"After my death our beloved Church abroad will break three ways .... first the Greeks will leave us as they were never a part of us ... then those who live for this world and its glory will go to Moscow ... what will remain will be those souls faithful to Christ and His Church." St. Philaret of NY 1985

Waters of Babylon

Metropolitan Philaret: On the rivers of Babylon
Author: m.Rafaila. Publication date: February 16, 2015 . Category: ROCA Archive 

As Lent approaches, more and more special prayers appear in worship, with which the Church, as it were, leads, prepares us for fasting times of prayer, fasting and repentance.

When there was a week of the Publican and the Pharisee, the Church on the eve sang a song of repentance - “Repentance opened the doors, Life of the Savior,” and the next, last, Saturday, the prayer book, which was sung today, was added. This is one of the psalms of the psalter of David, which begins with the words: " On the rivers of Babylon, tamo with the saddle and weeping, always remember us Zion ."

Even last year and the year before last I had to talk about the significance of this song in our New Testament worship service, but not everyone probably remembers it and not everyone has heard it, so I’ll remind you again.

First of all, in this psalm a certain moment is remembered from the sacred history, which is indicated by words taken from it: " Remember, Lord, sons of Edom, saying on the day of Jerusalem: drain it, drain it to its foundations ." These words point to the tragedy that the people of Israel experienced when the city of Jerusalem was destroyed by the conquerors - the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar, and the people of Israel were captured by the distant Babylonian rivers.

Preparing to meet and repel the conqueror, Israel enlisted the help of its sister tribe of Edomites, the descendants of Esau, the "sons of Edom." They promised union, help and support to the Jewish people. And so, in this psalm it is indicated how perfidiously they changed what traitors these “sons of Edom on the day of Jerusalem” turned out to be - on that terrible day that was so remembered by Jerusalem - when the enemies, cruel and merciless, destroyed the holy city, but " the sons of Edom, "instead of the promised help, shouted:" Drain, drain to its foundations, "that is, destroy it to the very foundation ...

Who then would complain to the defeated Israelis? Who could they tell their grief and suffering? From antiquity comes to us the old phrase "woe to the vanquished." No one had to seek protection and help for the defeated Israelis. And so they turn to the Lord, saying, "Lord, remember, sons of Edom on the day of Jerusalem" - Lord, do not forget in Your justice of this terrible day of Jerusalem, when such a terrible betrayal was carried out by those who promised to be our allies ...

"Woe to the vanquished." So it was then. It happens now.

When there were last formidable wars, and some turned out to be winners, while others were defeated, the winners declared the defeated "war criminals", although they fought for their country as vigorously and bravely as the winners for their own. This was not before the "world wars", when the conquerors were able to respect the courage and bravery of the vanquished, they did not call them criminals and did not bring them to justice.

This is similar to how in some countries the “revolutionary leapfrog” is going on: one system is replaced by another, and one party overcomes the other. When two parties fought and one won the other, the winners declared themselves patriots, and the opponents - gangsters. A short time has passed; the situation has changed; and the gangsters turned out to be patriots, and the patriots - gangsters. For - "woe to the vanquished."

But of course, the main meaning of the song "On the rivers of Babylon," as applied to Christians, is not only in this historical moment. This psalm reminds us of how the Jews in captivity of Babylon learned to love their shrines, cherish them and protect them. The cruel conquerors said to them: " Sing to us from the song of Zion, " and they answered: " Kako, let us sing the song of the Lord on an alien land? "

So, here we, who have visited many rivers far from their homeland, should take an example from the Jewish people, as he learned to protect his shrines in captivity in Babylon, to honor them and treasure them.

