A dismembered Arab sheikh raised from the dead after visiting an Orthodox conven

kansas city

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A dismembered Arab sheikh raised from the dead after visiting an Orthodox convent - newspaper - Interfax

Volume 8 Number 7 - Friday, February 03, 2006 Posted: February 3, 2006
http://www.orthodoxnews.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=WorldNews.one&content_id=14324&CFID=26612068&CFTOKEN=86074745


Moscow, February 3, Interfax - One of the Saudi Arabia sheikhs ‘rose from the dead’ after visiting Panagia Saidnaya, an old convent near Damascus, the Trud daily writes on Friday.



After being killed and quartered, this man was sewed up anew with the use of some technology unknown to humanity, the newspaper says referring to medics who analyzed this unique occurrence.



The US military medics, who also took part in the expertise, came to the conclusion that it was a result of ‘the UFO interference’ and classified this information as secret.



According to the newspaper, the sheikh and his wife could not have children. They decided to go on their last journey together to Syria to venerate local Muslim shrines. One taxi-driver there advised them to visit the Sidnay Convent with its miracle-working Icon of the Mother of God, which often helped to childless families.



The sheikh promised to donate 80 thousand dollars to the convent and to give 20 thousand dollars to the driver if his prayers were answered. Nine months later, his wife gave birth to an heir. The happy sheikh went immediately to Damascus to fulfil his promise, came in contact with the driver and asked him to meet him at the airport.



The driver came with two ‘bodyguards’. On its way to the convent the car suddenly turned into a deserted place and the three men made a short work of the sheikh by cutting off his legs, arms and head. They took his money and jewels and put the remnants of the poor sheikh into the trunk in order to drive him away to a safe place.



After a few kilometers the car suddenly stalled. A man who was driving by offered his help, but it was rudely rejected. But this Syrian felt something was wrong and called the police, who came and caught the three accomplices unawares.



They all experienced an even greater shock after they opened the trunk. The motionless and blooded body suddenly began to stir, then revived and stood up slightly rocking. The first words he said were: ‘This same Panagia has just finished sewing up my neck here…’



After this declaration, the driver and ‘his bodyguards’ went out of their mind.

 

Psalti Boy

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I don't know who makes this stuff up, but this was circulating online about three years ago.  The article must have also been resurrected.
 

Meekle

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Psalti Boy said:
I don't know who makes this stuff up, but this was circulating online about three years ago.  The article must have also been resurrected.


Perhaps it is a different story. Maybe resurrecting sheikhs happens often over there?  ;)
 

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This article has also became known lately in Greece but i am not sure if its true.I mean no TV station or major newspaper ever said or write everything about this.Sorry but i find difficult to believe such ambiguous stories.I do not maybe i am just too sinfull
 

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If it wasn't for an earlier poster saying it had been going around on the internet for a while, I'd find it easy to believe.  Maybe I'm just way too gulible.  I just hope it isn't difficult for anyone to believe that God could do that...
 

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What's up with you guys?  Why can't we believe it?  OK it might be a story, but on the other hand it might not be.  Doesn't bother me either way.  Elder Porphyrios could see historical events, like we watch TV and also see hidden objects buried beneath the earth.  This is the stuff of the "Other World" which some people find uncomfortable.  Go on,  stretch your hearts a little  ::)
 

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I don't believe it because it's not true. It could be true, I don't deny that; but it's not. For instance, the article said:

The US military medics, who also took part in the expertise, came to the conclusion that it was a result of ‘the UFO interference’ and classified this information as secret.
I have no idea what taking part "in the expertise" means, I suppose it is a mistranslation, but there is no way whatsoever that the US military would come to the conclusion that anything like this would be the result of "UFO interference," especially when the murders had been captured and the guy was found in the trunk! And then, if it was classified, how did people find out about it a short time later? The US military is generally very good at keeping secrets it wants kept secret. And anyway, why wouldUS military medics just happen to be there in Syria where it took place?

