Orthodoxy and Secular Culture
by Father John Moses
A talk given at the 2004 Southern Missions Conference held at the St. John of Shanghai & San Francisco Russian Orthodox Chopel (ROCOR) in Mobile,Alabamo" USA.
On the evening before October 19 (Noy. 2), 1964, the Russian Church Abroad celebrated the solemn canonaation of Father John of Kronstadt, whom Vladyka John Maximovitch loved. Vladyka had even been involved in compiling of the service and akathist to him. A group of Russians organized on this night a Halloween Ball. When the All Night Vigil celebrated to St. John of Kronstadt began, many people were absent, to the great sorrow of Vladyka. After the service, St. John went to the place where the ball was being held. He entered the hall and the music stopped as Vladyka, in absolute silence, glared at the people, and with his staff in hand, he slowly walked around the entire hall. He didn't speak, but the sight of Vladyka brought general consternation to the party . Vladyka left but the next day in church he called all to the devout Christian life.

In some ways, talking to an Orthodox goup

about Halloween is like what we use to call "preaching

to the choir." In other words, non-participation in Halloween should be a "no-brainer." Yet, I believe thatthe issue of Halloween is an example of a more fundamental struggle between Orthodoxy and the secular spirit of our age. What I hope to accomplish in this speech is for us to begin to understand the cause and the nafure of this struggle and begin to gain some idea of how to deal with it.
First, on the slim chance that some of you are unfamiliar with its origin, I will present some basic facts about Halloween. Fr. Victor Potapov relates this history: "The feast of Halloween began among the Celtic peoples of Britain, Ireland, and northern France. These pagan peoples believed that physical life was born from

lnnocence betrayed?



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Samhain, contrary to what some believe, is not a Celtic god of the dead. lnstead, it is a Celtic word meaning 'summe/s end.' The Celts, like many other cultures, saw the dark of the day or year as the beginning. Thus their days began at sunset and the winter half of the year, starting on November 1st, was the beginning of their new year, just as it is now for many Wiccans or Pagans. The Celts were a pastoral people as opposed to an agricultural people. The end of summer was significant to them because it meant the time of year when the structure of their lives changed radically. The caftle were brought down from the summer pastures in the hills and the people were gathered into the houses for the long winter nights of story telling and handicrafts. ln the Druidic calendar, this was the time when baniers between man and the supernatural were lowered. Fires were lit to honour the descending sun god. On the eve of Samhain, the gates of the Abyss were unlocked and spirits from below flew free. Human souls that had been trapped in the bodies of animals were released by the Lord of the Dead and sent to their new incamations Samhaimvqs lle winler s€rason rrf fhe ,neient Celts-The c.Flts divided

death. Therefore, they celebrated the beginning of the "new year" in the fall (on the eve of October 31 and into the day of November 1), when they believed, the season ofcold, darkness, decay and death began. The Celts believed that a certain deity, whom they called Samhain, [pronounced - sow-in] was the Lord of Death. To him they gave honour at their New Year's festival

(N.8. Sadly Father Victor's explanation of the origins of Samhain, which is widely believed by mctny consemative Christian groups, is flawed. Samhain IS NOT the name of a Celtic god but rather the name of the day heralding the beginning of the northern winter and the Celtic new yeor. This confusion however does not negate in any way opposition to celebrating Halloween as the pagqn Celtic spiritual practices celebrated on this day, however diluted or sanitisedfor contemporary public consumption, are in total contradiction to Orthodox Christian belief. Please read the boxed article opposite - Ed.) Many beliefs and practices were associated with this feast, which have endured to this current time. On the eve of the New Year's festival, the Druids, who were the priests of the Celtic cult, inskucted their people to extinguish all hearttr fires and lights. On the evening of the festival ttrey ignited a huge bonfire built from oak branches, which they believed to be sacred. Upon this fire, they offered burnt sacrifices of crops, animals, and even human beings to appease and cajole Samhain, the lord of Death. They also believed that Samhain, being pleased by their faithful offerings, allowed the souls of the dead to return to homes for a festal visit on this day. This belief led to the ritual practice of wandering about in the dark dressed in costumes indicating ghosts, witches, hobgoblins, fairies and demons. The living entered into fellowship and communion with their dead by this ritual act of imitation, through costume and the wandering about in the darkness, even as the souls of the dead were believed to
wander. The dialogue of "trick or heat" is integral to Hal-

