Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Sign of The Forerunner

The prophetic significance of Muslim beheadings of Christians.

The Beheading of St John the Forerunner, commemorated August 29 in the Orthodox Church.

John the Baptist’s rich and descriptive title in the Orthodox Church is, “The Holy, Glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist, John.” He is much more than “John the Baptist.”  He is a sign, a mystery

As “The Forerunner” he is a clear sign of the First Coming of Christ, but also of the Second Coming; he is a mystery of the fulfillment of this age, and of its trials and woes.

Friday, August 29, 2014

ISIS: Still Beheading Like It's the End of the World

Timothy Furnish continues to shine the light of knowledge on the foul darkness of the Islamic State Caliphate (formerly ISIS) and its apocalyptic dreams.

See also: Muslim cleric justifies Islamic State beheadings: “Islam is a religion of beheading”

by Timothy R. Furnish, Mahdi Watch — August 21, 2014

The “Islamic State” [IS], formerly the “Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham” [ISIS or ISIL—the latter if one prefers “Levant”], ended Ramadan 1435/2014 with another issue of its propagandistic “Dabiq” magazine. (Issue #1 thereof, which had come out at the beginning of the Islamic holy month, I dissected here.) 

This second issue is book-ended with apocalyptic references: p. 2 repeats the Abu Mus`ab al-Zarqawi (who went to meet the huris, 2006) quote—adduced several times in issue #1—about the spark that had been lit in Iraq eventually burning the “crusader armies in Dabiq;” while the final page excerpts a hadith foretelling the Muslim conquest of Arabia, Persia, Rome and the defeat of the Dajjal (the “Deceiver,” the Islamic antichrist figure).  IS’s flagship publication also brags that the group is coming for Palestine and, as per another hadith, that it will “fight the barbaric jews and kill those of them hiding behind the gharqad trees…” But the second installment of “Dabiq,” unlike the first, does not obsess about the End Times breaking into today’s Middle East; rather, it focuses like a Bond supervillain laser beam on two related topics: the Biblical/Qur’anic flood, and the Islamic practice of mubahalah.  

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Islamic Sharia Law in America: An Orthodox Christian Perspective (AUDIO)

Not integrating well into Western Civilization. Notice the black flags of jihad.
This is a very challenging talk by Fr Josiah Trenham, providing an in-depth look at Islam and sharia throughout history and in America today. Fr. Josiah also contrasts the threat from sharia with the threat from secularism, homosexualism, etc.

Though I agree with much of what Fr. Josiah says, including his warning that we are facing these threats because we have allowed ourselves to be co-opted by the world, and have become too interested in our own comfort and prosperity, I most adamantly disagree with his belief that we can partner with Muslims against the pressures of secularism, and that the United States should enable the implementation of Islamic sharia law for religious matters. Sharia never stops at merely "religious matters," as can be seen in the implementation of sharia courts in the UK.

Terry Mattingly: The West Struggles to See Threat to Eastern Church

"Americans are open to seeing religion's role in the politics of the region, but they just cannot seem to see the Christians there... The idea that these Christians have been there for 2,000 years just doesn't register." —Philip Jenkins

by Terry Mattingly, uexpress — August 20, 2014
h/t Fr. Alex

At first glance, there was a bizarre gap in the proclamation Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi issued as his forces rolled to victory after victory in their rush to rebuild a caliphate in Iraq, Syria and beyond.

The modern world, he said, in a July 1 statement circulated on Twitter, has "been divided into two camps and two trenches, with no third camp present: The camp of Islam and faith, and the camp of kufr (disbelief) and hypocrisy -- the camp of the Muslims and the mujahidin everywhere, and the camp of the Jews, the crusaders, their allies and with them the rest of the nations and religions of kufr, all being led by America and Russia, and being mobilized by the Jews."

Missing from this list were key groups immediately impacted by the rise of the Islamic State -- the region's ancient churches. In one stunning blow, ISIS forces seized Mosul and other Nineveh Plain communities that have sheltered Christians since soon after the faith's birth. Jihadi militiamen burned churches, or turned them into mosques, and marked Christian homes with "n" for "Nisrani" or "Nazarene."

Thus, believers with 2,000 years worth of local roots were declared foreigners -- Nazarenes. They were ordered to convert to Islam, to flee as refugees or face execution, perhaps by crucifixion. Baghdadi called them "crusaders," with other Western infidels.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

ISIS: Apocalypse...How?

ISIS "is an organization that has an apocalyptic, end-of-days strategic vision which will eventually have to be defeated."  — Chuck Hagel, US Secretary of Defense

by Timothy R. Furnish, Mahdi Watch — August 27, 2014

And we thought Scuds were bad when Saddam had them! 

Last week the senior leadership of the US Defense Department publicly acknowledged that Islamic apocalyptic thought is playing a prominent role in modern Middle Eastern conflicts. The Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, in a press conference with his boss, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, said the following:

"This is an organization that has an apocalyptic, end-of-days strategic vision which will eventually have to be defeated."

How extraordinary! The top-ranking American military commander adduced Islamic eschatology as an important issue.  Perhaps my eight years of warning about Mahdism on this site has finally been heeded by certain folks.

Sec Def Hagel and General Dempsey also said several other things worthy of note and examination:

Monday, August 25, 2014

Icon of St Innocent of Alaska Weeping Myrrh

Perhaps St Innocent, Metropolitan of Moscow, Missionary to Alaska and Enlightener of the Aleuts, is weeping due to the construction of a Mega-Mosque in Alaska, a sign of the growing global jihad, and of the pressures against Orthodox Christians in so many areas around the globe. The ongoing spread of what St John of Damascus called "the superstition of the Ishmaelites, the forerunner of the Antichrist" should make all Christians weep. And the phenomenon of weeping icons are given us by the Lord to inspire us to deep repentance.

Icon of St Innocent of Moscow Weeping Myrrh in Khabarovsk
Pravoslavie — August 22, 2014

On August 20, 2014, in the house church of the Khabarovsk Theological Seminary, the icon of this educational establishment’s patron-saint, Holy Hierarch Innocent of Moscow (Veniaminov; 1797-1879; a great missionary in Siberia and north America, later Metropolitan of Moscow), began weeping myrrh, reports the Khabarovsk Diocese’s information department.

The unusual phenomenon was noticed by the seminary aspirants who came to take entrance examinations.

“The streaming myrrh was noticed by our seminary entrants who remained at the evening prayers. When we were informed about it, we saw drops on the eyes of the Holy Hierarch Innocent of Moscow and stains from them. This is an icon of our patron-saint so we performed a prayer service at once,” related the pro-rector of the Khabarovsk Theological Seminary Bishop Ephraim of Bikin. “When the icon was opened to make sure that it really was shedding myrrh, the church suddenly was filled with fragrant aroma. In order to document the fact that the icon started shedding myrrh, the seminary has drawn up a special record”.


