Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Jesus Christ’

Jesus Christ—the Model of Moral Life

January 12, 2010 Leave a comment

By Professor M. Olesnitsky, Doctor of Theology (Professor of the Kiev Divinity Academy), St. Petersburg 1907

For our success in the pursuit of a moral life, abstract law by itself is insufficient; a concrete example is necessary for the attainment of such life.

We have this model in God: Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect (Mt 5:48); but still, we need an example that is closer to our nature, which would in turn satisfy the requirements and carry out the moral ideal, under the same conditions in which we live. This model moves into us the faith in the possibility of the true-moral life on the earth; it attracts us to virtues and paves the way to such life. Having lived on earth, we have such a model in the Incarnated, our Lord Jesus Christ.

In the Holy Scripture there are numerous places which call us to the resemblance to Christ. For example, in the Epistle of the Holy Apostle Peter we read: Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps (1Pet 2:21). He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked (1Jn 2:6). St. Paul calls the Christians to have the same sensations, which were in Christ: Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus (Phil 2:5), not to please ourselves… for even Christ pleased not himself (Rom 15:1-3), walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us (Eph 5:2), looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith (Heb 12:2). The Lord said to his disciples after washing their feet: I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you (Jn 13:15); and pointed at his love as to the example of their mutual love: Love one another, as I have loved you (Jn 15:12).

Looking closer at the model presented to us through the life of Jesus Christ, we find that He carried out His earthly life exemplifying the highest level of moral freedom, combined with perfect love. This freedom was manifested in the absence of any sin as well as any other sensation of the sinful burden, in the harmony of His nature, which excludes passions and any fascinations, and in the powerful and independent attitude to the world. Understanding the complete freedom from sin he says: which of you convinceth me of sin? (Jn 8:46) or the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me (Jn 14:30). As the One, Who is sinless (although tempted), the conscience did not burden Him and it did not arise in Him the feeling of separation with the divine will.

The harmonious nature of the Lord Jesus excluded the one-sided predominance in Him of any side of the human personality. For example, we distinguish male and female natures, with the predominance of distinctive qualities. However, in Christ the Savior we see the harmonious combination of male perfections, precisely—incomparable struggle, conquering the world heroism, and female—kindness, limitless devotion, extreme patience, infinite obedience. We distinguish reserved and contemplative, open and active, or practical characters.

However, in Christ the Savior we see the harmonious combination of the contemplation and practical activity. But the absence of fascinations and passions in our Lord the Savior, we see that in Him any emotional state never overcomes the others and the others do not predominate. For example, deep grief is soon changed in Him for sincere happiness, happiness is immediately dissolved by grief (Mk 14:8-9); anger is mitigated by compassion, and compassion passes into anger (Mt 23:39); in humiliation the Lord never forgets His royal sublimity; and possessing it He always remembers that He accepted the image of a slave and came not so that they would serve Him, but in order for Him to serve others. Denying the presence of passions in the Lord, we assert that there was only animation and the strong desire to carry out His destination on the earth in Him. Therefore he says: I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled? (Lk 12:49).

Possessing moral freedom, the Lord Jesus Christ is so free in all his relations with the surrounding world. For example, he was fasting, but he “is eating and drinking” when He finds this necessary. He is out of the family relations, but He accepts the invitation to the marriage. The Son of man hath not where to lay his head, but never asked anybody for alms. He considers Himself free from the payment of tax to the temple; however, He pays tax, finding this necessary for His goal. The Pharisees tempt Him, they want to catch him in the violation of Moses’ law, in the disturbance against the royal authority, but He with a single word exposes all their intrigues and comes out of the temptation as the victory-bearer. People are enraptured with Him and want to proclaim Him the King, but He is higher than any terrestrial honor.

But love the Lord Jesus Christ expressed by leaving the quiet dwelling in Nazareth and stepping onto the thorny way of life, by the fact that He with incredible selflessness and patience worked for the good and salvation of people, He carried their weaknesses and their contradictions and abuse, accepted those despised by everybody publicans and sinners, blessed children, selected the disciples, loved by Him, He was close to His native Israeli people, embraced at the same time the entire world with love and finally voluntarily gave His life for the people. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us (1Jn 3:16). Love of Jesus does not arrange touching scenes, it does not invent refined expressions; however, how much inimitable tenderness is manifested in the farewell conversation of the Savior with His Disciples, or in the restoration after the Resurrection of fallen Peter!

