The Fundamental Difference Between the “East” and “West”Professor John Romanides

Professor John Romanides


What follows is a heavily excerpted and slightly edited transcript of three lectures given by the great Orthodox scholar John S. Romanides in 1981 at Holy Cross Seminary in the Patriarch Athenagoras Memorial Lecture series. This article deals with the fundamental difference between Orthodoxy and Western Christianity, mainly Roman Catholicism. Readers will be surprised to learn that the division between “East” and “West” was actually more of a political division, caused by the ambitions of the Franks and other Germanic tribes, than a “Theological” question. Professor John Romanides of the University of Thessalonike challenges the common views regarding the causes for the Schism of the Church in the “Roman world,” and offers his own provocative interpretation of the historical background of this tragedy in the history of the Christian Church. Far from seeing basic differences in the “Roman world,” which led to alienation between the East and West, Romanides argues for the existence of “national, cultural and even linguistic unity between East (Byzantine) and West Romans”; that is, until the intrusion and takeover of the West Romans (the Roman Catholics) by the Franks (German tribes).
European and American histories treat the alienation between Eastern and Western Christian Churches as though it were inevitable, because of an alleged separation of the Roman Empire itself into “East” and “West,” because of alleged linguistic and cultural differences, and because of an alleged difference between the legal West and the speculative East. [1] Evidence strongly suggests that such attempts to explain the separation between East and West are conditioned by prejudices inherited from the cultural tradition of the Franks, and from the centuries-old propaganda of the Frankish (Germanic dominated) Papacy.


The evidence points clearly to the national, cultural, and even linguistic unity between East and West Romans which survived to the time when the Roman popes were replaced by Franks. Had the Franks not taken over the Papacy, it is very probable that the local synod of the Church of Rome (with the pope as president), elected according to the 769 election decree approved by the Eighth Ecumenical Synod in 879, would have survived, and that there would not have been any significant difference between the papacy and the other four Roman (Orthodox) Patriarchates.


However, things did not turn out that way. The Papacy was alienated from the (Orthodox) East by the Franks, so we now are faced with the history of that alienation when we contemplate the reunion of divided Christians. By the eighth century, we meet for the first time the beginnings of a split in Christianity. In West European sources we find a separation between a “Greek East” and a “Latin West.” In Roman sources this same separation constitutes a schism between Franks (a confederation of Germanic Teutonic peoples living on the lower banks of the Rhine who by the sixth century AD conquered most of France, the low countries and what is now Germany. ed) and Romans. One detects in both terminologies an ethnic or racial basis for the schism which may be more profound and important for descriptive analysis than the doctrinal claims of either side.


The Roman Empire was conquered in three stages: by Germanic tribes (the Franks) who became known as “Latin Christianity,” by Muslim Arabs, and finally, by Muslim Turks. In contrast to this, the ecclesiastical administration of the Roman Empire disappeared in stages from West Europe, but has survived up to modern times in the “East Roman Empire” the Orthodox Patriarchates of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem.


The reason for this is that the Germanic – Frankish conquerors of the West Romans (who became known as the “Roman Catholic Church.”) used the Church to suppress the Roman nation, whereas under Islam the East Roman nation, the Orthodox Church, survived by means of the Orthodox Church. In each instance of conquest, the bishops became the ethnarchs of the conquered Romans and administered Roman law on behalf of the rulers. As long as the bishops were Roman, the unity of the Roman Church was preserved, in spite of theological conflicts.



Roman Revolutions and the Rise of Frankish Feudalism and Doctrine


The Franks applied their policy of destroying the unity between the Romans under their rule and the “East Romans,” the Orthodox, under the rule of Constantinople.They played one Roman party against the other, took neither side, and finally condemned both the iconoclasts and the Seventh Ecumenical Synod (786/7) at their own Council of Frankfurt in 794,

In the time of Pippin of Herestal (687-715) and Charles Martel (715-741), many of the Franks who replaced Roman bishops were military leaders who, accordingto Saint Boniface, “shed the blood of Christians like that of the pagans.” [2]



The Imperial CoronationCharlemagne

An unsuccessful attempt was made on the life of (the Roman) Pope Leo III (795-816), the successor of Hadrian. Pope Leo was then accused of immoral conduct. Charlemagne took a personal and active interest in the investigations which caused Leo to be brought to him in Paderborn. Leo was sent back to Rome, followed by Charlemagne, who continued the investigations. The Frankish king required finally that Leo swear his innocence on the Bible, which he did on December 23, (800). Two days later Leo crowned Charlemagne “Emperor of the Romans.” Charlemagne had arranged to get the title “Emperor” in exchange for Leo’s exoneration. Charlemagne caused the filioque (the new line in the Creed that said that the Holy Spirit, “proceeds from the Father and the Son,” instead of the original which read, “proceeds from the Father, to be added to the Frankish Creed, without consulting the pope. When the controversy over this addition broke out in Jerusalem, Charlemagne convoked the Council of Aachen (809) and decreed that this addition was a dogma necessary for salvation. With this fait accomplit under his belt, he tried to pressure Pope Leo III into accepting it. [3]


Pope Leo rejected the filioque not only as an addition to the Creed, but also as doctrine, claiming that the Fathers left it out of the Creed neither out of ignorance, nor out of negligence, nor out of oversight, but on purpose and by divine inspiration. What Leo said to the Franks but in diplomatic terms, was that the addition of the filioque to the Creed is a heresy.


The so-called split between East and West was, in reality, the importation into Old Rome of the schism provoked by Charlemagne and carried there by the Franks and Germans who took over the papacy.



The Bible and Tradition

A basic characteristic of the Frankish (Germanic-Latin) scholastic method, mislead by Augustinian Platonism and Thomistic Aristotelianism had been its naive confidence in the objective existence of things rationally speculated about. By following Augustine, the Franks and the “Latin” Roman Catholic Church substituted the patristic concern for spiritual observation, (which they had found firmly established in Gaul when they first conquered the area) with a Germanic fascination for metaphysics.


In contrast to the Franks the Fathers of the Orthodox Church did not understand theology as a theoretical or speculative science, but as a positive science in all respects. This is why the patristic understanding of Biblical inspiration is similar to the inspiration of writings in the field of the positive sciences.


Scientific manuals are inspired by the observations of specialists. For example, the astronomer records what he observes by means of the instruments at his disposal. Because of his training in the use of his instruments, he is inspired by the heavenly bodies, and sees things invisible to the naked eye. The same is true of all the positive sciences. However, books about science can never replace scientific observations. These writings are not the observations themselves, but about these observations.


The same is true of the Orthodox understanding of the Bible and the writings of the Fathers. Neither the Bible nor the writings of the Fathers are revelation or the word of God. They are about revelation and about the word of God.


Revelation is the appearance of God to the prophets, apostles, and saints. The Bible and the writings of the Fathers are about these appearances, but not the appearances themselves. This is why it is the prophet, apostle, and saint who sees God, and not those who simply read about their experiences of glorification. It is obvious that neither a book about glorification nor one who reads such a book can ever replace the prophet, apostle, or saint who has the experience of glorification.


This is the heart of the Orthodox understanding of tradition and apostolic succession which sets it apart from the “Latin” (in other words, Frankish-Germanic) and Protestant traditions, both of which stem from the theology of the Franks.


Following Augustine, the Franks identified revelation with the Bible and believed that Christ gave to the Church the Holy Spirit as a guide to its correct understanding. This would be similar to claiming that the books about biology were revealed by microbes and cells without the biologists having seen them with the microscope, and that these same microbes and cells inspire future teachers to correctly understand these books without the use of the microscope!


Historians have noted the naivite of the Frankish religious mind which was shocked by the first claims for the primacy of observation over rational analysis. Even Galileo’s telescopes could not shake this confidence. However, several centuries before Galileo, the Franks had been shocked by the East Roman (Orthodox) claim, hurled by Saint Gregory Palamas (1296-1359), of the primacy of experience and observation over “reason” in theology.



Instruments, Observation, Concepts, and Language

The universe has turned out to be a much greater mystery to man than anyone was ever able to imagine. Indications are strong that it will yet prove to be an even greater mystery than man today can yet imagine. In the light of this, one thinks humorously of the (Latin) bishops who could not grasp the reality, let alone the magnitude, of what they saw through Galileo’s telescope. But the magnitude of Frankish naivite becomes even greater when one realizes that these same church leaders who could not understand the meaning of a simple observation were claiming knowledge of God’s essence and nature.


The Latin tradition could not understand the significance of an instrument by which the prophets, apostles, and saints had reached glorification.


Similar to today’s sciences, Orthodox theology also depends on an instrument which is not identified with reason or the intellect. The Biblical name for this is the heart. Christ says, “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.”[4]


The heart is not normally clean, i.e., it does not normally function properly. Like the lens of a telescope or microscope, it must be polished so that light may pass through and allow man to focus his spiritual vision on things not visible to the naked eye.


In time, some Fathers gave the name nous (nou’~) to the faculty of the soul which operates within the heart when restored to normal capacity, and reserved the names logos (lovgo”) and dianoia (diavnoia) for the intellect and reason, or for what we today would call the brain. In order to avoid confusion, we use the terms noetic faculty and noetic prayer to designate the activity of the nous in the heart called noerav eujchv. (noetic prayer).


The heart, and not the brain, is the area in which the theologian is formed. Theology includes the intellect as all sciences do, but it is in the heart that the intellect and all of man observes and experiences the rule of God. One of the basic differences between science and Orthodox theology is that man has his heart or noetic faculty by nature, whereas he himself has created his instruments of scientific observation.


A second basic difference is the following: By means of his instruments, and the energy radiated by and/or upon what he observes, the scientist sees things which he can describe with words, even though at times inadequately. These words are symbols of accumulated human experience, and understood by those with the same or similar experience.


In contrast to this, the experience of glorification is to see God who has no similarity whatsoever to anything created, not even to the intellect or to the angels. God is literally unique and can in no way be described by comparison with anything that any creature may be, know or imagine. No aspect about God can be expressed in a concept or collection of concepts.


It is for this reason that in Orthodoxy positive statements about God are counterbalanced by negative statements, not in order to purify the positive ones of their imperfections, but in order to make clear that God is in no way similar to the concepts conveyed by words, since God is above every name and concept ascribed to Him. Although God created the universe, which continues to depend on Him, God and the universe do not belong to one category of truth. Truths concerning creation cannot apply to God, nor can the truth of God be applied to creation.



Diagnosis and Therapy

Let us turn our attention to those aspects of differences between Roman and Frankish theologies which have had a strong impact on the development of differences in the doctrine of the Church. The basic differences may be listed under diagnosis of spiritual ills and their therapy.


According to the Orthodox Church, the “East Romans,” Glorification is the vision of God in which the equality of all men and the absolute value of each man is experienced. God loves all men equally and indiscriminately, regardless of even their moral status. God loves with the same love, both the saint and the devil. To teach otherwise, as Augustine and the Franks did, would be adequate proof that they did not have the slightest idea of what glorification was.


According to the Orthodox, God multiplies and divides himself in His uncreated energies undividedly among divided things, so that He is both present by act and absent by nature to each individual creature and everywhere present and absent at the same time. This is the fundamental mystery of the presence of God to His creatures and shows that universals do not exist in God and are, therefore, not part of the state of illumination as in the Augustinian (Frankish Latin) tradition.


According to the Orthodox, God himself is both heaven and hell, reward and punishment. All men have been created to see God unceasingly in His uncreated glory. Whether God will be for each man heav-en or hell, reward or punishment, depends on man’s re-sponse to God’s love and on man’s transformation from the state of selfish and self-centered love, to Godlike love which does not seek its own ends.


One can see how the Frankish understanding of heaven and hell poetically described by Dante, John Milton, and James Joyce are so foreign to the Orthodox tradition (but in keeping with the “Latin” tradition).


According to the Orthodox, since all men will see God, no religion can claim for itself the power to send people either to heaven or to hell. This means that true spiritual fathers prepare their spiritual charges so that vision of God’s glory will be heaven, and not hell, reward, and not punishment. The primary purpose of Orthodox Christianity then, is to prepare its members for an experience which every human being will sooner or later have.


While the brain (according to the Orthodox) is the center of human adaptation to the environment, the noetic faculty in the heart is the primary organ for communion with God. The fall of man or the state of inherited sin is: a) the failure of the noetic faculty to function properly, or to function at all; b) its confusion with the functions of the brain and the body in general; and c) its resulting enslavement to the environment.


Each individual experiences the fall of his own noetic faculty. One can see why the Augustinian “Latin,” Frankish) understanding of the fall of man as an inherited guilt for the sin of Adam and Eve is not, and cannot, be accepted by the Orthodox tradition.


There are two known memory systems built into living beings, 1) cell memory which determines the function and development of the individual in relation to itself, and 2) brain cell memory which determines the function of the individual in relation to its environment. In addition to this, the patristic tradition is aware of the existence in human beings of a now normally non-functioning or sub-functioning memory in the heart, which when put into action via noetic prayer, includes unceasing memory of God and, therefore, the normalization of all other relations.


When the noetic faculty is not functioning properly, man is enslaved to fear and anxiety and his relations to others are essentially utilitarian. Thus, the root cause of all abnormal relations between God and man and among men is that fallen man, i.e., man with a malfunctioning noetic faculty, uses God, his fellow man, and nature for his own understanding of security and happiness. Man outside of glorification imagines the existence of god or gods which are psychological projections of his need for security and happiness.


That all men have this noetic faculty in the heart also means that all are in direct relation to God at various levels, depending on how much the individual personality resists enslavement to his physical and social surroundings and allows himself to be directed by God. Every individual is sustained by the uncreated glory of God and is the dwelling place of this uncreated creative and sustaining light, which is called the rule, power, grace, etc. of God. Human reaction to this direct relation or communion with God can range from the hardening of the heart, i.e., the snuffing out of the spark of grace, to the experience of glorification attained to by the prophets, apostles, and saints.


This means that all men are equal in possession of the noetic faculty, but not in quality or degree of function. It is important to note the clear distinction between spirituality, which is rooted primarily in the heart’s noetic faculty, and intellectuality, which is rooted in the brain. Thus:


1) A person with little intellectual attainments can rise to the highest level of noetic perfection.

2) On the other hand, a man of the highest intellectual attainments can fall to the lowest level of noetic imperfection.

3) One may also reach both the highest intellectual attainments and noetic perfection.

Or 4) one may be of meager intellectual accomplishment with a hardening of the heart.


