Concerning the Church

Ascesis and Worship


The particular characteristic of Orthodoxy is ascesis and the communion of worship.


Early to Church


Go to Church early. We do Orthros for the faithful and not for the chairs! Attending Church by Proxy!

Once, a lady told him:

«Father Epiphanios, Ι don’t go to Church, when my hus­band goes.» «Oh, so then you shouldn’t eat when he eats and you shouldn’t sleep when he sleeps! Are these things proper? Each one goes to Church for himself. Not for the other per­son!»


Concerning Holy Communion


Divine Communion is par excellence the Sacrament of faith. Ιn Baptism, we have water–sanctified water–but water, nevertheless. Ιn Unction, we have oil–sanctified, of course–but οίl . Ιn Divine Communion we see bread, we taste bread, but it is not bread. It is Flesh. We see wine, we taste wine, but it is not wine. It is Blood. It is par excellence the Sacrament of faith, because our senses are challenged.

———

Divine Communion is medicine. Not a reward.


Injustices ίn the Church


Why, in the area of the Church, are improprieties and in justices committed and why can we not find perfection even  in the people who are most dedicated to God?

So that we do not base ourselves ο n persons and things which are related to the earth, and so we can turn our thought constantly to God and toward heaven which is our permanent homeland.


Who Has Need οf The Other


Το the comment of a spiritual child of his that it is pleas­ing to have smart people ίn the Church because it needs them, he responded:

«Of course, it is pleasing to have smart and talented peo­ple in Church. However, not because it needs them. The Church needs no one. We have need of her because, without her, we are not saved. Of course, no matter which abilities we have, we must use them for the glory of Christ . However, we must not overly stress our contibration . ‘We are worth­less servants’» (Luke 17: 10).

——-

The Peace of the Evangelicals


Once he was asked:

«Elder, it is known that peace reigns only in the soul of people of God. However, the Evangelicals also maintain that they feel a permanent calmness in their hearts. How is it pos­sible for this to occur, since they are in delusion?

And he responded:

«In the villages, my child, when the villagers wish to tie their donkey for grazing, it is not necessary to tie it by all four feet. It suffices to tie it by one.

The devil does the same thing with the Evangelicals. Since he has tied them by the foot of heresy, he does not at­tack them with other temptations. Thus, it is explained why they feel peace, as they maintain. However, this peace is superficial and temporal.


Truly it is Food . . .and ‘Drink


The Protestants maintain that, ίn the Sacrament of Di­vine Eucharist, we don’t have the actual Body and Blood of our Lord, but that it is a simple remembrance of the Sacrifice of His Crucifixion.

The Elder responded to this:

«As we know, the Body of the Lord upon the Cross not only was not broken up into small pieces, but not even a bone of His was broken. So, how then does the Lord, during the imparting of the Sacrament of Divine Eucharist, say: «Take, eat, this is my Body, which is broken» ( Ι Cor, 11:24); If it were merely a simple remembrance, he would not have said «which is «klomenon»–that is, «broken up into small pieces,» because such a thing had not occurred ίn the cruci­fixion for them to remember it.


Ordination οf Women


Once, some spiritual children of his were worried up οn hearing that ίn Great Britain women «Priests» were being «ordained» by the Anglicans. And they asked him what pos­sibly could happen if similar ideas ever came into the Ortho­dox Church. The Elder, with his familiar sense of humor which distinguished him many times, responded:

«Why do you worry, my children? Οn the one hand, we have as a sign pious women who want to cacry «monasti­cism» οn their shoulders, faithfully keeping the traditions of Orthodoxy. And, οn the other hand, the «feminists» of the Greek land hear «Church» and . . .run ίn panic! So, don’t worry. Orthodoxy is not ίn danger of «ordaining» any wo­man. Neither impious, nor much less, a pious one!


Counsels of life (From the Life and Teachnigs of Father Epiphanios)

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