Thursday, 13 June 2013

Confession and Partaking of the Divine Mysteries

On the afternoon of the 15th of May, 1988 at four o’clock, I was in my cell when the Father responsible for the gate of the monastery came and told me, “A family has arrived and asked to visit the monastery and are waiting in the living room.”

I left my cell right away and went towards the 'asr where the family was waiting for me. I welcomed our dear guests and sat down to talk with them. Here is a brief summary of the conversation:

1. The family is from Port Said and consists of a man, his wife and their two children.
2. Their children regularly attend the Church’s educational classes but the man and his wife do not go to the church.
3. The man and his wife have not confessed nor partook of the Divine Mysteries for a long period of time
4. The man does not feel at rest confessing to any priest.

5. A person cannot be saved while outside the Church, for the Church provides the means for salvation. Confession and the rest of the Divine Mysteries are administered within the Church and not outside of it.

At the end of the visit I asked the family to visit the ancient church, and so we went together and I explained to them the landmarks of the church and the monastery.  And at around 5:30 pm, I excused myself from our dear visitors and bid them farewell in the peace of the Lord.
Hegumen Augustinos El-Baramosy, Diary from the Wilderness

Translated by Michael Daoud

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Why the Fathers? - A Letter from a Russian Monk

You also write that an acquaintance has fallen into a sect. It is a great pity that our Orthodox have very little knowledge of their own teaching and easily turn to various sects. For all the sects, heresies and schisms are based on pride and,self-suggestion. In Orthodoxy the authorities are, the Ecumenical Councils and the teaching of the Holy Fathers. The Lord said: ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God’ [Matt. 5:8]. And the Holy Fathers with God’s help purified their hearts of passions. They rightly knew the will of God revealed in Holy Scripture, but those who have not purified their hearts of passions cannot rightly understand the Scripture, and such people stumble over it, turn away from the right path and go in different directions. One could say that they leave the big ship and sit down in a frail boat and want to sail across the sea of life, and they are perishing in the waves of vain sophistries. They dig out texts to justify their error.

~Christ In Our Midst, Letters from a Russian Monk p. 52.