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The interview and sermon were given by Fr. George Calciu in Romania (2005), 1 year before passing in the Lord.
Please also see the recent state of unrest unfolding in Greece in regards to the new “Citizen Card”, commented by Fr. Peter Heers on Ancient Faith Radio.
Elder Petroniu Tanase, former abbot of Prodromu Romanian Monastery from Mount Athos has followed sleep in the Lord, Tuesday, February 22.
May his memory be eternal!
On watching over the five senses
(With Elder Petroniu)
When man withdraws from the world escapes the temptation of sinful words and worldly images. By living in the world, man unwittingly hears and sees things that dirty his soul through his senses. And all these impressions and things of the world that enter his soul carry with them, a psychological and spiritual load. They awake memories you no longer want to remember, create undue spiritual tensions and leave fingerprints – as one may say – or dirty marks in the spiritual life of man. A man living in the world assimilates – even if it’s only in part, some of the sins of the world. As the old saying states that “man is what he eats”, we can also say that man is what he lives in the city, in his village or in his house. And as his body physiological composition is dependent of the materials contained in food that contribute to his good health, so the spiritual state of man becomes dependent on all these images and thoughts that penetrate through his five senses.
St. Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain has written a special work on this subject, “Guarding the five senses.”
Man must guard his senses as he would his gateways where friends but especially enemies could enter. Through these windows, dark impressions can penetrate into his soul.
These fingerprints can gradually shape the whole structure of man. During our lifetime, many impressions and deeds are recorded in one’ soul like in a book. … And these are the “books” that will be open at the Dreadful (Last) Judgment.
Man, until the end his life, is in a permanent transformation through what he hears, what he sees and what he lives. He is like a sculptor carving the wood, a piece here, a piece there… A chip on this side, a splinter on the other side and, little by little, the figure/sculpture appears. At the end of his life, man appears in his final form, modeled by everything he hears and does. And this transformation is noticed sometimes on his face. A wicket or a drunken man who lived a sinful life will show this. His figure acquires a certain appearance, connected to the sins he committed. And we elders can sense this.
But these evil fingerprints do not remain at the level of external appearance as we are accustomed to notice, but they will be engraved in man soul. Then at the Dreadful Judgment, when the books will be opened, that man will appear – though the great mystery of God – modeled by everything he did and thought. The Holy Fathers and especially of St. Niphon of the Danube says that people who have committed grievous sins, and have not change or repent, will remain distorted for eternity – a reflection of their soul, which after death will become a tangible reality. At the Last Judgment the state of man soul, more visible than his body, will portray everything man did. Sinners will have distorted figures and every grimace will reflect the sins they committed. Then – as St. Niphon says – everyone will see the sins we committed in our lifetime for they will be engraved in my personal appearance, they will express like a mirror, the structure of my soul irreparably damaged by sins. All our sins will be expressed and everyone will see our corruption.
And what is it said, in our church services, about the Dreadful Judgment? “Oh, who can suffer this scenery?” If now I’m ashamed to visibly sin against my neighbor, how will I look when everyone will see all the sins I have done?
On the Orthodox Church
1. The Orthodox Church is and must remain holy. There exists not one thing that can be accomplished without the power of the Holy Spirit. Today the spirit of the world penetrates everywhere, even in the life of the Church, in parishes and monasteries. With the help of the spiritual father, man is called to become holy through Christ who died and rose from the dead in order to deify human nature and to lift it up to heaven to the throne of the Holy Trinity.
2. The monastery ought to be far from the spirit of worldliness. According to St. Maximus the Confessor, a monk must constantly renounce the world and he will gain heavenly treasures.
3. Monasticism resembles martyrdom. Most saints mentioned in the Church ‘calendar are martyrs, and are followed by the monastics.
4. The monks have been entrusted with the liturgical treasure of the Church. A monk is called to maintain lit the lamp of liturgical life. First of all, he must attend all the daily liturgical services from his monastery.
5. The abbot has to be the spiritual father of the monastic community.
6. In his ministry, the Bishop is called to show firmness in defending the true faith before the heterodox and to promote the purity of life. The lives of St. John Chrysostom and St. Basil the Great ought to be eloquent examples to every bishop. The clergy and the faithful’ confidence in their hierarch is maintain when he remains steadfast in defending the Christian truth and in preserving the purity of life.
7. Gluttony, immorality and the love of money enslaves our world today.
Today, many sins are enacted by the so-called “human rights”. But according to the Christian teaching, man has only duties: towards God, his neighbor and God’ creation.
(Taken from the site “Friends of Mt. Athos”, translated by blog’author)
More about Elder Petroniu at:
The Holy Martyrs of Mount Athos (January 4th)
(murdered by the papists)
by Archimandrite Ghervasios Paraschevopoulos
“There was a time when the Byzantine emperor of Constantinople – Michael the VIII-th, Palaeologus (1259-1282), seeking the political help of Pope Urban the IV (1261-1264), promissed to cooperate towards “the unification” of the Eastern Orthodox Church with the heretical Pope of Rome.
The king’ attempt however, met the steadfast opposition of the patriarch Joseph the Ist (1267-1275). If under differenet circumstances the patriarch would be very faithful to the king, when the king asked for “the union”, the patriarch refused and took the oath that “under no circumstances he may sign a union with the heretical pope.” Nor that he will ever acknowledge the papal authority which is contrary to the Gospel, the Holy Canons and the Holy Tradition.
The Pope’s claims with regard to the union were:
- an oath of allegiance to the pope by all clergy,
- the catechization of people should be in accordance with the faith of the pope of Rome and especially with the addition of “Filioque” in the Symbol of Faith (the Creed) by teaching that the Holy Spirit proceeds not only from the Father but also “from the Son”;
- the Pope should be considered “appointed by God” (infailible) to judge and decide irrevocably and without appeal in any dogmatic matter. “That is to say he should be the supreme authority in the Church”
Then, where are we to place the local and Holy Ecumenical Church Synods (Councils)?! Well, they must be vented, because – according to the catholic dogma – the Pope is above all the Ecumenical Councils.
Oh my Lord, such a devilish exaltation!!! Pope Clement the IV (1265-1268), successor of Pope Urban the IV cherished the same thought and the same hope. The same can be said about Pope Gregory the X (1271-1276), the follower of Clement. A steadfast “creed” and claims for all Popes and almost the same conditions for the union that the king had asked insistently!
Many theologians and later the whole church, had joined the patriarch Joseph in his resistance. This opposition had angried the king to such a degree that the persecution of faithfull began.
Some of them were tortured; others were deprived of their properties. Although the whole city of Constantinople was against this union, the emperor, blinded by envy and hate, asked the inhabitants of the imperial city to pay him the taxes for the previous 10 years! How can this be? For the king regained Constantinople from the Franks 10 years back, so for this he regarded himself as the “owner of the city!”
Even more, his delegation left for Lyon (1274), France where the pope convened a “unionist” synod, bringing back with them the proposal on the union already signed by the pope.
And what were these signed proposals? The same as those each pope had always asked of: the addition of “Filioque” to the Creed, the recognition of pope’s supremacy, and the pope’s right to be mentioned by the patriarchs during Divine Liturgy!
And the result? The agreement in question stirred new wave of indignation and revolt among all Orthodox faithful. Almost everyone opposed it and bacause the patriarch Joseph openly opposed the agreenment, he was banished from the Patriarchal Throne. What then? Oh, the heretical patriarch John Beccus the XI (1275-1282) was elected!
Soon the opposition arouse from all orthodox ranks: the clergy and the people. Among them: Evlogia, the emperor’s sister, Andronicus Paleologus, John Paleologus, Manuel Paleologus (three of the king’ family) and Isaac Raul were against his position.
The Emperor and the new “Patriarch” began to use the most tyrannical means to compel everyone to accept the falls union: fearful martyrdoms, enprisonment, tortures, blindness, the cutting of one’ tongue, killings … A physical author of these tortures was the patriarch Beccus himself!
But let us now get back to the subject! In this context, we can understand the persecution of our athonite fathers from the Holy Mt. Athos. When the king and the patriarch have heard of their opposition, they became enraged and overshadowed by the blind passion of revenge: How dare they (some monks) oppose the royal order! How dare these simple monks of Mount Athos will disregard the patriarchal mitre! Let them be persecuted. Because they proved “arongants” and had disconsidered the “unity” with the heretical pope, so they deserve to be subjected to cruel tortures and pay with their blood.
Thus the king’s messengers and the fanaticals latins, armed with stringent provisions and powerful gards, came to the Holy Mountain and began the cruel martyrdom and executions of the “reactionaries ” athonite fathers and Starets (abbots/ Elders). When in the Holy Monastery of Vatopedi at their proposal to join the “union”, the latins encounterd the resistance of the monks, they began torturing the monastics fathers. Detachment of soldiers resorted without hesitation to unimaginable tortures to fulfill the imperial orders.
Oh, worthy servants of the Master! It was for your Orthodox faith that you considered this unhuman martyrdom a crown! What a grear honor was to shed their blood for Holy Orthodoxy! Twelve monks, brave witnesses of Christ, heroes and defenders of the purity of faith, fighting with great courage against the betrayal of our Lord Jesus Christ, were led on a hill side near the monastery. It was there (on the hill), that the latins raised gallows/scatffolds, and one by one the brave monks were hanged (as we see on the icon painted in memory of their martyrdom). Bidding each other farewell they were raised on the scaffold and from there to heaven, in the sweetness and delight of the Heavenly Kingdom, where their souls will rest with the righteous.
As for the Elder, they reserved other form of martyrdom. Another type of suffering, because according to the Latin thinkers, death on the scaffold was too mild for him.
The more Elder Euthymios (Righteous Euthymios of Vatopedi) showed his steadfast contempt and protest towards unification with the heretic pope, the more the emperor as well as pope’s “well-doers” were filed with grey shadows and contempt towards the one who just witnessed the death of his monks. Sparkled by rage… how will they seek revenge? What kind of death are they reserving for him? Near the monastery was the sea. The executors took him on the boat far into the sea and there, bounded in chains, the Elder was thrown at the bottom of the sea. So “their mission” with this monastery was accomplished!
Other monasteries were next (in line). The Latin troops as well as the Latin thinkers, adhering to the emperor’ orders, summoned an assembly of all monks living in monastic cells neighboring Kareem.
