Thursday, January 24, 2019

"For the Sake of the World: The Spirit of Buddhist and Christian Monasticism" (Book Review by Fr. John Romanides)

For the Sake of the World: The Spirit of Buddhist and Christian Monasticism

By Patrick G. Henry and Donald K. Swearer

Reviewed by John S. Romanides

The authors of this valuable and interesting book understand "contemplation" and an "urge for transcendence" to be a basic similarity between Buddhist and Christian monasticism. This is true for Augustinian neo-Platonism, which is the position adopted by this book as normative for the Christian monastic tradition.

However, the Augustinian synthesis between neo-Platonism and the Bible was never accepted in the East, and was rejected in the West by both Celtic and Gallo-Roman monasticism. It did not, finally, take hold in Merovingian Gaul; this is why St. Gregory of Tours, an admirer of Sts. Basil and John Cassian, never mentions Augustine. That is to say, such Gallo-Romans as Sts. Martin of Tours, Aridius, Patroclos, and the Lombard Stylite Vulfailac belong to the same biblical tradition as the fathers in the East. In 529 Emperor Justinian closed the Platonic school of Athens, and when Augustine's writings became known in the East he was dropped from the list of "fathers of the church," as these were understood there.

Monday, January 14, 2019

The Birth of Christ Celebrates the End of the Sickness of Religion

By His Eminence Metropolitan Hierotheos
of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

The feast of the Birth of Christ cannot be confined to a few sentimental situations: festive decorations, an intellectual and rationalistic interpretation of events, a moralistic framework; rather it has a very profound meaning and existential significance. If one remains at an external level, then they are leaving themselves hungry and thirsty, deprived of a life of meaning and existential freedom.

The incarnation of Christ was considered and was celebrated by the Fathers of the Church and the worshipping ecclesiastical community as the abolishing of religion and its transformation into a Church. In fact, the ever-memorable Father John Romanides had said in the most categorical way that Christ became human, in order to free us of the sickness of religion.

Friday, November 30, 2018

The Gurus, the Young Man and Elder Paisios (untranslated chapters - 4 of 4)

The Influence of Yoga on the Body and the Mind

An untranslated chapter from the book "The Gurus, the Young Man and Elder Paisios" pp. 381-393.

By Dionysios Farasiotis

In our age, the system of Yoga is proposed as a panacea to nearly all the problems that humanity encounters. We hear advertising slogans such as: "Do Yoga for health and beauty."

Since we have been engaged in Yoga for years, some of us had also become teachers of Yoga, and we want to convey to you one experience and problem with this.

In the beginning, one truly feels a healthiness, well-being and revitalization. However, it is suggested to attribute this improvement to certain "hidden powers" and a certain "secret wisdom" that exist hidden within the Yoga exercises (stances).

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

The Gurus, the Young Man and Elder Paisios (untranslated chapters - 3 of 4)

...continued from part two.

Karma Yoga: A Method of Enslaving People

An untranslated chapter from the book "The Gurus, the Young Man and Elder Paisios"

By Dionysios Farasiotis

An ancient Christian ascetic writer says, “Man is first conquered in the mind.” That is, if he believes some lie as the truth, then the mind is conquered and the man is deceived. Intellectual deception is not something we suffer without consequences. When we try to adopt these fake beliefs in our life, then we will start to pay. Our way of life, our behavior, and our reaction to life's irritations have an immediate and close relation with our thoughts and beliefs.

The rulers of all the ages knew this basic truth. They knew that in order to rule the masses, they would have to impose their thoughts and beliefs upon them first. Thus, they proposed a basic worldview that helped them to rule over and prohibit with the death penalty every other religious/philosophical worldviews that come into opposition to their own. Thus for example, the Persian kings, Egyptian pharaohs and the Roman emperors declared themselves "gods" in order to justify their dictatorship/despotism.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The Gurus, the Young Man and Elder Paisios (untranslated chapters - 2 of 4)

...continued from part one.

Yoga: A Science or a Religion?

An untranslated chapter from the book "The Gurus, the Young Man and Elder Paisios" (pages 364-370 in the original Greek).

By Dionysios Farasiotis

There was a time that my thoughts and my mind’s ability to reason had become “paralyzed”. And this had occurred, in spite of the fact that I had studied the positive sciences and had been trained to think.

I was always mysteriously drawn to exotic philosophies and oriental super-humans. I would enthusiastically and thoughtlessly swallow any theory that was given to me. After all, they were the experts!! No one had ever thought of doubting them.

It was pain that awakened my mind.

I had suffered many things on their account. I had been exposed to danger, pain, fear, and that was why I was forced to start thinking. I had to rid myself of a certain “psychological suggestion” the existence of which I had not been aware of at the time. I had to struggle hard to face reality. I needed to analyze, to examine actions, words, intentions - I had to reach conclusions about people.