Voices from Russia

Friday, 26 August 2016

26 August 2016. My “Take” on Heaven and Hell… the “Short Version”

00 dragon in the flames of hell

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St Gregory of Nyssa said that we judge ourselves… God is simply all-present and inescapable. That is, God condemns no one. He pours out His Love out over all of us. How we receive that Love is up to us. That is, Edwards’ Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God (and its like) is a disgusting fairy tale for the credulous. No… the fate of evil-doers is far worse… wanting to escape God’s Presence… but being utterly unable to. After all, didn’t Christ “trample down death by death?” Imagine trying to escape something… but being unable to. The Love of God is the Hound of Heaven for the evil… they can’t escape it or deny it. The Love of God is a Refreshing Spring for believers… it never runs dry or putrid. Heaven and Hell are the same place… we’d just experience it differently. Heaven and Hell are two ways of experiencing God’s objective presence. There is no need of “the fires of hell”… Metropolitan Antony Khrapovitsky thought the tollhouses a peasant fable… such is also true of the “fires of hell”. The reality is stark enough… if you don’t want God in your life, you won’t be able to escape Him… in a word, Hell.

BMD

Monday, 22 August 2016

22 August 2016. What are Martyrs?

00 coptic martyrs of libya 210816

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The 21 Coptic Martyrs of Libya are true Martyrs in the Church sense. That is, they died precisely because they were Christians and they showed great courage and endurance until the end. The Royal Passionbearers aren’t Martyrs… the Church rejects that. The Imperial Family didn’t die because they were Christians… they died because they were the Imperial Family. Passionbearers are those who suffer an unjust death at the hands of enemies and who show Christian forbearance unto the end. There is no “ranking” involved in being a Martyr or a Passionbearer. They’re equal. However, the terms recognise a difference in the objective reality of how the subject met their death. In the one case, they died because they were Christian. In the other, they met an unjust death in a Christian manner. It’s clear to all but the most pigheaded rightwing apologist that the Imperial Family didn’t die for the Faith… they died as they were representatives of a particular social and political order. To call them Martyrs is to blaspheme Martyrdom and spit on the Church’s Judgement.

Martyrdom is what it is… the Imperial Family aren’t Martyrs (it’s equally true that Lenin didn’t order their deaths… ROCOR rightwing lies to the contrary notwithstanding). Have a care… there are charlatans and poseurs afoot…

BMD

Sunday, 21 August 2016

21 August 2016. God Preserve and Keep the Assyrian People

00 assyrian christians 210816

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Assyrians aren’t Syrian… they’re the original Christian inhabitants of Northern Syria/Iraq… they’re not Arabs… they do speak Semitic languages (and most speak Arabic). That is, they’re related to Arabs linguistically and culturally, but they’re not Arabs. Assyrians are from the Church of the East, the Syriac Orthodox Church, and the Chaldaean Catholic Church. Most Assyrians are for President Assad, as the Syrian Arab Army and its allied forces protect them. In Iraq, the USA allowed extremist Islamists to persecute the Assyrians… the USA supports Islamists because of its Saudi and Gulf allies. The USA threw the Christians under the bus.

If you vote for Clinton, Trump, or Johnson, you stick a knife into the Assyrians and twist it. Tote it up for yourself… to protect the innocent Assyrian people, vote Stein…

BMD

Saturday, 20 August 2016

20 August 2016. A Point to Ponder…

00 Glory to the Young Heroes of Novorossiya. 13.03.15

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I want to express my faith in today’s young people. I have said before, and repeat again, that I believe that this generation, the Millennials, is better than my generation. Moreover, I don’t think that they are less spiritual, if anything, they are more spiritually inclined than my generation. It’s true that some previous generations were more externally religious, but they lacked many of the better qualities of humanity such as openness and acceptance of others. The millennials are less prejudiced, more compassionate, and more desirous to know the truth of matters before judging and condemning. When they do seek something spiritual, they aren’t looking for religious tribalism, but spiritual meaning… a more genuine faith, and not a religious tribe that regards other religious tribes with suspicion. I take comfort in the under-30s and teens of this era, they do give me hope for better things to come. The Orthodox Church has much to offer them, and ultimate answers; many of our clergy, however, have little indeed to offer to them except more tribalism, more prejudice, and (sometimes) more hate. One might hope that over the next decade that we might correct this, as we see young men entering the priesthood, that they’d be better educated about humanity itself, and less given to mediaeval superstitions. We should be far more involved in speaking to the aspirations of our present generation and not being critical of their better qualities, rather than striving to inculcate them with our own fears, angst, prejudices, and cynicism.

Archbishop Lazar Puhalo

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