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Pravoslavnik upholds Orthodoxy against Islam on ECafe

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˚ Catherine5 is currently posting on ECafe as "Barbara". 

Antichrist: Islam's Awaited Messiah

Antichrist: Islam's Awaited Messiah
Pravoslavnik » Mon 14 January 2008
I recently read a very interesting book entitled Antichrist: Islam's Awaited Messiah (see link below.) It is a comparative study of traditional Christian and Islamic eschatology, and the concept of the Antichrist in both religions. The pseudonymous author is a (heterodox) Christian with considerable knowledge of Islam. His central thesis is that the Antichrist will be possibly be received as the Islamic "Mahdi," the twelfth Imam, or Messiah, and that the Christian "False Prophet" will appear, in turn, as the Moslem Jesus, "Isa," a servant of the Antichrist who will likely deceive many people, including Christians. 


No, The Shadow of God....
Catherine5 » Wed 30 September 2009
This notion is preposterous! What a waste of time to read such garbage. 
Might as well start thumbing thru the "left behind" series if you can believe more than a word of that ignorant Protestant-written nonsense!

I would recommend "The Shadow of God and the Hidden Imam" by a bona fide historian of Shia belief, Iranian expatriate Said Amir Arjomand. 
[I was very fortunate to have been introduced to him once when visiting another scholar at the Institute For Advanced Study at Princeton where he was a visiting scholar at the time. Very unassuming man despite his prestige and overwhelming expertise!] 
For the record, I would never believe ANY Western author speaking about Shia beliefs, as none understand beyond intellectually the love and devotion to their Imams of the Shias, and Ismailis to the first 6 Imams. The Ismailis diverge after that, believing the Imamate passed to Ismail rather than his brother Musa.
This is one reason why it's next to impossible for the U.S. to ever even begin to fathom Iran or Iranian Shias. Completely opposite mindsets. 
Don't think this is too far off the subject, as there's some of the same operative principles regarding the US inability to understand religious emotion or fervor in general, including the Russian Orthodox. This topic is worthy of further analysis by those better versed than I.

In general due to the intense prejudice about Islam built up over many centuries, I would never recommend reading a single book by Western self-styled specialists. A good example to browse thru is a rare study of Islamic beliefs about the Afterlife by a Muslim author published by SUNY Press in probably the 1980s. That was far better than Americans trying to explain something they inherently look down upon. 

Prav, one has to dig really a lot these days to get to sound books or articles on the subject as a starting point from which to make what could be fascinating comparisons. 
However, I would toss that particular book into the trash if you still have it now as it may poison your bookshelf.
Its theory is beyond ludicrous.

mmcxristidis » Wed 30 September 2009
How can you be so sure that a book written by a Muslim author could give a more accurate picture of how future events concerning antichrist will happen? After all, he will be able to deceive even the very elect, is a Islamic author above them? The Muslims are already deceived even more-so than the Protestants in my opinion. Sounds like you haven't even read any part of this book, just dismissing it entirely because it was written by a westerner. A lot of books written by Orthodox authors aren't any better.

Preposterous to equate "antichrist" with Islamic figure!
Catherine5 » Wed 30 September 2009
I think there's a terrible darkness that makes Christians of any denomination point fingers at Muslims and say they are the devil's spawn and the devil originated their faith. 
There's a very unself-examined aspect to those Christians, often fundamentalist type, who speak like this. 
But I am sorry to hear Orthodox Christians also indulging in this sport. They latch onto fantastical notions of how dark are the Muslims, it's classic way of shifting blame onto others rather than addressing their own deficiencies before God. You can see this dynamic everywhere in the world, within families too, where one person is made the scapegoat and the others delight in making that person feel bad about themself.
For sure, participants in this cruel game are influenced by demons.

Just to show that Muslims do not engage in some type of dynamic toward Christians, as Christians have assumed from the beginning of the intense competition between the two religions, let's look at one example. Muslims never say the Second Coming of Jesus must mean this is the ANTI-Christ. Instead they are far more reverently respectful of Jesus than most Christians I have seen! 
Every Muslim who prays recites asks for deliverance from "Shaitan al-Rajim" - Satan the Accursed.
What anyone asks specifically from God for, he or she is granted. 
Perhaps there are LESS demons around Muslims than around the garden variety Christian. Because where are OUR constantly repeated prayers mentioning as a top priority a strong and fervently meant request to be kept free of demons?

This is my opinion, I fully understand how controversial it is in this context. 
But I think I have much more experience than any of the posters here are likely to have working in lands occupied by Muslims. 

Remembering how much I was showered with open-hearted kindness, I can't but rise to the challenge of defending these special people from vile insults made in entire ignorance!
Try this.
Go to Afghanistan, walk around in the countryside and see how you are treated. Having nothing to offer due to horrible malnutrition after 3 decades of unrelenting war, the poorest peasant will offer you the best food he could bring from miles away - for YOU, Christian or of any religion, it doesn't matter.
You will be taken in, given the best place in the village to sleep and never asked to leave. You could stay for life, if you needed to! You probably wouldn't want to, but this is how they will regard you!! They won't ask you your opinion on ecumenism and kick you out for the wrong answer...
In contrast, I feel shocked to say that when I think about it, I could probably count the number of kindnesses extended to me within the Orthodox milieu in America on the fingers of one hand!
Where is the Orthodox sincere compassion to help others - isn't that Jesus' prime teaching, to help those in need?

So, why, then, is there such a dismaying lack of interest among True Orthodox in for example, even offering prayers for Mother Juliana, let alone offering substantive help? I was very taken aback when an otherwise top quality, immensely admirable True Orthodox priest coldly refused to serve a moleben for her recovery. He sniffed: "She must have brought her accident upon herself".
Request denied, case closed. 
That was it, after ALL she has done to fight the MP far more bravely than most of us. Right on the front lines, too! Would any of us have had the courage to turn away the supposed patriarch of All the Russias and almost literally close the convent door in his face -- for all our spirited anti-MP commenting on safe internet forums, where no one can fire us and send us back to a completely different continent to languish in decreased status not to mention dire privation due to shunning by official - and even now TOC - sources?

This heartlessness is appalling and should stop before accusing other religions of supposed horrible ideas when those people are living more Christ-like lives in general than the Christians of today are.

Were she working in the Muslim world, families would have rushed to take her in, and nurse her back to health. Any religious person there is almost venerated for having given their life for God's service. Christians absolutely included. At the VERY least, she and her orphan girls would not have been left to starve! Which of the two communities sounds more like the devil has infiltrated them, stopping their hearts from operating?
When push comes to shove, having the Right Doctrines is no guarantee to save anyone despite our wishes that it may be so. Therefore, it's not right to speak so pejoratively about those who do not share all the same concepts of God.
It's OK to have homosexuals in Orthodox monasteries but Muslims are the from the Devil?! I'd say some of the Orthodox scene needs a good house cleaning before offering vicious and crazy sounding attacks on a religion which officially hates homosexuals. They are not shy to speak out against the evil phenomenon, spawned by the Devil for the ruin of souls. This courage to stand up for God's cause is almost impossible to find anywhere in the world today, due to heavy American promotion of the evil practise worldwide. Why not look at the good instead about Muslims? And copy their stand?
Where have either ROCOR-MP< MP< or the TOC's < issued statements sharply and loudly warning against this crime, the most awful one in GOD's eyes? That's undeniable, but all of the above are comfortable pointing fingers at the suposedly satanic Muslims.... It's not laudable.

Preposterous to equate "antichrist" with Islamic figure!
mmcxristidis » Thu 1 October 2009
You sound like a Washington lobbyist for the rights of these poor, misunderstood God-pleasing workers of Allah. or have you been sipping the camel urine again. Spin your fables elsewhere
You don't think Islam is dark and demonic, go tell it to the New-Martyrs of the Turkish Yoke. Are you for real ?

On Islam By St. John of Damascus
mmcxristidis » Fri 2 October 2009
Speaking on Islam being of Antichrist and Satanic, St. John of Damascus wrote some very interesting things about this subject :

On Islam
Fountain of Knowledge,
Book II (“On Heresies”)
By St. John of Damascus (675–749†)

101. There is also the superstition of the Ishmaelites which to this day prevails and keeps people in error, being a forerunner of the Antichrist. They are descended from Ishmael, was was born to Abraham of Agar, and for this reason they are called both Agarenes and Ishmaelites. They are also called Saracens, which is derived from Sarra Kenoi, or destitute of Sara, because of what Agar said to the angel: “Sara hath sent me away destitute.”1 These used to be idolaters and worshipped the morning star and Aphrodite, whom in their own language they called Khabir (Khabar?), which means great.”2 And so down to the time of Heraclius they were very great idolaters. From that time to the present a false prophet named Mohammed has appeared in their midst. This man, after having chanced upon the Old and New Testaments and likewise, it seems, having conversed with an Arian monk,3 devised his own heresy. Then, having insinuated himself into the good graces of the people by a show of seeming piety, he gave out that a certain book had been sent down to him from heaven. He had set down some ridiculous compositions in this book of his and he gave it to them as an object of veneration.

He says that there is one God, Creator of all things, Who has neither been begotten nor has begotten.4 He says that the Christ is the Word of God and His Spirit, but a creature and a servant, and that He was begotten, without seed, of Mary the sister of Moses and Aaron.5 For, he says, the Word and God and the Spirit entered into Mary and she brought forth Jesus, who was a prophet and servant of God. And he says that the Jews wanted to crucify Him in violation of the Law, and that they seized His shadow and crucified this. But the Christ Himself was not crucified, he says, nor did He die, for God out of His love for Him took Him to Himself into heaven.6 And he says this, that when the Christ had ascended into heaven God asked Him: “O Jesus, didst thou say: ‘I am the Son of God and God’?”And Jesus, he says, answered: “Be merciful to me, Lord. Thou knowest that I did not say this and that I did not scorn to be thy servant. But sinful men have written that I made this statement, and they have lied about me and have fallen into error.”And God answered and said to Him: “I know that thou didst not say this word.”7 There are many other extraordinary and quite ridiculous things in this book which he boasts was sent down to him from God. But when we ask: ‘And who is there to testify that God gave him the book? And which of the prophets foretold that such a prophet would rise up?’-they are at a loss. And we remark that Moses received the Law on Mount Sinai, with God appearing in the sight of all the people in cloud, and fire, and darkness, and storm. And we say that all the Prophets from Moses on down foretold the coming of Christ and how Christ God (and incarnate Son of God) was to come and to be crucified and die and rise again, and how He was to be the judge of the living and dead. Then, when we say: ‘How is it that this prophet of yours did not come in the same way, with others bearing witness to him? And how is it that God did not in your presence present this man with the book to which you refer, even as He gave the Law to Moses, with the people looking on and the mountain smoking, so that you, too, might have certainty?’ -they answer that God does as He pleases. ‘This,’ we say, ‘we know, but we are asking how the book came down to your prophet.’ Then they reply that the book came down to him while he was asleep. Then we jokingly say to them that, as long as he received the book in his sleep and did not actually sense the operation, then the popular adage applies to him (which runs: You’re spinning me dreams.)8

When we ask again: “How is it that when he enjoined us in this book of yours not to do anything or receive anything without witnesses, you did not ask him: ‘First do you show us by witnesses that you are a prophet and that you have come from God, and show us just what Scriptures there are that testify about you’”- they are ashamed and remain silent. [Then we continue:] ‘Although you may not marry a wife without witnesses, or buy, or acquire property; although you neither receive an ass nor possess a beast of burden unwitnessed; and although you do possess both wives and property and asses and so on through witnesses, yet it is only your faith and your scriptures that you hold unsubstantiated by witnesses. For he who handed this down to you has no warranty from any source, nor is there anyone known who testified about him before he came. On the contrary, he received it while he was asleep.’

