"The book about the man 'Freak' must be regarded as quite heretical apocrypha, spiritually hostile to the Church, irreconcilable with the teachings of the Holy Fathers."
Editor's Note: This article was generated by machine translation, so our staff cautions the reader about possible inaccuracies that may have resulted from this. However, it was deemed worthwhile to still publish such a piece because of the intrinsic value of the message - which remains evident even in its translated form.
"One day Jesus passed by the Jews and asked them: "Where are your children?"
They answered, "They are playing in the stable". So the Jews locked up the children in the cattle barn.
When Jesus approached the stable and asked what was in it, they said, "There are cattle in there."
And Jesus said, "So be it!" And the children turned to cattle.
- The Apocryphal Gospel of Childhood, XVI.
The editors of "Blagodatny Ogon" are receiving responses to our article, "On the Evolutionist Theology of Teilhard de Chardin and Archpriest Alexander Men." For example, "layman John Serdyukov" from Moscow expressed the opinion that "behind theological disputes one must first of all see a person, and in this case, a priest-martyr".
We can in no way agree with the opinion of this esteemed reader. We are convinced that behind theological disputes one must first of all see Truth. And if someone deliberately distorts the Truth of Christ and substitutes a lie for it, it is the duty of Orthodox theology to denounce evil deeds without regard to face, and thereby to protect the flock from the possibility of being infected by heretical teachings. This has always been the case in the Church from apostolic times to the present.
Let us emphasize once again: we are not polemicizing with Archpriest Alexander Men as a person or as a priest. We are denouncing the blatantly anti-Orthodox position that he expressed in his spiritual legacy.
By the way, Fr. Alexander is famous not only as a preacher-theologian (alas, totally non-Orthodox) and missionary (alas, it is an undeniable fact that there is a special spiritual formation in the bosom of the Russian Orthodox Church today - "menevshchina"). Archpriest Alexander was also a composer of fairy tales. One of them, published by the "Alexander Men Foundation" (Moscow, 1994) in the form of a children's picture book, we offer to the reader.
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Archpriest Alexander Men
Tale of the Origin of Man "Freak"
The big, milky-white moon was shining into the cave.
The Freak woke up, woke up with a smile on his face. He rarely smiled because he rarely had such wonderful dreams. This time the dream was joyful.
He saw the Father of beasts and men, or rather, he did not see him, he could not even look at him, for he was as bright as the sun. And He brought a girl to him, a freak just like him. And the Freak exclaimed (he remembers what he exclaimed in his dream), "That one is the one, just like me!"
And at that moment he woke up and saw himself again in the dark cave among the sleeping, snoring, overturning kin, not freaks, but normal people, but he was alone, the only one in the clan and he had not yet been kicked out of the tribe because he was shrewd and ran maybe a little faster than the others.
But he was ugly in general: first, his skin was lighter, second, it was not covered with beautiful, noble fur, and he was naked and long and rather ridiculous. Such should have been driven out of the cave. But the old father of the family, the gray-haired Ug, when he came into the world, said: "This is a degenerate, he must be thrown off the cliff, he cannot live." But his mother roared: "I will not give him up, he is my firstborn."
And so she raised him. Then she gave birth to other, already normal children: broad-shouldered, short, with bent backs and strong teeth. And among them grew a skinny, white Ugly.
But the sun blackened him, and he remained a freak forever. When everyone went to sleep in the cave, the Ugly would come out and sit by the cliff and look at the stars, look at the moon, and think about something. He thought about a lot of things, he wanted to think about the whole world. That was part of his ugliness, because nobody did that.
Normal people hunted, ate, drank, slept, multiplied. They didn't need anything else. They fought. They fought a lot. The freak didn't like to fight. He didn't like to do it, because all his hairy brothers fought with each other and, of course, he got in a lot of fights, too.
But he was alone. He was quite alone among them, and even his furry mother, who loved him very much, - could not understand him. His mother spoke in short, simple words, the way everyone in the cave spoke, shrieking, whooping, snoring. Everything was clear - "Eat, drink, come here, get out of here!"
And his thoughts were moving in his head, he had so many words that people said of him, "He's a freak, and a chatterbox on top of that!"
And so the years went on... And he became more and more a stranger among his own, his own people.
Only sometimes the Father of Beasts and Men sent him a beautiful dream: he saw a girl or a girl, she was as ugly as he was. She had long hair and looked at him with wonderfully transparent eyes. She, too, was as naked as he was. She had no noble hair like his kin. And it was as if the Father of beasts and men were leading her to him by the hand. And Freak's heart immediately began to beat and he woke up.
And so the years went on... And then one day the most important warriors of the tribe gathered together.
