Friday, May 08, 2009

The Stigma Of Depression

It is Orthodox that we are in bodies suffering from the fall of man. Sin and disease are the result. Our bodies, through environment and genetics lack what they need and some have more need than others. Cancer is an imbalance in an individual's system that allows the cells to mutate. Balance the system and the cancer goes away. Depression is an imbalance in the system. Balance the system and the depression goes away. Why does one have a stigma and not the other? Depression is a symptom and cannot be seen under a microscope as can cancer. Causes of depression vary with each host- same as cancer. Cures vary with each host-same as cancer. Unfortunately, psychologists have cornered the market on the treatment of depression as a behavior anomaly. The cure is to treat the needs of the body. Psychotropic drugs are not a cure and mask the symptoms. They are of great value in that they allow a person to cope through what can be desperate episodes, but left as a single treatment, the sufferer may never be fully healthy. A person with a propensity toward depression will always have to be on guard. His lifestyle, eating, rest periods, supplements will have to be specific to his needs. It is not a mystery nor a secret that depression is fully curable. A medical doctor needs to be educated. They will not routinely look for the causes such as vitamin deficiencies, kidney malfunction, both related to the body's ability to filter nutrients. Doctors such as Asa Andrews have a holistic approach to life and health from this perspective. Getting on his lifestyle system may change your life. You can enter a time of your life where there are NO episodes and no credit given to anti-depressants. That in effect is a cure. Please forgive if I presume to know too much. I am a living example of everything I just described. For those who would stigmatize the sufferer of depression-would you tell a cancer patient to "snap out of it" or to "have more faith"?

These Mortal Bodies

At first glance it seems encouraging that God has made we humans "a little lower than the angels". Combined with the promise that one day our "little lower" rank will be elevated above the angels is cause for hope. But these mortal bodies do fail us and cause us pain. We are always grateful for the years that God has given us whether our change from mortal to immortal bodies comes in our youth or waits until our old age. I ask all JTO readers to offer at least one prayer for the health and welfare of my earthy father, who at 81 years of age is now faced with a degenerative spine condition. He, much like his father before him, would never willingly stop serving the Lord and being physically active to bring all that will into the Kingdom. He is stubborn to the point of defusing any talk of His condition, which includes extreme pain and the eventual inability to be mobile, to the fact that Creator God knows all about it and will take care of him. Reverend Bill H. Lewis cannot defuse our prayers for him, however, and since I am certain this lifelong Baptist Pastor doesn't read my Orthodox Blog, perhaps I will escape his rebuke for my public request on his behalf.

Christ Is Risen!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Statement of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church

We – the Bishops, clergy and laity of the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church, feel compelled to call as much attention as possible to the following statement.

At the present time, the enemies of Orthodoxy – the Moscow Patriarchate, together with its subservient bureaucrats in the Russian Government – are doing everything possible to completely destroy the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church.

This persecution of the Russian Orthodox Church has been going on since the very beginning of our open existence.

During the 1990’s, across Russia, the authorities sought to physically repress any attempt of the faithful who had freed themselves from the pro-Communist and Sergianist Moscow Patriarchate to obtain for their religious needs even a small number of the buildings that had historically been Orthodox churches and had survived the Communist period, in the sole place in Russia where the Russian Orthodox Church was able to organize itself in freedom from lies, betrayals, and heresy – the small city of Suzdal. These authorities illegally took churches away from us, refused to allow us to incorporate our dioceses and parishes, beat our clergy and parishioners up, and slandered us in the press and over the airwaves.

Then, an attempt was made to destroy our Church morally, by slandering and trying our First Hierarch in court. Since there was nothing with which to accuse us, they began to broadcast lies and slander through the mass media to make people who would believe such accusations turn away from our Church. This attempt had some partial success, but our Church remained.

Now, the Vladimir Office of Rossimushchestvo (Russian Federal Property Office), and those who stand behind it, have decided to use the courts to take our churches in Suzdal away from us, in order to deprive us of the possibility of preaching and holding Divine Services in public.

