Friday, 30 August 2013

The Balamand Agreement 1993


"Latins are not only schismatics, they are heretics as well.
Therefore we simply cannot unite with them."
St. Mark of Ephesus
"It's a small flock that has not a black sheep" -- says a proverb. In an ecumenical "family" -- all are black sheep with the stamp of Judas Iscariot on them.What can one say about Australian Archbishop Stylianos (Patriarchate of Constantinople), who blasphemes the Holy Spirit in his sermon maintaining that "the individual and even the whole Church has never received the gifts of the Spirit sufficiently" and that "this is precisely why the well known characteristics of the Church, being "one, holy, catholic and apostolic" remain until the day of the Parousia both gifts and postulates at the same time" ?!.

Archbishop Stylianos, along with the other ecumenists of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, participated in the scandalously lawless and anticanonical "Council" which has condemned Patriarch Diodorus of Jerusalem for being "too Orthodox" for them. The "Robber Synod" of the Phanar made bold to prohibit two Archbishops of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem -- Timothy of Lidda and Hesychios of Capitola -- and to "cut off from the Body of the Church" layman Nicholas Sotiropulos.

This famous theologian has thus commented on his "excommunication": "the Bishops of the so called Highest and Full Synod of Phanar have rendered me, Orthodox theologian and opponent of heretics, honor and glory." The main reason for his "excommunication" Sotiropulos sees in his "denunciation of frightful
heresies of Archbishop Stylianos of Australia, who preaches Christ's participation in sin (who apart from an antichristians could be capable of this? - L.P.), who maintains that the notorious film by Kazantzakis and Scorcese "The Last Temptation", portraying our Lord as a debauchee, contains no blasphemy, who declares that Orthodoxy and Papism are in no way different and constitute one Church; that man has descended from an ape; and that Holy Scripture is a great fabrication!.. "

Orthodox ecumenists are accustomed to betrayal, it has become their second nature, and is no longer experienced as a tragedy. And it is natural: frequent meetings and friendship with heretics of various persuasions could not but result in the clouding of mind and mutation of conscience. It is not for nothing that Holy Scripture, all Teachers of the Church and all Ecumenical Councils instructed Orthodox Christians to shun those of a different disposition of mind and not to associate with them. Saint Anthony the Great was frank about it when saying that a "friendship and discourse with heretics harm the soul" and advised to avoid any communication with them. The great Abba taught: "When you meet a man, who for the love of argument enters into contention with you against what is true and obvious, stop arguing and keep away from him for his mind has become petrified. Because just as putrid water affects one's stomach, so the wicked discourses corrupt the mind and the heart". The Holy Apostle Paul forewarns that "evil communications corrupt good manners" (1 Cor. 15,33), and the 2nd Rule of the Council of Antioch instructs: "If anyone... should appear to be communing with those who have been excluded from communion, he too is to be excluded from communion." The tragedy which took place in June of 1993 in Balamand (Northern Lebanon, near Tripoli) officially known as the Seventh Plenary Session of the Joint International Commission for the Theological Dialogue Between the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox Church was being prepared in all secrecy for a long time. In Balamand the "Orthodox" have for the first time officially accepted the "branch theory" and by refusing to confess the Orthodox Church as being Holy, Catholic and Apostolic, they actually repudiated the Creed.

In the course of its 1000-year history the Latin Church has persistently tried to impose itself on the Orthodox world. And wherever perfidy and stratagem failed, the Vatican resorted to fire and sword. "Lacking the power of life to attract the mind, the heart, and the will of man to follow it voluntarily, the Catholic faith" according to Saint John of Kronstadt, "can entice the right-thinking people only by force and deceit".

The Vatican diplomacy is very pliant, it knows how to bide its time and how to pretend to be losing and making concessions. This was also the case in Balamand: having declared Uniatism to be the method no longer effective, the Vatican has neither lost, nor sacrificed anything. On the contrary, Balamand made its dreams come true; there the Vatican managed to achieve that which the Crusaders of old and later the Papist diplomats in the Unitarian Councils in Lion (1274), Ferrara and Florence (1438-1439) failed to do.

The Orthodox Theological School of St. John Damascene at the ancient (12th century) monastery of the Mother of God of Balamand accommodated 24 representatives of the Vatican and 14 Orthodox representatives from the Patriarchates of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Moscow, and Rumania, and also from the Churches of Cyprus, Poland, Albany, and Finland, altogether -- 9 out of 15 Local Orthodox Churches. Co-chairmen of this conference were Cardinal Edward Cassidy and the afore-mentioned Archbishop Stylianos of Australia. This meeting resulted in the endorsement of the document "Uniatism, Method for Union in the Past, and the Present Search for Full Communion", which has made history under the name of the "Balamand Union".

The communique published in Episkepsis 325 (of 23 July, 1993) reads: "In the spirit of the ecclesiology of communion and because of the fact that the Catholic and Orthodox Churches recognize each other as Sister Churches, it was observed that, in the effort to reestablish unity, it is a question of achieving together the will of Christ for those who are His disciples and the design of God for His Church, by means of a common search for full agreement in faith, and not a question of seeking the conversion of persons from one Church to the other. This latter type of missionary activity, which has been called "Uniatism", cannot be accepted either as a method to follow, or as a model for the unity which is being sought by our Churches".

But what is the meaning of this communique translated from the "Babylonian language"? As things stand, one of the reasons for the conference in Balamand was the ever-growing and very understandable concern of Orthodox population in connection with the spread of Uniatism which followed the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the Vatican's attempts to convert to Catholicism the people who have just shaken off the yoke of communism. This is why both this text and the text of the Agreement itself, making use of its language of "minitruth", aims at appeasing, or to be more precise, lulling the vigilance of Orthodox people by "censuring" Uniatism and declaring it to be an outdated method.

It is worthy of attention that the Balamand Agreement condemned any missionary activity, in other words, "it denies Orthodoxy and preaches agreement with the heterodox, which in actual fact is super-Uniatism (our emphasis - L.P.) The purpose of this stratagem is to confuse the concepts of Apostolic mission and Uniatism. As it is well known, Uniatism is nothing but the Papists' method characterized by two principles: 1) all means are justified for converting people to Catholicism (economic aid, etc.); 2) converts may keep their rites and customs, provided they fully accept the Papist doctrine. In other words, Uniatism is a "fraudulent method, like sailing under an alien flag".

Moreover, one should take into account the completely different understanding of unity by Catholics and the Orthodox. "For Catholics the return to unity means the return to submission to the Pope, and at this point ecumenism, proselytism, or Uniatism are only various means of achieving the same object (see the decree on ecumenism Unitatis Redintegratio of the Second Vatican Council, Ch. 1,4). Thus, a verbal condemnation of one or another method is not binding, and what is more, it does not prevent one from accomplishing one's task locally."

The situation is altogether different with Orthodoxy. "The true Orthodox may decline missionary activity only when he ceases to be Orthodox. He perceives return to unity as a return of any person, as a conversion of any heterodox person to the true faith. By substituting an abstract search for unity for conversion, ecumenism has fulfilled (in Balamand - L.P.) its task: it made the Orthodox renounce Orthodoxy. There remains one question: what sort of union is espoused by the members of these Sister-Churches?!".

Right at the very beginning (Paragraph 6) the Balamand document contains a historical-ecclesiological lie, which has been spread by the Latins from the Middle Ages on -- the notorious "schism of the Churches". This radically incorrect expression, imposed by the Vatican, has, unfortunately, become a rather commonly used (especially amongst lay people) definition of Rome's falling away in 1054 from the Ecumenical Church, which had excommunicated, i.e. anathematized Rome, because of the Latin distortion of the Creed. According to St. Mark of Ephesus this was something which no heretic has ever dared to do.

In the devious times that we live in every Orthodox person should have sound knowledge of the fact that the Church, being the Body of Christ, cannot be divided, just as Jesus Christ our Lord cannot be divided; according to the Creed it is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic. Those who are incompatible with its immutable holiness can fall away from it, as was the case with the Arians, Monophysites, Monothelites, Iconoclasts, Latins and other heretics who fell away from the Holy Church on account of their heresies. The "trained" Orthodox theologians (as Bishop Maximus of Pittsburg has encouragingly called them) surely knew these rudiments. Having endorsed the formulation concerning "the division between the Churches" which is alien to Orthodoxy, do they indeed, assume that they have remained "faithful to the Lord's commandments", as this Paragraph 6 suggests?!

One of the main reasons, or even the basis of the Balamand Agreement became the erroneous opinion, accepted by many Orthodox schools, about the preservation of Apostolic succession by the Papists who had fallen away from the Church. Hence also the recognition of Latin sacraments. In his historical -- theological and convincingly well-founded article "Agreement between Orthodox and Catholics" containing a brief and remarkably clear analysis of the notorious "schism", Archpriest Prof. John Romanides proves the groundlessness of the Balamand Agreement.

This Agreement is primarily based on the change of ecclesiology which took place after the Second Vatican Council and the "Pan-Orthodox" ecumenical conferences, where a transition was made from the self-affirmation of each Church that it is the only preserve of salvation to the conviction that both Churches are Sister Churches. Affirmation by the "Orthodox" of such close "kinship" with the Papists who never repented of their age-old heresies and errors, only testifies to their disgraceful capitulation. However, ecumenists do their best in trying to convince themselves and others that "such a change of position has opened the way to the dialogue of love, truth and sincerity" (our emphasis - L.P.). For the Papists, on the other hand, the set expression "Sister Churches", along with the theology of "two lungs" and "dual tradition" -- is not only an expression of ecumenic kindness, but also an essentially new instrument of the ecumenical-ecclesiological policy by means of which Rome could de facto oppose the abolition of Uniatism. During the ecumenical service in Dec. 7, 1991, Pope John Paul II said: "Catholicism and Orthodoxy actually constitute two lungs of the Christian heritage of the United Europe" [334]. Cardinal Silvestrini reiterated the above: "The Church of Christ breathes with its two lungs, the Eastern and the Western", and in his speech "The Heritage of the Eastern Churches -- an essential element in the fullness of Christian Heritage" before the Synod in Rome (Dec. 1991), he advanced the arguments according to which "the existence of the Eastern rite Churches (i.e. Uniate - L.P.) within the Catholic Church is indispensable".

When speaking of this "theology of the two lungs" we feel like quoting a graphic description of apostatic deviations of ecumenical Orthodox Churches, especially of the Moscow Patriarchate, which "during the recent decades has been undergoing a heart transplant operation, successful at last, it seems... Life has apparently returned... even consciousness and memory have remained. Missing is only the awareness that it is now an alien heart that beats in the chest. As to everything else, almost no external damages are visible; an effort is made to remove them as soon as possible... Grant us, o Lord, to die with our own heart within us!.."

Formulas produced by the reduced Joint Commission for the Dialogue between the Orthodox and Roman Catholics in Vienna (Jan. 1990) and Freising (June 1990), and then in Ariccia, Rome (June 1991) are almost literally repeated in the Balamand Agreement. Such, for instance, is its Paragraph 7, which insists: "In the course of centuries various attempts were made to reestablish unity. These attempts sought to achieve this end through different courses, including conciliar ones... Unfortunately none of these efforts succeeded in reestablishing full communion between the Church of the West and the Church of the East, and at times even made resistance more acute." (our emphasis - L.P.)

How tangible in this verbal subterfuge is the school of Machiavelli, the inspirer of political insidiousness, but even more so -- of the father of every insidiousness and lies -- the devil!

Under the "conciliar means" the authors of the above text probably understand, first of all, the Council of Florence of 1439, when the Unia was signed with the aim of first absorbing and subsequently annihilating Orthodoxy. Eleven years later this Unia was anathematized by the Orthodox Council in Constantinople thanks to the efforts of Saint Mark of Ephesus, a true confessor of faith.

It is quite possible that the Vatican considers the fraudulent Unia of Brest in 1596 also as a "conciliar course". This Unia began an open persecution of Orthodoxy and was accompanied by mass killing and violence against the Orthodox population in the Polish-Lithuanian state and in South West Russia. In any event, Uniatism of the so called "Eastern Church", this brain child of Jesuits, which for 400 years has been tirelessly accomplishing its pernicious task of tearing the traditionally Orthodox populations from the faith of their fathers, although declared to be an "outdated method of unification" in the language of Babylon, in actual fact received equal rights and is even "fully included in the dialogue of love" (Balamand Agreement, Paragraphs 16, 34).