The Lord Jesus Christ expressed love for the Heavenly Father by unconditional obedience, complete devotion, accurate performance of the will of the Father, by the internal unity with the Father and sincere prayer, which frequently lasted for the entire night. Even in those hours, in which the Father apparently leaves him (on the cross), His love remains invariably faithful, appealing to the Father.

Imitating Christ: The Grace of the Holy Spirit

Following Christ must not be copying of Christ, not the literal reproduction of all His actions; otherwise we must accomplish all the miracles performed by Him. Jesus is our Savior; our task is in using the fruits of salvation under those conditions, in which we are placed to live on the earth. On the word of the apostle, we must possess the same sensations, the same direction of the will that was in Jesus Christ, the same image or modus operandi that was in Him. Although Jesus Christ was the begotten Son of God among people, He expressed in His life and left to us the specific example of the man, which we must imitate and reproduce in ourselves.

The second inaccuracy in the study about the imitation to Christ, characteristic of the rationalists, consists of the statement, that we (as if) can be the true imitators of Jesus Christ and carry out a truly God-pleasing life without being in the internal, spiritual unity with Him and having Him only as an external model. No, the relation between the personality of Christ the Savior and the personalities of the Christians is not as external as it is between the teacher and his students. It cannot be said that the students must only be taught by the teacher, but they should also derive the example for themselves from his life. Meanwhile the Christians, being taught from the words of the Lord and imitating His example, must at the same time derive the completeness of life from His personality, live His life. This requirement is clearly expressed by the Lord Jesus Christ in the words: Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing (John 15:4-5). It is evident from these words that the Lord is not only the teacher and model for us, but also the source of moral life.

The force, which opens to us this exemplary source and helping us to derive from it and to live on the doctrine and model of Jesus Christ, is the Holy Spirit, His Divine Grace. By the grace of God I am what I am, says the apostle (1Cor 15:10). Has there ever existed a true Christian, who would thank himself for his moral Christian state, but not the Lord Jesus Christ, abundantly sending to him grace through the Holy Spirit? Grace is necessary both for the beginning of the Christian life and for its continuation. The apostle says that without grace not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves (2Cor 3:5), and even we know not what we should pray for as we ought (Rom. 8:26). However, in the Holy Scripture all the Christian virtues are called the fruits of grace (love, joy, peace, long-suffering… Gal 5:22-23), whole blameless spirit and soul (1Thess 5:23).

Have not any Christians experienced that the grace of the Holy Spirit was necessary not only for the first floating of the soul to God, but also later, when emptiness and weakness will begin to overwhelm the soul again?


Categories: Biblical Studies

THE EPIPHANY [THEOPHANY] OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST

January 6, 2010 1 comment

When our Lord reached thirty years from His physical birth, He began His teaching and salvific work. He Himself signified this “beginning of the beginning” by His baptism in the Jordan river. St. Cyril of Jerusalem says, ” The beginning of the world – water; the beginning of the Good News – Jordan.” At the time of the baptism of the Lord in water, that mystery was declared to the world: that mystery which was prophesied in the Old Testament; the mystery about which in ancient Egypt and India was only fabled; i.e., the mystery of the Divine Holy Trinity.

The Father was revealed to the sense of hearing; the Spirit was revealed to the sense of sight, and in addition to these, the Son was revealed to the sense of touch. The Father uttered His witness about the Son, the Son was baptized in the water, and the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove hovered above the water.

When John the Baptist witnessed and said about Christ, “Behold, the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world” (St. John 1:29), and when John immersed and baptized the Lord in the Jordan, the mission of Christ in the world and the path of our salvation was shown. That is to say: The Lord took upon Himself the sins of mankind and died under them [immersion] and became alive again [the coming out of the water]; and we must die as the old sinful man and become alive again as cleansed, renewed and regenerated. This is the Savior and this is the path of salvation. The Feast of the Epiphany [Theophany in Greek] is also called the Feast of Illumination.

