Some will meet in Heaven, some….


We are still in the midst of our celebration of the Feast of the Meeting of the Lord, according to the church’s calendar. On that feast, His Grace Bishop Milutin of Valjevo, noted the following (HT here):

“The feast of the Meeting of the Lord is a feast of a meeting – encounters, for we will all meet. Some in God’s Kingdom, some in eternal hell. When we bid farewell from our close ones who leave this world, we have a “joyful sadness”. We are sad that they left, but we rejoice in meeting them again, which one day will happen. For this reason is it important that the Church pray for all of those who have gone to life eternal. The holy fathers said that the Church will remain on the earth until the Judgment Day and, if we pray for the deceased, Christ will deliver them from hell.

So important is it that we pray for our deceased, to light candles for them on Memorial Saturday and have their names commemorated. That, dear brothers and sisters, is so exalted and great that at times we are not even conscious of just how much. Those who fell into Hades cry  out to us that we cry our to Christ God, for He is the Lord of the living and the dead. For this reason us who are living are the ones who rejoice in the first place at this meeting. We are here to rejoice in one another. This is the greatness and beauty of man. The Church teaches us that each person is an icon of God, even our enemies. The worst person is an image of God. Some, however, darken that image while others wash it and it clean and bright and resembles Christ.  We are fed by Holy Communion! That is everything that is given to us today and we need to use it, for we know not whether we will be alive tomorrow.

We need to love all living things in this world, and most of all man. Then our meetings and encounters with one another will be beautiful. Otherwise, we will not be able to enter God’s Kingdom. It is important that we encounter and see each other in love, not with hatred and envy. Today’s feast speaks to us of an encounter between God and man, the righteous Simeon who in old age lived to receive Christ into his hands and to leave this world in peace. His words, spoken when he came in contact with the Christ Child, “He will be the fall and rising again of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be spoken against throughout the history of the world,” we must never forget. They have been fulfilled for two thousand years now. The Apostles preached it, pagan kings killed His followers, and millions followed and continue to follow Him. Today, also, we see that the world is divided for those for and against God. Sin destroys man. For this reason does Fr. Justin exclaim: “Brethren, let us stand against sin!” If we sin we, ourselves, will fall to eternal hell. The Lord raises those whom He loves, those who pray, come to Liturgy and commune and are fed by Him. And if they sin, fear not! Ask for forgiveness. The Lord forgives for He is love.

God is our best friend


From a homily delivered by Bishop Atanasije of Milesevo yesterday on the Sunday of the Prodigal Son. Translated from here

“We continue giving thanks unto the Lord who receives us at His table, for the Liturgy, the Holy Eucharist, is the Table of the Lord. There we commune with the Living God, the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, our God, and there we join in the community of those best, the community of Saints who are in God. And their names we invoked, and our lives we have put in their care, and we have referred one another to them. To God and His Saints.

From today’s reading we learn something very important, which is often overlooked. Namely, we learn that God is our best friend, the only faithful friend, who will never leave us, who always understands us. Just as the creator of an appliance knows that appliance, knows what its made of, in the same way – and much more – God knows us for He is our creator. As if we can hide something from Him. We cannot hide anything. But He approaches us with His fatherly goodness and love.

Since the beginning of history, man has tried to guess how he can make good order, but without success. But there is only one lesson, one step to take and everything would succeed. And that is that we understand that all of us are God’s children. To understand and accept this and to behave towards one another as our children of God. We need to grasp that God cares for all of us.

The Ioannite Sect

Reading The Rasputin Files, an account of this very mysterious figure Grigory. Came across this passage about Fr John of Kronstadt. Wasn’t it ROCOR that initially canonized him. I knew that he was a controversial priest but had no idea that there was an entire sect that worshipped him:

Masoretic vs. Septuagint

Not many people in church yesterday for the Feast of the Three Hierarchs. About seven of us in total. But a very nice liturgy. Quiet. Uneventful if one can say that of the Holy Eucharist. It definitely has it’s advantages, those less attended weekly liturgies. Below is a text and topic that has greatly interested me in the past and still does today. Enjoy.

Age old debate. HT here

Masoretic vs Septuagint : Guns, Lies and Forgeries

A Bible Story By Robert E. Reis

Once upon a time there was a tribe living in the Middle East that had a collection of sacred texts written in Hebrew, Chaldean and Aramaic. It is the nature of sacred tests to be venerated and transmitted from generation to generation unaltered.

As time passed members of this tribe emigrated to areas where Hebrew and Aramaic and Chaldean were not spoken. A large community settled and prospered in the city of Alexandria in Egypt. Greek replaced their tribal language. They needed an accurate translation of their venerated documents into Greek.