As to the Paragraphs 23, 33 feigning an expression of condolence to everyone -- Orthodox, Uniates, Catholics "who endured suffering", one should remember martyrdom and confession of faith of thousands of Orthodox people who have been shedding blood when defending the purity of Orthodox faith. Endorsing the Balamand pact, Orthodox ecumenists, obedient to the Roman curia, consign to oblivion the entire criminal history of Papism and Unia.

Having mutually recognized themselves as Sister Churches in Balamand (Paragraphs 12 and 14) the representatives of both sides declared: "that which Christ has entrusted to His Church -- profession of apostolic faith, participation in the same sacraments, above all the one priesthood celebrating the one sacrifice of Christ, the apostolic succession of bishops -- cannot be considered the exclusive property of one of our Churches. In this context elimination of any re-baptism is obvious" (Paragraph 13).

This means that "Orthodox" ecumenists have lost faith in the soteriological and ecclesiological uniqueness of the Orthodox Church as the only Church of Christ. Having agreed with the Papists not to baptize Catholics who wish to convert to Orthodoxy, in practice, after Balamand they went still further by altogether refusing to accept Catholics into Orthodoxy on the grounds that they are allegedly members of the true Church anyway. Widening the concept of the Church with each passing day, ecumenists have finally embarked on the path of "those who received baptism or the sacrifice of heretics", and therefore are subject to excommunication according to the 46th Apostolic Rule.

A true baptism as an indispensable condition for joining the Church and its distinction from the false, heretical baptism at all times was understood by Orthodoxy in the same way. Historical and local distinctions in the practice of heterodox joining the Orthodox Church are not deviations of the Church from the truth, taking into account that "one general dogmatic view permits different practice", according to Holy Fathers, e.g. Cyprian of Carthage and Basil the Great. The Church's wise recourse to acrivia (strictness) and economia (condescension) depended on whether particular heterodox communities have distorted only individual points of doctrine and individual rites, or the basic maxims of faith. Besides, the measures of strictness could be determined by particularly unfavorable circumstances affecting the Church at one time or another. Thus, the Council of Moscow in 1620 and the Council of Constantinople in 1756 categorically instructed to baptize any Catholic who wished to join the Orthodox Church. Subsequently this practice was abandoned following Peter Mogila's ideas, "who had, against his own will, become the "Trojan horse" of latinization of Orthodox theology", and later on -- under the influence of Peter I "the friend of all German Lutherans", who destroyed the conciliar order of the Russian Church". The subsequent practice of accepting the heterodox into the Orthodox Church through repentance, and Latins -- even without chrismation, "has no dogmatic basis". The application of this practice for two centuries in Russia «has imparted it a semblance of antiquity, but it would be wrong to call it Tradition. It is not for nothing that St. Cyprian of Carthage says: "Habit without truth is only an old error» ("Consuetudo sine veritate, vetustas erroris est").

In our times, taking into account a catastrophic degradation of all the principles of Western Christianity (particularly after the Second Vatican Council) and the steady growth of ecumenical heresy, manifested, for example, in Roman Catholics being allowed to partake of Communion in the Moscow Patriarchate, the Bishops' Council of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad found it necessary to confirm the obligatory practice of baptizing all heretics joining the Church, by its decree of 15/28 September, 1971.

Let us keep in mind paragraphs 26, 28, and 29 of the Balamand Agreement which call on Orthodox, Catholic (or Uniate) priest "in order to avoid conflict and rivalry, to jointly organize their pastoral work, to consult one another, to unite and cooperate expressing mutual respect for the authority which the Holy Spirit has given them and also to take turns in celebrating services at the common place of worship". This thesis of the Balamand Agreement, now four years later, has surpassed all expectations: it literally "peacefully" destroys all Orthodox principles in Russia and other Slavic countries!

Paragraph 30 calls for the irreversible distortion of Church history, for the preparation in theological schools of priests unorthodox in spirit, for the rejection of "outdated ecclesiology": "Both sides must pay particular attention to the education of future priests in the spirit of new ecclesiology in order that they should be informed of the apostolic succession of the other Church and the authenticity of its sacramental life... In this way, the dissipation of the prejudices will be helped, and the use of history in a polemical manner will be avoided".

Undoubtedly, "prejudices" here refer to the definitions of Orthodox Councils regarding the hereticism, and impiety of the Papists and their denunciation by such holy hierarchs as Photius the Great, Mark of Ephesus, Gregory Palamas, as well as the spiritual struggles of many martyrs and confessors who suffered from the Latins.

All the paragraphs of the Balamand Agreement which speak of dogmatic minimalism, syncretism, rejection of holy canons and Holy Tradition of the Orthodox Church, have become a reality which stifles the Orthodox spirit, misleads those at the cross-roads and seduces the "little ones".

Saint John of Shanghai and San-Francisco has thus characterized the signs of the end of the world: "There will be a mass falling away from faith, moreover many bishops will betray faith justifying themselves by pointing at the splendid state of the Church. People will be disposed to search for compromise. A forthright confession of faith will disappear. People will excel in justifying their fall, and tender evil will contribute to such general disposition, and people will become accustomed to apostasy and to sweetness of compromise and sin."

The protests of those clerics and lay people and also of very few bishops who belong to the official Churches which have taken the path of ecumenism, but who are trying to defend Orthodox positions, do not, as a rule, receive any reply, and the general apostatic orientation of bishops remains practically unchanged. Almost all bishops betrayed the faith (we speak of Orthodox bishops, since others simply have nothing to betray), except the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, the old-calendarist Greek and Bulgarian bishops old-calendarists and very few Orthodox Church communities. There are only very few true Orthodox Christians left in the world. Maybe foreseeing our violent times and our human weakness, Saint Mark of Ephesus, a luminary of Orthodoxy, said that Orthodox Christians should zealously adhere to the Orthodox Faith "which lacks in nothing" and to cherish it as the apple of our eye, so that "even if we die poor in all other virtues we could at least take Orthodoxy with us, if nothing else"

Sophian Heresy


"Sophia" translated from the Greek means "Divine Wisdom". As used in the Bible this term designates a general attribute of Divinity, His all-wise authority, as well as His superior reason.

The terms personifying Wisdom, commonly used in the Old Testament, particularly in the passages which are akin to the New Testament, and the revelation of Christ, were unanimously perceived by the Fathers as the Hypostasis of the Son of God. For instance, such is the general Church understanding of words about the Wisdom contained in the Book of Proverbs (9,1-9).

The Acts of the First, the Third, the Sixth and the Seventh Ecumenical Councils testify to the fact that the entire Orthodox Church applied the term Divine Wisdom to the Second Divine Hypostasis. Thus, the First Ecumenical Council spoke of the inscrutable Wisdom, "Which created everything that was created", -- of the uncreated, unoriginate Wisdom, Wisdom without beginning i.e. of Christ, because Christ is God's Power and God's Wisdom (1 Cor. 1,24) [140].

In the Acts of the Seventh Ecumenical Council we read: "Our Lord Jesus Christ, our true God, the self-existent Wisdom of God the Father, Who manifested Himself in the flesh, and by His great and divine dispensation (lit., economy) freed us from the snares of idolatry, clothing Himself in our nature, restored it through the cooperation of the Spirit, Who shares His mind..."

"From the most ancient times and onwards many Orthodox countries have been consecrating churches to the Lord Jesus Christ as the Wisdom of God". This fact also confirms that the words "Wisdom of God" refers to the Second Divine Hypostasis.

Archpriest Michael Pomazansky notes the fact that generally ancient Christian temples were not infrequently given the names of Christian concepts. Thus, in Chalcedon there was a church of St. Irene -- "not of the martyr Irene, but of Irene, the peace of Christ", as is explained in Chet'yi Mineyi (The Lives of Saints in the order of their commemoration days) for January 27. "In Constantinople St. Gregory the Theologian has uttered the famous words concerning the Holy Trinity in the temple of Anastasia -- not the martyr Anastasia, but Anastasia, the Resurrection of Christ. Such also is the temple of Paraskeva -- not the martyr Paraskeva, but Paraskeva-Friday, the day of our Savior's suffering and of His descent into hell (very frequently depicted in ancient icons)".

"Therefore", says Archpriest M. Pomazansky, "the sophiologists reference to the Church tradition in the East in the preservation of the idea of Sophia which expressed itself in the building of temples of St. Sophia and in the icon-painting suffers from being extremely strained" (Archpriest Michael Pomazansky "O zhizni, o vere, o Tserkvi" /On Life, Faith and Church/, a collection of articles, Second issue, Jordanville, 1976, p. 136).

The teaching of the Fathers of the Church about Jesus Christ as the Wisdom of God and this name of the Second Divine Hypostasis was perceived "as a clear and indisputable truth by the entire universal Church".

However, the pseudo-wisdom of this world chose to see a special, spiritual personal being in the Old Testament term of "Sophia".

Vladimir Soloviev's (1853 - 1900) writings have in many ways contributed to dissemination of the Sophian mythology in Russia. This brilliant thinker exercised an enormous influence upon Russian religious philosophy and theological thinking. His impact is great even today.

The concept of Sophia occupies an exceptional place in Soloviev's writings where it underwent all kinds of metamorphoses. He would associate it with Christ, with the "soul of the world" (World Soul), with "ideal and eternal universal humanity", with the Mother of God, with the "guardian Angel of the world". (Soloviev's) Sophia acquired also a completely different spiritually questionable aspect -- that of Eternal Femininity (Die ewige Weiblichkeit) which arose on the basis of Romanticism, rabbinic cabbala and stormy gnostic fantasy.

This feminine aspect of Sophia had a special personal meaning for Soloviev. It was a kind of mystical experience of love which accompanied him all his life. "Sophia" inspired not only his poetry but his entire philosophic creativity. For Soloviev the philosopher she was not so much a speculative, as a mystically-real phenomenon (no matter how paradoxical it may sound). Soloviev (as also later Fr. S. Bulgakov) had a visual perception of Sophia and he described his mystical encounters with her image in his innermost lyrical poems which subsequently inspired the whole generation of Russian symbolists (A. Blok and A. Bely, in particular).

We would not speak of this obvious spiritual delusion and somewhat sinister metaphysical "romance" of Soloviev with "Sophia" had they not persisted in the teaching of two famous theological thinkers of the 20th c. -- priests Pavel Florensky and Sergei Bulgakov who today have many followers in Russia and in many other countries.

These direct disciples and followers of Vladimir Soloviev have absorbed not only the gnostic-pantheistic ambiguity of their teacher, but all his "turbidity of erotic delusion" (archpriest Georgii Florovsky) as well. In their intellectual reflection on the Eternal Feminine, on Sophia, Florensky and Bulgakov have left Soloviev far behind by creating even more blasphemous images of her. If, according to G. Florovsky, their teacher attempted to create an "ecclesiastic synthesis out of an unecclesiastic experience" (35), these two preachers of Sophianism were invested with clerical rank.

Archbishop Seraphim Sobolev speaks of the Sophian doctrine of Florensky and Bulgakov as a "truly heretical teaching with a gnostic and pagan world view", leading to "dogmatic chaos".

With regard to Fr. S. Bulgakov's theology, this Archbishop writes that "it is not only an abnormal development of theological thought, but also the most serious sin. According to the Fathers, the gravest sin is the sin against the Orthodox faith because it is not rooted in excusable weaknesses of human nature, but is a sin of our spiritual nature depriving us of the grace of the Holy Spirit". Being a heresy, the Sophian teaching, says Archbishop Seraphim, "may endanger the very existence of the Orthodox Church on earth, if it is not decisively refuted and condemned by the Highest Church Authorities.

Lately in Russia the Sophianist ideas of priest Pavel Florensky and of Archpriest Sergei Bulgakov have been increasingly disseminated. For many the question of Sophia remains still not quite clear.

For this reason it is extremely important to know that Sophianism was twice condemned by conciliar decision, as evidenced by two documents:

1) A decree of Moscow Patriarchate dated 24 August, 1935, No.93.

In this document the following is said: "By our decision of 24 August, 1935, No.93 it was determined:

i) The teaching of Professor and Archpriest S.N. Bulgakov -- which, by its peculiar and arbitrary (Sophian) interpretation, often distorts the dogmas of the Orthodox faith, which in some of its points directly repeats false teachings already condemned by conciliar decisions of the Church, and the possible deductions resulting from which could even prove dangerous to spiritual life -- this teaching is to be recognized as alien to the Holy Orthodox Church of Christ, and all its faithful servants and children are to be cautioned against an acceptance of this teaching.

ii) Those Orthodox Reverend Archpastors, clergy and laity who have indiscreetly embraced Bulgakov's teaching and who have promoted it in their preaching and works, either written or printed, are to be called upon to correct the errors committed and to be steadfastly faithful to "sound teaching".

