For My Orthodox Friends: A Veniaminov Story

Most of my readers already know that I got pneumonia last week, and that it will take a while for me to fully recover. I am grateful for the prayers of my friends and acquaintances, those who know me from my blog and from Facebook. I wondered a little over the weekend whether I was going to die. I wondered if I’d been unfaithful with the extra time God gave me by pulling me through leukemia.

I drive myself pretty hard. I put a lot of effort into following Jesus, but I see where I can improve.

Fortunately, I’m well taught. We live by the power of the Spirit, and God is not tallying up our minor transgressions to read them back to us on the last day. I got the “pneumonia-as-punishment” ideas out of my head.

Quick story: I read a book a couple years ago that really motivated me to become disciplined, especially in prayer. I was working at increasing my time in prayer and trying to have a fervent, intercessory spirit.

One day, not long after I started this, God said to me, “What are you doing?”

I said, “Becoming fervent in prayer.”

God said, “No, you’re not. You’re multiplying words thinking I’ll hear you. Please go back to praying like you know me.”

Well, that’s the conversation I think I had with God, anyway.

Note: I told you about the pneumonia primarily to tell you I may be sharing the articles of others more than my own until I’m fully recovered.

I really liked this story of the Orthodox Apostle to America, John Veniaminov, so I’m sharing it with whoever reads this blog.

About Paul Pavao

I am married, the father of six, and currently the grandfather of two. I run a business, live in a Christian community, teach, and I am learning to disciple others better than I have ever been able to before. I believe God has gifted me to restore proper foundations to the Christian faith. In order to ensure that I do not become a heretic, I read the early church fathers from the second and third centuries. They were around when all the churches founded by the apostles were in unity. I also try to stay honest and open. I argue and discuss these foundational doctrines with others to make sure my teaching really lines up with Scripture. I am encouraged by the fact that the several missionaries and pastors that I know well and admire as holy men love the things I teach. I hope you will be encouraged too. I am indeed tearing up old foundations created by tradition in order to re-establish the foundations found in Scripture and lived on by the churches during their 300 years of unity.
This entry was posted in History (Stories), Roman Catholic & Orthodox and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to For My Orthodox Friends: A Veniaminov Story

  1. paulfpavao says:

    Great story you have. I know so little of that part of Asia and eastern Europe.

    I’ve been doing the equivalent of blogging since about 1997. When I get depressed about my writing, friends tell me I’m an interesting writer. I am learning more and more to say what I have to say in story form. Everyone loves stories, and it an ancient method of remembering our history. I wrote a long book on the Council of Nicea, and I was surprised at the people who were captivated by it. I knew I had done a huge amount of work to make sure it was accurate, but I could not be sure that the average Christian would find it interesting. They did, though, and I have gotten the best reviews.

    Thank you for your compliment. I see your profile picture, which is very nice. If I took a profile picture like that, no one would read my blog! They would wonder what sort of person belonged to that beat up, bag-eyed mug.

  2. orthodoxchristian2 says:

    Yes, it is interesting to learn new things. When I was little, I used to think that the West was entirely Atheistic! Strange, considering I was born in late Soviet times, and my society was much more anti-religious at the time. I had very little knowledge about the churches of the West, and only knew about the Eastern Orthodox Church, and had never even heard of the Oriental Orthodox Church before, let alone about the Catholics and Protestants, or more obscure, the Evangelicals. The East was all I knew of back then. I had very little contact with the West, and Russia and the other Soviet nations were experiencing a lot of political upheaval at the time. Boris Yeltsin was, of course, a terrible leader, and an outright drunkard, unlike the brilliant Mikhail Gorbachev, who ushered an era of peace into Russia, in my opinion. Some people in Russia hate him, but I love him very much as a great political leader. Also, it brought about the end of communism, and our Church was free once again. People that want the USSR back are absurd. Russia may have less political dominance now, but it is a much freer country now, and I feel happy with things being more this way. I would love a constitutional monarchy, though, with a Czar and Tsaritsa. The Czarist times just sound so romantic to me, and I know that they were great supporters of the Russian Orthodox Church, too!

    I do hope the Ukrainian protests would stop soon. I hate such things happening. The government there is being entirely unfair! And Kiev is such a beautiful place, and the birthplace of the Russian Orthodox segment of the Eastern Orthodox Church, with the baptism of Vladimir the Great in 988 A.D and all. The Lavra is just stunning, by the way! Everyone who goes there should see it. I hope that it won’t be destroyed by the turmoil going on there right now. A friend of mine said it was mainly safe, but I am not so sure about it.

    How long have you been blogging, by the way? Quite some time I am guessing. Your writing is very good, and you bring spice and flavor to your articles. Keep up the good work!

  3. orthodoxchristian2 says:

    Cool post! I come from Russia, by the way!

    • paulfpavao says:

      Welcome! I’m not Orthodox, but over the years as has grown, so has my interaction with those that are.I used to think that the Eastern Orthodox churches were just a mysterious, eastern version of the Roman Catholic Church with extra incense and four popes rather than one. I’m nowhere near an expert, but my understanding of Orthodox teachings and claims has grown considerably. Either way, I always appreciate stories like John Veniaminov.

  4. Ruth says:

    Well I really “liked” that. I have been reading about Russia lately and especially the regions mentioned in this article. engaging and inspiring. on another note could you be pushing yourself too hard? love to you and prayers.

    • paulfpavao says:

      Pushing myself too hard? Me? I would never do that … because I have a chorus of voices around me begging and warning me. My wife as a wife is lovely, submissive, super spunky, adorable, and Christ-like. As a caretaker, she’s a tyrant. I have to make my case and get permission if I want to do something besides rest. I’m quite sure she has saved my life repeatedly over the last three years.

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