Archive for April, 2008

As an old science and science-fiction fan and occasional listener to Coast-to-Coast AM and viewer of The X-Files – for years I even thought I had seen one of the “famous” Hudson Valley UFOs over Hartsdale, NY, in the ’80s, after returning to my office at WFAS Radio from covering a local town council meeting one night – I was intrigued to read this Orthodox allegation that “space aliens” are nothing more – or less – than devils.  I came across a similar article a few years ago that detailed more than Fr. Alexey does that some of the tortures reported by “alien abductees” are alot like those from Orthodox spiritual literature going way back, even including the sexual or reproductive weirdness.  Apparently one can find numerous modern Orthodox essays on this topic on the WWW now … most extemely spooky and intimidating … way beyond the common “conservative” allegation that it’s funny how aliens always seem to be quasi-Buddhists or New Agers leading people away from traditional Christianity.

I don’t know what to make of it, so I just report it here for what it’s worth.  Caution is to be encouraged.  The ancient Fathers and Mothers of the Orthodox Church are to be mostly trusted.

It *is* said in parts of ‘the UFO community’ that UFOs don’t appear to people who believe they exist, only to skeptics.  What purpose would a relatively simple belief in aliens – not reverence or deference or following “New Age” or anything – serve the evil one?  Not that I wanna find out!!!  These experiences seem to be powerful temptations and/or victimizations.

Of course, God allows evil that good may come from it – but that’s no guarantee that we weak, myopic humans will succeed in bringing that good, or that God doing so Himself will be accepted by us!  So, don’t mess with non-Orthodox “spiritual” or potentially-spiritual stuff, eh!  The devil has even fooled Fathers of the Church, “appearing as an angel of light”!

Is there anything wrong with just enjoying good sci-fi though?  I hope not.  But I don’t know what I’m talking about!

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Some semi-light-hearted advice from one gentleman who just got married, and a few interesting Commenters.

This discussion is from someone who usually seems to know what he’s talking about, a Ukrainian Canadian who seems to interact with both Orthodoxy and Eastern Catholicism.

Ta Criost aiseirithe!  Aiseirithe go fior!

This links to discussion of their 2007 pilgrimage, but FWIU they’re planning one for 2008 also.  Wish I had the moola, because it sounds well-grounded, much better than other “Celtic spirituality pilgrimages” there!  (What else to expect from Orthodoxy?!!)  $1300.00 US plus airfare – Ouch!

In any case, it seems you can also donate to their efforts to (re)evangelize the Emerald Isle!

Si Cristo ay nabuhay!  Siya nga ay nabuhay!

The position of this blog with regard to conflict among overlapping jurisdictions and “claims” of jurisdiction – in The Philippines, in North America, anywhere – is to discuss it as factually as I know, as necessary for the information of inquirers, to take it into account as much as my meager knowledge permits, to hope and pray for Orthodox brotherhood / sisterhood and Unity and for our evangelization of non-Orthodox, and to not participate in such conflict itself if at all possible.

I’m glad to help with “rumor control” and to help smooth ruffled feathers.  But this really cannot become a forum for such conflict itself, since this is not a general Orthodoxy blog or forum, but specifically for evangelization.  There is no shortage of fora for conflict, elsewhere.  This is why I have exercised Moderation, and will continue to do so.

As conflict-averse as I am as a human being – one of my “issues,” perhaps! – I concede that conflict over jurisdictional claims implicitly recognizes that Orthodox Unity is in accordance with Holy Tradition, “one bishop in each place.”  Whatever has been worked-out between Antioch and Constantinople regarding The Philippines has not reached me here in America yet.  In any case, there are overlapping claims of jurisdiction not only in The Philippines, but in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore IIUC, Indonesia, China, Korea, Japan, the Americas, Western and Central Europe, Estonia, Moldova, Russia, the Arabian Peninsula, perhaps even Constantinople (Istanbul) itself.

ISTM true Orthodox rejoice in souls coming to The Orthodox Church, in souls uprooted from ancestral homelands managing to retain The Orthodox Faith, and pray for ever more of the All-Holy Spirit of God to guide the Church and her leaders “from glory to glory,” that He “calm the dissensions of the churches and the raging of the nations,” that we might increasingly radiate God’s Glory / Energies / Activities / Attributes as individuals and as Christ’s Body.

May God have Mercy on me.

NEOPHYTE OPINION ALERT

Numerous Orthodox hymns and prayers include the past tenses of the verb to shine, referring in one way or another to light, often God’s Uncreated Energies as Light, as frequently discussed in this blog, whether directly from a Person of the Trinity, or indirectly through a Saint, Angel, or the Theotokos (God-Deliverer).