For us, the event in the Jordan river illuminates, by manifesting to us God as Trinity, consubstantial and undivided. That is one way. And, the second: everyone of us through baptism in water is illumined by this, that we become adopted by the Father of Lights through the merits of the Son and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Categories: Orthodox Feasts

The good samaritan

November 15, 2009 Leave a comment

The Good Samaritan


Christ told this parable in answer to a Judaic lawyer’s question, “Who is my neighbor?” The lawyer knew the Old Testament commandment that instructed one to love one’s neighbor, but he did not act according to this commandment. Wanting to clear himself from fault, he said he did not know who his neighbor was. In response, the Lord gives this parable with the example of the good Samaritan, to explain that one should not care about distinguishing friends from foes, but must make oneself a neighbor to anyone in need.

“A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him. And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbor unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise” (Lk. 10:30-37).

Fearing to help an outsider, a Judean priest and a Levite passed by their brother who was in trouble. But the Samaritan, who did not speculate whether the poor wretched man lying before him was a friend or foe, helped him and saved his life. The Lord’s parable of the Samaritan’s shows that after his initial aid he also took pains to help the sufferer’s future, bearing expenses and taking the trouble to ensure his recovery.

The Lord’s example of the good Samaritan teaches us to love our neighbors actively, not to confine ourselves to good wishes and the empty expressions of compassion. It is not he who sits in the quiet of his home and dreams of extensive benefaction, but he who helps people in deed, sparing neither time, nor effort nor funds, who loves his neighbor. To help your neighbors, you need not make a program of humanitarian activity: great plans do not always come true. Every day our life offers us chances to manifest our love for people: by giving comfort to someone sorrowing, visiting someone sick, helping him to visit a doctor or prepare business documents, giving to the poor, taking part in church actions or charity, giving good advice, preventing a quarrel, and so forth. Many of these things seem insignificant, but over one’s life one may accumulate them for a real spiritual treasure. Good works are like small amounts of money put into a savings account. As the Lord says, in heaven they will make up a treasure, which moths will not corrupt and thieves cannot steal.

In His wisdom, the Lord permits people to live in various material conditions: some in great prosperity, others in need and some even in dearth. Often a man acquires his material welfare by back-breaking labor, persistence, and skills. However, we shall not deny that the economic and social status of a man is often to a great extent determined by favorable, external conditions, beyond his control. Even the most capable and industrious man may be doomed for poverty in an unfavorable environment, while another, a stupid idler, will enjoy the comforts of life because fortune smiles upon him. Such disposition may seem unjust, but only if our life is considered to be merely natural. The conclusion is totally different if we view these things from the perspective of the future life.

In two parables, that of the unjust steward, and that of the rich man and Lazarus, the Lord Jesus Christ reveals the mystery of God’s tolerance for material “injustice.” These two parables demonstrate that God wisely transforms apparent, earthly inequality into a means for gaining salvation: tolerance for the poor and suffering, works of charity for the rich. In the light of these two notable parables we can also see how negligible our worldly agonies and riches are when compared to perpetual bliss or perdition.


About peace between the wolf and the lamb

August 18, 2009 Leave a comment

“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb and the leopard shall lie down with the kid” (Isaiah 11:6).


Thus, the true prophet foretold the truth. And he further added: “The calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; …and the lion shall eat straw like the ox” (Isaiah 11:6-7). And the child will place his hand in the hole of a poisonous snake [asp] and the snake will not harm him. Brethren, when will this wonder occur? This has already occurred when Christ the wonder-worker appeared on earth. This is a reality of Paradise, which was restored among men with the coming of the Savior upon earth. The prophet speaks enigmatically but, nevertheless, clearly; enigmatically, for the prophet does not speak about wild beasts but of men; for his prophecy was clearly fulfilled in Christ’s Church.

Men, who by their habits, were as wolves, wildcats, lions, bears, oxen, lambs, kids and serpents all stand before the Child of Bethlehem equalized by faith, tamed by grace, illumined by hope and softened by love.

