Love without GOD can’t be called love!

We don`t have love from the heart, we don`t have maternal, divine, true love. I hear many people telling me that it was better long time ago because then there were love, respect, family. Let us go back and remember the years from the past, the times of our grandparents and our grand grandparents. We will find the same lack of love, the same callousness. Even if we read about the life of the great writers and composers and painters who remained in history we will find in their works the pain, sadness, loneliness of their souls. And this is because their parents did not care to fill their souls. They left them empty, without true love, without the affection of the family, without God! Deprived especially of maternal love!

Neither in those years the mothers knew what love meant although they sought it because they missed it. They suffered because their mothers did not love them, it hurt them because they treated them toughly. However they followed the same path. I remember the old women who came to the monastery and with whom I talked. I told them:

`I am glad for the love you have in your souls, for the wise words you told me and for the kindness you spread.`

`Ah, my child, if you knew my pains and how severe my mother was who raised me and my brothers and how much it hurt us her toughness. For this reason I prayed every night to God not to become like her. `My God, I said, help me to become a good mother so that my children won`t feel what I feel for my mother.` And glory to God!, He helped me to become, from what my children say about me, a good mother and grandmother.

You see that in those years what they called love was toughness. In those times the people were tougher, especially the mothers. But there were some intelligent people who although they did not receive love from their parents raised their eyes to the height of heaven seeking God to free them of pain and of the loneliness of their souls. And God listened to their cry for spiritual help. And as a Good and Loving Father that He is not only He filled their empty soul, but also sanctified it.

But today as well as in the past our love remains tough, selfish and superficial. At the first blow of the wind it goes away and the emptiness of our soul is revealed. From our so-called love we see springing out our malice, hate, envy, betrayal, injustice, the passions smoldering inside it. And unfortunately we call this love!

But love without God can`t be called love.God taught us selfless love, the love He has for us, the love on which is not written the word death.

Excerpt from the book Listen to me !by nun Porphyria, published by Evanghelismos.

The disciple who contents his elder, contents GOD !

My Elder always advised us about the great importance of obedience:  The disciple who contents his Elder, contents God!` When I heard this counsel of my ElderI made the purpose of my renunciation at the world and of my life lived near him to apply with all the power of my soul this patristic advice. I did not think of anything else day and night only to content him, not in words, but with my deeds, with my living.

And when the time came for my Elder to go to the other world, to the blessed afterlife, in order to please him and ascertain my soul I asked him timidly how pleasant my living was for him.

I was ashamed to ask him about his mystic life because I respected him very much. But this time when he was about to die, I took courage and asked him:

`Geronda, did I content you?`

As you contented me, may God content you!` And when you leave this life, if I find the daring, I`ll come before your death to ascertain you and be by your side. For me that was a great gift, because I believed and still do believe that he found a great daring since I knew that his living was extremely holy.

Excerpt from the book The Art of Salvation published by Evanghelismos.

The Holy Mother of God – The Perfect feminine ideal

`The Holy Mother of God is the mother who is always ready to forgive, daring to raise her hands to the Lord with her audacity of Mother and to pray to Him for the poor mortals. The text tells us that the prayer of the Holy Mother of God is very powerful in persuading the Lord. To have the Holy Mother of God as a mother is the priceless gift God made us. He chose her from among the people in order to elevate the people high above to Him. He appreciated her purity and humbleness and rewarded them, giving her as an example to the Christian women. Through her the joy sprang in the world. Through her it was made the beginning of the miracles of Christ, she being a heavenly ladder for the descent of God among men. She is the cloak of the world, wider than the cloud and the bridge taking those who are on earth to heaven. God showed her to us as being the opener of the gates of heaven and the guide of wisdom of the believers.

The Holy Mother of God is the one who mildens the righteous Judge and the shelter of His wisdom. She is the forgiveness of many sinful men and the robe covering those who have no hardihood. Let us bring thankfulness to the One who is the love beyond any desire and the hope of the eternal goods, the One who enlightened the mind of many and who renewed those begotten in sin. Haven`t we felt her love so many times? Could someone else take away our pain as she does?

