By Walt Garlington for the Saker Blog
It is often claimed that the United States is a Christian country (the most Christian country, according to some), but the development of Christian culture within that union of States is in sharp contrast to what one finds in the history of Orthodox countries.
This distinction is shown with remarkable clarity in the life of the Holy Prince Andrew Bogoliubsky (‘God-loving’) of Vladimir (+1174). In his life one sees a conscious, lifelong effort to benefit his people both physically and spiritually:
‘The chronicles also stress Saint Andrew’s peace-making activity, a rare trait among the princes and military commanders of those harsh times. The combination of military valor with love for peace and mercy, of great humility with indomitable zeal for the Church were present in Prince Andrew in the highest degree. A responsible master of the land, and a constant coworker in the city construction and church building activity of Yurii Dolgoruky, he built with his father: Moscow (1147), Iuriev-Polsk (1152), Dmitrov (1154), and he also adorned the cities of Rostov, Suzdal’, and Vladimir with churches. In 1162 Saint Andrew could say with satisfaction, “I have built up white Rus with cities and settlements, and have rendered it with much populace.”
‘ . . .
‘Thirty churches were built by Prince Andrew during the years of his rule. The finest of them is the Dormition cathedral. The richness and splendor of the church helped to spread Orthodoxy among the surrounding peoples and foreign merchants. Saint Andrew had directed that all travellers, whether Latins or pagans, were to be led into the churches he built and to have “true Christianity” pointed out to them. The chronicler writes: “Both Bulgars, and Jews, and every sort of common person, beholding the glory of God and churchly adornment, came to be baptized.”
‘ . . .
‘The liturgical activity of Saint Andrew was multi-faceted and fruitful. In 1162 the Lord granted the holy prince a great solace: in Rostov there was discovered the relics of Rostov saints — the holy hierarchs Isaiah and Leontius. The glorification of these Rostov saints throughout all the Church took place somewhat later, but Saint Andrew initiated their national veneration. In 1164 the military forces of Saint Andrew crushed their long-time enemy, the Volga Bulgars. The victories of the Orthodox nation were marked by a blossoming of liturgical creativity within the Russian Church.
‘In this same year of 1164, at the initiative of Saint Andrew, the Church established the Feast of the All-Merciful Savior and the Most Holy Theotokos on August 1 (venerated by the Russian people as “Savior of the First Honey”), in memory of the Baptism of Rus by holy Equal of the Apostles Vladimir and in memory of the victory over the Bulgars in 1164. The Feast of the Protection of the Mother of God on October 1 embodied in liturgical forms the faith of the holy prince and all the Orthodox nation in the acceptance by the Mother of God of Holy Rus beneath Her omophorion. The Protection of the Theotokos became one of the most beloved of Russian Church Feasts. The Protection is a Russian national holiday, unknown to the Latin West. It is a liturgical continuation and creative development of theological ideas inherent to the Feast of the Placing of the Robe of the Mother of God on July 2.
‘The first church consecrated to the new Feast was the Protection church at Nerla (1165), a remarkable monument of Russian Church architecture, built by the master artisans of Saint Andrew at the head-waters of the River Nerla, so that the prince could always see it from a window of his Bogoliubov garret. . . .’
These accomplishments of St Andrew (they are not all named) occurred in Russia less than 200 years after she was baptized with the Holy Great Prince Vladimir in 988. It is a remarkable development, from the violence and dissipation of a heathen people to the peaceful constructiveness of Orthodox culture.
What, then, of the United States in the first 186 years after her independence from Great Britain? Did the years 1776-1962 bring along with them any great developments in Christian architecture, liturgical developments, holy days, the discovery of saints, and the like?
The answer is an emphatic No, which is quite ironic considering that the U.S. did not, like Russia, begin their lives as non-Christian nations. They all claimed in some way to be Christians of some kind or another. One would expect that given their long experience with Christianity, their incarnation of a vibrant Christian culture in their first two centuries of existence would overshadow what Russia was able to accomplish in a similar time frame.
