V. THE ZENITH OF ECUMENISM
Remove not the ancient landmarks which your fathers have set.
Come out from her, My people, lest you share in her sins,
And lest you receive of her plagues.
On May 14/27, 1964, Metropolitan Anastasy retired (he died in 1965). His period as first hierarch represents a “holding operation”, a preservation of the status quo in a very difficult period interrupted by the chaos of the Second World War. It left certain important questions unanswered – questions which would have to be answered unambiguously sooner or later. But it at any rate kept the voice of opposition to the MP alive in the West.
There was such animosity between the supporters of the two candidates
for the vacant post, Archbishops Nicon and John Maximovich, that to avoid a
schism Archbishop John withdrew his own candidature and put forward in his
place the youngest bishop, Philaret (Voznesensky) of
The new metropolitan’ endurance of torture
for Christ at the hands of the Japanese pagans in
Archimandrite Philaret left
“And when, finally, with the help of God I
managed to extract myself from red
Soon Fr. Philaret flew to
“Holy Hierarchs of God! I have thought and felt much in these last days, I have reviewed and examined the whole of my life – and… I see, on the one hand, a chain of innumerable benefactions from God, and on the other – the countless number of my sins… And so raise your hierarchical prayers for my wretchedness in this truly terrible hour of my ordination, that the Lord, the First of Pastors, Who through your holiness is calling me to the height of this service, may not deprive me, the sinful and wretched one, of a place and lot among His chosen ones…
“One hierarch-elder, on placing the hierarchical staff in the hands of a newly appointed bishop, said to him: ‘Do not be like a milestone on the way, that points out for others the road ahead, but itself remains in its place…’ Pray also for this, Fathers and Archpastors, that in preaching to others, I myself may not turn out to be an idle slave.”
The new metropolitan faced a daunting task. For he had, on the one hand, to lead his Church in decisively denouncing the apostasy of World Orthodoxy, communion with which could no longer be tolerated. And on the other, he had to preserve unity among the members of his own Synod, some of whom were in spirit closer to “World Orthodoxy” than True Orthodoxy…
The first Official Epistle of a
Hierarchical Council of ROCOR under her new metropolitan was dated June 4/17,
1964, and appeared to continue the line adopted by Metropolitan Anastasy in
relation to the MP: "They [the God-opposing Communists] have contrived a
new, truly diabolical plan in their war against the faithful: it is now
forbidden by the godless government of the USSR for children and young men and
women from the ages of 3 to 18 to be allowed into God's churches and to be
communed with the Body and Blood of Christ. And in order to mock the Church
even more, this directive by the authorities has to be enforced by the
clergymen themselves – they are the ones who must prohibit youth from
approaching the Chalice of Christ
and demand the removal of children and youth from the churches"….
"But the true situation is this: not many clergymen are left in the USSR, not many open churches are left, the faithful rarely can attend services And now even at these rare services, which Christians, if they are not extremely old men and women, attend at the risk of being tagged by the active Soviet "watchers" and thus lose their jobs--parents cannot bring their young children, who, in their tender childhood and youth, so need graceful communion to the Fountain of life--to Christ the Savior, just as young little saplings need the light and the warmth of the sun."
This Epistle appeared to accept the MP as
a grace-bearing institution – nearly thirty years after the leading hierarchs
In July, 1964, Metropolitan Philaret and
four other bishops, including Archbishops John (Maximovich) and Averky
(Taushev), consecrated Archimandrite Cyril (Ionchev) for the newcalendarists
Bulgarian parishes abroad that did not want to submit to the unfree Bulgarian
patriarchate. However, in 1976 Bishop Cyril joined the American Metropolitan
with his parishes.
These first acts of the new metropolitan
appeared to continue the “liberal” line in relation to the MP and World Orthodoxy
of his predecessor, Metropolitan Anastasy. However, in his 1965
Epistle “to Orthodox Bishops and all who hold dear the Fate of the
recent days the Soviet Government in
“We, on the other hand, call to mind in these days the beginning of the way of the cross for the Russian Orthodox Church, upon which from that time, as it were, all the powers of hell have fallen.
“Meeting resistance on the part of Archpastors, pastors, and laymen strong in spirit, the Communist power, in its fight with religion, began from the very first days the attempt to weaken the Church not only by killing those of her leaders who were strongest in spirit, but also by means of the artificial creation of schisms.
Thus arose the so-called ''
“The second attempt, after the death of Patriarch Tikhon and the rest of the locum tenentes of the patriarchal throne, Metropolitan Peter, had greater success. The Soviet power succeeded in 1927 in sundering in part the inner unity of the Church. By confinement in prison, torture, and special methods it broke the will of the vicar of the patriarchal locum tenens, Metropolitan Sergius, and secured from him the proclamation of a declaration of the complete loyalty of the Church to the Soviet power, even to the point where the joys and successes of the Soviet Union were declared by the Metropolitan to the joys and successes of the Church, and its failures to be her
failures. What can be more blasphemous than such an idea, which was justly appraised by many at that time as an attempt to unite light with darkness, and Christ with Belial. Both Patriarch Tikhon and Metropolitan Peter, as well as others who served as locum tenens of the Patriarchal throne, had earlier refused to sign a similar declaration, for which they were subjected to arrest, imprisonment, and banishment.
“Protesting against this declaration—which was proclaimed by Metropolitan Sergius by himself alone, without the agreement of the suppressed majority of the episcopate of the Russian Church, violating thus the 34th Apostolic Canon—many bishops who were then in the death camp at Solovki wrote to the Metropolitan: ‘Any government can sometimes make decisions that are foolish, unjust, cruel, to which the Church is forced to submit, but which she cannot rejoice over or approve. One of the aims of the Soviet Government is the extirpation of religion, but the Church cannot acknowledge its successes in this direction as her own successes’ (Open Letter from Solovki, September 27, 1927).
“The courageous majority of the sons of the
“But a schism nonetheless occurred. The minority, accepting the declaration, formed a central administration, the so-called ‘Moscow Patriarchate,’ which, while being supposedly officially recognized by the authorities, in actual fact received no legal rights whatever from them; for they continued, now without hindrance, a most cruel persecution of the Church. In the words of Joseph, Metropolitan of Petrograd, Metropolitan Sergius, having proclaimed the declaration, entered upon the path of ‘monstrous arbitrariness, flattery, and betrayal of the Church to the interests of atheism and the destruction of the Church.’
“The majority, renouncing the declaration, began an illegal ecclesiastical existence. Almost all the bishops were tortured and killed in death camps, among them the locum tenentes Metropolitan Peter and Metropolitan Cyril of Kazan, who was respected by all, and Metropolitan Joseph of Petrograd, who was shot to death at the end of 1938, as well as many other bishops and thousands of priests, monks, nuns, and courageous laymen. Those bishops and clergy who miraculously remained alive began to live illegally and to serve Divine services secretly, hiding themselves from the authorities and originating in this fashion the
“Little news of this Church has come to the free world. The Soviet press long kept silent about her, wishing to give the impression that all believers in the
“But then, after the death of Stalin and the exposure of his activity, and especially after the fall of Khrushchev, the Soviet press has begun to write more and more often on the secret Church in the USSR, calling it the ‘sect’ of True-Orthodox Christians. It was apparently impossible to keep silence about it any longer; its numbers are too great and it causes the authorities too much alarm.
“Unexpectedly in the Atheist Dictionary (
“’Striving to fence off’ the True-Orthodox Christians ‘from the influence of Soviet reality,’ chiefly of course from atheist propaganda, ‘their leaders... make use of the myth of Antichrist, who has supposedly been ruling in the world since 1917.’ The anti-Christian nature of the Soviet power is undoubted for any sound-thinking person, and all the more for a Christian.
“True Orthodox Christians ‘usually refuse to participate in elections,’ which in the
“Honour and praise to the True-Orthodox Christians, heroes of the spirit and confessors, who have not bowed before the terrible power, which can stand only by terror and force and has become accustomed to the abject flattery of its subjects. The Soviet rulers fall into a rage over the fact that there exist people who fear God more than men. They are powerless before the millions of True-Orthodox Christians.
besides the True Orthodox Church in the
“The part of the Russian Church that is abroad and free is called upon to speak in the free world in the name of the persecuted Catacomb Church in the Soviet Union; she reveals to all the truly tragic condition of believers in the USSR, which the atheist power so carefully hushes up, with the aid of the Moscow Patriarchate, she calls on those who have not lost shame and conscience to help the persecuted.
“This is why it is our sacred duty to watch over the existence of the Russian Church Outside of Russia. The Lord, the searcher of hearts, having permitted His Church to be subjected to oppression, persecution, and deprivation of all rights in the godless Soviet State, has given us, Russian exiles, in the free world the talent of freedom, and He expects from us the increase of this talent and a skilful use of it. And we have not the right to hide it in the earth. Let no one dare to say to us that we should do this, let no
one push us to a mortal sin. For the fate of our
this sacred obligation. No one can understand better than we what is happening in our homeland, of which no one can have any doubt. Many
times foreigners, even Orthodox people and those vested with high ecclesiastical rank, have made gross errors in connection with the
“We shall not cease to accuse the godless persecutors of faith and those who evilly cooperate with them under the exterior of supposed representatives of the Church. In this the Russian Church Outside of Russia has always seen one of her important tasks. Knowing this, the Soviet power through its agents wages with her a stubborn battle, not hesitating to use any means: lies, bribes, gifts, and intimidation. We, however, shall not suspend our accusation.
“Declaring this before the face of the whole world, I appeal to all our brothers in Christ—Orthodox bishops—and to all people who hold dear the fate of the persecuted Russian Church as a part of the Universal Church of Christ, for understanding, support, and their holy prayers. As for our spiritual children, we call on them to hold firmly to the truth of Orthodoxy, witnessing of her both by one's word and especially by a prayerful, devout Christian life.”
The Lifting of the Anathemas
We have seen that since the founding of the World Council of Churches in 1948, the leader of the ecumenical movement on the Orthodox side had been the Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras.
The new ecumenist course was sealed on January 5 and 6, 1964,
when Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras of Constantinople met in
On January 23 / February 5, 1964 a large number of Athonite monks, including the abbots of four monasteries, protested against this ecumenical activity: “the undersigned Fathers of the Holy Mountain, abbots, priest-monks and monks, learning of the recent machinations and plots against our blameless Orthodox Faith by the Papal insurrection and of the pro-uniate actions and statements of the Ecumenical Patriarch and his co-workers, do proclaim with a stentorian voice that we denounce these uniate tendencies and leanings, and remains steadfast and unshaken in our Orthodox Faith…”
Unfortunately, however, this “stentorian voice” became more and more muted, until only the Monastery of Esphigmenou remained out of communion of the Ecumenical Patriarchate…
The calendar question again reared its head during this period. Thus
during the Second Pan-Orthodox Conference, the
“Immediately after the
In 1964 several parishes in the
In this year the Turks increased their harassment of the Ecumenical
Further intense activity led, on
It should be pointed out, first, that in saying that the schism of 1054 was based on “reproaches without foundation”, the Patriarch was in effect saying that the Papacy was not, or never had been, heretical – although the Papacy had renounced none of its heresies, and Pope Paul VI had reasserted papal infallibility as recently as Vatican II. Secondly, while relations with excommunicated individuals or Churches can be restored if those individuals or Churches repent, anathemas against heresies cannot be removed insofar as a heresy remains a heresy forever. And yet in December of 1968 Athenagoras announced that he had inserted Pope Paul VI’s name into the Diptychs, thereby signifying that the Pope was not a heretic and was in communion with the Orthodox Church.
Archbishop Chrysostom of
Many Athonite monasteries ceased to commemorate the patriarch at this point…
The Sorrowful Epistles
ROCOR had three observers at the Vatican Council who witnessed the
ceremony of the “lifting of the anathemas”. One of them, Archimandrite Ambrose
(Pogodin), after describing the ceremony with evident sympathy, wrote: “The
Russian Church Abroad did not recognize the actions of Patriarch Athenagoras,
considering that the patriarch was obliged to do this only with the agreement
of all the Orthodox Churches, because the matter of the schism between the
Eastern and Western Churches concerned all the Orthodox Churches – it was not
only the personal relations between the Pope and the Patriarch of
Constantinople. We, observers from the Russian Church Abroad, received by
telephone the order from our ecclesiastical authorities not to be present at
the ceremony of the mutual lifting of the anathemas between the
At this critical moment, on
(now Nun Cassia) Senina writes: “Metropolitan Philaret sent a similar address
to another leader of the ecumenical movement – the American Archbishop James.
However, the apostate hierarchs paid no attention to his exhortations. The
ecumenical movement continued to gather speed. The holy Hierarch Philaret
looked with sorrow on the falling away from the faith of the once Orthodox
Churches. And he called the epistles which he sent to all the hierarchs of the
Orthodox Church just that – ‘Sorrowful Epistles’. In his first Epistle, written
in 1969, St. Philaret says that he has decided to turn to all the hierarchs,
‘some of whom occupy the oldest and most glorious sees’, because, in the words
of St. Gregory the Theologian, ‘the truth is betrayed by silence’, and it is
impossible to keep silent when you see a deviation from the purity of Orthodoxy
– after all, every bishop at his ordination gives a promise to keep the Faith
and the canons of the holy fathers and defend Orthodoxy from heresies. Vladyka
quotes various ecumenist declarations of the World Council of Churches (WCC)
and clearly shows, on the basis of the patristic teaching and the canons, that
the position of the WCC has nothing in common with Orthodoxy, and consequently
the Orthodox Churches must not participate in the work of this council. The holy
Hierarch Philaret also emphasises that the voice of the MP is not the voice of
“Vladyka Philaret wrote his second ‘Sorrowful Epistle’ on the Sunday of
Orthodoxy, 1972. In it he noted that although in the last two years hierarchs
had made declarations about the heterodoxy of the ecumenical movement, not one
Orthodox Church had declared that it was leaving the WCC. Vladyka placed as the
aim of his Second Epistle ‘to show that abyss of heresy against the very
concept of the Church into which all the participants in the ecumenical
movement are being drawn’. He recalled the threatening prophecy of the Apostle
Paul that to those who will not receive ‘the love of the truth for salvation’
the Lord will send ‘strong delusion, that they should believe a lie. That they
all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in
unrighteousness’ (II Thessalonians 2.10-12). St. Philaret’s third
Epistle was devoted to the so-called ‘Thyateira Confession’ of Metropolitan
Athenagoras [of Thyateira and
“Alas, no conversion took place, and the ecumenical impiety continued to
pour out. Vladyka addressed his word not only to bishops, but also to their
flock, untiringly explaining the danger of the new heresy. While telling about
the zeal of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, who slapped the face of Arius when
he blasphemed against the Son of God, Vladyka said: ‘O how often we do not have
enough of such zeal when it is really necessary to speak for the insulted and
trodden-on truth! I want to tell you about one incident that took place not
long ago and which it would have been difficult even to imagine several years
ago – and now we are going further and further downhill all the time. One man
“’But that’s not the main horror. The Jewish people has opposed God for a long time… - so there’s nothing surprising in this. But the horror was that when he said this everyone was silent. Later, a man who had heard this terrible blasphemy asked the ‘Orthodox’ protopriest: ‘How could you keep silent?’ He replied: ‘I didn’t want to offend this Jew.’ It’s wrong to offend a Jew, but to insult the All-Pure Virgin Mary is permitted! Look at the state we have come to! How often does it happen to us all now that we do not have the zeal to stand up, when necessary, in defence of our holy things! The Orthodox cleric must zealously stand up against blasphemy, just as the holy Hierarch Nicholas stopped the mouth of the heretic… But now, unfortunately, we have become, as the saying goes, ‘shamefully indifferent to both the evil and the good’. And it is precisely in the soil of this indifference, of a kind of feeling of self-preservation, that the heresy of ecumenism has established itself – as also apostasy, that falling away which is becoming more and more evident… Let us remember, brethren, that Christian love embraces all in itself, is compassionate to all, wishes that all be saved and is sorry for, and merciful to, and love every creature of God; but where it sees a conscious assault on the truth it turns into fiery zeal which cannot bear any such blasphemy… And so must it always be, because every Orthodox Christian must always be zealous for God.”
“Patriarch” Athenagoras expressed, perhaps better than any contemporary church leader, what ecumenism really means for its adherents. As Basil (now Hieromonk Gregory) Lourié writes: “Athenagoras … did not consider [the Latins] to be heretics. But his denial of their hereticalness was not the manifestation of a special love for them: Athenagoras did not recognise the existence of heresy in general! On hearing of a certain man who saw heresy everywhere, Athenagoras said: ‘I don’t see them anywhere! I see only truths, partial truths, reduced truths, truths that are sometimes out of place…’
“The teaching of the Church, of the Holy Fathers, is based on the rock of the confession of the fullness of the Truth incarnate in Christ, which is organically incapable of being mixed with lies. The ecumenists consciously choose the sand of ‘partial truths’ cemented by the lie of the denial of Christ as the true Son and Word of God.
“Why can Athenagoras and people like him, who are characterised by their
own kind of deep faith, asceticism and even capacity for sacrifice, completely
consciously go against, not simply individual Fathers, but even all of them
taken together? Why have they come to the decision that certain decrees of the
Fathers in relation to the Church and the dogmas may supposedly have lost their
force in our time? There can only be one answer: their Orthodox faith was been
mixed with certain tares, which have grown up and suffocated the shoots of
Truth. The tares are faith in something about which the Lord did not announce
to the Church. This is what we read in this connection in Athenagoras himself:
“But this Tradition of the Church has ceased to be of interest to them because they have accepted another: faith that some special age has dawned precisely now. If all the people of this age understand its content, they will turn out to be much more closely united with each other than with their co-religionists of previous ages. The people of this age are united by certain ‘pan-human’, as they put it, values of their own, values which are much more important to them than the heritage of the past, which disunites them. This is that age of which the bearers of the so-called ‘Russian religious philosopy’ (particularly Soloviev, Berdyaev, Florensky and Bulgakov) became the heralds throughout the world. These people expressed in a pseudo-Christian language the idea of the coming of a ‘new age’ – the age of some new, post-New Testament ‘revelation of the Holy Spirit’, which would be given in the last times, and which they borrowed from occult teachings. (See, for example, the letter on the Holy Spirit in Florensky’s The Pillar and Ground of the Truth.) For these people there exists some kind of special ‘age of the Fathers’, which is already completely past. With it have also gone into the past the canons of the Fathers. In our time, instead of the Fathers there are those who have received the new revelation of the new age. And so for the Orthodox Church today ecumenism is not a particular problem which might pass some countries by. But at the same time it is only a particular case of a more widespread phenomenon – the placing of the whole of contemporary civilisation on a new principle of unity. It is on this principle that the universal religion which Hieromonk Seraphim Rose of blessed memory (+1982) called ‘the religion of the future’, the religion of the Antichrist, is being created at the present time.
“This principle is much more clearly formulated in various movements of the ‘New Age’ and Masonry type, while ecumenism is called to carry out only one particular task: force the entry into this new unity of such people as would wish to preserve their unity with traditional forms of religion. The Antichrist will have to satisfy everyone…”
Hieromonk Seraphim wrote with regard to an article written by Archbishop James entitled “A New Epoch?”: “I suddenly felt that I had found an insight into the ‘essence of Iakovism’. Is not, indeed, the basic heresy chiliasm? What else, indeed, could justify such immense changes and monstrous perversions in Orthodoxy except the concept that we are entering entirely new historical circumstances, an entirely new kind of time, in which the concepts of the past are no longer relevant, but we must be guided by the voices of the new time? Does not Fr. Patrinacos, in past issues of the Orthodox Observer, justify Patriarch Athenagoras – not as a theologian, not as a traditionalist, but precisely as a prophet, as one whose heresies cannot be condemned because he already lives in the ‘new time’, ahead of his own times? Patriarch Athenagoras himself has been quoted as speaking of the coming of the ‘Third Age of the Holy Spirit’ – a clearly chiliastic idea which has its chief recent champion in N. Berdyaev, and can be traced back directly to Joachim of Fiore, and indirectly to the Montanists. The whole idea of a ‘new age’, of course, penetrates every fiber of the last two centuries with their preoccupation with ‘progress’, and is the key idea of the very concept of Revolution (from French to Bolshevik), is the central idea of modern occultism (visible on the populate level in today’s talk of the ‘age of Aquarius’, the astrological post-Christian age), and has owed its spread probably chiefly to Freemasonry (there’s a Scottish Rite publication in America called ‘New Age’). (I regret to say that the whole philosophy is also present in the American dollar bill with its masonic heritage, with its novus ordo saeculorum and its unfinished pyramid, awaiting the thirteenth stone on top!) In Christian terms, it is the philosophy of Antichrist, the one who will turn the world upside down and ‘change the times and seasons.’… And the whole concept of ecumenism is, of course, permeated with this heresy and the ‘refounding of the Church’.”
Improved relations with the Catholics did not preclude the ecumenists’
having improved relations with other heretics, too. In September, 1966, two
inter-Orthodox Commissions were established in
“All of his opponents were eliminated beforehand. Bishop Basil, at that time Bishop of Banja Luka, was arrested in Belgrade and threatened by the UDBA (the Yugoslav Secret Police) to be returned to Banja Luka and be tried by the ‘People’s Court’ for his alleged ‘counter-revolutionary activities’, if he did not endorse Bishop Germanus’ candidacy for patriarch. Once he endorsed Germanus’ candidacy he was released, through Bishop Germanus’ ‘gracious’ intervention.
“Father Macarius, abbot of the famed Dechani Monastery, was given 200,000 dinars ($650) as payment for his coerced vote for Germanus. He came back to his monastery after the election and threw the money at his monks, telling them that he ‘felt like Judas’.
“Many delegates to the Electorate were given a special pen and paper on which they were to cast their ballots, in order to show whether they had kept their promise to the agents of the Secret Police. (Two sworn statements by witnesses).”
According to witnesses who were in the patriarch’s house, he had a party card. And when he was once accused of embezzling a very large sum of money and was threatened with a court trial, the Serbian equivalent of the KGB saved him and paid the money themselves. Thereafter he was, of course, completely “their man”.
In 1960 Archimandrite Justin Popovich, who has been called “the
conscience of the
Having secured their own man as patriarch, the ecucommunists proceeded
to use him against their most dangerous opponent outside
Cast out in this way, three dioceses and about forty parishes of the
Free Serbs, as they now called themselves, applied to join ROCOR. Two
archbishops – Averky of Jordanville and John (Maximovich) of
Archbishop Averky returned to the question of the
However, Archbishop Averky’s attitude to the Serbs was not commonly
accepted in ROCOR. Many hierarchs and priests of ROCOR had been brought up in
After being rejected by ROCOR, the Free Serbs then briefly came into communion first with two Ukrainian bishops of the Polish Orthodox Church and then with the Patriarchate of Alexandria. Fleeing the Ecumenism of the latter, they briefly found refuge with the “Florinite” Greek Old Calendarists led by Archbishop Auxentius, on September 11/24, 1981.
The communists were now in complete control of the Serbian Patriarchate.
The result was predictable: “an alarming tendency on the part of the hierarchy
of the ‘
Archimandrite Justin Popovich wrote on the catastrophic situation of East European Orthodoxy at this time: “The Church is being gradually destroyed from within and without, ideologically and organisationally. All means are being used: known and unknown, open and secret, the most subtle and the most crude… And all this is skilfully dissolved, but in fact it is the most deadly of poisons with a sugar coating… The most elementary and rudimentary logic demonstrates and proves: cooperation with open atheists, the cursed enemies of Christ and the Orthodox Church of Christ, is illogical and anti-logical. We ask those who seek such cooperation, or already cooperate, or – terrible thought! – compel others to cooperate, with the words of Christ: ’What communion can there be between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what is there in common between light and darkness? What agreement can there be between Christ and Belial?’ (II Corinthians 6.14-15). Do you not hear the Christ-bearing Apostle, who thunders: ‘If we, or an angel from heaven begins to preach to you that which we have not preached to you, let him be anathema!’ (Galatians 1.8). Or have you, in the frenzy of the atheist dictatorship, gone completely deaf to the Divine truth and commandment of Christ: ‘You cannot serve God and Mammon’ (Matthew 6.24)?”
Patriarch Germanus led his Church into the WCC in 1965, and become one
of its presidents in 1968. And in 1967 he said to the Roman Catholic bishop of
Mostar: “The times are such that our sister Churches have to lean on each
other, to turn away from that which divided us and to concentrate on all that
we have in common.” The
next year he recognized Catholic marriages. In 1985, at a nuns’ conference, he
welcomed two Catholic bishops “with special honour” into the sanctuary, and
then all the conference members (Orthodox, Catholics and Protestants) recited
the Creed together in the Liturgy. In 1971
he signed the following WCC statement in
Bishop Artemius of Raska and Prizren, a disciple of Fr. Justin Popovich, in a memorandum to the Serbian Synod entitled “The Serbian Orthodox Church and the World Council of Churches” (November, 1994), said that ecumenism was an ecclesiological heresy, and that the Serbs should withdraw from the WCC. More recently, he has written: “The result of this participation [of the Serbs in the WCC] was reflected in certain material aid which the Serbian Orthodox Church periodically received from the WCC in the form of medicine, medical care and rehabilitation of some individuals in Switzerland, student scholarships, and financial donations for certain concrete purposes and needs of the SOC, such as the construction of a new building by the Theological School. We paid for these crumbs of material assistance by losing, on the spiritual plane, the purity of our faith, canonical consistency and faithfulness to the Holy Tradition of the Orthodox Church.
