Gleanings from Orthodox Christian Authors and the Holy Fathers

ecumenism

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The life of Saint Maximus is also instructive for us. Saint Maximus, though only a simple monk, resisted and cut off communion with every patriarch, metropolitan, archbishop and bishop in the East because of their having been infected with the heresy of Monothelitism. During the first imprisonment of the Saint, the messengers from the Ecumenical Patriarch asked him,

"To which church do you belong? To that of Byzantium, of Rome, Antioch, Alexandria, or Jerusalem? For all these churches, together with the provinces in subjection to them, are in unity. Therefore, if you also belong to the Catholic Church, enter into communion with us at once, lest fashioning for yourself some new and strange pathway, you fall into that which you do not even expect!"

To this the righteous man wisely replied, "Christ the Lord called that Church the Catholic Church which maintains the true and saving confession of the Faith. It was for this confession that He called Peter blessed, and He declared that He would found His Church upon this confession. However, I wish to know the contents of your confession, on the basis of which all churches, as you say, have entered into communion. If it is not opposed to the truth, then neither will I be separated from it." The confession which they were proposing to the Saint was not Orthodox, of course, and so he refused to comply with their coercions. Furthermore, they were lying about the See of Rome which, in fact, had remained Orthodox. Some time later, at his last interrogation by the Byzantine authorities, the following dialogue took place:

The Saint said, "They [the Patriarchs of Constantinople and Alexandria and all the other heretical bishops of the East] have been deposed and deprived of the priesthood at the local synod which took place recently in Rome. What Mysteries, then, can they perform? Or what spirit will descend upon those who are ordained by them?"

"Then you alone will be saved, and all others will perish?" they objected.

To this the Saint replied, "When all the people in Babylon were worshipping the golden idol, the Three Holy Children did not condemn anyone to perdition. They did not concern themselves with the doings of others, but took care only for themselves, lest they should fall away from true piety. In precisely the same way, when Daniel was cast into the lion's den, he did not condemn any of those who, fulfilling the law of Darius, did not wish to pray to God, but he kept in mind his own duty, and desired rather to die than to sin against his conscience by transgressing the Law of God. God forbid that I should condemn anyone or say that I alone am being saved! However, I shall sooner agree to die than to apostatize in any way from the true Faith and thereby suffer torments of conscience."

"But what will you do," inquired the envoys, "when the Romans are united to the Byzantines? Yesterday, indeed, two delegates arrived from Rome and tomorrow, the Lord's day, they will communicate the Holy Mysteries with the Patriarch. "

The Saint replied, "Even if the whole universe holds communion with the Patriarch, I will not communicate with him. For I know from the writings of the holy Apostle Paul: the Holy Spirit declares that even the angels would be anathema if they should begin to preach another Gospel, introducing some new teaching."

As history has demonstrated, Saint Maximus—who was only a simple monk and not even ordained—and his two disciples were the ones who were Orthodox, and all those illustrious, famous and influential Patriarchs and Metropolitans whom the Saint had written against were the ones who were in heresy. When the Sixth Ecumenical Synod was finally convened, among those condemned for heresy were four Patriarchs of Constantinople, one Pope of Rome, one Patriarch of Alexandria, two Patriarchs of Antioch and a multitude of other Metropolitans, Archbishops and Bishops. During all those years, that one simple monk was right, and all those notable bishops were wrong. From The Life of Our Holy Father St. Maximus the Confessor (Boston: Holy Transfiguration, 1982), pp. 60-62:



Concerning the Patriarch I shall say this, lest it should perhaps occur to him to show me a certain respect at the burial of this my humble body, or to send to my grave any of his hierarchs or clergy or in general any of those in communion with him in order to take part in prayer or to join the priests invited to it from amongst us, thinking that at some time, or perhaps secretly, I had allowed communion with him. And lest my silence give occasion to those who do not know my views well and fully to suspect some kind of conciliation, I hereby state and testify before the many worthy men here present that I do not desire, in any manner and absolutely, and do not accept communion with him or with those who are with him, not in this life nor after my death, just as (I accept) neither the Union nor Latin dogmas, which he and his adherents have accepted, and for the enforcement of which he has occupied this presiding place, with the aim of overturning the true dogmas of the Church. I am absolutely convinced that the farther I stand from him and those like him, the nearer I am to God and all the saints, and to the degree that I separate myself from them am in union with the Truth and with the Holy Fathers, the Theologians of the Church; and I am likewise convinced that those who count themselves with them stand far away from the Truth and from the blessed Teachers of the Church. And for this reason I say: just as in the course of my whole life I was separated from them, so at the time of my departure, yea and after my death, I turn away from intercourse and communion with them and vow and command that none (of them) shall approach either my burial or my grave, and likewise anyone else from our side, with the aim of attempting to join and concelebrate in our Divine services; for this would be to mix what cannot be mixed. But it befits them to be absolutely separated from us until such time as God shall grant correction and peace to His Church. [as quoted in The Orthodox Word, June-July, 1967, pp. 103ff.] The Example of St. Mark of Ephesus

