“We are witnessing, not trying to win” – living today the Church

Why is the Church arguing about arguing in different languages, what is the cause of divisions, why people illuminates Christ and there is now “difficult times” – reflects the priest Sergei Kruglov.

Photo: tatmitropolia.ru

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Christ does not make all people the same, It makes them themselves

– Is it true that the Church fell on hard times, to be a Christian today harder?

Priest Sergei Kruglov

– I would like to reassure those people who, reflecting on the state of the Church, believe that everything is bad, everything degenerates, compared to some past “Golden age”. People in all times and epochs is experiencing difficulties, people of any culture, whether the culture of the city or the rural culture of the Soviet or post-Soviet or pre-revolutionary. The man in his weakness, the narrowness of his view of the world, it seems that his difficulties and his problems are the most difficult. But today, to be Christian is no more difficult than any other time, any other place in the East, in the West.

At what time the Christians had no difficulty – in modern times, in the Middle ages, in the first century? To verify this, just look the history books of the Church to read the Acts of the apostles and the Epistles of the Apostle Paul…

– Between Christians should be love, whether it is today?

– There are wonderful people and they are all around us. But to see them, for a start it is necessary to be a great man. As he said to our Teacher: “If thine eye be single…” (LK. 11:34). If you change the point of view of the world, if you stop to watch each of their machine-gun nests, each through your gun, then we will see what love is. Where did it go?

– But listen, sometimes people’s conversations or open social network – and scary.

This is a different issue. Question of the diseases plaguing modern society and modern man. Diseases and epidemics in different ages are different. There was a time when the Nations possessed, for example, the plague or cholera or some other disease. When some diseases were relatively defeated, it was time for other diseases.

Today is a disease of sadness, which is expressed, including, in somatic things – clinical depression, in weakening the human immune system, mental diseases, who are subject to children and adults. Therefore, the background of this disease people think that all depleted that, indeed, there is something good in life, no love, and so on. But it just says mastered by people with the disease.

– Why do people in the Church are so many sharing? “Liberals” and “conservatives” ready to rush at each other almost with his fists…

– All Christians have one thing in common – they all know Christ, but they can be very different. For example, the apostles. Peter such, John is a very different, Thomas, James, brother of Jesus, Paul – they’re all different people, but they all have a unifying – they personally knew Christ, they have Him have some kind of relationship. Fellowship with Christ does not make all people the same. It makes people – themselves.

This and the Lord wants us to become ourselves, brought with Him some of their relationship, based on love, and then had such relations with other people, with their neighbors.

There is already harder, because Christ is One, and a lot of people, and each to have a special relationship can be difficult, sometimes the whole life goes. So while this whole thing goes, it seems to us that nothing would happen, and in fact, we had previously judged. Still ahead, we are still not at the end of the road.

You mentioned the Church’s conservatives and liberals – all they have is Christ (should be, at least). And let them argue among themselves, to argue natural to man is the process long and difficult recognizing each other, which these same people were informed (or not informed, and, as often happens in life, at the same time) in the recognition of Christ.

If only in a dispute not too far, not to forget the words of Christ: not because all will know that you are My disciples, that you have in the churches is the same liturgical language, or you will all belong to the same political party, but because you have love among yourselves.

I remember a few years ago I went to a Muslim forum, and then even went back to make sure that I got there – so the rhetoric (and often indictment) of the visitors of the forum coincided with the one that I read on Orthodox forums.

– The rhetoric is certainly similar, that Muslims, Orthodox – all the people…Human, just human.

By the way, about Islam and other religions: Christianity from all of them differ in the main. Christianity is primarily about a personal relationship with God, just like Abraham had, Isaac, Jacob, about a personal relationship in which God Himself joined man and waits for an answer – hence the “Covenant”, an agreement on bilateral relations, the dialogue…

This, above all, life, not religion, as organized worship, comparable to those in other religions, in a number of others, simply with the Institute, with the cult. This view, of course, it is difficult to “prove” to the world, because, after all, and the institution, and the cult in Christianity is, “naros” for many centuries…

However, it is important something to prove to the world in this sense? Remember the words (unfortunately, I do not remember whose): “We Christians are not called to make the gospel in this world won – we are called to witness about him.” The Christ is the evidence – a very different, lively approach: “Come and see, is there any good thing come out of Nazareth…” (cf: Jn. 1, 46).

