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

Showing posts with label Name-glorifying. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Name-glorifying. Show all posts

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Contents of This Site


What is Imyaslavie?  An introduction to name-worshipping.


An examination of the name-worshipping controversy and the work of Fr. Anthony Bulatovich, by Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky

Chronology of name-worshipping in HOCNA as of September 14/27, 2012

A review of the history of the name-worshipping controversy, and an analysis of how name-worshipping deviates from the teachings of the Holy Fathers, by Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Boston

The fine line established by St. Cyril of Alexandria, and how name-worshipping crosses that line:  a letter by Fr. B

Statement of Bishop Demetrius on name-worshipping and its consequences for the Holy Orthodox Church in North America

Why the Russian Synod of 1913 is not heretical.  By Fr. Maximos of Holy Ascension Monastery.

How the name-worshippers are using smokescreens to distract the faithful, just as heretics of past generations did.  An essay by Fr. Maximos of Holy Ascension Monastery.

Created Names and Uncreated God, a reply to the assertions of Thomas Deretich

St. John of Kronstadt and the Name of God, a further reply to Thomas Deretich

HOCNA, Name-Worshipping, and the Synod of Archbishop Makarios of Athens.  By Fr. Panagiotes Carras

Analysis of the October 8 and 10 statements by the synod of the Holy Orthodox Church in North America

Analysis of the September 5/18 statement on name-worshipping by the synod of the Holy Orthodox Church in North America

Dear Anastasia, on the widely circulated letter from Fr. Mark Beesley defending the bishops of the Holy Orthodox Church in North America on name-worshipping

On the Economist articles, an analytical look at two articles sympathetic to name-worshipping which appeared in The Economist in December 2012

How Name-worshippers (aka Name-glorifiers) define their doctrine, and what the Holy Fathers have to say about it.  A study by Nicholas Snogren.

Links to other articles about name-worshipping

Historical Documents

Decision of the Russian Synod condemning name-worshipping, 1913

Epistles of Patriarch Germanos of Constantinople condemning name-worshipping

Example of how the historical record on name-worshipping was distorted by the radical press

What the Holy New Hieromartyr Patriarch Tikhon actually said in his Nativity Epistle of 1921, versus how the HOCNA hierarchs portray him

Gregory Lourie deposed for name-worshipping

Further Reading

For more information about the role of the name-worshipping heresy in the departure of many clergy, monastics and laity from the Holy Orthodox Church in North America (HOCNA) for the Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians (GOC), please visit our sister site.

St. John of Kronstadt and the Name of God

Reply to Mr. Tom Deretich, no.2

Name-worshippers love to quote St. John Kronstadt: “the name of God is God Himself” and “you have in that name all the essence of the Lord” (My Life In Christ, pg. 359, St. Petersburg, 2001). Later, however, St. John explains that his understanding of these expressions is founded upon the patristic theology of the Church and not on the ravings of Anthony Bulatovich. The Saint’s words from ‘My Life In Christ’, pp. 467-468:
Since the Lord is everywhere present, His Cross works miracles, His name works miracles, His Icons are wonderworking”. “Since we are of flesh, the Lord attaches His presence, so to speak, and His very self with creation… He attaches Himself to the Temple, to the Icons, to the sign of the Cross, to His name composed of articulated sounds, with holy water, with the sanctified bread, wheat and wine… but there shall come a time when all the visible signs shall not be necessary, and we shall partake of Him more intensely then, ‘in the unwaning day of His Kingdom’, where as now only through the medium of the flesh and through Icons and signs.

First, the Saint well comprehends the basic understanding of God, held for more than three thousand years by the Church: God is omnipresent. The invocation that begins Orthodox services of prayers is the proclamation of this doctrine: “Heavenly King, O Comforter, the Spirit of truth, Who art everywhere present and fillest all things, O Treasury of every good and Bestower of life: come and dwell in us, and cleanse us from every stain, and save, O Good One, our souls”.

God is present everywhere, filling and interpenetrating all things, with no limit or bound, entirely free and unapproachable. He, God Himself, both the essence and the indivisible energy, operations, activity, and attributes, which are the uncreated glory in which He the uncreated God dwells; He is throughout us and in us: in the air we breathe and the food we eat and the raiment we wear and the blood that courses in our veins. He dwells in light unapproachable, i.e., we cannot touch or force Him: He is free and absolute and transcendent. Nothing can touch Him unless He will it. His will – one of His uncreated energies – can grant a grace to or effect a creature, but only at His volition. He is ‘ο ἐνεργών, (ho energon) while creation is τὸ ενεργούμενον, (to energoumenon), i.e. He is the energizer while creation is that which is energized. The energizer effects but is not affected by that which is energized; He remains inviolate, for He is uncreated and eternal, unchanging and ever the same. Only the creation is changeable, and never can the two ever be intermingled or confused.

St. John of Kronstadt makes this understanding clear by saying that God is everywhere, and He sanctifies them, who through various mediums, approach Him. This was the teaching of the Seventh Ecumenical Council, which stated that we do not deify the medium – Icons, names, the Cross, etc – but our worship passes over and reaches the Divinity to attract His grace. It is obvious that the Saint considers the mediums as means created by mankind, which direct our attention and prayers to the prototype, Who, if He desires, can respond with His grace. St. John lists “name” along with the Church building, Icons, holy water, the Cross, etc (all of which are creations of man), where God Himself is approached and His grace can be received; he follows the decisions of the Seventh Council. There is no mention or hint of an uncreated name or of pantheism. St. John did not preach name-worshipping.

Another quote from St. John of Kronstadt, that the name-worshippers like to ignore is: “Let not the heart weak in faith think that the Cross or the name of Christ act of themselves, or that this Cross and this name of Christ produces miracles when I do not look with the eyes of my heart or with the faith of Christ”. (Sergieff, John I. (1897) My Life in Christ. (E.E. Goulaeff, Trans.). Jordanville, NY: Holy Trinity Monastery (1971). p. 23.

This quote from St. John of Kronstadt shakes the very foundation of the name-worshippers doctrine. It is clear that St. John was not a name-worshipper, but only said that “the name of God, is God Himself” in the context of prayer and not as an identity or in a literal sense.

Anthony Bulatovich’s writings clearly and explicitly preach that the letters of God’s name are God Himself, as is also the spoken word. His modern followers preach the same as their ‘sainted’ founder. But when they are challenged because they are preaching the ludicrous doctrines of an uncreated creation, or of pantheism, they speedily demur, saying, “No one could ever be so illogical” (and Bulatovich rolls over in his grave). Such a tactic is common among heretics; they deny anything which is pointed out as being senseless or foreign to the Faith. They then send up a smokescreen of obfuscations, and then invent an even worse heresy; in this instance, the uncreated name. Some facets of this error have been mentioned above, but this same error has been condemned in the Synodicon of Orthodoxy and by all the Fathers, who have condemned the Platonic, Gnostic, Talmudic, Cabalistic pagan teachings in their entirety.

The name-worshippers exhibited a very poor taste in saints when they canonized Anthony Bulatovich. He was an arrogant, ambitious man who used violence to take over monasteries, evict monks and plunder their goods (see the many contemporary reports in the newspapers of the time especially ‘Ekklesiastike Aletheia’ of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. In order to forestall local authorities from dealing forcibly with the problems, the Patriarchate begged the Russian government to intervene so that there could be no doubt of injustice, since the Patriarchates were dependent on Russia for protection from the Turks and Mamelukes. Bulatovich, who used the sword of violence, died by the sword, according to our Saviour’s words. He was killed by robbers in 1919, (shortly after rejecting communion with the Church for the second time).

In any case, when controversy arises, the name-worshippers publicly reject the extremes of their founder; but when on fresh ground or privately, they repeat the old Bulatovichian doctrines. He believed that the Mysteries of the Church are accomplished by the invocation of God’s name. Baptism was in the name of Christ; and the change of the elements in Holy Communion was already accomplished in the proskomide, when the Lamb is excised from the offered bread. Of course, the modern followers might try to deny it, but they are trapped in the chains of their tradition and their attempts to explain and cover up.

One question arises from reading their writings is that the modern name-worshippers never say what name is the divine name. Hilarion and Bulatovich were definite: Hilarion said the name was “Jesus”, while Bulatovich declared that every word in the Gospel was God Himself, even when spoken aloud; wherefore, he was accused of Pantheism. Their present day followers usually say “the name of God is God Himself”, but do not elaborate. Perhaps they fear that they will be accused of declaring created letters and sounds to be divine. In any case, they now are at odds with their purportedly “sainted” founders. What do they mean? The name of God is a name? The name of God is the name? The name God is name? This obscurantism allows them to deny any Orthodox objection and to confuse the issue with pages of ambiguous verbiage, like squids escaping in a cloud of ink.

After giving many quotations, declaring that the power, might, and glory of God protect and save mankind; then tacking on others wherein Mr. Deretich defines, that “in the name” means the same thing, he concludes that St. Cyril of Alexandria says that “the glory, authority, power, might, grace, name, and the truth are the ‘energy/activity/action’ of ‘Godhead that the Father and the Son share”. He then quotes a long passage from St. Cyril, as proof.

In the first part of this quotation, the Saint quotes the Scriptures, Philippians 2:9, “and gave Him a name which is above every name”. This signifies that He is given authority as the Son and Word of God: that Father and Son are of one essence. The Saint later on discusses Christ God’s protection of His disciples, in the “exercise [of] His power”, “by the power and glory of His Godhead”, etc. There is no identification of “name” and “power and glory”, except in Mr. Deretich’s mind. The Saint’s commentary on this scripture and the others, concerns the unity of the Father’s and Son’s essence and will. Mr. Deretich also mentions St. Clement of Rome, who when he wishes to refer to the uncreated power of God, he calls it the name of God. However, there is no statement that the name of God is an energy of God. In any case, these quotations are not from the only received genuine work of St. Clement: the Epistle to the Corinthians.

Mr. Deretich presents a passage in III Kings (no more exact reference is given), when Solomon consecrated the Temple, saying that it is God’s “name and glory (=energy) that fills the newly-built Solomonic Temple”. Here is the verse in question (8:10), “And it came to pass when the priests departed out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house. (8:11) And the priests could not stand to minister before the cloud, because the glory of the Lord filled the house”. There is no equivalence of glory and name mentioned or implied.

In III Kings 9:3 “to put my name there (the Temple) for ever”, is meant figuratively, which is proved as the sentence continues: “mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually”. If “name” is meant literally, then we must conclude that God has physical eyes and heart.

The tactic in these paragraphs is to present a number of Scriptural or patristic quotations mentioning “name” of God, with others, concerning “the glory, the power, activity, energy, operation, attributes of God”, and mixing them together so as to imply an equivalence which is simply not there; in fact most of their interpretations of the meaning of “name”, do not agree with that of most interpreters and translators. Proximity does not indicate equivalence, and even that is lacking here. We can only conclude that Mr. Deretich is, well, lying. Here, at least, he is showing himself to be a faithful follower of Bulatovich.

Again, this statement is introduced by Mr. Deretich, “name in ancient Greek can mean both a ‘symbol’ for something and it can also mean the thing itself” and it continues in a similar vein. True, a name can mean or signify or be a ‘symbol’ for something, that is, “the thing itself”. Since this is the definition for “name”, this is hardly a statement of great sagacity and even necessary. (Please explain how “something” or “the thing itself” differ?). It has never been believed, certainly not in the Church, that the name is the thing itself. We cannot drink out of the word “glass”. Nor eat the name “apple”. Nor will the word “lion” rip and tear us to pieces. Words which name something are not the thing named, as experience teaches us and as the Patriarchal decision of 1912 proclaimed. We can be starving but a grocery list will not feed us. A leopard will not change spots if we call him a panther. Names are human labels applied to physical objects or concepts so that we may communicate and understand our experience of creation.

God did not name the animals, but Adam did. (Genesis 2:19, “The Lord God... brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof). It is an illogical and false thesis and conclusion to say “the name of x is n, therefore n is x”. It is not a direct predication or equivalence. Rather we must understand that when we say “we are calling x by the name n”, (we are calling this beast (x) with the name lion (n) is what we mean. It is not a reversible predication nor equivalence. We are applying a conceptual generalization of a species, an abstraction, composed of thought and words of a rarefied matter as a label to a very concrete, material animal. Man has been called the creature, which abstracts, generalizes and names. Names are man made, and the lion couldn’t care less what we call it, just as long as we don’t shoot it.

