The Resistance

The Resistance
by Josh Garrels
I was born into a system constructed for failure
It’s a sinking ship manned by drunken sailors
An escape artist behind the bars of a jailor
An asthmatic attack when we forgot the inhaler
If the shoe doesn’t fit what good is a tailor
In the midst of a crisis please cancel the gala
Without a symphony there’s no need for a prelude
To foreshadow what’s to come.
See the secret committees, commence with their meetings
To make red tape in response to simple questions
Questions threaten the perception of the beneficial systems
A pyramid scheme with it’s cogs and it’s pistons
Mechanization of men, making more and more
Live in a miserable exhistance
How can so few, claim so many victims
And this begs the question
My rest is a weapon against the oppression
Of mans obsession to control things
Look at the long line of make believe kings
The lord of the flies want’s you to kiss his ring
Follow new rules with invisible strings
And become a puppet in the diabolical scheme
How do good men become part of the regime
They don’t believe in resistance.

Hold fast like an anchor in the storm
We will not be moved

Lesson number one, overcome
Every fear of regret and confusion
It’s all illusion, delusion
Sent to disconnect the holy fusion
Of spirit and the flesh
Every mortal breath, is meant to bring forth fire
But only when the fear of death, gets consumed
On the funeral pier
So let the flames rise higher
Let every man be considered a liar
If he doubts the goodness and faithfulness of God
Itching ears will compulsively nod in approval
When unbelief is taught in all our temples and schools
But God can restrain the madness of a fool
He can bring His truth through the mouth of a mule
You can move an mountain without any tools
It just takes the faith of a little seed
to make a way through what might seem to be
Impossibility,
And the ability will match the occasion
The outcome will defy explanation
The liberation will not be televised
When it arrives like lightning in the skies

Hold fast like an anchor in the storm
For your love, we will rise and overcome
Through the fire

Hold fast my people and sing
Through peace and through suffering
All for the joy that it brings, to be free
It’s gonna cost us everything
To follow one Lord and King
True love endures everything
To be free

Hold fast, like an anchor in the storm
We will not be moved

Archbishop Averky on what we are now experiencing….

 averky

This is a sermon that I found on an Orthodox E-Zine of Archbishop Averky of Blessed Memory which speaks to exactly what were are experiencing today. Nearly every time I am feeling despondent I can read a sermon of Archbishop Averky since he is very familiar with the times we live in .. (Source: Orthodox E-Zine – Sunday of Orthodoxy sermon )

Sermon on the Triumph of Orthodoxy

by Archbishop Averky (Taushev)

“This is the Apostolic faith, this is the faith of the Fathers, this is the Orthodox faith – confirm this universal faith.”

Beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord, you will hear these solemn and significant words in the Rite of Orthodoxy which the Holy Church has established to be served on this day. The first week of Holy and Great Lent has ended a week of intensified prayer and ascetical repentance. Now the Holy Church, desiring to encourage and console us, has established for us in this first week of Great Lent, on its first Sunday, a spiritual celebration,one most dear and close to our hearts – The Triumph of Orthodoxy.

This celebration was first performed in 842 in Constantinople in the presence of the Blessed Empress Theodora by His Holiness Patriarch Methodius – in memory of the overthrow of the last terrible heresy to shake Christ’s Church, the heresy of iconoclasm. But in this celebration the Holy Church marks the triumph of the holy Orthodox faith in general, her victory over all impious heresies, false teachings and schisms.

Our Lord Jesus Christ the Saviour founded His Church on earth so that all belonging to her could be saved, could elude the nets of the devil and enter into the Heavenly Kingdom prepared for them. The devil exerted all his strength to overthrow and destroy the Church of Christ and, through this, to hinder the salvation of men. At first he raised up terrible persecutions against the Church on the part of the Jews and pagans. For almost three centuries the blood of Christian martyrs flowed without ceasing. But the devil did not succeed in his task.

The blood of the martyrs, according to the apt expression of the Christian apologist Tertullian, became the “seeds of Christians.”

Christianity triumphed over its persecutors.

But the devil did not resist after the defeat he suffered at the hands of the martyrs . When the Church of Christ triumphed in the world he raised up a new, even more dangerous persecution against her: from within the Church, as the Holy Apostle Paul had foretold in his conversation with the Ephesian presbyters, men arose “speaking perverse things.” Paul called such men “grievous wolves.” [Acts 20:29-30].

