Voices from Russia

Saturday, 4 May 2013

4 May 2013. A Tale of Two Websites… One “Little Red Hen” (patriarchia.ru)… One “Lazy Red Dog” (oca.org)

00 Holy Saturday 2013. Patriarch Kirill. Moscow. 04.05.13

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Look at the above image. It’s HH blessing Easter baskets in Moscow. That is, Vlad Legoida and his crew of busy beavers are working twice as hard today to bring you the news of another joyous Orthodox Easter. They’re not giving you treacly excuses… they’re not sanctimoniously informing you that they’re going to be incommunicado until Bright Tuesday. No, sir! They’re hard at work NOW… at 01.30 MSK, kids… to make it possible to get the good news about the Good News out as soon as possible. That’s called dedication. Kudos to Vlad Legoida and all of his crew! Stand ’em all a round!

As for Ginny Nieuwsma and the lazy layabouts at oca.org, the less said, the better. It’s another reason why we have to go home…

BMD 

4 May 2013. It’s Started! Easter 2013… The Holy Fire at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem

00 Holy Fire 2013. Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Jerusalem. 04.05.13

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The miracle has happened, yet again… the Holy Fire at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. As always, Russian delegations go the Holy Land to bring the Holy Fire back to Russia on special flights. When HH holds the torch high at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour (as it’s almost 01.00 MSK now, it’s already happened), it’s lit from the Holy Fire. This shows the interconnectedness of the Orthosphere… something that all too many Americans are unaware of. What’s truly saddening is how so few American konvertsy have internalised a sense of “being one” with the Orthosphere… they support the drive of the American rightwing for global hegemony. That shows that they’re NOT one of us in soul.

Yet, for all real Orthodox, the miracle has come… it’s time for the feast!

BMD

4 May 2013. Read n’ Heed… Pentecostalist Propaganda from a Secular Newspaper in Texas… This is Why We Can’t Have ANY Official Contact with “Evangelicals”, Pentecostalists, Mormons, or Other Radical Sectarians

pentecostalists

THIS is Christianity? I think NOT…

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Editor’s Foreword:

READ THIS.

It’s false… it’s revolting in its dishonesty… it’s full of hatred for Our Lord Christ and His Church. Yet… you must know what the enemies of Christ say… and that many of them cloak themselves in pseudo-Christianity. Nasty world, ain’t it? THIS is what the Evangelicals truly think of us… the “nice” people aren’t so nice, are they?

BMD

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The aroma of tobacco lingered on the tips of his fingers and stalled on the fold of his collar. He agreed not to smoke for the duration of the church crusade, but his two-and-a-half-pack-a-day habit had Roy Jacob longing for a cigarette. The then-31-year-old Jacob knew he didn’t belong among the charismatic churchy types surrounding him, who found joy and meaning praising Jesus under a tent in the middle of nowhere, India. However, he was obligated to stay and fake his comfort. He was in charge of the musical entertainment, including 75 musicians and choir members. He’d learned all the church songs so he could teach them to his musicians. Jacob, who now lives in Victoria TX and works as a DuPont lab analyst, didn’t realise it then, but he was about to embark on a journey that would take him far from his roots in a Christian tradition that stretched back 2,000 years in Kerala, India.

The Journey Begins

Jacob knew the conference would soon end, and he’d be free to go home and wrap his lips around a pint of whiskey and inhale a few drags of nicotine. That was the usual sundown routine… a contentious point for his wife, Elsie. He agreed he wouldn’t drink through the weekend. It was a request from the crusade’s organiser, an evangelical preacher who paid him good money during the week to teach his daughter to learn guitar. The preacher and the request, Jacob respected. He’d do about anything to be able to play Western music in front of a crowd. Jacob sat in a chair next to his cousin, Jimmy, in the back of the revival tent, where hundreds of traditionless Pentecostals gathered in Kerala, India, for a weekend of wholesome Christian fellowship.

The crusade was polar opposite from the piety and religiosity of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Orthodox church tradition he was raised in. He was used to high bishops, three-hour-long communions, repeating liturgy on command, and ordered sitting and standing during service. Sitting in the chair, Jacob heard something unusual. Confused, he thought he heard a voice telling him to speak to a pastor. He said he later realised it was the voice of God, guiding him to speak to a man at the front of the room. Jacob had no idea he was about to surrender his life to Jesus, even if it required that he leave his family, and his country and walk away from a 2,000-year-old Orthodox religious family tradition that he had always been told was the only way to heaven.

