Saint John of Shanghai
Content:Holy Water. The Beheading of St. John the Baptist. Christ Is Risen. The Last Judgement. The Canonization of Saints. The Spiritual Condition of Russians in the Diaspora. On Iconography.
On Theophany, the Day of the Lord's Baptism, every year a great miracle is performed. The Holy Spirit, coming down upon the water, changes its natural properties. It becomes incorrupt, not spoiling, remaining transparent and fresh for many years. This Holy Water receives the grace to heal illnesses, to drive away demons and every evil power, to preserve people and their dwellings from every danger, to sanctify various objects whether for church or home use. Therefore, Orthodox Christians with reverence drink Holy Water — a great Agiasma (holy thing), as the Greeks call it.
One should always have at home enough Theophany water to last the whole year, and make use of it at every need: in cases of illness, leaving on a journey, whenever one is upset, students prior to examinations, etc. People who drink a little Holy Water daily, before eating any kind of food, do well. It strengthens the powers of our soul—if it is done with prayer and reverence, and one does not merely expect a mechanical result from it.
Every priest should take care to bless a sufficient quantity of water for his church, so that it will be on hand for the course of the whole year for every need and to be given out to those who ask for it; and parishioners should provide themselves at Theophany with Holy Water for the whole year and even so that it can be kept for future years.
The Beheading of
St. John the Baptist
"Having suffered for the truth, thou hast gone rejoicing to declare to those in hell the good tidings of God having appeared in the flesh" (Trofarion of the Feast, Aug. 29).
The whole life of St. John the Forerunner, from its first days, was entirely dedicated to the One Who came after him. In the days of infant massacres in Bethlehem, he was also sought by Herod, and his mother Elizabeth fled with him into the desert, where she died on the fortieth day. About the same time, his father Zacharias was killed by the servants of Herod, in the Temple. The desert raised John, and he remained there in silence, for thirty years, until the word of God came unto him, commanding him to preach repentance and call on men to prepare the way of the Lord (Luke 3:2).
About half a year after the beginning of his ministry, having prepared the Jews to expect the speedy coming of the Messiah, and surrounding himself with disciples, most of whom became the first disciples of Christ, John the Baptist, baptized Christ. The mystery of the Holy Trinity was then revealed to him. Having informed those with him, that the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world was present, John gradually faded into the shadows and everyone began follow the new Teacher.
However, John rather than grieving over this, rejoiced. When his especially devoted disciples asked him about his lack of concern over his decreasing fame, he replied with words that clearly expressed his personality. "I am not the Christ, but I am sent before Him. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, who standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: therefore this my joy is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:28-50).
Soon after this, his word thundered forth, accusing Herod, so he was cast into a prison, where his earthly life ended. He was beheaded during Herod's banquet. The beheading of St. John the Baptist, which cut off his earthly life, at the same time, started his new and glorious ministry as Forerunner.
The soul of St. John the Baptist, departing his ascetic body, went to hell, the place where the souls of all who died before the Savior's death on the Cross. The souls of everyone beginning from Adam were here.
However, the holy and righteous soul of St. John the Baptist did not go there in order to experience a dark condition of alienation and distance from God. The "friend of the Bridegroom," who had baptized Him, suffered for his righteousness, bore the hope of the coming Kingdom of God, preached to all preparing the way for Him, was inseparably bound to Him through his devotion, testifying everywhere for Christ, as His messenger, sent before Him..
Having descended to hell, John continued the ministry that he had performed on earth—the preaching about the Kingdom of God drawing near. The souls of the righteous ones, from the Old Testament were languishing in hell, awaiting the fulfillment of the coming of the One Who would conquer the serpent, as had been told to Adam by God. The prophets, who had seen beforehand in spirit, the coming of the Messiah awaited the fulfillment of the revelations that had been made to them. These souls, deprived of the light of God's glory, tormented with waiting for the fulfillment of their hope, John came, having descended to hell, bringing the Joyful tidings that soon the kingdom of hell would be destroyed. Those who awaited the Redeemer would soon behold Him and be liberated by Him. John testified that the Son of God had already come to earth and that after baptizing Him, he had witnessed the Holy Spirit descending and remaining on Him (John 1:33-34).
The preaching of John concerning the coming of the Messiah was addressed not only to the souls of the righteous, but to all who were in hell. He appeared in hell to prepare the way of the Lord, just as he had prepared it on earth. John the Baptist’s descent to hell and his preaching of the Gospel was the proclamation of joy to those who were languishing there.
The souls of all the dead, save for the most inveterate sinners, heeded the preaching of the Baptist. Therefore, when Christ descended to hell after His death on the Cross, He was greeted not only by the Old Testament righteous ones, but also by the souls of those who once were disobedient and opposed the long suffering of God in the days of Noah and during the rest of the time that sin reigned among men (1 Peter 3:20).
Hell was destroyed by the Christ’s soul descent into it; the dark confinement shone with light; the souls of the reposed were led into the Kingdom of Heaven. The entryway to this ruin of hell was the descent of the Baptist. Having fulfilled his ministry as Forerunner on earth, he appeared as the Forerunner of Christ, in hell. His beheading is not only the culmination of his earthly exploit, but also the beginning of a new and glorious ministry.
Among them, that are born of women, there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist (Matt. 11:11; Luke 7:28), Christ said of him. This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before Thy face, which shall prepare Thy way before Thee (Luke 7:27).
These words of the Lord Himself, testify of the spiritual greatness of John and his high purpose in the work of the salvation of the human race. He appeared as the servant and preacher of God as no other single man in the world, having begun to preach and praise Christ before his birth, and finishing it even after his death, ascending with Christ into the Kingdom of Heaven after the destruction of hell. As the greatest of the righteous, a worthy place was prepared for him in the Kingdom of his Friend, where he remains now, awaiting its revelation in all glory and the triumphant feast of the Lamb of God in the Second Coming, when He will gather His wheat into the garner, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire (Matt. 3.12; Luke 3.17).
His beheading was his final exploit on earth, and the last step for the receiving of the greatest reward in the Kingdom of Heaven; while for all those in hell it was the rising of the morning star, before the appearance of the Son of Righteousness.
