ON THE VERGE OF A ‘THEOLOGY’ OF EUTHANASIA? 25 QUESTIONS CALL FOR ANSWERS
Protopresbyter Konstantinos Stratigopoulos
The issue of organ transplantations is important and calls for profound theological reflections and discussion, so that the Orthodox Church may utter its substantial speech at an all-Orthodox, rather than local, level.
The controversy until now has moved around the Brain Death Determination Tests. Are these tests, as specified by the Harvard Medical School, valid? Why have new data resulted in speaking about two sorts of death: brain death and clinical death? Why are the donor’s organs removed before his/her clinical death and after his/her brain death? It is known that the organs, except for some very few, cannot be recovered from a dead corpse because in most cases these organs are useless after the heart has stopped beating. It is certain that the organs are removed from a living being, whose brain is not functioning, according to the questionable tests by Harvard. Who can know the moment the soul departs from the body? Who can determine the mystery of death? Can the Church support the removal of organs before the definite dissolution of the interrelation between soul and body? Shouldn't the Church take into account the reaction of many scientists in Greece and abroad against the Harvard Brain Death Determination Tests as well as against the use of two sorts of death, brain death and clinical death?
All the above are linked to the evidence of the discussion so far. In the writer’s view, any intervention to remove the donor’s organs before his/her definite death is unacceptable because it means taking away the donor’s life, even when this is done for the sake of curing another patient. ‘The end does not justify the means’. The mystery of death shall remain a mystery for ever. Nobody should disintegrate it or determine it in their personal medical or theological views.
And while the entire discussion had lain in the framework of the above reflections, a book was published which shifted the whole level of working out a solution, ultimately coming against the mystery of death. This book was written by archimandrite Nikolaos Chatzinikolaou and published by the “Centre of Biomedicine and Ethics” under the title of ‘Free from the genome’. The chapter entitled ‘Spiritual morality and pathology of the transplantations’ (pages 315-345) states some views which go beyond the discussion so far. These views will be highlighted in the following text, followed by some 25 questions which call for an answer.
On page 318 of the book one reads : “Life is a gift of God, but not one that belongs to the donor only. It also belongs to its receiver. Life is ours as well. It is the paramount field of exercising our free will. Life is not donated to us in order to live in selfishness and possessiveness, but is rather offered to us so that it can be so much our life that we can even offer it. This is the reason why we love and take care of our life more than anything else. This is done both with great caution, because it is God’s gift, and in our free will, because it is our life. The best way to return it to God is by offering it to our neighbour. "There is no other way to save our souls than through our neighbour" (Saint Macarius the Egyptian).
Question 1. By all means our life is the field of exercising our free will. However, when our free will fails to lead us to God, isn’t this offering of our life moving along the horizontal axis of man-to-man relations and therefore plainly humanitarian?
Question 2. Could the statement that “Life is ours as well” serve as the theological foundation for choosing to do whatever we wish with our life?
Question 3. What is the meaning of the line “and let us commit our entire life to Christ our God” said in the Holy Liturgy?
Question 4. Could it be that the author of the book is confusing the phrase “the ministering to the saints” (2 Corinthians 8, 4) with the verb ‘commit’ as in “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” (Luke 23, 46) or in “they committed them to the Lord” (Acts 14, 23) and in “let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.” (1 Peter 4, 19) ?
Question 5. Why is the quotation from Saint Macarius used arbitrarily in relation to issues that were non-existent at that time?
Question 6. When the quotation from Saint Macarius is used arbitrarily and detached from its context isn’t there a risk of launching the idea that any humanitarian offering is sotiriological per se, therefore rendering the life in the sacraments of our Church unnecessary? Could it be that the balanced meaning of the quotation from Apostle Peter mentioned in Question 4 above gives us the complete answer, devoid of risky, polarizing views?
Question 7. Since the text is about offering and love, could it be that at the same time it testifies the fact that the organs are removed from a living person , since the dead, or even -in their mind- the brain-dead, do not afford their free will for offering and love?
Question 8. Aren’t we using nice words to persuade the people of God to make an offering which is no longer an offering? Otherwise, if the donor is alive, why isn’t he/she entrusting the issue of his/her death to the Lord of life and death?
On page 319 the following sentence boldly admits that the organs are removed from a living being: “When is the value of life more respected and acknowledged: as expressed towards the donor who irreversibly departs or towards the recipient who gets a chance to live?”
Question 9. How can the author be sure about the “irreversibility”? Can’t God intervene in man’s irreversible judgments?
Question 10. Why is the author wondering about “which of the two, the donor or the recipient, is more respected”? Has the Church ever evaluated the degree of respect owed to all persons?
Question 11. The author again accepts the fact that the donor is alive, since he talks about his/her "irreversible departure". So, would the author agree to taking off the donor’s life? Can the Church take part in taking a man’s life off? On the same page (319) the author talks about an “unlikely miracle –that’s what it is”.
Question 12. Is the author excluding the possibility of a miracle? All miracles are by their very nature "unlikely events". How can the author determine God's free intervention to act miraculously? Why is God excluded once and forever from the miracles?
I am afraid that Lazarus, the dead man in the town of Nain and Jairus’ daughter would not get a chance to be brought back to life if they lived today, because their organs would have been removed for reasons of “offering” with the blessings of the pastors of the Church.
On page 320 the following phrase is mentioned: “Medicine is faced with a dilemma and is called to proceed in love before two people who are dying. Of the two people, the one can ultimately build his/her life with the ruins, the remnants of the other’s life”.
Question 13. What kind of "love" is this, since it kills someone to let the other live? Are we allowed to kill in the name of love?
Question 14. Is this all making new grounds for the way of a ‘theology' of euthanasia or even of suicide at a later stage?
On page 323 we read: “The ‘conscious consent’ for the disposal of one’s body after his/her death is a par excellence sacred act of self-denial and love, because such a disposal implies for the donor to:
G. “Lastly, to assign at the moments of his/her thriving sobriety the right -and therefore the reliance on the doctors and relatives- to have his/her heart stopped by them at the moment they think right, instead of letting the heart stop on itself later, resting in full confidence that both doctors and relatives will wish his/her own pure good”.
Question 15. Isn’t there a crucial contradiction in the text, since it firstly stresses the disposal of one’s body “after his/her death” and secondly talks about an act of love? There comes again the question of whether one is still able to love after his/her death.
Question 16. Isn’t the author refuting his own argument by speaking about a “thriving sobriety”? Can the dead be sober?
Question 17. What is the Orthodox reflection or tradition that gives someone the power to ask for his/her heart to be stopped by doctors “instead of letting the heart stop on itself later”? The text is crystal-clear: the Church is recommended to bless an intervention on a living being. Who will assume such a responsibility? What kind of ‘theology’ shall attune to the extent of such non-theological absurdities?
Page 331 of the book clarifies the issue: “There is also the case when respect to man means not simply to allow him/her to die, but even to facilitate his/her death”.
Question 18. Where has the author found any teaching of the Orthodox Church about “facilitating” one’s death?
Further on, the author is trying to give an Orthodox touch in his novel and unacceptable “theology” by invoking the "Prayer in the agony of death” included in the “Mikron Euchologion”. He points out the sentence: "Free Thy servant from this intolerable grief and his/her pursuing bitter disease, and comfort him/her among the souls of the righteous".
Question 19. How does the prayer calling for the "freedom from grief" compare to the procedure of organ removal, which causes intolerable pain to the body and makes the death event more grievous, given the fact that the human being is still alive as we stated above?
Question 20. Isn’t the prayer for the “peaceful end of our life" annulled by the violent intervention for the removal of organs from the living donor? How can the Church pray for a peaceful end and at the same time recommend a violent end?
The inconsistency of the text is obvious in its 'good' moments. On page 330 we read: “We intervene on the body only to cure. Every attempt that promotes the body's corruption is also corrupting the soul and therefore it is sinful. Thus the process of the body's deterioration ought to be purely natural and never enforced". And on page 329 we read: “Death should never be accelerated for whatever reason. We have no right to remove anything from the body or break the union of soul and body or shorten the time of the body-soul inherence by any moment”.
Question 21. The author of the book needs to clarify the relevance of the lines on “the death that should never be accelerated” and on the “natural and never enforced deterioration of the body” with his previous statements about “facilitating a man’s death”. These last lines seem to reverse the author’s own well-stated views. Could this be an attempt to disorientate the readers by presenting also a few sound theological thoughts?
Question 22. By writing “we have no right to remove anything from the body" is the author also rejecting the transplantation of double organs from living donors to living recipients? Is he rejecting bone marrow transplantation? Finally, is he also rejecting blood transfusion?
On page 325 the following are mentioned: “The transplantation is not as valuable for the recipient -he/she is given biological life- as it is for the donor -he/she gives organs but receives the juices of spiritual life”.
Question 23. Since the transplantation is not so valuable for the recipient, how come this whole argumentation on love and offering? Is there an interest in the spiritual gain of the donor?
Question 24. What is the meaning of “the juices of spiritual life”? Is this a teaching of a new ascetic in our Church? Spiritual life comes by struggling within the Grace of the Holy Spirit. Following this new proposal, will a man live a spiritual life the moment he/she gives his/her organs while alive? Will he/she become a spiritual person at the moment he/she is dying?
On page 335 we read: “The Lord Himself, in His counsels to the holy Apostles during the Last Supper emphasized the superbness of the act of offering one’s own life to the others by saying: “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lays down his life for his friends” (John 15, 13). But also Apostle John gives us an even stronger point in his first letter: “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.” (1 John 3, 16)”.
Question 25. Is it legitimate to make use of quotations from the Holy Scriptures only to support our theological claims?
In explaining the quotation “and I lay down my life for the sheep” (John 10, 15), Saint John the Chrysostom writes: “Jesus keeps saying this to declare that He is no deceiver” (EPE edition 14, 121). In John’s Gospel (10, 17-18) we read: “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father." Saint John the Chrysostom explains: “Let us be extremely careful about ‘I have authority to lay down my life’: Who can’t sacrifice his life? Everybody can kill himself if he so wishes. So, this is not the meaning of Jesus’ words. Look what He meant: I have such authority to sacrifice my life, that nobody can ever take it off me if I don't let them, and this is impossible for man because man has no authority to sacrifice himself in any other way except by only killing himself. And if we are arrested by insidious people who can kill us, we have no power to sacrifice or avoid sacrificing our life, because they take off our life against our will. Whereas in the case of our Lord, this is not so, but although other people sought to take off His life, He had the authority not to sacrifice His life. So, after he had said “No one takes it from me”, He then added “I have authority to lay it down” meaning that He had the power to sacrifice His life, which man cannot do because many other people have the power to take off man's life.
However, Jesus didn’t say this from the beginning (and if He had, nobody would have believed that) but waited until the events had born witness to His power by the several times He managed to flee from His insidious would-be arresters and then told His disciples “No one takes my life from me”. So, if this is true, we understand that the following is true as well: when He may wish to take up His life again, He will have authority to do so, because as His death has been superior to man’s death, there is no doubt left that if He has indeed such authority as to lay down His life of His own accord only, then this same authority lets Him take it up again. So, from the first argument Jesus has proved the second argument as well, and through His death He has demonstrated His Resurrection too.” (EPE edition 14, 125-127).
