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A GREAT NEW INTERVIEW WITH FATHER ANDREW PHILLIPS

The following interview was taken in autmun 2010 and published in the march issue of ROST magazine (2011). Begining with the year of 2011, Fr. Andrew agreed to be a 1. correspondent of ROST magazine and depending with the time he has, he will send some articles, from time to time, to be published.

Intro: Dear father, let’s continue the interview we had last spring. But this time, let’s narrow down the topics and talk about concrete things. More then any other religion, Christianity speaks about a new coming, eternal life and resurrection.

BM – How aware are today’s Christians about the fact that they belong to „another world” (as you have said in the first interview)? Why don’t we „resist unto blood, striving against sin” (Hebrews 12, 4)?

Fr.A – We are in the world, but ‘not of the world’ (Jn. 15, 19). In this there is a contradiction, a tension, but tension can always be creative. Today’s crisis, and the word ‘crisis’ in Greek means ‘judgement’, comes from the fact that people no longer recognise that we are not of the world, most are not even faintly aware of it, they see only an earthly destiny for humanity. According to them our destiny is to become compost, for an earthly destiny always ends in death. They find that this diabolical illusion of imagining that we are of the world makes their life easier, because it means that they have no responsibilities before the face of Eternity, before God. This is escapism.

To resist, to strive against sin is difficult, for the kingdom of heaven is taken by force, only with great effort (see Matt. 11, 12). And what is the Church, after all? It is the only true Resistance Movement in the world, the only true ‘Liberation Front’. I remember the revolution in Romania in 1989, when you had a ‘National Salvation Front’ under Petre Roman. We knew that it would not succeed, that you would only pass from one tyranny, the Communist, to another, that of Mammon, because it was not the real National Salvation Front. Your true and only National Salvation Front is the Romanian Orthodox Church. But resistance is difficult, because we are lazy. How much easier to swim with the tide, to go with the world than to resist it and all its temptations and vanities. But be warned, that way is spiritual self-destruction. In the West, this is obvious.

BM – Before we proceed to the next question, let’s get something clear. First, what’s the link between financial troubles and the judgement of God? What if „crisis means judgement” as you say? And second, I’m sure you haven’t met Petre Roman personally, or anyone else from FSN. Today, it turns out you were right but how could you’ve known that then?

Fr.A – All human troubles stem from human sinfulness. If there were no sin, we would still be in Eden. We can use long words like ‘financial troubles’ but in fact it means ‘greed’ – a much simpler word. The point is that all that we do has consequences. We can live in illusion for years, we can get into debt for years, but sooner or later reality will intervene. All human actions have consequences. If the actions are sinful in intention, the results will always be sinful. Indeed, very often, the consequences are far worse than the actions. For example, an irresponsible girl gets pregnant by an irresponsible man; the consequences are going to last for a lifetime, for generations, ‘unto the third generation’ as the Book of Exodus says. And the consequences of sin are called ‘judgement’. ‘We have a financial crisis’, say the politicians. What this actually means, though most politicians are too dishonest to admit it, is: ‘We are being judged by the consequences of our sins’.

Of course, I have never met Petre Roman, but it is very simple. Anyone who promises that he can save you is either a liar or else in as state of self-delusion. Only Christ the Saviour can save. Any conscious Orthodox Christian knows this.

BM – What should the attitude of a believer towards sin be, and after all, how we should define sin, because many consider to be sin only murder, rape and theft?

Fr.A – Sin is everything that separates, distances and alienates us from God, from our inevitable destiny, because we will have to stand before Him at the Last Judgement. Why deny the inevitable and refuse to prepare for it? Preparation for Judgement is to fight against sin now. If we do not do this, then we shall experience standing before the presence of the Eternal God as a burning fire, not as a loving warmth.

BM – Is indifference (in all its aspects) a sin?

Fr.A – Indifference is a disease of the soul, the disease of the Church of the Laodiceans, which
happens when our souls begin to die. Once indifference has contaminated our souls, there is only one step from that to hostility to God. Why? Because indifference means emptiness, a vacuum and satan always fills vacuums. It is not possible for there to be spiritual emptiness, it always gets filled, either with negative or else with spiritual energy. The choice is ours.

BM – What is, in simple words, the first measure that restrains sin? Is it fear of death, fear of God, knowlege of the Scripture?

Fr.A – The first measure that restrains sin is rather a consciousness that God is, that He exists. Until there is a consciousness of the existence of God, like a small flame that burns in our souls, there can be no consciousness of the immortal soul and its destiny. From here grows the consciousness of sin, of spiritual dirtiness, of the need for prayer and repentance, of death, of human destiny, of judgement and retribution. Only when we have a consciousness of God can there be in us fear of Him, fear of judgement and the desire to live a Church life and know and understand the Scriptures and the Fathers.

BM – Father, what is the essence of Christianity? After all, why would we believe, anyway? In today’s Romania, many voices claim that the Church has a much too important role in the community, that there are way too many churches compared to hospitals and schools, that you don’t need religion, aka doctrine, (of any kind) to keep out of murder and immorality. What should we tell them?

Fr.A – We believe because God is the reality that underpins the universe. We do not believe that He exists, we know that he exists, He is our daily experience. The essence of Christianity is to move nearer to Him.

At the present time, Romania is undergoing a wave of Westernisation. This began with the fall of Communism and then accelerated with Romania’s entry into the EU. There is now a concerted, conscious effort, organised and funded from Brussels, which istelf is a colony of Washington, to westernise Romania. And what does ‘westernise’ mean in the current context? It simply means to make spirtually captive, to secularise. And that means to destroy spiritual life, all awareness of spiritual reality, of the other world, all concept of the Church and eternal salvation. Therefore they create the illusions among the foolish secularists, who are manipulated from the West, that we do not need the Church, it is a waste of money, you need hospitals, schools, social security, new roads, everything for the life of the body and for the mind without God.

Perhaps Romania does need more of those things, but those things will not save Romania and Romanians from spiritual death. Only the Church can do that. There is Romania here on earth, but there is also a Romania in heaven – all those Romanians, peasants and voevody (princes) who have pleased God. That is the Romania which has eternal significance, that we must be inspired by and look to, not a degutted, westernised Romania, which will look like and behave like any other spiritually kidnapped country, with its glass and concrete blocks, its spiritually ugly culture, emptied of all spiritual and so moral beauty.

BM – Another aspect well observed is that our faith has diminished and it’s continuing to diminish further. What killed our faith, father? Is it progress, wealth, propaganda?

Fr.A – What is killing our faith is the ever greater importance that we attach to the world. And as St John the Theologian says, the world lies in evil and the prince of the world is satan. Wherever we prioritise the world, then we lose our faith.

BM – Because we mentioned the Scriptures, share with us 3 passages from the Scriptures that you love especially. For instance it is still fresh in my memory what happened to Our Lord, after he was tempted in Quarantania, and the devil left: the place was filled with angels (Mt 4, 11). Or when the Apostles were on the way to Emmaus and they didn’t reconginze Him (Lk, 24, 13-32). Of course, what the holy Apostle and Evangelist John wrote is really amazing and probably the most beautiful verses from the whole of the Scriptures. But name just a few you like most.

Fr. A – This, of course, is an impossible task! All I can do with such a question is to refer to the first three parts of Scripture that come to my mind.

First of all, I especially love the Gospel of St John. I want to learn it by heart. So my first quotation is the opening verse that we read on Easter Night, the Night of the Resurrection: ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God’. This is very important to me.