Saint Basil the Great writes that “the in-dwelling of God is this—to have God established within ourself by means of memory. We thus become temples of God, when the continuity of memory is not interrupted by earthly cares, nor the noetic faculty shaken by unexpected sufferings, but escaping from all things this (noetic faculty) friend of God retires to God, driving out the passions which tempt it to incontinence and abides in the practices which lead to virtues.”[5]


Saint Gregory the Theologian points out that “we ought to remember God even more often than we draw out breath; and if it suffices to say this, we ought to do nothing else…or, to use Moses’ words, whether a man lie asleep, or rise up, or walk by the way, or whatever else he is doing, he should also have this impressed in his memory for purity.”[6]


Saint Gregory insists that to theologize “is permitted only to those who have passed examinations and have reached theoria, and who have been previously purified in soul and body, or at least are being purified.”[7]


This state of theoria is two fold or has two stages: a) unceasing memory of God and b) glorification, the latter being a gift which God gives to His friends according to their needs and the needs of others. During this latter state of glorification, unceasing noetic prayer is interrupted since it is replaced by a vision of the glory of God in Christ. The normal functions of the body, such as sleeping, eating, drinking, and digestion are suspended. In other respects, the intellect and the body function normally. One does not lose consciousness, as happens in the ecstatic mystical experiences of non-Orthodox Christian and pagan religions. One is fully aware and conversant with his environment and those around him, except that he sees everything and everyone saturated by the uncreated glory of God, which is neither light nor darkness, and nowhere and everywhere at the same time. This state may be of short, medium, or long duration. In the case of Moses it lasted for forty days and forty nights. The faces of those in this state of glorification give off an imposing radiance, like that of the face of Moses, and after they die, their bodies become holy relics. These relics give off a strange sweet smell, which at times can become strong. In many cases, these relics remain intact in a good state of preservation, without having been embalmed. They are completely stiff from head to toe, light, dry, and with no signs of putrefaction.


There is no metaphysical criterion for distinguishing between good and bad people. It is much more correct to distinguish between ill and more healthy persons. The sick ones are those whose noetic faculty is either not functioning, or functioning poorly, and the healthier ones are those whose noetic faculty is being cleansed and illumined.


These levels are incorporated into the very structure of the four Gospels and the liturgical life of the Church. The Gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke reflect the pre-baptismal catechism for cleansing the heart, and the Gospel of John reflects the post-baptismal catechism which leads to theoria by way of the stage of illumination. Christ himself is the spiritual Father who led the apostles, as He had done with Moses and the prophets, to glorification by means of purification and illumination.[8]


One can summarize these three stages of (Orthodox) perfection as a) that of the slave who performs the commandments because of fear of seeing God as a consuming fire, b) that of the hireling whose motive is the reward of seeing God as glory, and c) that of the friends of God whose noetic faculty is completely free, whose love has become selfless end because of this, are willing to be damned for the salvation of their fellow man, as in the cases of Moses and Paul.



Historical Background

The Franks deliberately provoked doctrinal differences, between the East Romans, (the Orthodox) and the West Romans, (the Roman Catholics) in order to break the national and ecclesiastical unity of the original Roman nation. Because of this deliberate policy, the filioque question took on irreparable dimensions. However, the identity of the West Romans and of the East Romans as one indivisible nation, faithful to the Roman Christian faith promulgated at the Ecumenical Synods held in the Eastern part of the Empire, is completely lost to the historians of Germanic background, since the East Romans are consistently called “Greeks” and “Byzantines.”


Thus, the historical myth has been created that the West Roman Fathers of the Church, the Franks, Lombards, Burgundians, Normans, etc., are one continuous and historically unbroken “Latin” Christendom, clearly distinguished and different from a mythical “Greek” Christendom. The frame of reference accepted without reservation by Western historians for so many centuries has been “the Greek East and the Latin West.”


A much more accurate understanding of history presenting the filioque controversy in its true historical perspective is based on the Roman viewpoint of church history, to be found in (both Latin and Greek) Roman sources, as well as in Syriac, Ethiopian, Arabic, and Turkish sources. All these point to a distinction between Frankish and Roman Christendom, and not between a mythical “Latin” and “Greek” Christendom. Among the Romans, Latin and Greek are national languages, not nations. The Fathers are neither “Latins” nor “Greeks” but Romans.


Having this historical background in mind, one can then appreciate the significance of certain historical and theological factors underlying the so-called filioque controversy. This controversy was essentially a continuation of the Germanic or Frankish effort to control not only the Roman nation, now transformed into the serfs of Frankish feudalism, but also the rest of the Roman nation and Empire.


The historical appearance of Frankish theology coincides with the beginnings of the filioque controversy. Since the Roman Fathers of the Church took a strong position on this issue, as they did on the question of Icons (also condemned initially by the Franks), the Franks automatically terminated the patristic period of theology with Saint John of Damascus in the East (after they accepted the Seventh Ecumenical Synod) and Isidore of Seville in the West. After this, the Roman Empire no longer can produce Fathers of the Church because the Romans rejected the Frankish filioque. In doing so, the Romans withdrew themselves from the central trunk of Christianity (as the Franks understood things) which now becomes identical with Frankish Christianity, especially after the East Franks expelled the Romans from the Papacy and took it over themselves.


From the Roman viewpoint, however, the Roman tradition of the Fathers was not only not terminated in the eighth century, but continued a vigorous existence in the East, as well as within Arab-occupied areas. Present research is now leading to the conclusion that the Roman Patristic period extended right into the period of Ottoman rule, after the fall of Constantinople New Rome. This means that the Eighth Ecumenical Synod (879), under Photios, the so-called Palamite Synods of the fourteenth century, and the Synods of the Roman Patriarchates during the Ottoman period, are all a continuation and an integral part of the history of Patristic theology. It is also a continuation of the Roman Christian tradition, minus the Patriarchate of Old Rome, which, since 1009 after having been captured, ceased to be Roman and became a Frankish institution.


Without ever mentioning the Franks, the Eighth Ecumenical Synod of 879 condemned those who either added or subtracted from the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, and also those who had not yet accepted the Seventh Ecumenical Synod.


It must first be emphasized that this is the first instance in history wherein an Ecumenical Synod condemned heretics without naming them. In this case the heretics are clearly the universally feared Franks. It is always claimed by Protestant, Anglican, and Latin scholars that since the time of Hadrian I or Leo III, through the period of John VIII, the Papacy opposed the filioque only as an addition to the Creed, but never as doctrine or theological opinion. Thus, it is claimed that John VIII accepted the Eighth Ecumenical Synod’s condemnation of the addition to the Creed and not of the filioque as a teaching.


However, both Photios and John VIII’s letter to Photios testify to this pope’s condemnation of the filioque as doctrine also. Yet the filioque could not be publicly condemned as heresy by the Church of Old Rome. Why? Simply because the Franks were militarily in control of papal Romania, and as illiterate barbarians were capable of any kind of criminal act against the Roman clergy and populace. The Franks were a dangerous presence in papal Romania and had to be handled with great care and tact.


Yet the Romans in the West could never support the introduction of the filioque into the Creed, not because they did not want to displease the “Greeks,” but because this would be heresy. The West Romans knew very well that the term procession in the Creed was introduced as a parallel to generation, and that both meant causal relation to the Father, and not energy or mission.


This interpretation of the filioque is the consistent position of the Roman popes, and clearly so in the case of Leo III. The minutes of the conversation held in 810 between the three apocrisari of Charlemagne and Pope Leo III, kept by the Frankish monk Smaragdus, bear out this consistency in papal policy.[9] Leo accepts the teaching of the Fathers, quoted by the Franks, that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, as taught by Augustine and Ambrose. However, the filioque must not be added to the Creed as was done by the Franks, who got permission to sing the Creed from Leo but not to add to the Creed.


When one reads these minutes, remembering the Franks were a dangerous presence in Rome capable of acting in a most cruel and barbarous manner if provoked, then one comes to the clear realization that Pope Leo III is actually telling the Franks in clear and diplomatic terms that the filioque in the Creed is a heresy.


In the light of the above, we do not have the situation usually presented by European, American, and Russian historians in which the filioque is an integral part of so–called “Latin” Christendom with a “Greek” Christendom in opposition on the pretext of its introduction into the Creed. (The addition to the Creed was supposedly opposed by the popes not doctrinally, but only as addition in order not to offend the “Greeks.”) What we do have is a united West and East Roman Christian nation in opposition to an upstart group of Germanic races who began teaching the Romans before they really learned anything themselves. Of course, German teachers could be very convincing on questions of dogma, only by holding a knife to the throat. Otherwise, especially in the time of imposing the filioque, the theologians of the new Germanic theology were better than their noble peers, only because they could read and write and had, perhaps, memorized Augustine.



The Theological Background

At the foundation of the filioque controversy between Franks and Romans lie essential differences in theological method, theological subject matter, spirituality, and, therefore, also in the understanding of the very nature of doctrine and of the development of the language or of terms in which doctrine is expressed.


When reading through Smaragdus’ minutes of the meeting between Charlemagne’s emissaries and Pope Leo III, one is struck not only by the fact that the Franks had so audaciously added the filioque to the Creed and made it into a dogma, but also by the haughty manner in which they so authoritatively announced that the filioque was necessary for salvation, and that it was an improvement of an already good, but not complete, doctrine concerning the Holy Spirit. This was in answer to Leo’s strong hint at Frankish audacity. Leo, in turn, warned that when one attempts to improve what is good he should first be sure that in trying to improve he is not corrupting. He emphasizes that he cannot put himself in a position higher than the Fathers of the Synods, who did not omit the filioque out of oversight or ignorance, but by divine inspiration.


The question arises, “Where in the world did the newly born Frankish theological tradition get the idea that the filioque is an improvement of the Creed, and that it was omitted from creedal expression because of oversight or ignorance on the part of the Fathers of the Synod?” Since Augustine is the only representative of Roman theology that the Franks were more or less fully acquainted with, one must turn to the Bishop of Hippo for a possible answer. I think I have found the answer in Saint Augustine’s lecture delivered to the assembly of African bishops in 393. Augustine had been asked to deliver a lecture on the Creed, which he did. Later he reworked the lecture and published it. I do not see why the Creed expounded is not that of Nicaea-Constantinople, since the outline of Augustine’s discourse and the Creed are the same. Twelve years had passed since its acceptance by the Second Ecumenical Synod and, if ever, this was the opportune time for assembled bishops to learn of the new, official, imperially approved creed. The bishops certainly knew their own local Creed and did not require lessons on that. In any case, Augustine makes three basic blunders in this discourse and died many years later without ever realizing his mistakes, which were to lead the Franks and the whole of their Germanic Latin Christendom into a repetition of those same mistakes.


In his De Fide et Symbolo,[10] Augustine makes an unbelievable naive and inaccurate statement: “With respect to the Holy Spirit, however, there has not been, on the part of learned and distinguished investigators of the Scriptures, a fuller careful enough discussion of the subject to make it possible for us to obtain an intelligent conception of what also constitutes His special individuality (proprium).”


Everyone at the Second Ecumenical Synod knew well that this question was settled once and for all by the use in the Creed of the word procession as meaning the manner of existence of the Holy Spirit from the Father which constitutes His special individuality. Thus, the Father is unbegotten, i.e. derives His existence from no one. The Son is from the Father by generation. The Holy Spirit is from the Father, not by generation, but by procession. The Father is cause, the Son and the Spirit are caused. The difference between the ones caused is the one is caused by generation, and the other by procession, and not by generation.


In any case, Augustine spent many years trying to solve this non-existent problem concerning the individuality of the Holy Spirit and, because of another set of mistakes in his understanding of revelation and theological method, came up with the filioque.


It is no wonder that the Franks, believing that Augustine had solved a theological problem which the other Roman Fathers had supposedly failed to grapple with and solve came to the conclusion that they uncovered a theologian far superior to all other Fathers. In him the Franks had a theologian who improved upon the teaching of the Second Ecumenical Synod.


A second set of blunders made by Augustine in this same discourse is that he identified the Holy Spirit with the divinity “which the Greeks designate qeovth~” and explained that this is the “love between the Father and the Son.”[11]


The third and most disturbing blunder in Augustine’s approach to the question before us is that his theological method is not only pure speculation on what one accepts by faith (for the purpose of intellectually understanding as much as one’s reason allows by either illumination or ecstatic intuition), but is a speculation which is transferred from the individual speculating believer to a speculating church, which, like an individual, understands the dogmas better with the passage of time.


Thus, the Church awaits a discussion about the Holy Spirit “Full enough or careful enough to make it possible for us to obtain an intelligent conception of what also constitutes His special individuality (proprium).”


The most amazing thing is the fact that Augustine begins with seeking out the individual properties of the Holy Spirit and immediately reduces Him to what is common to the Father and Son. However, in his later additions to his De Trinitate, he insists that the Holy Spirit is an individual substance of the Holy Trinity completely equal to the other two substances and possessing the same essence as we saw.


In any case, the Augustinian idea that the Church herself goes through a process of attaining a deeper and better understanding of her dogmas or teachings was made the very basis of the Frankish propaganda that the filioque is a deeper and better understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity. Therefore, adding it to the Creed is an improvement upon the faith of the Romans who had allowed themselves to become lazy and slothful on such an important matter. This, of course, raises the whole question concerning the relationship between revelation and verbal and iconic or symbolic expressions of revelation.


For Augustine, there is no distinction between revelation and conceptual intuition of revelation. Whether revelation is given directly to human reason, or to human reason by means of creatures, or created symbols, it is always the human intellect itself which is being illumined or given vision to. The vision of God itself is an intellectual experience, even though above the powers of reason without appropriate grace.


In contrast to this Augustinian approach to language and concepts concerning God, we have the Patristic position expressed by Saint Gregory the Theologian against the Eunomians. Plato had claimed that it is difficuIt to conceive of God but, to define Him in words is an impossibility. Saint Gregory disagrees with this and emphasizes that “it is impossible to express Him, and yet, more impossible to conceive Him. For that which may be conceived may perhaps be made clear by language, if not fairly well, at any rate imperfectly…”[12]


The most important element in Patristic epistemology is that the partial knowability of the divine actions or energies, and the absolute and radical unknowability and incommunicability of the divine essence is not a result of philosophical or theological speculation, as it is in Paul of Samosata, Arianism, and Nestorianism, but of the personal experience of revelation or participation in the uncreated glory of God by means of vision or theoria. Saint Gregory defines a theologian as one who has reached this theoria by means of purification and illumination, and not by means of dialectical speculation. Thus, the authority for Christian truth is not the written words of the Bible, which cannot in themselves either express God or convey an adequate concept concerning God, but rather the individual apostle, prophet, or saint who is glorified in God.


Because the Franks, following Augustine, neither understood the Patristic position on this subject, nor were they willing from the heights of their majestic feudal nobility to listen to “Greeks” explain these distinctions, they went about raiding the Patristic texts. They took passages out of context in order to prove that for all the Fathers, as supposedly in the case of Augustine, the fact that the Father and the Son send the Holy Spirit means that the Holy Spirit derives His existence from the Father and Son.


The Fathers always claimed that generation and procession are what distinguish the Son from the Holy Spirit. Since the Son is the only begotten Son of God, procession is different from generation. Otherwise, we would have two Sons, in which case there is no only begotten Son. For the Fathers this was both a biblical fact and a mystery to be treated with due respect. To ask what generation and procession are is as ridiculous as asking what the divine essence is. Only energies of God may be known, and then only in so far as the creature can receive.


In contrast to this, Augustine set out to explain what generation is. He identified generation with what the other Roman Fathers called actions or energies of God which are common to the Holy Trinity. Thus, procession ended up being these same energies. The difference between the Son and the Spirit was that the Son is from one and the Holy Spirit from two.