New ISIS poster campaign follows video from Islamic State jihadists in which they vow to “liberate” what they call Al-Andalus from non-Muslims... and  "conquer Israel, Rome and Spain.”

by Bob Unruh, WND — August 18, 2014

ISIS message in front of Aljafería Palace in Zaragoza

Jihadists inside Spain have begun prepping for a takeover of the nation by ISIS, also known as Islamic State, the terror army that has been marching across Iraq, destroying Christians and evidence of their faith and imposing the extreme control of Islam’s Shariah law.

According to a new report from Soeren Kern, a senior fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute, there have developed more frequent and more strident statements regarding Spain being ruled once again by the violence of Islam.

Muslims, known then as Moors, occupied that region of the world from 711 until 1492.

“Clearly Spain forms part of the strategic objectives of global jihad,” Spanish Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz is quoted in the report. “We are not the only ones but we are in their sights.”

Sunday, August 24, 2014

St Kosmas of Aitolia (Aug 24) - Equal to the Apostles, Holy Neo-Martyr under the Muslim Turks

- Life, Teachings, and Significance of a Modern-Day Apostle -

"The impact Father Kosmas had on the people-both lay and clergy-was such that he was considered a saint many years before he was cruelly put to death by the Turks. The secret of his great success was due, above all, to the fact that he not only preached the Gospel but lived it in such a way that many who heard him were moved to follow in his footsteps."  (Nomikos Michael Vaporis, Life of St. Kosmas Aitolos together with an English Translation of his Life and Teachings, Source.)

St Kosmas of Aitolia
During these early years of the Third Jihad, where Christians from Africa to the Middle East, and from Central Asia to Indonesia, are being just as viciously persecuted by Muslims as Christians were in previous centuries, we must turn for sure and salvific guidance to the lives and teachings of the Holy Confessors and Neo-Martyrs under the Turkish yoke, as well as those under the first wave of jihad in the seventh and eighth centuries, and the second jihad in the twelfth through fifteenth centuries. This is why I feature posts on the saints of the Orthodox Church, who balance bold refutations of the false religion of Islam with pure Christian catechism, and who witness to Christ by their very lives.

So it is with St. Kosmas Aitolos, who embraced the call of missionary to the Greek people, strengthening them in their faith and through his patient preaching, teaching and establishing of Christian schools, rallied the Christians to resist the pressures exerted on them by their Muslim overlords:
Kosmas had made up his mind to do missionary work, and he could think of no better place to do so than in his homeland, particularly in the remote corners of the rugged peninsula where the lack of churches and flight from persecution had dimmed the light of Christianity. He was determined to revitalise the Christian spirit of every isolated village of Greece and to bring back to the forlorn the age-old Hellenic pride which the Muslims had ground into the dust. (Source)

At the same time, St. Kosmas taught his Christian flocks to love and forgive their enemies with the love of Christ Himself:
"We who are pious Christians, should love our enemies and should forgive them. We should feed them. We should give them drink. We should pray to God for their souls and then say to God: 'My God, I beg you to forgive me as I forgive my enemies'. But if we don't forgive our enemies, even if we shed our blood for the love of Christ, we'll go to hell." (Source)

The Muslim Jesus?

In the post below, Robert Spencer ably refutes a sly article which seeks to assimilate Jesus Christ into the Islamic tradition. I'd like to augment Mr. Spencer's comments with a few of my own:

The main absurdity in the Philip Jenkins article (reproduced below following Mr. Spencer's comments) is that the author presents supposed sayings of Jesus taken from non-canonical Christian sources, mixed in with supposed sayings of Jesus taken from Islamic sources. Jenkins states:
This degree of similarity is amazing given the chronology. All the Christian examples date from the second or third centuries, none of the Muslim examples is recorded before the ninth century. Yet they breathe exactly the same atmosphere.
Actually, there is nothing amazing about such similarity at all. In a very real sense it is the comparison of fabrications and heresies in order to imply a link between Islam and the real Jesus. The non-canonical "Christian" texts are non-canonical for very good reasons. Yet the unwitting Jenkins appeals to their ancientness, dating them to the second and third centuries. That puts them anywhere from 100 to 250 years older than the Gospels in the New Testament, and rejected by the Christian Church as outside the Apostolic tradition. (Spencer has more to say on this below.)

Further, Jenkins and the Muslim author he is deriving his thesis from appeal to similarities between sayings of the Islamic Jesus and the Synoptic Gospels:  "In perhaps 30 cases, the resemblances to the Synoptic gospels are overwhelming."

But such "overwhelming similarities" in no way help his thesis, as one can also find tight parallels and even direct links between the Quran and Zoroastrian texts, or between the Quran and the Jewish Talmud.

Such similarities rather reveal the Quran as a syncretistic patchwork of snippets from numerous spiritual traditions. When one looks behind Jenkins' assumptions, one finds that Islam is a fraud, Muhammad borrowing for the Quran from whatever struck his fancy. This also explains why the Quran so completely scrambles every Old Testament character and event which it recapitulates (most famously confusing Miriam the Mother of Jesus with Miriam the sister of Aaron, even though they are separated by centuries).

In filling in the gaps of his incomplete understanding of the Hebrew scriptures and traditions, Muhammad made things up, or rather, the demon which attended him fed the illiterate "prophet" lie after lie, distorting and confusing every Biblical account, from the Creation to Abraham to Noah to Moses to Jesus and so on. When subsequently rejected as a false prophet by the Jews and Christians of his day for his incoherent fables, Muhammad turned in pride and fury on them, accusing them of corrupting their scriptures, and unleashing the global jihad which continues to this day.

Significantly, Jenkins resorts to the thoroughly discredited "Q Theory" to make his case:
Scholars agree that the earliest records of Jesus took the form of sayings, or sequences of sayings, with very little of the narrative that we know from the canonical gospels. One such (hypothetical) sayings collection was “Q,” which was a critical source for both Matthew and Luke.

Actually, scholars "agree" on no such thing. For an in depth discussion of the post-modernist "Q" theory and the related question of early Christian oral tradition, all of which applies to Jenkins' exercise in mythmaking, see my 2013 article:  Refuting Reza Aslan’s ‘Zealot - The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth’. 

Ultimately, the question, posed by Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels, remains unchanged: "Who do men say that I am?" Since Peter's divinely inspired response, the Church has been established on the rock of his confession that Jesus is "the Christ, the Son of the Living God." Those who deny Jesus Christ, or seek to twist and appropriate Him for their own agenda, will use every subterfuge, academic "proof," and sophistry to do so. Some even resort to claiming direct revelations from God. We are never surprised nor thrown off balance by the deceits of the enemy of mankind. For we know that our life is in Christ, and that "no one comes to the Father but through Him."

