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"I most seriously condemn the terrorist attacks in Paris and the murder of innocent people.
Thus, it will be seen, that the Law which was to bless them was found to curse or condemn the Jew, and was for this reason reckoned his enemy— called “ the enmity,” or o p p o s i t i o n , or c o n d e m n a t i o n .
based upon which Holy Canon do you condemn me and prohibit me from hearing confessions and deprive me of my spiritual flock, without any witnesses approaching beforehand to testify against me and me having the opportunity to defend myself d.
AML Queensland Chairman Tristan Rogers stated “You would think ARM would instantly condemn and remove this comment, but the comment remains, it really is a complete disgrace and reflection upon the Australian Republican Movement”.
Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you;
The Division of the G.O.C. Into Factions The first division among the Old Calendarists occurred in 1936, when three of the seven bishops returned to the New Calendarist State Church of Greece. The fallen hierarchs were Metropolitan Chrysostom Demetriou of Zacynthus, Bishop Christopher Hatziz of Megara and Bishop Polycarp Liosis of Diaulia. The remaining hierarchs of the Synod of the Genuine Orthodox Church of Greece were Metropolitan Germanus Mavromatis of Demetrias, Metropolitan Chrysostom Kavouridis of Florina, Bishop Germanus Varykopoulos of the Cyclades and Bishop Matthew Karpathakis of Bresthena. The second division among the Old Calendarists also occurred in 1936, when the government‐recognized entity of the “Religious Community of the Genuine Orthodox Christians” (a group of laymen theoloigians without any bishops or priests) severed communion with the President of the Holy Synod, Metropolitan Germanus, and also severed communion with all the remaining hierarchs of the Synod, and went off alone, forming a parasynagogue. The third division among the Old Calendarists occurred in September 1937, when Bishop Matthew of Bresthena severed communion with the Synodal President, Metropolitan Germanus, and instead formed his own party, and took over the leadership of the schismatic “Religious Community of the Genuine Orthodox Christians” which had severed communion from the Church a year earlier. Bishop Matthew left for ecclesiological reasons. The fourth division occurred in October 1937, when Bishop Germanus of the Cyclades severed communion with the President of the Holy Synod, Metropolitan Germanus of Demetrias, and instead joined Bishop Matthew. The fifth division occurred in 1942, when Bishops Germanus of the Cyclades and Matthew of Bresthena severed communion with one another due to dogmatic reasons. Bishop Germanus of Cyclades condemned Bishop Matthew for his writings and publications, which included a statement that if it were not for the birth of St. John Chrysostom, there would have needed to be a “second incarnation of Christ,” and another statement that Christ’s teeth were supposedly broken, etc. Bishop Matthew retaliated against this by stating that Bishop Germanus was guilty of blaspheming against King Abgar’s letter to Christ, and the response from Christ to Abgar, and for mocking the “symbols of the Theotokos” that Bishop Matthew had published in his book “Garden of Graces.” The sixth division among the Old Calendarists occurred in 1943, when Metropolitan Chrysostom of Florina severed communion with the Synodal President, Metropolitan Germanus of Demetrias, due to political reasons. In other words, by 1943, there were four Old Calendarist bishops, and four factions! Each of the four bishops was the “president” of his own faction. Unfortunately, these hierarchs managed to preserve themselves from new calendarism, but they fell into the passion of factionalism, a passion that still runs wild among the Old Calendarist hierarchs even today. This is what occurs when bishops are led by their passions, make hasty decisions to condemn their brothers, and make themselves leaders of their own parties. In 1946, this factionalism began to come to an end when Bishops Christopher and Polycarp returned to the Old Calendar and joined the Synod of Metropolitan Chrysostom of Florina. Soon after this, Bishop Germanus of the Cyclades also began meeting with the above three bishops for the sake of reuniting all the factions of the Old Calendarists of Greece. However, he was placed in prison from 1947 to 1949, and it was not until he was released that he joined formally with the Synod of Metropolitan Chrysostom of Florina. The only bishop who remained separated was Bishop Matthew of Bresthena, mainly for ecclesiological reasons, but he was much more open to unity than were those immediately surrounding him. The below photograph is of Metropolitan Chrysostom of Florina and Bishops Germanus of Cyclades, Christopher of Megaris and Polycarp of Diaulia in 1946, when the factionalism began to end and a united Synod began to form again (with the exclusion of Bishop Matthew who did not meet in person with any of the remaining hierarchs). Germanus of Cyclades, Chrysostom of Florina, Christopher of Megaris, Polycarp of Diaulia