When he began his De Trinitate,[13] Augustine promised that he would explain why the Son and the Holy Spirit are not brothers. After completing his twelfth book, his friends stole and published this work in an unfinished and uncorrected form. In Book 15.45, Augustine admits that he cannot explain why the Holy Spirit is not a Son of the Father and brother of the Logos, and proposes that we will learn this in the next life.


In his Rectractationun, Augustine explains how he intended to exiain what had happened in another writing and not publish his De Trinitate himself. However, his friends prevailed upon him, and he simply corrected the books as much as he could and finished the work with which he was not really satisfied.


What is most remarkable is that the spiritual and cultural descendants of the Franks are still claiming that Augustine is the authority par excellence on the Patristic doctrine of the Holy Trinity!


Whereas no Greek-speaking Roman Father ever used the expression that the Holy Spirit proceeds (ejkporeuvetai) from the Father and Son, both Ambrose and Augustine use this expression. Since Ambrose was so dependent on such Greek-speaking experts as Basil the Great and Didymos the Blind, particularly his work on the Holy Spirit, one would expect that he would follow Eastern usage.


It seems, however, that at the time of the death of Ambrose, before the Second Ecumenical Synod, the term procession had been adopted by Didymos as the hypostatic individuality of the Holy Spirit. It had not been used by Saint Basil (only in his letter 38 he seems to be using procession as Gregory the Theologian) or by Saint Gregory of Nyssa before the Second Ecumenical Synod. Of the Cappadocian Fathers, only Saint Gregory the Theologian uses very clearly in his Theological Orations what became the final formulation of the Church on the matter at the Second Ecumenical Synod.


Evidently, because Augustine transformed the doctrine of the Holy Trinity into a speculative exercise of philosophical acumen, the simple, schematic and biblical nature of the doctrine in the East Roman (Orthodox) tradition had been lost sight of by those stemming from the scholastic tradition.


Thus, the history of the doctrine of the Trinity has been reduced to searching out the development of such concepts and terminology as three persons or hypostases, one essence, homoousios, personal or hypostatic properties, one divinity, etc.


The summary of the Patristic theological method is perhaps sufficient to indicate the nonspeculative method by which the Fathers theologize and interpret the Bible. The method is simple and-the result is schematic. Stated simply and arithmetically, the whole doctrine of the Trinity may be broken down into two simple statements as far as the filioque is concerned. (1) What is common in the Holy Trinity is common to and identical in all three persons or hypostases. (2) What is hypostatic, or hypostatic property, or manner of existence is individual, and belongs only to one person or hypostasis of the Holy Trinity. Thus, we have tav koinav and tav ajkoinwvnhta, what is common and what is incommunically individual.


Having this in mind, one realizes why the West and East Romans did not take the Frankish filioque very seriously as a theological position, especially as one which was supposed to improve upon the Creed of the Second Ecumenical Synod.


However, the Romans had to take the Franks themselves seriously, because they backed up their fantastic theological claims with an unbelievable self-confidence and with a sharp sword. What they lacked in historical insight, they made up with “nobility” of descent, and a strong will to back up their arguments with muscle and steel.


In any case, it may be useful in terminating this section to emphasize the simplicity of the Roman position and the humor with which the filioque was confronted. We may recapture this Roman humor about the Latin filioque with two syllogistic jokes from the Great Photios which may explain some of the fury of Frankish reaction against him.


“Everything, therefore, which is seen and spoken of in the all-holy and consubstantial and coessential Trinity, is either common to all, or belongs to one only of the three: but the projection (probolhv) of the Spirit, is neither common, nor, as they say, does it belong to any one of them alone (may propitiation be upon us, and the blasphemy turned upon their heads). Therefore, the projection of the Spirit is not at all in the lifegiving and all-perfect Trinity.”[14]


In other words, the Holy Spirit must then derive His existence outside of the Holy Trinity since everything in the Trinity is common to all or belongs to one only.


“For otherwise, if all things common to the Father and the Son, are in any case common to the Spirit, …and the procession from them is common to the Father and the Son, the Spirit therefore will then proceed from himself: and He will be principle (ajrchv) of himself, and both cause and caused: a thing which even the myths of the Greeks never fabricated.”[15]


Keeping in mind the fact that the Fathers always began their thoughts about the Holy Trinity from their personal experience of the Angel of the Lord and Great Counselor made man and Christ, one only then understands the problematic underlying the Arian/Eunomian crisis, i.e., whether this concrete person derives His existence from the essence or hypostasis of the Father or from non-being by the will of the Father. Had the tradition understood the method of theologizing about God as Augustine did, there would never have been an Arian or Eunomian heresy. Those who reach glorification (theosis) know by this experience that whatever has its existence from non-being by the will of God is a creature, and whoever and whatever is not from non-being, but from the Father is uncreated. Between the created and the uncreated, there is no similarity whatsoever. [16] Before the Cappadocian Fathers gave their weight to the distinction between the three divine hypostases (uJpostavsei~) and the one divine essence, many Orthodox Church leaders avoided speaking either about one essence or one hypostasis since this smacked of Sabellian and Samosatene Monarchianism. Many preferred to speak about the Son as deriving His existence from the Father’s essence and as being like the Father in essence (oJmoiouvsio~) Saint Athanasios explains that this is exactly what is meant by (oJmoouvsio~)—coessential.[17] It is clear that the Orthodox were not searching for a common faith but rather for common terminology and common concepts to express their common experience in the Body of Christ.


Equally important is the fact that the Cappadocians lent their weight to the distinction between the Father as cause (ai[tio~) and the Son and the Holy Spirit as caused (aijtiatav). Coupled with the manners of existence (trovpoi uJpavrxew~) of generation and procession, these terms mean that the Father causes the existence of the Son by generation and of the Holy Spirit by procession and not by generation. Of course, the Father being from no one (ejx oujdenov~) derives His existence neither from himself nor from another. Actually, Saint Basil pokes fun at Eunomios for being the first to say such an obvious thing and thereby manifest his frivolousness and wordiness. Furthermore, neither the essence nor the natural energy of the Father have a cause or manner of existence. The Father possesses them by His very nature and communicates them to the Son in order that they possess them by nature likewise. Thus, the manner by which the uncaused Father exists, and by which the Son and the Holy Spirit receive their existence from the Father, are not to be confused with the Father’s communicating His essence and energy to the Son and the Holy Spirit. It would, indeed, be strange to speak about the Father as causing the existence of His own essence and energy along with the hypostases of the Son and the Holy Spirit.


It also must be emphasized that for the Fathers who composed the creeds of Nicaea and Constantinople neither generation nor procession mean energy or action. This was the position of the heretics condemned. The Arians claimed that the Son is the product of the will of God. The Eunomians supported a more original but bizarre position that the uncreated energy of the Father is identical with His essence, that the Son is the product of a simple created energy of God, that the Holy Spirit is the product of a single energy of the Son, and that each created species is the product of a special energy of the Holy Spirit, there being as many created energies as there are species. Otherwise, if the Holy Spirit has only one created energy, then there would be only one species of things in creation. It is in the light of these heresies also that one must appreciate that generation and procession in the Creed in no way mean energy or action.


However, when the Franks began raiding the Fathers for arguments to support their addition to the Creed, they picked up the categories of manner of existence, cause and caused, and identified these with Augustine’s generation and procession, thus transforming the old Western Orthodox filioque into their heretical one. This confusion is nowhere so clear than during the debates at the Council of Florence where the Franks used the terms cause and caused as identical with their generation and procession, and supported their claim that the Father and the Son are one cause of the procession of the Holy Spirit. Thus, they became completely confused over Maximos who explains that for the West of his time, the Son is not the cause of the existence of the Holy Spirit, so that in this sense the Holy Spirit does not proceed from the Father. That Anastasios the Librarian repeats this is ample evidence of the confusion of both the Franks and their spiritual and theological descendants.*** For the Fathers, no name or concept gives any understanding of the mystery of the Holy Trinity. Saint Gregory the Theologian, e.g., is clear on this as we saw. He ridicules his opponents with a characteristic taunt: “Do tell me what is the unbegotteness of the Father, and I will explain to you the physiology of the generation of the Son and the procession of the Spirit, and we shall both of us be frenzy-stricken for prying into the mystery of God’’17 Names and concepts about God give to those who reach theoria understanding not of the mystery, but of the dogma and its purpose. In the experience of glorification, knowledge about God, along with prayer, prophecy and faith are abolished. Only love remains (1 Cor. 13, 8-13; 14,1). The mystery remains, and will always remain, even when one sees God in Christ face to face and is known by God as Paul was (I Cor. 13.12).


The Significance of the Filioque Question

Smaragdus records how the emissaries of Charlemagne complained that Pope Leo III was making an issue of only four syllables. Of course, four syllables are not many. Nevertheless, their implications are such that Latin or Frankish Christendom embarked on a history of theology and ecclesiastical practice which may have been quite different had the Franks paid attention to the “Greeks.”


I will indicate some of the implications of the presuppositions of the filioque issue which present problems today.


1 ) Even a superficial study of today’s histories of dogma and biblical scholarship reveals the peculiar fact that Protestant, Anglican, Papal, and some Orthodox theologians accept the First and Second Ecumenical Synods only formally. This is so because there is at least an identity of teaching between Orthodox and Arians, which does not exist between Orthodox and Latins, about the real appearances of the Logos to the Old Testament prophets and the identity of this Logos with the Logos made flesh in the New Testament. This, as we saw, was the agreed foundation of debate for the determination of whether the Logos seen by the prophets is created or uncreated. This identification of the Logos in the Old Testament is the very basis of the teachings of all the Roman Ecumenical Synods.


We emphasize that the East Roman (Orthodox) Fathers never abandoned this reading of the Old Testament theophanies. This is the teaching of all the West Roman Fathers, with the single exception of Augustine, who, confused as usual over what the Fathers teach, rejects as blasphemous the idea that the prophets could have seen the Logos with their bodily eyes and, indeed, in fire, darkness, cloud, etc.


The Arians and Eunomians had used, as the Gnostics before them, the visibility of the Logos to the prophets to prove that He was a lower being than God and a creature. Augustine agrees with the Arians and Eunomians that the prophets saw a created Angel, created fire, cloud, light, darkness, etc., but he argues against them that none of these was the Logos himself, but symbols by means of which God or the whole Trinity is seen and heard.


Augustine had no patience with the teaching that the Angel of the Lord, the fire, the glory, the cloud, and the Pentecostal tongues of fire, were verbal symbols of the uncreated realities immediately communicated with by the prophets and apostles, since for him this would mean that all this language pointed to a vision of the divine substance. For the bishop of Hippo this vision is identical to the whole of what is uncreated, and could be seen only by a Neoplatonic type ecstasy of the soul, out of the body within the sphere of timeless and motionless eternity transcending all discursive reasoning. Since this is not what he found in the Bible, the visions therein described are not verbal symbols of real visions of God, but of creatures symbolizing eternal realities. The created verbal symbols of the Bible became created objective symbols. In other words, words which symbolized uncreated energies like fire, etc., became objectively real created fires, clouds, tongues, etc.


2) This failure of Augustine to distinguish between the divine essence and its natural energies (of which some are communicated to the friends of God), led to a very peculiar reading of the Bible, wherein creatures or symbols come into existence in order to convey a divine message, and then pass out of existence. Thus, the Bible becomes full of unbelievable miracles and a text dictated by God.


3) Besides this, the biblical concept of heaven and hell also becomes distorted, since the eternal fires of hell and the outer darkness become creatures also whereas, they are the uncreated glory of God as seen by those who refuse to love. Thus, one ends up with the three-story universe problem, with God in a place, etc., necessitating a demythologizing of the Bible in order to salvage whatever one can of a quaint Christian tradition for modern man. However, it is not the Bible itself which needs demythologizing, but the Augustinian Franco-Latin tradition and the caricature which it passed off in the West as “Greek” Patristic theology.


4) By not taking the above-mentioned foundations of Roman Patristic theology of the Ecumenical Synods seriously as the key to interpreting the Bible, modern biblical scholars have applied presuppositions latent in Augustine with such methodical consistency that they have destroyed the unity and identity of the Old and New Testaments, and have allowed themselves to be swayed by Judaic interpretations of the Old Testament rejected by Christ himself. Thus, instead of dealing with the concrete person of the Angel of God, Lord of Glory, Angel of Great Council, Wisdom of God and identifying Him with the Logos made flesh and Christ, and accepting this as the doctrine of the Trinity, most, if not all, Western scholars have ended up identifying Christ only with Old Testament Messiahship, and equating the doctrine of the Trinity with the development of extra Biblical Trinitarian terminology within what is really not a Patristic framework, but an Augustinian one. Thus, the so-called “Greek” Fathers are still read in the light of Augustine, with the Russians after Peter Mogila joining in.


5) Another most devastating result of the Augustinian presuppositions of the filioque is the destruction of the prophetic and apostolic understanding of grace and its replacement with the whole system of created graces distributed in Latin Christendom by the hocus pocus of the clergy.


For the Bible and the Fathers, grace is the uncreated glory and rule (basileiva) of God seen by the prophets, apostles, and saints and participated in by the faithful followers of the prophets and the apostles. The source of this glory and rule is the Father who, in begetting the Logos, and projecting the Spirit, communicates this glory and rule so that the Son and the Spirit are also by nature one source of grace with the Father. This uncreated grace and rule (basileiva) is participated in by the faithful according to their preparedness for reception, and is seen by the friends of God who have become gods by grace.


Because the Frankish filioque presupposes the identity of uncreated divine essence and energy, and because participation in the divine essence is impossible, the Latin tradition was led automatically into accepting communicated grace as created, leading to its objectification and magical priestly manipulation.


On the other hand, the reduction by Augustine of this revealed glory and rule (basileiva) to the status of a creature has misled modern biblical scholars into the endless discussions concerning the coming of the “Kingdom” (basileiva should rather be rule) without realizing its identity with the uncreated glory and grace of God.19


In the patristic tradition, all dogma or truth is experienced in glorification. The final form of glorification is that of Pentecost, in which the apostles were led by the Spirit into all the truth, as promised by Christ at the Last Supper. Since Pentecost, every incident of the glorification of a saint, (in other words, of a saint having a vision of God’s uncreated glory in Christ as its source), is an extension of Pentecost at various levels of intensity.


This experience includes all of man, but at the same time transcends all of man, including man’s intellect. Thus, the experience remains a mystery to the intellect, and cannot be conveyed intellectually to another. Thus, language can point to, but cannot convey, this experience. The spiritual father can guide a person to, but cannot produce, the experience which is a gift of the Holy Spirit.


When, therefore, the Fathers add terms to the biblical language concerning God and His relation to the world like hypostasis, ousia, physis, homoousios, etc., they are not doing this because they are improving current understanding as over against a former age. Pentecost cannot be improved upon. All they are doing is defending the Pentecostal experience which transcends words, in the language of their time, because a particular heresy leads away from, and not to, this experience, which means spiritual death to those led astray.


For the Fathers, authority is not only the Bible, but the Bible plus those glorified or divinized as the prophets and apostles. The Bible is not in itself either inspired or infallible. It becomes inspired and infallible within the communion of saints because they have the experience of divine glory described in the Bible.