...But as for those who...severe themselves from communion with their president, that is, because he publicly preaches heresy and with bared head teaches it in the Church, such persons are not only not subject to canonical penalty..., but are worthy of due honor mong the Orthodox. For not bishops, but false bishops and false teachers have they condemned, and they have not fragmented the Church's unity with schism, but from schisms and divisions have they earnestly sought to deliver the Church. Canon XV of the First-Second Council of Constantinople

All the more should this be happening now, when there is a discernible and lively interest on the part of the heterodox, particularly those of the West, in the Orthodox Church. But this gracious love which characterizes good zeal according to knowledge never forgets or overlooks the falsehood of heresy or who the heretics are, or, in this case, who the Pope of Rome is. St Nectarios of Aegina

All the teachers of the Church, and all the Councils, and all the Divine Scriptures advise us to flee from the heterodox and separate from their communion. St. Mark of Ephesus

All the teachers of the Church, and all the Councils, and all the Divine Scriptures advise us to flee from the heterodox and separate from their communion. St. Mark of Ephesus.

Among us, neither Patriarchs nor Councils were ever able to introduce innovations, because the defender of Religion is the very Body of the Church---that is, the people themselves --- which desire to have their Religion eternally unchanged and identical to that of their Fathers Reply of the Orthodox Patriarchs of the East to Pius IX, issued in 1848

And the Lord said to Joshua, Rise up: why hast thou fallen upon thy face? The people has sinned, and transgressed the covenant which I made with them; they have stolen from the accursed things (Greek: anathema), and put it into their store. And the children of Israel will not be able to stand before their enemies, for they have become an accursed thing (anathema); I will no longer be with you, unless ye remove the accursed thing (anathema) from yourselves. Joshua 7.10-11

And the Lord said to Joshua, Rise up: why hast thou fallen upon thy face? The people has sinned, and transgressed the covenant which I made with them; they have stolen from the accursed things (Greek: anathema), and put it into their store. And the children of Israel will not be able to stand before their enemies, for they have become an accursed thing (anathema); I will no longer be with you, unless ye remove the accursed thing (anathema) from yourselves." Joshua 7.10-11.

Any one who is able to speak the truth and does not do so shall be condemned by God St. Justin the Philosopher, Dialogue with Trypho 82

Any servant who kept his peace and did nothing in order to prevent thieves from breaking into his master house, would be condemned by his master as being treacherous thief like them even if he had not done nothing to assist them. St. Symeon new theologian

Any servant who kept his peace and did nothing in order to prevent thieves from breaking into his master’s house to rob it, but allowed them to take everything secretly and to leave, would be condemned by his master as being a treacherous thief like them, even if he had done nothing to assist them St. Symeon the New Theologian, Homily Seventy-Eight

Anyone who is able to speak the truth and does not do so will be condemned by God. St. Justin the Philosopher

As history has demonstrated, Saint Maximus---who was only a simple monk and not even ordained---and his two disciples were the ones who were Orthodox, and all those illlustrious, famous and influential Patriarchs and Metropolitans against whom the Saint had written were the ones who were in heresy. When the Sixth Ecumenical Council was finally convened, among those condemned for heresy were four Patriarchs of Constantinople, one Pope of Rome, one Patriarch of Alexandria, two Patriarchs of Antioch, and a multitude of other Metropolitans, Archbishops and Bishops. During all those years, that one simple monk was right, and all those notable bishops were wrong Epilogue, The Life of Our Holy Father Maximus the Confessor, trans. Christopher Birchall (Boston: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1982), 53-69

As we walk the unerring and life-bringing path, let us pluck out the eye that scandalizes us-not the physical eye, but the noetic one. For example, if a bishop or presbyter-who are the eyes of the Church-conduct themselves in an evil manner and scandalize the people, they must be plucked out. For it is more profitable to gather without them in a house of prayer, than to be cast together with them into the gehenna of fire together with Annas and Caiaphas St. Athanasius the Great, PG 26:1257c

Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what partnership have righteousness and iniquity? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God. II Corinthians 6.14-16

Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what partnership have righteousness and iniquity? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God. II Corinthians 6.14-16.

