The Enrichment in our Pacific Northwest Tour – Part 2

St. Anne Orthodox Church, Corvallis OR (Fr. Stephen Soot) - Vigil for the Feast of the Dormition

St. Anne Orthodox Church, Corvallis OR (Fr. Stephen Soot) – Vigil for the Feast of the Dormition

St. Anne Orthodox Church, Corvallis OR (Fr. Stephen Soot) - Vigil for the Feast of the Dormition

St. Anne Orthodox Church, Corvallis OR (Fr. Stephen Soot) – Vigil for the Feast of the Dormition

St. Anne Orthodox Church, Corvallis OR (Fr. Stephen Soot) - Vigil for the Feast of the Dormition

St. Anne Orthodox Church, Corvallis OR (Fr. Stephen Soot) – Vigil for the Feast of the Dormition

St. Anne Orthodox Church, Corvallis OR (Fr. Stephen Soot) - Vigil for the Feast of the Dormition

St. Anne Orthodox Church, Corvallis OR (Fr. Stephen Soot) – Vigil for the Feast of the Dormition

Already a Classic! – The Hidden Man of the Heart (2nd Edition)

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Fr. Zacharias‘ own favorite, The Hidden Man of the Heart is already considered a classic!

The Hidden Man of the Heart, Archimandrite Zacharias‘ profoundest work to date, is back in print!

This second edition is also equipped with two indexes, an Index of Scriptural References and an Index of Names and Subjects.

The Hidden Man of the Heart consists of a series of presentations on the place of the heart in the spiritual life of the Christian, with special reference to the Hesychast tradition of the Orthodox Church, including two of the most influential figures in contemporary Christianity: Saint Silouan the Athonite (1866–1938) and Elder Sophrony of Essex (1896–1993).

Delivered in Wichita, Kansas at the 2007 Clergy Brotherhood Retreat of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church, each lecture is published here in full together with its corresponding Questions & Answers.

For the Table of Contents, Sample Pages, and further details, please click here.

About the Author

The author is a disciple of Elder Sophrony and a member of the Monastery of St. John the Baptist, England. Also published by MOUNT THABOR PUBLISHING are his The Enlargement of the Heart (2nd edition, 2012) and Remember Thy First Love (2010),

Review

“Father Zacharias has inherited the rare and precious spiritual gift of ‘speaking a word’, an authentic word inspired by these contemporary spiritual giants [sc. St. Silouan the Athonite and Elder Sophrony].” The Right Reverend Basil Essey, Bishop of Wichita, Anthiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America

“The writings of Archimandrite Zacharias evince that inspiration which is born of the undistorted vision of Christ in glory.” Dr. Christopher Veniamin D.Phil. (Oxon.), Professor of Patristics, Saint Tikhon’s Seminary, USA

EMPIRICAL DOGMATICS VOL. 2: Holy Trinity, Creation, Fall, Incarnation, Church, Life After Death

Empirical Dogmatics Vol 2

According to the Spoken Teaching of Father John Romanides

Volume 2 completes the Empirical Dogmatics of the Orthodox Catholic Church by Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos, based on the spoken teaching of Fr. John Romanides. It addresses central dogmatic issues in the light of the experience of the Apostles and saints. Fr. John’s approach is unique, lively, and unconventional. Because of his American background, his wide-ranging academic research and his participation in ecumenical dialogues, he sees Orthodox dogma in its wider context. But his words are also illuminated by the mystery of his own experience, which he does not completely succeed in concealing.

The Church’s teaching on the Holy Trinity distinguishes between the dogma of the Holy Trinity, which it is possible to understand, and the mystery of the Holy Trinity, which defies human comprehension. The revelation of the Holy Trinity begins in the Old Testament: “It is Christ Who appears to the Prophets…Christ…is the Angel of the Lord, the Lord of Glory, Yahweh, the Lord Sabaoth, the Angel of Great Counsel …”

Fr. John reviews the scriptural and patristic teaching on the Creation of the World from non-being. Discussing the Demons of Darkness, he states uncompromisingly: “Being a theologian means first and foremost that someone is an expert in the wiles of the devil.” God’s personal direction of world is a matter of experience: “When someone is in the state of illumination he…sees the uncreated energy of God within creation.”