“The presence of our representatives (and Orthodox representatives in
general) at various and sundry ecumenical gatherings has no canonical
justification. We did not go there in order to boldly, openly and unwaveringly
confess the eternal and unchangeable Truth of the Orthodox Faith and Church,
but in order to make compromises and to agree more or less to all those
decisions and formulations offered to us by the non-Orthodox. That is how we
ultimately arrived at Balamand, Chambésy and
Germanus liked to justify himself by quoting the Serbian proverb: Drvo se na drvo naslanja; a covek na coveka – “Tree leans on tree and man on man.” But the Free Serbs had an answer to this. “We can also quote the proverbs of our people: S’kim si, onaki si. – ‘You are like those with whom you associate.’ If you find your fellowship with heretics, you begin to share their erroneous thinking and eventually become a heretic. As an American proverb goes: ‘Birds of a feather flock together.’”
Commenting on the decision of the Orthodox Churches to become “organic members” of the WCC, Fr. Justin wrote: “Every true Orthodox Christian, who is instructed under the guidance of the Holy Fathers, is overcome with shame when he reads that the Orthodox members of the Fifth Pan-Orthodox Conference in Geneva [in June, 1968]… on the question of the participation of the Orthodox in the work of the World Council of Churches, considered it necessary ‘to declare that the Orthodox Church considers itself to be an organic part of the World Council of Churches.’
“This assertion is apocalyptically horrifying in its un-orthodoxy and anti-orthodoxy. Was it necessary for the Orthodox Church, that most holy Body of the God-Man Christ, to become so debased to such a pitiful degree that its theological representatives – some of whom were Serbian bishops – have begun to beg for ‘organic’ participation and membership in the World Council of Churches, which will supposedly become a new ‘Body’ and a new ‘Church’, which will stand above all other churches, in which the Orthodox Churches and the non-orthodox churches will appear only as parts. God forbid! Never before has there been such a betrayal and abandonment of our holy Faith!
“We are renouncing the Orthodox Faith of the God-Man Christ, and organic ties with the God-Man and His Most Holy Body: we are repudiating the Orthodox Church of the holy apostles, the Fathers, and the Ecumenical Councils – and we wish to become ‘organic members’ of a heretical, humanistic, humanized and man-worshipping club, which consists of 263 heresies – every one of which is a spiritual death.
“As Orthodox Christians we are ‘members of Christ.’ ‘Shall I therefore take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute?’ (I Corinthians 6.15). We are doing this by our organic union with the World Council of Churches, which is nothing other than the rebirth of atheistic man, of pagan idolatry.
“The time has finally come for the patristic Orthodox Church of Saint Sabbas, the Church of the holy apostles and Fathers, of the holy confessors, martyrs and new-martyrs, to stop mingling ecclesiastically and hierarchically with the so-called ‘World Council of Churches’, and to cast off forever any participation in joint prayer or services, and to renounce general participation in any ecclesiastical dealings whatsoever, which are not self-contained and do not express the unique and unchangeable character of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church – the Orthodox Church – the only true Church that has ever existed.”
In 1971, Archimandrite Justin broke communion with the Serbian patriarch, while retaining contacts with the other bishops.
In 1968 the
Bishop Photius of Triaditza writes: “For some months before the
introduction of the reform, Tserkoven Vestnik informed the astonished
believing people that the reform was being carried out ‘in accordance with the
ecumenist striving of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church…’ The Bulgarian clergy and
even episcopate were completely unprepared to resist the calendar innovation,
while the people, suspecting something amiss, began to grumble. The calendar
reform was introduced skilfully and with lightning suddenness by Patriarch
Cyril – an ardent modernist and ‘heartfelt’ friend of the Ecumenical Patriarch
Athenagoras! Everyone knew that the patriarch was on good terms with the
communist authorities (for his ‘services’ to it he received the title of
‘academic’ – member of the
In fact, the Bulgarian Church’s change to the new calendar had been
dictated by the Russian communists, who wanted to introduce the innovation into
the Russian Church, too, but wanted to “test the waters” by trying it out on
the Bulgarians first. As the
HOCNA Archimandrite (now Bishop) Sergios writes: “In 1971 Metropolitan Nikodim
of Leningrad visited
However, while deciding not to adopt the new calendar for the whole Church, the MP already, in 1967, had made the following resolution: “Bearing in mind the practice of the Ancient Church, when East and West (Rome and the Asian bishops) celebrated Pascha at different times, while preserving complete communion in prayer between themselves, and taking into account the experience of the Orthodox Church of Finland and our parishes in Holland, as also the exceptional position of the parishioners of the church of the Resurrection of Christ amidst the heterodox world, [it has been resolved] to allow Orthodox parishioners of the Moscow Patriarchate living in Switzerland to celebrate the immovable feast and the feasts of the Paschal cycle according to the new style.”
In the second half of the 1960s opposition to Ecumenism the Local
Orthodox Churches was gradually suppressed. Some conservative hierarchs died,
such as Patriarch Christopher of Alexandria (in 1967); others were more forcibly
removed or replaced, such as Archbishop Chrysostom of Athens and the leaders of
some of the Athonite monasteries. Others were effectively silenced by bribery,
such as the Orthodox Church of America. The
Another clever move on the part of the
There is other evidence that the Pope was attempting to force the pace
in this year. Thus in May the Catholic Ecumenical Directory was published,
which allowed Catholics to take communion in Orthodox churches if they were
isolated or could not receive Catholic sacraments for a long period. And yet in
March Patriarch Athenagoras had said that Orthodox could not (yet) receive
“sacramental grace from a priest who is not himself Orthodox”. Then in July the
Pope travelled to
This exchange of visits was made easier by the fact that on April 21 a
military coup had taken place in
The new archbishop quickly showed his credentials by coming to “full agreement” with the Ecumenical Patriarchate and issuing the following statement in his enthronement address: “Our relations with non-Orthodox confessions must be marked by Christian love and by mutual respect, so as to foster friendship; but at the same time we must preserve our dignity and our firm adherence to the Orthodox faith and teaching. As a pre-condition for any closer relations, we must insist on the condemnation of proselytism.”
The only problem about this seemingly conservative statement was that
“firm adherence to the Orthodox faith” and “the condemnation of proselytism”
are incompatible, in that if we believe that the Orthodox Faith is the True
Faith we are bound to hope and work for the conversion of people of other
faiths. We condemn proselytism among the Orthodox, not because it is “unfair”
and goes against some kind of ecclesiastical non-aggression pact, but because
it takes people away from the saving ark of the
There were other, more political reasons for the coup in the Church.
Athenagoras was favoured by the Americans as being the man best able, on the
one hand, to effect a rapprochement between
But the majority of the monks on
In 1968 the Fourth General Assembly of the WCC took place in
Now only ROCOR, the
This definition came in a report that Archbishop Vitaly (Ustinov) of Canada gave to the Synod of ROCOR on the Uppsala Assembly of the WCC: “At the opening of the Assembly an ecumenical prayer was read in the name of all those assembles: ‘O God our Father, You can create everything anew. We entrust ourselves to You, help us to live for others, for Your love extends over all people, and to search for the Truth, which we have not known…’ How could the Orthodox listen to these last words? It would have been interesting to look at that moment at the faces of the Orthodox hierarchs who had declared for all to hear that they, too, did not know the Truth. Every batyushka of ours in the remotest little village knows the Truth by experience, as he stands before the throne of God and prays to God in spirit and in truth. Even The Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate, which is completely subject to the censorship of the communist party, in citing the words of the prayer in its account of this conference, did not dare to translate the English ‘truth’ by the word ‘istina’, but translated it as ‘pravda’ [‘righteousness’]. Of course, everyone very well understood that in the given case the text of the prayer was speaking without the slightest ambiguity about the Truth. Perhaps the Orthodox hierarchs have resorted, in the conference, to the old Jesuit practice of reservatio mentalis, but in that case if all these delegates do not repent of the sin of communion in prayer with heretics, then we must consider them to be on the completely false path of apostasy from the Truth of Orthodoxy… Ecumenism is the heresy of heresies because until now each heresy in the history of the Church has striven to take the place of the true Church, but the ecumenical movement, in uniting all the heresies, invites all of them together to consider themselves the one true Church.”
The MP’s Archbishop Basil of Brussels
recalled: “It fell to me to defend the good name and Orthodoxy of the Russian
Church at the Pan-Orthodox conferences (those like the Pan-Orthodox commission
for dialogue with the Anglicans) with the following argumentation: ‘This
resolution of the Synod was elicited by a completely special situation of
believers, and in particular of Catholics in the Soviet Union. Where there is
not one Catholic church of priest for thousands of kilometres. Such a
resolution was made by the Synod of Constantinople and Patriarch Joachim II in
1878 in relation to the Armenians. Theologically, it is difficult for me to
justify such oekonomia, but I cannot judge the Russian hierarchs who
live in contemporary
Neither side in this argument seemed to understand that the giving of communion to a heretic in any circumstances is harmful for that heretic so long as he remains in his heresy. More Orthodox, therefore, was the robust response of the ROCOR Synod, which on March 31, 1970 condemned the MP resolution as follows: “The decision of the Moscow Patriarchate to give access to Roman Catholics to all the sacraments of the Orthodox Church… both violates the sacred canons and is contrary to the dogmatic teaching of Orthodoxy. By entering into communion with the heterodox, the Moscow Patriarchate alienates itself from unity with the Holy Fathers and Teachers of the Church. By this action it does not sanctify the heretics to whom it give sacraments, but itself becomes a partaker of their heresy.”
Archbishop Averky of Jordanville commented: “Now, even if some entertained some sort of doubts about how we should regard the contemporary Moscow Patriarchate, and whether we can consider it Orthodox after its intimate union with the enemies of God, the persecutors of the Faith and Christ’s Church, these doubts must now be completely dismissed: by the very fact that it has entered into liturgical communion with the Papists, it has fallen away from Orthodoxy [emphasis in the original] and can no longer be considered Orthodox.”
On the very same day that ROCOR condemned
the MP as “partaking in heresy”, Metropolitan Irenaeus of All America and
Canada and Metropolitan Nicodemus (Rotov) of Leningrad signed an Agreement
giving autocephaly to the American Metropolia – a deal which was accepted by no
other Autocephalous Orthodox Church. On April 2, a delegation of the Japanese
Orthodox Church set off for
On June 24 Patriarch Athenagoras in a
letter to Patriarch Alexis touched on two important questions: the authority
competent to grant autocephaly, and the factors and conditions necessary for a
correct proclamation of autocephaly. With regard to the first question he
declared that ‘the granting of it is within the competence of the whole
Church.’ But to a Local Church ‘is proper only the right to receive the first
petitions for independence from those concerned and to express whether the
bases suggested for it are worthy of justification’. With regard to the second
question, Patriarch Athenagoras expressed the opinion that in order to announce
an ecclesiastical autocephaly that aims to satisfy purely ecclesiastical needs,
the opinion of the clergy and laity, the judgement of the Mother Church and the
expressed will of the whole Church is required. Considering that these conditions
had not been fulfilled in the giving of autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in
Of course, the patriarch had a point. But since his own patriarchate, by creating a whole series of unlawful autocephalies since the 1920s, was the first sinner in this respect, it is not surprising that his voice was not heeded…
Hieromonk Seraphim Rose wrote of the union of the Metropolia with
Asserting that it was far worse to capitulate to a nihilist state in freedom than under compulsion, Fr. Seraphim wrote to a priest of the Metropolia: “You will find in our midst great sympathy and pity for all but the leading hierarchs of Moscow – and even for some of them you will find fellow-feeling owing to the inhuman circumstances under which they have been forced to betray Orthodoxy… But this fellow-feeling cannot allow us who are free to… place ourselves in the same trap she [the Moscow Patriarchate] was forced into! And this the Metropolia has done… With every fiber of our being and every feeling of our soul we are repulsed by this free act of betrayal… Do you not grasp the immensity of your spiritual bondage?”
“Is ‘stepping out onto the world Orthodox scene’ really so important to the Metropolia that it must do it at the expense of the suffering Russian Orthodox faithful? To give one small example: Metropolitan Nicodemus is the Metropolia’s great ‘benefactor’, and no one can doubt that his success with the Metropolia has strengthened his position with the Moscow Patriarchate. On the other hand, the layman Boris Talantov in the USSR has openly called Metropolitan Nicodemus a betrayer of the Church, a liar, and an agent of world anti-Christianity, for which statements (among others) he was imprisoned by the Soviets; Metropolitan Nicodemus tells the West that he was in prison for ‘anti-governmental activities’. On January 4 of this year Boris Talantov died in prison, undoubtedly the victim of Metropolitan Nicodemus (among others). Can the Metropolia feel itself to be on the side of this confessor? I don’t see how it can.”
In March, 1969, the Great Council of the Metropolia made a last Orthodox statement on Ecumenism before succumbing to it:- “The basic goal of the ecumenical movement… is the unity of all Christians in one single body of grace. And here the Orthodox Church firmly confesses that such a genuine unity is founded, above all, on the unity of faith, on the unanimous acceptance by all of the Holy Scriptures and the Holy Traditions as they are wholly and integrally preserved by the Church. Real love for brothers separated from us [sic – a misleading description of heretics, who are not our brothers in Christ] consists therefore not in silencing all that divides us, but in a courageous witness to the Truth, which alone can unite us all, and also in a common search for the ways to make that Truth evident to all. Only in this way did the Orthodox Church always understand her participation in the ecumenical movement…
“However, within the ecumenical movement there has always existed another understanding of unity. This other understanding seems to become more popular today. It recognizes virtually no importance at all in agreement in faith and doctrine, and is based on relativism, i.e., on the affirmation that the doctrinal or canonical teachings of the Church, being ‘relative’, are not obligatory for all. Unity is viewed as already existing, and nothing remains to be done except to express it and strengthen it through ecumenical manifestations or services. Such an approach is totally incompatible with the Orthodox concept of the ecumenical movement.
“The differences between these two approaches is best illustrated by the attitudes towards concelebration and intercommunion among divided Christians. According to the Orthodox doctrine, the prayers and the sacraments of the Church, especially the Divine Eucharist, are expressions of full unity – in faith, in life, in service of God and man – as given by God. This unity with other Christians we seek, but we have not reached it yet. Therefore in the Orthodox understanding, no form of concelebration, i.e., no joint participation in liturgical prayer or the sacraments, with those who do not belong to the Orthodox Church can be permitted, for it would imply a unity which in reality does not exist. It would imply deceiving ourselves, deceiving others, and creating the impression that the Orthodox Church acknowledges that which in fact she does not acknowledge.”
In May-June, 1971 there was a council of the MP attended by 75 hierarchs, 85 clergy and 78 laymen, representatives of many other Orthodox Churches and the general secretary of the WCC. It confirmed all the previous decisions made by the MP since 1945. Only one candidate for the patriarchate (Patriarch Alexis had died in April) was put forward: the weak Metropolitan Pimen, who was elected unanimously in an open ballot (a secret ballot was not allowed by the all-powerful Metropolitan Nicodemus). The 1961 statute taking control of the parishes away from the bishops and clergy was confirmed, as was (unanimously) Nicodemus’ report on the decision to give communion to Catholics, in which he said that the measure was justified “insofar as we have a common of faith with them in relation to the sacraments”.
The MP council also resolved: “to entrust to the higher ecclesiastical authority of the Russian Orthodox Church to continue efforts to reunite with the Mother Church the so-called Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (the Karlovtsy schism), the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church Abroad and other scattered children of hers… In view of the fact that the activity of supporters of the so-called Russian Orthodox Church Abroad… against the Mother Russian Orthodox Church and against the Holy Orthodox Church as a whole is harming Holy Orthodoxy, the higher ecclesiastical authority of the Moscow Patriarchate is entrusted with realizing in the nearest future the necessary canonical sanctions in relation to the apostate assembly.., the Karlotsy schism and its unrepentant followers.”
ROCOR’s Hierarchical Council reacted to the MP council by passing two resolutions. The first, dated September 1/14, 1971 declared: “The free part of the Russian Church, which is beyond the frontiers of the USSR, is heart and soul with the confessors of the faith who… are called ‘the True Orthodox Christians’, and who often go by the name of ‘the Catacomb Church’… The Council of Bishops recognizes its spiritual unity with them…”
The second, of the same date, is called "Resolution of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia Concerning the Election of Pimen (Izvekov) as Patriarch of Moscow": "All of the elections of Patriarchs in Moscow, beginning in 1943, are invalid on the basis of the 30th Canon of the Holy Apostles and the 3rd Canon of the 7th Ecumenical Council, according to which, ‘if any bishop, having made use of secular rulers, should receive through them Episcopal authority in the Church, let him be defrocked and excommunicated along with all those in communion with him’. The significance that the Fathers of the 7th Council gave to such an offence is obvious from the very fact of a double punishment for it, that is, not only deposition but excommunication as well, something unusual for ecclesiastical law. The famous commentator on Canon Law, Bishop Nicodemus of Dalmatia, gives the following explanation of the 30th Canon of the Holy Apostles: ‘If the Church condemned unlawful influence by the secular authorities in the ordination of bishops at a time when the rulers were Christians, then it follows that She should condemn such action all the more when the latter are pagans and place even heavier penalties on the guilty parties, who were not ashamed of asking for help from pagan rulers and the authorities subordinated to them, in order to gain the episcopate. This (30th) Canon has such cases in view’. If in defence of this position examples are given of the Patriarchs of Constantinople who were placed on the Throne at the caprice of the Turkish Sultans, one can reply that no anomaly can be regarded as a norm and that one breach of Canon Law cannot justify another.
"The election of Pimen (Izvekov) as Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia at the gathering calling itself an All-Russian Church Council in Moscow the 2nd of June of this year, on the authority of the 3rd Canon of the 7th Ecumenical Council and other reasons set forth in this decision, is to be regarded as unlawful and void, and all of his acts and directions as having no strength."
However, in 1974 ROCOR did confirm one measure adopted by the MP’s 1971 Council: the removal of the curses on the old rites and those who observed them. This did not by itself make the Old Ritualists Orthodox; but it removed the main obstacle to their rejoining the Orthodox Church, taking to its logical conclusion Tsar Paul’s introduction of the edinoverie in 1801, which allowed Old Ritualists who joined the Orthodox Church to retain their use of the Old Rites.
On the same day the Council issued an important statement on the
reception of heretics, considerably “tightening up” its practice: “The
“However, when the zeal of any heretics in their struggle against the Church weakened, and when there was a question of their mass conversion to Orthodoxy, the Church, to ease their union, accepted them into her bosom by another rite. [There follows a discussion of St. Basil the Great’s first canonical epistle.]
“[There follows a discussion of Timothy of Alexandria’s explanation of this in The Rudder.]
“In relation to the Roman Catholics and Protestants who claim to
preserve baptism as a sacrament (for example, the Lutherans), the practice was
introduced from the time of Peter the First of receiving them without baptism,
through the renunciation of heresy and chrismation of Protestants and
unconfirmed Catholics. Before Peter Catholics were baptised in
“Bearing in mind this circumstance, and the present growth of the ecumenical heresy, which tries completely to wipe out the difference between Orthodoxy and every heresy, so that the Moscow Patriarchate, in spite of the sacred canons, has issued a resolution allowing Roman Catholics to be communed in certain cases, the Hierarchical Council has recognized the introduction of a stricter practice to be necessary, that is, that all heretics coming to the Church should be baptized, and that only insofar as it is necessary and with the permission of the bishop, from considerations of oikonomia, should another practice be allowed in relation to certain people, that is, the reception into the Church of Roman Catholics and Protestants who have been baptised in the name of the Holy Trinity through renunciation of heresy and chrismation.”
This last decision was also undoubtedly influenced by the happy fact that at the same time ROCOR had achieved union with the second Greek Old Calendarist Synod, that of the Matthewites. For the practice of both Greek Old Calendarist Synods, the Florinites and Matthewites, was stricter in relation to the reception of heretics was stricter than ROCOR’s. Unfortunately, however, most of the ROCOR hierarchs paid scant attention to this decision…
On December 18/31, 1969, Metropolitan Philaret and his Synod officially
recognized the Florinite hierarchy led by Archbishop Auxentius, and wrote
to him: “The many trials which the Orthodox Church has endured from the
beginning of its history are especially great in our evil times, and
consequently, this especially requires unity among those who are truly devoted
to the Faith of the Fathers. With these sentiments we wish to inform you that
the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad recognizes the
validity of the episcopal consecrations of your predecessor of blessed memory,
the reposed Archbishop Acacius, and the consequent ordinations of your
The members of the Florinite Synod now
were: Archbishop Auxentius and Metropolitans Gerontius of Piraeus, Acacius of
Diauleia and Chrysostom (Naslimis) of Magnesia. In July, 1971 Auxentius and
Gerontius consecrated Metropolitans Paisius (Euthymiadis) of Euripus and
The Matthewites continued to denounce the Florinites as schismatics, but
for the rest of the Orthodox world this act by the ROCOR Synod dispelled any
lingering doubts about their canonicity. So on September 1/14, 1971, the
Matthewites sent an exarchate, consisting of Metropolitans Callistus of Corinth
and Epiphanius of Kition (
But the Matthewites, according to their own account, did not immediately
seek communion in prayer with the Russians. First they asked what the Russians’
attitude to the new calendarists was. The Russians replied that the
introduction of the new calendar was a mistake, and promised, in the person of
Archbishop Philotheus of
Having examined the Matthewite case, on September 15/28, the Russians
presented, in writing, a dogmatic-canonical examination of the case of
consecrations by one bishop only. The Matthewites claimed that this report
vindicated Matthew’s actions, but this is a misrepresentation of the text. In
fact, although the language they used was conciliatory, the Russians concluded
that the Matthewites had sinned, “not against the dogmas of Orthodoxy, but
since, in their zeal to preserve it they transgressed against the hierarchical
order when Bishop Matthew consecrated a bishop on his own. A simple recognition
of their consecrations could become a cause of scandal as being in disregard of
fixed canons: the First of the Apostles, the Fourth of the First Ecumenical
Council, and the Third of the Seventh Ecumenical Council. At the same time it
is clear from other canons and examples that economy can be applied on the
basis of the Eighth of the First Ecumenical Council and the Sixty-Sixth of the
The laying on of hands duly took place. On the same day (October 1) Metropolitan Philaret wrote to Archbishop Auxentius: “They [Metropolitans Callistus and Epiphanius] laid before us the question of their hierarchy, and declared that they relied completely on the decision of our Council, which they were obliged to accept whatever it might be.
“We rejoiced at the humility and firm Orthodox faith with which they came to us. Therefore we treated them with brotherly love and the hope that their good feelings would serve the affair of a general union. We based our decision also on the fact that the indicated hierarchs agreed to do all they could to unite with your Church. That is, what seemed to you and us unrealizable, with the help of the grace of God turned out to be possible. We hope that your Beatitude, being led by the Holy Spirit, will treat them with brotherly love and that through your and our joint efforts all will be united by you…”
However, almost immediately there was much controversy over the precise meaning of what the Russian bishops had done to the Matthewite bishops. Some claimed that these were real ordinations (kheirotoniai), adducing the following facts: (a) that the Russians in their text of September 15/28 explicitly stated that they were not simply going to recognize the Matthewite orders, (b) that the Russians in the same text explained that in the history of the Church the clergy of certain graceless schismatics, such as the Catharoi, were received into the clergy of the Orthodox by kheirothesia, simple laying-on of hands, and not by reordination, which was an exercise of economy but by no means a recognition of the schismatics’ ordinations, and (c) that, as Bishop Laurus, the secretary of the Russian Synod pointed out on a trip to Greece, the kheirothesias on Metropolitans Callistos and Epiphanius were carried out, not on the same, but on successive days, which clearly implied that they were equivalent to consecrations.
Against this view, however, are the following facts: (a) the words of the Act, in which the word kheirothesia and its Russian equivalent and not kheirotonia and its Russian equivalent are used, (b) the English text of a letter sent by Metropolitan Philaret to Metropolitan Epiphanius, in which the sacrament was described as no more than “a prayer of absolution” – presumably the removal of the stain attaching to the Matthewite orders because of their derivation from one bishop only, (c) the text of an Encyclical of the Florinites, which said that the Florinites had been informed that “the Synod of the all-sacred Philaret has decided to recognize as canonical the pseudo-bishops of the reposed Mr. Matthew”, and (d) the text of a letter by Metropolitan Philaret, and signed also by Bishop Laurus, to Archbishop Andreas: “We make it known to all that, after the laying-on of hands, which has been fulfilled as a blessing to your Beatitude’s Sacred Hierarchy, our Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia enters into full ecclesiastical and sacramental communion with the Orthodox Church of the True Orthodox Christians of Greece, of which your Beatitude is a bishop.” Also in favour of this interpretation (e) is the statement of George Lardas: “This was a simple cheirothesia and not the full rite of consecration”, and (f) a letter of Protopriest George Grabbe, secretary of the ROCOR Synod: “Bishops Callistus and Epiphanius were not ordained by our Synod. They were accepted into communion as bishops with only the laying of hands on them, already in bishops’ vestments, according to the 8th canon of the First Ecumenical Council. That was to rectify the irregularity caused by the founding of their hierarchy through the consecration originally performed by one bishop”.
“Unfortunately,” writes Holy Transfiguration Monastery,
For a very short period the two Greek Synods called each other “brothers in Christ”, and in the opinion of the present writer this is what they in fact were (and are). For it makes no ecclesiological sense to claim that two Churches which derive their orders or correction of their orders from the same source, are in communion with each through that source, and have the same confession of faith, can be of a different status ecclesiologically.
