Monday, October 13, 2014

The Origins Of Nature And Evil

In the beginning of time, God created heaven and earth.  Time proceeds from this world, not before the world.

The earth is not suspended in the middle of the universe like a balance hung in equilibrium:  the majesty of God holds it together by the law of His own will.

Evil arose from us, and was not made by the Creator God.  It is produced by the created thing; it does not have the dignity of a natural substance.  It is a fault due to our mutability and is an error due to our fall.

And God said, “Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters and let it separate the waters from the waters; .. and it was so,” Genesis 1:6.  Listen to the words of God, “Let there be,” He said.  This is the word of a commander, not of an adviser.  He gives orders to nature and does not comply with its power.  He does not regard its measurements, nor does He examine its weight.  His will is the measure of things and His word is the completion of the work.

But since His word is nature’s birth, justly therefore does He who gave nature its origin presume to give nature its law.

“Let the earth bring forth,” God said, and immediately the whole earth was filled with growing vegetation.  And to humanity it was said, “Love the Lord your God”; yet the love of God is not instilled in the hearts of all.  Deafer are human hearts than the hardest rock.

The bramble preceded in time the light of the sun; the blade of grass is older than the moon.  Therefore, do not believe that object to be a god to which the gifts of God are seen to be preferred.  Three days [of creation] have passed.  No one, meanwhile, has looked for the sun, yet the brilliance of light has been in evidence everywhere.

“Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures,” Genesis 1:20, said the Lord—a brief statement, but a significant one and one widely effective in endowing with their nature the smallest and the largest animals without distinction.  The whale as well as the frog came into existence at the same time by the same creative power.

Fish follow a divine law, whereas human beings contravene it.  Fish daily comply with the celestial mandates, but humans make void the precepts of God.

Moses saw that there was no place in the words of the Holy Spirit for the vanity of this perishable knowledge which deceives and deludes us in our attempt to explain the unexplainable.  He believed that only those things should be recorded which tend to our salvation.

The Word of God permeates every creature in the constitution of the world.

The divine wisdom penetrates and fills all things.  Far more conviction is gained from the observation of irrational creatures than from the arguments of rational beings.  Of more value is the testimony given by nature than the proof presented by teaching.

 From the writings of St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan +397AD

A Patristic Treasury, Early Church Wisdom for Today, Ancient Faith Publishing, pp 339-342 (excerpts from among those pages)

Sunday, October 12, 2014

All Is Not Right

Our ancestors are heretics and thieves. All of Western Europe is in heresy having been cast out of the Church in 1054. Pride and thievery were bred and birthed by Satan who in turn led the entire Western Orthodox Church into heresy.  A man is known by his deeds and the works of Western heretics have always been acts of thievery and arrogance. In arrogance the leaders of the Western Church sought dominance over their brethren of the East and when they couldn’t dominate and control, they stole to satisfy their greed and carnal desires and the Crusades confirmed their allegiance to the evil one. All this, they did in the name of Jesus Christ and in doing so, they committed blasphemy, justifying their thievery and wiping their lips as dripping with arrogance as though their acts were somehow righteous. 

The arrogance and thievery of Western Christians heretics continues to this day both in Europe and in America. They send out missionary wolves cloaked in sheep’s clothing to open the way for their thievery to continue, stealing the resources of nations while enslaving  and impoverishing the peoples to whom they proclaim a false and polluted gospel. 

America is a classic example of how the practices of Western Christian heretics are manifest. Heretics breed heretics and they are known by their works which are done in the name of Jesus Christ while at the same time smelling of dark sulphur which emanates only from demons. These Western Christian heretics speak righteously while committing acts of wickedness. A grievous example of this was the treatment of the indigenous tribes that were evangelized in the name of Jesus Christ and supposedly for the glory of God. Yet, proclaiming to bring to Christ, these indigenous peoples, instead, they were sacrificed to the demons whom Western Christian heretics serve. Those not killed, were impoverished and their land was stolen by trickery, deceit and violence.  

Western Christian heretics have committed similar acts throughout South America, Africa, and the Middle East, while making it their goal to evangelize the entire world with their false gospel, a gospel not of hope but of despair, not of love but of hate, note of charity but of theft. The Western Christian heretics have always and will continue to sow confusion and chaos wherever they set foot and at the Day of Judgement, the Lord almighty will proclaim to them, “I never knew you, depart from me, you workers of iniquity.”

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Great Protestant Cover Up

I have spent some time today reading and contemplating ancient historical texts, regarding the travels of the Apostles and the Seventy and it has been a truly amazing experience. Think about this for a moment; twelve Apostles and the Seventy, not to mention their companions and helpers spread out over the entire known world of their time preaching the gospel, accompanied everywhere with signs and wonders, (as Christ had promised), and wherever they went they appointed bishops to rule and shepherd the masses that were being converted to ensure the ongoing propagation and preservation of the gospel message in their absence.

This first generation of Apostles and Seventy ministered for perhaps a very conservative total of 720 years among them all, if we were to calculate that each of them was active in ministry a mere ten years which of course for most was far short of how long many ministered. For example, the Apostle John lived to be over hundred years old and came to Christ as a young man. So, if we double that number to a conservative twenty years each, we can count it as, say, 1500 cumulative years of preaching with signs and wonders. That is amazingly long span of history and probably still a conservative number! 

Tell me this, how much of this history have you read? How much of this Apostolic history has any Protestant read? Can you enter into a brick and mortar or online Protestant Christian bookstore anywhere and find references to one of the most amazing periods of history in whole span of man's existence on this earth? Can you pull a book off the shelf of any public or university library that refers to the travels and exploits of the greatest men who have ever lived in the history of the world?  Where are these history books? Were none ever written? 