They decided to go on a bounty hunt. There was an old custom in the tribe: to become stronger, you had to catch as much enemies as possible (and there was a tribe of enemies beyond the forest, actually, it was not very different from the native tribe) and to eat their brains, and to hang up the skulls on the sticks.
And so, when they assembled, the Freak said that he would not go with them, that he would not do it, he would not eat his brothers, because those who live beyond the forest are people just like the rest of us.
Then the elder of the tribe said: "Our patience is exhausted! That's enough! Get out! Go away!"
"If you want, go to them. And we'll catch you, kill you, and eat your brain!"
"We won't! - shouted the others. - You can only eat the brain of someone who has something in his head, and this is Freak, he has nothing in his head!"
And he was banished...
He took the stone axe, the leather sack he had once sewn himself, and marched through the forest. As he came to the edge, he suddenly saw a girl, waist-deep in grass, walking across the steppe. Freak immediately recognized her - it was the girl from his dream, the one the Father of Beasts and Men had brought to him.
And Freak remembered that in the dream the Father of Beasts and Men had repeated to him the same incomprehensible phrase: "This is flesh from your flesh and bone from your bone. And now he understood what it meant - he understood and she understood. They rushed toward each other and held hands.
And they walked to the East... It was early morning. The sky was first mother-of-pearl, then turned yellow, and finally the sun came up.
They were going East, somewhere far away... And we were all in them. Then they made stories about them and called them ADAM and EVE...
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There are good fairy tales and bad fairy tales. There are terrible fairy tales and beautiful fairy tales. But this essay can only rightly be called a blasphemy against God and His creation. An Orthodox man could not so twist and distort the spiritual foundations of the Church's doctrine, as Archpriest Alexander Meny managed to do. Here, under the guise of an innocent narrative, an entire heretical concept has been constructed that rejects both the Bible and the saintly doctrine of the creation of man.
We anticipate the possible protests: Tale is not a theological treatise, so we should not attribute spiritual content to it! How many other "non-Christian" fairy tales there are!
However, these expressions would have been true were it not for the following circumstances.
First, the book is signed not just by the writer of fairy tales, but by "the archpriest," which in itself makes you look for spiritual meaning in it.
Second, the book explicitly speaks of God, who is called "the Father of beasts and men," and "He was bright as the sun." The reader has the right to ask, does the author mean the God the Bible tells us about, or is he inventing another fairy tale "God"?
Finally, third, the tale ends with a very definite reference to Adam and Eve, in whom "we were all." Since Adam and Eve are biblical characters, this literary sketch must be perceived as a new Old Testament apocrypha. The apocryphal nature of the text, of course, does not in itself mean that it is heretical, but it does raise a valid question about its conformity or nonconformity to church doctrine. This question is justified, by the way, by the fact that some phrases in the tale almost literally reproduce biblical verses. Let us compare the sentence: "This is flesh of your flesh and bone of your bone" with a verse from the book of Genesis: And the man said, "This is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh" (Gen. 2:23 Synod. Translation).
Many times in the text of the tale Adam is called "Freak." We can not find such a name for our forefather pleasing to the ear. Involuntarily recalled the formidable words of Christ: "Whoever says 'fool', is guilty of hell fire" (Matthew 5:22). It would have been better for the author to call his character "Raka": in that case he would only have been a mere slumberer.
There is no justification for the enlightened archpriest's use of the title "Father of beasts and men". God, according to the sacred tradition, is called the Creator of all creatures, including man: And God created the beasts of the earth according to his species (Genesis 1:25), and God created man (Genesis 1:27).
Adoption to God the Father people have received through incarnate and incarnate God the Son, Jesus Christ, who said after His resurrection: I ascend to My Father and Your Father (John 20:17). The Lord taught the Church "to call upon the heavenly God the Father with boldness, without condemnation, and to say: Our Father who art in heaven..." (Sluzhebnik).
But God is not the Father of beasts. The earth created the beasts. And God said, "Let the earth bring forth the beast from offspring, and it shall be so. (Genesis 1:24). The beasts, unlike Adam, God did not directly create himself, and even less did he give them, like Adam, the breath of life (Gen. 2:7). The apostle Paul, speaking of calling God the Father, does not casually call the Spirit of Christ the Spirit of sonship: As many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God. We do not receive the Spirit of work to be feared again, but we receive the Spirit of sonship, for which we cry: Abba, Father (Rom. 8:14-15)!
The Bible separates the act of man's creation from that of the other animals. Archpriest Alexander deliberately blurs the line between the first man Adam and the other animals. The Bible states that before Adam there were no human beings created in the image of God, and Fr. Alexander's tale refers to Adam's ancestors as "normal human beings." In this respect, H.H. Andersen's fairy tale "The Ugly Duckling" is a great advantage over "The Ugly Duckling": after all, the Ugly Duckling was originally not of the duckling breed, but of the swan breed, while the Ugly Duckling was born to his squinting and snarling mother.