But the opposite has happened. Christianity and its public, communal manifestations have decayed considerably. The earlier pretty cathedrals have given way to hideous modernism (see the Wayfarers Chapel); and even the better designed Washington National Cathedral is marred by a sculpture of Darth Vader. So sparse is beautiful church architecture in the States that a cathedral of the Orthodox Church, a faith relatively new to the States, in Cleveland, Ohio, made it into a list of the top 9 most beautiful churches in the States.
As for liturgical developments, these have been just as disappointing as those in architecture. There are only two nominal Saint’s days (St Valentine and St Patrick), and only two major feasts (Christmas and Easter/Pascha). The rest have been replaced by new non-Christian celebrities and rites: election campaigns, casting votes, pilgrimages to sports stadiums, the veneration of political documents as holy relics (the Declaration of Independence of 1776 and the federal constitution of 1787) and of secular heroes – politicians, athletes, scientists, etc.
Fasting days receive little notice, except from an occasional health guru; obesity is sadly the norm.
Cities themselves illustrate how a Christian worldview has been overwhelmingly replaced by a man-worshipping ethos (skyscrapers towering over, and swallowing up as it were, old churches, statues, and the like), something Dr Mario Baghos shows extraordinarily well in a two-part essay (Part I; Part II).
Russia, through many ups and downs, has remained faithful to the Orthodox culture of her early years, and therefore continues to give birth to notable churches, saints, and so on. The States continue to trend in the opposite direction, with fewer Christian believers, more atheists, and the like, which gives birth in turn to debauched liturgical events like LGBT Pride Month. Russia again offers a cultural counterpoint with a new national holiday in honor of the traditional Christian family.
The foregoing allows us to reach a general conclusion: That the peoples of the 50 States do not worship the All-Holy Trinity of the Orthodox Church, but they instead worship themselves; worship the self-deification of man and whatever he may desire; worship freedom from all authority (St Justin Popovich’s critique of modern Western man is essential on this point). This idolatrous ideology of Americanism will tolerate, and even ally itself with, the various forms of Christianity in the U.S. so long as they do not interfere with individual autonomy. When they do, however, it scorns them. This is borne out in new research that shows that for every new congregation formed in the States, more than one church closes (3,000 opening vs 4,500 closing in 2019). Russia, again, shows a contrary trajectory, building/opening 29,000 churches over a span of 28 years.
The picture is bleak for the U.S., but it is not completely hopeless. They are now a vast unchurched mission field, waiting to receive the joyful news of genuine Christianity, the Orthodox Faith, just as a spiritually famished ex-Protestant, St Seraphim Rose of Platina, California, did not so many years ago. The Orthodox Faith, together with the authentic regional cultures that are present within the current union, have the potential to create the beauty that St Andrew, St Stephen the Great, and others have created in Russia, Romania, and in other parts of the Orthodox world. We have been given a foretaste of this in the older, less modern architecture of the States – the Spanish missions of California, the French and Spanish colonial architecture of Texas, Louisiana, and Florida, the antebellum plantation homes of Dixie, and so forth.
But what is called ‘American culture’ has no such potential, being a contradictory pairing of words; it is nihilistic and destructive, and is at war with the Orthodox spirit (which is to say, the Holy Spirit).
Until, God willing, the Orthodox Church has a much larger influence in the States, traditional-minded countries around the world – India and Iran, Pakistan, Mongolia, many countries of Africa, and so on – had better keep their distance from the U.S. and partner with countries like Russia instead, or risk being tainted with the spiritual diseases ravaging the U.S. and all the other countries of the ‘liberal world order’.
“Young Russia vs Young U.S.”????
hands down….it is RUSSIA that ensures good civilization and human , universal morality…regardless of faith..but especially in christian faith.
