An unworthy Deacon, named for the brother of God: James, striving to "work out his salvation with fear and trembling" within the Tradition (paradosis) of the Eastern Orthodox Faith. It is a strange and marvelous journey, and I am accompanied by the fourfold fruit of my fecundity. My wife, the Matushka or Diaconissa Sophia, is my beloved partner in the pursuit of Theosis, and she ranks me in every way.
I read THIS article while at my doctor's office yesterday and it raised a great many questions. Some of the photos are startling and seem absolutely foreign - evil even - to my own experience with saints, relics, and veneration of them. It is comforting to hear the RC clergy speaking out against the devotions depicted here, but I have to wonder about what has gone wrong here in the handing down of tradition such that people would think St. Jude would deem machine gun toting druglords worthy of his prayers for their vision of success (a "narco-saint")? Or that they could possibly see "La Santa Muerte" as anything other than the devil? No "holy death" comes from a hail of machine gun fire over drug territories...how is this simple truth being missed here?
I really do see this at some level as a "paradosis" failure. Somehow and somewhere the handing down of the faith has been inhibited or polluted. I make no judgments here on the RC faith, I have no doubts than some paganism has also worked its way into some Orthodox cultural enclaves here and there. But I've never seen anything quite this bad...though one never knows. I'm sure there are some strange things afoot amidst the Russian mafia where they may see no contradiction in their lifestyle and their patronage of their local Orthodox church.
I suppose that we all do this to some degree...but when you start inventing skeletal "death saints" to put up in your living room...well, that seems to me to be a whole new level.
This reminds me of the Godfather movies, which are of course less fictional than we would perhaps like to think. I don't really care for Roman Catholicism at all, even in its less-corrupt non-Americanized form, but it's easy to see how mafiosi are able to juxtapose their religious practice with their lifestyle, because of vendettas that have lasted for generations. I know from personal experience that there are RC priests who are at least wink at such things, if not actually "bless" them. Irish Catholicism displayed the same phenomenon. Reality is a lot weirder than we often imagine. I don't put the same kind of thing past some forms of faux Orthodoxy; it's just that my actual experience involves Romanism. I wish I could be shocked about all this, but I just know that the World, the Flesh, and the Devil do not stop at the doorway of the Church.