The «Council» of Crete and the New Emerging Ecclesiology: An Orthodox Examination

 By Protopresbyter Peter Heers,

Professor of Old and New Testament, Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary,

Jordanville, NY

  Lecture delivered at the Clergy Retreat

of the Eastern American Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia

For a full written and photo report of the retreat, go to the Eastern American Diocese of ROCOR.

Audio and video versions of this lecture will be forthcoming; please check back to orthodoxethos.com for these.

Howell, New Jersey

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

Your Eminence, Metropolitan HILARION

Your Eminence, Metropolitan JONAH

Your Grace, Bishop NICHOLAS,

Your Grace, Bishop IRENEI,

Venerable fathers and brothers in Christ,

Christ is in Our Midst!

I consider it an honor to stand before you today, to speak to the Shepherds and Pastors of Christ’s rational flock, and in particular to the successors of the great work begun in the Russian Diaspora by such holy ones as St. John the Wonderworker and Metropolitans Anthony, Anastasi, Philaret, and Vitaly, Archbishop Averky and Metropolitan Laurus and many others, who are revered fathers not only of the Russian Church Abroad, but indeed of the Church Catholic.

The witness given by the Fathers of the Russian Church Outside of Russia with regard to the Holy Tradition, the monastic and ascetic ideal and in particular the ecclesiology of the Church, continues to inspire and guide Orthodox throughout the world.Today, as the Ark of the Church sways in the wake of the passing of the self-styled ‘Great and Holy Council» of Crete, we have great need of their exactitude in life and faith – or, better, we have great need to follow and imitate them in these. Continue reading

SAYINGS OF ELDER PAISIOS

 » We went through fire and water…»

The crosses of ordeals

•  I have always on me the small cross you gave me, O Elder, and it helps me to overcome difficulties.

 •  Yes, these small crosses are our crosses. Like the ones we wear around our necks and protect us in our lives. What do you think? Do we bear a big cross? Only Christ’s Cross was very heavy because Christ did not want to use for Himself His divine strength out of love for us, the people. Moreover, he bears the weight of all the crosses of the world and disburdens us from the pains of the ordeals with His divine help and His sweet comfort.

Continue reading

My child, with the weapon of prayer in your hands, fight for the divine battlements

My child, with the weapon of prayer in your hands, fight for the divine battlements. Whoever struggles is crowned, not with olive branches, but with the unfading crown of eternal glory in the heavenly Jerusalem! Continue reading

Whoever puts into practice everything his spiritual father advises has his blessing; whoever does not do what he is advised does not have the blessing of his Elder here or in the other world.

Whoever puts into practice everything his spiritual father advises has his blessing; whoever does not do what he is advised does not have the blessing of his Elder here or in the other world. Whoever disregards whatever he is commanded, whoever does not regard as law the things which he is advised and does not strive to apply them out of disdain, must realize that damnation will befall him! Continue reading

Are you able to enumerate the mercies of God?

  

Are you able to enumerate the mercies of God? The sins of the worst person, before the compassion of God, are like a handful of sand in the ocean. There is no sin which overcomes the compassion of God. God may be portrayed as our mother: is it possible for the sin of a child to overcome his mother’s love? If a mother loves her child so much, how infinitely does God love us, Who clearly proved this by being crucified on the Cross? Continue reading

Blessed are they who sow tears with spiritual fasting, that is, always hungering and thirsting for good works, for they will reap eternal joy!

   

Everything will pass and will end as if had never existed, whereas works done in God will remain with the soul that worked them so that the worker may reap eternal life from them. Blessed are the spiritual philosophers of God, who give away transient things and store up eternal things, so that when they depart, they will find their treasures in God’s treasury with accrued interest. Continue reading

Man comes into the light of this world crying, he passes his life in weeping and sorrows, and he leaves the world in tears and pain.

   

Man comes into the light of this world crying, he passes his life in weeping and sorrows, and he leaves the world in tears and pain. O vanity of vanities! The dream vanishes, and man awakens into the reality of the true life. No one notices how this vain life flows by—the years pass, the months roll by, the hours disappear, the moments slip by imperceptibly, and then without any warning, the telegram comes: “Put your house in order, for you will die; you will live no longer!” (Is. 38:1 ). Then the deception is uncovered, and a person dying realizes what an important role the world played for him. He feels regret and distress; he yearns for the time that is gone; he would give all his wealth to buy one day in order to repent and receive communion. Unfortunately, though, not one favor is given to him. Previously, time was at his disposal for years; he, however, wasted it in business, in bars, in cinemas, and in every shameful desire. Continue reading

Whenever you are in pain and are afflicted, call to mind Him Who was Crucified and then you will find much relief.

Here in this vain world, my child, we shall be afflicted, we shall be embittered, we shall feel pain. But all this is for a limited time; it is temporary—let us pray that God does not abandon us to an eternal degree and measure, for then we would not bear it. 

Whenever you are in pain and are afflicted, call to mind Him Who was Crucified and then you will find much relief. For who could gaze at the Crucified One and reflect on His Passion which He suffered for us, and not find balm for his wounds, whether spiritual or physical? Continue reading

Without afflictions and sufferings let no one expect repose in the life beyond the grave.

   

Man’s life is a martyrdom. Ever since we fell from true happiness we gather the fruit of disobedience: “Thorns and thistles will the earth bring forth to you” (Gen. 3:18 ) –the earth of the heart will, too. How will we know that we are exiles, if not through afflictions and torments? There is no person who does not have something that afflicts him. Pious Christians are afflicted, too, but in the depths of their souls they also have the hope that one day the many afflictions will result in blessed repose for them. Without afflictions and sufferings let no one expect repose in the life beyond the grave. Continue reading