July 30, 2014

Remarks of Patriarch Kirill on Seminarians

Patriarch Kyrill of MoscowSource: Preachers Institute and Mystagogy.

This is a topic that the American Orthodox Church (all jurisdictions) needs to resolve.

Below is a small portion from Patriarch Kirill’s report presented before an assembly of rectors of Russian Orthodox theological schools.

We constantly speak about obedience in our theological schools. But does not this mask a desire to obtain totally obedient and intimidated individuals incapable of speaking up before authorities under any circumstances? Do we not, along with obedience, inoculate them to act like toadies and cow-towing hypocrites? Can such a person be a spiritually unimpeded and a responsible pastor, a true leader of their flock? We both know too well that often, behind a noble external facade, there lurks hypocrisy, pretense and cynicism. I am now reading some of your reports asking about canonical procedures for coping with certain clerics. I also read correspondence from the laity. I sometimes wonder what kind of priests some of these people are… I read all this with a heavy heart. Somewhere and somehow these priests received their formation. They didn’t drop from the heavens. The majority of these are seminary graduates; some even finished an academy. We both know what hypocrisy and cynicism can be found in Church circles.

We must prepare and educate neither slaves nor rebels, but free and, at the same time, responsible people. Freedom does not mean a lack of discipline. Freedom must primarily be an internal freedom, a freedom in Christ. We must be convinced that all restrictions and burdens placed by sacred ministers are accepted by them consciously and voluntarily. This recognition of the voluntary acceptance of the burden of the Cross must be a characteristic of every priest since, the taking up of the Cross is inherent in the very desire to be a priest.

Discipline must first of all be self-discipline, and obedience to the hierarchy must not be motivated by fear but by a firm and conscious adherence to tradition as a preservation of the Divinely established structure of the Church. This canonical discipline and obedience is not something dreamed up by the present hierarchy. This is a principle from the Lord Himself. It lies in the foundation of Church life and every priest must understand this clearly. Every seminarian must understand this before his ordination, that he is entering upon a path of obedience.

Comments

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    Geo Michalopulos says:

    This is breathtaking! I have long suspected that the Holy Spirit was working today in certain Orthodox circles. I’ve now come to the conclusion that He is working in overdrive in the Russian Orthodox Church. AXIOS! to His Holiness.

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      Fr. Andrew says:

      I agree with you that the Holy Spirit is indeed working throughout the Orthodox Church and specifically in these words from the Russian patriarch. That said, I don’t think they should be interpreted as an endorsement specifically for Russian Orthodoxy (nor for any faction, really). After all, why would His Holiness say such frank and rather shocking words if things were all hunkey-dorey in his church? This is a pastor dealing with a major pastoral problem.

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    Michael Bauman says:

    George, breathtaking? Surely Pat. Kirill is merely stating the most basic of thoughts on the formation of priests. It is quite sad that such a fundamental statement is seen as anything unusual and that it even has to be made.

    Obedience is to the Lord…”thine own of thine own…”
    Obedience is to those who are themselves under obedience.

    Obedience to a priest or hierarch who has eschewed obedience himself is cultish because it is obedience to man alone.

    Self-will is the problem that always prevents holy obedience and at the same time leads to cultish obedience born out of the fears and insecurities of which the Patriarch speaks.

    The academic training of priests, as opposed to being formed in the tradition is a big part of the problem IMO. Such academic training removed from a base of genuine discipleship encourages self-will, itching ears and fawing hypocrisy to advance one’s ‘career’.

    The Orthodox faith is a traditional faith. That means, among other things, that it is passed down from elders to disciples personally and experientially rather than learned independently. The academic formation can help, but without the discipleship, it is inadequate.

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    Eliot Ryan says:

    This canonical discipline and obedience is not something dreamed up by the present hierarchy. This is a principle from the Lord Himself. It lies in the foundation of Church life and every priest must understand this clearly.

    While the Holy Apostles closed and fastened the doors the women went to the Tomb: “But very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb.” How brave it is on their part!
    On the day of Pentecost – the descent of the Holy Spirit- fear and doubt turned to courage and strong faith. The gifts of the Holy Spirit made the Apostles brave men who were full of faith. This is why Pentecost is often called “the birthday of the Church”.

    Later on, the Holy Fathers, through whom the same and One Holy Spirit worked with power, established the cannons of the Ecumenical Councils. Their work does not undermine apostolic authorship/teaching. The Holy Fathers set boundaries between truth and falsehood, light and darkness. They have been fighting the flood of errors and heresies that faced the Church after the persecutions stopped.