Secondly, there is the verse from St Matthew 6, 33: ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you’.

Finally, there are the words of the Apostle Paul from the First Epistle to the Corinthians 1, 25: ‘The foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men’. But in fact that whole chapter is very dear to me, especialy verse 22; and 23: ‘The Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified…’

BM – Indeed a tough questoin, Father, thank you for your answer, I’m glad there’s someone else loving the words of St. John, more than others… I think no matter who I ask this question I’ll get a profound answer. I wasn’t going to ask you, but sine you mentioned it, say something about the (power of the) word. God made the world just by thinking of it, Adam named the animals and the nature and they obeyed him and answered his call. Christ healed only by word, and so on… Just how powerfull is the word.

Fr.A – Christ, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, is the Word and Wisdom of God, ‘by Whom all things were made’, as we confess in the Creed.

Now man is made in the image and likeness of God. Although we have an animal’s body, one thing distinguishes us from animals, we have an immortal soul since God breathed on us. This breath or spirit of God gave us an immortal soul and so the faculty of speech. No animal can speak, the most advanced animals can only imitate man, as for example with chimpanzees, which can ‘ape’ human-beings, with parrots that can repeat human speech, or with dogs which physically resemble their owners and even give them affection. But this is imitation, this is not intelligence, which is a faculty of the soul.

Speech therefore is the sign that we are God-like and human speech is very powerful. You have heard the saying, ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’ – so even speech written down is powerful, God-like. On the other hand, with speech, man can destroy. Our ‘worst enemy is our tongue’, say the Fathers. And yet we have St John Chrysostom – the Golden-mouth and St Nikola Velimirovich, the Serbian Chrysostom. True, the words that evil men speak hurt and cause evil, but with time even they are forgotten, but the words of good men and women have go round the world, are translated and are repeated for millennia. It is because the human word is a reflection of the Word of God. Of course, the greatest example of this are the words of the Son of God become human, which have been translated into over 2,000 languages over 2,000 years.

BM – The Holy Scriptures provide advice for all things: family, society, faith, and so on. But if I am to be cynical I would say that many spiritual falls had happened exactly in this Christian space. Towards where is our society heading, Father? The rhythm is becoming more and more hard to take. Music is infected with satanic and immoral verses, television just gives impulse to all evil, at school they learn sex and drugs… What can a true Christian do in these circumstances to keep himself clean from all this junk?

Fr.A – The world is returning to paganism of the first three centuries, that which the Apostolic Fathers combated. What can we do? Pray! To pray is to talk with God, it is a supernatural act. Every second that we pray is a second more that we devote to eternity and not to this world, to what is beyond nature and not to fallen nature. They say: ‘Tell me what you read and I will tell you who you are’. I say: ‘Tell me who you talk to and I will tell you who you are’. Do we talk to Christ, to the Mother of God, to the saints and angels – or do we talk to TV?

BM – In Romania, the sayng goes: „Tell me who your friends are, to tell you who you are”. A bit different, but works in either ways. So let’s become friends with God and His saints, that’s a good advice…

And do not despair. At times in history the Apocalypse has come very near, at other times it has receded. At present we are in a time of acceleration. This does not have to last. We can turn back. True, we are all in a train that is rapidly heading to the terminus, to the end of the world. But you know trains can break down, they can stop and they can also go backwards, into reverse. Nothing is inevitable with this train. It depends on us.

Trust in the Providence of God. He alone can make good out of bad. So do not believe in the black prophecies and cynicism of those who have lost their faith. Because they have lost their faith, they have also lost their hope. and because they have lost their hope, they have lost their love.

BM – About our society, should we be content and justify our lack of resistance to the idea that there is nothing we can change, should we cease to be the spirit of the „world”?

Fr.A – Every prayer, every fast, every act of going to church, every confession, every communion is an act of resistance to the world and all its upside down pyramid of values. We fight to the end. Everything is in God’s hands. I am opposed to those who acuse other races or groups of conspiracy. There is only one who conspires against us and that is the devil.

It is true that at different times, the devil uses different people, groups of people and ideologies against us. For example, at one time, it was the Communists whom he manipulated to use against us, today the devil has no time for Communism. It is irrelevant to his cause. He has far more efficient helpers today. Unfortunately, many accept these new enemies into their hearts and homes, whereas they would never have accepted Communism. All our enemies are in fact victims of the devil, they have given up their God-given freedom to become slaves of the devil. All these sophisticated, ‘educated’ people, who think they know everything and are going to save humanity with their technology are all weak, manipulated victims of the devil.

BM – Father, a curiosity I wanted to ask you the first time, but I forgot, how often do you confess and how often do you take Communion?

Fr.A – I encourage the people to come to confession and communion frequently. I recommend once a month, but probably on average people come less often than this. When you live in a country of Orthodox Tradition, perhaps you do not take communion so frequently, but in Western countries which are spiritual deserts, you have to take an active part in Church life in order to survive spiritually. On the other hand, I also believe in very careful preparation before communion. We must keep the fasts, say our prayers, read the Gospels and the Epistles, read the Lives of the Saints. Our Orthodox Life is a virtuous circle: we need the grace of God from the holy sacraments, but we also need to make great efforts of repentance in order to partake of the sacraments regularly. This in turn gives us the zeal to repent and desire to take communion even more regularly.

To make it even clearer, let me add these words:

Prayer is not enough. If our prayer is sincere, action always follows. As the Apostle James says, faith without works is dead (James 2, 17). A soul that is alive does things. It prays first and then it acts. A soul that is dead has neither faith nor works. A soul that is dying, though not yet dead, can easily fall into a passive pietism, a sort of fatalism, a quietism. This is not Orthodox. For example, too many mention only that God is merciful. Of course, this is true, but God is also a Righteous Judge. The Fathers all say that when we think of the sins of others, we should think of the mercy of God. But when we think of ourselves, we should think of God the Righteous Judge – and tremble. How do we obtain salvation? Prayer and communion, but action always follows. Read Matthew chapter 25, how we must clothe the naked, lodge the stranger, feed the hungry, visit the sick and those in prison. Both literally and in the spiritual sense, I mean the spiritually naked, the spiritually hungry, the spiritual stranger, the spiritually sick and captive. And there are even more of those.

A soul that is alive goes and does things. Look at St John of Kronstadt. He set up a home for the employed, he helped alcoholics, he took prostitutes off the streets and gave them healthy work and so an income. St Nicholas did the same, so did St Basil the Great. The Orthodox Faith is active, not passive. I think many of the problems in parts of Eastern Europe come from the fact that the Communists did not allow the Church any social activity. And now this passivity has become normal. Of course, we are not Protestants, we must not fall into the opposite extreme of social activism. All action and no prayer. Passivism. Activism. All isms are bad. And Orthodoxy is not an ism. Being socially active is not an ideology for us, it is not an aim, it is just a result of having faith, of obeying the commandments – love God and love your neighbour.

BM – How do you understand, ‘I shall not tell Thine enemies the secret, nor give Thee a kiss like Judas’, from the prayer before Communion at the Liturgy?

Fr.A – ‘Telling His enemies the secret’ means being a traitor to Christ instead of confessing Him. And the kiss of Judas is the kiss of the hypocrite. These words are pleas for sincerity from us all, because in our times every sin makes us into a traitor and a hypocrite. And sin has become almost institutionalised in our daily lives. This is very sad. We must take these words as a warning to us. Are we ready to be faithful to Christ, to witness to Him? Are we ready to be martyred for Him? If not, then frankly, we should be ashamed to call ourselves Orthodox Christians and not take communion.