Just as the nativity of St. John the Forerunner and Baptist is the beginning of the Gospel for the living, so is his beheading the beginning of the Gospel for the dead. "The glorious beheading of the Forerunner is part of a certain Divine dispensation, for he preached to those in hell the coming of the Savior" (Kontakion of the Feast). "Be glad, Baptist, and let thy spirit dance: for thou dost accuse the godless Herod, and dost preach to those in hell, saying: Our salvation hath drawn near" (Canticle 4 of the Canon).
"He who came before Thy Birth and Thy Divine Passion is, through a sword, in the nethermost parts of the earth. John, the prophet and messenger of Thy descent there, cries as the voice of the Word: Do ye dead, as Giver of life, do ye blind, as Giver of light, do ye prisoners, as Deliverer, exalt Christ above all forever" (Canticle 8 of the Canon).
Christ is Risen!
Though Thou didst descend into the grave ,O Immortal One, yet didst Thou destroy the power of hell (Kontakion of Pascha)?
He Who delivered the youths from the furnace, having become man, suffers as mortal (Irmos, 7th Song of the Paschal Canon).
AWONDROUS and incomprehensible manifestation! He suffers Who came down once into the Babylonian furnace and in it preserved whole the three youths who had been thrown there for their steadfast faith. When all were convinced that the flame had entirely consumed the youths, a song of praise was heard from the furnace, and Nebuchadnezzar, having come near it, beheld alive not only the three youths who had been thrown there, but also a Fourth Unknown One with them, and the visage of this Fourth One was like to the Son of God. Nebuchadnezzar understood that the power of God preserved the youths, and both earthly kings and the elements of nature were powerless before it.
However, how does He suffer now, as mortal, Who delivered the youths from death? How does He not only suffer, but also even descend to the nether regions of the earth, where the bound souls of the dead are confined? Did death indeed conquer life, and corruption vanquishes immortality? On the other hand, did God have no more power?
Fear not nor be saddened, O people, but be jubilant and rejoice! The power of God is stronger than that of men (I Cor. 1:25).
Christ suffers as mortal, but by His sufferings, mortality is clothed in a splendid garment of incorruption and immortality! The Lord descends to the nether regions of the earth in order to shatter the eternal bars.
The Immortal One goes down to the grave, but by this He destroys the power of hell.
The Light was hidden only for a short time, in order to shine brighter. The Mighty One went down into the depths of the earth in order to strike a blow to evil, at its root. Moreover, in three days, as Jonah from the whale, Christ rises now from the grave!
Lift your heads, ye downcast, rejoice, ye sorrowful! Come together, ye who are scattered! Arise, ye fallen! Although your soul may be filled with evils and your life have drawn near to hell, may the storm of the sea of life not engulf you who are in sorrows.
Death, where is thy sting? Hell, where is thy victory? Where is the darkness that thought to hide the Sun of justice?
Leap in spirit, all ye faithful, and joyfully cry out: "Thou didst rise as Conqueror, O Christ our God, announcing to the myrrh-bearing women, Rejoice…to Thy Apostles granting peace, and to the fallen giving resurrection!
The Last Judgement
The DAY OF the Last Judgement! That day no one knows -- only God the Father knows -- but its signs are given in the Gospel and in the Apocalypse of the holy Apostle John the Theologian. Revelation speaks of the events at the end of the world and of the Last Judgement primarily in images and in a veiled manner. However, the Holy Fathers have explained these images, and there is an authentic Church tradition that speaks clearly concerning the signs of the approach of the end, and concerning the Last Judgement. Before the end of life on earth there will be agitation, wars, civil war, hunger, earthquakes... Men will suffer from fear, will die from expectation of calamity. There will be no life, no joy of life but a tormented state of falling away from life. Nevertheless there will be a falling away not only from life, but from faith also, and "when the Son of Man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?" (St. Luke 18:8). Men will become proud, ungrateful, rejecting Divine law. Together with the falling away from life will be a weakening of moral life. There will be an exhaustion of good and an increase of evil.
Of these times, the holy Apostle John the Theologian speaks in his God-inspired work, the Apocalypse. He says that he "was in the Spirit" when he wrote it; this means that the Holy Spirit Himself was in him, when under the form of various images, the fate of the Church and the world was opened to him, and so this is a Divine Revelation.
The Apocalypse represents the fate of the Church in the image of a woman who hides herself in the wilderness: she does not show herself in public life, as today in Russia. In public life, forces that prepare the possibility for the appearance of Antichrist will play the leading role.
Antichrist will be a man, and not the devil incarnate. "Anti" means "old," and it also signifies "in place of" or "against." Antichrist is a man who desires to be in place of Christ, to occupy His place and possess what Christ should possess. He desires to possess the attraction of Christ and authority over the whole world. Moreover, Antichrist will receive that authority before his destruction and the destruction of the world.
What is known of this man -- Antichrist? His precise ancestry is unknown: his father is completely unknown, and his mother a foul pretended virgin. He will be a Jew of the tribe of Dan. He will be very intelligent and endowed with skill in handling people. He will be fascinating and kind. The philosopher Vladimir Soloviev worked a long time at presenting the advent and person of Antichrist. He carefully made use of all material on this question, not only Patristic, but also Moslem, and he worked out a brilliant picture.
Before the advent of Antichrist, there was a preparation in the world, the possibility of his appearance. The mystery of iniquity doth already work (II Thes. 2:7). The forces preparing for his appearance fight above all against the lawful Imperial authority. The holy Apostle Paul says that Antichrist cannot be manifested until what withholdest is taken away (II Thes. 2:6-7). St. John Chrysostom explains that the "withholding one" is the lawful pious authority: such an authority fights with evil. For this reason the "mystery," already at work in the world, fights with this authority; it desires a lawless authority. When the "mystery" decisively achieves that authority, nothing will hinder the appearance of Antichrist any longer.
Fascinating, intelligent, kind, he will be merciful — he will act with mercy and goodness; but not for the sake of mercy and goodness, but for the strengthening of his own authority. When he will have strengthened it to the point where the whole world acknowledges him, then he will reveal his face.
For his capital, he will choose Jerusalem, because it was here that the Savior revealed His Divine teaching and His person. It was here that the entire world was called to the blessedness of goodness and salvation. The world did not acknowledge Christ and crucified Him in Jerusalem; whereas, the whole world will acknowledge the Antichrist’s authority and Jerusalem will become the capital of the world.
Having attained the pinnacle of authority, Antichrist will demand the acknowledgement that he has attained what no earthly power had ever attained or could attain and then demand the worship of himself as a higher being, as a god.
