Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The Boundaries Between Faith and Religious Charlatanism

By Markianos Protonotarios

In recent years, a religious uproar has exploded over ambiguous prophecies, causing widespread concern, while using the religiosity of the masses for some to gain by it. A religiosity that rekindled through miraculous and unexplained events like weeping icons and myrrhgushing relics and many, many eschatological prophecies.

Before I continue, however, I will clarify my position. Do not assume that I refuse to believe in the grace of God which is expressed in diverse ways in people's lives. When our Christ asserts that "if you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes" (Mk. 9:23), how can I doubt that as long as a grain of faith can move mountains, surely God can do anything. However, not a few times have people led others astray shamelessly, using Grace as they want. It is not by coincidence, I think, that the above passage from Holy Scripture as conveyed by Mark the Evangelist, Matthew the Evangelist describes in the same miracle Christ using the key-phrase "perverse" beside "unbelieving generation" (Matt. 17:17). The perversion Christ identifies with some people has to do with how some people use the Grace of God for themselves, however and whenever they want.

Monday, October 16, 2017

When Shall the Day of the Lord Come? (St. Symeon the New Theologian)

By St. Symeon the New Theologian

Woe to those who say, "When shall the day of the Lord come?" and they don't care to know and understand that day. For the Lord's Presence in the faithful has already come, and is continuously coming, and to all those who wish for it, has arrived and is firm. Because, if He is indeed the light of the world (John 8.12) and to His Apostles has said, that with us until the end of time He will be (Matt. 28.20, cf. Matt. 1.23), how, being with us, will He come? Not at all. For we are not sons of darkness and sons of night, in order for the light to overtake us, but sons of light and sons of the Lord's day, hence and living in the Lord we are, and dying in Him and with Him will live, as Paul says (Acts 17.28).

Thursday, October 12, 2017

On the Vanity of Dabbling In End Time Mysteries (St. Symeon the New Theologian)

By St. Symeon the New Theologian

Let us therefore put aside every vain and unprofitable disputation, and let us not seek ahead of time to learn what is proper to that hour, i.e., the Second Coming, but instead let us be persuaded by the Master Who says: "Search the Scriptures" (Jn. 5:39). Search, that is, and not meddle! Search the Scriptures and do not busy yourselves with disputes which lie outside the sacred writings. Search the Scriptures so that you may learn about faith, and hope, and love. About faith, so that you may not be tossed about by every wind which comes from the trickery of unstable men, but are rather rooted in the true dogma of the apostolic and catholic Church and "rightly divide" the word of her truth (2 Tim. 2:15). And not only this, but you should be taught as well to seek out the fruits of faith and the profit which derives from them through the practice of the commandments. When you have been enabled to find them, then indeed you shall be in possession of hope unashamed, and in the latter you shall possess the entirety of love for God. For it is impossible for anyone to possess perfect love for God otherwise than by grace of an unalloyed faith and a hope which is secure and unshakable. Why then do we abandon the examination of ourselves concerning these matters? And, if in fact we have that faith in God which He Himself - Who will judge us - says He will demand of us, why should we busy ourselves with matters which are beyond us, in particular when in truth we fail to see things which lie at our very feet.

From the First Ethical Discourse, translated by Fr. Alexander Golitzin.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

On the Apocalypse of John (St. Dionysios of Alexandria)

On the Apocalypse of John

By St. Dionysios of Alexandria

(Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History, Bk. 7, Ch. 25)

1. Some before us have set aside and rejected the book altogether, criticizing it chapter by chapter, and pronouncing it without sense or argument, and maintaining that the title is fraudulent.

2. For they say that it is not the work of John, nor is it a revelation, because it is covered thickly and densely by a veil of obscurity. And they affirm that none of the apostles, and none of the saints, nor any one in the Church is its author, but that Cerinthus, who founded the sect which was called after him the Cerinthian, desiring reputable authority for his fiction, prefixed the name.