the year Info four quarters: Samhain (winter), lmbolc (spring), Beltane
(summe$, and Lughnasadh (autumn). The Celtic year began in November, with Samhain. The Celts wele influenced principally by the lunar and stellar cycles wtilch govemed the agricultural year - beginning and ending in autumn when the crops have been harvested and the soil is prepared for the winter. Pronunciation differs radically between different groups of Celtic language speakers. Samhain Eve, in Erse, Oidhche Shamhna, is one of the principal festivals of the Celtic calendar, and is thought to fall on or around the 31st of October. lt represents the final harvest. ln modern lreland, the name by which Halloween is known in the lrish language is still Oictre Sharnhna. Bonfires played a large part in the festivities. Villagers cast the bones of the slaughtered caftle upon the flames. (the word bonfire is thought to derive from these'bone fires.") With the bonfire ablaze, the villagers extinguished all olher fires. Each family then solemnly lit their hearth from the common flame, thus bonding the families of the village together. Like most Celtic festivals, it was celebrated on a number of levels. Mateilally speaking it was the time of gathering food for the long winter months ahead, bdnging people and their livestock in to their winter quarters. To be alone and missing at this dangerous time was to expose yourself and your spirit to the perils of imminent winter. ln present times the importance of this part of the festival has diminished for most people. From the point of view of a tribal people for whom a bad season meant facing a long winter of famine in which many would not survive to the spdng, it was paramount. Samhain was also a time for contemplation. Death was never very far away, yet to die was not the tragedy it is in modern times. Of signal importanceito the Celts people was io die with honour and to live in the memory of thd tribe and be honoured at the greal feast (in lreland this would have been the Fleadh nan Maihh (Fea$. of the Dead)) wtrich took place on Samhain Eve. _ Thig was llg_nqst rnagroal tirne of the year; Samhain was the day which did not exist. During the night the great shield of Skathach was lowered, allowing the baniers between the worlds to fade and the lorces of chaos to invade the realms of order, the material world conjoining with the world of the dead. At this time the spirits of the dead and those yet to be bom walked amongst the living. The dead could return to the places where they had lived and food and entertainment were provided in their honour. ln this way the tribes were at one with its past, pre$ent and future, This aspect of the festival was never totally subdued by Christianity. On the level of cosmic event, the rising of Pleiades, the northem winter stars, heralded the supremacy of night over day, the dark hatf ruled by the realms of the moon. ln the three days preceding the Samhain month the Sun God, Lugh, maimed at Lughnassadh, dies by the hand of his Tanist (his other self), the Lord of Misrule. Lugh traverses the boundaries of the worlds on the first day of Samhain. His Tanist is a miser and though he shines brightly in the winter skies he gives no warmth. and does not temper the breath of the Crone, Cailleach Bheare, the north wind. ln this may be discemed the ageless battle between the light and dark and the cyclic nature of life and the seasons. ln parts of western Brittany Samhain is still leralded by the baking of komigou. Kornigou are cakes baked in the shape of antlers to commeme rate the god of winter shedding his "cuckold" horns as he returns to his kingdom in the Otherworld. When the Romans made contact with the Celts, they added their feast of the dead to Samhain.

loween beliefs and practices. The souls of the dead had - by Celtic trad-ition*-. ilter€-d into the world of darkness, decay, and death. They bore the affliction of great hunger on their festal visit. This belief brought about the practice of begging as another Celtic ritual imitation of the dead. The implication was that any souls of the dead and their imitators who are not appeased with "treats", i.e. offerings, will provoke the wrath of Samhain, whose angels and servants (the souls and human imitators) could retaliate through a system of "tricks" or curses. One radio commentator takes great fun in calling Halloweeh, "Begoween.o' The sacred fire was the fire of the New Year was taken home to rekindle lights and hearth fires. This developed into the practice of the Jack O Lantern (in the U.S.A.; a pumpkin, in older days other vegetables were used), which was carved in imitation of the dead and used to convey the new light and fire to the home, where the lantern was left burning throughout the night. Divination was also part of this ancient Celtic festival. After the fire had died out the Druids examined the remains of the main sacrifices, hoping to foretell the