V. Soloviev describes the character of his activity well, as "Supreme Ruler." He will do what is pleasing to all -- on the condition of being recognized as Supreme Authority. He will allow the Church to exist, permit her Divine services, promise to build magnificent churches…. on the condition, that all recognize him as "Supreme Being" and worship him. Antichrist will have a personal hatred for Christ; he will see Him as a rival and look upon Him as a personal enemy. He will live by this hatred and rejoice in men's apostasy from Christ.
Under Antichrist, there will be an immense falling away from the faith. Many bishops will change in faith and in justification will point to the brilliant situation of the Church. The search for compromise will be the characteristic disposition of men. Straight-forwardness of confession will disappear. Men will cleverly justify their fall, and gracious evil will support such a general disposition. There will be the habit of apostasy from truth and the sweetness of compromise and sin in men.
Antichrist will allow men everything, as long as they "fall down and worship him"; and the whole world will submit to him. Then there will appear the two righteous men, who will fearlessly preach the faith and accuse Antichrist. According to Church tradition, they are the two Prophets of the Old Testament, Elijah and Enoch, who did not taste of death, but will taste it now for three days, and in three days they must rise. Their death will call forth the great rejoicing of Antichrist and his servants. Their resurrection will plunge them into great confusion and terror. Then, the end of the world will come.
The Apostle Peter said that the first world was made out of water — an image of the primordial chaos, and perished by water — in the Flood. Now the world is reserved unto fire. The earth and the works that are therein shall be burned up (II Peter 3:5-7, 10). All the elements will ignite. This present world will perish in a single instant. In an instant all will be changed.
Moreover, the Sign of the Son of God, the Sign of the Cross, will appear. The whole world, having willingly submitted to Antichrist, will weep. Everything is finished forever: Antichrist killed, the end of his kingdom of warfare with Christ, the end, and one is held accountable; one must answer to the true God.
"The end of the world" signifies not the annihilation of the world, but its transformation. Everything will be transformed suddenly, in the twinkling of an eye. The dead will rise in new bodies: their own, but renewed, just as the Savior rose in His own body and traces of wounds from the nails and spear were on it, yet it possessed new faculties, and in this sense it was a new body. It is not clear whether this new body will be the same as Adam was made, or whether it will be an entirely new body.
Afterward, the Lord will appear in glory on the clouds. Trumpets will sound, loud, with power! They will sound in the soul and conscience! All will become clear to the human conscience. The Prophet Daniel, speaking of the Last Judgement, relates how the Ancient of Days, the Judge sits on His throne, and before Him is a fiery stream (Daniel 7:9-10). Fire is a purifying element; it burns sin. Woe to a man if sin has become a part of his nature: then the fire will burn the man, himself.
This fire will be kindled within man: seeing the Cross, some will rejoice, but others will fall into confusion, terror and despair. Thus, men will be divided instantly. The very state of a man's soul casts him to one side or the other, to right or to left.
The more consciously and persistently man strives toward God in his life, the greater will be his joy when he hears: "Come unto Me, ye blessed." Conversely: the same words will call the fire of horror and torture to those who did not desire Him, who fled and fought or blasphemed Him during their lifetime!
The Last Judgement knows of no witnesses or written protocols! Everything is inscribed in the souls of men and these records, these "books," are opened at the Judgement. Everything becomes clear to all and to oneself.
Moreover, some will go to joy, while others — to horror.
When "the books are opened," it will become clear that the roots of all vices lie in the human soul. Here is a drunkard or a lecher: when the body has died, some may think that sin is dead too. No! There was an inclination to sin in the soul, and that sin was sweet to the soul, and if the soul has not repented and has not freed itself of the sin, it will come to the Last Judgement with the same desire for sin. It will never satisfy that desire and in that soul there will be the suffering of hatred. It will accuse everyone and everything in its tortured condition; it will hate everyone and everything. "There will be gnashing of teeth" of powerless malice and the unquenchable fire of hatred.
A "fiery gehenna" — such is the inner fire. "There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth." Such is the state of hell.
Holiness is not simply righteousness, for which the righteous merit the enjoyment of blessedness in the Kingdom of God, but rather such a height of righteousness that men are filled with the Grace of God to such an extent, that it flows from them, upon those who associate with them. Great is their blessedness, which proceeds from personal experience of the Glory of God. Being filled also with love for men, which proceeds from love of God, they are responsive to men's needs and upon their supplication, they also appear as intercessors and defenders before God.
At the time of the high spiritual fervor in the first centuries of persecutions against Christians, such were the "martyrs also. The martyr's death became a door to the higher Mansions, and Christians at once began to invoke them as holy men pleasing to God. Miracles and signs confirmed this faith of the Christians and were a proof of their sanctity.
Subsequently, the great ascetics likewise, began to be revered. No one decreed the veneration as saints such as Anthony the Great, Macarius the Great, Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, Nicholas the Wonder-worker, and many others like them, but East and West equally revered them. Their sanctity can be denied only by those who do not believe in sanctity.
The choir of saints pleasing to God grew unceasingly; in every place, where Christians were, its own new ascetics appeared, also. However, the general life of Christians began to decline; the spiritual burning began to grow faint. There no longer was a clear sense of what Divine righteousness was. So the general consciousness of the faithful could not always distinguish who was a righteous man and pleasing to God. In some places, there appeared dubious persons who by false ascetic exploits attracted a part of the flock. For this reason, the Church authority began to keep watch over the veneration of saints, showing concern to guard the flocks from superstition. The life of ascetics revered by the faithful began to be investigated, and the accounts of their miracles to be verified. Towards the time of the baptism of Russia, it had already been established that the acknowledgement of a new saint was to be performed by the Church authority. The decree of the Church authority, of course, was disseminated to the region within its jurisdiction; but other places, too, usually acknowledged a canonization performed elsewhere, even though they did not enter it into their own calendars. After all, the Church authority only testified of sanctity. Righteous men became saints not by the decree of the earthly Church authority, but by the mercy and grace of God. The Church showed approval by the praising in church and the invocation in prayer of a new saint.
Which authority should and could do this was not precisely determined; in any case it was an episcopal authority.
