What the Church Can Become

+Jonah asked three years ago, where are our hospitals, our soup kitchens, our schools? Indeed, where are they? Below is a video of what a monastery in Russia is accomplishing. If they can do great things, why not us?

Starets Mihail started the monastery in 1994 with four brothers. Now, the monastery has 90 monks and they are raising 150 orphan children. Fr. Mihail was an orphan himself … The monastery is in Ucraina, 7 km from the northern Romanian border. They are serving in Ukrainian and Romanian languages because “we are Orthodox.”


  1. Ken Miller says

    George, thanks for posting this (thoguh I wish it was available in English). The battle for the soul of the OCA is not about who is the best at administration or even primarily about laxity over sexual sin. The battle is over a Spiritual vision for the church to get past our carnal, bean counting, canonically legalistic, church politics minset and adopt one of humility, compassion, and Christ-likeness. Outward moral purity is a necessary step in this process, but as +Jonah says, it is the “lowest” level of spirituality. The real goal has to be to advance to inner purity and selflessness that allows us to show the love of Christ to a world that desperately needs to see authentic Christianity. Pray to God that +Jonah will be able to continue to advance this vision.

    • Janet Kirby says

      Ken, efharisto para poli! When I watched this amazing video, i could not understand a word that was spoken, but saw much beauty in the unspoken language. Spasibo bolshoe!

    • Well said Ken.

  2. Who needs English?

  3. On the topic of Humility, I thought it would be informative to post some excerpts from the Ladder of Divine Ascent to remind us to what heights we can rise by plunging to the depths of holy humility. Holy Writ tells us that the least shall be the greatest and the greatest the least. Let us make wise use of the divine example of humility exhibited in +Jonah.

    Holy Humility is step 25. Like dispassion, humility has a high number because it builds on so many of the other virtues, and because once mastered, true communion with God is within reach:

    “Painstaking repentance, mourning cleansed of all impurity, and holy humility in beginners, are as different and distinct from each other as yeast and flour from bread. By open repentance the soul is broken and refined; it is brought to a certain unity, I will even say a commingling with God, by means of the water of genuine mourning. Then, kindled by the fire of the Lord, blessed humility becomes bread and is made firm without the leaven of pride. Therefore, when this holy three-fold cord or, rather, heavenly rainbow, unites into one power and activity, it acquires its own effects and properties. And whatever you name as an indication of one of them, is a token also of another. And so, by a brief demonstration, I shall try to prove what I have just said.

    The first and paramount property of this excellent and admirable trinity is the acceptance of indignity with the greatest pleasure, when the soul receives it with outstretched hands and welcomes it as something that relieves and cauterizes diseases of the soul and great sins. The second property is the loss of all bad temper, and humility at its subsiding. The third and highest degree is a true distrust of one’s good qualities and a constant desire to learn.

    … He who has been united with humility as his bride is above all gentle, kind, easily moved to compunction, sympathetic, calm, bright, compliant, inoffensive, vigilant, not indolent and (why say more?) free from passion; for the Lord remembered us in our humility, and redeemed us from our enemies and our passions and impurities.

    …It is one thing to exalt oneself, another not to exalt oneself, and another to humble oneself. One person may be judging others all the day long; another does not judge others, but he does not condemn himself; a third, although he is innocent, is always passing judgment on himself.

    … Repentance raises the fallen, mourning knocks at the gate of Heaven, and holy humility opens it…

    … There are some who all their lives use the bad deeds previously done by them, and for which they have received forgiveness, as a motive for humility, thereby driving out their vain self-esteem. Others, having in mind Christ’s Passion, regard themselves always as debtors. Others hold themselves cheap for their daily defects. Others, as a result of their besetting temptations, infirmities and sins, have mortified their pride…

    …When you see or hear that someone has in a few years acquired the most sublime dispassion, then conclude that he travelled by no other way than by this blessed short-cut.

    A holy team is love and humility; the one exalts, and the other, supporting the exalted ones, never fails

    …Humility is Christ’s spiritual doctrine, noetically introduced into the inner chamber of the soul by those who are accounted worthy of it. It cannot be defined by perceptible words.

    … If the limit and rule and characteristic of extreme pride is for a man to feign such virtues as he does not possess for the sake of glory, then it follows that a sign of the deepest humility will be to abase ourselves by pretending to have faults that we do not possess.

    … Holy humility obtains from God the power to bear fruit thirtyfold, sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” The dispassionate attain to the last degree, the courageous to the middle, and all can rise to the first.

    … It is impossible to see fire by nature, small or great, in any creature; and it is absolutely impossible that anything of a material nature should be found in sincere humility. As long as we fall into voluntary sins, there is not this humility in us; and that is the sign that there is still something material in us.

