Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Comparing the First and Second Coming of Christ

The Old Testament tells us that He will come. The Four Gospels tell us that He has come. From the book of Acts through the book of Revelation we read that He will come again.

The first time Jesus came unnoticed into the world, the second time “every eye will see Him.”

In His first coming Jesus humbled Himself, being born in a stable in Bethlehem. When He returns, He will come back as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Monday, December 21, 2015

The Erythraean Sybil and Her Prophetic Acrostic Concerning the Coming of Christ

The word Sybil comes (via Latin) from the ancient Greek word sibylla, meaning prophetess. The Erythraean Sybil was the prophetess of classical antiquity presiding over the Apollonian oracle at Erythrae, a town in Ionia opposite Chios, which was built by Neleus, the son of Codrus. Many Church Fathers believed that she prophesied the coming of Christ through the acrostic ΙΗΣΟΥΣ ΧΡΕΙΣΤΟΣ ΘΕΟΥ ΥΙΟΣ ΣΩΤΗΡ ΣΤΑΥΡΟΣ or JESUS CHRIST GOD SON SAVIOR CROSS. The translation below of the Oration of Constantine from the 4th century is poetically formed to fit the original, but the original Greek can be read here and a more literal translation here.

By Saint Constantine the Great

My desire, however, is to derive even from foreign sources a testimony to the Divine nature of Christ. For on such testimony it is evident that even those who blaspheme his name must acknowledge that he is God, and the Son of God if indeed they will accredit the words of those whose sentiments coincided with their own.

The Erythræan Sybil, then, who herself assures us that she lived in the sixth generation after the flood, was a priestess of Apollo, who wore the sacred fillet in imitation of the God she served, who guarded also the tripod encompassed with the serpent's folds, and returned prophetic answers to those who approached her shrine; having been devoted by the folly of her parents to this service, a service productive of nothing good or noble, but only of indecent fury, such as we find recorded in the case of Daphne. On one occasion, however, having rushed into the sanctuary of her vain superstition, she became really filled with inspiration from above, and declared in prophetic verses the future purposes of God; plainly indicating the advent of Jesus by the initial letters of these verses, forming an acrostic in these words: Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour, Cross.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

What Is Eschatology?

By Fr. Dmitri Dudko

Eschatology is the doctrine concerning the end of the world. Today eschatology has gained a particular urgency. The means of destruction attained by our age threaten universal annihilation. So in order not to be confused by all these impending events, we must examine the "end of the world" from the viewpoint of Christian eschatology.

What does the end of the world mean for the Christian? The beginning of eternity, the inauguration of a better life. The atheists want to distort our understanding of eschatology. They say that Christians are pessimists, that since Christians consider the next world as the only real one, they do not want to work in this world. This is not so. That world is attained in this one. So for the Christian every minute in this world is precious. The fewer of them that remain, the more effort he must exert.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Elder Ambrose Lazaris: "Christians Do Not Await the Coming of the Antichrist"

Elder Ambrose Lazaris said:

Christians do not await the coming of the Antichrist to earth, to fight against him, since they are already fighting against him.

The Apostle Paul says that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, faith, temperance.

Christ also says, however, that in the human soul there are passions: anger, murder, fornication, adultery, lewdness, rudeness, disorder, disputation.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Elder Porphyrios: "We Ought Not To Fear the Antichrist Or 666"

One day Elder Porphyrios had told me:

"Father Athanasios (taking me by the hand tightly), I'm blind now, my eyes do not work physically because I have cancer of the pituitary gland, but I have spiritual eyes and see. Before you leave, I want you to tell me, what did Elder Aemilianos say about 666 and the Antichrist?"

This was in the days of Chernobyl. People were upset by this and went by the dozens every day, particularly to Elder Porphyrios near Athens, asking: "What will happen? Will the Antichrist come and stamp us with 666?"

The Elder asked me: "Tell me, my child, what did Elder Aemilianos say about 666 and the Antichrist?"

I told him: "He told us in a gathering a few days ago to not worry. We should be interested in having a vibrant relationship with Christ and not give much attention to the Antichrist, because then he will become the center of our lives and not Christ."

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Contemporary Heretical Eschatology (4 of 4)

...continued from part two.

C. The Jehovah's Witnesses

By Protopresbyter Fr. Basil Georgopoulos.
Assistant Professr of Theology at the University of Thessaloniki

The sect of Jehovah's Witnesses is unprecedented in world history for the breadth and number of its strange and anti-scriptural eschatological cacodoxies, as well as the number of false prophecies regarding the end of the world.