Gregory Lourie has called such thinking “crassly nominalistic”. Unfortunately for him, it is the pragmatic doctrine of the Church and the way most of mankind thinks. However, he is the scion of Cabalistic ancestors, and appears to share in their magic mentality.

With all of their mixing of supposed quotations from the Fathers and Scriptures, which bear the word “name” and juxtaposing them with others which have the words “power or energy or activity”, etc., they declare an equivalence or identity upon no basis and with no hard references. We have seen, how they have misrepresented many of them, so that what they declare as fact cannot be trusted. They consistently violate logical and religious sense in their interpretations, so that their propositions and premises result in unfounded conclusions.

We later have some more juggling with history from Mr. Deretich. The name of the unfortunate Bishop Sergius (later Patriarchal locum tenens), is associated with the 1913 Synodal decision by insinuation, since the modern name-worshippers consistently refer to “the 1913 decision”. Sergius was not on the Synod and he certainly wrote against name-worshipping at other times besides 1913. This attempt to blacken the Synodal decision by association with Sergius, who broke much later under pressure by the communists is simply dishonest. Also, attempts to blacken Halki, thereby blackening the Ecumenical Patriarchate as being anti-Palamite, is pitiful. Certainly, the Encyclical of the Orthodox Patriarchs answering the Pope of Rome in 1895 was a model of Orthodoxy. In just a few years had everything changed? The Patriarchal decision of 1912, which is available on line in English and in the Synodal decision of 1913, praises the prayer of Jesus and hesychasm. Most had not attended western schools, but were instructed in the traditional Church schools where they read and learned Church Greek from reading the Fathers. They certainly knew of St. Gregory Palamas, for the Synodicon of Orthodoxy was read annually, and its history was part of the curriculum. In any case, calling “Infamous Germanos P. Strenopoulos? It was after his repose in 1920 that ecumenistic statements were made. “Archimandrite Vasileios Stephanides”? He was a deacon then, from Athens, to which he returned and had probably not yet studied abroad. The last two names are not archimandrites, but laymen; Mr. Deretich is mixing his time periods and facts.

After the 1920’s, with the destruction of Asia Minor and its schools, and finally the closure of Halki in 1956, Patriarchal students were forced to study abroad. In any case, the decisions of Halki’s faculty, the Ecumenical Patriarchal Synod’s decree of 1912 by the saintly Patriarch Joachim, and the confirmation in 1913, by Patriarch Germanos are faultlessly Orthodox and in conformity with Patristic Theology, which is why the Russian Synod quoted them in accepting it as the official Theological statement for their decision, and then dealt with the practical portion. All the Orthodox have accepted them.

In the last paragraph, Mr. Deretich returns to the first position, “the name of God is God Himself”, as if all the intervening verbiage had proved it. We see that St. John of Kronstadt, understood it in the Orthodox way: “God is everywhere present” and in the manner in which the Seventh Ecumenical Council determined. The names are worshipped but not to be deified. The name cannot be God Himself. The Church has dogmatized for 3000 years, that no name is God Himself.

Another statement in a previous “summary” paragraph: “The Orthodox Church does teach that God fills and dwells in his created names”. We challenge this statement as entirely false; present us with a reference. It will not be found, neither in an official council nor in any of the Saints of the Church. The next statement is inarguably acceptable “God is present everywhere and fills all created things”. But then the statement which violates the former, as we explained earlier on, “God ‘dwells’ especially in sacred, created things”; then Mr. Deretich proceeds to return to all the errors of the name-worshippers: “the name can sometimes have a meaning different from ‘mere created names”, “the uncreated power of God (which is sometimes called the [uncreated] name of God” (where? No where!) and so on and so forth. An incoherent spate of unsupported claims, and unconnected thoughts foreign to the theology of St. Gregory Palamas and all the great Fathers whom we faithfully follow.

Perhaps it is unfair to cast all the opprobrium of false teaching upon Mr. Deretich. He is apparently a spokesman – since he is an employee of HOCNA – for Gregory Babunashvili of HOCNA. He (Gregory Babunashvili) is a faithful disciple of Gregory Lourie, repeating his exact words. I have been told by many who have heard him preach his doctrines, that when someone presents facts or doctrines of the Church’s saints which refute his teachings, so that he cannot answer, he then resorts to shouted denials. For this reason most of the Clergy and people deserted HOCNA, people of the theological knowledge and stature as: Frs. Michael Azkoul, John Fleser, Christos Constantinou, Christos Patitsas and Andrew Snogren. It is evident that Gregory Babunashvili is ignorant of the doctrines of the Church’s saints, even of St. Gregory Palamas, whom he claimed he understood. Furthermore, he makes definite affirmations of facts and references, which upon investigation, are revealed to be false or non-existent. As someone said, “I wouldn’t accept anything he said, even if pearls and diamonds fell from his lips”. His writings also corroborate his ignorance of the fundamentals of the Church’s theology.

Returning to Mr. Deretich’s “In summary” paragraph, third before the end, he states, “The Orthodox Church does teach that God fills and dwells in his created names”. [a ‘teaching’ found nowhere, except in Anthony Bulatovich]… God is everywhere present and fills all created things. And God “dwells” especially in sacred, created things: in the saints, angels, relics, the Cross, icons…” etc. He repeats further on the word “dwells”, with quotation marks and without quotation marks. He states: “God’s power sometimes works miracles through created holy icons”. He is obviously attempting to return to the phrase “the name of God is God Himself”, the keystone of name-worshipping. The Orthodox Church recognizes God’s presence everywhere and in everything, as we have stated. Here, Mr. Deretich is attempting to make a special kind of presence with the word “dwells” or “fills”, although he repeats the Church’s teaching of God’s omnipresence, Who fills all things. What is he implying by these words and their repetition? By his return to the formula “the name of God is God Himself”, this intimates more than the usual divine omnipresence. If he is implying an “incarnation” of God, he would be condemned and anathematized by the Third and Fourth Ecumenical Councils. Various words are used by the Church for the presence of God in the Church: ‘overshadowing’, ‘presence’, ‘attached’, ‘abiding’, ‘to come upon’, ‘be present’, ‘sense’, ‘nearness’, ‘means’, but usually in a temporary or passing sense. This insistence on “dwells” and “fills” are words also used by many in the Church, but taken in conjunction with Deretich’s other statements, he is implying something more, but dares not say “incarnation”. It reminds one of the Hindu doctrine of Avatars. Rama and Krishna were avatars of Vishnu, in ancient Brahmanism. Throughout India, in the temples of Hanu-man, the mobs of monkeys scrambling about there, are his avatars, ‘God Himself’ as you would be told.

St. John Kronstadt avoids that trap because he obeyed the Church’s doctrine expressed in the Seventh Ecumenical Council. We can approach an Icon of Christ and pray before it, and Christ God can work miracles; for He is present since He is everywhere. But it is our volition, our will, which reaches Him through the created Icon, but the Icon is not deified, it is not God Himself, as the Seventh Ecumenical Council has dogmatized. Any other doctrine or Hindic avatar teaching is anathematized.

I repeat: No Father has ever said that the name of God is an energy of God. Nowhere does the Church teach of an uncreated name of God.

Names are created by man, and do not pertain to God. “…by the gift of God, it pertains to men alone both to make the invisible thought of the intellect audible by uniting it with the air and to write it down so that it may be seen with and through the body. God thus leads us to a steadfast faith in the abiding presence and manifestation of the supreme Logos in the flesh”. (#63 from the 150 Chapters of St. Gregory Palamas, in the Philokalia, vol. 4). Here the unique Incarnation of the Son of God is affirmed, where the hypostasis of the Word took upon Himself the human nature from the Ever-virgin Mary. There is one hypostasis with two natures, divine and human, inseparably united, undivided yet not confused, two separate and different natures in the one Person of the Word of God, perfect God and perfect man. This is proclaimed by the Third and Fourth Ecumenical Councils.

“There is no intermediate nature between the created and uncreated, neither is there any such operation (energy). Therefore, if it is created, it will show only a created nature, if it is uncreated, it will indicate an uncreated substance only. The natural properties must correspond with the nature absolutely, since the existence of a defective nature is impossible. The natural operations, moreover, does not come from anything outside the nature, and it is obvious that the nature can neither exist nor be known without its natural operation. For by remaining invariable, each thing gives of its own nature”. St. John Damascus Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, III, 15.

St. John of Damascus explains: “The Deity being incomprehensible is also assuredly nameless. Therefore since we know not His essence, let us not seek for a name for His essence. For names are explanations of actual things. But God, Who is good and brought us out of nothing into being that we might share in His goodness, and Who gave us the faculty of knowledge, not only did not impart to us His essence, but did not even grant us the knowledge of His essence. For it is impossible for nature to understand fully the super-natural. Moreover, if knowledge is of things that are, how can there be knowledge of the super-essential? Through His unspeakable goodness, then, it pleased Him to be called by names that we could understand, that we might not be altogether cut off from the knowledge of Him but should have some notion of Him, however vague. Inasmuch, then, as He is incomprehensible, He is also unnameable. But inasmuch as He is the cause of all and contains in Himself the reasons and causes of all that is, He receives names drawn from all that is, even from opposites: for example, He is called light and darkness, water and fire: in order that we may know that these are not of His essence but that He is super-essential and unnameable: but inasmuch as He is the cause of all, He receives names from all His effects”. St. John Damascus Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, I, 12.

There is no mixture or fusing of created and uncreated. Names are created, as the precious quotation from St. Gregory Palamas stated, who collated and summarized the Patristic teachings. An uncreated name is impossible according to St. John, as quoted, and to all the Fathers. There is no such thing as an uncreated name, as St. John Damascus says above.

“We apply all the names of these attributes to the supra-essential Being that is absolutely nameless”. St. Cyril, Treasuries, PG 14, 240A.

The fathers talk about three levels of prayer (St. Theophan the Recluse. What is Prayer). Oral, mental and spiritual. When one reaches spiritual prayer, the invocation of the name of God ceases. This is what St. Isaac the Syrian means by, “silence is the mystery of the age to come.” (St. Isaac the Syrian. Ascetical Homilies. Holy Transfiguration Monastery. Brookline, MA. (1984) Homily 65, p. 321).

The attributes are the energies of God, the things that pertain to God. We give the names, as is obvious from the above, and the name is not the energy, as is also obvious, for it is God and therefore nameless.

I prefer to follow the Third, Fourth and Seventh Ecumenical Councils, and all the Holy Fathers before and after. I will follow the Councils of 1912 and 1913, which are vilified by your Bulatovich, Gregory Lourie and Gregory Babunashvili, yet believed in by scores of saints and wise and holy men and of martyrs from then till now, whom you slander. I will follow the Apostle Peter who declares: “No prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit”. (2 Peter, 1:20-21).

Saturday, May 25, 2013

HOCNA, the Name-Worshipping Heresy and the Synod of Archbishop Makarios of Athens

Sister Churches in More Ways Than One
by Fr. Panagiotes Carras

In 1995, a rebellious faction of six bishops formed within the synod of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece, under Archbishop Chrysostomos and separated itself over what they claimed to be canonical infractions. These false charges were brought forth in order to avoid the impending trial of Metropolitan Euthymios (Orphanos) of Thessaloniki, who had been charged with moral infractions. The other charge had to do with the election of the notorious Bishop Vikentios (Malamatenios) of Avlona (fornerly of Astoria, N. Y.) as Metropolitan of Piraeus.
The six Hierarchs who left were Ephthimios, of Thessaloniki, Kallinikos of Lamia, Stefanos of Chios, Ioustinos of Evripos, Vikentios of Avlona and Paisios of America. The group was headed by Metropolitan Kallinikos of Lamia and was commonly known as the Lamian Synod.
The six hierarchs were defrocked on July 12/25, 1995 because of their schism from the Holy Synod. Euthimios of Thessaloniki was found guilty of immoral acts on 13/26 July, 1995 and was ordered to be confined to the Monastery of St. Iakovos, the Brother of the Lord and not to receive Holy Communion for 15 years.
By early 1996, the movement had fragmented into three groups. The first group, Stefanos of Chios and Ioustinos of Evripos, repented their schismatic actions and were reconciled with the Holy Synod of Archbishop Chrysostomos. The second group, Paisios of America and Vikentios of Avlona, renounced the Faith and submitted to the Ecumenical Patiarchate. Later they became fugitives from American justice. The third group was made up of Euthimios, of Thessaloniki, and Kallinikos of Lamia.
Iin 1996, Kallinikos of Lamia and Euthymios of Thessaloniki proceeded to ordain five titular bishops in an attempt to create a new synod. In 2004, this synod finally decided to elect a primate, and elected Makarios (Kavakides) of Athens. A good deal of their membership was then lost, as many realized what really motivated the schism and returned to the Holy Synod of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece.
In 2007 the Lamian Synod ordained Archimandrite Nectarios (Yashunsky) from St. Petersburg as Bishop of Olympus. He served as the administrator of two parishes in Russia. When these two parishes collapsed Bishop Nektarios returned to Greece. Bishop Nektarios, as an Archimandrite, introduced the Lamians to the Name-Worshipping Heresy. His article in defence of Name-Worshipping in Greek, A Brief Explanation of Onomatodoxy, can be found on HOCNA's web site that is dedicated to the heresy of Name-Worship. The other Greek article in defense of this heresy, The Name of God as A Sign Spoken Against appears to be written by Archbishop Makarios. Neither of these two articles appear on any of the Lamian sites and at least two Lamian hierarchs and many of their clergy and laity are opposed to the teachings of these heretics. Nectarios Yashunsky's article can also be found on Gregory Lourie's site which also includes an icon of the heretic, Anthony Bulatovich, founder of the Name-Worshippers.
Archbishop Makarios has also deviated from the Faith by allying himself with the renovationist, New-Calendar Archimandrite, Fr. Nektarios Moulatsiotis. Moulatsiotis became world famous in 2002 when he founded the Freemonks. This was a rock band named Paparokades. By 2005 the monks abandoned Moulatsiotis and monasticism.