But the main, spiritual meaning of this psalm was explained, in agreement with the other sv. fathers, the once great old man Ambrose. In one of his instructional letters about. Ambrose, referring to himself, says: "Dushi Babylon, my cursed flesh, when will I learn to break your sinful babies on a stone of faith?" When sin was only identified in the soul of man, but had not yet mastered it, St. fathers call him a "sinful baby." This means that the temptation of sin has become apparent in the soul, but a person can defeat this temptation, which is exactly when it needs to be reflected when it first appears. If a person detains an object that tempts him in the soul and in thought, stopping his attention on him, then with each moment he becomes sharper and more attractive, and the longer this temptation remains in the soul, the more difficult it is to overcome. That is why the great old man says that it is necessary to “break sinful babies on the stone of faith,” and fight against sin, throwing it out — when he appeared in the soul, but he was still weak, like a baby, and did not possess the soul. And it must be remembered by each of us.

Probably, many of you read how one wise old man taught his student, a young novice, to deal with sins and said to him: "Child, tear this tree out." It was very young, just beginning to grow, and he easily did it. "Now tear this out," said the elder. The other tree was much thicker, since it grew longer, and the novice pulled it out with great difficulty. "Now pull this one out," and the old man pointed to a thick old tree. Of course, the student could not do anything here. And the elder says: "Remember, you must fight against sin at the very beginning, otherwise it will turn into a habit and then it will be difficult to overcome it, and then it can take hold of the soul so that it will be completely unable to tear it away."

And it is about this feat of struggle with sin that the song “On the rivers of Babylon” tells us, teaching us that we need every sinful temptation that approaches us, as soon as it appears, smash it on the stone of faith, not allowing it to be mastered. soul. Amen.

Metropolitan Philaret. Sermons and teachings. t. i . Published by the Russian Orthodox Youth Committee of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. On the 50th anniversary of the priesthood in 1931 - 1981 pp. 88-87.