Could it be possible that of all the ancient libraries in the world today, housing tens, if not hundreds of thousands of texts, books and manuscripts, that none would speak of the greatest period of history the world has ever known? Of course not, the texts, the manuscripts, the books are all there, it's just that Protestants ignore them all. To say nothing was recorded for this period of history would be absolutely ludicrous. Yet of the thousands of books, texts and manuscripts that are available from this period of history, the typical Protestant would say, "Oh you can't believe anything but the b-i-b-l-e, that's the book for me!" Do Protestants say that about historical texts from any other period of history? No, they don't. Why not? What's up with that?  I'll tell you what's up with that, it's called, the greatest cover up of all time and it was all perpetrated by the father of lies, the great deceiver, the one who portrays himself as an angel of light, a beacon of truth and a bulwark of faith.  

Modern man and more specifically, Protestants dwell in darkness and have been kept from reading some the most inspirational stories ever recorded in the history of mankind!  What can be said of a supposedly Christian nation and a supposedly Christian church that has kept these blessed historical books, narratives and stories from us?

I'm only scratching the surface here. What of the first 1,000 or so years following the appearance of the Messiah. Cultures of the East refer to this period of history as the golden age of the Church?  This is the period of history when the gospel had such an influence on the world that entire empires were under the righteous rule of Jesus Christ working through great and honorable Christian emperors and rulers. This was a period when art, architecture and science flourished and as matter of fact, all the great advances of the West can be attributed to what came out of the golden age of the Church but they won't tell you that in school. I think that's called, identity theft.

Do you know what Protestants and our American school system call that period of history? Well, I was taught that it was the, 'dark ages' and never once did I hear it referred to as the 'golden age' of history. As a matter of fact, that period of world history is either entirely ignored or left out of the history books or else it is reported and recorded in a manner seekers of truth would call, revisionist history or propagandist history.  

I have been challenged as of late by a Protestant, who has challenged the veracity of the Orthodox Church and as a consequence, I have been inspired to dig deep to better understand the Protestant American mindset, so that I could give a proper defense for the hope that is me. As a result, my faith has been tested by fire repeatedly over the past four months and all I can say is that it is shining brighter than ever.

There Is Nothing New Under The Sun - Protestantism Is An Ancient Heresy

The doctrine which divides Protestantism also unites Protestants is the same ancient heresy. This heresy was held by the Acephalites and was called the Severian heresy. This heresy is exactly what Protestant sects practice to this day. Instead of returning to the one, true Church, they follow the Severians who were condemned as heretics in the 4th century.

This false teaching held: 

1. The Church does not need bishops, priests, or deacons.

"The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: 2 Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly,[a] not for dishonest gain but eagerly;3 nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; 4 and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away." 1Peter 5
1Tim 3, Philippians 1:1, John 20:23, Matthew 23:1-3

2. Each man is his own bishop and priest.

 "Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine." 1Tim5:17
1Cor 12:28-29, 1Tim1:6-7, Eph 4:11, James 3:1, 2 Peter 2

3. Each man has the right to interpret the Holy Scripture in his own way. 

"And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." 2 Peter 1:19-21  
"Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves."  Acts 20:28-30
We are to depend on the shepherds, teachers, elders and bishops of the Church to teach us, guide, watch over us and protect us from false teachers and wolves that will draw us away from Christ and the true Church. 

4. Each can teach others as he himself understands and believes. 

"For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function,5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness." Romans 12:3-8
“The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?" Jeremiah 17:9  
Thus we need the accountability that comes from being within the Orthodox Church which is the true Church that embodies the fullness of God's riches and gifts for His people. 

Protestants also ally themselves with the arch-enemies of Christ and the Church being iconoclasts, that is, against honoring sacred images and the Cross. Iconoclasts throughout the periods of history when they had influence within the Orthodox Church, imprisoned and martyred Christians who honored sacred images, whereas, when the Iconoclasts were not in positions of influence within the Orthodox Church, they were condemned as heretics but never did the Orthodox Church imprison or execute heretics or Iconoclasts.  

Protestants do not show honor to those to whom honor is due. Protestants do not honor what Christ honors; the Saints, the Apostles, the Church Fathers, the Martyrs, the Theotokos and Virgin Mary.

If a teacher who teaches well is worthy of double honor, (1Tim 5:17), how much more so those followers of Christ,  the Saints, the Apostles, the Church Fathers, the Martyrs, the Theotokos and Virgin Mary,  who far exceeded the requirements for double honor among elders?

There is nothing new under the Sun and every heretical doctrine that has arisen through the Church ages was dealt with by the first Seven Ecumenical Synods of the Church as they were guided by the Holy Spirit of God.

Take Heed...

"Even if God determines the chief lines of our life, He, according to our prayers and merits, can change them. Thus, He prolonged King Hezekiah's life for fifteen years: "Go and say to Hezekiah, thus said the Lord, the God of David Your father, I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears: behold I will add unto your days fifteen years" (Isaiah 38:5), and to the Venerable Dius (July 19) he likewise prolonged his life for fifteen years. God extended the life of St. Basil the Great, according to the prayer of the saint for one day until he baptized the Jew, Joseph, his physician. But, as God can, by prayer, prolong life, so He can shorten it because of sin. Emperor Anastasius adhered to the Severian heresy, so called the Acephalites (the headless ones), who spread the foolishness that the Church does not need bishops and priests but rather that everyone unto himself is a bishop and a priest and that everyone has the right, in his own way, to interpret Holy Scripture and to teach others as he understands and believes. In vain did St. John the Patriarch counsel the emperor to return to the truth of Orthodoxy, and not only did the emperor not accept the counsel but rather ill-treated the patriarch in various ways and contemplated to have him banished. One night, the emperor saw in a dream an awesome man on an exalted throne, who held a book in his hand. This man opened the book, found the name of Emperor Anastasius and said: "I have wanted to permit you to live for a while longer but, because of your heresy, behold, I am erasing fourteen years from your life." And he erased something from the book. Terrified, the emperor jumped up from his dream and related his dream to his followers. After a few days, thunder struck the emperor's palace and killed Emperor Anastasius.
From the Prologue from Ohrid, compiled by Nikolai Velimirovic.

