“Secular” Turkey


Note that the Halki School of Theology was shut down by the Turkish government while at the same time limiting heirarchical positions in the Orthodox Church to Turlish citizens, making it nearly impossible to continue to produce cleargy of Turkish citizanship.


  1. When I see news like this, I wonder why God did not protect these sites from desecration. In the litanies, the Orthodox pray for peace and protection; yet, historically, it seems that the condition of the Orthodox is pain and persecution. As a Reformed Christian, I would have been inclined to question whether this was the wrath of God expressed against some transgression of His law. As a nascent (not quite a catechumen yet), Orthodox Christian, I’m not sure how to understand this. In the hagiographies I read of miraculous “deliverances from all affliction, wrath, danger, and distress” — yet, the same saints were often martyrs in the end.

    My question is: how does an Orthodox Christian view these calamitous events? How does an Orthodox Christian who prays for peace, resolve, or transcend, the disparate outcome?


  2. Someone does need to bring this forcefully to the attention of the EU institutions to expose the true nature of the Turkish state.

    dmartind, historically is seems that the condition of the much of the Church throughout time is pain and persecution. This is not because everyone and every group persecuted is being punished in a round about way by God. Even when I was Reformed, I did not think this. The question could be more broadly phrased to ask how any Christian who prays for anything resolves the disparate outcome.

    I think this is because people always expect the answer to their prayers to be “yes” and never “no” or “not in a way you can understand right now, For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.


  3. dmartind,

    For myself, to help make sense of such things, I begin from a certain self understanding that comes about from the attempt to live a holy life and my continuous and persistent failures in light of our Lord’s life and then His Life lived in the Saints who struggled to overcame this world with all of its passions and lust.

    As I progress(God alone knows if I really have or do, but I have a small inkling of an idea that I have to some small extent yielded myself to Him, being a little more conformed to His image and likenes over time) in the spiritual life, I have come to realize some things about myself.

    Being in my mid-thirties now, I have a history to look back on. And much of this history, I speak for myself and not for anyone else, shows forth a man who hated God if not overtly always but at least by my works. I lived a hedonistic life centered around myself and this path took me to places I now shudder at(even though these passions do continue to flare up and I relish them as the Israelites relished the fleshpots they once knew in Egypt) them.

    My point in giving you this little bit of my history is that through all this, the Lord has sustained me and loved me even when I did not love myself or anyone else. And through His love, which includes the consequences that inevitably had to be paid for my profligateness, I have come to a ceratin extent(more I pray over time) to “the end of myself” be able to echo the Baptist’s words that he would decrease so that Christ would increase.

    In thus coming to the end of myself, I have gained much in understanding of the human condition in my own experience and as such, I believe the human condition wreaks of pride and this particular illness “sticks closer to us than a brother”.

    I also believe that this can only be overcome in Him who is the Great Physician who came into the world to save the lost. And as any Good Physician, in His employ is chastisement to constantly prune the fruit that abides in His Vine, Himself, and this pruning does away with that which is undesirable and evil.

    In other words, this chastisement brings about the much needed humility which is the antidote to the great soul sickness of pride and that with out this antidote I am doomed to once again resort to the pride which always got me what I wished in earthly pleasures and accolades. This humility, the crucifying of ones own highest desires to be acqauinted witn grief as our Lord and Master did, is true strenghth. The willing emptying of oneself is powerful and often we human creatures will not do this willingly and He, in His love for us, provides the means to provide this indispensable cure.

    I too, when I observe the seemingly great forces arrayed against the Church in the world, often fret and despair and this anxiety is a normative part of the fallen human condition.

    Our Holy Orthodox Faith contains many balms for such fears and one I often apply is the understanding that the Truth of our Faith is not to be measured solely on the Church’s size and breadth, but that according to our ancient and ever true teachings, that even should all fall away but one, that is, of the Bishops, around whom the faithful gather, and yet one, only one in the world that maintains the Holy Orthodox Faith, there will the Church Catholic be. And the promise of our Lord is that the gates of Hell shall not prevail against the Church so here, trust issues come into play. Do I trust Him or are these more of my empty and hypocritical words?

    Hope this helps a bit.


  4. Thanks Dyfrig. As Reformed, I wouldn’t have posited that God arbitrarily punishes; however, I would have maintained that God’s wrath falls upon those who oppose him. Now, I’m not sure that’s entirely inconsistent with Orthodox thought, either. But, I’m struggling to understand the Orthodox view of God’s love, and perhaps wrath — especially in light of divine apatheia.

    Perhaps my inability to completely defer the matter to mystery says more about my impassioned condition than anything else; in which case, the Orthodox cure for the soul’s illness should help.


  5. dmartind,

    As you note, in the hagiographies we can read stories of deliverance as well as martyrdom, and the same is true of the apostles who were nearly every one martyred. The apostolic church should expect nothing less. We are the church of the God who became man, suffered, was crucified, and promised persecution to all who follow Him. The question of whether pain and persecution discredits one as being the church of God is the same question as to whether suffering a humiliating, excruciating, criminal’s death on a cross discredits Jesus as God. If one has come to grips with the latter then they have already come to grips with the former (even if he/she does not realize it yet).

    The gates of hell have not prevailed against the Orthodox church despite attacking it with heresies, Jihad, militant atheism, etc, for the same reason the gates of hell have not prevailed against Christ when attacking him with temptations, trickery, angry mobs, or the cross (after all, the persecutions are against the same reality for Christ asked the persecutor of the church, Saul, “Why do you persecute ME?”). And the only way to continue to prevail is simply to be in Christ, be the church: be the body of Christ that is both crucified and that has destroyed death and hell. As Christ prayed the cup would pass yet nevertheless Your will be done, so we pray for deliverance, and yet if and when the cup does not/cannot pass we must take up our cross. That is the only life we are offered, but it is true life; in laying down our life we find it, in mourning we are comforted, in being persecuted we have the kingdom.

    Of course, not having an intellectual problem with the persecutions of the church is easier than bearing the persecutions as Christ and the martyrs do (I could use your prayers on that front), but I pray we will all be so faithful. I hope that helps.



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