Friday, July 8, 2022

Announcing a New Book from Robert Spencer

 

NEW! From Uncut Mountain Press

Available in paperback and eBook formats

The Church and the Pope

The Case for Orthodoxy

by Robert Spencer


OVERVIEW


Today, the place and authority of the bishop of Rome in the first millennium has become a matter of great interest and importance not only for the official dialogue but for all serious seekers of the true Church. One such seeker is the prolific New York Times Bestselling Author Robert Spencer, who applied his analytical acumen to a thorough examination of The Church & The Pope.

From the New Testament and the Apostolic Fathers through the Oecumenical Councils and the filioque controversy in the time of St. Photios the Great, on up to the Great Schism, all of the “flash points” of church history indicate the same conciliar nature of the Church as witnessed in Acts: “it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us.”

The whole “cloud of witnesses” give testimony to the truth of the Church vis-a-vis the post-schism papal claims: the Apostle Peter himself and the choir of the Apostles, St. Clement of Rome, St. Ignatius of Antioch, St. Polycarp of Smyrna, St. Irenaeus of Lyons, St. Cyprian of Carthage, St. Cyril of Jerusalem, St. Athanasius the Great, St. John Chrysostom, Blessed Augustine, St. Gregory the Great, St. Photios the Great and others.

Viewing the life and nature of the Church throughout the first millennium through the spiritual vision of these great saints, Spencer first walked, and now walks us, out of the weeds of innovation and division and back into the garden of the Church Fathers where unity and continuity shine.

Full info and online ordering...


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is the author of twenty-three books including two New York Times bestsellers. Spencer is a regular columnist for PJ Media and FrontPage Magazine and has written hundreds of articles about Islam and other issues. He is also a regular on major news media outlets and speaker at universities across America.


DETAILS

First published: July 2022

Length (softcover): 112 pages

Size (softcover): 6 x 9 inches

ISBN (softcover): 978-1-63941-005-7


Thursday, July 7, 2022

Fr. Alexey Young - On the New Martyrs under the Turkish Muslim Yoke

On the third Sunday after Pentecost, the Church honors the memory of the Martyrs of the Turkish Yoke. The following article is condensed from a lecture delivered at the St. Herman Summer Pilgrimage, Platina CA, August, 1982, and first printed in Orthodox America.


'Where are the Mighty of the Earth?' - Sunday of the New Martyrs of the Turkish Yoke

by Fr Alexey Young

OrthoChristian.com



On May 29, 1453, the troops of the Moslem leader, Mohammed II took the great city of Constantinople. For more than 1000 years Orthodox Christians had assumed that the Byzantine Christian Empire would stand until the Second Coming of Christ. They had always called their city the “God-protected City,” and indeed, until now it had been protected by Heaven. But when their Emperor, Constantine XI, fell in battle, the holy city of Byzantium became the capital of a new empire, the Ottoman Empire, ruled by a pagan people, enemies of Christ and Christianity, the Moslems. It was a dark, dark time for Orthodox Christians in that part of the world.

In their violent hatred of Christianity, the Moslem Turks embarked on a course of persecution designed to effectively muzzle the flock of Christ. Their strategy was no less cruel than that of atheist communists in the Soviet Union; the parallels are striking. Most of the churches of Constantinople (whose name was changed to Istanbul, just as years later Petersburg was changed to Leningrad) were converted to mosques. Their movable icons were destroyed and whole walls of inspiring and radiantly beautiful mosaics were covered with paint or plaster. Crosses were torn off domes and broken off the roofs of churches. The Moslems guaranteed Christians a definite place in Turkish society; but it was a place of guaranteed inferiority. Orthodox Christians were required to pay an annual head tax, like cattle. To the Turks they were unbelievers, and they had absolutely no rights of citizenship. They even had to wear distinctive dress. They could not marry Moslems, nor could they engage in missionary work of any kind; in fact, it was a crime, usually punishable by death, to convert a Moslem to the Christian Faith.

As if these measures were not enough, the Moslems actively undertook to control the Church itself. The Sultan ironically considered himself the “protector” of Orthodoxy, supposedly guaranteeing the existence of the Church, but actually keeping it in the vise of a terrible stranglehold. Under this system each Patriarch had to pay a stiff fee to the Sultan before he could be enthroned. Unable to raise the funds himself, the Patriarch was forced to exact a fee from each new bishop before installing him in his diocese, and this burden was eventually placed on the flocks. Taking advantage of this financially lucrative situation, the Turks forced re-elections of the Patriarch with undue rapidity. The majority of the Sultans themselves were sick, demon-ridden men, whose irrational rule and unbridled power only heightened the already demoralizing effect of Turkish rule on the Church. It is not without reason that an Englishman living in Istanbul in the seventeenth century wrote these words: “Every good Christian ought with sadness to consider and with compassion to behold this once glorious Church tearing and rending out her bowels and giving them as food to vultures and ravens."