In his comment on “we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers” (1 John 3, 16), Saint John rephrases: “I told you these words so that you love one another”, meaning that John wanted to guide his pupils to amity, so he wasn’t at all blaming them for not sacrificing their lives for the sake of the brothers. Coming back to Jesus, “just because there had been persecution by the majority of the people and the accusations had been terrible and intolerable and capable of crushing even the most noble-minded person, for this reason Jesus first foretold many events to His disciples and prepared their souls and then He mentioned about His sacrifice and revealed that all this was happening for their own sake…" (EPE edition 14, 481).
The community of our Church cannot be convinced by theological acrobatics or skirmishes. There is great responsibility and nobody is allowed to request through his contradictory views the acceptance of an issue which, if not dealt with theological prudence, can bring the Orthodox approach towards respecting every individual and towards the mystery of death against hard times.
THE CURE OF THE NEUROBIOLOGICAL SICKNESS OF RELIGION THE HELLENIC CIVILIZATION OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE,
CHARLEMAGNE'S LIE OF 794, AND HIS LIE TODAY- Protopresbyter John S. Romanides
John S. Romanides 1996. My analysis that "religion is a neurological sickness caused by a short circuit between the brain and the heart" was first published in 1996 under the title "Religion is a Neurological Sickness, but Orthodoxy is its Cure," by Koutloumousiou Monastery of Mount Athos in its volume entitled "Orthodoxy and Hellenism On Her Way Toward the 3rd millennium."
The Task Before Us and the Four Keys to This Study
Key One: The Primitive Greek Romans and the First Roman Historians Wrote in Greek, Not in Latin. Why?
Key Two: The Judaio-Christian Romans
Key Three: The Cure of the Sickness of Religion
Key Four: The Struggle between Romans and Carolingian Franks
Those who hate Romans call themselves Romans. Why?
The key to the Bible is the cure of the sickness of religion. In John 17, Christ prays for unity in the cure of glorification, not for divided Churches.
The Five Keys to the Bible
Nothing of the above can be found in Augustine
The Sickness of Religion and Franco-Latin Christendom and Orthodoxy today.
Sociology, Religion and Criminality
There are no Greek and Latin Fathers of the Orthodox Church. They are Latin- and Greek-speaking Roman Fathers of the Church.
Roman Christians and Roman Greeks
The real Latins of Roman history
The Final Version of Roman history
1. The Task Before Us and the Four Keys to This Study
There is no way of dealing with the reality of the Orthodox Church today except in terms of the Franco-Latin falsification of the history of the Roman Empire. That this is the only route to follow is clear from the fact that the dogmas and canons of the Nine Roman Ecumenical Councils were, from 325 AD to 1341 A.D., incorporated into Roman Law. To get at this reality we are obliged to deal with the falsification of this historical reality by the Franco-Latins since the time of Charlemagne on the one hand and by the Russians since Peter the Great on the other hand. These turns of historical events are simply the transformation of entire segments of the Church from being centers of the cure of the sickness of religion into missions for the spread of the sickness of religion.
John 17 is the par excellence prayer of Christ for the unity of His disciples and their disciples in the cure of the sickness of religion by means of their glorification by the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit which is the culmination of the purification and illumination of the centers of their personalities in their hearts. This prayer of the Lord of Glory has nothing whatsoever to do with divided Churches which have not the slightest inkling of the cure of glorification in question.
Most Christians, Jews and Moslems who live in or derive from the former territories of the Roman Empire have Roman ancestry. In contrast the Franco-Latin royalty and nobility came into the Roman Empire as conquerors of the West Romans whom they transformed into their serfs and villains and their middle class. The descendants of these conquerors are on the whole the royalties and nobilities of Europe. In other words those West Europeans who are not members of these royalties and nobilities are at least mostly Romans.
Most Arabs and Turks came into Roman territories as Moslem conquerors and also converted many Romans to Islam. Romans had no choice when Franco-Latin nobility and bishops were forced upon them and forcefully transformed them into their serfs and villains. This was part of the process of being converted to Frankish Christianity which forcefully took over the Roman Orthodox Church of Elder Rome and her Papacy between 1009 and 1046. In sharp contrast to this Franco-Latin treatment of Roman society, both Arab and Turkish conquerors did not transform Romans into their slaves. On the contrary they appointed the Roman clergy as leaders of Roman society which became a very important source of taxes. Of the five Roman Patriarchates of the Roman Empire, i.e. 1) Elder Rome, 2) Constantinople New Rome, 3) Alexandria, 4) Antioch and 5) Jerusalem, that of Elder Rome was now Frankish. Being Franco-Latin since 1046 the Papacy and its bishops continued to call themselves "Roman" Catholics. In this way they have been playing at being a "Roman" Papacy and Church since. During this time they reduced most of their conquered Romans to slavery and kept the free East Romans from Western view under the cover of names like "Greek" and "heretic." This means that the re-union of all the descendants of the Romans throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, North and South America, Australia and New Zealand in their ancient Roman identity and their Roman Orthodox Faith is the task before us. Let us take a careful look at the keys to this divine project.
This re-union of the Roman Orthodox world is at the same time each one's cure of the sickness of religion and is at the same time the power which will slam down the brakes on the happiness-mongering fiends who are destroying society and nature.
The keys to this study are the following: Key One, The primitive Greek Romans. Key Two, The Christian Romans. Key Three, The Struggle between Romans and Carolingian Franks. Key Four, the Biblical foundation of the cure of the neurobiological sickness of religion, especially based on 1 Cor. 12-15:11.
We will not deal with these parts in consecutive order. The reason for this is that the vision of history of both the pagan Romans and Christian Romans has been so adulterated by Franco-Latin propaganda that we are obliged at times to mix these parts together.
Key One: The Primitive Greek Romans and the First Roman Historians
Wrote in Greek, Not in Latin. Why?
The very existence of the primitive Greek Romans has been completely abolished by historians who continue to support Charlemagne's Lie of 794 which inaugurated the historical dogma that the Roman language was and is Latin. This has remained so in spite of the Roman sources which describe Greek as the first language of the Romans. It seems that Charlemagne's Lie of 794 was based on hearsay and the need to cut off West Romans enslaved to the Franco-Latins from the free East Romans. Frankish Emperor Louis II (855-875) clearly supports Charlemagne's Lie of 794 with the following words: In 871 he writes to Emperor of the Romans Basil I (867-885) that "we have received the government of the Roman Empire for our orthodoxy. The Greeks have ceased to be emperors of the Romans for their cacodoxy. Not only have they deserted the city (of Rome) and the capital of the Empire, but they have also abandoned Roman nationality and even the Latin language. They have migrated to another capital city and taken up a completely different nationality and language."
Let us contrast this Frankish nonsense with historical reality and the process by which Rome became the Empire of the whole Greek-speaking world. The primitive Greek Romans were the result of the union of the Greek-speaking tribes of Italy. These Greek tribes are the following: The Aborigines who came to the area of Rome from Achaia, Greece many generations before the Trojan War.These Aborigines had already accepted into their tribe what was left of the Greek Pelasgians of Italy who had been decimated by a mysterious sickness.These Aborigines united with some Trojans who migrated to their land and together they became the ancient Greek-speaking Latins whose capital was Alba Longa. A branch of these Greek-speaking Latins of Alba Longa, led by the brothers Romulus and Romus, founded Rome on the Palatine and Capitoline Hills. They were joined by some of the Greek Sabines of Italy who had been settled on the adjacent Quirinal Hill. The Sabines had migrated to Italy from Lacedaemonia in Southern Greece.
The Romans continued the process of subduing and including the rest of the Greek Latins and Sabines into their political system. Some of the Danubian Celts entered Northern Italy and began pressing upon the Etruscans who turned to Rome for help. But these Celts overran the Roman forces who tried to stop them and drove down toward Rome and defeated the main Roman army in battle and entered Rome in 390 BC. They occupied the whole of the city except the steep Capitoline Hill. The Romans had placed there all of their youth, treasures and records. The older population remained in their homes. After receiving a substantial ransom of gold the Celts withdrew. In order to better protect themselves the Romans subdued the rest of Northern Italy. The Romans also incorporated into their dominion Italian Magna Graecia, Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica This was the extent of Roman territories in 218 BC. The Punic Wars under the leadership of Hamilcar and especially of Hannibal, became the biggest threat to Rome since the Celtic occupation. Hannibal invaded Italy itself with his famous elephants and with Macedon as an ally. Macedon had conquered Rome's traditional Greek allies. Rome went as far as Spain to uproot Punic strongholds there and finally conquered Carthage itself. The Romans had crossed over into Greece to protect her Greek friends from Macedon and ended up conquering the Macedonian Empire and incorporating it into the Roman Empire. Rome also came to the aid of her Galatian and Cappadocian allies by liberating them from King Mithridates VI of Pontus (121/120-63 BC). In this way the Mediterranean Sea became the central lake of the Roman Empire.
The first four Roman annalists wrote in Greek. They were Quintus Fabius Pictor, Lucius Cincius Alimentus, Gaius Acilius and Aulus Postumius Albinus.
As we will see, the first text in primitive Latin was the Code of the Twelve Tables promulgated in 450 BC solely for the plebs. The Greek gentis abided by their own secrete laws. This is why the tradition of Roman public laws in Latin resulted from the cooperation between the consuls of the gentis and the tribunes of the plebs. In time so many of the plebs had become fluent in Greek that they became part of the administration of the Greek-speaking provinces. Indeed, according to Cicero one of the first Romans who wrote in Latin prose was the Sabine Claudius, Appius Caecus who was consul in 307 and 296 BC. He delivered a speech in Latin to the Senate against making peace with Pyrrhus, the king of Macedon. The first historians who wrote in Latin were Porcius Cato (234-140 BC) and Lucius Cassius Hemina (circa 146 BC). So what language were the Romans speaking and writing before this except Greek?
All the above agree with each other on the general outline of Roman beginnings. The reason for this is that they based themselves on the official Roman sacred annals (hierais deltois which the first historians simply repeated. In other words they were themselves annalists. However, little is preserved from these annals except as repeated in the Roman historians. But, not much of their works survive, or else may be hidden to facilitate Charlemagne's Lie. The danger of these histories is demonstrated by the use of Cato during the French Revolution. The Gallo-Romans realized from him that Romans and Greeks are basically the same people. In spite of this only fragments of Cato are publicly known. But since Dionysius of Halicarnassus used the same annals as the aforementioned Roman historians one must use Dionysius to reconstruct these lost or hidden sources. Dionysius makes clear distinction between Greek historians who do not use Roman annals and the Roman historians (and himself) who do. The trick used by some historians, who want to efface the Greek foundations of Roman history, is to mix the hearsay Greek tradition about Rome and the three Roman variations on the tradition about the founding of Rome found in their own annals and then to heap ridicule on the mixture they themselves create.
