The Agony of the Church (1917)
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The Agony of the Church (1917)

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Project Gutenberg's The Agony of the Church (1917), by Nikolaj VelimirovicThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it,give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online atwww.gutenberg.orgTitle: The Agony of the Church (1917)Author: Nikolaj VelimirovicRelease Date: December 28, 2006 [EBook #20206]Language: English*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE AGONY OF THE CHURCH (1917) ***Produced by Project Rastko, Nikolaj Velimirovic Project, Rénald Lévesque and the Online Distributed ProofreadersEurope at http://dp.rastko.netTHE AGONY OF THE CHURCHBY THE REV. NICHOLAI VELIMIROVIC, D.D. OF ST SAVVA'S COLLEGE, BELGRADEWITH FOREWORD BY THE REV. ALEXANDER WHYTE, D.D. PRINCIPAL OF NEW COLLEGE, EDINBURGH LONDONSTUDENT CHRISTIAN MOVEMENT 32 RUSSELL SQUARE, W.C.1917Printed in Great Britain by Turnbull & Spears,Edinburgh.FOREWORDThe Eastern Church, the Church of the Apostles and the Mother of us all, in this book, speaks to her children in all landsand in all languages, and to us, with an authority and a wisdom and a tenderness all its own. The author and thepublishers are doing us a service of the very best kind in issuing it. May God's blessing rest upon it.PUBLISHER'S FOREWORDThe contents of this book was originally given in the form of lectures at St Margaret's, Westminster. There is, we think, aspecial fitness in the ...

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Published 08 December 2010
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Project Gutenberg's The Agony of the Church(1917), by Nikolaj VelimirovicThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere atno cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever.You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under theterms of the Project Gutenberg License includedwith this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.orgTitle: The Agony of the Church (1917)Author: Nikolaj VelimirovicRelease Date: December 28, 2006 [EBook #20206]Language: English*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERGEBOOK THE AGONY OF THE CHURCH (1917)***Produced by Project Rastko, Nikolaj VelimirovicProject, Rénald Lévesque and the OnlineDistributed Proofreaders Europe athttp://dp.rastko.net
THE AGONY OF THECHURCHBY THE REV. NICHOLAI VELIMIROVIC, D.D. OFST SAVVA'S COLLEGE, BELGRADEWITH FOREWORD BY THE REV. ALEXANDERWHYTE, D.D. PRINCIPAL OF NEW COLLEGE,EDINBURGH LONDONSTUDENT CHRISTIAN MOVEMENT 32 RUSSELLSQUARE, W.C.1917Printed in GreatBritain by Turnbull& Spears,Edinburgh.
FOREWORDThe Eastern Church, the Church of the Apostlesand the Mother of us all, in this book, speaks toher children in all lands and in all languages, and tous, with an authority and a wisdom and atenderness all its own. The author and thepublishers are doing us a service of the very bestkind in issuing it. May God's blessing rest upon it.
PUBLISHER'S FOREWORDThe contents of this book was originally given inthe form of lectures at St Margaret's, Westminster.There is, we think, a special fitness in the lecturesappearing in book form bearing the imprint of theStudent Christian Movement, for though FatherNicholas has hosts of friends in Great Britain now,when he first came here our Movement wasperhaps the only body which had the right to claimhim as being already a friend. When the StudentChristian Movement made its way to Serbia a fewyears ago, Father Nicholas became one of its firstfriends and, the year the war commenced and thefollowing year, it was he who, on the Universal Dayof Prayer for Students, preached by invitation ofthe Student Movement and its President, Dr.Marko Leko, to the students in the Cathedrals ofBelgrade and Nish. Members of our Movement,therefore, will recognise that he comes under thecategory of persons so highly valued in the StudentMovement, namely, that of senior friend.Both inside and outside the Student Movement to-day people are thinking of the Church. Much hasbeen spoken and written about the Church ofJesus Christ in our modern world, but not so muchas to leave us unready to welcome this arrestingand penetrating message from Serbia.
