Saturday, September 11, 2021

Blessed Father Seraphim Rose - Special 2021 Update

September 2 is the anniversary of the repose of Hieromonk Seraphim (Rose) of Platina, who died on that day in 1982, making this the 39th anniversary of his repose.

See our Special Resource Page on Fr. Seraphim Rose, newly updated for 2021.


This year, September 2 approached with uncertainty and apprehension, as wildfires in northern California forced the evacuation of St Herman of Alaska Monastery in Platina and St Xenia Skete for women in Wildwood (also co-founded by Father Seraphim). Though the nuns were able to return to their skete fairly quickly, the monks had to wait at St John's Monastery in Manton as the flames threatened their beloved and historic monastery. Updates and prayer requests were shared via social media as the flames drew ever nearer to Platina. 



A firetruck parked outside the monastery gate at St Herman of Alaska in Platina CA

Thanks to the protection of the Mother of God, the prayers of the saints, and the tireless and creative labors of the firemen (who established a controlled burn area to protect the monastery), the fires were finally stopped a scant 100 yards from St Herman of Alaska Monastery, and the Platina fathers were able to return to celebrate both the Feast of the Dormition, as well as the anniversary of Blessed Father Seraphim's repose a few days later.

In thanksgiving for the deliverance of St Herman's Monastery and St Xenia Skete,  I have posted some new resources and links on our Father Seraphim Rose Resource Page, so be sure to explore that, newly updated for 2021, and with extensive materials, articles, videos and more dating back many years.

Below are a couple of photos and link to a major story on the deliverance of Platina at OrthoChristian.com.

For those who do not know and have perhaps never been to Platina, the outdoor altar on which the Divine Liturgy is being celebrated is actually the canopy over Blessed Hieromonk Seraphim's grave. This outdoor, open-air altar has been improved and beautified in recent years, and is open for pilgrims to venerate Blessed Father Seraphim and seek his intercessions year round.


ST. HERMAN’S BROTHERHOOD RETURNS FROM EVACUATION IN TIME FOR DORMITION AND ANNIVERSARY OF FR. SERAPHIM (ROSE)

Platina, California, September 6, 2021

OrthoChristian.com  |  Photos by Fr. Thaddeus Hardenbrook

Bp. James of Sonora serves the Divine Liturgy for the anniversary of the repose of Fr. Seraphim (Rose) with Abbot Daamscene (right) and Hieromonk Paisy (left).


After remaining in evacuation for more than a week due to the wildfires in northern California, the monks of St. Herman of Alaska Monastery in Platina were able to return home in time for the feast of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos, and for the anniversary of the repose of the brotherhood’s co-founder Blessed Hieromonk Seraphim (Rose).

The monks were forced to evacuate on August 16, with the majority of the brotherhood staying at the Monastery of St. John of San Francisco in Manton.

The associated St. Xenia Skete in nearby Wildwood was already evacuated earlier in August, though it suffered no damage and the sisters had already returned.

Fr. Paisy reads the Gospel during the Divine Liturgy.

Fr. Seraphim is beloved and revered throughout the Orthodox world.

The Liturgy in honor of Fr. Seraphim was celebrated by His Grace Bishop James of Sonora (Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia), who knew Fr. Seraphim personally. Vladyka and the brotherhood were also joined by visiting clergy and pilgrims.

A message on the monastery website reads simply: “Glory to God and His Most Pure Mother for protecting the monastery! Thank you, firefighters! Thank you for your prayers.”


Read the full article with additional links and related posts here...


Saturday, April 10, 2021

The Six-Thousand Martyrs of Georgia (†1615)

On April 10 we commemorate two large groups of Georgian Orthodox martyrs under the sword of Islam: the Six-Thousand (†1615) recounted below, and the Martyrs of the Kvabtakhevi Monastery, who were burned alive by their Muslim tormentors in 1386.

Better known are the 100,000 Holy Martyrs of Tbilisi in 1227, who refused to deny Christ and were beheaded, thus receiving their heavenly crowns.


The Six-Thousand Martyrs of Georgia (†1615)

From The Prologue of Ochrid for April 10




In the wilderness of David-Garejeli in Georgia, there were twelve monasteries in which many monks practiced and lived the ascetical life for centuries. 

In 1615 A.D., the great king of Persia, Shah Abbas I, attacked Georgia, devasted it and beheaded many Christians. Once while hunting early in the morning on the Feast of the Resurrection, Shah Abbas noticed many lights in the mountains. They were the monks from the twelve monasteries in procession around the Church of the Resurrection with lighted tapers in hand. When the Shah discovered that they were monks, he asked in amazement: "Has not all of Georgia been given over to the sword?" He then ordered his solders to immediately go and behead all the monks. 

Martyrs of the Kvabtakhevi Monastery in Georgia (†1386)

On April 10 we commemorate two large groups of Georgian Orthodox martyrs under the sword of Islam: the Martyrs of the Kvabtakhevi Monastery (recounted below), who were burned alive by their Muslim tormentors in 1386, and the Six-Thousand Martyrs of Georgia (†1615).