Only a short, but accurate summary account of the foundation annals are reported in Livy. Evidently this is so because he wrote his history in Latin, whereas the annals were evidently in Greek. Those who wrote in Greek simply copied what they read in Greek. It was the annalistic history of Hemena which laid the foundations for writing Roman history in Latin. Evidently, however, he and his imitators did not make full use of all the Greek texts, like speeches, at their disposal. Whereas those who wrote their histories in Greek simply copied the Greek texts directly from the annals. Since the primitive Romans were Greeks why should the official annals be in what we now call Latin. The primitive Latins and Romans were a mixture of Greek Arcadians, Trojans, Pelasgians and Lacedaemonian Sabines.
Key Two: The Judaio-Christian Romans
Judaism began spreading itself throughout the Hellenistic world becoming the breeding ground of early Christianity within the Roman Empire. Orthodox Christianity took roots within Judaism to finally become the official religion of the Roman Empire in the time of Constantine the Great (306-333). This act of Emperor Constantine created an intense reaction among the pagan Romans because of their identity as a Greek Civilization. Thus began the controversy between Greek Romans and Christian Romans. From this time on the name "Greek" came to mean pagan right up to the Hellenic Revolution of 1821 which was carefully planned by the British, French and Russian Empires.
Key Three: The Cure of the Sickness of Religion
From the viewpoint of the cure of the sickness of religion there was an identity between 1) those Jews who followed Christ and 2) the convert Roman and Greek Christians who joined the practice of the cure of the sickness of religion. We will first deal with the cure of the neurobiological sickness of religion by comparing it with Augustine's reintroduction of a Neo-Platonic form of this sickness of religion into all the traditions which have followed him, especially that of the Medieval tradition of the Franco-Latins and that of most Protestants. Then we will return to this cure again to show how it flows out of St. Paul's epistles, especially in 1 Cor. 12-15:11.
Key Four: The Struggle between Romans and Carolingian Franks
We begin at this Key Four in order to lay the foundation of this study by beginning with this struggle between the Carolingian Franks and Romans which began in earnest during the 8th and 9th centuries. This finally resulted in 1) the capture of the Roman Papacy by the Franco-Latins between 1009-1046 and 2) in a tremendous dose of Carolingian anti-Roman propaganda in the fields of Church, political and ethnic history because these Franks used everything at their disposal to not only subdue the Roman nation but also to drive it into non-existence.
2. Those who hate Romans call themselves Romans. Why?
The Franco-Latin Popes took over the Papacy definitively during a struggle which began in 983 and was consummated in 1046. They even called themselves Roman Popes in order to fool their West Roman slaves into believing that they still have a Roman Pope. But the reality of the matter is that these Franco-Latins, who played and are still playing the part of Roman Popes and Roman Church leaders, had in reality an intense hatred for their Roman slaves in Western Europe and the free Romans and their real Roman Emperor in New Rome. This hatred is described as follows by the Lombard bishop of Cremona Luitprand (922-972) who was involved in the movement to get rid of the real Roman Popes and replace them by force with mostly Tuscano-Franks and Lombards who became the main sharers of the Franco-Latin "Papal dignity" since.
Luitprand writes, "We Lombards, Saxons (of Germany), Franks, Lotharingians, Bajoarians, Sueni, Burgundians, have so much contempt (for Romans and their emperors) that when we become enraged with our enemies, we pronounce no other insult except Roman (nisi Romani), this alone, i.e. the name of the Romans (hoc solo, id est Romanorum nomine) meaning: whatever is ignoble, avaricious, licentious, deceitful, and, indeed, whatever evil."
Here Luitprand knows very well that he is not writing to "Greeks" in the East, but to Romans in the East. However, this same Luitprand, like all Franco-Latins since 794, have been telling their West Roman "serfs" and "villains" that there are no Romans, nor Roman Emperors, in the East, but only a bunch of "Greek heretics."
This is the background of the 19th and 20th century Russian, British and French policies of converting the whole Western part of the Ottoman Empire, called Romania or Rumeli (i.e. Land of the Romans) into such nations as Hellenes, Serbians, Bulgarians, Rumanians, Albanians and even Slavic Macedonians. Is the partition of Cyprus between Turks and Romans (who began calling themselves Hellenes in order to unite with Hellas) part of this plan or maybe part of another plan?
All the above has been done in spite of the fact that the primitive language of the ancient Romans was Greek, as we will see. The Russians, French and British paid special attention to destroying the Greek language which had been the language of unity among the Romans, not only in antiquity, but in the Balkans also, by replacing it with survivals of local dialects. The Franco-Latin nobilities of Britain and France, with the Russians tagging along with their Panslavism, had to guarantee the complete disappearance of the Roman nation according to the decision of Father Charlemagne.
3. The key to the Bible is the cure of the sickness of religion.
In John 17, Christ prays for unity in the cure of glorification, not for divided Churches.
We also begin with the key to the Bible which is the cure of the sickness of religion. This sickness from the very beginning took over the society of the Carolingian Franks. This is in sharp contrast to the Merovingian Franks who were Orthodox Christians, as we shall see. The Carolingians knew only Augustine till the 12th century. So the difference between these Frankish races is that the one supported the cure of the sickness of religion and the latter group became the great supporters of the causes of the sickness of religion which their Neo-Platonic form of Christianity has been.
That religion is a sickness with a specific cure is known from the tradition of the Old and New Testaments. However, that this sickness and cure exists in the Bible is known only to those who know that it is there and know how to use the Bible as a guide to said cure. For this reason the Bible is a closed book to all others, even to most Jews and Christians today. This means that Jews who accept the Old Testament alone, or Christians who accept both the Old and the New Testament, yet are not in the process of being cured under the guidance of one already cured, i.e. "glorified" (1 Cor. 12:26), automatically and unknowingly distort these books into supports for the sickness of religion, rather than its cure. Many such students of the Bible become Fundamentalists and at times quite dangerous. On the other hand the critical Biblical scholar, who uses whatever tools he has at his disposal to understand the Bible, cannot complete his task unless he knows the existence of the sickness of religion and its cure, and indeed in a Bible which is supposed to be his specialty. This holds especially true for those Orthodox 'scholars' who do not know that an Old and New Testament term for theosis is glorification.
4. The Five Keys to the Bible
What is missing in the work of such Biblical scholars and especially of those who work within and under the weight of the Franco-Latin Augustinian tradition, are the following five keys:
1) That the very core of the Biblical tradition is that religion is a specific sickness with a specific cure. This is what the claim "there is no God except Yahweh" means. Not knowing this fundamental first key one cannot know the second key:
2) That there is a clear distinction between Biblical terms which denote that which is "uncreated" and that which is "created." Not knowing this context one cannot know the third key to Biblical terms:
3) That "it is impossible to express God and even more impossible to conceive Him." In other words there is no similarity whatsoever "between the created and the uncreated." Anyone who thinks that Biblical expressions convey concepts about God is sadly mistaken. When used correctly Biblical words and concepts lead one to purification and illumination of the heart which lead to glorification but are not themselves glorification. An integral and essential part of knowing these foregoing three keys is the fourth key:
4) That the cure of the sickness of religion involves at all stages "the transformation of selfish happiness-seeking love" into "the selfless love of one's own crucifixion which is glorification." This glorification, therefore, is not only that of the Lord of Glory Incarnate, "but also that of all prophets and apostles (sent ones) before and after the Incarnation of the Lord of Glory." These four keys become the fifth contextual key of cure.
5) That "the expressions about God in the Bible are not intended to convey concepts about God. They act only as means to guide one to the purification and illumination of the heart and finally to glorification by the Pre-Incarnate and Incarnate Lord (Yahweh) of Glory which is to see Him by means of His uncreated glory or rule" and "not by means of ephemeral created symbols and concepts about Him" as is the case in the Augustinian tradition.
In John 17, Christ prays for the cure of the glorification of His disciples and their disciples, not for divided Churches — indeed not for traditions which have not the slightest idea what the cure of glorification is.
5. Nothing of the above can be found in Augustine
In sharp contrast to these five keys are the 5th century writings of bishop Augustine of Hippo (354-430) which survived the capture of his city by the Vandals in 430 AD. Augustine died during the siege on August 28, 430. Augustine writes that his Archbishop of Carthage Aurelius had commanded him to present his book De Trinitate to him for examination[ 16 ] but we have no record of the result of this action. Both Arius and Eunomius were condemned by the First (325) and Second (381) Ecumenical Councils respectively for teaching that the Messenger Logos Who appeared to Moses in the burning bush is a creature. Augustine, of course, believes that the Logos is indeed uncreated. However, he came up with his own innovation that the whole Holy Trinity appeared to Moses and the prophets by means of such an angel or angels which God brings into existence to be seen and heard and then passes back into non-existence when their mission is accomplished. Evidently Archbishop Aurelius heard about this and possibly also Augustine's teaching about original sin and predestination and wanted to see for himself.
Augustine's writings found their way to parts of the West Roman provinces. St. John Cassian (circa 360-433), former ascetic in the deserts of Egypt and then deacon of the Patriarch of Constantinople St. John Chrysostom, challenged Augustine's teaching about original sin and pre-destination without mentioning him. The teachings of Augustine on these points were condemned by the Council of Orange in 529. Augustine's writings completely captured the 8th century Carolingian tradition which knew basically only Augustine until the 12th century. At that time the Franks acquired a translation of St. John of Damascus' "Book on the Orthodox Faith" which they simply understood within their own Augustinian categories. By the 11th century the Franks had taken over all of Western Europe, except Spain, by either conquest or diplomacy. The Spanish Romans under Arab rule were still under the direct surveillance of the Roman Emperor of Constantinople New Rome. The Umayad Arabs of Spain and the Abbasid Arabs of Damascus and then Baghdad called their Roman Orthodox subjects Melkites, i.e. those who belong to the religion of the Roman Emperor in New Rome Constantinople.
According to this Augustinian tradition God supposedly brings into existence creatures to be seen and heard and which He passes back into non-existence after their mission of conveying messages and visions has been accomplished. Higher than this revelation by means of such ephemeral creatures are, according to this tradition, the concepts which God supposedly injects directly into the human intellect.
Biblical scholars who either accept this tradition or believe that this is actually what the Bible is saying, unknowingly contribute to the concealment of both the sickness of religion and its cure and so the correct reading of the terms used in the Bible to denote the difference between what is "created" and "uncreated." What is worse, the adepts of such interpretations of the Bible think that the biblical writers themselves believe that God can be expressed with words and indeed conceived by the human intellect, not perfectly, but at least approximately.
In sharp contrast to this type of tradition is that of the Fathers of the Roman Ecumenical Councils. Only those prophets, apostles and fathers who have reached glorification, both before and after the Incarnation of the Lord of Glory, can know what glorification means and how to lead others to this cure and thus to the correct distinction between the created and the uncreated in the Bible.