The presuppositions of the Frankish (“Latin”) filioque are not founded on this experience of glory. Anyone can claim to speak with authority and understanding. However, we Orthodox follow the Fathers and accept only those as authority who, like the apostles, have reached a degree of Pentecostal glorification.


Within this frame of reference, there can be no institutionalized or guaranteed form of infallibility, outside of the tradition of spirituality which leads to theoria, mentioned above, by St. Gregory the Theologian.


What is true of the Bible is true of the Synods, which, like the Bible, express in symbols that which transcends symbols and is known by means of those who have reached theoria. It is for this reason that the Synods appeal to the authority, not only of the Fathers in the Bible, but also to the Fathers of all ages, since the Fathers of all ages participate in the same truth which is God’s glory in Christ.


For this reason, Pope Leo III told the Franks in no uncertain terms that the Fathers left the filioque out of the Creed neither because of ignorance nor by omission, but by divine inspiration. However the implications of the Frankish filioque were not accepted by all Roman Christians in the Western Roman provinces conquered by Franco-Latin Christendom and its scholastic theology. Remnants of Roman biblical orthodoxy and piety have survived and all parts may one day be reassembled, as the full implications of the Patristic tradition make themselves known, and spirituality, as the basis of doctrine, becomes the center of our studies.


1. The European and Middle Eastern parts of the Roman Empire were carved out of areas which, among other linguistic elements, contained two bands, the Celtic and the Greek, which ran parallel to each other from the Atlantic to the Middle East. The Celtic band was north of the Greek band, except in Asia Minor, where Galatia had the Greek band to the east, the north, and the south. Northern Italy itself was part of the Celtic band and Southern Italy a part of the Greek band (here called Magna Graecia) which in the West covered Southern Spain, Gaul, and their Mediterranean islands. Due consideration should be given to the fact that both the Celtic and Greek bands were east and west of Roman Italy. The Romans first took over the Greek and Celtic parts of Italy and then the Greek and Celtic speaking peoples of the two bands. The Celtic band was almost completely Latinized, whereas the Greek band, not only remained intact, but was even expanded by the Roman policy of completing the Hellenization of the Eastern provinces initiated by the Macedonians. The reason why the Celtic band, but not the Greek band, was Latinized was that the Romans were themselves bilingual in fact and in sentiment, since in the time of their explosive expansion they spoke both Latin and Greek, with a strong preference for the latter. Thus, one is obliged to speak of both the Western and Eastern parts of European Romania in terms of a Latin North and a Greek South, but certainly not of a Latin West and a Greek East, which is a Frankish myth, fabricated for the propagandistic reasons described in Lecture I, which survives in text books until today. Indeed, the Galatians of Asia Minor were in the fourth century still speaking the same dialect as the Treveri of the province of Belgica in the Roman diocese of Gaul. (Albert Grenier, Les Gaulois [Paris, 1970], p. 115.) That the Latin West/Greek East division of Europe is a Frankish myth is still witnessed to today by some 25 million Romans in the Balkans, who speak Romance dialects, and by the Greek-speaking inhabitants of the Balkans and the Middle East, who call themselves Romans. It should be noted that it is very possible that the Galatians of Asia Minor still spoke the same language as the ancestors of the Waloons in the area of the Ardennes when the legate of Pope John XV, Abbot Leo, was at Mouzon pronouncing the condemnation of Gerbert d’Aurillac in 995


2. Migne, PL 89:744.


3. For a review of the historical and doctrinal aspects of this question, see J. S. Romanides, The Filioque, Anglican Orthodox Joint Doctrinal Discussions, St. Albans 1975—Moscow 1976 (Athens, 1978).


4. Matthew 5.8.


5. Epistle 2.


6. Theological Oration 1.5.


7. Ibid. 1.3.


8. On the relations between the Johanine and Synoptic gospel traditions see my study, “Justin Martyr and the Fourth Gospel,” The Greek Orthodox Theological Review, 4 (1958-59), pp. 115-39.


9. PL 102.971 ff. For interpretation of these minutes and related matters see my JH Dogmatikhv kaiv Sumbolikhv th`~ jOrqodovxou Kaqolikh`~ jEkklhsiva~, pp. 340-78.


10. 19.


11. Ibid.


12. Theological Orations, 2.4.


13. 11.3.


14. J. N. Karmiris, Tav Dogmatikav kaiv Sumbolikav Mnhmei`a th`~ jOrqodovxou Kaqolikh`~ jEkklhsiva~, Athens 1966, Vol. 1, p. 325.


15. Ibid, p. 324.


16. De Synodis, 41.


17. Theological Orations, 5.8.


18. Besides the works mentioned in footnotes above, see my study, “Justin Martyr and the Fourth Gospel,” The Greek Orthodox Theological Review, 4 (1958-59), 115-39.


From a Convention of Orthodox Clergymen and Monks

Greece, April 2009

Those of us who by the Grace of God have been raised with the dogmas of piety and who follow in everything the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, believe that:

The sole path to salvation of mankind[1] is the faith in the Holy Trinity, the work and the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ, and their continuance within His Body, the Holy Church. Christ is the only true Light;[2] there are no other lights to illuminate us, nor any other names that can save us: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”[3] All other beliefs, all religions that ignore and do not confess Christ “having come in the flesh,”[4] are human creations and works of the evil one,[5] which do not lead to the true knowledge of God and rebirth through divine Baptism, but instead, mislead men and lead them to perdition. As Christians who believe in the Holy Trinity, we do not have the same God as any of the religions, nor with the so-called monotheistic religions, Judaism and Mohammedanism, which do not believe in the Holy Trinity.

For two thousand years, the one Church which Christ founded and the Holy Spirit has guided has remained stable and unshakeable in the salvific Truth that was taught by Christ, delivered by the Holy Apostles and preserved by the Holy Fathers. She did not buckle under the cruel persecutions by the Judeans initially or by idolaters later, during the first three centuries. She has brought forth a host of martyrs and emerged victorious, thus proving Her divine origin. As Saint John the Chrysostom beautifully expressed it: “Nothing is stronger than the Church… if you fight against a man, you either conquer or are conquered; but if you fight against the Church, it is not possible for you to win, for God is the strongest of all.”[6]

Following the cessation of the persecutions and the triumph of the Church over Her external enemies – in other words, the Judeans and the idolaters – the internal enemies of the Church began to multiply and strengthen. A variety of heresies began to appear, which endeavored to overthrow and adulterate the faith once delivered, such that the faithful became confused, and their trust in the truth of the Gospel and traditions was debilitated. In outlining the ecclesiastical state of affairs that was created by the dominance for over 40 years – even administratively – of the heresy of Arius, Saint Basil the Great says: “The dogmas of the Fathers have been entirely disregarded, the apostolic traditions withered, the inventions of the youth are observed in the Churches; people are now “logic-chopping” not theologizing; precedence is given to the wisdom of the world, pushing aside the boasting in the Cross. Shepherds are driven out, and in their place cruel wolves are ushered in, dispersing Christ’s flock.”[7]

That which happened because of external enemies – religions – also happened because of internal ones – heresies. The Church, through Her great and enlightened Holy Fathers, demarcated and marked the boundaries [perixarakose] of the Orthodox faith with decisions by Local and Ecumenical Synods in the cases of specific, dubious teachings, but also with the agreement of all the Fathers (Consensus Patrum), on all the matters of the Faith. We stand on sure ground when we follow the Holy Fathers and do not move the boundaries that they have set. The expressions “Following after our Holy Fathers” and “Not withdrawing the boundaries that our Fathers have set” are signposts for a steady course of spiritual advance and a guardrail for [remaining within] the Orthodox faith and way of life.

Consequently, the basic positions of our Confession are the following:

1. We maintain, irremovably and without alteration, everything that the Synods and the Fathers have instituted. We accept everything that they accept and condemn everything that they condemn; and we avoid communication with those who innovate in matters of the Faith.[8] We neither add, nor remove, nor alter any teaching. Even from the apostolic era, the God-bearing Saint Ignatius of Antioch in his epistle to Saint Polycarp of Smyrna wrote: “Anyone who says contrary to what has been decreed – even if he is trustworthy, even if he fasts, even if he lives in virginity, even if he performs signs and prophesizes, let him appear to you as a wolf in a sheep’s hide, aspiring to the corruption of the sheep.” Saint John the Chrysostom, in interpreting the Apostle Paul’s words “If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be anathema” (Gal. 1:9), observes that the Apostle “did not say if they should proclaim something contrary or if they should overturn everything, but that even if they should preach even the smallest thing that has not been delivered to you, even if they should simply provoke it, let them be anathema.”[9] Upon announcing its decisions against the Iconoclasts to the clergy of Constantinople, the 7th Ecumenical Synod wrote: “We have followed the tradition of the Catholic Church, neither loosening [the matters of faith] nor making any superfluous addition, but, having been taught in the apostolic manner, we maintain the traditions we have received, accepting and respecting everything that the Holy Catholic Church has received from the first years, unwritten and written… for the true and straightforward judgment of the Church does not make any allowance for innovations within Her, or for attempts to remove anything. We, therefore, by following the laws of our Fathers, having received Grace by the one Spirit, have duly safeguarded without any innovations and reductions, all the things of the Church.”[10]

Along with the Holy Fathers and the Synods, we too reject and anathematize all the heresies that appeared during the historical course of the Church. Of the old heresies that have survived to this day, we condemn Arianism (still surviving, in the pseudo-Witnesses of Jehovah) and Monophysitism – the extreme form of Eutychius and the more moderate form of Sevirus and Dioscorus – according to the decisions of the 4th Ecumenical Synod of Chalcedon and the Christological teaching of the great Holy Fathers and Teachers such as Saints Maximus the Confessor, John of Damascus, Photios the Great and the hymns of our worship.

2. We proclaim that Roman Catholicism is a womb of heresies and fallacies.[11] The teaching of the “Filioque” – that is, the procession of the Holy Spirit AND from the Son – is contrary to everything that Christ Himself taught about the Holy Spirit. The entire chorus of Fathers, both in Synods and individually, regard Roman Catholicism as a heresy because apart from the Filioque, it produced a host of other fallacies, such as the primacy and the infallibility of the Pope, the unleavened bread (host), the fires of Purgatory, the immaculate conception of the Theotokos, created Grace, the purchasing of absolution (indulgences)… it has altered nearly all of the teaching and the practice pertaining to Baptism, Chrismation, the Divine Eucharist and the other Sacraments, and has converted the Church to a secular State.[12]

Contemporary Roman Catholicism has deviated even further than the medieval Latins from the teaching of the Church, to the extent that it no longer comprises a continuance of the ancient Church of the West. It has introduced a swarm of new exaggerations in its “Mariology,” such as the teaching that the Theotokos is a parallel redeemer (co-redemptrix) of the human race. It has reinforced the “Charismatic Movement” of Pentecostal (supposedly Spirit-centered) groups. It has adopted eastern religious practices and methods of prayer and meditation. It has introduced additional innovations into Divine worship, such as dances and musical instruments. It has shortened and essentially ruined the Divine Liturgy. With respect to Ecumenism it has set down the bases for a unification of all religions (panthriskeia) with its Second Vatican Council, by recognizing “spiritual life” in the people of other religions. Dogmatic minimalism has led it to a diminishing of moral requirements, on account of the bond between dogma and morality, resulting in the moral failures of leading clergymen and an increase in moral deviations such as homosexuality and pedophilia among clergymen.[13] By continuing to support “Uniatism” – that caricature of Orthodoxy with which it victimizes and proselytizes faithful – The Vatican is sabotaging the dialogue and is contradicting its supposedly sincere intentions for union.

Generally speaking, after the Second Vatican Council there has been a radical change in Catholicism and a turn towards Protestantism, and even an adoption of various “spiritual” movements of the “New Age.”

According to Saint Simeon of Thessaloniki, the Mystagogue, “Papism” caused more damage to the Church than all the heresies and schisms combined. We Orthodox have communion with the pre-Schism Popes and we commemorate many Popes as Saints. However, the post-Schism popes have all taught heresy; they have ceased to be successors to the throne of Rome; they no longer have Apostolic succession, because they no longer have the faith of the Apostles and the Fathers. It is for this reason that, as St. Symeon states, with each such pope, “not only do we have no communion, but we also call him a heretic.” On account of their blasphemy against the Holy Spirit with their teaching of the Filioque, they forfeited the presence of the Holy Spirit and therefore everything of theirs is deprived of Grace.[14] Not one of their Mysteries (Sacraments) is valid, according to Saint Simeon: “Therefore the innovators are blaspheming and are far away from the Spirit, by blaspheming against the Holy Spirit, hence everything of theirs is graceless, inasmuch as they have violated and have demoted the Grace of the Spirit… which is why the Holy Spirit is not among them, and there is nothing spiritual in them, as everything of theirs is new and altered and contrary to Divine tradition.”[15]

3. The same things apply to an even greater degree to Protestantism, which as the offspring of Papism has inherited many heresies, but has also added many more. It has rejected Tradition, accepting only Holy Scripture (Sola Scriptura), which it misinterprets; it has abolished the Priesthood as a unique Mystery (Sacrament), as well as the veneration of the Saints and of the holy Icons; it has failed to honor, or even, in some cases, slighted the person of the Most Holy Theotokos (Mother of God); it has discarded monasticism; among the Holy Mysteries, it accepts only Baptism and the Divine Eucharist, which are understood in a way that deviates sharply from the teaching and the practice of the Church; it teaches such things as absolute predestination (Calvinism) and justification through faith alone. Furthermore, its more “progressive” sector has introduced Priesthood for women and marriage between homosexuals – whom they even accept into the ranks of the clergy. But above all, it lacks a proper ecclesiology, because the Orthodox understanding of the nature of the Church does not exist among them.[16]

4. The only way that our communion with heretics can be restored is if they renounce their delusion (plani) and repent, so that there may be a true union and peace: a union with the Truth, and not with delusion and heresy. For the incorporation of heretics into the Church, canonical precision (akriveia) requires that they be accepted through Baptism.[17] Their previous “baptism,” performed outside the Church (without the triple immersion and emersion of the one being baptized in water sanctified by a particular prayer) is in no way a baptism.[18] All attempts at baptism outside the Church lack the Grace of the Holy Spirit (Who does not remain within schisms and heresies) and as such, we have nothing in common that unites us, as Basil the Great points out: “those who had apostatized from the Church had no longer on them the Grace of the Holy Spirit, for it ceased to be imparted when the continuity was broken…they who were broken off had become laymen, and, because they are no longer able to confer on others that Grace of the Holy Spirit from which they themselves are fallen away, they had no authority either to baptize or to ordain.”[19]

That is why the new attempt by Ecumenists to push the idea that we have a common baptism with heretics is unfounded. Indeed, upon this nonexistent baptismal unity they want to base the unity of the Church, which supposedly exists wherever a baptism may exist.[20] One enters the Church, however, and becomes Her member, not with just any baptism, but only with the “one baptism,” that uniformly performed baptism, officiated by Priests who have received the Priesthood of the Church.