The basic teachings of the heretical eschatology of the Jehovah's Witnesses are the following:

Friday, November 20, 2015

Contemporary Heretical Eschatology (3 of 4)

...continued from part two.

C. The Seventh Day Adventists

By Protopresbyter Fr. Basil Georgopoulos.
Assistant Professr of Theology at the University of Thessaloniki

Adventism is a Protestant teaching with an eschatological character and chiliastic direction, which emerged and developed in the United States in the 19th century, in response to the high expectations that existed in American Protestantism in the first half of the 19th century for the Second Coming of Christ.

The founder of Adventism was the farmer William Miller (1782-1849), who later became a Baptist pastor. Under the enthusiastic eschatological expectations of Protestant offshoots of his time in the United States he began to study Holy Scripture with an emphasis on prophecies.

Monday, November 16, 2015

What a Spiritual Father from Sinai Says About the "Prophecies" of St. Paisios

...But there is something we should highlight.

Lately, in the last few years and last few months, with advertising on television and elsewhere and certain newspapers, not a day passes where you don't hear about Saint Paisios or Elder Paisios or Father Paisios, etc. All that is heard is not according to God.

Profiteers have taken these things and placed them next to obscene magazines at newspaper stands. But we know why they do it and here we will respond.

They know that it is of interest to people.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Contemporary Heretical Eschatology (2 of 4)

...continued from part one.

B. The Evangelicals

By Protopresbyter Fr. Basil Georgopoulos.
Assistant Professr of Theology at the University of Thessaloniki

Evangelicals are an important versatile and non-denominational movement of the modern conservative Protestant world that emerged after World War 2. They compete against Pentecostals in their numerical increase and do not lack heretical positions on the End Times. Basic eschatological heresies, despite a partial differentiation of various movements, that must be considered are:

Monday, November 2, 2015

Contemporary Heretical Eschatology (1 of 4)

A. The Pentecostals

By Protopresbyter Fr. Basil Georgopoulos.
Assistant Professr of Theology at the University of Thessaloniki

Heretical teachings about the Second Coming and the events surrounding it, already are attested from apostolic times. The Apostle Paul in his Second Epistle to Timothy mentions Hymenaeus and Philetus, who taught "that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some" (2 Tim. 2:17-18).

Heretical positions on the Second Coming, with the events preceding or directly associated with it, have spread in our time and are passionately supported by many of the novel heretical parachristian groups.

In the series of articles that follow, we will present some representations of these heretical positions associated with eschatological teachings of various heretical groups. Eschatology is a place where various heretical groups compete, not only in an unprecedented abuse in interpreting passages of Holy Scripture, but also in the spreading of false prophecies.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Elder Cleopa on the Thousand Year Reign of Christ (Chiliasm)

Inquirer: There are those who maintain that between the Second Coming of the Lord and the end of the world Christ will reign upon the earth, governing, Himself, along with His elect for a thousand years. What is the truth of the matter, Father?

Elder Cleopa: This idea is an ancient one. In the first centuries of Christianity it was endorsed by the so-called Chiliasts or Millenialists. Against them rose the entire ancient Church and its most important representatives.

The divine Fathers of the Church indicated in their writings that the one thousand year reign referred to in the book of Revelation signifies an infinite number of years, i.e. a kingdom that shall have no end. This we know well since from Holy Scripture it is clear that the Kingdom of Christ is not of this world (Jn. 18:36). In Holy Scripture it is clearly indicated that the Kingdom of Heaven is also the Kingdom of God or Kingdom of Christ, in so much as both Saint John the Forerunner and Christ Himself called it so. This Kingdom of Christ will be spiritual and will reign over the internal world of man, while externally being revealed in the righteousness, peace and joy of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 14:17). Christ Himself established this kingdom and explained in His parables how it will appear, who it will include and what power it will possess. His reign will not endure for a thousand years, but eternally (Lk. 1:33). Its inhabitants will include all faithful Christians from all the peoples of the world (Ps. 116:1-2), it will reign over all creation, and it will be a kingdom of righteousness (Dan. 7:13-14). It will be a kingdom made up of souls (Mt. 28:18) — souls that have already entered and lived within it in this present life.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Error of Chiliasm and the Rapture

