Thy face, O Lord, do I seek; hide not Thy face

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16 August OS 2020 – Saturday of the 12th Week of Matthew;  Afterfeast of the Dormition; Feast of the Icon of the Lord “Not Made by Hands”, Holy Martyr Diomedes, St. Gerasimos of Cephallonia

Today, the sixteenth of August, we honor the Holy Mandylion, the icon “Not Made by Hands.” Here is the account of the icon’s origin taken from the Prologue from Ochrid:

     At the time when our Lord preached the Good News and healed every illness and infirmity of men, there lived in the city of Edessa on the shore of the Euphrates Prince Abgar who was completely infected with leprosy. He heard of Christ, the Healer of every pain and disease and sent an artist, Ananias, to Palestine with a letter to Christ in which he begged the Lord to come to Edessa and to cure him of leprosy. In the event that the Lord was unable to come, the prince ordered Ananias to portray His likeness and to bring it to him, believing that this likeness would be able to restore his health. The Lord answered that He was unable to come, for the time of His passion was approaching took a towel, wiped His face and, on the towel, His All-pure face was perfectly pictured. The Lord gave this towel to Ananias with the message that the prince will be healed by it, but not entirely, and later on, He would send him a messenger who would erase the remainder of his disease. Receiving the towel, Prince Abgar kissed it and the leprosy completely fell from his body but a little of it remained on his face. Later, the Apostle Thaddaeus, preaching the Gospel, came to Abgar and secretly healed and baptized him. The prince then destroyed the idols which stood before the gates of the city and above the gates he placed the towel with the likeness of Christ attached to wood, framed in a gold frame and adorned with pearls. Also, the prince wrote beneath the icon on the gates: “O Christ God, no one will be ashamed who hopes in You.” Later, one of Abgar’s great grandsons restored idolatry and the bishop of Edessa came by night and walled up that icon over the gates. Centuries then passed. During the reign of Emperor Justinian, the Persian King Chozroes attacked Edessa and the city was in great hardship. It happened that Eulabius, the Bishop of Edessa, had a vision of the All-Holy Theotokos who revealed to him the mystery of the sealed wall and the forgotten icon. The icon was discovered and, by its power, the Persian army was defeated.

Holy Mandilion

This miraculous image undoubtedly served as the model for all subsequent icons of the sacred face of the Lord. Thus our iconographic tradition is based on an accurate image that Christ Himself gave us: this is what Jesus Christ looks like. This is the face of the God-Man.

When Moses spoke with God on Mt. Sinai, he asked to see God’s glory. Here is God’s answer:

And [Moses] said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory. And [God] said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy. And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen. Exodus 33: 18-23

“…for there shall no man see me, and live.” “…but my face shall not be seen.”   In the Old Testament, a chosen few, such as Moses and Elias, were graced with seeing God indistinctly, His “back parts.” If they had encountered God directly, they would have been struck dead.   In the Gospel, we see a multitude of sinful men not only enabled to see God’s face, but to touch Him, to hear Him, to eat with Him and speak with Him. According to His human nature, they were even allowed to murder Him. What more can God do to show that He loves us?

Whenever our faith is weak, whenever the circumstances of life press upon us and we feel alone and helpless, whenever our spiritual life has become something theoretical and abstract, without inner warmth, without life-giving power: Let us go before the Icon of the Face of the Lord and read the Akathist to Our Lord Jesus Christ with attention.   Let us ask God Who became Incarnate for us to renew in us holy zeal and the desire to do His will.   “If you love Me,” says the Lord, “keep my commandments.” And what is the first commandment? “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart.”

Christ gave us this most accurate image of His Holy Face as a lasting pledge of His love for us. May it be a means of our growing in love for Him.

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Repent ye, and believe the Gospel

11 August OS 2020: Tuesday of the Twelfth Week of St. Matthew; Afterfeast of the Transfiguration; Holy Deacon Martyr Euplos

Today’s reading from the Gospel is Mark 1: 9-15.

And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness. And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him. Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

Today we begin reading from the Gospel According to St. Mark, the shortest and most direct of the four Gospels.  (It is still the season of St. Matthew, because we are still reading from St. Matthew on Saturdays and Sundays, but during the week we have begun reading St. Mark.)

St. Mark, the disciple of St. Peter, wrote his Gospel for the Church at Rome, and the terse and concise character of this Gospel corresponds to the old Roman character: simple, direct, and to the point. Today, St. Mark briefly recounts the Lord’s baptism and temptation in the wilderness, and tells of the beginning of Christ’s preaching.  All in seven verses!

St. Mark’s brevity brings into relief a fact about all the Gospels.  They are not biographies of Jesus Christ; they simply proclaim Who He is. They contain only what we need to know, to believe, and to do in order to find salvation. We must read and hear these words (literally, physically read and hear them), make an act of faith in their truth, pray for understanding, resolve to live according to their demands, and repent for failing to do so. This must happen day after day, or we forget what a Christian is.

If we have been slack in reading the Gospel lately, this new beginning, with the shortest Gospel, at the beginning of a fast, is a good place to start again. We need to open the Gospel, stand or kneel in front of our icons, and read aloud the appointed daily passage or perhaps a whole chapter, going passage by passage or chapter by chapter, day by day. Read aloud, at a moderate pace. Struggle for attention. The Holy Spirit infuses the words of the Gospel with infinite divine power, and they are self-acting. If we read them and  struggle for attention, they will produce spiritual fruit.

Reading the Gospel itself is the first step, and the Holy Spirit will grant us understanding if we ask for it. If we desire to take another step and study the Gospels as well as read them, we should use a patristic or patristically inspired commentary. Though the commentaries of the ancient Fathers are the most complete, most of us need something shorter, and the normative short commentary is the explanation of the Gospels by St. Theophylact of Ochrid. Formerly these were available in four volumes from Chrysostom Press in House Springs, Missouri, but now they are being distributed by St. Herman Press. As of this date, both the St. Matthew and St. Mark volumes are available:

Besides, or after, St. Theophylact, the best guide to the Gospels for our time is the commentary by Archbishop Averky, available from Holy Trinity Monastery at Just reading a page every day from one or both of these commentaries will change us greatly for the good.

Fr. Seraphim Rose used to ask a question we should ask ourselves: “We know we are Orthodox, but are we Christians?” Of course, he did not mean that being Orthodox and being Christian are really two separate things: being Orthodox assumes being a Christian, and to be a Christian in the most accurate sense, to be in the Church, one must be Orthodox. He was using irony to make a point, that one can become fixated on discrete aspects of the Faith intended to help us live the Gospel while simultaneously disobeying the Gospel itself. If one’s mind is not immersed in the Gospel, and if one does not submit one’s will to the commandments of the Gospel, then the dogmas, canons, liturgical services, liturgical arts, domestic customs – the various manifestations of Church life – easily become idols, ends in themselves. Our understanding of them fragments, we alienate them from their true meaning and coherence in the light of the Gospel, and instead of using them as instruments for our salvation, we misunderstand and misuse them in such a way that their power – which is indeed great, whether to salvation or damnation – transforms us into Sadducees and Pharisees. Sadducees worship the liturgical cult and the clerical power structure. Pharisees worship the rules and customs. Christians worship the Holy Trinity.

Bishop Ignatius Brianchaninov writes in The Arena that God will judge us – both in the particular judgment after death and in the general judgment at the Second Coming – according to the commandments of the Gospel. This judgment determines our fate for all eternity. Let each of us hasten to make himself most intimate with this book by which he  shall be judged and daily compare to its demands the contents of that other book the Judge shall open on that Day, the book of each man’s heart. 

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Orthodox Survival Course, Class 57 – The Corona Delusion in the Light of Truth

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When I was in Belgrade recently, the patriotic and monarchist club “Tsarostavnik” asked me to give a talk on this corona virus insanity that is still going on around us. I gave the talk in two parts, on July 23rd and July 30th ns. Some of you may have seen the talks on YouTube, and you had to be patient to follow them, since I was frequently – necessarily – interrupted by an interpreter, for the sake of those in the audience who did not speak English. For today’s Survival Course class, I have combined the two talks into one and shall deliver them in English without interruption, both for the sake of those who saw the videos and would like to hear the talks again without interruption, and for those who have not heard them yet. I have left in the references to Tsarostavnik and my original audience, both to give greater liveliness and to preserve a record of the historical context of the original talk. The only difference in the original script and today’s script is that I have left out the summary of Lecture One that I gave at the beginning of Lecture Two.

So here it is:

The Corona Virus Delusion Examined Under the Light of Truth

Club “Tsarostavnik,” Belgrade

Talk 1 on 10/23 July 2020

Holy 45 Martyrs of Nicopolis

St. Anthony of the Kiev Caves

Greetings –

I would like to express my thanks to the leadership of Tsarostavnik for inviting me once again to address you on a topic of great spiritual and historical importance. I am always honored and always rejoice to meet others who do not accept the manufactured illusions of our time, who seek to know and to live the truth in light of the Orthodox Faith, in loyalty to Christ as well as to their people and their homeland. May our common Savior enlighten our understanding, and give us courage, wisdom, and strength, and grant us to be unified, in Him, in our struggles against the evils which beset us.

