Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The Hundred Thousand Holy Martyrs of Tbilisi (+1227)

"The invaders goaded the people to the bridge, ordering them to cross it and spit on the holy icons. Those who betrayed the Christian Faith and mocked the icons were spared their lives, while the Orthodox confessors were beheaded."
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This is one of the most compelling mass-martyrdom accounts in Christian history. Of course, the "Turkmen" referred to are the Muslim Turks, who during the thirteenth century were waging jihad to expand the dar al-Islam.

Notice the practice of beheading by the Muslims, used by the Islamic State today, following the example of Muhammad, who personally beheaded between 600 and 900 Jewish men and boys from the Quraiza tribe at Medina. (See The Life of Muhammad, by Ibn Ishaq, trans. A. Guillaume, New York, 1980, pp 463-464).

The Hundred Thousand Holy Martyrs of Tbilisi are commemorated by the Orthodox Church on October 31 (which is today, on the 'Old Calendar').

See also:

OCA - Lives of the Saints - 100,000 Martyrs of Tbilisi by the Mongols

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The Hundred Thousand Holy Martyrs of Tbilisi  (+1227)

from Lives of the Georgian Saints, by Archpriest Zakaria Machitadze
St Herman of Alaska Press, Platina CA, 2006, pp 403-404.


From the book, 'Lives of the Georgian Saints'

In 1227 Sultan Jalal al-Din of Khwarazm and his army of Turkmen attacked Georgia. On the first day of the battle the Georgian army valorously warded off the invaders as they were approaching Tbilisi. That night, however, a group of Persians who were living in Tbilisi secretly opened the gates and summoned the enemy army into the city.

According to one manuscript in which this most terrible day in Georgian history was described: "Words are powerless to convey the destruction that the enemy wrought: tearing infants from their mothers' breasts, they beat their heads against the bridge, watching as their eyes dropped from their skulls...."

A river of blood flowed through the city. The Turkmen castrated young children, raped women, and stabbed mothers to death over their children's lifeless bodies. The whole city shuddered at the sound of wailing and lamentation. The river and streets of the city were filled with death.

The sultan ordered that the cupola of Sioni Cathedral be taken down and replaced by his vile throne. And at his command the icons of the Theotokos and our Savior were carried out of Sioni Cathedral and placed at the center of the bridge across the Mtkvari River. The invaders goaded the people to the bridge, ordering them to cross it and spit on the holy icons. Those who betrayed the Christian Faith and mocked the icons were spared their lives, while the Orthodox confessors were beheaded.

Order the book from St Herman Press!
One hundred thousand Georgians sacrificed their lives to venerate the holy icons. One hundred thousand severed heads and headless bodies were carried by the bloody current down the Mtkvari River.


0 ye thousands of stars, the chosen people guarding the Georgian Church with your golden wings, intercede for us always before the face of God!



Friday, November 8, 2019

VIDEO: Islam, Holy Icons & St. John of Damascus

A superbly produced video documentary of St John of Damascus, with in-depth presentations of his denunciation of the heresy of Islam, his systematic exposition of the Orthodox Christian Faith, and his defense of the holy icons against the ruthless persecution of the iconooclasts (literally, "icon smashers").

This is yet another excellent video from Trisagion Films, which has rapidly established itself as one of the premier Orthodox Christian platforms on the internet.

The writers frame the narration using the old Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times," noting at the conclusion that John not only lived through such "interesting times," but himself made major contributions to the defense and advancement of the Orthodox Christian Gospel during a time when the Church faced grave challenges from within and without.

Holy St John, pray to God for us!




Source: Trisagion Films.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

VIDEO: Why it is of the Utmost Importance to denounce and expose the 'Same God Heresy'

At the root of today's confusion over Islam is the widespread acceptance of the 'Same God Heresy'.

