Saints Archbishop Averky Taushev of Syracuse

Roosh

Cardinal
Orthodox
Vladika Averky was an archbishop of ROCOR and abbot of Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, New York. His theology was so clearly "Orthodox" that both Father Seraphim Rose and Saint John of Shanghai urged the brethren to follow his work and example.

His most popular work is The Struggle For Virtue, which I reviewed not long ago. Some quotes:
Asceticism is something so closely bound up with the spiritual life that without it spiritual life is simply inconceivable. It is, so to speak, the primary instrument of spiritual life. It is by no means an end in and of itself, but only a means; nonetheless, it is an absolutely necessary means for success in spiritual life.

[...]

It is not in and of themselves that good deeds have meaning, nor is it the personal effort of doing good that saves man; what saves him is the earnestness with which his will is directed towards good. In forcing himself to do good, one shows that his will seeks virtue. This is what attracts the all-powerful grace of God which, conjoined with one’s personal effort, makes him a victor over evil in his own soul, which is the ultimate purpose of unseen warfare.

[...]

All of modern entertainment acts like cocaine and alcohol on our contemporaries. Contemporary entertainment puts spiritual life to sleep in man, paralyzes spiritual impulses, and suppresses the voice of the conscience and of moral norms. Little by little, a person descends from the natural to gross carnality, becoming like a body without a soul according to the words of the Psalmist, “I was so foolish and ignorant: I was like a beast before you” (Ps 72:22).

[...]

In human hearts, evil is taking the upper hand. Evil in our time rarely manifests itself openly, in a repugnant way. As time passes, it gets better at masquerading itself in the guise of good. Often overlooked by many is the fact that those who committed crimes in the past usually understood that they were committing evil and would often repent and try to correct their wrongdoing. In contrast, the majority of our contemporaries have lost the very concept of evil. While committing evil, they do so cold-bloodedly and without emotion.
Vladika has also written many articles that were published in places like Fr. Seraphim's Orthodox Word. Here's an archive:
Here's an article he wrote called Holy Zeal, which I highly recommend you read:
...without this holy zeal, as we emphasized at the beginning, there is no true Christianity, no authentic spiritual life – life in Christ. That is why this has been replaced now by all kinds of cheap surrogates, at times quite low ones, which however often answer to the tastes and attitudes of contemporary man. And therefore such pseudo-Christians, skillfully covering up their spiritual emptiness by hypocrisy, often have great success in contemporary society, from which authentic spirituality has been rinsed out; while authentic zealots of God's glory are despised and persecuted as "difficult people," "intolerant fanatics," "people who are behind the times."

And thus even now before our eyes is occurring the "winnowing": some will remain with Christ to the end, and some will easily and naturally join the camp of His opponent, Antichrist, especially when the hour of threatening trials will come for our faith, when precisely it will be necessary to show in all its fullness the whole power of our holy zeal, which is abhorred by many as "fanaticism."
Father Seraphim had a dream of him in heaven after his death:


You can buy an icon of him at the Jordanville icon studio.

averky.jpg

Vladika Averky, pray for us and teach us the Orthodox faith!
 

Hermetic Seal

Kingfisher
Orthodox
Gold Member
Archbishop Averky is fantastic and The Struggle For Virtue should be essential reading for catechumens and new converts. I'm hoping to read his series of commentaries on the New Testament in the near future.
 

M_M

Pigeon
“It is not in and of themselves that good deeds have meaning, nor is it the personal effort of doing good that saves man; what saves him is the earnestness with which his will is directed towards good. In forcing himself to do good, one shows that his will seeks virtue. This is what attracts the all-powerful grace of God which, conjoined with one’s personal effort, makes him a victor over evil in his own soul, which is the ultimate purpose of unseen warfare”

Completely unbiblical. Respectfully, I urge you to Read your bible to see if what the Church Fathers say are true.


Acts 17:11
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so

These believers searched the scriptures to see if what Paul was telling them was true. We should be doing the same thing whether it is a preacher or writings from ANY man.

What the quote suggests is that there is some kind of cooperation between man and God but which we are saved. Somehow it is by mans on free will to choose to do good and this will attract Gods Grace. False. God saves completely and it is He who does the works inside of you. You get NO credit for it. None whatsoever. you are not Gods co-redeemer.


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Phl 2:13
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
 

NickK

Woodpecker
Orthodox
1 Cor, 3:9
For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.
According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.
 

M_M

Pigeon
1 Cor, 3:9
For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.
According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.
Yes. God uses you to will and do of His good pleasure. It’s the work of God in you. If it’s you doing the work separately of God then you can boast and take credit for it. But scripture makes it clear that you cannot.

1 Cor 3:5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?
1 Cor 3:6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.
1 Cor 3:7So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.

You are nothing apart from God working in you.
 