BM – Can we consider sinning as an act of treason in front of God?

Fr.A – Yes, sin is act of unfaithfulness, of treason to the kingdom of God. But we should not despair, repentance is always possible. God accepts us back.

BM – It seems people are interested only in how to consume more, how to seize. The world is selfish. Even in this blessed land (region) we can observe a decrease in interest in religion. People, when they have troubles, tend to curse God, rather than come back to Him, as once. What determines this stony heart? Could it be because God doesn’t meet our selfish claims?

Fr.A – The whole modern Western consumer system is based on egoism: ‘I love myself’. This creates stony hearts, capable only of loving themselves. The Western system, which Romania is absorbing now, is all based on the self. What is consumerism? It is self-indulgence, self-flattery, self-love. Because modern culture is selfish, it is destructive of anything collective, of the family, of the nation and of course of the greatest community of all, the Church, which is opposed to individualism. Like Western countries, Romania is now on a course of self-destruction, of spiritual and so cultural suicide.

BM – You know what I think? This welfare brought by technology makes you happy in a way, but in an unnatural way, because it pushes you towards egoism. Strugling for your own interest, you forget about others, while troubles keep you in a state of awareness. When you feel bad, you can see others feeling bad, but when you are well, you don’t see them anymore. Man runs after pleasure, but it is all an illusion. At one point you get bored with all the running and desire something else (another pleasuring thing). Why don’t we feel satisfied by what we find in this pleasuring things?

Fr.A – Yes, I agree. Consumerism is pure egoism. It all began with the American concept of ‘self-service’. What about serving others?

Today I see young people who live in an anti-social world of their own, with MP3s, with laptops, with Facebook, with MySpace, personalised this, personalised that. They are sealed off from otehrs, form reality, in a virtual (= self-centred) world. My, My My. Me, Me, Me. I.I.I.

This dissatisfaction is because these pleasuring things give only short-term pleasure. Short-term pleasure satisfies for a short time the body, the emotions and the mind, but it can do nothing for the soul, which alone is eternal. The whole of modern society is based on providing this short-term pleasure because it is soulless, not eternal.

BM – I think it’s quite interesting, fascinating even, how many things one could learn by interacting with animals and nature. When you plant a seed and care for it to grow, when you feed animals and receive their kindness; the flowers, the birds, it’s like „someone” is trying to tell/teach us something. Won’t you say so? Meanwhile, a technological society refuses in a way this teaching.

Fr.A – Who planted the Garden of Eden ‘in the east’? God. We recall God ‘walked in the garden in the cool of the day’. And so any care for God’s Creation is in fact an imitation of God the Loving Father. Man would do better to think of himself as a gardener than a technologist. Technology is an imitation of God, but it is always faulty, it always breaks down, it always has a disadvantage, a side-effect. Why? Simply because God is good, but man is sinful. His sin spread to everything that he makes, creates, touches.

I remember when the Americans got to the moon, they at once had a project to put bombs on the moon. Why? The same thing with space, both the Americans and the Soviets had plans for ‘killer satellites’, for ‘star wars’. As soon as man goes somewhere, he causes problems, so unnecessarily.

Nowadays, people are beginning to return to the idea of ‘protecting the environment’ from their own technology. But if you look at this, it is also harmful because they are trying to protect the environment with even more technology. For example, I have been told that electric cars are very harmful because of course they have to get their electricity from soewhere, but also because they cannot be recycled and the batteries they use are very anti-environment.

In general, this environmentalism is just a neo-pagan worship of fallen nature. This word ‘environment’ is completely wrong, anti-Christian, because it is man-centred, because it only talks about what is ‘around man’. A Christian ecological movement would talk about looking after ‘God’s Creation’, not looking after ‘man’s environment’. And so we return to the idea of man as a gardener in God’s garden. Until we return to that, God will never again ‘walk’ among us.

BM – A great Romanian theologian (fr. Dumitru Staniloae) said that man is pushed towards passions by the fear of death, but paradoxically, in the state that follows sinful pleasure or vanity, man finds precisely the smell of death, spiritual death, of course.

Fr.A – We fear death, because it is unnatural for us. God did not create us for death, but for life. God is called the Creator, the Giver of Life. Death came into the world with the sin of Adam and, as the Apostle says, ‘the wages of sin is death’ (Romans 6, 23). However, until we accept the reality of our fallenness, our sinful state, we cannot find repentance. And without repentance, there can be no escape from death. We run away from death by asserting our sinful flesh, but then we realise that flesh is mortal. We become materially rich but find no happiness in it and actually regret the past, when we were not rich.

BM – It is at least interesting the fact that we cannot sleep because of earthly worries, but the fact that we won’t be saved doesn’t trouble us that much. I remember some dialogues from the Desert Fathers: Why are you upset, avva? I still (need to) eat. Why are you upset, avva? I still (need to) sleep. But now, no matter wealth, man just wants more and more… „For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Lk. 12, 34)” ?

Fr.A – Like any lie, all sin is a vicious circle, like a drug, an addiction. Once we start, we want to go on. We can only break out of the habit of sin through repentance, though new life, the breaking into earth of heaven. The Greek word for repentance is ‘metanoia’, which really means ‘a change of mind’. And that is what we must do – to change our mind, turn our backs on sin and return to our Father’s House.

BM – We spoke about the Scriptures and about the present, let’s talk a little about the future. Mankind has always been interested in knowing the future, the last days… Now, people are talking only about this, conspiracies, end of times, poison and so on. Sometimes I feel like we know more about the Apocalypse than God Himself or, anyway, we know more about the Apocalypse but almost nothing about the Resurrection. What impact could this negative and narrow view have on our souls? What brings the end, how can we delay it, and what should be the normal attitude to the topic?

Fr.A – I never recommend anyone to read the Book of the Apocalypse of St John, the only prophetic book in the New Testament. Let us concenterate on the four Gospels, the Apostle and the Psalms. It can actually be dangerous to read the Book of the Apocalypse. Your soul must be ready for it. This whole concern with the end of the world can be negative, with its pseudo-predictions, morbidity and despair. As you say, it is the Resurrection that is really important.

We should not be so concerned with the end of the world, we should be concerned with the end of our world, that is our own mortality and then judgement. Christ calls us to save ourselves. We are not saviours of the world. He is the only Saviour of the world. Only if we can save ourselves can we actually help anyone else.

All speculations about the end of the world are futile. Our Lord Himself says that He does not know when the end of the world will come, it is only His Father who knows (Matt. 24, 36). Thus, if human-beings claim that they know when the end will come, that is pure spiritual pride, arrogance, illusion, for they are claiming that they know more than Christ.

We can delay the end through repentance. Every spiritual act is another second of time that the world will last, an extension, extra time gained for repentance. The end will come only when there are no more spiritual acts, when the world, in other words, is spiritually worthless, as it was before Noah.

The normal attitude to the last things is to think of our own salvation and our own mortality. We should not worry about this for we know that God is Love. If we do not think like this, we will fall into despair.

– Still, Father, we must inform people of what is going on, because after all these years of indoctrination, we are subjects to another kind, of the same type. So, ordinary people don’t know about it, because on TV they don’t say it, and many lack access to the internet or a credible source. I think is necessary to inform and educate our fellows, so they can take the best decision for themselves.