2) A Decision of the Bishops' Council of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad of the 17/30 October 1935 concerning the new teaching of Archpriest Sergei Bulgakov on Sophia, the Wisdom of God.

The first three points of this Decision state:

"i) To recognize the teaching of Archpriest Sergei Bulgakov on Sophia the Wisdom of God as heretical.

ii) To inform Metropolitan Yevlogy of this Decision of the Council and to request that he admonish Archpriest Bulgakov with the intention of prompting him to publicly renounce his heretical teaching concerning Sophia and to make a report about the consequences of such admonition to the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad.

iii) In the event that Archpriest Bulgakov does not repent, the present Decision of the Council which condemns the heresy of Sophianism is to be made known to all Autocephalous Churches."

Among the works refuting the heresy of Sophianism one must first of all mention the works of St. John (Maximovitch) [149] and Archbishop Seraphim (Sobolev's) book "A New Teaching concerning Sophia the Wisdom of God", Sofia, 1935. This is "the most significant critical work of Archbishop Seraphim on Sophiology in the 20-th century, -- with regard to both its volume (525 pages) and its content (Theological Works, 27, M., p. 61).

Apart from this book the ever-memorable Archbishop Seraphim devoted yet another work dedicated to this problem -- "The Defense by Archpriest S. Bulgakov of the Heresy of Sophianism in the Face of Its Condemnation by the Bishops' Council of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad", Sofia, 1937.

The above mentioned works, written in a patristic spirit completely demolish the Sophianist heresy of Bulgakov and Florensky.

The decision of the Bishops' Council of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad which condemned the false teaching of Archpriest S. Bulgakov was founded on a most serious theological analysis made by Archbishops John (Maximovitch) and Seraphim (Sobolev). For this reason the claim made by Sophianists that those Bishops who have declared Bulgakov to be a heretic allegedly did not read his works, is a flimsy lie.

Another deliberate lie is the assertion made by a cleric of Moscow Patriarchate, Hegumen Andronik (Trubachev), a relative of Florensky and a popularizer of his ideas, that "in the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad the honoring of Florensky as a martyr began in 1981. His name and his image are to be found on the icon of the New Martyrs. Fr. Pavel is especially revered as a martyr by the Brotherhood of St. Herman of Alaska (California)..." (JMP, No.12, p.31) [150].

The Russian Orthodox Church Abroad through its First Hierarch Metropolitan Vitaly made the following statement concerning the supposed glorification of priest Pavel Florensky: "In the name of the Bishops' Council and Synod the editorial office of this Messenger makes a categorical announcement that the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad did not even consider and could not bring itself to make such a glorification. An annoying error of purely iconographic character has taken place. On the icon of the New Martyrs of Russia the name of Pavel Florensky was inscribed but not his image.

If one makes an analysis of Fr. Pavel Florensky's book with a pretentious title "The Pillar and an Affirmation of Truth" and of his other works then an Orthodox reader is confronted with an image of this outstanding priest with a turbulent soul who threw himself into the sea of theology without a compass and who is sailing towards a goal which is not known to anyone including himself". (Metropolitan Vitaly, The Orthodox Messenger, a monthly publication of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, USA and Canada, No. 30/31, pp.5-6.)

The Moscow Patriarchate has been popularizing the false teaching of priest Pavel Florensky and Archpriest Sergei Bulgakov for a long time. Many hierarchs of the Moscow Patriarchate have been speaking and writing about them; among them are: the now Patriarch Alexy II (Address delivered at the 8th General Assembly of the KEC, JMP No. 1, 1980), The Metropolitan of Rostov and Novocherkassk Vladimir, a former rector of Moscow Theological Academy /MTA/ (Master's dissertation, see Theological Works, collection 21; the speech made at the MTA on the 22 February, 1982, JMP No.4, 1982); Metropolitan Philaret of Minsk and Grodno, Patriarch's Exarch of all Belorussia, former rector of the MTA; Metropolitan Pitirim of Volokalamsk, the chairman of the Publications Committee of the MP (Theological Works, collection 5; JMP, No.4, 1969; JMP, No.l, 1975, address delivered in Uppsala; JMP, No.4, 1982); Metropolitan of Smolensk Kirill, a former rector of Leningrad (now St.Petersburg) Theological Academy -LTA, JMP, No.7, 1982).

The list of those who belong to the Moscow Patriarchate and write apologetically about Florensky and Bulgakov can be extended by many names of clerics, professors and teachers of MTA and LTA. Let us name only some of them: Archimandrite Platon (Igumenov), professor of MTA (Candidate's dissertation, St. Sergius and the Holy Trinity Lavra, 1979, JMP No. 10, 1989); M.A. Starokadomsky (JMP, Nos. 4, 8, 1969); Archpriest Ioann Kozlov, A.I. Georgievsky (The Voice of Orthodoxy, No.2, 1971); Archimandrite Innokenty (Prosvirnin), Hegumen Andronik (Trubachev); Archimandrite Iannuary (Ivliev), Archpriest Vladimir (Fedorov), both of them are teachers at St.Petersburg Theological Academy, and many other clerics of the Moscow Patriarchate.

The above list is significant evidence of the role of the MP in the cause of dissemination of Sophianist ideas in Russia.

Moreover, the Journal of Moscow Patriarchate (JMP) was until recently essentially the only spiritual reading permitted by the Soviet authorities to the millions of Orthodox people in Russia; these people were, as a rule, not only theologically uneducated but were even deprived of basic catechization. And to make matters even worse, the pages of this journal have for several decades presented a picture of "abomination of desolation". JMP preaches, apart from ecumenism, all kinds of false teachings and simply heresies to the clerics of MP and to many innocent souls.

And, probably, the heresy of Sophianism is accorded the greatest honor. This heresy, under the guise of subtle "theological creativity" is being forced on the students of Theological Academies and of Seminaries, i.e. on the future priests and theologians; it is a subject of many Master's and Candidate's dissertations; at present, thanks to the example by MP, the lay journals and newspapers mention Florensky and Bulgakov frequently, they are discussed on radio and television for hours.

The heresy of Sophianism has so deeply penetrated the minds of the many clerics of MP and of their flock, has poisoned their consciousness to such an extent that not everyone is capable of freeing oneself from it!

Serious works which subject this spiritually dangerous false teaching to rigorous criticism have been written about Sophianism. It must be emphasized that Sophianists usually either distort or persistently hush up criticisms of priest Pavel Florensky and Archpriest Sergei Bulgakov.

Explanation of the essence of the Sophianist heresy lies beyond the scope of this essay. We refer the reader to the capital work of Archbishop Seraphim (Sobolev) "A New Teaching on Sophia, the Wisdom of God" (Sofia, 1935) which exposes the heresy of Sophianism and on the basis of which this false teaching was condemned by the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad.

In this essay we are interested in this heresy because its creators priests Pavel Florensky and Archpriest Sergei Bulgakov, have introduced a fourth, feminine hypostasis into the Divine Trinity by means of a cunningly conceived teaching on Sophia (rooted in Plato's pagan philosophy, in cabbalistic teaching, as well as in gnosticism condemned by the Church, particularly in Valentinian gnosticism and a series of other later gnostics-theosophers). A few more steps and we are close to a "theology of women" and an ecumenical feminist dream of "feminizing" God. We already hear voices speaking of the "goddess-mother" beside "God the Father" within Christianity. Thus, at the 6th Assembly of the WCC in Vancouver (1983) where the "priesthood" of women was legalized, many participants "urged women to replace the idea of God the Father by that of goddess-mother. And in 1993 women-ecumenists pronounced Sophia as their goddess and worshipped her.

New "translations" of the Holy Scriptures containing feminized grammatical forms have already been published. In recent decades the Holy Bible has often been subjected to distortion by "new translations" into English and other languages.

But not one of these "translations" has introduced as many blasphemies as the one published by the WCC in 1983 and entitled "Inclusive Language Lectionary".

To please feminists the WCC decided to "rid" the Word of God of "sexism" by removing from the Holy Bible all the passages where "preference" is given to men and the male sex.

In the new "translation", blasphemous changes have entered even into such inviolable phrases as "God the Father", which now reads "God Father/Mother"; the "Son of Man" is replaced by the "Human Child"; the "Kingdom of God" is replaced by the words "the Sphere of God"; "Lord" being of masculine gender is taken out of the Holy Scriptures and replaced by the word "Sovereign One" which is of neuter gender. Instead of "the Lord God" the new "translation" offers "God the Sovereign".

In the Book of Genesis where we are told about the creation of man, the word "man" is replaced by the word "humanity". To the mention of patriarchs are added women's names: "Abraham our father/and Sarah and Agar our mothers."

In the New Testament, where the Evangelists speak of our Savior's miracles, ecumenical translators say that Christ healed a "person". The highpriestly prayer of the Savior at the Last Supper according to St. John, sounds particularly blasphemous in this translation.

For the compilation of their own Bible, the WCC established a Committee headed by Lutheran, Victor Roland Gold. It consisted of three men and six women, one of whom was a Catholic nun. In the process of work, one of the Committee members left because he thought that "this task went beyond the limits permitted by his conscience".

Of greatest difficulty for the Committee were the words "God the Father". Feminists demanded the use of "God/dess", but this turned out to be unacceptable; a suggested replacement by the word "parents" also seemed too impersonal for these innovators; therefore they came up with a disgraceful term "God our Father/Mother".

The critics of this outrageous work, published under the title "Excerpts from the Bible", are absolutely right when commenting that it undermines the very foundations of Christianity by completely destroying the dogma of the Holy Trinity.

This deliberate falsification of the Holy Scriptures caused stormy protests even from journals and newspapers which are far removed from religion, such as New York Times, Newsweek, Time, Human Events, etc.

Despite all the protests and mass criticism, the WCC announced that it fully supported the new text of the "translation" of some parts of the Holy Bible.

Therefore, it was hardly surprising that the representatives of the "theology of women" at the last Seventh Assembly in Canberra permitted themselves to speak of the Mother of God in familiar terms, or to pose a question similar to that of Dr. Margo Kessman from Germany, "is Eve, who strove to knowledge, so sinful after all?".

It is noteworthy that the "theologians" of the above-mentioned Theological Institute in Paris reason in the same manner. Thus, one of its teachers, Nikolai Osorgin, when reflecting on the Mother of God, maintains: "If we arrive at the concept of unity of all women in the image of the Mother of God, in the order of the eternal present which embraces everything that was and was not, then all women (!) have a chance (!) of becoming the Mother of God".


Degradation of women has become one of the perilous signs of spiritual, moral and physical degradation of the contemporary society. As one philosopher observed: "a society is like its women".

The struggle for rights, women's rights in particular, has created a certain "climate" of our era. Particularly ugly is a feminist movement inspired by a feeling of hatred, dissoluteness and lust for power. This movement has assumed global proportions involving in its madness even countries most backward, as regards emancipation.

The struggle of feminists is unappeasable. It is a contemporary version of the struggle of the mythological Tantalus. Instead of giving life and love in accordance with their nature, feminists are fiercely striving for power, including power in the Church .

Modern day priestesses, gone mad with pride, blasphemously claim to be celebrating liturgy and offering sacraments. What an awful spectacle!

All this, contrary to the absolutely clear apostolic instruction: "For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; ... And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church" (1 Cor. 14, 33-35).

Have the God-inspired words of the chief Apostle become obsolete, or show disdain of women, as maintained by the vain champions for equal rights?! Did not the same Apostle say that : "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal. 3, 28). With these amazingly simple words the Apostle refutes not only the wearisome squabbling regarding freedom, nationality and chosenness, but also explains the essence of true equality of men and women.

The Apostle's scrupulous attitude to women's conduct in church is caused not only by the well-known transgression of our original mother Eve who had plunged Adam, and subsequently the entire mankind, into the original sin, but also by specific observations of confusion caused, apparently, by women (1 Tim. 2, 14). The Apostle could not but take into account that by their nature women are more exposed to all kinds of influences, including deeply sinful and pernicious ones. This phenomenon forms the predominant topic of the entire world fiction; theatre and cinema productions also address this theme.

It is sufficient to turn to some most recent events in the sphere of ecumenical feminism, in order to understand the relevance of the Apostle's words expressed 2000 years ago.

In 1993, November 4-7, in the city of Minneapolis (USA) the notorious feminist "Re-imagining" conference took place, in order to deal with a part of the WCC program agreed upon in 1988 "Ecumenical Decade: Churches in Solidarity with Women". Although this conference in which more than 2000 women and several men took part, was not sponsored by the World Council of Churches, some of its most prominent members were amongst the conference's active participants.

