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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.
In reference to the Mystery of Holy Communion The Orthodox Church, guarding the ancient Apostolic tradition, does not only urge the participation in the preeminent Mystery, but requires, by the 8th and 9th Apostolic Canons, the 66th and the 80th canons of the 6th Ecumenical Council and the 2nd canon of the Council in Antioch, all of the faithful in church, laypeople and clergymen to partake of the common Chalice, under the penalty of excommunication and deposition. Only the prohibited, those who have fallen into mortal sins, are excluded from this Eucharistic participation, by the suggestion of their spiritual father and confessor, as the 102nd canon of the 6th Ecumenical Council dictates. The philokalic fathers, who were mockingly called Kollyvades by everyone, from their adversaries to their mortal enemies, were attempting to revive and teach this ancient, revered Apostolic Tradition on the Holy Mountain and were criticized and slandered and sent away from Athos and some of them were killed. So it is a valid apprehension as to why Your Eminence remains completely silent and openly ignores the now known book of the philokalic fathers, which is the book of Saints Makarios Notaras, formerly of Corinth, and Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain, Concerning the Continuous Communion of the Immaculate Mysteries of Christ, which constitutes a summary and recapitulation of the teachings of the Holy and God‐bearing Fathers about the Mystery of Holy Communion, and as such proclaims both the synodal decision of Patriarch Neophytos of Constantinople from Maroneia, and the synodal decision of the Church of Greece in 1886. It is strange that this very well known book is absent from the sources and references about Holy Communion in the above mentioned book by Archbishop Andrew of the G.O.C., Concerning Holy Communion. The Patriarch of Constantinople Gregory V also invokes this ancient Apostolic Tradition by his synodal decision in the year 1819 which says that “the pious have the duty to approach and receive the life‐giving Body, for this reason they are called by the priest.” But also the Church of Greece, by its synodal decision in the year 1878, condemns the different teachings of Makrakis, among which are the abolition of the Mystery of Confession, and appeals to this ancient Apostolic Tradition by saying that “but not only does the Church by no means forbid the truly worthy to present themselves more frequently to Holy Communion, but indeed in every liturgy, by the sounding of ‘with the fear of God, faith and love draw near’ She calls them to present themselves to Holy Communion.” The previously mentioned bishop Matthew of Bresthena also invokes this Apostolic Tradition concerning frequent Communion in his book “The Mystery of Confession,” (Concerning Holy Communion, pp. 107‐ 111, Hieromonk Matthew, Spiritual Father, Pilgrim to the All‐holy and Life‐giving Tomb, Athonite, Cretan, Lavriotan, Athens 1933). All Holy Tradition speaks about the necessary preparation before Holy Communion, which concerns clergymen and laypeople, and consists of the continual cleansing of the heart and mind, by Repentance and Confession, by the obligatory complete fast from midnight and after and by the Pre‐Communion fast according to one’s strength, in accordance with the opinion of one’s spiritual father and confessor. Your Eminence, however, writes that the only necessary preparation and obligatory prerequisite for Holy Communion is fasting and nothing else. But the question easily arises of why the clergymen do not fast before Holy Communion, maybe because, according to Your view they have some privilege over laypeople? Why does Your Eminence completely silence the basic criterion of Holy Communion, which is the clean conscience, as the Church has believed from the beginning, and impose objective criteria for those who will receive Communion in the future? Who will inspect these, forbidding and allowing Holy Communion? Will someone give us a reference? Did the God‐bearing Holy Fathers, who did not establish a canon of obligatory fasting before Holy Communion, do this by oversight or mistake? By Your Eminence setting and imposing new canons and morals, under the pretext of devoutness and ascetic piety, do You consider that it is necessary to cover the void of what was unforeseen and omitted by the God‐bearing Holy Fathers? Does Your Eminence believe that the Holy God‐bearing Fathers have erred and that You are able to make an examination and correction of them? In Your Eminence’s reference to the unworthiness of the faithful, do You consider that we the clergymen and shepherds are worthy and holy and above any censure and criticism? Truly, if as You write, due to their unworthiness none of the faithful should remain in the church, then this means two things, either the congregation is not baptized Orthodox or we the clergymen and