The Muslim Jesus?
by Robert Spencer, Jihad Watch — July 1, 2014

Another exercise in mythmaking.
Aleteia has published an extraordinarily irresponsible piece by Philip Jenkins, entitled “The Muslim Jesus.” Jenkins is the politically correct professor who has claimed to have found that “the Islamic scriptures in the Quran were actually far less bloody and less violent than those in the Bible.” In this new piece he claims that the Islamic tradition has preserved some sayings of Jesus that could be authentic — basing his argument on the fact that they sound rather like other sayings attributed to Jesus, particularly in their exhortation not to value this passing world. He produces six sayings to support this, three from Islamic tradition and three from Christian non-canonical sources, claiming that the impossibility of distinguishing them from each other supports the authenticity of the Islamic sayings.

This is, of course, palpably absurd. Otherworldly sayings can be found in all manner of non-Christian traditions. The fact that they’re otherworldly doesn’t mean that Jesus said them. What’s more, his own argument cuts against itself, for he says: “Such words would have been treasured by Eastern Christian monks and hermits, in lands like Syria and Mesopotamia. We also know that from earliest times, some Christian monks and clergy accepted Islam. The Koran reports how their eyes filled with tears, as they prayed, ‘We do believe; make us one, then, with all who bear witness to the truth!’” If such words were treasured by Eastern Christian monks and hermits, and only some but presumably not all Christian monks and clergy accepted Islam, why is there no trace of these sayings in Eastern Christian traditions? It just happened that all the Christians who had preserved these sayings converted to Islam?

And even if these are authentic sayings of Jesus that have been preserved only in Islamic tradition, what are we supposed to get from that? What is Jenkins’ point? There is nothing in the supposed Islamic sayings of Jesus that he quotes that adds anything to our understanding of Jesus, or to the font of the world’s wisdom. Also, significantly, Jenkins does not bother to inform his readers that the Qur’an says that those who believe in the divinity of Christ are unbelievers (5:17, 5:72), or that Jesus was not actually crucified (4:157), or that those who say Jesus is the Son of God are accursed (9:30), or that Muslims should wage war against Christians until they submit to Islamic hegemony (9:29). He makes no mention of this notable hadith:

Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle said, “By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, son of Mary (Jesus) will shortly descend amongst you people (Muslims) as a just ruler and will break the Cross and kill the pig and abolish the Jizya (a tax taken from the non-Muslims, who are in the protection, of the Muslim government). Then there will be abundance of money and no-body will accept charitable gifts. (Bukhari 3.34.425)

Breaking the cross and killing the pig signifies abolishing the false Christianity, the Christianity that holds that Jesus was crucified and does not keep food laws. By abolishing the jizya, this Muslim Jesus is destroying the dhimma, the “protection” that Christians have when they submit to Islamic rule, thus leaving them with the choices only of converting to Islam or being killed.

This supremacist and violent vision is at the heart of the Islamic idea that Christianity in all its forms, Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant, is a twisting and hijacking of the original religion of Jesus, which was and is Islam. This is replacement theology par excellence, and renders all current forms of Christianity renegade and illegitimate. This idea is at the core of the Muslim persecution of Christians worldwide, from Nigeria to Libya to Egypt to Syria to Iraq to Pakistan to Indonesia. But Jenkins makes no mention of that escalating persecution, either. The thrust of his piece appears to be that sure, they’re killing Christians and dismissing Christianity as a mutant version of the teachings of Jesus, but look, they have some of Jesus’ original sayings! It thus appears as if his article is designed to render Christians uncritical and complacent in the face of the advancing jihad.

The Muslim Jesus: Jesus sayings we never thought we had
by Philip Jenkins, Aleteia, June 30, 2014:

Around the year 1600, the Indian emperor Akbar built a splendid ceremonial gate at Fatehpur Sikri, and on it he inscribed words attributed to Jesus, son of Mary: “The world is a bridge: pass over it, but do not build your house upon it.”

It’s an evocative saying, one of many attributed to Jesus in the Islamic tradition. But is there any chance that such words might have any authenticity, any connection with the historical Jesus? Actually, the chances are greater than you might think, and like a good professor, I am going to illustrate that with a short quiz.

The Koran includes a good deal of material about Jesus. [None of it accurate.] More relevant for present purposes are the many stories and saying gathered by Muslim sages over the following centuries, which have been collected by modern scholar Tarif Khalidi in his book The Muslim Jesus: Sayings and Stories in Islamic Literature. Khalidi argues that together, these constitute a whole Muslim Gospel.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

A New Mega Mosque Rises… in Orthodox Christian Alaska

Alaska is where Orthodox Christian missionaries — monks from Valaam Monastery in Lake Ladoga, north of St Petersburg, Russia — first brought the Orthodox Gospel of Jesus Christ to America in 1794. By the grace of God working through the faith and sanctity of St. Herman, Elder and Wonderworker of Alaska, the Priest-Martyr Juvenaly and others who followed them in the 19th century, Alaska continues to have a vibrant Orthodox presence to this day.

Make no mistake, this new mosque project is not a wonderful fruit of 'multiculturalism' (which, like Islam, is always out to destroy Orthodox Christianity), but as with all mosques, is an early stage of jihad, a frontier outpost in Islam's efforts to dominate the globe.

As you read this article, keep in mind that four separate studies over the last fifteen years consistently show that upwards of 80% of all mosques in the United States teach, preach or support jihad, and the replacing of the US Constitution with Sharia law, documenting also the foreign funding of mosques by Saudi Arabia and other sources of Islamic extremism. Links to the studies and more mosque info here.

A New Mega Mosque Rises…in Alaska
Creeping ShariaAugust 19, 2014

On the edge of this northern outpost an unfamiliar sight is emerging: twin minarets. Alaska’s small but growing Muslim community is building the state’s first newly constructed mosque.
All too familiar for anyone watching the death and destruction Muslims are bringing wherever they go.
“This is our future,” said Osama Obeidi, one of the Muslim-Americans leading the building effort for the Islamic Community Center of Anchorage. “We have second-generation Alaskans now, and new people coming all the time. We need a place to call home.” 
The 15,000-square-foot mosque, taking shape near a Sons of Norway Viking Hall, will eventually include a Sunday school and a community center. Heated floors will make worship in the bitter winters more comfortable. 
The mosque is perhaps the clearest sign yet that Islam in the U.S. is rapidly pushing beyond traditional population centers such as Detroit and Los Angeles. As the number of American Muslims grows through both immigration and higher-than-average birthrates, domes and minarets are sprouting in areas as varied as the eastern mountains of Kentucky and Louisiana’s parishes.

Raymond Ibrahim: Sharks and Islamists: Equally Misunderstood?

"We need to respect their ways and be tolerant... it’s our fault we get attacked."

by Raymond Ibrahim, August 19, 2014

I recently spent some time watching Shark Week on television.  Being fascinated with large predatory fish, I’ve watched many shark programs throughout the years.  And I’ve reached one conclusion: the “liberal” response one is accustomed to when the topic of Islam and Islamists come up—that they are misunderstood, that we need to respect their ways and be tolerant, that it’s our fault we get attacked—has become so embedded in the Western psyche that it now colors our understanding of the animal world as well.