Better is a praiseworthy war than a peace that separates us from God St. Gregory the Theologian

But though we, or an angel from Heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be anathema. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that which ye have received, let him be anathema’ [Galatians 1:8-9]. I shall judge the bishop and the layperson. The sheep are rational and not irrational, so that no layman may ever say that, ‘I am a sheep, and not a shepherd, and I give no account of myself, but the shepherd shall see to it, and he alone shall pay the penalty for me.’ For even as the sheep that follows not the good shepherd shall fall to the wolves unto its own destruction, so too it is evident that the sheep that follows the evil shepherd shall acquire death; for he shall utterly devour it. Therefore, it is required that we flee from destructive shepherds Apostolic Constitutions, 10:19, PG 1:633

Chrysostomos loudly declares not only heretics, but also those who have communion with them, to be enemies of God. St. Theodore the Studite, Epistle of Abbot Theophilus

Chrysostomos loudly declares not only heretics, but also those who have communion with them, to be enemies of God. St. Theodore the Studite, Epistle of Abbot Theophilus.

Come out of her, My people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues. Revelation 18.4

Concerning the Faith, the heretics were totally shipwrecked; but as for the others, even if in their thinking they did not founder, nonetheless, because of their communion with heresy, they too were destroyed with the others St. Theodore the Studite, Letter to the Patriarch of Jerusalem, PG 99:1164

Concerning the necessity of not permitting heretics to come into the house of God, so long as they persist in their heresy. Canon 6 of the Council of Laodicea

Consider how contrary to the mind of God are the heterodox in regard to the grace of God which has come to us ... They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not admit that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, the flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in His graciousness, raised from the dead." St. Ignatius Of Antioch, "Letter to the Smyrnaeans", paragraph 6. circa 80-110 A.D.

Contentions," he means, with heretics, in which he would not have us labor to no purpose, where nothing is to be gained, for they end in nothing. For when a man is perverted and predetermined not to change his mind, whatever may happen, why shouldest thou labor in vain, sowing upon a rock, when thou shouldest spend thy honorable toil upon thy own people, in discoursing with them upon almsgiving and every other virtue?

How then does he elsewhere say, "If God peradventure will give them repentance" (2 Tim. ii.25); but here, "A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition reject, knowing that he that is such is subverted and sinneth, being condemned of himself"? In the former passage he speaks of the correction of those of whom he had hope, and who had simply made opposition. But when he is known and manifest to all, why dost thou contend in vain? why dost thou beat the air? What means, "being condemned of himself"? Because he cannot say that no one has told him, no one admonished him; since therefore after admonition he continues the same, he is self-condemned. St John Chrysostom, Homily 6 on Titus



Do not err, my brethren: if anyone follow a schismatic, he will not inherit the Kingdom of God. If any man walk about with strange doctrine, he cannot lie down with the passion. Take care, then, to use one Eucharist, so that whatever you do, you do according to God: for there is one Flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup in the union of His Blood; one altar, as there is one bishop with the presbytery and my fellow servants, the deacons." St. Ignatius Of Antioch, Epistle to the Philadelphians, 3:2-4:1, 110 A.D.

Even if one should give away all his possessions in the world, and yet be in communion with heresy, he cannot be a friend of God, but is rather an enemy St. Theodore the Studite, PG 99:1205

Even if the whole universe holds communion with the [heretical] patriarch, I will not communicate with him. For I know from the writings of the holy Apostle Paul: the Holy Spirit declares that even the angels would be anathema if they should begin to preach another Gospel, introducing some new teaching. The Life of St. Maximus the Confessor

For if simply saying ‘Hail’ [II John 10-11] is the same as partaking of another’s evil deeds, how much more so is the blatant commemoration in the very presence of the divine and dread Mysteries? For if He that is present before us is the Truth Himself, how is it reasonable to suppose that He will accept this great lie, that is, that this man should be esteemed as an Orthodox patriarch among the other Orthodox patriarchs? At the time when the dread Mysteries are being celebrated, shall we play the part of an actor on the stage? And how shall the soul of an Orthodox Christian endure these things and not straightway refrain from communion with the commemorators, and esteem them to be men that make sordid gain of divine things? For from the beginning, the Orthodox Church of God has accepted that the mention of the hierarch’s name within the sanctuary meant complete communion with him. For it is written in the exposition of the Divine Liturgy that the celebrant commemorates the name of the bishop, thereby demonstrating submission to a superior, and that he is a communicant with him, and his follower in the Faith and in the divine Mysteries. . . . And God signified this very thing, saying, ‘the priests have violated My law and have profaned My holy things’ [Ezekiel 22:26]. How? Because ‘they have put no difference between the holy and the profane,’ but have esteemed all things as common. However, should we do this by way of ‘economia’? But how can such an ‘economia,’ which profanes things divine and drives the Holy Spirit from them, be acceptable according to what God has said, since it causes the faithful to lose their adoption [as children of God] and cuts them off from the forgiveness of their sins? Can there, indeed, be any economia more harmful than this? Athonite Fathers, Letter to Emperor Michael Paleologus against John Beccus, Patriarch of Constantinople [who had not yet been deposed by a Council]). [As is known, these Fathers of the Holy Mountain signed this Letter a little later with the blood of their martyrdom.]

