Bishop Gregory (hgr) wrote,
Bishop Gregory

финал политического мемуара (начало см. неск. недель назад)

сегодня встретил на стогнах Китайца. он рассказал:
регистрировать его в 1987 г. отказались потому, что "группу Спасения" не посчитали за "общественную организацию" (а он выдвигался именно от нее). формально ее мог бы подменить какой-то молодежный центр, при котором она была создана в 1986 г., но тамошние комсомольские начальники, понятно, спужались.
PS А вот, для сравнения, проповедь нашего епископа в Америке (Григория Абу-Ассаля) на тот же день, что моя вчерашняя. Он проповедует сразу на Апостол и Евангелие и рассылает свои тексты по англоязычному листу рассылки нашей церкви. У него поменьше, чем у меня, всякой схоластики... Вот текст:
SUNDAY OF THE TWENTY-NINTH WEEK (имеется в виду счет недель от Пятидесятницы; по этому счету располагаются богослужебные чтения из Апостола и Евангелия на каждый день)

The Reading is from the Epistle of Saint Paul to the Colossians [§ 257]. Brethren:

3 4Whenever the Christ, Who is your life, should be made manifest, then also ye shall be made manifest with Him in glory.

5Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6On account of which things cometh the wrath of God upon the sons of disobedience, 7among whom ye also walked once, when ye used to live in them. 8But now ye also put off from yourselves all these things: wrath, anger, malice, blasphemy, foul language out of your mouth. 9Cease lying to one another, since ye have put off the old man with his practises, 10and have put on the new that is being renewed toward full knowledge according to the image of the One Who created him, 11where there is no Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free, but Christ is all things and in all.


The Reading is from the Holy Gospel according to Saint Luke [§ 85]. At that time:

17 12As Jesus entered into a certain village, there met Him ten leprous men, who stood afar off. 13And they lifted up their voice, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” 14And having seen them, He said to them, “Go and show forth yourselves to the priests.” And it came to pass, as they went, they were cleansed. 15And one of them, having seen that he was healed, returned, glorifying God with a loud voice. 16And he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him; and he was a Samaritan. 17And Jesus answering said, “The ten were cleansed, were they not? But where are the nine? 18“Were there not found any returning to give glory to God, except this one of another race?” 19And He said to him, “Arise and go thy way; thy faith hath made thee well.”

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Today, we heard the Holy Gospel for the Twelfth Sunday of St. Luke. This is the very beautiful passage about how Christ healed ten lepers who begged Him for mercy. Nine went forth without giving thanks to God; only one remained behind to properly give thanks to our Saviour.

Saint Bede has many good things to say about this gospel lesson. I am combining some of the endnotes from the ONT for you, and then I will comment further on this.

Saint Bede: “They may well be described as lepers who, while having no true knowledge of the faith, profess a variety of heretical teachings. For such people do not hide their ignorance, but proclaim it as the height of learning....Such persons are to be excluded from the Church so that, if it is possible, placed afar off, they may cry out to Jesus. And rightly if they are to be saved do they call Jesus their Master. We find that none of those to whom the Lord gave bodily favors were sent to the priests, save lepers [cf. Lev. 14:2]. For the priesthood of the Jews was a figure of the royal priesthood to come, which is in the Church, and in which all are consecrated who belong to the body of Christ, the true and supreme High Priest. And whosoever by the grace of God is without any trace of heretical falsity, or pagan superstition, or Jewish lack of faith, or of even fraternal schism, let him, free of diversity of color or spot [Lev. 13:49, 56], come to the Church. This one who went back giving glory to God is a figure of the one Church, in devout humility before Christ.” [Exposition of Luke, V. c.17, P.L.. 92 (col. 542), in Toal IV:83-85.]

We have been given the Faith of the true Christians, as well as all of the benefits and gifts that are given to us as Christians at holy Baptism. Most of the people in the world do not receive these gifts. They do not even know or understand what they are missing out on. Others come to the Faith, receive these gifts, and like the nine lepers, turn their backs on our Saviour, not truly appreciating Him or the gifts He bestowed upon them. We should not be like either. We should follow the example of the one leper who remained behind, and rightly gave thanks to God, glorifying Him.

I do not know anyone who has come to us to receive holy Baptism, who did not come out of the font as profoundly changed as a leper who was cleansed. Indeed, were we not all like lepers when we entered the font? Did we not come out renewed and cleansed beyond our furthest imagination? Could any of us have comprehended the change that would come upon us? So let us glorify God, and thank our merciful Saviour for the great gifts that He has given us, the greatest of which is life – true life in the Church.

In the holy Epistle of St. Paul that we heard today, it starts by saying, “Whenever the Christ, Who is your life, should be made manifest, then also ye shall be made manifest with Him in glory.” And it ends by saying, “…there is no Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free, but Christ is all things and in all.”

If we pass through this life not realizing a fundamental truth, as St. Paul said, that Christ is our life, we will be the saddest of all creatures. Yes, we are the most noble of all creatures, but your nobility is in that we are made in the image and likeness God, Christ. If we do not realize that He is our life, we will be most pitiable creatures. St. Paul says it again at the end of this Epistle, “there is no Greek and Jew,…but Christ is all things and in all.”

I remember reading so many verses of St. John of Kronstadt from his wonderful diary, My Life in Christ, where he says something similar to, “Oh Christ, my life, my breath, my joy, my refuge, my consolation, my helper, my defender, my salvation, etc., etc.” And it is just like St. Paul says, “Christ is all things and in all.” I believe that even people who are not part of the Church, yet call upon Christ, have some kind of consolation, whereas those who completely reject their life, Christ, are completely bereft of any true consolation, or peace, or joy.

