Thoughts for ea…

Thoughts for each day of the year. St Theophan The Recluse

There is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known (Matt.10:26). Consequently, no matter how we hide ourselves in our sins now, it is of no use to us at all. The time will come – and is it far off? – when all will come to light. What should we do? Do not hide. If you have sinned, go and reveal your sin to your spiritual father. When you receive absolution, the sin vanishes, as if it had never existed. Nothing will have to be revealed and shown later. If  you hide the sin and do not repent, you will retain it within yourself, and there will be something to be brought to light at the proper time unto your accusation. God has revealed all of this to us in advance, so that while still here we will manage to disarm His righteous and terrible judgement upon us sinners.

What came first? The truth or the lie.

Truth doesn’t need the lie in order to exist, it is fully autonomous, the cause and the source of all existence. Beauty doesn’t need ugliness in order to be perceived as such. Both the lie and the ugliness have one thing in common – they are parasites who in order to exist, completely rely on their hosts for food. Blind is the man who thinks that a lie leaves him unchanged. Every single lie is creating another bridge for a variety of spiritual parasites waiting to feast on the poor soul.  And the new, the ugly man is born.

Excerpt from “Nihilism. The root of the revolution of the modern age” by Fr Seraphim Rose

“What, more realistically, is this “mutation”, the “new man”? He is the rootless man, discontinuous with a past that Nihilism has destroyed, the raw material of every demagogue’s dream; the “free-thinker” and skeptic, closed only to the truth but “open” to each new intellectual fashion because he himself has no intellectual foundation; the “seeker” after some “new revelation”, ready to believe anything new because true faith has been annihilated in him; the planner and experimenter, worshipping “fact” because he has abandoned truth, seeing the world as a vast laboratory in which he is free to determine what is “possible”; the autonomous man, pretending to the humility of only asking his “rights”, yet full of the pride that expects everything to be given him in a world where nothing is authoritatively forbidden; the man of the moment, without conscience or values and thus at the mercy of the strongest “stimulus”; the “rebel”, hating all restraint and authority because he himself is his own and only god; the “mass man”, this new barbarian, thoroughly “reduced” and “simplified” and capable of only the most elementary ideas, yet scornful of anyone who presumes to point out the higher things or the real complexity of life.

These men are all one man, the man whose fashioning has been the very purpose of Nihilism. But mere description cannot do justice to this man; one must see his image. And in fact such an image has quite recently been portrayed; it is the image of contemporary painting, and scuplture, that which has arisen, for the most part, since the end of the Second World War, as if to give form to the reality produced by the most concentrated era of Nihilism in human history.

The human form, it would seem, has been “rediscovered” in this art; out of the chaos of total abstraction, identifiable shapes emerge. The result, supposedly, is a “new humanism”, a “return to man” that is all the more significant in that – unlike so many of the artistic schools of the twentieth century – it is not an artificial contrivance whose substance is hidden behind a cloud of irrationalist jargon, but a spontaneous growth that would seem to have deep roots in the soul of contemporary man. In the work, for example, of Alberto Giacometti, Jean Dubuffet, Francis Bacon, Leon Golub, Jose Luis Cuevas – to take an international sampling  – there seems to be a genuinely “contemporary” art that, without abandoning the disorder and “freedom” of abstraction, turns its attention away from mere escape toward a serious “human commitment”.

But what kind of “man” is it to which this art has “returned”? It’s certainly not Christian man, man in the image of God, for no “modern” man can believe in him; nor is it the somewhat diluted “man” of the old humanism, whom all “advanced” thinkers regard as discredited and outmoded. It is not even the “man” disfigured and denatured in the earlier “Cubist” and “Expressionist” art of this century; rather, it begins where that art leaves off, and attempts to enter a new realm, to depict a “new man”.

To the Orthodox Christian observer, concerned not with what the avant-garde finds fashionable or sophisticated, but with truth, little reflection should be required to penetrate to the secret of this art: there is no question of “man” in it at all; it is an art at once subhuman an demonic. It is not man who is the subject of this art, but some lower creature who has emerged (“arrived” is Giacometti’s word for it) from unknown depths.

The bodies this creature assumes (and in all its metamorphoses it is always the same creature) are not necessarily distorted violently; twisted and dismembered as they are, they are often more “realistic” than the figures of man in earlier modern art. This creature, it is clear, is not the victim of some violent attacks; rather, he was born deformed, he is a genuine “mutation”. One cannot but notice the likeness between some of these figures and photographs of the deformed children born recently to thousands of women who had taken the drug Thalidomide during pregnancy; and we have doubtless not seen the last of such monstrous “coincidences”.