5 No.

2 October 2005 donitsa, from Russian "radost" -


coming year's events. The Halloween festival was the proper night for sorcery, fortune telling, divination, games of chance, and Satan worship and witchcraft in the later Middle Ages." The Church responds "In the strictly orthodox early Celtic Church, the holy Fathers tried to counteract this pagan new year festival that honoured the Lord of Death, by establishing the Feast of All Saints on the same day. (It differs in the East, where the Feast of All Saints is celebrated on the Sunday followirg Pentecost). The custom of the Celtic Church was for the faithful Christians to attend a vigil service and a morning celebration of the Holy Eucharist. This custom created the term Halloween. The Old English of "All Hallow E'en", i.e., the eve commemorating all those who were hallowed (sanctified) became
Halloween. The remaining pagan and therefore anti-Christian people, whose paganism had become deeply in-

joy, of Easter and of

still survived till the beginning of our century. Now they are gone, but the atheist authorities used to try to reanimate them. Another "harmless" feast - May 1, proclaimed "the international worker's day" is a simple renaming the old satanic feast of Walpurgis Night (night of April 30 into the day of May 1), the yearly demonic Sabbath during which all participants united in "a fellowship of Satar"."
The Modern Context when we try to protest to our neighbours, our schools, and even mmy of our own Orthodox brethren about the origin of Halloween, we usually get indiffer-

the resurrection from the dead of the whole manhood of Jesus Christ. Gradually Radunitsa yielded to Easter's greater importance and became less popular. And many dark practices from old Russian pagan feasts (Semik, Kupalo, Rusalia and some aspects of the Maslennitsa)

Most who

ence and hurnour. ob-

tertwined with
the Occult, Satanism and Magic,

serve Halloween
laugh at any suggestion that they are participating




Church's affempt to supplant their

in evil, or honouring Samhain, or

festival by

creased on this evening.


As an example,

dead spirits.

The early medieval Halloween became the supreme feast of the Occult, a night and day witchcraft., demonism, sorcery and Satanism of all kinds. Many practic e s in-

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Christians should embrace the "devilish" holiday with gusto-and laughter. " by



;,...l.i.ffi fi


volved desecra-

tion and mockery of Christian practices and beliefs. Costumes of skeletons developed as a mockery of the Church's reverence for Holy Relics; Holy things were

in sacrilegious ways. The practice of begging became a system of persecution to harass Christians who were, by their beliofr, unable to participate with offerings to those who served the Lord of Death. The Western Church's attempt failed, to supplant this pagan festival with the Feast of All Saints."
used peryersely Russian Counterpart "The ancient Slavic counterpart to Halloween in ancient Russia was Navy Dien' (Old Slavonic for the dead "nav'), which was also called Radunitsa and celebrated in the spring. To supplant it, the Eastern Church attached this feast to Easter, for celebration on Tuesday of Saint Thomas' Week (second week after Easter). The Church also changed the name of the feast into Ra-

stolen, such as crosses and the Reserved Sacrament, arrd

Rearick III. After ridiculing various statements of fellow church members about the evils of Halloween, he writes, "l have always considered Halloween a day to celebrate the imagination, to become for a short time something wonderful and strange, smelling of grease paint, to taste sweets that are permissible only once a year. How wonderfirl to be with other children dressed up as what they might grow up to be, what they wished they could be, or even what they secretly feared. All of us, dreams and nightmares, were brought together on equal footing, going from door to door to be given treats and admired for our creativity. How delightful to go to parties with doughnuts, apples, brown cider, and pumpkin cakes-and to hear spine-tingling ghost stories and feel our hearts skip a beat when the teller grabbed for us." Dr. Rearick concludes with the idea that we shouldn't abandon Halloween to the dark side of satanists and Wiccans. We should "reclaim the season" just as we did with Christmas. Therefore Halloween can be


