Friday, November 30, 2018

Questions and Answers 64 - 67

Identity of Hermit in A Night in the Desert of the Holy Mountain

Question 64: Does anyone know who the hermit was in the book A Night in the Desert of the Holy Mountain by Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos?

Answer: In a lecture of Metropolitan Hierotheos I translated, he recalls: "After the publication of the book A Night in the Desert of the Holy Mountain I visited a Hagiorite monk. He said to me: 'Many people ask me whether I am the monk with whom you were talking. I answer them: Do not try to find out who it is. Try to take the advice and live the prayer about which the book is speaking.'"

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Questions and Answers 58 - 63

Ukraine, Russia and Constantinople

Question 58: I see conflicting opinions and histories about the Ukraine Church situation, specifically if it is coming from a Russian side or from the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Both bring different historical arguments and it becomes confusing. I get worried when I hear that it could lead to a split in Orthodoxy. Wanted to know what the real history is? Is it something we should be concerned about?

Answer: I tend not to address jurisdictional issues, as I don't think it is an issue but for Bishops to address, since they are the only ones involved with the issue. The problem is that it confuses the faithful and even affects them in what I would call a minor way. The Orthodox Church does not have a defined well-rounded ecclesiology universally accepted, despite what many will tell you, which is why the Church has so many ecclesiological problems. Ecclesiology did not really begin to develope in the Orthodox Church until the 19th century, or some would say the 20th century. And with all the problems the various jurisdictions went through in the 20th century, it makes jurisdiction problems much more difficult to address and be universally accepted.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Questions and Answers 53 - 57

On the Name "Skevos"

Question 53: Would you have any idea why the name “Skevos” is so common on the island of K├ílymnos? Especially, since there does not seem to be a “Saint Skevofilax”.

Answer: The name Skevos is short for the ecclesiastical office known as Skevophylax, which means "keeper of the vessels." This office was usually held by a cleric. As far as the modern popularity of the name in Kalymnos, from what I read, it is due to Skevos Zervos (1875–1966), who was a prominent Greek Professor; a pioneer surgeon in Transplants and Telemedicine, and who became a local and national benefactor in Greece. Though he may not have been the first to be named Skevophylax, it seems that he was the first to be called Skevos, and seeing that he was a hero from Kalymnos, the shortened name became popular.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Questions and Answers 48 - 52

Postings on Saints and Feasts

Question 48: I know you are very busy with your website, but would you consider putting up the main page with the Saints of the day some hours earlier so the faithful in the east, I am in Greece, can read about the feastdays ealier in the day? I think it would be a good idea for U.S. Orthodox, too, as they could anticipate the coming feastday. This anticipation of the coming day comes to our Church, as you know, from the Hebraic tradition which says that each day begins the evening before.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Questions and Answers 45 - 47

About Father Ephraim and his Monasteries, 
as well as Elder Joseph the Hesychast

Question 45: I hear conflicting accounts about visiting the monasteries established by Father Ephraim in America. What do you think about these conflicting accounts, and would you consider it safe to visit these monasteries?

Question 46: Thank you for answering my question on your website about the future canonization of Elder Joseph the Hesychast, but I must confess I see this as a conspiracy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate against Elder Ephraim of Arizona as to why he has not canonized Elder Joseph yet. Elder Joseph is perhaps the greatest saint of the 20th century, and probably the most significant one of Mount Athos in the 20th century. There is no reason not to canonize him?

Question 47: Would you consider Elder Ephraim of Arizona our greatest living saint?

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Questions and Answers 41 - 44

The Canonization of Elder Joseph the Hesychast

Question 41: Many contemporary elders have recently been glorified as saints. Why is the process for the glorification of Elder Joseph the Hesychast been so slow considering Elder Ephraim was a devout spiritual child of his?

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Questions and Answers 36 - 40

Clerical Homosexuality

Question 36: I have suspicions my priest is a practicing homosexual, though he is married to a wonderful woman. It makes me feel very uneasy. How should I deal with the situation?