Let us love the Holy Mother of God and no pain will overwhelm this love! Let us honor the Holy Mother of God and every moment of our life will be filled with hope! Let us thank to the Holy Mother of God for the dignity of calling us Her sons and be her sons indeed! Let us worship the Holy Mother of God before whom the whole earth and sky prostrate! Let us bring joy to the Holy Mother of God fulfilling the commands of her beloved Son and having an overpowering desire for the heavenly ones! Let us follow the Holy Mother of God, the perfect feminine ideal, both for mothers and for nuns! The Holy Mother of God is gentleness itself.

With the power of her innocence and courage, She is the defender of the desperate people, praying ceaselessly for all the sinners, the guilty, the marginalized. She is the mother of the disregarded, of the offended, of the lonely, of those whom nobody loves, for whom nobody has mercy, to whom nobody smiles and for whom nobody prays. As the monk Nicolae Steinhardt wrote, the common people who believe in the Holy Mother of God and in her supernatural help and say `we don`t know any other escape but You`, are not interested in any theological subtleties nor are they concerned by them.

And what could we do more than shedding tears to beg her with ardent faith :

`Be merciful with us the humble because we, who are full of all kinds of sins, have no other escape but You. Have mercy on us, the Hope of the Christians! May the Holy Mother of God make us reach that place high above from Her feet!

Let us love the Holy Mother of God!

We must ponder a few moments upon her role as a mother. We may say without any exaggeration, that no mother was so fully aware of the fact that she serves the whole world and the plan of God fulfilling her humble duties. All the mothers should know how to raise their babies with the gentleness and consciousness of the Holy Mother of God.

They should also know that the refuse to have babies and to raise them is equal with the refuse to collaborate with God, being even a reaction of opposition against Him. To have the Theotokos as a mother is the priceless gift God made us. He chose her from among men to elevate the man to Him. He appreciated her purity and humbleness and rewarded them giving her as an example to all the Christian women. Let us thank to the Holy Mother of God for the dignity of calling us Her sons and let us be her sons indeed! There is a fact which dominates the whole life of the Holy Mother of God, the clear conscience of her solidarity with all people and of her fulfilling the plan of God highlighted in certain moments with a special significance:

  1. The Moment of the Annunciation. God willing to incarnate Himself as a Man in order to save us asks for the consent of the mankind whose messenger was the humble Virgin Mary. Nobody would ever know what turn would have taken the plan for the salvation of the world if in that unique moment the Holy Virgin had not given her sublime consent: `I am the Lord`s servant, may Your word to me be fulfilled!` (Luke 1, 38). She is aware that by her free consent of being mother of God-The Savior, she brings a service to all the peoples of the earth and for this reason she prophesied inspired by the Holy Spirit: From now on all the peoples will call me blessed.
  2. The Christmas night when the Holy Mother of God gives birth to God hidden in the body of a human baby. The Holy Mother of God breastfed and raised as a real mother the Man-God, Jesus Christ, the only Savior God gave to the people. She utters her chant now with her inner voice:

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart…` …”(Luke 2, 19). We have to stop for a few moments at her role as a mother. We may say without any exaggeration that no mother was more fully aware of the fact that she made a service to the whole mankind and to the plan of God, fulfilling her humble duties.. All the mothers should know how to raise their babies with the gentleness and consciousness of the Holy Mother of God. They should also know that the refuse to have babies and to raise them is equal with the refuse to collaborate with God, being considered even as a reaction of opposition against Him. To have the Theotokos as a mother is the priceless gift God made us. He chose her from among men to elevate the man to Him. He appreciated her purity and humbleness and rewarded them giving her as an example to all the Christian women. Let us thank to the Holy Mother of God for the dignity of calling us Her sons and let us be her sons indeed!

Father Benedict points out the sublimity of the icon of the Holy Mother of God with the Baby, called `Sweet kiss` : the face of the Virgin Mother from the icon expresses the ineffable love between God and people.

  1. The moment of the Dormition of the Holy Mother of God represents the fulfillment of her serving the mankind. The Holy Fathers say: an inexpressible mysterious reward takes place in the day of the Dormition of the Holy Mother of God, between Christ and His Holy Mother. Her body was revived from the dead and taken to heaven in glory as the Body of the Savior before the end of the world and the Second Coming of the Lord! We may say that it is a second Easter: The Easter of the Holy Mother of God! Let us remember the whole service of the Holy Mother of God in the plan of our salvation. She was called to give human body to God and by giving birth to Him she introduced God in the mankind. She helped God become man and be able to die and to come to life again out of His great love for our expiation and transformation and of the whole world. This service and gift were not forgotten by Christ the Saviour. The deification of the man through Jesus Christ, this is the great blessing the mankind owes to the Holy Mother of God.

