This posting appeared in Indian Orthodox Forum.
Could we consider his request?
Dr. Cherian Eapen wrote:
REPENT...CONFESS...FORGIVE....MAKE CLEAN YOUR BODY, MIND & SOUL
AND THE CHURCH, THE BODY OF CHRIST!....LET US PRAY TOGETHER!
When Jesus had heard that John the Baptist had been arrested,
he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum
by the sea,
that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet might
be fulfilled: "
the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the
Gentiles, the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on
those dwelling in a land over shadowed by death light has arisen.
" From that time on, Jesus began to preach, and to say, "REPENT:
for the kingdom of heaven is at hand"
"There is nothing concealed
that will not be revealed; nor secret that will not be known
you my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, but after
that can do no more. I shall show you whom to fear. Be afraid of the one
who after killing has the power to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, be
afraid of that one"... "Only prayer and fasting can drive this kind
nothing else can."
There are several scholarly and useful discussions on Repentance
and Confession are going on. But yet there are several aspects that
were not brought out to us by our learned Christians. The following
is one reflection on this theme.
"I am trying to clarify for myself what is the meaning of confessions
as they exist and are practiced. I can understand the Catholic
Confession-violation of a law. But I have to clarify the Orthodox
Confession dogmatically (sacrament of repentance) and spiritually.
In confession, the metamorphosis of the Church and of Christianity
is most evident. The Church was born as a reality in opposition,
externally visibly -- and even more, internally visibly -- to this
The metamorphosis consists of the fact that the Church gradually
became a religious servicing of the world. In the beginning the
sacrament of repentance was totally focused on one thing: on the
betrayal of the Church, betrayal of her incarnated and revealed
Sin was considered a betrayal of the new life, a falling out of it.
Sin was a rupture, a defection, a betrayal; sanctity was understood not
as a moral perfection, but as an ontological faithfulness to Christ
and His Kingdom. The moral teaching of the Church is eschatological,
not ethical. For Christians, the essence of sin is the betrayal of
Christ, the falling away from Him and the Church. So the sacrament of
repentance is a return, through repentance, confession and regret,
to the new life, already given, already revealed. Nowadays, Confession
is not directed at that; its essence is different. It is directed
toward a certain moral regularization -- putting into order -- of life in the
world,of its laws. In other words, the sacrament of repentance began by
being referred not to a moral law, but to faith and to sin as a
falling away from faith ("no one who abides in his sins..." I John llI : 6).
Now Confession is often a conversation about violations of moral laws,
about weaknesses and sinfulness, but without reference to faith...
As everything in Christianity, the sacrament of repentance is
eschatological; it is the return of man to the longed-for Kingdom and
to "the life of the world to come". What it has become, I simply don't
know, nor do I understand in what "category" this absolution of sins falls
after a few minutes of talk about one's weaknesses. I don't know!"
This passage is from the Journals of Fr. Alexander Schmemann,
February 21, 1980. What we learn from here is that sin is foremost
the betrayal of the Church, the body of Christ, betrayal of the new
life. The sacrament of repentance is a return, through repentance,
confession, and regret. This should be the view of our Fathers too.
The repentance, confession and forgiveness of sins can best be
integrated in ministry through the analogy of the "Parable of the
Lost Sheep." Christ passed on to His apostles and to us the
mission of restoring a wholeness in people and in church.
The dark shadow has to be faced by all of us, to repent and to
be found.In the parable of the Lost Sheep, immediate attention
is given to the lost sheep. Every person can have an individuation
process and this can be the actual human situation of finding
out his own self by controlling the ego, and that can be the
key to the mystery of forgiveness in repentance.
Our Church is now going through a miserable test, a culmination of a
century old conflict. Both the factions say that they are right
and the other
faction is wrong. According to their point of view they may be right
too. They may soon depart and can become separate administrative
bodies also. But they are missing the over all picture. While
in the whole world faith is under question and Christianity itself
is under attack, a small section consisting of 0.4 Million Orthodox
members (out of 2,000 Million Christians) divided into two factions
and are fighting to establish
their authority, tradition, power and to posses more churches and
diocese and also mostly spend lot of time in vain speaking and to
find fault with the leadership of the other faction. Unfortunately,
both the factions do not see the century long play of Satan who is
continuously creating conflicts of interests and divisions in this
After going through innumerable, humble and silent attempts to make
peace in this church, and having direct interaction with the leadership,
with both H.H.Patriarch and with H.H. Catholicos, I came to the conclusion
that the reason for this unrest in our church is nothing but the
accumulated sins of all the members, playing into the hands of Satan.