Moreover, they call us Hetaeriasts, or Associators, because, they say, we introduce an associate with God by declaring Christ to the Son of God and God. We say to them in rejoinder: ‘The Prophets and the Scriptures have delivered this to us, and you, as you persistently maintain, accept the Prophets. So, if we wrongly declare Christ to be the Son of God, it is they who taught this and handed it on to us.’ But some of them say that it is by misinterpretation that we have represented the Prophets as saying such things, while others say that the Hebrews hated us and deceived us by writing in the name of the Prophets so that we might be lost. And again we say to them: ‘As long as you say that Christ is the Word of God and Spirit, why do you accuse us of being Hetaeriasts? For the word, and the spirit, is inseparable from that in which it naturally has existence. Therefore, if the Word of God is in God, then it is obvious that He is God. If, however, He is outside of God, then, according to you, God is without word and without spirit. Consequently, by avoiding the introduction of an associate with God you have mutilated Him. It would be far better for you to say that He has an associate than to mutilate Him, as if you were dealing with a stone or a piece of wood or some other inanimate object. Thus, you speak untruly when you call us Hetaeriasts; we retort by calling you Mutilators of God.’

They furthermore accuse us of being idolaters, because we venerate the Cross, which they abominate. And we answer them: ‘How is it, then, that you rub yourselves against a stone in your Ka’ba9 and kiss and embrace it?’ Then some of them say that Abraham had relations with Agar upon it, but others say that he tied the camel to it, when he was going to sacrifice Isaac. And we answer them: ‘Since Scripture says that the mountain was wooded and had trees from which Abraham cut wood for the holocaust and laid it upon Isaac,10 and then he left the asses behind with the two young men, why talk nonsense? For in that place neither is it thick with trees nor is there passage for asses.’ And they are embarrassed; but they still assert that the stone is Abraham’s. Then we say: ‘Let it be Abraham’s, as you so foolishly say. Then, just because Abraham had relations with a woman on it or tied a camel to it, you are not ashamed to kiss it, yet you blame us for venerating the Cross of Christ by which the power of the demons and the deceit of the Devil was destroyed.’ This stone that they talk about is a head of that Aphrodite whom they used to worship and whom they called Khabar. Even to the present day, traces of the carving are visible on it to careful observers.

As has been related, this Mohammed wrote many ridiculous books, to each one of which he set a title. For example, there is the book On Woman, 11 in which he plainly makes legal provision for taking four wives and, if it be possible, a thousand concubines -as many as one can maintain, besides the four wives. He also made it legal to put away whichever wife one might wish, and, should one so wish, to take to oneself another in the same way. Mohammed had a friend named Zeid. This man had a beautiful wife with whom Mohammed fell in love. Once, when they were sitting together, Mohammed said: ‘Oh, by the way, God has commanded me to take your wife.’ The other answered: ‘You are an apostle. Do as God has told you and take my wife.’ Rather - to tell the story over from the beginning - he said to him: ‘God has given me the command that you put away your wife.’ And he put her away. Then several days later: ‘Now,’ he said, ‘God has commanded me to take her.’ Then, after he had taken her and committed adultery with her, he made this law: ‘Let him who will put away his wife. And if, after having put her away, he should return to her, let another marry her. For it is not lawful to take her unless she have been married by another. Furthermore, if a brother puts away his wife, let his brother marry her, should he so wish.’12

In the same book (On Woman) he gives such precepts as this: ‘Work (till/plow?) the land which God hath given thee and beautify it. And do this, and do it in such a manner13-not to repeat all the obscene things that he did.

Then there is the book of The Camel of God.14 About this camel he says that there was a camel from God and that she drank the whole river and could not pass through two mountains, because there was not room enough. There were people in that place, he says, and they used to drink the water on one day, while the camel would drink it on the next. Moreover, by drinking the water she furnished them with nourishment, because she supplied them with milk instead of water. Then, because these men were evil, they rose up, he says, and killed the camel. However, she had an offspring, a little camel, which, he says, when the mother had been done away with, called upon God and God took it to Himself. Then we say to them: ‘Where did that camel come from?’ And they say that it was from God. Then we say: ‘Was there another camel coupled with this one?’ And they say: ‘No.’ ‘Then how,’ we say, ‘was it begotten? For we see that your camel is without father and without mother and without genealogy, and that the one that begot it suffered evil. Neither is it evident who bred her. And also, this little camel was taken up. So why did not your prophet, with whom, according to what you say, God spoke, find out about the camel-where it grazed, and who got milk by milking it? Or did she possibly, like her mother, meet with evil people and get destroyed? Or did she enter into paradise before you, so that you might have the river of milk that you so foolishly talk about? For you say that you have three rivers flowing in paradise - one of water, one of wine, and one of milk. If your forerunner the camel is outside of paradise, it is obvious that she has dried up from hunger and thirst, or that others have the benefit of her milk - and so your prophet is boasting idly of having conversed with God, because God did not reveal to him the mystery of the camel. But if she is in paradise, she is drinking water still, and you for lack of water will dry up in the midst of the paradise of delight (pleasure). And if, there being no water, because the camel will have drunk it all up, you thirst for wine from the river of wine that is flowing by, you will become intoxicated from drinking pure wine and collapse under the influence of the strong drink and fall asleep. Then, suffering from a heavy head after sleeping and being sick from the wine, you will miss the pleasures of paradise. How, then, did it not enter into the mind of your prophet that this might happen to you in the paradise of delight (pleasure)? He never had any idea of what the camel is leading to now, yet you did not even ask him, when he held forth to you with his dreams on the subject of the three rivers. We plainly assure you that this wonderful camel of yours has preceded you into the souls of asses, where you, too, like beasts are destined to go. And there there is the exterior darkness and everlasting punishment, roaring fire, sleepless worms, and hellish demons.’

Again, in the book of The Table, Mohammed says that the Christ asked God for a table and that it was given Him. For God, he says, said to Him: ‘I have given to thee and thine an incorruptible table.’15

And again, in the book of The Heifer,16 he says some other stupid and ridiculous things, which, because of their great number, I think must be passed over. He made it a law that they be circumcised and the women, too, and he ordered them not to keep the Sabbath and not to be baptized. And, while he ordered them to eat some of the things forbidden by the Law, he ordered them to abstain from others. He furthermore absolutely forbade the drinking of wine.

1. Cf. Gen. 16.8. Sozomen also says that they were descended from Agar, but called themselves descendants of Sara to hide their servile origin (Ecclesiastical History 6.38, PG 67.1412AB) .
2. The Arabic kabirun means ‘great,’ whether in size or in dignity. Herodotus mentions the Arabian cult of the ‘Heavenly Aphrodite’ but says that the Arabs called her Alilat (Herodotus 1.131).
3. This may be the Nestorian monk Bahira (George or Sergius) who met the boy Mohammed at Bostra in Syria and claimed to recognize in him the sign of a prophet.
4. Koran, Sura 112.
5. Sura 19: 4.169.
6. Sura 4.156.
7. Sura 5.116ff.
8. The manuscripts do not have the adage, but Lequien suggests this one from Plato.
9. The Ka’ba, called ‘The House of God,’ is supposed to have been built by Abraham with the help of Ismael. It occupies what the Moslems consider the most sacred spot in the Mosque of Mecca and in all the world. Incorporated in its wall is the stone here referred to, the famous Black Stone, which is obviously a relic of the idolatry of the pre-Islam Arabs.
10. Gen. 22.6.
11. Koran, Sura 4.
12. Cf. Sura 2.225ff.
13 Sura 2.223.
14 Not in the Koran.
15 Sura 5.114, 115.
16 Sura 2.

Pravoslavnik » Fri 2 October 2009

Mohammedism is, among other abominations, a Christological heresy. This is true according to Orthodox theology, and even regarding the often flawed theology of the heterodox Christians, is it not? There is a long and venerable Orthodox Christian literature on this subject, including the above-quoted teaching of St. John of Damascus condemning the Mohammedan religion.

Mohhammed claimed that Christ God was merely another prophet, and that he, Mohammed, was the "Paraclete," the Holy Spirit and Comforter, foretold by Christ! What utter Godlessness and deceit!

Mohammedism arose from the Satanic dictations of the Koran, which have always sought to deny the Trinity and the Divinity of Christ God, and to destroy the Holy Church, the mystical Body of Christ. Was it not devised by the Evil One primarily to destroy the Orthodox Church and the Orthodox Christian Byzantine Empire, like a spiritual virus?

As for this book, which I have reviewed here and on Amazon.com, it is a well-written summary of the Hadith-- the Sunna and the traditional Islamic teachings related to sharia, jihad against infidels, and taquiyya-- a Moslem's religious duty to lie to infidels about the nature of Islam and jihad. The discussion of the scriptural accounts of the Antichrist are entirely consistent with Orthodox theology, but no substitute for the direct teachings of the saints, of course.

From your comments, it appears that you are one who needs to learn more`about the true, diabolical nature of the Mohammedans. Frankly, your sympathetic view of Islam sounds more Soviet than Holy Russian. Have you visited the great Orthodox sites of Byzantium which were destroyed and defaced by the Moslems over the centuries?

Catherine5 » Fri 2 October 2009
Very interesting how you both attack me and Islam. 
Just like I was saying!

So, where's the explanation of the lack of compassion and kindness for one's fellow human beings which I make the point that Muslims practise. But I don't see contemporary Christians doing much at all and the Orthodox are among the least charitable.
Where's the admission that this is true, and a resolve to improve?
That's the constructive reply to my words.
But no one will even lift a finger, yet they can sit in their armchairs by a warm fire comfortably pontificating while their fellow True Orthodox Christians are miserable from cold and hunger and many difficulties - where is the explanation about why a True Orthodox priest could be so unkind in his remarks? That's what I'm waiting to hear, not the acid remarks made.

I didn't bother to even read that degrading first comment; it's shocking to me how inhumane people calling themselves Christians can be yet how superior they make themselves sound to others, using membership in Orthodoxy as their vehicle to assure them of being in the Elite Club so that they can speak rudely or cruelly as they feel like. That's NOT how religion is supposed to be deployed. 
It's like the ancient Hebrews. Haven't we gone beyond this chosen people thing with everybody else as trash?!

Why not do some real SELF-examination instead of lashing out at an enemy that can't even refute your charges against them because they aren't on here?
It's the easy road to heap shame on others. But tell me why there are so many alcoholics among Russian clergy and parishioners both?? Something's wrong in the Orthodox world and needs examining.
Should people not be figuring out a way to help their own people to address whatever is really bothering them? It's childish to gang up on a foreign and little understood people and religion, especially when there aren't that many living models among the Orthodox population that we feel like emulating? Something is rotten in Denmark, as was said in Hamlet...so don't attack ME, but figure out how to use constructive criticism to benefit. Why not start a relief effort right now for all suffering True Orthodox?
It's too easy to sit around complaining about somebody else's belief system - which everyone here is likely to agree with and slap you on the back for.

