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Bishop Photii Responds to ROCOR-MP Union

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  • Athanasios Jayne
    DESCENT FROM THE CROSS OF ORTHODOX WITNESS by Bishop Photii of Triaditza (The present document is a sermon by His Eminence, Bishop Photii of Triaditza,
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 6, 2007
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      DESCENT FROM THE CROSS OF ORTHODOX WITNESS

      by Bishop Photii of Triaditza

      (The present document is a sermon by His Eminence,
      Bishop Photii of Triaditza, delivered during the
      Divine Liturgy on the Feast of the Ascension of our
      Savior, in the Cathedral of the Dormition of the
      Theotokos, in Sofia, Bulgaria (4/17 May 2007).

      The God-Man, the Savior came not only to show us
      the path toward the Truth; He came as one Who was
      Himself the Truth and the Way to it. Christ the
      Lord levelled down the walls between earthly humans
      and the celestial Truth.

      Indeed, if we do not rise above the terrestrial dust,
      if we do not rally courage enough to transcend our
      own nothingness, and overcome our voluptuous desires
      for earthly things, we are unable to walk on the path
      towards the Truth; we are unable to be children of
      the Truth; and we are unable to live with the Truth
      and in the Truth.

      And the path leading towards the Truth leads all
      the way upwards, and never downwards, just as Christ's
      path led up to Golgotha. Our very first step in rising
      from the earth to Heaven, our very first rupture with
      earthly bounds is our ascent upon the cross, as Christ
      Himself was raised from the earth upon the Cross, in
      order that He might draw every man toward Himself:
      toward the Truth, toward the Way, and toward Life.

      The path from the cross to Heaven, to immortal life,
      is indeed sometimes of extensive duration and of long
      distances--very long; sometimes it may be traversed in
      but an instant, as was the case with many of the Holy
      New Martyrs of Batak, whose memory we celebrate today,
      together with Christ's glorious Ascension.

      However, there is nothing at all so grievous as one
      who, having once torn himself away from the earth
      and ascended his cross, afterwards becomes frightened
      by the way of the Cross and the Resurrection, or who
      has been misled by the earthly desire to feel again
      the earthy dust under his feet.

      Lo, today the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox
      Church Abroad descends from the cross of its Orthodox
      witness.

      Today, by serving the liturgy together, the stage is
      set for the Church Abroad to be absorbed into the
      organism of the Moscow Patriarchate.

      Lo, today the Archpriests seal their descent from
      their cross by exchanging a liturgical kiss with those
      who beckoned them to descend from the cross, as they
      had themselves done in the past.

      How painful is the lie, which in our days calls the
      descent an ascent, and the fall a rising!

      When the Hierarchs of the Church Abroad were raised
      from the earth on the cross of witnessing for
      Orthodoxy, they were called schismatics; when they
      descended from the cross, when they delivered to
      Caesar--be he even an ecclesiastical Caesar--that
      which belongs to God, they immediately rose in his
      eyes and became his brethren.

      Indeed, is there anything more disheartening than to
      see how falsehood bedecks itself with the garments of
      Truth?

      Indeed, those who descended from the cross pronounce,
      and will continue to pronounce, just as many words of
      fidelity to the Church and Orthodoxy's words
      glorifying the exploits of the Martyrs and Confessors;
      but is it really decent to plait wreaths of verbal
      praise for spiritual heroes, having oneself fled in
      disgrace from the battlefield?

      Is it not immoral, having yourself abandoned your
      witness to the Truth for the sake of earthly benefits
      and gains, to glorify persons who held the love of
      Truth to be higher than their own lives?

      And yet, Caesar will not celebrate his victory for
      long. He will not be jubilant for long, that what is
      God's has been delivered to him by the hands of
      Bishops, with the sole purpose of acquiring his
      favor. For God is never mocked! For the God-Man,
      after His Ascension, abides with us, with all who,
      even though weak, aspire to tread the path leading
      upward, and only upward--to Golgotha and the Cross,
      and thence toward the Heavenly Homeland, from which
      there pour down on us the streams of the love of the
      New Martyrs of Batak, of the Holy New Martyrs and
      Confessors of Russia, and of all the citizens of
      Heaven, who walked their earthly path in the never-
      setting light of the Way, the Truth, and the Life!
      Amen.


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