Even the Antichrist would not fight with Christ

– Christians live in a society that is still extremely divided. Could the idea of Christianity, of Orthodoxy is to help unite people?

– Of course, the division has always, always been wars, conflict of opinions, different ideologies, and so on. Is it in our time, in post-Christian space, the more that it is a multicultural space.

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And today it is impossible to invent some new idea to bring people together, well, except perhaps the most primitive that lie at the Foundation of Maslow’s pyramid. It seems that people are tired of all the ideas they have tried everything, and from bitter experience know that still nothing happens. “What do you say, Christianity? We have already tried on this basis to build a Christian state, a Christian society, nothing is impossible”.

Our time, if you look from the side, very strange. On the one hand, is the time limit fragmentation of people. On the other hand, employs a mixer, which somehow tries to combine them all, that’s why in literature and film the genre of dystopia remains one of the most popular…

It seems to me that one of the main ideas of the Antichrist, at least in a number of other ideas, is this: Christ, Christianity, Church, we have already passed.

The Antichrist, it seems, not even going to fight with Christ, he’ll just push the Church aside as absurd the dilapidated old idea, and many with him, alas, agree.

However, the need for an incarnated God, and love was, is and will be the most basic in man, betwee all the others, she invested in us by the Creator. In this sense, I believe and God, everything He has done and is doing, and believe in people.

– But our country is positioning itself Orthodox, can all state suddenly become a Christian?

“Regarding country positions itself”: we know from history that the concept of a “Christian state” is an oxymoron. The Kingdom of Christ and the Kingdom of Caesar are different kingdoms, they have different laws.

“Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matt. 6:33). Or search for Kingdom of Caesar and his righteousness. The truth of the Kingdom of God is one, and the truth of the Kingdom of Caesar and the other… We are born and live within the Kingdom of Caesar, so far we are of its truth will hold your hand, but sooner or later the Christian, following in the life of Christ is in conflict with this caesarean true. How he resolves this conflict – is another question…

The ideal of the Orthodox Christian state is not the case, as history has shown. The fact that the country is positioned as Orthodox, may soon come to an end, might end tomorrow, as soon as certain forces that are in power, will lose interest in Orthodoxy, the Orthodox ideology.

We have already been so, was 1917, and in the end.

Not to demand from politicians that they stopped split

We each morning read: “I Believe in one, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.” But after the situation with the Patriarchate of Constantinople, it is hard not to start thinking about what one Church speech.

– It’s hard not to start thinking, you say? And why not to think? Think just need about such things. In particular, look for the answer to the question: what is the Church? And if it was created by Christ Himself the Lord, then how much and what kind of churches He created? And what are the main signs of the Church, without which it ceases to be a Church and which is still a minor, whether the limits of the Church and if so, where do they go?

I think, to define what the Church is as difficult as to determine what people. But it is necessary. In the debate about the Church everyone sees it his own: one earthly organization with a hierarchy, politics and issues of the day, the other mystical neoteroi the unity of people in Christ, the third – a complex ethical, cultural and other ideas, the fourth safe Harbor, a family where suffering in wandering around the world Chad finally find his Father, the fifth – ethnographic reserve, and so on.

Arguing about the Church often argue on different languages, living as if in different dimensions, without noticing it.

If before they agreed what they mean by Church, I think, half of the disputes would have disappeared, instead a dispute or two is sounding in the mutual deafness of the monologues would have been possible, the dialogue…

But once hurt, what’s here you can partake, and there is not.

– Yes, of course, the news of the break in communion with Constantinople, about the sad events in Ukraine hurt echoed in many believers.

Of course, for someone who lives abroad and has long been associated with the parishes under Constantinople jurisdiction, it is vitally important and for some it’s just a leisurely occasion for gossip, like the ladies, the proverbial, which was horrified: “How am I going to receive communion on mount Athos?” (joke, by the way, is not that invented by me, for example, requested is the question). However, such questions – how to be the particular congregation, whether it is possible to continue to be in the Orthodox community in which they live for many years and which for some reason now declared doubtful, and so on – it is impossible to answer vague and unsubstantiated, each situation is unique.

Think: if these people in this temple you came to the Bowl, along with them, and prayer with the priest built the Eucharist, if not doubt the real presence of Christ among you, if in this Church your life was genuine, it is the living presence of Christ, the Evangelical fairness and simplicity will help you to overcome a serious temptation, which I hope sooner or later will pass, because it is not eternal. Trust Christ, He will bring.