– Of course, we must be aware of what is going on in the world around us and tell others. That is absolutely vital because today the world is being manipulated by dark forces. We must create an Orthodox consciousness, a conscious Orthodoxy. ‘Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves; be ye therefore wise as serpents and harmless as doves’ (Matt 10, 16). Again, I repeat, we are not of the world, but we do live in the world. This does not mean that we live in a ghetto, we live in reality and we must know what attitudes to have towards that reality. That means ‘being wise as serpents’. On the other hand, we must strive to keep ourselves ‘clean’, in other words to remain ‘as harmless as doves’. We must keep our integrity, but we must also know about human nature and our enemies who are active in the world around us. If we do not know the tactics of our enemies, how can we resist them?

Today, the whole world is trying to indoctrinate us, to brainwash us and this is much worse than under Communism. That the Communists were wrong was obvious. However, the Western world is far more subtle and its ideology, its ‘Sex in the city’, is far more dangerous. The Communists were Neanderthals. Who today uses a hammer and a sickle? Now we use a machine assisted by a computer and a tractor guided by a satellite. So the Western world, including the EU, is very sophisticated, but therefore its propaganda is worse than that of the Nazis. The Western world is a form of flattery for human sin. It says: ‘Go on, do it, it will make you feel good’. But when we realise the consequences, it is already too late, we are already addicted. If the EU offers big money if we sell our souls to it, then we must say no. But we have to know the price of their money, sometimes it is spiritually neutral, then – and only then – we can accept.

We have to be aware. We are moving towards the end. Obviously, every second that passes means we are a second closer to the end. But this must not become an obsession.

BM – Speaking about narrow views and Protestant thinking, I found respectable clerics or monks who think acording to standards defined by them (they make the rule into an aim). I’m not talking about a personal understanding of dogma, I’m referring to the fact that they close what they think into patterns and classify them acording to „letters” (…the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life, II Corinthians 3, 6). What is the border line between „letter” and „spirit” as the Apostle Paul says in his Epistle?

Fr.A – We must not be like the Pharisees, who make idols out of rules (you must not heal on the Sabbath, in other words, you must not do good on the Sabbath). If our souls are spiritually alive, then we will know what to do. We must constantly ask ourselves, where does the greater good lie – in following the letter, or following the spirit. Of course, they often conincide, but it is not always the case. Each human soul needs the correct dose of spiritual medicine at the right time.

For example, I can think of a young woman, very zealous for the faith, but zealous ‘not according to knowledge’, who fasted excessively and was proud of this. She came to me in a state of ill health. I gave her a penance (epitimia), not to fast during the Great Fast until Great and Holy Monday. Inded, I commanded her to eat as much as she could eat within reason in order to restore her health. I will have to answer for this at the Last Judgement, but later her doctor phoned me and thanked because he said that I had ‘saved’ her, because she had been making herself seriously ill. So where was the greater good?

BM – Father, finally I would like you to talk about the meaning of the nation, not politically but acording to the Scriptures, especially from the context of Genesis. Why are there so many nations? Do they have a historic role? Is the past of a nation important? Is the tribute to our ancestors important? Will nations be judged?

Fr.A – God scattered the peoples after the building and fall of the Tower of Babel. So, many different languages were formed and so many different nations were formed. The unity of the nations is not in building a new Tower of Babel, in Brussels or in Washington, it is in the Holy Spirit, in the Day of Pentecost. This is spiritual unity, which allows diversity, whereas the present politically-imposed unity, globalism, is all about destroying diversity, making us all the same.

We must love the country where it was God’s will for us to be born, because God created its natural beauty and allowed its manmade beauty to come into existence. This love is called patriotism. But this is totally different from nationalism. Patriotism is the love of our own country, not of the State or government. That is politics. Moreover, patriotism is also the love of other countries, because God made them too. He who loves the beauty that God has put in his own country can also appreciate the beauty that God has put in other countries. Nationalism, however, has nothing to do with God, it is about State pride and hatred of other countries. This is a sin, as we saw with Naziism.

Every nation has a role to play in the world, in history. We shall only understand this clearly at the end of time and how each nation has performed, both managing and also failing to do God’s Will in history, whether it has remained faithful to the best of its past, to the best achievements of its ancestors. Each nation has a guardian angel and each nation through its individuals will be judged at the end of time.

BM – Speak about England’s past, about the saints of England…

Fr.A – First of all, we cannot separate England from the other countries of Western Europe (by Western Europe, I mean all those countries that went though the Catholic Middle Ages and then the Catholic or Protestant modern times. So, in this spiritual sense, Western Europe includes, for example, Hungary and Poland).

All Western countries can be said to be living in a state of oblivion, in the land of forgetfulness, as the psalm says. This is the land of rootlessness and therefore restlessness. Those who forget their past, their childhood, their parents, their ancestors, are those who live in a kind of hysteria. And as regards Western Europe, we can wonder what it knows of its saints, of its distant ancestors who lived for Christ. Hardly anything. Western Europe has buried its past and so lives rootlessly. But the day will come, and is now coming, when Western Europe will be reminded of its past and then it will have a choice, to turn back like the prodigal son it is, or else to renounce Christ completely.

As regards England, specifically, it also left its saints nearly 1,000 years ago, when it fell out of communion with the Universal Orthodox Church. The saints of England are still here, but they are igored, despised, mocked by nearly all of modern England and, do not forget, ‘modern England’ is nearly 1,000 years old.

Rather than speak of all of England’s saints, I will mention just one, as an example. Three months ago I was in an ancient church in England, in a place called Dorchester. The relics of the local saint, St Birinus who lived in the seventh century, are buried beneath the church floor (that is how Protestants dishonour the saints). No-one knows where his relics lie exactly, but at night, they hear the saint getting out of his grave and walking up and down the church. And so it is, the saints do not leave us, we leave them. God does not leave us, we leave God. I think of St Birinus on patrol, on guard, like the other saints of England, still praying for his heritage, for the little flock of Orthodox that is left here.

BM – Dear Father, thank you for these beautiful lines, I’m sure this second part of the interview would be appreciated at least as the first one has been. Best wishes from Romania!

Fr.A – May God bless the Romanian land and people. Please remember me, a sinner, in your prayers, and with your candles in your churches and monasteries, that God will have mercy on me and all of us here.

Martie 26, 2011 Posted by | ENGLISH SECTION, INTERVIURI, ORTODOXIE | , , , , , , , | Comentariile sunt închise pentru A GREAT NEW INTERVIEW WITH FATHER ANDREW PHILLIPS

INTERVIEW WITH FATHER ANDREW PHILIPS (2009)

Bacauanu Mihail – God Bless, Father and thank you for letting me interview you. The first question would be one that tempts everyone to ask someone like you. How did you become Orthodox? I think each one of us has a „story” that made them go to Church. Some were atheists and started believing, others converted from Catholicism or Protestantism. But in your case, like that of Seraphim Rose too, the „conversion” is as surprising, as it happened in a place mostly not knowing Orthodoxy. Am I right? I understand that at the age of 12 you started asking yourself questions about life and a bit more later you started in search of God in other Christian denominations, that were closer to you. What do you think made you start this journey, this search, and why did you follow it? How come you did not search for God in science or philosophy?