The aim of Orthodoxy in the Ottoman Empire became, simply, one of survival. Little could they know, in 1453, that the heavy sword of Islam would weigh upon them not for a generation or two, but for five hundred years, five long centuries of darkness and difficulty. But even under such ruinous circumstances, God did not allow the light of Christianity to be extinguished. It was kept alive through the courageous confession of the New Martyrs of the Turkish Yoke.

Monday, June 13, 2022

Raymond Ibrahim: 'The Black Lives that Don’t Matter: 50 Christians Murdered in Their Church'

Muslims persecute Christians globally and commit genocide in Nigeria, but the West, including western Christians, are silent.


The Black Lives that Don’t Matter: 50 Christians Murdered in Their Church

by Raymond Ibrahim, Gatestone Institute, June 12, 2022





Last Sunday, June 5, 2022, Islamic terrorists stormed the St. Francis Catholic Church in Ondo, Nigeria, and massacred more than 50 Christians who were otherwise peacefully worshipping their God. Videos, according to one report, “showed church worshippers lying in pools of blood while people around them wailed.”

As terrible as this massacre might seem, it is just the proverbial “tip of the iceberg”: over the years, Muslims have assaulted, shot up, or torched countless churches in Nigeria. Below are just three other examples:

  • Easter Sunday, Apr. 20, 2014: Islamic terrorists torched a packed church; 150 Christians were killed and countless injured.
  • Easter Sunday, Apr. 8, 2012: explosives planted by Muslims detonated near two packed churches; more than 50 Christians were killed and unknown numbers injured.
  • Christmas Day, Dec. 25, 2011: Muslim terrorists shot up and bombed three churches; 37 Christians were killed, 57 injured.

The Christians of Nigeria are, in fact, being purged in a genocide, according to several NGOs (here and here, for instance). One Christian is killed every two hours in Nigeria. According to an August 2021 report, since the Islamic insurgency began in earnest in July 2009— first at the hands of the Islamic terrorist organization Boko Haram, and later by Fulani, Muslim herdsmen, also motivated by jihadist ideology to seize Christian (“infidel”) land—more than 60,000 Christians have either been murdered during raids, or abducted, never to be seen again. During this same timeframe, approximately 20,000 churches and Christian schools were torched and destroyed by “Allahu Akbar” screaming Muslims.

Friday, June 3, 2022

Remembering New-Martyr Fr. Ragheed Ganni of Iraq

Here is a much needed reflection on one of the new 21st century Christian martyrs under the sword of Islam. Providing such contextual insight as the below paragraph, this article is very helpful in understanding how America's Middle East policy sometimes bears direct responsibility for Muslim persecution of Christians:
 
Father Ragheed knew very well what most Americans, even policymakers, did not: that Christians in the Muslim-majority Middle East are often seen as sympathetic to the West, and therefore untrustworthy; in a war, they might be regarded as fellow travelers or spies. The American invasion immediately imperiled Iraq’s Christians, who numbered over a million people in 2003. In the years that followed, many Iraqi Christians and other minorities sought asylum in the United States, the country whose invasion had given rise to their persecution. The Bush administration, however, denied Christian claims of persecution as unfounded. Many were turned away as a result. Thus it is to incur at once the enmity of one’s neighbors and the indifference of one’s liberators.

For more on this heroic confessor and witness for Christ, see my previous post here.

A Martyr In Iraq

Remembering Father Ragheed Ganni, who was murdered 15 years ago today in Iraq.

by Andrew Doran, The American Conservative
June 3, 2022




“A martyr, a saint, is always made by the design of God, for His love of men, to warn them and to lead them, to bring them back to His ways. A martyrdom is never the design of man; for the true martyr is he who has become the instrument of God, who has lost his will in the will of God, not lost it but found it, for he has found freedom in submission to God. The martyr no longer desires anything for himself, not even the glory of martyrdom.” – T.S. Eliot, Murder in the Cathedral


On an evening in March 2003, a dinner of Catholic priests, seminarians, and graduate theology students at the Irish College in Rome was interrupted with the announcement that the U.S. ground invasion of Iraq had begun. The few non-Irish present included Shena, an American woman, and Father Ragheed Ganni, a Chaldean priest from Mosul, ancient Nineveh. Both were students at the Angelicum, a Dominican institute founded in the thirteenth century. All eyes turned to the stunned Fr. Ragheed, who said simply, “I have to return home.”

“It was my country at war with his,” says Shena, “which was awful.” Now a mother of six in America, she recalls Father Ragheed as “a lovely, peaceful man.” He would explain with care and patience the complexity of the region to outsiders, especially Americans. “It would have been easy, and perhaps good politics, for him to have remained silent about the Iraq War,” she says nearly two decades later. She recalls how he gently defended the traditional culture of the Muslim-majority Middle East, of which Westerners were frequently critical. It wasn’t his way to debate with brusqueness but to simply hold the ground he had staked out on behalf of his beliefs.