Introduction – Our Topic

Tonight’s topic is the current “Corona virus” catastrophe that is going on around us. I shall speak from the perspective of someone coming from the United States, and the effect of “Corona” on the American people, but I am sure you can apply all of this to your situation here in Serbia. During our discussion after my talk, I would like for you to inform me, in turn, about the situation here, and how my observations do or do not apply to your own predicament.

Of course, as we know, the actual catastrophe is not the supposed pandemic, but is rather the grim ensemble of pre-designed results so rapidly achieved by those who have created the illusion of the pandemic, which include

  1. the massive destruction of local economies and personal wealth, with the consequent further destruction of the middle and working classes and the increase of their slavery to debt and to government financial assistance,

2. the widespread – and probably generational – illnesses and deaths brought about not by the mysterious virus but by the measures supposedly taken to combat the virus,

3. the quantum leap in the destruction of personal freedom by the institution of a lawless police and surveillance state,

4. the successful demonstration of the ability to induce mass demoralization, confusion, and delusional fearfulness by the use of highly developed media technology,

5. the advancement of the compulsory vaccination agenda, bringing with it the specter, in the near future, of coercively implanting sinister nanotechnology devices in entire national populations,

6. creating fear and distrust between people and their neighbors, thus further destroying the already weak natural bonds of family and community, in order to fill the vacuum with an idiotic loyalty of atomized, deracinated individuals to an all-powerful central authority,

and, most significantly,

7. the hastening of the ongoing apostasy of the historical Christian institutions and peoples – including, most critically, the Orthodox ones – to clear the way for a satanic world-state under the actual Antichrist, or, at least, a totalitarian authority in the spirit of Antichrist which will foreshadow his coming.

The purpose of my contribution tonight – and I say “my contribution,” because I welcome your contribution as well, both tonight and when we, God willing, continue our conversation next week – is not, however, to dwell on the evils of the current crisis and the possible – even probable – evils to come, but rather to clarify our understanding of the entire situation in the light of God’s providence for us, in the light of the history of our salvation. We are Orthodox Christians: we must ever set our eyes upon our eternal destiny and form our understanding of earthly events in the light of eternity. We are not as the godless, who have no hope. When a man has truly and irrevocably died to this world, in order to live forever with Christ, he acquires invincible courage, coupled with prudence and self-control. Only such a man can make effective war upon the enemies, visible and invisible, who beset us.

I do not, then, plan to dwell upon the details of the situation, concerning which there is room for a considerable difference of opinion, even among those who know the truth about the big picture. This big picture, which, I believe, all of us here tonight understand, is that the “Corona” crisis is a worldwide psy-op and social engineering project by the globalist Antichrist elites, whose purpose is to bring about an inconceivably monstrous and unprecedented satanic tyranny over the whole world. We who are fighters for Christ and against Antichrist should not waste energy and weaken our struggle by fighting among ourselves about the fine gradations of understanding various specific questions, for example: Whether the disease actually exists in the form that is claimed; whether it is natural or manmade, or, if manmade, whether it is bio-warfare of this or that power against a rival power; whether this or that treatment actually works to prevent or cure the disease; what the actual numbers are of verifiable instances of the disease and verifiable deaths; whether the test for the disease really works as a diagnostic tool or is even, perhaps, on the contrary, designed to actually give people the disease; what the specific ingredients and effects of a proposed vaccine are going to be; whether the current repressive measures are temporary or permanent (i.e., whether this is just one more preparatory stage in the ongoing Antichrist project, followed by a respite, or is, rather, the beginning of a long, unrelenting final push), etc. I am not saying that these questions are unimportant, and I know that a lot of brave truth-tellers have done and are doing a lot of excellent work – often at great personal cost – to reveal the true answers to these questions and many other, related questions as well. My point is that we can disagree about the details but still be united on an Orthodox understanding of the big picture.

In my talk tonight, then, I shall go through the seven results of the “Corona” psy-op/ engineering project I have listed above, briefly summarize them, and then give an interpretation of each one in light of an Orthodox understanding of history and our current place in it. The seventh result – the hastening of the apostasy of the historically Christian peoples – is, of course, the most important and the most dreadful, and my summary and interpretation of this necessarily sheds light on the other six topics and will also form the conclusion to my talk.

Seven Results of the Engineered “Corona” Crisis

1. The destruction of a just and humane economy:

Never before in history have national governments simply shut down a critical mass of the productive activities of their nations in order to prevent the spread of a disease. If one’s purpose really were to save a nation and protect the real welfare of its people, such a measure would be obviously – unbelievably – asinine. If one’s purpose, however, were the destruction of local economies, small businesses, and the productive property of millions of middle and working class families, with the consequent further concentration of wealth in the hands of an insatiably rapacious oligarchy of parasitical usurers, these draconian “lockdowns” and falsely named quarantines of millions of perfectly healthy people would constitute a master stroke. And so they have proved to be.

In the United States, the enforced lockdowns have destroyed thousands of small businesses, often family businesses which were the products of the labor of several generations. Millions of middle and working class people have lost their jobs. Small town economies, already suffering greatly, have been devastated. We are supposed to believe that this impoverishment of millions, which has resulted not only in financial disaster for those affected, but naturally has also led to a marked increase in suicide, divorce, and the breakup of families, was a wise measure necessary to prevent the spread of a disease that, even if we accept the official numbers that everyone knows are grossly inflated, has killed perhaps one twentieth of one percent of the national population, mostly people in very large cities who already had other serious health problems.

It is all a lie, of course. The economic outcome has been to further the destruction of what remained of a human scale economy and to concentrate even more wealth in the hands of the large corporations and the banks. In America, the economic gains made by the middle and working classes during the first three years of the Trump administration were wiped out in a few weeks. Vast numbers of the suddenly unemployed were, moreover, sent a lot of “free” money, and millions who had never received public assistance were now being tempted by the idea that it is actually better to stay home, not work, and get a check in the mail, than to be productive.

From the Orthodox point of view, all of this is spiritually disastrous. Healthy family life, designed by God to be the normal framework in which man acquires the virtues and works out his salvation, is best served by the family’s possessing productive property – a farm and/or a small business – or, if they must be dependent on wages paid by another, a moderate but sufficient income, a “family wage.” And man must work by the sweat of his brow, as the Lord commanded Adam after the Fall, not sit around and collect money for doing nothing. Where you see the destruction of family farms and family businesses, and enforced idleness coupled with the “bread and circuses” of the welfare state, there is always and inevitably the corruption of morals. The economic disaster caused by the “Corona” crisis is, therefore, not a strictly worldly concern unconnected to spiritual life, and the Church should be concerned over it. We must encourage our faithful to be proactive in striving to remain out of debt and independent of government assistance as much as possible, to acquire new skills if necessary to maintain an income adequate to supporting a family, and to acquire productive property in the form of land where they can produce food and small businesses that are able to survive in the post-“Corona” environment. If we truly believe in leading a godly life, the Lord will open doors for us, show us the way, and give us the help we need to lead quiet and peaceful lives in which we can work out our salvation.

2. Illnesses and deaths caused by government overreach:

The authorities in the United States – as well as, I understand, other countries – more or less shut down their health care systems during the peak “Corona” weeks. Untold millions of necessary procedures to preserve health and life were canceled or postponed, and untold numbers became more sick or actually died from this engineered refusal to treat them. These numbers probably far exceed whatever final, fictional body count from “Corona” is going to be fabricated whenever those in power decide it is time for the “pandemic” to be over in order to make way for the next brainwashing operation. In addition to the canceled and postponed treatments, the nonstop propaganda about the terrors of this mysterious bogeyman virus frightened millions more into not seeking help that was actually available, and an untold number have died at home because they were frightened of contracting “Corona” in the emergency room of their local hospital. I have already mentioned above the sharp increase in suicides during this period caused by job loss, the breakup of families, and the incredible anxiety engineered in millions of minds by the merciless information bombardment from the corporate media. The means for stopping the spread of “Corona” have surely killed more people than the disease itself, and they will go on killing people into the future, as the long-term, generational effects of economic and social destruction, as well as the damage caused to the health care system, work their grim logic out in time.

The spiritual meaning of this carnage is that it is one more phase of the Antichrist elite’s endless orgy of human sacrifice to their god, satan. The same people who have given us euthanasia, abortion on demand, and the vivisection of still-living human beings euphemistically called “organ donation,” also have given us the “Corona” crisis as a new, immensely large, and multi-faceted mechanism for killing large numbers of people over time. The demons feed on human blood and human suffering, and their acolytes must give it to them, or the demons will torture them. They must always be one step ahead of the game and be constantly devising new ways to kill people. One must admit that with “Corona” they have been extremely clever, with the help of their invisible handlers. Only demonic intelligences could have thought of all this.

Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has freed us from the power of the devil by His all-conquering death on the Cross and glorious Resurrection, has entrusted His True Church, the Orthodox Church, with the power to overcome sin, illness, death, the devil, and hell. We must be bold in prophetically denouncing all of these newfangled types of human sacrifice, including this latest deception, and proclaim the sanctity of human life on every occasion. We must point out the utter hypocrisy and vanity of those who claim to be so concerned over saving lives through these absurdly excessive measures against “Corona,” while at the same time they are leading advocates of infanticide (abortion), suicide (euthanasia), and ritual murder by vivisection (the transplantation of vital organs from still-living people). We must preach the joyful Christian embrace of life, giving courage to our young people to proclaim their faith in the goodness and sanctity of human life by marrying and having large families, by living selflessly and fearlessly.

3. Destruction of personal freedom:

Nowhere in history do we see the example of a nation – much less most or all the nations in the world – locking its entire healthy and productive population in their homes – i.e., placing them under house arrest – in order supposedly to combat the spread of a disease. This is so obviously an exercise in raw power, in mass mind control, and in the humiliation and enslavement of vast human populations, that it is inconceivable that so many supposedly intelligent people cannot see it simply for what it is. The promised endless regime of mandatory testing, contact tracing, and so forth, will simply be a “soft” version of the Soviet-style surveillance state.

From the Orthodox point of view, we can perceive that the satanic anti-authority has erected this absurd and grotesque regime of “Corona” restrictions in order to degrade man, the image of God. They hate God, and they hate His creation, especially His highest creation, which is man. Whatever in their endless cruelty they can do to degrade and humiliate man, and to control his mind and body, they will do, as an integral part of their rebellion against God, their disobedience to His holy will. The Church elevates and ennobles man, and gives him the means to attain true freedom through the exercise of his moral will. The synagogue of Satan degrades and humiliates man, enslaving him through forms of outward coercion that wear him down and finally convince him of the truth of materialist determinism, so that he will give up any spiritual striving and no longer exercise the freedom of using his moral will for the good.

Our Savior has told us that He is Truth, and that the Truth will set us free. We must preach the truth of the current situation to our faithful and all whose hearts are open, and proclaim “liberty to the captives,” that is, those who are living enslaved to fear and to their passions. If we strive against the passions, by God’s grace we can acquire the inner freedom of the sons of God, which no totalitarian regime, no matter how powerful, can take away from us. This truth we know from the recent experience of our New Martyrs under communism. Even if those in power succeed in taking away our outward freedom, we will remain free within, and it is only those who are free within who can fight effectively for outward freedom as well. Let us redouble our efforts to preach and to live the active Orthodox spiritual life, and the infinite divine power of grace will come to our aid.

4. Demonstrating mass mind control:

A truly sobering aspect of the current situation is that vast numbers of people do not actually have to be coerced into giving up their freedom; they simply consent to be tricked into doing it. They have been brainwashed into “loving Big Brother,” and they willingly embrace their slavery. This entire crisis is actually a vast psy-op, in which the globalist establishment has demonstrated its power to perform Pavlovian conditioning long distance on billions of people through media technology. What the subjects of this experiment actually go through is an occult, ritual initiation in the form of a traumatizing psychological drama, in which one imagines that one is faced with death and then is rescued by the deus ex machina of the all-powerful therapeutic nanny state, to which one now owes his life, and from that point on continues to live in a kind of pseudo-immortality guaranteed by obedience to the new god. Those who “blaspheme” the new “god” (such as whistle-blowing physicians and scientists, for example) are heretics and infidels, threats to one’s newly attained pseudo-immortality, and they must be silenced or even eradicated.

From our Orthodox point of view, we can say that the subjects of this psychodrama initiation have decisively entered an entire mental universe of prelest in which the perception of reality and real spiritual life – and therefore salvation – becomes extremely difficult if not impossible. The preachers and authorities of the Church must teach our people the truth of what is going on, exhort them not to give themselves over to these lies, and to maintain spiritual sobriety. We must courageously continue to preach the truth that our true life is not here but in eternity, and that we must not fear death, a fear that gives the evil one and his servants power over us. We must exhort our faithful to exercise strict control over their exposure to the various communication media and to refuse to be hypnotized by the great propaganda machine that is creating a race of mindless post-human “zombies” all around us.

5. Advancing the vaccine and microchip agenda:

The well-documented crimes against humanity on an unbelievably vast scale by “Big Pharma,” their fellow traveler Bill Gates, and those like them, are probably well known to everyone in our audience tonight. Their plans for injecting the entire human population with poisons, microchips, and so forth are also a matter of public record, not at all a “conspiracy theory.” By creating this “Corona” crisis, these same criminals are both psychologically conditioning their victims to accept this being done to them and fabricating pseudo-scientific and pseudo-legal excuses for doing it to them.

As we know, in Orthodox circles there now rages a debate about whether the planned vaccine and microchip will constitute the “mark of the beast” foretold in the Apocalypse. Even if it does not, this does not constitute an excuse for the Church not to oppose it. It obviously partakes of the spirit of Antichrist, and this alone makes it evil and deserving of our opposition. The body of a baptized Orthodox Christian is a temple of the Holy Spirit. His mother, the Church, who exercises her care over all of his psychosomatic organism, is not indifferent to the dangers obviously present when an aggressively anti-Christian authority proposes to place unpredictable toxins and a little understood, advanced nano-technology into his body, with possibly catastrophic physical and psychic consequences. Moreover, the proposed tattoo, signifying that the subject is permanently marked as belonging to the new race of micro-chipped humanity, is a sign of ownership, signifying slavery to the anti-Christian regime. In shamanistic religion, tattoos are symbolic places of entry for demonic powers. Given the well-known penchant of the global elites for satanic worship, it is not unreasonable to deduce that they will design the tattoo for occult purposes as well as for marking their new “property.” The Church must preach courageous and intransigent opposition to this obviously demonic program, and her leaders must be in the forefront of those willing to suffer in order not to give in.

6. Creating fear and distrust; destroying natural loyalties and creating loyalty to the Antichrist authority:

Nothing symbolizes the Brave New World of “Corona” more powerfully than the face mask now submissively worn by millions. It is perhaps the cleverest of many masterstrokes in the diabolic program we see unfolding before us. Even if the disease is what they say it is, we know from official sources that the mask does not prevent its spread. It has been likened to using a chain link fence to keep out mosquitoes. The real purpose of the mask is to dehumanize the population and reduce them to an atomized mass of unrelated individuals living in fear of one another and in submissive loyalty to the central authority. And not only the mask, but the “social distancing” and enforced isolation measures also contribute to this. Again, we must remember that the people in charge are creating a new sub-human humanity, a diabolic caricature of God’s creation of man. They are destroying what is left of the natural bonds of family, community, and nation, and reducing once noble humanity to a mass of deracinated, atomized individuals with no identity, no past, no future, no tradition, no roots, no meaning – a gigantic vacuum to be filled with demonic lies and demonic energies. In place of traditional loyalties, there is only a banal and idiotic loyalty to the collective hive of mindlessness, to the faceless new regime. Those who keep their faces intact – both literally by not masking and figuratively by preserving their traditional loyalties and traditional identities – are identified as “enemies of the people” to be feared, punished, and liquidated.

The Church must proactively take measures to increase the bonds of love, loyalty, and trust among her members, and help them intensify both their Orthodoxy and traditional cultural identities, and not abandon them to this new, satanic loyalty. Faceless, rootless atomistic individuals, with no past and no future, living in a world of lies and living only to gratify momentary desires and avoid momentary pains, cannot be Christians and cannot be saved. It’s that simple.

We will devote our talk next week entirely to point seven, which is the most important: The “Corona” crisis has intensified and expanded the ongoing apostasy of the Orthodox leadership and Orthodox institutions.

The “Corona” Delusion in the Light of Truth, Part II

Club “Tsarostavnik,” Belgrade

17/30 March 2020

Great Martyr Marina


Once again I would like to thank the leadership of Tsarostavnik for inviting me to address you on the current manufactured “Corona” crisis. As I said last week, it is always a great pleasure to offer whatever advice and insight I can to those who steadfastly refuse to accept the manufactured delusions of our time, and who desire to remain loyal to Holy Orthodoxy and to their homeland. Let us all pray that whatever wisdom we can obtain we will also be able to share with as many others as possible, with those whose hearts are open to the truth.

In Part I, I discussed introduced seven pre-designed results of the Corona crisis and discussed them as topics one through six. Tonight I shall discuss the most important topic, which is the Church.