These were so-called “heretics” who tried to pervert the true teaching of Christ concerning faith and piety in order to make this teaching ineffective for men. When this happened, the Holy Church, in the person of its best servants, took up arms against these heretics in order to defend its true, undistored teaching. There began to be convoked first “local” and then “ecumenical” councils. Bishops came together from all the corners of the earth and through the Holy Spirit they gave voice to the pure and undistorted Truth, following the example of the First Apostolic Council of Jerusalem [Acts 15:6-29].

They also cut off heretics from the Church and anathematized them. This was in according with the clear commandment of Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself who said, “If he neglect to hear the Church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican.” [Matthew 18:17].

And in accordance with the commandment of the Holy Apostle Paul, that great “apostle to the nations” who said, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” [Galatians 1:8].

And in another place he states: If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema. Maranatha [I Cor. 16:22].

Thus our moving, majestic and solemn Rite of Orthodoxy takes its beginning from our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and from his great Apostle, called by Him to be the “apostle to the nation”, i.e. of the whole pagan world. From the ninth century on the Holy Church has established that this rite should be served on the first Sunday of Holy Great Lent and that it be name “Orthodox Sunday”.

The rite, brothers and sisters, is particularly important and significant in the evil times we are experiencing, times in which the Orthodox faith is wavering and shaking. This wavering and shaking of the Orthodox faith is due to those very persons who ought to be strengthening and supporting it in the souls of the faithful. Those who should be pillars of Holy Orthodoxy – high-ranking hierarchs including the heads of certain Local Churches – are departing from the Truth of Holy Orthodoxy.

It is terrible to have to say that even the head of the Constantinopolitan Church, which is known as the “Ecumenical” Church, the man considered to be the first hierarch of all Orthodoxy, has set out on this path!

On all of this there undoubtedly lies the print of the Apostasy about which the Holy Apostle Paul foretold [II Thess. 2-3] – the apostasy of Christians from Christ.

We are now face to face with this Apostasy. The major threat to true Christian faith, the Orthodox faith, is the so called “Ecumenical ‘Movement,” headed by what is known as the “World Council of Churches,” a body which denies the doctrine of the unity and infalliblility of the True Church of Christ and attempts to create from all the presently existing and distracted faiths, a new “false-Church” which, from our point of view, will without any doubt be the “Church” of Antichrist, that false-church which the Antichrist, whose coming is now being rapidly prepared in the world, will head.

From the teaching of the Word of God and the Holy Fathers of the Church, we know that the Antichrist will be both the religious and political leader of all humanity: he will stand at the head of the new universal false Church; he will also be the director of one new world government and will attempt to submit all to his absolute power.

The Orthodox faith – this is the “faith of the Apostles,” “the faith of the Fathers” – it is that faith which the Apostlic Fathers, the direct disciples of the Holy Apostles, and the Holy Fathers and Teachers of the Church and their lawful successors, established by the Holy Spirit, interpreted for us in their marvellous and inspired writings.

Brothers and sisters, we must hold this faith steadfastly if we desire eternal salvation! Now we shall perform with you this deeply instructive, moving and highly solemn rite which consists of two parts:

  • the first part is the prayer of the Holy Church for all those who have gone astray or fallen away from the true Orthodox faith;
  • in the second part the Holy Church pronounces dread anathema against all false teachers, heretics and schismatics who have grown stubborn in their malice and who do not wish to reunite with the true Church of Christ but instead struggle against her.

Then we shall sing “Eternal Memory” for all departed defenders of Holy Orthodoxy and “Many Years” for those defenders of the Holy Orthodox faith and Church who are still among the living.

Apathy Epidemic….repost of John Valdez blog

Maximus_Confessor

Here are some excerpts from a blog by John Valdez regarding the apathy of many people today towards Absolute Truth and beauty.  (Above is an icon of St. Maximus the Confessor, who is one of the greatest examples of standing for Truth at all costs and not caving to peer pressure and the like. St. Maximus the Confessor )

Apathy Epidemic, by John Valdez, Death to the World magazine

“Rouse thyself, thou who sleepest, and rise from the dead, and the Christ shall shine on thee.” +St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (5:14)

Too often do we become diverted in the cares of mass and social media, teleporting through computer mainframes and cellular devises to a land sadistically bent on self-worship. It seems these days that at birth we are plugged into a computer grid of ever-distracting chaos, gazing on a vacant throne only occupied by phantoms of our own fantasies… There is something more sinister happening other than Jenner that is eating at the very core of our beings and the fabric of humanity. Nietzsche began to sing a lullaby that has been blasted into our ears across time, sending a dramatic wave of slumber and apathy down to our very age. In this dream world, lethargy exists so profound that seeking has been put to death and replaced with dispiritedness.

