PDF Archive search engine
Last database update: 05 March at 08:18 - Around 76000 files indexed.
Orthodox Bishop Raphael Hawaweeny Accepted the Mysteries of the Anglicans In 1910 and Then Changed His Mind in 1912. He Was Not Judged By Any Council For This Mistake. Did He and His Flock Lose Grace During Those Two Years? His Grace, the Right Reverend [Saint] Raphael Hawaweeny, late Bishop of Brooklyn and head of the Syrian Greek Orthodox Catholic Mission of the Russian Church in North America, was a far‐sighted leader. Called from Russia to New York in 1895, to assume charge of the growing Syrian parishes under the Russian jurisdiction over American Orthodoxy, he was elevated to the episcopate by order of the Holy Synod of Russia and was consecrated Bishop of Brooklyn and head of the Syrian Mission by Archbishop Tikhon and Bishop Innocent of Alaska on March 12, 1904. This was the first consecration of an Orthodox Catholic Bishop in the New World and Bishop Raphael was the first Orthodox prelate to spend his entire episcopate, from consecration to burial, in America. [Ed. note—In August 1988 the remains of Bishop Raphael along with those of Bishops Emmanuel and Sophronios and Fathers Moses Abouhider, Agapios Golam and Makarios Moore were transferred to the Antiochian Village in southwestern Pennsylvania for re‐burial. Bishop Raphaelʹs remains were found to be essentially incorrupt. As a result a commission under the direction of Bishop Basil (Essey) of the Antiochian Archdiocese was appointed to gather materials concerning the possible glorification of Bishop Raphael.] With his broad culture and international training and experience Bishop Raphael naturally had a keen interest in the universal Orthodox aspiration for Christian unity. His work in America, where his Syrian communities were widely scattered and sometimes very small and without the services of the Orthodox Church, gave him a special interest in any movement which promised to provide a way by which acceptable and valid sacramental ministrations might be brought within the reach of isolated Orthodox people. It was, therefore, with real pleasure and gratitude that Bishop Raphael received the habitual approaches of ʺHigh Churchʺ prelates and clergy of the Episcopal Church. Assured by ʺcatholic‐mindedʺ Protestants, seeking the recognition of real Catholic Bishops, that the Anglican Communion and Episcopal Church were really Catholic and almost the same as Orthodox, Bishop Raphael was filled with great happiness. A group of these ʺHigh Episcopalianʺ Protestants had formed the American branch of ʺThe Anglican and Eastern Orthodox Churches Unionʺ (since revised and now existing as ʺThe Anglican and Eastern Churches Association,ʺ chiefly active in England, where it publishes a quarterly organ called The Christian East). This organization, being well pleased with the impression its members had made upon Bishop Raphael, elected him Vice‐President of the Union. Bishop Raphael accepted, believing that he was associating himself with truly Catholic but unfortunately separated [from the Church] fellow priests and bishops in a movement that would promote Orthodoxy and true catholic unity at the same time. As is their usual custom with all prelates and clergy of other bodies, the Episcopal bishop urged Bishop Raphael to recognize their Orders and accept for his people the sacramental ministrations of their Protestant clergy on a basis of equality with the Sacraments of the Orthodox Church administered by Orthodox priests. It was pointed out that the isolated and widely‐scattered Orthodox who had no access to Orthodox priests or Sacraments could be easily reached by clergy of the Episcopal Church, who, they persuaded Bishop Raphael to believe, were priests and Orthodox in their doctrine and belief though separated in organization. In this pleasant delusion, but under carefully specified restrictions, Bishop Raphael issued in 1910 permission for his faithful, in emergencies and under necessity when an Orthodox priest and Sacraments were inaccessible, to ask the ministrations of Episcopal clergy and make comforting use of what these clergy could provide in the absence of Orthodox priests and Sacraments. Being Vice‐President of the Eastern Orthodox side of the Anglican and Orthodox Churches Union and having issued on Episcopal solicitation such a permission to his people, Bishop Raphael set himself to observe closely the reaction following his permissory letter and to study more carefully the Episcopal Church and Anglican teaching in the hope that the Anglicans might really be capable of becoming actually Orthodox. But, the more closely he observed the general practice and the more deeply he studied the teaching and faith of the Episcopal Church, the more painfully shocked, disappointed, and disillusioned Bishop Raphael became. Furthermore, the very fact of his own position in the Anglican and Orthodox Union made the confusion and deception of Orthodox people the more certain and serious. The existence and cultivation of even friendship and mutual courtesy was pointed out as supporting the Episcopal claim to Orthodox sacramental recognition and intercommunion. Bishop Raphael found that his association with Episcopalians became the basis for a most insidious, injurious, and unwarranted propaganda in favor of the Episcopal Church among his parishes and faithful. Finally, after more than a year of constant and careful study and observation, Bishop Raphael felt that it was his duty to resign from the association of which he was Vice‐President. In doing this he hoped that the end of his connection with the Union would end also the Episcopal interferences and uncalled‐for intrusions in the affairs and religious harmony of his people. His letter of resignation from the Anglican and Orthodox Churches Union, published in the Russian Orthodox Messenger, February 18, 1912, stated his convictions in the following way: I have a personal opinion about the usefulness of the Union. Study has taught me that there is a vast difference between the doctrine, discipline, and even worship of the Holy Orthodox Church and those of the Anglican Communion; while, on the other hand, experience has forced upon me the conviction that to promote courtesy and friendship, which seems to be the only aim of the Union at present, not only amounts to killing precious time, at best, but also is somewhat hurtful to the religious and ecclesiastical welfare of the Holy Orthodox Church in these United States. Very many of the bishops of the Holy Orthodox Church at the present time—and especially myself have observed that the Anglican Communion is associated with numerous Protestant bodies, many of whose doctrines and teachings, as well as practices, are condemned by the Holy Orthodox Church. I view union as only a pleasing dream. Indeed, it is impossible for the Holy Orthodox Church to receive—as She has a thousand times proclaimed, and as even the Papal See of Rome has declaimed to the Holy Orthodox Churchʹs credit—anyone into Her Fold or into union with Her who does not accept Her Faith in full without any qualifications—the Faith which She claims is most surely Apostolic. I cannot see how She can unite, or the latter expect in the near future to unite with Her while the Anglican Communion holds so many Protestant tenets and doctrines, and also is so closely associated with the non‐ Catholic religions about her. Finally, I am in perfect accord with the views expressed by His Grace, Archbishop Platon, in his address delivered this year before the Philadelphia Episcopalian Brotherhood, as to the impossibility of union under present circumstances. One would suppose that the publication of such a letter in the official organ of the Russian Archdiocese would have ended the misleading and subversive propaganda of the Episcopalians among the Orthodox faithful. But the Episcopal members simply addressed a reply to Bishop Raphael in which they attempted to make him believe that the Episcopal Church was not Protestant and had adopted none of the errors held by Protestant bodies. For nearly another year Bishop Raphael watched and studied while the subversive Episcopal propaganda went on among his people on the basis of the letter of permission he had issued under a misapprehension of the nature and teaching of the Episcopal Church and its clergy. Seeing that there was no other means of protecting Orthodox faithful from being misled and deceived, Bishop Raphael finally issued, late in 1912, the following pastoral letter which has remained in force among the Orthodox of this jurisdiction in America ever since and has been confirmed and reinforced by the pronouncement of his successor, the present Archbishop Aftimios. Pastoral Letter of Bishop Raphael To My Beloved Clergy and Laity of the Syrian Greek‐Orthodox Catholic Church in North America: Greetings in Christ Jesus, Our Incarnate Lord and God. My Beloved Brethren: Two years ago, while I was Vice‐President and member of the Anglican and Eastern Orthodox Churches Union, being moved with compassion for my children in the Holy Orthodox Faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3), scattered throughout the whole of North America and deprived of the ministrations of the Church; and especially in places far removed from Orthodox centers; and being equally moved with a feeling that the Episcopalian (Anglican) Church possessed largely the Orthodox Faith, as many of the prominent clergy professed the same to me before I studied deeply their doctrinal authorities and their liturgy—the Book of Common Prayer—I wrote a letter as Bishop and Head of the Syrian‐Orthodox Mission in North America, giving permission, in which I said that in extreme cases, where no Orthodox priest could be called upon at short notice, the ministrations of the Episcopal (Anglican) clergy might be kindly requested. However, I was most explicit in defining when and how the ministrations should be accepted, and also what exceptions should be made. In writing that letter I hoped, on the one hand, to help my people spiritually, and, on the other hand, to open the way toward bringing the Anglicans into the communion of the Holy Orthodox Faith. On hearing and in reading that my letter, perhaps unintentionally, was misconstrued by some of the Episcopalian (Anglican) clergy, I wrote a second letter in which I pointed out that my instructions and exceptions had been either overlooked or ignored by many, to wit: a) They (the Episcopalians) informed the Orthodox people that I recognized the Anglican Communion (Episcopal Church) as being united with the Holy Orthodox Church and their ministry, that is holy orders, as valid. b) The Episcopal (Anglican) clergy offered their ministrations even when my Orthodox clergy were residing in the same towns and parishes, as pastors. c) Episcopal clergy said that there was no need of the Orthodox people seeking the ministrations of their own Orthodox priests, for their (the Anglican) ministrations were all that were necessary. I, therefore, felt bound by all the circumstances to make a thorough study of the Anglican Churchʹs faith and orders, as well as of her discipline and ritual. After serious consideration I realized that it was my honest duty, as a member of the College of the Holy Orthodox Greek Apostolic Church, and head of the Syrian Mission in North America, to resign from the vice‐presidency of and membership in the Anglican and Eastern Orthodox Churches Union. At the same time, I set forth, in my letter of resignation, my reason for so doing. I am convinced that the doctrinal teaching and practices, as well as the discipline, of the whole Anglican Church are unacceptable to the Holy Orthodox Church. I make this apology for the Anglicans whom as Christian gentlemen I greatly revere, that the loose teaching of a great many of the prominent Anglican theologians are so hazy in their definitions of truths, and so inclined toward pet heresies that it is hard to tell what they believe. The Anglican Church as a whole has not spoken authoritatively on her doctrine. Her Catholic‐minded members can call out her doctrines from many views, but so nebulous is her pathway in the doctrinal world that those who would extend a hand of both Christian and ecclesiastical fellowship dare not, without distrust, grasp the hand of her theologians, for while many are orthodox on some points, they are quite heterodox on others. I speak, of course, from the Holy Orthodox Eastern Catholic point of view. The Holy Orthodox Church has never perceptibly changed from Apostolic times, and, therefore, no one can go astray in finding out what She teaches. Like Her Lord and Master, though at times surrounded with human malaria—which He in His mercy pardons— She is the same yesterday, and today, and forever (Heb. 13:8) the mother and safe deposit of the truth as it is in Jesus (cf. Eph. 4:21). The Orthodox Church differs absolutely with the Anglican Communion in reference to the number of Sacraments and in reference to the doctrinal explanation of the same. The Anglicans say in their Catechism concerning the Sacraments that there are ʺtwo only as generally necessary to salvation, that is to say, Baptism and the Supper of the Lord.ʺ I am well aware that, in their two books of homilies (which are not of a binding authority, for the books were prepared only in the reign of Edward VI and Queen Elizabeth for priests who were not permitted to preach their own sermons in England during times both politically and ecclesiastically perilous), it says that there are ʺfive others commonly called Sacramentsʺ (see homily in each book on the Sacraments), but long since they have repudiated in different portions of their Communion this very teaching and absolutely disavow such definitions in their ʺArticles of
