"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

Monday, 19 October 2015

ORTHODOXY AS KNOWLEDGE OF LOVE by Archpriest Andrew Lemeshonok

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Archpriest Andrew Lemeshonok

God came to the earth for the sinners. The people who had lived on this earth — pagans who had worshipped idols and had not known the true light, could finally see it, and, getting to know God, ultimately fell in love with Him.
Christ established the Church on earth. It is a place where one leaves the temporary world and proceeds to the eternity. The Church is the Last Supper that the Lord had before his suffering on the Cross, and that He celebrates every day as He calls the faithful to his wedding feast. People come to the Church, crippled and disfigured by sin though they are. The Lord washes, sanctifies, and cleanses their souls with His Love, and people start to see, hear, and love God in their midst. The holiness that God gives empowers one to struggle with the whole world, with the devil, with sin — that terrible disease of the humankind that fell out of the unity with God. We all are ill but we have the Great Doctor who treats us. His treatment is holiness, and He pours it on us abundantly, entrusting us with His own Body and Blood, with Himself. As He tries to break us loose from sin, from all temporary and transitory things, as He shows us the Heaven, God helps us to come to Him now, in this life. The Lord humbles down before us to save us. He humbles before the sinful, the proud, the ungrateful people that we are. He does not argue with us, He does not condemn us, but instead patiently waits for us to come around. He has to wait for a very long time. However, when a person responds to God's love with love, the person starts to resemble God.
St John the Theologian

What is Orthodoxy? Come and see (John 1:46), as we read in the Bible. In Orthodoxy, God is so close that He is united with human. The purpose of an Orthodox person's life is theosis, holiness, sanctification of her life, not temporary comforts and material assets but the eternity. Only Love will continue into the eternity; knowledge and prophecies will be ceased (Cf. 1 Cor.13:8). So Orthodoxy is the knowledge of Love, it is the Love that lives inside human beings. Apostle John the Theologian says, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another”(Cf. John 13:35). It is impossible to love in this world without God. The human that hid from God in the paradise, must approach God and sanctify herself with the Light of Love that Christ brought to the earth. The Lord gives this love abundantly in the Orthodox Church. Everything that we see in a church: the church itself, the worship — everything is a revelation of the life to come, a revelation that is hard for us to comprehend because we are deafened by the world, our reason is blurred, and our hearts are anxious.
The Lord takes us onto His shoulders, carries us into the Church, washes, cleanses, and feeds to us His Body and Blood from a spoon. When we receive the Holy Sacraments, we start to perceive (albeit for a short moment) our neighbor, ourselves, our lives, and realize the Holy Divine Providence behind all that.
Love is hard to preserve. We suffer from many sinful illnesses but we believe that God triumphs over sin. We are now in the Church that fights with the sinful world and the devil, and if we remain within its ranks, we will go on to become part of the Triumphant Church.
Scene from Last Supper: Christ and St.John the Theologian
When we want to tell someone about Orthodoxy, it is very difficult for us to talk about it. Why is it so? It is because Orthodoxy is to be seen.We realize that if God dwells inside us, if the grace of the Holy Spirit is present within us, words are unnecessary. The life and the image of a person who found the Love of Christ will be a testimony of God's victory and God's truth. We do not know what our way in this world will be like but when we enter the church; we must keep that grace that we receive from God and from His Holy Church. Let us thank God for His love towards us and ask Him to reveal to us the truths that we should always bear in mind: that God is always near; He loves us and never abandons us; He forgives us and is waiting for us.
Archpriest Andrew Lemeshonok

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