Growing Up Orthodox

When he was a child in Kerala, India, it wasn’t unusual for his family to entertain high bishops of the Mar Thoma Orthodox church in their home. His father, a respected layman of the church, helped build the Korba Mar Thoma Church from the ground up when the family moved to Korba. Jacob’s father would often invite the high priests to stay in their home and Jacob, now 55, remembers as a young boy, sitting on the bishops’ knees when they’d visit. He remembered what a coup it was for his father, recalling, “My dad was a hard-core Mar Thoma. He had a lot of influence with the bishops. They were always close to us. They always saw big things in our life, and they always thought we’d do something big in the Mar Thoma church”.

Church was never missed on Sunday; Sunday was always respected as a day of rest. Jacob said, “Sabbath meant Sabbath. We couldn’t play radios or work, and if you did anything, it’d have to be Christian. That church was just so traditional… We all hated it as kids”. Even with years of exposure to godly men and his father’s impressed importance of the church, Jacob said he never accepted Christianity. Church was simply something his family did, like watching soccer or drinking tea, noting, “I didn’t have anything to do with God. I was pleasing my dad, I guess”. Still, his father had high hopes for Jacob in the church and was grooming him early to learn and perform musical instruments so he could perform for the church. With a talent for bass, guitar, drums and other instruments, Jacob was put to use as early as sixth grade, conducting choirs and leading music for the church’s youth programme. He said, “My dad’s goal was to make us famous musicians for the church. We were kind of big at one point”. Jacob enjoyed his guitars and performing them for an audience. God didn’t keep him in church, but his love of music and performance did.

History of Orthodox Church (sic)

When St Thomas, one of Jesus’ Twelve Apostles arrived on the coast of Kerala state in 52 AD, he left behind more than the gospel of Jesus. He introduced Christianity to the region, where to this day, Orthodox and Catholic believers in Kerala are quick to inform foreigners their church traditions are rooted in more than 2,000 years of antiquity. By the sixth century, Christianity was firmly planted in the state. The St Thomas Christians, who still practise the faith in Aramaic, the tongue of Jesus’ time, existed peacefully among the Hindus for more than 1,000 years until the Portuguese arrived on a second expedition in the 16th century. Upon their arrival, they forcibly converted many to Roman Catholicism and forced Indian Orthodox believers to acknowledge the Pope above others. Protestantism didn’t arrive until the 19th century, brought by British and American missionaries. It’s still not quite as popular as Catholicism and Orthodoxy.

In subsequent years, many of the Orthodox churches went through periods of branching off and beginning new churches in Kerala, each of them recognise St Thomas as the bringer of Christianity. His Holiness Baselios Mar Thoma Paulose Paul, the supreme head of the Malankara Orthodox Church, a breakaway from Jacob’s Mar Thoma Church {this is laughable… the Malankara Church IS the Mar Thoma Church… what a maroon! It shows the ignorance of American Evangelicals: editor}, acknowledged the divisions inside Orthodoxy, but said he doesn’t feel they weaken Indian orthodoxy or Christianity in general, saying, “When colonisation occurred, some divisions happened. Roman Catholics came, and other denominations came. With the arrival of the Portuguese in 1500s, slowly our freedoms were lost”. He said the other churches, both Orthodox and Catholic, may be separated by name, but they’re together in worshipping the same God, noting, “We keep a traditional faith as it is. We are in communion with other churches. We are one group… same church, same faith”.

However, Jacob said the Mar Thoma church takes its role in preserving the history too seriously. Because members claim their lineage to Syria, and history to St Thomas, no one is admitted as a member of the church unless they’re part of the pure bloodline of Syrian descent. Jacob said, “They’re very prideful of it. Because they claim that’s first church. That’s what they believe”. Members marry only other members of the church, even if it means marrying first and second cousins to preserve the bloodline. Jacob said, “That doesn’t happen as much anymore unless you’re in the smaller villages where the communities are smaller”, mentioning his arranged marriage to wife, Elsie, the day after their engagement. “But, yes, sometimes”. Jacob knew his entire life his marriage would be arranged to a girl of the Syrian Mar Thoma church. Elsie, an educated Orthodox woman from Kottayam, a city about four hours from where he lived in Trivandrum {it hasn’t been called that for 20 years now… it’s Thiruvananthapuram… another case of Evangelical stupidity: editor}, was the perfect match for Jacob. They had nothing in common, except they were single and Orthodox, the only necessary qualifiers. “When we started our life, I wasn’t a Christian. I hated Christians, and always thought they were phonies”.