Therefore, both fundamentalist and non-fundamentalist biblical scholars, who have been victims of Augustinian and Carolingian presuppositions, become prone to misunderstandings of what they read in the Bible, especially when terms and symbols denoting glorifications which produce prophets are alluded to. A classical example is 1 Cor. 12:26. Here St. Paul does not write, "If one is honored," but "If one is glorified," i.e. has become a prophet. To be glorified means that one has seen the Lord of Glory either before His incarnation or after, like Paul did on his way to Damascus to persecute the Incarnate Lord of Glory's followers. Another example is the phrase "kingdom of God" which makes it a creation of God instead of the uncreated ruling power of God. What is amazing is that the term "kingdom of God" appears not once in the original Greek of the New Testament. Not knowing that the "rule" or "reign of God" is the correct translation of the Greek "Basileia tou Theou," Vaticanians, Protestants and even many Orthodox today, do not see that the promise of Christ to his apostles in Mt.16:28, Lk. 9:27 and Mk. 9:1, i.e. that they will see God's ruling power, was fulfilled during the Transfiguration which immediately follows in the above three gospels. Here Peter, James and John see Christ as the Lord of Glory i.e. as the source of God's uncreated "glory" and "basileia" i.e. uncreated ruling power, denoted by the uncreated cloud or glory which appeared and covered the three of them during the Lord of Glory's Transfiguration. It was by means of His power of Glory that Christ, as the pre-incarnate Lord (Yahweh) of Glory, had delivered Israel from Its Egyptian slavery and lead It to freedom and the land of promise. The Greek text does not speak about the "Basileion (kingdom) of God," but about the "Basileia (rule or reign) of God," by means of His uncreated glory and power. At His Transfiguration Christ clearly revealed Himself to be the source of the uncreated Glory seen by Moses and Elijah during Old Testament times and who both are now present at the Transfiguration in order to testify to the three apostles that Christ is indeed the same Yahweh of Glory, now incarnate, Whom the two had seen in the historical past and had acted on behalf of Him.
The Vaticanians have, or used to have, a tradition of identifying their Church with the earthly kingdom established by Christ with the Franco-Latin Pope as the Vicar of Christ, Emperor and Bishop of Rome.
Neither Protestants nor Vaticanians know said four keys for reading the Bible. But what is worse, many of them allow themselves to look upon others as either among God's chosen ones (like themselves), or else not chosen and therefore destined to hell since all have supposedly inherited the guilt of Adam and Eve. Also, they continue with Augustine, that a certain number of those who have inherited the guilt of Adam and Eve are, like themselves, among the ones chosen by God for salvation without any merit of their own. God chooses them, in spite of their inherited guilt, to replace that number of angels which had fallen. Because of this paganism, Franco-Latin Christianity was destined to lose ground before the onslaught of modern science and democracy. Chosen ones can never be part of a democracy.
Augustinian Christians, both Vaticanians and Protestants, are literally unbalanced humans, and had been indeed very dangerous up to the French Revolution and are potentially still quite dangerous. They were never capable of understanding that God loves equally both those who are going to hell and those who are going to heaven. God loves even the Devil as much as He loves the saint. "God is the savior of all humans, indeed of the faithful" (1 Tim. 4:10). In other words hell is a form of salvation although the lowest form of it. God loves the Devil and his collaborators but destroys their work by allowing them to remain inoperative in their final "actus purus happiness" like the God of Thomas Aquinas.
The question at hand is not, therefore, whom God loves and saves. God loves all and God saves all. Even human doctors are morally obliged to cure all patients regardless of who and what they are. From this viewpoint hell is indeed salvation, but the lowest form of it. One either chooses or one does not choose to be cured from the short-circuit which makes one religious. The one who chooses cure exercises himself like an athlete who follows the Lord of Glory's directions for purifying his heart. "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God." One cooperates with Christ in the purification of one's heart and in acquiring the illumination of the unceasing prayer in the heart. This allows love to do away with self-centeredness and selfishness, but at the same time increases one's dedication to destroying the work of the Devil. When God sees that one is ready to follow the cure which will make him selfless He guides him into the courtyard of glorification and takes him from being a child to manhood, i.e. prophethood (1 Cor. 13:11). One begins with sick love concerned with one's own salvation and graduates into selfless Love which, like Saint Paul, would forego one's own salvation for that of others
In other words one either chooses cure or refuses cure. Christ is the Doctor who cures all His patients to that degree of cure they accept, even that of hell.
6. The Sickness of Religion and Franco-Latin Christendom and Orthodoxy today.
The sickness of religion is caused by a short-circuit between the heart and the brain. This is what causes fantasies which distort the imagination and in varying degrees cuts one off from reality. The cure of this short-circuit has three stages which will occupy us in some detail later. They are: 1) the purification of the heart, 2) the illumination of the heart, which repairs this short-circuit which produces fantasies, of which both religion and criminality are by products, and 3) glorification, which makes one uncreated by grace and by which one sees the uncreated ruling power of God which is a simple energy which divides itself without division and saturates all of creation being everywhere present, though not by nature, and ruling all of creation. The Bible calls this the "glory" and "rule" of God and those who reach glorification "prophets" and "sent ones (apostles)."
What is sick is the "spirit of man" in the heart which in the early Christian tradition came to be called the noetic faculty, not to be identified with the intellectual faculty of the Hellenic tradition whose center is in the brain. In its cured state within the heart the noetic faculty allows the brain to function without fantasies of which religion and criminality are by-products. In this cured state the noetic faculty prays without ceasing while the brain goes about its normal chores. This unceasing prayer of the noetic faculty keeps the short-circuit between the brain and the heart in repair without impairing the imagination now free from fantasies which are the main tools by which what is called the "devil" makes his slaves. Thus we have "noetic prayer" in the heart and "intellectual prayer" in the brain which is the foundation of the prophetic tradition of both the Old and New Testament. This was the center of the apostolic Church which became the Orthodox Christianity of the Roman Empire.
This tradition of cure survived in Orthodox monasticism quite strongly within the Ottoman Empire. It was only during the drive of the Empires of Russia, Francia and Britain for the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire that they obliged the Orthodox States they created from its ruins to accept the reforms of Peter the Great as one of the essential conditions for gaining their support. In other words, without realizing it, these three Empires concentrated their attack on the cure of the sickness of religion, whose center had for centuries been Orthodox monasticism. This was replaced by a so-called Westernization, which had been accomplished in Russia, which simply meant that Orthodoxy was being condemned to becoming a religion like Vaticanism and Protestantism.
The clearest New Testament outline of this cure of the sickness of religion is to be found in St. Paul 1 Cor. 12-15:11. Here we have the key to his epistles which become clear only within this context. St. Paul was a Pharisee who stemmed from the same tradition as the Hasidim whereas Christ and His apostles evidently belonged to a parallel tradition with the same Old Testament foundations which makes the New Testament intelligible.
We call religion a neurobiological sickness since it stems from a short-circuit between the nervous system centered in the heart, which circulates the spinal fluid, and the blood system centered in the heart which pumps blood throughout the body, including the nervous system. The cure of this sickness of religion is accomplished by repairing said short-circuit between the two hearts which pump blood and spinal fluid which allows them to function normally. In this normal state the various fantasies, religious and otherwise, produced by said short-circuit between the brain and the heart disappear and with them one's fantasies also disappear, including that of religion. The Bible calls this neurological energy the spirit of man which the Fathers came to call the noetic energy.
What is especially interesting is the fact that both religion and criminality stem from the same short- circuit and its fantasies. When being cured one believes either that which he himself sees and which certain others see, only on the condition that they train their charges to see for themselves. The method of cure is like seeing for oneself what specialists are trained to see by means of instruments what cannot be seen by the naked eye, not only in the next life, but especially in this life. The Bible calls this glorification. "When one is glorified the rest rejoice" (1Cor. 12:26) because he has become a prophet who has seen and participated in the uncreated glory of God which has no similarity whatsoever with anything created. This is why a prophet can guide others to the cure of glorification, but cannot describe the uncreated experienced in glorification. The basis for this restoration of normalcy is that the one who sees has himself been restored to normalcy which is to see the uncreated force which creates and governs all of creation. The one cured actually sees above normal seeing from time to time seeing the glory and rule of the Creator. When not in the state of seeing the short circuit in question is kept under repair by the unceasing prayer in the heart while the brain functions normally. The Old and New Testaments call this force the 'glory' and 'reign' of God which is "everywhere present dividing itself without division and saturating all creation." Also those who have seen it and guide others to the cure of their short-circuit are the prophets both before Pentecost and after Pentecost.
Although not having access to today's electronic microscopes these prophets experienced the fact that there is no similarity whatsoever between the Creator's glory and reign and His creation. Although this is true for the natural human faculties, there is some similarity of this Glory's manifestation, as a simple energy which divides itself without division and is present everywhere, to the way cells divide themselves and multiply in biological beings when seen by the electronic microscope. The real difference is that God's creating glory and reign does not change or die nor is it composed of matter. In any case the Platonic idea that material and spiritual forms are copies of immutable and immaterial forms were correctly rejected by all those who had had an experience of the Glory of God.
We recall the Four Keys described above. Within their context there are two general types of terms in the Bible: 1) Those terms which apply to the uncreated and cannot be conceived by comparison with one's experience of created reality. Such terms are "God," "Lord (Yahweh)," "Spirit of God," "Father," "Logos," "Messenger of God Who calls Himself God," "Messenger of Great Council," "Son of God," "King of Glory," "rule or reign of God," "Glory of God," etc.: and 2) those which represent created reality and which are understood as such. Terms denoting the uncreated are not to be understood within the context of what one may understand by comparing these terms with what one knows from created reality. The sole purpose of terms denoting the uncreated is to play the role of leading to the purification and the illumination of the heart and then to glorification during which said words and concepts are abolished and wherein only love remains (1Cor. 13:8).
Augustine never understood these two distinctions, nor the four keys previously discussed. Franco-Latin Christianity and doctrine began its first essay into theology and doctrine with the Palatine School established by Charlemagne at the end of the 8th century. This school knew only Augustine because its organizer the Saxon Alcuin (735-804) evidently knew only Augustine thoroughly. Augustine was not a Father of an Ecumenical Council, nor was he familiar with any Father of an Ecumenical Council. One is given the impression that he was taught by Ambrose who supposedly baptized him. However, the basic doctrinal differences between Augustine and the Fathers of the Church are exactly the differences between himself and Ambrose. Nor did Augustine have the slightest idea of the keys by which Jews and the Orthodox Fathers were interpreting the Bible. He simply knew not one Father of an Ecumenical Council. This is exactly why Vaticanists and Protestants still do not understand the theology of the Ecumenical Councils. When the Franco-Latins finally became familiar with the texts of the Ecumenical Councils they simply enslaved them to Augustinian categories. They had acquired the text of Dionysius the Areopagite which was translated by John Scotus Eriugena which confused them because of the translator's theology. It was only in the 12th century, as we saw, that these Franks acquired a Latin translation of St. John of Damascus' summary of the Patristic theology and doctrine of the Ecumenical Councils, but as always until today, understood him within Augustinian categories. Neither the Franco-Latin Papacy, established between 1009 and 1046, nor Augustinian Protestants, have ever been able to see these distinctions in the Bible and so remained unaware of their existence. This means that before the advent of modern Biblical criticism the Vaticanist and Protestant understanding of Biblical inspiration was not much different from the Moslem belief that the Koran is "uncreated." That of course has changed, but the end result has remained the same.
