Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Repose of St Innocent the Metropolitan of Moscow the Enlightener of the Aleuts and Apostle to the Americas

Commemorated on March 31

St Innocent (Veniaminov), Metropolitan of Moscow and Kolomensk (August 26, 1797 - March 31, 1879), was glorified by the Russian Orthodox Church on October 6, 1977. He was born in the village of Anginsk in the Irkutsk diocese. The Apostle of America and Siberia proclaimed the Gospel "even to the ends of the earth": in the Aleutian islands (from 1823), in the six dialects of the local tribes on the island of Sitka (from 1834), among the Kolosh (Tlingit); in the remotest settlements of the extensive Kamchatka diocese (from 1853); among the Koryak, Chukchei, Tungus in the Yakutsk region (from 1853) and North America (in 1857); in the Amur and the Usuriisk region (from 1860).

Having spent a large part of his life in journeys, St Innocent translated a Catechism and the Gospel into the Aleut language. In 1833, he wrote in this language one of the finest works of Orthodox missionary activity INDICATION OF THE WAY TO THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.

In 1859, the Yakut first heard the Word of God and divine services in their native language. Twice (in 1860 and 1861) St Innocent met with St Nicholas the Apostle to Japan (February 3), sharing with him his spiritual experience.

A remarkable preacher, St Innocent said, "Whoever abounds in faith and love, can have mouth and wisdom, and the heart cannot resist their serving it."

Having begun his apostolic work as a parish priest, St Innocent completed it as Metropolitan of Moscow (January 5, 1868 - March 31, 1879). He obeyed the will of God all his life, and he left behind a theme for the sermon to be preached at his funeral: "The steps of a man are rightly ordered by the Lord" (Ps 36/37:23).

St Innocent is also commemorated on October 5 (Synaxis of the Moscow Hierarchs) and on October 6 (his glorification).

For further information on St Innocent, Apostle to America, see the: Celebration of the Year of St Innocent (1997) in the special features section.

Troparion - Tone 4

O Holy Father Innocent
In obedience to the will of God
You accepted dangers and tribulations
Bringing many peoples to the knowledge of truth.
You showed us the way,
Now by your prayers help lead us into the Kingdom of Heaven.

Troparion - Tone 2

You evangelized the northern people of America and Asia,
Proclaiming the Gospel of Christ to the natives in their own tongues.
O holy hierarch Father Innocent,
Enlightener of Alaska and all America, whose ways were ordered by the Lord,
Pray to Him for the salvation of our souls in His Heavenly Kingdom!

Kontakion - Tone 2

A true celebration of the providence and grace of God
Is your life, O holy father Innocent, Apostle to our land.
In hardships and dangers you toiled for the Gospel's sake
And God delivered and preserved you unharmed.
From obscurity He highly exalted you as an example
That the Lord truly guides a man in the way he should go.

Kontakion - Tone 2

Your life, O holy father Innocent, Apostle to our Land,
Proclaims the dispensation and grace of God!
For laboring in dangers and hardships for the Gospel of Christ
You were kept unharmed and exalted in humility.
Pray that He may guide our steps in the way we should go.



Monday, March 30, 2009

Venerable John Climacus of Sinai, Author of "the Ladder"

Commemorated on March 30

Saint John of the Ladder is honored by Holy Church as a great ascetic and author of the renowned spiritual book called THE LADDER, from which he is also called "of the Ladder" (Climacus).

There is almost no information about St John's origins. One tradition suggests that he was born in Constantinople around the year 570, and was the son of Sts Xenophon and Maria (January 26).

John went to Sinai when he was sixteen, submitting to Abba Martyrius as his instructor and guide. After four years, St John was tonsured as a monk. Abba Strategios, who was present at St John's tonsure, predicted that he would become a great luminary in the Church of Christ.

For nineteen years St John progressed in monasticism in obedience to his spiritual Father. After the death of Abba Martyrius, St John embarked on a solitary life, settling in a wild place called Thola, where he spent forty years laboring in silence, fasting, prayer, and tears of penitence.

It is not by chance that in THE LADDER St John speaks about tears of repentance: "Just as fire burns and destroys the wood, so pure tears wash away every impurity, both external and internal." His holy prayer was strong and efficacious, as may be seen from an example from the life of the God-pleasing saint.

St John had a disciple named Moses. Once, the saint ordered his disciple to bring dung to fertilize the vegetable garden. When he had fulfilled the obedience, Moses lay down to rest under the shade of a large rock, because of the scorching heat of summer. St John was in his cell in a light sleep. Suddenly, a man of remarkable appearance appeared to him and awakened the holy ascetic, reproaching him, "John, why do you sleep so heedlessly, when Moses is in danger?"

St John immediately woke up and began to pray for his disciple. When Moses returned in the evening, St John asked whether any sort of misfortune had befallen him.

The monk replied, "A large rock would have fallen on me as I slept beneath it at noon, but I left that place because I thought I heard you calling me." St John did not tell his disciple of his vision, but gave thanks to God.

St John ate the food which is permitted by the monastic rule, but only in moderation. He did not sleep very much, only enough to keep up his strength, so that he would not ruin his mind by unceasing vigil. "I do not fast excessively," he said of himself, "nor do I give myself over to intense all-night vigil, nor lay upon the ground, but I restrain myself..., and the Lord soon saved me."

The following example of St John's humility is noteworthy. Gifted with discernment, and attaining wisdom through spiritual experience, he lovingly received all who came to him and guided them to salvation. One day some envious monks reproached him for being too talkative, and so St John kept silence for a whole year. The monks realized their error, and they went to the ascetic and begged him not to deprive them of the spiritual profit of his conversation.

Concealing his ascetic deeds from others, St John sometimes withdrew into a cave, but reports of his holiness spread far beyond the vicinity. Visitors from all walks of life came to him, desiring to hear his words of edification and salvation. After forty years of solitary asceticism, he was chosen as igumen of Sinai when he was seventy-five. St John governed the holy monastery for four years. Toward the end of his life, the Lord granted him the gifts of clairvoyance and wonderworking.

At the request of St John, igumen of the Raithu monastery (Commemorated on Cheesefare Saturday), he wrote the incomparable LADDER, a book of instruction for monks who wished to attain spiritual perfection.

