 09:21 PM

This thread is connected with what was said at post #163 in the thread about whether it is a sin to listen to secular music. Nothing in the article to which the link in post #1 of this thread leads says anything about listening to music. Clearly, no one here would advocate listening to the lyrics of John Lennon; the issue in that thread concerns beautiful though secular music. There is a rigorist tendency which suggests that listening to anything except Church music is ungodly and apathetic (ie indifferent to a life in Christ).


You seem to be contradicting yourself… If you know you are warned not to ‘compromise the Orthodox faith by accommodating heretics’; then why is it ok to accommodate heretics if they are “musical geniuses”, as you suggested on another post? How is there a division of heretics based on these apparent gifts, whether they are musical gifts, arts, science, or literature? You accused others (me) of being “insecure in their faith” for not accommodating such musicians… Both sweet and bitter are proceeding from the same fountain…

You seem to be able to manipulate the teachings of the fathers to accommodate your own views… You ask: “Does zeal for the life in Christ entail abandoning interest in the arts?” Well, common sense and context would answer YES; particularly when the artist is either heretical, blasphemous or worldly. Your opinion is contrary to the advice of both the fathers and the bible, but you have a peculiar art in making Yes No and No Yes.

What, I ask, is the moral difference between Wolfgang Mozart and John Lennon? Apart from Mozart’s involvement with the Austrian Freemasons; his music and life was known for its indulgence of sexually immoral practices. His “Cosí fan tutte” was the promotion of wife-swapping. This is what you are recommending that we listen to? Listening to this is the arbiter of whether or not we are “secure in our faith”? How dare you attack me and involve the moderator hierarchy to defend you with such a deplorable position. Shame on them for defending such a position!

It seems paradoxical that such a forum as this would welcome others of different faiths; yet when they voice an opinion, as I have, that is in agreement with the fathers, then they have several of your club take it in turns to pounce on them. You and your associates leave subtle insults that are very unwelcoming.

You and I are on poles that are north and south to each other, and it appears this is the case also with the pooh. Since we have clearly displayed our dislike of each other’s opinions, it is probably best that we do not engage each other, as I have requested already from the pooh. I am saying this to you directly. I am not making suggestive innuendos, I am clear and unmistaken. I say this to you so that we do not turn this forum into a basement of innuendos and sly remarks, as appears to be happening.

To finish on a quote from Archbishop Averky of Jordanville:

Those who are zealous for God's glory themselves glorify God with their whole heart—both in thought and feeling, both by words and deeds and with their whole life—and naturally desire that all other people should glorify God also in the same way, and therefore they cannot, of course, endure with indifference when in their presence, in some way or other, the name of God is blasphemed or holy things are mocked. Being zealous for God, they sincerely strive to please God themselves and serve Him alone with all the power of their being, and they are ready to forget themselves all the way to sacrificing their very life in order to bring all men to the pleasing and the service of God. They cannot calmly listen to blasphemy, and therefore they cannot support communion with and have friendship with blasphemers and mockers of the Name of God and despisers of holy things.

Regards
Steve

Edited by Steve Roche, 08 May 2012 - 09:40 PM.


#11 Father David Moser

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 10:00 PM

I don't understand, Steve, why it is that you think that this quote from Arcbishop Averky supports your statement. You clearly do not know much about the Orthodox faith - at least you haven't expressed any kind of awareness of the Orthodox faith from your postings and other comments to this point. You do, however, seem to have some very strong opinions which you have expressed which occasionally touch tangentially on some statements by Orthodox writers, but only insofar as you are able to interpret them in the context of your own philosophical/theological ideas. It is not uncommon for Orthodox writers to state things that resonate with other faiths/belief systems simply because Orthodoxy is the Truth, the whole Truth and nothing but the Truth. When Truth occurs outside of Orthodoxy in isolated data bits, those isolated bits are still true and still resonate with the Truth of which they are but a part - but they are not the "whole Truth" nor are they "nothing but the Truth" (being mixed with false notions.)

In order to understand properly what Archbishop Averky is saying here, it helps to be familiar with the Church of which he was a part and to have read more than just one piece of his and to be familiar with his spiritual children and those who were instructed by him in the Church. It is also important to be familiar with the historical setting of his writings, to be aware of who his audience was and the greater issues which he was addressing. Let me suggest that if you wish to continue the conversation on this topic (as well as on the other topics wherein you have posted your opinions) that you actually take some time to become acquainted with the Orthodox faith so that you can speak more intelligently about how these things are properly understood within the Church. (and please note that some of those here are/were well acquainted with at least one of Archbishop Averky's spiritual children who was, in his lifetime, a member of this forum)

You seem like an intelligent person - your opinions are full of facts and well thought out arguements - however the intellect, when it is not submitted to the guidance of the Holy Spirit (which comes through the life of the Church) can end up in some strange places, having created an intellectual fantasy world built upon logic and reason but without a true foundation (Matt 7:24ff)

Fr David Moser

#12 Steve Roche

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 11:08 PM

You clearly do not know much about the Orthodox faith...