Almost every shark program follows the same pattern: the large predators are portrayed in all their grandeur, roaming the seas; then we hear of several anecdotes of shark attacks on humans, often with the survivors recounting their experience.

The prevalent theme is this: it’s not the shark’s fault that it attacked and maimed this or that surfer, swimmier, or kayaker.  Rather, humans are responsible for entering the shark’s domain, the ocean.  If anything, then, it’s the human’s fault for getting attacked.  Even great whites, so we are assured, only attack humans by mistake, never intentionally. Finally we get the speech about how sharks are in fact the one’s being mistreated by humans, etc.

To those familiar with the way liberal talking heads constantly whitewash the violence and intolerance of Islam, does this not all sound familiar?  From the notion that “it’s our fault” we got attacked, and we “had it coming,” to the idea that we need to be more “understanding and respectful,” the “progressive” memes are all there.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Senator James Inhofe: ISIS developing means to ‘blow up’ a US city

by Martin Matishak, The Hill — August 21, 2014

The top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee said Sunni militants are working on the capability to wipe out a city inside the United States.

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has long threatened to carry out a catastrophic attack on American soil, with a spokesman recently boasting that the militant group would fly its flag over the White House.

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) said ISIS members are “rapidly developing a method of blowing up a major U.S. city and people just can’t believe that’s happening.” 

“Yes, it’s really significant what’s happening,” he added during a local television interview on Wednesday.

Interview with Rick Wiles of TruNews Radio

I was honored to be Rick Wiles' guest for a lengthy and far-ranging interview on TruNews Radio earlier today. Links below to play in browser or to download.

We discussed the Muslim persecution of Christians, Orthodox Russia, Obama as the anti-Constantine out to repeal the Edict of Milan, and issues of eschatology and prophecy. Rick and I immediately struck up a great rapport, and I believe it was a good opportunity to introduce an Orthodox Christian perspective to his large listening audience.

Topic : 
Is Barack Obama repealing Emperor Constantine’s Edict of Milan that stopped persecution of Christians? Orthodox Church blogger Ralph Sidway tells Rick Wiles what the ancient church has to say about the religion of Muhammad.  

Air Date:
Friday August 22, 2014 

Beheading in the Name of Islam

Our friend and fearless scholar of Islam, the Mahdi and Islamic eschatology, recently sent me this article of his, nearly a decade old now, which sheds light on the bloody penchant for beheadings embedded in Islam's DNA. This helps mightily to explain why the Islamic State Caliphate and other devout Muslim groups "strike the necks" of their victims.

by Timothy R. Furnish, Middle East Quarterly
Spring 2005, pp 51-57

Timothy R. Furnish holds a PhD in Islamic History and is an author, analyst, and consultant to the US military who specializes in transnational Islamic movements, eschatology and Mahdism. His website is

An ISIS jihadi joyfully displaying his victim's head, July 2014.
Images of masked terrorists standing behind Western hostages in Iraq and Saudi Arabia have become all too common on Arabic satellite stations such as Al-Jazeera and Al-Manar. Islamist websites such as Muntadiyat al-Mahdi[1] go further, streaming video of their murder.

The February 2002 decapitation of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, true to its intention, horrified the Western audience. Chechen rebels, egged on by Islamist benefactors, had adopted the practice four years earlier,[2] but the absence of widely broadcast videos limited the psychological impact of hostage decapitation. The Pearl murder and video catalyzed the resurgence of this historical Islamic practice. In Iraq, terrorists filmed the beheadings of Americans Nicholas Berg, Jack Hensley, and Eugene Armstrong. Other victims include Turks, an Egyptian, a Korean, Bulgarians, a British businessman, and a Nepalese. Scores of Iraqis, both Kurds and Arabs, have also fallen victim to Islamist terrorists' knives. The new fad in terrorist brutality has extended to Saudi Arabia where Islamist terrorists murdered American businessman Paul Johnson, whose head was later discovered in a freezer in an Al-Qaeda hideout. A variation upon this theme would be the practice of Islamists slitting the throats of those opponents they label infidels. This is what happened to Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh, first gunned down and then mutilated on an Amsterdam street,[3] and to an Egyptian Coptic family in New Jersey after the father had angered Islamists with Internet chat room criticisms of Islam.[4]

The purpose of terrorism is to strike fear into the hearts of opponents in order to win political concession. As the shock value wears off and the Western world becomes immunized to any particular tactic, terrorists develop new ones in order to maximize shock and the press reaction upon which they thrive. In the 1970s and 1980s, terrorists hijacked airliners to win headlines. In the 1980s and 1990s, the car bomb became more popular; Palestinian terrorists perfected suicide bombings in the 1990s. But what once garnered days of commentary now generates only hours. Decapitation has become the latest fashion. In many ways, it sends terrorism back to the future. Unlike hijackings and car bombs, ritual beheading has a long precedent in Islamic theology and history.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Islamic Hatred and Persecution of Christians Is Imported into European Refugee Centres

"The International Society for Human Rights (ISHR) explains that attacks against Christians are far from isolated cases and that all Christians and Christian converts arriving in Germany are victims of harassment, threats, pressure" and physical violence from Muslims.

by Enza Ferreri, August 17, 2014

Christians persecuted by Muslims in Islamic countries who think they are escaping their fate by fleeing discover that the same treatment awaits them in Europe, which after all has simply imported Islam's barbarism by opening its doors to large numbers of Muslims.

The German daily newspaper Die Welt reports on the terrible exclusion and violence suffered by Christian refugees at the hands of Muslims in Germany's asylum centres.

Germany is the second country in the world, after the US, for number of asylum applications received, with 13% of them last year, and the first in Europe, with 23.2% last year.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Silent Holocaust: The Persecution of Christians in the Middle East, and What We Can Do About It

  • Houston meeting to bring together Orthodox, Coptic and Syriac Christian communities.
  • Congressional representatives invited.
  • Learn how you can help.

via Fr. John Whiteford, August 19, 2014

More details will be forthcoming, but on September 5th, 2014, at 7 pm, the Orthodox Clergy Association of Houston and Southeast Texas will have a meeting at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, in Houston to discuss the persecution of Christians in the Middle East. 

We are inviting all the members of the Orthodox, Coptic and Syriac Christian communities in the area to participate. We are also asking all the members of the congressional delegation of the Houston area to come. We will have speakers who will talking about what is going on, we will have questions and answers, and we will be talking about what we can do about it.

Contact your congressman and ask them to come and participate... and if you don't know who your congressman is, or if you know, but don't know how to get in touch with them, see this web site:

Visit and bookmark this page for more info and to contact Fr. John Whiteford.