Death to the World’s publication was birthed in a time when there was unrest, rebellion, and disgust with the material core of our society. Now, there is nothing. Lack of movement exists and triviality has become the norm. Why do we wonder then that Jenner is worshipped? There is no question, there is just complete obedience to the media machine that seeks to stamp God out of every last one of us, that seeks to break the legs of the resistant in order to force obeisance. We cannot serve two masters and it is too often that we jump up to post our own opinions, giving into the murky pool of lukewarm spirit… Scholastics who have become Saints of our times did not attain Christ through educated hypothesis or book learning, but through crucifixion of the mind and a renewal of self in the image of Christ. They woke up and refused to slumber.

Sleeper, Christ is calling you. Arise from the apathy epidemic and open your eyes to a cause for life and give up your senseless world. Refuse the dreamland of this age and drift from the pools of the lukewarm. Rise and fight, for the Kingdom of Heaven is taken by the violent and the violent take it by force. We do not receive life without shedding sweat and blood. Let us rise from the smoggy clouds of sloth, regard our comfort as chains, and embrace crucifixion for renewal and resurrection. Awake and die to thyself.

Are We Ready for Christmas?

lessons from a monastery

Fr. John translated the below homily by Bishop Augoustinos Kantiotes last year. It is so good I just had to share it again this year.

Beloved in Christ, I would like to ask you a question; I ask it of myself and I ask it of you. Are we prepared to celebrate the great feast of Christmas?

There are two kinds of preparation; material and spiritual. Our material preparation is more or less finished. Housewives have cleaned their houses, husbands have finished – or have almost finished – their shopping, and children await their presents. Everyone has written their Christmas cards, signing them with the customary, ‘Merry Christmas’ and ‘Happy New Year’. This is worldly preparation; I am not interested in this. What I am interested in is spiritual preparation, the kind of preparation which makes us ready to celebrate the great event of the Incarnation of the Divine Word as…

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The World is Mad by Archbishop Averky

Another edifying, prophetic essay by Archbishop Averky.   Every day these words become more and more true.  This essay is taken from a website dedicated to his writings.  The translation is not perfect and is awkward in a few spots, but overall it conveys well.

The world is mad
  
“The time will come when people will behave like madmen, and to him who does not, they will say: you behave like a madman because you’re not like us.”

So says one of the very ancient predictions about what will happen on the earth shortly before the end of the world.

Many ancient prophecies have come true, and continue to come true before our eyes.  Isn’t this prophesy already coming true, as well?

After all, what is happening now in the world may not be explained otherwise than with an indiscriminate, mass insanity, of which only very few are free.  And that is in all areas of modern life, which has gone far astray from common sense, with a full violation of the reason given by God to man, unlike the speechless, irrational beings.

It is like this in personal life, – family, social, political, public and even in religious life and church life.

Everything has been turned upside down.  Black is called white, white – black, light is called darkness, and the darkness – light, the truth is called a lie, and the lie – the truth, good is called evil, and evil – good … And this is not being done only by the explicit and open atheist- theomachists who call themselves communists, in whom many naive people tend to see the main and almost the only evil of modern life.  No! not inferior to them in their true madness are other people, as if the opposite camp, the opposite sentiment and ideology – the people who left and right all the pathos told that they – “anti-Communists” and even though fighting against communism, wishing to be saved from being absorbed by this world.

Hypocrisy, falseness, deception and manipulation have become an epidemic, which has now infected great masses of crazed people; and believe in their honesty and sincerity, in most cases, is impossible, because they say one thing and do quite another, often the exact opposite.

In saying this, we deliberately avoid mentioning certain innumerable facts, because these facts are more or less known to all, but they often stir up different to the opposite evaluation, precisely because today most people are in a frenzy, lost their minds and lost common sense, and become incapable fair assessment of what is happening, and judge everything with bias, seeing from their own point of view totally dependent on their spiritually morbid disposition.

