Destroy within you the devil’s rule over you; destroy all his influence over you; acquire spiritual freedom. The foundation for your struggle is the grace of holy baptism; your weapon is the prayer of Jesus.
Nevertheless, besides the action of God’s Grace for salvation, the personal efforts of man himself are also necessary. Man’s personal efforts alone are insufficient for his salvation -but they are necessary, for without them, God’s Grace will not begin to work out the matter of his salvation.
2 So many! :) I can’t choose, so I’ll say St. Matrona, St. Nektarios, St Mark of Ephesus, St. Luke of Crimea, St. Justin Popovic, St. Peter, St. Paul, St. John the Baptist etc etc etc
11 The paschal troparion: “Christ is risen from the dead, Trampling down death by death. And upon those in the tombs bestowing life.”
21 Psalm 102
23 “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. (1 Corinthians 13:4-13, KJV)
….Because I give the impression that I am holy, however I am the biggest sinner of the world. Please pray for the salvation of my soul, which is filthy and blind from countless passions. Pray that I will gain humility and I will stop to be angry with everything. Pray that my eyes will be filled with tears and I’ll love my brothers and sisters with all my heart.
Those who seek humility should bear in mind the three following things: that they are the worst of sinners, that they are the most despicable of all creatures since their state is an unnatural one, and that they are even more pitiable than the demons, since they are slaves to the demons. You will also profit if you say this to yourself: how do I know what or how many other people’s sins are, or whether they are greater than or equal to my own? In our ignorance you and I , my soul, are worse than all men, we are dust and ashes under their feet. How can I not regard myself as more despicable than all other creatures, for they act in accordance with the nature they have been given, while I, owing to my innumerable sins, am in a state contrary to nature.
The man who has struggled bravely with the passions of the body, has fought ably against unclean spirits, and has expelled from his soul the conceptual images they provoke, should pray for a pure heart to be given him and for a spirit of integrity to be renewed within him (cf. Ps. 51:10). In other words, he should pray that by grace he may be completely emptied of evil thoughts and filled with divine thoughts, so that he may become a spiritual world of God, splendid and vast, wrought from moral, natural and theological forms of contemplation.
"No, I haven’t seen Him. But I have operated on the brain many times and opening the skull I’ve never seen a mind there. I’ve never seen a conscience either. Does that mean that they don’t exist either?”
I'm a Catholic, and I have great admiration for the Orthodox churches. Whats your opinion of the idea of reunification with Rome?
Hello dear brother/sister! :)
As well as my personal opinion, I’ll mention the current situation between our two ancient faiths (but let us not forget our Coptic Orthodox brothers that their faith is the same ancient as ours), as seen from the Christian Orthodox point of view.
Personally, I have a great deal of respect and love for Catholic brothers and sisters, because we used to be one Church once. We have common history, many common Saints (those that died before the Great Schism) and many similarities, in general. We don’t have to focus always only in the differences between us, but also in the similarities.
One of those similarities that is important to me is the common love that we have for Mary, the Most Holy Theotokos. I can’t stand it when Christians from other denominations judge both of us for honoring Mary and accuse us of blasphemy! So, this is one of the many reasons why I feel very close to the Catholic believers.
But, of course, there are serious differences, that have to do with the doctrines. In Orthodoxy, dogma is of the essence. It’s something that Orthodox Christians have given their blood in order to be unchanged since the foundation of the Church. I will not mention the differences here again, because I have do it in the past, so in case you want to be informed see this.
Andrei, an Orthodox Christian theologian, answered yesterday a question relative to yours, on if Orthodox Christians have to see Catholics as heretics. From his text, I keep this one (emphasis mine):
The Orthodox Church is not so fast in saying X or Y is a heretic. True heretics are those condemned by the Synods. When a man is in error, we don’t say, in the following second, that he/she is heretic; we pray for him and we discuss nicely, and we explain. We are not so fast in judgment and in labelling. For us, the Orthodox, mercy comes before justice. We believe in God’s mercy, because the justice alone won’t save the world - following the words of Saint John Chrysostom.
Nowadays Orthodox-Catholic relationships are getting better and better. But of course, serious issues have to be solved. Catholics can’t be called “heretics”, as under anathema, because the anathemas were lifted in 1965. But again, Orthodox don’t have Eucharist communion with the Catholics, because the Orthodox Church sees some teachings of Catholicism to be in error.