Then there's this line, which sounds like the punchline to a bad joke:

The first words he said were: ‘This same Panagia has just finished sewing up my neck here…’
Then again, since the great majority of Orthodox hagiography is exaggeration and myth (I use myth in a positive sense), maybe it really doesn't matter that it didn't happen. :)
 

kansas city

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Asteriktos said:
Then again, since the great majority of Orthodox hagiography is exaggeration and myth (I use myth in a positive sense), maybe it really doesn't matter that it didn't happen. :)
Please expand on this. 
Myth relayed as fact is deception, not positive.
Exaggeration relayed as fact is deception, not positive.
Faith is exploited by deception all over the world, throughout history. 
Is that the basis of Orthodox history as well?
 

greekischristian

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kansas city said:
Please expand on this. 
Myth relayed as fact is deception, not positive.
Exaggeration relayed as fact is deception, not positive.
Faith is exploited by deception all over the world, throughout history. 
Is that the basis of Orthodox history as well?
Positive as in it makes people feel good and strengthens their faith. Does it really have to be true per se?
 

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kansas city said:
Please expand on this. 
Myth relayed as fact is deception, not positive.
Exaggeration relayed as fact is deception, not positive.
Faith is exploited by deception all over the world, throughout history. 
Is that the basis of Orthodox history as well?
Some aspects, yes, and we think that's just fine.  It's only recently in a post-Enlightenment era that "historical truth" and "theological truth" became divorced.  For instance, it is asserted at the Dormition that the Apostles travelled to see Mary's death on clouds. Of course they did not travel on clouds.  God could have transported them there instantly, -or- maybe only granted them a vision of it.  Either way, it doesn't matter; the theological truth is that the Apostles were present at the Theotokos's death just as they were present at the Lord's (it's a parallel imagery type of thing).

Faith is not exploiting deception; it is a way of explaining a theological truth.  Now, I am not a relativist who then takes that to mean that Jesus didn't really die on the Cross and Resurrect or any of that nonsense. But to me the theological painting of an event being slightly different from the historical is not the same thing as that.

As far as this story goes, it just sounds weird and on par with some more extravagent pious "stories" that can turn dangerous if believed too literally. There is a difference between Tradition and pious stories.

Anastasios
 

Asteriktos

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kansas city,

I do not want to imply that I am representing Orthodoxy, it is really just my opinion. Admittedly, it is my understanding and I think it can be held by an Orthodox Christian, but others might disagree, so I want to make that clear up front. So, if you think that what I'm saying is balderdash, just ignore it and don't let it effect your view of Orthodoxy :)

Myth relayed as fact is deception, not positive
Well, myth is true, in that the main point of the story is true. The moral or lesson of the myth is true, and even transformative. Think of it this way, the parables that Jesus told were not literally true, they were just stories. Yet, no one would think to cut them out just because they were merely stories. They were fiction, but with an important moral point, and the fact that particular elements of stories might not be based on real life does not make them deceptive. Thus, myths are true (morally and spiritually), even if they aren't "factual" (ie. even if they don't actually report on real-life happenings).

Exaggeration relayed as fact is deception, not positive.
Perhaps the people who passed on the stories or statements did not realise that they were exaggerations? If that were case, the problem is not intention to deceive, but a tendency to accept whatever is said in a woodenly literal way. This is one problem with philosophy and spirituality, there is always going to be exaggeration. There will always be people adding new layers to a story, but then there will also always be people adding new thoughts to a theological belief. Sometimes, people will go too far and begin to exaggerate, and other will unwittingly pass it on to the next generation. However, it is important that if the thing was a story (myth) merely trying to explain a moral point to begin with, such exaggeration is not deceptive, but perhaps even a creative, positive addition.

Faith is exploited by deception all over the world, throughout history. ¦nbsp;Is that the basis of Orthodox history as well?
Well, like I said, I think that myths are comparable to parables. I don't think someone's faith should be destroyed because parables do not literally report real life events, and neither do I think that people should be hurt or harmed because some hagiographical elements are myths. Between the Prologue From Ochrid, the various Lives of Saints books published by Holy Apostles convent, and a number of other books I've read, I think it's fair to estimate that I've read blurbs on at least fifteen hundred saints, and the full stories of at least five hundred. And in that time, it has become clearer to me (just speaking personally here) that 1) there are definate patterns of writing in hagiography, there is a genre, and the writings typically fall into certain molds and are generally not really that much different from one story to the next; and 2) some exaggeration seems evident, since it makes the story more interesting.