But life, which every day becomes more and more ominously gloomy, witnesses itself to the correctness of our statements, as well as the fact that all the ancient prophecies are now coming true with amazing precision, in the fullest sense of the word, before our eyes, for those who are still able to see it, who are not yet mad, – not yet foaming at the mouth with some frantic ferocity – not trying to insist everything in the world is doing fine, everything is going quite normally and naturally, as usual, on the path of undeniable “progress “.

And indeed, many of those truly blinded madmen try to convince us that we are the madmen, not they!

Today’s youth…  An amazing unheard of before, the moral laxity, lack of manners, impudence, rudeness, boorishness, a total disregard for the authority of elders…  Parents are deprived of the right to punish their obstinate, disobedient children…
Let’s start with the future of humanity – with young people.  After all, what indeed has today’s youth come to – deprived by orders “from above” of religious or even moral upbringing and education!  An amazing, unheard of before moral laxity, lack of manners, impudence, rudeness, boorishness, a total disregard for the authority of elders (seniors in age)…

And very few people find this really embarrassing or shocking, because it has become somehow commonplace.

Instead, in full flower blooms the overt and covert worship of Satan, even before it has official recognition, the politicians support the temples of Satan and Satan’s ministers, often in open of worship Satan, and they even promote it through the press and all the means of modern technology.  There is an intensive preparation for the unification of all religions and all nations and world governments, of course, with a purpose of all this [world association] globalization is heading towards the enemy of Christ – the Antichrist – about which there are many predictions given to us by the ancient Fathers of the Church.  All modern world policy is precisely leading to Antichrist; it is not noticed by the spiritually blinded, and it is denied by those who themselves are involved in this work, willingly or unwillingly, consciously or unconsciously, living from day to day, and turning a blind eye to the consequences of their participation in Satan’s doing.

Worst of all, of course, is that the Church and the life of modern “Christians” are not far behind this general epidemic of madness – the onrush towards the Antichrist; the madness is being hidden behind all sorts of specious pseudo-Christian slogans.  Here we often see the horrible picture, which has nothing to do with true Christianity, nothing to do with the serving God and Christ’s Church.  A deceptive appearance – without content.  And here in the first place – there lies personal gain, greed, vanity, ambition and lust for power and vainglory – which pleases not God by any means but rather their own sinful passions, under the hypocritical guise of religiousness.

We will not even speak of such a phenomenon, unprecedented in the history, militant atheism, as the ministry of the Church, in the person of its senior hierarchs, which in essence is nothing but some kind of mad self-destruction.  We will not dwell on all the fairly well-known facts pointing to many bishops belonging to secret anti-Christian organizations focused on the goal to destroy Christianity and to bring about the early enthronement of the enemy of all mankind and the enemy of Christ – the Antichrist.

Even if all this, and not in full, then missing also is the most necessary – a solid standing in the true Christian faith and confession, so important especially in these days of the growing apostasy from God.  There is no sincerity, no honesty, no strict ideology and principles, there is no one ready for self-sacrifice, and instead of all this – only the seeking of careers increasing of personal material benefits, cunning, Jesuitism, hypocrisy – all with the sole purpose of obtaining as much as possible all sorts of worldly goods, wealth and contentment here on earth, with complete disregard for the afterlife, the retribution, and the eternal life awaiting us all.

Here’s how the grim picture of modern spiritual crisis in the Church is drawn by one of the candlesticks of our Russian Church at the end of the 19th century, watching as early as back then the already begun increase of the impoverishment of the genuine spiritual life in the bosoms of our Orthodox Church itself:

“In the higher shepherds of the Church there remains a weak, dark, confusion, misunderstanding as to the letter, which kills spiritual life in the Christian community, which destroys Christianity, which is a deed, and not a letter.  It is hard to see who has been entrusted with the sheep of Christ, who provides for their guidance and salvation! … ”

If it was like this back then, how many more times worse is it right now!  Indeed!  Few people think about or care about the spiritual life.  It all comes down only to the external decor, more or less decent and proper, and often even this is lacking because of the complete lack of principles and ideals – coupled with the open service to one’s own passions, which manifests to all and is seen by those who have not yet lost their innocence.  This can be very painful for those who still have not lost the sensitivity of their conscience.

It is not surprising that many in our time, having essentially no spiritual guidance and seeing only temptations and bad examples, fall away from the Church and even lose faith in God.

And is not all this real madness?

And just try to strongly and openly talk about it, all at once, violently pounce on you and speak with us in the spirit of the above ancient prophecy.