A Call To Repentance

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” 

These are the words of St John the Baptist and of our Lord, Jesus Christ.  Matthew 3:2 & 4:17.

The Orthodox Church is the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. The true Christ can only be known by entering into the Kingdom of Heaven and the gates that open up to the Kingdom of Heaven are one and the same as the gates that lead into the Orthodox Church.  
The Ancient Orthodox Church holds the keys to heaven and the shepherds appointed by God through the workings of the Holy Spirit have been appointed as gatekeepers to protect the church from wolves and thieves. 

"If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” John 20:23

Unless You Eat My Body And Drink My Blood, You Can Have No Part Of Me

53 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For My flesh is food indeed,[h] and My blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me.58 This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.”
59 These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum.
Many Disciples Turn Away 
60 Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?”
61 When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. 65 And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.”
66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. 67 Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?”
The sacramental mysteries can only be known within the Orthodox Church. Modern day Romans and Protestants are descendants of those believers that fell away from the Church so long ago having rejected the true Christ, embracing a Christ of their own making. 

Matthew 7
13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because[a] narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it." 

Matthew 13
45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, 46 who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

Final Closing Comment

20 The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself. Ezekial 18:20

We have many friends and family members who have never heard of the Orthodox faith or have not given an accurate explanation of what it is. Each of us will only be accountable for what we know and not what we don't know.  God is just and merciful and will show mercy and judge accordingly.

"For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. 10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire." 1 Cor 3:9-15

Sign Of The Cross

As the writer of Ecclesiastes stated, “There is nothing new under sun.” Consequently, all Orthodox practices and beliefs have their origins in the Law and Prophets. Judaic traditions evolved into Christian traditions primarily under the early influence of the Apostles. 

The first certain written historical evidences we have of the use of the sign of the cross is from the ecclesiastical writer, Tertullian, (230 AD) who tells us that candidates for baptism are marked with a sign of the cross on their foreheads during their time of instruction.  

Additionally, Tertullian taught: "In all our travels and movements, in all our coming in and going out, in putting on our shoes, at the bath, at the table, in lighting our candles, in lying down, in sitting down, whatever employment occupies us, we mark our foreheads with the sign of the cross".

St. Cyril of Jerusalem (386 AD) in his Catechetical Lectures stated, "Let us then not be ashamed to confess the Crucified. Be the cross our seal, made with boldness by our fingers on our brow and in everything; over the bread we eat and the cups we drink, in our comings and in our goings out; before our sleep, when we lie down and when we awake; when we are traveling, and when we are at rest"

The Lord in preparing the way for the Messiah, gave to Israel instructions regarding how they were to live out their faith as a 'people set apart',  in a practical way.  From the earliest Old Testament times, Jews had the practice of wearing certain Scripture texts in a little box on their arms and on their foreheads. This practice had it roots from several passages in the Law, in particular Deut. 6:4-8:
"Hear, O Israel! The LORD our God is one. Therefore, you shall love the LORD, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength. Take to heart these words which I enjoin on you today. Drill them into your children. Speak of them at home and abroad, whether you are busy or at rest. Bind them at your wrist as a sign and let them be as a pendant on your forehead."
In this passage the first verse (the "Shema Israel") is tantamount to Judaism's Creed - the Lord is one. This basic truth of one God who is Lord of Israel set the People of the Old Covenant apart from the unbelieving "nations" or Gentiles.

Later in history God will say, "Pass through the city (Jerusalem) and put a mark on the foreheads of those who moan and groan over all the abominations that are practiced within it" (Ezekiel 9:4). Here Ezekiel is speaking of the remnant of the people of God who remain faithful, to set them apart from the unfaithful. The Hebrew word for mark is the same as for the last letter of the alphabet, Tav, which in hand-written form is cross-shaped. It was used in the ancient world to brand animals. In Greek this is Tau, T, the shape of Jesus' actual cross.

In the book of Revelation the servants of the Antichrist are to have their own peculiar mark (Rev. 14:9) to indicate their belonging to him.

So, as Jews wore their sign of belief in God, as the supporters of the Antichrist will wear his mark, so the Orthodox have since antiquity worn and practiced the sign of the cross, as the outward manifestation and proclamation to the world that we are followers of Christ.  

The Sign of the Cross expresses belief in the Christian truths of the Holy Trinity and Christ crucified, as well as an expression to the visible and invisible world of our commitment to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind and strength.  Additionally, St. Paul says in 1 Cor. 1:23-24, "We proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God."  

Consequently, the sign of the cross is an outward proclamation confirming to God, the saints, the angels, the demons and the world, that we are Christians who are trusting in Christ and calling on Christ, to guide us, help us, protect us and save us. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Everything Is Water

My passion is studying water but not in a laboratory with elaborate instruments but in nature watching the effects of invisible forces on water and then creating products from those observations that can benefit plants, animals, people and the environment. 

God created water and He created man from water. 
Water is what we are along with created light and the uncreated light of God's breath breathed into us.
All elements on the periodic table are constructed of the hydrogen element. 
The definition for hydrogen is: water in the beginning.
All creation groans for redemption because all creation is composed of water and thus connected.
The grievous reverberations of man's fall in the garden spread throughout all creation and is with us until redemption is complete with the return of Christ.
God used two ingredients to create the world and the cosmos: water and light. Creation is made up of water and light in different densities, configurations and combinations.
Mankind lives in a perpetually ungrateful state and because of mankind’s brokenness, we are continually given over to destroying what God has made, whether it be our fellow man or the environment. 
Mankind was judged once before and the earth was flooded and only Noah, his family and the animals on the ark survived God’s just judgement. 
Because of our wretched condition, mankind will be once more be judged and it will be a final judgement by fire. This time God will provide another ark and it will be Christ Himself. All those that enter into the Ark of Christ will be saved from the eternal fires prepared for the Evil one, the demons and all those that refuse to bow to Christ, Lord of the universe.