And I continue with Andrei’s reply (emphasis mine):
Father Dumitru Stăniloae named the non-Orthodox Christians, especially the Catholics and the Protestants, “deficient Churches”. I believe this is the best description. They have the saviour grace, but not complete.A man can be saved in the Catholic Church, but harder than in the Orthodoxy. The Orthodoxy recognizes the Catholic and Protestant trinitarian Baptism, but not much another Mysteries.
As long as they are Apostolic, and named Church, they are not heretics.They are just in error. I might say they are on the long, slow and painful road of healing from this error.
To the question "should we reunite?" the answer can only be yes, but unity must be achieved on solid grounds and clear theological statements, not confused compromises.
I hope and seek and pray with all my heart that one day, God will unite us. It may seem quite impossible (at least for now), but for God NOTHING is impossible. As St. Mark of Ephesus said once, “We seek and we pray for our return to that time when, being united, we spoke the same things and there was no schism between us.”
We need to be careful not to harbour any resentment against those who harm us, but rather to pray for them with love. Whatever any of our fellow men does, we should never think evil of him. We need always to have thoughts of love and always to think good of others. Look at Saint Stephen the first martyr. He prayed, Lord, do not hold this sin against them. We need to do the same.
You have said "one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, the Orthodox Church." But aren´t catholic and orthodox two different churches? Please help I´m really confused! Thanks :)
Hello dear friend!
Speaking from the Orthodox Christian point of view, the “One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church” is the Orthodox Church. It appears in the Nicene Creed that Orthodox Christians confess:
"…And I believe in One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church."
It must be mentioned here that Catholics confess this creed as well, but, with a difference: when the creed comes to the phrase:
"And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, Who proceeds from the Father",
Catholics confess “…who proceeds from the Father and the Son”. This is the Filioque, maybe you have heard of it. Filioque is a Latin word meaning “and the Son” which was added to the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed by the Church of Rome in the 11th century, one of the major factors leading to the Great Schism between East and West. This inclusion in the Creedal article regarding the Holy Spirit thus states that the Spirit “proceeds from the Father and the Son.” (Just to mention quickly here, that Orthodox don’t accept it because the addition in the Creed is considered a violation of the canons of the Third Ecumenical Council in 431, which forbade and anathematized any additions to the Creed.)
The word “catholic" is derived from the Greek adjective καθολικός, that means universal. So Catholics have taken their name from this greek word. But the Orthodox Church (Orthodox comes also from a greek word "ορθόδοξος" that means right faith), can also be called catholic, not in the sense of "Roman Catholic" but because she is the fullness of Christ’s body on earth.
As Fr. Thomas Hopko said about the catholicity of the Orthodox Church:
The term “catholic” as originally used to define the Church (as early as the first decades of the second century) was a definition of quality rather than quantity. Calling the Church catholic means to define how it is, namely, full and complete, all-embracing, and with nothing lacking.
Even before the Church was spread over the world, it was defined as catholic. The original Jerusalem Church of the apostles, or the early city-churches of Antioch, Ephesus, Corinth, or Rome, were catholic. These churches were catholic — as is each and every Orthodox church today — because nothing essential was lacking for them to be the genuine Church of Christ. God Himself is fully revealed and present in each church through Christ and the Holy Spirit, acting in the local community of believers with its apostolic doctrine, ministry (hierarchy), and sacraments, thus requiring nothing to be added to it in order for it to participate fully in the Kingdom of God.
I know it seems too complicated, maybe I didn’t explained it well, but I tried! :)
God bless you!
orthodoxbrit said: Big C Catholic is the Roman Patriarch’s church, little c catholic (as professed in the creed) means ‘universal’ so professing in “One Holy catholic and Apostolic Orthodox Church” means one holy universal right believing church.
andreisarb said: In Romanian, the Greek term Katholikin is “sobornicească” (from Slavonic); the Greek term was avoided, not to be made the confusion Katholikin - Catholic. But the meaning is the same: universal.
True humility does not say humble words, nor does it assume humble looks, it does not force oneself either to think humbly of oneself, or to abuse oneself in self-belittlement. Although all such things are the beginning, the manifestations and the various aspects of humility, humility itself is grace, given from above. There are two kinds of humility, as the holy fathers teach: to deem oneself the lowest of all beings and to ascribe to God all one’s good actions. The first is the beginning, the second the end.