Moulatsiotis' dedication to the struggle against Digital Identity Cards then became focused on organizing demonstrations against Digital Identity Cards. He was joined by Archbishop Makarios in this endeavour. At one of Moulatsiotis' demonstrations, Archbishop Makarios proclaimed, "Let us be united in one fist, New-Calendarists and we will not ask if you are with the new or old calendar but rather if you are with Christ."  Archbishop Makarios also joined Moulatsiotis in rallies sponsored by the political group ELKIS.
Many of Archbishop Makarios' unilateral activities [in relation to HOCNA] are not approved of by the other hierarchs, clergy and lay people of the Lamian Synod. The so-called STATEMENT OF EUCHARISTIC COMMUNION has been hidden from those in Greece. Clergy and people in Greece realize that the term Eucharistic Communion is another way of saying Eucharistic Hospitality. This heresy was expounded by HOCNA when they justified giving Holy Communion to the Name-Worshipper, Gregory Lourie. This heresy was expressed with the words: desire to foster the oneness that must exist among all Orthodox Christians in the Holy Body and Blood of our Saviour.
HOCNA and the Lamians are truly sister churches in more ways than one.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Why the Russian Synod of 1913 Was Not Heretical

By Fr. Maximos Marretta of Holy Ascension Monastery
The contemporary revivers of the heresy of Nameworshipping have won great notoriety for themselves by rejecting the holy council of Constantinople held in 1913 and the holy Russian council of the same year. The main reason the heretics reject these councils is that the councils condemn the idea that the name of God is an energy of God, which is the central tenet of the heresy of Nameworshipping.
However, the Nameworshippers (who euphemistically call themselves “Nameglorifiers”) also consider the Russian council of 1913 to be heretical since it stated a distinction between the words “God” and “divinity.” Specifically, in their letter of August 29, 2012 to the Orthodox clergy of the Cathedral of St. Mark in Boston, MA, the Nameworshipping bishops denounce four phrases in the 1913 decision of the Russian Synod, alleging that they are novel and unorthodox because they distinguish between God and divinity. The Nameworshippers consider these terms to be absolutely synonymous and that any distinction between the two constitutes a heresy.
This insistence on the part of the Nameworshippers that the words “God” and “divinity” are completely identical is ridiculous in the extreme, as anyone who has access to a dictionary should easily understand. In fact, almost no two words are exact synonyms. Words have a variety of different meanings and may be close synonyms in one sense but not in another. Using them, we sift out all the possible meanings to find the one that seems to fit best the context we have in mind. In accordance with this general principle, we find that the Holy Fathers themselves employ words in various senses. Only in restricted circumstances (usually polemics or formal doctrinal definitions) do they confine a word to a single, technical meaning.

If we review how the Fathers use the word “God,” we find that it is most commonly employed to denote the divine essence or one or all of the divine hypostases, and less frequently the divine energies. As for the word “divinity,” this is most commonly used to denote the divine essence, less frequently a single hypostasis, and still less frequently the divine energies. Collectively, the energies of God are called in most cases simply “energies” or “divine energies.” Individually, they are called by their various distinctive titles: foreknowledge, creative power, and so forth. The usage we characterize here as “typical” prevails particularly with respect to the first two points, especially among the earlier Fathers of the Church, the Fathers with whom the Russian members of the 1913 council were most familiar.1

When we turn to the works of St. Gregory Palamas, a somewhat different terminological balance is evident, a result of theological developments of his day. Saint Gregory employs the term “divinity” for the divine energies with some frequency. Very rarely, he even uses the term “God” for the same. Because of the relative frequency of St. Gregory’s use of the word “divinity” for the divine energies, the Russian Council Fathers were well aware of it. Seeking to follow St. Gregory in all things, they themselves made use of this terminology, even while noting that he “employs the word ‘divinity’ in a somewhat broader sense than is common” – that is, than those Fathers with whom the Russians were familiar. The Russian Fathers do not, however, use the word “God” for the divine energies, and even assert that St. Gregory “nowhere call the energies God, but teaches to call them divinity.”

This statement is the basis for the Nameworshippers’ first charge against the holy Council, which they condemn for theological deviation in this matter. The charge is blatantly intended to discredit the council’s entire work. But in reality, there is no theological deviation here – we have already seen the Russians’ eagerness to use St. Gregory’s term “divinity” for the divine energies. There is only an historical error. And the explanation for it is a very simple, mundane one.

Prior to the Russian Revolution, not all of St. Gregory Palamas’ writings had been translated into Russian. Hence the Council Fathers were unaware that St. Gregory occasionally did use the word “God” for the divine energies. Nevertheless, there is no reason whatsoever to suppose that if the Russian Fathers had been familiar with this rare usage, they would have rejected it. By their willingness to employ the term “divinity” for the divine energies, the Council fathers clearly demonstrated both their fidelity to St. Gregory’s thought and their belief that the energies were in fact divine in the full sense of the word. “Divinity,” in the Fathers the Russians knew best, means this, precisely.

The Russians’ mistake is obviously one which any honest and good-willed person should be able to understand. That the Nameworshippers should attempt to exploit it is disingenuous: misleading, fraudulent, and shameless; a cover for their own perverse teaching.

In their first charge against the Russian Council, the Nameworshippers pretend that any distinction between the words “divinity” and “God” turns the Divinity into a creature. Yet from what has been said, it is obvious that this assertion is irrelevant with respect to the Russian Council of 1913, since the Council Fathers’ preference for the term “divinity” in respect to God’s energies is to be explained solely by historical circumstance (i.e., the unavailability of certain of St. Gregory’s writings) and fidelity to what the Russian Fathers did know of St. Gregory’s vocabulary, rather than by any theological deviation.

Nevertheless, it is important to note that St. Gregory Palamas not only uses the term “divinity” for the divine energies far more frequently than the term “God”: he at times explicitly and specifically contrasts “essence” and “energies” by equating the first with “God” and the second with “divinity.” For example, in Pro Hesychastis 3.2.10, he writes:
With common voice all the Holy Fathers teach that it is impossible to discover a name that manifests the divine nature; rather, the names manifest the energies. For even the term “divinity” manifests the energies, denoting ‘to view,’ ‘to be seen,’ ‘to flash,’ or ‘to self-deify.’ But the essence of God which is beyond all names transcends this energy, inasmuch as to act thus belongs to that which is activated and being beyond name belongs to that which is named in this manner. This does not hinder us from adoring one God and one divinity, in the same way that the fact that we call a ray of light ‘sun’ does not prevent us from thinking of one sun and one light.
Here the saint is comparing God’s essence to the sun and energy to its light. Even while implying that “God” may refer in some cases to energy, he uses “God” to refer to the essence and “divinity” to refer to the energies. Again, in 2.3.8 of the same work he writes, “The monks know that the essence of God transcends the fact of being inaccessible to the senses, since God is not only above all created things, but even beyond divinity…” Here, St. Gregory again refers to the essence as “God,” while referring to the energies as “divinity.” Since St. Gregory himself makes the distinction and applies the words to the realities in this way, the Nameworshippers should be more than willing to allow the Russian Fathers this distinction and terminology. They should desist from pretending that to make a distinction between “God” and “divinity” reduces the divine energies to a creature, and admit that their criticism is altogether baseless.

To summarize the above: the several realities in God (essence, hypostasis, and energy) are described both in common speech and Patristic vocabulary by various terms, sometimes interchangeable, sometimes overlapping, sometimes employed in one manner, sometimes in another, depending upon need and context. The honest and devout person considers the sense of a word’s use, and allows the word to express the distinctions indicated by the user, rather than to posit artificial and false contradictions. Especially, he does not, on the basis of such sophistry, condemn the holy councils of the Church of Christ – councils accepted by the entire Orthodox Church for over a hundred years. To persist in this condemnation is expressive only of theological ignorance and arrogance and a mania to propagate heresy.

Next the Nameworshippers move on to another phrase in the Synodal Decision, in which the Russian Fathers of 1913 state that we cannot say that Christ revealed “His God” on Tabor but must say that He revealed “His divinity.” The truth of this statement ought to be obvious to any Orthodox Christian. Moreover, any schoolboy would be able to correct the Nameworshippers’ lack of knowledge of basic grammar, in that the genitive personal pronoun “his” is normatively understood as a genitive of possession. When modifying “divinity,” we correctly understand “his” to refer to Christ revealing an Attribute-Energy which He possesses. When modifying “God,” “his” denotes a relationship of inferior to superior, of Christ revealing His own God, some God superior to Him. This is subordinationism or adoptionism, both of which are heresies. Since the phrase “His God” entails heresy while “His divinity” does not, there is a very significant difference between the two. Hence the distinction the Russian Fathers make is valid and most Orthodox.

Finally, the Russian Fathers state that the word “God” indicates personhood, while “divinity” indicates attribute, quality, or nature. The Nameworshippers object to this Orthodox statement and claim that it introduces an inadmissible concept of personality in God, which allegedly would contradict the Orthodox understanding of one God in Three Persons. In fact, however, the Russian Fathers are correct and the Nameworshippers are wrong. This is due to the nature of the word “divinity,” which is an abstract noun formed from the word “God.” Rather than emphasize the personal nature of God, it emphasizes His qualities, which may be considered in the abstract.

We use masculine personal pronouns to refer to God, but we do not use them to refer to divinity or to any of the energies of God; i.e., we refer to God as “He,” but we call God’s will (considered in and of itself) not “He” but “it.” Again, it is important to remember that the term “God” can be used to refer to each of the Divine Hypostases individually as well as to the Trinity as a whole. The Russian Fathers were not at all constructing a new concept of a “personality of God,” but were simply pointing out that God is in fact personal in nature; i.e., that the three Persons of the Holy Trinity are the One God.

In conclusion, it is clear that the Russian Fathers of 1913 were not guilty of espousing Barlaamism or any other Latin heresy, but rather were zealous to expose and correct the pernicious heresy, Nameworshipping, which confronted them. While they did make an historical mistake in reference to the writings of St. Gregory Palamas, they did so out of ignorance and not out of a desire to contradict the saint, whose work they were zealous to uphold and establish. The Russian Fathers were true successors to St. Gregory and the hesychasts (whom they highly laud), and they point out that it is the Nameworshippers who are actually the Barlaamites, because they confuse the created with the uncreated, that is, a created name with the divine energies.

Ultimately, it is on the basis of one questionable explanatory passage that the modern Nameworshippers reject the whole decision of the Russian Church. So intent are they on demonizing the holy council that they completely deny the distinction made by St. Gregory Palamas himself between “God” and “divinity.” Thus, it becomes evident that the modern Nameworshippers have read St. Gregory less, and with far less understanding, than did the Russians one hundred years ago.

Moreover, it is clear that the Nameworshippers reject not simply a single mistaken passage, but rather the entire force and intent of the council. For if they rejected only the one mistake but accepted the decisions and declarations, they would be able to clear themselves of the charge of heresy by saying, “We accept the Russian Council of 1913 against the blasphemous Nameworshippers, but point out that St. Gregory Palamas did in fact call the divine energies God Himself.” Then there would be no problem.