 (Father Constantin Voicescu, one of the great confessors from the communist jails, the preach at the feast of the Birth of the Holy Mother of God, held in the same day when the priest was called to heaven.

God, nature and the others

Monk Moses the Athonite

A good thing brought by the economic crisis is that it forced some people to go back in the country. It made many young people to go back to the neglected nature and to agriculture. The disruption of the bond between man and the natural environment has serious consequences. There is anxiety and agony but not something more. Of course we don’t refer at an imaginary return to nature. The ecological crisis of our unstable times is tremendous.

The cause of this phenomenon is the sin. The man wants to move uncontrolled, abusively, with authority and superiority. Without respect, measure and limit, he is heading towards disaster. Free, irresponsible, selfish, he thinks that he gains. But  material gain, matter, temporariness and unsafety control him in an unhealthy way. Nature sighs, is disregarded, suffers, becomes a victim of constraint.  The abnormality is considered normality. Nature opposes the human chaos and greed. First created naked, out of heaven they were not respected anymore by creation. The church settle from the beginning the restraint for man. It guided him not to debauchery but to self restraint, to give up on what is in excess and to keep what is strictly necessary with due humbleness.

The irrational excessive consumerism leads to self destruction. Indifference towards the basic rules lead to the destruction of the environment, the excessive exploitation of the rich natural resources that are not inexhaustible, at the pollution of seas, rivers and lakes, of the atmosphere. Without God the man is drawn in all directions. The right attitude towards the use of the natural resources shows the morality of a Christian. The irrational connection between the man and creation define him as vicious. The saints were not some oversensitive, romantic ecologists, dreaming nature or animal lovers, they loved God first, the suffering man and then the nature as a divine creation and reason for doxology. Virtuous contemporary elders had a nice love for nature but not a stressing and sick one.

It is a proven fact that good relations with God create good relations with people and nature. The Orthodox Church with its teaching and tradition advises us to have a permanent gratefulness and doxology for everything and to have a modest and humble spirit so much needed in the world of nowadays.

God made Adam guardian, janitor of the eden. He gave it to him to find delight and rest in it and to use it. But Adam rebelled, became insolent and disobedient. He didn’t want to have anyone over his head, wanted to do everything as he pleased. And the consequences are well known and bitter. Since then his role changed a lot. He became an abusive self destroying exploiter. The environment given to us by God needs protection, respect, interest and valorization.

Returning to God, the man will become aware of his estrangement of God, will be helped and strengthened to free himself from the terrible abyss of despair. The man of nowadays who considered himself happy now became aware of his deep soul vacuum. It is necessary to see God, his neighbor, himself and nature with more respect. May the painful economic crisis lead him to the change of his mentality, to a sincere repentance so that his life may acquire meaning. It cannot be justified more carelessness in what regards spiritual training. We should treasure the world as a jewel. We should not act out of pride or interest for offending and exploiting wrongly the nature. By loving, respecting and protecting we don’t put the man in the second place. Sometimes animals are preferred instead of children. Many people die and faint because of hunger while others buy expensive food for the animals and take them to doctors, stomatologists and hair stylists.

The poor, the sick, the homeless, the unemployed, the desparate represent a painful tragedy of nowadays. But out of their huge pain may rise understanding, compassion, humility and reflection, an estrangement of the irrational life. Magninamity, the glorification of God and the love for nature were forgotten. They are all called to come back willingly and knowingly to the life giving grounds that have been so often derided, despised and deserted. The villages, the fresh woods, the fields in blossom, the starry sky, the orchards full of fruit trees and the vegetable gardens await those who are tired of the huge noise from the cities with something that’s not much but it’s precious and its theirs.

A good thing brought by the economic crisis is that it forced some people to go back in the country. It made many young people to go back to the neglected nature and to agriculture. The disruption of the bond between man and the natural environment has serious consequences. There is anxiety and agony but not something more. Of course we don’t refer at an imaginary return to nature. The ecological crisis of our unstable times is tremendous.

