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

Friday, 29 November 2013

Baby Dies After Parents Trade Hospital For Church After Crash

01d Political Cartoons 08.11

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A couple in Russia face jail after their religious zeal compelled them to drive their child, injured in a car crash, to church for an urgent baptism, not to hospital. On Sunday, Fontanka.ru said that the two-month-old infant was dead by the time it reached the hands of the priest. The report stated that the boy sustained a brain injury in a minor crash in St Petersburg on Saturday despite being in a child safety seat. The SKP cited the worried parents as saying that they sped him to church because “otherwise, he would be denied the Kingdom of Heaven”. Now, the two parents, both in their forties, are under investigation for “failure to aid a person in danger”, punishable with up to a year in prison. Police confirmed the boy’s death, but gave no details. An Orthodox spokesman told Fontaka.ru, “This is superstition, not religion. They should’ve gone to the hospital, it’s only human”. An SKP source noted, “A psychiatric ward is the best temple for such people”. According to Levada, religious sentiment is on the rise of Russia, where 83 percent of the population described themselves as believers in 2012. In 1991, that figure was just 24 percent.

25 November 2013

RIA-Novosti

http://en.ria.ru/russia/20131125/184966751/Baby-Dies-After-Parents-Trade-Hospital-For-Church-After-Crash.html

Editor’s Note:

These “parents” belong in a loony bin. However, this sort of attitude is all too prevalent in some quarters. There are fanatics amongst us who give believers a “bad name”. Most are konvertsy, but there are some elements amongst “native” Orthodox who’re just as bad, especially, some clustered about Jordanville. You’ve heard it all before… Halloween is pagan… priests are “special”… monks are better than laypeople are… “shunning” those they consider “unholy”… the whole rotten megillah. These people wear “long” faces and exude religiosity… but they lack all sense of what it means to be a follower of Christ. I’ve never seen such backstabbing, tale-bearing, and puffed up pride (of course, under a smarmy veneer of “humility”) as I’ve seen in a particular parish. They follow all the rules to the letter (and make up some that don’t exist) and are “so heavenly-minded that they’re no earthly good”. Beware the “religious”… I’ve found them the most treacherous and nasty individuals that I’ve dealt with in life. The truth will set you free… but only if you let it…

BMD 

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin sez that Priests Shouldn’t be Affluent… but They Shouldn’t Live in Poverty Either

01s Faces of a Religious Procession

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Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, the head of the MP Department for Coordinating Church and Society (ОВЦО/OVTsO), warned that well-heeled affluence (мажорства) and miserable poverty amongst the clergy were equal dangers, saying at a Moscow panel discussion on the public perception of the Church’s image, “Of course, most emphatically, the clergy mustn’t succumb to the consumerist notion that we see today… affluence and access to material goods can cause stratification within the clergy, dividing them into rich and poor. This is very bad”.

He went on to say that ordinary people “internally rebel when they see an affluent clergyman”, yet, equally, he doesn’t believe that “it’s beneficial to the Church if the clergy become marginalised outcasts”. He said that there’s a “diminution of the clergy’s status” amongst Catholics and Protestants in the West, which is due to the fact that “secular forces squeezed them out and made them social outcasts. The same thing could happen with us… it’ll drive priests crazy or force them into the labour market if we allow the notion that clergy should live in miserable poverty to settle amongst us. In Russia and Greece, indeed, in all Orthodox lands, the priests usually had a living standard a little bit better than the average working-class family”.

According to Fr Vsevolod, if there’s wealthy people in his parish (or, at least, the comfortably well-off), if the priest lives in want, if he must constantly beg on his knees for his livelihood, “it’s a shame upon the flock, upon that church community, upon all those who frequent the place where that priest serves”. Fr Vsevolod concluded, “Don’t attend to people who imply that a priest shouldn’t live in dignity, with enough material goods”.

5 July 2013

Interfax-Religion

http://interfax-religion.ru/?act=news&div=51853

Editor’s Note:

Many priests are at the mercy of obscurantist parish boards… let’s not be coy about it. That’s wrong. It’s forced priests into the labour market, and, as Fr Vsevolod points up, it’s warped them. It has created a two-tier priesthood here in the Orthodox diaspora… and it’s toxic in all respects. On the one hand, you have affluent priests like Potapov or Warnecke, who’re more bureaucrats or managers than clergy… on the other hand, you have priests on food stamps. That’s wicked. It also means that affluent priests have more effectual power than the bishops do, for “money talks and bullshit walks”.