5. As long as the heterodox continue to remain in their errors, we avoid communion with them, especially in common prayer. All those holy canons which address the matter of common prayer are unanimous in prohibiting not only common officiating and common prayer in the temple of God, but even ordinary prayers in private quarters. The Church’s strict stance toward the heterodox springs from true love and sincere concern for their salvation, and out of Her pastoral care that the faithful be not carried away by heresy. Whosoever loves, reveals the truth and does not leave the other in falsehood; otherwise, any love and agreement with him would only be counterfeit and false. There is such a thing as a good war and a bad peace: “…for a praiseworthy war is superior to a peace that separates one from God” says Saint Gregory the Theologian.[21] And Saint John the Chrysostom recommends: “If you should see devoutness infringed upon, do not prefer a oneness of mind to the truth, but stand fast until death… in no way betraying the truth”. And elsewhere, he recommends with emphasis: “Do not accept any false dogma on the pretext of love.”[22] This stance of the Fathers was also adopted by the great defender and confessor of the Orthodox faith against the Latins, Saint Mark of Ephesus, who concluded his own Confession of Faith in Florence with the following words: “All the teachers of the Church, all the Councils and all the divine Scriptures exhort us to avoid heretics, and to refrain from communion with them. Therefore, am I to disregard them all, and follow those who under the pretense of a manufactured peace strive for union? Those, who have counterfeited the sacred and divine Symbol of Faith (The Creed) and who introduced the Son as the second cause of the Holy Spirit? […] May this never happen to us, benevolent Comforter (Paraclete), and may I never fall away from my own duteous thoughts, but, by following Thy teaching and the blessed men who were inspired by Thee, may I be added to my fathers, by bringing in, if nothing else, this: devoutness.”[23]

6. Up until the beginning of the 20th century, the Church has steadfastly and immutably maintained a dismissive and condemnatory stance towards all heresies, as clearly formulated in the Synodicon of Orthodoxy which is recited on the Sunday of Orthodoxy. Heresies and heretics are anathematized, one by one; furthermore, in order to ensure that no heretics be left out of the anathema, there is a general anathema at the end of the text: “Let all heretics be anathematized.”

Unfortunately, this uniform, steady and unswerving stance of the Church up until the beginning of the 20th century has begun to be progressively abandoned, following the encyclical that was released by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in 1920, “Unto the Churches of Christ Everywhere,” which for the first time officially characterized heresies as “churches”[24] that are not alienated from the Church, but are familiar and related to Her. It recommended that “the love between the Churches should above all be rekindled and reinforced, and they should no more consider one another as strangers and foreigners, but as relatives, and as being a part of the household of Christ and ‘fellow heirs, members of the same body and partakers of the promise of God in Christ.”[25]

The path is now open for the adoption, the shaping and the development of the heresy of Ecumenism wthin the sphere of the Orthodox Church – this “pan-heresy,” initially of Protestant inspiration, now with Papal acceptance, which adopts and legalizes all heresies as ‘churches’ and assaults the dogma of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. This new dogma regarding the Church, this new ecclesiology, is now developed, taught and imposed by Patriarchs and bishops. According to this new teaching, no Church is entitled to demand for itself exclusively the designation of the catholic and true Church. Instead, each one of them is a piece, a part, and not the entire Church; they all together comprise the Church.[26]

All the boundaries set by the Fathers have fallen; there is no longer a dividing line between heresy and Church, between truth and delusion. Heresies are also ‘churches’ now; in fact, many of them – like the Papist one- are now regarded as ‘sister churches’ to which God has entrusted, jointly with us, the care for mankind’s salvation.[27]

The Grace of the Holy Spirit now also exists within heresies, and therefore their baptisms are – like all the other mysteries – considered valid.[28] All who have been baptized into a heretical group are now considered members of Christ’s Body, the Church.

The condemnations and the anathemas of the councils are no longer valid and should be stricken from liturgical books. We are now lodged in the “World Council of Churches” and have essentially betrayed – with our membership alone[29] – our ecclesiastical self-awareness. We have removed the dogma regarding the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church – the dogma of “one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism.”[30]

7. This inter-Christian syncretism has now expanded into an inter-religious syncretism, which equates all the religions with the unique knowledge of and reverence for God and a Christ-like way of life – all revealed from on high by Christ. Consequently, it is not only the dogma of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church in relation to the various heresies that is being attacked, but also the foundational and unique dogma of revelation and salvation of mankind through Jesus Christ in relation to the religions of the world. It is the worst delusion, the greatest heresy of all ages.

8. We believe and confess that salvation is possible in Christ alone. The religions of the world, but also the various heresies do not lead man to salvation. The Orthodox Church is not merely the true Church; She is the only Church. She alone has remained faithful to the Gospel, the Synods and the Fathers, and consequently She alone represents the true catholic Church of Christ. According to the blessed Elder Justin Popovitch, Ecumenism is a common name for the pseudo-churches of Western Europe; their common name is “pan-heresy.”[31]

This pan-heresy has been accepted by many Orthodox patriarchs, archbishops, bishops, clergymen, monks and laity. They teach it, “bareheaded,” they apply it and impose it in practice, communing with heretics in every possible manner – with common prayers, with exchanges of visits, with pastoral collaborations – thus essentially placing themselves outside the Church.[32] Our stance, per the Conciliar canonical decisions and per the example of the Saints, is obvious. Each one must now assume his responsibilities.

9. There are of course collective responsibilities also, and chiefly in the ecumenistic conscience of our hierarchs and theologians, towards the Orthodox people (pleroma) and their individual flocks. To them, we declare with a fear of God and with love that this stance of theirs and their involvement in ecumenistic activities are condemnable from every aspect, because:

a) they actively impugn our Orthodox-Patristic Tradition and Faith;

b) they are sowing doubt in the hearts of their flock and unsettle many, leading to division and schism, and

c) they are luring a portion of the flock into delusion, and thus, to spiritual disaster.

We, therefore, declare that, for the aforementioned reasons, those who endeavor within this ecumenist irresponsibility, whatever rank they may hold within the Church Body, contradict the tradition of our Saints and are thus stand in opposition to them. For this reason their stance must be condemned and rejected by the entirety of the Hierarchy and Faithful.[33]

[1] See treatise by Gennadius II Scholarios, Patriarch of Constantinople: “Regarding the only way to the salvation of mankind,” to George Scholarios “The complete extant works – Oevres Completes de Georges Scholarios,” Volumes I-VII, Paris 1928-1936, publ. L. Petit – X. Siderides – M. Jugie, Vol. III, 434-452.

[2] John 8:12 “I am the light of the world – whosoever follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 3:19 “The light had come to the world and men loved the darkness rather than the light.”

[3] Acts 4:12.

[4] 1 John 4:2-3: “Every spirit that confesses Jesus had cometh in the flesh, is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus Christ had cometh in the flesh, is not from God. And this is what you have heard regarding the antichrist: that he cometh and is now already in the world.”

[5] See “Didaches” (Teachings) of St.Cosmas of Aetolia, of I. Menounos, “Cosmas of Aetolia teachings” (and biography), Tinos publications, Athens, Didache A1, 37, page 142: “All faiths are false, counterfeit, all of them the Devil’s. This I realized as being true, divine, heavenly, correct, perfect, both by my word and by your word: that the faith of the pious and Orthodox Christians is good and holy, and that we must believe and be baptized in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”

[6] “Homily prior to the exile” 1, ΕΠΕ 33, 186.

[7] Epistle 90, “To the most holy brothers and bishops in the West” 2, ΕΠΕ 2, 20.

[8] This refers to those who provoke and innovate with regard to the Faith. It does not mean that Orthodox Christians should have no contact with non-Orthodox in the context of missionary outreach and witness, which would mean the cessation of all evangelism, missionary work, sharing of our Faith, etc. -Ed.

[9] Galatians. 1, 9. To Gall. Homily chapt. 1, PG 61, 624.

[10] Mansi, 13, 409-412.

[11] In our age of “political correctness” this statement may seem outrageous and unnecessarily inflammatory. It is, however, “soft” in comparison to the writings of the Holy Fathers (e.g., note the language of St. Photios the Great throughout his 10th-century treatise against the filioque clause, On the Mystagogy of the Holy Spirit – and this was long before many other heresies were introduced). The Holy Fathers have, for centuries, viewed the Roman Catholicism as a womb of heresies, beginning with the adoption and promulgation of the filioque clause.

Consider the following statements from another Confession of Faith from modern times, the Patriarchal Encyclical of 1848: “As soon as [the filioque] was introduced into the Churches of the West it brought forth disgraceful fruits, bringing with it, little by little, other novelties, for the most part contrary to the express commands of our Savior in the Gospel-commands which till its entrance into the Churches were closely observed…. It drove the theologians of the West, as its defenders, since they had no ground either in Scripture or the Fathers to countenance heretical teachings, not only into misrepresentations of the Scriptures, such as are seen in none of the Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church, but also into adulterations of the sacred and pure writings of the Fathers alike of the East and West.”

Similar language is found in the the Patriarchal Encyclical of 1895: “[B]ut the present Roman Church is the Church of innovations, of the falsification of the writings of the Church Fathers, and of the misinterpretation of the Holy Scripture and of the decrees of the holy councils, for which she has reasonably and justly been disowned, and is still disowned, so far as she remains in her error…. [A]s has been said before, the Western Church, from the tenth century downwards, has privily brought into herself through the papacy various and strange and heretical doctrines and innovations, and so she has been torn away and removed far from the true and orthodox Church of Christ.” If some find the language of the “Confession of Faith Against Ecumenism” offensive, they might consider whether this is due to a lack of familiarity with the writings of the Holy Fathers, and past confessional statements of the Orthodox Church. – Ed.

[12] Again, see the Patriarchal Encyclicals of 1848 and 1895, which lay this out in great detail. – Ed.

[13] The moral laxity and decadence, even among the clergy, had already been noted at the beginning of the 15th century, by Saint Simeon of Thessaloniki (see ‘Dogmatic Epistle 16′ in D. Balfour, by Simeon of Thessaloniki (1416/17-1429) “Theological Works,” Vlatades Gleanings 34, Thessaloniki 1981, page 218: “And furthermore, that they did not regard fornication at all entailing Hell, not even among their priests, but instead, they would unscrupulously have concubines and youths for fornication and would every day officiate.” Ibid, 15, page 216: “They also do not follow an evangelical lifestyle; for, every kind of luxury and fornication to them is not a reprehensible matter, nor anything else that is forbidden for Christians.”) The moral decadence that is observed of late even among the Orthodox clergy is the result of liberalism which accompanies ecumenism and of secularism.

[14] The term “Grace” is often misunderstood today. The Patristic teaching on the subject was best expressed by our Venerable Father Diadochus the God-bearer, Bishop of Photike in Epirus. As he writes in his Hundred Texts on Spiritual Knowledge and Discernment: “Before holy baptism Grace encourages the soul towards good from the outside, while Satan lurks in its depths, trying to block all the intellect’s ways of approach to the divine. But from the moment we are reborn through Baptism, the demon is outside, Grace is within.” And, in our own days, Blessed Archbishop Seraphim of Sophia writes concerning the two forms of Grace: “According to the teaching of the Holy Fathers, the Grace of the Holy Spirit is manifest in two forms: firstly, as an external, providential Grace, which acts in and throughout the lives of everybody, enabling anyone to accept the True Faith; and, secondly, as an internal, salvific Grace, which revivifies, redeems, and functions solely in the Orthodox Church.” Here the Confession refers to the latter form of Grace. The general operation of the Holy Spirit among all men is not in question. – Ed.

[15] Dialogue 23, PG 155, 120-121. Epistle regarding blessedness 5, in D. Balfour, Simeon Archbishop of Thessaloniki (1416/17-1429), “Theological Works,” Vlatades Gleanings 34, Thessaloniki 1981, page 226. These comments of Saint Simeon should be interpreted on the basis of the Patristic teaching on Grace, as referred to in note 14 above. – Ed.

[16] Here the Confession speaks generally of Protestantism. Given that there are 26,000+ denominations, it is impossible to make a succinct statement about Protestant tenets that applies accurately to them all. The Confession is admittedly painting with a broad brush, but these are all aspects of Protestantism that apply more or less to all Protestant groups, unless otherwise specified as speaking to particular confessions (such as Calvinism). – Ed.

[17] “Canonical precision” or akriveia, is the norm, as it is most consistent with the theological principles under-girding the Canons concerning Holy Baptism. Nevertheless, the authors of the Confession would agree that, when canonical presuppositions existed, “canonical dispensation”, or oikonomia, has been employed. It is also the case, however, that, in almost every case today, those presuppositions (such as triple immersion) do not exist. – Ed.

[18] The reception of a convert into the Church by oikonomia, when indeed it is done within the canonical prescriptions and leads to the same end as akriveia, in no way can be interpreted as altering Orthodox ecclesiology. Employing oikonomia in the reception of non-Orthodox does not mean acceptance per se of non-Orthodox mysteries. The acceptance per se of non-Orthodox mysteries by some Orthodox representatives in the ecumenical movement is impossible to reconcile with Orthodox ecclesiology and is to be rejected as contrary to the Orthodox Dogma of the Church. – Ed.

[19] Canonical Epistle Ά, To Amphilochios of Iconion, 1st Canon.

[20] In the text of the 9th General Convention of the World Council of Churches in Porto Alegre, Brazil in 2006, which was accepted by the representatives of the Orthodox churches and was titled “Called to be the One Chuch,” in paragraph 8 it states: “All those baptized in Christ are united in His name.” In paragraph 9: “That we all belong in common to Christ through baptism in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, gives the churches the possibility and it invites them to walk together, even when they disagree. We assure that there is one baptism, exactly as there is one body and one Spirit, one hope in our calling, one Lord, one Faith, one God and Father to all of us (see Ephes.4:4-6).” The Metropolitan of Pergamos John (Zizioulas) in his work “Orthodox Ecclesiology and the Ecumenical Movement,” Sourozh Diocesan Magazine (England, August 1985, vol.21, page 23), had paved the way for this position, by stating: “Within baptism, even if there is a break, a division, a schism, you can still speak of the Church… The Orthodox, in my understanding at least, participate in the ecumenical movement as a movement of baptized Christians, who are in a state of division because they cannot express the same faith together. In the past this has happened because of a lack of love which is now, thank God, disappearing.”

[21] Apologetics on the flight to Pontus 82, ΕΠΕ 1, 176.

[22] To Romans, Homily 22, 2, PG 60, 611. To Philippians, Homily 2.1, PG 62, 119.

[23] Confession of faith displayed in Florence, in Documents relatifs au Concile de Florence, II, Oeuvres anticonciliaires de Marc d’Ephèse, par L. Petit, Patrologia Orientalis 17, 442.

[24] That is, “churches” in a more or less real, ecclesiological way, implying mystical union with the one, true Church of Christ, the Orthodox Church. – Ed.

[25] See I.Karmiris’, “The Dogmatic and Symbolic Monuments of the Orthodox Catholic Church,” vol. 2, page 958.