HERESIES, SCHISMS AND UNCANONICAL ACTS REQUIRE A LIVING SYNODICAL JUDGMENT An Introduction to Councils and Canon Law The Orthodox Church, since the time of the Holy Apostles, has resolved quarrels or problems by convening Councils. Thus, when the issue arose regarding circumcision and the Laws of Moses, the Holy Apostles met in Jerusalem, as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles (Chapter 15). The Holy Fathers thus imitated the Apostles by convening Councils, whether general, regional, provincial or diocesan, in order to resolve issues of practice. These Councils discussed and resolved matters of Faith, affirming Orthodoxy (correct doctrine) while condemning heresies (false teachings). The Councils also formulated ecclesiastical laws called Canons, which either define good conduct or prescribe the level of punishment for bad conduct. Some canons apply only to bishops, others to priests and deacons, and others to lower clergy and laymen. Many canons apply to all ranks of the clergy collectively. Several canons apply to the clergy and the laity alike. The level of authority that a Canon holds is discerned by the authority of the Council that affirmed the Canon. Some Canons are universal and binding on the entire Church, while others are only binding on a local scale. Also, a Canon is only an article of the law, and is not the execution of the law. For a Canon to be executed, the proper authority must put the Canon in force. The authority differs depending on the rank of the person accused. According to the Canons themselves, a bishop requires twelve bishops to be put on trial and for the canons to be applied towards his condemnation. A presbyter requires six bishops to be put on trial and condemned, and a deacon requires three bishops. The lower clergy and the laymen require at least one bishop to place them on ecclesiastical trial or to punish them by applying the canons to them. But in the case of laymen, a single presbyter may execute the Canon if he has been granted the rank of pneumatikos, and therefore has the bishop’s authority to remit sins and apply penances. However, until this competent ecclesiastical authority has convened and officially applied the Canons to the individual of whatever rank, that individual is only “liable” to punishment, but has not yet been punished. For the Canons do not execute themselves, but they must be executed by the entity with authority to apply the Canons. The Canons themselves offer three forms of punishment, namely, deposition, excommunication and anathematization. Deposition is applied to clergy. Excommunication is applied to laity. Anathematization can be applied to either clergy or laity. Deposition does not remove the priestly rank, but is simply a prohibition from the clergyman to perform priestly functions. If the deposition is later revoked, the clergyman does not require reordination. In the same way, excommunication does not remove a layman’s baptism. It only prohibits the layman to commune. If the excommunication is later lifted, the layman does not require rebaptism. Anathematization causes the clergyman or layman to be cut off from the Church and assigned to the devil. But even anathematizations can be revoked if the clergyman or layman repents. There Is a Hierarchy of Authority in Canon Law The authority of one Canon over another is determined by the power of the Council the Canons were ratified by. For example, a canon ratified by an Ecumenical Council overruled any canon ratified by a local Council. The hierarchy of authority, from most binding Canons to least, is as follows: Apostolic Canons (Universal) refer to those compiled by the Holy Apostles and their immediate successors. These Canons were approved and confirmed by the First Ecumenical Council and again by the Quinisext Council. Not even an Ecumenical Council can overrule or overthrow an Apostolic Canon. There are only very few cases where Ecumenical Councils have amended the command of an Apostolic Canon by either strengthening or weakening it. But by no means were any Apostolic Canons overruled or abolished. For instance, the 1st Apostolic Canon which states that a bishop must be ordained by two or three other bishops. Several Canons of the Ecumenical Councils declare that even two bishops do not suffice, but that a bishop must be ordained by the consent of all the bishops in the province, and the ordination itself must take place by no less than three bishops. This does not abolish nor does it overrule the 1st Apostolic Canon, but rather it confirms and reinforces the “spirit of the law” behind that original Canon. Another example is the 5th Apostolic Canon which states that Bishops, Presbyters and Deacons are not permitted to put away their wives by force, on the pretext of reverence. Meanwhile, the 12th Canon of Quinisext advises a bishop (or presbyters who has been elected as a bishop) to first receive his wife’s consent to separate and for both of them to become celibate. This does not oppose the Apostolic Canon because it is not a separation by force but by consent. The 13th Canon of Quinisext confirms the 5th Apostolic Canon by prohibiting a presbyters or deacons to separate from his wife. Thus the 5th Apostolic Canon is not abolished, but amended by an Ecumenical Council for the good of the Church. After all, the laws exist to serve the Church and not to enslave the Church. In the same way, Christ declared: “The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath (Mark 2:27).” Ecumenical Canons (Universal) are those pronounced by Imperial or Ecumenical Councils. These Councils received this name because they were convened by Roman Emperors who were regarded to rule the Ecumene (i.e., “the known world”). Ecumenical Councils all took place in or around Constantinople, also known as New Rome, the Reigning City, or the Universal City. The president was always the hierarch in attendance that happened to be the first‐among‐equals. Ecumenical Councils cannot abolish Apostolic Canons, nor can they abolish the Canons of previous Ecumenical Councils. But they can overrule Regional and Patristic Canons. Regional Canons (Universal) refer to those ratified by Regional Councils that were later confirmed by an Ecumenical Council. This approval gave these Regional Canons a universal authority, almost equal to Ecumenical Canons. These Canons are not only valid within the Regional Church in which the Council took place, but are valid for all Orthodox Christians. For this reason the Canons of these approved Regional Councils cannot be abolished, but must be treated as those of Ecumenical Councils. Patristic Canons (Universal) refer to the Canons of individual Holy Fathers that were confirmed by an Ecumenical Council. Their authority is only lesser than the Apostolic Canons, Ecumenical Canons and Universal Regional Canons. But because they were approved by an Ecumenical Council, these Patristic Canons binding on all Orthodox Christians. Pan‐Orthodox Canons (Universal) refer to those ratified by Pan‐ Orthodox Councils. Since Constantinople had fallen to the Ottomans in 1453, there could no longer be Imperial or Ecumenical Councils, since there was no longer a ruling Emperor of the Ecumene (the Roman or Byzantine Empire). But the Ottoman Sultan appointed the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople as both the political and religious leader of the enslaved Roman Nation (all Orthodox Christians within the Roman Empire, regardless of language or ethnic origin). In this capacity, having replaced the Roman Emperor as leader of the Roman Orthodox Christians, the Ecumenical Patriarch took the responsibility of convening General Councils which were not called Ecumenical Councils (since there was no longer an Ecumene), but instead were called Pan‐Orthodox Councils. Since the Ecumenical Patriarch was also the first‐among‐equals of Orthodox hierarchs, he would also preside over these Councils. Thus he became both the convener and the president. The Primates of the other Patriarchates and Autocephalous Churches were also invited, along with their Synods of Bishops. If the Ecumenical Patriarch was absent or the one accused, the Patriarch of Alexandria would preside over the Synod. If he too could not attend in person, then the Patriarchs of Antioch or Jerusalem would preside. If no Patriarchs could attend, but only send their representatives, these representatives would not preside over the Council. Instead, whichever bishop present who held the highest see would preside. In several chronologies, the Pan‐Orthodox Councils are referred to as Ecumenical. In any case, the Canons pertaining to these Councils are regarded to be universally binding for all Orthodox Christians. National Canons (Local) are those valid only within a particular National Church. The Canons of these National Councils are only accepted if they are in agreement with the Canons ratified by the above Apostolic, Ecumenical, Regional, Patristic and Pan‐Orthodox Councils. Provincial Canons are those ratified by Councils called by a Metropolitan and his suffragan bishops. They are only binding within that Metropolis. Prefectural Canons are those ratified by Councils called by a single bishop and his subordinate clergy. They are only valid within that Diocese. Parochial Canons are the by‐laws of a local Parish or Mission, which are chartered and endorsed by the Rector or Founder of a Parish and the Parish Council. These by‐laws are only applicable within that Parish. Monastic Canons are the rules of a local Monastery or Monastic Order, which are chartered by the Abbot or Founder of the Skete or Monastery. These by‐laws are only applicable within that Monastery. Sometimes Canons are only recommendations explaining how clergy and laity are to conduct themselves. Other times they are actually penalties to be executed upon laity and clergy for their misdeeds. But the penalties contained within Canons are simply recommendations and not the actual executions of the penalties themselves. The recommendation of the law is one thing and the execution of the law is another. Canon Law Can Only Be Executed By Those With Authority For the execution of the law to take place it requires a competent authority to execute the law. A competent authority is reckoned by the principle of “the greater judges the lesser.” Thus, there are Canons that explain who has the authority to judge individuals according to the Canons. A layman can only be judged, excommunicated or anathematized by his own bishop, or by his own priest, provided the priest has the permission of his own bishop (i.e., a priest who is a pneumatikos). This law is ratified by the 6th Canon of Carthage, which has been made universal by the authority of the Sixth Ecumenical Council. The Canon states: “The application of chrism and the consecration of virgin girls shall not be done by Presbyters; nor shall it be permissible for a Presbyter to reconcile anyone at a public liturgy. This is the decision of all of us.” St. Nicodemus’ interprets the Canon as follows: “The present Canon prohibits a priest from doing three things… and remission of the penalty for a sin to a penitent, and thereafter through communion of the Mysteries the reconciliation of him with God, to whom he had become an enemy through sin, making him stand with the faithful, and celebrating the Liturgy openly… For these three functions have to be exercised by a bishop…. By permission of the bishop even a presbyter can reconcile penitents, though. And read Ap. c. XXXIX, and c. XIX of the First EC. C.” Thus the only authority competent to judge a layman is a bishop or a presbyter who has the permission of his bishop to do so. However, those who are among the low rank of clergy (readers, subdeacons, etc) require their own local bishop to try them, because a presbyter cannot depose them. A deacon can only be judged by his own local bishop together with three other bishops, and a presbyter can only be judged by his own local bishop together with six other bishops. The 28th Canon of Carthage thus states: “If Presbyters or Deacons be accused, the legal number of Bishops selected from the nearby locality, whom the accused demand, shall be empaneled — that is, in the case of a Presbyter six, of a Deacon three, together with the Bishop of the accused — to investigate their causes; the same form being observed in respect of days, and of postponements, and of examinations, and of persons, as between accusers and accused. As for the rest of the Clerics, the local Bishop alone shall hear and conclude their causes.” Thus, one bishop is insufficient to submit a priest or deacon to trial or deposition. This can only be done by a Synod of Bishops with enough bishops present to validly apply the canons. The amount of bishops necessary to judge and depose a priest are seven (one local plus six others), and for a deacon the minimum amount of bishops is four (one local plus three others). A bishop must be judged by his own metropolitan together with at least twelve other bishops. If the province does not have twelve bishops, they must invite bishops from other provinces to take part in the trial and deposition. Thus the 12th Canon of Carthage states: “If any Bishop fall liable to any charges, which is to be deprecated, and an emergency arises due to the fact that not many can convene, lest he be left exposed to such charges, these may be heard by twelve Bishops, or in the case of a Presbyter, by six Bishops besides his own; or in the case of a Deacon, by three.” Notice that the amount of twelve bishops is the minimum requirement and not the maximum. The maximum is for all the bishops, even if they are over one hundred in number, to convene for the sake of deposing a bishop. But if this cannot take place, twelve bishops assisting
UKRAINIAN AUTOCEPHALOUS ORTHODOX CHURCH IN THE AMERICAS To the Attention of All Ordained Clergy of the UAOC in the Americas Renewal of Statements of Suitability Dear Brothers in Christ:
For each would you tell me if you generally trust them to tell the truth, or not?” Nurses Doctors Teachers Judges Scientists The Police Clergy/priests Hairdressers Television news readers The ordinary man/woman in the street Civil Servants Lawyers Pollsters Managers in the NHS Economists Charity chief executives Trade union officials Local councillors Bankers Business leaders Estate agents Journalists Government Ministers Politicians generally 93% 91% 88% 81% 80% 71% 69% 68% 67% 65% 56% 52% 49% 48% 48% 46% 43% 43% 37% 33% 30% 24% 20% 15% % trust to tell the truth Base:
In 1531 Henry first challenged the Pope when he demanded £100,000 from the Clergy in exchange for a royal pardon for their illegal jurisdiction, and that he should be recognised as their sole protector and supreme head.
