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"Today the concept of truth is viewed with suspicion, because truth is identified with violence. Over history there have, unfortunately, been episodes when people sought to defend the truth with violence. But they are two contrasting realities. Truth cannot be imposed with means other than itself! Truth can only come with its own light. Yet, we need truth. ... Without truth we are blind in the world, we have no path to follow. The great gift of Christ was that He enabled us to see the face of God".Pope Benedict xvi, February 24th, 2012

The Church is ecumenical, catholic, God-human, ageless, and it is therefore a blasphemy—an unpardonable blasphemy against Christ and against the Holy Ghost—to turn the Church into a national institution, to narrow her down to petty, transient, time-bound aspirations and ways of doing things. Her purpose is beyond nationality, ecumenical, all-embracing: to unite all men in Christ, all without exception to nation or race or social strata. - St Justin Popovitch

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Thursday, 22 March 2012

METROPOLITAN HILARION: CROSSING FRONTIERS






As the last stage in the divine descent (katabasis) and self-emptying (kenosis), the descent of Christ into Hades became at the same time the starting point of the ascent of humanity towards deification (theosis). Since this descent, the path to paradise is opened for both the living and the dead, which was followed by those whom Christ delivered from hell.  The destination point for all humanity and every individual is the fullness of deification in which God becomes ‘all in all’. It is for this deification that God first created man and then, when ‘the time had fully come’ (Gal. 4:4), Himself became man, suffered, died, descended to Hades and was raised from the dead.

We do not know if every one followed Christ when He rose from hell. Nor do we know if every one will follow Him to the eschatological Heavenly Kingdom when He will become ‘all in all’. But we do know that since the descent of Christ into Hades the way to resurrection has been opened for ‘all flesh’, salvation has been granted to every human being, and the gates of paradise have been opened for all those who wish to enter through them. This is the faith of the Early Church inherited from the first generation of Christians and cherished by Orthodox Tradition. This is the never-extinguished hope of all those who believe in Christ Who once and for all conquered death, destroyed hell and granted resurrection to the entire human race.




METROPOLITAN HILARION ALFEYEV CELEBRATES THE DIVINE LITURGY IN THE CATACOMBS OF ST PRISCILLA IN ROME (click title for source)




On September 28, 2011, the commemoration day of the Holy Protomartyr Nicetas, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s department for external church relations, celebrated the Divine Liturgy in the Catacombs of St. Priscilla in Rome. The service was organized with the support of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

Addressing the worshippers after the service, Metropolitan Hilarion said in particular,

‘We have celebrated the Divine Liturgy in the Roman catacombs which remind us of the life of the early Christian Church in this city called eternal. It was sanctified with the feet of Sts Peter and Paul and became the capital of the Christian Church as early as the 1st century. During the Divine Liturgy today, we recalled how the first Christians prayed in these catacombs at a time when the Church was still small and persecuted, when to be a Christian meant to perform the feat of confession and to be ready to assume suffering and death every day.

‘Many thousands of Christians were buried in these catacombs, and celebrating the liturgy here we feel their presence and their prayer. At the same time, we feel the link between the past centuries and the present century because the Church which exists today is the same Church which existed almost two thousand years ago; and the Holy Spirit Who worked at that time, works today too, and the Divine Liturgy celebrated today is the same liturgy which was celebrated at that time. And the Body and Blood of Christ of which we partake today are the same Body and Blood which our Saviour Himself offered to His disciples during the Last Supper.

‘As St. Paul, who ended his days in this sacred city, has reminded us today, As we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith (cf. Gal. 6:10), that is, to those who share the Christian faith. Having prayed in these underground walls, let us leave with the thought that the Lord gives us an opportunity to do good, especially to those who are of the household of faith, and to all people around us’





An Interview with Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev
JOSEPH SUSANKA







An excellent interview on music and on unity found in the blog "Catholic Education Resource Center.  (click title)


Joseph Susanka. "An Interview with Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev." Crisis Magazine (February 28, 2012)




"Bach was a true 'Catholic,' in the original understanding of the Greek word katholikos meaning 'universal,' 'all-embracing,' for he perceived the Church as a universal organism, as a common doxology directed towards God, and he believed his music to be but a single voice in the choir praising the glory of God"



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