Why not be original, think for yourself but more than anything, use your HEART instead, feel the pain of others in your own group- and then organize to do something to alleviate that!!!

mmcxristidis » Fri 2 October 2009
You sound like a true humanitarian along the lines of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
Hope you had a happy Ramadan and may your god Allah bless your sweet heart

Pravoslavnik » Sat 3 October 2009

It is not for me to judge any person. Who am I to judge another man's servant? 

St. Paul wrote in one of his epistles that God will judge people based partly on what has been revealed to them-- "Those who have the Law (Torah) will be judged by the Law," etc. Yet, we must surely trust in the teachings of the Church and the holy saints of God in matters of theology, the "fabric woven on high." Can we truly have a favorable opinion of any "theology" which denies the Unity and Divinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit? 

Hence, I would not judge an individual Moslem--who may be righteous in the sight of God-- but I would judge the tenants of his religion based upon the teachings of the Church and the discernment of our saints.

P.S. In Constantinople, at Hagia Sophia, the Turks covered the mosaic icons of Christ, the Theotokos, and the saints with plaster. I have seen entire mosques that were built from the stones of demolished Orthodox churches. One example is the demolished Basilica of St. John outside of Ephesus, built (like Hagia Sophia) by the Emperor Justinian in the fifth century. The Turks also demolished the great Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople, which contained the relics of many Apostles. Can this be a good thing?



Pravoslavnik » 10 June 2010 ROCOR- A
This coming Sunday is the third Sunday after Pentecost, dedicated by the Church to the New Martyrs of the Turkish Yoke. It is a day for glorification of the many known and unknown Orthodox Christian martyrs who were killed by the Godless Moslems of the Ottoman Empire since the fall of the Holy City, Constantinople, to the Godless Hagarenes. There is an excellent hagiographical text entitled New Martyrs of the Turkish Yoke which was published by the St. Nektarios`Press in Seattle (1985.) It should be studied by any who doubt the obviously Satanic origin and legacy of the Godless Moslem religion.

Holy Martyrs of the Turkish yoke, pray to God for us sinners!

obvious censoring has been done here

mmcxristidis » 13 June 2010 
Holy Martyrs of the Turkish yoke, pray to God for us sinners!

With all due respect to Fr. Anastasios and the moderators of this forum you are making all Orthodox believers scandalized and confused and letting this person (Catherine5) make you look foolish by permitting her to remain a poster on this list.

Pravoslavnik » 13 June 2010 ROCOR- A
The Godless Moslems have always said, "There is one God and Mohammed is His prophet."

In truth, there is one Satan, and Mohammed was his servant.

The Koran was dictated to Mohammed by demons, and the entire bloodthirsty Moslem religion was created by Satan chiefly to destroy the Orthodox Church.

Islam was Satan's greatest creation. Bolshevism was his second.

These two demonic plagues-- Islam and Bolshevism-- destroyed the two great Orthodox Christian empires in world history; Byzantium and Holy Russia.

And both forms of contagion are still destroying the Church-- Islam (external) and Bolshevism/ the Moscow Patriarchate (internal.)

GOCPriestMark » 14 June 2010  GOC-Metropolitan Kirykos
Sorry to be contentious, but I am thinking that neither Islam nor Bolshevism have the power to destroy the Church, neither does the "gates of Hell". The evil one has no power over Christians, except the power that we give him and that only allowed by God. If the two great empires disappeared, it is from them no longer doing the work of God. It is because more souls would be saved if they fell than if they continued.
Are we to blame the demons for our sins, our 'fall', or ourselves?

Catherine5 » 14 June 2010
You are brilliant, Fr. Mark! I am praying for every blessing for you because you are unafraid to state the obvious truth, and in a very succinct way which strikes right to the heart of the matter. Yet you also expressed humbly. I know you would not support my ideas, but I appreciate reading a refreshing comment.

I fear that demons obscure the ability of many Orthodox and many Americans to think and speak clearly. I was hoping the True Orthodox on this site would have much more spiritual clarity than those in other venues.

Clearly this warped Mr Cristidis seems demonized.

Fine if nobody at all agrees with my ideas, and I apologize for making Fr Anastasios and anyone else upset. That was not my intention at all.

But take a little closer look: perhaps it's the devil's agenda working through unnamed parties to silence me here. WHO on earth would keep chasing me like this, twisting my words, deliberately overlooking my long long posts here promoting TOC unity, which i have done for years - way before finding this forum. [He also skips over my NFTU post suggesting a commission of experts from various jurisdictions be set up to study obstacles to a better coordination. This was shot down by the editor there in a classic example of the "NYET mentality" widespread under Soviet Communism. This means people leap assert their authority to block a new suggestion, closing the case with: "It can't be done! Impossible!" 
Instead of an open minded reasonable "Hmn, why not think about the idea and transform it into a plan which CAN work? Or at least TRY? What does anyone have to lose by batting around ideas?" ]

The devil does not want TOC cooperation in any form; the devil devides [mispelled deliberately] - truly this is a classic tactic, used constantly by the KGB since Cheka times to isolate people who seem to pose a threat in some form to its goals. The devil chases them into a corner, pelts them with stones, and tries to get the rest of the susceptible crowd to join in. 
Weak souls succumb. Strong ones see clearly the trap and refuse.

Take a look at Mr Cristidis' posts. As I recall, they contain no spiritual content: nothing edifying about God or His Saints. 
Instead, they tend toward the mundane, inane or else mockery. 

Why does he want me off of the -- to-me -- prestigious Euphrosynos Cafe so much that he tries very hard to embarrass me before everyone. Let God be my judge, not this person who sounds like a psycho to me personally! If you all like him and are up in arms against me, I am happy to leave here.

But not without pointing out that I've seen it before that this type can focus all attention on somebody else's supposed errors to force them onto the defensive.
But in reality, maybe we should see what would turn up from an inquest into the record of this Grand Inquisitor's understudy. He sounds like a mixed up teenager who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks and is trying to make up for his low self esteem and inadequacies up by attacking a victim.

I finally tracked down some of my articles from The Christian Science Monitor's archive. However, the system for online archives seems not well set up to locate all - for the CSM and other daily newspapers I checked. 

At this point though, I would prefer not to have my full last name known to Mr Cristidis and his crew. 
I'm glad I don't live anywhere near Florida, or he would undoubtedly be harassing me in person!

When I lived near a parish, almost every day, I attended either the morning Liturgy or the Vigil - sometimes for my favorite Saint's days, both - in addition to Saturdays and Sundays.
Does this man who seems more like a pesty kid even attend a church? That explanation sounded thin. Is it time to turn the tables back on him - especially since he is vengeful - let's see what HIS accomplishments are in life.

Because this FAQ from the Monitor contains interesting insights into the US press even a CENTURY AGO! - so what is it like by now?! -
I am posting it for insight into the media:

Is the Monitor a religious publication? 

No, it’s a real news organization owned by a church – The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Mass., USA. Everything in the Monitor is international and US news and features... In an age of corporate conglomerates dominating the news media, the Monitor’s combination of church ownership, public-service mission, and commitment to covering the world (not to mention the fact that it was founded by a woman shortly after the turn of the 20th century, when US women didn’t yet have the vote!) gives the Monitor a uniquely independent voice in journalism.

How does the Monitor compare to other media outlets covering international news?

Unlike most US news organizations, the Monitor does not rely primarily on wire services, like AP and Reuters, for its international coverage. We have writers based in 11 countries, including Russia, China, France, the UK, South Africa, Mexico, and India, as well as throughout the US. 

Why does the Christian Science church own a news organization?

One answer might be...: 

"Consider this case. It is 1907. An elderly New England woman finds herself being targeted by Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World. She is 86 years old and holds some unconventional religious beliefs that she expounds in a book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. The book becomes a bestseller, making her wealthy and a well-known public figure.

The New York World decides she is incapable of managing her own affairs and persuades some of her friends and her two sons to sue for control of her estate. Although Boston and New Hampshire newspapers and major wire services interview this woman and find her competent, the New York World is unrelenting. The lady in question finally is taken to court where the case against her is dropped.

And the next year this woman, Mary Baker Eddy, founds The Christian Science Monitor.

Given her experience with the press, it is not all that surprising that she sets as the Monitor’s goal 'to injure no man, but to bless all mankind.' In one of life’s little ironies, Joseph Pulitzer went on to endow the Pulitzer prizes for journalistic excellence.

Mrs. Eddy had been thinking about a newspaper for a long time before 1907. Way back in 1883 she wrote: 

>>>>'"Looking over the newspapers of the day, one naturally reflects that it is dangerous to live, so loaded with disease seems the very air. These descriptions carry fears to many minds, to be depicted in some future time upon the body. A periodical of our own will counteract to some extent this public nuisance; for through our paper we shall be able to reach many homes with healing, purifying thought.'"

... in March 1908, eight months before the paper’s launch: Mrs. Eddy received a long letter from a local journalist and Christian Scientist, John L. Wright. In it, he told her he felt there was a growing need for a daily newspaper that 'will place principle before dividends, and that will be fair, frank and honest with the people on all subjects and under whatever pressure' - a truly independent voice not controlled by 'commercial and political monopolists." End of FAQ material.

You see? Sharp Americans were aware of the stranglehold ALREADY THEN exerted on the press by the forebears of the Trilateralists, etc.

The Monitor's motto was spiritual-based - which Mr Cristidis could do well to employ in his own words- 


NFTU has the opposite of this spirit. If I have criticized them it is not meant to reflect negatively on the editorial board of this site; it's clearly my own view.
If Mr Cristidis, their primary spokesman, can come here and discredit me, then I should ALSO have freedom of speech to point out that their mode is not fitting to such a concept, which should be absolutely elementary for Orthodox as it's a truly Christian sentiment.

Thinking this through, I say that I would endorse Joanna Higginbotham's Remnant Rocor blogspot way before NFTU, because she presents serious articles which give us material of value. I have stated over and over that i don't like Cyprianism but aside from those parts, she makes a very conscientious effort to dredge up more scholarly finds for example about the MP and the KGB. 

Not only am i not bothered by the exclusion from NFTU posts; I stated long ago that I won't even look at the place any longer as it breathes a very poisonous atmosphere. Anybody else is free to do whatever they want. I'm speaking for myself, no one else.

Finally: I sent one of my online Monitor articles to Konstantin P., the remarkable expert on the Soviet era, author of the anti-union book so praised by Prav. He wrote me back just now that I had analyzed the Red Army and Soviet tactics very accurately. That indeed is a huge compliment to me. That was only one article, too; I have lots more on such serious topics. 

Others may be attuned with the rants of Mr Cristidis which bless NO ONE and seek to injure with invisible arrows. That is why I would never look at his site or any of the remarks against me of his supervisor. They sound like they could be brother and sister, they speak the same way.

Pravoslavnik » Mon 14 June 2010 
Father Mark,

I beg to differ with part of your argument here. Satan is the Prince of this World, and the Lord has permitted Satanic tares to be sown amongst His good wheat. How can these Satanic tares not be destructive to the "generation" of the Church? I have personally seen once great Orthodox Churches (e.g., St. John's Basilica in Ephesus, or Hagia Sophia) that were reduced to rubble, or turned into mosques and museums, by the Moslems. I have also seen photos of once great Orthodox Churches of Holy Russia that were demolished or turned into skating rinks and gymnasiums by the Bolsheviks. Not that these buildings are the sole "temples" of the Church, but, surely, they are important in sustaining the faith.

The attenuation of the Church-- as foretold by the prophets and the saints-- is not solely the result of our own sins, is it? Is it not also a result of the malice and enmity of the Enemy of our race, and those who have served him so well, such as the Moslems and Bolsheviks?