7. Sociology, Religion and Criminality
Since fantasies produced by said short-circuit are at the basis of all sociological and historical phenomena, including everything from religion to criminality, one can not make a clean cut separation between society and religion, or abnormal and so-called normal behavior within human society. All peoples and societies suffer from this same short-circuit. Many Orthodox Christians and Jews are not actively involved in their traditional cure of the sickness of religion which is supposedly the foundation of their beliefs and practices. For this reason they are sometimes capable of outdoing others in cruelty and barbarism. In any case the idea that religion per se is good and necessary for society is absolute nonsense. There are historical cases wherein there were and still are those who believe that they will have special privileges in their heaven for killing and enslaving others and who will have wives in heaven for their gratification.
We have at least two societies which had been historically and to an important degree based on this cure of the sickness of religion. They are the prophets of the Old Testament accepted officially by the Jewish State and the apostles and prophets of the Old and New Testaments and the prophets since called Fathers of the Church as accepted officially by the Roman State. What divides them is the Incarnation of the Lord (Yahweh) of Glory. Both had accepted the OT prophets and some Jews and many Romans and other peoples accepted also Christ and the apostles within this context of the cure of this sickness of religion.
However, those Christians who followed heresies condemned by Roman Ecumenical Councils were in each case re-transforming the faith of the Bible into pagan forms of Christianity based on the sickness of religion instead of its cure. Perhaps the greatest of the pagan forms of Christianity is that of Augustine. His erroneous teachings about all of humanity being responsible for the sin of Adam and Eve and his doctrine of pre-destination based on his teaching about original sin and his psychopathic Platonic mysticism, had gone undetected in the East until the 15th century. But in Roman Gaul the Council of Orange (529) condemned his teaching about inherited sin and predestination. Finally, the Roman Ninth Ecumenical Council of 1341 in Constantinople also, but unknowingly, condemned some of Augustine's heresies. His other heresies were never known nor understood in the East. Indeed, the said Ninth Ecumenical Council in Constantinople (1341) condemned the heresies of Barlaam the Calabrian about revelation and the purification and illumination of the heart and glorification not realizing that his teaching belonged to Augustine. Indeed the Fathers of the this Council claimed that the Devil inspired Barlaam to invent this new heresy.
What is of interest is the fact that in each case of the appearance of a specific heresy it was simply one more product of the sickness of religion. Perhaps the same is true of Judaism. It was on such grounds that the Fathers of the Church easily defeated heresies based on this sickness of religion. However, what is even more interesting is the fact that many Orthodox who have inherited the Orthodox form of Christianity of the Nine Roman Ecumenical Councils are at present in a state of confusion. This confusion began especially with the reforms of Peter the Great based on the deliberate Westernization of the Russian Church which was in reality its Augustinianization.
These Russian reforms became the key by which Emperor Alexander I of the Russian Empire and Napoleon I of the Frankish Empire, joined a bit later by the British Empire, began their policies of breaking up the unity of the Roman Orthodox Christians within the Ottoman Empire. They attacked the common language of the Roman Orthodox, which since the time of the Ancient Romans had been Greek, by claiming that all who spoke Greek were not Romans, but "Greeks". This is the Charlemagnian Lie of 794 which was adopted by the Franco-Latin royalty and nobility which still guides not only European policies, but also that of Americans who have been enslaved by British historiography. At the same time these three powers used the various dialects which survived from older times to build linguistic enclaves which became Hellenes, Serbians, Bulgarians and Rumanians, to which they added Albanians and now even of all things Slavic Macedonians. This process called Balkanization began to be applied in 1821 and is still being applied. The very same principles were and are being applied to the whole Arab World.
This Westernization of Orthodoxy was imposed on all the Orthodox States which arose out of the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. This began with the establishment of the State of Greece in 1827, followed by Bulgaria in 1878-79, Romania in 1879-1880, Serbia in 1882 and was completed in 1923 with the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire itself. Each case of the establishment of a State was accompanied by the foundation of a State Church. State Theological Schools were also established to make sure that the work of Peter the Great may take root and take over. Prior to this development the monasteries had been the training ground for producing leaders specialized in curing the sickness of religion. However, said theological faculties became the basis of transforming Orthodox Church leaders and theologians into victims of the sickness of religion who have been transforming the Orthodox Church into a religion.
Quite interesting is the fact that the Turks called the European part of their Ottoman Empire Rumeli, i.e. Land of the Romans. The reason for this is not only the fact that the Ottomans conquered what was left of the Roman Empire and her capital, but also because all Orthodox Christians within the Moslem world, from Spain to the Middle East, called themselves Roman Orthodox and were and are still called Roman Orthodox by the Arabs, Turks, Persians, etc. However, during the 18th century the Russians, the British and the French actively propagandized the Lie of Charlemagne that Romans who spoke the Greek language are not Romans, but "Greeks". In this way they finally succeeded in convincing, or conning, even the Neo-Hellenes, the Neo-Bulgarians, the Neo-Serbians, the Neo-Rumanians and then the Neo-Albanians and Neo-Macedonians, that the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople-New Rome is not Roman, but "Greek". This in spite of the fact that this Ecumenical Patriarchate never called nor calls itself "Greek", but only Roman in the Turkish and Greek languages.
In the light of this, even a casual reading of the Encyclopedia Britannica will reveal with what hatred the Russians, French and British describe the Phanariote Romans of Constantinople who helped the Ottomans to rule Rumeli, i.e. the Balkans, as the hated and corrupt "Greeks." But even till this day the Roman Orthodox of Turkey call themselves Romans in both Turkish and Greek and are called Romans by the Turks. The magnitude of the Charlemagnian Latin versus Greek Lie has been saturating Franco-Latin history writing since 794 and must be dealt with accordingly, that is, as an outright lie. One must begin by assuming that Franco-Latins are experts at telling historical lies in order to carefully separate their telling lies from their telling the truth. Much of Roman history writing is still controlled by the Franco-Latin nobility who are still faithful to their Father Charlemagne and his lies about the Roman Empire which are still going strong in the non-existent fields of Byzantine history, civilization, theology, etc. which are Roman and not Byzantine.
8. There are no Greek and Latin Fathers of the Orthodox Church.
They are Latin- and Greek-speaking Roman Fathers of the Church.
We begin with the fact that there are no "Latin" or "Greek" Fathers of the Church. All Fathers of the Church within the Roman Empire are Greek-speaking and Latin-speaking Roman Fathers of the Church with their localities attached to their description. The Carolingian Franks literally invented the distinction between "Greek" and "Latin" Fathers of the Church. Why? In order to cover up the fact that they had no Father of their Church until Rabanus Maurus (776-856). So they simply broke the Roman Fathers in two and began calling them "Greek" and "Latin" Fathers of the Church. In this way they simply attached Rabanus Maurus and his successors to their so-called "Latin" Fathers of the Church. But the Fathers of the Church who wrote in either Latin or Greek or in both Latin and Greek, were neither Latins nor Greeks, but were simply Roman Fathers of the Church.
9. Roman Christians and Roman Greeks
What is absolutely amazing is the fact that in the Roman tradition since Constantine the Great the real Romans had made a clear distinction between Roman Christians and Roman Greeks. The name Roman Greek simply meant Roman Pagan. St. Athanasius the Great's book called "Against Greeks" simply means "Against Pagans." So the Frankish title "Greek Fathers of the Church" means in the Roman language simply "Pagan Fathers of the Church."
We use the term Franco-Latins for the mostly Teutonic members of the medieval royalty and nobility of Western Europe who called themselves "Latins." We call them by this term "Franco-Latins" in order to distinguish them from the two groups of real Latins of Roman history. Not having the sources of Roman history available and wishing to cut off their conquered West Romans from the East Romans, the Franco-Latins, since the time of Charlemagne, were misled into believing and promoting the position that the early Latins or Romans were Latin speaking, a basic historical fallacy which everyone today accepts. All my writings have been taking for granted that the Romans had fallen so much in love with Hellenic Civilization that Rome itself saw the light of History speaking Greek. Therefore, I had placed the historical appearance of Rome as a Greek speaking city within this Carolingian Frankish understanding of Roman history, as a supposedly Latin speaking people who began speaking Greek also.
We repeat what we already said. The entourage of Charlemagne either invented, or came to believe the tale that Emperor Constantine the Great (306-337) moved the capital of the Roman Empire from Old Rome in Italy to New Rome-Constantinople and thus supposedly and deliberately abandoned the Latin language and nationality in favor of the Greek language and nationality.
10. The real Latins of Roman history
Constantine the Great was not Latin, he was Roman. As we saw the first Latins in history were a Greek-speaking people who were conquered by the Romans, whose language was also Greek. These Latins were absorbed into the Roman nation and eventually had become a name held in honor by their descendants, i.e. the family of Julius Caesar. But the Latin name was revived as a result of the Italian Wars during 91-83 BC. One group of Italians fought for complete independence from Rome while a second group revolted demanding Roman citizenship. The first group were simply defeated, while the second group had to be satisfied with the "Latin" name instead of the "Roman" name. These Latins finally received the Roman name and became Romans in 212 AD This happened 95 years before Constantine began to rule in 306. Not only was Constantine not a Latin, but those born Latins in 211 were probably all dead in 306.
Roman sources of history eventually began to become available to these Franco-Latin barbarians. Instead of correcting their misunderstandings of Roman history, they became specialists at manipulating the Roman sources in order to force them into obeying Charlemagne's Lie of 794. As we saw, Constantine the Great and his successors had supposedly abandoned the Latin language and nationality in order to speak Greek and become Greeks. According to the Cambridge Medieval History vol. IV, Part I, 1967, p. 776, Constantine the Great was a Roman Emperor between 306 and 324 and a "Byzantine Emperor" between 324 and 337.True to 'noble' British tradition Part I and II of Vol. IV are now called the "Byzantine Empire." Both these volumes publish J. B. Bury's Introduction to the original volume IV published in 1923. Bury there writes that "We have, however, tampered with the correct name, which is simply 'Roman Empire,' by adding 'Eastern,' etc. The historian Finlay put the question in a rather awkward way by asking, "When did the Roman Empire change into the Byzantine? The answer is that it did not change into any other Empire than itself." In spite of these words of J. B. Bury, the new two volumes IV, which replaced his single volume, "The East Roman Empire," are called the "Byzantine Empire" anyway. WHY?