After the final judgement, a new earth and new heavens will be built from the ashes and Christ shall reign forever and all sorrow, tears and violence will be put away never to return again and we shall live forever in peace and harmony with our Creator in a place where the  waters will provide refreshment forever and forever.  
Read more about water at

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Whatever Happened To The Gifts Of The Magi?

“The gifts that the magi brought to the Infant Christ were carefully preserved by the Mother of God. Before her blessed Dormition, she gave them to the Jerusalem Church. They were located there until the year 400. Later, the Byzantine Emperor Arcardius translated them to Constantinople and placed them in the Hagia Sophia church. In 1453, Constantinople fell. In 1470 the daughter of the Serbian ruler George Brankovich, Maria (Maro), who was the widow of the Turkish sultan Murat (Murada) II (1404–1451), gave the Gifts of the Magi to the Monastery of St. Paul, which was Serbian until 1744. Despite the fact that she was the wife of a sultan she did not accept Islam and remained a Christian until the end of her life. On the place were Maria knelt a cross was placed called the Queen’s. In the chapel that stands next to it is a depiction of the monks’s meeting of this great relic. There is a tradition that the pious Maria wanted to bring the Gifts of the Magi into the monastery herself but at the its walls she was stopped by a heavenly voice as once was the Empress Placidia at Vatopedi, reminding her that the Athonite rule forbids women from entering the monastery.

The Gifts of the Magi are reverently preserved in the monastery in small reliquaries: twenty-eight small rectangular gold wafers, a tetragon and a polygon, decorated with elegant filigree ornaments. This is the gold that the magi brought the God-Child as to the King. Besides this there are around seventy small olive-sized balls of incense and myrrh. These relics are very fragrant. Demoniacs have been healed by them.”

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


Written by Vladimir Moss

Seeker. What is Orthodoxy?

Orthodox. “Orthodoxy” means “right glory”, giving the right glory to God. For there is also a wrong glorification of God, a glorification in which He takes no pleasure. “Unto the sinner God hath said: Why declarest thou My statutes and takes up My covenant in they mouth?” (Psalm 49.17 (LXX)). Thus Orthodoxy is the giving of right glory to God through the right faith and right worship.

Seeker. Why is right faith necessary?

Orthodox. We cannot glorify that which we do not know, and right faith is the true knowledge of God. Those who do not have the right faith cannot glorify God rightly. To them the true believers say, not with arrogance but in humble recognition of the treasure they have received: “Ye know not what ye worship: we know what we worship” (John 4.22).

Seeker. What is the Orthodox Church?

Orthodox. The Orthodox Church is the Church which has Orthodoxy – “the faith once given to the saints”(Jude 9) and the “worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4.23) – that is, the worship of God the Father in the Son, Who is the Truth, and in the Holy Spirit, Who is the Spirit of truth. She is the Body of Christ, the Dwelling-place of the Holy Spirit, the Ark of salvation, the True Vine. By another definition She is the Church that is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic – One in Her unity in faith and worship, Holy in Her sacraments and the multitude of holy men and women she has produced, Catholic in Her wholeness in each of Her constituent parts, Apostolic in Her origin and unbroken succession from the Apostles and in Her fidelity to the Apostolic teaching. St. Germanus of Constantinople defines the Church as “a divine house where the mystical living Sacrifice is celebrated,... and its precious stones are the divine dogmas taught by the Lord to His disciples.”

Seeker. What bigotry! What, then, are the other Churches – the Roman Catholic and the Protestant, for example?

Orthodox. They are branches that have been cut off from the True Vine in the course of the centuries. The Western Church was Orthodox for the first thousand years of Christian history. But in 1054, after a long period of decline, Rome broke away from the Orthodox East and introduced a whole series of heretical teachings: the infallibility and universal jurisdiction of the Pope, the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son (the Filioque), indulgences, purgatory, created grace, etc. The Protestants broke away from Rome in the sixteenth century, but did not return to Orthodoxy and the True Church. Instead, they introduced still more heresies, rejecting Tradition, the Sacraments, praying for the dead, the veneration of Saints, etc.

Seeker. But are there not good people among the other Churches?

Orthodox. “Someone came and said unto Him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And He said unto him, Why callest thou Me good? There is none good but One, that is, God. But I thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments” (Matthew 19.16-17).

Man in his present fallen state is not, and cannot be, good. “There is none that doeth good, no not one” (Psalm 13.4). Even the Apostles were called evil by the Lord (Luke 11.13). Man can become good only through union with the only Good One, God. And this union is possible only through keeping the commandments, of which the first is the command to repent and be baptized. Unless a man has repented and been baptized through the One Baptism of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, thereby receiving God’s goodness within himself, he cannot be said to be good in any real sense. For the “goodness” of the fallen, unbaptized man is not good in God’s eyes, but “filthy rags”, in the words of the Prophet Isaiah.

Seeker. So the Orthodox are good, and all the rest are bad? A pretty self-righteous religion, I should say, just the kind of pharisaical faith the Lord condemned!

Orthodox. No, we do not say that all the Orthodox are good, because it is a sad fact that many, very many Orthodox Christians do not use the goodness, the grace that is given to them in Holy Baptism to do truly good works. And their condemnation will be greater than those who have never received Baptism. “For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them” (II Peter 2.21). “For if we sin deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful prospect of judgement, and a fury of fire which will consume the adversaries. A man who has violated the law of Moses dies without mercy at the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment do you think will be deserved by the man who has spurned the Son of God, and profaned the Blood of the Covenant by which he was sanctified, and outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know Him Who said, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.’ And again: ‘The Lord will judge His people.’ It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10.26-31).