The True Faith is Christ transmitted (Traditio) by the word, the scriptures and the Right Teaching of the Church. None of the 3 hides the other and the 3 are light for the believer. Outside of Christ there is no salvation.
Faith comes by hearing the word of God. However, even printing the word of God is offensive to some people. Heaven and earth will pass away but the word of God will not pass away. Does one nation have a better grip on Christianity than another ? I don’t believe so, for I believe being a Christian is an individual walk with the most High God. For by faith we are saved by grace it is a gift of God not of works less any man should boast. God is not as man He looks on the heart not on the earthly things of mankind.
”What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead…But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only…
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also”.
Epistle of James, the Brother of the Lord and first bishop of Jerusalem.
When God created this world, he made everything beautiful.
Furthermore, he gave us the ability to understand that there is a past, a present and a future. However, we cannot understand all that God has done.
I have been moved and wept with joy that the Orthodox Church has not succumbed to modernism, a plague of the devil that has destroyed my Catholic Church for a century, and that we suffered like a scourge of the Devil under the pontificate of Francis I (May the Lord save him); we never believed that so many of us would live to meet one of the worst Popes in 1000 years.
The US Constitution is not Christian, it is Masonic. The God that names is not the God of Moses “I am who I am” is the diffuse and Gnostic deity that CREATED the world and then disappeared. (Geoege Washington was a non-Christian deist)
Another Masonic key point is the pursuit of happiness without God and religious freedom [but without tolerance, which is different] that throws the One True Faith to the level of Satan’s errors… I will not continue, there is much that can be said.
Without a Christian constitution, the USA has built its house on sand. If the United States wants to persist, it must consecrate its constitution to the Sovereign Reign of Jesus Christ Our Lord in the USA.
Wow. Your advocacy of a theocracy is appalling. The rights of non Christians would disappear. Fascists in the US hold a gun in one hand and a Bible in the other. Religious fanaticism is a precursor and enabler to fascism in the US. The separation of Church and State is one of the few positive aspects of the US.
I wish we had a Theocracy, the Kingdom of God on earth. I pray for it a lot.
Let not your heart be troubled, at least by one significant error in your thinking.
Jorge Bergoglio is NOT “Francis I,” because he is NOT the actual pope. The one and only living Pope is Benedict XVI.
As a fellow Catholic, I strongly encourage you to read Ann Barnhardt’s many posts on this subject.
I was referring more about the title of the article than anything else. Russian christianity has been around for over a millenia while what passes for “American Christianity”” is still in diapers and soiled.
The word of CHRIST IS ETERNAL so he will be the same (his word) yesterday, today and tomorrow; time does not pass, he does not age, he is eternally young.
Jesus said, My Kingdom comes WITHOUT observation. You can’t understand the church empirically. The church of Christ is made up of humans that have submitted to the will of God. The church that Jesus Christ founded is Not a physical building. It is a lively building made of living stones that are Christians. These “stones” can be found in Russia, China, the US or in other place in the World. Jesus became the author of salvation for ALL those that obey Him.
If the kingdom of Christ is the church, and the church is made up of all Christians, then there must only be one church. That being the case, then we need to be a part of that one church if we want to be saved. Conclusion: if the Russian Orthodox Church is not that church, then there is no salvation to be found in the Russian Orthodox church.
Religion is a power; and the question arises: how does religion stand compare to the other power, the state?
Different countries have different solutions. In some countries,state and religion join forces, and you have a state religion. In others, state and religion are separated, to avoid the church becoming a political power, rival to the state.
The United States is an interesting example. Imagine the political power the church would wield in the US if there was only one religious denomination. To avoid this, in the US founding a church is easy and fiscally advantageous; so the number of churches is high. And high number of churches means the political power of religion is diluted.
Te lo digo en la segunda lengua de USA, en español. Cree el ladrón que todos son de su condición…Vuestra constitución es impío y así os va amigos.
