The Light Shineth in Darkness: Dualism

On our way home the other day from Waterton Lakes National Park in South-Western Alberta my wife and I stopped in the village of Storthoaks, Saskatchewan to see what one of my best friends was doing there.

It turns out he decided that he was done living where he had been living, packed up very few belongings and left. Ended up Saskatchewan, fell into helping a guy do some work on a house, was going to get some money from there and then proceed to go to wherever it is that he decides to go to, leaving me to wonder just when I’m ever going to see him again.

During our long and various discussion(s) he mentioned something to the effect that the world was balanced, the whole dark/light dualism that we hear about from lapsed-Western Catholics/Protestants who upon leaving the West travel so far East they pass over the Eastern Orthodox Church and find themselves diving head-first into Oriental paganism. I mentioned that in Star Wars that may be the case, but in Christianity there is only Light, to which he countered quoting John 1:5, “the light shines in the darkness.”

I could see the faulty exegesis of his here; put unfairly simple, the verse mentions both light and darkness; hence you have yin/yang; he even mentioned the Tao somewhere along the line that afternoon. So let’s look at the correct understanding of John 1:5 for a moment as a preface to a long quote addressing duality specifically which I’ll end this post with.

John 1:5 in the Patriarchal Text reads: καὶ τὸ φῶς ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ φαίνει, καὶ ἡ σκοτία αὐτὸ οὐ κατέλαβεν. On this verse, the great Greek grammarian and Southern Baptist A.T. Robertson wrote:

5. Shineth (phainei). Linear present active indicative of phainō, old verb from phaō, to shine (phaos, phōs). “The light keeps on giving light.” In the darkness (en tēi skotiāi). Late word for the common skotos (kin to skia, shadow). An evident allusion to the darkness brought on by sin. In 2 Peter 2:17 we have ho zophos tou skotou (the blackness of darkness). The Logos, the only real moral light, keeps on shining both in the Pre-incarnate state and after the Incarnation. John is fond of skotia (skotos) for moral darkness from sin and phōs (phōtizō, phainō) for the light that is in Christ alone. In 1 John 2:8 he proclaims that “the darkness is passing by and the true light is already shining.” The Gnostics often employed these words and John takes them and puts them in the proper place. Apprehended it not (auto ou katelaben). Second aorist active indicative of katalambanō, old verb to lay hold of, to seize. This very phrase occurs in John 12:35 (hina mē skotia humas katalabēi) “that darkness overtake you not,” the metaphor of night following day and in 1 Thess. 5:4 the same idiom (hina katalabēi) is used of day overtaking one as a thief. This is the view of Origen and appears also in 2Macc. 8:18. The same word appears in Aleph D in John 6:17 katelabe de autous hē skotia (“but darkness overtook them,” came down on them). Hence, in spite of the Vulgate comprehenderunt, “overtook” or “overcame” seems to be the idea here. The light kept on shining in spite of the darkness that was worse than a London fog as the Old Testament and archaeological discoveries in Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia, Persia, Crete, Asia Minor show.

A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, Accordance electronic ed. (Altamonte Springs: OakTree Software, 2001), paragraph 5880.


and from the so-called “paleo-orthodox” Protestant compilation of Patristic comments edited by United Methodist Thomas C. Owen:

1:5a The Light Shines in the Darkness

THE LIGHT AND GIVER OF LIGHT. CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA: The most wise Evangelist now expands the thought expressed above. . . . Not only is the Word of God indeed truly light, but he is also the giver of light to all whom he infuses with the light of understanding. COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF JOHN 1.7.