Sad, very sad, that there are schisms, but let me repeat: they are not as much of a surprise, schisms in the Church, alas, was always because of sin, the passions boiling and neutralist mind and heart inherent in all people in a fallen world for an ailing man. But still ahead, wait a little bit. Be patient, turn aside from evil. “Depart from evil and do good” (PS. 33:15). See, it didn’t say: kill the evil (moreover – “evil”), namely, – turn aside from him, do not enter into communication with him, better go and make good some.

Let those who for political purposes is doing in the Church strife, do what they want, the fruits of their deeds to them and back, and we will not discuss or condemn, we just are not going through. To close one’s eyes a sin is also not going to pretend that there is no sin, just going to learn from the doers of sin by not doing as they are, not to produce discord, but to try in your own life to follow the Testament of Christ: “therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go first be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer thy gift” (Matt. Of 5.23).

I repeat again: do not require idly by and expect from bishops and politicians, so they stopped the split, but in their own lives to do gospel. Other way, except through himself, to resist evil, was not there.

Come to the temple and do not know each other

– There is much talk about the revival of community life. Why is it important?

– How – why? Because community is the Foundation of the Church, is, in fact, is the Church. Christ and the people in a relationship of love. Not “all people”, but these particular live.

The Church as the congregation of the people and Christ among them in the primary of the Church in regard to everything else. The most Holy thing of the Church, the gospel, sacraments, canons, rites, the temple and its Holy sites is nothing without the Church. What, for example, of the Sacrament? “This do in remembrance of me” (LK. 23:19). It’s not just the Body of Christ, this is generally “the world”.

The sacrament of Communion, first of all, the sign Assembly, the sign of the ecclesia, which gathers together. At the table of the last Supper be the ones whom Christ chose twelve the people close to Him. No, students are not cut off from the world, they went into the world, He was sent to them, from these people, from a small company like grain, increased the Universal Church, but that relationships within the community, relationships, love, Christ Himself identified as the most important.

If there is no meeting of the ecclesia, what is the meaning of Communion? Exactly who holds the Lord’s Body and Blood, and for what?

Who exactly receives them, who eucharistically thanks, and then what does with these Gifts, coming out of the temple? To this question every Christian should also look for a clear answer. I will say that this is the basics, basic things that de and so all Orthodox understandable? Experience shows, alas, that did not…

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And living examples of such religious communities – many in Moscow and throughout Russia, if all the list – our conversation is not enough. Those who light froze “temples-stations” with the flow of incoming-outgoing zakhozhaev and unattractive manners, which prevail in those, let make work and look for true community.

In some residential areas of large cities, people can regularly come to worship, but do not know each other…

– Parish where the people do not know each other, because nobody needs and uninteresting, where everyone comes by himself with his “spasennogo” – a depressing phenomenon…

I think that sooner or later this situation will change. For example, as, unfortunately, it happens the contrary… Say, when life will press for some reason will cease to build the vast number of temples, when we begin again, as in Soviet times, losing churches, then people will pay attention to people, to each other: who are we? Who am I around? Who I’m in front of the Bowl? Why are we gathered here? Then it will be no matter what the architecture of the temple and what it looks like, and then people may be, remember that Christianity still is not a temple religion, and human.

Why do people light up Christ

– There lives a man who every Sunday goes to the temple, once a community has not got, currently lives peacefully, raising children, the work goes on. And that’s all. Poor feeding, treats his patients exceptionally when your sick. Turns out, he has the gospel no chance for anything?

– Chances are always, and everyone has one. Another thing is that one person is in your life is easier these chances, the other is harder, because people are different. Furthermore, it is known that each feat is easier to accomplish when there is previous. Therefore, the sooner the person will train in the Christian way of life, the sooner he deliberately take, the easier he will continue.

Christ’s commandments, which the Lord gave for execution, is extremely difficult, and the difficulty is not only how to fulfill them and to find ways to fulfill them. Life does not always have such opportunities, she opposes them. As soon as a person wants to truly live in Christ, he feels at once the whole world war, the resistance of the material of this world.

I remember a story, probably known to you. A monk-ascetic prayed, struggled, escaped, and one day the Lord appeared to him. The monk began to cry, the whole world dies, Christians-the real no. The Lord says: “What are you bawling about? I will have mercy”. “How so? – surprised the ascetic, – what for then we monks are here so killed, contending, strictly fasting, and so forth?” The Lord explained: “All the rest, I will have mercy, and you shall be My friends.” So despite what the man wants – he just wants to be pardoned or wants to be a friend of Christ…

– What it means to be a friend of Christ? An ordinary man lives to himself, spinning, spinning, and how to get friends?