The purpose of the meeting was to compel the Athonite monks and their primate – St. Cosmas, Protos Of Mt. Athos - to approve the union with the “church” of the pope. They had to “think with the Latin mind” and adopt the Latin dogmas. However, all – the Protos and the monks – opposed the proposal of such betrayal. In a single voice and one heart, they were ready to die for the Orthodox faith, the only truthful one. It was in vain that the king’s representatives have threatened the monks by death, and the Protos with the scaffold. With courage and determination to die for their faith, they spoke against the falls union with the pope. You can not reconcile – they confessed – things that are irreconcilable. Can Christ be reconciled with Belial, or with the devil? “What agreement is between Christ and Belial” (II Cor. 6.15). There can be no communion between the East and the West. From the East came illumination and from the West, darkness.
So the dialogue was deemed meaningless. In Kareem, the athonite monks remained imperturbable, firm as a rock. And the enemies began their “work”. But the more they were tortured, the more they confessed the Orthodox faith. For this they were put to death. A cruel death: to be hanged and slained. The scatfold for the Protos and decapitation for the monks. The holy land of Kareem was sucked in their precioss blood.
In the Holy Monastery of Iveron, one of the biggest on Mount Athos (with a large number of monks), the Latins had used at first peaceful means. They seemed kind and amiable at first sight. They made used of all “opportunities” to convince them to join “the papal Church”. That is what God wants, they would say. It is His will that: “they all be one” (John 17:21). But neither the courtesy, nor the flattery arguments could tempt the monks. The Iveron monks knew very well who the pope was. They knew the history and did not want to make the same mistakes.
“Unification” with the pope would mean the greatest betrayal ever made. And they would never commit such betrayal that might hold one smirched with dishonor on earth and in heaven.
As for the other athonite monasteries, they shared the same fate. It was blood, martyrdom, and death.
And … what else did latins do, “in the name of Christ”?! They commanded the soldiers to gather all the monks. The order was immediately executed and, of course, in a brutal, barbaric, and savaged way. All for the sake of the “Holy Father of Rome”. “The purpose sanctifies the means?!” they said. And the means of arrestment in question was intended to achieve unification only. Will they ever put an end to injustice?! Of course, it could not be so. Other monks shared the same fate.
Those who had their origin in Georgia (Iviria) were taken slaves in Italy or, as others relate, they were banished in Italy. The other monastics and fathers – were taken by the military guards, to the quay of Iveron Monastery.
Then, they were embarked into a broached boat intended to be sank into the sea. So it happened. All the Holy Martyrs – the priests and the brothers from Iveron monastery – were sent to the bottom of the sea yielding their soul to Him who spoke through the mouth of the Evangelist John: “Thou be faithful unto death: and I will give thee the crown of life” (Apocalypse, 2:10). In that very moment, they were crown by the angels with the crown of the rightouss martyrs for the one Holy Apostolic Church. They are commemorated every year on May, 13th.
In the Holy Monastery Zographou, the papists uses their first weapon to “burn” the Orthodox Creed of the Holy Fathers. And what weapon… the rhetorical art! The athonite fathers were called to recognize the pope as the head of the universal Church in exchange for gold and “papal mercy”.
And what remark did the Latins receive from the priests? Their reply was a testimony of the Orthodox Faith. “And who told you that the pope is the head of the Church? Who handed you such teaching? As for us, the Head of the Church is Christ! We will better die than surrender and defile this holy place by your tyranny! We will not open the gates of the monastery! Go along /away! ”
Then the enraged papists used a second weapon to teach the monks a lesson. You wonder what weapon they used?! They used fire, the stake. Dying at a stake has always been a good instrument for the pope to achieve his goals. How many people died at a stake? Christ’s “representative” on earth, always used fire for those who did not obey or worship him. The fire to burn! According to their testimony: “If you do not wish to share the same faith with us, then die!”
[…] The fathers preferred to give their lives than to abandon the faith. Our church commemorates them every year on the 22nd of September.
No true Orthodox will ever accept the unification with the heretical pope because the unification in question means obeying the papist rules. The consequences of such obedience will be disastrous and will have a negative impact on the whole Orthodox Church. Today, defenders of orthodoxy stand as guarantors for its safety. Both our Orthodox people and Orthodox monastics living around the Holy Mount Athos always stood as a protective shield against the enemy. This protective shield is alive even today. None of the Orthodox fathers living around the Holy Mount Athos will ever accept such disastrous unification.
Archimandrite Ghervasios PARASCHEVOPOULOS
(Translated by blog’author)
Disclaimer: This article is not a call to hatred against the pope, as it may seem, but the history has to be revealed in its clarity for us to reflect on the deceit (of Satan) and the darkness one can encounter when it departs from the true faith of Christ and start calling/seeing himself infallible!
“The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church”, of the true Church of Christ, and their blood is a testimony of how we ought to live our lives following our Master on the cross in order that we might be resurrected with Him. Because when man no longer cares to speak the Truth, then the rocks will (the nature will start fighting against man)….
Republished and translated by blog’ author from “Orthodox Typos”, October 1st, 2010
(one of the Orthodox publication of Greece)
Heated disagreement at Vienna between the representatives of the Orthodox Church, as reflected in the statements of Metropolitan Ioannupol of Pergamon, the representative of the Moscow Patriarchate: Bishop Hilarion and the Vatican representative for the „unity” of the Christian Churches.
Orthodox Typos: the dialogue with the heretics has to stop permanently, “here and now”, in order to stop the harm/deceit of the faithful and the clergy. Alive is our Lord God, Who protects His Orthodox Church.
Our Lord is a Living God! This was seen at Vienna, where the Theological Dialogue was held between the Orthodox and the Catholics over the Pope’s primacy in the first millennium. The dialogue ended in failure, to the great disappointment of the Ecumenist’ bishops of the Church of Greece, who constantly deceit/slander the faithful (that worrie to keep the tradition and the Holy Canons) and distort the thinking and the Orthodox faith by recognizing as canonical the heresy of Papism. The dialogue has ended in failure because the papal representatives did not step back and have remained steadfast in supporting the papal supremacy. The dialog was also led to failure due to the heated disagreements between the representatives of the Orthodox Churches. Each Orthodox representative exposed issues that brought hardship to the Dialogue. The Orthodox have exposed different views regarding of how the unity is to be understood. This arise from the official statements of both Ecumenist Metropolitan of Pergamon: Kir Ioannis Zizioulas, the Vatican official on „unity “: “Archbishop” and reformer – Mr. Koch, the Metropolitan and Foreign Minister of the Moscow Patriarchate: Bishop Hilarion, but also of Metropolitan Seraphim of Ioannupol, who in his interview, labeled those opposed to dialogue with the Catholics as mentally ill people. :(
It doesn’t means that if some people are crazy, they have the right to question our Orthodox thinking (Amen.gr, 09/26/2010 )
The Metropolitan of Ioannupol was the first of the participants, who made public in an interview, the failure of the Dialogue.
Seraphim of Ioannupol had declared: “At Vienna we continued the debate over text analysis that began in Cyprus and we had not yet completed the final form of this text. The Committees have the responsibility to edit this text based on the points made in the debate and to prepare us a working/text document with the additions and comments of the members from the Joint Commission. This text refers to the first millennium and analyzes the role of the bishop in the life of the Church at the local, regional and wider level. The text of this publication is not currently available, because does not have a final form . The Roman Catholics have their views on how they understand the role of the bishop of Rome in the first millennium, and the Orthodox are referring to the place that the historical Patriarchs had in the old historical Patriarchates of the East: in Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem …
NP (the interviewer): Your Eminence, lets insist a bit on the question of primacy …
Metropolitan of Ioannupol: As I already mentioned, the theme of primacy (in general, and not as something pertaining to the Pope, transl note) is something that appears as a pastoral need in the life of the Church, and pertains to the bishops of the Church, first in a diocese, and later in a larger region with several Dioceses,
- to convene to chair and to coordinate the synaxes of the bishops who act together, by invoking the descent of the Holy Spirit on the basis of Scripture and the Holy Tradition of the Church,
- for keeping the faith and the order of the Church which the heretics or schismatics were distorting.
In this context we refer to the bishop’s place in the life of the church during the first millennium and, of course of the bishops at Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, Salamis, and other important religious centers that were developed in the first millennium, which we referred to.
It doesn’t mean that because the Roman Catholics presented points – as they desire to see the place of the bishop of Rome, the Orthodox have to accept them, nor that the Roman Catholics are obliged to accept the points that are presented by the Orthodox regarding the role of the bishops in the life of the Orthodox Church of the first millennium. We are just in the beginning of the dialogue, to prepare proposals for a later stage to be sent to our Holy Synods for decisions.
The Statements of the Representative of the Moscow Patriarchate
The Foreign Minister of the Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan Hilarion, according to “Romfea.gr ” had also made a declaration. The Metropolitan made it clear that some statements had been scheduled for debate while others have been debated, because there were serious disagreements over the Pope’s jurisdiction in the first millennium, something which the Metropolitan Ioannupol also reported. (…)
Bishop Hilarion noted that “the work (text) of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, which was made public by some mass-media does not reflect the position of the orthodox side in the issue over the primacy of the Bishop of Rome and can be treated only as an auxiliary material for future work.”
‘Despite media allegations, there was no openness in the meetings of the Commission for Theological dialog between the Orthodox and Roman Catholics in Vienna, ” Kir Hilarion added.
‘ Our view is that this text requires an essential review in what follows, and only after that it can receive the status of an ‘ auxiliary text material’ ( instrumentum laboris ), which will be used to prepare future texts, but it will have no official status “, said Kir Hilarion added.
“Furthermore – he added – the text lacks a clear and obvious finding that the jurisdiction of bishop of Rome in the first millennium did not include the Church in the East (the actual Orthodox Church, transl note).”
He also noted:
“We hope that these goals and gaps will be filled properly once the text is processed. After a debate, the Commission has decided that this text requires further processing and that the final decision on its status will be postponed for the next meeting of the Committee, that is in the next two years. Until then we will prepare a new text, which will deal with the same problem, but from a theological prospective.”
“For it is very evident for the Orthodox members that in the first millennium, the Bishop of Rome in the West did not exert exclusive jurisdiction over the Christian Church in the East, because in the East, the Church was divided territorial between the four patriarchs of the Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem, ” he stressed.
He concluded that:
„The Bishop of Rome had no direct jurisdiction in the East, although in some historical cases resorted to the Eastern bishops in theological disputes by arbitration”.
‘But these appeals were not systematic and can not in any way be interpreted as meaning that the Bishop of Rome in the East was seen as holder of supreme dominion over the Ecumenical Church”.
„I hope that at the next meeting of the Commission, the Roman Catholic Church will accept this position, which is based on countless historical evidence, ” the president for External Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate added.