By Fr. Michael Pomazansky

Very widespread at the present time is the teaching about a thousand-year kingdom of Christ on earth before the universal or last judgment; this teaching is known by the name of "chiliasm" (from the Greek chiliasmos, a thousand years). The essence of this teaching is as follows: Long before the end of the world, Christ will come again to earth to overcome Antichrist and resurrect only the righteous, to establish a new kingdom on earth in which the righteous, as a reward for their struggles and sufferings, will reign together with Him for the course of one thousand years, taking enjoyment of all the good things of temporal life. After this there will follow a second, universal resurrection of the dead, the universal judgment, and the universal and eternal giving of rewards. Such are the ideas of the chiliasts. The defenders of this teaching established themselves on the visions of the seer of mysteries (St. John the Theologian) in the twentieth chapter of the Apocalypse. There it is said that an angel descended from heaven and bound Satan for a thousand years, and that the souls of those beheaded for the witness of Jesus and for the word of God came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. "This is the first resurrection" (Apoc. 20:5). "And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations" (Apoc. 20:7-8). Soon there follows the judgment of the devil and of those who were deceived by him. The dead will be raised up and judged according to their deeds. "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire ... This is the second death" (Apoc. 20:15, 14). Upon those who have been resurrected in the first resurrection, however, the second death will have no power.

Friday, October 2, 2015

"The Heavenly Citizen Card" (Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

Below is an excerpt from a homily delivered by Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos of Nafpaktos in the Cathedral of Saint Andrew in Patras during the Festal Divine Liturgy on November 30, 2010. In this part he specifically addresses the issue of the Citizen's Card which was scheduled to be implemented in Greece the next month and met with much protest among Greeks. The basis of the fear revolved around the question over whether or not this card bears the number 666 and thus be a prelude to the mark of the beast prophesied in the Book of Revelation. Some clergy and monastics hyped up this fear, while others tried to bring a more sober attitude towards the issue (see here and here). This drove the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece to address this issue. Metropolitan Hierotheos, as one of the most respected hierarchs of the Church of Greece, gave his sober reflections amidst a crowd of thousands that deserves to be reflected upon by all Orthodox Christians. The entire sermon can be read here in Greek which mainly deals with the Apostle Andrew.

Monday, September 28, 2015

St. George Karslides and the Apocalyptic Visionary

By Monk Moses the Athonite

There was a village woman who believed that she could see the Panagia and Christ and crying she would speak about future disasters. They asked Elder George (+ 1959) to visit her. The Elder went to her house and convinced her to come to the church of the village.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

St. Dionysius of Alexandria and the Millenarian (or Chiliast) Heresy

In the town of Arsinoe, the Millenarian heresy had spread. This heresy taught that Christ would soon come, and He would establish an earthly kingdom on earth for a thousand years. At the head of this heresy was a certain Korakion. St. Dionysius (Oct. 5) went to Arsinoe to change the minds of the millenarians and to prevent the spread of this heresy. At a large gathering of millenarians and true Orthodox, Dionysius debated with Korakion and other leaders of the millenarians. This debate lasted for three whole days. (Such zeal did the ancient Christians show in the examination of the truth!) God blessed their labor and zeal, through the prayers of St. Dionysius. At the end of the debate, Korakion and all the other millenarians rejected their false teaching and accepted the Orthodox teaching of St. Dionysius.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Elder Cleopa on the Date of the Second Coming of Christ

By Elder Cleopa of Romania

Inquirer: Father, what can you tell us about the exact date of the Second Coming of Christ?

Elder Cleopa: Christs true Church provides us with a number of apt testimonies which show that God did not entrust this date to anyone, neither to angels, nor to men, nor even to His own Son as man.

Listen to the divine words of Scripture on the subject:

But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be ... Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the good man of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh ... (Mat. 24:36-51)

If neither the angels in heaven nor the Son of Man Himself as man know the appointed time, how is it possible for it to be known among men? From the words of the Savior it is understood only that we must be ever vigilant and mindful of our salvation, ever ready for the coming of the Lord, for we know neither the day nor the hour of His coming, nor even the hour of our own end in this life. His appearance will be unexpected, as the Lord forewarned us when he said, "Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of Man cometh" (Matt. 25:13).

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Monday, August 31, 2015

The Prophecy Engraved on the Cover of St. Constantine's Tomb

This fragment of royal purple colored stone is all that is left of the tomb of St. Constantine the Great, located in the archaeological museum of Istanbul.

By John Sanidopoulos

St. Constantine the Great died in 337 AD and was laid to rest in the Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople.