Father Andrew – It is true that there was no logical reason for me to join the Orthodox Church. I was not brought up in any Christian confession and my father was not baptised at all. However, when I was a child, I was sensitive to the world around me and I felt that there was another world near this one. This world was just beyond the visible world, an invisible but parallel world, which was full of good presences and which in fact was the real world, for the visible world was just an illusion. As I grew older, I wanted to understand what that world was and how it related to life and death, where I had come from and where I was gong to. So I began reading about all sorts of ideologies, including Communism, but also about religions. So I discovered the Gospels, which I read for the first time when I was thirteen. When I was fourteen I realised that I was a Christian and unconsciously always had been a Christian. Then I visited different churches around me, Protestant, Anglican, Roman Catholic, but I did not feel the presence of that other world in them. They were all the same. I then learned that there was one church where I had not been, the Orthodox Church. I read about it and said to myself – this is where I have always been. It was only when I was 16 that I managed to visit an Orthodox church, far away from my home. I knew as soon as I entered that church that I was at home at last, this was where I had always been in my soul, and that my whole future would be here in this Church.

BM – During the last few months we have witnessed atheist campaigns, which promoted atheism in some European countries by sticking atheistic posters and messages on buses and subways. There are some folks here in Romania that want to forbid religious symbols from public places, such as schools. They also want Darwin’s theory to be taught in schools. I’d like to ask you where you think Darwin was wrong and where you think his followers today are mistaken? And when I ask you this I have in mind that wherever you go on Earth, specially in the East, mysticism has had a huge influence on people’s life, while atheism never created anything!! Do you think that Christianity brought something useful to the world or just wars and struggles for power?

FrA – Atheism is today the fashionable ideology of this world, in all its different forms. Lazy people have made of Darwinism an excuse for not going to church and not trying to improve themselves. Darwinism is a fairy tale, a modern myth in all that it says about humanity. Its truths concern only the physical, animal, insect and botanical worlds and even then only in a limited way, because they are theoretical. To say that the whole universe is an accident is more difficult to believe than a fairy tale. If you can believe that, then you can believe in any fairy tale. How could something as complex as a human brain be the result of a mere chance? How could the presence of trillions of stars in the night sky be the results of mere chance? Common sense tells us that there is a Creator. As I said, Darwinism and its theories are all an excuse by people to justify their sins. And they are encouraged in this by the devil, who does not want people to obtain healing of their sins through leading an Orthodox way of life, obtaining the grace of the sacraments, through prayer and fasting. This whole issue of Darwinism is an illusion. Darwinism is a theory which can only have been developed by minds which do not believe in God, by intellectuals and fantasists, who do not have an understanding of the reality of the human soul because they spent too much time with animals. So they began thinking that they too were animals. Of course, if you do not believe in the existence of the immortal soul, and have no spiritual experience or life, then human-beings are animals. It is not surprising that Darwinism has been used by the Fascists and by Communists. If only the fittest survive, then, they said, we have the right to kill the weaker or ‘racially inferior’ – as Hitler did, or the ‘class enemies’, as the Communists did. However, our rejection of the illogical and irrational theories of Darwinism does not mean that we accept the strange ideas of the Protestant sectarians, who, not knowing the Tradition, interpret the Bible literally and do not know of and understand the interpretations of the Scriptures by the Holy Fathers, by the Church. To understand the Scriptures, you must have some understanding of the Author of the Scriptures. This is the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit lives inside the Church. This is why outside the Church, you cannot understand the Holy Scriptures. Christ saved the world. He is the Life and the Resurrection. The fact that some evil people use our Christian Faith to justify wars and their evil does not mean that Christianity is bad. It means that the devil, and those he inspires, will always try and discredit Christianity. They simply abuse our Christian Faith in order to camouflage their own sins. If Christianity had no value, they would not do that. The devil always attacks what is best and tries to destroy it. If Christianity had no value, if it were false, the devil would not bother to try and corrupt it. The devil does not attack those who do not repent – they are already his friends. He only attacks those who are trying to repent – therefore his greatest enemy is Orthodoxy.

BM – There are some voices claiming that Orthodoxy is holding back progress and that, in general, Christianity is an inquisitorial, oppressive and xenophobic religion. Judging history from way back in time and until modern times, do you think Orthodoxy has been a retrograde factor?

FrA – Orthodoxy is progress – but spiritually progressive. Those whom the world calls ‘progressives’ are in fact retrogrades – spiritual regressives. This paradox is because we Orthodox Christians have a radically different systems of values from the world, which ‘lies in sin’ (as St John says). We have an eternal, immortal perspective of life – they have a temporal, mortal one. Their whole ideology is the ideology of death. They say ‘live for comfort, enjoy this life while you can, live as selfishly as you want, because ahead of you there is only death’. But how can you live for comfort, when death hangs over you? We do not love death, as they do, we love the Resurrection. We are not spiritually primitive, we are spiritually advanced – they are spiritually primitive, because they believe in death.

BM – Reading about you and about your parish the word diversity came to mind: an Englishmen finds God in the Russian Church, preaches Orthodoxy in Western Europe (where there are mostly Catholics and Protestants), visits Russia and Greece, has in his parish English people, Russians and Romanians, celebrates many religious services in languages other than English, and one of the main protectors of the parish is Saint John (Maximovich) of Shanghai, a Ukrainian by origin. How is it Father, that everywhere you go (in Orthodox places, countries) you feel at home, though Orthodoxy, in a way, is always different and yet the same? What could it be that holds us together, though we are different. Is it Christ’s resurrection or is it just our (religious) pride?

FrA – We Orthodox all have the same home – the Church of Christ, which can take us to our home in heaven. We share the same spirit. Things like nationality, our passports, our native language, are all secondary, part of this world. The important things are universal. Our spiritual passport, the only one that can take us to heaven, says that our nationality is ORTHODOX. When you see an old Orthodox grandmother or a baby smile after communion – that is international – that is the language of Orthodoxy. All the rest is secondary.

BM – Many Eastern Orthodox, that don’t have much information on Orthodoxy, find it strange when they hear about Orthodoxy in the USA, China, Africa or even in Western Europe. I think we are all curious to hear more about Orthodoxy in England. How do the divine services sound in English and how does Orthodoxy fit in with the English mentality?

FrA – The important thing is not the language, the important thing is the spirit. If we keep the Tradition of the Church, everything sounds good. Look at Romanian. One of the greatest achievements of Romanian Orthodoxy in the 19th century was the translations into Romanian. Before that Romanians only had the services in Greek or Slavonic. Does anyone want to go back to the situation of before? When no-one understood? Of course not! If we are faithful to God through His Church, we can use any language. In England, this means using English, the best form of English, liturgical English, which is a beautiful language, not the language of the street. We always give the best of our human culture to God. But we use other languages in church, depending on whom is present. In this way everyone can feel at home and included. The only other difference in our churches is that we venerate local saints, those who were here in the West before Roman Catholicism was invented and the Western schism of 1054, when the West finally broke away from the Orthodox Church and invented all these isms – Catholicism, later Protestantism, Baptism etc. And these were the origins of other isms, political ones, like Capitalism, Communism, Fascism, now Globalism. The Church is never divided, only some groups and individuals fall away from the Church. English and other Western people must accept the Orthodox Church as She is. The Church does not adapt to the world, the world must adapt to the Church. We provide all the services in the local languages of the West. We celebrate them. Then people come, perhaps only a few, but our task is to bring the last free souls of the West to the light of Orthodoxy before the end. If we put the Church first, then an (not just any) English mentality will fit in with it.

BM – Father, a few hundred years ago, Christian Europe united and fought against Muslims and the Arab world. Today, Christian Europe supports the building of mosques and welcomes Islam. Don’t you find it weird? Don’t you think that Europe has lost its Christian identity, as St Nikolai Velimirovich said a few decades ago? Could Europe be confronting a demographic as well as a spiritual collapse, or not?

