Stefan Hrusca - It's Snowing Peacefully Outside.
Friday, November 30, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Andrew, first-called of the Apostles and brother of the foremost disciple, entreat the Master of all to grant peace to the world and to our souls great mercy.
Let us praise Andrew, the herald of God, the namesake of courage, the first-called of the Savior's disciples and the brother of Peter. As he once called to his brother, he now cries out to us: "Come, for we have found the One whom the world desires!"
THE ASTONISHING MISSIONARY JOURNEYS
OF THE APOSTLE ANDREW
By George Alexandrou
THE CROSS OF THE NORTH
George Alexandrou: The question was if, by setting the various traditions side-by-side, I could trace St. Andrew’s travels with any probability. Our strongest evidence, and what we always hoped for, was early written commentary about the apostle’s visit to an area along with a separate, verified oral tradition from the same place that has been passed down until now. As I went on, I discovered that in time and geography the Kazakhstani tradition fit the Sogdiana tradition (modern Uzbekistan), the Sogdiana tradition fit into the Parthian tradition (Persia) and the Parthian tradition fit the Syriac tradition. It was like a train, one car after another, until I had only twenty years missing from St. Andrew’s return to the Black Sea from Valaamo until he went to Sinope – and from there to Patras in Achaia, to his martyrdom.
Reporter: Were you able to resolve those twenty years?
George Alexandrou: Yes, I found a local Romanian tradition that St. Andrew lived twenty years in a cave in Romania, in Dervent, and during this time he traveled through what is now Romania, Bulgaria and Moldavia. But the most incredible thing was that, according to the early Romanian traditions, the years he was there was the exact period I was missing from the other traditions. The most important thing is that these puzzle pieces – the separate local traditions of Bulgaria, Romania, Ethiopia, of the Aramaic people, the Syrians, the Copts, even the Greek and Roman church traditions all fit together, but you have to follow them step by step to recreate his life.
THE FOURTH MISSIONARY JOURNEY:
To the North
George Alexandrou: It was on his return south that he settled in Romania for twenty years. During that time he traveled in Moldavia and Bulgaria, on the Danube and along the coast of the Black Sea, but mostly he was in and around his cave in Dervent, Dobrogea, in southern Romania. St. Andrew’s Romanian cave is still kept as a holy place and Romanian Orthodox have gone there on pilgrimage for almost two thousand years. We also know the locations of other caves he lived in: in Pontus near the Black Sea (now Turkey), in Georgia, in Russia, in Romania, and in Loutraki near Corinth. It is all him, the same man.
Reporter: Why did he stay in Romania for so long?
George Alexandrou: I didn’t understand this myself at first, but it appears that he felt very close to the Romanians because they were monotheists. According to Flavius Josephus, their clerics were like Essenes. They were virgins, strict vegetarians who didn’t even eat fleshy vegetables, but only seeds and nuts like ascetics in the desert. Dacian society was very free, the women had a good, equal position there, not like Greco-Roman society, and the Dacians didn’t keep slaves. In fact, they were unique in the world at that time because they didn’t have slaves. According to Romanian traditions and archeological findings, the Dacians became Christian under St. Andrew himself in the first century. It is natural that he would have felt at home with the Dacian clergy and that they would have readily accepted him and converted. The Ethiopic tradition also describes St. Andrew as a very strict vegetarian. This is possible because, although most of the other apostles were married, both he and John the Evangelist were virgins. They had been disciples of St. John the Baptist and followed his hesychast tradition. They were the first monks and ascetics of the Christian world. Even in our Orthodox hymnography we remember St Andrew as being closely associated with St. John the Baptist. In Orthodoxy we have choices: we have vegetarian hermits, sometimes very strict, living only on bread and water all their lives, and we also have saintly kings who ate pork and beef. He was in Romania for twenty years and I think he loved this land more than anything after being with Christ. I believe that God allowed it as a consolation because he had been on such difficult missionary journeys. We have descriptions of places where he wasn’t welcome, where he was forced to leave and his despair over this. Things were often very difficult, particularly when he was in the Slavic lands where human sacrifice was still practiced. You can imagine, he was tired of living with this, and when he came to the Dacians, who had no slaves, where men and women were equal, where Jews and Greeks were accepted in the same manner, and where there were ascetic hermit-priests, you can understand how easily he fit in. He was able to teach, he was happy there. In fact, they thought that the religion he brought was not only better than theirs, but was a continuation of their old religion. They saw their native religion as a foreshadowing of Christianity. Twenty years is a long time, and you can understand why the Romanians remember more of him than any other tradition. From Romania there are traditions that he went to Cherson in the Crimea and from there to Sinope, to Macedonia, and preached a bit in Epirus (northern Greece and southern Albania). Although we have references from early texts that he preached in Epirus, we don’t have any local traditions there. The rest of the sites I’ve quoted are supported by both written texts and oral tradition.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
To The Star ...