At one time, in the beginning of the 1990’s, when the Communist Party and its stranglehold on power in our country came to an end, the churches began to be returned to people of faith – those who had survived the Soviet meat-grinder; the descendants of those who had built these churches, in the first place. We received all of these churches in accordance with the law, and most of them were in deplorable condition when we received them. And now, after our parishioners have invested so much of their time and money into bringing them into proper shape and embellishing them, the bureaucrats have decided to sue them away from us so that they can give them to the Moscow Patriarchate and use them for their own common purposes.

Our communities of faithful believers are the only lawful proprietors of these buildings, to whom the government had simply returned that which had previously been taken away from them by force – their own inheritance that had been stolen away from them by the Bolsheviks. The faithful were the ones who received them back, they are the ones who restored them, they are the ones who preserved them for the government, and they are the ones who use these churches and maintain them in proper manner. These facts should have been the deciding factor in the courts of the legality of our using these churches. But instead of handing down a fair decision and leaving these churches with the faithful, the courts trampled upon their civil rights, as well as their religious sensibilities, and the Constitution of their own government. Could this happen anywhere else in the world but in Russia?

What this means is that the time has not come to an end in Russia when the authorities, like thieves, acting in opposition to their own people, can appropriate for themselves all of the Orthodox churches they want, deciding the fate of our holy things in accordance with their own whims, can make a mockery out of the religious feelings of people of faith, and dispose of anyone that they don’t happen to like. Now, we are witnesses to a repetition of the past. The tyranny of the bureaucrats continues on who, in the name of government, lord it over the people, and decide the fate of the inheritance that the nation has received from its ancestors. Instead of preserving the nation, instead of preserving our Faith, instead of preserving the government, instead of safeguarding the people, the authorities, in order to please the modern-day Pharisees of the “official church,” exile Orthodox Christians who are guilty of doing nothing wrong, and annihilate the last shreds of religious liberty.

However, their war is not with us. Their war is with Almighty God, Who will quickly repay His enemies for their evil deeds.

Together with the Prophet and King David, our response is, “Our God is refuge and strength, a helper in afflictions which mightily befall us” (Psalm 45:1). Let our oppressors prosper in their luxuries and power. Let them rejoice in their high-sounding titles. Let them “devour widows’ houses” (Matt. 23:14), let them amass their comforts in the bosom of the bureaucracy. We, however, will follow the path of the New Martyrs of Russia – the straight and narrow path of Christ.

We know that very soon, in the churches that belong to us, we shall see the bailiffs of the courts and the militia (OMON), which will beat us up and chase our clergy and people out of their churches. In a word, we shall see the repetition of the same things that took place in our unfortunate country during the horrendous years of the 1920’s and the 1930’s.

In conclusion, we wish to say, not to the district attorneys and judges, but to those people who are standing in the wings behind them and directing this repression against us: We understand that you do not believe in God, but why do you have no fear of bringing yet more shame upon your country?

President of the Synod of Bishops Metropolitan Valentine of Suzdal and Vladimir.

Members of the Synod of Bishops:

Archbishop Theodore,

Archbishop Seraphim,

Archbishop Viktor,

Archbishop Hilarion,

Bishop Timothy,

Bishop Irinarkh,

Bishop Andrew,

Bishop Yakov.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Bishops say "NO" to Antiochian Synod and Metroplitan Philip's Power Grab

Bishop Basil of The Diocese Wichita and Mid-America and Bishop Mark of the Diocese of Toledo and the Mid West have refused to sign a document "Affirming Obedience" to the decision of the Holy Synod of Antioch and Metropolitan Philip that demotes the Bishops to the status of Auxiliary. The document entitled:


The decision, made without consulting the Bishops, raised questions including the
canonicity, the legality and the underlying motives of such a sweeping decision. Another Bishop, Alexander of the Diocese of Ottowa Eastern Canada and Upstate New York, also did not sign the document but instead, wrote a note on the signature line saying "this decision is not in effect and does not need my signature." Only three of the six Bishops signed the document, virtually dividing the consensus in half.