We cannot blame our leadership alone. No doubt, they are praying
Christians, though few of our fathers also has their contribution to
this unchristian conflict. However, our worship, life and mission,
peace, strength and serenity, all are somehow affected. Therefore,
we cannot remain as silent onlookers. The only remedy that Jesus had
clearly prescribed to remove this illness is sincere fasting and
prayer. Peace, strength and serenity can be attained only through
this process. Therefore, it will be appropriate for all of us to
request both HH Patriarch and HH catholicos to issue appeal or
Kalpana for a half an hour prayer, to be conducted throughout the
world, at the same time, by the entire members of our Church,
wherever they are, after sincere fasting. Of course, the emphasis on
this prayer and fasting has to be given on all our Church members in
Kerala and their convenience. Let us pin point the evildoers in our
Church and defunct their activity.
The prayer theme should be nothing but Repentance, what our Lord
Jesus Christ had asked us to do. The detailed content or order of prayers
can be determined by the Church leaders. If someone can compile a prayer,
bible reading and songs which could be finished exactly in 30
minutes, that can be adopted. Prayers like that of King David, before
the birth of Christ and prayers of Mar Apreme (St. Ephraim) after
Christ are relevant examples of prayers of Repentance. While David's
Psalm 51 is well known to all Christians, because it is included in
the Bible, the prayers of Mar Aprem is not that prominent in all
churches, because it is not included in the Bible. But Mar Aprem
represents pure Christianity, and his prayers make the slothful to
repentance. A Spiritual Psalter excerpted by Bishop Theophan the
Recluse from the works of our Holy Father Mar Aprem the Syrian,
arranged in the manner of the Psalms of David, is available now in
Malayalam, under the name:150 "Adhyalmika Sankeerthanam";
Here is a relevant prayer of Mar Aprem:
"O Lord, the master of my life, Grant not unto me a spirit of
idleness, of discouragement, of lust of power, and of vain speaking.
But bestow upon me, Thy servant, the spirit of chastity,
of meekness, of patience and of love.
Yea, O Lord and King, grant that I may perceive my own
transgressions, and judge not my brother, for blessed art
Thou unto ages of ages. Amen."
The date of the ½ an hour global network prayer can be determined by
the Church leaders. Out of experience, the suggested timings of the said
prayers in major cities or countries will be convenient, if it is as
..7.30-- 8.00 AM
.4.30 -- 5.00PM
.afternoon ... 5.30 -6.00PM
. ..6.30 --7.00PM
. 6.00 -6.30PM
.. 9.00 -- 9.30PM
Kindly have your feedback and opinion criticism for date, modality and
content of the proposed prayer. Again, I suggest any day during the
last week of the Great Lent or the Week of the life-giving Passion. Let
us take the responsibility of this situation and request our leadership to
realize our Spiritual urge and to solve this problem for ever.
Remember, in prayer you will not be alone. Not even alone with God,
especially in this type of global network prayer. So, we have to
commemorate all those who are members of the "body" of Christ, for it is as
members of the "Body" of Christ that we pray, and other members, alive and
sleeping (died) are always with us. The Holy Quirbana of course
symbolically cover all these points. But it will be more effective,
if it is conducted, for this purpose alone.
Let us see how many people will come forward and take their responsibility.
If this happens, this is the first time one established ancient
church will make such an attempt of praying, at the same time, round the
world. If it is conducted successfully, we can make it a practice to
conduct it every year. Also, this can be a starting point for continuous
prayer habit for unity among Christians. This will be then a
model for all Christian Churches also, in this modern world, where
Christian members are scattered and longing for spiritual family
foregathering and Divine Communion. Let us take the advantage of
the present information technology.
May the good God bless all of us!
Dr. Cherian Eapen
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