and if you think best state for us our position as clearly, strongly, and simply, as possible, that we may compel them to prove us guilty of violating their creed (the Bible) before they condemn us;
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
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
CAN FASTING MAKE ONE “WORTHY” TO COMMUNE? In the first paragraph of his first letter to Fr. Pedro, Bp. Kirykos writes: “... according to the tradition of our Fathers (and that of Bishop Matthew of Bresthena), all Christians, who approach to receive Holy Communion, must be suitably prepared, in order to worthily receive the body and blood of the Lord. This preparation indispensably includes fasting according to one’s strength.” To further prove that he interprets this worthiness as being based on fasting, Metropolitan Kirykos continues further down in reference to his unhistorical understanding about the early Christians: “They fasted in the fine and broader sense, that is, they were worthy to commune.” Here Bp. Kirykos tries to fool the reader by stating the absolutely false notion that the Holy Fathers (among them St. Matthew of Bresthena) supposedly agree with his unorthodox views. The truth is that not one single Holy Father of the Orthodox Church agrees with Bp. Kirykosʹs views, but in fact, many of them condemn these views as heretical. And as for referring to St. Matthew of Bresthena, this is extremely misleading, which is why Bp. Kirykos was unable to provide a quote. In reality, St. Matthew’s five‐page‐ long treatise on Holy Communion, published in 1933, repeatedly stresses the importance of receiving Holy Communion frequently and does not mention any such pre‐communion fast at all. He only mentions that one must go to confession, and that confession is like a second baptism which washes the soul and prepares it for communion. If St. Matthew really thought a standard week‐long pre‐communion fast for all laymen was paramount, he certainly would have mentioned it somewhere in his writings. But in the hundreds of pages of writings by St. Matthew that have been collected, no mention is made of such a fast. The reason for this is because St. Matthew was a Kollyvas Father just as was his mentor, St. Nectarius of Aegina. Also, the fact St. Matthew left Athos and preached throughout Greece and Asia Minor during his earlier life, is another example of his imitation of the Kollyvades Fathers. As much as Bp. Kirykos would like us to think that the Holy Fathers preach that a Christian, simply by fasting, can somehow “worthily receive the body and blood of the Lord,” the Holy Fathers of the Orthodox Church actually teach quite clearly that NO ONE is worthy of Holy Communion, except by the grace of God Himself. Whether someone eats oil on a Saturday or doesnʹt eat oil, cannot be the deciding point of a person’s supposed “worthiness.” In fact, even fasting, confession, prayer, and all other things donʹt come to their fulfillment in the human soul until one actually receives Holy Communion. All of these things such as fasting, prayers, prostrations, repentance, etc, do indeed help one quench his passions, but they by no means make him “worthy.” Yes, we confess our sins to the priest. But the sins aren’t loosened from our soul until the priest reads the prayer of pardon, and the sins are still not utterly crushed until He who conquered death enters inside the human soul through the Mystery of Holy Communion. That is why Christ said that His Body and Blood are shed “for the remission of sins.” (Matthew 26:28). Fasting is there to quench our passions and prevent us from sinning, confession is there so that we can recall our sins and repent of them, but it is the Mysteries of the Church that operate on the soul and grant to it the “worthiness” that the human soul can by no means attain by itself. Thus, the Mystery of Pardon loosens the sins, and the Mystery of Holy Communion remits the sins. For of the many Mysteries of the Church, the seven highest mysteries have this very purpose, namely, to remit the sins of mankind by the Divine Economy. Thus, Baptism washes