Seeker. What a bleak picture you paint! The unbaptized cannot do good, and those who sin after baptism are destined for even worse condemnation!

Orthodox. Not quite. Although we cannot be baptized again for the remission of sins, we can receive remission of sins in other ways: through prayer and tears, through fasting and almsgiving, above all through the sacraments of Confession and Holy Communion. God does not reject those who repent with all their heart. As David says: “A heart that is broken and humbled God will not despise” (Psalm 50.17).

Seeker. But is not such repentance possible for all men? Did not David repent in the Psalm you have cited, and receive forgiveness from God?

Orthodox. Yes, but salvation does not consist only in the forgiveness of sins, but also in acquiring holiness, that holiness “without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12.14), that holiness which is given only in the sacraments of the Church and which can be lost unless we conduct an unremitting ascetic struggle against sin. Moreover, original sin can only be remitted in the baptismal font.

Seeker. So not even David was saved?

Orthodox. Not even David was saved before the Coming of Christ. Even the Patriarch Jacob anticipated going to Hades (Sheol) after his death together with his righteous son Joseph: “I shall go mourning down to my son in Hades” (Genesis 37.35). For “all these [Old Testament righteous], though well attested by their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had foreseen something better for us [the New Testament Christians], that apart from us [outside the New Testament Church] they should not be made perfect” (Hebrews 11.39-40).

Seeker. What is original sin?

Orthodox. A certain contagion that we receive by inheritance through our parents from Adam, who committed the original sin.

Seeker. How can we be responsible for Adam’s sin?

Orthodox. We are not responsible for it, but we are defiled by it.

Seeker. Even children?

Orthodox. Even children. For “even from the womb, sinners are estranged” (Psalm 57.3). And as Job says: “Who shall be pure from uncleanness? Not even one, even if his life should be but one day upon the earth” (Job 14.4 (LXX)).[1] Again, St. Gregory of Nyssa writes: “Evil was mixed with our nature from the beginning… through those who by their disobedience introduced the disease. Just as in the natural propagation of the species each animal engenders its like, so man is born from man, a being subject to passions from a being subject to passions, a sinner from a sinner. Thus sin takes its rise in us as we are born; it grows with us and keep us company till life’s term”.[2] That is why the Church has from the beginning practiced infant baptism “for the remission of sins”.

Seeker. It still seems unfair to me that anyone, let alone tiny children, should suffer for someone else’s sin.

Orthodox. God’s justice is not our justice. And remember: if it is unfair that we should suffer because of Adam’s sin, it is no less unfair that we should be redeemed because of Christ’s virtue. The two “injustices” are symmetrical and cancel each other out: “As by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous” (Romans 5.19).

Seeker. So it is impossible to be good outside the Church, because sin and the roots of sin are extirpated only in the Church?

Orthodox. More than that: only in the Church can sin be known. For only to the Church has the will of God been made known in its fullness. And if we do not know what the will of God is, we cannot repent properly of our transgression of His will. The Church is the only hospital in which we receive both the correct diagnosis of the disease and complete healing from it.

Seeker. Alright. But how, then, are miracles done outside the Church, and even in non-Christian religions?

Orthodox. Miracles – if they are truly from God, and not from the evil one – are a proof, not (or not necessarily) of the goodness of the human miracle-worker, but of the mercy of God.

Seeker. So if a Catholic or an Anglican or a Hindu works a miracle, that is nothing, whereas if an Orthodox does it, it’s great!

Orthodox. I didn’t say that. What I said was that the working of a miracle, if it is of God, tells us first of all that God is merciful. Whether it also proves the goodness of the human miracle-worker (or of the recipient of the miracle) is quite another question, which requires careful examination.

I do not deny that true miracles can take place outside the Church. After all, God “maketh His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5.45). And when St. John forbade a man who was casting out demons in Christ’s name “because he followeth not us”, Christ did not approve of his action. “Forbid him not,” he said; “for there is no man which shall do a miracle in My name that can lightly speak evil of Me. For he that is not against us is on our side” (Mark 9.38-40).

On the other hand, the Lord also said: “Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? And in Thy name cast out demons? And in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them: I never knew you, Depart from Me, ye workers of iniquity!” (Matthew 7.22-23). So it is possible to work a miracle in Christ’s name, and yet be an evil man. And God may work the miracle through the evil man, not in order to testify to the man’s (non-existent) goodness, but purely out of compassion for the miracle’s recipient. After all, Judas worked miracles – but St. John the Baptist, the greatest born of woman, worked no miracles…

Nor must we forget that Christian-looking miracles and prophecies can be done through the evil one. Thus a girl spoke the truth about the Apostle Paul, exhorting people to follow him – but she spoke through a pythonic spirit which Paul exorcised (Acts 16.16-18). I believe that the vast majority of miracles worked in pagan religions such as Hinduism are from the evil one; for “all the gods of the heathen are demons” (Psalm 95.5).

Seeker. If even miracle-workers can be of the evil one, who can be saved?

Orthodox. One must always distinguish between the possession of spiritual gifts and salvation. “Do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you;” said the Lord, “but rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10.20). “If I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing” (I Corinthians 13.2).

Seeker. Ah now that’s where I agree with you! Love is the essential mark of the Christian. And I have to say that’s just what I find distinctly lacking in your exposition. Such pride to think that you Orthodox, and you alone, belong to the True Church! And such hatred to think that everyone except you is going to be damned!

Orthodox. But I didn’t say that!

Seeker. You did!