The Church and the Revolt Against Divine Order

Some of those in our audience have no doubt listened to my podcast lecture series entitled “Orthodox Survival Course,” inspired by lectures of the same name given by the late Fr. Seraphim Rose. You may recall that I devoted several of these talks to Fr. Seraphim’s short book on the philosophy of nihilism, “nothing-ism,” which is the dominant thought system – or, rather, anti-thought anti-system – of the occult global oligarchy which has now come to power on the ruins of Christian civilization. This book was just part of a planned, much larger work which Fr. Seraphim was going to title “The Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Man,” a comprehensive metahistory of the world in light of Divine Revelation and Holy Tradition, in which Fr. Seraphim was going to trace the working out of God’s plan for our salvation by viewing and connecting the events of history from an Orthodox viewpoint. Though he never wrote this book, his Orthodox Survival Course lectures did accomplish a great deal that he wanted to achieve with the book, by tracing Western man’s apostasy from the Faith of Christ in the developments of the second millennium. The current situation, in which Christendom, that is, a civilization in which the Church is the dominant institution, has been effectively destroyed and replaced by an explicitly anti-Christian system, is the result of this apostasy.

A key concept in understanding Fr. Seraphim’s work and that of other important Christian meta-historians, is the concept of Divine Order based on the Logos of God, Who is the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, Our Lord Jesus Christ. Logos is a Greek word meaning “word,” but also “rationality,” “meaning,” and “logic.” Christ is the blueprint, the logic, the meaning of the entire created cosmos, including man – especially including man. All of man’s works, including his political systems, science, art, medicine, education, etc. are pleasing to God insofar as they conform to the Logos. Insofar as they do not conform to the Logos, they are in a state of disorder, of disobedience, displeasing to God and harmful to man. The history of Orthodox civilization is the history of the creation of human institutions which express this Divine Order, under the guidance of the Church. The anti-Christian revolutions of the past 200+ years, in the revolutionary era that began with the French Revolution, are the revolt of man against God and his replacing the Divine Order, in which everything is oriented to man’s ultimate purpose, which is his salvation, with a demonic order, in which everything is oriented to the glorification of the passions and the worship of temporal things.

Of course, this revolt did not really begin out of nowhere 200 years ago. It was the outward result of the entire falling away of the Western part of the Christian world, beginning with the separation from Orthodoxy in the middle ages. Fr. Seraphim’s lecture series, as well as my own Orthodox Survival Course, explain how this happened.

I am reviewing all of this to give a framework within which to understand the current crisis. It is not an isolated event, but is rather one more step in the age-old program of those who hate Christ to destroy the Divine Order in the world and institute their own antiChrist order. It is therefore the duty of the Church to reveal this deception for what it is and to oppose it. Last week we discussed how the elites are using this deception to enslave man economically, physically, and socially. Tonight we will speak specifically of the attack on the Church Herself in the denial of Her freedom, Her divine character and mission, and Her teaching on the nature of man and his final purpose.

A. Attack on the Church’s Freedom

As we all know, secular authorities in many countries have used the Corona scare to justify shutting down Church services on a massive scale. The most scandalous aspect of this, of course, was that many Church authorities, including Orthodox authorities, have cooperated in this to the point of actually anticipating and/or exceeding government requirements about having services, the manner of distributing Holy Communion, the number of worshippers allowed to be present, and actually collecting names of those who attended services to hand over to the authorities, an iniquitous practice reminiscent of the Soviet Union.

The diabolically clever aspect of all this is that it was done in the name of “public health,” and therefore worldly church authorities could make some jesuitical argument that they were not denying the Faith, that no one told them to give up their Creed. They were acting in the public interest! But when in the history of the Church did She simply shut down and stop functioning in times of widespread disease? Historically, were not these episodes – which were far more frequent before the advent of modern medicine – actually occasions for greater efforts to do Church services, hold public processions, bring Holy Communion to a greater number of people, and so forth – in short, to use the divine power given by Christ to the Apostles and their successors to defeat sickness, death, the devil, and hell? In fact, this current compromised behavior is a great triumph of what has come to be called “Sergianism,” a secularization of the Church through Her own leaders’ willingly lowering Her to the level of an earthly institution in service of a godless state based on a materialistic philosophy.

“Well, this was temporary,” the apologists for this behavior say. “When the crisis is over, things will return to normal.” But what will happen next year when a new crisis is manufactured and relentlessly shoved down our throats by endless media propaganda? If we retreated this time, why not next time and every time? Where do you draw the line? Where does the compromise end? If we do not stand up now, when the threatened penalties are relatively mild and in many places the rules are not even enforced, what will we do when those in charge decide to make things worse?

B. Attack on the Church’s Divine Character and Mission

I have already mentioned above that the underlying philosophy behind the closure of churches and the mutilation of the services and administration of the Holy Mysteries is materialism, the teaching that everything real is of this world, and that the spiritual life and eternal life are not real, or, if real, completely disconnected from how we should conduct our lives in this world. The Church, however, is of divine origin, She has a divine and holy character, and Her mission is to preach the truth of salvation to men and to bring about the Divine Order in this world, in order to facilitate that way of life that is conducive to salvation. What the secularists – both civil and ecclesiastical – want to do is to reduce our Faith to a private hobby, an individual, subjective psychological experience, that has little or no public expression and little or no effect on how people conduct their lives in this world. During this recent crisis, collaborationist clergymen told their traumatized faithful that not having services or the sacraments was a good thing, and that they could just as well practice their Faith by watching video broadcasts of Church services. This is not only an attack on the corporate nature of the Church as the visible Body of Christ in the world, but also the destruction of the believer’s actual experience of divine worship, which is of its nature something real not virtual.

C. Attack on the Nature of Man and His Final Purpose

Man is a psychosomatic unity, not a “ghost trapped in a machine,” as Descartes famously said. It is not true that the Church ministers only to souls, while men’s bodies are not her concern. The Church is the primary arena in which man’s healing – including his physical healing – takes place. To abandon the healing of men’s bodies completely to secular scientific and social institutions utterly divorced from a Christian understanding of the origin of illness and the Church’s mission to heal and deliver men from all their woes both spiritual and physical, is to reject Holy Tradition in favor of some kind of dualistic anthropology and a secularist social philosophy.

Conclusion – A great deal more could be said on this all-important topic. I offer these thoughts to you tonight, and I welcome your questions and comments.

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The believing mind

31 July OS 2020 – Thursday of the Tenth Week of St. Matthew; Forefeast of the Procession of the Cross; St. Eudocimus

You can listen to an audio podcast of this blog post at

In the Gospel today, we see the chief priests and Pharisees refusing to repent and, instead, hardening their hearts against the Lord:

The Lord said to the Jews which came to Him: Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them. But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet. – St.Matthew 21: 43-46

St. Theophan the Recluse remarks that the opposition to the Gospel is always irrational:

The chief priests and Pharisees perceived that the Lord was telling parables on their account, that He was opening their eyes so that they would see the truth. But what did they do with this? They thought about how to kill the Lord. If their common sense had not been distorted by their prejudice, then even if they could not believe, as the clarity of the instruction required, they would at least have carefully considered the truth of the Savior’s words. Their prejudice pushed them onto a crooked path, and they then proved to be God-killers. It has always been this way, and it is this way now. The Germans [i.e., the liberal Scripture scholars in the German universities], and our people who have become Germanized in their mentality, immediately cry out whenever they come across a miracle in the Gospels, “Not true, not true; this did not happen and could not happen, this needs to be crossed out.” Is not this the same as killing? Look through all the books of these clever men – in none of them will you find any indication as to why they think this way. Not one of them can say anything against what the Gospel truth proves, and not one cares to comprehend the arguments which sober-minded people use to convict their falseness; they only continue insisting that [what is written] could not be, and that is why they do not believe the Gospels. And you cannot do anything with them – they are ready to defy God Himself. –  Thoughts for Each Day of the Year, pp. 164-165

St. Theophan likens the blindness of the modern skeptic to the blindness of the Pharisees, and, indeed, it is the same, arising from the same cause: pride and hardness of heart. The materialist outlook, which the humanists and liberals call “rational,” is profoundly irrational, because it cannot explain the existence of mind itself, of knowledge itself. A person would only adopt such a philosophy from the primordial Luciferian urge to pretend to be god in spite of all evidence to the contrary. The offspring of the liberals, the nihilists, are at least honest to this extent: they not only admit but revel in their irrationality, and they not only admit but revel in the fact that the only possible outcome of their philosophy is total destruction.

All of us, living as we are in an “unbelieving and perverse generation,” suffer temptations to doubt, at least now and then. We have available to us excellent works of apologetics to help us overcome this on the intellectual level. But more importantly, we must immerse ourselves in the Orthodox worldview by constant reading of Scripture, of the Lives of the Saints, and other authentic Orthodox sources; by prayer; and by being present, with attention, as at many divine services in Church as possible. Our minds have to swim, as it were, in the Orthodox spiritual and mental universe, because being convinced at one point by an intellectual argument does not give us sufficient strength to stay convinced.  Our minds are naturally attracted to what they are exposed to, and our hearts follow our minds. This is simply human nature.