      And try to only strongly and openly talk about this as all immediately bitterly aggro on you and will speak in the spirit of the above us the ancient prophecies.    …
“You are crazy, because you’re not like us!”

Here is in what a truly terrible time we live!

The World is indeed mad, and they do not even notice or would not notice!

What do we do?

The only thing we can do in such a situation is with all our heart to pray to God to preserve us unshaken our own faith and to preserve the faith of the people close to us and to grant us patience in the midst of this already almost universal epidemic of madness, reaching sometimes to violent lunacy, reminding ourselves of the meaningful call that has come down to us from time immemorial:

“Save yourself, to save your soul!”

 

Technology, Transhumanism and Toddlers

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Recently, a friend lent me a nice book entitled Books the Build Character: A Guide to Teaching Your Children Moral Values Through Stories.  While it provided an overall great book list as a resource (personally, I’m not a huge fan of Maurice Sendak), I felt somewhat sad that the world the author was writing for didn’t quite exist anymore.  While I know “there is nothing new under the sun,” it seems like things have changed greatly since the book was originally published in 1994.  I wish the world was even as simple as it was for me growing up in the 90s.

It seems that my son’s generation (he is now 3) will have far more temptations surrounding it. From opportunities for literal transhumanism experiences to all kinds of gender bending wierdness all going against God’s created order.  I feel there is a strong need in the very early toddler stage before a child can even read to simply create a love of God’s created order and God’s created things: people, forests, trees, animals, general peacefulness, and even educational books that reinforce the order of language, numbers and basic science.  And of course Saint’s lives written for children.  After all, when they are alone in their room, they are only left with a memory of the story and the pictures by which to tell their own.

It’s not necessarily that I see my own son at huge risk for these things (who does see their own child that way) but I want him to be actually saddened by how things are in today’s world and how they affect those around him and even grieve The Heavenly Kingdom.  I wonder if his generation carrying the last, or nearly the last flag of Christianity will feel their hearts in a perpetual Lent – living life in a beautiful melancholy.

I realize since the issue of transhumanism and everything else is so new, there is no “time tested” method to deal with these temptations other than trying as hard as possible to live the traditional Orthodox Christian life.  Father Seraphim Rose says that even if we try our hardest, however, our neighbor is not…no matter how we try to protect our children from “modernism” we can’t.  These days I have seen children watching videos on their ipads in even the mostly unlikely places.

It would seem that since the “world outside” is trying to bombard us with messages to confuse us and won’t even reflect, let alone reinforce, God’s order anymore – I may have to work harder as a parent at this.  It is probably more important to reinforce gender identity, the traditional family, and love of God’s creation through early literature, when this was probably something taken for granted by previous generations.  In other words, I don’t read books about robots to my son, but prefer to read books that have something beautiful and human in them.  (For example, today we picked up some books from the library including one about a family that moves from the city and builds a house in the country with the help of family and friends, and another about a family that runs a small farm.) I know there are probably books about robots that are “moral” and “cute” but there are too many reasons to not read the robot book for me. Among all the other agendas, there is indeed a transhumanism agenda as well.  When my son learns about robots, I want him to learn the whole story about them in an age appropriate way…so no “cute” robots for us for now.  The agenda is pretty evident is most modern media, so if you don’t already notice it, these links probably won’t help much, but just in case:

The Hidden Message In Pixar’s Films

So, What Are We Now? : Posthumanism and Transhumanism in Music Videos

Transhumanism for Children

Our Transhuman Kids – this article is actually against transhumanism

Robot to Attend School for 10 Year Old Cancer Patient

Meet Life Like Robot Nadine that works as receptionist

I lived the first almost 7 years of my life without computers…and while I can’t tangibly remember the freedom that gave my soul, somehow I can feel the change and how technology has grown and grown and could completely drown my soul if I let it.  Someday my son will be on his own and making his own decisions.  I want him to feel the ache in his heart like I do.  I want him to long for simpler and more beautiful times after he finds himself making mistakes.

But someday soon I will tell my son as much as I can for his age, and keep telling him more as he grows.  It will be an “Orthodox Survival Course” for children until he is ready for the real thing and to start his own Orthodox Christian reading.  But for now, I just tell him “I wish I could tell you more, but for now all I can say, ‘the hour is very late’.”