Orthodox. I said that the Church of Christ, by which I mean exclusively the Orthodox Church, is the only Ark of salvation. But I did not say that all those in the Ark will be saved, for they may cast themselves out of it by their evil deeds. And I did not say that those who are swimming towards the Ark but who were cut off from entering it before their death, cannot be saved. Who knows whether the Sovereign God, Who knows the hearts of all men, may not choose to stretch out His hand to those who, through ignorance or adverse circumstances, were not able to enter the Ark before the darkness of death descended upon them, but who in their hearts and minds were striving for the truth? “Charity hopeth all things” (I Corinthians 13.7).

Seeker. [ironically] How charitable of you! But this is more a pious hope than an article of faith for you, isn’t it?

Orthodox. Of course. From the point of dogmatic faith, we can and must assert that, as St. Cyprian of Carthage said, “there is no salvation outside the Church”.[3] For the Lord Himself says, with great emphasis: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, unless a man is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God” (John 3.5). And again: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, unless you eat of the Flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His Blood, you have no life in you” (John 6.53). And the Apostle Peter says: “If the righteous man is scarcely saved, where will the impious and sinner appear?” (I Peter 4.18).

Moreover, if we, arrogantly presuming to be more “merciful” than the All-Merciful Lord Himself, take it upon ourselves to “absolve” those living in false religions or heresies, we sin not only against dogmatic faith, but also against love. For then we make ourselves guilty of leading them further into error by giving them the false hope that they can stay in their falsehood without danger to their immortal souls. We take away from them the fear of God and the spur to search out the truth, which alone can save them.

Seeker. And yet you spoke earlier about “ignorance and adverse circumstances”. Surely God takes that into account!

Orthodox. Of course He does. But “taking into account” is not the same as “absolving of all guilt”. Remember the parable of the negligent servants: “That servant who knew His master’s will, but did not make ready or act according to His will, shall receive a severe beating. But he who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, shall receive a light beating” (Luke 12.47-48). In other words, ignorance of the Lord’s will and of His truth can mitigate His sentence, but it cannot remove it altogether.

Seeker. Why? Did not the same Lord say: “If ye were blind, ye would have no sin” (John 9.41)?

Orthodox. Because we are never totally blind. Being made in the image of God, we always have some access to that “Light that enlighteneth every man that cometh into the world” (John 1.9). Thus the Apostle Paul says plainly that pagans who do not believe in the One Creator of the universe are “without excuse”; “for what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature, namely, His eternal power and divinity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made” (Romans 1.19-20). God “did not leave Himself without witness” even among the pagans, “for He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness” (Acts 14.17). Moreover, as the Wisdom of Solomon declares, any man with a conscience knows instinctively that the sacrifice of children is evil. That is why some of the greatest Christians, such as St. Barbara, rejected paganism even without the help of a Christian preacher.

The Holy Fathers say that every man has creation outside him and conscience within to lead him away from falsehood and towards the Church, which is the third great witness to the truth, “the pillar and ground of the truth”, as St. Paul calls it (I Timothy 3.15). Creation and conscience alone cannot reveal the whole truth to him; but if he follows that partial revelation which creation and conscience provide, God will help him to find the fullness of truth in the Church. Nor is there any situation in life, however remote from, and opposed to, the Church, from which the Lord, Who wishes that all be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth, cannot rescue the genuine seeker.

Seeker. But what if the pagan or the heretic has never met the truth in the Church, or has met only very sinful or ignorant representatives of the Church? Can he not then be said to be blind and ignorant, and therefore not sinning?

Orthodox. Everything depends on the nature and degree of the ignorance. There is voluntary ignorance and involuntary ignorance. If there were not such a thing as involuntary ignorance, the Lord would not have said on the Cross: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23.34). And His prayer was answered, for on the Day of Pentecost, Peter called on the Jews to repent, saying, “I know that you acted in ignorance” (Acts 3.17), after which thousands repented and were baptized. Again, the Apostle Paul “received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief” (I Timothy 1.13). But note that all these people responded to the truth when it was presented to them. This showed that their ignorance had been involuntary, and therefore excusable. On the other hand, there is a hardness of heart that refuses to respond to the signs God gives of His truth, the signs from without and the promptings from within. This is voluntary ignorance. People who are hardened in this way do not know the truth because they do not want to know it. This stubborn refusal to accept the truth is what the Lord calls “the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 12.32), which will not be forgiven in this world or the next.

Seeker. Why can it not be forgiven?

Orthodox. Because forgiveness is given only to the penitent, and penitence is a recognition of the truth about oneself. However, if a man refuses to face the truth, and actively fights against it in his soul, he cannot repent, and so cannot be forgiven. In fighting against truth, he is fighting against the Holy Spirit of truth, Who leads into all truth (John 16.13). It is possible for a man to be sincerely mistaken about Christ for a while, and this can be forgiven him, as it was forgiven to the Apostle Paul. But if such ignorance is compounded by a rejection of the promptings to truth placed in the soul by the Spirit of truth, there is no hope. So the pagan who stubbornly remains in His paganism in spite of the evidence of creation and conscience, and the heretic who stubbornly remains in his heresy in spite of the teaching of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, are both blaspheming against the Spirit of truth, and cannot be saved.

Seeker. So is there really no hope for the heretic?

Orthodox. While there is life there is hope. And there are many examples of people who have remained in heresy all their lives but have been converted to the truth just before their death. There is no hope only for those who do not love the truth. Such people the Lord will not lead to His truth, because they do not desire it. Rather, He will allow them to be deceived by the Antichrist “because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sendeth upon them a strong delusion, to make them believe what is false, so that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (II Thessalonians 2.10-12).

Seeker. Alright. But I am still not convinced that only your Church is the True Church. In fact, I am not happy with the concept of “the One True Church” in general. It smacks of bigotry and intolerance to me.

Orthodox. You know, tolerance is not a Christian virtue. Love is.

Seeker. You amaze me! Is not tolerance a form of love? And is not all hatred forbidden for the Christian?