Commenting on the Creation of Man, Fr. John declares that we all possess a noetic faculty (nous) “which is supposed to be in man’s heart, but it is not in the heart when it is not functioning correctly”. The illuminated nous returns to the heart and prays: “When man prays with his rational faculty, that is human prayer…When, however, his nous prays within the heart, then the Spirit is praying.”

The Fall of Man does not mean “inheriting the guilt of Adam and Eve. The ancestral sin was not an affront to God, but a sickness of man.” Fr. John argues against St Augustine’s view that death is “a punishment from God” and sets out the evidence that it is an illness.

The Incarnation of the Son and Word of God is not just a historical event but “a spiritual event that is confirmed by empirical knowledge”. Analysing the Transfiguration of Christ, Fr. John comments: “We also know these things from the experience of glorification, not simply from reading Holy Scripture.” Christians must personally experience the Mystery of the Cross and Resurrection of Christ. “God is not reconciled with man, but man with God through the mystery of the Cross, and through this reconciliation man is transformed from an enemy of God into His friend, and participates in the Resurrection of Christ.”

The Mystery of Pentecost shows that the experience of Pentecost is repeated through the centuries. Fr. John stresses the empirical element of St Paul’s teaching: “For someone to be a temple of the Holy Spirit is an experience. If one reads the Apostle Paul carefully, he is not using empty words every time he describes the Holy Spirit…Who prays in man’s heart…This is the reality.” He also asks: “Without becoming a temple of the Holy Spirit, how can anyone become a theologian?”

Fr. John says characteristically: “What is the purpose of Orthodoxy? It is clear from the calendar of feasts. We have Easter and we have Pentecost. Baptism in water takes place at Easter. Baptism in the Holy Spirit takes place at Pentecost… And what is the outcome? The Sunday of All Saints. In other words, that all Orthodox Christians may be numbered among the saints.”

The Spiritual Perfecting of Christians analyses the stages of purification, illumination and glorification-theosis. Purification is not just a matter of avoiding sin: “Purification of the heart means that thoughts leave the heart…so that the heart is left…with one thought, prayer alone. This…is called prayer of the heart or single-thought prayer.” Those who reach illumination experience this: “Noetic prayer is a gift from God and is proof that somebody has become a temple of the Holy Spirit.” And someone who is glorified “no longer knows God in prophecies and knowledge and prayers, but knows Him directly.

Fr. John takes a historical and spiritual approach to the Mysteries (Sacraments) of the Church, stating: “The Mystery of Chrismation was intended for those who had already become members of the Body of Christ, because it was assumed that the Holy Spirit had already come to them and was praying in their heart.” Heresies and Councils are seen in a therapeutic perspective: “There is no therapeutic treatment in heresy…it is dangerous for people. The Fathers saw heresy as a form of charlatanism…”

Considering Life after Death, Fr. John stresses that Paradise and Hell exist from the human point of view, not from God’s perspective. “Someone who is suitably prepared sees God as glory, and someone else, who is unprepared, who does not have repentance and does not have divine vision, also sees God, but sees Him as ‘a consuming fire’. This is the fire of Hell.”

Metropolitan Hierotheos arranges all this material clearly and systematically, and links it with his own interpretative and critical comments. The resulting account of Empirical Dogmatics is comprehensive and compelling, with many surprises. This book will appeal not only to theologians but to anyone interested in what Orthodox Christians believe and why.

EMPIRICAL DOGMATICS VOL. 1: Dogma, Ethics, Revelation

Empirical Dogmatics

According to the Spoken Teaching of Father John Romanides

Empirical Dogmatics of the Orthodox Catholic Church by Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos is a valuable contribution to contemporary theological literature. It is a work in two volumes, based mainly on the spoken teaching of Fr. John Romanides. This book is an encounter between two important theologians of our time. Father John Romanides’ vivid and unconventional words, presented by Metropolitan Hierotheos, come as a liberating intervention in theological thought. Fr. John’s precise and specific teaching is not essentially innovative, but takes patristic theology and re-formulates it for our own era.