Answer: [More details were revealed in the question, which I have left out to protect the identities of certain individuals.] Whether your suspicions are accurate or not, I obviously can't determine, but assuming you are correct, you should know that it is probably more common than you think for a married priest to be a homosexual, practicing or not. If it is something really bothering you, you can try confiding in another local priest or bishop, but this is unlikely to do anything to change the situation, unless your priest is participating in criminal behavior. Plus, as you yourself said, you have no proof, just a lingering suspicion. The Orthodox Church has had a major "problem" of homosexual clerics for many decades now, but it is something still very much "underground" and it is only really known about by those who "know the right people". And many of these homosexual clerics have high positions in the Church, which is why nothing is ever done about the issue unless there is criminal behavior involved. Therefore, if you can ignore it, do so, but if not, get thee to another parish. But I will say, there are some very good priests out there who it appears to me have homosexual tendencies, and unlikely practice it, and we do have saints in our Church that got ordained, unwillingly, who at one time were practicing homosexuals, so don't be too quick to judge. Canonically, however, an adulterous priest of any kind should be defrocked.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Questions and Answers 31 - 35

Suicide and Funerals

Question 31: I know that in the Orthodox Church, if mental illness can be proven, one who commits suicide can receive a funeral in the Church, however for others who commit suicide, it is prohibited. Can you explain why this is so?

Friday, June 1, 2018

Questions and Answers 26 - 30

Introducing the Bible to Children

Question 26: Is there a book you can recommend for children to introduce them to the Bible?

Answer: Yes, there are three things I would recommend for children, only because these are what introduced me to the Bible, and every parent should provide these for their children.

1. Superbook (the animated series)

Monday, May 21, 2018

Questions and Answers 20 - 25

The Identity of the Author of the Book "The Gurus, the Young Man, and Elder Paisios"

Question 20: Do you know the real identity of the author of The Gurus, the Young Man, and Elder Paisios? We know the author gives himself the pseudonym "Dionysios Farasiotis", but do you know his real name?

Answer: Yes I do. His real name is Athanasios Rakovalis. He has also written the book which is translated in English as Father Paisios Told Me. I will go into further details on this very soon in a separate post probably on my Orthodoxy and World Religions website.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Questions and Answers 14 - 19

Stolen Relics of Saint Anastasia the Pharmakolitria and Saint Polycarp of Smyrna

Question 14: Can you give us an update on the stolen relics of Saint Anastasia and Saint Polycarp in Greece?

Answer: As far as I know, though there have been arrests in the cases, the skull of Saint Anastasia the Pharmakolitria and the right arm of Saint Polycarp of Smyrna remain missing. This is especially sad to me, since Saint Anastasia appeared to my grandfather who was a lamp lighter in her church in Nicomedia when he was a child and healed him of a terminal illness, and through the information provided by the Mystagogy Resource Center the right arm of Saint Polycarp was brought to Romania by Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and venerated by over a million people. These two great treasures are a major loss for Greece, and we should pray for their return.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Questions and Answers 8 - 13

The Miraculous Properties of the Holy Fire of Jerusalem

Question 8: I recently saw this video ( where it shows a man displaying the miraculous nature of the Holy Fire after he received it in Jerusalem this past Easter. The gentleman in the video is trying to show his friends and family that the fire does not burn like normal fire, even though he says it slightly burns. However, I have a friend who told me that after he received the Holy Fire in Jerusalem, it burned him, and since then he lost faith in it being a miracle. Can you tell me more about this, and if this truly shows it to be a miracle?

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Questions and Answers 1 - 7

Clergy and Wedding Rings

Question 1: I am about to be ordained a deacon and have been married for five years. Do you know if I should remove my wedding ring during the celebration of the Divine Liturgy? This was a tradition I was told about.

Answer: In the tradition of our Church before ordination the candidate takes off his wedding ring and no longer wears it. One can explain this, first, that one has been raised to a new rank: he’s symbolically betrothed to the Church. Second, clergy should not wear any worldly jewelry, even if it symbolically demonstrates his marital relationship.

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