St John Climacus: First part of Step 8: ON PLACIDITY AND MEEKNESS. From The Ladder of Divine Ascent.

“As the gradual pouring of water on a fire puts out the flame completely, so the tears of genuine mourning can extinguish every flame of anger and irascibility. Hence this comes next in our sequence. Freedom from anger is an endless wish for dishonor, whereas among the vainglorious there is a limitless thirst for praise. Freedom from anger is a triumph over one’s nature. It is the ability to be impervious to insults, and comes by hard work and the sweat of one’s brow.

Meekness is a permanent condition of that soul which remains unaffected by whether or not it is spoken well of, whether or not it is honored or praised.

The first step toward freedom from anger is to keep the lips silent when the heart is stirred; the next, to keep thoughts silent when the soul is upset; the last, to be totally calm when unclean winds are blowing.

Anger is an indication of concealed hatred, of grievance nursed. Anger is the wish to harm someone who has provoked you.

Irascibility is an untimely flaring up of the heart. Bitterness is a stirring of the soul’s capacity for displeasure.Anger is an easily changed movement of one’s disposition, a disfigurement of the soul.

Just as darkness retreats before light, so all anger and bitterness disappears before the fragrance of humility. Some unfortunate people, who have a tendency to anger, neglect the treatment and cure of this passion and so give no thought to the saying, “The moment of his anger is his downfall” (Ecclus. 1:22).

A quick movement of a millstone can grind in one moment and do away with more of the soul’s grain and fruit than another crushes in a whole day. So we must be understanding and we must pay attention, for a strong sudden wind may fan a blaze that will cause more damage to the field of the heart than a lingering flame could ever manage to achieve.Let us not forget, my friends, that evil demons sometimes leave us unexpectedly, with the result that we may become careless about these strong passions within us, thinking them to be of no consequence, and become, therefore, incurably ill.”

Transl. by Colm Luibheid and Rev. Norman Victor Russell.

SPCK. LONDON.

St John Chrysostom on ”The Beatitudes”

From HOMILY XV.

MATT. V. 1, 2.

“And Jesus seeing the multitudes went up into the mountain, and when He was set, His disciples came unto Him. And He opened His mouth, and taught them saying, Blessed,” etc.

SEE how unambitious He was, and void of boasting: in that He did not lead people about with Him, but whereas, when healing. was required, He had Himself gone about everywhere, visiting both towns and country places; now when the multitude is become very great, He sits in one spot: and that not in the midst of any city or forum, but on a mountain and in a wilderness; instructing us to do nothing for display, and to separate ourselves from the tumults of ordinary life, and this most especially, when we are to study wisdom, and to discourse of things needful to be done.

But when He had gone up into the mount, and “was set down, His disciples came unto Him.” Seest thou their growth in virtue? and how in a momentthey became better men? Since the multitude were but gazers on the miracles, but these from that hour desired also to hear some great and high thing. And indeed this it was set Him on His teaching, and made Him begin this discourse.

For it was not men’s bodies only that He was healing, but He was also amending their souls; and again from the care of these He would pass to attendance on the other. Thus He at once varied the succor that He gave, and likewise mingled with the instruction afforded by His words, the manifestation of His glory from His works; and besides, He stopped the shameless mouths of the heretics, signifying by this His care of both parts of our being, that He Himself is the Maker of the whole creation. Therefore also on each nature He bestowed abundant providence, now amending the one, now the other.

And in this way He was then employed. For it is said, that “He opened His mouth, and taught them.” And wherefore is the clause added, “He opened His mouth”? To inform thee that in His very silence He gave instruction, and not when He spoke only: but at one time by “opening His mouth,” at another uttering His voice by the works which He did.

But when thou hearest that He taught them, do not think of Him as discoursing with His disciples only, but rather with all through them.

For since the multitude was such as a multitude ever is,and consisted moreover of such as creep on the ground,He withdraws the choir of His disciples, and makes His discourse unto them: in His conversation with them providing that the rest also, who were yet very far from the level of His sayings, might find His lesson of selfdenial no longer grievous unto them. Of which indeed both Luke gave intimation, when he said, that. He directed His words unto them: and Matthew too, clearly declaring the same, wrote, “His disciples came unto Him, and He taught them.” For thus the others also were sure to be more eagerly attentive to Him, than they would have been, had He addressed Himself unto all.

2. Whence then doth He begin? and what kind of foundations of His new polity doth He lay for us?

Let us hearken with strict attention unto what is said. For though it was spoken unto them, it was written for the sake also of all men afterwards. And accordingly on this account, though He had His disciples in His mind in His public preaching, yet unto them He limits not His sayings, but applies all His words of blessing without restriction. Thus He said not, “Blessed are ye, if ye become poor,” but “Blessed are the poor.” And I may add that even if He had spoken of them, the advice would still be common to all. For so, when He saith, “Lo! I am with you always, even unto the end of the world,”He is discoursing not with them only, but also, through them, with all the world. And in pronouncing them blessed, who are persecuted, and chased, and suffer all intolerable things; not for them only, but also for all who arrive at the same excellency, He weaves His crown.

However, that this may be yet plainer, and to inform thee that thou hast great interest in His sayings, and so indeed hath all mankind, if any choose to give heed; hear how He begins these wondrous words.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.” What is meant by “the poor in spirit?” The humble and contrite in mind. For by “spirit” He hath here designated the soul, and the faculty of choice. That is, since many are humble not willingly, but compelled by stress of circumstances; letting these pass (for this were no matter of praise), He blesses them first, who by choice humble and contract themselves.

But why said he not, “the humble,” but rather “the poor?” Because this is more than that. For He means here them who are awestruck, and tremble at the commandments of God. Whom also by His prophet Isaiah God earnestly accepting said, “To whom will I look, but to him who is meekand quiet, and trembleth at My words?” For indeed there are many kinds of humility: one is humble in his own measure, another with all excess of lowliness. It is this last lowliness of mind which that blessed prophet commends, picturing to us the temper that is not merely subdued, but utterly broken, when he saith, “The sacrifice for God is a contrite spirit, a contrite and an humble heart God will not despise.”And the Three Children also offer this unto God as a great sacrifice, saying, “Nevertheless, in a contrite soul, and in a spirit of lowliness, may we be accepted.”This Christ also now blesses.

3. For whereas the greatest of evils, and those which make havoc of the whole world, had their entering in from pride:–for both the devil, not being such before, did thus become a devil; as indeed Paul plainly declared, saying, “Lest being lifted up with pride, he fall into the condemnation of the devil:”(6)–and the first man, too, puffed up by the devil with these hopes, was made an example of,and became mortal (for expecting to become a god, he lost even what he had; and God also upbraiding him with this, and mocking his folly, said, “Behold, Adam is become as one of us”(8); and each one of those that came after did hereby wreck himself in impiety, fancying some equality with God:–since, I say, this was the stronghold of our evils, and the root and fountain of all wickedness, He, preparing a remedy suitable to the disease, laid this law first as a strong and safe foundation. For this being fixed as a base, the builder in security lays on it all the rest. But if this be taken away, though a man reach to the Heavens in his course of life,it is all easily undermined, and issues in a grievous end. Though fasting, prayer, almsgiving, temperance, any other good thing whatever, be gathered together in thee; without humility all fall away and perish.

It was this very thing that took place in the instance of the Pharisee.

For even after he had arrived at the very summit, he “went down”with the loss of all, because he had not the mother of virtues: for as pride is the fountain of all wickedness, so is humility the principle of all self-command. Wherefore also He begins with this, pulling up boasting by the very root out of the soul of His hearers.

“And what,” one may ask, “is this to His disciples, who were on every account humble? For in truth they had nothing to be proud of, being fishermen, poor, ignoble, and illiterate.” Even though these things concerned not His disciples, yet surely they concerned such as were then present, and such as were hereafter to receive the disciples, lest they should on this account despise them. But it were truer to say that they did also concern His disciples. For even if not then, yet by and by they were sure to require this help, after their signs and wonders, and their honor from the world, and their confidence towards God. For neither wealth, nor power, nor royalty itself, had so much power to exalt men, as the things which they possessed in all fullness. And besides, it was natural that even before the signs they might be lifted up, at that very time when they saw the multitude, and all that audience surrounding their Master; they might feel some human weakness. Wherefore He at once represses their pride.

And He doth not introduce what He saith by way of advice or of commandments, but by way of blessing, so making His word less burthensome, and opening to all the course of His discipline. For He said not, “This or that person,” but “they who do so, are all of them blessed.” So that though thou be a slave, a beggar, in poverty, a stranger, unlearned,there is nothing to hinder thee from being blessed, if thou emulate this virtue. 4. Now having begun, as you see, where most need was, He proceeds to another commandment, one which seems to be opposed to the judgment of the whole world. For whereas all think that they who rejoice are enviable, those in dejection, poverty, and mourning, wretched, He calls these blessed rather than those; saying thus,

“Blessed are they that mourn.”