Towards the star that rose on high
There lies such a great distance,
That millennia have gone by
Before its light could reach us.
Perhaps long time ago it has
Gone out, dieing on its way,
On the blue sky, far away,
Our sight just now delighted by its ray.
The icon of the star now-gone
Slowly climbs up heaven’s vault:
`T’was there before laid eyes upon;
Though we now see it, it’s long gone...
Likewise when our longing hearts
Perished in night most darkened,
The light of our stilled amour
Still follows us unfrightened.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Today is the prelude of God's pleasure and the proclamation of man's salvation. The Virgin is clearly made manifest in the temple of God and foretells Christ to all. Let us also cry out to her with mighty voice, "Hail, fulfillment of the Creator's dispensation."
The most pure Temple of the Savior; the precious Chamber and Virgin; the sacred Treasure of the glory of God, is presented today to the house of the Lord. She brings with her the grace of the Spirit, therefore, the angels of God praise her: "Truly this woman is the abode of heaven."
Second Vespereal Reading
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: "On the first day of the first month you shall set up the Tabernacle of the Testimony, and you shall put in it the Ark and cover it with the veil. You shall bring in the table and the lampstand; and you shall set there a golden altar to burn incense before the Ark of the Testimony. And you shall put a covering on the door of the tabernacle of the Testimony. "Then you shall take the oil of anointing and anoint the Tabernacle and all that is in it, and consecrate it and all its vessels; and it shall be holy. And you shall consecrate the Altar for Burnt Offerings; it shall be most holy". And Moses did all that the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel had commanded him. And a cloud covered the Tabernacle of the Testimony and the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle. Moses was not able to enter the Tabernacle of the Testimony, because the cloud overshadowed it, and the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle.
And it came to pass when Solomon had finished building the House of the Lord, he assembled all the elders of Israel in Zion, to bring the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord out of the City of David, which is Zion. And the priests took up the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord, the Tabernacle of the Testimony, and all the holy vessels that were in the Tabernacle of the Testimony. And the King and all Israel went before the Ark. And the priests brought the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord to its place, into the Oracle of the Temple, into the Holy of Holies, under the wings of the cherubim. For the cherubim spread out their wings over the place of the Ark so that the cherubim made a covering above the Ark and its holy things above. There was nothing in the Ark except the two tablets of the Covenant which Moses put there at Horeb, when the Lord had made a Covenant. And when the priests came out from the holy place, a cloud filled the house. And the priests were unable to stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord God Almighty filled the house.
On the 21st day of the Ninth month (November), we celebrate the Entrance of the Holy Mother of God and Ever-Virgin Mary into the Temple. The choosing of the date is completely random. Any similarities with any other celebration, of this or any other religion, are completely coincidental ...
Monday, November 19, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
It is something that I've observed in You (and that I found to be quite unpleasant and disturbing) : that You do not retract Your assertions that were proven false, neither do You defend them. Yet, You still go on saying the same things shamelessly. This, I find to be beyond reproof. :-(
E.g., Your mockery of the words of the Saints [Basil, for instance] by using them in ways by-no-means intended by them so-to-be-used, and Your persistence in such gross and enormous deformities of their words are shameful and disgusting things. WHY do You do them? WHY? You deformed the clear meaning of their words. You are a Deformer; NOT a Reformer -- at least as far as understanding Patristic thought goes ...