The cause of this phenomenon is the sin. The man wants to move uncontrolled, abusively, with authority and superiority. Without respect, measure and limit, he is heading towards disaster. Free, irresponsible, selfish, he thinks that he gains. But  material gain, matter, temporariness and unsafety control him in an unhealthy way. Nature sighs, is disregarded, suffers, becomes a victim of constraint.  The abnormality is considered normality. Nature opposes the human chaos and greed. First created naked, out of heaven they were not respected anymore by creation. The church settle from the beginning the restraint for man. It guided him not to debauchery but to self restraint, to give up on what is in excess and to keep what is strictly necessary with due humbleness.

The irrational excessive consumerism leads to self destruction. Indifference towards the basic rules lead to the destruction of the environment, the excessive exploitation of the rich natural resources that are not inexhaustible, at the pollution of seas, rivers and lakes, of the atmosphere. Without God the man is drawn in all directions. The right attitude towards the use of the natural resources shows the morality of a Christian. The irrational connection between the man and creation define him as vicious. The saints were not some oversensitive, romantic ecologists, dreaming nature or animal lovers, they loved God first, the suffering man and then the nature as a divine creation and reason for doxology. Virtuous contemporary elders had a nice love for nature but not a stressing and sick one.

It is a proven fact that good relations with God create good relations with people and nature. The Orthodox Church with its teaching and tradition advises us to have a permanent gratefulness and doxology for everything and to have a modest and humble spirit so much needed in the world of nowadays.

God made Adam guardian, janitor of the eden. He gave it to him to find delight and rest in it and to use it. But Adam rebelled, became insolent and disobedient. He didn’t want to have anyone over his head, wanted to do everything as he pleased. And the consequences are well known and bitter. Since then his role changed a lot. He became an abusive self destroying exploiter. The environment given to us by God needs protection, respect, interest and valorization.

Returning to God, the man will become aware of his estrangement of God, will be helped and strengthened to free himself from the terrible abyss of despair. The man of nowadays who considered himself happy now became aware of his deep soul vacuum. It is necessary to see God, his neighbor, himself and nature with more respect. May the painful economic crisis lead him to the change of his mentality, to a sincere repentance so that his life may acquire meaning. It cannot be justified more carelessness in what regards spiritual training. We should treasure the world as a jewel. We should not act out of pride or interest for offending and exploiting wrongly the nature. By loving, respecting and protecting we don’t put the man in the second place. Sometimes animals are preferred instead of children. Many people die and faint because of hunger while others buy expensive food for the animals and take them to doctors, stomatologists and hair stylists.

The poor, the sick, the homeless, the unemployed, the desparate represent a painful tragedy of nowadays. But out of their huge pain may rise understanding, compassion, humility and reflection, an estrangement of the irrational life. Magninamity, the glorification of God and the love for nature were forgotten. They are all called to come back willingly and knowingly to the life giving grounds that have been so often derided, despised and deserted. The villages, the fresh woods, the fields in blossom, the starry sky, the orchards full of fruit trees and the vegetable gardens await those who are tired of the huge noise from the cities with something that’s not much but it’s precious and its theirs.

The role of Orthodoxy in the World consists in confessing the truth, in the preaching of the apostles and in the dogmas

Monk Theoclate from Dionysiou

Orthodoxy was founded in twenty centuries on the Holy Scripture, the Ecumenical Councils, the Holy Tradition and the blood of the martyrs and confessors.

The attempts of unification with the Catholics as long as they remain in their heresy and innovations represent for us a danger of dogmatic deflection, of nullification of the blood shed by our martyrs and of deflection from the teaching of our Holy Church.

The desired unification is for us the Orthodox something unbearable and if this is accomplished will erode the Orthodox spirit and become a spring of many evils.

The idea of unification and its practical consequences are disgraceful for us the Orthodox. In addition to this the Scripture forbids the fellowship with those of another faith. If the heresy is the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit which leads to the absence of his divine work, how will be possible the collaboration with those who are against the Holy Spirit? Our people will be in danger because of the relationships with the Protestant and Catholic carriers of demons. Many will convert themselves to Catholicism and Protestantism because by collaboration in time all the differences of the Holy Fathers will disappear.