The Biblical Adam was the first and only member of the human race. Freak had a mother (we must assume a father as well), brothers and sisters "broad-shouldered, stunted, with bent backs and strong teeth," with whom he lived together in the tribe. The chief of the tribe was "the old father of the clan, the grey-haired Ug," to whom the other warriors were subject. With them and lived until his exile, the character of the tale "among his own, native people." Not only that, the "brothers" who lived in the tribe behind the forest were "people like all of us." So, at least, said the Freak. The Bible says exactly the opposite: but Adam would not find a helper like him (Gen. 2:20).
The diet of the Biblical Adam was strictly vegetarian (Genesis 1:29), while people of Urod's tribe not only fed on hunting prey, but did not shy away from man-eating. Although the main character of the tale was not a supporter of cannibalism and stood on quite "Adam's" moral high ground, but this circumstance does not reconcile the tale of Fr. Alexander with the Word of God. The fact is that not only Adam, but all the beasts of the earth God gave the green grass to eat (Genesis 1:30). Carnivorous eating, according to scripture, appeared in the world as a result of the fall of the original Adam. Unfortunately this Orthodox position is alien to the theology of Archpriest Alexander Men.
Adam and Eve did not fall into sin (in the biblical sense) in the "East" where they held hands and went, since death already reigned in the world before their birth.
The Church teaches that Adam was, after the Creator, an exceptional person who, possessing the gift of reason and speech and thereby displaying his power, gave names to all creatures: And Adam named all the cattle, and all the birds of the air, and all the beasts of the earth (Gen. 2:20). In the tale of Archpriest Alexander Men, this distinctive characteristic of Adam is abolished. The tribal leader was called Ug, apparently other members of the community also had names, and the main character was named not by God, but by his shaggy congeners. In any case, Ug was neither the first talking creature nor the inventor of names, but was brought up in the speaking (albeit not too gracefully) environment of his kinsmen. His "mother" spoke in short, simple words.
The most important doctrinal statement of the Church is the apostolic statement that from one blood proceeded all the language of men (Acts 17:26). All of the Holy Fathers understood the creation of Eve from Adam's rib literally. Father Alexander's romantic hero meets a dream from his dreams, which turns out to be... a girl from another tribe. About genealogical tree of Freak's betrothed we are not informed, but we should believe that she was conceived and born quite naturally as all other Eva's daughters. At any rate, the fabulous narrative excludes the biblical scenario: And the Lord God created the rib that he took from Adam to be his wife (Genesis 2:22).
Having expressed our doubts about the origin in the apocrypha of Father Alexander of the foremother Eve, we note no less confusion about the apocryphal origin of Adam. The Church contains the apostolic teaching about Christ as the second Adam. In particular, the holy martyr Justin the Philosopher in his Conversation with Tryphon the Jew offers the following Orthodox statement: "Adam descended from the virgin ground, just as Christ descended from the virgin beds. According to the sacred tradition, Adam the original did not have parents, and therefore could not have any brothers and sisters. Neither older nor younger. Likewise, Jesus Christ as the new Adam could not have and had no half-brothers and sisters, that is why the Most Pure Virgin Mary is rightly glorified by the words: "I was a virgin before birth, and a virgin in birth, and you are a virgin after birth" (Theophany, resurrection, voice 7).
If, at least in a fairy tale, we assume that the first Adam had siblings (furry and snarling), then it is perfectly acceptable to assume that the second Adam, Christ, had younger siblings. This exposes the hidden blasphemy against both the original Adam and Christ, the Son of the Blessed Virgin.
Even more blasphemous would be the apocrypha of Fr. Alexander when we remember that the human race was not bought with corrupted silver or gold... but with the honest blood of the innocent and pure Lamb of Christ (1 Pet. 1:18-19). If we accept that the apocryphal Adam the Freak was redeemed by the blood of Christ on Golgotha, can we say the same about his own brothers? And about the "mother" or the "gray-haired Ug"? And about Eve's "kin" from the neighboring flock? What about older and more distant "kin"? Do the words of the Apocalypse apply to them, addressed to the Lamb: because thou hast slain and redeemed us to God by thy blood, from every tribe, language, people and nation (Apoc. 5: 9)?
The book completely blurs the line between man and beast. Doesn't this prompt consideration of at least some of the animals' communion with the holy Eucharistic cup? After all, the blood of the Second Adam was shed for them! Such blasphemous conclusions follow directly from the tale composed by Father Alexander. It is impossible to dismiss such questions.
The book about the man "Freak" must be regarded as quite heretical apocrypha, spiritually hostile to the Church, irreconcilable with the teachings of the Holy Fathers.