John the Baptist: between the past and the present
Why the example of the holy prophet John the Forerunner is important for us, argues Alexander Korolev.
Today, the Church celebrates the Beheading of St. John the Baptist. I think that for our church this holiday should be very, very important! Especially for the clergy! Well, for the rest of the people, of course, also, but, first of all, for the clergy, for the elders in the people of God, for those who have a greater responsibility in the church.
What killed the prophet John? For the conviction of King Herod. Do we know a lot of cases after 1991 that a priest or a bishop denounced an official, an oligarch, a gangster? We will not take into account sectarians and schismatics like Diomede, etc. I recall sshmch. Cyril (Smirnov), one of the patriarchal locum tenens. When the Bolsheviks in the person of Tuchkov offered him cooperation with the Soviet authorities, he boldly said: "Yevgeny Alexandrovich, you are not a cannon, and I am not a bomb with which you want to blow up the Russian Church from within." After that, the metropolitan was sent into exile, and it was precisely his authority that dismissed the head of the church, which the Metropolitan later took. Sergius (Old Town).
Of course, everyone remembers St. Philip, who denounced Ivan the Terrible, for which the Metropolitan was later killed. But few know that even at the beginning of the reign of Ivan an unknown priest. After a terrible fire in Moscow, Sylvester also exposed the young tsar for all his vices, after which the tsar repented in public and for some time even led a pious way of life, before he again embarked on the path of evil and sin.
Now in our church, and in a society the spirit of fear reigns. Are there many known priests who could convict the bishop for doing things that do not correspond to the Gospel, and sometimes directly contradict him? Okay, they simply wouldn’t be convicted, but how many cases, when they slandered their brothers in the line, signed false testimonies against priests who fell into disfavor. At the same time, without any evil, without any personal insult. Just scary – for yourself, for your family.
Does anyone know of cases when a bishop, for example, refused to accept a gift from a person, knowing that he has a criminal past, that his wealth is largely acquired by blood and deception? Unfortunately, the church is now very dependent on the government, on rich people. Because the main subject in the church is not a man, but a temple. The main thing for us is to build temples, and people are an optional element, there are many of them, but there are not enough churches.
Well, the laity, of course, can also learn a lot from the prophet. All 70 years of godless and inhuman power, almost all were silent when the authorities were doing outright evil. Not only were they silent, but they also wrote denunciations and signed slanderous accusations. Therefore, there is nothing to be surprised at how the clergy behave, because all come from the Soviet or post-Soviet society.
Of course, the city does not stand without a righteous man, and there were confessors and martyrs in the church and in the 20th century, who in this regard fully followed the example of the prophet John. But do we somehow perceive their experience? Or just like the experience of the Forerunner – for us, these are just beautiful events that we sing about in the temple and are not connected with life in any way?
I would suggest that. September 11, introduce a tradition to denounce the powers that be, those who do lies. That is, the ruling bishop of a diocese from the episcopal department would loudly denounce this or that wicked man in power, preferably with a live broadcast on TV or at least on the Internet. I think it would have a huge effect! Imagine, all the officials, starting with the president, would know that before September 11, it is necessary to repent and get rid of all evil deeds! I believe that this would dramatically reduce the level of corruption! And what a strong testimony this would be for both believing lay people and unbelievers! The first would be strengthened in the faith, and the second would lead to the Church!
I hope that with the prayers and the intercession of the Prophet John our church will get rid of the spirit of fear, and the believers, above all the bishops and priests, will have the courage and determination to bear the truth of God regardless of their faces.
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