There have been canonizations performed by the higher Church authority of an entire Local Church, and the names of the newly canonized were then entered into the Church calendar of that entire Church. Others were canonized in one or another locality and their veneration gradually spread to other places. Ordinarily, the canonization was performed in the place where the righteous one lived or suffered. But it also happened in other ways. Thus, the youth George from the city of Kratov (Serbia), who suffered at the hands of the Turks in Sofia (Sredets) (Bulgaria) in 1515, was canonized within fourteen years in Novgorod. Notwithstanding the fact that his fellow-countrymen also revered him as a new martyr, and that a Church service to him was compiled by his spiritual father, they did not dare to show this openly, fearing the Turks. Therefore, in Novgorod, which had trading connections with these places, by order of the Archbishop a service was compiled and the memory of the martyr George the New began to be revered, and from there it was spread to all of Russia. Later when Serbia and Bulgaria were freed from Turkish slavery, they began to use the Service compiled in Russia, and the Service compiled originally in Sofia remains to this day on a library shelf.
In the last two centuries, when Russia lived in glory and prosperity, the canonization of new saints was usually performed quite solemnly by the decree of the Higher Authority. Sometimes (but not always) taking place throughout the whole of Russia, especially in the place where the wonderworking relics were obtained. However, this does not alter the general order in the Church. If the Russian people under the godless yoke of power today cannot openly praise and invoke a Saint of God, glorified by God, it is the duty of the part of the Russian Church that is free, to universally revere and invoke a Wonderworker like St. Nicholas, who is revered in the whole world, to pray to St. John the Righteous one [of Kronstadt] for the correction of our life and the cessation of calamities which (according to prophecy) have befallen our Fatherland.
May the Lord grant, that that longed-for day come, when from the Carpathians to the Pacific Ocean will thunder out: "We magnify thee, O righteous Father John, and we venerate thy holy memory, for thou dost pray for us to Christ our God!"
Editor’s note: This sermon was occasioned by the canonization in 1964, by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, of the Righteous Father John of Kronstadt, one of the greatest wonderworkers in the history of the Orthodox Church and the public refusal of the American "Metropolia" to accept it, supposedly on the grounds that it could only be performed by the whole Russian Church in Russia.
The Spiritual Condition of
Russians in the Diaspora
Aconsequence of the downfall of the Russian Empire was the rise of Russians Abroad. More than a million Russians had to leave their homeland and were scattered across the face of the globe. Living in new conditions, among other peoples, many of the Russians in the course of these years have managed to almost forget their homeland, their language and their customs and to merge with the peoples, in whose midst they reside. The overwhelming majority however, not only preserved their nationality, but even live with the hope of returning to the fatherland on the fall of the present government. At the present time Russians live in all corners of the world. There is not one corner on earth where there are no Russians in greater or smaller quantity. The important question is "What is the spiritual outlook of the Russians abroad?"
Significant portions of the Russians, who have gone abroad, belong to the intelligentsia which in the last days before the revolution, lived according to the ideals of the West. Although they were children of the Orthodox Church, confessing themselves to be Orthodox, the people of that class had in their world outlook strayed far from Orthodoxy. The main sin of these people was that their beliefs and way of life were not founded on the teachings of the Orthodox faith. They try to reconcile the rules and teachings of the Church with their western habits and desires. For this reason, on one hand they had very little interest in the essence of Orthodox teaching, often even considering the Church's dogmatic teachings completely inessential, but on the other hand, they fulfilled the requirements and duties of the Orthodox Church only in so far as this did not interfere with their more European than Russian way of life. This gave rise to their disdain for the feasts, to their going church for only a short time and then only to satisfy a more aesthetic than religious feeling and to a thorough misunderstanding of religion as the main foundation of man's spiritual life. Many, of course, were inwardly otherwise disposed, but they lacked the strength of spirit and the ability to display this in their way of life.
In the social sphere, this class also lived by the ideas of the West, without giving any room to the Church's influence. They strove to rebuild the Russian way of life according to western models, especially in the field of government. This is why in the last days, a particularly bitter struggle was waged with the government administration with the result that liberal reforms and democratic structuring of Russia became a new faith. Not to confess this new idea meant that you were backward. Seized with a thirst for power and utilizing the struggle with the monarchy, due to widespread slander against the Royal Family, the intelligentsia brought imperial Russia to its downfall, making way for a communist government. Then, unable to reconcile to the thought of losing the power that they had waited for so long, they declared war on the communists. In the beginning, it was mainly out of their resistance to ceding power. The struggle against the Soviets involved large sections of the populace; especially drawing in the youth in a fervent uprising to reconstruct a "united indivisible Russia" which was the goal of their lives. There were many feats of valor displayed by the Christ-loved Russian army, but the Russian nation proved itself unprepared for liberation, and the communists turned out to be the victors.
The intelligentsia was partly annihilated and partly fled abroad to save itself. Meanwhile, once the communists showed their true colors, besides the intelligentsia, other large sections of the population left Russia, partly to save their lives and partly because ideologically they did not want to serve the communists. Finding themselves abroad, the Russian people experienced great spiritual shocks. A significant crisis occurred in the souls of the majority that was marked by a mass return of the intelligentsia to the Church. They filled many churches abroad. The intelligentsia took an interest in questions of spiritual life and began to take an active part in church affairs. A multitude of circles and societies were formed. Having religious enlightenment as their self-imposed task, their members studied the Holy Scriptures, the works of the Holy Fathers, general spiritual life and theological questions and many of them became clergy.
However, all these gratifying manifestations also had a negative aspect. Far from all of those who returned to the faith adopted Orthodox teaching in its entirety. The proud mind could not be reconciled to the fact that, until then, it had stood on a false path. Many began to attempt to reconcile Christian teaching with their previous views and ideas. This resulted in the appearance of a series of new religious philosophical trends, some completely alien to Church teaching. Among them Sophianism was especially wide spread. It was based on the recognition of man's worth and expressed the psychology of the intelligentsia.
Sophianism, as a teaching, is known to a comparatively small group of people and very few openly espoused it. None the less, a significant part of the immigrant intelligentsia was spiritually related to it because the psychology of Sophianism is based on reverence for man, not as the humble servant of God, but rather as a little god himself, without the need for being blindly obedient to the Lord God. The feeling of keen pride connected with faith in the possibility of man living by his own wisdom was quite characteristic of many people cultured by today's standards, who place their own deductions higher than everything.