Love is good but hate is better when it comes to faith; of course not to hate the people only their heretical ideas.

Christianity encourages love but recommends hate as well. Without a hate against the sin, virtue is not possible.

The measure of virtue is the hate against the sin, says saint Basil the Great. And if we have to hate the moral sin, we should hate even more the sin against the Holy Spirit.

Saint Nicodemus the Athonite clarified the attitude of the Orthodox towards the heretics writing : `We must hate and reject the heretical ideas and the wicked manners of the Catholics and of other heretics.`

We are not wiser or holier than those blessed men who hated heresy considering it the cause of perdition.

The mon are according to saint John Chrysostom the `kidneys of the Church`. The patriarch of Constantinople, saint Gregory the 6th says only beautiful words about the monastic order and considers it the shield of Orthodoxy. The heretics of nowadays – he writes in his circular from 1836 – for contaminating the true religion poured the microbes from their poisonous souls through a lot of twaddle against the vigilant Orthodox flock and they did everything to oppose and harm by their cunning plans the monastic order. But the wretched saw that within this order are found the speakers of truth and the guides of the Orthodox youth teaching them the holy dogmas and the right moral. This order has never contaminated the visible Church of Christ but has always enlightened it, glorified it, defended it and settled it by spiritual experience, dogmatic writings and good morals.`

 (excerpts from the article Orthodoxy and Vatican of the periodical `Athonite Library`, Sot. Shoina Voios, no. 60, 1962)

Orthodoxy was founded in twenty centuries on the Holy Scripture, the Ecumenical Councils, the Holy Tradition and the blood of the martyrs and confessors.

The attempts of unification with the Catholics as long as they remain in their heresy and innovations represent for us a danger of dogmatic deflection, of nullification of the blood shed by our martyrs and of deflection from the teaching of our Holy Church.

The desired unification is for us the Orthodox something unbearable and if this is accomplished will erode the Orthodox spirit and become a spring of many evils.

The idea of unification and its practical consequences are disgraceful for us the Orthodox. In addition to this the Scripture forbids the fellowship with those of another faith. If the heresy is the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit which leads to the absence of his divine work, how will be possible the collaboration with those who are against the Holy Spirit? Our people will be in danger because of the relationships with the Protestant and Catholic carriers of demons. Many will convert themselves to Catholicism and Protestantism because by collaboration in time all the differences of the Holy Fathers will disappear.

Love is good but hate is better when it comes to faith; of course not to hate the people only their heretical ideas.

Christianity encourages love but recommends hate as well. Without a hate against the sin, virtue is not possible.

The measure of virtue is the hate against the sin, says saint Basil the Great. And if we have to hate the moral sin, we should hate even more the sin against the Holy Spirit.

Saint Nicodemus the Athonite clarified the attitude of the Orthodox towards the heretics writing : `We must hate and reject the heretical ideas and the wicked manners of the Catholics and of other heretics.`

We are not wiser or holier than those blessed men who hated heresy considering it the cause of perdition.

The mon are according to saint John Chrysostom the `kidneys of the Church`. The patriarch of Constantinople, saint Gregory the 6th says only beautiful words about the monastic order and considers it the shield of Orthodoxy. The heretics of nowadays – he writes in his circular from 1836 – for contaminating the true religion poured the microbes from their poisonous souls through a lot of twaddle against the vigilant Orthodox flock and they did everything to oppose and harm by their cunning plans the monastic order. But the wretched saw that within this order are found the speakers of truth and the guides of the Orthodox youth teaching them the holy dogmas and the right moral. This order has never contaminated the visible Church of Christ but has always enlightened it, glorified it, defended it and settled it by spiritual experience, dogmatic writings and good morals.`

 (excerpts from the article Orthodoxy and Vatican of the periodical `Athonite Library`, Sot. Shoina Voios, no. 60, 1962)

About Christian hope (II)

5. Who is entitled to hope in the god things promised by God?

Any Christian who follows the commandments of God and the sinner who repents are both entitled to hope in the good things promised by God.

`Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.` (Matthew 7, 21).

1. The Christian who fell into sin if he repents from all his heart may hope in God. Prophet Ezekiel assures us that if the lawless gives up on his wrongdoings and keeps the commandments, does justice and has mercy, he shall be forgiven by God of his sins. (Ezekiel 18, 21,22)

Indeed Manasseh, king in Judea, who urged the people to worship the idols, killing many prophets, was given by God in the hands of his enemies who put him in chains and took him to Babylon as a slave and threw him into prison.