For when the [unbelievers and heretics], though established in a lie, use every means to conceal the shamefulness of their opinions, while we, the servants of the truth, cannot even open our mouths, how can they help condemning the great weakness of our doctrine? How can they help suspecting our religion to be fraud and folly? How shall they not blaspheme Christ as a deceiver, and a cheat . . . ? And we are to blame for this blasphemy, because we do not desire to be wakeful in arguments for piety, but deem these things superfluous, and care only for the things of earth St. John Chrysostom, Homily Seventeen on the Gospel of Saint John

Grace and truth came by Jesus. They have forsaken the truth, in which the author of Proverbs boasts, saying, ‘My throat shall meditate truth’; having embraced falsehood to themselves, it is clear that they have fallen away from grace Acts of the Seventh Ecumenical Council

Guard yourselves from soul-destroying heresy, communion with which is alienation from Christ. St. Theodore the Studite, P.G. 99.1216

Guard yourselves from soul-destroying heresy, communion with which is alienation from Christ. St. Theodore the Studite, P.G. 99.1216.

He that saith not ‘Anathema’ to those in heresy, let him be anathema Seventh Ecumenical Council

How is the Orthodox Christian to relate to all this [the ecumenical movement and Latin attempts at false union]? Must he strive for every kind of peace and unity? Must every kind of peace and unity be precious in his eyes, dear and close to his Orthodox soul? Absolutely not! decisively answers this important question-- a question of Christian conscience--the great ecumenical teacher and hierarch, a pillar of our Faith, St. Gregory the Theologian. "One must not value every kind of peace," he says, "for there is good difference of opinion and the most destructive unanimity. But one must love only the good peace, which has a good intent and unites with God "On the Situation of the Orthodox Christian in the Contemporary World by Archbishop Averky of Syracuse (written just before the convening of the Second Vatican Council.)

How then does Paul say, ‘Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves’ [Heb. 13:17]? After having said before, ‘Whose faith follow, considering the end of their life [Heb. 13:7],’ he then said, ‘Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves.’ What then (you say), when he is wicked, should we obey? Wicked? In what sense? If indeed in regard to matters of the Faith, flee and avoid him; not only if he be a man, but even if he be an angel come down from Heaven; but if in regard to his life, be not overly-curious St. John Chrysostom, Homily 34 on Hebrews

I adjure all the people in Cyprus who are true children of the Catholic Church to flee as fast as their feet can carry them from those priests who have fallen and submitted to the Latins; neither assemble in church with them, nor receive any blessing from their hands. For it is better for you to pray to God in your homes alone than to gather together in churches with the Latin-minded Germanos II, Patriarch of Constantinople, PG 140:620a

I am convinced that the further I depart from him [the Patriarch] and from those like him [the Latin-minded], the closer do I draw near God and all the faithful and the holy Fathers; and the more I am separated from them, by so much more am I united to the truth and the holy Fathers St. Mark of Ephesus, PG 160:536

Is the shepherd a heretic? Then he is a wolf! You must flee from him; do not be deceived to approach him even if he appears gentle and tame. Flee from communion and conversation with him even as you would flee from a poisonous snake St. Photius the Great, Homily Fifteen 10

It is a commandment of the Lord that we should not be silent when the Faith is in peril. So, when it is a matter of the Faith, one cannot say, ‘What am I? A priest, a ruler, a soldier, a farmer, a poor man? I have no say or concern in this matter.’ Alas! the stones shall cry out, and you remain silent and unconcerned? St. Theodore the Studite, Epistle Eighty-One, PG 99:1321

It is good to be at peace with all, but [only] when they are of one mind with us as regards piety; for peace with that which is just and proper is a most excellent and profitable possession; but when it is with that which is evil or enslaving, then it is most disgraceful, and of all things the most shameful and harmful. For there is an evil concord and a good discord; there is a good severance, and an evil concurrence. And if friendship become a cause of perdition for some, then hatred becomes a virtue for them. Better is division for dispassion’s sake than concord effected for the passions’ sake Joseph Bryennius, the teacher of Saint Mark Eugenicus

Just as the fishermen hide the hook with bait and covertly hook the fish, similarly, the crafty allies of the heresies cover their evil teachings and corrupt understanding with pietism and hook the more simple, bringing them to spiritual death. St. Isidore of Pelusium (Letter to Timothy the Reader, PG, 78:252)

Let any Bishop, or Presbyter, or Deacon that merely joins in prayer with heretics be suspended, but if he has permitted them to perform any service as clergymen, let him be deposed. Apostolic Canon 45

Let any clergyman or layman who enters a synagogue of Jews, or of heretics, to pray be both deposed and excommunicated. Apostolic Canon 65

Let no-one communicate who is not of the disciples. Let no Judas receive, lest he suffer the fate of Judas. I would give up my life rather than impart of the Lord's Blood to the unworthy; and I will shed my own blood rather than give such awful Blood contrary to what is right. St John Chrysostom Homilies on Matthew, 83.6.