These people do not wish to be obedient to the church’s teaching on all things, since their attitude is one of condescension. Because of this, the Church Abroad was rocked by a series of schisms that have harmed it ‘till now and even attracted a part of the Hierarchy. This consciousness of a feeling of a personal worthiness is manifested also in social affairs where each person who has advanced a little among the ranks, or thinks he has, puts his own opinion higher than everyone's and tries to be a leader. As a result Russian society is split into innumerable parties and groups irreconcilably at odds with each other, trying to put their own program forward, which is sometimes a completely worked out system and sometimes simply an appeal to follow after this or that personality.
With the hope of saving and resurrecting Russia by the realization of their programs, these social activists almost always lose sight of the fact that besides the acts of man in historical events, there moves the hand of God. The Russian people as a whole have committed great sins which are the reasons for the present misfortunes, namely oath breaking (disloyalty to the government) and regicide (allowing the Czar to be murdered). Social and military leaders renounced their obedience and loyalty to the czar, who did not want internal bloodshed, even before his abdication forced it from them. The people openly and noisily greeted this deed, without any loud protest anywhere. This renunciation of obedience was a breach of the oath taken to the Emperor and his lawful heirs. On the heads of those who committed this crime fell the curses of our forefathers, of the Zemsky Sobor of 1613, who imposed a curse on those who disobeyed their resolutions. The ones guilty of the sin of regicide are not only those who physically performed the deed, but the whole people who rejoiced when the Czar was overthrown and allowed his degradation, arrest and exile, leaving him defenseless in the hands of criminals, which itself foreordained the end.
Thus, the calamity that befell Russia is the direct result of terrible sins and her rebirth is possible only when she has been cleansed from them. However, until now there has been no real repentance, the crimes that were committed have clearly not been condemned, but many active participants in the revolution continue to assert that at one time, it was impossible to act otherwise.
By not expressing a direct condemnation of the February revolution, of the uprising against the Anointed One of God, the Russian people continue to participate in the sin, especially when they defend the fruits of the revolution. For in the words of the Apostle Paul, they are especially sinful, who know, that they who commit such things are worthy of death and not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them (Romans 1:32). While punishing the Russian people, the Lord, at the same time, is pointing the way to salvation by making them teachers of Orthodoxy throughout the world. The Russian Diaspora has acquainted the four corners of the earth with Orthodoxy, for a significant part of the Russian immigration unconsciously preaches Orthodoxy. Everywhere, wherever Russians live, they build little refugee churches or even majestic cathedrals or simply serve in premises adopted for this purpose.
The majority of Russian refugees are not aware of the religious tendencies of their intelligentsia and they are nourished on those spiritual reserves that they accumulated in the homeland. Large masses of refugees attend divine services; some of them actively participate in them, helping with the singing and reading on kliros and serving in the altar. Besides churches, church organizations have been established which take upon themselves the responsibility of maintaining the churches, also performing charitable work.
If you look at the faithful who pack the churches on feast days, you can think that in fact the Russian people have turned to the Church and are repenting their deeds. However, if you compare the numbers who go to church, with the number of Russians who live in a given place, then it turns out that about 1 /10 of the Russian population regularly goes to church. Approximately the same number attends divine services on great feasts, and the rest very rarely go to church. Others pray at home from time to time or have completely left the Church. The latter sometimes is a conscious choice under the influence of sectarian or other anti-religious influences, but in the majority of cases it is simply because people do not live in a spiritual manner; they grow hard, their souls become rough and sometimes they become real nihilists.
The great majority of Russians have a hard life full of heavy spiritual feelings and material deprivations. Despite the hospitable attitude towards us in some countries, especially in our fraternal Yugoslavia whose government and people do everything possible to show their love for Russia and to ease the grief of the Russian exiles, still Russians everywhere feel the bitterness of being deprived of their homeland. Their whole environment reminds them that they are strangers and must adapt to customs that are often foreign to them, feeding on the crumbs that fall from the table of their hosts. Even in those countries where there is a benevolent attitude towards us, it is natural that preference should first be given to the country's citizens. In the current difficult circumstances of most countries, often Russians cannot find work. Those who are comparatively well provided for, nevertheless are constantly made to feel their lack of rights in the absence of organizations, which could protect them from injustices. Although a comparatively insignificant number have been completely absorbed into local society, those who are, consequently, become totally alienated from their own people and country.
In such a difficult situation in all respects, the Russian people abroad have shown a remarkably high degree of patience endurance and self-sacrifice. It is as if they have forgotten about their formerly wonderful (for many) conditions of life, their service to their homeland and the countries allied to them during the Great War, their education and everything else that might make them aim for a comfortable life. In their exile, they have taken up every kind of work and occupation to guarantee for them some existence abroad. Former nobles and generals have become simple workers, artisans and petty merchants, not disdaining any type of work and remembering that no work is degrading, provided it is not associated with immorality. In this respect, the Russian intelligentsia has manifested an ability, to preserve their life's energy, overcome everything in the way of its realization and development as well as, possessing lofty spiritual qualities, with capabilities to be humbled and patient. The school of refugee life has morally regenerated and elevated many people. One has to give honor and credit to those who bear their refugee cross doing unaccustomed work which is difficult, living in conditions which they had not known or imagined, but remaining firm in soul they preserve nobility of spirit and ardent love for their homeland. Without a murmur they repent over their former sins and endure their lesson. Truly, many of them, men as well as women are now more glorious in their dishonor than when they had glory. The spiritual wealth which they have now obtained is better than the material wealth which they left in the homeland, and their souls, like gold which has been purified by fire, have been cleansed in the fire of suffering and burn like glowing lamps.
However, with sorrow I have to note, that suffering did not have the same affect on everyone. Many proved to be neither gold nor precious metal, but reed and straw that have perished in the fire. Many were not cleansed and whitened by suffering, did not endure the test, and became worse than they had been before. Many were embittered and do not understand that, being punished by God, we must be consoled, remembering that there are no children that have not undergone punishment. God in punishing us, is looking at us as sons and daughters who must be corrected by punishment. Forgetting about their previous sins, such people compound their sins instead of repenting, asserting that there is no use being righteous, that God does not even look at man's affairs since He has turned His face away from them or even that "there is no God." Considering in their imaginary righteousness that they are suffering innocently, these people have more pride of heart than the boastful Pharisee, but often in their sins surpass the publican. In their bitterness against God, they are in no way inferior to the persecutors of the faith in our homeland and by their way of thinking have become closely connected with them.
