«„Oh, what do the people want the church to mean? On what kind of Babylon do the people want to write „Christ’s Church”? The church is only one. It cannot have another way of living but Mine. I am the head of the Church.»
(Excerpt from the Word of God, from 29.09. 1997. – O.S. / 12.10.1997. – N.S.)
If we sincerely observe the present state of things of the Orthodox Church, we found out that the believers’ preoccupation to consecrate the ecclesiastical space has long disappeared, that is to divide the church into the Holy and the Holy of Holies, and then, to rigorously observe the keeping of this division. When Moses was called to dialogue by God in the Mount Horeb, he was told to take off his shoes for the place he was standing on was a holy place (See Exodus 3/5). This place was not known as having a prior consecration, but it became holy by God’s election itself, first as a space of dialogue and then as a space of worship (See Exodus 3/12).
The church, taken as a place of worship, however, is destined par excellence to be a place of communication between man and God. That is way it has to be a holy place even from the phase in which the people make a mental projection of the necessity of permanentizing of collective service.
Once, the interior spaces of the church rigorously confined those that were consecrated, who were administering the altar with much propriety; and then the elect who were step on the platform only for the holy Eucharist; and then the believers who populated the nave (the men) and the pro-nave (the women); and then those that were called, who were temporarily occupying the pro-nave, but at the right time («How many of you are called, come out!») these were coming out into the church porch. As far as the penitents concern, they have been deprived of the right to occupy various areas of the interior of the church, according to the condition of uncleanness in which they have fallen.
Unfortunately today, these customs are a pale memorial. The doorkeepers have disappeared and the church has been slowly turned into a passing space, a wide hall to the sole area, which suggests certain holiness: the iconostasis with its doors and curtains and obviously everything they hide. The hiding has remained the only form to suggest the mystery, instead that this may flourish and overflow over the ecclesiastical space. The priest was tempted to take over the ritual covering, the mystery, as an invitation for his hiding from the people. That is why he hides behind the doors and curtains his own lack own holiness replaced with the adoration of the Caesar’s image, (The money) who silently took over the Holy of Holies. In their turn, the believers (mixed with the unbelievers in a proportion impossible to evaluate) do no longer take off their shoes for a long time, literally and figuratively, when they enter to pray. Do they really realize that it is no longer the case, as long as the ecclesiastical space is not holy anymore? It is possible, even if we take into consideration this sign, which God asked once from Moses, only for a metaphor.
The holiness in the church remains, therefore, a potential state, for it is no longer brought up-to- date by an authentic Christian living, the one, which is asked thorough catechism, eulogies, homilies and preaching. All the preaching made up by clericals remains but mere acts of rhetorical virtuosities as long as they are not translated through a firm preoccupation of holiness (literally, not figuratively!) of the parishioners’ life. Furthermore, for centuries we have witnessed a dangerous deviation of direction concerning the church consecration: the majority of the believers and a considerable part of clericals have arrogantly assumed the right to proclaim that the church is no longer of the saints, but of the sinners. This bold affirmation, and which probably hides the intention of a legitimation, unfortunately starts from a sad acknowledgement: truly the control was lost and the devil has managed to sneak into the church through the wide-open forgotten doors. No one chooses the trenchant attitude, dictated by the Elijah’s spirit or the lashing word of John, the Baptizer: «Offspring of vipers!» (Luke 3/7). In return, you hear with stupor, even with the priests, lamentable affirmations such as: „We all are sinners“, and which reveal the level of theological subculture, cultivated within priests nurseries, sprung up within the last years like mushrooms after the rain, in tens of towns and fair markets. And this, when God urges the people authoritatively: «Be holy for I am holy too!» (Exodus 22/31; Leviticus 11/45; 1 Peter 1/16).
