Your brother was dead and now he is alive

H/T: Official site of the Russian Orthodox Church, Department of External Affairs (here)

Metropolitan Hilarion administers the rite of reuniting those to temporarily fell away from the Orthodox Church

On November 21, 2010, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s department for external church relations, administered the rite of reuniting those who temporarily fell away from the Orthodox Church by diverting into schisms and sects, at the church of Our Lady the Joy to All the Afflicted-in-Ordynka.

The archpastor addressed the congregation with the following instruction:

“Dear Brothers and Sisters, today the rite of your reuniting with the holy Orthodox faith has been administered to you. It consisted of two parts: first you renounced all the false teachings, schismatic and sectarian, which you shared in the past, and in the second part you have taken a vow that you will be faithful to Christ and His saving commandments and have been reunited with the Holy Orthodox Church through the laying of a bishop’s hands.

It is a great and important day for you because each of you has been led by the Lord to the true faith and has been saved from delusion and deception. The Orthodox faith is salvific; the Orthodox Church has in her all that is necessary for giving people salvation and eternal life. And it is not only in afterlife but already here, on earth, that salvation awaits us.

For many people today the very word ‘salvation’ in the context of Christian message is not understandable. ‘Why and from what should we be saved?’ they ask. Now you know from which you have to be saved in this life. You know why the Orthodox faith is salvific – because it is here, on earth, that the struggle unfolds for human souls, from which some come out winners while others losers. Losers are those who have failed to find the way to true God, who have diverted into a path of delusion, who have committed themselves to deceivers, schismatics, sectarians, false believers, liars and other people who temp human souls and deprive them of normal life here, on earth, and eternal salvation in the future life.

You have reunited with the Church, and from now on all these delusions have been left behind in your former life. Never remember them, do not try to analyze what false teachers told you. The Lord has delivered you from this evil. Keep away from it as far as possible. And if you have relatives and friends in sectarian or schismatic communities, bring them to the true faith, tell them calmly what the Orthodox Church lives by, do not condemn them, do not reproach them, do not be annoyed with them, but pray for these people and reveal to them the truth and beauty of the Orthodox faith through your own example, through your spiritual and church life.

Try to make confession and take communion regularly so that through the sacrament of repentance you may unite with the Lord and receive from Him the forgiveness of sins and through the sacrament of communion you may unite with God in all your soul, body, spirit and mind in the way that, according to St. Paul, Christ may live and work in you (cf. Gal. 2:20).

May God bless your church path and your whole life. May He help you to be never caught in the nets of deception and false teaching, but to stand firmly in your Orthodox faith and to bring others to the true faith. May the Lord preserve you all”.

2 thoughts on “Your brother was dead and now he is alive

  1. Darlene,

    For the most part you are correct in your observations. Although, I’ll admit that head coverings are still practiced in the Russian Church Abroad and, for that matter, Russian priests tend to wear their cassocks outside of the parish setting.

    I think it’s a matter of adapting to our environment. Whether we like it or not I think there are many things from the West which have found their way in our church and our way of thinking, some one them good and some not so. For instance, the idea that we (the people) run the church and not the hierarch is quite tempting. On the other hand, Serbs in America, for example, are at times more pious (or at least church going) than those in Serbia. Actually, this was mentioned to me just recently by someone who has been here for only a few months. In other words, that Protestant mentality (if I can call it that for the sake of this argument) of Sunday being the day for church, going to our churches, supporting them, supporting the community.

    Going to church on Sunday morning in an Orthodox country can mean something else than what it does here. I made a post about that here:

  2. Father,
    I’ve a couple of questions along with some comments. Over the past year I’ve read a number of articles on the Orthodox Church in Russia in addition to viewing many photographs – photographs of people worshipping in the Divine Liturgy, making confessions (as in this photo), doing prosessions, etc. My impression is that the Orthodox faith in practice is somewhat different than here in the U.S.
    Different in that it seems more pious and the priests and Orthodox Christians seems less concerned about how they may appear to outsiders. For example, in this picture, the penitents are kneeling in remorse and humility. I have not seen this body language in Orthodox Churches here. When I go to make confession, I kneel at the end when Father pronounces the absolution – but this I do of my own accord, not because I was instructed to.
    Most, if not all of the women wear head coverings. In all of the parishes I have been to the women do not wear head coverings except for those who are from other countries. I wear a head covering because I have been convicted to do so in refrence to St. Paul’s admonition to women in the church. The only exception to this was when I went to a monastery where it was the rule for all of the women to cover their heads.
    The priests and clergy seem to have no concern about wearing their clerical garb (cassocks, etc) out in public. Here in these United States the priests seem to favor street clothing when they are not ministering in a parish setting.
    I suppose what I’m getting at is it seems the practices of the Western Church (Protestants and Catholics) have influenced our behavior and practices here in the U.S. We seem more concerned about looking weird to outsiders, self-conscious I would call it.
    So how do you weigh in on this matter, Father?

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