Thursday, December 24, 2020

Christianity and Communism

From "On the Law of God," by Metropolitan Philaret (Voskresensky). Translated by Hieromonk Varlaam Novakshonoff.

Let us now examine the question of the relationship of Christianity with Communism more precisely, to that particular form of communism which has now appeared as an attempt to realize the ideas of socialism. This form of communism emerged in history as a sworn and bitter enemy of Christianity. For its part, Christianity recognizes it as completely alien and inimical with itself.

The history of the Church in apostolic times reveals that, in those times, it had its own Christian communism and the faithful held everything common, as the Acts of the Apostles says. Even now, this Christian communism exists in the form of Koenobitic monasticism. Both the concept and reality of communal property is a bright, idealistically elevated type of Christian inter-relationship, examples of which have always existed in the Orthodox Church.

How great is the difference between such Christian communism and Soviet communism! One is as far from the other as the heavens are from the earth. Christian communism is not an independent self-motivated goal to which Christianity might strive. Rather, it is an inheritance bred of that spirit of love by which the Church has breathed from the first. Moreover, Christian communism is totally voluntary. No one says, "Give us what is yours, it belongs to us," rather, Christians themselves sacrificed so that "none of them considered any of their possessions to be their own."

The communalism of property in Soviet communism is a self-motivated goal which must be attained no matter what the consequences and regardless of any considerations. The builders of this type of communism are attaining it by purely violent means, not balking at any measure, even the slaughter of all those who do not agree... The bases of this communism are not freedom, as in Christian communism, but force; not sacrificial love, but envy and hatred.

In its struggle against religion, Soviet communism goes to such excesses that it excludes even that most elementary justice which is recognized by everyone. In its class ideology, Soviet communism tramples on all justice. The object of its work is not the common weal of all the citizens of the state, but only the interests of a single class. All the remaining state and social groupings of citizens are "thrown overboard," outside the care and protection of the communist government. The ruling class has no concern for them.

In speaking of its new order, its "free" state, communism constantly promises a "dictatorship of the proletariat." It became clear a long time ago, however, that there is no sign of this promised dictatorship of the proletariat, but instead, there is a bureaucratic dictatorship over the proletariat. Moreover, there is no manifestation of ordinary political freedom under this system: neither freedom of the press, nor freedom to assemble, nor the inviolability of the home. Only those who have lived in the Soviet Union know the heaviness and intensity of the oppression which reigns there. Over all this, there reigns a political terror such as has never before been experienced: executions and murders, exiles and imprisonment in unbelievably harsh conditions. This is what communism has given to the Russian people instead of the promised freedom.

In its political propaganda, communism claims that it is attaining the realization of freedom, equality (i.e., justice) and brotherhood. We have already spoken of the first and second. The idea of "brotherhood" was borrowed from the Christians who call each other "brother." Apostle Peter said, "Honor everyone, love the brotherhood" (1 Pt. 2:17). In practice, communism exchanged the word "brother" for the word "comrade." This is very indicative, since comrades can be co-participants (but not brethren) in any activity, but one cannot really speak of "brotherhood" anyway, there where class struggle, envy and hatred are preached.

All these cited differences between Christianity and communism do not yet exhaust even the very essence of the contradiction between them. The fundamental difference between communism and Christianity lies deeper still, in the religious ideology of both. No wonder, then, that the communists struggle so maliciously and stubbornly against our faith.

Communism is supposedly an atheistic system which renounces all religion. In actual fact, it is a religion - a fanatical, dark and intolerant religion. Christianity is a religion of heaven; communism, a religion of earth. Christianity preaches love for everyone; communism preaches class hatred and warfare and is based on egoism. Christianity is a religion of idealism, founded on the faith of the victory of God's truth and love. Communism is a religion of dry, rational pragmatism, pursuing the goal of creating an earthly paradise (a paradise of animalistic satiety and spiritual reprobation). It is significant that, while a cross is put on a Christian's grave, the grave of a communist is marked by a red stake. How indicative and symbolic for both. With the one - faith in the victory of life over death and good over evil. With the other - ignorant darkness, gloom and emptiness, without joy, comfort or hope for the future. While the sacred relics of the holy ascetics of Christ's faith blossom with incorruptibility and fragrance, the rotting corpse of the often-embalmed Lenin is the best symbol of communism.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Reader Services through the 31st Sunday after Pentecost

This installment covers the Sundays of Old Calendar December, which on the civil Calendar runs from December 14th through January 13th. I intend to keep these texts posted as long as there are states or English speaking countries that are still under lockdown due to the Coronavirus.

