We’re UP!

February 22, 2008

All new features. Chatbox operational. New content. New incentives for advertising. Surge of new members and forum activity. New MySpace page. New OrthodoXCircle group. SiteMeter loaded.

I’m more than happy with things right now, I mean, really… it’s all word of mouth and it’s taking off amazingly. Thank you guys again for your efforts, and I hope to see more of you there. Be on the lookout for the upcoming Newsletter and focus on user blogs.

Anti-Humans

February 16, 2008

Between 1944-1945, Communism took over the Christian country of Romania. An experiment of terror was performed on the young generation, on students from the age of eighteen to twenty five. Among those students was a man who is alive today after surviving sixteen years in the anti-human communist prison system. His name is Father George Calciu. After His release from prison, he was exiled to America in 1984. Below follows part of an interview by Nun Nina from this year.(1998)

Nun Nina: This may be more difficult for you to talk about – I know a little bit about what happened there and the whole experiment of re-education that took place. Can you tell us about what happened?

Fr. George: Communism wanted to make a gap between the generations. The most dangerous category for them was the students, the young people. We had inherited a Christian education, family values, and basic Christian principles. The older generation was a generation that had to die, but this generation had to be transformed. So they tried to experiment in a very concentrated medium. They wanted to break the people, the whole country. Romania was not a primitive country. We were connected to European culture.

We believed in Christian values. Therefore, they wanted to do this special experiment with the young people, to create a gap between the children and the older generation, to make this generation of students a communist one. They wanted to build a new world – a communist world; a new man—the communist man and so on. Se the arrested the young people – the students – and put them in a special prison for this very experiment.
They took very distinct steps. The first was to destroy the personality of the youth. For example, the guards would come together with a group of young prisoners who had converted to communism in a cell where there were perhaps twenty young students and try to intimidate them. They would beat without mercy. They could even kill somebody. Generally they would kill one of them – the one who opposed them the most; the most important one. Generally he was a leader. They would beat him and even kill him. Thus, the terror began.

After that, they began to “unmask.” They wanted to force you to say: “I lied when I said, ‘I believe in God.’ I lied when I said, ‘I love my mother and my father.’ I lied when I said, ‘I love my country.’” So everyone was to deny every principle, every feeling he had. That is what it means to be “unmasked.” It was done in order to prove that we were the products of the bourgeois, and the bourgeois are the liars. We lie when we say we are virgin, we are Christian, and when we try and preserve our bodies for marriage.

They tried to say I was a prostitute, a young man that had connections with the all the girls. We would be tortured until we denied everything we believed before. So, that is what it means to be “unmasked.” It was done in order to prove that Christian principles we not principles, that we lied when we said we loved Jesus Christ, we loved God, mother, father, and so on. It was to show that I lied when I said that I was a chaste man, when I held the ideal of nation and family. Everything had to be done to destroy out souls! This is the second step.

After this came a declaration against everybody who was in touch with us, everybody who believed as we believed. I was to make a declaration against everybody who knew about my organization or my actions, to denounce everybody—even father, mother, sister. We were to sever completely any Christian connection and moral people.

The final step was to affirm that we had given up all the principles of our faith and any connection we had with it. With this we began to be “the new man,” “the communist man,” ready to torture, to embrace communism, to denounce everybody, ready to give information, and ready to blaspheme against God. This is the most difficult part, for under terror and torture one can say, “Yes, yes, yes.” But now, to have to act? It was very difficult.
It was during this third part that many of us tried to kill ourselves.
Nun Nina: This is when you tried to commit suicide?

Father George: Yes, this was the most difficult part. Thus was a new category of man built by communism. And we were forced to go with some of our former torturers into another cell and start doing to same thing. It was very difficult. It was a very devilish directive.

At this time we could not understand the mystical implications of this action. We are political prisoners and the communists wanted to learn everything about us—about our friends, our families—because the majority of the people were against them. They wanted to strike terror in them and in the country.