For this reason, some of their fervent opponents have become, here in exile, their friends. They have become their open and secret slaves and try to lure their other brothers into the net. Others, in general, see no ultimate purpose of existence and consciously give themselves up to vices, or, finding no joy in anything, end their lives by suicide. Then, there are others who have not lost faith in God or awareness of their sinfulness; but their will is completely broken and they have become like reeds shaken in the wind. Externally they resemble the former group we just spoke about, though internally they are different in that they recognize the foulness of their behavior. They cannot find the strength to fight their weaknesses and sink further and further, incapable of doing anything, becoming the slaves of intoxicating drink or giving themselves up to drugs. It is truly pitiful to see how formerly worthy and respectable people have sunk to the level of beasts. Now, they direct the whole meaning of their existence towards satisfying their weaknesses, their only occupation being to search for the means of fulfilling this goal. Once incapable of earning a living, they look greedily for a hand out, and having received something they immediately set off to indulge their passions. The faith that seems to be hidden in their souls, if combined with self-condemnation, gives us the hope that not all of them are lost for eternity.
Although there are others who appear better outwardly, but are far from being better inwardly. They keep the outward rules of pious behavior, but their consciences are dull. Sometimes they occupy a well-paid position at work and enjoy good standing in the society where they have relocated. With the loss of their homeland, they have lost the law of inner moral life. Penetrated through and through with self-love they will do the worst things to anyone who opposes their success. They are deaf to the suffering of their compatriots and act as if they have no connection with them. They are not ashamed to slander or scheme against others (especially defenseless exiles) in order to lead them astray.
There are some that strive to deny that they have a homeland in order to gain favor in the eyes of the local community. As a rule, these spiritually wasted people have no inner law that controls them and are, therefore, capable of any crime, as long as it is to their advantage and they are assured of not being caught. We are ashamed to say that in almost all the countries of the Diaspora people with Russian names commit many crimes. This is why people have less trust in us and our name is ruined among the nations. The breakdown of morality is especially noticeable among families. At one time, no one would have believed what is going on now.
Marriage as something sacred has ceased to exist and has turned into an everyday transaction. Many notable couples happily and inseparably married for many years have dissolved their marriage and entered into a new one. Some have done this because of passions, others for gain. Every imaginable reason is found to dissolve a marriage, some even lying under oath to gain their end.
There is no permanency in marriage among the young or old. It has become quite common to hear of a divorce only a few months after a marriage. The slightest argument or disagreement is the basis for a divorce. This occurs because the consciousness that marriage is holy has been lost. Church authorities have fallen into wide compromises in relation to the present generation and thus have made it easier to obtain a divorce. The extent of this unbridled leniency knows no limits, even avoiding the present rules. After a marriage is dissolved, another is quickly formed and sometimes a third.
Not able to satisfy all the demands of their lust by marriage in the Church, some ignore all Church and moral laws and do not bother to trouble themselves by asking the Church for a blessing. In countries where the civil law does not demand a church wedding, we very often see people living together without the blessing of the Church, or obtaining a divorce without the consent of the Church, even if the marriage was performed in the Church. One easily forgets that there is no less a sin because an official, 'proper' name is given to something sinful and that a bond, not sanctified by the Church, is nonetheless, fornication or adultery. Many openly live together without the slightest concern about hiding their open dissipation. Some are joined together out of passion, others for the advantage gained from the marriage and without the slightest shame appear everywhere in society together with their "live in" and dare to introduce them as their spouse. It is especially pathetic that people have begun to look at such occurrences with indifference, not expressing any negative opinions about them. Thus, the number of such cases increases, since there is nothing holding them back. According to Church rules people who fall into this category should be refused Communion for seven years or more; according to civil laws they should be restricted in their civil rights. Not long ago, this behavior was despised by society, now has become commonplace among people who attend church regularly. They also desire to take part in Church functions, but in such cases, it is forbidden by Church rules. What can we say of those who are even less influenced by the Church! How low has the morality fallen among our countrymen? On one hand, coming to church out of habit and the other hand, turning into the dwelling place of lower passions. They have given in to a life-style worse than the animals. They disgrace the name of Russian and bring down the wrath of God on the present generation.
The future generation of children and young people will grow up learning immoral ways from their elders. Besides this, the present generation sins before the future one, by paying so little attention to the upbringing of their children. Earlier, in Russia, raising children played a great role in life family, with parental influence an important part of life. Now, without this influence, children can be raised well only if they are given special attention by their parents, who are frequently too preoccupied with their jobs. The entire community abroad is in the same state. Although, Russian schools have been founded, they do not always live up to their purpose and the majority of Russian children study without any Orthodox training or learning the Russian language. They grow up as strangers to Russia, never knowing her true wealth. In some places, Sunday schools or other types of Russian school have sprouted up in order to give the children the knowledge which they cannot receive in native schools. We must admit sorrowfully that the parents show little interest in sending their children to these schools. Rich as well as poor parents are guilty of this.
In past years, despite the difficult conditions for Russians, many have been able to acquire a comfortable existence. There are also some among us who were able to bring considerable sums out of Russia or had foreign capital and maintain it to this day. Although there are many among them who generously help their compatriots and generally support Russian affairs, most of them are only occupied with their personal business. They relate coldly to the plight of their compatriots and look upon them with disdain. They are occupied amusing themselves with their wealth and free time. Frequently, they amaze the native population by their carefree attitude. They find it hard to believe that among them, there are Russians people in need. The rich are annoyed when other Russians turn to them for help. Truly, if there was a greater national self-awareness and understanding of the debt to one's homeland, then great things might be accomplished abroad. For now, we only have a small part of what we could be possible. In fact many of our benevolent and educational institutions are maintained more through the gifts of local people, rather than Russians. Because of this, the majority of our institutions are not cared for, even though there are enough who could Russians to help. The people are satisfied in using similar native institutions pouring their money into them. It is a disgrace that the majority of wealthy Russians frequently raise their children in native schools. These schools can do nothing for the children’s' Orthodox outlook and appreciation of their homeland, even in the best of circumstances. The wealthy put no money aside for Russian schools, which could make up for the lack of national consciousness.
As many parents are completely indifferent towards the future views of their children, whether poor or affluent, they send their children to educational institutions, which have a spirit completely antagonistic to Orthodoxy. Various colleges which have some sort of religious education as part of their program, though not Orthodox, education are filled with Russian children, sent by rich parents who are interested only in the external side of education, or by poor parents who are gratified by the idea of free education. Therefore, their children’s upbringing is at the whims of the institution.