Even more revealing than the bodies of these creatures are the faces. It would be too much to say that these faces express hopelesness; that would be to ascribe to them some trace of humanity which they most emphatically lack. They are the faces, rather, of creatures more of less “adjusted” to the world they know, a world not hostile but entirely alien, not inhuman but “a-human”. The anguish and rage and despair of earlier Expressionists is here frozen, as it were, and cut off from a world to which they had at least the relation of denial, so as to make a world of their own. Man, in this art, is no longer even a caricature of himself; he is no longer portrayed in the throes of spiritual death, ravaged by the hideous Nihilism of our century that attacks, not just the body and soul, but the very idea and nature of man. No, all this has passed; the crisis is over; man is dead. The new art celebrates the birth of a new species, the creature of the lower depths, subhumanity.

We have dealt with this art at a length perhaps disproportionate to its intrinsic value, because it offers concrete and unmistakable evidence – for him who has eyes to see – of a reality, which expressed abstractly, seems frankly incredible It is easy to dismiss as fantasy the “new humanity” foreseen by a Hitler or a Lenin; and even the plans of those quite respectable Nihilists among us today who calmly discuss the scientific breeding of a “biological superman”, or project a utopia for “new men” to be developed by the narrowest “modern education” and a strict control of the mind, seem remote and only faintly ominous.

But confronted with the actual image of a “new man”, an image brutal and loathsome beyond imagination, and at the same time so unpremeditated, consistent, and widespread in contemporary art, one is caught up short, and the full horror of the contemporary state of man strikes one a blow one is not likely soon to forget”

Poems from communist prisons. Sergiu Grossu.

Image

“Sergiu Grossu was born to Ion and Maria Grossu on November 14, 1920 in Cubolta. In 1927, his family moved to Bălţi, where he was a classmate of Eugen Coşeriu. He published in Viaţa Basarabiei.[2] He graduated from the University of Bucharest with degrees in theology, philosophy and modern philology. Following the Soviet occupation of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina, he became a refugee in Bucharest. In the wake of the Soviet occupation of Romania, he joined Oastea Domnului (English: the Lord’s Army),[3] a spiritual renewal movement of lay volunteers as well as clerics, associated with the Romanian Orthodox Church. This organization was outlawed during the communist rule. His pseudonym was Simion Cubolta.

In April 1957, he married Nicoleta Valeria Bruteanu (1919–1996), a graduate of Bucharest Conservatory, relative of Iuliu Maniu and former political detainee. The Romanian movie Binecuvântată fii, închisoare (Bless you, prison) and the book Prisoner Rejoice[4] recount the story of Nicoleta Valeria Bruteanu’s grueling years of detention by the Romanian Communist Regime. On March 7, 1959, Grossu was arrested and sentenced to 12 years in prison for his activity in Oastea Domnului.[5] He was pardoned in 1962.[6]

Sergiu Grossu and his wife immigrated to France in 1969. There they founded the “Catacombes” publishing house, the association “La Chaine” and served as editors of the monthly magazine Catacombes (1971–1992). He hosted the radio show “Lumea creştină” on Radio Free Europe. He has given lectures in Paris, Bordeaux, Versailles, Besançon, Dieppe, Tours, Blois, Poitiers, Nantes, Brest, Toulouse, Lyon, etc.”  as per http://www.wikipedia.org

Know how to suffer

by

Sergiu Grossu

 

You must know how to suffer with Holy strength,

torture, interrogations, curses and chains,

if you wish to hear the heavens sing

in your bleeding, groaning heart.

 

Know how to forget unfair humiliations,

and the condemnation of cruel judgement

if you want to climb the blazing steps

and wear the flames of dawn on your brow.

 

Know how to endure the brutal lashes

and deep within you, your fury curb,

if you want your behaviour to be free

and your joy blameless.

 

Know how to forgive as only love forgives,

flowing from life’s Golgotha,

if you would conquer the infinitude,

by purifying your sorrowful tears.

 

Know how to rise above hate

if you would overcome bestiality and the abyss,

forever putting a dam to nature

flying flags of light within.