"When the Church is being betrayed and the faithful led astray, it is no time for compliments and polite 'dialogues', nor for placing sympathy above truth." 
 ~ Blessed Hieromonk Seraphim of Platina
Consider this brief video, and the exhortations from Church Fathers on standing for the Truth and not remaining silent when Christ is being blasphemed:




Lastly, consider this excerpt from the Epilogue to my book, Facing Islam:

WHEN I WAS A YOUNG CONVERT new to Orthodoxy, the late Archbishop Michael (Shaheen) of the Antiochian Archdiocese came to our parish. In delivering the homily, he stated unequivocally that (and I paraphrase), 
“We must embrace the Muslims, the Hindus, the Buddhists, for we all worship the same God; we just worship in different ways, and are merely traveling different paths to the same destination.” 
In doing so, he was blatantly standing against Jesus Christ, the Apostles, the Fathers of the Church, the Seven Ecumenical Councils, the Confessors and Martyrs and all true Orthodox believers of every age. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Sword and Scimitar: 'Compelling Reminder of the Terrifying Dynamic which Continues to Drive the Islamic World'

An in-depth, "must read" review of Raymond Ibrahim's most recent masterwork.


Sword and Scimitar: “A Compelling Reminder of the Terrifying Dynamic which Continues to Drive the Islamic World”

10/02/2019 by Raymond Ibrahim

Note: The following book review of Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West was written by Terry Scambray and first appeared in the Sept. 2019 issue of the New Oxford Review:
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We judge individuals by what they say and what they do. We judge cults, religions and ideologies the same way; that is, by their doctrines and history.

Which is common sense, of course.

Apparently though, common sense is abandoned when it comes to ideologies like Marxism which has largely escaped such scrutiny by our schools and popular culture; and now the same cover up is happening with Islam.

But Raymond Ibrahim, fluent in Arabic, is an equal opportunity Middle East scholar committed to truth rather than conforming to dangerous fads.

Ibrahim gained attention with his revealing translations in his 2007 book, The Al Qaeda Reader, which showed the difference between what Osama bin Laden said in Arabic to Muslims and what he said for receptive, if not gullible, Western audiences.

Ibrahim’s second book, Crucified Again, showed the murder and destruction that Christians are enduring at the hands of Muslims throughout the world.

In Sword and Scimitar, Ibrahim begins by explaining Mohammed’s doctrine of jihad or “holy war”: “Whereas the rewards of the pre-Islamic tribal raid were limited to temporal spoils and came with the risk of death, the deified raid (jihad) offered rewards in the here and the hereafter – meaning it was essentially risk free – and thus led to a newborn fanaticism and determination.” In other words, robbery, murder and enslavement were sacralized and then transformed into a prodigious engine of Islamic conquest.

Conquest being the major feature of Islam’s 1,400 year history, Sword and Scimitar takes the reader on a tour – “a tour of force” – as represented by eight significant battles and an array of lesser clashes.

Skillfully relying on first person descriptions, Ibrahim’s narration of these battles is gripping and suspenseful while also evoking the pain and terror of warfare. Especially after the current revival of jihad, his recounting of these barbaric episodes and their consequences is not comforting.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Video: Raymond Ibrahim - 'The Past and Present Persecution of Christians'

A brisk and essential presentation by my dear friend, the great Raymond Ibrahim, on the historical continuity of Islam's persecution of Christians, from the time of Muhammad to today.

Watch and share widely:





Wednesday, September 18, 2019

England, Anglican Church continue submission to Islam, openly denying Jesus Christ in Royal Cathedral

A Koran reading in Westminster Abbey follows other recent incidents of Islam being proclaimed in Anglican cathedrals as the multifaceted apostasy of England and the COE continues to metastasize, like a spiritual cancer.  

How many of the congregants took their faith in Jesus Christ seriously enough to get up and walk out of this blasphemous invasion of a Christian gathering by a hostile, antichrist spirit? I suspect the number is zero.

Protestant and Catholic England is doomed. Orthodox England is small, but holds out hope for faithful Christians.