Around 250 B.C. seventy rabbis translated the sacred texts into Greek. This translation was not a bootleg edition. The project was approved by the High Priest and the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem. The Septuagint, the translation of the seventy, was an official document.

A Hebrew Bible exists today. It is used by Jews everywhere. It is called the Masoretic text. It was compiled around 700 A.D. It is almost one thousand years newer than the Septuagint. The rabbis who compiled the Masoretic text were not accountable to the High Priest in Jerusalem. There no longer was a High Priest. The rabbis who compiled the Masoretic text were not accountable to the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem. There no longer was a Sanhedrin.

The Septuagint predates the first appearance of the Masoretic text by almost ten centuries. The Septuagint is based upon Hebrew texts at least twelve centuries older than the texts upon which the Masoretic version is based. Yet, modern Christian translations of the Old Testament rely on the Masoretic Text, not the Septuagint.

Where is the problem?

Most of the quotations from the Old Testament in the New Testament used the Septuagint as their primary source. The integrity and truthfulness of the Septuagint is completely dependent on the Septuagint being a truthful translation. Discredit the Septuagint and there is no New Testament.

There was no controversy about the integrity of the Septuagint from 250 B.C. until 135 A. D.

What had happened to provoke dissatisfaction with the Septuagint among the Jews?

Annas and Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin had rejected the messianic claims of Jesus. The New Testament documents had been written and were circulating by A.D. 70. The Jews knew that the credibility of the Christian Gospels depended on the credibility of the Septuagint.  Something had to be done.
Around 95 A.D. Rabbi Akiva, who later proclaimed Bar Kochba as the messiah, hired a man named Aquila to translate a Hebrew to Greek version of the Old Testament that would undermine the messianic claims of Jesus found in the Septuagint. Some scholars believe that the Masoretic text was based in part on this tendentious translation by Aquila.

How is the Masoretic text different from the Septuagint?

Psalm 22:16 the word “pierced” has been replaced by “lion”.

Psalm 145: 13 omitted entirely.

Isaiah 53:11 the word “light” is omitted.

On 134 occasions the Tetragrammaton, the name of God, has been replaced by “Adonai”.

Psalm 151 was omitted entirely. (It is now omitted by almost all Christian Bibles !)

Exodus 1: The number 75 replaced by 70

Genesis 10:24 some generations removed.

Deuteronomy 32:8 “Angels Of Elohim” replaced with “children of Israel.”

Jeremiah 10 verses 6 and 7 have been added in the Masoretic.

Psalm 96:10 “Say among the nations, YHWH reigns from the wood” omitted.

Isaiah 19:18 “city of righteousness” changed to the “city of the sun” or in some versions “the city of destruction.”

The Masoretic scribes purposely and willfully rearranged the original chapter order in the prophetic Book of Daniel, so that the chapters make no sense chronologically.

Isaiah 61:1 “recovery of sight to the blind.”.  Omitted.

In Psalm 40:6 “a body you have prepared for me” was replaced by “you opened my ears.”

Deuteronomy 32:43 ‘Let all the messengers of Elohim worship him.’” Omitted.

Genesis 4:8: “Let us go into the field” is omitted.

Deuteronomy 32:43. Moses’ song is shortened.

Isaiah 53 contains 10 spelling differences, 4 stylistic changes and 3 missing letters for light in verse 11, for a total of 17 differences.

Isaiah 7:14. “Virgin” replaced by “young woman.”

(When Aquila made his Greek translation of the Old Testament at the behest of Rabbi Akiva, he changed the Septuagint’s “virgin” into “young woman”. The Masoretic compilers may have followed his lead.)

The Masoretic text differs from the Septuagint in hundreds of places.

How do we know which text is accurate?

The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered just after World War II.

According to carbon dating, textual analysis, and handwriting analysis the documents were written at various times between the middle of the 2nd century BC and the 1st century AD.  There are fragments from all of the books of the Hebrew Bible fragments except the Book of Esther and the Book of Nehemiah.

In addition an independent Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Bible exists, the Peshitta.

Control of the Dead Sea Scrolls was a military objective of Israelis. It was achieved by their victory in the Six Days War.

The publication of the scrolls slowed to a trickle.

After 1971, the international team even refused to allow the publication of photographs of the material. They excluded scholars who wanted to make independent evaluations.

The embargo was not broken until 1991.

An addition to the Dead Sea Scrolls, scholars can use the Peshitta to decide between the Masoretic text and the Septuagint.

I have given examples above of some of the places the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Peshitta, and the Septuagint agree.

The Masoretic Text is part of a tradition that began with Rabbi Akiva. Rabbis rewrote the Jewish Bible to destroy the credibility of the New Testament.

The Hebrew versions of the Old Testament have been used to proclaim scores of “messiahs” . The Septuagint was only used once.