Romualdian Hermitage of Holy Archangel Michael ΓΟΧ

Let us recall constantly the unconditional compassion, mercy, and love of our Lord

Friday, July 5, 2024

The Reductionism of Orthodox Christianity

 



The Reductionism of Orthodox Christianity
by Fr Sym'on, Er.S.B., B.P.S

 What is Reductionism?  As the term gets used in religious studies, "reductionism" refers to "an analysis of religion in secular rather than religious terms. The origin, function, meaning, and even truth of religion are subject to reduction". [1]

In this article we are using the term "reductionism" as the consequence to the commodification of holy symbolism of Orthodox Tradition, especially those symbols unique to monasticism.

 What is Commodification?  "Commodification is the process of transforming inalienable, free, or gifted things (objects, services, ideas, nature, personal information, people or animals) into commodities, or objects for sale." [2]

The commodification of monasticism refer to the way monastic practices and symbols have been commercialized or exploited for economic gain. This could include the sale of religious artifacts, the promotion of monastic sites as tourist destinations, or, as in this case, the use of monastic imagery in advertising, popular culture and the sale of products bearing sacred symbolism.

Over several recent years, laymen, both Orthodox and non-Orthodox, have begun selling "merch" such as tumblers, notebooks, clothing bearing the signs of the Great Schema, Icons,  and more.  Why is this such a problem?  The common usage of sacred symbolism eventually devalues or reduces one's relationship to the holiness or exclusiveness of monastic and ecclesial signs and symbols on par with collegiate logos or slogans on tee-shirts and sweatshirts.  When the common usage of Church symbols has been reduced in the minds of those who purchase such products and in the minds of those who observe these being used or worn by common people the importance of these sacred symbols are belittled.  This will eventually lead to the furtherance of a reduction of Orthodox doctrine and practices as time goes by.

One of the most glaring and offensive examples are from LGFG Fashion House.  This is the company who had gifted the popular social critic and Jungian psychologist Jordan B. Peterson twelve suits with which some of the suit coats display icons and schema symbols.

Let's see what I am writing about. Dr Peterson's Schema suit coat.  another.  Dr Peterson's Icon suit coat.  another.

Then there are the profiteering laity making money from sacred symbols of Orthodoxy that they have no right or blessing to create and sell.  The following links are examples of this.

B  C  D  F  G  H  I  J  K  There are other items besides clothing available from such vendors.

As I said, the commodifying of sacred symbols and images belonging to the Orthodox Church and Her monasteries eventually will lead to the reductionist view of every other aspect of Orthodoxy.  This reductionism likewise will lead to the phenomena of Cultural Orthodox Christianity.  The Ecumenical Heresy is pulling all of these developments in hand with the actions of persons in their individualism.

An aside issue being, that there are so many laymen, Orthodox and non-Orthodox, selling actual Church items, it places real monasteries in an unfair competition against these secular vendors.  The only solution at present is for these vendors to donate 10% of their profits to a monastery every month.

Another aside issue, the plethora of lay "Orthodox theologians" and "Christian Philosophers" appearing on YouTube expounding on the Orthodox Faith and doing comparisons to non-Orthodox philosophies.  Only the well informed and the well educated Orthodox can discern the errors of these folks.  This makes the chances of unorthodox errors and possibly heresy to be presented to the unexpecting Orthodox laity, Catechumen and interested non-Orthodox.  My suspicion is these YouTube "teachers" probably do not have a blessing from their Bishop.  If not then they are not authorized to open their mouths!

________________________

[1]  Robert A. Segal, Reductionism in the Study of Religion, (Religion and Reductionism: Brill 1994    pg 4)   DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004378841_003


[2] Wikipedia contributors. (2024, June 9). Commodification. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 19:59, July 5, 2024, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Commodification&oldid=1228158410

Saturday, June 29, 2024

On Authentic Faith

 

What is Faith?  Typically,  one will say their faith is in what they believe.  An intellectual acknowledgement of a creed, a theology, or a "heart-felt" (more often emotional) conviction that Christ is a historical and supernatural reality.  

When Jesus entered the house, the blind men came to him, and Jesus said to them, “Do you have faith that I can do this?” They said to him, “Yes, Lord.”  (Matthew 9:28).

What kind of faith did the Blind Men confess?  They believed in Jesus' ability to heal him.  

 

Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith, let it be done to you.”  (Matthew 9:28).