Not being able to bring ourselves to cite the most loathsome blasphemies, particularly those regarding our Savior's Passion, and having asked the Lord's forgiveness, we consider it necessary to list only a few details of this feminist conference and some individual theses of the papers presented.

Thus, the blaspheming women-participants of the "Re-imagining" conference

- attempted to refute the doctrine of the Holy Trinity;

- made an effort to discredit the Holy Scriptures: "As women, we feel the need to search for values above those contained in the Bible", announced Aruna Ganadazon, a member of the WCC;

- worshipped the "divine Sophia" as the third hypostasis of the Holy Trinity;

- tried to present their teaching on Sophia as a new kind of Christology;

- stressed, as being of particular importance to women, the acknowledgment of the presence of feminine qualities in God's nature under the name of "Sophia";

- scoffed at the sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross (Prof. Dolores Williams of the "Union Theological Seminary" in the city of New York);

- performed new rites and the so-called "liturgy of honey and milk", during which the participants sang praise to their "sweet Sophia in whose image we were created" and with "passionate movements of their body" reminded the world of "its sweetness and sensuality";

- proclaimed sexual freedom, including freedom and equality of lesbians ("priestesses"-lesbians presented their papers and declarations).

At this point we shall quote the South Korean Presbyterian participant Chung Hyun Kyung of scandalous fame earned at the Seventh Assembly in Canberra. "The Christian Church" -- she announced -- "is too patriarchal (subordinate to men); therefore we have assembled here to destroy this patriarchal idolatry of Christianity". Speaking of her "Christianity", Chung described it as a synthesis of concepts of three goddesses: Kali of Hindu religion, Guan-in of Buddhists and the ancient Ino of Philippines!..

Regardless of the disgrace of the feminist conference "Re-imagining" which caused the storm of protests and was called neo-pagan, heretical and blasphemous, K. Raiser, the General Secretary of the WCC, defended it as "one of the most ecumenical meetings held in this country (USA) in a long while", and was pleased to note that all participants had "agreed on the need to open their horizons".

The WCC's positive appraisal of this conference manifested itself in the fact that one of its active participants and planner of its program, a Presbyterian Ann Lundy, who was dismissed after the conference from her rather high post in the USA as the result of indignation of her co-religionists Presbyterians, was nominated as deputy general secretary of the WCC, and subsequently appointed to the post.

Attacks of aggressive feminism upon Christianity, including Orthodox Christianity, make themselves felt in several countries. Theoretical basis for active attracting of women into the ranks of clergy and justification of their ordination are provided not only by the heterodox, but also by the ecumenical "Orthodox" Churches, particularly the Paris Institute of Theology (Sergievo Podvorie).

Ecumenical friendship in every way possible, promotes the dissolution of confessional borders, i.e. the destruction of the Church enclosure. "Orthodox" ecumenists become imbued with the delusions of the non-Orthodox and become accustomed to their sin. This is very clearly demonstrated by the evolution of the Moscow Patriarchate's attitude to the "priesthood" of women. The 1976 Epistle of the Holy Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate decidedly rejected the ecumenical proposal to permit the "priesthood" of women, arguing that in this respect, the Orthodox Church is obliged to follow the general Church tradition foreordained by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. The Epistle also stressed the fact that "Church history knew of no precedent of women celebrating Holy Sacraments" [67]. The same Epistle pointed at the impossibility of joining the position of the Protestant majority which considers the "priesthood" of women, often expressing their attitude to this problem in secular terms foreign to Divine Revelation."

The increased frequency of ecumenical gatherings has become the cause of a "step-by-step apostasy" from the Holy Tradition right up to the above mentioned co-celebration of the "Orthodox hierarch" with the "priestesses" in Vancouver. And recently, another hierarch of the Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan Anthony (Blum) of Surozh, has dared to speak of a theoretical basis for admitting the priesthood of women and to state publicly that he sees no theological impediment for ordaining women [70]. By accepting the challenging liberties of the WCC, "Orthodox" ecumenists show their disregard of the Apostolic succession, and in particular, the Sacrament of Priesthood.

In the Church, all members, both men and women, constitute the mysterious union of the Body of Christ. All are called to sainthood, to a general apostolic mission and to the Kingdom of Heaven. However, this does not mean that all are called to be priests. Our Lord Himself Who established the Church in His Divine wisdom envisaged the solution of this problem. Although there were also women among those close to Christ, not one of them was among the twelve Apostles. It is impossible to admit that this was a coincidence and that the Savior made a concession to the spirit of the time.

And yet, the Lord in no way belittled women as compared with His disciples. On the contrary, some women were particularly honored. Thus, Christ revealed His Divinity and preached salvation to a sinful woman from Samaria, the inhabitants of which were despised by Jews (John 4, 5-42). Following the Resurrection, the "wonderful accord" of all the evangelists (Mt. 28, 1-8; Mark 16, 1-10; Luke 24, 110; John 20, 1118) testifies to the fact that precisely women were honored to be the first to hear the Angel's tiding and to see the resurrected Christ. It was the will of Christ that they should partake of the mystery of Resurrection before the Apostles. The Holy women Myrrh-bearers were the first to see their Resurrected Teacher and to be imbued with the incredible truth of His appearance in the glorified Body, so that they might testify to this before the disciples of Christ as the latter "mourned and wept" (Mark 16,10)


The first hierarchs of the Church of Christ were the Holy Apostles, not women. The Chief Shepherd Jesus Christ Himself appointed them to tend to God's flock, to administer the Church, to celebrate the Holy Communion (Luke 22,18), to teach and to baptize (Mt. 28,19), to bind and to loose, to anoint and to heal (Mr. 6,13), etc. When ordaining deacons (Acts 6,6), presbyters (Acts 14,23; Tit. 1,5) and bishops (2 Tim. 1,6) they never ordained women. On the contrary, they instructed women to practice silence and godliness (1 Tim. 2,10-12), as directed by Apostle Paul: "Let your women keep silence in the churches" (1 Cor. 13,34).

These apostolic prescriptions with regard to women in no way speak of the notorious "backwardness", "misogynism" or "disregard" with which feminists and ecclesiastical liberals like to reproach the Holy Apostles. What a contrast to all this fuss, is the peaceful high esteem shown by the Holy Apostles to their sisters in Christ!

By involving a woman in the sphere of activity unusual for her, the cunning "defenders" of women's rights and freedom actually distract her from her God-intended service to the Christian community and the Church. And the lies about woman's "emancipation" in the spiritual sphere threaten to be revealed in the incomparably uglier and more painful forms than the already-revealed ugliness and morbidity of those in the secular sphere.

Enticing a woman by an imaginary freedom and new forbidden fruits, today's disciples of the ancient serpent undoubtedly pursue the same objective as their father -- Devil -- to utterly destroy a woman.

The all too-human ecumenical secular yardsticks and arguments contradict the timeless character of the Holy Scriptures. When forbidding women to teach in churches the Holy Apostles were guided by Divine reason, not the human one. The earthly philosophizing of ecumenical liberals, their speaking about the "backwardness" of Holy Apostles and "subjugation" of a woman by man, contradicts the entire tradition of the Church and her history which demonstrate reverence shown to women -- confessors of faith, martyrs and blessed ones who glorified God by their sainthood. Tsars, Patriarchs and Bishops and ordinary Orthodox Christians in all humility offer their prayers to the homeless wanderer and fool-for-Christ blessed Xenia of Petersburg and other holy women, martyrs and saints. One may cite hundreds of examples of reverence shown to holy women and thus easily refute the vain social, psychological and other arguments of ecumenists.

The most important argument against them is the example of the Mother of God, Her humility and modesty which She manifested in Her earthly life. The All-holy Virgin, who gave birth to Christ, lived a quiet unpretentious life, never teaching in a church, according to apostolic instructions.

The unprecedented innovation of ecclesiastical modernists who accept women as "priests" and even "bishops", pretends to, allegedly, restore women's rights, to emancipate them. However, Protestant promoters of women manage to combine their excessive exaltation of a woman in the spirit of modern feminism with a complete disregard for the God-chosen Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ. And this -- contrary to the prophecy of the Holy Spirit that all generations shall call Her blessed (Luke 1, 48).




The struggle for Orthodoxy requires selfless courage. This is evident from the centuries long history of the Church. Thanks to the struggles of martyrs and confessors of faith, whole countries at times were saved from invasion of false teachings, heresies, and impiety. 

The Holy Mount Athos has always been a "barrier against which the waves of heresies would break" [532]. From ancient times this sublime institution, the domain of the Mother of God, which lived in accordance with Divine principles, has been the stronghold of Orthodoxy. In guarding the faith of the Holy Fathers, Athonites (hagiorites), for centuries, have been an example of piety to all Christians of the world. Having renounced the world and entirely dedicated himself to serving God, "a true monk fears neither the imperial purple, nor the mitre of a patriarch, and is prepared to endure anything joyfully and happily for the love of the Orthodox faith, which is his greatest treasure . ... Monastic hood does not bow before any masters who disdain the Divine Law and the Sacred Tradition, and who subject the Faith to sinful people desirous of worldly things, to people obedient to Satan." [533] 

From the time when St. Athanasius founded the Great Lavra in 963, Mt. Athos was protected by Byzantian Emperors and was given into the possession of Orthodox monks who inhabited it. Beginning with the 10th century, Mt. Athos had become the all-Orthodox center of monasticism, the place of ascetic struggle not only for Greeks, but other Orthodox monastics as well -- Russians, Bulgarians, Georgians, Serbs, Rumanians, and others. 

In the course of centuries, spiritual and theological authority of Mt. Athos was very remarkable and it rose particularly in the 14th century due to the development of hesychasm, the spiritual essence of which made a deep impression on the culture and character of the peoples of Russia, Balkans, and the Middle East. 

During the Turkish occupation Mt. Athos was practically autonomous, and only in 1917 did it fall under the control of Greece. Since that time the Greek government, exercising its power over this new territory, began to pursue a chauvinist policy, trying to make the Holy Mount exclusively Greek, i.e. to get rid of the monastics of other nationalities [534]. However, the realization of this plan was hindered by international agreements which defended the rights of monastics of non-Greek origin [535]. 

On the other hand, the events following the turmoil of 1920's caused by the calendar reform, which was instigated by one of the most odious personalities of the 20th century -- "Patriarch" Meletius (Metaxakis), served the purpose of this policy, and the Greek government did not fail to take advantage of them. Since that time the government began to rudely interfere in the internal affairs of Mt. Athos and the persecute of the uncompromising ascetics whom it found objectionable. The Patriarchate of Constantinople, to which jurisdiction Mt. Athos belongs, and which at the present time is traditionally comprised, as we have seen, of modernists-masons, has been staunchly supporting civil powers, helping them to undermine Athonite traditions and principles. This apostatic "symphony", which has nothing in common with the Justinian symphony of the Emperor and the clergy, judging by the present situation, directs its efforts to a gradual destruction of the Holy Mt. Athos. This assertion is proved in particular by the sharp decrease in the number of Athonite inhabitants. Thus, the celebration of the millennium of Mt. Athos in 1963 was marred by the announcement of the fact that during about half a century the number of monks was reduced from 7500 in 1903 to 1560 in 1963 [536]. 

From 1970's Mt. Athos has been gradually populated by ambitious young men agreeable to the government authorities, the so called "New Athonites" [537]. Many of them are university graduates, who, contrary to the age-old hagiorite decrees and under the pressure of civil powers, have been appointed abbots of monasteries. They are precisely the ones who help to implement the policy agreeable to both the civil authorities and the Phanar [538], by destroying monasticism and being accessories to persecution against those who remain faithful to Orthodoxy. 

On observing the anti-canonical actions and deviations from the Holy Tradition and Orthodox Ecclesiology of Constantinopolitan hierarchs-renovationists and ecumenists, hagiorites wrote open letters to them on frequent occasions and censured them, openly expressing disagreement with the stand of the Phanar. 

The election of Patriarch Athenagoras, a high-ranking member of an American masonic lodge, and an adherent of the "branch theory", has made the difficult situation even worse. It should be noted that Athenagoras' election was dictated by the USA which wanted to ensure the improvement of relationships between Greece and Turkey (the latter is a country to which USA is especially attentive, because of its strategic position). Athenagoras' predecessor, Patriarch Maximos V, who proved to be a much stronger traditionalist than Athenagoras, was deposed without any reason and confined as a mentally ill person in Switzerland, where he was deprived of the right to officiate in divine services or to act in a capacity of a hierarch. Several people, who managed to visit him at the end of the 1950-ies, have testified that he was neither mentally ill, nor of unsound mind [539]. 