But he feeling sorry for his sins and promising from the heart to repent God released him from prison and slavery and gave him back his kingdom. And he destroyed the altars of the idols (II Chronicles 33, 2-19) On the contrary the one who lives in sin, who doesn’t accomplish the will of God hopes in Him in vain. The terrible king Antiochus who tortured the saint Maccabees being eaten by worms hoped in the help of God but his hope was in vain. (II Maccabees 9, 28)

2.The Christin who accomplishes the will of God may hopein the help of God in all his needs but he should fight to acquire the good things he hopes to get from God.

Saint Paul advices us: `Cast all your anxiety on him because He cares for you.`

 (I Peter 5, 7). But we should do our best to acquire the good things promised by God. Who wants to get rid of a disease and become healthy should have to use first the usual methods of healing. It is not good to ask for a miracle straight away. Saint aspostle Paul had the gift of making miracles but he advises his disciple Timothy to use in his suffering some wine. (I Tim. 5, 23).

6. What is the companion of the Christian hope?

The companion of the Christian hope is the fear of sin. Hope is like a boat with two paddles: onn one of these is written the mercy of God and on the other one the fear of His justice. Saint Apostle Paul advises us to work for our salvation with fear and fright. (Philip 2,12). With fear indeed because as the sailor who is in the middle of the sea is afraid even on good weather of the storm that could drown his ship the Christian has to live permanently with the fear of the storm that doesn’t spare anyone.

People who were liked by God as wise Solomon at the old age became wretched. Even some of the angels have fallen and some of them very low and they were rejected for ever. Our life is ended by death. Until then temptation can make anyone who doesn’t work for his salvation with fear and fright fall from the state of grace. (Philip 2, 12). That s why if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! (I Cor. 10, 12).

The fear of the Christian of sin doesn’t lessen his hope but increases it. The hope gives courage to go on it is like the winds that blows the sails of the ship. And fear makes the man prudent. It is like the load that keeps the ship in balance. The sails and the load help a good sailing.

7. Is Christian hope a divine gift?

Of course Christian hope is a divine gift that descends into the heart of man as enlightenment from God. The spirit of God keeps alive in ourselves the confidence in the eternal blessings. And the stronger is the enlightenment the more powerful is the hope.

8. What benefit gains the one who trusts in God?

Who trusts in God is blessed with a special protection from Him.

Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion,    which cannot be shaken but endures forever. (Ps. 124, 1).

Saint John Chrysostom, interpreting this verse says: `As the most powerful and numerous machines will not be able to overturn or shake this mountain the one who puts his faith in God will remain unflinching in front of all the blows.`

286 (Saint John Chrysostom, Comment on Psalm 124, cap. I, vol. V, p. 186). The one who puts his hope in God will never be abashed: Look, says wise Jesus Sirah at the peoples from the old times and see: Who had faith in God and was abashed?

(2, 10). A proof is the happening with the three young men who were thrown in Babylon in the hot oven and they escaped safe and sound.

 (Dan. 3, 8-10). Joseph taen and sold as a slave in Egypt became the first in the entire kingdom of the Pharaoh. (Genesis 41).

The small children are given the Holy Eucharist on an empty stomach?

The small children must be given the Holy Eucharist as often as possible, because the Holy Eucharist strengthens the body and soul. Of course that the babies must be breastfed before the Holy Liturgy and it is allowed to be given some food to the small ones.

The bigger children will commune on an empty stomach. The earlier will appear the feeling of awareness of the communion on an empty stomach, the better. After the age of seven the consumption of any food or drink before the Holy Commnion is forbidden.

Source: Pr. Prof. Gleb KaledaThe church from home,  Sophia Publishing, Bucharest, 2006, p. 66 via doxologia.ro

Why does God allow the men who don’t find salvation to come to life

I have a friend who is very sensitive and in the same time very sincere and principled. She is tormented by an issue regarding God’s love. She is not able to understand how God can love all the men and want their salvation when He knows that millions of people will suffer in hell. How can That One Who created the man love knowing beforehand that millions of people will suffer in hell. How can that One Who created the man love knowing that he will sin and go in hell and after him many of his offsprings? Why does God let the men who don’t find salvation to come to life?