Knowing of the wisdom and spiritual gifts of St John of Sinai, the igumen of Raithu requested him to write down whatever was necessary for the salvation of those in the monastic life. Such a book would be "a ladder fixed on the earth" (Gen. 28:12), leading people to the gates of Heaven.

St John felt that such a task was beyond his ability, yet out of obedience he fulfilled the request. The saint called his work THE LADDER, for the book is "a fixed ladder leading from earthly things to the Holy of Holies...." The thirty steps of spiritual perfection correspond to the thirty years of the Lord's age. When we have completed these thirty steps, we will find ourselves with the righteous and will not stumble. THE LADDER begins with renunciation of the world, and ends with God, Who is love (1 John 4:8).

Although the book was written for monks, any Christian living in the world will find it an unerring guide for ascending to God, and a support in the spiritual life. Sts Theodore the Studite (November 11 and January 26), Sergius of Radonezh (September 25 and July 5), Joseph of Volokolamsk (September 9 and October 18), and others relied on THE LADDER as an important guide to salvation.

The twenty-second step of THE LADDER deals with various forms of vainglory. St John writes: "When I fast, I am vainglorious; and when I permit myself food in order to conceal my fasting from others I am again vainglorious about my prudence. When I dress in fine clothing, I am vanquished by vanity, and if I put on drab clothing, again I am overcome by vanity. If I speak, vainglory defeats me. If I wish to keep silence, I am again given over to it. Wherever this thorn comes up, it stands with its points upright.

A vain person seems to honor God, but strives to please men rather than God.

People of lofty spirit bear insult placidly and willingly, but only the holy and righteous may hear praise without harm.

When you hear that your neighbor or friend has slandered you behind your back, or even to your face, praise and love him.

It is not the one who reproaches himself who shows humility, for who will not put up with himself? It is the one who is slandered by another, yet continues to show love for him.

Whoever is proud of his natural gifts, intelligence, learning, skill in reading, clear enunciation, and other similar qualities, which are acquired without much labor, will never obtain supernatural gifts. Whoever is not faithful in small things (Luke 16:10), is also unfaithful in large things, and is vainglorous.

It often happens that God humbles the vainglorious, sending a sudden misfortune. If prayer does not destroy a proud thought, we bring to mind the departure of the soul from this life. And if this does not help, let us fear the shame which follows dishonor. "For whoever humbles himself shall be exalted, and whoever exalts himself shall be humbled" (Luke 14:11). When those who praise us, or rather seduce us, start to praise us, let us recall our many sins, then we shall find that we are not worthy of what they say or do to honor us."

In THE LADDER St John describes the ascent toward spiritual perfection, which is essential for anyone who wishes to save his soul. It is a written account of his thoughts, based on the collected wisdom of many wise ascetics, and on his own spiritual experience. The book is a great help on the path to truth and virtue.

The steps of THE LADDER proceed gradually from strength to strength on the path of perfection. The summit is not reached suddenly, but gradually, as the Savior says: "The Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force" (Mt.11:12).

St John is also commemorated on the fourth Sunday of Great Lent.

Troparion - Tone 8

By a flood of tears you made the desert fertile
And by your longing for God you brought forth fruits in abundance.
By the radiance of miracles you illuminated the whole universe.
O our holy Father John Climacus, pray to Christ our God to save our souls.

Kontakion - Tone 1

You offered us your teachings as fruits of everlasting freshness,
To sweeten the hearts of those who receive them with attention.
O blessed and wise John, they are the rungs of a ladder,
Leading the souls of those who honor you from earth to Eternal glory in Heaven!




Sunday, March 29, 2009

Martyr Cyril the Deacon of Heliopolis, who suffered under Julian the Apostate

Commemorated on March 29

The Holy Martyr Cyril the Deacon The historian Theodoritus relates that during the reign of St Constantine the Great St Cyril destroyed many idols and pagan temples in Heliopolis, Phoenicia. He was put to death for this during the reign of Julian the Apostate. Pagans cut open his stomach and, like wild beasts, they ate his liver and intestines, for which the Lord punished them with blindness, boils and other terrible afflictions.

During this time the pagans killed many Christians in the Palestinian cities of Ascalon and Gaza: priests, women and children who had dedicated themselves to God. The torturers cut up their bodies, covered them with barley and fed them to pigs.

The holy martyrs received crowns of victory in the Kingdom of Heaven, and the torturers also received their just recompense: eternal torment in Hell.

Troparion - Tone 3

In preparation for the contest, O glorious Mark,
You anointed an assembly of martyrs
And strengthened them by your steadfastness.
You finished your course with them.
And you were all found worthy of the joys of heaven.
O righteous Father,
Pray to Christ our God to grant us his great mercy!

Kontakion - Tone 4

Having been illumined by the grace of truth,
You radiantly instruct the ends of the earth in piety, O glorious Hieromartyrs.
Therefore we bless you in faith.



Art in Sand

Thanks to Deb. I found this very beautiful. May there be more beauty.

Costa's Monthly Newsletter- On the purification of the heart and our senses

My brother Costa has had the privilege for some time now to be the caretaker of the bookstore at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church.

He supplies a monthly article for The Desert Messenger, that parish's newsletter.

This is his most recent entry.

Hello from the Bookstore

On the purification of the heart and our senses.

Jesus said that those who have a pure heart are blessed because they will see God. This sounds like such a far out concept. Can we really purify our hearts? Of course we can, and we have the testimony of countless of our Saints who have done so and have told us how wonderful it is to see God in everything. This is peace and rest and fearlessness; to know in your heart that the will of God governs all, and that this all-powerful God loves and cares for each one of us and desires for us to share in His Divine Life.

So, how do I acquire this purity of heart? To begin with, in addition to all the other things that the Church is, we must understand that it is also a therapeutic method. The Holy Mysteries of the Church are given to us by God for the healing of the soul. The prayers, iconography, lives of Saints, chants, etc. are medicines for our souls. How does this work? It has to do with what we feed our minds and souls. Everything that we perceive has the ability to draw us either towards God or away from God. So if I attend a rock concert, for example, it is very difficult for my mind NOT to be drawn away from God. Or when I watch the evening news, most likely my mind is being pulled from therapeutic thoughts of God, and instead my soul has more of a chance to be damaged and hurt by what is perceived. Now on the other side, when I attend the Divine Liturgy, it is very difficult for me NOT to think about God. Or when I spend a few minutes just looking at a Byzantine icon, my soul is being soothed. The Church provides us with alternative sources of stimulation for our senses. What starts with our senses, works its way into the heart.

