“On Europe’s Christian Heritage” – An Excerpt

By Alexandru Paleologu

[…] Huntington is what you call a politologist. […] I wouldn’t give any job to a politologist, because this is the type of person who thinks that they can philosophize without an entire philosophical basis. A politologist is a specialist who lacks width of vision and does not know how to connect things that only seem to be outside of his expertise.

Huntington’s idea – that the Carpathians could become a fracture line that will lead to inevitable conflicts (since the Western world stops at the Carpathian line, and beyond it, the Slavic-Orthodox one begins) starts from ignoring some actual facts. Only Russia, Bulgaria, and Serbia are Slavic-Orthodox. Greeks and Romanians are not Slavs. There is – it is true – a Slavic background among the Romanians, too, which it would be absurd to deny. Whoever denies it is just as passion-driven as the ones who at some point held that we were entirely Slavic. The Romanian people has some interesting “precedents”: the Cumans, the Pechenegs, the Slavs – in addition to its Latin background and perhaps, the Greek-Latin one, too.

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Confessing upon One’s Deathbed

Another case – which was just as frightful – involved a man who was ill and whom we had hosted at our monastery for three days, to attend the Holy Oil service. His wife had told us about some heavy sins that he had done in his life. For three days, we asked him to confess to whatever confessor he wanted – since we had several of them -, gently and patiently explaining to him that God had left us the power to forgive sins through confession. Yet he would not hear about any of that.

On the third day, at night, while we were at the Holy Oil service, he started to howl, literally, all of a sudden, saying that these frightful dark creatures were coming to take him away and that he could see his own sins on them. Extremely terrified, he asked us to confess him right away (now he had become wise). So everyone else left the room where we were and in between shrill moanings, all he could say was: “…I have done… I have done…” and he died in my arms.

I said the forgiveness words more out of a feeling of pity for him, since it had been his last wish – but he was dead. This account was told and retold throughout that region for many years afterwards.

Now THAT is what doubt does – that guilty lack of faith and self-deception which makes one believe that upon one’s death, there will be no demons and no angels coming for your poor soul. What a source of anguish and fear during one’s last minutes on earth, at a time when peace is so necessary! And what things man does not expose himself to, if death takes him by surprise!

Excerpt from “Iată duhovnicul – părintele Arsenie Papacioc” (“Ecce the Confessor – Fr. Arsenie Papacioc“) – volume 2

The Shadow

Back to the days when just about the only way for us to hope to “speak out” or “get a message out there” was folk music. It was after all these years that these lyrics suddenly hit home and revealed what I think they were really about, although we have always enjoyed their beauty and deep-sounding tone, as it were. Lyrics speaking of pain and suffering in a muffled voice; hurting hopelessness; souls like “shadows”, all but deprived of their wholeness of Being/Love, save for a tiny sparkle of divinity, which only keeps them aching; in a closed, hopeless world where faith is but a fallen Mast and there is so much “bad” and “yes” around, that paradoxically, it all gets turned upside down into “good” and “no” – a strange play of denial leading to yet more longing – for the true freedom – and God. Lyrics rife with the Ultimate and Eternal symbols. I’ve tried to do my best to translate/adapt this poem according to what I feel is its true underlying purport, stuck as we were under communism as under a glass dome. The capital letters are mine. To me, all that was yesterday. Continue reading