April 16, 2014

Russian Orthodox Church Canonizes New Martyr Who Died at the Hands of the Nazis

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- Source: Orthodox Cognate The Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia has canonized Russian national Alexander Schmorell, a native of Orenburg, who was executed by the Nazi regime in 1943 for organizing an anti-fascist student group called the White Rose, the Church Bulletin publication reported. The ceremony to glorify St. Alexander of Munich, who was 25 yeas old when he died, ended in Germany this past weekend. He became the first new martyr glorified after canonical communion between the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) was restored in 2007 following 80 years of separation. [...] Schmorell, born in 1917, was the son of a German who moved to Russia in the 19th century. His mother was the daughter of an Orthodox Christian priest. In 1921 the family decided to return to Germany and moved to Munich, where Schmorell became a parishioner of a Russian Orthodox church. After returning from the front in 1942 following … [Read more...]

Obama and the Dictatorship of Relativism

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When the Manhattan Declaration first came out, Orthodox signers came under considerable criticism. Too much culture wars was the usual response. I signed the document because I saw that efforts to institutionalize secular liberalism could only succeed if dissenting voices were silenced. The cost of that silence is high and will include the loss of liberty if it succeeds. Secular fundamentalism allows no prisoners. Below Samuel Gregg examines the historical antecedents of the present conflict and writes, "(T)he Catholic Church's fight — in fact, the fight of anyone, believer or non-believer, who recognizes secularist fundamentalism as a danger to freedom — against the despotism of "there-is-no-moral-truth..." is only just beginning." He's right. Source: American Spectator | Samuel Gregg There is no moral truth and Rawls is his prophet. If there was ever any doubt about one of the Obama Administration's key philosophical commitments, it was dispelled on Jan. … [Read more...]

65 Orthodox Church Bishops Call on Obama to ‘Rescind’ the ‘Unjust’ Contraception Mandate

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Source: LifeSite News NEW YORK, NY, February 6, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – The 65 canonical bishops of the Orthodox Church have asked President Barack Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to repeal the mandate that religious institutions provide birth control, sterilization, and Plan B abortion drugs in their health care coverage. The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America – which represents 12 Orthodox jurisdictions and three million Orthodox Christians in the United States – issued a press release last Thursday calling the HHS ruling a violation of religious conscience. “The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the free exercise of religion,” the statement says. “This freedom is transgressed when a religious institution is required to pay for ‘contraceptive services’ including abortion-inducing drugs and sterilization services that directly violate their … [Read more...]

Gov. Michael Dukakis on OCN “Politics, Faith, and Integrity”

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AOI Observer reader Andrew Estocin asked for a separate posting on the recent interview of Gov. Michael Dukakis on Orthodox Christian Network. I am glad to oblige because, like Andrew, I too have been critical about the lauding of Greek Orthodox politicians by the Greek Orthodox Church without any mention of their often radical positions against the sanctity of life. Dukakis is a Baby Boomer has the Kennedy-esque view that the first function of government is to foster cultural change. He says as much when he decries the racism and anti-semitism of past eras and implicitly credits government with changing it. Unfortunately the interview never gets past the surface of these beliefs and assertions. It would have been interesting for example, to ask the Governor if he had changed his mind on any issue, what he learned about governing that he thought was true but wasn't, and so forth. Listen here: … [Read more...]

Orthodox Bishops Speak Out Against HHH Mandate

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Source: Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops - The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, which is comprised of the 65 canonical Orthodox bishops in the United States, Canada and Mexico, join their voices with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and all those who adamantly protest the recent decision by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, and call upon all the Orthodox Christian faithful to contact their elected representatives today to voice their concern in the face of this threat to the sanctity of the Church’s conscience. In this ruling by HHS, religious hospitals, educational institutions, and other organizations will be required to pay for the full cost of contraceptives (including some abortion-inducing drugs) and sterilizations for their employees, regardless of the religious convictions of the employers. The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the free exercise of religion. This … [Read more...]

Orthodox Bishops Assembly Silent on Moral Issues

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By John Couretas - At an October 1970 meeting of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the Americas (SCOBA), which was called to discuss the burning question of an independent American Church, the presiding conference chair Archbishop Iakovos got fed up and quit. Official letters raising the subject of independence had been sent to the “mother Churches” in Constantinople, Bucharest, Belgrade, Athens and other Orthodox “centers” pointing for the need to do something about the chaotic “situation of Orthodoxy in America.” Only three replies came back. To the Greek Orthodox Iakovos, this was proof that no one took SCOBA seriously and, for that matter, the American Orthodox. The archbishop resigned from SCOBA in disgust, saying that he had no desire to be the head of a “dead body.” According to a contemporary account, the official minutes of the meeting were forged to cover up what would turn out to be a temporary … [Read more...]