GOCPriestMark » Tue 15 June 2010 
Tares are people, they are only destructive to themselves. Who is forced to become a tare? Certainly no demon can force a Christian to become a tare.
St. John of Damascus, (amongst others), teaches: "Hence they have no power or strength against any one except what God in His dispensation hath conceded to them, as for instance, against Job and those swine that are mentioned in the Gospels. But when God has made the concession they do prevail, and are changed and transformed into any form whatever in which they wish to appear." . . . . "All wickedness, then, and all impure passions are the work of their mind. But while the liberty to attack man has been granted to them, they have not the strength to over-master any one: for we have it in our power to receive or not to receive the attack. Wherefore there has been prepared for the devil and his demons, and those who follow him, fire unquenchable and everlasting punishment." From this and other writings, I understand that the evil one has no power to do anything to a person, unless that person gives it to him.

About victories over empires I have to ask the question; Does God abandon people or do people abandon God? Why would God not want a God centered country run by pious rules and populated by faithful Christians? How better to save more souls and be a light to the world. But, if that people stopped serving God and began to stray off the narrow path, if fewer people were being saved, and God foresaw that more would be saved if the empire were allowed to fall, then he would find a "servant" to bring it down, (you are familiar with the words "Nebuchadnezzar my servant"?). I am also fairly sure you are familiar with the prophecies of the gentiles replacing the Jews as the People of God, the fig tree which withers and bares fruit no more, olive branch which is cut off and the wild branch being grafted in. Again, this shows that a people can fall away, but it is not by God's design, neither can it be blamed on the demons. In their case it was specifically not recognizing the Messiah Who had been prophesied.

The witness of the 42 Holy Martyred Generals of Ammoria, captured by Muslims was this; "The Saracens were ashamed and again they tried to defend their faith in this manner: "Our faith is better than the Christian Faith as proved by this: God gave us the victory over you and gave us the best land in the world and a kingdom much greater than Christianity." To that the commanders replied, "If it were so, then the idolatry of the Egyptians, Babylonians, Hellenes, Romans, and the fire-worship of the Persians would be the true faith for, at one time, all of these people conquered the others and ruled over them. It is evident that your victory, power and wealth do not prove the truth of your faith. We know that God, at times, gives victory to Christians and, at other times, allows torture and suffering so as to correct them and to bring them to repentance and purification of their sins."" (The Prologue from Ochrid - March 6th)

"The attenuation of the Church" is something I have never heard of. Perhaps the "prophets and saints" were talking about members of the Church still in the flesh and on earth falling away, thus making the visible Church smaller. The Church is eternal, the number of those being added to it is growing and will continue to grow until there are no more to be saved. I find such words as attenuation or destruction or division to be quite impossible to apply to the Church. Yes, the evil one and his minions are the enemies of the human race, perhaps largely due to jealousy, and yes they do all they are allowed against people, but they have no real power, they have been bound and a young child with faith and the sign of the Precious Cross can put them to flight. They are in fact tools, allowed to bother us for the sake of our salvation. If they attack and we flee to Christ in prayer, then that is a good thing - therefore they are unwilling tools towards our salvation.

I do not know what you meant by mentioning various temples, buildings come and go; it is Christians who are temples of the Holy Spirit, the dwelling place of the Living God, which are part of the Church, as long as they keep the true faith.

mmcxristidis » Tue 15 June 2010
This will be my last posting on this forum, I have too many good things happening right now to waste anymore time and effort here while this Hagarene is permitted to post her anti-Christ trash. I wish you all well, even you Bess. (Catherine5 uses the name Bess on NFTU forums.)
Moderators, please delete my membership on this forum

jgress » Tue 15 June 2010
Yes I second what Fr Mark said. Certainly, we must lament the external destruction visited on Christian society by various enemies of the faith, but we should not confuse that with the INTERNAL strength of the Church, which our Lord PROMISED would never fall to the devil. No matter what physical tortures may be visited upon us, ultimately we are responsible for the preservation of the faith.

For instance, when revolutionary ideas began to circulate among Greek patriots in the decades leading up to the revolt against the Turks, the Ecumenical Patriarch published an encyclical condemning these activities. Did he mean that Moslem rule was a good thing? Not in the sense that it is good for the state to be ruled by enemies of Christ, or that Turkish oppression of Christians did not result in many lamentable apostasies. But the Patriarch recognized that the revolutionaries were not motivated by love of Orthodoxy and Romanity, but by heretical, Western ideas of ethnic pride and independence. And he was right, since the newly independent Greek kingdom was founded by Masons, and it was through the new State Church of Greece (which uncanonically declared its own autonomy from Constantinople) that Masonry infiltrated the hierarchy, resulting in the disastrous schism of 1924.

What do we learn from the New Martyrs of the Turkish yoke? Not that we should be ashamed of how many Christians were killed for Christ, but that we should GLORY in them. If we should be ashamed, then let us be ashamed for those Christians who abandoned the Church and never repented. But those who persevered to death are our heroes whom we should strive to imitate, should new persecutions come upon us.

Pravoslavnik » Tue 15 June 2010
Father Mark,

There are many scriptural and Patristic references to a general attenuation of the true faith over time, at least demographically. As the Apostle to the Gentiles, himself, wrote in his epistle; "When the Lord returns, will he find true faith upon the earth?" 

Many saints, even the Desert Fathers of the 4th century described a time in the future when there would be very little left of true faith and the ascetic praxis of their own day. (And, as Catherine may not know, many of the great 4th century Orthodox monasteries of Egypt, Palestine, and Syria were eventually attacked and destroyed by Catherine's beloved Moslems.)

However, your point about the withering of the fig tree is well taken. It is a hard saying, in the grand, historical sense, is it not? It is, indeed, difficult to imagine that the Lord approved of the desecration of His holy monasteries and temples in Byzantium and Holy Russia at the hands of the Mohammedans and Bolsheviks. (Just as He gave Satan permission to persecute His servant, Job.) One shudders to read the accounts of Bolsheviks urinating on the altars of Russian churches, or turning Solovki into a concentration camp for Orthodox priests-- just as one cringes to see the icons of the Lord and His most Holy Mother plastered over at Hagia Sophia, and the altar moved by the Turks to face Mecca.

The Lord, indeed, said that the gates of Hell would not prevail against the Church, but He never said that the gates of Hell would not prevail against Christendom. Unfortunately, some would misinterpret His teaching on this matter to infer that the Moslems and Bolsheviks who destroyed Orthodox Christendom were not the servants of Hell, eh?

Catherine5 » Wed 16 June 2010
Prav, are you ready, then, to take off on a mission like the one below? 
It's a hint that some of these "Christians" who are so prejudiced against Muslims can be loony. We don't want to see you in the news next!

Why the story amused me is that the place where this strange character was found is one of the Valleys of the Kalash, the tribes I recklessly threw in mention of for fun in a recent discussion on an earlier thread. Then today this news was splashed all over the headlines and among the most read.

Note how the Pakistani police are good-humored. They are very kind to foreigners especially. 
So let's see: are they persecuting a Christian visitor? Did they lunge at him threateningly as you depict in all your posts? 

No, the officers give him all the benefit of the doubt and only take him into custody when it's clear he is bizarre and needs to be saved from --- himself.

By the way, due to the characteristic dress and language of the local Kalash tribes, the claim that Osama was or is there has always been preposterous, downright laughable. 
As usual, American "experts" will put forward any lame idea to re-gain momentum for the stumbling war on terror. 

Unfortunately, those who already believe the worst against Muslims will swallow any old thing the media puts out. This is why I caution against believing the party line that is pushed on a gullible public. 
Notice that the Coloradan does not question that Osama was responsible for 911 as he has been programmed to accept without further probe. Roll those together with the pro-Jewish, hence anti-Muslim attitudes inculcated in America today, and you get this escapade:

DENVER – An American man has been detained in the mountains of Pakistan after local authorities found him carrying a SWORD [I think one account said it was a really long saber!], pistol and night-vision goggles on a Rambo-style solo mission to hunt down and kill Osama bin Laden.

Friends and family say construction worker Gary Brooks Faulkner is a devout, good-humored Christian who often talked about building a porch or framing a house — not taking down the world's most-wanted terrorist. They had few clues to explain his 7,300-mile journey.

The 51-year-old Faulkner, who has a lengthy arrest record and served time in a Colorado prison, arrived in the town of Bumburate [Bumburet, it's really the whole valley unless the tiny village has grown since I was there] on June 3 and stayed in a hotel there... When he checked out without informing police, officers began looking for him.

[Police chief Khan] said Faulkner was found late Sunday in a forest.

"We initially laughed when he told us that he wanted to kill Osama bin Laden," Khan said. But when officers seized the weapons and night-vision equipment, "our suspicion grew." He said the American was trying to cross into the nearby Afghan region of Nuristan.

Chitral and Nuristan are among several rumored hiding places for bin Laden along the mountainous border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Faulkner's sister, Deanna M. Faulkner of Grand Junction, Colo., said her brother's kidney disease has left him with only 9 percent kidney function. But she told The Associated Press that she did not think his illness was his motivation to go to Pakistan.

[The sister said] that her brother was "very religious" without elaborating.

...Faulkner served seven years in prison in the 1980s for burglary and theft. Since 1981, he has been arrested at least 10 times on charges ranging from traffic violations to felony larceny and domestic violence, according to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

The Laramer County sheriff released a mug shot from Faulkner's 2006 arrest on charges of failing to have car insurance. In the photo, he has shoulder-length gray hair parted in the middle with bangs that reach the sides of his wire-rim glasses.

He also has a shaggy, black beard with traces of gray hair in it, and he appears to be wearing a camouflage-patterned shirt. 

"I think Osama is responsible for bloodshed in the world, and I want to kill him," Khan quoted him as saying. 

When asked why he thought he had a chance of tracing bin Laden, Faulkner replied, "God is with me, and I am confident I will be successful in killing him," Khan said. 

He said police confiscated a small amount of hashish, enough for a single joint, from Faulkner. 

Faulkner allegedly told police...this was his third trip to Chitral, a mountainous region that attracts adventurous Western tourists and hikers."

jgress » Wed 16 June 2010
The Turks didn't just move the altar. Their worship has no use for an altar. They removed it entirely, and built a 'mihrab' in the alcove which, of course, is oriented towards Mecca, not due east, so that it is somewhat off-center. But they did certainly cover the icons and hung the plaques with Koranic quotations around the nave.

Regarding the attenuation of the faith, while Islam and Bolshevism certainly share a large part of the responsibility for that, it is a big mistake to think that St Paul's prophecy refers ONLY to these external assaults on Christendom. Surely they also refer to the weakening of faith that results from internal schisms and heresies, which seem to bear just as much, if not more responsibility for the weakening of the Church in the world. Think of it: the entire Western half of the Catholic Church was lost because of Papism, while earlier almost the entire Christian populations of Egypt, Syria and Armenia were lost to Monophysitism, and the Church of Mesopotamia and Persia to Nestorianism. Now ecumenism and sergianism have claimed almost all the remaining Eastern Orthodox. Of course, sergianism is a creature of Bolshevism, but not through external persecutions, but through internal betrayal.

GOCPriestMark » Wed 16 June 2010
If the destruction, demise, attenuation of the Church is the same as this loss of faith or faith being difficult to find in the end, then I have to ask again; How is this blamed on demons, muslims and bolsheviks? Did they steal it out of the heart of the faithful? Is not each person responsible for keeping the faith? If then they lose it, they have no one to blame but themselves. Neither demons or muslims or bolsheviks have the power to steal the faith from the heart of a person.