At first, You were just an innocent little Protestant -- now, however, You're not. You know our arguments, and -unable as You've proven Yourself to refute them- You cannot be found unguilty. Now, Your own conscience condemns You.
Even babies are guilty, after all ["They are conceived in sin, and come forth out of the womb, speaking lies." -- were these not Your very words, or am I mistaking?]; not to mention a grown up man like You ... or me.
And don't worry about anyone sending You any Apocrypha written in my name: I'm not an Apostle, not even from among the 70, not even by a long shot. :p
What's the matter, friend of mine and fiend of the Saints (who are the friends of God) ? :-( Who is now the one who "makes a fallacious tug on the emotions in order to bypass reason."? Or the one that decides to buy the emotional argument of TurretinFan, over the exegetical argument of Orthodox theology? :-(
And when Your mourning is over, please write an article over the Reformed understanding of original sin over and against that of Anselm. (And while You're at it, also please tell us if -let's say- Billy Graham's preachings and teachings are in conformity with it; and if not, then compare them with Anselm's, so that we might better understand the similarities as well as differences between these two-or-three views).
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Your holy martyrs, O Lord, through their sufferings have received incorruptible crowns from You, our God. For having Your strength, they laid low their adversaries, and shattered the powerless boldness of demons. Through their intercessions, save our souls!
Today the church honors those who fought the good fight and died for their faith: the victorious Menas, the noble Victor and the ascetic Vincent. The church glorifies their divine struggle and cries out with love: Glory to You, O Christ, the lover of mankind.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Commanders of the heavenly hosts, we who are unworthy beseech you, by your prayers encompass us beneath the wings of your immaterial glory, and faithfully preserve us who fall down and cry to you: "Deliver us from all harm, for you are the commanders of the powers on high!"
Commanders of God's armies and ministers of the divine glory, princes of the bodiless angels and guides of mankind, ask for what is good for us, and for great mercy, supreme commanders of the Bodiless Hosts.
The ninth month of the year, as well as the "ninth" day of the week, are devoted to the honor of the nine heavenly hosts. While there were initially ten angelic choirs -this number being regarded as mystical and holy in the Holy Writ, reminding us of the Ten Plagues and the Ten Commandments, as well as the numerical value of the initial letter of the Tetragram-, the first and foremost of these aforesaid heavenly hosts unfortunately fell from the heavens, under the misguided leadership of the former Archangel Lucifer, who refused to give the deserved glory and rightful praise to the uncreated Angel of the Lord, Great Counselor and Angel of Great Advice -of Whom the Divinely inspired Scriptures repeatedly make mention, and of whom Isaiah the Prophet praisefully speaks-, by mistaking him for one of the created ones. The irony of faith in all this consists in the fact that, if he would've meekly humbled himself before This One, today the Church would've celebrated his and his host's Feast Day as well, together with all of those who continued to remain faithful servants of God under the leadership of the second-in-command, the Great and Holy Archangel Michael, who's being thusly named for rebuking the former's prideful thoughts, when seeing that that one wanted to rise his throne higher than the Throne of Glory, by crying out loud unto him: "Who is like unto God !?"; after which he exhorted all the Angels that were under him with the advice with which the Priest still calls upon the faithful present at the Holy Liturgy every Sunday and Feast Day, namely: "Let's stand well, let's stand with fear ... ". The number of this fallen tenth celestial army is to be fulfilled, according to the Divine Revelation of Saint John the Theologian, with those that lived heavenly lives here on this earth, resembling those of the bodiless Angels with their bloody martyrdom or unbloody asceticism, though being themselves but bodily men. As the Akathist dedicated to Saint Anthony the Great of Egypt so beautifully puts it: "Rejoice, oh heavenly man and earthly Angel !". For their worthiness, they're being remembered on the "tenth" day of the week.