The Mountain And The Dream

This post is dedicated to the memory of our precious and beloved ROCOR which was delivered to Pilate on May 17, 2007. -jh


Part 1: The Mountain
Part 2: The Dream
Part 3: The Letters
Part 4: The Interpretation

Part 1: The Mountain 1994

When I was on the Mount of Temptations

A little story:

Once upon a time, I was beset with many temptations and thought to leave the convent where I had been living at for a few years. I was (at that time) in a bit of a frenzy, being tempted by many thoughts.

During that time, I approached the head mistress at the school (at Bethany, where I was a house mother) and I told her that I "had to leave". Beset by myself, I had come to the conclusion that "that" was not where God willed for me to be. So, self-willed that I am, I thought that it would be best of me to go where I had planned to go and to be "polite" and at least let her know where I was going (so as not to let her worry by my being gone).
No...for real.

"I have to go," I said to her, "to the 40 day mount; I believe I will get peace there." Poor me, not knowing that the only place that peace could be found was within myself...Though I suppose it hadn't hit me, that peace comes down from above, from the Father of lights and that He would grant it to me if I would have just been still and warded off the enemy through prayer, instead of flight.

Anyway...I said that my stay at the convent was over, and (I remained steadfast in my self will) told her that no matter what I was walking to Jericho.
LOL, from Bethany, mind you, let's just say that that's a pretty nice hike!

She was just about to be tonsured a full monastic and with only a few days left for her tonsure, she hadn't written her full life confession yet. So patient that she was, she agreed to drive me to the Mount, where she had the chance to reflect on her list and prepare for confession.

I, on the other hand...stubborn that I am, I didn't even take the road up --
No...Far be it for me to make things simple. I took the back road up, the rocks and the cliffs for me!
Why? Well, because the church which is there only goes half way up the mount and I wanted to go ALL the WAY UP! To the very TOP!
Why? Well, because that is where I would "fight" my temptation. At least that's what I thought.

Besides, I had tried to see if I could go through the church to the top, but there was nobody there at the time.
So, I roughed it through the back, tripping on my dress and falling onto the rocks every now and then. I went passed the church on the mount (which is half way up) then at last, I made it up to the top, where the remains of an old church could be seen.
To the side there were rooms where people had scratched in graffiti into the rocks, including the three temptations of Christ.

I sat there in silence and thought about all the things that the world had to offer and how I had fled those things hoping to find salvation in monastic life.
But I see something now, it is not our "will" that saves us, it is our submitting to Gods will that saves us. Yet I, like Israel of old was stubborn and stiff-necked and I continued to seek an "external place" where I would be able to find "peace".

I had done my best to see every road, to touch every stone, every tree, every mount where my Lord had been in the "Holy Land". Seeking earnestly a trace of grace for me...But in the end I stood at the edge of the cliff of the 40 day mount and I cried aloud, "How or where O Lord, IS MY SALVATION TO BE FOUND?"

So, many years later, in a moment of reflection, I found some stillness once again, and then I heard the answer:

"Silly....It's inside of me."

There, "The Kingdom", is to be found.

In Christ,

(click photo to enlarge)

Here is a picture I took of the 40 day Mount about a decade and a half ago.
AKA: "The Mount of Temptations", is where Christ was tempted by the devil. The Greek Orthodox Church can be seen carved along the side of the Mount.

Part 2: The Dream 2004

A strange dream I had I wrote on an old blog dated 2004, with a few interesting things to follow in 2007...

The rush to embrace(?)

Tuesday, May 18, 2004
I had a very strange dream last night. I am not one to pay much attention to dreams, but this dream was so clear and there was so much symbolism in it. I can't help but write it out, maybe it's meaning (if any) will be clearer for me if I write it out. I'd almost classify it a nightmare, except it was one of those dreams that there was no skin off *my* nose. I guess it was just more dark or eerie in nature than anything else.

Ok, here goes....

As far as I recall, the dream begins with me wandering about on the grounds at the Mount of Olives, in Jerusalem. Then, I am on my way to church for the feast of the Ascension. I get to the entrance of the church and there are people all over, rushing around this way and that. I stopped and looked at the people around the entrance to the Church of the Ascension and I stood there wondering who they were. I started to think that they were pilgrims, then my eyes wandered from the crowd, to the door (the entrance of the church) then to the top of the church and I looked at the cross. I cringed back because I was expecting to see a gold cross, but instead it was black and dripping with pitch.

I then looked back down away from the cross and ended up looking at the entrance to the church, and it too was also made black with pitch. I got really upset at this and exclaimed "What's going on here?!" And one of the nuns passing by said to me, "Oh that, it is our new church." I wanted to ask what she meant but she hurried off even as she spoke. Many people were rushing around on the convent grounds, they looked like repair men with all types of tools. They all hurried along saying "We must gild the cupolas it is almost time". They passed by me and bumped me as they rushed on their way.

I was beginning to feel a little in a rush myself, so I left.

