Saturday, 17 May 2014

Answering Sanidopoulos on the Apocalypse

I have met John Sanidopoulos earlier across the internet.

This time I am not seeing him on his blog Mystagogy, where he may block or delete my comments, but on an interview.

Interview with Orthodox Christian John Sanidopoulos
Godwin Delali Adadzie | July 11, 2013
Interview of Sanidopoulos
[Interviewer:] Do the Orthodox Churches believe we are in the Apocalypse?

[Beginning of response:] Officially, no.
Own comment
Officially it is believed that we are not "in the Apocalypse"? Or officially it is not positively believed we are?

Those are two different things.

Terminology matter, we have been living in the Apocalypse for 2000 years, nearly. What is referred to here is not living under a Heaven where the Souls of Martyrs intercede for the Church, as we hope on earth too, which has been going on for two thousand years. What is referred to is the final years, those that precede the Second Coming of Our Lord.
Interview of Sanidopoulos
The Church would make no such statement unless it was fully agreed by all and there was undeniable proof that the prophecies of the Book of Revelation were being fulfilled right now.
Own comment
"Undeniable proof" and "agreed by all" are two different things.

One of the things to be fulfilled is precisely a great apostasy. LOTS of clergy going the wrong way.

So, all agreeing is indeed not to be waited for in those times. However undeniable the proof may be in itself.
Interview of Sanidopoulos
However, there are many Orthodox that would disagree. On this issue, there are similar cases between Orthodox and Catholics. Just as there are many Catholics who proclaim “the end is nigh” or “the Antichrist has been born and lives among us”, the same rings true with Orthodox Christians.
Own comment
Indeed, I have remarked so.
Interview of Sanidopoulos
Some Orthodox like to emphasize certain “prophecies” by certain of our Saints and Holy Elders as if they are being fulfilled right now, and to them these indicate that we are right now living in the Apocalypse, ...
Own comment
I have heard about the prophecy of St Nilus. I am not sure it is genuine.

I am more confident about Padre Pio. Of Pietrelcina. The year I was born and he died, he said that the Antichrist is already in the world and is doing good. He did not say the Antichrist was already doing evil, but that this person was doing good. He was stigmatised. He was also given the miraculous grace of bilocation, so he could hear confession of Italians in US (but he was not given miraculous knowledge of En glish, all who saw him in US were Italians and they confessed and were given penance in Italian). Also, every Holy Mass he celebrated was a personal pain as if sharing the Cross and the Battle against Satan with the Redeemer on Calvary.

I think he is pretty likely to have been right.
Interview of Sanidopoulos
... but I usually consider such readings to be either misreadings fueled by paranoia and the confusion of our times, ...
Own comment
Confusion of the times is also one of the characteristics of the End Times.

"Paranoia" is a psychological term and as such subject to great caution. Psychology and psychiatry are so akin to the worship of Apollo of Delphi. For one thing the temple of that idol had the inscription ΓΝΩΘΙ ΣΕΑΥΤΟΝ - pretty much the battle cry of psychology. The demon or pythonic spirit of Delphi also ruined lives (Orestes and Oedipus come to mind) by self fulfilling prophecies. That reminds of the evil works of psychiatry.
Interview of Sanidopoulos
... or personal observations, predictions and opinions based on folk and ecclesiastical traditions and not on a personal revelation from God.
Own comment
Will a personal revelation from God be needed?

Are personal observations unknowable as to truth? Are ecclesiastical traditions an insufficient criterium?

Are folk traditions to be contemned?

Is not precisely he - John Sanidopoulos - of a tradition where unlearned farmers and shepherds shouting "axios" are supposed to be listened to?
Interview of Sanidopoulos
As one holy and wise Elder taught, whose name was Porphyrios and lived not too long ago in Athens, Orthodox Christians should not think about the Antichrist, but rather they should concentrate on Christ, and contemplate our own death, which is our own personal Apocalypse.
Own comment
If a man can very totally concentrate on adoring Christ and contemplating his own death, he might have a very good safeguard against apostasy to adoration of the Beast.

Are all Orthodox or Catholics in such a position? Or is it not a position that is rare even among monks these days?
Interview of Sanidopoulos
If we spent all our time concentrating on Christ rather than the Antichrist, we would not fear the Antichrist when he comes and we would be more ready to accept suffering and martyrdom at his hands ...
Own comment
How many will be lost, not because they were not ready for violent martyrdom, but because they were not ready to expose themselves to utter ridicule when identifying the Antichrist?

Have you read Astrid Lindgren?

She was an atheist. But she was also a novelist. And a lover of fairy tales. And the daughter of a Lutheran clergyman.

I would consider it likely some of her novels are meditations on the Apocalypse.

Can you imagine a scenario in which Tengel or Knight Cato appears as loveable as Pippi Longstocking's father Pirate Captain Ephraim Longstocking?

That escaped her imagination. But it is a scenario not to be unaware of.
Interview of Sanidopoulos
... rather than trying to read “the signs of the times”.
Own comment
Trying to read the times is one thing. Actually reading them is another thing.
Interview of Sanidopoulos
Another holy and simple Elder, Evmenios, who recently reposed in Crete, would say: “You know, I personally don’t believe that Christ would only give 2000 years of grace to the world. It just doesn’t seem very long to me.”
Own comment
Christ came "in the last times".

A prophecy in Joel was misread by the first Pentecostals who founded Pentecostalism in Asuza Street some hundred years ago.

It was fulfilled some 1900 years before their time, since St Peter refers to it being fulfilled on Pentecost Day.

So, Christ did not come in the first half but in the latter half of the history of mankind and the universe.