Yet surely all men call them miserable. For therefore He wrought the miracles beforehand, that in such enactments as these He might be entitled to credit. And here too again he designated not simply all that mourn, but all that do so for sins: since surely that other kind of mourning is forbidden, and that earnestly, which relates to anything of this life. This Paul also clearly declared, when he said, “The sorrow of the world worketh death, but godly sorrow worketh repentance unto salvation, not to be repented of.”

These then He too Himself calls blessed, whose sorrow is of that kind; yet not simply them that sorrow did He designate, but them that sorrow intensely. Therefore He did not say, “they that sorrow,” but “they that mourn.” For this commandment again is fitted to teach us entire self-control. For if those who grieve for children, or wife, or any other relation gone from them, have no fondness for gain or pleasure during that period of their sorrow; if they aim not at glory, are not provoked by insults, nor led captive by envy, nor beset by any other passion, their grief alone wholly possessing them; much more will they who mourn for their own sins, as they ought to mourn, show forth a self-denial greater than this.

Next, what is the reward for these? “For they shall be comforted,” saith He.

Where shall they be comforted! tell me. Both here and there. For since the thing enjoined was exceeding burthensome and galling, He promised to give that, which most of all made it light. Wherefore, if thou wilt be comforted, mourn: and think not this a dark saying. For when God doth comfort, though sorrows come upon thee by thousands like snow-flakes, thou wilt be above them all. Since in truth, as the returns which God gives are always far greater than our labors; so He hath wrought in this case, declaring them that mourn to be blessed, not after the value of what they do, but after His own love towards man For they that mourn, mourn for misdoings, and to such it is enough to enjoy forgiveness, and obtain wherewith to answer for themselves. But forasmuch as He is full of love towards man, He doth not limit His recompense either to the removal of our punishments, or to the deliverance from our sins, but He makes them even blessed, and imparts to them abundant consolation.

But He bids us mourn, not only for our own, but also for other men’s misdoings. And of this temper were the souls of the saints: such was that of Moses, of Paul, of David; yea, all these many times mourned for evils not their own.

5. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Tell me, what kind of earth? Somesay a figurative earth, but it is not this, for nowhere in Scripture do we find any mention of an earth that is merely figurative.But what can the saying mean? He holds out a sensible prize; even as Paul also doth, in that when he had said, “Honor thy father and thy mother,”he added, “For so shalt thou live long upon the earth.” And He Himself unto the thief again, “Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise.”

Thus He doth not incite us by means of the future blessings only, but of the present also, for the sake of the grosset sort of His hearers, and such as before the future seek those others.

Thus, for example, further on also He said, “Agree with thine adversary.”Then He appoints the reward of such self-command, and saith, “Lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge to the officer.”Seest thou whereby He alarmed us? By the things of sense, by what happens before our eyes. And again, “Whosoever shall say to his brother, Rata, shall be in danger of the council.”

And Paul too sets forth sensible rewards at great length, and uses things present in his exhortations; as when he is discoursing about virginity. For having said nothing about the heavens there, for the time he urges it by things present, saying, “Because of the present distress,” and, “But I spare you,” and, “I would have you without carefulness,”

Thus accordingly Christ also with the things spiritual hath mingled the sensible. For whereas the meek man is thought to lose all his own, He promises the contrary, saying, “Nay, but this is he who possesses his goods in safety, namely, he who is not rash, nor boastful: while that sort of man shall often lose his patrimony, and his very life.”

And besides, since in the Old Testament the prophet used to say continually, “The meek shall inherit the earth;”He thus weaves into His discourse the words to which they were accustomed, so as not everywhere to speak a strange language.

And this He saith, not as limiting the rewards to things present, but as joining with these the other sort of gifts also. For neither in speaking of any spiritual thing doth He exclude such as are in the present life; nor again in promising such as are in our life, doth He limit his promise to that kind. For He saith, “Seek ye the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you.”And again: “Whosoever hath left houses or brethren, shall receive an hundred fold in this world, and in the future shall inherit everlasting life.”

6. “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness.”

What sort of righteousness? He means either the whole of virtue, or that particular virtue which is opposed to covetousness.For since He is about to give commandment concerning mercy, to show how we must show mercy, as, for instance, not of rapine or covetousness, He blesses them that lay hold of righteousness.

And see with what exceeding force He puts it. For He said not, “Blessed are they which keep fast by righteousness,” but, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness:” that not merely anyhow, but with all desire we may pursue it. For since this is the most peculiar property of covetousness, and we are not so enamored of meat and drink, as of gaining, and compassing ourselves with more and more, He bade us to transfer this desire to a new object, freedom from covetousness.

Then He appoints the prize, again from things sensible; saying, “for they shall be filled.” Thus, because it is thought that the rich are commonly made such by covetousness, “Nay,” saith He, “it is just contrary: for it is righteousness that doeth this. Wherefore, so long as thou doest righteously, fear not poverty, nor tremble at hunger. For the extortioners, they are the very persons who lose all, even as he certainly who is in love with righteousness, possesses himself the goods of all men in safety.”

But if they who covet not other men’s goods enjoy so great abundance,much more they who give up their own. “Blessed are the merciful.”

Here He seems to me to speak not of those only who show mercy in giving of money, but those likewise who are merciful in their actions. For the way of showing mercy is manifold, and this commandment is broad. What then is the reward thereof? “For they shall obtain mercy.”

And it seems indeed to be a sort of equal recompence, but it is a far greater thing than the act of goodness. For whereas they themselves show mercy as men, they obtain mercy from the God of all; and it is not the same thing, man’s mercy, and God’s; but as wide as is the interval between wickedness and goodness, so far is the one of these removed from the other.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

Behold again the reward is spiritual. Now He here calls “pure,” either those who have attained unto all virtue, and are not conscious to themselves of any evil; or those who live in temperance. For there is nothing which we need so much in order to see God, as this last virtue. Wherefore Paul also said, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.”He is here speaking of such sight as it is possible for man to have.

For because there are many who show mercy, and who commit no rapine, nor are covetous, who yet are guilty of fornication and uncleanness; to signify that the former alone suffices not, He hath added this, much in the same sense as Paul, writing to the Corinthians, bore witness of the Macedonians, that they were rich not only in almsgiving, but also in all other virtue. For having spoken of the noble spiritthey had shown in regard of their goods, he saith, “They gave also their own selves to the Lord, and to us.”

7. “Blessed are the peace-makers.”Here He not only takes away altogether our own strife and hatred amongst ourselves, but He requires besides this something more, namely, that we should set at one again others, who are at strife.

And again, the reward which He annexes is spiritual. Of what kind then is it.

“For they shall be called the children of God.” Yea, for this became the work of the Only Begotten, to unite the divided, and to reconcile the alienated.

Then, lest thou shouldest imagine”Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.”

That is, for virtue’s sake, for succorgiven to others, and for godliness: it being ever His wont to call by the name of “righteousness” the whole practical wisdom of the soul.

“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad.”

As if He said, “Though they should call you sorcerers, deceivers, pestilent persons, or whatever else, blessed are ye”: so He speaks. What could be newer than these injunctions? wherein the very things which all others avoid, these He declares to be desirable; I mean, being poor, mourning, persecution, evil report. But yet He both affirmed this, and convinced not two, nor ten, nor twenty, nor an hundred, nor a thousand men, but the whole world. And hearing things so grievous and galling, so contrary to the accustomed ways of men, the multitudes “were astonished.” So great was the power of Him who spake.

However, lest thou shouldest think that the mere fact of being evil spoken of makes men blessed, He hath set two limitations; when it is for His sake, and when the things that are said are false: for without these, he who is evil spoken of, so far from being blessed, is miserable.

Then see the prize again: “Because your reward is great in heaven.” But thou, though thou hear not of a kingdom given in each one of the blessings, be not discouraged. For although He give different names to the rewards, yet He brings all into His kingdom. Thus, both when He saith, “they that mourn shall be comforted;” and, “they that show mercy shall obtain mercy;” and, “the pure in heart shall see God;” and, the peacemakers “shall be called the children of God;” nothing else but the Kingdom doth He shadow out by all these sayings. For such as enjoy these, shall surely attain unto that. Think not therefore that this reward is for the poor in spirit only, but for those also who hunger after righteousness, for the meek, and for all the rest without exception.

Since on this account He hath set His blessing on them all, that thou mightest not look for anything sensible: for that man cannot be peace in all cases a blessing, He hath added,

“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.”

That is, for virtue’s sake, for succorgiven to others, and for godliness: it being ever His wont to call by the name of “righteousness” the whole practical wisdom of the soul.

“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad.”

As if He said, “Though they should call you sorcerers, deceivers, pestilent persons, or whatever else, blessed are ye”: so He speaks. What could be newer than these injunctions? wherein the very things which all others avoid, these He declares to be desirable; I mean, being poor, mourning, persecution, evil report. But yet He both affirmed this, and convinced not two, nor ten, nor twenty, nor an hundred, nor a thousand men, but the whole world. And hearing things so grievous and galling, so contrary to the accustomed ways of men, the multitudes “were astonished.” So great was the power of Him who spake.

