Christian Martyrdom in Modern Age: Be Pious, Chaste, Moral, Faithful to God

Christian Martyrdom in Modern Age: Be Pious, Chaste, Moral, Faithful to God by Chris Banescu –
“If you never chase God out of your house, your soul, and your heart, it is the last and greatest martyrdom.” ~ Fr. Calistrat Chifan

We often think of Christian martyrs as men and women who lived long ago and courageously gave up their lives in defense of their faith. We think of saints and disciples who were fed to the lions, tortured, maimed, burned alive, dismembered, or slaughtered for proclaiming Christ as Lord and Savior or refusing to renounce Christianity. We also witness similar modern day martyrdom of Christians living in the Middle East. Like their ancient brethren these innocents are shot, decapitated, raped, tortured, blown up, burned alive, and murdered for simply being Christian or daring to publicly proclaim the Gospel.

Few of us would think of modern Christians living in North or South America, Europe, Russia, Asia, or other parts of the world, where there’s no official government persecution or widespread Islamic oppression of the faithful, as doing anything worthy of the title “martyr.” We have freedom and religious liberty to worship God as citizens or residents of secular democracies or constitutional republics, where Christianity is either protected (in Russia, Romania, and a few other Eastern European countries) or tolerated, at least for now (in other Western countries). [Read more…]

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The Orthodox Church: Fighting Heresies and Resisting Worldly Errors

Sunday of Orthodoxy, Orthodox Church Fighting Heresies and Resisting Worldly ErrorsG. K. Chesterton points out the glorious sanity and vigorous life that has existed in the Christian Church since Her founding. While Chesterton doesn’t specifically mention the Orthodox Church I found his comments most appropriate for the Sunday of Orthodoxy we just celebrated. “This is the Faith of the Apostles, this is the Faith of the Fathers, this is the Faith of the Orthodox, this is the Faith which has established the Universe.” ~ Confession of faith from the Day of Orthodoxy

“This is the thrilling romance of Orthodoxy. People have fallen into a foolish habit of speaking of orthodoxy as something heavy, humdrum, and safe. There never was anything so perilous or so exciting as orthodoxy. It was sanity: and to be sane is more dramatic than to be mad. It was the equilibrium of a man behind madly rushing horses, seeming to stoop this way and to sway that, yet in every attitude having the grace of statuary and the accuracy of arithmetic. [Read more…]

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The Orthodox Church: Fierce Defender of Theological Truths and Sound Christian Doctrines

The Orthodox Church: Fierce Defender of Theological Truths and Sound Christian DoctrinesThe masterful and wisdom-filled writings of G. K. Chesterton remind us why the Christian Church cannot afford to swerve even “a hair’s breadth” on important theological truths. While not written with regards to the Orthodox Church specifically, his insights also describe how the Orthodox Church has continually fought to defend the Truth and the Christian faith as taught by Jesus Christ, embodied in the Scriptures, preached by the Apostles, attested by the Martyrs, reflected in the writings of the Saints, and expounded by the Fathers.

“Last and most important, it is exactly this which explains what is so inexplicable to all the modern critics of the history of Christianity. I mean the monstrous wars about small points of theology, the earthquakes of emotion about a gesture or a word. It was only a matter of an inch; but an inch is everything when you are balancing. The Church could not afford to swerve a hair’s breadth on some things if she was to continue her great and daring experiment of the irregular equilibrium. Once let one idea become less powerful and some other idea would become too powerful. [Read more…]

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Prayer for America, Prayer for Election Times

Prayer for America, Prayer for Election TimesFrom The Prayer of Azariah
Blessed are You and praiseworthy, O Lord, the God of our fathers, and praised and glorified is Your name unto the ages. For You are righteous in all You did for us, and all Your works are true. Your ways are upright, and all Your judgments are true.

The judgments You made are true, according to all You brought on us and on the holy city of our fathers, because in truth and judgment You did all these things on account of our sins.

For we sinned and acted lawlessly to depart from You. We sinned in every way, and did not obey Your commandments. Neither did we treasure or do as You commanded, that it might go well with us. Everything You brought on us and all You did to us, You did in true judgment. [Read more…]

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The Beginning of the Day Belongs to Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ Light of the World, God and Saviorby Chris Banescu –
In Life Together, the book that highlights the importance of Christian fellowship and community life centered on Christ, Dietrich Bonhoeffer reminds us that the beginning of the day belongs to God. “At the threshold of the new day stand the Lord who made it.” He exhorts us to silence all empty talk and distractions when we rise each day and instead let our first thoughts and words be offered to Jesus Christ, “to whom our whole life belongs.”

This is the same message that the Scriptures, wise men of God, the Orthodox Church, and the Christian Saints have taught and practiced throughout the ages. The Gospels bear witness that Jesus Christ himself started each day with prayer. “Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed” (Mark 1:35).

“For Christians, the beginning of the day should not be burdened and oppressed with besetting concerns for the day’s work. At the threshold of the new day stand the Lord who made it. All the darkness and distraction of the dreams of night retreat before the clear light of Jesus Christ and His wakening Word. All unrest, all impurity, all care and anxiety flee before Him. [Read more…]

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Christians Need Each Other to Hear the Word of God

Christians Need Each Other to Hear the Word of Godby Chris Banescu –
This Nativity season it’s good to remember the sacramental role that a Christian community plays in our lives. Man was not created to be alone but live in communion with God and other human beings. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the Christian martyr and theologian, reminds us that our brothers are the means through which Christ, the Word of God, reaches us most powerfully and effectively.

We need each other because the Christ in our “own heart is weaker that the Christ in the word” of our brother. Our own heart can sometimes be uncertain, but our brother’s is sure. That’s why we need other Christians as bearers and proclaimers “of the divine word of salvation” to remind us of the Word of God. [Read more…]

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Dostoevsky: Fear the Christian Socialist

Fyodor Dostoevsky, Fedor Dostoevskiiby Chris Banescu –
“The socialist who is a Christian is more to be feared than the socialist who is an atheist.” ~ Fyodor Dostoevsky

A sober warning comes to us from the writings of Fyodor Dostoevsky in his book The Brothers Karamazov. Given that some Orthodox Christian leaders today embrace and promote socialist ideas, this ominous observation should give us pause. Is history repeating itself?

“We are not particularly afraid of all these socialists, anarchists, atheists and revolutionaries. . . .  But there are a few peculiar men among them who believe in God and are Christians, but at the same time are socialists.  Those are the people we are most afraid of.  They are terrible people!  The socialist who is a Christian is more to be feared than the socialist who is an atheist.”
~ Fyodor Dostoevsky (Fedor Dostoevskii), The Brothers Karamazov

[Read more…]

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