The first volume of Empirical Dogmatics is divided into four chapters: Dogma and Ethics, The Experience of Revelation, The Bearers of Revelation and The Living Monuments of Revelation.

This is a different kind of dogmatics because it is based on experience. “Dogma is not to be believed. Dogma is to be experienced.” Dogma is not human speculation. It has nothing to do with philosophy or metaphysics. It does not lead to any form of moralism. Fr. John often draws parallels between theology and the positive sciences, particularly medicine and astronomy. The method proposed for approaching dogma, and theology in general, is experiment, experience, observation and recording, as well as verification of the degree of success in achieving the aim by means of results. The aim is man’s glorification, which is reached by way of purification and illumination. Holy relics are tangible evidence for the authenticity of this experience, which transforms the whole human being, body and soul. It is empirical realities of this kind that attract non-Orthodox Christians today.

Dogma is the record of the revelatory experience of the saints who see God. It is the rational formulation of the mystery that they experienced. Dogma also acts as a means of therapeutic treatment for those who are spiritually sick and as a guide and signpost showing the way to glorification. There is a close connection between dogma and ethics, which Orthodox theology identifies with ascetic practice. The ascetic method consists of striving for purification, and leads to illumination. In this way the separation of the rational faculty from the noetic faculty is achieved, the darkened nous is illuminated and unceasing noetic prayer begins. Man is then in a position to experience dogma and to reach glorification. The empirical basis of dogma is the foundation of the spiritual life, understood in the context of the life of the Church.

The experience of revelation, of glorification, is the experience of Pentecost. Theology is an expression of the vision of God, but is not identical with it, because in the state of divine vision theology is transcended. The Christian is led to this experience through obedience to an experienced spiritual father. Spiritual fatherhood and its therapeutic dimension is the factor that links the bearers of the revelation: the glorified down through the ages and the God-seers of the Old and New Testaments. The difference between them is that the glorified Prophets of the Old Testament experience the revelation of the unincarnate Word, whereas the glorified Apostles, Fathers and saints of the New Testament experience the incarnate Word. Divine inspiration is another characteristic that they share, so they are unerring theologians. The infallibility of the Ecumenical Councils, which set out dogmas when the appearance of heretics makes this necessary, is due to the divine inspiration and freedom from error of the glorified Fathers who participated in them.

The theological teaching of Fr. John clarifies misunderstandings and resolves points of uncertainty. For instance, he clarifies the distinction between the revelation itself and the ‘living monuments of the revelation’: Holy Scripture and Tradition. The source of the faith is revelation, the experience of uncreated, ineffable words. The purpose of created words and concepts in Holy Scripture and Tradition is to cure man through purification, illumination and glorification.

This therapeutic method is the heart of the Orthodox Tradition and Empirical Dogmatics is a therapeutic intervention for those who are tired of the barren wanderings of Western theology.

 

The Seer: The Life of the Prophet Samuel and its Relevance Today, by Mtp Hierotheos Vlachos

The Prophet Samuel personifies universal history. His life and work are interpreted through the Old and New Testaments, and through the experiences of the Prophets, Apostles and Fathers of the Church. This book can benefit parents and children, spiritual fathers and those under their guidance, secular leaders and many others. The biography of a Prophet who lived thirty-two centuries before our time is significant for the people of today: clergy and laity, monks and married people, rulers and those they rule, and everyone who is troubled by being subject to suffering, corruption and death.

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The Seer describes the life and work of the Prophet Samuel, called ‘the Seer’ and ‘the man of God’ by his contemporaries, who lived in the period of the Old Testament and is a saint of our Church.

The author examines the fascinating life of the Prophet and uses events from it to illustrate the relationships between parents and children, spiritual fathers and their disciples, and rulers and those they rule in a theological perspective.

Early chapters focus on Hannah and her prayer, and discuss prayer in the heart. The Prophet was a son born by God’s good pleasure and sanctified from his mother’s womb. The miraculous nature of his birth demonstrates that the conception of a human being is the action of God’s grace, and that children are God’s gifts. There are practical comments about bringing up children in the Church, prompted by the account of Samuel as a child in the Temple. Later in the book there is a specific chapter about Samuel’s sons and the reasons why children from devout families sometimes rebel and take the wrong path, as they did.