Raymond Ibrahim: The Siege of Constantinople

"Ever since the Muslim prophet Mohammed sent a message in 628 to the Byzantine emperor Heraclius, summoning him to Islam, with the famous assertion, aslam taslam — that is, “submit [become Muslim], and you will have peace” — and the summons was refused, Constantinople became Islam’s arch-enemy."

by Raymond Ibrahim, August 15, 2014

Editor’s note: To mark the August 15 anniversary of the second Islamic siege of Constantinople, we republish the following article, which appeared a year ago on National Review Online:

Seige of Constantinople, from the Constantine Manasses Chronicle

Today, August 15, marks the anniversary of Constantinople’s victory over Muslim invaders in what historians commonly call the “Second Siege of Byzantium,” 717–18. Prior to this massive onslaught, the Muslims had been hacking away at the domains of the Byzantine empire for nearly a century. The Muslims’ ultimate goal was the conquest of Constantinople — for both political and religious reasons.

"Constantinople — from [Islam's] theological perspective — simply had to fall."

Politically, Islam had no rival but the “hated Christians” of Byzantium, known by various appellations — including al-Rum (the Romans), al-Nassara (the Nazarenes), and, most notoriously, al-Kilab (the “dogs”). The eastern Sasanian Empire had already been vanquished, and Persia subsumed into the caliphate. Only the “worshippers of the cross” — as they were, and still are, disparagingly known — were left as contenders over the eastern Mediterranean basin.

More important, Constantinople — from a theological perspective — simply had to fall. From the start, Islam and jihad were inextricably linked. The jihad, or “holy war,” which took over Arabia and Persia, followed by Syria, Egypt, and all of North Africa — all formerly Byzantine territory — was considered a religious obligation, or, as later codified in sharia law, a fard kifaya: a communal obligation on the body of believers, to be adhered to and fulfilled no less than the Five Pillars of Islam. 

"The jihad is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the Muslim mission and the obligation to convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force..."

As the famous 14th-century Muslim historian Ibn Khaldun put it: “In the Muslim community, the jihad is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the Muslim mission and the obligation to convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force. . . .  Islam is under obligation to gain power over other nations.”

This concept of jihad as institutionalized holy war was first articulated and codified into Islam’s worldview by “warrior-theologians” (mujahidin-fuqaha) living and fighting along the Byzantine-Arab frontier (such as the mujahid Abdallah bin Mubarak, author of the seminal work Kitab al-Jihad or “Book of Jihad”).

The prevalent view was that, so long as Constantinople stood, the Cross would defy the Crescent. This is a literal point: Symbols played a great role in these wars. Less than a century earlier, at the pivotal battle of Yarmuk (636), where the Muslims crushed the Byzantines, leading to the conquest of Syria, one Muslim complained to the caliph, saying, “The dog of the Romans [Emperor Heraclius] has greatly frustrated us with the ubiquitous presence of the cross!”

Indeed, one cannot overemphasize the religious nature of these wars — which, if still codified in Islam’s sharia, has become all but alien to a Western epistemology that tends cynically to dismiss the role of faith. That the primary way of identifying oneself in the old world was based on religious affiliation — not race, ethnicity, or nationality, all modern concepts — is indicative of the central role of faith. Even useful terms such as “Byzantines” are ultimately anachronistic; “Byzantines” identified themselves first and foremost as “Christians.”

For these reasons, the conquest of Constantinople would take on increasingly apocalyptic proportions in Islamic literature. Ever since the Muslim prophet Mohammed sent a message in 628 to the Byzantine emperor Heraclius, summoning him to Islam, with the famous assertion, aslam taslam — that is, “submit [become Muslim], and you will have peace” — and the summons was refused, Constantinople became Islam’s arch-enemy. Mohammed even prophesied that the Christian capital would — indeed, must — fall to Islam, with blessings and rewards to the Muslim(s) fulfilling this prophecy. Fall the great city would — but not for some 800 years, in 1453, giving an inchoate Europe the needed time to mature, strengthen, and unify.

Islamic State vows to ‘break the American cross’

This specific language has clear apocalyptic implications, as per the hadith cited by Robert Spencer below. I cite a complementary hadith (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book of Battles, 37:4310) in my book, Facing Islam, in discussing Islamic eschatology and its belief that Isa (the Islamic Jesus) will return to destroy Christianity and establish Islam throughout the world:
In Islam, Prophet Isa is expected to return, but to condemn the Christians’ misunderstanding of him as divine and to literally destroy Christianity and judge all non-Muslims... The Prophet Isa will be a “good Muslim,” and will direct his followers to the Mahdi, the Muslim messiah, before taking a subservient position somewhat behind the Mahdi. Isa will “fight the people for the cause of Islam. He will break the cross, kill the swine and abolish jizya” and establish the rule of Allah throughout the world. (Facing Islam, p. 80)

Islamic State vows to ‘break the American cross’
Jihad Watch — August 19, 2014

Islamic State targets the White House.
The Islamic State jihadis think of the U.S. as a Christian nation, and so they think of destroying it as breaking the cross, which language is also reminiscent of this:

Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle said, “By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, son of Mary (Jesus) will shortly descend amongst you people (Muslims) as a just ruler and will break the Cross and kill the pig and abolish the Jizya (a tax taken from the non-Muslims, who are in the protection, of the Muslim government). Then there will be abundance of money and no-body will accept charitable gifts. (Bukhari 3.34.425)

“Islamic State vows to ‘break the American cross',” Reuters, August 19, 2014:

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Islamic State, the Sunni militant group which seeks to establish a caliphate in parts of Iraq and Syria, released a video on Tuesday that gave the strongest indication yet it might attempt to strike American targets.

The video with the theme “breaking of the American cross” boasts Islamic State will emerge victorious over “crusader” America. It follows a video posted on Monday warning of attacks on American targets if Washington struck against its fighters in Iraq and Syria.

Exiled Archbishop of Mosul: 'I have lost my diocese to Islam; you in the West will also become victims of Muslims'

"You must consider our reality in the Middle East, because you are welcoming in your countries an ever growing number of Muslims. You are in danger... If you do not understand this soon enough, you will become the victims of the enemy you have welcomed in your home."

by Dr. Susan Berry, Breitbart News — August 18, 2014

The exiled Chaldean Catholic archbishop of Mosul, Iraq, is warning westerners about welcoming an increasing number of Muslims into their countries, naively believing that they too believe in democratic principles.

“Our sufferings today are the prelude of those you, Europeans and Western Christians, will also suffer in the near future,” said Archbishop Amel Shimoun Nona in an interview by Corriere della Sera. “I lost my diocese. The physical setting of my apostolate has been occupied by Islamic radicals who want us converted or dead. But my community is still alive.”