Allow me to suggest that in English we prefer shined over shone.  Both are considered valid forms grammatically.  But since shone rhymes with shown, and often in Orthodox contexts the two could be easily confused aurally (e.g., “saints who have shone/shown forth in this land”), shined might be better for us.

In any event, we can remind ourselves when praying, worshiping, singing, etc.

Because Gregory raised the issue that was certainly in the back (or front!) of many other people’s minds about there now being two jurisdictions working in The Philippines, I’m pleased to offer more details that have become available from a priest in Australia (third-hand … or fourth? … from another web forum):

What is happening in the Philippines is great news of the Holy Spirit’s actions, so it is a little disappointing that some people jump to conclusions without even finding out the facts first. What happened to Orthodox charity and “believing the best”?

The facts are that the negotiations between the EP {ie, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople} and Met. Paul and {the Patriarchate of} Antioch have been long and far more complex than stated here. Secondly there is a very cordial working agreement, not animosity as suggested here at times. Thirdly, in no canonical sense have non_Orthodox been made “vicars”, however, that term has been used out of respect for current evangelical leaders position.

Fourthly, while everyone is aware of the problem of the overlapping of jurisdictions (we have it here in Australia too), Antioch (and the EP) work pragmatically *now* despite this, while working to resolve this uncanonical situation in the *future*.

Fifthly, the services have been modified to make them Orthodox. Antioch has always had a broader range of services than some other jurisdictions. Really, assuming that a bishop would overlook this is a sad reflection on lay distrust of bishops.

People should not read bad motives, uncanonical intent nor unOrthodox actions into anything that has happened.

Next time you want to know things, please do not post such questions on the internet- ask Met. Paul first, then this will save many wasted hours of passing around uninformed opinion and sheer gossip. Gossip is not Orthodox. Those who asked genuine questions without gossip should also email Met. Paul or whoever in future. Otherwise you can just add to speculation and feed the argumentative types 😦

in Christ,
Fr. John D’Alton, Antiochian Orthodox, Australia,
writing as a priest, not in any official capacity for the archdiocese.

Christos anesti!  Alithos anesti!
El Massieh kahm! Hakken kahm!

He, with the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), retired from that See in 1995.  He’s widely known as something of a historian of Orthodoxy on this continent, and apparently did alot for the Church in Alaska during two decades as Ruling Hierarch also.

Memory Eternal!

For Lenten almsgiving, consider the following:

Metropolitan Archbishop PAUL of the Antiochian Archdiocese of Australia and New Zealand, in announcing the reception of the 6,000 in the Philippines on their website, requested donations to help with things there. He listed a bank account number for wire transfers, but in case those are costly for you internationally, I emailed him about sending a check the old-fashioned way. He says to make it out to “Archbishop Paul Saliba” and mail it addressed as follows:

Archbishop Paul Saliba
2 Brampton Avenue
Illawong NSW 2234
Sydney AUSTRALIA

He says he personally has an account in US dollars, but the Archdiocese does not, so if we send them made out to him personally, he will exchange them.

According to the Archdiocese’s former website, he’s 68 years old, from Lebanon, studied in Greece, and studied and worked here in the States from ’68-99, including qualifying as an alcohol and drug addiction counselor to help parishioners and other Orthodox in the DC area, where he spent 20 years. According to Orthodoxwiki, the Archdiocese went from 6 parishes in ’99 to 34 last year, to which we can now add about an equal number in the Philippines!

Another thought from Abp LAZAR:

Ignorance is the mother of violence, fear is its father. Combined, they work together to undermine faith. Much of the world’s religion, including much of Christianity, has become based in fear and ignorance, and this is one of the greatest promoters of atheism. But atheism, too, is based in fear and ignorance. One who has a genuine faith in Christ no longer subscribes to fear and ignorance, and no longer hates, wishes to persecute or resorts to violence, either physical, emotional or verbal. As the apostle so clearly tells us, “we have not been placed in bondage to a spirit of fear,” and our beloved father John the Evangelist enjoins that “there is no fear in love; rather perfect love drives out fear,” and “whoever still has fear has not been made perfect in love.”

…is a Patristic characterization of the Orthodox attitude during the Great Fast.  Archbishop LAZAR (Puhalo) from Canada expands upon this:

The Holy Prophet said, “Let the four fasts of the year be joy and gladness to Israel.” Truly, it is a time for repentance. But repentance is a joyous experience, a lifting of burdens, an illumination of the heart, and experience of Paradise. If Great Lent is truly a period of repentance, then how could [it] be other than joy and gladness in the midst of extra temptations, a foretaste of Pascha, a sense of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, because true repentance brings all these into the heart of the believer.