But the Nameworshipping bishops obstinately refuse to make such a statement. Why? Because they themselves are indeed Nameworshippers and support Bulatovich and the deluded monks of Mount Athos, against whom the council was directed! Manifestly, their objections to the Russian Council of 1913 are based on their own adherence to heresy. The mistake made by the Russian Council of 1913 is nothing more than a convenient excuse to avoid accepting its condemnation of the very real heresy which they themselves espouse.

May we the Orthodox avoid espousing any heresy, especially the pantheistic nightmare of the Nameworshippers, but rather follow piously in the footsteps of St. Gregory Palamas and the Russian Fathers who condemned and banned from the Church every blasphemy against the sweet name of our Savior Christ!

1 See, for example, 1.12 in St. John of Damascus’s Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, a work that was very popular in pre-revolutionary Russia.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Chronology: Document 13

From Metropolitan Ephraim’s emailed file, "The Orthodox Veneration of the Name of God"

From: Met. Ephraim []

Sent: Saturday, September 15, 2012 8:26 PM

Subject: 2 attached articles


The following selection of passages is intended to show that the Holy Scriptures, the Holy Fathers and the Divine Services of the Church teach us that the Name of God (its inner significance and meaning and not its outward letters and sounds) is the divinely-revealed Truth about God Himself; just like all revelation of God about Himself, it is His uncreated operation, His power, His energy, His grace. According to the teaching of the Church, the Grace of God is God Himself (not His Essence, but His Energy). Hence, it is in this sense that St. John of Kronstadt’s famous saying "The Name of God is God Himself" should be understood, for it is in perfect harmony with the teaching of the Church.

[bold type in the original; rest of the PDF file, about the contents of which there is no contention, omitted]

Chronology: Document 9


Declarative Statement Submitted to the Bishops for Their Approval and Signature


Out of love for our Master, God, and Savior, Jesus Christ, and in loving reassurance of His Church, the People of God under our archpastoral care, and to dispel — indeed, utterly banish — any and all concerns, misgivings, misconceptions, and misperceptions, we, the undersigned hierarchs of the Holy Synod of The Holy Orthodox Church in North America do declare that we fully and unconditionally and without any reservation accept all the Ecumenical and local Councils and Synods and all their acts and decisions and proclamations accepted by the Orthodox Church Universal, including all the Patriarchal and Synodal

Chronology: Document 5

— A —

Pamela Houlares <>

Metropolitan Ephraim <>

Bishop Demetrius <>

Monday, January 16, 2012 8:50 AM

Meeting, Saturday, January 21, 2012

Your Eminence Metropolitan Ephraim:

I kiss your right hand.

Many Blessings for the Feast! A group of parishioners requests respectfully that we meet with you to discuss several concerns in regards to the election of the next bishop, the "Name Worshipping" controversy and the need for an all Church Council. If possible, we would like to meet with you this Saturday, January 21 at 11AM at the Diocese House. We also ask that Bishop Demetrius and Fr. Gregory, the newly elected Bishop, be present. We await your response.

In Christ,

Diaconissa Pamela

— B —

January 30, 2012

Your Eminence Metropolitan Ephraim,

I kiss your right hand,

Thank you again for meeting with us on Saturday, January 21, to discuss concerns raised by pa-rishioners of St. Mark of Ephesus Orthodox Cathedral. There were a broad representation of parishioners at the meeting including the Co-President of the St. Philothei Philoptochos, the manager of St. Mark’s Bookstore, several Parish Council members, St. Xenia Camp Assistant Directors and members of the Church Choir. There were other parishioners that could not attend due to family and job related obligations.

In summary, as a matter of record, there were three items discussed and responded to by your Eminence, Bishop Demetrius and Father Gregory (Bishop Elect). These included the following:

Father Gregory will visit parishes and speak to clergy and laity in order to get acquainted with clergy and flock. There was a recommendation that you consider moving the date of the consecration in order to allow the time and consideration for all involved.

The Name Worshipping Heresy is a concern of the Russian Church and. thus, will no longer be discussed or written about by our Bishops or clergy.

You will schedule general counsel meetings of clergy and laity representatives from all parishes on a periodic basis to keep the lines of communication and dialogue open. These councils would be in addition to the annual Clergy Synaxis and could be regional in order to welcome participants from different areas of the country.

The parishioners of St. Mark’s Orthodox Cathedral look forward to continued communication and involvement in our Church.

In Christ,

Diaconissa Pamela Houlares

Chronology: Document 3

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 churches.

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 written in.

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,

Gregory, hieromonk.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Statement of Bishop Demetrius

September 3/16, 2012
Hieromartyr Anthimus

Beloved Faithful:

In the Holy Orthodox Church, the bishop's first responsibility is to protect and defend the purity of our Confession of Faith. Within the past few years multiple issues have arisen which have disturbed the peace of HOCNA. These issues caused separation from Bishops, clergy, and laity. Particularly in this last year, a doctrine called Name-worshipping (or Name-glorifying) has been allowed to enter into the Holy Orthodox Church in North America, especially affecting the Metropolis of Boston. The Patriarchate of Constantinople, the Church of Russia, and the Holy Mountain of Athos condemned this teaching as a heresy some 100 years ago. From then until today, the entire Orthodox Church accepted these decisions. Now, there are some persons who wish to revive this teaching. They are casting doubt on the validity of the synods and confusing the synodal decisions in order to have this teaching gain acceptance by the faithful.

Efforts in the past year to quell this invasion of false doctrine have failed. Worse, despite pleas from clergy and laity, the Synod of Bishops of the Holy Orthodox Church in North America will not formally issue an unequivocal pronouncement accepting all the decisions condemning the heresy of Name-worshipping and excommunicating those who adhere to it. Since my responsibility is to protect and defend the purity of our Confession of Faith, I can no longer remain a hierarch on the Synod of Bishops of the Holy Orthodox Church in North America.

I am not forming a new synod; I am not creating a schism; I am not remaining a "floating" bishop. On the contrary, I am petitioning to be received as a member of the existing synod of the Genuine Orthodox Church of Greece, whose president is Archbishop Kallinikos of Athens. This same synod was unanimously, officially, and publicly acknowledged as a rightly confessing and canonical True Orthodox Church on September 21/0ctober 4, 2010 by the Synod of Bishops of the Holy Orthodox Church in North America. The same Synod of Bishops unanimously decided to lift the 1985 depositions against those bishops in the current GOC Archbishop Kallinikos Synod. They also dissolved the locum tenency of the throne of Athens that was held by Metropolitan Makarios of Toronto. These actions mean that Archbishop Kallinikos' Synod is the canonical successor of the True Orthodox Church of Greece under Archbishop Auxentius of Athens to which we belonged and from which we derived our hierarchy.

The Name-worshipping heresy has wreaked havoc in our Church in North America. We had already suffered division as a result of the "Awake, Sleeper" controversy. Sorne consider "Awake, Sleeper" to be a debatable theological point which unnecessarily caused controversy in the Church, while others consider it heretical as well. Name-worshipping, however, is not debatable. The synodal decisions of 100 years ago clearly condemn it as a heresy. That is why so many of our clergy and laity are disturbed by the introduction of this teaching into the Church. Metropolitan Ephraim's articles such as 'Halki' and 'Ill-Considered Decisions' subtly support the Name-worshippers by insulting the Synods that condemned the heresy. A layperson who knows nothing about a strange doctrine, but has a terrible opinion of the authorities which condemned it, will be easily led to believe the doctrine.

Numerous clergy and many of the Faithful no longer trust the Metropolitan to lead the Church. Many clergymen have asked their Metropolitan to retire, and fifteen monks of the Holy Transfiguration Monastery are leaving. Clergy and laity have indicated they have stopped or will cease commemorating their Metropolitan. The issue is the purity of our Confession of Faith.

Furthermore, questions have been arising about the very foundation of HOCNA, the purpose of its inception and existence, the reasons for Metropolitan Ephraim's insistence for independence, and intercommunion only on his terms. Issues like 'Awake, Sleeper' and 'Name-worshipping' continue to push us away from other Synods, create discord in our own Synod, and Metropolitan Ephraim will not stop. Now, those who are leaving are being branded as rebels and troublemakers for their refusal to compromise on matters of Faith.

Under normal circumstances, according to the Holy Canons, a smaller, local synod can appeal to a greater synod when questions arise concerning doctrine, the tenure of hierarchs, and canonical order. There is no such official arrangement for the Synod of Bishops of the Holy Orthodox Church in North America. This lack of a higher authority makes resolving such disputes very frustrating. To whom can the faithful appeal? My petition to be received into the Synod of Bishops of the Genuine Orthodox Church of Greece is an appeal on behalf of myself, our faithful clergy, and laity, for refuge from false teaching and a witness to our Savior' s Truth.

In the love of our Lord Jesus Christ,

+ Bishop Demetrius

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Smokescreens for Heresy

In this essay, Fr. Maximos of Holy Ascension Monastery in Bearsville, NY, discusses how today's name-worshippers are using the same tactics as heretics of past generations.


A common tactic for heretics to use in order to distract attention from their own heresy is to point out certain abuses among the Orthodox which are related to the controversy at hand. These abuses may be both matters of practice and matters of theological language. By pointing out the deficiencies of the Orthodox, they can claim the moral high ground and make the Orthodox appear as heretical or at least misguided. They use these abuses as an excuse for not accepting the Orthodox teaching on a given subject. By adopting this tactic, they confuse the faithful, making their own heretical doctrines appear more correct than they really are, and thus draw many into perdition.

This tactic in modern parlance is often called introducing a “red herring,” which means bringing up a subject which, while obliquely related to the matter at hand, does not address the main issue. Because a heretical teaching is always false, and hence possesses weaker logic and reasoning than the truth which the Orthodox Church proclaims, it is always in the interests of the heretics to introduce as many red herrings as possible, in order to draw attention away from the weak points in their own argumentation.

The ploy of the red herring - or as one may call it, a smokescreen which disguises evil - is ultimately a form of psychological argumentation and hence is invalid as a form of logic. By playing on the emotions of people, they can keep the debate on an entirely superficial level and avoid confronting their own faulty reasoning.

Recently, a heresy called “name-worshipping” has reared its head. This heresy is so called because its adherents believe that the name of God is God Himself; that is, that His name is a divine energy and hence uncreated. This ridiculous idea was condemned by the Synod of Constantinople in 1913 and again by the Russian Synod the same year. These Synods declared heretical the idea that the name of God is an energy of God or God Himself. This is the central point of the heresy, from which all of their other deviant beliefs follow. The Russian Synod, however, added a few comments of its own on the subject of the divine energies and the divinity, which used a slightly different terminology than the manner of expression used by St. Gregory Palamas (the expositor par excellence on the subject of the divine energies.) The Synod’s terminology was not so much heretical as not as clear and precise as St. Gregory’s exposition; and this was evidently the result of the Russian bishops’ lack of familiarity with the polemical writings of the saint, which had mostly not been translated into Russian at the time. The modern name-worshippers have seized upon this imprecision of terminology and have made it their banner; or rather, their smokescreen, declaring that they cannot accept the Russian council because it opposes the teaching of St. Gregory Palamas. In so doing, they have missed the main point, which is that even if the Russian Synod expressed itself poorly, name-worshipping is still a heresy. The Russian condemnation of name-worshipping is still valid in and of itself, even if the terminology it used in its further explanation of the subject is questionable. Moreover, the heresy was also condemned by the Synod of Constantinople, which used no dubious terminology. Yet the name-worshippers also refuse to recognize this council. Hence, it is clear that their motivation in attacking the language of the Russian Synod is not pious concern over expression, but rather because they simply do not accept the Orthodox teaching on the name of God.

It should be obvious at this point that the name-worshippers’ rejection of Orthodox teaching based on the comments made by the Russian Synod is nothing but a smokescreen which they use to mask their own heresy. In so doing, they are following the well-trodden path of many heretics. Let us examine a few heresies and the smokescreens they threw up in order to hide and excuse their false teachings.

1. The first great heresy to trouble the Church was Arianism. The Arians denied that Christ was God and that the Son is equal to Father. The Orthodox Church condemned Arianism at the First Ecumenical Council. The key word in explaining the Orthodox teaching was “consubstantial” – the Son is consubstantial or of one essence with the Father. The Arians, however, refused to accept this word. They knew that to accept it would entail a rejection of their heresy. But in order to distract people from the real issue, they pointed out that the word “consubstantial” was not found in Scripture and had originally been used in a heretical sense by Paul of Samosata, an earlier heretic who had confused the persons of the Father and the Son. The Arians accused the Orthodox of having the same heretical tendencies because they used the same terminology as an earlier heretic had, even though the Orthodox did not attach a heretical meaning to it.