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Robert Spencer: 5 Ways the Quran Explains Today’s Headlines

I would add a sixth: the Global Persecution of Christians:
Those persecuting Christians in 41 of 50 nations are Muslims; that is, a whopping 82% of all persecution around the globe is being committed by the adherents of Islam — sometimes in Christian majority nations; for example, the Central African Republic which, after the 2013 Islamic takeover, now ranks #16, “severe persecution” (the Christian-majority nation did not even appear in the previous year’s top 50). 
As for the top ten absolute worst nations, where, according to the 2014 World Watch List, Christians suffer “extreme persecution,” nine—that is, 90%—are Muslim.  (Indeed, Open Doors’ global map of Christian persecution can easily be confused with a global map of the Islamic world, with the exception of China (ranked 37, “moderate persecution”) and some sporadic countries dominated by crime and godless tyranny, Columbia, North Korea, etc.). 
Similarly, a recent Morning Star News report listing 2013’s ten most horrific anecdotes of Christian persecution around the world finds that nine out of ten—again, 90%—were committed at the hands of those professing Islam.

Why is Muslim persecution of Christians so universal throughout the entire Islamic world? The commands contained in the Quran are clear about how Christians are to be treated:
Fight against those who believe not in Allah, nor in the Last Day, nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth [i.e. Islam] among the people of the Book [Jews and Christians], until they pay the jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued. (Quran 9:29)

Kill the mushrikun [unbelievers] wherever you find them, and capture them and besiege them, and prepare for them each and every ambush. (Quran 9:5)

I will cast terror into the hearts of those who have disbelieved, so strike them over the necks, and smite over all their fingers and toes. (Quran 8:12)
What about inter-religious dialogue and Muslim initiatives such as 'A Common Word Between Us and You'? Well, the Quran is quite explicit as to how Muslims should view Christians:
O you who have believed, do not take the Jews and the Christians as allies. They are [in fact] allies of one another. And whoever is an ally to them among you – then indeed, he is [one] of them. Indeed, Allah guides not the wrongdoing people. (Quran 5:51)
The classic Quranic commentary by Ibn Kathir explains: “Allah forbids His believing servants from having Jews and Christians as friends, because they are the enemies of Islam and its people, may Allah curse them.” 


5 Ways the Quran Explains Today’s Headlines
by Robert Spencer, PJ Media — August 16, 2014
Nihad Awad of the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has claimed [2] that “research has shown that anti-Islam prejudice goes down when people interact with ordinary Muslims and have greater knowledge of Islam.” Accordingly, he says, “it might also be a good idea for Americans of other faiths to borrow a Quran from a Muslim friend, neighbor or co-worker. In that way, knowledge may be increased as bonds of friendship are formed.”

Awad is right. Americans should read the Quran. If they did, they would find that it makes sense of a great many recent events that might otherwise remain inexplicable, bereft of clear motive or purpose.

5. The kidnapped aid workers in Syria.

It was revealed Thursday [3] that two young aid workers from Italy, Greta Ramelli, 20, and Vanessa Marzullo, 21, were kidnapped in Aleppo by Islamic jihadists. Western non-Muslim analysts routinely cite such stories as evidence of the evil of the jihadis — or else as evidence of how self-defeating their jihad is, if they would even try to drive out of their lands the people who have come there to help.

But the Quran makes the reasoning behind the abductions clear. Islam’s holy book directs Muslims to wage war against unbelievers, killing them by beheading and taking captives who may then be freed or ransomed: 
“Now when ye meet in battle those who disbelieve, then it is smiting of the necks until, when ye have routed them, then making fast of bonds; and afterward either grace or ransom till the war lay down its burdens” (47:4).

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Mark Durie - ‘Three Choices’ and the bitter harvest of denial

How dissimulation about Islam is fueling genocide in the Middle East

What follows are key excerpts from a lengthy (4000+ words) article by Dr. Mark Durie, whose books Which God? and The Third Choice should be required reading for all Christians, especially for Orthodox Christian hierarchs, pastors and teachers. An orthodox Anglican with practical experience in Christian-Muslim relations in Australia, Dr. Mark Durie is a trusted voice to heed in these dark times.

I strongly recommend reading carefully and absorbing the full article, as well as Dr. Durie's books. For a shorter summary of the article with comment by Jenny Taylor see here.


‘Three Choices’ and the bitter harvest of denial: How dissimulation about Islam is fueling genocide in the Middle East

In northern Iraq religious genocide is reaching end-game stage.  Islamic State (IS) soldiers, reinforced with military equipment originally supplied by the US, are driving back Kurdish defenders who had been protecting Christians and other religious minorities.  While hundreds of thousands of refugees have been fleeing into Kurdistan, around 40,000 Yazidis and some Christians are trapped on Mount Sinjar, surrounded by IS jihadis.  (Yazidis are Kurdish people whose pre-Christian faith derives from ancient Iranian religious traditions, with overlays and influences from other religions.)...

The IS jihadis are killing the men they capture.  In one recent incident 1500 men were executed in front of their wives and families.  In another incident 13 Yazidi men who refused to convert to Islam had their eyes plucked out, were doused with gasoline and burned alive.  When the men are killed, captured women and children are enslaved to be used for sex, deployed as human shields in battle zones, or sold to be used and abused as their new owners see fit.

The United States has ironically called for greater cooperation.  UN Ambassador, Samantha Power, urged ‘all parties to the conflict’ to allow access to UN relief agencies. She called on Iraqis to ‘come together’ so that Iraq will ‘get back on the path to a peaceful future’ and ‘prevent ISIL from obliterating Iraq’s vibrant diversity’.

Of course it is not ‘vibrant diversity’ which is being wiped out in Iraq, but men, women and children by their tens of thousands.  This is not about the failure of coexistence, and the problem is not ‘conflict’. This is not about people who have trouble getting on and who need to somehow make up and ‘come together’. It is about a well-articulated and well-documented theological worldview hell-bent on dominating ‘infidels’, if necessary wiping them off the face of the earth, in order to establish the power and grandeur of a radical vision of Islam.  


These events ought to be sobering to the West, not least because thousands of the IS jihadis were raised and bred in the mosques of Europe, North America and Australia, not to mention the madrassas of nations such as Malaysia, Bangladesh and Indonesia.  Having been formed by the theology of radical Islam in their home societies, would-be jihadis are flocking to Syria and Iraq where they seek victory or martyrdom, killing and raping as they go.

Why is this so?  How did the Arab Spring, hailed by so many armchair western commentators as the next best thing for the Middle East, blossom bright red into a torrent of blood?

Part of the answer is that the West is in the grip of theological illiteracy.  It has stubbornly refused to grasp the implications of a global Islamic revival which has been gaining steam for the best part of a century.  The Islamic Movement looks back to the glory days of conquest as Islam’s finest hour, and seeks to revive Islamic supremacy through jihad and sacrifice.  It longs for a truly Islamic state – the caliphate reborn – and considers jihad to be the God-given means to usher it in.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Christian Refugee from Mosul, Iraq: 'Our Neighbors Drove Us Out' (VIDEO)

This personal report details a phenomenon likely to be repeated as the Islamic State Caliphate grows in strength. As the IS moves into new areas and cities/villages, Muslims — whether motivated by fear or by agreement with the Quranic purity of the Islamic State and its application of sharia and the Pact of Omar against conquered Christians — will themselves take up arms against and persecute their Christian neighbors. They will side with the 'strong horse' and with the commands of their 'god' and their 'prophet'.