Met. Jonah Leads Prayer at March for Life

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Source: Koinonia As reported earlier on oca.org, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah offered the opening prayer during the program that preceded the March for Life here on Monday, January 23, 2012. “Roman Catholic Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, who is in charge of pro-life activities, invited the Orthodox bishops to stand together with the Roman Bishops, as we are of one mind in regards to Life, and for us to begin to alternate giving the opening prayer for the March,” Metropolitan Jonah said, reflecting on the March. “This year, they gave the honor to me to bless the opening of the March for Life on their behalf, as well as on behalf of the Orthodox. With me at that podium, at my request, was Cardinal-elect Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York. “This is a significant ecumenical event, a strong gesture of unity, and a great symbol of the respect of the Roman Catholic Church for the Orthodox Church in America,” Metropolitan Jonah continued. “We are of one mind in opposition to abortion … [Read more...]

Why is the Orthodox Episcopal Assembly Silent as Religious Liberty Erodes?

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Source: Fr. Peter-Michael Preble Blog (The Church Under Attack) | Fr. Peter-Michael Preble - In the Gospels Jesus warns us that the world will hate us. He is giving us a warning that being a Christian will not be easy and that it will be a fight, every day, for what we believe in. The world is becoming increasingly hostile to the truth of Jesus Christ and I do not see it getting any better. Yesterday I posted an essay on the Huffington Post Religion Page and before my finger was even off the send button the attackers came out. They hate the fact that the church would dare speak out on issues that affect people and their beliefs, one of the more shocking things was that some of those attacking my words were Orthodox! Yes, the Orthodox Church teaches and preaches traditional family values, well it is supposed to anyway, but I fear that many of my brother priests have not done their job. I know our bishops have not done their job as they have been silent these last few years as the … [Read more...]

The Pro-Life Cause, Orthodoxy, and Hope

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Source: Frederica | Frederica Mathewes-Green - A talk for an Orthodox Christian Pro-Life Event; January 22, 2012. Today is the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion—through all 50 states, for any reason whatsoever. When I was a college student, back in the 70’s, I was in favor of legalizing abortion. I wasn’t a Christian then, but I was a feminist, the first feminist in my dorm, and I was loudly in favor of social revolution and women’s rights. I took it for granted that abortion was necessary, if women were ever going to be equal to men. Of course, I didn’t think the number of abortions would ever be very high. Most of us, at that time, assumed that women wouldn’t want to have abortions, and would do so only in the most extreme situations. Things didn’t turn out that way. As of last June, the number of abortions since Roe v. Wade was 53,600,000.    (NRLC estimate of … [Read more...]

Religious Freedom Under Attack

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Three cheers to Fr. Peter Michael-Preble and Chris Banescu, the first Orthodox Christians to criticize Pres. Obama's arbitrary ruling forcing all Americans to comply with the anti-life agenda of the cultural left. The Catholics have been front and center on this threat to religious freedom. Orthodox leaders have been silent except for Fr. Preble and Banescu who recognize the dangers inherent in the policy change. Source: Huffington Post | Fr. Peter-Michael Prebble America has a very long tradition of freedom. We cherish these freedoms like, the freedom of speech, freedom of religion and until recently, freedom of choice. I will admit right up front that I voted for President Obama because, like many, I believed we needed change. Well I now feel I was duped and his brand of change is not what America needs at all. As an Orthodox priest and an American I believe in traditional family values like marriage, family, saving one's self for that person we plan to spend the rest … [Read more...]

Rise Up and Walk!

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Do you think miracles don't happen like they did in the Gospels, or that the Lord does not work like He did in the book of Acts? Read this. Source: Friends of Indonesia During the massive eruption of Mount Merapi in the fall of 2010, Fr. Marcus and Fr. Alexios started to reach out to the people of that area, first in their physical relief efforts, later in their spiritual. While they were delivering relief supplies and housing refugees, they were also spreading the gospel. A small seed that has since flowered. Fr. Markus had been talking to a shaman of the area whose wife, Kartini, was very sick and had been paralyzed for many years. The shaman, Pak Mulyoto, wanted to know if Jesus Christ could heal people; he had tried every other type of healing powers. Shamans in Indonesia, and this one in particular, believe that they have a great power for healing, but he could not heal his own wife. Fr. Markus assured him that indeed Jesus could heal, but it was faith in Jesus … [Read more...]

Russian Church Declines to Comment on Constantinople Statement on Abbot’s Arrest

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How is Moscow commenting on the imprisonment of Abbot Ephraim any different than Constantinople urging the Europeans to support passage of the Geneva Protocols before Global Warming was discredited? Don't both concern an act of state? Or is Constantinople claiming a prerogative that in fact does not exist: Whenever the state takes an action that impacts the Church, only the hierarch of the region has authority to speak out. If that's the case, then no Church could protest in support of, say, the Coptic Orthodox or any other group persecuted by the state. This is a prescription for recalcitrant states to increase pressure on all Christians, not just the Orthodox. Moscow is wise not to say anything. Source: Interfax Moscow, January 12, Interfax - The Russian Orthodox Church has declined to comment on a statement from the Patriarchate of Constantinople on Tuesday on the recent arrest in Greece of Archimandrite Ephrem, abbot of the Vatopedi Monastery in Greece's Mt. Athos … [Read more...]