Until next month, (GW), ICXC NIKA, Costa

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Venerable Stephen the Wonderworker the Abbot of Tryglia

Commemorated on March 28

St Stephen the Confessor, Igumen of Triglia Monastery, suffered under the iconoclast emperor Leo the Armenian (813-820). From a young age, the holy ascetic dedicated his life to God and received monastic tonsure. He later became head of the Triglia monastery near Constantinople.

When persecution again began against holy icons, the saintly igumen was summoned for questioning, and they tried to force him to sign a document rejecting the veneration of icons. St Stephen steadfastly refused to betray Orthodoxy and he boldly denounced the emperor for his impiety. They subjected the saint to cruel torments, after which they sent him to prison in the year 815. Weakened and sick, the holy Confessor Stephen soon died in prison from his sufferings.



Another one from Ned's Atomic Dustbin

I loved this album when it came out in 1991. This song got me then so here it is.

Books I've Read(or am reading)-Sixteen: "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" by Victor E. Marsden (A)

This book is a very controversial one and I would like the reader to know that I post this with some reservation because it may be assumed that I hold positions as a result of such a book that may not actually be mine in fact.

The fact is that this book has had a major effect on history. Whether it is indeed a forgery, as its detractors claim, or whether it is true as its author claims, peoples' ideas have been set into motion as a result of this collection of these protocols and perhaps to understand the previous century and the one we are now in it is necessary to read such a book to see what, if any, effect this book may have had.

I myself will offer no comment except to note that the protocols have a very detailed and profound understanding of the human condition and in a C.S. Lewis, Screwtape Letters type of way, the Protocols view the human being in the reverse of the Benevolent God Who desires the healing of the human being through union with Himself and Who accurately expounds on the human condition so as to bring about this healing.

In the Protocols we have the same viewing of the fallen condition which is prone to sin and error but with the aim of exploiting this weakness to bring about the subjugation of the human being using this understanding of the psychology of the fallen human condition against itself. There is a certain wisdom in these protocols which surprised me.

Also, interestingly, Plato's Republic came to mind when I read this book. As the reader may know, in his work, Plato argued that Rule should be in the hands of a born and bred Philosopher King whose rule alone should be desired over the other forms of government he speaks of in descending value from the Philosopher King: Tyranny(and remember that a "tyrant", in the ancient Greek usage of this word denotes something other what a modern user of this word means, Oligarchy(the rule of the few) and in Plato's mind the worst form of government, Democracy.

Along these lines, it must be noted that in the aim of the protocols there is also manifested a certain desire by those orchestrating the events to bring about the good of those to be ruled for their own good as they, if left to themselves cannot rule. So the "takeover" is viewed in a "positive"light by the one being instructed in the protocols for the ultimate good of those to be ruled who cannot, because of an inherent weakness, rule themselves.

I will over the course of time print all the protocols. It is a fascinating work. I will preface each post with the above primer I have provided.

Protocol II

Economic Wars

1. It is indispensable for our purpose that wars, so far as
possible, should not result in territorial gains: war will thus be
brought on to the economic ground, where the nations will not
fail to perceive in the assistance we give the strength of our
predominance, and this state of things will put both sides at the
mercy of our international AGENTUR; which possesses
millions of eyes ever on the watch and unhampered by any
limitations whatsoever. Our international rights will then wipe
out national rights, in the proper sense of right, and will rule
the nations precisely as the civil law of States rules the
relations of their subjects among themselves.

2. The administrators, whom we shall choose from among the
public, with strict regard to their capacities for servile
obedience, will not be persons trained in the arts of
government, and will therefore easily become pawns in our
game in the hands of men of learning and genius who will be
their advisers, specialists bred and reared from early childhood
to rule the affairs of the whole world. As is well known to you,
these specialists of ours have been drawing to fit them for rule
the information they need from our political plans from the
lessons of history, from observations made of the events of
every moment as it passes. The GOYIM are not guided by
practical use of unprejudiced historical observation, but by
theoretical routine without any critical regard for consequent
results. We need not, therefore, take any account of them - let
them amuse themselves until the hour strikes, or live on hopes of new forms of enterprising pastime, or on the memories of all they have enjoyed. For them let that play the principal part which we have persuaded them to accept as the dictates of science (theory). It is with this object in view that we are constantly, by means of our press, arousing a blind confidence in these theories. The intellectuals of the GOYIM will puff themselves up with their knowledges and without any logical verification of them will put into effect all the information available from science, which our AGENTUR specialists have cunningly pieced together for the purpose of educating their minds in the direction we want.


3. Do not suppose for a moment that these statements are
empty words: think carefully of the successes we arranged for
Darwinism, Marxism, Nietzsche-ism. To us Jews, at any rate, it
should be plain to see what a disintegrating importance these
directives have had upon the minds of the GOYIM.

4. It is indispensable for us to take account of the thoughts,
characters, tendencies of the nations in order to avoid making
slips in the political and in the direction of administrative
affairs. The triumph of our system of which the component
parts of the machinery may be variously disposed according to
the temperament of the peoples met on our way, will fail of
success if the practical application of it be not based upon a
summing up of the lessons of the past in the light of the

5. In the hands of the States of to-day there is a great force that
creates the movement of thought in the people, and that is the Press.
The part played by the Press is to keep pointing our requirements supposed to be indispensable, to give voice to the complaints of the people, to express and to create discontent. It is in the Press that the triumph of freedom of speech finds its incarnation. But the GOYIM States have not known how to make use of this force; and it has fallen into our hands. Through the Press we have gained the power to influence while remaining ourselves in the shade; thanks to the Press we have got the GOLD in our hands, notwithstanding that we have had
to gather it out of the oceans of blood and tears. But it has paid is, though we have sacrificed many of our people. Each victim on our side is worth in the sight of God a thousand GOYIM.

Protocol III

Methods of Conquest

1. To-day I may tell you that our goal is now only a few steps
off. There remains a small space to cross and the whole long
path we have trodden is ready now to close its cycle of the
Symbolic Snake, by which we symbolize our people. When
this ring closes, all the States of Europe will be locked in its
coil as in a powerful vice.