PS. "Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" is from our Lord in St. Lukes' Gospel 18:8

Pravoslavnik » Wed 16 June 2010
Father Mark,

If the church buildings and seminaries are destroyed, and the priests are murdered, who will carry on the true faith? Who will lead and educate subsequent generations of Orthodox Christians? Hence, the historic destruction of the Church by Moslems, Bolsheviks, and heretics does have a profound impact on the propagation of the true faith over time. 

Do you know that the Turkish Orthodox Christian seminary on the Princess Islands of the Sea of Maramara-- where the current Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew was educated in his youth-- has now been closed by the Turks? The Holy Trinity Cathedral in Galata-- one of the few extant Orthodox Churches in Turkey-- was virtually empty when I attended a Sunday liturgy there in the summer of 2000. The Phanar was fire-bombed by Moslems at least once during the past decade. In truth, Orthodox Christianity is virtually defunct in Constantinople and Anatolia today. The EP's 19th century proscription of the Orthodox Christian revolt against the Ottomans in the Balkans was an Islamic ruse-- somewhat analogous to the patriotic pronouncements of the Sergianist Church hierarchs who promoted Stalin's agendas in the Soviet Union. (Which is not to say, either, that the 19th century nationalistic rebels in the Balkans were devoid of heretical tendencies.)

Very few people in North America understand the true nature and history of Islam-- although some Western Europeans are beginning to understand, through direct experience. This nascent western Islamophobia is not entirely based on right wing militarism. As you may recall, I am one who never agreed with America's ill-fated, pre-emptive invasion of Iraq in 2003-- as part of Bush's putative war on "terror." However, it is also entirely naive to imagine that the goal and mandate of Islam is anything other than subjection of humanity to the will of Allah and the rule of Islamic shari'a.

I have a few references on this subject. One is Bat Ye'or's scholarly text, The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam (Farliegh Dickinson Press. 1996.) Less scholarly is Joel Richardson's text Antichrist; Islam's Awaited Messiah-- worth reading, if only for the review and analysis of the jihadist doctrines described in the Sunna.

Two websites which track and document the almost daily jihadist murders around the world are 1) thereligionofpeace.com and 2) jihadwatch.com.

GOCPriestMark » Wed 16 June 2010
It is almost as if we are talking about two different subjects.

Are you forgetting how many times in the history of the Church the merciful God protected his people from the fiercest onslaughts because they repented and begged His mercy with contrite hearts and fervant faith?
Repentance is not taught at seminaries.
Yea, and not Christians only, but even the immense city of Nineveh was spared through repentance.

Islam has no power or ability to take the faith from someone's heart. We have no one to blame but ourselves.

Very timely is the epistle reading for this Thursday from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans:
"Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again. For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree?"

jgress » Thu 17 June 2010
You are quite right, Fr Mark. Pravo is also right, but only in the sense that external attacks on Christianity are in many cases the cause of betrayal. However, they do not EXCUSE the betrayal; that remains the responsibility of the individual faithful. To lay ALL the blame for the decline in Orthodoxy on these external forces is to deny the free will of the Orthodox people to choose truth over falsehood.

Also, while the closure of the seminary on Halki and other punitive measures of the Turks against the EP certainly prove that the modern Turkish 'secular' government has continued to harbor severe animosity towards Christians, it is worth bearing in mind that the EP ALREADY had fallen away from the Church in 1924 when they defied the anathema of the Church against the Papal calendar. In other words, the Turks closed a heretical seminary, not an Orthodox one. Indeed, don't you think the oppression of the EP by the Turkish republic is a sign of God's anger against the EP's betrayal of Orthodoxy?

Catherine5 » Thu 17 June 2010
I think the discussion is a very interesting one - at least the sensible contributions of Fr Mark and Jonathan.

Whereas Prav gets on his propaganda bandwagon, reiterating immovable but skewed point of view.

First of all, it's Princes Islands - I've been there. They are a vacation place for wealthy citizens. 
Second, did the Documentary check with the Turkish govt to find out THEIR side of the story as to why they closed the seminary. NO! 

Perhaps there were next to no students left. Perhaps the EP didn't pay its taxes, perhaps...Jonathan's right, it was a heavenly hint that the EP is not on the right track.

Aside from the age-old prohibition on the ringing of Church bells, there are actually very few restrictions on Orthodox or Catholics in Istanbul. That's what a Christian merchant friend in the Grand Bazaar told me. 
About a firebombing, I would have to research that. Things happen EVERYwhere, though. What about all the crimes in this country?

However, the secular system of government started by the suspicious Ataturk who was ANTI-ISLAMIC as well as ANTI-RELIGION in general, may have a role.
Were there a more Islamic govt, for sure there would also be more kind official attitudes toward the Orthodox.

For specific evidence, not vague generalities, look at the famous model of religious toleration promulgated by Istanbul's conqueror way back in :
1463 !!!!
It is with regard to a Catholic monastery in the Balkans. But how many OTHER Imperial Firmans were issued to protect ORTHODOX properties? I believe there is one known for Mt Athos.
However, many may have been lost -- OR suppressed by Greek leaders to rally those - as Jonathan said rightly - European enlightenment values of nationalism in incite Greek subjects to rebel against their overlords.

A fair and balanced viewpoint has almost never been disseminated about Ottoman overall fairness. The Turkish Republic is something else. Islam was squashed too, so no religions were helped by the State. I would be so happy to see the end of that system.

Here is the firman, like a ukaz or order:

“I, the Sultan Khan the Conqueror,

hereby declare to the whole world that,

The Bosnian Franciscans granted with this sultanate firman are under my protection. And I command that:

No one shall disturb or give harm to these people and their churches! They shall live in peace in my state. These people who have become emigrants, shall have security and liberty. They may return to their monasteries which are located in the borders of my state.

No one from my empire notable, viziers, clerks or my maids will break their honour or give any harm to them!

No one shall insult, put in danger or attack these lives, properties, and churches of these people!

Also, what and those these people have brought from their own countries have the same rights…

By declaring this firman, I swear on my sword by the holy name of Allah who has created the ground and sky, Allah’s prophet Mohammed, and 124.000 former prophets that; no one from my citizens will react or behave the opposite of this firman!”

The original edict is still kept in the Franciscan Catholic Monastery in Fojnica.
It is one of the oldest documents on religious freedoms. 
Mehmed II’s oath was entered into force in the Ottoman Empire on May 28, 1463. 
In 1971, the United Nations published a translation of the document in all the official U.N. languages - from Wikipedia

Furthermore, Prav, it's the opposite. In most of these countries with mixed Catholic, Orthodox, Muslim populations, the actual PEOPLE got along very well.
It's in the WEST where all the prejudices and misconceptions get whipped up into what translates as hatred for Muslims.
Why not - again - travel there, interview many people and seek to discover the true realities of intercommunal relations? 
What often happens is that some external event, who knows from where, but certainly from the devil, stirs up animosities and terrible events occur.
But prior to those, and even afterward, the different communities get along well.

In the US, it's due to the abysmal ignorance and one-sided approach, such as were displayed in the Documentary clip on the EP - [did they interview Muslim leaders to find out THEIR attitudes toward Greek Orthodox citizens? Not a word! Only one person filled the frame: the sour Bartholemew. I wondered if he had phoned them and asked them to come over! I doubt the producers initiated the idea on their own!] - that all sorts of wrong assumptions based on drummed-up hate and age-old attitudes left over from the Crusades and before are inculcated subtly everywhere.

Europeans are more cosmopolitan overall and understand the history of some of the Islamic countries, where Americans are famously ignorant, dwelling in their own dream world where the whole planet revolves around them.

Hence such distortions get propagated easily here and gather steam.
It's better to have a fair perspective than to buy into all that hate-stirring up propaganda easily available everywhere today. Why wasn't it around 20 or 30 years ago, by the way? Could there be a very conscious campaign to get Americans hating all Muslim countries so they will endorse every evil deed perpetrated either by or on behalf of Israel? 
There is a good 17 or so part series on youtube about this topic. I haven't watched the end of it, but I plan to. It concerns how American governments always need to have a scary specter pounded in to cow the people into abdicating their reason and handing over a blank check to oppress anybody which fits the scheme at the moment.
Prav you are too smart to fall for this stuff!
Myself, I prefer to live back in the time of Sultan Mehmet II, with THAT enlightened attitude. Not the ones of inter-religious hatred permeating this woefully under-educated country in this prejudiced era.

Pravoslavnik » Thu 17 June 2010

Before posting further comments disagreeing with the facts I have posted on this thread, please go to the following website and study the clearly documented statistics and descriptions of the almost daily worldwide Islamic jihadist acts during the past decade. It will take hours to read the entire lengthy list:


As for the Phanar-- it was firebombed in 1999. I know, because I met Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew there in June of 2000, and also spoke at some length with the EP's Archdeacon Tarasios. There have been numerous terrorist acts directed against Orthodox Christians in Turkey in modern times-- including the desecration of Orthodox cemeteries. Also, the Neva Shalom Synagogue was bombed by Turkish Moslems in 2004-- with many casualties.

Catherine5 » Fri 18 June 2010
Prav, I was going to ask what you thought of Bartholemew when you first mentioned a meeting with him.
How much time did you spend with him?
In reality, though, I would want to meet a Mason, as he is considered to be.
Besides, or maybe because of that, he looks difficult and off-putting in that 60 Minutes program. 
Notice too that Turkish authorities rush in to sound an alarm for a potential attack at the Phanar. 
Obviously the Turkish government takes their protective role very seriously.

There are crazy people in every country and religion.
Even the American Christian Faulkner with the forty-inch sword found foraging in Chitral [how's that for alliteration?] is quoted as saying he had a dream where God appeared to him [God appeared? How?? -Did he see an Icon of the Holy Trinity ? Since presumably a Protestant, did a Bible appear and speak to the guy ->! ] and told him to attack Bin Laden with a saber? George Bush claimed God came to him and told him to invade Iraq.

Prav, it's evident you are trying to scrape for details of terrorism against non-Muslims in Turkey. Why not look elsewhere in the world to make a fair assessment, instead?

Look at street crime. Even in a huge metropolis like Cairo, most Western visitors concur that they feel safer on the streets at night - and in the daytime too - than in any major European or American city. It's true! Middle Eastern people are much better brought up and hence do not do all these horrific crimes that Westerners read about every day in their news. Too much to even mention.

What I'm saying is, due to their cultural background and belief in religion, many Muslims of the Middle East are much better behaved than Americans.

One reason is that Americans are chronically attention-deprived. There is absolute craving for attention in our society here; negative attention is not considered bad, but often applauded instead of punished harshly, whether by parents or teachers, or society. 

Whereas in Muslim society, it's a huge source of shame if a family member goes out and does some awful deed. 

Children are lovingly trained by their mothers - no child care or other substitutes need apply - to be considerate of each other and the family unit, as well as the honor of the family.
That last is considered one of the more important commodities in life to accrue: not money or flashy executive job as it is in the U.S.

In the West, the youth are barely brought up these days! At least, not by watchful parents. Usually a single mother, according that article referenced by Ian.
Except by the appallingly violent films they are encouraged to watch by advertising, peer pressure, and of course because there is no one to teach about religion and the consequences of one's deeds for eternity. Muslim mothers STRESS the moral formation.

