Besides, I used to believe that this ridiculous doctrine was but a harmless belief of pagan origin, which over the centuries had become embedded in the collective subconscious of the deceived “Christian” flock, and it was next to impossible to be uprooted from those who stubbornly refuse to reason.
However, by reading the ailing Archbishop Christodoulos’ recent interview to the Greek paper “Ethnikos Kiryx” (“The National Herald of New York”) on the 29th of July 2007, I realized that the subject is more serious than what I thought, and thus I was prompted to write something about it.
It appears that even a well-educated and intelligent man, as is Archbishop Christodoulos, not just practices,..
but sincerely believes in the importance of the blasphemous ritual of transubstantiation. In other words, what the Bible warns about those “deceiving and being deceived” (2Tit. 3:13) might also apply to the 68-year-old leader of the Orthodox Church of Greece, who, by the way, has all my sympathy and warm wishes for a complete recovery.
However, the Bible also says, “A city set on a hill cannot be hidden” (Mat. 5: 14). So then, it is only natural that, since the 9th of June 2007, when he first entered the Aretaio hospital for treatment, Archbishop Christodoulos has been the focus of loving attention of all the Orthodox believers, both in Greece and abroad. However, even the unbelievers read carefully his statements, trying to figure out if the Archbishop, now in his hour of great trial, believes what he has been preaching throughout his ministry.
I was really touched while reading Mr. Christodoulos’ interview to “Ethnikos Kiryx” newspaper. He sounded like a humble man of a contrite spirit, reaching out to God for strength in order to overcome his serious affliction, as any human would do. He was also thankful to all Greeks, who had so generously expressed their love to him, and was grateful for the millions of prayers offered by them for his recovery.
At one point he said that, during the 42 difficult days he stayed in the hospital, he realized that life is very short and, at the same time, too precious to be wasted on meannesses and trivialities. Fair enough, I couldn’t agree more.
Archbishop Christodoulos also confessed that during all those days he prayed earnestly, and he realized that his pain and suffering had brought him closer to God. He said he spoke to Him, some times even loudly, and occasionally he sensed God’s presence, empowering him with patience and filling him with hope for victory.
He also said that God made him believe that he had no right to give up, and that he ought to fight not just for his healing but also in order to continue to do what in all his life he had learned to do: to serve Him.
By those words, one is inclined to assume that Archbishop Christodoulos is a deeply spiritual man totally devoted to God and the high mission he has undertaken. I would be the last person to doubt the Archbishop’s sincerity.
Reading through the rest of his interview, I arrived at a critical question posed to him, the answer to which sent shivers up my spine: “What did you miss more while being in the hospital?” asked the interviewer; to which the Archbishop answered: “The altar and the liturgical life. These are the alpha and omega of the life of us, the clergy, the source of our strength and the empowerment of our activities. For me, there has never been a similar duration of abstinence from the altar, i.e. from the mystical communion with God and people, and when I think that the moment I will stand again in front of the Holy Table (the Altar) will still tarry - I don’t hide it from you - I grieve and suffer internally.”
What a confession! We learned first hand, i.e. from the wolf’s mouth, that the altar is the most important aspect in the life of the clergy!
How wrong I had been to believe that the “altar” were simply a popular Orthodox tradition, which the priests ought to keep in order to retain their prestigious job, and that they were performing that ritual half-heartedly, i.e. without enthusiasm and, the best of them, even feeling guilty of the lie they perpetuated!
What exactly is taking place on the altar? It is the so-called “Holy Eucharist”, the principal sacrament mystery of the Orthodox as well as the Catholic Church. It is the mystical repetition of the sacrifice of Jesus for the remission of man’s sins. Both the Orthodox and the Catholic Churches teach their flock that, during the Divine Liturgy, the bread and the wine used in the Eucharist turn into the actual flesh and blood of Jesus Christ by the priest’s magic words!
Apparently, only the Orthodox and the Catholic clergy have been granted the divine authority to sacrifice Jesus anew every time they perform the Holy Eucharist! This, according to the blasphemous doctrine, is necessary so that the believers eat the real flesh of Jesus and drink his fresh blood every time they partake of Holy Communion and thus be saved from damnation. Needless to say, the Catholics don’t recognize the Orthodox as having the same divine authority to perform this magical ritual, and vice versa.
Worse still, anyone who does not hold to this belief is accursed! Here is the evidence: At the Second Vatican Council in 1963, Pope John XXIII declared, “I do accept entirely all that has been decided and declared at the Council of Trent.”