Orthodox. No. The Lord our God is a zealous God, and He expects zeal from us – zeal for the good, and hatred for the evil. “Ye that love the Lord, see to it that ye hate evil” (Psalm 96.11). What He hates most of all is lukewarmness: “I know your works: ye are neither cold nor hot. Would that ye were cold or hot! So, because ye are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth… So be zealous and repent” (Revelation 3.15-16, 19). St. Gregory of Nyssa wrote: “The Lawgiver of our life has enjoined upon us one single hatred. I mean that of the serpent, for no other purpose has He bidden us exercise this faculty of hatred, but as a weapon against wickedness.”[4]

Seeker. But that still means we are not allowed to hate human beings. Are we not meant to hate the sin and love the sinner? This is the kind of teaching that leads to burning heretics at the stake!

Orthodox. No. Neither St. Gregory nor any other saint of the Orthodox Church that I know of advocated persecuting people for their religious convictions. Christian love abhors using violence as a means of persuading people for the simple reason that such “persuasion” may change the movement of a person’s body or tongue, but never of his heart. But it does not go to the other extreme and ceases trying to persuade them by reasoned argument. Nor, if they persist in their false teachings, does it hold back from protecting others from their influence! If we love the sinner and hate his sin, then we must do everything in our power both to deliver him from that sin and protect others from being contaminated by it.

Seeker. I think this is the kind of bigotry that comes from believing that one is in “the One True Church”. It is the source of religious persecution, the Inquisition, etc.

Orthodox. The cause of religious persecution is not the claim to possess the truth, which all rational people who have thought out their beliefs claim, but human passions.

Seeker. What about Ivan the Terrible? What about most of the Orthodox emperors? Did they not discriminate against heresy?

Orthodox. Ivan was excommunicated by the Church, and was rather a persecutor of the Orthodox than an instrument of their persecuting others. As for the emperors’ discriminating against heresy, I am all in favour of that. It is irrational to place truth and falsehood on an equal footing. St. Theodosius of the Kiev Caves, one of the greatest saints who ever lived, said that by honouring others’ faiths we dishonour our own. Do our schools give equal honour to the theories of Ptolemy and Newton? Of course not!

Seeker. But that’s different! There we’re talking about scientific facts!

Orthodox. I don’t see any difference in principle. Our principle is: speak the truth at all times, reject falsehood at all times. If scientists do that in their sphere, where there is no certainty and “facts” are constantly being disputed by later investigators, why should we not do it in the incomparably higher and more important sphere of religious faith, whose incontrovertible facts have been communicated to us by the Truth Himself? For as St. Paul says about the Gospel: “I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1.12).

Seeker. And if everyone claims to have received a revelation from God?

Orthodox. Then we must patiently investigate who is telling the truth and who has been deceived by “the father of lies”. Just as scientists have methods for comparing different hypotheses and determining which (if any) is the correct one, so do we Orthodox Christians have methods of determining what is truth and what is falsehood in the religious sphere. And just as scientists will never accept that there can be more than one true explanation of an empirical phenomenon, so we will never accept that there can be more than one religious truth.

Seeker. Cannot different religious faiths each reveal part of the truth?

Orthodox. No. The Truth is One, and has been revealed to us by the Truth Himself: “One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism” (Ephesians 4.4).

Seeker. So there is no truth at all in any of the non-Christian religions?

Orthodox. I didn’t say that. Satan likes to appear as an angel of light (II Corinthians 11.14); he “mixes truth with unrighteousness” (Romans 1.18). Thus with the bait of such fair-seeming ideals as “love”, “peace” and “freedom”, which correctly interpreted are indeed goods from God, he lures them into an abyss of falsehood. There is only one religion which contains “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth”. All the others, being parasitical on the One Truth, contain partial truths, but make even these partial truths false by association with falsehood, just as even a small dose of poison in a wholesome loaf makes the whole loaf poisonous.

Seeker. So there are partial truths in other religions, but no salvation?

Orthodox. Right. For as St. Peter said of Christ: “There is salvation in none other: for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4.12).

Seeker. What about the Muslims and the Jews? Do they not believe in the same God as we – the God of Abraham, their common ancestor?

Orthodox. The Lord said to the Jews: “If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham” (John 8.39). And St. Paul said: “Know ye therefore that they which are of the faith” – that is, the faith in Christ – “are the children of Abraham” (Galatians 3.7). The God of Abraham is the God of our Lord Jesus Christ; Abraham himself looked forward to the Coming of Christ in the flesh – “Abraham saw My day and was glad” (John 8.56).

Seeker. Alright. But do not the Jews and Muslims also believe in the God of the Old Testament, Jehovah, Who is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ?

Orthodox. We believe that the great majority of the appearances of God in the Old Testament were appearances of the Son, not of God the Father. Contrary to the belief of the Jehovah’s witnesses, the “Jehovah” of the Old Testament is Christ Himself. Moses and Elijah appeared with Christ at the Transfiguration to show that it is He Who appeared to them in the cloud and the fire and the still, small voice; it is He Who is the God of the Law and the Prophets.

Seeker. But do not the Muslims believe in Christ after their fashion?

Orthodox. They believe that He is a prophet who is coming again to judge the world. But they do not believe in His Divinity, nor in His Cross and Resurrection – the central dogmas of our Faith. Remember that since God is a Trinity of Persons, it is impossible rightly to believe in One of the Persons and not in the Others. For “whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father” (I John 2.23).

Moreover, the Muslims believe in the false prophet Mohammed, who contradicts Christ’s teaching in many respects. For example, the Muslims say that a man can have four wives, but Christ – only one. If they truly believed in Christ, they would not follow Mohammed’s teaching instead of Christ’s.

Seeker. But the Jews are the chosen people, are they not?

Orthodox. They were the chosen people, but then God rejected them for their unbelief and scattered them across the face of the earth, choosing the believing Gentiles in their place.