The prophet further fortells why this will take place. “For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9). When viewed physically, every man is earth. The man who believes in Christ and, in truth follows after Christ, becomes full of the knowledge of the Lord as the sea, which is filled with water. Such were many individuals. Such were even entire companies of ascetics in Egypt, on the Holy Mountain [Athos], on Cyprus, in Russia, in Armenia and in other places. But this is not all. The knowledge of the Lord has spread today throughout the earth. Holy Scripture is distributed throughout all nations. There are few corners of the earth where the Gospel of Christ is not read, where the name of God is not known and where the Bloodless Sacrifice of the Lord is not offered. Some deny Christ, others embrace Him, some abandon the true Faith and others embrace the true Faith. And thus continues the one struggle throughout the entire world in the sign of the Lord Jesus. The overly filled waters pour out and flow into empty valleys; the empty valleys become filled and are made equal with the high waters. Everything is not glowing in the world as we Christians wish it to be, but the prophecy of the Prophet Isaiah was gloriously fulfilled most clearly and was accomplished. O how wonderful is the vision of Isaiah, the son of Amos, the true prophet. O, miracle-working Lord, tame the beastly nature of those men and people who are not tamed by the power of Your love. That we all may be fruitful from Your abundance. That we all may be glorious from Your Glory and alive Lord, alive from Your Immortal life.

To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.

Categories: Biblical Studies

The Holy Napkin

August 16, 2009 Leave a comment

Troparion (Tone 2)

We worship Thine immaculate icon, O Good One, asking the forgiveness of our failings, O Christ our God; for of Thine own will wast Thou well-pleased to ascend the Cross in the flesh, that Thou mightest deliver from slavery to the enemy those whom Thou hadst fashioned. Wherefore, we cry to Thee thankfully: Thou didst fill all things with joy, O our Saviour, when Thou camest to save the world.

The Transfer from Edessa to Constantinople of the Icon of our Lord Jesus Christ Not-Made-by-Hands occurred in the year 944. Eusebius, in his HISTORY OF THE CHURCH (I:13), relates that when the Savior was preaching, Abgar ruled in Edessa. He was stricken all over his body with leprosy. Reports of the great miracles worked by the Lord spread throughout Syria (Mt.4:24) and reached even Abgar. Without having seen the Savior, Abgar believed in Him as the Son of God. He wrote a letter requesting Him to come and heal him. He sent with this letter to Palestine his own portrait-painter Ananias, and commissioned him to paint a likeness of the Divine Teacher.

Ananias arrived in Jerusalem and saw the Lord surrounded by people. He was not able to get close to Him because of the large throng of people listening to the preaching of the Savior. Then he stood on a high rock and attempted to paint the portrait of the Lord Jesus Christ from afar, but this effort was not successful. The Savior saw him, called to him by name and gave him a short letter for Abgar in which He praised the faith of this ruler. He also promised to send His disciple to heal him of his leprosy and guide him to salvation.

Then the Lord asked that water and a cloth be brought to Him. He washed His Face, drying it with the cloth, and His Divine Countenance was imprinted upon it. Ananias took the cloth and the letter of the Savior to Edessa. Reverently, Abgar pressed the holy object to his face and he received partial healing. Only a small trace of the terrible affliction remained until the arrival of the disciple promised by the Lord. He was St Thaddeus, Apostle of the Seventy (August 21), who preached the Gospel and baptized Abgar and all the people of Edessa. Abgar put the Holy Napkin in a gold frame adorned with pearls, and placed it in a niche over the city gates. On the gateway above the icon he inscribed the words, “O Christ God, let no one who hopes on Thee be put to shame.”

For many years the inhabitants kept a pious custom to bow down before the Icon Not-Made-by-Hands, when they went forth from the gates. But one of the great-grandsons of Abgar, who later ruled Edessa, fell into idolatry. He decided to take down the icon from the city wall. In a vision the Lord ordered the Bishop of Edessa to hide His icon. The bishop, coming by night with his clergy, lit a lampada before it and walled it up with a board and with bricks.