2. The constitution scales of these days will shortly break
down, for we have established them with a certain lack of
accurate balance in order that they may oscillate incessantly
until they wear through the pivot on which they turn. The
GOYIM are under the impression that they have welded them
sufficiently strong and they have all along kept on expecting
that the scales would come into equilibrium. But the pivots -
the kings on their thrones - are hemmed in by their
representatives, who play the fool, distraught with their own
uncontrolled and irresponsible power. This power they owe to
the terror which has been breathed into the palaces. As they
have no means of getting at their people, into their very midst,
the kings on their thrones are no longer able to come to terms
with them and so strengthen themselves against seekers after
power. We have made a gulf between the far-seeing Sovereign
Power and the blind force of the people so that both have lost
all meaning, for like the blind man and his stick, both are
powerless apart.

3. In order to incite seekers after power to a misuse of power
we have set all forces in opposition one to another, breaking uj
their liberal tendencies towards independence. To this end we
have stirred up every form of enterprise, we have armed all
parties, we have set up authority as a target for every ambition]
Of States we have made gladiatorial arenas where a lot of
confused issues contend ... A little more, and disorders and
bankruptcy will be universal...

4. Babblers, inexhaustible, have turned into oratorical contest
the sittings of Parliament and Administrative Boards. Bold
journalists and unscrupulous pamphleteers daily fall upon
executive officials. Abuses of power will put the final touch ii
preparing all institutions for their overthrow and everything
will fly skyward under the blows of the maddened mob.


5. All people are chained down to heavy toil by poverty more
firmly than ever. They were chained by slavery and serfdom:
from these, one way and another, they might free themselves
These could be settled with, but from want they will never get
away. We have included in the constitution such rights as to t
masses appear fictitious and not actual rights. All these so-
called "Peoples Rights" can exist only in idea, an idea which
can never be realized in practical life. What is it to the
proletariat laborer, bowed double over his heavy toil, crushed
by his lot in life, if talkers get the right to babble, if journalists
get the right to scribble any nonsense side by side with good
stuff, once the proletariat has no other profit out of the
constitution save only those pitiful crumbs which we fling
them from our table in return for their voting in favor of what
we dictate, in favor of the men we place in power, the servants

of our AGENTUR ... Republican rights for a poor man are no more than a bitter piece of irony, for the necessity he is under of toiling almost all day gives him no present use of them, but the other hand robs him of all guarantee of regular and certain earnings by making him dependent on strikes by his comrades or lockouts by his masters.


6. The people, under our guidance, have annihilated the
aristocracy, who were their one and only defense and foster-
mother for the sake of their own advantage which is
inseparably bound up with the well-being of the people.
Nowadays, with the destruction of the aristocracy, the people
have fallen into the grips of merciless money-grinding
scoundrels who have laid a pitiless and cruel yoke upon the
necks of the workers.

7. We appear on the scene as alleged saviours of the worker
from this oppression when we propose to him to enter the ranks
of our fighting forces - Socialists, Anarchists, Communists - to
whom we always give support in accordance with an alleged
brotherly rule (of the solidarity of all humanity) of our
SOCIAL MASONRY. The aristocracy, which enjoyed by law
the labor of the workers, was interested in seeing that the
workers were well fed, healthy, and strong. We are interested
in just the opposite - in the diminution, the KILLING OUT OF
THE GOYIM. Our power is in the chronic shortness of food
and physical weakness of the worker because by all that this
implies he is made the slave of our will, and he will not find in
his own authorities either strength or energy to set against our
will. Hunger creates the right of capital to rule the worker more
surely than it was given to the aristocracy by the legal authority of kings.

8. By want and the envy and hatred which it engenders we
shall move the mobs and with their hands we shall wipe out
those who hinder us on our way.

THERETO. (The Biblical "Anti-Christ?")

10. The GOYIM have lost the habit of thinking unless
prompted by the suggestions of our specialists. Therefore they
do not see the urgent necessity of what we, when our kingdom
comes, shall adopt at once, namely this, that IT IS
CLASSES AND CONDITIONS. It is essential for all to know
EQUALITY, that he, who by any act of his compromises a
whole class, cannot be equally responsible before the law with
him who affects no one but only his own honor. The true
knowledge of the structure of society, into the secrets of which
we do not admit the GOYIM, would demonstrate to all men
that the positions and work must be kept within a certain circle
that they may not become a source of human suffering, arising
trom an education which does not correspond with the work which individuals are called upon to do. After a thorough study of this knowledge, the peoples will voluntarily submit to authority and accept such position as is appointed them in the State. In the present state of knowledge and the direction we have given to its development of the people, blindly believing things in print - cherishes - thanks to promptings intended to mislead and to its own ignorance - a blind hatred towards all conditions which it considers above itself, for it has no understanding of the meaning of class and condition. JEWS WILL BE SAFE

11. THIS HATRED WILL BE STILL FURTHER MAGNIFIED BY THE EFFECTS of an ECONOMIC CRISES, which will stop dealing on the exchanges and bring industry to a standstill. We shall create by all the secret subterranean methods open to us and with the aid of gold, which is all in our hands, A UNIVERSAL ECONOMIC CRISES WHEREBY WE SHALL THROW UPON THE STREETS WHOLE MOBS OF WORKERS SIMULTANEOUSLY IN ALL THE COUNTRIES OF EUROPE. These mobs will rush delightedly to shed the blood of those whom, in the simplicity of their ignorance, they have envied from their cradles, and whose property they will then be able to loot.


13. We have demonstrated that progress will bring all the GOYIM to the sovereignty of reason. Our despotism will be precisely that; for it will know how, by wise severities, to
pacificate all unrest, to cauterize liberalism out of all institutions.

14. When the populace has seen that all sorts of concessions
and indulgences are yielded it, in the same name of freedom il
has imagined itself to be sovereign lord and has stormed its
way to power, but, naturally like every other blind man, it has
come upon a host of stumbling blocks. IT HAS RUSHED TO
RETURN TO THE FORMER STATE and it has laid down iti
plenipotentiary powers at OUR feet. Remember the French
Revolution, to which it was we who gave the name of "Great"
the secrets of its preparations are well known to us for it was
wholly the work of our hands.