Soon, however, the two sides were again hurling insults at each other,
and it must be concluded that there was little will for unity between the two
Greek Synods. Moreover, in 1976 the Matthewites broke communion with the
Russians. They claimed that the Russians had broken their promise to give them
a written confession that the new calendarists were without grace, and were
continuing, in the person of Archbishop Anthony of
This was true; and Archbishop Anthony’s ecumenical actions caused several priests and parishes to leave him for the Matthewites.
Metropolitan Philaret expressed disapproval of these acts, but he was not in sufficient control of his Synod to obtain Archbishop Anthony’s repentance. He was also hampered by the fact that the official position of the ROCOR Synod towards the new calendarists remained relatively weak and did not satisfy the Matthewites: “Concerning the question of the presence or absence of grace among the new calendarists the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad does not consider herself or any other Local Church to have the right to make a conclusive decision, since a categorical evaluation in this question can be undertaken only by a properly convened, competent Ecumenical Council, with the obligatory participation of the free Church of Russia.”
Although this was the official ROCOR line, there is evidence that Metropolitan Philaret’s personal views were stricter and closer to those of the Greeks. Thus on September 20, 1975, he wrote to Metropolitan Epiphanius of Kition, the leader of the Old Calendarist Church of Cyprus, with whom he continued to have friendly relations even after the Matthewite Synod to which Epiphanios belonged had broken communion with ROCOR: “From the beginning our Russian Church has known that the calendar innovation was unacceptable, and has not dared to move this boundary set by patristic tradition, for the Ecclesiastical Calendar is a support of the life of the Church and as such is fortified by decrees of Holy Tradition.
“However, it is obvious to all that the calendar innovation caused a schism in the Greek Church in 1924, and the responsibility for the schism weighs exclusively on the innovators. This is the conclusion that will be reached by anyone studying the Patriarchal Tomoi (as that of 1583) and taking into account the wretched and self-evident fact of the schism and the frightful punishments, persecutions and blasphemies which those who have cleaved to the patristic piety of Holy Tradition have undergone.
“Thinking in this way, our Holy Synod has decreed that we ‘flee’ concelebrations with the new calendarist modernists. We do not concelebrate with them, nor do we give permission or a blessing to our clergy for such a concelebration. In order to assure you of the truth of what we say, we inform you that whenever a community in the diaspora is received into our Church, they are required to follow the patristic Calendar of the Orthodox Church…”
Meanwhile, on June 5, 1974, in an encyclical to its clergy, the Auxentiite Synod reaffirmed that the new calendarists were schismatics with no grace of sacraments and should be received into the True Church by chrismation: “The ministration of the Holy Gifts to the new calendarists has been forbidden since the beginning of the schism of the official Church; and you must observe this line of conduct unswervingly in a spirit of discipline towards our ecclesiastical traditions. If someone joins our ranks from the new calendar, an indispensable condition of his acceptance is the confession of faith and the condemnation of every heresy and innovation, including the new calendar, by the acceptance of which the Greek Church became schismatic from 1924, as the reformer Archbishop Chrysostom Papadopoulos himself averred, and in consequence of which its sacraments are deprived of sanctifying grace. If people who have been baptised in that Church convert to the Faith, they must again be chrismated with holy chrism of canonical origin, in accordance with the First Canon of St. Basil the Great.”
This confession of the faith was to be welcomed in that it removed the main obstacle to union with the Matthewites – the suspicion the latter had that the Auxentiites really recognised the new calendarists. However, it had no effect on the Matthewites, who went even further to the right by rejecting the 1971 kheirothesia, declaring: “1. We accepted spiritual communion with the Russian Synod after an oral declaration-assurance with regard to agreement and unity in the faith, i.e. the confession-ecclesiology of the True Orthodox Church. 2. We accepted the kheirothesia as an external act – and wholly formal, in order to efface the pretext of anticanonicity which the followers of the former [Bishop] of Florina, i.e. the Acacians, had put forward in opposition to unity, and not as something that affected the Hierarchy, which was dogmatically complete and perfect. 3. We accept that there were canonical breaches (irregularities), but what moved us was the fact that the Russians, in accordance with the declarations of the Exarchate, had confessed the True Confession. However, when the opposite started to reveal itself, after desperate attempts which lasted for approximately four years, we were compelled to break off spiritual communion, being indifferent to the issue of the kheirothesia, because neither had anything been added to us, nor subtracted from us. … 4. Yes, as has been revealed, the act of 1971 was a robber act, which had been previously constructed by the enemies of the Church.”
Greek Zealots and Ecumenists
“By 1973, the Auxentian Synod had ten bishops, 123 churches in
In 1975, according to a new calendarist estimate, “of the two Old
Calendarist groups, the followers of the later Metropolitan Chrysostom of
Florina have about 120 parishes, perhaps 70-80 monks and more than 600 nuns;
the followers of the late Archbishop Matthew of Keratea have about 50 parishes,
150 monks and 500 nuns. But these figures may well be too low.” Other
sources indicate that in the later 1970s there were about 50,000 Old
Calendarists, with about a third of the 1200 monks on the
By comparison, the Romanian Old Calendarists were much more numerous at this time: about one million faithful led by three bishops, Glicherie (87 years old), Evlogie (65 years old) and Silivestre (54 years old). There were 10 hieromonks in the large monastery and two in the convents. There were about 45 married priests (a few parishes had two) and 5 deacons (4 in the monastery and one married). There were also two monasteries, Slatioara, with 80 monks, and another with 25. There were two convents with 100 and 50 nuns each, and a skete, Dobru with 35 nuns, besides some 100 or so nuns living in the parish churches.”
Meanwhile, the new calendarist Greeks were going still further than the
Soviet Russians by extending their “eucharistic hospitality” even to the
Protestants. Thus in 1971 Patriarch Athenagoras told a group of thirty American
and five Greek priests: “And what is taking place today? A great spirit of love
is spreading abroad over the Christians of the East and the West. Already we
love one another… already in
Now the lifting of the anathemas in 1965 had caused the majority of
monasteries, sketes and dependencies of
In 1972 Esphigmenou raised the flag “Orthodoxy or Death” over the monastery in protest against the joint prayer service held by Patriarch Athenagoras and the Pope, and ceased participating in joint prayer services with representatives of the other monasteries. However, in July Athenagoras died, and hopes were raised that his successor, Demetrius, would abandon his predecessor’s uniatism and return to Orthodoxy. But these hopes were dashed when, at his enthronement speech on July 5/18, the new patriarch affirmed his commitment to Ecumenism and the WCC, and spoke about “the pressing need to initiate dialogues first of all with Islam, and then with the other great monotheistic religions.” And later that year Demetrius addressed the Mohammedans on one of their feasts: “The great God whose children we all are, all of us who believe in and worship him, wishes us to be saved and to be brothers. He wishes this to be so even though we belong to different religions. In these religions, however, we have learned both to recognize the holy God as the beginning and end of all, to love each other and to think only good things – which things let us practise towards each other.”
This did not prevent the Sacred Community of the
Nevertheless, even after this statement and the visit to the
“On the arrival of the Patriarch’s letter, the police cut the telephone line to Esphigmenou and installed a guard outside the monastery. Meanwhile the monks kept the gates closed and hung from the walls a large black banner inscribed ‘Orthodoxy or Death’. They warned the civil governor that they would resist any attempt to effect a forcible entry. In a declaration smuggled to the outside world, they stated that they continued to regard themselves as canonically subject to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, but did not recognize the present occupant of the Patriarchal throne, since ‘he is an enemy of Orthodoxy’.”
The monks of Esphigmenou were encouraged in their stand by a great miracle worked by the Holy Martyr Agathangelus, a monk of Esphigmenou. At the most critical moment in the struggle, the monks on entering the sanctuary were met with a great fragrant cloud. On examination, they found that the cloud was coming from the relics of St. Agathangelus; and they took this to mean that the saint was approving of their struggle against the greatest heresy of the age…
In May, 1975 the WCC published an agreed statement of the Faith and Order Commission entitled One Baptism, One Eucharist and a Mutually Recognised Ministry, proclaiming a thoroughly Protestant doctrine of ecclesial and sacramental unity. As the title suggests, this document was aimed at the mutual recognition by the churches of each other’s sacraments. For example: “Our baptismal unity in Jesus Christ constitutes a call to the churches to overcome their divisions and achieve full visible union” (p. 10). And “the full recognition by churches of each other’s baptisms as the one baptism into Christ should be possible for all when Jesus Christ has been confessed as Lord by the candidate… and when baptism has been performed with water ‘in the name of the Father , the Son and the Holy Spirit’” (p. 16). It should be remembered that the WCC included sects which deny the Divinity of Christ, and that none of the member-churches except the Orthodox (and not even all of them) baptised in the apostolic manner with full threefold immersion.
The document also included a theologically incoherent doctrine of the transformation of the bread and the wine in the Eucharist, and the extraordinary statement that “the churches should test their liturgies in the light of the eucharistic agreement recently obtained” (p. 27) – as if the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom needed revision in the light of Protestant theology!
The Orthodox could hardly claim not to be committed to this document’s doctrines, for one of its chief architects was the Russian Protopresbyter Vitaly Borovoy, and none of the Churches disowned him. Moreover, it was a revision of previous statements “in the light of responses received from the churches” – including, presumably, from the Orthodox churches.
In the same year of 1975, Archbishop Athenagoras of Thyateira and
Again, at the WCC’s General Assembly at Nairobi in 1975, the Orthodox delegates, having signed an agreement to recognize the sacraments of the non-Orthodox delegates, had declared that “the Orthodox do not expect the other Christians to be converted to Orthodoxy in its historic and cultural reality of the past and the present and to become members of the Orthodox Church” – which gave the lie to their excuse that they were participating in the ecumenical movement “to witness to the non-Orthodox”.
Some residual opposition to ecumenism remained in some of the Local
Churches – especially in
“Orthodox elsewhere are thinking along the same lines as Archbishop
Seraphim. Speaking to the Clergy Conference of the Greek Archdiocese on
Again, in April, 1980 another warning about the dangers of ecumenism was
delivered in an epistle by the Fathers of Mount Athos, who since the return of
Vatopedi in 1975 were now all solidly Old Calendar, though most remained in
communion with the Ecumenical Patriarch. And yet high-level negotiations
between Orthodox and Catholics went ahead on the islands of
the Third All-Emigration Council of ROCOR took place in the monastery of the
Holy Trinity in
was much to discuss. In the last decade the apostatic influence of the
ecumenical movement had broadened and deepened, and Metropolitan Philaret, had
assumed a leading role in the struggle against it through his “Sorrowful
Epistles”. Under the influence of this leadership, many non-Russians, such as
the Greek American Monastery of the Holy Transfiguration in
However, such a vision of ROCOR was not shared by all her hierarchs. Some saw the isolation of ROCOR from other local Churches as necessitated, not so much by the struggle against ecumenism, as by the need to preserve Russianness among the Russian émigrés. It was not that the preservation of Russianness as such was not an undoubted good: the problem arose when it hindered the missionary witness of the Church to non-Russian believers. Such phyletistic tendencies inevitably led to a loss of Church consciousness in relation to ecumenism, and to a feeling that ROCOR was closer to Russians of the MP, ecumenist though they might be, than to True Orthodox Christians of Greek or French or American origin.
Another cause of division was the stricter attitude that ROCOR was now
being forced to adopt towards “World Orthodoxy”, the Local Orthodox Churches
that participated in the ecumenical movement. Most of the hierarchs had
passively acquiesced in Metropolitan Philaret’s “Sorrowful Epistles”, and in
the union with the Greek Old Calendarists. But they began to stir when the
consequences of this were spelled out by the “zealots” in ROCOR: no further
communion with the new calendarists, the Serbs and
In his address to the Council, entitled “Our Church in the Modern World”, Anthony of Geneva declared: “By the example of our First Hierarchs [Anthony and Anastasy] we must carefully preserve those fine threads which bind us with the Orthodox world. Under no circumstances must we isolate ourselves, seeing around us, often imagined, heretics and schismatics. Through gradual self-isolation we will fall into the extremism which our metropolitans wisely avoided, we will reject that middle, royal path which until now our Church has travelled… By isolating ourselves, we will embark upon the path of sectarianism, fearing everyone and everything, we will become possessed with paranois.”
This somewhat hysterical appeal not to separate from the World Orthodox
at just the point when they were embarking upon “super-ecumenism” was
criticised by Protopresbyter George Grabbe: “The report does not mention to the
degree necessary, maybe, that life goes on, and the sickness of ecumenism
deepens and widens more and more. Condescension, oikonomia, must under
different circumstances be applied differently, and to different degrees. In
does too great it can betray the Truth.” Then Archbishop Anthony of
discussed at the Council was
the phenomenon known as “the dissident movement”. This arose in the second half
of the 1960s, as détente developed between the Communist and Capitalist
superpowers. It affected both the political sphere (the works of such figures
as Sakharov and Solzhenitsyn) and the religious sphere (Solzhenitsyn again,
Bishop Hermogen of
Unknown at the time was the adoption of a new long-range global strategy by the Soviet leadership, in which the dissident movement was planned to play an important role. Thus in a memo to the CIA dated 1978 Anatoliy Golitsyn wrote: “At the time of the adoption of the long-range strategy in the period 1958 to 1960, there was strong internal opposition to the Soviet régime from dissatisfied workers, collective farmers, intellectuals, clergy, Ukrainian, Latvian, Lithuanian and Jewish nationalists, etc. These oppositionists did not call themselves ‘dissidents’ and nor did the KGB call them ‘dissidents’.
“On the contrary, the KGB and the Party referred to them as ‘enemies of the régime’… The KGB was instructed to adopt new methods to deal with this opposition, based on the experience of the GPU (the Soviet political police) under Dzerzhinsky in the 1920s…
“This entailed the creation of a false opposition in the
“The main objectives which the Soviet rulers are trying to achieve through the ‘dissident movement’ are as follows:
“(a) To confuse, neutralise and dissolve the true internal
political opposition in the
“(b) To prevent the West from reaching the
genuine internal opposition in the
“(c) To influence the foreign policy of the United States through the ‘dissidents’ in the interests of the Communist long-term strategy and exploit this issue in the strategy’s final phase.”
Golitsyn was talking mainly about political dissidents. Nevertheless, it may be that some of the church dissidents, too, were, if not signed-up agents, at any rate naïve and unwitting tools in the hands of the enemies of the faith, who permitted all their contacts with the ROCOR because they foresaw the corrosive effect such contacts would have.
Two main streams were discernible in the movement, which may be called, recalling the debates of the nineteenth-century intelligentsia, the Westernisers and the Slavophiles. The Westernisers were mainly concerned to correct abuses within the Church, to re-establish freedom of conscience and freedom of expression. They sought and received much support in the West, and were in turn much influenced by modern western modes of thought, especially – and in this they departed from traditionally Orthodox modes of thought – Ecumenism. The Slavophiles were less well received and understood in the West. Their main emphasis was on the restoration of traditional Russianness – Russian religion, Russian art and architecture, Russian culture in all its forms, which Soviet culture had so damaged and distorted.
The two streams were not always sharply differentiated and could fuse together in the thought and activity of a single man. Thus Alexander Solzhenitsyn, though usually considered to be a Slavophile, nevertheless shared many of the characteristics of the westernizing dissidents, not only in his human rights activity, but also in his Ecumenism. And, purified of their heterodox elements, both streams could be said to tend (unconsciously as yet) towards the True Orthodox Church, which remained more radical and still more courageous in Her confession than the dissidents and more truly representative of the best of Old Russia than the Slavophiles.
The dissident movement within the Church began, among the clergy, with the 1965 open letter of the Priests Nicholas Yeshliman and Gleb Yakunin to President Podgorny, in which they protested against the subservience of the Church to the State, particularly in not resisting the Khrushchev persecution, in giving control of the parishes to the State-controlled dvadsatsky, in the handing over of lists of those baptized to the local authorities, in not letting children and adolescents under 18 participate in church life, and in ordaining only those candidates to the episcopate and priesthood who were pleasing to the Council for Religious Affairs. This letter was ignored by the patriarchate, and in 1966 both priests were forbidden from serving.
Among the laity, the most significant dissident, as we have seen, was
the philosopher Boris Talantov, who was imprisoned for exposing the activities
of the Kirov Bishop John in the closing of churches and suppression of
believers. He was slandered publicly on the BBC by Metropolitan Nicodemus of
Leningrad, and was eventually sent to prison in
In 1972, Alexander Solzhenitsyn wrote an open “Lenten Letter” to
Patriarch Pimen, describing the patriarchate as being “ruled dictatorially by
atheists – a sight never before seen in two millenia!” “The
Solzhenitsyn’s appeal “not to live by the lie” was seen by some to lead logically to the adoption of a catacomb existence for the Church. Thus Fr. Sergius Zheludkov replied: “What are we to do in such a situation? Should we say: all or nothing? Should we try to go underground, which in the present system is unthinkable? Or should we try somehow to accept the system and for the present use those opportunities that are permitted?”
However, Solzhenitsyn himself neither belonged to the
Then Anthony himself read a report calling on ROCOR to support the
dissidents, in spite of the fact that they were ecumenists and in the MP. He
was countered by Archbishop Anthony of
Another important dissident was the
Such sentiments were close to the truth, and naturally elicited sympathy from members of ROCOR. Less well known – because edited out of his books as published in the West - was Fr. Demetrius’ ecumenism. The right attitude to him would have been to applaud his courage and the correct opinions he expressed, while gently seeking to correct his liberalism and ecumenism. In no way was it right to treat him as if he were a true priest in the True Church, and an example to be followed that was no less praiseworthy than those of the true confessors in the catacombs.
But that is precisely what many in ROCOR now began to do. And even the 1974 Council was tempted, declaring: “The boundary between preservation of the Church and seductive self-preservation was drawn by his Holiness Patriarch Tikhon, his lawful locum tenens Metropolitan Peter, Metropolitan Cyril of Kazan, Metropolitan Joseph of Petrograd and the Solovki confessors headed by Archbishop Hilarion (Troitsky).
“In recent years, this boundary has again been clearly drawn by Archbishop Hermogenes [of the MP], several priests, among them Nicholas Gainov and Demetrius Dudko, the laypeople of Vyatka led by Boris Talantov, the defenders of the Pochaev Lavra such as Theodosia Kuzminichna Varavva, and many others. This boundary has also been drawn by Solzhenitsyn in his appeal ‘Do not live by the lie!’ Not to live by the lie and to honour the memory of the holy martyrs and confessors of our Church – this is the boundary separating the true Tikhonites from ‘the sergianist leaven of Herod’, as wrote Boris Talantov, the rebukers of the present leaders of the patriarchate who died in prison.
“In our unceasing prayers for each other, in our love for the Lord Jesus, in our faithfulness to the ideal of the past and future Orthodox Russia, the faithful archpastors, pastors, monks and laymen on both sides of the iron curtain are united. Together they constitute the Holy Church of Russia, which is indivisible just as the seamless robe of Christ is indivisible.”
This was a serious distortion: to place the confessors of the Catacomb
Church on the same level as “dissident” sergianists. A case could be made for
considering that Boris Talantov was a true martyr, since he denounced the MP in
terms identical to those employed by the
Voices were heard at the 1974 Council arguing
for union not only between ROCOR and the MP dissidents, but also between ROCOR
and the schismatic
The divisions that were beginning to emerge between Metropolitan Philaret and the majority of other hierarchs was expressed by him in a letter to one of his few allies, Protopresbyter George Grabbe, the Secretary of the Synod. Describing a meeting with the hierarchs, he wrote: “I saw how truly alone I am among our hierarchs with my views on matters of principle (although on a personal level I am on good terms with everyone). And I am in earnest when I say that I am considering retiring. Of course, I won’t leave all of a sudden, unexpectedly. But at the next Sobor I intend to point out that too many things that are taking place in our church life do not sit well with me. And if the majority of the episcopacy agree with me than I will not raise the matter of retiring. But if I see that I am alone or see myself in the minority then I will announce that I am retiring. For I cannot head, nor, therefore bear the responsibility for that with which I am not in agreement in principle. In particular, I do not agree with our practice of halfway relations with the American and Parisian schismatics. The Holy Fathers insistently state that long and obdurately continuing schism is close to being heresy, and that it is necessary to relate to stubborn schismatices as to heretics, not allowing any communion with them whatsoever (how Vladyka Anthony’s hair would stand on end at such a pronouncement! But I remain unyielding)… There are very many other matters, too, in particular about Solzhenitsyn, concerning whom I continue to remain more than just cautious…”
The Fall of Dissent
In 1976 the ROCOR Synod issued an Epistle to the Russian people which, after declaring unity with the Catacomb Church, went on to say to dissident members of the MP: “We also kiss the cross that you have taken upon yourselves, O pastors who have found in yourselves the courage and strength of spirit to be open reproachers of the weakness of spirit of your hierarchs, who have surrendered before the atheists… We know of your exploit, we pray for you and ask your prayers for our flock that is in the diaspora. Christ is in our midst! He is and shall be!”
“Christ is in our midst! He is and shall be!” are words that Orthodox priests exchange in the altar after the consecration of the Holy Gifts. Their use here implies the recognition of the dissidents as co-celebrants with ROCOR, members of the same Church. Clearly the influence of the dissidents was having a corrosive effect on the ecclesiology of ROCOR.
The liberals were emboldened to go further, and Archbishop Anthony of
few months later, Archbishop Anthony again concelebrated with several heretics
(a senior MP priest was singing in the choir!) at the funeral of Archbishop
In the same critical year of 1976 the well-known Brotherhood of St.
Another important issue was relations with the
“There is no denying that a certain honour is due the
“How can there be any talk here of a special gratitude to her? Oh, if
“How dangerous are compromises in matters of principle! They render people powerless in defence of the Truth. Why is it that the Serbian Patriarchate cannot resolve to sever communion with the Soviet hierarchy? Because she herself is travelling along the same dark and dangerous path of compromise with the God-hating communists. True, she has not progressed along that path to the extent that the Soviet hierarchy has, and she attempts to preach and defend the faith, but if the shades and nuances here are quite different, yet, in principle, the matter stands on one and the same level”.
In 1979, in response to a series of protests by Fr. Demetrius against
what he saw as excessive strictness on the part of ROCOR towards the MP,
Archbishop Anthony of Geneva, breaking the rule imposed by Metropolitan
Anastasy (and reasserted by Metropolitan Philaret) that ROCOR members should
have no contact, “even of an everyday nature”, with Soviet church clergy, wrote
to Dudko: “I hasten to console you that the part of the Russian Church which
lives in freedom beyond the bounds of the homeland, has never officially
considered the Moscow Patriarchate, which is recognised in the USSR, as
graceless…. We have never dared to deny the grace-filled nature of the official
church, for we believe that the sacraments carried out by her clergy are
sacraments. Therefore out bishops received your clergy into the Church Abroad
in their existing rank… On the other hand, the representatives of the
However, in 1980, Fr. Demetrius was arrested, which was closely followed by the arrest of his disciples Victor Kapitanchuk and Lev Regelson. Then Dudko issued a recantation on Soviet television in which he confessed that his “so-called struggle with godlessness” was in fact “a struggle with Soviet power”. Regelson confessed to having “criminal ties” with foreign correspondents and of mixing religious activity with politics, while Kapitanchuk also confessed to links with Western correspondents, saying that he had “inflicted damage on the Soviet state for which I am very sorry”. Both men implicated others in their “crimes”.
Metropolitan Philaret had been proved right – although many continued to justify Dudko and denounced the zealots for “judging” him. But it was not a question of “judging”, and nobody rejoiced in the fall of the dissident. It was a question of the correct discerning of the boundaries of the Church and the correct attitude to those struggling outside it.
The metropolitan wrote that the tragedy had overtaken Dudko because his
activity had taken place from within the Moscow Patriarchate – that is,
Looking at this tragedy from a psychological point of view, we can see
that Dudko’s vulnerability may have consisted, not so much in the fear of physical
torture, as in the KGB’s ability (perhaps with the aid of certain State Church
bishops) to induce in him a feeling of false guilt, guilt that he had
objectively harmed the Soviet State, which, supposedly, he was bound to support
and pray for. This tragedy exposed an inescapable dilemma facing all the
dissidents: that action aimed to restore the freedom and dignity of the Church
was necessarily antisoviet, insofar as the
Gamsakhurdia, the future president of independent
“All this aroused a great deal of concern in government circles. As is
well known, the Soviet government tries by all means to deflect young people
from religion. This happened in
“The authorities began by blackmailing and pressurizing Ephraim II.
pressure from the authorities alarmed Ephraim II. He was not like those strong
and high principled Patriarchs, Ambrosy Kalaya or Kalistrat Lintsadze. All this
slowly affected the style and content of his preaching and his relationship
with us, the young flock of the
“Ephraim made no secret of the fact that it was the KGB who forbade him
to lend books to the young believers. Once he even joked about it: ‘You know
One of the senior bishops in the
“…the most likely candidate for the patriarchal throne seemed to be Metropolitan Gaioz (Kepatishvili) of Tsilkani, on whose side were the majority of the bishops and clergy. Another contender was Metropolitan Ilia of Sukhumi and Abkhazia, who also had a sizable following. Metropolitan Gaioz and his supporters forcibly occupied the Patriarchal headquarters, having ejected the watchman and lone nun, supporters of Ilia, who had been guarding it. Thereupon telegrams were sent to all the heads of the Local Orthodox Churches, announcing that Metropolitan Gaioz had been ‘elected’ Locum Tenens of the Patriarchal throne. Oddly enough, these telegrams got no further than the local post office. It seems that the appropriate ‘competent organs’ of state had by this time already reached a decision. (More on this below.) Then the militia burst into the headquarters of the Patriarchate, in turn forcibly expelled the followers of Metropolitan Gaioz, and ushered in those of Metropolitan Ilia, who was then declared locum tenens. And, of course, this time his telegrams reached their destination. The new locum tenens hastily consecrated several bishops from among his supporters in the clergy, thus ‘packing the court’.