One of the canons of the “Council of Trent”, i.e. the Nineteenth Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church was: “If anyone shall deny that the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and therefore the entire Christ, are truly, really, and substantially contained in the sacrament of the most Holy Eucharist, and shall say that He is only in it as a sign, or in a figure - let him be accursed!”
How “loving” of the “Christian” Catholic Church! They apparently have forgotten the very words of the Christ they sacrifice, i.e. “Bless and not Curse”!
The Orthodox clergy follow suit, albeit in a less aggressive manner. In the 2785 encyclical letter (March 31st, 2004) about the believers’ participation in the Holy Eucharist, which was sent to all Bishops by the “Holy Synod” of the Church of Greece, one of the paragraphs reads: “This sacrifice of the Son of God must be perpetuated, so that those who believe in him may partake of his body and blood. This is the conclusion of the divine teaching and the nucleus of Christ’s Church.
This commandment of the Savior does not mean the performance of an allegorical or figurative rite, as some heretics insist to be, but it signifies the divine mystery of the transubstantiation of the bread and the wine into the actual body and blood of Christ, which takes place according to the Church Fathers ‘truly and essentially’, while Christ himself is truly present, offering and being offered, sacrificing and being sacrificed. (…)
With the participation of the believers in the Holy Eucharist and the partaking of the divine gifts (Holy Communion), those who consciously receive them are enabled to be redeemed of their sins and be saved.”
The hilarious thing is that in the same official letter of the Greek ‘Holy Synod’ it was written: “Unfortunately, when the ministering priest appears out of the ‘Ieron Vima’ (Sanctuary) announcing: 'With fear of God, faith and love, come forward', it is a usual phenomenon no one to be approaching to take Holy Communion.”
What a haughty contempt! Can you grasp it? I mean, here we have God himself, the Creator of the Universes (this is what Christians believe Christ to be!), coming down from heavens and landing on the altar, offering himself to be sacrificed again and again by the sinful hands of priests, in order to redeem those who believe in Him, but the believers won’t take the grand offer!
Nevertheless the ceremony continues as if the believers present had received some breadcrumbs and wine, ‘transubstantiated’ into the body and blood of Christ, from the Cup of salvation! As the priest turns back into the sanctuary with the cup’s saving content intact, the choir sing: “We have seen the true Light, we have received the heavenly Spirit…”
Never mind that nobody received anything, the priest won’t blush. Now, if this is not sacrilegious and sheer hypocrisy, I don’t know what it is. Coming back to the ailing Archbishop Christodoulos, who is also the president of the Holy Synod that issued the above encyclical paper, may I ask with all due respect: does he not “read” anything in the habitual and provocative abstinence of the believers from the Holy Communion? Does it not occur to him that less and less believers take this transubstantiation ritual seriously? I also wonder whether he has ever read about the pagan origin of this magical practice. After all, he is a learned man and a linguist.
For those who don’t know about it, here is the origin of transubstantiation:
Mithraism, a mystery religion practiced throughout the Roman Empire before Christianity, had its own Eucharist, which included the doctrine of transubstantiation, i.e. it claimed that the wine or water and bread of the sacred meal were mystically and magically changed into the blood and body of the god. Partaking of that sacred meal pagans believed that created union with their god.
At the Mithraic ceremony, the priest said: “He who will not eat of my body, nor drink of my blood so that he may be one with me and I with him, shall not be saved.” (Mithraic Communion, M.J. Vermaseren, Mithras, The Secret God) What a “coincidence”!
The transubstantiation ritual was also known to Egyptians, who worshiped the god Osiris or the sun god. They, too, made round wafers and claimed that the wafers turned into the flesh of Osiris, which they ate. His blood was consumed in the form of barley wine. In the Eleusinia Mysteria of Greece, those who participated in the ceremonies ate the body of the goddess Demeter in the form of bread, and drank the blood of the god Dionysus in the form of wine.
So then, it is beyond the shadow of a doubt that transubstantiation in an ancient pagan rite.
What excuse does Christianity have to still practice such an abhorrent magical ritual? Well, the answer is obvious: Without the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, the priests, bishops, archbishops and popes would be redundant. But their thrones are too comfortable and their vain glory too appealing to give them up lightly.
Does the world have to suffer them and their deceitful magical doctrines until the end of the ages, whenever that might be? Is bewitchment all that humankind deserves to suffer for not using their God-given reasoning faculty?