Eric doesn’t tell us anything about himself, but he writes like a man of means who has told a boot-maker on High Street in no uncertain terms that he is not going to give the boot-maker his custom until the boot-maker takes those offensive ‘Palin dancing shoes’ out of the shop window. Well, Eric, humility is a virtue.
We are in the position of a boot-maker who gives his boots away free to all who wish faced with the indignant man of means who loudly refuses his custom until the Palin dancing shoes go from the shop window—even though the boot-maker has never solicited the custom of the man of means ever.
The man of means bustles up and down the boot shop examining the merchandise, perhaps it’s not up to good British par, perhaps it’s been made by some wog. The boot-maker looks up from his last in stunned disbelief, spectacles on the edge of his nose, face weathered, thinning white hair astray.
As for our being an American citizen or not: perhaps our boot factory is located in
We don’t know if Eric is sincere; he says he is ‘not sarcastic’.
We would like to justify our temporary excursion into politics.
Eric, there is a long tradition in Christianity of the prophetic voice. That is not to say that we, Orthodox Monk, have charisms: we are not Pentecostalist and by the skin of our teeth we barely manage to scrape by.
However, let us give some examples of the prophetic voice in Christianity. The first example that comes to mind is that of St Savas the Sanctified, who was once refused entry to the
Then there is St Basil the Great who faced down a Byzantine Emperor to his face. The Emperor remarked that he had never met a bishop who had acted that way. St Basil replied: ‘That’s because you’ve never met a bishop before.’
St Ambrose of
St John Chrysostom, Patriarch of Constantinople, faced the Empress Eudocia down over a widow’s vineyard that the Empress coveted. For his trouble he was sent into exile and force-marched until he died. When his relics were brought to
St Theodore Studite faced the Byzantine Emperor down over his irregular marriage to the saint’s cousin. He got into a lot of trouble but didn’t back down. He later took a leading role in opposing Imperial policy in the iconoclast controversy. He suffered.
Two other saints were branded with red-hot irons on their faces in the Emperor’s presence for opposing the Imperial iconoclast policy.
St Athanasios of Athos went to
St Maximos the Confessor opposed the Imperial monothelite policy—apparently adopted for very serious reasons of state in addition to theological reasons—and for his trouble had his tongue cut out and his arm cut off.
In the time of Tsar Ivan IV (‘The Terrible’), there was a fool for Christ—Blessed Basil of Moscow; it is for him that the beautiful Cathedral of St Basil in Red Square outside the Kremlin is known, not far from McDonald’s—who came into the Tsar’s presence and threw a piece of raw meat dripping blood in front of the Tsar in prophetic testimony against the Tsar’s bloody excess.
In more modern times, let us take the testimony of Pastor Wurmbrand (readers who know the details might send them to us). Pastor Wurmbrand was in a communist prison in
Then, for those who of our readers who are Protestant, there is the case of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He was hanged with piano wire from a meat hook for his resistance to the Nazi’s.
Then, for the Roman Catholics, there is St Maximilian Kolbe, who was in
Dare we mention
No, Eric, being a monk (and indeed we are a monk) in not merely a matter of counting your beads in peace. It is also a matter of telling the truth.