I found myself at Gethsemane where even greater amounts of people hurried around. "But their gold cupolas are already finished", I said to myself (as I thought that they were going to work on gilding).

Suddenly I heard someone say, "No, no! That is not enough, we will need more pitch!"

I turned to see what they were doing and they were applying pitch to the door and crosses. I asked aloud, "Who are all these people?" and someone said "They are here to prepare the way and get things ready."

"We must hurry, it is almost time!" they said one to the other. "We are almost done with the preparations." said one of the work men as they bumped the nuns out their way. I stood in amazement as the cross they had taken down and were beginning to put back up again, but that time it was all black and dripping with pitch.

My mouth dropped open and I said aloud, "Oh, how awful, they have ruined the cross!"

I didn't know what to do, I looked around for someone to say something, someone to disagree with what was happening but no one protested, no one said anything aloud at all, except for me and none of the workmen seemed to hear me.

At best, some of the nuns seemed hesitant to continue in their tasks. They hurried past the church and each of them would glance up at the black crosses with troublesome faces. They then turned their heads quickly back down towards the ground and continued on their way to complete their tasks.

I stood there in the one spot, looking this way and that, not figuring out what was going on, nor why all the fuss.
Finally, one of the nuns approached me on my left side and leaning towards my ear (in a soft pleasant, almost hypnotic voice) said, "It is the new Church...We have a *NEW* Way."

I almost fell over, it was as if her saying that to me took my strength away. I felt suddenly weak and sick, I turned quickly to see who spoke to me but on turning my head no one was there; that was one of the eeriest parts of the whole dream.

As I stood in front of the church I heard some of the nuns talking behind me, I turned around to see who it was and I saw the former abbess from Gethsemane walking towards the church. She was speaking to one of the sisters who walked with her. Then I saw the abbess from the Mount of Olives also walking on her (other) side (Mother Moses) and as they walked together, the present abbess of Gethsemane (Mother Elizabeth) came out and they continued walking passed the church, with no troubled looks at all.

The former abbess said "We must be obedient, that is it. We have to trust and follow our hierarchs." When she said this, the nuns that were doing their chores almost hidden and in hesitation came out and their faces changed, they then took confidence and continued uplifted.

All of the nuns then flocked together and followed her, they continued walking behind her until she drew near a small house that was prepared and ready to receive a seemingly very special guest, the guest whom all the preparations where made for. To be honest though, I have no idea who the guest was.

I turned once again to see the doors to the entrance of Saint Mary Magdalene and the last few buckets of pitch were poured and slopped on them.

"Ah", said one workman "It is done, we are ready."


Part 3: The Letters 2007
JERUSALEM: May 16, 2007

The Situation in the Holy Land (statement by the Abbesses of Ascension and Gethsemane Convents)

During Great Lent, the nuns of both Convents, on the Mount of Olives and Gethsemane, more and more frequently came to hear alarming reports of the impending departure of their spiritual father, Hegumen Andronik, Deputy Chief of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission. We had all hoped that these were no more than rumors. Alas, after Pascha, from the lips of Fr Andronik himself, along with the joyful greeting “Christ is Risen,” we heard “I am leaving. It is decided. I entrust you to the Mother of God!”

How many tears were shed, how the nuns pleaded! Fr Andronik had served his obedience in Jerusalem for over twenty years. He enjoyed universal love and respect. For us this is a harsh blow and a terrible loss. Despite the fact that we in the monasteries had already known of the impending departure of Fr Andronik, the hierarchy, in the persons of His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus and Archbishop Mark, Overseer of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission, was not informed. Only the recent visit by Bishop Agapit of Stuttgart shed light on the matter. Hegumen Andronik, in a conversation with Bishop Agapit, declared that he is not in agreement with the decision of the Synod and the forthcoming signing of the Act of Canonical Communion.

On the basis of this declaration, it was decided to relieve Fr Andronik from his duties as Deputy Chief of the REM, while allowing him to continue to conduct divine services until his departure for America after Ascension. The Abbesses and the nuns many times tried to prevent Fr Andronik from making this step, but he remained determined.

We hope and pray that the day comes when Fr Andronik realizes that this is not the right path, but a departure from the Church, and, coming to his senses, will return to his home at the Convent on the Mount of Olives, to the universal joy of all the residents of our Convents.

Mother Moisseia and the sisters.
Mother Elizabeth and the sisters.

--------Another Letter---------

His Grace, Bishop Agafangel

As a consequence of the integration of part of ROCOR on the recent feast of Holy Ascension including the current First Hierarch and members of the Synod into the structure of the Moscow Patriarchate, I must inform my flock as well as all the faithful children of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia of the following:

Because the long awaited repentance of the Moscow Patriarchate in the sins of Sergianism and Ecumenism to this very day has not occurred I find it premature the establishment between our churches of Eucharistic and Administrative union. I also find it unacceptable the rejection by ROCOR of its spiritual inheritance which, according to my own personal conviction, will be impossible to secure in its fullness under the terms outlined in the Act of Canonical Union.