The Eves

For the Eves of the upcoming Sundays and Feasts, you could ideally do the Vigil. The fixed portions can be downloaded here:

or viewed in HTML, here:

For the Rubrics, see:

The variable portions of the service can be downloaded here (all of these would be served on the eve of their respective days). The Sunday services require two files, because these combinations do not repeat annually. In addition to the files linked for the Sundays below, you will need to use the appropriate Katavasia, which for this time period is the Katavasia of the Nativity -- the respective Rubrics will tell you which. Also, on Sundays, there are some hymns that are appointed according to which Matins Gospel is read. To find out which one is read, you also need to look at the Rubrics. For those texts, you will find them here: Those hymns are usually done at the Exapostilaria and then at the Doxasticon at the Praises.

Also, the texts below do not always have the full canon for the Menaion, but you can find that here: (you will need to look up the service according to the Old Calendar (o.s.) date).

For the Feast of St. Nicholas (December 19th n.s. / December 6th o.s.):

For the 28th Sunday After Pentecost / St. Ambrose of Milan (December 20th n.s. / December 7th o.s.):

For the 29th Sunday after Pentecost / The Sunday of the Holy Forefathers (December 27th n.s. / December 14th o.s.):

For the 30th Sunday after Pentecost / The Sunday of the Holy Fathers (January 3rd n.s. / December 21st o.s.):

Christmas Eve Vigil (January 6th n.s. / December 24th o.s.)

(This service is not set up as a reader service, but by following the usual modifications, you could easily use this text to do it as a reader service)

Vespers for Nativity (the eve of January 7th n.s. / December 25th o.s.):

Vigil for Nativity (January 7th n.s. / December 25th o.s.):

For the 31st Sunday after Pentecost / Sunday after Nativity (January 10th n.s. / December 28th o.s.):


In place of the Liturgies, you would do Typika:

For the Feast of St. Nicholas (December 19th n.s. / December 6th o.s.):

For the 28th Sunday After Pentecost / St. Ambrose of Milan (December 20th n.s. / December 7th o.s.):

For the 29th Sunday after Pentecost / The Sunday of the Holy Forefathers (December 27th n.s. / December 14th o.s.):

For the 30th Sunday after Pentecost / The Sunday of the Holy Fathers (January 3rd n.s. / December 21st o.s.):

The Royal Hours & Typika of Nativity (January 6th n.s. / December 24th o.s.):

For Nativity (January 7th n.s. / December 25th o.s.):

For the 31st Sunday after Pentecost / Sunday after Nativity (January 10th n.s. / December 28th o.s.):

Wednesday, December 02, 2020

St. Paisios the Athonite on Divine Providence


We live in uncertain times, but the following words from St. Paisios the Athonite tell us how we should view these uncertainties:

"He [St. Paisios] never worried or despaired, even if things seemed difficult and dire. And this was true as much for personal matters and the affairs of those around him as it was for ecclesiastical, national, and international affairs. He saw the increasing activity and dominion of the evil one and his minions, but he knew and assured others that "someone else holds the reins." "The devil ploughs," he would say, "but Christ sows the seeds." "God," he believed, "doesn't let something bad happen unless something good will come out of it, or unless it'll at least prevent something even worse from happening."

This hope which "will not be put to shame" accompanied him in every aspect of his life, especially in difficulties. In the midst of darkness and fog, he spoke of clear skies. "By the grace of God," he would say to desperate souls, "everything will be all right." To someone who was worried about schemes against their homeland, he replied with a hopeful answer: "If they tell me that there are no more Greeks, I won't worry. God can resurrect a Greek. One is enough." He also believed that "even if there's just one Christian left, Christ will fulfill His plan." When others spread fear and talked of ominous developments for the nation's future, the elder radiated optimism and hope. He spoke about a resurrected Greece and the recapture of Hagia Sophia. "There is a God," he once said to clergyman with a bleak outlook on the future of Greece. "What have you done with Him?"" ("Elder Paisios of Mount Athos," by Hieromonk Isaac, 7th ed. (Chalkidiki, Greece: Holy Monastery of Saint Arsenios the Cappadocian, 2012), p. 431f) Since St. Paisios' glorification, this book is now published under the title "Saint Paisios of Mount Athos."