Abbot George and the monk who travelled with him were physically imposing. Together they must have weighed at least 600 pounds. Clad in their monastic robes, they tended to stand out when they travelled about the city of DuBois. Strict vegetarians, they each ordered two Double Whoppers at Burger King--without the meat. Abbot George exhibited an interesting mannerism: holding one nostril shut with the tip of his finger while quickly inhaling through the other, at seemingly random intervals. The reason for this, I was told, was that Abbot George was practicing a type of Pranayama yoga. I didn't talk much with Abbot George himself, but did read a number of short religious tracts that he left, including "May A Christian Believe in Reincarnation?" "The Four Soul Killers," and "The Way Back." I also read a novel in manuscript form called The Way of the Chalice, which is apparently a veiled description of the secret organization, H+O+A+C. Finally, I read a 179-page, single-spaced manuscript called The Nicene Creed: An Esoteric Interpretation. The following is the description of this work from the back cover:
For the first time in English, a monastic of the
Orthodx Church presents the esoteric interpretation of the Nicene Creed.
Upon its adoption as a state religion in the Fourth Century, Christianity began to be slowly reshaped to suit the mentality of the Byzantine State which viewed the Christian Church as little more than a foce for civil order and unity. Those who deviated from ths purpose were branded "heretics" and efficiently eliminated. Eventually, only the monastics, being in a world apart, were able to preserve the full understanding of the Christian revelation. They, however, were constrained to keep silence for the sake of their continued existence.
Abbot George Burke, head of the Holy Protection Orthodox Monastery in Oklahoma City, breaks the silence in this book, which is the first in a projected series of expositions of Christian esoteric philosophy.
Like its counterpart in Hinduism, the Brahma Sutra, the Nicene Creed is a telegraphic, mystical formulation of the Christian view of eternal and temporal realities, covering a range of subjects from the nature of man, the world and God to their ultimate mutual destiny. Externally seeming to be a statement of dogmatics, it is a key to higher mysteries undreamed of by most churchgoers who recite it mechanically Sunday after Sunday.
I was at first amazed by the way Abbot George took the Nicene Creed, which occupies perhaps one-third of a typewritten page, and used it to support an extended treatise on the nature of reality. I was so impressed with the book that I bought additional copies and gave them to various family members (who didn't know quite what to do with the book). Later, it began to dawn on me that George was approaching the Nicene Creed as an inkblot, upon which he projected his intricate worldview. I also became particularly disillusioned with the way he selectively quoted the Bible to rationalize his practice of vegetarianism in The Four Soul Killers. I wrote an extended critique of The Four Soul Killers, to which he never responded. Not suprisingly, Abbot George has been criticized by individuals in the mainstream orthodox church.
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John A. Johnson
Created August 20, 2002