Such an immersion in Orthodox sources rewards us immediately with clarity of the mind and lightening of the heart. In contrast to the heavy burden of worldly thoughts and worldly subject matter,  God’s truth is the light burden that gives rest to our souls. In contrast to the mental  hell of this world’s confusion, it is Paradise before Paradise.

The next time, then, you are burdened by the world and its “news,” instead of doing something useless and destructive (like surfing to the next website in order to become more confused, helpless, and angry), open the Holy Gospel, stand in your icon corner, and start reading aloud.   Read the Life of a saint that has helped you in the past. Grab your prayer rope, take a walk, and glorify God for His beautiful creation.   We have an entire spiritual universe open to us, wider than the heavens, which no one else has. We need to show our gratitude by choosing to live in it.

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Real courage

3 July OS 2020 – Thursday of the Sixth Week of St. Matthew; St. Hyacinth, Martyr

You can listen to an audio podcast of this commentary at 

In today’s Gospel reading, the Lord Jesus teaches the disciples that He permits the existence and intermingling of both the good and the evil during our earthly life, and how this relates to the Dread Judgment:

At that time, Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. – Matthew 13:36-43

St. Theophan the Recluse takes this occasion to explain the role of evil in the spiritual life of the faithful:

…Thus will be carried out the division of good and evil, light and darkness. Now is the period of time in which they are mixed. It pleased the Lord to arrange that the freedom of creatures should grow and be strengthened in good through the struggle against evil. Evil is allowed, both in connection with inward freedom and outside of a person. It does not determine anything, it only tempts. One who feels a temptation must not fall, but enter into battle. He who conquers is freed from one temptation, and advances forward and upward to find a new temptation there – and so on, until the end of his life. Oh, when will we comprehend the significance of the evil which tempts us, so that we might arrange our lives according to this understanding? The strugglers are finally crowned, and pass on to the next life, where there are neither sicknesses nor sorrows, and where they become inwardly pure like angels of God, free from the sting of tempting inclinations and thoughts. This is how the triumph of light and good is being prepared, and it will be revealed in all of its glory on the last day of the world. – Thoughts for Each Day of the Year, p. 145

One of the stock arguments of atheists is the so-called problem of evil: “How can a good and all-powerful God allow evil? Either He is good but not all-powerful and therefore cannot prevent evil, or He is all-powerful but evil, since He causes or allows evil to exist.” There are several things wrong with this argument, but let us make one thing clear: Only the Christian understanding of evil allows for man’s moral freedom, for man to be a spiritual and free being capable of loving God.   No other explanation makes room for this. God does not will evil, but He allows it, so that man may choose freely to obey Him or not, and so that the existence of evil may provide the arena for man’s spiritual struggle; truly do the Fathers say that without temptations no one would be saved.  Anyone who has engaged in conscious spiritual life in an Orthodox setting understands this immediately.

Our intellects say, “Yes, now that someone has explained this to us, it is quite reasonable,” but we initially received this lofty understanding of man’s vocation through divine revelation, by grace, not by our own mental efforts. We realize that, being of divine origin, this truth is of course incomparably superior to the explanations that the fallen mind of man has created. We perceive that it gives us both peace of soul and the incentive to fight evil and to do good, and therefore not only is it intellectually satisfying but of the highest therapeutic and moral value.   Experiencing this, we ask, “Why would anyone not want to believe in the Faith?”

The answer, of course, is pride of mind, pride of will, and pride of sensuality: Fallen man wants to create his own reality, fallen man wants to disobey God’s law, and fallen man wants to indulge his passions. Even so, man has always wanted to explain evil, and therefore the finite and fallen intellect of man has constructed three basic explanations of evil: either good and evil are illusions because all distinctions are illusions, or all outcomes are determined and you have no freedom, or everything is matter, and so God, soul, mind, and will do not exist.

The Eastern religions – Hinduism, Buddhism, and their variants – say that this world is an illusion, that evil is being trapped in the illusory, material world due to some cosmic accident no one can explain, and that you need to go through various incarnations to get rid of your materiality, in order to realize that even your personal existence and the existence of a personal God are illusions (or, conversely, that you are God, which amounts to the same thing), and that once you get rid of all mental distinctions, you will be absorbed into the World Soul, totally lose your individual existence, and feel no pain. One is eerily reminded of the epitaph of the apostate Greek novelist, Nikos Kazantzakis, who claimed to have no religion at all: “I hope for nothing. I fear nothing. I am free.”

Islam – and, to the extent that they are infected by determinism, schools of Roman Catholic and Protestant thought – say that only God’s will is operative in the universe, that He is not interested in explaining anything to us, that what constitutes good and evil is not even a question open to rational discourse, and that your job is to submit without question or thought to the great Divine Steamroller, Allah, or whatever you want to call it.   Admit His total sovereignty, do not question anything, and jump onto this cosmic juggernaut before it runs over you.   On Judgment Day, all you can do is hope for the best, because you have no idea whatsoever if you have pleased the GUI (the Great Ultimate It) or not.

Materialism says that everything we experience is an accidental concourse of material stuff, and therefore nothing means anything. Eat, drink, and be merry, or seek total power over others for the thrill of it, or commit suicide, or whatever. Since mind does not exist, who cares what good or evil are, anyway, or who could offer a meaningful definition, since what the neurons in your brain invent is an accident, and what the neurons in my brain invent is another accident, and the two do not have anything to do with each other, do they?

What all three explanations have in common, ultimately, is nihilism, “nothing-ism.”   At root, all three deny Who God is, deny who man is, and deny the love of God for man.   All three, at root, are the fruit of pride, of Satan’s rebellion against the All-Good and All-Loving God Who created him, the fruit of Satan’s choice to “reign in hell rather than to serve in heaven.”   To adopt any of these three views and really live by it is to consign oneself to hell in this life, much less the next. Yet people fall very easily into these views, and only with great difficulty, and by God’s grace, do they accept the Truth. Without the miracle of grace, humankind cannot bear too much reality.

The Orthodox Church teaches us the truth, which is that God created man out of love and for love, so that man could freely choose to love God and do His holy will.   Advancing step by step from the fear of punishment to the desire for heavenly rewards to the love of God for His own sake, and thereby attaining the freedom of divine friendship, a man becomes a “god by grace,” and in the process, far from being absorbed into the Cosmic One, and far from being the helpless pawn of an inscrutable fate, he becomes more, and more truly, himself. To accomplish this, however, we must be courageous and full of hope in God’s mercy; we must open our hearts and throw ourselves into the abyss of His love, trusting Him to catch us.   We have to look evil square in the face and bravely hope in the all-loving and all-wise God, Who cares for us, Who became a man and died for us, and Who rose from the dead, giving us the hope of an everlasting life.

Kazantzakis claimed that he had no fear because he had no hope. This is not courage but the very essence of cowardice. We can choose this way – the way of nihilism – or we can go the path of the saints.   Increasingly it becomes clear, from all that is happening around us, that there is no other choice.

pilgrims walking up a hill to a church in Serbia
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Growing our souls

2 July OS 2019 – Wednesday of the Sixth Week of Matthew; the Deposition of the Robe of the Most Holy Theotokos; St. Juvenal of Jerusalem

You can listen to an audio podcast of this commentary at

In today’s Gospel reading, the Lord Jesus tells the Parable of the Mustard Seed and the Parable of the Leaven:

The Lord spake this parable: The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof. Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world. Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house.St. Matthew 13:31-36

St. Theophan the Recluse, commenting on Our Lord’s words, explains how we can apply the images of the mustard seed and the leaven both to the Church and to our own spiritual lives:

The Kingdom is like a grain of mustard seed and leaven. A small grain of mustard seed grows up into a large bush; leaven penetrates a whole lump of dough and makes it leavened. Here, on the one hand, is an image of the Church, which in the beginning consisted only of the Apostles and a few other people. It then spread and became more numerous, penetrating all of humanity. On the other hand, it is an image of the spiritual life revealed in every person. Its first seed is the intention and determination to be saved through pleasing God in accordance with faith in the Lord and Savior. This determination, no matter how firm, is like a tiny speck. Its movement and strength multiply and mature within its own self, and it begins to penetrate all the powers of the soul – the mind, will, and feelings – then fills them with itself, leavens them according to its spirit, and penetrates the entire constitution of the human nature – body, soul, and spirit – in which it was engendered.  – Thoughts for Each Day of the Year, p. 144

The seed, then, of spiritual life, is the “intention and determination to be saved through pleasing God in accordance with faith in the Lord and Savior.” There are three elements to this: Intention and determination to be saved, pleasing God, and faith.

We can check ourselves every day, and ask ourselves, “Do I intend to be saved, am I determined to be saved?” It cannot be a vague wish, as we would vaguely wish for someone to hand us a million dollars, though we neither think it likely nor make any efforts towards obtaining our wish. We have to intend it, choose it, set out decisively to get it, with determination. When our intention becomes unsteady or our determination weakens, we must ask the Lord to clarify our minds and strengthen our wills.