Let no-one communicate who is not of the disciples. Let no Judas receive, lest he suffer the fate of Judas€¦ I would give up my life rather than impart of the Lord's Blood to the unworthy; and I will shed my own blood rather than give such awful Blood contrary to what is right. StJohn Chrysostom, Homilies on Matthew, 83.6

Let this, our decision, be plain: that if you do not preach the same doctrine concerning Christ our God as that embraced by the Church of the Romans, and of the Alexandrians, and of all the Catholic Church, which also the great Church of the Constantinopolitans so excellently embraced until you, and if within ten days---counting from the day of this notice---you do not openly and by a written confession reject this infidel innovation, which seeks to separate that which the Holy Scripture has united, you shall be cast out from the entire Catholic Church Pope Celestine I of Rome, Letter to the heretical Patriarch Nestorius of Constantinople, written in the name of the Local Council of Rome, which condemned Nestorius before the convocation of the Third Ecumenical Council

Motivated by that which is right, the mind finds the truth; but motivated by some passion, it will reject it St. Thalassius of Africa 1.58, Philokalia 1

My brothers, I studied for forty and fifty years. I read many books about the Jews, the idolaters, and about the impious and heretics. I studied the depths of wisdom. All the other faiths are false and counterfeit. Only our own faith, the Orthodox Christianity, is True and Holy." St. Kosmas the Aitolos and Equal to the Apostles

Neither the Papist nor the Protestant church can be considered as the True church of Christ. The first was altered by a number of innovations and the accursed despotism (Primacy) due to which resulted the schism from the Orthodox. The same goes for the Protestants whose innumerable innovations lead to total anarchy and chaos. Only the Orthodox church maintained the teachings of Christ flawlessly without a single innovation. Only in the Orthodox church does unity exist. The unity which the Savior was petitioning from the Father saying, "Holy Father keep them in your Name those that you gave me so they can be one just like we were one." (John 17:11...) St. Nektarios of Aegina

Not only if one posses rank or knowledge is one obliged to strive to speak and teach the doctrines of the orthodoxy ,but even if one be a disciple in rank ,one is obliged to speak truth boldly and openly. St Theodore the Studite

Not only if one possesses rank or knowledge is one obliged to strive to speak and to teach the doctrines of Orthodoxy, but even if one be a disciple in rank, one is obliged to speak the truth boldly and openly Letter Two (Book Two) to Monastics Saint Theodore the Studite, PG 99:1120b

Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not according to the tradition which he received from us II Thessalonians 3:6

Put away from among yourselves that wicked person I Corinthians 5:13

Some have suffered final shipwreck with regard to the faith. Others, though they have not drowned in their thoughts, are nevertheless perishing through communion with heresy. St. Theodore the Studite

Some have suffered final shipwreck with regard to the faith. Others, though they have not drowned in their thoughts, are nevertheless perishing through communion with heresy. St. Theodore the Studite.

St. Apraphat of Syria writes that the one house in which the Passover is to be eaten is the Church of Christ, and that just as the slave could not eat the Passover unless he was circumcised, so the sinner comes to Baptism, the true Circumcision, and is joined to the People of God, and communicates in the Body and Blood of Christ. Demonstrations 12, 525.8, 525.12

St. John of Damascus writes: With all our strength let us beware lest we receive Communion from or give it to heretics. 'Give not what is holy to the dogs,' says the Lord. 'Neither cast ye your pearls before swine', lest we become partakers in their dishonor and condemnation. Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, IV, 13

St. John the Almsgiver said: We shall not escape sharing in that punishment which, in the world to come, awaits heretics, if we defile Orthodoxy and the holy Faith by adulterous communion with heretics. The Life of St. John the Almsgiver.

St. Maximus the Confessor said: "Even if the whole universe holds communion with the [heretical] patriarch, I will not communicate with him. For I know from the writings of the holy Apostle Paul: the Holy Spirit declares that even the angels would be anathema if they should begin to preach another Gospel, introducing some new teaching. The Life of St. Maximus the Confessor

St. Maximus the Confessor said: "Even if the whole universe holds communion with the [heretical] patriarch, I will not communicate with him. For I know from the writings of the holy Apostle Paul: the Holy Spirit declares that even the angels would be anathema if they should begin to preach another Gospel, introducing some new teaching." The Life of St. Maximus the Confessor.