Now, if someone calls Jesus a master story teller because of his way with words in parables, I don't think they are doing him a disservice. The disservice would be to assume that the parables are factual reports of actual life, and then when you found out they weren't, to blame Jesus. Likewise, in my opinion, there is nothing wrong with hagiography having some exaggerations, and if we happen to believe the Lives of the Saints to be literally true, and then find out that ceratin things weren't, we shouldn't blame the saints, or even the hagiographers, but should examine our own thoughts and understandings.
 

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all of this and i was just starting to believe that there was true accountability in orthodoxy
 

Anastasios

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kansas city said:
all of this and i was just starting to believe that there was true accountability in orthodoxy
Perhaps the problem lies with your assumptions and expectations? I mean, an unclear, one-liner retort after we spent a good deal of time writing out posts to you doesn't contribute much to the discussion.  Did you expect us to say "Yes, Orthodoxy believes that the Gospels are eyewitness reports, the first-century version of the Nightly News with Brian Williams only sans video camera!"  No! The Gospels are theological documents and to treat them as the equivalent of video cameras is to use them for purposes they were NEVER intended for.  To suggest that every detail in the lives of the saints has to be literally true is absurd and to suggest that we are therefore not accountable or something is offensive (of course, since you only replied in a one-liner which is vague I don't know if that's what you actually think).

How about taking the time to sit down and respond to our posts and we will then respond to yours. Maybe we don't get what you mean or you don't get what we mean. Or your assumptions and expections, after being fed by the nonsense one ecounters in modern Post-Protestant America has colored your view of how we should be doing things, and maybe we can help you be more accountable.

Anastasios
 

chris

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Was this a mistake?

With posts like this to defend your positions and statements, perhaps accountability for one's actions is something you should argue against....
 

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If this article is true, does anyone know if he converted to the Church after being raised?
 

kansas city

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chris said:
Was this a mistake?

With posts like this to defend your positions and statements, perhaps accountability for one's actions is something you should argue against....
Everyone on here with more than a couple of stars is Profanity Removed incredible. 
Twice i've deleted what i wrote at the thought, of the possibility, of offending you.  Regardless, in multiple threads, people have supposed naivete, ignorance, irresponsibility, it's amazing.  Honestly, it's really discouraging to try and talk with any of you.  You're seminarians, 'leaders', self-proclaimed elite. 

I don't have any intention of getting into digressing debates with no outcome aside from flexing on one another and being absolutely positive that i'm right and the other person has got it all wrong. 

More Profanities Removed


My suggestion to you - find out your way of telling people that they're acting juvenile or whatever without incorporating cussing.  If I had a "warn" button, you'd get warned for what just happened. - cleveland
 

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Honestly, it's really discouraging to try and talk with any of you.  You're seminarians, 'leaders', self-proclaimed elite. 
Fwiw, I have gone out of my way over the past few days to point out that I am expressing anything but a normal Orthodox viewpoint at this time. Actually, I've gone so far as to say that I can't even consider myself Orthodox/Christian. This was not an attention getter, but simply because I did not want to confuse people about where I was, and so they could view my posts accordingly, and maybe understand some of the things that I have been, and will be, saying and asking about. I have not looked at how many stars I have, what my title is (elder, high elder, or whatever), how many posts I have (which is now meaningless anyway because of the post count thread), how much time I've spent online (which is also meaningless for me because of my net habits), etc. I am prideful, and thus I might come off as elitist--I admit this.

However, I have never (I hope) tried to dismiss someone as simple and intellectually bully them because of some perceived status or great knowledge.  I'm sorry if some of my own comments led you to that conclusion, e.g., my mentioning how many lives of saints I've read. I was just trying to say that I didn't just read what I was saying in some book and was now repeating it like a parrot, but that I had invested a lot of time into reading the lives of the saints over the past 4 years (and most of that time I was trying to take them absolutely literally), and then explain what my conclusions were after all that time. But in the end, like I said, it was just my personal opinion.

If you weren't referring to me in the above, then I apologize for this post, I just don't want to have offended where no offense was intended. I don't think I'm absolutely right.. as a matter of fact I think the exact opposite, that as a fallible person I am not absolutely (ie. infallibly) sure of anything, since such perfect knowledge would raise me well beyond the human level. However, I do try to talk in a way that is persuasive, which I suppose some might see as a bad way to go about things since it lures people into argument, which creates strife. In any event, I certainly didn't mean to cause things to degenerate like this, and I apologize for the half-joking, half-serious initial remark about Orthodox hagiography being myth.
 