away the sins from the soul, while Chrism heals anything ailing and fills all voids. Thus, Absolution washes away the sins, while Communion heals the soul and body and fills it with the grace of God. Thus, Unction cures the maladies of soul and body, causing the body and soul to no longer be divided but united towards a life in Christ; while Marriage (or Monasticism) confirms the plurality of persons or sense of community that God desired when he said of old “Be fruitful and multiply” (or in the case of Monasticism, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”). Finally, the Mystery of Priesthood is the authority given by Christ for all of these Mysteries to be administered. Certainly, it is an Apostolic Tradition for mankind to be prepared by fasting before receiving any of the above Mysteries, be it Baptism, Chrism, Absolution, Communion, Unction, Marriage or Priesthood. But this act of fasting itself does not make anyone “worthy!” If someone thinks they are “worthy” before approaching Holy Communion, then the Holy Communion would be of no positive affect to them. In actuality, they will consume fire and punishment. For if anyone thinks that their own works make themselves “worthy” before the eyes of God, then surely Christ would have died in vain. Christ’s suffering, passion, death and Resurrection would have been completely unnecessary. As Christ said, “They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick (Matthew 9:12).” If a person truly thinks that by not partaking of oil/wine on Saturday, in order to commune on Sunday, that this has made them “worthy,” then by merely thinking such a thing they have already proved themselves unworthy of Holy Communion. In fact, they are deniers of Christ, deniers of the Cross of Christ, and deniers of their own salvation in Christ. They rather believe in themselves as their own saviors. They are thus no longer Christians but humanists. But is humanism a modern notion, or has it existed before in the history of the Church? In reality, the devil has hurled so many heresies against the Church that he has run out of creativity. Thus, the traps and snares he sets are but fancy recreations of ancient heresies already condemned by the Church. The humanist notions entertained by Bp. Kirykos are actually an offshoot of an ancient heresy known as Pelagianism.
BELIEF THAT ONE IS MADE “WORTHY” BY THEIR OWN WORKS RATHER THAN THE MYSTERIES IS PELAGIANISM Pelagius (c. 354‐420) was a heretic from Britain, who believed that it was possible for man to be worthy or even perfect by way of his free will, without the necessity of grace. In most cases, Pelagius reverted from this strict form and did not profess it. For this reason, many of the councils called to condemn the false teaching, only condemn the heresy of Pelagianism, but do not condemn Pelagius himself. But various councils actually do condemn Pelagius along with Pelagianism. Various Protestants have tried to disparage the Orthodox Faith by calling its beliefs Pelagian or Semipelagian. But the Orthodox Faith is neither the one, nor the other, but is entirely free from Pelagianism. The Orthodox Faith is also free from the opposite extreme, namely, Manicheanism, which believes that the world is inherently evil from its very creation. The Orthodox Faith is the Royal Path. It neither falls to the right nor to the left, but remains on the straight path, that is, “the Way.” The Orthodox Faith does indeed believe that good works are essential, but these are for the purpose of gaining God’s mercy. By no means can mankind grant himself “worthiness” and “perfection” by way of his own works. It is only through God’s uncreated grace, light, powers and energies, that mankind can truly be granted worthiness and perfection in Christ. The most commonly‐available source of God’s grace within the Church is through the Holy Mysteries, particularly the Mysteries of Baptism, Chrism, Absolution and Communion, which are necessary for salvation. Baptism can only be received once, for it is a reconciliation of the fallen man to the Risen Man, where one no longer shares in the nakedness of Adam but becomes clothed with Christ. Chrism can be repeated whenever an Orthodox Christian lapses into schism or heresy and is being reconciled to the Church. Absolution can also serve as a method of reconciliation from the sin of heresy or schism as well as from any personal sin that an Orthodox Christian may commit, and in receiving the prayer of pardon one is reconciled to the Church. For as long as an Orthodox Christian sins, he must receive this Mystery repeatedly in order to prepare himself for the next