FrA – Europe’s collapse is a spiritual collapse. All the other disasters in Europe come from this spiritual collapse – the total loss of faith. If Europe had faith, it would still believe in itself. It would say to Arabs: we are not racist, come and work here and live here, if you wish. But there is one condition. You must first be baptised, But because Europe no longer has any faith, it is ‘tolerant’ to Islam. What does ‘tolerant’ mean? It means indifferent, unbelieving. This is dangerous. This is what makes people tolerant of the devil too. What does it matter what you believe – we must be ‘tolerant’ – satanist or Christian, it’s all the same to dead souls. The demographic collapse of Europe is of the same order. Europe does not believe in life, because it has lost faith in God, the source of all Life, the Maker of Life. Therefore, it believes in death – abortion, euthanasia, all of this is the industry of death and Europe is in love with this industry of death. If Europe believed in the Resurrection, it would never abort its future. The origin of this is in the Roman Catholic and Protestant obsession with the crucifixion of Christ, not with the Resurrection.

BM – Speaking of the EU, Romanians are in the middle of a scandal concerning the implementation of RFID chips in passport, ID cards and the driving licence. Though it is not the sign foretold in Apocalypse, chapter 13, many see it as the step just before that, while others disagree strongly, and feel offended in a way by our protests. I wish to ask you: what do you think about RFID chips and how do you see RFID in the future? Do you agree that a police state (Big Brother) is about to be born? Are we living now the beginning of the Apocalypse, or not just yet? Should we even care about this subject?

FrA – There are some things which are of primary importance, which we must be willing to die for. The Church dogmas, the Holy Trinity, the Divinity of Christ the God-Man. We must be ready to suffer martyrdom for these truths. There are other things which we regret, but they do not have the same importance. For example, I think that Orthodox would agree that the world would be better without modern TV. But are we going to die for this? No. So it is with these chips. It would be better to avoid them, but if the State insists, then we will accept them. Of course, they are ultimately opening the path to the Apocalypse, but the two World Wars opened the path to the Apocalypse much more quickly. And they happened. We cannot change this. ‘Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s’. Let me make it clear. I do not like these chips, which the EU insists on, but because they will not make me renounce Christ, I will reluctantly accept them, if there is no alternative. I am worried that some very simple, very devout people, with ‘zeal not accordingt o knowledge’, will turn this problem into some huge temptation and in this way they will fall away from the Church. I would call these chips a ‘lesser evil’ in such a case. This is the same with the calendar. In Russia they call the new calendar the Communist calendar, because the Communists introduced it there. Here in Western Europe, we call it the Catholic calendar – because that is what it is. The new calendar is a mistake. But there is a greater evil than this new calendar, it is to start a schism about it, as you have among some zealots in Romania, to fall away from the Church because of it. We make the Apocalypse come near through our soul. As long as there are just a few souls struggling ascetically against their personal sins, the Apocalypse will not come. Antichrist can only come when there is no grace left in the world. Let us belong to the few souls who are struggling ascetically and praying – this is how we delay the Apocalypse. This is much more important than fighting in a secular way against electronic chips. We should pray against them.

BM – On the same issue, some bishops said that we must not be afraid of RFID and politicians reject with arrogance the idea that the State could influence in one way or another, our redemption. How do you see the relationship between Church and State? Romanian priests are paid by the State.

FrA – The relationship between Church and State has always been one of tension – and it always will be. The Church is ‘n the world, but not of the world’, the State is of this world. When the clergy are paid by the State, they must be especially careful not to become puppets or tools of the State. We must speak by the Holy Spirit, not by the secularist spirit of politicians and bureaucrats.

BM – The Romanian Orthodox Church made compromises with the Communists. It’s true that some bishops were killed by the Communists and that thousands of priests went to jail. However, the main idea is that of a compromise. The reason was the „salvation” of the Church. Did the ROC make the right decision? Today, it seems history is repeating itself. How worthy is this kind of compromise?

FrA – The Church never makes compromises. The Church is the Body of Christ. The true representatives of the Church were the hundreds of thousands who suffered under the Communists – many of then died. Of course, there were individuals who make compromises, and some of them were bishops and priests. Pray for them because their souls are tormented, because they were not faithful to the Church, but they swam with the tide. I think we must be very careful here. Some people love to condemn bishops and priests for their mistakes. But what would they have done if they had been in their position under the Communist yoke? Maybe they would have made even worse mistakes. On this subject I want to tell you something terrible but true. To those people who condemn the compromised bishops and the priests of the Church, answer this: ‘We get the bishops and priests that we deserve.

BM – Last month, at Iasi, after a conference on Communist dungeons and the martyrs who died at that time, a miracle happened. From the bones of those martyrs streamed myrrh. I understand that in Russia they declared these martyrs saints. In Romania the bishops don’t want to do the same. Do you think they’re saints? Do you have a message for the Romanians and for these bishops that doubt it?

FrA – To the Romanian people I say: venerate these new martyrs. They are the saints who can save Romania today. In Russia the new martyrs were glorified only because of popular veneration. If you put the bishops under pressure, they will canonise the new saints of Romania. There must be widespread popular veneration first. Paint their icons, make new services to them, go on pilgrimages, write books about their lives, with all the facts and details. This is the most important, vital, thing you can do in the Romanian Church today. Glorify your saints! Eventually the Romanian bishops will meet in Synod and canonise them. In the Russian Church, the great revival now is only because of these New Martyrs and their popular glorification. The bishops will follow the people in this matter. Do not wait for the bishops to lead you in this matter. The people must begin, creating pressure for their canonisation. This is what happened in Russia – through the prayers of the New Martyrs. The devil and the world hate the saints. True Orthodox love them.

BM – At the end of this year a big Pan-Orthodox Council is scheduled. Some sceptics say it will teach heresy. But no matter the result, one thing is for sure: there a lot of problems to be solved. What’s your opinion? Particularly if we are to think about what was signed at Ravenna, the Ecumenical Movement will be the main headline.

FrA – This Council will not take place so soon. There are many obstacles. Even if it does take place, there is no reason to think that it must be bad. It may solve some problems. As for Ravenna, it was not canonical, it was not signed by all the Orthodox Churches. In any case, there is no such thing as a Council until after its decisions have been received by the Orthodox people. If the decisions are not received by the people, then it is not a Council, it is just a meeting of intellectuals and politicians, Church bureaucrats, secularists in riassas, government agents. It is a Robber Council, irrelevant to us.

BM – Returning to more important things, tell us something from your missions across Europe. You must have something to say! What were the good and the bad things you’ve stumbled upon? Which are the places you want to visit again and where would you like to go, where you have never been? What are the people from Western Europe like, compared to the those in the East? The tendency is to make the first devilish.

FrA – I cannot leave my church, but if I could, I would travel to all the many parts of the Orthodox world, where I have not been. I am especially drawn to Bukovina and Moldavia. And I would like to return to Athos and then go to Diveevo and Optina in Russia. But God will give me this opportunity only when I am worthy of it. And then I have never been to Jerusalem and the Sea of Galilee. But as God wills. Western people are more rationalistic than Eastern Europeans. Eastern Europeans are more spontaneous, they have more soul. If their souls are good and Orthodox, then you at once feel at home. Western people are always thinking, always calculating, less spontaneous, their souls are not so visible. This is because of the deformations of Western culture, which have taken place since 1054. This can be very boring. Orthodox have fire in their souls, they are spiritually alive. On the other hand, many Eastern Europeans have abandoned God and so their souls have become full of passions. And that can be very bad, as we saw under Communism.