The Metropolitan of Pergamum
The Ecumenist Metropolitan of Pergamon: Ioannis Zizioulas, admitted there are issues and agreed with the Vatican representatives for the „unity”, that this model of unity is deemed for the future.
He therefore requested that the Orthodox Church needs to strengthen its universal unity, a concluding fact for the sharp disagreements between the Orthodox representatives in the Dialogue. Because it resulted that the papacy has not taken any step back in the dialogue, Kir Ioannis also called out to the Catholic representatives to stress more the conciliatory dimension. He stated that “if these two things will happen, then the result will come quickly.”
Next, by referring to an Pan – Orthodox Synod he said (according to Romfea.gr) :
‘ Of course we must be united in faith a lot. Regarding an Pan – Orthodox Synod, we worry – and we admit it – that the autocephaly is a problem mainly when it is linked to nationalist themes. But I ‘m happy to say that we made a satisfactory progress towards a Pan -Orthodox Synod.
Orthodox Typos: “The Dialogues need to Stop!”
The Ecumenist bishops, the Phanar (Ecumenical Patriarchate) and the Church of Hellas (Greece) must stop these kind of theological dialogues, for they expose and scandalize the faithful people. The Papists have demonstrated once more at Vienna that are unrepentant and inflexible in their heretical theories such as the primacy and infallibility. They had demonstrated that they refuse the synodalicity. And, it is finally shown, that the representatives of the Orthodox Churches do not have a common position or vision on the ‘unity’, and that they do not consider papacy, “a sister Church”. To continue the Dialogue means a real provocation for the people of faith.
Holy Martyr Peter the Aleut of America: a true defender of Orthodoxy before the Jesuits’ inchizition of the 19th century
Saint Peter the Aleut is mentioned in the Life of St Herman of Alaska (December 13). Simeon Yanovsky (who ended his life as the schemamonk Sergius in the St Tikhon of Kaluga Monastery), has left the following account:
On another occasion I was relating to him how the Spanish in California had imprisoned fourteen Aleuts, and how the Jesuits (actually Franciscans) were forcing all of them to accept the Catholic Faith. But the Aleuts would not agree under any circumstances, saying, ‘We are Christians.’ The Jesuits argued, ‘That’s not true, you are heretics and schismatics. If you do not agree to accept our faith then we will torture all of you to death.’ Then the Aleuts were placed in prisons two to a cell. That evening, the Jesuits came to the prison with lanterns and lighted candles. Again they tried to persuade two Aleuts in the cell to accept the Catholic Faith. ‘We are Christians,’ the Aleuts replied, ‘and we will not change our Faith.’ Then the Jesuits began to torture them, at first the one while his companion was a witness. They cut off one of the joints of his feet, and then the other joint. Then they cut the first joint on the fingers of his hands, and then the other joint. Then they cut off his feet, and his hands. The blood flowed, but the martyr endured all and firmly repeated one thing: “I am a Christian.’ He died in such suffering, due to a loss of blood. The Jesuit also promised to torture his comrade to death the next day.
But that night an order was received from Monterey stating that the imprisoned Aleuts were to be released immediately, and sent there under escort. Therefore, in the morning all were sent to Monterey with the exception of the dead Aleut. This was related to me by a witness, the same Aleut who had escaped torture, and who was the friend of the martyred Aleut. I reported this incident to the authorities in St Petersburg. When I finished my story, Father Herman asked, ‘What was the name of the martyred Aleut?’ I answered, ‘Peter. I do not remember his family name.’ The Elder stood reverently before an icon, made the Sign of the Cross and said, “Holy New Martyr Peter, pray to God for us!”
We know very little about St Peter, except that he was from Kodiak, and was arrested and put to death by the Spaniards in California because he refused to convert to Catholicism. The circumstances of his martyrdom recall the torture of St James the Persian (November 27). It is believed that Peter was only 14 years of age at the time of his martyrdom.
Both in his sufferings and in his steadfast confession of the Faith, St Peter is the equal of the martyrs of old, and also of the New Martyrs who have shone forth in more recent times. Now he rejoices with them in the heavenly Kingdom, glorifying God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, throughout all ages.
Troparion (First Tone)
O Peter, upon the rock of thy faith hath Christ built His Church,
and in the streams of thy blood hath He hallowed our land.
In thee thy people hath been sanctified, O Aleut;
from the farthest islands of the west hath He raised thee, a light unto all.
Glory to Him that hath glorified thee.
Glory to Him that hath crowned thee.
Glory to Him that worketh healings for all through thee.
Roman Catholic and Orthodox theologians reported promising progress on Friday in talks on overcoming their Great Schism of 1054 and bringing the two largest denominations in Christianity back to full communion. More…
And the true voice of the faithful….
“It is impossible to recall peace without dissolving the cause of the schism—the primacy of the Pope exalting himself equal to God”
“The Symbol of the Faith must be preserved inviolate, as at its origin. Since all the holy doctors of the Church, all the Councils and all the Scriptures put us on our guard against heterodoxy, how dare I, in spite of these authorities, follow those who urge us to unity in a deceitful semblance of union—those who have corrupted the holy and divine Symbol of Faith and brought in the Son as second cause of the Holy Spirit” (s.v. Jan 19th in The Synaxarion, ed. Hieromonk Makarios of Simonas Petra, and trans. Christopher Hookway; Ormylia: Holy Convent of The Annunciation of Our Lady, 2001).
“The Latins are not only schismatics but heretics… we did not separate from them for any other reason other than the fact that they are heretics. This is precisely why we must not unite with them unless they dismiss the addition from the Creed filioque and confess the Creed as we do.“
“We do not Threaten, but We Pain and Are in a State of Unrest”
- Bishop Augustine (Kantiotes) of Florina
The International Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Orthodox and Roman Catholics (Papists) meets in Vienna from Monday, September 20 to September 27, 2010. The Joint Commission representatives will be hosted by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn. The Committee’ plenum will continue the discussion on “The Role of the Bishop of Rome in the communion of the Church in the first millennium”, that began October 2009 in Cyprus during the Commission’s dialog.
Co – President for the Orthodox will be Metropolitan of Pergamon: Ioannis (Zizioulas), while the Church of Greece will be represented by Archbishop Chrysostomos of Messinia.
Please note the following, essential aspects:
1. At the previous meeting in Cyprus, the Church of Bulgaria – upon Synodical decision – has refused to join. It is unknown what will happen at this year’s meeting…….
2. The Commission’ meeting is usually preceded by separate meetings of the Orthodox and the Papists delegations. It is known that among the Orthodox members there is no absolute agreement on the position of “papal primacy”. And ultimately, which line will the Orthodox representatives hold in this dialog?
3. During the previous session, the Commission’s work was preceded by separate Liturgy of the Orthodox where the papist were present and, the Catholic Mass attended by the Orthodox representatives. Will this practice of common prayers continue and this time of the Dialogue? Than the beginning of the Commission’ work is already done in violation of the holy canons that prohibit common prayers.
4. At this time, it is almost certain that the Commission’s work will reach a common text. In case this won’t happen, then such dialogue, as the one from Cyprus, is just another deadlock.
What is the agreenment on the papal primacy that the Orthodox will sign with the Papists? Does anyone expect the true repentance of Vatican and repudiation of the falsehoods of the papal primacy? Or perhaps they will end with the popular theological “compromise” on the “primacy & ministry” of the Pope?
In any case, the “dialogue” with its terms, conditions and participants, could not lead to the Papists repentance. Its only goal, like the previous ones, is to promote pan-Christian ecumenism/unity, with reciprocal concessions and compromises.
But such “union” will never be accepted by the clergy and faithful people who vigilantly watch over the movement of the Papists and the Ecumenists.
(Translated by blog’ author); Source
The Church in the Face of Heresies and Schisms
(Fragments from a letter on ecumenism addressed to the Ecumenical Patriarch in 1985 by Bishop Augustine Kantiotes of Florina – a voice that transcends through eternity)
[…] With all due respect, then, which we have for the Ecumenical Patriarchate, let it be permitted us to say, that the contemporary state in general in the orthodox sphere, and particularly in the region of the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, judged by orthodox criteria, as are the sacred canons, is not at all pleasant, but engenders great dangers. And behold why.
According to our faith, which for centuries we declare in the Creed of the Faith, the Church is ONE (“I believe…in one holy, catholic, and apostolic Church”, 9th article of the Symbol of faith). And this very same ONE Church is our holy Orthodoxy, which preserves as a priceless treasure the sacred deposit, which the Lord gave to her through his holy apostles and through the ecumenical and regional synods. Concerning this deposit, the apostle Paul writing to his disciple and bishop of Ephesus Timothy, says:
“O Timothy, [keep vigilant] guard over the deposit, derailing the sacriligious vain-voices and contrieties of pseudo-knowledge, by which certain ones in declaring them concerning the faith, have missed the mark.”
Now in the response of the great Church of Constantinople to the encyclical of the pope of Rome Leontios 13th, during the year 1885, we read the following characteristic remarks.
“Christ-loving peoples of the glorious lands of the West! … The redeeming faith in Christ for all time ought to be correct in every respect and according to the holy Scripture and the apostolic traditions, upon which is based the teaching of the divine Fathers and the seven holy and god-selected Ecumenical Synods. It is obvious to the aforementioned that the entire Church of God, which contained within her bosoms the singular and unadulterated and wholesome salvific faith as a divine deposit, … this same Church is one and singular unto eternity, and not some multiple and variegated with time product; insomuch that evangelical truths do not accept variation or progress in time, as do the various philosophical systems, because “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever more” (Hebrews 13:8)” (See “The Dogmatic and Symbolic Monuments of the Orthodox Catholic Church” by John N. Karmiris, vol. 2 Athens 1953, p. 944).
And as an ever-memorable High-priest, a fervent lover of Orthodoxy, used to say,
“this same deposit contains everything and whatever our Orthodoxy has that is sacred: dogmatic exactitude, god-taught ecclesiastical commonwealth, sacred and holy traditions, a long and glorious history.”
The Church is ONE, the Orthodox Church. Besides her all the other religious forms are heresies or schisms. And they are improperly called churches. Now what should the relation of the Orthodox Church be towards the other confessions-heresies – this constituted the initial issue of discussion in regional and ecumenical synods. These same [synods,] in interpreting the teaching of the New Testament, and particularly a certain few of its characteristic passages, (as, for example, Math. 7:15; 16:6; Titus 3:10; 2 John verse 10,), articulated in the form of sacred canons and ordained, on penalty of defrockment (unrobing) or excommunication, the mind-set and stance of orthodox before heretics. Behold the text of the above passages:
•a) “Beware of the pseudo-prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but within are ravenous wolves” (Math. 7:15).