But he was born 5199 after Creation. If 2000 years is too short, will 5100 years do for this Elder? Or did he consider the earth so many millions of years older than thought as per Biblical Chronology that he wants millions of years?

The issue of a long or a short timespan for earth and the universe is not just burning because a short history clearly excludes atheism or a kind of god who is neutral to what happens in the universe. It is also burning because a short timeline between Adam and Christ's first coming implies an even shorter one between His first and second comings.

He did say a word of the timeline. Mark 10:6.
Interview of Sanidopoulos
Hence, Orthodox have differing opinions on the matter.
Own comment
On another matter too. Or even a few of them.

But before going into that, I must state that the Book of Revelation which in Greek is called Apocalypsis and which was given by a personal revelation from God to St John on Patmos does not state that people in the last times will need a personal revelation from God to identitify Antichrist.

Apocalypse of St John 13 : [18] Here is wisdom. He that hath understanding, let him count the number of the beast. For it is the number of a man: and the number of him is six hundred sixty-six.

It does not say "he that receives a revelation, let him ..", it says "he that hath understanding, let him count ..." and so on.

I do now not think Bergoglio is the Beast but rather the False Prophet. Herein, I may be wrong. Like any man who is not a prophet.

I have previously thought he might just be a warning about another Bergoglio - or about a man living up to the number of that name in another name. After all, the Pope called Aquila Rapax in a prophecy was not himself a rapacious eagle but had to deal with Napoleon Bonaparte who was. I have also thought he might be the Beast while his friend Tony Palmer was the false prophet. He too is extremely false in doctrine. I now think - it is an opinion based on earlier prophecies, and not a prophecy given to me - he is the false prophet.

He has shown himself false in doctrine as well as having six hundred and sixty six in the family name by ASCII Code. Another person alive has also that number in one wellknown name. Like Bergoglio, the other person is usually thought of as good. A third person who is now usually thought of as evil but who in his own time was thought of as good also has that number - or would have had if ASCII Code had been there in his time. In both these other cases, it is not ASCII Code forwards as for Bergoglio (A=65, Z=90 rather than a=97, z=122) but in reverse (A=90, Z=65, or more properly a=122, z=97).

The false doctrine concerns - April 21 this year of 2014 - Communion given to a woman living in public sin and - April 27 - canonisation of two men who showed too little Apostolicity of Doctrine.

Now to another matter in which the community Sanidopoulos calls Orthodox are divided.
Interview of Sanidopoulos
[Part of other response:] Regarding contraception, Orthodox clergy are encouraged to make every effort to stay out of the “undefiled mariage bed” of a married couple and how they conduct their intimate sex life. When rules are made in such intimate matters, we view this as a form of moralism, which is a heresy in Orthodoxy and only serves to stifle ones spiritual growth through rules and regulations. It reminds us of ridiculous manuals from the Medieval West that established stifling rules when the acceptable days and times for coupling were, and even what positions were acceptable.
Own comment
I have not seen any negative kama sutras in the Medieval West.

As to what days, two rules are to be observed. One is a preference for abstaining when infertility is to be expected (once a month when not pregnant, for nine months during pregnancy). Is that stifling? God Himself made similar rules while speaking to Moses on Sinai. Under the old law they meant lapidation if not followed. In St Thomas Aquinas, it is even only a venial sin, for the person demanding, and not a sin at all for the person consenting after getting the demand repeated despite a warning of it being inappropriate.

The other rule, usually followed by Orthodox during Great Lent at least (and even mentioned by John a bit later in the interview), is to abstain in favour of prayer on days of fasting and penance or of spiritual high feasts. Such abstinence is by common consent, not by forcing the other to abstain. As St Paul said also.

But I have seen Anglicans react to this - unless they were Atheists of formerly Anglican populations - as if this in itself were stifling rules.

I do not think they are.

I think the modern age limit of 18/18 in many states, as opposed to earlier 14/12 in Catholic countries and as opposed to a similar teen marriage friendly rule in Czarist Russia, is a stifling and unnatural rule.
Interview of Sanidopoulos
As for homosexuality, we regard it as a sexual passion like any other and deeply complicated, though the practice of homosexuality is forbidden and requires repentance and ascetic struggle. Homosexual “marriage” is also forbidden.
Own comment
Such a passion is not like any other. It is contrary to nature even in intent, even before consents and compromises are made.

As to practise, sodomy and contraception are both against nature. Both require repentance.

I am not sure what Sanidopoulos means by "ascetic struggle", but I am afraid it means something other than giving it up and doing penance for sins already committed.

I think that one Mormon did the right thing. He married. Not another man, but a girl who knew he had been in love with other boys. They are still married, they have children.

He is called Josh Weed.

I am afraid that by "ascetic struggle" Sanidopoulos means anyone who had ever committed the sin of sodomy must never dream of marrying but must live like a monk. This is not the traditional teaching of the Church. At least not in the West.

No Pope earlier than Paul VI (if Montini was at all Pope, which I doubt or tend to even deny, as well as with Roncalli) said that. St Pius V had 1568 stated that clergy and monks who committed the sin must be deprived of ecclesiastical honours and forced to do penance. But there he was dealing with people who had already vowed celibacy.

One more thing. Reciting the Acathist is great. We also have the Lauretan Litany in the Catholic Church. But Our Lady at Fatima in Portugal, 97 years ago, said the Scapular and the Rosary are great spiritual weapons, our defense when other things are gone, when faithful are deprived of Sacraments, for instance, I can imagine She meant.

The Rosary is a prayer for simple people. In the Carmelite Tradition the Brown Scapular at first went with the Little Office of Our Lady. But the Little Office is in Latin, the Rosary can be recited in any language. If you know the prayers by heart.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Bpi, Georges Pompidou
17 / V / 2014

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