11. Why Byzantine?
Why is the "Byzantine Empire," which never existed, now so essential to the British, French and Russian policies of divide and conquer? One can see the key clearly in the London Protocol of August, 31, 1836 which was signed by the representatives of these three Empires upon the occasion of the completion of the maps delineating the frontiers between Hellas and the Ottoman empire. Many of the Romans who fought in the War of Independence, which began in 1821, ended up outside of the liberated areas now called "Hellas." This Protocol lists two groups of "Greeks" who now have the legal right to migrate to Hellas, because they are now legally "Hellenes." However, historically the terms Greeks and Hellenes mean the same ancient people. The one is the Latin term for Greeks and Hellenes is the Greek word for Greeks. In sharp contrast is the fact that in the Turkish and Greek languages of the time these "Greeks" are called "Romans". However, these Romans were being called Greeks by the Franco-Latins since 794. Charlemagne and his advisors decided to call the Free Romans "Greeks" in order that the West Romans may come to believe the Romans of the Roman Empire are not Romans but "heretical Greeks."
So the French text of the Protocol in question reads as follows: "It is well understood that the following are now understood to be 'Hellenes:' 1) The 'Greeks', and 2) The 'Hellenes'. Here are the two terms which reflect the problem which had to be solved. The Turkish translation of the two terms are clear. The Greeks are in Turkish called Romans-Rumlar and the Hellenes are in Turkish called Hellenes-Younanlar. However, this is not the essence of the problem. In order to secure the support from these three Empires, who simply wanted to divide and conquer, the Romans had to not only call themselves Hellenes, but they had to pass a law that the Hellenic Revolution was not only a liberation from the Ottoman Empire, but also a liberation from the now fallen Roman Empire which the British, French and Russians began calling the Byzantine Empire. This is why the Carolingian Greek Empire which came into the existence in the Frankish imagination in 794, had to become now the Byzantine Empire. Why? Because to say that "Hellenes" were liberated from "Greeks" would have caused even jackasses to burst out laughing!
During the celebration of Greek Independence Day on March 25 the BBC tried to pass off the position that the Turks had liberated the Hellenes from the Byzantines. But it backfired. I reported this in one of my books.
Even Arab sources are being contaminated by an invasion of the term "Byzantine" as the translation of the Arab name for Roman which is Rum. Charles Issawi, Professor of Political Science in the American University of Beirut, translated and published in his book "An Arab Philosophy of History," Selections from the Prolegomena of Ibn Khaldun of Tunis (1332-1406). Here he translates the Arab term for "Roman" which is "Rum" into English by the term "Roman" up to the death of Roman Emperor Heraclius in 641. He then translates the same name "Rum" with the term "Byzantine" for the rest of Khaldun's Book.
12. The Final Version of Roman history
The reader is encouraged to see volume VII of The Cambridge Ancient History which is entitled "The Hellenistic Monarchies and The Rise of Rome," 1954, (pp.312-864) to see for himself that the word "Aborigines," which is one of the two backbones of Roman history, is no where to be found. Nor is the role of the Pelasgian Greeks in Roman history mentioned. Both historians, Dionysius of Halicarnassus (dates not known exactly ) who wrote in Greek and Livy (59BC-17AD) who wrote in Latin, begin their histories of Roman reality with the Aborigines. Dionysius gives us much more information than Livy. But Dionysius also gives us a lot of information about the Pelasgian Greeks in Italy and how they were decimated by sickness and how their reduced numbers joined the Aborigines to become one people. Dionysius quotes Porcius Cato as an authority on the Pelasgians in Italy which means Dionysius is not inventing facts about Pelasgians in Italy. This means that these Pelasgian Greeks were also part of the racial background of the Romans and therefore are part of Roman history. But they, like the Aborigines, are not mentioned in the above "The Rise of Rome," nor in Roman histories and encyclopedias known to this writer. To have found something about Pelasgians in Italy and their relations to the Aborigines would have been at least some indication that the Lie of Charlemagne may be loosening its grip on historical writing.
The following are reported by the Roman historian Livy in his Ab Urbe Condita, i.e. "From the Founding of the City" and by the Greek historian Dionysius of Halicarnassus in his "Roman Antiquities." Both report the ancient Roman tradition that the first Latins resulted from a union between the Greek-speaking tribe of Italy called Aborigines and the Greek-speaking Trojan refugees from the Trojan War. These Aborigines lived in Western Italy in the area South of the mouth of the Tiber river and were early dwellers on the site of Rome. They had been there many generations before the Trojan War. At the time of the arrival of the Trojans under Aeneas the king of the Aborigines was Latinus. The Trojans had landed on the shores of the land of the Aborigines in search for a homeland. These two Greek tribes decided to become one people by consummating a marriage between King Latinus's daughter Lavinia and Aeneas. The two tribes decided to call themselves Latins. The Aborigines had originated from Achaia, Southern Greece, and the Trojans of Aeneas had come from Illium, Asia Minor. The Trojans of Aeneas and Antenor had gotten permission from the Achaian conquerors of Troy to find a homeland elsewhere. The lives of Aeneas and Antenor and their peoples had been spared because they were against the war with the Greeks. Thus the Trojans headed by Aeneas and Antenor left Asia Minor in search of a new home. The Trojans under Aeneas ended up in Western Italy South of the Tiber and the Trojans under Antenor ended up in Eastern Italy at the mouth of the Po river. When leaving Asia Minor Antenor's Trojans were accompanied by the Eneti who settled with some of Antenor's Trojans in the area they called Enetia in Greek and Latin and which the Italians call Venetia.
These two keys to Roman history, that of the Aborigines and that of the Trojans, are contested by all historians whose orientation to history was and still is shaped by Great Father Charlegmane (768-814). He was not only an ignorant barbarian himself, but his entourage and his successors for many centuries were no better. The reader may study their successors to see for himself if they are today any better.
First we must describe the Carolingian Frankish misunderstanding of Roman history and then the motives why the errors of this misunderstanding are still perpetuated. The only way that Orthodox Christians may realize the background and context of their situation is to understand the falsification of their past history by the Franco-Latins. Before 794 the Franks called our Empire Imperium Romanum. In 794 this very same Empire became "Imperium Grecorum." Then in the 19th and 20th century this very same Empire became a so-called "Byzantine Empire." Why? In 1453 it was the Roman Empire which fell to the Ottoman Turks and not a Greek or Byzantine Empire, as pointed out clearly by Edward Gibbon and J. G. Bury.
At the time of Charlemagne's rule all free West Roman Orthodox, including even the Irish, were still praying for their Imperium Romanum whose capital was Constantinople-New Rome.[ 41 ] In 794, in order to stop these prayers, Charlemagne initiated the practice within his own territories of restricting the name Imperium Romanum only to the recently established Papal States by calling the free part of the Imperium Romanum in Southern Italy to the borders of Persia the heretical "Imperium Grecorum" whose real Emperor of the Romans became in the Frankish fiction the "Imperator Grecorum." Evidently his barbarian mind believed that these prayers for the Imperium Romanum became efficacious only for the Papal States still called Romania and now incorporated into his Francia. This became especially so when he coerced Pope Leo III (785-816) to crown him "Emperor" in exchange for exonerating him from certain accusations. However, Pope Leo crowned him "Emperor of the Romans." But Charlemagne never used the "of the Romans" part of this title since his Roman subjects were not Franks, i.e. Free (Franchised), and also because he wanted his title to be accepted by the real Roman Emperor in the East.
In spite of the availability of more than enough ancient Roman sources to correct the above series of inaccuracies, there is still a well organized conspiracy against the restoration of historical truth in these matters. One would think that the sources themselves would be allowed to speak for themselves to let the students of history decide for themselves. But instead, these sources are carefully manipulated by those who fear what? a reunion of all those who have a Roman background into using their overwhelming numbers politically?
It is obvious that the overwhelming numbers of those who are neither members of Franco-Latin royalties and nobilities nor Moslems living within the former territories of the Roman Empire are mostly descendants of former Roman citizens who were enslaved by Teutonic, Arab, Slavic and Turkish conquerors. Those Romans who became Moslems became either Arabs or Turks and were integrated into the Arab and Turkish tribes and nations. The Romans who remained Orthodox Christians in Islamic territories were not only protected by Islamic Law, but were officially called Melkites Rum (Romans), i.e. Romans who belong to the religion of the Roman Emperor in New Rome. The Moslems never considered the Roman Orthodox among them as members of the Franco-Latin Pope's religion which Moslems still call Francji.
However, those Romans who were conquered by the Teutonic nations were reduced to slavery and became the "serfs" and "villains" of Franco-Latin Feudalism. Within this system of slavery the serfs and villains did not have a king or emperor. What they had were Franco-Latin owners who were members of Franco-Latin royalties and nobilities under the religious jurisdiction of Franco-Latin Popes. This system was perfected after the process of expelling the real Roman Popes (begun in 983) was completed in 1046.[ 43 ] If the reader wishes to see a perfect example of Franco-Latin forgery of history he should turn to the very large chapter on the history of the Papacy in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1957, to the three sections entitled "The Franks , the 'Donation' and Coronation," (pp. 203-204), "The 9th Century" (pp. 204-205) and "The Popes and the Emperors, 918-1073" (pp. 205-206) and compare them with this writer's "Franks, Romans, Feudalism, and Doctrine" pp. 14-29. In the Brittanica article there is not one word about the fact that the Germans were getting rid of Roman Popes by "smearing" them and replacing them with Franco-Latin "saints," nor the reason why.
The Illness of religion
Rev. Metropolitan of Nafpaktos
and Saint Vlasios Hierotheos
The greatest problem of Western Christianity - and of many Orthodox also – is that they have ‘religionized’ Christianity and have turned the Church into a religion. In this way, they cultivated fundamentalisms, hatreds, divisions, a magical perception and relationship with God, also a competitive disposition of one towards another, a self-centered view of life, a utilitarian and self-benefiting perception of society, an imaginary interpretation of everything, the sentimental approach to living and generally the opinion that the others comprise –and are- a threat to our existence.
Thus, in these circumstances, the brightly-lit Christmas trees, the sentimental melodies, the moral-building analyses, all criminally conceal existential nakedness and make man a tragic being.
The feast of the Birth of Christ cannot be confined to a few sentimental situations: a festive décor, an intellectual, rationalistic interpretation of events, a moralistic framework; it has a very profound meaning and existential significance. If one remains at an external level, then he is leaving himself hungry and thirsty, deprived of a life meaning and existential freedom.
The incarnation of Christ was considered and was celebrated by the Fathers of the Church and the worshipping ecclesiastic community as the abolishing of religion and its transformation into a Church. In fact, the memorable father John Romanides had said in the most categorical way that Christ became human, in order to free us of the illness of religion.
The word ‘religion’ is mention in Homer’s epics; it is also used by Herodotus to express the worship and the honor that a person has to offer God. Etymologically, the (Greek) word for ‘religion’ is derived from the ancient word that implies ‘ascend’, and therefore, with the term ‘religion’, the ascent of man towards God is implied. But even the (Greek) word for “human” is etymologically derived from the expression “upwards looking”, again implying an ascent.