Mystery. Communion is reconciliation to the Immaculate Body and Precious Blood of Christ, allowing one to live in Christ. This is the ultimate Mystery, and must be received frequently for one to experience a life in Christ. For Orthodox Christianity is not a philosophy or a way of thought, nor is it merely a moral code, but it is the Life of Christ in man, and the way one can truly live in Christ is through Holy Communion. Pelagianism in the strictest form is the belief that mankind can achieve “worthiness” and “perfection” by way of his own free will, without the need of God’s grace or the Mysteries to be the source of that worthiness and perfection. Rather than viewing good works as a method of achieving God’s mercy, they view the good works as a method of achieving self‐worth and self‐perfection. The most common understanding of Pelagianism refers to the supposed “worthiness” of man by way of having a good will or good works prior to receiving the Mystery of Baptism. But the form of Pelagianism into which Bp. Kirykos falls in his first letter to Fr. Pedro, is in regards to the supposed “worthiness” of Christians purely by their own work of fasting. Thus, in his first letter to Fr. Pedro, Bp. Kirykos does not mention the Mystery of Confession (or Absolution) anywhere in the text as a means of receiving worthiness, but attaches the worthiness entirely to the fasting alone. Again, nowhere in the letter does he mention the Holy Communion itself as a source of perfection, but rather entertains the notion that mankind is capable of achieving such perfection prior to even receiving communion. This is the only way one can interpret his letter, especially his totally unhistorical statement regarding the early Christians, in which he claims: “They fasted in the fine and broader sense, that is, they were worthy to commune.” St. Aurelius Augustinus, otherwise known as St. Augustine of Hippo (+28 August, 430), writes: “It is not by their works, but by grace, that the doers of the law are justified… Now [the Apostle Paul] could not mean to contradict himself in saying, ‘The doers of the law shall be justified (Romans 2:13),’ as if their justification came through their works, and not through grace; since he declares that a man is justified freely by His grace without the works of the law (Romans 3:24,28) intending by the term ‘freely’ nothing else than that works do not precede justification. For in another passage he expressly says, ‘If by grace, then is it no more of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace (Romans 11:6).’ But the statement that ‘the doers of the law shall be justified (Romans 2:13)’ must be so understood, as that we may know that they are not otherwise doers of the law, unless they be justified, so that justification does not subsequently accrue to them as doers of the law, but justification precedes them as doers of the law. For what else does the phrase ‘being justified’ signify than being made righteous,—by Him, of course, who justifies the ungodly man, that he may become a godly one instead? For if we were to express a certain fact by saying, ‘The men will be liberated,’ the phrase would of course be understood as asserting that the liberation would accrue to those who were men already; but if we were to say, The men will be created, we should certainly not be understood as asserting that the creation would happen to those who were already in existence, but that they became men by the creation itself. If in like manner it were said, The doers of the law shall be honoured, we should only interpret the statement correctly if we supposed that the honour was to accrue to those who were already doers of the law: but when the allegation is, ‘The doers of the law shall be justified,’ what else does it mean than that the just shall be justified? for of course the doers of the law are just persons. And thus it amounts to the same thing as if it were said, The doers of the law shall be created,—not those who were so already, but that they may become such; in order that the Jews who were hearers of the law might hereby understand that they wanted the grace of the Justifier, in order to be able to become its doers also. Or else the term ‘They shall be justified’ is used in the sense of, They shall be deemed, or reckoned as just, as it is predicated of a certain man in the Gospel, ‘But he, willing to justify himself (Luke 10:29),’—meaning that he wished to be thought and accounted just. In like manner, we attach one meaning to the statement, ‘God sanctifies His saints,’ and another to the words, ‘Sanctified be Thy name (Matthew 6:9);’ for in the former case we