It is difficult to say which children are more unfortunate, the above or the outcast children of the Diaspora. The outcasts, having never known their father, cast away by their mothers, wander about the big cities begging for food and finally resort to theft. In the end, they become professional criminals and fall ever lower morally. Many of them end up in prison or are executed. These will not have to answer to God in the manner, as those who have been educated in splendid colleges and became the worst enemies of Orthodox Russia. One can foresee how the future Diaspora workers against Orthodox Russia will come and will strive either to turn her Roman Catholic or to spread sectarianism within her boundaries. These are the people who remain outside of Orthodoxy and Russia, and will secretly work against her. A significant part of those who are educated in native schools will apostatize and betray Orthodox Russia, though certainly not all. Not only will they be guilty, but their parents even more so, as they did not guard them from such a path and did not instill in their souls a firm devotion to Orthodoxy.
Striving to free their children from the cares of this life and therefore choosing schools which seem to them will give the children more security in the future, the parents pay no attention to the souls of their children and thus are guilty for their future falling away from Orthodoxy and the betrayal of their homeland. Such parents are greater criminals before Russia than their children are. The children are won over to a new religion often at an unconscious age and then educated in a spirit hostile to Orthodoxy. Similar criminal types are those who leave the Orthodox Faith for another in order to assure themselves of a more comfortable lifestyle and a more lucrative job. Their sin is like the sin of Judas, their betrayal of the Faith for a better job or position is counted as the "thirty pieces of silver." Let not some of them affirm that their betrayal of Orthodoxy was due to the fact that they discovered Orthodoxy not to be the true faith and that they are serving Russia by confessing their new faith. Russia was founded and glorified by Orthodoxy and only Orthodoxy will save Russia. Those who betray Russia should be treated like the traitors during the hard times in 1612. They should not be permitted to reconstruct Russia or allowed back into her borders...Has not the Diaspora become the source of a new infection, which will return to the homeland?
Along with the facts presented, the moral state of the people in the Diaspora would be hopeless if we did not observe, a great spirit and sacrifice. Despite the difficult conditions in which the exiles live, they find the means to build and embellish churches, support priests [though poorly], and partially support the needy. Though their hearts are hardened and they offer nothing towards the general good, they manage to set aside a considerable amount for the upkeep of these projects. There are still those among us who joyfully make offerings to the church out of their hard earned labors, others out of their scarcity, what they can; this is counted as the "widows mite." Offerings are not only in terms of money but also in the tireless labors for the good of the Church and one's neighbor. Many bear such labors for various church and philanthropic organizations with zeal and dedication, or work independently. Burdened by labors connected with making a living, they give up their free time, rest, energy and strength for these good deeds. Men bring to these labors their common sense and women their innate love.
The concerns of Russians abroad embrace not only Russian needs in the Diaspora but there are courageous fighters for the homeland preparing for its liberation. Some of these fighters even risk reentering Russia's frontiers, braving certain death. Love for the homeland has led many through severe trials which history will record as heroism.
Much zeal and fortitude has been shown in the struggle for Church rights. It is heartening to see how some of the youth are dedicated to the Church and the homeland that they have never seen, but love wholeheartedly.
Such examples, together with the insuppressible voice of the conscience, give us the hope that those ten righteous men for whose sake the Lord was willing to spare Sodom and Gomorra, still exist and will show the righteous way to the Russian Diaspora.
Russians abroad have been given the light of Orthodoxy to shine throughout the world so that other nations, seeing their good works, might glorify our Father in heaven and seek salvation. By not fulfilling this task and even degrading Orthodoxy by our lives, the Diaspora has two options: turn to the path of repentance, beseech God’s forgiveness, renew ourselves spiritually, make ourselves capable of giving rebirth to our suffering homeland. Or finally be cut off by God, remain in exile, persecuted by everyone, until we disappear from the face of the earth.
Iconography began on the day our Lord Jesus Christ pressed a cloth to His face and imprinted His divine-human image thereon. According to tradition, Luke the Evangelist painted the image of the Mother of God and many icons painted by him, still exist today. As an artist, he painted the first icons of the Mother of God, but also those of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and possibly others which have not come down to us.
Thus, iconography began. Then it came to a halt for a time. Christianity was cruelly persecuted: all that was reminiscent of Christ was destroyed and subjected to ridicule. Thus, during the course of the persecutions, iconography did not develop, but Christians attempted to express in symbols what they wished to convey. Christ was portrayed as the Good Shepherd, and also in the guise of various personalities from pagan mythology. He was also depicted in the form of a vine, an image hearkening back to the Lord's words: "I am the true Vine. ... ye are the branches" (Jn. 15:1, 5). It was also accepted practice to depict Christ in the form of a fish, because if one writes in Greek "Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior" (Iisus Hristos, Theu Ios, Sotir) and then groups together the first letter of each word, one discovers that one has written the Greek word IHTHIS, "fish." So, Christians depicted a fish, thereby reminding people of these words, which were recognized by all, who believed in the Savior. This also became known to the pagans, and consequently the image of the fish was held suspect.
When, following the victory of Emperor Constantine the Great over Maxentius, freedom was given to Christians. Christianity quickly transformed the Roman Empire and replaced paganism. Then iconography flourished with full force. We see directives concerning iconography at the first ecumenical councils. In some church hymns, which still are frequently used, iconography is mentioned.
Now what are icons? Icons are precisely the union between painting and those symbols and works of art that replaced icons during the time of persecution. The icon is not simply a representation, a portrait. The icon reminds of the spiritual aspect of the Saint depicted.
