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Whom say the people that I am?

[Col. 2:13–20; Luke 9:18–22] Whom say the peo­ple that I am? the Lord asked. In answer to this the A­ pos­tles relat­ed the cur­rent opin­ions among the peo­ple con­cern­ing Him, formed accord­ing to the nature of peo­ple’s views at that time. Some said that He was John the Bap­tist, oth­ers that He was Elias, oth­ers that he was one of the ancient prophets res­ur­rect­ed. How do they answer today? Also in var­i­ous ways, each accord­ing to his own way of think­ ing. What sort of answers could be giv­en by mate­ri­al­ists, athe­ists, and the soul­less who believe we are de­ scend­ed from the apes, when they have nei­ther God nor a soul?Spirit­ ual­ists, like the Ari­ans, have the same response that was denounced at the first ecu­meni­cal coun­cil. De­ ists see God as being very far from the world, and since they do can­not con­tain in their sys­tem the mys­tery of the incar­na­tion, they answer like the Ebionites,[1] Socinians[2]. You will hear sim­i­lar answers in Rus­ sian soci­ety, for the afore­said three types of iden­ti­ties exist and are mul­ti­ply­ing among us. But thanks to the Lord, we still have a bound­less­ly pre­dom­i­nat­ing num­ber of sin­cere believ­ers and those who strict­ly main­tain the apos­tolic con­fes­sion that the Lord Jesus Christ is the on­ ly-begot­ten Son of God incar­nate, the Sav­iour and Redeemer of the human race who even in par­adise was promised to our fore­fa­thers. Which par­ty will over­come is known only to God. Let us pray that we pre­serve with­in us the light of Christ, and that dark­ness of false teach­ings be dri­ven away. We have a weak­ness for bad things; that is why it is not sur­pris­ing that a lie comes out on top. Now it is already walk­ing the streets of town open­ly, while in the past it cau­tious­ly hid from the gaze of Chris­t­ian believers.

Saint Theo­phan the Recluse 

[1] An ear­ly Judaiz­ing, hereti­cal sect of Jew­ish Chris­tians orig­i­nat­ing in Pales­tine, who did not believe in the vir­ginal birth of Christ, or that He is the Son of God. [2] An antitrini­tar­i­an Protes­tant sect begun by Lelio Sozzi­ni (1525−62) and his nephew Faus­to Sozzini.