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seen as a time to laugh at Satan and make fun of him sue when it comes to leadership; and to rejoice in Christ's victory over death and deI would make it legal to kill unborn babies; I would mons. The only real reason that we are reluctant to join make it socially acceptable to take one's own life, and the party is because Christianity fears the use and make machines to make it convenient; I would cheapen development of imagination. human life as much as possible so that the life of aniMy Methodist mother would point out that I had, mals are valued more than human beings. in days prior to Orthodoxy, participated in Halloween. I would take God out of the schools, where even the Where was the harm? I had watched all the Frankenmention of His name was grounds for a lawsuit; I would stein, Werewolf, and Dracula movies, trick-or-treated, come up with drugs that sedate the mind and target the and had dress up as everything from a bum to the young, and I would get sports heroes to advertise them. Mummy. Had this furned me into a satanist or devotee I would get control of the media, so that every night of Samhain? My mother would agree with Dr. Rearick. I could pollute the mind of every family member with Why deprive children of a chance to use their imaginamy agenda; I would attack the family, the backbone of tion and engage in harmless fun? any nation. while an orthodox Christian may disagree with I would make -rdivorOe--m I)r. Rearick's (and my Mother's) analysis, we must face fashionable; If the family crumbles, so does the nation. the fact that we now have a change in context, a new I would compel people to express their most deway of seeing the world. This is no longer a druid world praved fantasies on cinvas and movie screens, and call governed by Samhain, devils, the walking dead, and it art. evil spirits, and Satan. It is a brave new world of human I would convince the world that people are born hohopes, dreams, ambitions, and fears. It is a place of mosexuals, and that their lifestyles should be accepted. imagination and celebration. I would convince the people It is a world where God, ffid One of the worrying aspects of American cultural imperialism aftdirq that right and wrong are dein particular the God of Or- Australia, and indeed the Western world, is tre grwing poprlaig d t€rmined by a few who call thodoxy, has been pushed to celebrating Halloween on the evening of Odder 31st. This is a new themselves authorities and phenomena in Australia - unheard of even thirty years ry ard or*y rnthe side and made irrelevant. derstood even then only by those who watched American sitsm on TV refer to their agenda as poA new order has arisen with and understood as a North American cultural ddity. Desple ils u(grs in liitically correct. a new way of seeing things Celtic cosmology and belief, Halloween as practiced today in Nsfrr AnFr- I would persuade people that and this worldview informs ica and among some Australians was never a widespread culfurd cdF the church is irrelevant and every aspect of modern bration in the United Kingdom or indeed in Europe. The paglil bdbfr out of date, and the Bible is western life. In short, we call underpinning Halloween are fostered by contemporary exporenb d out of print; I would dull the plethora of New Age pagrr be this worldview "secularism." Wicca, nature worship, witchcraft and a liefs. Encouraging children to dress in costumes promoting honor ad he minds of Christians, and occult to celebrate a pagan religious festival is something s'hi$ Orffix make them believe that Novus Ordo Seclorum families should not encourage or promote. Parents should homs be prayer is not importarrt, and Webster defines secu- pro-active and encouraged to protest at such activities takirg dace ln &at faithfulness and obedilarism as "indifference to or day.careandpre-schoolcentres,kindergartensandinp,rlmary# ence are optional. rejection of religion and reli- where it is often promoted as harmless group activity. Parents shanH f:fmilrm... I guess if I were gious considerations." While also take care not to allow their children to participate in Halloreen pil- the devil, I'd leave things ties or the like, or to go "trick or treating" but ipsted educate frrdr $i1we may object to the hedon- dren as to the real meaning prefiy much the way they of Halloween and the dangens of frre occult. ism and materialism of our are. Good day." duy, these are not new to this We shoul&remembei thilTir -=---world. There have always been those who loved pleasthe. past paganism was a religious phenomenon. There ure more than God and who placed their material wellwas a comrnon ground and a common theological lanbeing above their spiritual life. W-hat is most important guage between pagan society and the Church. The Rohere is the word "indifference,' and it draws its life man soldier torturing you might be a pagan, but he was from a basic an all-pervasive idea: all truth, especially a god-fearing man who affended the temple with his religious huth, is relative. Fr. Seraphim Rose spoke of family, had two chariots in the garage, affended sporting this new philosophy. He used the word "Nihilism", and events at the coliseum, and even had an altar in his called it the basic philosophy of the 20th century. house. Of course, he called Christianrty atheism, and he Maybe you've read this quote. It illustrates the would kill you for believing it. indifferent spirit of our age. Today's modern pagans are also "god-fearing people." They might attend church with family, have If I were the Devil -- by Paul Harvey two cars in the garage, attend or watch'sporting events, "If I were the devil, I would gain control of the most etc, Concerning the religion of others, they are tolerant powerful nation in the world; I wou'ld delude their because "after all, there is no real difference between minds into thinking that they had come from man's efus." Though a member of a denomination, the modern fort, instead of God's blessings; I would promote an attisecular pagan is prideful of the fact that he really betude of loving things and using people, instead of the lieves that denominations are in fuct of no real conseother way around. quence. To the mind of the modern,,secular pagan, the I would dupe entire states into relying on gambling more absolute ihe claim to truth, the more irrelev ant it for their state revenue; seems to the cares and concerns of modern life. Is it arry I would convince people that character is not an iswonder then that to these modern folk, Halloween is no


