Peter, Paul, and one icon for two

The Apostle of the Gentiles and the Apostle to the Jews, scholar and fisherman – two very different people, yet both the disciples and miracle workers. And if we are not able to find common ground with a brother in Christ, remember that we are together in the same Church.

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Archimandrite Savva (Maruko)

When I show the children the icons of our Church, I am always pleased to see their surprise before the August mother of God icon, which is very revered in our area. Its peculiarity is that it was written by the vow of Russian soldiers, saved from the environment by the phenomenon of the virgin. It was in the First world, so the soldiers on the icon depicted in the fashion of the time: mustaches, a La Salvador Dali, rifle, waist belt revolvers.

– How so? On the icon – and suddenly modern clothes and hairstyles? It’s the same icon!

Why are we so surprised? The matter of habit to perceive the Church as something archaic and finished, even more likely, complete. But this is a mistake. The fullness of the Church is not only the host of saints glorified, but we are now living, and those who will come after us. So cocky and comes to dizziness thought:

Without me there is no Church!

Think about this, say again:

Without me there is no Church!

Scary! Responsibly! But that’s true of our Church life.

Not only without me, but without those people that stand next to me in the service, those who prayed here in the last century, and, moreover, those who are not yet born, but will pray here in a century – without us there is no Church! Without us she has not yet manifested, do not open!

Iconic art, boldly incorporates meta-time, including clothing, lifestyle and even technology. But the most important in the icon is not. The icon of the monument and the chronicle. Her case is to reveal the countenance to be a place of presence. It is clear even mecocerculus people. But there in the icon and other revelation, which together puzzles, and scares. This revelation caught me in not the best moment of my monastic career.

Under the same salary

The monastery is a family. In the family anything can happen. It was all ours. One ruler, the brother just could not sleep, so took a dislike to me, and this went on for years. There is nothing terrible there. We are only human. One old monk, watching the feud, saying:

– Crap broke! Crap!

AP Photo/Dimitri Messinis

It could happen to anyone, to say nothing. But I had a hard time, because the “weight category” was unequal. One day after another “sprechki” I stood before the icon of the apostles Peter and Paul, and suddenly thought:

– If now in our temple broke the villains and brutally tortured for the faith of me and “beloved brother”, we would certainly glorified as martyrs, wrote books, he defended his thesis, and I would have to share with that person one icon. All quarrel, quarrel, but keep decorum, and here the martyrdom, the relics in one coffin and way under one salary. And because the icons don’t run away! Holy company you do not pick up! And it’s forever! Though the icon is only an image of Eternity, but the image is right!

And Peter and Paul look of the icon. One of the keys, the other a sword. One with a long black beard, the other gray-haired and balding. But does looks matter? Two completely different people – and at the same salary!

Everyday saints

Fisherman-proletarian and scholar-aristocrat. History knows rare cases of friendship between people from different social worlds. Just remember comrade Lenin and the worker Ivan Babushkin, who with their lively friendship surprised contemporaries. But with the apostles harder. If we carefully read not of medieval life, and left the texts open something not quite hagiographic.

Church tradition is impossible without intuition of the hierarchy. In the liturgical texts clearly the hierarchy of Holiness: Christ, the virgin, the Baptist, the angels, apostles, saints and so on. Here the apostles – highest level of the hierarchy. As my little disciples, “The Holy saints”. And the saints, as we know, should not go around saying, “step” and “utter”. However, the new Testament texts speak about something else: among the immediate disciples of Christ there was “disappointment”.

Today we look at the icon of the Holy apostles and Kadima Holy incense, and two candles of faith pray for us before the throne of God. And some two thousand years ago the Apostle Paul told his disciples in Antioch withstood the Apostle Peter, denouncing his hypocrisy (Gal. 2:11). And not only this message, but other texts are full of evidence about the irreverent attitude of the Apostle Paul to the Supreme apostles. He ironically calls them famous (Gal. 2:2) and did not cherish the familiarity and relationships with these esteemed circle of primates.

One afternoon on the road to Damascus he met Christ. For Paul this was so important, that in the book of Acts the story of this event is repeated three times in detail. Since that meeting, all but Christ, for Paul had just turned to dust:

For Him I gave everything, I feel rubbish (Phil. 3:8).

But he had to give up anything! Paul was a Jewish aristocrat of the highest rank, but for the sake of Christ that he imputed to dust and ashes not only their own aristocratic benefits, but even the religion of their fathers.

Remember Peter, whom the Lord sends to preach to the Gentile Cornelius’. The Apostle catches up with the vision of a vessel descending from heaven and three times he hears the command, “Kill and eat!”, thrice contend with Commanded:

No, Lord, I have never eaten anything common or unclean (acts. 10:14).

It’s just incredible! God in a vision three times tells him to do something, and he is also in a dispute to enter! So deeply seated in man’s religious upbringing, that even God was not easy to shake him!

The Icon Of The Church

On the one hand, the Apostle of the Gentiles, Apostle to the Jews. Here is a learned man, dozens of years spent on the study of Jewish and Hellenistic wisdom here – a fisherman, a simple man and religious, but enlightened by the Holy Spirit. Two very different people, yet both the disciples and miracle workers. The shadow of Peter heals the sick, headscarves Paul drive away the ailments. They prophesy, instruct, ordain and tirelessly share the gospel message. And don’t understand each other! Peter finds in Paul’s Epistles some things hard (2 Peter. 3:16).

Of course, around the texts of the apostles debate. The researchers screened the letters of ancient manuscripts, regularly making sensational statements about the authenticity of the texts, about authorship, about the literary influences. It’s all important and necessary. But for me, equally important is the revelation which bears the icon of the apostles because it’s an icon of the Church.

What we can say with a person, do not read Schmemann?

How can we pray next to a citizen who holds a house of books Schmemann?

My monastic opponent almost unleashed a civil war, knowing that I am giving to read the books of Lewis.

Seducing the brethren Protestant-a heretic!

You say that this is very far from Peter and Paul? Not at all. It was our little “upset”. Here we are not superior to the Apostolic age. And do not be offended. And do not rush to curse. Do not mind to spend years and dozens of hours of conversations and prayers, to gain the brother, who is also a child of God, and we both cooked our own paternal house.

The Church is the justification of diversity. Always been and will be people who are sickened by this diversity of life and opinions. Even the ancient philosophers suspected in the variety of things some kind of a disorder and calling them sterile thinking. We are very different, and that’s good. Church diversity is the real test for the believer. We naturally look for a slender and clear plans, clear formula which is cut off from the Church all too much, but very often it is only human measurements.

Church diversity is not just a question of tolerance and good education. The apostles Peter and Paul looking at us from the icons. Two very different people lived by Christ and only by Christ, and lived Christ’s life in very different ways, sometimes making mistakes, sometimes not understanding each other. Despite the dissimilarity, it was incredibly close people, because their unity was a unity in Christ. Not in a political program, not a cultural bias, not in the philosophical systems, not in the rhythm of piety or liturgical practice. They lived with Christ, and because of this we need to proceed when we meet in the Church so glaringly dissimilar people. If he lives to Christ, he’s my brother, for whom he voted in the elections.

If among “the holiest of holies” has happened grief, what can we say about us? We also quarrel, quarrel, suspect. But look – these people you spend eternity! What if you were to fall with its “sworn friend” of one icon?

The Church community is unlike. It happens that we are not able to find common ground with a brother in Christ, but we are together in one Church, under one head Christ, from the same Cup of the Lord, and in eternity – one icon of the Church Triumphant.

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