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Mother Church

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  • goossir
    Many debates are going on this list about the Mother Church . Below is a text adapted and translated into English by G. Spruksts from the Russian text of the
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 18, 2003
      Many debates are going on this list about the "Mother Church".
      Below is a text adapted and translated into English by G. Spruksts
      from the Russian text of the essay by Monk Zakharii, entitled
      _"Ischuschim Mat'" [To Those Seeking Their Mother], initially
      published in _"Pravoslavnaya Rus'"_ [Orthodox Rus], No. 10, 1947.
      This publication was know to be the official "flagship" of The
      Russian Orthodox Church Abroad


      TO THOSE SEEKING THEIR MOTHER
      When I was a child, I heard the following tale:
      In very ancient times, in some country or other, there was a gang of
      bandits whose fierce and furious raids terrorised the entire
      surrounding population. The fierce leader of this gang had lost all
      sense of human feeling and wrought unspeakable evil, such as hitherto
      had been unknown.

      On one occasion, these bandits attacked the home of a good and
      peaceful man. First, they slaughtered the master of the house; then,
      mocking and outraging her, they bestially murdered his wife, as well,
      after which they stole all the family's belongings. They would have
      killed the master's son, too a small child, who was weeping
      helplessly in a corner but, the leader of the gang, having taken
      particular note of the little boy's unusual comeliness, concluded
      that he could probably demand a huge ransom for the child.
      Consequently, he ordered that the boy be taken back to their
      encampment with them. They brought the little tyke to that cave
      where the gang hid out. The bandit leader entrusted the boy to the
      care of his "lady-friend" - a woman truly "worthy" of him - and
      thereupon forgot all about the child…

      Some time later, upon returning from a raid, the bandit chieftain
      happened to meet this child and barely recognised him: so much had he
      changed. He had grown thin and now was possessed of a sickly
      appearance. Asked about the reason for such a change, the bandit
      leader's paramour explained that the child was grieving sorely for
      his Mother; that he refused to come near anyone; avoided all and
      sundry; ate little; and, probably, would soon die.

      That evening, pouring over his old stash of loot, the bandit leader
      found a dress and some adornments and foot-gear that had belonged to
      the child's Mother, whom he had slain some time previously.
      "Listen," he said to his doxy, "you say that the lad is grieving for
      his Mother. So, put on all this stuff,… go to him,… cuddle him,… -
      perchance he'll take you for his Mother and recover. Otherwise,
      alas! he'll perish, when we could get a tidy sum for him…"

      The bandit leader's concubine put on the dead woman's dress, adorned
      herself with the latter's brooches and jewellery, - assumed a tender
      and loving appearance insofar as she was capable of doing so, - and
      went to the child.

      Terrified, - he recoiled from her and screamed…. "Come to me, my
      darling little one," the female bandit said, "for, behold: it is I,
      your Mama. Look: here is the dress, here is the jewellery… Don't you
      recognise me?
      "No, no!" the child began to weep, trembling in terror: "the dress is
      Mama's, the jewellery is Mama's, but you… - you're not my Mama…"

      The present-day situation in Orthodoxy reminds me of this poignant
      tale, which I had heard in childhood. With its innate ability to
      manipulate ideas, the leadership of the Moscow patriarchate seeks to
      convince everyone that there, in Moscow, attired in Her garments and
      adorned with Her jewels, we can find our very own natural Mother.

      Of course, all this is calculated without taking into account the
      members of the Catacomb Church, who know well the false gaze of
      the "mistress of murderers." They cannot be deceived!

      This is a tale that is told ! to those children who lost their Mother
      in early childhood; who, hence, are unable to recall Her true face.
      These, who do not remember their Mother, behold Her dress, Her
      jewellery, and they begin to doubt, although it pains their hearts to
      do so: but what if this actually is She! After all, everyone has
      grown so sick with longing for Her.

      For such as these, the flattery of the MP's hierarchs can be
      pernicious. It is to them that my voice of warning is directed the
      voice of a Christian who spent nearly 30 years in the Catacomb Church.
      "What are you looking at! Why do you doubt? This is not She; this is
      not our Mother! I implore Him Who gives conviction to my words; may
      He empower my lips to open the eyes, to awaken the awareness of those
      who doubt. Yea, Lord, bring it about; make it so! Hearken unto me,
      you who have grown sick with longing for the Mother-Church! This
      adulterous lady-friend of the fearsome bandit chieftain in Moscow is
      not only not the local Russian Church, she is also not Orthodox, -
      and not even a Christian church, all in all.

      What are the distinguishing features of any autocephalous Orthodox
      Church? They are four: 1. Territory. 2. Nation. 3. A lawful
      hierarchy. 4. The Spirit of Christ - that is, the unsullied keeping
      of Christ's Teaching and the dogmas of the Church, which started with
      the Apostles. Besides that, each and every local Church has Her own,
      unique, tenor of life, not encountered in any other local Church Her
      own spiritual-mystical world-view, which is innately Hers, alone.