Митрополит Филарет: На реках вавилонских
Автор: Интернет Собор. Дата публикации: 23 февраля 2019. Категория: Архив РПЦЗ.
По мере того, как приближается Великий Пост, все больше и больше появляются в богослужении особые молитвословия, которыми Церковь как бы подводит, готовит нас к постному времени молитвы, поста и покаяния.
Когда была неделя Мытаря и Фарисея, Церковь накануне запела песнь покаяния – "Покаяния отверзи ми двери, Жизнодавче", а в следующую – прошлую – субботу прибавилось ещё то молитвословие, которое пелось и сегодня. Это – один из псалмов псалтири Давидовой, который начинается словами: "На реках вавилонских, тамо седохом и плакахом, внегда помянути нам Сиона".
Ещё в прошлом и позапрошлом году приходилось мне говорить о значении этого песнопения в нашем Новозаветном богослужении, но не все, вероятно, это помнят и не все слышали, поэтому напомню ещё раз.
Прежде всего, в этом псалме воспоминается определённый момент из священной истории, на который указывают слова, взятые из него: "Помяни, Господи, сыны эдомские, в день Иерусалимль глаголющие: истощайте, истощайте до оснований его". Эти слова указывают на ту трагедию, которую пережил народ израильский тогда, когда город Иерусалим был разрушен завоевателями – Вавилонским царём Навуходоносором, а народ израильский был отведён в плен к далёким рекам вавилонским.
Готовясь встретить и отразить завоевателя, Израиль заручился помощью родственного ему племени идумеев, потомков Исава, "сынов эдомских". Они обещали иудейскому народу союз, помощь и поддержку. И вот, в этом псалме указывается, как вероломно они изменили, какими предателями оказались эти "сыны эдома в день Иерусалима" – в тот страшный день, который был так памятен Иерусалиму, – когда враги, жестокие и безпощадные, разрушали священный город, а "сыны эдома", вместо обещанной помощи, кричали: "Истощайте, истощайте до оснований его", т.е. разрушайте его до самого основания...
Кому же было потом пожаловаться побеждённым израильтянам? Кому могли они поведать свою скорбь и страдание? Из древности идёт к нам старинное выражение "горе побеждённым". Не у кого было искать защиты и помощи побежденным израильтянам. И вот, ко Господу они обращаются, говоря: "Помяни, Господи, сыны эдомские в день Иерусалимль" – не забудь, Господи, в Твоём правосудии этого страшного дня Иерусалима, когда такое ужасное предательство осуществили те, кто обещали быть нашими союзниками...
"Горе побеждённым". Так это было тогда. Так бывает и теперь.
Когда были последние грозные войны, и одни оказались победителями, а другие оказались побеждёнными, то победители объявили побеждённых "военными преступниками", хотя те так же энергично и мужественно боролись за свою страну, как победители за свою. Этого не было до "мировых войн", когда завоеватели умели уважать мужество и храбрость побеждённых, не называли их преступниками и не предавали суду.
Это похоже и на то, как в некоторых странах идёт "революционная чехарда": один строй сменяется другим, и одна партия одолевает другую. Когда боролись две партии и одна другую победила, то победители объявили себя патриотами, а противников – бандитами. Прошло короткое время; положение изменилось; и бандиты оказались патриотами, а патриоты – бандитами. Ибо – "горе побеждённым".
Но конечно, основной смысл песнопения "На реках вавилонских", применительно к нам христианам, не в этом только историческом моменте. Нам этот псалом напоминает о том, как евреи в плену вавилонском научились любить свои святыни, дорожить ими и беречь их. Жестокие завоеватели говорили им: "Воспойте нам от песней Сионских", а они отвечали: "Како воспоем песнь Господню на земли чуждей?".
Так, вот и нам, которые побывали на многих реках вдали от своего отечества, надлежало бы взять пример с еврейского народа, как он научился в плену вавилонском беречь свои святыни, почитать их и дорожить ими.
Но основной, духовный смысл этого псалма был объяснён, в согласии с другими св. отцами, когда-то великим старцем Амвросием. В одном из своих наставительных писем о. Амвросий, обращаясь к себе самому, говорит: "Дщи вавилоня, плоть моя окаянная, когда же я научусь разбивать греховных младенцев твоих о камень веры?". Когда грех ещё только обозначился в душе человека, но ещё не овладел ею, св. отцы называют его "греховным младенцем". Это значит, что соблазн греха обозначился в душе, но человек может победить этот соблазн, который именно тогда и нужно отражать, когда он только появляется. Если человек задерживает соблазняющий его предмет в душе и в мысли, останавливая на нем своё внимание, то он с каждым моментом становится острее и притягательнее, и чем дольше остаётся этот соблазн в душе, тем труднее его преодолеть. Вот почему и говорит великий старец, что нужно "греховных младенцев разбивать о камень веры", и бороться с грехом, выбрасывая его вон – тогда, когда он появился в душе, но ещё слаб, как младенец, и ещё душею не овладел. И это надлежит помнить каждому из нас.
Вероятно, многие из вас читали, как один мудрый старец учил своего ученика, молодого послушника, бороться с грехами и говорил ему: "Чадо, вырви это деревцо". Оно было совсем молоденькое, только что начало расти, и тот без труда это сделал. "Теперь вырви вот это", сказал старец. Другое дерево было гораздо толще, т. к. дольше росло, и послушник вырвал его с большим трудом. "А теперь вырви вот это", – и старец показал на толстое старое дерево. Конечно, ученик ничего тут сделать не мог. А старец и говорит: "Помни, с грехом надо бороться в самом начале иначе он обратится в привычку и тогда будет трудно одолеть его, а дальше он может так овладеть душою, что она уже совершенно будет не в силах от него оторваться".
И вот об этом подвиге борьбы с грехом и говорит нам песнопение "На реках вавилонских", научая нас тому, что нужно всякий греховный соблазн, который приближается к нам, сразу же, как только он появится, разбивать о камень веры, не допуская его овладеть душою. Аминь.
Проповеди и поучения. Том I. Нью-Йорк, 1981. С. 84-87.

Interview October 30, 1970

March 26, 2013, 5:00 pm

ARCHIVE: "Hasty actions do not contribute to a real overcoming the split .
Interview of sv. Metropolitan Philaret (Voznesensky), First Hierarch of the ROCOR, Catholic weekly "Public", October 30, 1970

- Your Eminence, what is the church canonical basis for the independence of the Russian Orthodox Church, which is not subject to the Moscow Patriarchate?