Seeker. But the religion of the Old Testament was the true religion, was it not? And insofar as they practise that religion, they are true believers, are they not?

Orthodox. The religion of the Old Testament was a true foreshadowing of, and preparation for, the full revelation of the Truth in Jesus Christ. But once the fullness of the Truth has appeared, it is impious to remain with the shadow; indeed, to mistake the shadow of the Truth for the Truth Himself is a grievous delusion. In any case, the Jews do not practise the Old Testament religion.

Seeker. What are you talking about?! Of course they do!

Orthodox. Since the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D., it has been impossible for the Jews to practise the main commandment of their religion, which was to worship God with sacrifices in the Temple three times a year – at Pascha, Pentecost and the Feast of Tabernacles. Thus has the prophecy of the Prophet Hosea been fulfilled: “The children of Israel shall dwell many days without king or prince or sacrifice” (Hosea 3.4).

Seeker. What is their present religion then?

Orthodox. Not the religion of the Old Testament, but the religion of the Pharisees, which Christ rejected as being merely “the traditions of men”. Its relationship to the Old Testament is tenuous. Its real holy book is not the Holy Scriptures of the Old Testament, but the Talmud, a collection of the teachings of the Pharisees.

Seeker. And what does that teach?

Orthodox. The most extreme hatred of Christ and Christians. Not only does the Talmud deny the Divinity and Resurrection of Christ: it reviles Him as a sorcerer and a bastard, the son of a Roman soldier called Panthera and an unclean woman. Moreover, it teaches a double standard of morality: one for fellow Jews, quite another for the goyim, the Gentiles, who are not even accorded the dignity of fully human beings.

Seeker. But is this not anti-semitism?

Orthodox. Anti-semitism as a racist attitude of hatred for all Jews as such is of course contrary to the Christian Gospel. Nor can Christians approve of those cruelties that have been perpetrated against the Jews (not the discrimination against their teaching, but the physical violence against their persons) down the centuries. But this in no way implies that Christians must participate in the campaign of whitewashing the Jews that has been continuing for nearly a century in both religious and non-religious circles. As the Gospels clearly indicate, the Jews killed Christ and brought His Blood upon themselves and upon their children. Nor has their hatred of Christ and Christians lessened down the centuries: anti-semitism is in large measure the reaction of Christians and Gentiles to the anti-Gentilism and anti-Christianity of the Talmud, which approves of all manner of crimes against Gentiles.

Seeker. But must we not love the Jews, even if they are our enemies?

Orthodox. Indeed, we must love our enemies and pray for them, as Christ commanded. In particular, we must pray that they will be converted and return to Christ, as St. Paul prophesied would happen in the last times. “For if the casting away of them [the Jews] be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?” (Romans 11.15).

Seeker. What you say makes sense, but I have one fundamental objection to everything you say.

Orthodox. What is that?

Seeker. You claim that this is Orthodoxy, but I know that it is not.

Orthodox. What do you mean?

Seeker. Your hierarchs participate in the ecumenical movement, which is based on principles completely contrary to the Orthodoxy you preach.

Orthodox. Actually, my hierarchs do not participate in the ecumenical movement. However, your mistake is understandable, because those large organizations and patriarchates which are associated in the public eye with Orthodoxy, such as the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Moscow Patriarchate, do take part in the ecumenical movement and even pray with the leaders of other non-Christian religions. But we have no communion with them, because they have betrayed Orthodoxy.

Seeker. How can the leaders of Orthodoxy be said to have betrayed Orthodoxy?! It’s like saying that the Pope has betrayed Catholicism!

Orthodox. But he did! It was the Popes who in the second half of the eleventh century betrayed Orthodox Catholicism and the Orthodox Catholic Church, making it – or rather, that part of it which submitted to them – into something quite different: the Roman (pseudo-) Catholic Church. In the same way, in the twentieth century, it is the leaders of the official Orthodox Churches who have betrayed Orthodoxy, making it into something quite different: “World Orthodoxy” or “Ecumenist Orthodoxy”.

You must remember that just as “he is not a Jew who is one outwardly” (Romans 2.28), but only he who belongs to “the Israel of God” (Galatians 6.16), that is, the Church of Christ, so he is not an Orthodox Christian who is one outwardly, but only he who confesses his Orthodoxy in word and deed. Fortunately, there are still Orthodox Christians who are so in truth, and not merely in appearance, and who have separated from the prevailing apostasy. And these, however few they are or will become, remain that Church against which “the gates of hell will not prevail” (Matthew 16.18), and of whom the Lord of the Church said: “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom” (Luke 12.32).

Seeker. Well, I am relieved to hear that. For I was convinced by your words, but was beginning to think that nobody practised that truth which I have come to believe in. And now I ask you: when you have instructed me in the true faith, receive me into the Church through Holy Baptism.

Orthodox. If you believe what I have said, then you already have the true faith, dear brother! If you believe with all your heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that the Orthodox Church contains the fullness of the truth revealed by Him without any admixture of error, then there is nothing to prevent you from being baptized. And do not fear: however small the Church on earth becomes, the Church in heaven is growing all the time, until the very end of the world. For “you have come to Mount Zion and to the City of the Living God, the Heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable Angels in festal gathering, and to the Assembly of the Firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to a Judge Who is God of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus, the Mediator of the New Covenant, and to the sprinkled Blood that speaks more graciously than the blood of Abel…” (Hebrews 12.22-24).

May 21 / June 3, 2004; revised December 3/16, 2013.

[1] The Massoretic text says: “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one.”

[2] St. Gregory of Nyssa, On the Beatitudes, 6, PG. 44, 1273.

[3] St. Cyprian of Carthage, On the Unity of the Church.

[4] St. Gregory of Nyssa, Letter XVII to Eustathia, Ambrosia and Basilissa.