It would also have been easy for him to remain in Rome or to join the exodus of his people from Iraq. Instead, Father Ragheed chose to return to his home, Mosul, which would soon become one of the most perilous places in the world to be a Christian.

Monday, May 23, 2022

New Martyr Evgeny of Chechnya (+1996) commemorated on May 23

Hieromonk Joshua shared the following on his Facebook feed today, reminding us of this valiant Confessor of Christ, who refused to remove his Cross which he wore, and refused to deny Christ, preferring to die as a Witness (Martyr) for Jesus Christ, and thus inherit eternal life and a crown of glory.

For more on New Martyr Evgeny, see my earlier post here.











Thursday, December 2, 2021

Raymond Ibrahim: 'The Muslim Appropriation of Mary'

In this second in our series for the Nativity Season, Raymond Ibrahim shows how contemporary Islam perpetuates the blasphemous appropriation of the Ever-Virgin Mary, the Mother of God (Greek: Theotokos), first initiated by the depraved false prophet Muhammad fourteen-hundred years ago, and why it is essential for Christians to be aware of the truth behind Islam's "veneration" of Mary. 

Using the Virgin Mary "as a model of 'open borders' between religious and multicultural worlds" in an effort to reconcile Islam and Catholicism is to deny Christ and His Most Pure Mother, and reveals those behind such initiatives as full-blown apostates from the Christian Faith and self-condemned.




The Muslim Appropriation of Mary

by Raymond Ibrahim, February 21, 2021

In “Vatican: Mary is Catholic-Muslim Bridge,” Jules Gomes of Church Militant interviews me:

VATICAN CITY (ChurchMilitant.com) – The Pontifical International Marian Academy (PAMI) is promoting the Blessed Virgin as a bridge reconciling Islam and Catholicism following the Abu Dhabi pact between Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of al-Azhar Ahmed al-Tayyeb.

On Thursday, the Marian academy in Rome launched a 10-week webinar series titled “Mary, a model for faith and life for Christianity and Islam” in collaboration with the Grand Mosque of Rome and the Islamic Cultural Center of Italy.

Based on his belief that Mary is “a Jewish, Christian and Muslim woman,” Fr. Gian Matteo Roggio, organizer of the Muslim-Catholic dialogue series on Our Lady, is seeking to mobilize Mary as a model of “open borders” between religious and multicultural worlds.

Mary responds “to the genetic codes of Judaism, Christianity and Islam,” affirms Roggio, a member of the religious order of the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette, writing in the Italian liberal Catholic periodical Famiglia Cristiana.

Islamic historian Raymond Ibrahim told Church Militant that “this series is yet another attempt to try to convince Catholics that Islam is somehow similar to their Faith when, in fact, Islam appropriates the names and sacred auras of biblical figures but then recasts them with completely different attributes — ones that reaffirm Islam as the ‘true’ faith.”

Ibrahim, a prolific writer, and the author of recent bestseller Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War Between Islam and the West, explained:

For example, the series’ organizers insist that Mary was a “Jewish, Christian and Muslim woman,” which is only two-thirds true: Yes, she was a Jew by race and background, and yes, she was a Christian in that she literally birthed Christ(ianity), but she was most certainly not a Muslim — a term and religion that did not exist until 600 years after the end of her earthly life.

“Worse, far from being the Eternal Virgin, as she is for 1.5 billion Christians — Catholics and Orthodox — Islam presents Mary, the Mother of Christ, as ‘married’ to and ‘copulating’ with Muhammad in paradise,” Ibrahim revealed.

In an article for Frontpage Magazine titled “Muhammad and the Virgin Mary: A Match Made in Heaven?” Ibrahim cited a hadith (Islamic canonical tradition) wherein Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, declares: “Allah will wed me in paradise to Mary, daughter of Imran.”

Far from being the Perpetual Virgin — Islam presents Mary, the Mother of Christ, as ‘married’ to and ‘copulating’ with Muhammad in paradise.Tweet

Few Christians know about this claim, but medieval Christians living under Islamic occupation were familiar with it because their Muslim conquerors regularly humiliated them with this text to refute the Church’s claim of Mary’s perpetual virginity, writes Ibrahim.

In fact, Egypt’s former deputy minister of religious endowments, Dr. Salem Abdul Galil, openly declared that among other biblical women like Moses’ sister and Pharaoh’s wife, “Our prophet Muhammad — prayers and peace be upon him — will be married to (the Virgin) Mary in paradise.”




Ibrahim obtained the Arabic video of Galil stating this on the Mahwar television network.