But, it appears at a first glance, that an ascent presupposes the acceptance of the essence of metaphysics, according to which, a person’s soul that has fallen from the immortal and impersonal world of ideas and is encased in a body, has to rid itself of the body-sign-tomb and return to the world of ideas. But even the latin word religio – which is used to denote the word religion – signifies, according to dictionaries, the bond-unity-union of man with God; it also denotes the same fact, i.e., the essence and the content of metaphysics. In fact, it also presupposes – if we seek it in eastern religions – a faceless expression of mankind, since man has to disappear like a drop of water in the ocean of the Supreme Being, and thus eliminating the persona.
As the late Father John Romanides had taught, the term ‘religion’ implies the relating of the uncreated to the created, and actually the relating of the representations of the uncreated with the notions and the words of human thought, and this kind of relating is of course the foundation of the religion and the worship of idols. Therefore, in this case, the face of God is lost, and so is the person’s face; man becomes gravely ill, since his vices and his imagination are cultivated even more, and more than this, we can say that the so-called irreproachable-natural vices (hunger, thirst, etc.) become reproachable vices; causes of social anomalies because of unlimited ambition, unjust craving for acquisition and unleashed debauchery.
It is well-known that Feuerbach at first, then Marx, had said that “religion was the opium of the people”. We can accept this viewpoint, that religion – as we see it in the East and in the religionized views of western Christianity – is the opium of the people, since it benumbs the people, it mortifies societies and leads them to such a degree of deactivation, that it becomes exploitable material for the institution of a tyranny that deprives mankind of his unalienable right to freedom.
I would like to submit two characteristic examples of religious expression herebelow.
The first example comes from the Buddhist religion. We know that according to Buddhism, that which preoccupies mankind is the problem of the pain that originates from the desire to live. Hence, the ultimate goal of the “enlightened” one is the discarding of this passion to live. The mortifying of the desire for life is achieved through a special method called Yoga with its different variations, such as Hatha Yoga (uniting with the Brahma through physical exercises), Karma Yoga (uniting with the Brahma through deeds and ritual acts), Mantra Yoga (uniting with the Brahma through chants and magic syllables), Bhakti Yoga (uniting with the Brahma through the absolute worship of one deity or the Guru himself), Jnana Yoga (uniting with the Brahma through mystical knowledge), Kundalini Yoga (uniting with the Brahma through demonic activities), Tantra Yoga (uniting with the Brahma through unbridled sexual acts). With these methods, man is supposed to attain absolute Nirvana, which is the extinguishing of his existence and the riddance of one’ desire for life, the ultimate purpose being the avoidance of Samsara – the recycling of life, or, reincarnation. Thus, the personal Atman is united to the overall Brahma, just like a drop entering the ocean.
It is obvious that in a religious life such as this, there is no personality; man is merely considered a unit, as there is also no such thing as society; no social life is encouraged, since every lifetime is considered a beginning of grief.
The second example originates from the theories of Anselm of Canterbury, a scholastic theologian, who founded a Christian system that prevailed in the West, having in mind the feudal system of organizing society. But the feudal lord had absolute value and honor that could not be violated, because every violation of his honor and every disturbance of the feudal system that was considered a work of God, entailed the punishment of the violator; thus God is the highest form of justice, He has honor, and has instituted order within creation, therefore, the violator must either satisfy God’s sense of justice or be punished. Thus, Anselm interpreted the crucifixional sacrifice of Christ, not as an expression of love for mankind, but as the atonement of justice by God the Father. This system, with the assistance of the absolute destination, led to enormous problems in the western world; problems both personal and social, as analyzed by Max Weber in his book “Protestant morality and the spirit of capitalism”.
These two examples, one from the east and the other from the west, indicate how Feuerbach arrived at his motto “religion is the opium of the people”. Naturally, we Orthodox also believe that if we give religion this definition, the metaphysical definition, then it can indeed become the opium of the people, because it will destroy every personal life, eliminate personal freedom, and even disintegrate social life, and turn man from a person into a unit.
Christianity however appeared in the history of mankind as the end of religion, and the experience of the Church. The term “Church” is an ancient Greek term and indicates a community, the congregation of the populace – the municipality – that would solve its problems. Naturally, with the term ‘Church’ we do not imply something external; we are implying the personal communion of mankind with God and its fellow-man, as seen in the Prophets of the Old Testament, in the Apostles of the New Testament, I the Acts of the Apostles, where “all those who believed were of one mind, and had everything common to all; they sold the lands and the belongings and shared them amongst everyone, for if they had needs….. (Acts,2:44-45); We see it in the communes of monks, in the teaching of the major Fathers of the Church and it extends into our time, as seen in the ecclesiastic communities narrated by Papadiamantis and the Memoirs of Makriyannis. And we know full well, from various studies, that both Papadiamantis and Makriyannis were not religious people; they were ecclesiastic, not inspired by western Puritanism, but by the esychastic-nyptic Orthodox tradition.
The greatest problem of western Christianity, and many Orthodox, is that – according to Ch. Yannaras – they have religionized Christianity, and transformed the Church into a religion. In this way, they cultivated fundamentalisms, hatreds, divisions, a magical perception and relationship with God, also a competitive disposition of one towards another, a self-centered view of life, a utilitarian and self-benefiting perception of society, an imaginary interpretation of everything, the sentimental approach to living and generally the opinion that the others comprise –and are- a threat to our existence.
Thus, in these circumstances, the brightly-lit Christmas trees, the sentimental melodies, the moral-building analyses, all criminally conceal existential nakedness and make man a tragic being.
If contemporary, speculating people looked for a meaning behind the Birth of Christ, it would be that with His Birth, Christ abolished the illness of religion and transformed into a living Church – with whatever its authentic meaning entails. This is the need of contemporary man who is suffering from the tragic trinity as Victor Frankl would have said, that is: suffering, guilt and death, inasmuch as he feels his life is a pre-death experience, an existential and eternal death, and not only seeks the experience of pleasure, but perhaps through pleasure, is seeking the survival of existence.
Orthodoxy as therapy
By Protopresbyter George Metallinos
Dean of the Athens University Schoo
If we wished to conventionally define Christianity, as Orthodoxy, we would say it is the experiencing of the presence of the Uncreated (=of God) throughout history, and the potential of creation (=mankind) becoming God “by Grace”.
Given the perpetual presence of God in Christ, in historical reality, Christianity offers mankind the possibility of theosis, just as Medical Science offers mankind the possibility of preserving or restoring his health through a specific therapeutic procedure and a specific way of life.
The writer is in a position to appreciate the coincidence between the medical and ecclesiastic poemantic sciences, because, as a diabetic and a Christian, he is aware that in both cases, he has to faithfully abide by the rules that have been set out, in order to attain both these two goals.
The unique and absolute goal of life in Christ is theosis, in other words, our union with God, so that man - through his participation in God’s uncreated energy – may become “by the Grace of God” that which God is by nature (=without beginning and without end). This is what “salvation” means, in Christianity. It is not the moral improvement of man, but a re-creation, a re-construction in Christ, of man and of society, through an existing and an existential relationship with Christ, Who is the incarnate manifestation of God in History. This is what the Apostle Paul’s words imply, in Corinthians II 5:17 : “If someone is in Christ, he is a new creation”. Whoever is united with Christ is a new creation.
That is why – Christianically – the incarnation of God-Logos - this redemptory “intrusion” of the Eternal and the Beyond-time God into Historical time – represents the commencement of a new world, of a (literally) “New Age”, which continues throughout the passing centuries, in the persons of authentic Christians: the Saints. The Church exists in this world, both as the “body of Christ” as well as “in Christ”, in order to offer salvation, through one’s embodiment in this regenerative procedure. This redemptory task of the Church is fulfilled by means of a specific therapeutic method, whereby throughout history, the Church essentially acts as a universal Infirmary. “Spiritual Infirmary” (spiritual hospital) is the characterization given to the Church by the blessed Chrysostom (†407).
Further along, we shall examine the answers given to the following questions:
What is the sickness that Christian Orthodoxy cures?
What is the therapeutic method it implements?
What is the identity of authentic Christianity, which radically separates it from all of its heretic deviations, and from every other form of religion?
1. The sickness of human nature is the fallen state of mankind, along with all of creation, which likewise suffers (“sighs and groans together” – Romans 8:22) together with mankind. This diagnosis applies to every single person (regardless whether they are Christian or not, or whether they believe or not), on account of the overall unity of mankind (ref. Acts 17:26). Christian Orthodoxy does not confine itself within the narrow boundaries of one religion - which cares only for its own followers – but, just like God, “wants all people to be saved and to arrive at the realization of the truth” (Timothy I, 2:4), since God is “the Saviour of all persons” (Timothy I, 4:10). Thus, the sickness that Christianity refers to pertains to all of mankind; Romans 5:12: “death has come upon all people, since all of them have sinned (=they have veered from their path towards theosis). Just as the fall (i.e. sickness) is a panhuman issue, so is salvation-therapy directly dependent on the inner functions of each person.
The natural (authentic) state of a person is (patristically) defined by the functioning inside him of three mnemonic systems; two of which are familiar and monitored by medical science, while the third is something handled by poemantic therapeutics. The first system is cellular memory (DNA), which determines everything inside a human organism. The second is the cerebral cellular memory, brain function, which regulates our association with our self and our environment. Both these systems are familiar to medical science, whose work it is to maintain their harmonious operation.
The experience of the Saints is familiar with one other mnemonic system: that of the heart, or ‘noetic’ memory, which functions inside the heart. In Orthodox tradition, the heart does not only have a natural operation, as a mere pump that circulates the blood. Furthermore, according to patristic teaching, neither the brain nor the central nervous system is the center of our self-awareness; again, it is the heart, because, beyond its natural function, it also has a supernatural function. Under certain circumstances, it becomes the place of our communion with God, or, His uncreated energy. This is of course perceived through the experience of the Saints, and not through any logical function or through an intellectual theologizing.
Saint Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain (†1809), in recapitulating the overall patristic tradition in his work “Hortative Manual”, calls the heart a natural and supernatural center, but also a paranormal center, whenever its supernatural faculty becomes idle on account of the heart being dominated by passions. The heart’s supernatural faculty is the ultimate prerequisite for perfection, for man’s fulfillment, in other words, his theosis, for a complete embodiment in the communion in Christ.
In its supernatural faculty, the heart becomes the space where the mind can be activated. In the Orthodox terminology codex, the mind (ΝΟΥΣ - appearing in the New Testament as ‘the spirit of man’ and ‘the eye of the soul’) is an energy of the soul, by means of which man can know God, and can reach the state of ‘seeing’ God. We must of course clarify that ‘knowledge’ of God does not imply knowledge of His incomprehensible and inapproachable divine essence. This distinction between ‘essence’ and ‘energy’ in God is the crucial difference between Orthodoxy and all other versions of Christianity. The energy of the mind inside the heart is called the ‘noetic faculty’ of the heart. We again stress that according to Orthodoxy, the Mind (ΝΟΥΣ) and Logic (ΛΟΓΙΚΗ) are not the same thing, because logic functions within the brain, whereas the mind functions within the heart.
