Monday, May 23, 2016

Cremation ( St. Nikolai Velimirovich )

By St. Nikolai Velimirovich (Written in 1956)

You ask me, why is the Orthodox Church against cremation. First of all, because it considers it violent. The Serbs still shudder with the crime of Sinan Pasha, who burned the dead body of St. Sava in Vratsa.

Do people burn dead horses, dogs, cats and monkeys? I have not heard of this. I have heard of and seen them buried. Why should the dead bodies of people who are the lords of all animals on earth endure violence? Would it not be in all respects much more reasonable to incinerate dead animals, especially in big cities, than people?

Second, because this pagan and barbaric habit disappeared from Europe thanks to Christian civilization two thousand years ago. Anyone who wants to reinstate it doesn't do anything else, neither civilized nor modern nor new, but something ancient which has long expired.

In England, which one can hardly call uncivilized, this form of Neopaganism is very much hated by the people. To tell you a case: during the years of World War II a famous Yugoslav lost his mind. When asked before he died, he said his only desire was to have his body burned.

In our day, our little Yugoslavian community was reduced in the incinerator of Golders Green. When the dead bodies entered the burning furnace we began to tremble with horror. Then they shouted to us on the opposite side of the furnace, "wait a quarter of an hour to see your compatriot in the form of ashes". We waited over an hour and were mystified why the fire struggled with the dead body, and we asked the stoker about this. He apologized saying the furnace was cold, "it is not heated every day, since rarely do volunteers get handed over to the fire". Listening to this we were dissolved, unable to wait at the edge for our compatriot. And we know that in London over a thousand human beings die every day.

I am in America, I saw the graves of the great Presidents Wilson, Roosevelt, Lincoln and many other important persons. None of them are cremated. Now this surprised me, that among the descendants of Saint Sava there could be found those who are like-minded with Sinan Pasha!

But why create an issue that has already been solved? If we want to be loaded with unnecessary worries, then someday we could be troubled by the question on whether to kill our decrepit men and women as do some primitive tribes? And we will create clubs to propagate this "idea"!

Finally, what sense is there in fighting the cemeteries, particularly in this country where the cemetery serves as a national pride, as a source of inspiration, and if you will as the book of the state?

Peace to you and health from God.

St. Nikolai Velimirovich

Saint Porphyrios of Kavsokalyvia -On The Great Medicine

When you don’t live with Christ, you live in melancholy, in sorrow, in anxiety and in worry. You don’t live properly. Then all sorts of abnormalities appear, even in our organism. The body’s affected, the endocrinal glands, the liver, the gall bladder, the pancreas and the stomach. People tell you: ‘If you want to be healthy, drink your milk in the morning, eat your egg, your butter and a couple of slices of toast’. But if you live with Christ, if you love Christ, you’ll be fine with an orange or an apple. The best medicine is to devote yourself to the worship of Christ. Everything’s cured. Everything works properly. God’s love transforms everything, reconstructs it, sanctifies it, rectifies it, changes it and transmutes it

Burning love for Christ is something else. It’s not the end, it’s not satiety. It gives life, it gives resilience, it gives health, it gives, it gives, it gives… And the more it gives, the more we want to be in love. Human love can diminish us, can send us crazy. When we love Christ, all other loves recede. Other loves have a saturation point, but love for Christ doesn’t. Carnal love has a saturation point. After that, there might come jealousy, nagging and even murder. It can be transformed into hatred. Love in Christ doesn’t alter. Worldly love lasts a short time and then slowly dies, whereas divine love increases and deepens. Any other kind of love can drive us to despair. But divine love raises us up into the sphere of God, it gives us serenity, joy and fulfillment. Other pleasures fatigue us, but this is never satisfied. It’s an unquenchable pleasure which you never tire of. It’s the greatest of blessings.