Regarding this latest abomination, Bishop Gavin Ashenden, who resigned as Queen’s Chaplain after objecting to the reading of the Koran in Glasgow Cathedral in 2017, warns of the spiritual force of these blasphemies: 

“Reading the Koran in cathedrals... validates Islam’s teaching that is predicated on the claim that the resurrection was a fraud and Jesus lied to his followers and the world.”  
"By welcoming an uncritical reading of the Koran, Westminster Abbey asserts the legitimacy of Mohammad and in so doing repudiates Jesus. One has to wonder what their claim to be a Christian cathedral rests on at that point?" 
— Bishop Gavin Ashenden 


Koran read at Westminster Abbey as Royal Cathedral bows to Islam
September 16, 2019,Jules Gomes, Rebel Priest:



Britain’s royal cathedral—the nation’s coronation church since 1066—and the final resting place of 17 monarchs approved a Koranic reading from its lectern at a memorial service last Tuesday.

Husein Kavazović, the Grand Mufti of Bosnia and Herzegovina, read from Koran 16: 90-97 at a Service of Thanksgiving for the life of Paddy Ashdown—a British politician and former diplomat who served as leader of the Liberal Democrats.

Ashdown, who died on 22 December 2018, became a passionate advocate for the Muslims of Bosnia and Herzegovina during the wars that led to the break-up of Yugoslavia.

The Koranic reading was in Bosnian and preceded biblical readings from Isaiah 52: 7-12 and Paul’s second epistle to Timothy 4:1-7.

Expressing his consternation, Islamic jurist Yasser Hussein who spoke to Rebel Priest media, said that such an act could imply that the deceased may have secretly converted to Islam.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Father Seraphim Rose on Islam - Revisiting a Key Post on this Blog

This early article, posted just eighteen months after the launch of the Facing Islam Blog in April 2011, holds up as a critically important document, reminding us of what one of the Orthodox Church's most significant figures and writers had to say about the false religion of Islam, and what more he might have said had his life not ended at so young an age (48) in 1982.

I had linked to this article in my recent posting of a new Russian documentary on the Life and Teachings of Father Seraphim, but this article stirred me so deeply as I re-read it, that I decided to re-post it as a reminder and encouragement to us all.

I have added a couple of insertions in brackets [...], and have improved the formatting for one paragraph, which benefits from being converted to a bulleted list. Otherwise, this is the original post, unaltered.


Fr Seraphim Rose on Islam

(Originally posted September 2, 2012.)

Today (September 2, 2012) marks the thirtieth anniversary of the repose of Hieromonk Seraphim (Rose) of Platina. While many articles have been written to mark this significant anniversary (see here and here) it seemed appropriate for this blog to look at what Fr Seraphim had to say about Islam.


Actually, Father Seraphim wrote very little on the subject of Islam. His book, Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future, treats Islam along with Judaism in the chapter on The Monotheistic Religions. Fr. Seraphim is clear in his position that the "god" of Islam is not the True God, and in citing the essay by Fr. Basile Stakkas, implicitly refutes Islam's doctrine of tawhid (the oneness of Allah), in large measure by explicitly refuting its claim to be an Abrahamic faith. Abraham worshipped the One God in Trinity, as is clear from the Old Testament account (And the LORD appeared unto him at the Oaks of Mamre... Three men were standing by him, and he bowed himself toward the ground... Gen. 18:1-2), as is seen in the icon called The Hospitality of Abraham, the quintessential depiction of the Holy Trinity in the Old Testament.

In my correspondence with two of Fr Seraphim's spiritual children, we have wrestled with the question of "why" Fr Seraphim did not write more about Islam, and why he did not expend more energy and ink refuting Islam's theological jihad against Orthodox Christianity. After all, Fr Seraphim is certainly something of a prophetic figure in modern Orthodoxy; how could he not see the ascendency of Islam?

Simply put, perhaps that was not the message or vision granted to him. Fr Seraphim came of age in a vastly different time. Zen Buddhism, Hinduism, Meditation techniques, the New Age movement, Eastern mystical traditions and other occult phenomena were very much in the air, and had been gathering momentum for quite some time, waging a serious assault against Christianity since the late 19th century. Those were some of the signs of his time of the Age of Apostasy into which we were then entering.