A BLIND PERSON CANNOT SEE THE SUN’S LIGHT. AUGUSTINE: But perhaps the foolish hearts cannot receive that light because they are so encumbered with sins that they cannot see it. Let them not on that account think that the light is in any way absent, because they are not able to see it. For they, because of their sins, are darkness. . . . For suppose, as in the case of a blind person placed in the sun, the sun is present to him, but he is absent from the sun. This is how every foolish person, every unjust person, every irreligious person is blind in heart. Wisdom is present, but it is present to a blind person and is absent from his eyes; not because it is absent from him but because he is absent from it. What then is he to do? Let him become pure, that he may be able to see God. TRACTATES ON THE GOSPEL OF JOHN 1.19.

DARKNESS IS NOT AN IRREVOCABLE PART OF OUR NATURE. ORIGEN: People are not [darkness] by nature, since Paul says, “For we were once darkness but now are light in the Lord,” and this is especially the case if we are now called saints and spiritual. Just as Paul, although he was darkness, became capable of becoming light in the Lord, so may anyone who was once darkness. COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF JOHN 2.134.

CHRIST OVERCOMES OUR PRISON OF DARKNESS. ISAAC OF NINEVEH: Let us not be troubled when we are plunged into darkness, especially if we are not the cause of it ourselves. For this darkness is brought about by divine providence for reasons that are known only to God. Our soul becomes suffocated and placed, as it were, in the middle of a storm system. Even if someone tries to approach Scripture—or whatever he approaches, it is only darkness on darkness that he finds instead that causes him to give up. How often is it that he is not even allowed to approach. He is totally incapable of believing that any other possibilities are out there that might give him some peace again. It is an hour filled with despair and fear! The soul is utterly deprived of hope in God and the consolation of faith. It is entirely filled with doubt and fear.

But those who have been tested by the distress of such an hour know that in the end it is followed by a change. God never leaves the soul for a whole day in such a state, otherwise it would lose life and all Christian hope. . . . Rather, he allows it to emerge very soon from the darkness. Blessed is he who endures such temptations. For, as the Fathers say, great will be the stability and the strength to which he will come after that. This struggle will not be over all at once, however; neither will grace come and dwell in the soul completely at once, but gradually. After grace, the trial returns. Sometimes there is temptation, sometimes consolation. . . . We do not expect complete deliverance from it here, nor do we expect complete consolation. ASCETICAL HOMILY 48.

1:5b Darkness Does Not Overcome Light

DARKNESS DOES NOT PREVENT LIGHT FROM BEING SEEN. AMBROSE: The person who supposes that he is protected by the darkness is vain, since he cannot escape the light that shines in the darkness, and the darkness grasped it not. Accordingly, he is discovered like a fugitive and a wicked hireling and is recognized before he can conceal himself. For all things are known to the Lord before he seeks them out, not only past events but also those that are to come. THE PRAYER OF JOB AND DAVID 1.3.6.

THE LIGHT IS CHASED BY THE DARKNESS. GREGORY OF NAZIANZUS: The light shines in darkness, in this life and in the flesh, and is chased by the darkness but is not overtaken by it. By this I mean the adverse power leaping up in its shamelessness against the visible Adam but encountering God and being defeated—in order that we, putting away the darkness, may draw near to the Light and may then become perfect Light, the children of perfect Light. ON THE HOLY LIGHTS, ORATION 39.2.

DARKNESS GOES ON THE OFFENSIVE. ORIGEN: Christ, because of the benefit that follows for humankind, took our darkness on himself that by his power he might destroy our death and completely destroy the darkness in our soul so that what Isaiah said might be fulfilled: “The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light.”

This light, indeed, that was made in the Word, which also is life, “shines in the darkness” of our souls. It has come to stay where the world rulers of this darkness live. They by wrestling with the human race struggle to subject those who do not stand firm in every manner to darkness. He comes that, when they have been enlightened, they may be called children of light. And this light shines in the darkness and is pursued by it, but it is not overcome. . . .

The darkness pursued this light, as is clear from what our Savior and his children suffer. The darkness fighting against the children of light wanted to chase the light away. However, if “God is for us,” no one will be able to be “against us.” . . .