The Church of the Holy Apostles was also known as the Imperial Polyándreion (imperial cemetery). The first structure dates to the 4th century, though future emperors would add to and improve on the space. It was second in size and importance only to Hagia Sophia among the great churches of the capital. When Constantinople fell to the Ottomans in 1453, the Holy Apostles briefly became the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarch of the Orthodox Church. Three years later the edifice, which was in a dilapidated state, was abandoned by the Patriarch, and in 1461 it was demolished by the Ottomans to make way for the Fatih Mosque.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Elder Daniel Katounakiotis: Stories of Apocalyptic and Demonic Delusions

Endowed with uncommon intelligence and thirsting for learning, Elder Daniel (+1929) had devoured the patristic books and plundered the treasures of the Spirit. Many monks who had fallen into various delusions through ignorance or a spirit of pride were saved by the intervention of Elder Daniel. Like his namesake, the Prophet Daniel, he in truth possessed "an excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting dreams ... and dissolving doubts" (Daniel 5:12).

Deluded Demos, For Whom Demons Danced

A good Christian of simple faith named Demos, a builder by profession, lived in Stika of Northern Epirus. One night he dreamt that in a certain place there was a church buried in the earth. Rousing his compatriots, therefore, they brought shovels and pickaxes and began the excavation. The church was brought to light. Full of satisfaction, Demos took pride in his success and pleasure in everyone's wonder; and when the cunning thought whispered to him, "Now, Demos, you are an important man, you have been chosen by God...," he accepted it without disputation.

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Rapture – Indisputable Christian Heresy

By Fr. Anthony M. Coniaris

As I was driving one day I encountered a bumper sticker admonishing me:

“WARNING! In the event of Rapture, this car will be driverless.”

The strange belief in the Rapture teaches that some day (sooner rather than later), without warning, born-again Christians will begin to float up from the freeway, abandoned vehicles careening wildly. There will be airliners in the sky suddenly with no one at the controls! Presumably, God is removing these favored ones from earth to spare them the tribulation of the Anti-Christ which the rest of us will have to endure.

Unfortunately the Rapture has been promoted widely by the Left Behind series of books that have sold over 70 million copies.

The Rapture represents a radical misinterpretation of Scripture. I remember watching “Sixty Minutes” a year ago and was appalled to hear the announcer say that “the Rapture is an unmistakenly Christian doctrine”. It is not!

It is a serious distortion of Scripture.

It is astonishing that a belief so contrary to Scripture and the tradition of the Church could be propagated by so-called “Christians”.

Friday, August 14, 2015

On the Eternal Reign of the Saints

By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

"But the saints of the Most High shall take the Kingdom and possess the Kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever" (Daniel 7:18).

Abased and oppressed in the kingdoms of the world, the saints will reign eternally in the Kingdom of Heaven.

The last on earth, they will rejoice as the first in heaven.

Hungry, thirsty, barefoot and naked in the transitory kingdoms, they will be like king's sons, satisfied and clothed in royal raiment in the enduring Kingdom.

Strangers in the kingdoms of decay, they will be lords in their Kingdom, the Kingdom of Incorruption.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

In What Sense Is God the Judge of Men? (Christos Yannaras)

By Christos Yannaras

God is not the "judge" of men in the sense of a magistrate who passes sentence and imposes a punishment, testifying to the transgression. He is judge because of what He is: the possibility of life and true existence. When man voluntarily cuts himself off from this possibility of existence, he is automatically "judged". It is not God's sentence but His existence that judges him. God is nothing but an ontological fact of love and an outpouring of love: a fullness of good, an ecstasy of loving goodness ... Man is judged according to the measure of the life and existence from which he excludes himself. Sin is a self-inflicted condemnation and punishment which man freely chooses when he refuses to be as a personal hypostasis of communion with God and prefers to "alter" and disorder his existence, fragmenting his nature into individual entities - when he prefers corruption and death ...For the Church, sin is not a legal but an existential fact. It is not simply a transgression, but an active refusal on man's part to be what he truly is: the image and "glory", or manifestation, of God.