[26] One recent example of this is found in the declaration of the 9th General Convention of the World Council of Churches in Porto Alegre, Brazil in 2006, which was accepted by the representatives of the Local Orthodox Churches and was entitled “Called to be the One Chuch.” In section II, paragraph 6 of the document, which is a common declaration of Orthodox and heterodox, we read: “Each church is the Church catholic and not simply a part of it. Each church is the Church catholic, but not the whole of it. Each church fulfils its catholicity when it is in communion with the other churches.” But, as it would be expected, this “new dogma” takes on a wide variety of expressions, from including only two churches, such as (in the “two lung” theory) Roman Catholicism and the Orthodox Church, or three churches, as in the classic Branch Theory of the Anglicans, or including many churches, as has been expressed in the “invisible church” ecclesiology of the World Council of Churches and the “baptismal unity” theory. That which binds these various theories together is a rejection of “ecclesiological exclusivism” and an ecumenism “of return.” A sentiment that is said often and by many, including Orthodox primates and hierarchs, is that “a Catholic will not become an Orthodox and vice versa, but we must approach the altar together” (Bishop Tichon, Diocese of Central and Western Europe of the Patriarchate of Bulgaria on his visit to the Pope, October 22nd, 2009; See

[27] See joint statement by Pope John-Paul II and Patriarch Bartholomew during the latter’s visit to Rome on the 29th of June, 1995. The same had been proclaimed at an earlier date by the Combined Theological Committee for the Dialogue between Orthodox and Papists, in Balamand, Lebanon in 1993.

[28] The term “valid” here means accepting heterodox baptism “per se”, in and of itself, apart from the Church, and has ecclesiological implications which the kat’oikonomia reception of the non-Orthodox can never imply.

[29] This is a question of methodology, the “essential betrayal” being an abandonment of the patristic methodology of witness, wherein the Scriptural command, “a man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition reject” (Tit 3:10) is followed, if not in word than in spirit. Rather, we have “lodged” ourselves in the World Council of Churches as full organic members, even committing ourselves to dialogue without presuppositions or limits. This disregard for patristic and scriptural guidelines to proper witness inevitably has lead to a betrayal of the Church’s self-understanding.

[30] Ephesians 4:5.

[31] Archimandrite Justin Popovitch, Orthodox Church and Ecumenism, Thessaloniki 1974, page 224.

[32] What is not meant here is an institutional departure from the Church by excommunication or anathema. And this is clear by the use of the terms “essentially” and “placing themselves.” Rather, what is meant is that by their actions and their words they have separated themselves in essence from the Church – from Her Fathers, Her Way and Her Life. They have essentially removed themselves from the Church by no longer following the Holy Fathers, no longer expressing the Orthodox Faith.

The passage draws on the 15th canon of the 1st -2nd Synod. The understanding behind the phrase “essentially placing themselves outside the Church” is clearly implied in the canon when it states: “For not bishops, but false bishops and false teachers have they condemned…” The 15th canon, although praising those who cease commemoration of their bishop, who is teaching heresy “bareheaded”, does not make ceasing commemoration a requirement. It leaves the particular coure of action – based on the canons and councils and fathers – to the discretion of each. The Confession follows suit, clearly naming the heresy and calling all to appropriate response (“Our stance, per the Conciliar canonical decisions and per the example of the Saints, is obvious.), but leaving the particulars to each one’s discretion (“Each one must now assume his responsibilities”). – Ed.

[33] As of Janurary 30, 2010 17,250 clergy, monks and laymen have signed this Confession of Faith against Ecumenism. See: for a complete list of signers.


Whosoever of the clergy, monks, nuns and the laity desires to participate in this small deposition of Orthodox confession may declare it, by writing:

“I agree with the Confession of Faith against Ecumenism, and subscribe to it”

They may send this declaration indicating their name and their ecclesiastic, monastic or professional status, to the following address:

Periodical “THEODROMIA”, P.O.Box 1602, Thessaloniki 541 24, Greece – Fax +30 2310 276590 – email address:

The above Confession of Faith has been signed by the following, as a first indication.

It has been signed and will be signed by many more:

Last update: 15 OCTOBER 2009

Metropolitan Panteleimon of Antinoes

Metropolitan Seraphim of Kythira and Antikythira

Metropolitan Kosmas of Etolia and Akarnania

Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus

Metropolitan Artemios of Raskas and Prizrenis, Kossovo and Metohia.

Bishop George (Schaefer) of Mayfield, Abbot of Holy Cross Monastery, Wayne, West Virginia

Archim. Christodoulos, Abbot of the Holy Monastery of Koutloumousiou, Holy Mountain

Archim. Joseph, Abbot of the Holy Monastery of Xeropotamou, Holy Mountain

Archim. Philotheos, Abbot of the Holy Monastery of Karakalou, Holy Mountain

Archim. Agathon, Abbot of the Holy Monastery of Constamonitou, Holy Mountain.

Archim. Nikodemos, Abbot of the Holy Monastery of Filotheou, Holy Mountain

Protopr. George Metallinos, Peer Professor, School of Theology, University of Athens

Protopr. Theodoros Zisis, Peer Professor, School of Theology, University of Thessaloniki

Archim. Markos Manolis, Spiritual Head of “Pan-Hellenic Orthodox Union”

Archim. Athanasios, Abbot of the Holy Monastery of Stavrovouniou, Cyprus.

Archim. Timotheos Sakkas, Abbot of the Holy Monastery Paraklhtou, Oropos

Archim. Kyrill Kehagioglou, Abbot of the Holy Monastery of Pantokratoros Melissohoriou Langada

Archim. Sarantis Sarantos, Priest of the Dormition of the Theotokos,Amarousio, Attica.

Archim. Maximos Karavas, Abbot of the Holy Monastery of Saint Paraskevi, Milohoriou, Ptolemaidas

Archim. Gregory Hadjinikolaou, Abbot of the Holy Monastery of the Holy Trinity, Ano Gatzeas Volou.

Archim. Athanasios Anastasiou, Abbot of the Hily Monastery of Great Meteorou.

Archim.Theoklitos Bolkas, Abbot of Holy Isihastirio of Saint Arsenio the Kapadocian, Halkidiki

Archim. Chrysostomos, Abbot of the Holy Community of Saint Nikodemos, Pentalofos, Goumenitcha.

Archim. Theodore Diamantis, Abbot of the Holy Monastery of the Theotokos, Molyskepastou, Konitsa.

Archim. Palamas Kyrillidis, Abbot of the Holy Monastery of the Nativity of the Theotokos, Kallipetra, Veria.

Archim. Eudokimos, Spiritual Father of the Holy Lavra of Savva the Sanctified, Jerusalem.

Archim. Chrysostomos, Abbot of the Holy Monastery of Saint Gerasimos the Jordanian, Jerusalem.

Archim. Laurentios Gratsias, Holy Metropolis of Florina, Prespon and Eordeas.

Archim. Meletios Vadrahanis, Holy Metropolis of Florina, Prespon and Eordeas.

Archim. Paul Demetracopoulos, Holy Monastery of the Transfiguration of the Lord, Moutsialis, Veria.

Archim. Ignatios Kalaitzopoulos, Holy Monastery of Saint Paraskevi, Melohoriou, Ptolemaidas.

Archim. Symeon Georgiadis, Holy Monastery of the Holy Trinity, Ano Gatzeas, Volos

Archim. Augustine Siarras, Holy Monastery of the Holy Trinity, Ano Gatzeas, Volos

Archim. Ambrosios Gionis, Holy Monastery of the Holy Trinity, Ano Gatzeas, Volos

Archim. Benedict, Abbot of the Holy Monastery of the Holy Archangels, Prizreni, with following.

Archim. Gerasimos, Abbot of the Holy Monastery of Saint George, Jourgevi Stoupovi, with following.

Archim. Nicholaos, Abbot of the Holy Monastery of the Holy Archangels, Mavropotami, with following.

Archim. Romylos, Abbot of the Holy Monastery of the Entry of the Theotokos, Doumboki Potok, with following.

Archim. Symeon, Abbot of the Holy Monastery of Saint Stephen, Baniska, with following.

Archim. Stephanos, Abbot of the Holy Monastery of the Saints Anargyron Zotsitse, with following.

Archim. Ioannikios Kotsonis, Abbot of the Holy Monastery of the Transfiguration of the Lord, Sohos, Thessaloniki

Archim. Paul Danas, Hieropreacher of the Holy Monastery of Etolias and Akarnanias.

Archim. Constantine Paleologopoulos, retired priest of the Holy Monastery of Kalavriton and Egalias Egio.

Archim. Paisios Papadopoulos, Abbot of the Holy Monastery of Saint Gregory Palamas, Filota, Metropolis of Florina.

Archim. Epiphanios Hadjigiagou, Head Metropolitan of the Church of Florina, Florina.

Archim. Athanasios Siamakis, Hieropreacher of the Holy Monastery of Florina

Archim. Anargyros Afthonidis, Military Priest, Florina

Archim. Augustine Andritsopoulos, Abbot of the Holy Monastery of Myrtias of the Holy Monastery of Etolia and Akarnania.

Archim. Theodosis Kyprianou, Holy Monastery of Saint Filotheou, Skete Saint George, Karyes, Holy Mountain.

Archim. Ignatios Kalaitzopoulos, Holy Monastery of Saint Paraskevi, Milohoriou, Ptolemaidas.

Archim. Ierotheos Skiadas, Abbot of the Holy Monastery of the Dormition of the Theotokos, Vlohou, Agriniou.

Archim. Ioasaph Makris, Holy Monastery of Meteora.

Archim.Kosmas Paleogiannis, Cell of Saint John the Theologian of the Holy Monastery of Dohiariou, Holy Mountain.

Archim. Sevastianos Amantidis, Abbot of the Holy Monastery of Saint Paraskevis Vasiliados, Kastoria.

Archim.Christos Kyriazopoulos, past Educational Adviser, Thessaloniki

Archim. Nektarios Ziombolas, Military Priest

Archim. Joseph Aivazoglou, Holy Church of the Theotokos Ahiropiitou (not made by hand) Thessaloniki.

Elder Gregory, HieromonkHoly IsyhastirionDanieleon, Katounakia, Holy Mountain.

Elder Efstratios, Hiermonk, Holy Monastery of Great Lavvra, Holy Mountain.

Elder Fillipos, Hieromonk, Kalyvi of Great Athanasiou, Mikra Agia Anna, Holy Mountain.

Hieromonk Athanasios, Holy Isyhastirion Danieleon, Katounakia, Holy Mountain.

Hieromonk Nikodemos, Holy Isyhastirion Danieleon, Katounakia, Holy Mountain.

Hieromonk Nephon, Holy Isyhastirion Danieleon, Katounakia, Holy Mountain.

Hieromonk Chrysostom Kartsonas, Kalyvi of Saint George, Holy Skete of Saint Anna, Holy Mountain.

Hieromonk Onoufrios, Kalyvi of the Holy Forerunner, Holy Skete of Saint Anna, Holy Mountain.

Hieromonk Chrysanthos, Kalyvi of the Holy Forerunner, Holy Skete of Saint Anna , Holy Mountain.

Hieromonk Azarias, Kalyvi of the Holy Forerunner, Holy Skete of Saint Anna, Holy Mountain.

Hieromonk Gabriel, Holy Cell of the Theotokos Gorgoepikoou, Holy Monastery of Pantokratoros, Holy Mountain.

Hieromonk Panteleimon, Holy Cell of Saint Panteleimon, Holy Monastery of Saint Pantokratoros, Holy Mountain.

Hieromonk Basil, Abbot of the Holy Monastery of Saints Anargyron, Vratsevo, with following.

Hieromonk Efthimios, Abbot of the Holy Monastery of the Holy Forerunner, Sotsanitsa, with following.

Hieromonk Theoktistos, Abbot of the Holy Monastery of the Holy Trinity, Sopotsani, with following.

Hieromonk Tychon, Holy Isyhastirion of Pantokratoros, Melissohorion

Hieromonk Chariton, Hily Cell of Ascension, Karyes, Holy Mountain.

Hieromonk Nestor.

Hieromonk Augustine, Holy Monastery of All Saints and Saint Savva the Sanctified, Jerusalem.

Hieromonk Modestos Diasakis, Holy Monastery of Saint Paraskevi, Kastoria.

Hieromonk Raphael Kyriakou, Holy Monastery of Saint Raphael-Marina, Larnaka, Cyprus.

Hieromonk Photios Georgiou, Holy Monastery of Kastorias.

Protopr. Lambros Photopoulos, Officiating priest, Holy Church of Saint Kosma Etolos, Amarousio, Attica.

Protopr. John Photopoulos, Officiating priest, Holy Church of Saint Paraskevi, Attica.

Protopr. Athanasios Minas, Loutraki Korinthias.

Protopr. Eleftherios Palamas, Saints Christophori (God-bearers) Ptolemaid.

Protopr. Constantine Mygdalis, In Charge of the Holy Church of Saint Constantine, Volos.

Protopr. Photios Vezynias, Teacher, Holy Metropolis of Langada.

Protopr. Anthony Bousdekis, Abbot of the Holy Monastery of Saint Nicholas of Nicea.

Protopr. Demetrios Vasiliadis, Holy Metropolis of Maronia and Komotini

Protopr. Vasilios E. Voloudakis, Officiating priest, Holy Church of Saint Nicholas Pefkakion, Athens.

Protopr. Vasilios Gogidis, Officiating priest, Holy Metropolitan Church of Saint Nicholas, Megapoleos.

Protopr. Nicholas Zaharopoulos, Officiating priest of the Holy Church of Saint Fanourios, Drapetsonas.

Protopr. Haralambos Lalaitis, Officiating priest, Holy Church of the Theotokos Myrtidiotissis, Piraeus.

Protopr. Chariton Pappas, Officiating priest, Holy Church of Saint Demetrios, Piraeus.

Protopr. Panagiotis Sahtouris, Officiating priest, Holy Church of Saint Nilus, Pireaus.

Protopr. Constantinos Tzafestas, Officiating priest, Holy Metropolitan Church of Kerkyra, Theologian, retired Professor M.E., Kerkyra.

Protopr. Christos Christodoulos, Officiating priest, Holy Church of Saint Constantine and Helen, Piraeus.

Protopr. Radoslav Jankovic, Secretary of the Holy Metropolis of Raskas and Prizrenis and Kossovo and Metohia.

Protopr. Dimitrios Vasiliadis, Komotini.

Protopr. Anastasios Semertzidis, Hierarchal Commissioner of the Kastoria eparchy.

Protopr. George Kougioumtzoglou, Thessaloniki.

Protopr. Constantinos Andreopoulos, Holy Monastery Florinis.

Protopr. Vasilios Christidis, Holy Monastery Attikis.

Protopr. Haralambos Nalpadidis, Holy Monastery Florinis.

Protopr. Photios Bithas, Holy Monastery of Saint Spyridon, Great Yarmouth, England.

Priest Dionysios tatsis, Educator, Konitsa.

Priest Demetrios Sarris, Officiating priest, Holy Church of Pammegiston Taksiarhon, Sesklou, Esonias.

Priest Efthimios Antoniadis, Holy Metropolis of Larisa.

Priest Anastasios Gotsopoulos, Officiating priest of the Holy Church of Saint Nicholas, Patra.

Priest George Papageorgiou, Holy Metropolis Demetriados.

Priest Peter Hirs, Petrokerasa, Halkidiki.

Priest Theophanis Manouras, Officiating priest, Holy Church of Saint Athanasiou Valestinou, Magnesias.