“Metropolitan Gaioz was forced, for appearance sake, to participate in the election and enthronement of Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II. He was made to place the Patriarchal panagias and cross around the neck of the new Primate -- a bitter pill to swallow indeed! Soon thereafter Metropolitan Gaioz was arrested and charged with various crimes, including theft of church property, speculation in foreign currency, and moral depravity. The public prosecutor asked for the maximum sentence permitted by the law code then in force, which was fifteen years imprisonment. However, the plaintiff on behalf of the Church, Archimandrite Nicholas Makharadze, demanded the death penalty! Metropolitan Gaioz was eventually sentenced to fifteen years in prison and
“… In 1979 Patriarch Ilia II was… elected one of the six presidents of the
World Council of Churches… He then inserted the new title into the text of his
official commemoration during the church services: ‘For our Great Lord and
Father, Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia, Archbishop of Mtskheta and
From the 1970s we see the ascendancy in the MP of a school of thought devoted both to the interests of the Soviet State and of the ecumenical movement which has been called “Nikodimovschina” from its first leader and originator, Metropolitan Nicodemus, KGB Agent “Sviatoslav”.
The fruits of Nicodemus’ activity was soon evident. “The Great Soviet Encyclopaedia recorded that by 1972 the WCC had been converted from a ‘pro-Western’ to a ‘progressive’ orientation in its policies on peace, disarmament and related matters. Assiduous advocacy by the Christian Peace Conference and othrs of the view that Christianity and communism were natural allies in support of the national liberation movement induced the WCC to provide funds for African guerilla movements, including the Rhodesian Patriotic Front, believed to be responsible for a massacre of British missionaries in 1978.”
Ever since writing his master’s thesis on Pope John XXIII, the man who
led the Catholic Church onto the ecumenical scene, Metropolitan Nicodemus had
been trying to do the same for the Moscow Patriarchate. Hierodeacon (now
Hieromonk) Theophanes (Areskin) writes: “Metropolitan Nicodemus begins his
exposition of his ecumenist faith with an Orthodox thesis on the unity of the
whole human race in Adam: ‘Mankind, the whole Adam (in the expression of St.
Macarius the Great) is united by means of the Incarnation, Cross and
Resurrection of the last Adam (I Corinthians 14.45), the second Man, the
Lord Who “for us men” came down from the heavens (I Corinthians 15.47),
and, having tasted “death for us all by the grace of God” (Hebrews 2.9),
“is the Saviour of all men” (I Timothy 4.10)… We all, in accordance with
the ineffable wisdom of God, have been bound from the beginning with the bonds
of unity and brotherhood’. But further on Metropolitan Nicodemus reveals his
understanding of this unity: ‘Christ died for all men, and, as the new Adam, he
laid the beginning for a new humanity… The fullness of the grace-filled gifts
is communicated to people by the Holy Spirit in the
“And so, according to Metropolitan Nicodemus, all people are ‘Christians’, it is true that the Church of Christ, the Body of Christ, the New Adam, is one, but it is not yet united into one ecclesiastical organization under one leader. The aim of the ecumenists is to create this mediation, that is, one single visible ecclesiastical organization for all. In this way the ecumenical Church and the world become indistinguishable from each other. It is not difficult to find the primary source of this faith. It is sergianism – a heretical teaching that the Church, the Body of Christ, is a simple ecclesiastical organization, just like ordinary secular organizations, political parties, communities, commercial structures, etc.”
The death of Nicodemus in 1978 in
Alexis, an Estonian by birth (he was bishop in Tallin before his
In the 1974 Furov report to the Central Committee of the USSR Alexis (together with his predecessor Patriarch Pimen) was placed in the category of those bishops who “affirm both in words and deeds not only loyalty but also patriotism towards the socialist society; strictly observe the laws on cults, and educate the parish clergy and believers in the same spirit; realistically understand that our state is not interested in proclaiming the role of religion and the church in society; and, realizing this, do not display any particular activeness in extending the influence of Orthodoxy among the population.”
According to a KGB document of 1988, “An order was drafted by the USSR KGB chairman to award an honorary citation to agent DROZDOV” [i.e. Alexis] for unspecified services to state security.
“Already in 1966,” writes Hierodeacon Theophanes, “in his speech before the delegation of the German Evangelical church at a conference in Moscow, the future head of the MP in the name of Christ Himself declared that ‘Jesus Christ considers His own, that is, as Christians, all those who believe in Him and obey Him, and this is more than the Orthodox Church.’ If we remember that, according to Orthodox teaching, Christ adopted people to Himself only in His Hypostasis, that is, in His Body which is the Orthodox Church, then it is obvious that the metropolitan is here confessing a christological heresy, considering as Christians those who are outside the Church – calling them ‘God’s’, that is, the Church’s.
“Alexis still more clearly confesses that all the non-Orthodox Christians are the Church of Christ in his report to the 8th General Assembly of the World Council of Churches, published in the Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate in 1980 (¹¹ 1-3). Here, blasphemously mixing up and identifying the concepts of the presence of God in the world and His energies and presence in the Church, the metropolitan very distinctly reveals his heretical teaching on the “all-embracing and unconditional” Incarnation of Christ, which automatically turns the whole of humanity, all Christians, Muslims, pagans, and in general all ‘men of good will’ into members of the Body of Christ, that is, the Church! Metropolitan Alexis openly teaches that the same grace of the Holy Spirit acts in the non-Orthodox churches – the participants in the WCC – as in the Orthodox Church: ‘We (the CEC) have learned to pray together, to understand the spirit and depth of prayer for each other, to feel the breath of the grace of the Holy Spirit in joint prayer to the Lord … we must thank God for the joy of our communion in Christ, for the joy of the ever-increasing experience of brotherhood and sisterhood in Christ in our work.’ Thus it was precisely in joint prayers with heretics that the archpastor felt the breath of ‘the grace of the Holy Spirit’! We should note that ‘ecumenical prayer’ is a very important moment in the ecumenical dialogue, it not only witnesses to the presence among the ecumenists of some common ‘god’ to whom this prayer is raised, but it is also a practical recognition of the action of the Holy Spirit in heterodoxy, thereby aiding the aggiornamento of the churches. This is what the future head of the MP says on this subject: ‘The aggiornamento of the churches is attained in the first place by prayer and brotherly love; joint prayers create a special atmosphere, a spiritual mood; (he goes on to cite A.S. Khomiakov) prayer is the life of the Church and the voice of her love, the eternal breathing of the Spirit of God. We believe that through joint prayers the breathing of the Spirit of God jointly enriches us all.’
“According to Orthodox teaching, it is precisely the Holy Spirit that
makes a man a member of the
“The source of this teaching of Metropolitan Alexis on the Holy Spirit
is a heretical Christology, whose essence consists in the assertion that ‘we
all have been received into the nature of Jesus Christ the God-man as an
integral nature. And this truth forces us to believe that every person striving
towards goodness and righteousness does the work of Christ on earth, even if he
intellectually has not known Christ or has even rejected Him. From the
Godmanhood of Christ it follows that the path into the
“However, according to the Orthodox teaching, ‘God the Word, on becoming incarnate, did not take on the nature viewed as an abstraction in pure thought,… nor the nature contemplated in species (that is, viewed in all the hypostases of the human race – H. Th.), for He did not take on all the hypostases, but He took on that which received its existence in His Hypostasis’. That is, it is impossible to say that since God the Word became Man, all people are saved by virtue of being men. But Metropolitan Alexis affirms that in the humanity of Christ is contained all men’s hypostases. Such a teaching was confessed in the 11th century by the Monk Nilus of Calabria, who taught that all human hypostases are present or are contained in the humanity taken on by the Lord and are ‘co-deified’ together with Him. The Orthodox Church anathematized Nilus and his heresy: ‘If anyone dogmatises that all human hypostases are in the flesh taken on by the Lord and are co-deified with it, let him be anathema, for this is empty chatter, or, rather, manifest impiety.’ And although the metropolitan makes the qualification that humanity for him is only ‘the potential church’, nevertheless he later on unambiguously speaks of the whole of humanity as of the Church – the Body of Christ, the Temple of the Holy Spirit: ‘Christ redeemed, cleansed and recreated a common human nature for all, while the Holy Spirit morally transfigures each human personality, gives the Christian the fullness of grace, makes him a temple of God and dwells in him, raises the growth of spirituality in the mind and the heart, leads him to every truth and gives him spiritual gifts to his benefit: to one – the word of wisdom, to another – the word of knowledge, by the same Spirit… and other gifts (I Corinthians 12.7-11), so that human talents should be revealed more fully.’ In this way, insofar as God the Word has been incarnate in a common human nature, His Body is the divided Christian Church in the combination of all its separate parts. However, the saving action of the Holy Spirit is poured out even beyond the bounds of the Body of Christ, penetrating into and deifying the body of the whole of humanity: ‘The all-embracing and most powerful force of the Holy Spirit is spread out onto the whole life of our world, transforming it in the course of the historical process of the struggle between good and evil.’
“And so, thanks to a clever substitution of concepts, the real difference between the grace of the Holy Spirit, by which God providentially preserves the world in existence and leads people to the Church, and the deifying mystical presence of the Holy Spirit in the Body of Christ, the Church, is destroyed, which completely abolishes the difference between the Church and the world: now ‘the cultural efflorescence of European and world Christianity’ is declared to be an action of the Holy Spirit, and even the Salt-2 treaty between Brezhnev and Carter concerning the limiting of strategic offensive weapons is also ‘a manifestation of the invisible power of the Holy Spirit acting in the world for the good of the whole of humanity.’
“The consequences of this ‘pan-human Pentecost’ are expressed by the metropolitan mainly in the terms of humanism and peace-making: ‘Christian concern for questions of social justice’, ‘the elements of the movement for peace’, Christians’ service to people and their ‘involvement in all the complexity of the real life of the world’. In this way the life of grace in the Body of Christ is substituted by a humanistic ‘serving the affairs of the world’.
“It is understandable that this ‘theology of peace’ should be very convenient for the dialogue not only with any heretical Christian communities, but also with any religions, even with utopian teachings like communism.
“But how is such a faith compatible with the Orthodox teaching on the
uniqueness and singleness of the One, Holy, Catholic and
influence of the KGB on Church life extended well beyond the borders of the
“In 1979 the future Archbishop Mark [of
“At that time Mark Arndt was an activist of NTS, the People’s Labour Union, which had once been a warlike anti-Soviet organisation but was then properly crammed with KGB agents.
“Some Russian émigrés today say: ‘What if the KGB simply frightened Mark and then let him go with God’s blessing?’
“I assure you as a retired lieutenant-colonel of the KGB: this could not have happened. Because the import of anti-Soviet literature came under article 70 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR, “Anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda”. It was considered an especially dangerous state crime and promised a considerable jail sentence.
“And how then, after arresting Mark, would the chekists have given an account of their work? Explained that they had let him go? And where would the concrete result so valued by the KGB be? Or, as they say there, ‘the dry remains’?
“But nobody would have allowed him to be released!
“After all, every foreigner who fell for righteousness’ or unrighteousness’ sake into the hands of the KGB was considered to be a fat, tasty chicken. He could have been exchanged for a Soviet spy who had fallen into captivity, or used for communist propaganda.
“All this would have been considered to be a great success and promised rewards for the chekists. But if they released him, there would have been no bonus. After all, the KGB is a military system. Every step there has to be agreed with tens of bosses.
“The chekists could have released him only in exchange for a still greater bonus. And they give that for the recruitment of a foreigner. It is considered the greatest achievement in the work of a chekist. His career would have been on the up.
“They teach how to recruit foreigners who are arrested by them in the Minsk KGB school…
“They worked on Mark. He would even have had to spend the night in the KGB…
“Sergius Grigoryants [the founder of Glasnost] told me the following: ‘… The fact that the KGB let Mark go in such a “humane” fashion shows that a love match may have been set up between them.’…
“There are agents of influence, who act on the politics of their
country in a spirit that is useful for
“If Archbishop Mark is truly an agent of the KGB, then he belongs to
this category. Does his activity correspond to the external political aims of
the Putin administration? Undoubtedly yes. It helps submit the Church Abroad to
Archbishop Mark immediately responded to Preobrazhensky’s accusations: “I have never and nowhere been arrested, and I will not comment on every absurdity”. However, while it cannot be considered proven that Archbishop Mark is a KGB agent, it is impossible to ignore the very strong possibility that those hours with the KGB influenced his position as the prime mover behind ROCOR’s proposed unification with the MP…
The origins of Pentecostalism, as of ecumenism, go back many decades, but came to fruition in the later part of the twentieth century. At precisely on New Year’s Eve of the year 1900 “the age of the Spirit” and “the new Pentecost” is supposed to have dawned…
“For some time before that moment,” wrote
Hieromonk Seraphim Rose, “a Methodist minister in
“For half a century the Pentecostal
Movement remained sectarian and everywhere it was received with hostility by
the established denominations. Then, however, speaking in tongues began
gradually to appear in the denominations themselves, although at first it was
kept rather quiet, until in 1960 an Episcopalian priest near Los Angeles gave
wide publicity to this fact by publicly declaring that he had received the
‘Baptism of the Holy Spirit’ and spoke in tongues. After some initial hostility,
the ‘charismatic renewal’ gained the official or unofficial approval of all the
major denominations and has spread rapidly both in
Although Pentecostalism was slower to penetrate Orthodoxy, we have already seen its influence in the words of Metropolitan Alexis (Ridiger), when speaking about a “pan-human Pentecost”.
Pentecostalism gave a tremendous boost to Ecumenism; it became the “heart”, as the ecumenical movement was the “mind” of the new religion of the future. No close attention was given to the question whether the spirit behind the tongues was the Holy Spirit or not. To those who endeavoured to obey the command: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God” (I John 4.1), it seemed clear that it was not, and that the Apostles’ words to the Corinthians applied also to the Pentecostalists: “If ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received [i.e. a different spirit from the Holy Spirit],… ye might well bear with him” (II Corinthians 11.4).
Although Pentecostalists assert that their gift of tongues is the same
as that which was given to the early Church, they forget that even in the early
Church this gift had its counterfeits. Thus Archbishop Averky of
“Inspired” by Pentecostalism, the ecumenists now plunged into the much broader sphere of inter-religious relations – that is, into “Super-Ecumenism”. For the so-called “age of the Spirit”, ignoring the voice of the Spirit: “Be ye not unequally yoked with unbelievers, for… what concord hath Christ with Belial?” (II Corinthians 6.14-15), invited to reunion not only Christians of all denominations but also members of all the other religions. Thus in 1970 the Pentecostal Pope Paul VI spoke of “the Hebrew and Islamic peoples, and Christians… these three expressions of an identical [my italics – V.M.] monotheism”, and confessed that “we are all sons of the same Father, and,… therefore, all brothers”. Evidently he did not know the words of the Apostle John: “Whosoever denieth the Son [and both Jews and Mohammedans deny the Son], the same hath not the Father” (I John 2.23). Nor those of the Lord Himself: “No man cometh unto the Father but by Me” (John 14.6).
Catholic Super-Ecumenism was set in motion by the Second Vatican Council’s decree, Nostra Aetate (Declaration on the Relations of the Church to Non Christian Religions, October 28, 1965): "Even though the Jewish authorities and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ, neither all Jews indiscriminately at that time, nor Jews today, can be charged with the crimes committed during his passion." And yet the Jewish religion to this day justifies the killing of Christ, saying that He was a magician and His Mother a prostitute!
The Orthodox were not far behind the Catholics, especially in relation to the Mohammedans. Thus in 1970, “the WCC sponsored a conference in Ajaltoun, Lebanon, between Hindus, Buddhists, Christians and Moslems, and a follow-up conference of 23 WCC ‘theologians’ in Zurich in June declared the need for ‘dialogue’ with the non-Christian religions. At the meeting of the Central Committee of the WCC at Addis Ababa in January of this year, Metropolitan Georges Khodre of Beirut (Orthodox Church of Antioch) shocked even many Protestant delegates when he not merely called for ‘dialogue’ with these religions, but left the Church of Christ far behind and trampled on 19 centuries of Christian tradition when he called on Christians to ‘investigate the authentically spiritual life of the unbaptized’ and enrich their own experience with the ‘riches of a universal religious community’ (Religious New Service), for ‘it is Christ alone who is received as light when grace visits a Brahmin, a Buddhist, or a Moslem reading his own scriptures’ (Christian Century, February 10, 1971).” Evidently the Metropolitan had forgotten that “all the gods of the heathen are demons” (Psalm 95.5).
As the 1970s and 1980s progressed talk of unity was succeeded by action,
and communal services not only between Christians of different denominations,
but also between Christians and non-Christians, became common. Thus on
Also clear by this time was the politicisation of the WCC along the lines of the Moscow-inspired “movement for peace”, as we can see from a cursory reading of the titles of the public statements of the 33rd and 34th sessions of the Central Committee of the WCC in 1981 and 1982: “The Churches and the Refugee Crisis”, “Statement on Namibia”, “Increased Threats to Peace and the Task of the Churches”, “Statement on South African Government Raids on Squatter Camps”, “On Northern Ireland”, “Statement on the Second Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Disarmament”, “Statement on Lebanon”, “Statement on Extrajudicial Executions”.
In 1982 the MP convened a conference entitled “Religious workers for
saving the sacred gift of life from nuclear catastrophe” in
Again, Fr. Lev Gillet highlighted the so-called “ecumenism of the
concentration camps”. “For it was in such places as
But if Orthodox, Catholics and Protestants who suffered at the hands of
the Nazis were all martyrs, what about the victims of the Jewish holocaust?
Soon the industry of the holocaust would be compelling Christian leaders to pay
homage also to these “martyrs”, whose religion of the Talmud breathes the most
extreme hatred of Christ and Christians! In fact, the concept of martyrdom
exposes ecumenism for the lie that it is. For if all religions are holy and
equal, then so are their martyrs. But this is impossible. For then Jews who are
killed by Muslims are as “holy” as Muslim suicide bombers. And Jews who suffer
at the hands of Christians are as holy as Christians who suffer at the hands of
Jews (for example, Archimandrite Philumenos of the
The Anathema against Ecumenism
Two ecumenical events combined to elicit a powerful response from the
True Orthodox Church. The first took place in 1982, when an
inter-denominational eucharistic service was composed at a conference in
First, the Greek Old Calendarist Metropolitan Gabriel of the
The Synod of ROCOR, also meeting in
Canada, condemned this latest and most extreme manifestation of ecumenism as
follows: “In its decision of 28 July / 10 August, our Council explained that
the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia does not participate in the World
Council of Churches insofar as the latter attempts to represent those assembled
in it, representatives of religions differing in their opinions, as though they
had some sort of unity in faith. In reality, though, this very position is a
lie, inasmuch as they, members of various confessions and sects, have not given
up their points of disagreement with each other, much less with the Orthodox
Church, in dogmas and in fundamental attitudes. In the name of unifying
formulas, these differences of opinion are not destroyed, but are just set
aside. Instead of the unshakable truths of the faith, they try to see only
opinions, not obligatory for anyone. In reply to the confession of the one
Orthodox Faith, they say together with Pilate: ‘What is truth?’ And the
nominally Orthodox members of the Ecumenical Movement more and more deserve the
reproach of the Angel of the Church of Laodicea: ‘I know your works: you are
neither hot nor cold: O if only you were hot or cold’ (Revelation 3.15).
A clear manifestation of such false union was the serving of the so-called
Then the Synod anathematised ecumenism, declaring: “To those who attack the Church of Christ by teaching that Christ’s Church is divided into so-called ‘branches’ which differ in doctrine and way of life, or that the Church does not exist visibly, but will be formed in the future when all ‘branches’ or sects or denominations, and even religions will be united in one body; and who do not distinguish the priesthood and mysteries of the Church from those of the heretics, but say that the baptism and eucharist of heretics is effectual for salvation; therefore to those who knowingly have communion with these aforementioned heretics or advocate, disseminate , or defend their new heresy of Ecumenism under the pretext of brotherly love or the supposed unification of separated Christians, Anathema.”
Anathema against Ecumenism was seized upon with delight by the True Orthodox
not only in ROCOR, but also in
Nevertheless, the implication of this anathema was clear: all Orthodox
Churches that were fully participating members of the WCC fell under it. As I.M.
writes: “There is no heresy without heretics and their practical activity. The
WCC in its declarations says: The Church confesses, the Church teaches, the
Church does this, the Church does that. In this way the WCC witnesses that it
does not recognize itself to be simply a council of churches, but the one
church. And all who are members of the WCC are members of this one false
church, this synagogue of satan. And by this participation in the WCC all the
local Orthodox churches fall under the ROCOR anathema of 1983 and fall away
The attack on the validity of the anathema against ecumenism has continued in recent decades. Thus the ROCOR priest Alexander Lebedev called the idea that the anathema strikes down all ecumenists “the heresy of universal jurisdiction”. The present writer replied to Fr. Alexander: “Thinking about your "heresy of universal jurisdiction", it seems to me that you confuse two things: the Church as an external organisation, and the Church as a mystical organism, to use the terminology of Hieromartyr Catacomb Bishop Mark (Novoselov) (+1938). It seems to me that you are right as regards the Church as an external organisation, but wrong as regards the Church as a mystical organism. Let me explain.
“An anathema excludes the person
anathematised from the holy mysteries, from membership of the
“It is a different matter when we consider an anathema sub specie aeternitatis, in its mystical, super-terrestrial significance. From that point of view, the anathematization of a heretic begins in the heavens. Thus even before Arius had been "locally" anathematized by St. Alexander of Alexandria, the Lord appeared to his predecessor, St. Peter, with a torn cloak, and in answer to St. Peter's question: "O Creator, who has torn Thy tunic?", replied: "The mindless Arius; he has separated from Me people whom I had obtained with My Blood" (St. Demetrius of Rostov, Lives of the Saints, November 25). So not only Arius, but all those who followed him, had been separated from the Church by the anathema of Her First Bishop, the Lord Jesus Christ, years (or rather, aeons) before even the first "local" anathema had been uttered. All heresies and heretics are anathematized "from all eternity" by the eternal Lord, for just as every truth is approved by the Truth Himself from all eternity, so is every lie condemned by Him from all eternity, being condemned with "the father of lies" to the gehenna of fire (Revelation 22.15).
“The task of hierarchs on earth is to discern the decisions of the heavenly Church, and then apply these heavenly decisions on earth, in space and time. As St. Bede the Venerable (+735) writes: "The keys of the Kingdom designate the actual knowledge and power of discerning who are worthy to be received into the Kingdom, and who should be excluded from it as being unworthy" (Sermon on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, P.L. 94, col. 219). From this point of view, it matters not a jot whether a heretic is anathematized locally or universally, since he has already been anathematized by the heavenly Church. Or rather, it matters in this sense: that if the heretic has been anathematized locally, but this anathema is not accepted by the rest of the Church, then the rest of the Church is under the grave danger of falling under this same anathema. For the local anathema, if it is just, is the reflection of a heavenly anathema; and the anathema of the heavenly Church is universal….
“This explains why, when local Churches
anathematized a heresy, they never qualified the anathema (as you, Fr.
Alexander, would like to qualify ROCOR's anathema against ecumenism) by saying:
"but of course, this applies only to the heretics in our local
Church". On the contrary: history shows that local Churches freely
anathematized heretics, not only in their own Churches, but also in others.
Thus Nestorius, a heretic of the
“Consider what St. Maximus said of the
Monothelites: "In addition to having excommunicated themselves from the
Church, they have been deposed and deprived of the priesthood at the local
council which took place recently in
“Administrative matters and moral falls are the business of local Churches and councils. However, heresies of their very nature are of universal significance, having the potential to infect the whole Church. That is why the appearance of a heresy in one local Church is not the business only of that local Church, but of all the local Churches - and every local Church can and must anathematize it.
“Even the anathema of single bishopric has
universal power and validity if it is uttered in the Holy Spirit, in accordance
with the eternal Truth. Thus in 1069 the bishops of the metropolitanate of York,
in the north of England, solemnly anathematized both the Pope of Rome and his
stooge, William the conqueror, the first papist king of England. All the
evidence is that they did not know that the
“In the same way, in 1983 the Sobor of Bishops of the Russian Church Abroad, using the power to bind and to loose given them by the Bishop of bishops, the Lord Jesus Christ, translated onto earth, into space and time, the completely binding and universally applicable decision already arrived at from all eternity by the Council of the Holy Trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Ecumenism is, was and always will be a heresy, indeed "the heresy of heresies", and the ecumenist heretics are, were and always will be outside the Church, the mystical Body of Christ. The decision of the ROCOR Sobor in 1983, confirmed with no change to its universal wording in 1998, expelled these already self-condemned and Divinely condemned heretics also from the external organization of the Church - and woe to any man, of whatever Church, who despises that decision, for he will then surely fall under the same anathema…”
Archbishop Anthony of
One ROCOR hierarch, unfortunately,
appeared to despise the decision – Archbishop Anthony of
“…. Alas, critics have also appeared in our diocese… They have demanded from us a reply to the question: do the clergy of the ‘Synodal’ Church concelebrate… with new calendarists and ecumenists? The aim of this question is to accuse us of the ‘sin’ of concelebration.