5 No.

2 October 2005


big deal?
Such is the world in which we now live and those who claim the Orthodox F'aith undertake a unique challenge. Never before have Christians lived in a society that is secular by design and intention. Because we do not address our worldliness we can, on a Saturduy night hold a Halloween party instead of going to Vigil. It isn't

vehicle of God's appearing and there is no sphere of life without His presence. "It is meet and rign-t to sing to Thee, to bless Thee, to praise Thee, to give thanki to Thee, and to worship Thee in every place of thy dominion


until St. John walks in our midst and looks at us with

the world." (John 17:15-16) How is complish this?
Repent First, we need to repent. Well, we hear this all the time in Church, but I propose that we must go deeper than just

those piecing eyes that we suddenly feel the presence of that other world, the Kingdom of God, and we begin to sense our uffer conformity to the world. The Lord said, "r pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that shouldest keep them from evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of

it possible to ac-

feeling sorry about the situation. The Greek word for repentance is "metanoie" which means a "change of mind." St. Paul tells us that we should not be conformed to this
world, but transformed by "the renewitrg of our minds." This means that we strive to gain the mind of Christ, an Orthodox mind. Fr. Seraphim believed that modern man could not come to Christ fully until he was first aware of how much the world had changed.

Instead of just crittcuing the world, wo must recognize the Nihilism (or secular spirit) in ourselves. "The Nihilism of our age exists in all," he wrote, 'r and those who do noL with the aid of God, choose to combat it in the name of the fullness of Being of the living God, are swallowed up in it already. In his book, For the Ltfe of the world, Fr. Schmemann describes this change of mind and what it could mean for us: "secularism, I submit, is above all a negation of worship. I stress: - not of God's existence, not of some kind of transcendence and therefore some kind of religion. If secularism in theological terms is some kind of herosy, it is primarily a heresy about mall. It is a negation of man as a worshiping being, as homo adorans: the one for whom worship is the essential act that both 'posits' his humanrty and fulfils it," Like Fr. Seraphim, Fr. Schmemann is saying that we must gain an Orthodox mindset. And what is this mindset? It is a rejection of the indifference of plagues modern life. It means strive to live each moment as if we truly believe that the Holy Spirit "is everywhere present and fillest all things." The entire world becomes

lhgught from afar. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, thou knowest it altogether. Thou has beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me....'vv'hither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence. If I ascend into heaven, thou art there. If I make my bed in hell, behold thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there shall thy hand lead ffie, and thy right hand shall hold me." (Psalm 139) Orthodox worship is not just a private matter. It is a rejection of the duality of the modern secular world a duality that says, God is here, but He is not there. The goal of my striving is to become a sacramental man, who sees the entire universe as a place of God's appearing. That means that family and work and leisure are not separate places apart from God. True repentance is never an easy thing to accomplish, and gaining an Orthodox mindset in this world will not be easy either. As a priest, I see my

tittittg and mine uprising, thou understandest my

How did the Psalmist say it? " O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my down-

people struggling with the confusion of rying to live an Orthodox life in a today's

world. I was going to school in England when I first met the Orthodox community at Durham University. These sfudents came from all over the Orthodox world. I met my first archimandrite there and my first archpriest. one thing I remember is that they all seern€d cuiious about how it was possible to live as a Christian such a secular and pluralistic country as the uSA. I was a Methodist then, but I had to admit that I didn't have a ready answer. I would guess however that if trends continue as they ffie, and as the secularism and materialism of the West continue to conquer the East, they too might have to struggle to find an answer. God help them. The Tools of Repentance

