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Cruelty and sectarianism

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A Russian Orthodox saint, who although venerated, his apparent truth & sensibility of faith did not prevail perhaps nearly enough. St. Nilus of Sora in the 15th c. seems to be the best embodiment of love, faith, tradition, & common sense. His opposition to cruelty & autocracy seem to stand as testimony to a possible destiny that has not prevailed & may never prevail except on a minor level. He opposed persecution & execution of heretics and the acquisition of lands & serfs by the church. Others also supported this idea probably basing the idea on relinquishment of lands on the Levitical jubilee concept; note that the term "Judaizers" was applied to these groups (perhaps like the way cheap political epithets are used today). See this article http://orthodoxwiki.org/Nilus_of_Sora 

Nilus had enough influence to keep violent oppression in check within his lifetime but after he died it resumed. One wonders if schism groups like the Molokans formed because of oppression & have contributed to further faith factions to the present day see http://molokane.org/molokan/NEWS/Asuza_Street.html  Also if greater appreciation of the Bible (esp. the Old Testament) in its proper place in tradition would have helped avoid the formation of sad superstitions like "old believers" & the perpetuation of cruelty inflicted on those poor, sad types by the authorities.

One wonders if anything is really different today within Russia if only about 3% of the populace attends liturgy & how much of that 3% is like this: (see http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2011/01/sectarianism-and-extremism-in-russian.html ) (recalled this from another thread). So we can see no influence of the west at all here.
 

Shanghaiski

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It's one of the great "What ifs" of Russian history--What if St. Nilus' party of Non-Possessors had prevailed? One can get into lots of hypotheticals there, however, I think that much of what he and his disciples stood for was still a vital force in the Russian Orthodox Church centuries after his death, and can be seen in the many holy elders and even many fools for Christ who would appear later. In the Church we have St. Nilus and St. Joseph of Volokolamsk, St. Cyril of Alexandria and St. John Chrysostom, St. Photios the Great and St. Ignatius of Constantinople. There have been movements which have appeared to have anti-Orthodox symptoms, like Tsar Peter I's Westernization, but the Church survived and even thrived in that atmosphere.
 

JimCBrooklyn

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I can only pray that the problems presented in this article are not as omnipresent as the author describes. Thankfully, I have not encountered them here (in St. Petersburg), for the most part, and it seems to me that the number of churchgoers is greater than 3%, but who knows?

The biggest problem pointed out in all of this, in my opinion, anyhow, is the fundamental lack of education of the baptized. My wife once fell subject to this; she, along with most of her family, was baptized amongst the wave of mid-90's Russian baptisms, and barely catechized at all. It's astounding how little many Russians know of their faith. For many of the elderly, especially, it seems like icons just replaced photos of Lenin and Stalin, and that was enough. I'm not sure what the answer to this is...

I suppose it is important for us to remember that we are still merely 20 years removed from the USSR, and that the farther along we get, the (hopefully) better the situation will get.

To be fair, and honest, however, it seems to me that there is a huge number of very pious and informed believers at my parish here.

Lord, have mercy!
 
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JimCBrooklyn said:
I can only pray that the problems presented in this article are not as omnipresent as the author describes. Thankfully, I have not encountered them here (in St. Petersburg), for the most part, and it seems to me that the number of churchgoers is greater than 3%, but who knows?

The biggest problem pointed out in all of this, in my opinion, anyhow, is the fundamental lack of education of the baptized. My wife once fell subject to this; she, along with most of her family, was baptized amongst the wave of mid-90's Russian baptisms, and barely catechized at all. It's astounding how little many Russians know of their faith. For many of the elderly, especially, it seems like icons just replaced photos of Lenin and Stalin, and that was enough. I'm not sure what the answer to this is...

I suppose it is important for us to remember that we are still merely 20 years removed from the USSR, and that the farther along we get, the (hopefully) better the situation will get.

To be fair, and honest, however, it seems to me that there is a huge number of very pious and informed believers at my parish here.

Lord, have mercy!
I think another part of the problem is that much of Eastern Europe was evangelized after the 8th century after the Old Testament had been dropped by the church from the reading in the Divine Liturgy. Yes it is read in some vesperal services & some services in Lent but it is no longer commonly heard. Your observations from St. Petersburg sound most hopeful & perhaps a turn for the better is at hand.
 
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