Therefore, holiness has also remained for the most people a stale biblical option, proper and specific only to the antiquity. The modern people can afford from now on, what our ancestors would have not even dared to think: to misinterpret God’s will, to maculate the martyrs’ sacrifices and to transform the praying sanctuaries into places of cheap ritualistic incantation in which the conformist cabotinage is mixed with the vulgarism of some occasional “Christian male and female,” who rather came only to rakishly expose their indecent toilets with the occasion of a wedding or baptism. Frequently the service of the wedding is deliberately transformed by the priest into a comedy of triviality hard to bear. Beyond the fact that the Holy Communion is no longer given to the young people, being replaced with crackers (!!!) dipped in so-called “the common glass” (a grotesque parody of the holy bowl), the occasion is speculated by the priest to snatch ripples of laugher from his audience. After a repeated game of “fooling” the bride, a game in which the cracker is withdrawn to left her open-mouthed, the priest acts suddenly with a subtlety, which betrays his routine and thrusts the cracker into the throat of the bride until it chokes her and makes her cry. Here it is not only a severe premeditation of the priest to cabotinage, but also a subliminal message by which he suggests the audience a prospective insatiety of the bride to behavioral deviationism and immorality. The poor church has come to be the host of the world circus! In giggles of accordion and impertinent flashings, the circus of clowns, dressed in tuxedos of funerals and cellophane combination suits, withdraws leaving behind the trails of the mundane dirt: stalagmites of paraffin on the carpets, confections, rice, trampled chewing gum and fancy cakes, cheap scraps of their hopes, as they have understood them before God: «the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life»(1 John 2/16).
Let us also mention here the fact that the service itself was officially amputated, being deprived today of the essential passage in which the priest asks the wedding pair about their option, if it is by their consent and not forced by anyone, and then he urges them to publicly acknowledge their decision, firm, free and final, to get married and then to solemnly declare them husband and wife. Probably this passage of the service (which is still kept within the homonym services from other autocephalous Orthodox churches) was given as a gift to the state by the rulers of the church in 1864, when they accepted to hand over to the mayor’s office the ancestral right of the administrative-spiritual assistance upon the birth, marriage and burial of the parishioners, for we find it almost unchanged in the ceremony of „the civil marriage.” Do the people really not realize that two marriages of the same couple, one called „civil” and the other „religious,” reciprocally annul the valences, turning the marriage into nonsense?
The ridicule is not sanctioned by the priest even when this finds out that at the baptism (only now!?) the godparents do not know a iota of the Christian creed, a reason which should be considered a canonical impediment, sure enough for the service to be stopped, out of necessity, and temporarily suspended. But the priest, being rather a paid public servant, partly reads himself the Creed in their place, giving his approval that Christ may be humiliated again than to work with the spirit and power of Elijah. And so, to save the surface of solemnity, the priests’ services are like a worthless theatre in which the curtain falls exposing the sad reality towards the day of Epiphany. Then, no matter how many precautions he may take, no matter how many anticipated invitations to Christian order and patience he may make, his „service” finishes systematically with a disaster: jostled people, torn clothes, bad language, thefts of wallets, even beatings, holly water, spread abundantly on the ground and then callously trodden under foot. It is clear that assisting year by year to such a spectacle being turned into a habit, the priest does no longer have his heart in rebuking at least verbally the other smaller „offences” such as adornments, makes- up, indecent clothing and so on.
Can God impassibly assist to such a wretchedness of Christianity? He cannot be fooled around with cheap and triumphalist speeches, (which counts how many places of worship have been built in the last year, declaimed from the pulpit of the patriarchal cathedral), not with adulatory articles, which describe work visits or swelling anniversaries, periodically ordered and printed, which emphatically are entitled: „The Voice of the Church“ or „The Harbinger of Orthodoxy“.
The official reality remains sad, but few have the courage to take its radiography. Unfortunately, the Orthodoxy does no longer live, but it declaims itself instead. For many, its holiness has remained a strange option, anchored somewhere in history, perhaps once with the martyrdom of Brâncoveanu or with the passing into eternity of the Saint Calinic from Cernica.