Most mothers are proud to have the occupation of launching their children into a decent, God-abiding life. They consider going out of the house to get a job as a distraction from this more important task.
The last thing they want is to be "liberated" by American feminists who go over to Iraq, etc. trying to tell them how to live their lives!
Of course there are always those children who go astray - everywhere, I repeat!

Pravoslavnik » Sat 19 June 2010

I can tell by reading your most recent comments that you have still not studied any of my references about current and recent Islamic jihadist attacks on non-Muslims in Turkey and throughout the world. It is a very, very long, detailed list-- including many references to religious violence in Turkey. Take a look, since you appear to have strong opinions about this subject, without, apparently, having much accurate data. Incidentally, do you know much about the history of Serbia and the Ottomans? My own family is from the Balkans, so one might say that I have had a longstanding interest in the subject.

It is one thing for a mentally ill American to travel to Pakistan in search of Osama Bin Laden. It is another matter for sane, devout Moslems throughout the world to plot and kill non-Muslims on a daily basis in the belief that they will gain paradise through jihad.

I received the blessing of Patriarch Bartholomew at the Phanar, but did not speak to him at length, beyond a greeting and a few polite words. There were a number of people waiting to meet with him, including a relatively young bishop or priest from Estonia, as I recall. I did speak to his Archdeacon Tarasios for about half an hour. (BTW, I am from the old ROCOR, and have not shared many of the modern ideas and practices of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.)

Catherine5 » Sun 20 June 2010
Prav, that very same afternoon, by chance, without seeing your post, in fact I went to a library to take a look, as I didn't want my computer to be polluted by this gross stuff collected by what must be fanatics - themselves. I gamely looked at one story but couldn't stand to look any more. 
The mentality of those who "track" this type of thing and sensationalize it is so repellent. Most looked invented. I did not see actual citings of news agencies, though I may have missed those.

As if stepping in to get me out of there, the computer shut down by itself before I could investigate further!
Even so, I was glad I had waited and even braved a Saturday afternoon at a noisy library rather than view this type of propaganda on my screen. This shows you that I did take your mentions seriously. I only looked at the latest link. 

By the way, Muslims don't have "ChristianWatch". They dignifiedly stick to real casualties caused by "Christian" nations - such as lost in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. at the hands of the U.S. and its [ostensible] allies.

Going back to that earlier discussion about WWII and the performance of Americans, I want to give two different aspects.
This below is the negative side that came out over the weekend. Here is a big goof-up which I maintain was caused by the fact that America has no "religion" in any public place. [Unlike many parts of the Muslim world - and other religions too - such as the Tibetans before they were stamped out by these same unfortunately alert Chinese Communists].

This was back in the 50s, though. What about today, when the CIA has been heavily pressed into service to kill opponents of the American disastrous invasion of Afghanistan, through drones and other means?

This is shocking to me that though the objective was a good one, a certain hubris dictated how such an operation was conceived and conducted. 
NEVER did anyone apparently PRAY and ask : "What is the Will of God here? Is this the right way? Should these kids be sent out or should their risky mission be scrapped due to the uncertainties?".

American officialdom there and everywhere relied on HUMAN reasoning, NEVER ASKING GOD or His Angels for ASSISTANCE in getting out of a bad flop.
No, everything they did was perfect - which is how a Narcissist is, by the way. It's NOT good that our country has become so self-centred, and irresponsible.

That was THEN, the early 50s. 

What about today?? How many more horrible blunders take place regularly>and are even more glibly lied about -- as the American govt. did back then ? How much are we all being deceived ?! [These jihadwatch sites aide and abet the govt streamlined package: Muslims are your enemies. Look what they do.]

How can we then trust Obama or Bush to dictate to us, the American people, who is the 'foe du jour' ? For starters. Then why should they define for us what are the country's priorities: fighting "terrorists"? Or cleaning up our own back yard and tackling the walloping national debt?

Did anyone - or LOTS of people - beseech God to obtain HIS opinion about this or any other important topic ? Of course not.
These govt officials believe they are omnipotent gods - especially clearly seen in the neo-cons. But the Obama team is probably a hair WORSE!
You should hear how bitterly Pakistanis complained about Hillary Clinton's lecturing them as though she were their dictator and they her bad children. Of course you will NEVER hear it unless you read their local media like I do. Such hostile reactions on the part of foreign countries to US policies are conveniently sanitized out of American news.
In fact what really is happening is that the U.S., lacking a mature and/or spiritual outlook, immediately blames any old scapegoat for its own failures. Like a teenager who hasn't grown up!

Eric Margolis, the sharp conservative Canadian columnist, wrote about this in a great article back in 2008, when this knee-jerk reaction was not near as apparent: "Can't Win in Afghanistan? Blame Pakistan!" Of course, his incredibly insightful column was published nowhere in the mainstream US media; only on a few blogs but barely that. People here don't want the Truth. If you do, here is the article:

In my opinion, God may let disasters like The Manchurian Episode below occur so that Americans will wake up and ask for HIS direction and intercession. But so far Americans fail to get the point. This egomania of telling the rest of the world = ESPECIALLY Muslim nations - what to do has spiraled downwards into the current messes, needlessly costing so many lives! FOR NO GAIN and MUCH loss!

Prav you may be interested where the guy went after his release...

What can we do to help this situation? Not swallow the Bush-Obama bait and get more angry than ever at Muslims.
But: PRAY that God will direct completely this country and the entire world, and take control out of the hands of the devils and their agents: Bilderbergers, Zionist lobbies, etc. Probably your sites are all funded by either the latter OR both those! So much for objectivity.

"By ROBERT BURNS, AP National Security Writer 
Sun Jun 20

WASHINGTON – Detail by painful detail, the CIA is coming to grips with one of the most devastating episodes in its history, a botched cloak-and-dagger flight into China that stole two decades of freedom from a pair of fresh-faced American operatives and cost the lives of their two pilots.

>>>In opening up about the 1952 debacle, the CIA is finding ways to use it as a teaching tool. Mistakes of the past can serve as cautionary tales for today's spies and paramilitary officers taking on al-Qaida and other terrorist targets.<<<

At the center of the story are two eager CIA paramilitary officers on their first overseas assignment, John T. Downey of New Britain, Conn., and Richard G. Fecteau, of Lynn, Mass., whose plane was shot from the night sky in a Chinese ambush.
The mission was quickly smothered in U.S. government denials, sealed in official secrecy and consigned to the darkest corner of the spy agency's vault of unpleasant affairs.

Downey was the youngest of the four. At 22, with one year of CIA service, he was destined to spend the next 20 years, three months and 14 days in Chinese prisons. His CIA partner, Fecteau, was 25. He was behind bars for 19 years and 14 days.
Both survived. Their pilots, Robert C. Snoddy, 31, a native of Roseburg, Ore., and 29-year-old Norman A. Schwartz of Louisville, Ky., did not.

Bits and pieces of the story surfaced over the years. But the lid was largely intact until a series of disclosures — some required of the CIA, some not — revealed a tale of tragedy, miscalculation, misery and personal triumph, as well as the agency's misplaced confidence it could manipulate events in China.
Three years ago, the CIA declassified an internal history of the affair. Now it's hired a filmmaker to produce an hourlong documentary. The CIA does not plan to release the film publicly. But the agency premiered it for employees on Tuesday at its Langley, Va., headquarters, and an AP reporter attended.

Downey and Fecteau declined through CIA officials to be interviewed for this story.
Their tale forms part of the backdrop to today's uneasy U.S.-China relationship, especially Beijing's anger over American military support for China's anti-communist rivals on Taiwan.
In the early years of the Cold War, the CIA had a rudimentary paramilitary force — those with specialized skills to conduct high-risk, behind-the-lines operations.

Downey and Fecteau were assigned to a covert program called "Third Force," intended to create a resistance network. Small teams of noncommunist Chinese exiles were airdropped into the Manchuria area of China to link up with disaffected communist generals.
The goal was to destabilize Mao Zedong's new government and distract it from the Korean War, which Chinese forces had entered two years earlier.
The plan failed — badly.

"The CIA had been `had,'" the late James Lilley, who helped train agent teams for insertion into China, wrote in his 2004 memoir, "China Hands." There were no dissident communist Chinese generals to be found, and the Chinese on Taiwan and Hong Kong who sold the idea turned out to be swindlers, Lilley wrote.

"The whole program smacked of amateurism," CIA historian Nicholas Dujmovic says.

Donald Gregg, who came into the CIA with Downey in 1951 and had dinner with him the night before his ill-fated flight, faults those in the CIA who oversold the program.

"That was a wild and woolly, swashbuckling time in the agency's history," Gregg said in an interview. "There was pressure from presidents for regime change here and there, and it was a very damaging time."

On Nov. 29, 1952, above the foothills of the Changbai mountains, Downey and Fecteau flew into Chinese air space in an unarmed C-47 Skytrain. They planned to swoop low over a rendezvous point marked with three small bonfires and use a tail hook to pick up a Chinese agent off the ground without landing. Downey was to reel in the agent with a winch aboard the plane.

As they descended, the sky suddenly exploded in bursts of gunfire. It was a Chinese ambush. The agent had betrayed the Americans, luring them by promising to provide important documents from a dissident leader.
After the C-47 slammed through a grove of trees, the cockpit burst into flames and skidded to a halt near the village of Sandao.

Downey and Fecteau, stunned and bruised but alive, were captured on the spot. They were hauled off to prison — first in the city of Mukden, then in Beijing — interrogated and isolated in separate cells. Each spent long stretches in solitary confinement, alone with their fears.

It was an intelligence bonanza for the Chinese. Both Americans, after a psychological battering, spilled the beans, to varying degrees.

Here lay one of the lessons: Agency officers with close links to a covert action program should not fly on such missions.
Another blunder: At a CIA base on the Pacific island of Saipan, the Chinese agent teams lived and trained together, inevitably learning of each other's missions. So the capture of one team risked compromising the rest.
Also, Downey was well known to the Chinese operatives because he trained them. When Downey was captured, a Chinese security officer pointed at him and said in English, "You are Jack. Your future is very dark." [C5: Imagine how your heart would sink if you were he and heard that statement.]

For two years, until China announced that Downey and Fecteau had been convicted of espionage and sentenced — Fecteau for 20 years, Downey for life — neither the CIA nor the men's families knew their fate. The families received letters in December 1953 saying the two men were "presumed dead."

The CIA concocted a cover story, telling the families that the four had gone missing on a routine commercial flight from Korea to Japan on Dec. 3, four days after the shootdown.

After China announced that Downey and Fecteau were being held as spies, Washington publicly denied it, claiming they were civilian employees of the Army.

Fecteau was released by China in December 1971 and Downey in March 1973, shortly after President Richard Nixon publicly acknowledged Downey's CIA connection.

Both said after their return that to cope with their confinement they stuck strictly to a daily schedule.
Downey, for example, said he would rise each morning and begin a series of activities in his cell: calisthenics, cleaning, eating, reading, listening to the radio and reviewing an occasional package of letters, books and magazines. Fecteau had a similar approach but varied his routine by the day of the week.

Remarkably, once home they resumed normal lives. Downey earned a law degree from Harvard and became a judge. Fecteau returned to his alma mater, Boston University, as assistant athletic director.

Dujmovic wrote that the CIA unit chief who approved the mission apparently made crucial misjudgments for which he was never held to account. For starters, the unit chief ignored a warning that the Chinese agent team — codenamed STAROMA — had been compromised shortly after it arrived in Manchuria."