For this reason I remain faithful to the original stance of ROCOR - until the complete resolution of the obstacles for our entire Church. I continue to consider for myself the directives and all other examples of Church authority by the Moscow Patriarchate to be without canonical basis.

Bishop Agafangel
Odessa 4/17 May 2007
Ascension of Our Lord

Part 4: The Interpretation

It was only after having read the two letters above that I came to understand what everything in my dream meant, that happened yesterday. I saw the page of St. Xenia where I found that excerpt from Bishop Agafangel, when I saw the "Feast of the Ascension" signed below his name; all of a sudden I remembered my dream. Because in my dream, it all took place on that Feast. I had to look my dream up on an old blog from 2004 and put together with the letter from Mother Moses and Mother Elizabeth, it all became self- explanatory.

The dream was a glimpse at the new union with the MP, the former Abbess appearing in the dream represented Bishop Andronik who also ended up leaving, yet for no longer being 'obedient'.

My feeling sick and weak, was the split that would continue in ROCOR as a result of the union. The nuns and workmen represented the faithful and their part in avoiding the reality and atrocity of what was going on around them without protest.

The guest was Bishop Agapit of Stuttgart who as stated in the letter above, "shed light on the matter" of Fr. Andronik.

Mothers Moses and Elizabeth represented themselves as they later proved, by co-signing the letter above.

Finally, in the end someone did speak out against the "pitch being slopped onto the crosses" on that very same Feast day a few years later, that was Bishop Agafangel.

That said, I should add that I lived in the Holy Land for 3 years in the early '90's. Btw, there are two references which probably stuck in my mind. The Prophetic Vision of St. John of Kronstadt where he said that the candles were made of tar and again where he said, "A priest stood before the altar with face like pitch ..."

One more Holy Father comes to mind, Elder Lavrety and article called the Prophetic gift: "The time will come," said Fr. Lavrenty, "when they will renovate even the closed churches, and fix them up not only outside but also inside. They wilt gild the cupolas of both churches and belfries. But when this is finished, it will usher in the reign of antichrist. Pray that the Lord grant us an extension of time that we might strengthen ourselves, because a frightful time awaits us. Do you see how craftily everything is being prepared? All the churches will be absolutely magnificent, as never before, but one must not go into those churches. Antichrist will be crowned like a king in a grand cathedral in Jerusalem, with the participation of the clergy and the Patriarch."

Again, "Do you see how craftily everything is being prepared?" That to me, is the key phrase that needs to be examined.

Our Sister in Christ has not put her name to this post at this time. She is not anonymous to us, only to scoffers and blasphemers.
This post is not intended to convince anyone the union is wrong. It is only to offer a consolation to those who mourn. -jh


Reader Daniel said...

This entry is most intriguing, and though it (or they) are very personal experiences, yet they echo a number of others' feelings about this mammoth church-apostasy of our formerly free Russian Church Abroad to the still KGB-enslaved pseudo-church, the MP. And what other rational explanation are we left with to explain this unbelievable 'union-apostasy' with the athiest neo-soviet government's religion-department, the MP? Or, to try to comprehend the world-wide betrayal of the Orthodox Faith by modernism, ecumenism, secular humanism, Sergianism, etc. ? All that we are left with to explain this catastrophic dilemma is: these must be indeed the end-times, when antiChrist is about to openly rule.
Those many who are going along with this massive apostasy, call us fanatics, schismatics, unstable minds, 'negative', 'anti-Russian'
(though most of the pro-union folks who live in America, are clearly profoundly anti-American by joining themselves and their loyalties to our foreign enemy in Moscow!, the neo-soviet 'Russian Federation' and it's captive anti-American MP 'church', etc.) We look vainly in all directions, to find true faith, real Orthodox believers, and all we see are mostly
Judases in clerical robes and
performing pompous rituals and uttering outrageous slanders upon the real faithful, to please earthly/fallen powers and the demons. Such is the time we live in. Yet, our enemies, our former fellow believers, tell us: 'rejoice! now we have progress!'
Just my thoughts.......
Reader Daniel

Joanna Higginbotham said...

The Feast of the Ascension fell on Thursday May 7/20 in the year 2004. (for what that is worth)

I guess the Signing of that Act will always be associated with the Feast of the Ascension. But (personally) for memorial purposes I prefer to use the 17th. Which this year falls on a Sunday.

Sister Adelphi said...

I was there.
On the evening of the Vigil of Ascension, Mt of Olives Russian Monastery was attacked by a severe thunder storm, with driving rain, lightening etc. The heavens opened. Clearly the Lord was unhappy about the Union.

Fr Andronik served the Feast at the Ruins Church of St Alexander Nevsky in the Old City of Jerusalem. A few nuns and monks and quite a few lay people joined us.
Sr Seraphima