Now there are two ways that the darkness did not overcome the light. The darkness is either left very far behind it and, because it is slow, cannot keep up with the swiftness of the flight of light even to a limited extent, or, perhaps the light wanted to set an ambush for the darkness and awaited its approach and when the darkness drew near the light it was destroyed. COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF JOHN 2.166–70.

DARKNESS CANNOT COMPREHEND THE LIGHT. CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA: “Darkness” is what John calls the nature that lacks illumination, that is, the whole originate nature. . . . For such a nature produces nothing on its own. Instead, it receives its whole being and well-being, such as it is, from its creator. This is why Paul says, “What do you have that you did not receive?” And since, along with the rest, it receives its light from God, not possessing it on its own, it receives it. But that which does not have light of itself cannot be called anything but “darkness.” The fact that “the Light shines in darkness” is a credible demonstration (in fact, one following from very necessity) that the creation is “darkness” while the Word of God is “Light.” For if the nature of things originate receives the Word of God by participation, as Light, or as of Light, it receives it then since it is inherently darkness, and the Son “shines in it” as “the light” shines in “darkness,” even though the darkness has no idea of the light’s existence. For this, I suppose, is the meaning of “the darkness did not comprehend it.” For the Word of God shines upon all things that are receptive to his radiance and illumines without exception things that have a nature that is receptive to being illumined. But [the Word of God] is unknown by “the darkness.” For that which is the rational nature upon earth, I mean humanity, “served the creature more than the Creator: it did not comprehend the Light,” for it did not know the Creator, the fountain of wisdom, the beginning of understanding, the root of sense. Nevertheless, because of his love for humankind, things originate possess the light and are provided with the power of perception implanted concurrently with their passing into being. COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF JOHN 1.7.

THIS PROLOGUE SHOULD BE ENGRAVED IN GOLD IN EVERY CHURCH. AUGUSTINE: The old saint Simplicianus, afterwards bishop of Milan, used to tell me that a certain Platonist was in the habit of saying that this opening passage of the holy Gospel, entitled “According to John,” should be written in letters of gold and hung up in all churches in the most conspicuous place. CITY OF GOD 10.29.

Joel C. Elowsky, ed., John 1-10, ACCS 4a; ICCS/Accordance electronic ed. (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006), 26-28.


It is evident then that the darkness St. John wrote about is not a thing in its suchness (Tathātā), not the yin part of the yin-yang symbol. But rather the darkness that St. John is referring to “indicates both spiritual ignorance and satanic opposition to the light,” as notes in The Orthodox Study Bible put it.

Showing that my friend’s exegesis was wrong doesn’t mean that his proposition wasn’t correct; however, it is in fact incorrect. And the following from the Anglican C.S. Lewis demonstrates this clearly,

A universe that contains much that is obviously bad and apparently meaningless, but containing creatures like ourselves who know that it is bad and meaningless. There are only two views that face all the facts. One is the Christian view that this is a good world that has gone wrong, but still retains the memory of what it ought to have been. The other is the view called Dualism. Dualism means the belief that there are two equal and independent powers at the back of every thing, one of them good and the other bad, and that this universe is the battlefield in which they fight out an endless war. I personally think that next to Christianity Dualism is the manliest and most sensible creed on the market. But it has a catch in it.

The two powers, or spirits, or gods–the good one and the bad one–are supposed to be quite independent. They both existed from all eternity. Neither of them made the other, neither of them has any more right than the other to call itself God. Each presumably thinks it is good and thinks the other bad. One of them likes hatred and cruelty, the other likes love and mercy, and each backs its own view. Now what do we mean when we call one of them the Good Power and the other the Bad Power? Either we are merely saying that we happen to prefer the one to the other–like preferring beer to cider–or else we are saying that, whatever the two powers think about it, and whichever we humans, at the moment, happen to like, one of them is actually wrong, actually mistaken, in regarding itself as good. Now if we mean merely that we happen to prefer the first, then we must give up talking about good and evil at all. For good means what you ought to prefer quite regardless of what you happen to like at any given moment. If ‘being good’ meant simply joining the side you happened to fancy, for no real reason, then good would not deserve to be called good. So we must mean that one of the two powers is actually wrong and the other actually right.