shepherds are unworthy of the Master’s calling and have no concern for the salvation of the logical sheep, which the Master Christ has entrusted to us, because we have not made them worthy of the grace of the All‐Holy Spirit so that they may continuously receive the life‐giving body and blood of the Lord, and rather the absence of our spiritual guidance will end up in our sure condemnation on the day of the just judgment. Therefore the faithful have every right not to call us shepherds and spiritual fathers, but oppressive wolves and stepfathers, because the total absence of love, indifference and contempt for the flock is what characterizes us. We, whose chief characteristics are lack of feeling and the strict observance of the letter of the law, as we exclusively understand it, present ourselves as managers of the power of Christ. We are only concerned with our personal interests and we offer the logical sheep of Christ as prey to the noetic wolf who is the ruler of this world, that is, the devil. Truly, which of us clergymen and shepherds, moved by pure love, and without ulterior motives and expedience, as our Lord, literally ran
ANCIENT AND CONTEMPORARY FATHERS REGARDING SO‐CALLED “WORTHINESS” OF THE HOLY MYSTERIES St. John Cassian (+29 February, 435) totally disagrees with the notion of Bp. Kirykos that the early Christians communed frequently supposedly because “they fasted in the fine and broader sense, that is, they were worthy to commune.” Blessed Cassian does not approve of Christians shunning communion because they think of themselves as unworthy, and supposedly different to the early Christians. Thus whichever side one takes in this supposed dispute of Semipelagianism, be it the side of Blessed Augustine or that of Blessed Cassian, the truth is that both of these Holy Fathers condemn the notions held by Bp. Kirykos. Blessed Cassian writes: “We must not avoid communion because we deem ourselves to be sinful. We must approach it more often for the healing of the soul and the purification of the spirit, but with such humility and faith that considering ourselves unworthy, we would desire even more the medicine for our wounds. Otherwise it is impossible to receive communion once a year, as certain people do, considering the sanctification of heavenly Mysteries as available only to saints. It is better to think that by giving us grace, the sacrament makes us pure and holy. Such people [who commune rarely] manifest more pride than humility, for when they receive, they think of themselves as worthy. It is much better if, in humility of heart, knowing that we are never worthy of the Holy Mysteries we would receive them every Sunday for the healing of our diseases, rather than, blinded by pride, think that after one year we become worthy of receiving them.” (John Cassian, Conference 23, Chapter 21) Now, as for those who may think the above notion is only applicable for the Christians living at the time of St. John Cassian (5th century), and that the people at that time were justified in confessing their sins frequently and also communing frequently, throughout the year, while that supposedly this does not apply to contemporary Orthodox Christians, such a notion does not hold any validity, because contemporary Holy Fathers, among them the Hesychastic Fathers and Kollyvades Fathers, have taught exactly the same thing as we have read above in the writings of Blessed Cassian. Thus St. Gregory Palamas, St. Symeon the New Theologian, St. Macarius Notaras of Corinth, St. Nicodemus of Athos, St. Arsenius of Paros, St. Pachomius of Chios, St. Nectarius of Aegina, St. Matthew of Bresthena, St. Moses of Athikia, and so many other contemporary Orthodox Saints agree with the positions of the Blessed Cassian. The various quotes from these Holy Fathers are to be provided in another study regarding the letter of Bp. Kirykos to Fr. Pedro. In any case, not only contemporary Greek Fathers, but even contemporary Syrian, Russian, Bulgarian, Serbian and Romanian Fathers concur. St. Arsenius the Russian of Stavronikita (+24 March, 1846), for example, writes: “One can sometimes hear people say that they avoid approaching the Holy Mysteries because they consider themselves unworthy. But who is worthy of it? No one on earth is worthy of it, but whoever confesses his sins with heartfelt contrition and approaches the Chalice of Christ with consciousness of his unworthiness the Lord will not reject, in accordance with His words, Him that cometh to Me I shall in no wise cast out (John 6:37).” (Athonite Monastery of St. Panteleimon, Athonite Leaflets, No. 105, published in 1905) St. John Chrysostom (+14 September, 407), Archbishop of the Imperial City of Constantinople New Rome, speaks very much against the idea of making fasting and communing a mere custom. He instead insists on making true repentance of tears and communion with God a daily ritual. For no one passes a single day without sinning at least in thought if not also in word and deed. Likewise, no