Metropolitan Anthony: the Church Has Always Gone Through Trials and Become Stronger

Sometimes it seems that everything that happens to us is an exceptional and unique event. But it's not true.

This thought is not only about individual destinies of people, but also the destinies of countries and the destinies of the Church.

Those who know the history of the Church well are usually calmer and more humble in accepting all the trials that fall to the lot of the church people. After all, how many times in almost two thousand years of the history of the Church could it seem that she is standing on the edge of the abyss, that the hierarchs and clergy have lost their determination, and the laity think only about earthly problems? But every time the Lord Himself led the Church on the right path.

There have been different times: there were the most severe persecutions from pagan or atheist authorities, internal discords and schisms, and sometimes persecutions and schisms took place simultaneously. Sometimes the Church was forced to make some concessions to the persecutors. Many things happened. But the Church has always gone through all the trials and become stronger than before.

It also sometimes seems to us that all trials are something external, not related to us: here we lived normally, but then the persecutors came (schismatics, heretics, revolutions, or wars – whatever). The fact of the matter is that “normality” was in our imagination. After all, all problems, both in the lives of individuals and in the life of societies (and the Church in its earthly part is precisely a community of people), are the result of our sins.

Usually, the following picture appears in the head of a layman: a person commits a sin – God punishes him with suffering. This is not entirely true. By committing a sin, we drive away God’s grace from ourselves and thus become vulnerable to the forces of evil. Consequently, having repented, we return not only to the loving arms of the Lord, but also receive protection from evil. After all, the Lord does not force our will.

Certainly, the consequences of sins can be felt for a long time. However, our patient bearing of trials and sorrows will certainly be rewarded, if not in this temporary and full of suffering life, then certainly in the age to come, which we expect, repeating this every day in the Creed.

No matter what dramatic phenomena occur, no matter what events confuse our soul, we must always trust the Lord in everything and pray to Him, fight our despondency, our lack of faith, our own sins in order to cleanse ourselves of evil, get rid of everything that is vain and momentary, and unite with our Lord. Humility, patience, hope, faith and love. Only then will the world become brighter and the Lord will be in everything.

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