    … The mother of the fountain is the deep sea, and the fountain of discernment is humility.

  4. George, Amen! I think the message is: we have a long way to go! As Ken aptly quoted Metropolitan Jonah, we are working on the lowest level. May God grant us the will, strength and desire to begin this path and continue in perseverance and repentance.

  5. An awesome and beautiful film! Thank you for posting it.

  6. Ashley Nevins says

    The role model and example of a dynamic, relevant and alive church by salvation is Christ in the Gospels.

    There is a direct correlation between alive salvation and a church outcome.

    There is a direct correlation between alive salvation and a moral/ethical church.

    There is a direct correlation between alive salvation and multiplicity of ministries in a church.

    There is a direct correlation between alive salvation and the spiritual maturity of a church.

    There is a direct correlation between alive salvation and the mission and evangelism of a church.

    There is a direct correlation between alive salvation and the transparency and accountability of a church.

    There is a direct correlation between alive salvation and a dynamic, growing, relevant and alive church.

    How relevant your salvation is to all of you will determine how relevant you make salvation relevant to those outside of your church. Relevant salvation has zero tolerance for a church that is corrupt, failed, irrelevant and dying. Relevant salvation demands that the church be relevant to the generation it is found in. Relevant salvation leads by its role model and example as a relevant church.

    A church thinks by and through its salvation. If that salvation is false, carnal or dead that will impact the outcome of a church. Nothing can better determine a church outcome than its salvation believed and applied. Believe and apply a salvation that does not result in an alive church tells you what about your salvation?

    How a church thinks through its salvation determines its ATTITUDE and BEHAVIOR. Church attitude and behavior determine a church outcome. You see the thinking, attitude and behavior of the salvation of a church by its outcome in the real world. The more alive is salvation the more the world outside of salvation can see salvation. The more false, carnal or dead is salvation the less the world outside of salvation can see salvation and the less will a church based on that salvation be relevant by its salvation.

    The American Orthodox might consider looking to the dynamic, growing, relevant and alive church outside of their American failure to find role model and example churches whose ministries they can duplicate. Thinking outside of the Orthodox box is important to it becoming innovative and relevant to the society it is in. Thinking for yourself looks outside of itself to find what works. Thinking outside of failure looks for success outside of its failure. The American Orthodox do not need a Russian monastery example. Russia is not the American society. The American Orthodox need an American church example. A church is not a monastery and so you need a church example. To be specific, you need local church examples.

    Christ was relevant in His generation, society and geographical location. He is the local church example seen in His churches that are dynamic, growing and alive.

    These are the questions the EO in America need to be asking themselves. What are those churches doing that the EO are not doing? In other words, what is their salvation accomplishing that our salvation is not or cannot accomplish? What is not standing in their way that is standing in our way?

    The salvation of Christ determines the structure and system of Christ in the Gospels. The more the church has the same structure and system of Christ in the Gospels the more it will be able to take salvation forward in the generation, society and geographical location His true church is found in. Christ’s salvation does not stand in the way of bringing Christ’s salvation forward by the structure and system of Christ. True salvation like true church does not stand in the way of Christ’s salvation.

    The question a church that is corrupt, failed, irrelevant and dying must ask itself is…

    Is our salvation false, carnal or dead?

    True salvation has true results. You can see its alive dynamic working and growing where it is planted. It is based in repentance to transformation to innovation to change to relevancy to church growth. The church transformed by Christs true salvation has an alive and growing outcome. A salvation that is false, carnal or dead cannot have this outcome.

    If you are asking yourselves why your church is not dynamic, growing and alive go to your salvation.

    Ashley Nevins

    • Now Ashley, tell us what you know about Christ that you think we don’t.

      • Ashley Nevins says

        I know that Christ is not a corrupt, failed, irrelevant and dying church that is circular without solution. Do the Orthodox know that too? The outcome of their church in modernity answers that question better than any Orthodox can. Your outcome is your knowledge of Christ. It is the practical application of that knowledge seen in the real world. How a church thinks determines its outcome. What it thinks is what it practically applies. What is practically applied is what is practically seen.

        The EO knowledge of Christ is seen in how that knowledge practically thinks and then practically applies that knowledge. Therefore its knowledge of Christ determines its practical outcome observed. Thinking like Christ thinks does not result in a corrupt, failed, irrelevant and dying church whose systemic failure is seen in the entire of the EOC. If the Orthodox knew this the state of this church outcome would be different.

