The Arena
The Arena

Episode · 10 months ago

The Joy of Being an Orthodox Christian | The Triumph of Orthodoxy 2021

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———LINKS———

Contemporary Women Saints                              

The Hidden Man of the Heart | Archimandrite Zacharias (Zacharou) 

A Simple Heart: Cultivating Simplicity in the Spiritual Life | Bishop Irenei

Prayer of the Heart in an Age of Technology and Distractions | Fr. Maximos (Constas)

A Heart for God: Lessons from the Life of the Holy King and Prophet David | Fr. Josiah Trenham


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Now available at patristic nectar dot Org. The hidden man of the heart by the highly esteemed Archimandrite Zacharias Zaccardu,the spiritual son of the late elder Sophroni of Essex. His grace, BishopBasil of Wichita and Mid America, introduces this series with these words. InFather Zacharias's words and very person we hear the mind of the church in waysthat we usually do not hear it, for in Father Zacharias's teaching we hearthe saints, both elder Sophroni and Saint Silowan. He presents a tapestry ofChristian experience. Let us attend so that you too might be woven into thattapestry that we know as sacred tradition. These lectures culminated in a book entitledthe Hidden Man of the heart, published in two thousand and seven by theholy stavropegic monastery of Saint John the Baptist in Essex, England, and availablein the United States from Mount Tabor publishing. These titles of Father Zacharias's seventh lectureare as follows. Lecture one, the mystery of Man's heart. Lectureto the awakening of the heart, lecture three, the awakening of the heartthrough the fear of death. Lecture for the building up of the heart throughthe grace of repentance, lecture five. Go in and you will find rest. Lecture six, the building up of the heart through vigilance and prayer.Lecture seven, on the gift of speaking in tongues. For these and otheravailable titles, please visit our website at patristic nectar dot org. And nowthe arena with Father Josiah Trenham, the name of the father and of theson and of the Holy Spirit. A blessed Sunday of Orthodoxy to all ofyou, brothers and sisters, and a very happy, joy filled lent.This is probably the first time on a Sunday you've ever seen our magnificent newpurple alter vestments for lent. It's the first lent that we've had them.Praise the Lord and I I wish you all good strength and focus these holydays. I read a beautiful quote this week from that Great Gift of Christto the Church in recent times, who died in one thousand nine hundred andseventy nine in Serbia, after suffering much and after illumining many people, andeven more since he died. Saint Justin...

Popovich, St Justin says a verysimple word about lent. He says the holy fast is a force of God, period. That's what lent is. It's the power of God for thesalvation of sinners, for people to change, and it's the outpouring of grace.This is what lent is for. There is no orthodoxy without land,brothers and sisters, never has been and there never will be. I've entitledmy homily today the joy of being Orthodox, the joy of being Orthodox, ofbelieving the true faith. Recently I was up in Santa Barbara, acity that I owe so much too. was there that I became Orthodox,that was there that I met my wife. It's there that I became a priestand served my first years as a priest and I, of course,whenever I go there, I make my pilgrimage to kids world. I haveto go to kids world, that magnificent playground that has thrilled so many ofour youth here in this parish over the years, and there is a massivewhat's an even greater word than massive? Not sure there is one prodigiously massivefig tree there's a fig tree that is very ancient right at the base ofkits world. Kids were to the world is literally built around this vict treeand the fig tree provide shade to all the young people who are playing atthe at the playground. Santa Barbara has a number of these very, veryfamous old fig trees and when I went there in one thousand nine hundred andeighty five, I found out about these trees and I used to go downto one of them down by the beach and its roots are so massive,not just under the ground but above the ground, that you could lay downon a windy day in between the roots and not even know that there wasany wind. I've always loved these trees and so while we were there,Presita had to go do a little errand and I went over to see thetree and I just embraced her and I was holding the tree, just restingmy head on the tree until she came back. And when she came back, I let go of the tree and as I was walking away from thetree, a man and his little child were looking at me, smiling andhe said to me, what did the tree say? And without hesitation,I looked at him and I said the tree set this, grow deep rootsand you will become large and bear much fruit. That's what the tree said. That's what it says every day to...

...anyone who's willing to listen. It'sa message that God is bringing forth from the magnificent trees, and especially thisfig tree. I also told them, just as my wife walked up,I also told him. You know, he said, you know that there'sanother fig tree down by the beach. I said, Oh, yeah,when I was young I used to sleep in between its roots, which Idid my first year in college, and she said no, you didn't,because that's where all the homeless people slept too, and she thought I wascommunicating to this man that I used to live on the street as a homelessperson. But yes, the lesson of the fig tree, brothers and sisters, this is your life. You are the fruit of the massive, deeplyrooted tree which is the church. The church is bearing fruits. It's thetree of life for the nation's it's bringing forth the fruit of life, eternallife, and offering it to the world, and the reason that the church isstill here and still doing today what she has always done, is becauseshe is deeply rooted. This is what allows her to endure storms and heatand persecution and being pounded on like she's being pounded on today, as she'sbeen pounded on in every generation of every century. Her roots are so deepin the soil of God's grace that she can't be moved and it is atremendous joy to be a little tiny branch, a little tiny leaf on that tree, isn't it? It's so exhausting to be tossed constantly by the newestreligious fads, and there has never been a country that produces religious fads morethan the United States of America. We're a deeply religious people, but unfortunatelyour history hasn't allowed us to be deeply rooted and therefore we allow our energy, our religious energy, to spawn all sorts of craziness, and it's exhaustingto see them developing in theology, the changing concepts of God, the fightsabout who god is in American religion or isn't, all the fads associated withworship. I know some of you who have the great privilege of being raisedin Orthodox families. You can't sympathize that much with our catechumans because you reallyhaven't been tortured by going to religious worship services that change month after month,year after what? You never know what is going to happen next. It'sexhausting, it's a torment. And then...

