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Vladyka Nikolai of Ochrid/Zica Part 1

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    FAITH AND ORDER: PROCEEDINGS OF THE WORLD CONFERENCE Lausane, August 3-21, 1927 George H Dorin Company, New York, 1927 ed. H. N. Bate THE SACRAMENTS / Saturday
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 15, 2001
      FAITH AND ORDER:
      PROCEEDINGS OF THE WORLD CONFERENCE
      Lausane, August 3-21, 1927
      George H Dorin Company, New York, 1927
      ed. H. N. Bate

      THE SACRAMENTS / Saturday morning, August 13th

      The Conference met in full session on Saturday morning to coonsider
      Subject VI, The Sacraments. The chair was taken by Sir Henry Lunn,
      and the session was opened at 9:30 with devotions led by General-
      Superintendent Dr Schian.

      The following paper, prepared by the Rt. Rev. Nicholai, Bishop of Ochrida,
      was read in his absence by Archbishop Germanos.

      THE RIGHT REV. NICHOLAI, Bishop of Ochrida (Orthodox)

      There are seven Sacraments in the Church militant on earth: Baptism,
      Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance, Ordination (Cheirotonia), Marriage
      and Extreme Unction. In the East the Sacraments are still called
      Mysteries. Why? Because each one of them hides in itself a mysterious
      and miraculous action of God the Holy Spirit. The very kernel of each of
      them consists of this mysterious and miraculous divine action. In the
      Christian Mysteries we do not know HOW but we know THAT, i.e., we do
      not know how the Holy Spirit works in a Mystery but we know that He
      works in and through it.

      In the Mystery of Baptism God the Holy Spirit cleanses the soul from sin,
      so that the soul receives God's sonship by grace and is recruited into the
      army of Christ the Saviour. Baptism effectuates such a tremendous change
      in a man that is called the new birth (John iii, 5). Baptism was ordered by
      the
      Lord (Matt xxviii, 19). "Whosoever is unbaptised cannot be saved, except
      the martyrs, who even without the water (but by the blood) receive the
      Kingdom of God" (Cyril of Alexandria).

      In the Mystery of Confirmation, God the Holy Spirit fills the soul
      previously
      cleansed and emptied from sin by Baptism, with positive powers or gifts.
      And the gifts are different. Confirmation was ordained and instituted
      through
      the practice of the Apostles (Acts viii, 15-17; xix, 1-6; 2 Cor i, 20-22).

      In the Mystery of the Eucharist and at the moment of the priest's
      invocation,
      God the Holy Spirit descends on the bread and wine which have been set
      forth and sanctified, and transubstantiates them into Christ's body and
      blood
      (not transforms them but transubstantiates them; for the substance is
      changed while the form of bread and wine remain to our eyes unchanged).

      This Mystery of the perpetual love of God through sacrifice was ordered and
      instituted by the Lord (Matt xxvi, 26-28; John vi, 53-57; I Cor. x, 16-17;
      xi, 23-26). So Christ Himself is our real food; He communicates Himself to
      us, that He may make us true men, citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven,
      the very members of His immortal body. So great is the love of God that
      in this Mystery the Lord gives us not only His gifts, as in other
      Mysteries,
      but Himself. Greater love than this does not exist either in heaven or on
      earth.

      In the Mystery of Pennance, or rather of Absolution, God the Holy Spirit
      forgives man his new sins done after Baptism. Thereby the man becomes
      again clean before his God. A sinner travels away from his God into a
      foreign land and becomes a companion of swine, throwing his pearl - his
      soul - to the swine. Sin being repented of, confessed and forgiven, man
      gets the liberty to enter again the house of his Father. The parable of
      the
      Prodigal Son explains clearly the origin and nature of sin, of true
      repentance,
      of confession and absolution (Luke xv, 11ff). The Lord Jesus ordered and
      instituted this Mystery through His words and actions (Luke vii, 47; Matt
      xviii, 18). The Apostles understood their Master and followed faithfully His
      example and His commandment (I John i, 8-10; Acts iii, 19; xix, 18).

      In the Mystery of the Ordination of priests, God the Holy Spirit gives the
      special grace of Orders to the priest, the minister of the mysteries in
      the
      Kingdom of God on earth, i.e. in the Church militant. This grace He gives
      through the act of the laying-on of the hands of the Apostles and their
      successors upon the head of those who have been found worthy. In the
      priestly performance of a Mystery man counts almost for nothing, but the
      grace of God the Holy Spirit is all-important. The priest, therefore, is
      not
      allowed to say, "I baptise thee," or "I forgive thee," or "I unite you" in
      marriage, etc.; for the real performer of a Mystery is the Lord the Holy
      Spirit.
      This Mystery was commanded and instituted by the Lord and His Apostles
      (John xv, 16; Acts vi, 2-6; xx, 28; 2 Timothy i, 6).

      In the Mystery of Marriage, God the Holy Spirit by His grace unites two
      human beings, man and woman, for the special purpose of the growth
      of the Church of God according to God's commandment (Gen ix,1) and for
      the mutual help of husband and wife in the work of their salvation. This
      Mystery was ratified by the Lord Jesus (Matt xix, 5-6). He Himself
      sanctified the bond of marriage through His presence at the marriage in
      Cana of Galilee (John ii, 1). The Apostle Paul, seer of the highest
      Mysteries,
      declares to us that marriage is a great mystery (Eph v, 22 ff).

      In the Mystery of Extreme Unction, God the Holy Spirit comes to man's
      life in its last emergency and heals the sick. The purpose of the Mystery
      thus performed is described by St James (v, 14-15) as the restoration
      of health and the remission of sins. This Mystery was practised and ordered
      by the Apostles from the very beginning (Mark vi, 13).

      And thus we have seven divine Mysteries as the seven different workings of
      God the Holy Spirit, who is the true Dispenser, the Lifegiver, the Mover
      and
      the Treasurer of all divine gifts in the Church of Christ on earth. Five
      of
      these
      Mysteries are related rather to the personal life and personal salvation of
      each member of the Church, namely, Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharust,
      Penance, and Unction; and two of them are related to the good of the whole
      Church, namely, Orders and Marriage. The first five mean: emptying
      (Baptism),
      filling (Confirmation), feeding (Eucharist), freeing (Penance) and healing
      in the last emergency (Unction). The last two mean: the increase of the
      Church (Marriage) and the ministration of the Mysteries in the Church under
      the all-powerful God the Holy Spirit (Orders).
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