INTRODUCTORY THOUGHTSIf the official churches have had no other merit butthat they have preserved Christ as the treasury ofthe world, yet they are justified thereby. Even ifthey have solely repeated through all the pastcenturies "Lord! Lord!" still they stand above thesecular world. For they know at least who the Lordis, whereas the world does not know.Churches may disappear, but The Church neverwill. For not churches are the work of Christ, butthe Church. Moreover, if the Church disappears,as an institution, the essence of the Church cannotdisappear. It is like rivers, sea and water: whenrivers disappear into the sea, the sea remains, andif the sea disappears into steam, water stillremains.If Christ ever meant to form the Church as aninstitution He meant to form it not as the end butas the means, like a boat to bring its inmatessafely over the stormy ocean of life into the quietharbour of His Kingdom.Like the body in a bath, so the soul disrobes in theChurch to wash. But as soon as we get out, weclothe our soul in order to conceal it from thecurious eye. Is it not illogical that we dare to showour imperfections to the Most Perfect, while we areashamed to show them to those who are just asimperfect, ugly and unclean as ourselves? The
Church, like a bath, reveals most uncleanness.The initial and most obvious idea of the Church iscollectiveness of sin and salvation. To pray aloneand for one's self is like eating alone without regardto other people's hunger.When the sun sees a man of science, wealth orpolitics, kneeling at prayer with the poor andhumble, it goes smiling to its rest.Full of beauty and wonders are all the Christianchurches, but not because of their pretendedperfections: they are beautiful and wonderfulbecause of Him whose shadow they are.You are a Christian? Then do not be afraid to enterany Christian church with prayerful respect. All theChurches have sworn allegiance to the sameSovereign. How can you respect a cottage, inwhich once abided His Majesty King Alfred, orCharles, while you would not go into a buildingdedicated to His Majesty the Invisible King ofkings?The real value of any Christian community is not tobe found in its own prosperity but in its care for theprosperity of other Christian communities. So, forexample, the value of the Protestants is to befound in their loving care for the Roman Catholics,and vice versa.Taking the above standard, we find that all theChristian communities are almost quite valuelessas to the spirit, i.e. as to their unusual loving care.
Their actual value is more physical than spiritual,being as they are limited to the care forthemselves. Exceptions are as refreshing as anoasis in the desert.Church and State are like fire and water. How toconnect them? For if connected, fire always diesdown under water.There are three ages in the history of the Church:the Golden Age, when the Church was opposed topolitical governments; the Iron Age, when she waspolitically directing Europe's kingdoms; and theStone Age, when she has been subdued to theservice of political governments. What a humiliationfor the present generation to live in the Stone Ageof Christianity!Trying to unite Church and State we are trying tounite what God separated from the beginning ofour era.To separate the Church from the State does notmean, as many think, to separate soul from body;it means to separate two quite opposed spiritsunakin and hostile to each other, like Cross andCapitol.The worm of comfort and human inertia hasreconciled Christianity with secular, pagangovernments, and so paralysed the most divinemovement in human history. Go to the bottom ofall those clever advocacies for unity of Church andState, and you will meet, as their primus motor, theworm of comfort and human inertia.
worm of comfort and human inertia.All Churches and Christian institutions of thepresent time, however wonderful they may be, areonly a dim prophecy of the coming Christianworship in truth and spirit. Through them we looknow to the future as through a glass.Christianity is neither monarchical nor republican. Itdoes not care about institutions but about the spiritliving in them. That institution is the best which isfullest of the Christian spirit. From this point ofview, an autocracy may be better than a republic,and vice versa.The true Christianity has been hidden from us asiron and coal were hidden from the men of theStone Age. They walked over iron and coal butthey used stone and wood only. So we are walkingover and around Christ, still using in our daily lifethe pagan gods of old.If there is to be a new geological epoch, with a newtype of man, it will be the Christian epoch. All theexisting types have been made by revolutions andinfluences of earth and water, or of air and fire.Now only the Christian revolution—I mean literallyand not allegorically—can produce a higher type ofthe human animal.My friend, you are dissatisfied with the existingChurches, and you are anxious to form a newchurch, or sect, or some kind of religiousorganisation! How childish of you! The existingChurches are the most wonderful vessels—some