•b) “And Jesus said to them: Look (out for yourselves) and be careful, (keep guard) from the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees” (Math. 16:6).
•c) “Quit (communicating with) a heretical man after the first and second admonition” (Titus 3:10).
•d) “If somebody comes to you and bears not this teaching, do not accept him into your home, and do not greet him” (2 John verse 10).
Shall we, here, also call to remembrance the sacred canons? They are known to every bishop. We call to remembrance, however, certain ones of them, the following. 45th, 65th of the holy Apostles, of the 1st and 3rd Ecumenical Synod, and the 6th, 9th, 33rd, and 37th of the Synod of Laodikeia (See “Pedalion” published by “Asteros”, Athens 1957, pp. 50-51, 84-85, 170-171, 422, 433, 435). By the sacred canons, then, as many annotated and interpreted them, distinguished canon law specialists and interpreters, among which, also, is saint Nicodemos the Hagiorite, it is prohibited literally for heretics to enter into the sacred churches of the orthodox (“what is sacred is not to be treaded upon by heretics”); prohibited are: common concelebrations, joint prayer, addresses and counter addresses in the sacred churches: prohibited is the exchange of gifts between orthodox and heretics; prohibited is the entrance of orthodox into synagogues (congregations) of Jews or heretics, as also into conventions of apostasy [*].
[*] Of these sacred canons called to remembrance we cite herein the text of one only (the 6th Canon of the Laodiceia Synod), as well as the interpretation, which was composed by saint Nicodemos the Hagiorite, as also the related, relevant commentary from the sacred-canonical book “Constitution of Divine and Sacred Canons” of the authors G. Ralli-M.Potli (vol. III. Athens 1853, p. 176).
CANON 6 (Text): “Concerning the non allowance of heretics to enter into the house of God, who persist in heresy.” Interpretation (Nicodemos the Hagiorite); The ordinance of the present Canon is for heretics not to have license, permission to go inside the sacred temple of God, which is held by Orthodox, that is, if they persist in the heresy and do not want to return” (See “Pedalion”, publication of “Asteros”, Athens 1957, p. 422). Commentary (from the above mentioned book of Ralli-Potli); “Those who have fallen into heresies, and remaining in them, are ostracized from the Church, as being aliens” (Zonaras). “Heretics are not to step on what is sacred. It is not allowed for heretics to enter into the house of God…” (Aristenos).
Are the Sacred Canons [Kept and Actively] Observed?
And we ask: These sacred canons, which were put together in holy Spirit by god-bearing fathers, whose shoe laces we modern fathers are unworthy of untying, are in force or not in force in the Orthodox Church? Yes or no? If not, then honorably and with straight talk it must be said and it must be indicated, which organ superior to ecumenical and regional synods took such a more modern decision. For it will constitute an example of the ultimate hypocrisy, for the bishops, on the one hand, during the dreadful hour of their ordination to promise that they shall [vigilantly keep or actively] observe them without deviating, but in practice though, to trample them underfoot flagrantly and to provoke in this way the astonishment of the remaining faithful, who in this century of faithlessness preserve the kindlings of Orthodoxy, as the canon (rule) of faith and life. If however, the sacred canons continue to be in force, then these canons should be enforced in practice and every person that dares to stray away from their line should undergo the demanded annulments. To this question there must, at all events, be given an answer. For, it is not concerning an issue which, according to the teaching of the canons, there is room for economy and condescension. This is about the issue related to the faith, concerning the protection of that which is of the orthodox faith from apostates and heretics, who, so long as they do not repent, but persist in their errors, must be found at the canonical, [proper] distance. Now the keeping of such a distance must not be characterized as “misallodoxia” (hatred for people of other views) and harshness, but as an expression of a robust orthodox “phronema” (mentality; mind-set; mental orientation) and genuine Christian love, which through strictness looks to the enlightenment and coming to an awareness of the those in error and their return to the sacred fold. For this kind of strictness, which encloses depth of love, sacred Augustine clamours: “O merciful strictness!”.
Unfortunately, it must be confessed that the hurried and untortured (lax and unexamined) lifting of the anathemas between Rome and Constantinople that took place at the time of your predecessor patriarch Athenagoras, against which very visible hierarchs of the ecumenical Patriarchate protested, without however being heard, opened, as was consequent, the doors also to papism, and to the other heresies and schismatic bodies. The capstones (ceilings; roofs) of the Orthodox Church were abolished. The sacred canons, which ordain, define and regulate the relations of orthodox towards heretics, were trampled upon and are being trampled upon without reserve [shamelessly], and the scandalization coming from this is big. And so that we are not considered to be speaking undefinably [abstractly] and generally, from the many such violations we mention here certain ones, that is, the most known ones.
Samples of Violations
•1) The yearly concelebrations by orthodox and papists of the enthronement feast-day of the apostle Andrew (November 30) in the patriarchal church of the Phanar. Also the concelebration of the corresponding enthronement feast-day of the apostle Peter (29 June) in Rome by the papists and orthodox, and during these concelebrations the relative addresses and counter-addresses, and the exchange of gifts.
•2) The addresses that are delivered, counter-addresses, and joint prayers in orthodox churches during the visits of the pope in Sydney, Australia (in December of 1970), in Constantinople (the year 1979), in the patriarchal temple of Sambesy in Geneva, Switzerland (in June of the year 1984), and in Canada (in September of the year 1984).
•3) The joint prayers and observances of common liturgies by orthodox and papists during the conventions of members of the so-called Theological Dialogue in Patmos-Rhodes (the year 1980), in Monacho of Germany (in July of 1982) and in Chania-Crete (end of May – beginning of June of the year 1984).
•4) The observed joint prayers at the conventions of the “World Council of Churches” (W.C.C.), as also at its last general convention performed in VancouverCanada in the fall of the year 1983.
•5) The exchanging of gifts from time to time between papists and orthodox high-priests in Rome and elsewhere, on the occasion of various occurances (visits to the Vatican, the returning of sacred relics on its [Vatican’s] part to sacred metropolises of the Church of Greece, and so on).
•6) The public and spectacular reception of cardinal Vilemrants by the orthodox church of Crete, who followed the orthodox divine liturgy in the sacred church of Saint Mena in Heraclion, dressed in priestly adornment and finally blessed the orthodox people from the beautiful gate of the above [mentioned] sacred temple.
•7) The ecumenical co-prayer or joint prayer of orthodox and papists in the orthodox church of Brussels of Belgium, in which, on the part of the orthodox participated the previous metropolitan of Belgium mr. Aemilianos.
•8) The performance of a trisagion by orthodox high-priests of the ecumenical throne before the corpse of pope Paul the 6th who had passed away in the year 1978.
•9) The event during the enthronement of the metropolitan of Sweden (of the ecumenical throne) mr. Damascene, of a joint prayer session of orthodox, papists, and protestants in the sacred temple of Saint Paul of Geneva.
•10) The referral made during the year 1983 for the transmission of the divine eucharist to the papists by orthodox clerics of the sacred archdiocese of Thyateron and Great Britain, as also the participation more previously (in the year 1979) or orthodox clerics of greater London in an ecumenistical vesper service within the papal temple of Westminster.
•11) During the past year (May-June 1984) the reception and entrance into orthodox churches of cardinal of Vienna, Kainich, as also his entrance and his co-prayer or joint prayer held with orthodox in a sacred monastery of Mount Athos.
•12) The participation of the metropolitan of Germany, mr. Augustine (Lambardaki) in an ecumenistical worshipful function (blessing of the sweet bread) in July of the passed year 1984, as the newspapers of Stuttgard wrote up.
Towards the Wolves Politeness, Towards the Sheep Austerity?
The above cases, few of the many, constitute flagrant violations and trampling upon the sacred canons, which, if they occurred in other times, when the orthodox faith was robust, they would not be dared, and whichever chance violators would be punished in an exemplary manner. But today they take place publicly and indeed provocatively, and the most scandalous thing of all is this: wherever, that is, orthodox appear, faithful children of the Church, protesting against the violations, these are placed into persecution by their head parish priests of the regional orthodox churches, are excommunicated and punished, and by Hagiorite (Mount Athos) fathers that go about abroad in the diaspora, are placed under austere, strict penances (as the deprivation of the divine communion, and so on.) There are not lacking also even threats against the protesters, as additionally their beatings by those holding opposite views, which remind one of the frightful periods of the Church, during which the heretics were supported and taken care of [in every way], and the faithful were persecuted cruelly or mercilessly, as occurred during the period of arianism. What a frightful thing! Where have we ended up! Heretics of every sort, masons and [so-called] Jehova’s Witnesses, atheists and unbelievers, are not being excommunicated, but faithful children of the Church are being excommunicated, children which, as we said, preserve still the kindlings of the orthodox faith and the patristic piety/godliness. The most rev. of Australia, mr. Stylianos, the most rev. of Switzerland mr. Damascene, the god-beloved bishop of Toronto (Canada) mr. Soterios, and whoever else, forget that, according to the encyclical of the patriarchates of 1848, the faithful “laos,” people is the guardian of Orthodoxy and for no reason whatsoever is it permitted for him to be spurned, reviled or abused. Behold an excerpt from this most important response-encyclical:
“Among us neither Patriarchs nor Synods were capable ever of introducing new [things/lawless innovations], because the advocate or supporter of the Religion is that very body of the Church, that is the people itself, who wants its religion eternally unchanged and of the same form as that of its fathers” (See the cited work “The dogmatic and symbolic monuments of the Orthodox Catholic Church” by John N. Karmires, vol. 2, Athens 1953, p. 920.)
Now, as Basil the Great observes in his famous homily on the Six-day Creation, just as the sheep that grazes in the meadow discerns the poisonous plant and does not touch it quantitatively, thus also the rational sheep of the flock of Christ, however humble the position that they might posses, are taught godwards (from God, theothen) and discern the kind of spiritual food that is offered to them. The remaining faithful people, this remnant of Orthodoxy, today unfortunately is mocked, disdained and excommunicated, while the masons, the papists and the rest of the heretics chance to enjoy affectionate embraces and various forms of [delicate] attending towards the full, as it appears, application of the prohibitive ordinances of the canons of the Orthodox Church which are against this.