But the moment you say that, you are putting into the universe a third thing in addition to the two Powers: some law or standard or rule of good which one of the powers conforms to and the other fails to conform to. But since the two powers are judged by this standard, then this standard, or the Being who made this standard, is farther back and higher up than either of them, and He will be the real God. In fact, what we meant by calling them good and bad turns out to be that one of them is in a right relation to the real ultimate God and the other in a wrong relation to Him.

The same point can be made in a different way. If Dualism is true, then the bad Power must be a being who likes badness for its own sake. But in reality we have no experience of anyone liking badness just because it is bad. The nearest we can get to it is in cruelty. But in real life people are cruel for one of two reasons–either because they are sadists, that is, because they have a sexual perversion which makes cruelty a cause of sensual pleasure to them, or else for the sake of something they are going to get out of it–money, or power, or safety. But pleasure, money, power, and safety are all, as far as they go, good things. The badness consists in pursuing them by the wrong method, or in the wrong way, or too much. I do not mean, of course, that the people who do this are not desperately wicked. I do mean that wickedness, when you examine it, turns out to be the pursuit of some good in the wrong, way. You can be good for the mere sake of goodness: you cannot be bad for the mere sake of badness. You can do a kind action when you are not feeling kind and when it gives you no pleasure, simply because kindness is right; but no one ever did a cruel action simply because cruelty is wrong–only because cruelty was pleasant or useful to him. In other words badness cannot succeed even in being bad in the same way in which goodness is good. Goodness is, so to speak, itself: badness is only spoiled goodness. And there must be something good first before it can be spoiled. We called sadism a sexual perversion; but you must first have the idea of a normal sexuality before you can talk of its being perverted; and you can see which is the perversion, because you can explain the perverted from the normal, and cannot explain the normal from the perverted. It follows that this Bad Power, who is supposed to be on an equal footing with the Good Power, and to love badness in the same way as the Good Power loves goodness, is a mere bogy. In order to be bad he must have good things to want and then to pursue in the wrong way: he must have impulses which were originally good in order to be able to pervert them. But if he is bad he cannot supply himself either with good things to desire or with good impulses to pervert. He must be getting both from the Good Power. And if so, then he is not independent. He is part of the Good Power’s world. he was made either by the Good Power or by some power above them both.

Put it more simply still. To be bad, he must exist and have intelligence and will. But existence, intelligence and will are in themselves good. Therefore he must be getting them from the Good Power: even to be bad he must borrow or steal from his opponent. And do you now beg to see why Christianity has always said that the devil is a fallen angel? That is not a mere story for the children. It is a real recognition of the fact that evil is a parasite, not an original thing. The powers which enable evil to carry on are powers given it by goodness. All the things which enable a bad man to be effectively bad are in themselves good things-resolution, cleverness, good looks, existence itself. That is why Dualism, in a strict sense, will not work.

But I freely admit that real Christianity (as distinct from Christianity-and-water) goes much nearer to Dualism than people think. One of the things that surprised me when I first read the New Testament seriously was that it talked so much about a Dark Power in the universe–a mighty evil spirit who was held to be the Power behind death and disease, and sin. The difference is that Christianity thinks this Dark Power was created by God, and was good when he was created, and went wrong. Christianity agrees with Dualism that this universe is at war. But it does not think this is a war between independent powers. It thinks it is a civil war, a rebellion, and that we are living in a part of the universe occupied by the rebel. (source)

Further listening: AFR – Christ the Eternal Tao

Culture of Death

25 March 1995 – Evangelium Vitae, Roman Catholic Pope John Paul II – “In fact, while the climate of widespread moral uncertainty can in some way be explained by the multiplicity and gravity of today’s social problems, and these can sometimes mitigate the subjective responsibility of individuals, it is no less true that we are confronted by an even larger reality, which can be described as a veritable structure of sin. This reality is characterized by the emergence of a culture which denies solidarity and in many cases takes the form of a veritable “culture of death.””