By contrast, the Muslim world was highly westernized in the 1950s through 1979 (the year of the Islamic revolution in Iran). The Ottoman Empire had been dismantled after World War I; Kemal Ataturk reestablished Turkey as a modern, secular republic, and abolished the Islamic caliphate in 1924, effectively neutering the pan-Muslim movement for nearly the next eighty years. Although the Muslim Brotherhood was born in the 1920s as a response to the apostasy of secularism, Western culture and mores were widespread throughout Egypt, Lebanon, and the Middle East in general, and the Muslim Brotherhood itself was outlawed. To take but one example, one cannot find a woman wearing a hijab in college class photos from Cairo in the 1950s and 1960s.

As a result, Islam was not especially on Fr Seraphim's radar screen. Or rather, it was eclipsed by the Eastern religious movements.

So then, what might Fr Seraphim have to say about Islam now, as we approach the eleventh anniversary of the 9/11/01 attacks?

Monday, September 2, 2019

Fr Seraphim Rose - Russian Documentary w/English Subtitles

This excellent film has been out for a few years, but only recently was it given English subtitles by the Russian Faith website. Scroll down below the video for links and transcript.

Icon of Hieromonk Seraphim from Mt Athos
September 2 is the anniversary of the Repose of Blessed Hieromonk Seraphim Rose in 1982. Visit our Special Resource Page to learn more about this extraordinary figure in contemporary Orthodoxy.

I return to Father Seraphim Rose on this blog again and again because of his clear warnings against ecumenism and syncretism, against the tendency in our age for even well intentioned Orthodox Christians to compromise the True Faith in Jesus Christ in their confused efforts to appeal to other Christians or even to non-Christians.


Blessed Hieromonk Seraphim is widely venerated as a saint in traditional Orthodox nations such as Russia, Greece, Romania, and Serbia, and is considered by the Monks of Mount Athos as one of their own, as evidenced by photographs and icons of him seen by pilgrims to the monastic republic in northern Greece.

Pilgrims to Orthodox monasteries across North America will likewise notice photographs and the occasional icon of Father Seraphim at numerous monasteries, both men's and women's, under various jurisdictions, and there are a growing number of parishes which openly venerate Father Seraphim. Some, with direct ties to the St Herman of Alaska Monastery in Platina CA, which Father Seraphim co-founded, have secondary relics such as his vestments or other items which they make available for the faithful to venerate.

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Fr. Seraphim Rose on Islam - Fr Seraphim didn't write much about Islam, or did he? A look at Fr Seraphim's teaching on the Monotheistic Religions, and how he might have approached the challenge of Islam.

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This organic and heartfelt growth in the veneration of Hieromonk Seraphim of Platina, by monasteries, parishes and the faithful touched by his life and intercessions, points to his eventual glorification as a saint by the Orthodox Church... if the Lord doesn't return first.



Fr Seraphim Rose - subtitles от rutube_account_7229868 на Rutube


VIDEO: A Legendary American Monk Who Inspired Christians in Russia - Fr. Seraphim Rose


Russian-Faith.com, July 26, 2019:

Russians have long appreciated Fr. Seraphim Rose, the beloved Orthodox monk who started a monastery in northern California. This documentary was produced in Russian, and is available here for the first time with English subtitles.

He was a Protestant in California, an atheist genius at Berkeley, a practicing Buddhist, and finally — a Russian Orthodox Monk in the American wilderness. Fr. Seraphim Rose became a legend in Russia, where many now recognize him as a Saint.

This fascinating film was produced by NEOFIT.TV, a quality production company that creates numerous documentaries about Orthodox Christian saints, apostles, prophets, well known preachers, and Church history. Many excellent films are available on their website.

TRANSCRIPT:

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Robert Spencer: 'Do Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God? Absolutely Not.'

A fresh look at the Same God question, considering three striking and essential differences between Allah and the True God worshiped by Christians.


Robert Spencer is perhaps best known for his blog Jihad Watch, and for his numerous bestselling books tracking the malevolent history and muscular rise of Islam around the globe. But he is equally adept at looking beyond the existential threat of Islam to its subversive theological claims, as evidenced in his 2013 book, Not Peace But a Sword.

In this new article, Mr. Spencer goes beyond the obvious dogmatic differences between Christianity and Islam, and provides us with yet more clear and direct refutation of what I call the Same God Heresy.

Read and share widely.