The Prophet Samuel received revelations from God and possessed the spiritual gifts of clear sight and seeing into the future. There is a detailed discussion of what exactly these charismas are and for what purpose they are bestowed by God.

The Holy Spirit was at work in the Old Testament, and there is a compelling account of how Saul was filled with the Holy Spirit when anointed by Samuel, although he later lost this gift completely. The chapters on Saul’s sins, which seem superficially not to be serious, but were in fact so grave that they caused God to ‘change His mind’ about him, are thought-provoking. As a spiritual father, the author is able to understand Samuel’s profound grief over Saul’s fall and to describe it.

The book draws to a close with the anointing of David as king and Samuel’s death. The final pages look at the Prophet Samuel and the Church and include extracts from the service sung in his honour.

The author summarises Samuel’s four great virtues as his purity, his obedience to God’s will, his lack of resentment, and his love for the people, which also found expression through his grief at their mistakes. Samuel never grieved God at any point.

 

MTP Invited to SVS Ed Day

MOUNT THABOR PUBLISHING was most kindly invited to participate in this year’s St. Vladimir’s Seminary Education Day in Yonkers NY on Saturday, October 4, 2014.

Armed with its 12 quality publications and its first ever Catalogue, MTP strives to provide our clergy and lay folk with the wherewithal to promote the Orthodox Christian Faith in North America.

Special features of the MTP booth were Dr. Christopher Veniamin’s newly reprinted Saint Gregory Palamas: The Homilies and The Orthodox Understanding of Salvation: “Theosis” in Scripture and Tradition.

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Pacific Northwest Tour Part 13: Northwest Christian University, Eugene, OR

2014 PACIFIC NORTHWEST SPEAKING EVENTS SCHEDULE

August 15 through September 8, 2014. Klaus Kenneth, author of Born to Hate Reborn to Love, and Dr. Christopher Veniamin, Professor of Patristics at St. Tikhon’s Seminary and author of The Orthodox Understanding of Salvation: “Theosis” in Scripture and Tradition, will be conducting a joint tour of the Pacific Northwest, beginning in Oregon and including venues in Northern California and the Seattle Washington area.

ABOUT OUR SPEAKERS

Mr. Klaus Kenneth is a spiritual child of Elder Sophrony of Essex, and author of the best-selling, Born to Hate Reborn to Love. He is also the author of Gods, Idols, Gurus: From the Shadow of Deception to the Light of Orthodoxy, which is to be published in English in 2015.

Professor Christopher Veniamin is a spiritual child of Elder Sophrony of Essex, holds his first degree in Theology from the University of Thessalonica (Greece), and obtained his doctorate from Oxford University, under the supervision of Metropolitan Kallistos Ware. He is the editor and translator of Saint Gregory Palamas: The Homilies (2009 and 2014), and the author of The Orthodox Understanding of Salvation: “Theosis” in Scripture and Tradition (2013). Dr. Veniamin is also the President of Mount Thabor Publishing, which was established in 2005, and has edited and published  books by Archimandrite Zacharias, Professor Constantine Scouteris, and Klaus Kenneth.

Their schedule will include:-

15) Friday September 5th

Northwest Christian University (Protestant)
828 E. 11th Ave.
Eugene, Oregon 97401

Contact: Prof. Ronald Heine (Professor of Biblical Studies) @ 541-684-7315 or rheine@nwcu.edu

Website: http://www.nwcu.edu

Event: 1:00 to 2:15 PM: Prof. Veniamin will guest teach: “On Becoming Theologians: ‘Hesychia’ as a Prerequisite for the Encounter with God,” with Q&A.

Northwest Christian University

Northwest Christian University, Eugene, OR

Pacific Northwest Tour Part 12: Northwest Christian University, Eugene, OR

2014 PACIFIC NORTHWEST SPEAKING EVENTS SCHEDULE

August 15 through September 8, 2014. Klaus Kenneth, author of Born to Hate Reborn to Love, and Dr. Christopher Veniamin, Professor of Patristics at St. Tikhon’s Seminary and author of The Orthodox Understanding of Salvation: “Theosis” in Scripture and Tradition, will be conducting a joint tour of the Pacific Northwest, beginning in Oregon and including venues in Northern California and the Seattle Washington area.