 

Know how to suffer and suffering give

the treasures inwardly gathered

if you would immerse in the rainbow

and bathe in pure praise…

 

The Aiud Calvary

The reign of terror of the Romanian Securitate was at its peak in the period 1954-1964. The tortures inflicted on Romanian political prisoners were among the most severe in any of the Eeast Europeans gulags and killings were frequent. The prisons and/or labour camps of cruellest notoriety in the Romanian gulag were Aiud, Gherla, Jilava and Pitesti.

Aiud is well-known for the medieval fortress that dominates its centre.

Sadly, Aiud also became known in Communist times for the incarceration and extermination of political prisoners. So severe was their treatment that in 1992 an initiative was undertaken by survivors to raise a monument to honor the memory of all those who perished not only in Aiud but in all the prisons of communist Romania. Known as the Calvary of Aiud, the monument, which was completed in 1999, is located just outside the city centre. It consists of seven paired six-meter-high crosses (representing the unity in suffering of the victims of communism and the seven mysteries of the Orthodox Church ), in traditional Romanian style, supporting a huge wooden cross – the “cross of the nation” borne by the martyred – resting horizontally atop them and set on a tall stone platform. The arms of this cross are slightly inclined, each bearing a hole that represents the eyes of suffering of Romanian nation which are directed towards the sky begging God to be merciful towards Romanian land. The crosses of the monument are watching the sleep of the unidentified dead, victims of the communist regime from the Aiud Penitentiary. In Aiud, instead of imprisonment and extermination, the communists buried a big part of the Romanian resistance elite against communism. The cemetery bears a terrible name, the “Slaves’ Ravine” or “Slaves’ Hill”.

Among the more prominent artists and intellectuals who spent time in Aiud were the Iron Cross poets Radu Gyr and Nichifor Crainic; the novelist Marcel Petrisor; the writer and Orthodox monk Nicolae Steinhardt and the distinguished writer Vasile Voiculescu, arrested at the age of 74 and died after 4 years of prison just prior to his release and the philosopher and sociologist Mircea Vulcanescu, who was treated so brutally that he died two years before the termination of his sentence.

On Revolutions. Ivan Solonevich

 

NB: The book was written in 1939.

“All three revolutions – Russian, Italian and German, as well as the one from 150 years ago, the French Revolution, set themselves the “universal goal” – goal of robbery, to the extent possible, of all mankind. Given the presence of the oceans and other water hazards “all mankind” is equivalent in this case to Europe. French Revolution succeeded to rob almost everything. So did the German one. Do not know if Russian will follow lead. Revolutionary army of Carnot inherited by Robespierre from the old regime, were still the best armies in Europe of those times, as the German army of William II and Hitler were probably the best armies of nowadays Europe. Red Army, despite the full recovery of epaulettes, traditions and statutes of the tsarist army – it’s the Sphinx that looks for his next Oedipus. Somehow it gobbled Hitler – though not without outside help. But if Hitler showed just a little more shrewdness – Red Army would cease to exist in 1942 – it would take the side of any Russian and anti-Bolshevik government. Adolf Oedipus didn’t solve the riddle – and was swallowed. Today’s peace conferences are crowded with wannabe Oedipuses. And the Sphinx that swallowed Hitler remained even more hungry than he was before the feast. Speaking very schematically – in Russia there was enough room for robbery, but in Germany internal robbery opportunities were severely limited. In Russia, existed, so to speak, “the swing”, in Germany – calculation. In Russia socialism robbed “internal resources” of the country, while Germany was zeroing in more on the external … But over the two countries brandished the same blood-red flag of revolution, however, with a swastika in Germany and the hammer and sickle – in Russia: indeed there is a need of some distinguishing differences, so that in fraternal embraces of the proletarians of all countries to thrust the knife, at least not in your own back …
But all this is, in essence, is secondary: Hitler instead of Stalin, the Gestapo instead of the NKVD, “organization in Europe” instead of “world revolution” and Dachau instead of Solovki. Yes, striking similarities between the two regimes in the two countries, so different from each other. Yes, striking parallelism of the development of all the three great revolutions: French, Russian and German. But the most striking and the most terrible thing – it is the commonality of the human type, which makes the revolutionary era of the “masses”, which rises from the crest of the revolutionary wave – and rushing to their own destruction.