However, lest thou shouldest think that the mere fact of being evil spoken of makes men blessed, He hath set two limitations; when it is for His sake, and when the things that are said are false: for without these, he who is evil spoken of, so far from being blessed, is miserable.

Then see the prize again: “Because your reward is great in heaven.” But thou, though thou hear not of a kingdom given in each one of the blessings, be not discouraged. For although He give different names to the rewards, yet He brings all into His kingdom. Thus, both when He saith, “they that mourn shall be comforted;” and, “they that show mercy shall obtain mercy;” and, “the pure in heart shall see God;” and, the peacemakers “shall be called the children of God;” nothing else but the Kingdom doth He shadow out by all these sayings. For such as enjoy these, shall surely attain unto that. Think not therefore that this reward is for the poor in spirit only, but for those also who hunger after righteousness, for the meek, and for all the rest without exception.

Since on this account He hath set His blessing on them all, that thou mightest not look for anything sensible: for that man cannot be blessed, who is crowned with such things as come to an end with this present life, and hurry by quicker than a shadow.

8. But when He had said, “your reward is great,” he added also another consolation, saying, “For so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”

Thus, since that first, the promise of the Kingdom, was yet to come, and all in expectation, He affords them comfort from this world; from their fellowship with those who before them had been ill-treated.

For “think not,” saith He, “that for something inconsistent in your sayings and enactments ye suffer these things: or, as being teachers of evil doctrines, ye are to be persecuted by them; the plots and dangers proceed not of any wickedness in your sayings, but of the malice of those who hear you. Wherefore neither are they any blame to you who suffer wrong, but to them who do the wrong. And to the truth of these things all preceding time bears witness. For against the prophets they did not even bring any charge of transgressing the law, and of sentiments of impiety, that they stoned some, chased away others, encompassed others with innumerable afflictions. Wherefore let not this trouble you, for of the very same mind they do all that is done now.” Seest thou how He raised up their spirits, by placing them near to the company of Moses and Elias?

Thus also Paul writing to the Thessalonians, saith, “For ye became followers of the Churches of God, which are in Judea; for ye also have suffered the same things of your own fellow-countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have driven us out; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men.”Which same point here also Christ hath established.

And whereas in the other beatitudes, He said, “Blessed are the poor,” and “the merciful;” here He hath not put it generally, but addresses His speech unto themselves, saying, “Blessed are ye, when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and say every evil word:” signifying that this is an especial privilege of theirs; and that beyond all others, teachers have this for their own.

At the same time He here also covertly signifies His own dignity, and His equality in honor with Him who begat Him. For “as they on the Father’s account,” saith He, “so shall ye also for me suffer these things.” But when He saith, “the prophets which were before you,” He implies that they were also by this time become prophets.

Next, declaring that this above all profits them, and makes them glorious, He did not say, “they will calumniate and persecute you, but I will prevent it.” For not in their escaping evil report, but in their noble endurance thereof, and in refuting them by their actions, He will have their safety stand: this being a much greater thing than the other; even as to be struck and not hurt, is much greater than escaping the blow.”

OFFICIAL HISTORY OF THE DEFROCKING AND ANATHEMATIZATION OF PHILARET DENISENKO Documents of the June 1992, 1994, and 1997 Bishops’ Councils of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Philaret Denisenko

Philaret Denisenko, the primate of the schismatic “Kiev Patriarchate,” was recently rehabilitated and received into communion by the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. This action has been condemned by the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the headship of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry, and other hierarchs from the fraternal Local Orthodox Churches around the world, because they recognize and accept the legitimacy of the anathema that was placed upon Denisenko by the Russian Orthodox Church in 1997.

Philaret Denisenko has a long ecclesial history, having served as the canonical Archbishop and then Metropolitan of Kiev from 1966. However, after the fall of the Soviet Union, when Ukraine became an independent state, the religious situation in the country changed dramatically and the Orthodox faithful were divided into several branches, with Denisenko playing a main role in this process. Moreover, the Church was freer to act without the pressure and dictation of the KGB, and the hierarchy of the canonical Ukrainian Church was able to bring up ecclesiastical charges against Denisenko.

The documents presented here detail the charges brought against Denisenko by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the ensuing decision of the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church to defrock him on June 11, 1992. All of the documents from the June 1992 Council are included here, as well as, notably, the letter of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to His Holiness Patriarch Alexei II of Moscow and All Russia in response to this decision.

The 1994 Bishops’ Council noted that Denisenko was continuing to serve, and warned him of the possible ecclesiastical punishment, and, in response to his continued activity in Ukraine, the 1997 Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church resolved to anathematize Denisenko. An excerpt from His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew’s letter to His Holiness Patriarch Alexei II in response to this decision is also included.

***

Statement of the Episcopate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Read at the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, June 11, 1992:

We, the hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, concerned for the fate of holy Orthodoxy in our native Ukrainian land, draw the attention of all the fullness of the Orthodox Church under the omophorion of His Holiness the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia to the unworthy behavior of the former primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Metropolitan Philaret (Denisenko), and in this regard we declare the following: 

  1. Metropolitan Philaret is extremely cruel and arrogant in relation to the subordinate clergy and to his brothers in the episcopal ministry. Instead of fatherly care, love, and compassion to the younger brethren, he embarked upon the path of dictatorialness and intimidation, which is absolutely unacceptable in the behavior of an Orthodox hierarch, for he, according to the word of the holy Apostle Paul, must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; but a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate (Tit. 1:7-8). Canon 27 of the Holy Apostles prescribes that those bishops, presbyters, or deacons who commit physical and spiritual violence be deposed from their holy orders. 
  2. By his personal life, Metropolitan Philaret brings temptation among the faithful and also gives occasion for defamation and blasphemy against the Orthodox Church from the outside world, for which, according to Canon 3 of the First Ecumenical Council and Canon 5 the Fifth-Sixth (Trullan) Council, he is subject to the strictest canonical punishment, for, as Holy Scripture says, woe to that man by whom the offence cometh (Mt. 18:7). 
  3. Metropolitan Philaret, who gave his word at the Bishops’ Council before the cross and Gospel to convene without delay a Council of the Ukrainian bishops in Kiev and to declare there his resignation,[1] and having promised to fulfill it, he broke his oath, entailing, according to Canon 25 of the Holy Apostles, deposition from his sacred office. 
  4. Following the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church from March 31-April 5, 1992, Metropolitan Philaret has tried and is trying to use the mass media to maliciously and publicly distort the decisions made there and is thereby a slanderer and blasphemer of our holy Orthodox Church, and as such, according to Canon 6 of the Second Ecumenical Council, he bears strict canonical responsibility. 
  5. Having ignored the decision of the Bishops’ Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of May 27, 1992, and having lost the conscience of a pastor, Metropolitan Philaret sacrilegiously grasped for himself the right to celebrate the sacred services as a bishop, which does not belong to him. In particular, he celebrated the Divine Liturgy and ordained deacons, priests, and even bishops multiple times, having no authority to do so from the Holy Synod. For such actions, Canon 28 of the Holy Apostle subjects those disobedient to canonical discipline to complete separation from the Orthodox Church: “If any bishop, or presbyter, or deacon, who has been justly deposed from office for proven crimes, should dare to touch the Liturgy which had once been put in his hands, let him be cut off from the Church altogether.” 

St. Basil the Great, in his epistle to Gregory the Presbyter, included in the canonical code as his 88th Canon, warns the temporarily suspended cleric that if he, disregarding his suspension, dares “to touch the priesthood,” he will be “anathema to all the people.” 

  1. By his actions, Metropolitan Philaret has caused a schism in the Church, for which he is subject to the deprivation of his office on the basis of Canon 15 of the First-Second Council. 

All of the above we entrust to the judgment of the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, which we urge to take strict measures of punishment in regard to Metropolitan Philaret, as a conscious trespasser against Church piety and canonical order, as required by the sacred canons, which we all solemnly promised before the Orthodox Church to follow. 

Metropolitan of Kharkov and Bogodukhov NIKODOM
Metropolitan of Vinnytstia and Bratslav AGAFANGEL
Archbishop of Chernigov and Nizhyn ANTHONY
Archbishop of Zhytomyr and Ovruch JOB
Archbishop of Rivne and Ostroh IRENEI
Bishop of Volyn and Lutsk BARTHOLOMEW
Bishop of Ivano-Frankivsk and Kolomyia and temporary administrator of the Kherson Diocese HILARION
Bishop of Donetsk and Slavyansk ALIPY
Bishop of Chernovtsi and Bukovina ONUPHRY
Bishop of Ternopil and Kremenets SERGEI
Bishop of Simferopol and Crimea VASILY
Bishop of Kirovograd and Nikolaev VASILY
Bishop of Sumy and Okhtyrka NICANOR
Bishop of Lugansk and Starobelsk IOANNIKY
Bishop of Khmelnitsky and Kamenets-Podolsk NIPHON
Bishop of Dnepropetrovsk and Zaporozhye GLEB 

June 11, 1992.

