The Search for Orthodoxy – Fr. Seraphim Rose, USA

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TEXTS – ORTHODOXY

The Search for Orthodoxy

Fr. Seraphim Rose, USA

A talk given at the 1981 St. Herman Summer Pilgrimage, at the St. Herman of Alaska Monastery, Platina, California. The text has been taken from Fr. Seraphim’s handwritten notes. The section titles have been added by the editors, based on Fr. Seraphim’s section divisions.

I. INTRODUCTION
The number of people here today is a proof that there is a search for Orthodoxy today—those who don’t have it are looking for it, and those who do have it want to go deeper into it.

Our times, the second half of the twentieth century, are times of spiritual searching. Many are dissatisfied, whether with various forms of Christianity, with non-Christian religions, or with unbelief and atheism. Many hope against hope that there is more to life, more to spiritual reality, than they have found so far. More and more of these searchers are finding what they are looking for in the Orthodox Church:

1. African peoples of Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Zaire, and other mission fields are finding Orthodoxy to be the “true old religion” as against the various sects and cults of modern Africa.

2. Young Orthodox Christians of Soviet Russia and other Communist lands are finding in Orthodoxy both fresh air and recontact with their historical past after sixty years of atheist tyranny and suffocation.

3. Young Orthodox idealists of Greece are rediscovering the monastic ideal in the midst of the dead worldliness of contemporary Greece and are flocking to the monasteries of Mount Athos.

4. Americans, both young and old, weary of the rootless and arbitrary teachings of contemporary Protestantism, are discovering the true and profound Christianity of Orthodoxy.

5. Roman Catholics, in the midst of a disintegrating church structure, are finding that Orthodoxy is everything they once thought Roman Catholicism to be.

6. Young Jews, both in the Soviet Union and the free world, are increasingly finding the answer to the present-day spiritual vacuum among their own people in conversion to Orthodoxy.

And there are many others who are coming to the Orthodox Faith in these latter days. What does this mean for us who are already Orthodox?

We who have already found the end of our search in Orthodox Christianity must be aware of these searchers and of the literal movement towards Orthodoxy that is occurring throughout the world today. It is still small, in some places only a trickle—but it is already becoming one of the Continue reading

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Saint Paisios of Mount Athos (+1994), the temptation of atheism when he was 11 years old & the appearance of Jesus Christ to him

http://easternorthodoxchurch.blogspot.com

EASTERN ORTHODOX CHURCH

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Saint Paisios of Mount Athos (+1994)

the temptation of atheism when he was 11 years old

& the appearance of Jesus Christ to him

From the age of eleven [says Saint Paisios], I would read the lives of the Saints, I would fast and keep vigil. My older brother would take the books and hide them, but that didn’t stop me. I would just go into the forest and keep reading there.

Later, when I was fifteen, a friend of my brother named Costas told my brother, “I’ll make him willingly give up all this nonesense.” He came and explained to me Darwin’s theory of evolution. I was shaken by this, and I said, “I’ll go and pray, and, if Christ is God, He’ll appear to me so that I’ll believe. I’ll see a shadow, hear a voice—He will show me a sign.” That’s all I could come up with at the time.

So, I went and began to pray and make prostrations for hours; but nothing happened. Eventually I stopped in a state of exhaustion. Then something Costas had said came to mind: “I accept that Christ is an important man,” he had told me, “righteous and virtuous, Who was hated out of envy for His virtue and condemned by His countrymen.” I thought to myself, “since that’s how Christ was, even if He was only a man, He deserves my love, obedience, and self-sacrifice. I don’t want paradise; I don’t want anything. It is worth making every sacrifice for the sake of His holiness and kindness.”

God was waiting to see how I would deal with this temptation. After this, Christ Himself appeared to me in a great light. He was visible from the waist up. He looked at me with tremendous love and said, “I am the resurrection, and the life; he that believeth in Me, even if he dies, he shall live” (Jn. 11:25). He was holding the Gospel in His left hand, open to the page where the same words were written.

With this event, the uncertainties that had troubled my soul were overcome, and in divine grace I came to know Christ as true God and Savior of the world. I was convinced of the truth of the God-man, not by men or books, but by the very Lord Himself, who revealed Himself to me even at this young age. Firmly established in faith, I thought to myself, “Come back now, Costas, if you want, and we’ll have a talk.”

Source:

http://saintpaisios.wordpress.com

SAINT PAISIOS OF MOUNT ATHOS