15. Ever since that time we have been leading the peoples frot
one disenchantment to another, so that in the end they should
turn also from us in favor of that KING-DESPOT OF THE

16. At the present day we are, as an international force,
invincible, because if attacked by some we are supported by
other States. It is the bottomless rascality of the GOYIM
peoples, who crawl on their bellies to force, but are merciless
towards weakness, unsparing to faults and indulgent to crimes,
unwilling to bear the contradictions of a free social system but
patient unto martyrdom under the violence of a bold despotisi
- it is those qualities which are aiding us to independence.
From the premier-dictators of the present day, the GOYIM
peoples suffer patiently and bear such abuses as for the least a
them they would have beheaded twenty kings.

17. What is the explanation of this phenomenon, this curious inconsequence of the masses of the peoples in their attitude rards what would appear to be events of the same order?

18. It is explained by the fact that these dictators whisper to the sles through their agents that through these abuses they are cting injury on the States with the highest purpose - to sure the welfare of the peoples, the international brotherhood foem all, their solidarity and equality of rights. Naturally y do not tell the peoples that this unification must be »mplished only under our sovereign rule.

19. And thus the people condemn the upright and acquit the guilty, persuaded ever more and more that it can do whatsoever it wishes. Thanks to this state of things, the people are destroying every kind of stability and creating disorders at by step.

20. The word "freedom" brings out the communities of men to it against every kind of force, against every kind of authority even against God and the laws of nature. For this reason we, when we come into our kingdom, shall have to erase this word from the lexicon of life as implying a principle of brute force which turns mobs into bloodthirsty beasts.

21. These beasts, it is true, fall asleep again every time when y have drunk their fill of blood, and at such time can easily riveted into their chains. But if they be not given blood they will not sleep and continue to struggle.

Protocol IV

Materialism Replaces Religion

1. Every republic passes through several stages. The first of these is comprised in the early days of mad raging by the blind mob, tossed hither and thither, right and left: the second is demagogy from which is born anarchy, and that leads inevitably to despotism - not any longer legal and overt, and therefore responsible despotism, but to unseen and secretly hidden, yet nevertheless sensibly felt despotism in the hands of some secret organization or other, whose acts are the more scrupulous inasmuch as it works behind a screen, behind the backs of all sorts of agents, the changing of whom not only does not injuriously affect but actually aids the secret force by saving it, thanks to continual changes, from the necessity of ending its resources on the rewarding of long services.

2. Who and what is in a position to overthrow an invisible force? And this is precisely what our force is. GENTILE masonry blindly serves as a screen for us and our objects, but plan the plan of action of our force, even its very abiding-place, remains for the whole people an unknown mystery.


3. But even freedom might be harmless and have its place in State economy without injury to the well-being of the peoples if it rested upon the foundation of faith in God, upon brotherhood of humanity, unconnected with the conception
of equality, which is negatived by the very laws of creation, for they have established subordination. With such a faith as this people might be governed by a wardship of parishes, and would walk contentedly and humbly under the guiding hand of its spiritual pastor submitting to the dispositions of God upon earth. This is the reason why IT IS INDISPENSABLE FOR US TO UNDERMINE ALL FAITH, TO TEAR OUT OF TH MIND OF THE "GOYIM" THE VERY PRINCIPLE OF GOD-HEAD AND THE SPIRIT, AND TO PUT IN ITS PLACE ARITHMETICAL CALCULATIONS AND MATERIAL NEEDS.

4. In order to give the GOYIM no time to think and take note,
their minds must be diverted towards industry and trade. Thus
all the nations will be swallowed up in the pursuit of gain and
in the race for it will not take note of their common foe. But
again, in order that freedom may once for all disintegrate and
ruin the communities of the GOYIM, we must put industry on
a speculative basis: the result of this will be that what is
withdrawn from the land by industry will slip through the
hands and pass into speculation, that is, to our classes.

5. The intensified struggle for superiority and shocks delivered
to economic life will create, nay, have already created,
disenchanted, cold and heartless communities. Such
communities will foster a strong aversion towards the higher
political and towards religion. Their only guide is gain, that is
Gold, which they will erect into a veritable cult, for the sake of
those material delights which it can give. Then will the hour
strike when, not for the sake of attaining the good, not even to
win wealth, but solely out of hatred towards the privileged, the
lower classes of the GOYIM will follow our lead against our
rivals for power, the intellectuals of the GOYIM.

Protocol V

Despotism and Modern Progress

1. What form of administrative rule can be given to
communities in which corruption has penetrated everywhere,
communities where riches are attained only by the clever
surprise tactics of semi-swindling tricks; where loseness reigns:
where morality is maintained by penal measures and harsh
laws but not by voluntarily accepted principles: where the
feelings towards faith and country are obligated by
cosmopolitan convictions? What form of rule is to be given to
these communities if not that despotism which I shall describe
to you later? We shall create an intensified centralization of
government in order to grip in our hands all the forces of the
community. We shall regulate mechanically all the actions of
the political life of our subjects by new laws. These laws will
withdraw one by one all the indulgences and liberties which
have been permitted by the GOYIM, and our kingdom will be
distinguished by a despotism of such magnificent proportions
as to be at any moment and in every place in a position to wipe
out any GOYIM who oppose us by deed or word.

2. We shall be told that such a despotism as I speak of is not
consistent with the progress of these days, but I will prove to
you that it is.

3. In the times when the peoples looked upon kings on their
thrones as on a pure manifestation of the will of God, they
submitted without a murmur to the despotic power of kings:
but from the day when we insinuated into their minds the conception of their own rights they began to regard the occupants of thrones as mere ordinary mortals. The holy unction of the Lord's Anointed has fallen from the heads of kings in the eyes of the people, and when we also robbed then of their faith in God the might of power was flung upon the streets into the place of public proprietorship and was seized by us.


4. Moreover, the art of directing masses and individuals by
means of cleverly manipulated theory and verbiage, by
regulations of life in common and all sorts of other quirks, in
all which the GOYIM understand nothing, belongs likewise to
the specialists of our administrative brain. Reared on analysis,
observation, on delicacies of fine calculation, in this species of
skill we have no rivals, any more than we have either in the
drawing up of plans of political actions and solidarity. In this
respect the Jesuits alone might have compared with us, but we
have contrived to discredit them in the eyes of the unthinking
mob as an overt organization, while we ourselves all the while
have kept our secret organization in the shade. However, it is
probably all the same to the world who is its sovereign lord,
whether the head of Catholicism or our despot of the blood of
Zion! But to us, the Chosen People, it is very far from being a
matter of indifference.