Google-translate from mod:
I tell you in the second language of USA, in Spanish. The thief believes that everyone is of his condition … Your Constitution is impious and so you are friends.
50 million US Christian Zionists would beg to differ, Walt. They’re praying each and every day for a catastrophic war with Russia that will go nuclear within hours. They have their rapture suits all pressed and ready to go.
Thankfully, the US Constitution specifically prohibits the formation of a state church in the USA. Millions of Europeans came to this continent on the run from the Spanish Inquisition, the 30-years War, and the various pogroms that took place all over Europe. The last thing they want is for some kind of Bannon-style Cristo-fascism to force itself on the USA. The only way this will happen is by a 9/11-style false-flag event that will be blamed on Russia. May Heaven preserve us all from the wrath of the chosenites, Christian, Jewish, and otherwise.
Do your have any evidence for your claim?
The Republican Party Voting Bloc shows very little enthusiasm for war with Russian…
The Cherokee Nation on the other hand hates Putin and Slavic Russia.
So explain me that:
Abortion on demand has been a part of Russian culture since the Bolshevik Revolution. It’s been an ingrained and popular method of birth-control for so long that people can’t imagine not having that choice.
One of the ways that western neoliberalism still has too much influence in Russia, just as it has too much influence in the West.
I read collections of essays written in 1850 thru 1890 and published together in a book in 1899. Many treasures are in them and the writing had a command of language and quality far surpassing american literature of today. Many were written by clergymen. One such writer was a bishop who coined the phrase, ‘agnostic’. 1865 circa. Yes, Im thankful for the church of russia
Anywhere there’s jews they assault the culture and especially Christian culture.
This author should consider the state of Pennsylvania, set up by the Quaker leader, William Penn.
Quakerism was the forward movement of Christianity starting at the time of the Enlightenment. It’s proponents were regularly imprisoned by the Christian establishment, who they accused of idolatry, unreligious behaviour etc etc. Like many devout firebrands, they mistook their own personal zeal for what should be a norm in society. But still, the Quaker faith has enormous amounts to teach both the Orthodox- and the Catholic church about tolerance, bottom-up governance, inter-faith tolerance and much more.
Quakerism in the UK can be credited with a network of private schools, enlightened industrialists far ahead of their time (like the Cadbury, Fry families etc etc).
Quakerism specifically thinks that spending millions on monuments to egos is not the way to commune with the Lord. Quaker meeting houses are humble, functional, inclusive places and are not monuments to the egos of those who raised money by bullying and otherwise enforcing ‘discipline’.
I am sure the author would agree that Jesus would not measure the value of Christianity by the cost of its churches, rather by the richness of the generosity of spirit within its followers.
Assuming he thinks that the views of Jesus Christ have any relevance to discussions on Christianity…..
I grew up in the Roman Catholic Church and, like most such, am not particularly religious, although I do have a spiritual side.
I was born in the 1950’s and went to a Catholic parish school, with many church-related activities. Current day Russia seems much more like the conservative country in which I grew up than what we have now. Of course, we had racism, of which I was unaware since I was a little white boy. From what I understand, Russia has much less, except for people like Navalny.
Today, we have naked guys in Bugs Bunny masks hopping in gay pride parades
The country is doomed.
Christ founded a Church and not thousands like today to the scandal of the simplest.
First Letter to the Corinthians 12 and following.
The Orthodox and Catholics split in the 11th century, we Latins (Catholics) call it the Great Schism of East and West, there was no heresy involved.
Julius II the worst Pope in the last 500 years corrupted the Petrine dignity to such an extent that he turned the office of Vicar of Christ into a soldier and made war on many Christian kingdoms.
His corruption and scandalous life were so great that he horrified Luther, a young Augustinian friar, and from there to the Great Schism of the West, misnamed “Reformation” and filled all of Europe with heresies.