Antiochian churches across North America and especially those in the diocese of the resisting bishops now wait to see what the ramifications of such a refusal to sign will have. A few churches have already met on the parish level to discuss the issues involving the possible departure of the Bishops from he Antiochian jurisdiction under Metropolitan Philip or the possibility that Metropolitan Philip and the Antiochian See will recognize the strong opposition to their recent action, not only from the bishops but from clergy and laymen alike.

Many of we who are converts are struck by the blatant papist elements of such an edict that seems to usurp the consensus/synod elements of the faith giving the power of decision to one man in a region. It is not uncommon for one man to have authority over a region, however, what is uncommon is for a region which already has Bishops in place to remove or demote those bishops who have committed no infraction and are in total compliance with the Self Ruling documents already in place. It seems to
JTO that the reasons for the demotion of these good men lies in who refused to sign and why. Why would two of the most respected and revered bishops in the entire diocese so openly resist? We can only hope that this information would come from their mouths and very soon.

The official statement from Metropolitan Philip as to why this action was taken is still cryptic and couched in platitudes. The fact of the matter is, he attempted to
enforce an independent decision. Half of his bishops refused to sign on to it and the parishioners have rejected it. While it is true that,"Where the bishop is there is the church", it is also true that if you lose the people there is no need for a bishop. Unless you are a papist.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

The Bolsheviks Are Back

Author Unknown...

For us who witnessed the fall of the Soviet Union and the demise of the Communist dictatorship 20 years ago, it was impossible to believe then that the atheist establishment that fell with such a bang would have been back in business in such a short time. Unfortunately we are re-living the times of 1917 when the Godless regime attempted to drown and extinguish Orthodoxy. Ninety years later after committing unspeakable crimes against the True Orthodox Church of Russia, a new wave of persecution has been unleashed, camouflaged under the cloak of law enforcement by a pseudo-democratic state.

It appears now as if nothing has changed: The state is still trying to suppress and choke off True Orthodoxy, the MP is a cheerleader of the Godless regime (
Sergianism in full bloom) and the True Orthodox are once again running for the Catacombs. It is dejavou all over again with two notable exceptions:
* This time the government is pretending to be a democracy enforcing equitable laws and treating everyone equally and
* the MP is an instigator of much of the suffering inflicted on fellow Orthodox if one can ever accept that the MP is Orthodox.

The collusion of MP and the government is clear against those whose only crime is that they are not followers of the government-approved faith. It is inconceivable that in the 21 century, in a country that calls itself Orthodox, the government is seizing and closing Churches and persecuting its citizens merely because they do not follow the faith approved by the government. It is difficult to believe that the True Orthodox of Russia have to revert to asking for help from western heretics to defend them from their fellow "Orthodox". It is difficult to believe that protestants and catholics and Pentecostals are treated as fellow Christians and the True Orthodox are treated as if they are non-believers (as is the case of the Constantinople Patriarchate in its attempt to muzzle the
Esphigmenou Monastery and the Traditional movement in general).

I have spent some time in the Middle East where churches were not allowed to place a cross on their buildings but the reason of course is that Christianity is not an accepted religion in Muslim countries. Russia these days resembles a Muslim country when it comes to the Churches of
ROAC: ROAC has not been allowed to place a cross or cuppalas on the two churches that have been built in Moscow by private donations and private efforts on private land. Is the present government in Russia of the same mindset? You decide for yourself. If you do not believe what you are reading and find these facts incredible, then please open your eyes and beware of the creeping reality because as they say back in the old country "today it is my neighbors feast but it is also the eve of my celebration". Today it is ROAC in the crosshairs of the neo-soviets. Without a doubt the other Traditional Churches will not escape such treatment when the MP and the government masters find it opportune to smash the competition and silence their voices.