Everyone is familiar with Patriarch Athenagoras' policy: rapprochement with the Vatican and a willful lifting of anathemas from the Papists, accompanied by an active adogmatic ecumenical activity, which has been continued by his successors. 

"Much less is known, however, about the wave of profound indignation at the destructive action of Athenagoras, which had surged in all the Orthodox world, particularly in Greece and Mt. Athos. All the monasteries of the Holy Mount had categorically refused to commemorate him during Liturgy. In Northern Greece several bishops, who belonged to the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, followed the Athonite example, some expressed a decisive protest. Among them were Metropolitans -- Ambrose of Eleutheropolis, Paul of Paramythie, Polycarp of Sisianos, and also Siatistis and Augustine of Florma. At the same time the persecution against the old-calendarists (adherents of the Church calendar of the Holy Fathers -- L.P.) was redoubled. All these monks, priests, bishops had an absolute right to express their protest; on the one hand according to the Canons of the Orthodox Church, and on the other - according to civil laws which, presumably, permit pluralism." [540] 

There were many who protested at that time, perceiving the danger of a new "Florentine disgrace". In the course of time, however, despite the fact that their exhortations had no effect, some monasteries began once again to commemorate the Patriarch. However, there still remained more than half of the Athonite monasteries who suspended communion with Athenagoras and stopped commemorating him at their services. 

But during the years 1970-80, in the reign of Patriarch Demetrios, who continued and even expanded the apostatic practice of his predecessor, all monasteries, except the monks-zealots and the monastery of Esphigmenou, re-established their communion with the Patriarch. This happened due to the intrigues of the patriarchal exarchate who managed "to seduce... even the elect" (Mark 13,22). The periodically occurring mysterious "suicides", or disappearances of monks [541], threats, pressure and simply persecution to which the monks who were disobedient to the heretical Constantinople were subjected, have also had their effect. 

From time to time, it is true, the Athonite monasteries censured the Patriarch of Constantinople in the appeals which they have sent him. Thus, after the regrettably notorious concelebration of Patriarch Demetrios with Pope John-Paul II, which was an unprecedented act of rapprochement of the Patriarchate of Constantinople with the Papists, the Sacred Council of Mt. Athos sent a letter to Demetrios. "We have no other form of action left to us -- they wrote -- we place this into the hands of God. We now embrace silence, leaving all to Christ our God, and await the solution of this problem from Him. The Sacred Council can no longer tell hagiorites and other faithful about the strictness of Your confession and the steadfastness of Your faith, because You personally are openly professing the opposite. The Holy Mount, inasmuch as it firmly adheres to the precepts of faith and piety, cannot express its respect and devotion to the Ecumenical See" [542]. 

Nevertheless, the silence embraced by those commemorating the Patriarch-heretic, "not being the silence of hesychasts" [543], has since yielded to enthusiastic welcome with which the Sacred Council of Mt. Athos honored both the late Demetrios and his successor Patriarch Bartholomeos [544]. Since then Phanar has undertaken even more insolent steps and developed unprecedented ecumenical activity when in June of 1993 it concluded the Balamand Agreement with the Vatican, and in November of the same year -- the Chambesy Agreement with the Monophysites. 

The open letter concerning the Balamand in which the Kinot (Sacred Council) appealed to Patriarch Bartholomeos [545] expressed in particular the idea that the ecumenical movement has turned into all-embracing syncretism. As an illustration it quoted the blasphemous words of Patriarch Parthenios (Koinidis, died 1996) of Alexandria about Mohammed [546]. 

The Memorandum of the Sacred Council of Mount Athos regarding the Chambesy Declaration [547] stated that the ecumenist acknowledgment of heretical churches as "sisters" casts doubt on "the continuity of the consciousness of our Church, which is but the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church" [548]. 

However, both in this Memorandum, as well as in the letter regarding the Balamand Agreement, the impious and decisive role of Patriarch Bartholomeos himself is passed over in diplomatic silence. These two documents, which prove that the monasteries, brotherhoods and monastics of Mt. Athos who did not discontinue their prayerful communion with the Patriarch-Apostate, and have continued to commemorate him as their ruling hierarch, are well aware of his crime against Orthodoxy. "So many ravages has the Holy Mount endured, and still continues to endure! -- comments an Athonite ascetic -- So many monks have left monasteries and refuse to return because of the anti-Orthodox and anti-monastic acts of the Patriarch which have caused division! Today it is not the monks who are in search of a monastery, but the monasteries which are in search of monks; from all sides, monasteries are crying out loud, for they are faced with desolation... The Ecumenical (i.e. Constantinopolitan - L.P.) Patriarchate has brought all these misfortunes upon the Orthodox Church, including division and desolation on Mt. Athos." [549] 

Why is it, then, that despite everything those that "commemorate" the Patriarch continue to communicate with the heretic? How can one explain that today the majority of them is silent about one of the most scandalous events in the history of Mt. Athos, reminiscent of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages -- i.e. the expulsion of Russian monks from their Skete of St. Elias on May 20 of 1992, just because they refused to commemorate the Phanar apostate? [550] 

The St. Elias Skete, which was built with the donations of pious Russian compatriots and became famous for the ascetic struggle (Russ. podvig) of its great elder Paisius Velichkovsky, had been attracting thousands of Russian pilgrims before the Bolshevik Revolution. In our time, before the eviction of its monks, the Skete belonged to the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, the legitimate heir of the historical Russia. 

Beginning in 1957, the monks of St. Elias Skete ceased commemorating the Patriarch of Constantinople because of their disagreement with the pro-Catholic policy and ecumenical heresy of the Patriarchate. Their Abbot and Superior of the Skete, Archimandrite Seraphim (Bobich), who over 20 years (since 1970) had been leading the life of an ascetic on Mt. Athos, and the brethren of the Skete had spent a great deal of money and labored heavily in order to re-establish and improve this large sacred abode. From 1985 onwards the Skete was being subjected to all kinds of pressure, in order to force the monks to resume the commemoration of the Patriarch, but they would not yield. 

Finally, on May 7/20 of 1992, on the feast-day of Mid-Pentecost, Abbot Seraphim and seven other inhabitants of the Skete were forcibly evicted from Mt. Athos without trial and investigation. This criminal and shameful act was committed by the Commission of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, headed by the patriarchal Exarch, Metropolitan Athanasios of Heliopolis. The eviction was carried out with the help of the representatives of the civil authorities of Mt. Athos and numerous armed police. 

The request of the fathers of St. Elias Skete to be granted at least two or three days for preparations, was rejected. "Because they were under escort and strict police supervision, the monks were unable to collect not only the most necessary personal belongings, but documents as well" [551]. These Russian zealots were forcibly ushered into military vehicles and brought to Daphne via Karyes (capital of Mt. Athos). From Daphne a motor-boat delivered them to Uranopolis (outside Mt. Athos) where they were heartlessly abandoned on the pier without money or documents. 

But persecution of these Russian monks on the part of the ecclesiastical and civil authorities did not end with this improbable, unchristian treatment: their request to have their passports returned to them was rejected (Archimandrite Seraphim and his fellow monks are American citizens). Moreover they were not even presented with a copy of the decision of either the Sacred Council, or of the civil authorities testifying to their eviction. All this was fabricated later. Immediately following the eviction of the Russian monks this rich Skete was plundered and occupied by the "monks" acceptable to Phanar and to the government [552]. 

The silence of "commemorating" hagiorites has greatly alarmed the Orthodox faithful who love Mt. Athos and who are historically accustomed to see Christ's warriors in Athonite monks, fearlessly struggling for the Orthodox faith and fearing God above all. The adherents of the Patriarch of Constantinople cannot but be aware that for many years, especially since 1970, "a silent and secret religious persecution has been taking place on the Holy Mount against the monks who remain faithful to Orthodox traditions." [553] Apart from the forcible measures already mentioned, they are not allowed to either tonsure Athonite zealots, or have novices in obedience (this is not permitted even to the eldest zealot monks). They are not allowed to buy cells for themselves and they cannot acquire the most necessary items for their existence [554]. 

It often happened that many monks-ascetics who had vowed never to leave the Holy Mount until they died were evicted from Athos. This was the fate, for example, of ascetic-hesychast Fr. Theodorite, the author of numerous books on theology and piety, and of monk-zealot Fr. Damian [555]. In other words, the plan of finally eliminating Athonite zealots is being actually carried out, and in such a manner as to make the believers think that no one on Mt. Athos opposes the betrayal of Orthodoxy which is being committed there [556]. 

Will the Holy Mount Athos, "the garden of the Mother of God," become what the subjects of the prince of this world want it to be -- a tourist spot with hotels, beaches, entertainment centers and... a Museum of Eastern Monasticism ?! 

...The sacred Esphigmenou monastery has in all respects become a zealot religious community. Along with the other monks-zealots, the monks of Esphigmenou steadfastly refuse to have any communion with the apostate Patriarch. For more than 20 years the tower of Esphigmenou monastery has displayed the flag with the words: "Orthodoxy or Death". This God-loving monastic community, which is often cut off from the rest of the world [557] and which has been more than once in danger of being seized by force or with the aid of perfidy. However, with the help of God and the protection of the Mother of God, the monastery keeps resisting those who exert every possible pressure upon it. "Its steadfastness bore fruit: police themselves were ashamed of the anti-Christian task which they were forced to perform." [558] 

The Esphigmenou community has not only given hope to all the Orthodox world, and become a symbol of resistance to the anti-Christian evil, but has also become an example to be emulated. 

The fact that the Esphigmenou monastery is a model of fidelity to Christ the Savior has a profound meaning for Russia, because the father of Russian monasticism, St. Anthony of the Kiev-Caves Lavra (+1073, commemorated July 10) was tonsured and practiced asceticism in that monastery, and brought from there "the rule of faith" and the image of true piety to the Russian land. 

Following the example of the Esphigmenou community, all Orthodox Christians and their monasteries should inscribe on the tablets of their hearts the words of love and faithfulness to Christ: "Orthodoxy or Death".


Until now the "Orthodox" ecumenists, while trying to justify their involvement in the World Council of Churches, have constantly insisted on their loyalty to Orthodoxy, on their inviolate preservation of the true foundations of our faith: Holy Scripture and the Sacred Tradition of the Holy Orthodox Church. Falsehood could always be seen through in the hypocritical declarations of these sham "witnesses of the beauty of Orthodoxy", as they liked to call themselves [559]. 

Their duplicity has now become quite obvious. The Holy Scriptures have been paraphrased at random to please the immediate needs of ecumenism, and all the notorious efforts of the "Orthodox" members of the World Council of Churches to bring about the "reunification of Christians" through the "witness of Orthodoxy" have most perceptibly resulted in the fact that in our days the "counsel of the ungodly" regards the Orthodox Church only as "a part of global Christianity", along with Nestorians, Monophysites, Hindus, Shamans, Judaists, and also Neo-pagans and all sorts of sects -- Moonies, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Adventists, Christian Science, Pentecostals, Baptists, atheists and others [560], their name is legion. 

But even though they are ranked with this legion, the Orthodox do not enjoy equal status: according to the teaching of the "great reformer John Wesley", the Orthodox Church is declared to be "an example of unbalanced Christianity"! [561]. Criteria of the "New World Ethics" and of the religious pluralism of the "New World Order" are such that, "in a certain sense, Christianity is even an obstacle to the existence of a unified humanity" [562]. It is not without reason that at the Fifth General Assembly in Nairobi [563] the following words were uttered: "We cannot permit our faith to be the cause of discords and enmity which threaten to break up the united human family" [564]. And it is no mere chance that the speculation of Lutheran evangelist Gerald Barney that "Christianity will be unable to exist in future", expressed by him in 1993 at the "Congress of Religions" in Chicago, was met with ovations... [565] 

For a long time the apostates were afraid to openly support the most fearless assaults mounted from within their ranks upon the Patristic Tradition and the Church canons. This fear has now been cast away. Ecumenism now manifests itself as the most unruly syncretism and the heresy of all heresies. It is obviously not afraid of being exposed by this world of apostasy, by the world which has lost the ability to discern spirits and which is rushing to meet its ruin. 