So they were healed to the degree that they believed, to the strength of their faith.  Do you remember the man with a daughter possessed by unclean spirits?  He understood the value of ultimate faith.

 Jesus said to him, “If you are able! All things can be done for the one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out, “I believe; help my unbelief!”     (Mark 9:23-25)

Jesus emphasizes the notion of the quality of one's faith relative to the power of that faith:

Jesus answered them, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only will you do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ it will be done.  (Matthew 21:21)

 Belief and knowledge is a product of the dianoia (rational aspect) of the soul.  What about noetic Faith?  St Paul tells us through his letter to be Hebrew Church:

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.  (Hebrews 11:1-3)

“Faith is about understanding things that aren’t clear. It brings unseen things into the same level of certainty as things we can see. So, it’s impossible to doubt what we can see, and similarly, faith can’t exist unless we’re more certain about invisible things than we are about the most visible ones. Even though the things we hope for might seem unreal, faith makes them real. In fact, faith doesn’t just make them real, it is their reality. For example, the Resurrection hasn’t happened yet, and it doesn’t exist in a physical sense, but hope makes it real in our soul. This is what ‘the substance of things’ means.” says St John Chrysostom (Homily 21 on Hebrews).

We were created as relational beings.  We are nothing without being in-communion with others as ourselves in-Christ.   As we face God, as we encounter God through His energies., as we are united to God through His Church and Her Awesome and Life-giving Mysteries we are given such faith that strengthens our unswerving conviction that all the promises of Christ will in fact come no matter when in time it will come to pass. 

This Noetic Faith is strong enough to move mountains!


--fr sym'on

What is Existential Apostasia?

 



What is Existential Apostasia?  This is a very grave place many Christians wander off to after their Entrance into Holy Orthodox Church.  We know Saint Paul has said on behalf of us all, "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God"  (Romans 3:23).  As we well know, sin is an automatic separation from God and His Church (Body of Christ).  This separation we, here, call an existential apostasia, a state of being separate from the source of Life and Existence.  It is a state most of us unwittingly wander into after we have stood in the Temple of the Lord singing praises and perhaps even receiving the Holy Mysteries on Sunday.  It is a state of wandering in a land of nothingness and darkness where only the hasatan is the prince and enjoys accusing us of our self-willed separation from God.  

Accordingly, one has freely departed, they have left, having moved away from a previous standing.  This implies a departure or desertion of our recently held beliefs and allegiance that being God the Father, Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Body (The Church).  God in his mercy has provided a method of returning to our proper place in-Christ, Mystery of Repentance through Confession.  As long as we experience penthos (compunction, remorse, grief for sins) we can be rightly restored.  This state of existential apostasia ought never be taken lightly! By stepping outside The Church by any misstep --whether you may realize it or not-- you have walked into a demonic space of void and darkness up for grabs by evil who might desire to consume your soul.  Where is your heart?  "... I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent (Revelation 2:4-5).  Existential Apostasia is the ultimate inauthenticity and we cannot be considered as truly existing as long as we are outside the Ecclesia, the Mystical Body of Christ.

--fr sym'on

Monday, June 24, 2024

Monday, April 15, 2024

Love: The Foundation Of Existence In Our World

by Macarius II (Nevsky) of Moscow



A 1903 homily on the life-giving and unifying force of love, and a call to those lost in materialism to return to the love of Christ in the Church.

Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift. (II Cor. 9:15)

Love, which rests in human hearts desires to make itself manifest in some visible form. Such is the nature of true love. It cannot remain hidden for long in the heart: inevitably it will make itself known. The gift of love is excellent, but love itself is even more wonderful. The greatness of love is incomparable, it is limitless. God Himself has been pleased to have Himself called by the name of Love. Love is not a characteristic of God but His essence itself. God is love and he who abides in love abides in God.

Sunday, April 14, 2024

What is THEOSIS?

 

Theosis: The True Purpose of Human Life

By Archimandrite George,

Abbot of the Holy Monastery of St. Gregorios, Mount Athos



TEXT HERE




God's Revelation To The Human Heart

 by Fr. Seraphim Rose, of blessed memory



Listen to Father Seraphim himself

The Entire text Read here


An Artistic Reading of first chapters


for the complete text of the book click HERE
Text link coming soon!

The Reductionism of Orthodox Christianity

  The Reductionism of Orthodox Christianity by Fr Sym'on, Er.S.B., B.P.S  What is Reductionism?  As the term gets used in religious stud...