2. The Arians also refused to join with the Orthodox Church because they pointed out that the Orthodox were in communion with Marcellus of Antioch, a bishop who was fanatically opposed to Arianism to the point of confusing the three persons of the Trinity. Most of the Orthodox did not realize that Marcellus’ own faith was suspect. The Arians threw a smokescreen over their own errors by pointing to the errors of Marcellus. But in fact, they were just avoiding the main point, which was that Arianism itself is heretical, and no number of dubious clergy in the ranks of the Orthodox can change that fact.

3. The Monophysites were a later heresy which fused Christ’s humanity and divinity to the point of obscuring His humanity. The Monophysites refused to accept the Fourth Ecumenical Council because the council accepted as orthodox the Tome of Leo, which they considered to be a Nestorian document. In fact, the Tome was perfectly Orthodox, but was worded vaguely enough that a Nestorian would not have a problem in accepting it. Nestorius himself declared that it was exactly what he had been trying to say all along. Thus, the Monophysites were able to characterize the Orthodox as Nestorians, and confuse many people. They used the Tome as a pretext for schism, and refused to deal with the real issue, which was that Monophysitism itself is a heresy.

4. Another heresy after Monophysitism was Iconoclasm. The Iconoclasts declared that icons were idols and that it was permissible neither to paint them nor especially to venerate them. The Iconoclasts were very quick to point out certain abuses connected with icons; for example, some people considered them living images to the point of using them as godparents at baptism! They used abuses such at this to blow smoke around the issue and to present the Orthodox view as something which inevitably lead to incorrect practices. But no number of abuses connected with icons could change the fact that it is a pious thing to depict and venerate them.

In our days, the name-worshippers are proving themselves worthy followers of their predecessors in heresy. By attempting to shift the focus of the debate onto the expressions of the Russian Synod, they are avoiding the real question: what is their own confession of faith? If they truly are Orthodox Christians, they can demonstrate it quickly and easily by just accepting the condemnations which the Church has published against name-worshipping. Let them proclaim loudly that the name of God is not an uncreated energy of God, but a created symbol given to us by Holy Scripture and the Fathers which expresses the inexpressible insofar as human language is capable. Let them denounce the errors of Bulatovich and the deluded monks of Mount Athos who followed him into heresy. Then we will believe that they are in truth Orthodox Christians and not members of a heretical sect.


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Gregory Lourie Deposed for Name Worshipping

In 2005, the Synod of Metropolitan Valentin of Suzdal deposed Gregory Lourie from the priesthood for his refusal to cease from promoting the heresy of name-worshipping.  Lourie maintains the decision was uncanonical.  He did not allow it to deter him from accepting consecration as a bishop in November 2008 from two bishops who had also been deposed by Metropolitan Valentin.  "Bishop" Lourie is now the foremost promoter of name-worshipping, having influence in Russia, Ukraine, Georgia and the United States.  He has glorified the heretic Anthony Bulatovich as a saint.

More about the synod's decision to defrock him here and here.  Background here.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky on the Heresy of Name-Worshipping

On the New False Teaching, the Deifying Name, and the "Apology" of Antony Bulatovich

by Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky

Metropolitan Anthony

Hieroschemamonk Anthony Bulatovich’s booklet differs significantly from Schemamonk Ilarion’s book, Na Gorakh Kavkaza (In the Mountains of Caucasia), in the defense of which it is written. Schemamonk Ilarion had as his primary intention to praise the "Jesus Prayer"and to convince his contemporary ascetics to practise this monastic activity, which is so often neglected today. This intention is altogether praiseworthy. Everything that has been written by the fathers on the Jesus Prayer is beneficial, as Christians should be reminded. Those monks who would want to lessen the significance of the Jesus Prayer and all other spiritual activities passed down by the fathers are worthy of reproach. Nonetheless, a correct undertaking does not stand in need of incorrect means, and the patristic tradition of the Jesus Prayer has sufficient sound reasons in its favour so that one need not resort to superstitious arguments. Unfortunately the Elder Ilarion did not avoid this and he added his own sophistries to the many patristic and salvific reflections on the benefit and meaning of the Jesus Prayer. He took it into his mind to argue that the name of Jesus is God Himself.

 As evidence for such a notion he cites the words of Father John of Kronstadt [1] on the close connection between the name and the person to which it refers, be this the name of God, angels, holy saints, or even simply any person. From these words [of Fr.John], however, only one conclusion can follow: that the name of Jesus is as close to the person of the Lord Jesus Christ as is every other of His names, and as the name of each person is to that person. No one would assert that, if I were to callupon the name of my absent friend, that my friend himself will be here with me [because his name is present]. If, however, he hears my summons, then he will either come or not come to me, but both he and I will understand that he himself is other, that his pronounced name is other. However in Schemamonk Ilarion’s book, contrary to Father John of Kronstadt — whom both he and Antony Bulatovich cite erroneously — Divine dignity is attributed, of all the Lord’s names, only to the name Jesus. In Bulatovich’s book, however, it is attributed to the names of God in general, and not only to specific names of God. In his desire to defend Ilarion’s superstitious teaching, Bulatovich went so far as to completely change it, because in all the excerpts from Father Ilarion one can not find a single one which would indicate the primacy of the name of Jesus over the other appellations of our Lord.

One asks why it was necessary for Schemamonk Ilarion to spread his superstition. The answer to this is discomforting. His teaching is connected with a profound disparagement of all rules of prayer apart from the Jesus Prayer. He asserts that those perfected in it do not stand in need of the reading of the Psalter, Matins, Vespers, and other books of prayer, and cites as evidence this saying of Saints Kallistos and Ignatios. [Their words] however, have precisely the opposite meaning. Here one needs to add the caveat that in Ilarion’s book, and even more so in Bulatovich’s book, nearly all the Biblical and patristic sayings are cited with misconstrued interpretations and frequently even misconstrued expositions. Thus, the saying of Ignatios and Kallistos reads: "while practising the Jesus Prayer, never neglect your rule." The author of the book thinks that in Slavonic, as in Russian, a double negative strengthens the negation and understand this saying like this: "those who practise the Jesus Prayer may neglect their rule."  Let him open the Ochtoechos and read the third resurrectional exaspostilarion: "for Christ is risen, may no one not believe."If these words were thus construed in a Russian phrase, then they would read as: "may no one believe in the resurrection of Christ,"but in Slavonic, as in Greek, a double negation is an affirmation, and the words of the Ochtoechos preclude disbelief in Christ’s resurrection, and call all to believe in it. In the same way the words of Ignatios and Kallistos forbid one to replace or abbreviate the normal monastic rule for the sake of the Jesus Prayer, and these words must be translated into Russian as follows: "those practising the Jesus Prayer should not neglect the monastic rule." [2 ]

God forbid that they neglect it, we would add, because such a monk would inevitably fall into spiritual deception (plani; prelest). The latter is a particular danger for Ilarion’s followers, inasmuch as this Elder explains that only in the first steps of this prayerful activity does the ascetic repeat the Jesus Prayer orally and fully. Later, having become perfected in it, he himself becomes greater than all petition andonly glorifies Jesus by pronouncing His name: "Jesus Christ,"or even simply "Jesus." Ascending even higher in the spiritual life, he does not even have need to pronounce this word, but guards it in his heart, as a constant property of the heart.

In such a case, what does a contemporary monk practise? He does not go to church, he does not read the church services, psalms, and prayers. He simply bears in his heart the name of Jesus. Does he not risk simply forgetting all his monasticism and, remaining in idleness and negligence, justifying his worldliness in that he bears in his heart the name of Jesus? [3]  Or that he reached such a level that a fall is impossible? It is wrong to think this way! Saint Macarius the Great witnesses "that some fathers reached such a level of perfection that they performed miracles, but later, having become negligent, fell."  A fall is also possible for great pillars of asceticism. If, however, they are in obedience to the monastic rule, then the cause of the fall is easily revealedas negligence or weariness in prayer, or in irritation at accepting holy obediences. But if the as-cetic already considers prayer and obedience not to be necessary for him, then he is a law unto himself and every temptation that seems good to him he considers to be divinely-inspired. Following Schemamonk Ilarion, he is convinced, that along with the name of Jesus the Hypostatic God is present. Could God mistakenly tolerate something negative in His chosen vessel? Of course not, and therefore everything thatseems lawful to him becomes lawful for him. [4] This is also the conclusion of the doctrine of the Khlysts. "Trust the spirit,"they say, and the spirit abides in the hearts of these spiritual Christians, as they consider themselves to be because of the lifeof fasting and chastity which characterises them at the beginning of their enthusiasm. Later, they are seduced by the thought that everything that comes from their heart comes from the Holy Spirit. They then begin, during their rites, to pay attention to that which their soul desires to "il-luminate"them. If their soul is filled with the desire for fornication, then they must believe that it is the Holy Spirit that has inspired this unclean desire. Then, abhorring the undefiled marital bed, during their rituals they first give themselves up to frenzied [sexual] mingling, and later do the same thing without ritual. Therefore, it was not without reason that we at Russkiy Inok [5] cautioned the readers of Ilarion’s book that it, labouring under the delusion of the ascetic’s superstitious fabrications, leads one to the precipice of Khlystism. [6] We know from Elders of elevated spiritual life that Ilarion himself, against the prohibition of the superior of Novo-Afonsky [New Athos Monastery], abandoned the holy monastery and obedience and made himself a desert-dweller on his own.

Unfortunately our time is a time of marked strengthening of Khlystism in both the Russian people and Russian society. Complete faithlessness has come full cycle. It has become terrifying for people to live outside of communion with heaven, but to come close to it by the narrow path, through the path of Christ seems, to the corrupt and the sinful, to be beyond their strength . Therefore they fabricate for themselves others paths for growing near to the divinity: sectarianism, magnetism, neo-Buddhism, but particularly Khlystism, which is, unfortunately, a Russian phenomenon that is not new. Khlysts, under the name of Johnites, chrikovites, koloskovism, stefanism, innokentyites, have filled both capitals [7] and Ukraine, east and west, both the trans-Volga and Siberia. [8] They have penetrated many monasteries: the Nikov Hermitage, the Pskov, Suzdal, Poldolsk and Olonets monasteries, and others.

Not long ago many people of little faith in society at least respected the moral teachings of Christianity, but were dubious of the teaching about miracles. Today, however, the opposite is the case. Those same people who have little faith in the reality of miracles are ready to accept every fabricated miracle of swindlers and tricksters, provided that it weakens the significance of the commandments of God about prayer, obedience, and self restraint. [9] They greedily fall upon everything that departs from the strict teaching of the Church, accepting all that promises growing close to the divinity without Orthodox Christian piety and without being adorned with morality. This is why so many have seized upon Ilarion’s teaching: one from blind zeal and stubbornness, another from laziness, delighted by the idea they will soon reach such a level of perfection that they will not have to stand through church services or read any prayers or the Holy Scripture, but will only "bear in their heart the name of Jesus."

Schemamonk Ilarion

The dishonesty of Ilarion and his followers, and especially that of Antony Bulatovich, is exposed by the fact that, not being satisfied with establishing their own doctrine, they attack those who disagree with them, intimidating them and their audience and readers with their proclamations, accusing them of denying the Divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ, of refuting the Jesus Prayer and all spiritual activity, of extolling their scholarly learnedness in place of spiritual experience, and so forth. [10]

To this we answer that we recognize the Divinity of Jesus Christ, highly esteem the Jesus Prayer, and do not pride ourselves in our learnedness, but place it lower than spiritual experience. We do not, however, see spiritual experience in Schemamonk Ilarion’s book, rather we see self-deceiving dreams, and we find spiritual experience even less in Bulatovich’s book, but find their only logomachy and scholasticism, but without hard logic, without knowledge of the Holy Scripture and without an understanding of the Greek language that he cites.