The Orthodox Christians who have courage to oppose ecumenism, are, with an ever increasing persistence, pronounced to be "schismatics" worthy of condemnation... It is not this "little flock" of Christ, however, but the disseminators of pernicious innovations and their collaborators, no matter how numerous, are the real schismatics, for they are "in disagreement with the totality of the Tradition, teaching and discipline of the Orthodox Church" [566]. 

The contemporary "Orthodox" apostates are in disagreement with Christ's disciples -- the Holy Apostles, in particular with the 10th, 45th, 46th, 65th, 70th Apostolic Rules, with a whole series of canons of the Ecumenical Councils and of Holy Fathers, as well as «with the 2,000 years history of the Church Tradition, which the Holy Spirit has impressed with His indelible Seal of Sanctification, because "God's grace is immutable."» [567] Since they are in conflict with this Tradition, they "reject the blood of martyrs and of Holy God-bearing Fathers", and inasmuch as they take the liberty to lift Church anathemas, they are guilty of blasphemy "because they assume that the infallible Church consciousness could be mistaken." [568] 

The Orthodox Christians, who in our age of disbelief have preserved the living flame of Orthodoxy as their principle of faith and life, are entitled to address the following question to the contemporary apostates: "The sacred canons instilled by the Holy Spirit into the God-bearing Fathers, the latchet of whose shoes we are unworthy to unloose, are they valid, or invalid in the Orthodox Church? Yes, or no? And if they are invalid, one should in all dignity and boldness name the instance above the Ecumenical and Local Councils which has adopted this new decision? Because it would be the height of hypocrisy on the part of bishops, who at their consecration had vowed to unfailingly observe the Canons, to shamelessly defy them in practice to the great amazement of the rest of the faithful!" [569] 

Temptation evoked by the false hierarchs today is a terrible crime and sin. The Lord referred to it saying: "But whosoever shall offend one of these little ones which believe in Me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come, but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!" (Mt. 18, 6-7) These words of the Savior are addressed to each one of us, and therefore, if we see that a bishop has no fear of God, then by obeying him we disobey the following instruction of the Holy Scripture: "We ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts 5, 29). The Lord also teaches that if any person does not obey the Church, then "let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican" (Mt. 18, 17). 

As we observe the apostasy of hierarchs everywhere, let us recall the words of the holy Hierarch Gennadius (George prior to tonsure) Scholarius the Patriarch of Constantinople (1459-1456): "Test your bishops in only one respect: try and find out whether they are Orthodox, whether they teach dogmas contrary to the true Faith, and whether they concelebrate with heretics, or schismatics." [570] And, as St. Nicephorus says, even if false hierarch, while being in heresy, "will succeed in deceiving and enticing a certain number of ignorants and in gathering even a considerable number of followers, then they are outside the sacred walls of the Church just the same. But even an insignificant number of the faithful, who abide in piety and Orthodoxy, constitute the Church; they have the authority and they defend the established order of the Church. And if they should suffer for true piety, then this will undoubtedly contribute to their eternal glory and salvation of their souls." [571] 

There is no time left for keeping silent. We are now living on the threshold of the reign of Antichrist, when almost all people have deviated from truth. A truly inhuman assault is directed against the Church of Christ, the Holy Orthodoxy, in order "if it were possible... to deceive the very elect" (Mt. 24,24). 

Let us be inspired by the deeds of the holy confessors who were chosen by God in the most difficult times experienced by the Church. They defended the truth of Orthodoxy sometimes remaining alone against all others. But God was with them: "The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?" (Ps. 118,6) 

The holy martyrs of the first centuries of Christianity, on whose blood the Holy Church was founded, and later a host of martyrs and confessors, who defended the purity of the doctrine from heretics, should all inspire us with their example, and they are always ready to come to our aid -- sometimes in an obviously miraculous manner -- whenever we turn to them with prayer. 

In the Life of the Holy Hierarch Basil the Great [572] we read that while he prayed before the icon of the Mother of God and of the holy great martyr Mercurius for the Church and people to be delivered from the blasphemer and persecutor of Christians, the impious Emperor Julian the Apostate, the latter was suddenly killed in the battle with Persians by an unknown warrior who pierced him with his spear and immediately became invisible. At that very time Saint Basil the Great had noticed that the image of St Mercurius disappeared from the icon for a while and then appeared again holding a blood-stained spear. "This miracle, then, became manifest because due to the prayers of St. Basil the Great, the All-holy Theotokos Herself sent this pleaser of God and of Herself, the victorious great martyr Mercurius, from the triumphant Church to the militant Church... for the defense of the holy faith and of Orthodox Christians." [573] 

One may be inspired and strengthened by exploit of St. Maximus the Confessor (+622, commemorated Jan. 21), who refused to partake of the Holy Communion with a heretical Patriarch, "even if the whole world were to take the Communion with him." [574] This holy Father remained firm in his confessing his convictions even after he was severely beaten by the Monothelite heretics. They subsequently cut off his right hand and tongue in order to prevent the saint from confessing the truth, either by writing, or in words. 

St. Martin the Confessor, the Pope of Rome (+655, commemorated April 14) was also disgraced, beaten up and exiled, when he alone opposed the Monothelites who had seized power. 

Let us also remember the lonely confessors, holy brothers -- Theophan, the author of canons (+ca. 847, commemorated October 11) and Theodore the Branded (+ ca. 840, commemorated December 27). Their faces bore inscriptions pricked out with needles and branded with hot iron, accusing them of being venerators of icons. Their sufferings lasted many years and, although mutilated and exhausted, they continued their fight against heretics at a time when the entire secular and ecclesiastical power was in the hands of their enemies -- Iconoclasts. According to the Church, these confessors, through their holy efforts, "shed light over heretical darkness" having dispersed "clouds of heresy". 

St. Theodosius of the Kiev Caves Lavra (+1074, commemorated May 3) in his "Testament" to the Great Prince Izyaslav of Kiev (10541068) whom the Papists attempted to convert to Catholicism, preached as follows: "Beware, my son, of heretics and all their talking, for our land too, has become filled with them! If anyone will save his soul, it will be only through life in the Orthodox faith. For there is no better faith, than our Holy Orthodox faith. My son, it is not meet to praise another's faith. Whoever praises an alien faith is like a detractor of his own Orthodox faith. If anyone should praise his own and another's faith, then he is a man of dual faith and is close to heresy. If anyone should say to you: "your faith and our faith is from God", you, my son, should reply: "Heretic! do you consider God to be of two faiths? Don't you hear what the Scriptures say: "One Lord, one faith, one baptism" (Eph. 4,5). 

Thus, my son, beware of such people and always stand up for your faith. Do not fraternize with them, but avoid them and pursue your own Faith with good deeds!" [575] 

While calling upon the Prince to observe confessional strictness, St. Theodosius, nevertheless, instructed him to show Christian charity and compassion to people of other faiths who fell into misfortune or were in need of some help in life. With regard to the defense of Orthodoxy from its enemies, the Saint said: "My son, even if there would be the need for you to die for your holy Faith, dare to embrace death! Thus the Saints died for their Faith, and now they are alive in Christ." [576] 

What can the contemporary "Orthodox" supporters of Union with the Vatican set off against the twenty-seven Martyrs of Zographou (commemorated Sept. 22)?! These Athonite monks had denounced Emperor Michael Paleologus and Patriarch John Vecca (11th c.) for joining the Latins, and preferred to be burned alive rather than become participants in their apostasy. 

St. Mark of Ephesus (+1444, commemorated January 19) [577] was the only non-compromising defender of Orthodoxy at the Council of Florence (1439) who did not sign the Union. His lone voice predetermined the destiny of Orthodoxy. Alone against many, deprived of his rights and confined in a fortress -- against those enjoying power, respect, wealth, and freedom, against high clergy and the Emperor himself... And he will emerge a conqueror, for the invincible Truth is with him; one can hide it under a bushel, but the time will come, and it will rise in all its splendor. [578] St. Mark was, undoubtedly, aware of this and hoped, as George Scholarius said, "to conquer all his opponents by the power of Truth alone." [579] 

The whole Orthodox Church, in the person of the Emperor, Patriarchs, Metropolitans and other high representatives of the Church, had administratively signed the Union with the Latins. However, as subsequent history showed, all their signatures meant nothing: the absence of St. Mark's signature doomed the Union to failure. When the cardinals of Pope Eugene IV triumphantly showed him the Act of the Union which was signed by the Greeks, the Pope asked whether Mark of Ephesus has signed it, and not finding his signature, the Pope said... "So, we have not achieved anything!" [580] 

At the Council of Constantinople in 1450, during the reign of the last Byzantine Emperor Constantine IX, in the presence of three Eastern Patriarchs, the Uniate hierarchs were deposed, and the Council of Florence was anathematized. Three years before its fall, the Byzantine Empire rejected the shameful Union, and honored the memory of St. Mark, Metropolitan of Ephesus, the confessor and fighter for the Orthodox faith. 

"This mortally ill, exhausted hierarch, disgraced by the powerful ones of this world, was the spiritual leader of Orthodoxy, who represented the Orthodox Church, strong in its weakness, rich in its poverty and invincible in Divine Truth." [581] 

The greatness and invincibility of the Orthodox Church has been demonstrated by the martyrdom of hundreds of thousands of holy New Martyrs of Russia. "On the territory bearing the devilishly shrill name USSR, there existed Russia. It was the unseen Russia. Its presence was known only to those who were meant to know: the inhabitants of this land themselves and its enemies." [582] During hard times, which were fiercely cruel for both Russia and the Church, there appeared fearless exposers of the godless regime and confessors of Christ. In the wake of October Revolution, as in the first centuries of Christianity, the true Church has preserved its spiritual freedom in catacombs, prisons, and concentration camps, regardless of any persecution and repressions. The militant Church of the holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, countless hosts of them, from the Tsar to pauper and infant -- the entire Holy Russia "came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (Rev. 7,14), -- is the true Homeland of the Orthodox Russian people. 

In these frightful times, the Orthodox Russian people should remember their holy compatriots and draw inspiration from their example. "May this great miracle, the miracle of the holy relics of so many New Martyrs in the Russian land, who now abide in Christ, inasmuch as they had rejected any compromise, may this miracle impart to Russian people the strength to reject ecumenism and the reforms of Orthodoxy which are now being prepared in Rome, Geneva, and Constantinople. The true essence of Russia is Orthodoxy; its true history is the history of its saints, who in the course of centuries have sanctified it and preserved it in Christ and for Christ by their victorious deeds." [583] 

In our spiritually frightful times we see the apparent triumph of "the church of the wicked". But, according to Apostle Paul "where sin abounded grace did much more abound" (Rom. 5,20). One should not be troubled by the fact that not many good shepherds are left and that there are only few of those faithful to the precepts of the Holy Church. "Let not your heart be troubled and in fear!", wrote Metropolitan Innokenty of Peking (+1931), "True worshippers of the Lord were few at all times. He Himself was abandoned even by His true disciples: and He Himself foretold that at the end-times love would grow cold and people would be at war not only with each other, but also with God Himself. Truth never had numerous followers; they always were and will be persecuted. Neither fame, nor wealth is their lot in this world, but the way of the cross. But only in this way can they reach the Kingdom of God. Whoever believes in God, need not fear the sons of this world. If Christ is within us, who is against us! With Him we are given victory over the world." [584] 

As we see temptations and enmity surrounding Orthodoxy everywhere, let us strive, with God's help, to oppose them. The Church, as the provider of our salvation, cannot bow before the "wickedness of this world". It is guided by the Spirit of Christ, and is made invincible through His power.

O Lord, save Thy people and bless Thine inheritance. Grant victory over their enemies to Orthodox Christians, and protect Thy people with Thy Cross.

The words of prophet Daniel regarding "abomination of desolation in the holy place" (Dan. 9, 27) have acquired a special meaning in our days. Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself speaks of this prophecy (Mt. 24,15; Mark 13,14; Lk. 21, 20). 

The Savior foretold the signs of the end times when "the stars shall fall from heaven" (Mt. 24, 29; Mark 13, 25; Lk. 21, 25). «As the Lord Himself explained "the stars" are the Angels of the Churches, i. e. bishops. The fall of bishops is of a religious and moral nature and is... one of the most characteristic signs of the end-times. Particularly terrible is the fall of bishops when they fall away from the dogmas of faith, or, as the holy Apostle says, when they "pervert the gospel of Christ"» (Gal. 1,7). The Apostle instructs that such should be "anathematized" (Gal. 1,9); and he further advises not to delay the rejection of such (Titus 3,10-11). Or else one may be judged by God for indifference to falling away from the truth (Rev. 3 16)" [585] 

"Abomination of desolation in the holy place" also refers to the profanation of sacred Orthodox objects, and to episcopal sees occupied by unworthy hierarchs. 