Do Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God? Absolutely Not. Here’s Why.


by Robert Spencer, PJ Media, August 15, 2019




The Qur’an says that Christians and Muslims worship the same God (29:46), and so does the Catholic Church. The Irish Catholic newspaper recently considered this question and offered an argument from authority, which is the weakest of all arguments: Christians and Muslims worship the same God because the Catholic Church’s Second Vatican Council says so in the documents Lumen Gentium and Nostra Aetate. But a closer examination of the evidence shows this to be false.

Besides the obvious differences regarding the Trinity, the crucifixion, and the divinity of Christ, there are deeper differences that are often overlooked.


Free will


There are numerous passages of the Qur’an, as well as indications from Islamic tradition, to the effect that not only can no one believe in Allah except by his will, so also no one can disbelieve in him except by his active will. “And to whoever God assigns no light, no light has he” (24:40).

The issue of free will versus predestination has, of course, vexed Christians of various sects for centuries, as different biblical passages are given different weight in various traditions. Calvinism, of course, in its pure form is notorious for its doctrine of double predestination, the idea that God has destined people for hell as well as for salvation. But this position is largely unique to them in the Christian tradition, which generally holds that God desires all men and women to be saved, and gives them the means to attain this salvation. The idea that God would create men for hell is in total conflict with the proposition that God “desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4), and that he “takes no pleasure in the death of anyone” (Ezekiel 18:32).

The situation in Islam is, on first glance, even worse, with the Qur’an’s testimony on this, as on other matters, appearing to be hopelessly contradictory. The Qur’an, says the Qur’an, is “nothing but a reminder to all beings, for whoever of you who would go straight; but you will not do so unless Allah wills, the Lord of all Being” (81:27-29). Those who would “go straight” — follow Allah’s straight path — cannot do so “unless Allah wills.”

Sunday, August 11, 2019

False Sense of Security? - 'Lull in Terrorism Masks a Deepening Jihadist Threat, Dutch Report Warns'

"Muslim extremism, and particularly Salafism, is on the rise across Europe, as are recruiting efforts to radicalize European Muslims through Salafist schools, mosques, and social groups...

"The DTN report [warns] of the dangers returning jihadists, especially women, will pose to Western countries – not just Europe, but Canada and the United States as well."

This report confirms what we are seeing generally, how Jihad Watch and other sites,  in the relative absence of jihad terror attacks in the West, are reporting more on 'Stealth Jihad', legal battles, and the cultural effects of increased Muslim advocacy in the USA, Canada, Australia, and Europe, including the continued pressure by the mainstream media, the Tech monopolies (Facebook, Google, Twitter, etc.) and government against criticism of Islam.

It is essential to remember that at its core, Islam is aggressive and militant, hence the recent threats by the Islamic State to attack San Francisco, New York, and London. And in June, Spain raised its terror threat level to "Severe," and deployed 40,000 extra police.


Islamic State's latest propaganda poster.



Lull in Terrorism Masks a Deepening Jihadist Threat, Dutch Report Warns

by Abigail R. Esman, IPT News
March 1, 2019

It's been a relatively quiet year for jihadists in the West, with only six attacks in Europe, compared to 20 in 2017. This, combined with the military fall of the Islamic State, has led politicians and pundits alike to declare a victory of a sort: ISIS is defeated, they announce, or condemn concerns about potential Islamist terrorist attacks as racist "Islamophobia."

They are wrong.

A report issued earlier this week by the Dutch National Coordinator of Counterterrorism and Security (NCTV) confirms that Muslim extremism, and particularly Salafism, is on the rise across Europe, as are recruiting efforts to radicalize European Muslims through Salafist schools, mosques, and social groups. 

What's more, ISIS continues to be a threat, largely through the possibility of returnees – Europeans who fought with ISIS and now are trying to come home – bringing their ideology and training with them. ISIS, meanwhile, continues to recruit through propaganda, most of it online. And despite their losses, the Terror Threat Report Netherlands report (known as the DTN report, for Dreigingsbeeld Terrorisme Nederland) says that both ISIS and al-Qaida are prepared to attack Europe "at any moment."