ABOUT OUR SPEAKERS

Mr. Klaus Kenneth is a spiritual child of Elder Sophrony of Essex, and author of the best-selling, Born to Hate Reborn to Love. He is also the author of Gods, Idols, Gurus: From the Shadow of Deception to the Light of Orthodoxy, which is to be published in English in 2015.

Professor Christopher Veniamin is a spiritual child of Elder Sophrony of Essex, holds his first degree in Theology from the University of Thessalonica (Greece), and obtained his doctorate from Oxford University, under the supervision of Metropolitan Kallistos Ware. He is the editor and translator of Saint Gregory Palamas: The Homilies (2009 and 2014), and the author of The Orthodox Understanding of Salvation: “Theosis” in Scripture and Tradition (2013). Dr. Veniamin is also the President of Mount Thabor Publishing, which was established in 2005, and has edited and published  books by Archimandrite Zacharias, Professor Constantine Scouteris, and Klaus Kenneth.

Their schedule will include:-

14) Thursday September 4th
Northwest Christian University (Protestant)
828 E. 11th Ave.
Eugene, Oregon 97401

Contact: Prof. Ronald Heine (Professor of Biblical Studies) @ 541-684-7315 or rheine@nwcu.edu

Website: www.nwcu.edu

Event: 6:00 to 7:00 PM: Klaus Kenneth will make a presentation entitled, “My Spiritual Odyssey: From Sola Scriptura to the Communion of the Saints”, with an Introduction by Dr. Christopher Veniamin: “On Becoming Theologians: ‘Hesychia’ as a Prerequisite for the Encounter with God.

Northwest Christian University

Northwest Christian University, Eugene, OR

Pacific Northwest Tour 11: Christ the Saviour Church, San Francisco, CA

2014 PACIFIC NORTHWEST SPEAKING EVENTS SCHEDULE

August 15 through September 8, 2014. Klaus Kenneth, author of Born to Hate Reborn to Love, and Dr. Christopher Veniamin, Professor of Patristics at St. Tikhon’s Seminary and author of The Orthodox Understanding of Salvation: “Theosis” in Scripture and Tradition, will be conducting a joint tour of the Pacific Northwest, beginning in Oregon and including venues in Northern California and the Seattle Washington area.

ABOUT OUR SPEAKERS

Mr. Klaus Kenneth is a spiritual child of Elder Sophrony of Essex, and author of the best-selling, Born to Hate Reborn to Love. He is also the author of Gods, Idols, Gurus: From the Shadow of Deception to the Light of Orthodoxy, which is to be published in English in 2015.

Professor Christopher Veniamin is a spiritual child of Elder Sophrony of Essex, holds his first degree in Theology from the University of Thessalonica (Greece), and obtained his doctorate from Oxford University, under the supervision of Metropolitan Kallistos Ware. He is the editor and translator of Saint Gregory Palamas: The Homilies (2009 and 2014), and the author of The Orthodox Understanding of Salvation: “Theosis” in Scripture and Tradition (2013). Dr. Veniamin is also the President of Mount Thabor Publishing, which was established in 2005, and has edited and published  books by Archimandrite Zacharias, Professor Constantine Scouteris, and Klaus Kenneth.

Their schedule will include:-

13) Wednesday September 3rd
Christ the Saviour Church (OCA)
490 12th Ave
San Francisco, California 94118

Contact: Fr. Philip Halliwell @ 415-752-1347 or frphiliphalliwell@gmail.com

Website: www.sobor.org

PROGRAMME

6:00 p.m. Vespers
6:30 p.m. Food and Drinks
7:00 p.m. Talk begins
9:30 p.m. Adjourn

Event: Evening Talks with author Klaus Kenneth: “Beyond Nirvana: Theosis in the Orthodox Christian Tradition”, with Q&A, with an Introduction by Dr. Christopher Veniamin: “On Becoming Theologians: ‘Hesychia’ as a Prerequisite for the Encounter with God.

Christ the Saviour Church

Christ the Saviour Church, San Francisco, CA

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