Born Again in the USA

Sitting in the chair at the back of the crusade, Jacob listened to an American preacher share the gospel with a room of Christian Protestants. He wasn’t thinking about God, but an audible voice crept into his mind and told him to go speak to a man at the front of the room. Jacob said, turning to his cousin, “Jimmy, someone just told me to go speak to that man”. “That was the voice of God”, Jimmy replied, urging him to walk to the front of the tent. Jacob finally went up to the man and explained they were supposed to meet. “You’re not saved, are you?” the man asked. “No”, he replied. “You’re leading all this music at this big event, and you’re not saved?” “I’m not ready to get saved”, Jacob said, flatly. “Why not?” Jacob replied, “I have yet to see a Christian who’s real”. “So you evaluate God based on every Tom, Dick and Harry?”

That was the question that captured Jacob’s heart. That’s when he realised he’d spent his entire life judging everyone else’s relationship with God and realising their imperfections rather than where God had stretched them. He said, “What he said, it hit home for me. I realised I was running away from God. That was the day I got saved. I quit drinking and smoking, and I lost half my vocabulary because I stopped using all curse words”. Jacob got serious about going to church. He was water baptised {“water baptised”… what a maroon! It proves that this article was written by a sectarian fanatic with no real knowledge of actual Christianity: editor} a few weeks later and then spiritually baptised, in which he accepted the gift of speaking in tongues {there’s no such sacrament… it’s a fable of the Pentecostalists: editor}.

Six months later, Elsie was saved. Jacob said, “She came up out of the (baptismal) water speaking in tongues”. Lamenting the years they spent in an unhappy marriage, Jacob said his beloved wife most certainly would have left him if he hadn’t been saved that day. Jacob was ordained in 1989 and felt God leading him to the USA to learn more about church life. He sold his guitars and most of his valuables to pay for his trip to New York. He also gave up a lucrative sales job in India where he was earning a top salary and the respect of his family to follow God’s path in a foreign land. His journey to the states wasn’t easy, but he said God was always near, making sure he was provided for. He left Elsie and their two sons behind for about a year, so he could establish himself in South Carolina and set up a home and job for his family. From New York, he travelled to Virginia, then to Pennsylvania. From there, he travelled to South Carolina, where he and Elsie lived for 22 years with their two sons.

Jacob said they helped launch a church in South Carolina, where Jacob preached and grew a music ministry greater than any he ever envisioned in India. Their sons never felt the burden of church, Jacob said, “Our kids learned the easy way. They didn’t struggle with faith the way we did”. Elsie said, “We had to unlearn a lot of things that were taught by the church. Our kids didn’t have that”. Jacob said that the traditions of Orthodoxy he learned growing up prevented him from knowing the true gospel of Jesus and that he can have a relationship with him. He realised he didn’t have to wear his hair a certain length or dress in a certain type of suit to be a Christian. He said, “These are cultural things. They’re religious spirits, the same as what the Pharisees did. I couldn’t believe at first that a pastor could come preach in jeans. I thought he had no reverence for God. But I learned that God doesn’t care about that. And eventually those things were broken off for us”.

Three years ago, the couple moved to Victoria. Their sons are grown, dating American girlfriends, and Jacob went back to an engineering profession at DuPont. Every morning he reads his Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible, a version named after an American Pentecostal minister. For many years, family back home in Kerala, especially Jacob’s father, weren’t accepting of the couple’s conversion to Pentecostalism. However, as the Jacobs continued to follow God and preach the gospel to their Indian friends and family, members of their family started leaving the Orthodoxy, too. Jacob said, “Her two sisters were saved. My mother was saved. And my father was saved about a year before he died. He told me, ‘I’m going to do what you did, and become a Pentecostal’. He thought he was serving God his entire life, but he wasn’t. He realised there was something more”.

The Jacobs said their sons, who are both studying to become doctors, are considering mission work in India in the next few years. The Jacobs also are considering a return to Kerala to start a church and help others find God the way they did. Jacob said, “There are so many in India who have never heard about Jesus. Our part is to preach, and the Father brings them to Christ. So, I’d love to go back. It’s something I dream of”.

