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MESSAGE OF THE MONTH
Ecumenism, Orthodoxy and Heresy
By Blessed Elder Philotheos Zervakos (+1980)
[The remarkable confessor and spiritual guide, vigorous defender of the Orthodox Christian Faith, itinerant preacher, and illuminating writer!]
Rise up Chrysostomes, Gregories, Germanuses, Tarasiuses, Nikifori, Fotii and the rest, the old and recent Holy Patriarchs of Constantinople, who sacrificed yourselves for your flocks, to see who is on your throne. You, like the good shepherds have sacrificed your souls for your own sheep, while the present ones sacrifice their sheep for themselves and they open the door and invite the wolves to come in and destroy the flock.
When has a Patriarch fallen in such a slide, that he voluntarily struggles to deliver his flock to the wolves to be torn apart? The cause is pride, the root and cause of all sins, all the evil, all heresies, calamities and sorrows and even greater than the calamities and unhappiness, the deprivation of God’s grace.
The wolf shepherds, false teachers, false prophets and false christs, were expelled from Christ’s flock and as unrepentant, they were placed under everlasting anathemas by the Holy Fathers, who are the true imitators of the Chief Shepherd Christ and His followers, the good, true and divine shepherds, the preservers of the decent and holy seven Ecumenical Synods.
The Orthodox Church is not used to innovations like the Westerners and the Protestants, who after their separation and without ceasing have taken up to perform innovations or reforms, to such a disrespectful and insane degree to innovate all the mysteries and holy tradition and deleting many…
There are two reasons that make the present day Arch-hierarchs to innovate and reform the Church, first pride, which makes most of the hierarchs, save some, to believe they are wiser that the Holy Fathers, and secondly gluttony and love of self. By most of them becoming, lovers of the flesh, they were abandoned by the grace of the Holy Spirit.
If the Patriarch does not accept but rejects the suggestions of the Government of the Holy Synod, Arch-hierarchs, priests and lay followers, and insists on the union (of the Churches), then he should be renounced. For in case they do not oppose but retreat and say that they will follow the Patriarch, then there would be a far reaching destruction. Then I would have nothing else to say but woe to the Orthodox Church of Greece. Woe and to the Greek nation. For it shall be immeasurably worse than the subjugation to the Muslim and the false prophet Mohammed.
If the Pope wishes the union, let him recognize and confess all his deceits, heresies and innovations made by various Popes from the beginning and over a period of time, having separated themselves from the Orthodox Church, he will be received only if he repents, cries bitterly and humbles himself.
If they do not reject pride, both Patriarch and Pope, and do not humble themselves, imitating our Lord, not only would they not succeed but instead they will increase the separation and they will create many scandals, disturbances, confusions and great damage to and loss of their flocks. If they would imitate the Lord and humble themselves, the union will succeed, they will benefit themselves and their flocks and the name of the Father in Heaven will be glorified through them like through the Apostles, for the “Lord opposes the proud and raises the humble”.
Papism is the Forerunner of the Antichrist
Orthodoxy was firmed up by the Holy Apostles and the enacting Fathers through the seven Ecumenical Synods, while illumined by the Holy Spirit. Papism is the forerunner of the antichrist, for the Pope having been captured by arrogance and conceit, and wishing to have the highest authority of the Church and State, he tore the Church of Christ.
The Pope worshipers have fallen in many false beliefs and heresies modifying the mysteries of the Orthodox Church. Instead of the baptism they are sprinkling, instead of the mystery of communion they have Jewish unleavened bread. They got rid of the fasts and even the holy oil, nor can they perform blessings by sprinkling with holy water because they are excommunicated and thus their blessing does not hold.
I would not refrain to mention something I witnessed myself when I went to the Holy Mountain for pilgrimage. When the Emperor Constantine Michael and Patriarch Vekkos who were Pope worshipers went to the Holy Mountain during the period 1170-1200, they were pressing the monks to receive the Papism and to co-celebrate with the papists. Those that had accepted and co-celebrated, their bodies remained in-corrupt but give off a foul odor. Those that refused to co-celebrate and were killed by the papists, their relics give off a pleasant odor. I wish through the grace of the Holy Spirit to enlighten your mind, to give you strength and reject the dream of deceit and languish and return to the bosom of the Church.
If the present Hierarchs do not accept the decisions, the Canons and the traditions given by the divine Apostles and Holy Fathers of the Church but ignore them, who would then respect their own?
The Church and State and their leaders of the present evil days sleep the heaviest sleep of negligence and laziness, and if they do not wake up, as well as the clergy and the people to repentance in the service of God’s commandments, of the virtues and good works, they will have to answer during the great judgment and will be punished.
Hold Fast to your Faith
Hold onto your faith firmly and remain immovable on the traditions of the Divine Fathers, for we have arrived at the age that even the strong in faith are lost. Toil by studying and learning, for everything good is achieved with hard work and suffering. We shall not feel the labor of virtue when we consider the clouds of martyrs and saints and in the future we shall be glorified.
How happy and blessed we shall be, if through a little toil we shall be judged worthy to camp in the lovely camps of Paradise and inherit the goods of the Heavenly Kingdom of God.
The apostle Paul, the mouth of Christ, commands: Do not communicate in the works of sterile darkness that you may not become controlled. In cases where our Orthodox Faith is ignored or slandered, it is permissible to check it and have just anger, most justifiable, but silence is not permissible. But the checking must be done with discernment and prudence not with disturbance and anger, but with divine anger. God does not give up His Church and to those who fight her He will humble them and they will be smashed like a ceramic roof, but those who hold their Orthodox faith and confession till death, shall be blessed.
I bless you from the heart to never be timid in your struggles, even if you see the enemies of the Church becoming stronger… The one that struggles for the Orthodox faith and for our holy Church has the Almighty God for an ally, while the one that struggles for deceit has the ever cunning devil for ally, the weak master of darkness, of lies and all heresies, fallacies and wickedness. There is nothing more honorable, modest and holier when one struggles for the faith. And if while struggling he is killed by the enemies, without bending, he is the brightest victor and he will receive the trophy of the call above and the heavenly crown. So fight for the faith and struggle until death, to become worthy heir of the Kingdom of Heaven.
In the present time, when the Church is attacked in many ways and means by many and diverse fighters, your effort in confronting and combating will succeed, with God’s help and will save some from today’s flood of sin.
I congratulate you for your zeal for the dissemination of the Christian truths and for the benefit of the Christians. We should know that according to the toil and willingness each one works, rewards will be given by the wage giver Christ. While there is time, let us work spiritually and sow with labor so that we may reap in peace.