Priest Pashalis Ginoudis, Holy Metropolis of Larisa.

Priest George Diamantopoulos, Lavrio, Holy Metropolis Mesogeas.

Priest Vasilios Kokolakis, Officiating priest, Holy Church of the Holy Cross, Holargos.

Priest Peter Pantazis, Officiating priest, Holy Church of the Transfiguration, Halandriou.

Priest Anthony Valvis, Officiating priest, Holy Church of Saint Nilus, Piraeus.

Priest John Vernikos, Holy Church of the Annunciation of the Theotokos, Montgomery, Alabama.

Priest Nicholas Gavalles, Holy Church of the Holy Apostles, Psalidiou, Amarousio.

Priest Iraklis Drivas, Officiating Priest, Holy Church of the Theotokos Myrtidiotissa, Piraeus.

Priest Demetrios Kalabounias, Officiating priest, Holy Church of Saint Nilus, Piraeus.

Priest Demetrios Lambrou, clergy, Holy Monastery Prevezis, Aneza-Artas.

Priest Basilios Mouzelis, Officiating priest, Chapel of Saints Anargyron, Hospital of Halkidos.

Priest Panagiotis Balis, Officiating priest, Holy Church of the Entry of the Theotokos, Imerovigliou, Thera.

Priest Christopher Chronis, Holy Monastery Etolias and Akarnanias.

Priest Sotirios Manolopoulos, Officiating priest, Holy Church of Saint Basil Vrahneika, Holy Monastery of Patra.

Priest George Vasilakis, Lyon, France.

Priest Theoharis Megas, Hieroteacher, Director of Plystylou, Kavalas.

Priest Daniel de Oliveira Pinheiro, Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Brazil.

Priest Demetrios Sykopoulos, Holy Monastery Kastorias.

Priest Triantafyllos Xeros, Thessaloniki.

Presvytera Maria Tsiplakaki, Vathilakkos, Kozani.

Stewart Demetrios Papagiannis, Officiating priest, Holy Church of Saint Fanourios, Drapetsonas.

Stewart John Psarras, Officiating priest, Holy Church of Saint George Mesoropis, Holy Monastery Eleftheroupoleos.

Stewart John Kyprianou, Officiating priest, Holy Church of Saint Nicholas, Egomi-Lefkosia, Cyprus.

Priest Miltiadis Karagiannis, Kefalohori Imathias.

Hierodeacon Theologos Kostopoulos, Holy Monastery of the Holy Trinity, Ano Gazeas Volou.

Hierodeacon Antonios, Holy Isyhastirion Pantokratoros, Melissohoriou.

Hierodeacon George Theodoridis, Holy Metropolis of Lerou, Kalymnou and Astypaleas.

Hierodeacon Iraklidios Kleanthous, Holy Metropolis Tamasou, Cyprus.

Elder Theoliptos Monk, Hut of the Holy Forerunner, Holy Scete of Saint Anna, Holy Mountain.

Elder Gabriel Monk, Cell of Saint Christodoulou, Karyes, Holy Mountain.

Elder Ilarion Monk, near Arsana Constamonitou, Holy Mountain.

Elder Daniel Monk, Holy Isyhastirion Danieleon, Katanoukia, Holy Mountain.

Elder Akakios Monk, Holy Isyhastirion Danieleon, Katanoukia, Holy Mountain.

Elder Stefanos Monk, Holy Isyhastirion Danieleon, Katanoukia, Holy Mountain.

Elder Paul Monk, Holy Cell of the Holy Apostles, SceteXenofontos, Holy Mountain.

Elder Onoufrios Monk, Holy Cell of the Nativity of the Theotokos, Holy Monastery Pantokratoros,Holy Mountain.

Elder Nektarios Monk, Holy Cell of the Lifebearing Spring, Holy Monastery Koutloumousiou, Holy Mountain.

Elder Isaak Monk, Holy Cell of the Nativity of the Theotokos, Holy Monastery Stavronikita, Holy Mountain.

Elder Moses Monk, Holy Cell of Saint John Chrysostom, Scete of Saint Panteleimon, Holy Monastery Koutloumousiou, Holy Mountain.

Elder Heruvim Monk, New Scete, Holy Mountain.

Monk Arsenios Vliakoftis, Holy Isyhastirion of Saint Arsenios of Kappadocia, Halkidiki.

Monk George, Holy Cell of the Nativity of the Theotokos, Holy Monastery of Pantokratoros, Holy Mountain.

Monk Christopher, Holy Cell of the Apostles, Scete Xenofontos, Holy Mountain.

Monk Maximos, Holy Isyhastirion Danieleon, Katanoukia, Holy Mountain.

Monk Dositheos, Kathisma Holy Monastery of Koutloumousiou, Holy Mountain.

Monk Spyridon, Cell of Saint Nicholas, Holy Monastery of Koutloumousiou, Holy Mountain.

Monk Damaskinos Agiorite, Holy Cell of the Holy Forerunner, Holy Monastery of Karakallou.

Monk Savvas Lavriotis, Holy Monastery of Great Lavra, Holy Mountain.

Monk Theophilos Agiorite, Holy Cell Sanbri, Holy Mountain.

Monk Paisios, Holy Cell of the Holy Archangels “Savveon”, Holy Mountain.

Monk Herouvim, Holy Cell of the Holy Archangels, Saint John Koukouzeli, Holy Mountain.

Monk Nikodemos, Holy Cell of Saint Nektarios, Kapsala, Holy Mountain.

Monk Disitheos, Holy Monastery of the Transfiguration of the Lord, Sohos, Langada.

Monk Chariton, Hut of the Holy Forerunner, Holy Scete of Saint Anna, Holy Mountain.

Monk Nikodemos, Hut of the Holy Forerunner, Holy Scete of Saint Anna, Holy Mountain.

Monk Averkios, Hut of the Holy Forerunner, Holy Scete of Saint Anna, Holy Mountain.

Monk Prodromos, Hut of the Holy Forerunner, Scete of Saint Anna, Holy Mountain.

Monk Arsenios, Holy Hut of Saint Gerasimos, Scete of Saint Panteleimon, Holy Monastery Koutloumousiou, Holy Mountain.

Monk Arsenios, Holy Isyhastirion Pantokratoros, Melissohoriou.

Monk Demetrios, Holy Isyhastirion Pantokratoros, Melissohoriou.

Monk Dionysios, Holy Isyhastiorion Pantokratoros, Melissohoriou.

Monk Efstratios, Holy Isyhastirion Pantokratoros, Melissohoriou.

Monk Ignatios, Holy Isyhastirion Pantokratoros, Melissohoriou.

Monk Mardarios, Jerusalem.

Monk Michael, Holy Isyhastirion Pantokratoros, Melissohoriou.

Monk Nektarios, Holy Isyhastirion Pantokratoros, Melissohoriou.

Monk Nicodemos Bilalis, Cell of the Visitation (Ypapanti) – Kapsala, Holy Mountain.

Monk Pahomios, Holy Isyhastirion Pantokratoros, Melissohoriou.

Monk Raphael, Holy Isyhastirion Pantokratoros, Melissohoriou.

Monk Arkadios Sabbaite, Holy Lavra of Savva the Sanctified, Jerusalem.

Monk Arsenios Kotzias, Holy Monastery of Saint Paraskevi, Kastoria.

Monk George, New Scete, Holy Mountain.

Monk Efraim Sabbaite, Holy Lavra of Savva the Sanctified, Jerusalem.

Monk Zosimas Sabbaite, Holy Lavra of Savva the Sanctified, Jerusalem.

Monk Ioannikos Sabbaite, Holy Lavra of Savva the Sanctified, Jerusalem.

Monk Iosaph Sabbaite, Holy Lavra of Savva the Sanctified, Jerusalem.

Monk Kallinikos Sabbaite, Holy Lavra of Savva the Sanctified, Jerusalem.

Monk Lazaros Sabbaite, Holy Lavra of Savva the Sanctified, Jerusalem

Monk Merkourios Sabbaite, Holy Lavra of Savva the Sanctified, Jerusalem.

Monk Paisios Sabbaite, Holy Lavra of Savva the Sanctified, Jerusalem.

Monk Raphael Sabbaite, Holy Lavra of Savva the Sanctified, Jerusalem.

Monk Savvas Mousdikas, Holy Monastery of Saint Paraskevi, Kastoria.

Monk Seraphim Sabbaite, Holy Lavra of Savva the Sanctified, Jerusalem.

Monk Philotheos Tzimoropoulos, Holy Monastery of Saint Paraskevi, Kastoria.

Monk Herouvim Sabbaite, Holy Lavra of Saint Savva the Sanctified, Jerusalem.

Nun Agathi Antoniou, Abbess, Holy Monastery of Saint Stephen, Holy Meteora.

Nun Mariam, Abbess, Holy Monastery of Saint Laurentios, Pilio.

Nun Christonymphi, Holy Monastery of Saint Laurentios, Pilio.

Nun Laurentia, Holy Monastery of Saint Laurentios, Pilio.

Nun Agathinoi Antoniou, Holy Monastery of Saint Stephen, Holy Meteora.

Nun Agathodouli Hondrou, Holy Monastery of Saint Stephen, Holy Meteora.

Nun Agathokliti Athanatou, Holy Monastery of Saint Stephen, Holy Meteora.

Nun Alexia Peppa, Holy Monastery of Saint Stephen, Holy Meteora.

Nun Vessaria Laskou, Holy Monastery of Saint Stephen, Holy Meteora.

Nun Eufimia Dionysopoulou, Holy Monastery of Saint Stephen, Holy Meteora.

Nun Thekla Barka, Holy Monastery of Saint Stephen, Holy Meteora.

Nun Theodosia Bouba, Holy Monastery of Saint Stephen, Holy Meteora.

Nun Theoktisti Paila, Holy Monastery of Saint Stephen, Holy Meteora.

Nun Theologia Papadaki, Holy Monastery of Saint Stephen, Holy Meteora.

Nun Theoproti Tzitzira, Holy Monastery of Saint Stephen, Holy Meteora.

Nun Theotekni Mitsikosta, Holy Monastery of Saint Stephen, Holy Meteora.

Nun Theophania Kyriazopoulou, Holy Monastery of Saint Stephen, Holy Meteora.

Nun Justina Demetriou, Holy Monastery of Saint Stephen, Holy Meteora.

Nun Magdalen Papadam, Holy Monastery of Saint Stephen, Holy Meteora.

Nun Makrina Pappa, Holy Monastery of Saint Stephen, Holy Meteora.

Nun Mariam Kalogianni, Holy Shrine of the Transfiguration of the Lord, Holy Metropolis of Ierissou and of the Holy Mountain.

Nun Marina Famisi, Holy Monastery of Saint Stephen, Holy Meteora.

Nun Markella Gaki, Holy Monastery of Saint Stephen, Holy Meteora.

Nun Nektaria Bali, Holy Monastery of Saint Stephen, Holy Meteora.

Nun Nikodimi Siahouli, Holy Monastery of Saint Stephen, Holy Meteora.

Nun Kseni Karamihou, Holy Monastery of Saint Stephen, Holy Meteora.

Nun Prodromi Kapeti, Holy Monastery of Saint Stephen, Holy Meteora.

Nun Sarra, Abbess, Holy Monastery of Saint Nicholas, Kontsoul, with following.

Nun Silouani Phillips, Holy Monastery of Saint Stephen, Holy Meteora.

Nun Stephania Tesia, Holy Monastery of Saint Stephen, Holy Meteora.

Nun Synglitiki Rekata, Holy Monastery of Saint Stephen, Holy Meteora.

Nun Fevronia Dalla, Holy Monastery of Saint Stephen, Holy Meteora.

Nun Philothei Bali, Holy Monastery of Saint Stephen, Holy Meteora.

Nun Haralambia Mastoraki, Holy Monastery of Saint Stephen, Holy Meteora.

Nun Christoniphi Bandeka, Holy Monastery of Saint Stephen, Holy Meteora.

Nun Chrysostomi Polyzou, Holy Monastery of Saint Stephen, Holy Meteora.

Nun Melani, Thessaloniki.

Nun Christodouli, Thessaloniki.

Archimandrite Philemon Castro, Los Banos, Laguna, Philippines

Ieromonah Ioan Buliga, Manastirea Jacul Romanesc

Ieromonah Leontios, Slobozia, Romania

Hieromonk Mark, Economos

Hieromonk Nicolas (Vera) Parish Priest of the Parish of Saint Andrew and Saint Nicolas SerbianPatriarchate,

Jeromonah Naum Mirkovic, Proiguman Manastira Crna Reka Serbija

Hieromonk Nicolás (Vera), Parish Priest of the Parish of Saint Andrew and Saint Nicolás, Alicante (Spain), Serbian Patriarchate

Jeromonah Irinej Ristic, iguman manastira Bogorodia Brainska, eparhija rasko prizrenska i kosovsko-metohijska

Jeromonach Varnava Dimitrijevic, manastir Crna Reka, eparhija rasko prizrenskai kosovsko-metohijska

P. Protopresbitero Jorge (Georgios) Faraj, Sacerdote Ortodoxo del patriarcado de Antioquia en Honduras, Centro America

Protopresbyter Roman Cheb, Russia Siberia, sity Prokopyevsk, Paris Priest, Sacred Temple of Saint Nicholas

Pr. Constantin Diboș

Presbyter Sasha Petrovich, parish priest os St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church, Omaha, Nebraska, USA

Priest Koniukhov Dimitry

Priest Toderita Rusu, the Ascenssion of Lord, Bucharest Romania

Fr. Photios, Spiritual Director, St. James the Just True Orthodox Center website, Russian True Orthodox Church.

Pr. Paroh Mihai Solomon, Parohia Sf. Ilie, Girona, Spania

Protodeacon Basil Alexandrovich Yakimov, Russian Orthodox Church

Diacono Ignacio Miranda, Catedral Ortodoxa Antioquena de San Pedro Sula, Honduras, Centro America

monah Hariton Vlajic, manastir Plocnik, eparhija rasko prizrenska i kosovskometohijska

Monahia Eufimia, Mănăstirea Sfinţii Arhangheli, Slobozia, România

Subdeacon Jorge Luiz Slobodaniuk, Ukrainian Orthodox church in Brazil (Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople)

Last update: 15 OCTOBER 2009

This list will be regularly updated with added names.