- Anticipating the approach of the situation in which "the Supreme Church Administration ... for some reason ceases its activities," the Holy Synod and the Supreme Church Council of the Russian Church, with the blessing of the most holy Patriarch Tikhon on November 20, 1920, by special resolution No. 362 imputed the duty to the bishops of the Russian Church which will preserve the freedom of action, "the organization of the highest authority of the Church Authority for several dioceses in the same conditions." Responsibility for the organization of such an instance Resolution of November 20, 1920 placed on "the oldest in the designated group by the rank of bishop."

The resolution of November 20, 1920 was exactly executed by the oldest of the 34 bishops of the Russian Church who were abroad at that time, His Beatitude Metropolitan Anthony of Kiev and Galicia.

The decree foresaw that the state of affairs that required such a decision "would take a long or even permanent character" and determined the duration of any measures and powers arising from the Decree, the restoration of a free, normally functioning central church authority in Russia.

The various prohibitions and interdictions to which the Moscow Patriarchate subsequently subjected the foreign organization were all imposed under the conditions of the imprisonment and captivity of the patriarchy and therefore cannot abolish the church-canonical basis for the existence of the free part of the Russian Church abroad — the Decrees of November 20, 1920. This document is not the “granting of rights” to free bishops for self-government, but imposing on them the duty of a completely definite way in which they must under all circumstances go until the Church in Russia itself becomes free and convenes a free Local Council, before which The foreign part of the Russian Church will have to report.

- What circumstances prevent the communion of the foreign part of the Russian Church with the Moscow Patriarchate?

- The Moscow Patriarchate in its current composition is formed from individuals selected by atheistic power, absolutely controlled by it and not free.

The main sign of the lack of freedom of the patriarchate is that it not only does not glorify the countless new martyrs of the Russian Church, but even scoffs at their memory, claiming that there has been no persecution of the Church in the USSR, and even never has happened. It is their lips that say not the Church, but "a liar and the father of lies." Communicating with them would mean communicating with him.

- Along with the officially recognized church organization in the Soviet Union, there are church opposition groups. What caused this?

- The reasons for the formation of secret communities "Tikhonovtsev", "Josephites", "True Orthodox Christians" are the same ones that prevent the free part of the Russian Church from communicating with the modern leaders of the patriarchate.

- Should we expect that the Russian Church in the coming decades will try to translate ethical and moral goal-setting of Christianity into social and political demands?

- The late Parisian historian of the Church, Professor Anton Vladimirovich Kartashev in his book "The Restoration of Holy Russia" put forward the idea that the traditional striving of the Orthodox consciousness to establish a "symphony" between the Church and the state, in the future, if the state remains secularized, will not have to look for its embodiment in the forms of relations between the Church and the state, and in the interaction of the Church and the public. The carriers of such an interaction, according to Professor Kartashev, could be fraternities of Orthodox laymen. The brotherhoods led by the Church, but independent in their specific actions, have often played a role in the history of Russia and the Russian Church.

The Orthodox Church takes the initiative in resolving social and political issues for the world. The beginnings of laypeople, consistent with the spirit and teachings of the Church, the Church can bless and support.

- The Roman Catholic Church is committed to fraternal dialogue with the Russian Orthodox Church. Can we expect contacts and cooperation to go beyond purely formal relations?

- What the Orthodox Church is striving for is not defined by the word “dialogue,” since dialogue is usually perceived as a desire to find compromises. In the spiritual realm, compromises do not bring us closer to the Truth. We strive to live in Christian love, to respect the Christian soul in every baptized Christian, to overcome our differences that do not relate to the confession of faith, but can be viewed as remnants of historical misunderstandings.

Hasty actions, whether Moscow (for political reasons), whether Constantinople (for other, but perhaps also political reasons) do not contribute to truly overcoming the split, which is possible only by the mercy and grace of God in Spirit and Truth.

- How do you assess certain trends in the Roman Catholic Church that have arisen in connection with changes in the relationship between the Church and society?