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The first time I saw this storyline was in 2004. Whilst having no doubts that God can perform any miracle He so chooses, I think there is something disconcerting about the way in which this so-called “miracle” has been circulated on the net.

There seem to be varying versions — (one is found at http://www.ethnikoi.org/drpanagia.htm) and, whereas, some of the inconsistencies could be put down to misinterpretation, the varying dates of December 2004 and February 2006 cannot be so easily overlooked. Clearly, all variations of this story stem from a common unsubstantiated rumour (not one account that I have seen has been by someone even close to being an eyewitness) — or something worse, an outright lie.

There is a problem with Orthodox sites naively displaying such information as fact, if it lacks corroboration. We aren’t living in the Middle Ages, in close-knit communities who knew someone who knew someone who was present at a miraculous event. This kind of reporting isn’t word of mouth within a Christian community, but a blatantly inadequate report of something that is deemed to be sacred.

As Orthodox it is vital that we see that all possible miracles are recounted with absolute integrity, especially when taking such matters into the outside world. The report of the “dismembered Arab” is at best ambiguous; at worst an attempt to knowingly deceive; with all the varying degrees of agenda-driven motives that fall within those extremes. It’s true that certain people have propagated this message in ignorance and with earnest belief, but that doesn’t makes it any less reprehensible.

As Orthodox we take the yoke of Christianity upon ourselves. This is a sacred responsibility, but one that we must fully embrace and put into practice. Because of this, I don’t believe that we can shrug our shoulders and say 'this is how it is; we can expect exaggeration'. Exaggeration does amount to distortion of the truth and that can’t be acceptable. Distortions of the truth don’t build faith, they tear it down, attacking the very foundation of our belief in Christ, in whom no lie was found. This report isn’t a parable, nor the time honoured tradition of the church with regard to the life of a saint, which may or may not have suffered embellishment. Unsubstantiated, this report is represented as fact to anyone who stumbles across it on the internet.

Also, I think another aspect has been overlooked in this. This could be a genuine attempt from outside sources to expose the Orthodox as nothing more than unthinking fools. Christianity in general has become the object of many internet hoaxes. Recently, I received an email regarding a petition against a “Gay-Jesus Movie”, and found to my dismay that people were actually adding their names to the petition and circulating it without bothering to check the sources. The claim that there is such a “movie” is a resurrected rumour, one that naturally enrages Christians; and it must be most satisfying to non-believers as they witness Christians running around in a blind frenzy to combat such a “blasphemy”. This unthinking and emotive reaction is alarming to say the least.

Getting back to the report of the Arab Sheik, I find nothing positive, nothing spiritually uplifting in such transparently inadequate reporting. And I do question the motives of those who have communicated it in the public arena without giving creditable references.

Lord have mercy on me, a sinner.
 

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Just recalling some more details from the time the “dismembered Arab story” did the rounds in 2004/2005. I remember receiving an email from a friend linking to a site that, like http://www.ethnikoi.org/drpanagia.htm, claimed that Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes of Boise, Idaho, wrote the article. From memory, I believe it went under the title “Miracle in Syria”. (see http://manastir-lepavina.org/novosti/index.php/engtext/detaljnije/the_miracle_in_syria_compiled_by_archimandrite_nektarios_serfes_boise_idaho/) Someone on the mailing list contacted Archimandrite Nektarios, who denied responsibility for the compilation.

The February 2006 "News report" would appear to be nothing more than a regurgitation of an earlier hoax.

Lord have mercy on me, a sinner.
 

Fr. George

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epicspice: I think you're right about Archm. Nektarios not writing it.  He was here at the school around the first time I saw the story, and didn't mention a word (and trust me, if he wrote the article he would have mentioned it in his sermon...)
 

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  whether this is myth or a miracle only God knows,and st.Mariam



            Never the less God loves bringing goodness at out of the most evil situation.
 