THE "GOYIM" OF ALL THE WORLD: but from this danger
we are secured by the discord existing among them whose
roots are so deeply seated that they can never now be plucked
up. We have set one against another the personal and national reckonings of the GOYIM, religious and race hatreds, which we have have fostered into a huge growth in the course of the past twenty centuries. This is the reason why there is not one State which would anywhere receive support if it were to raise its arm, for every one of them must bear in mind that any agreement against us would be unprofitable to itself. We are too strong - there is no evading our power. THE NATIONS CANNOT COME TO EVEN AN INCONSIDERABLE PRIVATE AGREEMENT WITHOUT OUR SECRETLY HAVING A HAND IN IT.

6. PER ME REGES REGNANT. "It is through me that Kings reign." And it was said by the prophets that we were chosen by God Himself to rule over the whole earth. God has endowed us with genius that we may be equal to our task. Were genius in the opposite camp it would still struggle against us, but even so, a newcomer is no match for the old-established settler: the struggle would be merciless between us, such a fight as the world has never seen. Aye, and the genius on their side would have arrived too late. All the wheels of the machinery of all States go by the force of the engine, which is in our hands, and that engine of the machinery of States is - Gold. The science of political economy invented by our learned elders has for long past been giving royal prestige to capital.


7. Capital, if it is to co-operate untrammeled, must be free to establish a monopoly of industry and trade: this is already being put in execution by an unseen hand in all quarters of the world. This freedom will give political force to those engaged in industry, and that will help to oppress the people. Nowadays it is more important to disarm the peoples than to lead them into war: more important to use for our advantage the passion which have burst into flames than to quench their fire: more important to eradicate them. THE PRINCIPLE OBJECT OF OUR DIRECTORATE CONSISTS IN THIS: TO DEBILITATE THE PUBLIC MIND BY CRITICISM; TO LEAD IT AWAY FROM SERIOUS REFLECTIONS CALCULATED TO AROUSE RESISTANCE; TO DISTRACT THE FORCES OF THE MIND TOWARDS A SHAM FIGHT OF EMPTY ELOQUENCE.

8. In all ages the people of the world, equally with individuals
have accepted words for deeds, for THEY ARE CONTENT
WITH A SHOW and rarely pause to note, in the public arena,
whether promises are followed by performance. Therefore we
shall establish show institutions which will give eloquent proof
of their benefit to progress.

9. We shall assume to ourselves the liberal physiognomy of all
parties, of all directions, and we shall give that physiognomy a

MATTERS POLITICAL, which it is not given to the public to understand, because they are understood only by him who guides the public. This is the first secret.

11. The second secret requisite for the success of our government is comprised in the following: To multiply to such an extent national failings, habits, passions, conditions of civil life, that it will be impossible for anyone to know where he is in the resulting chaos, so that the people in consequence will fail to understand one another. This measure will also serve us
in another way, namely, to sow discord in all parties, to
dislocate all collective forces which are still unwilling to
submit to us, and to discourage any kind of personal initiative
which might in any degree hinder our affair. THERE IS NOTHING MORE DANGEROUS THAN PERSONAL INITIATIVE: if it has genius behind it, such initiative can do
more than can be done by millions of people among whom we
have sown discord. We must so direct the education of the
GOYIM communities that whenever they come upon a matter
requiring initiative they may drop their hands in despairing
impotence. The strain which results from freedom of actions
saps the forces when it meets with the freedom of another.
US WITHOUT ANY VIOLENCE GRADUALLY TO ABSORB ALL THE STATE FORCES OF THE WORLD AND TO FORM A SUPER-GOVERNMENT. In place of the rulers of to-day we shall set up a bogey which will be called the Super-Government Administration. Its hands will reach out in all directions like nippers and its organization will be of such
colossal dimensions that it cannot fail to subdue all the nation of the world. (League of Nations and subsequent United Nations Organization - Ed.).


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Leavetaking of the Annunciation

Commemorated on March 26

On the Leavetaking of the Feast of the Annunciation, the Church commemorates the Archangel Gabriel, who announced the great mystery of the Incarnation of Christ to the Virgin Mary. There is no period of Afterfeast due to Great Lent.

Troparion - Tone 4

Today is the beginning of our salvation,
The revelation of the eternal mystery!
The Son of God becomes the Son of the Virgin
As Gabriel announces the coming of Grace.
Together with him let us cry to the Theotokos:
Rejoice, O Full of Grace,
The Lord is with You!

Kontakion - Tone 8

O Victorious Leader of Triumphant Hosts!
We, your servants, delivered from evil, sing our grateful thanks to you, O Theotokos!
As you possess invincible might, set us free from every calamity
So that we may sing: Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!



Tuesday, March 24, 2009

St Artemon (Menignus) the Bishop of Seleucia

Commemorated on March 24

Saint Artemon, Bishop of Seleucia, was born and lived in Seleucia of Pisidia (Asia Minor). He was pious and virtuous, therefore when the holy Apostle Paul (June 29) came to Seleucia, he established St Artemon as the first bishop of this city, since he was the most worthy. St Artemon wisely nourished the flock entrusted to him and won glory as a comforter of the poor and oppressed. St Artemon died in great old age.

[In the ancient Slavonic Lives of the Saints "Seleucian" was written as "Seleoukinian" or "Seleunian." However, in several of the Greek memorials the bishop was also called Solunian (i.e., of Thessalonica). St Artemon (or Menignus) was listed in the MENAIA as Seleucian or Solunian. In the second half of the eighteenth century, these two names were mistakenly applied to various persons.]



Monday, March 23, 2009

Martyr Nikon in Sicily

Commemorated on March 23

The Monk Martyr Nikon was born at Neapolis (Naples). His father was a pagan, and his mother a Christian. He was not baptized, but his mother secretly instructed him in the tenets of Christianity. Nikon was still a pagan when he reached adulthood. He served as a soldier, and showed unusual courage and strength.

Once, Nikon and his military company were surrounded by enemies. In deadly peril, he remembered the Christian precepts of his mother and, signing himself with the Sign of the Cross, he prayed to God, vowing to be baptized if he were saved. Filled with unusual strength, he killed many of the enemy, and put the rest to flight.

He managed to return home, giving thanks to God for preserving his life. With the blessing of his mother, he set off in search of a priest. This was no easy thing to do in a time of persecution. St Nikon took a ship to the island of Chios. He went up on a high mountain and spent eight days in fasting and prayer, entreating the Lord to help him.