Under such circumstances the dividing line between orthodox and heretics is continually weakening and is tending towards disappearance or extinction, and the pan-heresy of ecumenism, according to the ever-memorable Justin Popovitch, is tending to flood Orthodoxy. In the souls of godly/pious priests and bishops of the Orthodox Church there are observed already crises of conscious, about whether, after such deviations – why not also betrayals? – they should continue to commemorate the names of bishops, archbishops and patriarchs, as correctly dividing the word of TRUTH. A few of them, to be sure, overstress love, saying that, because of love, it is demanded that many retreats and sacrifices be made. But genuine, authentic love is closely conjoined to the truth. It is not enough simply to say that we love, but also to “be true in love” (Ephesians 4:15); that is, to have real love and sincere love, accompanied by the true faith, and for us to look for the spiritual and psychical interest of the beloved [one]. For love without truth, without the faith, is falsehood and deception. Love as a heavenly plant, as a plant rejoicing in truth, takes pleasure, blossoms, and bears fruit only within the truth. And the whole truth, not only a part of it, is found in Orthodoxy.
The orthodox people, found before such kinds of unacceptable manifestations begins already to be in serious unrest. And the black flag, which was raised in some sacred monastery of Mount Athos, as a robust protest on account of the anti-orthodox deviations and manifestations, has touched and moved many.
Its image is gentle but its intent, perfidious
There is a “spirit” unveiling in Europe and the world in general, a (proteic) New-Age kind of spirit that frequently changes its appearance and speech, striking the Christian world from all sides. Its image is generally gentle, its discourse attractive, but its intent perfidious. This spirit can speak in beautiful words about family, but its intent is to annihilate it. It can also sermonize on the Church, full of “love” for all, a sort of religious syncretism, but its urge is primarily to dispel Orthodoxy. It can speak about nations and their homelands as something that it tries to support, but its intent is to destroy both the Church and the nations. This spirit is called ecumenism.
And this whole “beautiful” discourse, which takes on many faces, has only one purpose: the destruction of nations, the abolition of the Orthodox Church in particular and the establishment of a group of leaders, anointed by I do not know whom… to win over all nations to their spirit, to initiate them into certain social, political and religious orders, so that those leaders may always direct [world events]. Let us not be deceived! I live among these “speaders” of prolific and protean discourses that cover the world. And I know their hearts. They have no good intention for our Church! Under the guise of Christian love, of Christian peace, they hide their perfidious intent. And I came here to say: Do not get allured by it! …
In this “New Age” spirit I’m referring to, nothing exists with an absolute value.
For their intent is to destroy all the elements of the Faith, the moral elemets, the elements of kinship on which we have relied, since – so to say – there is no absolute truth. The truth, according to them, is that which I possess [i.e. subjective truth]. And therefore, when my neighbor is wrong, I cannot tell him: “You’re deceived!” Nor can he tell me that I have erred, because we are absolute entities [onto ourselves]. We have our opinions which are absolute, but before others, they hold no value! This game of hiding the truth is an insidious invention of Satan.
On the True face of Ecumenism
(An interview taken by a reporter in 2005)
Interviewer: – Father, can a Christian, a Muslim and a Jew live together in peace and harmony and what would be the secret?
Fr. George: – Their mutual respect; this is the only manifestation of good harmony. In no case, the participation in common prayer or services. These are things that break the elements of dogma of different religions.
Interviewer: – Does everyone worship in the same God?
Fr. George: – Not always… We only know One (Trinitarian) God, Who reveals Himself to us and we worship Him. Other forms of gods are distorted or false.
Interviewer: – What do you believe to be the greatest temptation that an orthodox faithful faces today?
Fr. George: – Ecumenism.
Interviewer: - …My next question was if you agreed with the existence of the ecumenical dialogue, but…
Fr. George: – No. Absolutely not. For that ecumenism is a more subtle form of masonry. Masonry tries to destroy the Orthodox faith and the Christian faith in general. Ecumenism is trying to cling on few ideas that seem very generous: why shall we argue among ourselves, let us live like brothers, let us love one another, we can worship together and pray together … things that are not allowed in Orthodoxy. All the 7 Ecumenical Councils forbid the co-prayer with those apart from Orthodoxy. If we do not obey these canons, and become subject to ecumenism and the pressures and promises of the West, which are all vein lies, it means that we violate all canons of the Orthodox Church, the only true ecumenical one.
Interviewer: - Under the current state of the media when Masonry is so publicized, please underline few elements as of what this anti – Christian movement means!
Fr. George: - Masonry is a demonic organization that worships Lucifer, has some secrets and keeps them firmly, but reveals itself to the world as a charitable organization that takes care of the poor. Every Masonic Lodge deals with Unitarianism or an order, but beyond these facts, the Spirit of God is absent and all these are made up for deceit. So (my child), do not be fooled by it. Not everyone who speaks promptly in the name of God has Him in his heart, and they have Him the least. The greatest danger is this process of globalization and the anointing of some individuals entitled to lead mankind. Who is anointing them? They are the anointed sons of Satan and not sons of the living God.
As for us been “small” and having no “powerful speech”, let’s keep our faith and let us not forget that we represent the true faith that saves, and lets strive with all out power to fulfill the duties to our nations and our Church.
(Taken from Fr George’ Living Words, translated by EC, to be continued)
Reading from the Synaxarion:
On the Sunday that falls from the 13th to the 19th of the present month, we chant the Service to the Holy and God-bearing Fathers who came together in the Seven Ecumenical Councils, that is:
- the First Council, of the 318 Holy Fathers who assembled in Nicaea in 325 to condemn Arius, who denied that the Son of God is consubstantial with the Father; the Fathers of the First Council also ordained that the whole Church should celebrate Pascha according to the same reckoning;
- the Second Council, of the 150 Holy Fathers who assembled in Constantinople in 381 to condemn Macedonius, Patriarch of Constantinople, who denied the Divinity of the Holy Spirit;
- the Third Council, of the 200 Holy Fathers who assembled in Ephesus in 431, to condemn Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople, who called Christ a mere man and not God incarnate;
- the Fourth Council, of the 630 Holy Fathers who assembled in Chalcedon in 451, to condemn Eutyches, who taught that there was only one nature, the divine, in Christ after the Incarnation, and Dioscorus, Patriarch of Alexandria, who illegally received Eutyches back into communion and deposed Saint Flavian, Patriarch of Constantinople, who had excommunicated Eutyches;
- the Fifth Council in 535, of the 165 Holy Fathers who assembled in Constantinople for the second time to condemn (which we celebrate on July 25th)
Origen and Theodore of Mopsuestia, the teacher of Nestorius;
- the Sixth Council in 680, of the 170 Holy Fathers who assembled in Constantinople for the third time, to condemn the Monothelite heresy, which taught that there is in Christ but one will, the divine; and
- the Seventh Council in 787, of the 350 Holy Fathers who assembled in Nicaea for the second time to condemn Iconoclasm.
On the Importance of Holy Tradition
By Father George Calciu
Faith has its place in a balanced Orthodox environment, and a natural relationship with the world. What I mean is that we live in the world and must do what it takes to survive in it, but not at the cost of compromises, betrayals, or renouncing Christ. Orthodoxy gives us balance.
We (the cradle Orthodox), possess a very ancient tradition. I look at the American Orthodox. They are very passionate for Orthodoxy, but they’re locking Holy Tradition. So, in a sense, they are streams branching off the Russian, Bulgarian, Serbian, or Romanian tradition, since they do not have that traditional instruction from their ancestors, as we do. We stand on a firm rock: the teachings of the Holy Fathers, the ascetic experience of the desert’ monks, the entire Orthodox Tradition handed to us in patristic books or by Oral tradition; and these, regardless of our sins, constitutes a stone foundation, that unshaken ground where our feet may walk and not sink, like a boat in which Jesus is present. We do not sink because we hold fast to tradition. Yes, we are sinners, but God preserves us when we follow Him and the teachings of the Holy Fathers, even though sometimes we fail… But is there anyone without sin? Is there anyone who has not been tempted? Who does not dirty his soul with evil thoughts, deeds or lust? But aside from all these failings, we have an unshaking ground.
This ground is the Orthodox Church, the tradition of the Holy Fathers, the Seven Ecumenical Councils, the struggle (experience) of the saints in the wilderness of Thebaida, Sinai…,in our country (Father refers here to Romania, his former country – tr.n.), and the monasteries found everywhere. Having this reaches, we do not sink.
“If I keep silent, I’ll be no different from unbelievers”
The following beautiful story is found in the Paterikon (collection of the old sayings of the Desert Fathers – tr.n.): the devil – taking the appearance of a man – came to a very holy monk and asked him: “Are you that monk…I heard off?” “This is him.” “That monk, the liar?” . ” Yes, that’s me.” ” That wicked monk?” “Yes.” “The greedy monk?”. “Yes, indeed.” “The liar who teaches the word of God, but does not live it? ” “Yes , I am one.” “That monk, the heretic?” “No. Such, I am not!”
So here is how far he would go! He accepted everything that demeaned him, but when he was tempted on heresy, he stood fast and said no. This is where the limit of tolerance is. When that tolerance goes beyond God and the Truth of our Christian faith, it becomes a blasphemy to our Lord and our soul.
The Holy Fathers had settled in Councils all aspects of church dogma that nowadays are trampled on. In the decisions of the Holy Synods many things (happening today), were foreseen: from heresies, ecumenism, denying God, public fornication, accepting as virtues: vices and perversions, to the fact of being proud to declare yourself gay. There’s no passion that the Holy Councils have not anticipated or spoken on, as they declared: him who does these is a heretic and a lunatic departed from faith and the Church .
Even (some of) our hierarchs have lost their sense of Christian dignity, which is incalculably greater than any human dignity. They place themselves under the attachment or helm of one or some another powerful elites of the day. I was greatly distressed by that. I had not yet wrote to the Patriarch (the former patriarch of Romania, now with the Lord tr.n), but I ‘ll write him later; for in a discussion I had with His Beatitude, I said:
“Your Holiness, God gave me a gift. He gave me “the gift” of suffering and through it I became wiser. Perhaps not wise enough considering all that I’ve been through (father is referring here to his 21 years of suffering in the communist gulag for having confessed the Christian faith – tr.n.), but the wisdom that God grant me gives me strength to speak up this word for Christ, for the Church and my nation;” and now I have to confess, for if I keep silent I’ll be like everyone else (who does not confesses Christ – tr.n). Because tolerance has a limit: that is not pushing beyond faith, or God. Beyond that, there is no tolerance.