500 years later the Catholic Church is in its 3 Schism and this one also comes from Germany (homosexualism, ordination of women and use of contraceptive means)
Que el Señor nos Ampare +
America’s Founders deliberately created the first specifically non-Christian government in some fourteen centuries of western history. They were men of the Enlightenment – this they made vividly clear to all in the Declaration of Independence, which cites not Jesus Christ but the “nature’s god” of its enlightened successor, Deism. The cornerstone of the Enlightenment was discarding traditional revealed religion, rejecting the idea that superbeings exist who obsess over human activity and who can be manipulated into intervening on their behalf. The revival of piety in the Second Great Awakening of the 1820s was largely dedicated to burying this embarrassing heritage. The mythic “Christian America” that is widespread today was constructed by powerful corporate interests in the Depression, to attack FDR’s allegedly godless communistic New Deal policies. The effort was so successful that it continues to this day, to gaslight the unwary into supporting an agenda devoted to their economic exploitation. It has gone down the memory hole that historically, freedom from religion was as (and often more) important to Americans as freedom of religion.
In the fifteenth century Pope Alexander VI with his “kill, enslave and rob non-whites” prostituted Western Christian doctrine, which from that date became racism and greed.
The Orthodox Church did not join the party that is why it has been hated.
Yes, America has no true, genuine, authentic culture, except for baseball, Disneyland, and Hollywood. Not much there to compel or attract loyalty. Nothing to build an identity on, unless you want to be Mickey Mouse.
People like the example of Seraphim Rose becoming Orthodox, but I imagine the number of young Orthodox in the U.S. leaving the church to become agnostic or Protestant dwarfs the number going in the other direction by an order of magnitude.
How the originally barbaric Western European people became the leaders of Christianity while distorting the teachings of the semitic Middle-Eastern Jesus son of Mary is historically very fascinating.
I do have to say that they were better with it than without it. But now that they are totally losing it, they are basically becoming a train wreck.
I don’t understand what do you get from fomenting this division between Christians, protestants and orthodox should unite against liberalism but this kind of article for sure will be used to lure protestants against orthodox and vice-versa.
A well written article, thanks Walt. It reminds me of the statement by the Orthodox philosopher and theologian David Bentley Hart that Christianity never really succeeded in America. He added: “Most Americans think of themselves as Christians. But the only religion in America that ever flourished was America. And it twists everything into its own image. And Orthodoxy now is going through the process Catholicism went through in earlier generations: it’s being Americanised. It’s being turned into a version of the American religion, which is about civil order, prosperity, capitalism, a moral code that is not premised on forgiveness so much as upon judgement.”
For the full interview: https://theoaesthetics.ru/david-bentley-hart-the-theologian-is-a-quiet-rioter.html?fbclid=IwAR1DpANRahOyzc_y9yJND47Z3G0fC63k6uq9fBzKgYQraFnUrtQfQ85VX6s
There appears to be a lot of emphasis on church structures in the Orthodox Church.
Maybe I’m missing it; but, at least in part, the notion seems to be that the greater your building looks, the closer you are to Christ.
Saint Andrew’s was a man of great humility. If so, where is the humility in all the church buildings he put up?
Praying for this or that is dangerous. Which one of us knows what is good for us? Which one of us knows our past, our present, or our future? Best it is to simply take what comes without grousing, pray to always be devoted to God, and then do what we wish to do. What we plan and do is more important than what want and pray for.
Yours is the Most interesting comment to me.
My course has had it’s share of detours. Some of the most, and here I pause, (reverent) folks I’ve met, are not Christian.
In most houses where worship takes place, their particular brand of salvation is always presented as the best, often the only path. Most, accordingly then, would be wrong.
Another way to look at it is they all may be a path to God. This equal opportunity way to find God seems more likely to me. Why would God be elitist?
That the Russians have Muslim Chechen allies is to me a wonderful thing. I don’t know how the Orthodox square this but they do!
I know you are a wise man, how would you address the way psychopaths seem to integrate themselves into every single institution around the world, including religions and how would you stop it?