        I know what you don’t know about Christ by your outcome. Your thinking about Christ is what determines your real world practical outcome seen. Your outcome tells me what I know about Christ that the EO do not. If you think corruption your outcome will be corruption. If you think Christ your outcome will be the salvation of your church from corruption. The outcome is the same if your are under foreign rule or not. The GOA outcome is no different than the OCA outcome. It is all systemically connected by the same theology, structure and system and so it all systemically fails together. The Orthodox from what I can see do not see this. They refuse to see the systemic cause of their corrupt failure.

        Christ pointed out the systemic failure of those He confronted. You see it in the system of Christ verses in John 8:31-59. You see all the defenses raised to His confrontation. Do any of those self protective defenses sound anything like the defense Orthodoxy raises up? You have never looked at those verses as the system of Christ in direct comparison to the system He was confronting, have you. He exposed the source of their corruption and that had mind control over their failure. It was Satan and He told them they were listening to the evil one over salvation. He told them their thinking was their failure and they flat did not like it that He told them that. After all, they alone were right. Satan and not God was their outcome. Tough stuff, right, Orthodox? God exposed them to themselves for their good and look at their reaction to that. He exposed them for the purpose of sending all future Christians a clear message not to become what they had become. Get it?

        This is what I know about Christ that the Orthodox do not know by the state of their church. God is a successful outcome by paradigm shift to Christ’s paradigm. Satan is a failure outcome by refusing to paradigm shift to Christ’s paradigm. God makes this very clear in John 8:31-59 and He exposed how they think by how they reacted to His confrontation. Lol, He knew exactly what He was doing and they were clueless as to what He was doing. He exposed them and they denied the expose’.

        They lost and Christ won. That is what I know the Orthodox do not understand about Christ by their failed outcome that refuses to paradigm to the relevancy of Christ in our generation. If you are found irrelevant in this generation you will be found irrelevant in future generations. That is your future if you do not change. You can’t escape the practical real world reality that God is paradigm shift by your outcome that proves that He is. He is not your outcome. God does not exist in paradigm that cannot paradigm shift to Gods relevancy. Without God you can’t paradigm shift. That is what I know the Orthodox do not know about God by their refusal to change their state of corrupt failure by a paradigm shift to God that would then change their outcome in the real world.

        What He told them they did not want to hear. They were Gods alone right and who was God to tell them that they were wrong? Sound at all familiar? Obviously, the Orthodox do not like being told how wrong they are for how right they believe they are. That is just another reason why your church is in collapse. It listens to itself as God and over God. If it listened to Christ its outcome would be different. Yes, I know, Orthodox. I got this all wrong for how right all of you are. Believing that you are Gods only true and right church means you only have to listen to yourselves in how right all of you are. Those who Christ confronted had the same problem. That is what I know you do not know about Christ. You don’t listen to Him and your outcome proves it. Your church is having a we only listen to ourselves outcome. We are Gods objective truth standard of what a correct church is before God and yet your outcome is not correct before God. Your Gods only right and true church is Gods only paradigm of church and all paradigm shifts of God stops with your church. So, your church is dead in water stopped. It does not have to paradigm shift for it being Gods only paradigm that does not shift. If it shifts that means it has to admit how wrong it is in its failure and what is alone right and true before God does not admit such or it will be found not right and true before God. Quite the corner all of you have painted yourselves into and it provides you no paradigm shift way of escaping what it is really doing to your church.

        I know Christ is paradigm shift and I know your church does not know that by how it is dying by a failure to paradigm shift. You all believe if you just rearrange the deck chairs on the sinking Titanic that is how you survive what is sinking your boat. The band plays the song on the tipping up deck, we are Gods only alone right and true ship and don’t pay any attention to the sinking ship that tells you different. In other words, ignore the tilting sinking ship. It can’t sink. It Gods only true and right ship. No iceberg of corruption, failure, irrelevancy and death has crashed the ship and even it did it could not sink the great EO ship. All engines are full forward and don’t pay attention to the boat dead in the water. Just believe the captain and the crew over what the proof is telling you and go down with the ship. Don’t think for yourself and so you can’t see it for yourself. Let the sinking ship think for you and for sure don’t believe what your eyes are telling you. Place your security and confidence in the sinking ship over God by believing God is your indestructible ship.

        I don’t think the Orthodox think like Christ thinks and that is their outcome practically seen in the real world by their outcome in how they think about Christ. How you think about Christ is what I know what you don’t know about Christ. Your outcome is how you think about Christ. It is what you know Him to be to all of you. It reveals the true state of the church relationship with God. You can say you know Him to be different than your outcome and if that is true then why your corrupt and failed outcome?