Better known are the 100,000 Holy Martyrs of Tbilisi  (†1227), who refused to deny Christ and were beheaded, thus receiving their heavenly crowns.


Martyrs of the Kvabtakhevi Monastery in Georgia

Commemorated April 10 | OCA



In the 14th century, during the reign of King Bagrat V (1360-1394), Timur (Tamerlane) invaded Georgia seven times. His troops inflicted irreparable damage on the country, seizing centuries-old treasures and razing ancient churches and monasteries.

Timur’s armies ravaged Kartli, then took the king, queen, and the entire royal court captive and sent them to Karabakh (in present-day Azerbaijan). Later Timur attempted to entice King Bagrat to renounce the Christian Faith in exchange for permission to return to the throne and for the release of the other Georgian prisoners.

For some time Timur was unable to subjugate King Bagrat, but in the end, being powerless and isolated from his kinsmen, the king began to falter. He devised a sly scheme: to confess Islam before the enemy, but to remain a Christian at heart. Satisfied with King Bagrat’s decision to “convert to Islam,” Timur permitted the king to return to the throne of Kartli. At the request of King Bagrat, Timur sent twelve thousand troops with him to complete Georgia’s forcible conversion to Islam.

When they were approaching the village of Khunani in southeastern Georgia, Bagrat secretly informed his son Giorgi of everything that had happened and called upon him and his army to massacre the invaders. 

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Can there have been Two Annunciations?

 




Today is March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation of the Archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary. 

As the hymn for the Feast says, 

Today is the beginning of our salvation,
The revelation of the eternal mystery!
The Son of God becomes the Son of the Virgin
As Gabriel announces the coming of Grace...

Islam also begins with an annunciation of sorts, to Muhammad, coincidentally by a spirit being also identified as the angel Jibril (Gabriel). Only the nature and outcome of that annunciation is quite different from the one to the Virgin Mary six centuries earlier.

This article contrasts the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary — filled with light and grace — with that 'second annunciation' — a dark annunciation — to Muhammad. This is one of the most significant and revealing facts about Islam, one which we should always keep in the forefront of our considerations.

If Muslims worship the Same God as Christians, how could that Same God possibly send two such radically opposed revelations and messages? And could it be the Same God if He chose to send His revelation to Muhammad through such a dark and blatantly evil "annunciation"?


Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Father Seraphim Rose Speaks - New Videos


Special Post for the 38th Anniversary of the Repose of Blessed Hieromonk Seraphim of Platina 



Recent years have seen a wealth of Blessed Father Seraphim's writings and talks uploaded to YouTube. 

There are several recordings of Father Seraphim himself delivering some talks, but these are rare, and most of these YouTube videos feature someone reading the text. Some years back the trend was for such videos to use text-to-speech software to avoid the many hours of dictation involved, but such computer-generated recordings, with their soulless, robotic, AI voice, do violence to the text, and present Father Seraphim's teachings in the most ironic manner imaginable. They quickly become very difficult to listen to as a result.

The most recent offerings, several highlights of which are posted below, are well done readings by the dedicated hosts of these various YouTube channels, for whom, we can only assume, these labors are a holy podvig, and we give thanks for the efforts of the channels Orthodox WisdomOrthodox Reactionary, and others. 

In addition, there are numerous videos which present excerpts of Father Seraphim's teachings in scrolling text against a photographic backdrop accompanied by low volume Greek or Russian Orthodox chant, as seen on the Gregory Decapolite and Nicodemos Hagiorite channels. These presentations have enormous impact on the soul, and somehow impart what Father Seraphim called "the savor of Orthodoxy" even in spite of this post-modern technology, format and platform.

We offer these links for your prayerful edification . . .





Fr. Seraphim Rose - Articles & Teachings (5 videos) Three presentations, including:  
• The Royal Path - True Orthodox in an Age of Apostasy 
• Orthodoxy in the USA 
• The Holy Fathers of Orthodox Spirituality


For many more video listings, proceed to our special Fr. Seraphim Rose Resource Page . . .

 

Thursday, August 6, 2020

My Ancient Faith Today Interview now available as a podcast

On Tuesday, August 4 at 9pm ET I joined Fr Tom Soroka on Ancient Faith Today for a Live Interview and Call-In Discussion on Reaching Muslims with the Gospel.

The hour flew by, and we enjoyed a wide ranging conversation with some very thoughtful questions from listeners which helped lead us into further deep reflections on this important topic.

LISTEN:
Ancient Faith Today Live - Reaching Muslims with the Gospel

Fr Tom and I have been friends for over thirty years, and it was a joy and an honor to join him on one AFR's flagship internet radio shows to discuss our hope "that none would perish, but that all might be saved and come to the knowledge of the Truth" which is in Christ Jesus.




This was the third of a three-part series on Islam-related topics on Ancient Faith Today Live. Listen to the other two podcasts here:




Sunday, June 21, 2020

(VIDEO) Mark Durie - The Hidden History of the Qur’an

How the text of the Qur’an tells a ‘hidden’ story about its own origins.

In his recent book, The Qur’an and its Biblical Reflexes, and in this video (from the June 11, 2020 live webinar), Mark Durie explores how the text of the Qur’an tells a ‘hidden’ story about its own origins, one which is different from the conventional account.

