Concerning Angels – Saint John of Damascus (+749)

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EASTERN ORTHODOX CHURCH

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Concerning Angels

by Saint John of Damascus (+749)

He is Himself the Maker and Creator of the angels: for He brought them out of nothing into being and created them after His own image, an incorporeal race, a sort of spirit or immaterial fire: in the words of the divine David, He maketh His angels spirits, and His ministers a flame of fire: and He has described their lightness and the ardor, and heat, and keenness and sharpness with which they hunger for God and serve Him, and how they are borne to the regions above and are quite delivered from all material thought.

An angel, then, is an intelligent essence, in perpetual motion, with free-will, incorporeal, ministering to God, having obtained by grace an immortal nature: and the Creator alone knows the form and limitation of its essence. But all that we can understand is, that it is incorporeal and immaterial. For all that is compared with God Who alone is incomparable, we find to be dense and material. For in reality only the Deity is immaterial and incorporeal.

The angel’s nature then is rational, and intelligent, and endowed with free-will, change. able in will, or fickle. For all that is created is changeable, and only that which is uncreated is unchangeable. Also all that is rational is endowed with free-will. As it is, then, rational and intelligent, it is endowed with free-will: and as it is created, it is changeable, having power either to abide or progress in goodness, or to turn towards evil.

It is not susceptible of repentance because it is incorporeal. For it is owing to the weakness of his body that man comes to have repentance.

It is immortal, not by natures but by grace. For all that has had beginning comes also to its natural end. But God alone is eternal, or rather, He is above the Eternal: for He, the Creator of times, is not under the dominion of time, but above time.

They are secondary intelligent lights derived from that first light which is without beginning, for they have the power of illumination; they have no need of tongue or hearing, but without uttering words they communicate to each other their own thoughts and counsels.

Through the Word, therefore, all the angels were created, and through the sanctification by the Holy Spirit were they brought to perfection, sharing each in proportion to his worth and rank in brightness and grace.

They are circumscribed: for when they are in the Heaven they are not on the earth: and when they are sent by God down to the earth they do not remain in the Heaven. They are not hemmed in by walls and doors, and bars and seals, for they are quite unlimited. Unlimited, I repeat, for it is not as they really are that they reveal themselves to the worthy men to whom God wishes them to appear, but in a changed form which the beholders are capable of seeing. For that alone is naturally and strictly unlimited which is uncreated. For every created tiring is limited by God Who created it.

Further, apart from their essence they receive the sanctification from the Spirit: through the divine grace they prophesy: they have no need of marriage for they are immortal.

Seeing that they are minds they are in mental places, and are not circumscribed after the fashion of a body. For they have not a bodily form by nature, nor are they tended in three dimensions. But to whatever post they may be assigned, there they are present after the manner of a mind and energize, and cannot be present and energize in various places at the same time.

Whether they are equals in essence or differ from one another we know not. God, their Creator, Who knoweth all things, alone knoweth. But they differ from each other in brightness and position, whether it is that their position is dependent on their brightness, or their brightness on their position: and they impart brightness to one another, because they excel one another in rank and nature. And clearly the higher share their brightness and knowledge with the lower.

They are mighty and prompt to fulfill the will of the Deity, and their nature is endowed with such celerity that wherever the Divine glance bids them there they are straightway found. They are the guardians of the divisions of the earth: they are set over nations and regions, allotted to them by their Creator: they govern all our affairs and bring us succor. And the reason surely is because they are set over us by the divine will and command and are ever in the vicinity of God.

With difficulty they are moved to evil, yet they are not absolutely immovable: but now they are altogether immovable, not by nature but by grace and by their nearness to the Only Good.

They behold God according to their capacity, and this is their food.

They are above us for they are incorporeal, and are free of all bodily passion, yet are not passionless: for the Deity alone is passionless.

They take different forms at the bidding of their Master, God, and thus reveal themselves to men and unveil the divine mysteries to them.

They have Heaven for their dwelling-place, and have one duty, to sing God’s praise and carry out His divine will.

Moreover, as that most holy, and sacred, and gifted theologian, Dionysius the Areopagite, says, All theology, that is to say, the holy Scripture, has nine different names for the heavenly essences. These essences that divine master in sacred things divides into three groups, each containing three. And the first group, he says, consists of those who are in God’s presence and are said to be directly and immediately one with Him, viz., the Seraphim with their six wings, the many-eyed Cherubim and those that sit in the holiest thrones. The second group is that of the Dominions, and the Powers, and the Authorities; and the third, and last, is that of the Rulers and Archangels and Angels.