- We are afraid of chasing the imaginary popularity, we see the dangers arising from the use of inadequate methods for the church mission and preaching, we are afraid of chasing the century. The church is timeless. The Church knows that there can be no heaven on earth, but that the kingdom of God is a reality. The only task of the Church is to bring its children to this Kingdom.

Source: "Orthodox case", issue 1, 1971

Bodily Spiritual Healing

Today’s Gospel reading (Mk. 2:1-12) began with the words “And again He entered into Capernaum after some days, and it was heard that He was in the house.”  Immediately so many people gathered together so that there was no room even near the door, and Christ began to speak.  This is what happened in the early days of His ministry – people glorified Him for His wisdom, and especially for the miracles that He performed, and people flocked to see Him.  And so it is said that it was impossible to come close to Him, since he was always surrounded by crowds of people when He taught.  Now it happened that a man sick of the palsy was brought to Him, carried by four men.  What would we call this medical condition?  Paralysis, of course.  As you yourselves know, a person often becomes paralyzed because of a sinful, unrestrained life, most likely a depraved life, and the result is a paralysis of all his powers of body and soul.  That was why he had to be carried by four people.  Not being able to get close to Him due to the crowd, they took apart the roof of the house where the Savior was.  In those days, roofs were clad with clay tiles that were fairly easy to take apart.  Therefore, that was what they did, since it was impossible to get close to Him any other way.  The place was so crowded that it would have been virtually impossible for even one person to squeeze through, let alone a person on a cot carried byfour men.  So they broke through the roof where the Savior was, and let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. 
Even if they were not able to explain to the Savior their decisive action on the roof, it was an obvious testament to their strong belief in wanting to reach Him.  It is not mentioned whether they actually asked Him anything, but Jesus, seeing their faith, without any questions said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.”  They had come so that their friend would be healed, yet Jesus is concerned about his sins.  Why?  It seemed to be beside the point!  Why does He speak about his sins?  Because, in any case, illness is always a result of sin – sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly.  If a person were without sin, he would not be sick, but a person’s sinful nature is weakened when he commits sin, and he makes himself susceptible to illness.  That is why the Lord first treats the very root of illness.  This is the only correct way to get well: before getting rid of the consequences, you have to get rid of the cause. 
The Lord said a couple of times in the Gospel, “Your sins are forgiven.”  And what almost always happened after that?  His enemies who were always present accused Him of blasphemy.  Do you remember how a woman came to Him, weeping over her sins and whose tears fell on His feet, and she wiped Them with her hair.  Remember how when Christ said, “Your sins are forgiven,” the Evangelist noted that those seated around them immediately said to themselves, “Who does He think He is, that He can forgive sins?” 
Here, too, when the Lord granted this poor man forgiveness of sins (and His word is in fact the deed, for once He said so, of course, his sins are no more – they are forgiven), there were scribes seated round about, thinking in their hearts that He uttered blasphemies, for who can forgive sins, except God alone?  (Unknowingly, they themselves were wrong in using the word ‘blasphemy’ in this case, but they were correct in thinking that no one can forgive sins except for God.)  Unknowingly, they actually confessed that He was God.  (Of course, they did not mean this at all, and they would never have wanted to admit this fact.)  Jesus knew immediately through the Holy Spirit what they were thinking, and said to them, “Why do you reason about these things in your hearts?  Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise, take up your bed and walk’?”  Which is easier?  From a human point of view, to say, “Arise, take up your bed and walk,” and then not have him get up and walk?  From a human point of view, as the scribes and Pharisees saw it, ‘Arise, take up your bed and walk’ was more difficult, and to say, “Your sins are forgiven” easier.  In actuality, from a spiritual and Christian point of view, it is of course easier to say the latter, because the doctors, even with all their healing powers, could not make the man get up and walk.  However, no doctor can forgive sins, in a spiritual sense.  But the Lord seems to say to them, “Look, I will go along with your way of thinking, and do that which to you seems more difficult.” 
In order that they would know that the Son of Man has the power on earth to forgive sins, the Lord says to the paralytic, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”  The paralytic immediately arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of them all, as if he had never been sick, so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”  In such cases, the scribes and Pharisees were forced to keep silence, because they could not argue the fact of his healing. 
I remember that when I was still a young man of the world, I always said that if I ever fell seriously ill, before being seen by the doctor I would first have the mystery of holy unction performed over me.  I would not go to the doctor for treatment unless I received this sacrament.  The Church believes that the mystery of holy unction not only invokes the mercy of God on a person’s bodily ailment, but also forgives all his forgotten sin s. The grace of this sacrament cleanses his soul of all impurity even if he cannot recall all his sins or repent of them consciously.  In this way the Lord treats the root of the illness, after which it is easy to treat its consequences.  Amen. 
St. Metropolitan Philaret of New York, Sermons, Vol. II, pp. 227-229 
With the blessing of Vladyka Iosif.
Спасо-Вознесенский Православный Храм
Holy Ascension Orthodox Church
Russian Orthodox Church Abroad
3921 University Drive
Fairfax, Virginia  22030