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    Bravo and Axios!

    I think His Holiness is absolutely correct. Thank you Fr Hans for posting this.

    What is needed in not only our priests but also our laity is not slavishly obedience but emotionally and spiritually maturity. I agree with Michael (#2) , it’s quite sad that something so fundamental needs to be said at all. And yet, it needs to be said and said again.

    Too many men are attracted to ordination with the thought that the cassock will allow them to side step the normal stages of adult development. But ordination isn’t magic and the cassock’s only cloth. Having been involved with both clergy misconduct cases and working with parishes in transition, it has become increasingly clear to me that most of the pastoral problems we see in both parishes and the clergy aren’t the fruit of malice. Rather it seems for many of the priest who get into trouble of one sort or another the problem is that they simply don’t have the resources (psychological, social and spiritual) needed to respond to the normal challenges that they will face in a healthy parish. And even if a man does, he is often not equipped to deal with extraordinary pastoral challenges.

    For their candidates for holy orders, the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago looks for men who have (1) accurate self-knowledge and wholesome self-acceptance in Christ, (2) the ability to give themselves over appropriately to others in Chrisitan love and service, and (3) the ability to establish corroborative, working relationship as a peer with other professionals. I don’t know how well they hold to these standards but they do seem to me to be pretty good minimal standards that need to be in place BEFORE a man is ordained much less assigned to a parish.

    In Christ,

    +FrG

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    Michael Bauman says:

    Methinks that this thread and the one on homosexuality have a similar root: failure to form both priests and laity in a mature spiritual manner.

    It is one thing to come out with a statment that reflects the teaching of the Church an a whole ‘nother to have the pastoral knowledge, sensitivity and strength to apply the teaching in a salvific manner at the parish level.

    Pastoral guidance and discipline must both be employed. How many lay people have the type of trust with their priests that allows them to engage the deeply sinful areas of the soul in a way that is not manipulative? How many priests are able to take on such a burden?

    The temptation of same-sex attraction usually has deep roots and when the temptation is acted upon the attraction can become a besetting sin that overshadows, or seems to, all else–but isn’t that true for all besetting sins? What is so special about homosexuality?

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      Harry Coin says:

      The answer to the ‘how many lay people have that type of trust’ question can be found in the common lament of clergy regarding divorce — they first only hear about it once it’s over and way too late.

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    Michael Bauman says:

    We have been raised in a culture formed by Protestant theology in which the very idea of a hierarchial spiritual authority with obedience at its core is looked at with unease. In Russia and the other Slavic traditions they are recovering from the corruption of the Soviet era. The dhimmi mindset that prevades the Greek and Arabic traditions is a problem. Yet the fact remains that the tradition of the Church is one that is passed down. Parents, God-parents, priests & bishops are all charged with the responsibility to model and instruct in the faith. We are a vocational faith that is taught via apprenticeship. Certainly the formal academic institutions can also embody such relationships and should, but they should not be the primary such relationship.

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      Harry Coin says:

      We have been raised in a culture formed by Protestant theology

      … and yet in ‘Orthodox’ countries abortion is through the roof and seen as a means of birth control. So, you know, something has to be said about the propriety of who it is saying what about whom.

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        Eliot Ryan says:

        Harry: I believe that there is a little difference in motivation: the poverty and the desire to live the “American dream” which they have seen described in movies ( again, mass media), vs the desire to live for themselves.
        The end result is the same: “the unborn (aborted) children spoil the born children” because the sins are recorded in each person’s genetic code.

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        Michael Bauman says:

        Orthodox countries?

        Where might those be? None really since the fall of Constantiople in A.D. 1453 if there were any then.

        Certainly there were pockets of Orthodox reality in Greece and Russia and even Syria that produced a number of saints. No mean feat, but the countries were never Orthodox, IMO. Only a person can be Orthodox or not.

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          Harry Coin says:

          Well, as you were heaping whatnot ‘upon being raised in a culture formed by Protestant’.. I thought it maybe fair to look at what’s going on presently in countries where the Orthodox church was dominant and remains the leading church in the place.