You are right; I am not familiar with any other writings of Archbishop Averky. I was simply commenting on the article which was submitted to this post. If I have misinterpreted his statements or taken them out of context I apologise. I do not think this is the case though.

I may not be familiar with some of your traditions, but I am quite familiar with the earliest fathers. These fathers are sometimes used within your tradition, and sometimes not. Of Cyprian, for an example, it is said that “His doctrine is one of the basic foundation blocks of Orthodox ecclesiology…” (http://orthodoxinfo....ian_eccles.aspx). Hippolytus, too, is also held in high regard among the Orthodox tradition; as is Clement of Rome, Theophilus, Justin Martyr, Polycarp, Papais, and others. I am quite familiar with all of these authors. This makes me more familiar with orthodoxy than what you credit me.

I don’t understand why you would go out of your way to make me feel isolated at this forum; you, the pooh, and Andreas. I seem to be able to communicate just fine with others; but this apparent alliance you have against me is puzzling. I hope at the very least we can show some courtesy and love; particularly if you are in the right and it is me that is need of correction. I am a guest in your home. I am trying to respect that; but it is unusual to insult your guests.

Thank you for kind approach in guiding me this time.

Regards
Steve

#13 Mike L

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 06:28 AM

The Church Fathers & the writings from early ROCOR & Catacomb Church priests & bishops are what moved me to convert to Orthodoxy! May we never lose sight of the unadulterated Truth! Stick to the Patristic Fathers, Steve, and you will understand true Orthodox theology! Amen!

Christ is Risen!

#14 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 07:35 AM

The Church Fathers & the writings from early ROCOR & Catacomb Church priests & bishops are what moved me to convert to Orthodoxy! Christ is Risen!


Would you say whose writings of ROCOR and the Catacomb Church so moved you? Incidentally, if you mean the so-called Catacomb Church in the USSR from the late 1920s until 1945, please be aware that this was not a separate Church.

#15 Olga

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 09:52 AM

Stick to the Patristic Fathers, Steve, and you will understand true Orthodox theology!


Caveat: Interpreting the writings of the Fathers on one's own is as risky as interpreting scripture on one's own, if one does not participate in the liturgical life of the Church.

#16 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 01:08 PM

I was not going to respond to this post but on reflection I think I should, as follows:

Steve Roche;122743 You seem to be contradicting yourself… If you know you are warned not to ‘compromise the Orthodox faith by accommodating heretics’; then why is it ok to accommodate heretics if they are “musical geniuses”, as you suggested on another post? How is there a division of heretics based on these apparent gifts, whether they are musical gifts, arts, science, or literature? You accused others (me) of being “insecure in their faith” for not accommodating such musicians… Both sweet and bitter are proceeding from the same fountain…


In his article the late Archbishop Averky was referring to zeal in avoiding "communion" and "friendship" with "blasphemers and mockers of the Name of God and despisers of holy things". He is warning against being involved in ecumenism, and condemns those who are "prepared to be reconciled not only with heretics, persecutors of the Faith and the Church, but even with the devil himself". This would involve violation of the canons in, for example, joining in heterodox services. That is one thing. You then interpret this, without any basis, as extending to listening to classical music composed by non-Orthodox composers or reading literature by non-Orthodox writers. That is quite another thing which has no connection whatever with Archbishop Averky's article. According to your estimate, Orthodox Christians should not listen to (or play) Beethoven or read CS Lewis. Would you have the Moscow Conservatoire closed, and should Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) repent of having studied there? Would you avoid the music or literature of those who were Orthodox but sinners or, like Tolstoy, excommunicated?

You seem to be able to manipulate the teachings of the fathers to accommodate your own views… You ask: “Does zeal for the life in Christ entail abandoning interest in the arts?” Well, common sense and context would answer YES; particularly when the artist is either heretical, blasphemous or worldly. Your opinion is contrary to the advice of both the fathers and the bible, but you have a peculiar art in making Yes No and No Yes.


You cannot say that I have manipulated the Fathers. In my post I made it clear that I avoided my own opinion and quoted directly from St Theophan. “Does zeal for the life in Christ entail abandoning interest in the arts?” You say that common sense would answer 'YES'. And yet St Theophan answers, 'no'. Whom should we follow: your notion of common sense, or the writings of a saint of the Orthodox Church? Necessarily, any non-Orthodox composer is heretical in terms of the Church. Clearly, one would avoid any art form which is blasphemous. 'Wordly' is a very imprecise term - we all live in the world.

What, I ask, is the moral difference between Wolfgang Mozart and John Lennon? Apart from Mozart’s involvement with the Austrian Freemasons; his music and life was known for its indulgence of sexually immoral practices. His “Cosí fan tutte” was the promotion of wife-swapping. This is what you are recommending that we listen to? Listening to this is the arbiter of whether or not we are “secure in our faith”? How dare you attack me and involve the moderator hierarchy to defend you with such a deplorable position. Shame on them for defending such a position!