Ilarion’s book, which we read in October 1912, has the advantage over Bulatovich’s book and his printed proclamations in that it contains fewer conscious lies and conscious distortions of texts of Holy Scripture and the holy fathers, and less intimidation of all those who disagree with the authorby accusing them of godlessness and heresy. Not long before the publication of his book Ilarion himself doubted the correctness of his thoughts that the name of Jesus is God Him-self. He wrote to an Athonite spiritual father about this in a letter in whichhe recognized that he had not found this teaching either in Holy Scripture or in the fathers. He asked the spiritual father for his critique of this new teaching (cf., Russki Inok 1912,no 15, pp. 62-63). The Elder answered him disapprovingly. [11] But alas, the very thought that he had created a new dogma enticed the deluded schema-monk: he fell into what is often called the "Elders’deception." [12] We have great respect for monastic elders and experienced desert hesychasts and have always striven to put monk-students under their guidance. Having at various times served in three academies, we brought monks who were studying together with elders of the monasteries of Valaam, Optina, Sedmiozersky, and this bringing together of the academy with elders has become firmly established, glory to God, to this day. Nevertheless, it is impossible to remain silent about that deliber-ate temptation or deception which Elders undergo who are negligent about perfection. Everyone has particular temptations: young people are tempted by fornication, old people by profit-seeking, bishops by pride and vainglory, and Elders are tempted to invent their own rules [ustavy] to immortalize their memory in a monastery. [13] Therefore, in one monastery a certain prayer will be added to the rule in memory of an elder, and in another they will take off their klobuks at the priest’s first exclamation at the Liturgy, and in a third they will make a full prostration at the exclamation "holy things are for the holy,"and so on. In so doing they were concerned about their own glory, about their memory, and thought themselves similar to the ancient Liturgists who established the order of Divine Services. In this they are already in complete deception. [14]

However, like Macedonius, Eutechius, and Nestorius, those who like the Elder Ilarion, strive to immortalize their memory by thinking up new dogmas, [15] will create a memory for themselves that will not be effaced until the Lord’s second coming, but this memory will be joined not with blessings, but with perdition.

And behold the bitter fruits of such fame. The best Athonite monasteries have become places of fights, maiming, rebellion against the abbot, and uprisings against the Church. The name "Russian" has become synonymous with heresy on Mount Athos, and now a complete expulsion of our compatriots is possible. Everyone that was unruly, obstinate, ambitious and mercenary has jumped at this new thoughtless dogma and without even much thought about it, they have been glad for the opportunity to "reject authority, and revile the glorious ones"(Jude1:8), seizing for themselves the position of superior and pilfering the monastery treasury. All of this took place at St.Andrew’s Skete and to some degree in the Monastery of St. Panteleimon on Athos. If Schemamonk Ilarion had not thought up new dogmas but had only collected patristic thoughts about the Jesus Prayer and admonished readers to save themselves under the direction of the holy fathers, then his book would not have been circulated so widely and his name would not have been repeated by so many mouths. In fact, he is far behind the notable heretics of old, for although their dogmas were false the were at least comprehensible. Ilarion and Bulatovich have put forward notions that resemble the ravings of mad men, as the Ecumenical Patriarch and the patriarchal synod rightly declared.

Indeed, can one, without renouncing Christianity or reason, repeat their absurd affirmation that, as it were, the name of Jesus is God? We recognize that the name of Jesus is holy, bestowed by God and proclaimed by an Angel, a name given to the God-Man at His incarnation, but to confuse the name with God Himself -is this not the height of madness? What is God? God is Spirit, eternal, all-good, omniscient, omnipresent,and so forth, one in essence, but three in Hypostases. Does this mean that the name of Jesus is neither a word, nor a name, but a spirit omnipresent, good, and three in hypostases? Who, apart from one deprived of reason, would repeat such an absurdity? Or do they say that this name is the Second Person of the Holy Trinity and the God-Man Himself? In that case let them recognize another absurdity thatthis name is co-eternal with the Father, born of Him before the ages, incarnate, crucified, and resurrected. Has there ever been a heresy that has led to such insane conclusions?

Meanwhile Father Antony Bulatovich boldly announces that this teaching is contained in both the New and the Old Testaments, that it is in our divine services, and in the writings of the fathers. He does not himself believe what he writes, but only desires to have the means for rebellion in the Athonite monasteries. This writer forgot that Ilarion himself recognizes the novelty of this teaching, and has entered the furthest labyrinth of superstition, judging his teacher to be incorrect in that he [Bulatovich] recognizes the name Jesus as equal in honour with all the other names of the Lord, whereas Ilarion ascribes supernatural power only to the name "Jesus."

But for all that, this imitator of the new false teaching has spread it much more skilfully than had the originator, for many have surpassed him in cunning and insolence and ability to attract and intimidate simpleminded Russian monks. Therefore he, above all else, invented a name for his accusers [imiabortsem —"name opposers"]. He made noise everywhere in newspapers and in his proclamations, which were sent to all the monasteries, that the only people not in agreement with him are heretics, whom he gave the illiterate nickname "imebortsem."  He did not even know that the name expressed in this word should be taken from the genitive case, as for instance "imenoslovnoe"and not "imeslovnoe." Bulatovich’s extreme ignorance is demonstrated on every page of his book, whenever he is forced to have dealings with grammar, philosophy, or theology. However, Antony Bulatovich knows that Russian monks are little accustomed to investigate teachings of faith and will consider as heretics those to whom that name has been attached, especially if this is done boldly and under the appearance of zeal for the faith. [For this reason,] before undertaking to give an account of his thought he first dedicates many pages to reviling those who will not agree with him and accuses the opponents of his new heresy of teachings that are entirely foreign to them. He asserts that, for example, that Archbishop Antony and the monk Khrisanthos spoke against mental prayer (p. 3). [He asserts] that they "deny as essential in the prayer of the mind-in-the-heart, the confining of the mind in the word calling upon the name of the Lord"(p.9, does this mean that they recognize the prayer itself?). He applies [to them] the prophecy of Malachi: "may your blessings be cursed"(p. 20), and the retribution, that befell the Jews that blasphemed the name of the Lord (p. 146) and so forth. The credulous reader, the unlettered monk, is already prepared to believe that the writer (i.e., Bulatovich) is indeed a defender of the holy faith from godless blasphemers who deny the Divinity of Jesus Christ.

However, no matter how absurd any sort of heresy might be, if it has the appearance of increasing the greatness of God, many people will be ready to accept it. That is why the country which more than any other had zeal for piety and asceticism, Egypt, was completely attracted to the heresy of Eutychius and to this day remains in the knots of his false doctrine, in the knots of Monophysitism. Every Christian values faith in Jesus Christ as God equal to the Father and the Holy Spirit. Eutychius himself desiring, as it were, to honour Christ even more, began to teach that His Divine essence swallowed up in Him his human essence and that He is now only God, and those who denied this he called Nestorians, Arians, godless, and other names. It is no wonder that this heresy drew in the anchorites and people of Egypt and Ethiopia and that to this day they despise the Orthodox as having diminished the honour of the Son of God. The Latins have managed to seduce the western nations with a similar imaginary piety, having fabricated in recent times a false doctrine about the Immaculate Conception of the Most Holy Theotokos from Joachim and Anna, and they castigate those who do not agree with this impiety, i.e., the Orthodox, as "enemies of the Theotokos." It is no surprise that many former Ukrainian theologians, accustomed to reading Latin books, accepted this teaching as if it were a glorification of the Most Holy Virgin. Even some of the Russian Old Believers living in Austria introduced this false doctrine into their books, and now Muscovite schismatics defend it in missionary conversations. All heresy spreads with the same success when it appears to elevate our various points of faith more than is indicated in church doctrine, while at the same time practising an impudent battle against the defenders of the latter, applying to them names of former heretics and ascribing to them various godless opinions which they never shared. [16] However, the dishonest devices of the writings of Antony Bulatovich are not limited to this: they distinguish themselves in the way that, citing on every page of his book words of Holy Scripture or the holyfathers and, being unable to produce a single citation that actually supports his absurd heresy, he cites the fathers only partially, omitting what does not please him, and after every text he writes in parentheses "listen to this, this is what is being said here"and then offers a fraudulent interpretation that is entirely foreign to the thought of the sacred words. The ill-informed reader is prepared to think that the author is continuing to cite the Patristic or Biblical words. Sometimes he prints Patristic citations is such a way that they are confused with his own commentary, [17] and it is impossible to distinguish, for instance, where the words of St.Athanasius the Great end (p. 107) and where the words of Antony Bulatovich begin. For instance, St Athanasius writes that several people, chosen by God, were called "christ"that is, "anointed,"apart from the Lord Jesus Christ, but that they were not The Christ but were only prefigurations of Him. Fr.Bulatovich adds from his own part that there are people named Jesus who were not "true Jesuses,"but adds this in such a way that the reader thinks that they are the words of St. Athanasius, inasmuch as he does not include ending quotation marks in his commentary, but simply writes "p.374"(in the alleged works of St. Athanasius).

If it were clear to the reader that these words are not those of St.Athanasius, but of Antony Bulatovich, then he would understand the falsity of this interpretation. The word "anointed" (christ), attributed to David and other chosen ones is not a proper name but rather an indication of a calling (a rank, as it were), which God gave to kings and prophets. The name of Jesus, however, is a proper name, and no other name or title indicated Jesus the Son of Sirach, Jesus the Son of Jozadek, or Jesus in the New Testament, and there are several named Jesus (Joshua) on Athos.

Truth does not stand in need of such impermissible devices or forgeries of the words of the holy fathers, but Antony Bulatovich needed such falsification in order that, by such a deception, he could escape the vexing demonstration of his denouncers.

It we desired to put forward every example of the author’s entirely arbitrary interpretations that contradict the sense of Revelation, then one would need to rewrite his entire book, for there are several on every page. Pick up this book and look over the more characteristic forgeries of the thought of sacred words: they are on pages 7, 9, 10, 20, 23, 29, 31, 38, 53, 85, 90, 92, 93, 95, 96, 97, 101, 109, 127, 128, 129, 131, 132, 136, 139, 141, 149, 150, 154, 155, 156, 159, 166, 169, 172, 173, 175, 176, 178, 180, 181, and 183. Many of the indicated pages have two or three false interpretations, and this book has only 189 pages. Sometimes our author finds his thoughts about the names of God in citations from Holy Scripture, where this word is not at all present. See pages 6 and 7, 11, 20 27, 33, 143.

The author does, however, at one point admit that this doctrine is entirely foreign to Divine Revelation. Filling the pages of his book with borrowed interpretations of the Old Testament and sensing the complete lack of correspondence of this with the word of God, he makes a proviso: "but perhaps someone will object to us: you are creating a doctrines (and this objection would be entirely justified!), for where in the holy fathers is it said that the Son of God is the Name of God? It has already been said, we have already cited abovethe words of the Prophet Isaiah, who called the Son of God by the name of God (Is 30:27). Let us seek [says Bulatovich] to demonstrate even more clearly that under the name ‘Word of God’is assumed the Name of God."The author further cites several passages from the fathers in which the Son of God, as in the beginning of the first Gospel reading, is named the Word, but nowhere and never is He called the "name of God."The words of the Prophet Isaiah, entirely misrepresented here by Bulatovich, read as follows: "Behold the name of the Lord comes from afar, burning with his anger, and in thick rising smoke; His lips are full of indignation, and His tongue is like a devouring fire,"and further. Here the wrath of God against the enemies of Israel is being spoken of, and the name of God isused in the same sense as the "glory of God,"that is, simply in place of the word "God."The Old Testament prophets rarely dared to speak directly about revelations of God, and instead of this dreadful word employed descriptive expressions like "the name of God, the glory of God, the Lamb of God"; this is known to everyone, even to the youngest seminarian, but Bulatovich, having filled his book with all such expressions, which one can very easily pick out from the alphabetical Biblical dictionary (published by "Stranik"), acts with them in the same way that the ancient half-pagan Gnostics acted with the words of the Bible "ages, ages of ages, in all ages."The word has no special significance whatsoever apart from an indication of the eternity of God’s being and Christ’s kingdom; however, the Gnostics attributed to the word "age"—in Greek, aeon—a certain divine significance. These compiled an entire history and hierarchy of these aeons, dividing them into evil and good, and recognizing the Son of God as the main aeon. They created whole fables about these, in which consisted their absurd faith in place of the faith defined in our Symbol. And what of it? They based each of their fabrications on words of the prophets or apostles in which they used the word "age,"in Greek aeon, so that to argue with these vain men was not very easy.

Antony Bulatovich employs a similar approach in order to turn an entirely applied meaning of "name" into God. His subterfuges are so far-fetched and artificial that it is impossible to trust their honesty. He himself, it goes without saying, does not believe his own verbal tricks and he even contradicts himself, as we have seen, recognizing that the reader might reproach him for fabricating new dogmas foreign to the Bible and the fathers.