Judicial Acts of the June 11, 1992 Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church:

Carrying out the trial in the case of the former Metropolitan Philaret (Denisenko) of Kiev and All Ukraine, the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church heard:

The statement of the episcopate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (the full text of the Statement is published above).

The Right Reverend archpastors of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and bishops, previously having held an archpastoral ministry in Ukraine, have confirmed by their witness statements the accuracy of all the charges brought forward against the former Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine Philaret (Denisenko) in the Statement of the Episcopate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church; thus, the following crimes were attested to:

1 authoritarian methods of governance of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and Kiev Diocese, complete disregard for the conciliar voice of the Church, as well as demonstrations of cruelty and arrogance in relations with colleagues in the archpastoral ministry, clergy, and laity, and a lack of compassion and Christian love;

2 a manner of life incongruous with the requirements of the canons which casts a shadow upon the Church;

3 oath-breaking, manifested in the violation of the vow made by him before the Cross and Gospel at the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church held on March 31-April 5 of this year to convoke the Bishops’ Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and submit there a petition for resignation from the post of primate of the Ukrainian Church;

4 the conscious perversion of the authentic decisions of the Bishop’s Council of the Russian Orthodox Church in his public statements, including by means of mass information, invective, and slander against the Bishops’ Council, and thereby against the Orthodox Church;

5 the celebration of the sacred services, including ordinations to the diaconate, priesthood, and episcopacy in a state of canonical prohibition;

6 the individual appropriation of conciliar authority, expressed in the threat of imposing a punishment on the hierarchs who, acting in accordance with the sacred canons and the Statute of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, decided at the Bishops’ Council in Kharkov on May 27 to remove him from the post of the Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine and to prohibit him from serving;

7 creating a schism in the Church by the unlawful consecration of new bishops and appointing them to dioceses occupied by canonical hierarchs, and other wrongful acts.

The extensive discussion that then took place testified to the recognition by the fathers of the Council that the materials contained in the Statement of the Episcopate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and in the witness testimonies corresponds to the truth.

According to the results of the vote, the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church RESOLVES:

for the cruel and arrogant attitude of Metropolitan Philaret (Denisenko) to his subordinate clergy, dictatorialness, and intimidation (Tit. 1:7-8; Canon 27 of the Holy Apostles),

causing temptation among the faithful by his behavior and personal life (Mt. 18:7; Canon 3 of First Ecumenical Council, Canon 5 of the Fifth-Sixth Council),

oath-breaking (Canon 25 of the Holy Apostles),

public slander and blasphemy against the Bishops’ Council (Canon 6 of the Second Ecumenical Council),

celebrating services, including ordination, in a state of suspension (Canon 28 of the Holy Apostles),

the perpetration of a schism in the Church (Canon 15 of the First-Second Council):

1 To depose Metropolitan Philaret (Denisenko) from his existing rank, depriving him of every degree of the priesthood and all rights connected with the clerical rank.

2 To consider all ordinations to the rank of deacon, presbyter, and bishop celebrated by Metropolitan Philaret in a state of suspension from May 27 of this year, and also all the punishments imposed by him on clergy and laity from May 6 of this year, illegal and invalid.

3 To depose Bishop Jacob (Panchuk) of Pochaev from his rank for complicity in the anti-canonical actions of the former Metropolitan of Kiev Philaret, depriving him of every degree of the priesthood.

4 The decisions of the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church on the expulsion of Metropolitan Philaret (Denisenko) and Bishop Jacob (Panchuk) from their existing ranks and on their deprivation of every degree of the priesthood shall be brought to the attention of all the Local Orthodox Churches.

***

Encyclical of the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church to the pastors and faithful children of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, June 11, 1992:

Dear fathers, brothers, and sisters in Christ!

The Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church bitterly testifies that a new schism has arisen in the Ukrainian land.

The reason for this is the actions of the former Metropolitan of Kiev Philaret who was prohibited to serve by the Bishops’ Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of May 27 of this year.

Acting in the capacity of a Church court, the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church considered the claim submitted by the Ukrainian bishops and considered the testimony of witnesses and found Metropolitan Philaret guilty of cruel and arrogant treatment of the bishops, clergy, and flock, of violating the oath given by him before the cross and Gospel to voluntarily leave the post of the primate of the Ukrainian Church, of blaspheming the Bishops’ Council, of lawlessly celebrating the Divine services while under suspension, including episcopal consecrations, and of consciously and explicitly creating a schism in the Church. The Council also acknowledged that the personal life of Metropolitan Philaret introduces temptation among the faithful and gives cause for the condemnation of the Orthodox Church by the outside world.

The Bishops’ Council, strictly guided by the sacred canons, RESOLVED:

1 To depose Metropolitan Philaret (Denisenko) from his existing rank, depriving him of every degree of the priesthood and all rights connected with the clerical rank.

2 To consider all ordinations to the rank of deacon, presbyter, and bishop celebrated by Metropolitan Philaret in a state of suspension from May 27 of this year, and also all the punishments imposed by him on clergy and laity from May 6 of this year, illegal and invalid.

3 To depose Bishop Jacob (Panchuk) of Pochaev from his rank for complicity in the anti-canonical actions of the former Metropolitan of Kiev Philaret, depriving him of every degree of the priesthood.

4 The decisions of the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church on the expulsion of Metropolitan Philaret (Denisenko) and Bishop Jacob (Panchuk) from their existing ranks and on their deprivation of every degree of the priesthood shall be brought to the attention of all the Local Orthodox Churches.

All laity who from henceforth enter into ecclesiastical communion with the former Metropolitan Philaret (Denisenko) and Bishop Jacob (Panchuk) subject themselves to excommunication from the Church, and clergy—to deposition from their office. For, as the Divine canons say, “But they who communicate with him shall all be cast out of the Church, and particularly if they have presumed to communicate with the persons aforementioned, knowing the sentence pronounced against them” (Canon 4 of the Council of Antioch).

“If any clergyman shall join in prayer with a deposed clergyman, as if he were a clergyman, let him also be deposed” (Canon 11 of the Holy Apostles).

There exists the false opinion that the ecclesiastical judgment over the former Metropolitan Philaret will influence the decision on the issue of granting full canonical independence to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. By the force of our archpastoral word we testify that such assertions are either a misconception or deliberate slander.

We will not in any way prevent the discussion of the issue of the full canonical independence of the Ukrainian Church. We will accept any judgment pronounced by the voice of the people of the Church on this given matter. But we want this voice to be heard freely and clearly, and that the faithful would not be subjected to any pressure connected with political or other earthly interests. Being responsible before God for the people of the Church entrusted to our humble hands by Him, we will do everything in our power for their spiritual freedom and so that they would live as the Gospel and teachings of the Orthodox Church instruct.

The former Metropolitan Philaret and other Church offenders use the topic of “autocephaly” exclusively for personal purposes, creating the false impression that they are “victims” for their allegedly autocephalic convictions. We testify to you that among the participants in our Bishops’ Council, who deposed Metropolitan Philaret and Bishop Jacob, were those hierarchs who openly support the idea of a speedy granting of autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Philaret and Jacob are deprived of their office not for their convictions but for their transgressions against the Church, expressed in the conscious and egregious violation of the sacred canons.

As regards the granting of full canonical independence to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, we firmly believe that this issue should be resolved by lawful canonical means through the convening of a Local Council and the coordination of its decision with the will of all the fraternal Local Churches. If this does not happen, we will only reap more and more schisms, bringing destruction to Church life.

The Bishops’ Council appeals to Ukrainian state leaders to promote the establishment of Church unity in this blessed country.

We believe that in an independent Ukraine, embarking upon a path of building a democratic state based on the rule of law, the rights and freedoms of its citizens will be respected, including the right to organize Church life in accordance with the desire of the people of God.

We pray for God’s help to be sent down upon the new primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in his labors and we entreat the Lord to grant peace and harmony to all the fullness of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, in the name of which we call upon the clergy and faithful of Ukraine to coalesce around the canonical episcopate headed by the lawfully elected First Hierarch, Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev and All Ukraine. To the leadership of Ukraine and all living in this wonderful country, may God Almighty grant prosperity and success in all things.

***

Rulings of the June 11, 1992 Bishop’s Council of the Russian Orthodox Church:

The Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, in accordance with the Decision of the Holy Synod on May 28, 1992, gathered in Danilov Monastery on June 11, and:

I. Bore judgment upon the situation in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church that has resulted from the failure of Philaret (Denisenko), formerly Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine, to fulfill the oath given by him to the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, which met from March 31 to April 5, 1992 in Danilov Monastery, that upon returning to Kiev he would call a Bishop’s Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and would, for the sake of ecclesiastical peace in Ukraine, submit a petition for release from the post of primate of the Church, so the Council could find a new Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine.