Love for Christ overflows into love for one’s neighbor, love for truth, love for holiness, for the world, for purity, for everything divine, for everything deathless and eternal … All these forms of love are natural manifestations of love for Christ. Christ is the God-man, and love for Him always means love for God and for man. When we love Christ God, we also love all that is divine, immortal and Christ-like in people. We can’t truly love people if we do not love them for the sake of these causes. Any other love is pseudo-love, which is easily changed into lovelessness and hatredness toward people. True love for man comes from love for God, and love for God grows in accordance with the keeping of His commandments.
How can you support that you are a Christian, while there are no orthodox missionaries in remote places? Can you see how many Protestant and Catholic missionaries there are? Also, do you see how many Protestants and Catholics there are in Africa for example? Why Orthodox don't do missionary work? Thank you.
The Orthodox Church has been active in missions since it’s beginning. Two factors, however, greatly thwarted the Church’s missionary efforts in recent centuries:
1) the Turkish occupation of the Balkans, lasting four centuries
2) Orthodox Christians were persecuted until recently from the severe communist rule in many Orthodox countries.
Between these two events, the ability of the Orthodox Church to do missionary work was repressed at a time when the churches of the West (namely Catholics and Protestants, as you mentioned in your message) were free to expand.
However, since the persecution of the Orthodox Church stopped, Orthodoxy is spreading everywhere in the world, in every remote place day after day. It’s a true miracle!
So, plese don’t rush to judge the Orthodox Church for the little missionary work in recent years in comparison with western Christians, because the Orthodox Church has suffered greatly until recently from persecutions while Western Christianity was free to expand, so it was very difficult to do missionary work while she was persecuted for centuries until recently. It’s very easy to judge someone without knowing the facts.
And, to close my reply, yes, I am not simply “support” that I am a Christian, because I am a Christian, an Orthodox Christian and I feel blessed that my faith has survived through all these persecutions, through the blood of millions of Martyrs.
God bless you.
jamesfromta said: People forget that before the persecutions that the Orthodox Church had great missions; St. Cyril & St. Methodius who created a language for people to help them understand the faith being one example.
jessicabeth said: I am sorry, but this upsets me. Orthodox are the greatest missionaries, all you have to do is look at history - St Andrew to Greece, St Thomas to India, St Paul to Antioch and many more, St. Mark to Egypt - and that is just in the first century.
stubbornly-euphoric said: IOCC is huge and does great work. -International Orthodox Christian Charities. A big difference between this organization and other churches I have seen is that IOCC helps people in need but does not force Orthodoxy on them. One of the best teachings I have gotten from being Orthodox is to be humble about it. Just because the Orthodox aren’t loud about how much charity work they do doesn’t mean they don’t do it.
kormosendre said: Another thing: How did Orthodoxy reach the United States or Korea, if not by missionaries? What about cross-cultural missionaries, such as Fr. Daniil Sisoev, who was murdered a few years ago? And why would anyone without missionaries be not Christian
orthodoxbrit said: There are orthodox missionaries all over Africa. The has recently been a Greek bishop ordained in Botswana and loads in Kenya, also missions all over central American native communities.
The heart is quiet rather than noisy, intuitive rather than deductive, lives entirely in the present, and is, at every moment, accepting of the reality God gives in that moment. Moreover, the heart does not seek to distance or dominate anything or anyone by labeling…. It knows no fear, experiences no desire, and never finds the need to defend or justify itself. Unlike the mind, the heart never seeks to impose itself. It is patient and undemanding.
The soul of the Christian needs to be refined and sensitive, to have sensibility and wings, to be constantly in flight and to live in dreams, to fly through infinity, among the stars, amidst the greatness of God, amid silence.
Love makes others’ sufferings its own. If this is true of human love, it is much more true of divine love. Since God is love and created the world as an act of love- and since God is personal, and personhood implies sharing—God does not remain indifferent to the sorrows of this fallen world. It has been said that there was cross in the heart of God before there was one planted outside Jerusalem; and though the cross of wood has been taken down, the cross in God’s heart still remains. It is the cross of pain and triumph—both together. And those who can believe this will find that joy is mingled in the cup of bitterness. They will share on a human level in the divine experience of victorious suffering.