We were reading this past week in the trapeza the account of Olga Moss’ experience as a prisoner of the Japanese during most of World War II. Olga is a member of our ROAC parish in England. She, along with her mother and sister, were held in prison, and in prison camps with three thousand women and children because they were white. Among all these people, she only knew of two that were atheists. The others were a gamut of all other denominations and beliefs, including Russian Orthodox, as herself.

One atheist was an American tourist who just happened to be in Java when the Japanese invaded. She was imprisoned with all the rest of the whites. Her attitude was that she did not care about anybody except herself. She did not even have any concern for the little children that were locked up with them. Her selfishness was unbelievable. She did not concern herself about her fellow inmates, and she was only occupied with herself all day long. They were suffering horribly in this prison. She could not endure the hardships, and died in the prison within two weeks, whereas others who were believers of at least some kind, endured apparently four years of unbearable hardships.

The other atheist went raving mad within three weeks and used to grip the bars of her cell, trying to break them. She mocked the faith of the other women, who believed in God, and even blasphemed God. She was driving herself and everybody else crazy. She could not endure in any possible way, the imitation of Christ, Who endured injustice, and she would taunt the other inmates by saying that if there was a God, He wouldn’t allow such injustice and humanity such as they were suffering. Finally, the Japanese decided to lock her up in a mental asylum. When the wardens came to take her away, she resisted with supernatural strength. Her strength was so great that everyone was completely amazed. Everybody was eating three spoonfuls of rice a day, with salt, for three weeks, and were very weak; yet this woman put up such a struggle (probably demonic), exhibiting no weakness. It took many wardens to drag her away. She probably ended her life with crazy, demonized people like herself, and to whom the Japanese paid very little care.

Going back to the gospel lesson today, I would just like to share with you another comment Olga made about her experience in the Japanese prisons. She stated that those who were atheists perished quickly, suffering miserably. Those who were agnostics were forced, for the first time in their life, to seriously question if God exists, and what kind of God He is. Those who turned to God with faith faired the best. We all have crosses to bear, and Olga makes a distinction about how we bear our cross. We must not only bear them patiently, but also joyfully, glorifying God for all things. Here are a few excerpts from Olga Moss reflecting on her experiences as a prisoner of the Japanese during World War II:


The fool says in his heart: "There is no God", but those of us who have come to our senses, re-think the priorities and values of our life and repent. We should in that case become like the man who has found the Priceless Pearl and for whom nothing else matters anymore than to sell everything so as to obtain this Priceless Pearl, God's grace.

We have to learn the example of Job, who praised God in all the circumstances of his life. Job praised God not only for all the blessings that came his way. When evil befell him he also praised God Who allowed these things to happen in his life. And he said: "Should I receive only the good things from God and not the evil things, if God so chooses to send them to me?"

We men, having been given freewill by the Creator, have made a mess of the world and our relationships with each other because of our loss of God. If we return to God and beseech Him for help, then a deep, joyful peace enters our being, for God is good and the way He will choose to deal with this evil world of ours will be in accordance with His Wisdom and Love. But at the same time we must remember His words: "My thoughts are not your thoughts, and My ways are not your ways..."

I learned in the camps that all the sufferings we endured there - hunger, fear, illness, death, etc. - we share with the rest of humanity because of our common loss of God. However, these "crosses" can be endured in three ways. Either we grumble and complain about them. Or we can endure them without grumbling, but without bringing Christ into our suffering, without thanking Him for them. Or we can accept them as from the hands of God, with thanksgiving. Only the last is truly "taking up one's cross and following Christ". Only the patient endurance of suffering for Christ's sake can be compared to the voluntary suffering of persecution for the sake of truth and righteousness. Only such suffering attracts the grace of God. <<<<<

Likewise, we need to give thanks to God for all things, pleasant and unpleasant, which come upon us. When Christ blesses us with something pleasant, we should be like the leper who remained behind and gave thanks to God, as is meet and right. Likewise, when Christ allows suffering to befall us, we should, like Pr. Job (and Olga Moss), also give thanks to God. These sufferings are always for our benefit, to work out our salvation.

We should not be like the nine lepers, who received benefit – great benefit – from God, and then turned their back on Him, not glorifying and giving thanks to Him. When we do this, we bring destruction upon our souls. It is not right to do this. To glorify God in all things, and to give of ourselves to serve the Church and those around us, is how we should be.

Saint Kyril says: “The nine then, as being Jews, falling into a thankless forgetfulness, did not return to give glory to God, by which He shows that Israel was hard of heart, and utterly unthankful. The stranger, being a Samaritan, who was of a foreign race, having been brought thither from Assyria, was not ungrateful.” [Hom. 116, Commentary, Ch. 17, 466.]

So we see that one of the great characteristics of a Christian is a thankfulness. This should be said always in our private prayers to God. We should thank our Saviour for all that we have. Complaining is the opposite, and as you may suspect, is not a Christian virtue. In fact, it’s more like a Jewish characteristic. They were always complaining against God, and even fighting against Him. The holy Prophet Jacob, wrestling with the angel (Christ), the fathers say, was a prefigurement of his seed, the Jews, who would always be contending with God.

So let us, as grateful Orthodox Christians, show our gratitude by offering thanksgiving for all of the blessing we have received, unworthy though we be.

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