We’re in the deep kimchi… and the sooner that we realise it, the better off we’ll all be. However, shall we?

BMD  

Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin Urges Orthodox to Change the World… not to Bow Down to It

01zt Faces of a Religious Procession

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Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, the head of the MP Department for Coordinating Church and Society (ОВЦО/OVTsO), noted that Christians are called to change the world, rather than to follow ephemeral secular notions, saying at a Moscow panel discussion on the public perception of the Church’s image, “The role of the Church in society is to change it… not to adapt to it, not to follow it, not to be its willing lapdog… to act as the Lord taught us in the Gospel“. In his view, today, some in the Church are trying to argue that standards vary, based on real or perceived public sentiment, whilst the Lord “submits that we should remake the world, that’s what ​​the Apostles did, even though society was opposed to it”.

Fr Vsevolod believes that the mission of the Church is to speak uncomfortable truths, for which one could face crucifixion, death, or, at least, ridicule; the logic of the historical existence of the Church shows that “if you face criticism for the sake of what’s written in the Gospel, you’re right, you’re part of [the Church’s] mission. Orthodoxy isn’t just some sort of personal faith, without a public dimension. When I hear those who speak like that, I remember the Soviet times, and that the modern West is just like that, where Christian or post-Christian elements are docile and house-broken, trained to behave in an always-apologetic manner”.

According to his lights, the Christian ideal of an optimum society is one modelled along the lines of the Kingdom of Heaven, not ravaged by supposedly inevitable contradictions; a harmonious society in which there should be not only symphonia between the State and the Church, but also between the different layers of society, between the People and Power. Fr Vsevolod also pointed up that the Church as a gathered community of believers has the most dynamic authority in this world, because it gives Christians the Lord, which gives it much greater clout than the power found in the state, public organisations, money, the media, or human intelligence. He reminded us that the Lord entrusted the power to pronounce judgement on mankind’s sin and virtue to the Church, “and the judgement of the gathered Church on issues of human life and death affect our eternal destiny”.

5 July 2013

Interfax-Religion

http://interfax-religion.ru/?act=news&div=51854

Editor’s Note:

Fr Vsevolod speaks the Truth. That being said, the Church has a nuanced position on many issues… and always shall. For instance, the Church is opposed to homosexual propaganda and homosexual clergy and monastics… but it’s also against the Know Nothing ignorance of the Ancient Faith Radio crowd and the konvertsy gathered about James Paffhausen (and others). Remember Nikon Mironov… the last two patriarchs gave him high Church awards for his steadfast confession of Christ’s Truth (no one who burned Schmemann’s and Meyendorff’s books on a public bonfire can be all bad).

For instance, one of the Cabinet told me how some terminally-dumb konvertsy were making the life of a priest (traditional, not an unprincipled SVSnik) miserable because he gave communion to a lesbian couple. They don’t march in parades… they’re known quantities in their (genuine) small town… and the Church doesn’t excommunicate lay homosexuals. In other words, in another case, Fr Ted Bobosh can give communion to Mark Stokoe (after all, Archbishop Job Osacky knew of and blessed this action)… if you have a problem with that, as one priest said in a similar case (with heavy Russian accent), “You can go to bishop if you have problem!” Need I say that the person involved didn’t dare go to the bishop (it was an Old School ROCOR priest, not some SVS or Angliochian floozy).

The Church DOES stand for the Right and it doesn’t compromise. Nevertheless, the Church DOES wield oikonomia as a divine tool of housebuilding… oikonomia never cancels out a principle… it only says that we CAN make individual allowances in discrete and isolated cases. Furthermore, the Church DOESN’T crusade… that’s more a papist or Proddie concept, isn’t it? Remember… there are sins much worse than homosexuality is… such as the love of money, which the Scripture tells us is “the root of all evil”. Certainly, it puts a new face on the konvertsy infatuation with the greedy and warmongering rightwing, no? Think on it…

BMD

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