I do not know. Shared recipes there. For a start, it is necessary to want it… But then we enter the realm of the mystery of human personality, which is no less great than the mystery of God. Where this desire is taken in person, why he suddenly illuminate Christ? I just know that this is happening.

The Church is alive, because alive people are Christians

– In the 90s was interest in the Church, but many believe that the Church has not justified the trust that she gave the society. What do you think?

In my opinion, this interest, enthusiasm in regard to the Church, manifested in the 90s, which is now other with tears in their eyes recalled almost as a “Golden age” of the Church, called people “desire”. Make a reservation: it was not only that, but it was.

Of course, in the 90-ies, when the temples are opened, the people for so many reasons rushed into them: now we have a new happiness, a new Paradise in these temples. Actually that was in full swing in the 90-ies, then naturally overflowed, and is now beginning to settle, to take some, maybe more relaxed, maybe in comparison with 90-mi years, even the dull and ugly forms, but, again, this process is not unspeakably unique, it happens in the Church always, at all times, our earthly suffering of life.

However, the Christian life was not only alive in the 90s, she’s alive, because alive people are Christians. Yeah, she’s probably not as bright, it is difficult to capture in images the promotional video, and for Christians it is becoming increasingly difficult to say “we”, we often have to say “I” to rethink many things… But she certainly is.

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Still, society (or those who are in the Church are called “external”) and the Church – no enemies or antagonists, here and there – people, all those whom God desires salvation. I see that it’s the brothers who in a very difficult, painful even, relationships with each other. And if the Church considers itself the elder brother, then the responsibility rests on it a large…

– How the Church ought to this criticism to say?

The Church needs to answer clearly, openly, simply, quietly. Properly praying to God before.

When asked: “What the Church says on a particular occasion?”, we must remember that in the Church there are different institutions with different interests, different people, different speakers, more famous and less known. Often pay attention to outstanding figures, widely broadcast statements.

But the Church with society communicates, and at the level of priest and parishioner, and this communion of the priest and parishioner in some distant parish is every bit as important, even maybe more important than the performance of well-known Church speaker declared officially for some official matters.

Sometimes the criticism is sound, criticism with love, and it just often comes from religious people who are not indifferent to the fate of the Church. Such criticism – the desire to help, the desire to cure certain ailments.

– What, you think now the main problem of the Church?

– The real problems are always the same – they relate to Christ and man. All those with whom we are in the loneliness of his life face every day. How to keep the faith? How to live to Christ? How not to lose the joy of life, even if it is, and what it means? What to do with others, whom we should love? How to love them when they are nasty, them, and yourself, in the first place?

– What today is supposed to be preaching?

– If the sermon is a tool for some selfish purpose, in order to bring a person to Church to a person to manipulate “in the name” from the preaching of the surrounding is tired.

In addition to the verbal, there is a very important form of preaching – non-verbal: live with Christ, infect others with the inspiration of faith.

In this respect, I sometimes get the feeling that the gospel in the world have not preached…

– Have you noticed how varied the attitude of the priests in the last ten years?

– Yes, of course. First, the priests used to. Once there was a time when just pass in a cassock on the street was an event: all of you approached someone you were trying to kiss, and someone, on the contrary, you began to denounce, mock and so on.

Today the priests are accustomed to, on the one hand, this is good, they are no longer considered as exotic. On the other hand, there is also a negative moment – the priests themselves, in many ways, unfortunately, to so position themselves, behave that others see, it’s just he has a job, is making a career, money it acquires, and so – as we have: “neither the deity nor the inspiration”…

And on the third hand, again, good: visual sight of the fact that the priest is a man like everyone else. Seeing this, come to the Church to get rid of illusions, search for “magic man” and “Almighty father”, and start looking for the main thing – Christ and Union with Him.

– From time to time encounter stories of people disillusioned with the Church… And that it holds?

– What keeps people in General in life where there are so many disappointments, sin and injustice, of broken dreams and unmet expectations? One does not stand up and “return the ticket to God” and the other continues to love life no matter what… Why? Mystery. Man is a great mystery. And in this mystery he is not alone, Christ is always and everywhere with him.

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