Another prophecy regarding the Antichrist who "shall... think to change times and laws" (Dan. 7,25) is literally taking place before our very eyes. When this book was already finished we have received an extremely important communication: namely, that in actual fact the World Council of Churches has already predetermined the common day for celebrating the holy Pascha (Easter). The documents of the ecumenical Consultation [586] of 5-10 March 1997 which took place in Aleppo (Syria) testify to this. These documents were signed by the Adventists, Pentacostalists, Anglicans, Lutherans, Monophysites, Old-Catholics, the Vatican, the Patriarchates of Moscow, Antioch and Constantinople, and the other participants. 

By citing words of the Savior frequently and in vain, by quoting passages from the Holy Scriptures, and by giving an outrageously false interpretation of the decision of the First Ecumenical Council [587], the ecumenical falsifiers try to prove their case and to mislead people about the most serious crime against Orthodoxy which is once again committed in secret from the faithful. 

Speaking of the ecclesiastic "old calendar", which is so hateful to all reformers but which is sanctioned by Holy Fathers and is adhered to by the Orthodox Churches in Eastern Europe and the Near East, the participants of the Aleppo Consultation have falsely and in a secular fashion declared this calendar to be only "a symbol of the desire of the Churches that use it to maintain their integrity and their freedom". The recommendations accepted by this ecumenical Consultation regarding the changes in Orthodox Paschalia sound like a harsh bellow of men of power who are demanding obedience, rather than true recommendations. 

That the recommendations of the WCC are actually decisions is demonstrated, for example, by the fact that the heretics-Monophysites have been de facto ranked along with the Orthodox. Undoubtedly in order to emphasize the Union with the anti-Chalcedonians concluded within the World Council of Churches, "The Consultation of the Representatives of the Orthodox Churches -- members of the WCC" of 13-15 December 1996 in Antelias (Lebanon) took place under the Chairmanship of "His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of Cifcia" [588], i.e. a representative of the anathematized Monophysitism! 

That same Consultation (essentially a "pan-Orthodox" one) "opposed a possible future unilateral decision by any one Local Church to leave the WCC without reaching an agreement with the other Churches". The concluding document of this Consultation points out that "such a step would violate the Inter-Orthodox solidarity, cause bewilderment and divisions within the world Orthodoxy." (emphasis - L.P.) [589] In other words, in accordance with the blasphemous ecumenical ecclesiology, the unity and wholeness of the Church which is the body of Christ depends on the membership in the WCC, rather than on our Lord Jesus Christ! This is indeed an "ecclesiological monstrosity", a harbinger of the apocalyptic beast! 

As far back as 55 years ago, in 1942, the Archbishop of Canterbury, C.V. Temple, one of the founders of the World Council of Churches, commented that "ecumenism was the most important event of our century" [590]. One cannot but agree with this utterance. The general secularization of life and apostasy which today have enveloped almost the whole of mankind, are directly bound with the contemporary lawlessness caused by ecumenists and modernists within the Church itself and outside its walls. And it is necessary for the one who will come in his own name -- the Antichrist -- that people should make a free choice in his favor: "by my own will I come to you". This is the purpose of the planet-wide and truly satanic attempt to deprive human souls of their divine image, to make them receptacles of all vices and abominations, and subsequently to cause their death. And in this ecumenism plays a very important role. 

Ecumenism is, probably, the greatest counterfeit, the most comprehensive religious falsification of all that have ever existed on earth. Allowing its Orthodox members [591] to externally preserve the appearance of Christian stateliness, the WCC does everything possible to deprive them of their inner, spiritual essence without which they are but a "sounding brass". 

All the facts referred to in this book testify that we are dealing with a werewolf, a pseudo-church, the Babylonian harlot of the chapters 17 and 18 of the Revelation: she sits "upon many waters" (17,1), which "are peoples, and multitudes, and nations and tongues" (17,15). The universal ecumenism is the main sign of this pseudo-church of Antichrist: She sits "upon a scarlet colored beast" (17,3), i.e. she acts in accord with the supreme power of the world government and crowns this power. She commits fornication with "the kings of the earth" (17,2; 18,9) (worldwide Sergianism?). She is "arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication" (17,4) -- i .e. she has the appearance of holiness, but is filled with abominations. She has "corrupted the earth with her fornication" (19,2) -- i.e. has distorted the faith and corrupted nations. Her name is "mystery, Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth" (17,5) -- i.e. heresies, demonic false teachings and the occultism. She is "drunken with the blood of the saints" -- i.e. she persecutes the true Church. Her focus is -- Patriarchates of Constantinople and Moscow, and the other "Orthodox" ecumenical pseudo-churches. 

Metropolitan Vitaly, the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad speaks of this as follows:

«Before our eyes, suddenly, quite unexpectedly, we are seeing the mystical revelation of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian, the Apocalypse. For a long time we thought of it as a prophecy from afar off time which would assuredly be fulfilled one day in the future. But now, suddenly, not only has it appeared at the doors of our contemporary life, but the sharp, icy blast of the Antichrist has begun to howl across the whole of our planet earth. 

What exactly is the APOCALYPSE? According to the Holy Fathers who have interpreted this sacred book, the Apocalypse is the book of the last years of the earthly history of the Church of Christ. It shows the inseparably close links between the fate of the Church and the fate of the whole world, the whole human race, and the entire cosmos. This means that the only reason why the world and all that is in it still exist is the fact that the True Church of Christ continues to dwell on it. 

What is the Church's lot in our days? It is being crowded out. The Church displeases most people; It is barely tolerated, people laugh at It and revile It. So now all the forces of darkness are trying to squeeze themselves into It and eat It away from inside like termites, leaving behind only an empty wrapping. But they have not managed to destroy It, and will not be able to do so. 

Evil is laughing in our faces! And we thoughtlessly chase after the shadow of earthly good things and our imaginary good repute, as long as no one inconveniences us or disturbs the tempo of our life and comfort. But a great temptation will come upon us, and come without fail. We will be placed on the knifes edge of life. Nobody will be able to hide anywhere, even in a fissure in the rock. Everyone will be found and faced with the fatally tragic question: either you are with "us" or with CHRIST? Perhaps the question will not be posed quite like that, from fear of scaring the luckless Christian, but he will simply be asked, "are you with us" ? 

What shall our answer be and what we are to do? Firstly we must understand in what a terribly dangerous time we are living. Then we must force ourselves to follow a disciplined life of prayer: to pray morning and evening and to pray with the Jesus prayer wherever and whenever we can. To receive Holy Communion more often in the True Church, and not in the church of 
the hollow egg shell, eaten away from within. Nobody will then be saved by theological degrees, or knowledge, or the order of church services, or the orders of bishop or priest, or any other rank. Only a personal love from the heart for our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ will save a human soul, together with faithfulness to Him, even unto death.» [592] 

Disasters and crises which are inevitably threatening the contemporary mankind are of a spiritual and moral nature rather than economic, political and ecological, as the princes of this world would have us believe. It is extremely important for the true Orthodox Christians to raise their voice of truth, to become aware of the acute necessity to call "evil by its proper name, to expose lies and to decisively condemn any anti-Christian and anti-Orthodox undertaking wherever it should originate." [593] 

One should remember that the fullness of the Church is comprised of all Orthodox people, bishops, clergy, monks and lay people who are safeguarding the holy Dogmas and Canons, which we are all called to protect. The short time which is still left to us is hardly favorable for the attempts of rapprochement with heretics and an attainment of union with the apostates. As the Athonite monks wrote: "We know of only one means of achieving communion between the heretics and the Orthodox Church, and that is an official canonical written renouncement and condemnation of their errors and an act on their part of joining the Orthodox Church exclusively through Baptism." [594] 

In the not too distant future the Orthodox Christians must expect that the world which has rejected Christ and has been mocking them and their spiritual vigilance, integrity and loyalty to Christ, which are often abused and dismissed as "fanaticism", that this world will turn to cruel persecution of the last Christians. But even knowing this, can we agree to exchange the Church of Christ -- the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, the only Church which offers salvation -- for any other "church", such as, for example, the infernal "cybernetic church" which is now thriving in the electronic space, with all its pernicious inventions, like "technosophy", "ecospirituality" (i.e. Neo-paganism), and "hypertheology" with its "virtual and postdenominational spirituality", "televangelisation" and "thousands interpretations of the word of God" !? [595] 

The global heyday of the New Age with its spiritual supermarket, spreading of pantheism, occultism, and magic; children in test-tubes, manipulation of genetic engineering; crisis of moral values throughout the world, propaganda of homosexualism and depravity -- all these disgraceful practices bring us closer to the end of the world history. 

People who are wallowing in apostasy, sins and heresies, whose "names are not written in the book of life" (Rev. 13, 8) are already now prepared to worship Antichrist and acknowledge him to be the only spiritual head of all religions." ...By the time of the Second Coming, the Church of Christ will be reduced in size to the utmost degree. There will remain one or two churches in which the True Body of Christ and the True Blood of Christ will be imparted to the faithful. In the remaining churches there will remain only an empty shell, with great outward adornment, but empty. "See then that ye walk circumspectly... because the days are evil." (Ephes. 5,15-16) [596] 

Those "who have eyes" everyday and everywhere see the warning signs of formidable imminent dangers closing in on us, especially on our immortal souls. Everyone of us will have to give an answer to the Impartial Judge about what we have done for our salvation. Our destiny in eternity depends on His supreme Judgment. Let rulers of this world spread the new world order without Christ, with its one government, its common economics and market, its common pseudo-culture and its "postdenominational" superchurch. We can withstand them with our freedom, the freedom which imparts "God's image" to us, and which no one can ever take away from us. We can and must courageously oppose spiritual totalitarianism and collectivization of life with freedom in Christ, which Orthodoxy bestows upon us. 

There are many indications that the "ship of the world is already surrounded by the ocean with raging apocalyptic storms and events, and Orthodoxy, the only sound force in the spiritual arsenal of mankind, must act with the responsibility that it has. The people of God struggle and pray, pray and struggle. Be firm in your stronghold, be steadfast and faithful! God is strong, not the world." [597] 

This modest work has been addressed to all who love Christ and His Orthodox Church, and who wish to work for the glory of God by opposing and fighting, in every way possible, the bane of ecumenism, ecclesiastical modernism, and the apostasy surrounding us. We wish to conclude with the words of Metropolitan Vitaly, the Head of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad:

"We are now approaching the beginning of the end, the great end; undoubtedly, we are now entering this period. Hence, we are being attacked by all kinds of adversities; underwater rocks, troubles and storms lie in wait for us... But our vessel will pass them by unharmed, because the Lord Jesus Christ Himself is the Helmsman of this vessel." [598]

"Even so, come, Lord Jesus!" (Rev. 22, 20).

NOTES for words in the text:

[531] The factual material of this chapter is taken from the works dealing specifically with the problem of persecution of the Orthodox Athonite monks-confessors. Firstly, it is the book: Fr. Maximos, Monk of Great Lavra, "Human Rights on Mount Athos, an appeal to the Civilized World", Stylite Publishing, Welshpool, Powys, 1990. The evidence of Fr. Maximos (Lavriotis), one of the monks evicted from Mt. Athos, is all the more objective because he was not a zealot (zealot is the name given to an adherent of true Orthodoxy) and belonged to those who "commemorated" the Patriarch of Constantinople. In addition to the book of Fr. Maximos, also of great interest is the work of the ever-memorable Pcre Patric, "La persecution des moines du Mont Athos par le Patriarchat de Constantinople", ed. Fraternite Orthodoxe Saint Gregoire Palamas, 30, Boulevard de Sebastopol, 75004 Paris, 1992; and also the collection "Protestations Orthodoxes a la suite de la visite du Patriarche de Constantinople au Pape en Dec. 1987" , ed. Fraternite Orthodoxe Saint Gregoire Palamas, Paris, 1988. 

The Greek government and the Patriarchate of Constantinople are at great pains to prevent the spreading of truth about the real state of affairs on Mt. Athos. Publications which contain the protests of zealots and which shed light on the extremely turbulent situation on the Holy Mount, are usually printed in Greek in the form of small brochures, or by insignificant and almost inaccessible newspapers, and thus remain practically unknown. 

[532] Athonite monk-zealot Theoklitis Germanos, "Confession of Faith", in the collection Protestations Orthodoxes... , p. 62. 

[533] Ibid., p. 63. 

[534] In 1913 there were 5 thousand Russian monks living on Mt. Athos. 