Many years passed, and the people forgot about it. But in the year 545, when the Persian emperor Chozroes I besieged Edessa and the position of the city seemed hopeless, the Most Holy Theotokos appeared to Bishop Eulabius and ordered him to remove the icon from the sealed niche, and it would save the city from the enemy. Having opened the niche, the bishop found the Icon Not-Made-by-Hands: in front of it was burning the lampada, and upon the board closing in the niche, a copy of the icon was reproduced. After a church procession with the Icon Not-Made-by-Hands had made the circuit of the city walls, the Persian army withdrew.

In the year 630 Arabs seized Edessa, but they did not hinder the veneration of the Holy Napkin, the fame of which had spread throughout all the East. In the year 944, the emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitos (912-959) wanted to transfer the icon to the Constantinople, and he paid a ransom for it to the emir of the city. With great reverence the Icon of the Savior Not-Made-by-Hands and the letter which He had written to Abgar, were brought to Constantinople by clergy.

On August 16, the icon of the Savior was placed in the Tharossa church of the Most Holy Theotokos. There are several traditions concerning what happened later to the Icon Not-Made-by-Hands. According to one, crusaders ran off with it duringtheir rule at Constantinople (1204-1261), but the ship on which the sacred object was taken, perished in the waters of the Sea of Marmora.

According to another tradition, the Icon Not-Made-by-Hands was transported around 1362 to Genoa, where it is preserved in a monastery in honor of the Apostle Bartholomew. It is known that the Icon Not-Made-by-Hands repeatedly gave from itself exact imprints. One of these, named “On Ceramic,” was imprinted when Ananias hid the icon in a wall on his way to Edessa; another, imprinted on a cloak, wound up in Georgia. Possibly, the variance of traditions about the original Icon Not-Made-by-Hands derives from the existence of several exact imprints.

During the time of the Iconoclast heresy, those who defended the veneration of icons, having their blood spilt for holy icons, sang the Troparion to the Icon Not-Made-by-Hands. In proof of the validity of Icon-Veneration, Pope Gregory II (715-731) sent a letter to the Byzantine emperor, in which he pointed out the healing of King Abgar and the sojourn of the Icon Not-Made-by-Hands at Edessa as a commonly known fact. The Icon Not-Made-by-Hands was put on the standards of the Russian army, defending them from the enemy. In the Russian Orthodox Church it is a pious custom for a believer, before entering the temple, to read the Troparion of the Not-Made-by-Hand icon of the Savior, together with other prayers.

According to the Prologue, there are four known Icons of the Savior Not-Made-by-Hands:

  • in the time of Emperor Tiberius (578-582), St Mary Syncletike (August 11) received healing from this on ceramic tiles (16 August)
  • at Edessa, of King Abgar (August 16)
  • the Kamulian, — St Gregory of Nyssa (January 10) wrote of its discovery, while according to St Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain (July 14), the Kamulian icon appeared in the year 392, but it had in appearance an icon of the Mother of God (August 9)

The Feast of the Transfer of the Icon Not-Made-by-Hands, made together with the Afterfeast of the Dormition, they call the third-above Savior Icon, the “Savior on Linen Cloth.”

Categories: Art and Architecture

The Salvation of the Heterodox and those of Other Faiths

August 16, 2009 1 comment

There are many people who ask themselves: “OK, we Christians have our faith -the true faith; we have our Church, we have our Lord’s Revelation, we are already inside the channel leading to salvation, towards the Kingdom of Heaven – PROVIDED of course that we are appropriately careful during our lifetime.

But what about all those people who belong to other faiths? What happens to Buddhists? What happens to Muslims? (Not to mention the other, Christian Confessions). But, let’s tackle the other religions for now: don’t those people go to Heaven?  What kind of judgment does God have in store for them? Are we the only ones that will be judged and accordingly be either “promoted” –so to speak- or ……”left out”? What happens to the others? Is there no salvation for them?

The answer is:  of course salvation can exist for them.  The status of this matter is as follows:  Someone who has become acquainted with Christianity and has been baptized will be judged on the law of the Gospel, the Law of Grace.  But someone living –for example- in Madagascar, Sumatra or Borneo, South America, the North Pole, wherever the Gospel has not been preached, will be judged according to the clarification cited by the Apostle Paul in his Epistle to Romans; that is, he will be judged on the basis of the law of his conscience:  “..when the gentiles (=all those who do not have a written, moral code) instinctively uphold the stipulations of the law, to them –albeit having no written law- the law shall be their own self. They prove that they have the enforcement of the law written in their hearts”. (Romans 2: 14-15)

God has placed inside every single person, without exception, wherever they may be found on this earth, that unbiased tribunal – the inherent ethical law – based on which they will be judged. If they lived faithful to that innate moral code, they shall enter Paradise; if they don’t, they will not qualify to enter.