M_M

Pigeon
Indeed, that's what the Church of Christ has teached for 2000 years now.
You are fighting with shadows.
That’s not what this quote teaches

“This is what attracts the all-powerful grace of God which, conjoined with one’s personal effort, makes him a victor over evil in his own soul, which is the ultimate purpose of unseen warfare”

Not shadows. It’s subtle, but it’s false teaching. Gods Grace plus our own personal effort. Completely false.

It’s 100% God. Even “our works”.

The sentence I find most disturbing is the
“This is what attracts the all powerful Grace of God”
God isn’t attracted to our works. He died for us while we were dead in trespass and sin. The complete opposite.

Unless I’m looking at this the wrong way. That’s how I’m reading it anyway.
 

NickK

Woodpecker
Orthodox
Not shadows. It’s subtle, but it’s false teaching. Gods Grace plus our own personal effort. Completely false.
Thanks pope.
I'll stick with the 2000 year old Holy Tradition of the Church of Christ.

You have fallen pray to the demon of heresy.
More specifically the heresy of predestination, which denies human beings free will.

Math 16:24
"Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me".

St John Chrysostome:
" Grace, even if it is Grace, saves only those who will it".

St Gregory the Theologian:
"Even if we will be saved by God, there must be present our own agreement".

St Justin:
"God made man without his will, but he is 'unable' to save him without man wanting it".

St Maximus the Confessor:
"Man posseses two wings to reach heaven: his freedom and the Grace of God".
"God does all in us through Grace: practice and theory, virtue and knowledge and victory and wisdom and goodness and truth, but not without our free will".

Rev 3:20
"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me".

3 John 1:8
"We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth"

2 Cor 6:1
"We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain"

James 2:21
"Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?"

And again, because, you ignored it the first time, 1 Cor, 3:9
For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.
According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.

If you deny that God saves only those who want to be saved, then you implicitely affirm that God created most human beings only to condemn them to eternal hellfire, which is blasphemy.
 
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M_M

Pigeon
You have fallen pray to the demon of heresy.
More specifically the heresy of predestination, which denies human beings free will.

Ephesians 1:5

Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

Ephesians 1:11In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

READ YOUR BIBLE. Stop following men.

Election and predestination is all over scripture.
 

NickK

Woodpecker
Orthodox
Anathema.
You have fallen pray to the demon of heresy.
More specifically the heresy of predestination, which denies human beings free will.

Ephesians 1:5

Having predestined PREORDAINED us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

Ephesians 1:11In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

READ YOUR BIBLE. Stop following men.

Election and predestination is all over scripture.
 
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M_M

Pigeon
Anathema.
John 1:13

Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."


Acts 13:47-48


  • "For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.
  • And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed."

  • Romans 9:14-16
    • "What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.
    • For He saith unto Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion of whom I will have compassion.
    • So then, it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy."

 

Aboulia

Woodpecker
Orthodox
What the quote suggests is that there is some kind of cooperation between man and God but which we are saved. Somehow it is by mans on free will to choose to do good and this will attract Gods Grace. False. God saves completely and it is He who does the works inside of you. You get NO credit for it. None whatsoever. you are not Gods co-redeemer.

It's exactly what free-will is. We are free to reject God, or accept Him. As both the good and fallen angels made their choice. The battleground is this life. You're overemphasizing God's hand in this. Yes, it is God doing the work, but it is our will co-operating with him. If we do well, then we are only doing what is expected of a servant of God, and there is no reason to boast, for who can boast of simply doing what's our duty to do? On the other hand, all our faults are of our own addition, whether by weakness, or done intentionally. We're obscuring the work of God in this world of our own will. That is what we can "will" our "will" is in opposition to God's will.

Predestination is a problem, for if predestination is true, then God predestined evil to be on earth, and this is all one giant dramatic play of unnecessary suffering, and this makes Satan into more of an understandable character whom we can sympathize with. Not only that, but it kills the incentive to try to better oneself, because if I'm predestined for salvation, why try in life?

Part of your view is potentially healthy, as long as you understand it correctly. From what I see it's just a potential over-emphasis on the will of God.

You have to be very careful to not inject modern readings into ancient scripture, as the modern worldview is entirely foreign to the Early Christian worldview. Words can and have been corrupted/redefined over time. Not only that, but you have to realize that the Early Christian consensus trumps any modern interpretation for the sole fact that they compiled the bible. They would have to understand what they were doing, and why they were doing it, why things were included, and why they were left out. So for this reason, i suggest you read St Basil's "On the Human Condition" He wrote this in the 4th century, it covers the creation of man, until after the fall, noting how we are to approach life. If you want I'll type out a few pages in which I found entirely edifying, and it will have to be a few pages, as the writings of the Church Fathers cannot be fully expressed in memes, or selective quotations.
 

OrthoLeaf

Sparrow
Orthodox
Unless I’m looking at this the wrong way. That’s how I’m reading it anyway.
Herein lies your problem, brother. You're not willing to submit to the authority of the Church, the body of Christ (Col 1:18), the pillar and ground of Truth (1Tm 3:15) which is built upon an Apostolic foundation, not a Scriptural foundation (Eph 2:19-21). You believe you can approach the Churches Liturgical text in a vacuum and understand it outside of the Church, using only your fallen human reason. This is hubris. The Church is not a product of Scripture. Scripture is a product of the Church.