one can live a true life in Christ without daily repentance and frequent Communion. But in fact, the greatest method to abstain from sins is by the fear of communing unworthily. Thus, through frequent Communion one is guided towards abstinence from sins. Of course, the grace of the Mysteries themselves are essential in this process of cleansing the brain, heart and bowel of the body, as well as cleansing the mind, spirit and word of the soul. But the fear of hellfire as experienced in the partaking of communion unworthily is most definitely a means of preventing sins. But if one thinks that fasting for seven days without meat, five days without dairy, three days without oil, and one day without anything but xerophagy, is a means to make one “worthy” of Communion, whereas the communicant then returns to his life of sin until the next year when he decides to commune again, then not only was this one week of fasting worthless, not only would 40 days of lent be unprofitable, but even an entire lifetime of fasting will be useless. For such a person makes fasting and Communion a mere custom, rather than a way of Life in Christ. Blessed Chrysostom writes: “But since I have mentioned this sacrifice, I wish to say a little in reference to you who have been initiated; little in quantity, but possessing great force and profit, for it is not our own, but the words of Divine Spirit. What then is it? Many partake of this sacrifice once in the whole year; others twice; others many times. Our word then is to all; not to those only who are here, but to those also who are settled in the desert. For they partake once in the year, and often indeed at intervals of two years. What then? Which shall we approve? Those [who receive] once [in the year]? Those who [receive] many times? Those who [receive] few times? Neither those [who receive] once, nor those [who receive] often, nor those [who receive] seldom, but those [who come] with a pure conscience, from a pure heart, with an irreproachable life. Let such draw near continually; but those who are not such, not even once. Why, you will ask? Because they receive to themselves judgment, yea and condemnation, and punishment, and vengeance. And do not wonder. For as food, nourishing by nature, if received by a person without appetite, ruins and corrupts all [the system], and becomes an occasion of disease, so surely is it also with respect to the awful mysteries. Do you feast at a spiritual table, a royal table, and again pollute your mouth with mire? Do you anoint yourself with sweet ointment, and again fill yourself with ill savors? Tell me, I beseech you, when after a year you partake of the Communion, do you think that the Forty Days are sufficient for you for the purifying of the sins of all that time? And again, when a week has passed, do you give yourself up to the former things? Tell me now, if when you have been well for forty days after a long illness, you should again give yourself up to the food which caused the sickness, have you not lost your former labor too? For if natural things are changed, much more those which depend on choice. As for instance, by nature we see, and naturally we have healthy eyes; but oftentimes from a bad habit [of body] our power of vision is injured. If then natural things are changed, much more those of choice. Thou assignest forty days for the health of the soul, or perhaps not even forty, and do you expect to propitiate God? Tell me, are you in sport? These things I say, not as forbidding you the one and annual coming, but as wishing you to draw near continually.” (John Chrysostom, Homily 17, on Hebrews 10:2‐9) The Holy Fathers also stress the importance of confession of sins as the ultimate prerequisite for Holy Communion, while remaining completely silent about any specific fast that is somehow generally applicable to all laymen equally. It is true that the spiritual father (who hears the confession of the penitent Orthodox Christian layman) does have the authority to require his spiritual son to fulfill a fast of repentance before communion. But the local bishop (who is not the layman’s spiritual father but only a distant observer) most certainly does not have the authority to demand the priests to enforce a single method of preparation common to all laymen without distinction, such as what Bp. Kirykos does in his letter to Fr. Pedro. For man cannot be made “worthy” due to such a pharisaic fast that is conducted for mere custom’s sake rather than serving as a true form of repentance. Indeed it is possible for mankind to become worthy of Holy Communion. But this worthiness is derived from the grace of God which directs the soul away from sins, and it is derived from the Mysteries themselves, particularly the Mystery of Repentance (also called Confession or Absolution) and the Mystery of the Body and Blood of Christ (also called the Eucharist or Holy Communion). St. Nicholas Cabasilas (+20 June, 1391), Archbishop of Thessalonica, writes: “The Bread which