...what about the fads and morality,not just in theology and worship, but morality itself? Look at all ofthe so called churches that have now literally put their stamp on what the Scriptureconsiders the most base immorality, practitioners of which the Scriptures called dogs. Andthere are all sorts of churches in America. They give blessings to people practicing thistype of immorality. The pope this week literally had to issue a statementcoming out of a synod, that we don't bless same sex unions. Wow, what a shock. We need to have a synod and make a proclamationabout such a thing. Can you imagine how blessed we are, brothers andsisters, how blessed we are to be Orthodox Christians, to know that ourtheology is not changing, our worship is not changing, our morality if notchanging period. And that's what This Day is about, the triumph of Orthodoxy. This is a source of great joy for us. What Peter Calls Aninexpressible joy full of glory, to belong to the faith, to belong toJesus, who is the same yesterday and today and forevermore and the qualities ofthe head are the qualities of the body. The Church has the same qualities asits savior, which is why the church is the same yesterday, todayand forever. It's why us, we who are in process of becoming thesame but have not yet reached that spot, can't alter the church herself, butrather the church alters us. When we read the Synoticon for the Sundayof Orthodoxy. Today, at the procession, we're going to mention the names ofso many holy fathers who literally shed rivers of blood to defend the churchand her truth against all sorts of heresies that wanted to change or update thefaith, make it more relevant, more understandable. These holy fathers are notnew to us. That language the holy fathers is ancient. We didn't starttalking this way about the holy fathers and following the holy fathers or through theprayers of the Holy Fathers. We didn't start that in the year one thousand. After we had a really great history of you know, hundreds and hundredsof Holy Fathers and holy mothers that we...

...decided to make sure we needed tofollow. We didn't start that in one thousand. We didn't start that infifteen hundred when things really went nuts. Do you know that this has beenour language from the beginning? Even just after our savior was resurrected from thedead and ascended into heaven, immediately we began using this language. That's howconscientious, from the beginning, the church has been that we are people whoare rooted in the Truth and therefore the truth does not change. Jesus isthe way, the truth, the life. We actually think that we actually beleave in the truth. How much does that set apart of this ourfaith, from our culture? We actually believe there is something that is truein every place and at all times, whether anyone likes it or not,and we may all be against them, it doesn't make it any less true. We don't change the truth, the truth changes us. We believe inthe true faith, in the words of the Holy Apostle Jude, which wasonce for all delivered to the saints. We believe that it can't be altered, it can't be improved, it's not given to us to give it afacelift every few generations. That's not what we do. Rather, it givesus a soul lift. The faith is what saves us. We don't saveit. This is why, at the end of every Orthros service and atthe end of every vesper service, what do we say? Preserve, OhGod, the Holy Orthodox faith and all Orthodox Christians. We don't say improve, Oh God, the faith. The faith doesn't need improve it it needsto be embraced and lived so that it can save us. This is HolyOrthodoxy. This is why we speak about holy tradition and the holy fathers,and always have. There's never been a time when we didn't talk that way. Just think about St Paul. Think about when he was writing his letterto the Corinthians, maybe the year fifty seven, twenty four years after Jesus'scrucifixion in His resurrection. And what does he say? Stand fast and holdto the tradition which I taught you. Not Twenty five years after Jesus's resurrectionand Paul is talking about the fact that he himself was incorporated into a holytradition and he has been passing it on and he told his son, Timothyyou do the same thing, the things that I have taught you. Youfind faithful men to impart the same tradition to it was already holy tradition.Twenty five years that later, we were...