[C5: Just think, then-Archimandrite Philaret was right in the area at the time and praying fervently every day. If he had known about this operation, maybe HIS prayers could have averted the problem.]

 Pravoslavnik » Sun 20 June 2010

Please understand. I am not a militaristic person, and I have never condoned or approved of many operations of the CIA and the American military-industrial complex. I disagreed openly with the American invasion of Iraq in March of 2003, and actually offended many of my friends and relatives at the time-- including some Orthodox Christian friends-- by criticizing the whole misguided initiative.

My interest in the history of Islamic jihad is of a more religious nature. Why was this scourge unleashed upon Orthodox Christendom?

Father Mark's comparison of Islam with Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians is a good one. The kingdom of Judah was conquered by the Babylonians because of the sins and corruption of the priests and rulers of Judah. (St. John of Kronstadt and others foresaw that a similar affliction would befall Holy Russia as a result of the growing apostasy of the Russian aristocracy and intelligentsia at the turn of the last century.) Was this also true of Constantinople in 1453? And, how so?

jgress » Mon 21 June 2010
The traditional explanation for the conquest of the City is the betrayal of the faith by the Emperor and hierarchy at the Council of Florence in 1439:

"Better the Turkish turban than the Papal tiara!"

Pravoslavnik » Mon 21 June 2010

If, then, the Moslems were permitted by God to overthrow Byzantium because of the sins of the Orthodox Byzantines, how is it that the Roman Catholic Papacy was spared from the Islamic scourge?

To return to Father Mark's original argument, we must surely believe that we are not immune from Satanic affliction-- including Islamic jihad-- by virtue of Orthodox confession or righteousness. 

Job was not afflicted because of his sins, but rather because he was righteous, and subjected to the wrath of Satan.

So, as I argued originally on this thread, our Church may be taken from us-- and we may be otherwise afflicted by Satan and his servants (Moslems, Bolsheviks, etc.) even if we choose to live a righteous, Orthodox life.

I mention this not as some dry, academic argument, but as an explanation of why there is currently no Old Calendar Orthodox Church left in my city other than the ROCOR-MP parish. There are communities in world history-- as in modern day Anatolia-- where the Orthodox Church has completely disappeared. To argue that this is because of our choices and/or sins does not seem theologically accurate to me-- although, Lord knows, my sins are countless..

Catherine5 » Tue 22 June 2010
Job was an isolated case of a soul being tested.

Clearly, God was on the side - painful as it is to hear this for you - of the Turks! One has to see clearly, not with blinders of ethnic or religious prejudice of surety that "WE are always in the right". 
Maybe sometimes it's not quite what one assumes.
Have you gone to interview the Savior in Heaven to find out which side He was on in those years? Why do you instantly make the assumption that He prefers any particular group? I know that's a shocking statement to make.
You are educated, try to look objectively.
Here is another example where Turkish Sultans win over irrationally resisting Greek inhabitants. Maybe they just make bad decisions, why can't we simply acknowledge that? These officials were not ourselves, or our families, this all happened 650 years ago! Why do we carry all this baggage around from such a trauma that has very little in reality to do with any of us here today?

The prequel to the Turkish capture of Constantinople took place just 23 years earlier: March 29, 1430 compared with May 29, 1453.
The siege of Salonica, modern Thessaloniki in northern Greece.
We have a very civilized Sultan, Murat II, the father of Sultan Mehmet II, at the gates. He has given many notices to Salonica to surrender and be treated very nicely OR to keep resisting and face pillage. These were the rules of more civilized warfare at that time. He could have just attacked; after all, the city had in some form ALREADY submitted to him. But he waited for a reply.
We have his foe, the Greek Orthodox Archbishop Symeon, inside the gates. He refuses to see the obvious fact that his flock was determined to surrender the city.
The old Archbishop holds out - BUT ANGRY CROWDS DEMONSTRATE AGAINST HIM! They refused to believe his empty-sounding promises - I am taking this from the historical account, not a religious one - of a vague warrior coming to their aid on horseback. 
[That never happened.] 

After Abp Symeon's repose in 1429, the resistance to the Turks - already weak - crumbled. But some Greek leaders were stubborn and did not surrender.

A polite Sultan Murat II gave them even an EXTRA last chance, sending a batch of Christian messengers to plead one more time before he launched battle. 
Did the people in charge ask for God's will here? Certainly not, for there was unnecessary bloodshed due to the obstinacy of those few officials and mercenary soldiers who refused to surrender.
Most of the PEOPLE were FOR surrender.

Fortunately, the Greek Archbishop of the next city to be besieged, Jannina, got the message from Salonica and made a better decision to peacefully acquiesce. 
As a result, as the best historian of this era writes, 
"Jannina remained an important centre of Hellenic learning throughtout the Ottoman period: 
indeed, one of Murad's generals actually founded a Christian monastery there."

Prav, can you imagine a Christian general founding a Sufi tekke even TODAY, 660 years later?
How enlightened was that to have done at THAT time then?! THERE ARE MANY EXAMPLES OF kindness, toleration and cooperation shown by Turkish rulers to Greek citizens. But THESE are never allowed to creep into any of the stories that are passed down by folklore and religious stories such as those you mentioned.
The actual truth of the matter of those martyrs is that the Ottoman authorities stayed away purposely from getting involved in making such decisions.
They would hand the person over to his own Church, not decide for them to be put to death. They were very reluctant, and often good-natured, to boot!
I'm not saying they were perfect; some Pashas were corrupt in terms of money. But they weren't normally vicious or vindictive...as they have been wrongly portrayed by the stories.

I contest there were many reasons why God permitted the Ottomans to win. Clues may be found in their wise rulership, excellent military abilities to defend the borders of the Empire, and basic fairness.
Byzantium had been reduced to little outside the outskirts of Constantinople and some areas of the Morea. I remember I traveled far out of my way, out of a certain sense of historical nostalgia, to see the last kingdom to hold out there, Mystras.

How can ANY ONE of us know for sure God's designs and why He favors anyone ? We can only speculate.
The ancients always felt that whoever won a battle was favored by the gods.
If true, then the Ottomans won fair and square and with maybe God's blessing.
I know that rankles everyone.

jgress » Tue 22 June 2010
Pravo, you are right that God sends afflictions both for our sins and also so that we may win crowns. Now, I think most of the Orthodox population of the City remained faithful to the Fathers, but the Emperors and the Bishops still supported the Pope. This means that everybody in the city was punished by God for the sins of their leaders. This is not at all an unusual occurrence. The same kind of thing happened in Russia: millions of faithful Orthodox were punished for the sins of their heretical leaders (not the faithful Tsar, but his Masonic ministers). The same scourge at the same time destroys the wicked and glorifies the faithful.

Pravoslavnik » Tue 22 June 2010

"Clearly, God was on the side  of the Turks!"?

Good Lord! What are you saying here? Do you imagine as well that God was "on the side" of the Satanic Bolsheviks who destroyed the Holy Churches and monasteries of Russia?

The Orthodox Church is the Body of Christ. How could God possibly "be on the side of those Moslems who have destroyed His own most precious Body?

You may as well argue that God was "one the side" of the Sanhedrin during His own trial and crucifixion!

How could God, the Christ, possibly be "on the side" of Mohammed-- who blasphemed the sacred teachings of Christ by claiming that he, Mohammed, was the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, foretold by Christ to His Apostles? What utter blasphemous nonsense!

jgress » Wed 23 June 2010
more censoring done here

Re: Intervention
by mmcxristidis » Wed 23 June 2010
Kybihetz21 wrote:  Although I consider Catherine (and others that post here) to be personal friends, or at least, good acquaintances, and inasmuch as I personally like oriental/eastern/middle eastern culture, in general, I find that is appalling how Islam as a religion and culture, is being promoted and defended here. Whoever thinks that Muslims are better than Orthodox Christians, and that Islam, or any other religion is better than Orthodoxy, should leave this forum and convert (if not done already) to whichever faith is pleasurable to them. Further affiant sayeth naught.

Agreed, all except the part about her being a personal friend and good acquaintance

mmcxristidis » Wed 23 June 2010 
jgress wrote: Catherine won't be participating in this forum anymore.

Farewell to the Agent Provocateur of Islam, Catherine5 aka Cheetah88 aka Bess. Don't let the door hit you on your way into Mohamed's paradise. Try Yahoo Chat for Islam if you want a captive audience.

StephenG » Fri 25 June 2010
The vinegar seen in this thread I found somewhat saddening.

That there have been, are and will be martyrs under one form of Islamic yoke is nothing less than a fact. That earlier European romantics chose to see Islamic as inherently tolerant was displaying only their willingness to see part of the historical picture and ignore what did not suit their prejudice.

I too have those Moslem I respect and look up to, including the father of King Hussein of Jordan, King Abdullah. His kindness to a Russian emigre girl whose wish to enter a convent was thwarted by her parents until King Abudullah intervened will stay with me.

However ask the the Pakistani born Anglican bishop (whose name eludes) of Moslem tolerance and you may find his insights disturbing, yet without falling into the trap of rabid haters of Islam sometimes seen on the web. Or the Pakistani christians or those of Egypt who are regularly killed by Moslems, as are others in Iraq.

My city has an extremely large Moslem population. Many are no or little different from those living around them. But we sadly have jihadists to whom 'tolerance' is a dirty word and who preach an intolerant faith.
A wanderer, trying to discern truth from falsehood

jgress » Fri 25 June 2010
I agree, Stephen. And it wasn't just Catherine5 that was providing the vinegar. It's also interesting that since she was banned, there has been no new activity until your post. It's almost as if the other posters were only interested in ECafe as long as there was a fight going on.

jgress » Fri 25 June 2010
All right, well maybe we can fix this by thinking of some positive contributions. For my part, I'll try to think up some questions or thoughts and we can get some kind of constructive discussion going.

mmcxristidis » Sat 26 June 2010
Kybihetz21 wrote: Exactly my point for a long time … instead of trying to help each other or provide news and information, this forum became, for the last few months, a battlefield, mainly against Catherine, with "no reason. I would not try to be the devil’s advocate, but I suspect that her love for archaic and unknown cultures, many of them presently professing the Islamic religion, made her say and defend certain things that are, to everyone’s knowledge, indefensible. One thing is to admire some cultures and traditions, some already almost forgotten by “the world”, and another is to superimpose those cultures and traditions on our Orthodox Faith and our Orthodox Traditions and customs. Whether we are “American” (an American could be anything, ethnically), Greek, Russian, Spanish, Arab, etc., we are foremost, Orthodox Christians, and if we do not defend our Faith HERE, then what’s the point of even having this site, which should serve as a stand against ecumenism, and as a teaching tool for those that know nothing or little about our Faith. Sadly, once again, this became a combat zone to attack each other, something that should have been stopped from the beginning. There can be disagreements and healthy discussions, but it is very sad to see how Orthodox Christians keep insulting and attacking each other, sometimes for minute reasons. Let’s not even talk about the gentlemanly behavior, or more appropriately, the lack of it towards her, but that’s another subject of conversation.