First off, I am very skeptical of the West-leaning (and West-funded??) Moscow Times.
But even in that Western-liberalism outlet, it’s reported that only nine percent of Russian women had had abortions. Frankly, this is even lower than I would have guessed, and I suspect some under-self-reporting among the women in the survey. But even if you DOUBLED that number, it would still be lower than the percentage of American women who have had abortions.
The most recent number I have seen for TOTAL number of abortions in Russia is 300,000 annually. The number in America has been around 1 million annually. Even allowing for disparate populations — 146 million in Russia vs. 350 million in U.S. — the overall RATE (per capita) of abortions is still lower in Russia than in the U.S.
This is extremely impressive when you consider what a HUGE reduction in abortions in Russia this represents in the last 30 years. (I’d be willing to bet that the biggest drop came after Putin took office.) Under atheistic communism, in the old Soviet Union, the AVERAGE Soviet woman had EIGHT abortions in her lifetime. Eight!!! (In other words, abortion was used as birth control.) Let that sink in: Russia has gone from 8 abortions per woman to a lower rate of abortions than the U.S. (which still likes to fancy itself a Christian nation).
According to the Moscow Times article, only nine percent of Russian women say they have had an abortion. I think the only way to square that with the 300,000 total is to conclude that abortion totals in Russia, as in the U.S., are driven by “repeat customers.” I don’t know the figure for Russia, but in the U.S., a majority of abortions are on women who have already had at least one abortion before.
One final note: Russia now has a law banning all advertisement for abortion. And if I’m not mistaken, abortions are pretty well limited to the first trimester, as in most countries in Europe.
Perhaps, in the wake of the Dobbs decision from the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe, some U.S. states will similarly ban abortion advertising. We would do well to follow Russia’s example in that regard. Needless to say, I am pleased that many states in the U.S. are already pursuing complete bans on abortion through all 9 months, and I hope that Russia will follow OUR example in that regard.
The world is messed up. Worldwide, there are something like 40 million abortions a year. The U.S. and Russia combined are a small fraction of that. The whole WORLD needs life-affirming, human-honoring spiritual revival.
Russia and the U.S. both have problems, but both countries also contain many true Christians. Alas, both also contain many lukewarm Christians (such as me, I must confess), compromised and/or ill-formed Christians, and many, many non-Christians.
But at least in Russia, there does not seem to be, as there is in the U.S., a huge mass of people devoted to outright HATRED of Christianity and a fierce effort to destroy it altogether. And that Christianity-hating mob in the U.S. includes the most powerful people in media, education, entertainment, and government.
May God’s kingdom come.
It is easy to become distracted and bogged down in superficial details such as church architecture and whether a nation’s christians are mostly Orthodox or Roman Catholic or Protestant.
The Old Testament contains numerous accounts of how ancient Israel’s circumstances were directly affected for better and for worse by the faith or lack thereof of Israel’s leader.
If you want to understand where a nation is and where it may be heading spiritualy and in many other ways then observe the leadership.
Pray for God’s will to be done on earth. Know that God is not constrained by the limitations of humans.
I sure love THIS kind of leadership:
Russians are not angels, but they are “on the side of the angels.”
You are right that what matters is what direction a society is heading.
As the West descends lower and lower into every kind of sexual perversion imaginable — and punished those who dissent against it, and even crams it down the throats of ever younger CHILDREN — Russia is moving 180 degrees in the opposite direction.
Walt has written :
“The liturgical activity of Saint Andrew was multi-faceted and fruitful. In 1162 the Lord granted the holy prince a great solace: in Rostov there was discovered the relics of Rostov saints — the holy hierarchs Isaiah and Leontius. The glorification of these Rostov saints throughout all the Church took place somewhat later, but Saint Andrew initiated their national veneration”.