Only later did we understand that there were mystical implications. All these people were just instruments of the devil. After the actions had stopped, some of us understood. But, we were too involved with the political fight before we were in prison. Even if I and others protested against the introduction of materialism into the schools and the forbidding of the students to go to Church, I think the majority of our effort was being involved in the political fight. However, little by little, under the terror, the torture, and suffering, we understood that this political implication was just the surface. In fact, it was a fight between good and evil; between God and the devil.

When we understood that, we started praying even more than before. God sent us illumination. We understood it and we were aware of the nature of this fight. We understood that it was not [a name] was our enemy—it was the devil. He tried to destroy our soul. It was not just a political fight for someone’s struggle for power. They wanted to destroy our soul, our faith, our spiritual connection with our families. We understood this and we tried to resist. We were fighters—very strong, courageous, and faithful.
So there were four steps: the instillation of terror, the unmasking, the denouncement of other people, and, afterwards, the changing of our souls. These four steps were strictly thought out and planned. It could not be only in the images of the mind. They had long experiences of this in Russia and were now bringing it to Romania.

We had not right to work. They had no interest in our body. Our body was just an instrument through which to reach our soul. They interested in our faith, in the destruction of our souls.

There was no torture moral and physical that was not used. But you can pass through the tortures. The problem for us was the moral problem. To deny Faith, to deny everything, to say that all my life was only lies. To deny every Truth, the real Truth you believed before. To say now that it was not true, it was a lie. This was a problem for many, for we can pass through the tortures—or we can die. But, to survive, and to deny everything you believed in before, everything that was the cornerstone of your soul. This was our difficulty.

When you were tortured, after one or two hours of suffering, the pain would not be strong, but after denying God and knowing yourself to be a blasphemer—that was the pain that lasted. Spiritual pain is more difficult to bear than bodily pain.

Nun Nina: Where there moments when you thought you were going to lose your mind or go insane?

Father George: Yes

Nun Nina: What did you do? How did you even pray during those moments?

Father George: One cannot pray during those moments. But during the night, when everyone goes to bed, you gain your strength and find your repentance. You pray for this. It is not complicated. You say, “God forgive me!” It is enough for your soul to regain its strength and resist one more day… and one day more… and one day more. Not to die. Not to go crazy. Many of us went mad. But just to say, “Forgive me, God.” You knew very well that the next day you would again say something against God. But a few moments in the night, when you started to cry and to pray to God to forgive you and help you was very good.

Many times we were quite angry with God—if you exist why did you allow this? But there was one moment when the mercy of God would come upon you and you could say, “God forgive me; God help me.” It was enough to help you. For another day, another day, another day.

We were freed and we were very happy to be free, but we had a kind of nostalgia about the prison. And we could not explain it to others. They said we were crazy. How could you miss prison? Because in prison, we had the most spiritual life. We reached levels that we are not about to reach in this world. Isolated, anchored in Jesus Christ, we had joys and illuminations that this world cannot offer us. There are not words to express exactly the feeling we had there. Many times we were not happy at all, but there were moments of happiness there. When I took care of Constantine Oprisan in the cell, I was very happy. I was very happy because I felt his spirituality penetrating my soul. I learned from him to be good, to forgive, not to curse the torturer, not to consider anything of this world to be a treasure for you. Can you imagine—we were in a cell without windows, without air, humid, filthy—yet we had moments of happiness that we never reached in freedom.

Anti-Humans and the Re-Education Experiment is an article provided by Death to the World.

Desert Calling

February 14, 2008

John 15:16-19 You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remin; that whatsoever you shall ask of the Father in My name, He may give it you. These things I command you, that you love one another. If the world hate you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love his own; but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”

Desert Calling is now up and running. We had a couple of rough patches during the beginning, but now things are finally up and running. The vBulletin forum is up and running, there’s a nice portal front page as soon as you log on, activity is growing every day, we’re the #1 spot on Google when you search “Desert Calling”, and I couldn’t be much happier.

I really hope to see some of you guys there. A lot of the things I’ve read from your blogs have been so very edifying, it would be more than a blessing to have some of you sharing that with us over in the Desert Calling community. If you like it, spread the word! Suggestions and feedback is most welcome.