Many hierarchies are silent, because “the time has come” (cf. Apoc) when if you confess (the Truth), will not be accepted in Europe (in the European Union – tr.n)! Such as this Europe means the ultimate paradise!! Will we not be accepted in Europe? (transl. note: the EU). Very good. Then know, we’ll be accepted in heaven. There (is the place), where God receives us. […]
I often wrote against ecumenism. I think I said everything I could have about this “heresy of our century ” as the Greek monks call it. I met many of the leaders of the “Ecumenist Group” and saw their compromised soul for the politics and their irrepressible desire to compromise others, even the Orthodox groups which defend the purity of faith. Whereever I go, the monks are wondering with pain and anxiety: “Where are we going with this? And to what limit shall we accept hierarchical compromise? Should we seek another jurisdiction? Shall we run towards the mountains, the forests and desert in order to be saved and escape this satanic temptation? Will we be hunted like long ago the defenders of icons by the iconoclasts? ” …
What I want to stress here is perhaps not the danger of ecumenism in itself – maybe things are not quite so serious as they may seem – but the distress that Satan is causing in the souls of monks through this ecumenism, and I mean not only in the hearts of monks from Romania, but throughout the orthodox world. This leads to anxieties and fear, and raises concerns for personal salvation from worldly dangers at the expense of sanctity and, the beginning of many compromises that once started, no-one knows where they will stop…
What I wrote here, I wanted to express to the hierarchs. But I think such letter would be doomed to be forgotten due to lack of interest and may be a cause for anger. What remains for us is prayer for the guarding of monasteries, for the inner peace of the monks and for the un-disturbance of the Orthodox life in our country and the world.
(Taken from Fr George’ Living Words, translated by EC, to be continued)
More on Elder biography and some of his writtings at: Elder Paisios
“It is good to have the intellectual powers that take man to the moon costing billions of dollars in fuel expenses and so on, but it is better to have the spiritual powers that raise man to God, his ultimate destination, with only a bit of fuel, a mere dried piece of bread” — Elder Paisios
”Spiritual Counsels” of Elder Paisios, A Spiritual Father for Our Times
The humble are like nightingales that hide in ravines and spread joy to the souls of men with their sweet songs.
We mustn’t despair when we struggle and continuously see nothing but the slightest progress. We all do nearly nothing, some a little more, some a little less. When Christ sees our little effort He gives us an analogous token and so our nearly nothing becomes valuable and we can see a little progress. For this reason we mustn’t despair, but hope in God.
Unfortunately, in our days, there are many people who upset the mother Church. Of these, those that are educated have understood dogma with their minds and not with the spirit of the Holy Fathers. At the same time, those who are unlettered have grabbed hold of dogma with their teeth, which is why they grind their teeth when they speak about ecclesiastical topics. In this way, greater harm is caused by those in the Church than by those who battle it from without.
That which is asked of every Orthodox person is to instill a “good uneasiness” into the heterodox,’ that they might understand that they are in delusion. This is so they will not falsely calm their conscience and thus be deprived in this life of the rich blessings of Orthodoxy and in the life to come of the even greater and eternal blessings of God.
The person who is possessed by material things is always subjugated to unhappiness and anxiety, for on the one hand he trembles for fear that they take his things away from him, while on the other he trembles for fear that his soul be taken from him. Now, the miser whose hand is sore from his tight hold on things, also squeezed his own heart, and turned it into stone. In order for him to be healed, he must visit unhappy people, to suffer, so he will be forced to open his hand slowly, slowly, and his heart of stone will also start to soften. It will become a human heart and in this way the gates of Paradise will also open.
When a monk doesn’t find spiritual work, he cannot be helped even by his elder, and spends his time with external things. He becomes spiritually wild and, even if he was to be tied down in his cell, he could not sit still. He will always enjoy contact with people, to give tours, to speak about the domes and archeology [of the monastery], to show them the pots with various flowers, to treat them to rich, worldly meals, and to give rest only to worldly people.
The monk flees far from the world, not because he detests the world, but because he loves the world and in this way he is better able to help the world through his prayer, in things that don’t happen humanly but only through divine intervention. In this way God saves the world.
The monk is helped greatly when the monastery is far from the world, far from archeological areas and worldly noises. Even monasteries that are great sites of pilgrimage lose sight of their true goal, for many times from being a monastery they end up as a business. For this reason some bishops, very rightly, would like to have these sites, for monastics must love poverty, which they were ordered by God to preserve. Unfortunately, however, they do not limit themselves to the necessary, the simple, as much for themselves as, more generally, for the monastery. Nor do they refuse things from the faithful, or encourage them to help, on their own, our poor, suffering brethren. But what do they do instead? They gather the sweat even of the poor and fill the monastery with a huge amount of oil lamps and bells, thinking that God is glorified in this way. This type of piety, however, is like the piety which many Russian clerics had who became the cause, though they didn’t intend it, of the oil lamps, chandeliers and bells being made into cannons so as to hit the very Church of Christ.
When an elder doesn’t have much experience, but has a great deal of love and much humility, he is able to help his spiritual children by means of the guidance of more experienced elders, as well as by the grace of God, which he continually receives due to his great humility. However, the young cleric who gathers young people as his disciples reveals his great pride, which he has down to the marrow of his bones. He is like a baby born with a beard-a monster-and those that follow him reveal that they have an ailment of the brain or heart. Also, those clerics who study psychology so as to help souls using human contrivances are not spiritually well. The strange thing is that their teachers of psychology don’t believe in God or in the existence of the soul. If they accept the soul’s existence, they do so in their own unique way. In this way these clerics show that they are spiritually sick and that they need to be examined by the Holy Fathers. Having been healed, they would be able to discern, on their own, the sick spirit and would experience divine grace at the same time. Thus from that time forth they would use the divine energy for those suffering souls and not human contrivances.
Those who rush to be made spiritual fathers, though they still have many spiritual toxins, are like unripe, sour quince, which, as much sugar as we may pour on, never becomes a nice sweet; but, even if it does, it quickly gets sour.’ Sweet words and great truths have value when they come from genuine mouths, and are received only by those souls that are well-disposed and by those great people who have a pure mind.
One word of a humble and [spiritually] experienced man that is painfully born from the depths of his heart has greater worth than a bunch of clever sayings of an external mans that come out quickly from his educated mouth. His words don’t speak truth to the souls of men, for they are fleshly words and not the flames of the fire of Pentecost.
If a passionate man tries to correct an egotist, steel hits flint and fires are ignited! If he tries to correct a sensitive person, he hurts him greatly. It would be like a wild man taking a thick wire brush to clean out a little mucus from a baby’s eye.
What a wonderful thing it will be when we know ourselves! Then humility will be for us a state of being, and God will position us well with His divine gifts. Then the spiritual laws will cease working, and the one who rises the highest will humble himself, for we will all walk low, we won’t fall and we will continually receive the grace of God which is given to the humble.
Holy asceticism, together with its great self-denial, which is born from great faith in a burst of love for God, brings man to true joy. He is happy to live, for his heart flutters, glorifying his God of benefactions. He is also happy to die, for he thus goes close to God again, and will continue there his doxology.
Virtue has the habit of betraying man, wherever he may hide. Though he may act as a fool-for-Christ,’ still he will be betrayed, though it may bee later on, and he will help many souls.
The goal of reading is the application, in our lives, of what we read. Not to learn it by heart, but to take it to heart. Not to practice using our tongues, but to be able to receive the tongues of fire and to live the mysteries of God. If one studies a great deal in order to acquire knowledge and to teach others, without living the things he teaches, he does no more than fill his head with hot air. At most he will manage to ascend to the moon using machines. The goal of the Christian is to rise to God without machines.
Let us not expect the spiritual spring if we don’t first pass through the spiritual winter during which the spiritual vermin die. We mustn’t expect the divine to blossom within us if the human hasn’t first died.
Costly (fervent) love, which sacrifices itself and does not partake of the world, is itself consumed by the love of God from within. The life of man is then a continuous Lent and all of his days are a continuous joy of light. Costly love for God, with its sacrifices sweetens the heart to boiling, and divine love, which cannot be held in, like steam, soars and so unites to God. This state of spiritual madness not only takes man out of himself, but even the heart is taken from the flesh, that is, from the fleshly desires, and is clothed completely in, and refined in God.
Those who constantly partake of the love of God are often indifferent to material nourishment. Or, if they eat, they don’t taste the food, for even then they continue to feel God intensely and to partake of the sweet blessing of His love. When the heart becomes a furnace through the love of God, it is then able to burn up all vanity that approaches, and this brings internal peace when man passes through the fiery trials of his life.
There are no people more blessed than those who have made contact with the “heavenly television station” and who are piously connected to God. In the same way, no people are more wretched than those who have cut contact with God and wander, dizzy, around the world, flipping through the world’s many television stations so as to forget, if only for a short time, the anguish of the derailment of their lives.
It is very helpful to read a bit of the Gerontikon before beginning to pray. Then your heart will warm up, the lid will come down on your many worldly cares, and you will be able to pray without distraction.
In the hour of prayer, when our mind wanders to thoughts of bad things, or if these thoughts come without our wanting them, we shouldn’t wage an offensive war against the enemy, because, even if all the lawyers in the world joined together, they wouldn’t make any headway with a little demon. Only through ignoring them can one chase these thoughts away. The same is true for blasphemous thoughts.
If you want to grab God’s attention so He’ll hear you during prayer, turn the dial to humility, for God always works in this frequency; then humbly ask for His mercy.
My brother, don’t ask for anything in prayer except for repentance. Repentance will bring you humility, humility will bring you the grace of God, and God will uphold you in His grace and will give you whatever you need for your own salvation as well as whatever is needed, should the case arise, for you to help another soul in need.
When man is spiritually healthy and distances himself from other people, so as to better help them through his prayers, then he regards all people as holy and only himself does he regard as a sinner.
If we haven’t got control of our mind during the hour of spiritual study we are not benefited at all. We simply yawn and tire ourselves without a goal, for we cannot remember anything. In the same way, when the printer doesn’t have his mind on his work and forgets to put ink in, the printing presses work without printing anything.
All evil begins in the mind, when it is interested only in science. Scientists don’t find their inner peace and their balance then. However, when their minds are attached to God, scientists use their science to cultivate their inner world and to help the world, for their minds are sanctified.
The mind, when it begins to spend time near God, oftentimes forgets, not only its dwelling, but even this dwelling of the soul, this earthen flesh.
In all things we must put forth good thoughts and refuse to accept evil telegrams” if we want to purify our heart and change the evil machines of the heart into good machines; then gold will be turned into holy chalices and broken bells into chandeliers.’ Even discarded paper will be turned into fresh napkins. When, however, the heart is evil and it views good gold as bronze, it will make it into bullets and cannonballs.