Every day we should ask ourselves, “Do I desire to please God?” and we should ask the Lord to strengthen this desire in us. It is impossible to overestimate the power of the desire to please God, to do His holy will.   Once someone is irrevocably committed to the doing of God’s will, he will receive very great power from God to do so.   The Lord will strengthen his will, and he will experience the truth of the words that with God nothing is impossible.

“Very well,” you may say, “I do intend and I do will, but weakly, and sometimes it seems like such a dry experience.  Often I approach it as though it were a Stoic self-improvement program.”  At this point we must recall the third element in the “program” St. Theophan outlines:  Faith.   We must beg with tears for Faith, which,  in addition to being the voluntary assent of the mind to divine Truth, is also – and more importantly – a free gift of God’s grace. When our will grows weak and the clarity of our intention grows blurry, let us open the Holy Gospel and start reading slowly aloud.  Let us read the Life of a saint.  Let us kneel before the holy icons and carefully, slowly, read the Akathist to Our Sweetest Lord Jesus Christ or His Most Pure Mother.  Let us confess and prepare for Holy Communion.  The sweetness of His love, the vision of His divine beauty, will once again captivate our hearts, and we will remember why we have made our act of will, and that will shall grow strong again.  We will remember the end of Faith, which is Charity – Divine Love – and, unable to forget the Beauty of that Divine Love, we will open our hearts to Faith,  and the Hope born of courage will be not barren but a fruitful act of the will.

O Lord, Who desires our salvation, make to grow the seed of Faith in our hearts!

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The granary of the heart

1 July OS 2020 AD – Tuesday of the Sixth Week of Matthew; Holy Unmercenaries Cosmas and Damian of Rome

You can listen to an audio podcast of this post at

In today’s Gospel, the Lord instructs the disciples on two levels: How to understand heresies and schisms in the Church, and how to understand the warfare between good and evil in the heart.

Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.
But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.
 – Matthew 13: 24-30

St. Theophan the Recluse guides us into an understanding of the Lord’s words as relating to the Church and as relating to our inner life:

The good seed was sown, but the enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat. The tares in the Church are heresies and schisms, while in each of us they are bad thoughts, feelings, desires, and passions. A person accepts the good seed of the word of God, decides to live in a holy way, and begins to live in this way. When such a person falls asleep, that is, when his attention toward himself weakens, then the enemy of salvation comes and places evil ideas in him which, if not rejected at the start, ripen into desires and dispositions, introducing their own spheres of activity, which mix themselves in with good works, feelings, and thoughts. In this way, both remain together until the harvest. This harvest is repentance. The Lord sends His angels – a feeling of contrition and the fear of God – and they come in like a sickle, then burn up all the tares in the fire of painful self-condemnation. Pure wheat remains in the granary of the heart, to the joy of man, the angels, and the Most Good God worshiped in Trinity. – Thoughts for Each Day of the Year, pp. 143-144.

In the Church, the “tares” (weeds) are heresies and schisms. Today clever people have fabricated a novel teaching that the Lord’s command not to tear up the weeds means that we are not allowed to separate from the heretics, and therefore the orthodox who separate from bishops because they are heretics thereby become schismatics, because (according to this interpretation) the orthodox must remain together with the heretics in the Church, like the wheat among the weeds, until the Dread Judgment. Therefore (according to this idea), to remain in the Church, one must continue indefinitely in communion with heretics, commemorating unrepentant heretical bishops, obeying them and receiving what purport to be sacraments from them, perhaps until the end of time. In addition to the abundant historical evidence that contradicts this idea, however, St. John Chrysostom also corrects this error in his 46th Homily on Matthew, which you can read online here,, and which you can listen to here,

The great Chrysostom here relates not only his own teaching but also the consensus of the Fathers: The Lord in this passage is not forbidding us to separate from the heretics; He is not forbidding us even from actively opposing them with non-lethal, legal methods of coercion if necessary (and if possible – not likely nowadays!). He is simply saying, “Do not shed their blood; do not slay them.”

St. Theophan, in his commentary on this passage, however, spends only one sentence – less than one sentence, only one clause – on this ecclesiological theme, which he mentions in passing. His chief topic, as usual, is the spiritual life of the Christian soul. The wheat consists of our good works, feelings, and thoughts, and the tares are our bad thoughts, feelings, desires, and passions. Just as, at the end of the world, the Lord will send His angels to gather His enemies and burn them, so now, in this life, He sends His messengers – contrition and the fear of God – to burn up our evil inclinations and gather our spiritual goods – our good thoughts and habits of mind and action, our virtues – into the barn of the heart, where they are kept safe by grace and induct us into the Heavenly Kingdom, which we begin to experience by anticipation even here on earth.

St. Isaac the Syrian also connects our salvation today, in the heart, with our eternal salvation in the Kingdom that Is To Come:

…Be a persecutor of yourself, and your enemy will be driven from your proximity. Be peaceful within yourself, and heaven and earth will be at peace with you. Be diligent to enter into the treasury that is within you, and you will see the treasury of Heaven: for these are one and the same, and with one entry you will behold them both. The ladder of the Kingdom is within you, hidden in your soul. Plunge deeply within yourself, away from sin, and there you will find steps by which you will be able to ascend. – The Ascetical Homilies of St. Isaac the Syrian, Homily 2

Paradise and hell, then, both begin in this life. Let us beg the Lord for His good messengers – contrition and the fear of God – to burn up our sins and passions, and to collect our scattered thoughts into one thought – the Name of Jesus – concentrated in the granary of the heart. There we will have Paradise, both in this life and in the Age to Come.

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Orthodox Survival Course, Class 56: Memory and Eternity

Listen to the podcast of this talk at or

Thanks and Request for Donations

Again, thanks to our donors. May the Lord reward your love with His grace! To our other listeners: please consider a gift to help me out. If you have PayPal, you can send a gift to my account at If you want to receive a receipt for a tax deduction, contact me at that email, and I can tell you how to donate to our parish, who in turn will pass the donation on to me and send you a receipt.

Let’s Take a Break

We have been talking about sad things for so long that I think we need a break. We cannot speak only of what is evil, but must also – and more importantly – speak of what is good, because only good can preserve us from the evil. Today I want to talk about two related things, memory and eternity. Memory is one of the essential weapons for fighting off our would-be jailers and staying free from the mental prison of the new normal they are working so hard to create in our minds, and memory, ultimately, is the gateway to eternity, something I’ll explain later.

But I’ll start by sharing some memories of my own. They are not just things that happened in my life, but also memories passed on to me by others.

– Sharecroppers

– Methodist Sunday school

– The parish coroner

– A monastic vocation under the Habsburgs

– A childhood memory of the Russian Royal Martyrs

Write Your Autobiography

I offered these snippets from my life not because my life is more important or interesting than other people’s, but because it’s what I know. (Every writer ends up writing about what he knows best, of course.) But my purpose is to show you how your memory, or your memory of other people’s memories, your version of the story they passed on to you, is a door to the world of meaning, the meaning that is inside of you. It is so critical, right now, this moment, today, to sit down and go over our whole life, and write it down, if we have never done that, and all along the tale we tell, to relate how God was working in our life, to put our story into the Great Story of how God made us and saved us and is coming again to bring us to His heavenly kingdom. Before you write, ask the Lord to enlighten you to remember everything that’s happened and also, most importantly, to see it all in the light of His providence over you. Your own history under His providence is a microcosm of the history of all men under that same providence. He has done and will do everything for our salvation. Always remember that, and always be grateful. Remembrance and gratitude are the way out of sadness and a great strength in times of trouble. Writing about the sad things and the bad things is cathartic – it cleanses us. Writing about the good things is uplifting. The beautiful and the ugly things, the good and the bad, the false paths we trod and the delusions we finally shucked, and the truth we finally, painfully obtained by the power of God’s merciful love for us – it’s all there. Just try it – you’ll see.

Store Up the Right Books

Memory writ large is what we call “history.” It is our corporate memory, the shared memory of the Church, of a nation, of a people, of a civilization. The funny thing is that as the vandals are destroying the monuments and the schools are refusing to tell the truth, the old books are still there, actually more available than ever. The bad guys think they don’t need to destroy them, because they’ve made everyone so stupid that they don’t want to read or don’t know how. Well, we don’t have to prove them right. Let’s prove them wrong and do some reading. Let me give some examples of books you ought to have:

1. The 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica – Remember that all hell breaks loose in 1914. We are living after the end of the world. This 1911 Britannica is a concise written record of how Western man viewed himself at the height of his achievement. Of course, we have to filter it all through our Orthodox viewpoint, but so much of the data, unimpaired by marxist deconstruction, is there. You can still buy it, I think – the real books I mean – but here is a link to where you can read it online:

And here you can actually download it (which is what you should do), but you’ll need the djvu application to read it:

2. The Library of Universal History Moses Coit Tyler and Israel Smith Clare. Another massive, all-encompassing record of how Western man – and in particular Anglo-American man – viewed himself before the cataclysm of the 20th century. Again, filter it through your Orthodox lens (you could go back and review our Survival Course talks and read Fr. Seraphim’s Survival Course lectures to interpret what these men are saying from the Orthodox point of view). I can’t find the whole thing online, but you can still buy reproductions of it in hard copy.