Fr. Eugene Tombros “Regarding Frequent Communion” in 1966 In 1966, Fr. Eugene Tombros, the arch‐chancellor of the Matthewite Synod, published a Prayer Book in Greek. On the last page, he provides a quote from the book “Regarding Continuous Communion” by St. Macarius Notaras of Corinth. This means that Fr. Eugene Tombros, the most influential person in the Matthewite Synod between 1940 and 1974, knew about this book and respected its contents enough to desire to quote from it. The quote is as follows: A QUOTE FROM THE BOOK “REGARDING CONTINUOUS COMMUNION” If you like the kindle in your heart divine love and to acquire love towards Christ and with this to also acquire all the rest of the virtues, regularly attend Holy Communion and you will enjoy that which you desire. Because it is absolutely impossible for somebody not to love Christ, when he conscientiously and continually communes of His Holy Body and drinks His Precious Blood.” - St. Macarius Notaras It is clear, therefore, that Fr. Eugene Tombros was aware of the Kollyvades movement and in favour of it. The quote below advocates frequent communion. This falls perfectly in place with an earlier work by St. Matthew of Bresthena, published in 1933, which also was written in the spirit of the Kollyvades Fathers. This makes one ask the question: If the most important Matthewite leaders, namely, Bishop Matthew of Bresthena in 1933 and Fr. Eugene Tombros in 1966, published works regarding Frequent Holy Communion that clearly reflected the beliefs of the Kollyvades Fathers such as St. Macarius Notaras, St. Nicodemus of Athos, St. Athanasius of Paros, St. Pachomius of Chios, St. Nectarius of Aegina, etc, how did this all change in the Matthewite Synod? Why did their practices become so anti‐Kollyvadic from the 1970s onwards? The answer is that in 1979 during a week‐long “clergy synaxis” at Kouvara Monastery, all of the bishops and priests were trained to demand laymen to adhere to a strict fast for a week, and the last three days without oil, while making this exempt from clergy. The people who led this course at Kouvara were the laymen theologians, Mr. Gkoutzidis and Mr. Kontogiannis, the latter of whom lated became Bp. Kirykos. Just as usual, the same people who “systematized” (changed) the ecclesiology, the same people who re‐wrote Matthewite history “their own way,” are the same people who removed the spirit of the Kollyvades Fathers from the Matthewites. After over three decades of this, the majority of Matthewites now think their practices are normal, and if they read the book of St. Macarius Notaras or of St. Nicodemus of Athos regarding Frequent Holy Communion they would shudder. But it is time for the brainwashing to end and for truth to shine. May the prayers of the Holy Kollyvades Fathers enlighten us all. Amen.
Archimandrite Euthymius K. Epiphaniou Faidrou 1‐3‐8 Pakgrati, Athens 1135 GREECE In Athens on October 11, 1991 ENCYCLICAL – EPISTLE of he who relies on the Lordʹs mercy, Euthymius K. Epiphaniou the Cypriot, To the Reverend Clergy of all the parishes, the Monks and Nuns of the Holy Monasteries and Hermitages of the Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece and elsewhere. Brethren, Fathers and Sisters, bless! ʺWhen sin becomes chief, it draws everyone to perditionʺ and ʺWe are guilty for these things, but suffer for other things.ʺ By diverting from these reasonings, God granted and arranged a great winter [suffering] in the realms of our Church for 20 years and more, accelerating recently, with innumerable consequences. This is because, beloved brethren, we displaced the order of the Church, we departed from the line of navigation and tradition of the Holy Father kyr Matthew Karpathakis and we accepted a cheirothesia from the Russians of the Diaspora, the apostasy of eight clergy from the Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians occurred, and the falling away of the reposed Monk Callistus (former [Bishop] of Corinth Callistus), who were all deposed and moreover Callistus with the accusation of rejection and destruction of the icon of the Holy Trinity and for fighting against saints (See K.G.O. October, 1977, page 9). [Here Fr. Euthymius refers to the very tampering and additions he made to the original acts prior to their publication in the official periodical.] This is because, in 1979, the ʺgroup of new theologiansʺ surrounding our Archbishop Andrew, put together a speech and by the mouth of the Archbishop the following blasphemy was voiced: ʺThe presence of the struggle of the Church of Genuine Orthodox Christians, as we are well aware is of the highest importance, equates with the incarnation of the Lord, his Good News, his Crucifixion and His Holy Resurrection, to wit, it is the Church of Christ,ʺ and through the periodical ʺChurch of the Genuine Orthodoxʺ (See the issue for June, 1979) it was circulated ʺurbi et orbiʺ and although many of us protested that this blasphemy be removed, it never happened. [Here Fr. Euthymius refers to his own tampering of the original text and quotes it as ʺThe presence of the struggle of the Church, despite the official clarification that the real text is ʺThe presence of the Struggling Church.ʺ Thus he ignores the three subsequent corrections and explanations given in the official periodical in the following issues: October, 1979, p. 21; April, 1980, p. 31; and February, 1983, p. 57. After a decade since this issue was settled, Fr. Euthymius brought it up again in his present ʺencyclicalʺ simply in order to satisfy his demands that the Genuine Orthodox Church not be identified with the Church of Christ.] This is because the new theologians (according to the opinion and support of our Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians), since they were lacking a means of financial support, they decided to enterprise [the Church] as a bankrupt company, and they renamed [the Church] ʺUninnovatedʺ [Akainotometos], and unfortunately the Hierarchs placed their seal [on this] because the new theologians, instead of correcting themselves and repenting for the damage that they provoked in the Church, they placed a schedule of income for their group and they invented unorthodox ways for various clergy to receive ʺDegreesʺ in theology, they also puffed out the minds of various assisting garb‐bearers [rasophoroi] who have declared a war once more against Orthodoxy. They abysmally war against and reject the tradition of the Church, refusing to venerate the icon of the Holy Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), the icon of the Resurrection of the Lord, replacing it with the Descent into Hades, the icon of the Pentecost if our Lady the Theotokos is present in it, and they accept the icon of the Nativity of Christ (with the bathtub and the midwives). And by these means having become iconomachs‐iconoclasts, and deniers of their faith, regardless of whether they are girdled in priesthood. Wearing the skin of sheep, they work towards the destruction of the flock, by writing and circulating pamphlets against the abovementioned holy icons. They impose their heretical opinions upon those that are submitted to them. They create civil splintering and division in the Monasteries. They question various Fathers of the Church, particularly St. Nicodemus of Mt. Athos, and the new pillar of Orthodoxy kyr Archbishop Matthew Karpathakis. They provoke quarrels and disputes like what happened last Pascha at Lebadia [Diaulia] and Bolus [Demetrias] on the day of the Resurrection, and the worst is that they work together for the purpose of placing canons [of penance] on Nuns of the Convent [of the Entry of the Mother of God at Keratea] and Monks, by various Spiritual Fathers, under the accusation that the Nuns and Monks praiseworthily insist upon keeping what the Catholic Church upholds and preserves. They who behave as neo‐iconoclasts are: the Hieromonks Cassian Braun, Amphilochius Tambouras, Neophytus Tsakiroglou, Tarasius Karagounis, and the foreign [incomer] Archpastor of the Holy Monastery of the Transfiguration [at Kouvara] Hegumen Stephan Tsakiroglou, who declares that he is a rationalist. My beloved, by giving in to one evil, ten thousand others follow, and the words are fulfilled to the maximum: we are at fault and for this we suffer, not as persons, but as a Church, and, explicitly, because: 1. we are stained by the iniquity of the cheirothesia of 1971 2. the voiced blasphemy of 1979 remains Let us not be entertained by the evil that has befallen the realms of our Church. It is necessary for us to pray, to censure the paranoia of the newfound iconoclasts, to request from our honorable Hierarchy, as soon as possible, the cleansing [catharsis] from the realms of our Church, these nonsensical iconoclasts and those who are likeminded unto them, [to request] their condemnation, regardless of how high their position is, because these [people] are led astray from the truth, and we must declare in a stentorian manner, that whether alone or with many others, we will champion the saving truth, faithful to what we have been taught, what we have learned and what we have received, adding nothing and subtracting nothing, whatever the Catholic Church contains and upholds undiminished and uninnovated. Do not fall, brethren. A winter [suffering] has befallen our Church. The Lord our God lives, so that he is among us and he is for us. May the prayers of the Confessors of our Faith, the older and the newer, as well as of the newfound pillar of Orthodoxy, ever‐memorable Archbishop Matthew the Cretan, enlighten us, bring us to our senses, and guide all of us towards the path of salvation, which requires truth, faith and invincible struggle. To those who do not correctly receive the divine voices of the Holy Teachers of the Church of God, and what has been fittingly and manifestly explained in [the Church] by the grace of the Holy Spirit, and attempts to misinterpret them and rotate them, they are the curse, and the wrath is upon their shoulders. Farewell in the Lord, my beloved brethren, The least among all ‐ brother and concelebrant, Archimandrite Euthymius K. Epiphaniou
THE FREQUENCY OF HOLY COMMUNION By Elder Pachomius of Chios Who would not weep at the ignorance and wretched state of our contemporary clergy? Where has it ever been heard, that the Christians should go to Church, seeking to receive Holy Communion, and the priests hinder them, saying to them, “Is Communion soup? Forty days have not passed since you received Holy Communion, and you come to receive again?” In like manner, regarding the first week of the Great Lent, I know of many men and women who keep the three‐day fast [an optional tradition of fasting from food and water], and they go to church on Wednesday for the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, and the clergy do not allow them to receive Holy Communion, saying, “Just the other day you were eating meat, and today you come to receive Communion?” “And secondly,” they say, “the Presanctified is for the priests, and not for the laity.” Fie! on our ignorance and lack of understanding! You, on the one hand, O ordained man, are eating meat the night before, and many times you are even drunk, and perhaps also irreverent, and you go to serve the Liturgy, and you hinder the one who has been fasting with so much reverence? And you deprive him of so much benefit and sanctification? Do you see what lack of learning our priests have? “The Presanctified,” say they, “is for the priests, and not for the laypeople.” St. Basil the Great says, “I commune my parishioners four times a week.” St. John Chrysostom and the entire Church of Christ do likewise. They had this custom of Communion four times a week. And since the Liturgy is not served during the weekdays in Great Lent, the Holy Fathers in their wisdom devised to have the Presanctified, only so that the Christians might have the opportunity to commune during the week; and you say the Presanctified is only for the ordained? And observe, O reader, that as long as this discipline prevailed, and the Christians communed frequently, their hearts were warmed by the grace of Holy Communion, and they ran to martyrdom like sheep. Therefore, the priests who hinder the Christians from receiving the Immaculate Communion should know well that they sin greatly. I do not say that the people should commune simply and indiscriminately, but that they should approach with the fitting preparation. However, I heard what some priests say: “I” (say they) “am a priest and I serve the Liturgy frequently, and I commune, but the layman does not have this permission.” In this matter, O priest, my brother, you are greatly mistaken. Because, in the matter of Holy Communion, the priest differs in nothing from the layman. You, O priest, are a minister of the Mystery, but this does not mean that you have the right to receive frequently, and the layman does not. In this matter I can bring you many proofs from the Saints, demonstrating that it is permitted equally to bishops and priests and laypeople, both men and women, to partake of the Immaculate Mysteries continuously – unless they have been married a third time. As many as have married three times commune three times a year. I have myriads of proofs concerning this issue, but which one should I present to you first? Chrysostom, Clement, Symeon of Thessalonica, David? As I said, which one should I mention first? In this matter, I can bring you so many proofs, I could fill a whole book! For this cause, I cut short what I am saying and tell you only this in brief. If you don’t want the Christians to commune frequently, why do you hold the Holy Chalice, and display it to the Christians, and cry out from the Holy Bema, “With the fear of God, faith, and love, draw near, and approach the Mysteries that you may commune?” And yet again, you yourselves hinder them, and you lie openly? Why, on the one hand, do you invite them, and, on the other, do you push them away?...