An excerpt from "Holy Scripture and the Church" - New Hireomartyr St Hilarion (Troitsky) Archbishop of Verey:

"All statements about contradictions between the Church and Holy Scripture are absolutely false and godless at their very root. Through the Holy Apostles, the Holy Spirit wrote Holy Scripture for the Church; and according to the unfailing promise of the Savior, the same Holy Spirit instructs the Church in all truth. The Holy Spirit is one and indivisible, eternal and unchangeable. He is the Spirit of Truth. How could it be that in Holy Scripture He says one thing while in the teaching and life of the Church He says another? Can it be to no purpose that the council of the Apostles, described in the fifteenth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, as well as all successive councils, began their decisions with the words It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us (Acts 15:28)? To allow the possibility of contradiction between the Church and the Holy Scripture means to speak of self-contradiction by the Holy Spirit, which truly represents blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Only the devil could suggest the blasphemous idea of the Holy Spirit contradicting Himself, and it is impossible not to agree with the powerful and sharp but also wise and equitable words of St. Vincent of Lerins: 'When we find people alleging passages from the Apostles or Prophets against the Catholic Faith [openly alleging disagreement between the Church and the Holy Scripture], we may be assured beyond doubt that the devil speaks through their mouths.'"


 

Hermetic Seal

Kingfisher
Orthodox
Gold Member
Acts 17:11
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so

These believers searched the scriptures to see if what Paul was telling them was true. We should be doing the same thing whether it is a preacher or writings from ANY man.

This is a great example of the flaws of protestant exegesis. The Berean synagogue received the Gospel of Jesus from Paul, and searched the Old Testament prophecies to see if what they'd been told about Jesus lined up with the prophecies (which, of course, they did.)

This verse involves a specific group of people who had not yet received the fullness of the Faith evaluating it. You're simply taking this out of context as a rhetorical flourish in service of an agenda to promote a 16th-century theology unknown to the Fathers. (And the Church never taught those ponderings of St. Augustine with some similarity to the Calvinist doctrines as dogma.)

Predestination is a mystery which the Fathers thought best for us not to obsess over too much, and always emphasized our freedom of choice and personal responsibility. Much like the western doctrines of transubstantiation, this mystery has been intellectually strip-mined by scholastic rationalism into a man-made doctrine that reshapes God in the image of the 16th-Century European Lawyer, in which Divine Sovereignty is made the ultimate virtue, at the expense of God's love; the result being a monster God who created advanced, self-unaware automatons for mass damnation. The implications of this view have led to gross public misunderstanding of who God is and what motivates Him; the Calvinist conception of God and its public dissemination has been a tremendous boon for Satan's PR department.

In the Orthodox view, God's love, not some effort to prove how sovereign He is, is his ultimate motivation. This is why we have free will: because love programmed is no love at all. One need only to read Psalm 102 (LXX) to grasp the Orthodox conception of God's character, which is completely incongruous with the Calvinist paradigm.

If it’s you doing the work separately of God then you can boast and take credit for it.

This allegation is repeated ad infinitum without any real reflection, and is another example of the egregious decontextualization I cited above. No, you can't boast, because that is pride, the most pernicious and dangerous sin, one to which protestantism ironically devotes virtually no attention (at least not in my 30+ years in it), but which Orthodoxy constantly holds under the microscope and challenges in our prayers and services. Lay people on the internet are not always the best representatives but if you talk to an Orthodox priest or monastic you'd find that they're just about the most self-deprecating, humble, self-critical people you'll ever meet - quite unlike the Pharisaic Jews that Jesus (and Paul, in his epistles) constantly criticize, who thought that their bloodline and patrimony made God pleased with them.

As Orthodox people become divinized they become more aware of their sins and weaknesses, so that the greatest saints reach the end of their lives convinced that they are the greatest sinners. This is a conception utterly alien to the Pharisaic mindset and one which refutes this shallow criticism of Orthodoxy.
 

Sol Invictus

Sparrow
Orthodox Catechumen
Predestination is a mystery which the Fathers thought best for us not to obsess over too much, and always emphasized our freedom of choice and personal responsibility. Much like the western doctrines of transubstantiation, this mystery has been intellectually strip-mined by scholastic rationalism into a man-made doctrine that reshapes God in the image of the 16th-Century European Lawyer, in which Divine Sovereignty is made the ultimate virtue, at the expense of God's love; the result being a monster God who created advanced, self-unaware automatons for mass damnation. The implications of this view have led to gross public misunderstanding of who God is and what motivates Him; the Calvinist conception of God and its public dissemination has been a tremendous boon for Satan's PR department.
This is why I could never accept Calvinism. I'd rather be an atheist than submit to Calvin's and his followers' understanding of God.
 
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