Some, indeed, like Gregory the Theologian, say that these were before the creation of other things. He thinks that the angelic and heavenly powers were first and that thought was their function. Others, again, hold that they were created after the first heaven was made.

But all are agreed that it was before the foundation of man. For myself, I am in harmony with the theologian. For it was fitting that the mental essence should be the first created, and then that which can be perceived, and finally man himself, in whose being both parts are united. But those who say that the angels are creators of any kind of essence whatever are the mouth of their father, the devil. For since they are created things they are not creators. But He Who creates and provides for and maintains all things is God, Who alone is uncreate and is praised and glorified in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

From his Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, Book II, Ch. 3.

Mariorie a person in Christ in Piraeus, Greece

http://orthodoxyislove.wordpress.com

ORTHODOXY IS LOVE

Mariorie a person in Christ in Piraeus, Greece

Οur story hero, Mariorie, was an ordinary person. She walked on this Earth. Here she got tired, happy, hurt- most of all she got hurt. She died like all people on a December night. Yet in reality she was found totally different than other people. She took everyday life one step further and rose above it.

She lived simply and humbly someplace in Piraeus, Greece, working hard to bring up her two children who had been abandonned by their father when they were just toddlers. “Who knows what happened, what went wrong” ,Mariorie would say trying to find an excuse for her situation. “Τhe evil one grudged him his happiness! It doesn’t take long for any person to wither like a thunder struck tree when he’s left unprotected from the winds”.

She was careful not to belittle her children’s father and she prayed to God to enlighten him , to make him see more clearly, to repent, to come back. But, years went by, and he didn’t seem to understand. He had already settled down with Kleoniki and he had become the father of another two children.

Kleoniki always considered her marriage to Thodoris her greatest victory.
But what goes around comes around and things can turn upside down. In their prime, people build palaces in their minds and egos and they estimate that they will complete their happiness in them.

But the arrogance of one’s mind builds on the sand. When Autumn comes in their lives, hard and lonesome, then they see that the storms inside them cannot be tamed by any material pride.

So, the last winter in Thodoris’ life arrived. A sudden incurable disease dipped him in an abyss and rose like an avalanche ahead. He was walking side by side with death, and this made a feeling of justice wake up inside him. And one winter night, when winds battled with the rain and the lightning grooved the darkness of the skies, he asked Mariorie to visit him at the hospital. She did,with the discreetness and integrity needed towards a dying person. She sat next to him like Paradise with gates wide open. He lifted his tired eyes and looked at her.

-I want you to forgive me Mariorie…

-With all my heart, Thodoris, she humbly answered.

After some time Kleoniki got sick as well. Her future looked bleak. And her children were still little. When Mariorie heard the bad news, she stood by her like an angel of peace. She stayed all night awake to take care of her on her last days…

-Forgive me , Maririe, forgive me, I ruined your life, Kleoniki said kissing her hands

-I forgive you with all my heart , sister, answered Mariorie wiping her tears…

In a while Kleoniki was recalled by her Creator and passed the borders of this life.

It seemed as though grief and sorrow never ended in this world. Mariorie was left behind to take care of four children

-How can you, how could you, how could she, most people kept saying.

Where did this deep philosophical thinking, this endurance and patience, this selflessness and forgiveness come from?

“What kind of person are you?”, people asked.

-In Christ, Mariorie would answer had she not been hindered by her modesty… A person in Christ.

Sources:

http://multilingual-christianity-orthodoxy.blogspot.com

MULTILINGUAL CHRISTIANITY – ORTHODOXY

&

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqNCEoRaEGYLYyaXLyN89Jw

VASILEIA

General and specialized clergy

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TEXTS – ORTHODOXY

General and specialized clergy

I recently read a book with the theme: “Who are priests?” which supposedly proves that the way the Orthodox Church functions is erroneous. So, I would like to submit some observations on some of the arguments of this book.

* * *

When we want to disprove a viewpoint, it is not proper to write our own theories as to what others believe in, and then disprove that which WE think they believe in. The correct way is to discredit (if possible) that which they actually believe in.

This unacceptable phenomenon is almost always observed with regard to the Orthodox Church: Someone writes a personal theory as to what the Church believes in, and then proceeds to discredit this imaginary dogma. This is what happened in the book I am referring to, so, I must put certain details on this topic in order, so that no false impressions are left behind.

The word “priest” – which we Orthodox maintain that it refers to every Christian – given that all Christians are the “regal priesthood”.