          I take comfort in the content of Orthodoxy being ‘the most compelling narrative’ as Fr. Hans would put it, but the problem is its only understood by those who bother to get past the language barrier. What barrier you ask? Isn’t in in Greek for the Greeks, Russian for the Russians and so on? Not if understanding is the yardstick. The problems we see in those countries might well have something to do with the fact it was preached in a language nobody in that country understood for about the last 100 years.

          People reading who don’t know should understand if they don’t speak Greek, Russian, Arabic and the other languages of countries with long-time Orthodox churches– the version of the language used in old world churches might use the same alphabet as the modern version but is so ancient it is barely understood by the highly educated in those countries, much less the everyday folk. The Greek read in the church from the Bible is, well, the original in the original, except the Aramiac one which was translated into the other old version of Greek. Good luck with that, eh?

          For all its tensions and mistakes and inner controversies, whatever the above writers mean by ‘Protestantism’, the folk hearing it seem to have put together the only country in the world that sent its sons to fight wars overseas– and then come home leaving the locals in charge. Maybe the Gospel has enough inner strength that even people who get lots about it wrong nevertheless if they hear it in a comprehensible way manage to get it more right than wrong.

          Really, about the only thing a person can say that all in ‘Protestantism’ would agree with is if Christ had a ‘universal vicar on Earth’ in mind He would have mentioned it. No Orthodox objection there.

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            Fr. Johannes Jacobse says:

            For all its tensions and mistakes and inner controversies, whatever the above writers mean by ‘Protestantism’, the folk hearing it seem to have put together the only country in the world that sent its sons to fight wars overseas– and then come home leaving the locals in charge. Maybe the Gospel has enough inner strength that even people who get lots about it wrong nevertheless if they hear it in a comprehensible way manage to get it more right than wrong.

            This is an important point. You will get hammered for it and so will I, but the parts that they got right, they got really right. The parts that we get wrong, we get really wrong. I can already hear the detractors cry out “syncretism!” but history is a demanding suitor. There is a lot to commend in the social history of the west and your example of not subjugating conquered nations is but one example. Another: if it wasn’t for America, the history of Greece might have paralleled the history of Albania. The Communists could have easily won during the Greek Civil War. Harry Truman drew a line for them.

            I am going to post an essay by Met. Hilarion on the sources of atheism in Russia before the Bolshevik Revolution. Here is the opening (warning: some won’t like it):

            In this talk I propose to outline the history of atheism in Russia during the last hundred years. I will start by considering the kind of atheism present in Russia before the Revolution. Then I will say something about the development of atheism during the Soviet period. And finally I will conclude with some observations concerning the nature of Russian post-Soviet atheism.

            I should like to begin with the following questions. How did it happen that the country known as ‘Holy Russia’, with such a long history of Orthodox Christianity, was in a very short period of time turned by the Bolsheviks into ‘the first atheist state in the world’? How was it possible that the very same people who were taught religion in secondary schools in the 1910s with their own hands destroyed churches and burned holy icons in the 1920s? What is the explanation of the fact that the Orthodox Church, which was so powerful in the Russian Empire, was almost reduced to zero by its former members?

            I should say at once that I cannot interpret what happened in Russia, in 1917 as an accident, the seizure of power by a small group of villains. Rather I perceive in the Russian revolution the ultimate outcome of the processes which were going on within the pre-revolutionary society and so, to a considerable extent, within the Russian Church (as there was no separation between Church and society). I would claim that the Russian revolution was the offspring of both the Russian monarchy and the Church. The roots of the post-revolutionary atheism should be looked for in pre-revolutionary Russian society and in the Church.

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            Michael Bauman says:

            Harry, I was merely attempting to point out, quite badly apparently, that there are aspects to the culture (each culture) which make the transmission of faith difficult. I was not heaping anything on anybody. Forgive me for any offense.

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            Harry Coin says:

            Michael, sorry, long day over here.

            Harry

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            Michael Bauman says:

            To expand, I prefer living in a society formed by Protestant theology to one corrupted by Islamic and Soviet persecution. As you and Fr. Hans say, there is much to commend it. There is much we in the Church can learn from it without being syncretistic. However, I think it is fair to say that being obedient within a hierarchical ecclesiology is not one of the strengths.

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    Eliot Ryan says:

    “The longest path is the path that leads from the ear to the heart.” (Fr. Arsenie Boca), ie from information to persuasion. The number of people who are informed on religious matters greatly exceeds the number of people who have religious beliefs.

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      Michael Bauman says:

      Ah, Eliot, especially if one takes the original meaning of belief, i.e., trust in God. Even fewer have the knowledge of God that such belief allows.