ARE CHRISTIANS MEANT TO COMMUNE ONLY ON A SATURDAY AND NEVER ON A SUNDAY? In the second paragraph of his first letter to Fr. Pedro, Bp. Kirykos writes: “Also, all Christians, when they are going to commune, know that they must approach Holy Communion on Saturday (since it is preceded by the fast of Friday) and on Sunday only by economia, so that they are not compelled to break the fast of Saturday and violate the relevant Holy Canon [sic: here he accidentally speaks of breaking the fast of Saturday, but he most likely means observing a fast on Saturday, because that is what violates the canons].” The first striking remark is “All Christians.” Does Bp. Kirykos consider himself to be a Christian? If so, why does he commune every Sunday without exception, seeing as though “all Christians” are supposed to “know” that they are only allowed to commune on a Saturday, and never on Sunday, except by “economia.” Or perhaps Bp. Kirykos does not consider himself a Christian, and for this reason he is exempt of this rule for “all Christians.” It makes perfect sense that he excludes himself from those called Christians because his very ideas and practices are not Christian at all. Is communion on Saturdays alone, and never on Sundays, really a Christian practice? Is this what Christians have always believed? Was Saturday the day that the early Christians ʺbroke breadʺ (i.e., communed)? Let us look at what the Holy Scriptures have to say. St. Luke the Evangelist (+18 October, 86), in the Acts of the Holy Apostles, writes: “And on the first day of the week, when we were assembled to break bread, Paul discoursed with them, being to depart on the morrow (Acts 20:7).” Thus the Holy Apostle Paul would meet with the faithful on the first day of the week, to wit, Sunday, and on this day he would break bread, that is, he would serve Holy Communion. St. Paul the Apostle (+29 June, 67) also advises in his first epistle to the Corinthians: “On the first day of the week, let every one of you put apart with himself, laying up what it shall well please him: that when I come, the collections be not then to be made (1 Corinthians 16:2).” Thus St. Paul indicates that the Christians would meet with one another on the first day of the week, that is, Sunday, not only for Liturgy, but also for collection of goods for the poor. The reason why the Christians would meet for prayer and breaking of bread on Sunday is because our Lord Jesus Christ arose from the dead on one day after the Sabbath, on the first day of the week, that is, the Lordʹs Day or Sunday (Matt. 28:1‐7; Mark 16:2,9; Luke 24:1; John 20:1). Another reason for the Christians meeting together on Sundays is because the Holy Spirit was delivered to the Apostles on the day of Pentecost, which was a Sunday, and this event signified the beginning of the Christian community. That Pentecost took place on a Sunday is clear from Godʹs command in the Old Testament Scriptures: “You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall present a new grain offering to the Lord (Leviticus 23:16).” The reference to “fifty days” and “seventh Sabbath” refers to counting fifty days from the first Sabbath, or seven weeks plus one day; while “the day after the seventh Sabbath” clearly refers to a Sunday, since the day after the Sabbath day (Saturday) is always the Lord’s Day (Sunday). It was on the Sunday of Pentecost that the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles. Thus we read: “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance (Acts 2:1‐4).” A final reason for Sunday being the day that the Christians met for prayer and breaking of bread was in order to remember the promised Second Coming or rather Second Appearance (Δευτέρα Παρουσία) of the Lord. The reference to Sunday is found in the Book of Revelation, in which Christ appeared and delivered the prophecy to St. John the Theologian on “Kyriake” (Κυριακή), which means “the main day,” or “the first day,” but more correctly means “the Lordʹs Day.” (Revelation 1:10). For the above three reasons (that Sunday is the day of the Resurrection, the Pentecost and the Second Appearance) the Apostles themselves, and the early Christians immediately made Sunday the new Sabbath, the new day of rest, and the new day for Godʹs people to gather together for prayer (i.e., Liturgy) and breaking of bread (i.e., Holy Communion) Thus we read in the Didache of the Holy Apostles: “On the Lordʹs Day (i.e., Kyriake) come together and break bread. And give thanks (i.e., offer the Eucharist), after confessing your sins that your sacrifice may be pure (Didache 14).” Thus the Christians met together on the Lord’s Day, that is, Sunday, for the breaking of bread and giving of thanks, to wit, the Divine Liturgy and Holy Eucharist. St. Barnabas the Apostle (+11 June, 61), First Bishop of Salamis in Cyprus, in the Epistle of Barnabas, writes: “Wherefore, also, we keep the eighth day with joyfulness, the day also on which Jesus rose again from the dead (Barnabas 15).” The eighth day is a reference to Sunday, which is known as the first as well as the eighth day of the week. How more appropriate to keep the eighth day with joyfulness other than by communing of the joyous Gifts? St. Ignatius the God‐bearer (+20 December, 108), Bishop of Antioch, in his Epistle to the Magnesians, insists that the Jews who became Christian should be “no longer observing the Sabbath, but living in the observance of the Lord’s Day, on which also our Life rose again (Magnesians 9).” What could commemorate the Lord’s Day as the day Life rose again, other than by receiving Life incarnate, to wit, that precious Body and Blood of Christ? For he who partakes of it shall never die but live forever! St. Clemes, also known as St. Clement (+24 November, 101), Bishop of Rome, in the Apostolic Constitutions, also declares that Divine Liturgy is especially for Sundays more than any other day. Thus we read: “On the day of the resurrection of the Lord, that is, the Lord’s day, assemble yourselves together, without fail, giving thanks to God, and praising Him for those mercies God has bestowed upon you through Christ, and has delivered you from ignorance, error, and bondage, that your sacrifice may be unspotted, and acceptable to God, who has said concerning His universal Church: In every place shall incense and a pure sacrifice be offered unto me; for I am a great King, saith the Lord Almighty, and my name is wonderful among the nations (Apostolic Constitutions, ch. 30).” The reference to “pure sacrifice” is the oblation of Christ’s Body and Blood; “giving thanks to God” is the celebration of the Eucharist (εὐχαριστία = giving thanks). The Apostolic Constitutions also state clearly that Sunday is not only the most important day for Divine Liturgy, but that it is also the ideal day for receiving Holy Communion. It is written: “And on the day of our Lord’s resurrection, which is the Lord’s day, meet more diligently, sending praise to God that made the universe by Jesus, and sent Him to us, and condescended to let Him suffer, and raised Him from the dead. Otherwise what apology will he make to God who does not assemble on that day to hear the saving word concerning the resurrection, on which we pray thrice standing in memory of Him who arose in three days, in which is performed the reading of the prophets, the preaching of the Gospel, the oblation of the sacrifice, the gift of the holy food? (Apostolic Constitutions, ch. 59).” The “gift of the holy food” refers to Holy Communion. The Holy Canons of the Orthodox Church also distinguish Sunday as the day of Divine Liturgy and Holy Communion. The 19th Canon of the Sixth Ecumenical Council mentions the importance of Sunday as a day for gathering and preaching the Gospel sermon: “We declare that the deans of churches, on every day, but more especially on Sundays, must teach all the clergy and the laity words of truth out of the Holy Bible…” The 80th Canon of the Sixth Ecumenical Council states that all clergy and laity are forbidden to be absent from Divine Liturgy for three consecutive Sundays: “In case any bishop or presbyter or deacon or anyone else on the list of the clergy, or any layman, without any grave necessity or any particular difficulty compelling him to absent himself from his own church for a very long time, fails to attend church on Sundays for three consecutive weeks, while living in the city, if he be a clergyman, let him be deposed from office; but if he be a layman, let him be removed from communion.” Take note that if one attends Divine Liturgy for three consecutive Saturdays, but not on the Sundays, he still falls under the penalty of this canon because it does not reprimand someone who simply doesn’t attend Divine Liturgy for three weeks, but rather one who “fails to attend church on Sundays.” The reference to “church” must refer to a parish where Holy Communion is offered every Sunday, for an individual who does not attend for three consecutive Sundays cannot be punished by being “removed from communion” if this is not even offered to begin with. Also, the fact that this is the penalty must mean that the norm is for the faithful to commune every Sunday, or at least every third Sunday. The 9th Canon of the Holy Apostles declares that: “All those faithful who enter and listen to the Scriptures, but do not stay for prayer and Holy Communion must be excommunicated, on the ground that they are causing the Church a breach of order.” The 2nd Canon of the Council of Antioch states: “As for all those persons who enter the church and listen to the sacred Scriptures, but who fail to commune in prayer together and at the same time with the laity, or who shun the participation of the Eucharist, in accordance with some irregularity, we decree that these persons be outcasts from the Church until, after going to confession and exhibiting fruits of repentance and begging forgiveness, they succeed in obtaining a pardon…” Both of these canons prove quite clearly that all faithful who attend Divine Liturgy and are not under any kind of penance or excommunication, must partake of Holy Communion. Thus, if clergy and laity are equally expected to attend Divine Liturgy every Sunday, or at least every third Sunday, they are equally expected to Commune every Sunday, or at least every third Sunday. Should they fail, they are to be excommunicated. St. Timothy of Alexandria (+20 July, 384), in his Questions and Answers, and specifically in the 3rd Canon, writes: “Question: If anyone who is a believer is possessed of a demon, ought he to partake of the Holy Mysteries, or not? Answer: If he does not repudiate the Mystery, nor otherwise in any way blaspheme, let him have communion, not, however, every day in the week, for it is sufficient for him on the Lord’s Day only.” So then, if even those who are possessed with demons are permitted to commune on every Sunday, how is it that Bp. Kirykos advises that all Christians are only permitted to commune on a Saturday, and never on a Sunday except by extreme economia? Are today’s healthy, faithful and practicing Orthodox Christians, who do not have a canon of penance or any excommunication, and who desire communion every Sunday, forbidden this, despite the fact that of old even those possessed of demons were permitted it? The above Holy Canons of the Orthodox Church are the Law of God that the Church abides to in order to prevent scandal or discord. Let us now compare this Law of God to the “traditions of men,” namely, the Sabbatian, Pharisaic statement found in Bp. Kirykos’s first letter to Fr. Pedro: “… I request of you the avoidance of disorder and scandal regarding this issue, and to recommend to those who confess to you, that in order to approach Holy Communion, they must prepare by fasting, and to prefer approaching on Saturday and not Sunday.“ Clearly, Bp. Kirykos has turned the whole world upside down, and has made the Holy Canons and the Law of the Church of God as a matter of “discord and scandal,” and instead insists upon his own self‐invented “tradition” which is nowhere to be found in the writings of the Holy Fathers, in the Holy Canons, or in the Holy Tradition of Orthodoxy. The truth is that Bp. Kirykos himself is the one who introduced “disorder and scandal” when he trampled all over the Holy Canons and insisted that his priest, Fr. Pedro, and other laymen do likewise! The truth is that Fr. Pedro and the laymen supporting him are not at all causing “disorder and scandal” in the Church, but they are the ones preventing disorder and scandal by objecting to the unorthodox demands of Bp. Kirykos. Throughout the history of the Orthodox Church, Sunday has always been the day of Divine Liturgy and Holy Communion. This was declared so by the Holy Apostles themselves, was also maintained in the post‐apostolic era, and continues even until our day. Nowhere in the doctrines, practices or history of Orthodox Christianity is there ever a teaching that laymen are supposedly only to commune on a Saturday and never on a Sunday. The only day of the week throughout the year upon which Liturgy is guaranteed to be celebrated is on a Sunday. The Liturgy is only performed on a few Saturdays per year in most parishes, and mostly only during the Great Fast or on the Saturday of Souls. Liturgy is more seldom on weekdays as the Liturgies of Wednesday and Friday nights have been made Pre‐sanctified and limited to only within the Great Fast. Liturgy is now only performed on weekdays if it is a feastday of a major saint. But Liturgy is always performed on a Sunday without fail, in every city, village and countryside, because it is the Lord’s Day. The purpose of Liturgy is to receive Holy Communion, and the reason for it being celebrated on the Lord’s Day without fail is because this is the day of salvation, and therefore the most important day of the week, especially for receiving Holy Communion. For, “This is the day that the Lord hath made, let us rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24).” What greater way to rejoice on the Lord’s Day than to commune of the very Lord Himself? The theory of diminishing Sunday as the day of salvation and communion, and instead opting for Saturday, is actually a heresy known as