Thank you guys, and I apologize for the lack of posting lately. Between getting this website operational, work, Church, and everything life throws at me in-between, I haven’t been able to get much posted… but I am thankful you still take some time out for me.

In XC,

Blake

It’s up!

January 24, 2008

Dust and Ashes.net is up and running. We’re still getting everything set up and moved in, but it’s operational. I’ve got a to-do list posted on the page for me to tackle as it goes by, but as far as having a running database and operational message board goes it’s finally there. Head on over to Dust and Ashes now to get a look, and register! I’d love to be able to talk with you guys there if you’d so like.

Dust and Ashes is a message board/community for Orthodox Christians, Catechumens, and inquirers. We have forums to fit every poster’s needs, and if we don’t, tell us and we’ll see about getting it put up for you. For my tech readers it’s hosted by iPower and running on the vBulletin message board system. If you’ve never posted on a message board before, here is a great link to explain things a little more.

I hope to have a website implemented to go along with the message board too, where I’ll provide links to other sites, add some affiliates, host sites of the month, things of that nature. You would be able to purchase some advertising space and get your site featured on Dust and Ashes to increase your traffic, whether it’s a blog, message board, or Orthodox website. I’ll be featuring an online webstore too, based on Cafepress, to get a little merchandise up for those who would be interested.

Dust and Ashes is still a grassroots effort. We’re getting advertised based on links and word of mouth from people who are interested in helping. If you would like to link Dust and Ashes from your site or blog, I would highly appreciate anything you could do to help. Reply here, or email me at webmaster@dustandashes.net for more info on that.

Feedback and suggestions are most welcome. I look forward to seeing you guys on the new message board.

We Magnify Thee…

November 26, 2007

We magnify Thee, O Lifegiver Christ…

St. Mary’s Orthodox Church

November 16, 2007

Here are some pics of my parish.

 

 

 

 

 

Lord, have mercy.

November 15, 2007

As often as I have taken this fact for granted, tonight I have been given just enough grace to understand that I am a catechumen in Christ’s Church… the Church I didn’t think existed, the Church of the Martyrs and Saints, the Church of the Creed and the Seven Councils, the Church He died for, the pillar and ground of all truth. Tears in my eyes, with a heart full of both hope and sorrow for having found the true faith yet taking it for absolute granted at so many times, I am humbled. God be glorified. God be exalted! God is so Good!

To participate, however weakly, in the Divine Liturgy as we gather on Sunday, we are richer than the Old Testament Saints. To only set foot in the place where the literal Body and Blood of Christ our Savior is mystically present, to receive a blessing from the priest who is blessed enough to touch this Mystery, to sing with the heavenly angels and magnify the Lord and witness what even Moses had never seen — we are rich beyond compare. Though my heart may be as a slab of wood and my scattered thoughts may lead me elsewhere, I am closer to paradise there in the Church than I could ever deserve to be.

As Saint Symeon the New Theologian so gracefully put it…

I know that the Immovable comes down;
I know that the Invisible appears to me;
I know that He who is far outside the whole creation
Takes me within Himself and hides me in His arms,
And then I find myself outside the whole world.
I, a frail, small mortal in the world,
Behold the Creator of the world, all of Him, within myself;
And I know that I shall not die, for I am within the Life,
I have the whole of Life springing up as a fountain within me.
He is in my heart, He is in heaven:
Both there and here He shows Himself to me with equal glory.

May I be counted worthy to partake of this Divine Mystery. May I be granted through the prayers of our holy fathers the graces of repentance and tears, humility of heart and soul, simplicity of mind and righteousness in the sight of God. May the Theotokos smile warmly upon me as I try, however weakly, however sinfully, to draw closer to her Son. May I remember always to meditate on these things, to keep my heart in paradise and my mind in hell. May this sinner dare to call upon the Name of He who these lips aren’t worthy enough to utter, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.

Jeremiah 6:16 “Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.”

Forgive me.