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...Exaggeration does amount to distortion of the truth and that can’t be acceptable. Distortions of the truth don’t build faith, they tear it down, attacking the very foundation of our belief in Christ, in whom no lie was found...
Well, you will find deception used by saints in Orthodox hagiography (and the Scripture for that matter), though admittedly for noble and righteous ends. So... I'm not so sure about the above quote. For examples, you could start with Rahab the Harlot (Jos. 2:1-24), one of the prophets of Israel (1 Kings 20:35-43), the Life of St. Athanasia (who disguised herself as a man so she could reside close to her husband in a monastic place), the Life of St. Nektarios of Aegina (who did things for people and then let them take credit), and so forth.
 

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Asteriktos said:
Well, you will find deception used by saints in Orthodox hagiography (and the Scripture for that matter), though admittedly for noble and righteous ends.
But neither are deceptive, only metaphorical and optimistic. It only becomes deception when it is presented as 100% historical truth.
 

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But in the case of using a totally ficticious story, such as the one that we've all agreed is false about some sheik being ripped to pieces then brought back to life, this kind of a story is an outright lie and not faith building.  So let's not condemn hagiography, but along the same lines let's not lump this into the same category.
 

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Cleveland, I agree with your last post completely.

Now could someone please explain to me how to get quotes into those neat little blue shaded boxes!!

Lord have mercy on me, a computer-illiterate sinner.
 

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epicspice said:
Cleveland, I agree with your last post completely.

Now could someone please explain to me how to get quotes into those neat little blue shaded boxes!!

Lord have mercy on me, a computer-illiterate sinner.
I agree completely as well.

As for your question, at the top-right part of the person's post you wish to quote is a qoute button. Press that and it will pull up a reply screen with that person's post in quotes. You can modify it further from there. (Just make sure you type your reply outside of the quote tags!)
 

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Bizzlebin said:
I agree completely as well.

As for your question, at the top-right part of the person's post you wish to quote is a qoute button. Press that and it will pull up a reply screen with that person's post in quotes. You can modify it further from there. (Just make sure you type your reply outside of the quote tags!)
Thanks Bizzlebin. Really, that was quite simple, wasn't it? lol

Lord have mercy on me, a sinner
 

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I would propose to the members of this forum to read the accounts on the Lives of recent holy Greek Elders, like Fr Porphyrios, Fr Paissios, Fr Iakovos, Fr Ephraim of Katounakia, or the Life of St Seraphim of Vyritsa (+1949). If a man of good will read such texts, written by people who had personally known these holy men, he will probably appreciate more Orthodox hagiography or, at least, he will think that miracles can really happen. There is also the case of St John Maximovich and his numerous miracles. Of course, there are hagiographical texts which are the product of many re-writings and additions during many centuries, so the original historical core - which surely exists - is to be found under many layers of traditions and legends. However, there are other hagiographical texts that were written just after the death of the holy man or woman, by their disciples, and which are absolutely credible. The Martyrdom of St Polycarp of Smyrna, the Martyrdom of St Perpetua and her diary in prison, the Martyrdom of the Holy Martyrs of Lyon, the Lives of St Theodore of Sykeon (7th c), St Luke of Steirion (10th c), St Joannicios the Great (9th c), St Peter of Atroa (9th c), the Philotheos History of Theodoret of Cyrrh (5th c), the Leimonaron of John Moschos (6th c), the Life of St Gregory Palamas (14th c.) written by St Philotheos patriarch of Constantinople, the byzantine collection of miracles of St Thecla, of St Artemios, of Sts Cosmas and Damianos, of Sts Cyr and John, of St Demetrius of Thessalonica, of St Peter of Atroa, of St Eugene of Trebizond and many other hagiographical texts belong to the second group and they are considered to be historical sources even by secular historians. Furthermore, every Orthodox Christian, having an Orthodox mind, can easily accept even the "super-natural" element in these texts, for the simple reason that miracles like those described in these texts DO HAPPEN even today.
 

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I don't know if the story about the Arab sheikh is true or not. It was published however in an Orthodox journal in the web:
http://orthodoxia.gr/show.cfm?id=715&obcatid=4
What about this, which is absolutely true (I know the abbot of St Marina's monastery and he told me the story):
http://orthodoxia.gr/show.cfm?id=841&obcatid=2
Anyway, a believer believes even without miracles. Someone who doesn't want to believe, even if he sees Lazar resurrected in front of him, he won't believe.
 

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Is there a translation for the second link?  I only get it in Greek and not everyone here can read that language.

Re the first: just because something is published, doesn't necessarily mean that it is True.

Ebor
 
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