The Qur’an is a difficult book to read and understand. Within the religion of Islam, its text has always been read, explained and understood through the lens of the biography of Muhammad, which was itself based on later, sources committed to writing more than a century after the Qur’an came into existence.

This is a story about a small religious community, not located in Mecca, but somewhere else, enjoying a more moderate climate suited to agriculture but vulnerable to earthquakes, which found itself facing an existential theological crisis. Tune into this webinar to hear Mark Durie tell the story of how this crisis was resolved, and the momentous consequences which continue to influence the lives of billions, right down to the present day.




Saturday, June 6, 2020

Ex-Muslims denounce Abu Dhabi ‘Deception', warn against Muslim practice of 'Taqiyya'

Arabic-speaking Muslim converts to Christ warn that Roman Catholic support of the Abu Dhabi Declaration "is not based on the 'Islamic theological implications of the Arabic text', and this reflects an inability to see through the 'deception' and fall for the 'fake human rights rhetoric'."

In short, these brave converts to Christ are warning against the Same God Heresy.


Embracing Deception: Pope Francis signs Abu Dhabi Declaration


Their point is well taken, and fully in keeping with the teaching of the New Testament, which warns against accepting a false gospel, a different Jesus, and a different spirit:

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the Gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be anathema!” (Gal 1:6-8). 
"As we said before, so say I now again: If any preach any other gospel unto you than that which you have received, let him be anathema" (Gal 1:8-9). 
"Now the Spirit expressly says that in the latter times some will depart from the Faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy" (1 Tim 4:1-2). 

The indefatiguable Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch offers this warning in his post on the article:

“The chasm between Islam and Jahiliyyah [the society of unbelievers] is great, and a bridge is not to be built across it so that the people on the two sides may mix with each other, but only so that the people of Jahiliyyah may come over to Islam.” — Sayyid Qutb, Milestones, chapter 10. (Mother Mosque Foundation edition p. 140) 
It is abundantly clear from this report that the Muslim framers of the bu Dhabi declaration were following Qutb’s guidance and crafting a document designed to lead Catholics to Islam. Meanwhile, the Catholic partners in the dialogue had no idea that this was happening, and assumed that their partners were operating in good faith as they were. Their naivete will cost the lives of the Christians murdered in the lands of Islam while no one speaks up for them, for fear of harming the dialogue, much less lifts a finger to defend them.
 “Leave them; they are blind guides. And if a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” (Matthew 15:14)

Related:



Ex-Muslims Unmask Abu Dhabi ‘Deception’

by Jules Gomes, ChurchMilitant.com, May 27, 2020:


ROME (ChurchMilitant.com) – A network of Muslim converts, who face the death penalty for apostasy from Islam, are denouncing the Abu Dhabi declaration as a “deception” for “subtle but significant differences” in the Arabic text of the document.





The ex-Muslims from the Arab world are also lamenting Cdl. Gerhard Müller’s naïveté after the orthodox prelate defended the covenant on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together in the May-June issue of Communio.

Müller insists that the text focuses on “fundamental human rights” with “God as their originator and guarantor,” because “all people are born free and equal in dignity and rights” and “human rights are based on the dignity that God himself bestowed on every human being.”

In a preliminary analysis of the declaration shown to Church Militant on condition of anonymity, the Arab-speaking converts say that Cdl. Müller’s reading is not based on the “Islamic theological implications of the Arabic text,” and this reflects his inability to see through the “deception” and fall for the “fake human rights rhetoric.”

Thursday, May 28, 2020

VIDEO: David Wood on Global Persecution of Christians (Banned by YouTube as Hate Speech)

David Wood of Acts17 Apologetics had posted a video discussing the facts and statistics of Open Doors' 2020 World Watch List, their annual report on the persecution of Christians around the globe. 

YouTube took down his video, and gave him a strike for hate speech. Two more strikes within a 90 day period, and his channel will be permanently taken down.

You can watch David's response here. Below is the video which YouTube classified as "hate speech," hosted now on David Wood's BitChute channel.

His plan is to release a series of videos on Global Persecution of Christians in the coming days.

As followers of this blog know, approximately 80% of all persecution of Christians is committed by Muslims.



Sunday, May 24, 2020

(VIDEO) Proto-Martyr Evgeny Rodionov (May 23)

On May 23 the Orthodox Church commemorates the New Martyr Evgeny Rodionov, who in 1996 was brutally tortured and murdered by Chechen Muslims for refusing to remove his cross.

Evgeny is one of the ProtoMartyrs under the sword of the false religion of Islam for the New Cloud of Witnesses of the 21st Century. His refusal to deny Christ is both a sign and an inspiration to us today.

Evgeny's martyrdom at the end of the 20th century was a sign of the newly emboldened ascendency of the foul religion of Muhammad, which has led to new waves of persecution of Christians throughout the world, and an ever growing choir of New Martyrs for Christ, slain by Muslims across Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe, America, and elsewhere.

Watch the video below, and learn more about Holy New Martyr Evgeny on our special resource page dedicated to him.