Submit not yourselves to monastics, nor to presbyters, who teach lawless things and evilly propound them. And why do I say only monastics or presbyters? Follow not even after bishops who guilefully exhort you to do and say and believe things that are not profitable. What pious man will keep silence, or who will remain altogether at peace? For silence means consent. Oftentimes war is known to be praiseworthy, and a battle proves to be better than a peace that harms the soul. For it is better to separate ourselves from them who do not believe aright than to follow them in evil concord, and by our union with them separate ourselves from God St. Meletius the Confessor

That one must not accept the blessings of heretics, which are rather misfortunes than blessings. Canon 32 of the Council of Laodicea

That one must not join in prayer with heretics or schismatics. Canon 33 of the Council of Laodicea

The dearest thing of all for the Christian is the Truth, for the sake of witnessing to which the Lord Jesus Christ came to earth, as He Himself said to Pilate (Jn 18:37). And for the true Christian there can be only one desirable unity--unity in the Truth of Christ--the pure, undistorted, uncorrupted Truth, without any admixture of diabolic falsehood, not envenomed by any compromise with it. From this point of view, all these appeals for "peace" and "unity" are unacceptable, for they come from people who encroach on our principal treasure--the pure and undefiled truth of the teaching of Christ that has been preserved by us, and who wish to substitute for it a lie which is of the devil. The "unity" which is now envisaged by the enemies of the pure truth of Christ is not unity in Christ. It is that unity which the Antichrist, who wishes to subject all to himself and to found his kingdom on earth, is striving to create. "On the Situation of the Orthodox Christian in the Contemporary World by Archbishop Averky of Syracuse (written just before the convening of the Second Vatican Council

The divine and sacred canons say: 'He who has communion with an excommunicate, let him be excommunicated, as overthrowing the rule of the Church.' And again: 'He who receives a heretic is subject to the same indictment' The great apostle and evangelist John says: 'If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching with him, do not greet him and do not receive him into your house; for he who greets him communicates with his evil deeds' (II John 10-11). If we are forbidden merely to greet him on the way, and if inviting him into our house is prohibited, how can it be otherwise not in a house, but in the temple of God, in the sanctuary at the mystical and terrible Supper of the Son of God Whoever belches out the commemoration of him who has been worthily cut off by the Holy Spirit for his arrogance towards God and the Divine things, becomes for that reason an enemy of God and the Divine things. an Epistle of the Martyred Fathers of the Holy Mountain to Emperor Michael Palaeologus against the heretical Patriarch John Beccus of Constantinople

The divine and sacred canons say: 'He who has communion with an excommunicate, let him be excommunicated, as overthrowing the rule of the Church.' And again: 'He who receives a heretic is subject to the same indictment€¦' The great apostle and evangelist John says: 'If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching with him, do not greet him and do not receive him into your house; for he who greets him communicates with his evil deeds' (II John 10-11). If we are forbidden merely to greet him on the way, and if inviting him into our house is prohibited, how can it be otherwise not in a house, but in the temple of God, in the sanctuary at the mystical and terrible Supper of the Son of God€¦ Whoever belches out the commemoration of him who has been worthily cut off by the Holy Spirit for his arrogance towards God and the Divine things, becomes for that reason an enemy of God and the Divine things. an Epistle of the Martyred Fathers of the Holy Mountain to Emperor Michael Palaeologus against the heretical Patriarch John Beccus of Constantinople

The divine and sacred canons say: 'He who has communion with an excommunicate, let him be excommunicated, as overthrowing the rule of the Church.' And again: 'He who receives a heretic is subject to the same indictment…' The great apostle and evangelist John says: 'If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching with him, do not greet him and do not receive him into your house; for he who greets him communicates with his evil deeds' (II John 10-11). If we are forbidden merely to greet him on the way, and if inviting him into our house is prohibited, how can it be otherwise not in a house, but in the temple of God, in the sanctuary at the mystical and terrible Supper of the Son of God… Whoever belches out the commemoration of him who has been worthily cut off by the Holy Spirit for his arrogance towards God and the Divine things, becomes for that reason an enemy of God and the Divine things. an Epistle of the Martyred Fathers of the Holy Mountain to Emperor Michael Palaeologus against the heretical Patriarch John Beccus of Constantinople.

The fact that we do not become indignant over small matters is the cause of all our calamities; and because slight errors escape fitting correction, greater ones creep in. As in a body, a neglect of wounds generates fever, infection and death; so in the soul, slight evils overlooked open the door to graver ones . . . But if a proper rebuke had at first been given to those who attempted to depart from the divine sayings and change some small matter, such a pestilence would not have been generated, nor such a storm have seized upon the Church; for he that overturns even that which is minor in the sound Faith, will cause ruin in all St. John Chrysostom, Homily One on the Epistle to the Galatians

Think not that I am come to send peace on earth; I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household Matthew 10:34-36

This good zeal has always inspired our Most Holy Church to offer up liturgical petitions such as: "gather the dispersed; bring back those who have gone astray, and unite them to Thy Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church." This good zeal expands the hearts of Orthodox Christians to pray unceasingly for the repentance and the return of those who belong to other denominations and other religions, and of the whole world , to the light of our Holy Faith. St Nectarios of Aegina