An angel of God appeared to St Nikon in a dream, showing him the way. St Nikon went to Mount Ganos, where many monks were hidden, headed by Theodosius the Bishop of Cyzicus. St Nikon received from the bishop both the mystery of Baptism and the angelic schema (i.e., monastic tonsure). Living in the cave church, St Nikon became an example for all the brethren.

When St Nikon had lived on the mountain for three years, an angel revealed to the bishop that St Nikon should be consecrated bishop, and should move to the province of Sicily with all the monks. Bishop Theodosius obeyed the angel, and then died after he had entrusted the 190 monks to St Nikon. After he buried Bishop Theodosius, St Nikon sailed to Sicily with the brethren, and so was saved from approaching barbarians.

By God's grace, St Nikon came to his native city Neapolis. He found his mother still alive, and he remained with her for the final day of her life. His mother collapsed on his chest with tears of joy and kissed him. Making a prostration to the ground, she said, "I give thanks to You, O Lord, for You have permitted me to see my son as a monk, and as a bishop. Now, my Lord, hear Your servant, and receive my soul." When she had finished this prayer, the righteous woman died. Those present glorified God and buried her with psalmody.

Rumors of St Nikon's arrival spread through the city, and ten soldiers, his former companions, came to see him. After conversing with the saint they believed and were baptized, and went with him to Sicily. Having arrived on the island, St Nikon settled with the monks in a desolate area, called Gigia, near the river Asinum.

Many years passed, and there was another persecution against Christians. Quintilian, the governor of Sicily, was informed that Bishop Nikon was living nearby with many monks. All 199 monks were seized and beheaded, but they left St Nikon alive in order to torture him.

They burned him with fire, yet he remained unharmed. They tied him to the tails of wild horses to be dragged over the ground, but the horses would not budge from the spot. They cut out the saint's tongue, threw him off a high cliff, and finally beheaded him. The body of the hieromartyr Nikon was left in a field to be eaten by wild beasts and birds.

A certain shepherd, possessed by an evil spirit, went to that place, and finding the body of the saint, he immediately fell to the ground on his face. The unclean spirit, vanquished by the power of the saint, had thrown him to the ground and gone out from him with a loud shriek: "Woe is me, woe is me, where can I flee from Nikon?"

The healed shepherd related this to the people. The bishop of the city of Messina also learned of this, then he and his clergy buried the bodies of St Nikon and his disciples.

Troparion - Tone 4

By your ascetic way of life
you conquered the crafty one, Holy Father Nikon.
By virtue of your holy life you became a rule and model to your disciples,
and with them you struggled for the Faith in the West.
You have all attained glory in heaven.

Kontakion - Tone 8

Of like discipline with the Ascetics, and rivaling the holy Athletes in zeal,
you were offered to the Lord through martyrdom, steadfast and righteous Martyrs.
As your sure guide you had the glorious Nikon;
fighting together with him you sang: Alleluia.



Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday of the Holy Cross

Tone of the week: Grave Tone

Seventh Eothinon


With the help of God, we have almost reached the middle of the course of the Fast, where our strength has been worn down through abstinence, and the full difficulty of the labour set before us becomes apparent. Therefore our holy Mother, the Church of Christ, now brings to our help the all-holy Cross, the joy of the world, the strength of the faithful, the staff of the just, and the hope of sinners, so that by venerating it reverently, we might receive strength and grace to complete the divine struggle of the Fast.

Resurrectional Apolytikion in the Grave Tone

By means of Your Cross, O Lord, You abolished death. * To the robber You opened Paradise. * The lamentation of the myrrhbearing women You transformed, * and You gave Your Apostles the order to proclaim to all * that You had risen, O Christ our God, * and granted the world Your great mercy.

Resurrectional Kontakion in the Grave Tone

No longer will death's dominion have power to detain mortal men. For Christ went down and smashed and destroyed its powers. Now Hades is bound, and the Prophets in unison exult and declare: The Savior has appeared to those with faith. Come out, you faithful, to the Resurrection.

Seasonal Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone

To you, Theotokos, invincible Defender, having been delivered from peril, I, your city, dedicate the victory festival as a thank offering. In your irresistible might, keep me safe from all trials, that I may call out to you: "Hail, unwedded bride!"

icon on left)

(icon on right)


Saturday, March 21, 2009

St Cyril the Bishop of Catania

Commemorated on March 21

Saint Cyril was born in Antioch. He was a disciple of the Apostle Peter (June 29, January 16), who installed him as Bishop of Catania in Sicily. St Cyril wisely guided his flock; he was pious, and the Lord granted him the gift of wonderworking. By his prayer the bitter water in a certain spring lost its bitterness and became drinkable. This miracle converted many pagans to Christianity. St Cyril died in old age and was buried in Sicily.



What is Orthodoxy?

Thanks to Maxim.

On the first Sunday of Great Lent we celebrate the Triumph of Orthodoxy, a feast that was established in the year 842 to mark the final defeat of the Iconoclast heresy. In issuing a decree to celebrate the Sunday of Orthodoxy, the Synod of Constantinople wished to specifically commit the restoration of holy icons and the triumph of Orthodox Christology to the memory of the Church. During the eleven centuries that have followed since that day, the feast has come to be celebrated as the triumph of Orthodoxy over all heresies that have troubled the Church. Within the solemn proclamation of the Anathema which is heard on this day in every Orthodox cathedral, the Church in its fullness confirms the faith of the Fathers and rejects all heresies of the past and present. But the meaning of this feast is not in the rejection of false teaching from our midst, but in the true triumph of Orthodoxy in our hearts.

What is Orthodoxy? All too often we are more familiar with the heresies of old—Iconoclasm, Arianism, Monophisitism—or of the modern day—Ecumenism, Modernism, Sergianism—than we are with our own faith. We can eloquently argue the fallacies of Roman Catholicism or Protestantism, but can we tell what makes us Orthodox? What is Orthodoxy, and how can we strive for its triumph in our lives?