BM – What are the main sins that affect the world today? What we should give up and what to gain in order to save our souls? Are we redeemed alone, or as a nation? Can we still talk about nations today?

FrA – The main sins are the same ones as always. There is nothing new under the sun. Just the excuses for the sins change. Now we blame the internet, or TV or something else. We have to return to the Church, in many cases discovering the Church for the first time. We find redemption personally, but one soul that finds salvation can save thousands of others around. Nations are falling apart today. They can survive only if there are enough strongly ascetic souls to maintain their national identities and keep their peoples together.

BM – Everyone is talking about a crisis: financial, energy, spiritual… Some Elders and Holy Fathers think that the crisis means God’s Judgement for the world’s sins. But for those atheists and philosophers that reject this explanation, could the rationing of water, the prohibition to have more than one child, be real solutions?

FrA – The word ‘crisis’ is Greek. It means judgement. If humanity repents, everything is possible. Humanist, atheist measures merely delay the crisis, they do not solve it. The crisis is still there and does not go away. This crisis will be permanent, if there is not repentance.

BM – Science is focused on improving the pleasures in life and getting rid of pain. They’ve found „cures” for fear, inhibition, and so on. Alvin Toffler, in his book Future Shock, writes that all this mechanism is set against us, and the consequences, as he writes, are recognized today, world wide. Did we make out of science a God, as St Justin Popovich says? Are we slaves of technical discoveries? In what way can this „enslavement” affect our lives, our redemption? Can we hold television for ruining young people’s lives? Can we achieve a goal in life through technology?

FrA – Science is simply modern idolatry. Science is the knowledge of creation. Ancient idolatry was about the worship of the creation. Modern idolatry is about the worship of the knowledge of creation, of science. This is just as primitive as the idolatry which worshipped the sun, the moon, mountains, stones, seas and rivers. The ancient idolators were slaves of their idols, making human sacrifices to them – so we are modern slaves, making human sacrifices to the science of Chernobyl or embryo technology. This idiolatry means that we are no longer free to worship God, the Creator. We cannot worship both creation and the Creator. This is obvious. We should not blame TV for corrupting us. We always seek to blame others! We corrupt ourselves through our attachment to such things as TV. We have to be free. Christ said: Behold, I set you free’. TV is not in itself evil – we have made it evil. The same thing has happened with every human invention, from the knife to the gun, from the mobile phone to the computer. We make them all evil. Look at space. The first satellites went there fifty years ago. Now what do they do, they militarise space, they have ‘killer satellites’. If human beings go and live on the moon, what will happen? They will start killing each other there, just like on earth. A goal in life through technology? This would mean that our goal in life is slavery.

BM – Father, everything is happening so fast around us, as if we don’t have enough time. Stress is the main word for each of us. It even affects the Church. It might be a foolish question, but how can we get rid of stress? More and more people are depressive. Especially in the West, with this financial crisis… We see in the media, TV, newspapers, many youngsters that are upset with life and choose to kill others in their path. They take a gun and just shoot everyone they meet, and then kill themselves. How come? Could it be that most of them, almost all of them, are treated for depression? Who’s to blame? Education? Friends? Television?

FrA – Lack of prayer is to blame. Without communion with God, the human being goes mad, because where there is no prayer, the demons invade. These young people who go berserk and shoot ten or twenty people, are possessed by demons. The demons are killing. Demons have no bodies, they need bodies to operate through them. This is why they possess people. It is very easy to do this now, because so many people, especially among the younger generation, are not baptised. The modern world is calling up all the demons from hell. Soon, if this continues, God forbid, hell will be empty, for all the demons will be on earth.

BM – Are the Holy Fathers relevant today? In what way do they give answers to our problems? Aren’t the Scriptures old and dusty? Science would say yes…

FrA – The Holy Scriptures explain who God is, how He loves us and how we can communicate with Him. The Holy Fathers help us to understand the Holy Scriptures. Science explains, or tries very weakly to explain, how God creates. The two things are quite different. The Scriptures only get dusty if we behave like atheists and leave them lying on a shelf. My Scriptures are not dusty.

BM – You wrote some books. Can you tell us more?

FrA – I have written six books in English. They are to help English people or English-speaking people come to the Church, explaining culturally what Orthodoxy is and why they have norational reason to reject the Orthodox Church.

BM – Are they available on the internet? How long has it been since you last published a book?

FrA – One is on the internet as an e-book. I have not written a book since 2000. Everything I write now is on the internet directly.

BM – We’re close to the end of this interview and I’d like to ask you just a few questions. How do you see the world’s future, and if you would have the power to do something about it (let’s say king for a day), what would you do? Would you talk to people? Would you pass a law?

FrA – The world is advancing rapidly to its end, but this ‘advance’ can also slow down. The end may still be far off. To slow down can only come though repentance. There is only power that I would like because there is only one power which can really change anything. And that is the power of prayer. Sadly, my prayer is very, very weak. To be a king for a day or to pass laws is useless. Politicians are only manipulated themselves. Only prayer, the force which does not depend on this world, can change anything in it. Only prayer sets an example. Words are weak. With prayer you can send back the demons to hell, where they belong. Without prayer, this is impossible and the demons wander all over the planet, creating destruction, suicide, misery.

BM – A final message for the Romanians that read this interview. How do you see Romania from far away (spiritually but also, politically). I understand you have Romanians in your parish…

FrA – I meet two sorts of Romanians here. One sort of Romanian is admirable, an example to all Western people. These are the Romanians who live their faith. The other sort of Romanian is Orthodox, but Orthodox by folklore. For example, only two weeks ago, I had a Romanian come to me to get married. She had already organised the secular ceremony, the flights for relatives from Romania, the reception, the food, the drinks, the dance music, everything. But then she had thought of the Church, as a kind of extra. Sadly, she had planned to get married on a Saturday. I said I could not do this because the Church forbids weddings on the day when the Church remembers the departed and when we should be preparing to take communion on Sunday, the day of the Resurrection. We have weddings on Sundays. She was very sad. All this happened because she had not thought of the most important thing, the Church, first. She said that she would go and find another priest who would marry her on a Saturday, if she paid him. Politically, today Romanian is faced with a choice. One choice is to take the road that leads to Western Europe, EU secularism. If you take that road, then in a few years time you will have young Romanian people shooting their school friends, mosques everywhere in Romania, Romanian politicians voting for euthanasia, making abortion and contraception freely available to thirteen year-old girls, just like in England, France, Germany, Finland or the USA or any other Western country. Then you will stop being Romanians. You will have become part of Babylon. The other choice is hard. It is the road of Romania’s spiritual history, the road of your spiritual identity, the road of your Romanian saints, including the new saints of the twentieth century. The first road is the road of death, both physical and spiritual suicide. The second road is the road of Resurrection, the road of life. It is the choice of the historic Romanian people. As a member of a nation which has tragically chosen the first path, I warn you against the first road.

BM – Thank for your time, which I know is very precious, as well as for your kindness in granting me this interview. God bless, and may God help us all. Have a peaceful Easter.

FrA – Hristos a Inviat!

BM – Adevarat a Inviat!

Father Andrew Philips

Aprilie 6, 2009 Posted by | ENGLISH SECTION | , , , | 5 comentarii

POEMS BY RADU GYR

OFFERING

by Radu GYR

.

.

From our struggles and defeats

we set up stairways to new destinies

a ladder out of coral through disaster

steps to be climbed by those who come after.

.