Oh, blessed desert by which created man is so greatly helped to be reconciled with his Creator, and is transformed into an earthly Paradise – as you gather once again the wild animals around the person you tamed!
As much as is possible, love the desert and the immaterial life, and fly from your material possessions to the fold of the poor. Simplify your life so as to be freed from worldly anxiety, so that your life might have meaning.
Conscience is the first law of God, which He carved deeply into the hearts of the first-created. In turn we each make a photocopy from our parents when we’re born. Those who manage to heighten their sense of conscience through daily study of themselves feel themselves to be foreigners in this world, and worldly people are baffled by their gracious behavior. Those who haven’t studied their conscience benefit neither from their spiritual studies nor from counsels from their elders. They won’t even be able to keep God’s commandments, for they have lost their senses altogether.
The soft life makes people useless. Without toil and struggle sanctification doesn’t come.
When one realizes one’s sinfulness and the great mercy of God, the heart cracks, as hard as it may be, and real tears fall of themselves and then man prays and weeps without effort. This is because humility works continuously together with philotimo and drills on the heart so that the springs increase, and the hand of God continually strokes the hard-working and philotimo child.
Let us struggle with all our powers to gain Paradise. The gate is very narrow, and don’t listen to those who say that everyone will be saved. This is a trap of satan so that we won’t struggle.
Christ is wholly love, goodness and consolation, and never suffocates. He has an abundance of spiritual oxygen.
[God allows temptations] so as to dust off our soul, for it to be purified through sorrows and weeping, so that we are forced to take refuge in God for our salvation.
Theology is the word of God that is comprehended by pure, humble and spiritually reborn souls. It is not the beautiful words of the mind which are formed with philological artistry and which are expressed with the juridical or worldly spirit. Created words can’t speak to man’s soul, just as a beautiful statue is not able to speak, unless the audience is very worldly and is satisfied simply by beautiful words. Theology that is taught as a [worldly] science usually examines things historically and consequently understands things externally. Because patristic asceticism and inner experience are absent, this theology is full of doubts and questions. With his mind man is not able to comprehend the divine energies unless he first struggles ascetically to live these energies, so that the grace of God might work within him.
Children contract their first spiritual colds from the open windows of their parents’ senses. The mother passes on her cold especially when she is not modestly dressed and scandalizes her children with her behavior.
The holy life of parents instructs the souls of their children and so they naturally obey them and grow up with piety and without psychological problems, and the children are pleased with their parents. The parents are gladdened by their children in this life and in life eternal, where they will once again glory in them.
Whoever is at peace in the material world and is not concerned about the salvation of his soul is like the senseless birds who don’t make a noise from within the egg, so as to break the shell and come out to enjoy the sun-the heavenly flight in the life of Paradise-but instead remain unmoving and die inside the egg shell.
The pretense of worldly politeness is very harmful, for it fools one and opens one’s heart to the worldly person, and in the final analysis it wastes one’s piety, for the worldly person doesn’t know what piety is. It’s like giving golden pounds to people that only know bronze pennies.
Blows are necessary for the salvation of our souls, for they cleanse the soul. The more one hits and rubs clothing, the better it is cleaned. Similarly, the more one hits octopus and cuttlefish, the more they are softened and washed from ink.
Live in constant glorification of and thanksgiving towards God, for the greatest sin is ingratitude and the worst sinner is the ungrateful person.
At the beginning of the spiritual life, out of love, God doesn’t allow anyone to realize either his sinfulness or the many benefactions that He bestows on him, so as to keep him from despair, especially if he is sensitive.
Those who are in the world must not despair when they are overcome by many passions, and when their nature is unruly and races passionately downwards. Rather, they must trust in the almighty power of God and turn the steering wheel of their powerful engine back onto the road toward God, upwards. Soon after they will pass other, slow-moving cars, which for years have been driving the road toward God.
On Spiritual Study
(An Excerpt from ”Spiritual Awakening”)
— Geronda (elder in Greek), what books should be read by those who are beginning their spiritual search?
— First, they should read the New Testament to learn the meaning of Christ, to be shaken up a little; later they can read the Old Testament. Do you know how hard it is when they have read nothing and yet they come to ask for help? It is like an elementary school child going to a university professor and saying, “Help me.” What can the professor tell him? “One plus one equals two”? Others, again, are not spiritually restless; they come and say, “Father, I have no problems and I am just fine; I only dropped by to see you.” Man can never say that he has no problems, no concerns; he will have something. The struggle for the spiritual life never ends. Or some people come and tell me, “Tell us spiritual things.” It is as if they went to the grocery store and said, “Give us some groceries.” The grocer is at a loss and needs to know what they need. They need to say, “I want so much sugar, so much rice, and so on, but they only say, ‘Give us groceries.’ “It is like going to the pharmacy and saying, “Give us medicines,” without first saying what their illness is, or whether or not they went to the doctor, and what he advised them to do. Go figure! You see, whoever is seriously concerned over his spiritual condition knows, more or less, what he is lacking, and once he seeks it, he benefits.
As a novice, when I read something I liked, I wrote it down so as not to forget it, and I would try to apply it to my life. I didn’t readjust to pass my time pleasantly. I had a spiritual restlessness and, when I could not understand something, I would ask for an explanation. I read relatively little, but I checked myself a great deal on what I read. “What point am I at? What must I do?” I would sit myself down and go through such a self-examination. I did not allow what I read to pass me by untaxed.
Today with so much reading people end up like tape recorders, filling up their cassettes with superfluous matters. According to Abba Isaac, however, Wisdom not based on righteous activity is a deposit of disgrace.  You see, many who are interested in sports read sports magazines and newspapers while they are sitting. They may be like the fatted calf, but they still marvel at the athletes. “Oh he is marvellous! He is great! Bravo!” But they don’t work up any sweat, and they don’t lose any pounds. They read and read about athletic events, and then they go and lie down; they gain nothing. They are satisfied with the pleasure of reading. Some worldly people read newspapers, others romantic literature or an adventure novel, still others watch a football game at the stadium and pass their time. The same thing is done by some people who read spiritual books. They may spend the whole night reading spiritual books with great intensity and be content. They take a spiritual book, sit comfortably, and begin reading. “Oh, I profited from that,” they say. It would be better to say, “I enjoyed myself, I spent my time pleasantly.” But this is not profit.
We profit when we understand what we read, when we censure ourselves and discipline ourselves by applying it: “What does this mean? Where do I stand in relation to this spiritual truth? What must I do now?” After all, the more we learn, the more responsibility we have to live up to what we have learned. I am not saying that we should not read so that we can plead ignorance and therefore be free of responsibility, for this is a cunning deception; I am saying that we should not read merely to pass our time pleasantly. The bad thing is that if someone reads a lot and has a strong memory, he may remember many things and may even talk a lot about what he has read, and thus deceive himself into thinking that he also personally observes the many things he reads. So he has created an illusion toward himself and others. So don’t be comforted by the thought that you read a lot. Instead, turn your attention to applying what you have read. Much reading alone will only educate you encyclopaedically. Isn’t that what they call it?
— Yes, Geronda.
— The goal, however, is to be transformed in a God-centred manner. I am not aiming to be a university professor where I would need to know many things. But if I ever need something from this worldly knowledge, I can easily learn it once I have acquired the God-centred knowledge. Do you see what I mean?
— When one has a distraction, is it beneficial to concentrate through study?
— Yes, one should read a little, something very demanding, in order to warm the soul. This keeps distractions and concerns under the lid, and the mind is transposed into a divine realm. Otherwise, the mind is diverted by whatever task is preoccupying it.
— Geronda, when someone is tired or upset, he usually wants to read something light and easy, a short story or a novel, perhaps, or something like that.
— Is there no spiritual book that is appropriate for such times? The purpose is not to forget one’s worry, but to be redeemed. Such light reading does not redeem. Novels, newspapers and television have no value in developing a spiritual life. Quite often even some religious periodicals are damaging to Christians, because they stir a foolish zealousness that leads to confusion. Take care. Do not read unnecessary things during your free time. Some reading matter is completely hollow, like a water-pumpkin; it is like looking in a haystack to find a kernel of wheat. Some people say, “Yes, but they relax me.” But how can they be relaxing, my good man, if they make you dizzy and cause your eyes to ache? It is better to rest by sleeping. You can learn much about a person’s spiritual state from what he reads. One who is very worldly will probably be reading indecent magazines. One who is less worldly will read less indecent magazines and newspapers. One who is religious will read religious periodicals, or contemporary religious books or patristic texts, and so on.
— Geronda, which spiritual books are the most helpful?
— The various patristic texts, which thank God are available by the thousands today, are very helpful. One can find whatever one needs and desires in these books. They are authentic spiritual nourishment and a sure guide on the spiritual path. However, in order to be of benefit to us, they have to be read with humility and prayer. Patristic texts reveal the inner spiritual condition of the soul, much as axial tomography reveals the inner structures of the body. Each sentence of the patristic texts contains a multitude of meanings, and each person can interpret them according to their own spiritual state of being. It is better to read the ancient text rather than a translation, because the translator interprets the original verse according to his own spirituality. In any case, in order to understand the writings of the Fathers one must constrain oneself, focus and live spiritually, for the spirit of the Fathers is perceived through and by the spirit only. Especially helpful are the Ascetical Homilies by Saint Isaac the Syrian, but they must be studied slowly so that they can be assimilated little by little as spiritual food. The Evergetinos is truly of great benefit, because it gives us insight into the Whole spirit of the Holy Fathers, it is helpful because it describes the struggles of the Fathers against each and every one of the passions, and, by learning how they worked on the spiritual life, the soul is greatly assisted. Also, the Synaxaria, the Lives of the Saints, are sacred history and very helpful, especially for young people, but they should not be read as stories.
We do not need great knowledge to be devout. If we concentrate and meditate on the few things we know, our heart will be spiritually embroidered. One may be profoundly affected by a single hymn, while another may feel nothing, even though he may know all the hymns by heart, as he has not entered into the spiritual reality. So, read the Fathers, even one or two lines a day. They are very strengthening vitamins for the soul.
6. See Saint Isaac the Syrian, The Ascetical Homilies, Homily 1, p. 8.
7. A familiar anthology of ascetic and patristic sayings and incidents, which were compiled by the Monk Paul the Evergetinos, the founder of the famous Holy Monastery of the Theotokos Evergetithos (Benefactress) in Constantinople.