[535] International agreements, signed in Berlin (1878), Scvres (1913), and Lausanne (1923), made the support of ethnic minorities on Mt. Athos compulsory. 

[536] Pere Patric, "La persecution des moines du Mont Athos p. 39. 

[537] The name New Athonites is given to those monks who were tonsured without going through a period of obedience on Mt. Athos. 

[538] The name of the place near Istanbul in which the residence of the Patriarchs of Constantinople is situated. 

[539] See Pere Patric, "Le persecution des moines du Mont Athos p. 24. 

[540] Ibid., pp. 24-25. 

[541] See the above-mentioned book by Fr. Maximos, Monk of the Great Lavra, "Human Rights on Mount Athos..." 

[542] "Letter of the Sacred Council of the Holy Mount Athos to Ecumenical Patriarch Demetrios", Church Life, Nos. 3-4, New York, 1988, p. 102. 

[543] Expression used by Fr. Patric Ranson. 

[544] See "Afonskiia zametki" (Notes from Mt. Athos), Orthodox Russia, No. 1514, 1/14 July, 1994, p. 11. 

[545] Orthodox Russia, No. 1524, 1/14 December 1994, pp. 7-11; Orthodox Life, No. 4, 1994. 

[546] This ecumenist, who has recently departed to stand before the judgment of God, not only stated that Christians ought to recognize Mohammed as a prophet, but also identified him with Christ. And this man was an "Orthodox" Patriarch! (See Orthodoxos Pnon, v. 7, text 64, Athens, 1994, p. 12). 

[547] See Orthodox Russia, No. 1538, pp. 2-4, 15. 

[548] Ibid., p. 2, col. 3. 

[549] Monk-zealot Theoklitis Germanos, "Confession of Faith", ibid., pp. 61-62. 

[550] Fr. Patric Ranson names three main reasons for the eviction of the monks from St. Elias Skete. 1) The desire of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, this new Papacy, to suppress and by all means to do away with any opposition (which has been put up in Greece since 1920) to its policy of aggiornamento. 2) Seizure of control of the administration of Mt. Athos by the New Athonites. The latter now control a certain number of monasteries, mainly those of Stavronicetas, Grigoriu, Simon-Peter, thus being assured of the majority of votes in the Sacred Council. This ecclesiastical council of self-government of Mt. Athos, which traditionally consisted of the representatives (antiprosops) of 20 large monasteries, at the present time, following the illegitimate exclusion of the Esphigmenou monastery, numbers 19 monastery representatives. 3) An old policy of the Patriarchate with regard to Slavs, which aims at making Mt. Athos purely Greek, rather than pan-Orthodox place, as it was throughout its history. Besides, following the changes in the political situation in the former USSR, Phanar and the New Athonites fear the arrival of thousands of Russian monks to Mt. Athos, which could have an impact on the present arrangement of forces. Similar arguments also influenced the Patriarchate of Constantinople following the October Revolution, when it prevented Russian monks to settle on Mt. Athos. Thus, Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) was deprived of a chance to lead the life of an ascetic there (See Pere Patric, "La persecution des moines du Mont Athos...", pp. 18-19. 

[551] See the special issue of the Esphigmenou journal Hagios Agathangelos Esphigmenitis, No. 130 A, 30 May (old style) 1992 (in Greek). 

[552] It has become known that in the presence of two Metropolitans -- Athanasios of Heliopolis and Meliton of Chalcedon, who took part in the raid on the Russian Skete, a large vestry was opened and many mitres decorated with precious stones, 40 Russian gold-embroidered clerical vestments, and 5 deacons' surplices were taken out of it. "Metropolitan Meliton put aside 5 vestments saying that he is taking them for himself". Later the rest of the property of the old Russian Skete was plundered and illegitimately appropriated by the persecutors. Some inhabitants of Mt. Athos also do not rule out the fact that both the very rich Russian Skete of the Holy Apostle Andrew, which had been mercilessly plundered and taken over by the Vatoped monastery (in 1972), and the Skete of St. Elias attract the attention of Phanar by their large 6-story high town houses with churches on the top floors, which are situated in Constantinople. The Patriarchate of Constantinople obviously intends to appropriate them in time. (See the large article by hieromonk Nicholas, who represents the Russian St. Panteleimon's monastery (MP) in the Sacred Council of Mt. Athos, "About the events on Mt. Athos from May 7 to 8 (old style) 1992", Orthodox Russia, No's. 1489 and 1490, 1993.) 

[553] See Hagios Agathangelos Esphigmenitis, No. 130 A, 23 May (old style), 1992. 

[554] Ibid. 

[555] See Pere Patric, "La persecution des moines du Mont Athos...", pp. 26-27. 

[556] See Hagios Agathengelos Esphigmenitis, No. 130 A. 

[557] The Esphigmenou monastery has often been surrounded by armed police, the central telephone station of Karyes cut off its telephone, the post office held up its correspondence, all means of communication, by land or sea, were forbidden, and the besieged monks could not even walk out to work in their vegetable garden. (See Pere Patric, ibid., p. 25.) 

[558] Pere Patric, ibid.
[559] One rarely notices that declarations of "Orthodox" ecumenists, as a rule, contain two contradictory, as well as hypocritical, theses. For members of their own Churches are, apparently, intended the obligatory assurances that "participation of Orthodox delegates in the WCC should be viewed as a mission and witness about the truth within the heterodox world". The ears of their heterodox "brethren", however, are obviously meant to hear the words about "the WCC having always condemned all forms of proselytism". Both phrases are uttered at practically all ecumenical gatherings. In this case they are taken from the informative communication of 17 April 1997 concerning the Inter-Orthodox Consultation in Antelias (Lebanon, 13-15 December 1996), which took place under the chairmanship... of Armenian (!) Catholicos, Aram I of Cilicia. 

[560] See Collection, published by the Parliament of World Religions, ed. Joel D. Beversluis, "A Sourcebook for the Community of Religions", Chicago, Illinois, 1993, pp. 50-51, 91-108. It is interesting to note that the cover of this book displays a combination of the symbols of 14 religions: Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, "nameless religion" (symbolized by an empty circle), Zoroastrism, Jainism, Shamanism, Sikhism, Judaism, Hinduism, Shintoism, Taoism and Bahaism. 

[561] Quoted from: Michael Woerl, "Ekumenizm, novyi vek i Parlament mirovykh religii" (Ecumenism, New Age and Parliament of World Religions), Orthodox Russia, No. 1512, 1/14 June 1994, p. 10. 

[562] Hieromonk Ignatii, "Mirovoi Sovet Tserkvei. Obmanchivyi oblik sovremennago ob'edinitelnago dvizheniia v khristianstve" (The World Council of Churches. The Deceptive Face of the Contemporary Unifying Movement in Christianity), Orthodox Russia, No. 1239, 15/28 January 1983, p. 16. 

[563] The very name of this ecumenical gathering -- "Breaking Barriers" -- points at its objective: to abolish the boundaries of what is permissible, to transgress them by opening the door widely to all kinds of evil beliefs, heresies, false teachings and schisms. Like all masonic projects, ecumenical plans are worked out for a long time ahead, in order to gradually destroy the boundaries set by God, "do not change the boundaries set as of old by our fathers" (comp. Ps. 103, 9). 

[564] See the Collection: "Breaking Barriers", Nairobi 1975. The Official Report of the Fifth Assembly of the World Council of Churches, Nairobi, 23 November - 10 December, 1975. Edited by David M. Paton. Published in collaboration with the World Council of Churches, by SPCK, London WM. B. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids. Quoted from: Hieromonk Ignatii, "The World Council of Churches, p. 16. 

[565] "Divisions and Controversy Mars World Parliament", in: Christian News, 1993, p.15. 

[566] Monk-zealot Theoklitis (Germanos) in Protestations Orthodoxes ..., p. 65 

[567] Ibid. p. 66. 

[568] Ibid. 

[569] Metropolitan Augustine of Florina "Letter to Patriarch Demetrius" Quoted from: Protestations Orthodoxes ..., p. 52. 

[570] "Patriarchs' Opinions about the Latins" in the collection "Protest of the Orthodox World...", p. 67. 

[571] Ibid. 

[572] "If it were not for Basil, -- says the Church historian Sozomenos -- the heresy of Eunomios would have spread as far as Taurus, and the heresy of Apollinarius -- from Taurus to Egypt." -- The Lives of Saints by Dimitri of Rostov. "The Life of St. Basil the Great, January 1". 

[573] Ibid., see 1 January and 24 November. 

[574] See "Chet'i Minei", 21 January. 

[575] I.P. Yeremin, "The Literary Heritage of Theodosius of the Kiev Caves Lavra", TODRL, 1947, vol. 5, p. 171-172. 

[576] Ibid. 

[577] Archimandrite Ambrose, the author of the unique book about Bishop Mark of Ephesus, points out that, according to irrefutable proof, St. Mark's date of repose should be considered June 23, 1444 and not 1452 as it is mistakenly alleged by some authors. "Their allegations are both unsubstantiated and erroneous" -- says Archimandrite Ambrose (Pogodin). See Archimandrite Ambrose, "Sviatoi Mark Efesskii i Florentiiskaia Unia" (St. Mark of Ephesus and the Union of Florence), The Printing Press of St. Job of Pochaev, N.Y., 1963, pp. 365, 433. 

In this connection it is necessary to point out an error which year after year is repeated by the Moscow Patriarchate in its Pravaslavnyi Kalendar' (Orthodox Calendar) with respect to the date of repose of St. Mark of Ephesus: MP names the year 1457. See the already mentioned Calendar, 19 Jan / 1 Feb. 

[578] Archimandrite Ambrose, "St. Mark of Ephesus...", p. 308. 

[579] Ibid., p. 314. 

[580] Ibid., p. 309. 

[581] Ibid., p. 309. 

[582] A. V. Belgorodskaia, "Potaennaia Rossija" (The Unseen Russia), Orthodox Russia, No. 565, January 1997, p. 1 

[583] Pere Patric Ranson, Protestations Orthodoxes..., p. 10. 

[584] The collection of the Russian St. Elias Skete on Mt. Athos "The teaching of the Orthodox Church concerning the Holy Tradition and its Attitude to the New Style", The Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, N.Y., USA, 1989, p. 39.

[585] Archbishop Theophan of Poltava. Quoted from the collection Orthodoxy or Death, Moscow, 1997, p. 10. 

[586] See the ENI documents, "Towards a Common Date for Easter". World Council of Churches / Middle East Council of Churches Consultation. Aleppo, Syria, March 5-10, 1997. 

[587] This Council at Nicea (325) accepted a resolution (oros) regarding the celebration of Pascha (see our Supplement on the Julian Church Calendar). 

[588] See the materials in, 04/17/97. 

[589] Ibid. 

[590] See his book "Christianity and the Social Order", Quoted from Hieromonk Ignaty, "The World Council of Churches", p. 2. 

[591] At the present time the WCC unites 330 denominations. It is comprised of all Local Orthodox Churches, except the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, a series of the Old-calendarist groups in Greece as well as the Rumanian and Bulgarian Old-calendarist Churches. Beside the WCC, the "World Council of Christian Churches", established in 1948, consists of 602 denominations. Many members of both organizations not only reject the Dogma of Redemption and the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, but they do not believe even in the Divinity of the Savior. 

[592] Metropolitan Vitaly (Oustinov), the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, "Paskhalnoe Poslanie" (Paschal Epistle), Orthodox Russia, No. 1580, 1997, pp. 1-2, 15. 

[593] Patriarch Diodorus, "Declaration, Read to the Synod in Istanbul (13 - 15 March 1992)" , in the Collection Protestations Orthodoxes..., p. 74-75. 

[594] The Letter of the Monks of Karyes to the Holy Kinot. "Breaking off the Communion with the Patriarch". Ibid., p. 36. 

[595] See the apocalyptically frightening articles: Joshua Cooper Ramo Chama, "Finding God on the Web"; Robert Wright, "Can Thor Make a Comeback?" (Obscure religions -- half-forgotten or half invented are flourishing on the Web.), Time Australian Edition, Dec. 16, 1996, pp. 72-78; 82-83. 

[596] Metropolitan Vitaly, "Paschal Epistle", p. 15. 

[597] Nicholas Psarudakis, "Open Letter to the New Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomeos", Orthodoxos Typos, No. 950, 1 November 1991. 

[598] Metropolitan Vitaly, "Sermon After the Burial Service for Archbishop Anthony of Los-Angeles and Southern California", Orthodox Russia, No. 1566, 1/14 September 1996, p. 4.