From each wound that hurts

from every deeper sorrow

We put armor onto new chests

and spades into hands that are not yet

but will be, tomorrow.

.

And if we’ve cried, from the massive tears

a soft touch of silk rises

which tomorrow, others will leave

on other foreheads that spring from ours.

.

And then, in the sleet and shaggy night

we close our fights, tears and wounds.

From our underground offering

we’ll make bread for people’s hunger.

.

.

+++++++

.

.

BATTLE SONG

by Radu GYR

.

It doesn’t hurt, neither the lost battles

nor the chest wounds, they don’t hurt

Not like these ugly arms

that no longer want to fight.

.

When your heart is still singing

What matters an arm broken in battle?

Why do you care in vain for a broken sword

when you climb higher with each flag?

.

You lose not when you bleed

nor when your eyes are covered in tears.

The worst kind of defeat

is surrendering your dreams.

.

.

+++++++

.

.

ANTITHESIS

by Radu GYR

.

You wouldn’t caress if you didn’t know what a curse was

Only those who have sobbed can smile

If you didn’t laugh, you wouldn’t know how to sigh

If you didn’t cry, you wouldn’t carry light in your eyes.

.

And if you didn’t nurse your own wound

with your own hand, you wouldn’t care about others’ wounds

You wouldn’t envy a piece of Heaven,

If you didn’t carry a shard of hell within you.

.

You can’t rise up in glory until you fall

With heavy head in bitter dust

And if you resurrect in today’s smiles

It’s only because you’ve died in last night’s sorrow.

.

.

+++++++

.

ARISE GEORGE, ARISE JOHN
by Radu Gyr
.
Not for a piece of rubicund bread
nor for acres, or beds
but for your free sky of tomorrow
Arise George, arise John!
.
For the blood your ancestors spilled in ditches
for your songs, stocked in nails,
for the tears that flow from your chained dreams,
Arise George, arise John!
.
Nor for the anger that grinds through your teeth
but so that you can collect, while shouting on slopes,
a stack of horizons and a hat full of stars
Arise George, arise John!
.
So you can drink your freedom from a bucket
and sink into it like a whirling sky
with apricot blossoms to shake over you
Arise George, arise John!
.
To kiss with your hot lips
the threshold, the porch, the doors, the icons
and everything else that freely stands before you
Arise George, arise John!
.
Arise George, on chains and ropes!
Arise John on your bones!
Stand up, towards the last light of the storm
Arise George, arise John!

Aprilie 2, 2009 Posted by | ENGLISH SECTION | , | 2 comentarii

THE INTERVIEW WITH GOD

Cateva materiale mai vechi la care tin, le public eu pentru ca aceia ce au bloguri in engleza si carora le-am trimis aceste articole spre publicare, n-au facut-o. Nu doresc devierea spre un blog bilingv, insa daca mai gasesc materiale de acest gen s-ar putea sa le public aici la english section. Daca se aduna mai multe poate voi porni un blog in engleza care va fi numai cu copy&paste. Pana una alta…

I dreamed I had an interview with God.

“So you would like to interview me?” God asked.

“If you have the time” I said.

God smiled. “My time is eternity.”
“What questions do you have in mind for me?”

“What surprises you most about humankind?”

God answered…
“That they get bored with childhood,
they rush to grow up, and then
long to be children again.”

“That they lose their health to make money…
and then lose their money to restore their health.”

“That by thinking anxiously about the future,
they forget the present,
such that they live in neither
the present nor the future.”

„That they live as if they will never die,
and die as though they had never lived.”

God’s hand took mine
and we were silent for a while.

And then I asked…
“As a parent, what are some of life’s lessons
you want your children to learn?”

“To learn they cannot make anyone
love them. All they can do
is let themselves be loved.”

“To learn that it is not good
to compare themselves to others.”

“To learn to forgive
by practicing forgiveness.”

“To learn that it only takes a few seconds
to open profound wounds in those they love,
and it can take many years to heal them.”

“To learn that a rich person
is not one who has the most,
but is one who needs the least.”

“To learn that there are people
who love them dearly,
but simply have not yet learned
how to express or show their feelings.”

“To learn that two people can
look at the same thing
and see it differently.”

“To learn that it is not enough that they
forgive one another, but they must also forgive themselves.”

„Thank you for your time,” I said humbly.

„Is there anything else
you would like your children to know?”

God smiled and said,
“Just know that I am here… always.”

Februarie 28, 2008 Posted by | ENGLISH SECTION | , , | 12 comentarii

MESSAGE TO EUROPE

If we were to find a short line to best describe the image of the last three centuries – 18th, 19th and 20 – this phrase would be „the protocol of Christ vs Europe dispute”. because in the last 300 years nothing happend in Europe that coudn’t be linked with Jessus Christ. In this argue between Christ and Europe Jessus tells Europe that she’s baptized in His name and must remain faithfull to him and His Church. At this advice, Europe responds:

– All religions are equal. The french enciclopedists told us so. And no one can be forced to belive one thing or another. Europe allows all the religions as folk superstitions, but doesn’t follow neither. When it will achieve its political purposes, then it will soon end this nonsense.

Christ asks with pain:

– How can you, people, live only for your imperialist and materialist interests, which means only to live for your animalic desires, such as food. I wanted to make gods out of you, and you run and choose to be inslaved like animals.

Europe responds:

– Your old-stuff. In stead of your Gospel we have found zoology and biology. Now we know we aren’t your followers or of your Heavenly Father, but of the monkey and the gorillas. We now strive to became gods as we only know no god but ourselfs.

Jessus speaks:

– You’re way to stuborn than the old jews. I’ve raised you from the barbaric darkness, like the blind man from the dirt. I spilled my blood for you. I’ve showned you my love, when all the angels turn their backs because of your stinking hellish smell. Back then, when you were in darkness and stinkth, I was the only one who stood cleaning you up and enlighting you. So, don’t be unfaithfull now, because if you do, you will return to that hard to stand darkness and smell.

Europe smiles and shoutes:

– Get away from us. We don’t want you. We follow the roman and the greek philosophy. Want we want is freedom. We have universities. Science is our guiding star. Our motto is: freedom, equality and brotherhood. Our mind is the god of all gods. You’re an asian (oriental, nn). We deny you. You’re just a fairy tale of our old grandfathers.

At this, Christ, with tears in his eyes says:

– Fine, I’ll be leaving, but you’ll see. You left the path of God and went the path of Satan. The blessing and the hapyness has been taken from you. In My hand it’s your life and your death because I gaved myself up for you, died for you. With all this, I won’t punnish you, but your sins and your fall from Me, your Savior, will (punish you). I have shown my Father’s love for all men, and wanted to save all of you, through love.

And Europe replies:

– Which love? Pure and menly hate against all of those who don’t agree with us, this is our plan. Your love is just a fairy tale, and instead of it, we have lifted the flag of nationalism, evolutionism and progress; and of science and culture. In this lays our salvation! And you, go away!

My brothers, says Saint Nikolai Velimirovici, in our times, this argue is over. Christ has left Europe, like in the Holy Scripture from the land of the gadariens, at their wish for Him to leave. But as soon as He left, it camed the war, the fear, the ruin and the destruction. The barbarism before the christienism, of the huns, longobards and africans has returned to Europe, only now, a 100 times more scarying. Jessus has taken His blessing and went far away. In his place, darkness and stinkth…

Februarie 28, 2008 Posted by | ENGLISH SECTION | , | Comentariile sunt închise pentru MESSAGE TO EUROPE