The noetic faculty is manifested as the “incessant prayer” (ref. Thessalonians I, 5:17) of the Holy Spirit inside the heart (ref. Galatians 4:6, Romans 8:26, Thessalonians I 5:19) and is named by our Holy Fathers as “the memory of God”. When man has in his heart the “memory of God”, in other words, when he hears in his heart “the voice” (Corinthians I 14:2, Galatians 4:6, etc.), he can sense God “dwelling” inside him (Romans 8:11). Saint Basil the Great in his 2nd epistle says that the memory of God remains incessant when it is not interrupted by mundane cares, and the mind “departs” towards God; in other words, when it is in communion with God. But this does not mean that the faithful who has been activated by this divine energy withdraws from the needs of everyday life, by remaining motionless or in some kind of ecstasy; it means that his Mind is liberated from these cares, which are items that preoccupy only his Logic. To use an example that we can relate to: A scientist, who has re-acquired his noetic faculty, will use his logic to tackle his problems, while his mind inside his heart will preserve the memory of God incessantly. The person who preserves all three mnemonic systems is the Saint. To Orthodoxy, he is a healthy (normal) person. This is why Orthodoxy’s therapy is linked to man’s course towards holiness.
The non-function or the below-par function of man’s noetic faculty is the essence of his fall. The much-debated “ancestral sin” was precisely man’s mishandling –from that very early moment of his historical presence- of the preservation of God’s memory (=his communion with God) inside his heart. This is the morbid state that all of the ancestral descendants participate in; because it was no moral or personal sin, but a sickness of man’s nature (“Our nature has become ill, of this sin”, observes Saint Cyril of Alexandria - †444), which is transmitted from person to person, exactly like the sickness that a tree transmits to all the other trees that originate from it.
The inactivating of the noetic faculty or the memory of God, and confusing it with the function of the brain (which happens to all of us), subjugates man to stress and to the environment, and to the quest for bliss through individualism and an anti-social stance. While ill because of his fallen state, man uses God and his fellow man to secure his personal security and happiness. Personal use of God is found in “religion” (=the attempt to elicit strength from the divine), which can degenerate into a self-deification of man (“I became a self-idol” says Saint Andrew of Crete, in his ‘Major Canon’). The use of fellow-man -and subsequently creation in general- is achieved by exploiting them in every possible way. This, therefore, is the sickness that man seeks to cure, by becoming fully incorporated in the “spiritual hospital” of the Church.
2. The purpose of the Church’s presence in the world –as a communion in Christ- is man’s cure; the restoration of his heart-centred communion with God; in other words, of his noetic faculty. According to the professor fr. John Romanides, “the patristic tradition is neither a social philosophy, nor a system of morals, or a religious dogmatism; it is a therapeutic method. In this context, it is very similar to Medicine and especially Psychiatry. The noetic energy of the soul that prays mentally and incessantly inside the heart is a natural ‘instrument’, which everyone possesses and is in need of therapy. Neither philosophy, nor any of the known positive or social sciences can cure this ‘instrument’. This is why the incurable cases are not even aware of this instrument’s existence.”
The need for man to be cured is a panhuman issue, related firstly to the restoration of every person to his natural state of existence, through the reactivation of the third mnemonic faculty. However, it also extends to man’s social presence. In order for man to be in communion with his fellow man as a brother, his self-interest (which in the long run acts as self-love) must be transformed into selflessness (ref. Corinthians I, 13:8) “love….does not ask for reciprocation..”). Selfless love exists: it is the love of the Triadic God (Romans 5:8, John I 4:7), which gives everything without seeking anything in exchange. That is why Christian Orthodoxy’s social ideal is not “common possessions”, but the “lack of possessions”, as a willed resignation from any sort of demand. Only then can justice be possible.
The therapeutic method that is offered by the Church is the spiritual life; the life in the Holy Spirit. Spiritual life is experienced as an exercise (Ascesis) and a participation in the Uncreated Grace, through the Sacraments. Ascesis is the violation of our self-ruled and inanimate through sin nature, which is coursing headlong into a spiritual or eternal death, i.e. the eternal separation from the Grace of God. Ascesis aspires to victory over our passions, with the intention of conquering the inner subservience to those pestiferous focal points of man and participating in Christ’s Cross and His Resurrection.
The Christian, who is practicing such restraint under the guidance of his Therapist-Spiritual Father, becomes receptive to Grace, which he receives through his participation in the sacramental life of the ecclesiastic corpus. There cannot be any un-exercising Christian, just as there cannot be a cured person who does not follow the therapeutic advice that the doctor prescribed for him.
3. The above lead us to certain constants, which verify the identity of Christian Orthodoxy:
(a) The Church –as the body of Christ- functions as a therapy Centre-hospital. Otherwise, it would not be a Church, but a “Religion”. The Clergy are initially selected by the cured, in order to function as therapists. The therapeutic function of the Church is preserved today, mostly in Monasteries which, having survived secularism, continue the Church of the Apostolic times.
(b) The scientists of ecclesiastic therapy are the already cured persons. Those who have not had the experience of therapy cannot be therapists. That is the essential difference between the poemantic therapeutic science and medical science. The scientists of ecclesiastic therapy (Fathers and Mothers) bring forth other Therapists, just as the Professors of Medicine bring forth their successors.
(c) The Church’s confining itself to a simple forgiveness of sins so that a place in paradise may be secured constitutes alienation and is tantamount to medical science forgiving the patient, so that he might be healed after death! The Church cannot send someone to Paradise or to Hell. Besides, Paradise and Hell are not places, they are ways of existence. By healing mankind, the Church prepares the person so that he might eternally look upon Christ in His uncreated light as a view of Paradise, and not as a view of Hell, or as “an all-consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29). And this of course concerns every single person, because ALL people shall look eternally upon Christ, as “the Judge” of the whole world.
(d) The validity of science is verified by the achievement of its goals (i.e., in Medicine, it is the curing of the patient). It is the way that authentic scientific medicine is distinguished from charlatanry. The criterion of poemantic therapy by the Church is also the achievement of spiritual healing, by opening the way towards theosis. Therapy is not transferred to the afterlife; it takes place during man’s lifetime, here, in this world (hinc et nunc). This can be seen in the undeteriorated relics of the Saints that have overcome biological deterioration, such as the relics of the Eptanisos Saints: Spiridon, Gerasimos, Dionysios and Theodora Augusta. Undeteriorated relics are, in our tradition, the indisputable evidence of theosis, or in other words the fulfilment of the Church’s ascetic therapy.
I would like to ask the Medical scientists of our country to pay special attention to the issue of the non-deterioration of holy relics, given that they haven’t been scientifically interfered with, but, in them is manifest the energy of Divine Grace; because it has been observed that, at the moment when the cellular system should begin to disintegrate, it automatically ceases to, and instead of emanating any malodour of decay, the body emanates a distinctive fragrance. I limit this comment to the medical symptoms, and will not venture into the aspect of miraculous phenomena as evidence of theosis, because that aspect belongs to another sphere of discussion.
(e) Lastly, the divine texts of the Church (Holy Bible, Synodic and Patristic texts) do not constitute coding systems of any Christian ideology; they bear a therapeutic character and function in the same way that university dissertations function in medical science. The same applies to the liturgical texts, as for example the Benedictions. The simple reading of a Benediction (prayer), without the combined effort of the faithful in the therapeutic procedure of the Church, would be no different to the instance where a patient resorts to the doctor for his excruciating pains, and, instead of an immediate intervention by the doctor, he is limited to being placed on an operating table, and being read the chapter that pertains to his specific ailment.
This, in a nutshell, is Orthodoxy. It doesn’t matter whether one accepts it or not. However, with regard to scientists, I have tried -as a colleague in science myself- to scientifically respond to the question: “What is Orthodoxy”.
Any other version of Christianity constitutes a counterfeiting and a perversion of it, even if it aspires to presenting itself as something Orthodox.
Fr. John S. Romanides, “Romans or neoroman Fathers of the Church”, Thessaloniki 1984.
Fr. John S. Romanides, “Religion is a neurobiological ailment, and Orthodoxy is its cure”, from the volume “Orthodoxy, Hellenism… Holy Monastery of Koutloumousion Publications, Volume B,, 1996, pages 66-67.
Fr. John S. Romanides, “Church Synods and Civilization”, from THEOLOGY, vol.63 (1992) pg.421-450 and in Greek vol.66 (1995) pg.646-680.
Fr. Hierotheos Vlachos (presently Metropolitan of Nafpaktos), “Orthodox Psychotherapy”, Edessa 1986.
Fr. Hierotheos Vlachos (presently Metropolitan of Nafpaktos), “Minor Introduction into Orthodox Spirituality”, Athens.
Fr. Hierotheos Vlachos (presently Metropolitan of Nafpaktos), “Existential Psychology and Orthodox Psychotherapy”, Levadia 1995.
Also by the author, the following studies:
Fr. G. Metallinos, “An Orthodox View of Society”, Athens 1986.
Fr. G. Metallinos, “Theological witness of ecclesiastic worship”, Athens 1996. (N. B.: In these books one can find more bibliography)
Notes – Clarifications
1. The Uncreated = Something that has not been manufactured. This applies only to the Triadic God. The Created = Creation in general, with man at its apex. God is not a “universal” power, as designated by New Age terminology (“everything is one, everyone is God!”), because, as the Creator of all, He transcends the entire universe, given that in essence He is “Something” entirely different (Das ganz Andere). There is no analogous association between the created and the Uncreated. That is why the Uncreated makes Himself know, through His self-revelation.
2. A significant Christian text of the 2nd century, “The Poemen (Shepherd) of Hermas”, says that in order for us to become members of the Body of Christ, we must be “squared” stones (=suitable for building) and not rounded ones!
3. According to fr. John Romanides, to whom we essentially owe the return to the “Philokalian” (=therapeutic-ascetic) view of our Faith, and in fact at an academic level; “Religion” implies every kind of “associating” of the uncreated and the created, as is done in idolatry. The “religious” person projects his “predudices” (=thoughts, meanings) into the divine realm, thus “manufacturing” his own God (this can also occur in the non-Patristic facet of “Orthodoxy”). The aim is “atonement”, “placation” of the “divine” and finally, the “utilizing” of God to one’s own advantage (the magic formula: do ut des). In our tradition however, our God does not need to be “placated”, because “He first loved us” (John I’ 4:19) Our God acts as “Love” (John I, 4:16) and selfless love at that. He gives us everything, and never asks for anything in return from His creations. This is why selflessness is the essence of Christian love, which goes far beyond the notion of a transaction.
4. This is expressed by the familiar and oft-repeated liturgical chant: “Ourselves and each other, and our entire life, let us appose unto Christ our Lord”.
Proper incorporation is normally found in Monasteries, wherever they function in the orthodox tradition of course. That is why Monasteries (for example those of the Holy Mountain) continue to be the model “parishes” of this “world”.