FROM THE ANAPHORAE OF THE ANCIENT CHURCH REGARDING “WORTHINESS” OF HOLY COMMUNION This can also be demonstrated by the secret prayers within Divine Liturgy. From the early Apostolic Liturgies, right down to the various Liturgies of the Local Churches of Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, Constantinople, Rome, Gallia, Hispania, Britannia, Cappadocia, Armenia, Persia, India and Ethiopia, in Liturgies that were once vibrant in the Orthodox Church, prior to the Nestorian, Monophysite and Papist schisms, as well as those Liturgies still in common use today among the Orthodox Christians (namely, the Liturgies of St. John Chrysostom, St. Basil the Great and the Presanctified Liturgy of St. Gregory the Dialogist), the message is quite clear in all the mystic prayers that the clergy and the laity are referred to as entirely unworthy, and truly they are to believe they are unworthy, and that no action of their own can make them worthy (i.e. not even fasting), but that only the Lord’s mercy and grace through the Gifts themselves will allow them to receive communion without condemnation. To demonstrate this, let us begin with the early Apostolic Liturgies, and from there work our way through as many of the oblations used throughout history, as have been found in ancient manuscripts, among them those still offered within Orthodoxy today. St. James the Brother‐of‐God (+23 October, 62), First Bishop of Jerusalem, begins his anaphora as follows: “O Sovereign Lord our God, condemn me not, defiled with a multitude of sins: for, behold, I have come to this Thy divine and heavenly mystery, not as being worthy; but looking only to Thy goodness, I direct my voice to Thee: God be merciful to me, a sinner; I have sinned against Heaven, and before Thee, and am unworthy to come into the presence of this Thy holy and spiritual table, upon which Thy only‐begotten Son, and our Lord Jesus Christ, is mystically set forth as a sacrifice for me, a sinner, and stained with every spot.” Following the creed, the following prayer is read: “God and Sovereign of all, make us, who are unworthy, worthy of this hour, lover of mankind; that being pure from all deceit and all hypocrisy, we may be united with one another by the bond of peace and love, being confirmed by the sanctification of Thy divine knowledge through Thine only‐begotten Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, with whom Thou art blessed, together with Thy all‐holy, and good, and quickening Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.” Then right before the clergy are to partake of Communion, the following is recited: “O Lord our God, the heavenly bread, the life of the universe, I have sinned against Heaven, and before Thee, and am not worthy to partake of Thy pure Mysteries; but as a merciful God, make me worthy by Thy grace, without condemnation to partake of Thy holy body and precious blood, for the remission of sins, and life everlasting.” After all the clergy and laity have received Communion, this prayer is read: “O God, who through Thy great and unspeakable love didst condescend to the weakness of Thy servants, and hast counted us worthy to partake of this heavenly table, condemn not us sinners for the participation of Thy pure Mysteries; but keep us, O good One, in the sanctification of Thy Holy Spirit, that being made holy, we may find part and inheritance with all Thy saints that have been well‐pleasing to Thee since the world began, in the light of Thy countenance, through the mercy of Thy only‐begotten Son, our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ, with whom Thou art blessed, together with Thy all‐holy, and good, and quickening Spirit: for blessed and glorified is Thy all‐precious and glorious name, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.” From these prayers is it not clear that no one is worthy of Holy Communion, whether they have fasted or not, but that it is God’s mercy that bestows worthiness upon mankind through participation in the Mystery of Confession and receiving Holy Communion? This was most certainly the belief of the early Christians of Jerusalem, quite contrary to Bp. Kirykos’ ideology of early Christians supposedly being “worthy of communion” because they supposedly “fasted in the finer and broader sense.” St. Mark the Evangelist (+25 April, 63), First Bishop of Alexandria, in his Divine Liturgy, writes: “O Sovereign and Almighty Lord, look down from heaven on Thy Church, on all Thy people, and on all Thy flock. Save us all, Thine unworthy servants, the sheep of Thy fold. Give us Thy peace, Thy help, and Thy love, and send to us the gift of Thy Holy Spirit, that with a pure heart and a good conscience we may salute one another with an holy kiss, without hypocrisy, and with no hostile purpose, but guileless and pure in one spirit, in the bond of peace and love, one body and one spirit, in one faith, even as we have been called in one hope of our calling, that we may all meet in the divine and boundless love, in Christ Jesus our Lord, with whom Thou art blessed, with Thine all‐holy, good, and life‐creating Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.” Later in the Liturgy the following is read: “Be mindful also of us, O Lord, Thy sinful and unworthy servants, and blot out our sins in Thy goodness and mercy.” Again we read: “O holy, highest, awe‐inspiring God, who dwellest among the saints, sanctify us by the word of Thy grace and by the inspiration of Thy all‐ holy Spirit; for Thou hast said, O Lord our God, Be ye holy; for I am holy. O Word of God, past finding out, consubstantial and co‐eternal with the Father and the Holy Spirit, and sharer of their sovereignty, accept the pure song which cherubim and seraphim, and the unworthy lips of Thy sinful and unworthy servant, sing aloud.” Thus it is clear that whether he had fasted or not, St. Mark and his clergy and flock still considered themselves unworthy. By no means did they ever entertain the theory that “they fasted in the finer and broader sense, that is, they were worthy of communion,” as Bp. Kirykos dares to say. On the contrary, St. Mark and the early Christians of Alexandria believed any worthiness they could achieve would be through partaking of the Holy Mysteries themselves. Thus, St. Mark wrote the following prayer to be read immediately after Communion: “O Sovereign Lord our God, we thank Thee that we have partaken of Thy holy, pure, immortal, and heavenly Mysteries, which Thou hast given for our good, and for the sanctification and salvation of our souls and bodies. We pray and beseech Thee, O Lord, to grant in Thy good mercy, that by partaking of the holy body and precious blood of Thine only‐begotten Son, we may have faith that is not ashamed, love that is unfeigned, fullness of holiness, power to eschew evil and keep Thy commandments, provision for eternal life, and an acceptable defense before the awful tribunal of Thy Christ: Through whom and with whom be glory and power to Thee, with Thine all‐holy, good, and life‐creating Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.” St. Peter the Apostle (+29 June, 67), First Bishop of Antioch, and later Bishop of Old Rome, in his Divine Liturgy, writes: “For unto Thee do I draw nigh, and, bowing my neck, I pray Thee: Turn not Thy countenance away from me, neither cast me out from among Thy children, but graciously vouchsafe that I, Thy sinful and unworthy servant, may offer unto Thee these Holy Gifts.” Again we read: “With soul defiled and lips unclean, with base hands and earthen tongue, wholly in sins, mean and unrepentant, I beseech Thee, O Lover of mankind, Saviour of the hopeless and Haven of those in danger, Who callest sinners to repentance, O Lord God, loose, remit, forgive me a sinner my transgressions, whether deliberate or unintentional, whether of word or deed, whether committed in knowledge or in ignorance.” St. Thomas the Apostle (+6 October, 72), Enlightener of Edessa, Mesopotamia, Persia, Bactria, Parthia and India, and First Bishop of Maliapor in India, in his Divine Liturgy, conveyed through his disciples, St. Thaddeus (+21 August, 66), St. Haggai (+23 December, 87), and St. Maris (+5 August, 120), delivered the following prayer in the anaphora which is to be read while kneeling: “O our Lord and God, look not on the multitude of our sins, and let not Thy dignity be turned away on account of the heinousness of our iniquities; but through Thine unspeakable grace sanctify this sacrifice of Thine, and grant through it power and capability, so that Thou mayest forget our many sins, and be merciful when Thou shalt appear at the end of time, in the man whom Thou hast assumed from among us, and we may find before Thee grace and mercy, and be rendered worthy to praise Thee with spiritual assemblies.” Upon standing, the following is read: “We thank Thee, O our Lord and God, for the abundant riches of Thy grace to us: we who were sinful and degraded, on account of the multitude of Thy clemency, Thou hast made worthy to celebrate the holy Mysteries of the body and blood of Thy Christ. We beg aid from Thee for the strengthening of our souls, that in perfect love and true faith we may administer Thy gift to us.” And again: “O our Lord and God, restrain our thoughts, that they wander not amid the vanities of this world. O Lord our God, grant that I may be united to the affection of Thy love, unworthy though I be. Glory to Thee, O Christ.” The priest then reads this prayer on behalf of the faithful: “O Lord God Almighty, accept this oblation for the whole Holy Catholic Church, and for all the pious and righteous fathers who have been pleasing to Thee, and for all the prophets and apostles, and for all the martyrs and confessors, and for all that mourn, that are in straits, and are sick, and for all that are under difficulties and trials, and for all the weak and the oppressed, and for all the dead that have gone from amongst us; then for all that ask a prayer from our weakness, and for me, a degraded and feeble sinner. O Lord our God, according to Thy mercies and the multitude of Thy favours, look upon Thy people, and on me, a feeble man, not according to my sins and my follies, but that they may become worthy of the forgiveness of their sins through this holy body, which they receive with faith, through the grace of Thy mercy, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.” The following prayer also indicates that the officiators consider themselves unworthy but look for the reception of the Holy Mysteries to give them remission of sins: “We, Thy degraded, weak, and feeble servants who are congregated in Thy name, and now stand before Thee, and have received with joy the form which is from Thee, praising, glorifying, and exalting, commemorate and celebrate this great, awful, holy, and divine mystery of the passion, death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. And may Thy Holy Spirit come, O Lord, and rest upon this oblation of Thy servants which they offer, and bless and sanctify it; and may it be unto us, O Lord, for the propitiation of our offences and the forgiveness of our sins, and for a grand hope of resurrection from the dead, and for a new life in the Kingdom of the heavens, with all who have been pleasing before Him. And on account of the whole of Thy wonderful dispensation towards us, we shall render thanks unto Thee, and glorify Thee without ceasing in Thy Church, redeemed by the precious blood of Thy Christ, with open mouths and joyful countenances: Ascribing praise, honour, thanksgiving, and adoration to Thy holy, loving, and life‐creating name, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.” Finally, the following petition indicates quite clearly the belief that the officiators and entire congregation are unworthy of receiving the Mysteries: “The clemency of Thy grace, O our Lord and God, gives us access to these renowned, holy, life‐creating, and Divine Mysteries, unworthy though we be.” St. Luke the Evangelist (+18 October, 86), Bishop of Thebes in Greece, in his Divine Liturgy, writes: “Bless, O Lord, Thy faithful people who are bowed down before Thee; deliver us from injuries and temptations; make us worthy to receive these Holy Mysteries in purity and virtue, and may we be absolved and sanctified by them. We offer Thee praise and thanksgiving and to Thine Only‐ begotten Son and to Thy Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.” St. Dionysius the Areopagite (+3 October, 96), Bishop of Athens, in his Divine Liturgy, writes: “Giver of Holiness, and distributor of every good, O Lord, Who sanctifiest every rational creature with sanctification, which is from Thee; sanctify, through Thy Holy Spirit, us Thy servants, who bow before Thee; free us from all servile passions of sin, from envy, treachery, deceit, hatred, enmities, and from him, who works the same, that we may be worthy, holily to complete the ministry of these life‐giving Mysteries, through the heavenly Master, Jesus Christ, Thine Only‐begotten Son, through Whom, and with Whom, is due to Thee, glory and honour, together with Thine All‐holy, Good and Life‐creating Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.” Thus, it is God that offers sanctification to mankind, purifies mankind from sins, and makes mankind worthy of the Mysteries. This worthiness is not achieved by fasting. In the same Anaphora we read: “Essentially existing, and from all ages; Whose nature is incomprehensible, Who art near and present to all, without any change of Thy sublimity; Whose goodness every existing thing longs for and desires; the intelligible indeed, and creature endowed with intelligence, through intelligence; those endowed with sense, through their senses; Who, although Thou art One essentially, nevertheless art present with us, and amongst us, in this hour, in which Thou hast called and led us to these Thy holy Mysteries; and hast made us worthy to stand before the sublime throne of Thy majesty, and to handle the sacred vessels of Thy ministry with our impure hands: take away from us, O Lord, the cloak of iniquity in which we are enfolded, as from Jesus, the son of Josedec the High Priest, thou didst take away the filthy garments, and adorn us with piety and justice, as Thou didst adorn him with a vestment of glory; that clothed with Thee alone, as it were with a garment, and being like temples crowned with glory, we may see Thee unveiled with a mind divinely illuminated, and may feast, whilst we, by communicating therein, enjoy this sacrifice set before us; and that we may render to Thee glory and praise, together with Thine Only‐begotten Son, and Thine All‐holy, Good and Life‐creating Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.” Once again, worthiness derives from God and not from fasting. In the same Liturgy we read: “I invoke Thee, O God the Father, have mercy upon us, and wash away, through Thy grace, the uncleanness of my evil deeds; destroy, through Thy mercy, what I have done, worthy of wrath; for I do not
He said the clergy and the Laity are connected as one to build the church together with each playing his or her divergent role.