...already talking about that after Jesus's resurrection. This is why Clement of Rome, who letter to the Corinthian Church,is the earliest post New Testament writing that we have. Most think it waswritten around a d ninety five, and in his letter he calls upon thebelievers to quote obey the rule of the tradition. This is our way.This is why, say, an ignatious of Antioch, just a few yearsafter Clement, certainly no later than about a d one hundred and seven.In his letter to the Magnesians, as he was moving to Rome to bemartyred, he uses the word Christianity. The first time it's ever recorded inhistory is in his letter to the Magnesians, and he calls on Christians to fightthe heretics who want to change the faith, because the faith has beenembraced by US and does not change. These are his words. He saidyou must avoid the heretics as wild beasts. They are mad dogs that bite,bite, stealth. You must be on guard against them, for theirbite is hard to heal once you start improving the faith because you're so intelligent, like thousands have tried to do throughout church history. And so many today, so many smartypans phds all over the world. You get a PhD,you know better than the Holy Father's you know. I must say I'm veryproud of one of our young men, Zach Porkou, who, by theway, this week, please pray for him. In three days he's goingto defend his dissertation at Catholic University in America. He's going to have hisviba defending his dissertation and he wrote me a little note and he sent mehis final copy of his dissertation and he said, Father, I I dealt. I dealt a lot with origin in my in my dissertation, he goes, but I remember what you said to me before I went to do myPh d. He said. You looked at me. You said, don'tbecome smarter than the Church. Praise the Lord. He kept his soul anddidn't become under these pompous popes that so fill our universities. Even people whoclaim to be Orthodox, who are always trying to correct the church here andthere. Once you start doing that, when does it ever end? Whatis the end of it? This is why he says avoid them like wildbeasts. They're mad dogs that bite by stealth. You must be on guardagainst them, for their bite is heart. To Heal. These heretics will goto the unquenchable fire, as also will those who listen to them.Be Deaf whenever anyone speaks to you apart from Jesus Christ. This is whySaint Ignatius wrote in his letter to the...

Church in Rome Christianity is greatest whenit is hated by the world. That's when we're greatest, when we're nottrying to accommodate our faith to the worldly spirit, which is impossible. Whatwe do is lovingly accommodate ourselves and others to the faith. All heresy ischange, all heresy is an effort to conform the faith to the world,to make some aspect of our faith palatable to the world. Why do Christianchurches bless immoral relationships? Because the the world demands it and they care.They don't want to die. They want somehow to make the offense of theCross go away. This is why the epistle to Dignitas, written just shortlyafter saying Ignatius. Do you notice how I'm trying to show you this asalways been our way, by using the earliest documents that we have from theNew Testament. This is why the epistle to dignitas says this. Christians mustnever transgress. By the way, it could have been written as early asone hundred and twenty, maybe as late as one hundred and fifty, butyou get it right. Early Christians must never transgress the bounds fixed by thefathers. Can you imagine what the author of this letter meant by that,compared to us, we who live after all of them? Still we weretalking this language. Never transgress the bounds fixed by the fathers in one hundredand twenty. This is our faith, brothers and sisters, and this iswhy we're so happy this day. This is why we're so happy not tobe tormented by the constant compromises outside the church. This is why we're notswimming in uncertainty and doubt, wondering who is God, who am I bywhat's the purpose of my life? The very questions that can't be answered inour own culture. Our culture is desperately looking for something and it has noroot, it has no anchor anymore, terrible desperation. Christians do not compromisewith the world. The church does not conform to the world, but theChurch conforms the work to Christ. That's what's happening in our lives and thatas what's happening in the world by the Ministry of the Church today, injust a few minutes, after we have the blessing of receiving the Lord,we're going to process outside and we're going to read the CEO The cone,from the triumph of Orthodoxy, from the seventh Ecumenical Council and from the Exaltationof the Icons in eight hund forty three when definitively the heresy of ICONOCLASS,I'm after a hundred and twenty plus years...

...of killing us, literally killing ourfaithful, especially by the authority of a godless or a heretical at that time, state, finally was put down. We're going to mention all of theseincredibly triumphant people and you can add all of the names you're getting here toall the names you just heard in the epistle. Lesson all those who struggledfor the faith and found victory by holding to the truth and never letting goof God. All of these triumphs are the fruit of the one supreme triumph, that horrible death that to the world look like the greatest defeat, whichwas turned into the greatest victory the world has ever seen, the death andresurrection of our Savior. This is the ultimate triumph that makes us Christians andthat we celebrate. It is the cause celebrate of every time we get together, every feast we celebrate. It's Jesus's triumph that's at its heart. ForThree Hundred Year of the Lord inspired our brothers and sisters through every act ofmartyrdom and through oceans of slaughter. And the very empire that destroyed Christ embracedhim after three hundred years, and that launched a period of five hundred years. And whence once we had been we had won the empire. We foughtheresy after a heresy until the Exaltation Today, the Triumph of Orthodoxy. Today,in eight forty three and for the last one hundred years, the Churchhas continued her task of bringing the triumph of faith to people far and wide, and we continue it today. It's our joy, it's our happiness tobe a part of this faith. Never let go, brothers and sisters,never let go hold the faith that has redeemed the universe. Hold it tightlyso that we can somehow be associated with all of our faithful brothers and sisterswho have been able to keep the true faith unto their salvation and the salvationof all those who have followed after them. This is what we're celebrating today.Isn't it a joy to be an Orthodox Christian? Blessed feast. Wehope that you have enjoyed and have been edified by this presentation offered to youby Patristic Nectar Publications, a nonprofit organization committed to nourishing the spiritually thirsty withthe sweet teachings of the Holy Fathers. If you are interested in other availabletitles or if you would like more information on patristic nectar publications, please visitour website at www dot patristic nectar dot...

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