Christian Gatherings in the Early Church
“Doesn’t it impress you that the faithful met in the catacombs and secret places, using secret methods so as not to be detected by their oppressors? Yet they insisted on meeting every night. They endangered their very existence and risked confiscation of their property. Did you ever ask yourself why they did it when any one of them could have asked, ‘Why must I leave my house and expose myself to danger by going out to a secret Church gathering?’ Couldn’t each person have stayed home and worshipped God by himself? In fact, the faithful acted this way because it was in this manner that the presence of the Church was established in history. They gathered because they needed to reinforce the presence of the Church among them, regardless if the pagans or non-believers were persecuting them. Rather, they gathered as the faithful who have the presence of the Church and consequently, the Body of Christ. The Church was and is proof of Pentecost. For us, who are gathered here and for everyone gathered in every Church, we gather, not only for the sermon but also for the worship… Take courage brothers and sisters, Christ is in our midst!”
Below is an excerpt from Revelation: The Seven Trumpets & The Antichrist (Vol III), a commentary on the book of the Revelation by Archimandrite Athanasios Mitilinaios of Larisa (pp.79-80). The passage the elder is commenting on is Revelation 10:1-4
I saw still another mighty angel coming down from heaven, clothed with a cloud. And a rainbow was on his head, his face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire. 2 He had a little book open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, 3 and cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roars. When he cried out, seven thunders uttered their voices. 4 Now when the seven thunders uttered their voices, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Seal up the things which the seven thunders uttered, and do…
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The Elder’s Revelation series is available at.www.zoepress.us. Please order there instead of Amazon who takes $8 per book…
Thank you Father for this quotation from the teachings of the Archimandrite; I am particularly edified by the words just before the quotation from Pages 78-79; “At this very moment, we should all try to understand that we are living in Pentecost, descendants of the previous generations of the church,” in the presence of the Holy Spirit where the word of God is heard and worship is offered to God. Could you imagine that this group of ours, made up of just a few people, might have to disperse? Let’s not forget that the gathering of the faithful is a manifestation of the Church.” The Archimandrite relates this “presence of the Holy Spirit” to the cloud of protection experienced by Israel during the exodus from Egypt (Exodus 13:21 – 14:19-24) and then expressed during our Holy Week hymnography: “My people, what have I to you that you should now deny me?” These readings point to the obvious question we address to our church today, “Are we denying that cloud of protection?” Your previous post, Father, “When No Priest Is Available’ begs this question and the answer is not being provided currently by (in general) our current church leadership; we need to pray, pray, pray for our bishops.
Regarding the book, “Revelation: The Seven Trumpets & the Antichrist, Vol III, “, I was one of the initial readers of the translation primarily to point out typos and obvious errors (not quite an editor) and I have to admit that I completely passed over this section of the book without considering its obvious application to today and to me personally. Oops.
The book is published. by my dear friend Marie Eliades, from the translation by Constantine Zalalas and can be located in many church bookstores and directly from Zoe Press. It is published by Zoe Press and is a book, along with Vols. I-II and IV, that seems to be directly applicable to the times in which we live.
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Thank you. Indeed, the previous post “When No Priest Is Available” begs this question … And yes, I think so many of us have completely passed over similar passages without considering their obvious application to today and to ourselves. Yes, we need to pray, pray, pray for our bishops, but more importantly, “pray for the tears and the repentance of the saints” in Metropolitan Neophytos Morphou words, and never, never, never judge anyone, especially our priests, Bishops and Patriarchs (Gerondas Theoklitos’ last word to us before he too ‘disappeared’). Your prayers
I can’t help but think of the scripture passage, “The devil is prowling around like a roaring lion waiting to devour you.” We really need prayer, fasting, penance and vigilance. Jesus lives in the catacombs of our hearts and in our sorrow we are making more room for Him!
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