“…They were given the clear and definite reply that our Church has always had relations with, and continues to have relations with, the canonical Churches that have accepted the new calendar in the practice of the Divine services.
“Already in 1925, soon after the
acceptance of the new calendar into ecclesiastical practice by five Orthodox
Churches at the congress of 1925, the
“Our Hierarchical Councils and individual
hierarchs have often repeated: the new calendar is not a heresy, but a
great and crude mistake. On this basis, Metropolitan Philaret, on his frequent
“Metropolitan Vitaly, faithful to his predecessors, writes in this year’s Christmas epistle [1986/87]: ‘At the given time the majority of local Churches have been shaken… by a double blow: the new calendar and ecumenism. However, even in their present wretched state, we do not dare, and God forbid that we should do this, to say that they have lost the Grace of God.’
permit to serve with us clerics of
“… Archimandrite Justin [Popovich] often
said with great firmness and wrote against ecumenism without separating from
his patriarch [this is not true - Fr. Justin broke with the Serbian patriarch
because of his ecumenism]. He had a huge influence on his flock, creating a
whole movement of young monks who, in continuing his work, bring up young
people in the spirit of Orthodoxy. It has been our lot to concelebrate with clergy of the
The Disintegration of the Florinite Synod
In the early 1970s the Florinite Synod under Archbishop Auxentius,
appeared to be in a strong position as a result of its union with ROCOR. At
this point, however, Auxentius began ordaining unworthy men and receiving
priests from the new calendarists whose reputation was already besmirched. As a
result, in 1974, following the commandment: “Be not partakers of other men’s
sins” (I Timothy 5.2)), Metropolitans Acacius of Diauleia, Gabriel of
Sadly, the process of disintegration did not stop there. In June, 1977, Metropolitan Callistus of Corinth,
being unhappy with the Matthewites’ break with the Russians and the
Matthewites’ rejection of the kheirothesia of 1971 (he was one of the
two bishops who had secured the union with the Russians in 1971), broke
communion with the Matthewites and joined the Holy Synod.
However, he was soon to rue his association with Auxentius. In 1978, a
Portuguese priest of ROCOR, Joao Rocha, unhappy with Archbishop Anthony of
Profoundly disillusioned with Auxentius, from February 20 to 23, 1979,
Metropolitan Callistus, together with Metropolitan Anthony of Megara,
consecrated eight archimandrites to the episcopate, who were, in order of
consecration: Cyprian (Koutsoubas) of Fili and Orope, Maximus (Tsitsibakos) of
Magnesia, Callinicus (Sarantopoulos) of Achaia, Matthew (Langis) of Oinoe,
Germanus (Athanasiou) of Aiolia, Calliopius (Giannakoulopoulos) of Pentapolis,
Mercurius (Kaloskamis) of
At 6 p.m. on February 27, the same day on which he was informed of the Callistite consecrations, Archbishop Auxentius met with Metropolitans Gerontius and Callinicus “in order to formulate a position on the sedition brought about by its members, Callistus of Corinth and Anthony of Megara, who illegally severed themselves from the body [of the Holy Synod] and high-handedly undertook to consecrate bishops. Upon discussing this matter at length, on the basis of the holy canons of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of Christ, [the Holy Synod] unanimously decreed and imposed upon the two seditious Metropolitans the punishment of deposition, as the holy canons themselves enjoin. [The Holy Synod decrees] that this decision be released and published straightway in the Athenian press. Since there was no time to convoke the assembly of the clergy, upon deliberation, because of the gravity of the event, it decided this very day to consecrate new bishops for [the Holy Synod’s] restoration and replenishment. Various points of view were exchanged and proposed by all the holy hierarchs…” Then, according to the minutes of the meeting, no less than ten new bishops were elected and consecrated in the following order: Euthymius (Orphanos) of Stavropolis (later Thessalonica), Paisius (Loulourgas) of Gardikion (later of America), Theophilus (Tsirbas) of Christianoupolis (later Patras), Athanasius (Postalas) of Platamon (later Larissa), Maximus (Vallianatos) of the Seven Islands, Stephen (Tsikouras) of Kardamila (later Chios), Paisius (Phinikaliotis) of Aegina, Gerasimus (Vrakas) of Talantion (later Thebes), Athanasius (Haralambidis) of Grevena (later Acharnae) and Justin (Kouloutouros) of Marathon (later Euripus).
Some days later, the newly augmented Auxentiite Synod met in order to confirm the invalidity of the Callistite consecrations and the deposition of the Callistites as “conspirators, factionalists, establishers of unlawful assemblies and schismatics”. Strangely, according to the minutes, while 13 bishops were present, only 8 signed the conciliar encyclical. The bishops who were present but apparently did not sign were Gerontius, Callinicus, Stephen, Paisius of Gardikion and Paisius of Aegina.
But the strangest aspect of this Auxentiite “counter-coup” was the extraordinary speed with which it was accomplished. According to the Auxentiites’ own statements, their three senior bishops on one and the same day (February 14 or 27 – the Auxentiite sources differ here): (1) heard of the Callistite consecrations, (2) met in order to condemn them and depose the Callistites, (3) drew up a list of 10 candidates for the episcopate, (4) assembled the 10 candidates (were they all waiting in the next room?), (5) obtained the permission of the two other members of the Synod, Paisius of Euripus and Acacius of Canada (this is not mentioned in the minutes, but Bishop Macarius assures us it happened), and (6) consecrated them. Another source says that two of the new bishops (Athanasius of Larissa and Stephen of Chios) were consecrated on one and the same day in different churches by different bishops. Even the extremely pro-Auxentiite Bishop Macarius admits, with almost British under-statement, “that Archbishop Auxentius did act in a rather hurried manner…”
Thus the size (8 bishops), unexpectedness and uncanonicity of the Callistite coup was exceeded, if that were possible, by the still greater size (10 bishops), unexpectedness, uncanonicity – and extraordinary speed - of the Auxentiite counter-coup! The only explanation Bishop Macarius can give for this extraordinary speed - “things were in such a wild and unexpected state” – is weak, to say the least. A much more likely explanation is that the Auxentiite coup was not a wild reaction to a totally unexpected event, but a carefully planned reaction to an already foreseen event: the Auxentiites knew of the Callistite coup well in advance, and were therefore able to plan their own counter-coup well in advance, and put it into effect immediately they heard about the Callistite consecrations. In fact, there are some indications that Auxentius was not totally opposed to the Callistite coup, in that it “freed his hands” to consecrate those whom he wanted as bishops – and of whom he knew that several of his bishops, the future Callistites, would not approve.
On the other hand, one of those newly
consecrated by Callistus, Callinicus of the
However, when all the bishops were in the sanctuary taking off their vestments, Cyprian said to one of them, "Now, how are we going to explain all this to Archbishop Auxentios?" Callinicus overheard this and realised that his spiritual father had lied to him. He believed that the whole venture was planned by Cyprian, and that he had deceived Callistus and Anthony into believing that Auxentius had given his permission.
However, the Cyprianite Bishop Ambrose of Methone disagrees: “Having followed personally all the events in question, I can assure you that Metropolitan Cyprian had absolutely nothing to do with the planning of the consecrations; indeed, though he had very friendly relations with Metropolitan Callistus, he had up to that time never met Metropolitan Anthony. He consulted the brotherhood, and his confessor, Archimandrite Ambroise Frontier, before accepting the proposition of the two metropolitans. He was in fact opposed to some of the candidates proposed, but was not in a position to veto them.”
While it seems very unlikely that Auxentius gave his permission (here we agree with Bishop Macarius), it is equally unlikely, for the reasons given above, that Auxentius did not know what was going to happen. Probably both sides knew already, before their split, that the candidates to the episcopate of the one side would not be acceptable to the other; so both sides prepared coups.
From a tactical point of view, Callistus and Anthony made a serious mistake when they “jumped the gun” and carried out their consecrations first. For their admittedly uncanonical act, however good the motivation (the cleansing of the Church from the tares sown by Auxentius), was made to appear as black as night, and the storm it raised covered the still more daring and uncanonical counter-coup of the Auxentiites…
The Callistite Synod also tried to approach ROCOR, but was rebuffed. The
ROCOR resolution of
“Archbishop Callistus finds preservation of relations with the Russian
Orthodox Outside of Russia absolutely essential. In view of this, he and Bishop
“Archbishop Auxentius, on his part, has addressed the Synod of Bishops
in a letter dated April 12, accusing Archbishop Callistus and Bishop Anthony of
“RESOLVED. Lovingly honouring the podvig
of our brethren who have suffered considerably in
“However, there is no doubt that several consecrations which have been performed by Archbishop Auxentius, especially in the recent past, and which have caused a change in our mutual relations, have entailed serious violations of the canons of the Church and could serve as a basis of an ecclesiastical trial against those who performed them. The consecration of bishops performed by him without need and without such bishops having diocesan territory especially give rise to doubts and suspicions.
“The Synod of Bishops understands the anxiety of Metropolitan Callistus
and values his concern for the preservation of communion with the Russian
Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, as well as his desire to establish genuine
ecclesiastical peace and canonical order in
“Only after the removal of all bishops suspected of canonical crimes can
a beginning be made for a correct canonical organization of the True Orthodox
“Be that as it may, having no authority for the Council to resolve problems which arise in Church life in Greece, the Synod of Bishops will watch all that goes on there attentively, offering up prayers that the Lord will help our Greek brethren to set aright the correct canonical order of life which would make possible the restoration of normal relations with them…”
Metropolitans Acacius and Chrysostom disapproved of both the coup
and the counter-coup, but were especially scathing about Auxentius’ new
consecrations. As they wrote: “The ‘three hierarchs’ (the archbishop and the
Notwithstanding this fierce rebuke, the Auxentiite Synod made several approaches to Metropolitans Acacius and Chrysostom. But the latter resisted these blandishments, believing that their concerns for the cleansing of the Church had not been addressed.
It is a pity that neither of these suggestions was acted upon. Instead,
on September 16, the Auxentiite Synod removed Metropolitan Chrysostom from his
see in Thessalonica and on October 23 raised Bishop Euthymius to the rank of
metropolitan to take his place. However, the majority of the flock in
In 1981 the Auxentiite Synod decided to remove the penalties it had imposed on Metropolitans Acacius and Chrysostom. Then, in the next year, it reimposed them. Then the Synod itself split, with one part remaining with Auxentius and the other following the leadership of Metropolitan Gerontius of Piraeus. Bishop Macarius, who likes to dwell in detail on all the other divisions, passed this one over very hastily: “In the meantime a division broke out, the Lord alone knows for what reason He allowed it, in the canonical [according to Macarius: Auxentiite] Holy Synod. I don’t think it is necessary to spend any more time on this short division…”
However, this “short division” related to an issue that was to become
increasingly important – that of the legal corporations. Now the issue
of corporations was important because Churches as such are not registered in
Bishop Photius writes: “In the beginning, there existed the corporation
‘The General Fund of the Church of the True Orthodox Christians of Greece’,
which had control of about 25 churches. It was under the control of the
Auxentiite-Gerontians, who in the period 1971-1976 had removed from the board
the four hierarchs – Acacius, Auxentius, Peter and Gabriel – who disagreed with
them. In 1979, with the coup, the Auxentiite-Gerontians removed from the
‘General Fund’ all those who had taken part in the coup. Thus Callistus
of Corinth, Anthony of Megara, Cyprian of Orope, Maximus of Magnesia,
Callinicus of Achaia, Matthew of Oinoe, Germanus of Aiolia, Calliopius of
Pentapolis, Mercurius of Knossus and Callinicus of the
“In June, 1983, the hierarchs Maximus of Magnesia (from now on ‘of
Demetrias’) and Callinicus of the
“In the same year a struggle broke out between the Auxentiites and Gerontius for the control of the ‘General Fund’. Gerontius emerged as the winner from the struggle…”
The Callistites also began to split up, dividing over the old
ecclesiological question whether the new calendarists had valid sacraments or
not. As we have seen, in 1983 three metropolitans – Maximus, Germanus and
Callinicus of the
The Italian and
In June, 1984, Auxentius consecrated a second Portuguese bishop, James,
without the knowledge of part of his Synod. “Auxentius had promised his clergy
that he would call them and listen to their opinions before any episcopal
consecration. Therefore, in order to bring about this consecration, he summoned
a few of them (those whom he wanted) and decided, in spite of the reasonable
objections of two or three clerics, that Hieromonk James should be elected as
assistant bishop to Bishop Gabriel of
Not content with this uncanonicity, Auxentius proceeded to another. “Both Auxentius and Gabriel had promised before God, the hierarchs and the priests present at that time that James would remain as Gabriel’s assistant, so that he would not be able to take part in the consecration of another bishop with Gabriel. However, in October, 1984, we were informed to our astonishment that the two Portuguese ‘bishops’ had consecrated yet another Portuguese bishop and two Italians, with the blessings and prayers of Auxentius,” and the participation of Metropolitans Gerasimus, Maximus, Germanus and Athanasius of Larissa. One of the new bishops, the Italian Gabriel of Aquileia, turned out to be a fervent supporter, if not worshipper, of the fascist dictator Mussolini!
Moreover, Auxentius – acting completely on his own this time, now gave this new group a “Tome of Autonomy”!
In 1987 this newly “autonomous” Church split up, with the Metropolitan Eulogius of Milan being received into the Polish Orthodox Church.
In 1990 Metropolitan Gabriel followed, claiming that he had not known that Auxentius confessed that the new calendarists had no grace, which, he said, was a “heretical opinion”. He took with him two bishops, 60 parishes and about 80,000 laity. Soon this Portuguese church was practising a particularly strange form of ecumenism.
After Gabriel’s death, Bishop Joao was elected metropolitan and
confirmed by the Polish Synod. Subsequently, the
In 1993 the “Synod of Milan” joined the “Patriarchate of Kiev” led by the KGB agent Philaret Denisenko, and was given yet another “Tome of Autonomy” by them…
By this time the Church was disintegrating so fast, and with such evidently terrible consequences for all the faithful, that the Auxentiite and Gerontian Synods (which now included most of the defunct Callistite Synod) decided to cast aside their differences and unite. And so on January 4/17, 1985, they came together and agreed: (1) to recognise the consecrations of 1979 on both sides, (2) to remove the penalties they had placed on each other, and (3) remove the accusations they had cast against each other.
The reunited Synod of 17 bishops comprised: Archbishop Auxentius and Metropolitans Gerontius of Piraeus, Callinicus of Phthiotis, Anthony of Megara, Maximus of Demetrias, Callinicus of Corinth, Matthew of Oinoe, Germanus of Aitolia, Calliopius of Pentapolis, Callinicus of the Dodecanese, Euthymius of Thessalonica, Athanasius of Larissa, Stephen of Chios, Maximus of Cephalonia, Athanasius of Acharnae, Gerasimus of Thebes and Justin of Euripus.
It should be noted that the original “rebels” against the Auxentiite Synod, Metropolitans Acacius, Chrysostom, Gabriel and Peter, still refrained from joining this union, fearing that it simply covered up crimes, and would soon disintegrate. They were soon to be proved right…
More surprising, even Bishop Macarius criticises the union, saying: “Immeasurable grief takes hold of my heart”. Why? Because the recognition of the consecrations on both sides meant that the small group of formerly Callistite bishops whom he blames for subsequent events – especially Callinicus of Achaia and Calliopius of Pentapolis – and who had not, unlike the other penitent Callistite bishops, received cheirothesia from Auxentius, were not forced to repent of having been schismatics and receive cheirothesia.
But Bishop Macarius fails to see that if, as he believes, Auxentius was essentially blameless and all those who broke communion from him thereby became schismatics, then the group of Gerontian bishops to which he belonged (and belongs) – Callinicus of Phthiotis and Euthymius of Thessalonica – also became schismatics when they broke away from Auxentius in 1983, and should also have received cheirothesia. In fact, it could be argued that insofar as the Gerontians broke away from Auxentius over the question of who controlled certain church buildings – in other words, over “filthy lucre” (I Peter 5.2), their motivation was worse than that of the Callistites, and they deserved a more severe penalty. So, as the English proverb goes: “Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones…”
In the opinion of the present writer, however, all sides - Callistites, Auxentiites and Gerontians – were guilty in different ways and to different degrees, and so union between them was possible without hypocrisy only on the basis of mutual forgiveness of sins, recognition of orders and removal of all bans. Or if, as Bishop Macarius asserts, this was impossible on canonical grounds, then the only solution was for all 17 bishops to retire…
In any case, the union collapsed when it emerged that Auxentius had
secretly consecrated Dorotheus Tsakos, a former new calendarist priest who had
been defrocked by the new calendarists in 1968 for homosexuality. Tsakos had
then twice been consecrated “metropolitan” by Old Calendarist episcopi
vagantes. In July, 1985 he began to show priests an ordination certificate
purporting to prove that he had been consecrated “Metropolitan of Sparta and
On July 6/19, 1985, the Holy Synod met to discuss the matter. The three metropolitans involved denied that the consecration had taken place. Auxentius admitted that his signature might be genuine because he did sometimes sign blank ordination certificates to be filled in later (a revealing confession in itself!). But he denied – and always continued to deny – that he knew anything at all about the consecration of Tsakos. However, immediately after this meeting of the Synod, Gerasimus of Thebes confessed that the consecration had taken place as Tsakos had stated, and signed a written affidavit to that effect in the presence of eight other bishops.
Fr. Basil of Holy Transfiguration Monastery,
Holy Transfiguration Monastery asks: “What is the validity of such depositions, made by witnesses who contradict and refute themselves?” But is it not usual for a criminal caught red-handed in a criminal act to lie and then to change his testimony when his lie is exposed? In any case, why should Gerasimus have admitted to the crime even once if he was innocent? Moreover, there were other eyewitness testimonies confirming Gerasimus’ guilt. One of these was the Reader Pericles Tsakiris, whom the translator of Fr. Basil’s letter rather furtively and obliquely seeks to blacken in a footnote.
As a result of their inquiries the committee came to the following conclusions, which any unprejudiced observer must agree with: (a) the consecration of Dorotheus Tsakos did take place, at the hands of Metropolitans Maximus and Gerasimus, and on the orders of Archbishop Auxentius; (b) the date was probably after Pascha, 1985 (which conclusion was confirmed by Gerasimus’ last written deposition); and (c) the participants in the event, having been sworn to secrecy by Auxentius, lied to the Holy Synod and for fairly obvious reasons tried to obscure the date of the event.
Fr. Basil goes on to claim that before the investigative committee could complete its work, the seventeen bishops who eventually defrocked Auxentius had created a schism. Therefore, he says, even if the consecration did take place, it is not Auxentius but his accusers who are the guilty ones!
This is the exact opposite of the truth! The fact of the matter is that in September, while the investigating committee was still carrying out its work and interrogating witnesses (as far as they could, for Auxentius and Maximus refused to cooperate in any way), a group of Auxentiite bishops decided to declare the affair of Dorotheus Tsakos “closed”, regarding “every attempt to revive it as anticanonical and an attack on the Church”. They also declared that the invitation to the metropolitans to give evidence to the investigating committee the next day was “anticanonical”, “parasynagogical” and “counter to the will of the Holy Synod” - although the Holy Synod had appointed the investigating committee only two months before!
It is interesting to note which bishops signed this astonishing attempt to silence the work of the investigating committee: the oath-breaking and Mussolini-loving Portuguese and Italians Gabriel, James, Eulogius, Theodore and Gregory, who were not even members of the Holy Synod; Auxentius, Athanasius, Maximus and Germanus, who had participated in the uncanonical consecrations of the Portuguese and Italians and (in the case of Auxentius and Maximus) Tsakos; and the Americans Paisius and Vincent, who had been closely associated with Auxentius in the early 1980s (for example, in the Auxentiite union with the Free Serbs in 1982) and later joined the new calendarists.
In other words, these bishops who were now trying to stop the work of the investigating committee were in essence the same group of bishops who had been associates of Auxentius before the union of January, 1985, and had caused such damage to the Church before that date.
In spite of this provocation, the investigating bishops patiently
continued their work. They invited Auxentius to appear before the Synod three
times, but he refused. Then Auxentius, anticipating the announcement of his
deposition, formed an “anti-Synod” and called on the president of the
Even Bishop Macarius admits that Auxentius’s actions in this period were indefensible, but characteristically chooses not to go into detail on a matter that clearly embarrasses him, writing that Auxentius and the bishops that still remained loyal to him “undertook a series of hurried and uncanonical defrockings of many of our hierarchs.”
The reason he is so reticent is that one of the hierarchs defrocked by
Auxentius was Macarius’ fellow-worker, Metropolitan Euthymius of Thessalonica,
whom Auxentius accused of initiating his trial and deposition in order to avoid
investigation of moral charges against himself: “while an order was given that
a judicial examination should be put into operation in order to elucidate the accusations
against the moral situation of Metropolitan Euthymius Orphanos, they turned
round and incompetently initiated an examination against us to see whether we
had indeed proceeded to nominate and consecrate Archimandrite Dorotheus Tsakos
as Metropolitan of Patras…” Auxentius defrocked Euthymius on
And yet in spite of this Bishop Macarius vehemently rejects the validity of Auxentius’ defrocking by – among others – his own party of Gerontius, Callinicus and Euthymius!
And some years later, in 1997, his Synod (headed at that time by Callinicus of Phthiotis and now, in 2005, by Macarius himself) declared that “the altercations during the year 1985 between the blessedly reposed hierarchs Auxentius and Gerontius arose from the plots of third parties and… the verdicts of both are uncanonical and invalid… It is understood that we recognize and also bless all the priestly services and other sacred ecclesiastical actions of the aforementioned Archbishop and Metropolitans, except the ordinations which they performed after 1985 to the present, which we reserve the right to examine upon the petition of the ordinands.”
However, this makes no sense. If, as Bishop Macarius asserts time and time again, Auxentius was the last true archbishop of the True Orthodox Christians (before himself), and he remained true throughout the stormy period 1979-1985, and his defrocking in 1985 was uncanonical, then he (Macarius) condemns himself and his own party on at least three counts: (1) for breaking with Auxentius over the issue of the legal corporation in 1983, (2) for unjustly defrocking Auxentius for the consecration of Tsakos, and (3) for remaining in communion with Euthymius after Auxentius defrocked him and his elder. But Macarius wishes to exonerate both Auxentius (although he admits that his actions in 1985 were wrong) and himself and his party – while laying all the blame on mysterious “plots of third parties”.
Returning now to Fr. Basil’s defence of Auxentius, he seeks to demonstrate, from the writings of the Holy Fathers and the history of the Church, that Orthodox Christians are not allowed to break communion with their lawful ecclesiastical authority unless that authority has proclaimed heresy, and even if that authority has committed flagrant crimes. This is true – so long as the possibility of bringing the sinning archbishop to trial exists. But Fr. Basil appears to reject the possibility that metropolitans can bring their archbishop to trial for any other charge than heresy. In this opinion he is mistaken. There have been many occasions in Church history when archbishops have been defrocked by their fellow bishops in accordance with the Holy Canons for transgressions other than heresy. If such were not the case, then as long as the archbishop did not proclaim heresy he could commit murder and adultery and remain first-hierarch of the Church – which is halfway to Papism…
A New Florinite Archbishop
In November, 1985, Metropolitan Gerontius approached Metropolitan Chrysostom and invited him to the join the Synod that had been purged of Auxentius and his supporters. Chrysostom replied in a conciliatory manner, thanked Gerontius “for your recognition of the righteousness of our (four bishops’) break of relations with the Synod”, but insisted on the fulfilment of two conditions before he could join: “the removal of Bishop Euthymius from my diocese” and the seeking of the written opinion of theologians on the degree to which “economy” (condescension) could be employed with regard to the earlier canonical questions that had not yet been resolved. This was necessary “in view of the extremely detailed deadlock in which our Holy Struggle has come…”
The opinions of six theologians (three priests and three laymen) were sought. They said that the four bishops – Acacius, Chrysostom, Gabriel and Peter – could join the Synod led by Gerontius only if certain conditions were fulfilled. One these was that the new president of the Synod should not be any bishop who had been involved in the Callistite coup or Auxentiite counter-coup of 1979. This was an eminently reasonable condition, since all of the participants in the coup and counter-coup of 1979, not to mention the Gerontian schism of 1983, had besmirched their reputations, and would not have had the authority to unite the Church for long. The new archbishop could only come from one of the four bishops – Acacius, Chrysostom, Gabriel and Peter - who had taken no part in these events, but who had pointed out the need for a cleansing of the Church from the tares sown by Auxentius. This need was now, belatedly, recognised by all.
Of these four bishops, Metropolitan Peter, as living in
Finally, in January, 1986, Metropolitan Chrysostom joined, and was elected archbishop by ten votes to six. It will be remembered that Chrysostom had been elected as second candidate for the episcopate (after Acacius Pappas) as far back as the pan-clerical congress in April, 1957. So there was a certain historical justice in his being elected archbishop now, some thirty years later.