I find this statement of yours to be rather a oxymoron. First you say that this forum became "a battlefield against Catherine5 (aka Cheetah88 aka Bess) with no reason", then later you say "if we do not defend our Faith HERE, then what’s the point of even having this site".  Besides myself, several others here had rebuked her, while she was here, for her blatant promotion of Islam and it's "saints" and "holy sites" etc. vs. her anti-Christ attacks on Orthodoxy and her Saints as well as other off the wall remarks.  Now, after the fact, you are somewhat rebuking her.  I don't see what good that does now that she is banned from posting here.  Instead, you seemed to have enjoyed her compliments to you on your "balanced and intelligent" postings while ignoring her attacks on Orthodoxy, until now, and only somewhat.  I think the oil needed a bit of vinegar.
Now it seems to me you have been attacking me, previously and in this last posting of yours as not being a "gentleman".  Should I have just have looked the other way and said nothing, or just been nice and agreed with her blasphemy's because "her love for archaic and unknown cultures, many of them presently professing the Islamic religion" made it OK ?  I still say she is a wolf in sheep's clothing no matter how many times she claimed to be an Orthodox Christian. Her statements proved otherwise.
I'm happy now that she has finally been banned, but still find it's a little too late and for perhaps the wrong reason.  Jonathan banned her because she persisted in attacking the NFTU and it's personnel, which is a good thing, however she should have been banned sooner for the reasons of her attacks on Orthodoxy.  True she did post much, not all bad, but for the most part it was in my opinion a lot of hot air and (*beep*) and not a very good reason for putting up with her for so long.

mmcxristidis » Sat 26 June 2010
Kybihetz21 wrote: I don’t need Catherine’s (yes, that’s her real name) praises nor your insults. I guess that after 15 years you still do not know me, but it is ok. This would surely be my last post here. What I said, and now repeat, is that you, yes you, attacked her and mocked her from the beginning, making fun of all her, the same way that you mock and make fun of everyone that doesn’t agree with you (don’t you think its time to grow up, you are not a teenager anymore?). Her blasphemies, which I criticized in private, came later on, when she stated she wouldn’t read Hieromonk Seraphim (Rose)’s writings because he “may” have been a homosexual in his youth, or when she denied the martyrdom of the New Martyrs of the Turkish Yoke, along with many other unnecessary comments that arose from her lacking to see the provocation and falling into delusionary thoughts about the Islamic religion. I do not see anything wrong in calling others “saints”, “bishops”, “patriarchs”, etc., since that’s the title they have in those religions or cultures. They may not be our saints and hierarchs, but whomever history has assigned a title to, we are nobody to take it from them, whether we recognize it or not. 
I hope that you all can find someone else to yell at, since this place lost its purpose long time ago, now being just a forum to mock others and to promote Metropolitan Pavlos’s jurisdiction, with no respect to other people’s views and positions.

I think I know you better than you think Miguel and I won't go into anymore of your quirks ( and I feel there are many ) other than to say you think you know better than anyone else about every subject and really really hate it when someone disagree's with you. I met you when you were about 15 and barely spoke any English and even then you acted the same way. Just because you spent a couple years at Jordanville then left, although it may have been justifiably so, doesn't make you some kind of spiritual guru. I must say you probably would have made a good priest along the lines of those who can't admit their wrong about anything they say or do. Well that's what I think and you probably think somewhat the same about me but the difference is I can admit I was wrong about a subject if I find I was wrong.
I don't mock and make fun of everyone who I disagree with, only when I think they deserve it. It may not be the best tactic to use but at least get's their attention. If Catherine5 said something I found really stupid on a public forum I see nothing wrong with criticizing her publicly. If you did rebuke her in private then I can't see it did any good since she continued to say the same stuff over and over again.
I'm not yelling at you, THIS IS YELLING. I've heard you threaten to quit forum's over and over again if your disagreed with, now your threatening it again, as if the lack of your presence will cause some great spiritual disaster to befall us. Get over yourself, please.

mmcxristidis » Sat 26 June 2010
Kybihetz21 wrote: Do not bother to write to me, I have asked already all the administrators to delete my account, but they haven’t done so yet. I am not planning to come back here for any reason. 
You do not know me at all. 
I don’t get into arguments unless I know what I am talking about. I really do not care if someone disagrees with me or not, as a matter of fact, I do not care what anyone (including you) thinks of me, good or bad.
All your public attacks on others are just very immature. 
If I didn’t speak English when we met it was because I was born in a different country and had just arrived here (I already knew three other languages by the way).
I spent four years in Jordanville, and many others in other places that you do not need to know about.
I do not think I am a guru, nor I m that spiritual. I do not plant to give anyone any spiritual advices, and at this point I do not care what others do either.
Nobody deserves to be mocked or made fun of, but then, it is your attitude to be attacking everyone all the time.
I am not Catherine’s spiritual father, just an friend, so she is not expected to follow any of my advices (I simply told her to refrain from making blasphemous comments and not to fall into your nonsense).
I am not threatening, I am just letting people know, that way they would not wonder why I stopped writing.
I do not think I am important, and honestly, once again, I do not care what others think about me (that includes you).
I am very happy to end this right now, it has brought nothing but unnecessary worries and headaches.

Wow, I'm just devastated, does this mean we're not friends anymore ? I don't know what to say except try taking a couple of Tylenol's for that headache and don't worry, be happy. Your still welcome at NFTU if you feel like stopping by. Give my respects to your friend Catherine

joasia » Sun 27 June 2010
Looks like I've been out of the loop for a while. Catherine is out? I've butted heads with her, myself. This really isn't doing any good for anyone. We just keep digging a deeper pit to fall into. The only way we can stop this is if we all agree to back off. This is madness. And I can tell you this from experience. Please call a truce and remember who the real enemy is.

Pravoslavnik » Sun 27 June 2010

I, too, have been troubled by the strange personal vitriol in this current thread. Despite Catherine's recurrent disagreements with my several references to the abominable history of Islam-- and occasional, veiled personal attacks on me-- I have always tried to refrain from attacking Catherine on a personal level. In fact, Catherine and I have often agreed about various issues, especially those having to do with Russia.

In general, I am always interested in the truth, and I usually only experience a certain belligerent impulse when the truth is impugned. Conversely, I am always open to learning from those wiser or more knowledgeable than myself.

In fact, my hope all along was that Catherine would discern the terrible truth about Islamic history, rather than disputing the facts that I posted here for her benefit. (Unfortunately, Catherine has continued to imagine that Americans are all uneducated, unworldly, Evangelical Republican ideologues.)

If you review my comments on this thread, I have always focused precisely on Kybhetz's professed goal of defending the Orthodox faith. Hopefully, others will assist me in this regard the next time that the subject of Islamic jihad and Orthodoxy arises.

Apparently Catherine5 was kicked off of one of Suaiden's forums for the same reason,

Catherine5 is not the only Muslim on ECafe – she's just the most persistent.  Here Pravoslavnik responds to a Muslim who joined the forum for a brief time.  Catherine5 is quick to jump to the Muslim's side.


Re: Intercessions in hell
Imported Image 2.tiffby Pravoslavnik » Thu 9 April 2009 2:39 am
Mohamed was under the influence of demons, and the Koran is an entirely demonic work, dictated by a demon in the guise of an Archangel. Mohamedism is, among other things, a Christological heresy. Not only did Mohamed deny that Christ is God, one of the Holy Trinity, he claimed that he, Mohamed, the murderer, pedophile, and thief, was the "Paraclete" Whom Christ spoke of to His Apostles, the Holy Spirit and Comforter who would guide the Church in the way of all truth! How can this abomination be regarded as anything other than a foul, demonic distortion of Christian Truth?

Islam was Satan's greatest invention, along with Bolshevism. The one destroyed the first great Orthodox Christian empire of world history, Byzantium, and the other destroyed the second great Orthodox Empire, Holy Russia.

Re: Intercessions in hell
Imported Image 3.tiffby Pravoslavnik » Sun 12 April 2009 2:53 am

Let me assure you that I was not "mocking" Mohammed or Islam, and certainly not feeling at all amused about the subject of Islam. I have spent many years studying the history of the Orthodox Christian Byzantine Empire and the Islamic religion which destroyed it. I have also travelled in Turkey and visited the Orthodox holy sites of Constantinople, including the Phanar and Hagia Sophia. The Phanar was firebombed by Moslems the year before I visited Istanbul, and the entrance to the Phanar was guarded by an armed soldier. When I attended the divine liturgy at an Orthodox Church in Galata, Turkey the doors were bolted with chains immediately after the liturgy. So much for Moslem hospitality, eh? Moslems have routinely persecuted and murdered Coptic Christians in Egypt, even in recent years, and under Moslem sharia Christians are second class citizens, unable to hold public office, and required to pay a dhimmy, or religious tax. Under sharia, it is also not a capital crime for a Moslem to kill a Christian, but it is a capital offense for a Moslem to convert to Christianity!

Have you read any of the hagiographical works about the many Orthodox saints and martyrs who were persecuted and killed by the Moslems in the Ottoman Empire-- including the Balkans? For example, there is a book available as a paper back entitled New Martyrs of the Turkish Yoke. There are also many hagiographical references to Orthodox saints slain by Moslems in the Prologue from Ochrid compiled by St. Nikolai Velimirovich, of blessed memory. How can an Orthodox Christian not consider Mohammed and the Moslem religion more than an abomination? Look upon the great icons of Christ God and the Theotokos at Hagia Sophia which were covered by the Moslems with plaster for centuries, and tell me that this Moslem religion is not an abomination! If Christ came into the world, suffered, and was crucified for the sake of His Church and our salvation, shall we not consider an abomination that which specifically plastered over icons of Christ, and destroyed the Church? We might just as well say that Bolshevism was a good thing in the sight of God, worthy of respect and admiration!

Update 8/28/2015
Catherine5 is currently posting on ECafe as "Barbara".  I should say "what is left of" the ECafe forum, because it is like "dead in the water" now.

Related post (humor):

note from Joanna 9/1/15
Catherine5 commented as "Mara" on ROCOR Refugees blog back in 2009.   She was a blog member for a brief period. It did not work out, I had to remove her.  She was in contact with me by email using the name Christina DeMayer.  ROCOR Sbn. Konstantine Preobrazhensky also knows her by this name.  A tell-tale characteristic of her is flattery.  She starts almost every response to something you say by flattering you.  I fell for it.  I overlooked little clues that something was wrong.  For one thing, she loves hearing dirt about priests and if you get on that subject with her you can't get her off of it.  Also, I could not relate to her objection to St. Philaret's icon.   But then later I saw some horrifying clincher evidence that she is repulsed by truly holy things, and she tries to draw attention away from holy things.   So, I removed her from my blog and told her to go get help because she has a demon in her.  Her retort was that she thinks the same thing of me.

According to her current profile on ECafe (2015) she says she is a member of RTOC.  I challenge that.  There are no RTOC parishes near where she lives.  Pocatello, Idaho.  Who is her spiritual father?  Is she a communing member of any Church?  On the ECafe you can say whatever you want about yourself.  None of it is verified.  During my email conversation period with Christina DeMayer I asked several times for her snail mail address so I could send her a charcoal portrait print of St. Philaret of NY.  Each time I asked for her address, she suddenly had some crisis to attend to and did not email me for a week or so.    And then when she emailed me again, it was a new subject, forgetting and skipping over my request for her address.  After about the 3rd time, I started to get suspicious, noticing a pattern.  She was the only blog member for whom I did not have an address or phone number...  How did she weasel in like that?  Flattery.

Flattery.  Notice how so many of her posts praise the commentator who proceeds her.  She used the same flattery on me and I fell for it (at first).  We should always beware when somebody flatters us.

another note from Joanna 9/11/15
I know who Pravoslavnik is.  He is an American convert long-time loyal communing member of ROCOR in good standing.