Holy Communion Without Spiritual Struggle a Heresy in Our Times
Orthodox Talks: Talk 26
Speaker: Hieromonk Kosmas
Duration: 3hrs 13mins
Some traditional Orthodox theologians believe that the spirituality of many Orthodox Christians has become quite similar to Western spirituality. These Orthodox Christians share the distorted Protestant view of repentance as merely accepting Christ and feeling some regret for past sins, and the Roman Catholic over-emphasis on partaking of the Sacraments and obedience to the bishop. This movement within Orthodoxy to westernize the Church is not a new one. Its supporters (including hierarchs, clergy, and theologians) undervalue the role of asceticism in the lives of all Orthodox Christians.
In this talk, using the teachings of the Orthodox Church, Father Kosmas explains that partaking of the sacraments without spiritual struggle is a heresy similar to that against which Saint Gregory Palamas fought in his day. He emphasizes that God indeed freely gives His grace through the sacraments, but man’s cooperation (through personal ascetic struggle) is absolutely necessary for the healing and salvation of the soul.
The following questions are also discussed: what are some of the reasons people believe in God? Do Orthodox Christians differ much from religious people of other confessions? How should we regard scandals in the Church? What is the difference between pietism and piety? Should we avoid external practices so that people will not think us Pharisees? How do we deal with ecumenist bishops? Why have some people improved spiritually upon ceasing to partake of Holy Communion?
Other points covered in this talk include: religious brain-washing; how believers can become unbelievers when something “better” comes along; what happened to a woman when exorcism prayers were stopped; the danger of meeting our ego face to face; the difference between regret and repentance; a young man’s delusion in leaving home so as to struggle better spiritually; and why at times asking for self-knowledge can be extremely dangerous.
The newest album from the Holy Trinity Monastery and Seminary Choir
Conductor: Nicholas Kotar
One of the more fascinating aspects of life at Holy Trinity Monastery and Seminary is the transformation of time. In the world, we are dominated by the clock – harried and in a constant rush. In Jordanville, everything revolves around “church time.” This is manifested most explicitly in the services of the Church, structured around the cycles of day, week, and year. Instead of being conquered by time, we are given the opportunity of sanctifying it through our worship of God in the Church, as part of a life that is pleasing to Him. This recording explores the sanctification of time through the particular lens of the rich musical tradition of the Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY. The hymns are taken from all the cycles of church services – the daily cycle from the midnight office to compline, the weekly cycle of the Octoechos, the yearly cycle of the Menaion, and the moveable cycle of the Triodion and Pentecostarion, which revolves around the feast of feasts – Pascha. These hymns serve to demonstrate the range and breadth of the musical tradition in Jordanville as it is sung today.
Хор Свято-Троицкого Монастыря и Семинария
Регент: Николай Котар
Жизнь в Свято-Троицком монастыре и семинарии прекрасна тем, что можно явно ощущать трансформацию времени. В миру время властно над нами : мы постоянно суетимся и мчимся куда-то. А в Джорданвилле, как в любом монастыре, все зависит от «церковного времени». Наиболее явным образом это проявляется в богослужениях, которые построены на циклах, или кругах: дневном, недельном, и годичном. Вместо того, чтоб быть покоренными временем, мы получаем возможность освящать его через служение Богу в Церкви. Тема этого диска – освящение или искупление времени посредством богослужения, сквозь призму богатой музыкальной традиции Свято-Троицкого монастыря в г. Джорданвилль (шт. Нью Йорк). Песнопения взяты из всех богослужебный кругов церковного года – дневного круга: от полунощницы до повечерия, недельного круга - Октоих, годичного круга - Минея, и особого круга, т.н. движущегося, Пасхального - Триодь Постная и Цветная. Все песнопения раскрывают широту и богатство музыкальной традиции Джорданвилля в нынешнем его исполнении.
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Encounters with a Clairvoyant Elder
Orthodox Talks: Talk 21
Speaker: Hieromonk Kosmas
Duration: 2hrs 57mins
Elder Porphyrios of Greece, an extraordinary holy father of our own times, was given the gift of clairvoyance by God for his humility, love, and faithfulness to Holy Orthodoxy. This gift enabled him to see into the past, present, and future, looking into people’s souls and perceiving their innermost thoughts. He also revealed to many their illnesses – spiritual, mental, and bodily – healing them as God willed.
In this talk, Father Kosmas relates many accounts of Elder Porphyrios’ clairvoyance. He emphasizes the importance of not confusing the gift of clairvoyance given by God with that of psychics, clairvoyants, mediums, fortune-tellers, and astrologers. Many who are ignorant of the teachings of the Orthodox Church are deceived into believing that these imposters possess God-given powers, when in reality what power they have comes from the evil spirits.
The following questions are also discussed: what is the difference between an Orthodox elder and a psychic? Can the possessed know our sins? Can psychics, mediums, etc., really reveal the unknown and the future? Why do Muslims go to Orthodox churches for prayers and miracles? Is ecumenism less dangerous today than in the past? Can the prayers of monastics be more effective than those of a bishop? Why did the elder blame parents for their children’s problems? Should parents tell their fellow Orthodox if their own children are suicidal?
Other points covered in this talk include: a cure for depression; the incorrect belief that monastics care only about themselves; how the elder told one mother that her beloved son would strike her; expensive good luck charms; the miracle of the Holy Fire in Jerusalem; how a Roman Catholic monk was amazed at the elder’s clairvoyance; the obsession of some Orthodox Christians with converting people to Orthodoxy; how the elder revealed a taxi driver’s dark and hidden secret; and why associating with certain people can be spiritually harmful.
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More than that, Blessed are Those Who Hear the Word of God and Keep it!
Orthodox Talks: Talk 37
Speaker: Hieromonk Kosmas
Duration: 3hrs 28min
Hearing Christ’s marvelous teachings, one woman cried out to Him: “Blessed is the womb that bore You and the breasts which nursed You!” But our Lord answered: “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” Is Christ really belittling His Mother, as Protestants frequently claim? How can He call “those who hear the word of God and keep it” more blessed than she who gave birth to God in the flesh?
Using the Holy Fathers as a guide, Father Kosmas examines what Christ really meant by this statement, which seems to contradict the Orthodox veneration of the Theotokos as most blessed of all creation. Furthermore, he addresses how miracles, prophecy and the Word of God relate to each other.
The following questions are also discussed: how should Orthodox Christians regard “Saint” Mary MacKillop? Is prophecy more effective than miracles and God’s Word? Why doesn’t Christ praise those who believed in Him through miracles? Is it permissible to hate those with whom we are at war? Is it our duty to try to bring those around us to Christ? What is meant by: “the Word of God energizes”? What is “anger without passion”?
Other topics covered in this talk include: the delusion of “Orthodox protestants”; why not everyone who comes to Christ for healing is worthy of praise; how the Holy Fathers saw Apostle Thomas as a stubborn resister of truth; the spiritual schizophrenia of those who were at the same time astonished and offended by Christ’s wisdom and miracles; the rebellion of Jewish youth who confess that the Messiah has already come; how Christ uses everyday events to bring people to faith; and one priest’s realization that humility is more important than knowledge.
In 1980 Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY celebrated its fiftieth anniversary. In this recording, the Seminary choir chose fifteen various chants that are typical of the daily liturgical life of the monastery. In an additional track, one hears the bells of the monastery peal forth. Sung in Church Slavonic.
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