This is indeed peace, when that which is ailing is cut away, when that which is seditious is separated St. John Chrysostom, Homily Thirty-Five on the Gospel of Saint Matthew

Those that are not reborn by the divine grace in the only ONE, HOLY, CATHOLIC AND APOSTOLIC CHURCH, they do not consist of (comprise) any church, neither visible nor invisible." St. Nektarios of Aegina

We exhort all pious and Orthodox Christians: remain in those things which you learned and in which you were born and bred, and when the times and circumstances call for it, shed your very blood in order both to keep the Faith given us by our Fathers and to keep your confession. Jeremias II, Patriarch of Constantinople Silvester, Patriarch of Alexandria Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem and the rest of the Bishops of the Synod who were present (Constantinople, 1583)

We forbid all the clergy who adhere to the Orthodox and Ecumenical Council in any way to submit to the bishops who have already apostatized or shall hereafter apostatize. Third Canon of the Third Ecumenical Council Ever rekindle this faith within yourselves and keep yourselves unblemished and undefiled, by neither having communion with the aforementioned [Nestorius], nor attending to him as though he were a teacher, so long as he remains a wolf and not a shepherd . . . We are in communion with those clergymen or laypeople that have separated themselves from him or who have been deposed by him on account of the right Faith, because we do not endorse his unjust sentence; rather, we praise those who have suffered, and we say to them, ‘Blessed are ye if ye are reviled for the Lord’s sake; for the Spirit and the might of God rest upon you’ St. Cyril of Alexandria, Letter to the Clergy and People of Constantinople before the convocation of the Third Ecumenical Council, which condemned Nestorius, Mansi 4:1096)

We have excised and cut them [the Papists] off from the common body of the Church, we have, therefore, rejected them as heretics, and for this reason we are separated from them"; they are, therefore, heretics, and we have cut them off as heretics. St Mark of Ephesus

We make our protest to you in this third letter, and counsel you to refrain from such wicked and perverse doctrines, which you believe and teach, and that you choose the right Faith . . . Other-wise, unless Your Reverence does so by the time set in the letters sent to you by our concelebrant, the most righteous and God-fearing bishop of Rome, Celestine, know that you will have no portion with us, nor place or speech among the priests and bishops of God St. Cyril of Alexandria, Letter to Nestorius, in the name of the Council of Alexandria, which condemned Nestorius before the convocation of the Third Ecumenical Council, Mansi 4:1081

We shall not escape sharing in that punishment which, in the world to come, awaits heretics, if we defile Orthodoxy and the holy Faith by adulterous communion with heretics. The Life of St. John the Almsgiver

When Saint Hypatius understood what opinions Nestorius held, immediately, in the Church of the Apostles, he erased his name from the diptychs, so that it should no longer be pronounced at the Oblation. [This was before Nestorius’ condemnation by the Third Ecumenical Council.] When the most pious Bishop Eulalius learned of this, he was anxious about the outcome of the affair. And seeing that it had been noised abroad, Nestorius also ordered him to reprimand Hypatius. For Nestorius was still powerful in the city. Bishop Eulalius spoke thus to Hypatius: ‘Why have you erased his name without understanding what the consequences would be?’ Saint Hypatius replied: ‘From the time that I learned that he said unrighteous things about the Lord, I have no longer been in communion with him and I do not commemorate his name; for he is not a bishop.’ Then the bishop, in anger, said: ‘Be off with you! Make amends for what you have done, for I shall take measures against you.’ Saint Hypatius replied: ‘Do as you wish. As for me, I have decided to suffer anything, and it is with this in mind that I have done this’ Life of Saint Hypatius, Sources Chretiennes 177:210-214

With all our strength let us beware lest we receive Communion from or give it to heretics. 'Give not what is holy to the dogs,' says the Lord. 'Neither cast ye your pearls before swine', lest we become partakers in their dishonor and condemnation. Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, IV, 13

You told me that you feared to tell your presbyter not to commemorate the heresiarch; . . . I will not presume to say anything about this to you for the present, except that the communion is defiled simply by commemorating him, even if he who is commemorating is Orthodox St. Theodore the Studite, Letter to the Patriarch of Jerusalem, PG 99:1164)

‘The sixteenth century gave birth to four great beasts: the heresy of Luther, the heresy of Calvin, the heresy of the Jesuits, and the heresy of the new calendar. The heresies of Luther and Calvin were refuted by [such and such] . . . As for the heresy of the new calendar, this was condemned by a decision of the great Ecumenical Council that met in Constantinople in 1593’ Dositheus, Patriarch of Jerusalem, Confession of the Orthodox Faith, p. 4)

The life of Saint Maximus is also instructive for us. Saint Maximus, though only a simple monk, resisted and cut off communion with every patriarch, metropolitan, archbishop and bishop in the East because of their having been infected with the heresy of Monothelitism. During the first imprisonment of the Saint, the messengers from the Ecumenical Patriarch asked him,

"To which church do you belong? To that of Byzantium, of Rome, Antioch, Alexandria, or Jerusalem? For all these churches, together with the provinces in subjection to them, are in unity. Therefore, if you also belong to the Catholic Church, enter into communion with us at once, lest fashioning for yourself some new and strange pathway, you fall into that which you do not even expect!"