3 May 2013

Jennifer Preyss

Victoria (TX) Advocate

http://www.victoriaadvocate.com/news/2013/may/03/jp_india_christianity_050413_208404/

Editor’s Afterword:

Let’s be frank. The Evangelicals (and all radical sectarians, by the way) hold us in contempt. They believe that their late-blooming American-grown heresy is the Truth of the Ages, hence, they believe that we aren’t Christians at base (they also believe the same of Catholics, by the way). They hate history, they hate art… they hate anything that isn’t “religious”. That is, they hate the secular… even though God created that too (which is not to mention their addiction to vitiating intellectual flapdoodle such as Young Earth Creationism)! They proselytise aggressively amongst our people… and they’ve taken over the US Republican Party. This is why decent right-believing Christians can have nothing to do with the Republican Party or the Pro-Life movement… both have sold out to the sworn enemies of Christ and His Church.

You can believe in Christ or you can believe in Jayzuss… it’s up to you.

BMD

Patriarch Kirill Says Permissiveness Isn’t Freedom

00 The Republican said to God

This is the permissiveness condemned in the present Easter epistle… any questions?

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The MP official website reported that Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow and all the Russias noted that spiritual rather than material values should guide advocates of freedom. In his Easter message to clergy and believers, to be read in churches across the country during the Paschal liturgy early on Sunday, he wrote, “We live at a time when freedom is often interpreted as permissiveness. Many people sincerely believe that only power and wealth, or health and physical strength can bring liberation. Whilst competing in serving the idols of modern times, they often fail to achieve the main thing… the true purpose of existence. Our resurrected Saviour has given us freedom and revealed to us this purpose, which consists in learning the Truth and living a life with God”. He added that only in the struggle with evil could people grow spiritually to become truly free.

Early on Sunday, right after midnight, Patriarch Kirill will serve liturgy in downtown Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. Up to 5,000 believers may attend the Easter service. This year, Russia will celebrate Easter, also known in Orthodox Christianity as Pascha, on 5 May, in line with the Julian calendar, following a long period of fasting. Easter is Christianity‘s most important and joyful feast, when the Church commemorates the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The last days of Holy Week that precede Easter are its most important days. On Holy Thursday, the Church remembers the Last Supper of Jesus and the Apostles. Great and Holy Friday is considered the most sorrowful day of the liturgical year because Christians remember Jesus being crucified and dying on the cross. On Holy Saturday, believers flock to churches to have their Easter eggs and cakes blessed by priests in anticipation of Easter celebrations. According to the New Testament, Christ rose from the dead on the third day after His crucifixion, which is on Sunday, if Friday is included in the count.

In a related item, the RF MVD said that some 10,000 police officers, servicemen, and volunteers would ensure order in Moscow during festivities on Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday.

4 May 2013

RIA-Novosti

http://en.rian.ru/art_living/20130504/180971296/Patriarch-Kirill-Says-Freedom-Is-Not-Permissiveness.html

Editor’s Note:

Note well that HH interprets “permissiveness” as surrender to the zeitgeist of consumerism and greed… not so much sexual immorality. In other words, the struggle against godless libertarianism is more important than any “crusade” against “depravity” or marches for “pro-life politicians” are. The first involves a stand-up fight with a demonic ideology that says that there are no rules, no role for government (or any other outside institution, for that matter) in society, and that autonomous individuals are gods. The second is often a cartoonish caricature of the Church’s actual teachings. No politician who supports drone attacks is pro-life… as for homosexuality, do look at how the Church handled the affair of Nikon Mironov (it didn’t sweep it under the rug, as the OCA does, but it also didn’t allow Mironov to serve as a ruling bishop).

Ultimately, libertarianism says that there are no standards outside of the individual. In short, the Church has no real role to play, save as a chaplain to the idle rich (and issue unctuous soothing platitudes from the likes of Freddie M-G). Let’s not be coy… HH is right. Permissiveness is our enemy… a permissiveness that allows Bain Capital to slash employees’ wages… a permissiveness that allows the grasping Affluent Effluent to avoid their duty to the larger community… a permissiveness that spits on the social justice that Our Lord Christ taught. Depravity is a personal failing… serious, but not fatal to the body at large. Libertarianism is permissiveness walking in Seven-league boots. It’s more dangerous than the early communist persecution of the Church ever was… it sets up Man as an untrammelled and unbounded god, and that’s that. That’s why the upcoming Acton Institute seminar at SVS is absolutely evil and all decent Christians should avoid it. Don’t be fooled by their religious rhetoric… they’re just as much libertarians as the outright godless ones are… and they wink at the atheism implicit in libertarianism. Ponder that well…

You can follow Christ or you can follow the libertarians… it’s your choice.

BMD

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