However, God is a God of the living and not a God of the dead (Matt. 22/32). This state of things could not long forever. God speaks about the age that we live in now, (the 7 th millennium from the creation of the world), with authority through a prophecy of the St. Nifon of Constantia: «Enough! I will cut it into half! Let the dominion of sin come to an end!».
Therefore, the year 7500 should be the year of the major changes from the church. This year was prophesied exactly by the St. Nilus of Mt. Athos, (1612-1692 AD) and by the St. Hierarch Calinic of Cernica, (1787-1868 AD), by the St. Moisi (Moses) the Black, (the 4th century) (The prophecy about the monks of the last people), by the St. Hierarch Niphon of Constantiana (4th century) (in „A vision about the dreadful Judgment”), by the St. Cosmas of Aetolia (1714-1779). And still, since the year 7500 from the creation of the world means the year 1992 after Christ, and the visible state of things from the church in the world has not been improved at all, it might seem that the mentioned prophecies have not literally been fulfilled yet. That is why some newer editors of the St. Calinic’s biography, probably out of the infantile desire to „protect“ his image, have eliminated the passages, which have reminded of this prophecy so real. However, the reality, which they have not known yet, is totally different.
These prophecies have been fulfilled with great accuracy. In the churchly year 1992, in the life of the Orthodox Christians an essential change took place. God, seeing the man’s weakness to lift up the church from its spiritual downfall, became Himself the founder of His own church and He called it as it was prophesied (See Revelation 21/2): «The New Jerusalem Holy Citadel», and He gave it to those who love holiness: «And there will in no way enter into it anything profane, or one who causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life» (Revelation 21/27).
What princes, rulers, journeymen or richer townsfolk have failed, that is to devote themselves to God and then to build Him real holy places, not in name only, God accomplished with an easiness, which confirms His omnipotence. Within three months only (September – November, 1991), as in a breath, a bunch of Orthodox Christians, who understood what self-denial and devotion for bearing Christ’s cross really mean, erected from foundation this stone of testimony, which from now on is called the Church of the righteous and of the watchful people, the place of the rest of God, the Word: The New Jerusalem Church.
As God has step by step lead Moses’ holy work of the holy Tabernacle, (See Exodus, chapter 36), Solomon with the work of the Temple (See 1 Kings 5/6) and Zerubbabel with the reconstruction of the Temple (See Ezra chapter 5), likewise the work of building of the New Jerusalem Holy Citadel was advised step by step by the living and working word. This work, coming down from heaven, has been sealed by law of holiness to establish a pattern of holy living for the whole Christianity:
– the cleanness of the body and of the feelings;
– abstinence from meat, alcoholic drinks and drugs;
– observance of Christian tradition referring to clothing;
– observance of the ancestral Orthodox canonical laws;
– carefulness for adequate receiving of the holy Mysteries.
The Christians who understood to observe these rules strictly, as all other exhortations of the Holy Spirit delivered through the work of word, have made up a living Church, a people that fulfills the work of the preparation of the second coming of the Savior, Jesus Christ, on earth. They serve the Almighty One incessantly, in cleanliness and wakefulness, and that is why they are called the Church of the righteous and wakeful. This is the New Jerusalem Church.
The Lord teaches His people the perfection in holiness: «The Lord is coming again and He is coming down with the law of His holiness […], because there will no longer be another law except the law of holiness. Those that are old pass away and vanish and a new heaven and a new earth lay down to take their places, and nothing unclean, nothing old, nothing humane will remain among the new ones. And there will be angelic food as it was in the beginning and the end comes closer to the first beginning» (Excerpt from the Word of God, from 15.08.1993 – O.S. / 28.08.1993 – N.S.).