From The Freedom of Morality, pp. 36 and 46.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Seven Youths of Ephesus, Guarantors of the Resurrection

By Father George Dormparakis

The biography of the Holy Seven Youths of Ephesus is considered one of the strangest and most amazing that has ever been written, which is why the story of these Saints inspired the pen of the renowned and famous writer John Michael Panagiotopoulos, transmitting it in a fictional way ("Τα εφτά κοιμισμένα παιδιά", 1956). The strangeness of the story lies not only in the fact that they were resurrected from the dead - something which challenges human logic, but is to be understood in the context in the resurrection of Christ, Who is the source of life and abolished death - but that they resurrected well after over a century elapsed from the time of their "death", and this event became known to everyone, while subsequently they handed their sanctified souls back to their Lord in peace.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A Patristic Explanation of the Symbolic Imagery of the Coming Judgement

By His Eminence Metropolitan Hierotheos
of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

The Second Coming of Christ and the resurrection of the dead are closely connected with the coming judgement, the so-called future tribunal. All men will stand before the dread judgement seat of Christ.

In the Creed we confess that Christ will come with glory “to judge the living and the dead.”

This conviction constitutes the central teaching of the Church, as we shall verify in what follows. In all the assemblies for worship and in the Divine Liturgy there are words about our presence before the throne of God. The priest prays:

“For a Christian end of our life, painless, peaceful and unashamed, and for a good answer before the dread judgement seat of Christ, let us pray.”

In what follows we shall have an opportunity to emphasize the fact that although we use images of a tribunal, the judgement will have more the character of a revelation and manifestation of the spiritual state of the person. Moreover, all the images used have a symbolic character. Christ and the saints, as we shall see, use such images to make people understand pictorially that dreadful day when they will see the reality. Consequently, unless we do away with the images, we must enter into their essence and inner content.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Elder Daniel of Katounakia on 666 and the Antichrist

On 5 September 1925 the late Elder Daniel of Katounakia (1846-1929) sent a letter to S. Bergonin, who had prepared a treatise that dealt with the number 666 and the Antichrist. After nearly 90 years this letter continues to be timely and instructive, as can be read below.

Letter of Elder Daniel of Katounakia (9/5/1925)

With much joy I just received these past days from Father Hilarion, spiritual child of the late Hieromonk Savvas, your letter on May 25th.

I read it with great attention and commend, as it should be, your divine zeal and that as a good Christian you cared to investigate Holy Scripture and to write a study that deals with the number 666, which implies the Antichrist.

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Reception of Elijah and Enoch in the End Times and False Prophets

Someone asked St. Paisios the Athonite (+ 1994):

- Elder, when the Prophets Elijah and Enoch come back in order to preach repentance, will people understand what is happening, and come back to their senses?

- Those who have a good predisposition will understand. Those who aren’t positively predisposed will not understand and will be misled. Our Lord had warned us that we must be very careful, because “false christs and false prophets shall arise, and they shall give signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Mk. 13:22).

Thursday, July 16, 2015

On Contemplating About the End of the World

By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

Some misguided men think more about the end of the world than the end of their lives, even though it is obvious that for him to whom the end of his life comes the end of the world has come.

A brother standing before St. Seraphim of Sarov continually kept in his mind how he was going to ask the Saint about the end of the world. St. Seraphim discerned his thought and said to him: "My joy! You think highly of the wretched Seraphim. How could I know when the end of the world will be, and when that great day when the Lord will judge the living and the dead and render to each one according to his deeds will be? No, no, this is impossible for me to know!"

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Caution Regarding the "Prophecies" of Elder Paisios

By Theo

I met Fr. Paisios in 1975. Ever since I met him 30-40 times, almost every time by myself. I never heard him say "prophecies", such as when there will be wars, when we will take Constantinople, who will be commander-in-chief, etc. After his death I saw many "prophecies" distributed in magazines and books or disseminated by the media. I thought he might have actually said such things, but not to me. Until about a month ago when I heard from a friend of mine that the day before he visited the Holy Mountain and Fr. Isaiah, who was a novice of the Elder and now lives in his cell, told him that the Elder never uttered such "prophecies", and never referred to when there will be war, etc.

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Antichrist and 666 Was Not the Primary Message of Elder Paisios

By Elder Makarios of Maroudas

(Holy Skete of the Nativity of the Theotokos "Maroudas", Mount Athos)

...Others come to Mount Athos running around to find prophets and futurists. The unfortunate ones see these things on television and the internet and they come to confirm it first hand, and they are victims of the exploitation of the terror they receive. They exploit even the words and writings of the late Elder Paisios. The Elder, as we came to know him, was a man full of peace, love and goodness. You went near to him, and your soul was calmed; he gave you hope and joy for life. Today there are distributed hundreds of photocopies of a manuscript of his about the Antichrist and 666, as if this was the primary message of the Elder.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Bride of Christ

By Monk Christodoulos Gregoriates

"After, a great sign appeared in the sky. I saw a woman who had the sun for a garment and the moon was under her feet and on her head was a crown with twelve stars. ... and the woman fled into the desert, where she has a place made ready for her by God, so that they may feed her there for one thousand two hundred and sixty days" (Rev. 12:1-17).