        Christ and your outcome do not remotely match up. That spread cap between your church outcome and Christ is huge and that is how I know what you do not know about Christ. The spread between who the Orthodox claim to be and who they truly are is very wide and growing wider. What I am seeing is a spiritually bankrupt church that is apathetic and indifferent to its bankrupt state. That is unsustainable. Your very survival is on the line by who you know Christ to be to all of you. It’s that serious. It reminds me of the European sovereign bond market. It’s over unless a huge infusion of Christ bailout comes into play to reverse your spiritually bankrupt state. Only Christ can bail you out and I don’t see the bailout. I see the bankruptcy without solution.

        Who wants to buy default bonds? That is the relevancy of your church to those outside of it. You don’t buy default. You buy return. Have you noticed how the EOC is not seeing membership return on its spiritual bonds it tries to sell? Its sovereign spiritual bond spread looks like GREECE!!! The EO know about as much about Christ as Greece knows about economics. That is a fair comparison. If you don’t think it is I could use Spain, Ireland or Portugal instead. Those countries economically are like EO jurisdictions are spiritually.

        The real question here is not to be asked of me. It is the Orthodox asking the Orthodox, what do we not know about Christ that has led us into a corrupt and failed state? So, PdnNJ what does your church know about Christ in comparison to your church outcome. What does that outcome tell you what you know about Him in the real world? Tell me by your outcome what you know about Christ that I don’t. know about your church by its outcome. The question you ask me is the question you need to be asking yourself. Then you can tell us all what you found in your answer.

        I believe many Orthodox can see the difference between their church outcome in the real world and who Christ is in the real world. I do not believe they know why their is such a huge difference between them. The continuing outcome that has no solution tells me that they don’t why their is such a huge difference between them.

        Christ is not corrupt. Christ is not failed. God is not irrelevant. God is not dying. Christ is not without solution. That is what I know about Christ. Does the EO outcome tell you that the EO know this about Christ? You can spiritually, emotionally and intellectually disagree with me, but the outcome still stares all of you right in the face. The outcome tells me the Orthodox do not know how to over come their state by Christ. Nothing is changing and all is just growing ever more worse. The OCA is just a micro failure seen in the larger macro failure of the EOC that is all systemically connected by the same cause of failure. Just like it is in the EU. The systemic contagion is killing your church dead.

        This post and the previous one told you what I know about Christ by your outcome. Did you somehow miss that? Let me make it really simple. What your church knows about Christ determines its outcome. Now please tell me what a corrupt, failed, irrelevant and dying church knows about the holy, successful, relevant and living Christ. Tell me how a thoroughly systemically corrupt and failed church knows about the system of Christ?

        The Orthodox must start thinking for themselves about what they do not know about Christ by what their outcome tells them that they do not know. Unless they do that the church outcome will remain the same. A dying church does not know the living Christ or it would not be found dying. A church knows Christ by the degree it lives or dies. What I am telling you here is just a starting point for the EO to find out what they do not know about Christ by what their outcome tells them they do not know about Christ.

        I ask a lot of questions, don’t I. I ask questions because questions cause you to question the state of your church and think for yourself about it without its outcome thinking for you. Your outcome tells me who is thinking for you and it is not all of you thinking for yourself by asking yourselves very difficult questions about yourselves. The church that questions itself is the church that thinks for itself. The church that exposes itself to itself is the church that knows the Christ who questions church corruption, failure, irrelevancy and demise. It exposes to itself what it does know about Christ.

        If you don’t expose yourselves to yourselves and then change what is exposed God will expose you to the world and show the world that the Orthodox do not know about God. The Orthodox can claim to be Gods only true church and salvation, but your practical real world outcome tells the world if that claim is truth or lie by how you allow Christ to change that real world outcome. That is how well I know you know Christ. The outcome is remaining the same and the situation is only growing worse throughout world wide Orthodoxy.

        There are many fine and upstanding Orthodox Christians who are bewildered by the outcome of their church in modernity and they silently question why their church is corrupt and failed. They are beginning to question the foundation upon which it is based upon by its theology that is the basis of its structure and system that is in complete systemic failure. Many are questioning what they are believing in and the church is hemorrhaging membership and is unable to attract significant numbers to replace the massive loses. Orthodoxy is reaching a crisis point regarding its survival and I believe it has reached the point of no return from its state of corrupt failure. I personally find the answer to the reasons why your church is found in this state to be very concerning regarding your future and it all goes to who the Orthodox see Christ to be among them and the outcome tells me who the Orthodox believe Christ is to them.