To this the righteous man wisely replied, "Christ the Lord called that Church the Catholic Church which maintains the true and saving confession of the Faith. It was for this confession that He called Peter blessed, and He declared that He would found His Church upon this confession. However, I wish to know the contents of your confession, on the basis of which all churches, as you say, have entered into communion. If it is not opposed to the truth, then neither will I be separated from it." The confession which they were proposing to the Saint was not Orthodox, of course, and so he refused to comply with their coercions. Furthermore, they were lying about the See of Rome which, in fact, had remained Orthodox. Some time later, at his last interrogation by the Byzantine authorities, the following dialogue took place:

The Saint said, "They [the Patriarchs of Constantinople and Alexandria and all the other heretical bishops of the East] have been deposed and deprived of the priesthood at the local synod which took place recently in Rome. What Mysteries, then, can they perform? Or what spirit will descend upon those who are ordained by them?"

"Then you alone will be saved, and all others will perish?" they objected.

To this the Saint replied, "When all the people in Babylon were worshipping the golden idol, the Three Holy Children did not condemn anyone to perdition. They did not concern themselves with the doings of others, but took care only for themselves, lest they should fall away from true piety. In precisely the same way, when Daniel was cast into the lion's den, he did not condemn any of those who, fulfilling the law of Darius, did not wish to pray to God, but he kept in mind his own duty, and desired rather to die than to sin against his conscience by transgressing the Law of God. God forbid that I should condemn anyone or say that I alone am being saved! However, I shall sooner agree to die than to apostatize in any way from the true Faith and thereby suffer torments of conscience."

"But what will you do," inquired the envoys, "when the Romans are united to the Byzantines? Yesterday, indeed, two delegates arrived from Rome and tomorrow, the Lord's day, they will communicate the Holy Mysteries with the Patriarch. "

The Saint replied, "Even if the whole universe holds communion with the Patriarch, I will not communicate with him. For I know from the writings of the holy Apostle Paul: the Holy Spirit declares that even the angels would be anathema if they should begin to preach another Gospel, introducing some new teaching."

As history has demonstrated, Saint Maximus—who was only a simple monk and not even ordained—and his two disciples were the ones who were Orthodox, and all those illustrious, famous and influential Patriarchs and Metropolitans whom the Saint had written against were the ones who were in heresy. When the Sixth Ecumenical Synod was finally convened, among those condemned for heresy were four Patriarchs of Constantinople, one Pope of Rome, one Patriarch of Alexandria, two Patriarchs of Antioch and a multitude of other Metropolitans, Archbishops and Bishops. During all those years, that one simple monk was right, and all those notable bishops were wrong. The Life of Our Holy Father St. Maximus the Confessor (Boston: Holy Transfiguration, 1982), pp. 60-62:



Concerning the Patriarch I shall say this, lest it should perhaps occur to him to show me a certain respect at the burial of this my humble body, or to send to my grave any of his hierarchs or clergy or in general any of those in communion with him in order to take part in prayer or to join the priests invited to it from amongst us, thinking that at some time, or perhaps secretly, I had allowed communion with him. And lest my silence give occasion to those who do not know my views well and fully to suspect some kind of conciliation, I hereby state and testify before the many worthy men here present that I do not desire, in any manner and absolutely, and do not accept communion with him or with those who are with him, not in this life nor after my death, just as (I accept) neither the Union nor Latin dogmas, which he and his adherents have accepted, and for the enforcement of which he has occupied this presiding place, with the aim of overturning the true dogmas of the Church. I am absolutely convinced that the farther I stand from him and those like him, the nearer I am to God and all the saints, and to the degree that I separate myself from them am in union with the Truth and with the Holy Fathers, the Theologians of the Church; and I am likewise convinced that those who count themselves with them stand far away from the Truth and from the blessed Teachers of the Church. And for this reason I say: just as in the course of my whole life I was separated from them, so at the time of my departure, yea and after my death, I turn away from intercourse and communion with them and vow and command that none (of them) shall approach either my burial or my grave, and likewise anyone else from our side, with the aim of attempting to join and concelebrate in our Divine services; for this would be to mix what cannot be mixed. But it befits them to be absolutely separated from us until such time as God shall grant correction and peace to His Church. [as quoted in The Orthodox Word, June-July, 1967, pp. 103ff.] The Example of St. Mark of Ephesus





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