The personal report below is virtually identical to reports from the early 20th century in Turkey, as well as contemporary reports from Syria, Egypt, Pakistan, and virtually all Muslim countries today, as per this post:

'We knew our Muslim neighbours all our lives...We had excellent relations. It never occurred to us that Muslim neighbours would betray us.'

Christian Refugee from Mosul: 'Our Neighbors Drove Us Out'
Video and translation from MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute).
August 11, 2014

Implausible Deniability - West's ISIS Terror Hordes in Iraq

"The West knew the sectarian genocide now unfolding in Syria, Iraq, and soon in Lebanon was the inevitable result of their efforts to raise this regional mercenary force."

August 8, 2014 (Tony Cartalucci - LD) - The US has pledged assistance for victims of and even possible "airstrikes" against terrorists who have surrounded and threaten to eradicate thousands of religious minorities in Iraq. However, the terrorists themselves are a product of US foreign policy in the Middle East and North Africa, and instrumental in achieving Western objectives across the region. Punitive strikes and aid to the victims of what is essentially a Western mercenary army is part of maintaining plausible deniability. 

The terror hordes originated from NATO territory and have inundated Syria, Iraq, and now Lebanon. The goal of this well funded, heavily armed, professionally organized mercenary force is clearly to supplant pro-Iranian political and military fronts across Tehran's arc of influence - from Baghdad to Damascus, to Lebanon and Hezbollah along the Mediterranean. In the process, the heavily indoctrinated rank and file have committed horrific atrocities ranging from rape and torture to mass executions and sectarian genocide. While such war crimes have been taking place in Syria since 2011, it is becoming increasingly difficult to cover up similar crimes beyond Syria's borders under narratives of "civil war" linked to the so-called "Arab Spring."

Image: ISIS began its invasion into Iraqi territory from NATO-member Turkey, through Syria and riding in Toyota Hilux trucks - identical to those provided to "moderates" by the US State Department as part of multi-million dollar "non-lethal" aid packages. ISIS did not take these trucks from "moderates," the moderates never existed to begin with. From the beginning, it was the West's plan to raise a mercenary army of sectarian extremists operating under the banner of Al Qaeda. 

Instead, various stories have been used by the West to explain the appearance of ISIS in Iraq, the unprecedented scale of its operations, its convoys of matching vehicles and now military trucks, artillery, and even tanks. While the world is meant to believe ISIS spontaneously rose from the desert and "stole" billions in cash, weapons, and gear, a much simpler and documented explanation exists - Western state sponsorship - and state sponsorship that continues even as the West denounces the monsters of their own creation.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


by Awr Hopkins, Breitbart News — August 12, 2014

Fighters in Yemen and Africa are leaving Al Qaeda affiliates to join Islamic State.

The news has U.S counterterrorism analysts concerned that Islamic State's ability to conquer lands, oil fields, and infrastructure in Syria and Iraq has served to make the group more appealing to fighters who want to be on the winning side.

According to The Washington Post, "the influx" of new fighters is also bad for another reason--it makes Islamic State that much stronger.

The ability of Islamic State to draw fighters away from Al Qaeda is confounding when you consider that the group wasn't even in existence until Mosul was conquered on June 10.

Conversions to Christianity on the Rise in Egypt

“It is not the political power which oppresses us, but directly the kin,” one recent convert was quoted as saying. “If a Muslim is converted, his family and neighbors may beat him, or even kill him, for this amounts to treason.”
And this is because they are taught to do so by Islam, via the unchanging words of Allah and his "prophet":
"If they turn back from Islam, becoming renegades, seize them and kill them wherever you find them." (Quran 4:89)

[In the words of] Allah’s Apostle Muhammad, "If anyone changes his religion from Islam, kill him." (Sahih Bukhari 9.84.57)

AINA via Pravmir — August 10, 2014

The situation of Coptic Christians in Egypt has improved since the 2013 military overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood, and conversions from Islam to Coptic Christianity are on the rise, according to a report that appears on the website of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

“Organizations close to Christians of the East, and to Copts themselves, speak about a rise in the number of conversions to Christianity,” the report stated. “The figure is hard to determine as those who convert may face judiciary follow-ups or deaths if their conversion is revealed in broad day.”

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Chaldean Christian Leader: 'A Christian Holocaust is in our Midst'

News of the horrific extent of Muslim persecution of Christians is finally filtering into the mainstream media, but without the proper context for understanding what we are seeing. Order and read the books I have listed on the right hand column of this blog for accessible, in-depth studies that will help you to stand firm in your faith, and to refute those who insist that the evil, false-deity 'Allah' is the same as the One True God — the Holy Trinity. Those who insist that we worship the same God, are also implicitly insisting on a false Jesus, a different gospel, and an unholy spirit (see 2 COR 11:3-4).

The time is coming when we too will be confronted with THE CHOICE: to confess our faith in Jesus Christ openly, facing persecution and death like our brothers and sisters in Iraq, Syria and throughout the Islamic world, or to deny Him who lovingly gave up His life for us on the Cross. 

The brutal and bloody rise of pure, orthodox Islam is a sign for our times, calling us to deep repentance and unwavering faith.

"You will be betrayed... and they will put some of you to death. And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But not a hair of your head shall be lost. By your patience possess your souls." (LK 21:16-19)

Chaldean Christian leader: ISIS 'Systematically Beheading' Children in Iraq — August 9, 2014 (h/t Creeping Sharia)

An Islamic State Caliphate devout follower of Muhammad literally applying Allah's command to behead the infidels:  "I will cast terror into the hearts of those who have disbelieved, so strike them over the necks, and smite over all their fingers and toes" (Quran 8:12).

Horrific and sickening reports continue to pour in from Iraq of the atrocities committed by the self-proclaimed Islamic State (also called ISIS). The Chaldeans, also known as Assyrians or Syriacs, are an Aramaic-speaking Iraqi community who trace their Christian heritage back nearly 2,000 years. A prominent leader in the Chaldean community describes the horrors of a “Christian Holocaust” in Iraq today, a “living nightmare” almost unimaginable in its cruelty: children being systematically and publicly beheaded, women being raped, and men being hung. He pleaded at the White House for the world community to act in the face of these atrocities to relieve the suffering of the Iraqi people.

By Eric Chen

8/6/2014 Iraq (Gospel Herald) – A prominent Christian leader of the Chaldean community unveiled the "systematic beheading of children" and other horrendous crimes committed by ISIS. He said that the Sunni extremists are committing genocide against Christians in Iraq and with the aim to instill the Sharia Law as the law of the land.