3. Vladimir Moss’s world history from an Orthodox point of view. Here is the link to volume 1: You can search for the rest. There will be 12 volumes, eventually, and he has finished one through six.

4. Church history (of course): Make sure you have Eusebius’s history of the early Church through the reign of St. Constantine. Get as many collections of the Lives of the Saints as you can.

5. The Fathers and the Councils through the 8th century: There are inexpensive copies of the classic Eerdmans series available. Everyone should have it! Also, look for the Catholic University of America’s Fathers of the Church series and Ancient Christian Writers series.

6. Memoria Press: Go to their website and get all you can on history and literature. It’s great. Their Famous Men of Greece and Famous Men of Rome are classics.

7. Susan Wise Bauer’s history series:

A plea: I need recommendations for church and world histories from Orthodox authors that have been translated into English, so we’re not stuck with only these Western sources that we have to re-interpret.

That’s enough for now.

The Door to Eternity

By living within the true story of our history, we break out of the fake eternity of a delusional present (as in shamanism or marxism), we live as pilgrims and strangers on the active journey of this life, and we arrive at the heavenly kingdom, which is also breaking in on us all along. The Divine Liturgy itself, the highest and greatest experience of God by man on earth, is centered on anamnesis, on memory.

Remember the vital importance of memorization! Memorize Scripture, the Psalms, prayers, poems, passages from literature. Memorize, memorize. You are storing up a treasury within your soul against the day when the books and computers will be taken away.

Living Well is the Best Revenge

God loves us and wants to be happy. Be cheerful. Say your prayers, tell stories, sing songs, and smile for your children. We belong to the Lord.

A Time for Song

Let’s do something different today. I’m going to close with three songs; well, two songs and a hymn.

Two Early American religious songs. You can find them on the album “Rose of Sharon” by the vocal group Western Wind.

Death, like an overflowing stream, sweeps us away: Our life’s but a dream, an empty tale, a morning’s flower, cut down and withered in an hour.

Father, I long, I faint to see the place of Thine abode. I’d leave Thine earthly courts and flee up to Thy seat, my God. Here I behold Thy distant face and ’tis a pleasing sight. But to abide in Thine embrace is infinite delight.

A hymn from the Latin office for St. John the Baptist: Ut queant laxis. From the Liber Usualis, a version of which (with English translations!) you can download at

Ut queant laxis resonare fibris
mira gestorum famuli tuorum,
solve polluti labiis reatum,
sancte Joannes.

Nuntius celso veniens Olympo,
te patri magnum fore nasciturum,
nomen, et vitae seriem gerendae,
ordine promit.

Ille promissi dubius superni
per didit promptae modulos loquelae;
sed reformasti genitus peremptae
organa vocis.

Ventris obstruso recubans cubili,
senseras Regem thalamo manentem:
hinc parens, nati, meritis, uterque,
abdita pandit.

Sit decus Patri, genitaeque proli
et tibi, compare utriusque virtus,
Spiritus semper, Deus unus, omni
Temporis aevo. Amen.
For thy spirit, holy John, to chasten
Lips sin-polluted, fettered tongues to loosen;
So by thy children might thy deeds of wonder
Meetly be chanted.

Lo! a swift herald, from the skies descending,
Bears to thy father promise of thy greatness;
How he shall name thee, what thy future story,
Duly revealing.

Scarcely believing message so transcendent,
Him for a season power of speech forsaketh,
Till, at thy wondrous birth, again returneth
Voice to the voiceless.

Thou, in thy mother’s womb all darkly cradled,
Knewest thy Monarch, biding in His chamber,
Whence the two parents, through their children’s merits,
Mysteries uttered.

Praise to the Father, to the Son begotten,
And to the Spirit, equal power. possessing,
One God whose glory, through the lapse of ages,
Ever resoundeth.
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The light yoke

19 June OS 2020 – Thursday of the Fourth Week of Matthew; St. Jude the Apostle, Brother of the Lord; St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco, Wonderworker

Today’s Gospel reading (Matthew 11:27-30) is our gracious Lord’s invitation to be freed of the burden of sin by taking on the light yoke of His commandments:

The Lord said to His disciples, All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

St. Theophan the Recluse explains the process by which this transformation takes place:

O Divine, O dear, O sweetest voice of Thine! Let us all follow the Lord, Who calls us! But first we must experience something difficult and burdensome for us. We must experience that we have many sins, and that these sins are grave. From this is born the need to seek relief. Faith will then show us that our only refuge is in the Lord and Savior, and our steps will direct themselves toward Him. A soul desiring to be saved from sins knows what to say to the Lord: “Take my heavy, sinful burden from me, and I will take Thine easy yoke.” And this is how it happens: the Lord forgives one’s sins, and his soul begins to walk in His commandments. The commandments are the yoke, and sins are the burden. But comparing the two, the soul finds that the yoke of the commandments is as light as a feather, while the burden of sins is as heavy as a mountain. Let us not fear readily accepting the Lord’s easy yoke and His light burden. In no other way can we find rest unto our souls. – Thoughts for Each Day of the Year, p. 135

Here is how it happens, then:

Step One: We must experience that we have many sins, and that they are grave. St. Isaac the Syrian says that it is a greater miracle to see one’s sins than to raise the dead. Why? Because of the incomprehensible blindness of fallen human nature, which does not understand itself. We all have it. We must pray to see ourselves as we really are, so that we can really feel the burden of sin and the need to seek relief. We must realize with the entire consent of our being that we need a Savior.

Step Two: Faith shows us that our only refuge is our Savior and that He does forgive our sins. We are Orthodox Christians, and we accept the teachings of the Church, but often we do not feel them, do not have strong Faith welling up from the depths of our being with absolute conviction. This is not mere emotion, but a set of the soul, an experiential knowledge in the center of our being that God is, that God is indeed the Holy Trinity of Orthodoxy, and that Christ our Savior has indeed saved us. To acquire this set of soul, one near-infallible method is the frequent practice of slow, forcefully concentrated prayer. Open the prayer book, or take the Psalter, or take your prayer rope, and, in a quiet place, kneeling before the holy icons, force yourself to say the words a bit more slowly than usual, and forcefully struggle for attention, ruthlessly casting out every distracting thought. Set a timer for, say, ten or fifteen minutes, and do not let up until the alarm rings. If you feel the desire to continue, continue for as long as you like. Go on praying in this way until the light dawns in your heart. Do this frequently…daily. You shall see. The Lord promised to give us good things, and by praying in this way you are asking for the best things, including profound faith with the constant, abiding presence of God in the heart. He is faithful to His word, and He will give according to His promise.

Step Three: We must promise the Lord that we will live according to His holy commandments, and His commandments are not burdensome, for His yoke is easy and His burden is light. “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous (I John 5:3).” Yet we must be honest with ourselves and realize what the standard for loving God really is: “Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin (Hebrews 12:4).” This struggle unto blood, which ensues upon our promising to keep the commandments, feels perfectly natural, however, to those who have gone through Steps One and Two, and who keep repeating them when faith grows weak. And not only does it begin to come naturally, but it also engenders ineffable relief and inner happiness, often in inverse proportion to the difficulties of our outward life.

Let us, then, struggle earnestly in prayer, that the Lord may energize the potential of the baptismal grace already within us, and then being transformed strive zealously for God’s commandments, for His glory and for our salvation. May we by grace know through experience that the yoke of Christ is easy and His burden light.

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Orthodox Survival Course, Class 55: Recent History, The Great Imposture – The Bolshevik Revolution Class 2

Listen to the podcast of this talk at

Thanks and Request for Donations

Again, thanks to our donors. May the Lord reward your love with His grace! To our other listeners: please consider a gift to help me out. If you have PayPal, you can send a gift to my account at If you want to receive a receipt for a tax deduction, contact me at that email, and I can tell you how to donate to our parish, who in turn will pass the donation on to me and send you a receipt.

Today we are going to talk first about Marxist/Bolshevik revolution in itself, which is not something limited to Russia nor a thing of the past, but rather international and currently going on; and then we will discuss pre-Revolutionary Russia and its strengths and weaknesses. In conclusion today, we will discuss the apocalyptic, eschatological significance of Russia and her relationship to Orthodoxy.