Background: The Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church was held in Danilov Monastery in Moscow from March 31 to April 5, 1992. The Council’s agenda included discussion of the appeal of the episcopate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church headed by Metropolitan Philaret of Kiev and All Ukraine with a request to grant full canonical independence—autocephaly—to the Church.

The Council issued a resolution “to bear judgment on the granting of full canonical independence to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church at the regular Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church,” as the majority of the episcopate, clergy, and laity of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church spoke out on the eve of the Council against the immediate granting of autocephaly. The Bishop’s Council agreed that Metropolitan Philaret, as the primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, was not in a state to heal the existing divisions and disorder in the Church. The Council noted Metropolitan Philaret’s statement about his readiness to submit, in the name of ecclesiastical peace, a petition for release from his duties as the primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. In this regard he said, “I give my archpastoral word that such a Council (meaning that Council that was to elect the primate of the Ukrainian Church) will be held, and that there will be no pressure from any side. That there will be none from society, I am sure, and there will be none from me… You can be sure that I will not be the primate.” Metropolitan Philaret gave his promise to relinquish the Kiev Cathedra before the cross and Gospel.

The Bishops’ Council’s ruling was met with the approval of the majority of the clergy and laity of Ukraine and opened the path to overcoming differences and divisions and creating ecclesiastical peace.

Returning to Kiev, Metropolitan Philaret held a press conference with the Ukrinform News Agency on April 14, at which he accused the fathers of the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church of putting pressure on him. Metropolitan Philaret stated that he gave the fathers of the Council an insincere promise to relinquish the post of the primate of the Ukrainian Church but in fact intends to keep it for life.

In this regard, an assembly of the bishops and representatives of the clergy, monastics, Orthodox brotherhoods, and laity of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was held in Zhytomyr on April 30, expressing distrust for Metropolitan Philaret because of “his deliberate deception of the fathers of the Bishops’ Council of the Mother-Church.” This deception was assessed by the assembly as oath-breaking. The assembly insisted upon the immediate convoking of the Bishops’ Council of the Ukrainian Church to accept the resignation of Metropolitan Philaret and elect a new primate.

An augmented session of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church was held May 6-7. The Synod, having discussed the situation that has unfolded in Ukraine in connection with the public declarations of the Metropolitan of Kiev, decided to strongly condemn Metropolitan Philaret’s statements “not corresponding to truth and misleading the flock,” and “evaluates them as blasphemy against the conciliar mind of the Church, acting under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.” The Holy Synod directed Metropolitan Philaret “to convene the Bishops’ Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church by May 15, to submit a petition there for resignation from the post of the primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and to truly resign, as he solemnly promised before the cross and Gospel.” In connection with the extreme situation existing in the Ukrainian Church, the Synod forbade Metropolitan Philaret “from acting in the capacity of primate until the convening of the Council of the Ukrainian Church, namely: to convoke the Synod, to consecrate bishops, to issue Decrees and appeals, with the exception of convoking the Bishops’ Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to accept his resignation and elect a new primate.” The Holy Synod ruled that “all penalties and punishments imposed, or which may be imposed by him upon hierarchs, clergy, and laity for their support for the Ruling of the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church of April 2, 1992, considering them unlawful and therefore invalid.” Metropolitan Philaret was simultaneously warned that in the case of failure to fulfill the Ruling of the Bishops’ Council and the Decision of this Synod, he will be brought to trial by the Bishops’ Council.

This Synodal decision was again ignored by Metropolitan Philaret. Consequently, the Holy Synod was forced to gather on May 21 in a regular session devoted to the state of Church affairs in Ukraine and the issue of the replacement for the Kiev Cathedra. The Synod instructed Metropolitan Nikodim of Kharkov and Bogodukhov, the senior archpastor of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church by consecration, to call and hold a Bishops’ Council of the Ukrainian Church in the period before the celebration of Pentecost to elect its new primate, having placed upon him the temporary performance of the duties of the primate. In response to this decision, Metropolitan Philaret declared to His Holiness Patriarch Alexei II of Moscow and All Russia on May 25 that he considers the decision of the augmented Synod “unfounded and incompetent.”

On May 26, His Holiness Patriarch Alexei II sent a telegram to Metropolitan Philaret in which, in particular, it says, “For the good of our common Mother-Church, in the genuine interests of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, I appeal to you, Vladyka, to humbly accept the decision of the Holy Synod, fully consistent with the spirit and resolutions of the Bishops’ Council, which you testified to being in agreement with before the entire episcopate of our Church. This decision does not contradict the previously accepted conciliar decisions and does not limit the independence of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in its administration. Do not inflict new wounds on the suffering body of the Church.”

On May 26, Metropolitan Philaret gathered his supporters in Kiev, calling the gathering the “All-Ukrainian Conference for the Defense of the Canonical Rights of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.” The participants of this conference, at which not a single hierarch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was present, rejected the decision of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church of May 7 and 21, 1992, and the actions of the Orthodox archpastors of Ukraine who maintained obedience to the canonical head of the Mother-Church, were characterized as “a betrayal of the Church and the Orthodox people of Ukraine.”

The Bishops’ Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was held May 27-28 in Kharkov with eighteen archpastors under the chairmanship of Metropolitan Nikodim of Kharkov and Bogodukhov. The Bishops’ Council expressed its lack of trust in Metropolitan Philaret as the primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and removed him from the Kiev Cathedra. For the schismatic actions he perpetrated, the Council forbade him from serving from henceforth until the decision of the Bishops’ Council of the Mother-Church. Metropolitan Vladimir of Rostov and Novocherkassk was elected by secret ballot from among three candidates and he accepted this election. At its meeting on May 28, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church agreed with the decisions of the Bishops’ Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and scheduled a Bishops’ Council for June 11 in Moscow to consider the case of the former Metropolitan of Kiev. In accordance with paragraph 3 of the Ruling of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, adopted by the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church in October 1990, His Holiness Patriarch Alexei II blessed the newly-elected primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Metropolitan Vladimir for his upcoming ministry. The primates of all the autocephalous Orthodox Churches have been informed of the decision of the Bishops’ Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

His Holiness Patriarch Alexei II informed Metropolitan Philaret of the decision of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church to convene a Bishops’ Council on June 11 and summoned him to this Council. Despite the fact that he was summoned three times, Metropolitan Philaret has not appeared at this present Council. Being prohibited to serve since May 27 of this year, he has, together with Bishop Jacob of Pochaev, celebrated unlawful hierarchical consecrations.

The Bishops’ Council subjected the case of Metropolitan Philaret (Denisenko) to a comprehensive discussion and recognized the acts of the Bishops’ Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church on the removal of Metropolitan Philaret from the post of primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, on sending him into retirement, and on his probation from serving, as well as its agreement with these measures of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, which have legitimate pre-trial significance.

Taking into account the appeal of the archpastors of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to the present Bishops’ Council on the need to adopt Churchwide canonical judgments in regard to Metropolitan Philaret (Denisenko), which is in essence а judicial claim, the Council RESOLVES:         

To transfer the case of the former Metropolitan of Kiev Philaret (Denisenko) to the court of the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church. The judicial proceeding shall be carried out at this present session of the Council.

II. [On the creation of new dioceses in the Belarusian Exarchate…]

III. Bore judgment upon the petition of the former Bishop John of Zhytomyr (Vasily Nikolaevich Bodnarchuk), deprived of his sacred office in November 1989 for the schism created by him (the creation of the so-called Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church), and now repenting of it, to return to the bosom of the Mother-Church.

RULED: To transfer the case of V. N. Bodnarchuk to the Holy Synod for consideration and to make a decision.

***

Letter of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to His Holiness Patriarch Alexei II of Moscow and All Russia, August 26, 1992:

Your Beatitude and Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, greatly beloved in Christ God and much-beloved brother and concelebrant of our mediocrity, Alexei, Your esteemed Beatitude, fraternally embracing you in the Lord, we sweetly greet you!

In response to the corresponding telegram and letter of Your greatly beloved and honorable Beatitude on the problem that has arisen in Your Holy Russian sister Church that led her Holy Synod, for reasons known to her, to the deposition of the until-recently leading member of her Synod, Metropolitan Philaret of Kiev, we desire to fraternally inform Your love, that our Holy Great Church of Christ, recognizing the fullness of the Russian Orthodox Church’s exclusive competence on this issue, synodally accepts the decisions regarding the one in question, not desiring to bring any trouble to Your Church. It is precisely in this spirit that we sent two brothers, His Eminence Metropolitan John of Pergamon and His Grace Bishop Vsevolod of Skopelos, after a visit to us by the one in question who has been deprived of his office, that we could be directly notified firsthand of what had occurred and avoid a misinterpretation in the given case. Consequently, we should note that we were grieved when we learned that there was not a full understanding of the purpose of their mission.