It is commonly accepted by the interpreters of the Apocalypse that this woman symbolizes the Church of Christ. She is the Bride of the Bridegroom who is invited to the royal wedding (Rev. 22:17, Matt.22:1-4, Lk. 14:15-24). She is one and unique! She wears a crown of twelve stars which symbolize the twelve apostles of Christ.

The Bridegroom Christ comes in nuptial communion with her at the Mystery of Holy Communion. It is a Paschal Wedding. That is, it is a wedding of going and returning to Paradise (Pascha means "Passover" or "passing").

Paradise is one and the Bride is one, the Church. The Church of Christ is the ark of salvation, the one who saves her faithful from the floods of sin.

Noah's Ark is a type of the Church of Christ. It is the Church of the saved from the waters of cataclysm which symbolizes sin that leads to death.

This enviable title of the Church - Bride - is claimed by many "churches" and each one of them is self-projected to be the true Bride of Christ. But only one of all these "brides" can be the Bride of Christ.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Greatest and Most Wondrous Polyelaios and the Renewal of the Whole of Creation

Commentary by St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite on II St. Peter 3:13

I am not able, here, to pass over in silence the beautiful and fitting analogy put forth by some concerning the renewal of the whole of creation.

They compare it to a wise artist who is fabricating a great, wondrous, and costly polyelaios [the main chandelier in the Nave of the Church – Trans.] and who does not finish it in one sitting, but rather works on it for a great deal of time, now working on one small section of the polyelaios, now on another; and sometimes he fashions the middle bars of the polyelaios, and sometimes its oil lamps, sometimes its bulb, and sometimes he works on the parts that will hold the candles.

Once he has finished the entire polyelaios and all of the small and large parts it comprises, then he exhibits this wondrous polyelaios in the center of the market, with all of its numerous parts connected; and, seeing that it was made according to his design, beautifully and most skilfully, he rejoices greatly and is glad.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

About Eschatologia

Eschatologia is the Greek word for eschatology, which by definition is the study of last things, whether it concerns the end of human life in the body or the end of the world itself. Yet it also covers the transition from one phase to another, for "to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord" (2 Cor. 5:8), and there will be "a new heaven and a new earth" after the old have passed away (Rev. 21:1). Thus, eschatology is about paradise restored and examines future matters.

However, one could also say that the Christian life is an eschatological life. A Christian who has been purified of their passions through ascetic struggle, prayer and the Mysteries of the Church, has made their body into a temple of the Holy Spirit, and when the Grace of the Holy Spirit illumines us, then "the Kingdom of Heaven is within you" (Lk. 17:21), and "the pure in heart ... shall see God" (Matt. 5:8). What will be in the future can become a present reality when a person lives a faithful ecclesiastical life.

Eschatology therefore is about the all around Christian experience. The Christian faithful become "citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven" in this life in order to enter the future Promised Land "flowing with milk and honey" (Ex. 3:17) in the next. In our days this is often ignored and forgotten. This is because we equate the Christian life with merely making a profession of faith and living good moral lives. Then one day, sometime in the future, after we die, we will experience heavenly realities. Such a belief is contrary to the Gospel of Christ, and constitutes an eschatological and soteriological heresy.

Today the subject of eschatology, because it is misunderstood, is often approached because of fear and distress. We live in fearful and distressing times, and the shock of this leads to confusion, so we flee to our beliefs for consolation and answers, but we approach this in worldly ways. Our hope flees, but it becomes a future hope; we are weak now, but in the future we will be victorious. But the eschaton is outside of time, and is as much a part of the past and present as it is of the future. By living a faithful ecclesiastical life, which is the Christian life, we live an eschatological life, and our future depends on how much we appropriate such a life in the present here and now. This is what eschatology is all about.

This weblog will present various studies and texts that deal with eschatology from this Orthodox Christian perspective, and will clarify many false notions as well. I pray the exploration of these topics will serve towards the benefit of all my readers.

John Sanidopoulos

June 25, 2015

Feast of Saint Febronia