Introduction – Bolshevik Revolution and the Orthodox Philosophy of History

A. Review of last class’s introduction:

1. You need the big picture. Teleology of history.

2. The big picture is knowable.

3. Two reductionisms: “leave it to the experts” vs. arrogant ignorance

4. Ahistorical false spirituality

5. The right approach: Acquire the big picture, practice discernment

B. Christian Order vs. Anti-Christ Disorder

1. There is such a thing as Christian order of society. That’s the whole lesson from the 1600 year history of the Constantinian period of history. There are more perfect, more Orthodox examples, but even the RC and Prot examples participate to a greater or lesser degree in the reality of Christian order. The age of revolution since 1789 is the open revolt against this order to replace it with Anti-Christ disorder.

2. Christian order is based on obedience to God. Human law reflects the divine law to a significant extent. God’s rights are primary, human rights are derivative.

3. Anti-Christ order – or, rather, disorder – is based on disobedience to God. It is the rejection of the Logos. The motto of Lucifer is “I will not serve.” The clenched fist salute symbolizes this. Since God’s rights are not primary, or the source of human rights, the appeal to human rights is completely deceptive, because the only principle of action is the will to power, and therefore the entire system is inherently criminal.

4. There are both diabolical and human agencies at work. Defect of secular anti-communism is to look only for earthly explanations. Defect of falsely-spiritual approach is to say only demons are our enemies, and you should not try to comprehend the human aspect of the situation. This latter is not really pious, but is both childish and morally irresponsible, being an extreme of imprudence. We always pray to be delivered from enemies both visible and invisible. Prudence demands that we identify the visible enemies.

I. Marxism as a Philosophy vs. Marxist Action

A. Remember that all Antichrist ideology is a cover for demonic criminality.

1. Marxism as philosophy is junk, yet it has demonic power (like Darwinism and Freudianism). There is an invisible power at work that appeals to the demonic love of power in the unregenerate soul. Remember that apart from Faith and Baptism, man is born in a state of enmity with God. Marxism appeals to this enmity, characterized by envy: envy of God, envy of all that is good, noble, beautiful, and true. It is simply nihilism – worship of destruction, of the endless descent into nothingness.

2. Marx (Mordechai) was simply a satanist. Some say his work was dictated directly by demons while he was in a trance-like state. But it is not necessary to prove this in order to perceive that his writings have demonic false wisdom and demonic power.

B. Therefore to spend thousands of pages analyzing Marxism as a historical or economic theory is a waste of time. It does not deserve analysis, because it is trash. More importantly, to spend one’s time doing this, besides being a degradation of the mind, is a distraction from the real task, which is organized, active, militant, and intransigent opposition to a gang of criminals and devil worshippers who hate the Church, and who have murdered millions and intend to murder further millions of people.

1. No one is really a philosophical materialist; everyone has some kind of mystical or metaphysical assumptions and some kind of inner, mystical life. E.g, Richard Dawkins, the great supposed atheist, believes in “aliens.” Either there is the personal God of the Bible or there is just “stuff,” but those who claim to believe in “stuff” have some occult (i.e. hidden) spirituality involving self-worship or aliens or science fiction or direct devil worship.

2. The “march of history” in Marxist thought is just a disguise for the demonic will to power, the program of Anti-Christ. There is no impersonal “force” or “material dialectic.” That’s all nonsense designed to destroy the will of the good to resist.

C. So what we are concerned with is not Marxist “thought,” but Marxist action; what they do as they try to gain power and what they do once they are in power. While they are trying to gain power, they have to act covertly, disguising themselves as something either invisible or as benevolent. Once they are in power, they ruthlessly murder their opposition and install a reign of terror over the bodies and minds of those left alive. Remember, their only justification is their own will to power. This is why a liberal, “fair-minded” or “balanced” approach to dealing with them is useless and suicidal. You don’t negotiate with someone whom you find in the act of killing your family: you shoot him.

D. So-called Marxist revolution is not something only in Russia or Eastern Europe or China. It is the systematic overthrow of traditional society in every part of the world since 1789. It covers every inhabited continent, it uses the same methods everywhere, and it is about to move to a new and possibly final stage here in the United States.

E. Remember the two methods: Violent action and Gramscian march through the institutions. Recall last week’s link to Fr. Peter Heers’s talk: Method of creating a false crisis and offering a false solution to the crisis. Samuel Francis’s concept of “anarcho-tyranny” and current examples:

– Anarcho: Flu hysteria and mob violence

– Tyranny: “Lockdowns,” compulsory vaccination and microchip in response to the manufactured flu crisis; destruction of local police authority and replacement with national (or global!) police in response to the manufactured mob crisis.

II. Marxism as the Inversion of Value

A. In the demonic order of disorder, everything is upside down. Evil is good, war is peace, etc. (cf. Newspeak in Orwell’s 1984).

B. Primary goods are overthrown in the name of secondary goods, which themselves are actually never realized. The sins of those who uphold the primary good of order are blown out of proportion, while the crimes of those who impose diabolical disorder are called virtues.

C. There are pseudo-saints and a pseudo-piety. E.g., the pseudo-relic of Lenin, the “icons” of Che Guevara, cult of Nelson Mandela, or, in recent American society, the “martyrs” Trayvon Martin and George Floyd. Demonic idol worship, e.g., current bizarre ritual of bowing down to anarchists and the clenched fist.

D. Everything good and holy is criminalized, and criminality is normalized. Orderly opposition to tyranny is demonized and anarchical destruction is glorified as “freedom fighting.”

E. An anti-hierarchy is created, in which the lower is placed over the higher: e.g., feminism, permissive child-rearing, homosexualism, exaltation of savagery over culture, modern, senseless “art” over traditional art, etc.

To the extent one participates in or condones or refuses to oppose all this, one becomes an accomplice of the Anti-Christ revolt against God.

III. Russia as the Katehon

A. Russia’ s strengths – Orthodox Russia was the main target, because Russia was holding back the tide of revolution. It was the great Christian power that had several strengths inimical to Revolution:

1. It was the representative of the Christian autocratic authority: Pravoslavie, samoderzhavie, narodnost.

a. Orthodoxy

b. autocratic authority

c. “nativeness,” – love of one’s own native (birth) people and native soil, and the culture that springs from this

2. Combined with vast geopolitical power.

3. Financial independence.

4. Agrarian virtue combined with modern industrial and military might.

Note: Supposed weaknesses of the tsarist system itself are exaggerated. They were real but fixable. All of the great reforms that led to elevating peasant life and the plight of industrial workers were not the result of democratization but the prudent wielding of autocratic authority. Autocracy is the bulwark of the people against oligarchy – see Matthew Raphael Johnson at (Also, see Michael Hudson’s studies on the ancient Near Eastern kingdoms and the debt jubilees enforced by the kings to protect the peasantry from usurers.)

5. Greatest strength of Russia was, of course, Orthodoxy itself. The 19th century saw a tremendous spiritual rebirth in Russia, as we have discussed in early OSC classes (see OSC 24, in particular). Yet it only reached a portion of the society – it was not a comprehensive national repentance. Today we see something similar: There has been no rebirth of Holy Russia, because there is not a comprehensive national repentance, especially for the sins of regicide, apostasy, and complicity in mass murder of the Orthodox people.

B. Real Weaknesses: The bifurcation of Russian society

1. Apostasy of the aristocracy, the intelligentsia, and the liberal clergy.

Lack of repentance of the elite leadership class for Western-inspired secularization and outright persecution of the pious segments of society which began with Peter I.

2. Humanistic, liberal tendency even of the pious royal family due to English influence. Contrast of Alexander III with Alexander II and Nicholas II. The fatal flaws of Victorianism: humanistic softness, “progressive” Christianity of “social reform,” the “white man’s burden” instead of prudent and realistic white self-interest.

C. The Future of Russia is the Future of the World

Because of the peculiar place Russia has held in the world in the second millennium, the repentance and rebirth of Russia is key to what is to transpire here on earth in the near future. The Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia under St. Philaret of New York, had this to say in 1981:

“The Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, after hearing and taking note of the material presented to it by the Synod of Bishops on the development of the ecumenical movement and the wide participation in it of the Moscow Patriarchate, which completely submits to atheistic anti-christ authority, as well as the report on the growth of anti-christ principles in the world, defines:

“1. In accordance with the prophecies of the Holy Scriptures and the interpretation of the Holy Fathers of the Church, it is certain that we are entering one of the apocalyptic periods of human history. In it, the forces of evil threaten to seize leadership around the world. Only repentance and the rebirth of the Orthodox Church in Russia can stop this process. The true Church is already in an undoubted minority, becoming the “little flock” predicted by the Savior. However, He also told Christians not to lose heart even when they survive to the last years of the existence of the world.”

This is the first statement in a longer conciliar resolution whose entire text you can read at Note that the (old/true) ROCOR bishops here were concerned not only for Russia, but for the entire world. They clearly saw that the Antichrist revolt against God is open and proceeding throughout the world, and that only the restoration of a true Orthodox Russia as the katehon could stop this process.

Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, pray to God for us!

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