29 April 2017 – Wiktionary, culture of death

24 May 2017 – St. Louis Roman Catholic Archbishop Resists Law Requiring Catholics to Hire Abortion Activists: ‘We will not comply’ – “The passage of this bill is not a milestone of our city’s success. It is, rather, a marker of our city’s embrace of the culture of death.”

30 June 2017 – The Vatican’s Statement on UK Baby Condemned to Die is Frightening –

“So we must watch as a little boy, not old enough yet to be a toddler, dies “with dignity,” at the hands of a court system with no business making such a decision, and with the meek and tacit approval of a church that, once upon a time, fully understood the stakes of precious human life but now speaks only of “complexity.”
This issue is not complex. Nor is the culture of death that underlines it. We should be afraid of what is to come next.”

July 2 update to the above: Pope Francis backs parents in UK’s Charlie Gard drama

2 July 2017 – Human Exceptionalism: Life and Dignity with Wesley J. Smith, Three Culture of Death Tipping Points

Saturday Morning Sex-Talk

Dr. Roy Ciampa on 1 Corinthians 7:1

This is a really interesting video about an important topic that is really rarely discussed in the Orthodox Church (“there is no sex in the Church”), and this video deals with Greek! We must keep in mind, however, that as great as academia is, “the Orthodox explanation and understanding of Holy Scripture must always proceed from the writings of the saints.”¹

This teaching comes from Canon 19 of the Œcumenical Πενθέκτη Σύνοδος of 692, as we read in τὸ Πηδάλιον (note: the only free copy in Greek can be found at the Internet Archive, but is the 1886 edition and does not contain the Canons from the Œcumenical Πενθέκτη Σύνοδος of 692; the physical Greek copy I have in my seminary room is in Toronto and not here with me in Manitoba. As far as my searches showed me, The Thesaurus Linguae Graecae® does not contain it. Accordance Bible Software has the Anglican English translation (which is currently on sale as part of their Father’s Day “Focus on the Fathers” sale), which I believe is the same translation found here, obviously lacking Accordance’s researching/searching/linking κ.τ.λ. abilities. And finally an Orthodox English translation and Greek of the version I have in my seminary room can be bought for Noet Scholarly Tools and Logos Bible Software (apparently this Greek is a different 1886 edition), where the Greek of Canon 19 below is from (notes removed)):


   Ὅτι δεῖ τοὺς τῶν ἐκκλησιῶν Προεστῶτας, ἐν πάσῃ μὲν ἡμέρᾳ, ἐξαιρέτως δὲ ἐν ταῖς Κυριακαῖς πάντα τὸν Κλῆρον, καὶ τὸν λαὸν ἐκδιδάσκειν τοὺς τῆς εὐσεβείας λόγους ἐκ τῆς Θείας Γραφῆς ἀναλεγομένους τὰ τῆς ἀληθείας νοήματά τε καὶ κρίματα, καὶ μὴ παρεκβαίνοντας τοὺς ἤδη τεθέντας ὅρους, ἢ τὴν ἐκ τῶν Θεοφόρων Πατέρων παράδοσιν, ἀλλὰ καὶ εἰ γραφικὸς ἀνακινηθείη λόγος, μὴ ἄλλως τοῦτον ἑρμηνευέτωσαν, ἢ, ὡς ἂν οἱ τῆς Ἐκκλησίας φωστῆρες καὶ διδάσκαλοι διὰ τῶν οἰκείων συγγραμμάτων παρέθεντο, καὶ μᾶλλον ἐν τούτοις εὐδοκιμείτωσαν, ἢ λόγους οἰκείους συντάττοντες, ἵνα μή, ἔστιν ὅτε, πρὸς τοῦτο ἀπόρως ἔχοντες, ἀποπίπτοιεν τοῦ προσήκοντος. Διὰ γὰρ τῆς τῶν προειρημένων Πατέρων διδασκαλίας, οἱ λαοὶ ἐν γνώσει γινόμενοι τῶν τε σπουδαίων καὶ αἱρετῶν, καὶ τῶν ἀσυμφόρων καὶ ἀποβλήτων, τὸν βίον μεταρρυθμίζουσι πρὸς τὸ βέλτιον, καὶ τῷ τῆς ἀγνοίας οὐχ ἁλίσκονται πάθει, ἀλλὰ προσέχοντες τῇ διδασκαλίᾳ, ἑαυτοὺς πρὸς τὸ μὴ κακῶς παθεῖν παραθήγουσι, καὶ φόβῳ τῶν ἐπηρτημένων τιμωριῶν, τὴν σωτηρίαν ἑαυτοῖς ἐξεργάζονται.²