When we gather together as the Church, we are more than simply a group of people who are gathered together. In a mysterious and mystical way, when we gather, we are the Body of Christ, the Mother of All Christians (yes, there are various image changes in the New Testament as well) who gives birthto new Christians in Holy Baptism, who nourishes us in the Holy Eucharist, and who holds us close to her bosom when we die and ascend to the Church in glory. There is only One Church, some of her is here in suffering, and some of her is with Our Lord in glory. But, we do not forget those who are present with the Lord, but absent to us. No, they are not really absent to us for their icons adorn our churches and we can see them still with us every time that we enter one of our temples. When we worship, the heavens open and the suffering Church is united to the Church in glory and she is One.
God is everywhere. There is no place God is not… You cry out to Him, ‘Where art Thou, my God?’ And He answers, “I am present, my child! I am always beside you.’ Both inside and outside, above and below, wherever you turn, everything shouts, ‘God!’ In Him we live and move. We breathe God, we eat God, we clothe ourselves with God. Everything praises and blesses God. All of creation shouts His praise. Everything animate and inanimate speaks wondrously and glorifies the Creator. Let every breath praise the Lord!
I'm not Catholic anymore, now I'm Christian Orthodox BUT whoever says that Catholics are not Christians IS TOTALLY WRONG. Whoever offends my Catholic brothers offends me personally. Though I've received into the Orthodox Church (OCA) several years ago, Catholicism will always be an important part of myself and I will ALWAYS defend Catholic Christians from Protestant attacks. Keep defending them sister!
Whoever says that Catholics are not Christians, obviously hasn’t read Church history and he’s not well informed. It’s very frustrating to read everywhere “Catholics are not Christians”. I am always eager to defend Catholics and those specific Catholic teachings that are in accordance with Orthodox Christianity and do not contradict with with my Orthodox Christian faith.
I love equally all people, no matter if they are Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican, Protestant etc. And for trying to defend Catholics it doesn’t mean that I don’t love and respect Protestants. We believe in the same God, so it’s not nice to offend each other, despite our differences.
God bless you!
PS. Not to mention that since I’ve tried to defend Catholics I’ve lost 30 (!) followers. Obviously many disagree with me. Oh well…
When someone gives his heart to God, then the mind of this man is also seized by the love of God. He is indifferent towards worldly things and continually thinks about the Heavenly Father, and being divinely in love, he glorifies his Creator day and night like an angel.
The last few days I have received many anonymous messages from a Protestant that claims that Catholics are not Christians.
As a devout Orthodox Christian, I have to say that Catholics ARE Christians. Catholics have common history with the Eastern Orthodox Christians and the Coptic Orthodox Christians. We are all ancient Christians, that once was one Church.
Though I believe and confess that Orthodoxy is the Church that Jesus founded, and I disagree with certain teachings that were added I also support that no one has the right to say that Catholics are not Christians, because it’s not true. These claims are an insult to our Catholic brothers!
I am sure that some of you will say “how come an Orthodox Christian make a post in favor of Catholics”? And I will reply: I read claims that Catholics are not Christians since I joined tumblr, so I felt the need to say something, even if it doesn’ matter what I say! I hope that if any Catholic finds any lie against Orthodox Christianity to defend us as well.
I can understand if someones disagree with Catholicism, even if he’s Orthodox or Protestant. But, come on guys, how can you say that they are not Christians??? After all, they worship the Holy Trinity! How is it possible that anyone can spread such lies??
When the same Abba Anthony thought about the depth of the judgements of God, he asked, ‘Lord, how is it that some die when they are young, while others drag on to extreme old age? Why are there those who are poor and those who are rich? Why do wicked men prosper and why are the just in need?’ He heard a voice answering him, ‘Anthony, keep your attention on yourself; these things are according to the judgement of God, and it is not to your advantage to know anything about them.
God is at the center of every person’s life. He is in our heart whether we accept Him or not. He never separates Himself from us because He is the Giver of life Who gives life to every created being. We have buried Him with our worries and worldly cares, which destroy the peace within us, and that is why we have no peace or rest. No one on earth can give us unshakeable inner peace. Money cannot give us peace, neither can fame, honor, a high-ranking position, nor even our closest friends and family. The only Giver of peace and life is the Lord. He gives peace, stillness, and joy to the angels and the saints, to us and to every created thing. Therefore we must repent and turn to the Lord.
- Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica, “A Homily on the Dormition”
The roof of any house stands upon the foundations and the rest of the structure. The foundations themselves are laid in order to carry the roof. This is both useful and necessary, for the roof cannot stand without the foundations and the foundations are absolutely useless without the roof – no help to any living creature. In the same way the grace of God is preserved by the practice of the commandments, and the observance of these commandments is laid down like foundations through the gift of God. The grace of the Spirit cannot remain with us without the practice of the commandments, but the practice of the commandments is of no help or advantage to us without the grace of God.
Abba John the Short said, “When wicked thoughts war with me, I do what a wayfarer would do if he were walking in the wilderness and suddenly saw a wild beast pursuing him: find a tree and climb up to the top to be saved. And so I flee to God with prayer and escape from the attack of wicked thoughts.”
Love little things, and strive for that which is modest and simple. The Lord watches over us, and He is pleased that you long for His peace. Until the soul is ready, He will only sometimes allow us to see that He is present everywhere and fills all things. At these moments the soul feels such joy!… But then the Lord conceals Himself from us again, in order that we might long for Him and seek Him with our hearts!
It is truly meet to praise the super-divine Trinity, the all-creating, beginning less Father, the co-eternal Word Begotten of Him before the ages with emanation, and the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father.
The Holy Spirit, out of compassion for our weakness, comes to us even when we are impure. And if He finds our intellect truly praying to Him, He enters it and puts to flight the whole array of thoughts and ideas circling within it, and He arouses it to a longing for spiritual prayer.
Heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth, Who art everywhere present and filleth all things, Treasury of all good and giver of life, Come and dwell within us; Cleanse us from all unrighteousness, And of thy goodness, save our souls.
I am Roman Catholic. I have a question: why the Holy Trinity is always shown as three angels? I have noticed that every time you post an icon of the Holy Trinity, God is always shown as angels. I really respect Orthodoxy, but I have to say that in general I dislike the Orthodox icons because I think they are not aesthetically beautiful, like ours. I don't mean to offend you or something, I just wanted to say my opinion.
I am not offended at all, don’t worry. Your opinion is exactly as important as mine, like everyone’s. I remember I have replied in a similar question in the past.
The Orthodox Church has many different depictions of the Holy Trinity. But the icon which defines the very essence of the Holy Trinity is invariably the one which shows the Trinity in the form of three angels. The Church specifically chose this particular icon because it most fully expresses the dogma of the Holy Trinity: the three angels are depicted in equal dignity, symbolizing the triunity and equality of all three Persons.
What matters in Orthodox iconography, is theology, not so much the aesthetical part of the icon. Every single figure, facial expression, detail, colour is a symbolism. For example, the order in which the persons of the Holy Trinity are shown in Andrei Rublev’s Holy Trinity icon is the order in which they are confessed in the Credo.
Also, according to the canons of the Orthodox iconography “God the Father can not be depicted”, so the only acceptable icon is this that is shown the Hospitality of Abraham, where the three persons of God appeared in Abraham like angels.
For every icon, a whole book needs to be written about it’s explanation! And that is happening because the icons in the Orthodox tradition are called “theology in colors”. In the past, the believers used to be uneducated, so they couldn’t study theological books: in this way, a simple old-lady could understand the Orthodox theology via the icons!
However, I have to admit that the Catholic icons are very beautiful, especially those of Virgin Mary. In Orthodoxy, we have some icons that are similar to the Western style, mostly those of the Russian Orthodox style.
So don’t worry, you didn’t offended me, this conversation was indeed very useful and it gave me the oportunity to talk about iconography, that is one of my most favourite parts of Orthodox tradition!
God bless you, many greetings in Christ!
orthodoxbrit said: Orthodox icons are not designed to be aesthetically attractive as they are not art. The purpose is a theological one, as older Roman art was until the renaissance.
Today, the Orthodox Church commemorates the third person of the Holy Trinity, the all-Holy Spirit, who proceeds from the Father. So, today, many posts of mine will be about the Holy Spirit.
On the day after every Great Feast, the Orthodox Church honors the one through whom the Feast is made possible. On the day following the Nativity of the Lord, for example, we celebrate the Synaxis of the Most Holy Theotokos (December 26). On the day after Theophany, we commemorate St John the Baptist (January 7), and so on.
Today we honor the all-Holy, good, and life-creating Spirit, Who descended upon the Apostles at Pentecost in the form of fiery tongues in fulfillment of the Lord’s promise to send the Comforter to His disciples (JN 14:16). That same Holy Spirit remains within the Church throughout the ages, guiding it “into all truth” (JN 16:13).