In the Orthodox Church the expression: “specialized clergy” has a METAPHORICAL meaning only. In other words, there is no THEOLOGICAL difference between the terms “specialized” and “general” clergy. In fact, there is no difference whatsoever; because what we call “specialized clergy” is a “function” which, like the so-called “general” clergy, springs from Christ Himself, Who is our only priest.

This is also where the solution lies, to the issue that confuses our Protestant accusers. Christ is the Head of the Church and the Church is His BODY. Consequently, when every Christian becomes “Christened” (“all of you be in one Jesus Christ”), he partakes of the hieratic office of the Lord. But because all Christians are “each others’ members” in the Body of Christ, they have VARIOUS FUNCTIONS within that body. Of this “regal priesthood”, some perform the duties of the Laity (“general clergy”) and others the duties of Deacon, Presbyter or Bishop.

Thus, those who have the duties of the Laity (from where the term ‘liturgy’ = ‘mission for the laity’ is derived) cannot perform the Divine Eucharist without the member that is called ‘Presbyter’ or ‘Bishop’, but equally, NEITHER THE PRESBYTER NOR THE BISHOP can perform the Divine Eucharist without the Laity (as opposed to Papists, with whom Protestants confuse Orthodoxy). That which must be understood, is that the bloodless sacrifice is not performed by the Presbyter or the Bishop, but THE LAITY. The so-called “specialized clergy” is the LAITY’S HANDS in that ritual. During that moment of sacrificing, they offer their sacrifice to God, ON BEHALF OF THE ENTIRE BODY OF THE CHURCH.

At this point, we should respond to another unjust accusation. When we say ‘bloodless sacrifice’ WE ARE NOT performing a repetition of the Lord’s sacrifice. We are offering the Lord a portion of material creation, AS PRIESTS (all Christians); in other words we are offering bread and wine, which is why we Continue reading “General and specialized clergy”

Were Angels created when God created the heavens, or have they been with God all of eternity? – S.W., USA

http://havefaithorthodoxy.wordpress.com

HAVE FAITH – ORTHODOXY

Were Angels created when God created the heavens,

or have they been with God all of eternity?

– S.W., USA

The Bible does not specifically state when the angels were created, but we can look at some verses that give us clues as to a possible time frame.

First of all, let’s look at some background information. We know that God created all things, including the angels. In COLOSSIANS 1:16, Paul writes the following:

“For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him” (COLOSSIANS 1:16).

In this verse, the words “principalities or powers” refer to angelic beings. We also know by reading GENESIS 1:1–5 that God created the heavens and the earth on the first day of the creation week.

Now let’s build on this background information by looking at some additional verses. We can learn from reading JOB 38:4–7 that the angels, called “sons of God” and possibly “morning stars” in verse 7, witnessed some of God’s work during the Creation Week. In these verses, God is speaking to Job. God says the following:

“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (JOB 38:4–7).

The angels “shouted for joy” in response to God’s wonderful creative work! These verses tell us that the angels rejoiced when God laid the foundations of the earth. This could be a reference to day 1, when God made the earth; or it could be a reference to day 3, when God made the dry land. Either way, the angels were in existence before day 4 of the Creation Week.

We can find more information about the creation of angels by reading verses about the creation of Satan. Keep in mind that when angels were created, Satan and the fallen angels had not yet sinned. We know this because God declares His creation to be “very good” in GENESIS 1:31. This next set of verses is long. See if you can find the hint about when Satan was created. EZEKIEL 28:13–15 states the following:

“You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: the sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created. You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you” (EZEKIEL 28:13–15).

Did you notice? Verse 15 mentions that Satan was created on a specific “day.” Since time did not exist before day 1, this means that Satan was created during the Creation Week.

After doing a little research, I think we can conclude that the angels were created at some point during the Creation Week, no later than day 3.

Source:

https://answersingenesis.org

ANSWERS TO GENESIS

What is the origin of the different races?

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EASTERN ORTHODOX CHURCH

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What is the origin of the different races?

The Bible does not explicitly give us the origin of the different “races” or skin colors in humanity. In actuality, there is only one race—the human race. Within the human race is diversity in skin color and other physical characteristics. Some speculate that when God confused the languages at the tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9), He also created racial diversity. It is possible that God made genetic changes to humanity to better enable people to survive in different ecologies, such as the darker skin of Africans being better equipped genetically to survive the excessive heat in Africa. According to this view, God confused the languages, causing humanity to segregate linguistically, and then created genetic racial differences based on where each racial group would eventually settle. While possible, there is no explicit biblical basis for this view. The races/skin colors of humanity are nowhere mentioned in connection with the tower of Babel.