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        Eliot Ryan says:

        Michael: True, let me rephrase it: The number of people who are informed on religious matters greatly exceeds the number of people who trust God.

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    Eliot Ryan says:

    I should like to begin with the following questions. How did it happen that the country known as ‘Holy Russia’, with such a long history of Orthodox Christianity, was in a very short period of time turned by the Bolsheviks into ‘the first atheist state in the world’?

    It wasn’t just Russia. The year 1848 was a turning point in history. Historians call it the Year of Revolutions because political protest erupted in so many revolutions in Europe. Some are considering it a genuine turning point while others believe it wasn’t genuine.

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      Michael Bauman says:

      In my probably arrogant opinion, 1848 was the year that nihilism was unleashed on the world–a confluence of technology, political movements, philosophy, the manifest weakness of traditional monarchies and the Christian faith which supported them.

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    Eliot Ryan says:

    Michael:

    To expand, I prefer living in a society formed by Protestant theology to one corrupted by Islamic and Soviet persecution.

    To live Orthodoxy in a society corrupted by Islamic and Soviet persecution used to equate martyrdom. My first concern is “am I doing God’s will?” After that I can discuss my preferences.

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      Michael Bauman says:

      Eliot, there is the possibility for martrdom everywhere. I was born here. My work is here. That seems to be God’s will. What I do with it whether it is to my salvation and for the good of others or not, is up to me. By the grace of God, I pray that it is a witness for salvation no matter the circumstance or environment.

      Had I been born and raised in Russia or the Mideast. I might have stayed. God knows, but I’m here.

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        Eliot Ryan says:

        there is the possibility for martyrdom everywhere.

        So far I see and hear about people whining about long services, and strict fasts in the Orthodox Church. I hear people complaining about getting a numb butt from sitting too long or complaining of itching beards.
        http://orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/hopko_bem.aspx

        Father Thomas characterizes the corporate worship of the Orthodox Church by citing the words of a lay believer in upstate New York who participated in a colloquium designed to measure Orthodox lay response to the BEM document. This woman complains that Orthodox services are long, uninspiring, conducted in a foreign tongue that even the ethnics cannot understand, or conducted in English in an off-handed manner that gives them no substance. People stand or sit passively, separated from the Priest by a screen of Icons, and are discouraged from receiving Holy Communion, except during Lent, when the atmosphere is penitential and lacking in joy. Fasting is a prerequisite for this infrequent communion, and women, during their female cycles, are discouraged from communing, attending Church, and kissing the Icons or Cross. Father Thomas rightfully calls this picture a “sorrowful” one. But it is not so much sorrowful because it reflects the poverty of Orthodox worship, but because it betrays such a total lack of understanding of what that worship is. If the challenge which the BEM offers us results in this kind of response, then the BEM document is not the issue. The issue is that of teaching our people the rudiments of their Faith and bringing them back to an understanding of how that Faith beautifully and joyfully expresses itself in worship.

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          Michael Bauman says:

          Get off the east coast. The east coast is not the norm. Certainly we need to do better in teaching the faith but if we continue to allow the east coast to rule any of the jurisdictions we have not even begun the task of evangelism. Seems to me that the vast majority of negative stuff is coming off the east coast. Not just in church life but culturally and polticially it is insular, elitist and deaf.

          Come visit me at my parish: St. George Orthodox Christian Cathedral in Wichita, KS. We are really trying to build an Orthodox community of worship, witness and service that includes (eventually) a monastary, planting other Orthodox parishes etc.

          Our services are shorter than the Russian norm, but chanted, sung (including from the pews {ok we have pews}) with vigor.

          I really don’t think we are alone in the process. The vitality of the Orthodox Church is in the heartland of this country between the mountains.

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            Eliot Ryan says:

            Great to hear that! I would love to live there. I do not know where the middle path lies. One needs to have understanding towards human helplessness but it is also important to preserve the faith.

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    Fr. Johannes Jacobse says:

    The larger question is what were the historical antecedents that led to Russia’s atheistic darkness? Why didn’t Russia offer a greater resistance to the internal turmoil (Solzhenitsyn asked this question, not me). Further, the Bolshevik Revolution was not the first time the West had to face the question. The French Revolution ended with the Reign of Terror and Napoleon. The English were scared to their wits end that the virus would jump the Chanel. (It didn’t. Some historians credit the Great Awakening for inoculating England against it.)