Holy orthodoxy and the church have given us the tools to transform our minds. All are contained within Holy Tradition: attending' Church, fasting, prayer, the reading of Scripture, the reading of the lives of the Saints, and the teachings of the Fathers, all these

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mity when we simply will not lift the shield of faith or put on the helmet of salvation to protect ourselves.
Enjoyrng the X'ruits of Repentance to see worldliness in ourselves, and we must use the tools that Orthodory gives us. Is there anything left?
So, we must have the desire

Years ago, I made the observation that people would attend faithfully attend Church services despite the fact that they had to wash their clothes in the river, gather their food from the fields, make their own clothes, harness the horse, cook from scratch, etc. Goodness, where did they find thrc time to go to Church so much? Now, in this wonderful mode-rn world, we are "blessed" with time-saving and labour-saving devices: dishwashers, clothes washers, canned and prepared foods, ready made cl'othes, fast cars, etc. Yet, even with this timesaving technology, it seems that we have less time for spiritual life than our predecessors.
What has happened?



I heard it said once that today the Devil majors in has virtually disappeared from our lives. *Crowds" doesn't simply mean a lot of people, but it means entertainmenl spectacles, and diversion. We have certainly have an abundance ofit in this country. I could speak at length upon each of these, but I want to deal mainly with the issue of hurry. To enjoy the fruits of repentance, we must deal with the issues of priority and time. This is what *hurr5r" is all about. The pace of life has quickened, and this why, even with our technolory, we have less time than before. ListerU I know we are tired, I know that our lives are full, and I know that we grow weary of hearing priests complain about why we aren't more faithful. All I want to say is that if we do not set our priorities to make the Kingdom of God first before all things, the world will set our priorities for us. If we do not commit the time necessary to enjoy the fruits of holiness, the world will take away what little time we have. If we do not seek a place of silence, the world will inundate us with noise. If we do not strive to be transformed, conformity will surely overtake us. The choice is ours. Yet, if we do not choose, the choice will be made for us.
three things: noise, crowds, and hurry. Certainly, silence

Trick or treat?

things can work to make us holy people. It isn't enough to just possess the tools, we must actually use the tools if we are to build anything of lastitrg value. Often people ask me why the Orthodox Church repeats things so much. "again and again". This is what I tell them: How do I know the following so well? "My bologna has a first name, its OSCAR. My bologna has a second name, its MEYER. Oh, I love to eat it everyduy, And if you ask me *hy, I'll say 'Cause Oscar Meyer has a way

With b-o-l-o-g-n-a!" How do I know it so well after so many years? Because I heard it sung by some child over and over and over again on the TV and the radio. Fifth Ave. believes wholeheartedly in "again and again." Perhaps if I read the morning prayers often enough, I would know the prayers as well as the Oscar Meyer song. Maybe, having learned them by heart, I might begin .to dwell upon words and ponder them. Maybo, I would allow the words to sink in and become a part of me. Maybe, just maybe, by the Grace of God found in these prayers, I might actually begin to think the way an Orthodox Christian should think. As a priest, and as your Orthodox brother, this is what disturbs me when people are habitually absent from Vigil. This is what disturbs me when folks confess laxity in prayer, reading, and fasting. I wonder how any of us will be able to resist the power of worldly confor-