At the Tower of Babel, when the different languages came into existence, groups that spoke one language moved away with others of the same language. In doing so, the gene pool for a specific group shrank dramatically as the group no longer had the entire human population to mix with. Closer inbreeding took place, and in time certain features were emphasized in these different groups (all of which were present as a possibility in the genetic code). As further inbreeding occurred through the generations, the gene pool grew smaller and smaller, to the point that people of one language family all had the same or similar features.

Another explanation is that Adam and Eve possessed the genes to produce black, brown, and white offspring (and everything else in between). This would be similar to how a mixed-race couple sometimes has children that vary in color. Since God obviously desired humanity to be diverse in appearance, it makes sense that God would have given Adam and Eve the ability to produce children of different skin tones. Later, the only survivors of the flood were Noah and his wife, Noah’s three sons and their wives—eight people in all (Genesis 7:13). Perhaps Noah’s daughters-in-law were of different races. It is also possible that Noah’s wife was of a different race than Noah. Maybe all eight of them were of mixed race, which would mean they possessed the genetics to produce children of different races. Whatever the explanation, the most important aspect of this question is that we are all the same race, all created by the same God, all created for the same purpose—to glorify Him.

Source: Elmer L. Towns, Bible Answers for Almost All Your Questions, THOMAS NELSON / 2003 / PAPERBACK

The Saint of love, forgiveness & discernment: Saint Jacob Tsalikis of Evia Island, Greece (+1991)

http://saintsofmyheart.wordpress.com

SAINTS OF MY HEART

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The Saint of love, forgiveness & discernment:

Saint Jacob Tsalikis of Evia Island, Greece (+1991)

22 November

Source:

http://orthochristian.com

http://orthochristian.com/98806.html

ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY

Our age and today’s culture has, unfortunately moved away from the vision and pursuit of sanctity. The Orthodox faith is based on the presence of the saints. Without these, our Church is on the path towards secularization. Naturally, as we know from Scripture, God alone is holy, and sanctity derives from our relationship with Him, and therefore sanctity is theocentric rather than anthropocentric. Our sanctity depends on the glory and the grace of God and our union with Him, not on our virtues. Sanctification assumes the free will of the person being sanctified. As Saint Maximos the Confessor says, all that we bring is our intentions. Without those, God doesn’t act. And Saint John the Damascan repeats that we render honour to the saints ‘for having become freely unified with God and having Him dwell in them and by this participation having become by grace what He is by nature’. The saints didn’t seek to be glorified, but to glorify God, because sanctity means participation in and communion with the sanctity of God.

The source of sanctity in the Orthodox Church is the Divine Eucharist. By partaking of the Holy One, Jesus Christ, we become holy. The ‘holy things’, the Body and Blood of Christ, are given as communion ‘to the holy’, the members of the Church. Sanctity follows on from Holy Communion. The ascetic struggles of the saints are not an aim but a means which leads to the aim, which is Eucharistic communion, the most perfect and complete union with the Holy One. In the Lord’s prayer, the ‘Our Father’, we see that sanctification is associated with the Kingdom of God. We ask that His Kingdom come into the world so that everyone can praise Him and can partake of His sanctity and His glory, which is what we call ‘deification’.

The Kingdom of God and deification are an eternal extension of the Divine Liturgy within space and time, as Saint Maximos the Confessor writes. By taking part in the Continue reading “The Saint of love, forgiveness & discernment: Saint Jacob Tsalikis of Evia Island, Greece (+1991)”

What are Seraphim? Are Seraphs Angels?

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SAINTS OF MY HEART

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What are Seraphim? Are Seraphs Angels?

The seraphim (fiery, burning ones) are angelic beings associated with the prophet Isaiah’s vision of God in the Temple when God called him to his prophetic ministry (Isaiah 6:1-7). Isaiah 6:2-4 records, “Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.’ At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.” Seraphs are angels who worship God continually.

Isaiah chapter 6 is the only place in the Bible that specifically mentions the seraphim. Each seraph had six wings. They used two to fly, two to cover their feet, and two to cover their faces (Isaiah 6:2). The seraphim flew about the throne on which God was seated, singing His praises as they called special attention to God’s glory and majesty. These beings apparently also served as agents of purification for Isaiah as he began his prophetic ministry. One placed a hot coal against Isaiah’s lips with the words, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for” (Isaiah 6:7). Similar to the other types of holy angels, the seraphim are perfectly obedient to God. Similar to the cherubim, the seraphim are particularly focused on worshipping God.

Source:

C. Fred Dickason, Angels: Elect & Evil, Revised, MOODY PUBLISHERS / 1995 / PAPERBACK