The Bible definition of a saint is a person who has been called out of the world to live a spiritual, Christian life. So all who are baptised, by their own decision, by total immersion in water, into the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, are saints (Rom 6:1-8; 15:25-26), after they are converted from their old, bad way of life, and are striving to live a sanctified life.
In the Catholic Church, the Pope proclaims certain ones to be saints after their deaths, with the assumption being that they are definitely in heaven. This assumes that there is an immortal soul, whereas the Bible teaches the “first resurrection” of the bodies of only the faithful at the second coming of Jesus (1 Cor 15:50-58). Their reward will be the eternal glorification of their bodily selves (Rom 8:11, 30). Any unfaithful ones who are resurrected in the second resurrection after the Millennium kingdom on earth will die the second death consisting of eternal unconscious, painless annihilation. (Revelation 20; Daniel 12:1-3).
Jesus Christ is the only one who will or should judge who his true faithful saints are (John 5:21-23). He has earned this right by living a perfect life including enduring a most humiliating and painful death which demonstrated that he had been “tempted in all points” (Heb 4:15). In John 8:21 Jesus says that those who do not believe that he is the redeemer sent by his Father God “will die in your sins”. He may take his saints out of many churches, seeking the qualities defined in Matthew 25; Dan 12:1-3; Rom 2:16.
In Matt 24 Jesus predicted the destruction that would come on the impressive second stone Israelite temple in ad70 because of Israel’s faithless rejection of him.
He did not request that any physical, stone temples be built by his followers in his honour. Every Christian is a spiritual stone in the great temple of his church. 1 Corin 3:16-17. The bodies of Christians constitute the temple of the Holy Spirit. 1 Corin 6:19-20.
Mary is the mother of the Son of God, not the Mother of God, and she is sleeping the sleep of death awaiting her resurrection, when she will see her son again. (1 Tim 2:5). She is not a mediator between God and men.
Jesus Christ, the ‘Son of God’, the Word, IS God.
”In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not… And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. 15 John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. 16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace 17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. 18 No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him”.
The titles of ‘Mother of God’, God-Bearer/Theotokos/ Bogoroditsa, are therefore the only appropriate.
A saint in Orthodox parlance is not anyone who is ‘ called to live a spiritual life’, but the one who by living a spiritual life, which entails necessarily participation in the Christian mysteries (i.e. in Church) achieves holiness (i.e. the Holy Spirit lives in him) and gained eternal life: ”He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into judgement; but is passed from death unto life”.
Jesus did not ‘earn the right to judge’. He has the authority to judge from eternity:
”Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All authority is given unto me in heaven and in earth… Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him”.
“Jesus Christ, the ‘Son of God’, the Word, IS God.
”In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1
The Logos (word) was God’s thought, plan or intention to produce a mortal son to be our redeemer and example. The Logos was “made flesh” when Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit (The Father God’s power). Something immortal cannot become mortal. “God only hath immortality”. 1 Tim 6:16.
Hebrews 2:14 emphasises that Jesus “also himself likewise took part of the same” “flesh and blood” as his brothers. Our flesh and blood is not immortal. “This mortal shall put on immortality” at the resurrection. 1 Corin 15:54. We are mortal; Jesus also had to be truly mortal., though he is now immortal.
“All power has been given to Jesus in heaven and in earth”, but at the end of the Millennium, read what 1 Corin 15:24-28 says. “Jesus will deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father”, and Jesus will then be subject to the Father (1 Cor 15:28). So all the power that is given to Jesus “in heaven and in earth” is for the millennial duration of the kingdom of God on earth, which will come at the second coming of Jesus Christ.
Jesus was “made lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour”. Heb 2:7 How could any more honour be given to somebody who was already God eternal? And how could somebody who was inherently God be “made lower than the angels”, a contradiction in terms. How could an immortal being “suffer death”, when immortal means “living forever” ? (Oxford Dictionary). It is a contradiction in terms to say a being living forever could die. It is also a contradiction of the terms father and son to say that a son existed before he was conceived and born by the father. “God is not the author of confusion.” 1 Cor 14:33.