Archbishop Averky, The Last Days, and halloween

One reason I like reading about the “end times” and “last days” is not because I am “afraid” of them in a lack of faith sense, but because it helps me feel hopeful and less alone.  It helps to know that there have been multiple, if not dozens, of Archbishops, Bishops, and Priests that have written about how they have seen the “end times” coming within the last 100 years or so.  There is a lot going on in the news, but what really made me sad a few days ago was this recent article about the Scholastic book publisher.  (See article for book topic to avoid keyword in my post). One article said Scholastic was planning to use the same marketing strategy as they used for The Hunger Games series to promote their new book.  Regarding Hunger Games, the article said, “‘Its kind of crazy to remember now, but that book was initially seen as a potentially difficult sell. After all, it’s about kids killing each other” (article).    One reason these marketing tactics concern me is because I can remember times in my childhood when I was “indoctrinated” and confused by things taught to me in public school. (Primarily, I don’t think I would have had as many identity issues being half-Hispanic and half-white if race wasn’t talked about SO MUCH in the name of “diversity”…its been awhile since my public schooling and I’ve refigured out that I am an “American”, but firstly a Christian. But anyway…thats a whole other story.)  My point is this indoctrination seems to work pretty well unless someone is actively de-programming you.

All that to say, I don’t personally read these religious essays about the end times because I’m a conspiracy theory junkie or anything (although maybe there was a time…okay..there was.), but because they encourage me and help me from being discouraged.  Which I sometimes get around the time of “halloween” because even many Orthodox Christians that I have met just take it as a “harmless holiday” that is “fun for kids.” (For a more traditional view on halloween is Archbishop Kyrill’s article.  Last year, I also did a post on halloween. )

So when I get discouraged and feel like I’m the only one who doesn’t celebrate halloween, or the only person who thinks Harry Potter and the Twilight series is creepy, or the only person who believes it when St. Paisios says kids have a spiritual television, I like to read these essays.  (I know there are other people who think this way also…but in this world one can “feel” alone..)

Most recently I discovered the writing of Archishop Averky who was “friends” with Father Seraphim Rose.  Father Seraphim Rose translated his book “The Apocalypse” from Russian to English which I haven’t read yet, but plan to.  And now to the point of my post: edifying quotes from his articles!  I’m not sure when these were written, but his repose was in 1976 so it was sometime before then.

“On the Modern World – Archbishop Averky of Syracuse

We are living in a strange time, when all the true and healthy Christian concepts are being replaced by false and deceitful concepts, discovered often with an evil intention with the undoubted intention, naturally, of drawing people away from the right path of a truly Christian life. In all of this there can be discerned some kind of rationally acting black hand which is working to bind people as tightly as possible to this temporary, earthly life by forcing them to forget the future life, the eternal life assuredly awaiting us all.

We must be clearly aware of the kind of time in which we live. Indeed, only a spiritually blind roan, or one who had already sold his soul to the enemies of our holy faith and Church, could fail to sense the spirit of the approaching Antichrist in everything which is now happening in the world. Of what sort of genuine union of all Christians in the spirit of Christian love can one speak now when the Truth is denied by almost everyone, when deceit is in control almost everywhere, when a genuinely spiritual life among people who call themselves Christians has dried up and been replaced by a carnal life, …..

As salt preserves food from decay and makes it healthful and pleasant to the taste, so too true Christians preserve the world from moral decay and facilitate its return to health. But if the salt “loses its savor,” as the Gospel says, i.e. “loses its strength” (in the East there actually is a kind of salt which can lose its taste), then it becomes good for nothing except to be “thrown out to be trodden under foot of men” (cf. the Gospel reading for the third day of the feast of Pentecost, Matt. 5:31-3).

How terrible this is! And we find ourselves living in such times when the tendency dominating the world is directed toward making all Christians such “salt which has lost its savor,” once it has abolished the true Church of Christ derived from the Holy Apostles and thus has deprived Christians of the grace of the Holy Spirit….

This is the so very fashionable, so-called “ecumenical movement,” which is based on the position that supposedly the true Church of Christ does not presently exist on earth and it is necessary to create it anew…through the unification of all Christians belonging to various “churches” and confessional associations and organizations; this will be done by various mutual concessions in matters of doctrine and the development of a new, common system of doctrine acceptable to all and, along with it, of course, a new world view.

And the opinion, extremely popular in our times, that “it’s all the same which church you go to; after all, God is one” is in agreement with this tendency….But there is in our days an even more terrible phenomenon, encountered more and more often: a more or less conscious decision, for the sake of earthly goods and advantages, to serve the coming Antichrist…This is the most extreme degree of falling away, from which it is very difficult to arise.