As we have seen, in the church from the world the holiness has partly got lost once with the mixture of the church with the world, but it has been scattered completely once with the moment of the violent and open resistance to the word of God. Then «the abomination of desolation» (See Daniel 11/31, Bible, 1994 Edition), will stand in the holy place, as Daniel prophesied, and the word of God has been confirming it in our days: «Behold, the bishops and the priests have not opened to Me to see who is knocking and they have said that it is not I and rather that I am a demon. They have said now as they said before, for they could not say otherwise, since they do not love My ways and the law of holiness in which a servant of the holy heaven should stay. The hard time has come when the abomination of desolation has sat on the seat meant to be holy» (Excerpt from the Word of God, from 15.08.1993 – O.S. / 28.08.1993 – N.S.). However, the people, which knows his God will remain steadfast and will follow Him (See Daniel 11/32) and will be filled with a heavenly living. Then, God’s mystery will be understood by all the nations: «I will be glorified before the nations on earth and My creature will understand the New Jerusalem mystery, which is coming down from heaven on earth, which is coming down little by little and which is made up at God’s word» (Excerpt from the Word of God from 15.08.1993 – O.S. / 28.08.1993 – N.S.).
In addition to the auto-corrective pattern offered to the church from the world, the New Jerusalem Church suggests a prophetic pattern. It is known the fact that all religious events, described by the Orthodox catechism belong to the past, or, at the most, to the present continuous. There is just one exception projected to the future: the second coming of the Lord with its consequences. That is why, for those who ignore the importance and especially the proximity of the meeting again with Christ at sight, the Bible and its teachings, do not present such a great interest either, not being harmonized with their day-to- day coarse and materialistic ideals. Few are those who still give substance to the words spoken through the Christian creed: «and He will come again to judge the living and the dead», and which many other repeat them mechanically and with insincerity. Even priests from the church in the world, seemingly tired of so much waiting for the imminent coming of the Lord, have gained courage to doubt openly: „Who says that He is coming? Well! It’s a long way!“, struggling to demonstrate that there are many signs of the end, which have not been fulfilled yet.
But what kind of exhortations does the Holy Scripture give for these times? «If the master of the house had known in what watch of the night the thief was coming, he would have watched […]. Therefore, be also ready and pray for you do not know that time». (Matt. 24/42-44; Mark 13/33-37). It is true that no one knows the day or the hour, but these voluntary impulses of the prophets to the distant future, have the “gift” to weaken the vigilance towards sin. Therefore, the church from the world gives the impression that it deals with this subject with fear or disinterest. No other text from the book of Revelation, not even one, has been officially read among the exemplary texts, chosen, which are repeated in churches every Sunday to the extent of becoming insipid and boring. Is the book of Revelation not for Christians? Who is preaching it? Who is interpreting it? Or, is it really non-canonical? Then why is it among the canon of the Holy Scripture? Why has it been completely ignored? There have been so many revealed things in it, whose clarification would help the responsible man to correct his attitude towards the aggressions of the modern world. How many have really heard of the antichrist seal, (who looks out for them), in order to avoid it? Is this thing so unimportant to be dealt with ignorance? What does the number 666 mean? Has the official church from the world given an answer to it? Has it offered a recommendation to its members?
Conversely, the New Jerusalem Church is proposing an assiduous and solid preparation of the Christian to meet Christ again, for this has remained the only one fundamental prophecy whose fulfillment belongs to the future. Thus its serious approach and dealing still offer chances for possible corrections.
Maybe that is why it is not by chance that one of the feasts of the New Jerusalem Church – chosen, as a matter of fact, by the direct assistance of the Holy Spirit, is: «The Lord’s resurrection and His second coming». This shows the close connection among these events, as from the Resurrection there have already passed two cosmic days and we entered the third, that one day is for the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day (See 2 Peter 3/8). Therefore, we infer that as the Lord’s Resurrection took place on the third day, the same will be with the resurrection of the creature: on the third cosmic day, at the hour in which the watch will be fully asleep and the King of the world will accomplish the last promises.
Here it appears the principal motivation of the election of this people of the New Jerusalem and of its preparation for holiness. As any king, Christ prepares His right and the joy of His honor in the way when He will be welcomed and hailed by His subjects. For this, He needs to have subjects who wait for Him and receive Him with joy, dressed in wedding garments on His second coming.