Great, the clergy had to remember all what they had done all week, on the busiest day of the week for them!
In our Diocesan cycle of prayer, we give thanks today for the Clergy and people of St Philip the Apostle in Lemon Grove.
Encyclical on Anglican Orders from the Oecumenical Patriarch to the Presidents of the Particular Eastern Orthodox Churches, 1922 [The Holy Synod has studied the report of the Committee and notes:] 1. That the ordination of Matthew Parker as Archbishop of Canterbury by four bishops is a fact established by history. 2. That in this and subsequent ordinations there are found in their fullness those orthodox and indispensable, visible and sensible elements of valid episcopal ordination ‐ viz. the laying on of hands, the Epiclesis of the All‐Holy Spirit and also the purpose to transmit the charisma of the Episcopal ministry. 3. That the orthodox theologians who have scientifically examined the question have almost unanimously come to the same conclusions and have declared themselves as accepting the validity of Anglican Orders. 4. That the practice in the Church affords no indication that the Orthodox Church has ever officially treated the validity of Anglican Orders as in doubt, in such a way as would point to the re‐ordination of the Anglican clergy as required in the case of the union of the two Churches. + Meletios [Metaxakis], Archbishop of Constantinople New Rome and Oecumenical Patriarch http://www.ucl.ac.uk/~ucgbmxd/patriarc.htm
GUY LEEMHUIS AT email@example.com or (323) 286-2770 Clergy will Process :
Clergy Development Church of the Nazarene 17001 Prairie Star Parkway Lenexa, KS 66220 SPENCER/LEE CHAPLAINCY SCHOLARSHIP F or many years, chaplains have been some of the Church of the Nazarene’s most effective missional leaders.
IS IT SINFUL TO EAT MEAT? ARE MARITAL RELATIONS IMPURE? In his first letter to Fr. Pedro, Bp. Kirykos writes: “Regarding the Canon, which some people refer to in order to commune without fasting beforehand, it is correct, but it must be interpreted correctly and applied to everybody. Namely, we must return to those early apostolic times, during which all of the Christians were ascetics and temperate and fasters, and only they remained until the end of the Divine Liturgy and communed. They fasted in the fine and broader sense, that is, they were worthy to commune.” In the above quote, Bp. Kirykos displays the notion that early Christians supposedly abstained from meat and from marriage, and were thus all supposedly “ascetics and temperate and fasters,” and that this is what gave them the right to commune daily. But the truth of the matter is that the majority of Christians were not ascetics, yet they did commune every day. In fact, the ascetics were the ones who lived far away from cities where Liturgy would have been available, and it was these ascetics who would commune rarely. This can be ascertained from studying the Patrologia and the ecclesiastical histories written by Holy Fathers. The theories that Bp. Kirykos entertains are also followed by those immediately surrounding him. His sister, the nun Vincentia, for instance, actually believes that people that eat meat or married couples that engaged in legal nuptial relations are supposedly sinning! She actually believes that meat and marriage are sinful and should be avoided. This theory appears much more extreme in the person of the nun Vincentia, but this notion is also found in the teachings of Bp. Kirykos, and the spirit of this error can also be found in the above quote, where he believes that only people who are “ascetics and temperate and fasters” are “worthy of communion,” as if a man who eats meat or has marital relations with his own wife is “sinful” and “unworthy.” But is this the teaching of the Orthodox Church? Certainly not! These teachings are actually found in Gnosticism, Manichaeism, Paulicianism, Bogomilism, and various “New Age” movements which arise from a mixture of Christianity with Hinduism or Buddhism, religions that consider meat and marriage to be sinful due to their erroneous belief in reincarnation. The Holy Apostle Paul warns us against these heresies. In the First Epistle to Timothy, the Apostle to the Nations writes: “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.” If all of the early Christians abstained from meat and marriage, as Bp. Kirykos dares to say, how is it that the Apostle Paul warns his disciple, Timothy, that in the future people shall “depart from the faith,” shall preach “doctrines of demons,” shall “speak lies in hypocrisy,” shall “forbid marriage” and shall “command to abstain from meats?” The heresy that the Holy Apostle Paul was prophesying about is most likely that called Manichaeism. This heresy finds its origins in a Babylonian man called Shuraik, son of Fatak Babak. Shuraik became a Mandaean Gnostic, and was thus referred to as Rabban Mana (Teacher of the Light‐Spirit). For this reason, Shuraik became commonly‐known throughout the world as Mani. His followers became known as Manicheans in order to distinguish them from the Mandaeans, and the religion he founded became known as Manichaeism. The basic doctrines and principles of this religion were as follows: The Manicheans believed that there was no omnipotent God. Instead they believed that there were two equal powers, one good and one evil. The good power was ruled by the “Prince of Light” while the evil power was led by the “Prince of Darkness.” They believed that the material world was inherently evil from its very creation, and that it was created by the Prince of Darkness. This explains why they held meat and marriage to be evil, since anything material was considered evil from its very foundation. They also believed that each human consisted of a battleground between these two opposing powers of light and darkness, where the soul endlessly battles against the body, respectively. They divided their followers into four groups: 1) monks, 2) nuns, 3) laymen, 4) laywomen. The monks and nuns abstained from meat and marriage and were therefore considered “elect” or “holy,” whereas the laymen and laywomen were considered only “hearers” and “observers” but not real “bearers of the light” due to their “sin” of eating meat and engaging in marital relations. The above principles of the Manichean religion are entirely opposed to the Orthodox Faith, on account of the following reasons: The Orthodox Church believes in one God who is eternal, uncreated, without beginning and without end, and forever good and omnipotent. Evil has never existed in the uncreated Godhead, and it shall never exist in the uncreated Godhead. The power of evil is not uncreated but it has a beginning in creation. Yet the power of evil was not created by God. Evil exists because the prince of the angels abused his free will, which caused him to fall and take followers with him. He became the devil and his followers became demons. Prior to this event there was no evil in the created world. The material world was not created by the devil, but by God Himself. By no means is the material world evil. God looked upon the world he created and said “it was very good.” For this reason partaking of meat is not evil, but God blessed Noah and all of his successors to partake of meat. For all material things in the world exist to serve man, and man exists to serve God. If there is any evil in the created world it derives from mankind’s abuse of his free will, which took place in Eden, due to the enticement of the devil. The history of mankind, both good and bad, is not a product of good or evil forces fighting one another, but every event in the history of mankind is part of God’s plan for mankind’s salvation. The devil has power over this world only forasmuch as mankind is enslaved by his own egocentrism and his desire to sin. Once mankind denies his ego and submits to the will of God, and ceases relying on his own works but rather places his hope and trust in God, mankind shall no longer follow or practice evil. But man is inherently incapable of achieving this on his own because no man is perfect or sinless. For this reason, God sent his only‐begotten Son, the Word of God, who became incarnate and was born and grew into the man known as Jesus of Nazareth. By his virginal conception; his nativity; his baptism; his fast (which he underwent himself but never forced upon his disciples); his miracles (the first of which he performed at a wedding); his teaching (which was contrary to the Pharisees); his gift of his immaculate Body and precious Blood for the eternal life of mankind; his betrayal; his crucifixion; his death; his defeating of death and hades; his Resurrection from the tomb (by which he also raised the whole human nature); his ascension and heavenly enthronement; and his sending down of the Holy Spirit which proceeds from the Father—our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ, accomplished the salvation of mankind. Among the followers of Christ are people who are married as well as people who live monastic lives. Both of these kinds of people, however, are sinners, each in their own way, and their actions, no matter how good they may be, are nothing but a menstruous rag in the eyes of God, according to the Prophet Isaiah. Whether married or unmarried, they can accomplish nothing without the saving grace of the crucified and third‐day Risen Lord. Although being a monastic allows one to spend more time devoted to prayer and with less responsibilities and earthly cares, nevertheless, being married is not at all sinful, but rather it is a blessing. Marital relations between a lawfully married couple, in moderation and at the appointed times (i.e., not on Sundays, not on Great Feasts, and outside of fasting periods) are not sinful but are rather an expression of God’s love and grace which He has bestowed upon each married man and woman, through the Mystery of Holy Matrimony. The Orthodox Church went through great extremes to oppose the heresy of Manichaeism, especially because this false religion’s devotion to fasting and monasticism enticed many people to think it was a good religion. In reality though, Manichaeism is a satanic folly. Yet over the years this folly began to seep into the fold of the faithful. Manichaeism spread wildly throughout the Middle East, and throughout Asia as far as southern China. It also spread into Africa, and even St. Aurelius Augustinus, also known as Blessed Augustine of Hippo (+28 August, 430), happened to be a Manichaean before he became an Orthodox Christian. The heresy began to spread into Western Europe, which is why various pockets in the Western Church began enforcing the celibacy of all clergy. They also began reconstructing the meaning of fasting. Instead of demanding laymen to only fast on Wednesday and Friday during a normal week, they began enforcing a strict fast on Saturday as well. The reason for this is because they no longer viewed fasting as a spiritual exercise for the sake of remembering Christ’s betrayal and his crucifixion. Instead they began viewing fasting as a method of purifying one’s body from “evil foods.” Thus they adopted the Manichean heresy that meat, dairy or eggs are supposedly evil. Thinking that these foods were evil, they demanded laymen to fast on Saturday so as to be “pure” when they receive Holy Communion on Sunday. In so doing, they cast aside the Holy Canons of the All‐famed Apostles, for the sake of following their newly‐found “tradition of men,” which is nothing but the heresy of Manichaeism. The Sixth Ecumenical Council, in its 55th Canon, strongly admonishes the Church of Rome to abandon this practice. St. Photius the Great, Patriarch of Constantinople New Rome (+6 February, 893), in his Encyclical to the Eastern Patriarchs, in his countless writings against Papism and his work against Manichaeism, clearly explains that the Roman Catholic Church has fallen into Manichaeism by demanding the fast on Saturdays and by enforcing all clergy to be celibate. Thanks to these works of St. Photius the Great, the heretical practices of the Manicheans did not prevail in the East, and the mainstream Orthodox Christians did not adopt this Manichaeism. However, the Manicheans did manage to set up their own false churches in Armenia and Bulgaria. The Manicheans in Armenia were referred to as Paulicians. Those in Bulgaria were called Bogomils. They flourished from the 9th century even until the 15th century, until the majority of them converted to Islam under Ottoman Rule. Today’s Muslim Azerbaijanis, Kurds, and various Caucasian nationalities are descendants of those who were once Paulicians. Today’s Muslim Albanians, Bosnians and Pomaks descend from those who were once Bogomils. Some Bogomils migrated to France where they established the sect known as the Albigenses, Cathars or Puritans. But several Bogomils did not convert to Islam, nor did they leave the realm of the Ottoman Empire, but instead they converted to Orthodoxy. The sad thing is, though, that they brought their Manichaeism with them. Thus from the 15th century onwards, Manichaeism began to infiltrate the Church, and this is what led to the outrageous practices of the 17th and 18th centuries, wherein hardly any laymen would ever commune, except for once, twice or three times per year. It is this error that the Holy Kollyvades Fathers fought. Various Holy Canons of the Orthodox Church condemn the notions that it is “sinful” or “impure” for one to eat meat or engage in lawful marital relations. Some of these Holy Canons and Decisions are presented below: The 51st Canon of the Holy Apostles reads: “If any bishop, or presbyter, or deacon, or anyone at all on the sacerdotal list, abstains from marriage, or meat, or wine, not as a matter of mortification, but out of abhorrence thereof, forgetting that all things are exceedingly good, and that God made male and female, and blasphemously misinterpreting God’s work of creation, either let him mend his ways or let him be deposed from office and expelled from the Church. Let a layman be treated similarly.” Thus, clergy and laymen are only permitted to abstain from these things for reasons of mortification, and such mortification is what one should apply to himself and not to others. By no means are they permitted to abstain from these things out of abhorrence towards them, in other words, out of belief that these things are disgusting, sinful or impure, or that they cause unworthiness. The 1st Canon of the Holy Council of Gangra reads: “If anyone disparages marriage, or abominates or disparages a woman sleeping with her husband, notwithstanding that she is faithful and reverent, as though she could not enter the Kingdom, let him be anathema.” Here the Holy Council anathematizes those who believe that a lawfully married husband and wife supposedly sin whenever they have nuptial relations. Note that the reference “as though she could not enter the Kingdom” can also have the interpretation “as though she could not receive Communion.” For according to the Holy Fathers, receiving Communion is an entry into the Kingdom. This is why when we are approaching Communion we chant “Remember me, O Lord, in Thy Kingdom.” Therefore, anyone who believes that a woman who lawfully sleeps with her own husband, or that a man who lawfully sleeps with his own wife, is somehow “impure,” “sinful,” or “evil,” is entertaining notions that are not Orthodox but rather Manichaean. Such a person is anathematized.