Here are His words: `God asks love from us and if we cannot love Him we will be burnt in hell by His Love.`

And here is something more: `I go to the church and I try not to sin because I’m afraid not to be sent to hell. You must sacrifice yourself for love and for this you must struggle with selfishness and this is extremely painful.`

I cannot answer at her questions, I don’t have enough understanding or maybe love. For me this is a matter of faith. But she is very much tormented by these questions, she even cries sometimes when it is mentioned God’s love. The same issue is a stumbling stone for my mother who is faithless. Please help me if you can.

The problem of the origin and of the existence of evil has concerned and concerns many people. Let’s start with an easy example: `if two twin children were to be born to a man and he knew that one of them would become a sinner and the other one a faithful man then what would be the best: for the sake of the pious man to let the sinner be born too or because of the future sinner to not allow the birth of the pious one? God gave to the man more than we could imagine and enclose in the word salvation. He gave the man the chance to be like God. According to the word of saint Athanasios the Great: `God made Himself man so that the man may become a god.` How to conciliate the existence of evil with God’d love? For excluding the possibility of falling into sin the man should be deprived of his free will and then would disappear the possibility to be like God and the man would remain from the moral point of view a neutral object of this world. Love implies free will, that’s why it involves a risk for the man: you win or lose everything, you get or lose everything. This alternative proposed by your friend to destroy the potential sinners before they are born by God’s foreknowledge makes from freedom an apparent will and without freedom love becomes compulsoriness in a program imposed to the man. This thing represents the refuse of an individual existence reaching the Buddhist conception about dissolution.

We express our opinion about divine love in analogy with the human love. But divine love is the ontology of the divine existence. Apostle John said: `God is love ( I John 4, 8).

This love given to the world is the grace of the Holy Spirit whose reflections were lived by the saint hermits and were surprised by the divine love. God gave to the man a higher personal way of feeling creating the man as a person. By this He delimited Himself of the human freewill. He created it autonomous and doesn’t mingle by force in its territory. Thus the man would be destroyed as a person by God and would lose his individual existence.

The labors from hell for the sinner are not labors caused by love but by the loss of love that cannot be recovered by any means. Whoever says: `Why did God create if He had known beforehand? negates the dignity of image and likeness of the man with God, negates love as a free self-determination and prefers to become nothing, to be a moral nullity, meaning not to exist at all. 

God’s love is a love that suffers. Saint Ignatius Theophorus called Christ the Crucified Love. This love saves the sinners of death but cannot enter the soul that is not capable to receive it.

Christ stands at the door of the man’s heart but He wants the man to open this hidden door on his own. I think that you have to explain to your friend that her own love is earthly and sinful and that’s why she doesn’t know what means divine love. If she wants to find out she must begin not with revolt but with the struggle to seek this love and live for it.

Salvation is the relationship with God and the likeness with Him. This cannot be achieved without love nor love achieved without moral freedom that includes the possibility to choose between good and evil.

In matters of faith there is no room for sentimentalism

Monk Theoclate the Dionyonisiate

Let us unite. But how? Unite the truth with the lie, the light with the darkness? The believers of the Church with those who denies the church?

Let us unite, yes, but after the heretics will leave their heresies. In the matters of faith there is no room for human feelings. The Church of Christ `by the words of His Mouth kept the rough paths.` There is no middle way. We either believe or not. The ten centuries old Catholicism fell into heresies so it must leave them and afterwards come to the dogmatic and ecclesiastic union, meaning that our Church has been wandering astray for ten centuries. Not only for ten centuries but it has  always been astray since the times of the Ecumenical Councils and of the Holy Fathers and everything falls apart. Thus we must rectify the Holy Canons, complete the Creed, change the liturgical books,  whitewash the walls where are present the Holy Fathers and burn their icons since they had led us astray for so many centuries…We are not governed by endless hate against those who have another faith. We are not some blind fanatics. We only feel the need, as sons of the Orthodox Church, to give the testimony of the Lamb. The Orthodox Church has kept unchanged the faith, the dogmas and the morals and it is our duty to know this. We light the candle of faith and those who are in the darkness may draw close.