Re the saints : John 5:24 is indeed a wonderful verse, but please read the next 5 verses which reveal these truths : God the Father had to “give the Son to have life in himself”. If Jesus was inherently immortal, why did he need to be given “life in himself”? John 5:26
If Jesus “has the authority to judge from eternity” as you claim, why did his Father “give him authority to execute judgement also” John 5:27.
Verse 29 says the judgement will happen at the resurrection, and some will be damned, so John 5:24 is true of the faithful, but not of the unfaithful Christians. “Many are called, but few are chosen” Matt 22:14. John 5:24 needs to be understood as those “called” who are faithful in heeding the word of God. Many are “called to be saints” Rom 1:7.
It is not for men to take judgement out of the hands of Jesus Christ and proclaim certain men to be saints in heaven, when this reward will only be conferred at the resurrection when Jesus Christ returns.
Look at 1 Corin16:1 and verse 15. How could the Christians take a collection for the saints, and minister to the saints, if they did not know who the saints were?. To minister only to assured saints, by your definition, in the brotherhood, they would need to judge their brothers, and minister only to some and not others. Jesus said “judge not lest ye be judged”. Christians have to minister to all claiming to be their brothers in Christ, though some of these may not gain eternal life because of “beating the servants” or other faithless failings.
My 2 cents.
Satan subverts all organizations of man.
The pope isn’t even catholic anymore. This is his dominion and the dominate organized church is the synagogue of Satan.
Luckily when two or more of us gather in his name we form our own places of worship.
Go with God
I think that using a church-building metric, as the author does here, to gage a nation’s devotion to Christianity is less accurate than, for example, using an attendance metric. I don’t know whether that would favorably reflect upon American Christians, but my suspicion is that it would based upon my own experience. I think this is especially true when you consider that unlike Russia, when an American church is built it is done purely via the tithes of its members rather than with state money.
That said, I do rejoice in the new and glorious churches that Russia is building and in what I hope is a continued resurgence of Orthodox Christianity within its borders. As a member of a US-based orthodox church with many Russian members, I pray that the True Faith will continue to grow here as well.
I especially hope for this because I doubt that there is any country on earth with so many sects which call themselves “Christian” as there are in the USA, and yet their beliefs are so disparate that you really cannot place them all under the same broad umbrella. The best of them get most of the faith right, but far too many arose from petty arguments among the laity, and/or the egos of the clergy. A good number actually accept a theology that is from the devil.
As a question to the Russians/Eastern Europeans here, I would say that my impression of the Orthodox church-goers when I lived in Ukraine was that, just as in the States, the majority of the regular attendees were elderly, and that the young only attended on major feast days/holidays. This isn’t unusual. It’s a phenomenon I’ve observed throughout the world-but maybe my impression was wrong? I hope I am.
I think that using a church-building metric, as the author does here, to gage a nation’s devotion to Christianity is less accurate than, for example, using an attendance metric.
Yes, no question however, is not the best metric or correct metric what one does with widows and orphans. The scriptures make it abundantly clear what pure unadulterated religion really is:
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27
that is a far cry from what we see on both sides of the Atlantic ocean.
In the Old Testament God made it extremely clear to Israel after entering the Promised Land to never allow the cry of the widows and orphans to reach His ears. When you add the Old and New together nothing really changed and it is why I will argue and do argue with any that the 700 million dollars that was spent building the Ark Encounter in Kentucky was a fools errand. I would think that given the historical precedent God must surely be thinking to himself I had better not hear the cry of and widows and orphans in America, yes? I would further argue what a shame that the care of the poor and these falls on the government, imagine if it belonged with the church?
As for the second part keeping oneself from being polluted by the world that is surely summed up by the words from 1 John 2:16 about the lust of the eyes, the flesh and the pride of life yes?
For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.
hope it helps