    Met. Hilarion, it seems to me, in trying to locate some historical antecedents is addressing, in a very cautious way, whether the Church had any culpability in the atheistic onslaught that caused it such terrible suffering. It’s a question that needs to be asked, especially in this age of secular excess.

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      Nick Katich says:

      I would strongly recommend Vera Shevzov’s book “Russian Orthodoxy on the Eve of Revolution” (New York: Oxford University Press. 2004). It traces the popular pietism which developed in the villages, the Church’s intolerance of it, the attempt to corral it, the Church’s close affinity with the Tsarist Regime, its total disconnect with the serfs (later peasants), etc. It has monumental insights as to corruption and decay which the Church finally tried to reverse with the 1917-1918 All Russian Council, which was the right step but came too late.

      I read the book several years ago. Met. Hilarion’s interest will result in my re-reading it in the next few days.

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        Eliot Ryan says:

        This article is also interesting:

        Since the modernists, known to Russian Church history as ‘renovationists’, were fundamentally Protestants, with a whiff of occult theosophy, they viewed the whole of Russian Orthodox theology as Catholicised, that is, captive to Roman Catholic scholasticism.

        This merely displayed their ignorance of real Church life. What was taught in universities and academies was not theology, it was only a rationalistic game, ‘theological science’. Real Russian Orthodox theology had never died, but, as we have said, was still lived on a daily basis in monasteries and parishes. This was where, of course, the intellectual elite never set foot, confined as they were to the upper-class salons of St Petersburg, where treachery to the monarchy and so to all Russia was hatched.

        The essence of the renovationist tragedy was their towering pride. (Interestingly, before the Russian Revolution, many of the future renovationists used to meet in a building in St Petersburg, called ‘The Tower’). They believed that they could ‘improve on’ the nineteen-hundred year-old Church with their ‘spiritual’ and ‘apolitical’ views.
        [...]
        Now we can understand why Russian renovationists so actively accused the Russian Church of being in thrall to Roman Catholic influence. It was because the renovationists themselves were in thrall to Protestant influence. When they talked about captivity, they were talking about their own theological captivity, their own loss of the Tradition. Today, their only real influence outside Russia is among a few grandchildren of Russian emigres who have lost their roots, and a few Non-Russian converts and, inside Russia, some eccentric intellectuals.

        http://www.orthodoxengland.org.uk/pdf/realfake.pdf

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          Fr. Johannes Jacobse says:

          You know, this is why I tire of the neo-Monarchialists, Elliot. It is always someone else’s fault. The criticism always ends at blaming Catholicism or Protestantism.

          I’m not saying you are doing this Elliot, only that this reading is superficial.

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            Eliot Ryan says:

            “The beginning of modern history”, the French Revolution deemed as “a decisive event in world history” was beset with real or imagined conspiracies by internal and foreign enemies. The following revolutions throughout Europe and eventually in Russia have followed a similar pattern. Like Met. Hilarion says:
            “I should say at once that I cannot interpret what happened in Russia, in 1917 as an accident, the seizure of power by a small group of villains.”
            I believe things are really complicated. Perhaps it all started back, in 313, A.D, when it became easier, indeed fashionable, to become a Christian and new members with pagan pasts and dishonest intentions were accommodated in the Church. The troubles continue to this day, but the Church is the ground and the pillar of Truth and “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”.

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            Geo Michalopulos says:

            I for one don’t believe that within the West there is no method of self-reflection. To always blame others for the problems of Orthodoxy does a disservice to both the “others” and us. Case in point: the nonsense that emanated from Chambesy took twenty years to come to fruition. It was all because of pride (who’s on first). No patriarchate was willing to concede its ethnic eparchies (read: cash cows) because there was an almost complete lack of love and humility. The West didn’t impose that on us, Eliot, neither did Islam. The papalist pretensions of Constantinople were on the ascendant from the time of the Comnenii. Since then, they’ve only ascended to greater height.

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      Geo Michalopulos says:

      The Methodism of John Wesley did much to “innoculate” the working classes of Great Britain against the siren song of communism.

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    Eliot Ryan says:

    George:

    I for one don’t believe that within the West there is no method of self-reflection. [...] The West didn’t impose that on us, Eliot, neither did Islam.

    Are you sure George? I am not sure of anything anymore. Who’s leading Europe, anyway? EU brainwashing denies the Christian roots of our civilization. Who are the ideological fanatics of Brussels? Perhaps “the seizure of power by a small group of villains” would explain everything.