Conclusion I have gone a bit far from the topic of Halloween. Possibly, but to piously say to our beloved pagans that we don't celebrate because we are "not of this world" (i.e. Orthodox) is laughable if we are as worldly as they are. By worldly, I don't mean that we participate in the gross sins of the flesh. But if we are also hurried, concerned with success, fretting over money, fretting over possessions, constantly seeking entertainmen! constantly filling our lives with noise, putting God in a Sunday morning bog finding little place for Him in the weekday cyclg of work and family - then they will see the truth - we are just as pagan as tley are. Our protests about Halloween will fail to convmce anyone.
Perhaps, you feel that

Vol. 5 No. 5 October 2005

So, I don't participate, but with that alone, I shouldn't congratulate myself. What is more important is that I attain to stillness and salvation. If I do, .ten thousand around me will be saved." I doubt that loudly protesting Halloween will accomplish as much. I end with these words from Abba pambo: ..In those times the love for God in most souls will grow cold and a great sadness will fall onto the world.-One nation shall face-offagainst another. peoples will move away from their own places. Rulers will be confused. The clerry will be thrown into anarchy, and the monks will be inclined more to negligence. The church leaders will consider useless anything concerned with salvation, as much for their own souls as for the souls of their flocks, and they will despise any such concern. All will $oy _gagemess and enerry for every matter regarding their dining table and their appetites. They'll belazy in their prayers and casual in their criticisms. As foi the lives and teachings of the Holy Fathers, they'll not have any interest to imitate them, nor even to hear them. But rather they will complain and say, "if we had lived in those times, then we'd have behaved like that." And the

You see, it's a matter or witness by word and style of living. We must witness to the truth that Jesus Christ is the Son of the only true God; that all things were.made by him, and for him. Christ holds all things together and by him all things consist. He is Word of God, the source of all tnrth, beauty, and love. Any culture, tradition or nation, even a seoular one cannot limit him. This must be our Orthodory, and to believe it and to wihess it is to truly become a "fool for Christ.,, Never has it been more foolish than it is today to be an Orthodox witness in the secular world of today. It is for this witness then that we don't participate in Halloween. By non-participation in Halloween, we refuse to acquiesce to the greatest and most subtle frick of the Devil. In Dr. Rearick's world, the Devil does not exis! or if he does, he is simply nothing more than something to laugh at. Modern media has made horror fun. Video games desensitized the mind by making images of evil commonplace and part of our playtime. This is similar to what Fr. Seraphim Rose wrote about in his boolq Orthg4ory and the Religion of the Future. Fr. Seraphim believed that if you took the entire psychic phen-omenon - from something as benign as the TV series Sran Trekto the "Gnostic Christianity" of psychic gurus such as Sylvia Brown - the mind of humanity is being subtly prepared to receive the guidance of "beings of higher intelligence." These beings could be spiritual guides that channel through us, or they could be riding on UFOs. In reality, Fr. Seraphim believed, this mental conditioning is preparation for the Antichrist. Whether or not you agree, with Fr. Seraphim's analysis, Halloween, as it is practiced rejoices in the irrelevance of spiritual evil. Today, spiritual evil is but a goncept, and a dated one at that. Like all religious truth it is relative, and is thought to lie solely in thelnner psychological landscape of the individual. Therefore, it iJ a matter of therapy and is of little importance to the cares and striving of the modern, paganand secular world.

(Contirued from page 6 " Halloween - Orthodory and Secalar Culnre ")

you also may be vdrere I am. You know the uny to the place where I am going." Thomas said to him, "Lord, ule don't know where you are going, so how can ure know the uay?" Jesus answered, n,l am ihe way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through
me." John 14:t-6

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. ln my Fathefs house are many rooms; if it rrere not so, I rrrould have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and pre. pare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that

Bishops shall give way to the powerful of the world, giving answers on different matters only after taking gifts from everywhere and consulting the rational logic of the academics. The poor man's rights will not be defended; they'll afflict widows and hardss orphans. Debauchery will permeate these people. Most won't believe in God; they'll hate each other and devour one another like beasts. The one will steal from the other; they'll be drunk and will walk about as blind. His disciple again asked, "Abba, what can we do in such a state?' And Elder Pambo answered, "My child, in these times whoever will save his soul and prompt others to be saved will be called great in the Kingdom of



The author, Father John Moses, is pastor

of America Russian orthodox Church (RoCoR), Middlebrook, Virginia, USA.

af Ail Saints

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