Just how far from the truth his references to St.Gregory of Thessaloniki [Palamas] are can be seen from the explanation of another respondent, who demonstrates that Bulatovich distorted the Orthodox doctrine of Palamas, inasmuch as his first anathema is directed against those who recognize the energy of God not as divine but as God Himself, that is, who identify it [the energy] with the essence of God. Why has Fr. Bulatovich done all this? Why has he brought so many sins and divisions into the Athonite brotherhood? Why did he dishonour and expel the Abbot of the St. Andrew Skete, Fr. Ieronim? Or did he not know the 121st rule of the Nomocanon, which says of a monk who dishonours the Abbot, even justifiably: "may he be cursed, for he is separated from the Holy Trinity and has gone to the place of Judas"? Alas, one is forced to accept the thought that Fr. Bulatovich’s intended purpose was precisely dissension and expulsion while compiling his erroneous books, full of clear distortions of sacred words and known to be full of false interpretations of them.

However, in order to verify his possibly more honest conviction, let us pose the question as follows: perhaps Bulatovich has been so carried away by that which he has received from Sche-ma-monk Ilarion and by his own reworked idea that for its sake he decided to garble passages from the Bible and fathers.

His doctrine consists of the following positions. In God not only His Essence is divine, but His energy as well; the energy is every word of God and every action; the name of God is also His energy (energy means will or power); it follows, according to Bulatovich’s words, that the name of God and every word of God is not only divine, but is God Himself. This is allegedly theteaching of St.Gregory of Thessaloniki. In actual fact the teaching of Saint Gregory condemns those who speak in this manner, as did the Barlaamites,* opponents of St.Gregory, who requires that one call the energy of God not God, but rather divine and to refer to it, not as God but as "divine"or "Divineness" (theotis, and not thos. This excerpt is distorted by Fr.Bulatovich on p.106).

Let us return now to Bulatovich’s very doctrine: to what is he leading his blind followers? He says on page 5 that theword of God on Mt Tabor, that is, calling Jesus the "Beloved Son,"and the rest, is also God Himself, as a verbal action of God; in like manner every God-revealed truth, addressed to people by the Holy Spirit is God, for they are the verbal action of the Divinity. Our author repeats this absurdity more than once: see pages 22, 23, 26, 101, and 106, where it is openly said that every word of God "is God immutable, existing and living,"and even cites St.Symeon the New Theologian onp.107, where nothing ofthe sort is said. Fr. Bulatovich even more frequently repeats a passage from St.Tikhon of Zadonsk, as usual completely distorting its thought. Here are the words of St.Tikhon: "the great name of God includes within itself His Divine attributes, incommunicable to any creature, but to Himself alone, such as: consubstantiality,eternity, omnipotence, goodness, wisdom, omnipresence, omniscience, righteousness, holiness, truth, spiritual essence, etc." Then our author, in his dishonest habit, cries out: "listen to what the holy God-pleaser says, that the Name of God is spiritual essence, and not an abstract idea."The God-pleaser says nothing of the sort, just as he does not say that the name of God is allegedly itself omnipresent, omniscient, etc.: he says that the word "God" includes in itself the thought of all the attributes of God, of His righteousness, His spirituality, etc., but is not at all righteousness itself, or spirituality itself. Our author simply distorted the thought of the patristic sayings, changing the accusative case of the word: spiritual essence to the nominative. St.Tikhon here enumerates all the attributes of God taken from the Catechism (Spirit, eternal, all-righteous, omniscient, omnipresent, etc) And he affirms that when we mention the name of God, we should express a pious faith in the Divine attributes, which are revealed in the holy Gospel and other books of revelation. Therefore, Fr.Bulatovich several times falsely accuses St.Tikhon entirely erroneously, as if he considered the name of God to be a spiritual essence. Let us return, however to the question of what is the fundamental thoughtlessness or the fundamental falsity of Fr.Bulatovich? In that the energy of the Divinity or the will of the Divinity is not that which the Lorddid or the words that He pronounced. The energy and will of the Divinity have divineness (although without being God), but the works of the Divine energy and of the Divine will are not the same as the energy of God: Divine activity may be called God’s energy, but God’s words and God’s creation—these are works of Divine activity, of Divine energy, and not energy itself. It is this that Fr.Bulatovich, overlooked in his ignorance, or which he, in his cunning desired to over-look. If every word spoken by Godand every one of His actions is God Himself, then it follows that everything seen by and tangible to us is God, and that is, pagan pantheism (and not "pante-istism,"as Father Bulatovich expresses it in his ignorance, repeating the misprint in Russki Inok). Fr.Bulatovich affirms this absurdity without any shame he says that every word spoken on Mt Tabor is God. It follows that the word "hear" is God and the word "whom"is God. The Saviour denounced contemporary moralistic Jews, saying to them "serpents, generation of vipers." Does it follow that serpents and vipers are God? According to Bulatovich, this is certainly the case, doubly so, inasmuch as the serpent, and the hedgehog, and the rabbit are created by God, and are the activity of the Divinity and does it not follow that these animals are also God? Hindu pantheists, incidentally, teach this, and worship as gods crocodiles and apes and cats. Could it be that Fr.Bulatovich desire to draw Athonite monks to such insanity? What led him to this point: ignorance or cunning? He has no small share of ignorance. What sort of thoughtlessness does he commit, for instance, in stating, "The Lord revealed Himself with the namesake of His name on the cross"? Who is not the namesake of his own name? This is like saying "wooden wood"or "oily oil." One could say that the Lord revealed Himself as identical with the content of His name, as "Saviour" (although this occurred not only in the hour of crucifixion, but in all the days of His earthly life. But to say "the namesake of the name"is to speak without any sense. Further, on p.10, the author applies the Trisagion to the Person of Jesus Christ; but the Armenians were expelled for this, and the holy Church teaches us to apply this hymn to the Most-Holy Trinity. Simply put, Fr.Bulatovich is very poorly versed in both theology and grammar. Even if he were totally illiterate, however, it would seem impossible for him to affirm and thrust upon the fathers such absurdity, as he has, asserting that every word and action of God is God Himself.

Sometimes Fr.Bulatovich himself looks on his absurd invention and tries to correct it, but he is unable to accomplish this. On p.41 he says "However, these divine attributes—consubstantiality, eternity, spiritual essence, etc.—we do not ascribe to the letter, with which we express Divine truth, but only to the very word of truth."What then? For a word itself consists of letters and sounds. "Therefore,"Fr.Bulatovich continues, "when we speak about the name of God, having in mind the essence of the Name itself, by which we name God, then we say that the Name of God is God Himself; but when we have in mind the letters and sounds by which we orally ex-press the truth about God and the Name of God, then we say that God participates in His Name"(cf.pp.78, 79, 88, and alsop.101). What does the author wish to express in this incomprehensible phrase? Does he wish to say something or simply to confuse, to obscure the thought of his credulous teacher, so that he, reading these lines, would say:"Well, glory to God, here we are deifying neither sounds nor letters, but something else that I cannot understand."Indeed no one can understand, we would add, because it is impossible to understand such nonsense. Logic distinguishes the essence of a thing from its phenomenon (although this, too, is rather vague), and a natural scientist would tell yout hat sounds are something audible, but that their essence is a vibration of the air and its impact on our eardrums; lightening is a visible phenomenon, but its essence is the release of electrical energy or power.

But what is the difference between a name and the idea or essence of a name? Any educated person would offer the response that the idea of a name is its thought (for instance, the name "Andrew"contains within itself the idea of manliness, and the name "Agapia,"the idea of love), and the essence of the name is understood to be that person to whom it is assigned. But Fr. Bulatovich does not wish even to hear such answers. He is indignant with those who "dare to equate the divinity of the name of God with the simple idea of God and who see in the name of God nothing but sounds"(p.152).

Perhaps, in the end, Fr.Bulatovich equates the wonder-working power of the name of God with the devout feeling of the person at prayer, for whom the Lord who is invoked, settles in his heart? No, he alleges that the name of God maintains its wonder-working power even when pro-nounced unconsciously. See, for instance, p.89 of his book: "Even if you call upon the name of the Lord Jesus unconsciously, you will nonetheless have Him [present] in His name with all His divine attributes."What does it mean to say that one will have Him? We try to understand our new philosopher, but he again repeats: "although you call upon Him as a man, nonetheless you will have in the name of Jesus all of God." [or the whole fullness of God]

In other passages, equal to this in their absurdity, Fr.Bulatovich ascribes wonder-working power to the name of Jesus alone, as a sound, even without theprayerful entreaty of the one pronouncing it; distorting, as is his custom, the words of Christ. Fr.Bulatovich puts the following promise in Christ’s mouth: "When, after the resurrection from the dead, I send to you the Com-forter, then you will no longercall upon Me, that is, you will not be in need of My intercession, but it will be enough for you to ask in My Name, in order to receive that which you desire from the Father. As such, He here demonstrates the power of His Name, inasmuch as one will neither see nor ask of Him Himself, but will only name His name. It will do such deeds"(p.44.). The Lord did not teach the Apostles and never spoke such things. He said "I will see you again"and "In that day you will ask nothing of me"[Jn16:22–23]. Fr.Bulatovich boldly asserts "to question"[voprosite] (in Slavonic) is here in place of "to ask" [poprosite], but in so doing he tricks the simpleminded reader, for the Lord continued the discourse with the following words: "Truly, truly I say to you, if any one ask anything of the Father, He will give it to you in my name. Hitherto you have asked nothing in My name; ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full" (Jn16:23–24).

May one think that Fr.Bulatovich is mistaken through ignorance, or is one forced to the conclusion that he is an ignorant deceiver? For the moment, it is left to the reader to decide. Bulatovich simply mocks the reader: announcing that it is not the sounds and words themselves that have divine power, but only its idea. It follows from Bulatovich’s falsified saying of the Lord (cf.p.46) that even an unconscious and prayerless pronunciation of His name is wonder-working. But our author, in other places in his book, either forgets about his fabrication of a magical significance of the name of God, or thinks that the reader has forgotten about it. After the introduction of some patristic sayings, it is clear that we must call upon the name of God with a prayer united in faith and zeal.

He cites the words of Chrysostom as follows: "We have a spiritual exorcism: the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and the power of the cross... If many have pronounced this exorcism with-out however receiving healing, then this was because of their lack of faith, and not from the powerlessness of the pronounced name."This thought is continued in the author’s exposition of the further words of St.John Chrysostom on the remainder of p.60 of his book; the same thoughts are found on pp. 64 and 66 in excerpts from Sts. Diadokhos, John of the Ladder and Gregory of Sinai, the Elder Paisy Velichkovsky (p.77), and Fr.John of Kronstadt (p. 81). All these excerpts witness that the Jesus Prayer and every calling upon His name is salvific only under the condition of devout faith, unceasing prayer, humble-mindedness, and fasting. Under the influence of these correct thoughts, Fr.Bulatovich himself utters the following onp. 69: "without heartfelt feeling the practice of the Jesus Prayer and of lifeless prayer may be called sinful."

This correct wisdom, however, is not long remembered by the author in the continuation of his book. In any case, it does not seem occur to him, for as we have already seen, in the same place, (on pp. 14 and 15,) he attempts to demonstrate that the name of God pronounced without faith shows wonder-working power. On p.19, after some cited words of Kallistos, he quotes the words of Scripture: "If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For man believes with hisheart and so is justified, and he confesses with his lips and so is saved"(Rom10:9–10); here again we see the necessity of heartfelt faith when calling upon the name of the Lord. However, in the third chapter the author forgets all this and indignantlysays that "the imebortsy [name deniers]  [18] deny the evident truth in the Holy Scripture that miracles were performed by the divine power of the name of God and dare to assert that it was not by the power of thedivine name [alone] that these miracle were performed, but by God Himself, and that the name of the Lord served only to call upon God as an intermediary power"(42). He especially likes to cite the healing of the lame man in the third chapter of Acts and, in particular, the words of the Apostle: "His name has made this man strong whom you see and know"(cf.,esp.p.7); but, in continuing his false and heretical method, does not complete the passage, which reads further, "and the faith which is through Him has given the man this perfect health and in the presence of you all" (verse16).

One sees how hard it is for Fr.Bulatovich to part from the world-view of the Khlysts, according to whom words, acting magically in distinction from faith and virtue, lead us to the Divinity. In actual fact, if the name of Christ, called upon independently of faith and piety, could work miracles, then that about which we read in Acts would never have occurred: "And God did extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul so that cloths or belts were carried away from his body to the sick, and diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them. Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to pronounce the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, ‘I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.’ Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. But the evil spirit answered them, ‘Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?’ And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, mastered all of them, and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded" (19:11–16).