However, Bishop Macarius writes: “My conscience forces me to condemn the election of Chrysostom as archbishop as totally uncanonical because, first and foremost, it was made as a result of the uncanonical defrocking of the canonical Archbishop Auxentius, whose throne Chrysostom seized while the archbishop still alive, making him an adulterous free-rider…”
Macarius here fails to mention the rather important fact that Chrysostom took no part in the defrocking of Auxentius. That was done by Gerontius and his faction – that is, Bishop Macarius’ own faction! As for “seizing” the throne, what kind of “seizure” are we talking about when Chrysostom in no way imposed himself, but was first invited by Gerontius to join the Synod, and was then elected in a perfectly canonical election?! So if Chrysostom was an “adulterous free-rider”, the Gerontian bishops were those who prepared the bedchamber and even invited the lovers into it!
“Secondly,” continues Bishop Macarius, “during the proceedings of the election, there were present two Metropolitans of Thessalonica, Chrysostom and Euthymius, and both of them voted as such, something that is totally contrary to the Holy Canons.”
This is a more just accusation. Nevertheless, it may well be asked: whose fault was it that there were two metropolitans of Thessalonica? Chrysostom had been made metropolitan of the city much earlier than Euthymius, and the Gerontians, as Chrysostom noted, had recognised the justice of his struggle against corruption in the Church. Clearly, therefore, if one of the two metropolitans was an adulterer bishop, it was Euthymius!
The issue was the more serious in that the flock in Thessalonica was
divided, with one part refusing to accept Euthymius because of his reputation –
Clearly, the only solution to the problem was a canonical ecclesiastical trial of Euthymius.…
Almost immediately the problem of the legal corporations raised its head
again. 8 hierarchs – Gerontius of Piraeus, Callinicus of Phthiotis, Euthymius
of Thessalonica, Stephen of Chios, Athanasius of Acharnae, Justin of Euripus,
Paisius of America and Vincent of Aulona (the last two joined a little later) –
belonged to the board of the corporation “General Fund of the Church of the
True Orthodox Christians of Greece”. 4 hierarchs – Anthony of Megara,
Callinicus of Achaia, Matthew of Oinoe and Calliopius of Pentapolis – belonged
to the board of the corporation “Greek Church of the True Orthodox Christians”.
The remaining 4 hierarchs – Archbishop Chrysostom, Peter of Astoria, Maximus of
Magnesia and Callinicus of the
Overtures towards a union of the two corporations were made by the board of the “Greek Church of the True Orthodox Christians” to the board of the “General Fund” – but these overtures were rejected.
The outlines of the schism of 1995 can already be discerned in these figures. Clearly, the faction headed by Metropolitan Gerontius, and including the notorious Euthymius, could control the Synod if it wanted, for it had half the votes in the Synod and control of many more churches than the others through the “General Fund”.
Much would depend on how Metropolitan Gerontius used his power. And much would depend on how the other members of his faction would act when he died and they ceased to have the majority in the Synod. Metropolitan Gerontius died in 1994, on the eve of the schism…
The Ecclesiology of Metropolitan Cyprian
As we have seen, in 1984 Metropolitan Cyprian, the last heir of the Callistite coup d’état, and the only one who did not in one way or another repent of it, formed a new “Synod of Resistors” with Metropolitan Giovanni of Sardinia, who had been consecrated by the Callistites in 1982.
Cyprian’s position was based on a new ecclesiology which is worth examining. “The Orthodox Church as a whole is unerring and invincible,” he writes. “It is possible, however, for Christians and for local Churches to fall in faith; that is to say, it is possible for them to suffer spiritually and for one to see a certain ‘siege of illness within the body of the Church’, as St. John Chrysostom says. It is possible for Christians to separate and for ‘divisions’ to appear within the Church, as the Apostle Paul writes to the Corinthians. It is possible for local Churches into fall into heresy, as occurred in the ancient Orthodox Church of the West, which fell into the heresies of Papism and Protestantism and finally into the panheresy of ecumenism.
“Spiritual maladies within the Church are
cured either by repentance or by judgement. Until the judgement or expulsion of
a heretic, schismatic, or sinner – either by the Church or, in a more direct
manner, by the Lord -, the opinion of a believer cannot be a substitute for the
sentence of the Church and of her Lord, Jesus Christ, even if the resolution of
a situation be prolonged until the Second Coming. As is well known, in the
Scriptures, the Church is likened to a field replete with ‘wheat’ and ‘tares’,
in accordance with Divine and ecclesiastical economy. Sinners and those who err
in correctly understanding the Faith, yet who have not been sentenced by
ecclesiastical action, are simply considered ailing members of the Church. The
Mysteries [sacraments] of these unsentenced members are valid as such,
according to the Seventh Ecumenical Council, as, for example, the President of
the Synod, St. Tarasios, remarks: ‘[their] Ordination’ ‘is from God’. By
contrast, should expositors of heresy punish the Orthodox opposed to them,
these punishments are ecclesiastically invalid and groundless ‘from the time
their preaching began’ (i.e., from the moment they began preaching heresy), as
St. Celestine of
When a bishop preaches heresy “publicly” “and bareheaded in the Church”, continues the metropolitan, the Orthodox Christians should immediately separate themselves from him, in accordance with the 31st Apostolic Canon and the 15th Canon of the First-and-Second Synod of Constantinople. Such action by the Orthodox does not introduce schism, but rather serves to protect the Church from schisms and divisions. “He who preaches heresy or he who brings innovation into the Church divides her and abrogates her oneness or unity. He who opposes the preaching of heresy, or who separates himself from it, is eager to save the oneness or unity of the Church. The aim of opposition and separation is the combatting of heresy, the defense of the Orthodox Faith, and the preservation of the unity of the Orthodox Church, indeed of Orthodoxy itself.”
So far so good. However, at this point, as
he turns to apply these principles to the heresy of ecumenism and its
forerunner, the innovation of the new calendar, the metropolitan makes some
distinctly controversial statements. “With regard to the innovation in the
festal calendar, Orthodox are divided into two parts: into those who are ailing
in Faith and those who are healthy, into innovators and opposers – into followers
of innovation, whether in knowledge or in ignorance, and those opposed, who
have separated themselves from heresy, in favor of Orthodoxy. The latter are
strugglers for oneness among the ‘divided’, as the Seventh Ecumenical Synod
calls those who so separated for the Orthodox unity of the Church. The
followers of the festal calendar innovation have not yet been specifically
judged in a Pan-Orthodox fashion, as provided for by the Orthodox Church. As
St. Nikodemos of the
“Every innovationist member of the divided Greek Church is capable of changing over to opposition against the Ecumenist innovation. This can be accomplished through repentance… A return to Orthodoxy can also take place through a formal renunciation of heresy… Therefore, the Orthodox Tradition of the Holy Oecumenical Synods and of the Holy Fathers of the Orthodox Church prescribes that that part of the divided Greek Church that is ailing in Faith be received by one of the foregoing means of repentance and returned to the ranks of Orthodoxy. For they are not condemned schismatic or heretical Christians, but members of the Church who have not yet been brought to trial.”
That the innovators “are still unsentenced”, as Metropolitan Cyprian supposes, is a historical mistake. In May, 1935, all the truly Orthodox (i.e. Old Calendar) Metropolitans of the Church of Greece came together and synodically condemned the new calendarists as schismatics without the grace of sacraments: “Those who now administer the Church of Greece have divided the unity of Orthodoxy through the calendar innovation, and have split the Greek Orthodox People into two opposing calendar parts. They have not only violated an Ecclesiastical Tradition which was consecrated by the Seven Ecumenical Councils and sanctioned by the age-old practice of the Eastern Orthodox Church, but have also touched the Dogma of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Therefore those who now administer the Greek Church have, by their unilateral, anticanonical and unthinking introduction of the Gregorian calendar, cut themselves off completely from the trunk of Orthodoxy, and have declared themselves to be in essence Schismatics in relation to the Orthodox Churches which stand on the foundation of the Seven Ecumenical Councils and the Orthodox laws and Traditions.”
Concerning the implications of this declaration with regard to the question of grace, the metropolitans made themselves crystal clear in an encyclical issued on June 8/21, 1935: “We recommend to all those who follow the Orthodox Calendar that they have no spiritual communion with the schismatic church of the schismatic ministers, from whom the grace of the All-Holy Spirit has fled, because they have violated the decisions of the Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council and the Pan-Orthodox Councils which condemned the Gregorian calendar. That the schismatic Church does not have Grace and the Holy Spirit is affirmed by St. Basil the Great, who says the following: ‘Even if the schismatics have erred about things which are not Dogmas, since the head of the Church is Christ, according to the divine Apostle, from Whom all the members live and receive spiritual increase, they have torn themselves away from the harmony of the members of the Body and no longer are members [of that Body] or have the grace of the Holy Spirit. Therefore he who does not have it cannot transfer it to others.’”
Now some have argued that this conciliar decision was later rejected by the leader of the Greek Old Calendarists, Metropolitan Chrysostom of Florina, and that it therefore represents only an “extremist”, “Matthewite” position. However, the doctrine that schismatics have no grace is not a specifically “Matthewite” position, but is based on many canons and patristic sayings, notably the First Canonical Epistle of St. Basil the Great. In fact, as Bishop Ephraim of Boston points out, the new calendarists and the Moscow Patriarchate have adopted a distinctly “Matthewite” position in relation to the True Orthodox, declaring that they have no grace of sacraments – while at the same time declaring that the Western heretics do have grace! In any case, it is not true that Metropolitan Chrysostom renounced the Council of 1935. From 1937 to 1950 he appeared to doubt it, introducing the notion (unknown in patristic literature, as Bishop Ephraim again correctly points out), of “potential schism”. But in 1950 he repented of these doubts and openly and unambiguously returned to the confession of 1935. Some have said that in private correspondence he claimed to have been pushed into making this confession by “extremists”, that he made it for the sake of unity and that it did not represent his true thinking. I do not believe that such a great confessor could have dissembled in his confession of faith. But in any case, even if he had private doubts, it is his public confession that we must judge him by – and that, from 1950 to the end of his life, was thoroughly Orthodox.
Now Metropolitan Cyprian does not mention the Council of 1935. Nor does he mention Metropolitan Chrysostomos’ encyclical of 1950, nor the Old Calendarist Council under the presidency of Archbishop Auxentius in 1974 (when Metropolitan Cyprian himself was under his omophorion), which explicitly declared that the new calendarist ecumenists had no grace of sacraments. The reason for these omissions cannot be that he does not know of their existence. The reason can only be – although he does not write this explicitly – that he rejects their validity, or at any rate the validity of their decisions in relation to the ecumenists. To understand why he does this, let us now turn to his theory of the Councils and their relationship to heretics.
Of central importance in Metropolitan Cyprian’s argument is his concept of the “Unifying Synod”, that is, a Synod that unites the heretics to Orthodoxy, such as the Seventh Ecumenical Council. By implication – although, again, he does not state this explicitly here – a Synod that simply condemns the heretics without uniting them to Orthodoxy (such as the decisions of the Greek Old Calendarist Councils of 1935 and 1974 against the new calendarists, or the 1983 anathema of the Russian Church Abroad against Ecumenism) is of less significance and is not in fact competent to expel heretics from the Church.
Indeed, it is difficult to see, according to Metropolitan Cyprian’s theory, how or when any heretic has been expelled from the Church. For if, before the convening of a Unifying Synod, the heretics are not outside the Church but simply an ailing faction within the Church, and if a Unifying Synod does not expel heretics from the Church but simply unites the ailing and the healthy parts of the same Church in a closer union, there seems to be no mechanism for the expulsion of heretics from the Church altogether – in other words, there are no Separating or Expelling Synods. It would not be inconsistent with his theory to suppose that those heretics who refuse to be unified by the Unifying Synod are thereby expelled from the Church altogether; but this is not stated explicitly (at any rate, in the position paper under review), so heavy is the emphasis on the supposed fact that these Synods unified rather than expelled the heretics.
Metropolitan Cyprian develops his concept of a “Unifying Council” as follows: “During the reign of the iconoclastic innovation, for example, it was impossible for an Orthodox Synod of the entire Church to be convened. For this reason, such a Synod was convened when the iconoclastic heresy was no longer in power, that is, in 787, as the Seventh Oecumenical Synod of union. The same Seventh Oecumenical Synod writes through its Fathers that the Synod took place ‘so that we might change the discord of controversy into concord, that the dividing wall of enmity might be removed and that the original rulings of the Catholic [Orthodox] Church might be validated.’ That is, it was convened so that the differing factions of the Church, divided up to the time of the Synod – the Iconoclasts disagreeing with the Orthodox belief and the Orthodox opposed to the iconoclastic heresy -, might be united by means of an agreement within Orthodoxy.”
This is inaccurate both as regards the Ecumenical Councils in general and as regards the Seventh Council in particular. First, there were some Ecumenical Councils that took place without the participation of heretics – the Second and the Fifth. According to the reasoning of Metropolitan Cyprian, these must be considered not to be “Unifying” and therefore lacking in full validity! And yet there is no “more valid” Council in Orthodox history than the Seven Ecumenical Councils. Moreover, after several of the Ecumenical Councils many of the heretics were not only not “united”, but remained in bitter enmity to the Orthodox Church. Thus there were many Arians after the First Council, many Nestorians after the Third and many Monophysites after the Fourth – in fact, all three heresies are very numerous to the present day. Even the Seventh Council was only temporarily “unifying”, since the iconoclastic heresy broke out again some years later. Thus according to the reasoning of Metropolitan Cyprian, we must eliminate the First, Third and Fourth Ecumenical Councils from the category of “Unifying Council”.
Secondly, even those Councils which took place with the participation of heretics did not receive them until they had renounced their heresies. They made it quite clear that the heretics were outside the Church until such a renunciation. However, if, as Metropolitan Cyprian asserts, heretics cannot be considered to be outside the Church until they have been condemned at a “Unifying Council” in which they themselves participated, then not only were the Arians, Nestorians, Monophysites and others still “members of the Church weak in faith” until the Unifying Councils that condemned them, but, as Hieromonk Nectarius (Yashunsky) points out, “we shall have to recognize the Roman Catholics and Protestants as ‘as yet uncondemned members of the Church’, because since the time of their separation there has not been (and until ‘their union in Orthodoxy’ there cannot be) a Council of the united (undivided Universal Church) in common with them!”
as the Seventh Council is concerned,” continues Hieromonk Nectarius, “not only
did it not consider the iconoclasts to be a part of the Church, but they
themselves did not pretend to be such.” In support of this statement, Fr.
Nectarius quotes from the Acts of the Seventh Ecumenical Council. “These are
the words of the uniting iconoclasts. Thus Basil, bishop of
And here are the witnesses of the holy Fathers of the Council: “His Holiness Patriarch Tarasius said: 'What is now to be our relationship to this heresy that has again arisen in our time?' John, the most beloved of God, locum tenens of the apostolic throne in the east, said: 'Heresy divides every man from the Church.' The Holy Council said: 'That is evident.' The Holy Council said: 'Let the bishops who are standing before us read their renunciations, insofar as they are now converting to the Catholic Church.’“ (p. 48).
Thirdly, the exceptional importance of Ecumenical or “Unifying” Councils should not lead us to cast doubt on local Councils’ authority to expel heretics from the Church. Many of the heretics of the early centuries were first cast out of the Church by local Councils. For example, Arius was cast out by a local Council presided over by St. Alexander, Bishop of Alexandria, in 321 and again in 323 (the First Ecumenical Council did not take place until 325). Again, local Councils convened at Rome condemned the Nestorians (under Pope St. Celestine), the Monothelites (under Pope St. Martin) and the Iconoclasts (under Pope Gregory III) – in each case before the convening of the Third, Sixth and Seventh Ecumenical Councils, which never disputed the validity of these local Councils, but rather confirmed their decisions.
Thus when the heretical bishop Theodosius in conversation with St.
Maximus the Confessor disputed the validity of the local Council under St.
Martin that condemned the Monothelites on the grounds that it was not convened
by an emperor, St. Maximus replied that the validity of a Council depended on
its recognising “the true and immutable dogmas”, not on who convened it or how
general it was. Again, when the same saint was asked in the Emperor’s palace
why he was not in communion with the Throne of Constantinople, he replied: “…
They have been deposed and deprived of the priesthood at the local council
which took place recently in
Again, Bishop Theophanes the Recluse points out that before the start of
the Seventh Ecumenical Council, its president-to-be, St. Tarasius, bewailed the
fact that “we (the iconoclastic
If local Councils did not have the authority to expel heretics from the Church, we should have to condemn many local Councils for exceeding their competency and assuming an authority that did not belong to them. These would include many of the Councils of the Early Church, which expelled such heretics as Marcion and Sabellius; the local Councils of the Great Church of Constantinople between the eleventh and fourteenth centuries that expelled the Roman Catholics; and the Councils of the Russian Church presided over by Patriarch Tikhon that anathematized the communists and their co-workers in 1918 and the renovationist heretics in 1923. However, the Church, which has the mind of Christ, has accepted all of these acts as lawful and valid. To think otherwise is to suppose that for the last several hundred years the Church has – God forbid! - lost her God-given power to bind and to loose since the convening of the last Ecumenical or Pan-Orthodox Council! 
In February, 1986, Archbishop Chrysostom’s Synod proceeded to defrock Metropolitan Cyprian and his Synod for creating a schism, for giving communion to new calendarists (“because he without discernment gives the Holy Mysteries of our Church to modernizing, schismatic and ecumenist new calendarists”) and for preaching that the new calendarists have grace of sacraments (“because he has fallen from the Orthodox faith… and embraced ecumenist false beliefs, namely, that the schismatic new-calendarists make up the unaltered One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church., which is the treasury of saving grace”).
The judgement points out that in
September, 1984, after Cyprian had prayed with the ecumenist Patriarch Nicholas
he had been summoned to give an account of himself, but had not appeared. Then,
on September 19, he had been banned from serving for 40 days, but had continued
to serve. Finally, on
However, Bishop Ambrose of Methone writes: “The accusation of ‘praying
with the ecumenist Patriarch Nicholas’ is delightfully absurd. As I was
present, I can witness what happened: One Sunday, when the Liturgy had already
begun, the door of the altar opened and in tottered, totally unexpected,
Patriarch Nicholas of Alexandria. He sat there until the end (he was by then
almost blind) and in the sermon the Metropolitan mentioned his presence and
expressed a prayer that God would enlighten him to condemn the ecumenist heresy
– otherwise no-one outside would have known he was there. Afterwards he
tottered off again. Should we have thrown the old man down the steps? When one
reaches such a level of silliness, how can one take anything seriously? As to
the 40 days’ suspension, we knew nothing of such a decision until afterwards,
when I was given a copy of the document in
The Cyprianites contested the decision on procedural grounds, in that they had not been given notification of the trial, and could not be judged by the Chrysostomites anyway since they had never formed part of their Synod.
More serious was the
criticism that if Cyprian was defrocked for giving communion to new
calendarists, why not Peter of Astoria also, since he also gave communion to
new calendarists, considering them to be Orthodox? The problem became
especially acute when, in May, 1994, Archimandrite Paul Stratigeas, chancellor
of the diocese of
In 1997 Archpriest
Lev Lebedev had a dispute with the Cyprianites on the question of grace. “This
debate,” he wrote, “concerned a very important matter. The Synod of the
Resisters of Metropolitan Cyprian has officially declared the the ecumenist
churches are also grace-filled and the sacraments there valid. I understood (in
the debate) better and deeper what they
wanted to say. And they to a large extent took in my criticism. Vladyka Cyprian
referred in particular to the opinion to the opinion of our Hieromartyr Cyril
The Cyprianites continued to go their own way supported only by the Romanian Old Calendarists under Metropolitan Blaise, the Bulgarian Bishop Photius of Triaditsa and (from 1994 until the early 2000s) ROCOR. By 1992 the Romanians had two million believers, four bishops, eighty parishes, nine large monasteries and many smaller ones, making them by far the largest True Orthodox jurisdiction in the world. Moreover, in their leader, Metropolitan Glykerius, who died on June 15/28, 1985, they have one of the most saintly figures in twentieth-century Church history. In 1997, in response to numerous visions, his relics were uncovered and found “to be dissolved to bones, but full of fragrance”. However, the Romanians had a stricter ecclesiology than the Cyprianites, chrismating new calendarists. So the question arises: why did they remain in communion with Cyprian and not with the other Greek Old Calendarists, to whom they were closer in terms of ecclesiology? The answer appeared to be that when the Callistite hierarchs made contact with the Romanians in the late 1970s, it was Cyprian who gave them help at a time of communist oppression. And for this they continued to be grateful. 
Metropolitans Acacius of Diauleia and Gabriel of the
In retrospect, and in view of the collapse of the Synod again in 1995,
it must be admitted that there was some justice in their criticism. The
problems in the dioceses of Thessalonica and
When Metropolitan Philaret died on
However, the same council which elected Metropolitan Vitaly also, writes
Fr. Alexey Young, “appointed a special commission of two bishops to visit the
“For the next several months, information and testimony continued to be gathered, with no predetermination of Panteleimon’s guilt or innocence. Looking back, the bishops may well feel that they should have hastened the investigation, for, during this period of time, an unprecedented explosion of protest erupted from the supporters of Fr. Panteleimon. The bishops were bombarded by hundreds of letters, petitions, phone calls, and personal visits – all of them protesting their ‘Elder’s’ innocence and the unfair, even ‘un-American’ way in which they believed his case was being handled.
“Simultaneously, Fr. Panteleimon began to make public his own list of grievances, announcing that the bishops were, practically speaking, abandoning the Anathema against Ecumenism and beginning to compromise the Faith. Secret plans and negotiations, he charged, were being worked out with the Moscow Patriarchate so that the Church Abroad could unite with the Mother Church by 1988 (the millennium of the Baptism of Russia). According to Panteleimon, this meant that the hierarchs had become, or were in the process of becoming, heresiarchs, and that the faithful had better look to their souls! This was a complete reversal of his published views of only months before.
In their defence, the Bostonites declared that they were fleeing the ecumenism of ROCOR, its relapse into its former lax ways in relation to the “World Orthodox” only a year after the anathema against ecumenism. In order to examine this defence, let us go back to the time of the anathema.
The anathema was signed by all the ROCOR bishops and was entered into
the Synodicon to be read on the Sunday of Orthodoxy each year. This was
the achievement, within the Synod, especially of Metropolitan Philaret, the
righteousness of his stand against ecumenism and the MP was revealed on
November 8/21, 1998, when his body was found to be incorrupt. However,
he found very little support among his fellow-bishops, and was only rarely able
to impose his will, especially on the West European diocese under Archbishop
After Metropolitan Philaret’s death, a certain weakening in the
confession of ROCOR is discernible, even if the contrast between the
period before and after the metropolitan’s death is not as sharp as the
Bostonites make it out to be. Thus early in 1986 Archbishop Anthony of
Again, in October, 1986, at a clergy conference of the Midwest Diocese, Bishop Alypius of Cleveland, standing next to the icon of the Mother of God of Kursk, declared that “in spite of all the difficulties occurring throughout world-wide Orthodoxy, our Synod of Bishops of the Russian Church Abroad does not judge any other jurisdiction as being without grace or in heresy.”
Still more seriously, at Christmas, 1986/87, Metropolitan Vitaly issued a dovish Nativity Epistle, declaring that the 1983 anathema was not of universal significance, but applied only to members of ROCOR who expressed ecumenist opinions. Of course, the anathema was issued by a Local Council, not an Ecumenical one. But, as we have seen, this by no means meant that, as Metropolitan Vitaly and the opponents of the anathema were trying to say, the anathema in fact had no power over anyone outside ROCOR – which was equivalent, in effect, to annulling it. The Bostonites seized on this as evidence of the fall of ROCOR. But since the epistle was issued only after departure, it was not direct justification of that departure…
In the opinion of the present writer, on the one hand the Bostonites did have a prima facie case for leaving ROCOR on the grounds of betrayal of the anathema against ecumenism. Moreover, it is clear that this was the decisive issue for many of the rank-and-file clergy and laity who followed them. On the other hand, the timing of the departure, the haste with which they left, and the abundant evidence of moral transgressions, makes it likely that the issue of ecumenism was not the real reason for the leaders’ flight, but rather a fig-leaf to cover their fear of conviction at their forthcoming trial.
This is confirmed by Fr. Anthony Gavalas: “My position when we left the Synod was that we should commemorate no one until we saw our way clearly in the confusion. I was told that while this would be possible for the monastery, it would be destructive to the Parishes. Then, within a few hours, we were told that we must all go under Archbishop Acacius immediately so that the monastery would be covered in the face of suspensions and depositions of Frs. Panteleimon and Isaac, and I, of course, cooperated.”
Among the hierarchs, only Bishop Gregory (Grabbe) supported the
Patrick Barrett considers that the schism could have been avoided if Bishop Gregory had still been at the helm: “Both Father Panteleimon and Father Isaac were prepared to step aside. True panic only hit the monastery and the parishes allied to it when the Synod refused to allow Father Justin to be named acting abbot. That’s when people began to believe that the synod’s true purpose was to seize the monastery. Then people began to think, well, they’ve eliminated Bishop Gregory and now they’re going after Father Panteleimon, so they’re obviously trying to take out everybody who opposes union with the MP. Bishop Gregory could have handled this situation easily. In fact, many of the people who ended up leaving ROCOR in 1986 were calling Bishop Gregory hoping for help or reassurance, but who was Bishop Gregory? By then, he was nobody to the Synod. Bishop Gregory had moral authority with the monastery and those parishes, with his help, the synod could even have removed Fathers Panteleimon and Isaac and still not lost the monastery and parishes.”