Ivan Solonevich “The dictatorship of the bastard”

Poem “Doina” Mihai Eminescu

Doina

From Tisa to the Nistru’s tide
All Romania’s people cried
That they could no longer stir
For the rabbled foreigner.
From Hotin down to the sea
Rides the Muscal cavalry;
From the sea back to Hotin
Nothing but their host is seen;
While from Dorna to Boian
Seems the plague has spread its ban;
Leaving on our land a scar
That you scarcely know it more.
Up the mountains down the dale,
Have our foes flung far their trail.
From Sacele to Satmar
Only foreign lords there are;
While Roumanians one and all
Like the crab must backwards crawl.
And reversed is everything:
Spring for them is no more spring,
Summer is no longer summer,
They, at home, the foreign comer.
From Turnu up to Dorohoi
Does the alien horde deploy
And our fertile fields enjoy.
With their rumbling trains they come
Making all our voices dumb,
And our birds so much affray
That in haste they fly away.
Nothing now but withered thorn
Does the Christian’s hearth adorn.
And the smiling earth they smother;
Forest-good Romanian brother –
You too bend before their tide,
And the very springs they’ve dried.
Sad is this our countryside.

Who has sent them to these parts,
May the dogs eat out their hearts;
May the night their homes efface,
And with them this shameless race.
Stephen, mighty emperor,
You in Putna reign no more.
While his holy Prelacy
Guards alone the monastery,
Where the priests in fervent prayer
Of the saints take pious care.
Let them toll the bells away,
All the night and all the day,
And the gracious Lord invoke
That he come and save your folk !
Stephen rise up from the ground,
And your battle trumpet sound
All Moldavia gathered round.
Blow your trumpet just one blare,
All Moldavia will be there;
Let your trumpet blazed two
That the forests follow you;
Let your trumpet blazed three,
That our foes demolished be
From the mountains to the sea,
That the crows may hear their knell
And the gallows-tree as well.

Translated by

Corneliu M. Popescu

Poem “I do not hate you death”. Grigorie Vieru.

I do not hate You, Death. Not me.
Nor do I smear Your name,
Like those who curse You bitterly
And Light itself they blame.

I do not hate You, Death. Not me.
Against You I am not.
But though You’re great, and I am wee,
My life is all I’ve got.

Still, Death, what would You do if, say,
Your mother were to die?
Or, should Your children pass away,
How would You still get by?

Oh, Death, a mom You’ve never had,
Nor any living seed!
And so, I fear You not a tad,
But pity You indeed.

Grigore Vieru (Translated by Paul Abucean)

Fr Dumitru Staniloae

Parintele-Dumitru-Staniloae-de-Dinu-Lazar-via-Roncea-Ro

Fr Dumitru Staniloae

“Contemporary Orthodox theology has escaped from the influence of the scholasticism of the last few centuries. This scholastic current, by claiming to give a complete definition of God and his saving work and to supply rigid and supposedly comprehensive formulae, was able to inhibit the progress of theological thought, at least until theolgoy was compelled by the force of the current revolution in human thinking to abandon these formulae.

While Western theology, which has only now abandoned the rationalist formulae of scholasticism under the pressure of the present intellectual revolution, seeks to explain the doctrines of the faith just as exhaustively by means of rationalist formulae of another rkind, especially those based on the results of the natural sciences, Orthodox theology considers that these same scientific results have thrown even greater light upon the infinite mystery of the divine interpersonal life and upon the ineffable mystery of the human subject, as well as upon the personal relations which obtain among these human subjects nad between them and the God who transcends reason.

In these two theologies we have today two paths along which human thought can progress.

Nevertheless, by claiming today as it did in the past that it can fully grasp the divine reality and its saving relationship to men be means of reason, Western theology runs the risk of soon having to replace the rational explanation of today with other explanations, for toda’s explanations will soon prove insufficient for the minds of tomorrow – a fact which we have continuously observed, especially in Protestant theology. On the other hand, because it allows the light of the inexhaustible mystery to appear through any of its formulae in any age, Orthodox theology does not make earlier formulations obsolete when it moves forward to new ones, but remains in continuity with them, the former being in fact a new explanation of the latter, a new step forward in the perception of the divine myster which had also been correctly perceived by the previous formulae. For Orthodox theology this same mystery remains transparent in every new theological expression, even though each new expression is a step forward in making the mystery manifest and in rendering the inexhaustible richness of its meaning visible. Each expression makes explicit something of the manifold logoi contained in the mystery, while at the same time it implies the presence of the mystery. Thus Orthodox theology still remains faithful to the dogmatic formulations of the first centuries of the Church, while nevertheless making continuous progress in their interpretation and in the revelation of tha ineffable mystery which they only suggest.