Christianity is the inspiration of the world. Christ founded His Church in order to inspire, to transfigure the world, to cleanse it from sin and bring it to that state in which it will exist in the ages to come. Christianity was founded upon the earth and operates upon the earth, but it reaches to Heaven in its structure; Christianity is that bridge and ladder whereby men ascend from the earthly Church to the Heavenly. Therefore, a simple representation, which recalls the earthly characteristics of some face, is not an icon. Even an accurate depiction, in the sense of physical build, still signifies nothing. A person may be very beautiful externally, yet at the same time be very evil. On the other hand, he may be ugly, and at the same time a model of righteousness. Thus, we see that an icon must indeed depict that which we see with our eyes, preserving the characteristics of the body's form, for in this world the soul acts through the body; however, at the same time, it must point towards the inner, spiritual essence. The precise task of the iconographer is to render, to the greatest extent possible, those spiritual qualities, whereby the person depicted acquired the Kingdom of Heaven, won the Lord’s imperishable crown as the Church's true significance is the salvation of man's soul. That which is on the earth perishes when we bring the body to the grave; but the soul passes on to another place. When the world comes to an end, consumed by fire, there will be a new earth and a new Heaven, as the Apostle John the Theologian says, With the eyes of his soul, he foresaw the New Jerusalem, so clearly described in his sacred Revelation. The Lord came to prepare the whole world for this spiritual rebirth. To prepare oneself for this new Kingdom, one must uproot from within oneself those seeds of sin which entered mankind with our ancestors' fall into sin, distorting our pristine, grace-endowed nature; and one must plant within oneself those virtues which they lost in the fall. Our icons speak of the Christian's goal is to change and improve daily.
In remembering the saints and their struggles, an icon does not simply represent the saint as he appeared upon the earth. No, the icon depicts his inner spiritual struggle; it portrays how he attained the state where he is now, considered an angel on earth, a heavenly man. This is precisely the manner in which the Mother of God and Jesus Christ are portrayed. Icons should depict that transcendent sanctity which permeated the saints. The Lord Jesus Christ is the union of all that is human and all that is divine; and when depicted in an icon, the Savior must be painted so that we sense that He is a man, a real man, at the same time, something more exalted than any man, that we not simply approach Him as we would approach a visitor or an acquaintance. We should feel that He is One Who is close to us, our Lord, Who is merciful to us, and at the same time an awe-inspiring Judge, Who wants us to follow Him and wishes to lead us to the Kingdom of Heaven. Therefore, we should not depict only the spiritual aspect of the saint, completely disregarding how he looked while alive on earth. This would also be an extreme. All saints should be depicted so as to convey their individual characteristics as much as possible — soldiers should be portrayed arrayed for battle; holy hierarchies in their Episcopal vestments . . . It is incorrect to depict bishops of the first centuries vested in the sakkos, for at that time, bishops wore the phelonion, not the sakkos. This is not such a great error, for it is far better to make a mistake in what is physical than in what is spiritual, to ignore, the spiritual aspect.
However, it is far worse when everything is correct in the physical, sense, but the saint appears as an ordinary man, photographed, devoid of the spiritual. When this is the case, the depiction cannot be considered an icon. Sometimes undue attention is spent on making the icon beautiful. If this is not detrimental to the spirituality of the icon, it is good, but if the beauty distracts our vision so that we forget what is most important — that one must save one's soul, must raise one's soul to the heights of Heaven — the beauty of the depiction is detrimental. It cannot be considered an icon, but merely a painting. An icon is an image, which leads us to be holy, God-pleasing person, or raises us up to Heaven, or evokes a feeling of repentance, compunction, prayer, a feeling that one must bow down before this image. The value of an icon is that, when we approach it, we want to pray before it with reverence. If the image elicits this feeling, it is an icon.
Our iconographers were zealous about this reverence, as can be seen in those ancient iconographers of the time before Russia’s conversion and our Russian iconographers, too, beginning with the Venerable Alypius of the Kiev Caves, who painted a number of icons of the Mother of God, some of which still survive. These wondrous icons, which continued the Byzantine tradition of the painting of icons which inspire compunction, were not necessarily painted in dark colors; frequently they were done in bright hues; nonetheless, these colors evoked a desire to pray before such icons. An example of this style can be seen in the holy hierarch Peter, a native of Galicia who later became Metropolitan of Kiev and All Russia, painted icons, some of which were until recently to be found in the Cathedral of the Dormition in Moscow. An entire school of iconography was also established in Novgorod under the direction of the holy hierarch Alexis of Novgorod, where a whole series of icons have been preserved. The Venerable Andrew Rublev painted an icon of the Holy Trinity which is now famous not only in the Christian world, but throughout the half-Christian world as well.
Unfortunately, this Orthodox movement started to collapse when Russia began to be infiltrated by Western influence. In certain respects, Russia's acquaintance with the European West was very beneficial. Many technical sciences and other useful knowledge came from the West. We know that Christianity has never had any aversion to knowledge of that which originates outside itself. Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian and John Chrysostom studied in pagan universities, and many writers, among whom were our spiritual authors and many of the best theologians, were also well acquainted with pagan writers. The Apostle Paul himself even cited quotations from pagan poets in the Holy Scriptures. Nevertheless, not all that was Western was good for Russia. Western ideas also wrought horrible moral damage at that time, because Russians began to accept, along with useful knowledge, that which was alien to our Orthodox way of life, to our Orthodox faith. The educated portion of society soon sundered themselves from the life of the people and from the Orthodox Church, which was regulated by ecclesiastical norms. Later, this alien influence touched iconography as well. Images of the Western type began to appear in icons. Perhaps these icons were beautiful from an artistic point of view, but they were completely lacking in sanctity. They were beautiful in the sense of earthly beauty, but these icons could even be scandalous at times, and devoid of spirituality. These were not icons. They were distortions of icons, exhibiting a lack of comprehension of what an icon actually is.
The first purpose of this article is to promote an understanding of the true icon, and the second is to cultivate a love for the true icon. And therefore, increase our desire to adorn our churches and our homes with genuine icons and not with Western paintings. These paintings tell us nothing about righteousness or sanctity, they are merely pleasant to look upon. Of course, there are icons painted correctly in the iconographic sense, but yet very crudely executed. One can paint quite correctly in the theoretical sense and at the same time quite poorly from a practical standpoint. This does not mean that, from the principle of iconography itself, these icons are bad. On the other hand, it happens that one can paint beautifully, yet completely ignore the rules of iconography. Both such approaches are harmful. One must strive to paint icons well in principle, method and execution. This is why we oppose certain people and their attempts to paint our churches, for they have the wrong approach, the wrong point of view. They may paint well, perhaps; but when the point of view is incorrect, when the direction is wrong, no matter how well the locomotive runs, it nonetheless slips off the track and is derailed. This is precisely what happens to those who execute their work technically and correctly, yet due to an incorrect approach and an incorrect point of view, they travel the wrong path.
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Missionary Leaflet # E14d
Copyright © 2001 Holy Trinity Orthodox Mission
466 Foothill Blvd, Box 397, La Canada, Ca 91011
Editor: Bishop Alexander (Mileant)
Edited by Donald Shufran