suppose the words to mean that He makes those to be saints who were not saints before, and in the latter, that the prayer would have that which is always holy in itself be also regarded as holy by men,—in a word, be feared with a hallowed awe.” (Augustine of Hippo, Antipelagian Writings, Chapter 45) Thus the doers of the law are justified by God’s grace and not by their own good works. The purpose of their own good works is to obtain the mercy of God, but it is God’s grace through the Holy Mysteries that bestows the worthiness and perfection upon mankind. Blessed Augustine does not only speak of this in regards to the Mystery of Baptism, but applies it also to the Mystery of Communion. Thus he writes of both Mysteries as follows: “Now [the Pelagians] take alarm from the statement of the Lord, when He says, ‘Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:3);’ because in His own explanation of the passage He affirms, ‘Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God (John 3:5).’ And so they try to ascribe to unbaptized infants, by the merit of their innocence, the gift of salvation and eternal life, but at the same time, owing to their being unbaptized, to exclude them from the kingdom of heaven. But how novel and astonishing is such an assumption, as if there could possibly be salvation and eternal life without heirship with Christ, without the kingdom of heaven! Of course they have their refuge, whither to escape and hide themselves, because the Lord does not say, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot have life, but—‘he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.’ If indeed He had said the other, there could have risen not a moment’s doubt. Well, then, let us remove the doubt; let us now listen to the Lord, and not to men’s notions and conjectures; let us, I say, hear what the Lord says—not indeed concerning the sacrament of the laver, but concerning the sacrament of His own holy table, to which none but a baptized person has a right to approach: ‘Except ye eat my flesh and drink my blood, ye shall have no life in you (John 6:53).’ What do we want more? What answer to this can be adduced, unless it be by that obstinacy which ever resists the constancy of manifest truth?” (op. cit., Chapter 26) Blessed Augustine continues on the same subject of how the early Orthodox Christians of Carthage perceived the Mysteries of Baptism and Communion: “The Christians of Carthage have an excellent name for the sacraments, when they say that baptism is nothing else than ‘salvation,’ and the sacrament of the body of Christ nothing else than ‘life.’ Whence, however, was this derived, but from that primitive, as I suppose, and apostolic tradition, by which the Churches of Christ maintain it to be an inherent principle, that without baptism and partaking of the supper of the Lord it is impossible for any man to attain either to the kingdom of God or to salvation and everlasting life? So much also does Scripture testify, according to the words which we already quoted. For wherein does their opinion, who designate baptism by the term salvation, differ from what is written: ‘He saved us by the washing of regeneration (Titus 3:5)?’ or from Peter’s statement: ‘The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (1 Peter 3:21)?’ And what else do they say who call the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper ‘life,’ than that which is written: ‘I am the living bread which came down from heaven (John 6:51);’ and ‘The bread that I shall give is my flesh, for the life of the world (John 6:51);’ and ‘Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye shall have no life in you (John 6:53)?’ If, therefore, as so many and such divine witnesses agree, neither salvation nor eternal life can be hoped for by any man without baptism and the Lord’s body and blood, it is vain to promise these blessings to infants without them. Moreover, if it be only sins that separate man from salvation and eternal life, there is nothing else in infants which these sacraments can be the means of removing, but the guilt of sin,—respecting which guilty nature it is written, that “no one is clean, not even if his life be only that of a day (Job 14:4).’ Whence also that exclamation of the Psalmist: ‘Behold, I was conceived in iniquity; and in sins did my mother bear me (Psalm 50:5)! This is either said in the person of our common humanity, or if of himself only David speaks, it does not imply that he was born of fornication, but in lawful wedlock. We therefore ought not to doubt that even for infants yet to be baptized was that precious blood shed, which previous to its actual effusion was so given, and applied in the sacrament, that it was said, ‘This is my blood, which shall be shed for many for the remission of sins (Matthew 26:28).’ Now they who will not allow that they are under sin, deny that there is any liberation. For what is there that men are liberated from, if they are held to be bound by no bondage of sin? (op. cit., Chapter 34) Now, what of Bp. Kirykos’ opinion that early Christians “fasted in the fine and broader sense, that is, they were worthy to commune?” Is this because they were saints? Were all of the early Christians who were frequent communicants ascetics who fasted “in the finer and broader sense” and were actual saints? Even if so, does the Orthodox Church consider the saints “worthy” by their act of fasting, or is their act of fasting only a plea for God’s mercy, while God’s grace is what delivers the worthiness? According to Bp. Kirykos, the early Christians, whether they were saints or not, “fasted in the fine and broader sense, that is, they were worthy to commune.” But is this a teaching of Orthodoxy or rather of Pelagianism? Is this what the saints believed of themselves, that they were “worthy?” And if they didn’t believe they were worthy, was that just out of humility, or did they truly consider themselves unworthy? Blessed Augustine of Hippo, one of the champions of his time against the heresy of Pelagianism, writes: “In that, indeed, in the praise of the saints, they will not drive us with the zeal of that publican (Luke 18:10‐14) to hunger and thirst after righteousness, but with the vanity of the Pharisees, as it were, to overflow with sufficiency and fulness; what does it profit them that—in opposition to the Manicheans, who do away with baptism—they say ‘that men are perfectly renewed by baptism,’ and apply the apostle’s testimony for this,—‘who testifies that, by the washing of water, the Church is made holy and spotless from the Gentiles (Ephesians 5:26),’—when, with a proud and perverse meaning, they put forth their arguments in opposition to the prayers of the Church itself. For they say this in order that the Church may be believed after holy baptism—in which is accomplished the forgiveness of all sins—to have no further sin; when, in opposition to them, from the rising of the sun even to its setting, in all its members it cries to God, ‘Forgive us our debts (Matthew 6:12).’ But if they are interrogated regarding themselves in this matter, they find not what to answer. For if they should say that they have no sin, John answers them, that ‘they deceive themselves, and the truth is not in them (1 John 1:8).’ But if they confess their sins, since they wish themselves to be members of Christ’s body, how will that body, that is, the Church, be even in this time perfectly, as they think, without spot or wrinkle, if its members without falsehood confess themselves to have sins? Wherefore in baptism all sins are forgiven, and, by that very washing of water in the word, the Church is set forth in Christ without spot or wrinkle (Ephesians 5:27); and unless it were baptized, it would fruitlessly say, ‘Forgive us our debts,’ until it be brought to glory, when there is in it absolutely no spot or wrinkle.” (op. cit., Chapter 17). Again, in his chapter called ‘The Opinion of the Saints Themselves About Themselves,’ Blessed Augustine writes: “It is to be confessed that ‘the Holy Spirit, even in the old times,’ not only ‘aided good dispositions,’ which even they allow, but that it even made them good, which they will not have. ‘That all, also, of the prophets and apostles or saints, both evangelical and ancient, to whom God gives His witness, were righteous, not in comparison with the wicked, but by the rule of virtue,’ is not doubtful. And this is opposed to the Manicheans, who blaspheme the patriarchs and prophets; but what is opposed to the Pelagians is, that all of these, when interrogated concerning themselves while they lived in the body, with one most accordant voice would answer, ‘If we should say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us (1 John 1:8).’ ‘But in the future time,’ it is not to be denied ‘that there will be a reward as well of good works as of evil, and that no one will be commanded to do the commandments there which here he has contemned,’ but that a sufficiency of perfect righteousness where sin cannot be, a righteousness which is here hungered and thirsted after by the saints, is here hoped for
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Due to abuse such as suffered by the Gibson Guitar Company, we condemn the over criminalization nature of the Lacey Act.