Of course there will be – according to the words in Corinthians I, 15:41 “a star differs to another star, in its glory” – a gradation in Paradise, just as there will be in Hell.  People of other faiths will, because of their good deeds during their lifetime, enter Paradise, but they will not enjoy the same pleasures that, say, Apostle Paul or Saint Makarios will enjoy there.

Some may think: “Isn’t that being “unfair” to those people?  No, it isn’t, because they will also be judged more leniently. Christianity is very strict, with the rules that it contains. To briefly deviate from the subject, we could underline that evidence of Christianity’s truth is also the multitude of its faithful. When seeking to attract followers, one doesn’t project negative aspects. On the contrary, the prospective followers are promised all sorts of benefits and conveniences; they are flattered and they are pampered. In the case of Christianity, however, Christ had stresses to His disciples that “You shall suffer tribulations in the world” (John 16: 33) and “If they persecuted me, they shall also persecute you” (John 15: 20); and many more such ‘promises’, which are totally deterrent if used to attract followers. But, when Christianity ‘promises’ such harsh conditions, and yet it attracts people to it, it only proves that Christianity is the truth.

Getting back to our subject, on the matter of other, non-Christian believers.  A Christian is not as ‘lucky’ a follower, given that Christ demands much more from Christians!  They will go to an even more INFERIOR place than the non-Christians, if they do not enforce those things that Christ requires of them.  The non-Christians will NOT be judged in accordance with the Gospel, but more leniently.

See the difference here:  A man who will be judged according to the innate moral law, will be held accountable to God, only for –let’s say-the actual act of adultery that he had committed. But a Christian will be judged much more severely: even for his one, single, lustful glance, for example. He will be judged “in his words, in his acts and in his thoughts”. The benefits may be more for a Christian, but the criteria will be more austere and his path will be far more difficult to walk.  Everything is fair.  God is meticulously just.  As father Paisios of the Holy Mountain had said, “God doesn’t have even two identical scales; He weighs every single person on separate, personal scales”. Depending on where the person is born, what kind of environment he was brought up in, the kinds of parents, the school, the country, the religion, the peculiarities of every single person. God makes no mistakes.

The late Christos Androutsos, professor of Dogmatics, used to say that Orthodoxy is the only sure path for salvation. It is not the only path for salvation, but it is the only safe road.

Fr.Joel Yannakopoulos gives us a visual example, in order to comprehend the words of Androutsos.  He says:  During the war, there was a safe path that joined the town of Kalamata to Athens: it was the one used by the armored convoy.  Of course there were other paths, which were used by people moving between the two cities, but they weren’t safe paths. This is exactly how things are with the Orthodox Church and the heterodox and other non-Christians.

We have to stress however, that if someone is baptized an Orthodox and then becomes a heretic, or, even worse, an infidel, that person will never be saved by remaining in that new faith, no matter how many good deeds he may perform.  There is a distinct difference between being a Buddhist or a Muslim and not knowing Christ, and a totally different thing to deny Christ for the sake of Buddha or Shiva or Allah.

So much for the salvation of others.  What is of chief concern is OUR OWN salvation.  The question “What about him?” that Peter asked, regarding John the Evangelist (John 21:21) – in other words, “What will become of him?” – was a “show of compassion”; it was an external display of his caring for John.  We, however, take This expression and use it simply informatively i.e.: “What will become with the heterodox or the non-Christians?”, without concerning ourselves with our own salvation!  Therefore, the proper thing to do is to attend to the salvation of our own soul, and at the same time show an interest in the salvation of other people who have entered the Orthodox Church (of their own free will), and not merely wonder in our minds what will become of them.


Source:  Fr. John Kostov: “Faith and Logic”, A publication by Manolis Melinos, Athens 2002, pg. 19-23

Categories: Spirituality