Death to the World: Stop Saying “Glory to God for All Things”

One of dear readers, Christina Fevronia, brought the following to our attention today.  It seems Death to the World was responsible for bringing her into the Church.

I have a special place in my heart for Fr John Valadez, writer and editor of Death to the World.  Back in the day, then Eddie (John) Valadez and Paige (Marina) Crissman, part of Father Turbo Qualls punk Christian scene, packed up their zines for the Harvest Festivals where thousands of Christians would attend. 

They have since brought generations, from all walks of life and some of the most pious Orthodox Christians I have ever been blessed to know, into the Church.
 –The following article is from their site.

Mrs. Monomakhos

Monomakhos

Stop Saying “Glory to God for All Things!”

A testimony offered by Hieromonk Synesios.

“A few years ago, I was the parish priest of St. Vasileios church (Piraeus) and was called to hear the confession of a young man, Xenophon, 42 years old.

When I arrived, his days were numbered. Cancer with rapid metastases had affected his brain too. He was all alone at the ward, the bed next to him was empty, so we were all alone.

This is what he told me about how he came to Faith, since he was a “hardened atheist” in his own words:

‘I arrived here about 35 days ago, in this ward of two beds. Next to me was another patient, about 80 years old. He was suffering from cancer too, in his bones, and although he was experiencing excruciating pain, he was constantly praising the Lord “Glory to God! Glory to God for all things!” He also recited more prayers which I heard for the first time in my life since I was an atheist who had never set my foot to church.  Often, all those prayers comforted him and he slept for a couple of hours. Then, after 2-3 hours, he woke up again from the excruciating pain, and he would start over “My Christ, I thank you! Glory be to Thy Name! Glory to God! Glory to God for all things!” I was moaning with my pain, and this patient at the next bed to mine was glorifying God. I was blaspheming Christ and the Theotokos, and he was thanking God, thanking him for the cancer which he had given to him, and for all the excruciating pain he was suffering.

I was so rebellious and indignant at this! Not only for the excruciating pain I was suffering, but also for his never-ending Doxology. He was also partaking daily of Holy Communion, while I was throwing up in disgust.

– ‘Will you please shut up! Shut up and stop saying all the time ‘Glory to God’! Can’t you see that this God, Whom you are thanking and glorifying, this same God is torturing us with such cruelty? What kind of God this is? No, He does not exist!’

And the patient on the next bed would meekly answer me: ‘He does exist, my child, and He is also a most loving Father, because with all this illness and pain, He cleanses me from my many sins. If you had worked on some rough task, and your clothes and your body stank, would you not need a rough brush to clean all this dirt? Likewise, God is using this disease as a balm, as a beneficial cleansing for my soul, in order to prepare it for the Kingdom of Heaven’.

His replies got even more on my nerves and I was blaspheming gods and demons. All my reactions were sadly most negative, and all I did was to keep on screaming: ‘There is no God. … I do not believe in anything. … Neither in this God nor in His Kingdom …’

I remember his last words: ‘Wait and you shall see with your own eyes how the soul of a Christian who believes is separated from his body. I am a sinner, but His Mercy will save me. Wait, and you will behold and will believe!’

And that day came. The nurses wanted to place a screen, as is their duty, but I protested against and stopped them. I told them ‘No, don’t do this, because I want to watch how this old man will die!!!’

So I watched him and he was glorifying God all the time. He also said a few ‘Hail, Unwedded Bride’ for the Theotokos, which as I later found out, they are called ‘Salutations’. He would also chant “Theotokos Virgin Mary …”, “From my many sins ..” and “It is truly right to bless you, Theotokos …”, and he would also make the sign of the Cross a number of times.

Then …  he raised both of his hands and said “Welcome, my Angel! Thank you for coming with such a bright synodeia to take my soul. Thank you! Thank you!” He raised his hands a little bit more, he made the sign of the Cross, he crossed his arms on his chest and fell asleep in the Lord. Suddenly, the ward was filled with Light, like ten and more bright suns had risen all together, such was splendour of the light with which this ward was lit!” And not only was this ward lit, but a heavenly fragrance spread around, inside the ward, even outside the corridor, so powerful that those patients in the neighbouring wards who were not asleep and could get out of their beds, they came out and started walking up and down the corridor, trying to discern where this special fragrance was exuded from.