A private letter Concerning Ecumenism
The Holy Mountain, January 23, 1969
Reverend Father Haralambos,
In as much as I see the great uproar which is happening in our Church because of the various movements of groups in favor of unification [of churches], as well as the interaction of the Oecumenical Patriarch with the Pope, I was pained as Her child, and considered it good, besides my prayers, to send a small thread (which I have as a poor monk), that it too may be used as a means of stitching together the multipart garment of our Mother. I know you will show love and share it only with your religious friends. Thank you.
First of all, I would like to ask forgiveness from everyone for being bold to write something when I am neither holy nor a theologian. I trust everyone will understand me, that my writing is nothing more than an expression of my deep pain for the unfortunate stance and worldly love of our father Patriarch Athenagoras.
It appears he loved another modern womanwhich is called the Papist Churchbecause our Orthodox Mother has not made an impression on him at all, for She is so modest. This love, which was heard from Constantinople, caused a sensational impression of sorts among many Orthodox, who nowadays live in an environment of such meaningless love, in cities across the entire world. Moreover, this love is of the spirit of our age: the family will lose its divine meaning from just such kinds of love, which have as their aim breakup and not union.
With just such a worldly love the Patriarch takes us to Rome. While he should have shown love first to us his children and to our Mother Church, he unfortunately sent his love very far away. The result, it’s true, delighted the secular children who love the worldwho have this worldly love, but completely scandalized us, the children of Orthodoxy, young and old, who have fear of God…
With sadness I must write that among all the “unionists” I’ve met, never have I seen them to have either a drop or shred of spirituality. Nevertheless, they know how to speak about love and union while they themselves are not united with God, for they have not loved Him.
I would like tenderly to beseech all our unionist brothers: Since the issue of the union of the Churches is something spiritual, and we have need of spiritual love, let’s leave it to those who greatly love God and are [genuine] theologians, like the Fathers of the Churchnot the legalistswho have offered up and continue to give themselves in service to the Church (instead of just buying big candles), and who were and are lit by the fire of love for God rather than by the lighter of the church sacristan
We should recognize that there exist not only natural but also spiritual laws. Therefore, the future wrath of God is not averted by a convocation of sinners (for then we shall receive double the wrath), but by repentance and adherence to the commandments of the Lord.
Also, we should know well that our Orthodox Church does not have even one shortcoming. The only apparent insufficiency is the shortage of sober Hierarchs and Shepherds with a Patristic foundation. “Few are chosen.” This should not, however be upsetting. The Church is Christ’s Church, and He governs Her. It is not a Temple built by the pious from rocks, sand and mortar, which is then destroyed by the fire of barbarians; the Church is Christ Himself. “And whosoever shall fall on this Stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” (Matt. 21:44-45)
When He must needs, the Lord will bring forth the Mark of Ephesuses and Gregory Palamases, so as to bring together all our scandalized brethren, to confess the Orthodox Faith, to strengthen the Tradition, and to give great joy to our Mother, the Church.
In times past we see that many faithful children of our Church, monastics and laymen, have unfortunately broken away from Her on account of the unionists. In my opinion, separation from the Church each time the Patriarch makes a mistake is not good at all. From within, close to the Mother Church, it is the duty and obligation of each member to struggle in their own way. To cease commemoration of the Patriarch; to break away and create their own Church; and to continue to speak insultingly to the Patriarch: this I think, is senseless.
If, for this or that occasional deviation of the Patriarchs, we separate ourselves and make our own Churchesmay God protect us!we’ll pass up even the Protestants. It is easy for one to separate but difficult to return. Unfortunately we have many “churches” in our times, created either by big groups or even just one person. Because there happened to be a church in their kalyve (I am speaking about things happening on the Holy Mountain), they figured they could create their own independent Church.
If the unionists gave the Church the first wound, the aforementioned give the second.
Let’s pray that God will illumine all of us, including our Patriarch Athenagoras, that union of these “churches” will come about first; that tranquility would be realized within the scandalized Orthodox fold; so that peace and love would exist among the Eastern Orthodox Churches. Then let’s think about union with other “Confessions”and only if they sincerely desire to embrace Orthodox Dogma.
I would further like to say that there does exist another, third group, within our Church. They are the brethren who remain as Her faithful children, but who don’t have spiritual concord between themselves. They spend their time criticizing one another, and not for the general good of the struggle. The one monitors the other (more than himself) to see what he will say or write so as to ruthlessly nail him. However, if this person had said or written the same thing, he’d certainly have supported it with numerous passages from the Holy Scriptures and the Fathers.
Great harm comes of this; for while the one injures his neighbor, the other strikes him back before the eyes of all the faithful. Often times, disbelief is sown in the souls of the weak, because they are scandalized by such people. Unfortunately, some from among us make senseless claims against the others. We want them to conform to our own spiritual character. In other words, when someone else doesn’t harmonize with our own character, or is only mildly tolerantor even a little sharpwith us, immediately we jump to the conclusion that he is not a spiritual person.
We’re all needed within the Church. All the Fathers, both the mild and the austere, offered their services to Her. Just as the sweet, sour, bitter and even pungent herbs are necessary for a man’s body (each has its own flavor and vitamins), the same is true of the Body of the Church. All are necessary. The one fills up the spiritual character of the other, and all of us are duty bound to endure not only the particular spiritual character, but even the human weaknesses we each have.
Again, I come sincerely asking pardon from all for being so bold to write. I am only a simple monk, and my work is to strive, as much as I am able, to divest myself of the old man, and to help others and the Church, through God, by prayer. But because heartbreaking news regarding our Holy Orthodoxy has reached even my hermitage, I was greatly pained, and thus considered it good to write that which I felt. Let’s all pray that God grants His Grace, and may each of us help in his own way for the glory of our Church.
With much respect to all,
Elder Paisios explains Philotimo
(from the book “Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain” by monk Christodoulos of Mt Athos
Father Paisios told me an incident from his childhood years:
“When I was a child and my soul was still pure, I loved Christ very much. I used to walk in the woods carrying a cross in my hands, chanting and praying and wishing to become a monk. My parents told me that I should first grow up and then leave to go to the monastery. One day, as I was taking my usual walk in the woods, I met a fellow villager. When he saw me carrying the cross, he asked me; “what is this?” “The Cross of our Christ,” I replied. Since he did not have any positive thoughts in his mind, he said to me, “Arsenios, you are silly. You don’t mean to say that you believe in God. He does not exist. These religious stories are made up by some priests. We have evolved from the monkey. Christ was simply a man like all of us.
When he finished, he got up and left. His twisted thoughts filled my innocent soul with black heavy clouds. Being alone in the woods, I began to think that maybe God does not exist. As I was feeling confused, desperate and extremely asked, I asked Christ to give me an indication of His existence, so I could believe in Him. But He did not respond. Feeling exhausted, I lay on the ground to rest. Suddenly, a positive thought, full of philotimo (responsive gratefulness), entered my innocent soul; “Hold on for a second! Wasn’t Christ the kindest man ever on earth? No one has ever found anything evil in Him. So, whether He is God or not, I don’t care. Based on the fact that He is the kindest man on earth and I haven’t known anyone better, I will try to become like Him and absolutely obey everything the Gospel says. I will even give my life for Him, if needed, since He is so kind.
All my thoughts of disbelief disappeared and my soul was filled with immense joy. The power of my grateful thought (philotimo) dissolved all the ambiguous ones. When I started believing in Christ and decided to love Him as much as I could, solely out of philotimo (responsive gratefulness), I experienced a miracle that firmly sealed my grateful thought. Then, I thought, “I do not care any more if someone tells me that God does not exist!”
As the story of the Elder regarding his grateful thought did not completely satisfy me, I asked him with a certain curiosity to tell me about the miracle he experienced I the woods. Father Paisios was found in a difficult position and replied that he could not tell me about it. This way, he indicated that I, too, should not look for miracles, but rather trust my feeling of philotimo (responsive gratefulness), as it is the key which opens the door to every good.
Later on, Father Paisios told me that he had seen the Lord.
He had this to say about Philotimo:
“The righteous Christian does not practice good acts for his own benefit, i.e. in order to be rewarded or to avoid hell and gain paradise, but rather because he prefers good to evil. Everything else is a natural consequence of the good that fills our soul without having asked for it. This way, good has dignity; otherwise, it originates from the cheap attitude of “give and take.”
From the Miracles of Elder Paisios
A live shot of the Elder (taken from the movie dedicated to the athonite fathers of the Holy Mountain)
Please see other posts on my blog with Elder Paisios at:
- On The End Times
- On Common prayers (A Word on Ecumenism)
- On Raising Children
- On The worries of Life
“Last Days of Elder Paisios”
Eventually, Elder Paisios got cancer and was taken to the hospital in Thessaloniki. At the hospital, they looked after him as best they could. Nevertheless, his cancer spread so much that the end was very near. His departure for Heaven was a matter of time. He had been preparing himself for this journey all his life. Thus, for whatever time was left, he wished to stay at the monastery of St John the Apostle in Souroti. Mr. Christofer Oikonomou, now deceased, was near him and he describes in a letter Geronda’s departure from the hospital:
“Today, Fr Paisios left the hospital. There were many people there. We were told that he would give his blessing in the reception. Lots of people, women, doctors, nurses, even the ailing, were swarming besides him. He lifted up his hand and said goodbye to those sick in the other rooms. There was this man, who had the drip on his hand, who bowed to kiss Fr Paisios’s hand, but Fr. Paisios kissed his instead. While standing in front of the elevator, he blessed us all. He went into the elevator to go down to the street. We all ran down the stairs to see him for the last time. People surrounded the car while snowflakes danced on the street. The nurse was admonishing us so that people would let him get in the car, because he was sick and very weak.
“He finally got in the car after crossing himself. Everyone was trying to touch him, some were holding his hand, and some were touching the glass of the window. The car began leaving very slowly because there was a lot of traffic. Even then, doctors, nurses, all came down to say goodbye and were touching the car’s windows, since the car was moving very slowly. His car passed in front of my house.”
Mr Christopher continues:
“What was that all about? People were following him as if he was the Messiah. It was like something out of Palm Sunday, except that we had a car instead of the donkey! Everyone was moved, some women were crying. He himself was also touched because of the abundant love that people were showering him with. It was as if he was saying that he would pay everyone back with a lot of praying.”
“Does our generation owe little to the prayers of this man? He is a saint amongst us. He is the embodiment of the fulfillment of the Gospel.”
Source: Vatopaidi Monastery
“Holy Father Paisios pray to our Lord Jesus for us sinners!”