DEMANDING A STRICT FAST ON SATURDAYS IS THE FIRST HERESY OF THE PAPISTS In his two letters to Fr. Pedro, in several other writings on the internet, as well as through his verbal discussions, Bp. Kirykos presents the idea that a Christian is forbidden to ever commune on a Sunday, except by “economia,” and that if per chance a Christian is granted this “economia,” he would nevertheless be compelled to fast strictly without oil on the Saturday, that is, the day prior to receiving Holy Communion. For instance, outside of fasting periods, Bp. Kirykos, his sister, Vincentia, and the “theologian” Mr. Eleutherios Gkoutzidis insist that laymen must fast for seven days without meat, five days without dairy, three days without oil, and one day without even olives or sesame pulp, for fear of these things containing oil. If someone prepares to commune on a Sunday, this means that from the previous Sunday he cannot eat meat. From the Tuesday onwards he cannot eat dairy either. On the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday he cannot partake of oil or wine. While on the Saturday he must perform a xerophagy in which he cannot have any processed foods, and not even olives or sesame pulp. This means that the strictest fast will be performed on the Saturday, in violation of the Canons. This also means that for a layman to ever be able to commune every Sunday, he would need to fast for his entire life long. Yet, Bp. Kirykos and his priests exempt themselves from this rule, and are allowed to partake of any foods all week long except for Wednesday and Friday. They can even partake of all foods as late as midnight on Saturday night, and commune on Sunday morning without feeling the least bit “unworthy.” But should a layman dare to partake of oil even once on a Saturday, he is brushed off as “unworthy” for Communion on Sunday. Meanwhile during fasting periods such as Great Lent, since Monday to Friday is without oil anyway, Bp. Kirykos, Sister Vincentia and Mr. Gkoutzidis believe that laymen should also fast on Saturday without oil, and even without olives and sesame pulp, in order for such laymen to be able to commune on Sunday. Thus again they require a layman to violate Apostolic, Ecumenical, Local and Patristic Canons, and even fall under the penalty of excommunication (according to these same canons) in order to be “worthy” of communion. What an absurdity! What a monstrosity! A layman must become worthy of excommunication in order to become “worthy” of Communion! The 9th Canon of the Holy Apostles advises: “If any clergyman be found fasting on Sunday, or on Saturday (except for one only), let him be deposed from office. If, however, he is a layman, let him be excommunicated.” The term “fasting” refers to the strict form of fasting, not permitting oil or wine. The term “except for one” refers to Holy and Great Saturday, the only day of the year upon which fasting without oil and wine is expected. But it was not only the Holy Apostles who commanded against this Pharisaic Sabbatian practice of fasting on Saturdays. But this issue was also addressed by the Quintisext Council (Πενδέκτη Σύνοδος = Fifth‐and‐Sixth Council), which was convened for the purpose of setting Ecclesiastical Canons, since the Fifth and Sixth Ecumenical Councils had not provided any. The reason why this Holy Ecumenical Council addressed this issue is because the Church of Old Rome had slowly been influenced by the Arian Visigoths and Ostrogoths who invaded from the north, by the Manicheans who migrated from Africa and from the East through the Balkans, as well as by the Jews and Judaizers, who had also migrated to the West from various parts of the East, seeking asylum in Western lands that were no longer under Roman (Byzantine) rule. Thus there arose in the West a most Judaizing practice of clergy forcing the laymen to fast from oil and wine on every Saturday during Great Lent, instead of permitting this only on Holy and Great Saturday. Thus, in the 55th Canon of the Fifth‐and‐Sixth Ecumenical Council, we read: “Since we have learned that those in the city of the Romans during the holy fast of Lent are fasting on the Saturdays thereof, contrary to the ecclesiastical practice handed down, it has seemed best to the Holy Council for the Church of the Romans to hold rigorously the Canon saying: If any clergyman be found fasting on Sunday, or on Saturday, with the exception of one only, let him be deposed from office. If, however, a layman, let him be excommunicated.” Thus the Westerners were admonished by the Holy Ecumenical Council, and requested to refrain from this unorthodox practice of demanding a strict fast on Saturdays. Now, just in case anyone thinks that a different kind of fast was observed on the Saturdays by the Romans, by Divine Economy, the very next canon admonishes the Armenians for not fasting properly on Saturdays during Great Lent. Thus the 56th Canon of the Fifth‐and‐Sixth Council reads: “Likewise we have learned that in the country of the Armenians and in other regions on the Saturdays and on the Sundays of Holy Lent some persons eat eggs and cheese. It has therefore seemed best to decree also this, that the Church of God throughout the inhabited earth, carefully following a single procedure, shall carry out fasting, and abstain, precisely as from every kind of thing sacrificed, so and especially from eggs and cheese, which are fruit and produce from which we have to abstain. As for those who fail to observe this rule, if they are clergymen, let them be deposed from office; but if they are laymen, let them be excommunicated.” Thus, just as the Roman Church was admonished for fasting strictly on the Saturdays within Great Lent, the Armenian Church is equally admonished for overly relaxing the fast of Saturdays in Great Lent. Here the Holy Fifth‐and‐Sixth Ecumenical Council clearly gives us the exact definition of what the Holy Fathers deem fit for consumption on Saturdays during Great Lent. For if this canon forbids the Armenians to consume eggs and cheese on the Saturdays of Great Lent, whereas the previous canon forbids the Westerners to fast on the Saturdays of Great Lent, it means that the midway between these two extremes is the Orthodox definition of fasting on Saturdays of Great Lent. The Orthodox definition is clearly marked in the Typicon as well as most calendar almanacs produced by the various Local Orthodox Churches, including the very almanac as well as the wall calendar published yearly by Bp. Kirykos himself. These all mark that oil, wine and various forms of seafood are to be consumed on Saturdays during Great Lent, except of course for Holy and Great Saturday which is marked as a strict fast without oil, in keeping with the Apostolic Canon. Now, if one is to assume that partaking of oil, wine and various seafood on the Saturdays of Great Lent is only for those who are not planning to commune on the Sundays of Great Lent, may he consider the following. The very meaning of the term “excommunicate” is to forbid a layman to receive Holy Communion. So then, if people who partake of oil, wine and various permissible seafood on Saturdays during Great Lent are supposedly forbidden to commune on the Sundays of Great Lent, then this means that the 55th Canon of the Fifth‐and‐Sixth Council would be entirely without purpose. For if those who do partake of such foods on Saturdays are supposedly disqualified from communion on Sundays, then what is the purpose of also disqualifying those who do not partake of oil on Saturdays from being able to commune on Sundays, since this canon requires their excommunication? In other words, such a faulty interpretation of the canons by anyone bearing such a notion would need to call the Holy Fathers hypocrites. They would need to consider that the Holy Fathers in their Canon Law operated with a system whereby “you’re damned if you do, and you’re damned if you don’t!” Thus, according to this faulty interpretation, if you do partake of oil and wine on Saturdays of Great lent, you are disqualified from communion due to your consumption of those foods. But if you do not partake of these foods on Saturday you are also disqualified from communion on Sunday, for this canon demands your excommunication. In other words, whatever you do you cannot win! Fast without oil or fast with oil, you are still disqualified the next day. So how does Bp. Kirykos interpret this Canon in order to keep his Pharisaical custom? He declares that “all Christians” are excommunicated from ever being able to commune on a Sunday! He demands that only by extreme economy can Christians commune on Sunday, and that they are to only commune on Saturdays, declaring this the day “all Christians” ought to “know” to be their day of receiving Holy Communion! Thus the very trap that Bp. Kirykos has dug for himself is based entirely on his inability to interpret the canons correctly. Yet hypocritically, in his second letter to Fr. Pedro he condemns others of supposedly “not interpreting the canons correctly,” simply because they disagree with his Pharisaical Sabbatianism! But the hypocrisies continue. Bp. Kirykos continuously parades himself in his printed periodicals, on his websites, and on his various online blogs, as some kind of “confessor” of Orthodoxy against Papism and Ecumenism. He even dares to openly call himself a “confessor” on Facebook, where he spends several hours per day in gossip and idletalk as can be seen by his frequent status updates and constant chatting. This kind of pastime is clearly unbecoming for an Orthodox Christian, let alone a hierarch who claims to be “Genuine Orthodox” and a “confessor.” So great is his “confession,” that when the entire Kiousis Synod, representatives from the Makarian Synod, the Abbot of Esphigmenou, members from all other Old Calendarist Synods in Greece, as well as members of the State Hierarchy, had gathered in Athens forming crowds of clergy and thousands of laity, to protest against the Greek Government’s antagonism towards Greek culture and religion, our wonderful “confessor” Bp. Kirykos was spending that whole day chatting on Facebook. The people present at the protest made a joke about Bp. Kirykos’s absence by writing the following remark on an empty seat: “Bp. Kirykos, too busy being an online confessor to bother taking part in a real life confession.” When various monastics and laymen of Bp. Kirykos’s own metropolis informed him that he should have been there, he yelled at them and told them “This is all rubbish, I don’t care about these issues, the only real issue is the cheirothesia of 1971.” How lovely. Greece is on the verge of geopolitical and economical self‐destruction, and Bp. Kirykos’s only care is for his own personal issue that he has repeated time and time again for three decades, boring us to death. But what does Bp. Kirykos claim to “confess” against, really? He claims he confesses against “Papo‐Ecumenism.” In other words, he views himself as a fighter against the idea of the Orthodox Church entering into a syncretistic and ecumenistic union with Papism. Yet Bp. Kirykos does not realize that he has already fallen into what St. Photius the Great has called “the first heresy of the Westerners!” For as indicated above, in the 55th Canon of the Fifth‐and‐ Sixth Ecumenical Council, it was the “Church of the Romans” (that is what became the Papists) that fell into the unorthodox practice of demanding laymen to fast strictly on Saturdays during Great Lent, as a prerequisite to receiving Holy Communion on the Sundays of Great Lent. This indeed was the first error of the Papists. It arrived at the same time the filioque also arrived, to wit, during the 6th and 7th centuries. This is why St. Photius the Great, who was a real confessor against Papism, calls the error of enforced fasting without oil on Saturdays “the first heresy of the Westerners.” Thus, let us depart from the hypocrisies of Bp. Kirykos and listen to the voice of a real confessor against Papism. Let us read the opinion of St. Photius the Great, that glorious champion and Pillar of Orthodoxy! In his Encyclical to the Eastern Patriarchs (written in 866), our Holy Father, St. Photius the Great (+6 February, 893), Archbishop of the Imperial City of Constantinople New Rome, and Ecumenical Patriarch, writes: St. Photius the Great: Encyclical to the Eastern Patriarchs (866) Countless have been the evils devised by the cunning devil against the race of men, from the beginning up to the coming of the Lord. But even afterwards, he has not ceased through errors and heresies to beguile and deceive those who listen to him. Before our times, the Church, witnessed variously the godless errors of Arius, Macedonius, Nestorius, Eutyches, Discorus, and a foul host of others, against which the holy Ecumenical Synods were convened, and against which our Holy and God‐ bearing Fathers battled with the sword of the Holy Spirit. Yet, even after these heresies had been overcome and peace reigned, and from the Imperial Capital the streams of Orthodoxy flowed throughout the world; after some people who had been afflicted by the Monophysite heresy returned to the True Faith because of your holy prayers; and after other barbarian peoples, such as the Bulgarians, had turned from idolatry to the knowledge of God and the Christian Faith: then was the cunning devil stirred up because of his envy. For the Bulgarians had not been baptised even two years when dishonourable men emerged out of the darkness (that is, the West), and poured down like hail or, better, charged like wild boars upon the newly‐planted vineyard of the Lord, destroying it with hoof and tusk, which is to say, by their shameful lives and corrupted dogmas. For the papal missionaries and clergy wanted these Orthodox Christians to depart from the correct and pure dogmas of our irreproachable Faith. The first error of the Westerners was to compel the faithful to fast on Saturdays. I mention this seemingly small point because the least departure from Tradition can lead to a scorning of every dogma of our Faith. Next, they convinced the faithful to despise the marriage of priests, thereby sowing in their souls the seeds of the Manichean heresy. Likewise, they persuaded them that all who had been chrismated by priests had to be anointed again by bishops. In this way, they hoped to show that Chrismation by priests had no value, thereby ridiculing this divine and supernatural Christian Mystery. From whence comes this law forbidding priests
The reluctance/refusal of the clergy to allow the rather large Ghanaian group to periodically worship like Ghanaian Methodists gave rise to increasing dissatisfaction, which culminated in the desire to move away from the United Methodist enclose to follow the example of other full Ghanaian Churches in the Worcester area.