The fundamental task of the servants of the coming Antichrist is to destroy the old world with all its former concepts and “prejudices” in order to built in its place a new world suitable for receiving its approaching “new owner” who will take the place of Christ for people and give them on earth that which Christ did not give them …One must be completely blind spiritually, completely alien to true Christianity not to understand all this!….

In our times, when there are such strong doubts about even the existence of Truth, when every “truth” is considered relative and it is considered proper for each person to hold to “his own truth,” the struggle for the Truth acquires a particularly important meaning. And the person who does not sympathize with this struggle, who sees in it only a manifestation of “phariseeism” and suggests “humbling oneself” before Falsehood by falling away from the Truth, should naturally be recognized as a betrayer of the Truth, whoever he might be, whatever he might call or consider himself….

Where the Truth of God is lacking there cannot be genuine peace.

While struggling resolutely against the most minute manifestations of evil and sin in our own souls, let us not fear to uncover and point out evil everywhere where it is to be found in modern life-not from pride and self-love, but only out of love for the truth. Our chief task in this evil time of lying shamelessness is to remain totally faithful and devoted to the genuine truth of the Gospel and to the author of our salvation, Christ, the Giver of life Who rose on the third day from the tomb, the Conqueror of hell and death.

One must know well and remember that Tolstoy’s harmful doctrine of “non-resistance to evil” is completely foreign to true Christianity (by the way, this doctrine destroyed our unfortunate homeland, Russia, and plunged it into the terrible, bloody horrors of Bolshevism): no true Christian can be reconciled to evil, wherever and in whomever he might encounter it.

All true Christians throughout the whole history of the Church have followed the example of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself and His Holy Apostles and have always condemned evil and struggled against it, even though this might cause them all sorts of severe deprivations and even cost them life itself.

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On the Situation of the Orthodox Christian in the Contemporary World

by Archbishop Averky of Syracuse (bold emphasis my own)
The situation of the Orthodox Christian in the contemporary world is, one can say decisively and without exaggeration, extremely grievous.  The whole of contemporary life, in all its manifestations, is, in one way or another, directed against him.  Everything in it is, in essence, a complete denial of true Christianity.  And if in apostolic times the beloved disciple of Christ St. John the Theologian could write that “the whole world lieth in evil” (I John 5:19), then with far greater justice can we say this of our time.
 To be a true Orthodox Christian, ready to be faithful to death to Christ the Savior, is much more difficult in our days than in the first centuries of Christianity.  Then, the persecutors of the Christians were irrational enemies who did not know the Faith of Christ, having wrong, often absurd ideas about it.  And these persecutions had in general the character of external persecutions.  Not damaging souls, they delivered the bodies of the first Christians to torment and death.  And the Christians of that time, well remembering the command of Christ: “Fear not those who kill the body, but who are not able to kill the soul” (Matt 10:28), and being strengthened by the Grace of God, went with joy to the torments and gave their life for Christ.  These persecutions did not only not dampen the spirit, but on the contrary inspired and inflamed it, and the blood of the martyrs, according to the apt expression of one of the apologists of those times, truly became the seed of Christianity.
 
Not now.
 
The contemporary world, with a few exceptions (we have in mind the bloody persecutions against the Faith taking place in Soviet Russia), does not make clear and open threats of bodily torments and bodily death for those who bear the name of Christ.  A significant part of it even continues to bear the name of “Christian”, builds churches, calls on the Name of Christ, and swears on the Holy Bible.

But this is all just appearance.
 
Under the cover of this deceptive, fair-seeming exterior, which is leading many into delusion, there is actually everywhere now taking place a most powerful hidden persecution against Christianity, appearing in the most various forms.  This persecution is far more dangerous and terrible than the former open persecution, for it threatens a complete devastation of souls – spiritual death.  What is now happening is precisely that which Christ the Savior foretold and of which He most of all warned His followers, telling them not to fear bodily torments, insofar as they do not threaten the soul: “Fear rather,” He said, “him who is able to cast both soul and body into gehenna” (Matt 10:28).
 