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      Nick Katich says:

      Eliot: It is not that simple. Europe went through two devestating world wars. That, in and of itself, caused a lot of people to turn from God and seek some sort of a super nation (ultimately evolving into the present EU) in an idealistic effort to prevent further devestation. The Vatican (esp. # I) did not help the situation with its head in the sand approach. Vatican autocracy and Protestant anarchy were both rejected as nefarious. Secularism became the alternative. I think what happened to Orthodoxy is even deeper. Call it clericalism or whatever. There has emerged a disconnect between the hierarchy, their disciplina arcana, if you wil, and a popular but extreme form of piety, almost reflective of western pietism, that developed among the masses They were in opposition to each other but coexisted until the hierarchy decided that obedience” was to be enforced. That was the situation in pre-Revolution Russia. The state decided to eradicate the hierarchy to a great extent and the peasant could not have been happier to rid itself of the hierarchy. The catacomb Church in Russia survived, not because of the hierarchy, but because of the peasant piety.

      If you have not read, I strongly encourage you to read Dostoevski’s “The Grand Inquisitor” which is one of the chapters in “Brothers Karamatsov”. What he describes directly is the Roman Church. But, reading between the lines, it is also an indictment of the Orthodox hierarchy as it became under the Tsarist regime.

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        Eliot Ryan says:

        Western Europe was post-Christian at a time of the two world wars. Christian nations do not slaughter each other. From a two thousand years perspective the post-Catholic and post-Protestant Europe is also post-Orthodox. Europe “discovered” that we are descendants of gorillas and did not want to hear anymore about Christ and the Heavenly Father. People want to become gods themselves. This is the humanist ideology.

        St Nicholas of Zhicha (+ 1956),

        Christ has left Europe, as once before Christ left Gadara at the insistence of the Gadarenes. But as soon as He left, there started wars, misfortunes, horrors, destruction, annihilation. Pre-Christian barbarianism has returned to Europe, that of the Avars, the Huns, the Lombards, the Vandals, only nightmarishly multiplied a hundredfold. Christ has taken up His Cross and His blessing and left. Darkness and stench have spilled forth. So decide who you want to be with: with the darkness and stench of Europe, or with Christ.
        http://www.orthodoxengland.org.uk/dachau4.htm

        The Iconoclasts fought against the icons because they believed that Icon worship was wrong. EU and the neo-Iconoclasts ban the icons because they remind people of God.
        “Without Me you can do nothing.” (John. 15:5). The Lord, through His servants -the saints- has forewarned us against a third WW. This last one, unlike the first two WWs, will not be for repentance ; it will be for destruction and annihilation and meant to force people to demand one global leader.

        As for the Orthodox Russia, in the life of St. Luke Archbishop of Simferopol the Surgeon (1877-1961) I read a different account:

        This period of time was extremely difficult for the Russian Orthodox Church, as they were constantly being assaulted from the right (zealots and schismatics) and from the left (the atheist government and their heretical “Living Church”). Because of St. Luke’s confessions of faith (and despite his immense medical and scientific achievements), he was imprisoned, tortured, and exiled for 11 years in total to Siberia, and other trecherous locales. Besides persecution from the government, he had to deal with heretics from the “Living Church” who masqueraded as Orthodoxy and drew people away from the Church, and schismatic individuals who also caused unneeded harm in those turbulent years.

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          Nick Katich says:

          Western Europe was post-Christian at a time of the two world wars.

          Eliot: Maybe among the intelligencia and political leadership Europe was post-Christian. I doubt that was true among the masses.

          Christian nations do not slaughter each other.

          If that were true, then Christianity did not exist in Europe for the last 1700 years. During that period, or at least for the last 1400 years, Islam slaughtered others. Christians predominantly slaughtered their brothers.

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            Eliot Ryan says:

            Nick: I believe nothing in history compares to the two World Wars, Nazism and Communism. It all started when Darwin convinced people that they too were animals. Stalin’s and Nazis’ crimes prove that they were convinced that humans are less valuable than non-human animals.

            There have always been evil people who used our Christian Faith to justify wars and their evil deeds. This does not mean that Christianity is bad. It means that the devil, and the children of the wicked one, will always try to discredit Christianity.

            So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this.

            For now, God’s mercy is sparing the wicked, because of the righteous.

            Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

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