In its estimation of the role of scientific progress in the understanding of dogma Orthodox theology is in agreement with Western theology. What distinguishes it from the latter is the fact that it takes scientific progress into account only in so far as science makes a contribution to the progress of the human spirit, and only in so far as it deepens in man the experience of his own spiritual reality and of the supreme spiritual reality, neither of which can be reduced to the physical and chemical level of nature. Orthodox theology gives us the possibility of understanding the mystery of the relationship between God and man. Yet it is also our belief that scientific progress does produce, generally speaking, an overall progress of the human spirit. We look upon the man of today with this kind of confidence because Orthodoxy has had confidence in the man of every age, believing that he can neither be reduced by any fall to a condition of “pure nature” (natura pura) enclosed within the limits of exclusively worldly concerns, nor become, by reason of the fall, such a totally corrupt human nature that his every thought and action and his whole being are completely sinful. We do not agree even today with Western theology when it says that contemporary man is progressing only in the areas of science and technology and is being stripped more and more of a spiritual life. This is why we do not think it necessary to give up our stress upon the spiritual content of dogma when we are faced with the argument that such content can say nothing to the man of today, and therefore we must insist only on the conformity of dogmas with the results of the natural sciences. We believe that dogmas can only be preserved by emphasizing the spiritual meanings they contain.”

Fr Dumitru Staniloae “Theology and the Church”

Poems from communist prisons. Arcturus.

THE CANAL

by

Arcturus

Here we stayed and bled for years

and spat out our lungs into the soil,

here we were affianced to the sick,

some forgotten leg or hand.

 

On these valleys and hills of Dobrogea,

light was set back by centuries,

bitter darkness lay upon our eyelids

and we felt it taking root in our hearts.

 

Exhausted, hungry for sun and bread,

blows and fists were our recompense;

to make a way for the ships of tomorrow,

we split the Dobrogea with spades.

 

Hit by the whips of the blazing wind,

digging hard under rain and snow,

we strewed our bones by the hundreds,

the land between the Danube and the sea.

 

Our history wrung out of our tears,

will be remembered on collected pages

about this cruel Danube which spills through

three mouths of water, and through the fourth blood.

 

As for our songs of servitude

the founders in the years to come,

in their books will write

a new “Tristia” of the Pontus Euxinus

 

Dobrogea is a region between the Danube and the Black Sea.

Tristia is a poem by Ovid, Roman poet exiled to Tomis, now Constantza

Pontus Euxinus is the Black Sea

 

THE CANAL is a true picture of what really happened when the Communists planned a canal joining the Danube to the Black Sea, by-passing the Delta. They used human beings with shovels and hoes instead of bulldozers. Many lives were lost and buried into the walls of the canal. The column of skulls does not belong only to the time of Ghengis Khan. I the word, “many”, the individual pain becomes unrealistic and is passed over, as one passes over those things we would rather not know about. For the world at large, those “many” have no faces but they do have faces for those that loved them. For those who survived and for those left behind, the pain is still very real. The martyrs themselves have escaped into eternal rest but the pain has remained in our hearts which can never forget. Mother Alexandra.

 

 

St Theophan The Recluse

Thoughts for Each Day of the Year.

Tuesday.
Rom 4:4-12; Matt. 7:15-21

Beware of false prophets (Matt. 7:15). From the beginning of Christianity to this day, there has not been a time when this warning has not been applicable. The Lord did not indicate exactly which false prophets to  beware of, for how could they be identified? They change like fashions and are continually generating more like them. They always appear in sheep’s clothing, with a likeness of goodwill in their works and a mirage of truth in their speech. In our time their clothing is sewn of progress, civilization, education, freedom of thought and deed, a personal conviction which does not allow for faith, and thinks like that. All of this is a deceptive cloak. Therefore, if you come across this show of clothing, do not be hasty to open your ears to the words of “prophets” dressed in such clothes. Examine closely whether there is a wolf concealed under this sheep’s clothing. Know that the Lord is the only motivator toward true perfection, the sole softener of hearts and morals, the sole educator, the sole giver of freedom and filler of the heart with a sense of the truth, which forms a conviction so strong that nothing in the world has the power to shake it. Therefore, as soon as you perceive in the talk of these new “prophets” some shadow of contradiction of the teaching of the Lord, know that they are predatory wolves, and turn away from them