PELAGIANISM IS NOTHING OTHR THAN THE “CHRISTIAN” VERSION OF PHARISAISM Although we are speaking of the heresy of Pelagianism and not that of Pharisaism, it is difficult not to mention the Pharisees because their positions were also a kind of Pelagianism. In fact, the Pharisaic view of fasting is very much identical to the view held by Bp. Kirykos, since he thinks that “fasting in the finer and broader sense” makes someone “worthy to commune.” But our Lord Jesus Christ rebuked the Pharisees for this error of theirs. Fine examples of these rebukes are found in the Gospels. The best example is the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican, because it shows the difference between a Pharisee who thinks of himself as “worthy” due to his fasts, compared to a Christian who is conscious of his unworthiness and cries to the Lord for mercy. It is a perfect example because it mentions fasting. This well‐ known parable spoken by the Lord Himself, reads as follows: “And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted (Luke 18:9‐14).” Behold the word of the Lord! The Publican was more justified than the Pharisee! The Publican was more worthy than the Pharisee! But today’s Christians cannot be justified if they are “extortionists, unjust, adulterers or even… publicans.” For they have the Gospel, the Church, the guidance of the spiritual father, and the washing away of their sins through the once‐off Mysteries of Baptism and Chrism, and the repetitive Mysteries of Confession and Communion. They have no excuse to be sinners, and if they are they have the method available to correct themselves. But how much more so are Christians not justified in being Pharisees? For they have this parable spoken by the Lord Himself as clear proof of Christ’s disfavor towards “the leaven of the Pharisees.” They have hundreds of Holy Fathers’ epistles, homilies and dialogues, which they must have read in their pursuit of exulting themselves! They have before them the repeated exclamations of the Lord, “Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men! For ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in (Matthew 23:13).” They have even the very fact that it was an apostle who betrayed the Lord, and not a mere disciple but one of the twelve! They have the fact that it was not an idolatrous nation that judged its savior and found him guilty, but it was God’s own chosen people that condemned the world’s Savior to death! They have even the fact that the Scribes, Pharisees and High Priests were the ones who crucified the King of Glory! Yet despite having all of these clear proofs, they continue their Pharisaism, but the “Christian” kind, namely, Pelagianism. But who are we to condemn them? After all, we are but sinners. Therefore let them take heed to the Lord’s rebuke: “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? (Matthew 23:33). A Genuine Orthodox Christian (i.e., non‐Pelagian, non‐Pharisee), approaches the Holy Chalice with nothing but disdain and humiliation for his wretched soul, and feels his utter unworthiness, and truly believes that what is found in that Chalice is God in the Flesh, and mankind’s only source of salvation and life. If a man is to ever be called “worthy,” the origin of that worth is not in himself, but is in that Holy Chalice from which he is about to commune. For a man who lives of himself will surely die. But a man who lives in Christ, and through Holy Communion allows Christ to live in him, such a man shall never die. As Christ said: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world (John 6:51).” Thus a Genuine Orthodox Christian does not boast that he “fasts twice a week” as did the Pharisee, but recognizing only his own imperfections before the face of the perfect Christ, he smites his breast as did the Publican, saying, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” Like the malefactor that he is in thought, word and deed, he imitates the malefactor that was crucified with the Lord, saying, “I indeed justly [am condemned]; for I received the due reward for my deeds: but this man, [my Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ,] hath done nothing amiss (Luke 23:41).” And he says unto Jesus, “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom (Luke 23:42).” To such a Genuine Orthodox Christian, free of Pharisaism and Pelagianism, the Lord responds, “Verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with me in paradise (Luke 23:43),” and “I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me, that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom (Luke 22:29).” How does all of the above compare to Bp. Kirykos’ statement that “fasting according to one’s strength” causes one to “worthily receive the body and blood of the Lord?” How can Bp. Kirykos justify his theory that the early Christians supposedly “fasted in the fine and broader sense, that is, they were worthy to commune?” Can anyone, no matter how strictly they fast, ever be considered worthy of Holy Communion? Does someone’s work of fasting make them worthy? Is Bp. Kirykos justified in believing that fasting for three days without oil or wine supposedly makes an individual worthy of Holy Communion? If Bp. Kirykos is justified, then why does he not do this himself? Why does he eat oil on every Saturday of Great Lent, and yet communes on Sundays “unworthily” (according to his own theory) without shame? Why does he demand the three day fast from oil upon laymen, but does not apply it to himself and his priests? We are not speaking of laymen with penances and excommunications. We are speaking of laymen who have confessed their sins and are permitted by their spiritual father to receive Holy Communion. When such laymen receive Holy Communion they are not meant to kiss the hand of the priest after this, because the Orthodox Church believes in their equality with the priest through the Mysteries. There is no difference between priests and laymen when it comes to the ability to commune, except only for the fact that the clergy receive the Immaculate Mysteries within the Holy Bema, whereas the laity receives them from the Royal Doors. Aside from this, there is no difference in the preparation for Holy Communion either. The laymen cannot be compelled to fast extra fasts simply for being laymen, whereas priests are not required to do these extra fasts at all on account of being priests. The equality of the clergy and laity with regards to Holy Communion is clearly expressed by Blessed Chrysostom: “There are cases when a priest does not differ from a layman, notably when one approaches the Holy Mysteries. We are all equally given them, not as in the Old Testament, when one food was for the priests and another for the people and when it was not permitted to the people to partake of that which was for the priest. Now it is not so: but to all is offered the same Body and the same Chalice…” (John Chrysostom, Homily 18, on 2 Corinthians 8:24) This is why the Orthodox Church preserves this tradition whereby the priest forbids the laymen who have communed from kissing his hand. These are the pious laymen we refer to: those who are deemed acceptable to approach the Chalice. Aren’t the bishops and priests obliged to fast more strictly than the laymen, especially since the bishops and priests are the ones invoking the Holy Spirit to descend on the gifts, while the laymen only stand in the crowd of the people? So then why does Bp. Kirykos demand the three‐ day strict fast (forbidding even oil and wine) upon laymen, while he himself and his priests not only partake of oil and wine, but outside of fasting periods they even partake of fish, eggs, dairy products (and for married clergy, even meat) as late as 11:30pm on the night before they are to serve Divine Liturgy and commune of the Holy Mysteries “worthily” yet without fasting? Are such hypocrisies Christian or are they Pharisaic? What does Christ have to say regarding the Pharisees who ordered laymen to fast more heavily while the Pharisee hierarchy did not do this themselves? Christ rebuked and condemned them harshly. Thus we read in the Gospel according to St. Luke: “Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, saying: “The Scribes and the Pharisees sit in Mosesʹ seat. All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.” (Luke 23:1‐4). So much for the Pharisees and their successors, the Pelagians! So much for Bp. Kirykos and those who agree with his blasphemous positions, for these men are the Pharisees and Pelagians of our time! May God have mercy on them and enlighten them to depart from the darkness of their hypocrisy. May God also enlighten us to shun all forms of Pharisaism and Pelagianism, including this most dangerous form adopted by Bp. Kirykos. May we shun this heresy by ceasing to rely on our own human perfections that are but abominations in the eyes of our perfect God. Let us take heed to the admonition of one who himself was a Pharisee named Saul, but later became a Christian named Paul. For, he was truly blinded by the darkness of his Pharisaic self‐righteousness, but Christ blinded him with the eternal light of sanctifying and soul‐saving Divine Grace. This Apostle to the Nations writes: “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord (1 Corinthians 1:17‐31).” Yea, Lord, help us to submit entirely to Thy will, and to learn to glorify only in Thee, and not in our own works. For in truth, even the greatest works of ours, even the work of fasting, whether for one day, three days, a week, forty days, or even a lifetime, is worthless before Thy sight. As the prophet declares, our works are an abomination, and our righteousness is but a menstruous rag. Therefore, O Lord, judge us according to Thy mercy and not according to our sins. For Thou alone can make us worthy of Communion. Note that in the above short prayer by the present author, the word “us” is used and not “them.” This is because, in order to preserve oneself from becoming a Pharisee, one must always include himself among those who are lacking in conduct, and must ask God for guidance as well as for others. In this manner, one does not fall into the danger of the Pharisee who said “God, I thank thee that I am not as other men are…” but rather acknowledges his own misconduct, and thereby includes himself in the prayer, imitating the publican who said “God be merciful to me a sinner.” For there is no point preaching against Pharisaism unless one first admonishes and reproves his own soul, and asks God to cleans himself from this hypocrisy of the Pharisees. For we are not to hate the sinners, but rather the sin itself; and we are not to hate the heretics, but rather the heresy itself. In so doing, our Confession against the sins and heresies themselves constitute a “work of love.” But when it comes to people judging Christians for food, or Sabbaths, such as what Bp. Kirykos has done by his two blasphemous letters to Fr. Pedro, this is definitely not a “work of love” but is in fact the leaven of the Pharisees in its fullness. It is a work of demonic self‐righteousness and satanic hatred towards mankind. For rather than being a true spiritual father towards his spiritual children, he proves to be a negligent and self‐serving, and a user of his flock for his own personal gain. He allows himself to commune very frequently without the slightest fast, while demanding strict fasting on his flock while also forbidding them to ever commune on Sundays. Thus it is well that Mr. Christos Noukas, the advisor to Fr. Pedro, asked Bp. Kirykos: “Are you a father or a stepfather?” By this he meant, “Do you truly love your spiritual children as a true spiritual father should, or do you consider them to be another man’s children and nothing but a burden to you?” Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ, in the sermon in which he taught us to pray to “Our Father,” explained the love of a true father towards his children. The account, as contained in the Gospel of Luke, is as follows: “And [Jesus] said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with