Be that as it may, the Bostonites fled to Metropolitans Acacius and
Gabriel. However, in the summer of 1987, with the exception of Fr. Anthony
So far, an argument can be adduced in defence of the Bostonites’
actions. But then why, only six months later, did they leave the two
metropolitans and join Auxentius? Again the answer is clear: because Metropolitan
Gabriel, disturbed by the accusations against Panteleimon, had separated from
Metropolitan Acacius. This meant that the Bostonites now had no possibility of
achieving one of their principal aims – a bishop or bishops of their own for
That the Bostonites were seeking of their bishop of their own is evident from a letter of Fr. Niketas Palassis to Fr. Anthony Gavalas: “Frankly, we were stunned and sorrowed by Metropolitan Gabriel’s departure. Actually, it appeared we had been detoured and led into a dead-end street. Without a second bishop to give us support and credibility, we face the prospect of being one of the hundreds of vaganti groups which flood our nation. Without at least a second bishop we can have no hope that the clergymen who are watching us so carefully will ever join with us. Conversations with several of them have confirmed that fact. They are not attracted to us with a single bishop…” Further proof is provided by the letter of their secretary, dated July 2/15, 1987 to Metropolitan Acacius, in which he writes: “It is evident to all that without a hierarch who knows both English and Greek and who has sufficient theological training, the flock in America, which is constituted of both English and Greek-speaking faithful, cannot be properly served.”
However, it was obvious that their bishop’s not knowing English was not a canonical reason for leaving him, so the Panteleimonites invented another reason. They claimed that in the last six months they had “formed a more precise picture of ecclesiastical matters [in Greece] which – to an especially greater extent in recent times – have become obscured under the prism of subjective judgements, or unverified information, and this because of the difficulties of communication between the New World and Greece. Thus, they have arrived at the conclusion and conviction that, today, the reasons for your position of protest and voluntary absence from the meetings of the Synod of Archbishop Auxentios have ceased.”
These statements are extremely vague – we are given no idea of what new
facts emerged that could so radically change their opinion of Auxentius and
prove his innocence. In truth, there were no such facts. The Bostonites were
thoroughly acquainted with the Church situation in
They had a further, even weaker argument. Pointing to Metropolitan Acacius’ recent statement that “if you are able to find hierarchs who have Apostolic succession, you should turn to them”, and his earlier statement that “the judgement, the choice and the formulation of your future course depends on you”, they interpreted this to mean that he had blessed them to join Auxentius.
But Metropolitan Acacius’ extremely negative attitude towards Auxentius
was well known to all. It was obvious that by a “hierarch who has Apostolic
succession” he did not mean Auxentius. This was evident from the letter he
wrote to his spiritual children when he heard that they were going to invite
Auxentius to their conference in
“While we were preserving vividly and indelibly the wonderful image of all that we had seen and heard during our recent visit to your Orthodox parishes, suddenly the information came, like a lightning bolt out of a clear sky, that a few of your spiritual leaders are thinking of going under the irrevocably fallen former Archbishop Auxentius.
“We hope that it is only some malicious rumour designed to defame your
Orthodox ecclesiastical communities before all Orthodox everywhere and to
render futile the struggle you have waged on behalf of the strictness of
Orthodoxy. That is what we believe, for only the utmost madness and morbid
recklessness would otherwise explain the subjugation of a Movement on behalf of
piety and the preservation of the traditional genuineness of our Holy Orthodoxy
under a leader who so tragically failed and brought the Church of the True
“A multitude of uncanonical actions and illegal ordinations done with supreme disdain for the authority of our Holy Church, the ungodfearing trampling down of the Sacred Canons, and the devious manner of the’consecration to the episcopate’ of the piteous and miserable Dorotheus Tsakos render Auxentius guilty before Divine and human justice, as well as before the impartial and unbribable judgement of history itself.
“Can it be that you seek refuge in such a wreckage of a house? Shudder, O sun, and groan, O earth! If that be the case, you will with your own hands destroy your own work and raze your spiritual edifices to the ground. Moreover, you offer to your enemies unexpected arguments against yourselves. These are much more powerful than the arguments with which they presently seek to sully the reputation of the pious and virtuous clergymen who, at the present moment, stand at the head of your struggle!
“And, above all, such a thoughtless and frivolous action will sever the unity of your ecclesiastical communities because those among you whose souls have a more acute sense of smell will not be able to tolerate the stench of that devious failure Auxentius’ condemned and illegal actions.
“It is out of a pained heart that we write the above so that the beacon of Orthodoxy will not be so ignominiously extinguished, the beacon which is lit by the strictness of your Orthodoxy and your blameless ecclesiastical ethos.
“And besides, as long as you came freely and unconstrained by anyone and committed the episcopal supervision of your parishes to me, I condemn any discussions with Auxentius as divisive acts and I advise you to cut them off completely.
“Do not forget that ‘he who acts in secret from his bishops serves the devil’, according to St. Ignatius the Godbearer…”
However, the Bostonites concealed the letter of their archpastor from his flock and, to the great distress of many clergy and laity, removed almost all their parishes from the jurisdiction of a true bishop to that of a condemned schismatic, giving no canonical justification whatsoever for their act.
In December, the former French
mission of the Russian Church Abroad in
Before his death in 1994, Auxentius consecrated several bishops for this
group, who now call themselves “The Holy Orthodox Church in
In the second half of the 1980s Pope John Paul II began to raise
the tempo of super-ecumenism. While remaining conservative in his moral
teaching (on abortion, contraception, women priests, homosexuality, etc.), he
showed himself to be the most extreme radical in his dogmatic teaching. Thus in 1985 he blessed the publication, by the
Then, in 1986 the Pope
invited the leaders of all the world’s religions to pray for “peace in our
time”. “On the joint
An Italian Catholic newspaper, Si Si No No wrote: “Never has our
Lord been so outraged, never have His holy places been so profaned, His Vicar
so humiliated, His people so scandalized by His own ministers, as at
Even as ecumenism reached its zenith,
difficulties were encountered. The Pope, in particular, in spite of the
“comprehensiveness” of his
Again, difficulties arose in relations with the Anglicans because of the decision of the Anglican Synod, in March, 1987, to allow women to serve as priests by a 317 to 145 vote. This decision was made in spite of the fact that it had been made quite clear to the Anglicans that their ordination of women priests would endanger ecumenical relations with the Orthodox and the Catholics. It demonstrated that the real inner dynamic of ecumenism is not the desire for union, but the desire for the new – that is, modernism and secularism in all its forms, including feminism.
third difficulty was the increasing tension in Catholic-Orthodox relations.
These relations had reached a new high in November, 1987, when Patriarch
Demetrius went to
Even in an age distinguished by unheard-of betrayals of Orthodoxy, this amazes one by its audacity: the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church officially defending the doctrine of materialism!!!
critical point was reached in the millennial year of the Baptism of Rus’ in
1988. Since the Baptism of Rus’ in 988 had taken place when the Eastern and
Encouraged by the radicalism of their
“elder brother”, the Pope, Orthodox leaders plunged to new depths of apostasy.
Thus in 1989 Patriarch Parthenius of Alexandria declared: The prophet Mohammed
is an apostle. He is a man of God, who worked for the
A Greek newspaper fittingly commented on these words: “So ‘Mohammed is an apostle’ and the new-martyrs, then, are ‘not found in agreement with God!’” Another newspaper said: “He denies Christ and likens himself to Mohammed!” Which amounted, according to the theologian A.D. Delimbasis, to “the mortal sin of denial of one’s faith. Even were Patriarch Parthenius to repent of this, he can be accepted in the Orthodox Church only as a layman. ‘Should he repent, let him be received as a layman,’ says the Canon [Apostolic Canon 62].”
The newspapers and theologians might criticise the patriarch’s blasphemy, but not one of the Local Orthodox Churches did. On the contrary: they seemed by their actions to express their approval of the Alexandrian patriarch’s conversion to Islam, and strove to imitate it. Thus Metropolitan Pitirim of Volokolamsk, the head of the MP’s publishing department, instead of using the new-found freedom of his Church to publish desperately needed Bibles and patristic literature, blessed the publication of – the Koran!
Extreme though Catholic ecumenism might
be, it did not go so far as to include communism and dialectical materialism in
its embrace. In fact, as is well-known, Pope John-Paul II played a part in the
downfall of communism in his native
The only exception to this trend of
Orthodox super-ecumenism was Patriarch Diodorus of Jerusalem, who left the
ecumenical movement on
Patriarch Diodorus showed that he was
serious by refusing to sign the agreement of Chambésy with the
Monophysites in 1990; and in 1992, at the meeting of the heads of the Orthodox
The Holy New Martyrs and the Fall of Communism
The crushing of the dissident movement in
of communism raised hopes of a mass movement of believers out of the MP into
For some years, the ROCOR Synod had continued to have contacts with Catacomb Christians. In some cases, Catacomb clergy began to commemorate Metropolitan Philaret and were actually received under his omophorion. Thus in 1977, after the death of their Catacomb archpastor, Archbishop Anthony Galynsky-Mikhailovsky, fourteen clergy - Igumens Barsanuphius, Nicholas and Anthony, Hieromonks Michael, Michael, Raphael, Nicholas, Nicholas, Nathaniel, Epiphanius, Basil, Prochorus and Sergius, and Priests Alexis and Michael - were received “at a distance” into ROCOR.
In 1981 ROCOR decided to create a
hierarchy of its own on Russian soil. Metropolitan Philaret and five other
hierarchs suggested consecrating the very experienced Josephite, Fr. Michael
Rozhdestvensky. However, Archbishop Anthony of Geneva insisted on his own
candidate, Fr. Lazarus (Zhurbenko), who
had received his “priesthood”, not from any Catacomb archpastor (in fact three
had rejected his petition, including Archbishop Anthony
(Galynsky-Mikhailovsky)), but through the MP Bishop Benjamin (Novitsky) of
Irkutsk, and had then been raised to the rank of archimandrite in absentia
by Archbishop Anthony in his cathedral in Geneva on January 11, 1981. The Synod
agreed with Anthony’s proposal; so, late in 1981 or early in 1982, Anthony
secretly consecrated one of his clergy, Hieromonk Barnabas (Prokofiev), to the
episcopate, before sending him secretly to
The news of the consecration of Lazarus
was very badly received by the
Be that as it may, there is no doubt that
most of the
It was true also of the Josephites led by
Fr. Michael Rozhdestvensky. He was, according to Matushka Anastasia Shatilova,
“the initiator of the complete rejection of the then priest Lazarus Zhurbenko
because of the latter’s departing to the MP for his ordination. At a meeting of
catacomb clergy in the city of
Meanwhile, in 1985, the Soviets’ perception that they had to catch up
At first, the communists showed no sign of the religious liberalization
that was to come. In November, 1986, Gorbachev told party officials in
Again, in November, 1987 Gorbachev said to the Politburo: “Perestroika
is no retreat from communism but rather a step toward the final realization of
Marxist-Leninist utopia: a continuation of Lenin’s ideas. Those who expect us
to give up communism will be disappointed. In October, 1917 we parted from the
“Comrades, do not be concerned about all you hear about glasnost’
and democracy. These are primarily for outward consumption. There will be no
serious internal change in the
Again, in 1987 Gorbachev’s chief ideologist, Alexander Yakovlev, said concerning the millenium of the Baptism of Rus’ in 1988: “To God what is God’s, to the Church what is the Church’s, but to us, the Marxists, belongs the fullness of truth. And on the basis of these positions any attempts to represent Christianity as the ‘mother’ of Russian culture must be decisively rejected. And if the Russian middle ages merit the attention of historians, such cannot be said of the 1000-year date of Orthodoxy.”
However, Gorbachev’s need to pass from what Sir Geoffrey Hosking called
“Mark 1” to “Mark 2” perestroika, dictated a change in policy towards
the Church, too. For
the success of perestroika required sincere believers in the new order
from members of the Church, not just party hacks. But in March, 1988
The critical point came in April, 1988, when Gorbachev met the patriarch and the senior metropolitans of the MP and staked out a new Church-State concordat reminiscent of the one between Stalin and Sergius in 1943. This concordat, combined with the underlying growth in religious feeling that had now been going on for several years, and the recovery of courage made easier by glasnost’ and the release of most of the religious and political prisoners, made the millenial celebrations in June a truly pivotal event. Moreover, the very wide publicity given to the celebrations in the media gave a powerful further impulse to the movement of religious regeneration.
The fruits were soon evident for all to see. Most religious and political prisoners were freed; permission was given for the reopening of many hundreds of churches (1,830 in the first nine months of 1990); and religious societies and cooperatives of almost all denominations sprang up all over the country. Programmes on Orthodox art and architecture, and sermons by bearded clergy in cassocks, became commonplace on television; and commentators from right across the political spectrum began to praise the contribution of the Orthodox Church to Russian history and culture. There was openness, too, on the terrible cost to Russia of Leninism and Stalinism – one estimate, by the scientist D.I. Mendeleev, calculated that there were 125 million innocent victims of the communist yoke. How many of those can be called martyrs for the Orthodox Christian Faith is impossible to tell, but they certainly numbered in the millions…
There were negative aspects to this process. The True Orthodox Church remained outlawed; resistance to the opening of churches by local officials continued in the provinces; and religious activists objected to the adulterous mixing of religion and nationalism, and religion and humanist culture. Moreover, the suspicion continued to exist that the party’s new-found respect for religion was simply a tactical ploy, a case of reculer pour mieux sauter.
Such scepticism had some basis in reality. After all, no leading communist announced his conversion to Christianity (Sheverdnadze was later baptised with the name George). Moreover, in April, 1988, the month in which Gorbachev met the patriarch, an unsigned article in Kommunist hinted that the real aim of Gorbachev’s rapprochement with the Church was to communize the Church rather than christianize the party. And yet, if that was the party’s aim, it backfired. For unlike the concordat of 1943, which did indeed have the effect of communising the Church, the concordat of 1988 seems to have helped to free Orthodox Christians from bondage to Communist ideology and coercion. For if the Church hierarchs continued to pay lip-service to “Leninist norms”, this was emphatically not the case with many priests and laity, of whom Fr. Gleb Yakunin (liberated in 1987) was probably the most influential and best known.
This was most strikingly evident in March, 1990, when the elections
returned 300 clerics of various faiths as deputies at various levels, including
190 Russian Orthodox, while the Communist Party candidates in the major cities
were routed. In April, the Christian Democratic Movement, led by RSFSR deputies
Fr. Gleb Yakunin, Fr. Vyacheslav Polosin and philosopher Victor Aksyuchits,
held its founding congress. Then, on May 19, the birthday of Tsar Nicholas II,
the Orthodox Monarchist Order met in
As communism began to collapse, rebellions broke out in the outlying
republics. The most important of these was in the
They were supported, surprisingly, by the chairman of the Council for Religious Affairs, Constantine Kharchev, who insisted that local authorities keep the law in their dealings with believers and suggested the legalization of the Uniates, speaking in favour of the free election of bishops by the people. This roused the MP and members of the Ideology department of the Central Committee to complain about Kharchev to the Supreme Soviet. Kharchev was removed in June, 1989; but he made a telling comment about those who had removed him: “I suspect that some members of the Synod, from force of habit, have counted more on the support of the authorities than on their own authority in the Church”.
The UGCC finally achieved legalization in January, 1990, just after
Gorbachev met the Pope in
However, even before they had recovered their freedom in law, the
Uniates started taking over churches in
October, 1989, a retired patriarchal bishop, Ioann Bondarchuk, announced the
creation of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC). He was
immediately placed under ban by the patriarchate. However, the patriarchate
decided to make some concessions to Ukrainian nationalist feeling by creating,
in January, 1990, a supposedly autonomous but pro-Moscow Ukrainian Orthodox
Church (UOC-MP), led by Metropolitan Philaret (Denisenko) of Kiev. Later,
Philaret was defrocked and anathematised by the MP, so he formed a third
independent Orthodox Church in the
Meanwhile, relations between the Orthodox and Catholics continued to
deteriorate; and in March the Uniates withdrew from quadripartite discussions
between Roman Catholics, Uniates, Russian Orthodox and the UOC-MP. Then, in
June, the UOAC convened its first All-Ukrainian Council in
In general the Russian Orthodox were opposed to the separation of Russia from Ukraine, regarding the Russians, Ukrainians and Belorussians as essentially three parts of one Slavic race who should keep together on the basis of their closely related religion, culture and history. However, this was not the view of most Ukrainian believers – or, at any rate, of those living in the western regions. “The Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church,” said Anatolius Krasikov, “is the expression of the resolute will of the Ukrainian people to finally liberate itself from the imperial [Russian] Orthodox Church which is an instrument of spiritual oppression against the Ukrainian people, aiming at its complete russification and enslavement.”
We might have expected the MP to distance
itself from its old idols as perestroika spread, and Catholicism enjoyed
a revival in the borderlands. Not so: the MP remained devoted to the ideology
of the failing regime to the very last minute. And yet even the patriarchate
began to show signs of change under the influence of glasnost’. The
first sign was at the church council in June, 1988, when the 1961 statute
making priests subordinate to their parish councils was repealed. Then came the
canonisation of Patriarch Tikhon in October, 1989. And then, on
The climax to this process was reached in June, when the polls revealed that the Church had now passed the Party, the Army and the KGB in popularity. Could this be the beginning of the end of sergianism? Was this the moment when the MP, freed at last from the yoke of communism, and under no obligation to pursue the communist-imposed policy of ecumenism, would finally repent of its past and return to the True Church?…
 Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 5, p. 21.
 Ulrich Duckrow, Conflict over
the Ecumenical Movement,
 Proclamation of the
 Monk Ephraim, Letter on the Calendar Issue, op. cit.
 Monk Ephraim, op. cit., p. 57.
 Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 5, p. 17.
 Monk Ephraim, op. cit., pp. 72-73.
 Full text in Eastern Churches Review, vol. I, ¹ 1, Spring, 1966, pp. 49-50.
 Ekklesia, quoted in Eastern Churches Review, vol. I, ¹ 1, Spring, 1966, p. 50.
 Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 5, p. 29.
 Pogodin, “O Chine Priniatia v Pravoslavnuiu Tserkov’” (On the Rite of Reception into the Orthodox Church); Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 5, pp. 24-25.
 Full text in Ivan Ostroumoff, The History of the Council of Florence, pp. 193-199.
 Senina, “And his lot is among the saints…”, Vertograd-Inform, ¹ 15, January, 2000, pp. 15-17.
 Lourié, “The Ecclesiology of a Retreating Army”, Vertograd-Inform, ¹ 3, January, 1999, pp. 24-25 (English edition).
 Fr. Seraphim Rose, in Hieromonk
Damascene (Christensen), Father Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works, Platina,
Ca.: St. Herman of
 The Diocesan Council of the Free
Serbian Orthodox Diocese of the
 M. Atavina, personal communication.
 Popovich, "The Truth about the Serbian Orthodox Church in communist Yugoslavia", translated into Russian in Vestnik Germanskoj Eparkhii Russkoj Pravoslavnoj Tserkvi za Granitsei (Herald of the German Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad), ¹¹. 2 and 3, 1992 ®.
 Monk Benjamin, op. cit.,
part 5, p. 14. However, there are differing opinions about Dionysius. Joachim
Wertz (private e-mail communication,
 “The arrangements were made by
Bp. Paisius of
 A Time to Choose, op. cit., p. 43.
 Popovich, in Vestnik
Germanskoj Eparkhii Russkoj Tserkvi za Granitsei (Herald of the German Diocese
 Joachim Wertz has provided
another possible motive for the
 Orthodox Tradition, vol. XIII, ¹ 2, 1996, p. 3.
 Bishop Artemije, Statement to the Thessalonica Theological Conference, September, 2004; in The Shepherd, June, 2005, p. 11.
 A Time to Choose, op. cit., p. 47.
 A Time to Choose, op. cit., p. 53.
 Orthodoxos Typos (Orthodox
 Eastern Churches Review, vol. II, ¹ 3, Spring, 1969, p. 335.
 Pravoslavnaia Rus' (Orthodox
 Archimandrite Porphyrius of Sofia, personal communication, February, 1981.
 Archimandrite (now Bishop)
Sergius, personal communication,
 This is not true. The calendar
question caused considerable problems between
 Zhurnal Moskovskoj Patriarkhii (Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate), 1967, ¹ 8, p. 1; Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 5, p. 36.
 Eastern Churches Review, vol. I, ¹ 3, Spring, 1967, p. 291.
 Eastern Churches Review, vol. I, ¹ 4, Winter, 1967-68, p. 419.
 Eastern Churches Review, vol. I, ¹ 4, Winter, 1967-68, p. 425.
 Archimandrite John Lewis of Holy
 Fr. George Macris, The
Orthodox Church and the Ecumenical Movement, Seattle:
 Vitaly, "Ekumenizm"
(Ecumenism), Pravoslavnij Vestnik (Orthodox Herald), June, 1969, pp.
14-30; Moskva (
 Zhurnal Moskovskoj Patriarkhii (Journal of the
 Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 5, p. 40.
 Averky, Contemporary Life in the Light of the Word of God: Sermons and Speeches (1969-1973), volume III, Jordanville, p. 216.
 Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 5, p. 43.
 K.E. Skurat; Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 5, p. 44.
 Fr. Seraphim, in Hieromonk Damascene op. cit., pp. 400-401.
 The Orthodox Church, May, 1969; Eastern Churches Review, Autumn, 1969, pp. 425-26.
 In his Memoirs Archbishop Basil of
 Zhurnal Moskovskoj Patriarkhii
(Journal of the
 Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 5, p. 49.
 Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 5, pp. 49-50.
 Tserkovnaia Zhizn’ (Church Life), July-December, 1971, pp. 52-54; Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 5, pp. 52-53.
 In 1964, after the death of
Archbishop Acacius (the elder), Bishops Gerontius and Acacius (the younger)
elected Auxentius as archbishop – but without the agreement of Bishop
Chrysostom (Naslimes), whose fears about the fitness of Auxentius were soon to
prove tragically justified… Bishop Acacius the Younger also came
bitterly to regret his putting forward the name of the relatively unknown
Auxentius (Bishop Photius of
 Holy Transfiguration Monastery,
 Metropolitans Callistus and
Epiphanius had already visited the ROCOR in
 Letter of
 Letter of Pascha, 1979 from Metropolitan Epiphanius to Metropolitan Philaret (F).
 The Struggle against Ecumenism, op. cit., pp. 95, 97.
 Irenée Doens, "Les Palaioimérologites: Alerte pour leurs Monastères" (The Old Calendarists: Alarm for their Monasteries), Irénikon, 1973, p. 48 (F).
 "Anegnoristhi i kanonikotis ton kheirotonion tis paratakseos imon" (The Canonicity of the Consecrations of our Faction has been Recognised), Kyrix Gnision Orthodoxon (Herald of the True Orthodox Christians), ¹ 17, November, 1971, pp. 3-14 (G). The Russian text of the official Act reproduced in the same Matthewite organ declares that the Russians "read prayers with the laying on of hands [Russian: prochitali molitvy s vozlozhenie ruk]" on the two hierarchs.
 Protocol ¹ 146, Holy Diocese of Kition, G.O.C. (F).
 Encyclical ¹ 534, dated
 Metropolitan Philaret, letter to
 Lardas, op. cit., p. 20,
referring to an “unpublished Act,
letter to Mr. Shallcross,
 The Struggle against Ecumenism, op. cit., pp. 97-98.
 Letter of
 As he told the present writer in
January, 1977, he had a gun at his head - and to demonstrate his meaning, he
placed his right hand in the form of a revolver against his temple. However, he
was able to remove
 This was dated
 Full text in The Struggle
against Ecumenism, op. cit., pp. 99-100. In a footnote to the
encyclical it was declared: “The present encyclical was ready to be issued on
 Kirix Gnision Orthodoxon (Herald of the True Orthodox Christians), March, 1984, pp. 102-103, Epistle ¹ 1897 of March 1; Holy Transfiguration Monastery, The Struggle against Ecumenism, op. cit., pp. 87-100.
 Lardas, op. cit., p. 30.
 Eastern Churches Review, vol. VII, “Concerning the question of the presence or absence of grace among the new calendarists the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad does not consider herself or any other Local Church to have the right to make a conclusive decision, since a categorical evaluation in this question can be undertaken only by a properly convened, competent Ecumenical Council, with the obligatory participation of the free Church of Russia.”( ¹ 1, Spring, 1975, p. 85.)
 Orthodoxos Typos,
 Episkepsis, ¹ 59,
 The Zealot Monks of
 Eastern Churches Review, vol. IV, ¹ 1, Spring, 1973, pp. 72-73.
 Eastern Churches Review, vol. IV, ¹ 1, Spring, 1974, pp. 109-110.
 Athenagoras (Kokkinakis), The
 “Orthodoxy and the Ecumenical
Movement”, Orthodox Christian Witness, October 27 /
 Ware, “Orthodoxy and the World Council of Churches”, Sobornost, vol. 1, ¹ 1, 1979, pp. 78-80.
 Newsletter, Department of Public and Foreign Relations of the Synod of Bishops of ROCOR, January-March, 1981, pp. 2-4.
 Third All-Diaspora Council, 1974, Protocol 1, August 26 / September 8, Synodal Archives, p. 2; quoted in Nun Vassa (Larin) “’Glory be to God, Who did not Abandon His Church’, The Self-Awareness of ROCOR at the Third All-Diaspora Council of 1974”, http://www.russianorthodoxchurch.ws/01newstructure/pagesen/articles/svassasobor.htm, p. 2.
 See Eugene Pavlenko, “The Heresy of Phyletism: History and the Present”, Vertograd-Inform, ¹ 13, November, 1999.