        What I see is that the Orthodox do not understand the paradigm shift of Christ that is relevancy in our modernity generation. The Orthodox are left behind in dying paradigm that their structure and system cannot paradigm shift by CHRIST out of to relevancy in our generation. Christ is all about paradigm shift. He is repentance to transformation to innovation to change to church relevancy (This is paradigm shift). That is the Christ the Orthodox do not know and their corrupt and failed dying paradigm left behind is the proof. Christ moves the salvation forward by paradigm shift. It starts with REPENTANCE. A corrupt church is not a repentant church and since it is not it cannot paradigm shift with God to relevancy in our generation. Repentance leads to paradigm shift to relevancy. Unrepentence leads to what state of church??? Unrepentance that leads to corrupt failure tells you what a church knows about Christ. Could it be more simple than that?

        Christ was in a continual confrontation with corrupt and failed authority. He brought them and their outcome into question. He exposed them to themselves and He pointed out their outcome and what it understood about God. He was sarcastic with them and for good reason. They refused to listen to Him and their outcome proved it. How they thought about Christ determined their outcome clearly seen in the reality of the real world. Their outcome was their knowledge of who Christ was and the more they rejected Him the more that determined their outcome seen in the real world. Did you hear that last sentence? Just checking.

        Orthodox, Christ confronted the orthodox. Get it? His life in comparison to their outcome exposed the corrupt failure of their orthodoxy. What, God can’t do the same today??? God is somehow stuck in a 2000 year old paradigm that only confronted the orthodox of His day??? God is paradigm shift relevance alive today that exposes the failure of the EOC in their dying left behind paradigm. He exposed those He confronted by coming as the opposite of them and that comparison still lives on today. I could say a lot more about how that comparison exposed them and how it looks highly similar to what is being exposed in the EOC today.

        Christ did not mince words with them. He exposed them and they denied what He exposed and that was their paradigm end. He simply paradigm shifted right past them and left behind in that dying paradigm. God is a practical realist. He will only use what can be used to move mission and evangelism forward and He cannot use a church in denial of what is causing its corrupt self destructive end. God cannot move the Gospel forward with what does not move forward with the paradigm shift of God. That is another thing I know what the Orthodox do not know about Christ by the dying state of their corrupt paradigm.

        I don’t mince words about it, do I. Jesus and Paul didn’t either. They both were zero tolerance about corruption and irrelevancy. They were relevancy paradigm shift that understood repentance to transformation to innovation to change to relevancy is paradigm shift. The dying EOC obviously does not understand this by its state of church. The theology, structure and system that Christ confronted kept them from seeing Christ their salvation standing right in front of them as their only solution. They believed they were the solution to themselves. They too believed they were Gods only true structure, system and salvation. They were in self idolatry of themselves for that and God exposed that. They alone were right and all in comparison to them was wrong. They were so right about themselves they could not see how wrong they were about themselves. They were orthodox. Sound at all familiar?

        Being left behind in a dying paradigm that is not the dynamic relevancy of Christ’s modernity paradigm is what I know the EO do not understand about Christ the paradigm shift. The Orthodox honestly believe they are Gods only paradigm and therefore they don’t have to paradigm shift. God = the EOC and the EOC = God. Dangerous, Orthodox, dangerous. You place yourselves in the wrong kind of risk by that thinking. It does not risk by taking risk. No risk means no return and paradigm shift is the risk that will result in a return. Of course, you must also realize what you must paradigm shift become to have a successful paradigm shift outcome. You can no more know what you are to paradigm shift into than you know how to make that paradigm shift. On top of this your structure and system are not designed to paradigm shift. In other words, you are screwed.

        You are having a screwed outcome. Are any of you feeling screwed over? Are any of you feeling spiritually abused and spiritually abandoned by your church that cannot change its state of corruption and failure? I just nailed why that you feel that. Many of you are at your end with your church over its inability and refusal to change. I just told you why it will not change and what that means for its future. You were just told what it does not understand about Christ. Now, you can disagree deny this or you can think for yourselves and see how much your church really does not understand about Christ by its outcome that tells you exactly what it does know about Him.

        The concern I have is that all of the jurisdictions are corrupt and failed from the same structure and system cause. The structure and system come out of the theology and the theology is supposedly based in Christ. Yet, the theology and its resulting structure is systemically corrupt without solution by Christ. Your theology cannot paradigm shift and that means your outcome in a paradigm shifted world is your state of church seen in the modernity paradigm shift. Unless you change nothing is going to change. You will remain left behind in your dying paradigm. God is all about change and that more than anything else is what I know the Orthodox do not understand about Christ by their outcome they refuse to change by Christ paradigm shift.

        Ashley Nevins

  7. cynthia curran says

    I like this but I don’t speak any Eastern European languages.

  8. Where can we get a DVD of this to share with others(with English subtitles)?