What is this that is happening in the world; and how can the contemporary world, which has been living, it would seem, for so many centuries in Christianity, persecute Christianity? In all this there is nothing unexpected: for we have been warned about all this long ago by the word of God.  But woe to him who stubbornly closes his eyes to this, not wishing to see that for which the Word of God calls us to be prepared.
In the world, according to the holy Apostle Paul, “the mystery of iniquity doth work” (II Thess 2:7) – the ever-strengthening process of the “apostasy” of Christians from Christ takes place, the process which in its final phase must lead to the revealing of “the man of sin, the son of perdition – the Antichrist” (2:3).  This terrible process of “apostasy” in the last time manifests itself so clearly and evidently in all aspects of life that only a blind man cannot see to what it is leading: everything that is taking place in the world now is nothing other than the careful preparation of the kingdom of the Antichrist, in which there take the most active part those who openly defy Christ and those who continue to bear ostensibly the name of “Christians”…
In one word, the world – terrible to say, the Christian world – now presents a terrible, dismal picture of the deepest religio-moral fall.
 
And at the same time a sharp contrast with all this terrible actuality is provided by the ever more frequent, ever more insistent appeals for peace and unity.
 
Can one believe, in such circumstances, seeing all that is taking place, in the sincerity and goodness of these appeals?…
How is the Orthodox Christian to relate to all this?  Must he strive for every kind of peace and unity?  Must every kind of peace and unity be precious in his eyes, dear and close to his Orthodox soul?

Absolutely not! decisively answers this important question – a question of Christian conscience – the great ecumenical teacher and hierarch, and pillar of our Faith, St. Gregory the Theologian. “One must not value every kind of peace,” he says, “for there is a good difference of opinion and the most destructive unanimity.  But one must love only the good peace, which has a good intent and unites with God” (Sermon 6).

The dearest thing of all for the Christian is the Truth, for the sake of witnessing to which the Lord Jesus Christ came to earth, as He Himself said to Pilate (Jn 18:37).  And for the true Christian there can be only one desirable unity – unity in the Truth of Christ – the pure, undistorted, uncorrupted Truth, without any admixture of diabolic falsehood, not envenomed by any compromise with it. …
Now is the time of confession – of firm standing, if necessary even to death, for our Orthodox Faith, which is being subjected everywhere to open and concealed attacks and oppression on the part of the servants of the coming Antichrist.  And in our holy Faith there is nothing of little significance – everything in it, to the smallest detail, has its meaning, its significance, its value.  For that reason nothing is to be neglected and we must make concessions and compromises in nothing.  Every concession or compromise in questions of the Faith and Church decrees leads to a greater and greater shaking of the age-old foundations of our holy Orthodoxy, to a gradual falling away from it and to the passing into the camp of the servants of the coming Antichrist…
Finally, the most important thing is decisively to leave the majority of contemporary people with their carnal sinful life, light-minded and careless, and as often as possible, cleansing one’s soul by sincere repentance, to strive with all one’s soul towards union with Christ in the greatest Christian Mystery of Communion.
 
Only an Orthodox Christian living in this way can avoid the nets cunningly laid in all directions by the servants of the coming Antichrist.  Only such a Christian will have the strength to struggle for his soul and for the souls of those near to him with the steadily advancing kingdom of darkness, which is ready to engulf the whole of mankind.  In this struggle the most dangerous thing is indecisiveness, wavering and compromise.  The most insignificant compromise can complicate and make this struggle more difficult, can even lead to destruction.  This is a struggle not to life, but to death.
“Watch…. Be ready” (Matt 24:42-44).  Be like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding….  Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing”(Lk 12:36, 43).
 
And on the other hand: a bitter lot awaits him who lulls himself, saying: “My lord delayeth his coming”(Lk 12:45).
 
The spirit of constant waiting for the Second Coming of the Christ is that spirit of the first Christianity, which prayerfully called on the Lord: “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev 22:20).  And the opposite of that spirit is undoubtedly the spirit of the Antichrist, who strives by all means to draw Christians away from the thought of the Second Coming of Christ and the recompense that follows it.  Those who submit to this spirit are courting danger – the danger of not recognizing the Antichrist when he comes, and the danger of falling into his nets.  It is precisely this which is most terrible in the contemporary world, filled as it is with all manner of deceptions and ruses.  The servants of the Antichrist, as the Lord warned, will try “to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matt 24:24).
 
This thought, however, should by no means subdue and depress us, but on the contrary – “Look up,” says the Lord Himself about it, “and raise your heads, for your deliverance draweth nigh” (Lk 21:28).