You should draw a distinction between heresy, unbelief and sin. Perhaps you do not listen to Tchaikovsky since he was a sinner (being homosexual) but he was not a heretic: does that mean we can listen to him but not Mozart? I must insist that I have not attacked you; I have made points in a measured way with the support of Patristic authority. What evidence can put that I have involved the moderators of this forum in writing my posts?

It seems paradoxical that such a forum as this would welcome others of different faiths; yet when they voice an opinion, as I have, that is in agreement with the fathers, then they have several of your club take it in turns to pounce on them. You and your associates leave subtle insults that are very unwelcoming.



You have voiced your opinion, regarding listening to secular music, but you seem unwilling to accept that your views are not those of most Orthodox Christians including clergy. You are entitled to your view, of course, but what you are not entitled to do is to tell anyone, especially the Orthodox, that you are right and they are wrong in relation to matters such as that in hand. All of us are certainly open to correction if we err in matters of faith and praxis, but no right-thinking Orthodox person will go so far as you do in condemning the listening of music written by non-Orthodox composers.

You and I are on poles that are north and south to each other, and it appears this is the case also with the pooh. Since we have clearly displayed our dislike of each other’s opinions, it is probably best that we do not engage each other, as I have requested already from the pooh. I am saying this to you directly. I am not making suggestive innuendos, I am clear and unmistaken. I say this to you so that we do not turn this forum into a basement of innuendos and sly remarks, as appears to be happening.


I have written plainly: I do not deal in innuendo, nor are my remarks sly.

To finish on a quote from Archbishop Averky of Jordanville:

Those who are zealous for God's glory themselves glorify God with their whole heart—both in thought and feeling, both by words and deeds and with their whole life—and naturally desire that all other people should glorify God also in the same way, and therefore they cannot, of course, endure with indifference when in their presence, in some way or other, the name of God is blasphemed or holy things are mocked. Being zealous for God, they sincerely strive to please God themselves and serve Him alone with all the power of their being, and they are ready to forget themselves all the way to sacrificing their very life in order to bring all men to the pleasing and the service of God. They cannot calmly listen to blasphemy, and therefore they cannot support communion with and have friendship with blasphemers and mockers of the Name of God and despisers of holy things.


As I have indicated, this relates to ecumenism, not listening to music.

#17 Father David Moser

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 01:37 PM

Caveat: Interpreting the writings of the Fathers on one's own is as risky as interpreting scripture on one's own, if one does not participate in the liturgical life of the Church.


I would like to emphasize Olga's "caveat" with another quote from the article by Archbishop Averky which expresses exactly the same cautionary note:

But at the same time one should not forget that, besides true holy zeal, there is also a zeal without understanding—zeal which loses its value because of the absence in it of a most important Christian virtue: discernment, and therefore, in place of profit can bring harm.

And there is likewise a false, lying zeal, behind the mask of which is concealed the foaming of ordinary human passions—most frequently pride, love of power and honor, and the interests of a party politics like that which plays the leading role in political struggles, and for which there can be no place in spiritual life, in public church life, but which unfortunately is often to be encountered in our time and is a chief instigator of every imaginable quarrel and disturbance in the Church, the managers and instigators of which often hide themselves behind some kind of supposed idealism but in reality pursue only their own personal aims, striving to please not God but their own self-concern, and being zealous not for God's glory but for their own glory and the glory of the colleagues and partisans of their party.

All of this, it goes without saying, is profoundly foreign to true holy zeal, hostile to it, is sinful and criminal, for it only compromises our Holy Faith and Church!


Fr David

#18 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 02:28 PM

To amplify a little what Olga and Fr David have said, there are in the Fathers theologoumia which are opinions only which may not be accepted, and then we turn to the consensus patrum, and from there, if necessary, we turn to conciliar authority. The theology of the Church is expressed with undoubted authority in the texts of the services (lex orandi lex credendi) and in the holy icons whether from the early centuries or from the last twenty years.

#19 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 05:26 PM

I was just talking to my wife (who is currently in Moscow). This might be of marginal relevance but she has just been reading about the Morozov family who were a prominent family in the Old Believers. These were and are, as many here know, a strict sect of uncompromising Russian Orthodox faithful. The best-known of this family is Pavel Morozov (1871-1921) who, though ultra-strict Orthodox, was famous as a collector of French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings.

#20 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 07:54 PM

My wife has also mentioned that Old Believers supported the career of the greatest Russian landscape painter Isaac Levitan who was Jewish. His paintings, more than any, capture the spirit of Russia before the Revolution, as in this work entitled, 'Evening Bells':

Attached File  Levitan.jpg   555.64K   65 downloads




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