Thus, my Father, I, the hardened atheist did believe and called for you to hear my Confession.’

*

Xenophon was firm and merciless with his old self, but the Mercy of our Lord was great, really great! He offered a clear confession, received Holy Communion a couple of times, and departed in deep repentance, in peace, a holy death, himself glorifying God!”

By Protopresbyter Stephanos Anagnostopoulos

http://deathtotheworld.com/articles/stop-saying-glory-to-god-for-all-things/

About GShep

Comments

  1. Glory to God! So joyous, thank you Gail.

    • Fr. David Hovik says

      That was a beautiful testimony and I appreciate those uplifting words. “Our God is a Mighty God!”

  2. Sorry- bloggers– this has nothing at all to do with this post– I want to open a new one– not so tech savvy– to make the esteemed bloggers and admin all aware that AB just announced (in the AP) participation in the democrat’ convention! Not surprised he got a spot ….any thoughts?

    • MomofToddler says

      Yikes!  Well, if he isn’t denied communion for such flagrant support of a group that pro-death…seriously….I don’t know how to end that sentence.  I know some people that were effectively excommunicated because they live in a “Covid” hotspot and were asked not to come to church because it made some of the other church members that were attending  and lived closer to church “uncomfortable.”   How about “excommunicating” heresy and blasphemy and not pious lay people who live in the “wrong neighborhood.” 
      Here’s the link:
      https://www.demconvention.com/press-releases/democrats-announce-faith-leaders-participating-in-2020-democratic-national-convention-uniting-america/
      Seriously, though, is anyone surprised anymore?  The only thing that continues to be surprising is that the priests speaking up in America are less than 10, maybe less than 5, and that many priests probably agree with where this is all heading.  (Two American priests that are speaking up don’t reside in America anymore, so I don’t include them.)
      I get it though, at some point, priests are fathers and husbands and need to protect their own families.  The times are getting potentially physically dangerous or could soon.  From that perspective, it is hard to judge the priests that don’t publicly speak up.   But aren’t there unmarried priests and abbots that can speak up?  I know Abbot Tryphon said something recently.  Okay, this is way too long.  

      • He is not a citizen of the USA and should not be participating in anything political.  It is considered bad taste to get involved in the politics of a country where you are not a citizen.

    • Who is AB? 

      • Gail Sheppard says

        AB = Archbishop

        Archbishop Elpidophoros

        • That’s what I was afraid of ??‍♂️ Great so he’s speaking to people who are rabidly pro abortion, pro gay marriage, pro transgenderism. I’m trying to think of something to type and I am left without words  

    • Antiochene Son says

      In fairness, GOA Archbishops have attended and spoken at conventions, inaugurations, and other national events at the invitation of both political parties.
       
      If we want to challenge our world we have to engage it. Let’s wait and see what he actually says.

      • MomofToddler says

        If we want to challenge our world, we have to set a good example by not showing up at pro-death, pro-dysfunction events.  
        As a new Orthodox Christian, I was helped just by watching other Orthodox Christians that I never even talked to….but their devoutness was inspiring and palpable despite not speaking with them.  I noticed how they dressed, how they carried themselves, how their modesty, despite not being of the world, was a different and better kind of beauty.  I think that’s a better type of engagement (being/observing quiet examples) than showing up at rallies where perversion is celebrated.  

      • “In fairness, GOA Archbishops have attended and spoken at conventions, inaugurations, and other national events at the invitation of both political parties. If we want to challenge our world we have to engage it.”

        Can you produce any examples of an Orthodox bishop actually throwing any “challenges” out, other than ones the party would want to hear?

      • Michael Bauman says

        AS, I think you have a wrong premise. It depends on what is meant by “engagement”. Political conventions are tightly controlled propaganda. One only gets to the podium if one agrees to stay on message.

      • I did wait and see before making any comment on this subject because I agree (at least generally) that when given the opportunity to ‘engage’ we should accept it and make use of it.  I wanted to hear the prayer and was genuinely hoping for the best.
         
        1.) As to these events being thoroughly scripted, I agree entirely.
         
        2.) If his prayer required pre-approval (and I’m not suggesting it did) the opportunity should have been refused.
         