¹The Departure of the Soul According to the Teaching of the Orthodox Church: A Patristic Anthology, Master Reference Edition (Florence, AZ: St. Anthony’s Greek Orthodox Monastery, 2017), 60.

²Agapios, Orthodox Eastern Church, and Nicodemus. (1886). The Rudder: Greek Text (p. 195). Athēnai: Vlastou Ch. Varvarrētou.

“Oriental Orthodoxy,” Part I: Chalcedonian Orthodoxy and Non-Chalcedonian Heterodoxy

In The Triads St. Gregory Palamas made a reference to the Christological decree of the Council of Chalcedon (451),

If then this light, which shone from the Saviour on the Mountain, is a natural symbol, it is not so in respect of both the natures in Him, for the natural characteristics of each nature are different.

This is very telling, as 1.) it affirms Chalcedon, and 2.) shows the historicity of the Orthodox Church’s orthodox Christology as defined at the Fourth Ecumenical Council–very telling indeed, especially in our present-day when both of the preceding points are under attack, and not just by heretics, but by many Orthodox as well.

The Spread of Heresy

This could be seen last year when the blog Orthodoxy & Heterodoxy published a brilliant, insightful and historically accurate post by guest author Nicholas Marinides, Ph.D., entitled Chalcedonian Orthodoxy and Non-Chalcedonian Heterodoxy. Not only did Fr. Andrew Damick opt to add an ‘Editorial Note’ preceding the ‘Comments’ section, but the post has since been updated with links to two follow-up posts which I have not yet had the time to read, due to training jiu-jitsu and being a full-time seminarian in a different province than my long-suffering wife.

The post itself obviously is not what I’m referring to when I wrote above ‘this could be seen last year,’ but the comments section, as those who are not embracing the Monophysite/Miaphysite heresies with open arms could easily guess. Indicative of the mindset of those posting in the comments against Dr. Marinides is the fact that a couple Orthodox Theological Academies embrace the same mindset, as I will show in a “Prequel” in this series.

Ephesians 4:15

I sent a link to the blog post to my Spiritual Father, as he (in addition to being a Professor of Pastoral Theology in a seminary) is in an unusual position as he not only has his M.A.Th. from one of the pro-Miaphysite Orthodox Theological Academies but is also a Lecturer at the other. His response?