Do they want explanations? Do they want `a word about our faith?` We are ready to give it to them. But not to tangle the matters. Not to fall into heresies. Not to become a reason for the heretics to say that we doubt our most bright Orthodoxy. Those we received through the Holy Spirit, we protect with the greatest care. We don’t know any other things, other human innovations. We know the anathemas settled by our Holy Church at the Ecumenical Councils for those who renounce at the dogmatic truth and we don’t dare to think of any change or compromise.

Orthodoxy has been discussed during centuries but nothing is sacrificed for the sake of opportunities. We are threatened with disappearance but this is in God’s care not in ours. We only have to keep our faith and repent when we sin. And take care of ourselves and of the others until that point where Orthodox faith is not touched. But when ecumenism makes us be like the heretics, then there is trouble for us and for them as well. We forget that we are Orthodox and they fool themselves that they are not heretics…And not only that…they even invite us to join their flock. If they ask for talks with us it is because they have discovered cracks in our wall. They don’t want talks about Orthodoxy. They know everything. Nor do they try to make us listen their opinions. They know that we know them.

Horoscopes

† Hyerotheus, Mitropolitan of Navpakt

            Many newspapers and magazines publish horoscopes and many educated men read them.Some do this out of curiosity, others to create a funny atmosphere and the most to find out the future of their life, because they believe these come true. It worth mentioning the fact that few years ago in the USA from 1750 newspapers, 1200 had special columns of astrology.
The horoscopes are descriptions or guidelines given by the astrologists as a result of observing the stars and of the zodiacal signs. The old astrologists noticed that the stars in their apparent motion around the earth describe on the sky a cyclical trajectory. This is called zodiacal trajectory. This trajectory is divided in 12 sections. These sections are called zodiacal signs. Each zodiacal sign has a special name. We must mention that those who discovered the zodiacal signs were the ancient Chaldeans and then the Egyptians and the Greeks took these from them. Saint John Damascene accepting the science of those times writes: `the seven planets pass through the twelve zodiacal signs. The sun is present every month in a zodiacal sign and in twelve months passes through the twelve signs.

The truth is that both the ancient and the new astrology  admit that the zodiacal signs guide the life of men. They determine the evolution of our life, of the life of states, of history itself. But Christianity does not accept this. Saint John Damascene mentions the fact that in opposition with the ancient Greeks who believed that the sun, the stars and the zodiacal signs influence our lives, we admit that these determine the climatic conditions, the rain and the drought, the cold and the heat, the dryness and humidity, the winds and all such things, but by no means our deeds, because we were created with a free will by our Creator and we are the masters of that.

We have our freedom that is respected by God since He prefers to let us be doomed out of our free will instead of being saved by force. Because salvation without freedom is slavery. Without freedom there is no virtue, no malice, no praises or rewards.

More than this, according to the same Father if this had been done, God would have been unjust since He gives good things to one and troubles to another. And if this had been true, then God would not  have taken care of His creatures.

The Church does not believe in horoscopes, who are considered by many as unreal and absurd and those who make them as dealers of hope because they try to exploit the naivety and hope of people. Science rejects the conclusions of astrology too. Because astronomy, the science that studies the astral world is one thing and something else is astrology that pretends to try to watch the language of the stars. A famous astronomer writes: `In our times there is no astronomer in the whole world to believe in astrology.

The acceptance of the horoscopes by the Christians prove the lack of faith in God or the faith in false things. The man refuses a personal communion with God and accepts such weird and useless things. It is much more preferable if someone believes in God and studies the Holy Scripture that predicts many things about future since God by His wisdom and teaching foretold the future of our life and how to face the different problems that affect us instead of studying the horoscopes. With the Holy Scripture and the patristical teachings we have a real compass inspired by God in our life.

Many false fears and hopes overflooded us. Let us not add more such false fears and hopes by reading and trusting in horoscopes. Why tormenting and oppressing our life? We are free people in our journey to God. Why not going towards Him and why letting these profiteers to chain our freedom and get rich cause of our naivety? If we don’t want to look at this matter from a religious point of view why not taking into account the scientifical one that says according to a psychoanalyst: `astrology is a parody of science that  defy science with the same erotical smiles pop art defy academism?`

From the book THE QUALITY OF LIFE