You see, the apostles’ items, touched with faith, although without calling upon the name of God, served for healing, but the unworthy calling upon the name of the Lord did not achieve any benefit. Our author asserts, entirely wrongly, that the Lord and the Apostles performed miracles only by [19] the name of God. It is true that frequently both the Lord said only:"I command you, I tell you", (without any name), and the Apostles said: in the name ofthe Lord Jesus Christ I say to you",etc. But the Lord also frequently performed miracles in silence (walking on the water, the healing of the woman with an issue of blood, the healing of Malchus’ear, the miraculous catch of the fish, and many others), so too did the holy Apostles perform healings and miracles without always pronouncing the Lord’s name. Sometimes they did so in silence or pronouncing other words. Such were the exposing of Ananias and Sapphira, the healing of Saul, where the name of Jesus Christ was not used by Ananias (9:17), and similarly, the healing of Aneas by Peter. This contradicts the absurd affirmation of Fr.Bulatovich on p.42, which we have cited above. Similarly the resurrection of Tabitha, the healing of Elymas’blindness by Paul (13:11), and the giving of the gift of the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands upon the newly-baptized Ephesians (19:6). Paul’s immunity to the viper is another example. None of these events are compatible with Fr. Bulatovich’s superstitious doctrine about the magical significance of the name of God and that all words and acts of God are God. This last false teaching relates him with the Buddhists, and Hindus and the previous ones with Kabbalists, While contradicting the words of Divine Scripturewith every step, he strengthens his superstition with the teaching of Kabbalism which, not being able to deny the miracles of Christ and not wishing to accept faith in Him as God, ascribe His miraculous power to the magical action of the name of God, claiming that He stole it from somewhere. Our author dedicates pages 99 and 100 of his book to a description of such Kabbalistic superstitions.

We will not specifically examine the most absurd of all the absurd chapters of Fr. Bulatovich’s book, the one in which he attempts to interpret all our divine services and the entire Psalter as expressions of faith that the name of God is God. There is not one single such saying in our services, or in the Psalter, or in St. Athanasius’commentary on it. Of course our divine services, as with all words of prayer, are a constant calling upon God, and this naturally makes frequent use of His name. However it should be noted that in the Lord’s Prayer as it was given to us by the Lord, unmasks Bulatovich for there is no naming of God as "God", or "Lord", or any of the other Hebrew names of God, so beloved by our new philosopher. Suffice it to say that the majority of our hymns, prayers, and exclamations are formed from passages from the Psalms and [Old Testament] prophetic hymns, and therefore one can sometimes find in them expressions specifically from the Hebrew scripture: "the name of God"and "the name of the Lord"in place simply of "God"or "Lord." The reader versed in the Psalter who looks through the excerpts from the divine services in Bulatovich’s book will be assured that nearly all, or even all, the cited excerpts from our divine services are borrowed from the sacred books of the Hebrew Scripture or Old Testament.

Let us ask, in the conclusion of our analysis of Bulatovich’s book: Is there in the fathers even a single expression that supports this book’s teaching that the name of God is allegedly God Himself? Not a single one. In order to render its author silent, let us examine those few passages that might appear tobe such to the unwary reader.

On p.35 the words of the Blessed Theophylact are cited, in which he explains the equality of the apostolic expression "to baptize in the name of Jesus Christ"with Christ’s commandment to "baptize them in the nameof the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."The Blessed Theophylact writes: "The Holy Church conceives of the indivisible Holy Trinity; thus following the unity of the three Persons in essence, those baptized in the name of Christ are baptized in the Trinity, inasmuch as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are indivisible in essence. If the name Father (in St. Theophylact, "of the Father") were not God, and the name of the Son were not God, and if the name of the Holy Spirit were not God, then it would follow that to baptize in the name of the name of Jesus Christ, would be to baptise only in the Son. But he, Peter, says: in the name of Jesus Christ, knowing that the name Jesus (not "Jesus,"but "of Jesus") is God, equal to the Name of the Father and the Nameof the Holy Spirit."This passage from St. Theophylact is meant as an explanation: the name of Jesus Christ signifies the Son of God, consubstantial with the Father and the Spirit, and therefore it would be the same to baptize in the name of either the Holy Trinity or [to baptise] in the name of Jesus Christ. This is not at all what Fr.Bulatovich is doing in reworking the words of this holy Father.

I would add from myself that, the Apostle Peter baptized these people, as well as all the others, in accord with Christ’s commandment expressed in these words: "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,"but in this discourse he did not explain these words to them, as they would not have been able to comprehend the fulness of their meaning.

The second passage upon which Antony Bulatovich so falsely puts hope belongs to St.Gregory the Sinaite: "Prayer is the preaching of the Apostles, immediate faith, active love, knowledge of God, the joy of Jesus, and what more may one say? Prayer is God, acting all in all, for which Father and Son and Holy Spirit are one activity, all acting in Christ Jesus."

This is a poetic expression in which the word "is" takes the place of saying "is ranked,""is nourished,""attains,"etc. A similar turn is found throughout ecclesiastical poetry: "Jesus, all-miraculous, amazement of angels; Jesus, all-glorified, strength of kings; Jesus, all-pure, chastity of virgins."Does it follow that one can say that the chastity of the righteous is not a condition of the soul, strengthened by grace, but is itself God—Jesus? Likewise, would not one say that the strength of a pious king is a condition of his reign strengthened by Christ’s power, but it is not Christ Himself? Is not this passage on prayer exactly the same? Prayer is one of the subjects of apostolic teaching and the fruit of the sincere adoption by the believing heart of a Christian, By prayer one attains immediate, that is, living, faith and active love and the knowledge of God, This is both the fruit of the source of knowledge for those being perfected; our prayer isthe joy of Jesus Christ, and our joy for Jesus Christ. Warm, grace-filled prayer gives us God, acting in us, not only in the Holy Spirit, who, according to the Apostle, teaches what one should pray for (Rom8:26), not of the Holy Spirit alone, but the Persons of the Most Holy Trinity in full, for the actions of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit are one action. There is no deification of prayer here and no support for the newly-minted superstition, for here it is not said that prayer is God, but rather that God is acting in us, "giving prayer to the one who is praying,"as it is said in the scriptural song of St.Hannah, which is sung in our canons (1Kings 2:9).

The lies that Bulatovich has contrived are those swept away like cobwebs. He has served the glorious name of Jesus in his evil-pursuit as corruptly as have the Jesuits who have given His name in the wickedness of their extraneous earthly ends.

If we were to attempt to expose every one of Bulatovich’s absurd thoughts which contradict the teachings of faith and healthy thought, there would be no end to this examination. One question remains: what led him to such a mental quagmire: a passion for false thought combined with obstinacy,or extraneous vainglorious ends? As much as one would like to give an affirmative response [i.e. to find some excuse for] the first part of the question and a negative one to the second, it is very difficult to do so. His judgments are too absurd and uneducated to believe in the sincerity of his errors. If we add to this his furious agitation, his incitement of the brothers of several monasteries, his crude disobedience to the great authority of that holy and spiritual man, the late Ecumenical Patriarch, Joachim III, then an even more sorrowful answer suggests itself. For he spread the rumour among the simple and childishly credulous Athonites that the Great Patriarch was allegedly bribed, that his letter was spurious, not signed by him.

In the present time the newly-elected Patriarch Germanos and the entire Holy Synod of the Great Church have unanimously affirmed the condemnation of Bulatovich’s book with its new teaching as well as Schemamonk Ilarion, and excommunicated all those who hold this teaching. They have pointedly agreed with that which the late Patriarch Joachim III of blessed memory had already done. May God grant that reason and conscience awake in the founders and followers of this new superstition and that they will show repentance for their errors and for causing stormy scandals and monastic rebellion in the monasteries of Holy Athos. They could [through repentance] demonstrate that they were not evil deceivers who "walk in the way of Cain, and abandon themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error, and perish in Korah’s rebellion"(Jude1:11), but rather repentant sons of the Heavenly Father, Who is ready to say ofthem: "this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found"(Lk15:24).

1 Now Saint John of Kronstadt.

2 Hesychasts and anchorites are supposed to have a blessing and prayer rule from their Elder. Thus, even if the hesychast practises only the Jesus Prayer, he is still doing so as a prayer rule that he has received. Even so, many hesychasts do fall into delusion.

3 Some such monastics have been deluded by Satan who appears to them in a form that they think is Jesus. Satan then leads them into insanity, from which they can recover only with the prayers of the brotherhood, and then only after a long time. See for example, the Life of Isaaky of the Kiev Caves, in the Kiev Caves Paterikon (Synaxis Press, 1980).

4 [Ed.Note]: In fact, the Taborites sect of John of Leyden (1509-1506) accepted such an idea and formed a sect which became so corrupt and degenerate that the government in Germany had to send police and soldiers to stop the sex-ual and larcenous crimes of the community.
5 [Ed. Note]: Metropolitan Antony was director of the Journal.

6 [Ed. Note]: The famous Gregory Rasputin belonged to this sect. He was not a tonsured monk, and there is no evidence that he had ever been Orthodox.

7 [Ed. Note]: i.e., both Moscow and St. Petersburg.

8 [Ed. Note]: We suspect that Vladika Antony had in mind Rasputin, who was a Siberian Klyst, and not an Orthodox Christian.

9 [Ed.Note]: Vladika could as well be speaking about North America in our own era. The great miracle of the Holy Communion is ignored, but tens of thousands run after the likes of Benny Hinn, Popov and the neurotic babbling of Pen-tecostalism.

10 [Ed. Note]: It is, perhaps, unfortunate that Vladika Antony did not clearly state the obvious; that Ilarion was dancing with Augustine of Hippo on the precipice of Euonomiannism. Augustine also intimates quite strongly that personal experience of the divine is superior to and different from the collective knowledge and experience of the Church. In asserting that the mind can directly contemplate the prototypical ideas and eternal truths that are in the mind of God, he is certainly asserting that the human mind can apprehend and contemplate the Essence of God. While Ilarion and Antony Bulatovich were not nearly so sophisticated and eloquent as Augustine, they fell into the same heresy that Augustine has taught. Vladika Antony most certainly was not opposed to hesychasm, but was justly cautious of the delusions that many hesychast fell into, neo-Messalianism among them.
11 The Elder was Skhi-Archimandrite Kirik, the confessor at St. Panteleimon's Monastery. He was a leader in the struggle against the heresy of the "name worshipper" (Imiaslavia). Patriarch Varnava of Serbia later brought Elder Kirik to Serbia in the 1930s, as the confessor for all the Serbian clergy.

12 That is, either the desire to memorialize oneself, the delusion that one is a learned Elder when it is not so, or the delu-sion that actual Elders sometimes fall into, which often leads them into other sins because they begin to think that they are above sin.

13 [Ed. Note]: Just as some parish priest who are in the same state of delusion issue their own versions of the Ortho-dox Prayer book with prayer not recognized by the Church, and even prayers written by those whom the Church deems to be heretical.

14 [Ed. Note]: Much like the priests and hierarchs in our own 20th-21st centuries who introduce, sometime with force, kneeling in church at certain times during Sunday Liturgies or at other times, where the Church either forbids even prostrations or has not prescribed them. To make the delusion even greater, they do not introduce proper prostration, but Anglican/Episcopalian style kneeling, some even having pop out kneelers installed on the back of the pews. The prelest did not stop with the Revolution.

15 [Ed. Note]: Perhaps like those who wish to turn the Aerial Toll House myth into a dogma.

16  He is referring to the corrupt practice of exaggerating points of faith beyond what is stated clearly in the doctrine of the Church. This same thing happened in North America with regard to the metaphor of "toll houses." Certain writers sought to elevate it to the level of a dogma of the faith and give pictures of what happens to the soul after death, which far exceed what has been revealed by God to the Church.

17 All of these things were done and are done by the advocates of "aerial toll houses" in our own era.
18 [Ed. Note]: Lit. those who fight or struggle against the name.

19 [Ed. Note]: It would have been proper to say "in" the name of God, not "by" the name.

Original Russian text translated and published in Vladika: The Life of Blessed Antony Khrapovitsky, Metropolitan of Kiev, by Archbishop Lazar Puhalo, Synaxis Press, Dewdney, British Columbia, Canada, 2009.