 This is good

Speaking the truth in love

And he is exactly right. The comments posted in response to Dr. Marinides’ post are crazy, and quite telling actually about what shapes people’s minds; they also reveal a historical anachronism in that Monophysitism ‘became’ Miaphysitism which ‘became’ Oriental Orthodoxy, Dr. Marinides even touched on that slightly. That’s one of the worst arguments really, that what the Miaphysites believe now is not what they believed then… OK, then either they have invented a new heresy from the old heresy, or they are in fact Orthodox. When I read stuff such as The Nature of Christ by Shenouda III, to me, it’s pretty clear they are Monophysites renaming themselves Miaphysites (ironically both terms meaning ‘one nature’), and so Monophysitism was condemned at Chalcedon and Miaphysitism was condemned in the 8th anathema in the 8th session of the 5th Ecumenical Council: 

“VIII. IF anyone uses the expression “of two natures,” confessing that a union was made of the Godhead and of the humanity, or the expression “the one nature made flesh of God the Word,” and shall not so understand those expressions as the holy Fathers have taught, to wit: that of the divine and human nature there was made an hypostatic union, whereof is one Christ; but from these expressions shall try to introduce one nature or substance [made by a mixture] of the Godhead and manhood of Christ; let him be anathema. For in teaching that the only-begotten Word was united hypostatically [to humanity] we do not mean to say that there was made a mutual confusion of natures, but rather each [nature] remaining what it was, we understand that the Word was united to the flesh. Wherefore there is one Christ, both God and man, consubstantial with the Father as touching his Godhead, and consubstantial with us as touching his manhood. Therefore they are equally condemned and anathematized by the Church of God, who divide or part the mystery of the divine dispensation of Christ, or who introduce confusion into that mystery.”

Case closed, right? This is where I’m not so sure, as Ecumenists and academic theologians push this issue one is forced to admit the Monophysites and Miaphysites are in error, or that the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th Ecumenical Councils are in error, as after Chalcedon they each sequentially confirm the previous Council. This relates to whether or not the case is closed by an appeal to history: up until the 11th century all of Christendom (excluding heretical groups) accepted the 8th Ecumenical Council, with the Patriarchate of Rome after falling into schism rejecting it and so they had their own #8 later, but all of Orthodoxy continued to count 8 Ecumenical Councils all the way up until the 19th century, —thereafterfor reasons best explained by the late Fr. Romanides—it was incorrectly removed from our Ecclesiastical history, which is precisely what will happen to the 7th, 6th, 5th, and 4th: we will become Miaphysites. Little by little, step by step, the road to Tartarus is paved with good intentions…

Holy Saturday 1579: The Miracle of the Holy Fire

The above is really unsettling, and the whole situation confusing, to those who attempt to fight the good fight, to keep the faith—but don’t lose heart, we have a miracle showing us the way in which we should proceed: the miracle of the Holy Fire, which as of this writing has already been granted to the Chalcedonian Orthodox faithful who gathered at the Holy Sepulchre today.

Every time heretics have tried to obtain the Holy Fire they have failed. Three such attempts are known, and it is the one in 1579 that concerns us in this post:

Once the Armenians (monophysites – ed.) paid the Turks, who then occupied the Holy Land, in order to obtain permission for their Patriarch to enter the Holy Sepulchre, the Orthodox Patriarch was standing sorrowfully with his flock at the exit of the church, near the left column, when the Holy Light split this column vertically and flashed near the Orthodox Patriarch.

A Muslim Muezzin, called Tounom, who saw the miraculous event from an adjacent mosque, immediately abandoned the Muslim religion and became an Orthodox Christian. This event took place in 1579 under Sultan Mourad IV, when the Patriarch of Jerusalem was Sophrony IV.

Keep this in mind when in a few hours we ourselves receive the light from the flame of the sleepless lamp on the Holy Altar in our parishes, lighting our Paschal candles from it as we receive the light from the unwaning light, and glorify Christ Who is risen from the dead. Recall at that moment when the Holy Light split the column, lighting the candle of the Chalcedonian Orthodox Patriarch Sophrony IV, and not the candle of the Miaphysite Patriarch.

Further Reading

The Messianic Theology of Bob Marley and His Conversion to Ethiopian Orthodoxy – Dr. Taylor Marshall

Meet the Oriental Orthodox Christians and Their Controversial Christology – Dr. Taylor Marshall