“Far from creating ‘commonalities,’ it should be clear that such appropriation creates conflict,” Ibrahim told Church Militant.

Mary is a Jewish, Christian and Muslim woman.  The prolific writer elaborated:

By way of analogy, imagine you have a grandfather whom you are particularly fond of, and out of the blue, a stranger says: “Hey, that’s my grandfather!” Then — lest you think this stranger is somehow trying to become your friend — he adds: “And everything you thought you knew about grandpa is wrong!” Would that endear this stranger to you?

The webinars will end during the month of Ramadan in the conference room of the Great Mosque of Rome with “Mary’s dates” — a reference to the fruit of the date palm and a verse from the Koran (Sura 19.22–26).

Friday, November 19, 2021

Raymond Ibrahim: 'How Islam Mutilates Christ'

 "While relying on the figures of the Old and New Testaments—for the weight of antiquity and authority attached to their names—Islam completely recasts them in a manner that validates itself and invalidates Judaism and Christianity.  This would seem to burn rather than build bridges." 

— Raymond Ibrahim

As we enter into the Nativity Fast and the Advent/Christmas season, it seems an especially proper time to post some recent articles of a theological nature. This new piece by Raymond Ibrahim surveys numerous examples of how Islam strives to appropriate Jesus Christ, Abraham, and a whole range of Old and New Testament figures, and even some Christian saints, but as Muslim heroes, distorting historical fact and mutilating their actual theological and spiritual message and import. 

This is a well known tactic of Muslim 'dawah' which dates back to Muhammad himself, and must be exposed as one of the primary lies of the Same God Heresy which Islamic apologists and well intentioned but gullible Christians so often promote.


How Islam Mutilates Christ

by Raymond Ibrahim, 11/2/2021




Not only does Islam claim Abraham, Moses, and Jesus; it apparently claims post biblical figures, such as Saint George, as well.  So states a recent article on My London, the real point of which is apparently to assert Christian and Muslim “commonalities.”  Thus, we learn that “on St George’s Day, which in Eastern Christianity is marked on May 6, Muslims in the area [of Nazareth] join Christians in their venerations of the saint.”

Judaism also finds its way into this article on religious syncretism: “According to some Sufi traditions, the [Hebrew] Prophet Elias, Al-Khidr [a character in the Koran], and Saint George are all the same person. They believe Elias reappears at different times in human history under different names to help stricken believers in times of crisis.”

The entire article is a testimony to the widely entrenched conviction that, because Judaism, Christianity, and Islam share many of the same characters, creating rapprochement between the three faiths is not just easy; it’s the most natural thing to do.

Left out of this calculus is the all-important fact that Islam does not treat biblical characters the way Christianity does.  Christians accept the Hebrew Bible, or “Old Testament,” as it is. They do not add, take away, or distort the accounts of the patriarchs that Jews also rely on.

Conversely, while also relying on the figures of the Old and New Testaments—for the weight of antiquity and authority attached to their names—Islam completely recasts them in a manner that validates itself and invalidates Judaism and Christianity.  This would seem to burn rather than build bridges.

Consider, for example, Islam’s treatment of Jesus (‘Isa in the Koran).  Not only does Islam vehemently deny Christ’s sonship to God, a new book on Islamic sources inadvertently underscores the fact that ‘Isa is the antithesis of Jesus—his doppelganger.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

New Martyr Rasha Muklasha, killed by her son for converting to Christ

"Children will rise against parents and have them put to death, and you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved." (MT 10:21b-22)

"The hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me." (JN 16:2b-3)


MARTYRDOM IN THE HOLY LAND: SON KILLS MOTHER FOR CONVERTING FROM ISLAM TO ORTHODOXY

OrthoChristian.com, September 28, 2021

A woman from Northern Israel was strangled to death by her own son last month for converting from Islam to Orthodox Christianity.

According to the indictment, the murder of 46-year-old Rasha Muklasha by her 27-year-old son Muad Hib was premeditated, with Hib arranging a meeting with her near Nazareth on August 5 with the intention of killing her and disposing of her remains, reports the Times of Israel.

Muklasha left her husband and severed ties with her five children in 2006, later converting to Orthodoxy. Having learned of the death of her ex-husband, she resumed contact with her children, but they were angered by her conversion.

Three sons and another relative were all arrested, and eventually enough evidence was gathered to pinpoint the middle brother as the main culprit, with the others being released, reports the Jerusalem Post.

After picking up his mother in his car, Hib “strangled the deceased with a rope or his hands, alone or with others, with the intention of causing her death,” the court documents said.

He then fled towards the Jordan River where he dug a pit and buried his mother’s body. Later that day, he rammed a police roadblock and was arrested after a brief chase.

The martyred Muklasha’s remains were found about a day later near a section of the Jordan River in northern Israel.


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.