 Nun Vassa, op. cit.
 Protocol ¹ 4 of the All-Diaspora Council, August 29 / September 11, 1974; Synodal Archives, p. 4; Nun Vassa, op. cit.
 Golitsyn, The Perestroika
 See Roman Redlikh, "Rossia,
Evropa i Real'nij Sotsializm" (
 Talantov, in “Tserkov’ Katakombnaia na zemle Rossijskoj (III)” (The Catacomb Church in the Russian Land (III), Pravoslavnaia Zhizn’ (Orthodox Life), ¹ 12 (635), December, 2002, pp. 10-11 ®.
 Ellis, The Russian Orthodox
 Ellis, op. cit., p. 305.
 Posev, July, 1979 ®; translated in The Orthodox Word, September-October, 1979.
 Personal communication from
Monks of Monastery Press,
 Poslanie Tret’ego Vsezarubezhnogo Sobora Russkoj Pravoslavnoj Tserkvi Zagranitsei Pravoslavnomy russkomu narodu na rodine (Epistle of the Third All-Emigration Council of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad to the Russian People in the Homeland), September 8/21, 1974 ®.
quoted by Nicholas Candela, “[paradosis] the wisdom of an MP priest”, email@example.com,
 See his letter to Fr. Victor Potapov published in Vertograd-Inform, ¹ 11 (44), November, 1998, pp. 28-32 ®. He might have quoted St. Maximus the Confessor in this connection: “I want and pray you to be wholly harsh and implacable with the heretics only in regard to cooperating with them or in any way whatever supporting their deranged belief. For I reckon it misanthropy and a departure from Divine love to lend support to error, that those previously seized by it might be even more greatly corrupted.” (P.G. 91: 465C).
 Metropolitan Philaret to Fr. George Grabbe, July 12/25, 1975, Vertograd-Inform, ¹ 11 (68), November, 2000, pp. 52-53 ®.
 Pravoslavnaia Rus’ (Orthodox
 In January, 1977, the present
writer complained about Archbishop Anthony’s activities to Metropolitan
 See especially Fr. Seraphim
Rose’s article, “The Royal Path” (The Orthodox Word, ¹ 70, 1976), in
which he wrote: “The Russian Church Outside of Russia has been placed, by God’s
 Letter of Metropolitan Philaret
to Archbishop Anthony of
 Vestnik Zapadno-Evropejskoj Eparkhii (Herald of the Western European Diocese), 1979, ¹ 14; Posev (Sowing), 1979, ¹ 12 ®.
 “A Letter from Metropolitan
Philaret (Voznesensky) to a Priest of the Church Abroad concerning Father
Dimitry Dudko and the Moscow Patriarchate”, Vertograd-Inform, ¹ 4, February, 1999, pp. 16-20. A
few years earlier, on August 14/27, 1977, Metropolitan Philaret told the
present writer: “I advise you always to remain faithful to the anathema of the
 Archives 12/92, ¹ 892á
The following account relies heavily on Steven Jones' article, "Soviet
Religious Policy and the
 “Dr. Gamsakhurdia writes to RCL”, Religion in Communist Lands, vol. 4, ¹ 4, Winter, 1976, pp. 48, 49.
 Orthodox Tradition, vol. XV, ¹ 1, p. 34.
 Nun E., a disciple of Gennadius, personal communication, 1990.
 “Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee”, Orthodox Christian Witness, August 3/16, 1998 and August 17/30, 1998; http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Thebes/1865/ili.htm?200522.
 Hierodeacon Theophanes, “The
Head of the
 L. Perepiolkina, Ecumenism –
A Path to Perdition,
 Christopher Andrew and Vasily
Mitrokhin, The Mitrokhin File,
 Andrew and Mitrokhin, op. cit., p. 650.
 Hierodeacon Theophanes, op. cit., pp. 15-18.
 This was on
 Rose, Orthodoxy and the
Religion of the Future, Platina, Ca.: St. Herman of
 Averky, Rukovodstvo k
izucheniu Sviaschennago Pisania Novago Zaveta (Guide to the Study of the Sacred
Scriptures of the New Testament),
 La Croix,
 Rose, op. cit., pp. 15-16.
 Newsletter, op. cit., pp. 2, 6-7.
 Zhurnal Moskovskoj
Patriarkhii (Journal of the
 Zhurnal Moskovskoj
Patriarkhii (Journal of the
 Hackel, Editorial, Sobornost, vol. 5, ¹ 1, 1983, p. 5.
 “The Slaying of Archimandrite Philoumenos”, Orthodox Life, vol. 30, ¹ 5, November-December, 1980.
 See Archbishop Vitaly, "The
1983 Sobor of Bishops", Orthodox Christian Witness, August 20 /
 “Orthodox Reactions to the Aims
of the World Council of Churches”, The
 See "A Contemporary Patristic Document", Orthodox Christian Witness, November 14/27, 1983, p. 3; "Encyclical Letter of the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia", Orthodox Life, vol. 33, ¹ 6, November-December, 1983, p. 13; Bishop Hilarion of Manhattan, "Answers to Questions Posed by the Faithful of the Orthodox Parish in Somerville, South Carolina", Sunday of the Myrrhbearers, 1992.
 See “Epi Enos Anathematos” (On An Anathema), Kirix Gnision Orthodoxon (Herald of the True Orthodox Christians), February, 1984, pp. 47-56 (G).
 “Iskazhenie dogmata 'O edinstve Tserkvi' v ispovedaniakh very Sinodom i Soborom Russkoj Pravoslavnoj Tserkvi Zagranitsej “ (Distortion of the Dogma ‘On the Unity of the Church’ in the Confessions of Faith of the Synod and Sobor of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad) (MS) ®.
 Again, St. Dionysius the Areopagite writes: “The hierarchs have the power of excommunication as expressors of the divine statutes. This is not to say that the All-Wise Godhead slavishly follows their irrational whims, but that they are guided by the Spirit regarding those worthy of excommunication” (On Ecclesiastical Hierarchy, chapter 7).
 Matushka Susanna Maklakov,
personal communication to Fr. Daniel,
 Lardas, op. cit., p. 20.
 Bishop Photius of
 This act was contested by Fr.
Simon of Simonopetra monastery, Mount Athos, in view of Peter’s refusal to sign
the encyclical of 1974, after which, according to some sources, he was not only
removed as exarch of America, but also as a member of the Synod. However,
Metropolitans Chrysostom and Gabriel replied in I Phoni tis Orthodoxias (The
Voice of Orthodoxy) that “our Hierarchy, meeting in the totality of its
members, decided by a majority vote that the exarchate be taken from Bishop
 According to Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Boston, he acted thus “in protest over what he considered the Matthewite Synod’s lack of good faith in the effort at reconciliation with the Holy Synod of Archbishop Auxentius” (The Struggle against Ecumenism, op. cit., p. 103).
 Although, according to Lardas (op. cit., p. 20), he had received chrismation in the ROCOR.
 According to Bishop Macarius of
 For two antithetical accounts of this Synod, see Phylakes Orthodoxias (Guardians of Orthodoxy), vol. 1, March, 1979, pp. 1-2 and Agios Kyprianos (St. Cyprian), ¹ 122, February, 1979, p. 240 (G), on the one hand, and "Latest developments in the Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece", special supplement to Orthodox Christian Witness, November, 1984, vol. XVIII, ¹ 12 (St. Nectarios Educational Series ¹ 93), Priest-Monk Haralampus (Book Review in The True Vine, ¹ 21, vol. 6, ¹ 1, 1994, pp. 56-63), and Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Boston, The Struggle against Ecumenism, pp. 102-112, on the other.
 "Panigyrikon Sulleitourgon Ellinon kai Roumanon G.O.X." (Festive Concelebration of Greek and Romanians of the True Orthodox Christians), Phylakes Orthodoxias (Guardians of Orthodoxy), ¹ 9, November, 1979, pp. 72-74 (G).
 There is some confusion about the exact dates here. In The Struggle against Ecumenism, it is said that this meeting took place on February 14, and that the Callistites informed Auxentius of the consecrations in a letter also dated February 14 (but received on March 3. However, according to other sources, the Callistite consecrations took place between February 20 and 23, and that Auxentius was informed on February 27.
 I Phoni tis Orthodoxias (The
Voice of Orthodoxy), ¹
 Another curious feature of the minutes of this meeting is that some of bishops had changed their titles from the list of those present to the list of those who signed the encyclical (The Struggle against Ecumenism, op. cit., pp. 105-109).
 Bishop Photios of
 Bishop Macarius, op. cit.
 Bishop Photius, op. cit.
 Metropolitan Callinicus of the
 Bishop Ambrose, personal
 Metropolitans Acacius and Chrysostom, in Bishop Macarius, op. cit.
 Bishop Macarius, op. cit.
 Bishop Macarius, op. cit.
 Bishop Photius, personal
 In 1961, according to Bishop Macarius, op. cit. (V.M.)
 This I heard from the two hierarchs Maximus and Callinicus themselves (Bishop Photius).
 Bishop Photius, op. cit.
 The evidence is in The Struggle against Ecumenism, op. cit., pp. 111-112. In recent years, the practice of the Cyprianites appears to have become somewhat stricter.
 However, the Cyprianite Bishop Ambrose of Methone writes: “The retirement of Metropolitan Callistus had nothing to do with our position on the admission of new calendarists to the Mysteries (in much less liberal than that of many others, e.g. Metropolitan Anthony). It was in fact occasioned by (a) the behaviour of Metropolitan Callinicus of Achaia, who refused to leave the convent in Athikia and go to his own diocese, despite repeated promises, and finally more or less expelled Metropolitan Callistus from the Convent he had himself founded, and (b) the unanimous outrage of all the members of the Synod over a pamphlet expressing the most extreme ‘Matthaist’ positions, which Callistus published and distributed without their knowledge. Having been expelled from his own home, he was taken in by his brother, Archimandrite Nicodemus, and live the rest of his days as a guest at the convent of Agia Marini, Sofikon” (personal communication, November 10, 2005).
 Orthodoxos Khristianikos Agon (Orthodox Christian Struggle), ¹ 3, November, 1985, p. 4 (G).
 Orthodoxos Khristianikos Agon (Orthodox Christian Struggle), ¹ 3, November, 1985, p. 4 (G).
 “A few months ago, moreover, a Greek student from Rome sent us a letter… containing eight pages from the distinguished Italian periodical Oggi of January 9, 1985, which refers to one of the two Italian bishops, Gregory [Baccolini] of Aquileia, who was consecrated by the oath-breaking ‘Bishop’ Gabriel of Lisbon. It is worthy of note that Auxentius did not forget to weave an encomium for the Portuguese and Italian bishops so as to pacify his devoted clerics, who had themselves been troubled by the startling ‘consecrations’ of the European ‘bishops’ of the True Orthodox Christians.
“In the interview which Gregory gave to
the Italian periodical he says that at the age of 14 he left Catholicism so as
to become a member of the
“He became a Protestant after having converted his parents, and then a little later he returned to the Papists.
“In 1933 he joined the monastic order of
Galucco and then became a Benedictine monk in Valombrosa in
“After the death of Mussolini Gregory
The Cyprianite Bishop Ambrose of Methone (personal communication) has defended Bishop Gregory, saying that he never “worshipped Mussolini as God”, but was devoted to the memory of the Duce.
Orthodoxos Khristianikos Agon (Orthodox Christian Struggle), ¹ 3,
November, 1985, p. 3; February, 1987, p. 8 (G). It appears that the “Tome of
autonomy” was signed by Auxentius alone, who wrote: “I, Auxentius, by God’s
grace Archbishop of Athens and all Greece, acting within the boundaries of our
territory of Western Europe (which I created on June 7, 1978) have decided to
give permission to the Metropolis of Portugal, Spain and Western Europe to
govern itself, having as their principal headquarters the God-protected
metropolitan city of Lisbon… This metropolis will be under the direction of the
 Eulogius is considered to be a
Freemason by Stavros Markou ([paradosis] Milan Freemasons”, firstname.lastname@example.org,
Ivan Moody (“Scandal for Orthodoxy in
 Bishop Ambrose of Methone
 See Kirix Gnision Orthodoxon (Herald of the True Orthodox), 42, ¹ 236, September, 1997, p. 228 (G).
 “Enkyklios” (Encyclical), Ekklesiastiki Paradosis (Ecclesiastical Tradition), January-February, 1985, ¹ 20, pp. 262-263 (G).
 “Excerpts from a Response by Fr. Basil of Holy Transfiguration Monastery to a Bishop of the Kiousis group, Kallinikos of the Dodecanese, concerning the ‘consecration’ of Dorotheos Tsakos” (MS), pp. 1, 2.
 The Struggle against Ecumenism, op. cit., p. 121, footnote.
 Ekklesiastiki Paradosis (Ecclesiastical Tradition), 20, January-February, 1985, pp. 261-263; "Eis tas Epalxeis!" (To the Ramparts!), I Phoni tis Orthodoxias (The Voice of Orthodoxy), ¹¹ 802-803, November-December, 1985, pp. 1-33; Orthodoxos Khristianikos Agon (Orthodox Christian Struggle), November, 1985, p. 3, February, 1987, p. 8 (G).
 Bishop Macarius, op. cit.
 I Phoni tis Orthodoxias (The Voice of Orthodoxy), ¹ 921, March-April, 2003, p. 15 (G).
 Protocol ¹ 73, decision of April 1/14, 1997, in Orthodoxon Paterikon Salpisma (Orthodox Patristic Trumpet Call), March-April, 1997 (G)).
 In the spring of 1985, in his
monastery in Paiania, Metropolitan Acacius told the present writer that he was
deeply unhappy that Metropolitan Peter gave communion to new calendarists in
 Khristianiki Poreia (The
 Bishop Macarius, op. cit.
 Bishop Photius, op. cit.
 It is sometimes asserted that
the Italian parishes under Giovanni voluntarily left the Moscow Patriarchate
and joined the Nestorians before returning to the Old Calendarists. In 1975 the
present writer heard a different story from the Italians’ bishop when they were
in the MP, Metropolitan Anthony (Bloom) of Sourozh, who said that he had been
forced to expel the Italians following a phone call from Metropolitan Juvenal
of Tula. Juvenal said that the MP was having negotiations with the
 Metropolitan Cyprian, “Ai Ekklesiologikai Theseis Mas” (Our Ecclesiological Theses), Agios Kyprianos (St. Cyprian), November, 1984, 191 (G). Quotations from the translation in Patrick G. Barker, A Study of the Ecclesiology of Resistance, Etna, Ca.: Center for Traditionalist Orthodox Studies, 1994, pp. 57-58.
 Barker, op. cit., p. 59.
 Barker, op. cit., pp. 60-61.
 Barker, op. cit., pp. 61, 62.
 Metropolitan Calliopius
(Giannakoulopoulos) of Pentapolis, Ta Patria, volume 7,
 Calliopius, op. cit., pp. 277-278.
 Letter of Reader Polychronios,
April 29 /
 Hieromonk Nectarius Yashunsky, Ekklesiologicheskie Antitezisy (Ecclesiological Antitheses) (MS) (in Russian).
 Fr. Christopher Birchall, The
Life of our Holy Father Maximus the Confessor,
 Bishop Theophan, “Chto takoe ‘anafema’?” (What is ‘anathema’?) quoted by Vladislav Dmitriev, Neopravdannoe Edinstvo (Unjustified Unity) (MS, 1996, p. 19) ®.
 For the Cyprianite position, see Patrick Barker, op. cit. For criticism of the Cyprianite ecclesiology, see Holy Transfiguration Monastery, The Struggle against Ecumenism, op. cit., pp. 112-120; V. Moss, “Can Heretics have the Grace of Sacraments?”, Tserkovnost’ (Churchness), ¹ 1, 2000 ®; I.I. Voloshin, “Vozmozhen li ‘Istinno-Pravoslavnij Ekumenizm’?” (Is ‘True Orthodox Ecumenism’ Possible?), Vertograd-Inform, ¹¹ 7-8 (64-65), July-August, 2000, pp. 45-59 ®.
 I Phoni tis Orthodoxias (The Voice of Orthodoxy), ¹ 811, January-February, 1987, pp. 22-32. See also Orthodoxos Khristianikos Agon (Orthodox Christian Struggle), ¹ 8, February, 1987, p. 7 (G).
 Bishop Ambrose, personal
 Bishop Ambrose writes: “You also mention the fact that
Archbishop Chrysostomos' Synod apparently deposed our Metropolitan in 1986. As
now, almost twenty years later, no such document has ever been communicated to
us, we are still in the dark. All we have seen is a text printed in their
periodical, but the four then members of their Synod whom we asked (Petros
of Astoria, Gerontios of Piraeus, Antonios of Attika, and Euthymios of
Thessaloniki) all said that no such text had ever been shown to them, nor had
they signed it; they regarded the whole affair as an invention on the personal
animosity of Kalliopios.” (personal communication,
 Lebedev, letter of
 Agios Kyprianos (St. Cyprian), ¹ 274, March-April, 1992 (G).
 See Orthodox Tradition, vol. XV, ¹ 1, 1998, p. 45. The True Orthodox Church of Romania officially glorified him in 1999.
 Archimandrite Cyprian, Secretary of the Romanian Synod, personal communication, August, 1994.
 Fr. Alexey Young, The Russian Orthodox
 The suspensions were in accordance with rule 159 of Peter the Great’s Regulations of the Spiritual Consistories: “A clergyman who has been accused of a crime is to be suspended from serving… The order for this to be done is entrusted to the local Bishop, who is obligated to take care that those who are accused of grave violation of good conduct according to God’s laws not approach to serve before the Altar of the Lord.” Also, a commission was appointed to investigate the charges of immorality against Fr. Isaac, and Hieromonk Justin was appointed as temporary administrator of the monastery. (V.M.)
 The letter was dated November 25 / December 7. (V.M.)
 Young, op. cit., pp. 77-78.
 “Incorrupt Relics Recovered”, Vertograd-Inform, ¹ 4, February, 1999, p. 8.
 “Metropolitan Philaret’s Two Letters to Archbishop Averky”, Vertograd-Inform, ¹ 4, February, 1999, pp. 11-15.
 Archimandrite Ambroise, Priest Patric and Hieromonk Joseph, letter to Archbishop Anthony of Geneva, May 14/27, 1986 (F).
 Fr. Alexey Young, “A Tireless
 See “Reflections on Metropolitan Vitaly's Nativity Epistle", Orthodox Christian Witness, February 16 / March 1, 1987; "An Annulment of the Anathema of 1983", Orthodox Christian Witness, May 4/17, 1987.
 Gavalas, letter of June 20 /
 The reason, according to Bishop
Gregory, was his opposition to Vitaly’s plans to sell the Synod building in
 See his letter of April 27 / May
10, 1986 to Archbishop Seraphim of Chicago, in Church News, July, 2003,
vol. 14, #6 (120), p. 11, and to Metropolitan Vitaly of May 17/30, 1994 (Church
News, July, 2003, vol. 13, #6 (107), pp. 3-4. Both of the deputy-presidents
of the Synod, Archbishops Anthony of
 Palassis, letter of June 15/28, 1987.
 Letter of Fr. Christos Constantinou, July 2/15, 1987.
 Letter of Metropolitan Acacius to Protopresbyter
Panagiotes Carras and the most venerable presbyters and hieromonks with him,
 Metropolitan Acacius, letter of
 The present writer’s parish in
 But Fr. Anthony Gavalas wrote:
“Given Archbishop Auxentius’ toleration, at least, of homosexuals in his own
jurisdiction, of what use will be a exoneration signed by him? Will it not
allow our enemies to say that the monastery is guilty and so placed itself in a
jurisdiction tolerant of such violations?” (quoted by Archpriest Alexander
Lebedev, “Re: [paradosis] Re: Re 1986-1987”, email@example.com,
 Bishop Gregory (Grabbe), “Partnership – the Pope and an Atheist”, Orthodox Life, vol. 42, ¹ 3, May-June, 1992, p. 16.
 Obnovlentsy i Moskovskaia
Patriarkhia: preemstvo ili evoliutsia? (The Renovationists and the
 See also Leslie Childe in The
 “The Pope and his Critics”, The
 “Vatikan i Evrei” (The
 Martin, The Keys of This
 “O ‘Patriarkhis’ Dimitrios symprosevkhetai kai sylleitourgei me tous airetikous” (Patriarch Demetrios prays together and liturgises with heretics), Agios Agathangelos Esphigmenitis (St. Agathangelos of Esphigmenou), ¹ 104, November-December, 1988, pp. 10-44 (G).
 Zhurnal Moskovskoj
Patriarkhii (The Journal of the
 Epignosis (Knowledge),
December, 1989, 20 (G). See “Vremia Dejstvovat'" (It is Time to Act), Moskovskij
Tserkovnij Vestnik (
 Neoi Anthropoi (New Men),
 Delimbasis, Rebuttal of an
 Agiotafitis (Holy Sepulchre), translated in The Canadian Orthodox Missionary Journal, year 16, issue 5, ¹ 134, September-October, 1989, p. 2.
 The text of the resolution of
the ROCOR Synod was as follows: “There were discussions on the question of the
fourteen clerics accepted into communion of prayer from the Catacomb Church who
submitted their petitions to the Hierarchical Synod through Archimandrite
Misael of the monastery of St. Panteleimon on the Holy Mountain, which were
received on November 26 / December 7, 1977. At that time the Hierarchical Synod
of the ROCOR in its session of November 26 /
“’Trusting the witness of the fourteen priests that their reposed leader, Archbishop Anthony (Galynsky) was correctly consecrated to the episcopate, and carried out his service secretly from the civil authorities, it has been decided to accept them into communion of prayer, having informed them that they can carry out all those sacred actions which priests can carry out according to the Church canons, and also giving the monastic clerics the right to carry out monastic tonsures. They are to be informed of this in the same way as their address was received.’”
 See Kto est’ kto v
Rossijskikh katakombakh (Who’s Who in the Russian Catacombs),
 For a Lazarite account of these
events, see “Godovschina vosstanovlenia apostol’skoj preemstvennosti v Russkoj
Katakombnoj Istinno-Pravoslavnoj Tserkvi” (The Anniversary of the Restoration
of Apostolic Succession in the Russian Catacomb True Orthodox Church), http://catacomb.org.ua/modules.php?name=Pages&go=print_page&pid=677
®. The official ROCOR account was published on August 1/14, 1990: “In 1982 his
Eminence Anthony, Archbishop of Geneva and Western Europe, together with his
Eminence Mark, Bishop of Berlin and Germany, on the orders of the Hierarchical
Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, secretly performed an Episcopal
consecration on Hieromonk Barnabas (Prokofiev), so that through the cooperation
of these archpastors the Church life of the Catacomb Orthodox Church in Russia
might be regulated. Since external circumstances no longer compel either his
Eminence Bishop Lazarus in
 See Kto est’ kto v rossijskikh katakombakh, op. cit., pp. 66-69, and E.A. Petrova, “Perestroika Vavilonskoj Bashni – poslednij shans vselukavogo antikhrista” (The Reconstruction of the Tower of Babel – a Last Chance for the All-Cunning Antichrist), Moscow, 1991, pp. 5-6 (MS) ®.
 V.K., Kratkij ocherk
ekkleziologicheskikh i iurisdiktsionnykh sporov v grecheskoj starostil’noj
tserkvi (A Short Sketch of the Ecclesiological and Jurisdictional Quarrels in
 “Kritika zhurnal ‘Vozvraschenie’” (A Criticism of the Journal ‘Return’), Tserkovnie Novosti (Church News), ¹ 11 (67), November-December, 1997, p. 1 ®.
 Golitsyn, op. cit., p.
116, who gives the date:
 Gorbachev, in Dr. Olga Ackerly,
“High Treason in ROCOR: The Rapprochment with
 Yakovlev, Vestnik Akademii
Nauk SSSR (Herald of the
 Hosking, The Awakening of the
 Quoted in Bishop Valentine of Suzdal, “Put’ nechestivykh pogibnet” (The Way of the Impious Will Perish), Suzdal’skij Palomnik (Suzdal Pilgrim), ¹¹ 18-20, 1994, pp. 96-97 ®.
 Mendeleev, in I.F. Okhotin, “Velichie i blagodenstvie Rossii v Tsarstvovanie Imperatora Nikolaia II podtverzhdennoe v tsifrakh i faktakh” (The Greatness and Prosperity of Russia in the Reign of Emperor Nicholas II Confirmed in Figures and Facts), Imperskij Vestnik (Imperial Herald), October, 1989, ¹ 8, p. 12 ®.
 Cf. Gleb Anishchenko, "Vrata ada" (The Gates of Hell), Posev (Sowing), ¹ 3 (1395), May-June, 1990, p. 135 ®.
 Archbishop Anthony of
 Ogonek (Little Fire), ¹ 44, October, 1989 ®. Cf. Keston
News Service, ¹
 One reason for this was that for
many years the MP had been teaching its seminarian, a large proportion of whom
came from the Western Ukraine, that the Orthodox and the Catholics were “sister
churches”. 60% of those who joined the uniates were graduates of the
 "The Exarch vs. the Patriarch", Novoe Vremia (New Times), ¹ 26, July, 1992, p. 13 ®; quoted in Karen Dawisha and Bruce Parrott, Russia and the New States of Eurasia, Cambridge University Press, 1994, p. 96.
 Moskovskij Tserkovnij Vestnik
 Oxana Antic, "The Russian
Orthodox Church moves towards coming to terms with its past", Report on