      Only the sum-total of all these features indicates that any given
      Church is, at present, the very same that She had been since the
      beginning of Her existence. Taken separately, neither territory, nor
      nation, nor hierarchy, nor preservation of dogmas, nor tenor of life
      and world-view, are any evidence of the continuing life of a church
      and of her self-sameness with the one that had ex! isted in the
      beginning. After all, the names of the seven Churches that are
      spoken of in the Apocalypse continue to survive to this day.

      Yet, who will say that these are still those selfsame Churches! And
      the Alexandrine or Roman churches are they the very same ones that
      had existed during the lifetimes of Athanasius the Great and Leo, the
      Pope of Rome? Even preserving apostolic succession, how little these
      daughter-churches resemble their Mother.

      And the one in Moscow that has occupied the home of our Mother-
      Church, imprisoned and tortured beyond endurance, as She was?… The
      one that put on the latter's garments, that adorned herself with the
      latter's ornaments, which were presented to her by bandits,… the one
      that even sings what are seemingly the latter's songs,… what else is
      there about her wherewith she reminds us of the latter of the one
      that truly was our very own?…Nothing!

      Of all the features, she has, in fact, but one: the house the
      territory. The Nation she betrayed, having blessed her master the
      ataman of the gang of cut-throats to annihilate all those who refused
      to recognise him as their "father and benefactor."

      Hierarchy?… We know where that is. We know well, where and how the
      faithful bishops and priests of our true Mother-Church perished or
      were subjected to torments. We heard with our own ears what the
      adulterous inamorata of the bandit leader said of them.

      The Spirit of Christ?… Read without any of the magazines of the
      Moscow Patriarchate, without picking and choosing, and you will find
      there that the priests and even the bishops of this organisation call
      their children to take vengeance upon, to shed the blood of, to carry
      out pogroms against, and to hate all those who are unconstrained and
      un-regimented in their thinking. Then will you yourselves see instead
      of the meek visage and loving eyes of our Mother-Church that bestial,
      tooth-baring grin of the bandit wo! man who had sold herself out.

      But, perhaps, she is nevertheless Orthodox, even if she is a fallen
      sinner?...No! For Orthodoxy is defined unconditionally by its
      recognition of the dogma of ancestral sin and of said sin's
      consequences. We believe that human nature, impaired by ancestral
      sin, is itself inclined towards evil. No economic or political form,
      in and of themselves, can, without the grace of God that is imparted
      through the Mystery of holy Baptism, deliver man from the inclination
      to do evil and set him upon the path of doing good. Left to his own
      devices, man, who has rejected God and everything that is holy,
      inevitably rolls down into the abyss of evil.

      There can be no "paradise" built upon earth; on the contrary, evil
      will progress ever the more - growing, toward the end of time, to
      horrifying dimensions, so that barely will one be able to find
      believing people upon the earth (Lk 18.8). Every doctrine that man is
      good in and of himself; that we need only bring about the necessary
      economic and political conditions of life, and that man, thereupon,
      will become an angel of light is unorthodox. Every organisation which
      imparts its blessing to the building of an earthly paradise and by a
      theomachic state, at that! ; which rejoices at the joys and grieves
      at the sorrows of manifestly atheistic satanists,… thereby rejects
      the dogma of ancestral sin, the dogma of the Church as the keeper of
      Divine Righteousness upon the earth, - and equally, also, many other
      dogmas. Wherefore, let it be anathema! Yet, in the end, some of the
      lukewarm will say: "but it is, nonetheless, a church."

      How few words there are in the human vocabulary! Many simply
      contradictory concepts sometimes find _expression in it through one
      and the same label. The prophet David, in his own day, could not find
      a word to convey the concept of that which is opposed to the
      Church. "I hate the church of the wicked," he said, as! though the
      wicked have a church.

      "I will build My Church," our Saviour told us. And from that time on,
      we have associated the concept of salvation with the name of Church.
      Everything that does not save is not the Church; everything that
      deceives is not the Church; everything that assists the godless in
      destroying the soul of our nation, exhausted with torments, is not
      the Church; or, it is the church of the wicked. If it is forbidden to
      use God's name in vain, then is not the name of the Church of Christ
      inapplicable to the handmaiden of satan's servant to the Moscow
      patriarchate.

      The true children of the Church of Christ will not be deceived by the
      attire and adornments which have been removed from Her from our
      violated and insulted Mother. We firmly believe that soon, very soon,
      we will meet Her the true one; Her, who gave birth to us through
      water and through the spirit; the genuine, natural article, which has
      come forth from out of dungeons, concentration camps, hidden
      oubliettes, and pits in the earth. Divine Righteousness will yet
      triumph. And then will She our greatly suffering Mother Russian
      Church set before the Face of the Lord all Her children, who have
      remained faithful to the end, and She will say: "Here am I and those
      children whom Thou hast given me." And they who have endured unto
      the end will exclaim, with great joy: "Glory to Thee, our Saviour,
      Who art coming again! Soon!…" Yea, verily, come Lord Jesus, Amen
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