        3.)  I was  unimpressed.  Myst asked, “Can you produce any examples of an Orthodox bishop actually throwing any ‘challenges’ out, other than ones the party would want to hear?”  To date, the answer in these contexts is a resounding NO.  And although prayer ought not be used to challenge or preach, neither is it the place for pious platitudes about unity, our best selves, our better angels, peace, fairness, injustice, inequality, and hatred – the definitions of which are left open to the hearer’s own interpretation. He didn’t even go as far as to ask that God’s will be done.
         
        In short, the opportunity to witness to Christ was squandered, and it saddens me.  The words “Greek Orthodox” rang out loud and clear.  The name of Christ was never even mentioned.
         
         
         

  3. Michael Bauman says

    Indeed, “Watch the way I, a sinner die. You will believe”.   
    The Life goes on. A young man was ordained to the Holy Diaconate today at St. George by His Grace, Bishop Basil.   Dn.Thomas Miller from Holy Ascension in Norman, OK.  Now off to seminary as is the man who used to be the Headmaster of St. George Academy.  
    Fr. Jeremy Davis is the priest there in Norman. Fr. Jeremy was a layman here.  
    It reminded me of the fact that Bp Basil requires all celibate priests in his diocese to be tonsured monks under a monastic rule, I think through St. John the Baptist in Essex.  He did the same for himself after he was consecrated Bishop.
    Just another witness to the monk or marriage paradigm in the Church.

    • The “monk or marriage paradigm” in the Church applies only to clerics, not to the laity. St. Paul was correct to extoll the virtue of lay celibacy:

      For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn. 1 Corinthians 7:7-9

      Were there a monk or marriage paradigm, St. Paul would not have written this:

      But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry. Nevertheless he that standeth stedfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power over his own will, and hath so decreed in his heart that he will keep his virgin, doeth well. So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better. – 1 Corinthians 7:36-38

      His rationale is that he would spare us worldly, domestic troubles. In this age in particular, one should take that quite seriously.

  4. What to believe?  The following was reported today by Romfea. (August 16, 2020) calling into question Elpidophoros’ priorities. Has he gone and will he return for the Democratic Convention? And if so, at whose expense?  Need I ask? 

    “Archbishop Elpidophoros of America departed for Constantinople following the celebration of the Dormition of the Theotokos at the eponymous church in Southampton. This will be the Archbishop’s first visit of 2020, the last time he was there was for the Feast of the First-Called Apostle Andrew in November of 2019. The Archbishop will remain abroad through the beginning of the ecclesiastical year. Upon his return, the Archbishop will convene the 2020 Clergy-Laity Congress.”
     

  5. Fr. Deacon John says

    Never mind my previous comment.  I looked at the link and see that His Eminence is giving a Benediction on Wednesday night.  He might have already recorded it or he will do it live from Constantinople.  I am glad he is not going to be one of the featured speakers. (I will withhold comment about my personal observations about that list.)

  6. Ronda Wintheiser says

    What a story. 

    May God help us all to be able to respond to our own deaths, or the deaths of our family members with that kind of faith. 

    Sorry to keep beating this dead horse, but I can’t help but see a connection between that old man’s attitude toward suffering and death and the way that so much of our Church is responding to the possibility of suffering and death from this virus…

    If only…

  7. George Michalopulos says

    This was a profound story. I’m glad Mrs Monomakhos found it and insisted on publishing it.

    It’s because of a healing balm such as she applies from time to time that I am able to ignore the massive ugliness that is presently engulfing us.

  8. I highly recommend following Fr John’s Survival Course for Orthodox Christians, it’s terrific! He covers modern art and history, eastern cults and the Church Fathers lifting Fr Seraphim Rose’s work and expanding upon it for our strange, and unique times. 
    See: https://www.sttimothy.net/index.php/2020/08/13/survival-course-for-orthodox-christians/

    • Thank you LonelyDn. I will definitely check it out! Fr Peter Heers’ Orthodox Ethos Orthodox Survival Course on Patreon is saving my spirit, quite the effective and life-affirming antidote to AE’s “benediction” blessing to an unOrthodox, perverse, destructive and inhumane Democratic platform. Patristic Orthodoxy truly is the pearl of great price on the planet.