In this, embracing Your Beatitude with a holy kiss, we remain with unfailing brotherly love in the Lord for Your esteemed Beatitude, your beloved brother in Christ,

PATRIARCH BARHTOLOMEW OF CONSTANTINOPLE

August 26, 1992

    

***

Ruling “On questions of the internal life and external activities of the Church,” Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, 1994:

22. In view of the lack of repentance on the part of Monk Philaret (Denisenko) and the continuation of his schismatic activity, which brings great harm to Orthodoxy in Ukraine, and also in connection with his sacrilegious celebration of the Divine services and the unlawful wearing of the marks of the hierarchical dignity after the deprivation of his holy office, the Sacred Synod calls him to repentance and warns that in the case of the continuation of this outrage, he will be excommunicated from the Church through anathematization.

***

His Holiness Patriarch Alexei II’s Report at the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, 1997:

The years that have passed since the previous Council have brought many new sorrows to the suffering Ukrainian Orthodox flock. This is primarily due to the decision of Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople in March 1995 to accept under his omophorion a group of Ukrainian bishops-autocephalists—the so-called Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the USA and diaspora, which was in Eucharistic communion with “The Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kiev Patriarchate” of Monk Philaret (Denisenko). The origin and history of this schism are fraught with blatant violations of the conciliar rules of Church life, therefore the Russian Orthodox Church has repeatedly warned the Church of Constantinople against reckless acts, and now grieves that such acts have brought confusion to the life of the Orthodox world and has exacerbated the disorder among the Orthodox Christians of Ukraine.

***

Encyclical of the Bishops’ Council to the God-loving Pastors, Honorable Monastics, and All Faithful Children of the Russian Orthodox Church (Moscow, 1997):

… Of those who have broken their fidelity to the Mother-Church and embarked upon the path of schism, may the apostolic word be true: They went out from us, but they were not of us (1 Jn. 2:19).

The Church treats all sinners with love and patience and calls them to repentance, but, when someone entrenched in sin does not heed this call and destroys Church unity and throws slander at the Church, and when a former cleric deprived of his holy order sacrilegiously continues to celebrate the Divine services, trampling upon the canons, the Church, with deep pain and sorrow, is forced to testify that such a man has placed himself outside of it.

The Savior said, Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the Church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican (Mt. 18:15-17).

Guided by these words, heeding the unanimous request of the Ukrainian episcopate, and in accordance with the resolution of the 1994 Bishops’ Council, the current Bishops’ Council has anathematized, that is, excommunicated Monk Philaret (Denisenko), unlawfully calling himself “the Patriarch of Kiev and All Rus’-Ukraine,” from the communion of the Church…

***

Act of Excommunication from the Church of Monk Philaret (Denisenko), Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, 1997:

1. The Sacred Bishops’ Council bore judgment upon the anti-Church activity of Monk Philaret (Denisenko), deprived of every degree of the priesthood by the Judicial Act of the Bishops’ Council of June 11, 1992, and warned by the Bishops’ Council of 1994 that, “in the case of the continuation of this outrage, he will be excommunicated from the Church through anathematization.”

The Sacred Bishops’ Council is now forced to note with sorrow that Monk Philaret did not heed the call to repentance addressed to him on behalf of the Mother-Church, but in the inter-Council period continued his schismatic activity, which he extended beyond the bounds of the Russian Orthodox Church, contributing to the deepening of the schism in the fraternal Bulgarian Orthodox Church and receiving into communion schismatics from other Local Orthodox Churches; criminally neglecting the substantiated punishment from the lawful Church authorities—deprivation of his office, he continued to celebrate sacrilegious “services,” including blasphemous false ordinations; possessing no sacred office, Monk Philaret, to the temptation of many, dared to name himself “Patriarch of Kiev and All Rus’-Ukraine,” while the ancient Kievan See is rightfully occupied by the canonical primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the rank of Metropolitan; Monk Philaret did not cease casting blasphemy upon the episcopate, clergy, and faithful children of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in canonical communion with the Russian Orthodox Church and through it with the entire ecumenical Orthodox Church, continuing to inflict damage upon Orthodoxy in Ukraine by his criminal acts.

In view of the above, on the basis of Canon 28 of the Holy Apostles, which reads, “If any bishop, or presbyter, or deacon, who has been justly deposed from office for proven crimes, should dare to touch the Liturgy which had once been put in his hands, let him be cut off from the Church altogether,” and Canon 14 of the Council of Sardica, Canon 4 of the Council of Antioch, and Canon 88 of St. Basil the Great, the Sacred Bishops’ Council unanimously resolves: To excommunicate Monk Philaret (Michael Antonovich Denisenko) from the Church of Christ. May he be anathema before all people. 

2. In view of the lack of repentance from Monks Jacob (Panchuk) and Andrei (Gorak), participants in the unlawful schismatic activities of the former Monk Philaret, the Sacred Bishops’ Council again calls them to repentance and to cease their blasphemous atrocities and warns that otherwise they will be excommunicated from the communion of the Church through anathematization. 

3. The Sacred Bishops’ Council, taking care for the lost involved in the schism of the former Monk Philaret, reminds everyone who dares to have communion in prayer with him, that according to the holy canons, if they do not terminate such communion, they are subject to excommunication from the Church. In his 88th Canon, St. Basil the Great, addressing himself to Gregory the Presbyter, whom he had suspended from the ministry, warns: “If, on the other hand, you should dare, instead of correcting yourself, to touch the priesthood, you will be anathema to all the people, and any persons accepting you will become excommunicated from every Church.” 

4. The Sacred Bishops’ Council informs the primates of the Local Orthodox Churches of the excommunication from the Church through anathematization of the former Monk Philaret (Michael Antonovich Denisenko). 

*** 

Letter of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to His Holiness Patriarch Alexei II of Moscow and All Russia, April 7, 1997 (as quoted in the  Statement of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church Regarding the Encroachment of the Patriarchate of Constantinople on the Canonical Territory of the Russian Church): 

On the anathematization of Philaret Denisenko: “Having received notification of the mentioned decision, we informed the hierarchy of our Ecumenical Throne of it and implored them to henceforth have no ecclesial communion with the persons mentioned.” 

Translated by Jesse Dominick

10/17/2018


[1] In the document Ruling Regarding the Appeal of the Episcopate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Concerning the Granting of Autocephaly from the March 31-April 5, 1992 Bishop’s Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, we read:

“The Bishops’ Council took into account the statement of His Eminence Philaret, Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine, that in the name of ecclesiastical peace he would submit a petition at the forthcoming Bishops’ Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to be released from his duties as the primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

“The Bishops’ Council, sympathetic to the position of His Eminence Metropolitan Philaret and having expressed gratitude to him for his many years of archpastoral labors in the Diocese of Kiev, blessed him to carry out his episcopal service in another diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.”

Ukraine Church Controversy: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).With latest update.

The recent controversy over the Orthodox Church in Ukraine has been the subject of a lot of confusion, especially online. The following questions and answers attempt to clear up confusion in a non-partisan way that does not take sides in the dispute.

Updates will be added whenever new information comes to light, so check back periodically.

LAST UPDATED DEC. 10, 2018

Who are the players in the current dispute and what is being disputed?

The primary parties in the dispute are the Russian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate, MP), led by Patriarch Kyrill, and the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople (EP), led by Patriarch Bartholomew.

Directly affected is the autonomous Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP), led by Metropolitan Onoufriy, who governs the only universally-acknowledged, canonical Orthodox presence in Ukraine.

The EP has brought at least two deposed schismatic clergy into its own communion and declared its future intention to grant a tomos (official church document) of autocephaly (full self-government) to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church — though without stating to whom exactly the tomos would be granted. Both these actions were explicitly rejected by Moscow (including the UOC-MP) and were the occasion of a break in communion between the MP and EP.

The Ukrainian government has come out strongly in favor of the EP’s actions and has in the past forcibly transferred parishes from the UOC-MP to schismatic factions. Because of the strong current of nationalism in Ukraine and because of the recent unrest in eastern Ukraine, it is feared that violence may erupt in the midst of the controversy, something that the EP warned against in its statement accepting the deposed clergy.

Who are the Orthodox factions in Ukraine?

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) has broad autonomy, is universally recognized within the Orthodox Church, and is led by Metropolitan Onoufriy. Until just recently, the EP explicitly recognized the UOC-MP as the exclusive canonical jurisdiction in Ukraine. The UOC-MP has the greatest number of parishes and monasteries.

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kyivan (Kievan) Patriarchate (UOC-KP, KP) is led by Filaret Denysenko (who is styled “Patriarch of Kyiv” by his group) and came into being in 1992 when it went into schism from the UOC-MP. The KP has the second largest number of parishes in Ukraine. It also has parishes outside Ukraine, including led by clergy who have broken from canonical Orthodox jurisdictions.

The Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC) is led by Makariy Maletych (styled “Metropolitan of Kyiv” by his group) and has its origins in a 1921 split from the UOC-MP but was essentially reconstituted in both 1944 and 1990. The UAOC has the fewest parishes. In 1995, the parishes of the UAOC that existed outside Ukraine were received into the EP, and the EP at the time assured the MP that its new Ukrainian diaspora flock would not aid the autocephalist schismatics and that there would be no communion with them.

Between the UOC-MP and the KP, it is often disputed which has the greatest number of parishioners. The UAOC is far behind.

What is the historical background and the EP’s basis for its actions in Ukraine?

Historically, the Kyivan Metropolis was founded by the EP in the 10th century. The metropolis transferred twice — first to Vladimir in 1299 ( de jure, but moved de facto in 1240 when Kyiv was sacked by the Mongols), then to Moscow in 1325 (after transferring several times between Vilnius and Halych) — evolving into the Moscow Patriarchate, with a separate Metropolis of Kyiv refounded in 1458.

The Metropolitan of Moscow became Patriarch of Moscow in 1589 and his church was granted autocephaly.

In 1686, the EP transferred responsibility for ordaining the Metropolitan of Kyiv to the Patriarch of Moscow, an action not disputed nor repudiated by the EP until the current controversy.

The EP argues that it never fully gave jurisdiction over the Kyiv metropolis to Moscow but only temporarily gave the MP the right to ordain its metropolitan, an action that it revoked in 2018.

The MP argues that, because the EP made no claims over Ukraine for over 300 years, because of the close connection between the Kyiv metropolis and its successor in Moscow, and because the 1686 document gives no expiration for the action, Ukraine has been an integral part of the MP ever since. Thus, the MP is invoking ancient, universal Orthodox canons about bishops intruding into canonical territory that does not belong to them, saying that the EP is interfering where it has no authority.

Further, until just recently, the EP generally recognized the UOC-MP as the only canonical jurisdiction in Ukraine, thus indicating by its current actions that it has changed its view. One exception to this is a comment in its 1924 tomos of autocephaly to the Polish church that the incorporation of Kyiv into Moscow “in no way occurred according to the binding canonical regulations.” But until 2018, no attempts were made to change the arrangement that had persisted for centuries.

In addition, the EP makes the argument that autocephaly may be granted only by the EP, a reversal from the last several decades in which the EP argued that a grant of autocephaly requires pan-Orthodox unanimity.

See also: The Ecumenical Throne and the Church of Ukraine (EP position paper)

What action did the EP take regarding Filaret Denysenko and Makariy Maletych?

On Oct. 11, 2018, their status as clergy was declared restored by the EP, an action which has not been recognized by any other Orthodox Church. The EP decided:

To accept and review the petitions of appeal of Filaret Denisenko, Makariy Maletych and their followers, who found themselves in schism not for dogmatic reasons, in accordance with the canonical prerogatives of the Patriarch of Constantinople to receive such petitions by hierarchs and other clergy from all of the Autocephalous Churches. Thus, the above-mentioned have been canonically reinstated to their hierarchical or priestly rank, and their faithful have been restored to communion with the Church.

What is the current status of Filaret and Makariy?

Both were formerly clergy of the UOC-MP (Filaret as Metropolitan of Kyiv and Makariy as a priest) who were subsequently deposed from clerical orders and returned to the rank of monk by the MP after they went into schism from the MP. Both were later declared Patriarch and Metropolitan (respectively) in their groups. Their deposition in the 1990s was explicitly recognized by the EP at the time.

The EP has not recognized Filaret as the Patriarch of Kyiv but only as a former metropolitan, and it has not clarified whether it considers Makariy to be a priest or a bishop (as he later became in the UAOC), nor has it made a statement about the many other clergy serving in the KP and UAOC.

Filaret has said subsequent to his reception by the EP that he considers himself to be Patriarch of Kyiv, past, present and future. On Oct. 20, the KP synod revised his title to indicate that he is called “Patriarch” in Ukraine but “Metropolitan” in dealing with other churches (also adding a claim to monasteries of the UOC-MP).

Makariy has continued to dress as a bishop.

What was the MP’s response to the EP receiving Filaret and Makariy into communion?

On Monday, Oct. 15, 2018, the MP fully broke communion with the EP, forbidding its clergy from concelebrating church services with EP clergy and its laity from receiving communion or any priestly ministry from EP clergy. The thoroughness of that ruling is unusual in that it included the laity. (Previously, the MP had ceased commemorating the EP and withdrew from any pan-Orthodox organizations including the EP.)

How has the EP responded to the MP’s break in communion?

It has not yet responded, though its Russian-tradition exarchate in Western Europe (an EP jurisdiction dating from 1921, a.k.a. “Rue Daru” from the street address of its HQ) has stated that it remains in full communion with the MP.

Are any other Orthodox churches affected by this break in communion?

No. Only those under the EP (in the US, this includes the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese (GOA), Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA (UOCUSA) and American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese (ACROD); in Europe and elsewhere, this includes all Greek and Ukrainian parishes, as well as the Russian Exarchate (“Rue Daru”) which is under the EP) or the MP (in the US, this includes the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) and MP parishes, but not the OCA (which is of Russian tradition but understands itself to be autocephalous, having been given that status in 1970 by the MP); elsewhere, this also includes both MP and ROCOR parishes).

No other churches have yet joined the MP in the break in communion with the EP.

How will the break in communion affect churches in the US, western Europe or elsewhere in the diaspora?

Besides the bilateral communion break between EP and MP parishes and clergy, whenever pan-Orthodox events are held, if there are both EP and MP clergy present, then one or both groups will have to sit out on any concelebrations or inter-communion.

It is not yet clear whether EP clergy and laity are barred from receiving sacraments from MP clergy. The ban expressed by the MP was binding only on its own clergy and laity.

When will the EP-led “unification council” to elect a new metropolitan of Kyiv and form its new church body happen?

The Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, announced that this council will happen on Dec. 15, 2018. No official announcement of the date has yet been made by the EP, though leaked copies of the EP invitation to attend confirm the Dec. 15 date.

What is the UOC-MP’s response to is announcement??

On Dec. 7, the UOC-MP holy synod adopted a series of resolutions, rejecting whatever the outcome of the Dec. 15 council might be, calling it an “unlawful assembly,” forbidding its clergy from participation in it, reiterating that the EP has no canonical rights in Ukraine, and noting Ukrainian government interference in church life.

What will happen to Metr. Onoufriy (UOC-MP) after the council?

It’s not clear what the Ukrainian government might do to enforce the EP’s views on this, but the EP has stated its view that, after the council, Metr. Onoufriy will not be allowed to hold his current title.

How do the other Orthodox churches view the actions of the EP in Ukraine?

So far, none have endorsed the EP’s actions in Ukraine or regarded Filaret or Makariy as canonical Orthodox clergy.

The following churches or bishops within them have expressed various opinions, some stating the necessity of holding a synaxis (gathering of primates), whether pan-Orthodox or bilateral (EP and MP), in order to solve the problem of the EP’s unilateral move; some have rejected the status of schismatic factions in Ukraine; some have outright opposed the EP’s actions; some have taken no official position as yet:

Synodal Statements:
 Antioch (from its holy synod, calling for pan-Orthodox synaxis)
 Georgia (from its holy synod, calling for a bilateral synaxis between the EP and MP)
 Serbia (from its holy synod, refusing to recognize the rehabilitation of Philaret and Makariy)
 Romania (from its holy synod, calling for a bilateral synaxis between the EP and MP)
 Poland (from its holy synod, refusing to recognize the rehabilitation of Filaret and Makariy and calling for a pan-Orthodox synaxis)

Primatial Statements:
 Alexandria (from its patriarch, jointly with Poland, calling for peace and canonical order)
 Antioch & Serbia (joint statement, calling for a return to conciliarity and critical examination of unilateralism)
 Jerusalem (from its patriarch in 2017, expressing support for the UOC-MP)
 Serbia (from its patriarch, opposing unilateralism and the restoration of the schismatics)
 Bulgaria (from its patriarch, stating that his church has no official position yet)
 Georgia (from its patriarch, expressing support for the UOC-MP and rejecting the EP actions)
 Cyprus (from its archbishop, calling for a pan-Orthodox synaxis and offering to mediate the dispute)
 Poland (from its metropolitan and jointly with Alexandria, calling for peace and canonical order)
 Albania (from its archbishop, warning of the danger to Orthodox unity posed by both the EP’s and the MP’s actions)
 Czech Lands and Slovakia (from its metropolitan, opposing government interference and calling for consensus on autocephaly)
 The Orthodox Church in America (OCA) (from its metropolitan, calling for a pan-Orthodox synaxis)

Individual Bishops’ Statements:
 Jerusalem (from one of its bishops, calling for a bilateral synaxis between the EP and MP; from another of its bishops, recognizing only the UOC-MP)
 Bulgaria (in a statement from 3 bishops)
 Greece (from Seraphim of Kythira, rejecting granting schismatics autocephaly; Seraphim of Piraeus, calling on Bartholomew to repent of dealing with schismatics; an attempt was made to get the issue onto the agenda of the October 2018 synod, but it failed)

The MP has also insisted on the need for a pan-Orthodox synaxis, and the UOC-MP synod called for the schismatics to repent and return to the UOC-MP.