In the interview with CNN's Jonathan Mann, Chaldean-American businessman Mark Arabo said that the "world hasn't seen an evil like this for generations."

"There is a park in Mosul, where [ISIS] they actually beheaded children and put their heads on a stick and have them in the park," he explained. "More children are getting beheaded, mothers are getting raped and killed, and fathers are being hung."

Monday, August 11, 2014

Metropolitan Tikhon: Pastoral Letter Concerning Violence and Extremism in the Middle East

"Rather than feeling helpless in the face of world tragedies, we need to recall our unity with all of mankind and to respond with prayer for the suffering and the departed. In addition, just as the ascetic struggles of the great saints, in their own time and place, have a cosmic effect, so our own effort to purify our own hearts will have an effect on the rest of the world." 
~ Met. Tikhon of the OCA

AXIOS! to His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, for this wise and sober, yet still heartfelt and deeply compassionate, letter. His practical, pastoral counsel on uprooting anger from our own hearts, bringing peace to our families, and giving alms within our own neighborhoods — in short, sanctifying our lives right where God has planted us — flows from his ascetical and monastic formation. Ours must be an "Activism of the Heart," in which repentance and contrition changes us first, and thus brings light, life and hope to this weary world which is rushing towards its end.

For more on this profound line of monastic thought and praxis, see this recent timely post over at Lessons from a Monastery: “By Withdrawing from the World, One is United with the World”

Pastoral Letter from His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon to the Clergy, Monastics and Faithful of the Orthodox Church in America Concerning Violence and Extremism in the Middle East — August 10, 2014

“We have preferred profane and material things to the commandment of love, and because we have attached ourselves to them we fight against men, whereas we ought to prefer the love of all men to all visible things and even to our own body.”
(St Maximus the Confessor, The Ascetic Life, 7)

Beloved in Christ,

Our hearts have been deeply wounded by the stories and images of war and fighting throughout the world. The recent incidents of violence in the Middle East loom as tragic examples of an increasing disrespect for humanity and disregard for human life and dignity. The Orthodox Church in America joins those in the Middle East, in North America, and around the world who have raised their voices against the inhumane actions we are witnessing. We join all who condemn this blatant disregard for human dignity and life.

The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, whose ministry in the Middle East consistently witnesses to the Gospel of love of Jesus Christ and the Gospel’s command to adhere to peace and non-violence, has issued a strong statement condemning the attacks against Christians in Mosul, expressed in “coercion forcing them to change their belief, pay a tax or leave their homes, while having their property confiscated.” The statement calls on “states that provide fundamentalist groups with any direct or indirect foreign support to immediately stop all forms of material, logistic, military and moral support.”

The Orthodox Church in America expresses its solidarity with the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch in its striving for non-violence and peace. We also express our solidarity with all the suffering Christian communities of Mosul, whose expulsion is ending the Christian presence there after nearly two thousand years.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Archimandrite Christophoros Atallah: Christians are aware that they will be persecuted in this world

The title sounds Christocentric and authentic, but as one reads through the entire text, one finds this to be a deeply conflicted message, mixing Christian teachings with Islamic nationalistic statements such as this:

"...These countries are our countries, the land is our land, the holy places are our places, and we are a fundamental part of their civilization. It is also because they want to rob our countries and our people of their civilizational, religious, spiritual and cultural identity, including the culture of Muslim-Christian religious coexistence in its Eastern Orthodox dimension... 
"We must likewise work persistently to hold on to and defend our national and ecclesiastical rights, no matter the obstacles that face us, demanding that we compromise our legitimate right to establish the State of Palestine with its capital in Jerusalem and a revival in our national Orthodox church through the participation of the people of this country in managing the affairs of their church and preserving a living Christian presence in our Holy Land."

See the torment caused by Islam? How it distorts Christian thinking into believing Islam, Fatah and Hamas are partners to the Church?  The idea expressed above of "the culture of Muslim-Christian religious coexistence in its Eastern Orthodox dimension" is incoherent nonsense born of centuries of Christians living as third-class dhimmis under Islamic oppression. A spiritual osmosis has taken place, the people of Jesus now infected with the germ of jihad, the equating of religion with territory, of linking a national Orthodox church with Palestinian Statehood with a Jerusalem capitol, of Christians as victims defending their "rights."

The very Muslims whom Archimandrite Christophoros thinks are his thoughtful ("tafkiri") allies today in creating a "State of Palestine," will tomorrow join the "takfiri" Islamic State Caliphate (or its successor) in finishing the final cleansing of the Middle East of all Christians, per the command of the prophet of Islam himself, Muhammad, recorded in a 'sound' hadith:

"I will expel the Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula and will not leave any but Muslims." (Sahih Muslim 4366)

But not all is bad! This is a message with much to commend it; so much is written and phrased so perfectly, yet portions of it startle us as completely anti-Christian. It is at best a minefield, which I fear will confuse the faithful who may come across it without any benefit of context.

In sharp contrast to Archimandrite Christophoros' call for syncretistic nation building, seizing Jerusalem, and establishing a Palestinian State in alliance with Hamas, recall the description of first century Christians as recounted in the Epistle to Diognetus:

They love all men though they are persecuted by all. They are put to death yet they are restored to life... They are dishonored and yet in their very dishonor they are glorified...  
They dwell in their own countries but simply as sojourners. As citizens they share in all things with others yet they endure all things as foreigners. Every foreign land is to them as their native country and every land of their birth a land of strangers...

God help us to avoid the infinite traps and temptations being spread by the enemy of mankind!

Archimandrite Christophoros Atallah: Christians are aware that they will be persecuted in this world
Notes on Arab Orthodoxy via Pravmir — August 9, 2014

O Christians of the Middle East,

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me” (John 14:1).

When we look at what is happening in Syria, Iraq, Gaza [where Hamas is launching missiles at Israeli civilians from Orthodox churches] and many of the countries around us and the international silence accompanying it, which is more deadly than instruments of death and destruction, we are confronted with a single fact: the breakdown of the moral, ethical, spiritual and humanitarian order in our world. This is the catastrophe.

The Governor Pontius Pilate, who knew that Jesus had been unjustly handed over for death by the Jews, believed that by washing his hands before the people he would exculpate himself from the sin and crime of giving the Lord and Savior over to death. Today this Pilate-like thinking and behavior has spread and become an approach and an attitude (making an excuse of sin) as though a power that is satanic wants to replace light with darkness, truth with falsehood, religion with ignorance, humanity with bestiality, things divine with things satanic. However, beloved, no matter how much the darkness rules, falsehood and injustice spread, ignorance becomes general, the barbarity of killing and destruction grows and Satan rules the world through people whose consciences are darkened and whose hearts are filled with hate, no matter how much evil conquers, there is an end to all this history. As long as there are hearts that believe in God, that know the truth, and that live love, the resurrection is inevitably coming.