November 30/17, 2011
Saint Gregory the Wonderworker
[for your information]
Response of Father Andrew Boroda to Father Michael Azkoul<>Friday, November 25, 2011
Dear Fr. Michael,
I know Bishop Gregory Lourie for number of years by correspondence and met him
in person for the first time month ago in New York. I read some of his works, some of his sermons and found in them no heresy or anything in variance with
teaching of the Apostolic Church. I cannot claim that I read all his writings
and I may miss something even in what I have read. However, unsubstantiated
accusations in heresy should be rejected outright. It is not right to accept
bare words, but we need to see what kind of false teaching man proclaims so
that we may analyze it or even ask author to speak for himself and explain it.
As about anyone's personal life, I cannot speak to that and it is out of my
interest. I do not read any gossips on so-called internet news groups, sites,
etc. I keep my attention away from those sources.
Father Michael, it is first time we exchange letters and I want use a chance to express gratitude for your lifelong work in the field of Church education. Often I give to read your articles and your book Delivered to the saints to new people coming to our Church. It was Deacon Photius, of blessed memory, who introduced your works to me.
Father, we live in desert-like world in which Christ the Savior the source of life is long forgotten. As Diogenes of old, we have to go abroad with a lamp searching for even single likeminded man. I rather be mistaken in trusting than be strict in mistrusting (remember how it was with St. Gregory the Theologian and Maximus the Cynic?). God is our judge.
Yours in Christ,
Fr Andrew Boroda
P.s. Metroplitan Ephraim forwarded to me a letter of Mr. Alajaji. He puts a title MD by his name. Doctor of Medicine is reputable profession. One should ask him if he ever makes final diagnosis without seeing a patient or reviewing his medical records or reading analyses of his tests? That would be my answer to his letter.
Response of Father Gregory [HTM] to a layman <> November 25, 2011
Dear in Christ _____
Thank you for your kind words! Please pray for me, that I may serve at the Holy Table in purity and fear of God.
Concerning your question about Bishop Gregory.
There was a lot of misinformation and slanders about these worthy Athonite fathers. The
Church of Constantinople was motivated solely by political reasons of expelling as much Slavs
from the Holy Mountain as possible. Thus it used the accusation of "heresy" to demand from the
Russian government the removal of supposed heretics from the Mountain.
As for the decision of
the Russian synod - it rests on very shaky theological grounds and contains some very erroneous
teachings. The fact is that this very same decision against them was reversed several times, so,
which one of them are we supposed to believe? If the synodal decision was wrong, then it was
wrong, there should be no shame in admitting it. Other conciliar decisions turned out to be
mistaken in Church history. We know, for example that St. Tikhon the Confessor disregarded
this synodal decision and personally liturgized with the leaders of the Imyaslavtsy in Moscow
Bishop Gregory Lourie is not making an issue out of this question. He
simply believes that that the Athonite fathers were right and that the hierarchs were wrong (how
many times has such a thing happened in history?) and that one day the Church will (formally or
informally) make a correct judgement about this matter.
I should like to recommend you to read this letter about the subject, written by Bishop Gregory
to Vladimir Moss.
As for the ordination of Bishop Gregory. He was ordained by Bishops Sebastian and Ambrose of
Valentine's Synod. When, then, Father Gregory was defrocked by Valentine in breach of all
canonical procedures, these two bishops were so disgusted by the whole affair, that they
withdrew from participating in the synod. Namely, these bishops were forced by Met. Valentine
to sign an empty piece of paper where the uncanonical defrockment of Father Gregory was then
On top of this, the so called "synod" of Met. Valentine is a self-appointed assembly of
those bishops that happen to be at his residence at a given time, the existence of which has never
been sanctioned by a Sobor, as specified by ROAC by-laws. In fact, there has not been a single Sobor in ROAC throughout the duration of its existence.
In accordance with 84 Canon of
Council of Carthage, these two bishops instituted a local gathering of bishops within the Russian
Orthodox Autonomous Church, which in absence, and until the restoration of, the conciliar
order in that church, allows them to proceed with canonical existence without, at the same time,
breaking into a schism. These are the bishops that ordained Bishop Gregory.
I will be happy to supply you with any other information about this matter.
Please pass my regards to Daniel, whom I met during his stay here at the monastery.
I embrace you with brotherly love.
In Christ our Saviour,
In every instance when the Church has been assailed by one or another heresy, we find that many people are fooled by the heresy without actually understanding what is happening. Heresy is always presented as the truth and in this way many are misled.
-- Metropolitan Ephraim, Holy Orthodox Church in North America, 2001