The EP has not yet officially responded to the calls for a synaxis.

The 26 of Febr. 2020 there was a meeting in Amman , Jordan. Six of the 14 Patriarchates met . Below follows the Press release :

ASSEMBLY IN JORDAN: PRESS RELEASE

Following the initiative for dialogue and reconciliation announced by the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, and His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III in November 2019, the Amman Fraternal Familial Gathering was hosted today in the capital of Jordan, with attendance of Primates and Delegations from various Orthodox churches. The purpose of the gathering was to renew dialogue and promote unity between brothers within the Orthodox Communion.

On the conclusion of the gathering, the Primates and Delegates issued the following statement:

On February 26, 2020, a meeting of Primates and representatives of Local Orthodox Churches was held in Amman, Jordan, with the primary view of unity and reconciliation within Holy Orthodoxy. The participants noted their understanding of the anguish of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem for the imminent danger of schism within our Orthodox Communion.

Participating in the meeting were delegations of: the Orthodox Church of Jerusalem led by His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem, the Russian Orthodox Church led by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, the Serbian Orthodox Church led by His Holiness Patriarch Irinej of Serbia, the Romanian Orthodox Church led by His Eminence Metropolitan Nifon of Targoviste, the Polish Orthodox Church led by His Eminence Archbishop Abel of Lublin and Chełm, and the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia led by His Beatitude Metropolitan Rastislav of the Czech Lands and Slovakia.

The participants expressed their gratitude to His Majesty King Abdullah II, King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and Hashemite Custodian of the Christian and Muslim Holy Places in the Holy Land and to the people of Jordan for facilitating the hosting of this gathering in their capital city, Amman, noting His Majesty’s outstanding work in promoting interfaith dialogue internationally.

The participants also thanked the Patriarchate of Jerusalem and His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos for all the relentless efforts aimed at paving the way for dialogue and bringing brothers together in the precious spirit of unity, noting that the light that emanates from Jerusalem stands as a witness to that Holy City which continuously proclaims its multi-faith and multicultural tapestry rejoicing in its existence as the warm home for the three Abrahamic faiths, Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

The delegations declared that this gathering was to strengthen the fraternal bonds between brothers and their churches, to promote the bonds of peace in Christ among them, to advocate for the unity of the Orthodox churches, and to renew dialogue in the prayerful hope of bringing reconciliation where there has been discord.

In the atmosphere of fraternal love, those gathered for the meeting agreed that decisions concerning issues of Orthodox-wide importance, including the granting of autocephaly to particular Churches, should be finalised in a spirit of pan-Orthodox dialogue and unity, and with pan-Orthodox consensus.

Concerning the current ecclesiastical situation in the Ukraine the participants also recognised that a pan-Orthodox dialogue is necessary for healing and reconciliation.

In the matter concerning North Macedonia, the delegations stated that this matter is to be solved through dialogue within the Serbian Orthodox Church and with pan-Orthodox support.

Regarding Montenegro, the participating delegations urged the relevant authorities to respect and uphold the fundamental right of ownership of property including that of the Church.

The delegations agreed that they should gather as brothers, preferably before the end of this year, to strengthen the bonds of fellowship through prayer and dialogue. The participants hope that His Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew with his known seniority of honour (πρεσβεια τιμήs) will join this dialogue along with his brother Primates.

The delegations embraced the call of their brother Patriarch Theophilos III to hold a prayer for the world, for an end to war, sickness and suffering, and for all the Christians as well as for the unity of the Orthodox Church. This prayer is to be held in the Mother Church, the Church of the Resurrection (Holy Sepulchre) in Jerusalem, before the Holy Tomb of Christ, from which He rose and proclaims peace to the world.

Jerusalem Patriarchate

2/27/2020

Who was St John Climacus ?

John Climacus

St. John Climacus

Our venerable and God-bearing Father John Climacus (ca. 579 – 649), also known as John of the Ladder, John Scholasticus, and John Sinaites, was a seventh century monk at St. Catherine’s monastery at the base of Mount Sinai. In Greek, his epithet is Κλιμακος(Klimakos). The Orthodox Church celebrates his feast day on March 30.

He came to the monastery and became a novice when he was about 16 years old, and when he died in 649 he was the monastery’s abbot. He wrote a number of instructive books, the most famous of which is The Ladder of Divine Ascent. (It is because of this book that John is known as “Climacus,” which means “of the ladder”.) It describes how to raise one’s soul to God, as if on a ladder. This book is one of the most widely read among Eastern Orthodox Christians, especially during the season of Great Lent which immediately precedes Pascha (Easter), and on the fourth Sunday of Great Lent he is especially commemorated.

Quote

“Nothing equals or excels God’s mercies. Therefore, he who despairs is committing suicide. A sign of true repentance is the acknowledgment that we deserve all the afflictions, visible and invisible, that come upon us, and ever greater ones. Moses, after seeing God in the bush, returned again to Egypt, that is, to darkness and to the brick-making of Pharaoh, who was symbolical of the spiritual Pharaoh. But he went back again to the bush, and not only to the bush, but also up the mountain. Whoever has known divine vision will never despair of himself. Job became a beggar, but he became twice as rich again.”

“Repentance is the renewal of baptism. Repentance is a contract with God for a second life. A penitent is a buyer of humility. Repentance is constant distrust of bodily comfort. Repentance is self-condemning reflection, and carefree self-care. Repentance is the daughter of hope and the renunciation of despair. A penitent is an undisgraced convict. Repentance is reconciliation with the Lord by the practice of good deeds contrary to the sins. Repentance is purification of conscience. Repentance is the voluntary endurance of all afflictions. A penitent is the inflicter of his own punishments. Repentance is a mighty persecution of the stomach, and a striking of the soul into vigorous awareness.”

“Let us charge into the good fight with joy and love without being afraid of our enemies. Though unseen themselves, they can look at the face of our soul, and if they see it altered by fear, they take up arms against us all the more fiercely. For the cunning creatures have observed that we are scared. So let us take up arms against them courageously. No one will fight with a resolute fighter.”

“Do not be surprised that you fall every day; do not give up, but stand your ground courageously. And assuredly, the angel who guards you will honour your patience.”

“He who really keeps account of his actions considers as lost every day in which he does not mourn, whatever good he may have done in it.”

“I consider those fallen mourners more blessed than those who have not fallen and are not mourning over themselves; because as a result of their fall, they have risen by a sure resurrection.”

“But Adam did not wish to say, “I sinned,” but said rather the contrary of this and placed the blame for the transgression upon God Who created everything “very good,” saying to Him, “The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree and I ate.” And after him she also placed the blame upon the serpent, and they did not wish at all to repent and, falling down before the Lord God, beg forgiveness of Him. For this, God banished them from Paradise, as from a royal palace, to live in this world as exiles. At that time also He decreed that a flaming sword should be turned and should guard the entrance into Paradise. And God did not curse Paradise, since it was the image of the future unending life of the eternal Kingdom of Heaven. If it were not for this reason, it would have been fitting to curse it most of all, since within it was performed the transgression of Adam. But God did not do this, but cursed only the whole rest of the earth, which also was corrupt and brought forth everything by itself; and this was in order that Adam might not have any longer a life free from exhausting labors and sweat…”

Hymns

Troparion (Tone 8)

Kontakion (Tone 1)

Books

  • Chryssavgis, John. John Climacus: From the Egyptian Desert to the Sinaite Mountain [ISBN 0754650405]

External Links

From the Orthodox Wikkipedia.

St John Chrysostom quotes.

“Prayer is the place of refuge for every worry, a foundation for cheerfulness, a source of constant happiness, a protection against sadness.

Be ashamed when you sin, don’t be ashamed when you repent [To repent means to have a change of heart and mind. It is not simply a feeling of sorrow ,but a psycho/spiritual growth away from evil/death and a turning to God/life]. Sin is the wound, repentance is the medicine. Sin is followed by shame; repentance is followed by boldness [ Boldness means to beg God for undeserved mercy]. Satan has overturned this order and given boldness to sin and shame to repentance.

The road to Hell is paved with the bones of priests and monks, and the skulls of bishops are the lamp posts that light the path.

Not to share our own wealth with the poor is theft from the poor and deprivation of their means of life; we do not possess our own wealth, but theirs.

There is nothing colder than a Christian who does not seek to save others.

When you are weary of praying, and do not receive, consider how often you have heard a poor man calling, and have not listened to him.

Let us always guard our tongue; not that it should always be silent, but that it should speak at the proper time.

St John Chrysostom (347-407 AD)