truly strengthens the heart of man will obtain this for us; it will enkindle in us ardor for contemplation, destroying the torpor that weighs down our soul; it is the Bread which has come down from heaven to bring Life; it is the Bread that we must seek in every way. We must be continually occupied with this Eucharistic banquet lest we suffer famine. We must guard against allowing our soul to grow anemic and sickly, keeping away from this food under the pretext of reverence for the sacrament. On the contrary, after telling our sins to the priest, we must drink of the expiating Blood.” (St. Nicholas Cabasilas, The Life in Christ). St. Matthew Carpathaces (+14 May, 1950), Archbishop of Athens, while still an Archimandrite, published a book in 1933 in which he wrote five pages regarding the Mystery of Holy Communion. In these five pages he addresses the issue of Holy Communion, worthiness and preparation. Nowhere in it does he speak of any particular pre‐communion fast. On the contrary, in the rest of the book he speaks only about the fasts of Wednesday and Friday throughout the year, and the four Lenten seasons of Nativity, Pascha, Apostles and Dormition. He also mentions that married couples should avoid marital relations on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Aside from these fasts and abstaining, he mentions no such thing about a pre‐communion fast anywhere in the book, and the book is over 300 pages long. In the section where he speaks specifically regarding Holy Communion, Blessed Matthew speaks only of confession of sins as a prerequisite to Holy Communion, and he mentions the importance of abstaining from sins. Nowhere does he suggest that partaking of foods on the days the Orthodox Church permits is supposedly a sin. For to claim such a thing is a product of Manicheanism and is anathematized by several councils. But Blessed Matthew of Bresthena was no Manichean, he was a Genuine Orthodox Christian, a preserver of Orthodoxy in its fullness. The fact he had 600 nuns and 200 monks flock around him during his episcopate in Greece is proof of his spiritual heights and that he was an Orthodox Christian not only in thought and word, but also in deed. Yet Bp. Kirykos, who in his thirty years as a pastor has not managed to produce a single spiritual offspring, dares to claim that Blessed Matthew of Bresthena is the source of his corrupt and heretical views. But nothing could be further from the truth. In Blessed Matthew’s written works, which are manifold and well‐ preserved, nowhere does he suggest that clergy can simply follow the common fasting rules of the Orthodox Church and commune several times per week, while if laymen follow the same Orthodox rules of fasting just as do the priests, they are supposedly not free to commune but must undergo some kind of extra fast. Nowhere does he demand this fast that is not as a punishment for laymen’s sins, but is implemented merely because they are laymen, since this fast is being demanded irrespective of the outcome of their confession to the priest. Yet despite all of this, Bp. Kirykos arbitrarily uses the name of Bishop Matthew as supposedly agreeing with his positions. The following quote from the works of Blessed Matthew will shatter Kirykos’s notion that “fasting in the finer and broader sense” can make a Christian “worthy to commune,” without mentioning the Holy Mysteries of Confession and Communion themselves as the source of that worthiness. The following quote will shatter Bp. Kirykos’ attempt to misrepresent the positions of Blessed Matthew, which is something that Bp. Kirykos is guilty of doing for the past 30 years, tarnishing the name of Blessed Matthew, and causing division and self‐destruction within the Genuine Orthodox Church of Greece, while at the same time boasting of somehow being Bishop Matthew’s only real follower. It is time for Bp. Kirykos’ three‐decades‐long façade to be shattered. This shattering shall not only apply to the façade regarding the pharisaic‐style fast, but even the façade regarding the post‐1976 ecclesiology held by Bp. Kirykos and his associate, Mr. Gkoutzidis—an ecclesiology which is found nowhere in the encyclicals of the Genuine Orthodox Church from 1935 until the 1970s. That was the time that Mr. Gkoutzidis and the then layman Mr. Kontogiannis (now Bp. Kirykos) began controlling the Matthewite Synod. On the contrary, many historic encyclicals of the Genuine Orthodox Church contradict this post‐1976 Gkoutzidian‐ Kontogiannian ecclesiology, for which reason the duo has kept these documents hidden in the Synodal archives for three decades. But let us begin the shattering of the façade with the position of Blessed Matthew regarding frequent Communion. For God has willed that this be the first article by Bishop Matthew to be translated into English that is not of an ecclesiological nature, but a work in regards to Orthopraxia, something rarely spoken and seldom found in the endlessly repetitive periodicals of the Kirykite faction.