Canon St. Andrew - Call to Repentance

As you can see and hear for yourselves, beloved brothers and sisters, the great Canon of Saint Andrew of Crete is exclusively filled with the spirit of profound repentance. It was compiled by the great saint of the Orthodox Church Saint Andrew of Crete, and in this canon he judges himself in everything, humbles himself, and as the worst of sinners asks God for the remission of his sins. 
It sometimes happens that a person suddenly wakes up, aroused by his conscience, especially when he has until then led a dissipated life, not having thought about God, or his soul, or about eternity. And then all of a sudden the Light of truth shines upon his soul, and in this Light he sees himself in all his wretchedness. At this point the Church comes to meet this sinner who has realized his extreme irresponsibility and guilt with examples of other people who repented and were able to raise themselves up from the abyss of sin right up to heaven. Therefore, a person who repents should never fall into despair. He needs to humble himself when his conscience is pricked by his sins and his soul is afflicted. He needs to humble himself before God, realize that he is unfit in all respects and good for nothing, but never despair! 
We heard in this canon about St. Mary of Egypt. It seemed that she could not have fallen any lower than she did, having completely desecrated her feminine honor and dignity, but repentance made her a bride of Christ, as the Church says. The Venerable Zosimas, himself a great saint, saw how she crossed the Jordan River as if it were dry land, and in prayer she rose up off the ground toward heaven. This is what repentance can accomplish in anyone who truly repents. 
The repentance of St. Mary of Egypt was prolonged – she may have sinned a long time, but she spent even more time repenting until she became an ‘earthly angel and a heavenly man’. A different example is the wise thief who repented only a few hours before he died on the cross in the midst of cruel suffering, and yet what did he hear? He merely asked the Lord not to forget him, but to remember him when He comes into His Kingdom. And, as we have said many times before, the Lord loves to give us more than what we ask, and the thief heard this reply: “Today [not when I come, but TODAY] you will be with Me in Paradise” (Lk. 23:43). Having this example of how a person who had sinned all his life but came to his senses at the very end, an Orthodox person has no right to despair or fear that his repentance will be rejected when he knows that the repentance of the wise thief was accepted. 
Here we will also remember St. John Chrysostom, whom the Church calls the ‘preacher of repentance’, in that he liked to emphasize that where there is repentance, there is undoubtedly the mercy of God. He said that the Lord binds His mercy with a person’s repentance. Not without reason, already in the Old Testament, the Lord said that if a person comes to him with sincere repentance, “although your sins are like crimson, I shall make them white like snow, and although they are as scarlet, I shall make them white like wool” (Is. 1:18). Therefore, in realizing your sinfulness and wretchedness, at the same time remember that genuine repentance is a feeling not just of sorrow and worthlessness, but also of joy, because we know that if we sincerely repent, the Lord will not reject us, but instead welcome us as He received the prodigal son. Amen. 
St. Metropolitan Philaret of New York, Sermons, Vol. II, pp. 239-240 

With the blessing of Vladyka Iosif.
Спасо-Вознесенский Православный Храм
Holy Ascension Orthodox Church
Russian Orthodox Church Abroad
3921 University Drive
Fairfax, Virginia  22030