As we begin our search for the meaning of Orthodoxy, we must first look at the definitions given by the Fathers in the profession of faith or the Creed. From its very beginning, the Christian faith had to be defined, set apart, called out, and elected. Several redactions of the Creed—from that of the Apostles to the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed—stand witness to this laborious task of defining Orthodoxy. The word “Orthodox” is not in the Creed; the Fathers of the Nicene Council (A.D. 325) called it simply “the Symbol of Faith” (Σύμβολον τς Πίστεως). But it is this profession of faith that continues to serve as the foundation of our belief today, and that is why we rightfully call it “the Symbol of the Orthodox Faith.”

The Holy Church uses the Creed to instruct us in our faith throughout our entire earthly life. We recite the Creed before we are baptized into the Church, we hear it during services, we solemnly proclaim it together during every Divine Liturgy, we recite it every day as part of our daily prayer rule, and when partaking of our last Communion on the bed of illness and infirmity, we once again proclaim the Symbol of Orthodox Faith. This profession of faith which we make ours is an unbroken link that ties us to the faith of the Apostles and the martyrs, the Fathers and the holy hierarchs—it is the profession of every Orthodox saint for over two millennia. Those who so often “speed-chant” right over the Creed, and especially those who do not know the Creed, should remember that this profession of faith is made by the whole choir of the saints of the Church, and we should try to join in this choir—“with one mouth and one heart.”

Is knowing the basic truths contained in the profession of our faith enough to be Orthodox? The holy apostle James says:

“You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!” (James 2:19) Knowing the truth is not the same as making it your own. Each one of the ancient and modern heretics knew the Creed very well, and most of them did not even try to change it, take anything away or add anything to it. Instead, they corrupted the understanding of the faith, and spread their corrupt teachings among people. This is why it is so important to be familiar with the works of the Fathers of the Church.

Through a life of prayer, fasting and study of the Scripture, the Fathers acquired the mind of Christ, and the Holy Spirit guided their understanding of divine truths. To them, the words of the Symbol of Faith were not abstract concepts, but the very foundations of their lives.

We no longer read the works of Saint John Chrysostom or other Fathers in most parish churches. Even our divine services, full of the wisdom and the spirit of patristic theology, have become abbreviated and less attended. As piety among us declines, we are not willing to sacrifice much time from our busy lives to be in church and to hear the beautiful and profoundly meaningful words of the services. Yet, in spite of this, the services do not become less beautiful and meaningful, nor do they become less important for us. Even though our piety is declining, our literacy is not. Most of us can read, and the texts which were once hand-copied and kept in monastery libraries are now widely available both in print and in electronic format. In order to acquire the Orthodox mindset and the worldview of the Fathers, we must become familiar with their thought and with their heritage. Both the theological and the liturgical heritage of the Fathers are indispensible to our formation as Orthodox Christians.

Some may complain that the language of the services is archaic and that the writings of the Fathers are too complicated and difficult to understand. This is true. Those who do not put forth effort to become familiar with the spiritual texts will indeed find them difficult. This is true, however, of any area of knowledge. People who do not practice reading have difficulty getting through a page, those who do not cook cannot easily follow a recipe, one who is not familiar with economics does not know the difference between the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Dow Jones Composite Average or what their significance is, and if you do not watch many films you can hardly understand the talk about movie stars. Similarly, if we do not spend time and effort becoming familiar with the heritage of the Church, we will continue to feel like strangers who do not understand Orthodoxy, cannot relate to it, and can barely comprehend the language of divine services. Everything worth pursuing takes time and effort. We have the time. It is our choice what we do with it and toward which things we apply our efforts.

Finally, even this is not enough. If Christ willed for us to be saved through knowledge and understanding, He would have published a book and opened a school. Instead, He founded the Church. Knowing the texts and languages makes a good academician, but it does not protect a man from the river of fire, unless he is inside the Arc of Salvation—the Church. And to be in the Church, we must live the life of the Church—with its fasts and feasts, its services and sacraments—all has been established for our benefit. Every time we disobey the Church, every time we choose not to attend a service, every time we give up the fast to please the demands of our bellies—we continue to cut the very fabric that connects us to the Church. To be God’s children, we must become part of God’s family.

Our salvation is in the Body of Christ, and being in this Body and in communion with this Body is what truly makes us Orthodox. Orthodoxy is not merely a teaching, a philosophy, or even a worldview; it is the sacrament of salvation. Therefore, it is not enough to know or to have; it is necessary to be. Orthodoxy is not primarily a body of knowledge, but first and foremost it is life—life in the Church and the life of the Church. And just as human life consists of very small and seemingly insignificant steps that together make up our journey from the cradle to the grave, life in the Church also consists of small steps that lead from death to resurrection. Each one of these steps, no matter how small, is very important, and we must strive on our spiritual path as the merchant, who having found a pearl of great price, gave up everything else to own it (Matt. 13:45-46)..

You cannot find ten minutes in a day to pray to God?—Seek diligently and find five! You cannot find time to read the works of the Fathers?—Start by reading the Gospel and do not forsake it! You cannot be in church for every service?—Begin by making a real effort to come at least for every festal service! You cannot give a lot of money to those in need?—Give what you can, even if it is only two mites (Mk. 12:42), or call your elderly neighbor and ask if you could be of any help. Do something about your spiritual life! The kingdom of heaven is not reached by “couch potatoes,” but by those who force themselves out of their comfort (cf.. Matt. 11:12); Christ is not calling to Himself the lazy who refuse to walk, but those who labor (Matt. 11:28) and who “strive to enter through the narrow gate” (Lk. 13:24). Not every one of us will walk in the footsteps of Saint Seraphim of Sarov and fast as he did, but every one of us knows when it is a Wednesday or a Friday. Not everyone will pray for two hours as did Saint Martyr Polycarp, but everyone knows the simple words that have been repeated by multitudes of saints: “Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!”

And so it is in the life of the Church, in the life exemplified by our saints, that we find the true meaning of what it is to be Orthodox. And this life is not a biography or a memoir. It is not found in ancient scrolls or on the pages of history books. It must be found in the mirror. You, who were so wondrously fashioned in the divine image of the Creator (Gen. 1:27), take courage to become His likeness, and your faith will make you well (cf. Matt. 9:22)!

As we celebrate this Sunday of Orthodoxy, let us remember that the triumph of Orthodoxy cannot be marked on the calendar—it is marked in our lives and in our hearts. Let us rejoice today with the whole Church, and let us sing the restoration of holy icons in the temples of God. But this restoration did not end in the ninth century; it is to be completed by us, as we co-labor with God to restore His holy images in the temples of our own souls.

Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov, 2009