Readers can see the constantly updated list of signatures in Greek, here:” 

From Time to Eternity, the Internal Mission of Our Church By St Justin Popovich

Fr. Justin Popovich, the renowned Serbian theologian, was a great friend of the Russian Church Abroad. A patristic scholar, poet and true philosopher, who had command of several languages, he devoted his many talents to defending the Faith against ecumenism-for which he was called “the conscience of the Serbian Church”-and unmasking the true face of humanism as a regression to ancient paganism. As an antidote he vigorously preached the eternal truth of Christ the God-man. Appropriately, this “holy messenger of glad tidings” was born and died on the Feast of Annunciation.
It is difficult, very difficult, for infinite and eternal life to enter the narrow human soul and the even narrower human body. The imprisoned inhabitants of earth stand with suspicion before everything that is beyond here. Imprisoned in time and place, they cannot bear-whether on account of atavism or inertia-anything beyond time, anything beyond space to enter into them, anything eternal. They regard such an invasion as an attack, and they respond with war. Furthermore, given the fact that the “rust” of time corrupts man, he does not like the intervention of eternity in his life and he adapts to it with difficulty. He often regards this intervention as an act of violence, an unforgivable audacity. At times he becomes a harsh rebel against eternity, because he sees that in the face of it he is insignificant, while at other times he lashes out against it in vehement hatred because he views it through a very human, very earthly, inner-worldly prism. Submerged with the body in matter, tied by the force of weight in time and space, his spirit withdrawn from eternity, the worldly man abhors the difficult excursions towards the beyond and the eternal. The chasm between time and eternity is for him unbridgeable, because he lacks the necessary ability and strength to step over it. Besieged from all sides by death, man mocks those who tell him: “Man is immortal and eternal.” Immortal as regards what? His mortal body? Eternal as regards what? His feeble spirit?
For man to be immortal, he must feel himself immortal in the center of his self-awareness. To be eternal, he must recognize himself as eternal in the center of his self-consciousness. Without this, both immortality and eternity are for him conditions imposed from outside. And if man once had this sense of immortality and the recognition of eternity, this occurred so long ago, that already it has atrophied under the weight of death. And truly, it has atrophied: this is what the whole mysterious structure of human existence tells us. Our whole problem lies in how to rekindle that quenched feeling, how to resurrect that atrophied recognition. People cannot do it, neither can the transcendent gods of philosophy. Only God can do this, He Who incarnated His immortal Self in the human self-awareness and His eternal Self in human self-consciousness. Christ did precisely this when He became incarnate and became God-Man. Only in Christ, and in Christ alone, did man feel himself immortal and recognize himself as eternal. Through His Person, the God-man Christ bridged the chasm between time and eternity and reinstated the relations between them. For thi s reason only that person truly feels himself immortal and truly knows himself to be eternal who organically unites himself with the God-man Christ, with His Body, the Church. Hence, for man and humanity, Christ became the unique crossing and passage from time to eternity. For this reason, in the Church, the Orthodox Church, the God-man Christ became and remained the unique way and the unique guide from time to eternity, from the self-awareness of mortality to the self-awareness of immortality, from the self-knowledge of finitude to the self-consciousness of eter nity and the unextended.
The eternal living personality of the God-man Christ is precisely the Church. The Church is always the personality, and furthermore the theanthropic personality, the theanthropic spirit and body. The definition of the Church, the life of the Church, its purpose, its spirit, its program, its methods-all have been given in that wondrous Person of the God-man Christ. Therefore, the mission of the Church is organically and personally to unite all its faithful with the Person of Christ; to make their self-awareness Christ-awareness and their self-knowledge (self-consciousness) Christ-knowledge (Christ-consciousness); for their life to become life in Christ and through Christ; so that not they themselves live in themselves but Christ lives in them (Gal. 2:20). The mission of the Church is to secure for her members immortality and eternity, making them partakers of the Divine nature (II Peter 1:4). The mission of the Church is furthermore to create in each member the conviction that the normal condition of the human personality is comprised of immortality and eternity and not temporality and mortality, and that man is a sojourner who through mortality and temporality journeys towards immortality and eternity.
The Church is the theanthropic eternity incarnated in the boundaries of time and space. It is in this world, but it is not of this world (John 18:36). It is in this world to elevate this world to the world above, from which she herself came. The Church is ecumenical, catholic, theanthropic, eternal, and for this reason it entails a blasphemy, an unforgivable blasphemy against Christ and the Holy Spirit to make the Church a national institution (institutio), to narrow her to the small, finite, and temporal purposes and methods of a nation. Its purpose is supra-national, ecumenical, panhuman: to unite in Christ all people, completely, regardless of nationality or race or social stratum. 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), because Christ is all, and in all (Col. 3:11).
The methods of this panhuman-theanthropic union of all people in Christ have been given by the Church in her holy Mysteries and in her theanthropic words (asceses, virtues). And truly, the Mystery of Divine Eucharist composes and defines and comprises the method of Christ and the means for uniting all people: through this Mystery man is organically united with Christ and with all faithful. Through the personal exercise of the theanthropic virtues-faith, prayer, fasting, love, meekness, and utter compassion and charity-man makes himself firm in this union, he preserves himself in this holiness, he himself lives Christ as the unity of his personality and as the essence of his unity with the other members of the holy Body of Christ, the Church.
The Church is the personality of the God-man Christ, a theanthropic organism, not a human organization. The Church is indivisible, just like the person of the God-man, just like the body of the God-man. Therefore, it is a fundamental mistake for the indivisible theanthropic organism of the Church to be divided into small ethnic organizations. In their journey through history many local Churches limited themselves to ethnicism, to ethnic purpos es and methods… The Church would adapt to the people, whereas the norm is the opposite: the people should adapt to the Church. Our own Church often made this mistake. But we know that these were “tares” of our ecclesiastical life, “tares” which the Lord does not uproot, but which He leaves to grow together with the wheat until the harvest (Matt. 13:25-28). But our knowledge of this goes for nothing if it is not transformed into prayer that Christ preserve us from becoming sowers and cultivators of such tares.
It is the twelfth hour, it is time for our ecclesiastical representatives to cease being exclusively slaves of ethnicism, and to become hierarchs and priests of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. The mission of the Church which is given by Christ and realized by the Holy Fathers is: for the awareness and realization to be planted and cultivated in the soul of our people that each member of the Orthodox Church is a catholic person, an eternal and theanthropic person, that he belongs to Christ and for this reason is a brother of all human beings, and a servant of all men and creatures. This is the purpose of the Church given by Christ. Every other purpose is not of Christ but of the antichrist. For our local Church to be the Church of Christ, the catholic Church, she must constantly realize this purpose in our people. By what means can she realize this theanthropic purpose? Once again, the means are none other than the theanthropic ones, because the theanthropic purpose can be realized only through theanthropic means, never with human means or any other whatsoever. On this point the Church differs essentially from everything human and earthly.
The theanthropic means are none other than the theanthropic asceses-virtues. Only the theanthropic virtues exist among them in an organic relation. The one springs from the other, the one completes the other.
The first among the asceses-virtues is the ascesis of faith. Through this ascesis the soul of our people must pass and constantly pass: that is, this soul must be given up to Christ without reservations and compromises, must go deeply into the theanthropic depths, and be elevated to the theanthropic heights. The awareness must be created in our people that the faith of Christ is a supranational, ecumenical and catholic, trinitarian virtue, and that for one to believe in Christ means to serve Christ and only Christ, in all aspects of one’s life.
The second is: the theanthropic virtue of prayer and fasting. This virtue must become a method of life for our Orthodox people; it must become the soul of its soul, because prayer and fasting are the almighty means given by Christ for purification from every impurity-not only of the human being, but also of society and of the people, and of humanity. Prayer and fasting are able to cleanse the soul of our people from our impurities and from our sins. (Matt. 17:19-21); Luke 9:17-29). The soul of our people must be identified with the Orthodox life of prayer. Prayer and fasting must be performed not only for individuals, not only for the people, but for everyone and for everything (“in all and for all”): for friends and enemies, those who persecute and kill us, because this is what distinguishes Christians from pagans (Matt. 5:44-45).
The third theanthropic virtue is the theanthropic virtue of love. This love has no boundaries. It does not ask who is worthy and who is not; it loves everyone: it loves friends and enemies, it loves sinners and criminals (but it does not love their sins and crimes); it blesses those who curse, and like the sun it enlightens both the wicked and the good (Matt. 5:45-46). This theanthropic love must be cultivated in our people, because by this catholicity Christian love is distinguished from the love of the other self-styled and relative loves: from pharisaical, humanistic, altruistic, ethnic, anim al love. The love of Christ is always total love. This love is acquired through prayer, because it is a gift of Christ. And the Orthodox heart prays with intensity: O Lord of love, give me Thy love for all people and for all things!
The fourth is: the theanthropic virtue of meekness and humility. Only he “who is meek in heart” makes rebellious and wild hearts meek. Only he who is humble in heart humble proud and haughty souls. To “show meekness towards all people” is the obligation of every true Christian (Titus 3:2). But man becomes truly meek and hum ble when he makes the meek and humble Lord Jesus the heart of his heart, He who alone is truly meek and humble of heart (Matt. 11:29). The soul of the people must be made meek with the meekness of Christ. Every man must learn to pray: O most meek Lord, make my wild soul meek! The Lord humbled Himself with the greatest humility: He became incarnate, He became man. If you are Christ’s, humble yourself to the utmost, to a worm; incarnate yourself in the pain of every pained person, in the affliction of every afflicted person, in the sufferings of every tortured person, in the grief of every animal and bird. Humble yourself below everyone: be everything to everyone-through Christ and according to Christ. When you are alone, pray: O Humble Lord, humble me through Thy humility!
The fifth is: the theanthropic virtue of patience and humility. That is, to forbear evil, not to return evil for evil, to forgive with total compassion the curses, the slanders, the wounds. This is Christ’s: constantly to feel crucified in the world, persecuted by the world, cursed and spat upon. The world cannot bear Christ-bearing people, just as it could not bear Christ. Martyrdom is the atmosphere in which the Christian bears fruit. We must teach this to our people. For Orthodox, martyrdom is purification. It is Christian not only to bear sufferings with joy, but also to forgive with total compassion those who cause them, to pray for them to God, just as did Christ and the Archdeacon Stephen. For this reason, pray: O long-suffering Lord, give me long-suffering, magnanimity and meekness!
The mission of our Church is: to make these theandric virtues-asceses the methods of life for the people, to weave the Christ-like theanthrophic virtues into the soul and life of the people. In this lies the salvation of the soul from the world and from all soul-corrupting, homicidal, atheistic movements and worldly organizations. Against the “educated” atheism and the gentlemanly cannibalism of contemporary civilization, we must array Christ-bearing personalities, which with the meekness of a sheep will be victorious over the excited passions of the wolves, and with the innocence of doves will save the soul of the people from the cultural and political stench. We must counteract cultural asceticism-which takes place in the name of the rotted and deformed European man, in the name of atheism, of civilization, of the antichrist-with ascesis in the name of Christ.
For this reason the main obligation of our Church is to create Christ-bearing ascetics. The voice which must be heard in it today is: Go back to the Christ-bearing ascetics, towards the Holy Fathers! Go back to the asceses and virtues of the Holy Fathers! Go back to the virtues of Saints Anthony and Athanasios, of Saints Basil and Gregory, of Saints John Chrysostom and Damascene, of Saints Sergei and Seraphim (the Russians), of Saints Savva, Prochor and Gabriel (the Serbs), and others! Because these theanthropic asceses-virtues created Saint Anthony, Saint Gregory and Saint Savva. And today, only the Orthodox asceses-virtues are capable of sanctifying every soul and the soul of our whole people, because the theanthropic purpose is eternal and unalterable, and its means are also eternal and unalterable, because Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb. 13:8). Here is the difference between the human world and the world of Christ: the human one is finite and temporal, while Christ’s is unalterable and eternal. Orthodoxy, as the unique bearer and guardian of the perfect and all-radiant Person of the God-man Christ, is realized exclusively with the theanthropic-Orthodox means, the ascetical virtues in grace, not with means lent by Roman Catholicism or
Protestantism, because these are Christianities according to the version of the proud European man, and not of the humble God-man. God Himself facilita tes this mission of our Church, because in our people there exists a spirit of asceticism, as Orthodoxy created it through the ages. The Orthodox soul of our people inclines towards the Holy Fathers, towards the Orthodox Ascetics. The personal, familial, and parochial ascesis-especially in prayer and fasting-is characteristic of Orthodoxy. Our people, the Orthodox people, are the people of Christ because, like Christ, they summarize the Gospel in these two virtues: prayer and fasting. They are convinced that every impurity, every impure thought, every impure desire, every impure spirit, can be chased out of man only by prayer and fasting (Matt. 17:21). In the depths of their hearts our people know Christ, they know Orthodoxy, know what it is that makes the Orthodox man Orthodox. Orthodoxy always creates ascetical rebirths; it does not recognize other rebirths.
The ascetics are the only missionaries of Orthodoxy. Asceticism is the only missionary school of Orthodoxy. Orthodoxy is ascesis and life, for this reason only with ascesis and life does she reach and realize her mission. Asceticism-personal and ecclesiastical-must be developed; this must be the internal mission of our Church towards our people. The parish must become an ascetical center. But this can only be done by an ascetic parish priest. Prayer and fasting, the ecclesiastical life of the parish, the liturgical life-these are the chief means by which Orthodoxy brings about rebirth in people. The parish, the parish community must be reborn, and in Christ-loving and brother-loving love humbly serve Christ and all people with meekness and humility, with sacrifice and self-denial. This service ought to be saturated and nourished by prayer and a liturgical life. This is fundamental and absolutely essential. But all of these demand as a prerequisite that our hierarchs, our priests, our monastics become ascetics, and for this: Let us beseech the Lord.

Translated from the Greek by Father Nicholas Palis

St Justin Popovich 

From Orthodox faith and life in Christ 

“With respect to the dogma concerning papal infallibility, as a particular matter the pope has been proclaimed to be the Church, and the pope─a man─has usurped the place of the God-man. That is the ultimate triumph of humanism and simultaneously “the second death” (Rev. 20: 14, 21:8) of the papacy, and through it and after it the death of every humanism. However, the dogma of papal infallibility is not only a heresy but the greatest heresy against the True Church of Christ, which has existed in our terrestrial world as a theanthropic body ever since the appearance of the God-man. No other heresy has revolted so violently and so completely against the God-man Christ and His Church as has the papacy with the dogma of the pope-man’s infallibility. There is no doubt about it. This dogma is the heresy of heresies, a revolt without precedent against the God-man Christ on this earth, a new betrayal of Christ, a new crucifixion of the Lord, this time not on wood but on the golden cross of papal humanism. And these things are hell, damnation for the wretched earthly being called man.”

Fr Peter Heers :Are the decisions of the Council binding on the whole Church? Are the decisions of the Council in Crete “binding” on the Church?A Response to the Archdeacon John Chrysavgis

No. The decisions cannot be considerd binding for several reasons:
First of all, not all Orthodox Churches will be present, so decisions taken in their absence certainly cannot be considered binding on them, unless their own Holy Synods adopt the decisions of the Council.

Secondly, even if all Orthodox Churches were present at the Council, the decisions would not be binding unless and until the Holy Synods, the hierarchy, of each Local Church met and adopted them.

Thirdly, since the Council is not inviting all Orthodox Bishops, but only 24 from each Local Church, the decisions of the Council cannot be considered binding unless all of those bishops – a majority of the heirarchy of the Church (about 3/4ths of the hierarchy!) – who were not invited also accept the decisions.

Finally, Met. John (Zizioulas) of Pergamon, of the Ecumenical Patriarchate has written that a bishop who has not been invited to the Council is not bound by its decisions and can freely and rightly reject them (See: the periodical Θεολογία, 2014).
All decisions contrary to sound Orthodox theology and ecclesiology are likewise not-binding, irrespective of whether or not they are ratified by the Synod of a particular Local Church or group of them.